Wanna read the latest
from Clever Magazine?
by Lina Rehal
Lina is a self-published author and freelance writer. She combines her passion for fiction and love of storytelling by writing romance novels. Her two books, October In New York and Loving Daniel are available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.thefuzzypinkmuse.com
Chloe sat on one of the old wicker chairs in the waiting area, nervously surveying her surroundings. Leaning back against its worn cushion, she noticed several letters were burnt out on the red neon PSYCHIC READINGS sign above the bay window. Judging by the streak marks, the glass hadn’t been cleaned in a while.
Madam Julaine opened the red velvet curtain just a crack. She peeked out, motioned for the next person to come in and let it drop back in place. There was no more time for second thoughts. Chloe stood up and looked at her two friends. She put her phone on vibrate and dropped it in her bag. “I guess that’s me.”
She had never been to a psychic before. Her two best friends, Joyce and Emma, had their cards read all the time. Chloe didn’t believe anyone could predict the future. She usually declined their invitations to join them. Yet, this time, Emma was able to convince her without much coaxing.
“Just this once. What can it hurt? We can go to lunch after the readings and talk about what she said. It’ll be fun.”
Chloe walked up to the tiny alcove where the old woman did her readings and pulled back the heavy curtain. Dust motes swirled through air that reeked of rose-scented perfume. A black silk scarf with three red roses embroidered in the middle was draped over a small square table. An old hurricane lamp provided the only light.
Madam Julaine’s thick silver bracelets made a tinkling sound as she closed the curtain and gestured for her to sit down on one of two folding chairs.
Chloe’s heart began to beat faster. The dark red painted walls seemed to close in on her. She took a deep breath and did what she was told.
The old woman sat across from her. Even the dim lighting couldn’t hide the signs of aging on her olive toned skin. She brushed a few streaks of straggly gray hair behind one ear. Fingering the three strands of multi-colored beads hanging from her neck, she began.
“The price for the Tarot cards is forty dollars for thirty minutes. That is why you are here, is it not?”
Chloe sensed the fortuneteller’s impatience. “Yes.”
Madam Julaine wasted no time taking Chloe’s money. She tucked it into a worn leather pouch that hung from her waist and turned an hourglass timer upside down. “Let us begin.”
“What is it you would like to focus on today? Your family, work, children?” She paused and raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps matters of the heart?”
At that moment, Chloe realized why she was there. Like her friends and so many others, she was looking for an answer and hoping this stranger could give it to her.
Speaking barely above a whisper, she answered. “Matters of the heart.”
The woman adjusted her shawl, picked up the cards and handed them to Chloe. “Shuffle them—and concentrate on what is troubling you.”
Chloe thought about her ex-husband and the changes in her life since their divorce eleven months ago. Then, she focused on Dylan, the man she was dating and the nagging doubts that plagued her about him. Could this woman give her the answers she needed? With a sweeping motion of her hand, Madam Julaine spread the cards across the table like a fan and instructed her to choose fifteen cards and make a wish.
Chloe chose the cards. With her hands folded in her lap, she wished for a sign about Dylan.
Madam Julaine stared into her eyes. “Your answers are in the cards.”
She turned each card face up and scattered them around the table in what looked like no particular order. After perusing them for a few minutes, the psychic began her interpretation. Chloe paid close attention to every word.
At first, there was nothing extraordinary about what the woman told her. “You have suffered great heartache.”
Lucky guess. She probably says that to most of her clients.
“I see a man. His face is not clear to me. This man has betrayed you. Your divorce, was it within the past year?”
Chloe was positive she hadn’t mentioned the divorce. “Eleven months ago.”
The fortuneteller pointed to one of the cards and looked into Chloe’s eyes. “You have been wandering in darkness for many months now, trying to find your way. You are filled with uncertainty and doubts about someone close to you. Do you understand what I am telling you?”
“Yes.” But, wouldn’t anyone who had just been through a divorce feel the same way? Doesn’t everyone have doubts in the beginning of a new relationship?
Madam Julaine continued. “The darkness will turn to light, but it will take time. You must have patience.” She glanced down at the cards again and closed her eyes. “I see another man. A troubled one. He holds many secrets. You are wise to doubt this man. He has nothing to offer but deception. Do you understand what I am telling you?”
“I think so.”
“You do not trust easily. You do not give your heart away without it. This man will not lead you out of the darkness. If you give your heart to him, he will break it. Believe what I say. Trusting him would be a grave mistake. He guards his secrets well.”
Chloe wanted to run out of the dismal room. This woman is nuts. Why is she saying these terrible things about Dylan? He’s a sweet and thoughtful man. I know he drinks a lot, but it’s only beer. He does seem secretive, but everyone has secrets. He’s a private person. He’ll open up to me and reveal more about himself as the relationship progresses. This is ridiculous. Why did I let Emma talk me into coming here?
“You do not believe me.”
She was right about that. Chloe didn’t know what to think about all these revelations. Is the woman just guessing or could there really be something to all this?
“It’s hard for me.”
Focusing mostly on Chloe’s love life and her reluctance to trust again, Madam Julaine continued.
“Money matters are troubling you. This will pass. You are capable of much more than you are doing. You are resourceful. The death card is in front of you.”
Chloe gasped and raised a hand to her lips.
Madame Julaine knew she frightened her. “Do not worry. It means the end of your current job. Soon, you will find a position that will help to ease your financial burdens. It will bring you independence and a new outlook.”
“You are wise. Others look to you for guidance at times. They need your strength. Be there for them. They trust you. Do you understand?”
The old woman pondered the cards and went on. “Something of great significance is about to come to you by way of a letter or phone call. It will be a sign. Do not ignore this. Understand?”
“Do you have any questions?”
Chloe had to know what the woman meant about Dylan. “This man you see. Why shouldn’t I trust him?”
“Pick three more cards.”
She pulled three cards from the ones in front of her. Madam Julaine turned each one face up on the table and studied them for a few seconds. When she spoke again, her voice took on an angry tone. “He lies. He is hiding something. That is all I can say.”
The woman’s anger frightened Chloe even more. What did the old woman see in those last cards that upset her so much? She wanted to know if the psychic saw anyone else in her future, but didn’t dare ask.
As if she knew Chloe’s thought, Madam Julaine added one last thing before ending the session. “Soon, there will be a man who is worthy of your trust. He will enter your life seeking friendship. Once that bond is made, the rest will follow.”
Chloe and Joyce sat on a wicker sofa in the sitting area and waited for Emma.
“How was it?” Joyce asked. “You looked a bit pale when you came out. Did she say something bad?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to make of some things she told me.”
Chloe leaned closer to her friend and lowered her voice. “For one thing, she thinks Dylan is hiding something. She said terrible things about him. She told me not to trust him. How ridiculous is that?”
“You think it’s ridiculous?”
“Of course I do.”
“But, he is secretive and you don’t trust him. You haven’t heard from him in almost two weeks. Sounds to me like she’s right on.”
Chloe needed to gather her thoughts. “Let’s wait until you and Emma are done and we’ll discuss all the readings at lunch.”
They waited in silence until Emma came out. Once Joyce was with Madam Julaine, Chloe told Emma what the woman said.
“She told you there would be another man coming into your life. One you could trust.” Emma seemed pleased with that part. “That’s interesting. She told me I would meet someone soon too, but to take it slowly.”
Joyce came out and hurried past her friends. “Let’s go. I’m starving.”
Chloe and Emma gave each other puzzled looks, shrugged their shoulders and followed her to the car. “What did she say?” Chloe asked.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Not yet,” answered Joyce.
They limited their conversation to idle chatter on the way to the restaurant. No one mentioned the fortuneteller. Once seated, they placed their orders and waited until the server walked away.
Emma looked at Joyce. “Okay. What did she say? You were obviously upset by it.”
“Just the usual. I’m going on a trip to a warmer climate, I’ve recently had financial difficulties and I’m going to sell my house. All pretty general.”
“Well, you did just go through a divorce that caused you money problems and you have talked about wanting to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. That doesn’t sound too disturbing. What else?”
Joyce hesitated before answering. “Tom wants to talk to me about our relationship. She thinks he’s feeling too tied down and wants to see other people. Oh, and I’m going to lose my job. I don’t know why we go to these things. It’s a foolish waste of our money.”
“Come on now, Joyce,” offered Chloe. “Remember what you girls said when you talked me into this. It’s all in fun. Don’t take it seriously.”
“But, she hit straight on about Dylan,” snapped Joyce.
Chloe became defensive. “We have no reason, other than the words of a fortuneteller, to think Dylan is a liar or that he’s hiding something. Can we just get off the subject of Dylan, please? Emma, what did she tell you?”
“She saw a man coming into my life soon. I need to be careful not to move too fast in this relationship or it will fall apart before it has a chance. She saw me in a different position at work, possibly a promotion of some kind. I would still be in the same company, just in a different job and I would like it.”
The three women continued to discuss Madam Julaine’s predictions over lunch. They hashed over the details of what she told them all the way home, repeating everything they remembered. Chloe had fun, but decided not to dwell on it. A tiny part of her wondered how the woman knew so much, but she still believed no one could predict the future.
When she got home, Chloe fished her cell phone out of her purse. There was a text message from a number she didn’t recognize.
My name is Shelley Blake. I believe you’ve been seeing my husband, Dylan. We need to talk.
© No portion of Clever Magazine may be copied or reprinted without express consent of the editor.