A bead of wax slowly drips down the candle. The bead is met by another, a faster one and together they move down. Slowly, ever so slowly it stops. The new wax turns darker as it solidifies near the top. The flame above flickers ever so slightly.
A dark and generally small room. Candles on nearly every flat surface that is not the floor. A small circular red table rests between two wicker chairs. As of now, the room is empty. It smells of sickly sweet incense. A moment later the doorway, which had columns among columns of hanging and dark colored beads, moves. It ripples slightly as a sleek black cat slinks into the room. It swaggers across the barely scratched wooden floor, its small feet barely make a sound.
A thin candle on the window sill flickers a moment later and then is gone. A thump. The cat replaces the candle on the sill and manages to lie down on the narrow ledge. Its tail flickers to the side once before its green eyes scan the room. The candle that had been knocked over rested on its side on the floor, its flame nonexistent. It’s ear flicks to the side a moment later and it turns its head to the window, to stare out at the quiet street.
A moment later, creaking foot steps as a woman wearing a flowery dress and low heels follows the nearly silent gait of another woman. The first woman wears age in her eyes though she is young. She wears charms on her wrists and neck and a moon-shaped ring. Clothing wise, she wears nothing spectacular. Drawn on jeans and an unimportant t-shirt. Her face is plain but subtly beautiful beautiful. The woman behind her, some years older than the first, looks nervous and wraps the skirt of her dress around her fingers.
The first woman silently gestures for the second to sit in the more worn chair. Hesitantly, the second woman does and she smooths out her dress on her lap. The first woman looks at the cat and the flame-less thin candle on the floor. The new wax from the candle now dried on the ground. In an effortless motion the first woman sits on her chair. A moment later she murmurs something to the second woman and the second woman rested her hands on the red table, palms facing up. The first woman looks over her hands quickly and a moment later her fingers gently graze and touch the lines and contours of the other woman’s hand. The second woman looks nervously at the first.
The first woman’s eyebrows knit together as she notices something and lifts the palm closer to her face. A moment later, her face is eased and she sets the hand back down. The first woman stands, her lithe body gracefully reaches up to the bookshelf next to her. It is tall and moderately menacing. It is made of dark wood and has tons of active candles, large and small, dusty books. Necklaces and various beaded things and stones are scattered on the open shelves as well. On the top shelf, in the right corner, far back sat a small package. The lithe woman reaches a hand up and nabbed it. She slowly lowered it and her hand back down and returned to her chair. She places the bundle on the center of the table.
The psychic turns the bundle over once to reveal the end of fabrics. The customer watched the bundle, mesmerized. The bundle is only an inch thick or so and is wrapped in shiny dark blue cloth. Slowly, the psychic unwraps the bundle and leaves the square cloth lying on the table and a stack of cards in the center of it. The psychic tells the customer something. The customer hesitantly reaches for the cards and picks them up. She shuffles them for a brief second and is in the process of putting them back until the psychic asks her if she feels that she is done shuffling.
The customer brings them back and with aged hands continues shuffling the cards. A little while later, she gives them to the psychic. The psychic splits the deck into three smaller decks. She asks the customer to pick one. When the customer points to a smaller one on the left, all the candles in the room flicker at once, then go back to flickering spontaneously. Neither notice as the customer watches, mesmerized as the psychic puts the other two decks below the chosen one. She then asks the customer something. The customer nods and the psychic slowly places ten cards on the table.
The first is to the left. The second is placed on top of the first but horizontally as the first was vertical. The third is vertical on the top. The fourth is partly on the third, also vertical. The fifth and six are the same and are below the third and fourth, next to first and second. 7 and 8 are the same as well and are below 5 and 6. The ninth is to the right of the fifth and sixth and the tenth is next to the ninth. As the psychic places the cards down, she flips them over so you can see the drawings.
The cards are magical. They are also horrifying. They are shades of a dark purple-y blue that could be seen as black. The drawings and words and figures and shapes are an off-white color. The figures seem haunting yet comforting and they are every contradiction.
The first card the psychic put down is the six of cups. On the card is a flowery figure at night. She is sitting on a purple-colored rock and looking backwards, towards the sky. The stars behind her. There are six to count. Currently, you are very nostalgic, the psychic says, you are revisiting the past frequently to make the future more forwards.
Across the world, an old man glances at the clear sky. A kite is flying above him and a light glimmers in his eyes. He slowly stands, for he is old, and he pads across the grass of the park to the child flying the kite. He approaches slowly and asks the child for a turn. The child turns to him, then to the child’s parents and back to the old man. A slight nod. He silently gives over the kite. The old man takes it and watches as the wind catches in it. Instantly, he is back seventy years. A much simpler time. A time where the only thing that mattered was a boy and his kite.
The psychic looks at the second card. The eight of coins. The image displayed on the card is one of a watch maker. A time artist. A man sits outside, on the ground, legs crossed and he is fixing a clock. On the dark colored ground before him are eight flowers. You have something to do, the psychic says, something very important. Something you have to do, even though you may not want to. The customer looks down at her lap uncomfortably.
A few hundred miles away, a woman returns home, exhausted. She returns to her mother and father and grandmother and young child. When she gets home, she strips off her greasy overalls and t-shirt and puts on something more comfortable. She sits on a sofa and her mother, an older woman, gives her a piece of bread and some cheese. The woman eats it quickly. Her child, a toddler stumbles over and holds out a toy car. Fix it, momma, she says. The woman takes the car and smiles slightly, amused. She looks at the toy car. One of its wheels is bent and thus it cannot operate smoothly. She fixes it quickly and hands it back to her daughter. She rests for a few moments before she gets up and goes and put on another pair of clothes, another uniform. She leaves and walks to the supermarket.
The third card is the seven of wands. The image displays a hill and a group of people atop of it. They watch the sky, seven meteors are displayed, shooting around the world. Behind them a bird hurtles towards them. They are unaware. You have lots of things coming at you, the psychic says quietly, don’t ignore them or push them away, accept them and try to fix them.
A block away, a student frantically pulls out her hair. Piles of work are before her. An older man walks in to her room and removes half of her papers and leaves with them. The girl starts to cry. Minutes later she suddenly stops, grabs a pen and writes a list. The stack of papers before her and the papers away from her suddenly don’t seem to be as much. She does her stack quickly and steals the other one. As she goes she checks off her list. She finishes a short while later.
The fourth card is the Lovers, the sixth card in the major arcana. On the card is displayed a face. It is split in two, each one opposite shades of each other yet they match perfectly. The face is somewhat sensuous. You know yourself, the psychic says, you are not afraid of yourself. You are down to earth. You can get through this. The customer has no idea what the psychic means but she nods anyway.
Across the country is a couple. They sit in a coffee shop, surrounded by a group of boldly dressed and fearfully confident people. The two stare at each other as the world go on around them, as if they were hypnotized. A coffee and a pastry are brought to them and they simultaneously respond, as if they were the same person. If they are being talked to, they do not notice. They are lost in each others eyes and yet very grounded.
The fifth card is a dark card. Death. On the card is a skull. Its teeth are mostly missing and in its right eye socket are thirteen little stars. It is the thirteenth card in the major arcana. The skull is grinning somewhat deviously. The customer shrinks away and the psychic pretends not to notice. The black cat moves from its sill across the room and leaps down, a slight padded sound as it touches ground and slinks away, through the door which it came. The beads move behind it. Change something, the psychic says, if you change something in your life. You have been thinking about something new. Just do it, you will be well rewarded.
On the train a few cities away, a rebellious teenager tosses away a stolen cigarette. He goes and takes out a lottery card he bought a few hours before and takes a penny and scratches it off. It is one of the bingo cards and he keeps careful track. Five minutes later, he is screaming with joy. A win. A small one, but a win. He gets off at the next stop and goes to the nearest store. He cashes in his card for twenty dollars. He decides to never smoke again.
The sixth card is the five of swords. A kneeling figure in a dark field of flowers. Before the figure are five, star-like vials. The figure looks defeated. The night sky behind the figure had constellations that are faintly outlined in lights. They look like they are taunting the kneeling figure. What ever you do, don’t give up, the psychic says. You will never get when you wish to go and it will destroy you. The customer shivers and shrinks into herself. The psychic notices and holds out a hand. The customer takes it. A look of hope is exchanged.
A couple of countries away, a man stands in a lake. A calm area in a land of unrest. A good night of sleep for an insomniac. He stands in the water, completely still. His fishing rod floating in the water. Minutes pass and he becomes anxious. A couple more minutes pass and he decides to leave. He wades out of the water and a moment later a large splash is sound as dozens of fish hurry to see what the commotion was. The fisherman swears.
The seventh card is the Emperor. The fourth in the major arcana. The image is a singular constellation in the sky. A man and a crown. He looks bold and brave. The customer leans towards the table, intrigued. The psychic notices and begins to talk. This card says what is going to help you, she says. The Emperor. You have to be strong. Believe in what you really believe in. Take the leadership position in life. The customer nods quietly.
In the store across the street, a young woman watches a group of hooligan-like teenagers write on the walls. They look much tougher than her she thinks but a moment later she summons enough courage and storms up to them. She tells them off. They look ashamed and begin the process of trying to erase the pen. She storms back to her counter, proud and grinning like a fool.
The eight card is the four of cups. A flowery woman stares into a lake and sees a branching monster staring back at her. The monster is dark and covered with tree branches as the woman is light and covered in flowers. In the sky behind her are four stars and in the reflection, there are four stones. You must not take anything for granted, look outside of yourself and do not destroy or trash things that are given to you. The psychic speaks.
A couple of countries away, a man stands and looks in a mirror. He does not recognize what he sees. He sees an alien. He grabs the mirror and breaks it. It shatters on the ground and shiny sharp pieces glisten everywhere. He leaves his house a minute later and never returns. He tries to make himself into a better person.
The ninth card is the seven of cups. A flowery figure stands at a fork on a dark road. Nine stars are on one side of the road and on the other are none. Everywhere that is not road is dark, but not as dark as the sky. You need to make a choice soon. A choice that will majorly impact your life, the psychic says. It is the next step. The customer nods mutely and the cat re-enters the room. The beads rustle again and the cat jumps up on the bookshelf next to the psychic, who does not seem to mind. The black cat stands behind a nearly dead, half decimated candle. The wax gathers at the top of the candle until it is full enough, swelling on all sides and suddenly it falls down the candle, onto the wood and slowly it solidifies.
Across the world, a family discusses a matter late into the night. The next morning, before sunrise, they flee. They run away and they wind up on a boat. The boat sails away with them, letting them escape the horrors of their lives.
The tenth and final card, is the Magician. The dark blue-y purple card reads 1-The Magician. A large fire is displayed on the card. Inside the fire is a strong figure. Not strong physically but somehow the figure is stills strong. Perhaps it is the stance and confidence in the figure. The fire is large and grand and a circle of stones are around the fire. Each stone has a star on it. The last card, the Magician, the psychic breathes. The outcome. She pauses for a moment. If you make the right choice, identify what you need to than you will have complete control over your life. You will have the ability to maintain it and the flexibility to keep it.
A moment later, the psychic escorts the customer out of the room. The customer leaves and she stands on the street. She looks to her left. She looks to her right. She thinks on what the psychic says. She knows she should go left. Should. She exhales. She walks to the right instead and she knows the psychic is watching her as she walks away. She knows the psychic was right. With a swish of her flowery dress she is gone from that neighborhood forever. All that is left of her is the click of her heels.
The Magician never returns.