A little bit of fantasy for a Wednesday morning. Enjoy.
“Maggie, I’m not coming with you. You know how I hate all of that tarot, psychic mumbo jumbo. They’re all con artists.”
Maggie crossed her red arms over her chest. Yesterday’s day at the beach didn’t help her pasty complexion tan, it revolted and threw up the painful blisters dotting her skin. “Karen is not a con artist. My friend’s mum’s sister in law’s auntie saw her and she was spot on.”
“Karen? You’re going to see a psychic called Karen? Just because her names not Miss Esmerelda doesn’t mean she’s the real deal. I’ll wait in the café next door and get a coffee while you go in.”
“Susie, please come with me. You know how I don’t like meeting new people alone.”
I dropped my head back against the peeling paint of the bookshop, I usually did all the talking and Maggie spoke when she was comfortable. “You’re 25 Mags, if this woman’s really psychic she won’t make you talk, she would have seen it. And another thing, why is it always someone’s, friends, mums, sister’s auntie twice removed that have success stories? Why isn’t it ever, ‘’oh I saw this psychic and she was fabulous.’”
Maggie scoffed and shielded her eyes from the sun, “Well if you come in with me you will have the pleasure of saying that, won’t you.”
“Unlikely,” I muttered, but followed her through the bookshop and up a rickety spiral staircase to the second level.
This was a bad idea, she was going to pay eighty bucks for nothing. We rounded the corner and the space opened into a large room. The wooden floors stretched to a full-length glass window, the deep blue of the ocean sparkled through it, and the scent of the sea drifted towards us. Totally not what I was expecting, no sandalwood incense, or lamps covered with silk scarves.
A small woman with golden skin waved us over, her dark hair fell in a curtain to her waist, and the toenails on her bare feet glinted, the glitter in the polish bright against her dark skin. Bells attached to her ankles tinkled as she glided towards us.
“You must be Maggie.” She held out her hands and clasped Maggie’s.
“Hello,” Maggie said, her excitement at getting her reading fading under her need to run back down the stairs. I didn’t need to see her face to know, I just knew her.
“It’s okay. You just come and sit over here,” Karen said without letting go of her hand. Maggie looked back over her shoulder at me, and I followed trying not to roll my eyes.
“This is my friend, Susie,” she said as she dropped into a chair in front of a white table, a colourful cloth carefully laid on top.
“Hello Susie, I’m Karen.” She extended her hand, her smile warm, and I shook it.
A shock kicked up my arm and hit me in the chest. I staggered backwards and clutched at the burning just below my collarbone. “What the hell was that?” I coughed and rubbed my chest.
Karen looked down at her hand, her eyes wide. Then she pulled up the sleeve of her top, to just below her elbow, revealing a small mark, the size of a fifty-cent coin.
“Hey Susie, she has the same birthmark as you.” Maggie’s said, as she slung her arm over her chair. “Susie?” She shook my hand but I couldn’t move my eyes off the shape on Karen’s arm.
“Show me child,” Karen said moving closer but I didn’t want her to touch me again, my heart beat a staccato rhythm in my chest.
I hadn’t realised I moved, but my sleeve was rolled up and I put my arm out to show her. My mark was the same as hers but mine had a dark ring around it.
“It can’t be.” Karen’s eyes watered, and she cupped her hands on her cheeks.
“What?” Maggie stood in front of me, her hands fisted behind her back.
“Susie, don’t you know who you are?” Karen said, her eyes wide as tears streamed down her face.
“I’m just me.” I manged to say, my tongue thick and useless in my mouth.
“No. Susie, you are royalty.” She dropped down on one knee. “The daughter of His Royal Highness, Eldon. Saviour of our people and King of the Fey.”
I started laughing, the giggle bubbling up and out of my throat before I could stop it. Karen bowed her head, and Maggie looked between us.
“My lady, why are you laughing?” Karen said, her head still bowed.
“Real funny, Maggie.” I wiped beneath my eyes. “Let’s go, I don’t even know what a fey is.”
“A fey,” Maggie said, “is a fairy.”
I looked over my shoulder as I reached the staircase. “Yeah. I’m a fairy, and a princess. That’s totally legit. At least come up with a plausible joke.”
Maggie scratched her head and sat down in the chair. “It would explain a lot.”
“Come on Mags, let’s just go. And please Karen get up off the floor.”
She jumped up from her knees and bowed low, before clasping her hands together in front of her.
“Wait, Susie.” Maggie pushed her chair back and pointed at Karen’s arm. “What about if this is true? You both have the same birthmark.”
“So? We both have non-descript triangular shaped marks in the same spot. Eventually I would meet someone with something similar. Look. I’m going, you can get a taxi home if you want to stay.”
“No!” Karen yelled, lunging forward. “You can’t go. He’s coming.”
Something lingered at the edge of my memory, something about a forest and a man dressed in black armour, a horse beneath me. He was laughing, and I felt so safe, but that was just a stupid dream.
“Maggie. Now. I’m not kidding.”
I gripped the hand railing and the sky darkened, the sea whipped into a white frothy frenzy and the sound of one hundred horses thundered through the apartment. Karen knelt again, and the glass at the end of the room shimmered.
A great golden horse broke through the glass, but it passed though like water. A rider in a black cloak, a hood covering his face was on top of it. He pulled the reins back hard and the horse skidded to a stop on the varnished boards. As the rider pushed his hood back, I remembered him.
“Dad?” Then everything went black.