A little paranormal fantasy for your Wednesday morning. Enjoy!
“What about this one?” Joel stopped beside a black window, and across the glass in gold lettering was: Tarot Readings.
Emily laughed and shouldered the door open, and Joel’s face fell.
“What?” she laughed. “Didn’t you think I would take you seriously?”
He followed her into the store and let the door swing closed behind him. He blinked in the dim lighting, letting his eyes adjust.
Small lamps lit the space, and the shop stretched far inside. Little twinkling tea light candles picked up mirrored canisters, and beaded throws. The musty smell of dust tickled his nose, and he cursed his sick sense of humour.
“Hello,” Emily called out, and someone coughed down a hallway behind the counter. “Coming.”
Emily picked up a small rag doll from a display and made a face like she was being choked, then chuckled and put the doll back down.
“Relax. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Joel shrugged and turned towards the beaded curtain when the twinkling of beads sounded, and a hunched over purple shape emerged from the shadows.
“A young couple is it?” The older woman said, her finger crooked towards them, her bulbous joints beckoning them.
“Yes,” Emily said and went to the counter. “Can we get a tarot reading please?”
The woman smiled, and it showed a set of gold teeth.
Joel tugged Emily’s arm, but she stood firm. “We haven’t made an appointment, and we can come back later.”
“Now,” the woman said and started back towards the beaded curtain.
“Let’s get out of here, Em. This place is weird.”
“Relax, she’s a harmless old woman.”
“My mum always told me not to mess around with this stuff.”
But Emily was already through the curtain and into a room. He followed, he supposed it could be fun. What was the worst that could happen?
The small room was tight with books and colourful hanging tapestries. In the middle of the room was a small round table, and Emily was in the chair beside the tarot reader, and he slipped across from her, the hairs on the back of his neck rising
The woman asked him to shuffle the cards and cut the deck. He did and passed them back to the centre of the table.
“Let me see.” She mumbled.
The woman laid the cards out in a cross pattern in front of him. None of the cards made sense, they weren’t in English, or in the phonetic alphabet.
Emily sat forward, waiting for the old woman.
“Alright. I see you are looking for someone. Or Something.”
He rolled his eyes and Em leaned in closer. She whispered something to the old woman that didn’t make sense, but the woman nodded, and Em stood abruptly and left the room before he could stop her. She closed the door behind her, and the lock clicked.
He jumped up, and the stool clattered to the floor.
The old woman continued to lay out the cards.
“Emily does a good job, doesn’t she?”
“What?” He reached in his back pocket for his phone, but it wasn’t there.
“She lures young men like yourself here. I can’t go out and hunt anymore. She hunts for me.” She pulled her purple shawl off and said. “Come here.”
And he went to her because he couldn’t say no. She smiled, and this time he saw her fangs, he didn’t even scream as she drained him dry.