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Carnival time. The air had a salty feel to it from all the popcorn being popped, the silence which never existed was pierced by shrill screams as the young riders of the merry-go-round chose their favourite animal. Colours, like the rich yellow of the sunflower’s fallen head and the brilliant green of the last leaf of spring whirled around me. The stalls where filled with people like poppy buds about to burst. It was a tradition to go to the summer carnival every year, though this year seemed more distinctive as it was the last year for all of us, before we left for college. Every stall had it’s own draw but with the uncertainty in our lives we were drawn to one in particular.
“Mystique Myrtle” Maeve read out loud.
“Don’t tell me you believe in that stuff!” Arro said his eyes widening.
“There’s nothing wrong in believing A. Don’t chide her for that” I said.
“Okay, normally I’d agree with Arro, but today even I feel superstitious; maybe she can tell me which one to choose: Vanderbilt or California-Berkeley!” Darius said.
We all rolled our eyes. Darius had been at it for the past two weeks now.
“I’m going in first. There are some things I need to know too.” I said.
My friends didn’t dispute.
“We’ll wait for you at the cotton-candy stand” Arro said. I nodded.
I parted the curtains and entered the stall. The smell hit me first: cinnamon mixed with some unknown herb, the smell was so intense I nearly choked. I blinked twice and looked around. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light I made out my surrounding. Purple. Everywhere. From the lightest hues to the darkest shades, the fabric which wound itself across the walls and finally on to a pedestal shimmered. There where crystal charms everywhere tinkling, making the surrounding more uncanny. Nine of them, tinted and awe-striking. I suddenly noticed something. The number nine. There were nine charms, nine china kittens arrayed across every wall viewing the entrance with glass eyes. Nine lamps emitting a golden glow. Nine mirrors placed so eerily straight I could view myself in every one of them. I gulped. What had I gotten myself into?
I heard the tinkling of a bell and I turned. A woman was there right behind me. I shuddered. Where had she come from?
“You must be Mystique Myrtle” I said, glad my voice didn’t show how much she had unnerved me.
“Yes, my dear” a faint Irish accent. “Welcome”
When my head cleared, I found myself staring at her. She was clothed in the same shade of purple as her stall. Fairly young for a psychic, the lady looked about early thirties. Her hair a vibrant rich burgundy was coiled in large rings on the back of her head. She wore a chain with nine pearls on a silver string. Her fingers were long and slender; her movements soft. When she looked up at me, I was mesmerized by those eyes. They were the lightest shade of gray tinged with darker edges. She looked as if she could see through me.
“Come on closer, sit down” she said.
She pulled her cards out as I tentatively sat at the edge of the chair near the pedestal.
She took my hand. The session had begun.
When she opened her mouth the next time her voice had changed. It was more high-pitched and clear, more unnatural. She stared right into my eyes.
“Earnest you are,
Lovely you will become;
Promises are made:
Future set and done.
I see it in your hands,
I see it in your eyes
Deep into your soul
Forgive me but I can see through your lies
Nine cards tell me you future
Of pain and pleasure:
Love will take you through all,
You will find the one
But without it you will fall
It’s not easy this burden.
Betrayed, love is fractured, mistrust abound
You will weep
A shard of luck, a dollop of blessing
As you sow, so shall you reap.
Friends you will have
A lot to remember
Footprints on your heart
You’ll be changed forever.
Forgiveness they will ask;
Your heart on a stick
The enemies of your enemies are your friends
Is that true? You will pick.
Faith they say can move mountains
But if those mountains lie inside you heart
Oh yes, they will tear you in their glory
Will you give, forgive or live to part?
Hope will kill you
Of that I’m sure
But can you live without it?
No, no and nevermore.
Death will walk through you life
Of whom and when?
That you will decide
Twisted and painful choices lie ahead.
To love and hate
Because one cannot live
Without the other’s afflicted taste.
Sacrifice, you will
Many a day
Because forever my dear,
Is a long time to wait.
Life is but a canvas
The skill of painting it an escape
You will live for the day
But blot the remaining of the landscape”
She was breathless and to be fair I felt like I’d seen a ghost. She smiled regaining composure. She still grasped my hand which was now sweaty.
When she spoke it was barely a whisper, sullen but enticing.
“Because if you done change your life,
Life has a way of changing you………..”
I scream escaped my mouth. What was she saying?
Her demeanor changed. She was back to the friendly psychic who ‘helped’ people.
“Hush, now. It was just a reading; you can make anything out of it” She smiled.
“Do you give reading like this to every one?” My voice had lost all its strength.
The smile was gone in an instant.
“No. I don’t” She replied. “My great-grandmother gave a reading like this 400 years back when she was my age. To a girl just like you. That girl when on to change the world”
“So what are you saying?” I asked her, terrified.
“My great-grandmother told her she would come back, to get another reading”
“And did she?”
The psychic was busy arranging her cards. She looked up and locked me with her eyes. She smiled. That smile tingled my spine; and I broke into a cold sweat.
“She has now.”
New Orleans, Louisiana
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My candle burns on both ends,
It will not last the night;
But Ah! my foes and Oh! my friends it gives a lovely light.