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The Fortune Teller


Guest Chris Sirn

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Guest Chris Sirn

“My crystal ball never lies,” said the fortune teller, “and it’s telling me why you have these strange appetites.”

Samantha shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She hadn’t expected much when she came into this haunting little shop, but her husband, who was a superstitious man to say the least, convinced her to give it a try. Ever since she got pregnant, she felt a desire to eat: but not potato chips or salsa or pretzels or even dirt (as one pregnant woman supposedly did). No, she had a desire for one thing. Human flesh.

“The reason you have a taste for human,” said the fortune teller in the blue bandana, “is because you were a cannibal in a past life.”

Samantha shifted again. This wasn’t what she’d been expecting. A cannibal? Her? She wouldn’t hurt a single hair on a newborn kitten.

The fortune teller, Madam Lewinski, looked at Samantha Brewer levelly. “That’s not all,” said Lewinski. “That’s not even the tip of the iceberg. There’s someone after you. Several people. Will you draw blood?”

At first Samantha didn’t know what she meant. Then Lewinski pulled out a large knife from beneath the table. Samantha broke out in a cold sweat. She needed to get out of here. Put as much distance between herself and this old quack as fast as she could. She imagined her husband, Derek, would be sleeping on the couch tonight.

“I’ve got to go,” said Samantha, her stomach growling. “Derek’s going to be wondering where I am…”

“You can’t leave,” said Lewinski. “You’ll die if we don’t get to the bottom of this.”

“Just tell me how much I owe you.”

“You’re being stalked by three spirits,” said Lewinsky. “The souls of the people you ate in your last lifetime. They’ve possessed a certain power.” The clock in the waiting room struck twelve, noon. Samantha was late for work.

“I’ve really got to go,” said Samantha as she threw a couple quarters on the table. To her dismay, the fortune teller didn’t even look at them. She stared up at Samantha as Samantha rose to her feet, Lewinski’s eyes all round and frightened. This frightened look in turn scared Samantha. Because it was so freakin’ honest.

“I don’t want to know any more,” said Samantha as she headed for the door.

“I can’t let you leave here like this,” said Lewinski. “The spirits. They’ll---”

Samantha let the screen door slam shut behind her. Then she was gone.

 

***

 

Samantha’s stomach grumbled again.

She clutched her gut in pain as the rain poured down around her by the buckets. She was sopping wet. For one wild moment she thought about returning to the fortune teller’s shop, but she was determined to make it to her car. The sun came out from behind a cloud. The rain continued to pour. She shivered. I’ll be out sick in a week, she thought. Her stomach rumbled again, as if making conversation.

As Samantha fumbled with her car keys, she remembered the dream she had a month ago, the night she first found out she was pregnant. In the dream she had locked herself out of the house in the middle of the night. An undead predator was stalking her. Several of them, feeling their ways through the shadows. Samantha had made her own way to the back of the house, attempting to make her way into the garage where hopefully the side door to the beautiful house she called home was unlocked. If the night was dark, the inside of the garage was as black as pitch. She was just about to enter the garage when a voice screamed, “It’s HUMAN!” with unmistakable delight. She sensed rather than heard (Was she having an out-of-body experience? she wondered) the human dead rushing towards her with outstretched arms, where they would help themselves to one or two helpings of her gigantic brains. Samantha had been a college girl. The better to take from you, my dear. Suddenly, a hand reached out from the garage and tugged her inside—

And then she woke up.

That was the scariest dream I’ve ever had, Samatha thought. Suddenly her current problem of pouring down rain didn’t seem so bad. Samantha wondered if she should have told the fortune teller about this dream. Who is she, my therapist? Samantha thought.

She made it to her car. The rain refused to let up, had actually worsened, the sun shining brightly in the sky. She fumbled with the keys, just like in her dream, then she looked up and saw the fortune teller was actually chasing her. She had a purple umbrella. Samantha jammed the keys in the passenger side door, unlocked it, then pulled the door open. She dumped her purse inside. It contents scattered on the floor. She wasn’t going to make it in time. The witch lady would apprehend her like a cop recruited for the mystic part of life. Samantha made it to the driver’s side when suddenly she felt her stomach lurch, even more painfully.

It's the spirits, she thought. They want to send me to jail. To make up for the crimes I got away with.

“Hey!” said the fortune teller. “Hey, hey! Stop!

I’ll run her over, thought Samantha. Lord knows I’ve done worse.

But Samantha knew she wouldn’t. She was no killer. And heaven knew it had gotten her into trouble during her forty-one years on this planet. And as her stomach screamed for food, or a toilet to vomit inside, Samantha knew the fortune teller was just trying to help.

Ghoul, said a cold voice inside her head. You’re going down as a damned ghoul.

And suddenly inspiration struck: She would go down as a damned ghoul! She could feast on the dead, that way she could avoid the murder taboo.

You’re sick. You and this fortune teller lady deserve each other.

Just until I have my baby.

And the said fortune teller lady was closing the distance, her features distorted in the heavy rain. But Samantha could see two things: She held an umbrella, and she was still brandishing the knife.

The car wouldn’t start.

What the hell? she thought. She clutched her arms to her chest. Outside, the streets were as empty as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Except for the maniac with the knife, of course.

The keys dangled lifelessly from the ignition.

The fortune teller shouted something unintelligible from a hundred feet away, but it sounded something like this: “You were a devil worshipper in this past life! You don’t understand! You did such a good job that you’re now possessed by a—”

Thundered shuddered.

She couldn’t even row her window up.

You’re using the wrong key, Derek suddenly said to her.

The voice was right.

You’re going to be a ghoul? Derek’s voice had betrayed her.  You can run but you can’t hide, as the saying goes.

“I know what a ghoul is,” said Samantha lamely. “Only men become ghouls. Witches, on the other hand, are all women.”

Well, you’re breaking the rules, said Derek.

Samantha turned the car on, stepped on the gas, started to go in reverse, and suddenly—PLUNK!

What was that? she thought. What did I hit? Did I hit the woman?

The car beeped. A light on the dashboard was on, reminding her to put on her seat belt.

Samantha stumbled out of the car. The rain stopped abruptly.

She didn’t hear the woman shouting anymore. But she saw the umbrella first laying on the ground. It had a picture of Queen Elsa on it. Beside it, she saw a human foot (“It’s HUMAN!”) with a black shoe on it. The rest of the body was hidden from view. A small pool of blood was growing beneath the car like an oil leak on the pavement. That fortune teller must have been a hundred years old, as least. These old people shatter like glass.

“There’s no way she’s dead,” said Samantha to whoever was listening. “I barely hit her.”

But dead she was. Samantha came around the corner of the car and saw the fortune teller lying on the ground, not breathing, her face ashen, white, pallid. Her mouth was cocked open in a fearsome growl, her rain-soaked eyes glaring up at the sky. It was all a trick. She wanted to kill you with that knife. She orchestrated this whole thing, somehow.

No, she didn’t.

Yes, she did!

The rain began to drizzle. She would lose her license this time for sure, she thought. Samantha opened the trunk of her car. The rain no longer bothered her. She put the old lady in the trunk of her car, followed by the knife, followed by the Queen Elsa umbrella.

Dinner is served, thought Samantha. It was her voice this time.

In the meantime, she was late for work.

Spoiler

 

 

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