C6 Prophecies 2
Sera pauses on the sidewalk taking in the small store with royal blue curtains draping across the front windows. The door chimes when Amanda opens it and disappears inside, waiving for Sera to follow suit. Sera lets out a sigh and follows her into the dark shop. She just has to survive ten minutes of this junk, and then she can get back to work. Walking inside, Sera's immediately hit with the aroma of incense and lavender. It soothes her slightly, on the outside. Her insides have been doing weird backflips since she walked in.
"Good afternoon, lovelies, what can I do for you today?" An older woman approaches, her voice soft like clouds and eye shadow as bright as one.
"Hi." Amanda's excitement renews, "I have an appointment with Daphne."
"That's me, dear, and your friend?"
They both glance back at Sera, touching a figurine of a black cat on the desk. She snaps up immediately, caught. Amanda leans in closer to whisper, "She says she doesn't believe in this stuff."
"I can hear you," Sera mutters, looking at the glass display case of pentagrams.
"Oh well, dear, the arts aren't for everyone," Daphne whispers back, no hint that she's offended at all. "Well, come with me, dear—I will tell you all you need to know."
They slip through a beaded doorway and leave her alone in the small lobby. The shop is tiny, cramped. The room would be more spacious if it didn't have these ridiculous displays of incense, voodoo dolls, potions, and crystals located all around. Sera feels slightly overwhelmed. Eventually, she plops down onto a red velvet couch sandwiched between two, three-foot displays of glass figurines. This is not at all what she expected. She had pictured a creepy, middle-aged lady donning a headdress, telling Sera to gaze into her crystal ball.
Above the store counter, holding a cash register that looks like the first one ever invented, sits a painting that grabs Sera's attention. It's a simple painting, midnight blue with one perfect circular moon in the center. Breaking her train of thought, the beads rattle as a woman passes through and walks behind the counter. She doesn't pay Sera any mind, and she digs below for something. When she finally pulls out an embroidered shawl, the woman wraps it around her tall, slender frame. Sera watches as her back straightens, shoulders tensing slightly. Their eyes meet, Sera feels herself tense in response. The uncomfortable expression on Sera's face must be apparent, because the dark eyes of the slender woman soften as she makes her way around the counter.
The woman is strikingly beautiful. Long, dark hair drapes down her back and big, dark eyes have a wisdom behind them that seems impossible for her age. The woman slips onto the couch beside her. Sera begins to fidget her hands in her lap. Even sitting, the lady has to glance down at Sera, trying to make eye contact again.
"I know I'm being forward, but I feel like I must talk with you."
"Oh, I'm just here for my friend. I don't want a reading, thank you." She tries to be as polite as possible, but she still comes off as dismissive.
"I don't mean to alarm you, Seraphina, but I think it's best if we talk."
At the sound of her full name—the name not even her parents use anymore—Sera's head whips back to meet the strikingly beautiful eyes of this psychic vixen. "How do you know my name?"
The woman's smile is shy as she responds, "Not all of us are a sham, you know?"
She extends her hand forward, "My name is Anna, and your energy is calling me."
"Well, I'm sorry—I'll tell it not to do that next time."
"I can see what all the fuss is about."
"The spirits are all worked up around you. I'm getting so much." Her eyes close, the smile still on her face. Sera can only curiously stare. Goose bumps have begun to spring up along her arms, when suddenly Anna's eyes fly open. "I've never witnessed anything like this! It's so inspiring."
Sera's nerves lately make her a little anxious, but she can't help but also be curious. "Well, you already know my name. What else is my aura giving away?"
"Your aura is bright, like a sunset with beautiful yellows, pinks, and oranges. It tells me you are beautiful on the inside and outside. You are very fun, humorous, and generally a happy person. Like a sunset, people are drawn to your beauty." She pauses; her eyes close lightly as her head twists to one side. "But I think it's more than that. Your spirit, it calls them, too. There's something unique and special about it, almost like they can sense your destiny."
Sera's eyes are wide. This girl is good; she'll give her that. She can see why they call her Amazing Anna, but if she thinks she will get ten dollars out of Sera for a reading, she has another thing coming.
"It's crazy, I get this great feeling of protection over you; this force protecting you from harm. I think it even goes back to before you were born." She takes a deep breath before continuing. "Because people flock to you, you tend to amass many friends and even a few boyfriends, but none have made you feel the same toward them. You crave a deeper connection and yearn for not only love, but a fire and passion that you want to believe exists." She pauses once again, glancing around the small shop. "Don't worry. You will find it." Her eyes meet Sera's again, her smile returning before her eyes glaze over and she resumes. "What I really want you to be aware of is the black cloud encasing your aura, hindering your beautiful energy with thoughts of doubt and depression you're experiencing. However, you must be careful. Your energy is attracting both good and bad attention. Like most heroes with great destiny, there also requires great sacrifice. You will be no different. There will be times you must choose between your past life and your destiny."
Sera is trying her best to remember everything Anna says, although, she can't figure out why she should. This stuff is baloney, right?
Immediately, she disappears through the beaded doorway. Sera hesitates and glances around the shop one last time. Eventually, she gives in to curiosity and follows Amazing Anna through the draping beads. They rattle together behind her and she finds herself in a windowless space with three alcoves. Hushed murmurs come from the alcove on the left, but it's enclosed with a sheer navy curtain. The light is dim inside, probably candlelit, and Sera can just vaguely make out Amanda's silhouette.
"In here," Anna calls from the alcove to the right. She lights a few candles on the candelabra on the wall, shedding dim light in the space. Sera pulls back the sheer curtain and slides into the booth, placing her hands on the round table.
Anna reaches for the cards on the center of the table. They are a vibrant royal purple with yellow stars on the back in a diamond-shaped pattern. Her dark, all knowing eyes take Sera in before sliding the cards toward her. "I want you to shuffle the cards. As you shuffle, have a question in mind. The more specific the question, the more specific your reading will be."
Sera takes the purple cards between her hands. They feel almost heavy against her palms. The cards make her fingertips tingle slightly. Anna notices her reaction, eyeing her carefully. To shake her from thinking about Anna's stare, Sera cuts the deck in half. She has to come up with a question: Will she ever find true love? That question has plagued her since she was first introduced to Disney movies. Although, it's something deeper than that. When she really reflects deeper into the innermost desires of her heart, she wants to know that her life will have purpose. Will she ever truly feel... whole? Shuffling a few more times and placing this question on the forefront of her mind, Sera opens her eyes and hands the cards back to Anna.
Anna's face remains amused, her head cocking to the side slightly. If Sera didn't know any better, it appears as though someone is speaking in her ear. Anna's thin fingers flip over the first card of the deck, sliding it to the center. The image is of a cherub holding a large sun, only it's facing Anna—not her.
"The Sun. Presently, you feel lost and in a state of depression." The psychic's words cut through Sera to her very core, and she has to hide her shaking hands under the table. "You're letting your thoughts and worries thwart you and it's holding you back."
"Temperance." The card depicts an Angel, wings outspread holding two cups. "Your biggest challenge is patience. You must relax, everything will unfold in due time. Worrying is not going to make your destiny happen any faster."
“The Hermit. You are looking for answers, making you somewhat of an introvert. You've been shying away from people and even friends. Originally, it was an attempt to discover yourself, but it hasn't helped has it?" The analysis causes Sera to swallow hard before shaking her head. "That's because self-discovery happens through experiences, not introspection."
Anna flips the next card and places it below the first two facing Sera. It's a moon with several wolves howling up at it. "The Moon. Oh, you are having visions!" She leans closer, suddenly intrigued. "Have you been developing weird dreams?"
This is hitting a little too close to home. "I mean, sometimes; doesn't everyone?" Sera attempts to turn the questions around; putting on her best poker face. Her facial expressions have to be giving her away.
"You, my dear, are not everyone." She breathes as a shadow crosses over the table. Sera blinks and the lighting returns to normal. Candles are flickering slightly. That had to be a trick of the light. Sera gets that sensation she has sometimes; the feeling as though someone is watching her. The impression her life is a secret television show and people are always observing. It makes her adjust herself in her seat, pulling her blazer closer.
"Well, Seraphina, trust your instincts. Those dreams may be more than they appear." Sera opens her mouth to ask Anna to expand, but she's already flipping over the next card above the cross of the first two cards.
"The Hanged Man."
"This indicates the best case scenario, and indicates you will be victorious in your search but not without letting something go. Like I said before, some sacrifices must happen." Without further thought, she flips over the next card placing it on the left this time, creating a cross pattern of cards in front of her. "Judgment," Anna reads, "I see a rebirth in your near future. This indicates the beginning of a new chapter in your life. There will be several new changes and adaptations to endure, but they will help in the quest for your inner calling."
Her words slice through Sera. Did she tell Anna the question? The tears build behind her eyes and Sera takes a deep breath to prevent them from falling. Poker face, remember. Anna pretends not to notice and continues to flip over another card, sliding it all the way to Sera's right. It sits millimeters from Sera's shaking hand. She reads it aloud as Sera reads it internally.
"Strength." A breath escapes Sera's lips. The card depicts an angel taming a lion. She finds herself wondering what someone would need that kind of strength for. "You're going to develop this innate sense of, not only strength, but courage as well. Within you, lies the patience and control to handle any situation thrown your way."
Anna draws another breath and flips over yet another card. She places the card above the last one, her hands begin to shake a little. "The Devil." The hairs on the back of Sera's neck stand at attention.
Anna clears her throat. "The Devil," she repeats again pausing slightly, "This card indicates external factors that will affect you, but it doesn't literally mean the Devil himself will be one of those factors." Her tone is reassuring, but Sera doesn't sense that it's genuine. "It implies some kind of bondage is holding you back. It could imply a materialism to Earthly things or an addiction that is keeping you from achieving your goal."
That doesn't sound right, is reading from a script? Out of this entire experience, Sera could tell this was the only information that felt... fake. Anna immediately flips over another card, quick to move on. Above The Devil, she places The Lovers.
"The Lovers. You hope for true love. I'm sure he will find you, drawn to you like the rest of us." She smiles, glancing at the empty space between them. Anna's demeanor changes, her smile slowly wanes. She leans over the table, her dark eyes locking with Sera's, looking for understanding. "This next card indicates the inevitable outcome of your question." Anna pauses, internally collecting herself before releasing another breath, she flips the last and final card. Sera vaguely hears a gasp and Anna's voice whispering, "Death."
Silence settles in the alcove. Dread fills Sera, and if she wasn't so focused on the grain in the table, she might have felt a disturbance in her spirit.
The woman finally snaps back. "This also isn't literal, only indicates the end of something. A new beginning or transformation, which I also feel beginning inside you."
"Anna, be honest with me. How often does 'Death' come up as the outcome to someone's reading?" Foreboding fills the emptiness in her stomach; everything about this reading puts something inside her on edge. It's like she is speaking about someone else, at another time, in another world. This can't be her, can it? These things are not her. There's no way she can have this huge destiny like Anna keeps saying. Then why does a piece of her, a piece buried deep, deep inside, tell her this all makes sense. The piece that tells her there's more to life, much more.
"Seraphina, I must be honest with you. I've certainly not had a reading so... clear before and never had anyone pull all Major Arcana cards either!" Her hands indicate the spread of cards in a cross pattern and a line on the right before me on the table.
"What does that mean?"
"Well, a reading with mostly Major Arcana cards reveals a path to spiritual self-awareness. It depicts the search for greater meaning and understanding of themselves and their world. They usually hold deep, meaningful life lessons."
"I don't know what to say..." It's Anna's turn to lean back, taking Sera in with her all knowing eyes. "Everything about you is astounding. The spirits and aura around you are strong and powerful. I want to express how inspired you make me and have reaffirmed why I decided to pursue my gift in the first place." She sighs, "It's not about the ten dollar palm reading or proving the skeptics wrong, it's about the spirit—the world untouched that speaks to me. Then with you around, I feel the gates open." Her face admires Sera with a simple smile. Sera doesn't believe in this, she has to remind herself. This is wrong. This can't be. I'm not going to die; this is all a sham. She starts glancing away through the curtain, because let's face it, that's what she does. When things get uncomfortable, Sera flees. The old saying, 'what would you do – fight or flight'? Well, Sera would run. As much as she wants to be this big, strong, and fearless person, she knows she's not. Maybe she was in another life.
"Do you mind if I do a quick palm reading?"
"Please." Her eyes plead with Sera, speaking to the burning curiosity bubbling inside of her; answers dying to get out from years of oppression. Sera's unable to turn this woman down. Maybe, she has more powers than she thinks. She releases her right hand from where she had both clasped together and places it face up on the table in front of them. Anna spreads out her fingers so they lay flat before she leans back, inspecting it carefully.
"I see your lifeline," Anna's smooth voice finally speaks. Her finger points to a crease between Sera's thumb and index finger. "Strangely, if you look close, there are points where it pauses or stops."
Sera whips her hand back and stares in disbelief, willing the wrinkles in her hand to magically fix themselves.
"Seraphina, they are only breaks. The lifeline does not stop, so it indicates a rebirth of some kind." Anna's eyes comfort her before reaching for Sera's hand once again. Sera lies her hand face up on the table and Anna continues. "You will marry once and only once. I have an overwhelming feeling you will find way more fire and passion than you can ever dream of. You will have a single child, a boy, but he'll quickly become your one true purpose in this life."
Sera's hand twitches slightly as the sound of her heart's deepest desires echo inside. Anna pretends not to notice. "Hmm, you have the Ring of Solomon."
"You put others before yourself, are very protective, and selfless. Be careful, I sense that will lead to your undoing." Anna's eyes glaze over while she continues to stare at Sera's palm. Sera glances around, growing increasingly uncomfortable as the silence continues. The flames on the candle sconces flicker higher, causing weird shapes to dance around the enclosing walls. Sera's heart beats wildly. She can sense something not seen. She reflexively pulls her hand back causing Anna to blink, breaking her from the trance she was in. The candles return to normal.
"That's all I am able to get from your reading. Your friend should be finishing up, we should go." Anna rises from the table, leaving Sera to stare after her. Why is she suddenly so dismissive? The truth is, Sera doesn't mind. She wants to get out of here and shake this weird feeling in the pit of her stomach.
As Sera steps out from behind the curtain, Amanda is doing the same, hugging Daphne.
"Did you get a reading?" Sera glances down in defeat. Clapping her hands excitedly.
"Oh, I'm so proud. I'm really getting you to loosen up, aren't I?"
"Thank you, Anna, I—"
Anna immediately pulls Sera into a hug, holding her. She whispers in her ear, "No, thank you, Seraphina. Stop worrying, you will fulfill your destiny. The path has already begun." Anna starts to pull away, but locks eyes with Sera once more. Holding her at arm's length she whispers, "Seraphina, if you love your best friend, you will keep her away from all of this."
Sera opens her mouth to ask what exactly Amanda needs protection from, when Anna pulls away. "Be strong." Sera nods