, , , , , , ,

lone wolf frontAs they wandered the seedier parts of town, they walked past a sign advertising: “Lady Lena, Psychic Readings.”

It had an arrow pointing down the street. In the next block, another sign. “Learn your future! See Lady Lena to find out what the stars hold for you!” There was another arrow. A third sign in the next block said: “Does he love you? Ask Lady Lena!”

Matilda eyed this last sign for a few moments. “Hm, that is a very good question to ask Lady Lena. Maybe I should find her.”

Wil turned her toward him, her fingers entwined with his. “If you really have to ask someone, why not ask me?” He kissed her gently.

“Do you love me, Wil?”

“More than life, Romance.”

Walking a little further, a large sign stood in a front yard. In screaming orange, chartreuse and gold, it said: “What does your future hold? Ask Lady Lena! No appointment necessary! Walk in and have a seat!”

She tugged his hands. “Let’s go in and see her.”She pointed to a small ‘Open’ sign in the window.

Wil held back cautiously, not from fear but courtesy. He knew how telepaths reacted to him and he didn’t want to hurt anyone. “Baby, if she is a real telepath, they don’t like me much.”

“Oh, how could she be? It’ll be fun. I’ve always wanted to have a psychic reading done. Come on!” She tugged his hand doggedly.

He reluctantly followed her to the porch of an old house on a back street. Debris and filth filled the empty lots around it. An old sign hung above the doorway, squeaking and thumping in the wind that had suddenly sprung up. The door opened quietly inward, the hinges smooth and soundless.

A dry, raspy voice emanated from a back room behind the faded curtain of cheap green beads. “You are expected, children. Come in and be quick!”

The room was Spartan with a single round table top sitting on crates. Though it was freshly swept, the small room smelled of decay and mold. A timeworn ceiling fan moved the thick, moist air with very little effect. Four dented, old, metal chairs surrounded the table; three on one side, the fourth facing them on the side near the curtain. The beads jangled aside, moved by a gnarled, age spotted hand, more like a crustaceous claw than a human appendage. An old woman stepped through.

The ancient, wrinkled face looked up at them. Wisps of thin, white hair were pushed back with another frail and trembling clawlike hand. No synth clothes here, she wore a faded black woolen dress; long sleeved, even in the oppressive heat. Around her tiny shoulders was a white knit shawl. When she looked up at them, clear, light green eyes bored into theirs; steady, calm, unwavering.

She smiled up at Wil, then turned to Matilda. “Welcome, my dears. Please sit.”

Wil remained standing. Matilda sat across from the old lady who hobbled to her seat. She was the tiniest woman Matilda had ever seen. Just over four feet tall, her body was frail and thin. Her gaze compelled Wil to sit reluctantly at Matilda’s side.

“Let me see your hands, child,” she said to Matilda.

Slowly, she raised her hands, holding them across the table. The old woman reached over gracefully, taking Matilda’s hands in hers. Like moths in the dark, her touch was light, fluttering. Lady Lena studied the back of Matilda’s hands, nodding and muttering to herself.

“These are good, strong hands. You’ve worked hard in your life, my dear.”

She turned the palms up, tracing the lines with one delicate finger. A hiss escaped her lips.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books