I start a lot of stories. Some are to express a feeling in a moment and once the initial need has been itched, I abandon the story. Some stories are left unfinished because of lack of time or ideas. This one was put aside because after writing a descriptive exposition, I had forgotten how I was going to continue. Maybe I will take it up again. If I can determine what is going to happen, that is.
There was a booth set up at the fair one year, a small tent set apart from the others. Its edges were ragged and the stripes, once a brilliant blue and green had faded over time until the blue and green wove in and amongst each other until it was impossible to tell where one color ended and the other began. A small handwritten sign, almost obscured by the large, overgrown bushes which dwarfed the tent, welcomed all those who believed to finally see.
Curious as to what the cryptic sign meant, my friends and I paid the admission and waited within. It was cramped inside the small tent, and despite the heat from the electric fireplace humming in the corner, I remained chilled to the bone while my two friends removed their jackets, hats and gloves, shedding them much as a snake would its skin until the floor was littered with garments.
While the other girls chatted in hushed voices, I looked around the tent at the meager furnishings, the worn fabrics draping the sides of the tent from floor to ceiling and the various photographs lining the wall and cluttering the tables. From the corner of my eye, I saw a blur of movement, but when I turned there was nothing there but the gentle swish of the fabric as it moved in time to the swaying of the tent.
That’s when I saw it. Off to the corner and almost obscured by a long drape of fabric, a tall, round table stood apart from the rest. In the center stood a single wooden picture frame, devoid of any photo. It was odd, the empty frame, and I reached to examine it in more detail when she walked in.
She was a small woman with deep brown eyes and curling black hair which hung down to the middle of her back. Faded denim jeans clung to her hips and thighs and she wore a worn, blue, cotton t-shirt which proclaimed ‘I’m psychic. I knew you’d read this.’ When I looked down, I was surprised to find her barefoot in the middle of November. The small toes which peeked out from the edges of her jeans were painted a startling purple and adorned with small, metal bands, the only jewelry she wore.
Walking past us, she approached the large, circular table dominating the room. From underneath, she rummaged in a storage container of sorts and soon items appeared on the table: a camera, several small fabric bags, a candle and a crystal ball. She arranged her odd assortment of items on the table, and, as a finishing touch, lit the single candle. When the warm glow of the fire flickered and took light, her back stiffened and her arms stilled at her sides.
“We have company,” she whispered. Her eyes scanned the room but seemed to pass right through us. Before any of us could speak, she motioned to the chairs circling the table. “Please. Sit.”
(C) Sara Ackerman, 2018