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The Reading

a story about auras

By Wilkie StewartPublished 3 years ago 4 min read

Everyone has an aura. It glows faintly around your body and displays various colours. A few are golden or white which usually means a good person. Others are green, purple or blue and these are people with troubled or complex personalities. People with problems. People looking for answers. My own aura is like this and so are those of my clients. I suspect yours is too. A few people have black or red auras. These are the people who are bad. You don't want to know these people. You want to avoid them if you can. But seeing auras is not science and some days my gift is hazy, not working well. Yesterday was one of those days.

I had a cold. It made my nose run but lent a pleasing huskiness to my voice as I read the palms and the cards. I admit it, I'm vain. I drape myself in jewels and beads and wear my hair in long tresses, not all of them my own. A girl on the high street is very good with extensions.

Some of the regulars were waiting when I opened the stall. I leave a few seats out for that purpose. These are the needy ones. You could say I'm ripping them off, but I am genuine, up to a point. I can read cards. For those that return often, what I usually see is more of the same, so I embellish a little. No-one wants to hear the pains in their hips will be there forever, or their cheating husbands will be still cheating months down the line. You have to give a bit of hope. That's what brings them back. It's the main reason the church doesn't like people like me. We're in the same business. Don't get me wrong. I believe in God, but I say my prayers in private. You don’t need a fancy building and a blessed bottle of wine to get to heaven.

I told a woman that her daughter abroad could be planning a trip home to see her, something I actually knew for a fact from talking with another client and sent her off wiping away tears. I called in the next customer.

She was a tall stranger who spoke with an accent I couldn't quite place. Her English was very good, but I felt it was not her first language, there was something Slavic about the stresses she placed on the words, the way her tongue clacked. Her hands were gloved, an expensive fabric. I asked her to remove the right-hand glove so that she could cut the cards. She hesitated but then did so. There was a glimpse of an aura there but was it blue or purple? It was too faint to be sure.

I asked what she wanted to know. People tell you all sorts of things when you ask them straight out, and this is helpful. I'm not being dishonest. Many cards are vague on their own, indicating minor changes but of what nature? With other cards that compliment and cross each other the context can be developed but it helps if you have a starting point. This woman gave little away. "I want you to tell my fortune," she said.

An unbeliever? You sometimes get those, but they are usually giggling students who want a group reading, something which I always refuse. I don't do selfies either or allow Instagram's of a reading. There's enough bickering on Twitter as it is, I don't want mystics from San Francisco or Hong Kong telling me my interpretations are shit.

I laid out cards in my accustomed fashion, a card in the centre crossed with another, then four cardinal points and finally a column of cards on one side. Some of the cards come out inverted and this can invert their meaning but not always, sometimes this intensifies the calamity or relief. As the cards came out, I grew excited. This was no ordinary result. This was good news. There are a few cards that denote material wealth and this layout had them all. The Lovers. The Nine of Pentacles. The World. The Sun. I could see furs, diamonds, flashy cars. As I spoke, I kept my tone even and my words vague, but I could see the effect the reading was having on the woman. Her eyes sparkled. Her skin began to glow. The aura deepened.

I lied about the final card, the Wheel of Fortune. I said that this did not confirm the reading but put it in jeopardy. Did that make any difference? The deed was probably already done.

“There is a chance your good fortune will turn bad,” I said.

“Chance?” she said. “I do not believe in chance.”

The purple I had seen earlier was gone. Her aura was not just red but the blackest red that you can get. The colour of hardened blood. The colour of scabs on burned flesh.

She thanked me and left. I felt like a priest who had just heard a confession of murder. But while their rules prohibit the disclosure of any such confession to the police, my dilemma was trickier. No officer was going to accept evidence of a crime that was written in the cards.

I peeked out the stall. Another regular was there. I said that the spirits were malevolent today and could she come back another time? That sent her packing. I closed the booth and went to a pub around the corner. It was cheery with people from the market who start their drinking early. Men with simple auras. Women who are easy to read. No-one that made me afraid to look them in the eye and tell them what I see.

Short Story

About the Creator

Wilkie Stewart

Writer of strange little tales living in Glasgow, Scotland. A former IT professional who loves literary fiction, poetry, Eurovision, art-house film, post-crossing, and comics. Walks daily with his camera when he can. @werewegian1 on Twitter

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    Wilkie StewartWritten by Wilkie Stewart

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