Yay another Chuck Wendig challenge. This time we had to pick one of last weeks opening lines and spin a tale. I went with “It doesn’t mean death,” I told her. by Murgatroid98. Enjoy.
“It doesn’t mean death,” I told her. The tarot card of death grinned up at the woman.
A smile on her dark lips, she brushed a strand of many colored hair from her face. “I am aware.”
“Do you want me to continue with the reading?” I didn’t particularly like my side job. But, it helped with the bills.
The woman lifted her eyes, they were a strange dark violet hue. “No need, I came here to see you.” The more she talked the more I noticed the compelling nature of her voice. It reminded me of dark chocolate and really old red wine.
“See me?” I had three jobs, and was no one. Average is about the only description that would apply to me.
She pulled out a several hundred dollar bills. Each one smoothed out and placed on the table. All and all there were six. “Take two, the rest is so I may borrow you for the rest of your shift. Your bosses won’t care where the money came from, only that it is here.” Before I could answer she opened the curtain in the dark reading room and left.
At first all I could do was gape at the money. Then, I grabbed two of the bills, walked out the curtain, opened the door to outside, and stepped out. As I went I put up the closed sign. The fortune telling hut painted with esoteric symbols seemed at odds next to the flashy tourist shops.
“I knew you’d follow.” The voice seemed to reach down and wrap around me.
I turned. The shock hit me as I realized she was more bizarre than I realized. Skin deep, dark black that looked glossy under the afternoon sun. Her hair was a mass of red, purple, brown, and black – thick and flowing. Her outfit being only jeans and a plain black shirt made the differences stand out more. “How’d you know that?”
Her head tipped right, and then left. “You have no passion for this. It is an old art. Some who walk can tell you the truth.” The delicate finger’s waved at me. “You are fake, a liar. You are here for the money.”
“More or less, ” I walked toward her. “I gotta live.”
She nodded as if I spouted off wisdom for the ages. “I need a favor. Come with me. We will talk in that coffee shop over there.”
This whole thing confused me. Why was I worth six hundred dollars? And, if I was a fake, why did she need a favor? “Why me?”
“I’ll buy the coffee. Have I not brought the time to explain my needs, Max.” She had definitely paid for my time. Even though I was creeped out she knew my name, I’d go.
We entered the shop. She pointed upward toward the upstairs. “Go, I’ll bring you a lemon ginger green tea that you like.”
I started up the stairs. Then, the full meaning her words hit me. “How do you know?” Who was this woman?
She shook her head. “Go upstairs, Max.”
The room was filled with cushy chairs and a few couches. I took one as far from the stairs as possible. Before I could work myself into frenzy she came up the stairs. From here I could see how evenly, and gracefully she moved. The teapot sat down carefully on the side table. The teacup meticulous positioned before she sat down across from me. She drank from a coffee up. “The favor I need you to do is to come with me. Leave your life behind. I need to train you.”
“I don’t even know who you are.” The insanity of this caused me to start to stand up.
Her hand went out and pushed down. My body leaned back down. “I apologize, but you cannot not refuse my favor.”
“Why the hell not?” I snapped back. My heart fought to burst out of my chest. A dull ache started in the back my head. She was keeping me here somehow.
A delicate sip of her coffee before setting it down. “I’m afraid to say you are one of mine. My touch is written on every fiber of your being. You’ll never be free of me. We made a deal you and I.”
“I don’t even know you.” This time I screamed it.
“You do. The name is written on the darkest part of your heart.” She ran her dark fingers across the top of her cup. “Say a name, any name. It will come to you.”
“Any name at all?” I scoffed at the very idea. “And, you are some powerful being who owns me. What are you the devil?”
She laughed a lovely, dark sensuous sound. “Hardly,” Her eyes twinkled. “The devil would likely be an afraid of me, if anything.”
The idea caused my hands to clench. “What?”
“I’ll explain more when you say my name.” She replied serene, unconcerned.
“Right, I’ll just know your name.” The idea I would know this unstable woman’s name was unbelievable. “I need to leave.”
“You cannot.” She took another sip of coffee. “Say a name, any name. You’ll know it.”
My mouth opened to say the first name that came to me. But a force welled up in me. It felt as if my heart was being squeezed it hurt, unbearably. “Nahara Vensari.” The foreign name flowed off my tongue. The pain faded.
“I knew, you’d know it.” Nahara stood up. Her hand held out for me. “Now, we go. Your new life begins.”
“I don’t understand.” My body moved without my control. Her warm hand wrapped around mine.
She smiled. “Don’t worry, you will.”