500 Words – The Tarot Reading

Drina slid open the cutlery drawer on her side of the wooden table and let her fingers glide across the decks of cards. The first deck was for lovers. Those who wanted to ride into the sunset one day with their perfect match. The woman across from her had two wedding rings. One on her finger, the second on a chain around her neck.

“Can we get started dear?” the woman asked. Her wrinkled hands clutched her purse in a shaky grip.

Drina smiled and grabbed the fifth and final deck. The one she reserved for clients who didn’t want love, wealth, health, or revenge.

“A mysterious person will help you with what you desire most. It could be a friend, or lover. It isn’t particularly clear,” Drina said.

“It will be a friend dear. I‘ve had my great love.”

At the end of the reading Drina reordered the cards and put them away.

“Come in,” she called to her next client. The woman was middle aged, with a wedding ring, glowing skin, red soled shoes, and a picture clutched in her hand.

Drina opened the drawer and lifted out her revenge deck.

“I’m Susan and I need to find my daughter,” the woman said.

Drina nodded and flipped over the first card while the woman hovered next to the table.

After a long silence, Susan asked, “is it bad?”

Drina shook her head and tried to put a reassuring smile on her face. “No. I haven’t started yet. Please hang your coat behind the door and take a seat.”

While Susan’s back was turned Drina tucked the card back in the deck and checked the next three cards. They were as they should be. Her shoulders relaxed and she put on a somber face as Susan settled in her seat, ankles crossed. “What now?”

“Focus your thoughts on your daughter,” Drina said, “then flip the top three cards and lay them in front of you. Past, present, and future.” She rested the deck in front of Susan.

Susan flipped over the first two cards. Drina stared at them. They were wrong. She had just checked, but the cards had changed. “Death.” Susan’s voice trembled as she read the heading on the second card. “My daughter is dead?”

When Drina found her voice she said, “it isn’t literal. Death is about change, second chances, and embracing the unexpected.” Drina tapped the deck twice with her finger.

The final card trembled as Susan laid it on the table. “Nine of cups. Is that bad?”

Drina leaned back in her chair and nibbled at her lip. “You will get what you desire.”

“My daughter,” Susan said with a smile. She placed the creased picture on the table.

With the tip of her finger Drina dragged the picture along the table until she could see it. She pulled her hand back as if burned, and looked up at Susan with wide eyes. “Why do you have my baby picture?”


2 thoughts on “500 Words – The Tarot Reading

  1. Katherine Jay January 7, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Oh, nice reveal at the end! Not what I expected at all. And I rather liked the old woman. I found myself wanting to know what her greatest desire was, and who her friend would be.


  2. NJ Fraser January 7, 2016 / 11:51 am

    Thank you! I think this is my favourite of the flash fiction pieces so far. I had to cut from the old woman section a few times to get under 500 words. I like her too.


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