A short story teaser, a mini-mystery for Labour Day weekend.
THE ANGEL CARD By Susan A Jennings
Samantha shuffled the angel cards. Taking the top card for herself, she fanned them into a semi-circle offering a card to Alicia, then to Gabi. With a sense of anticipation each turned their card face up to see what messages the angels had for them today.
“Gabi, what’s wrong?” Sam said with alarm as she watched the blood drain like an ebbing tide from Gabi’s face.
“I need some air,” Gabi said standing up from the table. “The room is swirling around like a carousel. I don’t feel–” Gabi slid to the floor—THUMP!
“Call 911!” Alicia shrieked.
“It’s okay, Alicia. She fainted,” Sam said firmly. “Hand me that glass of water and the napkin.” Sam dipped the napkin into the water and placed it on Gabi’s forehead.
“Oh! c-c-cold,” Gabi gasped as the cold water dripped into her cropped brown hair. She groaned and opened her eyes.
“Sorry about the cold water. How are you feeling?”
“Woozy!” Gabi whispered as she tried to stand up.
“I think you had better sit down.” Sam guided her towards the chocolate-brown loveseat. Gabi leaned heavily into the fashionable gold and green cushions, which gave her complexion an unflattering hint of green.
Alicia was wafting a roll of paper towel trying to mop up drops of water from the dark hardwood floor.
“Alicia, do stop fussing and sit down,” Sam instructed as though she were addressing her fourth graders.
“Stop being so bossy!” Alicia pouted, fighting back tears. “I’m only trying to help,” she said and flounces into a chair.
Sam rolled her eyes, thinking how some things never change. Alicia had always expected to be the centre of attention. The three women were in grade school together. Sam remembered, Alicia, with her pretty blond curls and dreamy blue eyes, spoilt by parents and teachers alike, and that spoiling continued 15 years later by her wealthy husband. Sam, the daughter of a single parent, knew what it was like to work for everything. No handouts for me she thought, remembering working her way through teacher’s college. She was glad she had learned street smarts. She liked being the sensible one of the three. Gabi was the tough one, a hard-nosed businesswoman. She had to be that way as she was intent on breaking through the glass ceiling. Swooning was definitely not her style.
Sam sat beside her. “You still look pale but not quite so green.”
“Gee, thanks.” Gabi tried to smile. “I’m okay, it was the card. The image was creepy, horrible and so like…” Her words trailed off into silence.
The last Friday of the month the women took it in turns to host a fun evening of fortune telling with Tarot and angel cards readings. The predictions in the cards had an uncanny way of materializing. They had predicted Alicia would marry a wealthy man. Gabi saw her big promotion in the cards long before the vice president gave her the good news. Even though she felt fine, Sam was warned she needed medical attention; this warning may have saved her life. In spite of these realized events in their lives, the women kept the information between themselves—angel card predictions were rather risqué for morning chitchat around the coffee machine.
“Gabi, what is going on?” Sam said with a demanding, rather than an inquiring tone.
“I think I am losing my mind.”
Alicia and Sam laughed. Gabi was the sanest and smartest one of the three.
“You may find it funny but I don’t,” she snapped, her eyes moist with tears.
They both stared in disbelief. They had never seen Gabi so upset.
“There really is something wrong isn’t there?” Sam said.
“I don’t want to sound dramatic…” Gabi hesitated, “I’m being followed by something or someone evil.”
“Evil… What do you mean?” Alicia squealed.
Gabi winced at Alicia’s high-pitched voice, adding, “It’s a shrouded form, all black in a hooded cloak. It moves like a man. It has no hands or face but heavy black boots and smells of boot polish. Sometimes I hear the rhythmic click of his boots and other times I catch a glimpse of his blackness staring at me. Everywhere I look he’s lurking in the shadows. Two days ago when I came home from work and he was hovering around my apartment door as soon as he saw me he disappeared into the stairwell. And…last night…
I know I’m teasing but the story is too long for the blog. If you would like the whole story completely free please send an email to susanajennings(at)gmail.com with The Angel Car written in the subject line or go to the contact page and I will send you a PDF of the full story and add you to Susan’s Readers Group.
Or if you wish you can purchase The Angel Card from Kobo for .89c and check out all of the stories in Susan’s Short Story Series and novels.