Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sceptics

This week’s challenge from Terribleminds and Chuck Wendig was another random choice from the following list:
So, here’s how this works. I’m going to list 20 psychic powers at the bottom of this post. Feel free to roll a d20 to pick a random one or just grab the one you think it most awesome (though let’s be honest: random is more fun). If you need to know what it is: well, Google is your best friend. And your prom date.
Your story must include one — and only one — of the psychic powers mentioned.
And now, the list of psychic powers:
1.     Clairvoyance
2.     Pyromancy
3.     Cryomancy
4.     Telepathy
5.     Psychometry
6.     Faith or Psychic Healing
7.     Precognition
8.     Telekinesis
9.     Mediumship
10. Levitation
11. Astral Projection
12. Bilocation
13. Teleportation
14. Aura Reading
15. Divination
16. Retrocognition
17. Past-Life Regression
18. Mind Control
19. Dream Control
20. Psychic Empathy (aka an Empath)

I rolled a 17. Besides remembering that wonderful line from Red Dwarf when Rimmer announced that he was Alexander the Great’s chief eunuch in a previous life, I didn’t have many ideas. Isn’t it amazing how many people who say they have previous lives were always someone rich and important?

Sceptics
They stood at the gate of the creepy looking house. It could have been a set for the Munsters. From the outside it looked as if they relied on candles or maybe even gaslight for illumination. It clearly wasn’t enough.
Luke sighed. “Why are we here, again? At Madame Minerva’s of all places.”
Allison ignored him.
“If the gate creaks loudly like it always does in the horror movies, I am just running back to the car, okay?”
She gave him a look.
He reached for the gate with exaggerated slowness. It creaked loudly.
They both giggled. Neither of them ran back to the car.
“Seriously, honey. Why are we here?” It was then he caught sight of the sign. ‘Specialist in past life regressions’ it boasted.
He snorted. “Seriously? Past life regression?”
“I know, right. They are so rare.”
“What is she going to do? Tell us where the necklace is? One of her past lives buried it in the yard or something.”
“Look, I don’t know. But she is all we have right now. So if you could shut up and stop being so negative for once-”
His eyes narrowed. “Fine,” he spat at her.
“Fine,” she responded. “And anyway it’s not her past life we want to know about.”
“Wait… what?” He looked at her in disbelief. “You do not believe in this crap!”
“No, I don’t… but…”
“But?” he prompted.
“There has to be some link between me and the necklace. Just think about it.”
“I don’t like it.” His hands were clenched and held tight at his sides.
“You don’t have to like it. I just want you there.” She reached down and tried to hold his hand. Eventually he loosened enough to return her gesture. “I want you to hold my hand.”
“And remember everything. You’ll be out of it, in a trance or whatever.”
She smiled at him carefully. “Yes.”
“I still don’t like it.”
“I know.”
“What if you don’t come back to me?”
She thought he was joking until she looked at his face. She reached up and put her palms on his cheeks. “I will always come back to you.”
His lips curved an infinitesimal amount. “We’ve been through some heavy stuff, before.”
“Yes. Together,” she added.
“If you turn out to be Cleopatra it’s over.”
“We can’t all be rich and famous. I am highly unlikely to be Cleopatra.”
He stroked down her nose with one finger. “Oh, I don’t know. You have a very pretty nose.”
“What if you are my Anthony?” she asked him.
He laughed. “No way. Odds on, I was some poor beggar or slave who got smallpox and died in a ditch and I never met you.”
She grinned. “So, let’s go find out.”
The ancient door pull jangled noisily inside.
The door was opened by a woman who looked very inch a hedge witch. She wore a long sleeved gown that trailed on the floor behind her, several layers of blouses, shirts, cardigans and a shawl held in place by a pin that appeared to have a decoration of a tiny animal skull. Her wild hair looked uncombed and had twigs caught in it.
“Madame Minerva?” Allison was loath to shake her hand. “We… ah, spoke on the phone. I’m sorry that it is so late.”
She looked down her very impressive nose at them.
“Minnie!” she squalled towards the staircase. “Clients!”
And then she just turned and walked away.
Luke snorted and she thumped him across the chest.
“Trifle overdone?” he whispered to her.
A small woman wearing sensible heels, a dark woollen suit and with very neatly combed grey hair came down the stairs. All her actions looked brisk. “Hello,” she said to them. “You must be Allison.”
“Madame Minerva?”
“Oh,” she waved a hand airily. “Call me Minnie. Everybody does.” She took Allison by the arm. “Why don’t we do this in the kitchen? My sister may be a hedge witch but I am really more of a hearth one.” She laughed at her own joke.
Allison glanced towards Luke. He looked cheerier already.
Seated at the battered old kitchen table with a large mug of hot tea in her hand, Allison could admit to herself that she felt better about this, too. She leant on her other hand as Minnie started chatting to her about the garden and the cats… and then she started to ask her questions. Allison relaxed and answered her. She had an awareness that time was passing but she was so relaxed that she just wanted to sit there and keep talking to the nice old lady.
“Are you okay, Allison?”
“Yes.”
“We need to go deeper. Do you trust me?”
“Yes.”
“Luke is here. He won’t leave you.”
“Never does,” she said.
After that, it became more blurred. She could hear everything she said, but it didn’t feel like it was her saying it. It seemed to be coming from somewhere much further away. She kind of tuned out; it was too hard to listen when she just wanted to relax.
When Luke kissed her, she came back to herself. He was holding her hand and leaning around her shoulder. His face looked bright and he was clearly happy with the results.
She blinked. Her eyes felt grainy and sore. “Was I crying?”
“Yes,” Minnie answered. “It’s called release. It happens sometimes.”
“I feel… exhausted.”
“I am not surprised. It has been a long journey.” She glanced at Luke. “Did you hear what you wanted to hear?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Minnie patted their joined hands. “You two have been together before, but you knew that. You must have recognised each other.”
“Yes,” Allison said. “At least it felt like that.”
“Love at first sight,” said Luke.
“No such thing,” Minnie scoffed.
Luke laughed.
After confirming their payment to the local feline rescue centre they were shown out the door. Minnie hugged her goodbye.
Luke drove home.
“Now what?” she asked.
“Now, we go to bed. It is nearly dawn. It will still be there tomorrow. It’s been there for two hundred years.”
“I told you where it is?” she sounded astonished.
“You told us more than that.”
“Could she have influenced me?”
“I don’t see how. And I thought you were the believer?”
“And I thought you were the sceptic.”
~~~~
© AM Gray 2013