BY CAROL ROOTS
Copyright is held by the author.
TINY SHARDS of glass sparkled against the grey tile and beside her right foot the remains of a crystal ball came to a rest. Blood welled from small nicks and cuts along her feet and ankles, but Claire felt nothing beyond the pounding in her skull. She saw nothing but the dark vision that flashed behind her closed eyelids.
“Mistress Maggie? Mistress Maggie?”
The deep voice called out her name again. No, not her name but her title, a fake name she used for events like this. Unlike most of the psychics here at the convention her gifts were quite real. Darkness surrounded her and she began to cough and choke. Air. She needed to breathe and tried to remind herself that it was only a vision; she was perfectly safe sitting in the convention centre.
Claire came out of her vision gasping for air. Her client still sat across from her with his hand clasped between both of hers. His name escaped her memory as thoughts of her vision took over and she began speaking rapidly. “Cars. A bridge over water. Accident, Life and death. Save them!” She released his hand and slumped into her chair, message delivered.
Her client left, he must have gone in a hurry because she didn’t notice his leaving. When she looked around for him, she caught her reflection in the window beside her: wide eyes, pupils dilated, blocking out nearly all colour. She looked wild, it was no wonder the man had run off, particularly after she babbled on the way she had.
The vision faded into the background of her mind before vanishing completely as they always did. Claire only had a brief window of opportunity to deliver her messages before they were gone and she often wondered what the point of her gift was. It had never helped her. She used the same knowledge and tricks here as everyone else and held a second part-time job to help make ends meet at home.
The convention centre’s staff came by and cleaned up the broken glass; no one said a word to her and they avoided even looking at her. She busied herself with checking on her injured feet and ankles. Why couldn’t she have seen a vision telling her to wear boots rather than the strappy sandals she had chosen this morning? That would have been useful! None of the cuts or scrapes were serious but they still hurt. The last hour of her day at the convention dragged on, no one wanted to speak with her, everyone seemed to be pretending that she wasn’t even there. Claire was used to this. Ever since her first vision, when she was five years old, she had seen the same reaction from people. Twenty years later nothing had changed.
Finally the end of the day came. She packed everything up and went outside to wait for her mother who was coming to pick her up with Claire’s two children in tow. She stood outside waiting, and waiting. Tired she sat down on the curb, her black briefcase on the ground beside her. The children had more than likely delayed their grandma; they were good at that. After a while longer, she got up to call her mother. Perhaps her mother had forgotten that she was supposed to pick Claire up. It happened. There was no answer. Claire waited a while and tried again but still got no answer and began to worry. She called her ex, the children’s father, but got no answer there either. Her mother was over an hour late. It was then she heard someone calling her name and turned to see a young police officer. “Claire James?”
Her heart stopped. Everything around her stopped. When it all started back up again a moment later, her heart thundered in her ears, a resounding “boom, boom, boom” that blocked out all else. The officer tried to speak to her; his lips were moving, but the sound never reached her. He must have helped her into his cruiser because the next thing she knew they had pulled up outside the hospital. He helped her into the building; they were in Emergency. Claire looked at the room around her — typical hospital waiting room with bench chairs half filled, people waiting and hoping to see a doctor soon. No one she knew though. She caught a few words from the officer. Accident, dead, lucky and in shock.
The basics were that her mother’s car was involved in an accident. The car had gone over the edge of a bridge and plunged into the river below. A man had seen it happen and had dived into the water to help. He got Claire’s children out but couldn’t save her mother. She was lead through hallways and into a room where a chorus of “Mommy!” rang out from her children, bringing her out of her numb shock. She bent down and wrapped her arms around her two small children as they ran to her. Crying, she hugged them close. Through her tears she noticed a man trying to leave the room unnoticed and stopped him.
“You!” Claire exclaimed and he looked around nervously. It was her client from the psychic convention. She remembered the vision she had gotten while reading his palm. In it her mother’s car crashed over the railing of a bridge and fell into rushing water. Quickly, as the vehicle was filling with water, her mother tried to get to the children in the back. But the front of the car filled with water and her mother drowned. The kids were still strapped into their car seats and would have drowned. “Cars. A bridge over water. Accident. Death and life. Save them.” Her words from earlier bubbled forth unbidden.
“When I saw, when the car went over. I saw there were kids in there. If not for,” The man paused for a moment, as if unsure what to say. “If not for earlier I might not have noticed.”
Claire smiled. Her gift had helped her and now she remembered the man’s name — would always remember his name. “Thank you, Jonathan.”