Those irratating thoughts that know you cannot demand words be written,
followed by suprising murmurs of inspiration.
Beyond the reach of the wind that howled through the streets, and huddled within the thriving cacophony of the carnival, rested an aged structure of canvas. The threadbare material usually passed unnoticed amidst the world of bright lights and exciting sounds; though tonight the faded hand painted sign seemed to instill more curiosity as to its meaning...
Pushing aside the torn flaps to enter I was taken aback at the unusual quiet inside, as if the thick dust was muffling the outrageous shouts and bells that surrounded it. And there sat an old man upon an upturned crate, gently shuffling a deck of cards, never fumbling with the worn edges, a continuous cycle under his unseeing gaze.
"Oh I could reveal such things to you with these cards, unlike any tarot." His hushed voice was clear in the small space as I waited for my sight to adjust. "Some death, some misfortune, the chance of love; this is all life," he continued, "but these, oh these are much more... unpredictable".
White teeth shone through a crooked grin as he beckoned me closer. My shallow breaths the only evidence that time was still passing as they echoed in the murky air. Still he waited calmly while I edged tentatively forward. The small coloured bulbs that twisted like a thorny vine surrounding his corner spilled a dim light that cast stragne shapes, and tales of voodoo and monsters flooded my thoughts. I took a position on an identical crate and watched intently as he began to hum and shuffle the cards more furiously. My hands tightened their grip on my knees as I realised I was entirely unaware of what I had decided to participate in.
My mind was spinning wildly. I could have sworn those lights were growing brighter. And why was there suddenly a draft? There was no such thing as voodoo and magic and spirits right? At least not these days right?
I glanced back at the old man and had to stifle a hysterical gasp as his eyes bore into mine. Those dark, dark eyes the colour of which I could not identify as they stared and watched, never wavering. So warm and inviting like a gentle pool but I feared the sharp intensity waiting at the edges like icey water that needled your flesh.
"Miss?" There was confusion and wariness in his voice as I shook my head slightly to clear it and saw I held a card in my trembling hand. Running my fingertips over the velvet red pattern I tried to reclaim the thoughts that had fled and left my mind bare but the old man would no longer wait.
In quick succession he lay four cards between us; King of Hearts, Two of Spades, Ace of Clubs and Ten of Diamonds. One to represent each suit.
"Blood, Bond, Soul and Death."
I leaned closer to peer at the stains of black and red, following the delicate lines and wondering at what symbolic telling would be deciphered from such things. The audible inhaling of a tired breath signalled that the old man now looked to the card I still held.
"Beware the Jack of Diamonds," he muttered as I turned the card to reveal my fate. "The guile to betray when you need mercy the most, and he will always lay in wait."
As I tried to understand the words he had fortold the old man stood and ushered me beyond the dank atmosphere of the tent to where a cool breeze had settled in the air.
"Keep those few close, trust your own strength, and remember..." His eyes strayed to the omen clutched in my hands before gently retrieving it. "Beware the Jack."