Friday, May 20, 2016

Chapter 3.17- Half Answer

            “The Sun upright-Oops. No. It’s only upright to me. Okay. The Sun reversed in this position-”6 weeks of studying the tarot through the classes Appaloosa Plains Spiritualist Institute offered were nearly at an end. Approaching the lessons in much the same manner she’d approached high school projects had taken Mariah far. Even if she failed this test spectacularly she should still receive a passing grade.

            “The Hanged Man before an Outcome of The Ten Of Swords suggests the querent realizes they need to let go, but are frightened that by doing so it could spell the end-”
            This would be a lot easier if Christie would stop drumming the table top with her fiery fake fingernails. Clickclickclickclickclick. Over and Over. Mariah entertained a brief vision of pulling them out of their sockets with pliers while taking a deep breath between cards. It also would have been much easier had Christie allowed Mariah to lay the cards out. Christie had shuffled them. Christie had dealt them. And when she laid them out she’d laid them out so they were upright to her and upside down to Mariah.

            “However, after every ending is a new beginning. The beginning suggested by the Ace of Wands, clearly a pregnancy, could mean that by letting go of their fears regarding becoming a parent, the querent will gain a sunrise brighter and more vibrant than the sunset they are currently witnessing.”
            Christie said nothing at Mariah’s conclusion.

            And continued to say nothing for far



            too long.

            “Mediocre. Though you passed the exam, you lack depth and clarity. Your reading was flat and uninspired.” Christie deigned to speak at last.
            “But it was correct. As I understand it, The Institute, by my Abuella’s instructions, really only uses Tarot to supplement readings. If my reading lacks depth and clarity, my sight will make up for it.”

            “Your grandmother mentioned nothing, not one word, about you having a gift of sight.” Christie had taken to drumming her fingers on the desk again.
            “Abuella wouldn’t have confided in anyone like you.” Mariah snorted back.
            “Ha!” It was Christie’s turn for derision. Her nostrils flared, malice glittered in her eyes, her cheeks quivering with her finally exposed anger. “As if she needed to ‘confide’ in anyone! It’s all in her papers and diaries written for anyone with eyes to see. Not one of her prophecies says you have any abilities at all. As far as I can tell, you’ve nothing more than a head for business and a lucky hunch. But you’ll be exposed one day. Not just as a fraud of a psychic but each and every one of your sins will be in a spotlight seen across all of SimNation. Delphine and her flatterers might choose to interpret the entry differently, but I have no need for such rudiments. I know because I have Seen it!”
            There it was. Christie’s jibe had found its target. Mariah could feel the blood drain from her face, but was careful to keep her incredulous expression in place. Still, Christie seemed to know her work was nearly done. In an instant she had transformed back into her usual unperturbed self, sinking deep into her seat.
            “You should ask Ruben about Sabria’s papers, find the entry regarding yourself,” she said as carelessly, low and quietly as ever. “It’s all in the library. After that, you have the rest of this week off. When you return, you’ll report to me for your 8 weeks as an apprentice before Delphine will allow you clients of your own. Congrats, Mariah. I’m your mentor.”

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            “I’m sorry,” Ruben, the librarian for The Institute’s modest collection of books, repeated. “But I’m not supposed to give students access to Mrs.Guerra’s archives without a note from their teacher or mentor.”
            Still frustrated that there were now two people in her world who could see straight through her, Mariah wasn’t about to back down. This poor kid was about to feel her wrath.
            “Listen, I am not just a student asking out of curiosity, or with intent to make them public, or who wants to destroy them,” Mariah’s teeth were barred and Ruben had taken several steps away from her. “There are papers in there directly related to me. Me! And I want to see them! Now!”

            “I’m sorry-” he dared to say again, rolling his eyes.
            “-Fine. You want to play that way? I own this library. Own it. It’s mine. And because of that, I own those papers. They’re mine. Want to get nit-picky? I own you! Want to keep your job? Bring.Me.Her.Papers!”
            Ruben stared slack jawed, eyes round with wonder. He’d finally woken up enough to stop apologizing, though not enough to move.
            “NOW!” Mariah barked making him gasp before scurrying off. Mariah snorted before following him, taking the box he finally produced to a desk to examine it’s contents.

            It took her several minutes to figure out just what a large task she had in front of her. The box contained about 10 volumes filled with the familiar cramped and elegant hand of her grandmother. The books were organized almost like diaries, with entries of visions and prophecies dated chronologically. She’d have loved to ask Ruben for guidance whenever he’d come near to dust or pretend to straighten the books, but he glared at her each time she met his eye and she figured she might not have made a friend of him.
            The sun was low in the windows before she finally found what she was looking for.
            “Of the second generation, born of great love, a daughter will arise. Dark and suspicious, her passions will be applied to my greatest work. Her efforts and skill will make the center rise as the morning sun. Notoriety will ensure her work lasts.” There followed a date, the day she’d walked in to find Delphine waiting on her then the words “Before Lunch.” Mariah Renee Sixkiller had been written in another hand, slipped into the margins beside the too short entry.

            Mariah quickly read the next few pages looking for more. However, Christie had used the word ‘entry.’ Single not plural. Perhaps this half answer really was all there was to it.
            This brief note made by that old witch had caused such a stir within the walls of The Institute? The idea made Mariah roll her eyes. The thought that this small passage had made such an impact on her own life, however, wasn’t so easy to put aside.
            Psychics, Seers, Mediums? They were all the same; Con Artists out to make a quick buck. Every one who’d put any stock into her grandmothers words was a fool. But the biggest fool of them all was Mariah. After all, she’d played right into it.

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            Dove and Vivia’s giggling made her smile. The girls were having a fantastic time tearing her jewelry box apart in search of accessories for their Spooky Day costumes.
            “I know sweetie,” she tried to soothe Ceeven. “Just hold very still and try not to squint so I can get it.”
            Tiger Ceeven had an eyelash threatening to undo her careful make up job.
            “I’ll try, Mama.”
            “Tha’s it! I need it.” Vivia exclaimed. “Oooh, where’s the other one?”
            “Sorry, Mama.” Ceeven murmured gently. He’d jumped at his sister’s outburst making her finger rub under his eye.
            “It’s okay. It didn’t smudge too bad. I’ll be able to fix it in a jiffy.”
            “Have you seen other one for this?” Dove chimed in.
            “I dunno. Nooo, I don’ think so. It’s pretty though. Ask Mom.”
            “Nah, I’ll look again.”
            Curiosity finally got the best of Mariah. “What are you two scavengers looking for?” she asked as she put the finishing touch on Ceeven’s stripes.

            “This,” Vivia turned, presenting a white glove to her mom.
            Mariah wanted to laugh. “What do you need my white gloves for?”
            “Duh, Rabbits has paws that match their fur! See my boots?” Vivia held a leg out, wiggling her footwear to make sure her mom wouldn’t miss them.
            “Ah! I see. Well, if the other glove isn’t in there, I’m not sure where it might be,” she answered, slightly concerned. “Dove? What is it you’re looking for?”
            “Could I see which one? I didn’t know I had one missing.”

            Dove joined Vivia in presenting her one sided find.
            Mariah blinked, frowning at the earring Dove presented. A teardrop shaped sapphire winked up from Dove’s hand. The set it belonged to had been in the family for several generations. If one of the earrings were missing Mariah would be super upset.
            “Oh. Well, I could look and see if they’re hiding in my jewelry box, or I could finish getting Dove’s hair fixed and we could start Trick or Treating.”
            Vivia and Dove stopped pouting immediately, both girls eager to beg for candy.

            The obligatory costume pic was hurriedly taken before the kids could begin their squabbling over where to start begging for candy in earnest. Delphine’s family had just adopted a new pony and the girls wanted to go there first to meet it. Ceeven was afraid of horses and would rather go to Taylor’s house first. Taylor might not be Roger’s partner any longer, but she kept up with the kids when she could and took an especial interest in Ceeven.
            Despite this, Mariah still couldn’t shake the feeling that Taylor disapproved of her. It was something she’d sensed long before he’d broken up with her and she was still baffled by it.

            Electing to go to Delphine’s first was the easy part. Ceeven clutched her skirts, turning around completely when the pony roamed too close to him. From out of nowhere he pulled out his still contentious doll, Poppet, hugging it tightly. At least she’d managed to talk him out of wearing his scarf with his costume. Though it had taken two weeks of begging to get him to agree it could stand to be washed.
            When Delphine finally appeared, Mariah had to hide her laughter. She was so used to seeing her in pantsuits and makeup that this casual version of Delphine was odd.

            Mariah had tried to give a friendly smile and wave when Taylor appeared at her door several streets and dozens of houses later. Taylor didn’t return the wave and looked at her so strangely she was finally forced to drop her hand without receiving any other acknowledgment. Maybe next year she could talk Roger into taking the night off to take the kids Trick of Treating for a change. At least they’d be able to finish soon. Taylor had loaded the kids buckets with handfuls of candy a piece.

            The kids had long been in bed. Despite her tucking them in, she was almost positive at least two of them were up munching on the mountain of sweets they’d just gained. Besides, the doorbell had only stopped its incessant ringing about 30 minutes ago. Mariah had turned tv on only for the noise. Her mind was too far afield to digest the romantic comedy she’d found. She really did need to contact Roger not only to see if he could Trick or Treat with the kids next year, but because it had been a couple of months since they’d heard from him and Ceeven had begun to fret over his absence.
            The doorbell chiming once again interrupted her thinking. Her porch light was off. It was after 10 pm! Who did these… Roger???

            She was so stunned she had no words as she opened the door.
            “Can I come in?” He asked brusquely.
            “Sure, yeah.”
            He stepped in and stood with his arms folded. The serious look on his face was so familiar to Mariah it almost felt like home. Almost. His eyes held none of his old warmth.
            “The kids are in bed-”
            “-I’m not here to see the kids.”
            “Oh,” a little thrill raced up her spine making goosebumps erupt on her arms. Did he mean… “They’ll be disappointed they missed seeing you.”
            “I can see them tomorrow.”
            “Oh! Wow! That’s great you’ve managed to get several days off in a row so soon after that camping… trip.” A lead balloon brought Mariah back to earth.
            “I don’t have ‘days off.’ I’m off the case, Mariah. I’m home,” he answered, a sharp bite in his words.
            She had no answer for such a sudden pronouncement. What happened? Had Tex been arrested? Was it all over?
            “And I’m not here to tell you that.”
            “Where’s Andre?”

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Dundundunnn!!! Lol.
(Personal stuffs incoming: Skip if you’d like.)
That was a long delay between this and the last, my apologies. My excuse this time is a lot larger and more complex. Hubs had quite a health scare right around my birthday and thought he could ignore things. Turns out he couldn’t. (Of course. Silly men.) So we’ve had to overhaul our lifestyle which took a lot of time and effort. It was also really hard because his family is so far from supportive over it that they’re basically ignoring him. (Embarrassed. Seriously. I kind of hate them all right now.) Anyhow, they’re ass-y-ness has slowed things down considerably. But I think I’ve finally managed to drag hubs out of it enough that when we go to their reunion next month we can rub their faces in it pretty thoroughly. And! It means things finally settled enough that I could take a peek at Mariah and co. again. (End personal stuffs.)
There are some outtakes and trivia bits up on the bloopers blog (click the tab above, or HERE!) if you're curious.
As for the above, please ignore Dove’s magic hair changes. Lol. Aaaand ignore the upside down tarot cards Mariah read. That was just an “I’m shooting this Naow!” mistake. Ha!