She placed the tarot card down on the red velvet and considered the implications. It was an interesting card to appear in this spread, perhaps coincidental. But no, she didn’t believe in that.
The sound of knocking at her door made her wonder though.
The card — The Fool — seemed somehow appropriate to her as she let the Cowboy into her home. He sat down at the table and placed the black feather carefully, perhaps even lovingly, onto the table.
‘I found her,’ he said.
She busied herself in the tiny kitchenette with a mortar and pestle, grinding a black root to smaller and smaller chunks. This she put into a pot.
‘I don’t need a potion,’ he said, commenting on her work.
‘You’re not getting one. This is for me.’ The kettle on the stove boiled and she poured it over the ground-up root and let it brew. Returning to the table, she picked up the cards and handed them to him.
‘Shuffle the cards and draw with your left hand.’
He looked dubious.
‘Why did you come if not for the cards?’
‘For your advice.’
‘You’ve already made up your mind. Shuffle. And draw.’
He began, almost sullenly, then before he could speak again, she turned and clapped her hands over the table. ‘Now draw,’ she said suddenly.
He pushed back from the table suddenly and the chair fell with a crash to the floor. His hands were shaking and his face pale. She nodded to herself, then spoke again.
‘You’re stuck like so many of us.’
‘A moment in time, when your world ended.’
‘Then how come I’m here?’
‘Draw and find out.’ She smiled at the card he drew.
‘The chariot,’ she said. ‘It’s you. You’ve got high ideals; you’re a fighter, a conquerer even. But you’re not going anywhere.’
‘The Sphynx aren’t even harnessed to the chariot. What’s more, you’re set in stone. See?’
The Cowboy stared deeply at the card and nodded. ‘She has a keeper. He said ‘She is not yours’.’
He placed the card down on the velvet.
‘The Lovers,’ said the Cowboy with a voice filled with regret. ‘That’s her and him isn’t it?’
The card hit the velvet.
‘The tower,’ she said, then explained: ‘The only way out is through.’
‘Destruction,’ he said, nodding slowly.
‘Perhaps. Certainly something will be torn away. The illusions that hold reality together removed to reveal the truth.’
‘And what is the truth?’
She was silent.
‘What is the truth?’ he repeated.
‘The truth is what you will find. It may not be what you want it to be; but you will find out very soon.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Because she dropped the feather. It won’t be the last. Once they’re gone this story is over.’