Fortune’s Eye

A summer breeze gently flapped the edges of the tent and brought the end of day scents to the crones nose. Stale popcorn mingled in delicate balance with spoiling strawberries and a tinge of not-so-old vomit. The last sticky footsteps had long since passed the entrance to her fabric castle herded along by men and women with slack mouthed stares apathy plain on their faces.

The old woman rose from her cushioned seat and made her hunching way out of the tent. Each step was slow and precise as if planned carefully in advance. Her bones ached and with each step pain flared in her joints, but still she moved on. She skirted the dark stain in front of the tent where a child had spilled her drink early in the day. A mother had complained of waste and the girl had cried and pouted as the two had moved too far to hear. The cup left as it had fallen and shortly it had been trampled under the press of a thousand different types of shoes.

All was quiet now.

The people gone.

The rides silent hulking shapes in the night.

The crone turned her face to the sky and stared with watery rheum eyes at the golden moon round and full with promise. Her wrinkles rounded and folded back on themselves mimicking the gently rolling hills of her childhood and then split suddenly as the white half moon of her smile emerged.

A night with two moons.

Silver and Gold.

Repayment and Return.

It had been a very long time since she had come to this place. She had once been lovely and youthful, but in her youth had lain the arrogance that so often accompanies that passing affliction. She had not thought it so wrong back then. How could loving someone be wrong? She had claimed him for herself even after she found he belonged to another.

The other was a jealous thing.

The other was a powerful being.

The other would not render up its possession.

And so the crone in all her fiery passion had set out to find a way to free her lover from the grip of his master. Ahhh how the crone remembered with longing the lithe form she had once enjoyed. She had fancied herself like unto a shadow. She had been so sure that she could steal from a Meister one small item. But Meister’s were as jealous of their possessions as Masters were.

She had gotten away with the small ring. The shining snake of silver with the golden drop for an eye. She had known that she would be caught as soon as her hand had closed about the vicious little circle and it had marked her. But she had run. Oh! How she had run! She had found her love and slipped it on to his finger.

Then he was Gone.

And she was Caught.

And, then, there was a Price to pay.

So she had sat age after eon after era. She had sat and she had told stories of hands, and cards, and tea leavings. She was shackled to prophecy and to the future of others as long as there was someone to ask it she must answer. She must render up her life in the form of glimpses of tomorrow for the ignorant masses. Every day that passed she must give up bits of herself until the day when no one asked.

Today no one had asked.

Today the shackle had fallen.

Tomorrow she would no longer sit.

But tonight she was an old woman and she wanted to see the stars. She had almost made it to the Eye. It was the best place to watch the sky and not at all hard to set to run automatically. When her hair had been red and her skin smooth such wonders to her as the Eye had been impossible. Now her hair was gray and her face a map of her childhood home and more years than any woman had a right were behind her, and such things were commonplace. Now too things that had been commonplace were delegated to fantasy. She shook her head and flipped the switch.

The Eye glimmered.

The Eye turned.

The Eye paused.

The little old woman settled herself in the gondola and then the Eye turned again, as if it had waited for her. The familiar float and stop of the auto setting continued until she was at the apex. She knew that now the Eye would turn for ten revolutions and then begin the disembarking procedure. She shut her eyes and folded her tiny creased hands in her lap and simply smelled the night. The stench of the place did not find her here and again a smile passed across her lips. A fluttering brought her eyes open again and she watched with quiet eyes as the wind deposited a scrap of paper on the seat next to her. She picked it up, curious, and stared at the drying ink.

I have watched.

I have waited.

My heart calls, will yours answer?

Her eyes widened and her lips shook. She stood eyes fixed on the scrap of hope. Inside her chest a thunderstorm began while an earthquake broke along her limbs. Her heart heated, then swelled, then burst. Flame ran through the fissures of her skin as she lifted her eyes once again to the stars. The Lovers debt was paid and he had waited all this long time. It would not do to make him wait a moment more.

Each feather burned.

A glorious funeral pyre.

A rising comet.

Like a red and gold fire work she trailed light as she rose, and then burst into a million sparks as she followed where he had gone. The soft flow of air over the seat began to carry off the soft gray dirt, all that remains of the shed mortal coil. Suddenly shabby and mundane the Eye moved on.


This was written for the terribleminds writing challenge this week. Random number generator gave me Magical Realism, an amusement park after dark, and a love letter.


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