Eye of Horus
by Colleen Kearney Rich
The New Age store smells a lot like sage, a little like patchouli. A young guy behind the counter tells me it will be a few minutes. I wander around looking at crystals and geodes while I wait.
“Let me know if you have any questions,” he says, almost a whisper.
“Are you a psychic?” I ask him. I find myself speaking quietly too.
“Not yet,” he says. “I’m still in training.”
I nod and head toward the bookshelves. I twist one of the tassels on my knit scarf and stare at some books on Egyptology. An Eye of Horus stares back at me from one of the covers, almost winking.
This psychic has come highly recommended. “Life changing,” my friend Elise called her sessions. I’ve waited two months for this appointment.
I am still thinking about my fractured sleep and waking alone in the dark just before dawn. Was there a noise? I laid there in the bed until I heard the neighbor’s terrier yowl.
“She is ready for you now,” the psychic in training tells me. He escorts me to the back of the shop where there is a small dark office.
The psychic greets me but doesn’t shake hands, something about vibrations. I was told this in advance. She invites me to sit in a chair across from the plushy, shawl-covered one that is obviously hers.
“Do you have your questions?” she asks.
I nod and slide the envelope across the table. I followed the directions in which she asked me to write down three questions I hope to have answered and seal them in an envelope. I have only one question, so I wrote it down three times.
The psychic has candles burning and some music playing that sounds like Native American flutes. I’m not sure what I was expecting. She’s dressed normally. She has freckles and a blunt haircut. She could be a soccer mom. She probably is a soccer mom.
She sighs significantly a number of times and shakes her hands like she is flinging off water. Her nails are long and acrylic. That’s the only fortune-teller thing about her. That and a charm bracelet that gently clinks. She closes her eyes.
“A woman is coming in,” she says. “She is showing me that something is wrong in her chest, perhaps her heart?”
The psychic opens her eyes and looks at me. She wants some kind of response. I shrug. This goes on. Eventually, I begin nodding. She likes this. It is one of the longest hours of my life.
Other “relatives” come in. One sounds a lot like my Aunt Sue, but why would Aunt Sue want to talk to me?
During those final days in the hospital, Charlie and I came up with a plan. We would try to reach across the veil. We wanted to believe that there was more to this life. So I wait. And read into the lights flickering in the master bathroom. And my missing earring. Why would Charlie take my grandmother’s pearl earring?
Just before I fall asleep each night, I think I can feel him in the room. Some nights, just as I’m dropping off, I think I feel him brush against me, his breath on the back of my neck. I will myself to dream about him, but he never shows.
“Did you get your questions answered?” the psychic asks me finally, indicating with her tone the end of the hour.
The flame of the candle on the table jumps tall and gutters. I blink back tears.
This is the closest thing to a ghost story I’ve ever written. I think about “the veil” a lot and have been to many psychics. Like the narrator, I want to believe.
Colleen Kearney Rich is the author of the chapbook Things You Won’t Tell Your Therapist (forthcoming in January 2019). Her writing has been published in Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Minerva Rising, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Harpoon Review. She lives in Virginia, and you can find her on Twitter at @colleenrich.