Eve sat in front of the mirror, touching up her make-up. Red lipstick, eyes outlined in kohl, a light dusting of glitter that would sparkle in the right lighting. She didn’t even have to think about it anymore, the look was pretty much muscle memory at this point. The finishing touch was a scarf in her long, chestnut, hair; turquoise with silver swirls and beads dangling off the ends. It was pretty yes, but it was also expected.
With that last touch, the picture was complete. Eve stood up and examined her reflection in the full length mirror on the opposite wall. Her costume changed daily, but always contained the same basic elements, a long flowing skirt, a peasant top, sandals and the scarf in her hair. It’s what people expected of a carnival fortune teller. With a heavy sigh, she picked up the bundle on the table next to the door and stepped outside.
Squinting in the sunlight, Eve scanned the fairgrounds and saw the crowds were already starting to gather. It was going to be another humid, exhausting day. And the owners thought it wasn’t “authentic” to have air-conditioning in her tent, so she had to make due with a hidden, hand-held fan. She made the short walk over to her tent, purple and bejeweled, and stepped inside through the opening in the back.
The floor of the tent was covered in soft pillows surrounding a low table. In the center of the table was a silver stand. It was on this stand that Eve placed the item from the bundle she carried. Once it was settled and she made sure it was secure, she stood back a moment and admired the way the lamps made it glow. It was a glass orb, something you could hold in both hands, and the inside was full of delicate glass filaments in a rainbow of colors. The other members of the carnival thought it was odd how protective Eve was of this particular prop. It was pretty, sure, but it was just a fake crystal ball. But she never left it in the tent unattended and never let anyone else touch it, let alone carry or move it.
But what no one actually knew was, the crystal ball was where she saw her visions. Because Eve was a real psychic.
A long time ago she had realized the safest place to hide out was in plain sight. Tell the world you’re a psychic and no one believes you. Try to hid and eventually someone will find you out.
Once she was sure everything looked perfect, Eve went to the front of the tent and set out her sign, proclaiming her attraction open for business. It only took about fifteen minutes for her first customers to arrive, potentially knowing the future was a hard thing to resist.
The first hour of the day was mundane. Will I get married? Will I be rich? Will I get the new job? People’s worries were so predicable and petty. No one cared about anything important. Will I make a difference? Will we ever get world peace? Will my children grow up to be good people? Those would be important questions. And for all Eve saw about other people, she never saw a hint of her own future. When it came to what the future had in store for her, she was as blind as everyone else.
After lunch, Eve was preparing to suffer through the heat of the afternoon when the flap of the tent opened. The sunlight outlined the individual so at first she couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. Once the flap was closed against the sunlight, she the person was a man, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt. His clothing seemed odd, given the heat of the day, she thought.
“Have a seat, please,” Eve said, gesturing to the pillows across from her. The man folded his legs under himself gracefully has he sank down. “What question can I answer for you?”
“I think it’s a simple one,” the man said. “I’m mostly curious about my plans for this afternoon.”
“This afternoon?” Eve was confused. Usually people came to her either to ask outlandish questions or to find out about things farther in the future.
“Yes, I have some rather audacious plans for the afternoon and I’m interested to see if they are going to work out in my favor. Would you mind telling me if you can see how things will go?”
Eve looked at the man across from her, really studying him for the first time. He was probably close to her age, maybe twenty-five or so. He had light brown hair, brown eyes, a pleasant, if unmemorable face. All in all, the most distinctive thing about him was his voice. It was very low and smooth and almost made her stomach flip every time he spoke.
“Please?” he prompted.
“Of course,” Eve replied, giving herself a little shake. “But first, that will be five dollars please, sir.” He smiled and handed her the money, and something in that smile made a little shiver run down her spine.
Eve tried to center herself and leaned over the crystal ball, pulling on her other senses to see what was in this man’s future. Slowly, shapes and images started to materialize in the orb. From experience, she knew he couldn’t see anything, so he was looking at her expectantly.
The scene in front of her solidified and she smiled to herself. She saw the inside of her tent, with the man sitting across the table, watching her. It was strange, almost like an out of body experience. And the first time she had ever seen herself in a vision.
“What do you see?” he asked.
“Well,” she said, meeting his eyes, “I see us. Here, in this tent.”
“That’s a good start,” he said.
“Is this a part of your audacious plans?” Eve asked with a smile.
“It is, actually. What else?”
Eve watched a for a minute, waiting for the scene to advance. As she looked on, she saw the man reach behind his back and pull something from underneath his shirt. As it glinted in the lamplight she realized it was a knife. The man in the crystal ball lunged and the knife plunged into that Eve’s chest.
Eve’s eyes flew up from her crystal ball to the man sitting across from her.
He smiled. “I’m guessing my plans work out just fine.” He reached behind him and pulled out the knife.