One Hundred Sky Kings: Me’n MadamJan 16th, 2012 | By Rae Alton | Category: Fiction
The card reader, Madam Adam, quietly gasps. Her Adam’s apple sweats gently as she emits a strange, nervous odor that resembles a boiled dog.
“What…what is it?” I ask.
“This…card. On its own this card is meaningless but paired with the rest of the cards dealt it holds great power. Potentially deadly power.”
I too begin to sweat. “Am I going to be ok?”
Madam sits back down from turning up the thermostat,
“It is too early to say. What I will say is that I am very ‘Empressed’ by these cards.”
Silence. Did she just make a pun? No. That can’t be, but look at her. Smiling and nodding at me to make sure I got the joke. What in the fuck do I say to something like that? Should I walk out? No, dumbass. She’s here to help. Also, you would be kicking yourself all day if you didn’t further investigate that smell. Not to mention the acid is finally kicking in and this could get real good real quick.
“Hehe, good one… so about these cards?” I finally shoot off.
Madam reaches in her corduroy tunic and pulls out two cigarettes and a lighter. She lights both and offers me one.
“No thanks…” I say to her outstretched arm.
She drops the lit cigarette on the floor and continues to smoke hers.
“Are you familiar with The Prophecy?”
“Um…which one?” I say while staring at the glowing ember that is slowly eating a hole in Madam’s duplex floor.
“The one with Christopher Walken.”
“You mean the movie?”
At this point I wasn’t sure if the acid had completely wrecked my brain or if this lady really just asked me if I was familiar with a movie from 1995.
“No, I’ve never seen it.”
“You haven’t?!” she said indignantly, “Then we haven’t much time. How much cash do you have on you? HOW MUCH CASH DO YOU HAVE ON YOU?!”
I quickly reach for my wallet and my arm leaves a smudged and greasy trail across my field of vision. Here we go. I stare at the hairs on my arm for a moment. They look like gashes all over my forearm, that is until they begin to undulate wildly much to my delight. Does this place have a bathroom?
“Mr. Byers!” yells Madam, breaking my focus, “Please! How much money do you have on you?!”
I can now see the words slapping out of her mouth and onto the floor like fish dropped from a great height. I giggle to myself at the phrase “do you have on you” because of how hilarious it is. My stomach tightens.
She leans in, “Are you alright?”
The word “alright” echoes in the room. Right, my wallet! I refocus on the task at hand as the floor was already filling up with words flopping around, brushing against my ankles. Why is it so hot in here? I notice the cigarette on the floor has burned itself out but not before taking a large chunk of carpet with it. The smell in here is unbearable. I think it is making me trip harder. I need a cigarette. Wallet!
I snap out my wallet like a jackal. I look inside. I have $47.
“Like, twenty bucks.” I finally say.
A single, golden drop of sweat dangled from the tip of Madam’s nose, jiggling with each word she belched out of her enormous head. I fantasized about bottling that droplet and cloning an army of Madams. Maybe start a business with the clones? Set up a franchise tarot card reader in every major city in the U.S.! Tarot card/Tapas bar! I need a pen. Why don’t I ever have a fucking pen!!! Oh here’s one. It was in my pocket! Ha! Pockets. Calm down. First we need that droplet. Oh shit did she say something?
“YES!” I blurt out having no clue if she even asked me a yes or no question.
“Good. I need you to purchase this movie. Watch it alone on the next full moon. Do not eat anything while you are watching, I cannot stress this enough. Do you understand?!”
“Yep.” I say not really paying attention.
“Good.” Madam digs in her tunic and produces a small, red gem, “The day after the viewing I need you to drive to the desert and bury this amulet exactly two feet in the ground.”
Oh. My. God. Amulet! I snatch it from her like a hungry wolverine. It was the deepest red I have ever seen. I clutch it like a gargoyle. I notice on my sweaty hand I have scrawled, “Clone the droplet.” What in the fuck? Whatever. This amulet is all I need. Yep. I will start a new life with it. Me and ol’ red. Reddy Red Fred. Fred Reddy. Fredding Fred red red red Redding Railred. Fred Redding. That’s what I’ll name it. I squeeze it so tight it shoots straight up in the air on account of my sweaty hands, not to mention my entire body, being completely covered in sweat. I watch it fly upwards, freeze in the air at the crest of its flight and then ever so slowly descend back to Earth. I saw all this in slow motion yet was powerless to intercept its freefall. Just as Fred Redding was six inches from my nose on his trip to the floor Madam snapped her arm forward and snatched it in her mighty hand. I refocused on her trembling fist which was now dripping sweat a mere two or so inches from my face.
Madam looks directly into my eyes. Her gaze so intense I can feel my brain heating.
“Do not take my words lightly. Complete the tasks I have put upon you and return here Friday night at exactly 11:30.”
Madam’s face and voice changed as she spoke that sentence. Her face tightened quickly to show a pointed, inhuman facial structure. Similar to a rat. Her voice fell several octaves to a deep, guttural growl. What is most worrisome is I don’t think it was the acid. I was now trembling. The room was freezing. An overwhelming smell of sulfur hit me like a school bus full of orphans. Poor orphans.
I left her place quiet inside. In the distance I heard thunder.