Some people become interested in the supernatural because they have an experience they can’t explain. While there have been a couple of strange occurrences in my life, I have to be realistic and say that they came about after I was heavily invested in reading about poltergeists and cloudbusting and every other manner of weirdness I could get my hands on. I can safely say that I have no interesting supernatural abilities whatsoever, aside from being an eerily good cook and a fairly good knack for judging people accurately from a first impression.
Still, I have a pack of tarot cards. I don’t consult them often, and when I do it’s usually because I’m feeling stuck or uncertain. If nothing else, they’re excellent story prompts–reading them works some of the same muscles, asking me to read between the lines and interpret symbols to make sense of my own life. They don’t necessarily have to be magical to be powerful. I know my life; these archetypal symbols encourage me to look at it differently, and the way I read a symbol into my own life is more telling of me, I think, than of whatever I’m asking about.
I’m an optimistic skeptic. I like to think that I can’t know everything, that some things will always be beyond my comprehension. It makes everything a little easier to bear with by comparison.
But sometimes I think about a time when I shuffled, dealt, shuffled, dealt, shuffled, and dealt my cards for a half hour, pulling the same single card each time, and it’s a bit harder to be a skeptic.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
AN DÀ SHEALLADH
(Noun: Gaelic for ‘the second sight’)
An involuntary ability to see the future.
Magda has always seen the year to come. The village visits her on Samhain, when the visions are clearest, and she tells them what awaits them in the coming year—riches, love, prosperity.
Until, one Samhain, she closes the shutters and bars the door. Still, the villages come knocking. “Tell us our fortunes, Magda,” they say, voices light and patient at first, loud and angry later. “You must, you must.”
She doesn’t answer. They beat their fists on her door, howling for answers, but she does not relent.
How can she tell them that what she sees for the coming year is nothing at all?