I wandered past the goat pens, craft barns, and ring-toss barkers. Past the bandshell and the freak show. Across the Midway, behind the chicken coops, tucked into a shadowed corner, an odd little booth advertised Fortune Teller. I stepped through the creaking door and across the beaded curtains. I ventured deeper into the half-lit recess, past the thick velvet drapes. I felt for the path forward. I could no longer discern my hand held out in front of me. Uncertainly, my groping palm led me through a room. A cobweb brushed my face. The floorboards creaked. I stopped. I imagined if I took another step I might fall through a trapdoor. The ground might give way beneath me like a fresh grave. I stood there a long moment in silence. How much time passed, I’d no idea. The darkness opened onto darkness. It was thick with darkness for as far as one couldn’t see.
I felt time radiating out in concentric spheres, each heartbeat pulsing through the vacuum.
“You,” a voice said, “tell me why you came here.”
“I, um… wanna know my future?” I answered.
“A foolish wish.”
“Hey, I thought you were a Fortune Teller?”
“Ok, then. Open your eyes. Look ahead.”
Slowly a thread of light unraveled just beyond my hand, like a spider’s silk. It swayed with my breath. Then the thread was snipped. It drifted, unsteady, a cross-lit silver hair, and then was gone. Tiny flashes, comets, glimmers zinged and fizzled. Stardust, maybe phosphenes. Perhaps this was all just chemicals reacting in my skull. Perhaps this was the edge of some revelation—the future being born. Either way, inside this clairvoyant darkness I had no way to measure distance. The space between myself and my own hand appeared infinite. The blood rocking my body (thump-thump, thump-thump) was like a small boat floating on black waves.
“And what do you see?”
“Nothing. Nothing, really.”
With one hand I tried to read the vacant space in front of me to no effect. I threw a few coins on the floor which had been sweating in my other palm. They clattered and revolved as I turned around.
I ran back out, past the rank sawdust and horse trailers, the sideshows of oddities and wonders, the carnies and hucksters, through the blinding afternoon.
WILL CORDEIRO has new work appearing or forthcoming in Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, DIAGRAM, Poet Lore, Salamander, Sycamore Review, Typehouse, The Threepenny Review, Yemassee, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Will co-edits Eggtooth Editions and lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.
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