More of Andrew’s story…
It was First Friday and the buskers were out on every corner. Mimes, beat-box performers, circle drummers, and the Silas Family’s 13-string bluegrass band were in place early for the monthly arts festival and farmers’ market.
Fire dancers and hula-hoopers entertained with hypnotizing feats of agility and physical prowess, while Silver Men amazed with their ability to stand still as stone for hours. Tiny rivulets of sweat, creating streaks in their amalgam skin, were their only tell.
Before ascending his customary platform, Andrew took a stroll around the City Square. Hypervigilant since discovering his stalker outside his apartment, Andrew took mental notes of the usual performers and new entertainers at the Fair.
He stopped at the junction between Cartwright and 6th Street to watch one of the more recent festival artists. The woman was of indeterminate age. She was dressed in a gown of flowing scarves of gold, russet, sage, amethyst and lapis. Her copper hair cascaded down her back in a fall of curls, and her eyes were the color of deer moss. She smelled of peppermint and rosemary.
She claimed to speak for those loved ones who passed beyond the veil, and that she could tell the future. Andrew, always a cynic, had viewed her with disdain when she first set up her kiosk. He didn’t believe that she had any precognitive skills. Yet, he felt drawn to her.
Andrew desperately wanted to ask her about his wife and daughter, gone now nearly 20 years. He needed to know if they blamed him for their death, if they thought he was responsible. That possibility still haunted him.
Scanning the square, Andrew saw him – his stalker – standing on the fringe of the crowd milling around the fortune-teller and her sitter. Madam Weronika was offering comfort to a young woman, letting her know her dearly departed knows about her pending college graduation.
Weronika stopped her session mid-sentence to reach out toward Andrew’s stalker, P.I. Hollis Drake. Backing away from the other onlookers, Drake nearly ran into Andrew who had moved closer to hear the fortune-teller.
“The exiled King will be restored,” she intoned. “He seeks those who betrayed him. Retribution will be swift and dreadful.”
Blind to who he collided with, Drake stumbled out of Weronika’s reach, trying to ward off her ominous warning.
Andrew’s attention was on Drake’s exit, and didn’t realize Weronika came up behind him until she spoke softly in his ear.
“Your women knew you loved them,” she said. “There was no pain, only bright light.”
Without facing her, Andrew exhaled, not realizing he had been holding his breath.
“There is another,” she continued. “A daughter-not-daughter who holds the key to terrible secrets. She waits for your return.”
With one hand Weronika squeezed Andrew’s arm, with the other she surreptitiously slipped something into the hip pocket of his barrister robe. When he finally looked back, she was already mingling with the crowd, picking a new bereaved to channel.
Reaching into his pocket, Andrew knew immediately what Weronika gave him. His next move would be to return to the scene of the crime.