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Jon Park: Madam Maree Sees Your Future

104_ym_madammaree_mddavis.jpg
Art by Michael D. Davis 2024

MADAM MAREE SEES YOUR FUTURE

by Jon Park

 

Inspired by Cindy Rosmus’s story “Hidey-Hole”

 

It was Henry, one of Tony’s drinking buddies, who told him about Madam Maree.

“She sees shit, man,” Henry said. “Speaks to the dead, I’m telling you. I heard she helped the cops solve a murder. Told them where to find the bodies. I shit you not. She’s got the gift.”

Tony found Madam Maree’s place downtown, nestled between a boarded-up thrift store and a 24/7 laundromat. Stencilled across the smoked glass shop window in gold lettering was “Madam Maree—Come in and meet your future. Groups welcome.”

Checking the laundromat was empty, Tony entered Madam Maree’s store. He locked the door behind him and turned the sign to “Closed.” A battered sofa pushed against the window and a coffee table were the only furnishings in the room. The place smelt of damp. Another door led into the back. A sign hung from this door that read “Knock and wait to be summoned.”  He knocked.

After a beat, a voice called. “Madam Maree requests you to enter.” Tony touched the gun tucked in his belt for reassurance. He opened the door and entered.

The room was almost in darkness. A single bulb hung above a circular table positioned at the centre of the room. Sat at the table shuffling a pack of cards, her face behind a veil, was Madam Maree.

“Welcome to your future. I am Madam Maree. Please take a seat and we will begin.”

 The chair opposite Madam Maree moved out. Nice touch, Tony thought. He sat down. Madam Maree began to place the cards face down onto the red cloth that covered the table.

“First, we must make a payment to the spirits,” she said, as the last card was placed down onto the table. Tony tossed a twenty onto the red cloth.

“Good. Now let us begin. We must connect so the spirits can read your aura.” Madam Maree reached her frail hands towards him across the table. Tony took hold of them. Her hands were warm and dry, skin like dead leaves.

They sat in silence until Madam Maree suddenly released his hands as if she had been bitten by a snake. Her dark eyes peered across at him from behind the veil, puzzled.

“Oh! The spirits see a darkness. A sadness. Perhaps it’s a lost loved one you seek?”

Tony smiled. He had no intention of giving her anything she could work with.

“Now, we will look to the cards for answers.” Madam Maree began to move her right hand over the table. She selected a card and turned it over to reveal the image of a maiden dancing in the sunlight.

“Ah, the spirits have guided my hand to this card. It’s a woman you seek. A love gone too soon, perhaps. Do you have something you want to say to her?” Tony shook his head. If Madam Maree was as good as Henry claimed, she wouldn’t be needing any prompting from him.

Undeterred, Madam Maree again moved her hand across the cards. Selected one and turned it over. This card showed the image of a field of golden wheat. Tony almost laughed at the puzzled look on her face.

Madam Maree held her hand up as if halting traffic. “The spirits guide my hand,” she said, although with not as much conviction, Tony thought. She moved her hand once more across the table. Eventually, her finger fell upon a card. Slowly, she turned it over, as if already knowing what it would be. The card revealed a dancing skeleton swinging a scythe.

Madam Maree let out a gasp. “No. The girl is dead. I can hear her voice. She is not alone. Oh no, you . . .” She fell silent and pushed back from the table.

“Got to hand it to you, Madam Maree, you’re the real deal,” Tony said as he pulled the gun and pointed it at her across the table. “Just a shame you didn’t see this coming.”

Madam Maree leaned across the table towards him. “Oh, but I did.” Tony felt the cold blade press against his throat.

“Now, do you want me to tell you how this ends?”

 

Jon Park lives in the North East of England and loves to write.  His story “Too Tough to Die,” appeared in Gabba Gabba Hey, an anthology of fiction inspired by the music of the Ramones published by Fahrenheit Press in 2021. 

 

He loves loud music and plays guitar badly. If you meet him, you will need to shout. 

If Charles Addams, Edgar Allan Poe, and Willy Wonka sired a bastard child it would be the fat asthmatic by the name of Michael D. Davis. He has been called warped by dear friends and a freak by passing strangers. Michael started drawing cartoons when he was ten, and his skill has improved with his humor, which isn’t saying much. He is for the most part self-taught, only ever crediting the help of one great high school art teacher. His art has been shown at his local library for multiple years only during October due to its macabre nature. If you want to see more of Michael’s strange, odd, weird, cartoons you can follow him on Instagram at mad_hatters_mania.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2024