„Come in, there is nothing to be afraid of“
Madame Mystery was used to her clients perhaps being careful and nervous when they entered her fortune telling parlour, especially if it was the first time and she was sure she had never told the fortune of the man standing before her. After she had opened the door he hesitated, looked around and remained still for a moment.
“This was usual” she thought “it is always the heavy red velvet curtain that was hanging behind the door that makes first comers somewhat nervous. They are a little afraid, and the curtain adds mystery to the whole concept.” Of course, she also kept the windows covered during the audiences she had with her customers. A dark room made it all the more mysterious.
This was Madame Mystery's intention. Her price would then not seem so expensive, as her customers were getting their money’s worth. Then there was the magic crystal. Now that was the envy of many fortune tellers that she knew. It was not just a glass ball, but had a content that moved according to the vibrations around the bowl; a glistening white mass, resembling a light cloud, the result of an experiment that her son did at the university. Of course, everyone was convinced it was some sort of magical apparition, so she kept the secret to herself, her customers do not have to know everything. It was one of the basics of chemistry.
Madame Mystery had a strange feeling about the visitor. Clothed in a beige light raincoat with the collar pulled up around his neck, the sort of coat you could buy in any cheap clothing store. It was perhaps the cap pulled down over his forehead and the dark glasses he was wearing that left her with a strange feeling.
“Make yourself at home, you can hang your coat here and put your hat on the rack.”
“No thank you” he said in a rough voice. She noticed the nicotine stains on his hands and realised he was probably a heavy smoker.
“Before we begin our consultation”, Madame Mystery preferred to call her fortune telling sessions “consultations” as it sounded more professional, “I assume you would like to know what the future holds for you. Please take a seat at the table and gaze into my crystal ball. I will try to take a look at your past before predicting what lies before you, .”
“OK, woman get on with it, I am sure my past interests no-one, and I am glad it is in the past.”
“Now this is a tough one” she thought and continued.
“I can see a little baby, lost amongst others, crying for his mother and father.”
“Most babies cry” he muttered “and I was no different. My mother and father just never existed.”
It sounded bitter as he said these words but gave Madame Mystery a clue as to how to continue.
“I can see you together with many children, also without parents. It might be a school” and she glanced at the reaction of the customer and knew what to say further “no, it is not a school, I think it is an orphanage.”
“Lady, just get on with it. I don’t want to be here all day. You have not said anything that I don’t already know. So what happens in the future?”
“Please have patience; my thoughts are being guided by the magic waves of the crystal. You are now again on your own, fighting others and they are fighting you. I see a room, dark and dismal with just a bed and a cupboard; everything so empty. A kitchen with the remains of a meal on the table and I feel much sadness and anger.”
Madame Sonia glanced again at the customer but this time their eyes met. He had removed the dark glasses and she did not like the look in his eyes. There was something evil, something forbidding, but she decided to continue with the future. The sooner this customer disappeared the better.
“I have now told you enough to convince you that I am able to tell your future. Before I continue I must ask you for a small donation. We used to say cross my palm with silver, but unfortunately silver is no longer enough in this day and age, my fee is ten pounds for the prophecy of what will happen.”
“Nothing doing, you tell me what is going to happen and if it sounds good you get the money.”
Before Madame Mystery could continue she was disturbed by a loud knock on the door.
“Please excuse me for a moment, it seems we are being disturbed. This will break my concentration; I must see who is knocking.”
Madame Mystery walked behind the red heavy curtain and opened the door. Her client heard her talking to someone, but the words were muffled by the curtain. She then returned.
“Please excuse the interruption; it was someone wanting to sell something. So, where was I, ah yes, with your future. Please take my hands and hold them and we will look into the crystal together.”
She was not very happy about taking this person’s hands in hers, but it always made things more serious and most of her customers enjoyed the unknown. This time Madame Mystery was not very happy, the hands belonging to this customer were cold and sweaty, “clammy” was the word that came into her head, but ten pounds was ten pounds.
The crystal ball suddenly clouded over and the white clouds swirling in the inside became grey and smoky.
“Looks like some action in the ball” said the customer
“Yes, we are now seeing the truth” said Madam Mystery, hoping that the customer did not hear the surprise in her voice at the change of colour.
“I don’t know where you intend to go after you leave here but I would be very careful. There are dark forms awaiting.”
“What sort of dark forms lady?”
“Patience please” she said and then the cloudy substance in the crystal turned almost white, like milk. “After you leave the dark forms you will experience peace for always.”
“You know what lady, this is all mumbo, jumbo and it’s time for me to go.”
“My money” Madame Mystery said.
“Ten pounds for that. Here I will cross your palm with silver” and he threw a twenty pence coin across the table and made his way to the door.
“Are you sure you want to leave now” asked Madame Mystery.
“Sure I do, I was only biding my time here, I have other things to do.”
Sonia Brown alias “Madam Mystery” saw her customer push the red curtain roughly to one side and hear him close the door. Afterwards she pulled the curtains back from the window and watched. The policemen were waiting for him, lead by the officer that had knocked on Sonia’s door while her visitor was with her. It was over quickly. Her customer pulled out his gun but before he had a chance to shoot, the police opened fire.
"The Daily News
Thanks to the co-operation between fortune teller Madam Mystery and the police, a robber and murderer was killed. He had hid himself in the salon of the fortune teller after robbing the jewellery shop next door and ruthlessly shooting its owner during the robbery.
Although Madam Sonia was exposed to this dangerous criminal, she followed police instructions and as the criminal left her salon she gave the police a signal by opening the curtains."
In a way Sonia felt sorry for the criminal. His life had not been a happy one, and what chances were open for an unwanted orphan in life. On the other hand, you just don’t go around killing people and the reward money more than compensated for the ten pounds she should have received. Something did bother Sonia. Why did the crystal ball become dark and grey? She spoke to her son about it, who had now finished his studies in science at the university, but he could not explain the change in colour. The gas mixture in the ball was white and could not change colour. It was just not possible.
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