“You are a fortune-teller. Predict what will happen in your best friend’s future.”
I sit in the tent’s that been set up for me here, at today’s event.
It’s very cliche with wooden beads and gems hanging down off dark-coloured tie-dye tapestries that this room seems to be filled with. They’ve set up a smoke machine to emit smoke around everyone’s ankles so it looks like we’re on a cloud. There are dangerously lit candles, way too close to the tent’s walls that emits a musky, vanilla scent as if they’ve been kept in someone’s attic for way too long.
I’m sitting at a table that’s draped in multiple cloths.
They’ve dressed me in this Victorian Gypsy costume with a beaded crown to wear over my head. The managers wanted to paint a third eye on my forehead, but that’s when I drew the line.
My grandmother did warn me about how ridiculous this job would make our kind look, but I don’t care. I’m being paid a good amount of money to use my power, plus tips. I’m not complaining, and anyway, it’s only for a month and then I’m back to unemployment. I need to pay for university this September somehow after all.
I sit on my own in this tent, listening to the harp music that’s being played somewhere behind me. I don’t know what these people think fortune-tellers are like in their spare time, but it’s definitely not this.
There’s a rustling of beads as someone enters the tent just beyond the curtains before me. They talk to the guard who’s supposed to take the money and tips that will be distributed to them to take back to the Events Management, and then to me at the end of the day.
A bell is rung on the other side of the curtains to indicate a customer, and before I can get myself ready, the curtains part with deep, hysterical laughter.
I stop what I’m doing and stare at the boy before me.
‘Don’t stop, carry on,’ he laughs, ‘I just need to get a picture of this!’ And before I can protest, he whips out his phone and snaps photo of me which is strict prohibited in the tent.
Jonah Donovan – the Head Boy at college – the Lead Male at our Youth Musical Theatre Company – The Lead in our College Musical and Play – the Rugby Captain – The Drama Captain – Winner of the College Oscars for Best Director this year and last – my best friend. He’s an arse, but a smart one with lots of talent, so everyone loves him, including me, but not that way!
We’ve known each other since we’ve both been in nappies. My mum used to drop me off at his when I was a baby while she went off to work, as his Mum and Dad were, and still are child-minders.
We’ve practically been brother and sister for the entirety of our lives. He’s fought off arsehole boyfriends for me and I’ve frightened off psycho girlfriends for him. So many people thought that we were secretly dating, but we never have.
There was a moment in year eleven at our after-prom party when we both got very drunk and kissed, but we both admitted that it felt too much like incest so we buried that experiment very fast.
He was there all through me discovering my power, and he’s never left me like most do once they find out. Of course he mocks me for it all the time, but I mock him back about how he can’t grow a beard. Call me petty, I don’t mind.
‘What are you doing here Jonah?’ I ask him, pretending to shuffle the cards that sit in front of me, when in reality I’ve shuffled them over a hundred times out of boredom.
Jonah flashes me that cheeky grin that so many girls swoon over. ‘Just coming to see my best girl,’ he says, ‘I’m very glad I did.’ and he bursts into hysterical laughter again.
‘Did you pay to get in here?’ I question him. There is always the chance that he charmed his way in here, like he does with so many things. The amount of times we’ve got into the VIP section at clubs or gigs is unbelievable.
Jonah nods. ‘Of course,’ he chuckles, ‘what do you take me for, Flo?’
I stick my tongue out at him which just makes him laugh more.
‘Well,’ I sigh, ‘I’m not going to be paid to be laughed at, give me your hand.’
‘Why?’ Jonah asks.
‘I want to practice me skit on you before real customers come in here,’ I tell him before holding out my hands, ‘gimme!’
Jonah scoffs, placing an offended hand on his chest. ‘I am a real customer, thank you.’
I roll my eyes, grinning. ‘Then give me your hand and let me do my thing.’
‘Wait, for real?’ Jonah looks at me wide-eyed. Usually I never use my power on Jonah; not in front of him anyway. It just feels too strange to. It’s almost embarrassing for me; I don’t know why.
I nod. ‘Come on.’ I insist.
Jonah gives a little cheer like any young child would, before jogging over to the stall before my table, and sitting down, placing his hands in front of me. ‘What do you see? What do you see?’ he bounces up and down.
‘Shush!’ I raise a finger at him and he seals his lips, smirking still though.
I pretend to read his palms, truthfully letting my mind work. My eyes go foggy as the outside world gets replaced with the one inside my head; the one that will read his future.
Taking a deep breath, a access the very corners of my mind as I piece together…
No, that can’t be right.
I clench my eyes tight, trying to change what I’ve just seen, but it won’t change.
We’re still in the same tent, at present day, but then he’ll stand up. He’ll stand up and…
‘Flo!’ Jonah gasps, clasping my hands in his and pressing his forehead to mine. ‘Flo, speak to me, are you okay? If it’s too difficult then you don’t have to.’
I shake my head at him. ‘No, it’s not that,’ I say, ‘I saw… I saw…’ but I can’t get it out.
‘What is it?’ Jonah asks. ‘Did I shit my pants of something?’
I laugh slightly before frowning again. I’m close to crying. ‘No, no you didn’t.’
‘Well then what’s wrong?’ Jonah chuckles.
‘I,’ I stammer, ‘I saw…’
There’s a bell to indicate someone new coming in to my part of the tent.
No. No. No. Don’t say it. Please.
‘Hey,’ Jonah shouts, standing up and spinning around to whoever has just walked into the tent, just like I saw he would, ‘we’re not done in here.’
‘Jonah, don’t!’ I scream.
‘Jonah!’ I yell as blood splatters over me and my costume from the back of Jonah’s head.
I watch as my best friend falls backwards into my table, breaking it to the ground, his face stunned, pale and wide-eyed.