Authors: Rebecca Segal
PALM OF DESTINY
A Story of Love, Death, and Inevitable Change
The amulet rattled in its box as the road turned from pavement to gravel. Beams from the car’s headlights swung around and lit up the small two-story house in the quiet area just south of Nanaimo, BC. Cedar was a small town, and well known for its expanse of wilderness and farmlands. Such was apparent just before the lights of the car were turned off, cloaking the tree-ridden front yard in darkness.
A popular country singer started belting it out in Duke Masters’ front pocket, and he quickly retrieved his cell phone. Flipping it open, he spoke. “Yeah, this is Masters.”
“Hey Dad!” The woman’s voice was cheerful and full of admiration. “Did you get the promotion today? It was today, right? And what about my birthday reservations for tomorrow? I called to try and get reserved seats in that restaurant that we love so much, but it was full.”
“Hey, Rosalie sweetie. I got the promotion, and I’m not going to tell you about the reservations. It’s going to be a surprise.”
“Aww, but dad…why do you always do this to me?”
Luke laughed. “Because I love you. I have to go now, though, lots of extra special
things that need to be done for my little girl by tomorrow. Including something that will remind you a lot of your mother. Remember that pretty amber pendant she used to like so much? Love you, sweetie.” He let out a chuckle at the kissing sound she made, then hung up and slid the phone back into his front pocket.
His large hand reached over and wrapped around the black box sitting on the front passenger seat. He lifted it up and carried it from the car. Keys jingled as Luke slammed the door and locked it, humming gently to himself. After he slid the keys into the pocket of his dark blue sports coat, he made his way up the front steps to his door. After the smallest of hesitations, the man retrieved his keys and opened the front door. It swung inwards, and he moved inside. Just as he was turning to close the door behind him, a voice came from within:
“Drop the box on the floor. Now.”
There came the telltale
of a pistol being cocked, and the man quickly turned in the direction of the sound. Standing there just within his line of vision was a slender feminine figure dressed all in white. Swallowing hard, he bent at the knees and crouched. The box trembled in his hand before he placed it slowly down onto the worn old hardwood floor.
“Don’t hurt me,” he whispered. “I’ll do whatever you want. It’s just a birthday present for my daughter… I don’t know why you would want it, but you can have it.”
“Where the hell did you get it?” the voice asked.
“At work.” Luke answered. He somehow managed to keep the tremor from entering his voice. “I… I work at a hydro company, and I check insulation in houses. I found it in an attic of one of the older places I was inspecting. No one wanted it.”
wants it. Good night.”
The sound of the gunfire was minimal, partially silenced by the high-tech silencer attached to the short barrel. The man let out a sharp gasp of surprise before he crumpled to the floor. He was lifeless in moments, lips parting to release a slow flow of blood.
Her hand was soft and warm. The lines in it were strong and flowing, but full of criss-crosses and circular patterns. The color of her skin was a dark mocha. Light sweat was cool rather than warm, making her palm glisten.
“Can you open your hand a little more for me?” Elijah Grey’s voice was soft and gentle. There was an intensity about the way that he took the woman’s hand in both of his. His focus was absolute and unwavering despite the number of customers wandering around all around them. The small booth was set up at the very back of the metaphysical store.
While it had a plainness to it, the man sitting behind it on the brown wicker chair was anything but plain. His dark brown hair had smoky undertones, making it look black under certain lighting. Skin was relatively pale, suggesting more northern origins. His eyes, too, suggested such with their clear blue irises. The angular features of his face, however, didn’t fit with the rest of him. They added a dark edge to the softness.
As the woman’s hand opened more, Elijah leaned his head down to take a better look. The fingers of one of his hands slowly traced the lines, and his gaze carefully examined the appearance of each one. Depth, length, structure…everything was taken into consideration.
“You were abused sexually as a child. Not by your father, but by your mother. You—”
A gasp parted his lips as she ripped her hand away from him. The woman’s nearly black eyes were brimming with tears. “How
Elijah lowered his eyes down toward the floor, taking down a hard swallow. “I apologize, ma’am. I only seek to tell the truth, not cover over it with lies and half truths. It’s...I’m sorry…” When he finally felt brave enough to look at her again, she was walking away. Her long strides took her swiftly toward the store’s exit, and her long black hair waving with each step.
“Elijah. How many times have I told you not to scare our customers away?” The manager, Morgan Glassus, stood there with both hands on his hips. “I let you come in here because you suggested it would
Elijah swallowed again and nodded. “I know. I’m sorry, Morgan, I’ll...I’ll just make something up next time.” That last sentence was spoken in a mumble.
“You had better or this place won’t get any sales at all. And then where will you go?” Morgan lifted both of his eyebrows. “Back out onto the streets, loitering outside of malls and big stores? That what you want to go back to?”
“No…” He could feel heat rushing to his face. With his pale skin, it wasn’t hard to see.
“Good, didn’t think so. Try to be less invasive and maybe we won’t drown in some kind of pathetic financial crisis.” Morgan lifted his hands with a sigh before heading back to his desk.
Elijah nodded quickly, once again averting his eyes back to the floor. He didn’t change his position until he heard his friend’s footfalls fade toward the front of the store. With a small breath of relief, he leaned back into his chair and placed both of his hands over his face. This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and Elijah was sure he would be right back where he had started—out in the streets—if it hadn’t been for Morgan.
The man had been his friend and ‘rescuer’ for the better part of ten years. It should have been an easy choice, to lie to his clients; but Elijah didn’t know if he would be able to do it. The lines in people’s palms didn’t lie, so why should he?
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz
The phone’s vibrations only annoyed Elijah for a few seconds before he picked it up. An old style flip phone, all he had to do was flip it open to answer the call.
“Yeah? I mean, hello?” He rubbed at his smooth jaw, chewing on his lower lip.
“Elijah? Hey, it’s Angelique. Remember me?”
He rolled his eyes. “How could I forget?”
“Good.” Her tone was teasing, as though she had been playing with him from the start. “I was wondering if now would be a good time to come see you. I’ve got a friend I want to bring along…” Angelique let out a laugh. “She’s a major skeptic, but I think meeting you will change that.”
“Um…sure. Yeah, bring her if you want to.” Elijah started tapping his fingers on the small counter in front of him. Angelique had always made him feel awkward and inadequate. For three years she had helped him survive out on the streets when he had no one else to turn to. Each time that he saw her, he was reminded of everything that she had done for him…and everything that he hadn’t done for her.
“Great, you’re the best! We’ll see you in a few days, okay?”
Before Elijah could respond, the line went dead. He stared at his cellphone for a few moments, then shook his head. After Angelique’s last palm reading, he hadn’t been certain that she would ever come back.
“I’ll never understand women,” he mused aloud.
* * * *
Rosalie sat on the outside steps of the morgue. Her hands were clenched over her drawn up knees. Tear tracks streaked down her cheeks and nothing could hide the hard tremble of her bottom lip. It was hard to keep all the emotions in; hard to pretend that it wasn’t as horrible as it actually was. A short breeze kissed her face, ruffling through her shoulder-length black hair. It normally had a wave to it, almost a curl, but today she had straightened it. At the thought, her brown eyes filled with fresh tears. She tried to keep them from falling, but to no avail.
“Rosie?” Angelique’s voice was soft as she approached her friend.
“Angelique…” Struggling with her emotions, Rosalie got to her feet and went to the taller blond. Her arms wrapped around her to hug her tight, sobs full of sorrow shaking her body. “They say…” She could barely speak. “They say he was…murdered!”
“Shhh, honey. Sweetie…” Angelique closed her eyes as she drifted off. What could she say that wouldn’t make things worse? “Want to come over to my place for the weekend?”
Without speaking, Rosalie nodded. She didn’t think she could handle being alone right now. Her fingers gripped into her best friend’s shoulders as she cried, unable to hold back the cascade of emotions. She moved with Angelique, following her down the steps and toward the dark red sedan that was waiting for them just across the street. This time of day, traffic was relatively quiet, giving them no trouble when they moved across the road to get to the vehicle. Given that it wasn’t yet 8 am, most people were just beginning to wake up for their work day.
“I have an idea, Rosie… I know it’s…hard. But, it might help.” Angelique looked away just long enough to get into the car, watching as Rosalie’s trembling figure entered the passenger side. Within moments they were on the road.
Rosalie glanced over at her friend. The world flew by as they travelled down the street. “What?”
“You remember Elijah Grey, right? The homeless guy I used to d…help out? He’s like…a fortune teller of sorts now, at that old magic shop that Morgan has. And before you say anything about that stuff being bogus, just hear me out.” Angelique paused as she made a left turn onto a smaller street. “He’s smart, sweet, and completely insane. I don’t mean mentally, but what he can do. I know you think I’m a dumbass for believing what I do, but…humor me?”
Not really feeling prepared for any kind of argument, Rosalie just looked at her friend before offering her a single nod. Really, what harm could come from it?