This part was cut from the story. This is what happened to Kane at the fortune teller. I cut it out because I had the feeling that the story was slowing down and adding this would have been bogged it down even more.
But due to 'popular demand' I shall put it here as a kind of deleted scene.
Depending on how things go I will splice this back into the original story.
'Sit down oh seeker and all will be made clear.'
I sat down.
'Tell me then oh wanderer. What do you seek?'
'What the future holds for me?'
She looked at me for a moment obviously struggling with some internal dilemma.
'Which program do you wish for.' she said 'Oh seeker.'
Of course. What was I going to pay? I guessed that Petrova would need a while to locate her friend and talk to him or her, so I could as well enjoy the ride. I took a a couple of one-credit coins out of my pocket and built a nice shiny and as I hopped appropriately spiritual five-credit tower on the table.
'I'll take the full Karma Revelation.'
'The Karmic Evaluation.'
'Of course. That one.'
The woman took the coins. Gave them a thorough mystical evaluation and after she was satisfied that they were destined to be accepted without causing bad karma for all involved she let them vanish into thin air. I leaned back perfectly happy to see what other tricks she would be pulling off.
'First I shall read your aura oh seeker.' she said while making wavy motions with her hands. It looked like she was fondling a wavy piano. She squinted, leaned forwarded, squinted some more while shaking her head very slightly. 'You aura is faded and bleached.' she got up moving around the table. Her hands now outstretched, fingers splayed. Her thumbs and index fingers formed a triangle which she moved up and down obviously scanning my faint puny aura. She mumbled something from the Beginners Handbook to Glossolalia while she circled me.
'Very hard to read.' she diagnosed when she was in front of me again.
'Really?' I said with almost sincere regret. 'Does that mean I can't get my aura read?'
She silenced me with a melodramatic wave of her right hand. 'No. There might still be a way.'
'But' I leaned now forward lowering my voice 'it is very dangerous?'
'No. Seeker. Not dangerous.'
'...' I started to say.
'But it is going to be... expensive.' she said leaning forward with a predatory expression that would have made a praying mantis feel slightly nervous.
'And how expensive would that be?`
'Well seeker. We will have to enhance your weak aura. and cast the light of truth upon your soul.' she turned around and searched through some sort of box or drawer that was out of my sight. She put squat, fat, red candle on the table then some kind of net also red and made of rough fibres and then another red candle. She fixed my eyes. 'The Candles of Truth made with virgins blood and consecrated by three holy men are 1 Credit each. The Soul Seeking Weave woven from the hair of a saint and dyed in holy Tilak sacrament to Argus Panoptes disolved in the tears of innocents' I wondered how many innocent pipes had to cry for that one 'will cost 2 credits. Per use of course.'
I let my face do the talking. My face wasn't impressed nor willing to shell out another 4 credits.
'As part of the Karmic Evaluation it will only cost 3 Credits though.' she let that sink in, her face now telling my face not to be an idiot.
'O.K.' this was hardly going to ruin me. I took a fist full of cash out of one of my small change pockets, well out of sight of Madame Apollonia, took a crumpled up 5 Credit note and put it on the desk. 'Just to make sure that I really get the best treatment money can buy.' I had expected her eyes to go all wide and her trying to devour me and my riches simply by hard staring. But her poker face was immaculate.
'I see that you take your future very seriously. Well have no fear seeker, I shall guide you through the dense thicket of fate.' she smoothed the bill almost lovingly with her hands. Just as the lasts of the larger wrinkles began to fade the bill disappeared. If I had been drunk I would have probably paid her just to make her make my money vanish with her little tricks.
'The magic is strong in you, isn't it.' I asked.
'Don't be silly dear, these are just simple acts of prestidigitation.' she looked at me for the first time cracking smile with a glinting edge. 'But they help set the mood. The mood' she paused 'is very important.'
She got up took the candles and put them in tall thin iron candle sticks. 'Very important. You come in from out side. Bringing all the chaos with you. But here you must relax and open your soul. How else would I be able correctly read you?'
After she was done positioning the candles, she did the triangle fingers again and nodded. She pulled off the table cloth, revealing a large metal table which in a past live had been a lump of steel. But now it was reformed. Polished with a pit in its centre maybe an inch deep ending in a fine metal mesh. The fortune teller put a metal tripod over it and placed a clear long crystal on top of it.
'Now I shall align the light of the holy candles so that they open a path into the embers of your cooling soul.' She moved the candlesticks around until the light of the candles just shown past me hitting the crystal in the middle. Once both were properly placed the crystal started to shine with phosphorescent light.
'Thus the path is opened. Now I shall place the Soul Seeking Weave on you' and indeed she covered me with the silly red net. I felt like an old ladies night stand.
'It is done.' she sat down. In pit a roaring flame came to life quickly turning the metal mesh whit hot its light adding to the crystals luminescence. While I was still trying to blink away the bright dots that had appeared in my sight the old woman had exclaimed some mystical nonsense words and thrown something into the glowing pit. Another flash of light this time followed by a pillar of smoke which filled the room with the smell of frankincense. The woman regarded the scene for a moment and then nodded.
Madame Apollonius formed a triangle with her fingers again, lowered her head slightly and moved her hands slowly towards me. The glow from the table mapping out sinister features on her plain face.
'I can see clearly now.'
'Your aura is weak. Not flickering. Just weak. Like a dying ember.'
'Let me retract my last statement.'
She lowered her hands a bit to look me in the eye over the edges of her outstretched hands. 'You do not pay me for being nice.' she resumed her scan mumbling a bit more. She got up. Trying to see if my aura looked as pathetic from the sides as it did from the front. When she had made sure that it did she moved a little footstool near me and sat down on it.
'Give me your hands.' she demanded
I obliged her stretching my hands out palms up. She took booth my hands and started to read them pretty much like a book. With one finger following the lines of my right hand, often pausing to reference my left. While doing so she shook her head several times. Despite my best intentions I did get a bit nervous.
'So. How bad is it?' I asked.
'You are left-handed.' I was not sure if this was supposed to be a question.
'Mostly. I do cut things with my right though.'
'Hmmm. Hmmm.' she said.
'You have a broken life-line. This is a bit unusual. It indicates some rather dramatic changes in your life.'
'Well you can say that about almost everyone now, can't you?' I felt the need to regain a bit of sceptic ground here. I was not going to get judged by a displaced circus sideshow.
'That might be' the woman said and added looking into my eyes again 'but not everyone has fallen as far as you have, have they?' She raised an accusing finger pointing it at my right palm 'And not many have squandered talent like you have!'
'Just look at this.' now she was pointing at my right hand again. 'The first break in the line is connected to your intellect which is also broken. It was your fault. And after that nothing. Time passed and your talents faded. You are a man bound to this world simply by habit.'
Again her gaze gripped me like a vice. 'Tell me that it isn't so!'
'Fine. You are right. There have been some unfortunate events in my past but...'
'But nothing.' she was right and I could not think of anything else to say. Even if I tried to lie it would have been a rather feeble lie which would have never been strong enough to grow into proud myth. And while it was not very psychic recognizing me, someone obviously to rich for this sewer theme park, as someone who had fallen from grace been told so to the face did have a certain emotional impact.
'And your present is also a mess. Another cut in your life-line. But this time the cut was forced on you.'
'So how long do I have to live, doc?' sarcasm to the rescue.
'A dangerous question to ask.' sarcasm rolled over presenting its soft belly to the the fortune tellers. She did not even look down to my hands again. She held me with my gaze while her index finger passed over my palm.
'You life line is cut here.' Poke. 'And right after it forks.' Moving a few millimetres. 'And one of the possible paths ends...' Slight poke with the nail. '...in the present.' the nail trailing over my palm and fading sending a cold shiver down my spine. The fortune teller sighs.
'But not all hope is lost.' for the first time since I entered her little room her features soften slightly.
'The other line continues for quite a bit. So you might yet to live for some time. Also despite your negligence you still have your faded skills. You have the potential to resist fate. But don't hesitate. If you do not act now all will be lost.' That made me relax a bit. Not that I still had a chance but the fact that she did not know that I was already moving towards a better tomorrow. She wasn't a psychic after all.
'And do you have any advice for me? Or some magical amulets to ward off the evil eye?'
'There is no such thing as an evil eye, seeker. Now that I know the general form of your fate I can now examine the details of your destiny.' she got up from the little stool. She sat down behind her table again. Added fresh herbs to the glowing pit and while I was again recovering from the sudden flash and smoke she had unseen to me produced a small package. It was a large piece of what appeared to be ancient black silk wound tight around a thick set of cards. 'In the final step of your Karmic Evaluation I shall consult the Tarot cards, they shall shed light on the details of your journey.
She shuffled the cards for a while. Her eyes closed. Frowning with concentration. When she opened her eyes again she placed the deck in front of me. 'Cut the deck.' Feeling clever I simply slid the top most card of the deck. Madame Apollonia not the least bit impressed took the deck, put it on the lone card with an understated thump and pulled it back to her. She then fanned out the cards in front of her.
'First of all I will establish I a link to your past.' her right hand hovered over the cards moving from left to right until she found a card that pleased her. She pulled it out. 'This card represents the largest influence on you in the past.' and turned it around. 'The Emperor, reversed. A man of power. But one who uses his power as an end onto itself. A narrow-minded tyrant.' How did she know my father? I only looked at the card in grim silence, looking at the man sitting on his throne with a face full of disapproval.
'The next card shall reveal to us your past self.' again she hovered over the cards with her hand for a while until she chose a card. 'The Five of Batons. Victories earned through constant conflict. You established yourself against all opposition. But what went wrong?' again her hand ascended into the air. This time there was no hovering. With a quick motion she pulled out a card, turned it around by twirling it in her fingers and slammed it down on the desk producing a deep muffled noise. 'The Tower! You were ruined by things outside your control. Which I must admit comes as a bit of a surprise to me. Regardless in the end it resulted in the end of your life as you knew it. This led you...' her hand over the cards again moving between three distinct spots until she decided for the one in the middle. She turned the card. '...to The Moon. You walk alone through the darkness of the night surrounded by nothing but doubt and fear. And this path led you to...' another card '...the Hanged Man reversed. An inner struggled that ends in defeat. You got lost in the night.'
'This does not look good, does it.' I tried to sound nonchalant but my creaky voice decided to go for a more desperate approach.
'If you leave things as they are seeker, then it will end...' she did not hesitate long this time grabbed a card looked at it before putting it down on the table. She looked sad but not surprised. This was not going to end well. She set the card down without saying a word. It showed a soldier. A dead soldier lying face down on the ground skewered by ten swords. 'Utter defeat.' she finally said.
'What am I supposed to do?'
'Don't worry seeker. Now that you know what fate has in store for you we can find a way to change it for the better. Let us see, there should be some forces that might work in your favour.' Again she moved her hand over the deck. 'We have here The Hermit, a wise man that might help you with his advice. Then we have The Chariot a powerful person who will plow through the opposition and lastly' as she turned around that card I groaned.
'You can't be serious!' I protested. 'Death! Really? Death? How is that supposed to help me?'
'Sit down.' I hadn't even noticed that I had gotten up. 'The card does not mean what you mean it does. It represents a great force that will change things. It will tear down walls and open up new possibilities. Now sit down again.'
I sat down.
'Good. We are almost done. I shall now show you what it is that is standing in your way and then to finish you shall see what kind of future awaits you down this, more favourable path. Your adversary is,' she did not even hesitate she took the last card from the left, the one I had cut 'how appropriate, it is The Devil. In this context I would say that a powerful hidden force is set against you.' she remained silent for a while looking at the cards.
After a while my impatience took over. 'So. How does it end.'
She chose one final card and turned it around.
'The Nine of Swords. Your victory will be won I am afraid at great personal cost.' she put her hands up again, probably to read my aura again. 'In the end if you persevere you will prevail but your hands will be dripping with blood.' she slowly closed her hands and covered her mouth with them before adding quietly 'And it will be your own blood.'
As I moved out of the tent back into the haphazard market 25 Minutes and 10 of my Credits had passed away. While I waited for Petrova I decided that the next time I had some time to kill I would do something more cheerful. Maybe I would start a bar brawl. I thinking about alcohol and how much I missed it right now when Petrova returned.
'So how did it go?' she asked?
'Oh brilliant. Utterly fabulous.'
'Really? What did she say?'
'After cold reading me like a cheap romance novel she told me that I would end my tragic journey with my hands dripping blood. My own blood.'