A Sister Hauntedbykaizen4ever©
After making the loop for what had to be a dozen times, I pulled my Navigator to the curb and watched in my rear view as blue lights slowly made their way towards me. Cars pulled away one-by-one to make their next trip around the airport garage. For a brief moment, I considered how mundane the policeman's job must be. Cars filed back in line against the curb just as fast as he ran them away. As the police cruiser approached, I spotted Ashley walking through the automatic doors of Concourse D. Putting the car in park, I jumped out and motioned to the cop that my passenger had arrived.
"Hey stranger," I said to my sister whom I haven't seen in almost a year. I hugged her quickly, not wanting to take up parking space any longer than necessary. I tossed her bags in the back and told her to hop in; we'd have plenty time to catch up on the drive.
"So, its a little past noon, you want to head home or see a little bit of the Big Easy first?" I asked as we made our way back towards the interstate. To be honest, I was quite excited to have someone I knew around me. I had made several friends at work, but nothing beats having family around. People you've known all your life.
She looked at me for a minute, squinched her lips, and thought about what she wanted to do. "I'm in no hurry to unpack so if you feel like it, lets hang out and explore," she said.
"Then, since it's your first trip to 'Nawlins', your first stop has to be the French Quarter."
"Cool." She smiled and looked out at the city as we merged into the steady flow of traffic on Interstate 10. On our way over to the Quarter, I told Ash about some of the sights I've seen and experiences I've had in the quarter. "There's no place on earth like it." I told her. It's rich with history and full of people using their God given talents just to make ends meat.
We parked over by Hotel St. Marie and started walking towards Jackson Square and the French Market. We browsed several shops and listened to a couple jazz numbers by street musicians. As we made our way through Jackson Square, we saw a little sign that read "Psychic Readings by Gale".
"Ohhh" Ashley said in her best attempt to sound spooky. "Lets go get a psychic reading, I've always wanted to see how it works." She was excited.
"Um, I don't know, what if she tells me I'm going to die in a week or something." I acted like I was joking, but I was serious.
"Then you'll have time to get your final preparations in order." She mocked and walked through the gate towards the small shotgun house. Only a screen door blocking the entrance. Ashley knocked lightly and with no hesitation, a soft voice that sounded only a few feet away summoned us to enter. Inside was a desk in the middle of what used to be a living room. A hallway ran down the left side. On the right wall, a curtain blocked the view of what I assumed was a closet. "I'll take them." We hear a voice call from down the hall. "One of them has a strong energy." The voice calls again and we can tell she is making her way towards us.
"Hello. I'm Gale. Normally I let the other readers take the walk-ins, but I think it's probably best I do your readings today. Please make yourself comfortable and I'll be with you in just a moment." She turned to walk away then suddenly stopped and looked back at me. "Don't worry, If I knew you were going to die, I'd tell you to stay away from what causes it." She winked and walked out of sight.
I looked at Ashley and my eyes must have been as large as half-dollars. She just laughed at my expression. How in the hell did she know what I said? "Someone must have heard me say that." I tried to recall in my mind how loud I was speaking when I made the comment and if anyone was around me. As I was replaying the scene through my mind, Gale reappeared and asked us to follow her.
We stepped into a dark room lit by candle and a few dim night lights. A table was in the middle of the room with three stacks of cards on it. "Please have a seat. How long have you two been together?" Gale said as she took her seat behind the table.
"All of her life." I said while motioning towards my sister and laughing out loud even though my joke really wasn't that funny.
"Oh, I'm sorry. We're brother and sister." Ashley said.
"Mmhmm. So would you like a private reading or would you both like to participate in a joint reading?" Gale asked. "Either way is fine with me."
Ashley looked at me and said she was okay with doing a joint reading so I told Gale to proceed.
"So you are both new to this sort of thing are you?" We both nodded and mumbled a confirmation. "Well, let me tell you a little about how it works. The cards are only part of what we're going to do. I use them to answer more detailed questions about your reading. However, I am able to read most people without the cards. Each deck is for a different period in your life. One for the past, present and future. As I do the reading, I only want you to answer with yes and no unless I ask you a more specific question. So - you guys ready to start?"
"Yes." We both say, we were already following her instructions.
"What is your name?" She looked at me. "Clay Walker."
"So Clay. You moved here fairly recent. It looks like you moved for work, but you also wanted a fresh start and to get away from a failed relationship."
I just looked at her not sure if I should respond.
"You're doing well with your job. I see you deal with a lot of legal papers, you must be an attorney." I shook my head yes. "Your relationship didn't end well and you're still blaming yourself. But I hate to tell you; you two were never going to work out. You made the right decision to finish law school. I know its easy to ask 'what if', but you guys were not meant to be. You need to let your self doubt go, and open yourself to the possibility of meeting someone new. You're a good-looking young man and you will find your soulmate."
"Thanks - I guess." I said and looked down at the table as she placed a stack of cards in front of me. They were large tarot cards. She told me to shuffle them well, cut them into three stacks, then re-stack them into whatever order I wanted. While shuffling, I had to think about a question I wanted answered the most. And honestly I really couldn't think of anything, so I just thought about my future and wondered if I was going to be successful. She placed the cards on the table one-by-one and told me what each card meant. The past reading was mostly what she had already told me; relationship, job, etc.
For the present reading, she asked about the house I had just bought. It's an old river road home just outside of Wallace near the old plantations. She told me to stop working so much and start enjoying my life. She also told me to hold-off for about a year on my plans to refurbish the older areas of the house, then decide if I want to spend the money. For the future reading she talked about me getting promoted at work and that I will be financially successful. Other than that, there wasn't anything very surprising. Oh, she did tell me I was going to meet someone pretty soon. "A dark haired girl." She said. I just smirked because there's about a 1 in 3 chance that any girl I meet would be dark headed.
"And what's your name?"
"Ashley Walker." Gale stated. "In case you haven't realized it yet, you're the reason I took this reading. Everything I've told your brother could have been read by one of the others up front. But, there is an energy about you that I couldn't ignore." Ashley and I looked at each other not sure how to react to her news.
"Before I get into the important stuff, let's go through your past and present and get those out of the way. I see you are in the process of moving, or taking a long hiatus. You are here mostly because you're running from your parents, correct?" Ashley nodded yes.
"You know you can't blame them for wanting you to do well for yourself." Gale said.
"Yeah, well, I haven't figured out what my path is ya know? My parents want me to do what they did; get a job and work the rest of my life. I have a degree in nursing but I'm not sure anymore if that's the field I want to work in. If you look at them they really aren't happy. What do they want me to do, follow in their footsteps and be miserable?" Ashley defended herself as if she was talking to a relative or someone who was going to push her the same as our parents.
Gale huffed a laugh. "Remember. Yes or no answers, only when I ask. Most people feel cheated if they give me too much information." Ashley apologized and listened as Gale continued with her reading.
"I see you're pretty closed off and haven't dated anyone for a while. You are kind of cynical when it comes to relationships and don't trust easily. It all goes back to your first boyfriend, who hurt you. You have to realize that not everyone is the same. There are plenty of good natured guys out there. You are beautiful and shouldn't let your past control your future."
After Gale finished with her 'cold reading', she had Ashley deal the cards and gave her more details on her past and present. Ash apparently meditated about her career path because Gale said her path had not yet revealed itself, but she would know soon enough. Before she got to the last stack of cards, she told Ashley she was not going to read her future.
"Why?" Ashley inquired.
Gale stared at Ashley like she was contemplating what to say next. "When alone, do you ever have the feeling that you're not the only person in a room?" Gale asked.
"No, I don't think so." Ashley responded.
"What about waking up, being in some place and not knowing how you got there?"
"No." Ashley said.
Gale continued. "You have a very special gift Ashley. You are a host. Psychic abilities vary depending on the person. Some have the gift of sight only, some are only good at seeing the past, some the future. But on a rare occasion, a person will not only have the ability to read people, they will also have the ability to communicate with those who have passed beyond this realm. And once that communication has been established, that person can physically conduct the energy of those they have contacted."
"Wait a minute." Ashley said, holding her hand up at Gale. She looked like she was trying to figure out what to ask. "Are you saying that I can communicate with the dead? Like a medium"
"Yes, but much more."
Ashley and I looked at each other. I had a smirk on my face. She did a much better job of hiding her amusement, but I knew she was just being respectful. Gale didn't have much to say after her announcement. I'm not certain but I think she sensed that neither of us were buying into her claim. We thanked her for the reading and made our way back out to Jackson Square.
We browsed a few more shops. Poking fun at her newly revealed talents, Ashley would act like she was talking to an invisible person. Then she would hold her hands up like a zombie and walk around. Why a zombie - I don't know. It was getting pretty late and we still had a 45 minute drive home. On the drive, she asked if I really was struggling over my relationship.
"Sort of. I guess so." I've never really shared much about my private life with her so I felt sort of uncomfortable talking about it. "I just feel like it's hard to find a connection with someone and when you find it, maybe you should sacrifice a little to keep it."
"Yeah but Gale was right. You may not be an attorney right now if you had taken time off school. You know how many people take a break and never go back. Heck, look at me, I actually graduated and I'm still 'slacking'." She held her hand up to symbol quotations. "Besides, I didn't think she was right for you either."
"Why do you say that?" I asked.
"I don't know, yall just didn't seem to fit." She shrugged her shoulders and turned to look out at the river. I was taking her along the scenic route of River Road.
"What about you? You really think Mom and Dad don't understand where you're coming from with your career choices? Its their job to push you ya know."
"I know." Staring out the window, "It's not just the career. I really just wanted to get away. When I look at them I don't see happiness. They are in a routine. They don't seem in love anymore, and it's painful for me to watch."
"Have you talked to them about it."
"No, they seem to accept it, so I will too. Doesn't mean I have to follow their footsteps and get a job, get married, have babies and sit around acting like I'm happy."
"So Gale was right. You really do have relationship issues." I laughed, but realized it wasn't the right time for jokes. She just smiled at me and looked back out the window. "Mom and Dad love each other, they have just been together so long they don't show it the same way they used to."
"Yeah, but isn't that sad?" She looked at me inquisitively.
"Yeah I guess so, but I'm not sure if the kind of relationship you're talking about really exist. How many couples do you know that still act like they're still in love after being together many years?" She didn't have a response. "The fact that Mom and Dad are still together after 28 years is impressive enough for me."
"Yeah, I guess so." She paused for a few minutes. "So tell me about this house you bought, how old is it again?" Cleverly changing the subject.
"According to the realtor, it was built in 1898. I really like it. I'm still unpacking actually and I haven't even made my way through the whole house."
"Wow how big is it?"
"Its not that big, I've just been busy and haven't had a chance to get through it. But its two and a half stories. The attic has tons of stuff in it. Its full of dust. One day I need to get up there and see what it is." I continued describing the house and regretted not knowing much about its history.
"See, you work too much, you need to listen to Gale and get yourself a life." She said sarcastically and punched me on the arm.
We drove up about an hour before dark. After we unloaded her bags in the living room I took her on a tour. She liked her room and seemed excited to get settled in. It was weird having her just down the hall from me again. I couldn't help but remark about how long it'd been since we had rooms next to each other. The only difference is the house we grew up in was only a single story. All the bedrooms of this house were upstairs.
At the end of the hallway a narrow door leads to the attic. Its actually a half-story and I can tell it was used as a bedroom at one time. There's even a restroom although it has long been decommissioned. Ashley wanted to see what was up there. She was a sucker for history and really wanted to dig around for artifacts.
"Lets go see." She was excited but was hesitant to start up the stairs.
She trailed closely behind me. I had only been in the attic the one time during my viewing, but not since I moved in. There was really nothing to see. Mounds of boxes scattered throughout the space. Dust so thick everything was the same monotonous color. And it kicked up off the floor with each step. Ashley didn't hesitate, she started with the furniture, reminiscing about how old it was and wondering aloud how many people had used it. She made her way around the room plundering through chest of drawers and chifforobes, only pausing momentarily to reflect on her findings. By the time I had looked through one box she had made her way half-way around the room.
"Oh cool." She said sitting on a covered chair and looking through some kind of book.
"What'd you find?" I asked.
"Some kind of hand written book, or maybe a diary. This is really cool." She stood up and pulled the dust cover off the bright red antique chair and made herself comfortable to resume reading.
I had found some hand written ledgers for a business. Call me a geek but I was actually trying to follow the numbers. I could tell they were old and I was curious to know what kind of business they pertained to and who owned it. I had almost forgotten Ashley was in the room with me until I heard her stirring around. She wasn't in my line of vision because I was tucked away behind a pile of boxes. Then I heard her start humming some kind of song I had never heard before. I didn't pay it much mind. She drifted in and out of my line of vision and had a totally different swagger about her. She was no longer excavating for hidden treasures, but was now easing her way around the room uncovering the furniture. She hummed the entire time.
I went back to scanning my ledgers, tracing numbers back and forth to see if I could figure out what type of business I was looking at. Ashley looked as if she was unpacking clothes and rearranging the space. I put down my papers and was about to walk over and see if she needed a hand. She was inspecting the clothes in an armoire then all of the sudden, she grabbed the bottom of her t-shirt and pulled it over her head. I froze in place. She continued to hum her song.
'Had she forgotten I was in the room?' I wasn't sure what to do, I didn't want to embarrass her, but I also didn't want her to catch me looking. Maybe she thought I had gone back downstairs. I eased back to my burrow making sure not to make a sound. As I was creeping back, she looked like she was unbuttoning her pants. She bent over slightly and slid her jeans down over her bottom and continued down just above her knees. She leaned forward and grabbed the pants legs and pulled them completely off.
I was in complete shock and hated the predicament. I really can't walk out now. She would die. Here she is standing just a few yards away from me in her panties and bra. I couldn't embarrass her. What she didn't know wouldn't hurt. I stood frozen in place and made my best attempt to look away from her direction. When I glanced back I noticed her unclasping her bra.
'You've gotta be kidding me!', I said to myself. I was starting to feel like such a pervert. Sitting in a dark corner observing the unsuspecting victim. She slid the straps off her shoulder and tossed the bra on a stack of boxes next to the armoire. She continued her song and starting walking around the bedroom area bare chested. I turned my eyes away from her the moment she started to move. I stared at the floor feeling very guilty for being in this situation. I could hear her moving stuff around. Dragging furniture and unstacking boxes. I was too afraid to look because I didn't know if she was still half naked. I prayed she wouldn't walk my way. If she saw me she would kill me. And probably grab her bags and fly back home to Sacramento.
I heard her close to me again so I peeked around to see what she was up to. She was hanging clothes from a very old and dusty suitcase; placing them two or three at a time in the armoire. Then she bent over with her bottom pointing directly towards me. Her panties were straining against the mounds of her butt. I jerked my head back behind the boxes and cursed myself again. After several minutes the room grew silent. I looked out but didn't see her anywhere. I know she didn't go down stairs because I would have seen her pass. I waiting for a while then crept out from behind the boxes.
She had uncovered almost all of the furniture and even rearranged most of it. All of the boxes that were stacked on the furniture had been placed in one pile against the wall. I still didn't see her so I eased further into the open area. That's when I spotted her lying on the bed she had uncovered. She was wearing one of the dresses from the armoire and was sound asleep.
"Ash." I said softly not wanting to frighten her. I figured she wouldn't know I didn't come from down stairs. She would think I came up while she was sleeping. She didn't stir so I spoke up and called her again. She opened her eyes and looked around briefly before turning over to look up at me. Then she looked down at her outfit.