Author: Rhen Wilson
Genre: Paranormal young adult
Koral Waters was a poor psychic. She predicted she would excel someday, but she had an unfortunately unforeseeable road ahead. At least, she couldn't see it. Nor could she foresee the fate and trouble that awaited her. You see, when she answered the front door, she did not know that the old woman standing innocuously at the end of the block was staring directly at her, biding her time.
Instead, Koral Waters only had eyes for the man and woman standing on her front porch. She guessed the two were maybe in their mid-to-late twenties or — No, wait, late thirties? She was terrible at guessing ages, which always became a topic for concern from the clients expecting a first-rate psychic evaluation.
The man and woman were pleasant looking folks with blond hair and tiny eyes. Koral smiled warmly at them and said, "Welcome to Koral Waters's Realm of the Psychic: a unique and one-of-a-kind psychic evaluation and reading. I am Koral Waters."
The man snorted when she finished. Clearing his throat, he asked, "I'm sorry, your name is Koral Waters?"
"I thought that was like your theme or something," he said, not attempting to suppress his laughter. "Like a beach-themed psychic reading."
"Right, well, anyway." Koral forced herself to smile; she was used to people poking fun at her name. "How may I help you?"
As his laughter faded, the man held out a slip of paper with Koral's name on it. Below it, along with her address and hours of operation, screamed in all caps and bold print: "FIRST READING FREE!"
Koral's heart sank. She had hoped these stupid coupons had disappeared since she first printed them two years ago. This coupon was by far her biggest mistake in the psychic biz to date. And she'd made some blunders.
She had printed three-hundred coupons and passed them around town to local vendors and shops. She thought it a great business tactic; she had seen other businesses do similar promotions. Yet she forgot one crucial element: she never put an expiration date on them.
She had figured eventually the coupons would run dry, but at least once a week people came in with the coupon and asked for the free reading, having no intention of ever coming back for a second visit. They merely arrived for the novelty of a psychic reading. And of course because she was the one who goofed, she couldn't refuse them service.
"Come right in," she said, reluctantly taking the coupon.
As she shut the door, she did not notice a gloved hand gripping the shoulder of the old woman at the end of the block.
Koral led the couple to her reading table and pulled up two chairs for them. "You didn't know there would be two of us?" the man asked, grinning and winking at the woman.
"I had the chairs ready, didn't I?" Clients nettled her on the subject often. And yes, it always came from the men.
"Right," he murmured, rolling his eyes. The two sat down across from Koral as she took her seat. The man looked irritated to be here. Clearly his girlfriend or wife dragged him along. Koral had seen this too often, so she carried on lightly.
"How may I assist you this afternoon?" she began cautiously. She tugged her purple, hand-knitted shawl around her shoulders. She had learned from her many books that it was better to allow the client to tell you why they were there, rather than presume. Allow them to be open with you, and their souls will open up to you as well, making the art of seeing that much more transcendent.
The man slouched in his chair, appraising Koral's home with an upturned nose. He didn't seemed to be a fan of candles and incense. His girlfriend — Koral didn't see a ring — spoke.
"I don't really know, I guess," she shrugged, an embarrassed smile escaping her. "I've never done this before. Is there anything that's normally asked?"
"Oh yes," Koral nodded, happy not to be forced down any one particular avenue of conjecture. "Money is always important to people. As are careers, love, and — "
"Love!" the woman exclaimed, her eyes bright. The man jerked his head around and gaped at his girlfriend. An uneasy and disgruntled shadow darkened his face as he moaned, "Why do you have to ask her about that?"
"I'd appreciate someone explaining it to me," she snapped back. She caught Koral's eye and blushed, as if she forgot Koral was still there.
Koral hesitated. She sensed a great deal about their relationship strictly from their interactions with one another, but she mustn't let her physical interpretation affect her otherworldly intuition. She must remain dispassionate and in control of her sight.
She closed her eyes. She allowed her mind to wander outside of this world. She allowed it to enter beyond the physical realm. She let her soul depart and latch onto a truth, which the large majority of the world could never find nor experience. An immeasurable truth. A world without limit. Calmness spread through Koral's body like warm water.
Finally, she saw it.
"Your love is hindered at the moment," she said, opening her eyes. The woman leaned forward an inch, the interest palpable in her bright eyes. Her boyfriend, though still wearing cynicism like a jockstrap, sat up in his chair.
"Your love is hindered," Koral repeated, "but it is not permanent. Like a dam, the wall can break and your love will flow. But you must be strong and push through like a wrecking ball." Okay, she wasn't great at analogies. "You both will be happy, but — "
"What?" the man choked on his surprise.
"What?" Koral stopped, the tranquility extinguished from the room.
"'You both'?" the man repeated indignantly. "What'd you mean 'you both'? You think we're together?"
Koral's heart began to thud in her chest. She had misread their relationship. But she might still work through it if she can convince them that their friendship will amount to more. Perhaps she had been a bit off, but not completely. She had let the physical interfere. She could mend this.
"I'm sorry for being presumptuous," Koral stammered, "but perhaps I foresee your friendship blossoming into — "
"We're not friends, you psycho!" the man yelled, jumping from his seat. "That's my sister!"
Koral's heart stopped thudding. Instead, it fell like a stone into her stomach.
"What the heck is wrong with you?" the man cried. He flipped his chair sideways and stormed out of the house.
Koral stared petrified at the woman, afraid to say anything. The woman just looked back, disgust curling into her frown. "That's sick," she said. "Good thing this was free." She stood up and walked out, shutting the door behind her.
Once her heart found its way back into her chest, and she stood the overturned chair up right, Koral's nerves calmed down and a question popped into her head:
Who goes to see a psychic and asks questions about love with their brother?