I finished up, and moved out the alley. It didn’t take too long to run into Samantha. As soon as she found me she ran and gave me a hug. After making it to safety hereself, Samantha began to become concerned for my safety too. I chided her for coming out and risking her life. If the guys were still around, who knows what they would have done.
However, my heart wasn’t really in it. I told her that I ran and lost the guys. I wasn’t going to tell her what really happened and I wasn’t going to take credit for Rune’s fight either. She offered me her hand and I took it without thought. I had to get her to say she loved something. I only had hours left. I started leading us to the park when Samantha tugged on my sleeve.
“Actually, I was wondering if we could go someplace I wanted to go.”
I looked at the watch and grimaced. Rune would not like me going outside of his date plan. On the other hand, if I went where she wanted to go, maybe I could increase the chances of her saying what I needed her to say.
I nodded and she began leading me in the other direction. It wasn’t until we stopped in front of a building that I had any clue where we were heading. I couldn’t see any signs of any kind to indicate what the place was. Samantha knocked on the door. We waited for a minute as rustling occurred inside. Eventually, I could hear a voice.
“One minute, one more minute!” An old exhausted voice exclaimed.
The door swung open, and an old fat lady stood there. She had an empty glass in her hand and a cloth in the other. It looked like she was drying it. She eyed the pair of us up and down, and then turned to Samantha. A smiled peeled on her face and she put her glass down, giving Samantha a hug.
“Oh, Samantha dear, it has been a long while, hasn’t it?”
“Yes, Matty,” Samantha smiled back.
“Well come in, come in. I suppose you want a reading? No, that will be no problem. No appointments today.”
The old lady named Matty ushered us in. Before I could blink, she had shoved us into a room. The doorway was blocked out with wooden beads. Inside was a small round table with a clear glass ball in the center. The walls were lined with photos and random shiny decorations. Matty sat on one side of the table, and ushered the two of us into seats on the other side.
“Now might I ask who your male friend is? No, let me guess. Your name is Sue.”
“How about a Mary?”
“No, I’m a guy. Guys aren’t called Mary.”
“Not true, I once knew a guy named Mary.” Matty squinted, then sighed, “Well, perhaps not, but I could have sworn you were a Mary or a Sue.”
“No, I’m a Jane. I mean, John is my name.”
Matty squinted at me. I realized right off the bat that she was a psychic, but I never really took that kind of thing seriously. If werewolves, vampires, aliens, and ghosts had taught me one thing, maybe psychics weren’t all fake. I felt very vulnerable, like she might know my secret. If she told Samantha everything, then my hopes of getting her to say what I needed would be over. This felt like a really bad idea.
“John is it?”
“Yes, John Anigai.”
“Interesting. No, I see it. That makes you a far more interesting person than you might of thought.”
“What do you mean?” Samantha asked with interest.
“Well, you see, you get a Sue or a Mary… and for all intent in purposes, you always know what you are getting. A Jane or a John though? Well, that could be anyone. Now tell me, would you rather be an every one, or any one you wanted to be?”
Was this old lady crazy?
“I don’t know.” I answered.
The old lady snapped her fingers, “Exactly! Then again, you don’t have to be anything. That would be my advice to you, John Doe. Right now you are unidentified. However, one day you will need to choose what you want to be, and for someone like you, the sky’s the limit.”
I twisted my mouth. Yes, definitely a crazy old lady.
“Now now, that’s not what you came for. It’s love that you came for. The both of you. Although perhaps not the same kind of love. However, I regret to inform you I don’t do couple’s anymore. Becomes too troublesome. I don’t like airing the dirty laundry in front of others. Leads to bad mojo.”
Matty reached to her side and brought out a broom that was resting against a nearby wall out of sight. She hit the ceiling several times.
“Michael, you old geezer! Get your butt down here, there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
There was a thump in response and Matty gave us both a satisfied smile.
“Michael is her boyfriend.” Samantha whispered to me.
Matty overheard and let out a riotous laughter, “Oh boy, don’t ever let him hear you call me that. No, me and the old cherub go back a ways, but there’s nothing like that between us. I’ve simply let him stay in my upper pad. In return he rakes the yard and keeps my appliances running. However, he’s a bit of a psychic himself, in a way. At least, he’s a sensitive. You might do well to listen to what he says. The advice of us old people should always be treasured, and to be frank, he’s one of the oldest.
“Matty,” a voice grumbled as an old man came down the stairs, “You running your mouth on me again.”
“Not any more than usual. Come. Take this boy upstairs so I can talk to the misses in private.”
When Michael turned to me he blinked and then shook his head, “Is this what we’re calling boys these days?”
I glared back at him, but my look faltered when a strange since of familiarity came over me. It was almost as if I had met this man before. I shook my head, I had never seen anyone like him. He had piercing blue eyes and a fairly strong chin, although he was mostly wrinkles and gray hair now. He had a great deal of stubble on his chin, suggesting he only shaved occasionally.
“Oh don’t be rude, you old fart. You need some company of youth, rotting up in that room of yours. Off you go.”
The old woman stood, and before I knew it she was ushering me out of my seat and up the stairs with Michael following. The old man protested, but didn’t seem to be able to resist her insistence. Before long, the two of us were alone in his room upstairs. It really was just one room. It was surprisingly clean and tidy. I kind of expected the old man to live like a vagrant or something.
“So,” Michael finally said, “What is a girl like you doing in a place like this.”
“I’m not a girl,” I protested haughtily, “I’m a guy.”
“Is that so?” the man asked, seeming amused.
“Do I know you?” the man asked, and I blinked at the question that seemed to echo my own.
“No. I don’t think so.” I answered.
Michael shrugged after glancing at me for another moment. “You are an interesting one though. So many different types of magic, all bundled up in one little package.”
The blood drained from my face. This guy was psychic, and he was seeing way more about me than he should.
“What of it?” I snapped.
I didn’t mean to be short with him, it’s just that while I was away from Samantha there was no chance I could get her to say the words. Time was running very short.
“Nothing much, I suppose. I’ve long since gotten out of the business of caring about the supernatural. Still, a girl, in a boy’s body, flooding with magic. Vampire magic, sorcerer magic, angel magic, werewolf, demon, necromancer… all vying for domination. Anything could win out and become the dominant magic. Why, you could be anything.”
“I don’t want to be anything, I just want to be me, Jane.”
The old man blinked, he then took a closer look me, moving forward a bit, “Oh? Is that who you are? Well who would have thought?”
“Stop that,” I snapped.
Michael chuckled riley, “You remind me a lot of my son. He was… a lot like you. I suppose.”
“Whose you son?” I asked, trying to change the conversation away from me.
“Oh, he’s long gone. He and I had troubles. After his mother died, he never did get over it. I tried to be a father. However, I think in the end I failed to be the father he needed. Then I ended up here, and I lost him.”
“Is… is he dead?”
“Dead? No, not dead. Just out of reach. Too much has happened. Even if I could get to him, I don’t know if I could talk to him. It is just too much history between us.”
“So you’re giving him?”
Michael blinked, then looked back up at me, “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
“He’s your son. Why would you give up? If you’re a father, and you love him. You wouldn’t. You’d find some way.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is.”
Michael seemed to give my words some thought, scratching his chin, “Maybe so. Maybe. However, we’re not here to talk about me. I believe I’m supposed to talk about you?”
“Well, I don’t want to talk about myself.’
Michael nodded to himself, “Perhaps not. Then I guess we can talk about something else, like maybe that sword of yours. The Gemini.”
My eyes widened and suddenly found my legs giving way. I hit his bed with a thud. How did he know about that? How much did he know?
I licked my lips, “What do you know about it.”
Michael gave me an apologetic look, “All I know is that it isn’t meant for you.”
My hopeful expression turned to a frown, “What do you mean?”
“The sword, it might be in you, but it wasn’t meant for you. Nor his for him. That’s why it never appears for more than a second. You’re trying to force something that wasn’t meant to be.”
“No, but I can make the sword appear. That has to be for a reason.”
Michael gave a nonchalant shrug, “I’m sorry. It’s just not yours to wield. It’s the problem with all of your kind. You never realize how things are meant to be.”
“What do you mean, my kind?” I asked angrily.
Was he insulting me for being a human, was it because I was a girl, or was it simply because I wasn’t an angel? Either way, what he was saying was pissing me off. I stood back up.
“Well, thank you for your advice, but I think I’ll be leaving.”
Michael shrugged as if it didn’t matter to him. I stormed to the door, but before I left, I turned back.
“Don’t forget to contact your son. Whether either of you realize it, he only has one father.”
Michael frowned, but I shut the door before he could respond. I walked down the stairs and went into Matty’s room.
“Ah, good timing, we were just finishing up.”
I gave her a stiff nod.
“Didn’t like what he foretold?” Matty chuckled, “Don’t worry, he’s more steam than brains.”
I looked down at Samantha, she had a confused look on her face.
“Don’t worry,” she gave me a smile, “I don’t understand what she told me either.”
“And it’s all true!” Matty laughed, slapping her thigh. “Before you go, it’s important that you take a fortune cookie.”
She handed each of us a cookie, demanding that we open them. I opened mine and read the piece of paper. I frowned and read it a second time. It read ‘Follow the dead.” That was strange. Wasn’t that the same thing Andrew’s Uncle had said? What did it mean? I turned to Samantha.
“What does yours say?”
“I think I’m in love.”
“What?” I asked, my heart suddenly skipping.
“It says ‘I think I’m in love’. Matty, your cookies are always strange. Why not something like ‘you will have a long and happy life.’”
I glanced over at Matty, and she winked at me. Excitement shot through me, I had done it! Or Matty had done it. Either way, it was done. I moved forward, pulling Samantha into a hug, barely containing my excitement.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you!” I kissed her on the forehead.
Samantha seemed completely frozen. Her mouth opened and she tried to get some words out, but she seemed to be unable to.
“Sorry, I need to go. I really am, but I realized there is something I have to do.”
As I turned, I noticed Michael had worked his way downstairs and now stood next to Matty.
“What’s going on now?” the familiar looking man asked.
“It looks like a clueless boy just stole a girl’s heart and is taking it out the door with him,” Matty winked again.
I shook my head, I didn’t have time for more of her riddles. I had to get turned back into a girl and prepare for tonight. Samantha seemed frozen in place, but I trusted these two to watch after her and make sure she got home alright. I ran out the door.