The Un-fortune-ate Teller

The dimly lit room reeks of funky incense and the hopes of the pathetic believers who place their future in the hands of a charlatan. Their presence hangs heavy in the creases of the cheap brocade curtains veiled in years of dusty deceit.

Roosting on a crimson velvet chaise lounge, I wait to have my future revealed by the Great Madame Oriel. She comes highly recommended by her throng of devotees.

The curtain to the back room parts and a disconcerted woman hurries past me, clutching a tissue in her trembling hand.

“Bad news?” I ask, but my question is answered with a curt snort.

“Miss Ellanora,” a disembodied voice with a southern drawl beckons me, “I’m ready to help you discover your destiny.”

Madame Oriel’s lavish back room is all that I anticipated: garish, kitschy, fallacious. She matches her décor, playing the part of the guru with the fertile mind.

“You aren’t well, child. I feel your despair. Sit so I can allay your burden,” she says, motioning with open arms from her majestic armchair throne.

I sit on the edge of the chair and ask, “What do you see for me?”

She takes my hands and locks her eyes with mine. Her face turns white. She pulls away. Swallowing hard, she asks, “Why are you here?”

“You’re the psychic. You tell me,” I retort.

She shakes her head and exclaims, “I only tell them what they expect. So, I embellish a little. No harm done.”

Disgusted, I reply, “Of course. So tell my future.”

Clearing her throat, she says, “You’re angry. You lost someone close to you, and now you need someone to blame.” Her southern drawl suddenly gone, she adds, “I see pain and red…”

“You know, I thought you’d manipulate my fortune like you did to my sister, but I was wrong; maybe you are the real thing. You actually predicted your own death,” I say, as I stand and slide the butcher knife from my jacket.


This little manipulative story was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge. The prompt this week was to use the third definition of the word: MANIPULATE (transitive verb) 3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose : to doctor.

Check out the other stories/poems here.


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