Authors: Diane Hall
by Diane Hall
© by Diane Hall 2009. All rights reserved
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without prior written permission of Diane Hall.
This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service
Catching Feathers in the Wind
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The Office Sorceress
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Geraldine stared at her reflection in the window of the packed underground carriage. She looked depressed. Who
that depressed person staring back at her? It was bizarre! She shook herself upright and began to experiment with her expression in an alarmingly detached way, indulging in this questionable pastime with the kind of commitment that almost made her wonder who she really was. What about softening the eyes and lips a bit....and maybe trying to look a bit...
about the people and things around her. Not an
smile; that would be wrong, all things considered... just ...enough of a change to convince herself that she hadn’t completely given up on life.
Not the best time to be travelling into the centre of London, but at least she didn’t have to do this every day! Thankfully, the shop usually opened at ten and readings didn’t start until eleven. However, for the next two days, a journalist from a well-known, tabloid newspaper was due to be conducting interviews and taking photographs of the shop’s team of psychic readers, for a “Super-Spooky, Supernatural, Spec
ular!!! Psychic Summer Special!” Geraldine sighed desperately, then made accidental eye-contact with herself again, and carefully un-creased her brow.
a good idea to get in early, set up quickly and deal with their initial wave of curiosity,
the activities of the day were well and truly underway. She sat up straight, unconsciously bracing herself for the day ahead. She loathed these events, but she also appreciated how lucky she was to be living in a time when it was not only okay to openly do what she did, but also quite possible to earn a living doing it. A deep sigh of gratitude overwhelmed her, and her face began to truly soften, of its own accord.
There was a mass exodus at Victoria station, and the sudden emptiness of the carriage felt like an agonising metaphor for another kind of emptiness that she couldn't quite name. It brought a lump to her throat, a lump of loneliness. But the feeling was mercifully fleeting, and she smiled contentedly as a new influx of weary passengers entered the unpleasant enclosure, rushing at the freshly emptied seats as if there was a world seating crisis. For most of them, it was just another suffocating morning in the asphyxiating airlessness of the August underground. Geraldine looked around with a mixture compassion and fascination, suddenly buoyed up with casual-day-tripper optimism, as she contemplated tomorrow's stress-free day of working from home. She suddenly felt too happy to want to fight with anyone. She smiled beneficently as bags, bottoms and bellies crushed her further back into her seat and blocked off every opportunity for further experimentation with her treacherous reflection to increase its appearance of happiness and serenity. She closed her eyes and sent out general good vibes, knowing that there was only one more stop to go and, hopefully, only one more day she would
have to do this again, for as long as she lived.
Only one more stop to go before Green Park and the cosy familiarity of
Magic and Miracles
, the gorgeous little shop she now called her working home, and, thanks to the wonderful connections she shared with her amazing colleagues, one of her favourite places in the whole world. Packed with twinkling crystals, polished stones and a range of smells, figurines, candles and mystical knickknacks, all of which combined to give off the most intoxicating ambience - a distinct aroma of infinite possibility, mystical intrigue and spiritual, girly pampering scrumminess - Magic and Miracles was an oasis of tranquillity in a maddening little desert of thwarted London potential and harassed city dreamers.
The day at work did not start well! The first hour went by in a desperate haze of nonsense involving a missing appointments diary, some (allegedly) overpriced amethyst necklaces, and a round of chaotic incidents with a disgruntled palm reader. This was all followed by what seemed like hours of photo shoots and interviews. By the time things finally began to settle down, Geraldine was truly ready for a break before her first reading of the day. She glanced over at Brogan, her favourite fellow-psychic and indulged in a quick simultaneous eye-rolling interlude. Actually, Brogan was looking worryingly furious, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that 8.30 a.m. was
a good start-time for her. Even her flaming mop of red curls looked angry today. From somewhere in a corner of one of the reader’s booths, someone mumbled, “Uh oh.” and Geraldine glanced up to see Faith looking deeply concerned.
Faith was their illustrious leader. Practically
clairvoyant and trained, as a child, by a close relative, she was a natural medium and a meteorically-rising celebrity psychic. There were times when Geraldine secretly thought she might actually be one of the coolest people she knew. She made no fuss about what she did, put on no airs and graces; worked like a machine yet seemed to have time for everyone; was kind and down-to-earth; generously created work for lots other gifted people, and had gave great fashion advice. Looking after a team of intense and often fragile psychics, while at the same time, looking after business, could
“Brogan’s gonna’ blow a fuse in a minute,” said Jude, the stoical receptionist, who was used to keeping a close eye on Brogan’s mood swings and monitoring her carefully for the threat of impending psychotic episodes. Brogan was on probation for her fiery temper and for being generally stroppy with clients and customers, and Geraldine felt sure that Faith had almost come to the end of the line with her. She wandered casually towards the small table over which the flaming curls were about to ignite, with Brogan making absolutely no attempt to hide her antipathy under them, and now almost spitting at the terrified journalist.
“Brogan, Faith say’s you should go for an early break now, before things get a bit hectic..”
“Huh!! But I’ve only just
here, hon. Are you
!!” Brogan’s broad Australian accent rang loudly around the shop floor, completely startling the already petrified journalist, who was sitting right next to her, eyeing the shop’s exit points nervously.
“Yep... I’m sure,” Geraldine insisted through clenched teeth, and what she hoped would come across as a knowing raise of the eyebrows.
“This might be a good time to take some more photos,” Faith's voice was now hurtling towards them at lightening speed, as she marched towards the flaming red cubicle for a quick burst of damage-limitation. “Yep okay 12 0’clock in the basement cafe.” She added for the benefit of the person who was waiting on the other end of her phone.
“Who me?” asked Jude, who could never be quite sure who Faith was addressing. Faith always seemed to be conducting at least two conversations and carrying out at least three different activities at any given time. If it was at all possible yet for a human being to have two brains, Geraldine was fairly sure that Faith would be the first prototype for that particular evolutionary leap. She checked the diary as Brogan headed off for refreshments, mumbling (although not entirely under her breath) something about bullshit, as Faith stood nervously beside a row of pastel coloured chakra candles, smiling for the first set of solos shots.
It looked as if they were booked solidly all day. Geraldine smiled as some little wind-chimes, decorated with fairies and Angels suddenly tinkled into action, despite the lack of any passing currents of air. It was going to be a good day. She could feel it already!
The first client of the day looked nervous as she walked into the cosy little booth. “Hi,” she said, looking slightly harassed and trying to squeeze endless shopping bags into the small space beside her. “I’m Sarah,”
“Hi Sarah, I’m Geraldine,” she said, offering her hand a chair and a reassuring smile. “Sit down, make yourself comfortable.” The woman smiled awkwardly. Geraldine thought she looked as if she was trying to hide something. As if she somehow thought she
hide something from a psychic! But as soon as she touched her arm and connected with her peculiarly stressed-out energy, a kaleidoscope of pictures began to flow into her mind. Two men, one - sincere but pre-occupied, the other - not so sincere, but gifted with an almost sociopathic ability to appear completely devoted when in the presence of a conquest. “Would you like a recording of your reading?”
“N...No thanks,” Said Sarah, trying desperately hard to keep her bottom lip from trembling. Geraldine checked across the table for tissues and sat down opposite her, again smiling reassuringly. A picture of two wedding rings flashed through her mind, so she knew that Sarah was married to at least
of the men involved in her dilemma. She smiled and nodded tactfully....non-judgementally.
“Okay Sarah, what I want you to do is... just give me something to hold, something you wear quite a lot so it has a lot of your energy in it. Maybe a piece of jewellery... so I can tune in and make a stronger link with your guides, then we’ll just see what we get! Okay?”
Sarah nodded, and carefully removed a thin, gold bracelet, watching Geraldine constantly for signs of deceit as she passed it across the purple velvet covered table. Geraldine closed her eyes and held it in both hands, allowing its energy to wash over her, inhaling deeply to get herself completely relaxed. The woman inhaled as well, as relief swept over her, perhaps just the relief of having someone there to listen for a while.
Geraldine cleared her throat. “I can see you here trying to make a decision about two men.” The woman gasped and glanced around nervously. “I actually feel that you’re married to one of them and you
your husband doesn’t love you anymore... But he absolutely adores you.”
Sarah gasped and stared at Geraldine in sheer disbelief. She’d forgotten to wear her ring after removing it to do some cleaning. She’d
to put it back on, yes she’d definitely
to put it on before coming out... She was sure she’d have remembered if she hadn’t been feeling so wound up about things. But sitting there in the small booth, taking in Geraldine’s concerned expression, she guiltily admitted to herself that perhaps she’d left it at home deliberately, to
the medium. She suddenly felt shamed by Geraldine’s kindness and exposed by her accuracy. Geraldine continued, resolutely ignoring the weird challenge-vibe, and focussing on the high speed communication that was now rushing through her. How was she going to put it tactfully? “The other guy is giving you lots of attention ....but your connection with him is actually very superficial. On the other hand, I see your husband being very pre-occupied with his work at the moment, making big changes, under a lot of stress, but always thinking of you....and worrying about the past...”
The woman’s eyes widened and began to look watery again. “Oh my God,” she said, clutching her heart. “I
so; I just wasn’t sure... The thing is, Geraldine, he never talks about his work.... I just can’t get him to open up about it, and he’s just been so...distant lately. I just, well, I thought he’d gone off me... Gosh!! Thank you!! I can’t believe you just said all that...without me telling you anything...” Geraldine smiled patiently.
“I also feel you’ve lost a child...” At this point, the woman’s face crumpled slightly, and her lips began to quiver dangerously. Geraldine reached for the tissue-box. She sighed and smiled sympathetically. People had no idea of the work they did in those little booths. There was always so much counselling, cleansing and healing going on. People who just saw them as fairground psychics and wasted all their time trying to get them to predict the future just didn’t understand how to get the best out of them at all.
“I...I’m sorry Geraldine, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than....”
“It’s okay...” she whispered softly, "That's what we're here for." She offered the tissues, sternly biting back her own tears of empathy with a severe jaw clenching. She inhaled deeply as the healing energy began to flood through her, and the woman’s sobs quickly evolved into gulps and gasps and eventually into small sniffs.
“I know that must have been really hard for you ...” She said, clearing her throat to avoid the cracking sounds it was determined to make. “But I do actually feel that it has also affected
very deeply, and that this is another reason you’ve
turned away from each other.... He feels as if he's let you down somehow.”
“That’s right!!! Oh my God!” Sarah was suddenly animated again. “He didn’t make it to the hospital in time to see her being born... It was such a horrible
time....for both of us... I suppose...”
“Well, that’s what I’m feeling here. In fact, what I’m feeling... is that he’s never actually forgiven himself... for not being there; did you know that?” Geraldine tried again to detach herself from the heavy feeling of loss so that she could continue the reading. “He throws himself into his work to try to forget...He feels as if he's failed you somehow.”
“But I felt as if
down. You know? As if I’d failed him ...as a woman...”