Magical Flash Fiction – Tarot-a-Day: Seven of Swords by Charley Barnes
I keep it in a box. In the dead of night, I whisper to it all the things people have said that would be changed, or affected, if they only knew of its existence. ‘You’re such a lovely person… I feel like I can tell you anything… I know you’re the strongest of us all, really…’ I press these things between the spaces that make up the wooden carvings on the box’s lid as though they might somehow feed the thing that lives inside.
It’s been there for years now. There have been times when I’ve nearly told others of its presence; times when the words have sloshed around my mouth like cheap wine and burned my throat on the way back down. But it’s been just me and the box for so long that telling someone seems redundant; after all, why does anyone need to know? I have told myself this lie so many times that I believe it near-wholeheartedly and during the moments where I am struggling to believe it at all this is something else that I press into the box’s lid, as though the contents also need to be reminded.
I am brazen though, and while the contents of the box remains hidden the box itself is pride of place. It sits on the fireplace in my living room, between two candles and beneath a mirror. People have commented on it in the past. ‘It’s an interesting design… It fits so well with the rest of the room, but it’s somehow so different… Where did you get it?’
‘Oh, I can’t remember now,’ I replied.
‘It’s so intriguing, the design.’ The woman rubbed her finger across the lid’s indentations, and I worried for a moment that she’d shift the trapped words. ‘I’d love to get myself one,’ she said.
And I remember thinking this visitor must be brazen too, because we all already have at least one.
Card: Seven of swords
Keywords: secrecy; self interest