Magical Flash Fiction – Tarot-a-Day: The High Priestess by Charley Barnes
The woman inhales until she can feel shifts in her diaphragm and then exhales for three seconds longer. Her chest empties, causing her body to deflate in size where she sits. She repeats the process, counting the seconds for her in-breath and extending them for her out – until she can time it from feeling, without the need for numbers. They aren’t her chosen form.
In these early hours she can hear everything and nothing all at once. The roadside somehow travels from a mile away and filters through the small spaces in each window-frame; the birds perform their morning calling to summon the sun; she even imagines she can hear the gentle snoring of her children in the upstairs of the house. Her own breathing, too, becomes something she can listen to and observe, to find reason in the spaces between.
With each inhale she pulls in the leftover smells of the previous night’s meal; the wisp of lavender candle next to her – as much a part of this ritual as her breathing and her seeking; the perfume she dabbed behind each ear before she came to this space. The one room in the house that others can’t enter, she has tried to build herself a sanctuary and finds now that these moments, where she looks for things in imagined surfaces, where she seeks lost thoughts in the corners of rooms she has built inside of herself, are the ones she enjoys most in any day.
The alarm will sound soon; not in this space but in one of the three occupied spaces above her and the room is so quiet it will allow her to hear this disruption – it might even allow her to hear the off-buttons pressed, the bed-clothes lifted, the children wondering, How important is school? But until such a disruption arrives she will enjoy this non-silence; these few moments of non-action.
Card: The High Priestess
Keywords: mystery; psychic wisdom