100 word assignment – WEEK 43

The Need to Know

Silently, the dwarf took my hat, cane and spotless gloves and motioned to an open door where candles danced with spectres in the dark. The Hansom wheels had faded on the cobbles and trepidation dared my thin resolve. But to leave a coward now would condemn my fragile conscience to a city full of charlatans.

I entered, without thinking of the consequencies.

Already, there were four upon the table: the Lovers, the Fool, Temperance and Justice. The flame flickered before their upturned faces; the crone had begun before I’d even left the hallway.

Deliberately, she overturned the last card and cackled with contempt.


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23 thoughts on “100 word assignment – WEEK 43

  1. But isn’t the crone cheating, starting ahead of time? Then again, what’s the point of being a sinister, cackling, tarot-dealing crone if you can’t cheat?

    The deck was always stacked against him, I suppose.

      • Let’s see. He mentions charlatans…didn’t entirely understand that sentence, but it read as if he wanted a chance to join the world of charlatans. Given that and the Victorian-feeling setting, I think he’s like a character out of Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend – pretending to be richer and better-born than he is for the purpose of attracting young ladies (Lovers), probably more than one (Temperance). He wants to make fools of his victims, but Judgement is coming, and in the end he’ll be the Fool. Which will be Justice. 😉

        Is that anything like the real back story??

        • Changed ‘chance’ to ‘conscience’ – reads better and he thinks he’s visiting the real deal. You’re right, I originally thought he was the Fool and Judgement is coming for him for whatever he’s done. There is another darker interpretation, but I’ll keep quite for now as its a bit of a reach and I only thought of it afterwards.

          • Ah, that makes more sense, or seems to. So he’s visiting the crone because he believes she’s not a charlatan like others who claim to have powers. But why is his conscience fragile? Why does he want to expose it to her powers? I’ll speculate that he has done something more or less criminal and wants to find out how vulnerable and easily exposed he is, without involving to the authorities.

            Or is he about to find out that he was the Fool for coming to her?

            • Excellent! Exactly so! Something criminal involving affairs, forebearance (at having discovered but endured it) and revenge foolishly exacted so easily discovered, resulting in a harsh sentence – Victorians aren’t known for their lightweight penalties. Eeeek.

  2. Hmmm, dabble with the future and you never know what will come of it…I am very cynical about tarot et al but the tone of this still manages to give me the creeps. Good job (this coming from an avid King/Herbert reader!! Not easily creeped out!)

    • Early King I like, but Herbert seems to go to darker places with Fog and Dark and Spear. Dont read any Shaun Hutson unless you want your mind to run screaming to the back of your head in search of a small dark place to hide. I prefer Clive Barker as Weaveworld truly is a masterpiece in wonder.

  3. Very dramatic, very atmospheric. I too wondered about the crone having started before he got there, wondering whether the subject isn’t supposed to shuffle the cards before they’re dealt. Inspired start with the dwarf taking the hat, cane and gloves.

    • Yep, she could easily be a fake but the cards seem to match his situation and expectations, so maybe shes truly precognitve. You’re all right too, she’s meant to shuffle the pack but I wanted to make her seem more creepy. Yeah, I like the dwarf for added effect!
      Maybe I should rewrite it to make it more authentic.

      • Or maybe something so bad that his conscience has become fragile with the weight of guilt over a period of forebearance. He might have foolishly abducted her so that she could no longer be with her lover in an act of unrequited love, something that can easily be uncovered by the authorities. Or something like that!

    • Thanks, I admit to a bit of poetic licence to generate the build up but I think she’s not a fake as he doesn’t seem to refute the cards despite starting early. A possible explanation as to what he’s done are in the earlier threads!

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