After discovering an ancient tarot deck, Kassandra Troy’s life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell.
Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. To save herself and her friends, Kassandra is forced to journey into the Tarot cards. But can she find a way out of the deck unscathed or will the darkness which follows her destroy them all?
Mom stormed into the room. A few strands of dyed black hair escaped her ponytail and dangled over her forehead like stalactites. One hand clutched the empty nail polish bottle.
So she could spot something in all that mess.
“I found this in the trash.” Mom shook the bottle accusingly. “Were you in my room again?”
Kassandra clenched her jaw. “It’s not your room, you know.” The words came out like bullets. “Our house is still up in Seattle. At least until it sells.”
Dark blotches ringed Mom’s eyes and the corners of her mouth turned into a frown, yet not a smudge marred the immaculately drawn lipstick.
“Okay. I can’t do this right now.” Mom waved a dismissive hand and headed back to the hall.
Kassandra stepped forward. “So who were you shacked up with this time?”
Mom spun around. “You don’t get to talk to me like that.”
“You’re so right.” Kassandra’s neck muscles tightened until they felt like guitar strings. “I guess I don’t deserve to know.”
A vein in Mom’s forehead quivered. Condition red. Her hands clenched into fists. Then she took a deep breath and smoothed the creases in her blouse.
“His name is Sam.”
Kassandra heard a distant shout, deep in her brain. Let this go, it said. This was just Mom’s way of dealing. But the guitar strings quivered—everything pulled too tight.
“Does this one even know your name, or does he call you babe?”
Mom slapped Kassandra hard enough to whip her head to the side.
“This is why I don’t come home at night.” Mom had one finger pointed like a laser.
Kassandra’s cheek burned but she refused to rub it. “Go off with your stupid boyfriend. He’s not going to replace Dad.”
Mom glared, but then faltered, wrinkles grooving her forehead. The roots of her black hair showed tufts of grey intertwined with the natural auburn.
Her shoulders sagged. “No one will replace Dad. But it’s not about him anymore.” Mom trundled down the hall and shut the door to her room.
Something wet struck Kassandra’s hand. She mopped up the tears but who was she fooling? Crying was pathetic. A sign of complete weakness. Kassandra whacked one of the packing boxes, over and over, the same thought replaying in her head—I’m so stupid. Finally a cardboard flap tore off and sailed to the corner of the room. It landed near her pair of purple Doc Marten boots.
Auntie Jo glanced in before continuing on to Mom’s room. The argument echoed down the hall.
“I’ve had enough of that girl. It’s always the same.”
“Maybe if you spent more time…” Auntie Jo said.
“I can’t be around her. I just can’t.”
Kassandra edged closer to her door, pulse beating erratic and hot.
“I should have left her in Seattle. Then we’d all be better off.”
Kassandra filled her lungs to bursting, not daring to exhale. Breathing would make this real. And it wasn’t. She wanted everything all at once, to march in there and scream, to crawl into a corner and whimper, to run as fast and as far away as possible.
Tim Kane grew up in Southern California watching Toho movies and reading H.G. Wells. He has not lost faith in the sanity of the world. He studied writing as the University of California San Diego and has amused readers with many short stories. His first published book, The Changing Vampire of Film and Television, analyzes the past seventy years of vampires. He lives and teaches in Chula Vista, California, with his spectacular wife, daughter, and a dog that stands upside down. He enjoys traveling to the dark places of his mind and bringing back souvenirs. He hopes you have enjoyed this brief tour of his life.