" I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses, " - Stephen King
Einar was familiar with this routine. He had done this time and time again, but why did this time feel different? He paused as he walked towards the fortune teller's shop. Green eyes looking to the window where the word Psychic read in purple neon letters. A smiling silver half-moon accompanied by twinkling stars sat in the window. The tall lad pushed open the wooden door and made his way inside the shop. Immediately, his nostrils were hit with the unmistakable smell of incense. He made his way to the back of the shop where red velvet curtains had been draped. He paused once again until he heard a voice from behind the curtains. Distinctly feminine and quite youthful sounding.
"Are you going to just stand there, or are you going to make up your mind?" the words had a near playful tone and laced with a distinct Eastern European accent.
"I think you know the answer," was Einar's reply once his spidery fingers touched the soft curtains which parted them, permitting him to make his way into the room where the owner of the voice did much of her work. Lounging in a large wooden chair that resembled a throne, complete with a high back and raven heads carved into the armrests was a rather slim attractive girl in a spaghetti strapped black top that disappeared into a pair of faded blue jeans. She was slim to the point of near anorexia. Dark blonde hair hung past her shoulders and nearly reached past her armpits. She looked barely seventeen but her luminous black eyes spoke otherwise. They were like bottomless wells of deep memory. The eyes of a very ancient being.
"I do," was the girl's reply. She gestured for the lad to have a seat and he did so. Taking his seat in a simple wooden chair that sat across from the Romany girl. Einar didn't even have to even say the words. She knew there was something different in his demeanour. In his aura. "You have not come to discuss that mission of yours have you, "the girl stated.
"No," Einar replied simply. His eyes focused on her. "This is something else," he replied. " The mission is put on hold...for now." The Romany smiled at this. A rather knowing smile. She reminded Einar of a cat that had eaten a canary. "Go on..." she told him gently.
"There's this girl I've met," he began. "Mysterious, Mediterranean, beautiful. " The Romany was amused by the look on the lad's face. Oh, he was smitten alright. She hadn't seen him in this state before. Whether this was a good or bad thing remained to be seen.
"I see, " she replied. " That is not the full story of why you are here, is it, Einar? It is your dreams." Einar didn't even blink when she asked him this question.
"Partly, yes. I dream of a wolf. A white and black furred wolf with eyes that are ocean blue. In the dream I'm following the wolf towards a lake and then a shadow of a woman appears and the wolf vanishes and the shadow does to consuming the wolf." Einar sounded slightly unnerved by the dream. The Romany girl nodded slowly as she listened, her expression serious. "You believe this dream has ties to...this girl?" She was fishing for a name.
"Leorah," the lad replied. "I do. I'm not troubled by the wolf or the lake. It's the shadow. Something I feel I should be wary of. That it's someone I've met before. " He frowned. "It doesn't make any sense, does it?"
" It makes more sense than you realize, Einar, " the Romany replied. She looked to the crystal ball that sat in the middle of the table. " You also are not as powerless as you think you are. What have you done before? When there was an obstacle or a prize you wanted to obtain? You crushed it. You took what you wanted. Why should this be any different? " She sounded almost amused. " If you like her and she likes you, what is the problem? Your mission? I do not think it is as important to you as you would like to think. " I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too. Einar wasn't sure why he was mentally quoting the Wizard of Oz just now.
"I thought it was, " he replied. " Now I'm not so sure. Even if I could return to what I was before it wouldn't be the same. " He wasn't sad about it. It was just a fact. " I've been in this state for far too long. I'm not what I was before. It's not good and it's not bad. It just is what it is." Einar felt a strange feeling of relief wash over him as he finally accepted this fact. The Romany merely stared at him for a moment before she spoke.
"If this shadow is what I think it is, then you may have to fight fire with fire, " the Romany told him.
"Last time that happened I almost burned down half of the dockside," Einar admitted. He didn't realize that the Gypsy was speaking in metaphors until she told him so with a tone of mild annoyance.
" You may have to use magic," she told him. Einar thought on this. He looked as if he almost disbelieved that he could.
"Why the doubt, Einar? Magic runs through the very core of your being. No matter what form you take. An ancient creature like yourself would know this. You attract other magical beings. You cannot turn your back on it, especially now. "
"I get a sense that I'm running out of time, " he told the Gypsy.
" You just may be right, " she replied. Einar nodded and got to his feet.
" Leaving so soon, " the Romany asked. The humour returning to her face.
" I have a lot to think about," Einar replied. " Thank you, Star." The Gypsy merely grinned at him. She cleared her throat as the tall black-clad lad turned to leave. He slowly turned to look back at her. She held her hand out and retracted it when her payment was received.
" Good luck," she told him as he made his way towards the velvet curtains.
"Thanks," he replied and soon he made his way past the curtains and out of her vision.
"You will need it," she muttered when the lad was finally out of earshot.