I knew without a doubt, something bad was going to happen. It's a deep gut feeling lodging itself between my ribs ever since I left the eerie fortuneteller from the circus. Like most people I don't believe in that stuff. It was just a con to lose your money. I was smarter than that but the old fortune teller sitting in the booth struck me curious. Why? Well, first thing he was blind. You don't see alot of blind con man nowadays, now do you?
And yes, he was autentically blind. I know because I worked in a nursing home that caters to physically disabled patients. I've met and helped all types of physically disabled people most especially the blind ones. Looking into those murky gray eyes confirmed it. But that wasn't all. Though he was blind, he acted like he could see everything. That or those contact lens he's wearing was damn convincing.
Once our eyes met, he smiled and gestured for me to come over.
Wary but curious, I approached the old man. His tiny booth had a table with a crystal ball in it and two chairs. One he was currently sitting on and the other I suppose was for me to sit on since he was already gesturing for me to sit down. He looked eager to have finally caught a customer. I decided to play along with his game.
"So what can you tell me about my future?" I said, sitting down.
He smiled and looked straight into my eyes. A shiver crept up my spine and I immediately looked away. Was he really blind?
"Anything at all. Anything that you would want to know. Want to talk to a deceased loved one? How about knowing next week's jackpot lottery number? Or you'd rather want to learn the secret's of the universe? I can tell you anything you want for a meager price of fifty dollars."
"Fifty dollars!" I exclaimed, turning my head so quick I thought I had whiplash. "There's no way in hell I'm paying you fifty dollars for a fortune telling!" I was about to get up but he placed his hand on my arm. His palm felt cool against my skin yet it broke out in goosebumps and his grip was strong.
"Now, now. Don't be so hasty. It's a good price considering I'm the real deal, Mr. Hasher."
"How did you know my name?" I asked, startled and suddenly suspicious.
"I know a great deal of things, Mr. Hasher. For instance, I know you were raised in Pennsylvenia but moved to Virginia when you were fifteen. You fell in love with an Amy Guy whom you went to high school with but sadly that relationship didn't end too well. You studied in community college in order to get a nursing degree. I could tell you more but that would waste both our time, wouldn't it?" He chuckled as if trying to soothe my agitation. I tried to release my self from his grip but it never budged. I was left with no choice but to sit down again.
"Is this some kind of con you're pulling? How did you get my information? Is that how you know my name?" I demanded.
He released his hand from my arm and shook his head. "It would be impossible for me to do that, Mr. Hasher. I could not have found information about you because I cannot see nor would I have the means to obtain information about you at all. Why this is the first time I'm meeting you face to face. Believe me, Mr. Hasher I'm just a harmless old fortune teller. Now, what would you like to know?"
I hesitated since he sounded sincere and he did seem like a harmless old man. I decided to believe him a little.
"Alright. If you're really a harmless old man then how come you can see me like you know exactly where I am?"
"A fortune teller doesn't tell his secrets, Mr. Hasher. If I did, I'd run out of business early." He winked at me. It was unnerving but I decided to play his game a little bit longer.
"Fine, I'd like to know if I'm gonna ever get rich in the future."
He looked a little disappointed. "Is that what you really want to ask from me?"
"Sure, why not? Isn't that what everyone asks?"
"I was expecting something more from you, Mr. Hasher. But if you insist, I'll read your future for you. Will you please give me your palm?"
I glanced at the crystal ball sitting in the middle of the table.
"You're not going to use the crystal ball?"
"No, that's simply decoration. Now, your palm please."
I lifted my palm upwards and saw him gently grab it, letting his fingers ghost over the surface.
"Hm...I can see you've got a job you really enjoy doing. Training the physically disabled is it? The salary isn't that great but I can see you enjoy giving guidance to them and giving them a little bit of hope. You are a good person, Mr. Hasher."
I grunted at the sudden compliment. "No, its simply my job."
"No, I can feel your happiness every time a patient of yours accomplishes a feat that wouldn't have been possible before. There's a good portion of goodness in your soul, Mr. Hasher. One that is so few in this world we live in."
He continued ghosting his fingers over my palm.
"You have a rare potential inside you, Mr. Hasher. Not many people can see it but if you nurture it, I'm sure it will bloom most beautifully...You'll surely succeed in whatever you endevor to do."
I felt a weird tingle in my hand and immediately pulled away. Rubbing my palm, I studied the old man. He was smiling pleasantly however I noticed there was a strange gleam in his eye. He removed his hands from the table.
"That will be fifty dollars."
Strangely I wasn't bothered by the price anymore. I pulled out a fifty from my wallet and tossed it at the table. Suddenly I wanted to leave.
"So that's it huh?" I asked, standing up.
"Oh, there's something else I forgot to mention. Tonight you are going to encounter a dangerous accident. You may die from it. Goodbye Mr. Hasher. I hope the next time we meet it, it would be a fortuitous encounter."
The dreadful feeling came then and has been with me ever since. I stared at the road in front of me, the headlights of my car illuminating the gravel road ahead as I drove back home. The old man's words came back again and I tried to ignore it. But it stuck to me like glue. I turned on the radio, hoping to drown the thoughts in my head. A late night station came on and the song 'Hey, Mr. Sandman.' started to play. I started to grow drowsy. I hadn't gotten any sleep last night because of a last minute shift and had another morning shift the next day. I consumed almost ten cups of coffee to stay on my feet and now the energy was draining away. My eyes started to droop and then it happened. The truck came out of nowhere, it's bright headlights glaring at me in the face. I jerked the wheel to the side and my car swurved roughly. But it was too late. A loud metallic crunch filled the air as my car hit the truck's side, overturning my car on its back. The impact hit me hard in the head and glass shards hit my face, bleeding and I fell unconscious.
I awoke to darkness and the smell of gasoline. Then I realized I was still in my seat of my overturned car. I struggled to unbuckle my seat belt but the car had bended, making the area where the seatbelt was latched on impossible to take off. I blinked trying to see if the other driver was out there. But there was only darkness. I coughed as the gasoline smell increased. It was dangerous to stay here any longer. I tried to move my body but panicked when it felt like my entire body felt like lead. What happened? Did I get seriously injured? I checked my body but couldn't find anything seriously wrong with it.
"HElP!" I yelled in case there was anyone nearby.
A pair of legs appeared next to me. Then I saw the old fortune teller's face crounching down.
"Mr. Hasher didn't I tell you, you were going to encounter a dangerous encounter this evening?"
"What? Please help me, I can't move and I think I might be seriously injured."
The old man shook his head.
"You don't seem to understand the situation, Mr. Hasher. You've already died."
I frowned at him. "Stop lying. I'm not dead yet! Pull me out now!"
The old man complied as he bent and pulled me out. It was strangely easy as I seem to just pop out of the car like I was nothing. I coughed again.
"Thank you for saving me but how did you know I was here." I replied.
The old fortune teller gave me a grave look.
"I already told you, Mr. Hasher. You are already dead. The car accident had been fatal."
I frowned. "I am not dead, okay! Look..." I trailed off as I turned to look at my car and disbelief crossed my face when i saw myself inside the car, bleeding alot. I stared down at myself and shock filled me. Blood. There was blood everywhere.
"I-I'm dead then?"
The old fortune teller nodded and a little exasperated. "Yes, as I've been trying to tell you already. You died at the moment of impact."
"Then why are you here? Why can you still see me?" I asked incredulous and somewhat afraid.
"Fortune telling is not my only specialty. I also deal in other various things. When I read your future I saw your imminent death and now, I'm here to offer you a deal."
"A deal?" I asked curiously
The old man nodded. A smile on his face
"A simple deal, Mr. Hasher and if you agree you'll get your second chance in life."
"You mean, you can make me alive again?"
"Exactly. You might be skeptical about this but don't fret. I deal with these kind of things from time to time. All I ask in return is your services."
My eyebrows crinckled in confusion.
"Services? What do you mean by services?"
"Nothing notorious or shady of course. I give you a task to complete and you do it. It may be an errand or you may have to deal with a few people in order to complete the task. That's all."
I felt there was something he wasn't telling me but I wanted to be alive again. And those previous thoughts were out of the window.
"Alright. You have a deal."
The old man's eyes gleamed brightly in the night.
"Wonderful! I knew you would agree with me." He nodded in approval.
"Let's shake on it."
I took his outstretched hand and felt his familiar cool grip. He closed his hand around mine and suddenly I cried out in pain. Burning pain flashed through me, scorching the nerves in my entire body and the familiar tingle I felt before was enhanced a thousand fold. It was a loud buzzing in my ears I'd thought I'd burst my eardrums. I was lying on the gravel floor shivering when it was over.
"Just who exactly are you?" I managed to gasp out.
The old fortune teller smiled.
"It would be a pleasure to finally introduce myself, Lionel V. Hasher. I've been called many names however I am sure you already know who I am, don't you?"
I shut my eyes, feeling disbelief passing through me. "No, it can't be. Impossible. You're not real." I said weakly.
The old man's figure blinked and a middle aged man appeared in his place. He was taller than the old man, more refined and distinguished. His smiled was even more sinister than the old man's.
"I am the devil, a pleasure to finally own your soul."
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