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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Fortune Teller
By Michael Joshua


I enjoyed my cotton candy as I walked down the pavement through the midway. There should be more local carnivals, I thought.

Then, I spied it, off to my left. A small canvas tent. It seemed a bit out of place, but then again, I never knew what to expect at these venues. The entrance flap was open so that just a sliver of light escaped. Tied to the window screen was a sign with “Futures Examined” scribbled on cardboard. A fortune teller.

Ah, this would be fun.

I pulled the flap to the side and peered into the tent. There was a man sitting on a green bean bag chair in the center of the floor. He looked up and nodded toward the unoccupied red bean bag. I shook my head, smirked and let the tent flap drop from my hands. As I backed away from the tent, I saw the flap move and his face appeared in the opening. He silently beckoned me to enter.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching and ducked my head as I stepped into the tent. After all, what is a deacon of the First Baptist Church doing with a fortune teller?

I sat down on the red bean bag chair as he raised the wick on one lantern to bring more light to the space. The costume he wore was a simple robe tied at the waist with a sash. I tried to figure out about how old he was, but the flames were casting shadows that did not allow me to see his face clearly.

He took his place opposite me and held his hand out to take mine. I remember thinking he must be very old because his hands were as rough as old corn cobs. But, then again, his touch was so gentle. How is that possible, I wondered?

He cleared his throat and traced the lines on my left hand, “You have struggled much with your wife, yes?”

“That’s true.”

“Do you want to tell me about it?” he asked.

I smiled, safe in the knowledge that he was only guessing. “You tell me,” I said.

“Your family does not accept you. Because you were injured as a child, you were unable to help with the family business, so you have been an outcast. They said you would never amount to anything. You feel unworthy, and you visit that on a woman who adores you. You cannot deal with your feelings of abandonment, inadequacy – so you put that on her back. Daily, you deal with her unfairly.”

I tried to pull my hand away, but he kept it in his grasp.

He continued, “You have visited with prostitutes because you experience a feeling of power over them as they respond to your requests.”

I tried to stand, but my legs would not cooperate.

“If you choose to accept it, love is here for you.”

“Yeah, right,” I sneered at him. “How do you presume to know these things?”

“Am I mistaken?”

“No comment. Go on, if you please.”

He took my right hand and I felt his calloused thumb in the center of my palm.

“You are the master of many, but lack control over your own life and destiny.”

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Many people have dead end jobs, nowadays. That does not prove that you know anything about me.”

“Should I expose your days from birth to death? Your secrets? Your desires? Why have you forgotten me, Daniel?”

It was then that I shuddered. As I watched his hands holding mine, I noticed the scars.

Scars in his hands.


The words escaped my lips as tears rolled down my face. “Lord, Lord – my life.”

“Yes, I know. Your faith can be rekindled if you desire it.”

My shoulders convulsed as I sobbed. “Yes, put the fire in my belly again. Touch me. Please. My Savior. Deliver me.”

It was then that he stood. I stayed on the floor with my head buried in my hands. As his hands touched my head, I felt power surge through me.

“Be healed, walk in the light.”

I lifted my head to see him through the tears.

He was gone.

I looked around, the carousel was to my left. The cotton candy vendor was to my right.

There was no tent.

There were no lanterns.

Only freedom remained.

I bought flowers for my wife on my way home.

On my way home.

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This article has been read 436 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/22/10
Thus grabbed my attention from the very beginning. There was an air of mystery around it the whole time. Nice job with a satisfying ending.
Joanne Sher 10/22/10
Oh boy. The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways. Creative and edgy presentation here. Very gripping.
Amanda Brogan10/23/10
This is a neat story. I'm not so sure about Jesus being portrayed as a fortune teller, but He does know our past, present, and future better than anyone else. I really like the ending where the MC was healed and set from his sins ... and was on his way home. :)
Caitlyn Meissner10/25/10
This was very interesting. I liked how you presented the story, and the healing that came from the conversation.

I did have a hard time reconciling your MCs "this will be fun" comment with his not wanting to go into the tent in the next paragraph. Still, I enjoyed this very much. Thank you for a good read.
Lollie Hofer10/25/10
This was a well-written, well-crafted story. I also had trouble with the Jesus-being-a-fortune-teller-thing but was thoroughly blessed with how it turned out.
Jan Ackerson 10/26/10
Very atmospheric and tense--well done!

I wonder if it'd sit more easily with people if you broadened it into allegory, with an empahsis on the carnival's atmosphere and the fortune-teller being symbolic of Jesus rather than Jesus himself.

You wrote your main character well, and I enjoyed reading this story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/28/10
Congratulations for placing 6th in level 3 and 15th overall!