BJ Condike

BJ Condike

Published On: December 19, 20234 min readCategories: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

A cloud of dust enveloped Sharon as she stood motionless at the entrance to the old silver mine. After several seconds the rocky rubble ceased falling, leaving the mine entrance completely sealed. A few fist-sized cobbles rolled to her feet, leaving prehistoric-like tracks in the dust.

The monster is dead. Now Angie will be safe.

It grieved her to think “the monster” had been her older brother Timothy.

But that’s what her dream had predicted, and that’s what the cards had said. Not in so many words, but Sharon’s nightmarish visions had proven true twice in the past.

Like that haunting dream last year about her mother dying in an auto accident. The blaring horns, squealing tires, and crashing metal. The images that could not be unseen, the sounds that could not be unheard.

And then her mother died the next day. In an auto accident.

Six months ago, Sharon had had a vivid dream about a school fire. A vison so intense she could smell the smoke, feel the heat, hear the screams. Two days later, the fantasy became reality. Viewing the gruesome newscast was like watching a flat screen re-run of a 3-D horror movie.

But last night she had dreamed about a faceless man attacking her younger sister, beating her, raping her, leaving her for dead. Angie was only twelve.

This time Sharon had to act. She had to protect Angie.

But how? No adult would believe the ravings of a mere seventeen-year-old girl. They would characterize her fears as imaginary and blame them on drugs or alcohol or hormones. Plus Sharon’s known long-time obsession with the occult would diminish her credibility and undermine her pleas for help.

Besides, the man in the dream was faceless. She couldn’t identify him.

That’s when she decided to use her fledgling powers. She was still learning how they worked, and she felt they grew stronger every day. But she would need help with her divinations.

So she had asked her brother.

Timothy was only a year older, and the two had always been close. He had never made fun of her supernatural interests. They had drifted apart this past year, but they still occasionally hung out, if only because Sharon was dating Timothy’s best friend Brad.

The first thing Sharon did was enlist Timothy’s aid in using her Ouija board. It took at least two to operate. They sat on the floor in her room with their hands resting on the heart-shaped planchette. Sharon asked the board, “Who’s the faceless man in my dream?” The planchette danced around the board and haltingly spelled out, “YOU KNOW WHO.” She asked it to identify the attacker, but it refused to answer. Timothy asked the question again, but the board rebuffed him as well.

Undaunted, she opened the battered box of tarot cards she had inherited from her mom. Sharon had been practicing on her own, but felt she needed the added power from a kindred spirit—in other words, Timothy.

Using the basic spread, Sharon dealt out three cards to herself face down.

Calmly, deliberately, she turned over the first card.

The Moon.

Psychic abilities. That’s me.

She held her breath as she exposed the second card.

Queen of Pentacles, reversed, or upside down.

Lack of a mother figure – that applies to both me and Timothy.

Hoping for something more definite, she turned over the last card.

Queen of Cups, also reversed.

Beware the seducer.

Great. The cards seemed to be working, but not helping.

Keeping her interpretations to herself, she turned the first three cards over and dealt three more cards to Timothy.

His first was The Emperor.

Masculine energy. Yup. That’s Tim—if a skirt walked by, he’d chase it.

Flipping the second card revealed the Ten of Swords.

Violence. Okay. He is on the wrestling team.

Timothy’s final card was the Three of Swords.

Betrayal.

She quietly put the cards away. “Well, that was a bust.”

“You got nothing?”

“It was nonsense. I guess I don’t have it today.”

“Try one more round,” Timothy said. “Maybe the Celtic spread of ten cards in a cross.”

 “Not now. I’m tired. I need a break. I know—let’s go visit the old silver mine like we did when we were kids. We haven’t been there in ages. Maybe it’ll inspire me—or maybe we’ll strike it rich.”

Timothy shrugged. “Okay. Whatever.”

She didn’t want to believe Timothy was the monster in her dream. But everything pointed in that direction: the Ouija Board’s cryptic “YOU KNOW WHO” message; the Tarot card pointing to his masculine “energy”—typical for an eighteen-year-old male, maybe, but still; plus the cards highlighting his violent nature and then speaking of betrayal.

Not to mention the obvious. Timothy lived in the same house as Angie. He would have ample opportunity to abuse his baby sister.

In the end it didn’t take much effort. Sharon convinced Timothy to enter the mine by himself and look for silver nuggets while she feigned a sore ankle and remained outside. She only had to poke at the rotted timbers twice with an old shovel before they disintegrated, and the entire cave entrance collapsed. It would be a long time before anyone discovered Tim’s body.

Later that day after she had cleaned up from the mine collapse, the doorbell rang. Her boyfriend Brad stood on the front porch with his motorcycle helmet perched on his head.

“Hey,” she said. “I thought we weren’t going out ‘til tonight.”

“We’re not. I came to see Angie.”

“You what?”

“Angie. I came to pick her up. I promised I’d take her for a ride.” He gestured toward his Harley in the driveway.

“She’s not here. She’s at a friend’s house.”

He shrugged. “Never mind, then. See you tonight.” Brad pulled his gray neck gaiter over his nose, flipped down the helmet’s opaque eye screen, and left.

The perfect faceless man.

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