The Tower

I sat on the roof, my breath caught in my throat in anticipation of my own actions. Clutched in my right hand were a deck of tarot cards. They felt heavier than usual, and awkwardly large for my sweating hand. My arms were turned to bone without muscle due to my nervousness, and the red illustrations on the back of the top card of the deck seemed to dancing slowly in the faint glow of the full moon. A mocking dance. A dance that seemed to imply a terrible fate.

I was never superstitious, but I was always fascinated by superstition: when I first saw this deck sitting amidst a pile of dusty neglected books at a garage sale, I knew that they were tailor made for me. Not that I ever expected to use them, but I wanted them just for the novelty of it all. The fact that a couple of rectangular pieces of cardboard could decide your fate was a baffling thought to me, but now that they were in my hand I wasn’t so sure.

They could’ve been a prized possession for art merit alone: the back of each card was embroidered with a beautiful red design that looked straight out of the Windsor Castle, and printed on the front were beautiful hand drawn vignettes of chariots, knights, priestesses, swords, and chalices. But the mysticism didn’t start and end there: every gullible housewife and Green Party voter could tell you that these things had power. I just wasn’t one who was ready to believe them.

I looked out to the horizon in front of me, a small suburban neighborhood drenched in milky moonlight. There were no cars in my driveway, meaning no parents or brothers or friends to embarrass myself in front of tonight. Only me, and whatever foul spirit lived within those tarot cards.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, wound up my right arm and released the cards from my hand, letting them set sail into the great unknown. Another breath, and I opened my eyes. Looking down, cards were strewn all about my front lawn and my driveway, all staring back to me with their red dancing backs.

Except for the one that wasn’t, glowing defiantly white against the dark verdancy of the grass.

My eyes widened, and I scooted myself off the roof, landing not-so-gracefully on my feet. A tendril of pain shot up my Achilles, and my left hand instinctively grabbed my leg. I let out a whimpering groan, and another as I took a few steps forward towards the face-up card.

I slowly bent over and picked it up. On its face was a picture of a tall castle tower being struck by lightning, rubble and debris flying in every direction. Embroidered on the bottom were the words “The Tower,” which was one of the few cards I knew the meaning of: great disaster was coming my way, and fast.

I shot my head around in every direction looking for something to jump out at me, but I saw nothing but a sleepy neighborhood. Sighing with relief, I hobbled back inside and promptly drifted off into a deep sleep.

That morning, my nerves were on fire with pain. My leg was rendered immobile, and even the slightest of movements caused every cell in my body to scream out in agony.

Turns out, I broke my foot jumping down from the roof to find The Tower. Clever work, tarot deck.