” No Felicity. No. Not this again.”
Felicity was digging her heels in, like she did every Halloween in front of one doorway or another with a tastefully handwritten printed placard taped on the window inviting you in for a ‘consultation.’ with- who is it on this night?
Why not Archie thought to himself. Why the heck not. Last year it was Madame Francesca and the year before that The Amazing Zephron.
” Felicity, this never works, it will never work and you’ll spend the rest of what should be a festive night for the both of us crying over spilt milk. Come on old girl, it’s Halloween. Let’s kick up our heals and maybe have a little fun for once.”
Felicity gave him that look- the one that said we have had a lot of fun and look at where it’s gotten us.
When she was sure he heard, or rather saw that, she continued:
” I have a feeling about this one Archie. I think this is the one that will help us -please don’t turn away Archie. Look. ” she took his hand and placed it on the glass door. ” Can’t you feel that?”
Archie closed his eyes and his lip curled back. He tried not to gag. ” Felicity. Something is sticking to my hand and it’s sticky.”
Felicity’s eyes welled up a little and she let her tears, cool to the touch Archie knew, roll down her cheeks. ” Please Archie. Let’s try. What can it hurt? Maybe tonight we can talk to our Son. Maybe tonight is the night we can find him and he’ll forgive us.”
Archie loved Felicity. He loved her weird taste in music and the way her eyeliner always ended up getting smeared so her eyes ended up looking like they were melting and the way she always poked herself in the chest when she put on one her Great Grandmother’s many broaches that were shaped like Bumblebees and said, ‘oh it stung me the nasty thing.”
” Oh Felicity. Ok. We’ll try. Again. ”
He held the door open and Felicity went through first.
Madame Esme by far, had the best fake British accent Archie had ever heard. Both he and Felicity had grown up just outside of London, but that was a long time ago and they have lived in the States for so long that only the faintest hints of their old life came through when they spoke. Still they could spot a fake accent in a heartbeat and Archie for one was ready to write Madame Esme off right then and there.
But not Felicity.
They followed Esme into her Parlor- it was lit with candles, the windows were shuttered and there were ferns hanging from the ceiling in baskets . All around the room there were shelves lined with little jars full of dried herbs and plants and shells. A cat was asleep on an ‘offering table’ next to silver box with slit on the top.
With a little bow, Esme invited them to sit at the table in the center of the room.
After they were seated, Madame Esme leaned forward and looked deep into Felicity’s eyes after first looking into Archie’s less then amused ones. ” I think for you, we will use the Crystal Ball.”
” It’s very pretty. I think that’s a wonderful choice.”
Madame Esme remembered to learn forward and to gaze with intensity from Felicity’s face into the crystal before she dramatically took Felicity’s hand into her own . But she did she pull back a little when looked up and she thought Felicity’s eyes were melting. Before she broke character all together she realized it was her eyeliner it was smudged , apparently the lady did not have a steady hand.
Esme ( aka Edna Phillips ) took a deep breath, she looked up and wondered if she remembered to turn the coffee maker on before the couple came in and then she closed her eyes and dove into the Crystal Ball remembering to let her earrings and bracelets and necklaces swing and jingle as she leapt.
” Close your eyes and imagine that we are standing in front of an elevator in the lobby a grand old Hotel ”
” I’m seeing the elevator in the Marsten, what are you seeing Archie?”
” Felicity, shhh.”
“The doors open and together we move into it. The doors shut and a button on the panel lights up and we start to move slowly up to the top floor.”
Esme opens her eyes and looks into the crystal ball and she says, ” We’ve stopped. I see the door opening, I see someone standing there, wrapped in shroud. It’s falling away from the figure. This gentle Spirit has been waiting for you with a full heart for a very long time. ”
” Who -. Oh no Archie. Oh NO!” Felicity reached for Archie and if she could have moved fast enough she would have been out of her chair before anyone could stop her.
Esme reaches out to Felicity and takes her hand and gently encourages her to sit down. ” Don’t be frightened. This Spirit means you no harm. He has a message for you.”
Archie puts his hand on Felicity’s shoulder. ” Listen here Madame Edna ”
Esme dropped Felicity’s hand. ” What did you say?”
” You’re scaring my wife. Now fun is fun and it’s the night for it. But I can not tolerate…-”
” It’s someone who loves us very much? Only one person could say that without laughing. Our Son. But in the end, we even let him down. We should have never gone out to the Circus that night. We got a little tipsy you see on the way home with some Gin we bought from the Bearded Lady and on the way back…”
Felicity reached for Archie and she took his hands in hers and lifted them to her cheek. ” We had an accident. At the Bridge. And we lost our Son, he was only five years old and he is the only other person we loved more then we love each other.”
Esme was on firm turf here. ” Your son says all is forgiven and that he has known great peace.”
Felicity dropped Archie’s hands and she lowered her head down and sobbed. ” Our poor Son. He was such a gentle creature. Two Devil may care people like us should never have produced such a lovely soul.”
Madame Esme aka Edna Phillips went into Earth Mother mode. She dropped the dramatic gaze, she fluffed her hair just a little, just enough to let the scent of lavender fill the air. ” But he loves you and we wants you to know that he is waiting for you, that he will be there when the time comes. ”
” But he’s gone. He lived an entire life without ever knowing how much we have missed him. ”
Edna echoed ” You left him and he lived an entire life? ”
” Our Son is dead Archie. I really thought we’d find him first and that we could say we were sorry for leaving him and now he’s dead and he’s on the other side and we will never be able to…” Felicity grappled for the right words and found none.
Her sobs were heartbreaking.
” He wasn’t in the car Felicity and that is all that matters. He wasn’t in the car with us that night…Now calm down. I’m pretty sure that Madame Edna here got her wires crossed and she stopped the elevator at the wrong floor and had a chat with the wrong Spirit.
It wasn’t our Hamish, I’m sure of it and nobody we know has ever, geeze I can’t believe I’m going to say this- rode the elevator to the top floor, so I’m sure Hamish is fine. He’s probably out there right now with his Grandchildren, he might have a dozen of them by now. I’d bet the farm that they are out there right this second celebrating Halloween. Our favorite holiday. Just picture it Felicity. Our Hamish with his big wonderful family laughing and happy and Trick or Treating. I’ll bet he even has that dog you always wanted him to have.”
” I wanted to give it to him for his Birthday that year. I wanted to name it Champ.” Felicity hiccupped and covered her mouth with her hand.
” I am POSTIVE” Archie glared at Esme ” that Madame can gaze into her crystal ball, ride the elevator and find a spirit who can tell us where to find Hamish so we can pop in and see how he’s doing.”
Archie’s eyes burned like coals and before she could cry out Archie was on Esme’s side of the table – she wanted to look anywhere except for Archie’s face because Sixth Sense or not she knew what she was going to see wasn’t going to be good. So she looked down and that’s when she saw water was pooling at Archie’s feet and she turned away and looked across the table and saw small slow moving rivlets of water were streamimg from Felicity’s forehead and into her eyes and that her eyeliner was running down her cheeks.
“Give it another go Edna. What have you got to loose? Two lost Devil may care spirits like me and my wife are game for another try. Are you?”