The Future is Unknown…
By Sergio “ente per ente” PALUMBO
edited by Michele DUTCHER
There are some people who just couldn’t remember the past. As for me, I had started to not remember the future…
Now, this isn’t nonsense, having been able to look at forthcoming events from time to time I have often put this weird power of mine to good use. But the insidious illness affecting my mind prevented me from seeing those events as clearly as before.
Reading Tarot cards had been my earliest occupation. I had done that since I was a child learning how to be a fortune-teller, a Cartomancer, from Eszti, the middle-aged woman who owned me at the time. I would roam along the streets of Győr in northwest Hungary, alongside my ‘teacher’, searching for customers in order to have a poor meal in those days.
Finding some passers-by willing to have a quick palm-reading in some evil-smelling alley wasn’t easy, of course. It was difficult to coax people away from the safety of a main avenue in that old part of town. Other than that, we had to constantly watch out for policemen who didn’t like seeing us in the area and were ordered by the local authorities to get rid of our kind, moving people like us away from the most important tourist routes by fair means or foul.
The thing which made all that even more difficult was that Eszti, simply, didn’t possess the ‘gift’. But she tried her best to get by. At times she was able to convince some policewomen to allow her to tell their fortune at no charge, but she tended to overdo it, frequently promising them exaggerated prospects of great luck that turned out to be misleading or self-defeating. Once Eszti even revealed to a young female police officer that she was destined to live a long life with many riches -- in order to ingratiate herself with all that talk -- but the officer suddenly died during a gunfight on the outskirts of town. The following night her friend and another policewoman beat her with heavy rods to make her pay for her lies, as she had shown herself to be only a boaster and a bad seed, clearly. I myself shared in her hard lesson that time.
At that age I wasn’t aware of my ability yet. Not that such a thing would have changed anything that night, but maybe I could have prevented myself from being forced to trudge along painfully for a week, after the beating.
I don’t know if what occurred there led to what I became later on, but without doubt everything began changing that night. Eszti seemed to have recovered from the wounds and the blows she had taken, but it wasn’t really so. She died five days later, leaving me alone in the town streets, without money and with no place to stay. Those were very difficult days, the vexations and the toughs tormented me during the day and sleeping on the sidewalk proved to be almost intolerable - but I survived in one way or another. I still can’t be sure if those events made me stronger or more decisive, but simply little by little I started developing my powers and all those strange visions I felt from time to time - as if I were into a daydream. Over the course of the following months, these things made my life change completely.
I was able to see in advance the street corners where people were going to be more generous, giving money to the needy boys the next day, or I saw the spots where tourists were going to forget a valuable piece of clothing/wallet along the way. I had more chances than anyone else at getting there before all the others.
But, for sure, the best encounter I ever had was with that young politician near Széchenyi Square that morning. Actually, it wasn’t a surprise to me, as I knew I had to meet him just before it happened, thanks to my useful visions, and I was aware, too, that such an occurrence would prove of great significance for the rest of my life.
I saved him from a deadly bombing that his enemies had prepared for him, in an attempt to eliminate a dangerous opponent in that field. After that, my services were of great help to him making his position better and better year by year, defeating all of his adversaries over the course of the long struggle for power that took place in town. My help allowed him to become the most important individual in the whole country at that time.
He really was an up and coming politician, rising to power after the end of a local massacre, when most of Europe was plunging into desperation - and I became his most appreciated aide.
When I was already 60-years-old, he, still living and healthy even although 15 years older than me, was one of Europe’s most prominent men, and very wealthy, too. He had been able to benefit from all of my visions concerning me in the future, which involved him and his resources as well.
I have a regret, and it’s a deep one, indeed.
I wasn’t able to save that man in the end because I couldn’t glimpse any of the future events that awaited him that final day. Simply put, I had never been able to look too far into the future, and for some time I never understood why. Then I figured that out, finally! The fact was that I couldn’t watch things which were going to happen at a time when I wasn’t alive anymore.
And that was exactly the reason because I couldn’t help that man or prevent him from going to that deadly meeting that night. If only I would have had the chance to remember a sign, perhaps - if only I could have reminded myself of some details that I had seen in my visions the day before: that is, I was going to die of natural causes - on the morning of the same day he would be been killed. This would be due to my shortage of my heart medicine, only ten hours before that incident.
Alzheimer is a bestial cruelty to any living being! The fact is that I had already had views of the way I was going to die, many times before. However, I always simply forgot them…
But now, the dead politician’s sons keep my body still alive, attached to some hospital machines and instruments. They even do experiments on me just to discover the secrets of my visions, the origins of my powers. I don’t know if I’m still living or not, maybe I am, in a way, but my mind isn’t around anymore, sure thing - at least not the same way it was before.
Or, simply, the fact is that I’m dead, but I don’t remember being dead anymore…
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"I'm an Italian public servant who graduated from Law School working in the public real estate branch. I've published a Fantasy RolePlaying illustrated Manual, WarBlades, of more than 700 pages.Some of my works and short- stories have been published on American Aphelion Webzine,WeirdYear Webzine, YesterYearFiction,Another Realm Magazine, Alien Skin Magazine,on Australian Antipodean SF, on Orion’s Child Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine and Kalkion Science Fiction and Fantasy Web Magazine. I am also a scale modeler who likes mostly Science Fiction and Real Space models, some of my little Dioramas has been shown also on American site StarShipModeler or MechaModelComp, on British SFM: UK site and Italian SMF. My Sci-Fi/fantasy/Horror short- stories in Italian have been published on Alpha Aleph, Algenib, Oltre il Futuro, SogniHorror, La Zona Morta, edizioni Lo Scudo, etc.”
Here a brief presentation of Michele DUTCHER who edited the short- story:
“Michele Dutcher, aka Bottomdweller, lives in a carriage house in Old Louisville Kentucky with her border collie – Daisy Dukes. She has a BS degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University with minors in theology & sociology and has been writing Science Fiction stories for about a decade.”