4.4 Specific Impressions

by Matt P.

The back room that he took them to wasn’t the one that Antigone expected to go to. They passed one that looked like it should, dark and with a crystal ball in the center. But they passed it and went back to another room, set up more like a conference room then with any faux mysticality.

“The crystal ball doesn’t work.” The man said, when he caught Antigone looking. “It’s set up to show promotional images from Doctor Who, because people expected it and I thought it was funny.” He snorted. “That’s the funny thing about humanity. I tell them I’m a fake psychic, and they still want a flaming crystal ball.”

He moved to sit down in one of the thoroughly mundane office chairs, and crossed his legs. He motioned to the chairs that were across from him, and Antigone and Siobhan folded themselves down in to them.

“So what was it you wanted to talk to us about?” Siobhan asked, challengingly. She was breaking out the semi-hostile tone that she used when she was confused or scared and didn’t want anyone to know. Annie knew, of course, but she didn’t let on that she did. It was part of the careful and delicate dance of sisterhood and friendship that they, like all siblings, walked.

“The raven in the winter wood, and the blooming dove rising in the spring.” The man said, looking between the two of them for any hint that they knew what he was talking about. “Does that mean anything to you?”

Antigone shared an eloquent glance with her sibling, during which time both of them decided on honesty as the best path. “Dreams.” Antigone answered. “That’s…we’ve both had dreams that have things kind of like that.”

The man nodded. “Hmm.” He hmm’d absently. “Gregory Shepherd.” He offered.

“What?” They both echoed.

“My name.” He repeated, slowly as if he were speaking to particularly thick children. “Since we’re discussing personal matters. My name is Gregory Shepherd. Don’t introduce yourselves, I know.” He waved his hand. “I know. So dreams.”

Siobhan nodded. “I’ve always had dreams that featured them, and I think Annie has too.” At Annie’s nod, she continued. “I think we stopped talking about them when we were children, because it weirded us out to have similar dreams.”

“It was more than just freaky twin shit.” Antigone agreed. “And it’s gotten weirder since we moved to this bizarre city. Last Friday our dad was attacked, and afterword we had a dream. I don’t remember a lot about it.” She explained with a shake of her head.

Gregory nodded slowly, as if considering. “This is a strange place, and I am a strange man.” He began.

“And an honest fake psychic.” Siobhan added less than helpfully, in a sanctimoniously helpful tone.

Gregory nodded again, his dark eyes flickering to her face for a moment. Under the intensity in his eyes, even Siobhan grew quiet.

“And you can take this as what you want.” He continued, as if the darkly dressed twin hadn’t spoken at all. “Fake psychic credentials in tact. There are things in this city that are coming to a head, and your family is not far from the center of it.”

“Our dad’s a cop.” Antigone pointed out.

“A fair point.” Gregory conceded with a little wave of his hands. “I don’t know what is coming, exactly. But I can tell you this. There is, in each of you, an essential rightness. You will know what to do when the time comes; and if you make the choices that are true to who you are, then you have a chance.”

Both teens were silent for a few moments. “That’s rather generic.” Antigone pointed out after a few moments.

“Yeah, well.” Gregory shrugged. “I’m a fake psychic, remember? If you want exact guesses, go to a real psychic.” Now he was silent for a few moments, considering his next words carefully. “Come to see me again when the unexpected night comes, when the third pillar burns in the day, and when the raven loses its wings.”

They both stared at him, before silently standing up. They walked toward the door, before Antigone paused at the door and looked back. “Why did you decide to tell us this, if you know we might not listen?”

Gregory considered this for a moment before he took out a small notepad, and wrote down some words on it. He folded it over, and wrote some words on the outside of the note now. Wordlessly he handed it to them, before he settled back in to his chair. The outside of the note said, appropriately, “Outside”. She held it as they walked out, and collected the girls.

When Antigone stepped out in to the sunlight again the junkie was gone, and the city was bathed in warmth and possibility. Siobhan reached out to pluck the note from her hands and read it quickly. She paled noticeably, and Annie worried she might collapse again, but then she handed the note over. With quick fingers Antigone opened it, to read the writing.

“We get to choose who we’re gonna be, and what we’re gonna let happen in the world.” It was signed, simply, Gregory. Antigone blinked and paled as well, recalling Siobhan’s exact words from their first day of class. She turned to open the door of the shop again and ask Gregory what the hell he was getting at, but the door was already locked. The windows reflected the lovely light of noon, and there was no movement inside.