Annabelle lit candles and sat down on the floor. She tried deep breathing for a few seconds, and feeling slightly calmer, took her tarot deck out of its wooden box and shuffled the cards. She let her breath flow in and out; it lulled her, cleared her head, calmed her down, and the smell of the burning wax soothed her, as she tried to formulate a mature, non-attached-type question. Not: Will Wilson come back to me, please, please?
Her breathing hitched. Yeah, definitely not that. “Okay. The issue is… Wilson. Um. Do we have a future together?”
She turned over a card. The Knight of Pentacles, reversed.
“Damn it.” Reversed, this Knight meant carelessness, a standstill in affairs. “Okay, so if things are at a standstill, that means they can move forward again, right?” She turned another card.
Three of Swords. Sorrow due to loss. Well, duh, Annabelle thought, and then winced, as if she’d said it out loud. As if the cards could hear.
She turned over the next card. The Wheel of Fortune. Not always a good sign, though, as it could mean an unexpected loss rather than a gain, even when in the upright position as it was now. “I don’t know what any of this means,” Annabelle mumbled, knowing full well what it meant. This was all about the now, and she didn’t like the now.
At moments like these, Annabelle found it was usually a good thing to stop pulling cards.
Queen of Cups. She shivered. That was her court card. Good natured, intuitive, a loving female figure, one whose imagination often outweighed her good sense.
Strength. The beautiful woman grasped the lion by the jaws, symbolizing the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The Sun. “Summertime? Two months from now? I’ll be better in two months?”
Annabelle gathered up the reading and returned the deck to its box.
She continued to sit. She tried to go back to the deep breathing but got bored. She thought about how she’d never had much luck reading Wilson’s cards. Maybe it never worked because it was almost always post-coital, the only time he was ever mellow enough to entertain the idea. She could never make sense of his configurations, none of the images seemed to relate to the others, she’d pull card after card and make a spread that was meaningless, confused. He would lose interest and patience. She would feel as though she’d failed. Ugh.
She’d like to blame it all on him, but she supposed her own muddled thinking got in the way as well; always hoping he was asking about the future of their relationship, whether she would marry him, whether she would like an emerald-cut diamond in a platinum setting, as opposed to a three carat marquis-cut in white gold.
Someday, maybe, she’d find that remotely amusing.
But not today. Rising, she left the candles burning and got some incense going as well.
Lavender: soothing, healing. She wanted healing. She wanted that fistful of pain out of her chest. She wanted all her lessons learned in a six-week correspondence course, she wanted a whole, strong heart, she wanted Wilson back, she wanted all the sadness to leak out of her pores, she wanted her life back. Herself back. Now.
Topic: What is it about this book that makes it special?
I feel like everyone knows Irish supernatural beings such as leprechauns and the Fair Folk, but are not familiar with pookas. In That Magic Mischief, I wanted the magical creature that amateur witch Annabelle Walsh unwittingly conjures to be, well, mischievous, and a pooka fit the bill.
I had never heard of pookas either, not until I moved to Ireland from New York. I was at work one day and one of my colleagues started mumbling under her breath and scrabbling around under her desk.
“You lose something?” I asked.
“My cardigan,” she huffed, and proceeded to bundle up to go to lunch, minus her sweater. “It's the pooka in this place, cheeky thing.” And she left, like that was a reasonable explanation.
Pookas tend to hide themselves from humans and you only know they've been around when something like a cardigan goes missing. If they're really annoyed with you, it may be car keys or the object you need right at the very moment you can't find it.
My former colleague was rather impolite in resorting to name-calling, and I'd recommend a little more respect when addressing a pooka, even if you need your favorite scarf right that second. Annabelle learns this lesson the hard way!They are also known for shapeshifting, which Callie, Annabelle's pooka does with great ease. That's not a common trait amongst the pooka population, and her prowess is unique to her, even amongst her own kind... but that's a story for another time...