Chance Predictions

Hi my name is Ry (they/them)! I'm a Creative Writing student dabbling in various genres and working on various projects I'm excited to share with the world. If you'd like to follow along, all my ... [+]

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
Steam from neon signs faded into the night while this city bustled with people despite the weather. So, sanctuary was found in the darkness of alleys, where no mortals felt safe enough to walk down. Lucky for Chance, who needed to smoke in peace.
Chance moved his baseball cap to scratch his forehead, exposing the birthmark most mistook for an eye tattoo. Throughout the years he learned to live with the teasing and stares he got daily. Not that he had any other choice, really. Unlike reapers or fates, he couldn't just disappear and reappear when he wanted. Whatever Chance was, escaping was never an option.
After stretching his back, Chance pulled one of his tarot cards out from the breast pocket of his jean jacket. Like all cards in the deck, he was familiar with the image. The tower card was one he hadn't seen for a long time though. The thing about being a... whatever he was is that his "gift" wasn't allowed to do him any favors. So as always, he wasn't sure if he should look forward to whatever was going to happen or not.
"Nothing's happened yet," he mused, staring specifically at the lightning bolt striking the top of a city skyscraper.
Thunder flapped it's wings above him, making him look up for a moment. The cigarette dropped into a puddle and Chance let out a final breath of smoke, knowing he'd be late for his next client. He ventured out to the street, leaving his dry silhouette behind on the brick wall.
Cars reflected streetlamps and signs back to the world as people ducked into stores and restaurants to find shelter. Ads blared down, one loudly exclaiming "COSMO CAN READ YOUR COSMOS" before showing the website people could go to schedule an appointment. Chance rolled his eyes and rubbed his sore cheek, where a mark was probably going to show up by tomorrow. He glanced out at the road as he started to wonder if his roommate knew how to use makeup for covering bruises.
That was when a taxi drove by with an advertisement for offices being sold in one of the many skyscrapers of the city. Chance's eyes widened before he stopped in his tracks, right as someone crashed into a vintage menu sign ahead of him.
"Next time come in with money you chump!" someone screamed before slamming the doors of their bar.
The person with purple hair and brown eyes groaned as they slowly sat themselves up. The lightning bolt earring flickered as thunder flapped louder across the sky, making the person flinch as they looked up. They then saw Chance staring down at them.
"You can go around," they said, motioning for him to move. "Nothing to see-"
"You're the fake psychic," Chance interrupted, gesturing to the ad that popped up on the billboard screen again. "Cosmo, right?"
"Hey man, you don't have to believe in what I do, but do you gotta be rude about it?" Cosmo snorted.
"Food and drinks are on me," Chance said before he stepped over their legs. "Follow."
Buzzing lights from the neighboring clubs blurred through the droplets on the window. Smooth jazz floated lightly through the speakers, a familiar trend with the coffee houses around the city.
"Wouldn't have taken you for a tea kind of guy," Cosmo said after the waiter put their cups on the table. "Was looking forward to a beer."
Cosmo tapped his fingers against the table, waiting for another sign of what to do next.
"You a psychic too?" Cosmo asked as they grabbed a couple packets of sugar, earning Chance's attention. "I could never remember the minor arcana, so I went with a crystal ball."
Chance glanced down at his chest, seeing the eight of pentacles peek out from his jacket pocket. He pushed it back in as Cosmo ripped the sugar pack and dumped it into their tea.
"Scrying is the easiest to fake," Chance said, frowning when Cosmo ripped another bag.
"Scry what?" Cosmo said.
"Crystal balls,"
"Ah, so that's what tipped you off,"
"Well, that and-" Chance sneered as Cosmo went for a spoonful of honey this time. "Don't you think that's enough?"
"You sound like my dad,"
"You couldn't have known," Cosmo shrugged.
"...Yeah," Chance said as the honey got stirred into the mug. "So, any of your predictions come true?"
"Doubtful. I never have return customers. Plus, last I checked the reviews weren't the nicest. You?"
"My predictions are always right,"
"Still, business must be going bad for you too," they said before they cleaned the spoon with their mouth, then used it to point to their right cheek. "Unless that was for something else?"
"He didn't like what I had to say," Chance scoffed, then paused to take a sip of his black tea. "It won't matter when his girlfriend dumps him for good."
"Hold up, you didn't say it like that did you?" Cosmos asked, then shook their head when Chance nodded. "No wonder you got punched."
"What else am I supposed to do?"
"Oh, I don't know, lie?" Cosmo said, then slurped down a big gulp of their tea before letting out a breath of relief. "Jeez, I'm surprised you lasted this long in if you're so blunt,"
Chance frowned as the air became sweet from Cosmo's breath, leading him to put his mug back on the table.
"Don't look so disappointed dude, we already aren't in the most ethical business here," Cosmo went on to say, waving their hands as they talked. "Listen, if my cards hinted at a breakup, I'd just reframe it to lighten the blow."
"How would you have told him then?" Chance asked.
"Like, y'know, he's going to have to focus on his work to make millions and that'll be the last straw for her or something,"
"He wasn't going to make millions,"
"You're missing the point! No matter how bad the news is, you gotta tell them gently. If you tell it like that, they won't come back no matter how right you are."
"Wow. You sound like my mentor,"
"... and I take it that's a bad thing?"
"Look at that, you don't need a crystal ball after all," Chance joked.
"Yeah well, doesn't matter when you can't bring in customers. I spent so much money on that ad hoping I'd at least break even. Thanks to that stupid thing I'm right where I was but deeper in the hole," Cosmo grunted as they grabbed another sugar pack, but stopped mid tear when they noticed Chance smile. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Have you seen the Wizard of Oz?" Chance asked as he pulled the eight of pentacles out, admiring the image of the green curtain flowing behind a pile of money falling from the sky
"Wizard of who now?"
"Radar Alex Hoi," Chance said, dropping the card on the table before he extended his hand towards them. "I have a business proposition for you, if you'd listen."
Cosmo stared at the hand for a moment, then suddenly dropped the open sugar pack as their attention snapped to Chance's face.
"How did you know my name?" they gasped, making some heads turn.
Chance frowned as he realized nothing could predict how long this night would go.