Shortly after the love spell debacle, Vivienne explained her latest business idea.
"You need to research free psychic readings both in the real and virtual world".
"Costs. Benefits. The usual".
Did she mean the 'world beyond the veil' or well 'cyberspace' which to her is more mysterious. I smirked inwardly.
"The internet", she said frostily gazing at me intently, before I had given voice to my thoughts. My inward smirk vanished.
As well as employing me, Vivienne is a white witch and magical practitioner of sorts, but with an extremely well developed interest in money making activites of all sorts.
"And also psychics in the real world."
"Visit their websites. Ring them. Skype them. Get psychic readings online. Use e-mail" She looked at me coldly. Adding:
"Maybe you will learn something about your lovelife. That should do as a test."
The visit to the voodoo prietsess had been a washout, and Vivienne was still smarting from my lack of success, in some way considering it a personal affront.
Light was fading, on a gloomy November day, and torrential rain battered on the roof. I sighed, not too loudly, and typed:
"totally free psychic readings by phone".
Nothing is free is any of the worlds I've heard off. There is always a price to day.
The 'free psychic readings' might not want your credit card or soul immediately, but none were what I would call free.
There is always a catch in the magical world, especially in matters of the heart. I wondered if Vivienne was behind the curve on this one, looking at the vast numbers of online psychics.
As I've mentioned before, my mentor is astute, and some would say manipulative. I wanted to know if the objects of my hearts desire was available, which presented me with something of a dilemma.
Should I give my real name to the online psychic? Or not?
Attempting to get a psychic reading over the phone is unlikely to be effective at the best of times, and using a fake name isn't going to give the psychic much to go on.
I licked my lips nervously. A fake name would have to do. A good psychic should be able to establish a bond? After all if an obsidian mirror can be used to connect with angels, a smart phone should be enough to solve my dilemmas.
The completely free psychic readings by phone and no credit card, all required a credit card. The credit card would only be used if the reading lasted over three minutes.
Three minutes should be enough. I only wanted the answer to one simple question.
I don't now whether the free phone psychics had all been on the same money making course, but every reading followed a similar pattern.
Three minutes establishing my name, age, some introductions followed by:
"There will be changes in your life"
taking me to the the three minute limit. I wasn't, or rather my mentor wasn't going to pay for barnum statements, random and over-wide readings.
Maybe, she was ahead of the curve after all. These psychics were a disgrace to the profession. I wanted an answer. The internet and me were both ready and waiting for professional or real online psychics.
I googled a bit more, typing in variations of free psychics, psychic phone reading and so on.
"You have questions to be answered".
By now, it was completely dark, the office lit by the glow of the computer screen, and protected by circle I had cast previously. Silly I know, as I was not summoning, or invoking, merely using the internet for purposes of research.
But, careful is as careful does, as Vivienne frequently tells me. She must have a book somwehere, and spits random mottoes and maxims in my direction as and when necessary.
The rhythmic sound of the rain falling on the roof, soothed me, and sleepy from the warmth of the fire I was entering into a light trance. Drifting and receptive to random events that occur.
I started suddenly as my phone shuddered and vibrated against the wood table.
I glanced at it. A text from an unknown number.
TEXT:followed by your psychic question to this number. First question free.
Since working for Viviennne has lead to me becomming increasingly suspicious of any seemingly random event, I instinctively distrusted the text.
Events are often linked.
You think of someone, and they ring. You dream of a golden scarab, and a scarabaeid beetle knocks on the window-pane attempting to gain entry. The possibilities are infinite. You search for a free psychic. A psychic sends you a text.
But in interests of reseach, I would send one text before leaving for the evening.
"What does my future hold?"
I pressed send. Vivienne had already left to go to her coven book group. This week they were supposed to discuss the role of enochian in the private diaries of John Dee, but as far as I could tell they usually drunk cheap white wine and bitched about neighbouring covens.
I knew she hadn't had time to read the diaries (or couldn't be bothered), and instead had asked me to prepare a summary of some of the key points. Her actual words were:
"top line view"
doubtless coming from some management book or other.
It was for a client, or so she said. I knew better. Her coven are a competitive bunch, and it would never do to attend a book group ill-prepared.
I was almost back in Balham, where I shared a basement with my cat and others, when my bookgroup reverie was interrupted by my phone vibrating.
"Whatever you do. Mind the mirror"
I arrived home unsettled and on edge. I have a tendency to inadvertently scry, to see visions in reflective surfaces, when I am tired.
I had recently had a bad experience with a scrying mirror, and the psychic phone text felt unexpectedly genuine.
Maybe I was being too literal?
Or maybe this was to encourage me to text another question (cost £1).
I was supposed to be investigating free psychic phone readings, and instead was being spooked by psychic readings sent by text. The profession had moved on. I wondered whether I should include the possibility of psychic readings by text when I wrote my report.
I decided that I would.
My basement flat has a short thin garden with a railway line at the bottom behind a brick wall. It is eerily quiet in the dead of night when few trains run, a well of blackness, and trees reaching up from near the track.
The bathroom looks out onto the garden. It has no curtains, only misted glass giving a distorted view of the garden and the world beyond. I have never met nor heard my neighbors, so I don't worry much about anyone looking in.
I lay in the bath gazing out off the window into the dark, I thought about the text, and wondered about consulting my mentor. It would have to wait until tomorrow.