The speedometer read eighty-five miles per hour as my onyx black fully restored 59 Chevy El Camino swept down the narrow two-lane country road. Tonight, was black as my car and there wasn’t a streetlight for miles. I listened to 348 Tri-Power V8 pulsing under the hood, begging me to push the pedal harder. The restoration included a new 700R-4 automatic transmission and dual exhaust. I had kept the OEM parts on the dash and recovered the bench seat in black vinyl.
My 59s headlights set wide on the grill were the only lights that kept my baby right of center. My destination was a good ten miles from town, ten lonely miles. A faint blue light hovered on the horizon, I glanced at my odometer and guessed I was fast approaching the end of the line.
I eased off the gas and felt the engine throttle back before the TAC dropped. El-Cam coasted the last mile and onto the gravel driveway. I tapped the breaks, and she came to a full stop in front of the house. A floodlight lit the end of the house and red, three-foot-tall letters that spelled the word “Psychic”.
I slid her into Park, shut her down and stepped out. This place wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but I didn’t have a choice. I pulled my cell from my pocket, the time read five after ten and the sign on the door said they closed at ten. I had come this far, so I knocked.
“Come on in, Sugar. They said you’d be late.”
The voice started me, but I opened the door, releasing the smell of burning incense.
“Don’t be shy,” she said.
I stepped in greeted by the stereotypical décor items you see in the movies. Crystals, books, and labeled jars crammed the shelves lining the walls. An antique chandelier hung from a ceiling painted with constellations. Heavy purple damask drapes with gold bullion tassel fringe hung at the windows. Strung across the top were plastic pumpkin patio lights.
A circular table covered with the drapery fabric stood in the center of the room surrounded by four purple velvet upholstered chairs. A young black woman dressed in jeans, a tee shirt, and flip-flops sat in one chair. She didn’t match her surroundings, but she motioned for me to sit in the chair opposite her. As I took my seat, she cocked her head and stared at my blouse. I realized I hadn’t removed the diner’s name badge when I left work.
“What can I do for you, Ellen?” she asked.
“I thought you were psychic?”
“And so I am.”
“Then why did you have to read my name tag?”
“The spirits say, ‘someone is coming’. No names.”
“Did the ‘spirits’ tell you why I am here?”
“Sugar, you have questions. Everyone who comes has questions.”
This was ridiculous, a waste of time, and I stood ready to leave.
“Now, now darling. I see you need proof to believe.” She leaned back and held her hands, fingers spread wide, in front of her face. Her eyes rolled and when she spoke her voice was different.
“You have a baby. She is everything to you. El-Cam,” her hands dropped to her lap and her chin sank to her chest. For a moment, she appeared to be asleep, but her eyes fluttered, and she looked at me.
“Do the spirits lie?”
I sat in the chair, my eyes never leaving her face.
“That’s better Sugar. They say you need me. You wait,” she said. She stood, disappearing through the swinging beads hanging in the rear doorway. In a few minutes, she returned with two large roller bags, a backpack, and a second large purse slung over her shoulder.
“You’re taking a trip?”
“Yes, Sugar and you must too. You will help me with these bags.” It was not a question, and she shoved one of the roller bags toward me. “I packed enough for you, but we must be going.”
Without thinking, I caught the roller bag and stared at her.
“Going? Going where? I don’t even know your name.”
“Lulu,” she said tossing the backpack at me. “Ellen we must be far away if you want to live.”
She knew. Somehow, she knew. The voice in my head told me to trust her. I adjusted the backpack on my arm, grabbed the roller bag and followed Lulu out the front door. I lifted the two bags onto the mahogany boards of El-Cam’s bed and secured them under the cargo net before hopping in the driver’s seat. Lulu was in the passenger seat.
“This is your baby? An El Camino?”
I nodded and started the car.
“This baby better fly. Now.”
I nodded again, leaving the headlights off and gravel flying as El-Cam disappeared into the night.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer