She took a last drag from the cigarette, flicked the butt into the ashtray and blew smoke rings into the air.
After taking note of her own reflection in the mirror, she flinched, it was very telling that it was the sight of her own reflection that startled her… for a split second it was as if – she didn’t know the person looking back at her.
People who knew her could say a host of things, but it was her reputation for leaving a trail of disaffection and duplicity in her wake that proceeded her. She had a litany of burdens and having a conscience now – was something that she could ill afford.
Since she came back to serve as the caretaker for the Oracle – she had tried to redeem herself and get back into the good graces of the Collective, but to no avail. Her serial relationships and 5 husbands – the 4 children that she abandoned in 2 countries without a second thought were a cruel testament to the heartless efficiency and the allegiance that she only pledged to herself.
She down on the edge of the bed replayed the events from this afternoon for the umpteenth time.
He had a package in hand with a peculiar look about him.
Remembering how his gaze made her blood run cold – and how his voice was devoid of emotion as he told her:
“Listen… Just bring us the ember and we will wire you the rest into a private account and get you out before they know it was you, use the phone inside, read the instructions.”
The package landed with a thud on the counter and by the time she looked up, he had disappeared down the stairs.
It was $13,333 in cash in small bills, she counted it 10 times – the bills were in non sequential order and neatly wrapped. This was more money than she had ever seen in her life – the smell of it infused her with a sense of greed that drowned out the treachery of it all and now – it led her to this point.
She reasoned to herself that her actions weren’t betrayal – it was a act of preservation, besides she was tired of being sidelined as an afterthought, like she was a fucking joke.
She recoiled at the thought – not only was she the Oracle of the Collective, but she was M’Dear, her Grandmother, the person who had always shown her unconditional love.
The guilt… was an encumbrance that she was quick to ignore.
In order to justify the treachery – she reasoned that the Oracle was senile and losing the command of her abilities – besides since she lost the birthright that she was to receive as the oldest she had no regard for… tradition.
Besides, it was just a fucking rock.
And the same stories about their folks – that she kept telling over and over… it irked her. The ghosts of the past collecting dust and the languishing in the shadows of superstition
She got up from the bed – and got on her knees to pull back the planks from the floor, in the corner of the room where she remembered seeing it as a child – and was able to make out the glossy orange globe peeking out from the layers of old newspaper stuffed into the hole surrounding the wall – and when she reached out for it
A hot light enveloped and knocked her back.
It started glowing and cracks began spreading across the surface.
The Oracle could hear her and she angrily shouted from the living room…
“Aw hell… You trifling heifer…”
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