Tarot Fiction - The Last Ones

By Sheri Harshberger

The Fool reached over and grabbed the Empress just as they both went over the edge.  It was a long fall to the bottom, and amazingly, they landed easily – albeit, on their keesters.  The Fool jumped up quickly and reached over for the Empress, who was just getting up and brushing the dust off her dress.  She winced as she stood up and grimaced.  The Fool grabbed her arms and gently pushed her hurriedly toward a dark area under a ledge he spotted.  Before she could say anything, they were safely in.

Looking about, the Empress spotted a large rock and sat down on it, wincing again.  She wondered how she could have the ample "packaging" she had back there and not have any sort of cushioning when it came to falls on it.  She went back to brushing the dust off her sleeves and skirt as the Fool quickly surveyed their surroundings and then crept carefully toward the opening to see if they had been followed.  He peeked upward hesitantly and heard nothing.  That was good and bad news.  The Hierophant had been nearby before he and the Empress jumped, and the Fool had hoped that the Hierophant would follow them.  The Fool shook his head.  No one ever believes him.  Even when he came to them and told them of the kidnapping and the killing of the invaders, no one took him seriously.  Not even after some of them vanished, one after the other -- ah, yeah, like the High Priestess ever leaves her temple -- until just the three of them were left.  Even when they heard the sounds of "them" coming one last time, he could not convince the Hierophant nor the Empress that a horrible evil was coming for them.  The Hierophant just kept talking about the "hereafter" and "this was just one part of the journey..." yada yada yada.  The Empress only came with him because she had no choice.  He risked her wrath because he didn't want to be alone in the world.

The Empress was trying to control herself and remain calm, at least on the outside.  Just as the Fool had grabbed her she caught sight of the Hierophant being whisked away and... and... spl... killed.  She blinked back the tears that she felt welling in her eyes.  The Fool had saved her life.

"Thank you," she whispered hoarsely to the Fool.

He turned to look at her and walked back over to sit with her on the large stone.  He looked at her and smiled slightly.  He could feel his cheeks flush.  "Are you okay?" he managed softly.

"Yes," the Empress replied.  "I don't think anything is broken.  Just a few bruises," she added, putting her arm around him.  "Thanks to you."

The Fool blushed and looked away slightly, embarrassed by her attention.  "Ummm," he started nervously, "I think we might be safe for now, but we might have to leave to get food and water.  There isn't anything in here."  The Fool did not relish the idea of venturing out and away from the safety of their dark cave, but he would do it for her.

"That won't be a problem, dear," the Empress smiled.  She reached in one side of her dress and pulled out a wicker cornucopia of fruit and cheese.   She twisted her torso and reached in the other side and produced a clay jug of wine.  The Fool watched in wide-eyed amazement.  The Empress smiled at him for a second and then grimaced.  "This dress is oversized!  You didn't actually think I was this big, did you?!" she raised her eyebrow at him.

The Fool's look of amazement turned to horror.  Seeing his reaction, the Empress burst out laughing and slapped her leg, then wincing, rubbed it while she continued to laugh.  The Fool sat there stunned for a moment, then burst out laughing, too.  If they were the only two left in the world, he was glad that it was the Empress he was with.  She had always been more kind to him than the others were.  The others all taught hard lessons -- the lessons the Hanging Man taught him still haunted his dreams.  Her lessons were taught with gentleness and positive reinforcements... like hugs.  He smiled again and wondered why he never felt all that food in her dress during the hugs.  He liked her hugs.

They talked and ate in silence for awhile, enjoying each other's company.  That's when they heard the sounds.  The sounds of "them" coming.  The sounds of impending death.  They've found us... both thought at the same time.  They hugged each other and closed their eyes.

The woman, having looked everywhere on her bench for the two missing cards, finally gave in and bent down on hands and knees to look under the bottom shelf.  "What the...?!"  she thought out loud.  How the heck did those two cards get way back under there??  Reaching to the back under the shelf, she muttered a few obscenities as she felt the pain in her knees.  She managed to get the cards -- barely, and then situated herself to stand back up.  She quickly adjusted her tool, and in a few minutes had the borders trimmed neatly off the Empress and the Fool cards and placed them with the rest of the deck.  She picked up the now complete deck, checking the edges.  Strange, she thought, these cards are sticking a bit... almost like each card is hugging the other.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008
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