STAR FINDER

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Chapter 32: Lilly’s ‘Tell’

“Where’s the key for 3A?” yelled Tem.

“You had it last. You changed a fuse up there last week,” snapped Zilla. “Check in your pants pockets. Maybe the laundry basket or your dresser.”

Tem dumped the hamper on the bathroom floor and combed through it. “No key. Damn it!” He tromped out of the kitchen leaving the laundry scattered.

Bobby returned from Zilla’s salon with his arms full of what could only be psychic props and paraphernalia.

“Set up for our reading right here.” Zilla’s finger thumped the table. Grunting, she bent and picked up after Tem and then sat down across from Lilly. “I will prepare.” She closed her eyes and folded hands as if in prayer.

Bobby’s eyes crossed this time. Lilly giggled.

Tem lumbered into the kitchen from his bedroom. “No key. I checked my dresser.”

Zilla looked up narrow-eyed. “Jimmy the lock. Go! You are causing ripples in the cosmic flow.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Then I’ll need my tools.” Tem spun on his heel and went out to the back porch. He shoved Bobby as he passed.

It became clear and clearer to Lilly that Bobby was the household’s human stress ball— one of those spongy gadgets her dad kept on his desk and squeezed when tense.

As Lilly waited for the entertainment to begin, she picked up a chunk of quartz from the table. She fingered it. Stared at it. “Pretty colors.” She rolled it over in her hand.

Zilla ever the vigilant even in a ‘psychic state,’ peeked. Her eyes opened wider as if seeing Lilly for the first time. She leaned closer on both elbows. “Do you like that?”

“Yes, it’s like one of those worrying stones in the gift shops, all smooth. It’s warm for a carbon derivative.”

“That is a moonstone. It is for intuition, the third eye chakra.” Zilla encouraged. “So it feels warm to you?”

Lilly nodded and then she tensed. “Is something burning?” She sniffed. “I smell…” The hand holding the moonstone shook. For a split second, she was back in the warehouse.

“Be calm,” Zilla comforted. “Nothing is burning. No fire. Be still.”

“No key! No tools!” yelled Tem from the other room.

Lilly’s body uncoiled. She continued to rub the stone between her fingers. “Maybe Tem dropped the key in his closet.” Her small shoulders slumped. “Perhaps it landed in a shoe, no…his black boots? The muddy ones with all the buckles.”

“What?” Zilla reached out. It was a casual gesture to touch Lilly’s hand, the one caressing the stone. As they connected, Zilla gasped and pulled back. She covered her ears as if protecting them from a piercing roar. A cherry light sparked in her iris, red against black. It came and went as fast as a morning mist in a hurricane. “Whoa.”

Lilly dropped the stone. “Zilla, you’re pale. Are you all right?” This time, the gypsy was not faking.

“Give me a moment.”

“Is it your blood pressure?”

“No. I’m fine dear. There was…well never mind.” She smacked her own cheeks then called out. “Tem, come back here before you destroy that expensive lock. Check your boots for the key.”

“I’ve got my tools and I’m on my way up.”

“You heard me. The hundred-dollar leather ones you just had to have. They’re in your closet. Do it!” commanded Zilla.

Tem stomped off and returned moments later. “Found it. I’m going up.”

“Thank you, Lilly.”

Her eyes focused. A slight tickle lingered in her brain. The sensation was familiar. Had she performed a finding without Skye? Guarded she asked, “Oh, are you starting the reading?”

One corner of Zilla’s mouth turned up. “Yes.” Zilla held out her hand for the moonstone.

Lilly dropped it into her palm.

“During the reading, it belongs here.” Zilla laid the stone next to an amethyst crystal.

Bobby placed a plant on the table to Zilla’s left. He stared at Lilly, one brow raised. He moved around the table as if he had done this a thousand times before.

Zilla squared her shoulders and settled down into her chair. “Let’s start with me. I come from a long and gifted line of seers. The psychic arts are passed from mother to daughter for many generations in my family. One of my illustrious ancestors apprenticed with Michel de Nostradamus in the sixteenth century. Of course, then he used scrying or gazing plates like the early druids. He did not read the tealeaves. I, however, also do scrying. My crystal ball belonged to my great-great-great-grandmother. But we will keep that for another time.”

Her fingers groomed the leaves of the plant. “The rose is a symbol of the spirit of nature and its loving energy. Here we have incense oil.” She took matches from her pocket and held them out. “Stumpy, light the candles.”

“This is a fairy candle. When lit a fairy or del, my spirit avatar, will come to help guide me. This tea light is used once. It is for you to hold onto afterwards.”

Zilla hefted the moonstone, squeezed it in the palm of her hand and…nothing. She straightened, huffed, and continued her lecture. “As you know the moonstone is third eye chakra. Amethyst is for cleansing.” She touched each.

“Zilla, I must tell you, I don’t believe in mysticism, magic, the occult, and such. I trust science. What can be replicated and measured.”

“Your doubts will not influence the results. No one can change what is written in the stars. But once I have initiated the process,” she indicated the table layout, “it must be completed.” She flexed her neck, side to side. “Now, Bobby, draw the shades.”

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