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Chapter 41: News from the Great Beyond

Two weeks later, Lilly sat on a small stool with a crocheted throw around her shoulders. It was always colder in Zilla’s cupboard than the rest of the apartment. She could swear at times she could see her own breath. She had whizzed though her training and staying busy kept her distracted from her troubles. Bobby had complained that she was spending too much time in Zilla’s Hogwarts-like delusion but the solitude of the cupboard suited her. She listened as her “mentor” droned on.

“Before we begin, Mrs. Haessler you must know nothing is one hundred percent. We are a team. You have questions and with my spirit guide I will endeavor to find answers.”

Team? Lilly was the third member of that clairvoyant team although no one knew.

“I understand, Madame Zilla. My friend, Marsha, swears by you. You found her wedding rings and they had been lost for seven years.” She leaned in to share. “You helped her with that other little problem, too”

Lilly remembered the woman. Her husband had asked for a divorce. The poor wife— Marsha could barely feed her three children and he’d refused to pay child support. Lilly had discovered the location of a second wife, hidden bank accounts, and the keys to several safety deposit boxes. Now, Marsha would get it all in the divorce. A cocky smile crept across her face.

“Do I need to pay now?” asked Mrs. Haessler.

“Using my gift to help people is my reward.” Zilla pulled a few more strands of hair over her earpiece. “Now let’s be clear. Do you want to hear everything that comes through? Think before you say yes.” She patted her client’s hand. “Remember, there may be unexpected information. Not only happy spirits communicate.”

Through a peephole, Lilly saw that the two women sat side-by-side on the loveseat. A small pillar of smoke drifted up from the incense burning on the table. Vanilla and rosewood, it was Mrs. Haessler’s favorite according to her Internet purchase orders. She had not yet noticed. The lights were dimmed and twinkling fairy candles sat next to a pitcher of ice water with lemon on a table. The two glasses were half full. Zilla and her client had been chatting for ten minutes.

A heart-to-heart was part of the set-up.

“Yes. I want to hear it all.”

“Very well then, you may ask three questions. See them in your mind as they form. Take a moment while I prepare.”

It was almost time for supper. Through the thin wall that separated the kitchen from the secret cupboard Lilly smelled onions, cabbage, and corn beef boiling. It was Tem’s favorite and lean protein was high on his diet list.

In her singsong voice, Zilla chanted, “Let your sight to me impart. Stars in their orbits, shone pale, thro’ the light. From celestial spaces to earth flows your sight. Allow no man your voice to strike.” She clapped her hands together.

That was her cue. It was time for Zilla’s spirit guide, Lilly, to go to work.

“Your first question please.”

“Was my late husband, Willy, faithful?”

“I’ve got someone coming in. Be patient my avatar is trying. This spirit needs to be coaxed.”

“Willy was very shy,” added Mrs. Haessler.

“Yes, here he is. Dark hair. A small man but powerfully built. He worked with animals?”

“Yes, yes.”

“Big animals, horses. He was a trainer…” Lilly researched each client before a séance and fed Zilla information she had found online. After Zilla begged, Tem had eased up on his restrictions and allowed Lilly to Google clients, but he had added a parental controls so she couldn’t send out messages. Today, so far, her dowsing skills had not been necessary. She whispered into her mic, “Zilla, he had a chestnut named Charlie Brown.”

“I’m getting some letters, initials. C. B. I’m seeing red hair. Don’t be shocked dear he loved you, but also this C.B.”

Mrs. Haessler gushed. “That’s such a relief.” She giggled, delighted. “That’s his horse. He had a chestnut filly named Charlie Brown. C. B. is a horse.”

“He wants you to know he loved you best. I am happy for you.” She took a breath and rolled on. “Your next question?”

“When we were married, Willy took out a life insurance policy. I’ve looked and looked. Can he tell me where to find it?”

A switch inside her brain flipped. Lilly’s eyelids fluttered. She shifted into finding mode and felt her mind expand. She drifted on dark clouds. This was a part of her new routine.

It was curious, but after a few days of sitting and listening in the cupboard, her abilities kicked in without Skye. In fact, she had not heard from Skye at all despite being surrounded with crystals that made suitable conduits. She still needed her customary ‘brain kick start’ and always received it right on cue. But the source was difficult to define. Also unlike the finding she had done for her father, where great pleasure accompanied each of her discoveries, now it was more of an escalating of power. The only logical answer in this day versus night paradox was that her skills had evolved.

Right now her mind opened to a dusty attic in a cabin by a lake. A record player, old-style wind up, sat in the corner covered with spider webs. Under the turntable was the insurance policy and cash, five thousand dollars. She began to back out when she realized she was not alone. Someone had joined her mental journey. Was it Skye? No. She gasped and fell off her stool.

“What was that?” Mrs. Haessler grabbed Zilla’s hand.

She clapped her hands three times. “Spirit guide,” she was speaking directly to Lilly, “don’t leave us. Spirit guide speak to me.”

Lilly pulled herself together and reported the location of the insurance policy to Zilla. She rested her head in her hands and shivered.

Zilla didn’t miss a beat and continued. “Willy is showing me water, lots of water. It’s a river, no a lake. It is a very deep lake. Do you have a lake house?”

Mrs. Haessler nodded moved to the edge of her seat. “Yes. Yes, at Deep Creek Lake.”

“There is an attic. An old-fashioned record player. That is where you should look. He wants you to have it. He’s so happy you asked.” After she had calmed her thrilled client Zilla smiled looked off up at the ceiling. “Ah, yes I smell it. Oh, really?”

“What is it? What’s he saying? No policy?”

“No dear. Your husband thought the scent would have reminded you of the location. At the cabin, you burned candles of vanilla and rosewood.”

“Of course. I smell it now. How did you know, Madame Zilla?”

“I don’t know. It just came to me when I was choosing candles for our session.” She paused while her client marveled over her ability as a seer. “And your last question, Mrs. Haessler?”

“Give me a minute please…I was going to ask if he was happy, I want him to be happy, but then… I’ve got it. Willy stashed money in the oddest places. After he passed, I found hundred dollar bills glued between the pages of books. Did he hide any cash in our other homes?”

Zilla closed her eyes. Her brow wrinkled, she strained. “Something is coming through. Oh no, don’t go. The spirit is leading him away. He is saying he loved you very much.” She fell back on the loveseat to catch her breath. “It takes so much out of me.” Regaining her strength, she comforted Mrs. Haessler. “I’m sorry he’s gone.”

“You have been wonderful. This is better than I imagined. I’m going to have my new boyfriend drive me up to the lake house this very weekend. I’ll let you know if I find the policy. I’m sure you are right. I never thought to look there. This is too exciting.” She stood, wobbled on her red spiked heels, thought again, and sat back down. “Your fee.” She pulled out her wallet. “I understand you prefer cash. Three hundred, is that right?”

“Four hundred, actually.” Zilla fanned her face with a paper napkin and stuck out her other hand for the money.

Lilly whispered in Zilla’s ear. “Are we done? I need to get out of here, I’m freezing.”

As soon as the apartment door closed behind Mrs. Haessler, Zilla opened the cupboard.

Lilly reminded Zilla, “You forgot to tell her about the cash.”

“It will be a nice surprise for her, dear. What happened in there?”

“I fell off the stool.” She had no idea what happened.

“I’ll get you a chair. Time to close shop.”

Together they straightened up the room and blew out all the candles. They entered the kitchen laughing about Mrs. Haessler dressing as if she were twenty and having a new boyfriend at the age of seventy-two.

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