Chapter 25

2.8K 276 16

It's not that the thought of gambling her fingers against Zener cards doesn't send a flurry of panic through her stomach. Quite the opposite. It's that she knows there are three things working to her advantage despite her sticky situation beneath the duct tape. They're enough for her to put on a brave face and beckon the blade.

First, Dvorak isn't in going to hurt Zandra. There's no point to it, or so she supposes. If he's in it for money, it's not like hurting her that severely will magically transport the money into his account. No, this is all for show, a tactic that seems to fit his prior methodology.

Who mails squeaky dog toys that look like severed feet? People who play games with amputations and Zener cards, that's who.

Second, Dvorak turning on the lights plays a serious disadvantage, although he doesn't realize it. The duct tape over her eyes only gives the illusion of blinding her. The tape isn't pressed down tightly against her lids, forming a slight gap caused by the bridge of her nose. If she points her eyes downward, she can see a tiny yet clear view of the basement.

It's hardly a stroke of luck, though. This is one of the oldest tricks in the proverbial book. For centuries, supposed mystics have demonstrated their powers of second sight by wrapping cloth blindfolds around their eyes and identifying objects seemingly beyond their natural capabilities. Tends to work best when the audience is full of Westerners and the "mystic" is some stereotype from India.

Never mind that these supernatural powers only seem to activate when the mystic rolls his or her head from side to side. It offers a glimpse down the gap left exposed just below the eyes. Unless the one doing the blindfolding knows how to prevent this little trick, it's almost a guarantee it can be pulled off in any situation, up to and including false imprisonments in basements.

Done it myself many times with clients. They always get a kick out of it. Do you really think this is the first time someone's challenged me like this, Dvorak?

That means so long as the Zener cards face Zandra when they're drawn, she can bullshit her way to a correct answer every time.

Even if they're not, there's the third ace up Zandra's sleeve. She's already caught a glimpse of what Dvorak looks like through the gap in the tape. It only took a moment. She can start making revelations about his appearance without moving a muscle. It'll appear as if she's conjuring the information from a third eye.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how to be a psychic.

Or so she thinks.

Zandra hears Dvorak bring a card up from the deck. He gives it a flick and says, "First one. What is it?"

Zandra rolls her head 360 degrees, following the technique of generations of frauds before her. She gets a glimpse of the card in Dvorak's hand. He's spinning and flipping it in his long fingers. It's a blur, but she's confident that it's a...

"Circle," she says in a croak.

Dvorak tosses the card to the floor. "Wrong. Cross."

"Prove it."

"I don't need to," Dvorak says and turns to one of the stoners. "Get the knife."

Black Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective #2 (Watty Winner)Where stories live. Discover now