253 - Shamanship


You settle into the uncomfortable wooden chair. The circular table in front of you is covered in a thick, coarse fur you recognize as that of a goat. Across the table from you sits a middle-aged man whose dark complexion hides the finer features of his face in the dim torchlight of the room. What is clear, even in the darkness, is a small bone hanging from the man’s nose, resembling an up-side down pair of miniature bull horns.

“So, how does this work?” you ask the self-proclaimed witchdoctor.

“The truth does not require that you know the means of its acquisition,” he replies. The polished tips of the bone through his nose glint and glisten against the weak flame from the corner of the room, resulting in a vaguely hypnotic dance of red and yellow flashing before you as he speaks. You’re not sure if what he said makes any sense, but you don’t care. Showmanship goes a long way.

The witchdoctor throws a handful of chicken bones onto the fur of the table. He jumps out of his seat and begins frantically poring over the scattered skeleton. After a moment, he ceases all movement in the middle of his search pattern and takes in a deep breath. He then lets out a shrill cry so horrifying you briefly consider running from the room. Before you’re able to unseat yourself, he stops and falls back into his chair, appearing exhausted.

You lean forward over the fuzzy table. “Well?” you ask.

The witchdoctor sighs. “You-“ He’s interrupted by a terrible coughing fit.

A beautiful young woman enters the room from a door in the rear and brings a glass of thick, dark, red liquid. The contents of the glass give you pause and concern. Noticing the whites of your eyes in the dim light, the young woman says simply “cranberry juice,” before placing the glass on the table.

The witchdoctor takes the glass and nods in appreciation, then waves the woman away. He takes a sip and his coughing quiets. “The truth- it does not wish to be told at times.”

You nod in assent, still eagerly awaiting his message.

The man senses your apprehension and continues. “Your lucky numbers are 3 and 71. Fifty dollars.”