the Quest

the Quest

A Chapter by Cherrie Palmer


Like a greedy woman in need of a secret I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. Dark clouds shadowed the country road. A double row of pines stood tall as I passed. Once down the lane, I light up, letting the Winston dance between my fingers. I find myself needing something all my own, that only I know about. 

It all began a month ago. While on a road trip I had the urge for a smoke. It hit me out of the blue. The odd thing was I don’t smoke. This new habit of mine seems to go hand in hand with a song that I hum. I guess I learned the lullaby in school, but for the life of me, I can’t remember learning it. I know all the words to this song. For some reason, I only think of it when driving. No, I only think of it when smoking.  An overwhelming urge sweeps through me. It grows and builds until I grab my keys and go. Deep satisfaction comes from this unwholesome habit, but my guess is all bad habits are like that.

It is not the fact I don’t want anyone to know, but the need to have something all my own. If the discovery was made my interest for it would die. Would I need to replace it with something new, only time could tell?  

We are wonderfully complex beings, and I love the simplicity of that. A mixture of fresh air and nicotine erase all tension. I slowed my red charger to a stop in front of a signal light and realized I’ve never been to this intersection before. I had lost track of time. On the Southeast corner of the intersection stood Madame Zeal’s House of Cards. All the windows were blacked out. An oversized front door made of Red Oak trimmed with cast iron, gave it ole world flare. I was compelled to pull in.

“Well, hello there,” I mumbled, as I opened my car door. I let my smoke fall to the ground and lightly stomped it out as I walked by. Normally I would never go inside a place like this. I have an aversion to places I’ve never been. The front of the building had three large windows each one blacked-out. A thick trail of salt lined each windowsill, plus the entrance. My head began to shake in a silent ‘no’ even though, I pulled that door wide and stepped inside. 

Mason jars filled with herbs and such lined the many shelves on the walls.


One of the jars caught my attention small eyes of some sort set suspended in clear fluid, and goosebumps rippled across my neck. In the middle of the room stood a single round table with two chairs. I expected to see a wall of beads hanging, and in the adjoining doorway they hung. Clattering sound of beads sang out as they swayed. Smoke and mist clung to the floor crawling out from the other side. A small elderly woman appeared. Her tanned skin tooled to a leathery complexion her dark eyes studied me as she smoked a corn cob pipe. Just like an old movie she wore a long-patched skirt, matching scarf and gold coined earrings. 

“You are not a seeker.” She said flatly. She took a small step forward. Her frown weighted down her face. The puzzled look on my face made her explain. “You don’t seek anyone on the next plane.”

 She looked into my eyes. No warmth showed in the depths of her gaze. I forced myself to blink, but no words would come. She repeated herself in a soft raspy chuckle.

 “You are not a seeker, but you have the gift. Pay me and sit quickly; he that travels with you does not like being here.”

I reached into my back pocket where I knew I had a ten-dollar bill. My hand and the money slowly reached for her. She made no attempt to take the payment. Her spine straightened, and she seemed to grow an inch.  She nodded toward the table. I laid the money down, and in unison, we both sat. Then I realized the money was more than a payment, it was an atonement. I wasn’t sure what I was atoning for, but I had the idea she did.

“You have a follower.” She said to me. Again, my voice failed me. All I could do was shake my head no.

In response, she nodded yes.” Oh yes, there is no mistake you have a Shade. An angelic being shadows you. I can see him clearly.”

“No, that simply isn’t so,” I said in protest as my voice cracked. 

I watched her glance down at my trembling left hand. I sat back in the seat lowering my hands to my lap.

“Tell me, do you talk to yourself? Where it feels like someone is talking with you.” Again, the old gypsy nodded. “Yes, I can see that you do.” Her piercing glare made it hard to look away. “In your car while smoking. That is when he talks to you. It is the only time you will listen.”

I could feel my eyes widen. I reached my palm toward her. So, she could look upon it.

“Don’t be silly; put your hand down.” She paused to relight her pipe. Slowly her hooded eyelids lowered, and she sat in silence. She sat without moving for so long I thought she had fallen asleep. I stood to leave.

“Sit down.” She said in an anxious voice. “His name is Mercy, and he wishes to cover those that you are willing to see. He sends you on a quest. Never come back here the Almighty’s angelic host hate my casting of lots, and I dislike the light that they are.”
 
Quickly I jumped to my feet. The old woman grabbed my hand, and she began to sing that song. The one I hear so often. I melted into my chair. Her eyes flew open at the same time the front door blew open banging on the counter. Light flooded the room. The old woman shrieked. The beads were parted in hast as she disappeared down the hallway. The slamming of an unseen door echoed from down the corridor.
 
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run after the woman, but fear rushed me from the building, and into my car. Where I chucked the pack of smokes out the window and raced toward the house. I drove in silence cornering curves. My pine lined lane waited for me, but I had no time to notice them. I parked under my carport, and sat, as I tried to calm my nerves.
 



© 2019 Cherrie Palmer


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Reviews

It was ok. i just couldn't get into it. i think there was a mistake. "I watched her glance down at my trembling left had." shouldn't had be hand?

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

3 Months Ago

Thank you dear it should.
Your story is very different in nature than this. Your voice will .. read more
Damn this was interesting, I really liked this. My favorite part is the need to have something all my own. Because everyone needs that

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

I loved the idea of a secret habit to propel the story. The idea of a busy woman with no time to he.. read more
Really liked this story kind of unique approach drew me in quick really good creative writing thanks for sharing

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

Thank you, Kent. I really like when a story starts somewhere unique. I wanted to have a habit drive.. read more
What a fascinating piece of writing, start to finish. As i began to read it, felt as if you were telling me about a recent happening, face to face, somehow sudden, secretive, using a 'must tell you something ' sort of tone. The mystery to come arrived as you told about the need to do something especially for Self, then suddenly wanting, needing to smoke. Your drive, your arrival in a place you didn't know.. was it the finding of treasure or terror was inferred but you moved on that place, the shop.. so finely described, so full of atmosphere, emotions, question marks hanging from a ceiling in your mind, perhaps. The woman appears and ... will stop, other readers mustn't know anything other than what they read from the first word of this glorious piece of writing. Will come back, Cherrie, i have to, have to know what your mind has birthed. Plus absorb your means of telling a first class tale, not a word out of place. Brava for all aspects of this first chapter!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

It was a crazy notion, I wanted to try. A habit to drive the story. I had the opening and asked mys.. read more
emmajoy

5 Months Ago

Don't smoke but have two sticks! Love the tale, it romps, it creeps, it's an adventure for the read.. read more
Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

I don't smoke either that's why I thought this made such a strong intro
That'll teach for starting to smoke...lol. This was a very clever start. I liked the characterization and the dialogue. But the best was I didn't know where yo were haeded with the smoking and that seemed very original to me. Kudos CP, that was a great read!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

The idea of the story being drive by a habit popped in my head.
And..
This opening j.. read more
Crowley

5 Months Ago

Lol, that's sounds delicious!!!
Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

I know you're never too old for a eskimo pie.
Since I could not sleep, I read the Quest so I did... who needs sleep eh..... nice one C x

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

Sleep is overrated:) good morning it's a blustery 10 degrees here this morning. Yuck.
And.... read more
Neville Pettitt

5 Months Ago

always a pleasure...
Awesome first. Chapter...I loved the fact the woman gave up smoking so quickly. Nice detail. .love the characters. They are fresh. And come alive off the page. Can't wait to read the next chapter.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

5 Months Ago

I loved the idea of starting a story this way.
As I ponder the beginning I needed a why. I.. read more
A amazing story shared Cherrie. I will return tonight and read some more. You are a amazing story teller.
Coyote

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I read this & the next chapter, but I’ll only put one review becuz this website has been hanging on me. Your writing is very interesting & compelling & fun to read. There’s an irresistible enthusiasm in the way you write & the way you share such uninhibited details, so that even if your story isn’t complicated or full of action (just two women sitting across from each other) you make this scene feel dynamic & even a little bit breathless. Your dialogue is quirky & unexpected, which is a delight. I’ve seen some write about psychic abilities with somewhat of an apology, as if for those who might not believe this happens. But what I love about your writing is the way you have a sassy ownership of everything you’re spilling. It’s true becuz you write it like it’s true. It’s just palpable, the way you put your scenes across. I am a true fan of yours (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

1 Year Ago

Margie,I'm so delighted you enjoyed this.
I do like setting up a story.
I try to tell.. read more
hmm, nothing less than a page turner.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cherrie Palmer

1 Year Ago

I'm glad you liked this, I've been editing this story and need to post the revisions.

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Added on April 6, 2018
Last Updated on May 13, 2019


Author

Cherrie Palmer
Cherrie Palmer

Oakland, AR



About
I am a published poet and love poetry. My husband and I live near the White River, and love trout fishing. I find my surroundings a great inspiration to me. I also have two books on Amazon Kindle: O.. more..

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