Luke Attacks Using the Tarot Cards

Chapter 27

This is a Young Adult story tackling issues of self-harm and suicide. It is intended for teen readers or older. If you want to read from the beginning, click over to chapter 1.

Kassandra reached the front door of the house, ready to burst through. A dangerous thought crept into her brain. The Death card. It had slipped out somehow while she ran. It sat lost on the sidewalk.

Her fingers rushed for the pocket and brushed against the stiff paper. The card was still there. Safe. 

“That’s one.” 

She grabbed the handle and cracked open the door. A peek inside showed Mom’s iPhone charging on the counter. Kassandra cringed. Not Mom. Now there were two people to look after. A glance outside showed the Nissan parked in the drive. Somehow Kassandra had missed seeing it on the way up. 

She stepped in and eased the door shut. Dishes clinked in the kitchen. It had to be Auntie Jo. Mom never cleaned up. As Kassandra entered the kitchen, Auntie Jo spun around and nearly dropped a plate.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m in big trouble.”

“It’s Luke, isn’t it?” Auntie Jo set the dish on the rack. “I could smell danger on that boy.”

“Do you still have the card I gave you?”

“Right here.” She drew it out of her apron pocket. “You’re not thinking of giving it to him.”

“No.” Kassandra took the card. It showed the figure of The Magician outlined in a stained glass window. This was Luke’s card. His prison. The place he’d been desperate to escape from for years. Now he needed it back. 

She glanced around the kitchen. “He has the rest of the cards.”

“What!” 

“I messed up, okay? Now I’ve got to keep these other two safe.”

“Two?”

Kassandra pulled the Death card out. “I kept this one.” As she examined it, Dad turned to look. “You probably can’t see him, can you?” 

“See who?” Auntie Jo inspected the image. “It looks a little like…”

“Dad, I know.”

Auntie Jo jerked back and pointed. “Mercy, it just moved.”

“He’s in there.” Kassandra looked back at Dad. “I only wanted to get him out.”

Auntie Jo gave the card a skeptical look and then gripped Kassandra’s shoulder. “Honey, what happened to your dad is permanent. There is no coming back.”

Kassandra didn’t believe it. Not after what she’d seen. These cards could do anything. 

She glanced toward the front door, shoving Death back into her pocket. “Listen, Luke’s on his way here. Right now.” Kassandra held up The Magician card. “I need to find something to do with this.” Scanning the room, her gaze landed on Mom’s phone. The size was about right. She thumbed one corner of the pink rubber shell away. The card would slide right behind there and Mom wouldn’t know it was there.

“What are you doing?” 

“Mom never goes anywhere without this thing. It practically lives on her.” Kassandra peeled the other corner back and wiggled The Magician card in. The fit was snug. “As long as someone possesses a card, it won’t zap back.” She snapped the pink Juicy Couture shell into place. “If Mom stays out of the house, Luke won’t know where this card is.”

The only sign of the hidden card was a sliver peeking up into the hole for the camera. A sinking feeling filled Kassandra’s chest. What if Luke did find out? Then Mom would be in danger too. Maybe there was some other place to stash it.

She pulled the corner of the rubber shell away. 

“Kassandra?” Mom stood in the hallway, wearing a blue polo with a name tag pinned to the front. “Why aren’t you at school?” She walked straight up to the counter. “And what happened to that nice boy?”

Luke was anything but a nice boy.

Kassandra said the first thing that came to her mind. “I ditched school.”

It took a moment to register but then Mom’s shock switched to cold fury. “We’re going to have a serious conversation about this.” She breathed hard, trying to keep it under control. “But right now, young lady, you’re getting your ass to school.”

Kassandra stared down at the carpet. No point arguing. Not this time. If she tried to explain then Mom would want to stay. And that couldn’t happen. 

Mom snatched the phone out of Kassandra’s hands. “Jo, you’ll have to drive her. I’m going to be late as it is.” 

“Sure.” Auntie Jo wiped her hands on a towel. 

Mom wheeled around, a finger aimed at Kassandra’s face. “Don’t think I’m done with you, yet.” She leaned closer. “Is that clear?”

Kassandra clenched her hands, but nodded.

“Fine.” Mom pointed toward the driveway. “Now get in the car.”

Kassandra headed to the front door. Outside, she scanned the street for Luke. No sign yet, but he could be anywhere. She pulled open the passenger door to the Beetle, her knees bashing into the glovebox. Auntie Jo wouldn’t actually take her to school. Kassandra only needed to go through the motions.

Mom made a big deal of stomping out and unlocking the door to the Nissan. Starting up the car, she immediately slapped the phone to one ear. Probably complaining to her boyfriend about the rough treatment. At the end of the block, Kassandra spotted a figure, dressed in a white T shirt and blue jeans, marching down the sidewalk.

While the Nissan idled in the driveway, Mom protested on the phone loud enough for Kassandra to hear. Luke marched up the street, a scowl on his the face. Prickles of sweat sprang up along Kassandra’s skin. 

“Go.” She glanced at the Nissan. “Please!” 

Mom put the car in reverse and eased out of the drive, still complaining on the phone. Luke was halfway down the street when she finally gunned it, and screeched away.

Kassandra bolted into the house. “He’s coming.” She slammed the door and threw the deadbolt. 

Auntie Jo held a plastic baggie filled with some kind of red powder. She stepped up to the front door and sprinkled some along the threshold.

“What’s that?”

“Brick dust. It keeps your enemies from entering.”

“Will it work?”

Auntie Jo shrugged and handed over the baggie. “Maybe.” She headed over to the couch and picked up a shotgun. “If not, this sure will.”

“Jesus, when did you get that?”

“Never you mind. Now go and sprinkle more brick dust on all the window sills.”

Auntie Jo grabbed a shell from the box and slotted it into the gun.

Kassandra peered out the front window. Luke rounded the driveway. The bag slipped and struck the floor, puffing up a cloud of red dust. “He’s here.” She rushed back to the couch.

A polite knock came at the front door—as though it might be some kid selling candy bars. “Hellooo?” Luke crooned from the other side. “Anybody home?”

Auntie Jo pumped the shotgun—click clack—and aimed the weapon at the door.

The handle jiggled. “Awfully rude to lock me out.” 

“Stay behind me, honey.” Auntie Jo propped the gun against one shoulder. Seconds ticked by. In the quiet, Kassandra’s mind conjured up bizarre possibilities. Maybe he’d slide down the chimney like some demented Santa. A bead of sweat slithered along her spine. What was he doing out there?

Finally Kassandra heard a huff of air, like someone breathing out loudly. The clatter of hooves followed, ending in a crack as something heavy slammed the front door. The wood snapped inward, revealing a sliver of daylight and what looked like a horse. Luke had used one of the cards. The horse battered the door again, splintering the wood and knocking one hinge out of the wall. Then the massive stallion reared up, bringing its front hooves down on the wood. 

Craaack!

The second hinge popped out. What was left of the door crashed down. The horse whinnied before trotting out into the driveway. Luke stepped up to the threshold.

“You locked the door? Really?”

He glanced down at the brick dust laid along the carpet. “I have to say, I’m not really familiar with this one.” Luke stepped over the red dust and into the house. “Is it supposed to do something?”

Auntie Jo fixed the barrel of the shotgun at Luke’s chest. “You stay away.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“I’m warning you.”

Luke tossed up one of his grins. “How about this instead?” He pulled a single card out of the Tarot deck.

BLAM!

The shell exploded into Luke’s shoulder. He staggered back, crumpling against the wall. His eyes went glossy. Blood spurted from the wound, spattering everything around it. It mixed with the brick dust on the floor, creating a crimson stew.

Auntie Jo stepped closer, pumping the shotgun to discharge the empty shell.

“Don’t kill him!” Kassandra stepped forward. Why had she said that? 

Luke smiled with red coated teeth. He looked up, not at Auntie Jo, but at Kassandra. Comprehension filled his eyes. “I’m going to remember this.”

“No you won’t.” Auntie Jo aimed the shotgun at his head.

“No!” Kassandra reached for the gun.

Luke thrust a single card forward and something in the illustration shifted. Auntie Jo’s eyes went wide.

Kassandra edged closer, trying to make out the picture. It showed an angel standing on a churning sea, a giant circular blank spot took up the center of the card. The Wheel of Fortune. The one Auntie Jo said stood for her.

Fire shot out, curling around Auntie Jo like a thousand tentacles. The flickers of orange and red flame morphed into a deep purple as the color faded from Auntie Jo’s apron.

It was sucking the life out of her, just like with Lindsay.

The Cursed Tarot Deck Claims Another Student

Chapter 9

This is a Young Adult story tackling issues of self-harm and suicide. It is intended for teen readers or older. If you want to read from the beginning, click over to chapter 1.

Kassandra snatched the cards away, but Marco didn’t react. Not even a snide remark. He simply stood there, staring into space. 

“All right people.” Mrs. Beehive clapped her hands. “Back to your desks.”

Diana grabbed his hand, tugging him away. He shuffled along. 

Kassandra shoved the deck into her purse, but left the blank card out. The title at the bottom read: four of cups. 

Mrs. Beehive asked for examples of tone and mood from the story. Kassandra pretended to take notes but her gaze was fixed on Marco. Diana did the same. He seemed to be the only one of the three even remotely interested in what Mrs. Beehive had to say, staring at the board as if it offered salvation. 

Diana whispered something in his ear. He shrugged, prompting a scowl from her. “Marco,” she said loud enough to reach Kassandra. No response. His eyelids hung at half-mast.

Mrs. Beehive’s face scrunched up, eyeing Diana. The girl flashed another “I’m innocent” smile, though this time it looked forced. 

It was the cards. They did something to him. Kassandra glanced around the room. Lindsay scrutinized her, perfectly formed eyebrows bunching together.

Once Mrs. Beehive turned back to the board, Diana spun on Marco. “Are you even listening to me?” He blinked, but still stared forward. 

By this time, most of the class had tuned into the Diana and Marco show.

“Talk to me!” She shoved and he slid off the chair, slumping to the floor. Chuckles rippled through the room. One boy whipped out a camera phone. 

Even Mrs. Beehive couldn’t ignore this. “Marco Hernandez. Please take your seat.” He scrambled back to the desk. 

Diana stood and leaned into Marco’s face, her whole body quivering. “What is wrong with you!” Her voice crescendoed, leaving whisper mode and venturing into class disrupting volume. 

Mrs. Beehive frowned, hands on hips. “Diana Davis, please escort yourself to the office.”

Diana gripped Marco by the hair, twisted his head, and planted a big sloppy kiss. When she pulled away, he tilted to face the whiteboard. Diana swiveled and glared at Kassandra. The class turned to look. “He was fine before messing around with you and those cards. You did something to him.”

“The office, Miss Davis!” Mrs. Beehive said. “Before I call security.”

Diana marched into the hall. 

The moment she vanished, the chatter began. Camera Phone Guy typed away, sending the picture across the mobile teen network. 

Kassandra slunk lower in her seat, avoiding Lindsay’s gaze. Marco was the one who grabbed the cards. Maybe the deck was just being defensive.

“Pretty cool,” someone said.

She glanced over and saw The Browless One looking her way through a mop of tangled hair. At least one person supported her. 

When class ended, Kassandra headed toward the door. Students scooted away from her, creating a path. Marco remained fixed at the desk, the same dopey look on his face. 

Kassandra needed to figure these cards out. Right now. She located the library and rushed inside. Rows of shoulder-high shelves loaded with books crammed the space. The room was deserted except for the librarian stamping books. Kassandra spied a bank of computers against the far wall and made a bee line. She nearly jumped at seeing Book Girl hiding between two shelves, the same book propped on her knees. 

The girl glanced up and put a finger to her lips. 

Kassandra paused mid-step and turned toward the librarian, still working through one of the stacks of books. When she looked back, Book Girl was reading again. How the heck did she make Honors English anyway if she skipped classes?

Kassandra picked the nearest computer terminal and clicked open the Internet, searching for “Two of coins Tarot Card”—the one that spurred Lindsay’s wardrobe malfunction. The computer spewed up pages of links. The first one gave a list of meanings: Embarrassment, obstacles, obstruction, emotion, confusion, difficulty, hindrance, unrest.

The first word, embarrassment, caught her attention. Nothing could be worse than appearing naked in high school. The site also listed a picture of the card. It showed a juggler holding two oversized coins in his hands. Nothing like the one in Kassandra’s deck.

She ran a search for the four of cups. Marco’s card.: Ennui, Displeasure, Discontent, Dissatisfaction, Boredom.

Well, Marco certainly looked out of it, which was a type of boredom. Although his was the industrial-size variety. Again the picture on the website didn’t match the picture she’d seen on the card. What if these Tarot cards were some special deck nobody knew about? 

The bell rang. Time to hustle.

Before closing out the web browser, Kassandra scanned the site one last time. Not all the cards were bad news. Many of them talked about success or money. She could sure use a little good luck.

She noted the seven of coins because the website said it represented money and riches. Locating the card, she slapped it on the counter. The illustration showed five guys gambling at a green table. Seven ginormous coins hovered around them. 

Thunk. 

The librarian dumped a stack of books onto a cart. Kassandra glanced at the clock. Two minutes late to her next class. She shut her eyes and concentrated. Money. New jeans. A nice writing journal. A peek showed the five guys still whooping it up at the green table.

Perfect. So the cards did their freaky mojo at the worst possible time, but when Kassandra really need something…zip. 

She stuffed the deck back in the purse and raced through the deserted halls. Rounding a corner, Lindsay Barker strolled down the hall, flanked by two other girls. Kassandra must’ve looked like an injured gazelle because Lindsay smirked, pinning her with a gaze that said, “I’m ready to rip open your throat.”

Tarot Book Release Giveaway

Love. Death. Betrayal.

It’s All in the Cards.

Tarot Cover Art 72

 

When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?

Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

Download the ebook from Midnight Frost Books as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Not sure? Read a free sample here. Or click on the fancy schmancy button below.

Snail Sample Button

Tarot Book Trailer

I worked for over two months drawing and coloring the panels you see in this trailer. I wanted it to be as special as the book. However, I was daunted by the music. I’m no musician. However, if it were silent, or had canned music, that would undermine all the hard work I put into the animation. Bradley Coy came to my rescue. For the full story on how the theme for the book trailer was created, read A Theme Song for an ebook.

Giveaway Details

Here’s the deal. You help me promote Tarot: The Magician and you get the goodies (at least one of you will). You will win the fabulously creepy Zombie Tarot and a very adorable stuffed snail. Why a snail you ask? Although it seems random, the snail plays a big part in the book. Watch the Tarot book trailer to see how.

zombie tarot

Click anywhere on the image below to take you to enter the giveaway. Hurry, the event ends Saturday, June 7th!

tarot giveaway2

Tarot: The Magician Book Release

This is it. My first fiction novel is here! I have been waiting for this moment since I was seventeen and first stepped into Susan Vreeland’s writing class. By the way, that’s like geologic history right there. Perhaps a millennia ago in the strata of Tim Kane.

Tarot Magician

A taste of the Tarot: Book Trailer

It’s available to download from Amazon and Midnight Frost Books. It will arrive at OmniLit and other venues very quickly and Barnes and Noble via Smashwords a few weeks later.

Book Blurb

When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?

Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

 Book Release Giveaway

The Tarot Book Release giveaway starts Saturday, May 31st. I will be giving away a deck of the Zombie Tarot cards along with an adorable stuffed snail (in honor of Monstro the Snail that appears in the book). I will also premiere the Tarot book trailer, complete with original score by Bradley Coy.

zombie tarot

Looking forward an exciting week.

Tim Kane

Magical Realism: The Forgotten Genre

Many readers know about fantasy fiction. Paranormal and supernatural tales are burning up the charts. Few people realize that there is a sister genre, nestled in the cracks of literature: Magical Realism.

Step into the Way-Back-Machine with me to my middle school. There, my Spanish teacher, a burly Brazilian bodybuilder, introduced me to the genre. It was no mistake, as the concept was born in Latin America. The concept of these stories is a perfectly normal, rational world, but with one magical element.

In magical realisms, the common and mundane are transformed into the amazing and unreal. It’s a genre of surprises. Time is fluid, pulling the reader into the unusual.
Need some examples? How about Like Water for Chocolate? The novel by Laura Esquivel shows the domestic life of women in a small town. Yet the protagonist, Tita, can’t achieve happiness because of her mother. She imbues her emotions into the food she makes. Those that partake of her delicacies, enact those emotions for her. For example, Tita suffers from forbidden love, and she infuses this emotion into a wedding cake. The guests to eat the cake, all suffer from severe longing.
Here’s a clip from Tita’s magical meal.

Another perfect example is Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1912). Here an office worker awakes one day to discover that he’s been transformed into a cockroach. His family must then deal with his new insect form.

A comic adaptation of Metamorphosis that I adore.

A comic adaptation of Metamorphosis that I adore.

Many movies also fall into the magical realism arena, such as: Being John Malkovich, Big Fish, Black Swan, City of Angels, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Many fantasy writers scoff at the idea that this is a unique genre, saying that magical realism is simply another name for fantasy fiction.

Gene Wolfe stated, “magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish,” and Terry Pratchett said magic realism “is like a polite way of saying you write fantasy.” Yet there are differences. Most notably the use of

antinomy, or the simultaneous presence of two conflicting codes. When you read fantasy, there’s an internal logic, rules, to the universe. In magical realism key events have no logical explanation. Why can Tita infuse food with emotion? There is no reason. She just can.

It’s this element that so fascinates me. In a world where every motivation needs to be explained and teased apart, it’s a relief to say it happened just because. Magical realism includes events that don’t fit into any world, anywhere.

Gabriel García Márquez, a Colombian writer, uses of magical realism to blend reality and fantasy so that the reader can’t tell the difference. In his story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”,  an angel falls to the Earth because of a violent rainstorm. The reality of the situation is never doubted. Although the angel is a magical being, he is treated in a realistic way. Here’s the start to the story.
WindMan-01
A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings: A Tale For Children
 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 
 
 
On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench. The world had been sad since Tuesday. Sea and sky were a single ash-gray thing and the sands of the beach, which on March nights glimmered like powdered light, had become a stew of mud and rotten shellfish. The light was so weak at noon that when Pelayo was coming back to the house after throwing away the crabs, it was hard for him to see what it was that was moving and groaning in the rear of the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn’t get up, impeded by his enormous wings.
 
Frightened by that nightmare, Pelayo ran to get Elisenda, his wife, who was putting compresses on the sick child, and he took her to the rear of the courtyard. They both looked at the fallen body with a mute stupor. He was dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth, and his pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather took away and sense of grandeur he might have had. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar. Then they dared speak to him, and he answered in an incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice. That was how they skipped over the inconvenience of the wings and quite intelligently concluded that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship wrecked by the storm. And yet, they called in a neighbor woman who knew everything about life and death to see him, and all she needed was one look to show them their mistake.
For the full text, visit here.