Have you ever stumbled across an image that affected you so deeply that it found its way into your mind, engrained itself in your very soul? I have felt that thousands of times throughout my life. Whenever I shake someone’s hand, I see an image of their strongest thought. When I hugged my aunt, I saw an image of her smiling as a child. When I kissed my first boyfriend, I saw the girl he was sleeping with on the weekends. I am not a mind-reader, I am a clairvoyant. I breathe imagery of the past, present, and future. I can learn the deepest secrets from someone that I’ve never spoken to. I have looked into the heart of the world, and it can be very, very ugly.

I knew my gift from a young age, and I have chosen to look past that ugliness, because there is true goodness in the world. I know this with every fiber of my being. With this ideal in mind, I decided to pursue this ability, and as a 23 year old fresh out of college, I ended up working in a downtown psychic shop, doing readings to make some extra cash.

There have been many types of people who passed through that front door. I’ve done readings for widows with heavy hearts, wanting only to speak with their beloved one last time. There have been teenagers who have come in on a whim, just to see if all this is really true. There have, of course, been unhappy spouses who, in truth, believe their relationship is doomed, but need a psychic’s word to make them fully come to terms with their situation.

Then, there was this couple.

It was an oddly warm day in November. I had been free for much of the afternoon, and I was just tidying things up before I would close up shop and head home. Just then, a woman burst through my door with a man on her arm. Her face was streaked with eyeliner, but she had a joyous smile on her face. She was so excited that she could barely contain it, and he seemed to be quietly holding her, with a courteous smile occasionally.

She finally stammered to me, “He just proposed to me!” She laughed brightly and her happiness radiated outward. “Under the autumn trees, in the park, just now! Oh, it was beautiful! We’re going to get married!”

More happy tears formed in her eyes. Her fiancé smiled politely.

I nodded and grinned warmly at them. “Congratulations!”

The woman beamed.

“What can I help you with today?” I asked simply.

“Oh, we were just passing by- and we’d like to hear what our future will bring! The wedding! Oh, god, it’s going to be wonderful!” She giggled.

I imagine this had just happened moments before, and the emotions were still raw and new. In my mind, this wasn’t the best time for a reading, but I obliged.

“Please, have a seat.” I motioned to my work station, a small round table with a velvety red cloth.

“Thank you so much,” the woman said gratefully. Her husband politely pulled out her chair, and she beamed at him. He then pulled out his own chair and sat down beside her, and quietly held her hand. I lit some white candles in the corner, and as I did so, I glanced back at the couple at the table. While the woman was absolutely glowing with excitement, her fiancé sat silently. He looked at her, but not the way a man usually looks at the love of his life. It was vacant, empty. It wasn’t like he disliked her, but it was just strange. It doesn’t take a psychic to notice odd behavior, and believe me, this was odd. He wasn’t happy or sad; he definitely didn’t look like someone who had just popped the question. Either way, I shrugged it off and sat across from them at the table.

I gently asked to hold the woman’s hand. As I felt her soft palm against mine, I was bombarded with images of the days leading up to the wedding. It was like her mind was overflowing with joy, and the coming days would be an equal reflection on that. I saw the couple wandering into a bakery and trying various cakes with pastel frosting. Another day, some close friends would be lounging on a white couch, and the woman would quickly emerge from a changing room, looking radiant in a beautiful, flowing, white gown. Her friends would jump up and pour out their compliments. And finally, on the day of the wedding, I could see her auburn hair being styled with small braids and a white rose pin to hold it all together. She would smile brilliantly as a gray-haired man lead her down the aisle in a small church, gently kissing her cheek and passing her hand to her fiancé by the alter. More happy tears would form at the corners of her eyes as they spoke their vows.

I explained all this to the couple with a genuine smile spread across my face. The woman glowed and laughed. It was a lovely sight.

This entire time, the man still maintained a polite, happy expression. Almost like he was feigning it. But I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Right up to the wedding, their future looked bright and beautiful, just like the expressions that danced on the woman’s face.

As the session concluded, the woman paid me a fair sum of cash, bordering on too much. I explained that it was a little much to accept, but she insisted I deserve it for giving such a wonderful reading. I nodded and thanked her.

As they were about to leave, out of courtesy, I reached out to shake her fiancé’s hand. I took his rough palm in mine, and suddenly, more images flashed in my head, and my smile faded into horror.

Blood. So much blood. It soaked into the white hotel suite rug, and it splashed the nearby champagne bottles. My mind reeled. There was blood splattered across the vase holding white and red roses… a bouquet. And worst of all, there was pallid corpse laying twisted on the floor. It had auburn hair, and was wearing a blood soaked wedding gown. Several ghastly stab-wounds ravaged her abdomen as the arterial flow continued. Standing over her, was the groom. Messy hair drenched with sweat, and a blood-splattered face, coupled with a sick, twisted grin. In his hand, the man clutched a shining, hunting knife, flecked with gore and white lace.

I instantly snapped out of it, and was rushed back to my psychic shop. I dropped the fiancé’s hand staggered back, staring at him in absolute horror. For the first time since I had seen him walk through my front door with his wife-to-be on his arm, a wide, genuine smile spread across his face.