Focus your thoughts and clear your mind of all worries. What is it that concerns you? Now ask your question.
“My Ladies believe tonight’s party will be disastrous. I disagree. What do the cards say?”
The Reader spread the cards face down on the table. “Choose your card.”
It was the golden age of the Empire period. Inside her baroque gilded bedroom, the Baroness, along with her queue of Ladies, were enjoying the Tarot reader’s visit. After more laughter and drinking, she drew a card from the deck and turned it over to reveal The Emperor.
“This is perfect,” said the Baroness. “The card must foretell that I shall have an affair with a handsome, mighty gentleman,” she giggled. “Well, I am ready for it,” upon which she and her Ladies erupted in laughter.
The Reader smiled and said: “That would be delightful, but not its true meaning. The card is reversed. There is instability ahead. The Emperor is order personified, yet when reversed, it represents order unhinged.” The Reader though for a moment, then continued, “Your party will go on well enough, but be prepared for chaos.”
Later that evening, the Baron and his wife, having finished a sumptuous meal, were in the salon playing cards with their guests. The Lady’s maid came in and whispered close to the Baron’s ear that all was ready. But a little bit too close for the comfort of the Baroness. “Everyone, it it time for the unveiling! Please follow the Baroness and I to the main hall,” the Baron said exuberantly.
The party assembled in the main hall between two grand, mirror-image staircases which rose to meet at a landing. High on the central bannister was a large object draped in cloth. Next to it was a man ready to pull the cloth. “This gentleman here,” announced the Baron, “is the sculptor responsible for a wonderful gift from my wife. Please sir, unveil you masterpiece.”
The sculptor pulled the drape and revealed a heroic marble bust in the image of the Baron, complete with a crown of laurels. “Magnificent, even our new Emperor Napoleon would envy this masterpiece,” exclaimed the Baron, who was immediately joined by applause from all the guests. “Dearest wife, you have done quite well. I am pleased,” declared the Baron while seeing his wife smiling at the sculptor.
Very late in the evening when all the guests had retired and all was quiet, the Baron, carrying a silver candlestick with one lit candle, came to the landing to inspect and admire his statue. “Magnificent indeed,” he whispered as he inspected it with the weak light. Satisfied, and as he prepared to leave, he heard a whisper. “What was that? Who is that?” Looking around, he saw no one. ‘It must be a servant,’ he thought. “Show yourself.” But there was nobody around. Turning again to leave, he heard the word ‘Secrets.’ He was sure it came from the statue.
Unsettled, he went to his wife’s boudoir to tell her of the odd event. He opened the door quietly and walked behind his wife, seated at her writing table. She was looking at risque sketches of people in various poses. These must be drawings by the sculptor he thought.
“Please tell me you are not having an affair with that man,” he blurted. The Baroness, surprised, put down the pages and said mockingly: “Don’t be absurd Husband. As with all things, you have come to the wrong conclusion.”
The next evening, the Baron once again walked past the statue and this time, hears ‘Infidelity.” He thought this was pure devilry. He rushed to his wife’s room. She is not there. Her Lady’s maid said the Madame is not yet returned. He is sure she is with her lover, the sculptor. “She will pay for this,” he said plainly.
Having been engaged in a hunting party the following day, the Baron arrived late in the evening. Rushing to the statue he calmed himself and quietly asked of it: “Where is my wife? Is she with him?” He heard nothing. He asked again. But nothing, no sound whatsoever. I must be going mad, he thought. This statue must go.
He walked down the stairs toward the door underneath the landing. Agitated, he yelled for the butler to remove the statue.
As he reached for the door, the statue crashed upon his head, killing him instantly. The butler and other servants walked out to see their Master dead. Turning around and looking up, they saw the Baroness. Pale, blank, and as if in a trance, she uttered, “It said ‘Kill.’”
The Reader looked up from The Emperor card and said to the Baroness, “Be careful of this man. He will be your undoing.”
This is Dante P Ramon, your host and author of The Dark Reading, scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to listen to our podcast regularly, and visit us on the web at TheDarkReading.com.
I just drew the Death card, so good night for now.
If you like my scary stories, please feel free to share this website TheDarkReading.com and our Podcast at anchor.fm/thedarkreading with your friends and colleagues. Thanks!
Season 1, episode 2.
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