“Focus you thoughts and clear your mind of all worries. What is it that concerns you? Now ask your question,” said the Tarot Reader.

We’re inside a large tent. The Tarot Reader sat at a round table. The tent was sparsely decorated. Although it was still early afternoon, it was dark inside due to the heavy tent material, and with only a lamp and candles to light the interior. The tent was one of many at the little town’s central square. They were celebrating the Summer Solstice Festival. Throughout the square was a choice of food, games and entertainment, including the Tarot Reader.

Across from the reader sat a pleasant looking older lady, likely in her 70’s. Lottie, the elderly lady, said: “I have a special granddaughter that I adore. She’s just so sweet and it’s her birthday. She has a big test coming up, but I don’t know if she’s ready. What do you… What do the cards say?”

The Reader spread the cards face down on the table. “Choose your card.”

Lottie fumbled through the cards and touched one, moving off then coming back to it several times. She finally drew the card from the deck and turned it over. It was the Three of Pentacles.

“A very appropriate card for your question,” said the Reader. “It directly addresses your concern. The imagery on the Three of Pentacles depicts learning, skill, collaboration and accomplishment. Harkening back to masonry and cathedral construction, the teacher successfully transfers his knowledge to the apprentice. All-in-all, a good card for your granddaughter. She should do well on her test if she studies diligently and follows guidance from her teachers.”

“Thank you so much,” said Lottie. “That’s just what I wanted to hear.” She looked directly at the Reader and smiled. She then turned and left the tent.

Later that afternoon we see Lottie entering her front door with a bag of groceries. She walked to the kitchen, unpacked, then prepared food. It’s not a meal for herself, but a few trays of finger foods and refreshments. From the refrigerator, she pulled out a small cake and paced a candle on it. She then took out two kitchen knives and examined each one, sharpening them, making sure they’re clean and ready. Satisfied, she arranged the knives on a tray next to the cake. The doorbell rang.

Lottie stayed put in the kitchen as she wasn’t quite done with the prep work. In came her son and his daughter, Lottie’s granddaughter, Rebecca, or ‘Becca’ for short. It was Becca’s birthday today and is now twelve years old.

“Hi grandma,” said Becca. “Tonight’s the big night, right?”

Lottie laughed and said, “Of course it is. Now stop being silly.”

“Okay. I love you grandma,” said Becca.

More people came. The party had begun and all seemed to enjoy the food, refreshments and finally the cake. Lottie took one knife and made slices enough for everyone. After cake, Lottie asked for all to move to the back yard.

The space was small but neatly designed. The perimeter has thick and tall shrubbery, with flowering annuals and perennials creating the borders. The flower border and shrubs were lit elegantly from below. In the center was a clear space – a patio made of patterned brick. In the middle of the patio was a fire pit filled with fresh cut cedar logs.

The party arranged itself in a circle around the pit. Robes were being distributed and put on by all while Lottie clicked a remote to ignite the fire pit. Her son, now cloaked and hooded spoke, “Bring the initiate.”

Into the circle walked Becca holding the second knife. “You will recite the incantation,” ordered her father. Becca began quietly but continued louder and louder with confidence, periodically looking at Lottie. The air and surroundings stirred and intensified with her incantation.

At the proper moment she took the knife and pricked her palm. Holding out her hand, a droplet of blood fell into the fire. After a moment, the fire surged and a loud roar screeched from the fire. The fire erupted and for a few seconds appeared a horned figure of a half man half ram. It’s red eyes peered at the girl for a moment. Then the apparition disappeared, the fire went out, and everything became still.

The Reader stood up and asked Lottie to leave. When Lottie was gone, we see the Reader visibly upset. She went to the table and shuffled the Tarot cards. She drew a card and turned over The Devil.


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

I just picked the Death card, so good night for now.

If you like my scary stories, please feel free to share this website and our Podcast at with your friends and colleagues. Thanks!

Season 1, episode 5

.©2020 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.


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