In the middle of a beautiful garden, a thin mist surrounds a small, concrete bench. On the bench sits a man, sobbing and holding his head low.

“Is there nothing else I can do?”he manages to say in between sobs. He stands. A few tears run down his cheek as he waves his arms at the mist, gently swaying back and forth as if caressing the light fog. His name is Jerome.

Throughout the last few years, Jerome had been followed by the mist. It appeared thick at times, but was nearly imperceptible on the whole. Today, the mist was more substantial than usual, but still relatively thin.

Finally lowering his arms, he wiped the tears with his sleeve and said, “This needs to work.”

Jerome looked at his watch and headed out of the garden. He locked the gate and started walking down the street. A little over a mile, he reached his destination – the Tarot Reader’s house.

“Sit down at the table, Jerome, and make yourself comfortable. Need anything before we start?” asked the Reader.

“No thanks,” he responded. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to get started.”

“Alright then,” said the Reader. He closed the drapes, turned the lights off, and sat at the table in front of Jerome. The Reader lit a candle and shuffled a deck of Tarot cards. He looked directly at Jerome and noticed a scar – a burn – on his forehead. “What is your question for the cards?” asked the Reader.

“I’m stuck,” started Jerome. “There is a mist that follows me.”

“A mist – following you?” questioned the Reader. “What exactly do you mean?”

“It’s a ghost. At least I think it is. I noticed it around a year ago, but I suspect it was earlier when I…” Jerome didn’t finish. Instead, he said: “I just need to know how to handle this mist. That’s all I can say.”

“I see,” said the Reader. He shuffled the Tarot cards and spread them on the table in a neat, well-practiced arc. He continued, “Go ahead, choose.”

Jerome scanned the cards and drew one that sort of ‘tugged’ at him. It was the Eight of Pentacles.

Jerome studied the image on the card. It shows a man working with tools, sitting in front of a window. In the distance is an unfinished castle.

“On the card is a craftsman,” said the Reader. “He has acquired skills and knowledge to be able to create magnificent things – like the castle in the distance. Consider the meaning of this card: skills learned and applied result in success.”

“Ah,” said Jerome with enthusiasm. “I need to improve my skills in order to deal with the mist – the ghost. Makes sense.“

Back home, Jerome went directly into a room he used for practicing dark magic. He didn’t tell the Reader that he had been studying the art for several years now. It started after his daughter, Sage, died. Grief stricken and unable to heal, he decided to learn magic and try to conjure her spirit. He was successful to some degree, but all he was able to manage was a mist. The Tarot’s message re-invigorated Jerome into dedicated study and practice.

Day after day, the mist thickened. Jerome, now often standing on the concrete bench, felt ever more confident in his abilities to summon his daughter’s spirit.

And then it happened. The mist condensed into the shape of Sage.

Some time ago, an entity, more of a spark of memory, came into existence in the spirit realm. Over time the memory expanded into a universe of thought. Thought became consciousness – specifically, that of Sage.

Her spirit felt a connection developing. This feeling was pulling her and took the form of a vortex. Sage did not resist the pull. She sensed a strong emotion – that of hope and belonging – just beyond the singularity at the heart of the vortex.

Her consciousness circled the maelstrom – at times accelerating her toward its center. Yet she was not able to reach it. She tried with all of her will to circle faster and closer – to sweep her way through. But to no avail. Every time she reached what she felt was a point of no return, the singularity seemed to lose its strong emotional pull. Her momentum slowed, and the pull eventually dissipated.

Her consciousness experienced this dramatic effort many times.

Feeling despair at not being able to cross, another spirit came to console Sage. “Why can I not get through?” asked Sage.

“Pass through the vortex if you must,” said the other spirit. “It requires a leap of faith. Only you can learn for yourself what means. Then practice , practice. You will reach the other plane of reality.”

Without any other explanation, Sage had an ingrained understanding of its meaning.

The vortex came again and again. Each time, Sage focused her thought on the singularity. And every time, she got closer and closer.

The vortex appeared again. This time, she sensed a much stronger feeling of hope and love from its core. Sage used this as an anchor to direct her course. She concentrated and remembered why she needs to cross. With one great effort, she pulled against the anchor and thrust her spirit into the singularity.

And then it happened. Sage came through to the other side. Her spirit had crossed into the other plane of existence. And it felt comfortingly familiar. She had a clear memory of this place.

From the core of a heavy mist, her spirit materialized. And surrounding her was an intense sense of happiness. It emanated from a being facing her. It was her father.

Jerome began to cry upon seeing Sage’s form. “Sage,” he said. “Against all hope, I have brought you back. I have tried and failed many times, and now have finally succeeded. My beautiful daughter, my darling one, I have missed you.”

“I am here, father,” said Sage, sensing an opposite but different type of pull from the vortex. “I cannot stay long.”

Jerome, understanding that he didn’t have much time, continued, “I did my best to save you from the fire. But a burning beam smashed into my head, causing me to let go. It’s my fault you died in the flames. It’s my fault you died so young, never having the chance to live a full life with meaning. My guilt is unbearable. I would have died in your place if I could.”

“Do not blame yourself for my death,” said Sage. “I am here, and you saved me from oblivion. You pulled my consciousness back into this realm, and now, helping me reach the next. So in a manner, you saved my life after all. I love you, Father.”

Jerome reached out to Sage and felt warmth. “I love you,” he whispered.

In silence, they had a brief, poignant moment of bliss.

The vortex became intensely strong, yet remained surprisingly gentle. Light appeared at its core, welcoming Sage to cross through.

With contentment, Sage disappeared into the light, and Jerome watched the mist dissolve, this time with a feeling of sublime happiness.


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. And please feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.

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


Season 1 Episode 18.

©2020 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.

All third party marks are the property of their respective owners. Image credit: Golden Tarot, Kat Black.


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