Intro from an abandoned project

This isn't a complete scene. I kind of like how it turned out but I'm going to abandon this project for right now; so, I thought I'd put it here for anyone that wanted to read it. This is a first draft FYI.


The drab, brown tent stood out at the carnival. It was in stark contrast to the brightly colored, flashing, and noisy carnival which surrounded it. But Alissa’s eyes were drawn to the wooden shingle hanging from the post out front of it.
It read as follows:
Fortunes told, deceased loves contacted, and magic performed for a fee
Mystical Magical Merina
And then in the largest letters, “CURSES!”
The courtroom events of the last week had drained Alissa and she didn't fully think through what she did next.
 She pulled back the flap of the tent and ducked her head as she stepped through. She pressed her other hand around her recently stomach, cradling her recently emerged baby bump.
Alissa’s nose was filled with a pleasant aroma: there were hints of dark wood, cinnamon, and anise. It was a full moon outside and she was surprised at how dark the interior of the tent was and how muffled the sound of the surrounding carnival had become the second she let the tent flap fall closed.
“Hello my dear,” A voice said from the far corner of the tent. A match flared to life and the woman lit a green-glass lantern hanging from a wooden rod which supported the roof of the tent. “Oh!” the woman continued as she scampered towards Alissa. “That’s a powerful little one that you have in there. Do you wish to know the sex?” She placed her hands on Alissa’s stomach; an act that normally drove Alissa insane, why did people think it was okay to touch without asking.
The old woman had a small hump and walked in a way that made her look perpetually crouched. She had wiry gray hair and one eye that was always closed.
“Um…” Alissa was caught off guard. This woman was a little more aggressive than she had expected. But what had she expected - exactly. “I do, but that’s not why I’m here.”
“Oh yes. I know, of course I know.” The woman scampered off around the tent and started to pull drawers on an old-style cabinet that could have belonged to an apothecary or it may have once been the home of the card catalogs from a long-lost kind of library. “Ohhhh! Sit, sit, sit,” the woman said without a hint of aggression as she searched through the drawers. Her hands worked quickly and Alissa couldn’t distinguish the dozen or so items that emerged in a blur from the rough wooden drawers.
Her eyes must have been adjusting; before her, Alissa saw a table with a small bowl, a teapot, two teacups, a crystal ball, and two chairs. A maroon table cloth covered the surface and Alissa noticed that steam from some tea was rising from each cup. She pulled out the chair closest to her and sat.
Alissa watched the woman gather up the items into a larger bowl. She then started to swish her hand around the bowl, Alissa could hear the scratching sound of the dry ingredients in the wooden bowl.
“It’s a girl, by the way. Almost forgot,” the woman said with a smile that was missing a few teeth.
Alissa's heart swelled. She had wanted a girl even though she hadn’t admitted it to herself before. She would have loved a boy all the same, but a girl…
For some reason it seemed nicer, since she would be raising the baby on her own, it seemed nicer that they would be a mother and daughter. Maybe they’d be like the Gilmore Girls. But, she started to try and calm down. How could this woman know? What she even doing in here? Alissa had never gone in for this sort of thing before.
“I promise you it’s a girl,” the woman said suddenly. It was almost as if the woman had been--just a little--offended by her thoughts. This was getting too creepy. “I’ve got something,” the woman continued. “It’s lucky that you came by. I won’t be here tomorrow, or even in a few hours, actually.” The old woman sat down. “Pour yourself some tea, dear.”
Alissa did as she was told and then asked, “What are you doing? How do you know? What do you think I’m here for?”
The woman stopped her mixing and stared at Alissa, unblinkingly in the face. “You’re here for the little one.”
“Well, I guess,” Alissa said, searching her feelings. This all felt right--it felt like the woman was right. Alissa started to pick up the tea but remembered and nearly dropped the cup.
"It won’t hurt the baby. Just some bits of dried apple, in there.”
Alissa sighed, “Sorry.”
“No problem. Old Merina will make sure that you and that baby are fine; I’ll even throw in a little revenge for free.”
This startled Alissa. “I don’t want revenge,” she said.
“Oh, did I…” the old woman looked confused. “Did I say revenge. I meant to say, uh, justice…” the old woman watched Alissa with a squinted eye, waiting for her reaction.
Alissa wasn’t sure what she was supposed to say but she tried, “Okay, then.” And then she took a sip of her tea; it was delicious.
The old woman nodded and happily returned to her mixing.
Alissa placed her empty teacup on the saucer and at the same time, the old woman dropped the wooden bowl onto the table with a bang. Alissa almost felt out of her chair.
The old woman lifted the teapot and, ever-so-slowly, poured the tea into the bowl.
It struck Alissa that the woman’s reckless demeanor had changed. After carefully replacing the teapot on the table the woman slowly swirled the wooden bowl with both of her hands before tipping it over into the smaller bowl that had been resting on the table.
“There you are, my dear. Now, you must say his name.”
Alissa glance up from the bowl. She was about to ask, who’s name, but she knew.
“Ted,” she said, and she felt her fury boiling up inside of her. “That bastard!” she started. “Not only did he abandon us when he found out about the baby, he got his rich, stupid lawyers to make sure he didn’t have to give us anything. He’s stupid rich too, which I didn’t even know at the time. I guess that’s my fault, not knowing him that well. But, he’s so rich and he couldn’t even help us out at all. He actually spent money on his lawyers, I guess they were on retainer, but he had his lawyers make sure that he had no legal connection to this baby. AND IT IS HIS BABY!” Alissa yelled that last part.
“Oh, I know, my dear. And don’t you feel so much better now, just letting that all out.”
“Not really.”
“Oh, of course not,” the woman said and she picked up the small bowl from the table and held it out to Alissa. “Now you drink this and you’ll feel better and by the time that baby arrives your worries will be gone and so will…Ted.” The woman spit out the man’s name like it was a rotten piece of meat or a worm found in a bitten apple.
Alissa took the bowl and held it up to her lips with both hands. She hesitated. Inside of the liquid, she saw swirling colors and sparkles but it wasn’t like the rainbows that one sees in an oil slick, it was more like the colors that appeared in comic books and cartoons.
“Is there glitter in here?” Alissa said.
The old woman laughed and said, “Oh no, my dear. As with the tea, there’s nothing in there that will harm you or your baby.”
Alissa didn’t know why, but she trusted the woman’s words completely. Later she would reflect back on how frightening it was that she didn’t question the words of the old woman.
She lifted the bowl to her lips and sipped. It was good. She greedily drank down the rest of the drought.

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