Mad Cowtown

Episode 4: Echo, Echo: Madame Fortuna's Ghostwriting

My name is Madame Fortuna. For many years, I have made my living off of pretending to speak to the dead, telling my customers what they want to hear, helping them to move on from their loss. Even though I knew I was lying to them, I justified it by saying that I offered a valuable psychological service for less than a doctor would charge.

Now, though, I have the power I have always pretended to possess. The dead are speaking to me. Their thoughts are like electricity, and I am the wire through which they pass. I crackle, I burn, I must speak. Listen, children, to what I say.

Listen. A man who is far from home, who is very afraid, cries: die Hexe, sie ruft nach mir, und ich muss folgen. I feel him falling, and the water rising over his head. He becomes silent, and I sense an absence where he once was. I do not know what any of it means.

Listen. A man who is numb with cold. His mind is a white and raging storm. It howls inside his head. He sees a woman in a white coat, and craves the warmth of blood on his skin. He pursues her. The storm within him rises . . . and suddenly dissipates. I feel a sense of peace, and hear him whisper: “Thank you.”

Listen. A woman weeps in an empty house. Her pain makes her dangerous, like a wounded animal who lashes out at anyone who comes near her. She feels living creatures approach, and she scorches them with fire and slashes them with sharp steel.

. . . I can see no more for now. The spirits are silent once again. I hope they will not say more to me.


Indeed. Reads like a Gaiman vignette.


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