Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

Tinman’s weekly camera-less attempt at the WordPress Photo Challenge…

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Nothing much was happening. At séances, nothing much does.

“I am sensing someone called Mary,” hazarded Natalya, the Mystic.

“My name’s Mary,” said one of her clients, a lady named Mary.

Natalya raised her eyes toward Heaven. “I don’t mean here,” she said icily.

“My wife’s name was Mary,” said a man called Howard.

“Ah,” said Natalya. “It’s probably her.”

“I doubt it,” said Howard. “She’s outside in the car waiting for me.”

“You said her name was Mary!” snapped Natalya.

“She was christened Mary,” said Howard, “but no-one ever called her that. Everyone calls her Midge.”

Natalya spoke with a deathly calmness, rather appropriately. “Does anyone here,” she said, “know a Mary who has gone to the Other Side?”

A lady called Eileen timidly lifted her hand.

“I don’t mean moved to the northside of the city,” said Natalya, on a hunch. Eileen lowered her hand again.

“Morons,” thought Natalya, then reflected on the type of people who would come to a séance in the first place. “Very well, I will try to contact someone else.”

“What about the Mary that you sensed?” said Howard. “We can’t just ignore her.”

“She’s gone,” said Natalya dismissively. “She realised she was at the wrong séance.”

She raised her eyes toward Heaven again, this time along with her voice.

“I wish to speak to the Great Beyond!” she said.

“Hi,” said a voice.

There was a stunned silence. Even those who were there because they were true believers were amazed, because deep, deep inside they weren’t true believers.

“Er, who’s that?” said Natalya.

“The Great Beyond,” said the voice.

“Bloody hell,” said Natalya.

“Uncle Jim?” said Mary.

“What?” said the voice.

“Are you my Uncle Jim?” asked Mary.

“No,” said the voice impatiently. “I told you, I am the Great Beyond. That’s my name.”

“Nobody’s called the Great Beyond,” said Natalya.

“Not many people, admittedly,” said the voice. “Beyond is the male version of Beyoncé. It never really caught on. A bit like Matildus, or Elizaben.”

“And what about the Great bit?” asked Natalya.

“That was my stage name. I was an escape artist, like the Great Houdini.”

“You were as great as Houdini?”

“Well, no,” admitted Beyond. “That’s why I’m on the Other Side. Never padlock yourself into a shark-filled cage unless you’ve practised with something like, say, guppies first, that’s my advice.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Do you know my Uncle Jim?” asked Mary.

“What a daft question. Do you have any idea how many people have passed over to here?”

“Sorry,” said Mary.

“As it happens I do know him,” said Beyond, “but that doesn’t make your question any sillier.”

“Oh good,” said Mary. “Ask him does he know where the key to his back door is.”

“Seriously?” said Beyond. “Janet here (Natalya blushed) has gone to all the trouble of contacting the Great Beyond in the Great Beyond, and all you want me to do is find lost keys?”

“I’ve been left his house, you see,” said Mary, “but I can’t get into the back garden.”

There was a long sigh, then a long silence for a few moments, though Natalya swore she could hear footsteps receding, then returning.

“He says,” said Beyond, “that you should have checked in his pockets before you cremated him.”

“Oh.” Mary put so much crestfallenness into that one syllable that Beyond felt sorry for her.

“I can recommend a locksmith who really knows his stuff,” he said gently. “Trust me on this.”

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