For KC_OBrien‘s prompt.
I don’t have demons in any of my settings, so this is misc-verse
When Evangaline’s Aunt died, it fell to her to clean out the old house where her Aunt had lived and, before her Aunt Asta, her Aunt’s Aunt Ruan (family history stopped there, but Evangaline felt as if, if she tracked it back far enough, there would be an unbroken line of Aunts back into pre-history). As a childless Aunt herself, she accepted that the house would now become hers, but not that she needed to keep the piles of accumulated auntieness that filled it.
Tables were put out on the lawn, yard sales and freesales advertised, and Eva took two bright, sunny weekends to pull out of every nook and cranny, every eave and basement cabinet, every shelf and wardrobe, every piece of her ancestral Aunts’ lives.
Some she kept – the kitchen table was her self-imposed space limiter for knick-nacks, the living room itself for furniture (except for the bedrooms. The bedroom furniture she could keep for now; there were seven bedrooms in the old place, some barely bigger than a closet. For an unmarried aunt, it seemed excessive). The rest, despite family uproar (“If you think we should keep it, you’re welcome to come buy it at a family discount.”) went away.
Alone in a much-emptied house, Evangaline drank her tea and studied what remained. Four tea pots and one kettle (she’d gotten rid of seven pots!), one wide, shallow scrying bowl. Three little muslin dolls she’d been afraid to throw out – those would go back in their silk wrappings in their oak casket, and hope that Aunt Ruan or her Aunt had just liked dolly-making. One blue glass rose, and a beautiful matching vase. Three sets of tarot cards.
She’d sent the other six tarot sets to the sale, but these three had felt different to her fingers, tingled wrong, especially the oldest set, the one that was clearly hand-painted, in its oak box.
She’d finished her tea and her take-out pizza, so now was as good a time as any to figure out what it was about them, why these cards in particular had called her. She tipped the case out onto the table, letting the cards fall where they may.
The first thing she noticed was that this was not, exactly, a Tarot, or if it was, it was an interpretation she had never seen before. The second was that the tingling sensation was getting worse. The third was that the cards were moving on their own.
The woman on the card at the front – a blue-skinned woman, tall, dressed in medieval clothing and standing on the edge of a precipice – winked deliberately at Evangaline. Her card was labeled “The Fall,” and it looked like a long one.
As she winked, her card moved to cross another one – a deep, red-lit cave, with two eyes glowing out from its depths. “The Beast,” its caption proclaimed.
Evangaline’s hands hovered over the cards, loathe to touch them but drawn to see what the rest of them were. She reached for another one, just a tiny corner of lush greenness showing under the Beast.
“No, no,” the blue woman tut-tutted. “No, child, one reading at a time.” The cards burst into flames at “time,” the whole table of family heirlooms lighting on fire. “One at a time,” the voice repeated, as Evangaline jumped back from the heat.
The flames died down and vanished, the cards tucked back into their case. On the table, one teapot – that nearest the cards – was covered in soot. Nothing else was harmed.
Carefully, very carefully, she closed the card case and put it in a drawer. Her Aunts’ relics were going to require some careful handling.
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