Walking The Underworld

A Short Story

Harley Bell


A selection of tarot cards.
Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

This is a true story, be warned. This is an invitation into the dark. A journey through the thresholds of death. Gather your warmth.
We walk deep. We walk now.

Our journey begins
when you take the first step. Be warned.
I will be waiting
in the white space of the afterword.

I was alone and armed with a deck of cards. You prescribed me one a day and sealed them inside a brown paper bag. You had told me that too much prophecy, too much Tarot, would overdose my free will into fate. I do not know why you insisted that I medicate with magic. But I guess, nothing else had worked.

I opened the bag to break the seal and shuffled the deck to draw. One card face down. Facedown to the coffee table, the table laden with fresh garden herbs and last night’s wine.
I crushed parsley with my card. I breathed out and turned over the mystery. The mystery of the hanged-man.
My hand felt red hot as I held the man suspended with rope. Suspended from the branches of a tree. What did this mean?
I consulted your scrawl of a notebook.
It suggested that I needed a new perspective on my problems. Suggested that to be physically suspended, metaphorically means to put everything on hold. Suggested that I needed time to decide my next moves in life.

My next move? I paced to pack a bag and paced to pack my car. I paced back to our room and paced to make our bed. I pasted the sheets to the mattress with tucked-in corners. I folded back the blankets to give the pillows enough room to breathe.

I breathed out and opened my desk. I drew my quill from its quiver and with ink, I wrote a note for you.
It said: I am ugly and wild. I need to be alone. Right now, I journey into the dark. Don’t wait up.
I left the note to rest upon your pillow.

What did I do?
My red right hand opened the door to my car and I drove. Till asphalt became gravel till gravel became dirt.

I remembered one of our last conversations: you said I didn’t care about you. But I…



Harley Bell

I write about writing, creativity and business. I'm currently working on a poetry book, titled Wild Altar. www.harleybellwriter.com