Issue No. 17, Summer 2016



You will discover something you have lost today, though it is not your virginity, or your youth, or the great feeling of satisfaction you once had with your life. Those things are gone forever.


A victory fast approaches you. It is not your victory, but it is coming. Any second now.


The path you are on is thin and treacherous, but leads to many great rewards. If you should come across them, you will find that they distract only for a moment, before you notice that the path keeps going long after, thin and treacherous as ever. “But isn’t this my destination?” you will ask. “What could lie further down the path?” Perhaps greater rewards, perhaps greater obstacles, perhaps nothing but brown dirt brambled with memories of the treasures you have already decided to leave behind.


You are being watched. Who your voyeur is and who sent them and for what reason, I cannot say. The inevitable turn of events can only be harshened by your foreknowledge of the limitless mysteries. Don’t despair. In fact, do the opposite. Smile at all times as though you know a deep secret. Talk kindly to no-one in particular when you have just exited the shower and have yet to wipe the steam from the mirror’s shine. Stop at intervals when you are walking in public. Say “That’s a fine hat you’ve got on,” or “You shouldn’t eat while you work, James. That’s very unprofessional.” Then move on and live your life. Let them watch, the bastards.


The red woman appearing in all your dreams is a blessing in disguise. If there is no red woman, disregard this prophecy, and lock your doors when you go home tonight. She can only be in one place at a time.


Your next lover will appear to you in a reflection at the bottom of a well, somewhere in your hometown. The well is deep and dark, but you will climb down it, as if entranced by a song sung by the heart of the earth. No-one will ever see you again. Not even your lover, face touching yours in that blackness, perfumed of sweat and electricity. Yes, you will say, yes.


I see disaster in your future. A great parting of ways, a killing of lambs, a disturbance of prosperity. You will fall into metaphysical poverty. Three thousand birds will fly into the sky screaming.  There is no rhyme or reason as to why this must happen to you. Only that you have been told that you are unfortunate, and now will go out into the world and break your back ensuring that it is so.


Your future is blurry, but here are the signs: a ship’s wheel, a blue stone, skeins of undyed yarn, the laughter of poor children, a book with no cover, the square iris of a goat, several wild magnolias that have fallen to the earth, your mother’s face from when you were a child, telling you to come back. It does not matter what these mean. Close your eyes and think instead of all the things in the present that you still do not understand.


You will live a long life, but not a happy one. I’m sorry.


Someone close to you will soon tell you something of great importance. You will find this news to be unsurprising, or uninspired, or simply stupid. You will go home after and eat a mediocre dinner. You’ll spend some time on the internet or watching a show you don’t really enjoy but have grown accustomed to seeing. That night you will feel haunted by a thing you cannot name and have trouble sleeping. A voice whispers: “You’re a waste.” It’s your voice. You do this every night. In the morning, you will have completely forgotten what it was that was supposed to be so important.


Your lucky numbers are: seven, fourteen, and two. Your lucky colors are: white, burnt sienna, and aquamarine. Your lucky days are: not today. Your lucky animal is: the cat which keeps appearing in your dreams. Your lucky people are: the next person in line at the grocery check-out, the president of the 52nd richest country in the world, and one of the men who watches you through binoculars. Your lucky dream is: you standing in a gilded temple asking what it means to be so lucky. The cat replies, saying the words “seven, fourteen, and two,” in a voice that sounds suspiciously like your father’s. It then twirls its rotor blades and disappears up through the ceiling.


It is not yet the appointed time for you to discover the truth. You must call the secretary and ask at least five working days in advance. She will put you on hold and play that elevator music that you hate. Smash the phone into the table if you must, but the appointed time comes only once. It is not always worth it.


You will die unexpectedly, in a country far from your home. The people there are kindly and the weather is fine. Lovers kiss in the alleyways and you will hear the sweet singing of a beautiful woman descending from on high. It will be a sunny day, and the sky will be a bright blue like nothing you’ll ever see again.


A mystery will soon present itself to you. You are not smart enough to solve it. Give up.


In a little while, you will have a chance encounter with someone you have not seen for a very long time. You will wave your hand and they will turn their head away as if they have not seen you. You must pretend to scratch your head, or check your phone, or wave to someone behind them. Later on, you will complain about the event on social media, in a general way without mentioning any names, and they will see the post and “like” it.


A person you love will soon break your heart. You will be inconsolable with grief. The days will pass like the long strides of windswept dust over the wasteland. All hours will become eternities in which you will invent a hundred thousand worlds: living and dying and being reborn. Lives in which the past becomes hot and fusible, in which the shattered glass picks itself up in a whorl and recreates its first shape, piece by silvery piece. One day, your suffering will become unbearable and you will smash your fist against a mirror and open your eyes to find, with surprise, the eyes of your new love peering back at you, already having cut you and spilled your blood.


The end of the world will be bright and pitiless. You will watch only for a moment, and then the boiler will whistle. Go back inside and make your coffee, it will be the best you’ve ever had.


You have mistaken an enemy for a friend and a friend for an enemy. They are twins, brothers, and neither will tell you which twin they are. From time to time, you will catch them looking at one another with terrified eyes. They don’t know either, you will think. And they don’t.


In the near future, you will meet a tall, dark stranger. He will be accompanied by a tall, white stranger. Standing in between them will be a stranger who is not tall, nor dark, nor white, and in fact will have no skin at all: purple veins exposed and lidless eyes gazing perpetually forward. “This is a political critique,” the dark stranger will say. “No, it isn’t,” the white stranger will say soon after.


One day, you will, by your powers alone, stare into the future. The future will stare back.

Reno Evangelista lives in Manila, in the Philippines. His work has been published or is to be published in Esquire Philippines, Fast Food Fiction Delivery, and the New Voices anthology of fiction.