Karen and Robert’s trip to the fortune-teller was the oddest of their an engagement gifts, but they had nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Karen squeezed Robert’s hand in anticipation as she asked Madame Snowberry between flips of her magical cards, “did we know each other in a previous life?”

“We shall see!” Madame Snowberry’s eyes widened as she turned the next card. “Oh, yes! You two were very close in one of your past lives.”

Robert chuckled through his skepticism, but he leaned deeper into Karen, who responded by angling her head against his shoulder.

“Were we soul mates?” Robert asked.

“We shall discover that as well,” Madame Snowberry whispered, pausing to drag out the drama for just a few more seconds.

When she flipped the next card, however, Madame Snowberry’s smile twitched, and she stared at the mysterious paper rectangle on the table between her and the lovely young couple.

“Not soul mates, I’m afraid,” she croaked.

“But you said we were close,” Karen implored. She and Robert exchanged glances.

“Yes, you were,” the fortune-teller replied. This was the least favorite part of her job, the curse buried within her gift, “but you were not soul mates.”

She met their expectant gazes. “You were cell mates.”

John Sheirer

John Sheirer has taught writing and communications for 26 years at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, where he also serves as editor and faculty advisor for Freshwater Literary Journal (submissions welcome). His books include memoir, fiction, poetry, essays, political satire, and photography. Find him at JohnSheirer.com.