The room was small and lit by candles, barely illuminating the exotic and occult paraphernalia scattered around. There was a table in the centre, and a woman wearing a turban was sitting facing the door. Sir John entered the room.
“Miss Gypsy Rosa Marvelosa?” he asked.
“Who wishes to know?” said the woman haughtily.
“Er, I do,” said Sir John, sounding puzzled.
The woman looked at him balefully.
“You seek wisdom?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Sir John. “I’m looking for …
“Shush,” interrupted the woman. “Sit. The cards will tell me all.”
She shuffled a deck of cards whilst looking into middle distance. Sir John sat hesitantly in front of her. She drew 3 tarot cards from the pack and they both looked down at them. They were Death, The Tower, and The Hanged Man.
“That’s good?” asked Sir John.
“Are you thinking of making any long term business investments?” asked the woman.
“Not really,” said Sir John.
“That’s probably for the best,” she said and cleared away the cards. “Let me try something else.”
She produced a crystal ball and began staring into it, humming lightly. Sir John produced a small magnifying lens on a stick and peered into it.
“What are you doing?” asked the woman.
“Are you aware that object has no magical properties?” asked Sir John.
The woman moved the ball away, and Sir John pocketed his lens.
“What is it you want?” asked the woman.
“I am looking for … a creature of the night,” said Sir John.
“Well, if you go down the docks any evening you should find plenty,” she said.
“Really?” said Sir John. “I had no idea.”
“Yes,” she said. “There are women of every shape and size.”
“Oh,” said Sir John, “I think I’m looking for a man.” The woman looked surprised.
“Well, I imagine there are quite a few of them, too,” she said. “I’m not really up on that sort of thing.”
“Good Lord! How many vampires are there in London!” said Sir John.
“Vampires?” said the woman.
“Of course,” said Sir John. “What did you mean?”
“I … never mind,” said the woman. “I only know of one vampire.” She started writing something down.
“Is that an incantation to summon him?” said Sir John.
The woman handed Sir John the piece of paper.
“It’s his address,” she said.
“Marvellous!” said Sir John. “What do I owe you.”
“You must cross my palm with silver,” said the woman. “Two and six to be precise.”
“Oh, I only have a shilling” said Sir John.
“A shilling!” said the woman, eyes blazing. “Are you aware of the power of a gypsy curse?” At that point, Marie entered the room. The woman instantly pushed her chair back and stared in terror at her.
“Mon cher!” Marie said. Her eyes looked red.
“Darling!” said Sir John. “Do you have any money?”
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s no trouble, no trouble at all,” said Gypsy Rosa. “A pleasure to help you, sir.”
“I thought you said …” started Sir John handing over the shilling. The woman looked at it in horror and backed away.
“Keep it! Happy to help. Need to close now, though. Getting late.” She quickly went out of the back of the room. “Please see yourselves out.”
“Well,” said Sir John to Marie, holding up the bit of paper, “you were right! I’ve had rather a bit of luck.”
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