I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, so when my friend Roger recommended Madame Beaufoie I naturally laughed and dismissed the idea. He claimed it was a transcendent experience that changed his view of life as he knew it completely, similar to many other events he related on a weekly basis.
“Look man, I know you think astrology and ghosts and stuff aren’t real, but she’s legit, I swear! Tell you what, if you go this weekend I’ll buy you those tickets.”
He lifted his voice at the end, knowing how much I wanted to see A7X ever since their last concert near me got rained out halfway through their set. I reluctantly agreed, figuring I had nothing important planned other than tending to some meat for dinner. Grilling season was finally here, and-
Well, that’s irrelevant.
The weekend came, and I found myself in Chinatown looking at Google Maps and the scribbled directions Roger had hastily jotted down on a used post-it note. There was a parade in the streets, which made getting by relatively easy because of the lack of traffic. I made my way through various vendors of cheap toys, strange meats, and dried fish that sent a wave of nasal offenses that almost knocked me out.
I eventually found my way to a back alley, and after a few turns stopped in front of what looked like an abandoned apartment complex that a construction crew had begun to demolish but then later decided to leave the first two stories intact. A scrawled sign in a deep maroon paint above the rotting door read “Beaufoie’s Readings”. I put away my phone and reached for the door handle, only then realizing I could no longer hear the noise of the parade. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but now I know that should have been the first warning.
Upon opening the door I was greeted by the abusive scent of far too many incenses hidden behind a beaded curtain.
“Hel-“ I began.
“Enter.” Came a voice beyond the curtain. It was feminine, with a touch of sensuality, but deep, firm, old. As though the voice itself had experience beyond the years of the being it came from.
I moved the beads away with my hand and stepped into a small room with various rugs and tapestries, so covered I couldn’t see any of the walls, floor, or even ceiling. Strewn about the room were multiple candles, glass balls, incense sticks, and lamps. Even one of those creepy-looking toy monkeys with the cymbals.
In the middle of the room was a low table and an ornate, purple and gold pillow as a makeshift seat. I sat down and began to inspect the woman across the table, who stared at me with such focus it was as though she could peer into my mind with her dark brown eyes. She was indeed old, but covered it up with far too much eye shadow and lipstick. Like Miss Cleo, from back in the day, if Miss Cleo has seen some shit. A lot of shit.
We sat in silence for what seemed like eternity before I opened my mouth to speak, but Madame Beaufoie stopped me with a hand cloaked in a dark purple robe, gold bracelets and rings covering every bit of flesh possible.
“I know why you have come, David.”
I didn’t flinch; I’m sure Roger had told her I was coming. She’d have to do better than that. She placed her hands on the table, palms up, and waited. When I didn’t move, she nodded her head as a signal for me to place my hands upon hers.
As I placed my hands down I began to roll my eyes but stopped when I felt the surprising coldness of her palms. It was as though she had just taken them out of an ice bath. I know what you’re probably thinking – she’s dead. Well, that wasn’t the case, but we’ll get there. There was a slight static between our hands and she closed her eyes. That’s when I finally did roll my eyes.
Until she opened them again.
Her entire eyes were black. Like, completely and totally black, even the whites. My immediate reaction was Oh shit, she’s a demon! but I may have just been watching too much Supernatural lately. A wind seemed to pick up in the room, and some of the candles blew out. It got dark, but I could just barely make out Madame Beaufoie’s figure when she began to speak in guttural tongues, first at a whisper, but growing louder and louder until she screamed out.
That’s around when I blacked out.
As I was unconscious, I dreamed. I was walking in the dark, hearing the muffled voice of who I knew to be Madame Beaufoie. I was strangely calm, considering the recent events were, I’ll admit, beyond my skepticism. But she hadn’t showed me anything particular to me just yet. I kept walking, and walking, until a blurry view came into focus. That’s when I first started to believe.
I was in my basement. Only, it wasn’t quite my basement; something was off about it. But I knew it was my basement; it was just one of those things you understand in a dream. I looked around and everything seemed to be in place, but something in the back of my mind told me it was different somehow.
That’s when I saw her.
Madame Beaufoie, floating, staring at me. Only this time, he eyes weren’t black. They were cloudy, off-white.
At first, I thought she was a ghost trying to haunt my dreams or search deep into my memories, but then I noticed she wasn’t moving.
In fact, she wasn’t floating at all.
She was hanging.
Not from a rope, but from two meat hooks driven into her shoulders. Blood had dripped down along her sides and dried long ago, leaving her to rot, except she wasn’t rotting at all. Dreams can definitely be strange, but this all seemed so real. I then shivered and realized just how incredibly cold I felt. The shivering got worse, and worse, until I finally woke up to a screaming Madame Beaufoie.
She was shaking me awake, screaming at me, tears streaking down her face. “Get the FUCK out of my shop, you SICK FUCK!!” She started to hit and kick me, and let me tell you, getting hit by an old angry woman with a shit ton of rings on seriously hurts. I got to my feet and ran out, not stopping till I reached the joyous laughter and music coming from the parade.
Roger asked me later what I thought of the whole experience; I hadn’t told him the details though, just enough to get those tickets. To be perfectly honest, I mostly thought the whole thing was a little creepy, entirely disturbing, but mostly ridiculous.
Yeah, it had to be ridiculous.
My basement is already at maximum capacity.