Hello? Am I online? Can anyone read this message? I do not know where we are or how long it has been. Sorina Jones managed to receive some bars on her cellular telephone after consulting a spread of tarot cards regarding IT matters. She had to do this several times since reading requires light and it took three weeks to find a candle and matches. Also, from now on I will only buy fireproof tarot decks, providing we ever return to the world.
I must offer my sincere apologies to the ghosts that haunted this house. We believed that booming shadowy threats this past March came from you, and that you turned your backs on the peace agreement that we made. We hired Anything Ghost to banish you from the building. You warned us not to. We should have listened. Perhaps if any of you had mentioned that ghosts were the only things keeping the house from spiralling out into dark oblivion like water circling the drain of a bathtub, we may have reconsidered.
We initially took Anything Ghost’s premium “Incorporeal Punishment” package, which included a stay at a guarded safehouse with no telephones, wireless communication or physical mail and clerics from several faiths blessing us nightly. We ran out of money after two days and reached the maximum of all our credit cards (for those of us who had any credit at all after last summer’s fiasco) after three weeks. Anything Ghost was not yet finished their work but we moved back into our headquarters nonetheless. We could afford to stay nowhere else. And so, we resumed our study of the future of humankind while a team in exterminator regalia screamed prayers through the mailbox, pumped sage smoke down the chimneys and power-hosed holy water across every centimetre of brickwork. Sparkling clean walls aside, what a nuisance.
The ghosts defended themselves but were sucked into a ring of black nothingness one by one: Colin, the little boy in the ethereal wheelchair, Cathy the cheeky teenager, Jacob and Robert, the elderly brothers who played jump rope with iron chains, the Sisters of St. Skully, Zero the Dachshund, a young woman who spewed cloying platitudes and said that her name was “Classified”, and finally the entire guest list of the 1979 hitchhiker convention. We learned too late that none of these spectral residents was responsible for the horrors we had recently endured. The true culprit was infinitely worse.
Anything Ghost, the most highly recommended paranormal exterminators in the region, was out of its depth. I do not know if any of those brave people. Frankly, we are not entirely sure that we survived.
I am reminded of a card numbered Absolute 0, called The Void.
Placement: The Obscure Arcana
Not only is The Void blank, the card itself is a miniature portal to a frightful nothingness. If you put your hand or anything else through the frame, it will disappear. Close-up illusionists often tape The Void cards from the cheaper decks to the inside of their sleeves. This is unwise. The unwary may lose valuable props unless properly secured with a chain. The Void card in more powerful decks may suck up and tear the entire sleeve as well as arm hair and the occasional mole. This has led to enterprising beauticians secretly using The Void card on spa patrons, with mixed results.
Try as they might, illustrators cannot print non-portal Void cards. This is tragic. Failure to obey the laws of physics can results in jail time among the supervillains and cartoon animals.
Right side up:
This card appears the same from either direction and yet you will have no trouble distinguishing the two. Upright, you will find yourself staring into the abyss while the abyss stares back into you. This experience may be devastating, silly, infuriating, hilarious or profoundly dull. Your response to The Void will foreshadow your responses to other traumatic events such as death or an airline misplacing your luggage. If you make friends with the abyss, stay in touch! There is nothing more loyal than that which we cannot escape.
Everyday objects fall into The Void on a daily basis, whether or not you have a tarot deck that includes this card. Portals exist hidden in laundry rooms, large purses, high school lockers and art supply closets all over the world. Reversed, the vacuum of space changes from “suck” to “blow”, which, despite being opposites, often mean the same thing. Lost and unwanted objects will come into your possession. Your dwelling will fill with socks, Barbie shoes, Canadian pennies and peppermint candies covered in lint. Your family will call you a hoarder. Friends will avoid visiting altogether. In extreme cases, the weight of your rubbish infestation may cause your place of residence to sink into the ground and return once again to The Void.