From: The Dragon Queen 
Subject: [AM] Sarah Matthews
Sarah stared up at the sign above the door in front of her, a sign that 
was very much like all the others she'd seen recently: 
"Marie's Mystic Shop: nicknaks from around the world".
Sarah turned and stared through the window. All the usual items were 
there; ouija boards, Tarot cards, pyramids, books on just about anything 
occult. It was all there, and she could see more stuff in the background 
of the little shop. Once again, she wondered why she continued to prowl 
around shops like these, searching around for nothing she could name. 
She had been to every town nearby, ever city within driving distance; 
and she had visited every shop like this one. Oh, there had been other 
places she'd visited too; she'd gone to Catholic Mass, numerous 
Christian churches, Jewish Synagogues, Mormon churches. She'd searched 
everywhere she could to find what was so different about her and had 
heard many different stories from many different people. Yet none of 
those ideas had panned out.
She sighed, bringing herself back to the present, and pushed open the 
door. The little bell jingled, as she'd known it would. She was 
surrounded by all sorts of paraphernelia and books, just as she'd become 
accustomed to. She read the spines of some of the books: "History of 
Wiccaen", "Link Between Psychic Power and Your Inner Child", "Witchcraft 
and the modern Feminist". She had to laugh about the last title; 
whatever was in it, the title was catchy enough to attract some 
potential buyers.
"May I help you?" a low voice asked from behind her. Sarah turned around 
and stared at a woman who looked like she had just leaped out of an Anne 
Rice book; pale skin, black clothes, haunting eyes. "No, I'm just 
looking right now," Sarah said, and with a nod the woman turned back 
around and faded back into the store. 'Weird,' she thought, then 
shrugged and continued her search.
She looked around the shop, not quite knowing where to go first. The 
shop was laid out in a circular pattern; bookshelves lined the walls, 
two rows wide, making a walkway through the different subjects. In the 
center of the room, however, were tables with different items on them. 
The room seemed key shaped, which was rather strange considering she 
could see that it was a rectangular room. Must be the way it's set up, 
she decided, but the affect was rather striking. A single chandelier 
hung in the center of the room, a round hollow tube with what seemed to 
be runes etched in the side that let light out. 
She headed towards the center of the room, moving around to look at the 
items on the tables. She could see ritualistic knives, chains, what 
looked like a sickle; she shuddered, not really wanting to know what 
these were for and moved on. The next table she went to held more 
interesting things: an assortment of crystals were there, each different 
colors and reflecting the light different ways. She saw explanations 
under a few, each saying what the crystal was supposed to help with. 
Scanning the little cards, her eyes fell on one that stated "healing". 
She picked up the crystal, a beautiful long, blue crystal, and held it 
up to the light. It splayed the light in different directions, throwing 
a pale blue cast on all that was nearby.
Unbidden, tears welled up in Sarah's eyes. 'Marcus always did like blue' 
she thought, remembering the beautiful face of her husband. He had died 
before his time in her opinion; such a little thing as a mole shouldn't 
have taken something as wonderful as him. He had been the only person 
whom she had ever felt close to; her mother had been gone a lot, a 
loving force but rarely around. When her parents had been married, both 
had gone to clubs and vacations frequently, many times leaving Sarah 
home with numerous nannies. Even after the divorce, there had still been 
parties to go to and friends to see; while her mother had loved her 
whenever she was there, the times grew less and less frequent.
The memory of her final day with Marc rose in her mind, an memory she'd 
tried to come to terms with but had been unable. It had been barely a 
month after he had been diagnosed, but he had deteriorated so fast it 
had been heartbreaking to watch. The normally vivacious man, who loved 
to mountain climb and whitewater raft, had lost almost fifty pounds in 
one month, and his skin had gone from a healthy tan to a sickly white. 
She had stayed by his bedside for almost the whole month, eating very 
little and sleeping only sparsely; the only times she'd left his side 
was when he had told her to, and even then she didn't always go.
It had been a horrible time for her. Yet, the strangest part was that 
she had this feeling she could heal him. She had tried desperately to 
get him all the doctors she could; she'd delved into her savings, 
something she'd promised never to do until they'd retired. She had 
actually asked her mother for money, which had been freely given. While 
her mother meant well, Sarah had not been comfortable in asking, and 
rarely did; whenever she asked for money, an overabundance was given, as 
if to prove to everybody that she, Sarah Matthews, was from a rich family.
However, in the end, all the best doctors, all the people praying for 
them, all the healers that had come and gone, had done nothing but drain 
their resources. Sarah could still remember her last conversation with 
Marc. He had known he was dying and had tried to comfort her. 
Staring into the crystal dangling at the end of the gold chain, she was 
drawn back into that final scene. It seemed to replay inside the 
crystal, but as she watched it grew to surround her, until she was 
finally in it...
* * * * * *
"Sarah, I'm sorry I waited to marry you. Now we'll never be able--"
"Marc, don't say anything, please," she begged. "You're going to be 
alright. I know it; don't say something like that."
"Ahh, my Sarah, my wonderful, wonderful wife..." His hand came to rest 
on her cheek, and his thin face creased into a smile. "You don't realize 
how much I love you. I've loved you since I first saw you. There was 
something about you, something that drew me to you..."
"Shhh, please, you know how talking saps your strength. You can tell me 
all this later, when you're better..."
"Now Sarah, you should know better than that. You know I don't have that 
much time left..." He paused, then "Oh, please don't cry. I'm sorry I 
said it; I didn't mean to upset you. You know I love you..."
"As I love you," Sarah stated, clasping his hand firmly to her cheek, 
her tears making trails down her face and wetting his hand.
He groaned weakly and sank back into the bed, his hand falling from her 
face. Sarah grasped it desperately, crying in earnest now, and was 
rewarded with a slight squeeze from her husband. "Sarah, you are a 
special person," he stated quietly, so softly she could barely hear 
him. "I've known that since I first met you. You always told me that you 
felt you were different, that nothing seemed real to you. I have to say, 
you are the realist thing I have ever known. There is no other way to 
put it." He coughed slightly, his eyes shutting in pain. Sarah put her 
fingers to his lips to quiet him, but he refused to stop talking. 
"Sarah, I don't know what it is about you, but I'm asking you to find 
out what it is. Call this a last request, if you want."
"No, this is *not* a last request," she said angrily, tears streaming 
down her face. "You *will* live, you have to..."
"Sarah, you know that it isn't good to live in an unattainable dream. 
You have to face reality; I'm dying. Now, don't cry harder; I want to 
see you as you are when I leave."
Sarah tried desperately to clear up her face, and succeeded for the most 
part. "There it is," he said weakly, "my beautiful wife. My beautiful, 
loving wife...." He trailed off, then stated very strongly, yet 
quietly, "You must promise me you will do what I asked. You're special; 
I can look at you and see that. No, don't try to deny it; I know I've 
called you special all our married lives, but you must believe me when I 
say you are *special*. Call it an instinct, but I know you're destined 
for greater things. Promise me you'll search for whatever it is that 
makes you like this; promise me." As he spoke, his voice got steadily 
weaker, until he whispered out his last phrase: "Promise me..."
"I promise," she sobbed out, bringing his hand to her lips. "I promise," 
she whispered again, kissing his hand. 
He smiled up at her, a totally serene smile. "Always remember I love you 
Sarah. I will always love you; and I will always be with you. *That* I 
"Marc?" Sarah looked down at him as he closed his eyes. "Marc?! Don't 
leave me! Please, don't leave me!!"
His body relaxed ever so slightly, the smile still beautific on his 
face, and slowly his heart beat, sounding out over the monitor, began to 
slow down. Slower and slower it went, until it stopped altogether.
"Marc!" she sobbed, pressing her face against his chest. "Oh, Marc, no. 
Please don't go." She heaved a huge sob and whimpered out, "Ple-ea-ease 
don't leave me..."
* * * * * *
"Would you like to buy that, ma'am?"
Startled, Sarah's gaze tore itself off the crystal and onto the pale 
young woman who had uttered the phrase in the monotone. Sarah realized 
tears were streaming down her face, and hastily wiped them away; the 
girl in front of her seemed not to even notice. "I don't know," she 
replied after a moment. "How much does it cost?"
The girl named a price in her monotone voice, and Sarah nearly dropped 
the crystal. "Um, no, I'm afraid I can't afford that. Thank you," Sarah 
replied. The girl merely shrugged, then faded back into the store. How 
does she do that? Sarah wondered as she replaced the crystal and chain 
back onto the table. She stared at it for a moment longer, then moved to 
the next table.
This table had an assortment of figurines on it. She could see that they 
were exorbitantly priced, and figured they must be idols of some sort. 
Frowning, and deciding there wasn't anything of real import here, she 
headed back over to the books.
Many of the books she passed seemed quite old; some of the old bindings 
were falling apart and some books had no covers. Others looked 
relatively new, but had an older style to them; leather bound, engraved 
on each side with varying designs. The poor light made it difficult to 
read any of the books' titles, so she had to pull any out which seemed 
to be of any interest.
She was searching along and came to one book which seemed to interest 
her. Pulling it out slightly, she saw that it was normal except for a 
unicorn emblem on the front. Intrigued, since she had liked unicorns 
since she was little, she took the book all the way and started flipping 
through the pages. As she opened to the center of the book, however, 
something slipped out and floated to the ground. Curious, she placed the 
book back where it was and reached down for the slip of paper that had 
fallen out.
As she picked it up, however, she could feel it wasn't a page; it was 
too thick. She realized it was a large card, much like the Tarot cards. 
Turning it over, she saw a picture of a handsome young man about her 
age, with shoulder-length sandy blond hair that gave him a roguish look 
and crystal clear blue eyes. He was surrounded by what seemed to be 
bookshelves loaded with books, and a table with a book and pen behind 
him. The picture was obviously sketched; she could see where there were 
slight smudges around the edges of the painted person, which did nothing 
to detract from the picture itself. The face was skillfully rendered 
however; whoever painted this was a true artist. She felt as if she 
could touch the card and feel warm skin beneath her fingers.
On impulse, she concentrated on the person in the picture, feeling as if 
she could actually talked to him. She was sure she felt the card grow 
warmer, then cold again as the eyes flickered slightly in the picture, 
moving around before coming to rest on her.
Surprised, she dropped the card; it floated back to the ground, landing 
face down. Sarah paused, then very carefully picked back up the card. 
Turning it over, she once again saw the face of the man, just as she 
remembered it. She felt like laughing; she'd been trying so hard to 
concentrate that she had imagined the card moving. She shrugged and 
reached for the book; but as she pulled out the book again, she frowned. 
She really didn't want to part with this card, she realized. Glancing 
down, she couldn't see why she wanted to keep it; it was just a normal 
card with a pretty good drawing on it. Nothing to warrant any desire to 
buy it. But, try as she might to reason herself out of the stupid idea, 
she couldn't shake the want to keep the card. So, shrugging, she 
replaced the book and headed out of the round part of the room toward 
the cashier's desk.
That girl was standing there, just staring at Sarah as she walked up. 
Feeling nervous under that stare, she handed the girl the card. "This is 
all I want."
"We don't sell single Tarot cards," the girl stated, handing back the 
"This isn't a Tarot card though," Sarah explained. "I found it inside a 
book, you see, and---"
"It doesn't look like one of our Tarot cards," the girl stated in her 
annoying monotone voice, completely ignoring Sarah. "Where did you say 
you found it?"
"In a book over there," Sarah answered, annoyed. "I didn't take it from 
any of the decks---"
"As it is obviously a Tarot card, I will have to sell it to you for the 
price of a whole deck.  That is policy here at this store."
"Price of a deck!?" Sarah stated, surprised. Calming down, she asked, 
"What's the price of a deck of Tarot cards then?"
The girl named a price, and Sarah boggled; that was almost as expensive 
as the crystal! But her desire for the card won out, and grumbling she 
handed the girl a $100 and watched as the girl rang the sale and handed 
her the appropriate ones.  "Do you want a bag?"
Now, *that* was a stupid question, Sarah thought irately, but merely 
shook her head and headed out of the store. 
What was it that attracted her to the card? She stared at the card as 
she got into her Dodge Ram, unable to figure it out. It was different 
than anything in that store had been; it had attracted her immediately. 
She knew it hadn't been the book, but the card inside, that had gotten 
her attention.
Then, with a gasp, she realized what it was: the card's attraction was 
just like that of the man she had met when she was fifteen! The one who 
had caused her parents' divorce. She could still remember him; deep red 
hair, a flashy, roguish smile, tall stature...Not like this young man in 
the picture. Well, she ammended, perhaps there *might* be a little 
family resemblence...She couldn't believe it. Was this little card what 
she had been looking for for the past two years?
She put the card onto her passenger side seat and started the truck up. 
She'd have to wait until she got home to check this out; there were too 
many people about on this street, and anyway there was very little room 
in the big truck. Taking off the parking brake and merging into traffic, 
she headed towards her apartment, praying that the traffic wouldn't be 
too awfully bad today.
About an hour later, she got home. She'd felt like screaming on the way; 
when she'd gotten onto the freeway, there had been construction going 
on, and traffic had been diverted to a detour, a small two-by-two lane 
highway that had been jammed for miles back. Needless to say, what was 
usually a twenty minute drive had taken three times that.
However, she was finally home. Parking in her space, she got out and, 
grabbing her purse and the card, headed up to her apartment. Rummaging 
through her purse, she found the key and unlocked the door, letting 
herself inside. She threw the purse onto a chair next to the door and 
removed her jacket, draping it across the back of the same chair, and 
headed into the apartment's kitchen for a glass of milk.
After she'd finished there, she changed quickly into something more 
comfortable; a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. She then headed back into 
the living room, picking up the card as she turned on her answering 
[You bitch! I'll get you for this, I promise!] *click*
Sarah, despite herself, smiled coldly as she thought about Michael 
Matthews. Unlike his brother Marcus, who had been loving and genuinely 
cared for everyone, Michael was underhanded and manipulative. Marc, 
however, had love his brother; loved him enough, in fact, to will him 
exactly 50% of the family's shipping business. But in the first year 
after his brother's death, Michael had run up so many debts that it had 
almost been necessary to file for bankruptcy.
That was when Sarah had stepped in. With what she had left in savings, 
she'd bought up 60% of Michael's stock, practically dislodging him from 
the company's Board of Directors. She had then taken her share of the 
business, 50% plus what she'd gained from Michael, and turned it around 
to what it was today. She'd reorganized the Board of Directors and paid 
off Michael's debts with her own money, which helped molify her 
brother-in-law a bit. But he never forgave her for doing what he himself 
couldn't do: run the business successfully.
Recently, she'd heard rumors that he was embezzling cooperate funds and 
had hired a private investigator to check them out. When he reported the 
rumors had been true, she had done the only thing that could be done: 
fire him. That had happened yesterday; she guessed he'd only heard about 
it today.
She sat down on her couch and stared at the card in front of her. What 
was there about this card? Setting down her drink, she leaned foward and 
stared into the card again. She focussed on the card, trying to picture 
the man as real. The card in her hand gradually warmed, and seemed to 
shimmer; then, it turned cold and the head turned to look at her.
Sarah almost dropped the card again, but held onto it this time by a 
sheer force of will. "Hello," she said tenatively.
"Hello. Who is this?" the man in the picture asked.
"Sarah Matthews, sir. Who are you?"
Submitted by
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The Dragon Queen
Sarah Matthews, Amber