Sunday Sampler: Tarot Terrors by Linda Pirtle

A man is killed on the streets of Santa Fe. The President is assassinated in Washington, D.C. Is there a connection? And will Lillian find herself entangled in a national political conspiracy? Read an excerpt from Tarot Terrors.


Lillian looked up at the monitor. A hard, cold knot crawled inside her abdomen. A newscaster stood in front of a school building. Oh no, not another school shooting, she thought. In the background, Lillian heard a chorus of sirens. The camera switched to reveal a cadre of police cars blocking both sides of the street, red and blue lights flashing.

The reporter at the scene asked the cameraman to scan a crowd of people held at bay by police officers. Onlookers lined the sidewalk across the street. Some were openly weeping. Others looked to be in shock. By the scowls on their faces, many of the spectators were angry. All of the men in the crowd had removed their hats.

Lillian read the scroll running across the bottom of the television’s screen. BREAKING NEWS. PRESIDENT HENRY SHOT. PERPETRATOR ESCAPED. POLICE AND FBI SEARCH FOR SNIPER.

Linda Pirtle

Lillian turned her attention to the familiar face of a FOX Newsman and listened.

I’m standing in front of the Liberty Union Elementary School where President Stuart Henry attended the graduation ceremony of his only granddaughter early this morning.

As President Henry and his family left the school’s auditorium, a volley of gunshots were heard. A secret service agent threw himself on top of the President in an attempt to save the President’s life. We’ve just learned the agent did not survive the attack. His name is being withheld pending notification of his family.

The President has been transported to Saint Thomas Hospital which is only a few blocks away from the school. We are waiting to hear about his condition and will bring it to you as soon as we have an official report from the hospital.

Lillian watched in horror as paramedics surrounded by secret service men loaded a gurney into a waiting ambulance.

“There must be more people who were shot, don’t you think?” the clerk asked.

Lillian didn’t answer his question. She ran back outside and saw Bill walking Eli. She waved and yelled, “Bill, hurry. We have to go. Come Quick.”

She climbed into the RV and started the motor. By the time Bill and Eli joined her, Lillian had pulled her long, gray hair up into a loose ponytail and turned on the radio, searching for the Fox News Channel on Sirius.

“What’s wrong, Lillian?”

“It’s bad, Bill. Something terrible has happened.”


“Someone has shot President Henry. Listen.”

 Silence, then static filled the airwaves. Then, Lillian heard the shattered, solemn voice of a newsman: At nine forty-five this morning, our country lost its leader. President Stuart Henry was shot down walking down the steps of Liberty Union Elementary School where he had just attended the Kindergarten graduation of his five-year-old granddaughter.

The chief surgeon of Saint Thomas Hospital proclaimed him dead at ten o’clock AM eastern standard time.

We at KTQB extend our sincere condolences to the first lady and to the first family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Chief Justice and members of the cabinet are on their way to the White House where Vice President Gordon Dalworth will be sworn in as the President of the United States. Coverage of the ceremony will be aired as it occurs.

 Lillian wiped away tears that dribbled down her cheeks. As soon as the broadcast ended, she eased the RV onto the highway taking her and Bill to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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