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I ran down the stairs into the room as they were running out. The little salt and pepper shakers of doom, the white girl and the black boy, who’d let themselves in while I’d been asleep.

“Hooligans!” I screamed. “Thieves! Miscreants! Devils!”

Devils. As soon as the word left my mouth, I remembered. That’s the card that Cora had drawn, and here was her little spawn, speaking French like a preacher speaking in tongues, setting fire to my house, almost killing me. And that other devil, that Daryn boy. I’d been too soft on him for years, letting him lift a little pot now and then. And this was how I was repaid for my kindness.

My cards were spilled all over the floor. My cards, my precious cards. Sure, by now I could tell a fortune with a poker deck. But these were soft at the edges, these cards were informed by years of my touch, these cards contained my soul. I tried to scoop them up but the flames were coming too fast, the cards spread too far. Some had slipped under the couch.

People laugh when misfortune befalls a reader. “If you’re so smart,” they say. “Why didn’t you see this coming?”

Well, I did see it coming. The Tower had been popping up in my readings for weeks.  Card of fire. Card of doom.

But let me tell you something: even fortune tellers can lie to themselves. There’s a reason a doctor doesn’t take out his own appendix and a lawyer doesn’t defend himself.

The Tower had been there, like a great big honking billboard. And I even had that extra clue when Cora picked the Devil.

But I’d deluded myself into thinking it was meant for someone else. And now, I was barefoot in my own backyard with nothing but a nightgown on my back.

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