Standing there alone in the dark she remembers: memories are all she’s got left. They hurt and soothe at the same time. She knows what she needs to do but knowing doesn’t make things easier. In fact it makes them worse. So she lets the memories take her back to that first time.

“I’ll read your fortune.”
That’s how it all started. At a fair. Isabeau and her friends had gone. But when they shied away from the fortune teller, she didn’t. Inside the gypsy’s tent she’d found a world of marvels.
Isabeau returned to the fortune teller every day. Not to have her future read again. That was done the first time. But because the gypsy fascinated her. And the things Isabeau could learn and know from such a teacher. In time she fell in love with her mentor.

But theirs wasn’t a love people would look kindly upon. A young genteel girl and a gypsy? Absolutely not. Two women together? Hell would freeze before good Christians would allow it. No, Isabeau was more levelheaded and innocent than that. The fortune teller must be a witch: so the hunt started and Isabeau was locked in her room at home. The priest was sent for.

She remembers the exorcism, the prayers, the sermons. She despises them all: the hypocritical priest who betrayed his vow of celibacy every Saturday, her parents who preached generosity and kindness but didn’t apply it to themselves, her friends who betrayed her visits to the fortune teller to hide their own trysts with local boys.

“I love you.”
She hears the whisper in her ear. And like that, it seems to her she is leaning against Miriah, whose bejeweled hands embrace her at the waist. Is it happening or is it yet another memory? Such moments of love and perfection they’d shared. The memories hurt, as much as they soothe her loneliness.
“I’ll be with you forever. We will meet again. In this life or another.”
And it feels like Miriah’s hands move hers where they need to go.

Her fortune that day was love. She follows Miriah’s guidance. From her pockets she pulls out a pouch and a curved knife. Maybe it is witchcraft but she doesn’t care. They took Miriah from her: they will pay. She flicks the curved knife and kneels. The blood will bring the wolves: she can’t die at her own hands. Miriah was adamant. But she’s the willing sacrifice offered for revenge.
She knows what she must do but it doesn’t make things easier. She whimpers when she hears the growls. She screams when the teeth starts gnawing. But the face in the light when she finally closes her eyes is worth the pain.
“Welcome home.”

In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #144 and to the Daily Post writing prompt Fortune


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