From the Sky - Part VII

"Oh, this one is difficult to read," she said in her raspy voice, shaking her head. "The card is the three of you, and perhaps the boy as well. You are the glue that binds them. As long as you stand together, nothing will change. But…"

Zia leaned across the table. "What is it? What do you see?"

"Neither man will marry this woman. The very thing that holds them together, the force of love symbolized by this Queen, will stand in their way."

"You mean," interrupted Rae, "That Papa and uncle will turn their backs on this woman for our sake?"

"No," Madame Béatrice sighed. "They could never reject her. It is something else, something I can't quite see."

"Do we drive her away?" asked Sal, who was trembling ever so slightly.

"Perhaps."

"And the last card?" asked Zia "The future?"

The old woman glanced from the Queen of Clubs, to the Queen of Hearts, and then to Zia.

"You lie at the very core of this, Zia."

"Me?" Zia gasped.

"She is painting this woman," Rae said. "She is at her hotel every night working on the portrait. It's something to do with this painting, isn't it?"

"Perhaps," said Madame Béatrice. "Perhaps not."

"What will happen?" asked Sal.

"It is complicated. Usually I see enough with just three cards. I must draw one more," said Madame Béatrice as she cut the deck and flipped over an Ace of Spades. Her eyes rolled, and her wrinkled face paled.

"Oh, there will be great sorrow. Great loss. I will say nothing else. Go back to Ernesto, he is waiting for you."

"But you must tell us more!" Zia protested.

Madame Béatrice refused. She gathered up the cards, placed them back at the table's center, and stood.

"Wait here," she commanded. She left the room briefly, and returned carrying a book with a faded leather cover.

"This will help you. Use it to keep evil away. Learn it, sisters. Learn it well."

She handed the book to Rae, who exclaimed: "But you've told us nothing of what is to come! Nothing about this woman!"

Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (5)