mystery incarnate

The black hood hung low over her face, shrouding her in darkness. She was working quietly, quickly; her hands flipped over the cards on the table, one by one, and she examined them closely.

His breath came heavily, his feet crunching against the dead leaves on the ground.

The warm flame of a candle lit the table she was sitting at, but the only other light in the room was the silver glow that dripped in through the window. She sighed, moving the candle closer to the cards.

His heart was pounding, he could barely breathe, but he was almost there, almost…

Suddenly she stood up. The old wooden floors creaked as she walked across the room. She paused briefly to examine an old star sheet that was taped to the wall; then she quickly strode the last few steps and opened the door.

A boy was standing there, his hand raised a few inches from where the door had been. His eyes widened slightly, but he struggled to control his breathing enough to speak. “Please,” he panted, “I need—”

“I know.”

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