The Shrike & the Shadows
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“See these lines here, my maus?” She tapped the top of Greta’s palms.
“They are your heart lines. The way it curves, you have a caring soul.”
“You must have that, too, Mama.”
“Aha!” her mother exclaimed, and Greta jumped. “These love lines! How auspicious, little maus.”
“What, Mama? What do they mean?” Greta looked up into her mother’s face eagerly. She smiled.
“It will surprise you, this love of yours.” Her mother paused, frowning for just a moment before taking up her smile again. “But not for many more years. You will be ready then…”
Greta’s mother stilled, her words falling from her mouth quietly. She barely heard anything after that.
“Will I be okay?”
“Oh, of course! But to be sure, we must find your fate,” she said, though somewhat distant. “Here they are. And look! They meet here, at your life lines… goodness, so young for such a burden.”
Greta frowned at her mother. “Mama, you’re not making any sense.”
“I know, my maus, I know. I did not expect to see so many… things.”
“Are they sad things? Because you sound sad, Mama.”
Her mother grasped at her hands and held them for a moment. She gave a gentle squeeze and said, “Not all, but some, yes. Some will be sad, and others will be happy.”
Then, Greta’s mother fell into her with an embrace. She locked little Greta into her arms and rocked her slowly. She had felt so warm in her hold, and so content, she had almost missed her mother’s final words:
“It will be a fearsome trial, my love. Your fate is bound to a great and daunting endeavor.”
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