A grey old lady. A fortune. A million and one choices.
Which way will YOUR tale go?

It's carnival day. You walk through the lines of stalls, stall-holding yelling their merchandise at you, eager and greedy to snatch away the silver coins that are clutched deeply in your sweaty palm. You ignore their crass, strange language and walk on. You'll know when you will be ready to spend the little change your mother has given you so that you will feel more like the other children in town. 'Poor' is such an indistinguishable word, but your mother happily uses it when you request an infrequent treat now and again.

Nevertheless, here you are now, finally enjoying the fresh, green air, but gagging slightly at the artificial taste of summer that it being forced into your throat; all the fair means to other kids is candyfloss and vomiting after taking the same head-snapping ride a countless amount of times.

You walk. And as you cross the grand lawn, spots of rain start to fall, and you know that the last carnival is the start of Autumn, just as the first drops of rain are the first drops of a new season's work. The water starts to hit down hard. So loudly, in fact, that it drowns out any cries from the remaining stall-holders; the rest have gone in to hide from the torrent. You don't care; it's nothing that you haven't encountered before, and you head on through the rain, watching as the villagers disappear from sight, but through the haze, they appear to disappear from the living earth itself. You feel that cold drip, drip, drip upon your bare neck, until, at the edge of the carnival, you can take it no longer. You scan the surroundings for shelter. A small pavilion- no, not even that, but a tent- lies but mere metres from you. You do not remember seeing it before, but you know that the eyes cannot be trusted, especially in the tangerine sunset being displayed through the storm clouds.

Having snuck inside the tent, you gaze, open-mouthed at the collection of ornaments inside. Even your eccentric aunt does not have such a collection of scented candles, dream-catchers, and silk drapes. Wind-chimes jangle as you walk through the little home, ducking your head slightly as the canvas above you dips downwards. Suddenly, in a wave of exotic perfume, a lady steps through a gap in one of the drapes, and inspects you.

Her light grey hair (which lies on her shoulders in perfect ringlets), and chocolate gypsy eyes greet you; next, it's the open hands, worn by time, the patchwork dress, and the expression of one who has been expecting you.

"Come, dear," she says in the simplest of voices, "You'll want to get out of that rain."

"Yes," you agree, dumbfounded. The gypsy-lady guides you through her paraphernalia, and to a dark, wooden table lain with a simple, woven cloth. A shining crystal ball catches the corner of your eye.

"I see you're troubled." She motions for you to sit down, and you do, nodding.

She takes your hands, and quickly prises out the money, inspecting it.

"This'll be enough. You want to see your future, and I can provide."

Once again, you nod, speechless. You’re taking in, overwhelmed by it all, and your vocal chords have been stripped of their strings.

"These hands have seen a lot, and they'll only tell their secrets with my help..." she mutters, turning over your palms, "On the other hand, your subconscious is full of many things, some of which your mouth will purvey, and my knowledge translate. Or shall we let the fates reveal themselves through your taste, a task altogether more exciting?"

The End

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