Pierre D. Pierre seemed to decide something. In one smooth motion,
he swept the tarot cards, the plastic scarabs, the shells, the strange coins
into a small plastic tub. They made a sad clattering sound. Talia watched
forlornly, as though she had lost those things, too.
“These are only tools,” Pierre D. Pierre told her. “There are times
when no tools are needed to access the wills of the spirits.”
Talia wanted to shout that none of this was about the will of the spir-
its; it was about how awful the world was. How, just like that, things
could turn on a dime.
Pierre D. Pierre tucked his gray curls behind his ears. “In dark pow-
ers, too, we find guidance. I want to help you access that guidance.” He
closed his eyes and sat very still, just the slightest movement beneath his
lids. After a long minute, he said, “You have been running—”
“—from your future. You try to predict. To plan. What the spirits
want me to tell you is that fate is not something to fear.”
What kind of bullshit was this? She had to plan ahead—her daily
survival depended on it. Each day the fragile balance that was her life
became harder to maintain. She couldn’t afford to be caught off guard.
She was provident by necessity.
“With all due respect,” she said, “thinking ahead is how I survive.”
She pushed herself away from the flimsy table.
Pierre D. Pierre opened his eyes. “I’m trying to tell you, you already
have divine guidance. But you instead have let yourself to be guided by
Talia could feel the fear, deep within her. The suspicion that whatever
luck she’d had in life had run out. That in remaining true to herself, in
thinking she might be loved and understood and met halfway, she had
made a lamentable mistake.
“Look,” she said, standing, “how much do I owe you?”
“We have only just started.” But he stood, pushed in his chair. “You
come back, we do more.” He did not look terribly disappointed as he ac-
companied her to the front door. Instead of asking for payment, he took
both her hands in his. “You must go to Beauty International.”
Talia snatched her hands back.
“They are there,” he said. “The people who found you. When you fall
Talia could feel her eyebrows raising. “Did the spirits tell you that?”