Chiromancy


Rosa wandered up the street, smoke trailing from her pipe. Wasn’t her usual neighborhood, but the coppers had been rousting folk again, and in any case, doing a circuit through other places didn’t hurt a gypsy. She was used to travel, used to moving along, either by choice or force.

Looking up, she sussed the street and with surprise, noted a familiar figure. Ah, the tall mustachioed one! The feller she’d been paid to taunt about someone named Mary!

That had been fun, Rosa remembered with a fuzzy grin. Clearly the shorter dark-haired man had been determined to break his friend’s engagement, and since she’d come out of the mock-job with a handful of coins, no real harm done.

She sauntered up and slowed when it was clear a woman was at his side. A damned pretty one too, all blonde and thin, done up for a turn in merino blue. A right looker, although pale.

Rosa cocked her head, and on a whim, planted herself in front of the lady. “You’re Mary,” she announced, putting as much drama as she could in her voice.

It got the desired result; the woman blinked and froze while the mustachioed man—what was his name?—looked up.

“Oh it’s you,” came that familiar slightly impatient voice. “Begone, woman.”

“No game this time,” she told him, pulling her pipe out and smiling. Rosa knew she wasn’t a beauty, but it was all in the eyes. Hold their eyes and they’d believe anything of you. “I want to see, sir. No charge.”

“John,” the woman Mary began, looking to him.

Rosa could see he was embarrassed.

“Just a tasteless prank that Holmes attempted using this poor gypsy woman. Nothing serious.”

“That was all sham before and we both know it, sir. I do have the Sight though,” Rosa spoke up, much quieter than last time. “And I ain’t poor. Alls I want is to see the lady’s hand, sir. I knows how much you truly luv her, and how good she be to you.”

Rosa waited until they’d looked at each other a moment. Sweet, it was. Yes, they were in love, that was certain as the sun coming up eastside.

Then the Mary woman extended her slender hand, and Rosa tucked her pipe along her own bosom, carefully cradling the long palm before her.

She gazed on the fine mesh of lines along the woman’s palm.

Oh.

Ohhhhhh.

Rosa blinked, and looked up into that pale, waiting face. The man was watching took, his expression all protective-like.

“What is it?” he asked in a sharp voice.

Rosa took a breath, and thought about how she’d say it. “Miss . . . . You will be . . . happily married all yer life. I swears it on my soul.”

The Mary woman smiled, and Rosa tried to smile back; it was all about makin’ em feel good about what they thought they heard.

“And children?” the Mary woman asked, still smiling.

Rosa knew it was time to go.

She pulled her pipe out and pointed it behind the couple, “Copper comin’ and I don’t want to make no trouble. Be good to each other, dears—“

Moving quickly she gave the Mary woman’s hand a soft pat and darted around the couple, weaving in and out of folks along the sidewalk until she reached the first corner and turned down it.

Rosa leaned against the building there and took a long drag of her pipe, feeling a pang of deep sadness. She smoked the rest of it, and then knocked it clean against the heel of one boot, and wondered if it was too early yet for a pint somewhere.

Sometimes it hurt to have Sight, and Rosa wondered if maybe the dark-haired man might have known it too.  


End.




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