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“Devil, Tower, and Judgment,” she whispered. 

He swallowed a large gulp of the sweetened tea and raised an eyebrow. A log cracked in the fireplace. The flames danced shadows on the walls, the only source of light in the dim room. 

“Addiction, a betrayal, and the final act. You’ll be successful, as always… Won’t you tell me who it is?” 

He shrugged. 

Madame Rosetta shuffled the tarot deck. Three cards jumped onto the table. 

“Lovers, Death, and the World… Interesting.” 

He leaned forward. “What now?” He had a formidable profile, sharp angles softened by the intelligent emerald eyes and black, unruly hair. 

“You plan to kill me.” She teased. 

He glared. 

She relented with a soft laugh. “There’s a choice- one leads to an end; another to a new beginning.” 

He nodded, shoulders more relaxed than before. “That’s more like it.” 

“Care to explain, or will I have to wait to read about it in the newspapers, like all those mysterious deaths?” 

“Don’t pout, darling. You know I keep it a secret for your safety.” He reached for her hand. She let him, though touching her was against the rules. Madame Rosetta had a reputation to maintain. Sleeping with her clients was not a way to build a clientele. 

However, he was an exception: her killer lover. 

He kissed her gloved fingertips. “This is your last reading for a murder. There won’t be more.” 

“You mean…?” She asked, her voice hopeful and hesitant. 

He stood and tugged her to follow him towards the daybed near the fire. “I’ve got a surprise for you.” 

“Oh, Edward!” Teardrops hovered on her thick eyelashes as she turned to smile at him. “I didn’t think you would listen to me.” 

“You bewitch me, darling. When you have so much power over me, how can I not stop the killings?” 

Madame Rosetta sank onto the cushions with him at her side. “I’m so happy!” 

“Me… too!” He coughed. 

“Are you fine, my dear? You are sweating. Should I…” Rosetta trailed off as he traced a finger on her face and leaned in for a kiss. 

Fingers wrapped around her slender throat, he whispered. “Sweetheart… goodbye.” 

Her eyes bulged as his grip tightened. “Edwa…”

He squeezed harder and held her wrists in his other hand, restricting her movement. Tears of pain blurred her vision. 

“Why…” she gasped, trying hard to push him off. 

“Didn’t I say already? You will not control me. I do what I want, kill as many as I want, including you.” 

She almost passed out when his hands loosened. She blinked fast and shoved him away. Still gasping for air, she kicked him twice. He fell to the carpeted floor and withered, body arching, features contorted into the monster he was. 

Leaning against the cushions, she sent a prayer to the heavens. That was too close for comfort. 

“How…” He groaned.

“Poison in your tea… After all, a fortune teller should know her future before she reads for others.” 

***

Picture Credit: AI image I generated on Night Café.


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