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All the Cards

The cards never lied. Even though Brenda couldn’t explain it, she knew it worked.

So did her customers.

And word traveled fast. As the only matchmaker within a hundred miles of Stoneheart, she had all the business she could handle … especially after those first few weddings.

It was a simple scheme, really — she assigned one card to each lady client’s name, and then when a new suitor came looking for love, Brenda had him draw a card.

The die was cast, and the match was made.

And the couples fell in love time and time again.

It never failed. Well … it failed once. With big John Dyson.

Five times John had been to see Brenda, and five times she had made a match. Four young women had met their end — tuberculosis, rock slide, bear attack, sun stroke.

Now, as John sat before her a sixth time detailing how his fifth sweetheart had disappeared in the night, Brenda laid the cards out in front of him again. This time would be different.

“And so when I went to call on Jasmine, Saturday before last, her cottage was empty!” John held out his hands in disbelief. His eyes were red and watery … and tender.

All Brenda really knew about reading cards was that the queen of spades was unlucky, and so she’d held it back, always. It had become her card, and she had remained alone.

“Be reasonable,” a voice in her head chirped at her as she nodded to her customer. “What good can come of this?”

She pursed her lips to quiet those doubts, then nodded and smiled at John. “Go ahead, dear.”

His hand shook as he reached for a card and turned it over.

It was, of course, the queen of spades.

Published inFlash Fiction

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