Come take a seat with Mrs Delora. Find the answers to your questions, Discover your truths, Explore your future, And marvel at her talents. But, beware, You may find more than you seek, You may learn more than you need, And you may leave... Liberated! I took the man up on his offer, And sat on a stool inside the tent. Across the large wooden table Sat a Fortune teller Drowning in hemp cloth And gold charms. Her face was haggard, As if she had seen a thousand lifetimes. Her breath, strained and heavy, And the smell of stale smoke, Mixed with burnt herbs choked my lungs. She placed her hand out on the table, And coughed, wordlessly Demanding my hand in hers. In my open palm she placed a red stone, And closed my fingers tight. Are you a whore child? I gasped, offended, A whore! How dare she! I guess you’re just promiscuous, Don’t be offended, I’m just teasing, child. She started laughing, Throaty and coarse she cackled. But her humour was fugacious. You’ll be barren of life, You’ll just be a stand in, A temporary. Her words spun around my head, As they tightened the garotte Around my throat, Pulling burning breaths And twisting them under my tongue. Would you like some tea? It helps with the truth, Makes it palatable… I sip the mossy coloured liquid, It burns my mouth, But I can breathe again. I can breathe much slower, Pulling air deeply Into my famished lungs. Yes child, that’s it, Breathe. I nod, and bare my hand, The red stone in my open palm, It was tinged with black, Like a plague was spreading Tainting its surface. You won’t have to worry, You’ll not be left a spinster, You’ll be left, Penniless, naked, Alone in a ditch. Wha… Wha… The words slur incomplete. My breath long but shallow, My eyes open, Unblinking. Just breathe, Let Mrs Delora liberate you, Come take a seat with Mrs Delora. Find the answers to your questions, Discover your truths, Explore your future, And marvel at her talents. But, beware, You may find more than you seek, You may learn more than you need, And you may leave... Liberated!