From "The Reading"

The fortune teller nodded. "I see an interesting young woman in front of me, one who acts with spontaneity and lives in the moment, a woman who does the unexpected and acts on impulse. She takes crazy chances, is always heading into the unknown. With her, anything goes. She feels carefree, uninhibited. The woman may be enjoying life at the moment, but she is taking a foolish path."

Leonie nodded but wondered. Was this a lucky guess? Or did she base her comments on something she remembered my mother had said in one of her sessions? There was no denying the fortune teller had described Ida to a T. But was this by chance, a mere flip of the coin, the draw of the cards? Leonie couldn't tell.

Madam Ophelia turned over the second card, which was intended to represent Present Desires. It was the Eight of Wands.

"Oh yes," Madam Ophelia proclaimed, "how fitting this card should follow The Fool. I see your daughter getting caught up in change, wanting to rush into something new, make a move, doing something quickly. She wants to finish something up, end a chapter in her life, bring something to a conclusion."

I'm not surprised, thought Leonie. The child is going to do something impulsive, and it will be the end of her. She hung her head, turned, and stared at the floor to her left, focusing on nothing in particular.

Madam Ophelia cleared her throat. Leonie, startled, turned her attention back to the table, where the psychic revealed the third card, representing the Unexpected. It was The Devil.

"Oh my, this is very bad," Madam Ophelia intoned. "I foresee a bleak future for the woman . . . a cold, dark world. She will allow herself to be controlled and become addicted and enslaved. She will be surrounded by evil, caught up in unhealthy situations. Unfortunately, she will be ignorant of the truth and unable to sense the darkness that is about to descend upon her."

A shiver went up Leonie's spine. This sounded all too familiar, Ida being controlled by men who enslave her by plying her with liquor and perhaps drugs—evil men intent on dragging her down little by little until, like a frog being boiled in water, she no longer can resist.