Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love. Her family traded in predictions. These predictions
tended, however, to run toward the nonspecific. Things like:
Something terrible will happen to you today. It might involve the number six. Or: Money is coming. Open your hand for it. Or: You have a big decision and it will not make itself.
The people who came to the little, bright blue house at 300 Fox Way didn’t mind the imprecise nature of their fortunes. It became a game, a challenge, to realize the exact moment that the predictions came true. When a van carrying six people wheeled into a client’s car two hours after his psychic reading, he could nod with a sense of accomplishment and release. When a neigh- bor offered to buy another client’s old lawn mower if she was looking for a bit of extra cash, she could recall the promise of money coming and sell it with the sense that the transaction had been foretold. Or when a third client heard his wife say, This is a decision that has to be made, he could remember the same words being said by Maura Sargent over a spread of tarot cards and then leap decisively to action.
But the imprecise nature of the fortunes stole some of their power. The predictions could be dismissed as coincidences, hunches. They were a chuckle in the Walmart parking lot when you ran into an old friend as promised. A shiver when the number seventeen appeared on an electric bill. A realization that even if you had discovered the future, it really didn’t change how you lived in the present. They were truth, but they weren’t all of the truth.
“I should tell you,” Maura always advised her new clients, “that this reading will be accurate, but not specific.”
It was easier that way.
But this was not what Blue was told. Again and again, she had her fingers spread wide, her palm examined, her cards plucked from velvet-edged decks and spread across the fuzz of a family friend’s living room carpet. Thumbs were pressed to the mystical, invisible third eye that was said to lie between everyone’s eyebrows. Runes were cast and dreams interpreted, tea leaves scrutinized and séances conducted.
All the women came to the same conclusion, blunt and inex- plicably specific. What they all agreed on, in many different clairvoyant languages, was this:
If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die.
For a long time, this bothered Blue. The warning was spe- cific, certainly, but in the way of a fairy tale. It didn’t say how her true love would die. It didn’t say how long after the kiss he would survive. Did it have to be a kiss on the lips? Would a chaste peck on the back of his palm prove as deadly?
Until she was eleven, Blue was convinced she would silently contract an infectious disease. One press of her lips to her hypo- thetical soulmate and he, too, would die in a consumptive battle untreatable by modern medicine.