Under The Cloak

Hjay thinks that she is a normal person in a normal world. However, that illusion soon fades when she meets a hooded and cloaked woman whose face is only revealed to those is wish to see...

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2. The Gifts

Hjay felt her heart miss a beat. Surely the woman couldn't mean her? She glanced behind her, just to make sure that there wasn't a similar girl standing there, but the fortune teller on the pavement called again, 'No, you girl! Come and get your fortune!'

Hjay turned back to the woman feeling nervous. No one else had answered her, was that because they knew something about the woman that she didn't, or were they simply superstitious? The crowd were watching her intently, waiting to see her decision and the fortune teller, too, appeared to watch, although no one could see her face. Hjay shrugged to herself, could it do any harm?

Slowly, she walked up to the fortune teller and crouched down in front of her. As she came level with the woman, the darkness under her hood seemed to lift and, suddenly, they were looking into each other's faces. The woman's was dark and striking, with bright blue eyes that almost shone as if lit by some light, although there was nothing bright for them to reflect. For a few seconds the fortune teller said nothing, but stared intensely into Hjay's eyes; her azure blue ones burning into dark brown.

'Show me your hands,' murmured the woman.

Hjay held out her hands, palms up. The fortune teller took them in hers and stared down at them, examining every line and crease in Hjay's skin. Hjay felt a little intimidated. The woman's eyes were so blue it was unnatural – they gave her the eerie, unearthly aspect which Hjay had failed to notice, only moments before. They were so bright that Hjay was sure they were glowing and was surprised that, under their glare, her hands didn't look tinged with blue too. Behind her she could feel the crowd, holding their breath and watching curiously, wondering what the woman would do.

It wasn't long, however, before the fortune teller looked up into Hjay's face, her blue eyes shining more than ever. Her dark face was totally collected but Hjay felt, somehow, that something had unsettled her. She felt her heart beat faster and tried to pull her hands out of the woman's grasp, but found that they wouldn't move.

'You are a curious person,' said the woman quietly so that none of the inquisitive crowd behind the could hear. 'I think you have great powers.'

'What are you talk...' Hjay began but was cut off quickly.

'Just listen – you have little time. If you get home you will be safe temporarily, but not for ever. You may never get home. You will need these if you are to ward away the dark.' She released Hjay's hands and began rummaging in the many folds of her cloak. Hjay felt a strong urge to get up and run away from this mad-woman, but something held her fast. Fear possibly, that what she had said was true.

'Here, take these, but show them to no one!' The fortune teller pushed two objects into Hjay's hands and fastened her fingers over them. She had the brief sensation of holding two, cold, vibrating ''somethings'' before the fortune teller pulled her upright and sent her scampering into the crowd. They parted readily to let Hjay through and, just before she broke into run, she glanced over her shoulder: the fortune teller had disappeared. This sent a new streak of fear through Hjay as she pelted between the crowds of people in the street. She was shouted at, cursed for pushing and running, but she did not care. Something was wrong, really wrong and she was sure that the fortune teller had known what it was.

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