In a small room, she stood at the center of a pattern of cards, a swirl of symbols and faces pooling out around her. She spun slowly, looking at each one, and holding the pattern in her mind.
Somewhere in the pattern, she was sure there was a solution, a way out.
There had to be.
She held the pattern in her mind and followed every path of meaning she could devise.
She took a deep breath, looked up. The candles in the corners flickered softly, reflecting themselves in the glass of the windows, hiding the darkness. Outside, surely the stars still shone.
She had tried them first.
She ran a hand through her hair, the few silver strands among the black twinkling in the candlelight. The stars had taken, but not answered.
Kneeling now, she looked at the cards anew. There was something about it, just a tiny bit larger than she could hold in her mind. Her hand reached out, touched the cards, one after another, following the loops made in the pattern.
Her fingers knew before she did.
She stood up again, holding the pattern in her mind. Her hand held out before her tracing in the air as she slowly turned again, the word repeating over and over without end.
She shook her head. It wasn’t a solution, and she needed one. Needed a way out, a break in the pattern. A way out of the pattern her life had fallen into.
The cards had no further answer. She looked and held and knelt until the candles, one by one, flickered and then went out, spent.
She sat in the middle of the room, her hand on the first card in the pattern.
She held the pattern in her mind, a tiny voice repeating as it traced the pattern she held.
Until slowly she got back to her feet, and began to follow the cadence of the repeating voice. Her arms lifted and began to trace the pattern she held in her mind. Each time round the pattern, she could feel it changing. The voice filled her mind, and the feeling of movement consumed her, until she danced heedless of the cards under her feet.
She danced to rhythm she more felt than heard until she fell, spent. She felt, more than saw, the cards scattered in a new pattern with one card alone before the door. She picked it up, knowing it as all the answer her reading could give her, but more certain that the answer was in her heart all along.
She opened the door, leaving the rest behind.
Outside, the stars still shone. Their light fell softly on the path before her.