The woman reached over and slipped her palm under the back of his hand. Her fingers were warm, almost hot. For some odd reason, he recalled the lab tech with the icy touch who’d taken his blood this morning. And for one second he remembered he’d wanted to ask his dad about what kind of study it was.

His thoughts stopped when the woman, still holding his hand, shifted in her chair. It made a spooky creaking noise, and he wondered if she’d purposefully used a chair that groaned for effect. The woman stared down and slowly ran her thumb cross his palm. Her eyes widened suddenly and she jerked her gaze up and stared at him. Right at his forehead.

She gasped slightly as if she could see something in his head.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing.” She looked back at his palm and studied it for several long, silent seconds. Was she making up some crap? Hadn’t she practiced this before? Come on, just tell me I’ll live a happy life and collect your money.

“What do you see?” Tami asked, as if too excited to wait.

“I … see …” She paused. “I see that you will have amazing powers. But if you use them for good or evil is yet to be known.”

“That’s kind of ominous,” Tami said.

The woman looked up at Tami. “The future can always be a little frightening.” Then she looked back down, and after touching his wrist with her other hand, she traced a line over his palm only halfway across his hand. “You will come to many forks in life’s path. Some sooner than others. Some more painful than others. You will have to want to survive. Never …” Her voice grew deeper. “Never turn your back on a challenge. Fight for the right to live.”

Chase frowned. The woman was a lunatic. She was talking mumbo-jumbo, but for some reason her words gave him chills. He pulled his hand away. “Fine.” Glancing toward Mindy to make sure she hadn’t disappeared, he then looked back at Tami.

“You still want to do this?” he asked her, not sure he liked the stuff he’d heard and not sure Tami’s fortune would be any better.

“You’ve paid for it,” the palm reader said as if there were no refunds.

“Yeah,” Tami said. “I guess I shouldn’t turn my back on a challenge, either.” She chuckled, sounding a little nervous.

Chase stood up and moved the chair out a few inches, making it easy for Tami to get seated. Before he could move his hand, she sat down and her long, dark hair slipped over the back of his hand. His breath almost caught at how soft it felt. He wished he could leave his hand there. Enjoy the silky feel of her long strands against his knuckles. Yet suddenly afraid his touch wasn’t wanted, he pulled his hand away.

The woman leaned in and slipped her hand under Tami’s. Like with him, Chase saw the palm reader’s eyes widen and he heard her gasp. Okay, so that was how she played it. She pretended as if everyone’s palm told bad things.

But then she pulled her hand out from under Tami’s. “I’m sorry. I realize it was rude what I said earlier. If you would like your money back, I’m fine with a refund.”

November 1, 12 p.m.

News Flash: Update

Emergency crew nearing the site of local plane crash

Thanks to a slight decrease in snowfall, the three teams making their way to the crash site of the Cessna 210 that was flown by Dr. Edward Tallman and carrying four other passengers, is reportedly making good time. The team leader radioed that they have hopes of arriving on the mountain ledge in less than two hours. With the temperatures dropping into single digits, paramedics worry that the weather conditions alone could present a significant risk to any survivors.

It is unclear if Dr. Tallman and passengers have survival training for extreme weather conditions. Local medical teams are on standby to treat any survivors. Yet with each hour that passes, hope of finding the Tallmans and Miss Collins alive diminishes. In spite of the dire situation, family and friends of the victims remain hopeful.

“I know Edward,” said a close friend of Dr. Tallman. “He’s a doctor for God’s sake. If at all possible, he’s doing everything he can to keep his family safe.”

October 31, 1:30 p.m.

Chapter Four

Tami looked confused. “A refund? No,” she said, a little hesitant, obviously finding the woman’s behavior as odd as Chase did. “I want you to finish. At least I think I do,” she muttered, then glanced back at Chase.

He didn’t say anything because he didn’t think it should be his call, but he secretly hoped Tami said no. He hadn’t liked the good-or-evil crap the woman said about him and he suspected he wouldn’t like what she said about Tami.

“Are you sure?” the gypsy asked again, putting Chase on high alert.

“Yes,” Tami said, now sounding determined.

She nodded and reached for Tami’s hand again. She traced a line on Tami’s palm and stopped only a fourth of an inch in. Then, blinking, she glanced away, as if to ponder some thought.

Chase saw her stare at her sign for several long seconds. She closed her eyes. She inhaled, her chest rising, then she let out the air slowly. When she opened her eyes she looked up at Tami and adjusted her shoulders. “You will have a good life. Two children. A boy and a girl.”

Chase stared at the woman, thinking her whole tone and demeanor had changed. And from the frown on Tami’s lips, he wasn’t the only one who’d noticed it.

Tami tilted her head to the side and studied the woman. “Why do I think you’re lying?”



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