“You are here for a reading.” Her voice was genteel, and firm, and it wasn’t a question.

The cards were already laid out, regular playing cards in a configuration I’d never seen before. I sat down opposite her. “Aren’t these the wrong sort of cards?”

“Only if one is a charlatan relieving housewives of their mad money. Pick.”

I slid one out of the pile and then hesitated. “Do I look? Do I show it to you?”

Her lip curled every-so-slightly into a hint of a wry smile, and she took the card from my hand. “It couldn’t possibly matter less if you look at it, and I can only read it if I look at it.” She glanced at the card, and set it down on the table: a King of spades.

“You will survive the war. You—”

“War? What do you mean?”

“Pay attention, this is very important.”

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