Okay, this story references or is after several stories, so here goes:
Wild Card comes immediately before the one below.
This is the Finish-It Bingo referencing Wild Card.
She did not, often, these days. In her more cognizant moments, she thought she might prefer it that way. There was so much to remember, after all, and, like holding a lighter and forgetting what you meant to set the flame to, a half of a memory could be dangerous.
Tonight she remembered. Her niece — her sister’s granddaughter, and that sort of thing was what you never forgot, because the family lines tied everything together — had turned over an ancient card in a game that was supposed to be innocent, and everything had come flashing back.
Adam, her cousin Adam, and the other one… what was his name? She remembered the wounded look in his eyes, the way he held himself as if expecting a fight. She couldn’t remember the name he had worn. But he and Adam had sat under the tutelage of aunts and grandmothers, just like — and yet completely different from — the way Kathleen and Ruan, and, much later, Rosaria, had all done.
She remembered Adam and the other one telling a story. Their eyes, she seemed to recall now, were on Ruan. There was fire in their voices, and their fingers moved across the page, brush and pencil telling as much of a story as the words.
“And he looked so fun,” Adam admitted, while the other one sketched. “He looked like a clown, or some sort of joker. Not the make-up, just the smile. I saw… I saw her looking at him.” He faltered, and picked up the paint brush.
The other one cleared his throat and let Adam take over the drawing. No, not a drawing, a card. They had been making a divination deck under Elenora’s guidance, and they’d grabbed one of the blanks to make their story. “It wasn’t that she looked at him. There’s lots of looking, at a carnival like that. She went to him.” He swallowed. Kathleen remembered the look of calculated risk in his expression. He needed to tell something. He just wasn’t sure it was a good idea. “And I saw it, all the times it had come before.”
Lightning flashed, and Kathleen was back in the present, staring at her niece. Her niece, the Aunt. She cleared her throat. “We’re going to be seeing him again,” she whispered. “I hope we’re ready this time.”
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