Oct. 4th, 2011

The old witch-woman peered into the crystal ball. Her fingertips stroked its surface, as if hoping to tease secrets from its depth. In the gloom of the velvet-lined parlor, the young man watched with interest.

"Tell me about the future," he asked.

The fortune-teller's eyes narrowed. "Your future is cloudy," she said ominously. "I cannot see beyond the immediate, the here-and-now. What lies beyond today cannot be known."

"All right," conceded the man. "Then tell me a secret about my past."

Shadows deepened in the lines of the old woman's face as she concentrated. "Your past," she moaned in an unplaceable foreign accent, "is shrouded in mystery. I do not know; I cannot see!"

"All right," said the young man. He pulled out a series of lenses and held one of them in front of the crystal ball. "How about now?"

The fortune-teller shook her head. "No," she said. "All is still blurry."

"How about now?" essayed the man. "Better or worse?" He moved a lens in front of the ball, then back away. "Better? Or worse?"

"Better," said the woman. "With the lens, much better."

"There, now see?" said the occlumantologist soothingly. "There's nothing wrong with your mystical abilities. You just need a new prescription."

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