The Mourning Woman | Sample Chapter

Chapter 1

I stood in the hallway and waited for the old woman to answer my knock and open the door. As I waited, I thought about the rumors I’d heard that she was a descendant of the ancient Greek Oracle at Delphi and that she could accurately foretell the future.

I looked at my watch and knocked again.

The door opened after a few seconds and revealed the partly exposed face of the woman, who stood behind the door and peered around its edge, looking at me. She stared at me briefly, then opened the door all the way

She said nothing to acknowledge my presence, but held up her hand and slightly moved her crooked index finger to beckon me into her apartment.

As I stepped across the threshold into the foyer, the woman turned away and started walking, leading me along a windowless hallway, the walls of which were covered with religious ikons. She tapped a wooden cane on the floor ahead of herself as she walked.

I followed her into a room ─ she later referred to it as her parlor ─ over to a chair with frayed, overstuffed cushions. She pointed at the chair and said her first word to me: “Sit”.

I lowered myself onto the seat, then watched as the woman crossed the room over to a chair similar to mine. She turned back and started walking toward me, dragging the chair behind her, tapping her cane on the worn carpet as she struggled forward.

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