“You will go on a journey,” the fortune-teller said. She turned over another card. “Two.”
Hoo, echoed the owl on her shoulder.
“Find a ship,” the woman said. “That will start your first journey.”
“And the second?” the girl asked.
“The second you’ll find in the eye of the storm.”
The girl looked down at the cards, not liking the sound of a storm. But she had to go—there was nothing left for her here. She looked up to ask for more guidance, but the fortune-teller’s chair was empty.
Hoo, said the owl.
So the girl found a ship. She spent a week in her cabin, huddled with fright at first, then increasingly bored. The weather was calm—sunny and clear, with enough wind to keep the ship moving, but no inclement weather in sight.
She stepped out onto the deck and leaned over the rail, grateful for the change of air. She closed her eyes and breathed deep, savoring the moment.
She looked down to see a ragged-eared cat with a missing eye on the deck next to her. She crouched to scratch it.
“What’s your name?” she asked it. “Are you a stowaway?”
“Bless you, girl, ol’ Stormy’s no stowaway,” one of the sailors said. “She’s our ship’s cat and resident rat-catcher.” The girl moved her fingers to tickle under the cat’s chin. It tilted its head up and met the girl’s eyes.
Its gaze seemed to swirl, to pull and push like the moon against tides. Thunder cracked the sky, lightning close behind. The girl went still as the rest of the ship exploded into action.
“The eye of the storm,” she whispered, wondering where the second journey would take her.