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There was a killer on the loose. A vicious monster. Nobody was safe; children were kept indoors, women gazed fearfully around drawn curtains, and no man walked the streets alone and unarmed.

A very generous reward was offered. Whoever could capture the killer, dead or alive, would be rich for life. Several had tried.

No trace of their bodies had been found, but their screams had been heard so clearly that nobody was in any doubt as to what had happened to them.

In despair, they sent posters advertising the reward far and wide. Brave men arrived from all directions, each boasting of his prowess, but each met the same fate. Gradually they stopped coming.

When all hope seemed lost, a lone figure appeared on the horizon. One more brave adventurer, they thought, come to face the killer. This one didn’t look up to much; far too frail. Wouldn’t even last an hour.

They drew their curtains, barred the doors, and waited. They covered their ears so that they wouldn’t have to hear the inevitable screams.

And yet the screams didn’t come.

Dawn came, and the figure walked back into town. Alive; unharmed; no longer alone.

The townspeople rushed to their windows, the bravest ran out to see the killer brought to justice.

They called for the killer’s head; an eye for an eye, they said.

The woman who had brought him in shook her head and stood in their way.

“And a tooth for a tooth?”

She leaned forward and pulled open the jaws of the vicious killer with her bare hands, indicating the gap where she had removed the lion’s rotten molar.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Some tarot decks vary at this point; it’s either Strength or Justice, with the other at 11. I decided to go with Strength here.)

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