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The Three 'C's of Divination -- FWG Flash Fiction for 3/4/2023

Here's this week's prompt:

The Three ‘C’s of Divination

Muriel studied the final candle’s wisp of smoke curling into the still air as she chanted the incantation. Three out of three.

“This is not good,” she muttered.

Her brother, Modred, turned from where he stood watch at the window.

“You don’t actually believe that divination stuff, do you?”

Muriel watched the last bit of smoke dissipate. “Mom did.”

He snorted. “Mom believed a lot of stuff. Just remember, she taught that coincidence doesn’t mean correlation, and correlation doesn’t mean causation.”

Ah, the Three ‘C’s. Everybody got their meaning wrong.

“I’m not trying to figure out the laws of the universe, here. I’m trying to predict the future. I don’t need causation. I’ll take correlation. If two things always happen together, and you see one of them happening, you can bet the other will happen soon enough. You don’t need to know what caused them.”

Modred stiffened at the window. “Are you willing to bet your life on it?” He didn’t wait for her to respond. “Someone’s coming. A whole lot of someones.”

“I told you—”

“They could be the King’s men…come to rescue us?”

It was Muriel’s turn to snort. “Not likely.”

She quickly relit one of the candles, carried it to the center of the room, then blew it out.

“We don’t have time for another parlor trick,” Modred spat. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

Instead of answering, Muriel watched the tendril of smoke from the smoldering wick drift across the room to a far corner. She pointed to a spot where the vapor disappeared between two of the carved stones then nodded at Modred’s sword.

“Make yourself useful.”

He found her smug attitude as annoying as ever, but saved his riposte for later. Instead, he pried open the secret door to the hidden stairway.

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