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My uncle was well known for his ideas both preposterous and profound, his favourite among them being that all the world's people are merely appendages of a common soul, like the glittering faces of one giant disco-ball. My mother pronounced his mind to be a ray of light trapped in a box of mirrors; when you caught his eyes just right, you got a glint of something wonderful inside.

And what a deplorable genius he was too, especially at that game of pick-a-card-any-card:


...he would declare delightedly to our stares of disbelief.

Cheap parlour trick or not, it didn't matter whether I clutched the thing to my chest, or folded it thrice inside my pocket.


...he would shout from under his blindfold at the bottom of the garden.

And then, confound his luck...


On the day of his funeral we all wept bitterly. Even as dusk fell, my tear-drenched eye chanced upon a forgotten deck. It was sitting on top of the old piano. With a rueful smile I began to shuffle one more time...

...It was then that I realised I was being watched by a small boy with gold, voluminous curls. It was my nephew, on my sister's side. How keenly he observed me! I hesitated instinctively, just long enough for the corner of a single card to linger imperceptibly more in my hand than any of the others.

One-of-Diamonds, said the boy quietly.

Our eyes rushed together to the back of the card, which I turned, and there, to our amazement, the little Ace was - right there, in the palm of my hand...

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