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Chloe held tightly to her mother’s hand and they walked through the pines. She stepped around the occasional drifts of snow that stubbornly refused to melt even now at the end of March. Six others walked with them, heading deeper into the woods. Chloe looked at their feet, trying to match the sound of the needles and brush crackling under their boots to each particular step. She concentrated on the sounds. When she was satisfied she could identify each of the walkers by the noise of their footsteps, she turned her attention to their breathing. Her mother was easy, and she recognized the pattern without having to think much about it.
The others took a little work. The man ahead and to the right breathed shallowly and regularly, while the one behind them wheezed a little. The woman next to her mother breathed purposefully, as though every exhalation resulted from conscious intention. The others--
“Mommy, stop.” Her mother looked down at her and Chloe began to tug at her arm, pulling her south. “Come on.” Her mother looked at the wheezing man and he nodded, so she allowed Chloe to guide her and the others followed. In a few minutes, the bubbling of the Yakima River reached Chloe’s ears. In four or five more, the others heard it as well. She pulled her mother through a last copse of trees and stood at the bank, staring at the water.
“What is it, honey?” Chloe’s mother knelt beside her and studied her face.
“The whitefish is about to die.” Chloe pointed at the water.
“What whitefish, sweetie?”
“The one right there.” She was still pointing at the water. Her mother followed her finger to the water and squinted, but couldn’t make out anything below the ripples of the river.
“How is the whitefish going to die, Chloe?” It was the wheezer. He’d walked up to where the girl and her mother stood on the bank. He pointed at the water. “Will another fish come and get it?”
Chloe reached out and took the man’s hand, still pointing, and lifted it up, pushing it as far as her reach allowed. “The sky will kill it.”
The man looked up and studied the sky for a while, then turned his attention on Chloe’s mother. “Marlene, I’m just not sure. She feels intently, I know that. Still, it’s not just…what? What is it?”
Marlene’s eyes had grown wide and she stared at the sky. “Look, Tom.”
He looked up. It was an eagle, and it circled above the river. Suddenly, it dove, and Tom gasped at the speed of the thing. In only a second or so, it was flying back upward, a whitefish in its talons.
He looked at Chloe. “You were right, she has the Sight.”
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