don’t tempt fate.

I once sat behind a woman with platinum blonde hair. It was poorly dyed. Hints of red broke through her first layer of silver like blood. I always wanted to dye my own hair. She seemed kind and poised – like some kind of noblewoman. She was facing away from me with her shoulders and head held high – as if she was above the world around her. And yet, we’re both here.

She sat and watched as the clock ticked around and around. It rang at seven before she finally turned around to meet my gaze. Her eyes were more striking than her hair. Crisp grey with blue undertones. They overpowered the wooden tables, the grey wallpaper, and the white ceiling tiles. She grinned while holding out her hand. Her nails were French-tipped. I shook it and listened as she started. She talked about her past and her three sisters.

She was named Clotho. She was the youngest of the three. The middle sister was Lochesis, and the oldest sister was named Athropas. She talked about knitting and how all three of them worked together to make the most intricate of scarves. She pointed to the one around her neck. It was white, but some of the thread was stained with green and black like a mold. The scarf’s end was below her seat. She reached down and pulled up a rather large black bag. The handles were shaped and sparkled like crystals, and the fabric absorbed any light that neared it. I stared into it, perplexed. The darkness almost seemed to swirl and move, pulling everything around it towards the center. I wanted to plunge my hand into it and feel what I believed hard to be the galaxy.

“What do you think?” Her hand gently ran across my wrist. I pulled back and sharply looked back up to meet her gaze. All I could do was nod in response; my gaze was still transfixed on the bag. “My mother gave it to me when I left. My sisters all got one too. She was a traveler you could say. Always moving and chasing after our brother Hermera. She knew the helpfulness of a large black bag.” She laughed and opened the abyss of fabric. An unfinished scarf lay inside. The scarf was as immaculate as she had described the others. Perfectly white and nearly glowing at the beginning. But, as it went on, the scarf twisted, and more colors were added. Red, beige, black, and green.

The scarf’s end was attached to a spool of thread and two knitting needles. She grabbed the needles and began to knit. The thread was white like the beginning of the scarf. Her hard moved so fast and smoothly with the needles as if the thread was made from water. Soon it became as if it was moving all on its own around the needles. Like it had its own life.

Clotho was just guiding it through the many loops and turns. The clock continued to tick as she worked. The room had no windows, and the door’s shade trapped us together in our own private universe. I wanted to try knitting with the fabric. I wanted to feel the thread through my hands. I thought of how I would convince her to let me try. The words though never had to come. She stopped knitting and looked up just as the thought ended. My gaze jumped from the thread back to her eyes.

“Do you want to try?” She didn’t have to wait for my answer. She grabbed my hands and moved my fingers with the thread in them. At first it was easy. Smooth, although not as fast as she was.

After a few minutes though the burning began. The thread grew hot as my hand now tried to keep up with needles who had a mind of their own. The thread cut through my skin as it moved. The once water-like fabric now reminded me of flames in a bonfire – twisting and bending without restraint. I winced and tried to hand the needles back to Clotho. She watched, smiled, and urged me to continue. To try harder and to keep up with the needle’s pace. I moved faster, but with every loop, the burning and aching got worse. The more I knit the more thread came out of the bag. The white color is now a bloody red from my own hands. I tried to tie off the scarf, but the knots fell and took a row with it. My progress was slow, and my hands were numb. I was numb.

“I can cut the thread if you want.” I nodded and held up the unfinished scarf – now covered in red from where I took it over. I cried and looked at the white in the beginning. The purity and innocence, now mutilated and bloodied. My eyes found her eyes – or what appeared to be hers. They were darker, almost black, and the dye in her hair had faded to black as well. I continued to knit as she reached into the bag once more. Her hands, wrinkled and cracked, held up a pair of bronze scissors. They were rusted and bent. The blades were cracked and dull. Fear pressed into me as she grabbed the thread in her hands.

“It was nice to meet you, by the way.” She cut the thread and I watched it fall into the black bag as the world disappeared into complete darkness.

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