The woman jerked and the Dream-Teller felt her fingers trembling. He peeked through eyelids barely shut to see her tears, rolling down her gaunt cheeks. "What do you see, now?"
"I see the rosebush torn out of the ground, roots and loose dirt falling... a hand, torn and bleeding on the thorns. Tears and blood are raining on the violated ground."
Powerful imagery, the old man allowed. Mrs. Hendricks was always a welcome customer, and not just for her coin or her small-talk...
"What does this dream mean?"
The Dream-Teller opened his eyes and signalled for the boy, his apprentice, to clear away the tea cups. He shook his white-haired head and his cheeks were wet, too. "This is a thing that I would not tell you..." and he paused dramatically. "There is love turned around, and murder, remorse, suicide!"
"My daughter and her fiancé?"
"Perhaps. It is someone close to you..."
"But if not that nasty, shifty animal, then who?" Gloria Hendricks muttered as she hastily paid his fee and departed.
"That was amazing," the apprentice cried, once the good matron had left. He put the jingling coins safely away and brought out lunch.
"Oh, that?" The Dream-Teller smiled at the flattery, but reflected that the boy was still too new at the game to appreciate the delicacies. It was all about information and intuition, really. "I just told her what she wanted to hear, given the dream which she related..."
"Son, the unconscious is fairly reliable, and a decent way to assess threats, when you follow it up with sweet reason." The old man shrugged. "Maybe she knew something which she didn't know she knew?"