Fifteen

Behind the door of my grandmother’s oven is soot and smoke and molten plums and blackened silver. It is a forge for something greater than you (don’t take it personally), greater than me: the wisdom of ages, stirred backwards through time in a tarnished pot and baked to such dense stickiness that to look at it is to feel your teeth twinge.

The pudding follows supper, a small meal that follows dinner, a vast meal that follows lunch. Think you can refuse it? You cannot. There are fifteen coins to be found and you must find one, or die trying.

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