A sudden gasp of breath into rattling lungs and she is rolling over and getting to her feet. This is the fourth time she has come back to life, and it is beginning to take its toll. She looks around, navy eyes wide, and looks at me as though to confirm what she’s seeing and feeling is true, as though I could make sense of her senses.

She gives a stallion’s toss of her head, whipping all her braided, beribboned hair back from her face.

The exit wound has all but disappeared; the bits of bone and blood and brain that were hers remain where they were, the sludge left behind as evidence of this experimentation, like her shredded sleeves, or the piece of dulse still tangled in her hair, or the faintly hollow look in her eyes as they see past me, to whatever promise she thinks she’s made, that she’s dying, killing herself, to keep.






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