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Rob

Rob can just see the acupuncture needles from the corners of his eyes, when he blinks out tears. The sewing is less sophisticated. It’s thick black upholstery thread, big X-shaped stitches, and they’re starting to bleed.

He’s screaming through his nose, but his limbs and jaw are locked up by Salem’s expertise. He can feel the paper corner Darlene slipped under his tongue. She’s writing something on his forehead, now: four characters. Salem bites the thread and ties it off.

“Goodbye,” Darlene says a little sadly, and wipes away the first letter.

Rob’s alone. The needles are gone. Everything’s white.

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