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Pavel

“Little Devotchka’s decided to die today,” says Lakshmi, and to Pavel it’s a slap in the face. He manages to turn it into an open-mouthed smile.

“He’s only six!” Pavel shakes his head. “Our little prodigy. I should be surprised it wasn’t sooner.”

Lakshmi offers him her hand, but he doesn’t take it yet. His hair’s gone shamefully gray, but he can still walk to the temple, to see his grandson reach inside himself and turn off his life. To watch, as he watched his wife and children go in bliss. To know that he is watched himself. To fear.

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