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Katherine

The Katherines circle, and Katherine hands Katherine the knife. She feels the glowing heat of the blade through the sharkskin handle. Katherine’s never held a knife before. In Badulla, only Katherines are permitted to hold knives.

Katherine believes that once there were prayers that went with the quenching ceremony, or songs, but Eli stole those from the world: the Katherines wheel in silence. The knife blade has a liquid sheen.

Katherine stabs herself in the belly. Heat. Cold. Screaming. The Katherines pull the knife out, red and bloody. They wipe away the blood with a smoking cloth, but the red remains.

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