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Marla

Marla’s got the evening on a choke chain and autumn’s arm behind its back. The leaves are strangling on their branches, bruising brown and yellow. The sun’s flush with wallowed rage.

Campus: Latin for field, more specifically of battle. What did Caesar have that college doesn’t? Columns, lust and gluttony, blood on the grass and a knife in his back.

She’s knocking on the door now, tape tight around her knuckles. The Romans liked bloodsport, too. She’s ancient and aquiline, eyes blank as marble; she’s waiting for the Emperor’s thumb to turn. Marla’s no sadist. Pain isn’t pleasure: pain is pain.

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