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The moon’s out and Lane looks at her, back to him, breathing quietly. She’s asleep, intensely delicate.

He puts out one hand to run it down the silk of her chemise. Immediately it snags. In the quiet, even that sound crackles.

Lane pulls it back. His hands don’t look rough–the calluses have gone. How does the silk still know? He imagines his palm in a microscope. It’d be a maze of thrusting wrinkles, and smaller, dead cells that dry and fractal out like branches. Like barbs.

Lane turns over, curls up. He’s suddenly, cripplingly sorry, for what he doesn’t know.