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Austin lets the hot water beat her neck like she’s supposed to, only it doesn’t really relax anything. It just beats.

She grimaces, then tastes copper again. Stupid. Has to keep her face still. She spits the blood on the floor of the shower, where it momentarily has some substance: a coagulant swirl, like a jellyfish, like the eggs Rocky used to down–a bit of life. Then it’s gone.

It’s already clotting. Will it ever stop, she wonders. Will they ever give up? She imagines tired little gnomes, grumbling and shoring, healing forever in the endless onionskin of her lips.