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“Doesn’t it hurt?” asks the Honcho.

“No sir,” says Leech, and checks the line: still strong and purple. The blood girl sits up on her stool and stares. Her lips are blue-gray, but she’s not empty yet.

“Hurts me.” He fingers his soaking bandages.

“Careful, sir.”

“Don’t suppose you’d know,” he murmurs. “Only the little ones make enough, so fast…” He’s asleep.

But Leech does know, does remember. She sat here once. She stared straight forward. She can still taste the hot sick broth, after, and the kale, and the hunger for her woman’s blood and freedom that never came.