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The Summersmith

She takes them out of the handkerchief one at a time, careful not to touch the edges: three shattered seconds, like puzzles that cut. Her left eye says they’re missing a few shards but fixable. Her right, through the loupe, says they’re ugly bad dark times: betrayal and sick fear, things that were broken for a reason.

The Summersmith looks across the counter at her patron, thirteen, too young to deserve these in his life. “Do you want them fixed,” she says, “or fixed?

“Truth is beauty,” he says sadly, and the loupe shows her the galloping pulse in his neck.