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Proserpina wakes to a sticky wetness between her legs. In the moonlight, her left hand comes away black.

But she’s read books, and doesn’t panic: she gathers her ruined nightdress and pads down to the nurse’s office, left unlocked for just this purpose. The clean cotton napkins are reassuring. Her nose itches. She touches it.

Her clean hand is black too. Dripping. Blood in her throat like bubbles in milk, rush like the ocean, the floor so slippery–

She wakes again, not cold, not sweating. It’s almost gone. Proserpina tries to hold it, that vision dimming, the final sense of relief.