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Citrane tries not to be out after dark, but things have been hellish at work and the days are getting shorter. She waits at the bus shelter and hopes (not prays) nobody else comes along.

“‘Scuse me, ma’am,” grins a methhead’s mouth.

“You need to leave,” she whispers.

“Aww, now, I’m just waitin’ for the 17!” he says, injured. “There’s plenty of room for us both under there.”

“My guardians–”

“Ain’t nobody here but you and me,” he says, and then the invisible swords descend.

Citrane closes her eyes against the spatter, and her pulse rushes in her ears like wingbeats.