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Ondine hasn’t read a page in three years, can’t watch television, can’t daydream. Can’t dream at all, actually. She sleeps in the clutches of the ventilator only when exhausted: it’s always fitful, never deep.

How often do you think about breathing? Music actually helps, she’s found, as long as the bass is regular and strong. It’s when anything takes her out of her head that she has to be careful.

They say it’s genetic but she knows that’s wrong. Curses are a toxic byproduct. She found love, lost it, realized too late; now she has to will her heart to beat.