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“My hands don’t hurt,” says Zach, staring at them. “Why don’t my hands hurt? Or my feet–”

“Shut up,” says the Vulpine Phalanger, hustling him down an alley constipated with protesters. “Don’t talk. Don’t question. Do exactly as I say and you might get to bore your grandchildren with this story, understand?”

Zach opens his mouth, shuts it, and nods.

She stops and turns back. “No talking. No questions.”

Zach nods again.

“No. Talking.”

Zach nods, slowly, one final time. She turns to start walking again.

“But why don’t my hands–”

“I don’t know why he didn’t kill you,” she says.