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“You’re a mud pie.” Amber tops his head with grass.

“I’m the king of the forest,” Doug says gravely. “Except grass gives you chiggers. Brain chiggers, and I die.”

“The king can cure chiggers,” she says.

“Isn’t that scrofula?”

Amber’s suddenly tired. “Okay. I guess you’re dead then, sorry.”

“Is this just the pattern with us?” Doug asks. “Leap and leap and it’s all very lovely, until one of us asks where we’re going to land?”

She rolls away, then rolls back. “Maybe we keep jumping.”

“Might land in a mud pie.”

“I always,” says Amber, “ate the damn things anyway.”


“The end of Charlotte’s Web–“

“With the rain of baby spiders?” Doug shudders. “That creeped me out.”

Amber rolls her eyes. “They don’t rain, they parachute. I thought that was the coolest thing–that they just made their own. Spider-size.”

“Ah.” Doug grins. “Disillusionment.”

“No. I mean, yeah, I wanted one. Never have to worry about heights then, right? But when I found out they only use one strand, that they only…” She hesitates. “I’m not afraid of falling anymore, Doug.”

He can almost see the line between them, thinning, ready to snap: all the gossamer they have in common.