My blood was as black ink, velvet as the night sky, pooling, scratched into fresh paper by the pen that writes a whirlwind teenage romance. I plucked an icicle from the porch light where it hung like a splinter of darkness and held it between my teeth. Beatrice smiled at me from the kitchen as she opened another box of her things with my pocketknife. I laid my teeth on it like a snake and sunk them into cold flesh, watery blood.

I held up the fire blanket like a shield as I walked past walls of burning books and breathed in the granite smell of melting wallpaper. I wouldn’t leave without my cat.

I sat on a cinderblock and read the invitation, flowery prose with three adjectives to every noun, and flowery lettering. I’d gotten a good grade on my performance review, they were offering me another job. A tear fell down my cheek and sunk into the hard ground.


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