Alex woke to find fresh blood smeared across his thighs. The hollow in the mattress that surrounded him was deeper and wider and longer than he could make, but it was curled, like Alex, tightly around itself. Blood was smeared in a shaky slug-trail over the mattress and across the floor. His lady-love sat against the wall, her knees pressed tightly against her chest, a sheet wrapped around her middle, a sheet heavy and sopping with blood.

Alex’s hands shook.

He scrubbed the blood off with a pillowcase and crawled over to his lady-love. “Alanna?” he said, and reached out for her. She shook and stared through him. He touched her and she screamed, an empty scream, mechanical, with no voice or emotion in it. He covered his ears and vomitted. They were both naked. His mouth burned with acid.

Alex put himself right in front of Alanna. Her eyes stared through him, past him. He spoke to her, the back of his voice broken, and she stared forever into the distance. Her long hands were rock-steady upon the white curve of her knees. Her eyes were clear as glass and the wind howled through them.