Run Down

Death grounds her in her body; Quiana has never been so intimately aware of the shadowed collection of pipes, valves and hollows that gurgles away inside her. It’s a revelation, one she could have done without.

Solon says: “So many things are deadly. So many common things. Not the obvious—no mugs full of Drano, no bleach stirred into your milk—but others. Rhododendrons. House plants. Everyday items, harmless only because undisturbed.”

He scratches his cheek where the beard is growing in. Her face burns in sympathy, but her arms are too heavy to lift.

“I don’t think anyone will realize that this was anything more than an accident. It’s so easy to be stupid. You don’t even need to be careless—lots of people have killed themselves very deliberately just because they didn’t know.”

There’s no pain. She isn’t sure whether that’s for the best or not. Solon leans in close, brushes her forehead with dry lips. “Goodnight. See you in the next life.” He’s framed against the lit doorframe, then she’s alone in the dark, death sitting on her chest.