Dressed all in blue and black Time settles upon Caz and impels her out into the streets, those impossible Carnival streets thick with color, reeking with light. The crowds swallow her whole in a swirl of orange. She is heavy with potential, vibrant with venom; it is the middle of the year, and she is gone a-hunting.

It’s a stone knife she uses, and one she carved herself from the volcanic rock of the island: sharp as memory, black as the sea, half as long as her arm. Like her father before her, and his mother before that, on and on into the past. They were founded here with the city, washed ashore with the first settlers, feared and suffered in equal measure.

The city gives itself this one last week of license before the long austere spring, one week where the fountains run with whiskey and masked celebrants fuck in the streets and pass out in doorways. Children conceived this week are lucky, though often unhappy; distant cousins of hers, they are never quite settled.

She finds one, a fat spider, front soaked with wine, eyes muzzy and unfocused behind the reflective mirrors of his mask. Too drunk to feel the thin point of her knife slipping in just above his hips; he feels the poison, right enough, but the fire that scorches his brain locks his jaw shut and freezes his lungs. Caz slips his arm over her shoulders and humps him back to her studio.

From a distance, they might have been two friends, drunkenly weaving toward a more private lovemaking. The city knows her family, though; they throw themselves into the whiskey as she passes, desperate to fog her passage from their memory. Caz accepts it all, fitting tribute, and feels the future stir within the cradle of her pelvis.