The Gentle Art of Passing

Death when it comes for Petra is boring, not worth all the bother. Pop, and she’s alive again on the other side. Maybe her clothes are cleaner? If they are, she can’t tell. It’s a lot more crowded here than it was before, that’s how she knows, that and she makes eye contact with a prick with giant muttonchops and he winks and curls down into age, all liverspots and rheum, then further down into springy adolescence (awkwardly hunched forward over a boner, dear GOD), then unfurls back as he was.

Some sort of welcome, she guesses.

She was a roving sort before, and not much for city streets, but there doesn’t seem to be an end to this one, or maybe they’ve all bled together, cities piled high and strung along an endless network of rivers. She walks for centuries and never sees a tree without a sidewalk girdling it or a house spread underneath it, and everywhere EVERYWHERE people, thousands deep. You’d stifle if any of them weighed a damn. As it is she never quite gets used to people sliding through her; always a plucked nerve, or one thin violin string that never falls silent.