Build 4e+12

No, not this one, either.

She removes the arms, the legs, the well-built hands. These can be reused. The organs she sorts: the major organs will have to be junked, but the glands can be salvaged. It looks at her with the black, moist eyes of a seal, trusting, patient, and soulful. All illusion, of course, but a compelling one.

She has loved these bones, loved them in theory, loved them in the slow process of creation, loved hanging them just so and watching them move. Even safe in skin, she sees them, she remembers, humerus to radius and ulna to lunate and scaphoid and pisiform and beyond. Clockwork was never so delicately built.

Sorrow, who has time for sorrow. Sorrow is for people without hope, and what is she but hope? There’s another one tomorrow, and if that doesn’t work out, another tomorrow beyond that. She never arrives, and after so many attempts doesn’t believe in the concept of arrival anymore, but she gets closer each time.

She traces the line of its jaw and it leans into her hand blissfully. She peels back its scalp and pulls it free. The soulful eyes glaze over. Next time, maybe, maybe.