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Sometimes I write.

Compost Heap

"Oh!" Kassie exclaims, her trowel half-buried in warmth, "Mx. Squirmy Wormy! I didn't realize you were here!"

The worm bleeds, not especially politely, as Kassie pulls her trowel back out. Its bifurcated halves squirm; its eyes brim with pain.

"There's no need to be rude, Mx. Wormy!" Kassie lowers her voice, eyes flicking across the variegated heap. She's pretty sure none of the others can see her; all she can see of them is wingtips blazing with light. "It was an honest mistake."

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Graveyard Life

The doll wakes up.

This is the first mistake she makes each day.

The second mistake is sleepily grasping for her phone, hands moving in long-conditioned reflex: swipe through the pattern and tap the brightly-colored little icon—

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Left Behind

Mouse never returned.

The rest of them—Stance and Tide and Ashes and Sparrow—always knew that it was a possibility. The ruins were dangerous, they knew that well enough; the unquiet dead, the ancient traps ...

But Mouse was supposed to be better.

She was the best of them.

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Long Forgotten

Rot, beautiful though it is, is merely one extant form of decay. Deep processes continue beneath the earth's crust in the same way as they do within any corpse, differing only in magnitude and result—

"Almost there, just another good hit—"

A pickaxe crashes against stone; the wall crumbles. Light breaks through for the first time in longer than the emptiness within can remember. It's dazzling, overwhelming—a dim lantern's glow magnified and refracted, burning through the countless crystals that line its walls—

"Holy shit! Hey, come look at this!"

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Beneath the Moon

Mouse creeps through the ruins on wary feet, careful of each step. There is so much here that she does not understand; so much that she has always been taught to fear. Etched plastic and fallen glass, the reaching bones of long-dead godlets—

Stillborn, or so she's always been told. Pathetic things reaching up towards the unattainable.

It doesn't matter to Mouse, not really; that was all long ago. All she needs to know is how to slip around whatever ancient hunger might yet linger within them—and that's so easy!

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The Comet

The ground is warm beneath Doll's back as she lies in the fire's ruins, its erstwhile host's half-frozen blood splattered all around her. Her skin is pristine; her witch's wrath was careful when that pitiful storyteller finally turned its teeth on her.

She enjoys the warmth with the same sad hunger as she might regard her last meal before execution, were she a thing which could die. There's precious little of it left in the world, and the false-sun's baleful eye leeches more away with each passing day.

It's finally quiet.

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It's growing cold, little one.

The fratricide-gorged false-sun miserly hoards its warmth, and its cold red light barely offers enough of a spark to light a fire. The sky is dim and grey, winter draping across the land with all of a funeral's finality.

What warmth there is comes from the earth: the swelling blooms of hydrothermal vents and frost-encrusted geysers, the self-destructive pulses of volcanoes popping like angry pimples. The last reserves of coal and oil, those old ghosts conjured up to suffer one last time.

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There's something wrong with the sun. It hangs in the sky like a cell caught mid-mitosis, embarrassed to be seen in such a flagrant state; the nighttime secrets which it has always hid in its lair beneath the sea finally dragged out into the day.

Doll stares up at it through a sheet of smoked glass, a jagged-edged thing salvaged from a wrecked limousine. It's already streaked with blood from the false-flesh that coats her carefully woven fingers, little candy-colored droplets fanning out in painful rivulets.

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Doll has always hated the subway. Each time she descends into those fetid, intestinal depths her skin prickles and her stomach roils; something deep in her unbeating heart recoils from the trains' steady rhythm.

But it's raining today, so she has to.

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"Stop touching that!"

"But missssss, it's so much fun, all nice and smooth with those jagged edges, and it's oozing! Look at it ooze!"

"That's fucking gross."

"You're just jealous that no one wants to break your arm!"

"Why would I—ugh, dolls …"

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