MARIGOLD WOMAN: that one, not this one; never this one

The woman who wears a skeleton, that woman, feels the skin of her back stretched taut against something made of bones and twine and bitterness. If she had a long and jagged knife she could set it against that skin and with one quick motion those rattling clattering battering things would tear free, caught by the wind of heaven and spiraling out into the cloud-chilled sky.

Then the noise would stop, all of it. There would be silence inside her ribcage, for the first time in years. She would not hear the voice of the ghul, the cold voice with which he tells her every day that he is leaving her, though he has long since disappeared. She would not hear the voice of the wolf, that warm tarry voice that she mistakes for her own when it whispers words of dissolution. She would not hear the voices of that nameless multitude that shout and shout and shout and—

In that silence, what would that woman do?

If I knew that, I’d be the wisest man in the world.

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