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Authors: Sarah Maria Griffin

Spare and Found Parts

BOOK: Spare and Found Parts
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DEDICATION

TO KATIE

EPIGRAPH

I recognize, I must tell you, the ways

I have taken after my mother,

the ways I know I have become her,

my head tilted towards the clouds,

hips raw like the aftermath of falling into a rose bush.

FROM “SHARP THINGS,” BY NIC ALEA

PROLOGUE

W
hen you grow up, you'll never be sure if this happened or not. Never sure if it was just something your grief stitched together from the parts of her you remember and the questions still in your throat. Your doubt comes up against the image of her, flickering behind your eyelids.

This is the last time you see her.

You've managed to steal up into her room, though you know it's bold to go up there, though you know she needs to be resting. You haven't been near her in so long. You'll rest with her, you think, climbing up into her bed and across soft cotton plains. She laughs, deep, when she sees you, leans over. “Come here to me, come here to me!”

She is beautiful.

She holds her hand up in front of your face, inches from your nose. At her fingertips, there are
lights.
Blinking green sparks, pinprick. She brings her touch to your face, cradles your cheek and your jaw. You feel small, hard lumps beneath the surface of her touch. Her skin, once warm, is now ash. There is green at the edge of your vision. Green like a frog. Green like leaves. Green like nature but unnatural, artificial instead. You have never seen these before.

There are gaps where the teeth at the edges of her smile should be. Her eyes are still soft, if far away. A green pinprick flickers above the arch of her left eyebrow. Her hair is wrapped in a scarf, escaped black tendrils here and there.

Her lips are chapped. Your cheeks are wet with tears; she thumbs them away. “Don't cry for me, Penelope,” she sings, rhythmic, lullaby. “Don't cry for me.”

A strange light sits in the center of her chest: a bigger one, round as a penny. It sits like a jewel amid chalky scar tissue. It doesn't flicker, but rather flashes, framed by the softness of her nightshirt. Her veins are risen and pattern her skin, tiny black rivers.

“There's nothing to be sad about. I am
so
happy.” She's whispering, she's laughing. “I wish you could hear the things I hear. I have spoken to electric gods. You will, too; I know it.” Her finger is hard on your jaw now; it starts to hurt. “You'll find a way. You're cut of my cloth, girl.”

Her voice is thick. You climb over the duvet landscape
to her lap, and she cradles you. You put your ear to her chest, looking for warmth, listening for a heartbeat. There is none. A hiss comes from under her skin, a static thrum. She smells like burning, like copper.

“Can you hear the machines, Nell?” she whispers to you. “Can you hear what I hear? They tell me you'll do great things. They tell me that I am dying but that my questions live on in you.”

“Who are they?” you ask.

“They have voices like falling stars,” she says, her hand on her chest.

“Who are they?” you ask again.

Your mother holds her hand above your face, sparks in her fingerprints, filaments alive. “The questions. You've started already.”

A door swings open. You are lifted away.

They argue, your da and your ma.

“Don't be talking to her when you're like this; you'll poison her worse than she already is,” he says, and she swears at him.

“She's more like me than you; she has my eyes.”

And you're out into the hallway, down the stairs in his arms, floods of tears, green still at the corner of your vision. Green like the parklands, green like poison. Like electricity.

Green like Go
.

BOOK: Spare and Found Parts
13.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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