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When Will tells Riley what Whispers said, the corner of her mouth twists wryly. It looks wrong on her soft face. Its an familiar expression though, he thinks maybe she learned it from Sun or from Wolfgang.

"He's wrong." Riley says, and he knows she's right.

Angelica had still seen the world as lovely when Whispers dragged her down.


Riley though. Riley has already seen the worst of it. She's already broken, watched her husband and child be dragged away before her eyes, wished that she could join them. She picked the scab that it left with needles and pills and the worst of humanity. When their cluster was born, it had finally scarred over for good, a protection and a reminder.


That night, after they push the needle into Will's skin, after she has kissed him goodnight as he slips away, Riley walks over to the window, pushes back the curtains, opens the pane and shoves it open wide. The wind rushes at her, and she lifts her chin.

"I dare you." She says out loud. "I dare you."

The wind howls back, and she closes the glass and the fabric.

If the world wants more from her, it will be disappointed. She will give nothing.