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if you stepped out of your body

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She’s conscious of the rot in a slow, distant way. At one point she would have said it feels like she’s misplaced an important thing and can’t remember what she lost, but just the other day Rose popped her eye back into the socket, and Kanaya has found new use of her sewing skills in reattaching fingers and toes. Well, she thinks, cross, you’d think being undead would exempt you from the indignities of popping the maggots crawling in your veins and under your skin like pimples, with the whole glow-in-the-dark-hungry-for-blood thing, but the game finds humor in everything and she might as well be thankful that she still has all her teeth and hair.

The glow of life comes from the inside of her body. Wooden branches blooming pink and white extend their fingers through her lungs and into the dark, and red-headed flowers peer out of the hole in her gut and ivy tangles in her hair. One day Rose kisses her, and comes away with hyacinths and lilies in her mouth. She eases her fingers down Kanaya’s throat and uproots lilacs and jasmines, chrysanthemums and poppies. She laughs about it; they both do. And if Rose were to suddenly burst into flowers, then Kanaya’s sorry to say this, but the only things that will grow in Rose are ferns and considerable quantities of mold and pond scum, and if she is lucky, moss, and maybe some lichen.

She spits an almond blossom into Rose’s hand.

Yes, there is beauty in everything these days.