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Amethyst had three distinct memories she didn’t know what to do with. They were all from before she was three, and she wasn’t sure they weren’t dream to begin with.

In one, she was gazing out a window into a garden. Around her, and even below her, was a beautiful dimness, a museum light. She drank in the complexity: there were hidden ways here. Her parents were calling her.

In another, Amethyst stood rooted to a spot in a bare stone-walled room. There were high basement windows, and the floor was a wash of bands of dimness. She was almost sure something was in one of the shadows.

In the third, she was with Maia, in Amethyst’s bedroom, both about ten years old. Their parents and Maia’s grandmother were in the room across the hall, talking, doing something. They seemed different people in the skins of her loved ones. They were concentrating, smiling as they worked to maintain some unimaginable labor.

For some reason, those three memories went through her mind in the minute before the doorbell rang.

She was standing in her kitchen sipping coffee. Her cat rubbed past her, returned and sat on the front of her left foot. Of course she knew they were coming. She didn’t know what minute. And then it was the minute. The doorbell sounded.

She opened it and Maia burst in. They locked eyes: Amethyst’s blue and Maia’s sparkly green. Behind her was John, holding the hand of eight-year-od Daia.

“How bad is it?” asked Amethyst. “I mean, I know it’s bad—!”

“It’s bad,” said Maia. “It’s Carlotta’s gone and Rachelle’s gone after her bad.”

 

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