Consciousness broke with a guttural shriek in Dessa’s ear, and she died all over again. The scream might have been her own or that of her dead baby. Either way, the world was grim, a subterranean black hole, and she fell into the nucleus of it. Reborn of the hollow dark.
Dessa laid in a sweat and blood-soaked bed, hipbones as pliable as six-week cheese. Josephine and Leah gathered towels in the back room, whispered under their breath about her ‘condition’ and what to do with her. They rounded the corner with an armful of linens and washcloths careful to keep their gazes anywhere but on her. Lessen the burden of empathy.
Anne boarded up the windows with the help of two other caretakers. The women lived in a communal manor just outside the