“My hand!” he wailed. “I really hurt it. Look at it. I see bone!” That last sentence seemed to echo mournfully throughout the street.
Ash paused. I could see on their face that they had to shoot down about four responses to settle on a suitably gentle one. “It– It’s just a scrape, [March.]”

When the most established couple of the house came home, I’d already seen the Facebook posts about the proposal and fawned over them with congratulations and exclamations of adoration. March reacted, predictably, less than ideally. “[Ash], could I talk to you for a second?”

“Xanthe, what infuriates me the most about what happened is that [Arkady] only seemed to want you once he and [Ash] convinced themselves you were magic. That you could validate and cheer on everything they would say to raise themselves above the human race. And why? Because anything they do to you once you’re convicted of ‘being human’, doesn’t count. They condemned you for showing signs of mental illness because if your world was a result of mental illness, it meant that theirs is too.”

“Well, there doesn’t seem to be any harm to it… Kind of… Have you ever considered therapy?” Cotton asked bluntly, tilting another half-shell into his face.
I frowned at him. “You’re the third one to ask me that this month.”
He flashed me a crooked smile. “I’m sorry, are we being too subtle?”

I glanced to the front of the van. I could see March scrolling through his phone with his right hand and the steering wheel in the left. I texted my love within our group chat of Zara, Asra, Tony, and Arkady. “[March] is texting while driving. If I don’t make it out of this, remember me in my last moments. Reclining on a chaise lounge in the back of a Uhaul, riding this out Wilde style.”

I loved the inworld. I didn’t fully understand it, nor did I interact with anyone as much as watched over them. All of them, Xanthe included, felt at once what I was and what I never could be. Such glorious personalities– a smattering of gods and monsters and both, and I loved them them all.

But in this particular day, when Avery hadn’t responded to any of my texts, I happened to notice what their last status update was:
“Either I will fix this body or I will destroy it.”
Oh.
That’s not a good sign.
That’s when April pretended to be struct blind, because of course she did.