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They could be outside.  Right now.  

I close my eyes real tight, curl up tighter.  My favorite place anywhere is on my parents' bed, because it's in the far corner of the room, and if anything ever came after me through the door, at least I'd have a corner to hide in.  Han says that I think too much about bad things:  the Ragers, the sickness, What Could Happen.  He's right.  Doesn't mean I stop thinking about them, though.

Daddy's scavenging where the colored metal is.  That's good.  I don't have to worry about him, 'cause he's down in a valley in the Heap, and the Ragers don't have enough patience to climb all the way up the hills and then down and in for just one person.  They're not that easy to predict, but I've never seen them go to too much trouble.  They like flat surfaces.  They can move faster on flat surfaces.

The door clicks open, and then there's Momma, and I vault across the space between us in a heartbeat, burying my face in her shoulder, sobbing much harder than a grown woman should sob.  And I am a grown woman now, as Momma reminds me, smoothing my messy hair back. Her hair is all gray now.  I remember when it was as black as a night sky.

Han rolls his eyes from his seat at the table.  "I told her you were fine," he mutters, but Momma gives him a warning look.  She reminds him I'm fragile, and I rub at my eyes.  It's not like I like being fragile.  I wish I didn't care.  Sometimes I think Han doesn't care, but then he surprises me.  

I hate him today.  But the hate never lasts too long.

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