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Death and Taxes

Kristine Kathryn Rusch



Sixteen years and half a continent away from the great American Midwest, Patrick saw Keri. She was running out of the market across the street from his favorite coastal café, a bottle of wine in her hand.

At first he thought it couldn’t be her. Her long brown hair caught the sun, reflecting it in golden highlights. She was slender, and the blue sundress she wore hung off her as if she hadn’t grown into it yet.

Perpetually twenty. That was what he thought as he sipped his mocha and returned to the Wall Street Journal. Keri would always be twenty and coltish, not quite grown into her body.

He smiled at himself, at his romantic nature. Proof, perhaps, that he had loved her because he saw her in every gangly twenty-year-old with the promise of great beauty.

Then a car horn made him look up. The woman was standing in the middle of the street, staring at him, cars stopped all around her. The bottle of wine had shattered at her feet.

His gaze met hers.

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