Falling, the thermocline washing over me like a bath of amniotic fluid; falling, fiery angel flight down past the horizon past the towers past the graves past the sea and the stone down down down; falling, my heart explodes a contrail of sparks glitter and die in my wake. Falling, I shed my lives; each note, as it peels off my suit, darkens and shrivels like rotting fruit. Falling, I forget, and in forgetting, I fall faster.

The deepdark is cold and wet, soaking my face and hands. It clogs my mouth, and I can feel it filling my ears. I lose track of up and down, and though I know I am still falling, I have no sense of motion. Eventually, I lose track of time as well. The dimensions fade, leaving me bereft of identity and presence. I am, finally, just a thought. Floating in the void.

There. A flickering bioluminescence. It draws me, a hint of a moth to a hint of a flame. It is a glass canister, with metal stoppers and a series of trailing cords like the delicate strands of a jellyfish. My spine floats within the jar, suspended in its own private sea. The blue light of Nora's touch is still flickering along the ridges of my vertebrae. My head, which had once sat atop that curve of bone, is missing.

We are floating in an endless brine of dissolved text, my spine and I. Floating . . .

Which is such a marked improvement from falling . . .

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