Wrapped around her neck, it was a snake: the necklace, a thick, gold snake, once slithering, now dead. A gift, once, one gift of many from the man with coal-gray eyes. Now an heirloom, maybe, she wasn’t yet sure. In the mirror she studied her stomach, still small and taut and smooth, imagining the snake of a necklace circling her middle, adorning it, maybe choking it, too.

Maybe an heirloom, maybe yet.

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