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The Hanging Garden — Table of Contents

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Behind her, her army was a cacophony of water and metal. The assassin adjusts the stringless harp on her back and the blackened lantern in her hand and the bladeless knife at her side, and she keeps to the path, even as the path is buckled by roots and darkened by years and years of dead leaves. She was the right age—unmarried but almost full-grown—and she had the kind of pretty face death liked to see when you went down to meet him. You hum, you tap your fingers and snap your fingers and clap clap clap your fingers to ward off the noise. You would have seen the way she crept forward to the window as if drawn to it, the way she bit her lip in the kind of hunger that you never saw even when the two of you kissed.

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The Hanging Garden — Table of Contents

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Her eyes are her eyes but not, somehow. This time, she glances over at you and her hand falls away from the glass. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools. His laughter grows the closer you get. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. The full flower of the last gasp of death, crimson leaves on a sleeping tree. I wish I could say it was merely cruelty that made him lust for my blood, but I think it was something worse.

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The Hanging Garden — OPHELIA by Bethany Hagen Flowers don’t like to...

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I sit on the floor of the airlock for a moment, braiding together a crown of long purple orchids—not as long nor as purple as they should be—but as close to violets as I can get. The trees themselves are different. Some people say iron filings and others will say lavender too, but the most important part is that the window is shut tight against the dark, the sash flush against the sill and the curtains drawn. Was it just last week I noticed that? I grab the shears and hack viciously at the stems. A map, she said seriously, because she said everything seriously. It was doomed from the beginning, I think. It starts with something small.

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There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. You spread duct tape on the cracks of the windows and then you rummage through the kitchen and find an old box of salt in the cupboard by the pantry. They screamed at her to come back as she walked along the edge of the roof. I stand now, deciding to gather a handful to bring to the lower deck. Do I employ fire or drag him to the river? Some things are better left untold.

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Children rightly fear what waits in the dark. You had the curiosity of adults, who expect even the unknowable to be governed by reason. Only adults try to explain it away. You make the mistake of staring at that blank face, that nothing face, instead of looking back at your girlfriend, and maybe if you had, everything would have been different. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. Like, what if she kissed the princess before she killed her? Where else could they meet death? Its black eye that even now throbs to the beat of my heart.

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The Hanging Garden — OPHELIA by Bethany Hagen Flowers don’t like to...

hanging tumblr

And in the gloaming between trees and at the feet of mountains, a nightmare prince laughs at you with the wind as his voice. Why, after growing up in Hilton Hollow and following the rules her entire life, did Nora become arrested by the need to know more the summer you came? Most days you are rooted to the spot. These things take time, after all, and she will be well-compensated when the task is through. The hatch door hisses; I hold my flowers tighter and remember the smell of violets, the pull of hair and the flash of dark eyes by the throne. He told the assassin that she would succeed in reaching the princess.

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