In the primary memory i carry, it is June 29, 1993 and, I, Beston Barnett, am nineteen years old. I am lying in my sleeping bag on the ground beside River Road, eleven kilometers northeast of Moab, Utah, USA, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster. A woman is there beside me in her own sleeping bag. Her name is Ann Surmelian, and she is two years older than me. We are listening to Patsy Cline’s greatest hits.
“Each child in this world must carry the ghosts of generations past,” is the only fact Victor knows, at the end of all things. Taught to him by the thing of meaty, translucent bits that has moved into his life.
The taste of dirt coats the back of her throat, sticky soil and nutrient-dense mud grit in her teeth like blackberry seeds. Aileen does not remember when she last ate a meal to satisfy her own hunger, so all she feels is the dirt clotting her tongue and esophagus. After swallowing the teeth that were not hers, she drank a jar of water and yet the rot of soil still clings to her mouth.
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