When the field commander departed, and the double doors swung closed, Natasha returned to the maternity ward almost believing the war had left with him. Six days later the Feds would enter the city. They would launch a single mortar round at the hospital in retaliation for sheltering rebels. That round would hit the fourth-floor storage room. Maali would be searching for clean sheets. She would land atop the rubble, four floors below, her pulse slowing in her wrist. A syringe would be prepared and half injected, but death would relieve Maali’s pain before the drug took effect, and the senseless, screaming world would go quiet when Natasha slipped that same syringe between her toes, and with a push of the plunger, sent Maali’s blood into her own.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra