congenital

She held every railing as she descended the dark unpaved stairs. The rails, poorly maintained, came apart in her hands, splintering as she went. After many hours, she came upon the site, saw it there seizing and swollen, tenderly extended a hand, and briefly stroked it. It shuddered, mangling further from the splinters outstretched on her outstretched hand. She couldn’t bear to stay for more than a few seconds at a time. Could only look at it in wonder and fear and sorrow. Could only try not to breathe in the cloying scent, the suffocating fermentation. Could only stand to circle it a few times, and then gasping, had to race back before the stickiness enveloped her, lodged itself in her throat, these spreading pustules of a broken and blooming heart.

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