When Edith turned sixteen her mother Della gave her the pearl-handled knife that her mother Fern had used. It sat uncomfortably in her hands, greasy and cold. “What am I going to do with this?” she wondered. “Who’s ever going to call me out?”

Her mother Della smiled and fingered the twin scars on her neck. “You never know. A knife’s useful for other things than monomachy.”

She took a GPS locator and a picnic lunch and went to visit her mother Fern’s grave. The plain steel marker was halfway down the hill between the house and the town. There was a good view of the sunset when the weather was clear. “Mother,” she called to the empty space, brandishing the knife. Her mother Fern’s eidolon slowly took shape, streaming from grass, earth, trees, sky. Her shade was torn and bloody; her mouth gaped around the stump of her tongue. “I don’t want this,” growled Edith, and stabbed the knife into the soil.

Her mother Fern’s eidolon reached out to her, fading away, mouth working soundlessly around unspeakable truths.

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