The Body is a Feudal State

“Dig deep,” she hisses at Markfeet. “You gotta get it all out.”

Markfeet’s sweating and cold, the tips of her fingers and ears numb with tension. It went bad, this one, real bad. Hoodoo was out with the twitches and half the gang was sunk in the river running below Maplewood, the lucky ones floating face down. Her arms are red with blood to the elbow, most of it sticky and drying with Tip’s blood a bright new flag laid on top of it.

“Damn it, focus, you sorry son of a bitch,” Tip snaps, and Markfeet tries, she tries hard, but her eyes are bedeviled something fierce, she has to keep shaking her head to make the world a place of things and not ideas. She bites her canker sores hard, until her mouth floods with blood and lemon; the bullet pops out at last.

“Shit,” she says, and Tip goes ash-white when he sees it, a real mean piece of work, chuckling malevolently with a full charge of meaning. “You’re gonna lose an arm, fasure.”

Tip kicks out, sends her flying backward into the bricks, overturns the place like a hurricane. “Fuck! Fuck!” The world goes senseless for a long second and Tip is gone when it settles down again, the bullet gone with her.