The Girls Who Come Back Are Made of Metal and Glass – L’Erin Ogle

The Girls Who Come Back Are Made of Metal and Glass – L’Erin Ogle

“Kate’s back,” says Lucy.

I look over and there Kate is, back from the dead yet again, even though there are rules about that sort of thing. No one else has ever come back more than twice. It’s like three strikes and you’re out—you’ve officially become too expensive or too troublesome to revive any more. But Kate’s returned from dying at least half a dozen times.

“Again,” says Lucy, rolling her eyes so hard her irises disappear. “For fuck’s sake.”

I don’t say anything, but I squint so I can see Kate better. She looks like the same Kate, except more tired. She’s hunching over a little more, but she’s definitely here, even though we know she died two nights ago. Two nights ago, her body dangled limp from the noose she fashioned of her bedsheet, the other end looped around the railing she jumped from. Last month, she slit her elbows the long way on a screw she got ahold of, and before that she wrapped a plastic sheet (contraband acquired from somewhere) around her head.

“What makes her so special?” Lucy grumbles. She pushes her hair back, her own scars shining in a raised white slash across her neck. Lucy went straight for the jugular, she’ll tell you, opened that baby up and died less than a minute later, even though people ran to press their hands to the twin jets of dark venous blood. But all that crimson just leaked between the spaces of their fingers. And Lucy died watching her blood creep into all the little cracks in their skin. It was the only time she tried to get out of here.

Dying hurts more the second time around, she says. They all say that. Not that much, I guess, since Kate keeps doing it. I wouldn’t know. I don’t remember dying. It must have been intense, because some of my bones weren’t salvageable. The doctor repaired my skeleton with metal and replaced all my teeth with glass. They click together when I chew. I guess maybe I died on impact, smashed into smithereens. But I don’t remember any pain, just floating through darkness, hearing waves breaking in the distance.

“How many times is this?” I ask.

Lucy shrugs. “Half a dozen? Maybe? Who cares?” After all, it’s hardly interesting anymore.

I take a bite of dry chicken. The days here are long and they repeat themselves. We used to have better food, before Limited Funding. Now, lunch is always chicken or fish with aluminum-tasting vegetables for a side and fruit for dessert. Dinner will be a salad with fish or beef, cheap pudding to finish. Tomorrow, breakfast will be eggs and toast and fruit, always thick syrupy chunks of bland pineapple and peach poured from rows of cans stacked in the kitchen. There will be some kind of potato. There always is.

Monday is clinic. Blood draws and X-rays and sometimes we’re inserted into machines to map our bodies. It’s a long tube and the sound of its insides turning hums so loud it gets inside you and makes your whole body vibrate. Sometimes I can feel the metal inside me scraping inside my skin. Every day there will be Exercise, Group, Free Time. Friday is Movie Night. Everything repeating over, and over, and over again. Even the girls who die have to come back and keep living the exact same day, all those days stretching into the future and nothing will ever change. It’s enough to keep some girls on the suicide train, but some of us don’t want to die anymore.

There’s a whole world out there, Lucy says in my ear late at night. We could go anywhere. We could do anything. We could be real, remake the world into a place for girls like us.

“Kate’s back again,” I tell Tamara. She’s my counselor. I see her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after lunch.

“Is she?” Tamara says. She always answers my questions with another question.

“She is,” I say. I pull my legs up underneath me and cross them. I touch the chair beneath me, soft against my fingers. I wish I could sleep here. My sheets are rough against my skin, like they’re a clinic all their own, stealing skin cells and hair at every chance.

“How does that make you feel?”

“I want to know why she’s brought back. Every time.” I tell her.

“Does it bother you?”

“It just makes me wonder,” I mutter.

Tamara doesn’t answer, which means she won’t say anything until I say something else. They say this is where we can say anything about anything, but there are rules here, just like there are rules everywhere else. You don’t get to choose anything. You lost that when you offed yourself the first time and got brought back to participate in Research. There are lots of people who want their daughters to stop jumping off overpasses and swallowing handfuls of pills. Sort of makes me wonder whether I had parents that cared. But I don’t remember anything at all before here.

“She’s not even that pretty,” I say.

“Is being pretty important to you?”

I shrug. I’m not pretty, but I’m not ugly either. I’m just here.

“I don’t guess so,” I say. “Not here, anyway.”

“Why not here?”

I shrug. Because there are no boys here, except the doctor. But I don’t say it. Lucy tells me to keep some things to myself. ‘Don’t let them see all of you,’ she always says.

Every night, after the lights are out, we creep to the window. We look out through the bars at the fence, humming electrical wires topped with spiraling razor sharp wire. The girls who make it to the fence don’t come back. Lucy says it’s because the fence lights on fire and the bodies are burnt too badly. They bury them in a graveyard outside the fence somewhere, but sometimes I think I can hear them screaming. I’m not sure that’s real. Sometimes I think it’s just another sliver of me I lost on the return. Because when you die, you don’t get to pick which parts you keep.

“The only way out is through the fence or the front door,” Lucy says. Her eyes glitter in the moonlight. “But at the front door, they’ll have people with guns. They’ll catch us and bring us back. It’s got to be the fence. Even if we don’t make it, at least they won’t bring us back here.”

“No one’s gotten past the fence,” I say.

“We gotta figure out how to cut the power.” When Lucy gets excited, static electricity forms in her hair and it starts to float all around her. “If we can get the power cut off, we could climb it. But we’d have to climb fast.”

“How fast?”

“Fast as fuck,” Lucy says. “We maybe would have two to three minutes after the power goes down. Because they’ll have a back up generator. And the people with guns will come. Lots of them.”

I press my fingers to the glass. It’s cool and slick. I think about making it crack. Once, I broke a plate in half not even thinking about it. Lucy took both halves and smashed them to pieces against the floor before anyone saw. She says we can’t let them see us, the things we’ve started to do. We came back with a humming blue ball of energy in our cores, spreading out along our bones and muscles and nerves. If they find out, they’ll build bigger fences, build towers at each corner holding more men with guns.

I watch the fence for a long time, the trees behind it, the silver road winding through them, the big white sign that we can’t see the front of, but then my own eyes start to blur and tear. I end up leaving Lucy at the window, her eyes fixed on whatever might be beyond here.

Next day, Kylie wakes us in the morning by shaking each of us gently. She’s one of the nicer Carers; the others just holler at us to get up from the door. When I sit up, I see Kate, staring at the floor. She’s standing next to Kylie, holding her sheets and blankets in a fat roll—I know inside of them are her sweats and shirts, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks. Her hair hangs in curtains on each side of her shuttered face. Kylie nudges her towards the single, unmade bed in the corner of the room.

“What the fuck?” Lucy says. Her eyes are red and tired. “What’s going on?”

It’s been just been me and Lucy for a very long time. Kate’s always had her own room. Since the whole Limited Funding, no new girls have come. It might not have to do with the Funding. Maybe girls aren’t killing themselves anymore, but I don’t think that’s it.

Kate doesn’t say anything. Up close, she looks like a doll. Chalky white skin, eyes like blue shining marbles.

“Closing some of the wing!” Kylie chirps. “So, you get a new roommate.”

“Fuck me,” Lucy mutters.

“I don’t want her in our room,” Lucy whispers to me when we’re showering. “She’s going to ruin everything. They’ll watch her all the time, which means they’ll be watching us all the time.”

But Lucy’s wrong about that. It seems like there are fewer people to watch us now, and the ones who do are distracted, whispering to each other. Sometimes we overhear them whispering about Funding and Budget Cuts.

We’re eating noodles and hard dry chunks of hamburger for dinner. They call it Stroganoff to make it sound fancy, but it’s just chunks of beef and gluey noodles with some cream sauce. They like to name things, these people.

Like us. They call us the Stopgap Girls. We’re sick and they are Repairing us. We are helping with Research, so girls like us don’t cut their wrists or take Daddy’s guns out of the safe. But now there are Unexpected Side Effects. There is no Clear Progress. No one wants to Fund us anymore.

“How come you’ve come back so many times?” I ask Kate.

Kate gives the slightest twitch of her shoulders. It’s been four days since she moved into our room, and she hasn’t said a word. She hasn’t taken a shower, either. Her hair hangs slick with grease and when Kylie ran a comb through it this morning you could see each individual track the teeth passed through.

“Because she’s not like us,” Lucy says. She puts down her fork. Glares. Since Kate came, I don’t sleep in Lucy’s bed anymore.

“What do you mean?”

Kate raises her head. She has gray eyes, the same color the sky turns outside before the rain comes. She stares at Lucy. Behind the glassy surface, something flickers in her eyes.

“I’m not sure,” Lucy says. Her own eyes have narrowed to slits. Just the faintest gold brown iris rings her black, bottomless pupil. “But she’s different.”

Kate drops her head back down. I sort of want to scoot a little closer to her, show her we’re not mean, but I also sort of want to be so mean she’ll tell us why they keep making her come back.

“What happens if they close this place?” I ask Tamara.

“Where did you hear such a thing?” she asks, but her face is tight on her bones.

There is a mirror hanging behind her desk. It has a gold frame and there are people in it. They don’t know about me and glass, that I am like glass, a shimmering sheet pulled over a shining structure. I can break and unmake things that are brittle. I can do a lot of things, but I’m not sure I’m supposed to yet. There is a reason for everything, I’ve decided. There has to be. Why else would I be here, playing a game where I only see half the board? That’s why I listen and watch all the time. I have to know where all the other pieces are.

“I just wondered,” I say. I can tell that what I’ve said has made her nervous, so I change the subject. “Why’s Kate been brought back so many times?”

Something inside me, it’s restless. Sometimes, I can hear an ocean in the back of my head. It whispers but I can never make out what words it actually says. I have to get up so I can blot it out, think for myself.

She dodges the question. “Do you know you’re the only patient here who hasn’t tried to commit suicide since you’ve gotten here? Doesn’t that mean you’re special?”

I am a model patient. (Prisoner.)

“Why am I here?” I ask her.

“You know why you’re here. You tried to kill yourself, Tallulah. The doctor was able to revive you.”

“But I died.”

“Technically, yes.”

“How long was I dead?”

“I’m not sure,’ she says.

Minutes? Hours? Days? I can remember somewhere else, but not how long I was there. It was dark and powerful and it lives where there is no sun, just a big fat moon that paints everything the color of ash. There’s a thing inside me that twists up sometimes, that feels dark and slick and mean, like shadows slipping over water.

“Tallulah,” she says. “Without the doctor, you would still be dead. You would not be here, not any part of you. You’re here to get better, so you can go home, so you can live again. You can see your family, your mother, your father, your sister.”

‘Do you remember anything from before?’ They used to ask that, but they’ve stopped now. Because I don’t. There’s a ghost of a memory, of people maybe I used to know, but they wear no faces. I cannot think where I was before there was here. But sometimes I dream about a vast, dark ocean and a black sand beach. I wake up smelling something salty and reeking of rot.

Something inside me hitched a ride and now the metal and glass talk to me and turn to liquid at my touch, like the Doctor melted then into molds to make me new bones and teeth. But I don’t need any help to do it. I think about that and I can see a small hairline crack in the mirror, up against the frame. I wonder if I put it there, and when?

Lucy and I go to the window again. The moon is full and the light of it makes the shadows of the fence thicker than usual. I can’t see the electricity looping through its wires, a continuous circuit, like Lucy says it does. I can feel it all around us, though, flowing and pulsing like an ocean.

“Do you remember Before?” I ask them.

“No,” Lucy says, so fast that it means she’s lying.

“Tamara says I have a Before. That I have a family. But I don’t remember a family. I only see shadow people and they don’t have faces.”

Lucy rolls her eyes. “We only remember what they let us.” She shakes her head, her lies flat against her head. All day she thinks about the fence and getting over it, but she still doesn’t know how. When I used to sleep in her bed, before Kate moved in, she even muttered about it in her sleep.

“Do you remember?” I call to Kate. “Before?”

She stares at me from her bed, her blue blanket against her face. Then she rolls over, but not before I see a tear glistening in her eye.

“Only three tubes today!” Kylie says, false cheer echoing in her voice.

The needle doesn’t sting when she slides it in. It burns a little. I watch my blood shoot into the containers. It’s vacuum sealed, which means they sucked all the air out of it so when my blood hits the hollow tube of the needle, it gets sucked in until the tube is full. Sometimes Lucy used to fight the Clinic and the tests, but she always lost in the end.

“Did you know I’m the only one here who hasn’t tried to kill myself again?” I ask her.

She undoes the tourniquet around my arm with one quick pull. “Who told you that?” she asks, scooting her stool away, to face the ledge where she labels the tubes. Her tongue pokes out between her lips when she does that, pink against pink gloss.

“Tamara,” I say. “She says that makes me special.”

Kylie smiles. She’s always smiling.

“Lots of things make you special,” she says. She gives me a star shaped sugar cookie. “I saved you your favorite.”

I bite into it, and I look at the tube where my red blood licks the sides of the glass. Being special doesn’t mean anything, when I think about marble doll eyes, and the humming fence, and the sharp bladed wire on top. I think about oceans.

Kylie cries out. The tube she’s holding has cracked, slivering into her finger.

The cookie melts sweeter than ever against my tongue.

Lucy is at the window.

I go to stand by her and press my hand to the glass. It feels the same as water in the tub, bending to the curvature of my palm. It fills the spaces between my fingers. I can understand it. Lucy looks sad.

“Look,” I say, and I pull my hand away from the glass. It sticks to my fingers the way glue does, when I let it dry and pull it off in scabs.

She watches with her mouth open in a small O. Then she reaches out and touches a glistening piece of liquid glass. It retreats, snaps back into a hard shell. She looks at me. “Soon,” she says. Her hair starts to hum again, flying up and separating into a halo.

If we leave, what happens to us out there? I don’t sleep well. I keep hearing waves crash against the sides of my skull.

The Doctor is in Tamara’s office.

“The Doctor thought he would join us,” Tamara says. She forces a smile, but it stretches her face all wrong.

“Why?” I ask.

“How are you?” Tamara says, ignoring the question.

“Tired,” I say. I can feel them studying me from the outside and something studying me from the Inside. I am not just a girl in an office. I am a girl or something like a girl in a cage, being dissected. They just haven’t started cutting me open yet.

“Have you been sleeping well?”

“I want to go outside,” I say to the Doctor.

“You go outside every day, don’t you?” he says. He isn’t smiling. He wears a mask of thoughtful concern.

“I want to go outside the fence,” I tell both of them.

“Out of the question,” he says.


“It just is,” he says.

I think about shattering his face, but I settle for the mirror. It fractures into pieces and falls to the floor in jagged shards. Tamara shrieks and the Doctor steps in front of her. There’s a sound, like a chair meeting the floor, behind the wall, a muffled scream. “I didn’t mean to upset you,” he says.

But I am upset. Upset travels through me, spinning out from millions of neurons.

“I want to go OUTSIDE!” I shout, and when the air bursts out of me it swells. The light bulbs rattle, then shatter, glass falling like rain. Shards fall on me and turn to warm liquid and I love it.

It’s dark when I wake up. The moon has started cutting pieces off itself again, leaving a tiny crescent that sheds little light.

“They sedated you,” Lucy says. She doesn’t turn away from the window. “I told you, about showing them things.”

The fence hums. It’s loud in my ears. I get up from my bed, stagger a little bit. Whatever they gave me has left my head full and thick, cotton spread all over my brain. Frost has crept up the window pane, because we are in winter, cold and crisp, trapped in a glass snow globe that pulses with the beating of my heart.

“How did he seem? The doctor,” Kate says.

Lucy snorts. It’s something I picked up from her, how to make all your fury come out in a strangled sound. “That’s what you finally speak about? The fucking doctor?”

“I know him,” Kate says. “From Before.”

Lucy’s head whips around. “Liar,” she hisses between her teeth.

Kate shrugs. Looks at me.

“Tell me about Before,” I say without thinking.

“You know why this place exists, right?” Kate says.

We shake our heads, both of us.

“To fix this,” she says, and taps her right temple. “The wrong part.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Lucy says. She says fuck more these days, as if it might make her words heavier. More capable of inflicting damage.

“The Doctor had two daughters, once. He loved the first one the best. But she was Sick. She was always sad, or very angry. Then one day—” and here she makes a gun out of her thumb and first finger, angles it at the same temple she touched before, makes a sharp clicking noise with her tongue, “BANG.” She mimes blood falling from her head, sticks her tongue out, her head slack on her shoulders.

“She died,” Lucy says. “So, what? Everyone dies.”

“He couldn’t bring her back,” Kate says. “So, he tried to forget her. They buried her under the dirt, and he decided he wouldn’t let any more girls die. So, he made this place, where he could make them live instead. Fix them. But the girls kept dying. They always found a way. But when they came back, they could do things, like make things happen around them. Bend the air. Raise up water. Make electricity—” and she looks at Lucy, whose hair lifts just a little at the edges of her bob. “You could make it stop,” she says, nodding at the fence.

“Liar,” Lucy says, but it lacks conviction.

Kate’s eyes are flat and glassy. Doll eyes.

“Shut up. Finish the story,” Lucy says.

“I was an accident,” Kate says. “He didn’t want another little girl all broken like my sister. He and my mom were together, and then they weren’t, and I didn’t ever know him. But then I got sick. And when I died, he came and got me. And now I’m here, and I’ll never be allowed to leave.”

“The fucking doctor is your dad?” Lucyline’s turned the same red as the cherries in fruit cocktail. Her hair stands straight up from her head.

Kate puts her finger to her lips. Her nails are ragged and torn at the tips. Bloody crusts crowd her cuticles.

All sorts of understandings happen fast, hung in the air like tinsel around a tree, same as the big evergreen they prop up in a stand every year when the snow falls thick and unfettered and we put things on it that we don’t care about.

“He doesn’t care about me,” Kate says. “No one cares about us here.” She turns her eye to the outside. “But they would. If….”

And she trails off.

“If what?” Lucy says.

“If we got out.” Kate smiles for the first time I can remember, and it carves her face like a scythe ready to fall.

The doctor has placed a large piece of square glass against the wall. He wants me to break it.

I can see the hook of Kate’s nose in him, but not much else. His eyes are liquid gray pools and I look to see if I can see his dead daughter lurking in the depths, but all I see is my reflection.

The glass does not crack. I don’t want to crack it, and he wants me to, and he starts poking at me, trying to make the sore parts flare up into something bigger.

The doctor asks me about my mother. About my father. About the faceless figures that are my family, but the glass will not break. I harness the things inside me and pull back on the bits chomped between their teeth.

He thinks he’s so smart.

If I die, I want veins sliced by translucent glass. I want to be cut open by sleek sharp blades. I picture a rough cotton sheet around my neck and shudder, I think of a rusty metal screw and turn brittle inside, ready to crack into thousands of pieces if it touches me.

“I have a plan,” Lucy says, shifting her weight from foot to foot. Time is running out. We can all feel the walls growing closer together.

I’m looking at Kate, wondering how much of her is real and how much the doctor replaced. There was a movie once where this guy could change faces. He could be anyone, and he broke into places like this one. “Who are you, really?” I ask her.

Kate rolls an eye to me, one that has died too many times to feel much of anything anymore. “I’m just a girl that can know things,” she says. “I can’t do things like you and Lucy, but I can read people like books. Not even books. Maps.”

“What fucking good is that?” Lucy mutters.

“Not much,” Kate says. She turns her face away. “Your plan is for Tallulah to shatter the glass.”

Lucy’s gotten thin. She shakes under her skin all the time, even the moments we’re alone and my fingers jitter across the sprung trap of her ribcage.

“We go through the broken doors and we run all the way to the rec room. We have to stop the fence. That’s on you, Lucy. You’re the one who can make your hair float. Then we throw sheets over the wires and climb.”

“Why don’t you talk to him? Your dad?” I ask her.

“Because I am alive and I shouldn’t be,” Kate says. “Because he won’t let me die.”

“I’ll short out the fence,” Lucy says, and her hair beams with electricity. The lights stutter twice in the hallway. “I can, I know it.” Fire in her eyes. It sets something to burning inside me too.

I watch Kate. I can see her father in parts of her, and I don’t know which part to believe in—the part of her that is a reflection of him or the part of her that hates him.

It’s Kylie’s last day. She won’t tell us why, but Kate will.

“Funding Cuts again,” Kate says, her smile carving up her face. “There isn’t much time. Once the funding goes, they’ll have to get rid of us.”

When did she become our leader? There was nothing declaring that. It just happened, smooth as silk, very insidious.

“What’s out there?” I ask Tamara, pacing.

“A world,” she says. “One you wouldn’t like all that much.”

“How do you know?”

“I know,” she says. But she’s restless, shifty eyed, her muscles skittering under her skin.

“What happens when the funding runs out?”

Her eyes snap up. “Where did you hear that?”

Sometimes, it’s better to just stop talking.

“Are you ready?” Kate asks us.

My skin prickles with life. I nod. I want to live out there, not end up a ghost in a graveyard

“Are you?” Kate asks Lucy.

Lucy peers at her from underneath her stood up hair. “Why are you doing this?” she asks. “He’s your dad. How do we know you’re not tricking us, that you’re not with him?”

“Because he won’t let me go. And I deserved better. We all did,” Kate says. “We matter just as much as she did.”


“Doesn’t matter,” Kate says, but I know she means her sister. The one he loved best. “It’s time.”

I close my eyes and draw everything inside me, like I am an ocean, preparing a tidal wave. Everything swells painful, power and energy huge and immense, inside my chest. When I exhale, all of it explodes from me. Sheet of glass shatter. Door windows blow out. Lights. Mirrors. The glass sings.

“Run!” Kate commands.

Lucy and I link hands, to sprint through the shattered door that separates our hallway from the main corridor.

Lucy holds my hand tight. We don’t look back.

We run to the rec room. The huge window that eats up most of the paneled wood lining the rec room is already shattered, shards glittering on the ground. We climb over it and I hear Kate make a yipping noise, look back to see the side of her leg opened up in a gaping mouth. She clamps her hand to it, shaking her head. We can hear footsteps and shouting from the hallway.

Lucy puts her hand over the wound. Kate makes a hissing sound, and smoke trails up from where Lucy touches her. When Lucy pulls her hand back, it’s sealed shut with a blackened crater.

Come on” Lucy tells me. She lugs Kate to her feet, helps her shamble for the fence, and I follow them, my heart beating inside its metal cage.

We’re at the fence. They’re coming for us. I don’t look back, but I see Kate clenching her teeth, looking over her shoulder. “You gotta hurry,” she says. “You gotta do something. I forgot the sheets. We don’t have enough time.”

Lucy spreads her fingers out and energy flickers there in the space between them. She holds them palms up towards the fence, her face crinkled up.

Nothing happens. The energy doesn’t travel to the fence. There’s no surge. Even though her hair is sparking like crazy, she can’t discharge it anywhere.

“I’m scared,” she whispers. Her eyes are so beautiful.

I love her, I think.

“I’ll try,” I say, as they shout behind us.

“No time,” she says. Her eyes fill with flames.

“Don’t—” I shout, but it’s too late.

She reaches out and wraps a hand around a line of fence. There’s a hot tongue of fire that reaches out and slaps everything around us, but the big lightning crack arcs from the fence up Lucy’s arm. She burst into flames, a burning torch capped by glossy black hair standing straight up.

She turns to me.

“Go be free,” her charred voice sings in my head, and the fence dies in a shower of shedding sparks. The lines no longer hum and I place a foot on one, then my other foot on the wire above it. There’s no time to be careful. I climb fast. I hear Lucy in my ear, telling me two minutes. Back up generator. Guns.

When I touch the curving barbed wire, it flattens for me the way glass does. I vault over it. Kate’s only halfway up the fence. She’s bitten into her lip, and blood runs freely down her chin. I wish it had been her that grabbed the fence. Not Lucy.

But Lucy would want me to help her. So I try to soften more of the fence at the top. It doesn’t melt the way glass does. It bends but doesn’t liquify. Then Kate’s coming over the top. Her fingers slip on the wet metal. I grab her legs, making her scream, but she lets go, and we tumble to the ground.

She looks back at the institute. And she’s shaking her head, tears running down her face.

“They’re coming,” she says.

Inside me, I can feel the wound splitting open, where I clung to Lucy and what would come after this. I can smell her scorched body, still smoking, but I don’t look at it. I can’t. I open my mouth to scream. I suck in air that seems to compress and just keep spilling into my mouth, until I am so full of it my skin feels like an overstretched balloon. Then I let my scream loose.

The air, patted down and packaged and forced to occupy a much smaller space, blows out and expands. It travels in a wave, and then they are falling down. Trees are falling down. The building shakes.

“Holy shit,” Kate says. She turns her seafoam eyes to me. And she smiles, like she knows exactly what I’m thinking.

I didn’t mean to do it. Did I kill them? But already, I can see the bodies stirring.

Kate’s hand slips in mine. “I saw a place we can go,” she whispers. “An old mill everyone drives by just down the road. It’s full of things we can use.”

Glass? I ask her, in my head.

“Glass, and metal, and lots more,” she says. She grins again, and all that blackness that she brought back spins up inside her. “We can build our own world there. Or unmake it. Whatever you want.”

It isn’t what I want. It’s what came back inside me. It hides behind my face and wraps itself around my parts. They are more metal and glass than muscle and bone. It wants things the way I want Lucy to come back. Fury digs a canyon in my heart, and I look back one last time. They are rising, their bodies loose limbed and stumbling, but they will come.

Lucy would want me to be ready.

We run.

See L’Erin Ogle’s story “The Girls Who Come Back Are Made of Metal and Glass” online at Metaphorosis.
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