The carpet was filthy.

Thrynity ran her forefinger along a ragged groove gouged out by a piece of furniture, probably long before she and Haren had moved in. How long ago had that been? She couldn’t even remember. Time didn’t behave as it was supposed to anymore. Each tortuous moment dragged by like an eternity.

A tremor wracked her body, making her heels drum against the floor. She ached down to the roots of her hair.

“Are you done yet?” she moaned, rolling over.

“Shut up and let me concentrate,” Haren muttered.

He was hunched over their splintered coffee table, holding a small, black, iridescent lump over the flame of a candle with a pair of tweezers. Thrynity took a deep, ragged breath as the room became stuffy with a thin, bluish smoke. It was somehow sweet and acrid at the same time.

“It smells so good!” she gasped, and another tremor seized her. The taste of bile rose in the back of her throat.

“Of course it smells good,” said Haren, “I know what I’m doing.”

“You’re the best around, baby.”

He didn’t respond. Thrynity watched him, his haggard face made impenetrable by the cold glow of the aquarium across the room. Inside, the inky medusai floated, silent and elegant, their tentacles vacillating slowly, so thin they were nearly transparent. The pristine state of the aquarium threw the dilapidation of the room into sharp relief. It would have been apparent to anyone who entered that the tank was the most important thing in the room.

Not that they had many visitors these days.

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