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Excerpt of Fish out of Water

Then, in another second, Astrid is back to her perfectly emotionless expression, pushing hair off her shoulders that are the color of porcelain where her gown is slowly slipping down. “Your home, that is.” “Astrid, where is your home?” I clear my throat, suddenly feeling like I’ve gone too far. “That is, if you don’t mind my asking…” Looking far away, Astrid sighs deeply. “Someplace I can’t get to right now.” “How come?” Astrid turns back to me, blinking back tears. “I can’t tell you.” Reaching to take her cold hands in mine, I give them a squeeze. “Can you try?” She opens her mouth. Gurgles and coughs, and then turns away, ducking her head in shame. “I… still… can’t.” Astrid tugs her hands away from me, and then turns her back. Almost against my will, one of my newly freed hands goes to gently rub her soft skin peeking out from between the folds of the hospital gown. “Astrid, why not? I thought we were friends.” “We are friends.” Astrid continues to not look at me.

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