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Liv Greenberg



Lay flat. Close your eyes. 

Imagine you’re in a field. 

Now imagine it with no flowers, animals, trees, or bugs. Just grass.

Feel your feet touch the ground. Take a step forward. 

Look at the horizon. Notice a hole.

Go toward it. Go in it. 

Go down.




Stay still, but let your voice ring louder than you think you can 


Shriek and bawl, and wish for death, 

but do not move. 

Someone will hear you eventually, you just have to make yourself 


Summon your faith and pray to forgotten Gods for an answer. 

Hope someone listens. 

You have already fallen, the test is waking up. 




Let the pain wash over you—it comes in waves. 

All of them hurt.



Put a hand on your forearm. You thought it would feel like you.

Instead it’s cold. 

You’re cold. 

It wasn’t cold out. But you shake. 

Take a second to check your veins and make sure they’re still 

tissue, not ice. Feel your body as it trembles. 

You don’t know if it will stop. It doesn’t. 

You’re cold. 




Your skin is ripped apart and sewn, your bones broken and their jagged edges scrape. 

You’re at the mercy of unfeeling Gods, deaf Gods who tore their ears

from their heads so as not to listen to the cries of the damned. 

You can hear yourself scream, voice hoarse and desperate.     

Don’t let yourself feel the despair. 

Focus on better sensations: the scalpel slicing across your torso, 

the sting of needles sinking into your skin, or the breath in your

lungs seeping out in rib-shaped holes. 

If these Gods could laugh, they would. 

Instead, they stare. 

You feel their gaze across your body. You think you see pity in

their eyes. But they’re not capable of that. 

You’re lying down again. They stab you again. 






You have reached the end.

Move your arms and your legs. Wiggle your fingers and your toes. Celebrate in the darkness of your closed eyes. 

Feel your heart relax and slow. 

Match your heartbeat to the thumping of your knuckles on wood. 

Keep wiggling your fingers, even as the nails are ripped from their 

beds in a flood of red, icy pain. 

Feel the sensation of soft grass tear across your back. 

There are no kind Gods. 

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