From the opium den

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Lia felt her neurons quiver and then burst. As her brain registered "I am dying," she ebbed quietly and watched the dirty canal amble onward through the various shades of brown that a millennia of pollution can produce. "Fuckin' bitch. Can't believe she couldn't pay." Lia heard him mutter as he began to undress her body to wipe her clean of his fingerprints. He spoke of me in the past tense, she thought amicably as he slid her stockings off. He turned her over to wipe over her legs and back and she saw the canal again. It had turned green, and the harsh oranges of the city above her began to drift away as she saw herself.

She was walking waist deep in the green water. Not the green of a billion people and all their garbage, but the pure green of a river running through a village. She felt the kimono ruffle underneath the soft wind that caressed her delicate form. She smiled and felt her scalp pull from the tight bun that her hair had been wrapped into. She felt the smallest and bravest fish brush against her bare feet as she walked along the riverbed to the shrine in the distance.

Scalp-less and emptied of life, Lia's body was thrown into the canal. A pale shade of porcelain among the eternity of browns.

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