She is breaking.
Every day a little more. Every day a chunk of skin, of flesh.
Every day something more that she can't do.
She has lost the skin on her right hand, and is afraid to pick anything up. Striated muscle glistens at her. Won't she get infected somehow? Won't it hurt - a glass or a pen against her hand, without the skin to cushion it?
Don't be ridiculous, her friend says. There's nothing wrong with your hand.
I can't bend my fingers, she whispers.
Then you're stiff from cold. You don't have to be so dramatic about things.
I can see my bones.
She can. Through muscle, tendon, ligament.
Her lower arm is next. So many bits of her working together just to move her arm! Radius, ulna. So... graceful.
Everything is so graceful when you strip it down to bone.
She is afraid. This is unnatural. Things are falling away. There is so much that she is losing, so many things that she cannot do.
Her legs. Her belly. Tibia, fibula, femur. Uterus.
Ther uterus does not fall flaking from her body, as the hunks of skin and fatty tissue have. It fades. Day by day, it fades. She watches it, hands hovering above it, not daring to touch it for fear that it will absorb what's left of her hands.
Her hands are all bone now. Her arms. Her legs are starting to lose their muscle. Somehow, she keeps moving.
Her other organs are fading. She is patchwork and insubstantial.
She can still see her face. It's thinning. Fading. Near-translucent.
The process is fascinating. She can't stop watching herself, watching the meat fall away. Chunks of her back are gone. Vertebrae shine delicate and pristine through what's left.
You're losing weight, her friend says.
I told you what's happening, she says. I'm breaking apart. Things are falling away.
Are you still talking about chunks of your skin?
Skin, muscle, organs, she says dreamily.
Her friend looks at her warily. Your skin is there, she insists quietly. But I am worried about your muscles.
All of it. You're too thin.
My bones, though. Don't you see? My bones are so beautiful.
She goes home, looks in the mirror. Almost all gone now.
She is no longer afraid.