Tushy kept fingering the broken obsidian, like the tongue that keeps feeling around a cavity. She didn’t know what was actually bothering her about it, but it was certainly something. She had noticed a deep change in her perception when she finally reapt her first one.

Things were… sharper around her. No, not sharper. She walked inside a taverna’s kitchen, unseen, of course by the busy staff. They were chopping up peppers, frying potatoes, putting a big boiling pot on the gas flames. She could sense the dead things, the flesh, the fish on the wooden stacks, the lobsters on display in a big tank. A kid was licking on his ice cream and staring at the lobsters. They just sat there, alien, in an environment that was alien to them.

A mortal mother came up and said, “Nick, which one do you want?”

The kid shook with excitement, making a few drops of his ice cream fall on the floor. The mother didn’t pay attention to that. Totally uncharacteristic of a Greek mother, this one cared for her career and her online persona rather than her family.

The kid opened his eyes wide and pointed at one lobster. Then another. “Gosh, I can’t choose, mommy!”

“Just pick one, Nick, we ain’t got all day,” she scoffed, her playful patience gone.

“That one, mommy.” The kid pointed at the lobster in the corner and rapped his tiny fingers on the glass tank. The lobster moved a bit to the side, and a number suddenly appeared above it.

It was hazy and smoky, but Tushy could read it clearly. Eighty-five. Eighty-four. Eighty-three.

“Good choice, ma’am,” the garcon said and fished the lobster out of the tank with a net attached to a wide stick.

Tushy kept staring at the scene, fascinated. The lobster tried to scurry away, and as the garcon grunted, leaning inside the tank, the lobster suddenly swam away. The number jumped up to ninety-two, then started counting down again.

The kid squealed in delight, watching the struggle.

The garcon pulled up his sleeve and put his entire arm inside the tank. He reached in, and the lobster had nowhere to go. He fished it out.

“Yay!” the kid said, hopping up and down in place. The ice cream had gone everywhere, on his clothes, the floor, his mouth, his chin. His mother didn’t care.

The garcon showed the lobster to him with a grunt.

And then he threw it in the boiling water.

The lobster hissed as it was being boiled alive. Twenty-one. Twenty.

The kid stared in shock, his face a mask of horror. “I thought we were gonna take it home, mommy,” he said in a tiny, quivering voice.

Tushy turned back to the boiling pot. Four, three, two, one.

The lobster died.

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