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Under a caliginous sky, on a mostly uninhabited planet, they marked her before leading her to her cell in the intergalactic prison. She knew the mark signalled something antithetical to an auspicious future and so she’d had it sliced away, leaving a scar. Her cellmate said it was futile, but she didn’t listen. The next day, the mark reappeared and with it, myriad memories of her sins like a maelstrom of chaos.

“I told you,” her cellmate said, “In this place, the mark is a punishment worse than death. It’ll grow and grow until it covers your entire body and it will destroy your eunoia until you don’t know the difference between guilt induced hallucination and reality. How do you know I’m real? I’m probably an apparition your inner turmoil conjured.”

“Shut up!” she yelled and scratched and scratched obsessively until blood oozed out.

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