You don't think about your bones.

No, really, you don't. They're there all the time, sure, and you use them all the time, but you don't think about them. You think of your skin, more, or your hair, or your teeth. What you see. The surface of things.

You don't think about your bones.

Not until something's wrong. Not until they're broken or wasting away. Not until they're crushed or fragmented. Not until they're burnt and blackened. Not until something takes up residence in them and–

You don't think about your bones.

You don't see them. Of course you don't think about them. When you do, you think about them dead. Long and white, smooth and cold. Dry. Empty. You don't think of them alive, full of life, full of blood, wrapped with sinew and muscle, tendon and fat, warm to the touch beneath your flesh.

But what if they changed?

What if you changed?

Remember that persistent chill next to your heart, the one that pulses with its own rhythm. That cold embraced your breath, first, its gift a shiver from a grave (not yours, not yet), a warning you needed, a warning you heeded, every time. But its second touch was on your bones, and it sank in, deep, with long fingers.

You noticed, when your bones went cold, when you froze even beneath a blazing sun, when the touch of your nails sent fractals spiraling across every surface, when the grass died beneath your feet. But your breath was cold, too, and there was an enemy before you, and you fled to a place so far from warmth that you forgot what it felt like.

You didn't think about your bones. You thought about your core.

You thought about crystal hearts and ice, but not your bones.

But they changed before that, didn't they?

People say you're a hundred pounds, soaking wet. They're wrong. You're lighter, far lighter than you should be, considering your height. You blame it on gravity's uncertain hold.

You don't think about your bones.

But birds have hollow bones, don't they? They're not just for flight, but for breathing, you know that from a documentary you left on while doing your homework, one day, although you've forgotten the details.

Could your bones just be less? Less of them, less of you, vanished between the walls you phased through?

Don't think about your bones.

Don't think about how they felt burning, lightning rod, lightning wreathed, trapped and stricken and blasted, green light shining through transparent and splitting, severing, because to leave your bones means to leave your life, and you have no intention of doing that.

Don't think.


You feel that? Your ribs, rising and falling. Your spine, bending to accommodate. Your hyoid, the only bone not directly connected to any other, moving with your throat. Your jaw, held in position.

Remember the fight you had with Skulker, two weeks ago. You thought of your bones then, your arm twisted and splintered all the wrong way. A spiral fracture. Not your first. Not even the first where your radius and ulna were back to front. You set it best you could, and trusted your body to fix it, to heal, and it did.

It did, but something wasn't right. Something moved, needle sharp and painful, with the thin muscles of your forearm when you fought, when you wrote, when you gripped the handle of a fork. It got worse. It spread. So you went back to where it was cold, to where you had been helped before.

They took you to their machines, to the devices of their doctors, and asked questions.

They have bones, too, these friends of yours. One of them has the bones of his arm encased in clear and glittering ice, so you can see them. He spoke to you fondly, when you came, then softly, and with some concern.

But it was easy, he said, a minor problem that might have solved itself, albeit with more pain than necessary. It could be fixed, he said. He had let you lean on him then, and he was so solid, so soft, so cold, even colder than you, the kind of comforting cold that might tempt you to sleep forever, if you were not who and what you are.

You did need to sleep for a little while, though, so your arm could be fixed, and you saw nothing wrong with that. You have been at their mercy before, many times, under worse circumstances.

You slept as they cut into your arm, as they removed the fragment of bone that had been causing you so much trouble. Then, when it was done, you woke, ever so slowly, the sheets and pillows around you the same temperature as your skin, the green-white light gentle against your eyes.

They thought you might like to see it, see what they removed, that little piece of bone. You, always curious, even to your detriment, agreed.

So, now you sit here and look at it, floating over that tray, above the stark white cloth. It doesn't look like bone. Its color is black, and it shines like polished stone– No. Like glass. Like obsidian, if it had veins of silver and crystal. Its shape is wrong, too. A dozen vine-like, needle-pointed spires radiating out from a central mass.

You lift it, and it is as weightless as ice in water. It pricks at your fingers, drawing blood.

It is smaller than the smallest joint of your smallest finger, and you yourself are small for your age, with delicate… features.

You let it go, and it floats there, tiny specks of blood orbiting it. You run your fingers over the already-healed incision in your arm and wonder if all your bones are like this, or if this is some aberration, if it is something strange, as foreign to your body as it is to your mind.

You ask your friend if it is really part of your bone. It was, he says.

He lets you lean on him again. He feeds you. He distracts you.

You go home.

You don't think about your bones.