It is a skimmed milk morning, breath rising through the apple trees, the sunshine beginning to slant through and stripe the world. Precious is down in the orchard, thinking up new ways to retaliate. She is hoping to make a discovery. A crow bounces onto the lawn, pecks for parasites and worms with his tin beak. Precious blinks her black eye, enters the meditative state that is a prelude to the kill. In the time it takes her to reach the bird, five bitter oranges have sweetened on the kitchen tray, the grass has straightened and bent again, and the daylight moon has slipped out from its shadow-shawl of cloud to observe the kerfuffle of feathers and claws. This is good. The day has already brought an improvement to Precious's mood. The wind blows in, aromatic, damp, a potion in the making. Precious lifts the blade to her lips, tests it against her tongue. She is ready now.
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