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the shadows were moving, moving out from the darkness on the far side of the chamber, moving on the walls, moving along the parapet, all moving toward them. The full truth hit her then, the truth she'd been avoiding ever since Morden had said it: there was no escape.

But she wasn't about to accept one of the two choices Churlstein had offered.

"The gun," Anna said.

"Look for the gun."

She could see Morden read the realization on her face, and the intention, and his mouth rose in a small, resigned smile.

"I'm sorry."

They have no interest in the dead. They dug with intensity now, scraping hands and arms raw as they cleared the area around Donne. Anna realized she was earning calluses for a lifetime, if only they had a chance to form. She saw the glint of metal and burrowed down toward it, revealing the top of the isocase with the mice inside.

The shadows were all around them, the air thick with their movement, their presence. All around her the universe rippled and frayed, Morden the one solid presence beside her. The hole opened again inside Anna. The dark well that needed to be filled. Anna followed the edge of the isocase, found the latch, opened it. Inside, the husk with the mouse, a hint of warmth, a slightly fishy smell. She broke open the husk, her hands shaking. The mouse looked nearly identical to the one she had destroyed.

"Morden, the mouse. I think together we might be able to activate it."

It was a desperate, unsubstantiated idea. Her thoughts had not been strong enough to fully activate the mouse. Who knew if two people might combine their strength to bring it to full activation? But if they could, the explosion, which had destroyed the isolab, would be more than sufficient to kill both of them. Morden nodded, and she crawled close
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