Mistakes Were Made
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Turns out, it was simpler than I’d thought. Panorama seemed to be a well-ordered community where everyone had assigned chores and no one dared to look up at anyone else. I felt conspicuous without a scrap of red anywhere on my body, but I’d long ago mastered the art of looking like I belonged somewhere even when I didn’t, so no one challenged me as I left the makeshift barracks and made my way to the dog cage.

The girl saw me coming and her eyes got big as I pulled the knife from my boot and began to pick the lock that held the cage shut. I noticed the wire was reinforced with crude bars of cast iron, which made me wonder if all the fairy tales were true and cold iron could contain magic. “You shouldn’t be here,” the girl said as she watched me calmly.


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