She sat at the brightly-lit table, watching the night press in against the plate glass windows. The knife wasn’t terribly sharp. She sawed at the back of her hand anyway, making a piercing screech. She paused and blew away the metal fragments, then regarded the dulled knife owlishly. Nothing.
It all had to come from somewhere, she knew. The armor. It came from inside, left her raw and hollow.
She hunched over, inhaling the smell of stale ketchup. She was afraid.
On her back, the defensive spines poked through the thin fabric of her shirt. They’d started growing that morning.
The Best of Clarkesworld 2013
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