It is becoming less decipherable. As we camp, it sometimes appears as though messages are being inscribed on our skin, or perhaps under the skin, where the epidermis meets the soft ooze of flesh. It isn’t painful; more as though we are itching from the inside, as though something is trying to speak from within. Our new companion – it seems we are being sent reinforcements at irregular intervals (or are they replacements, are we each being replaced before the fact?) – claims her name is Xenia, although this is a name we seem to have heard before, perhaps outside the blinded gates of Naples. She has, of course, no papers. Except her face. Except her face. Which is paper-thin, a slender coating of matchwood on a bone structure so fragile it reminds us of evanescent nights of childhood. Her limbs seem curiously disjointed, a kind of incarnated spiritual dysmorphia, and it makes us feel so tender, so terribly tender, to terribly tender as we observe her pale shift, her struggle to begin to speak, her strange articulation. What ragged army, we wonder, is this?

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