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Xana’s father would never let her wear makeup, especially when the boys were noticing her more. With her big, toothy smile and that wild, curly hair, lighter than her skin, she looked exotic in the dark-skinned country. The prohibition made the face paint seem so naughty, like a sin. Adorning herself with flowers and skulls, Xana felt pretty. It was one of the few times in her life she had felt beautiful, really beautiful inside and out. And she had forgotten about it completely.
Xana looked at the picture. Her buck-toothed smile stretched from ear to ear. She was skinny. Her skin was painted blue with roses for cheeks and skeleton lips. Her eyes were like a puppy’s. “I’m not this girl anymore.”
“Of course not! We are all of us different. But she’s still inside of you.” Rosa took the picture from Xana and smiled at it. “I think this is what God sees when he looks down at you.”
I cannot describe what followed since I was not conscious to witness it. For the longest time, two curses waged war within me: one granting me eternal life, the other eternal undeath. It seemed neither could get the better of the other. I was wracked with tremors and night sweats that emerged between long bouts of still coma, by which I mean years. Twenty-three, in total. I was kept in a sanitarium, expenses covered by The Masters, or rather by their proxies. This was not done out of charity or obligation but rather because mine was a unique case deemed worthy of study. It seems no one in the world knew what would happen—or what to do.