The blood woke Yalnis. It ran between her thighs, warm and slick, cooling, sticky. She pushed back from the stain on the silk, bleary with sleep and love, rousing to shock and stabbing pain.
She flung off the covers and scrambled out of bed. She cried out as the web of nerves tore apart. Her companions shrieked a chaotic chorus.
Zorargul’s small form convulsed just below her navel. The raw edges of a throat wound bled in diminishing gushes. Her body expelled the dying companion, closing off veins and vesicles.
Zorargul was beyond help. She caught the small broken body as it slid free. She sank to the floor. Blood dripped onto the cushioned surface. The other companions retreated into her, exposing nothing but sharp white teeth that parted and snapped in defense and warning.
by Vonda N. McIntyre
$1.99 (Novelette) ISBN 978-1-61138-085-9