the river, wearing nothing but the sensor clipped to her
belly ring, shivering in the cool breeze.
“Here we go,” she said, trying to keep her teeth from
She put one foot in and jumped back from the icy
streak of agony that shot into her leg. Apparently, there
would be no easing slowly into the water. She had to take a
Tally walked along the riverbank, searching for a good
place to leap in, slowly gathering her courage. She realized
she’d never been naked outside before. In the city, every-
where outdoors was public, but she hadn’t seen another
human face for days. The world seemed to belong to her.
Even in the cool air, the sun felt wonderful on her skin.
She clenched her teeth and faced the river. Standing
here pondering the wild wasn’t going to get her clean. Just
a few steps and a leap, and gravity would do the rest.
She counted down from five, then counted down from
ten, neither of which worked. Then she realized that she
was getting cold just standing there.
Finally, Tally jumped.
The freezing water closed like a fist around her. It para-
lyzed every muscle, turning her hands into shivering claws.
For a moment, Tally wondered how she would make it
back to shore. Maybe she would just expire here, slipping
under the icy water forever.
She took a deep, shuddering breath, reminding herself