He lay on the last stair, skull split, a blood hat; legs twisted like locked tree limbs—this was the wreck of him. And there was she with lamprey mouth and skin of stump warts—so that she moved through the house like a steel door scraping open—it was this that made her spring feral, bury her claws in, leaving him biled and marrowed beneath the mahogany armoire. She would have devoured him then but she saw him cloaked in blackest feathers and knew his beak would not pass easily. He would have walked from the tunnel of unconsciousness and plunged his knobbly thumbs into her eyes—he would have made mole-holes of them but for a dream of an otter steaming on a cold beach, collapsing a crab, clasping then dropping it again. Instead, she slid her knife along the seams of him, slipped his blood-moist hide over her, and when his hand-skin covered her hands, when she breathed through his narrow nose-holes, she understood she could love him. The otter purring the naked crab into death.