>CONTRACT

>Adam sleeps. Head buried deep in a warm-smelling pillow. His feet will cramp up in the cold night, but he doesn’t have a name for that yet. He makes sure his big toes overlap the others, or he won’t feel it coming, and he’ll wake up with feet like claws, and he’ll cry with the pressured pain until he passes out or the muscle talons release. He is too young to brace his toes against the walls of his crib and bend them until the spasms relax, feet coming back through the stages of constriction, tendons bubbling and unwinding just under the skin. He knows, though, the afterwards tingle of his muscles buzzing. Some sparse reward.

His father tucks him in tightly, tighter each time, afraid his son will scream again tonight. Adam’s feet are strapped down with blankets, pointing straight, so his ankles hurt with strain. This just makes it come more quickly.

His mother has grown tired of waking and carrying Adam through the darkened house, where he beats his flailing legs against her bruised ribs until he is empty; a sack of silent exhaustion.

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