Mr. Stein extended the hammer away from the chisel, into the night, and then back down. I felt the crack of iron against the stone as loudly as I heard it.
        My entire body flinched this time, and then flooded with pain. My heart didn't feel strong, not in the slightest. But I wanted to live. And want was something my heart was used to. Even though I couldn't move, I could feel the want fighting inside me.
        "Isabella's heart struggled right until the very end, as well. Resilience is built by hardship," Mr. Stein said.
        "That's why the cheery ones die so easily." Each word spoken was accented by a hammer swing and the chipping of granite. The tools began to glow red in his hands, looking as they must have all those years ago.
        Fresh from the blacksmith's smelting pot. Right before they were baked in bones.
        I thought of Mimi and Dad and even Michael. Then, I thought of my mama, my poor, heartbroken Mama, about to lose a second child on this wicked day.
        Mr. Stein's arm fell. Iron connected with iron, and stone cracked. The last thing I remembered before everything went black was the distant sound of a woman's voice crying out my name.

Excerpt:

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