Agnes had a birthmark that crossed her back from her left shoulder to her right hip. The midwife who had brought her into the world once whispered to her that it was a Tieja Kjoaw —Tiger Scar. It was thin and delicate, with a slight swirl to each end like the underscore of a signature. It was slim and sensitive to touch. Usually she wore her corset to bed to keep it protected from the maneuvering sheets. When her husband, Peter, touched it on their wedding night she gave a little gasp of pain. He stopped caressing her back and curled his fingers around the back of her neck. It was completely dark; even the curtains were drawn against the feeble light of a mid-cycle moon. All that could be heard beyond their stifled breath was the lonely echo of a cricket somewhere downstairs.
Peter’s hand fell away from Agnes’ neck. Daut deit mie leet, he whispered. Forgive me.
– Jessica Penner