This story was originally published in Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction and poetry from emerging writers.
After years of heroin addiction, Katrina and her boyfriend have finally kicked the habit. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of their sobriety, they take a trip to the coast, but their plans—and their lives—are shattered when a near-fatal accident leaves Katrina in a coma with third-degree burns covering most of her body. When she regains consciousness, she is forced to contend with a new reality: ceaseless pain and permanent disfigurement so extreme that she can hardly recognize herself.
With her boyfriend lost to relapse and the future they’d been working toward gone for good, Katrina is left alone to face the endless surgeries and agonizing tedium of life in the burn ward. In her search for reasons to live, she finds herself asking a question that cuts to the core of the human condition: Is survival worth unending suffering?