She held a dried flower-bud tight in in her claw. The flower had gone black in her grip. The flower had disintegrated days ago, as her thin legs needled her nude torso through the desert under the shadow of the trailing balloons. She thought of her legs, not as an extension of herself, but as a litter for moving royalty and others who did not use their own feet. She thought of her limbs as servants.
She didn’t know why she was saving the flower – it would never grow again – but she was saving it so hard she was scared to open her sharp fist and look at it. She was afraid to lose it in the wind or see what it had become in her possession. She had no use for a dead flower in the desert, but she had carried one all the way across.
She knew she would have to let go at some point. She eyed the balloons, who were watching her tracks.
You need two hands to hold a big gun, she thought, even if they are not your own.