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She poured the thick liquid into the spoon, its convexity threatening to spill onto the floral sheets. She held it to her son's lips. Then the cough returned. The boy hid his face in the pillow, the burst staining the case red. The woman begged God to quiet the cough, but she ached with each syllable of the prayer. Mothers across town had echoed this prayer, and every time He had quieted the cough, He had quieted the child as well.

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