because I used to write fiction, once upon a time.

He peeled away small pieces of her, pieces that once upon a time she would have offered up willingly. She used to pluck them from herself as lightly as molted feathers, handing them over just to see the answering look of delight, satisfaction. He scraped and clawed at the remaining pieces too savagely, the parts that were too tender and raw to be dealt with so harshly. And she gritted her teeth and licked her wounds in private as he diminished her, shred by shred. 

Soon, too soon, he found he had stripped her of all he could take. He left her then, shivering in the dust, tasting ash and wondering how the phoenix could find it in itself to rise again from so much nothingness.