“Cor, you don’ say? Oy! Boys, ‘ave a butcher’s at this ripe slice, eh? I’s real scared at yer mean words, mate. I’s quakin’ in my boots. Now ‘ow about you back ‘em up with some actions, mm? Otherwise, me an’ my mates is gonna ‘ave to proceed under th’ theory that you’s fulla shite.”

“Oh, of course,” said Sam. “What’s that you called me? A real ripe slice?”

“On account of ’ow good you’ll taste if you give us any trouble, mate.” The leader of the toughs smiled, revealing bleeding gums and black teeth. “Don’t fret it though, love. We’s ‘ad us a right good meal already today, so we’s just takin’ everyfing o’ value…if you behave.”

Sam raised an arm, flexed his fingers. He could see the threads again, down to the molecular bonds. Just like before. It was a bit more difficult to whisper to the bonds when they were quick and not dead, but it was manageable.

The toughs’ leader had his hand out, pointing at Sam. A moment later, the arm simply sloughed off, leaving just a stump of cauterized flesh behind.

“There’s your ripe slice right there,” Sam said. “Bon appetit.”

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