On many winding streets I walked, the buildings towering above me, looming like watchmen waiting for that transgression, that crime, that murder so they could fall upon me, trapping me for all time. I ignored these threats and moved onward through the labyrinth of twisting cobblestone roads that seemed to turn around upon themselves as the night wore on.

Pitchforks and arsenic awaited behind, flames too. There was no turning back, not in this plague city dancing on the gloaming sky. Ahead was dying, and behind death and only the touch of her hand would save and only I could open the gate that awaited me.

But I grew weary and old with each step. The rose-garden scamper, thorns and all, had drained me like mara thirsting for life, pricking me at every turn. I lumbered on, dragging my night soul behind, digging within the poison of my heart to find strength to languish further.

Then —

Stonebridge and torchlit, her beckoning from the door terminus, hand outstretched. My chest filled with light and laughter only to have it shatter like glass hearts on the cobblestone path. For there was I, across that bridge, already nearly fingertouched, already heaven bound.

But how could I be there and yet here? I screamed stop! but they did not here, the hoards of winter wraith coming closer from behind, their chill upon my spine. I fell, no strength in my knees remained and cried as she opened the door and let the other me inside.

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