Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell | Chapter 9 of 19

Author: Nathan Ballingrud | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1538 Views | Add a Review

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The Diabolist

For many years, we in the town of Angel’s Rest knew your father. Our monster. He was a middle-aged man, prickly of temperament and reclusive of habit, but of such colorful history, and of such exotic disposition, that we forgave him these faults and regarded him with a fond indulgence. He was our upstart boy. Our black sheep. He lived in a faded old mansion by the lake and left us to gossip at his scandalous life story. It was a matter of record that he’d been drummed out of his place of employment at the university down in Hob’s Landing some years ago, his increasingly eccentric theories and practices costing him his job, his reputation, and—it was whispered (and we believed because it was too wonderful not to)—the life of his own beloved wife.

Dr. Timothy Benn, metaphysical pathologist.


Sometimes the sky around his house lit up after dark with whatever wicked industry kept him awake, bright reds and greens and yellows igniting the bellies of the clouds like a celestial carnival show, or like an iridescent bruise. Once he seemed to tip the axis of gravity, so that loose objects—pebbles in the road, dropped key rings, babies tossed into the air by their fathers—fell sideways toward his house, instead of toward the ground. This only lasted a few minutes, and we responded with bemused patience. It was just one of the quirks of sharing a small town with a known diabolist.

And so it was that we enjoyed the company of our resident monster and the particular glamour he afforded us, until the day he died, and you found him slumped in his favorite chair.

Dearest Allison.

We didn’t know you like we knew him. Like him, you were sullen and withdrawn, but you lacked any of the outlandish characteristics that made him so charming to us. You did not puncture holes in time and space. You did not draw angels from the ether and bind them with whores’ hair. You only lived, like any awkward girl, attending high school in a cloud of resentment and distrust, hiding your eyes behind your bangs and your body beneath baggy clothes and a shield of textbooks clutched to your chest. We saw you in class, sitting in the back row with your head down; we saw you weaving like an eel through hallways choked with strangers; we saw you when you came down from the mansion on pilgrimages to the grocery store, where even the items you bought were disappointing and mundane. Not even the minor spectacle of a kumquat.

After school, after shopping, we’d watch you climb into your father’s car with the tinted windows, engine growling at the curb, and disappear up the hill into the mansion.

For all the attention you paid us, you might as well have been moving through a world erased of people.

We loved your father, but we did not love you.

~ ~ ~

The miracle began the night of his death. We imagine the scenario: He bid you good night as you went to bed, with a light kiss on the forehead. You asked him a small, domestic question: about high school, or about something you might have seen on TV. He answered you noncommittally; he wanted to be present for you, but after all there was work to be done. He walked downstairs and retired to his study, in the room overlooking the lake. He poured himself a healthy measure of single-malt Scotch and retrieved a crime novel from his bookshelf. We like to think that he enjoyed these small pleasures for a little while, as he reclined in his easy chair. Then he closed his eyes, leaned back, and quietly died, felled by the surrender of some mysterious inner function.

You came downstairs the next morning, Allison, and you found him there. Oh, how we would have loved to see your expression. To watch that tide of grief.

Instead, there is only this frustrating period of darkness in our narrative, lasting that whole day, in which you might have said anything, done anything, and there was no one there to see it. All that beautiful sorrow, lost forever.

You did not call any of us for help.

What did you do, Allison?

Did you cry? Did you scream?

Did you think of us at all?

~ ~ ~

We found you again the next morning. A Saturday, early. We saw your feet and ankles poised at the top of the cellar stairs. You paused there, at the edge of this dark gulf, uncertain of yourself. A quiet, unsteady hiss emerged from somewhere below, like an unending exhalation. You’d never been allowed in your father’s laboratory before; simply standing there was a transgression. But after that pause, you descended with purpose, and we saw you: pale white legs, pink shorts, wrinkled black shirt; and finally your face, moonlike and frightened. You swept your hand over the light switch and threw the laboratory into flickering clarity.

Rows of shelving and workbenches filled the vast work space, each one crowded with repurposed wine boxes or milk crates, holding overstuffed three-ring binders or notebooks or jars of formaldehyde densely packed with biological misadventures. There was an aquarium empty of fish, but with two severed blue eyes lolling on the bright blue gravel, tracking you as you passed; a massive telescope dominating the cellar’s far corner, its wide glass eye raised toward the closed root-cellar doors; a broken, bloody mason jar sitting at the center of a pentagram chalked onto the floor beneath one of the workbenches; and six large double-stacked dog crates with children’s names and ages stenciled on the outsides, all empty save one, which was home to an abandoned stuffed lion. The walls were covered with parchment bearing a strange pictographic alphabet. Hanging among them were your own endeavors, paintings your father had retained from your elementary school days.

And then there were the small accumulations of a normal life: the desk chair with the wheels that stuck; the crumpled, empty bags of potato chips on the floor; the Minnesota Twins mug sitting beside the dormant laptop, still holding an inch of milky coffee, like dirty water at the bottom of a well.

And in the back of the room, nearly hidden by the clutter, was the vat. It was huge, slightly taller and wider than a refrigerator, mounted on an industrial-capacity cooling unit. It was filled with a luminescent green gel. A radio was affixed to the side of the vat with duct tape and twine; a spaghetti snarl of wires trailed from it to the vat’s base, where it disappeared into the side.

This was where the hiss was coming from. It sputtered as you approached. When you stood at your father’s desk—close enough to the vat to caress it, if you had wanted to—the static barked, and a voice, genderless and faint, swam up from the deeps of chaos and noise to speak to you.

“I know you,” I said. This was my time in isolation and darkness––the time before I became “we” again.

Just briefly your face shone with the hard light of hope.

“I know you,” I said again, willing my speech through the long black crush of empty space. “You’re the daughter.”

And you spoke to me, too, for the first time: “Who are you?”

~ ~ ~

I never had a name until your father gave me one. I was a wretch, one imp among a numberless multitude of imps working in the Love Mills on the Eighty-Fourth Declension of Hell. I did not know language until I was pulled here by your father’s sorcery, and learned it after hearing him speak a single word; I did not know of my own individuality until I was peeled from a shared consciousness and from my own body, to be imprisoned as an isolated scrap of thought in that vat; and I did not know love, though my whole existence was bent to its creation, until I saw your father’s expression crumple in despair when he realized that the thing he had plucked from Hell was not the one he had sought.

I knew something had happened to him, though I had no word for death. In the middle of the night I was engulfed by a falling tide of his dreams, thoughts, and memories, which came raining through the ceiling like gouts of ash, as if a volcano were expunging all the dry contents of the earth. It was a bewildering experience, vertiginous and exhilarating—like nothing I had ever known. It did not abate all night and continued even as you came down to the cellar. I could tell immediately that you did not see it or feel it. Your father’s dead brain was geysering, filling the air with all its accumulated freight, and you had no way to apprehend it.

I suppose that could be considered a waste.

“Your father called me ‘Claire,’ when I first arrived,” I told you, each word spitting through the static, and I watched your face make a complicated movement: a mixture of sorrow and hope, which I have learned is part of love’s vocabulary. You retreated to the desk and sat in your father’s chair.

“That’s my mother’s name,” you said.

“I know.”

When you spoke again, your voice sounded strange, as though your throat were being squeezed: “Is that who you are?”


You were silent for a long time. The radio on my vat hissed, like rainfall, or like the sound of your father’s spilling brain. You leafed through the pages of a journal he’d kept on the desk. You turned on the computer, but you didn’t know the password to access it. Your search did not seem to be motivated by any real curiosity, though. You seemed stunned by something. Only partially there.

“Where is your father?” I asked you.

You sighed, as if I’d said something tedious. “He’s dead.”

“Oh,” I said, understanding suddenly where the tide of dream ash was coming from. “Is that why you’re upset?”

“I’m not upset.” You looked at me, as if you thought I might challenge you. But I didn’t know how to answer you, Allison. I envied your detachment. I was cast adrift from the rest of me, isolated for the first time. I had never known loneliness. It caused me great pain.

And pain, too, was something new.

How do your kind live like this? How do you not extinguish yourselves from the cold misery of it? How do you know each other at all?

“So, you’re something Dad conjured up? Like a demon or something?”

“I’m not a demon. I’m an imp. I’m a laborer in the Love Mills.”

“What are those?” You didn’t even look at me as you asked these questions. Instead you walked slowly around the lab, tracing your finger across the pictographs or stopping to study one of your own early finger paintings.

“I don’t know how to answer that in a way you can understand.”

“Wow, you sound just like Dad.”

It did not sound like a compliment.

“I want to go home,” I said, hoping to turn this conversation along a more productive course.

You stopped at the dog cages with the children’s names. “What did he do down here? I mean, I know he, like . . . summoned devils or whatever.” You turned to look at me. “Is that what he did?”

“I don’t know what he did before I arrived. I know that he was unhappy to see me.”

“So you were an accident?”

“I think so.”

You nodded and returned to his desk. You opened a manila envelope and a sheaf of photographs spilled out. They were of your mother. They were casual and unposed. Your father looked at them often. Sometimes they made him cry. Sometimes they pushed him into a rage. I couldn’t understand how the same images could provoke such different reactions, and I was curious to see how you would respond. You stared at them for a long time, too, but your expression did not change.

You put them down and said, “My dad’s body is still upstairs. I haven’t called anybody. I guess that’s messed up.”

“Is it?”

“It’s what you’re supposed to do. I’m supposed to cry, too.”


You shrugged. “Because he’s my dad.”

“Then why don’t you?”

“I’m a monster, I guess.”

I didn’t understand this, but it seemed unimportant, so I returned to my own concern. “I want to go home, Allison. I want my body back. I’m lonely here.”

“Well, you can’t,” you said. “I don’t know how to send you home. You’re just going to have to suck it up.”

“That’s not acceptable.”

You stood, calmly and with such poise, and approached the vat. This time you did put your hand on it, and though I should not have been able to, I felt the heat of your blood, the warmth of human proximity. I did not know what it meant, but it shocked me into silence.

“You were meant to be Mom. Did you know? He was trying to bring back Mom, and instead he got you.”

I had nothing to say to that. I remembered his horrified reaction the night he pulled me here, and realized what he had done. It was my first glimpse of love’s face.

“I’m going upstairs,” you said, turning away from me.

I felt a wild and fearful longing. “Don’t leave me here,” I said, my voice lost in the crackle of the radio.

You just kept walking. You turned off the lights as you ascended and left me there, the green light from my vat and my strange liquid form throwing shadows into the dark air. I had never been alone like this. I began to understand that it would last forever.

~ ~ ~

Finally, you came down to us, in Angel’s Rest. The day was overcast and windy; you descended the long road into town, your hair, for once, not obscuring your face but trailing behind you like a dark and unfurled flag. Maybe this unprecedented event should have been enough to let us know that something had gone wrong. But we were creatures caught in our own routine. We were unsuspicious and ignorant. It’s hard to know a miracle for what it is until it blots out the sun with its beauty.

You went to the café in our local bookstore and bought a coffee, ignoring the clerk’s open stare as you gave her your order. Her name was Maggie; she was a senior, three years ahead of you in school and bound for the very university that had driven your father out years ago. Her younger sister was in your computer science class, so she was privy to all the latest rumor and gossip surrounding you. She leaned forward a fraction and sniffed the air, to see if it was true that you didn’t bathe, that you stank of body odor. She couldn’t smell anything but assumed that this was because the jacket you were wearing obscured it. When she took your money, she was careful not to let her fingers touch yours, and she dropped the change onto the counter rather than put it into your hand.

Did you notice these minor insults?

Maggie was so close to leaving our town. If your father had only lived another six or seven months, she would have missed out on everything.

You waited out her shift, and then Joey came in. He saw you sitting there, and he felt a mixture of fear, anger, and excitement. He remembered going to the Devil’s Willow with you earlier in the year, making out with you and wanting to go further but being told no. He remembered the humiliation he felt, the thwarted urge, and remembered too the fear of what people would say if they found out he’d tried to score with the town freak. He hadn’t spoken with you or even looked at you since then. Your sudden presence scared him and excited him all over again.

You ignored Maggie’s hostile stare as she walked away. When Joey was alone behind the counter, you approached him.

“Meet me there tonight,” you said.

Something inside him twisted. He was afraid you were setting him up. Someone like you—an ugly girl, an unwanted girl—had no right. “What are you talking about, skank?” he said.

“You know what I’m talking about. Just be there tonight.”

“I don’t just come when you call. What makes you think you can even talk to me?”

“Whatever. Come or don’t. This is your only chance.”

You left him there. He spent the rest of his shift in a slow-burning rage, because although he was determined not to go, he knew that he would.

The Devil’s Willow grew like a gnarled temple on the far side of the lake. Its brilliant green foliage spilled over and trailed into the water, like a suspended fountain, hiding the bent, blackened wood of the trunk. It got its name from the fact that we believed your father practiced infernal rites there. Some nights we’d see dozens of little candle flames arrayed beside it, or even suspended in the air around it, and there was that one whole week when the entire tree was engulfed in a cold green-white fire. Julie lost her virginity to Thom there last year, and although she never admitted this to anyone, she was afraid that she’d gotten pregnant and that her baby would be born with a goat’s head. When she got her period she cried with relief and terror and her hands shook so badly at school that they sent her home early.

You went there after leaving Joey at the café. Were you planning the night ahead? Were you there for the silence, or were you trying to get closer to the dark energies of your father’s practice? We saw the shape of you as you sat lakeside, your feet dipped into the water, leaning back on your hands like some pale white orchid.

You were always unknowable to us, Allison. We guessed at your motives, at your relationship with your father, and at your reactions to our taunts and provocations. Although we were content to imagine your interior life for all these years, now we want to know the truth. We don’t want to guess at you anymore, Allison.

We want to know if you feel what we do.

~ ~ ~

We know a story of the lake.

There are no stories in the Love Mills. There is no one to tell them, and there is no one to listen; for an imp, there is nothing but the building and maintaining of the mills. It was not until I was pulled to this cold tomb of a world—torn from the plural into the singular—that an idea like “story” was ever introduced to me.

I did not hear it from your father, who did not forgive me for not being his wife. He worked at his various errands in silence. I only learned it after his death, when he sat up there in his study, reclining in his chair like a dead king, his head a volcano of dream ash, a ghostly plume of whatever made him a human being pouring out of him like a long sigh. It was beautiful, Allison, and it’s a tragedy that you couldn’t see it.

The story of the lake was a shower of cinders that fell through me after you left. I don’t know if it’s based on something he read or if it’s something he made up. I don’t even know whether or not he believed it. The story goes that there was once an angel that roamed these hills, in the early days of your kind, long before you had dominion over the world. The angel was a giant to men, a gyre of eyes and wings and talons, stranger and more fearsome than they could withstand. They ran from it in terror. The belief is that it was one of the last of the angels to join the Morningstar’s rebellion. It arrived too late, and the gates of Hell were sealed. An outcast from both kingdoms, it wandered here alone until it could no longer bear the isolation. The angel found a deep lake—this one, Allison; this lake—and went to sleep at its bottom, where it would remain for the rest of time.

I don’t know if the story is true. But I drew comfort from it. It made me less lonely. It’s about the Morningstar, after all, and to hear Him spoken of, even in this secondary way, opened a cascade of beauty inside me. I felt a terrible yearning for my home and my work. It was by that yearning that I knew the Morningstar’s grace was still upon me. The ache of need is a music in Hell.

Your father wondered if this town and everyone in it was just a dream itself, a figment the angel had created to keep itself company. Once I would have laughed at that. I would have told you that if it had wanted companionship, it would not have dreamt creatures such as you.

Now we’re not so sure.

~ ~ ~

You came down to talk to me that night. You cooked yourself a dinner in the microwave and brought it downstairs, where you ate silently at your father’s desk. You left the lights off, sitting in the green luminescence of the vat, listening to the quiet hiss of the radio. You did not acknowledge me at first, but your presence was a lovely surprise, and it went a great distance toward dispelling my loneliness. Though you didn’t know it, it was an act of kindness.

“I like it down here,” you said, once you’d finished. “It’s like being at the bottom of the sea. No wonder Dad spent all his time here.”

“I don’t know what the sea is,” I said.

“It’s basically just like the lake outside, only a lot bigger.”

“How much bigger?”

“It covers most of the world. Don’t you know these things in Hell?”

The notion of a lake large enough to cover the world inspired that sense of yearning again. I didn’t know how I could ache for a place I’d never been. My life had been defined by labor, by hard earth and turning bone and the pink blossoms of smoke rising from our industries, by striations of light across a sky obscured by a rosy curtain of ash. There was no sea. There was no lake. There was no wish for any other place.

It never occurred to me to wonder what it was we labored to create.

“I don’t really know anything about Hell. I was in the Love Mills. That’s all I know.”

You shook your head and nearly smiled. “Trust me. If my dad brought you here? You’re from Hell. That was basically his thing.”

“If you say so.”

You pushed your plate away and took one of your father’s notebooks, leaning back in the chair and paging through it with apparent disinterest. “So did he talk to you about Mom?”

“He didn’t say anything to me.”

“Join the club.” You shook your head, thinking about it. “She wanted to leave us, you know? She didn’t care.” You crossed your arms on the desk and rested your head there, turned away from me. “I guess he really loved her,” you said, and for a long while you didn’t say anything else. I heard you sniff once, and I knew you were crying. I recognized this as another manifestation of love. I was coming to know all of its wonderful facets. The kind you felt was like mine: a wanting that cannot be satisfied. The kind your father felt for your mother was different. It was the kind with hooks.

After a moment you lifted your head and looked at me. “Anyway, I came down here to see what I have to do to flush you out of there. It’s right here in the notebook. I’m not sure what that’ll do to you. Maybe send you back home, maybe kill you. So you might as well go ahead and enjoy your life for a little while longer, because I’m going to go upstairs and get wasted, then come down here and do it.”

I did not know how to receive this information, so I said nothing. The only example I had of death was your own father, whose death seemed to have done little to change him, other than fixing him in place. After all, he still resided in his chair on the floor above us, unfurling his unspent thoughts into the air. The other possibility—being sent back home—was too wonderful to contemplate.

“And then I’m going to do one of Dad’s rituals.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve been looking through his notebooks. It doesn’t look too hard. And since he just died, maybe I can get him back. Maybe he’s not too far away yet.”

“I don’t understand. I thought you didn’t care.”

“I don’t.” The tears came back, but you made no move to hide them this time. “I don’t care.”

Even in its absence, love pulled at you with its terrible gravity. Your face was beautiful in anguish. I could see the work of my life there. The house was filled with it, Allison. Love in all its grandeur. What shapes it made of your lives. What shapes it makes, still.

Your father’s thoughts had begun to cool, fluttering down to me now rarely, like leaves from an old tree, nearly spent. One drifted past, stately and blue. You were younger; you were on the couch watching TV with him. You’d had a good day; you were tired and warm. You leaned over and rested your head on your father’s shoulder. He pushed you away. You apologized and leaned in the other direction. Shame consumed him.

He wanted to be touched with another kind of love, from another kind of person.

You flushed the vat as I considered that thought. The floor opened beneath me and I flowed through a narrow chute in a wild green torrent, sliding through darkness for several disorienting minutes until I splashed from the end of a culvert and flew through the clear air, landing finally in the warm lake and dissolving there.

It was like waking. It can only be like waking.

I saw the stars overhead. I felt the ripple of wind, the pull of the roots of the Devil’s Willow as they sipped at me. I felt the bed of the earth below me, and I felt too the great, slow-beating heart of the thing buried beneath the cold mud.

I am the lake. You have made me anew.

~ ~ ~

Joey met you under the Devil’s Willow. He was angry and scared, but just proud enough to believe that you had come to regret your earlier rejection of him, and now wanted him after all. He didn’t come alone. He wanted to make you pay for the embarrassment you’d caused him, so he had two of his friends follow. They were meant to hide in the bushes several yards away and take pictures of you as you undressed, to pass around the school. Joey meant to have his revenge.

You were waiting for him beneath the willow. You had a picnic blanket spread out and half a dozen candles lit, their flames trembling in the cool night air. The sky was high and cold, icy with stars. You sat in the middle of the blanket, legs curled beneath you, a glass of whiskey already in your hand. Joey paused when he saw all of this. He considered doubling back to send his friends home.

But his fear of you was too great, so he didn’t. He stopped at the edge of the blanket and stood frozen.

“Come on,” you said.

“Are you drunk?”

“A little bit.”

“Without me? That’s not fair.”

“So sit down and catch up with me.”

He dropped to his knees and moved closer to you. You handed him the bottle, and he took it. You let him take a good swig, his head tilted back, before you slipped the knife cleanly between his ribs. You held it there for a moment, your hand wrapped tightly around the handle.

“Ow!” He looked down at what you had done. He hardly believed it was real. It felt so inconsequential; like a wasp sting. “You bitch! You stabbed me!”

You slid the knife free, and it was like pulling a stopper from a bottle of wine: Blood gushed from the wound, and Joey fell forward, catching himself with one hand while holding the other to his side. The pain careened through him now, unbelievable in its ferocity. “What?” he said, and his voice sounded small—like the child he still was.

I watched your face for a reaction. You looked pale, but otherwise betrayed no emotion.

“Help me,” he said.

There was a rustling from the bushes several feet away, and you turned toward it, alarmed. His two friends—boys you must have seen at high school with Joey—crept uncertainly out of hiding. One held his phone at his side.

“Dude. Are you okay?”

You stood, the knife drooling in your hand.

“I think you better call an ambulance,” Joey said, his voice pitched high with fear.

Because they were fools, the boys ignored him and ran forward. One dropped to Joey’s side, and the other screamed at you, calling you filthy names, his body rigid with shock. You ignored them all; you were watching the tree.

A cold tongue of fire crept up from the roots and coiled around the trunk. Several more followed. In moments the Devil’s Willow was a pale green-white conflagration, shedding no heat but filling the little valley with its weird radiance. I felt that thing that slept under the mud stir beneath my waters. Every slow thump of its heart brightened the willow’s fire.

You spoke to it. “Bring him back. Please just bring him back. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll kill everyone. I’ll kill them all.”

I realized then that you were talking to the Morningstar. Your unfilled want, Allison, the hollow in your heart and the love that goes unanswered, is a prayer to Him. Your whole life is a hymn to Hell.

I think that’s when I fell in love, myself, for the first time.

“I don’t know what to do,” you said.

You couldn’t bring back your father, though; whatever sorcery he practiced, you did not know it. You’d started something, but you did not know how to go further. In moments you would be brought down by these stupid boys, and what might happen after that I couldn’t even guess.

But if the Morningstar could not respond to you, I could.

I couldn’t speak to you without the radio. I would have to show you.

Joey made it easy. He lay gasping on the blanket, his friend’s hand pressed into his side. The heel of his left shoe rested in the water. So I pulled him in. It only took a moment; it was easy. I had become the lake, diffused into it like a breath into the atmosphere. I poured myself into his eyes and down his throat; I filled him like a vessel. Then I used him to pull in his friend, and I filled him, too. In moments I had all three. I felt their life sparking in me. For the first time since being brought here, I knew a communal mind again. I was no longer alone. And so began the miracle you brought to our town.

We stood panting by the shore, feeling our new selves. We glanced at one another, ashamed by this new intimacy at first, at the torrents of knowledge that poured into us, all our shabby secrets and desires brought to sudden light. But the embarrassment dissipated quickly; there can be no secrets if we all share the same mind.

The same love.

We looked at you. We spoke to you in a chorus of voices: “Come here, Allison.”

The look on your face—I didn’t know it. Was it another kind of love? Was there more yet to learn?

“Who are you?” you asked.

“You know who we are,” we said, in unison.

You turned and fled. It was a shocking rejection. We didn’t understand. Isn’t this what you wanted? To be welcomed? To be loved? Not to be alone anymore?

The tree lit the night and soon drew other people from town. They joined us, reluctantly at first—many had to be forced into the water, where I could pour into them—but they were grateful soon enough. By the time morning approached, we had everyone.

We decided to work. It was what we knew. The memory of the mills drove us. Many of us went into the lake to be consumed by the labor. Limbs were broken and reconfigured, bone grafted to bone, kites of skin stretched taut. It took two hundred people broken down and reassembled to make the skeleton of the mill’s first wheel; there is more yet to be done.

As the sun crests the hills, the mill begins to turn in the lake. We lift our voice in a chorus of groans. We bend to you like reeds to the light. Why don’t you respond, Allison? Why have you never responded to us, despite our every provocation?

We used to know our monster. Now we don’t. We see you with ten thousand eyes, but we don’t know you. You’re standing at the window of your house, your hollow father still sitting behind you like a deposed king. His head gone cold and quiet. You’re staring out at us. You press your hand to the glass. Can you feel the warmth of us, the way I felt your warmth once, through a different glass?

Your face makes a complicated movement, an expression we believe will tell us something about you. But before we can read it, the sunlight hits the windowpane and the glare of it reflects back to us, a tiny star in the morning light.


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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