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(continued)

“Go on,” the voice crooned, “Take a look. It won’t hurt to just take a glance.”

He wanted to so badly, he wanted to see that they were happy, that they might actually be okay, but his neck, despite wanting to turn, did not. He felt the strain, the unmitigated struggle between his desire and need to keep going, and he also heard the mocking chuckle of the voice as it continued to follow behind him.

“Oh you humans.”

“And what are you then, huh?” he asked, fuming slightly as set his jaw, striding forward now as he felt the extra strain in his thighs. He wanted to be off this road, and as he kept up the pace he noticed that the ground was becoming cooler by the step, and that the sky was becoming less angry in appearance. In fact if he wasn’t imaging things he could have sworn that he saw wisps of dark, almost black blue in-between the noxious clouds that were still amassing to both sides.

“I’m the inevitability of your existence,” the voice said, “the one thing you know to fear and yet the one thing that far too many don’t until it’s too late. Do you get my meaning?”

“I’m not good at riddles. Can you speak plainly?”

“Are you serious?”

“Usually,” he replied, “Sometimes I’m a bit silly, but my wife and kids-”

“They’re dead,” the voice said flatly, “I watched them grow old, forget about you, and die. Don’t mention them again.”

Did he detect a bit of annoyance again? It was almost as though he’d touched a nerve, so to speak. Maybe if he mentioned them again….

“Don’t do it,” the voice warned, “Don’t push your luck.”

He thought about it for a moment, or rather, did his best NOT to think about it, and then made up his mind.

After all, fortune favored the bold.

(to be continued)

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