he never met anyone his whole life and wasn't watching when the lights went out. he just sat still with smoke curled around his fingers and let the shadows swim over his face. and while nightmares were churning he was gone and even when he was there, in the tattered green chair, staring at the big spill of nothing down the wall, he was gone then, too. foggy, squinty eyes that never seemed to move sunk into the mud of his face, occasionally, in anger, breaking the surface, all bloodshot. he didn't see beyond his fist.

he wasn't a black knight or a shining pillar of white light - he was dust, the breed that clings to old wine jugs. maybe he would say nine words in a day, words that were meaningless alone and common together. his footsteps punched the floor when he wandered to the brutalizing breast of sleep and once, when they followed his heaving gut into the night and never herded him home again.

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