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I still heard it, though years had passed. The squeak of rope tight across wood. The gentle sway of weight pulling it from below. The still air holding its breath in that suffocating room. It smelled like death - released bowels, cold skin, and warm wood. Comforting yellow light from the window filled the room with sunshine, but nothing could unfreeze the ice that stopped my heart....

I sat up and wiped sweat from my face, peering deeply into the darkest corners, expecting to see that blue tinted face staring back at me. Unblinking. Uncaring. Dead. Expression locked into one of agony and accusation as if everything were my fault.

Maybe it was.

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