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  • Maria Zach



It had stopped snowing. However, the skies remained dark and threatening with the occasional streak of light flash breaking it open. The streets were slushy, muddy. The lights reflected oddly, creating bizarre shapes in the puddles on the roadside.

I wandered the avenues and lanes, fog curling at the edges of my boots. People swarmed, eager to get home. Every few metres a random door would open ejecting late-night revellers to the outside, and I'd catch a glimpse of dimly lit interiors, a cacophony of voices and the blaring beats of rock.

I continued trudging, a left here, a right there, another right and so on. The human ephemera that littered the sidewalks thinned out and gradually cleared.

Alone, aimless, and with time on my hands, I found more by-lanes. Here, the litter consisted of garbage and excrement, both animal and human. The street lamps were far in between. The air felt heavier, the sounds duller as though I'd clamped on a pair of headphones until it was ruthlessly broken by an ear-splitting scream.

It was followed by more shrieks and screams, each more heart-wrenching than the last. I followed the voice to a narrow alleyway and stood watching in the shadows as the animals tore her apart, mind, body, soul. They couldn't see me.

After an eternity, they left her piteously whimpering like a dog that had been run over. I moved closer, out of the shadows, a metallic taste hung in the air. I could smell approaching death. I sat down by the side of the naked, mangled figure.

It did not take long for her to join me. Now we would roam the streets together; we had all the time in the world.!

—Maria Zach

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