Prologue

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For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem . . . 

After the encounter, he felt replete—and more so than usual. Not only had the scandalously indiscreet change of venue been titillating, they’d also indulged in his favorite pastime. He’d reveled in the penetration, a feeling of fullness coupled with sublime inner stimulation, and yet, rather than coming back to earth post consummation, he continued to float away, as if untethered and out of his body.

 

Only too late did he realize something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

 

Sensation ebbed, replaced by an irresistible torpor. He struggled for awareness, dancing at its edge, losing his equilibrium. Even in his impaired state, he understood. Part of him wondered why a reckoning—because that’s surely what this was—had been so long in coming.

 

His eyelids seemed to weigh a thousand pounds apiece so he let them close. He wasn’t beyond caring, but he was beyond doing, and he knew soon enough, someone else would do and have done.

 

Though he hadn’t expected it, he wasn’t surprised. Had his lips been capable, they would have curved in a smile of ironic salute at the neatness of the dramatic resolution.

 

His last thought before succumbing to the eternal void was neither epithet nor epiphany. He simply wondered if anyone had remembered to lock his front door.

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