Don't touch me.

"Sorry." I cough, spit. Is that white baby's pap--I'm hungry? Licking my lips stinging and cracked.

You sound familiar.

"Isn't it cold down there?"

Yes. Well, why don't you come around here so I can get a look at you. Not a request, not a demand. Bare toes grip the rough floor as I pad counterclockwise to stand at four o'clock to its body's five. A male, then. Prepubescent. I know that face.

"A lot of blood." No kidding. "Yours?"

Don't know. I'm very tired, but I don't--can't--sleep.

"What's that you've written there?" Too calm. Why don't I react? Something is wrong; no, nothing is right, there's a difference.

Oh. That. I didn't write anything.

"But your hands--" Fingertips bloodies and concave, the flesh jagged and oozing viscious cold blood.

No, I didn't write anything. A smile, first on one side and then spreading over white teeth, tight and slow. I thought maybe I could get back to...

"Do you know a way out?" No excitement in me but the voice says otherwise.


The plinth at his head has the statue but it's not weeping anymore.


Not the same statue at all. Cruel eyes. Marduk or Gilgamesh? That eye did not just move. It did not. No.

Tell me how you found me.

"It was on my path, I guess."

Do you have food?

me be.
Light flares deep in the hall opposite. There
you are.
My eyes catch nothing but a fading glow like a cool

"What..." But he is silent. And not dead, index finger tracing the symbol on his chest again and again like a


"Who are you?"

Who are you?

I set off after the light, stymied. Eyes in the shadows high up. Ears on those statues, surely. Him, me, an assailant or one assailed, too. Odd, that. A voice floats behind me.

Watch out for feathers falling on clay.

Perhaps he wants to return to diving the sea.


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