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that would not have me

I broke into the lobby of an abandoned office tower. I carried nothing but a hunting rifle, some extra rounds of ammunition, and a flask of red wine. I spent years ascending, working my way from one floor to the next. I killed small creatures for food. I defended myself against larger predators. I liberated young women from the rape parties. I lit fires in the stairwells and slept on stained mattresses. I dreamt of my long-lost Sarah singing from dust mote storms of a long-dead past. I grew old and more feverish as I worked my way up the tower. Somewhere around the 612th floor I began to find posthumous notes from my father in the rusted filing cabinets and sticky desk drawers. The notes gave me detailed maps to the next stairwell or precise instructions regarding repair to the elevators. And in some of the notes he told me that he loved me and that God was good. The hunting rifle eventually broke. I hunted and defended myself with a lead pipe. I fell asleep in the bonfire stairwells with calloused hands and bleeding knuckles and a throbbing belly. Long-lost Sarah sang me to sleep. I found a picture of Reese on the 800th floor. I carried her picture in my breast pocket. It was the only warmth I felt for years. I reached the rooftop after another fifteen years. I was terribly old and nearly broken. I still had wine in my flask. I stained my lips. I cried out to Reese and Sarah and my father. I approached the edge of the roof and tried to embrace the fog, that grey light of Heaven.

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