Chapter Sixteen, Part One: Through Me, Thy Blue HeavenMature

Flashback. 

Stepping against shifty clumps of red grass sitting ripe in the crumble of rocky gravel-silt hillside, a figure in a greyish dust cloak clings to the opposite wind, falling into its flare of biting cold air brushing up from the mountains to the north. 

 Down in the dust-ash bowl below him, there is a lonely dock building, half-buried in the fine grit of sand-like soil. 

Sensing no more worries in his future, he makes his way to the stout spiral ruin set into the trickle down hill on the far end of the bowl, the Shrine. 

The slightly isosceles bulk of the sonic rifle he shoulders with ease, dropping into a lurching stride toward the body lying just outside the leggy tower doors carved with rutting animals. 

His feet mark the way, shifting halfway into the piling grey dust to make sidereal half-melted cups full of boot in the dunes. 

He pushes his fingers against the smooth doors, his hands managing a carved breast and some kind of foreign meat from the surprises hewn into the stone of the two portals. 

The twin vestibule flaps open on an oblivion of dust and dead leaves, and he finds himself wondering what the old ones had been thinking, serving the bitch back when. 

He takes the stairs over a barrel, hopping up each delicately carved step as though each were a bed notch rather than a precisely hewn masterpiece cut from the bedrock of what had once been a deep and thunderous sea. 

His eyes, as he climbs, do not glimpse the myriad of corals perched in loving screams against the infinite wisdom of the limestone walls, curled in rictus, frozen in a wasteland, unmoving amongst countless varieties of extinct fish.

The End

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