Some nights, his face is nothing to read, for his inflamed skin no longer needs to hide. For he was skinned alive a long time ago. For he was forever his only very own manskinner. Some nights, sometimes, the shade returns, with bone-white teeth and bitter laughter, only to show him an invisible figure, pure as the water flowing out of his cage. As he dreams, the manskinner closes the door, whispering one name that is pure and profane, before plumbing his lungs with a beautuful blade, cool as the night’s most fragrant shade. The one dreams of a mirror that sheds all of its petals. The other screams the last notes of night’s love song. It ends in the blood-red dawn.