The Nine

Nine spirits dreamed the nine circles of hell and possessed the itinerant soul of a sleepwalker who drank himself to death with wave-dark wine and gambled with the bone dice of space and time. Throughout the vast space and time of his nightmares he forgot their names but always remembered their faces. The first was blood-spattered, and had forgotten who was master and who was slave. The second reclined in
a coma. The third staggered on broken crutches. The fourth, stripped naked, wore her mask no longer. The fifth always wept, wringing her leprous hands. The sixth screamed, illiterate and drugged. The seventh gazed into dust-darkened mirrors. Blinded, the eighth stared through the shattered lenses of a telescope into a void. And then there was the ninth, silently strangling all the sweet nightingales, who sing that all nine may be bought for a time.

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