Serg drew long a long breath through his pipe. As he inhaled, he felt a sensation of peace rush down his throat. He held it there momentarily, savoring its flavor. With despair, he released the smoke slowly into the air.
He slumped in his chair and laid his pipe on the table beside him. The den was dark and lit sparsely with only a few candles. He preferred it this way. The simulated solitude allowed him to disappear into himself.
He looked at the severed hand on the table, then closed his eyes and traced his finger over the long, raised scar that marred the left side of his face. Continue reading