An apartment building off of U Street.

I have never been here before.

We stare at the stairs as we climb them, our vision tunneled to gravity's purveyor, so focused that when we reach the top floor, we have to turn around and walk two flights back toward purgatory. Rémi fumbles with his keycard (why wouldn't he), tumbles in, and I follow, too full to ingest the wasteland scene swallowing us both.

Take the couch, Rémi's voice trails off, invisible, dulled behind dozens of scholarly skyscrapers.

I collapse.

Before my eyes close permanently, I blink once more, just one eye, my right, and on his ceiling, a poem, impressed onto the woodwork:

And there,

On soil and seed,

My physical form 'mains,

By darkness slaughtered,

But by lightness' breath blazed into being,

A bondage bought with the blood of Creation itself.