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A black mass fills the hallway, its tattered
cloak brushing against walls to leave a fresh,
familiar stench in its wake. The heavy rotting
odor saturates the space, the smell routine to
the staff. It passes by a woman, scrubs stained
with blood. Her seasoned eyes have seen its work,
but the artist goes unnoticed. As it drifts down
corridors, the bundle of shadows do not touch
the ground, though its large instrument drags
behind. Moving, its dark tendrils reach
across the hall until it pauses in an open doorway.
Inside, a steady sound of beeping cuts through
the silence, the message clear and cruel.
A child lies on a bed, more bone than flesh.
Reduced to melted eyes and blistered limbs,
It looks more human than she. The fluctuating
figure hovers into the room, consuming heat
and replacing it with a bitter chill.
A bony hand materializes from the umbral
cloud, reaching out until it grips scorched flesh;
not with malice, but with pity. It fills the lone chair
by the bed, accompanying the tangle of raw skin
and burnt hair. Its touch engulfs her, jarring like a
plunge into wintry water. She exhales a noise, a dim
grunt, and It hears elation. The periodical beeping
shifts into one prolonged tone. The skeletal grasp
frees her from the fire, and she relishes in the
relieving embrace of Death.

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