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Michael Johnson, author!

 
 
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-Michael Johnson
Chapter 1  Death
 
     Lightning flickered, teasing the dancing shadows cast by a solitary, well-spent candle.  The ashen wick shone vainly throughout the room, past a ragged straw mattress and into a monolith of darkness that hung within an arched door, threatening the lone inhabitant in his slumber.  The shadowy figure moaned harmony with the wind and rolled as the thunder echoed in the midnight sky.  Without the energy to fall asleep, the man carried his candlestick to the window and begged those who passed to nurse its hopeless flame.
     "Ophelia's going to bless you so, Addison," some would say, and others warned, "You stay in there, or we'll all pay;" children even stared in awe, saying, "We want to be like you when we grow up," but none could promise to lengthen the wick.  The man turned to observe the illegible hieroglyph engraved near the curtain of starless night by some previous inhabitant, suggesting the possibility of escape or certain death, neither of which the prisoner could infer without the literacy of such ancient script.
     Addison hoped for the legends of the Forbidden Scroll and its apparent magic to be true one last time before his candle offered its last light as a shower of sparks, causing him to reel and spin, cluthcing his chest as he slid down the wall to his rendezvous with death.
     Through the eyes of the dying man, a blurred figure clothed in bright green appeared and seemed to grow as he closed in upon the prisoner, offering him an unidentifiable object.  "Eh?" the captive asked the color he had never seen before.  The sky in Addison's world was black, the garments of the townspeople were dirty white with black symbols; he knew he had seen fruit in all sorts of colors, even fire was actually light orange, and, of course, he had seen red:  that horrible color that flowed from living things and people only when a sacrifice was necessary to honor the gods, the color that spilt upon him from his mother's heart while she cradled him in her arms. 
     As Addison deliriously began to mumble about red, the vision repeated, "I say, it's not going to do you any good to keep that candle lit.  It's over; you need a new one.  I brought one for you; would you like it?"
...
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