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The Long Black Veil

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They say there's a heaven. They say a lot of things. Some of them think them too. Others think them but never say. Plenty say these things but don't think on them too hard. Others know they don't have to think or think critically and make their choice to openly deny. And still others truly believe.

The light's there for seconds but it's those final gasping seconds of fight between clutching at life and moving on. If you don't choose to go towards it, it burns into you. It tunnels through your vision like a bullet through your brain.

Then it's gone. Then the world is right and normal again. Too right it is.

You're standing and healthy with no noose about your neck. No wracking cough to tear apart your body at night and wake and worry her. No aches and pains except the ones you've always felt inside.

She stands with him. She's right to, of course. He is shaking with sorrow and that hurts all the more. She is completely still. They both wear black for me.

Her grand veil, fifteen years and three days old, is thrown back to show no tears upon her face. Her clasped hands still show the stain of the dye from the long night of the trial.

She still holds my alibi deep inside her. That eternal secret and the tightening of the hangman's rope have killed her far more effectively than they have me.

I know I'll watch for her every night. I'll wait for her to come when she can. She can walk the hills till the last of her days and I'll still be waiting.

There's no heaven. There's no hell. For me there's only oblivion.

Or this.