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I’m leaving for Indochina in a few days and won’t be able to write any more hidden connections while I’m there, but I’ll be back after three weeks, and should have more than enough grotesques and arabesques to entertain the few people who bother to read this website. In the mean time, I’m trying to complete a trio of short stories before I leave, with the intent of attempting to publish them when I get back, something I haven’t tried to do since I was fifteen, despite devoting more and more of my life, as the years wore on, to reading and writing. I’m a few pages away from finishing the last story, which is written from the perspective of a djinn—

His solemnity and his self-sacrifice concealed a terrible and childish fear of death. The king had lived enough life for ten men, and his memory alone was so rich with victories and debaucheries that he could not be blamed for losing his train of thought when a goblet of wine reminded him of the cranberry lips of a Bactrian princess or the color of the sea as the wreckage of an armada crashed on the shore of a beach tumbling with waves and bloated corpses. This memory, hazy and vague and confused, was still vibrant enough to shake him to the core of his soul, it even seemed to deepen and intensify as his senses shriveled away, and the idea that all of it would vanish like a mirage after sunset was a source of unending despair for him. I remember was his most frequent thought. But there was no one for him to talk to, since he had outlived all of his friends and loves, and there was nothing to think about except death and the Temple.

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