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Short story: <i>Den Of Vice</i>

The night air is soaked warm, like raisins for a pudding, with the smell of sweat and smoke and the low rumble of voices.

The voices funnel down the hall, into my room. I've never been to the third floor, but I know what's there. There's girls with heavy ringed eyes and pale skin wearing faux diamonds and indeterminate silk and leaning with sultry practiced grace. There's men in loose collars with cigars and flopping fringes and keen eyes through sharp looking glasses and unattached braces and shiny shoes.

My mother would call it a hotbed of vice, where the scent of sweat and pheromones and whiskey all simmer luxuriantly, where seeds of obsession and darkness and sex wallow warmly until they seethe, fully formed, into the wanton spirits lurking without.

The girls stare, cat eyed, through the smoke. They wear improper clothes. They smoke. They swear. They eat roast duck with their fingers and lick the fat from their delicate hands suggestively. They dance with their skirts rising like bridal sheets. They oversleep through the time that decent folk should be up, laden with the night before and the promise of the next night.

I sleep with my bible pulled over one ear, but my dreams are impure.

This is the result of a fifteen minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: funnel, hotbed, swear, oversleep, and duck.

Image courtesy of g000nz0.

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