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Tanim counts. Days, hours, minutes, heartbeats. He is strangely, beautifully calm now that he has decided, comforted by the promise that the fear and sorrow will soon become meaningless. There is an exhilarating freedom in the knowledge that his suffering is temporary because he has finally taken control of his own fate. What power such a simple decision wields! Once he would have sought blessed intoxication to numb the dread of the lengthening nights, but no more. The night holds no terrors for him now. It cannot touch him, cannot hurt him, cannot break him. When the sun sets and darkness threatens to peel away all his paltry defenses, Tanim merely closes his eyes and counts. One hour gone; one minute passed; one heartbeat fewer to ever beat again. He has promised himself that soon there will be an end to these things and he can finally rest. It is the only promise that still matters. The only promise he will ever keep.

Tanim counts. Twenty-three days left. They cannot pass quickly enough.

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