Tag Archives: Christopher Ryan

The Path That Does Not Stray by Christopher Ryan

” … Nessun maggior dolore Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria.”

(There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time when one is in misery.)

Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

Richard entered the next room as the door locked behind him. A quick assessment of his surroundings produced two noteworthy observations. First, he could see an exit across the room, and second, he was not alone. In the center of the room an older man stood hunched over a bathtub, cutting into a pale mass with a circular saw. Blood streaked the shower curtain and floor. The resonating wails of the blade and the stale reek of old meat filled the confined space like an animal trapped in too small a cage. The man looked up, stared straight at the newcomer, and turned back to his work.

Richard could feel his resolve beginning to falter, but he had to keep going. Stopping now, even if that were an option, would render meaningless everything he had endured to get this far. He had to press forward. Forgoing fear and further deliberation, he moved. Having to turn sideways in the narrow space to pass behind the man, Richard made sure to avert his eyes from whatever gruesome labors were being performed. The pitch of the saw’s scream dipped sharply as if its blade were struggling through something especially dense. Richard lunged for the door, which upon opening remained ajar. It did not slam and lock behind him, as had all of the others.

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