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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-seven THE TOP OF THE TOWER



've spent many months among the stars, surrounded by the darkness of the heavens. It's soothing to be wrapped in the twilight. It tells me that I'm close.

As I've climbed the steps of Babel's tower, I've met many others on their way up. But none coming down. I imagine climbers are too old once they reach the top. I've thought of my own fate in that way, and I'm fine with it. I only need to reach the top, to see what's at the top, and I will be satisfied.

But now someone is coming down the stairs towards me. He's as old and wizened as I am, but he's running, leaping down several steps at a time, going so fast that at any moment surely he'll fall and tumble unceasingly down.

I turn aside just in time. The man nearly bowls me over, nearly trips and loses his footing, but he finds it and stops to look at me. His eyes are wild, crazed. Not the eyes of a man who has found what he was seeking. Not the eyes of a sane man.

He shouts at me. But the sounds are strange. I've never heard anything like them. I've never heard words from a grown man that made no sense, but these make no sense. They sound thick and dreadful, and full of terror.

He waves at me to follow him, away from where he came. And he bounds away from me, down the tower. I watch him go, bewildered.

From up the stairs, from the top of the tower, I hear a distant sound. An enormous vicious rumbling, as if something were speaking. But the words make no sense.




Steppen Sawicki lives in Michigan, where she writes horror and science fiction stories and consumes caffeine. You can read more of her work at SteppenSawicki.com.

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