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Everett's tongue bristled with dry taste buds that sponged the moisture off his palate. Tiny gremlins pounded on his temples. The plink, plink, plink of their hammers shuddered down his spine. Another hangover. Weariness bubbled against his lips. He needed to stop drinking, needed to stop believing he would awake to his former life, needed to stop trading the bitter taste of guilt and betrayal for the one of sour whiskey. His binges never changed anything. He rolled onto his side. Pain hissed between his teeth. He had been wrong. Last night's bender had changed something. Fire danced over the valleys and hills of his ribcage. His ears burned as shrieks and slaps pierced the silence. The stench of a dozen privies soiled his nose and coated his throat. Sinew screamed as he folded his arms around his head. The assault continued despite his feeble attempt at protection. Pillow, he needed his pillow. Thick fingers grasped at dry hay. The stiff blades pelted his cheek and arms. Where was his pillow? Where was he? The alcoholic haze evaporated, exposing islands of memories. The serpentine jaunt. Rows of dilapidated tenements. Broken risers shredding his trousers and gnawing at the flesh underneath. A street urchin with a winning smile and sweet words. And her.