“Who’s that?”

There was darkness, the tang of decay and breathing, rasping and loud.

“I’m here.” Petr shuffled forward, arms outstretched, almost blind.

“A doctor?”

“Here to end your suffering,” Petr said.

“Of course!” It chuckled – dry, humourless and knowing. “After all these years?”

Petr took a more confident step, his eyes growing accustomed to the gloom. The old man was grey-faced and so wasted that his body barely showed beneath the yellowed sheets.

“For Allepa!” Petr raised his pistol.

A flash. Claws? Steel? Petr never knew. Blood gouted.

The old man pulled Petr to him.

“I feel better already.”

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