Taken from when I wrote the first draft, this is the oldest story I allow to show its face in public. I wrote most of it in a gatehouse in the Isle of Wight, guarding a gate that nobody had any interest in going through. The first draft was so awful it was worse than I was capable of understanding at the time. Several rounds of critiquing and rewriting not only improved the story but pushed me up a very steep learning curve. In a way, this story was an apprenticeship for me.
Reading it now, it still seems rough around the edges and suffused with the hysteria that I used to mistake for pathos. For all that, I decided the final version deserves a little more exposure and included it in this collection.