For readers of classics, literature, satire, thought-provoking fiction that lets you walk in someone else’s shoes, that gives voice to the poor and downtrodden, that takes you to faraway lands and along paths less traveled, fiction that stays with you long after you’ve closed the book.

It thrust itself upon him,

pinning him down, enveloping him in its dark, malicious matter. Aware of his surroundings, in his shelter, lying on the mats with the sheet twisted around him, he wanted to reach out for something to pull himself up, but he couldn’t move. Its weight compressed his chest, making it harder to breathe. It reached for his neck, his mouth and nose. It was consuming him.

He tried to fight it, tried to pull away, but his body wouldn’t obey him. It was as if concrete was setting on him. He fought it but could barely open his mouth to breathe. The struggle became too much. He had to accept and submit to it. Death, he’d imagined, would be a release, an opening into the infinite, not oppressive and suffocating like this. Unable to breathe, he was hanging from the edge of the void, about to let go and fall.

The dark entered his skull and was reaching into his brain when an almost imperceptible strength came to him. Like a tiny, soundless bubble rising from the bottom of the deepest ocean, it amplified in size and force as it rose from the depths. His eyes shot open and he wrenched himself free. Fragile and half-conscious, heaving like a man near drowned, he looked down at his hands, still gripping the twisted, sweat-drenched sheet and exhaled. He let every muscle and tendon in his body relax. He was alive. It had been that same old dream from years before, yet it had never felt more real.

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