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*****


Getting Higher


Part One: The Way It Is

Chapter One

He woke slowly, grudgingly, dragging himself up from a deep, deep sleep. That was how he always woke up; he had to pry himself awake, crawling one inch at a time from a black, dreamless pit. His eyes fluttered feebly, trying to open. His whole body fluttered, shivered, resisting the urge to move or shift in any way. His head throbbed, banging and rushing whenever he moved it.

"Oh God," he moaned. "Oh God, oh God, oh God..." He began to toss back and forth, thrashing his numbed body around in an attempt to get it moving again. "Ohhhhh..." Again, he moaned, the sound gurgling up from his parched throat. He threw his head to one side, and felt something cold and wet touch his cheek. For a moment, he continued to squirm aimlessly about, rolling and writhing in a semi-conscious stupor.

Then, he smelled something. It was rancid, rotten... near his face...no, on his face... All at once, he shot awake, realization and horror exploding in his groggy mind. He leaped up from the floor where he had been sleeping, then fell back against the wall, rubbing his face furiously.

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