No matter how hard I try, the glass never seems to melt away. The flames sway and pulse, mocking their cool reflections in the mirror racks with translucent blue heat, snapping as they drink the alcohol and snatch at wandering motes of dust, rising through the air like thin hallucinations to warm the ghostly lamps that light the table. But the fire just skates along the surface, smooth and polished, burning over my image like some glossy effigy as I peer down at it.

I touch the edge. It’s new and hot, and the heat cuts through my hand and pleads with me to keep it sharp, begs me not to blunt it. But I will.

I’ll set the belt spinning, that indifferent noise that levels through the air like grey and pulpy fog, that mist of ablated material billowing up from the drive-wheel as if escaping the crushing inundation of a waterfall.

It should have melted and evaded fate, poured molten on the ancient floor and slipped away.

But it’ll have the chance again.

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