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AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

And, lo, did a warm, dry breeze blow across the barren landscape. The echoes of ghost a hundred years gone could be heard rustling amongst the weeds, in the spaces where even the coyotes wouldn’t go. It was loneliness personified, a hulking, pressing weight, like the world on Atlas’ shoulders, bearing only sadness and silence. And, also, a longing, a longing for something intangible, like the gentle kiss of love on the soul or the way a puppy looks when it’s napping. If you stood still too long, it felt like a void, like space, like being on the edge of nothingness, the lure so strong that if you stared into it for too long you would feel your soul coming unhinged from any terrestrial part of you. But to step back, to pull yourself away, would be such a titanic effort that only Azrael himself could provide release from the abyss that spreads out in front of you into an infinite horizon…