The Hangman’s Son
As a boy, he suffered a bout of influenza that brought him to Death’s precipice. He survived, but every childhood fear – every dark room, every shadow, every closet door – was replaced by the constant and hollowing sensation of mortality. In his face and in the faces of all those he loved and hated and knew and would never know, he saw the impermanent, the finite, the dying. The threshold below Death’s door now lay before him at every step. From that day on, he was condemned to feel his life like the raw itch of a noose around his neck.