The following text is an excerpt from a short story in progress.
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La Rue Vulgaire. The vulgar street. So this was the shell into which she retreated, that Venus he spied long ago from aboard a mighty ship. Vulgar was an apt description. The Rue smelled of smoke and drink and was much too dark no matter the hour. The furnishings were red and black, worn, burned by cigars, old-fashioned, frequently damaged and poorly repaired. The carpet was cheap and mashed flat. The stains in the fabric were only partially hidden by subdued, rosy lighting that tried too hard to downplay the tacky surroundings, the blotchy complexions of patrons, and the tasteless art that adorned the walls in a lame attempt at eroticism. Vulgar to be sure, and while not a brothel, it looked, smelled, and sounded like a gathering place of whores more than of pure-hearted ladies or well-traveled gentlemen of leisure. Yet this was where he found himself, a wayfarer in search of nameless love.
How long had he sought her? A century or more? The years piled behind him, blending into an amalgamation that was vague aside from its singular purpose. He knew in the moment he looked down upon that lady--with her parasol falling back to reveal her face, the haunted look in her eyes, the way she waved her handkerchief at him when she caught him watching her--that she was designed only for him, and he for her. So he sought the one item that might bring her close, though he knew not even her name, let alone her story. For decades he traveled all the wide world, from the chalk cliffs of Britannia to the sands of Araby, from Cathay's great wall to the depths of the dark continent. Then, at last, he found his treasure, and with it he began his second and even more difficult quest: to find that lady again despite her anonymity. It would seem, to the rational mind, like an impossible task, but these lengths are nothing to the foolish, or to the desperate, or to the steadfast of heart.
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