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"The Only Sounds in All of Thebes"

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The pounding of my sandals.
My gasping, sucking breaths.
The drumbeat in my chest.
 
And something else I have to strain to hear . . .
 
     There!
 
A footfall from behind,
     like the one that first prodded me
     from a stroll into a run.
 
     There!
 
Another step-sound,
     like the one that diverted my quest for water
     into a panicked escape through this city
         of crime and disease . . .
 
     There!
 
     And again!
 
     And closer!
 
And yet each time I turn my head,
     the steps
         come only
             from the empty air.
 
I lean into the hill, legs pumping at a deerfooted pace
like Actaeon must have felt
     fleeing Artemis
         and his own hounds.
 
The road slopes upward toward Echion's Gate
     on the west side
     of a wall made from
     rocks and boulders
     mashed together
     by one-eyed giants.
 
     Perched atop the gate,
         the face of Echion
 
         Screams!
 
     his silent battle cry.

BE A DEMIGOD!

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