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No one would have blamed Heath for wanting the bauble. It sat with delicate weight on the pedestal and gleamed with inviting indifference. Although it flashed light onto his face whenever he moved near it, this was true of most treasure. Treasure attracts the senses. This tiny happiness for which he had searched bore all the signature traits of sin. He coveted it, he lusted for it, he wanted, badly, to steal it from its owner. With his artful, almost poetic sophistry, he even argued himself into believing that it wanted to be stolen — nay, freed — from its comfortable pillow, nestled in an embrace of sunlight from above.

“I would wear this trinket proudly,” he thought, “I would make sure everyone saw it. I would even share it, if it wanted to be shared. People could take turns wearing it, so long as they returned it by the end of the day, so I could spend my nights in adoration. I would never tire of gazing at it, of caressing it.”

As his fingers extended to touch the facade of the bauble, however, a deep sadness suddenly made him feel heavy. Heavy and weak. How many such objects had he touched in the past? How many had he stolen? Yet, here he stood, with child-like petulance, ready for another. He remembered then, the trophy case he had built, foggy now with dust each time he walked past it. And there, on the mantle, the clock he had built. Intricate gears which represented infinite care, its housing etched with carved grooves and careless gashes. In the yellow glow of his home, he heard its soothing, reliable tick.

The bauble fairly hummed now, chirping delight as his fingers tickled its gemmed surface, shivering under his breath.

He stepped back from the pedestal and the walls of the room warped and wobbled. He felt ill, and he began to dig the pads of his fingers into his temples, tearing his own flesh with funereal purpose. As his vision blurred from pain and the red wash of blood making a dire concoction with his tears, he could hear the chime of the hour.

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