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In the late afternoon sunshine, the man’s shoulders curled over his chest as he walked the familiar tree-lined street. The avenue bloomed in a profusion of spring blossoms. With a lump in his throat, he realized it hadn’t changed much in appearance over time.

Kind of like him.

Instead of horses and buggies, cars now drove past. Flowers overflowing from window boxes still decorated the colourful houses and shops, chimes still rang over doorways, and people still chatted as they strolled along the main road.

When Elisabeth and her mother stepped out of the pizzeria and stopped in front of the tiny antique shop, the man’s blue eyes clouded with tears. His brows pulled in as she pointed to an object on display in the window before dragging her mother inside. A few minutes later they walked back out.

The man’s chest hitched. What have I done? Dear God, what have I done?

He knew what was in the package tucked under her arm. A crystal timepiece, disguised as a simple necklace.

He wanted to scream, but he was a shell, empty inside except for the pain. This was the price to be paid. He must live, but live in hell, condemned to the prison of his own making until the day he could make everything right again.

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