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Tears of broken red seeped from soap-dried skin. One more scrub. Watching unseeingly as the scalding water cried out over the hills and pathways of his chapped hands, Mark could feel the burn and yet couldn't bring himself to change the taps. He let the seconds wash away, each finger ageing, waiting for release. Blood scarred the course cotton towel as he dried each knuckle, the familiar loops of the upcoming working week playing out in mind-patterns. Bag packed; suit laid out; alarm waiting. With the evening's minutes still ticking, there was time for one more round.
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