I looked at them as if I was gazing through a window frame. One sat on a stone bench and looked up at the other, who stood about two feet away. I knew them by names. Even so, I chose to remain hidden in the figures of strangers while smoking my cigarette. I saw them everyday at work, and yet today – they felt so far away.

The distance between me and them was a thick expanse of space that could not be traveled by foot. In it was a dark aura, a damp haze, a mixture of purple and amber swirls that twisted around your arms and legs when you unluckily passed them.

The window to the dark space was right in front of me — I could see it. It made me want to crawl inside my shell and retreat. Toxic gas was everywhere. It made me feel nothing — the menthol of my cigarette was a mere dream. In my chest was a dark hole of apathy and bleak atmosphere.

“That time of the cycle has come again,” I thought to myself.