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Steel on the Inside, Steel on the Outside? (Or, "On getting a haircut screwed up")

Life is funny.

About 36 hours ago, I wrote "Steel on the Inside, Silk on the Outside."

I think most guys are afraid to do this – to wear light colors, to go to a spa, to being silly and lighthearted, these traditionally feminine things. I think most guys go out of their way to appear tough, rugged, macho. And you know why? I think it’s because most of ‘em are soft on the inside, scared, powerless, aimless.

My philosophy is be as strong as steel on the inside, and light and gentle like silk on the outside.

[...]

Alley 1 "Stirrings"

On Wellington Street

I don't think we ever truly loose our fear of the dark. We usually live in familiar places, surrounded by familiar things. This makes the dark secure. But when we come upon some place we have never been, we return back to our young selves, wishing we had any sort of illumination.

It was a late night. I work at a local diner, and there was some cleaning that needed to be done. By the time I finished it was already 11:15, so I was anxious to get home. Not wanting to wait, I decided to head down one of the side alleys that connect one street to another. They are rather thin here, the buildings sometimes so close that you could imagine someone simply opening a window and walking across with no trouble.

I hesitated at first. The alley was nearly completely dark, and in the city you cannot help but hear horror stories. About someone heading down a dark alley and something terrible happening to them. But I wasn't in the city, at least not really. And I really needed to be getting home.

I pulled myself together, then I stepped forward and started heading through. It was darker than it looked and seemed to curve a little, and I frequently found myself tripping over debris and brushing against the damp wall. Frustrated, I took out my cellphone and turned it around, using it as a makeshift flashlight. It took a moment for me to adjust to the harsh glare. It only took a second though for me to regret it.

I gasped, the air stuck in my throat. Less than a foot from me was a hunched over, dark skinned figure. Its skin was greyish in color, and slightly glassy, showing the black muscle underneath. It had oversized hands and feet, and there was a wet gleam to its flesh, its eyes the color of milk. It looked up at me and grimaced, its yellowing teeth rendered as sharp points. I began to stumble backwards, trying to head back the way I came. I turned around, only to find another one of those things curled against the wall. It was “the debris” I had tripped over before. It issued forth a strange, rhythmic grunting noise.

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