10:01 – Lance Olsen – Remedios The Beauty

10:01 – Lance Olsen

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Thirty feet above Celan Solan skitters a mouse through the warm darkness flooding the ventilation system. Tucked into the mouse’s breast immediately behind its heart is the soul of Remedios the Beauty, a young woman from a small village in Columbia.

When she was alive, Remedios the Beauty used to drive men mad with the sweetness of her scent, part orange, part cinnamon. Sometimes she wandered her house unclothed and sometimes she shaved her head because deciding which dress to wear or how to comb her hair seemed too much trouble.

One day while hanging sheets, Remedios the Beauty began rising into the air. Her feet simply left the ground and she lifted away from earth. She became smaller and smaller until she was the size of a pearl. Then she disappeared altogether.

No one ever saw her again.

The chronicler who originally told her tale claimed she had ascended to heaven, but in reality she had ascended into a minute rip in the fabric of space and time that appeared that morning as an unmoving white smear of cloud in the otherwise flawless sky, and she ended up here.

Remedios the Beauty will spend eternity scrambling through a lightless void that, depending on the season, is sometimes too warm and sometimes too cold, believing this is what paradise must feel like.

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