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It’s a quiet day with a grey sky and drizzle. I walk along the main street past the shop that always plays Johnny cash (which is great) but today it’s not playing anything. Hardly anyone is out. At the place with the posters and hairstyles, and ‘different’ aromas I walk through the door for my appointed hair-cut but there’s no one there: no customers and no staff. After waiting a bit I call out and a lady comes out and shows me to a chair, explaining that it’s all set up and ready to go. She asks if I’ve taken time off work to come in and I explain that I’m kind of never at work but always at work, provided I have my phone with me.

Then the hair-cutting starts, and soon I’m telling her about my family and the fact that I love writing and telling stories and in fact that I’m presently working on a (twenty year old) story in which a major thread is borrowed from the George MacDonald novel Lilith where the main character falls in love with the Queen of Hell. The hairdresser wants to know more, so I explain to her that throughout the story, Lilith (the Queen of Hell) always has one hand closed and a wound in her side and that the wound and the closed hand seem to have a mysterious relationship. Finally—after a long and tortuous vampire relationship with the guy in the story—Lilith is broken, and comes to Adam’s house where she prepares to go on the long journey of sleep, which will take her to heaven. But she is unable to, because, as Adam explains, ‘You can lie there for a thousand years but until you open your hand and let go of what was never yours, you will never sleep.’ And try as she might Lilith is unable to open her hand. At this point the lady interrupts me and wants to know why Lilith couldn’t open her hand. I explain that her hand had become frozen shut because she has kept it closed for so long. What I don’t tell her about is Lilith’s attempt at fixing the problem.

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