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Rain lashed against the windowpane, mimicking the tremor in Arthur Vance's hand as he raised the amber liquid to his lips. The single malt burned a welcome path down his throat, failing to numb the ache in his bones or the hollowness in his chest. Five years retired, yet the ghosts of unsolved cases and buried leads danced under the flickering gaslight of his study. Each sip a requiem for what he'd lost: his badge, his purpose, and perhaps, a sliver of his soul.

The Grim Ashes

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