[From "Darkness Beckons", a book I'm working on]
The hour was late and a languid confusion filled his head.
The customer, reclining on a cushion on top of a wooden bed frame, put a long thin pipe to his mouth, held by a trembling, skeletal hand.
The room was meagre; a thin curtain moved with the intermittent gusts of wind, but the heavy odour of smoke still pervaded the room, the brown haze blurring his vision.
The smell was sweet, and it helped him to forget, for a little while at least, that there ever was a time with pain.
Other customers surrounded him, each in their own private void; their voices a dull drone, speaking words that were not words, a language of incomprehension,
and to no one in particular unless it was to the ghosts of their hallucinations. Other customers lay silent; a rare movement from their sedated limbs distinguished them from the dead.
Through the dense air, the customer had a vision. He saw an angel, and its face was beauty walking in the night; it had long, sweeping wings which descended to the floor.
The customer's face shone with a beatific smile. He lifted a frail arm. "I'm ready," he said. He saw a glint of teeth, shining, in the low light.