Jerry held the railing at the top of the stairs, doubled over and gasping for breath. After several minutes, he stood up and looked about.

The city was unremarkable, save for two things. While it was indistinguishable from any other modern city and, in particular, despite having been Jerry’s home for nearly a decade, it was utterly unfamiliar. This subway entrance was not on this corner. This corner was not on these streets. And these people. Oh, my god, these people!

The ordinary cast of urban characters flowed along the bustling streets exactly as one would imagine. Except one never imagines each and everyone one to be an example of utter and absolute physical perfection.

A young woman, Aphrodite incarnate, flashed an indescribably beautiful smile at him. It exuded grace, charm, love, sex, and terror. As more people noticed him, they all flashed the same smile.

A black stretch limousine pulled up to the curb. Gareth emerged with balletic grace. “Get in,” he said factually, “or die.”

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