Whether I was drunk or sober, Princess Teiko haunted my dreams. I had always assumed, if I drank enough that one day this would no longer be true, but there had been fifteen years of drinking after we parted, plus two more after her death, and now my optimism was quite exhausted. As this foolish hope had been all that I had to fight her with, there was nothing left for me to do tonight except the only sensible thing—I surrendered.
The house was bigger on the inside, as Dorota expected from a witch. What she didn't expect, in the flickering candlelight, was the filth. Spiderwebs, of course, in the corners, in the grimy chandelier, festooned with crumbling bits of insects trapped, dismembered, neglected. The floor might have been red, might have been stone; the thick black grease of it gripped the soles of Dorota's boots as she inched through debris down the long corridor. The walls might have been red, too, red wallpaper dancing with bouquets of slime and countless handprints.