Breaking the Habit

 The reek of the smoke came through her window every night. The man next door opened his for ventilation but no matter how many layers of tape she put around her own, the scent seeped in like a malevolent spirit. Asking him to stop would end like the last time. The taste of iron in the back of her throat. The ringing in her ears. 

 She knew that he was more likely to die an earlier death through the nature of his habit, but this was little consolation. A punishment decades away, that could see her succumb first, through accident or ill intent. The lashes of flame she watched curl from her windowpane had been started by one of his own butts, poorly extinguished. That cause, she thought, felt entirely believable.

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