"She was soft, too soft. A soft touch. Her hair was soft, her smile was soft, her voice was soft. She was so soft there was no resistance. Hard things sank into her, they went right through her, and if she made a real effort, out the other side. Then she didn’t have to see them or hear them, or even touch them.”
The gaping flame-filled crater has been this way since 1971, when Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern of natural gas and decided to burn it off so it wouldn’t poison anyone. They thought it would take a few days. Four decades later, locals refer to this pit as the Door to Hell.
photograph by Carolyn Drake
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