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By Melanie Tem

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Myra's eyes were opening in slits and her voice was lowering as she Page 17 saw the bold colors on the wall in front of her. Bob stretched as high as he could and daubed an approximate circle at the juncture of wall and ceiling. It splattered upward, leaving a trail of tiny orange flecks. Rebecca grimaced. The woman with the Southern accent chuckled softly. ' 'There,' Bob shouted. 'There's your fucking stupid sun son-of-a-bitch,' and threw down the brush and stomped out of the building. 'Myra,' said Abby, taking pains to enunciate.

Abby hesitated, then obediently backed away, grinning. Myra leaned so far forward that her long body was bent almost double like a closed safety pin over the restraint, and made a vertical red slash on the wall. Then, her tongue protruding a little and her other hand raised in a loose fist, she made another slash horizontally across the first, forming a rough and dramatic red cross. She sat back, dropped the brush full of paint into her lap, and sank into her chair as if she had abruptly fallen asleep.

It was her facility, and her responsibility to investigate. What could be risky, anyway, about trying to find out where this seepage was coming from? But she was afraid. She moved her right foot off the sidewalk and onto rough ground, which slanted downward away from her. Swiveling to the right, she brought her left foot around, and nearly lost her balance as the ground seemed to shift and the angle of it to steepen. Gravity and momentum, or some other force, drew her rapidly downhill, though for some reason she did her best to resist, and in scant seconds she was at the bottom of the bowl, where she'd never been before, out of breath and tingling as if she'd fallen, grasping in vain for something tall and sturdy enough to break her descent.

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