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Cassie went back outside. The TV was loud and she would know when it was 10:00 and time for her program. Her toes dipped in the dichondera as she lay face down on the shallow patio. She propped up her head though the concrete was harsh on her elbows. Off to the corner she noticed a piece of chalk discarded after a short hop-scotch game. Hop-scotch was boring. It had been better when she was younger.

A strong wind had blown off the rippled fiberglass covering to the patio and so light from the unobstructed moon illuminated. Cassie drew a stick figure. She drew a round face with Dutch-girl hair and glasses. She drew jeans against the dowel-straight legs and added the little label. It looked silly—a thin line connected the full head and the bottom.


She heard her name called and went inside but neither parent looked up. Her mother watched the TV; her father snored. She went outside and waited. Nothing happened. She heard no more. She walked like a guard on rounds inside the perimeter of the gray block concrete wall which defined their yard. No friend's head appeared. Her sister wasn't hiding.

Again, she heard a noise. She stopped and listened. It was the sound of forty elegant women in thirties-movie gauze, running their siren-nailed fingers through cloud.