At the sound of her voice, the tired old man nearly dropped the hands of the people next to him. He forgot the heady perfume of the velvet-draped room and was stolen to the last place he heard that voice. Not from the lips of a wizened woman in a bejeweled turban wearing too many rings and illuminated only by candlelight, but from the buck-toothed smile of a child basking in the sun and singing joyously from the passenger seat of the van that would scream and twist itself into a visage of death. A tear tracked itself down the valleys of his long-dry cheek.


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