Tammy floated in a scaled sea of rainbow hues on a little raft of plastic the blue of the sunglasses her father gave her. It had been a present an aid presented when her father had been away. He'd been busy, but then that was nothing new, yet he always looked in on her when she was sleeping. She wondered if he was looking in on her now.

Somewhere, she thought he was.

It was a warm day with the chromed sky and red sun looking down on here, it's one black dot looking like an eyeball watching her. It was unnerving, that feeling of being watched, so she tried not to look at it. Yet it seemed the "sun" rotated lizard-like about the sky, keeping itself just inside her vision. One scaley-crome blink and then another and it was gone.

Yet still there.

She could feel it there, airy and amorphous. Little visions of Mass trasped across her mind, but this was less solid and more real.

The sea took on boundaries as she travelled along. Tam could tell she was moving now, past purpled mountains bobbing their way along with lush construction-paper valleys between and weaving rivers flowing into the sea. With no day nor night she passed the time looking about, waiting, marking time only by the times she grew thirsty and sipped of the sea. It wasn't salty, just a bit bitter.

Breathing in, she could smell the rust Whitehot seemed to enjoy, the gun oil rubbed into Tiny's hands, the homemade lye soap Jessie used, and the warm sweat evaporating off of Painter's albino skin.

Painter lifted Tammy into the bathroom of the coffin and eased her into the thing that passed as a shower. He frowned at the food dribbles down her chin and onto her shirt. He remembered being better at this, but then again he had never pushed this long. Never been this deep before either.

They were safe for the moment, if that's possible.

They made it to the docks after loosing a tail, though Whitehot was sure it was just a local corp-cop checking them out. It started flashing it's lights and drove off in response to Whitehot's magic. After that they didn't have any problems.

He was careful to try and fold her clothes in a neat pile before easing her into the tub -- a luxury by any standards Painter knew. The little ripples worked their way into his memory of the tide on the ocean and the soft lapping against the plastic-fero-concreate pillars. There were tales of what lived beneath those docks, and he wasn't entirely sure they weren't true. Certainly they encountered some of the strangest creatures that lived above or below the docks (and these lived in both!).

He happened to look up the hill where the sun was just setting in time to see the mast peak over the horizon just before the massive block of an oversized garbage truck took flight as the sound of sirens crested the peak and four rather unhappy sounding cowboy-cars came barreling behind. Painter's eyes reflexively filtered out the sun-glare, allowing him to see two men, decked out in pantaloons and sanitation shirts. One was moving port and aft where he released what Painter zoomed in on as old bowling trophies welded into giant caltrops. The other was fore with one hand steering an old ship's helm and a cutlass in his brilliantly white grin so that he might wave to them with a free hand.

He squeezed the spongue out, letting it absorb the water fully. The cars following did not fare so well against the caltrops.

The two crewman lobbed a welded mass that served as an anchor, ripping up blacktop behind them. The masted garbagetruck slowed enough to allow them to jump onboard before it cut anchor and took air once more before splashing off the docks with it's wetted passangers holding on for all they were worth.

He wrung out the spounge, making sure to use even strokes so he might not miss a spot. The waterborn ship sprouted sails and took them off down the coast to this place -- a temporary sancuary.

Satisfied he'd done a passable job, he got Tam out of the tub and patted her dry. An oversized shirt from their hosts served as a nightgown for a bed of layered futon matresses and patched comforters. He then rinsed the grime from himself and pulled the chair over to where she lay before oblivion finally reached him.

Somewhere, while Whitehot mumbled to Harold about the nasty spaghetti noodles trying to get eaten, Tiny gently rubbed the pistol under his pillow, Jessie comcluded that the florescent lights were sufficiently damaged so they couldn't brainwash her -- an old man was blindfolded and chained to a cornerpost. He sensed the locks were strong and beyond his capability to escape, but that was acceptable. The strange woman had come and her companions had taken him from that place. This was good. The woman had gone to a dangerous place. This was not good. It was obvious that strong forces were at work about her. These forces seem to have called him into the dance, but most of the forces were dancers in the shadows, beyond the bonfire's light. There are many mists these days. He must take care that these forces do not overpower him. Yes, he has been called to a chineese curse of interesting times. Perhaps that's why he was allowed to be captured. Ah, but there is time to think on many things later, now was time for rest.

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