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Excerpt from Hermes' Viper:

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Finally, she blew out the candle, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply from the trailing swirl of smoke. She turned on the lights and went to her bath. A doll named Lily sat astride a jewelry box on the vanity. She was one of many, and a still growing collection, from the Doll Room where they lined the shelves. Each represented another of her alters. Lily was brought out only for special assignments. Using her as a guide, after bathing, Hera applied make-up while musing to the hushed night. Ahh, if people where you work had the slightest idea who you really are my dear Hera, the quiet, dedicated little woman so well hidden. no one ever suspects. No one would ever think of her as the chosen one destined to relieve so much terrible suffering. Then she dabbed perfume in her underarm areas, a fragrance suitable to the duties ahead. While dressing, she mused quietly with the whisper of slow rain falling from eaves remote to the hushed bedroom on this cold December night. She thought Lily and slowly counted backward from ten. At the number five, Lily stood there in the room, in a misty vertiginous double image, looking just like the doll. Giddily she shook her head, gained her new identity, and recognized the surroundings. Acclimated now, she slipped out into darkness. Through water laden leaves of rhododendron bushes in the yard she surveyed the landscape around her little stone cottage hidden in leaf-muted shadows along a narrow shaded street, miles away from her daytime job. The lights of distant downtown Chicago glowed and reflected in the northern sky. Distant traffic rumbled beyond the more immediate sounds of night. It felt so good, so elating to be out here in the open land, in darkness beneath the secret protective covering of trees and undergrowth, in her true element, like the woods and fields she had made her haven in the nights of her childhood after the fire. The burns from the searing blaze, the daily prison atmosphere of the orphanage, the drudgery of work and study, all had been forgotten when she slipped out through her dormitory window after curfew and roamed the darkness far into the predawn hours. She never needed more than three hours sleep.

Now she wanted to be running through the rain and woods, wearing her bright yellow light-gathering goggles and a black helmet to protect her head and eyes while she plunged though undergrowth in the darkness, the limbs smacking across her face and body, as she had in past nights of the woods and fields. She still used the skills developed in those years: a style of moving, running swiftly from shadow to shadow. She could disappear in sudden furtive movements to one side, or backward, or forward, or by stopping stone still with equal quickness. But the angel had spoken, "Don't let them suffer," and there would be no peace, no relief, no sleep until she had done his bidding.

In the garage she walked past the red Porsche loved so much by another of her selves, past a very sedate little faded green Ford sedan reserved for secret jobs, and took a third car, the rusty black Subaru with over a hundred thousand miles on its odometer, the one all the dolls drove. At the Drake County Hospital, she darted from darkness to darkness into her mission, unaware of humming a tuneless noise of preoccupation almost soundlessly to herself.

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