>THE THIRD RULE

>When the rain came down, like a bad memory or cut-off fat fingers falling, Taloula was creeping quietly across a roof. She had her hair swept back, clipped in with a complex Gordian knot of stolen mousse and clothes pegs, and kept tasting carnival floss sweetness in the spaces between her teeth. It hurt her, almost, to feel the wetness on her neck, the rain finding its way into her clothes. And then the eventual cold, a startling persistent sensation which made its way strangely to her knees and elbows, in that way of hinges and oil and creaking machines. She was partially worried for her metal parts, but more that the moisture was threatening what, so far, had been a very enjoyable evening.

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