The West side of the Bella Vista motel suffered the full force of the afternoon sun every day, but the last room, number 12, gained a small advantage from the shade of the trees in the grove, and the back wall never saw the sun. Madge felt the improbable coolness of the smooth plaster next to her ear, and on her palm as she steadied herself against the wall. The scent of the plaster came up softly, a clean smell to her nose, its mineral chalkiness, strangely, causing her mouth to water and stirring up a fleeting image of her own small hands squeezing white clay. She swallowed and listened to the sound of nothing happening; a blank wall and her own pulse stretching out the minutes. Slappy stepped out of the walkway into the clearing, stopped, put his hands in his pockets and swung his face around to meet her eye before he said, "All cleaned up in there, any sign of her out here?" She took her hand off of the wall self-consciously and wiped it on the side of her skirt as she turned to look out at the vast open land outside of the clearing and answered, "I think she must have run off back home, and I mean to go and get her back."