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The Possession of Paavo Deshin

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Paavo saw them in a corner of the playground, standing together like they always did, their backs to the Dome. Through the Dome, he could see the Earth, misty white, green, and blue, like a beacon to the great beyond. He believed in the great beyond, Paavo did.

People Disappeared there.

He was sitting alone on the fake grass that covered this section of the ground. He usually sat alone: the other children thought him strange. His vocabulary was big for a seven-year-old, and he thought about a lot of things no one else his age did.

Paavo’s private school held both a recess in the middle of morning classes and an outside athletic instruction in the middle of afternoon classes. Most of the kids from his class were on the black part of the playground, jumping on some diagram, playing an ancient game the teacher was trying to make them learn. It required balance and coordination—tossing a stone on designated parts of the diagram, hopping toward it in a pattern, then bending over and picking it up without touching any of the diagram’s lines.

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