The spotlight found her and then stayed still. Beneath it she trembled. Curled inwards. And then, becoming aware of her audience, the room of eyes watching her, she stretched out her arms, opened her mouth, and started to perform.

At first it was a slow dance, with the words of the song low and soft, gentle as a whisper. And then, as her confidence grew, as she started to enjoy it and believe in her ability, believe that these people actually wanted to watch and hear her, she started to speed up and the song became almost wild, a celebration...

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Time starts... now.

She took a deep breath, and put her head under water. Her robes flowed around her, clinging weightlessly to every crve and bone, floating up around her ankles before settling, like her, at the bottom of the tank.

Beneath the water, everything seemed muted. She could ignore the audience, the leering faces, the peering eyes, the raucus, crude carnival music hummed softly through the water, muted and beautiful, a world within a world. She liked it in here. No pressure, other than the water around her, slowly increasing on her lungs. She began to breathe out, a...

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He promised me it would work. He'd be able to get me out of the tank before I ran out of breath.
Each move, each second, carefully planned for months in advance. I'd practice both still and swimming like mad, holding my breath for longer and longer periods of time. I was up to three lengths of the pool.
All the while the wife watched from a shrinking distance, suspicion crowding out any remnant of sanity in her eyes. How was she to know I was more attracted to her sister than to the husband.
I'd warned him to not...

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