Paint peeled off the blinds, cracking like reptilian scales. Motes of dust formed yellow slashes in what dim light pierced the darkened room. Closed and fastened, the blinds had borne the sun's assault on the south side of the house for forty-three Septembers, but the long, sultry, weary afternoons had had aged them even more.
Permanently concealed behind the blinds, the room remained dim and airless, tomb-like. And in it sat Miss Collier, barricaded against warmth and light by a belief that kept the blinds closed.