A rude gash in the oozing, orangish mud had been opened by a backhoe which stood nearby in repose, sunk several inches into the muck. The hole emitted a dull, repetitive noise, which struck him as odd, since it was late at night and there were no workmen about. Willfully ignoring their monotonously repeated CAUTIONs, Daniel ducked under some yellow tape to investigate, keeping back from the edge of the hole lest he slip and tumble in. At the bottom of the hole, perched upon some pipes and conduits, was a girl who looked younger than her nine years. She was smeared with sticky clay, obviously wet and cold, but she was not crying out for help, nor did she say anything when Daniel peered down at her. She simply continued kicking her heels against one of the pipes, which resounded hollowly.