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Prologue


Even out at the water pump, she could hear her baby crying from inside. Afraid of the things she heard in the darkness, she pumped the handle faster so she could finish filling the bucket and hurry back.

Living out there was difficult enough. With her husband away working down river, the loneliness made it even worse.

As she walked back to the house, she never heard the thing behind her. The color of night, it was invisible in the darkness as it stalked.

It had been watching this one and its mewling child for several nights. Sometimes it heard two distinct cries after the lights went out.


She was almost at the porch when she smelled something unusual. She felt warm breath on her neck then recognized the scent: It was the smell of dead things.

Searing pain shot into her sides as she was lifted off the ground. Through an open window she could see her child in its crib still sobbing. Her body grew cold as she felt blood trickle down her dress and onto her arms. The light from the house became smaller as she was pulled into the dark.

She tried to reach out to her infant but was too weak. The sound of crying faded away as she passed out.

When she opened her eyes again, it was still dark. The smell of death was in the air all around her. Her hands felt sharp and broken things on the floor beneath her. She struggled to get up but couldn’t. She touched her stomach; it was warm and moist from her own blood.

Somewhere she could hear crying again. She reached her hands out toward it then noticed this crying was different.

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