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Joseph gripped the wheel and Penny screamed. Headlights, larger than most, blinded both of them. Joseph tried to say something, anything, but his mouth opened and the words stayed locked inside his throat. It didn’t matter. There was nothing to say and no one would have heard him anyhow. Penny’s voice had become a high-pitched siren that dominated all potential discussion.

In the backseat of the car was little Mathew. A moment before he was juggling between singing and drinking. Sing––slurp. Sing––slurp. Then came the grim sound of his mother’s bellow. This caused his concentration to falter and his juice box to slip from his fingers. The box slid along his t-shirt and bounced over the strap that held him. The straw designed to pierce the box hung from Mathew’s lips, dripping purple sap.

He wondered if there was a monster in the front seat. Somehow it seemed very possible. If there was a monster, maybe it was eating his mother. Monsters can do that, he considered. Every kid worth two cents plus three cents knows that.

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