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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Cover photo by Don Phillips


For the knowledge and guidance;

Jeff, Steven L, Willard, Chris, Ian, Jay, Adam, Mike, Daniel, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Warner, Dan M, Claudia, Night Author, Aprilynne, Danielle, Jason, Jesse, Michelle, Kim, Kirk, Liz (RIP), M’liss, Rick, Claire, Anna, Sherry, Antonio, Christy, Garret, Don, Steve D, Cheri, Jennifer, Jimmy III, Laura B., Nicole, Gary, Melanie and two of Mr. Russon’s sixth grade classes.


For the many years of support to your obsessed father;

Laura, Katelyn, Sara and David.


For keeping me focused, even when things were the darkest. My lighthouse,

Janeen.



Chapter One

Arrival


Annabelle was lost. Alone. The hungry woods pressed in on her from all sides, threatening to swallow her up. She couldn’t remember how she got here or why she would have ventured so far into its depths on her own. The rough path stretched out before her, bracketed by dark thickets. The trees crowded inward, blocking her escape.

Where was Mother or Father? Where was Roland, her older brother? Why was she alone? The moonlight reflected off first one pair of glowing eyes in the underbrush, then two.

A scream tore the air, ripping a jagged hole through her heart.

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