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by Lori R. Lopez

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any

media without written permission from the author, except

brief excerpts in critical reviews and articles.

This is a work of fiction.

Copyright © 2012 by Lori R. Lopez

Front Cover Illustration by Lori R. Lopez

Smashwords Edition

There was something on the other side of a wooden fence. He could hear it move beside him, keeping pace with a sweeping rustle. The boy's gait slowed and he listened, ear pressed to a rough plank. The noise halted as well. Holding his breath, he ducked down to peep through a hole in the board. A circular eye startled him, staring back. He jerked away in fear. It wasn't a normal eye. The pupil was vertical. Like a cat. Or a reptile. Retreating, scooting crablike, he paused a safe distance and shoved to his feet then fled. He was racing along the fence. That was his initial mistake. His second: stopping to gape in terror when the fence ran out and the thing confronted him.

He was just a kid. A random victim. It wasn't personal. An appendage flew forth, wrapping around his neck. Yanked toward jaws that seemed jacked impossibly wide, he was gulped within headfirst and pinned by fangs, as its gullet mashed his upper half to a soft consistency.

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