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What The Monster Saw

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

She might have vanished forever if it weren’t for a haphazard glance by Kyle Worthington. He was walking past the alley on 63rd, his cell phone in his left hand as he showed his friends Mason and Devin the one-touch video feature his dad had forbidden him to use.

It was eighty-six degrees in October and the streets reeked of piss and garbage. Kyle had tied his woolen school jacket around his waist, rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, and loosened his tie. He didn’t dare pull off it because he’d never get it tied again; somehow he couldn’t learn the over-and-under pattern, and his dad had forbidden his mom from tying it for him. No way he was going to ask his buddies to do it. With them, he wasn’t Kyle Worthington, the good-for-nothing only son of Jackson Worthington, he was the Big K, the kid who’d seen the inside of half a dozen impossible-to-get-into private schools and lived to tell about it.

The Big K. knew stuff that hardly anyone else knew. He had the latest coolest gadget before anyone else, and he could chat up the prettiest girls because he was indifferent to dating any of them. Rumor had it that he didn’t date in high school because he had his pick of the college girls that filled the city.

He liked the rumor. It kept the attention off him, and allowed his shyness to manifest itself as an intense need for privacy instead of the nearly pathological aversion to close companionship that had him going to counselors since he was six.

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