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The sound of feet walking in gravel caught her ear and she turned toward that sound to see who might be walking along the road in the dark. From the gloom beyond the small circle of light she began to make out a form moving steadily toward her. She called out “We’re closed. Do you need to make a phone call?”

The figure stopped and then to her horror, its eyes began to glow and it rocketed for her at an unbelievable speed. In a flash it was on her, toppling her wheel chair and spilling her out onto the ramp. She screamed. Her stomach churned at the fetid odor of its breath even as a sharp stabbing pain shot up her shattered and cast-bound leg as she hit the ramp, the creature atop her. Irina screamed again. With an iron grip, it crushed her toward itself as it bit her neck, fastening its ghoulish mouth there. Irina struggled mightily in spite of the stabbing pain from her injured leg. As the creature grunted in pleasure while noisily sucking blood from her, it sought her carotid artery.

As she screamed and struggled in its grip she realized that it was going to kill her. Her mind flashed back to that awful day at school only two months earlier that had brought her to this horrible moment. Why didn’t I just stay home that day? So this is what it’s like to know that you’re about to die…….

Her mind flashed back to the beginning of that fateful day.

Chapter 2

March 2000, Seattle Washington

The electric alarm buzzed angrily prompting Irina to burrow down into the covers, trying to ignore it. As the grogginess of a truly sound sleep receded, she realized that it wasn’t the buzzer telling her she had answered the $100,000 dollar question correctly on the game show she had just been dreaming about. It was only the reality of her bleak life in the real world intruding, signaling rudely that another school Monday was beginning.

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