“Ready for school?” he heard his dad call up from downstairs. “You've got that big math test today.”

“Be right down!” Spooky answered in a cheerier tone than he felt. His dad already worried enough whether or not he was being a good single parent.

He opened the bottom drawer of his dresser and carefully returned the scrapbook to its rightful place. Next to it was a long, thin object wrapped in a white shirt ruined with a dark stain. The edge had fallen open, revealing the metallic edge of a bright ornate blade, part of a mystery to be solved another day. After re-wrapping the weapon, he closed the drawer.

Looking back at his bed, waking from his nightmare had felt like being back in the hospital and seeing his lifeless mother at his side all over again. It had been the reason he'd taken the scrapbook out that morning in the first place: to hold her close and feel protected by her.

A nightmare of three shadows.

He had known one of them instinctively – the shape of the Crooked Man was unmistakable – but who were the others? Although not fully formed, one appeared to be wearing some kind of a large hat while the other seemed to have horns.

More importantly, what did the dream mean?




Chapter 2 - A Sight for Dead Eyes


Sitting in class on a late mid-November morning just before the weekend, Spooky distracted himself from his evil math exam with thoughts of the shadowy figures from his nightmare. The dream meant something and it felt dangerous, like a kind of warning.

Then he felt a presence.

Spooky looked up from his desk and noticed something new: illumination without substance. He perceived the edges of an invisible creature standing perfectly still in the corner near the classroom door. It probably had no idea that Spooky could detect it.

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