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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

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A freshly slaughtered animal has a distinctive smell. It’s not like supermarket chicken; bland, washed and neatly packaged. If it weren’t for the label, a girl might not even realize the two were kissing cousins.

No, fresh entrails had a certain musky, earthy quality, highlighted by the scent of warm fur or feathers. Anyone who’d ever prepared a farm animal for the table knew that blood made the hair stick to hands and knives; Elmer couldn’t make better glue.

And the smell! She could wash her hands, shower…blood scent took forever to fade.

The troll had made no effort to wash away the scent of his kill. The carrion stink of it polluted the air, forced her to breathe through her mouth. Even then, she could almost taste the rot…

1. Hush, my darling. It’s only the boogieman.

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