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Excerpt from:
Nibbles Goes to the Pet Store

     Van began to whistle, then waltzed over to my box. He leaned down and stared at me. Smiling, he produced one of my favorite things: a juicy slice of red apple.

     “Here ya go, buddy. A special treat from me to you,” he said, and his smiled widened.

     He resumed his whistling and began to sweep the floor.

     I picked up the apple and began to nibble. Little crystals on the slice sparkled like diamonds and I realized Van must have sprinkled it with sugar, a bonus.

     As I chewed, I thought of the conversation between Aldo and Van. Something wasn’t right. Who could Van have been talking about? Whoever it was it had made Papa Aldo extremely upset. 

     I knew they were talking about the mysterious things that had been happening: the missing food, overturned houses, punctured holes in water bottles. Mine happened while I was sleeping; half of my yard was soggy woodchips. The most upsetting was the escape of Marlin the Australian cockatoo, an iguana, and another of the kinkajous, also known as a honey bear. But who was behind it all? Who had Van been referring to? The only other person who worked here was Nick.

     My stomach began to feel funny, and I lost my appetite. I put the uneaten portion of my apple back in my food dish and began to walk to my house. I stopped and shook my head. I was feeling so dizzy. A loud crash happened. I knew it was close, but the noise sounded so far away. Funny, I didn’t feel alarmed at all. I looked down and the woodchips seemed to spin. My eyes were growing heavy. A darkness crept up my spine along with a shadow that covered my yard, swallowing me with it. I turned my head and looked up, my movements dull and clumsy. A black silky bag seemed to hover over me, suspended in midair. And then my world went dark.

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Excerpt from:

Terrors in the Dark

The world was gray. Everywhere she looked a colorless muted tint. She was standing across the street from the Henderson house. The upstairs curtains swayed as if a wind blew inside the home. The air outside was stagnant. Her head swiveled slowly left to right and back again, taking in the deserted street save the large oak trees that lined both sides of the road.

Turning toward the house again she felt a dread wash over her. A helplessness. The desperate desire to be anywhere else so strong yet knowing there was nothing else to do but move forward toward a place she knew held dark secrets.

She looked up at the windows again expecting to see more fluttering movement, but the windows were now black as midnight. A floating sensation took over and she found herself standing at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the front porch. Two small dogs appeared at her feet and began to bark incessantly. Looking down she watched them with detachment as they circled her legs. No reaction came when one of the dogs growled and grabbed her pant leg, pulling furiously.

Her heartbeat began to quicken, not from the activity at her feet but from an evil presence she felt behind her. Wanting desperately to run but unable to move she unwillingly rotated her head to look back. An enormous spiked black shadow loomed over her like a giant. The darkness so deep like a black hole waiting to engulf her while ripping her to pieces. Her gut clenched and burned with anxiety.

Swinging her head back around toward the house the front door now stood open, the interior as black as the shadow. The dogs had disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Moving up the stairs toward the door in slow flight she struggled to catch her breath. Inside the home the air felt hot and stifling, its color as gray as the outside world. Sheets clothed the furniture making them look ghostly.

Not realizing how she arrived she found herself standing in front of a large refrigerator. The kind you find in restaurants or luxury homes. The cold stainless steel gleamed bright, blinding her vision. She didn’t want to open it, didn’t want to see what was inside, terrified of its contents, but her hand reached out anyway as if it were in control. Her right hand latched onto the handle and a cold so deep ran up her arm and straight into her entire body. A door slammed, jolting her away from the giant appliance.

Another evil presence again loomed near and her heart threatened to burst. The overwhelming need to hide overtook her and she looked around wildly. The only thing visible was a large two-sided kitchen sink with side by side cabinets underneath. She threw the doors

wide and awkwardly climbed in backside first. The area was small and cramped which brought her knees up to her chin. Reaching forward, grabbing the sides of the cabinet doors she managed to pull one side shut, the other would not close. Glancing down, her feet crossed at the ankles making the right toe of her shoe hang out over the edge of the cabinet floor. Frantically trying yet failing to move her foot out of the way to close the other door she heard slow footsteps coming down the hall toward the kitchen. She froze. Her toe magically withdrew but it was too late to close the door undetected. It gaped open an inch, letting in light that hadn’t been there before. The footsteps grew closer, stopping just to the left of her hiding place. Her heart beat so hard she was sure it could be heard by the man who stood between her and escape. She knew him, the bearish sized man outside her prison and he knew her. How was not clear, just a knowledge so deep it needed no explanation.

A shadow passed across the opening, briefly blocking the light making it wink. She held her breath, wanting to squeeze her eyes shut but unable to command them. Her chest throbbed from lack of oxygen. No sound came from outside. A quiet unnatural and eerie. Her legs had gone numb, her toes tingled violently. The decision to allow herself a quick peek outside her hideout was irresistible. Just as she was leaning forward, putting her eye up to the opening the cabinet doors flew open with such force she screamed. Looking up and into two glowing eyes, she screamed again, and again...

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