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Joe was on his feet again, looming over small skinny Linc like the biker bully he’d been while he was alive. “Says who, baby boy? You? ” Silence. “Well? ” “Easy there,” murmured Florian, holding up a flesh-stripped hand, but with Teresa away or asleep we had no Fearless Leader, no rules to stop us. Not that she cared much either. Linc stood his ground, glaring. Joe let out a wet, congested hiss from deep in his throat, the warning of a worse beating than he’d ever given me or anyone else, and as he crouched ready to spring on Linc, I touched his shoulder.

A garter snake slithered over my mother’s foot and they both went crazy, grabbing fistfuls of grass where it had shot out of reach. Arguing again, fighting forever, only with sounds now and no words—screeching violins, deafening pounding drums. I was gone already, walking away. I never saw them again. I scraped a deep, gouging ridge in my back, crawling through a gap I’d torn in the cemetery fence, and felt only a paper cut. A pinprick. I ran my tongue along my teeth and almost screamed; the fence’s barbed wire was nothing, but my teeth had all grown long and blade-edged and when I pulled my hand from my mouth, there was something thick and syrupy from the new cut on my tongue and fingers, almost like blood but black.

She wrapped her bony fingers around his neck and lifted him straight off his feet, her tarnished silver rings sinking into his throat. “Your precious was first hunter last night,” she said, not raising her voice. She never needs to. “Her job is to make sure my share got put aside. ” Joe just hung there, oozing smothered fury. Teresa turned to me and smiled. ” I got. The studs of Teresa’s leather jacket glinted as she raised Joe higher; a nicer jacket than Joe’s, the black leather less cracked and worn, but it wasn’t hers.

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