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Mrs. Harbor pulled up into the gravel drive of the Forgotthen Home for Orphaned Children, and Tommy could not help but feel his high hopes sink quite low as he stared at the run-down orphanage through the car’s rear-seat window…

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She pulled up to the old weathered graveyard, but “old” was not an entirely accurate description for it, as the adjective “ancient” was probably better suited to describe the mound of broken, weatherworn, and faded graves in the distance…

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The man standing in the bathroom had strangely long legs, or maybe his black slacks were pulled up too high on his waist. He wore a long-sleeved white shirt with horizontal black stripes, and that monochrome illusion of optics made his arms look longer than they should have, just like his legs…

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Danford had a block for a face, clean-shaven, true, but a concrete block in terms of looks, and she supposed that gave him an edge in intimidation, a good thing for a police officer, but that was not what caused her to retreat toward the diner counter. His firearm was raised in a threatening manner, and that was definitely a factor in Dana’s retreat, but it was the fact that his once dark eyes were now white, a coating over of ivory that looked…unnatural…

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He was tall and imposing, with a stiff expression upon his handsome face, dark eyes upon him, with neatly-short-cut black hair and a stern poise to his thin lips. He held an aura about him that suggested power, something more than wealth, and Nattie took that into consideration, because she was going to have to siphon some information from him later on about Gracie, though she doubted he would remember her. Even so, she had made a promise to Sheila that she would dig up that information, and she intended to keep that promise, ruthless as this business was…

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This man wore a black preacher’s outfit, though she knew he was not any kind of preacher she had ever met before. He had a pair of dark shades over his eyes, the spectacles large and round in the glass, and on his bald head was a fine black boater hat made of beaver felt rather than the traditional stiff sennit straw such hats were normally woven from. In his withered right hand was a straight black wooden cane topped by a silver serpent’s head, the serpent’s mouth open to showcase two large silver fangs…

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He did not turn back to look at her. Her face was young and beautiful now, her restored youth a memory of a time when he’d been happy, far and away from here, but those happy memories brought back painful ones, old memories he did not wish to remember, so he did not look at her…

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“As all of you faithful, older listeners already know, we play anything and everything, but only by request,” said the host. “For newer listeners just now joining our little phantasmal ring, call in to the station to request your song. That number is…”

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She turned with wide eyes as two of the changed, ravenous people chasing them spilled into the hallway at the end they had just vacated, then two more spilled in, then two more…

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The little room was mostly cleared out now, all except for an old wooden desk, a wooden chair with a pillowed seat, and an old wooden easel. Upon the desk were a number of different-sized paint brushes, and next to them was a large wooden palette ready to hold various paints, those various paints already waiting upon the old desk next to the palette, each paint stored in small jars ready for immediate use…

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