Fashionable Tails

October 21, 2014

Tails of Fashion bu Matthew Sawyer


Twelve-year old Tabi says to her three girlfriends, “I don’t like having a tail.”

The four Middle School girls are sleeping-over together at Katy’s house. Katy is a happy hostess. Everybody calls her ‘Cat,’ and she even spells her nickname with a ‘C.’

Next to her, sharing a sleeping bag on the floor, Tabi repeats herself. “I don’t like having a tail because people can guess the color of my pubic hair.”

Cat answers, “You’re lucky you started puberty. You’re even getting your boobs.”

Late at night when the girls should be sleeping and staying silent, they keep a reading lamp on. It is mounted over the empty bed. Hardly any light reaches all the way down to the carpet. A plug-in nightlight by the closed bedroom door does not help at all.

Tabi whines, “I know. I just don’t like my tail.”

“I like my tail,” Julie tells her friends. No one acknowledges the statement. “It’s still small, so I don’t have to show it off. And there’s only fuzz on it.”

Riley recommends to Tabi, “Shave it.”

Tabi says, “No.”

“You don’t have to keep it outside your panties,” the meek Julie suggests. Everyone there in Cat’s room forgets the quiet girl is present, almost in the shadow under the bed. She touches the darkness and blends right in.

More bleak, Tabi states, “My parents say I should be proud.”

Accidentally mindful of her friend, Julie, and in agreement with her, Cat says to Tabi, “Put it away when you go to school.”

“I do,” Tabi says.

“She does,” Riley testifies. “We have classes together in the morning and in the afternoon. I see her.”

“I don’t pay attention,” Cat admits.

“Shave it,” Riley says again. “The models in New York shave their tails.”

“She’s not a model,” Cat opines.

Tabi tells her, “Thanks.”

“I mean you’re cuter.

“Thanks,” Tabi replies flat.

“Let’s see,” Cat pressures her friend. “Let’s look at the color of your hair. I bet it’s blond like your head.”

Riley tells everybody, “It’s dishwater brown. I saw it. It’s darker on the tip.”

“Riley,” Tabi gasps.

Sleepy and silly, Cat guesses. “Are you brown down there?”

“You know,” Tabi snarls. “Shut up.”

Defensive and full of adrenaline, she raises her voice and lectures her friends. “Not everybody has the same hair color all over their bodies. People around this town are mostly brunette. That’s fine.”

Riley interrupts. “It’s consistent.”

Without affirmation, Tabi practically yells, “And redheads don’t draw any extra attention.”

“I bet they’d look like they were on fire,” shouts Cat in laughter. Her parents pound on their shared wall then Cat giggles, “Shh.”

The girls go as quiet as Julie has always been. Almost below the surface of utter silence, the unspoken one hiding against the bed skirt says, “Most people just wear them in their trousers.”

“Trousers?” snickers Cat. She and all the girls keep their volumes low.

Riley whispers, “People have them cut off and bobbed.”

“Or,” Cat specifies.

“That’s plastic surgery,” moans Tabi. “And there is my Mom and my Dad.”

Julie tells everyone from somewhere unseen, “Those boys in High School cut theirs off.”

“Some of them,” Riley retorts.

Cat says, “The whole football team.”

Riley tells her, “Not all of the boys play football – three. I watch the news. And those were expelled.

“I’ve been in the High School,” reports Cat. “I’ve seen some tails there, boys show them off. The little ones are cute.”

Curious, Julie whispers, “What color were they?”

“I don’t know.”

Dismayed and wishing for the topic to quickly change, Tabi answers, “You can guess black.”

As if she has fumbled and she scrambles to recover respectability, Cat ponders aloud. “There’s like a bald spot at the base of your tail, huh? Tabi?”

More outraged at Cat then she was with Riley, Tabi exclaims, “Cat!”

“Shh,” Cat sprays back at her friend.

Once the room has been hushed, Cat says, “Everybody has one – a spot. It’s suppose to be sexually attractive, like ankles in the Victorian century.”

“Huh?” Riley questions.

“Touch it,” Cat instructs Tabi.


“Maybe it’s extra sensitive. Is it? Is it a Hot Spot?”

Tabi tells her, “Now you’re gross.”

Julie is genuinely sincere when she asks, “What is she talking about?” If anyone there could see in the dark, they would observe her nodding her darker head.

Cat volunteers, “Tabi knows, hair grows on a tail from the tip to the other end and underneath. But it doesn’t come together on the top near the spine in your back. It’s naked there”

Everyone is quiet while Cat chuckles.

“You said you were growing a tail,” she accuses Julie. “Rub it. Rub the base where there isn’t any peach down.”


“Where you got no hair.”

“Don’t,” Tabi demands.

Already, Julie reports, “I don’t feel anything.”

“Do it harder,” Cat suggests.

Joining the understanding again, Riley says, “She’s too young.”

“How old do you have to be?” wonders Cat.

“Stop,” Tabi issues. “This is sick.”

“I’m cutting it off. I’m going to cut off my tail.”

The other girls say in descending chorus, “What? No.”

Excited, Riley tells Tabi, “You can’t cut off your tail. That’s like cutting off your finger.”

“Worse,” adds Cat. ‘Worse’ is the only word of caution Cat gives her friend.

Decided, Tabi says, “I’ll try that first.”

Confused once more, Riley wonders, “What?”

Tabi asks her friend, “Katy, do you have any scissors?”

“No,” she answers. “Well, yes, but no.”

“You want to do it now?” Julie whispers with an encouraging tone of voice.

“My finger.”

Tabi then says after nobody answers her statement. “If it doesn’t hurt too bad, we can do my tail.”

“I’m not helping you,” Cat asserts.

“It will hurt,” Riley says. “Let her try it and she’ll stop.”

Julie only nods her head and the room seems to grow darker.

Shocked by the ridiculous support her life-long buddies give their equally bound soul sister, Cat tells everyone, “I’m not stopping her.”

Immediately, Riley says, “The little finger. Try to take off the very tip.”

“I don’t have scissors,” Tabi states.

Riley urges their friend. “Cat, c’mon. Get the scissors.”

Katy’s resistance is broken once Julie whispers to her, “You can let her try.”

After an “Oh,” and being poked and hearing her name chanted, Cat gets up off the floor and leaves Tabi alone in the sleeping bag.

“Move over, Julie,” she solicits her friend. “I keep scissors under my bed.”

“Why?” Riley jokes. “Are you giving weapons to monsters?”

“Maybe its not for monsters,” Cat replies and straightens upright. A long pair of sewing scissors stays coincidentally concealed behind the young girl’s pale nightgown.

Before she hands the chrome surgical instrument to her friend, she says, “So we get to see it… your tail.”

Tabi seizes the scissors and admits, “If this doesn’t hurt.”

“It will,” Riley says again.

“Too much,” defines Tabi.

Un-synchronized with the conversation, Riley repeats, “I’ve seen it, her tail.”

“What do you think?” Cat whispers directly to her friend. The room is so still, she is unable to hide her voice from the other girls.

Riley sums, “It’s not bad.”

Tabi says more flatly than last time, “Thanks.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she states and sits down cross-legged on top of the sleeping bag. “If this doesn’t hurt too much, it’s gone.”

The same time Cat asks her friend, “What are you going to tell your parents?” the scissors make that distinctive noise, “Snick.”

A whole mute minute passes that not one girl remembers before Tabi screams. Her screeches rattle the bedroom window, Katy’s father shakes the wall. Tabi had ruined the first knuckle of her little finger on her left hand and her agony now summons her friend’s Mom and Dad.

The same time responsible adults enter the room, Riley advises her hurting friend. “You need a bigger scissors. You’re gonna need bigger scissors if you cut off that, you know, thing.”

-Matthew Sawyer

Please, Read my fiction at Smashwords


Collegiate Ebola Awareness Month

October 20, 2014

collegiate Ebola Awareness Month


Drugs and Guitar Tutorials Hardly Ever Mix

October 7, 2014

Look at this as a Public Service Announcement…

(and it’s maybe why you never taught yourself guitar)


Mr. Binger’s Fiery Seed

October 1, 2014

Do you have a washer?

I had a washer

And a dryer, too.

I had a house to keep them in

Before Mr. Binger brought his zoo.


The man brought with him

Beasts I have never seen.

“Monsters,” children called them.

Their parents said so, too.

He kept them in a little barn

where old horses became glue.


I need to clean my clothes.

That is how the infestation is spread.

Spores float off the tentacles of those things.

Mr. Binger’s creatures wave their prehensile organs,

Launch their Weightless spermatozoa into the air,

And these get stuck in your clothes.

They grow if they get into your butt, your mouth or your nose.


Yeah, about my house,

The spores had nothing to do with the fire.

It’s okay to wash my clothes at your place.

You should be safe.

Just, do not open the dryer

If it starts to knock.

Leave whatever comes alive inside.

Let it cool and die and change into rock.


You will want whatever you find there dead.

And if it is alive,

You’ll have to kill it yourself.

Do not let them get out of the dryer.

They will ignite the carpet

They will set the room on fire.

If you are not careful,

You’ll burn down your house,

Like I did mine.

— @&%$#— —* ____

Curious? Read The Strange Apocrypha of Mr. Binger.


He’s Not The Same Monster Anymore

September 23, 2014

Do you remember those very old horror films Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) and House of Frankenstein (1944)? You may recall the same gimmick in The Monster Squad (1987). All these films star Universal Studio monsters. These creatures were transformed from their sources in literature and removed further from their mythological inspirations. Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker first altered their archetypes when these authors brought those same monsters into the Modern Ages.

Authors such as Stephen King and Anne Rice have been diligent and maintained the evolved fiction of these cryptids, but then there’s been Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Whereas the story was hugely popular, the images of vampires and werewolves were gravely injured. Granted, comic books and television had already shook the genre ragged.

Yet I reawaken Frankenstein’s monster in my story The Abhorred. I’m taking vampires and werewolves back to their roots. I’m reassembling the fabled golem – no, Frankenstein’s monster is not a zombie. And with guidance from the dead author HP Lovecraft, I pitch all these creatures against each other. This fight is not a Battle Royale nor a game. This story is the paranoid life of a professor of nuclear engineering. Professor Hebert Stock is on sabbatical here in Northern Wisconsin. It’s Thanksgiving and the man is alone. At night, he scavenges graveyards.

- Mr. Binger

The Abhorred by Mr. Binger

The Abhorred
Genre Horror
Word Count Approx. 91,758
Page Count 611


Professor Hebert Stock is a good man. This professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay truly believes he is a force for good. All alone, he considers himself a mortal god. His accomplishments support his delusions – Strock here has harnessed cold fusion. He has shrunken this miraculous engine under the size of a clay pot. Not only that, he has brought the dead back to life.

Professor Strock has revived whole specimens and their amputated constituent pieces. Raw energy revives and intoxicates each of the monstrosities the man has packed with batteries and sewn back together. Each nameless creation is a step toward immortality. Yet Strock’s discoveries are not primarily for himself. He helps mankind combat a scourge of vampires.

As much as Strock’s genius, vampires and werewolves are real. Unchanged by time, these monsters now flourish in the Mack State Wildlife Area – ever since a Hellmouth had opened the earth south of Madison. The Hellmouth itself rent the earth then walked away.

The vampires in The Abhorred are immaterial, blood-sucking ghosts. They become solid when they consume blood. The master of the horde in the Mack State Wildlife Area is a pudgy, Midwestern-looking fellow. His name is Vlad Blaski. This vampire has discovered semi-permeability. All vampires need do is boil the blood they drink.

Having decimated the prey inside the Wildlife Area, the hungry ghosts eat werewolves – hairy Wild Men of Eastern European folklore. They look closer to Lon Chaney’s Wolf Man than actually wolves or upright demons. And they do not transform under a full moon. The werewolves in the Abhorred are emaciated, wildly hirsute naked men cursed at puberty. How this curse is transmitted is an unimportant mystery.

Hunger drives werewolves unto Strock’s private property – a hobby farm between Appleton, WI and Greenville, WI. These trespassers discover the professor’s secret experiments. They meet his reanimated monster – a discolored, walking corpse that calls itself Angst. The reassembled boy bleeds motor oil. And a union is made. Professor Strock, his assistant Gloria, and Angst join forces with werewolves and they fight Blaski and his vampire horde.

Printed Pocket Books of The Abhorred is available from LULU.

The Abhorred Ebooks are sold online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etd… but I prefer readers purchase them from Smashwords.

I hope everyone finally likes this one…


The Corpus Cat Chapter Thirteen of Thirteen

September 19, 2014

The Corpus Cat

Mr. Binger

Chapter Thirteen of Thirteen

“He’s nowhere, he’s run away,” Barry tells his wife at dawn. The man wandered the neighborhood all night looking for their pet cat. The couple meets on their front porch when he comes home.

“You threw him out,” Dana rightly accuses her husband. Whereas Barry is fully clothed, she is outside in her dressing gown, furry boots and a heavy overcoat. She holds a hot mug of coffee, and despite the charge she’s made against her husband, she hands him the beverage.

“Thanks,” he is courteous to say.

While he warms his un-gloved hands against the ceramic, Dana describes her evening alone. “Dodgie stopped crying after you went outside.”

Barry corrects her. “I know. That was about an hour after I left the house.”

“I thought you found him and you were coming back. I fell asleep waiting for you.”

After an overdue sip of warm caffeine, he tells his wife bad news. “I have to stop looking for Dodgie and go to work.”

“Oh, me too. What are we going to do?”

“I can’t stay home,” answers Barry. He knows his wife and she would expect his sacrifice.

Without options, she tells him, “I know.”

“Too bad the moon doesn’t just fall on us,” Barry wishes and he points at the huge pedigree orb plainly visible in daylight. Science says the celestial body goes the wrong way and gets closer everyday. Today, it practically dents the earth’s atmosphere. The thing is Brobdingnagian.

Unconcerned with radical predictions and assumptions of astrologers and astronomers, the Corpus couple, like the whole world, are not terrified. This day is another day filled with personal worries. And already burdened, Dana rephrases the lunar event in a positive light.

“I like to think it’s heaven coming down for our son.”

“Dodgie is a cat,” Barry reminds his wife, although his voice is not strong and fades into a whisper.

“What did he mean?” she asks him and makes her husband tardy at work. “He doesn’t hate us. I think it’s something we did.”

“Our unpaid guest did,” Barry replies more forceful than everything he’s said this morning. “I tried telling him we were sorry when I started walking around the same blocks the second time. I don’t think he heard me.”

“We are sorry, Charlie,” Dana shouts into the chilly air.

Come from the side the house, a patently feline voice cries, “Meow-mee.”

Both Corpus hear the sound. They move off the front steps and investigate. Dana does not say, but she feels Dodgie tried saying her name – not her name, Dana, but what she wants her child to call her.

Barry disturbs her illusion and states, “Dodgie is hurt. He’s over here.”

Dana follows her husband and already asks obvious questions. “I wonder if he was hit by a car.”

The Corpus couple find their cat lying on his side against the foundation of his home. His hip is mangled and all the attached leg is broken into parts yet miraculously intact. He purr but his voice is ragged and staggered.

“Call the ambulance,” Dana shouts at Barry. She then specifies, “Doctor Peters!”

“It’s too late,” her husband states.

The news is true, Dodgie stopped breathing when the Corpus couple came around the corner. The last sounds he made had come from a dead, precious pelt expelling gas. Dana immediately mourns.

“Our child died of suffocation.”

“That’s not the case here,” Barry reminds her. He stays respectful and grows glum. He tells his passed cat, “Good bye, chum.”

Cat howls draw the attention of the Corpus away from their deceased pet and the couple scan the neighborhood for the terrible sounds. And the long, low screeches are everywhere. The noises come especially from above their heads.

When they look up, Barry and Dana see domestic cats atop the peeks and points of rooftops. The animals are above them everywhere. Every cat looks toward the enormous face of the moon and they all screech absent of harmony. The cats scream for the falling pagan goddess.

“They want to go home,” sobs Dana adrift in a walking dream.

Barry scowls at the little beasts. He tells the cats, “You’re the wrong species, stop doing that…”

Another memory stops his partially birthed thought. “Wait, I’ve heard about this before.”

The revelation makes Barry Corpus feel positively psychic. Before he might enlighten his wife, Dodgie appears atop the Corpus house. When both Barry and Dana check back, they see his body is no longer beside them on the hard ground.

“Charlie’s alive!” Dana screeches.

Her husband insists, “Dodgie.”

His voice trails when he says, “Our son.”

The cat leaps into the air and vanishes. Barry and Dana saw Dodgie jump toward the moon, he ascended a foot or so, then he was gone. Dana panics, “Did he fall?”

The Corpus then watch all the other cats jump off houses and disappear into the crisp sky. Their howls stop one-by-one and twice as fast, the animals, too, are gone. Soon, the morning is quiet except for early traffic and the moon appears larger than ever before.

“This happened before in a town called Ulthar,” Barry tells his wife. His vocalization isn’t meant for her ears but she overhears.

Dana also listens to her husband say, “That’s just a fairytale.”

She believes him.

Seven weeks after this surreal incident in Lovespark, Illinois, and when the Corpus stopped blaming each other for anything they could not understand and they still have no cat, Dana tells her husband, “Barry, I’m pregnant.”

Almost every woman in town becomes pregnant that same month. Barry knew Joel’s girlfriend was already expecting, but after that morning in winter, he learned she had lost their baby. Joel once told him, “We know it’s going to be boy. We’ll call him Charles and think about you.”

Barry thinks about that name now and decides whatever he and Dana name their child, the kid’s nickname will be, “Dodger.”

_END_ _

Do you want more? Read the strange fiction of Mr. Binger at Smashwords


The Corpus Cat Chapter Twelve of Thirteen

September 18, 2014

The Corpus Cat

Mr. Binger

Chapter Twelve of Thirteen

Barry goes to work the following day and he talks to Joel at the Corner Cafe. They both remember Barry bought his wife a frosted doughnut the other day and that is their morning snack today. They each have their own pastry – Joel picked one filled with raspberries. And their coffee stays black.

“Last night, that psychic was nuts,” Barry informs his business partner. “I don’t know what she was doing – holding my cat in the air like that, him swimming in smoke with all his claws sticking out…”

“I hate to interrupt you,” Joel tells Barry on rare occasions. He does this once. “I’d like to tell you something important. It’s important for me, anyway. I don’t know what it means to our partnership.”

“Nothing, I hope,” Barry tells his friend before he’s heard any confession. A sarcastic grin, completely related to the previous subject, that smile never leaves his face.

Joel chuckles. “I don’t think it means anything.”

“Tell me, buddy.”

“All right,” he consents. Joel stands up then sits down and makes himself comfortable atop a backless swivel stool at the lunch counter. The man clears his throat and he tells his associate, “My girlfriend told me she is pregnant.”

Before he questions his friend about the surprise maternity, Barry first shuts his mouth and he asks Joel, “You have a girlfriend?”

Joel looks away from his partner and the electrician takes a sloppy bite of his jelly doughnut. His silence comes interpreted to mean, “Yes.”

“Good for you, man,” Barry says in congratulations. “Hold on, you’re not married, are you?”

His sinister smile has stayed until now, and in telling Joel something snide, he’s refreshed its puerility. But Barry is kind and he’s an honest man, so he tells his friend, “I’m only kidding.”

“No, seriously,” he commands Joel and chuckles. “What have you learned from this? What are you going to do? This is good news, no matter what. You’re a responsible guy.”

Joel grunts and he grins.

“And you’re growing a beard,” Barry tells him upon making the observation. The first moment the men met this morning, the black stubble across Joel’s face already appeared two days old. Barry hadn’t said anything for no reason and only makes the point now.

Joel answers as would a sage. “Nothing stops me now.”

“No, sir,” Barry supposes aloud.

He is still joking when he tells Joel, “Dana and I are trying. I know your baby isn’t born yet, but do you have any inspirational message about being a father, yet… already?”

“Yeah, I do,” he says.

The news shocks Barry and he is stunned into silence. Joel hardly ever replies to jests, but when he does, the man always delivers a message worth a listen. Both men wait and sip coffee until he composes his insight.

Upon swallowing hard, Joel tells his business partner, the one who has problems with his cat, “Hold on to what you got, because where else does a brand new life come from? It’s always a new beginning, man.”

Barry contemplates the substance of his friend’s message and finishes his second cup of coffee. He tells the wait staff when the young man comes near, “No more for me.”

Joel hovers his palm over the cup on the counter and he also stops eating another breakfast. Both he and Barry are finished with the Corner Cafe this day, And there is a job they must complete before noon.

The smile fades from Barry’s face and he tells his friend, “Thank you, Joel.”

“Yep,” he says, or the sound may have been a misstep.

Barry does not thank him for the food because they each pay for their own. Instead, he expresses appreciation for his friend sharing his thoughts. They leave the Corner Cafe and go back to work in Joel’s old van. The job isn’t special and there no are difficulties. And coming upon quitting time later in the past afternoon, the whole work day finishes and totals up to an ordinary sum.

Hours of operations everywhere end when the daylight does, and that time is always earlier in the winter. Barry drives home to Lovespark at five thirty, before Dana makes her own way back from Rockford.

He goes into his home and feels himself pushed outside again. The invisible stench shoving him into fresh air comes out of the house with him and starts polluting the rest of the world. Having smelled a measured sample of the odor before, Barry recognizes the reek and who made this infernal contamination.

“Damn, Dodgie,” he yells from under the crook of his arm. Barry marches into his home and braces his arm over his nose. He makes believe he breathes out his elbow. And the smell yet penetrates his sinuses and all he accomplishes is merely muffle his voice.

The interior is night and rejects any twilight floating into the outside horizon. Inside, Barry flips a switch and he brings an artificial noon. And there in the center of the living room, Dodgie sits back unruffled, licking his paws. His bath is futile and will not clean the feces from his fur, no matter how hard and often he chomps at the clumps.

Looking up, Barry sees cat poop everywhere – all over the floor, there on the walls. He thinks at first, “It probably crawled there itself.”

Then he spots the cat again and the evidence is there on Dodgie’s feet, and there on his tail making the appendage resemble a repulsive calligraphy brush. He sees above his pet and looks at the wall on the opposite side of the room. No higher than Barry’s knee and scrawled with crap is the message, “I hate you.”

The words make the man enraged. And though he is angry, Barry is suddenly afraid. He imagines the phantom demons the crank psychic warned the Corpus about yesterday. Unopposed, he grabs the cat by the scruff on its neck and lets it swim and slash the air with shining silver claws. Barry opens the front door and he throws Dodgie outside as far as he can – gently still despite his fright.

The entrance comes shut and Barry forces himself to catch his breath and gulp the foul air inside his house. The door rattles once and he grabs hold of the door knob upon instinct. The cat must not be let inside, so h holds the handle fast and will not let it turn. The man fights someone on the other side whom tries.

“Barry?” he hears his wife say. “The door is stuck.”

He lets go of its knob and sees the entrance is not locked. Regardless, Dana does not enter. She wonders through the solid barrier, “Did you throw Dodgie outside?”

Barry opens the door and says, “He was bad.”

Dana smells what comes out of the house beside her husband and she knows the accusation against the cat. Even so, she raises her voice and lectures Barry. “You threw him out? Dodgie is an indoor cat.”

Although she is cold, the aroma indoors keeps Dana comfortable standing on the front walk. Barry goes outside with her and makes no complaint. The man does justify his action. “Hey, he behaved like an outdoor cat.”

Looking over his shoulder and knowing the animal’s crime, she tells him, “I don’t think outdoor cats do what he did.”

The entire time the Corpus couple speak outside, Dodgie never returns and try to sneak back into the house. In fact, the cat vanishes altogether. Dana looks around, blowing steam with her breath in a perfect circle once she’s done turning her head.

“Barry, we talked about him last night. He might be our son.”

“Not if he does this,” Barry says and gestures into the living room. His wife does not look.

He then states, “You haven’t seen what he wrote. Maybe they rainy-day chick is right, he is a demon.”

“Don’t say that,” Dana begs him.

Tested, he grabs her arm and shows the woman the writing on the wall. The words and all her surroundings make her gag.

“This I wrong, this can’t be right,” Dana cries. She begs her husband. “Help me clean this up. We did something wrong.”

Angry and never so at his wife, Barry surrenders his rage and he helps scrub the living room. The two of them take no more than a couple hours and finish the task. The whole time, all the windows downstairs and the front door stay open and let in a fresh and icy breeze. Dana sobs the whole time.

“We should have let him stay in his hole,” she says again and again. Dodgie does not return.

In bed after dinner and when the house is closed again, the Corpus hear a cat howl. Barry tells his wife, “That’s him.”

“I know,” Dana confirms. “He sounds so far away. Maybe he’s lost.”

The cries of the cat change in pitch and each one sounds out of breath, as if Dodgie expels all his air with each fit. After that while in which the Corpus spend listening to the racket from under bed covers, the voice changes. The wails shifts distinctly into a toddler’s cry.

“That’s Charlie,” Dana shouts and sits up. She knows the sound of their child more than she is familiar with yowl of their pet cat. She has only ever heard the newborn cry once, but she knows the sound. Barry hears, too, and he can’t deny the sound.

“Go look for him, please,” she implores him. And especially for her, Barry gets out of bed and he goes outside with a flashlight.

… continued tomorrow…


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