By Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee

The girl is the final of her variety, the lone survivor of a tribe of feral cannibals who've terrorized the Maine coast for years. She is wounded and vulnerable, yet she's came upon safe haven in a cave overlooking the ocean. Christopher Cleek is an amoral—and unstable—lawyer who sees her bathing in a move in the future whereas he's out searching. Cleek has darkish, merciless secrets and techniques and he'll now upload another. he'll seize the lady, lock her in his cellar, and try to tame her, with the aid of his spouse and youngsters. yet very quickly the query will become: Who is extra savage, the hunter or the prey?

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In spite of the earmuffs on it’s a massive sound in that cellar. wooden splinters and flies. the lady screams. The scream becomes a roar. Her head trembles from the concussion then rocks back and forth. He pulls off the earmuffs and stuffs them in his pocket. She’s moaning. She opens and closes her mouth repeatedly like a fish gasping for breath on dry land. Blood seeps over her jaw and trickles down her neck. He’s blown out her eardrum. And that’ll train you to chunk, now won‘t it, he thinks. The eyes open. He reads either discomfort and anger there. yet in most cases ache. “I consider greater approximately my finger now,” he tells her. He smiles. truly the discomfort isn't too undesirable via now. 700 fifty milligrams of Vicodin has helped much. “I’ll be again in little some time. With the spouse and children. and also you be great, or…” He increases the gun, issues it at her different ear, intending to inform her that he can blow out that eardrum too yet she misreads him, starts off to fight violently opposed to the clamps and she’s howling back, throwing herself again opposed to the shelving and ahead opposed to the clamps. All hell is breaking unfastened down the following. He lowers the weapon. She quiets instantly. reliable lady, he thinks. See? you could study. He heads for the steps yet anything stops him. The quiet. it kind of feels abruptly unnatural finally that commotion. He glances again over his shoulder. the girl is as nonetheless as a statue. gazing him. ~ * ~ at nighttime she tilts her head to enable the blood drain out of her ear. The darkish is roaring at her like storm-waves opposed to the shore and she or he thinks of these waves and that shore and wonders how distant they're from the place she stands now and if she is going to ever see them back or if she is going to easily die making an attempt. it will likely be one or the opposite. and shortly. TEN occasionally Chris thinks that it’s all approximately nutrients — domestic and family members are. He works that allows you to placed nutrition at the desk. within the mornings Belle may have breakfast prepared while the children wake up and an hour after that, their lunches packed for faculty. while he comes domestic from paintings there’ll be nutrition via six o‘clock. the home continuously smells of foodstuff. Or baking. Belle hasn’t inherited a lot from her mom and dad’ freak coincidence — her father sober, consistently sober, however the street slick with icy rain — yet she’s inherited her mother’s expertise for baking. Cornbread. Banana bread. muffins and pies. She’d are available 3rd in final year’s county reasonable with the blueberry. this present day it’s the cornbread. He can odor it driving excessive over the pot roast once he walks within the door. He loves Belle’s cornbread. Brian is sprawled at the couch observing a few outdated Clint Eastwood motion picture at the forty two” flat monitor. Chris pops the clip within the Springfield and fingers it to him. “One shy,” he says. “I heard. Whatcha shootin’ at, Pop? ” “You’ll see. ” He watches the motion picture for a minute. Eastwood is getting ready a jail holiday. Brian is going to the cupboard, pulls out the field of shells and places a clean shell within the clip, then arms it again to him. He inserts the clip, safeties the weapon and stuffs it again into his denims. He walks into the kitchen.

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