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(DERS BOO K: Gd 3 ian aa Ca pac POY The boy slept. His hair, cropped close at the bottom but floppy up top, spread out on a pillowcase threadbare from many washings. Moonlight from his window, the sash thrown up and curtains tucked aside in any weather, shone wanly on his skin, tanned golden from the sun and unmarked by the blemishes that would accompanyadolescence. His hands, resti atop the hand-pieced coverlet, were callused by base ball bats, and shovels for digging in the dirt. He could be almost any boy, anywhere. But he wasn’t. He began to stir, twitching as his closed eyes futilely cast about the room. His knees curled up against his body, his hands clenched into fists. He mumbled words that would have sounded like gibberish to his own ears. The susurrus of ancient words twisted itself around the shafts of moonlight, creeping along the ceiling and floor to the comers of the room where it gathered its tiny echoes. Then suddenly, the dreamer awoke. A shock like a dousing in icy water wrenched the boy bolt upright in bed, ‘gasping a hoarse breath into his lungs. “Mom!” Tony shouted. “I saw a ghost!” 1 was not his mother who came to his bedside, I neverwas; Mom wasalmostalwaysgone, but nthemiddle of the night he never remembered that. Tony's father Those Who Have Eyes To See Silent Striders came, his voice patient even though Tony could tell the reminder hurt him. “What's wrong? Are you scared?” ‘Tony watched his father's shadowy figure stumble sleepily to sit on the edge of his bed. “I saw a woman, She was kind of floating, and I could see through her. T’m not scared. She just surprised me, I guess.” His father fought down a yawn. “This woman, she didn’t do anything threatening? She had all her body parts?” Tony snorted in exaggerated scom. “Dad, this isn’t a horror movie. She just wanted to tell me something, 1 think.” He slouched back on his pillow pensively “I don't remembermuchnow. Iremerbereditalljustaminuteago” Tony's father ruffled his hair. “That's how dreams. work. And ghosts,” he added, before he could be corrected. “Ghosts do that too, I'm sure. Go back to sleep, kiddo.” “Night, Dad.” Tony slid back under the covers as the door closed, and was back tosleep in no time atall This wasn’t the frst time Tony had been haunted in his own bed. Just two years ago he'd started hearing voices that crept up on him as he tried to sleep. The school shrink recommended an astonishing cocktail of psychoactive drugs. Tony'sfather declined; the school nurse decided to give him a little something anyway.