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datatime: 2022-09-26 21:16:32 Author:EtMPWrfK

'Yes,' he breathed. 'I saw it. I'll take care of it, too. I'll take care of everything.'

'Want to do the dog with me?' the stone boy enquired of her in a grating, uninflected voice. The hands clamping her wrist were all angles and squeezing, bitter weight. She looked over her shoulder and saw Norman leap onto the bank, the horns of the mask he had on digging at the night air. He stumbled on the slick grass but did not fall. For the first time since realizing it was Norman in the police car, she felt close to panic. He was going to get her, and then what? He'd bite her to pieces and she would die screaming, with the smell of his English Leather in her nostrils. He would-

Have a drink of this shit, Normie, the skull on the surface of the water whispered. Hell, take a goddamned bath, if you want. Just forget all this foolishness. Drink and you will. Drink and it will never trouble you again; nothing will.

He hurried down to the stream, trampling the delicate prints of Rose's feet beneath Hump Peterson's square-toed boots, reaching the edge of the running water just as Rosie gained the top of the other bank. She stood there for a moment, looking back, and this time it was clearly him she was looking at. Then she did something that brought him to a dead halt, momentarily too amazed to move.

Don't worry, Rosie, he thought. I'll fish you out, and I'll pat you dry. Yes indeed.

'Want to do the dog with me?' the stone boy enquired of her in a grating, uninflected voice. The hands clamping her wrist were all angles and squeezing, bitter weight. She looked over her shoulder and saw Norman leap onto the bank, the horns of the mask he had on digging at the night air. He stumbled on the slick grass but did not fall. For the first time since realizing it was Norman in the police car, she felt close to panic. He was going to get her, and then what? He'd bite her to pieces and she would die screaming, with the smell of his English Leather in her nostrils. He would-

All this went through her mind in an instant. Then, screaming-perhaps in terror, perhaps in defiance, probably in both-she leaped forward with her hands out in front of her like Supergirl, going over the tree and landing on her left shoulder. She did a somersault, sprang dizzily up, and saw Norman staring at her over the fallen trunk. His hands were clutched on the fire-blackened stubs of two branches, and he was panting harshly. The breeze puffed and she could smell something besides sweat and English Leather coming^ from him.

It sounded so plausible, so right. He looked up, perhaps to see if the moon in the sky looked as much like a skull as the one in the water, and instead saw Rose. She was standing at the place where the path entered a grove of dead trees, beside a statue of a kid with his arms up and his crank hanging out in front of him.

It sounded so plausible, so right. He looked up, perhaps to see if the moon in the sky looked as much like a skull as the one in the water, and instead saw Rose. She was standing at the place where the path entered a grove of dead trees, beside a statue of a kid with his arms up and his crank hanging out in front of him.

'Coming, Rose,' he panted. Yes, and maybe soon he'd be coming in another way, as well. Coming as she was going, you might say.

She swung with her left hand, not thinking of how much it was going to hurt to drive her fist into the face of a marble statue . . . and it did not, in fact, hurt at all. It was like hitting something spongy and rotten with a battering ram. She caught just a momentary glimpse of a new expression-astonishment replacing lust-and then the thing's smirking face shattered into a hundred dough-colored fragments. The heavy, pinching pressure of its hands left her wrist, but now there was Norman, Norman almost on top of her, head lowered, breath slobbering in and out through the mask, hands reaching.

All this went through her mind in an instant. Then, screaming-perhaps in terror, perhaps in defiance, probably in both-she leaped forward with her hands out in front of her like Supergirl, going over the tree and landing on her left shoulder. She did a somersault, sprang dizzily up, and saw Norman staring at her over the fallen trunk. His hands were clutched on the fire-blackened stubs of two branches, and he was panting harshly. The breeze puffed and she could smell something besides sweat and English Leather coming^ from him.

Have a drink of this shit, Normie, the skull on the surface of the water whispered. Hell, take a goddamned bath, if you want. Just forget all this foolishness. Drink and you will. Drink and it will never trouble you again; nothing will.

'You're not getting away that easy,' he breathed. 'I don't-'

He jumped up on the other bank and ran for his wayward wife, big hands outstretched.

'You're not getting away that easy,' he breathed. 'I don't-'

Have a drink of this shit, Normie, the skull on the surface of the water whispered. Hell, take a goddamned bath, if you want. Just forget all this foolishness. Drink and you will. Drink and it will never trouble you again; nothing will.

'Want to do the dog with me?' the stone boy enquired of her in a grating, uninflected voice. The hands clamping her wrist were all angles and squeezing, bitter weight. She looked over her shoulder and saw Norman leap onto the bank, the horns of the mask he had on digging at the night air. He stumbled on the slick grass but did not fall. For the first time since realizing it was Norman in the police car, she felt close to panic. He was going to get her, and then what? He'd bite her to pieces and she would die screaming, with the smell of his English Leather in her nostrils. He would-

Then she was up again, clawing at the bank and casting one terrified glance back over her shoulder . . . except it wasn't him she appeared to be afraid of; she was looking at the water. As she got up, he caught a flash of her butt, as bare as the day she'd been born, and the most amazing thing happened: he started getting hard in his pants.

She flashed her ass at me, he thought. Her bare ass. Maybe I've got something to flash at her . . . don't they say turnabout's fair play?

The stone boy moved then. Its arms came down and seized Rosie's right wrist. Rosie screamed and beat fruitlessly against its two-handed grip. The stone boy was grinning, and as Norman watched, it stuck out its marble tongue and waggled it at Rosie suggestively.

It sounded so plausible, so right. He looked up, perhaps to see if the moon in the sky looked as much like a skull as the one in the water, and instead saw Rose. She was standing at the place where the path entered a grove of dead trees, beside a statue of a kid with his arms up and his crank hanging out in front of him.

The stone boy moved then. Its arms came down and seized Rosie's right wrist. Rosie screamed and beat fruitlessly against its two-handed grip. The stone boy was grinning, and as Norman watched, it stuck out its marble tongue and waggled it at Rosie suggestively.

Norman wrinkled his lips back from his teeth, making a grisly expression that wasn't a grin, and put one of Hump's boots on the first white stone. The moon sailed behind a cloud as he did. When it came out again, it caught Norman halfway across the little stream. He looked down at the water, at first just curious, then fascinated and horrified. The moonlight penetrated the water no more than it would have penetrated a flowing stream of mud, but that wasn't what took the breath out of him and brought him to a stop. The moon reflected up at him in that black water wasn't the moon at all. It was a bleached and grinning human skull.

Norman saw her fall and laughed. She was going to get wet, it looked like.

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