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Tiny Marcie was the perfect specimen. Small for her age, young and with a sweetly melodic voice, her silky black hair in perpetual pigtails and massive brown eyes made her innocence defined. The air was humid and sticky, the sun lurking like a devil behind thin clouds, and she played in the yard, humming a gorgeous tune to the spread of dolls before her.

Vincent wiped a handkerchief over his brow, the run of hairspray melting with the wet heat into a caramel along the creases in his regal forehead. He had watched Marcie for five days, knew her mother would be out in under ten minutes to offer sunscreen or lemonade or plead with the child to come inside and cool off. It was more than enough time. He exited the pickup and walked casually, capturing Marcie’s song with a harmonized whistle, drawing her attention.

“Well hello there,” he said.

“I don’t talk to strangers.”

“My name’s Vince, what’s yours?”

“Marcie.”

“Now we aren’t strangers. Would you like a lollypop?” He produced one.

Things went wrong. Marcie’s teeth sharpened, her eyes went red. She smiled with menace. Vincent stepped back from her hungry approach and screamed his final breath.