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August Zooms In

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The hobo’s grip is tight on his throat, crushing, unrelenting.

The hair and beard fall away, and the lips curl up -- not a snarl, but a friendly grin.

Hey, Anton! Good to see you again.

The eyes are the same.

It’s the same man.

 

Anton wakes with a choked-off cry, terror washing over him in waves.

The stranger knows his name. Came and found him. Knows where he lives.

He curls himself into the corner beside the bed, wanting to cry out for help. But he just turns his face into the side of the mattress and muffles his sobs.