The phone bleated incessantly, buzzing loudly on the bedside. A series of tiny gunshots exploded every time it vibrated, though it was on silent.

It was Foster.

“Do you know what time it is?” Bianca groaned, rolling away from the split of sunlight that shone through the gap in her darkened curtains. She hissed where it touched her skin, smoking slightly.

“Early, I know,” he answered, and she could almost hear him roll his eyes. Foster knew not to wake her before nightfall… “But it’s Tori.”

Relief washed through her, and she angled herself properly to sit up on the red pillows. “Great, well, is she okay? Wha-”

“They found her body.”

She froze. Silver ice seemed to fill her chest. “Her body?”

It was nearing midday, the sun was bright and, though not hot, it burned her skin. She had rubbed sunscreen in, a special oil that protected her from the faintest of sunlight, but it still itched. Pulling her hood up against the light, Bianca stepped onto the pavement and winced. She headed toward Dawn Park, three blocks down and across the road.

“Well?” She stopped next to Foster, envious of how he could show off his dark skin, not have to worry about painful sunlight.

“Through here. There are peelers everywhere, crawling over the place.” He hurried forward, pulling her behind and through the trees on the edge. They came to a line of yellow police tape, deep in the park, surrounding a white pavilion. Men in uniform and crime scene workers bustled about, calling out to each other and snapping photographs.

Bianca watched them, partly fascinated, partly horrified. A small crowd had gathered around the tape, gossiping and speculating about the activity.

“Are you sure it’s her?” she whispered, hoping against hope that Foster was wrong. She hadn’t been friends with the girl. But she had known her.

Foster nodded. “They were speaking to Giles earlier. She had no next of kin, he must have IDed the body.”

Green-skin stood across the clearing, his wide hat pulled low and his frog-like hands clutching his coat, pulling it closed. He caught Bianca’s eye, and she flinched. Those eyes were awful, throwing horror into her heart. They were milky white and hungry, focusing and seeing straight through her.

And then he was gone. She blinked, and his image wavered. Nothing. It worried her… why was he here now?


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