too. Three years was long enough. Ghoulie’s done.”
    Figures. “Even if, by some miracle, we have decent sales this time?” Sean asked, leaving the bathroom. Mare had laid a clean pair of jeans and his one and only collared shirt across the bottom of the bed, along with socks and his good shoes.
    She leaned beside the bathroom door, arms crossed over her belly. “Even if sales increase. Least that’s what the email said. After two failed series and returns on the minis, Black Pawn’s done with you and Murph both.” She approached him as he pulled on the jeans. “Do you want a printout?”
    “Nah. Frankly I’m surprised we lasted this long.” He reached for the shirt. “Maybe if I don’t come off as a loony, this interview will help? If not Ghoulie, maybe another contract? Another comic publisher? Shit, a couple of band posters or a matchbook cover?” He kissed her and looked into her hopeful eyes. Anything to keep the full financial load off you.
    She smoothed his bed-mussed hair. “Couldn’t hurt, babe.”
    The same pesky reporter stood on the stoop and Sean sighed as the cameraman adjusted the camera and light. “You guys do know I’m just a dude who draws comics, right?” he asked as he closed his front door behind him. “I’m not an expert on anything except maybe converting pencil drawings to vector graphics. I honestly don’t know why you’re talking to me again, especially after I came off as such a crackpot last time.”
    The reporter shrugged as she smoothed her blouse and hair. “Boss seems to think you’re as good a face as any on this tainted water story.” She checked her teeth in a reflection on the camera lens and added, “Besides, with the sheriff, CDC, and hospital all denying anything’s happened at all, you’re all we’ve got.” Plastic smile back on and the microphone poised, she said, “Ready?”
    “Guess so.” Sean flinched as neighbors across the street came out to watch.
    The reporter filmed her intro then turned to Sean, asking if he’d seen any more people lurking around the tree farm.
    “No, I haven’t.”
    A thin line appeared between her eyebrows. “Mr. Casey, access has been severely restricted to the Juniper Road area and local hospitals. Something’s going on right near your property.” She paused, then continued, hopeful. “Did you see something else? Maybe something you’re not supposed to talk about? Did you witness the sabotage to our local water supply?”
    Water sabotage? What the hell? “I don’t know anything about any of that,” Sean said. “Look, I’m on a deadline. For my comic. GhoulBane.”
    “Yeah, yeah, comic.” She gestured and the cameraman stopped recording as her plastic smile faded. “You’re the only person we’ve met who has the slightest idea what’s happening out here. Well, other than the sheriff and doctors who either deny everything, or say ‘no comment’ then sic lawyers on us.”
    “I don’t know anything about water sabotage. I just saw…” He paused, trying to figure out how to explain the tree people without getting Todd in trouble.
    The reporter spread her hands wide. “Please, Mr. Casey. People have a right to know who’s responsible.” As if sensing a weakening in his resolve, she gestured at her cameraman and he lifted the camera and resumed recording. “What did you see?”
    “It’s not really something I can put into words. I’m an illustrator, not a poet, but I do know it’s a… What the hell am I doing? Even if Todd doesn’t get pissed at me, everyone will believe I’m nuts. He sighed, the camera catching every breath. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
    “You’re telling our viewers not to fear toxic—“
    “Nothing’s toxic.” The camera rolled on as he took a breath and added, “That’s all I can say, and I shouldn’t have said that much.”
    The reporter blinked for a moment, then gathered herself. “Yesterday you told us the dead have risen and today you’re

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