"Grandpop's teeth didn't look like that."

"How do you know?"

"Because mom always said you got his teeth. Do your teeth look like that?"

"Maybe after they'd been in the ground for fifty years."

"Not even. Look at the length of them."

"No, teeth keep growing after you die."

"That's nails, dummy. And they have to be attached still. You think teeth keep growing if they're just loose like this?"

"Who can say?"

"You know who would know?"

"Yeah, but she can't exactly tell us, now can she?"

"Well, she'd know for sure."

"Grandma's probably the one who did it...

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This sludgy finger of water curling around the land. A mucky smile that hides whatever you slip inside of it. The lake never tells.

So I'm pleased you chose this place to meet, my dear. You have solved a riddle I've kept hidden behind my own smile. Come closer for a moment so I can see your face in the moon. Let's walk down to the water's edge and peer deep into eternity.

I didn't want to meet you tonight. My plan was as unsettled as a river. But you pinched it off into something definable, and I feel calmer...

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The mannequin stared at me again, just like it did every morning.

It was the same this morning as every morning. My route would pass in front of the shop; the same steely look from that dummy. I didn't want to admit it to my older sister, but there was something about that look that made me completely afraid. "Come on, you!" she said. "Stop your dawdling, we're going to be late again, and every time we're late, it's all your fault. Come on!"

I glanced over my shoulder at the mannequin once more. I was sure, this time. Something...

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The mannequin looked so real, but was not. Apparently. At least that's what Mr Saunders always said, and he had to be right. He was a teacher, wasn't he? He was my teacher and, at nine years old, I believed every word he said.

And yet, every morning as I passed it on my walk to school, the mannequin - whom I had named Joyce - in the window of J. T. Kingsley's department store seemed to watch me as I went. Seemed to call to me, to invite me in. That was, after all, her job. But she did...

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