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     "One more step," Sam warns, "and it may be your last."

     The big man, Billy, enters the conversation.   "Now, look, little lady, don't you think the odds are not so good?  I mean, there are three of us and only one of you."

     "Oh, you want to call some friends to make it more even?"

     All three intruders laugh. "Spunky little thing, ain't she,"  Hank laughs as he squares to Sam.  "Go ahead, draw, missy, so they won't be after me for murder."

     "You first, you filthy slime." 

     With that Hank draws his gun.  When it just clears its holster,  Sam's .357 Magnum projectile smashes it directly above its cylinder and drives the handgun to the ground, Hank wincing and cursing. 

                                                     From   All I Want for Christmas

   

     “Oh, yes, mommy.  Everyone join hands around the table.  That's right.”  Katherine closes her eyes and tilts her head upward.  “Dear Lord, please bless this good food you have made for us.  And please bless Mommy and Daddy, and Jonathan and me, and Uncle Bob and…” she opens one eye and looks questioningly at Stephanie.

      Stephanie whispers, “Stephanie.”

     “…and Stephanie,”  Katherine continues.  “And Lord, could you ask Baby Jesus to help find some children for Uncle Bob so that Santa can visit him on Christmas?  Amen.”

     Katherine opens her eyes to see stone faces and teary eyes around the table.  “Amen?” she pleads. 

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                                                      From   Abducted 

     Jessica’s mind is whirring about her sister’s engagement party, now only days away.  She piles her gifts on the back seat and opens the front door.  A powerful hand buries her mouth and cold metal presses against her temple.  A deep raspy voice whispers into her ear. 

     “No sound, no screaming, or you die right here.  Get in the car.” 

                                                             From   What 'D Ya Say? 

     Having dozed in front of the TV, Wilhelm’s eyes snap open in response to the rhythmic flashing and he proceeds to the door to welcome his guest. 

     “What took you so long, you old codger?” Gunther shouts, “were you in the head?” 

     “No, I wasn’t in bed.  What are you doing here?” 

     “No, I don’t want a beer.  We’re going to the mall.” 

     “The Hall?  You mean the Lyons?” 

     “Why would I be lying?  We talked about this last week, remember?” 

     “Why are you bringing up September?  That’s months away.  I thought we’re going to the shore next week.  And I thought we were going to the mall this week to get new things to wear.” 

     “What’s wrong with my hair?  Oh, come on, I’ll wait for you in the car.” 

     “What?  You’re going far?  Where?  Aren’t we going to the mall?”

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     As his loss of body heat began to rob him of his consciousness, Mark studied the forms which had hindered his movement.  They were ice covered beings, some like him, others grotesquely different.  And then Mark’s life flickered out.  Frozen in his face was the same look of horror that marked the multitude of his companions in this, their eternal grave.

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