Prologue

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The hollow clang from the tin roof woke Jorina. Lemp, her partner, still snored beside her, and she knew that he would continue sleeping. He always did when the roof clanged.
   
She sucked in a breath, eyes wide as she stared up at the ceiling.
   
Clang. Clang.
   
Every night, during the witching hour, it would clang several times. Sometimes, it would only clang three times. Other times, it had clanged as many as twenty.
   
Well, at least during what could be called night where she lived. Sometimes, the people she and the other residents called "They" forgot to turn the lights out for several days.

Previously, Jorina would go outside to investigate, but her search was always fruitless. She had even staked out an entire forty-eight hour night, keeping awake and hidden. She always fixed her eyes on the metal roof as as she waited and waited for the cause of the noise to show itself.
   
Jorina even interrogated several neighbors. A few said that they had heard it, but didn't know where the sound was coming from. Many more said that they hadn't heard it at all, even though they were her closest neighbors. She knew they were all telling the truth; no one ever dared to lie to her.
   
Clang. Clang.
   
She bit the inside of her cheeks. It always scared her, that sound. Nothing seemed to cause it, and Lemp decided to just ignore it. It frustrated her to no end that it didn't bother him, even though it bothered her so much. It was easy for him to ignore it, though, since he could probably sleep through the whole world being turned upside down and shaken like a snowglobe by They.

Jorina was never one to ignore what was wrong.
   
She threw her portion of the covers off of herself as she tumbled out of bed. She grabbed the flashlight and stuffed her feet into her shoes.
   
The air was cold that night. She tried to imagine that They had stuck them right under an air vent, and that was why it was so chilly. At least They remembered to turn the lights off this time, even though there was no guarantee that they would be turned on at all for the next couple of days.
   
The clanging sounds on her roof stopped, but the neighbor's lights turned on.
   
Maybe They caused the clanging. If they had, she couldn't do a single thing about it, and neither could anyone else, except They.
   
Jorina stepped slowly towards the other house, mouth slightly open. The lights were on, and her neighbor, Wolf, as some called him, never kept his lights on. Not even when the outside lights were kept off for more than fourteen hours.
   
A shiver ran down her spine when she realized that the air was still. Silence accompanied the still air. The clanging sound had stopped. She blinked and gave a shake of her head when she realized she had been staring at the space between Wolf and another neighbor's house.
   
A loud crack rang through the air.
   
She clapped her hands over her ears as the sound stabbed her brain. Her eyes skirted across the area surrounding her as the sound faded.
   
Her field of vision tilted, then became still.

A breath of relief escaped her mouth as she cautiously lowered her hands away from her ears. Her eyes watered slightly as she stepped across the street.
   
Wolf's door slammed open. "Wot the hell was that!?"
   
Jorina jerked her head towards the haggard-looking man and she gave her head a rough shake.

"No idea," she said. She was shaking, and she rolled her hands into tight fists to try to stop it.
"But whatever it is, I intend to find out," she added, with forced determination.

Wolf's eyes were wide and he began to point to something behind her, as if there was something terrifying lurking behind her. Wolf was never one to ever look scared...

Foam began to drip from his lips, like he was choking on something. Jorina never saw what he had been pointing at.

A flash of light exploded, blinding her. She shielded her face.

Pavement crumbled under her feet like crisps. She moved her hands away from her face as she stumbled backwards.

Wolf was gone. Dust floated in the air where he had once stood.

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