On the eighty-second day, Clarice Dodd risked a peek through the blinds of the kindergarten classroom.
“Are they gone?” the Birchmont girl asked.
Clarice had taken to calling them “crawlers”. They looked like a cross between a python and a millipede. They fed on flesh – human and otherwise. And they seemed most active in the daytime.
She dared to allow herself a little hope. “I think so,” she said.
But then Clarice spied movement among the branches of the oak tree in the Winfield Elementary School playground. Three crawlers, sinuous and dark, with scales colored like oil slicks in the sunlight.
She sighed, let the blinds slip closed.
“Can we go?” Jimmy Nickels asked. He tugged on her blouse sleeve.
“No,” Clarice said. “Not yet.”