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Alice Dear

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Gray fingers threaded through dead white strands.

Wide eyes pleaded with him, begged for infinite mercy.

But she didn’t move. Her nightdress rippled with her breathing, but otherwise she sat still to receive his gentle petting. Her silent request wasn’t for herself, anyway. There were no nightmares he could give her that would be worse than what had already been done to her, or that she could give to herself.

“Alice dear,” the Boogeyman cooed quietly, pushing her hair behind an ear where it would not stay, “my promise stands. I give him nothing worse than what he needs to be healthy.”

She blinked once, a slow closing and reopening of her eyes, and something changed. There was the shine of gratitude in her unmoving gaze, and then she held out her hand.

Pitch smiled and placed an unopened package of Droobles Best Blowing Gum in her grip.

“For the next time he visits, of course.”