In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semicolon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets overexcited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.

At the time no one really knew for sure that John Cropsey was more than the stuff of campfire stories. Not the townspeople, who saw their businesses wither and die with the bad publicity he brought. Not even the survivors of of his onslaught against Camp Beechwood. The only people who were certain that Cropsey was more than just the figment of a vivid imagination were the ones who would never share their secret knowledge: his victems.

And yet I could still hear them. As if some part of their essence had evaporated into the air, become a part of this place, ingrained, like the scent of cigarettes and burning sugar, in the woodwork and plaster. Everything was buzzing with that vanished presence, buzzing and singing and laughing louder than ever before, stone and tile and polished wood, all whispering with agitation and excitement; never still, never silent.

The scent of growth, quiet and green, hung heavy in the air. I heard everything. I saw everything. I could count the craters on the moon. I could count every mosquito buzz past, bypassing my tender skin out of respect for a fellow bloodsucker.

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