The animal was sprawled on its back in the little hall that led from the kitchen to the backyard door, the entirety of its torso gaping and hollow. It had no organs to speak of, not even intestines or a heart. The fur was mottled with blood, although the floor around the carcass wasn't as bloody.

Tara was staring at her dead cat in dismay, emptied out like a jar of mayonnaise.

She turned tail and booked it, rushing up the stairs at top speed and screaming for her little brother, her bare feet thumping on the carpet noisily. Just as she reached the end of the hall and crashed through Asher's bedroom door, a man dressed entirely in black straightened himself from his position over the sleeping boy, holding a liver in one gloved hand and a shiny scalpel in the other. He turned his blue-masked face toward the panicked girl and tilted his head silently, as if politely inquiring about why she was just barging in so suddenly.

Tara was floored. For a second, everything froze right then and there and she couldn't breathe. So the story the old man told her earlier that day was indeed true. It had to be, because the monster that was in his story was standing right there in her brother's room!

Despite the fact that the discovery made her head reel, she took notice of a perfectly organized white case laying open on Asher's bed filled with rows of hospital surgery tools of all shapes and sizes, some covered in various amounts of blood. Balanced on the sheets stood jars both big and small, some empty and some filled with dark red substances floating in liquid she didn't want to know about. Asher himself was knocked out, or quite possibly even dead, looking distressingly peaceful and pale as he lay on one side with his other side flayed open. The entire room was filled with the bluish glow of the moonlight that spilled through the open bedroom window and made the jars and tools in the white case gleam malevolently, the wind whipping the curtains around and chilling the room.

The man threw the liver in an open jar with a sickeningly wet plop and lay his scalpel down calmly.