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By Richard Laymon

While Alice's good friend Serena is going away she remains in her residence, with its sunken bath and big-screen television. better of all is the open air swimming pool. yet one evening a stranger walks out of the woods and jumps bare into the pool. Alice hopes he won't be coming to get her, like such a lot of have performed prior to.

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Serena and Charlie were sociable people. They did like to invite friends over for pool parties. But I was the only one with permission to use it when they were away. That’s another reason I knew this guy didn’t belong here. Nobody but me was allowed in the pool when they weren’t home. As far as I knew, anyway. And I knew plenty. I’d been living over the garage for three years, and I could see the pool from my windows. People just didn’t show up and start using it. Whenever I’d seen anyone at the pool, Serena or Charlie or both of them had been there, too.

He doesn’t even know I’m here. He’d better not. If he knows, he won’t quit till he nails me with that thing. The prowler sat down on the concrete, swung his legs over the edge of the pool, scooted forward and slid down into the water. 3 IN THE WATER You suddenly couldn’t see him at all. He’d vanished. I stared at where he’d been, but he was gone as if he’d turned invisible. Not invisible, but black. The pool looked empty. I knew it wasn’t, though. I pictured him swimming underwater for a few more seconds, then bursting out, hurling himself onto the pool’s edge and dashing at my door.

I began to wonder if maybe he’d fallen asleep. If asleep, he must’ve been having a doozy of a dream. The telephone rang. After midnight, and it suddenly let out a loud jangle in the silence and darkness of the den. I jumped and yelped. Out on the pool, the stranger’s head jerked sideways in the water. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I knew he was staring straight at me. 4 THE PHONE CALL Not that he could see me. If you’re in real darkness and someone else is out in the moonlight, he doesn’t stand a chance of spotting you.

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After Midnight by Richard Laymon

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