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Alex Murphy lived with her mother, her father and her brother Brandon in a big beige house at the end of the cul-de-sac on Oak Street that was nearly identical to every other house on Oak Street. The house was located at the edge of a beautiful suburban development just outside the center of town. It was considered a particularly nice, normal place to live- the type of place where lawyers, accountants and doctors liked to live and commute exactly one hour to their jobs every day. The subdivision backed up to a lovely estate, surrounded by acres of farmland and forests. No one knew how big the estate was, just that the forest seemed to stretch on for miles, as large as any state park. Alex’s mother liked to tell people that they lived out in the country. But of course she meant the expensive kind where the only farmland was farmland purchased by the state for millions of dollars and subsidized by taxpayers. Mrs. Murphy would beam when visitors gushed over the fresh air or the sound of birds chirping. This always seemed to make Alex’s father uncomfortable. The little community wasn't only beautiful by day but also by night. Closer the center of town, the lights from the highway drowned out the stars even on the clearest of nights. On summer nights, when her mother’s family would come over for barbecues, they would ohhh and aww over the stars. Alex knew this made her father even more uncomfortable. Still the Oak Tree subdivision was considered a very nice place to live and that made Mrs. Murphy very happy. Yet, Alex knew there was one thing about the neighborhood that made Mrs. Murphy very unhappy. It all started, shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Murphy got married. They began searching for a house to raise a family. They wanted t... ... middle of paper ... ...the inhabitants of the neighborhood would not have been happy if they had known a rat was scurrying around the neighborhood, especially not the future inhabitants of 13 Oak Tree Street. It was just not the kind of neighborhood where rats were ok. Especially not golden rats wearing purple vests. Mrs. Murphy detested animals of any sort, especially vermin. Mr. Murphy didn't really mind ordinary rats, it was shape shifting dream bringers, he was concerned about. When he walked to his car the next morning, he saw it--the bright flash from the gold dust the Sandman had dropped the night before. That wasn't a good sign. Mrs. Murphy didn't notice the gold dust and remained blissfully unaware of the creature. But rodents have a habit of attracting larger animals. Animals of prey. Animals that were a little harder to miss. So her day wasn't any better than her husband's.

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