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by Ray Garton
Description: Medical research? Genetic experiments? No one knows exactly what goes on inside the sprawling BioGenTech building on the edge of town. But after an enormous explosion at the facility, people in town start turning up dead...and in pieces. Something is loose in Hope Valley. Something big...and fast...and hungry. It has a lot of legs, a nasty disposition and a big appetite. This is one spider you can't step on.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads/E-Reads, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: March 2011
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [175 KB]
Reading time: 105-147 min.
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The explosion took place on a clear, cool spring night that smelled of honeysuckle, beneath a bright crescent moon.
It was the first time seventeen-year-old Rodney Lepke had brought Heidi Stokes to the place known as Lovers' Lookout. It had been a make-out spot for generations. Rodney's parents had come to Lovers' Lookout when they were in high school. Everyone in Hope Valley -- the natives, anyway -- had been there at least once. To get there, you had to drive a short way out of town and up Creasey Hill Road. It was a dirt road riddled with potholes that led up to the top of the hill where the Creasey family used to live decades ago. The family had left town after the house burned down long ago. Now, the road was used only by teenagers looking for a place to park. Halfway up the hill, a turnout that provided a nice view. Half of Hope Valley was visible from Lovers' Lookout. From there, you could watch a movie on the big drive-in screen at the northern end of town. North of the town, less than a mile from the turn out where they were parked, just beyond a patch of woods, was BioGenTech Inc. It was a blocky rectangular grey building that had been erected eight years ago. It was a bit of an eyesore sticking out of the sprawling green woods, but it had provided a lot of jobs for residents of Hope Valley and nearby Newbury and Ridgeton.
The crickets were so loud that night, they were clearly audible above the radio playing a song by Evanescence.
Rodney had not yet made the first move. He and Heidi had only started dating a couple of days before.
"I've never been up here before," Heidi said.
She had moved to Hope Valley only a week ago. Her father worked for the Forest Service and had been transferred there from Southern California.
"It's called Lovers' Lookout," Rodney said.
Rodney's white 1972 Mustang convertible had bucket seats, but he reached back and took a big pillow from the backseat and placed it between the buckets. Heidi scooted over a little closer to him.
"Is that why you brought me up here?" Heidi said. "To have your way with me?"
"Well, yeah, I was kinda hoping."
She laughed. "Are you nervous, or something?"
"I don't know, you seem ... kinda stiff."
"Yeah, well ... maybe a little."
"Don't be." She leaned over and kissed him on the lips. It was a brief, gentle kiss and her breath was minty. She pulled back a little and smiled. "I don't bite," she whispered.
Rodney put his arm around her, pulled her to him and kissed her. It lasted longer this time. Their tongues met as he passed his hand over her back.
The song on the radio changed, but they were no longer listening to it.
Rodney put both arms around her and she scooted closer to him. When they separated for a breath, he kissed her cheek, then her neck. He was afraid to appear too eager, so he tried to hold back a little, although it wasn't easy.
Heidi was a beautiful girl -- long dark hair, deep, soulful brown eyes, full and pouty lips, and a body that made guys stop and gawk at her like lobotomy cases. And she was with Rodney. He found that more than a little surprising.
The day Heidi had come to Hope Valley High School, Rodney had been walking by the principal's office when he'd heard his name called. Mrs. Kirtney, the principal, was standing in the office doorway with Heidi. She'd called Rodney over, introduced him to Heidi, and asked if he'd be willing to take her under his wing and show her around the school for her first day. Had that not happened, Rodney doubted they would have gotten together. Heidi was the kind of girl who was immediately taken in by the popular crowd, of which Rodney was not a member. But Heidi hadn't known that. He'd been nervous at first, but after showing her around that first day, he'd become quite comfortable with her. He'd made her laugh a lot that first day and she'd actually seemed to like him. They'd been together ever since.
They kissed for a while as the radio played and the Mustang's windows fogged up. She nibbled on his ear and he stifled a laugh.
"What's funny?" she said.
"Oh, you're ticklish, huh?"
She tickled his ribs with one hand. Rodney wiggled and laughed as he tried to push her hand away.
"You've got it bad," she said as she tickled him with the other hand.
Light oozed through the foggy windows as another car pulled up. It was closely followed by another.
"We're not alone," Heidi said.
"Yeah, we are." As he kissed her again, he tickled her ribs, but she didn't react.
"I'm not ticklish," she said, her lips still touching his. "Not there, anyway."
"I'm not telling. You've gotta find out for yourself."
But Rodney wasn't interested in tickling. He passed his hands over her body as their kissing intensified.