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After a time I shifted my focus to the left, as if the object of my attention were circling the house and releasing emanations of horror only I could detect. Rover had picked up the spirit and was helping me by standing on the sofa back with fur fluffed, ears back, all the usual. She had even begun to roll out some of those soft, insane little cat moans that make you want to back away very slowly and carefully.
         All conversation had stopped. The humans were staring at me, fascinated. I could feel their Presences contracted closely around their physical bodies, quivering with tension. I tried to expand my own Presence—made myself a room-sized coyote, pressing them against the walls—then bigger still. I threw myself outward beyond the walls as far as I could go. It was something I had never thought to try before.
         Nana shuddered. "It's awfully close in here. Maybe we should open a window for a minute." But no one did.
         I shifted attention again, locking my gaze onto the back door. I stiff-walked over to it and reached my nose slowly, so slowly, for the knob, then jerked away and skittered back to the center of the room, hackles up even more, tail curled tight between legs. I changed growl into whine, still softly with each breath.
         Ernie opened a closet and pulled out a shotgun, which I saw by rolling my eyes without turning my head away from the back door. The gun looked dusty and old, like it hadn't been fired in years. I decided the game had been played far enough, and prepared to relax.
         I felt a Presence outside the house.
         It was not human, it was not one of the Puppies, and it was not friendly. That's all I'll say about it for now. I would really rather not encounter one again.
         I produced the real fear-scent then. No trouble at all. Stopped whining and stared outward in utter silence. It was beyond the kitchen window now, still circling the same way I had pretended to start it. Soon it would be back at the front door.
Excerpt from New Coyote
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