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Endangered Authors Tour Diary, Day 15

Something very, very disturbing happened on Day 15 — so disturbing, in fact, that I hesitate to mention it in a public forum.

But first, the good news: the kids in Alexandria, Virginia are great! We started the day at Hollin Meadows Elementary, where awesome librarian Kelly McKee introduced us to both some delicious breakfast pastries and a fantastic bunch of very enthusiastic kids. Here they are listening with bated breath to Adam’s G.I. Joe story:IMG_5134

After stopping at the wonderful Hooray for Books in Alexandria, where we signed a ton of stock, we had lunch at a restaurant called Table Talk — which turned out to be more than just a clever name when an 86-year-old Freemason dining next to us wound up talking to our table at great and entertaining length.

Then it was on to Mount Vernon Community School, where fantastic librarian Debbie Griffin and the wonderful Mount Vernon PTA had gotten free books in the hands of all the kids in the audience. Which was AWESOME. The Mount Vernon kids couldn’t have been more fun, and everybody had a great time.

Unfortunately, the light level in the auditorium was a bit low for photos, and the flash on my iPhone caused a lot of eye glare. Either that, or some of the Mount Vernon kids are demonically possessed:IMG_0515

All in all, it was a great day.

Except…

This is hard to talk about. Not only because it’s so disturbing, but because I fear my life may be in danger if I discuss it.

But there are two days of the tour left, and if something should happen to one of us…or, heaven forbid, someone in the audience at one of our shows…it’s better to have the information out there so people can take the necessary precautions.

As regular readers of this tour diary know, I have long suspected that Curtis may be a werewolf. It’s not just that his book series, Wereworld, is all about lycanthropes. Or that he lives in the same part of England where David Naughton got the bite inAn American Werewolf in London. Or that he has body hair in a quantity most commonly seen in woodland mammals.

It’s his behavior. Which can be a little…off.

Still, after I’d checked the lunar cycle and confirmed that there wouldn’t be a full moon until next Thursday, I’d managed to put it out of my mind.

Then came today.

It all started shortly after we’d arrived in the Mount Vernon auditorium. It was such an attractive, pristine-looking space that I asked Jacqueline to pose for a photo. So she did…

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And as I took the shot, I noticed something strange over her shoulder…all the way in the back corner, near the right-hand exit…

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Braving the shadows of the darkened auditorium, I stepped closer…

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Ten rows back, I heard the sound of a struggle, accompanied by a feral gnashing of teeth…

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Then I drew near, and the full horror revealed itself…

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With trembling fingers, I raised my camera to snap another photo. This proved my undoing. Enraged, the beast turned on me and attacked:

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What followed was brief, violent, and entirely one-sided. I would no longer be alive to write this if it hadn’t been for Peter — or, more accurately, Peter’s leftover roast beef from lunch. He managed to distract Curtis with the meat while I fled to safety, the Mount Vernon nurse patched up my wounds as best she could, and we went on with the show.

Curtis claims to remember nothing of the incident, which he blames on jet lag. And to be fair, he’s been very apologetic.

But the puncture marks on my arm are a feverish red, the hair on my knuckles has turned thick and coarse…

And day by day, the moon grows full.

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