The Wild family moved into the house behind ours. For two years the split-level had been dead, open to prowling neighborhood children; its sunken den had become a nest of slugs and millipedes, its attic a froth of bats. Now eight brothers flung their restless bodies around the property. The largest Wild, a bearded boy of seventeen, shut himself up in the basement den. The littlest Wild, a tangle-haired half-naked thing, rumored to be a biter, lurked around in the shrubbery. The Wilds kept cats, lizards, and ferrets. Rabbits, hamsters, turtles, and snakes. A bubble of musky, ammoniac air enveloped their home like a force field, and the second you dared step through it you felt dizzy; a hundred arrows whistled around your ears.
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