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     For late June, the midnight water was breath-sucking cold. Wicking up Jewel’s ratty jeans into the night air drew even more heat out of her already shivering body than the creek itself. Jewel stood in the middle of its 3-foot span, arms crossed tight against her chest, teeth clenched and head cocked, trying to tune out the gurgling water and whistle of the night breeze through the bridge supports behind her. She was sure she had heard a baby squalling. Now if it would just let out one of those hungry yowls again, they could both get out of this rural hellhole and on their way to somebody who might give a crap about at least one of their predicaments.

     The shivery, wrenching cries drifting up from the riverbank in the middle of the night were not something a...

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