There’s a treehole that acts like a monster, and the weird thing is, everyone in town knows it.

They say, “Oh, you stay from that old gnarled tree. It’s got an appetite.”

Or, “Lots of kids and dogs go missing when they go sniffing around that wicked tree. Don’t you be one of them.”

Devin’s heard it all, but he’s not stupid. He’s eight, after all, not a baby. He knows what that treehole is for, alright. He’s been using it since he was six.

His first pet, Petey the Gerbil, went in there, along with his first goldfish Goldie. The neighbor’s dog, Sam, who tried to bite Devin that day after school—he’s in there, too, and he deserves it more than the others.

And there are others: the yapping Chihuahua from two doors down that used to make a racket when Devin walked past its yard; the rabbit from his class—not because it did anything wrong but because Mrs. Marple gave Devin two stars on his assignment instead of four. It felt good to see Mrs. Marple cry when her rabbit went missing.

There are other animals in there, too, some that annoyed Devin but most of them stuffed in there just because they were easy to catch.

The funny thing about the treehole is that it’s never full. No matter what Devin shoves into it, there’s room for more. So he tries his best to fill it with all sorts of things, just to see if he can finally plug it up.

So far he’s had no luck, but he’s bringing Mandy’s little sister out to the treehole this afternoon. She’ll be the biggest thing, especially since she’s so chubby. Maybe the old people are right and it’s kids the treehole wants. Devin is going to find out.

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