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By Jessica Speart

In lots of methods, hot-tempered box agent Rachel Porter offers greater with endangered animals than she does with humans -- that is why her superiors on the U.S. Fish and natural world carrier dispatch her to the main god-forsaken locations. Georgia's steaming coastal swampland is her newest project, the place she quick runs afoul of the neighborhood experts. yet somebody is working an unlawful manatee water park right here, and Rachel is set to close it down. Worse nonetheless, those interesting mammals are loss of life in alarming numbers for unknown purposes. And whilst humans being demise besides, Rachel's righteous fury is tinged with worry. simply because solutions and predators alike are expecting her in a gloomy and terrifying position: a poisonous "Dead sector" that spells convinced doom for any trespassing human, manatee ... or flora and fauna agent.

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The Fish and Wildlife contaminants office lay just beyond a Sunbeam Bread Outlet and a Michelin tire store. I parked in front of the squat building and continued my taste test by polishing off a banana Moon Pie. Then I walked inside to find that the door to Gary’s office stood closed. A cautionary sign pasted on its surface bore the admonishment, warning! hazardous waste site. clean up in progress. absolutely no entry! 38 Jessica Speart I didn’t bother to knock, but gave the warning all the respect it was due by kicking open the door.

His mobile home was one of those fancy models covered in wood siding. A cardboard manatee cutout met us at the top of the stairs with a sign in its fins that read, all mermaids please enter. Gary must have thought that applied to him, as well. He didn’t bother to knock, but simply opened the door and walked in. I already had a preconceived notion of how I imagined Wendell would look. Of course, he was nothing like I’d expected. The image I’d conjured was that of a human shark, sleek and lean with a keen sense of cunning to match.

As someone shouted, watch 44 Jessica Speart out! But I couldn’t move, much less speak. I stayed firmly rooted in place, staring in amazement at the creature’s face, which was part walrus, part hippo, and squared off in shape. I stretched out my hand, wanting to feel its snout, needing to make certain that my vision was real. But the mammal promptly slid back beneath the water. Jumping up, I raised my camera and began clicking away, knowing I had to document what I’d just seen. My actions were met by a tooting sound blasting in my ears like a high-pitched scream, determined to get my attention.

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