Logan saw the flash from the kitchen window. He pulled back the curtain to try to catch a glimpse of the sky. The combination of clouds and reflected light from the town made it just a haze above the distant campus buildings. He flipped on the radio in the hope of getting a weather report. It was the university station which usually broadcast NPR or student news. Tonight it was a repeat of what was becoming a major issue, expansion. The school had grown so fast over the years that whole sections of the community had been surrounded. Little pockets had been completely closed off by dorms and classrooms and office buildings. They were like tiny villages. The Pickled Pepper was on a block with a convenience store, a Laundromat, and a used book store. They had been isolated so long that most people thought of them as college owned, but, in reality, they were town and not gown. People called it Union Village because it was so close to the Student Union. About a mile down Piper was Stadium Village. Two miles east on Peters was Ramsey Village because the old Ramsey Movie Theatre still operated. Every time the University needed a new parking garage or a dorm, the controversy opened up again. This year it was a computer center and everybody had his own agenda. Logan went back to his paper. Out back he heard a crash, like one of the trash cans turning over; there was a really big flash of lightening and, following right on its heels, a clap of thunder that rattled all the windows. Having learned the hard way, he hit save on the file on which he was working. The scream from the bedroom sounded as if Timmy had been holding his breath: it came with such force that it could only last a second. It was one word, "Rats!" After a moment came the plea, "Papa, the rats gonna eat him! Help, papa." Logan was in the boy's bedroom in seconds. Timmy stood frozen at the window overlooking the alley. His eyes were wide and terrified. Using all the strength his tiny arms could muster he was trying to pull himself up, into the window to peer directly down onto the near blackness of the alley pavement. Logan scooped him into his arms. "What is it, sport? What's going on? Did you have a nightmare?" Timmy kept trying to turn back to the window and point down toward the dark below. "Man fall down, papa. Dose rats gonna get him." Logan walked over to the window and held Timmy close as they both scanned the dark alley. Another flash of lightening, this time in the distance, revealed only one metal can laying on its side with two plastic bags of trash spilling onto the asphalt. The thunder rumbled and a rat ran from the can into the shadows at the edge of the building. Timmy looked into his father's face with sheer incredulity. "Fuckin' rats ate him, papa."