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Love Sucks

By , Wilmington, NC
Author's note: I wrote this before vampires and werewolves were the "It" creatures. It took me a couple of years...  Show full author's note »
Author's note: I wrote this before vampires and werewolves were the "It" creatures. It took me a couple of years to write and edit, so the beginning I wrote when I was around 11 years old.  « Hide author's note
Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3

The End?

Since Ayslinn and Vlad couldn’t decide where to go, they stayed at her house and played assorted games. Arm-wrestling didn’t go so well— they ended up breaking the glass on the coffee-table. Monopoly didn’t go as bad— it was just so boring they decided to stop playing it. Chess— it was the perfect game for them both. It required smarts, problem solving, strategizing, a keen mind, and –for vampires— very fast reflexes, and since they both had all of these things, it was extremely fair.

At lunch time, Vlad called a time-out in the games to make lunch, so Ayslinn relaxed on the couch. She was dozing so she didn’t sense Tony coming in the front door. Tony kicked the arm of the couch, which woke Ayslinn. “Tony? Why are you here?” she asked him. “Why aren’t you at school? Or are you to busy having fun with him to come?” he asked with hate in his eyes as he glared at where Vlad had gone. Ayslinn flew from the couch and she stopped right in front of Tony. “What is your problem with Vlad? What has he ever done to you?” she asked angrily. “He has done nothing... yet.” he responded. “Then why do you hate him so much?” she prodded. “It’s a man thing Ayslinn, so you wouldn’t understand.” he stated. “I really resent that you said that Tony.” She said with a grimace. “Dearest, he hates me because we both wish for your love.” Vladimir said as he entered the room and stood beside her.

Ayslinn gasped. She looked at Tony, looked at Vlad, and finally came to rest on the front door. “Ayslinn, it’s day time. If you go out there, people will see what happens to your skin in the sunlight.” Vlad reminded her softly. She nodded as if agreeing and threw herself onto the couch. “Why couldn’t you have both just told me straight off the bat?” she whined. Then she remembered her dream. “Oh s***! If what I’ve seen is a glimpse of the future then— oh crap!” she cried as she sat up. “Ayslinn, what do you mean?” Tony and Vlad said as tears started to roll down her cheeks.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God.” Ayslinn repeated that over and over as she cried and rocked back and forth. Tony and Vlad stared at her with worry. Ayslinn managed to tell them about the dream even though she was freaking out about it. “I should get back to school. Bye Ayslinn.” Tony said shiftily. “Bye Tony.” she said, and he ran out of the door.

“We aren’t going out tonight, for your information!” Ayslinn shouted across the hall. “And why not?” Vlad shouted back. “Do you know what tonight is Vladimir Washington?” “Nope. What is tonight dearest?” “It’s the night of the New Moon!” “Oh... so you wont have any strength tonight?” “Not much strength, but some.” By this point in the conversation, they were both in the doorways to their own rooms. “That’s ok. We can stay at home tonight dearest. Maybe young Tony would like to join us?” he said with a mischievous smile. “Ok... wait a sec! What are you planning?” she said worriedly.

After her family, herself, and Vlad had eaten dinner, she called Tony. “Hey Tony. Would you like to come over and watch a movie or something?” she asked. “I’d love to Ays. I’ll be there soon. Bye.” Ayslinn took a shower then put on clean clothes— a pair of black, dark purple, and red pajama pants, a black tank-top, and a pair of dark purple and red socks. She was curled up on the couch sipping a mug of warm blood, when Tony walked in the front door. “Hey Tony. I made you some hot chocolate.” She said with a warm smile. “Thanks.” he smiled back at her. “Hey man. What’s up?” said Vladimir as he walked down the stairs in only his boxers and jeans. He had a hand towel and was drying his hair with it. “Huh!? You live here now!?” he said in astonishment.

“My parents are out of town so I’m staying in the guest room for a few days. No big deal.” Vlad said with an impatient wave of his hand. “What movie should we watch guys?” Ayslinn asked them. “I don’t know... how about Alien Vs. Predator?” Vlad suggested. “Or how about we watch Resident Evil.” Tony suggested. “Oh, definitely Resident Evil!” she said confidently. She got up, and took her now empty mug to the kitchen and came back. Vlad had already put in the DVD and Tony had dimmed the lights. They both sat on either end of the couch, so she used Vlad’s legs as a pillow and Tony’s legs as a foot-rest.

By time the movie was over, Ayslinn had fallen asleep. Tony noticed first. “Hey... umm... Ayslinn’s asleep. You should probably take her up to her room.” He said nervously. “Right you are young Tony. Wait here and I shall be back.” he whispered in response. Vlad got up and picked Ayslinn up effortlessly. He held her like you would a baby, and she woke up enough to wrap her arms around his neck and nestled her head in his shoulder. He carried her upstairs, unmade her bed, and put her down in it. He pulled the sheets up to her shoulders and kissed her forehead. “Good-night my dearest.” he whispered lovingly, as he came out of her room, shut the door, and headed towards the stair railing.

“Hey.” said Vlad. He was standing on a balcony overlooking the stairs and he jumped down. “How are you getting home?” he asked Tony. “Oh, I just called my Mom. She’s coming to pick me up.” Tony said while turning pale. “Dude, you don’t look too good. You ok Tony?” Vlad asked in genuine concern. “Why do you care?” Tony countered in defense. “I care because she cares. I also care because I don’t want you collapsing on the floor, Ayslinn walking in, her thinking that I bit you, and her hating me for centuries.” Vlad explained. “Oh, and why do you call me ‘young Tony’?” Tony asked. “Because you are young in me and Ayslinn’s point of view. I’m 75, and she’s 50. You are 16 and are therefore young compared to us. Here’s your Mom. Good-bye. We’ll be at school tomorrow if Ayslinn isn’t freaking out again.” He said with a smile then pushed Tony gently out the door.

Vlad ran up the stairs and into Ayslinn’s room and found her laying in her bed, reading. Vlad laughed. “We should have him over more often.” he said happily. “You didn’t eat him, did you?” she asked as she put her book on her night-stand. “No dearest, I didn’t eat him.” he said with a sigh as he crawled up onto the bed next to her. “Is it true… what you said about why he hates you so much?” she asked hesitantly. “Yes Ayslinn… it is.” he replied in a whisper as he put his arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. “I’m sorry for freaking out.” she said while drifting of to sleep. “It’s ok Ayslinn. There was good reason to.” Vlad responded her as he stroked her hair.

Meanwhile, Tony was with his Mom in the car. “Who was that boy?” his mother asked him. “Oh, that was Vladimir Washington. He’s a new kid at school.” Tony answered. “Why was he at Ayslinn’s house?” “Because he’s living there while his parents are out of town for a week.” Tony sighed. “He’s not… living in Ayslinn’s room is he?” she asked tentatively. “No! Ayslinn would never allow that, and neither would her parents! He’s living in the guest room.” Tony practically shouted. “Ok dear. Let’s go home.” his mother said.

Ayslinn and Vlad were woken after they had slept all day by a bat that hopped onto the bed, and curled up on Ayslinn’s stomach like a puppy. “Oh, welcome home Fang.” Ayslinn gave Fang a few pets on the head. “You have a pet bat?” Vlad asked. “Yea. So? I found when he needed help and kept him as a pet. I couldn’t resist his cute little eyes. I mean, look at them.” she responded as she held Fang out to Vlad’s face. Fang blinked and then looked at Vlad’s hair. “He has the most piercing ice blue eyes.” he remarked in astonishment at the same time that Fang flew into his hair and started playing with a few strands. Ayslinn and Vlad laughed. “He’s still a baby. He can’t help it.” she said in between bursts of laughter. Vlad picked Fang out of his hair and put him on Ayslinn’s desk. Ayslinn calmed down as he did so. “Your laugh is beautiful Ayslinn. You ought to laugh more often.” Vlad complimented as he got back next to her on the bed. “There’s not a lot of funny things that go on here.” she said as she blushed at his compliment. “Fine then. I’ll give you something to laugh about!” he cried as he started tickling her. Ayslinn squirmed and tried to roll away while she squealed and laughed hysterically. She gathered her strength and pushed him over and started to tickle him back. Vlad laughed hysterically. As she was tickling him, Ayslinn saw that it was dusk and then flew from the bed and out of the open window. She hovered with the tips of her toes on the window-ledge. “Come get me if you can Vlad!” she cried as she turned and flew at the speed of a bullet, towards the beach on the opposite side of town.

Once there, she landed on the fine sand. She looked up and saw Vlad on the horizon, so she walked slowly towards the waves. He landed on the same exact spot she had landed on, just as her toes were a foot away from the water. It had gotten dark and there was no moonlight, so Ayslinn looked paler than usual. She sat on the sand, took off her socks, and just sat there looking out over the water. “You ok Ayslinn?” Vlad asked, concerned. “Yea. I’m fine.” she whispered. She stood up, and walked slowly into the salty ocean water. Vlad followed her.

She swam underwater until they came to a group of dolphins. When she saw them, she motioned for Vlad to meet her at the surface. “You hang back at first ok? They know me but I’ll have to introduce them to you so they don’t attack.” she said, then dove back under. A little while later, Vlad watched as Ayslinn swam with the dolphins as if she were one of their own. She swam back to him and grabbed his hand. They both swam with her ocean friends until dawn.

Ayslinn and Vlad emerged from the ocean holding hands and with seaweed all over them. To a passerby, they probably looked like walking bundles of seaweed, but there was no-one on the beach except them. They peeled off the plants, and started the walk home, holding hands.

<> <> <>

“Where have you two been!?” yelled Ayslinn’s mom as soon as they walked in the front door. “Mom, chill. We just went to the beach.” Ayslinn started in with her defensive tone of voice, while still holding onto Vlad’s hand. “You could have given our entire existence away doing that!” Ayslinn’s mom yelled. “But we didn‘t!” Ayslinn threw over her shoulder as she ran up the stairs.

An hour later, Vlad walked up the stairs. He had spent the whole time downstairs apologizing to Mr. And Mrs. Tudor for keeping Ayslinn out too long. He stopped at his door and he heard something. It was Ayslinn. She was in her room with the door shut, and from what he heard, she was crying. “She doesn’t need to cry. She shouldn’t have to.” he said to himself as he went into his room and got into bed.

Vlad woke in the middle of the day, by his door being opened slowly. He pretended to be asleep, on the alert and ready to defend himself if needed. There were soft, tiptoeing footsteps coming toward the empty part of his bed. He opened his eyes and saw Ayslinn. “Ayslinn? What are you doing in here?” he asked in earnest. She said nothing, just climbed into the bed and stared at the ceiling. “Ayslinn?” he asked. She just rolled over so she was facing him and buried her head in his shoulder. Vlad noticed that on her ice cool face, there were warm tears.

<> <> <>

When Vlad woke up, it was 6:30 p.m. and Ayslinn was gone. He got up, threw on clean clothes, and headed into the kitchen. Ayslinn was at the table in her pjs, reading something. “What’s that?” he asked her as he sat down across from her. “A note from my parents. There is one for you as well.” she stated. Ayslinn handed both notes to him.

Dear Ayslinn,
We are sorry, but there was an emergency involving some of our friends in England. We had to report there to help. We don’t know how long we will be gone, but you are old enough to take care of yourself for a while.
-Your Mother and Father

Vlad then looked at the one for him. It wasn’t opened which means Ayslinn respected his privacy. He smiled, then opened the note.

Dear Vladimir,
We have entrusted our daughter in your care for the time we are gone. You are to protect her and our secret, from all of those that wish to get close and expose our family. Be safe and be careful.
-Mr. And Mrs. Tudor

“They have friends in England?” Vlad asked Ayslinn. “Not that I know of… but they don’t tell me everything.” Ayslinn said while she shook her head. “Oh, ok then. What would you like to do today?” asked Vlad while he stuffed the note in this pocket. “Well, today is Saturday… Why don’t we invite Tony over and we can all just chill?” she suggested sweetly. “Sure, I’m cool with it, just let me call him ok?” he smiled happily and turned towards the house phone. “No, I will just IM him ok?” Ayslinn smiled and ran to her room and then to her laptop.

IBYTE: Tony, you there?

PEIRCINS: Yea im here

IBYTE: come over, Vlad an I wanna hangout and you can sleep over if you want.

PEIRCINS: sure, its all good an I wanna sleep over, go to the playground, all three of us this time tho

IBYTE: really? Ok! Come over asap! Bye!

Ayslinn shut down her laptop and flew into her closet. Vlad was already in there, which surprised her. “Why the hell are you in my closet!?” she yelled at him angrily. “Because I would like to help you choose what to wear.” he said calmly and softly. “Ok, fine. Come on, lets get an outfit together before he gets here.” she said as she stopped being angry

Ayslinn, with Vlad’s help, had gotten together an awesome outfit. She was wearing a pair of black skinny jeans, a dark purple tank top with a red skull and crossbones on it, and her pair of red and dark purple Converses. She stood in front of the mirror and looked at her outfit. “Wow, we make a good team.” she laughed. “Yes, we do don’t we?” he chuckled and ran his hand through his hair nervously. Ayslinn giggled quietly and she started to braid her long hair as she hummed quietly to herself. “Would you like me to braid your hair for you Ayslinn, that way you can do your makeup and we can be ready faster?” Vlad asked swiftly. “Oh, um, ok sure!” she answered shyly and she started putting on her eyeliner slowly. Vladimir brushed her long black silky hair gently, then proceeded to braid it in a neat loose and kind of messy braid for her. At the end of her hair, he secured it with a silver ponytail holder that had a charm that had her initials on it in blood red script. She finished doing her eyeliner and then turned to face him. “You look beautiful Ayslinn.” he whispered, and then he kissed her cheek softly. “… Thank you Vladimir…” she whispered as she blushed slightly. Vlad took her hand gently and led her out of her room and into the living room.

“What movie are we gunna watch tonight?” Tony asked as he came into Ayslinn’s living room just a few minutes later then the two vampires did. “How about something that is really gory.” Vlad suggested. “Nah, I’m not in the mood for gore… Ayslinn, you chose.” Tony replied as he went into the kitchen and popped some popcorn. “Ok, but no complaining!” she called after him and giggled as she picked up a DVD and put it into the player then tossed the remote at Vlad and skipped into the kitchen after Tony.

“Tony, may I ask you a question?” she asked shyly as she sat on the counter next to where he was standing. “Uh, yea, sure Ay.” he smiled at her encouragingly. “If I asked you to, would you sleep in my room with me tonight?” Ayslinn mumbled and blushed. “Look at me Ayslinn.” he said coaxingly and stood in front of her with his hands on her knees gently. Ayslinn just blushed more and turned her head away in embarrassment. Tony stroked her blushed cheek and she pulled him closer with her legs that were now wrapped around him and then, Tony turned her head slowly and kissed her softly on her lips.

Ayslinn kissed him back and he placed his hands on her waist and she noticed that his hands were cold. She broke away from the kiss and looked into his eyes. “Tony, why are your hands cold?” she inquired worriedly. “Because your house is kind of cold. I’m not sick.” he answered her unasked second question. “Ok, well feel free to turn up the heat if you are too cold. Uh, can you let me go please Tony?” she said as her throat started to burn and her eyes changed as her canines elongated and sharpened. “Oh!” he yelped, startled, as she jumped off the counter and practically flew down the stairs. Vlad came in and got some meat from the freezer. “Where did Ayslinn go?” he questioned as Tony rubbed his mouth with his sleeve and drank some of his water. “She got a hunger pang and went to the basement for some blood.” Tony replied carelessly as he retrieved his popcorn. Vlad leaned against the door of the fridge and smiled. “Go ahead and wait in the living room. I need some blood too.” he said as he went down to the basement in search of Ayslinn and some blood.

“Ayslinn? Are you down here?” Vlad called as he came to the basement door and opened it quickly. Ayslinn was drinking blood, and when Vlad had come in, he had interrupted her. She dropped the blood bag and lunged at him, crashing him against the wall and he noticed that her eyes were nearly black, with no gold at all. “Ayslinn… It’s me… We are the same creature, remember?” he whispered to her. She dropped him and her eyes went back to being gray with gold flecks. She looked at him and her eyes got wide and she ran up the stairs.

“Ayslinn, feeling better?” Tony asked her as she came into the kitchen. She stopped, looked at him, then ran faster out the front door. Vlad came running up the stairs after her, but stopped at Tony. “What did you do to her!? She just ran out the front door!” Tony yelled. “I didn’t do anything to her, but she did do something to me. It was quite odd.” Vlad said. “What do you mean?” Tony said, confused. Vlad explained to him what happened in the basement, and when he was done, Tony was more confused than ever. “That makes no sense…” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, but we have to go find her, come on!” Vlad said, then walked out the front door with Tony.

Ayslinn stopped at the clearing that Vlad had made the swing in. She was breathing harder than normal, but she felt good. She heard someone to her left, in the woods, so she crouched and prepared for an attack. “Hello Ayslinn,. It’s been a long time.” said a girl that looked maybe 17, with wildly curly red hair and silvery green eyes. “Who are you?” Ayslinn asked the girl, as she stood up out of her crouch and sniffed the air slightly. “Oh, you don’t remember me? I have grown some, but not so much as that you shouldn’t recognize me.” she said as she smiled. Ayslinn saw that her teeth were sharper than normal humans’ teeth. “You watched as I was attacked by that werewolf, you didn’t do anything to help me. Then you came to my home and threatened my life, along with my mother’s, and two days later, I found her dead body exactly where I was attacked!!” she screamed at Ayslinn. “Quilbry? That’s you!? Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. I really do regret not helping you.” Ayslinn said as she fell to her knees in front of Quilbry. Quilbry smacked Ayslinn with all of her strength and Ayslinn flew to the edge of the clearing. “I don’t believe you, b****!” Quilbry shrieked as she ran at Ayslinn, as she was getting to her feet. Quilbry picked Ayslinn up like a doll and tossed her to the ground again, but let her get to her feet this time. “You want a fight? You got it!!” Ayslinn said as she lunged at the other girl and cut her with her sharp nails. As the two girls were fighting, Vlad came into the clearing with Tony behind him.

“Anthony, stay back please. Ayslinn is fighting with someone… Do you recognize who she is fighting?” Vlad whispered into Tony’s ear. Tony looked and saw Quilbry dodge Ayslinn’s attack, then counter-attack. “Is that…? No, it cant be her… It just can’t be her…” he muttered in response, as he stepped completely into the clearing. Ayslinn and Quilbry both caught his scent as the wind blew it towards them, and Quilbry began to walk toward him. Ayslinn stood in shock, as she saw the red haired girl pull a knife out of her back pocket as she was walking towards Tony. Vlad rushed out into the clearing as well and although he startled Quilbry, she kept going towards the two guys. Quilbry walked faster and Ayslinn could see that she was planning on attacking her closest friend. “NO!!!” she screamed as she stared to go after Quilbry, but all of a sudden Vlad was behind her, holding her back. “TONY!! RUN!!” she screamed as she began to cry, and her tears were of blood.

“Quilbry… Do you remember me? I’m Tony…” he said as she got within earshot. “Tony? Is it really you?” she whispered as she put the knife away again. “Yes, it really is me. I missed you when you ran away…” he told her as he put his hands out to show her that he had no weaponry. “I missed you too Tony.” she said as they hugged just as they had, when they were younger.

<> <> <>

“No, Vlad, you don’t know who that is!” Ayslinn said as she struggled against his firm grip around her. “Ayslinn, you need to calm down… Your eyes are completely black again…” he whispered in her ear softly as he walked her back into the woods. “N…no… They can’t be…” Ayslinn murmured as she stumbled back to the clearing and to the pool of water. “Ayslinn, come on, I have to get you home.” he said as she knelt at the edge of the water and looked at her reflection. “My tears! My eyes! No, it can’t be!” she screamed as she slashed at the water with her nails. “Ayslinn! Calm down, it’s gunna be ok.” Vlad said as he tried to comfort her, but was failing. She whipped around and faced him as she stood up and her eyes got even darker and she wiped away her tears. “Shut up you ignorant loner. You have never been different than you are now. I was evil, but I was changed with the power of love, and became a good vampire, one that makes friends with humans, goes to school with humans, and rarely drinks a living creatures blood.” she said menacingly, then flew away, towards her house.

“Tony, I can’t believe you are actually friends with her.” Quilbry said as she smiled and pulled her wild hair into a tight ponytail. “Yea, she was exactly where you said she would be that night, but how did you know she was there?” he asked as he pulled her into a hug again. “I just knew, I don’t exactly know how I knew.” she stammered nervously, but Tony didn’t notice as he grabbed her hand and looked into her eyes. “Need somewhere to stay? I’m sure my mom wouldn’t mind you staying with my family.” “Yea, that would be really nice Tony, thanks!” she replied as she smiled brightly at him. “Come on, lets go! It’s a long walk, but my mom doesn’t expect me home until tomorrow, because I was gunna sleep over at Ayslinn’s house.” Tony grabbed Quilbry’s hand and they began to walk back to his house, on the dark streets.

“Ayslinn!! Come on, it wasn’t that bad was it!?” Vlad shouted as he burst in the front door of Ayslinn’s house. “…go…away…” she said, trying to keep calm. “No, I will not leave. This is my home too, for now anyway.” “Go save Tony… She is going to hurt him…” Ayslinn whispered from her bedroom, behind a locked door, to Vlad on the other side. “How do you know that?” “My dreams told me… Just go now, while I get prepared for the fight ahead.” she said louder, as Vlad finally obeyed and left her there in her room.

Ayslinn was running around her room trying to find her amulet and her precious silver cross. “God damn it! Where the hell are they!?” she screamed to herself as she dug through her jewelry box in haste.

“Hey, I have to go to Ayslinn’s house for a second ok?” Tony asked Quilbry, after they had gotten through his mom and they were setting up the extra bed in his room. “Why?” Quilbry looked at him from across the bed with her beautiful silver-green eyes. “Because I just need to!” he yelled as he dashed out of the room, and into his mother’s car. Tony was anxious and scared as he drove to his best friend’s house, his mind full of horrible things Quilbry could do to Ayslinn. He didn’t know her past, but he didn’t care, all he cared about was her future and her present.

Ayslinn heard a knock on her bedroom door, and when she opened it, there was Tony, with her cross and her amulet. “You left these at my house…” he mumbled as he pushed past her and she closed the door, locking it yet again. “Why would you bring these back to me? She doesn’t know about this, does she?” Ayslinn managed to say through clenched teeth. “Just take them, and she is the reason I met you, and was able to save you from killing yourself that day!” he snapped at her as she turned to face him. “Get out of my home…before she catches you here…” Ayslinn commanded as she collapsed onto her bed from exhaustion.

After a brief nap, Ayslinn hopped out of her bed, and went into the hallway to wait for her turn in the bathroom, due to the fact that Vlad was currently occupying it. She pounded her fist against the door. “Hurry up!” she yelled to him, rolling her eyes and shifting her weight from foot to foot. “Jeez Ayslinn, calm down…” he muttered as he opened the door, letting out steam and standing there wearing only a towel slung around his hips. Ayslinn smiled and slid past him, into the bathroom. “You, Vladimir, are an extreme bathroom hog!” she laughed as she closed the door and started to brush her hair. Ayslinn was going to shower, so she took off her clothes, except for her bra and her short-shorts, and started the shower. As she was waiting for the water to heat up, she decided to brush her teeth, and while she began doing that, Vlad swung open the door, and this time he was wearing jeans. “Ays--” he stopped mid-sentence when he saw what she was wearing, cleared his throat, and tried again. “Ayslinn, are you ok? After what happened in the clearing… I was worried about you.” he stared into her eyes and realized she looked like she wanted to cry again. “I’m fine…but thank you for being concerned… So much is happening right now, I just need a constant here with me, and I don’t have one.” Ayslinn started to cry shimmering tears that were perfectly clear, like jewels, as Vlad pulled her against him and held her while she cried. “Let me be that constant. Sweetheart, I will always be here for you. I love you.” he told her as she stopped after a few moments. “I… I love you too…” Ayslinn replied in a whisper.

Vlad and Ayslinn were curled up in her room on her bed, watching Fang hop about on her desk. Vlad kissed her neck softly and she shivered. “Is it ok if I told you that I don’t want to go out tonight?” he murmured against her skin. “Yes in fact, it’s perfect. I don’t want to go out either.” she replied, giggling as his breath on her sensitive skin at her collarbone tickled her.

Tony and Quilbry slept soundly, and unbeknownst to them, Vlad and Ayslinn became closer than ever, giving each other everything they could of themselves.
Chapters:   « Previous 1 2 3

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real_saxman said...
Aug. 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm
I should start off by saying, it was a great read. You're writing is more vibrant than many others I've seen. However, I should draw your attention to simple, grammatical issues. When your writing dialogue be sure to indent when another person's speaking, that way the reader doesn't get confused. It's a minor fix, but one worth looking into nonetheless. Thanks again for your writing.

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