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    See Me Smiling


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    Join date : 2012-05-30

    See Me Smiling Empty See Me Smiling

    Post by Fyodor on Thu May 31, 2012 2:19 pm

    Hello everyone. I'm pretty proud of this piece as it's the first short story I've actually finished. I have a bad habit of starting great ideas and then totally abandoning them when I can't get it done in one big shot.

    Fortunately, I sat down for six hours straight to write and revise this little tale, so I hope you all enjoy it and I can't wait to receive feedback.

    Word count was 4,919 words and the character count was somewhere above 22k.

    This story is centered around Igbo culture, an African tribe in Nigeria. I will put a little glossary at the end of the story to help with any terms that were not explained in the story well enough to be understood, as well as for reference.

    J'ai reussir!


    “He who leads a bitter life of selfishness will die reaching out for what he failed to give.”

    The struggles of life can range from many different things, within many different ranges of difficulty; whether it is our relationships with our families, the struggles of our marriages, or simply dealing with each passing day. However, it is not the issues that we have that define how our life goes on, but the decisions we make in order to resolve them.

    The sun sets upon a small Igbo village, emanating a beautiful orange sky that embraced the horizon like a mother embraces her child. The sphere of light sunk halfway beneath the tips of the trees and casted a shadow upon the Obis and huts of the denizens. They begin to retreat to their homes and families, happiness surrounding them like an aura. But one man remains a guest at another Obi, his goatskin mat laid out upon the floor. Calm speech emerges as whispers to the outside, but reverberates against the dirt walls of the inside loud and clear.

    Two dark-skinned men sat across from each other in a peaceful debate. They contrasted each other, one appearing thin with a belly that was slightly swollen. It looked as though he was between the point of starved and malnourished. The other man was somewhat hulking, muscular and healthy with no swelling visible upon his stomach. It was obvious that these two men had had much different results this year for their crops, the harvesting time having ended.

    The thin man spoke up. “I still envy your sowing, I do not know how you have achieved a surplus crop every year while mine can carry barely a third of what it should have. Six hundred yam seeds and I end up with one hundred and eighty. Perhaps I have angered the Earth in some way.” The other spoke in return, “You have just been unlucky these past two years, Okwukwe. But you will prevail perhaps even greater than my own crops if you hold to your namesake.” Okwukwe smiled as he remembered the meaning of his name being ‘Hope’, a slight sparkle in his eyes. “Perhaps that will be so. I cannot thank you enough for your generosity, Uzoma. You have been a good friend to me in my times of failure, while others have pushed me away.”

    Uzoma began to wrap up his goatskin and shuffle to his feet. “That is what friends are for, Okwukwe. The lizard who fell from the high iroko tree must be caught by the kindhearted.” With a nod, Okwukwe wrapped up his own goatskin and struggled to his feet, his other hand grasping a bag full of yams. “You are the kindhearted, Uzoma. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I will return your generosity with pots of palm wine after my next tapping.” Uzoma waved his hand to decline his offer. “I ask for nothing in return, my brother. Ebelechukwu.” Uzoma walked off and Okwukwe returned the goodbye. “Ebelechukwu.”

    By this time, the sun had vanished beneath the horizon and Uzoma walked home on the dimly lit paths. Rays of moonlight poured gently along the village, inviting the cripples to walk. But Uzoma was not afraid of those he would pass by, and instead sprinted on with his charity illuminating his chi. While it was not visible, it could certainly be felt, he thought.

    Arriving to his Obi, Uzoma paused before stepping in. He gazed at his compound in the dark of the night. Uzoma had only one wife, and as such, one hut outside of his Obi. Uzoma was one to bend the rules of society, however. He would allow his wife to stay with him in his Obi, not thinking it correct to put her out in the weather, protected only by a small hut. He would have her sleep within the larger home, at least until they would have a child.

    But lately Uzoma had been staying out due to struggles with his marriage. It had been arranged, and she was one of the few who were very unpleased with being unable to choose their husbands. One of the ones that believed cowries was not love. Even with all of Uzoma’s efforts, he was unable to please her. This only escalated when he avoided her for long hours of the day.

    Stepping into his Obi, he received a sudden stinging pain upon his cheek. An imprint of a hand was red on his skin, slowly fading away as the yelling began. “Where have you been? Do you think I’m going to do all of this by myself?!” The soft, feminine voice that Uzoma so dearly wished for was instead a rather guttural roar that pained his ears. The one person that he cared about the most was someone that he could not bring to peace. “What is it, Kambina? What is it today that I forgot to do? Sow your cocoa-yams? Do you not realize the purpose of a woman in a household?” Uzoma’s voice remained low for now, but his patience was being pushed. She went to strike him again and his hand met hers, a tight grip causing her to wail and kick him in the shin.

    Uzoma took the blow, keeping his ground. “I won’t ask you again, what is it?” He threw her arm down, hurting her being the last thing he wished to do. Beatings were not something Uzoma enjoyed, and he had only done it once. But the next words stung more than her hand as she wailed out at him. “You sorry excuse for a man! You sit out all night at some dying fools’ house instead of seeing me! Even the Egwugwu called you pathetic in court, and they were right! Even the people here dislike you! They look upon you with distaste and you are forced to spend your hours with a failure! Outcasts! And I’m stuck married to YOU!” She turned, storming off out of the Obi’s second exit to her dark hut and quieting.

    Uzoma stood for a moment, and then stepped quietly over to his bed, sitting down on the edge and starting to contemplate her words. Ah… That’s right. Even the Egwugwu told me of my failures, but I paid them no mind because I know who I am and what I’m capable of. … Was I a fool all this time to think I could be different? Uzoma turned and lie down on his cot, closing his eyes and folding his hands on his stomach. Maybe in the end I was meant to be alone. Even through all my material successes… is my chi killing the people around me? Uzoma drifted off into the night, his emotions reaching their capacity.
    A rooster crowed and Uzoma opened his eyes to the smell of hot yams. He was surprised his wife was actually preparing breakfast as he stepped out of bed, standing up and walking over to the low clay table he had crafted. Sitting down on his knees, she soon entered his Obi with the bowl of sweet smelling yams and set it down in front of him, along with a bowl of bitter-leaf soup and a small pot of palm wine. Uzoma, when home alone, drank directly from his pots rather than a horn. A habit he had developed from being alone for years. When not fully structured other than your own practices, you tend to develop workarounds and shortcuts to the more complicated processes.

    He went to eat, raising a single bite of his yams to his mouth when he received a striking smack to the back of his head, causing his hand to fly down and spread the yams across the table. He snapped, and erupted into a rage. Fingers clenching the small table, he threw it across the room and the bowl of yams landed upside-down while the Obi was painted with the soup and wine. His wife opened her mouth, “You don’t even thank –” but she was cut short by a fist pounding directly into her jaw. She was sent down onto the floor, and he kneeled over her, rocketing fist after fist down into the woman. A savage beating taking place as she screamed, but nobody would come to save her from the war she had started.

    Stopping for only a moment, Uzoma bellowed down at her. “You are not above me, woman!” She turned, hatred upon her brow as she threw more words with the tips of spears. “I wonder if that’s how your father felt when he died cold and alone!” Uzoma’s eyes widened and he had no response, only the rage seeping from his fingertips as a hand reached back and claimed the bowl of yams. He held it by the bottom, looking down at his wife with only few words to spare. “If you like your yams so much, you eat them.” He slammed the bowl down into her face, the clay shattering and cutting her skin through the thick food. Uzoma stood up and grabbed his machete and goatskin bag, slinging them both over his shoulder and walking out of his Obi. “I do not need you, woman. I will live alone.”

    Uzoma paced angrily back into the paths of his village, brushing past others who gave him a confused look. Usually Uzoma was one to walk slowly and take his time when going from place to place, enjoying the presence of others around him. But now the air of anger that surrounded him was evident and none attempted to stop him. Uzoma only ever went to four places, his Obi, Okwukwe’s Obi, his farm, and the market. Other than that, he spent little to no time in any other place. The most time was spent with Okwukwe and his farm, due to his wife causing such issues at home.

    Approaching Okwukwe’s Obi, several thoughts ran through Uzoma’s mind. My brother can make this better. I can stay in his former wife’s hut tonight. I am already seen as pathetic; why not push the title even further for all these unappreciative people? His steps brought him to Okwukwe’s Obi, standing at the entrance as he took the first step in. . I do not need these people. I do not need the market or cowries. I can support myself, and that is all that matters. Uzoma saw Okwukwe sleeping on his bed and walked over, reaching to place a hand on him to wake him up. Such was a rude thing to do, barging into another man’s Obi and awakening him from his rest, but the two were so close of friends they had done it to each other and knew when it happened it was urgent. . I can tap my own palm wine, I will sow my own seeds, and I will tend to my own household just as any woman can do, but better. May the Earth forget all those who think I cannot. But as his hand lay to rest upon Okwukwe’s body, he was cold and unmoving. A light smile was upon Okwukwe’s face and Uzoma was stopped dead, his angered thoughts halting and his heart skipping a beat. Several shakes were to no avail in waking the man.

    Uzoma released him and noticed something in his friends’ hand. There was a piece of bark with an arrow carved into it, pointing towards something on the other side of the room. Uzoma turned, and the wall was lined with four pots of palm wine. There were also several other pieces of bark with carvings detailed into them. Uzoma took several steps, all of the emotion draining from his body as he gazed upon the images left behind by Okwukwe.
    The first picture was of a large man handing a smaller one what appeared to be a full sack. The next carving being the smaller man showing thanks and then there was a final. The final one showed the smaller man once more, but this time it appeared he was standing on a cloud, waving down. Uzoma realized the message left behind from his friend. The words echoed in his mind. You have shown me generosity that no one else has shown me in my lifetime, Uzoma. For this, I cannot help but return it with what little energy I have preserved. Forgive me for not being able to meet the same amount you have shared. And as the words rolled off into his mind, Uzoma felt for a moment as though Okwukwe was still there, talking. Persevere, Uzoma. You are the one that will show them that failure can be the ultimate success. Uzoma picked up the final carving, and turned to his friend, nodding before sprinting back to his Obi.

    His eyes twitched with the need for release, but no tears would dare flow down his cheeks. Uzoma stepped into his Obi, and tore his war dressing from the wall. A beautiful suit of decorated feathers and leathers wrapped together. He placed it upon himself, his wife having already left back to her hut by this time. The Obi was still covered in soup and wine, but that was of no concern to Uzoma now. With his fittings on, he placed the bark in his goatskin bag and hanged his machete at his side. The bag swung around his shoulder, he also grabbed an axe and a bowl, shoving them both into his bag. Marching out of his Obi, he turned and gazed upon the village, his brow furrowing. “They can all suffer by themselves. This society does not appreciate the good men it tosses away.” He then ran far out of the village and into the brush of the forest, disappearing without a trace into the world around it.
    It was a month since Uzoma’s disappearance. Just as expected, he had left unnoticed. Okwukwe had been dead in his Obi for a week before anyone took notice of his absence, and his burial was an unattended one. Uzoma’s wife left for home, with Uzoma’s disappearance marking the breakup of the marriage. For abandoning his village, Uzoma was exiled, just as he wished to be, now that he roamed the landscape. Life continued on in the village the same as before, with just two less men occupying it.
    A faint sound of whizzing traveled through the air, soon met by the thud of stone on flesh. Blood trickled from the side of a boar, who squealed in shock and pain. Knocked to its side by the force of the blow, a dark skinned man came running to it. As he approached the boar, a new figure approached, leaping out from the trees. The two collided over the boar, being sprawled out next to each other on the ground as a fight ignited. Grunts emerged from them as they jumped to their feet, the first swinging a machete at the man and the other blocking with some kind of blunt object. It was long and made of wood combined with black metal, familiar to both fighters as a loud clang resounded in the forest.

    Uzoma grabbed the weapon and pulled hard, the other man holding onto it, the result being his body slung into a tree. It shook from his weight and leaves began to pour down from its branches. The man tried to get up, but was temporarily stunned. A beastly roar emerged from deep within Uzoma’s throat as he was about to kill the man in cold blood for attempting to steal his hard-earned meal, but several more men stepped around, shiny knives pointed from the tips of their rifles at Uzoma who stopped in his tracks and eyed all of them. There appeared to be four in total, including the one who had originally attacked Uzoma and was recovering on the ground.

    Their skin was like sun-baked sand, different from the tribesmen Uzoma had ever seen. Their eyes were all iridescent, mixtures of colors that were so oddly different than the black and brown that was within the village traits. These men were different, wearing odd clothes and fighting dirty rather than letting the two finish what one had started. One spoke, “Drop the blade!” The language was not familiar to Uzoma, and so he simply spat at the man speaking, who in turn attempted to beat Uzoma with his rifle.

    The attempt was not successful as Uzoma ducked, slashed at the man’s kneecap with his machete, digging into it as the target cried out in pain. Pulling, Uzoma’s blade tore into his bone and blood came spewing out as the man fell over with hands clutching his pant legs. The others aimed to shoot, but Uzoma was too quick for them to react. He used his free hand to take hold of his axe and throw it at one, who was hit with the blunt end and knocked over while he charged the other. The final white man turned to run, but was pinned to the ground as Uzoma leapt at him, using all of his weight to knock him down. Placing a machete at the back of his throat, Uzoma threatened them in a language they could not understand; Igbo. “What are you, demons of the Earth? Have the Egwugwu sent you to dispose of me for leaving my village behind!? Is this all that they have to offer?” He continued to bellow down until a soothing voice came from behind. The language spoken was Igbo, but the accent was of these sand-beasts.

    “Stop, son. We are not here to steal your kill, nor are we demons. We are only scouting.” Turning to face the man, he wore a large black cloak and a cross around his neck. Uzoma did not know what his role was among this white tribe, but he released the man on the ground and marched over to his boar, which had now bled out. Ripping his spear from the carcass, he returned it to his back which had several rope holds for his weapons. Not forgetting his axe, he also retrieved it from the unconscious white man on the ground and then grabbed the boar by the tusks, starting to drag it away into the forest. The cloaked one spoke as he began to walk. “Are you to leave these men in this condition?” Uzoma did not turn, and only spoke as he walked away. “They are your tribesmen. You deal with them.” He disappeared into the forest.

    Uzoma’s new Obi was located within a clearing in the forest. He had spent a month clearing out trees, uprooting their stumps and then beginning to plant his yams. Only enough for himself and no more, as he no longer had to buy or sell. He did not sow cocoa-yams or ingredients for bitter-leaf soup. There were trees for tapping palm wine and his yams, and that was all he wanted. The Obi was big enough to fit his bed and his things, about twice the size as his wife’s hut, but half the size of his original Obi. Sitting within it, he watched as rain gently poured down outside. The meat of the boar was already cut and hanging to dry into jerky.

    Uzoma was about to begin reflecting upon his day before a figure approached his Obi, stepping at the entrance and looking in to him. The white man with the cross had found his farm, and was asking entrance. Uzoma nodded, but did not gather his goatskin or any kola nuts. The white man entered and sat down in front of Uzoma, as how conversations traditionally took place. “You fight without compassion.” He commented about the earlier events of the day, in which Uzoma nodded. “I show no compassion to those who are incapable of it.” The man sighed at the thought of a savage tribesmen living in seclusion, much like a Neanderthal. It was amazing how faithful these men were to their beliefs, as ridiculous as they were. But he did not comment openly, the man he sat with was angry enough. “It sounds like you have had a bad past. Is that why you live out here by yourself?” Uzoma lifted an eyebrow. “My village cared not for change.” The man saw the opportunity to go somewhere. “My name is Paul, and?”

    Uzoma reached for a pot of palm wine, lifting it and taking a drink before setting it down to respond. “Uzoma of the wild.” The man looked to the pot, but did not comment, and nor did he receive an offer to have some. “Well, Uzoma. I have an offer for you. In exchange for some of your yams, why don’t I teach you how to read and write?”

    Uzoma smiled in his mind at the opportunity to manipulate. “To read and write? This is new. If you show me the usefulness of these… things, I will grant you a portion of my crops at the end of the next harvest.” The man smiled and nodded. “I will come to visit you over the next few months. When our lessons are done, I will send for your end of the bargain.” He would have extended a hand to complete the offer, but knew that it would be more confusing than meaningful. They both nodded and the white man was off.

    Over the course of these next few months, Uzoma was entranced with the experience of reading and writing. He smiled more than his wedding day, when he had married that wretched witch and put up with her for so long. He spent more time thinking than all of his harvesting seasons combined, and spent more time enjoying himself than most of his life.

    But with this new language and means of expression, he spent much time thinking as well about his experiences. He had given up his kind heart because nobody appreciated it, and in the end he was a man living alone in the forest. He had no tribesmen to back him up in a fight, he hunted for his own food and he cooked and ate his own crops. It was lonely, yes, but he had at least received entertainment for the white men. The white man whose final day had finally come and the harvest was to end next week.

    Standing up in Uzoma’s Obi, he shook his hand. “You have learned well, Uzoma. It seems you are enjoying English more than your own language.” They still spoke in Igbo, as the lessons had only extended as far as writing basic Igbo words and then much English as the white men had learned from their village elders. “This was a different experience... One that I will not forget easily. Farewell, Obioma.” The white man nodded, his nickname having been given to him by Uzoma as he had difficulty pronouncing Paul. “Ebelechukwu, Uzoma.” Paul made his way out of the Obi and vanished into the forest path he had marked with his many travels here.

    But this was not the end of the white men. Uzoma began to contemplate how to avoid sharing his harvest, his decision not taking long as he decided that he would kill any white men that came for his crops, and prepare for any more that wanted to avenge them. He had gained a gift, and they would receive nothing in return.
    Uzoma hid within the trees, dressed in his war outfit. He held two spears in his hands, awaiting the arrival of the white men. There were two ropes near him, one tied between trees and the other connecting to his Obi. Uzoma had thought ahead, constructing traps for them to take them out as they arrived. The battle would be quick and bloody, and it would stay that way. The trotting of a horse sounded out in the distance, followed by marching footsteps. More white men began to emerge from the forest into Uzoma’s crops. They approached his home, and as they were off guard, Uzoma launched his assault.

    He threw the first spear at one of the men, followed by the second, both of which made impact into their bodies. Uzoma was greatly outnumbered, but he would fix that. Drawing his machete as the first spear made impact with a soldier, plowing into his ribcage and knocking him over, Uzoma sliced the nearest rope to his right. A spear was launched from a hidden contraption as the second man was hit with one of the already flying projectiles; a head shot as the stone found its way into his skull and dropped him like a rock.

    The third spear flew as the men were shocked, piercing the one on the horse and knocking him off completely while Uzoma slashed the final rope and drew his axe. A gunshot resounded from his Obi, a rifle firing and injuring one of them as a bullet made contact with his shoulder, causing him to wail while Uzoma ran out with a roar. “Victory to he who lives for himself!” was shouted, the men hearing only Igbo and turning their rifles. But their reactions were late as Uzoma slashed the injured man with his machete, slicing into the flesh of his throat and causing him to become a fountain of sorrow.

    As Uzoma was to turn and strike the next, one man shoved his bayonet into Uzoma’s back, causing him to close his eyes and grit his teeth, stepping forward to rip it out of his own body and then swinging around, throwing his axe at full force. The men were dropping faster than the toad could catch his flies. The man tried to block the axe, but it made contact with his body and he pulled the trigger of his rifle, which was still aimed at Uzoma. Point-blank and no ability to dodge, gunpowder shattered the noise of battle and Uzoma was stricken in the stomach. But he persevered, just as Okwukwe would have wanted him to, swinging his machete violently at the only remaining man.

    They fell, and he was victorious, raising his machete into the air and letting out a bestial roar of superiority. But then something hit Uzoma, mentally and physically. A bullet pierced his chest and sliced a hole in his heart, just as an emotional hole had opened for Uzoma. He realized that in all the cheering and all the blood, there was nobody there to congratulate him. He had praised himself all this time and forgotten what it felt like to receive the criticism of others. Every word seemed horrible and unappreciative until Uzoma felt the absence of them.

    Obioma stood at a distance as Uzoma turned to look at him, clutching his chest with a hand. Obioma shook his head, and Uzoma felt guilt grow in his eyes. The look of dissatisfaction was upon Obioma’s face, and he was the only other person who had been positive to Uzoma as of late; he who sacrificed his time to make the deal which Uzoma blindly attempted to destroy in the selfishness.

    “I am disappointed in you, Uzoma. But then again, in your kind, you are what you are named. You are the Journey of Life, and now it’s ending. Quite the travel, huh?” He turned, beginning to walk away as Uzoma fell to his knees and coughed blood. “I cannot…” Uzoma turned back to his Obi, beginning a valiant crawl to save his legacy. He approached the entrance, and struggled to his feet, placing a hand on the table containing his writing tools. But he flipped the table, and his journal and pens scattered all over the floor, dropping Uzoma on his back as he coughed and hacked.

    A hand reached out desperately for a pen, grasping it and bringing back the tool to paper. “There is one thing I have learned from my experiences… Something that I realize now I should have shared…” The water that had been retained for so long began to well at Uzoma’s eyes; the pressure building within his sockets and causing him to break down inside. Fingers shakily tracing the pen across a stray sheet of paper, Uzoma began to write in Igbo. Anülï di ezi okwu kedu keya Aloud, in his mind, they rang with meaning. “Happiness only true when shared.” Dropping the pen on the ground, Uzoma pulled himself along the ground, pushing and turning himself onto his back as a pool of blood covered the ground under him.

    In his ears, all sound began to disappear except for the sound of his own voice and a faint thumping. The sound of his heartbeat struggling on from the wound given to it; too much blood had poured into his system for it to strive on any longer. Ukwokwe... Nna... Eluemuno. My brother, my father, I am home. And to you, Kambina… I am sorry for all you were put through. Uzoma shut his eyes slowly as it began to rain outside, a final thought running through his mind.

    Father, if you were alive… If I was running home to you, at this very moment… Would you… Uzoma choked out the last words, his lips widening into a grin at the thought of reuniting once more with his family; the final breath drawn from his body with the end of his journey. “See me smiling?”


    Uzoma - "Journey of Life"

    Okwukwe - "Hope"

    Kambina - "Living in God"

    Egwugwu - Nine ancestral spirits that decide fate. They are what you could consider the tribal version of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Obi - A house made of dirt, mud, ect.

    Hut - Similar to an Obi, but smaller and meant to house a single person and perhaps a few children.

    Compound - Usually an Obi surrounded by one or more huts.

    Ebelechukwu - "Mercy." Also "God's Mercy." A term I chose for "Goodbye." as they have respect for their ancestors.

    Obioma - "Goodhearted"

    Nna - "Father"

    Eluemuno - "I am home."

    Anülï di ezi okwu kedu keya - "Happiness (is) only true when shared."

    That should cover it. Let me know if I missed anything.

    Last edited by Fyodor on Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Post by Gabbathehut on Thu May 31, 2012 5:46 pm

    Really well thought out, I like how you put in native words without overwhelming the reader.
    Make sure you seperate who is speaking by paragraphs. But other than that I thouroughl enjoyed it!
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    Post by YamiShadow on Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:58 pm

    Very nicely written. xD As mentioned, you put in words of Uzoma's tongue well, and didn't overwhelm the reader.

    The story is quite well done, and I can see clearly the development of character here. If anything, it might have been nice to see a bit more of Paul and Uzoma's interaction before the end came, as it might have made a bit more meaningful of an impact out of Paul's disappointment at the end. But, overall it was very good.

    There was a few typos that I caught, so I'll be putting them here as well, to make them quick to go fix whenever you feel like doing so. xD In the sentence "Uzoma turned and lie down on his cot, closing his eyes and folding his hands on his stomach," lie should be lay. In "A spear was launched from a hidden contraption as the second man was hit with a one of the already flying projectiles," 'a' is unnecessary at 'with a one'; it reads kind of odd. The last one is here: "“I am disappointed in you, Uzoma. But then again, in your kind, you are what you are named. You are the Journey of Life, and now it’s ending. “Quite the travel, huh?”" I'm not totally sure, but I'm almost certain that the quotation mark immediately before 'Quite the travel' is unneeded.

    That said, you did a great job with this story. Next to no typing issues, very good character progression, and definitely an emotional impact. Cool concept, too.

    Really, really enjoyed it. xD

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    Post by Fyodor on Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:48 pm

    Really glad you enjoyed it, both of you. I appreciate the feedback. I noticed the quotation error but was too lazy to fix it at the time. Edits have been made, though I asked a media specialist about the lie/lay thing. There is a difference being lying down or to lie down as an action for a person and then laying something down, like laying your hand on an object, or laying an object on the table/ground/etc.

    Thanks for pointing that out.
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    Post by Acai Dae on Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:18 am

    This was a very good read, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    I liked all of the referencing, and I feel a specific style when I real a lot of your writings.

    Every time I read a short-story of yours, I find myself wanting more than just the short story. I want a continuation of some sort.

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