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First pages

Prologue

“Cricket you should stop bothering that snapper. He will get your tail.” Oba’ Daize clicked his tongue at the young dragon. The snapping turtle would eat her up if he had the chance. Large dragon flies buzzed just out of reach of the snapper.

“It is to slow to catch me.” Cricket jumped around flapping her golden wings. Thinking that she was far enough away that the snapper couldn’t get her.

“You might think that, but he is faster than you think.” Oba’ Daize nodded toward the snapper.

Just like that the snapper latched onto Cricket’s tail. She yelled and blew fire into the sky. The snapper wiped its head around to give her a good thrashing. Oba’ Daize flicked his long tail at the snapper giving it a fright. It opened it mouth letting Cricket’s tail go.

“I think it’s broken.” Cricket cried as she held her throbbing tail in her claws.

“You will be alright, just don’t bother that snapper. I tried to warn you. Go and see the healer if it still hurts.”

He watched as Cricket flew off her tail still in her claws. Oba’ Daize looked up into the fading light to see a large asteroid coming toward the earth. He wondered what would happen when it hit. The land around him was protected but if the air around it changed things on the island would change.

“Oba’ Daize, bad news.”

He turned his great head to see a young dragon coming toward him. A large scroll in his claws.

“What’s wrong Rydder?”

“By the new charts, the asteroid will hit and kill all living creatures on the earth.”

“It seems we might have to leave the earth for a while.”

Rydder twisted the scroll in his claws as he looked into the night sky. He knew that they would have to leave for more than a little while.

“Oba’ Daize this will kill many of our people. They won’t live through the travel.”

“How is that possible?” Oba’ Daize stood to tower over the young dragon. The large obsidian dragon normally glimmed in the sun light. At night he almost blended in.

“Many of the older dragons are just too old to hand that type of magic. The transfer would sap all there mana. There large size also hinders the way they would travel.”

“Rydder are you telling me that I will die?”

“No, at least I don’t think so.” Rydder looked into the sky again to keep from looking into Oba’ Daize’s bright purple eyes.

“So tell me young one, how would this work?”

“It is all about magic. The dragons here on the island can hum into the universe to find another home. That home would tune into our mana and it would be like transferring your being from one location to another. The trouble is we would have to take the land with us.”

“How much power would that take?”

“More than any one dragon would have. That is why it would kill so many. It would sap there mana to their death.”

Oba’ Daize looked out at the trees, rocks, and creatures that roamed this very young earth. Did he believe he might never see it again? He wasn’t really sure, so many things were up in the air. He watched as a brachiosaurs roamed into his view. The large dinosaur started to chew on some leaves.

“If it means saving my people I will give my life. I hope it won’t come to that. Gather the elders.”

“Yes, sir. I will send Zweedle to all the elder dragons.”

Oba’ Daize rolled his great eyes at the thought of the young dragon getting the message right to all the elders.

“Be sure to tell him to take his time when talking to them. He does have a habit of talking to fast and no one can understand a word.”

Rydder nodded then flew away. Oba’ Daize pondered what life would be like in another home. Though the land they lived on would go with them. None of the creatures he was so a costumed to would live through the horror of the asteroid. Moments later he turned toward the city to meet with the elders.

When he walked into the great hall he wondered what the next few years would mean for his kind.

“Welcome Oba’ Daize.” A booming voice echoed off the walls. He looked into the pale green eyes of Lummos.

“Merry meet old friend. What say you about this asteroid?”

The two old dragons clasped arms up to the elbow. It was an old way of saying hello. A warriors greeting.

“It is bad news. Did Rydder tell you everything?”

“Yes I told him to send the word to all the elder dragons. Are they here yet?”

“I don’t believe so.” Lummos turned his great head to see if he could see anyone else. At the moment he only say a few younger dragons wondering the hall.

“Well we should wait in the meeting room for them.” Oba’ Daize walked toward the large open room. The cave like space was filled with chair carved from large trees. A large stone table sat in the middle of the room. Torches lined the walls giving off light.

Dragons filled into the room taking seats around the table. Once everyone was present Oba’ Daize stood to speak to everyone.

“As we have been told the asteroid is going to hit the earth. For the dragons to live on we will have to leave.”

The room was filled with roars of ten dragons. Oba’ Daize roared above them all getting their attention.

“Rydder is here to explain everything. We can either do what he is explaining or we all die out.”

Oba’ Daize sat heavily in his chair. Rydder stood to explain everything to the others. He pointed out that no matter what the asteroid would hit the earth. There was a slight chance that nothing would happen to them, but the numbers say it would flood the island. However he didn’t tell them that it might cost them all their lives. A few for the many is how Oba’ Daize looked at it. Did he think that their people would still live on without them, yes he did.

“We have no choice.” Came the soft voice of a yellow dragon.

“Will it save the island and everyone on it?” One very gruff old dragon grumbled from his chair.

“We should think more about the fact that we have a short time to decide what to do. Rydder has informed me that this shift has to happen by the full moon. Which is only two days away.” Oba’ Daize explained to a opal dragon who was fluttering her translucent wings.

“Not much time.” A large golden dragon boomed from the far side of the room. The dragon rubbed his chin with his large claws.

Murmurs were loud in the room. They didn’t really understand that it might cost them their lives to do this. Oba’ Daize wouldn’t tell them the truth. It was better to let them believe they would all make it through.

“We need to take a vote.” Oba’ Daize stood again to get everyone’s attention. “All those for this action?”

Everyone nodded there great heads. They all knew what would happen if they didn’t try to move from earth. The whole island and everyone on it would die.

Two days later they would transfer off the earth to another world, a new life and what they believe is to never return to the earth.

Chapter One

“I am telling you that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Something is going to change and soon. I just hope we live through it.” Ginger flung her long red hair behind her.

“Cherie, I keep telling you that things aren’t that bad.”

Kasper stood looking out the window of the balcony. The wind coming off the ocean did nothing to stop the humid air from making your clothes stick to your skin. Even with the air on he was sweating.

“Well I am reading this blog by a Dr. Fredrick Franschowski. He is a paleoclimatologist. Didn’t know that was a thing. Any ways he says that the climate is about to shift.” Ginger read from the blog to explain things to Kasper.

“That doesn’t mean it is going to happen in our life time.” Kasper closed the balcony doors to shut out the humidity. He crossed the wood floor to stand in front of Ginger.

“True, but this is some amazing information. Maybe this would help with the search for dragons. I mean someone like this would know all the ins and outs when it comes to climates that dragons would live in.”

“Ginger that doesn’t mean the man would know a thing about dragons.” Kasper moved around the coffee table to sit on the couch with her.

“That is very true.” Ginger sighed as she closed the lap top. “I still think that talking to her or even sending an email might give us some information.”

“I know you think that it is the best idea, but the truth is he would think we are nuts like so many others have.”

“Well the lore has to come from some place.”

Kasper nodded in agreement, but that didn’t mean that some climatologist would know anything about dragons. He picked up the remote from the table to click on the news. The room was filled with images of folk lore creatures. On one wall they had drawings of a werewolf, sphinx, and a hippogriff. The opposite wall had pictures of the couple in different locations.

They had searched for the fabled hippogiff in Eygpt, but found little to prove they had once lived. Another image showed them in the rain forest looking for Madermonte. They hadn’t found anything on that trip, though they both came down with some sickness that almost killed them.

A few African mask hung on either side of the large TV set. A large self-took up on wall. They shelves were over flowing with books of all kinds. The news was talking about the volcano in Yellow Stone. The worry was that it would blow within the next five years. People needed to prepare to live through what they called an end of day’s event.

“See that is what I’m talking about. This could lead to something about dragons.”

“Fine, contact him and ask him about what kind of climate dragons would thrive in.”

Kasper couldn’t believe that he was feeding into her thoughts. He loved her enough to give up his worry that the man would laugh his head off at them.

“Alright, I will send him an email.” Ginger smiled as she opened the lap top again to go back to the page about the Doctor. A few moments after she sent the email her lap top dinged. “He wrote back.”

The news went on and on about the volcano and that people really needed to take action now. Humans didn’t take these things seriously. They never did unless something happened.

“That was fast, do you really believe he will listen to what you have to say?”

“No idea, but it is worth a shot.” Ginger took a few moments to read the email. She sighed then looked up at her husband. “Well he didn’t say were are nuts, but it was an auto response. He is out of the office right now.”

“Bet you he is checking into Yellow Stone. This is looking pretty serious.” Kasper waved his hand at the TV.

“Well nothing we can really do about it. Though I wish we didn’t live this close to that monster.” Ginger closed up her lap top again to curl up on the couch.

“We are far enough away that the lava wouldn’t get us. The ash cloud would however.”

“Oh that is a wonderful thought. Thanks for putting that image into my head.” Ginger picked up a pillow and hit him in the head with it.

“What did you expect me to tell you? That everything would be fine if a volcano that large blew?” Kasper blocked the pillow that came toward his head again.

“Well I hope it doesn’t blow.”

Chapter Two

Stars sparkled over the land as Dr. Franschowki looked out over the land. Yellow Stone was known for the geysers and beauty but now it was about the volcano. He had been studying the area for years and noticed that the land was bulging in the center. People believed that lava was building up and would flow out into environment any day.

Fredrick didn’t believe that however. He believed that the scans where all wrong, that the bulging was buy to steam that was building up. The geysers were releasing some of that steam but not all of it.

“Dr. Franschowki you have been looking into space for the last two hours. What are your thoughts?”

“Sorry, Lynn my mind is wondering tonight. This area is ripe for an eruption.”

He turned to look at the young college student who had won being his assistant on this trip. He noticed that her long black hair was pulled into a messy bun and her glasses had slipped down her short nose. She was younger then the other students that normally came on these trips. If her paper hadn’t been so good he wouldn’t have thought to bring her.

“Do you think it really will erupt?”

“I do, and it will change the climate. Humans might not be the top predator about that.’

“You really think that an eruption would wipe out humans?”

He looked at her to see the fear in her brown eyes. It wasn’t like him to soften what he believed but he didn’t want to scare her off.

“I can’t be for sure on that. I do believe that if something like this happened it would change the earth. Humans aren’t prepared for that. They don’t want to think that something like this can happen in their life time.” After a moment he looked back out at the mountains. “Take note of the bulging of the land. How the lake is losing its water. Animals aren’t coming to this part of the park any longer.”

The sound of a pencil on paper told him that she was taking notes. It did his old heart good to see that someone listened to an old man rattle on.

“I noticed that the trees by the lake are all growing taller, but not dying.”

“That is very well observed. Most of the time when a volcano is going to blow the trees die. Everything near the vents die. Here it is the opposite. Though many of the wild life isn’t coming here, those that are seem to be healthier.”

“Why would that be? Do you think that the volcano doesn’t have lava in it?”

“I can’t be sure on that. Most volcanos are all lava and rocks. This one is different. I can’t put my finger on it but I can feel it. Something in the history is telling me that I need to get more details.”

After a few more moments he turned back toward his tent. So much data had been collected but so far none of it was really making much sense. Dr. Franschowski needed to find the link to what was going on here. People needed to have time to get away from the area if need be.

“Dr. Franschowki, should I gather the measurements for today?”

“Yes, but Lynn be careful. The heat is rising and gas is popping out in areas that it shouldn’t be.”

He heard the rustle of the tent flap as she walked out of the tent. The notes, data and reading from the machines around the park were on a table in front of him. It was all building to something that he had hoped would never happen.

Hours later he was still looking at papers when he noticed that Lynn hadn’t come back. Worry gnawed at his mind when he walked out to check on her. When he went to the first three machines nothing was wrong. The last machine he found Lynn on the ground curled into a ball.

“Lynn!! Are you alright?”

A mad dash to her side told him that she had been burned by hot water or steam. He pulled out his cell phone to call the park ranger. The moment he spoke to them they suggested that he move her to a safer location.

“Can you walk?”

“Oh god, I…the pain.” She mumbled and cried as she tried to stand. The moment his hands touched her side she screamed.

“This is worse than I thought.” Dr. Franschowski helped her move but each time his hands touched her she would scream and cry. He felt horrible about what had happened to her. “It is just a little further.”

They made it to the safe zone just in time for the rangers to arrive with medical help. Lynn was back on the ground balled up. Each time they tried to help her she would cry out again.

“What happened?”

“She was checking the reading. It had to be steam or water. I think the volcano is going to blow and sooner than we first thought.” He moved out of the way so that the rangers could help Lynn. The sound of a helicopter had him looking up to see where it was coming from.

“Do you know if she is allergic to anything? On any medications.” The female ranger asked.

“I don’t know, she has a medical bracelet on her wrist.” Dr. Franschowski pointed out to them.

“Alright let’s get her into the chopper. We will take good care of her, you need to leave the area.”

“I have permission to be here.”

“Sorry but the area has been put under a watch and all visitors are to be evocated.” The male ranger told him as he helped get Lynn on the back board.

“When did this happen?”

“About an hour ago. A young family was found dead in their tents on the other side of the park. No one can really tell what happened. No animal’s wounds.” The male ranger spoke again. “We were just about to come tell you when you called us.”

“It will take me over an hour to get the stuff packed if I am alone. Lynn was my assistant. I sent everyone else out to get dinner.”

“No one is allowed back into the park. Your going to have to leave your stuff.”

“I can’t leave the stuff. It is my research and I need to get it. It might save lives!” He yelled as the chopper took off.

“Sorry, but you have to leave now.”

“I have to get my Jeep.” Dr. Franschowski explained.

“You have thirty minutes to leave the park. I will come with you to be sure you leave. It just so happens that you were our last stop.” The male ranger turned to his partner and explained what was going on.

“I’ll come with you” The female ranger told them. “We can all ride over the camp site and we can follow you out. Plus we can help you get the papers.”

“Thank you so much, what are your names?”

“I’m Parker this is Raven.” Parker told him with a smile.

“Well Parker you are going regret offering the help.” Dr. Franschowski told him with a big smile. The group climbed into the waiting SUV. A few moments later they arrived at the camp site.

Chapter Three

It took another two years for the pressure under Yellow Stone to build to bursting. The area blew but no lava came out, steam and hot boiling water spewed out and over the area. Thousands of people lost their lives due to the water. In Italy the large volcano also erupted about the same time. The extra moisture in the atmosphere changed the way the world looked. The polar ice caps melted vanishing for good.

The oceans rose over ten feet, taking away large portions of land. The Nile River was once again flowing with water. In the middle of the United States a great river had over taken land.

Millions of people lost their lives to the surge in water. Temperatures around the world changed drastically. No one expected the two volcanos to blow at the same time. Little did they also know that they wouldn’t spew ash, lava and soot out. It was almost a water world now. Ten states were flooded out when the Rio Grande flooded over taking large portions of Texas into New Mexico. This lead into the Colorado River which then burst its banks taking out more of New Mexico into Colorado. Each river would flow into another river that they would normally not touch. By the end of it ten states would be become smaller states with a large river going through them. Even parts of Canada and Mexico were affected.

Large storms started forming over the seas. One was so big that it took up most of the area that is known as the Bermuda triangle. Scientist were so baffled by it that they wanted to send someone to find out what was going on. Issues with the planes kept them from doing so. Parts of Egypt that had been under sand for eons were now seeing the light of day.

Rumors flew that things were being found that no human had ever seen.

“Ginger we have to get to the area.”

“I know Kasper but right now we are stuck here in Spain.”

“Why?”

“Look out the window and I am sure you will figure it out.” Ginger pointed out the window the very black clouds. “Besides part of the county are GONE. I mean GONE. Under the sea gone.”

“I know what happened. We just got out of that hotel when it went into the ocean. The thing is we need to see if the rumors are true.” Kasper kept pushing his wife about traveling again.

“Kasper my love I would love to go and see for myself but right now we can’t. Though I have heard a rumor.” Ginger teased her husband with a rumor she had heard when she went out to try and find food.

“What?” Kasper pouted as he sat on the couch.

“That they found a cave that has a maze of tunnels in it. That something might be hidden in them.”

“Like what?”

“Oh come on Kasper it isn’t that bad. Plus this could be BIG. I mean they did have the Minotaur here in Spain.”

“Fine we can go up to this cave tomorrow. They are saying the weather is supposed to clear a little.”

“I do believe we are stuck here in Spain for a while though. I don’t think any planes will be flying until the storms let up.”

“By the way did you ever hear back from that professor or doctor?”

“Oh yeah, he wrote me back a few months ago. He wanted to meet but he wasn’t in the area. With us being stuck here for the past two years it has been tough getting info to him.”

Kasper looked around the room they were staying in. It wasn’t much but it was home for now. The older couple that owned it told them they could stay for as long as they needed. Old family photos lined the walls. The rough stone walls had shelves inlaid into them. One wall had a hutch in it. Area rugs covered most of the floor to cover up the rough stone. A large pillar marked the different rooms.

“So does he believe he can tell us anything about dragons? Or are we moving on to Minotaur’s?”

“He did say that he could help us, but couldn’t give me much information on the computer. With the eruptions he has been very busy. I still want to hunt dragons but right now we are onto the Minotaur.”

Since the eruptions cell phones didn’t really work. The wires for land lines, TV and much more were so wet that the signals couldn’t get through. TV shows were showing like the fifties with waves going through them. Internet was patchy but still working for some of the companies. Satellite communications were pretty much down. People were finding that loved ones that went missing were now dead. The ocean had claimed so many lives. The world was now trying to figure out ways to grow enough food to feed people.

All the rain was making it hard for farmers to grow food. Word was that around three million people died in the first year after the eruptions. The second year more than a million died. The governments were trying to find ways to help people. Money has become a thing of the past. People worked for the betterment of each other.

Chapter Four

Flashes were going off as a young woman spoke about the horrors that people had gone through. She stood strong under the horrible storm of questions that she didn’t have answers for. Dr. Franschowski didn’t really have many answers for them either. The data that had come in didn’t really give them details on how long it would keep raining. Nor did they know for sure that the ocean wouldn’t rise again.

“I will turn the floor over to Dr. Franschowski. He will take your questions.”

“Thank you Amber.” Dr. Franschowski looked out at the many faces with worry and fear in their eyes.

The room was filled with news cameras, lights and people. The back wall had those that didn’t get the luck of a chair. The major news stations were right up front in his face. The pattern carpet in the room made him want to throw up. That was the thing about hotels. They had to have the ugliest carpet in the world. The sun wasn’t shining through the large pane windows so he could tell that night had fallen.

“Dr. Franschowski, Ben from MSNBC. Do you believe that this rain will continue?” The young bold man stood holding out a micro cassette recorder.

“The facts are we aren’t really sure if it will continue to rain. The data is showing that the moisture is so high that it keeps falling back down. We will have days with no rain, but they will be fewer than before.” The young man sat back down looking worried. Dr. Franschowski pointed to another young man.

“Dr. Franschowski, Travis with CNN. Could anything have been done to better prepare for this event?” This young man didn’t have a recorder, but Fredrick saw a camera with the stations logo.

“We are lucky that it was steam and water that came out of the volcanos and not ash and lava. This could have been so much worse for the human race. I believe that we could have done more research on the volcanos.” Fredrick tried to smile but it was hard knowing that so many people had died. A middle aged woman was next to ask something.

“Dr. Franschowski, Willow from NBC. What are your thoughts on the large storm that is brewing in the Bermuda triangle?” This woman was on the right track if anyone asked Fredrick. That was the big issue right now, the very large storm brewing in one place for over a month.

“Willow I have been looking in on the topic and can’t tell you much. It isn’t acting like any storm we have ever seen. The wind and rain are almost like a hurricane, but it isn’t moving.” Fredrick answered a few more questions when the conference was brought to an end. Fredrick was worn out from all the questions and going from place to place. Air travel was only happening when the storms cleared and that wasn’t often enough to really get any place fast. Sea travel was even worse because the seas were filled with minor storms. Some of the storms turned major and the ships were lost forever.

“Dr. Franschowski, there is a call for you.”

“Did they say who it was?”

“No sir sorry.” The young man who looked like a house keeper turned and left the room.

That didn’t help him any, with all the reporters wanting to talk to him not to mention the fans that wanted to thank him for giving them information. Dr. Franschowski didn’t feel like he helped anyone. The truth was his field of study didn’t even come close to what was going on. He did study the weather, but it was more to do with past climate change not new climate change. This was a new field for him and though he thought it was amazing he was old and wanted to go home and rest.

The worker hadn’t told him were the phone was that he needed to pick up. So he headed to the front desk. The lobby was very open and welcoming. Sofa benches were lining walls, which had large paintings over them. The walls where a yellow color that he hated, it gave him a headache. He would guess that it was supposed to make it look brighter. A small business center was at the front of the lobby with computers and large leather chairs.

“I am wondering where I am supposed to pick up a phone call? One of the workers told me I had a call.”

“I am so sorry that didn’t tell you. There is a phone in the business center or I can send the call to your room.” The young woman smiled brightly at him.

“To my room would be great, can you tell the person I will get the line when I am there. Room 504.”

“I sure will. Have a wonderful night.”

He watched as the young woman who didn’t mention her name picked up the phone to speak to the person. Fredrick went back toward the elevators but thought twice about it. The power grid still wasn’t working correct and people had gotten stuck in elevators. So he walked up five flights of stairs to get to his room. When he entered the room the phone was ringing. He sighed as he sat down grabbing the phone.

“Hello?”

Chapter Five

“Dr. Fredrick Franschowski?”

“Yes who is this?” Fredrick sat down on his bed wanting nothing more than to sleep.

“This is General McAvory of the US Navy. We need to speak about something that is going on in the Bermuda Triangle.”

“General I am sorry but I am not sure I can help you.”

“Sir you don’t even know what I am going to say.”

“I know enough about what is going on to tell you that the storm that is building down there isn’t like any storm or weather pattern I have ever logged or read about.”

“So you are saying you won’t even look into it?”

Fredrick could hear people talking in the background. He wondered if this general was at the white house or on board one of the carriers. The truth was that he wanted to help, to figure it out but something wasn’t right about the storm.

“I didn’t say that sir. I said that it is unlike anything I have seen or heard of.”

“I will send a car for you and bring you down to what is left of Florida. From there you will be brought to the carrier.”

“General I am not coming down there.” Fredrick looked at the phone when he heard nothing but a dial tone. “What the hell!!!”

He rolled his eyes at the phone then put it back on the hook. It would take the man at least two days to arrange all of that and come to get him. So he pulled out his lap top to start working on his emails. The one he was looking for was lost in the mix. When he found he smiled. They had made it through the eruptions and were safe. Though stuck in Spain. He wondered how bad the damage was in the area.

After an hour he wrote Ginger and her husband back telling them that he was glad they were safe. Telling them that he thought that they should get in touch and meet in person. That he had some information for them.

Moments after he put the lap top down he went to sleep. An hour later there was someone ponding on his door. Fredrick got up and stumbled toward the door. When he opened it he was shocked to see two men in uniform waiting for him.

“Dr. Fredrick Franschowski?”

The young man looked scared out of his mind but kept his back straight and his words hard. This young man had seen hell and back he was sure. The military had been put on high alert when everything went down. Many of the costal bases where wiped off the map, most of the ships survived the storms and eruptions. Fredrick ran his hand down his face as he yawned.

“Yes, come in and wait. I figured it would take longer for you to get here.”

The two men didn’t enter the room however. They stayed outside in the hall waiting for him to get his stuff packed. Fredrick took twenty minutes to get everything packed and sorted. He really wanted to get a shower before he left, but thought it would be best to go ahead and leave.

“Alright boys, let’s go.” Fredrick left the room with a sigh. He really wanted to go back to bed. It had been a hell of a year and it was far from over. The trip down to Florida was long and hard, he hated car travel.

“So I am pretty sure the bases in the area are gone. Where are you taking me?”

“MacDill air force base. It is now being used by all branches of the military. As you know most of the bases in the area were flooded.” The man who spokes last name was Alwenn. “Many people are still trying to get back on their feet.”

“I have seen that in many of the states. People are struggling, the great thing is we don’t have to worry about money for things. I am not sure how long that will last however. It is nice to see people helping others though.”

“You will see the other side of that soon.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Freya's prolific writing career has spanned over 20 years. During that time, she has written numerous articles for Examiner.com and Bubblez, as well as novels in several different genres. She is also the author of several children's books under a pen name. During her teen years, her writing accomplishments included being listed in the national Who's Who in Poetry, as well as The Library of Congress. Her twelve years' experience as a mother has allowed her to weave her children into her numerous

Q. What books are you reading now?
A.
I am currently reading Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D'Lacey.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A.
In my teens, I would play D&D (dungeons and dragons). It was a great way to get away from life. In this, I always dreamed up dragons and hence this book was born.
Q. Why do you write?
A.
I have Bi-Polar disorder and writing is a way that I can keep my disorder under control. It lets me be in a different word for a time and that helps. Also to let others see a part of myself that I normally keep hidden.

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