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The Endless Wall - chapter 4
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Joined: 11 May 2006
Posts: 344
Location: California

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: The Endless Wall - chapter 4  

The town seems frightening to me. People still scurry about their business,
oblivious to my presence. But now I imagine that they move with some sinister
purpose. Even the bright morning sun does nothing to remove the creeping sense
of dread. I hurry through the streets hoping that I'm reading the map correctly.

The narrow street opens into a broad square before a huge building. Townsfolk
pass around me as I stare at the massive structure. It occurs to me that I could
see the entire town from atop that building. I climb the steps and pass through
the doors amidst a stream of townsfolk.

Great marble columns line the hall, row upon row. Between them is a bewildering
array of desks. The dance of the crowd is unbelievably complex here. I make my
way around the edge of the room as I watch people move papers from desk to desk.
It is mesmerizing.

A small rat-like animal scurries past my feet, snapping me out of my reverie, a
butterfly wing protruding from it's long snout. I follow it out of the room and
down a short passageway to a stairwell, where it crawls through a gap in the

"thank you." I whisper, just in case.

There are no windows in the stairwell nor any doors. At the top of each flight
of steps another blank stone wall greets me. Up and up I climb. My legs begin to
tire. My heart pounds. My lungs burn. I run out of steps.

I stumble into a large room, seemingly at the top of the building. My hopes of
getting a birds-eye view are crushed. There are no windows here either. It is
only when I sit down to rest that I notice the model in the center of the room.
A miniature version of the entire town is carved from the same stone as the

The huge building I am in is easy to find. It stands at the very center of town,
a maze of streets spiraling out from it. I compare my crude map to the
miniature, it follows the pathways of the maze until is crosses a bridge into a
small open area with only one building in it. That must be the Orange House.

As I contemplate the maze a pattern almost seems to emerge from the chaos. It is
as if something is there that I just can't quite see. I take the mirror from my

"It seems like something is missing, something to complete the pattern." says my

"But what is it?" I ask.

"I feel I should know, but I don't yet. The Orange House is an anomaly in the
pattern though, maybe we'll find some hint there."

"Better start back down those stairs." I sigh.

"Be careful, I have a bad feeling about that bridge."

I nod my head and put the mirror away. Eating some more of my dwindling food
supply, I start the long walk down the stairs. At the ground floor I stay
against the wall and make my way out the doors as quickly as possible. I feel
strong now, confident that I will find something at the Orange House, some clue
to help me beat the wall.

The streets seem less mysterious as I follow the map through their twists and
turns. I round a corner and stop, marveling at what appears to be snow falling
through the clear spring sunshine. A flake lands on my outstretched palm, it is

I look closer and see that it is not snow at all, but ash. Continuing
cautiously, I see more and more ash falling, and less and less townsfolk
walking. The people in this area all wear masks and push large brooms, sweeping
piles of ash into rolling bins. Rummaging through my bag for a makeshift mask I
find a handkerchief. I tie it on and shade my eyes with my hand.

A flash of blue in a pile of ash catches my eye. A feather from the woman's
wing. I am on the right track, my hopes soar. I hurry round the next turn to see
the bridge and my high hopes sink like a rock. The bridge is a wreck.

Old and rotting beams jut out from the shore like broken limbs, vainly reaching
out for their counterparts on the opposite bank. Pillars that once supported the
center of the bridge stick out of the wide river at odd angles. The river itself
looks fast and deep, and I remember the wolf's words, "water has become your

On the far side of the river is the source of the ash; trees, burning trees.
Massive bonfires surround a strange empty space in the town, each one a pile of
uncut trees apparently pulled from the ground, roots and all. I can feel the
heat all the way across the river. Through the rising smoke and falling ash I
see the vague shape of a building that must be the Orange House.

Scrambling down the bank to the water's edge I peer hopelessly up and down the
river. I know from the model that this is the only bridge. Dejected, I kick a
pile of ash into the river. It disappears without a trace. I stare at the ruined
bridge in frustration.

Frustration turns to anger as I begin to back away. I am sick of this town, sick
of the strange mindless people, the maze-like streets. My anger grows with each
step back. I will not let these obstacles stop me, not the town, not the wolf,
not the bridge.

I break into a run. The falling ash stings my eyes, and I run harder. I feel the
rotting beam crack beneath my feet, and I leap. I land heavily on the first
pillar, the breath is knocked from my lungs. No time to recover, the pillar
begins to sway. I scramble to my feet a leap again.

The second pillar tilts forward immediately, bringing me closer to the other
side. My lungs burn and my muscles cry out in protest but I leap again. My feet
strike the broken edge of last piece of bridge and it gives way. Time seems to
slow down as I fall, splintered wood drifts past me as I contemplate death in
the water below.

I cannot accept defeat. My left hand grips the edge of the bridge, splinters
digging deep into my palm. With my right I thrust my walking stick between two
planks. The boards creak as I drag myself over the edge and roll down to the

My body aches all over, but I get to my feet and make my way around the massive
bonfire before me. The heat is incredible, I am drenched with sweat before I
even see the Orange House.

It may have been orange once, but time and heat have peeled any paint from it's
surfaces. The house is small, it can't be more than a one room cottage. It
reminds me eerily of my old home behind the power station. Still furious, I kick
the door in and rush inside.

It is cool and damp in the dark room. I stop to let my eyes adjust. My sweat
cools rapidly along with my rage, and I realize I must do something about my
hand. I pull out as many splinters as I can find, and use my handkerchief as a

The room is empty of anything but dust. Cold air issues from a staircase going
down in the center of the floor. As I start down the stairs I notice large paw
prints on the damp stone, they can only belong to the wolf. The stairs end in a
long corridor. Flickering light bulbs hang from the ceiling, water drips from
rusty pipes along the walls.

The corridor winds back and forth in gradual curves. I pass rusty iron cages set
into alcoves in the walls. There are no side passages or intersections but the
constant curves make me unsure of what direction I'm heading.

A strange sad sound emerges from passage ahead. Unrecognizable at first, it
urges me forward. My steps quicken and a sense of urgency overwhelms me as I
begin to hear it more clearly. It is the sound of a woman sobbing.

The narrow passage opens suddenly into a vast cylindrical chamber several
stories high, with circular balconies and a domed ceiling. Feeble rays of
sunlight pass through filthy windows in the dome. One of them illuminates an
iron cage in the center of the floor.

I rush past tables covered with bizarre apparatus, their uses unfathomable to
me, to see her laying on the floor of the cage. She seems too small, the ruins
of her dress draped over her legs, her head covered by her blue wings. At the
sound of my approach she jumps, backing into a corner of the cage.

"I won't hurt you. It's ok, I'm a friend." I try to comfort her.

She stares at me with red and watering eyes. Her head is covered with blue
feathers, her arms have disappeared, and her feet have become the claws of a
bird. A look of recognition spreads across her features.

"help me." she pleads, crawling forward.

The cage is sealed with a rusty padlock, I give it a tug but it is securely
locked. The woman moans in pain and hunches over, she seems to shrink slightly.

"Hang on! I'll get you out." I kick the lock as hard as I can. The noise echoes
throughout to chamber but the lock doesn't budge.

"Gyak ak! who's down there?" Cries a shrill voice from above.

I look up to see a wild-haired old man in spectacles peering down at me over a

"What are you doing? Gyak, get away from there!" he screams.

In reply I pound the lock with my walking stick again to no avail. Footsteps
echo from above as the man heads for the stairs. I can see he'll have to circle
the room to reach the steps to the bottom floor. The woman cries out again,
doubled over in pain.

"Hang on!" I plead, tears coming to my eyes, as I pull the knife from my bag.

Jamming the knife into the keyhole, I put all my weight on the handle and twist.
The knife snaps. The lock shatters. Before I know it I am up and running, the
woman's small form held in my arms.

"Gyaaak! Stop this at once! Put her back!" yells the old man as he reaches the

"I will not!" I yell back.

"You don't understand ak ak!" He calls, moving towards me.

The woman writhes and shrinks in my arms. Her cries become the cries of a bird.

"You're free." I whisper and I let go.

Her tattered dress falls to the floor and a blue bird flutters up into the air.
The bird circles the dome once, then slips out through a hole in a windowpane. I
smile and turn back to the old man.

"Oh bother!" he sighs, shoulders sagging.

"How did that woman become a bird?" I demand.

"Ak ak akak ak," The old man laughs weirdly,"I wish I knew. Oh you have ruined
me!" He sits down heavily.

"What are you talking about?"

"Gyaak! I am the keeper of the Orange House!" He proclaims, gesturing at the
room around us. "I am to study those who are brought here, and hold them until
they become beasts and the wolf comes for them. Now you've set her free, I have
nothing but an empty cage and the wolf will come for me."

"Then run away. Leave, and let the wolf find nothing here."

"I cannot leave ak ak! I must stay in my place."

"Why?" I demand, "What makes you stay? Why do the townsfolk and farmers do what
they do so mindlessly?"

He stares at me without comprehension. "You are not in your place. Why are you

"I have no place here, I must go over the wall. Tell me how people can become
birds. you must know something!"

"Gyaaak! Nothing!" He screams as he leaps up from his seat, "I know nothing!"

The old man spins wildly, knocking over tables and smashing delicate
instruments. I back away towards the stairs.

"Nothing!" He continues, "All my studies have told me nothing ak ak ak!"

He rampages throughout the room, ranting, screaming, and smashing everything in
his path. I turn and run for the stairs, circling the balconies on each level. I
find no windows or doors until I reach the top floor. Stumbling out into the
daylight I find myself at ground level in a different part of town.

The streets are deserted, the buildings old and falling into ruin. I am lost in
this desolate place but I cannot go back the way I came. A familiar blue bird
flies overhead. I will not give up. I begin to walk.

So I'm heading through a ruined and abandoned part of town, and hopefully out into the wilderness beyond. Time to get suggesting for just who or what is out there.
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8861

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject:  

Yeah! :D Far out man! Rad!

In these places you often find brigands, and here is no exception. Except they are useless, paralzyed by indecision about every action, and hence never do anything but talk and made bold statements.

I will think more and return...
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject:  

Beautiful writing. :cool:

A tree of metal, live and growing, but metal. Organic shapes, but hard and cold at the same time. There are things dangling from the tree, perhaps it can be climbed in order for a closer look-see. :)
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Joined: 15 Apr 2007
Posts: 196

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:28 am    Post subject:  

Great Read!!
Perhaps he/she has a nightmare in which dark spirits lead him/her into an underground place with bright lights.
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Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject:  

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Joined: 19 Jul 2005
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Location: Earth, The Universe

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject:  

I think this part of town seems dangerous, maybe people here a a littel more deperate. And he's lost. He should follow the bird to find his way out.
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Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject:  

Of course, this part of town used to be populated, before they all slowly... changed.
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Joined: 11 May 2006
Posts: 344
Location: California

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject:  

Hey everyone, great suggestions so far. Thing have been pretty weird for me lately, and I've honestly been dropping the ball on a lot of my responsibilities. But things are getting better so hopefully I'll be able to do more in the city before too long.

Just want to say thanks to everyone for their support despite the fact that I haven't commenting much lately. It means a lot to me that people are enjoying this story.
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1463
Location: Look around

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 2:54 pm    Post subject:  

In my traditional manner, a giant chicken.

Mayhap the road is a snake, just waiting for some hapless traveller...
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Joined: 27 Oct 2005
Posts: 210

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject:  

Great chapter! What about some kind of wind monster? Im not very good at these ideas, sorry!
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Joined: 19 Jul 2005
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Location: Earth, The Universe

Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject:  

There were those buterflies earlier, maybe there's something equally innocous-looking but dangerous here?
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Joined: 11 May 2006
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Location: California

Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject:  

let's see what we have so far:

Severely indecisive brigands
A living metal tree
Nightmares about dark spirits and light underground places
Umbrella plants and Kookoo birds with square eggs
Dangerous desperate people
Strangely altered townsfolk
The road is a snake
A wind monster?
Something innocuous-looking but dangerous

I've got some good ideas for some of these. Others I'm not sure what to do with, but I think I need a few more before I have enough to put a chapter together. So keep em coming.
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Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject:  

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Joined: 11 May 2006
Posts: 344
Location: California

Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 8:21 pm    Post subject:  

Zephyr, your suggestions are consistently more bizarre than Chinaren's. And that is a pretty amazing feat.

I'm struggling to find ways to include some of these things while maintaining the style of the story, but I'll see what I can do.

To be perfectly clear though, there's just not gonna be any forest full of 'Wonderland' style made up creatures with made up names. It just wouldn't be right.

The point is, the closer anyone's suggestions get to the style of the story, the less I'll have to change them. Not that you have to try and match my style. Just that you may find your contribution to be nearly unrecognizable by the time it comes into the story, but trust me, it's there :)
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Location: Earth, The Universe

Posted: Tue May 15, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject:  

Random thought: You've already been to the orange house, so what about a house/place that disapears in the daytime? or at night, or whatever
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Posted: Sat May 19, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject:  

Hmm. How about a building kind of like a grain silo with a waterwheel attached to it that turns even though it's stuck in the ground, instead of the water? It could be a dust mill, maybe... grinding useless dirt into fine, valuable dust.

Or even better, a massive factory-like structure that is completely shut down...this is a kind of hospital/nursery, and it's the structure that the power station provided power to.
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Joined: 07 Apr 2007
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Location: Somewhere between here and not-here, now and not-now... in the half-light, the borderlands, between.

Posted: Sun May 20, 2007 12:44 am    Post subject:  

I just finished reading, nicely done! :)

A lewd trio of succubi that seduce him with their scantily clad bodies and licentious words and lure him into a dark cavern set inside a living mountain with blazing eyes of stone that constantly moves through the dimensions at regular intervals equal to precisely .123145326 days, or three thousand, one hundred and forty-eight times the difference of the length of a disappointed owl and the cube root of the *takes a breath* weight of a mouse not more than three inches long, attempting to trap him there so as to eat him and steal his lifeforce.

You know this information because they whisper it as a mantra so as to gain power over his mind and render him helpless to their... attentions. After all, it can't be worse than watching brigands be tormented by the agony of indecision, can it?
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Joined: 11 May 2006
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Location: California

Posted: Wed May 23, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject:  

OK I really have to get started on chapter 5 but my brain is not cooperating with me...

I do like that fact that Oathbound Soul connected his suggestion to something that happened in the past (power station) very nice.

Those succubi just aren't going to work I'm afraid. I've made sure never to give our hero a gender so that it's up to the reader. Not to mention that it's just not my style :)

disappearing house eh? hmm...
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Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 177
Location: The Great Canadian Desert

Posted: Thu May 24, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject:  

Wow, I really like this story. It's got some Alice in Wonderland mixed with The Wizard of Oz and a little of The Talisman (by Stephen King).

As for what we find in the wilderness, I'd like to see:

1) A field of rolling grasses and wildflowers, seemingly innocent but dangerous, ie. the flowers are grown from glass, so while they are beautiful they are extremely sharp and fragile. To boot they are protected by bees. Intelligent (but mindless) bees that exist to protect the flowers.

2) I'd like the character to find another wanderer, perhaps another child. But this wanderer is as mad as the rest of the community inside the Wall. His role is to wander the Land and prove there is no way out.

3) I'd like to find out why there are no other children in this strange land. Were the characters parents exiled because they had a child? Or is there something more sinister going on?

I also really like Oathbound_Soul's idea of the windmill or the factory, the surreal imagery really fits with the mood of the story so far.

But keep up the good work. I eagerly await Chapter Five
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Posted: Thu May 24, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject:  

Awww... *sadness* Seriously, the succubi weren't really the idea, more so the living, transdimensional mountain. The succubi are the attraction and danger... Possibly the protagonist feels a powerful urge to enter the cave, which has a door in which the compulsion is centred. When he opens it, he's trapped in a multi-dimensional reality, which is incredibly difficult to escape and has random blobs of the reality it was previously attached to inside. More later, when I have more time. *signing off*
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Posted: Sun May 27, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject:  

Oh, Oh, Brain storm! He's found the Orange house, maybe there are other houses/places defined by their color? Like the red street or the blue cottage...or something like that
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Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject:  

I've read it more thoroughly now, and I'm surprised that no one has posted and nothing has happened in such a long while, so I'm ordering my suggestion into something that makes more sense. :) Remember, this is strictly a summarised guideline I am suggesting and putting up here. I am not making an attempt at starting or creating a chapter for myself- that is entirely Argonaut's perogative. Plus, I'm far too lazy to write something that long. :P

Story Outline- Possible Version of a Chapter Five.
The protagonist is walking along the dusty path as a red tinge whispers over the horizon softly and darkness creeping steals the land, when he or she encounters a cave. Wishing to rest after his or her long ordeal, it enters, almost instantly falling asleep once inside. It leans comfortably against a dry wall, its belongings tucked under its arm securely as it snuggles warmly into sleep. It is warm inside the cave, strangely so, and a phosphorus luminescence pervades it.

As he or she falls asleep, she/he encounters a strange dream in the Land of Morpheus... Wherein a door appears, and is opened by him or her, in the back of the cave. Once the door is opened, reality twists and buckles, the floor undulates and distances seem bizarrely warped... However, once he or she closes its eyes, the world seems perfectly normal. The floor is reassuringly firm under its feet and its shoes rasp softly on the dry, grey-yellow sandstone.

Still keeping its eyes closed, it walks towards the door... stumbles through... and enters a land of white. In this land of white, the mirror shudders alarmingly and continously until he or she opens the satchel, when the mirror's face turns liquid and rises into the air, forming a perfect sphere of mirrored liquid.

From this liquid, a form arises, creating a perfect double of the protagonist- a mirror self. "At last I am free!", exclaims the mirror self, before falling into step with the protagonist and wondering, "What should we do now? Wherever this place is, I'm sure it's not part of any dream I've had.".

The mirror is now merely an empty frame, and the protagonist returns it to her or his satchel. Continuing on in this limitless blank white land, he sees far off and then, long afterwards, encounters a creature. This creature is amorphous, and made entirely of jagged lines. "Hello," it says, "who are you?" Inquisitively, it gazes at them with its single lidless eye.

"We are travellers. We seek to escape the confines of the Endless Wall," says the protagonist grimly. "Who are you?" "I am Kri'ak. Wanderers are our race and Imaginers our profession," it says, gesturing at the masses of creatures arrayed behind them suddenly. "Imaginers?", asks the mirror creature curiously. "Aye... observe." The creature gestures.

From nowhere comes a lattice of force, which proceeds to dance and play for the amusement of the masses. The protagonist starts violently, and starts again as the creation flies towards them, sharp, tapered blades that suddenly appear on the end of each of its lines flashing as its whole body is gradually gathering energy and burning with a fierce, bright blue light. "No one sees our craft and lives," says the creature Kri'ak.

And so forth. You see my point, don't you? Well, I hope so. I'm not writing this again! :P
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Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:45 pm    Post subject:  

I think this is on hold, as Argo is currently fighting off rattlers and whatnot in the Australian outback.
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Location: Somewhere between here and not-here, now and not-now... in the half-light, the borderlands, between.

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:21 am    Post subject:  

*sighs* A shame If so however, why isn't there a big, red, ostentatious sign somewhere notifying concerned Citizens who enjoy this lovely StoryGame, hmm? Possibly a Sticky might be nice, saying "This SGoTM is now on hold, please don't hold your breath waiting." inside the forum, or some such other important-sounding obnoxiousness. :o

After all, these forums do take up space... Will he be gone long? *curious* I don't know the period of inactivity requisite to place a SGoTM on hiatus somewhere less obtrusive, but... *shrugs* Seems like a good idea, if he'll be gone for six whole months or inordinate equivalent.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2007
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Location: dreaming away of tomorrows to come

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:06 pm    Post subject:  

I am loving this story! it is totally my type of thing!!! I cannot wait to read the next bit.. am loving the workhouse/factory/vanishing house ideas though am curious as to what argo might do to them.

I think that something more in keeping with the flow of the story is following another creature for some reason.. like the rat...

or perhaps the blue feather he picked up (he did pick one up didnt he?)can (and by he i am being generic as i love the gender ambiguity of this story) start to pulse, glow or somehow lead him onwards? being wafter out of his hands by the breeze and he doesnt want to lose it maybe? so he jumps off the side of the building and plunges down toward the ground and just as he reaches out with his fingertips and grasps the feather the suroundings change...

BTW China i dont think we have rattlers down here.. we have black snakes brown snakes i think its like 15 of the 20 deadliest snakes in the world are all in OZ but not rattlers to my knowledge.... we did fish a scary yellow bellied black snake out of our place once... i so hate the outback for that reason makes me want to move back to the city... (sorry off topic ) *norty nene*
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