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Goodbye Jesus



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Molly looked at Josh, who sat across the room from her. He was a tall thin man with fair skin, black hair, and dark eyes. He had a quiet strength, one that went unnoticed by most until they really got to know him.


He was the leader of their group. It was called Unity. It wasn’t a religious group. They were firm on that note. They were not a cult or a spiritual group or anything of that nature. They had been chosen, Josh claimed, by a race of interstellar travelers. The aliens had information, and that information would lead to a better future.


Of course, such fantastic claims required proof. Josh had furnished all of it. He’d played back recordings, computer transmissions, and even displayed evidence of telekinetic powers that the aliens had granted him. He showed them the mysterious markings on the back of his neck, the strange triangle-shaped indentations that he said were from the alien probes. The aliens had taken him up to their ship and done all kinds of tests. The final experiment had given him the powers.


All thirty-six of the group members came from different backgrounds. Most were Christian, but there were a few Jews. There were even a few New Agers and Pagan types. A handful were seekers who had recently joined because the group had advertised itself in the newspaper. The seekers were looking for something. What, they weren’t sure, but they just wanted something to replace the emptiness they felt.


Josh smiled. It seemed to brighten the whole room. Some of the members smiled as well. “I have received another message,” he said.


“What is it?” Ted, one of the other members, asked. He was African American, tall, well-built, and in his forties. He wore dark blue jeans and a navy flannel shirt.


“Please tell us,” Sara, another member said. She was petite, about twenty, with long red hair, brown eyes, and glasses. She wore a pink T-shirt and faded jeans. “We have to know.”


“They have information that will lead to the curing of every disease on earth. It would even slow down the aging process to the point where we can live to be 300 years old. Generations to come would benefit from it.”


There were several gasps around the room. “Incredible,” Molly breathed. Her green eyes met Josh’s dark ones.


“Yes,” he said. “But there is one catch.”


“What?” Molly asked.


He took a deep breath. “The aliens require the life-force of every other human on this planet to power the machine to make the cure.”


A collective silence hung in the air for what seemed like hours.


Josh levitated a nearby pen into his hand. “Remember, they gave me these abilities. If they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t believe it, either. But they turned me from an ordinary human being into an extraordinary one. They must have the power to do what they claim.”


“Why haven’t we met these aliens yet?” a group member demanded. Molly couldn’t remember his name. He was middle-aged, short, and overweight.


“Yes, when are we going to get to meet them?” another group member said. She was one of the seekers. “I want proof!”


Just then, a light filled the room. Then, suddenly standing in front of everyone, was an alien. It vaguely resembled a human, but had shimmering iridescent scales instead of skin. Wings stretched out from its back. It wore a garment resembling a dress, but it was sleeveless. Its eyes were amber and round. It wore a crown of glittering stones coiled in wire on top of its head.


The alien spoke in a musical, high-pitched voice. Molly assumed the alien was female.

“I am Lethe, Princess of the Eidari. We come in peace. We have been monitoring your planet’s transmissions for some time. Please, do not fear. I am as real as you are. You may touch me if you don’t believe me.”


Tentatively, Molly reached out a hand. The alien looked at her, and she was filled with calm. She felt a slight tingle as the alien’s glowing hand met hers. A rush of power surged through her body. She glanced at a nearby notebook that someone had brought and set on the empty chair next to theirs. It hovered off the chair for a few inches, then settled back into its place.


Molly’s mind reeled. This was really happening! It couldn’t be a dream. Not that she had doubted Josh, but part of her had always been skeptical. It had gotten her into quite a bit of trouble as a child, when she’d asked the Sunday school teacher questions that he couldn’t answer. Her parents couldn’t answer them, either.


And so her life had been filled with a premise of searching, always searching. It wasn’t until college when she had met Josh. She’d been a biology major. He’d been a math major. They dated for a while.


Then one day, Josh claimed that he had been abducted by aliens. She’d been quite skeptical, naturally. But he’d shown his telekinetic powers to her, and trusted her never to tell anyone. He was afraid of the government finding out, so much that he eventually quit school.


She had finished her degree and found a job working in a lab as an assistant. Eventually, she and Josh lost touch. It wasn’t until a year ago when Josh had advertised his group, Unity, that she had found him again. They’d had a pleasant, cordial reunion. Josh accepted her into his group.


He proved that he still had regular contact with the aliens who had abducted him. And now, it looked even better. The aliens had finally revealed themselves. Josh had the proof that everyone was looking for, the proof that the world’s greatest religions could never provide. This was astonishing.


Others gathered around the alien slowly to touch her. Lethe accepted it graciously and touched them all, one by one. There were gasps as people realized that they now had Josh’s powers as well. Lethe smiled at them.


There was a sense of amazement. It was as if they had all gone to Wonderland down the rabbit hole with Alice, or to Never-Never Land with Tinkerbell. Everyone’s face showed complete awe. Slowly, everyone returned to their seats.


“Now do you believe me?” Josh asked.


“Yes,” the overweight man who had doubted before said. “Forgive me for doubting you.”


Josh nodded. “Lethe, why have you come?”


“I came to inform you that you have the chance to ensure your species’ future. My people have the ability to cure diseases and to slow the aging process. The problem is that the machines which make up such cures require a lot of power to run, and that power is the life force of a being who has given it up. So we do not give this information to everyone. Not every society is ready for them.”


“Why have you chosen us?” Josh asked.


“That is a fair question,” Lethe replied. “We believe your society has progressed to the point where you can decide for yourselves what you want. A future free of disease for every member of society, or a future where your doctors apply Band-Aids and cross their fingers every time someone gets sick. What do you really want? I leave that up to you to decide. All nations must vote.”


“How much life force do you need?” someone asked.


Lethe’s golden eyes were like burning coals in the light. “The equivalent of five billion human lives.”


There was a collective gasp.


“That’s over half the world population,” a woman named Anne remarked. “You can’t be serious!”


“I am completely serious,” Lethe said. “It is your choice. I am willing to meet with your respective government leaders to determine what needs to be done.”


“You can’t do this,” Molly exclaimed. “It’s wrong!”


“Wait,” Josh said. “We can ensure that the rest of the species lives and that there are no more diseases. No cancer, no AIDS, nothing. We can’t pass up this chance. At the very least, the people of the world need to know about it!”


“Yes, let’s tell them,” Ted said. “At least, they should be able to vote on it.”


“Are you sure we can’t substitute animals for humans?” someone remarked.


Lethe shook her head. “The machine requires human life force to power it. Animal life force is weaker, not as pure. We use plants and cloned animals for some things, but they cannot power our great machines. Our elderly sacrifice themselves for the good of our species when they reach a certain age.”


“That’s barbaric,” Sara gasped.


“It is simply the way of our people. We do not know anything else.”


“Have you tried using electricity?” Ted asked.


“We have tried such primitive methods, yes, but they do not work well with our technology. Some children’s toys are powered with it, that’s all.”


“Surely our engineers and scientists could help you find another solution,” Ted suggested.


Lethe looked at him. “Our technology works fine for us. Why do you question our methods? You have never been to our world. You do not know how things are there. It is not the same as yours.”


“No, but…requiring lives to power machines? That is a harsh reality.”


“It may seem that way to you, but it is simply our way. I have given you the information you desired. What to do with it is your choice.”


Josh took a deep breath. “I say we take a vote. Those who want to tell the world about this, raise your hands.”


Over twenty people raised them.


“Those who think we should keep this to ourselves, and deny humanity the right to a long and sickness-free life, raise your hands.”


A few people raised their hands. Among them were Ted and Sara.


Josh took a deep breath. “Then it’s agreed. We’ll hold a press conference tomorrow. Lethe, will you be there?”


She nodded. “I will come.”




Molly wondered just how excellent it really was, but what could she do? It wasn’t up to her anymore.


* * * * *


Author's note: Let me know if I should keep going.

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> Let me know if I should keep going


Do you know about http://www.nanowrimo.org ?


If not, you're only 5 days late to the party, there's still time to catch up. 2500 words a day

will do it in 20 days.

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Yeah, I'm doing this for that. It's 1701 words so far. I'm signed up there as EmilyH.

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Chapter 2


* * * * *


The next day, they had a press conference. It was crowded. All the major news networks were there, even the cable news networks. Everyone who was anyone was there. It was a massive crowd gathering.


It was a clear day. The sun shone brightly on them all. Molly felt the anticipation building. There was electricity in the air. Everyone wondered what was going to happen. Nobody had any idea that the future of the human race was about to be changed.


Molly was wearing black jeans and a purple T-shirt. Her long chestnut hair flowed around her shoulders. She felt Josh’s presence behind her and turned around.


“Hi,” he said with a smile.


“Hi,” she said.


“Big day, huh?”


“Yeah,” she replied. “I hope they don’t stone us to death.” She was being cynical, but somehow, she couldn’t help but wonder about the crowd’s mentality. Things like that still happened in some countries.


“It’ll be all right. I’ll protect us.” She nodded as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Trust me,” Josh said. “Even if they don’t like what we have to say, it’ll be all right in the end.”


“Okay, Josh,” Molly replied. “I trust you.”


It was time. They stepped up to the microphones, surrounded by several other group members for support.


“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” Josh began. “My name is Joshua Corbett. I am the founder of the Unity organization. I have some exciting news to tell you.”


“What news?” a reporter from the New York Times asked.


“This had better be good,” a reporter from CNN added.


“I bring you the news that humankind has been waiting for. Contact with an extraterrestrial civilization has been made. I was abducted by aliens, but for a purpose. They want to ensure the future of the human race.”


There were a few murmurs among the crowd.


“We want to see proof,” a reporter from ABC said.


“Yeah. How do we know this isn’t a hoax?” a reporter from the local Star Tribune asked.


“You’re right to demand proof,” Josh said. “After all, this is a fantastic claim, and miraculous claims require hard evidence. I will let my evidence speak for itself – or herself, rather.”


There was a bright light and a soft, low-pitched hum. Then Lethe appeared in front of everyone. Cameras flashed as a collective gasp of shock filled the air.


“It can’t be real,” the CNN reporter said. “It’s gotta be a hoax.”


“How do you explain the lights and the fact that she just appeared then?” the ABC news reporter asked.


“I’m telling you it’s gotta be a hoax,” the CNN guy replied.


Lethe held up a scaled hand. “People of Earth, I bring you greetings from my people. My species is called the Eidari. I am their princess. My name is Lethe. We come from what you call the constellation Cygnus. My ship has traveled many light years to reach your world.”


“Why are you here, your Highness?” the New York Times reporter asked.


“That is a good question. I came to bring you a gift – the opportunity to cure all diseases that plague the human race. As with all such gifts, there is a price. The choice is yours.”


“What is your price?” the NBC news reporter inquired. “I’m sure our government will be willing to consider paying you in money, or oil, or even food, if that is what you prefer.”


“The price is not as small as that,” Lethe replied. “Our technology is far different than yours. Primitive solutions such as electricity, water, wind, fossil fuels, sunlight, etc., are not compatible with it. We use electricity for children’s toys, nothing more. Our technology runs on life force. To run the machine that makes the cure, to make enough for one billion people, we need five times as much life force to feed it.”


There was a stunned silence from the crowd. Then one of the reporters ventured, “If this is a joke, you’re doing very well at it. Seriously, this is the best one I’ve heard in years.”


A few nervous chuckles followed.


“This is no joke,” Lethe said. “Our people have given you this message. Now you must decide amongst yourselves what the fate of your species will be.”


“Is that a threat?” a CNN reporter asked.


“It is a fact,” Lethe responded. “That is all. We come in peace. We do not come to threaten you. Take our gift or leave it, it is entirely up to you.”


“What happens if we leave it?” the NBC reporter inquired.


“Then humanity will go on dying of diseases and having the life expectancy of an Larorellian fly, and your planet will be considered a backwater world to be ignored by the rest of the intergalactic civilization.”


There was another murmur throughout the crowd.


“We will give your people a chance to vote on the issue. We will monitor your transmissions until that time has passed.”


“That may take up to a year or longer, depending on how various governments respond,” Josh said.


“I understand that governments can be slow, believe me. We are willing to wait a year, but no more,” Lethe replied. “I must return to my ship now.”


The bright light appeared and the humming noise returned. Lethe vanished with the light.


“How stupid do they think we are?” the New York Times journalist muttered, unaware that his microphone was still on. “Do they really think people are going to fall for that? Five billion people dead? Give me a break.”


“I know her words are controversial,” Josh said. “But we should at least consider it. Let the people decide.”


The newspaper headlines for the afternoon edition read: Alien Civilization Contacts Earth; Unproven Alien Hoax Gets World’s Attention; and Gift Horse or Trojan Horse? Molly could understand why there was so much skepticism. After all, it was an incredible assertion to make. But they had proof. They had seen Lethe for themselves. Why couldn’t they believe it? She didn’t know. She was willing to try to understand, though.

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Sounds to me like Josh and Lethe are no different from evangelists. Sure they actually have the proof of a few of there claims unlike real apologists, but, they aren't simply giving Earth a choice. They are layering the nuances of the decision to be made with phrases like: Are we going to choose to allow the world to go on dying of diseases and old age?


As opposed to most of the world dying to provide the power for the remaining ones to live.


Or: "Then humanity will go on dying of diseases and having the life expectancy of an Larorellian fly, and your planet will be considered a backwater world to be ignored by the rest of the intergalactic civilization.”


Rather than simply saying it would be up to us to end our own problems.

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Sounds to me like Josh and Lethe are no different from evangelists. Sure they actually have the proof of a few of there claims unlike real apologists, but, they aren't simply giving Earth a choice. They are layering the nuances of the decision to be made with phrases like: Are we going to choose to allow the world to go on dying of diseases and old age?


Well, that's kind of the point of writing this, to get people to think. And the names weren't chosen randomly, either, but I doubt most people will get the references.

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Then I guess I stated the obvious. Sorry.


NP. Glad someone's reading it.

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Okay, I wrote that less than half a minute ago. How did you respond so fast?

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I just happened to be on the site.

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Chapter 2, continued


Josh entered the room. He looked extremely tired. Molly gave him a concerned look.


“Hey,” she said. “Are you feeling okay?”


”Yeah. It’s just all this being in the spotlight is getting to me. I don’t like it one bit.”


She nodded. “That’s understandable. What do you think the public will do?”


“Hopefully, they’ll make the right decision. Lethe is offering us the opportunity of a millennium. We can’t afford to turn it down.”


Molly gaped at him. “But what about all those people, Josh? Why should they have to die so that we can live longer lives?”


“It’s not just us, Molly. It’s all the generations to come. The human race would be better off for it. Please trust me on this.”


“Okay,” she responded, but really, she couldn’t figure out how the ends justified the means. There was no way that many deaths could possibly be worth it. She couldn’t bring herself to believe that it was justified.


“Molly,” Josh said softly, “do you trust me?”


“Yes, of course, Josh,” she answered. “I trust you implicitly.”


“Good. You know that I would never allow any harm to come to you, right?” he asked.


She nodded.


“I don’t think that Lethe would come all this way and offer this to us without a good reason. They obviously care about the human race. I can’t see why they would have come otherwise,” he said.




“Molly, my friend, you must trust me. This will all work out in the end. I don’t think earth’s people will agree to it, anyway. And if they do, so what? It’ll be for the best.”


“Okay,” she said. He was right. It probably would work out for the best, no matter what happened. And he had promised that he wouldn’t let anything happen to her. “I trust you, Josh.”


He smiled. “Good. I’m going to take a nap for awhile. You should read something to distract yourself from all of this.”


She nodded. There was a recent Stephen King novel on a nearby table. Since joining the group, she’d lost her taste for that sort of fiction, but Josh was probably right and she shouldn’t think about all the things that were bothering her. The book would be a good distraction. She picked it up, sat down in a nearby chair, and absorbed herself with the adventures of Roland the Gunslinger and his companions.

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Chapter 3


A week passed. The newspapers did all they could to hype up the alien contact. The United Nations called an emergency session regarding the aliens and their gift. It was shown on CNN, which the Unity organization watched.


“We cannot allow these aliens to commit mass murder,” the Japanese Prime Minister declared. “It would be extremely unwise for any nation to accept this so-called gift.”


“What about the cures? We surely cannot lose the chance to cure every disease in existence,” the leader of Spain said. “Future generations would never forgive us.”


“Murder isn’t right,” President Bush said. “It goes against the Bible, and that’s the foundation of America. We can’t allow these aliens to threaten us with their machines of mass destruction.”


“I agree,” the UK Prime Minister said. “We cannot allow this type of tragedy to take place.”


“But we should give the people the right to vote,” Bush said.


“This from the American who attacked Iraq when no WMDs were ever found,” the leader of France muttered.


“All people deserve the right to vote,” Bush argued.


“And what if they make the wrong choice?” the leader of Germany said.


“Then they make the wrong choice,” Bush said. “That’s the beautiful thing about democracy, we have to let people make the wrong choice so they can learn from their mistakes.”


“But they won’t be alive to learn from it!”


“I agree with Bush,” Blair said. “We must allow the people to vote.”


“You are all insane,” the French president said. “You will doom the entire planet.”


“Perhaps, but at least the people will have voted on it,” Bush replied.


“We should vote,” the UN secretary said. “Do we bring this issue to the people of our respective nations, or make the choice for them in hopes of averting a catastrophe?”


So they voted. In the end, nearly 60 percent of the nations agreed to let their people vote on it.


“They have done the right thing,” Josh remarked as several Unity members gathered around a TV. “The people should be allowed to decide their fate.”


Molly felt as if the walls were closing in on her. The air was getting thicker and harder to breathe. She had to go for a walk. She excused herself politely and left the building.


Outside, the cool fall breeze brushed across her face and tousled her long brown hair. People went about their daily business, running errands and such. Everything seemed normal, yet there was an aura of tension that was very pervasive. It connected everyone.


“Bam bam,” a child exclaimed. He had to be about six, with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He wore jeans and a Marvin the Martian T-shirt.


Another child ran after him. He was younger-looking. He was wearing a Star Wars T-shirt and jeans.


“Stop, alien! Or I’ll blast you!” he shouted.


“You will never get me,” the child with the Marvin shirt shouted. “Your planet will go boom!”


“No way,” the other one said. “I’m Anakin Skywalker and I use the force!”


“Eat my shorts,” the kid pretending to be an alien said.


Molly chuckled to herself and continued walking. There was at least a bit of normalcy that the past few days in her life had been missing. She couldn’t help but wish that her life could go back to its normal routine. Lethe’s appearance had been completely unexpected. It was like throwing a penny into a pool and watching the ripples all around it. That was how her life has been changed.


She thought that it was going to be a long year if the various world governments all had separate votes. No doubt there would be protests and riots. How many people would die because of the aliens? But Josh said it was a good thing. He had to know what he was talking about. How could he not?


She did trust him completely. He had provided the necessary proof of his wild claims. It was Lethe who Molly didn’t trust one-hundred percent. Who knew what motivated the alien princess? Surely she didn’t care about humans one way or the other. Why else would she offer them the gift with a terrible price tag attached? How could anyone in good conscience vote for such a thing?


Molly did not quite believe Josh that it would all work out for the best, but she wanted to believe him. It was a hard idea for her to swallow. The possible deaths of five billion people weighed heavily on her conscience. Why should they be killed for a small group in comparison to survive? There was no way the ends justified the means, but what could she do about it?


Josh’s powers had grown over the past few months. She had seen him start by levitating a penny across the room, and then he’d levitated a car just to prove what he could do. She was a little bit afraid of him, to be honest. She knew that he would never hurt her under normal circumstances, but what if she made him angry?


She had seen his anger in rare cases. A group member who had been particularly skeptical had made Josh so upset that he’d kicked him out of the group. Josh said that he’d proven it as much as he could, and if the group member couldn’t believe it, he didn’t deserve to be part of Unity. They were, after all, supposed to be united under a common belief -- that extraterrestrials existed and that the aliens wanted nothing more than to aid the human race.


Molly couldn’t help but worry about what might happen if Josh got mad at her. She did not want to risk it. So she went along with what he said. She believed most of what he said. It was just Lethe’s motivations that she questioned.


“Hey,” a man walking along the street said, “aren’t you one of those Unity people?”


“Yes. How did you know?” she asked.


“I recognized you from the TV. You tell your cult leader that we don’t want to hear any more of this alien nonsense, okay? Tell him we’re all sick of hearing it. Every time I turn on the TV, it’s on. It scares my wife and kids to death. I don’t like it either.”


“I’m sorry to hear that,” Molly said, “but I can’t do anything about the news media.”


“Fine, just tell your cult leader to quit hogging the spotlight so things can get back to normal.”


Molly nodded. “I’ll tell him that,” she said, not wanting to risk a physical confrontation.


“Good,” the man said. Then he turned and walked away.


Molly shivered. If this was the general public sentiment, perhaps she shouldn’t be outside alone. She turned around and headed back to the Unity complex.


The Unity organization headquarters was a renovated forty-year-old apartment building in downtown Minneapolis. Various apartments had been converted into living quarters for group members. Others had been converted into offices and libraries.


Molly’s apartment was a large two-bedroom on the fifth floor, the highest one. She used the spare bedroom as office space. The décor was neutral. She had a few paintings on the walls. They were mostly abstracts with pastel colors. One by Georgia O’Keefe stood out. It was entitled Black, White, and Blue. She liked the design and the dark colors.


She had a purple orchid in a clear glass vase on her coffee table. That was her favorite flower. She loved the beauty of it.


There were various books scattered about. Most of them were on topics such as meditation, astral projection, interpreting dreams, crystals, and the like. She also had a few books on astronomy. Science had never been her favorite subject, but she liked learning about the stars.


She picked up one of the astronomy books and sat down, idly flipping through it until she came to the constellation Cygnus. She knew the name of the constellation meant “swan.” In mythology, it was one of two birds hunted by Hercules. The other was Aquila. There were several well-known nebulas in it. Among them were the Veil or Loop, the Pelican, and the North American nebula. There was a small galaxy in Cygnus as well. Not much was known about it.


Molly supposed that Lethe came from that galaxy, although she hadn’t specifically said which one, just that it was from that constellation. It could be that there was another galaxy that earth’s astronomers hadn’t detected yet. Molly wondered what it would be like on Lethe’s planet. Were all of the aliens there reptilians? Or did they evolve from more than one species? How did her species treat them? What about intelligent beings from other planets?


Molly wondered why Lethe had really come to earth. How could her motivations be purely peaceful if her plans included killing five billion human beings? Why was she really here? Unfortunately, Molly thought, that question would probably not be answered today. She got up to brew a pot of herbal tea to calm herself. Perhaps a relaxing cup of tea was what she needed.

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Chapter 4


Three months passed quickly. Italy, Germany, Japan, and the UK had their popular votes on whether or not to accept the aliens’ gift. The UK, Germany, and Italy all voted for it. The votes weren’t close, but they were over sixty percent for it. Japan voted overwhelmingly against it. Iran’s government had issued a religious edict against it. North Korea’s government staunchly refused to give an opinion either way.


Whatever the final count was, it seemed likely to be close. Various world leaders had gone on record as being either for or against it, but it would take months to get ready for a popular vote. The United States was scheduled to vote in July. As a symbolic gesture, the vote had been scheduled for Independence Day.


In the United States, the general sentiment was against accepting the aliens’ gift. No politician wanted to be seen as accepting of the idea. So they either came out strongly against, or waffled and didn’t want to take a position either way. It was mostly Republicans who seemed to be for it, but didn’t want to come out and say they were.


Molly wondered if anyone would vote for accepting the aliens’ gift. Most of the ads were out against it. Lethe had made several public appearances since her first one, but only to the United Nations. She had apparently managed to convince half the member states to agree with her plan. It was for the good of the human race, after all. How could you argue with that? But to many, the price was unbearable. They didn’t want to go down in history as bringing whole-sale slaughter to their people, or so they said, and Molly really couldn’t blame them.


She wondered if the entire thing would turn out to be a test of sorts. How could the aliens actually massacre five billion people to save one billion, even if it included future generations to come? How could they do such a thing? It had to be a moral test, that was the only way she could justify it. Perhaps Lethe would admit that before the end, or maybe the alien princess would wait until the last country had made its decision.


There was a knock on her door.


“Come in,” she said, knowing that it would be one of the Unity members. No one else was allowed into the residential areas of the building.


“Hey,” Josh said. He looked happy. “Did you hear the latest on the votes? China’s government went for it.”


“Really? Did they have a popular vote?”


“No. Their government wouldn’t allow it. The ordinary people there are protesting the decision in the streets. They’re being thrown in jail right this minute.”


“That’s sad,” Molly said.


“Yes, but after we receive the cure, it won’t even matter. Don’t you see? We’ll have reached the epitome of genetic perfection. Nobody will ever get sick, we’ll live to be five hundred years old, it’ll be perfect.”


Molly looked at him. “Do you really think everything will be perfect even if there’s no more diseases?”


“Well, okay. Not a hundred percent, but our species will have a better chance for survival in the long run. Can’t argue with that,” he said.


“Do you really think the ends justify the means?” Molly asked.


“Of course, they do. Think about it, Molly. The deaths of five billion are nothing compared to all the future generations that will live. It’s their sacrifice that will allow for our species’ survival.”


She nodded. “All right, Josh.” She wasn’t going to argue with him.


“Trust me, Molly. Everything will be okay,” he replied.


“I trust you,” she said.


“Good.” He smiled and left the room.


* * * * *


Later that week, several more countries voted. The evening news reported that India had voted against accepting the aliens’ gift, while Pakistan had voted overwhelmingly for it. Several small European countries like Luxembourg voted against it. The news network displayed a world map with countries for the aliens’ gift in green and against in red. There were an awful lot of green-colored nations.


Molly was beginning to wonder if they would seriously be in trouble. The nations of the world could not seem to agree on this issue, but that was understandable since they rarely agreed on anything else. But would the aliens actually do as they said, or was it a test as she logically surmised?


There was no evidence that it was a test, yet it was the only rational explanation she could think of. Surely no civilization that had achieved space flight resorted to killing millions of people to keep machines running. Their technology was probably different, but it couldn’t be that different. Expert commentators on the news networks had said as much.



Molly was apprehensive about how the rest of the voting would turn out. What if it the majority of nation states voted for the cure? Would everyone really be killed? Maybe Lethe wouldn’t go through with it. Maybe, just maybe, her mind could be changed. Perhaps she could be reasoned with.


Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a low-pitched hum. Molly gasped. This was not something she had been expecting. Lethe stood in the middle of her apartment. This time, the alien princess wore a shimmering silver gown. It really set off her glittering scales.


“Good afternoon, Molly Myers,” the alien said.


“Hello,” Molly managed to say. She was incredibly nervous. Why was Lethe there? Had the alien been reading her thoughts or something?


“Yes, we can read the thoughts of every member of the Unity organization. We chose who we wish to speak to. You seem to doubt our intentions.”


Molly blushed. “Forgive me, please. It’s just…well, the ends do not really seem to justify the means. So many people, dead. And for what? How do we know the supposed cure really works? What if there are side effects or something? I mean, something like that…it seems to good to be true. Is this really some kind of ethical test, to see if our planet has good morals or something?”


Lethe smiled. “It is a test. You have that right. And it is an ethical test of sorts. But even within your own people’s sense of ethics, the sheer numbers involved, would still make choosing the cure the right choice. Five billion is nothing compared to every future generation of your species. That will be many billions more. Do you understand this?”


“Yes, but…it just doesn’t seem fair. Why should they have to die?” Molly asked.


“Oh, nobody’s forcing your people to sacrifice themselves. It’s entirely their choice,” Lethe replied.


“What about governments with dictatorships like Iran? They didn’t give their people a choice,” Molly pointed out.


“We assume that the leaders of each country are wise enough to know what is in their people’s best interests,” Lethe said.


“But what if they aren’t? What if they have other motives, like controlling the people?” Molly inquired.


“Then the nations’ blood will be on its leader’s hands. Do not fear, Molly Myers. Your species will survive, no matter what happens. Our way will be better, though. You will see.”


Molly nodded. What else could she do? The aliens could read her thoughts. How else could she respond?


“You can respond however you like,” Lethe answered. “We are not taking away your free choice. Every decision is yours to make.”


She nodded again.


“I must go, my people need me. But I will return to your planet soon,” Lethe said.


“All right.”


The low-pitched hum sounded again, and the alien vanished with a brilliant flash of light.


Molly was incredibly apprehensive now. What could she do, now that the aliens knew what she was thinking? She was powerless against them, powerless to do anything about their plan if the world should accept their “gift”.


How long had they been monitoring her thoughts? She felt incredibly frightened and guilty at the same time. What if the aliens had told Josh? What would he do to her? She didn’t want to face that fear. She got up from her chair and went into the kitchen. It was time for another pot of tea to calm herself.


The Unity group abstained from most alcohol, although small amounts of wine were occasionally allowed at group gatherings. Josh’s father had been an abusive alcoholic, so he knew firsthand just how dangerous the stuff could be. He was not going to allow anyone in his group to go overboard with it.


Soon, the teapot whistled and Molly sat down with a steaming cup of tea. The light scent of lavender was definitely calming and relaxing. Perhaps she needn’t worry about the aliens so much. After all, everything would be all right in the end. The human species would be saved. Things could only go uphill from there.


* * * * *

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Chapter 5


* * * * *


It was three days later. Molly now worried constantly about whether or not the aliens were monitoring her thoughts. Try as she might, she couldn’t keep them under control. She would try to think about nothing in particular, but the little thoughts about whether or not the aliens would hurt her kept popping into her mind. And, of course, she worried about the gift and its implications.


Other countries were gearing up for their popular votes in the coming months. All of the European Union was scheduled to be done with the voting by the end of February. That was only a few months away. The world was growing more and more restless too, it seemed. Protesting the vote was the popular thing to do. A few riots had broken out in countries where the vote results had been to accept the gift. The world seemed like it was in a slow descent toward chaos.


Molly was very nervous, though she tried not to be. Meditating didn’t seem to help. Neither did yoga and neither did her affirmation rituals. “I am calm. I am not afraid,” she repeated to herself often when she was alone, while visualizing a white light around her, but it didn’t help one bit. How could she not be afraid? She was certain that the aliens were monitoring her thoughts, and she was terrified that they would punish her in some way for thinking the wrong things.


Josh was no help, either. He taught her other meditation techniques, but they didn’t seem to work at all either. Molly drank so many cups of relaxing tea that she spent more time in the bathroom than meditating, anyway. Josh had finally allowed her the privilege of having a little wine outside of their group rituals. It was the only thing that worked, even a little bit.


To take her mind off of her worries, Molly sometimes practiced using the telekinetic abilities that Lethe had given to all of Unity’s members when she had first met them. She hadn’t gotten much beyond making paperclips and pennies float, though. She didn’t think she would ever be as good as using her new talent as Josh was. But he had his abilities for much longer.


Molly was bored and decided to go for a walk again, but this time she picked up the phone and asked Cindy Smith, a group member who was a casual acquaintance, to go with her. Cindy was a tall, slightly plump woman with blond hair and blue eyes. She was a few years older than Molly. The two of them walking together would be safer than one of them going alone.


“Sure, I’ll go for a walk with you,” Cindy said. “I’ll meet you downstairs in the lobby.”


“That sounds like a good plan,” Molly replied.


She grabbed a faded denim jacket. It went will with the faded jeans and light turquoise T-shirt that she was already wearing.


After taking the elevator, Molly saw her acquaintance sitting in a chair in the lobby. Cindy was dressed in beige jeans and a long-sleeved button-down flannel shirt.


“It’s good to see you,” Cindy said.


Molly smiled. “Thanks. You, too.”


“Do you want to go anywhere in particular?” Cindy asked.


“Not really,” Molly answered. “I just wanted to get outside for a while and stretch my legs.”


The other woman nodded. “Same here.”


As Molly opened the door, she noticed that it was a very nice day. The air was warm, the sun was shining, and there was not much of a breeze to speak of. Most of the trees had lost their leaves already, but a few trees still had striking displays of red, amber, and brown colored foliage.


“We’ve been worried about you, actually,” Cindy said.


“Oh?” Molly stopped in her tracks. Had the aliens told them everything? What was going to happen to her now.


The other woman stopped, too. “You’ve just seemed really distracted lately. Is something bothering you?” she asked.


“I’m just a bit worried about what might happen if this thing actually goes through,” Molly replied. “Do you really think the aliens are going to kill five billion people?”


Cindy nodded. “I’ve been a little worried about that myself, but I don’t think they would really do that. And if they do, so what? The people who voted for it brought it on themselves.”


Molly gaped at her. “You can’t be serious, Cindy. They’re innocent people. Most of them probably don’t even realize what they’re voting for.”


“The mass media has covered every single appearance by Princess Lethe since she came to us. There’s no way those people don’t know what choice they’re making.”


“But what if their governments put a different spin on it? What if their newspapers didn’t include every detail?”


“Molly, you’re blowing this all out of proportion,” Cindy said. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not our problem.” She smiled sweetly. “Let’s just try to enjoy this nice, perfect fall day, okay?”


Molly nodded, but deep down, she was very apprehensive. She managed a fake smile and continued down the street with Cindy.


It wasn’t very long after that when they ran into a group of teenage boys who were wearing gang colors. Molly immediately looked down, hoping to avoid a confrontation. But Cindy made the mistake of gawking at them.


“Hey, ladies,” one of the boys sneered. “What are two women like you doing in our territory?”


“We were just out for a walk, really,” Molly said. “We’ll leave if you want us to. No problem, okay?”


“Hey. Aren’t you that Unity lady? The one who was on TV?” one of the boys said.


“You’re just crazy alien cultists,” another boy said, scoffing at them. “Maybe we should teach these brainwashed morons a lesson. We might kill people if they’re in a rival gang, you see, but we don’t kill innocents. Unlike you.”


“We don’t kill them either,” Cindy said nervously, backing away.


“Bullshit,” the first boy argued. “You want to kill five billion people for your alien princess. I bet the whole thing is a scam. Let’s teach these scam artists a lesson, guys. What do you think?”


“Yeah,” they agreed.


“Run,” Molly exclaimed.

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Chapter 6


* * * * *


The two women ran as fast as they could from the teenage gang members, who were rapidly gaining on them. Suddenly, Molly spotted a very familiar figure walking down the street and heading in their direction.


“Josh! Help!” she yelled loudly.


He looked extremely startled, but rushed quickly towards the two women. “Hey,” he shouted.


“Hey, it’s him! It’s that alien cult leader,” the tallest of the gang members said. “Get him!”


Josh glanced around quickly, then made a decision. He telekinetically sent a couple of nearby garbage can lids flying in their direction.


“What the hell?” another gang member shouted. “No way! That’s impossible! He can’t be doing that crazy shit.”


The other gang members dove out of the way. The metallic garbage can lids struck the tall gang member in the chest. As he was flung backward, several of the gang members drew their guns.


“No way, man,” one of them said. “You don’t pull that crazy alien shit on us! We’re the scorpions, man. We sting!”


“Yeah,” the other teenage gang members agreed.


“Don’t push me,” Josh said. “You don’t know what I’m capable of.”


“I’ve read enough X-Men comic books to know what mutants can do. You’re a freak now, ain’t ya?” The first gang member with a gun laughed at him.


Josh glared at him. “You really don’t want to test me.”


“Oh, yeah? Come on. Make my day,” the gang member said.


“If you insist, Johnny boy,” Josh said.


The gang member’s eyes widened. “How the hell did you know my name? I didn’t give it to you. So you’re Professor X now, eh? Well, even he was never immune to gunshot wounds!”


Johnny fired the gun. Cindy screamed loudly. She was not in the path of the bullet, but it was heading straight for Josh.


“Get out of the way,” Molly shouted at the top of her voice at her friend, then took the advice herself.


She watched in horror as the bullet headed straight for Josh. How was he going to get out of this mess? She watched in shock as Josh appeared to concentrate. All of his attention was focused on the bullet. Molly kept watching as the bullet slowed down, miraculously, until it came to a stop a few millimeters away from Josh’s nose. He reached out his hand and let the bullet drop into it.


“Now,” Josh said in a voice as cold as steel, “if I were you, I would rethink your tactics. Perhaps a strategic retreat would be in order.”


The gang members gaped at each other in disbelief. A few of them helped Johnny stand up, though he looked as if he was in tremendous pain. His legs wobbled as he stood up.


“Yeah, retreat,” Johnny choked out. “I need to see a doctor.”


“Okay,” the gang members agreed. “We’ll get you to a good one.”


Johnny glared at Josh. “I’ll never forget this. You are now on my shit list, man.”


“Fine,” he said. “I don’t care. I never want to see your acne-ridden face again.”


The teenage gang members turned around and left. Molly breathed a huge sigh of relief. Cindy did too.


“That was incredibly,” Cindy gushed. “You were totally amazing!”


“One day, both of you will be able to do what I just did. All it takes is practice. I can teach you, if you would like me to.”


“Yes, please,” Cindy said.


Molly nodded. “Thank you, Josh. You just saved our lives,” she said.


“I will issue an order when we get back. From now on, all Unity organization members will have to stay inside the complex. We will only leave in groups of at least five. And you will learn to use your abilities,” he said.


Both women nodded. Josh escorted them back to the complex. When Cindy disappeared into the elevator, he turned to Molly.


“Are you all right? You’ve been acting very strangely the past few days,” he inquired.


“I’m find, Josh. I just wanted to get out and breathe some fresh air,” she replied.


He nodded. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But you’ve seemed a bit distant lately. Is anything going on that I should know about?”


Molly smiled and shook her head. “No, Josh. I’m perfectly all right. Don’t worry about me. I’m sure you have many other things on your mind that are more important.”


He looked at her intensely. “You’re the most important one, Molly,” he admitted. “I’ve thought about little else for the past few days.”


She blushed. “I had no idea.”


“Well, the aliens didn’t give us telepathy, now did they? I can’t read your mind, so I don’t know what you are so worried about,” he said.


“I just…I’m fine, really,” she replied.


“Okay. When you’re ready to tell me, I’ll be here to listen to you,” he said.


Molly watched him take the next elevator up. She took the stairs instead, since she hadn’t been able to walk far before the gang members showed up.


* * * * *

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(This one's a bit long so I'm splitting it up.)


Chapter 7


Molly poured herself a glass of red wine. She just wanted very badly to relax. She sipped it once, then again, and again. It was good – not too sweet, not too bitter, but just right. It went down as smooth as satin.


Then she began to feel light-headed. She wasn’t usually this sensitive to alcohol. What in the world was going on? The wine was really getting to her this time. Perhaps it was just really strong alcohol, in which case she really shouldn’t drink so much of it…


Before Molly knew it, she had drifted off into a deep sleep. She was in REM mode in no time at all.


* * * * *


Molly quickly slipped into a dream state. The surreal world was very strange, unusual, and bizarre. She was floating in a pink sky filled with rainbow marshmallow clouds. There were giant white elephants with wings flying by, as well as a Pegasus, a unicorn, and a care bear with a thundercloud on its belly. It looked particularly grumpy.


A few moments later, she floated past Elvis. He was playing “Blue Suede Shoes” on a guitar made of fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches. It actually sounded pretty good. There was Superman too, flying past her. He waved. Then she floated past ET, who was phoning home and eating a bag of chocolate candies that melt in your mouth, not your hand.


Molly also floated past Homer Simpson. He looked extremely odd in 3-D. He was eating doughnuts and quaffing large quantities of beer. And there was the leaning tower of Pisa, only it wasn’t leaning, it was straight! And then a white rabbit with a pocket watch hopped past her, saying “I’m going to be late, I’m going to be late, I must get to my rabbit hole!” Now she knew how Alice must have felt when she tumbled into Wonderland for the very first time.


With nothing better to do, Molly followed the rabbit, but got distracted by a very large space ship she had seen in a television show somewhere. Captain Kirk, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and McCoy all waved to her.


“We’re waiting to beam you up,” Kirk shouted. Somehow, she could hear him. “We’re just waiting for orders from higher up.”


“Aye,” Scotty replied.


“We’re supposed to run experiments on you,” McCoy said. “But don’t worry, everything will be just fine.”



Molly wondered about that as she floated through the dream world. She saw the Eiffel Tower on a gumdrop island in the distance. White doves made of sugar soared past her. There was also an enormous chocolate teddy bear, and care bears were munching on pieces of it. Now that was totally weird, she thought.


Then she floated past Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, who were happily chasing butterflies fluttering above the marshmallow clouds. And she saw the cat chasing the tweety bird. The little yellow bird kept saying, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat,” over and over.


Then gravity suddenly returned to normal and everything began to fall and Molly woke up with a start.


* * * * *


It had been three hours since she’d fallen asleep. And she was no longer in her chair in the living room, but in her bed. How in the world had she gotten there? Her clothes were still on, but the covers were messed up as though she had been tossing and turning.


That had been some dream. Could someone have put something in her wine? Molly hated to think of anyone in Unity drugging her. Maybe Lethe had done it. But surely the alien technology was so much better that they wouldn’t have a need to drug anyone against their will.


Molly decided that she was going to try and get the contents of the wine analyzed. Back in her college days, she had been friends with a chemistry major by the name of Robby Sullivan. Robby still lived in the Twin Cities and she had his address somewhere in her address book. They exchanged holiday cards every year.


It was a huge risk that she was taking, but she had to go through with it. If someone had drugged her, and it was somebody whom she trusted, Molly wanted to know about it. She needed to know about it. It was for her own safety’s sake.


She dug out the address book and looked up Robby’s address. It wasn’t far. She’d just sneak out, find a pay phone, and call a taxi to take her there. It wouldn’t take very long. She wasn’t going to try walking very far again, not after the assault by the gang members. Maybe she should try a disguise. Somewhere, she had a Minnesota Twins baseball cap and a pair of neon-green sunglasses. Hopefully, it would be better than nothing.


* * * * *

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The next day, Molly got up. She put on a pair of black jeans, a plain purple T-shirt, the Minnesota Twins baseball cap, and clutched the sunglasses in her hand. She had poured the remainder of the wine into a thermos and put the empty bottle under the sink. The thermos would fit into her tote bag, which she could easily carry. She also put a book in the tote bag to avoid suspicion.


She managed to make it down the stairs without anyone seeing her. That was good. Suddenly, as she reached the last step, she heard people coming. She quickly ducked under the stairs and hoped that they wouldn’t see her.


It was Cindy and another lady whose name Molly couldn’t remember. The other woman was older than Cindy was by about ten years. She was plump with gray hair and wore glasses, beige pants, and a pastel pink blouse.


Molly held her breath. Neither woman noticed her as they both began their climb up the stairs. Molly waited until she heard the door at the top of the next floor open and shut. Then she sprinted out of the stairwell, to the lobby, and out the door.


She had made it! She breathed a sigh of relief. Okay, now where was the nearest pay phone? There was a gas station across the street. Surely they would have one. Molly waited for the light to change and then walked across the street. She flipped through the phone book until she found the transportation section, then she stuck her finger underneath a phone number. She put her coins in the slot and dialed.


“Joe’s Cabs, how may I help you?” a young woman answered the phone.


“Yes, I am at…” Molly glanced at the street sign and gave the intersection. “It’s a gas station. I need a ride downtown. Do your drivers take credit cards?”


“Yes, they do,” the receptionist replied.


“Great. I’ll be here.”


It was an agonizingly slow wait. Molly went inside and bought a diet soda. She also flipped through several magazines. Finally, after about twenty minutes, the cab showed up.


The driver was a young man. He looked Hispanic. “Where to, lady?” he asked.


Molly gave him the address. It was near the University of Minnesota. That was where her friend worked as a teacher.


“Okay, I know where that is,” he answered. “I’m taking classes at the U of M myself.”


“In what?” Molly asked.


“Engineering. I’m two years into my bachelor’s.”


“Oh, that’s great,” Molly replied.


They chatted along the way. It was a pleasantly uneventful drive with no mention of aliens. Finally, the cab driver pulled over in front of the house. It was an older home with light blue siding and white trim on the windows and doors. The roof matched the trim.

“Do you want me to keep waiting?”


“No, thanks. I’ll call back when I need another ride.”


“Okay. That’ll be $36.50.”


“Thanks,” Molly said and gave him her credit card.


He scanned it. “You gonna add a tip, ma’am?”


“Uh, sure. $5.50.”


He added it to the card charge. “Thanks. Anything else, ma’am?”


“No, thank you.”


He unlocked the car door and she climbed out. “Thank you for choosing Joe’s Cabs. Have a nice day,” the driver said before she closed the car door.


Molly was really afraid that the wine had been drugged. She was also apprehensive about how her friend would react to seeing her again. She hadn’t seen him since she’d joined the Unity group.


* * * * *


She rang the doorbell. A few moments later, Robby opened it. She recognized him, though he had lost weight since she’d seen him last. His wavy brown hair was unkempt, and he looked exhausted. His fair skin looked pale. His brown pants and plaid flannel shirt hung loosely on him. Molly wondered if he had cancer or something.


“Molly,” he exclaimed. “Well, well. I haven’t seen you in ages. How are you doing these days, my friend?”


“I’m all right,” she said. “Things could be better, though.”


He nodded. “You’re with that Unity group, aren’t you.”


“How did you know?”


“Oh, I recognized you from the newspaper photos. Come on it. I’ll brew us a pot of tea. That’s what you prefer, isn’t it?”


She nodded. “Please.”


“I have some Oolong tea that one of my graduate students gave me from Japan. She went home last month for a week.”


“That’ll be just fine,” Molly said.


“Good, good,” Robby said.


“Robby, how are you doing?” she asked as he bustled about in the kitchen.


“Well, things could be better, but they could also be worse. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my tale of woe.”


“I haven’t seen you in a long time. I’d love to catch up with you,” she answered.


Having put the teapot on the stove, he went into the living room. “Okay. If you must. It doesn’t matter to me whether the aliens kill us or not, because I’m going to die anyway.”


Molly gasped. “Robby, don’t say that. If I can do anything to help you, I will, I swear it.”


He shook his head. “I’ve got lung cancer. I guess my younger days of foolishness have finally caught up with me. Even though I stopped smoking years ago, I got it anyway. I haven’t got very long left now.”


“Robby, I’m so sorry to hear that. Maybe my group can help you.”


He shook his head again. “I don’t want their help. I don’t want anyone to die to heal me. It’s not worth it, my friend. It really isn’t.”


“I know,” she whispered. “But what can I do?”


His gray eyes met hers. “One person can change the world, Molly. All you have to do is believe in yourself.”


“But I can’t stop the vote, it’s already going on. And the aliens are too powerful, anyway.”


Robby sighed. “All is probably lost then. What did you come here for?”


Molly took the thermos out of her tote bag. “Last night, I drank some wine. It put me right to sleep, which is very odd because I only had one glass. I had the strangest dream I’ve ever had in my whole life. I think the wine was drugged.”


“Alcohol can do strange things to your brain,” he said. “But I can look into this for you, if you want me to.”


“Would you?”


“Yes. If I can do one thing to make a difference before I leave this earth, I most certainly will do so.”


Suddenly, the teapot whistled.


“Ah, there’s the tea! Come on, let’s change the subject to a more pleasant one. Just wait until I pour the tea.”


Molly felt extremely ashamed of herself while Robby left the room. He was willing to help her, and what was she willing to do? Sit back and wait for the world to end, that’s what she was doing. But what could she do against the aliens? And how could she betray Josh? There were no easy answers.


Robby returned with two steaming cups of tea. It smelled delightful to Molly. The conversation turned to more pleasant subjects. It was a good hour before she finally called a cab to take her home.


* * * * *


I passed the 10,000 word mark today. I am up to 10,064! Woohoo!



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I don't think I'm going to be updating this here anymore, but if you want to read the rest, I am posting it on my live journal.



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  • 2 weeks later...

In case anyone is wondering, this is finished.


Final NaNoWriMo official word count: 50129 words.

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Interesting read.. Keep it up.. ;)



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Interesting read.. Keep it up..




I don't plan to do any more writing for a while, now that it's finished. My muse deserves a vacation, at least until after the holidays are over. :)

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