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Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy, stories and tall tales, none of it is to be believed. Remember that boy. It's all lies.


The words of Grant's father circled his mind like a vulture gnawing away at his confidence. Had he let his grandfather's bedtime stories rot his mind? Maybe. Was he trapped in a childish mindset? Probably. But what harm could come of it? He unrolled the auction house's catalogue one more time, his thumb still lodged in the desired page. Lot number 187: An original brown 1904 Steiff teddy bear, previously owned by…


Grant only ever knew him by the name he had given him, Bazra the Bear. A childhood companion, friend, confidant, when there were no others. That's the problem with growing up the sole child of a wealthy family in rural England, loneliness. Servants don't make for the best of friends, not when mother can fire them after she's had too much bubbly with brunch. 


Father insisted the solitude and wilderness would make him strong and creative. Mother proclaimed it would make him independent and intelligent. But grandfather simply said let's go play. 


Grant never saw his Grandfather as old, or eccentric, or mad like they tried to convince him near the end. Gramps was just Gramps. Fun loving, full of stories of magic and beast, and always had time to go on adventures with him. When the lonely find each other they can become inseparable. 


The taxi lurched to a stop, ripping him from expansive sepia memories and back into the gray rain-sweeped streets of overcrowded London. Unfortunately the pounding headache that had been plaguing him since first setting eyes on that childhood memory washed back in with reality. 


Flicking up the collar of his blue suit jacket he eyed the fine gold cursive on black background overheard, shouting to the world, ‘We are rich, and we get rich off selling rich things to other rich people.’ In truth it simply read Auction House London, but the huge glass front with security officers of ogreish proportions by the doors said the rest.


“Grant Fleetwood,” he said to the young lady behind the reception desk as he dripped onto the immaculate polished tiled floor.


“Fleetwood? As in…” She attempted to raise an eyebrow, but with brown hair pulled so tight few of her squirrelish features actually moved.


“Yes, Fleetwood, as in that Fleetwood, the very estate every one of them hyenas in there is gathered to devour in hope of a pretty profit. Now, do I need a name badge or should I announce who I am when I go in.”


“No sir, of course not, sorry sir,” sliding the numbered paddle across the black marble counter she gestured toward the doors. “Please go ahead,”


Her meekness caused a momentary flutter of cringe to pound his temples. There was no need to be so pissy with her, but his anger had been building for hours now. He shook his head, almost laughed, make that years actually. The double doors breezed open and he wafted inside to a storm of muttering and a gust of layered perfumes and aftershave. He practically gagged at the stench of wealth. Why do they need to shower in cologne? Can they not stand their own reek of corruption?


He sat far from everybody, but as the bidding time approached every seat filled. It seemed everyone who was anyone wanted a piece of old Atticus Fleetwoods grand collection of mystical antiquities.


Some of the larger items stood near the front or off to the sides, to Grant they were totally out of place. They should have been in the dining room, the study, the ballroom. Anywhere but here. There was the bronze statue of Xander the Great Magus he had hid behind, stone tables from the court of the White Circle he had turned into dens with some well placed sheets. All memories he had mostly forgotten now set to be carried away to the highest bidder. He looked at the catalogue again, Bazra’s beady eyes staring at him.


“Now I need you to listen to me Grant, this bear ain’t no ordinary bear,” Atticus had said as he tucked him into bed. “You see this bear is special, very special, and yours and yours alone. He will protect you, laugh with you and even cry with you if you need. But most of all, as long as you have him, part of me will always be with you and then we can never be apart.”


“But he can't go on adventures the way we can, can't you stay Gramps?”


“I wish I could son, I wish I could,” the old man sniffed back a tear. “But I have… business, to attend to overseas.”


“But you don't work anymore.”


“A man can still have things that need his attention outside of work, other kinds of business. Like new pieces for my collections.”


“What if I go with you? It could be our secret.”


“I think your parents would notice. I would take you if I could, but you're still little, you're just a little over six now ain't you?”


“No! I'm eight, almost nine.”


“Ah yes, that’s right,” Atticus smiled and ruffled Grant's hair. “But still too young for where I'm headed.”


“Please gramps, please stay, please,” Grant's voice was shaking, tears starting to well when two figures loomed in the doorway. 


“The cars here, time for you to go,” hissed his mother, every word dripping with venom.


“This is my house, I will go when I am ready.” The old man cleared his throat and leaned in close to Grant. “Promise me boy, never part with this bear, never. I’ll see you again, promise, someday.”


That was one of the last memories he had of his grandfather, but strangely the most recent. Ever since that catalogue arrived that memory just kept coming back. Was Gramps just being kind to a scared child, or was there more to it?


Happiness left in a town car that night, and Grant's life became a boring shade of bland. School work, fencing, polo, and all the other crap needed to earn a spot in high society. He would have given anything for more adventures with Gramps. To pretend once more that the woods nearby were infested with Leshis, that the cave beyond the estate was home to a troll that had to be fed rotten apples to keep it from rampaging across the lands, that the well was a doorway to…


“Sold!” The gavel banged and applause resounded worsening Grants headache. “Next up lot fifty four. The stone of Askarah, legends says the gem holds the soul of a Dream Eater. Approximately three thousand years old and a fine piece for any collector of the weird and wonderful, can we start the bidding at ten thousand pounds, do I hear….”


Up until a week ago Grant had not thought about half of this stuff, especially not the bear. He had found contentment in his city life, high society low on his list of concerns. He had, what mother would call, a lowly normal job as a call center manager. It provided enough for a comfortable life and he was happy with that. He refused to make the same mistakes as father. Hedge Funds, economic crash, debt, hunting rifle. Grant never questioned why he didn't cry at his funeral, but that’s the difference between a father and a live-in sperm donor. Only one is worth tears.


Mother was not long for the ground after him, but she decided to take the scenic route. Too much booze equals liver problems, results in kidney failure, leads to heart attacks, and ends with a lovely mahogany box. She did get a tear or two though, not because Grant was sad, but because he never called her a bitch for driving Gramps away. 


And so Grant lived on as the sole inheritor of the grand manor at the age of twenty three. Unfortunately with great wealth comes great taxes and he had not the means nor interest to maintain the land. Worst of all came by hand delivered post, his father, the bastard, had levied the property for loans to cover his losses. The bank won again. The rich got richer and Grant became a homeless, friendless, orphan.


But as the last living Fleetwood, the bank informed him of the auction. On seeing that scruffy bear he once took everywhere until teenage years deem such things uncool, he knew he had to get it back. It was spellbinding. He sold his car, withdrew all his savings, got rid of his TV, his guitar, anything that could be sold was. He needed that bear.


“Excuse me?” Grant turned to a woman standing, or rather fidgeting, in the aisle, her impeccable black and red uniform denoting her as staff, “Are you the grandson of Atticus Fleetwood?” 


“I am,” he squinted toward her name badge, “What can I do for you Emily?”


“Would you mind coming with me?” Emily glanced about like a school girl whispering secrets at the back of class.


“Yes I would actually.”


“Please sir, it is rather urgent.”


“What ever it is, it can wait, I’m here to bid and I won't miss—”


“Lot 187?”


Grant tilted his head and scrunched his brow, “How did you know?”


“Please sir, best you come with me,” she leaned conspiratorially close and whispered, her voice a gasping tremor. “It's asking for you.”


***


"Grant!" shouted the two foot high bear from within a glass case.


Grant paused, doors of the climate controlled store room still swinging behind him. He looked from the bear to the two security guards, to Emily and the balding stick figure of a man in the same black and red uniform. No one was holding back a smirk. He glanced between the aisles of sheet covered antiques and down the rows of shelves all carefully tagged and priced. No cameras. No TV presenter waiting, ready to jump out and shout gotcha. No final laugh for the well-to-do's on behalf of the Fleetwood family. 


“What is this?” Grant demanded, his temples pounding louder with each step towards the confined bear.


“Sir,” began the willowy man unable to keep the quiver from his prim and proper voice, “we really have no explanation, it just started…talking.” 


“Son! Grant! Listen to my voice, you know me,” Bazra beat the glass prison.


“No, no, no, no,” Grant stumbled backwards. “What sort of cruel trick is this! Argh!” Pain, sharp, stabbing, exploded across the back of his head, burning his eyes, robbing his breath.


“Sir what is wrong?” Asked Emily as she reached for him.


“That's my –”


All four staff members took a step closer, Emily squeezed Grant's arm with threatening pressure before he ripped it from her grasp, “We still have to sell him, sir. There is no going back now.”


“What, what are you on about? That's my grandfather's voice!”


“Grant, don't listen to them,” said the bear, “It's all lies! It's all lies boy!” 


“Yes no going back, here to stay. Everything must be sold,” said the two security guards in unison.


Muffled applause seeped in from the auction room, another item sold, another memory lost. Grant stepped backwards, eyes squinting against the sudden dimming of the lights.


Bazra, or Gramps, or both, began punching the glass contentment. With a splintering crash it shattered across the floor. Grant screamed, fell to one knee, sticky wetness matting his hair, soaking his shirt collar.


“All must go! All must go!” The four chanted as they loomed closer in the ever darkening room.


“Quick Grant, move! Run!” The bear screamed as it grabbed his hand. Such a familiar feeling, so friendly, so trustworthy.


Rasping, Grant lifted the bear and bolted towards the doors. Shouldering his way out and into the hallway he skidded to a stop. This was no hallway, it was the auction room and he had burst on to the stage. All eyes were on him, yellow slits in the darkness, prey and predator, and he knew which of the two he was.


“Ah, here we have Lot 187. Can I start the bidding at…eternity?” Announced the auctioneer his smile widening to display razor sharp teeth.


“Run Grant!” demanded the bear.


Grant squeezed him closer and hurtled through the crowd, numbered paddles raising as he barreled past. “Eternity plus eleven to the horned man at the back, thank you sir, and do I hear…”


Panting, head throbbing he erupted onto the crowded street to find himself alone, abandoned. The buildings rushed in as if trying to crush him, walling him in. Clouds above roiled grays, to purple, to funeral black.


“What is happening?” Grant sobbed at the bear clutched to his chest, “Have I gone mad? Am I dead? Am I…”


“You will be safe boy, as long as you listen to me. You need to remember.”


Grant stared into the beady eyes of that childhood friend, that toy that meant so much to him, the only thing he knew as a constant, with the only voice he knew he could trust.


“Is it really you Gramps?”


“No boy, I am not real, none of this is. I am a memory.”


The ground shook, lightning cracked in rhythmic bursts, the encroaching buildings locked together leaving him at the bottom of a dark tunnel.


“Weeks after Gramps left, what did you do? Where did you go?” Bazra shouted over the cacophony of thunderous rain. The water rushed about Grant's feet, rising like a well in a storm.


A well. Bricks splashed into the water, the building plaster cracked and crumbled.


“Yes Grant, that's it, what about a well?”


He screamed, his hand coming away from the back of his head, or rather the gaping hole there, clotted in blood. Corners of high rises the size of buses splashed into the waters, the waves crashing against his chest, trying to pull him under.


“I went looking for Gramps, to the woods, to the cave, to the well. It was dark, it was wet…I fell in, I…”


Everything went dark and silent except for his sobbing. Grant lay fetal, bear pressed to his chest, fear filling his childish heart. Alone, abandoned, wet, cold, afraid. It all rushed in…


“Grant?” came a whisper as light spread across the vast nothings of his mind.


“Grant? Oh my god. Grant?” a woman's voice this time. Familiar, yet, no it couldn't be.


Slowly, wearily, he dragged open his eyes feeling like they were filled with sand and grit. All was an unrecognizable blur. Beeping and wheezing filled his head behind the gasps and cries on unknowable people.


“Grant, my name is Doctor Mukherjee. Can you hear me?” Light seared one eye then the other.


Yes, he tried to croak but all that came out was a choked rasp. Something was strangling him, stuffed into his desert dry throat.


"Grant you need to remain calm, you have a breathing tube in, please remain still. You've been in a coma but everything is alright now. Nurse, I need a nurse in here."


Hands squeezed his his, "You'll be ok son, we are here now." He knew that voice even through the whimpering, that was the voice of a dead man.


Gasping, what felt like a plastic eel was pulled from his throat and he breathed deep, choked, spluttered and feel back into the bed, eyes closed. What the hell was happening? Where was he?


Bodies pressed against his, “Grant it’s mum and dad, oh my little boy.” Arms squeezed him, tears fell onto his cheeks as kisses caressed his head, “You've come back to us, you've come back.”


"Is it really you?" Grant asked, his voice barely a whisper.


"It is son! We're so sorry, we should never have left you alone."


"But you, you all died, or left me, how…" Grant's vision focused and he looked about the hospital room, dumbfounded by all the gleaming faces he thought he had lost, but one in particular.


“Gramps?” he wept.


He stood at the end of his bed, Bazra the bear in one hand, the big book of myths in the other.


“You came back?” 


“Of course, boy. As soon as I heard about your accident, I've been hear, the two of us." Atticus sat the bear down on the edge of the bed.


Grant stretched his weak arms outward then caught sight of the teenager in the window doing the same. He had the same face, but younger, and the same look of gaunt horror. Pulling at his cheeks, his eyes, then touching the back of his, he looked about for answers. He had lived an entire life, a job, hobbies. Was it all lies?


"This may all be a little overwhelming," The doctor stated. "Perhaps if we could clear the room for a while I can explain what has happened."


Reluctantly his mother and father left with those distant relatives whose names he could not remember. But Gramps needed a hug.


And so leaning in and squeezing his trembling grandson he whispered. “Don't tell him anything, he's a Dream Eater. We are getting closer son, but we aren't out yet."

July 28, 2023 19:29

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34 comments

Ken Cartisano
20:49 Aug 03, 2023

Good Lord Kevin, I was just about ready to start calling you Kevlar. That was a close call. On a strictly technical point that several other readers either missed, or didn’t see fit to mention, except good old Michel Przywara. Yours: Flicking up the collar of his blue suit jacket he eyed the fine gold cursive on black background overheard, shouting to the world, ‘We are rich, and we get rich off selling rich things to other rich people.’ In truth, it simply read, Auction House London, but the huge glass front with security officers of ogre...

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Kevin Logue
06:45 Aug 04, 2023

Kevlar! I've had some nicknames in me days, Flump, Lurkio, but never such a nineties action hero name. When I submitted this I had to add a banner saying I only published to meet the deadline and would tweak later. So definitely was up against the deadline on this one. The edits I did end up doing where done in the car park of a church down the country after the wife's, aunties funeral, so was a bit of a chaotic week, ha. Guess it seeped through. These things, we learn and try again. I'm sure your wife and mother are delightful people wor...

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Ken Cartisano
08:00 Aug 04, 2023

Hi Kevin, Well, as I've explained to many other people, it's easy to sit down and improve someone else's story at your leisure. But these stories are done under a deadline, something a lot of would-be authors are not at all familiar with. It's tough, creating a story, re-writing, cleaning it up and getting it submitted in the span of a week. Done it myself a few times. I rewrote that taxi paragraph for fun. It didn't need a rewrite, it just needed a missing word added, and taking the 'r' out of 'overheard'. As it should be 'overhead'. But ...

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Kevin Logue
08:26 Aug 04, 2023

Well rewrites works for me, I know there is a premise that you should tell someone that this sentence or that paragraph doesn't work etc. But I am a very visual learner so rewrites/examples are very muchly appreciated 👍 If I could give out badges for most reads and comments you'd look like an accomplished boy scout! Alas all I have is praise and fake internet karma points. So many thanks... To begin with.

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Mary Bendickson
20:47 Jul 28, 2023

Well, yes. Very compelling tale. Very fantastic. Very confusing. Very well liked.

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Kevin Logue
20:54 Jul 28, 2023

Weirdly that was exactly what I was thinking, hence the need to tweak haha

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N.M. Stech
14:17 Aug 03, 2023

This was a fantastically enjoyable read! I am a long time lover of fantasy and these kind of stories that make you think and wonder and come to your own conclusions. By following along with the protagonist, we get to try to figure out what is happening along with him: in line with the Father's quote at the beginning of the story, was the grandfather really crazy, sucking his grandson into his own delusions? Or was there really something mystical afoot? Loved it! I also thoroughly enjoyed your writing style. Many of my favorite lines have a...

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Kevin Logue
14:47 Aug 03, 2023

I am glad you enjoyed it N.M. 😊 "..was the grandfather really crazy, sucking his grandson into his own delusions? Or was there really something mystical afoot?" This is exactly what I wanted the take away to be, so thank you for the comment. I enjoyed that line too, and strangely one that wasn't edited ha.

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Glenna Agnew
01:06 Aug 03, 2023

A little confusing but I enjoy the way you use words, like "ogreish proportions", "reek of corruption," and "Happiness left in a town car." These three were my favourite. Great job!

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Kevin Logue
05:22 Aug 03, 2023

Hi Glenna, thanks for reading and commenting. I understand myself it's a little confusing, was on the experimental side to try something a little different, that kind of twilight zone story were you're not really sure come the end what is real and what isn't. I enjoyed happiness left in a town car myself. Cheers 👍😁

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Michelle Oliver
14:35 Aug 02, 2023

Very interesting. Surreal even. Reality and perception. What is real? You string us along in the story fact presented in such a way so as to establish a reality, then you insert a new fact which counters this and gets us to reassess what we know. The ending… well I am intrigued now. What are we getting closer to? A few tweaks for you to look at in editing. Bazra, or Gramps, or both, began punching the glass contentment. (Not sure what you meant here.) Hands squeezed his his. (Repeated word.) I've been hear, the two of us. (*Here*) I’m a...

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Kevin Logue
14:45 Aug 02, 2023

Thanks for reading Michele, your comments are much appreciate and cheers for the catches but it's been approved, typical. Now I'm cursing myself for missing them. Someday I will post something without a mistake ha, small achievable goals are probably best lol Bazra, Gramps, or both, was trying to imply he wasn't sure which it was, if it was either.

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Marty Logue
19:15 Aug 01, 2023

Excellent story. Great ending. 5 stars

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Kevin Logue
19:23 Aug 01, 2023

Cheers for reading. Five stars, I'll take them haha.

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Ellen Neuborne
16:52 Aug 01, 2023

A compelling read. I love the fact that we end without a true resolution of what's real and what is not. Isn't that what memory is, after all? A series of images and emotions that never really sort neatly into truth and fantasy?

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Kevin Logue
17:33 Aug 01, 2023

So glad you liked it, I really didn't want to completely resolve it, there are clues littered throughout but they add up to three possibilities, done of which I wanted to cement in the end. Truth and Fantasy, I could have called this tale that 🤔😊 Thank you for reading and commenting, it is much appreciate.

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Michał Przywara
20:45 Jul 31, 2023

Quite a twist! The premise is well set up - the fallen rich heir, forced to buy back his own heirlooms from the bank that owns them - as is the background of the family. But then, things take a turn to the seriously weird, and we realize more is going on. At first, I thought maybe it was just a talking a bear, a bit of magic, but then things get more intense and I'm thinking, panic attack? Stroke? Some kind of serious break with reality? But it goes on for too long, and we start suspecting that, no, this *is* really happening. "In truth ...

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Kevin Logue
21:20 Jul 31, 2023

Hi Michal, thanks for reading and commenting. I always appreciate your breakdowns, it's great to see the things I hoped would come through be picked up on. In truth, I wanted this to be a very cerebral journey with the twist ending to leave the reader wondering which aspects were real. I was very much inspired by the show 'Life on Mars' where a detective is shot and suddenly finds himself in 1970s as a detective, and everything that happens has a mirror to what his body is going through in the present. But I love the idea of magical relics,...

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Chris Campbell
07:09 Jul 31, 2023

Kevin, An enthralling piece written in such a classical style, it almost transported me back to another era. However, the story is now and the events are a traumatically-induced travel to the past and future. Almost, a quantum powered journey. Excellently written, it captured me, then left me wanting more - in a good sense. The auction scene was reminiscent of the opening scene of the Phantom Of The Opera stage musical. So Victorian, yet happening today. I truly believe you sent me briefly through a time portal, then pulled me back befor...

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Kevin Logue
07:42 Jul 31, 2023

Thank you Chris, your feedback means a lot. It's so weird that you suggest that cause I wanted to call it lot 666 as a nod, I do have a love for phantom, and hope to see it in the western someday. So pleased you enjoyed 😁

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Ty Warmbrodt
08:24 Jul 29, 2023

Masterful! What a rollercoaster of fun a read that was.

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Kevin Logue
09:01 Jul 29, 2023

Thanks so much Ty, I feel I really need to solidify the end but appreciate your comments regardless. Cheers 😁

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Ty Warmbrodt
09:54 Jul 29, 2023

I thought the ending was one of the best parts.

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Kevin Logue
13:23 Jul 29, 2023

Marvelous! 😊

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07:34 Jul 29, 2023

I hear you. Stayed up til 2am on mine and still had to submit unfinished til this morning. Deadlines! Anyway not sure if i should have waited til final version but this is great so far. Loved the build up and twist with the bear. And the sudden change of environment. Liiittle bit unsure of the ending as it seems a bit unclear, is he boy grown old in dream or man reverted to boy...maybe that will become clear! Great story though and the makings of a real adventure epic.

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Kevin Logue
09:00 Jul 29, 2023

Yeah the ending is what intend edit. The boy wakes from a coma, he had fallen down the well in search for his Gramps at all the places they used play and bashed the back I his head in. In the comma he created a whole world and life were he was abandoned cause he was in this draem world by himself. But, the ending that is there kind of suggests that their maybe something magical a foot and that Gramps is stuck with him. I was dealing with conflicting ideas when writing this and it blended into one. Hopefully I can fix in to work as I feel th...

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Kevin Logue
13:24 Jul 29, 2023

Derrick I done a of tweaking in the last section, if you time to give it a glance over and see if it is any clearer.

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20:51 Jul 29, 2023

Yeah that's clearer Kevin. Good to mention he looks like a teen in reflection, makes the coma idea clearer. Though you still pull the rug out on the very last line!

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Kevin Logue
21:17 Jul 29, 2023

Thanks for checking that mate. Yeah I like the rug pull, in a sneaky way, just to make people be like....what, wait a minute lol

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Unknown User
20:12 Jul 29, 2023

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Kevin Logue
20:22 Jul 29, 2023

Thank you so much for reading and commenting Joe, your kind words mean a lot. I was skeptical as to whether this was too out there but I am pleased with the reaction so far. I enjoyed that line too! 😁

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Unknown User
23:56 Aug 04, 2023

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Kevin Logue
10:40 Aug 05, 2023

Oh Joe, thank you for coming back to say such marvellous things. The problem with judging writing is that it is a subjective craft and the judges are forever changing. Of course when Friday rolls round we all hope, maybe this week, but I must say that with each passing week the disappointment is shorter and shorter lived. Truly I love getting feedback from this community, unlike other vapid forms of social media I feel more friendship through shared interests on here that anywhere else. I honestly thought you would be in the shortlistin...

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Unknown User
19:48 Aug 05, 2023

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