Just Give Him a Second Chance

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about a TV show called "Second Chances."... view prompt


Mystery Drama

“Just give him a second chance!” Paxton pleads.

“Never!” I cry. “Mark will die in those chains tomorrow!”

I dramatically point to the left floor, where Levi sits, hunched over his bound limbs. 

Paxton approaches me. “But why?!”

“You know why! He killed my sister, my beloved Isa. Now he will pay the price!”

“It was an accident!” Paxton exclaims. “If you give him a second chance, Mark’ll fix this, I swear!”

I snarl. “You can't fix dead, Vayd. Mark’ll be done for in a day, and you’ll join him if you don’t leave!”

Paxton’s eyebrows pinch together. Then his mouth curls into a smile as he unsheathes his sword. “I’m not leaving without a fight, Arya.”

I smirk as the sound of my own sword scraping against its sheath fills the cavern. I twirl my sword as I gracefully jump off the giant rock I’ve been perched on. “Okay, then.” I toss my head back and throw my hands up as I cackle as loud as I can. A moment goes by and I regain my posture, staring coldly at Paxton. “Let’s fight.”



The producer’s voice booms out of the speakers as bells ring, signaling the end of the scene. Smiling, I place my plastic blade on the fake rock in the center of the black box—although, with the fantastic skills the staff have, it’s a jungle where the evil Lady Arya (or as everyone on set calls the character: Loony Lordess Arya) avenges her sister’s death.

“That was amazing, sweetheart!” Micheal Garcia, my dark-skinned, incredibly kind producer, says as he discards his microphone. He pushes open the door, the one that's part of the clear wall separating the filming part of the theater and where the staff sit, and hugs me. “Terrific acting, Miss Wren.”

Let me set the scene of where we filmed our TV show (Second Chances) for you: there’s a giant room, daily the size of a gym. Two thirds of it is for filming, and the last third is cut off by a giant, clear wall. In the filming section, there are props and stuff, but also a fake wall—a black stretch of thick plastic leaving a five-foot gap in between the filming space and the back wall. Behind the fake wall are a couple chairs for the special effects people, who control anything overhead—it’s their job to pull the right ropes to release bags of leaves or something. There’s tons of funky stuff lying around back there, like sacks of strange props or things connected to the ceiling in advance like my harness (attached to cables) for later. 

I swat his arm. “Micheal, for the millionth time, don’t ‘miss’ a seventeen-year-old. I’m a teenager! Not an unmarried woman!”

He just winks at me as he strolls over to congratulate the male lead and my tall, sporty best friend, Paxton Jones. 

Jolie Claremont strides onto the stage, her blond ponytail whipping around as she jogs to her friend, Levi Strong. Levi is also my friend—although he’s more like a nice little brother (same as he is to all of us), a twelve-year-old afraid of messing up.

 The second after Levi’s bonds are on the floor and he’s received a ‘nice work’, Jolie walks over to Paxton. The two hug as Jolie showers him with praise, and she pecks him on the cheek before everybody trots over to me. 

I cringe. Jolie and Paxton have been dating for almost two years, but I still don’t appreciate when they kiss. Blech.

“So,” Paxton says as he walks up to me, “how long of a break do we have?”

I shrug as his green eyes stare at me expectantly. “I dunno. Ask Micheal.”

Jolie sighs, as she always does when my friend and I interact. Jolie and I have never been that close, but as soon as she and Paxton started dating the most she ever did was tolerate me. She seemed to be offended any time Paxton even spoke to me, which was extremely stupid considering we had been best friend since kindergarten, when we both hatched dreams to become actors.

Paxton hugs me and starts off. We’re both very affectionate with hugging, and, like usual, Jolie’s gray eyes bore into my matching ones after the embrace. “Quit it.”

“Quit what?

“Wren, you know what.”

I laugh and glance at her. “Jolie, stop it.”

“No, you stop it.” She seems genuinely annoyed so I laugh even more.

Levi snorts and pats his bestie’s blond head. “Come on, Jolie. Let’s go get some chips.”

He grabs her wrist but Jolie breaks away. She sends me a look before walking off, saying, “Take Pax or something.”

Levi shrugs and strolls over to Paxton.

I turn around to meet them at the vending machines, immediately walking into Micheal.

“Oh! Sorry,” I say, jumping back.

His eyes crinkle as he smiles. “No problem. Are you ready for your big flying scene, sweetheart?”

I grin. “Totally.”

“Good, because it’s starting in a moment.”

I nod and start to migrate towards the stage as Micheal’s voice comes over the speakers once again: “Guys, the flying scene starts in two minutes!”

I pull my harness around from the fake wall. Levi helps me fit it on before he races back to his original spot. “Where’s Paxton?” I hiss.

“In the bathroom,” Levi says.

Paxton arrives and ties the ropes onto Levi again then grabs his sword and dashes a couple yards from where I pose, sword in hand and harness and cables attached to my waist and chest. Paxton seems surprised to see me. “Wait, Wren, you’re doing this scene?”


“I thought it was Jolie.”

“No, her auditions are next week.”

“Let me help you with your harness.”

He starts walking towards me but I signal him off. “It’s fine. My harness is already on.”

I pull over my cape to cover the equipment and listen as Micheal’s voice says, “Show ‘Second Chances’, Scene forty-four, take one, go!”

“Lordess Arya,” Paxton begins, “I’m prepared to fight you.”

My mouth curls into a smile as I flip my brown curls with streaks of hot pink. “You have a sword and a temper, but you’re not aware of my power.”

He squints at me. “Uh, you have a power?”

I smile. “Exactly! Clueless! Now watch, puny mortal, as I fly!

I try to calm my rattled nerves as the cables start to lift me up, up, up, until I’m yards above my co-star’s head. I grin and release the breath I didn’t know I was keeping bottled up. I’m flying! Not actually flying, but flying! Of course, I’ve flown before in rehearsals, but it still terrified and exhilarated me every time I did it again. 

“No freakin’ way,” Paxton breaths as he gazes up at me.

“Yes freakin’ way, puny mortal!”

“Stop it with that nickname. You’re human, too.”

“But I have powers!” I flounce around in the sky.

“That doesn’t change your species, idiot!”

I place a hand in my chest and huff. “It’s Arya, you nincompoop!”

“That’s what I said.”

Fake laughter recordings pours out of the speakers and my hands clenched into fists. “You will pay, Vayd!”

I’m starting to glide down when my dissent is sped up by my harness breaking

I shriek as I start to fall the twenty feet between Paxton and I.

“AHHHHH!” comes out of my mouth as I crash to the floor, where Paxton is trying to catch me. I smash into him and we both collapse to the ground.


Am I dead? My brain wonders.

No, I don’t think so.

Wait, why am I not dead?

It was seven yards, not a mile, stupid.

You’re stupid, stupid!

We’re the same person, weirdo!

I smack my head in an attempt to rid the little voice I’m arguing with. Sadly, the voice is my conscience, and you can’t knock your mind out of your skull.

I wince when my palm connects with my head. Ouch

Wow, that hurt, I think as I instinctively reach my hand up to rub my head, before jutting my hand back as I remembered the last time something connected with my head—aka five seconds ago.

I lift my head up to take in my surroundings. I’m still on the floor, apparently. Jolie is by my side—nope, wait, she’s tending to her boyfriend, who’s to my left.

I roll over and ask Paxton, “You okay, buddy?”

He groans and pulls himself to his feet. “I’ve been better.”

Jolie glares at me as she also stands up. 

“How long was I out?” I glance at Levi, who hauls me up.

He shrugs. “You weren’t ‘out’. Your harness snapped and you fell, bashing heads with my buddy Paxton before you both tumbled to the ground. You shut your eyes, then opened them, and here we are. This all happened ten seconds ago, by the way.”

I dust myself off and fumble with my harness. The literal lock connecting the cables to the straps is lying on the floor, not completely closed. I peer up and spot the cables swinging up high.

“You okay?” Levi asks me. 

I nod and turn to Paxton. “Sorry about that.”

“Don't sweat it, Wren,” he replies. “I’m sure the lock just broke.”

We all nod to ourselves, me thinking it was a wonder I stayed in the air as long as I did with a broken lock, before…

“The lock didn’t break,” Micheal announces from behind us.

We all jump. “You scared us,” I blink as he held up the lock.

“Don't be startled, sweethearts,” he says. 

“Anyways…” Paxton swallows, “you were saying?”

“This wasn’t a mistake,” Micheal says. “The lock. It wasn’t broken, it was unlocked. Somebody obviously wanted this to happen, to hurt Wren.”

“Duh,” Jolie rolls her eyes, “but who?

“We don’t know,” Micheal says.

“Duh,” I add, smiling.

Jolie rolls her eyes again and I chuckle before wincing and rubbing my tailbone. “Ow,” I complain to myself.

“Don’t be such a crybaby!” Jolie says. “Woman up, weakling.”

I want to smack her. “I’m not a ‘weakling’, Jolie.”

“You’re not very strong.”

“I don’t play sports! Besides running races, I mean. I’m an—”

“Artist,” she says in unison with me. Just, she pronounces it the right way but in a mocking tone. I glare daggers.

She grins at me. “Yeah, I know.”

“You guys?” I turn to my friends. “I’m pretty sure Jolie ruined the lock.”

She gasped and looked super offended. “What? No! I would never hurt you!”

“Mmmhmm,” I gave her the side-eye.

“Wren,” Paxton says, “I know Jolie doesn’t like you that much, but she would never try to hurt you. Right, Jolie?” He turns to his girlfriend, who kisses him on the cheek (again) before saying sweetly, “Of course, babe.”

I mime barfing and glance at Levi. “Lev, do you have any ideas for suspects?”

“It could be anyone,” he says. “Your harness was attached to the cables, lying behind the other fake wall in this theater, this whole time, so anyone could’ve unlocked it.”

“Nope,” Micheal shook his head. “I checked during the scene before the train wreck one, and it was fine. It was securely locked to the cable. When Wren put the harness on, the lock would’ve already been unlocked. And nobody went behind the wall after I checked—at least, I didn’t see them. But even if I didn’t see them, there’s only one key to the lock on the harness. That key is hidden behind the vending machine, as only you guys and myself know.”

He gestures to the vending machine, beeping by the supply room door.

“Wait,” Jolie says slowly, “that means it has to be one of us four.”

“Why do you say that?” Pax frowns.

“Because only we know how to get into the room.”

“Also Micheal,” Pax protests. His face melted into a gasp as she turned to our producer. “Did you do it?!”

“I would never want to hurt Wren, sweetheart!”

I nod. “I know.”

Levi shrugs. “We have to consider all possibilities. Maybe Micheal is mad at you or something…?”

Micheal frowns. “Of course not.”

“You did get mad when Wren messed up the same line seven times,” Jolie remarks.

“I was amused, not annoyed. And definitely not mad.

“Besides, I’m one of his lead roles,” I say. “Micheal wouldn’t want to hurt me purely because of his show, but that doesn’t even matter seeing he cares about me.”

“Completely true, sweetheart,” he smiles.

“I think this investigation with Micheal is over,” I tell my friends. “Which means it has to be Pax, Levi or Jolie that unlocked the lock and sent me falling.”

“Again, it’s not me,” Jolie says. “I don’t like you, but I wouldn’t hurt you. I don’t do that. My boyfriend, on the other hand…”

Paxton protests loudly before turning to me. “I’d never try to hurt you, Wren.” 

I smile. “Duh. Sorry. I know.”

“Again, we’ve got to consider everything,” Levi says. “I mean, Paxton definitely didn’t do it, but we should still check.”

“What would I do it for?” Paxton throws his hands up. “Wren is my best friend and I would never want to hurt her.”  

I hug him. “You’re definitely out of the conversation.”

Jolie looks like it's taking all of her willpower not to yank us two besties apart. “Who else could it be?” 

“Levi,” Paxton offered up.

I shook my head. “No. He’d never do it, either.” Paxton nodded.

“Really,” Jolie’s eyes narrow. “He helped put on your harness, remember? He could’ve easily unlocked it while assisting you.”

“No,” I say, a little more forcefully. “Right, Levi?”

I turned to my friend but he’s shaking, his eyes somewhere off in the distance. “I…I…I didn’t,” he mustered quietly. “I really didn’t, Wren. Please believe me.”

I take my young friend into my arms. “Of course, Levi. I’m sorry.”

“Okay,” Micheal sighs, “we’re back where we started.”

“We could just let this be,” Jolie offers, “and forget this ever happened.”

“Are you okay with that, Wren?” Micheal says.

I shrug. “I’m fine if we never find out who did this to me. As long as it doesn’t happen again, it’s okay.” I wasn’t exactly a forgive-and-forget kind of girl, but I didn’t even know who to forgive-and-forget, so…so be it.

Paxton sighs—with relief or exasperation; I can’t tell. Then he says, “I’m going to go to the bathroom. Bye.”

“Again?” Levi frowns.

“Yes! Geez, Levi!”

He strolls off and I squint at Levi. “Wait. Didn’t you tell me he was in the bathroom earlier, but right after you guys got chips?”

“At the vending machine, yep,” he nods.

“And…” I turn to Micheal. “The key is hidden in the vending machine, right?”

“Taped to the back,” he confirms.

I take a deep breath then let the air drain out the side of my mouth. “Is it possible that Paxton snagged the key while getting a snack with Levi, then faked a bathroom break so he could sneak behind the fake wall and unlock my harness?”

There's a silence as everybody thinks about my theory.

“Dang, Wren’s right,” Levi holds his forehead in his palm.

Micheal sighs. “It appears Paxton tried to hurt Wren.”

“No,” Jolie says. “No, I really don’t think Paxton would do that. I don’t like Wren, but my boyfriend’s best friends with her. Besides, wouldn’t the special effects crew have seen him?”

“They were on break, same as you guys,” Micheal says.

“He didn't do it,” Jolie repeats.

I bit my lip. “Jolie, I think he did.”

Just then, Pax walked up. “What’s up?”

“You tried to kill me.”


“Yes,” I insist. “All the evidence points to you. We know you got the key from the vending machine then faked your bathroom break.”

“I think you’re jumping to conclusions without all the evidence, Wren. I would never try to hurt you!”

“Well, you did!”

“I. DID. NOT. TRY. TO. HURT. YOU!” Paxton grits his teeth. “Bye.”

He starts to walk off but Levi kicks his foot out and trips him. He tumbles and lands in a heap.

“Levi, don’t trip my boyfriend!” Jolie protests, bending down to help Paxton up. She freezes. “Pax, what’s that?”

“What’s what?” He says nervously, his eyes darting around as he shifts his body.

That,” she says, grabbing a copper key out from under her.

Micheal snatches it up. “This is it! The key to the lock!”

“The lock that caused me to fall twenty feet to the ground,” I snarl. “Pax. I can’t believe you. WHY?!”

“I didn’t try to hurt you.”

“Well, Jolie, Micheal, and Levi sure didn’t. You did it, Pax.”

“I know.”

I blinked in surprise. “But you kept saying you didn’t try to hurt me…?”

“I didn’t. I tried to hurt Jolie. I thought she was going to be using the harness.”

Jolie’s jaw drops and I muster, “Why?”

“She’s Jolie! She’s been driving me crazy for the past year, and I hate how awfully she’s been treating you, my best friend!”

His words hang in the air before…

“I’ll have to ask you to leave,” Micheal tells Pax, his voice low but with a thick coating of anger underneath it.

He just nods and walks away. Levi says, “I’m going to go talk to him,” before going after him.

Micheal patted me and Jolie on the shoulders, says “We’ll talk about this soon”, then walks off.

“Well,” Jolie says slowly, “I’m furious with Pax.”

“You didn’t get hurt.

“But he was trying to drop me.”

I nod. “Maybe you could be a little nicer to me? That’s the reason for all of this.”

“I’ll try. But I hate him right now.”

I think. I don’t like Jolie, but she and Pax looked so happy together. If she tries to be neutral towards me, I could definitely see them together again. But Jolie has to do one thing in order for this to work. “You know, Jolie…”


I smile. “Just give him a second chance.”

August 13, 2020 00:37

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Barbara Burgess
16:20 Aug 13, 2020

I enjoyed your story. Full of intrigue, twists and turns. Who wanted to hurt who? Well written story. Well done. I liked how you wrote - cuuuuuuuut. I could hear it being shouted!


16:24 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you so much, Barbara! 😊😊😊


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William Liu
20:43 Nov 24, 2020

In the beginning, when I was reading I was like wow like this actually happens and I was like what the heck when I noticed it was just acting. It surprised me.


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VJ Hamilton
19:10 Aug 28, 2020

A vivid story world and lots of "oomph" in the dialog. Thanks for a great read!


19:24 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you!


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Evelyn Wong
07:41 Aug 21, 2020

This story is so good!


12:44 Aug 21, 2020



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Aubrey Maria ✌
14:05 Aug 18, 2020

I absolutely love this! I usually don’t have the time or interest in finishing long stories, but yours definitely kept me reading! I see a lot of people commented and liked, and I can see why.


18:56 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you sooo much! 🤩


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Deborah Angevin
09:49 Aug 18, 2020

Ooh, the "cut" at the start was great; I didn't expect it! Aside from that, I loved the way you write the dialogues! P.S: would you mind checking my recent story out, "Gray Clouds"? Thank you :D


10:48 Aug 18, 2020

Thank youuuuu! Oh, okay, I’d love to check out your story!


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Phebe Emmanuel
03:30 Aug 17, 2020

Great story, Aerin! Keep writing!


11:26 Aug 17, 2020



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Akhlys Ivy
19:49 Aug 16, 2020

Very good! Just watch out for when the characters are speaking


20:03 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks ;)


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Kristin Neubauer
21:31 Aug 15, 2020

Another great one, Aerin! I admire everyone who has taken on this TV show prompt - I didn't have the foggiest idea of how I could do it. Again, I thought all your dialogue and characters were very natural. I was into it from the first sentence - love the ending!


21:34 Aug 15, 2020



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21:16 Aug 15, 2020

Good twist in the plot.


21:19 Aug 15, 2020



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Rebecca Lee
19:22 Aug 15, 2020

Nice job. I still have, and this is just because of me and the way I read (remember old newspaper editor), issues with the formatting and dialogue where I am trying to figure out who is saying what. BUT ... I read this one and really liked it. Curious, how do you come up with your character names? Would appreciate if you would continue your awesome feedback and pointers on my stories, they have helped me make some important changes!!


19:28 Aug 15, 2020

Yay, thanks a ton! Hmm, I don’t know. I just pick names I think are a bit more unique or at least less common. Some names I just don’t like, like ‘Mary’, but there are a lot of names that I like just fine but appear in too many places, like ‘Sarah’ (for example, there are 20 Sarahs on Reedsy I’ve counted! I keep a LIST!). I especially have fun finding uniquer girls’ names. Some names I like are: Kimora, Holly, Adrienne, etc. Yes, of course! I enjoy your stories 😉


Rebecca Lee
19:39 Aug 15, 2020

keeping a list is a good thing. Thanks. I look forward to more of your stories! :)


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Rebecca Lee
19:39 Aug 15, 2020

Also, have a question - how do I get more follows and more comments?


19:51 Aug 15, 2020

Umm...I don’t really have a foolproof method. Lots of people on Reedsy will follow you if you follow them, so I recommend follow bunches of people, seeing who follows you back, then unfollowing or keep following the other people. For comments...the best advice I can give you is to read a bunch of stories. I comment on dozens of stories a day, and people often don’t mind if you ask for them to read one of your stories. That way, more people migrate over to my stories because I asked them to so I get more comments and likes and, by extension, ...


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Sarah Freeman
16:58 Aug 15, 2020

Hello. Aerin, you can FINALLY stop pestering me about this now! Well, notes about the story: —I liked how you made Jolie SEEM like the culprit, then you made it someone I did NOT expect. —You seriously tried to make me share a name with the culprit?!?! And see—the last name wasn’t even necessary. Well, whatever. —I saw LOTS of names that I know. Jolie from KotLC; Wren from Wild Bird; Paxton from Pax...wow. I suggest maybe try making up your own names instead of ones from well-known or even not well-known books. It makes your characters...


17:05 Aug 15, 2020

Hi, thanks! A couple things to say in response: —yay! I’m glad the red herring worked. Originally, it WAS Jolie, but I decided Pax would be better. —no offense, but that’s kinda stupid. Most names are in books. I didn’t ‘get’ those names from those books—the names existed, I knew about them, and I decided to use them. Besides, those names are actually not super common. —But...I didn’t need those stage directions! Cut and action worked fine. It was a couple simple scenes. No prob. —yay!!! I like writing mysteries, so I’ll probably write m...


Sarah Freeman
17:18 Aug 15, 2020

For the name thing, I’m just saying that making up names makes them seem MORE unique. It’s fine to use names, I know. But making up names (a) is fun and (b) makes the character sound more unique. Cuz if you make up a name, there’s a slim chance readers are gonna know another person or character with that name. And with the stage directions, you don’t need them. You don’t really need any stage directions. But ‘start’ and ‘stop’ don’t sound very professional and acting-y, do they? That’s why if you want the scenes to be believable, you add the...


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Amogh Kasat
09:53 Aug 15, 2020

It's really good story! P.S read my new story The Secret Mission Meeting


12:17 Aug 15, 2020

Thanks! Sure, I’d love to!


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Christopher G
00:30 Aug 15, 2020

What an enthralling tale! I enjoyed the imagery and the dialogue, especially. It all seemed authentic. The flow of the plot was designed greatly! Good job!


00:35 Aug 15, 2020

Thanks!! 😊😊😊


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August Jett
00:05 Aug 15, 2020

I absolutely loved this story!!! Great job with the dialogue and the general flow of the plot. You have so much talent and it comes along very rarely. Can't wait for your next story. Keep writing!! 😄


00:18 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you!!!!!


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Anna Mosqueda
17:42 Aug 14, 2020

AMAZING! I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I was kept on the edge of my seat until the end. I definitely didn't expect it to be Paxton! The way you drew out the clues with dialogue was great AND you stepped out of the normal fantasy stories and wrote a great, realistic mystery! I've enjoyed all of your stories and I just discovered you yesterday! They way you flowed from the scene in the TV show to the scene in the actual story was smooth as well! I saw someone rate your story in the comments so I'm gonna do that too! I rate it a 4.8 out of...


17:45 Aug 14, 2020

Ahhh thank you SO MUCH!!! Thanksthanksthanks for everything! 🤩🤩🤩


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H. W. Autumn
17:26 Aug 14, 2020

AAAH this story was so good!! I loved the mystery part- I would've never guessed it was Pax, and that he was trying to hurt Jolie. Great job!!


17:26 Aug 14, 2020

This made my daaaay!!! Thank youuu! I’m so glad it was a twist!


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<inactive> .
17:06 Aug 14, 2020

Also, can we have a Hunger Games for Reedsy?? Like every week is a round and you have to write in one specific genre but on any prompt. And then we could have eliminations and stuff except no one would die.


17:06 Aug 14, 2020

Haha...’except no one would die’


<inactive> .
06:40 Aug 15, 2020

Yes. That is vital. XD


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Corey Melin
03:57 Aug 14, 2020

Very enjoyable read. Entertaining all the way through.


12:12 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you!!


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Sia S
03:08 Aug 14, 2020

Hey, why no riddle today? Anyways I like to read and write horrors.


Sia S
03:09 Aug 14, 2020

I'm bored! Anyone here?😝


12:11 Aug 14, 2020

Haha, sorry, you sent those messages at midnight for me 😆. Oh and about the riddle—sorry, I had another riddle, but it was iffy so I took it down. Anywaaays...hi?


Sia S
14:17 Aug 14, 2020

Ohh😆😬 Hehe Hi !


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