1323 comments

Sad Speculative

Warning: This story includes content on OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and self-deprecating thoughts that may trigger some readers. Please avoid reading this story if you have experienced any or both of the above.

Achebe.

Your face crinkles, like the paper balls you would throw at her behind Rox's back. Your tears attempt to cling to your eyelashes but fail and slide off, falling onto the hair you haven't washed in days.

With trembling eyes, you look up, around the dusty room, where ripped pages and empty snack wrappers flutter around like butterflies. Where dust motes glint in the afternoon light peeking through your window, where teary tissues rest, crumpled, tossed around, where day-old food sits at the bottom of your door, slid under by your worrying parents.

I killed her yesterday.

Yes, you did. You've known that for a while.

How?

You pushed her off a cliff. You know these things.

Why?

You were angry. Capricious. Hateful. Envious. Bitter. You were embarrassed. 

Wasn't it angering when Rox decided to spend time with her instead of you?

Wasn't it embarrassing when Achebe was Rox's partner in school projects, and you weren't?

Yes. It was disgusting, strange, appalling. How could that girl take up my friend's attention? 

Haven't you ever thought that it could be Rox's fault?

How?

She made a different friend. She spent time with her without you. She dared to leave you out.

How could they imagine doing such things to me?

The human mind is a fragile, dangerous thing. Tread too heavily, and it turns against you. It's a vulnerable bird; treat it gently, and it trusts you, or rush it, and it pecks and flees.

You were possessive, jealous, and clumsy with your words, letting them slip out of your reach and shatter on the ground. You have always been the evil person in this situation. You deserve to go to jail. You don't deserve to have your family, to be living in this house, to get anything. 

I know. I don't deserve any of it. I don't deserve anything, because it's all my fault.

Good to know that you're understanding. Don't talk to anyone anymore. You're evil. Do you want to hurt those people as well?

No.

Do you want to annoy them with your presence, your thoughts, your issues?

No. I don't want to annoy my family. I don't want to hurt my friends.

Good. Keep it that way. Stay in this room and this room only so that you don't hurt or annoy anyone. 

The only person you should talk to is Roxanne. Beg her for forgiveness, or else she won't want to be your friend anymore. Or else she'll tell your family, and they won't want to be related to you anymore.

Okay. 

Don't stop texting her and apologizing until she says she forgives you.

Okay.

Do you want that no one will love you anymore?

No.

Are you sure?

Yes.

Then be perfect.

Bury this in the past and plant flowers on its grave; grow, become beautiful, inside and out. Become a child your parents will be proud of, become a friend Roxanne will care about, become a student your teachers admire, become a person that everyone likes. 

How?

Don't cry. Don't show any negative emotions. Only show smiles, gentle words, elegant gestures, like a doll. 

Become a doll. Perfect, smiling, beautiful, flawless. No one cares if you're hollow on the inside, as long as you have everything on the outside.

Okay. A doll. I will become a doll. I will neither show my emotions nor my flaws and imperfections.

Good. Start by cleaning your room. No one likes messy people. Don't allow even a speck of dust to intrude upon the floors. If you do, no one will love you. No one will care about you anymore. 

You're not clean enough. Go shower again. What if everyone thinks you're dirty? What if you go back to your dirty old ways and become evil and hurt-or kill-someone all over again?

Pick a white dress. Bright colors are not appropriate for you. They make you seem like you're an attention-seeker. That was the reason why Achebe died, because you wanted all of Rox's attention. If you don't wear white, your brother dies.

Put the dress on again. Do you want to look messy?

Again. You look like a witch.

Again. You look like you just ran ten miles.

Are your arms sore from putting on a dress three times? You're lazy, then. No one likes lazy people, tired people, aching people. As practice, put on the dress and take it off again and again until you reach fifty times. It has to be fifty. 

Smile. Why are you frowning? Are you going to kill someone again?

Why can't you? You're a doll. Remember that. Smile no matter what. You don't have a choice. No smile means you're evil. Do you want to hurt Roxanne?

You're listening now. You listen to everything that the voice says because you don't want to become evil. 

You sit at your computer, a smile so wide and fake it's plastic, as perfectionism falls into your arms, leads you to the dance floor, moves with your every step. 

Irony steals you from your dance partner, taking you by the hand, twirling you round and round, as you remember Achebe. Achebe, the African beauty. Achebe, African for protected by the Goddess.

It seems her protection just wasn't strong enough.

Roxanne hasn't texted you back, and Achebe won't return to life, but if you're perfect, if you're a doll, maybe it'll happen. After all, dolls bring magic to the lives of children, and you might have magic as well if you're good enough.

Jealousy is a one-way road; many will enter, but no one will leave.

Possessiveness is a trap; spikes of steel trapping your ankle, hindering your motions, hindering your common sense, hindering your empathy, your realism.

Anger is a glass of water; too many drops, and it will overflow.

Insanity is a casket; only those who are dead will enter and stay.

December 04, 2020 23:27

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1323 comments

Laiba M
16:49 Dec 06, 2020

A collab with and dedicated to my close friend B.W.~ It's been two days and I'm finally posting an explanation comment T-T This story is symbolic. I didn't elaborate or hint at any background explanations in the story because I'd like the reader to comprehend it in their own way. Here are some explanations, clarifications, and representations that I had in mind while writing "The Dollmaker"! Achebe represents our inner child. Our innocence, our youth, our childlike part that loves to play and skip and fuel our curiosity and creativity. The...

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Laiba M
17:32 Dec 17, 2020

Oh, yes, I totally forgot to add this!~ This doesn't really contribute to the meaning of the story, but it's a small fun thing I felt like adding in :) The line "You were angry. Capricious. Hateful. Envious. Bitter. You were embarrassed." The words are an acronym for Achebe's name (Angry, Capricious, Hateful, Envious, Bitter, Embarrassed, ACHEBE)~ Not anything important, just felt like doing that, lol :D Also, the part "The human mind is a fragile, dangerous thing. Tread too heavily, and it turns against you. It's a vulnerable bird; treat it...

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That's cool! Hey, could you give me some tips? I've only been on Reedsy for 2 days, and this story is AMAZING. :)

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Laiba M
17:27 Dec 29, 2020

Hi, Jade!~ Thank you so much. I'm so glad you liked my story :) I would say never be discouraged by any prompt or idea you find, whether it's on Reedsy or not. Work to twist and spin that vague or boring prompt/idea into a story full of creativity and passion, and never give up. Another tip would be to never get discouraged but only get inspired. This is a tricky thing. People might head down the path of what they think is inspiration, but instead become insecure and unmotivated. When you look at a winning, successful, or generally well-wr...

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Thank you for your advice, I'm going to try to whip out a story before the contests ends, let's see how it goes :)

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Thank you for your advice, I'm going to try to whip out a story before the contests ends, let's see how it goes :)

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Laiba M
18:44 Dec 29, 2020

No problem! I'm excited to see what you post~

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Annette Lovewind
01:41 Dec 08, 2020

This was quite interesting. I enjoyed! You did a good job!

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Laiba M
01:51 Dec 08, 2020

Thank you, Annette!

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☆ Ariadne ☆
06:14 Dec 06, 2020

This was so much darker than your usual writing -- my merciless stone heart loved it. Oh my gosh, I got chills from this and had to reread it three times before I fully got over it. How you did it I have no clue, but ugh, this is so so gorgeous. Eerie, cold, and beautiful. And Achebe is one of my favorite names, so I loved it even more. So glad I read this. Thank you for sharing. :)

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Laiba M
14:06 Dec 06, 2020

Hi, Adrienne! This story was a collaboration with B.W., so her ideas are mixed in in the story :) I surprised her by making this story delve deep into OCD and negative thoughts because I wanted to go for a more symbolic story~~ It completely depends on how the reader comprehends the symbols! I've said this to several people in the comments and still haven't gotten to it, but I'm putting a comment with my own explanations in the comments~

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B. W.
22:37 Dec 07, 2020

At first i thought it would just be the pov of Alexis during my part of the story, which would have probably shown the walk that Alexis and Achebe did and some other stuff, though I'm glad it was like this instead, this Is better.

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Laiba M
23:45 Dec 07, 2020

Aww :) I actually liked your part better, though!

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B. W.
00:10 Dec 08, 2020

ya did?

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Laiba M
00:32 Dec 08, 2020

Yep!

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Philip Clayberg
01:08 Dec 06, 2020

To say your story was powerful is an understatement. Oh my golly. Whew. It definitely pulls no punches whatsoever. And what vivid writing. It's like descending into the cone of an active volcano, describing what's there, and surviving the ascent out of it. I was referred to your story by B.W. (I've already read her story, btw). I'm glad she referred me to it. Just two things puzzled me: You said: Wasn't it angering I've never heard of the word "angering" -- maybe you meant "anger"? Though, considering the mention of "enviou...

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Laiba M
01:12 Dec 06, 2020

Wow, Philip! Your words are so sweet :) I'm so glad you liked it! Ohh, makes sense :) I used "wasn't it" instead of "didn't it make you" because I meant that the voice was speaking in general terms. Wouldn't it be angering/embarrassing if anyone did that to anyone else? That kind of thing~~ But I see how it's confusing!

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Philip Clayberg
01:40 Dec 06, 2020

When I told B.W. about my response to your story, I added one one that I forgot to add to my initial response to you: unflinching. Not so much confusing, but maybe not strong enough to match her feelings. "Wasn't" sounded a bit weak, whereas "Didn't ... make" sounded better to me. She did something wrong, it was a reflection of how she felt. She didn't sound like she was trying to excuse what she did. She was trying to face it and wonder if she did the right thing or if there might've been some other way to deal with it. Jealousy is...

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Laiba M
02:58 Dec 06, 2020

Ah, I'm really sorry! The letters in your name were very small on my screen, so it looked like there were two L's. I'm sorry about that :) On the other side, I love the history behind your name! It's a great name with a strong background~~ Ohh, that makes sense! I'll edit the wasn't -> didn't soon :) Your explanations are amazing, they help a lot~ Yes. So the idea of this story is that Alexis tries to become doll-like to hide her actions. The voice tells her to beg Rox for forgiveness so that she doesn't tell the police or any authoritie...

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Philip Clayberg
03:41 Dec 06, 2020

That's okay. I've had all three of my names (first, middle, and last) misspelled many times. But when I can, I try to let people know the correct spelling. Some people shorten "Philip" to "Phil". I'm not a fan of being called "Phil", but I make the exception sometimes. Like at my previous job. I don't think anyone there ever called me "Philip". I think I was always "Phil". One advantage of growing older: You gain in experience and knowledge (what is often called "wisdom" in some cultures). I'm not if I'd call myself "wise". But ...

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Laiba M
03:48 Dec 06, 2020

Ah, okay! I'll continue to call you Philip, then :) I agree! Everyone gains wisdom as they get older and gain experience in different areas. It's so helpful when someone shares knowledge with me, and it is satisfying to share my knowledge with others!

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Laiba M
03:51 Dec 06, 2020

Oh, wow! Interesting reference~ You have brilliant ideas! It sounds like it'd be fun to read, as it seems the aging leaving her face upon telling the truth adds a bit of a magical and fantastical element~~

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Avani G
03:14 Dec 05, 2020

Hi, Laiba! I'm so glad you posted a story, it's seriously not okay, lol. Anyways, I really liked it. This story was different from your usual style, and that's what I love about it :) The only piece of critique I have is this sentence: "After all, dolls bring magic to the lives of children, and you might have magic as well if you're good enough." It doesn't really make sense. Try, "After all, dolls bring magic to the lives of children, and you might as well have magic if you're good enough." Good job!

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Laiba M
00:19 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you! Yes, this was a collaboration with B.W., so I mixed in some of her concepts and style :) I'm glad you liked it! What I meant by that sentence is if "you" are perfect, you might also have magic, just like the dolls you're trying to portray. I hope that makes more sense! This story is actually very symbolic. I didn't elaborate or go too into detail because the explanation is up to how the reader comprehends it, but I will put my own meanings in a comment!

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Avani G
01:27 Dec 06, 2020

That's cool! I haven't read many of her stories, so unfortunately, I didn't see her style in it, but the story was great nonetheless! Yes, I understand. I actually connected quite a lot with this story, and I'm assuming that others did, too, because we've all had those moments we wish we were perfect and/or we could live up to other's expectations because we feel we aren't good enough. I'm not ocd, but I see the resemblance ;) Overall, great story, and glad I could help!

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Laiba M
02:52 Dec 06, 2020

You should!~ She's an amazing writer :D Thank you again! I agree! That plays a big part in this story :)

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Avani G
00:10 Dec 25, 2020

Hi, Laiba. I feel we haven't talked in forever :(

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Laiba M
00:56 Dec 25, 2020

Hi, Avani! I was actually just about to comment to you, lol. How are you?? Merry Christmas Eve!

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Avani G
04:53 Dec 25, 2020

I'm good, thanks! Where I live, it's raining. Pouring. And I spent the whole day on a road trip :( Merry Christmas Eve to you, too!!

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Laiba M
14:35 Dec 25, 2020

It was raining a lot for me too~ Aww :( At least you'll get to go somewhere! Merry Christmas!

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Avani G
14:36 Dec 25, 2020

Merry Christmas to you, too.

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Laiba M
14:37 Dec 25, 2020

Do you celebrate it?

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Amaya .
00:53 Dec 17, 2020

Heyyy it's been forever!!!

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Laiba M
02:49 Dec 17, 2020

Hi~ How are you?

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D. Kase
03:00 Dec 13, 2020

Lovely. Good work.

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Laiba M
03:17 Dec 13, 2020

Thank you~~

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Maya
22:58 Dec 05, 2020

That was an extraordinary story! I loved the line, "Become a doll. Perfect, smiling, beautiful, flawless. No one cares if you're hollow on the inside, as long as you have everything on the outside." The reference to the doll fit so well and really added to the story. Great job, I can't wait to see what you write next! :)

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Laiba M
00:23 Dec 06, 2020

Thank you, Maya! I went for more of a symbolic story this week but didn't elaborate on what everything represented, as it depends on the reader's comprehension~ I will be putting my own explanation in the comments, though!

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Polly R.
23:17 Mar 10, 2021

laiba!!!!!!!!!! b.w. followed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Laiba M
23:35 Mar 10, 2021

Aww, I'm so happy to hear that!

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Willow Bird
22:07 Mar 09, 2021

Hi Laiba! We haven't really talked in a while, how are you?

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Laiba M
22:13 Mar 09, 2021

Hi, Helen! We really haven't T-T Thank you for checking in!!! I'm doing great! What about you?

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Willow Bird
23:59 Mar 09, 2021

Pretty good! Really sick of the pandemic, but aren't we all? What do you think of the prompts this week?

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Laiba M
00:06 Mar 10, 2021

I'm glad to hear that! And same... my friends and I have been making really, really long lists (over 200 things for each haha) to do with each of our friend groups and it gives us all a lot of things to look forward to and makes us smile!! I can't wait to get the vaccine and all that. Has anyone in your family gotten it yet? I actually really love them! I started Reedsy during the beginning of the pandemic and that week's prompts were about it, so my very first story was about it! Coming back to it feels so surprising knowing I've been on th...

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Willow Bird
00:23 Mar 10, 2021

Aww, those lists are such an amazing idea! My grandfather has gotten the vaccine, but so far that's it in my family. Gosh, I can't wait until this is over though. Sometimes I forget what it was like when we didn't have to stay 6 feet apart. I think the weirdest thing for me will be getting used to being able to get close to people again. But I have no idea when that will happen. We gotta have hope, right? Yeah, I really like this week's prompts too, but I'm pretty busy this week. I started a story but I kinda doubt I'll finish it. The end o...

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Laiba M
01:08 Mar 10, 2021

They're really motivating! I'm happy for him :) My parents are scheduled to get it sometime!! Me too, and yeah, I agree. Going out and not worrying about masks or social distancing or cleaning everything the second I come home is definitely going to be very different! Ooh, that makes sense!!! Good luck and happy writing to you as well! I hope you can get something out-I'd love to read a new story from you! I hope you do well with your end-of-term exams and things like that! And thank you so much :) I don't :( I was talking to her often but...

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Arwen Dove
05:41 Mar 09, 2021

Wow, that was a very... deep story. It was very considerate of you to include the warning at the start, I can see how the story could trigger some people. I loved this so much, I want to read many more of your stories!

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Laiba M
12:15 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much, Arwen! That means a lot to me :) And yes, I included that because these thoughts happen to a lot of people, and reading these could trigger them again~ You're so sweet~~

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Leo Reynie
04:29 Mar 03, 2021

Super powerful story, this connects to me in many ways. XD

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Laiba M
12:16 Mar 03, 2021

Thank you! I'm glad you were able to connect with it-that was my goal! :)

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01:44 Mar 03, 2021

Hi Laiba! sorry, i forgot that i had to start a new thread so that's why its late :<

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Laiba M
14:31 Mar 03, 2021

Hi, Ame!! That's fine, don't worry about it! I love your pfp, it's so cute!! Hmm, favorite movie/genre of movies?

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01:38 Mar 04, 2021

:D thank you! comedy (as you can probably tell by my stories), fantasy, mAgIc sTufF fav movies: harry potter (technically that's 8 movies but I don't care :>

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Laiba M
02:16 Mar 04, 2021

Oooh!! I like horror :) I like Harry Potter too!! Favorite character and House?

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02:18 Mar 04, 2021

ive never watched horror because im 99.999999999% that I'm gonna get a nightmare I like Hermione and Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Gryffindor because the main characters are in it :P Ravenclaw because I'm in it

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Laiba M
02:41 Mar 04, 2021

I always get nightmares and get terrified afterward, but I enjoy the adrenaline while I'm watching :D Luna! I like Gryffindor too because it's focused on so much, but I also really like Slytherin and Hufflepuff - I'm mostly Slytherin with a little Ravenclaw and the tiniest bit of Hufflepuff :)

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Joshua Trockel
23:12 Mar 02, 2021

Beautiful story! You managed to write such a powerful, but simple inner dialogue that I think most of us can connect with on some level.

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Laiba M
01:11 Mar 03, 2021

Thank you so much, Joshua!! You're so sweet! That was definitely my goal-simple and relatable at some point to most readers! I think everyone has experienced this kind of pressure one way or another. If you'd like more explanation, you can check out my explanation comment on this story :)

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Hey Laiba! -Fav music? -Fav person(family) -Fav book?

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Laiba M
20:03 Mar 01, 2021

Hi, Varsha!~ I don't really listen to any nowadays, haha. My grandmother! Probably Harry Potter, although I don't like the author :D What about you?

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:D LOL, well what did u used to listen to? I like piano songs, my fav is river flows in u, fur elise and bella's lullaby. I also like in a thousand years, welcome to wonderland(recommended by a friend) and lost in your emerald eyes. -Possibility my parents and grandparents -Twilight, shiver series, aru shah, i have a lot LOL

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Laiba M
21:13 Mar 01, 2021

I like Fur Elise too!! That's cool! Oooh, Twilight is fun :D If you could own any one animal/thing you don't have now, what would it be?

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Nice! have u read the book? Hmm, a wolf !!! u?

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Laiba M
22:26 Mar 01, 2021

I know most of the plot, so there wouldn't be any point T-T A kitten! If you could choose between finding the cure to Corona or the cure to cancer, what would you pick?

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17:08 Feb 26, 2021

Terrific story! I read your comment about the symbolism, and I appreciate what this story does in terms of it's striking metaphors and inner conflict. How you take those abstract words like jealousy and possessiveness and make them so concrete, is astonishing to me. Alexis's struggle with OCD was realistic and well researched too I imagine. Beautiful job!

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Laiba M
17:16 Feb 26, 2021

Hi, Augusto!~ Thank you so, so much!!! You're so sweet! This comment definitely made my day :)

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17:23 Feb 26, 2021

I'm glad to hear it! Hope you have an awesome day! :)

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Laiba M
17:24 Feb 26, 2021

I definitely will and I hope you do too!~

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Krishi Norris
16:59 Feb 23, 2021

https://reedsy.com/discovery/post/cc39ec98ae

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Laiba M
17:06 Feb 23, 2021

OH MY GOSH THANK YOU SO MUCH KRISHI!!! THAT MEANS SO SO MUCH TO ME :D YOU'RE SO SWEET!!!!! CAN I LINK THIS IN MY BIO??

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Krishi Norris
17:28 Feb 23, 2021

Of course! I'm glad I made you so happy! =)

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Laiba M
17:31 Feb 23, 2021

You definitely did!!!!! I'll put a recommendation for people to check out your account in my bio!!!~

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Krishi Norris
17:39 Feb 23, 2021

Aww, thank you! Speaking of which, I'm starting to review stories every Tuesday, but I need ideas. Is there any story you would recommend for me to review?

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Laiba M
17:51 Feb 23, 2021

Definitely Batool Hussain's stories. No doubt. She really inspires me every time and her stories stick with me for days! Other than her, Zilla Babbitt, Crystal (Kylie), Avani (you've already reviewed her but still), Amaya, and B.W.!!!

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. .
14:44 Feb 13, 2021

VAYD NEW STORY

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Laiba M
15:31 Feb 13, 2021

Thanks for telling me!!! I'm going there right now!

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. .
15:49 Feb 13, 2021

NO PROBLEM

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Niveeidha Palani
02:07 Feb 10, 2021

Hi Laiba, it's been two months already and you haven't posted a story out. Is everything okay? Just wanted to see if everything's alright. :) I have a new story out too if you're interested. :)

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Laiba M
16:40 Feb 10, 2021

Hi, Niveeidha! We haven't talked in so long T-T Everything's okay! I would have posted, but I've been so busy with events, exams, meetings, etc. that I haven't found the time to brainstorm or write. I'll check that out now! Thank you for letting me know!

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Niveeidha Palani
22:07 Feb 10, 2021

Ah, okay, good to know. No problem. :)

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Laiba M
01:11 Feb 11, 2021

Yep! My exam is actually tomorrow so I'm really nervous about that, haha. I'm probably going to post around the very end of February or early March :)

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Niveeidha Palani
02:02 Feb 11, 2021

Ah, okay. Good luck! That's glad to hear. Do drop me a comment whenever you've posted a story. I'll come right over. ;)

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Laiba M
20:00 Jul 29, 2021

Hii Niveeidha!!~ How have you been?? It's been monthsss :(( I've been taking a four month break from Reedsy and am finally back!!

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