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Suspense Thriller

“Thanks a lot,” Jason said, staring at his father’s grave. “You left us here all alone without saying goodbye.”


Amy stooped with a white handkerchief to wipe her son's gooey nose and fresh tears from his face. Jason was only eight years old and didn’t fully understand the reality of death. It affects everyone differently; you see, and no one can really prepare themselves for the unsettling truth that we are not immortal.  


One day everything was fine; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and all was right in the world. Until a sudden emergency call from work changed everything. Jason’s father, Pat, was a pediatrician fresh out of medical school and was eager to start his own practice.


A special needs child needed medical attention, and Pat was the only one who could get through to the little girl. In his rush to the hospital, a head-on collision with an eighteen-wheeler claimed his life leaving his wife Amy and son Jason alone. The sun faded, the birds stopped chirping, and their world darkened.


A cool breeze blew through the Pinewood Cemetery, so Amy pulled Jason’s coat snuggly around his slender body and zipped his red jacket. She also tugged Jason’s black beanie hat down over his brown hair, so his ears wouldn’t freeze. A cold chill raced through the fringes of Amy’s soul, and she swaddled herself in her black fleece coat.


Amy’s curly brown hair whipped in the wind as she uttered, “Sweetheart, your father’s death was an accident.” Jason looked at her with tears in his eyes. “Even though your father isn’t with us anymore, he lives on in our hearts and memories. I believe he watches over us still.” She wondered if her words would bring comfort.


Jason rubbed his nose and smeared a snot bubble on his jacket, much to Amy’s chagrin. “But how do you know that, mom?”  


“It’s not something you know, but something that you feel.” With teeth chattering, she moaned, “Come on, let’s go home.”


Silence plagued the drive home as both occupants were lost in thought. Pat died a month ago, and yet, his cologne still lingered in the Chevy Cruze. The trees were dancing shadows galloping along the highway, and the white lights from passing cars reminded Amy that she was still alive. Jason needed her now more than ever, and she had to rise to meet his demands despite their devastating loss.


Before pulling into the driveway, Amy stopped to check the mail and found nothing but past due bills and termination notices. With a deep breath, she pulled into the garage and put the Chevy in park.


“Jason, honey, why don’t you go in? I’ll be right behind you.”


“Okay, mom.” 


Amy watched as Jason’s little legs carried him inside, and then she broke down in her solitude. The loss of Pat left a devastating hole in their finances, and even though he had a modest life insurance policy, it wasn’t enough. Pat was young and didn’t think he needed a big safety net until he got older. A common mistake that his family now had to pay for in earnest. 


Collecting herself, Amy went inside and made a small dinner while Jason watched cartoons. The meal was satisfying, but the conversation was lacking, much like the drive home. Amy wasn’t sure what to say to Jason. It took everything she had to hold herself together. The thought that she needed to do better gnawed at her mind like a hungry parasite.


The evening flew by like time was on fast forward, and before Amy knew it, bedtime was calling. The nighttime routine took over, and Amy made sure that Jason had his bath, put on clean pajamas, and brushed his teeth. She tucked him in with a kiss on the head and retreated to her bedroom. 


Jason’s room was filled with a who’s who of superheroes. Posters, action figures, curtains, bedsheets, and more decorated his luxurious bedroom. His father would always read him a bedtime story, but now, only cold vigilante eyes stared at Jason through the twilight of a Superman nightlight. 


There’s something special and safe about hiding yourself in covers. The warmth acts as a shield protecting you from the naked openness of the world around you. It feels like nothing can harm you in your comfortable safety net, and slowly but surely, you sail away on a boat of drowsiness to a sea of dreams.


Jason pulled the covers up over his head and twisted his body into a catacomb of endless positions until he was comfortable. His thoughts carried him to the loving embrace of his father on a warm summer day. It wasn’t a dream but a vision of a past memory that Jason was sure would never fade from his mind.


“How sweet and delicious!”   


Jason’s eyes snapped open. The strange voice sounded like a feline having its vocal cords stretched to the point of breaking.


Was it real or my mind playing tricks?


Imagination running wild, Jason had to know. He slowly cradled the top of his covers with his tiny, trembling hands and took a deep breath. Pulse racing, heart pounding, stomach clenching, Jason sat up and slammed the sheets down with authority. The only thing he saw was the soft glow of Superman’s light. Nothing was disturbed in his room, so it must have been a weird Jedi mind trick.


Jason took a deep breath and buried himself once more. With his head covered and his eyes closed, Jason didn’t notice a bright golden light emanating from the closet. The white door pulsated like a living heartbeat and thrived like a savage beast.


From the foot of Jason’s bed, an unknown presence burrowed underneath his sheets. Jason was lying on his right side with his knees tucked into his chest. He heard the sound of fabric being torn and opened his eyes. His slender body trembled, knowing that something was in bed with him. He didn’t move, hoping that whatever this thing was would leave him alone.  


Inch by inch, it was getting closer. Jason’s skin wanted to jump off his bones and run, but curiosity got the better of him. He slowly lifted the sheets to allow a tiny sliver of light to shine in. Right beneath his feet, Jason saw a pale white hand with purple blotches and razor-sharp black fingernails crawling towards him like a spider in the night.


This was no dream.


Jason screamed and exploded from his bed like a lit fuse. He raced down the hallway to the safety of his mother’s bedroom, where she was trying to figure out how to pay all the bills.


“It’s in my bed!”  


Amy could hear the terror in her son’s voice as he jumped on the bed and snuggled up to her. “Are you alright? What’s in your bed?”


With a stuttering voice, Jason replied, “Something evil!” 


Amy gave him a warm, tender hug and said, “There’s nothing to worry about. Wait here, and I’ll go check it out for you.”


“No! Don’t go, mommy; it will get you!”


Amy put on a brave face and declared, “Nothing is going to get me. I’m just going to check your room, and then you can go back to sleep.” 


Jason was very apprehensive about Amy going into his bedroom. He grabbed his mom’s big fluffy pillow and hugged it for dear life. Amy marched down the hallway, knowing she didn’t need this right now. What she needed was a game plan to ensure that everything was going to be alright. Amy was grieving, stressed out, tired, and depressed, but she promised herself that she would do better for Jason. 


Amy left no stone unturned in searching Jason’s bedroom. There was nothing under the bed, in the closet, or in the dark corners. She even checked behind the Avengers curtains to ensure the room was free and clear from any spooky ghosts.


“Jason, come here, please!” she yelled. 


A few seconds later, Jason reluctantly poked his head through the doorway. “Come in here, kiddo!” demanded Amy. “I’ve checked this entire room from top to bottom, and I promise there is nothing in here. You must have had a nightmare.”


“Did you check the bed?”


“Yes. There is nothing under your bed.”


“No, mom, it’s in my bed!” Jason shouted.


Amy threw off the covers to reveal… nothing. “You see? There are no monsters here,” she said with a warm smile. “Now, come here and go back to sleep.” 


“But mom!”


“No buts. It’s been a long day, and we need to get some rest.”


Jason took a step back, perhaps to run, but Amy scooped him up and placed him back in his bed. Despite his moans of protest, Amy tucked him in and kissed his forehead.


“Try not to think about it, okay? Goodnight, sweetheart.” 


Jason didn’t utter a word. He knew there was no use trying to fight it. Jason stared at the ceiling for what seemed like hours until his little eyes glazed over. Jason’s thoughts carried him away to dreamland, where he was flying through the air like Iron Man. He was soaring over the ocean, twisting and turning everywhere. The dream was so vivid that his toes felt wet. In fact, they were wet.


Startled, Jason’s eyes popped open, and he instinctively wiggled his toes. His little digits felt slimy and moist, and then suddenly, Jason felt a pair of plump juicy lips kiss his big toe. He recoiled at the sensation and held his breath for fear of disturbing the creature. Then a long tongue licked its way in between each toe, and Jason couldn’t take it anymore. His heart was beating heavy, and tears welled up in his eyes.


“Mm, how juicy and sweet!”


Jason withdrew his feet and sprang out from the bed. Before running away, he wanted to see what this thing was. He starred at the enormous lump hiding beneath the covers and yelled, “Show yourself!”


The mound beneath the sheets stirred, revealing a hideous humped-back monster dressed in a crimson steampunk gothic jacket with black leather pants. It had spiky pink hair, pale white skin with purple blotches, long inky fingernails with matching lips, and yellow eyes. The creature had hooves for feet and an elongated face with a big pointy chin and nose that looked more like a wolf’s face than a human. Two sets of sharp teeth could be seen within its maw, and a dark serpent-like tongue darted in and out.


“Come here, my lovely!” 


Jason screamed and peed his pants. The demon sniffed the air and shuffled towards him. Its bones creaked and popped with every movement. “Nasty little boy! I smell a juicy treat!!”


“Ahh!”


Jason found enough courage to flee. His only refuge was the bathroom for which he made haste. Jason didn’t think he could make it to his mother’s room this time. He slammed the door and locked it swiftly, but he could still hear the popping and snapping of bones as the monster came closer. Jason jumped in the bathtub and cradled himself into the fetal position.


“Jason?! Is that you?” 


His mother’s voice rang loud and clear, but Jason didn’t say a word for fear of giving away his position.


Amy rushed to Jason’s room and found it empty. He must be in the bathroom, she thought under heavy breath. She sat down on Jason’s bed to wait for him. Amy didn’t notice the enormous lump forming behind her. The creature ripped through the mattress, grabbed Amy, and pulled her through. It happened so fast that Amy didn’t even have time to scream.


Meanwhile, Jason’s soft whimpers could be heard echoing in the bathroom. He no longer heard his mother’s voice and was worried. He took a few calming breaths and crawled out of the tub. Jason quietly opened the door and crept into his room with padded feet, where he last heard his mother’s voice. The space was empty aside from the torn bed and golden light shining behind the closet door.


At that moment, Jason knew what he needed to do. It was time to face his fears. “Don’t worry, mom. I’m coming to save you!”


Shielded his eyes, Jason pulled open the closet door and ran in like a true superhero.


As the light cleared, Jason saw a stone pathway that curved its way around a million different doors like a coiled serpent. Beneath the walkway, there was nothing but cold emptiness. There was no turning back now. Jason followed the spiraled trackway up to its final resting place, where the hunched-backed demon sat on a throne of skulls.


His mother, Amy, was hog-tied and gagged with a red apple. Her eyes flooded with tears as she noticed Jason approaching. The creature was busy counting gold coins from his treasure chest and didn’t notice Jason creeping up the pathway. The trunk grew brighter with every coin the monster threw in, and Jason finally understood where the golden light came from.


Stealthily, Jason made his way to his mother, who was curled up beside the skull throne, and untied her. He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the evil monstrosity. The demon was still busy going through his chest and didn’t notice them crawling away. Jason and Amy managed to trudge a few feet before they heard the creature’s ghastly voice.


“I smelled you coming from a mile away, my delicious juicy-golden treat!” 


Jason turned in defiance. “What do you want with us?!”


“I’ve tasted your flesh,” the demon said, quivering, “so fresh, so juicy, so ripe!”


With bones cracking, the creature rose from its throne and gently placed the treasure chest down. “I couldn’t get you in the bathroom, but I knew if I had your mother, eventually, you would come for her.” The monster opened its maw like a hungry shark and bragged, “I was right, oh joyous me, and I must admit, there’s nothing like fast food… Now… RUN!!” 


Amy grabbed Jason’s arm and pleaded, “Come on, Jason, we can outrun him!”


Together, Jason and Amy ran down the narrow-twisted path as the creature chased them on all fours like a ravenous hellhound. The popping sounds of bones cracking urged them along. They had to be careful because, with one wrong step, they could fall forever, lost to time itself. Jason’s closet door was coming into view, and Amy couldn’t be happier to see her son’s poster of Batman holding a thumbs up. They were almost there.


Jason ran as hard as his tiny legs would allow, but Amy was much faster than he was. Pulling Jason along, he couldn’t keep up and tripped. Amy’s momentum carried her further down the path before realizing Jason wasn’t with her. She came to a rageful stop and turned to see the hunched-backed creature straddling Jason’s prone body with its mouth wide open ready to feast. Jason screamed.


I can’t fail my son now! He needs me!!


“Get away from him!” she shouted. Instinctively, Amy was already sprinting towards the hellish demon with fire in her eyes. She didn’t care what happened to herself, but she was going to save her son.


The monster licked Jason’s face and uttered, “Tasty, tasty, yummies!!” 


Amy was only inches away from saving Jason when something grabbed the demon from behind and tossed it up the path. Amy and Jason couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was Pat, Jason’s father, and Amy’s husband.


Pat was glowing in a white light and smiled warmly at them. He acknowledged them with a firm nod and yelled, “I love you both. Now… Run!”  


The demon sprang forth and locked horns with Pat. “You can NOT save them!”


Pat and the creature fought in a deadly dance of survival which provided the necessary distraction for Amy and Jason to escape. Amy opened the closet door and pulled Jason, but it was no use. The boy didn’t want to leave his father behind. 


Amy wrapped her arms around her son and tugged with all her might. “Come on, Jason! We can’t stay here. Please come with me!” she pleaded.


Jason saw his father glance his way as the beast gnawed at his side. Pat gave his son a reassuring wink as if to say that it was alright to leave. Jason cried and nodded his head. He succumbed to his mother’s will and allowed her to pull him back into his bedroom.


Before the closet door slammed shut, Amy and Jason watched as Pat threw the monster down once more and merged his spirit with the evil entity.


“NO!! What are you doing to me? I need to feast on that boy’s juicy flesh!” 


“That’s my boy you’re talking about, and you will never hurt him or anyone else ever again!” Pat bellowed. 


Just then, the hunched-backed demon trembled and convulsed until it exploded into a million bits and pieces, leaving nothing behind but Pat’s spirit smiling at his family. The door slammed itself shut, and Amy held her crying son until they drifted off to sleep.


They awoke to a bright golden light, thinking that the creature had returned, but as their eyes adjusted, they saw Pat holding the demon's treasure chest. He placed the trunk full of gold coins at their feet and grinned.


“That monster won’t bother you anymore, son. I’m sorry I had to leave you both, but it was my turn for Heaven to call my name.”


Jason and Amy rose and wrapped him in a loving embrace.


“I want you both to know that I’ll love you forever and ever, and I will always watch over you.” 


Pat faded into the light, allowing Amy and Jason to hug each other. They were overwhelmed with emotion, but they knew everything was going to be alright.





The End



Daniel R. Hayes 

November 23, 2021 03:50

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40 comments

Francis Daisy
10:39 Nov 23, 2021

Terrifying, as ever. The scene in the cemetery was heartbreaking. I loved how the dad came to them in the dream to reassure them that everything will be okay. There was one typo that I noticed in your story, you spelled 'stared' with two R's. Other than that, I didn't see anything. I adore how your stories flow, the mix of description, action, and dialogue is to be celebrated. You are a fantastic writer.

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Daniel Hayes
17:06 Nov 23, 2021

Thank you Francis, I'm so glad you liked this one. I fixed the typo, thanks for bringing that to my attention. This story ended up being longer than the word limit and I had to go back and cut it down, especially the ending. Thanks again!!

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Francis Daisy
21:22 Nov 23, 2021

Some day I will write as well as you...and as descriptive as you so that I will have to actually cut down. My writing always needs MORE words in order to reach the minimum for submission. Sigh.

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Daniel Hayes
01:01 Nov 24, 2021

You know... since I've been working on my novel, I find that I write a lot more than usual. Short stories are hard because you have to pack so much in there, and I think just like all things in life there is a balance :) Thanks again!

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Darya Silman
11:48 Nov 25, 2021

The story is well-written and engaging, I had to read to the end to find out who won the battle with the beast (sorry, I wanted more blood and death :))) Your stories never disappoint me!

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Daniel Hayes
15:44 Nov 25, 2021

Thank you Darya, I'm so glad you liked it. Ironically, this is one of the few stories where I don't have a lot of blood or death... lol :) It was my take on the boogie man story ;)

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20:11 Dec 04, 2021

Hey Daniel, To my observation, I think "Good night Sweetheart" is most suitable, more meaningful, well-thought-of, new title you gave to your story, now. As, I believe, this title is well matched with the happy ending and will give a loving, carefree, new hope to Amy and Jason, in their lives, altogether.

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Daniel Hayes
20:28 Dec 04, 2021

Thank you so much, I agree that the title fits a lot better. I have to give thanks to Skyler Woods for that! He's going to narrate this story on his YouTube channel After Dark Fairy Tales, next week. A lot of my stories start with a working title, so I can save them easily, but often times I may end up changing them. Thanks for the comments!! :)

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09:05 Dec 05, 2021

You are welcome, Daniel. Good luck for it's success :)

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Shea West
11:18 Dec 04, 2021

You know what I thought was the scariest part of this story was? The dad dying suddenly and tragically. As a parent it's my biggest fear/nightmare, that my partner or I will perish and leave the other... That's real fear. Daniel I think by using this as the story opener you played on a possible reality for some people. The unexpected death of a loved one often leads to shit hitting the fan... Or in this case steampunk monsters that lick our toes from the closet. You've got a quick and creative brain in these genres and it's always somethi...

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Daniel Hayes
16:39 Dec 04, 2021

Thank you so much Shea! I'm so glad you liked this story. I agree that loosing someone like that unexpectedly is a very terrifying thing. By starting out with that, I was able to focus on the family dealing with the loss, and then coming full circle at the end. Plus, getting to play with a new monster... lol ;) Thanks for the wonderful comments, made my day!! :)

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21:27 Dec 02, 2021

Nicely written with descriptive images that make you want to run!

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Daniel Hayes
06:02 Dec 03, 2021

Thank you Mary!! I'm so glad you liked it!! :)

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Skyler Woods
04:17 Dec 02, 2021

Hi Danny! I was wondering if I could narrate this story for next week. You know how much I adore your stories and since I've returned to my channel, I would love to add this one to the list After Dark Fairy Tales classics! The story would be uploaded next week. Let me know what you think.

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Daniel Hayes
07:09 Dec 02, 2021

Hi Skyler!! Welcome back, my friend :) Of course you can narrate this story, I can't wait to see it! Thank you so much for the wonderful comments! :)

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Skyler Woods
07:26 Dec 02, 2021

Thank you! Wonderful comments for wonderful stories!

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Daniel Hayes
07:28 Dec 02, 2021

I'll keep em' coming... lol :) Thanks again!

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Skyler Woods
01:54 Dec 03, 2021

You're welcome! Is it okay if I re-title the story Goodnight Sweetheart so that the story will be a complete mystery to my listeners? Also Amy does say Goodnight Sweetheart to her little one after she tries to comfort him. I just thought it would be a clever input without giving anything away.

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Daniel Hayes
06:00 Dec 03, 2021

That's perfectly fine, I love that idea and it fits the story well :) Can't wait to see the video and I'm glad you're back!!

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Daniel Hayes
07:20 Dec 03, 2021

Hey Skyler, I loved the title change so much, I renamed the story to that. Great idea and I think it fits better :)

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19:51 Nov 29, 2021

Though, I'm not very fond of demon related stories, but "It's in my bed" entertained me completely with its emotional beginning and descriptive scenes and ofcourse with the genuine ending. Keep it up, Daniel.

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Daniel Hayes
06:48 Nov 30, 2021

Thank you very much Sofia, I'm so glad you liked it. I wanted the story to focus on family dynamics and dealing loss, and then coming together in the end. Thanks again! :)

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08:45 Nov 30, 2021

With such a theme, Daniel, as family dynamics, you have showed your potential to impact the readers, positively. And, also, I will appreciate, if you'll leave a comment for my story.

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Rachel Smith
14:29 Nov 28, 2021

Hey! Awww nice ending, love a good monster in the closet story. Very creepy! Nice one. 👍🙂

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Daniel Hayes
16:47 Nov 28, 2021

Thank you Rachel. I'm so glad you liked this one! Also, I heard your podcast interview and thought you did a great job! It's great to put a voice to your wonderful stories!! :)

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Rachel Smith
17:00 Nov 28, 2021

Thanks, you too! It is lovely being able to put a voice to some of the people I've been exchanging comments with all year!

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Gip Roberts
18:45 Nov 27, 2021

Probably every kid on the planet can relate to the "There's a monster in my closet!" experience. This is a good thriller story, playing on a common fear, and with a nice resolution at the end.

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Daniel Hayes
19:09 Nov 27, 2021

Thanks Gip! I really appreciate the wonderful comments. This was my version of the Boogie Man story, and I wanted to add some family dynamics, so I'm really glad you liked it. :)

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Keya Jadav
17:51 Nov 25, 2021

Hey Daniel! Sorry took me a while to read this one. Just three words - This. Is. Perfect. I am really impressed, the way you built up the tension so effortlessly and the descriptions were seriously amazing (esp that of the demon). I think your grip on pace was excellent with every move held in synchronisation. AAh demons and angels! This is a great take on the prompt. My fav line: The sun faded, the birds stopped chirping, and their world darkened --- it's a very good line to highlight the upcoming climax. At last, this is best as...

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Daniel Hayes
18:43 Nov 25, 2021

Thank you so much Keya, I'm so glad you liked this one. I toned down the violence and gore and tried to focus the story on family dynamics and dealing with a loss. The monster is my version of the Boogie Man, I wanted to make him creepy and not so much gory, so I'm really glad you liked the descriptions. Also, it has a happy ending so to speak, something that normally doesn't happen in my stories... lol. Thanks again, it means a lot!!! :)

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Keya Jadav
03:34 Nov 26, 2021

Your welcome! You're a really talented writer, trust me. I love all your stories. I was also surprised at the non-gore edition lol but this suits it better. :) Also, I heard you on Deidra's podcast. You were awesome 😉

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Daniel Hayes
06:22 Nov 26, 2021

Thanks again, Keya! The podcast was super fun, but I was super nervous. Thanks for listening to that, and your support. I can't tell you how much that means. I think you're a great writer too, packed with loads and loads of talent. I really enjoy seeing you get better every week, it's awesome!!

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