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General

The day of Christmas Eve I had planned on sleeping in. Stella was spending the morning at her grandparents’ house so I could get a brief rest before cooking Christmas dinner for the family, and so I had nothing keeping me busy until noon. At least, that’s what I expected. 

At precisely seven o’clock, when my alarm would usually have gone off, the doorbell rang. I groaned and muttered into my pillow. Probably it was just a last-minute gift being delivered, but at seven? I pulled on my robe and shuffled to the door. 

It was a smiling young man. He was wearing peculiarly clothes- a brown and beige old-fashioned suit, a 1920s style hat, and even a watch on a chain hung from his pocket. He grinned and took off his hat to me. “Merry Christmas, madam! May I come in?” 

Blinking, I waited for my just-woken-up brain to catch up to my eyes and ears. Who was this man, and why did he want to come in? 

For some reason I held the door open wider. He breezed right in and hung his snow-sprinkled jacket on the coat rack. He looked around the place, smiled, and said to my bemusement, “Well! The old place certainly hasn’t changed much!” 

To context, my house was built in the early twentieth century. I’ve seen many people come to my house for a look around, some of them former residents before my in-laws purchased it twenty years ago, some simply intrigued by the elegant antique of a home. I figured this man must have lived in the house before, likely when he was a child judging by his age. I couldn’t be annoyed then, especially the way he was so excited now about being back to his childhood home. It was Christmas Eve after all. Then I realized I was still in my pajamas and blushed. Embarrassed, I rushed to the kitchen, thinking I’d bring him some refreshments. Before I could even part my lips, he followed me into the next room. “I remember this kitchen! Did you repaint it?” 

“My in-laws did, for my husband and I,” I mumbled. “Would you like something to drink?” 

“Oh, thank you. Yes. Who are your in-laws?” 

“Um…” Without answering I just handed him a glass of water. “Did you used to live here when you were a kid?” 

“Certainly! But I was actually in my twenties when I left.” The man continued to happily chatter about the kitchen while I stared at him, trying to trample over my confusion and attempt to suss out his age. In his twenties more than 20 years ago? He could have been twenty now. 

I studied him with narrowed eyes. Who on earth was this man?

“If you don’t mind me asking,” I said, “what is your name?” 

“Samuel Dartmouth,” he said with a laugh, “like the college.”

The name sounded somewhat familiar. I rolled it around my head a few times to no avail. Maybe I’d look him up later, after he’d gone. Till then, just to be polite, I’d give him a tour. He was delighted as I escorted him through the house. He pointed out where his old furniture had been, how different the bathroom used to be, what kind of bricks the remodeled fireplace once was made of. I showed him my daughter’s nursery. 

“Who is that?” he asked, pointing to a picture on her dresser. 

“That’s my husband, Jack.” I turned to leave the room. 

“What kind of uniform is that?” 

“Army.”

 Samuel was quiet for a moment. Then, “Is he still here?” My face felt hot. 

“No. He died last summer.” 

“I’m sorry for your loss.” 

I nodded and left the room, not even checking to see if he was following me or not. When I realized he wasn’t I turned to see where he was. Not in the hallway. He must still be in Stella’s nursery, I thought. But he wasn’t. The picture of Jack lay on the dresser, his eyes watching me as I searched the room for the stranger. I closed the door as I speed walked out. 

Samuel Dartmouth, the mystery who’d walked in my door, was missing. All my windows were locked and there were no footprints in the snow. I ransacked every inch of the house. He was nowhere. Even his jacket had disappeared.

At noon, the doorbell rang again. Panting from my frenzied quest, I threw open the door. It was my in-laws, Laura and Robert. Laura held my six-month-old in her arms. George was beside her, and both nearly took a step back at my appearance. “Jenna? You okay?”

I was still in my robe and nightgown, exerted and sweating, my house a mess behind me. My hair was plastered to my forehead. My side heaved as I caught my frantic breath. 

“Jenna?” Laura said softly. I cried, and she handed the baby to her husband and took me in her arms. She gently guided me to the couch and sat me down. George asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t answer. They helped me clean up the house and left after assisting me in making Christmas dinner. 

Hours later, I lay in my bed, stroking my baby’s wispy hair. I slept fitfully, my dreams shadowing my husband and Samuel, who both seemed to have vanished into the snow; no more than melted snowflakes. Eventually I gave up on sleep and curled up on the sofa. The hours slipped by unnoticed by me, still lost in thought. My eyes fell on a drawer below the TV. That was where Jack kept all the photo albums his parents had given him. On a whim I opened the drawer and sifted through the half-dozen selections. One had pages and photos yellowed with age. I gingerly flipped it open. Years and years went by in the album, from the 20s to the 80s. One picture, however, caught my eye. A tall young man in a suit, grinning at the camera, in a grainy photo labeled SAMMY,SUMMER 1932. 

I spent the early morning watching the snow twinkle down through the clouds. Soon, my in-laws would arrive with presents wrapped in festive paper. They’d hug me and ask how my night was, and I’d tell them fine. Because I met my husband’s great-great-grandfather, who never got the chance to see his great-great-grandson. Now he has. Now I can enjoy Christmas morning with my daughter, knowing that I have helped a wandering soul complete his journey. I will never meet Samuel Dartmouth again in this world, just as I’ll never see my husband until I join him in death. For now, though, I’m content to wait for my family to come home, with my baby on my lap, both of us gazing at the snowfall.

May 21, 2020 19:25

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147 comments

B. W.
00:51 Oct 16, 2020

Hey, i've been thinking of a new story that i want to try out and i'm wondering if i could tell you about it and maybe you could help me with it?

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Kate Ulrich
01:37 Oct 16, 2020

Go ahead! Although I have to go in a second, I just wanted to be able to read your idea next time I check my notifications.

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B. W.
01:42 Oct 16, 2020

I'm not sure if anything has been done like this, it's just for a few years like for two or something i've had this idea in my brain kind of like a self roleplay actually but here i go. There's a character that goes to a school but instead of a regular one there's kids there that are vampires, werewolves and other things. They'd either have to hide the fact that they aren't a monster or they just have to get used to being at the school, they'd also possibly make a quick Vampire friend there.

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Kate Ulrich
21:55 Oct 16, 2020

That's interesting. Would it be a comedy, or a horror, or some other kind of fiction?

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B. W.
22:03 Oct 16, 2020

Huh, i really don't know, maybe you could help me with that and some other things? i actually made a part 1 for the thing an hour ago or so, could you check out "A strange place" and leave some feedback? ^^

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Kate Ulrich
21:20 Oct 17, 2020

OK. :)

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B. W.
16:40 Oct 08, 2020

Could ya also maybe help with something different besides our crossover things?

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Kate Ulrich
16:53 Oct 08, 2020

Sure, what?

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B. W.
16:55 Oct 08, 2020

It's been a long time but i need more help with my demi-god Spin off stuff, if that's alright with you.

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B. W.
16:56 Oct 05, 2020

I'm lonely, are you there?

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Kate Ulrich
21:47 Oct 05, 2020

Hey what's up? I read your new story! You did an awesome job.

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B. W.
01:14 Oct 06, 2020

Where were you for a few days? also nothing is really wrong or anything like i said, i'm just really lonely and want to talk to someone

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Kate Ulrich
15:56 Oct 06, 2020

Aw I'm sorry- I haven't been spending much time on my computer on the weekends because I use it so much during the week. Are you ok?

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B. W.
15:58 Oct 06, 2020

Your one of like the main people i talk to on here, and it just doesn't feel right when you aren't here. I thought you possibly could have left Reedsy (people have been doing that a bit i think, forever) Eh- it's kinda half and half at the moment. I've been having a lot of self-hate and other things but i've been talking to other friend's and it's been helping a small bit

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Kate Ulrich
16:02 Oct 06, 2020

I'm so sorry :( I don't think I'll ever leave Reedsy, and if I do it won't be for a while. I'll try to look at my notifications more often if you need to talk.

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B. W.
16:07 Sep 23, 2020

I'm really sorry about all this, i thought we'd stop them by now. i don't know why she's down-voting you or the other's but each time it happens, i WILL up-vote you and the others ^^

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Kate Ulrich
16:40 Sep 23, 2020

That's really nice of you, and I'll try to do the same. You say that like you know who's doing it...?

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B. W.
16:42 Sep 23, 2020

Yes we actually sorta figured out yesterday who the down-voter was! though i forgot to tell you because i was tired

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Kate Ulrich
17:07 Sep 23, 2020

That's okay. I don't really want to know who it is, I'd rather just be neutral. Do you know how to ask the website questions?

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B. W.
17:12 Sep 23, 2020

oh yeah that's fine ^^ no i don't think i do, why?

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Kate Ulrich
17:15 Sep 23, 2020

People have just been downvoting a lot lately for no reason. It just seems like people are using it to get others' points down. It's not particularly useful in helping people write and/or be positive. I just thought maybe I'd ask why there needs to be the downvote option.

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Malz Castell
13:33 Nov 13, 2020

I love how you've interpreted this prompt. It is a really bittersweet story and I love those. Great job! :)

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Kate Ulrich
13:54 Nov 13, 2020

Thank you! :)

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B. W.
15:21 Sep 23, 2020

what the?? someone down-voted you a lot now! imma go on a upvote spree for you

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Kate Ulrich
15:56 Sep 23, 2020

Argh! I'll do the same for you.

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B. W.
16:05 Sep 23, 2020

i hate that this is even happening

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B. W.
00:46 Sep 23, 2020

also- so you've read the new story and i kinda added the new characters, so i think i thought of a few new things for the plot of part 4 which ya will still do, ya wanna hear it? and sorry i know you say i could just tell you but then i'd probably be telling you a lot of stuff without it.

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Kate Ulrich
00:54 Sep 23, 2020

Go ahead! What were you thinking?

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B. W.
01:00 Sep 23, 2020

Okay so part 4 could be starting with Aella, blake and Harmony trying to talk to Meg about what happened when the other two appear (Hayes and Alexis) and explain what they see its up to you if ya want Meg to believe that or not and if he stays with them or Joins Hercules but most of them decide to try and fight the things with (maybe) their parent and i really want this next part to happen, Arren doesn't feel like he can help and still feels useless so while he's just sorta getting ready to accept his fate and anything like that, have Apollo...

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B. W.
03:55 Sep 23, 2020

so what do you think? ^^

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Kate Ulrich
14:44 Sep 23, 2020

That all looks good. But I'm not sure about the 'Apollo was just late' thing, because then it feels like all Arren's feelings were for nothing and unimportant to the story. A cute moment would be good, and I'll try to include one, but I don't think I can just make Arren and Apollo's relationship wrap up neatly like that.

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B. W.
14:52 Sep 23, 2020

Hm, i guess your kinda right about that. Then if it won't be an "apollo is late' thing then what would it be? Maybe he felt really bad about it or something? I just think it would be really cute for a little thing like that and your way better at doing cute or really type of things while i'd just probably be like "Arren had finally met his dad. This was the best day of his life." or something else really terrible. Though ya have any ideas then for Apollo if he wouldn't be late then?

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Kate Ulrich
15:16 Sep 23, 2020

Thanks. :) (And you're not terrible) Um, maybe Apollo is just really awkward when it comes to his kids? He has no idea how to actually raise a child, and maybe he brings Arren a toy or something, like a plastic sword, only to be embarrassed when he realizes that kids his age are actually bigger than he thought. It would be kind of awkward, but cute, and even though their relationship isn't completely resolved, Arren feels a bit better.

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B. W.
13:52 Sep 18, 2020

Katey help me? remember how i was talking about that down-voter? well they just down-voted me a LOT in a short amount of time, could me and you go on a up-vote spree for each other?

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Kate Ulrich
14:33 Sep 18, 2020

WHAT? Why!? Yes. I will upvote you a bunch of times.

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B. W.
15:26 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you ^^ and i dunno, they just are

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B. W.
01:41 Sep 18, 2020

i'm getting a bit excited ^^ tomorrow the new prompts come out and i have a couple of ideas

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Kate Ulrich
12:13 Sep 18, 2020

:D

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B. W.
12:37 Sep 18, 2020

i still kind of feel a bit nervous though, do you think these ones will be good as well?

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Kate Ulrich
13:53 Sep 18, 2020

I think they're always pretty good. And remember there's always next week, and there's no big rush. So don't worry.

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B. W.
13:53 Sep 18, 2020

if its alright though, i think i'm gonna make part 3 with one of the new prompts once they get out, is that alright?

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Kate Ulrich
14:34 Sep 18, 2020

Of course! I think this week while you're doing Part 3, I MIGHT work on my third part to the superpower series.

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B. W.
22:55 Sep 03, 2020

ay i'm back because i need someone to talk to and i think i might have my idea on what will happen in the princess thing and when my demi-god series will end ^^ i also think i still have more ideas for you, i think my writers block is finally going away

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Kate Ulrich
00:08 Sep 04, 2020

:) That's good about the writer's block stopping. I have a couple of new ideas, not sure they'll be much good but anyway: 1. The princess's younger sibling runs away into the city, and she goes after them, only to uncover secrets kept from the royal family. 2. She's actually from a peasant family and was mistaken for the real princess or something, and tries to explain but then meets the real princess, who begs her to keep it secret. I hope these help, and again I'd LOVE to hear any more ideas you have for me.

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B. W.
00:47 Sep 04, 2020

I like the first idea so maybe ^^ not sure about the second one though because i plan for the character to be an actual princess and not a fake. would you also maybe like to hear the name of the princess or do ya wanna wait until tomorrow? also here are the other ideas: 1. something happens with all the main characters in one of the parts where they all get seperated and have to face each of their fears to get back to each other 2. cross over- this probably wouldn't happen but i honestly just got a funny idea if your characters from yo...

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B. W.
02:02 Sep 04, 2020

and yeah i'm glad it finally stopped, i hate when that happens it seems to be happening a lot tbh ^^

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Kate Ulrich
02:39 Sep 04, 2020

Thank you for the prompts! The crossover sounds interesting, only I'm not sure how we would work it out, but the myths idea is something I might want to try. Thanks for suggesting it, for chatting with me, for your advice. :)

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B. W.
02:53 Sep 04, 2020

No problem ^^ your one of my good friends on here to be honest and its always really fun to talk with ya :) i still never thought i'd ever talk to anyone so whenever i make friend's here i'm always surprised but happy :) if the cross-over was actually done you could be the one to do it and you could tell me some of the stuff that happens or just how one of my characters would react since you probably wouldnt know how to do them. Well thank you as well for all the ideas you've given me so far and your advice as well ^^ i'd honestly like to se...

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B. W.
16:22 Sep 21, 2020

I'm also kinda curious about this but besides me on here do ya ever talk to anyone else on here?

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Kate Ulrich
17:19 Sep 21, 2020

Not usually. Sometimes I'll comment on someone's story, or they comment on mine, and we'll talk for a few minutes. But I chat with you almost every day, so it's mostly you. :)

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B. W.
17:25 Sep 21, 2020

aww

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Kate Ulrich
22:15 Sep 21, 2020

:)

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B. W.
22:18 Sep 21, 2020

:D

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B. W.
14:22 Sep 18, 2020

gosh its "face your fears" but i just wish it had more stuff then just everything this week being with the Apocalypse like maybe a few things with something else, but i guess it could work i guess

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Kate Ulrich
14:35 Sep 18, 2020

Shoot. Maybe this week might not work with the demi-god series, but the prompts may be good for other things. Isn't your Shifty and Aura series in the future? This might be a good week for that.

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B. W.
15:25 Sep 18, 2020

HAH- i just finished a new part for our crossover- i dunno how i did it but i guess i did. Go check out "Crossover: the plan" and tell me what you think

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Kate Ulrich
15:41 Sep 18, 2020

HOW? The prompts have been up for like an hour!!! Are you some kind of wizard?

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B. W.
15:43 Sep 18, 2020

Don't question what i can do, i love writing so i'm just really good at it though i guess. Who knows, maybe i AM a wizard though :) i hope ya like it though and remember with the feedback

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Kate Ulrich
15:50 Sep 18, 2020

It was great, like always. :) I wasn't really expecting these prompts, and I don't think the next part will really work with a post-apocalyptic theme... should I wait for next week?

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B. W.
13:13 Sep 17, 2020

Kate? i really hope that i'm not bothering you when i'm asking this and stuff but if it wasn't out yesterday is it coming out today? i'm just worried and i don't want it to be to late or anything if you maybe finished it on Friday/tomorrow then you'd have to hurry and put it out.

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Kate Ulrich
14:50 Sep 17, 2020

Sorry I didn't respond earlier! I just spent like an hour finishing up the story. And... It's out now!!! I'm sorry it took so long and that you were worried.

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B. W.
14:51 Sep 17, 2020

Its alright ^^ i'll go check it out

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B. W.
00:42 Sep 14, 2020

Hey Katey? do you maybe need help with any other ideas or just something else? your still helping me a lot and i still wanna help you with really anything tbh

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B. W.
21:09 Sep 09, 2020

Okay i'm gonna tell it here instead of on the other thing because its to much threads and its kind of gotten small, so tell me what ya think: Meg and the other two are kind of just walking around in the woods because theyre going to camp illusion while Harmony,Lia and Zio (don't question why he's there when hes supposed to be in the underworld this might be in the future of my series or maybe not fully canon possibly) are just kind of walking around and having fun where they start to hear noises Harmony leads them to it while Lia is in her W...

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Kate Ulrich
21:40 Sep 09, 2020

That sounds great! :) Just one note- make sure that Aella (the lioness) isn't a human-animal cross like Lia. Aella just can turn into a lion but is a human most of the time.

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B. W.
21:43 Sep 09, 2020

Yeah ill make sure of that ^^ Just that Aella needed to do something so she turned into her Lioness Form but she's still just a Regular Human/demi god when she turns back unlike Lia, i thought it would be funny if they met that way. I have an idea as well for part 2 which would be your part, unless you wanna think of your own part then i'll tell you that as well.

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Kate Ulrich
21:59 Sep 09, 2020

No, I'd like to hear any ideas you have. What were you thinking of for part 2?

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B. W.
22:03 Sep 09, 2020

Well for your part/part 2 it could maybe start with Aella and the others starting to talk with Harmony when they then Hear the monsters and the scream all of them decide to team up and fight the monsters (the things during the battle and if they save Arren is up to you i wont decide everything for your part) and at the end of the fight they'd all decide to go to Camp illusion with Harmony leading them there

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Kate Ulrich
22:25 Sep 09, 2020

Okay! Sounds good.👍

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B. W.
14:06 Aug 25, 2020

I've checked out your other two stories already so i decided to read this last one (i hope you keep writing) i still can't really give advice but this is still really good, you did great with this one along with the other two. I know your future stories will also be great. I never really found anything wrong with this or the other two stories. so do you know what this means then? your going to get a 10/10 from me ^^ You've also started to help me with my part 2 a bit of "Goddess child" at least a bit of it anyway, and thank you. I don't know...

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Kate Ulrich
14:16 Aug 25, 2020

Once again, thank you. You actually are doing a lot to help me because I'm really self-conscious about my writing, and your comments have made me feel better. Thanks for being so kind. And I thought a little bit more about names for your camp and came up with, 'Matchmaking Camp' (because that's Eros's job & I guess he could teach kids that) and also Eros' and Psyche's kid Hedone could help with the camp. Anyway, that's all I could think of.

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B. W.
14:34 Aug 25, 2020

"match-making camp" and "illusion camp" are the two ones i'm thinking of doing, i just have to pick between them unless you think of something else again. and no problem, like you i guess im a bit self-conscious and was a bit scared to start making stories here. But people here that i consider friends a bit along with you have also been really kind with it. I suck at remembering things though but aren't the camps just for protecting the demi-gods or is the match-making thing just a small thing they'd do that Eros or someone else would teach ...

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Kate Ulrich
15:00 Aug 25, 2020

I didn't really think that far ahead with how the match-making thing would work. I guess you just decide how you want that part to work if you wanted to include it in your story, if it should be a small part of camp or not. I sort of thought it could be almost like a 'Life Skills' class like some kids take in middle school, but it's all your call. Also, could I put you in my bio as a friend and tell people to check out your stories?

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B. W.
15:16 Aug 25, 2020

I think thats kinda a cute idea like Eros or someone else would go and teach a group of the demi-gods about match making or love if they knew some of the kids was starting to love someone or something. i might add it at some point in the story for something small. and sure you could add me in your bio for that ^^

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