Monday, January 07, 2013

A Land On Fire



This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 35; the thirty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "...and the world was silent again"

It was raining at night, and I was researching on 'illusory astral travels'' that describe exactly how people use occult techniques to meet disembodied spirits ....I knew that this was all nonsense, but the craze for this odd subject never diminished. I wanted to know more about this temporary dying experience. Outside, the sky was cloudy, and I was enjoying reading about the mystic and infinite nature of Occultism.

Suddenly a light fell on my hand. I looked up  and saw a silhouetted figure under the awning of the window. I got up, shut the window, lurched back to my cubicle, and concentrated on reading.  There was a tapping again, I squinted in annoyingly; stumbled, the glare was too much to bear. I got curious, but this time I was a little apprehensive at the same time. Just when the confusion was about to reach its peak, I saw  a flash-light approaching my right hand. It drew my fingers into its grip. Surprised at this , I tried to pull my hand a little; but  the grip was extremely tight. Paralyzed by fear, I tried to talk, but my voice cracked. The study slowly turned hazy, I smelled bidi, though no one was smoking in the house!! I was panting, sweating... I was conscious of what was going around me; since I could see colors, shapes, although I had difficulty in hearing; all the laughter and exclamations seemed distant, as if coming from a different world altogether...


The wind suddenly turned imploring. I began to sniffle , dabbed my eyes and tried to get up, but was pressed down by an invisible force ....and before, I could think anymore, someone was breathing down my neck, and he started rocking my chair rhythmically. The jerks were creepy and uncomfortable..., a strange power was guiding my right hand, and I started scribbling. My fingers were moving at an incredible speed  ... and I just couldn't stop....


Images, that I never knew existed came flitting across my face--- a family in a small group was sitting around a beautiful Mustard field, eating hot samosas, sipping tea and listening to a radio placed in the center of the circle. Men, in their typical dhoti-kurtas had huge turbans on their heads. And the women in saris had tattoos on their forehead. Their faces were shining with excitement as they went around giggling and jostling within the crowd. Amid all these, an old man with huge moustache was gazing at me continuously through the slopes of the field. 


Finally the fingers stopped. The watchman patrolling the street was banging his lathi on the cobblestone outside....so, the time must have been after midnight! I don't remember how I walked back to my bed, slept as if I'd been drugged and in the morning awoke to a new world--a world in which everything was fierce and piercing; everything charged with strange emotions, clothed with extraordinary mysteries... 


I dashed into the study.... picked up the paper; nothing made sense to me since the writing was cryptic, it was completely indecipherable; but the memories of mustard field and many images were taking shape in front of my eyes...I rushed out, kept walking for about half an hour till I reached the fields. For some reason, I remembered smelling radishes and had a strange sense of déjà vu


Everything hung still and yellow in the field. It was a kind of place everyone would want to rest at some point of time.I loved the new harvest of mustard swaying with soft wisps of clouds drifting above; a slice of sky full of colored kites was shimmering in the morning light. 


I turned onto the rutted track, a farmer was loading gunny-bags on the mule's back. He glanced at me admiringly and dragged his sleeve across his face, wiped his sweat. I avoided his eye. I was glad that this time he didn't return his gaze. But, suddenly my brain meandered to the center of his face and it was a kind of explosion. This farmer's face was similar to the old man I saw in my spell. I went to the cottage, pushed open the door. It was dusty, dimly lit, a bare living place. As I entered, a pigeon flapped its wings, making guttural choking sounds-- and then to my horror I saw the body of the old farmer hanging from the ceiling. I flinched. The strapped-bag on my shoulder dropped, the paper slipped...A stench bludgeoned my nostrils, and I ran out. 


I have no idea how long I'd been sitting there when I felt a gentle tug on my shoulders. Startled, I turned around. It was a little girl, no more than five to six years. She held out a sticky toffee to me.


'Who are you?', she asked gravely.


The open field speckled with mustard blossoms and the little angel calmed my nerves a bit. I cleared my throat, still confused, I asked her...' where are the villagers, my dear? This village looks deserted. Someone should come and arrange for the old man's cremation'.


The girl shook her head.'Go away, go away...,' she said, her words slurring.


I hesitated.' and said, ' But, why? ...'


She avoided looking at me, 'If it's Duddu you're looking for, she murmured, 'he died long back, people have buried him there....'. Her voice dropped, and she raised her hand and pointed towards the river.


The path was winding, dingy and dark, the sunlight consumed by leaves made the road absolutely ghostly. There was uneasiness in the atmosphere. Before I could respond, a stentorian call came from a  distance...


'Guddi! Come back here at once, beti!! How many times have I told you to stay away from strangers??'


I turned around, it was the same old man shaking a cane in her direction!! She waved back, and ran back to him. I was terrified now.


A rush of wind followed her....I turned around, started walking towards the river.


I was thirsty. I dipped my hands into the river, and as soon as I cupped my hand, my fingers touched something. And to my horror, it was the replica of the old man floating in the river....I was shocked. Everything seemed so bizarre....


I was walking away, when I saw a group of workers digging the ground. A police inspector was standing next to him. 


'That's where the whole family was buried', he announced, indicating the dug-out. 


I asked, 'who are you talking about..?  I met a small girl here just now....and an old man.'


The Inspector tried to keep his voice even and said' Oh, do you think they were real ? The whole family had perished in mysterious circumstances! This village is haunted and we've been looking for clues for a long time. Thank God, we've been able to find some samples to conduct DNA analysis.'


'Though too much about this case still remains unknown and unresolved, and according to the  Attorneys and the police, it could be many more months before the criminal investigation moves forward. But, for those who are still offering (sometimes scathing, painful) criticism to the administration, the findings would make sure that such protesters and...the rest of the world was silent again... at least for sometime!'


It made me go all brooding and silent ....




The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: BLOGGER NAME, Participation Count: 08

88 comments:

  1. Ohh my!!! where did you start the story and where did you go? Read it in a breath...

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    1. FIF...Good to see that I did manage to convey my thought...:))Thanks a lot!!:)

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    1. Roshni, I am so happy you enjoyed this....Thanks so much re...:))

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  3. Bhooter golpo... how they thrill me! :)

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    1. Oh..I am also a big fan of bhuter goppo :D :D
      Thanks so much, Indrani:)

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  4. Wow...It kept me hooked....all goosebumps...:P

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    1. Sadia!! Thanks for your visit and feedback. I appreciate it very much.... :))

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  5. So curiosity did pay up, finally! :)

    Novel...

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    1. Novel...Perhaps that is the reason I humanized the writeup...:)))Thanks a ton!:)

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  6. brilliant! great narration and great twist in the end!

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    1. Princess, Your comment has delighted me completely...
      A zillion hugs... :)))

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  7. What a ride! Loved the flow :)

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    1. Akanksha...Oh, glad you enjoyed :))You really made me so happy.Thanks a zillion!!

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  8. Oh! I couldn't breathe till the end. Even that girl with the toffee was......

    You are master at capturing imgaginations! for sure!!

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    1. Meenakshi...I am so glad you enjoyed this effort. You made my day! Thanks a zillion... :))))

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  9. pretty descriptive. Feels like I have been there and it freaked me out :p

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    1. Wow...Thank you, the factfiction... I hope it did not disrupt your thought process too much. he he he...
      welcome to my space..:)Thanks for your visit and comment.

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  10. Prolific writer, that is what I call Panchali. Its not about how, many, how often. Its about how many different kinds of stories, everytime. Fantastic read - kintu, eta porechi agey money hoi, keno bolo toh. Aaro kotai porlam?

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    1. Julia....Your comment has delighted me completely...A zillion hugs... :)))
      Coming from a writer of your stature, it means a lot to me!!
      Kintu kothaye abar eta porle..??? Baapre...I completed the story hochot khetey-khetey!!!It was a big challenge to align 'that' particular line this time... And on top of it, I was traveling and the deadline....!!! OMAGO! But, I'd written a story on paranormal ghost-writing activity years back in suls. Kintu story-line wasn't the same!:))
      Thanks so much for your visit and comment. I need to catch up with some reading...will be in your space soon :) xoxo

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  11. Panchali you have done it again!Such a curious story-i marvel at your imagination & narration.You need to publish my dear!

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    1. Indu!! You really make me so happy... did you know that...???? And you give me the strength to carry on... Completely delighted!:))) Thanks a zillion.
      Insha-allah, maybe one day...I shall be a published writer!! God, feels good, nah? Whatever...your comment has pleased me immensely... :)))Thanks a ton!
      Hugzzz

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    2. Your happiness reflects upon me too-shotti bolchi.And my comment was well deserved.

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    3. Sotti bolcho??? Bangla..!!:D:D .....I am glad you gave me your sincere feedback.And how I welcome it..:)))
      xoxo

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    1. Bikram...your comment inspires me to write more... thanks a ton. :)))

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  13. It was stirring story...the mystery of old man and the young girl was the one which evoked the most before it was revealed by the Inspector...

    but the best part is indeed the first part of the story...which was mysterious which forced to go back to the field...

    Awesome creativity...!!!

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    1. Anjan...I am so pleased....! :)))) Thank you for the compliment... glad you liked the story... been worth the sleepless night... :))))
      Oh, I am also not too happy about the way the story concluded. That 'one-line'overwhelmed me with confusion...!!!hahaha..
      Thanks so much for your encouragement!:)

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  14. Thrilling!! Awesome narration Ma'am! Need to learn a lot from you!

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    1. Oh, that's exaggeration, my dear. You are such a prolific poet. I need to learn from you...actually:))
      I am so glad you liked this, Valli... Thanks a ton for your love and encouragement!!
      Thanks a zillion.

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  15. marvellous piece of work panchali ji ! liked the way how you knit together each little detail . . keep writing more ! :)

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    1. Maliny! Thank you for adding the brightness of your sunny words to my space... :))))I shall continue writing ...as it assists in toning down inner demons!!:P
      Thanks re...:))

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  16. Excellent! Left me stunned...

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    1. Amit, Thank you for the visit and the heartwarming comment. :)))

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  17. I knew I was in for something splendid when I clicked on the link to your page and I was rt :)

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    1. Ahoy Jaish!Thank you... your words delight me. They mean so much to me... :))
      xoxo

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  18. Oh my! That sent me shivers! At the start, the experience sort of resembled like 'Talaash' (cryptic writing and all), but then you took us into a whole different world, where I could see the image of old man, and that little girl. Well written! :)

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    1. Hmmm...'Talaash' has shown examples of cryptic writing, where the old woman calls spirits and speaks to the dead...But, I know someone in real life, who is actually into automatic writing. She has communicated (and still communicates) with spirits. I think, I must write a blog on her experience (if she permits, of course).
      The first part is based on her experience ...that's how she said a spirit approached her...rest of the story followed to accommodate 'that line'--and it was tough this time :)
      Thanks a lot, for the visit and the wonderful words of appreciation. And I think, this is your first visit to my space. So, a warm welcome too! Hope I see more of you here...:)

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  19. omg I have goosebumps. Fascinating read!! That poor old man managed to do some occult!! We should award him :P

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    1. Chavvi..Hahaha, I wouldn't touch that old man with a ten-foot pole! Baapre...:P
      I am so happy that I managed to scare you...*in a husky, movie-villain voice* :P
      Thanks a million, my dear:)

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  20. Grippingly fascinating!!

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    1. Thanks a ton, for the huge compliment, Deepak :)) I am delighted!!

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  21. Fascinating stuff......

    http://debnature.blogspot.in

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    1. Thank you for the visit and appreciation,Debopam. Am thrilled! I'll be in your space soon..Thank you!Do visit again...please:)

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  22. Very well narrated, ma'am. I felt I was there as I read along. Every paragraph was intriguing that I just could not stop reading. Every scene was well described and the story was haunting.

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    1. Zunnur!!Thanks... your words have made me feel on top of the world...I am so happy that I managed to communicate what I wanted to in the post. It is always great to get confirmation.Thanks a zillion!:)

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  23. Gripping..and so descriptive! You're a master story-teller Ma'am :)
    And the ending...brilliant!

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    1. Welcome to my space, Sudha...a touch of madness!!! Like your handle :D
      Thank you for your encouraging words and for coming by...:)) Glad you liked this...
      Hope to see you more on these pages, sudha! Thanks a bunch!:)

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  24. Hi Panchali ji,

    You really know how to rake up a mystery. Good take on the prompt. It's always a pleasure reading your articles.

    Regards

    Jay
    My Blog | My FB Page

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    1. Jay...Thanks so much for coming by and sharing the words of appreciation. They mean so much to me...Am on cloud nine!!! :)))))
      Thanks a ton. Shall be in your space soon :)
      Happy 2013!

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    2. Happy New Year Panchali ji :) :) :)

      Regards

      Jay
      My Blog | My FB Page

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    3. Wish you the same, Jay!:)

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  25. Spooky one Panchali. Very well narrated. The dead should never haunt the living . They look good in graves only. All the best for BAT and Hugs

    Madhvi

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    1. Dr Madhvi, You are spot on. 'The dead look good in graves only'...Ha ha ha
      Thank you... your visit always pleases me no end...:)))
      hugz back!!

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  26. Wow! Ma'm this was one thriller ride, I don't even remember whether I caught a break while reading this. It was like watching a bizarre "neo-noir" movie in fast forward. Very thrilling and exciting. Totally engrossing. :)

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    1. Akshay!Wow...what a compliment!! I guess THIS is what one writes for... this understanding. You gave that to me today... Thank you so much...:)))

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  27. Great narration..Lovely story..:-)

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    1. Thank you soooo much, Nagini... your visit pleases me no end...:))

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  28. thrilling and nerve wrencher to say the least panchali mam.. story telling at its best.. you didn't allow to take me a breath.. just loved it..

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    1. Deepak, Very pleased to know that you liked this story.. Thanks a ton, for coming by.... :))

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  29. Amazing story Ma'am

    छन्न पकैया छन्न पकैया , छन्न आई पांचाली
    शब्दों से ये चित्र उकेरे , भूतन डेरा डाली

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    1. Wah...kya baat, Shashi."bhutan dera dali"---LOL...
      Good to have you here after a long time..I do appreciate :))Thanks a ton!:)

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    2. lol. really can create images in my mind through your words alone! btw what does pakayya mean?

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    3. Chhavvi...I think, pakaiyya means brewing! Shashi has to confirm. Vibrant images...isn't it? ROFL..

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  30. What a breathtaking narration..Panchali Di.. Bows down to you..brilliant piece..ATB for BAT

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    1. Odyzz...Thanks a ton re...for the lovely comment... coming from you that's quite a compliment. I am thrilled!

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  31. Thrilling story. That's some imagination you got! The title seems forced here, but the story is very well imagined and written! My first time here, I will check out your other stories as well.

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    1. Welcome to my space, Aditya! I take pleasure in the fact that I made you come here ...Thanks a bunch....! Hope to see you more on these pages!

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  32. Brilliant narration.. looking for a hatrick :-) ATB for BAT..!

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    1. Thanks for the visit, little Rat... and for the feeling of satisfaction you gave me with your comment.. :))
      Now, I'll start reading the BAT entries...:)

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  33. gripping narration,perfect imagery,the just perfect flow....I never expect less when Panchali likhate/bolate aarambho kore.
    But you know ,Panchali ,what is screaming in my mind are these lines.....
    "But, for those who are still offering (sometimes scathing, painful) criticism to the administration, the findings would make sure that such protesters and...the rest of the world was silent again... at least for sometime!'"....in the context of recent news headlines and the attitude of those concerned,we have to face that only.we will ultimately be silent ....will nothing be changed.
    namita

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    1. Namita, Great minds think alike!! Trust me, while writing the last paragraph...I was also thinking of the present day scenario!! One of the best times to use the power of silence is during this time...i think! Let's hope things take a better turn..amen!
      Thanks for your wonderful words of appreciation. It's an honor to get such feed backs from you, my dear.
      Thanks a bunch!xoxo

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  34. Briliant writing! Enjoyed the thrilling ride. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by...harivarasanam :)) A warm welcome here :)

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  35. An absorbaing narrative, Panchali!

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  36. Gripping and I read it in a breath... amazing one! You did a brilliant job once again mam :)

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    1. Harikrishna...!! I was WAITING for your comment... and now that you have made my day... I am pleased.... :))))
      Thanks a lot!

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  37. Wow.. Panchali.. that was such a gripping story. It just blew my mind. The narrative was a true delight to the senses. You have the uncanny knack of setting the ambience so well that the reader is consumed into the story and feels as if he/she is a part of it. The way you built up the eeriness of the story is remarkable. A fantastic read. :)

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    1. Raj, Good to see you after a long time!You know, I am trying to learn how to write horror-stories... I am glad an avid reader like you liked it... :)))Thanks for the encouragement. :))

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  38. Whoa...that was a thoroughly enjoyable read!!

    Loved loved loved it :)

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    1. Thank you...thank you...thank you, Me!!!Your comment has put me on cloud nine... and you know what...? I kinda like the view from here... :D
      Thanks re..

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  39. well written.Great narration mam!

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    1. I am so pleased you liked this, The Solitary Writer,... thanks for your words of encouragement:)) Hope to see you more on these pages!

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  40. Fascinating story! For a moment, I was frightened!!

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    1. aativas..."Frightened"..?? Great...mission accomplished!...nothing is a bigger pleasure for a writer than to see that the point she tried to put across... has actually got across:)
      Thanks so much!!!

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