Deja Vu

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Chapter 3

The boat sailed across the ocean, and I stood at the front and it felt awesome to feel the warm breeze on my face. I leaned against the railing and just stayed in that place for a long time. “Hey, are you alright?” I turned with a grin on my face and saw Jaise lean against the railing next to me. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m great in fact.” He smiled at me. “So, I see you’re enjoying the weather and the sun,” He said. He looked off into the horizon. “Yes, I have never felt at peace as much as I do now,” I said. He smiled and walked away. “You don’t have to leave man, you can stay,” I said.

“You need some time alone. I will honor that.” He said. “Well, then stay and be quiet for a while and it will work out the same,” I said to him. He leaned back against the rail and the sun seemed to grow more brightly. We stayed like this for a while. Just relaxing and enjoying being free for a change. “So, we are almost there.” Jaise said after a while “Really?” I asked. “Yeah, we are almost there. I think you will enjoy it. There’s plenty to do.” He said. “Um, I do have a question.” He looked at me curiously. “Is this a place where I can explore, or am I going to have a babysitter the entire time?”

He gave me an appraising look. “Would you mind if we watch from a distance?” I gave him a droll look. “You don’t trust me,” I said. “Of course, I do. I just don’t trust them!” I smirked at that. “What, are you afraid I’m going to find some poor desperate Islander and sleep with a group of them?” I asked. I tried to stay calm, but he laughed wickedly. “What?” I asked. “You tried to sound so confident and sure of yourself. But, your heart started to beat like crazy when you said that. A normal person would be convinced. But, you can’t lie to me.” He said.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “I’m not going to make you mad. So, just forget it.” He told me. “No, say what you were going to say!” I snapped. He gave me a look. “I’m not worried about you going out and sleeping with people. I know you’re a virgin. So, I don’t-“ He stopped and looked at me. I turned away, and I felt the heat rise to my face. “Matt. It’s okay. You don’t have to be embarrassed about that.” I still didn’t look at him.

“How can I not be? You just called me out on it.” I said coldly. “I didn’t say it to make you mad. I admire your resolve.” He said. “What resolve? I couldn’t get laid at school because no girl wanted me. They all thought I was a freak, and they hated me.” I said, and I felt myself starting to tear up. “No, you’re wrong. A couple girls there actually thought you were cute and wanted to date you. But, they were afraid pf your step brother. They wanted you, though.” I felt myself blushing even worse than before. “So, they just wanted to sleep with me then,” I commented. “One did yes. The other is a virgin as well. She wanted you for you and wanted a serious relationship.” He explained.

I didn’t know how to respond to that. “I see you’re at a loss for words,” He commented. “I am. The last couple people who knew the truth about my love life always made fun of me.” I said and looked away from him. “Matt, it’s not a bad thing to not have had sex. No one here is going to judge you. I promise you that.” He said. I just shook my head. “Please just don’t say anything. If people find out sooner or later, that’s fine. But, I don’t want them knowing just yet.” I said.

He smiled. “It’s okay Matt. It’s okay. I understand.” He told me. He walked away then, and I remained against the railing and stared out across the sea. I didn’t see anyone and I didn’t look around. As the sun raced across the sky, the wind went from warm to cool. But, I still didn’t move. Then I saw something in front of us. It looked like a huge island! Giant palm trees and other trees covered it. I saw three large waterfalls. A medium waterfall fell on the east side and a giant one on the west. In the middle of the island on the largest mountain, another waterfall.

It was bigger than both of them, and it seemed to sparkle in the fading light. As we got closer, I was able to make out tall stone buildings. It looked like a small cathedral stood on a giant hill and was the tallest building on the island. Smaller houses and high wooden bridges connected the sections of hills and valleys together and large stone steps went up and down the sides and led down too far for me to see what was there. It looked like the High Elves in the game, Champions of Norrath.

The island spread out too far for me to see the entire thing. “Matt, what do you think?” I glanced to my left and saw Julie walking up to me. “I think it’s amazing. But, do you guys own it?” I asked. She laughed. “No, but we have a year round pass to the kyanite district. It’s gorgeous there. The large houses are thick and strong kind of hurts, but they are luxurious, and they have some of the most comfortable furniture, and the movies and TV’s are awesome. The music is all types, and I think you’ll enjoy them.” She said. I smiled.

“What kind of activities does it have?” I asked. “Oh. Well, there’s a lot of different things you can do. All kinds of sports, swimming, and more than I can even describe.” With that, she left me to look out on the island and see everything there was to see. We pulled up under through a low arc and then I saw a huge city. It looked like a mixture of Moseby from Dead Island and Chicago. We pulled up to a thick wooden dock and Jaise; Liam and Julie climbed out, and I followed quietly behind them.

“Matt, if you want to go and explore the island it’s okay.” Jaise said. I gave him a suspicious look. “No, it’s okay. I won’t stop you. Just give me a call if you need anything.” He said. “How easy is it to get lost?” I asked. “It isn’t as easy as it looks. They have signs all over the place. Each sign will point you to the different districts, towns, cities and tourist spots. Also, the different activities the island has and you won’t be in danger. They have plenty of lifeguards and paramedics all over the island and for the sports. You won’t be in danger. I promise.” I grinned at him.

“I have no fears of being in danger. Since you’ll never actually leave me alone.” I said. “You don’ trust me?” He asked sounding wounded. “I trust you. But, you said you’d watch from afar.” He just shook his head. “You doubt me. I just said you can go out on your own. I know I said I’d watch out for you. I will continue to do that, but you don’t need me. They’re guards everywhere.” He said, and he watched as I jogged down the street and went to explore the island.

I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I didn’t care. I found a set of stone steps and walked up them. Giant trees and shrubs lined the side of the steps, and I stayed at the railing and when I reached the top, I could see a giant jungle off into the distance. I walked around the outer island and saw the districts. There were ten different places with houses and huts. Different roads that all led to different places and giant clusters of trees slightly separated the different places. I continued up the wooden ramp and across a higher area.

I saw a bunch of people playing volleyball. Men and woman from around my age to the late twenties. All were playing a huge game. They even used three volleyballs because of the size of the teams. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A large basketball and football game took place on opposite ends of the volleyball. The valley that the games were being played on stretched out for far more than I could see all in one shot and I could see figures moving. “Hey, kid! You want to play?” Someone called. I looked around, and then I noticed an older teen looking at me.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked. Laughter and snickers rang out from the two teams. “I hope you play better than your intelligence makes you look.” I glared at him. “Give me a chance, my lord and I’ll prove it to you.” I said sarcastically. The one who spoke gave me an appraising look. The others laughed. “Well, he has wits. I like you, kid.” The teen said. “Well, since you have thirty people, and we only have twenty-nine, we’ll take him.” A girl said to the other team. “That’s fair. We do have the better players regardless.” The boy said. The girl grinned at him. “Only out of cheating,” She said, and I went to stand in the spot where a girl pointed.

“Try not to mess up,” She warned. I nodded and for several minutes, no one hit the ball to me. So, I was a little off when a ball came to me. I missed it by a fraction of an inch, and the ball went out of bounds before I could get it. “What the hell?! I told you not to screw up!” The girl snapped at me. “Marci, shut the hell up! He made the right call.” The girl who took me said. “Yes, Johanna.” She mumbled and gave me a death glare. I was in the seventh row away from the net, and the ball came to me again. I jumped up and spiked it across the net. It hit the ground hard, and the ref shouted, “Point!”

Another came and then another. I jumped and leaped. I dived and spiked the ball over and over again. Cheers rang from my side and groaned from the other. By the time the game was over, we were only down by three points. We made a twenty point comeback. My team cheered, and they hugged each other for the quick turnaround. No one came up to me, though, and I started to walk away, smiling slightly and sweaty. I turned to head back to one of the paths that I turned to come up here.

I almost got to the path when someone came up and grabbed my arm. I turned quickly and jerked backward. “Hey. I’m sorry if I startled you. I just wanted to thank you for your role you played in the game back there.” The girl said. “Do I know you?” I asked her. Her dark hair and the yellow streak seemed familiar, and she smiled. “You were at the Diner. You’re the one who…” I dropped to my knees. “What’s the matter?” She asked. I shook my head. “You haven’t eaten have you?” She asked. I shook my head again.

“Why the hell not?” She asked. “Never got the chance to eat anything you brought to me.” She frowned and shook her head. “It’s almost been a week. We need to get you something to eat.” I just smiled. “No, I’ll be fine. I’ve gone almost as long on more than one occasion.” I told her. She just frowned still. “You know? You should learn to smile more.

You look so much more beautiful when you smile.” I told her and then she gave me a seductive look. I felt my cheeks flush, and I looked away. My heart increased in pace. “Well, you should know that I’m Ashlee.” I smiled. “Matt.” She grinned. “I know who you are. I’m friends with your cousin, remember?” She asked. I nodded. “So, what’s next on your agenda?” She asked. “I think I’ll go swimming,” I told her. “You have swimming trunks?” She asked. “I laughed. “No, but I’m sure I could find some around here.” She grinned. “Yes, and I can help you if you’d like,” She suggested. “I would like that,” I told her. Then she took the lead, and I followed close behind her.

She led me to a large summer store. They had all kinds of things. Camping equipment, lawn chairs, picnic tables, patio tables, those candles and lamps that help keep bugs away, to swimwear. I couldn’t believe that they had all kinds of things. They even sold swimming pools of all sizes, and filters, and tarp and chemicals to keep the water clean. “See anything you like?” Ashlee asked. “Yes, I do. But, I don’t understand how this island came to be.” I said. “Well, a long time ago. An underwater volcano shoots lava over millions of years and the lava hardens, and it turns into the land.

As more lava kept flowing, it keeps pushing up more land, and it expands the island until the land rises above the water level and seeds from plants get blown across the water and finds a way to plant themselves and then once they grow, they spread more seeds. Which then allows other animals to come and then people show up and then look. We have an island with life and fun games and clothes and food.” I just glared at her. “Oh, that’s not what you meant?” She asked.

I didn’t say anything. I just stared at her. She laughed. “Sorry, well. A small company wanted to have an island for people to have a tourist place, and a place to escape for a while.” She explained. “I understand that.” I said and walked up to the male clothing store. I grabbed a pair of thick silken swimming trunks. They were black with purple trimmings and waistband. I don’t know why I wanted them so much. There was a cheaper pair there.

But, I couldn’t make myself take the simple pair. I grabbed the silk trunks and walked up to the counter. Ashlee followed without question and handed over a wad of cash to the clerk without me saying a word. “You’re letting your girlfriend buy your clothes?” The woman snapped. “She’s not my girlfriend,” I said quietly. “We aren’t together. Besides, this money isn’t mine. It’s his cousins. He asked me to get him what he needed or wanted. So, that’s what I’m going to do.” She said. The clerk’s tone and expression lightened up.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you,” She said. “I guess it’s something that I should have expected. There isn’t a damn person in this world who doesn’t prejudge me before they get to know me. Why should a sales person be any different?” I said coldly. I grabbed the swimming trunks and walked out. Ashlee is staring at me with a wide-eyed expression. “I didn’t think you had it in you,” She said to me when we left the shop. “Had what in me?” I asked. “The ability to stand up for yourself.

Jaise said that you didn’t defend yourself and always took the blame for everything.” I turned away from her. “Yeah, well usually I deserved it,” I told her. “I don’t believe that. No one deserves complete and total punishment. I can tell you’ve had a major scar on your heart. I can’t imagine what you went through growing up, but you have a darkness from pain and mistrust. But, you don’t have that anymore. You have people who care about you and only want the best. And you have people who will help you and won’t judge you for everything.” She said.

“You think that I’m innocent, but I’m not as innocent as you think I am. I’ve made mistakes. I am not perfect.” She just stared. “No. But, no one is perfect. Everyone should be allowed the benefit of the doubt.” She said to me. “I don’t know. But, we shall see.” She looked at me with a curious look. “So, are you ready to go swimming?” She asked. I smiled like a fool. “Of course, I am.” She grinned. “Where do we go to get changed?” I asked. “Follow me. We’ll go back to the Ruby District. My bungalow is there, and we can change.” She told me, and I followed her along the wooden path.

We walked down and around. The path turned to the side, and we followed it across. We went up and down wooden bridges. Across decent sized grassy plains. Finally, we turned off onto a paved road and passed by a sign that read “Ruby.” We walked passed it, and I saw that the district was so properly named. All the bungalow’s and huts were all different shades of red. Some of the buildings were blood red. Some looked like a bright flaming meteor. Others were darker, more crimson.

We walked up the largest crimson building and entered. “Matt, you can get changed in the small spare bathroom. I’ll be down in just a few minutes.” I nodded, and I entered the ‘small’ room. It looked like a room out of a small castle. I quickly took off my clothes and put on the swimming trunks. I hated feeling exposed in a strange place. Anyone could have walked in. I folded my clothes over my arm and walked back to the living room area.

Ashlee walked down in her bikini, and I stared wide-eyed. I felt my heart rate increase, and my face flushed. She looked gorgeous! “Are you okay?” She asked. I felt my body respond to her and my face burned. “Y-yes!” I squeaked. She smirked. “You’re not. You are embarrassed. You’ve never seen a female dressed like this have you?” She asked. I shook my head. She glanced down and gave me a wicked grin. I gave her a confused look. She walked up right in front of me and traced her hand down my thigh. I shuddered and pulled away.

She looked at me with a strange look. “You. You’re a virgin.” She stated, and I looked away. “Hey. You don’t have to worry about that.” I glared at her. “If you’re going to make fun of me, then I might as well just leave,” I said. I said and went to walk out. “Wait.” She said and grabbed my arm. “What?” I demanded. “You know? You’ve been judged and punished so much in your life that you’re so quick to condemn others. If I wanted to make fun of you for waiting, I would have done it before now! But, I am not making fun of you.” She told me with a steady glare. I sighed.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m just used to it. All the friends I have ever had always mocked me because I wasn’t sleeping around.” She shook her head. “You still want to go swimming?” She asked. I nodded. She motioned towards the door, and she walked out. I followed close behind her. She walked to the side of the bungalow, and I saw a small garage there. She walked in and walked out pushing a motorcycle.

“That’s yours?” I asked with surprise. “You don’t think a female can ride a motorcycle?” She asked. “That’s not it. I just didn’t take you for a biker.” I said with a grin. “Kid, you…” She paused then and grinned. “You’re picking on me.” I laughed. She grinned back. “All in a fun, though.” Opened a small compartment and said, “You can put your clothes in here.” I nodded. I set them inside and then she closed and locked it with her key.

She climbed on and started it up. I quickly climbed on behind her. She turned to give me a wicked smile and then drove out of the driveway. “What was the look for?” I asked. “You’re…um, pretty happy back there.” She said. I blushed and smiled. We drove up the road and pulled out onto a dirt road with golden side markers like on a highway. And the split lines that separated the two lanes seemed to be made out of steel silver. We made our way up, and we came upon a parking area, with a high chain link fence. The gate was open, and a lot of people were already there. But, the pool was huge, and there was plenty of space for most of the entire island to sit comfortably in it.

We got off, and Ashlee handed the keys to the attendant. “Ah, Ashlee. You know the keys will be safe here.” The older man said to her. She smiled. “I know Jack. Thank you.” He smiled and told us to have fun. We walked through the gate, and I went running into the pool. Ashlee didn’t look too enthused for some reason, but I have never felt so relaxed and rushed into the water. I jumped into the deep end and sank to the bottom for almost a minute and just floated above the bottom until I needed to take a breath of air. I then swam up to the top and kicked my feet and moved my hands around to keep floating.

“Matt!” I heard Ashlee shout. I looked over and waved my hand. She looked around and shouted my name for a while until she caught sight of me after a while. She jumped into the pool and swam over to me. “Are you okay?! The lifeguards were about to dive in!” She said loudly. “Oh, sorry. I’m fine. I just wanted to enjoy being under the water in the real pool. I’ve never been in one.” I admitted. “Well, now you have a chance to experience real fun. Let’s get on with it! Let’s have some fun!” She said laughing and splashing me with water.

We even played Marco Polo. And red rover. And all kinds of kids games, including the tag. We got a bunch of others to play as well, and we spent hours having a lot of fun. By the time the pool closed down, the sun had dropped far in the sky. Ashlee’s and my hair dripped water around our faces. We walked out, and I climbed back on the motorcycle behind Ashlee again. She clicked on the headlights, and we took off down the road. “What’s next? Are you going to take me back to Jaise?” I asked.

“No, if you don’t want to. It’s only a little after nine. We could go to the high plateau. They have huge overhead lights like you would see in a football stadium. We could go there and…” She stopped talking for a moment. I leaned tightly against her and pain shot through me. “I’m not going to ask if you’re okay. You haven’t eaten, and you’re starving. I’m done playing games with you. You need to eat fucking something.” She snapped. “I…” She shook her head furiously. “You need to eat.” I could tell by her tone that she wasn’t up for a stubborn person. “But, I don’t want to stop having fun. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.”

“Matt, you will be able to have fun tomorrow. You need rest. You need food. Please. Stop being a hero and stop trying to get yourself killed.” She said. “Please don’t tell Jaise about this. I don’t want him to be mad at me.” I begged. “He should know,” She commented. “No! You don’t understand. He’ll be so mad at me. He’ll….” Ashlee shook her head. “He won’t hurt you. Not really. Yes, he’ll be pissed off. But, he won’t hurt you. Not like the others.” She drove all the way to the Onyx District and like the ruby one; it matched up to its name.

Everything was in different shades of black. Some light and some so dark, I couldn’t even see that they were there until someone moved a black curtain and some lights shown out. She pulled up to the largest house in the district, and I walked up to the door. Ashlee was right behind me. She knocked on the door, and Jaise opened the door. “Hey, Ashlee. What’s going on?” He asked. “Oh, you want to order a couple pizzas?” She asked. “Sure, but why?” She pointed at me. “What he hasn’t eaten today?” He asked.

I know she mouthed something to her because he grew pissed off very quickly. “Matt,” He said coldly. “What?” I said. “You haven’t eaten in days. Why? We ordered food for you. Why didn’t you eat?” he scolded. “I lost my appetite after our spat. And now it’s starting to catch up with me.” I told him. “God damn it! Matt, why the hell would you do that? How could you-“ He started to snap at me, but Ashlee decked him hard in the jaw. Jaise stumbled and turned murderous.

“I knew you’d be pissed, but I didn’t think you’d be a douche! Damn it. Arguing isn’t going to help him. Get him some stupid food, and then scold him. But, understand his point of view!” She said, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Her eyes looked like they were flashing lightning. “Ashlee, this is a family affair.” Ashlee stood in front of me defiantly. “That may be so. But, I won’t have you bully him. How is that fair to him?” She asked, “The girl has a point.” I turned to see Julie and Liam standing there. “Damn it.” He snapped. He took out his phone and ordered five extra-large pizzas. All different types.

“Food is on the way. Now, how about that argument?” He asked. “No, I won’t stay here if all you’re going to do is bitch me out,” I told him and went to leave. Jaise grabbed my arm and said, “I’m sorry. I am. I’m just worried about you.” I smiled. “I know. I should have eaten when I have the chance. I’m just so used to taking care of myself and trying to find food. So, I’m just not to having food given to me. So, I’m a little defensive of having things handed to me.” He nodded and smiled. We sat around the table all five of us, and we decided to play clue and some card games.

It was a little over an hour before the pizza showed up and we were laughing and joking around with each other. We all had tears in our eyes from the jokes. Jaise handed over the pizza guy the sixty bucks for the extra-large pizzas and a fifteen for a tip. I just stared at him, and so did the pizza guy. “Are you sure sir?” Jaise nodded. “I would take it,” Liam said, “You won’t win this argument,” Liam said. “I wasn’t going to argue.” The boy said quietly.

“I would take it. He doesn’t do anything he doesn’t mean to.” I told him. He smiled shyly at me and then nodded. “Thank you, sir.” The boy said and walked out. We cleared off the table, and he put the food on the table. Julie opened the pizza boxes, and I saw the four meat supreme one. I used the pizza cutter and took eight slices and put them on my plate. I started scarfing down the food. Everyone just stared at me. I looked up and saw them staring. “What?”

I asked after swallowing the last slice on my plate. “How much are you planning on eating?” Julie asked. “As much as he wants.” Liam laughed. The others chuckled and stopped eating after a while. But, I kept stuffing my face. I think I ate a little over a whole pizza on my own. “How do you feel?” Jaise asked. “I feel good, but stuffed and I feel like I’m going to explode,” I said with a smile.

They all laughed, and we played some more games until two in the morning. I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, so I said I would go to bed, and Jaise showed me where my room would be on the third floor. There were only two bedrooms on the second floor, and they were both in use. I thought I would feel trapped up there. But, I didn’t. He watched me climb the steps. “so that you know; this door will always be open.

You don’t have to feel like you’re trapped, you know.” He said. “You mean you won’t close the door?” I asked. He shook his head. “Well, maybe for a moment. We do need to sweep behind it.” He said with a grin. I rolled my eyes at him and smirked. He laughed and ruffled my hair as we walked away. I combed it back and walked up the steps. I closed the sliding curtain at the top of the steps and looked around. I saw a giant king sized bed with a fifty-inch screen TV. Game consoles, video games, movies were all in the stand where the flat screen sat. A huge collection of clothes hung on hangers in the closet, and I found the dresser full of clothes and I couldn’t understand how they were my size.

I grabbed a pair of black shorts, a pair of underwear and a black sleeveless shirt and walked down to the bathroom. I was about to enter when Liam walked up the steps. “Something up?” He asked. “No, just about to take a shower, unless it’s not okay. Then I’ll wait.” He laughed. “No, it’s completely fine. Why wouldn’t it be okay?” I shrugged. “Go ahead. I’d use Jaise’s bathroom. It’s a master bathroom, and I’ll let him know that you’re taking a shower.

This way no one will bug you.” He said. I smiled. “Thank you,” I said. He showed me where my cousin’s room was and then he walked down the steps. I feared that everyone would come up and play a prank on me, but I didn’t think it would happen. I didn’t take any chances on it in any case, so I locked the door to the bathroom. I took off my clothes and turned on the water. I let the water heat up, and once it was just barely tolerable, I jumped in. The steaming water hit my skin, and I tensed up until I got used to it.

Then the hot water relaxed and loosened the muscles, and I slowly washed up. I think I had taken about half an hour before I climbed out. I grabbed a towel quickly dried off. I then dressed and put on some deodorant. I put on the underwear and the shorts and grabbed my shirt, unlocked and opened the door and I saw Jaise sitting on his bed. “So, how was the shower?” He asked and I couldn’t tell if he was angry or not. “i…I’m sorry. If you’re mad about the shower, I’ll…” He shook his head with a smile. “No, it’s alright man. I don’t mind. How does it feel to be clean again?” He asked. I laughed.

“It feels nice. It’s been a few days since I had a nice shower.” I told him. He nodded. “You exhausted?” He asked. “You truly have no idea,” I told him. “Get some rest. We will do some fun stuff tomorrow and the next day. We don’t have to leave anytime soon.” He told me. I nodded and then I walked up to my room. I pulled the covers back on the bed, and I climbed in. There was a box fan on the small table next to the bed that wasn’t there before. How did someone know I couldn’t sleep without a fan? I wondered. It didn’t matter now. I clicked it on and rolled over to go to sleep.

I don’t know how long I was sleeping, but I felt someone standing over me and I sat up quickly and jumped out of bed. I stood in a defensive stance until I saw it was only Jaise. “Nice reaction time,” He said. I looked down and the crossed my arms across my chest. “What’s the matter, he said, “You can’t be embarrassed by me talking to you when you don’t have a shirt.” I shrugged. He rolled his eyes. I dropped my arms to my side and tried to relax while I tried to find something that I could have a conversation with Jaise without making it awkward. “So, what time is it?” I asked.

“Oh, it’s a little after eleven in the morning. And we were all wondering if you wanted to go to the water park we have here. It will make magic waters look like a child’s playpen.” I just stared at him. “Is that even possible?” I asked. He gave me a lopsided grin. “You will just have to go and find out,” He told me.

I smiled at him and said, “Well, let’s see if you can prove it.” I replied. He smiled and nodded. He walked towards the staircase and said, “Get your swimming trunks on. We are going to have some fun today!” He said and then walked down the steps. I switched out of my shorts and put the trunks on. Then I walked down the steps. Liam, Julie, and Ashlee were already there and dressed. Jaise joined us a short minute later and then grabbed his keys and then we all headed out.

“We have a friend coming over as well.” Jaise said. A boy about Jaise’s current age appeared, and we all got into his convertible there wasn’t enough room for Ashlee. “Um, I’ll meet you there,” She said. “Uh, if they’re no laws against this, you could sit on my lap.” I said and then blushed. The others stared at me, and she smiled at me. She didn’t even hesitate, and she sat on my lap. She turned and looked at me with a smug smile. But, it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel glad. “You comfortable?” Jaise’s friend asked from the front seat.

I didn’t say anything, except stare at Ashlee and try to think of something to say to her. “Hey, kid. Come on. Say something.” He said. “Who are you?” I asked turning to him. “Jeff, and watch your tone with me, kid.” He snapped. I glared at him, but Jaise reacted fast. He slapped him without looking because he watched the road, but he did give him a dark sideways glance. “You know better than to treat people like crap. Especially my cousin,” He said. “He’s just a punk kid,” Jeff said. “You want me to kick the shit out of you?” Jaise asked in a calm but cold tone.

“Jaise, it isn’t your place to protect me. Let me defend myself.” I said. “ it is my place. Am I the oldest and Jeff? You’re supposed to be a friend of mine. Not a dick.” That seemed to calm Jeff down. We all rode in silence and after half an hour and then I whispered to Ashlee, “So, what are your plans for the water park?” She turned to me and said, “I don’t care honestly. As long as you’re my partner today.” I smiled. “I have no problem with that,” I told her. “Well, that’s touching,” Liam said with a smile. I looked over at him, and he had his arm wrapped around Julie’s shoulders.

Julie looked at the others and said, “Well, are we splitting up when we get there?” Jeff turned to her and said, “I think we are. Matt has his partner, you have yours, and my girlfriend will meet us there. She’s riding with her family.” I turned to Jaise and asked, “What about you?” He glanced back in the rearview mirror and said with a shrug, “I don’t need anyone. You guys all have fun. I’ll probably find a friend there.” He said. “I hope so,” I told him. He smiled at me.

We drove on for a while and drove up a giant hill and down another after a quarter mile and then turned left to the third street and pulled into a parking lot that was almost full. Ashlee stood up and jumped out of the car and grabbed my hand to pull me out. The others leaped out as well. We all walked in together and then once we bought our passes and got checked by security, we entered a large park, and it was very crowded. “Well, we should have some fun today. Ashlee said grabbing a hold of my hand. She led me through the crowds, and we walked up to a large line to a water roller coaster that made the one ride at magic waters look like a joke.

We waited in line for almost an hour, but it was completely worth it. We ended up letting a single kid go ahead of us because they wanted to split us up. Then the next time a car came around, we were able to get in together. The car started up slowly and worked its way to the top. Then it went down at almost a straight drop, picking up speed to go around a quick corner and we passed under a waterfall. Then we went on a triple loop and water splashed up and down and splashed over us.

I don’t know how it happened, but the car even moved down low to the ground, and we passed slowly by a huge wall of glass holding water, and we saw all matters of underwater life swim by us. Tons of fish, sharks, squids, jellyfish. Tons of things. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing. Then we arrived at a platform with some workers, and they pulled a lever that made something latch onto our cart and we felt ourselves being pulled back and forth like spring. I have never been on a roller cart before, so I wondered if it would get me sick.

It seemed like a spring being stretched tightly and then it sprung. We have hurdled forward and up a cliff, and we went right very sharply. Then we went up again and ended up switching tracks to go on the loops. We went around and then went on another one a little higher up. Water sprayed us and then we dropped back down again. I don’t know how it was possible, but we ended up going chest deep in water and then went around a small bend and then went up a small hill and along a straight track back to the starting platform.

Ashlee and I climbed out after unbuckling the straps and after the car stopped. “So, how was the ride?” A worker said. “It was awesome!” I said, and Ashlee laughed. I wrapped my arm around her waist and walked with her. “Where are we going now?” I asked. “Where would you like to go?” She asked me. And I didn’t have a clue, but anywhere would be okay with me. “Well, what other kinds of rides are there?” I asked her and she grinned at me. “Well, there’s the water tower of doom. The underwater world, a pool. The lazy river of crazy and even some regular rides here.” She explained. “Well, I want to see them all!” I said.

She laughed, and we walked towards the longest ride in the park. “So, what’s this ride we are going to?” I asked. “Well, it’s over an hour and a half long. But, people said it is completely worth it.” She said. “You’ve never been on it?” I asked. She shook her head and said, “Nope. The ride is new. I could have gone on it a week ago, but…” I looked at her. “But what?” I asked. She seemed to blush a little. “Well, I was going to go on it, but Jaise said he was going to get his cousin and said that I might like someone to go on it with, and I thought, what the hell. I’ll wait until then.” She said. “You waited to go on a fun looking ride for a stranger? That’s so odd.” She turned away then.

But, I grabbed her hand and turned her back towards me. “I’m very grateful.” I said and then kissed her fully on the lips. I pulled away after a few minutes, and I was smiling like an idiot.I also couldn’t believe what I just did! She gave me a shocked and happy smile. “Well, I don’t know if this means we are dating or not. But, I’m happy to be here with you.” I said. She chuckled. “I think it’s a step towards going out. For a couple of complete strangers, that is.” She said and then we walked behind the line. I don’t know how long we stood here, but I know it was quite some time before we got to the front. I want to say three hours.

The track was huge, but they had about twelve cars that rode them. By the time it was our turn, we felt burned and restless. “You ready?” The attendant asked. We both nodded and climbed in. “Remember, there’s no getting off and this is going to be…interesting,” She said. I grinned and Ashlee seemed to be nervous, so I rested a hand on her arm, and she smiled at me. Then we started our run. We went up and dropped steeply. Then we climbed for a while and then dropped down hard. Ashlee screamed, and I grinned like an idiot.

We went around the track at a sharp left angle, and then we rushed deep into a cave. I don’t know how deep the cave went, but strange things seemed to happen then. I looked around and saw odd lights fade off and on. A light mist sprayed us and made us both a cough. I felt like I was hacking up a lung. Then we got out of the mist zone, and we moved through a deep cavern where I swear I saw things floating around. I couldn’t even see strings or anything. I saw ghosts! Real ghosts! I could see through them. “They have ghosts in here!” I shouted. “What are you talking about?” Ashlee shouted back.

“You don’t see them?!” I asked pointing. She looked around and at where I was pointing. “I don’t have a clue what you’re pointing at,” She screamed. One of the ghosts came near me. “If you continue this path, the only thing you’re going to end up as is dead!” The ghost screamed at me in her dead voice. It sounded like the wind and the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard Of Oz, and I couldn’t believe any of this. “How can you not see them?” I asked. I couldn’t understand it. We kept on going. “You were a fool to trust her. She’s going to lead you to your death!” Another ghost said, this time, a male. I looked at him, and I could see his rage.

“Matt?” Ashlee asked. I couldn’t answer. “What do you mean?” I choked out. “Who are you talking to?” She demanded. “She’s your demise. She will lead you into a trap. She isn’t human! And she wants to turn you into a monster. You’re going to pay the ultimate price if you continue to be with her. Your life and most importantly, your heart is in her hands if you continue down this path! Be careful Matt! You must be careful.” The female ghost came back and told me. “I don’t understand any of this,” I mumbled.

“You don’t have to. But, you soon will, and hopefully it won’t be too late.” The male ghost said, and then a third one came swooping down, and I couldn’t tell the gender of this one. It had giant claws for hands, and it had glowing red eyes. “You foolish human, are going to pay the ultimate price. I’m going to take your life! You won’t be surviving this trip!” It said and then with a quick swipe of its claws, raked into my arm. I screamed in pain. Blood dripped down my arm, and I looked down to see the skin turning black. A chill spread up my arm. “Ashlee! What’s happening to me?” I demanded.

I was freaking out, and I could barely catch my breath. She didn’t know what to say, but she smelled something and then she looked at my arm. “How the fuck did you get that?” She snapped. “The ghost.” I said weakly and then I looked around only to see it coming straight for me. “I’ll rip out your heart now!” It screamed at me. “It’s coming back from my heart!” I shouted. “Where?” She shrieked. “Right in front of me!” She pointed her finger and lighting exploded from her finger with a crackling zap. I didn’t know how she did that, but the ghost shrieked and floated off.

“What the hell?” She asked. “I don’t know,” I said gasping for breath. “Let me know if it comes back. I can’t see them, so I’m going to need you to help me out.” She said. The car kept going on its track and then after twenty minutes of intense looks, we made it out of the cave and around a tight corner and up a steep climb and then we dropped. We went around another corner and quickly went in three consecutive loops, all of which were higher than the one before it and then we dropped again and then went into another cave at a fast pace.

“Oh, I don’t like caves!” I shouted. Ashlee only said one thing, “Let me know if you see anything.” I nodded and kept looking around. We dropped further down, and it grew cold. “Is it supposed to go this deep?” I asked. She didn’t say anything. She kept a keen look out. I couldn’t understand this. I started to shiver, and it was too cold to focus even. Ashlee seemed to be doing a lot better than me. I don’t know, but she seemed comfortable. I was shivering uncontrollably. And I don’t think it was just the cold air. I think the gash on my arm was adding to it. I looked at it and then gasped.

“What’s the matter?” Ashlee asked. I tried moving so she could see my left arm. “Where did that come from?” She asked. “That happened when the ghost attacked me the first time,” I explained. She just shook her head. “It looks bad, but I don’t think it’s dangerous,” She said. I looked down again, and I noticed that it started to itch and bubble. Blood and small ice shards came out of the wound. “Ashlee, I’m bleeding ice. How is that not bad?” I asked. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said, and when she looked at me, I knew she wasn’t lying.

She was speaking the truth. She couldn’t see it. What the heck? I wondered. We rode on in silence for a while. I noticed that I stopped shivering. “Matt!” She screamed. “What?” I asked. “You aren’t shivering,” She said loudly. “Isn’t that a good thing?” I asked. “No! It means you’re about to get hypothermia! Your body is shutting down!” I felt fine. I don’t know what she was worried over. “Matt, you need to try to warm yourself back up,” She said, and I tried, but my arms wouldn’t work. I couldn’t get them to move, and when I tried to speak again, it came out slurred and confusing.

“Oh gosh,” She said. She started to panic, and she didn’t seem to know what to do. “Matt, if we don’t warm you up, you’ll die!” I just stared at her blankly. Did I care? I think I did once, but I can’t remember. “Damn it,” She swore and finally after who knows how long, we finally managed to pull out of the cave, and I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t focus, and my vision swam and blurred. Ashlee touched my shoulder and zapped me. I screamed, and I turned to glare at her. “Sorry, but I need you to stay awake. We need to get you to Julie.” She said.

“Why?” I could even tell that the words came out off and confused. The car rode the track around, and I hoped it would end soon. We came to the platform shortly after that, and the attendants were screaming and asking me a bunch of questions. “What happened? Do you know how long you two were out ’til?” And a bunch of others, that I couldn’t figure out. Ashlee put my right arm over her shoulder and supported most of my weight. She walked me towards the car and honestly? I think she pretended to be burdened by my weight. I’ve seen her carry all that food in the restaurant. I don’t think I weighed that much more.

She looked at me. “How are you doing?” I couldn’t even speak. She got me back to the car and then sat me down next to it. She took her phone out and tried to call everyone. “Damn it.” I heard her say, but I couldn’t see anything. She touched the wound, and I shrieked like a banshee. “Shit, this is not good.” I got my vision back for a moment, and it seemed like the entire park froze. “Then I heard someone speak. “So, I see our ghosts couldn’t finish the job.” I turned to see a young looking girl, but I guess she wasn’t one tick off. Ashlee stood in front of me protectively. “Shouldn’t he be the one to protect you?”

The girl asked laughing. Ashlee just glared. “Ah, yes. That’s right. You’re the guardian because he’s only human. He’s not one of us yet.” She said. I didn’t know what they were discussing. “We are nothing alike. You’re a skank.” Ashlee said. The girl laughed again. “I don’t like to think of myself like that. I just like sex. How is that a bad thing?” She asked. “I don’t know. It just is. And I won’t let you get to him.” Ashlee threatened. “You think you can stop me?” The girl asked. I focused on her. She looked pretty.

Long bright red curly hair, high cheekbones, pointed chin. And an athletic body. She has nice curves, but Ashlee was far more beautiful than her. She glared at me. “Well, he seems to fancy still you over me.” Ashlee grinned. “It shows that he has good taste.” I choked back a laugh, and the pain prevented anything from being funny. “You will pay for that.” The girl snapped, and she spread her fingers out. A steaming stream of water came pouring out.

Ashlee jumped in front of me and lightning shot out and clashed with the water. Steam sparks of electricity shot out and cracked the pavement. “You seem to have grown stronger. But, can you finally beat me?” She asked. Ashlee couldn’t speak. She was using all her strength and power into stopping her, and I was scared by what I saw. My heart was beating like a jackrabbit and blood poured out of my wound. Then I felt someone beside me, and I gasped. “It’s okay,” Julie said. She pulled her auburn hair back and then rested a hand over my wound. A white pulsing light shot out of her palm and hit the wound. I sucked in a deep breath of air. “Shh. It’s okay. You’re going to be fine.”

“What about Ashlee?” I choked out. Julie glanced at her, and when I did as well, I saw Ashlee on her knees and the girl had a stake to her heart. “No!” I screamed. “Yes, she was weak, and she must die. Julie, you can save one of them. Which one will it be?” Ashlee looked at Julie and mouthed, “him.” I shook my head defiantly. “I’m sorry Matt.” Julie said, and she kept her healing power working. The girl pulled the stake back and then jammed it right at her heart. “NO!” I sobbed and shook. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t know what else to do,” Julie whispered.

“Oh, you didn’t think we would allow you to have all the fun did you?” My head snapped towards the voice. Jaise was standing right there gripping the girls arm hard. She wasn’t able to pierce Ashlee’s heart. I gasped. She glared at him. “Who the hell are you?” She demanded. He gave her a wicked smirk. “I am the flaming nightmare!” He snapped his fingers, and a huge fireball appeared in his hand. “I think you need to leave,” He warned. “No, she must die!” She shrieked. It was like it was meant for her to die. Jaise looked at me and then at Ashlee. “I can’t allow that. He would kill me.” My cousin said and then grabbed her by the hair and tossed her across the parking lot.

“You listen to a human?!” The girl screeched. “Jasmine. You don’t know anything about family do you?” She glared and made another pass towards Ashlee. Jaise held his palms out, facing her and a thick jet of molten fire shot out and engulfed her. She used her water power to try and stop the fire, but she wasn’t strong enough. After a few minutes, the fire encased her and then burned her. It spread around and through her. She screamed in pain. It echoed around the parking lot, and I could see people stopping from far away and trying to figure out what was going on.

“We don’t have much time. We have to get out of here.” Liam said. Jaise closed his palms and all that remained of Jasmine was a pile of burning bone and little flesh. “How do you people do that?” I asked. No one said anything. Julie finished healing me, and Ashlee came by me. “Are you okay?” She asked. I looked into her bright stormy eyes and smiled. “Yes, are you?” She smiled. “Yeah. We will explain this to you. But, not here or now.” She said. Ashlee helped me up, and we walked around two rows of cars and then we saw police and people rushing towards where we just were.

“Did you kids see anything?” We all looked at each other in confusion. “No, we didn’t. Sorry.” They nodded and walked off. We went back to the park, and we decided to have as much fun as we could. We walked over to a food court, and they bought some food. Ashlee explained everything that happened on the one ride, and they all just listened intently.

“Oh, God. Ghosts? And you couldn’t see them?” Liam asked Ashlee. She shook her head. “Then how did you?” He asked. “I don’t know. Maybe it was something in the mist?” I suggested. “Mist?” Jaise asked. The water they sprayed on us when we entered the first cave.” I told him. He nodded. “It’s possible. But, I don’t know why it would only affect you and not everyone else.” Ashlee commented. Jaise, Liam, and Julie seemed to look elsewhere. “You know something don’t you.” I accused them. I looked at Ashlee, but she seemed just as confused as I did. “Even if that were to be true. We couldn’t tell you just yet.” He said. “Why are you hiding it from me? If you know something about me, then just tell me.” I snapped.
“It’s not our place to say,” Liam said. I glared at them. “I don’t get this. People always tell me to pay more attention, and when I do, I get shut out. You know what? If everything in this fucking world wants to kill me, then I think I deserve the right to know what it is. But, since you won’t tell me out of some misguided reason to keep me safe, maybe I’ll just find that ghost again and see if it will finish me off!” I walked away from them, and Ashlee followed me. “You can’t mean that,” She said. “I do,” I mumbled.

Then the others surrounded me, and I had to stop quickly. “How did you do that?” I demanded. They didn’t even crack a smile. “We aren’t human to remember?” I glared at them. “We can’t allow you to put yourself, or have someone put you in danger. Sorry man. You’re going back to the house.” Jaise told me. “Great, I’m going to be a prisoner,” I said with mock joy. “You know? We try to help you, and you treat us like shit.” Liam snapped at me. “No, I don’t treat you like shit. I just give you a little attitude when you hide things from me and don’t tell me anything that may help me.” He glared at me. “Enough of this. That isn’t helping us.” Julie shouted.

Then a huge gust of wind came blowing in. The sun got blocked by thick black and green clouds. “What the hell?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t like this. The wind began to grow stronger and then it started to rain. “Maybe it will last like the last one?” I asked. “No, I don’t think we will get this lucky.” At first, people were running around and had a good time. We went back to the house. After a while, though, things started to get serious. The wind blew so strong that some of the older or weaker houses began to get ripped apart.

Even cars ended up picked up and tossed around like toys. The house Jaise had been not going to do much better. “We won’t be able to stay here,” He said. “Hey, where’s Jeff?” I asked. “He went on his own. He told me not to worry about him, so I am not going to concern myself with him.” He said flatly. “Wow, make sure I don’t have you watch my back,” I said with a grin. He glared at me and said, “You’re a fucking different…” He paused when he saw me grinning at him. “Well, well. I think you just played me. Congrats.” He said.

“Okay, now isn’t the time for jokes,” Liam said. “Oh, I think it’s always a time for jokes. Otherwise, the stress is going to get us to lose our minds.” Julie said. A loud shrill siren started blaring over the speakers, and everyone dropped to the ground covering their ears. They curled up in a ball and blood slightly leaked out of their ears. “What’s happening to you?” I asked in fear. They didn’t answer and after ten minutes, the siren faded away. It took them another five to recover enough to climb shakily to their feet. “Are you guys alright?” I asked.

“Yeah. Our ears are highly sensitive. Most times those things don’t bother us too much. I think someone turned up the frequency.” Jaise said. “I think we’re okay, though,” Ashlee said. I looked out the window, and a tree was uprooted and tossed down the street. Jaise’s car was upside down. “I don’t think we are going to be driving to a shelter. If this place has one.” I said. “We don’t need to. There’s a lot of connecting tunnels under the island that will take us directly to the underground shelter.” Julie told me.

I nodded. “And there’s one in the house?” I asked. “Not exactly, but there’s one that’s not that far from here.” Jaise explained. Julie and Ashlee walked out onto the front porch. “I don’t think anyone else is out here,” Julie commented. “Who would be out in this?” I asked. “Oh, you’d be surprised.” Jaise mumbled. “Okay, before it gets any worse, can we go?” Ashlee shouted over the wind. We all agreed and then we took off down the street. The wind tried to blast us back, and the rain was cold and heavy. I couldn’t believe it.

That couldn’t be normal. In a matter of minutes, the streets started to flood, and when I looked back, I almost stopped dead in my tracks. A tsunami towered over the entire island. I had no idea how big it is, but I do know its shadow covered the entire island! “Is this shelter strong enough to withstand this?” I asked. “Jaise grinned. “Yes, our kind built it for just an occasion.” I looked at him in confusion, but I didn’t comment. We didn’t have time. Jaise stopped at what looked like a concrete shed. “What’s this?” I asked. “The entrance to the tunnels. Go, go!” He shouted.

“Oh, you don’t think you’re going to be able to live through this do you?” A voice echoed around us. We all turned around. A young teenage boy stood there with long dark blond hair. He looked about the same age as me. Handsome and strong. “Who are you?” I asked. He focused in on me. “Why, I’m the one person who will have yet to be proven to lie to you. I’m a vampire. Your friends over there and I are the same. We aren’t vampires from myth. Obviously.

You’ve seen them in the sun, and it doesn’t even affect them. Also, you can tell they breathe, and they aren’t pale, or cold.” That stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t even feel the cold anymore. I looked at them in fear. “Oh, yes. I forgot. You weren’t supposed to find out yet where you?” He asked and then laughed. “Matt, get inside. We will take care of him.” I couldn’t move. “Oh, he isn’t going anywhere. I can’t have him roaming around. He’s a threat to me. So, he needs to die. And you can’t stop me.”

They all rushed at him. But, the boy saw it coming and seemed to know where they all would have gone. They couldn’t beat him physically. He seemed too fast, and strong. Jaise got behind him and went to put him in a choke hold. But, the boy flipped him, and he went flying over the tunnel entrance, and Liam was unconscious at his feet. Julie and Ashlee were the only one who were still standing. “Girls, I don’t want to hurt you. But, I will if I have to.” He warned. “I can’t let you kill him,” Ashlee said quietly. I almost didn’t hear her.

But, the boy heard just fine. He laughed. “Oh, please don’t tell me you’re falling for this weakling? He’s human!” Ashlee stood in front of me. He sighed and then hit her hard. She flew a few feet and then skidded along the road. The water seemed to cushion the impact a little, but she didn’t move when she came to a stop. Julie rushed over to Liam. Then Jaise appeared in front of me again. “Why do you fight for someone you barely know?” The boy asked. “I’ve been keeping an eye on him for a long time. I just couldn’t interfere.” He said.

“I still don’t get it.” Jaise shrugged. “You don’t have to.” He attacked then, and he seemed to be holding his own now. He kicked and parried. He did everything in his power to make sure that the boy didn’t get a hold of him. But, I knew he wouldn’t be able to hold on forever. After ten minutes of fighting that would make the most famous martial arts experts feel like children, the boy had Jaise by the throat and was choking the life out of him. Then he pulled out a stake. It seemed to be glowing red and I couldn’t, at first, understand the fear in Jaise’s eyes.

“Oh, you didn’t tell him what is so special about these things did you?” He asked. I just stood there. “Kid, if a vampire with a certain element or power gets staked with a poison imbued with that same power, it will kill the vampires.” He went to jam it into his heart, and I screamed, “No, wait!” Jaise and the boy both looked at me. “Matt, don’t. Leave.” Jaise told me. “If he kills you, he’ll only kill me later. Your death will be in vain. I couldn’t die with that knowledge. So, let him go and just kill me. Please.” I begged. He tossed Jaise down and then walked over to me.

“It’s noble of you to try and save your family and friends,” He said. I didn’t comment. “No, Matt please.” I saw Ashlee walking over to Jaise. She seemed a little bruised, but she was alright. “I’m sorry. That is the way it has to be.” I told them. The boy smiled and then reached towards my chest. “I’ll make this quick for your selflessness,” He said. I smiled mockingly. “Thank you.” He jammed straight at my heart, but right before he broke through my chest, a blinding flash of purple light flashed and blasted him backward. He flipped forward and landed on his feet, and slid back a few feet. He looked at me in rage. “How? You’re only human!”

The boy shouted. “But, I’m not.” A male voice said. I looked around, and then I saw him. Long dark brown hair, same height as me, about the same age. Strong features and a light complexion. “Zolem? What are you doing here?” The boy asked. Zolem only shook his head. “It’s not my job to explain my actions to you. I give you power. I don’t need an explanation to protect someone.” He said. “He’s the prophesized one! He’s the one either destined to save the vampires or destroy them!”

Zolem said nothing. The storm seemed to get stronger, and the tsunami seemed to be looming closer. “How much time do we have?” I asked. Zolem looked at the wave. “Half hour maybe,” He said. “I see, well in that case. I think we should get underground.” I stated. “You can see him?!” The boy demanded. I looked at Zolem, who only looked at the boy. “Yes,” I said. The boy took a couple steps towards me, but Zolem blocked with some energy. “Leave now,” He warned. Liam woke up then, and they all pushed me towards the door. I was the first one down, and then the others jumped down one at a time. Jaise was the last and he closed and sealed the door. This way the water couldn’t get in. “I hope the others sealed the other entrances as well,” He mumbled. “I’m sure they did,” Ashlee said. The tunnels were better lit than I thought they would be. “Who was that?” I demanded. “We don’t know,” Julie said. “Why should I believe you?” I asked. “We don’t know,” Ashlee said. I looked at her and sighed. “Sorry, guys. Just what he said freaked me out.”

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