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V5 Epilogue: Desiderium
Mara was flanked by a pair of guards marching her down a long corridor. She was brought back to the door to Danya's office, but rather than having a quiet moment to breathe or Cecily yelling at her, the men opened the door without ceremony. One put his hand on the small of her back and guided her inside as if she would have tried to run away. Again, Danya was behind the desk. She wondered to herself if maybe he just lived at the desk and never left. Maybe he was a robot they built just to scare people and this office was his storage space.

“Oh you’re here. Well, this is it.”

He walked around and stood in front of her with a red package, complete with silver bow, in his right hand.

“I have a gift for you, Mara. First, I need you to swallow this.”

In one hand the package, in the other a pill. She put it in her mouth and gulped it down without question or comment. With both hands she took the present.

“Thank you,” she croaked.

“There are those manners your family spent so much money on," he sneered. "I hope you enjoy this keepsake. I retrieved it especially for you.”

She blinked as he warped before her eyes. The room was starting to tilt under her feet. Danya grabbed hold of the other end of the present,which stabilized her.

“Good luck.”

Everything went dark and she collapsed into the arms of one of the men on the side. He lifted her up bridal style with the present in her lap.

Greynolds and Danya watched while she was carried away.

“What do you think?” Greynolds asked Danya.

“A month, maybe."

V5 Epilogue: Desiderium
Two weeks. Maybe. Possibly. It was hard to keep track of the passage of time in the terrorists’ stronghold. There were no windows, so all there was to go on was the word of the clocks on the walls. No mirrors disassociated herself from her image. She knew the image of herself she had before no longer existed. She existed in a state of invisibility to herself; a blank slate.

The last time Mara saw the sun was when she watched it set over the island. In her dreams she saw her friends, went to school, and saw sunshine. Efflorescing red carnations and swirling black lilies lined her way to school every day until she woke up surrounded by concrete again, questioning which was real.

She always felt drowsy no matter how much she slept. There was a Discworld book she found in the shelves that she tried to read now and then. Even when she wasn’t reading it she lugged it around like a pet. Mara began to think that this would just be her life from now on.

On the fourteenth day Mara sat on the couch in the common room with Christina, joined by Lourvey and Baines in two of the arm chair. She slurped down penne with blue cheese sauce and watched Pan’s Labyrinth while Abby plaited her hair.

“When I was little my parents told me about the pale man. They said that if we weren’t quiet after dark we’d disturb his dinner and eat us. I used to stand by my little sister’s bed and tell her to be quiet when she was noisy or he’d come eat us,” said Mara.

Abby nodded. Baines made a face that seemed to communicate disbelief.

“Nice parents,” muttered Christina.

Mara fished around with her fork for more pasta. Abby pulled her hair back sharply and forced her to sit up straighter.

“Hey, where did you get that?” said Lourvey, eying the bowl.

“Kitchen staff,” replied Mara between gulps. “I talked to them about it and they made it for me. You could try it too, you know.” Lourvey huffed.

“Hey,” Mara piped up with her eyes glued to the screen. “You don’t have to tell me, but what do you think of Tracen?”

“Of Danya?” asked Christina in surprise.

“Mmm. He’s the only one I haven’t seen since the first day that I woke up," Mara replied. "Everyone else is around doing, I don’t know, downtime things or working. I never saw him again though, so I guess he doesn’t hang out with you?”

The room was quiet and everyone save for Lourvey and Mara cast their glances askance.

“I like him.” declared Lourvey, breaking the silence. “He thinks I’m funny and we get along so what’s not to like? Seems like a cool guy to me.”

“I’m not sure.” said Christina quietly. “It’s difficult to say. He has sort of an outward appearance-” Christina moved her hand over her face. “-where it’s difficult to tell what he’s really like. With the elder Danya all of the cards were on the table. It makes him hard to predict. He gives you this feeling like he can read your mind.”

“If that’s true then I guess you’re fired.”

Mara turned and saw that she was so concentrated on Christina she never noticed Sonia enter the room. Sonia looked at Mara and nodded in the direction of the others.

“Time to say goodbye.”

Havana Escapade
"Dude!" he said surprised. Caleb leaned in closer to Alvaro.

"Uh, hey man. We've been going to school together for years and you don't know who I am?" he said quietly.

"It's me, Andrew. Don't worry about it, we all have brain farts."

Caleb knew his identical twin Andy wouldn't mind. If he got caught he was 90% sure Andy would understand if it was for a snack.

He really didn't understand what was so difficult or arduous about this task that Alba was having so much trouble. The instructions were on the back and box cake had only three ingredients. Caleb reminded himself that people were at all different levels of capabilities.

In response to her question, Caleb waved a limp wrist in the direction of the cake pan, leaned against a counter and pulled his beanie down lower over his eyebrows.

Michael Crowe
A million apologies, I was out for a week with a bit of an emergency. Promise one day turn-arounds from now on so we can bang this one out. Thanks for your patience ^_^;

" but has a bit of pudge around his midsection."

I know what you mean, but "pudge" isn't actually a word.

"He has grey-blue almond shaped eyes"

Should be almond-shaped

"and heart shaped"

heart-shaped

"in a biker getup tipping"

get-up

Bio

Rugga from the past~

"Cincinatti Ohio"

Comma before "Ohio."

~

Comma between cities and states. Cincinnati, Ohio.


Rugga from the past~

Joel Crowe was a 'Nam Air Force veteran, currently working as a Truck Driver for BP"

Also "truck driver" doesn't need to be capitalized.

"Mary Crowe, was a bus driver"

If she's still a bus driver this would be "Mary Crowe, a bus driver" rather than "was." ~

Question that me-from-last-week asked is still in effect. Is she a bus driver still?

Rugga from the past~

"also being well off financially"

Also "well-off" needs a hyphen. ~

"father's truck driving job ended up taking him to Kingston, Tennessee."

Probably would be more accurate to say "taking them" since presumably the whole family moved.

"They were able to live a good lifestyle, despite having a small home, they had enough to buy what they wanted or needed, and never really needed to worry."

This is one of those run-ons. This would read much better if you put a period after "home." "They were able to live a good lifestyle despite having a small home. They had enough to buy what they wanted or needed and never really needed to worry."


"but seeing as he was happy with it, as he had a good grasp in reality for his age,"

I think something got botched here in the edit.

"scenes.Teachers frequenly called home worried about his behavior while his parents just considered it being a kid."

Space between the period and "Teachers." Also I'd like a little more elaboration on what the parents thought here, something about his good handle on reality and why they consider it ok for children to watch violent programming.


"but once he made it to second grade, things taken a downturn. "

I think you wanted "things took a downturn."

"While Michael made friends easily, he also made enemies just as quick, his speech impediment grated on some of his peers, as well as the fact that he got into arguments often."

Another very long sentence. Put down a period after "quick." It'll read "While Michael made friends easily, he also made enemies just as quickly. His speech impediment grated on some of his peers, as well as the fact that he got into arguments often."

"Eventually peer pressure steps in,"

Should be in the past tense: "stepped in"

"ore people were against Michael, normally using his speech impediment to get to him. Because of this, Michael become more aggressive and started to become a bully himself, which caused him to get into trouble often, and a good amount of his friends left him as well."

^ Great. I have a reason why kids are picking on him (his speech problems), the way it affected him and it explains why he's a bully and why he's not well liked. This is a good section, narratively speaking.


"Around the time kids were talking about more mature subjects When students were talking about their dreams and dates, Michael had the rotten luck of mentioning why he'd have to be with a girl, and not a boy in a conservative southern town. Immediately, by everyone's reactions he realized his speech impediment would be the least of his worries. The dreaded "Faggot" became his new nickname and the bullying got significantly worse. Michael didn't understand why, he's seen adults do that sort of thing, it didn't matter to him much, he was confused.Michael didn't see why was it a problem. In his mind guys loving each other should be better off anyways, they'd understand each other better."

This section has a lot of grammar and narrative issues. He says he wants a GIRL so why are his classmates calling him gay?

Also what is it that he's seen adults do?


"upon walking out at the end of class, Michael repeatedly kicked the kid in the back of his leg. He and his friends turned around and made short work of Michael."

Are they still at school for this? If so, teachers are going to come break this up fast.

" it wasn't something you can just treat as normal."

No second person in profiles. So no "you"

"He didn't tell his parents what he said for people to call him a faggot, and acted as though it was just random spite."

Again, his great sin was telling people he wanted to date a girl.

"began taking it's toll "

Should be "its." It's is the contraction for "it is"

"did nothing but played videogames"

Video games is two words.

"The unhealthy effects got to him, he gained weight, and his hair grew out, and it was safe to say he wasn't doing to well."

Unhealthy effects of what? Also the last bit is a bit informal. We can draw from the information that he's doing poorly.

"The school tried at times to help Michael, but it was only a half-hearted effort, and in the end accomplished nothing."

How did the school try to help and why didn't it work?

"His parents did what they could to help him, but they couldn't get to him."

How did the parents try to help and why didn't work? It seemed like self-defense classes helped a bit, which were his father's doing.

"However, he stood with Tae Kwon Do"

Stood doesn't seem like the right word here.

"One day on the bus ride home from school, one kid kept pestering Michael, up until the part he hit him, Michael fought back until the kid turned to leave, before wrapping his elbow and arm around the kid's neck and nearly choking him out. The kid avoided Michael for the rest of the ride home, not even looking at him. Michael was satisfied that day, certain nothing could stop him, he was invincible. Then came the very next day, the kid's older brother paid Michael a visit on the bus. A fight ensued involving Michael trying to stab the older brother with a pencil, before getting badly injured. Michael's parents tried to press charges, but were worried that about the financial challenge that would happen if they did. They instead opted to move out from Kingston, Tennessee to Kingman, Arizona."

I got an answer on this from both the MMA expert on staff and the high school teacher on staff which were as follows:

Re Taekwondo: "That's not right for taekwondo and he also wouldn't have been able to choke him from behind like that. Which is besides the point because martial arts teach leaving the situation and this sounds like he was jumping the kid from behind.

Re school things from our teacher: "Why is this sixth grader on a bus with a high school student? There's a reason kids are kept separate, because of things like this. Elementary kids ride with other elementary kids (or K-8 rides together if the school is K-8). Junior High rides with Junior High. High schoolers ride with high schoolers. These schools don't even start and end at the same times. Why are these kids on the bus together?

Having been in a fight at school and now in charge of breaking up fights at school, I know that the family could press assault and battery charges on the ninth grader for putting hands on their kid. I don't know that they have any "charges" they could have pressed against the school. They could try suing the school for medical fees, I guess? Depending on the amount, the school could pay to shut them up or the district might roll the dice and see how it pans out in court.

As for the tape, some districts have cameras on their buses. Some don't. It depends on the district. However, if there's a tape and it shows this kid doing something to this ninth grader and then the ninth grader responding, why would the district erase it as implied in that excerpt? It would actually do the district a favor to have it on tape since it would show that the district isn't liable for what happened to the kid, that the kid brought that on himself.

It would make way more sense (and solve our school difficulties) if this high schooler just jumped this sixth grader AFTER sixth grader got off the bus on his way home. Then there's no witnesses, it's a he-said, he-said, there's no mystery tape, and essentially the same thing happens in terms of history."


Thanks you two.


"They instead opted to move out from Kingston, Tennessee to Kingman, Arizona."

Is the dad retired? Did mom find a job in this new location? How did they come to the decision to move?

"Around Summer break, Michael made it to Kingman, Arizona. "

Can you give me a time frame for this? Like how old he is or what grade he's about to go into?

"So a haircut, new voice that hides his impediment well, no mentioning of liking boys, and he had got a fresh start.He had trouble getting to know people, and not many people spoke with him, so he decided to enhance himself more in the eyes of his peers.He made up a story"

Just establish someplace that he likes boys so that the readers understand it. I do get that he might be questioning his sexuality, but the mention of it previously in Tennessee is kind of confusing. Also, need a space between the period after "peers" and "He"

Rugga front he past~

"People tried bullying Michael, and Michael retaliated, fighting back whenever possible. Eventually the fighting dragged Michael to become a bully himself "

Why are they bullying him? Has he learned nothing from the past times he's fought back? If he is being bullied why does he become a bully and who does he pick on? ~


"While his parents were concerned, Michael told them not to worry due to the fact he can actually fight back now, and that he's still in a higher step up compared to Tennessee. He was legitimately happy in Arizona, the playing field was fair in his eyes. He was never jumped by groups any more, and his parents knew he was happy, so they allowed it. While his parents were Ok with him fighting, they told him not to constantly get sent home, because while he's at school, he should keep that first of his priorities. Michael's grades weren't special, being mostly B's and C's with the occasional D in math, but his parents always pushed him to do better, now that he'd gotten out of his stint. And on school, Michael was always full of thoughts."


His parents are ok with him fighting? I don't know anything about the parents so this seems really really weird. Why is he so happy if he's constantly fighting people? He jumped groups in the past?! That's really really bad and should land him at least in the police station in Tennessee. What stint has he gotten out of?


"He payed attention"

Should be "paid"

"He payed attention, and learned, but eventually some old thoughts from the back of his head came back, they were small, but Michael noticed them."

What does his learning have to do with being gay? If he was trying to use study to distract himself, you'd think his grades might be a bit better or that we'd have heard something about him studying a lot.

"motorcycle afficiando"

Should be "Aficionado"

"to get his liscense" and "getting his liscense"

These are misspelled and should be "license"

"Universals in LA"

Should still be "Universal Studios" and "Los Angeles"

"His upper middle-class background"

How exactly are they upper middle-class? His dad is a retired truck driver and his mom was a bus driver. These are blue collar, lower middle class jobs at best.

"He still visits his out of state"

Out-of-state

" watching many old fashioned slasher films"

Old-fashioned

"impersonation is top notch apparently."

top-notch



OK, big improvements here, especially with the tonal issues. We still have some grammar and spelling kinks to work out and some narrative things. Post when done!

New V5 Reduced Activity Notices
That was awful, but I'm back now.