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 Rides

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Joe




Number of posts : 17
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Rides   July 24th 2008, 2:49 pm

Picnic



The sounds slowly grow louder. The children playing, the birds singing, and the neighbor's lawnmower whirring. I try to just relax as I adjust to the morning. I roll over and just watch my wife sleeping. I always wake up slow on a Saturday because there is no alarm to jolt me from my sleep.

She sleeps so gently for someone so powerful. Over the past ten years together, I have seen how she has managed life with a silent, yet strong style. The kids are never able to rattle her much, and they do try. They have daddy to rattle to get their way. Away at work so much, I always feel a little guilty and it makes me a bit soft, even a push-over, with them.

At twenty-eight, I know I have many more years to change my ways. That is if I decide to change. Keeping a balance between Eva and myself sounds good too. I will give them candy and she will make them wait until after supper to eat it. She will force them to do homework and I will reward them with icecream, pretending they are just self-motivated geniuses.

I am lucky to have Eva by my side for the rest of time. We will raise the children and send them on into the world as we set out to see the sights and just enjoy each other in the later years. We have big plans for ourselves fifteen years from now.

I nudge her awake and say, "Time to get up Eva, time for a picnic."

"Come on Sara, you have to get dressed so we can go on a picnic," I say as I chase my youngest daughter around the room. She always thinks we are playing a game when getting dressed, and maybe we are.

Eva comes in to get the ball rolling a little faster with a firmer stance, "Sara, go get dressed, right now!"

As the kids are chasing down clothes and the toys that just have to go to the park, I wander back to my bedroom to find my own clothes. I also have to get my toys. A picnic is not right without my radio, remote control boat, and practice putter.

I stop to give Eva a soft morning kiss on the way to load mine and the kid's toys for the trip. Helping her prepare the food and load the picnic basket, I realize what an efficient duo we are. Few words are said when we are clicking along getting everything together and the kids ready. I load the remaining items as Eva rounds up the kids and herds them to the van.

Finally, all is secure and we can go. Driving off with all the chatter from the kids should be annoying, but today, it is like music. Everyone is so excited to be going on another adventure. I am sure the kids have more than enough energy for all the adventures they are busy planning.

The kids scramble out of the van almost before I can come to a stop. A beeline is made to the jungle gym. They have blazing speed when it is playtime. I unload the van while they are distracted by the tasks of the playground. Even though there are plenty of tables at this park, Eva has spread a blanket under some trees for us to sit on. I will let her set things up while I go play with the kids.

"Daddy, daddy! Watch me slide!" screams Sara as she zooms down the slide.

Joe Jr. is hollering, "Come help me swing daddy!"

I climb, and slide, and swing for quite a time. I am having a blast with them. Sometimes Eva feels she has an extra kid in me. James is playing hide and seek with me as Kim tries to climb me. She wants on my shoulders so she can be the tallest one there. I guess I just don't have the energy they do because I make my way back to the blanket for a much needed rest.

I slide down beside Eva on the blanket as she is busy reading. Reading is her stress reliever.

I help myself to a piece of cake and tell her, "Hey, check out Junior swinging. Any higher and he will be in orbit."

Eva places a marker in her book and joins me in watching and laughing at the kid's antics.

Eva asks, "Where is Sara?"

I start scanning the area, feeling sure she is just mixed in the mass of people out for the same day of adventure. We are both on our feet now as I yell out Sara's name a few times. I call for my other children to find Sara. Eva heads to the van thinking Sara just went for her doll. I walk to the jungle gym, scanning all around as I go.

Other parents and children start looking around too. I start describing Sara to the parents as we all look. People break off in varying directions. How can a little girl just disappear that fast? I start towards the lake edge and the reeds where kids like to hide when playing.

"Daddy! Help!"

The scream is joined by a chorus of little kids screaming for help. I break into a run as I am sure that was Sara's scream. I round the bushes to a group of kids screaming and panicking.

They are pointing into the lake and screaming, "She is in the water! We can`t see her! Help!"

As I am kicking off my shoes, I see the flash of a hand a few feet from shore and I jump in the water. I finally locate her arm and start trying to pull her up. She seems to be stuck on something. The water is dark and muddy. I can not see anything. I dive down and grab her waist. She is really stuck but I just plant my feet and tug real hard. She comes loose as I push her over my head to the surface. She was stuck in some very thick mud, now I am. I am fighting to keep her over my head as I try to get myself out of the mud.

I push towards the shore getting one foot stuck while getting one unstuck. I feel some tugging from Sara. Her feet are clinging tight to my head as others are trying to pull her to shore. I let go of her and turn all my attention to escaping the mud and reaching air, just inches above me. Too late. I want the air so bad but can not make the few inches. My body says it is time to inhale. All I inhale in nasty, muddy water.

I know I am leaving as everything starts going to black. After what seems a hours, the blackness is being replaced by an increasingly bright white light. The light is brighter than any I have ever seen as I feel the grip of the mud release me to the light.
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PostSubject: Re: Rides   July 24th 2008, 5:54 pm

I still love this story, its original, clear cut and very descriptive. I can see the scene played out right in front of me.

You have a knack for editing your own work from a different perspective.

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PostSubject: Re: Rides   July 24th 2008, 6:41 pm

Great story coolman...Love it ...when reading you are draw it the story....

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Joe




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PostSubject: Re: Rides   July 29th 2008, 2:36 pm

Chapter 2 - The Review




The light blinds out everything. In what seemed like hours, objects started to take shape as the light fades. Shapes of a room come first. Doors and walls take form. The people soon take shape in their robes and gently moving about as if riding on a cushion of air. I do not recognize the place or the people yet. This place does not look like any hospital I can remember. Everyone looks so healthy, so content, so carefree. The light seems to have faded, yet everything is a bright white and there seems to be no light source. Almost like the room itself is the light.

As she glides closer, I am not afraid. I am at ease.

"Welcome Joe. Please follow me."

We move over to a desk as she introduces herself, "I am Sabrina and I will be your counselor through this process. Please have a seat."

I sit as she moves around to the other side of the desk while she continues, "I am going to help you through this evaluation process."

All this time, the doors are coming into better focus. Four doors with four different titles on them.
Door number one is labeled 'Heaven'.
Door number two is labeled 'Watching Room'.
Doors three and four are labeled 'Wandering' and 'Rides'.
There is no door where I had just entered from, just these four new doors.

Things are starting to look suspicious to me. This is like no place I have ever seen and no one looks familiar. I remember water, and can even taste it, yet I am dry and wearing a robe I know I never would wear. I have a strong sense of having just been submersed in water, but how did I get here and where am I?

"Sabrina? Where am I?", I ask.

Sabrina tells me, "You have died. You are in the Evaluation Room. What we do here is review your past lives, or rides, as we call them. We use this evaluation to help you chose your next step of your journey."

I ask,"I have choices? I am confused."

Sabrina says, "Be patient. We will discuss everything, we have plenty of time. First we have to retrieve your records and scores. I will explain them, and the doors you keep staring at."

"Scores and records? This is all so confusing. And, what about those doors?" I ask.

"The doors are your choices for the next phase of your journey," Sabrina says. "Your choices were narrowed down to the four you see by the choices you made last time you were here and what you gave or got in your past ride. I will explain them to you in more detail, but first we must evaluate you. We will start with you viewing your life through this visual aid. No one can see or hear you in these scenes. I will return when it ends."

Sabrina vanishes as I appear to be rejoining Earth. Something is wrong though. I am standing in a room in what seems to be my childhood home. There is Dad with the bottle in his hand, again, as Mom is quietly sitting in another chair with her pills nearby. The crying in a back room gets my attention and I go to investigate. My parents never even look up or otherwise notice my presence. Passing the dining area, the two half empty plates seem out of place. In my old room is a younger version of me and my sister Angie. We are crying and sharing views of the bruises. Now I remember why I hate the people in the livingroom.

Suddenly, I am a little older and hearing the sounds from the other room. Angie screams are much louder than Dad's yelling. I do not know why he always punishes her out of sight from me. We both spilled our juice at the same time today, yet she is just now getting punished. The gargling sound must mean she is getting her mouth washed out again. She will join me in our room soon and I can ask her. She probably will not tell me, as usual, but I will ask just the same. As the sun rises, I am missing her. Maybe she slept in the closet again. No reason to worry.

I feel an awkward sense of relief as my parents are put in the police car. Maybe this nice lady cop will give me some cookies tonight. I will save some for Angie. They are just taking her in the big black car cause she is scared of police cars. Daddy always said the cops were here to steal us, so he always hid us.

So many scenes pass by quickly. Suddenly, I am in Eva's house. I am about 18 and I watched her Dad hit her for the last time.

"No one is going to do this to the angel I love ever again," I yelled.

I can not stop the fury of my swinging and kicking. Blood is all around as the police pulled me off this bastard. I did not intend to kill him, I just could not stop myself.

Another blur of images and I am back at the park. Sitting with Eva as the kids are running around. The scream startles me and I begin to cry as I see myself running to the water. It is all coming back to me. I am dead. I remember this as my last act. I am glad for the chance to see if my darlin daughter made it through this alive and maybe see if there is a way to comfort Eva. I catch up to the scene as I see Sara being pushed up from the water by someone under the water. That must be me under the water. People reach out to try and pull Sara to the shore as I return to the evaluation room.

I ask Sabrina, "Why was the focus on those three scenes and the rest are just a blur?"

"We focus on the points of your life you either buried in your subconscience or simply never got around to evaluating for yourself at the time," Sabrina says. "The last moments of your life obviously ended with you here and no chance to reflect on things. There are many things in a person's life that make no sense at the time, but make sense in the big picture. The rest of your life you had already put into your overall view."

As Sabrina opens one of the folders on her desk, I sit back in a bit of despair.

"The first thing we will do is look at your faith score and explain it. Your score is minus 30. The formula for this number is really quite simple. Starting at a base of zero, we add ten for everytime you show true faith in God. You also lose ten points for every time you show no faith at all. For example, in the first vision of your review, with your sister, you had no faith that God would help you and buried the memory to escape it. Do not worry yourself because your score is in the normal range," Sabrina said.

"The second item to look at is your action score. Your score is a 50. As with the faith score, we start at zero and you lose or add ten points every time you do or not do something you know you have to do," said Sabrina.

"For example, if you return a wallet full of money without taking any, that is a plus. You know it is what you have to do and then you do it. If you know your mate needs you for support and choose instead to go to a bar with your buddies, you would lose points. There are too many scenarios to cover so we will just say that your score is on the high side of average."

Sabrina continues, "The next score comes from the karma scale. Your karma score is minus 75. Your score is on the low end of average. Karma is scored similar to the prior two I mentioned except you lose or gain a single point for every incident. Saving your daughter has the same plus one value as giving a hungry person a meal or helping a fallen stranger get up. You would also lose a point for killing someone in self-defense, or ignoring a hungry person seeking a helping hand, or ignoring a fallen stranger when asked for help. Most all things one does as a human affects the karma score."

"This brings us to your life score. This is a cumulative score of the other three and a few other variables. I really can not explain this formula because we have a committee that figures out this score. Your score is a minus 3, and ranks right about average. This is the score that determines if you have a door to Heaven or Hell. Minus 51 would place you in Hell until a review showed you to have increased your score . 51 would give you a door to Heaven only. Those in between, like yourself, get a door to Heaven and a few other choices so you can correct your shortcomings before going to Heaven," said Sabrina.

"Okay, what about the doors?" I ask.

Sabrina continues,"Well, the first door is the door to Heaven. Going through this door has two results. With a perfect score, you would live in heaven with no worries, but some responsibilities. You would be helping people with close to perfect scores clear that last hurdle or two. Since you are within a few hurdles, you would be one of those to be helped. You would be paired with an angel and study under them. That is done by you following the angel around and helping God's creatures. Angels can not do much outside of relay helpful messages to a creature. That is done in many ways and if you choose the door to Heaven you will be instructed further."

"The other doors are for you to learn missing lessons. Your second door is the Watching room. In it, you stay in the room and watch the happenings on Earth and learn your remaining lessons from what you see. You will not be able to contact any creature like an angel apprentice could. It would be like the review you had earlier except you will not be immersed in the scene, it will be more like a movie. You will have to view some of the worst things that happen on Earth and some of the best. That is a little hard to take at times," said Sabrina.

"That sounds a little boring to me," I say.

Sabrina replies,"It is to many. Your next option is door number three, the Wandering door. This is like the Watching room except you wander Earth observing life. You still can not contact any creatures, though many will sense your presence. You will simply observe some of the worst and best actions of God's creatures. You will also be able to wander anywhere and view the Earth like you never could in a ride. You can spend centuries exploring everything the world has to offer visually. You will have no need for food or water so you do not get to enjoy those types of things."

I say, "That sounds like it could be a great experience. I always wanted to explore."

"This brings us to the last door," she says. "This door is very dangerous but has the greatest potential for further enlightenment and joy. This door is called Rides. Through this door you will encounter a carnival. There are rides for you to get on. The rides are lives. You could get on something like the roller coaster. The up and down is symbolic of the type of life your are likely to live. The rides are never just like someone else's. God will set your ride according to the scores we addressed earlier. The lessons you need will be somewhere in that life. You will have to figure them out on your own, but they will be there. The gamble is that you could raise your life scores through that life, but you could also lose points. Even enough points to be placed in Hell when the ride is over."

"You will enjoy some time here to make your choice of doors. Tomorrow you will be brought back to me to give your decision and begin your next journey," Sabrina says.

Another angel appears as Sabrina introduces her, "This is Sue and she will escort you through the next day and return you here. Enjoy."

"Welcome Joe. Come with me and I will show you to your room," says Sue.

Another door appears out of nowhere and we walk through it and up a staircase. It looks like an old southern home with the double staircase. People of all shapes and sizes are all walking around and visiting. We go down the hall of the third floor to room 38. The door just opens itself to a well decorated white room. A big bed and a view from the window of a immaculant park. I think it is the park an angel showed me when I was alive.

At the foot of the bed is a large television.

"Take some time and relax and watch some scenes from your past life to help you reflect before deciding on your door. When the bells toll you can go back down to the dining hall for a feast," Sue says. "I will return tomorrow for you to make your choice."

I open the window to let in the warm breeze and lean back in the bed. The television is already on, showing scenes from my life. Nothing spectacular, just the mundane things like teaching a kid to ride a bike and driving along the beach and other stuff. I must have fallen asleep because the sound of the bells startle me. I stop for another look out the window and head out to the feast.

The dining hall is full of people and the tables stretch on for what seems miles. As the ushers seat us, we take up just a small section of tables. It must take big catastrophies on Earth to fill all the places. As we enjoy the food, most of the conversations are the same. Introductions and stories of how we got there.

Most are individuals but there are some families and even a sports team. I guess this is how many people died today. There is no one I remember knowing, as I am sure is the case for most everyone else. No one had any injuries from their accidents. Those things must disappear when you get here.

Back in my room, as the television continues to show scenes from the past, I am just thinking of my choices. The Heaven door sounds nice because I can relax and enjoy eternity. It is simply a choice away. I can not shake the thought that, as nice as it is, it would be a boring choice. What if you can't experience some of the joys I remember from life. I remember that many of my joys from life were so intertwined with the sorrows. If Heaven takes away the sorrows it may take away some of the joys.

The Watching room sounds like the most boring room of all. Just sitting around watching television mostly. No interaction with others is just not something I want. I wonder if anyone has ever picked that room.

The Wandering Angels room sounds promising. Interaction with living creatures would be limited but hanging out with other angels and watching the world could be exciting. I always wanted to explore the world too. Everything has a downside though. The downside here would be the inability to help anything. Just watching is nice, sometimes, but the urge to help would be strong. Maybe strong enough to be a real problem.

That just leaves the Rides door. As I understand it, that is where you are giving another ride on Earth. If I get to choose the ride there would surely be a catch. If the next ride can secure a place in Heaven then it could also take away the guarantee. I did enjoy living, even with the ups and downs. Still, the gamble is always there. Then again, some of the best joys come from the biggest gambles. No matter the outcome, it would be an adventure. I will sleep on it.

I awaken to the sounds of Sue telling me, "Time to get up and go make your choice."

The walk back seems so much longer. Maybe it is because I am still debating the choices in my head. As I sit at Sabrina's desk, she asks, "Would you like to review your options again?"

"No," I say,"I have decided. I want another ride."

"Okay, Rides it is. Just a few notes first," Sabrina says.

"Once you go through a door, there is no going back. You may wander the midway pondering your ride choice for as long as you want. The only way to ever leave the room is to get on a ride. Here are your tickets. You can only get on a ride you have a ticket for and you only get one choice. God's speed Joe," Sabrina says as she hands me my tickets.

I walk through the door onto a faintly lit balcony as the door closes behind me.
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Joe




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PostSubject: Re: Rides   August 23rd 2008, 12:49 am

Chapter 3 - Carnival



The brightness of the Review Room is replaced by the faint glow of the balcony. I stand on a balcony surrounded by the star-filled sky I used to see on the summer nights before. Nothing is behind me, the door has become open space. A staircase leads from my perch to a glow below me, which seems miles away. A man standing at the head of the flight of stairs is making his way towards me. He is wearing a blue robe and smiling brightly. He looks real happy as he introduces himself.

"Hello Joe. My name is Cliff, and I will take you to the rides," he says in a nice, soothing voice.

"These stairs will lead us down to that distant glow. That carnival is where the rides are," Cliff says.

I follow him onto the stairs when they suddenly start moving. I am glad I will not have to walk down them, even though I feel like I have an inexhaustable amount of energy. The lone line of steps in a panoramic field of space and stars makes me a bit nervous.

Cliff senses my apprehension as he says,"It is fine Joe. You are totally safe on this trip. You can not fall off. Most souls from Earth are nervous during the ride down."

I had once longed to be an astronaut for the chance to mingle with the stars. This is probably much better because I am not confined inside a bulky spacesuit. I start enjoying the view as my anxiety disappears. I begin to realize what it feels like to be safe in God's care. The glow in the distance grows and starts to take shape. It looks like the midway of a carnival, like the ones I saw on Earth. All the rides going, the people milling about, and the whole scene suspended in the starfield of the universe.

"What do I do when we get there Cliff?," I ask.

"I will verify that you should be here by showing your tickets, so have them at the ready," Cliff says, "You will then just wander around until you decide what ride you want. You can, and I encourage you to, visit with anyone on the midway. You can enjoy the foods and sites as you wish. You have no time limit to make a descision, but you can not leave this place except by getting on a ride."

"Thank you for all your help Cliff. I have another question though,"I say.

"Anything you want Joe," he replies.

I ask,"Why are you here? On these stairs, taking me down to ride instead of Heaven, or riding a ride?"

"I am an angel Joe. One of the things we do in Heaven is choose an activity to assist those who did not enter Heaven yet," Cliff says, "All the souls you see in blue gowns like mine are doing the same thing. They are like jobs to keep us busy. I chose this assignment because I love being among the stars so much."

The closer we get to the carnival, the bigger it gets. I can see the people milling about and the rides looming large from the island in space. Finally at the bottom, I present my tickets to the gatekeeper. There is a crowd just inside the gate checking me out. The start dispersing after seeing me, like they were expecting someone else. I say goodbye to Cliff as I am motioned through the gate. As I walk out through the crowd, I find myself scouring the people looking for a familiar face.

I make my way to a booth to try and get a beer and corndog to enjoy. The food and drinks do not cost anything, so I get two of each. I Take my food and head toward some benches I saw on my way over. I just want to sit and observe the people as I eat.

The air is full of some soft music and the slight sound of all the background noises one would expect to find in such an atmosphere. I sit back with my drink and continue checking out all the people wandering about.

I watch as many people pass by. They are so diverse, like on Earth. Everyone appears to be in their thirties and in peak health. There are people who appear to be indians from the old west, people dressed in the garb of various religions like you would see on Earth, and so many others with varying charactoristics.

The strangest looking are a bit of a shock because they were thought to be imaginary when I was alive. They are the aliens of imagination and so many other stories from my past life. No one else seems bothered, or even surprised, so I will just sit here and reflect on this revelation.

Walking towards me is a woman who looks familiar. I do not know who she is but there is a vague connection in her eyes.

"Hello Joe. May I sit with you?" she asks.

"Of course you can ma'am. Do I know you from somewhere?" I ask.

The smile on her face seems to enjoy my recognition of her while also showing some surprise that I can not place her exactly.

"I am Susan," she says,"And yes, you do know me. We have shared many rides together. We did not share the last ride which is probably why you do not recognize my face."

I ask,"We have had many rides together? Why is it that I felt I knew you if your face is not recognizable?"

Another smile crosses her face as she responds, "You recognize my soul through my eyes. Our appearance changes through the ages, but our eyes never change as much."

I feel at ease with Susan. I always liked the name and I am starting to see why.

"What were our lives like Susan?,"I ask.

"I can not tell you but I can guess we had good relationships. We don't get to recall our past rides, with the exception of a few powerful moments that burn into our soul's makeup," Susan says, "We have crossed paths with many of the people you see over the course of time. If you hang around here long enough, you will probably encounter others you have deep connections with, or they will find you. Go by the eyes though, that is where you will find them."

"I must go now, I have work to do. We will talk again if you are here long enough. May God be with you on your ride." she says.

Susan disappears before I can say my good-byes. I start wondering what kind of connections Susan and I had and what she meant by getting back to work. She was not dressed like the workers here.

My mind must have wandered further than I realized as I now have new company.

"Welcome Joe" I hear as I look for the person. Strange thing is there is no person.

"Hello," I say back, still looking for he source.

"I am here to answer any questions you may have Joe," says the voice.

The only thing near me is a small ball of light. "Are you the voice," I ask the ball.

"Yes Joe, I am past the stages of having a body. I am everyone's destiny, though few realize that. The body is just a tool to bring one to this state," says the light.

I say,"Ok, I will ask a few questions then."

I say,"First thing I want to know is, Why are all them people waiting at the gates? They seem lost."

"They are not lost, they are simply waiting on loved ones to join them. They have trouble accepting they are alone and wish to have someone familiar to them at their side as they take the next ride," says the light.

I guess I can relate to that, though I know where my loved ones from the past ride are. Maybe I should be waiting too. "Why are so many others not waiting?" I ask.

The light says, "They are all waiting, just not for loved ones. They have a deep understanding that they take the next ride alone, just like all rides."

"Ok, I want to know why there are no babies here," I say.

The voice responds, "Because young people are handled differently because they are more confused than an older person as to what happened. They are taken by angels who help then understand what is happening. That takes time. When they are caught up they may come here, but will look like an older version of themselves or looking like a past them."

I leave the question of why so many different religions are here together. I think I already know that it is because everyone is reaching for the same goal. They may have different different paths to walk, but they are all going the same place. One thing puzzles me though.

"What is hell for?" I ask.

"Hell is for correction mostly. A soul is put there until it learns what it did wrong and fully understands the reasons," the voice says. "Sometimes they do not accept where God wants them to go. They might go over to Satan's ways and take very different rides. Those souls are the ones Satan sends to break the good souls. The battle can not be fought if everyone is on the same side."

"Thank you for the answers you gave. I guess I should just pick a ride and move along,"I say.

"May God be with you on your journey," replies the voice.

I am just wasting time here since my choice of taking another ride is already made. I think the rollercoaster sounds good. I am not sure why except that a life with ups and downs is what I am most comfortable with. Maybe it is because that is the only life I know. As long as I know God is with me I should do fine.
And why wait for my loved ones when I may be able to cross their paths faster if I go now. I know I promised to wait for them but they will understand when they see the bigger picture.

I make my way towards the rollercoaster so I can get things going. I am almost giddy at the opportunity, while feeling nervous and a bit scared even.

The ride operator turns to me as I approach saying,"Welcome Joe. I hope you enjoy your next ride but I also have to remind you of something. When you get on there is no going back. It also may not be what you want. You can still change rides now."

I nod to the angel and say,"I understand the risks and do not wish to change my choice of rides."

I hand him my ticket and walk up the ramp to my seat.

The ride starts with the long, clanking climb one can expect from such a ride. I start getting nervous as the height increases and close my eyes. The first drop feels like I am about to float out of my seat. Going into the first loop the speed keeps increasing, more and more. Soon it feels like a bullet as everything turns to a blur. Faster and faster as the blur becomes a familiar blinding white light. All is quiet except the drum.
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PostSubject: Re: Rides   March 10th 2011, 11:26 pm

Nice, I hope there is more to this story?
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