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The Replacement

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by ILoveTulips, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Chapter 6

    When I set out to the steel factory to see Liam, I wasn’t expecting to see a man with looks that I would be jealous of. I saw him from a distance, where he was commanding a group, with his hands wavering fervently as he explains something, and it all seems to be agreeable by the group for they nodded their heads but kept their eyes fixed on him.

    In spite of me being very careful not to be seen, one or two from the group glanced at me that gained me Liam’s attention. As if pushed by someone from behind, I half-ran towards him when I caught his look.

    “Yes,” he said and with him half a dozen eyes watched me with total interest.

    I was not sure how to introduce me, without revealing too much in front of his team, at the same time make him realise the significance of my presence.

    “I am… am… living in No… NoM… NoMoonDay drive”

    Liam abruptly glanced around him and his face flushed dark. The fright in his face conveyed me that I did the right thing in catching him in his place of work. Any other place, he might have fled away without sharing a word. It also did upset me, that I have enraged him and might be going back empty handed.

    “Hold on –, “he turned back from me and dispersed the group. Then he nodded his head to me and walked inside the steel factory with high ceiling. I just understood that I am to follow him, and picked up behind him, my feet mildly trembling with the sudden shock. The group still stood there, I turned my face away to avoid giving them reasons to suspect me, which I was sure the desperateness in my behavior would do.

    We walked past the heavy machines, not one of them are under operation, but few people in hard yellow hats randomly measuring and writing on their notebooks. I noticed Liam’s wearing the same hard yellow hat too, and also noticed a drop of sweat in the back of his neck rolling from under the hat and disappearing beneath his shirt collar.

    Liam reached a room, could be a supervisor’s office, held the door to let me in. On shutting the door, we entered an atmosphere that was entirely ours. I am the only person alive who could understand his experience, and he mine. In the privacy of the closed room, I wondered if I was provided the privilege to knock open his past, or is it an opportunity for him to knock me down warning not to turn up looking for him again.

    “You living there now?” he asked removing his hat. I checked his thick curly hair damp with sweat, and was half disappointed. A bald head would at least compromise his heavy-built body and symmetrical facial features, so I won’t look inferior in comparable. But no, he was every bit masculine and a better version of a chap than I. It takes a heavy dip in my ego to learn from him how he managed to escape from the house while I was still stuck in it.

    “Yes,” I said assessing my point of being there.

    “Oh man, so sorry. That’s terrible dude”

    “It is”

    “Hey look, you need any help? I know you can’t talk about this to anyone else.” His words were instantly soothing, that I ignored my ego and it relaxed me easily.

    “The house, it’s getting harder every day”

    “Oh, I know man. The 2 devils, their screams – day after day! I don’t know how I managed to stay there”

    “How long did you stay there?”

    “43 days, man! Do you believe, 43 days!!”

    My face betrayed my distress that his amazement turned into puzzle, so he asked, “Why? How long were you staying there?”

    The shame was so intense that I at once regretted being there, “close to 7 months” I said helpless.

    “Holy Jesus! 7 months!!”

    “I haven’t got the opportunity.” I tried to fix it.

    “But still 7 months a very long-time man.” I can feel his pity was sincere.

    I avoided to change the discussion from how cleverly he escaped to something general so I can ease into it.

    “Did you talk to anybody about the house after getting out?” I asked.

    “Oh God, No. I don’t know what would happen if I talk to someone who hadn’t stepped inside the house”

    “Yeah I know”

    “Oh, you tried? I am sure you tried! Everybody would have been desperate initially. I tried talking to one of the colleagues, you see that spot near the Laser cutting machine?” he pointed to an angry looking massive machinery at the corner of the factory floor, I nodded yes and he continued, “we were there when I started to talk. In no time the machine started operating itself. You know how dangerous it could have been, considering he was leaning on the machine with his arm over it just a few seconds ago. He could have lost his arm then. He said it’s just someone forgot to switch off the machine before the power went off. But I knew, for sure, it’s no coincidence. It’s a warning. I dared not to speak about it to anybody else, that incident shut me off totally.”

    “It is a warning. Not a coincidence,” I agreed.

    “What was your experience?”

    “I went to a police station – “he stopped me.

    “Police station? You went to Police station to complain against a ghost?” he suppressed a laugh, but the twinkle in his eyes mocked me all the same.

    “I don’t know anybody, I am still a stranger in this country, still learning things. So, police station is a go-to place for any problem” I was bit annoyed to have put in a position to defend myself and Liam sensed that.

    “OK, I understand. What happened in the police station?”

    “A ceiling fan felt crashing down just inches away from me, when I was just about to talk to an officer”

    “Wow”

    “There was a heavy commotion. And I left silently”

    “I see. Did you talk to Ayushman?”

    I lit up hearing his name.

    “He is helpful, isn’t he?” said Liam understandingly.

    “Yes, he is.” I said, sadly regretting for doubting Mr. Ayushman the previous night.

    “He is the reason I am a free man now. I can’t explain how glad I am to have listened to him. If it was not for him, I would be in the backyard with those other ghosts. I even shiver now to think of that. “ he was lost in thoughts for a few seconds, then on regaining the presence of his mind asked, “The others, do they talk to you?”

    “No, just Mr. Ayushman”

    “Yeah, they have never talked to me too. I wonder because it was not Mr. Ayushman’s fault that he hadn’t returned by the time, he got this special power to talk to us”

    “Oh really?”

    “I don’t know for sure, but after escaping I do think about them a lot. Over time I have formulated my own theory of why the things are that way. Do you know how happy I feel to finally see someone to share all these? Of course, I am appalled at your situation, but-”

    “I understand”

    “You know the story about that little boy? The boy with the cricket ball?”

    I nodded and recalled what Mr. Ayushman told me.

    The boy was playing cricket with his friends, they found this empty street as the best place to play without disturbances from vehicles, when the ball flew past the fence and fell in the front porch of the house. There was a 22-year-old girl living in the house then, who is a Model trying to make big in Fashion industry. She didn’t have any complaints initially. She went for her day-time job and came back to the house for night. She considered it as rent-free living. Only when she started to lose modelling assignments as she couldn’t travel far, the place started to get her. 11 months later, she lost her job, and then her head. One hopeless, gloomy afternoon, she heard the ball hitting the door and falling in the footsteps. She opened the door and eagerly waited for her prey. The little boy came looking for the ball, her heart sank for a minute but not anymore, she called him in the pretext of asking his help, the innocent boy entered the house, the next minute she fled away, leaving the boy captive. The boy who didn’t care about the supernatural belief, ran out of the house, the next day after a horrific car accident he joined the group of ghosts in the backyard.

    Liam and I exchanged sad looks and the air around us turned depressing.

    “You know about that old lady? I wonder who had the heart to trap her inside?” I asked.

    “Mrs. Griffiths? I don’t know about her. Mr. Ayushman never talked about her, I guess she hadn’t shared her story with him. But I do feel there is some relation between her and the 2 ghosts “

    I got quite intrigued and asked, “Who Lizzy and Hannah?”

    “You named them?” Liam asked incredulously.

    “Yes, it’s easy to distinguish” I couldn’t help being shy.

    “Who’s who then?”

    “The angry, harsh one is Lizzy. The soft one is Hannah”

    “Soft? What are you saying man? Both are equally mad and horrifying.”

    It struck me I am about to get ridiculed by Liam again, “I think,” I quickly changed the sentence to add proof, “We think, me and Ayushman, that Hannah likes me”

    “What?”

    “Yes, she never shouts or screams at me. And Lizzy, the harsh one, tells me that she is ‘bleeding her heart for me’” a heat wave flushed my face and I felt the burn.

    “Oh man, it’s a never-ending nightmare for you, isn’t it?”

    “One night she screamed, Hannah – the soft one screamed, ‘I will never let you leave the house’”

    Liam’s horror-stricken face faded my hope gradually.

    “Then I think she might do anything to keep you in the house,” he said, his eyes lost in thoughts and staring nowhere specific.

    The words he just said hit me like a heavy blow.

    (To be continued...)
     
    Bhoonzee, Sofea, VinuthaS and 3 others like this.
  2. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey Sof, so happy to read your comments and as always you are generous in your compliments. I can feel your interest in the story, and I only hope I would be able to keep up your interest. Kindly keep reading the chapters and keep posting your comments. Your words are highly motivating, and encourages me to write more. :worship2:
     
  3. peddadas

    peddadas Platinum IL'ite

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    ILT,

    I am definitely very eager to know how you unite or divide man and a ghost love pair ... OMG this is extremely interesting.
    I love your writing style.

    I could see through your words how terrified both of them are..still trying to figure out what can be done..can you make our hero little strong, lovely etc., :)

    I know i am greedy ..but still trying to compete with the ghosts ..:roflmao:
     
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  4. Sofea

    Sofea IL Hall of Fame

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    Haha so I was right! Hannah is the scarier one!! She was just love struck hence Mr. NNAY saw the gentle side of hers earlier. Wait till she knows abt Lauren. Peiyattham aada pora :yikes::yikes::yikes:
    But how did our Mr. NNAY came to the house? The small boy's story was so so sad. How could the model be so cruel to do that to him??? And Liam, gosh I really want to know his story! Oh, I have a million questions running in my head Tuls! Please post the next chapter as fast as you can. As usual, no words to describe your writing! I can just go on reading this. Your writing is that interesting:hearteyes::hearteyes::hearteyes:
     
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  5. puni88

    puni88 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    [QUOTE="ILoveTulips, post: 4161546, member:

    “Will you remove your shoes at least today?” snapped Lizzy from upstairs. I nodded my head

    “How was your day today,” it must be Hannah, the concern in the tone said so.

    I remember looking up at them the first day I came to this house. Their faces were pale and plain with no jewels nor smile – their staring dead eyes, carrying a force of emotions behind, arrested mine and incapacitated from looking away. The rigidity in the stare conveyed their power, and without the needs for words to convey so, I assumed my submission. Their plain white clothes blended with the background of the wall, so a careful brave look was needed to confirm that I was not looking at just 2 heads hanging out of nowhere. That moment, which lasted as long as a click of a camera would, horrified me beyond words. I turned away as the initial shock gradually worn out, but the picture of them remained. Since then, till now, though I never gained the courage to look at their faces, the image that shook me to the core lasted in my memory.

    As the days went on, I started to forget their faces, but remembering their stern stare was enough to curb my curiosity. I named them by the characteristics I imagined from their voices. The harsh, angry, irritated voice is Lizzy’s and the concerned, affectionate, sometimes loving is of Hannah. Honestly, both of them possess the same skill to shift my world from under my feet.

    “But I am glad you are home”, must be Hannah again. I can feel both their eyes staring at me expectantly, so I said, “Me too”. Hannah let out a soft giggle and I imagine her holding the edge of her cloth and blushing. Hannah always cares too much about me, unlike Lizzy who just thinks me as an intruder.

    “Stop that! What are you blushing for?” barked Lizzy.

    “Don’t yell at me in front of him”, hushed and embarrassed Hannah. Then turning to me, she asked, “Hope you hadn’t eaten anything, I cooked something you would like…”.

    “I had dinner”, I blurted out urgently.

    Lizzy shouted at Hannan then, “I told you! Now all the food has gone waste”.

    “I thought he will at least eat today,” said Hannah pitifully.

    “When will you learn?”

    “Why are you shouting at me,” Hannah’s voice broke, “Is it so wrong to wish for him to eat the food I cooked for him?”

    “He never wishes, can’t you see that?”

    Hannah sobbed and I was unsure whether to move into the house or just stand there listening to them with my head down.

    “What are we going to do with all the food now?”, Lizzy questioned.

    “I don’t know,” cried Hannah.

    “You are not even going to console her, are you?” yelled Lizzy at me from upstairs.

    Hannah ran into the bedroom, her footsteps thudding and vibrating the roof downstairs. No amount of courage would have helped me then to look up to see Lizzy staring angrily at me.

    “I am sorry,” I muttered with my head down and walked into the house feeling Lizzy’s angry eyes expecting more than just an inadequate, empty apology.

    I moved away and into the house.

    Kitchen is the first room and the most uninviting. A mouse jumped out of a dented aluminium bowl, ran over the stove top covered with mucked up grease. Alarmed by my footsteps the mouse fidgeted around and jumped inside the hole where the gas burner supposed to be. Swarm of mice use these holes to enter and exit the house. God knows when this stove was last lit and when was the last meal prepared.

    “She cooked for 3 hours… selfish idiot…, “Lizzy is nowhere close in giving up.

    I am so used to these little shouts by now, it stopped registering anymore.

    I switched on the living room light, and an energy-saving light bulb lit up the room ever so feebly and doubtfully as if it’s going to die anytime soon. A worn-out wooden chair stood bored at the corner of the room, with my travel backpack leaning on its leg. I pushed my weight and fell on it like a sack.

    I looked expectantly at the full-size french window in my right and sighed heavily, “Guess it’s still not time yet”.

    Upstairs Lizzy and Hannah were still arguing and I can hear the words clearly.

    “I feel like a fool”, cried Hannah.

    “That’s because you are a fool”

    “Huh”

    “Yeah!”

    “Oh, don’t be so daft!”

    “Then stop going behind him. You weren’t like this with the other men? Why are you behaving like this to him?”

    “I don’t know, I do care for him. I think I love him”

    “Listen to yourself. Don’t be such an idiot! He will fly out of here the first chance he gets and you know that!”

    “Don’t say that. He will understand my love for him”

    “Oh! You brainless devil”

    A loud thud followed by the scream shook me vigorously. It’s not the usual day, I guessed. Sometimes they get furious, and this must be one of those days.

    My legs trembled as I stood up from the chair and ran to the corner of the room. The floor vibrated as the women ran down the stairs. I sat down burying my face between the knees scared to look at them both agitated.

    “Will you leave from here? She says you will leave, is it true,” demanded Hannah. The sounds of her sobs came closer and I twisted my body in fear and pushed myself towards the corner.

    “Look at you begging on your knees, you shameless fool”, hearing Lizzy’s angry voice I hugged my knees tighter.

    Hannah was even closer to me now shouting, “I will never let you leave the house! You are Mine!”.

    I buried my head even deeper between the knees, closing the ears.

    I can hear the sound of

    (to be continued...)
    [/QUOTE]
    Wow ILT!!
    What an intriguing story. Two ghosts and a man with possible unrequited love story...
    Cant wait ti read other chapters.
     
    ILoveTulips likes this.
  6. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Chapter 7

    “Sorry man, didn’t mean to put you off like that!” Liam tried some damage control, but his face betrayed his anxiety.

    “…”

    “Well, you need to act soon. But be very careful, we are not sure what they both are capable of.”

    “It is depressing to think that I can’t be certain of anything. Like for example,” I started to talk nervously, “I used to believe that once they are done with the screaming, they go up and that’s it for that day, I don’t see them until the next day. I was assuming that they go into whatever medium they came from. But yesterday after I talked to Lauren, Lizzy was listening to the entire conversation.”

    “Whose Lauren?”

    I bit my lip with irritation, that one thing after another my life events are laid bare. “She is a pizza delivery girl that I have grown to like. In fact, we both like each other,” and I explained the events that led her to me.

    “It is so wrong man, so, so wrong” Liam shook his head disapprovingly.

    “…”

    “Bringing a poor girl into a mess from which you are already uncertain to get out alive. pchh,”

    I hated to stand there cutting a sorry figure in front of his judgmental eyes. “I will not let anything happen to her” I said with a resolute.

    “Those witches could be watching her too” challenged Liam.

    “…”

    “Perhaps, it’s not all bad. May be this girl could help you to get out of the house.”

    I recalled Mr. Ayushman’s words and nodded.

    “May be let’s look at this in different way. Learning about the witches would help, let me show you something” he said and walked behind a desk and pulled out a plastic box that had some papers strewn inside.

    “Have you got any information about them, in there?” I pointed the box incredulously.

    “Yes, a little. Like I said before, with the details I have collected I came up with my own theory of what could have happened. It may not be exactly true, because I can’t find anyone to confirm that”

    I just nodded him to continue.

    “I scavenged the libraries for old newspapers for news about deaths involving 2 women. Deaths, suicides, murders anything. I found like hundreds of them, some news looks similar to our case. But one news was eerily close to what we are dealing with now.”

    Liam pushed aside the things on the table and fished few pages from the entire content of the box. I glanced at the papers, they must be photocopies of very old newspapers. The decaying parts of the original papers left anarchy of black marks on the photocopies, the text itself required immense focus to read. I squinted my eyes trying to catch few headings in bold text.

    Two teenage sisters burnt alive! The devastated parents are also prime suspects of this case. The sisters were mentally impaired and known to have made the parents’ life a living hell. The police are investigating the case from the angle that the parents could have had enough of the girls’ antics.

    “That’s not it,” said Liam watching me reading the paper. He continued, “I doubted this could be our case first, but these girls were mentally unstable, but the ladies we are dealing with are not. There was another incident that was eerily similar not just to the ladies, but also the location of the house”

    “What?”

    “Old Compton Drive. That’s the name of the road in 1930s – named during World War II. Here, read this” I pulled the paper closer to me and started to read.

    Two girls from Old Compton drive brothel hung themselves! It is believed that the girls were charmed by 2 men who promised to come back and relieve them from the place, but never returned leaving the girls utterly disappointed. This led the girls to take their own lives. The names of the men are unknown, and would forever remain so.

    “This news snippet has so many hints to relate to our case, don’t you think? I checked old maps, and can say this road Old Compton drive should be somewhere behind the high street where Bath, Free Library, and Quakers meeting house are located. That should be roughly the place where this NoMoonDrive is. So, this could be that road. Think, the 2 disappointed girls,”

    “and the men not returning as expected.” I added connecting the dots.

    “Exactly. May be that’s where the 8'O clock rule came from? The men might have promised they would come around that time, but never turned up?”

    “That makes sense. You said something about Mrs. Griffiths being related to the girls?”

    “Oh yes, about that. If you read the article, there is a mention that the information about the men and the girls were given by the maid whose surname is identified as “Ms. Griffiths”. I assumed it could be the same Mrs. Griffiths in the house. But that’s just an assumption, I could be wrong totally. She could have lived there, continued living there after the girls died too. May be died of old age. Of all the ghosts in the backyard, we don’t know who came first. Why couldn’t it be Mrs. Griffiths?”

    “So, do you think she could play a part on who could leave the house safe?”

    “That’s interesting question. I haven’t thought of that way.” He walked few steps across the room and said, “I don’t think so. I feel she too is one of the victims.”

    I imagined her grim, strict looks. It was hard to think of her as a maid in any house, let alone in a brothel.

    “Sorry all this information doesn’t give you any idea on how to escape from the house. But I thought of sharing, hoping it would give a clue,” said Liam and I watched as his eyes caught something outside the room through the glass door. I turned to look a pregnant woman in long skirt and short hair waving at him.

    “That’s my wife,” Liam flashed his fingers signalling five, and the woman with a smile walked away. That was the first glimpse of his personal life I caught, and it was a beautiful picture.

    Without a pinch of doubt, I wanted that. That beautiful life with a promise of happiness. To live each day better than the previous one. Surely Lauren came to my mind, and the thought of future appeared charming. If Liam fought to claim his life back and succeeded in that, who is to decide I can’t, not even me. Sure, the settings of the house were different for me from Liam, Hannah didn’t wanted Liam – my obstacles could be fiercer than his, but my hunger for life is nowhere weaker than his. More than the regret for the lost 7 months, the thirst for the rest of my life grew stronger at that instant. I decided then, I will make it to happen, rather than waiting for an opportunity.

    Before Liam would disperse me saying his wife is waiting, I quickly asked him “How did you escape?”

    “We were looking for a dumping yard for the wastage from this factory, and that’s how I entered that house. I am not from that area, so I haven’t heard the gossips. People kept asking where I am going in the nights, it was a challenge to think of stories every day. My wife doesn’t know even now. She is still thinking I was working in a big Downtown project. Being trapped in the house at nights, I was constantly looking for someone. I also asked my manager to find someone, in the pretence of assessing the property to buy. The man had no clue, but started to hunt for someone in real estate. That worked, he found a civil engineer, someone new to the country I think, I asked my manager to take him to the house, leave him there to work on evaluating the building, roof etc. After I was sure the man entered the house, I knew I was free.” Liam finished with the sigh of relief.

    “Don’t look at me like that man, I know that was wrong of me to deceive someone like that. But you saw my pregnant wife, we just then learnt we are having a girl, then I got caught in that bloody house. Leaving her alone with the baby was what constantly worried me. I was ready to do anything to protect them from being stranded. Mr. Ayushman promised me that whoever I bring in, he would help them to escape. I took his advice seriously, I wouldn’t be a free man now, if it was not for Mr. Ayushman”

    “Liam,” I called him which abruptly stopped him from rejoicing his victory.

    “While we are on that, how did you get into the house man?” he asked.

    “You want to know?” the rage and trauma from my voice gripped him.

    As if it required way too much effort to speak a word, Liam slowly uttered, “You… you are that Civil engineer!” in the few seconds pause followed that line he could have calculated the timeline of 7 months and reinstated, “Of course, you are him. I trapped you!”

    Our eyes were locked. His guilt and my wrath were like the constant shooting arrows from opposite sides, hit each other and blasted. I cringed remembering that day when a man came to our office asking for someone to evaluate the house that their firm are looking to buy. I cursed the fate that put me right across from where he stood, to become the easy choice of the Deputy Head of the department who lazily roved his eyes to find someone. I winced at my stupidity that I let the man leave me alone in the house while I faithfully measured the walls, examined the nook and corner of the house in detail, noted down everything and waited for the man to come back. I shuddered to think that I wouldn’t be alive today if I have left the house after realizing the man is not going to come back. All in one, added by the frustration ganged in me that was accumulated day after day from the screams of the witches, I pounced on Liam.

    His heavy built body shrank quickly as he bent down covering his face, but with heavy blow I repeatedly hit him. Not able to withstand the beatings he collapsed on the floor, and I furiously kicked him on his knee with all the energy I could muster. He yelled in pain, and I wondered why he hadn’t try hitting me back. With his strong large body, he could take me in seconds. I ceased from attacking him anymore, moved away and let my body fall on a chair. At once I felt all my energy spent and was breathing heavily to gain some.

    Liam regained his position slowly and sat leaning his back on the wall. I stared at him, my anger withering.

    “I am sorry man. “

    “…”

    “It is not something you won’t do to escape from the bloody house”

    “…”

    “There is no other way. Until you get someone inside, you are still the bearer of the curse. You had to pass on to someone”

    I stood up, picked up my bag, said, “Not everybody is like you. Not only you trapped me to free yourself, but you haven’t thought of what happened to me, nor took a single step to relieve me. Instead you spent your time in this pointless research to feed your curiosity, who cares how the witches died” in one furious motion I picked up the box from the table, and threw against the floor. The box slid on the floor, strewing all the photocopies around, until it hit the wall and bounced. “You may be the strongest man in this room, someone who won his life back, but truly you will always be the wickedest coward who walked over a fellow human being for your own selfish cause. May you rot in hell, the more ruthless hell than the one you came out from”.

    I left the room. As I walked out of the factory, I glanced at Liam’s wife waiting outside, thoughtlessly stroking her belly.

    I may be able to forgive him.


    (to be continued...)
     
  7. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey Saritha, I love to read your comments, thank you for the sweet words. :) I can feel your interest from your words. Keep reading.. :) Thank you so much for your encouragement, helps me in keep writing.

    Thanks
     
  8. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Aww, so happy to read your comments Sof. As always you are generous in your compliments, makes me wonder if I really deserve them. Your questions will be answered one by one Sof, keep reading. And please keep posting your comments too.
     
  9. ILoveTulips

    ILoveTulips IL Hall of Fame

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    Hey Puni, so glad to read your comments and to know you are reading my story. Thank you for your words Puni, please keep reading and let me know your thoughts.
     
  10. Sofea

    Sofea IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh my God Tuls! This is just getting better and better! And scarier:fearscream::fearscream::fearscream: first I was like, oh poor Liam :disrelieved: then I was like, oh no Liam:rage::rage::rage:but then again, what can he do anyway. Like Ayushmann said, sometimes you got to be selfish, no? I really wish Mr. NNAY finds a really bad guy and lure him into the house and escape from there!
    Tuls, this is amazing! I'm coming everyday now to check if your story has been updated. Really, it's one of the most interesting one I've read in recent times:kissingheart::kissingheart::kissingheart::kissingheart::kissingheart:
     

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