The Whistler

Source


Some time ago, I initiated a collaborative and fun writing project on Hubpages titled, “Join Me in the Story.” The premise was that I would begin the story and hubbers would enter their ideas and contributions that continued the story in the comment section. I added our ongoing comments and ideas to the story as time progressed. I didn't write the ending to this story, entirely, until recently. The names of the fellow, talented authors and contributors appear at the conclusion of the story.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It was one the coldest winters Jim had seen in years. The snowstorm arrived earlier than predicted and he wondered if he should have told someone where he was bound. Mountainside Road was secluded, narrow and winding, and could be treacherous in bad weather.

Snow started to mix with heavy sleet that chipped at his windshield like ice picks. I learned how to drive on mountain roads like this in the winter, he reminded himself as he clenched the steering wheel. He was driving to his girlfriend’s house to surprise her when she returned home from her senior year at college that evening. An engagement ring was snuggled in a small velvet box, tucked away in his backpack.

The storm had reached its peak and Jim was pleased his new Jeep maneuvered well through the thick snow. The first-rate heater was blowing at full blast and the windshield defroster was doing its job...for now. He fought to stay awake as he watched the constant, jagged-white patterns dart into his headlights. Just as he was about to doze off, a dark object rushed into the narrow road ahead of him. Huge and shrouded in black, it loomed in his path with a menacing and foreboding presence. Jim caught his breath as he jammed his foot on the brakes and jerked the steering wheel to the left. He quickly lost control as the back end of the Jeep spun around and slammed into a ditch.

Stunned and angry, Jim slowly climbed out of the Jeep and staggered forward. Where the hell is that thing? He looked into the road but the mysterious figure had vanished. A quick look at the damage to his vehicle told Jim that he wasn’t going anywhere. Pulling his coat tightly around him, he noticed blood on his hands. A warm trickle of red ran down his forehead and stung his eyes.

The cold night air and snow clung to his face as he struggled to see his way forward. Stumbling away from the wreck, his dazed walk through the blinding snow led him across the road to an embankment of pine trees. When Jim turned to see the headlights of an oncoming car, he lost his footing and pitched backward. He cried out as his body tumbled down a steep clearing and hit the freezing waters of a stream below.

Source

The headlights from the approaching car slowed. Megan was on her way home to her mother’s house for winter break when she saw the damaged Jeep. So…I'm not the only idiot driving in this mess, she thought. She stopped to see if anyone needed her help. Cell phones were useless at that altitude and the nearest residence was several miles away.

Megan gasped when she saw the extensive damage to the rear end of the vehicle. Waitisn’t that Jim’s Jeep? Oh my God...no!! Her blood ran as cold as the blizzard air when she turned to see Jim plunge off of the embankment at the side of the road. She quickly slipped her gearshift into park and ran from the car. Her feet were nearly frozen by the time she reached the pines. With her head bowed, she slowly trudged through the snow by the tree line that bordered the steep clearing.

“Jim! Jim! Can you hear me?” Megan’s screams swirled with the snow into the darkness below.

She looked back to where she had left her car running, searching frantically for the headlights that had begun to grow dim. "You can't turn back now...just keep moving," she whispered as she fought back her tears. Closing her eyes, Megan tried to will feelings of warmth into her shivering body, but it was no use; she was colder than she'd ever been in her life.

At the bottom of the clearing, a pair of eyes glowed from the large dark figure shrouded in black that whimpered like a wild animal in pain. Jim’s body was motionless in the icy water. He didn’t see or feel the long, spindly arms that reached down and pulled him from the stream. The creature emitted a low screeching sound before it slithered behind a tree and out of Jim’s view.

Moments later, Jim awoke to blistering cold. His aching body shivered, violently, and cried out in protest as he tried to stand. That skittering thing in black...it couldn’t have been real. Maybe I fell asleep and only dreamed it. He thought he heard his name echoing through the trees in the distance, but he no longer trusted his senses. He struggled to bring his mind into focus. If I don't get control, I'm going to die out here. Jim could feel his body functions begin to shut down, and knew that it wouldn’t be long before the blissful sleep of hypothermia threatened to overtake him.

Source

As Jim fought to stay awake, Megan heard a vehicle slow to a stop on the mountain road behind her, and turned to see a second set of headlights through the snow. She yelled for help, and was heartened to see the figure of a tall man slowly make his way toward her with a flashlight. When he reached her, she quickly told him about Jim who was lost somewhere below them in the storm. The man nodded, and began to push the tree branches back to clear a path. Megan’s voice was growing weaker, overwhelmed with fear as she continued to call out Jim’s name.

“You know, when I get scared or worried, I sometimes whistle,” he said, sensing her growing panic. He began to whistle a haunting, soothing melody. At first, Megan felt foolish as she, too, began to whistle, but soon found a strange comfort in the song. Maybe Jim can hear me, she thought. The snowfall and heavy winds began to subside, and she picked up her pace with renewed hope.

Near the freezing stream below, Jim thrust a trembling hand into his right pants pocket and slowly pulled out his cell phone. When he flipped it open, the blue glow cast a bit of light into his eyes. What was left of the battery was fading. There was no way to call for help, and his hope slipped away into the icy darkness. He worked the small keyboard with numb fingertips and stared for a moment at a woman's face in a photo he'd taken only recently.

Jim began to feel himself lose consciousness again and move into a different realm. He no longer felt the cold. The picture of Megan melted into other images -- forgotten images from his childhood and memories from later years. His life was unfolding before his eyes and he felt strangely content. He wrenched his head upward when he heard a woman's voice in the distance. Megan! Her voice was becoming louder. Is this real? He fought to pull himself back; he had to survive...he had to reach her.

Jim tried to push his body up from the ground but his arms and legs were so anesthetized from the cold, he couldn't move. Megan! He tried to call out but couldn't make a sound. Suddenly, long arms reached through the darkness, coiled around Jim’s body and lifted him into the air. The huge creature in black started to carry him swiftly up the hill toward the sounds of whistling. For a moment, Jim thought he was having the same nightmare he had as a child. He looked up to see a glimmer of light through the trees that was getting closer.

Behind the light, Megan stumbled through the snow as she led the man in the direction she was sure would take them to Jim. The man pointed his flashlight at the white ground ahead, guiding their steps. "What’s your name?" he asked. When she half turned to answer, the man shrieked, pulled a crowbar from underneath his thick coat and swung it violently. As Megan looked up to see the crowbar bearing down, a long black claw of a hand caught it and tore the arm from the man’s body.

Jim could hear the bloodcurdling screams as he was flung to the ground. He saw the creature shrouded in black wrap its arms around Megan. She cried out in terror and tried to free herself from its grasp. Jim struggled to rise to his feet, then collapsed. Before he lost consciousness, he caught sight of the severed arm in the blood-soaked snow next to the man who had fallen on his side, writhing in searing pain.

Source

………

When Jim finally opened his eyes he was lying on his living room couch, barely able to make out images that fogged in and out of his vision. A figure hovered above him as his eyes struggled to focus.

“Jim…are you all right…can you hear me? Honey, that was one terrible dream. You were screaming and thrashing about…are you okay?”

Megan was leaning over her husband who had fully awakened from his horrific sleep. He looked up to see her concerned face as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. She gently ran her fingers across his damp forehead.

Jim suddenly remembered the menacing creature from his nightmare. It was neither animal nor human, but he knew what it was. He sat up, slowly, and swung his feet to the floor. “It was so real, Megan…and he was there ... again.” Jim’s throat was parched. He grabbed the bottle of spring water from the coffee table and gulped down its contents.

“Your dark ghost?” Megan knew he was referring to the frightening beast, shrouded in black, that had haunted his nightmares from boyhood.

“Yes…you were….” He stopped in mid-sentence, sensing it was unwise to tell his wife the gory details of his chilling dream.

Megan sighed as she sat down next to him and gently stroked his back. “It doesn’t mean that something bad is going to happen, Jim. I thought you were done with this nonsense.”

“Meggie…every time that thing appears, it’s a warning," he snapped. "Ever since I was a kid." Bastard, Jim thought. It had been years since the creature had assaulted his dreams. Why would he terrify Megan and destroy the man who had tried to help them? What possible reason could he have?

“Now…you listen to me, Jim Mercer. It's very rare, pure coincidence and it’s not real. We went through all of this once before…so did your therapist. Please don’t do this to yourself again.” Megan's tone was kind and loving, but Jim could tell she was beginning to lose her patience. As she stood up from the couch, he noticed she was holding her warm winter pullover and pocketbook.

“Where are you going?”

“Honey, it’s Sunday, and I have to pick up the kids from Mom’s...remember?”

“So early?”

“Jim…it’s three o’clock. We’re supposed to get another snowstorm later tonight and I want to make sure I get through Mountainside Road before it starts.”

“I'll go with you.” Jim was feeling guilty that he had fallen asleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.

Megan gave him a quick kiss. “You promised to fix that leak under the kitchen sink today. So, no more naps. I’ll be back with the kids before dinner. Coffee’s all made and waiting for you. Love you.”

"Take the Jeep, babe.”

Megan laughed. “That old thing? No way…I’m taking my new Camaro. In case you forgot, I learned how to drive on mountain roads in the winter.”

Jim jerked his head up. What did she say? Her words made him uneasy, as if they somehow echoed back to his nightmare. Megan slipped into her thick pullover and hurried out the door before he could say another word.

After watching Megan pull out of the driveway, Jim took a long hot shower before getting dressed in jeans and a warm sweatshirt. He retrieved the local Sunday paper his wife had forgotten to bring in from the front porch and headed to the kitchen. Filling his mug to the brim with Meggie's famous home-brewed coffee, Jim shook his head to rid himself of visions of the creature that invaded his thoughts. Nothing in his strange nightmare made any sense to him. He sighed and spread the newspaper out on the kitchen table for quick read before tackling the sink.

Moments later, he jumped up and cried out as the mug dropped from his hands. The spilled coffee quickly soaked into the newspaper headline:

SERIAL RAPIST AND MURDERER ESCAPES FROM VANDICUTT INSTITUTE

"Carl Mansen, a psychopath known as the “The Whistler” by police investigators, escaped from the Vandicutt Psychiatric Institute in Mountainside just before midnight, Saturday. Officials had not previously released confidential information about Mansen's brutal, ritual killings due to ongoing investigations..."

Jim ran to the hall closet to retrieve the cell phone from his winter jacket. He frantically pressed Megan’s number. No answer. Yanking the jacket from its hanger, he tore out of the house and into the chilly mountain air. He prayed that the old Jeep would start. Snow had begun to fall, signaling an early arrival of the storm.


Source



This was such a fun project. I want thank those special hubbers who contributed to the story:

WillStarr; Mckbirdbks; Hyphenbird; BenWritings; Ahorseback; Breakfastpop; MarshaCanada; Ghaelach; Amy Becherer; Trish_M; FayPaxton; LivingSimply; What is Q; DaveBaldwin


Have you ever participated in a collaborative, creative writing project?

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Comments 44 comments

W1totalk profile image

W1totalk 3 years ago

This story is sweet, scary and united. Great effort to all.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

A few of us did something like this about a year ago and it was great fun. Well done and an excellent writing exercise for all.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

What a scary story. There is an immense ebb and flow form the imaginative team who joined their talents to pull this together. I think I can see Will Starr's hand in this and even perhaps BenWritings. If memory serves. Well done Genna.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Good story and knowing most of the people that helped write it, makes it fun to try to figure out which wrote what.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

I know and respect so many of the writers involved in this creatively chilling and suspenseful endeavor...

I am whistling to keep my nerves settled now...excellent work, dear Genna to you and all. Hugs, Maria


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This was a great story full of surprises and fear. I did this once and loved it. I hope you do it again so i can participate. Thumbs up!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Genna,

What a great collaborative effort here by all! This was suspenseful to say the least and had me looking over my shoulder ...

Great write! Up and more and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello everyone. Thank you for your comments. Before I respond, I wanted to first post the contributions made by various hubbers:

WillStarr: The Jeep's excellent heater was on full blast and the defroster was keeping the windshield clear...for now. For a fleeting moment, he wondered if he should have notified someone where he was bound. Then the snow let up a little and the moment passed.

BenWritings: He jerked the steering wheel to the left to avoid this unknown obstacle, and found himself losing control as the back end of the Jeep spun around and slammed into the mountain side.

Livingsimply: In a mental haze he staggered from the wreck, not daring to look back. Had that really happened? What was that? Jim pulled his coat tightly around him and noticed blood on his hands. The cold air surrounded his face as he struggled to see his way forward.

WillStarr: Dazed, Jim stumbled from the wreck, his aimless path leading him away from the highway and into the cold darkness of the pines. Behind him, the shrieking wind of the blizzard drowned out Megan's frantic calls.

Ahorseback: But at the moment that he was about to doze off in the musty drone of the heater a black object ran swiftly across the road in front of him , hesitating momentarily in his vision , as if all time had come to an end.......This is fun....

Ghaelach: Blinded by the snow Jim moved slowly forward. He didn't see the bank and went sliding and rolling down until he hit the cold frozen stream.

MckBirdBks: In the distance a pair of headlights appeared. Megan was trying to make her way home for winter break. She approached the wreck and slowed down.

She reached the top of the snow covered embankment and stepped into the trees.

FayPaxton: She looked back towards the car, searching frantically for the headlights that had begun to grow dim. She'd come too far to turn back. "Just keep moving", she whispered. Closing her eyes, she tried to will feelings of warmth to her feet and shivering body, but it was no use; she was colder than she'd ever been in her life.

BreakfastPop: Long spindly arms reach down and pull Jim from the water. He awakens to find himself on solid ground. Dazed and nearly frozen he tries to stand. Somewhere in the distance he hears his name echoing through the trees. Before he can answer he collapses and darkness overtakes him.

Amy Bercherer: Jim's face is covered in ice that has now frozen to his skin turning his complexion a hazy shade of blue. He doesn't trust his eyes, as he tries to struggle his frozen brain into focus. What is it, who is it that own the glowing eyes surrounded in black? It is human or is it beast? Jim is struggling to remain conscious. What? Is someone calling his name? He no longer trusts any of his senses. Hypothermia threatens as he remembers it's just like going to sleep...sweet blissful sleep beckons.

Jim tries, as if in slow motion, to will himself to full consciousness, shaking his head to clear his fogged brain. He has to get control or he will die out here in this arctic blinding cold. And, what is that "thing" that caused this dastardly turn of events...that drove him off the road in the first place. It's real, that's for sure. And it moves quick and skiddish like an imp. He would be certain it was a hallucination, if he hadn't first caught a startled glimpse while in the warm comfort of his jeep. He is becoming more acclimated to the cold or is it his imagination that he hears a feminine voice calling out to him?

MarshaCanada: Jim hears a woman's voice singing. Is it Megan? He trys to move toward the sound but his arms and legs are so cold he cannot move. He tries to shout but his mouth wont make a sound. Suddenly long black arms wrap around him and lift him into the air. The creature is carrying him swiftly up the hill towards the sound of the singing. Jim thinks he is dreaming. He thinks he sees a light through the trees.

What is Q: Jim stuck a shaking hand into his right pants pocket and slowly pulled out his cell phone. When he flipped it open, the blue glow casting a little bit of light on his face, he saw he had no reception. No way to call for help. Jim lost a little bit of hope. He worked the small keyboard with almost frozen fingertips and stared for a moment at a woman's face in a picture he'd taken recently.

Trish_M: The picture of Megan melted into other images ~ forgotten images from his very early childhood; then pictures from later years. His life was unfolding before his eyes. He felt utterly content and made no effort to move.

DaveBaldwin: Jim made an attempt to sit up, but found his body crying out in protest. He felt his muscles give out, unable to muster even the strength to fully lift his arm from his side. His vision was blurry and streaked with red. Through his clogged nose, he was beginning to smell bacon, eggs, and musty wood.

I filled in the blanks, and completed the story. This was such a fun project; I hope to do this again. If anyone else would like to begin a creative project, I would be happy to contribute. :-)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Genna what a wonderful Idea and the story was well written too voted up and fun :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Thank you so for sharing this gem Genna; voted up and shared for sure.

Eddy.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

What a great story. So well done from start to cliff hanging finish. I loved it and have to say you all did a great job.

I always know your stories are going to be good but didn't know what to expect from this collaborative experience. EXCELLENT! Loved it!

Voted up, awesome, interesting and shared.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

What a wonderful idea--and the result is wonderful as well! Kudos to all of you!!!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

How fun this must have been for all of you -- well done, fellow hubbers, well done! Genna, you did a great job in coordinating all efforts -- congratulations. Great story.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@w1totalk

Thank you for that sweet comment. :-)

@Billybuc

Hi Billy. I agree. This was both fun, and a great collaborative writing exercise. I truly enjoyed working with other creative writers. Thanks for those comments.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@mckbirdbks

Hello Mike. You were very helpful and creative as well in offering comments. I wrote the comment above to provide the various contributions and ideas. Thank you for your support and participation!

@Becky Katz

Thanks, Becky. The above comment may shed some light on your excellent question. We had a lot of fun with this project.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@marcoujor

Hello Maria. I love your “whistling” comment. These are wonderful writers, and the collaboration was great fun. Thank you for those thoughtful words. Hugs.

@Always Exploring

Hi Ruby. :-) Thank you. If anyone else would like to begin a story, I would be very happy to contribute as well. It’s always good to see you, my friend.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@FaithReaper

Thank you. I think it still needs a little work, but it’s a good story. I often thought about what would happen next, if it were to be continued to fill in more of the backstory about the dark creature and how it impacted Jim's past. Good to see you and I hope you are enjoying your week, dear Faith.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@FrankAtancaio

Hi Frank. I’ve thought about continuing the story to give it an extended, alternate ending, but haven’t had the time. On behalf of all of the contributors, thank you for those very supportive comments. :-)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Eidwedden

Hello Eddy. Thanks so much for the votes and the sharing. Have a great weekend. :-)

@Tillsontitan

Hi Mary. On behalf of all of the authors – thank you! This project took on some crazy twists and turns but was so much fun to write. As Mike said above, there are ebb and flows due to the team of writers…that’s what made this so interesting. The story still needs a little work, but I think it turned out rather well. As always, it’s great to see you.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Audrey Howitt

Good morning, Audrey. Thank you for those supportive and kind words. :-)

@Phyllis Doyle

Hello Phyllis. It was fascinating to see how various ideas came together. Working with such exceptional creative writers whom I respect and admire was the best part this project. Thank you for your comments.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

What a great story you created together, and what fun to write it like that. I hope you do another some time soon.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Blossom. It was fun. :-)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This story was a great idea and the story if very good. I enjoyed everyone's effort immensely.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Such creative and talented contributors, Genna, made for a very scary story. Happy I read it while the sun was shining. Congrats to you all!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 3 years ago from Minnesota

Great writing collaboration Genna-this is a captivating thriller. Loved reading through all the twists and turns. Everyone did a great job!


DnWW 3 years ago

What a very impressive team effort, Genna. I hope to see more of this in the future.

Dana


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Pamela99

Hi Pam. Yes, it was fun, and I hope that other creative, collaborative projects like this take place within the hubber community. Thank you for the comment.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Drbj

Hi. I enjoyed working with these wonderful writers...it made this project interesting, challenging and loads of fun. Thank you. :-)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Minnetonka Twin

Hello, Minn. On behalf of the contributors, I am pleased that you liked the twists and turns of the story. Good to see you, and thanks for those comments. :-)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@DnWW

Hi Dana. I hope so too. Thank you for the comments. :-)


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

This was an absolutely fascinating story. However I'd also like to have it continue as it was like leaving me at the edge of the cliff. Great job.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Rasma. Thank you! I’ve thought about continuing the story although the ending is Twilight Zone style in that it circles back to the beginning. If anyone is interested, I can continue the story in a different direction. :-)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

A creative and novel idea that you handled so well.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Teaches. I appreciate the visit and the comments. :-)


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

This horror story got me thinking now. Should I be hiking out alone at night in the chilly winters of Ontario just with my dog at my side?

Very well written. The graphic narrative was very well done indeed! Voted up and rated Awesome!

I have a real lifetime horror story from my hiking last winter that I will share in one of my future hubs on 'hiking with my dog in winters'.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you...what a wonderful comment. I wouldn’t worry; I’m quite sure you are a savvy hiker who always takes the proper safeguards whenever hiking. Good to see you. :-)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

By the way, Suhail, I look forward to reading your hiking story! :-)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Love this. I have not participated in one of these since I was working on my Ed Specialist. It is fun and can end with great results.

thanks for Sharing...Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you! It was a fun project. Best wishes for a Happy New Year. :-)


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

This was very interesting Genna. I just had a feeling that something was going to go wrong when Megan was going out, especially when she mentioned the mountain roads. I love mysteries. I read them all of the time. I voted this up and shared it.

Kevin


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

That was a really engaging story, Genna. Everyone who participated did a great job with it. I loved the ending, too. We want to read more and a Chapter 2 can be written with that ending.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@TheExaminer and SuzetteNaples

On behalf of everyone who participated in this fun project, thank you for your comments. It's a pleasure to see you both. :-)


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 15 months ago from Cape Cod

Genna. Thanks for a well paced, exciting yarn. As a story detective, I read this work with the zeal of a doctor self-diagnosing and I praise everyone for making nearly seamless transitions from author to author. I only found once place where I was certain that the pen had been handed from one wordsmith to another.

Kudos to you and WillStarr; Mckbirdbks; Hyphenbird; BenWritings; Ahorseback; Breakfastpop; MarshaCanada; Ghaelach; Amy Becherer; Trish_M; FayPaxton; LivingSimply; What is Q; DaveBaldwin.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 15 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks, Bill. this was such fun. :-)

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