Sunday, January 6, 2008


(Another double-chapter post because of an interrelated theme.) This is draft one of my sci-fi novel Skene. To read earlier chapters, go to LABELS in the right-hand column on this page, scroll down to the Skene tags and click on the one you want to read. Skene is set on a human-habitable planet in the Alhena star system at least 500 years in the future. There's a considerable amount of appendix material and diagrams also available here as needed:
Map of Riesig (the main island)
Map of The Manage on Riesig
Skene Glossary (Skenish to English)
Skene Cast of Characters
Skene Culture, Calendar, Clothing, and Islands
Map of All Skene
Map of The Lofthall on Riesig


By the end of Ljeto and the partnering anniversary of Yoj, Bux and Halling, Exploit Lagoon was filled in and 4/5 leveled. A big swath of the middle had been compacted down, given a foot of new soil hauled from Abfall, topped with sod, and a 35 meter steel derrick welded on Yanja had been set in place at one end, a tiny jichang at the other. Every afternoon, pilots beset by both dread and exhiliration jumped from the tower, instantly jerking the cord on their self-packed parachutes and struggling to land on the grass instead of the muck on one side, the jumbled landfill on the other.

After two weeks, when every pilot had had a couple of goes at risking their ankles and leg bones, training for grapple rescue began simultaneously. Lighters dangling 40-meter cables and brain-menacing hooks swooped in to snag the drifting chutes and, after a circuit of Chloddia, deliver the plucked pilot back to grassy safety. Even Halling took her turn off the tower, although she had not yet participated in either being a pilot or a rescuee with the grapple program.

Injuries were occurring, mostly strains and sprains. One tibia was snapped through and that pilot relegated to a cast for several months. Halling noticed on the sign-up schedule that Rark and Danaan were signing up for every free slot they could beyond the mandatory training, and she did not intervene: She would have done the same with Xaya.

Halling also found out, via Api, that bookmakers on both Chloddia and Exploit had created a roster of pilots and odds on successful parachuting for each. The betting was heavy, and changed from week to week. But the mining islands were always gambling on something, and Api chose to laugh it off. Halling did too, after she tracked down a copy of the roster and found her odds were listed as respectable.

By the end of Raccolto, she thought, every pilot in the Lofthall will have a decent shot at survival if their craft fails. She wondered how the bookmakers would calculate that 180 degree turn in Skene history.

Halling got up before dawn and went in to work a sinning shift because two of their best sinners were out, one with an ankle sprain, one with an early autumn flu. After her shift, she grabbed a quick meal at the canteen, raced through her inbox, and told Qala she was going home for the rest of the day. At home, she sponged off, then walked to the back door to go say hi to Ng. Once out the door, she saw that Ng was sitting in a chair beside the lettuce bed, weeding, instead of in her studio. Halling called out to her, "Hey, I'm home."

Ng turned around and said "How'd it go today?"

"Good, actually" said Halling. "How about you?"

"The same" grinned Ng. "From the looks of the sky, it's going to pour on us before morning."

"I think so too" said Halling. "Listen, I'm going to sack out."

"Sleep sweet" called Ng, and returned to her weeding.

When the children came home from school, Yoj sent them out front to play while the dry weather held. They could do homework after dinner. Yerush was home already, and Bux arrived soon after with some interesting gossip she'd heard at work. They stood in the kitchen with Yoj, discussing what else to make for dinner besides the beans Yoj had simmered all day. Veida was on her hands and knees in front of the hearth, polishing the brass grate, when Qen came home, saying hi to everyone. She then asked, "Where's Ng?"

"Still weeding the lettuces, I guess" said Yerush. She was washing a bowl of rice. Qen went out the back door. A minute later, they all heard a blood-curdling scream from her, followed by a series of shrieked "No! No! No!"

Despite being farther away, Veida reached the back door first and ran to Qen, who was sitting on the lettuce bed trying to hold Ng upright in her chair. "She's not breathing!" Qen cried. Veida pulled Ng back and looked at her. Ng's right cheek had a spiral imprint of the heart of a lettuce creased into it. Her skin was far too cool to the touch, and her lips were blue. Veida felt for a pulse, bent her ear to Ng's mouth to listen for a breath, and then pulled down her lower lids to look at the color.

"Oh, emma of us all" she said, turning to look at Yoj, Bux and Yerush who had joined them. "She's dead. She's past reviving."

"No!" Qen began screaming again. Yerush pulled Qen to her chest, but Qen resisted, yelling at Veida "Save her, please, do something!"

Yoj said "How can she be dead? What happened?"

"From the looks of it, her heart" said Veida. Her own skin was very pale. They heard a voice behind them, at the wall, and turned to see a slightly groggy Danaan asking "What's wrong?"

"Ng has died" said Bux, bursting into tears. Danaan slid over the wall and came to them, saying "Oh no, no." Rark appeared in their yard, with Iro and Ektr behind her. Danaan walked back over to give the news to her family, and they all came through the gate.

Veida said to Danaan, "Will you go get the Ethicist and the coroner? As fast as you can. And don't say anything to the children if you see them."

Danaan nodded and broke for their front wall, jumping it easily and sprinting down the lane toward the center of town. Just as she disappeared, the back door opened and Halling stood there, saying "Did I hear yelling? Is someone hurt?"

Yoj turned to her, but Halling had seen Ng being held by Veida and began hurrying toward them. Yoj met her and put her arms around her. "It's your emma, Hall. Oh, darling -- she's died. She's been dead a while, Veida says."

"Not possible" said Halling thickly. "I just talked to her, just a few minutes ago." She broke away from Yoj and went to Ng, cupping her face in her hands and brushing away the small bits of lettuce and loam on her cheek. "Wake up, emma" she begged. Then, with a fluid motion, she swept Ng into her arms, saying "We need to get her inside, she's chilled through". She carried her effortlessly to the back door. Qen stood and rushed after her.

Veida said to Rark, "Can you find Lawa, at the ejida?" Rark nodded and went over the front wall just as Danaan had, turning north instead. Everyone else was going into the house. Halling had put Ng on the couch, sitting up, and was on one side of her, Qen on the other. Qen pulled Ng against her and said "Yerush, get her a quilt." Yerush glanced at Veida, but went to pull a quilt from the cupboard.

Yoj heard the front door latch and saw Prl opening the door. She leaped to intercept and pushed her back outside. "I need a drink" protested Prl.

"In just a minute" said Yoj, fighting the urge to throw up. "Listen, go get your sibs for me, all of them. Tell them to come right here and stand in a row, waiting on me, I need to tell them something." She had seen their neighbor to the south standing at her doorway, looking their direction with concern. Yoj walked to her swiftly and told her what had happened, asking her to let their other neighbors know. She scurried back to stop Speranz before she went inside. She picked her up and said "Mill, you take Prl's hand. Ndege and Dodd, I want you two to hold hands. Follow me inside quietly." The seriousness of her voice and face stilled them all instantly.

Once inside, they were all staring at the gathering around the couch. "What's wrong?" said Mill.

"I have something heartbreaking to tell you" said Yoj. Yerush and Bux were already at her side, bending down in front of the children. "Your precious, wonderful abba Ng has died. We just found her dead in the back yard."

"Nuh-uh" yelled Mill, looking around Bux at Ng on the couch.

Bux said "I'm so sorry, we're all so sorry. Let's walk over there and stand near her, okay?"

The four older children clung to Yerush and Bux's hands, pressing together in a knot, and stared at Ng, Qen, and Halling. Iro and Ektr were in the kitchen, making tea from the sounds of it. Prl said tentatively, "Abba?"

Qen burst into fresh wails. Speranz immediately began crying, and Dodd stuck her fingers in her mouth, something Yoj had not seen her do in years. Mill went to Halling and leaned against her knees, saying "Tell me the truth, emma."

Halling, her face drained of color, said "I think it's true. My emma -- " She couldn't finish her sentence. Mill reached out a hand and touched Ng's hand, carefully at first, then wrapped her fingers around Ng's thumb and shaking it lightly.

"Why won't abba talk to us?" asked Prl.

"When somebody dies, they can't talk any more" said Yerush quietly. "Their spirit goes back to Skene, and they are not in their bodies any more."

"I don't want her to go away!" cried Ndege, and she, too, burst into tears. In a few seconds, all the children were sobbing. Veida picked up Ndege, her long legs dangling, and Yoj passed Speranz to Yerush so she could hold Dodd, while Bux had Prl and Mill was pressed against Halling.

A few minutes later, the front door flew open and Lawa tumbled into the room. She looked at them all wildly, finally spotting Ng's stillness. She came to kneel in front of Ng and took both her hands, saying "Emma? Emma, it's Lawa." Then she rocked back on her heels and sat down, putting her hands over her mouth, looking at Halling in disbelief.

"I just talked to her" Halling said in a weak voice. "I came home and I said hi, and she told me her day had been good. She was sitting there weeding lettuces. She told me to sleep sweet." Halling seemed to be frozen, and Yoj wished she would cry.

A few minutes later, Rark returned with Qala. Qala sat down on the floor at Halling's feet, one hand on Halling's ankle, the other on Mill's. Iro came in with mugs of tea and coaxed everybody to take a sip. It was strong, full of honey, and it helped. The children stopped crying but were mute. Everyone sat still and silent, except Qen who kept trying to smoothe the rippled creases from Ng's cheek.

Finally Danaan came in the door, followed by Api, the Ethicist, and the coroner. Lawa and Qala stood up, Qala linking her arm through Lawa's and pulling her to the side to lean against her. The coroner murmured condolences and bent over Ng, doing the same things Veida had done, then standing upright and nodding at Api.

Api said "Is this where she died?"

"No" said Veida. "She was in the tillage, at the lettuce bed."

"Why was she moved?" asked the coroner.

"I carried her in here" said Halling defiantly. "She was -- cold."

Api said "Show me where you found her" and Veida led her outside. The coroner followed. They examined the scene meticulously as Veida explained the sequence of events.

The coroner asked, "Did she have heart trouble that you know of?"

"No" answered Veida, "And I would know. She had severe rheumatism and took tinctures for it, I can show them to you inside. She was examined regularly by her curandera, and we had no clue -- I'm sure she had no clue, she was a fierce woman, she fought hard for a good life. She was -- happy..." Veida broke down a little, unable to help herself.

"We can go back inside now" said Api kindly. Veida asked "Are you going to see this again -- can I change things here?"

"We're done with this area, yes" said the coroner. Veida bent and viciously ripped all the lettuces anywhere near where Ng had fallen out of the ground, leaving fist-sized holes. Carrying the plants, dripping crumbly black soil, she strode to the privy and tossed them down the hole. She followed the others into the house.

The coroner stood in front of Qen and said "Nan Qen -- I need to examine her." Qen looked blank, but Yerush said "Come with me, children, into the kitchen." Bux and Yoj set down the children they were holding, and Mill slowly stood up. After the children were in the kitchen, those in the living room heard chairs being dragged to the aga for Prl and Speranz to stand on. Yerush began issuing instructions for the making of hot cocoa, a once-a-year treat. Veida said to the coroner softly, "They're distracted now."

The coroner pulled instruments from her bag and first took Ng's temperature with an ear monitor. She opened Ng's mouth and began looking inside with a flashlight and mirror. Yoj decided to look away at that point. She focused on the sounds from the kitchen, Yerush's explanation of what whisking was and why the butter had to melt first. After a few minutes, the coroner said softly, "That's all for now." When Yoj turned around, the coroner had pulled from her bag the white silk shroud used to drape bodies that were carried through the streets.

Api had a notebook out and was asking question of Lawa and Halling, entering their answers onto a form. As she did this, the coroner placed the folded shroud gently in Ng's lap and opened her own notebook, revealing an embossed death certificate. She uncapped her fountain pen and leaned against the hearth to fill in the blank on the certificate with lovely script. When they were both done, they exchanged forms for the other to sign. Halling was asked to sign Api's form as well.

Api said apologetically, "I need to use your radio."

Halling stared at her, then turned to Lawa. "Oh, sibu. The announcement is going to go out -- Moasi and Tu..."

"And the ferries aren't running" said Lawa, "Not until midnight."

Qala spoke up. "We'll go get them."

"It's begun raining" said the coroner.

"We can handle the weather" said Rark. "We'll take the big passenger sinner, Danaan and I together. Put that in the announcement, that we'll land on Seda, then Motu. An hour from now for Seda."

Qala nodded, and Api added a note to a fresh page where she had transcribed the pertinent information of the announcement. Just then, a knock came at the door. Veida said to Danaan, nearest the door, "If that's neighbors, please ask them to come back in -- half an hour or so."

But when Danaan answered the door, it was to a cluster of pilots in burzakas. Lmape was the first to step in, and she said "We've come to carry Nan Ng." She had a metal stretcher in her hand.

"That saves me from calling my crew" said the coroner. Api made another note to her page. The pilots went to Lawa and Halling, expressing choked sorrow, then lined up in front of the mural wall in mustard and robin blue, their hands clutching their caps in front of them, staring at the floor.

Yoj heard Speranz laugh merrily from the dining table, saying "Prlie, you've got a mustache!" She went to sit at the table with her children, and Qala, Rark and Danaan followed. As Ektr and Iro began bringing cups of tea to the pilots, Api went to the radio and hailed the Sigrist.

"We are deeply saddened to announce the sudden, unexpected death of respected keramiker and beloved emma and abba, Ng la Hala na Vantu, of Riesig Pliss on Riesig. Nan Ng died this afternoon of natural causes. Her viewing will be tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on Riesig, and the funeral will be at 4 p.m. on Yanja. Her family on Seda and Motu Fling are advised that a sinner will come to pick them up in one hour, first at Seda, then at Motu. Nan Ng is survived by -- " and Api read a long list of names.

The children went very silent. Yoj heard Halling's sobs begin in the living room, and almost stood to go to her but heard Bux comforting her. Qala said "I'll see to Lawa" and left the kitchen. Yerush said "We'll need rooms at the hostel." "I'll go" said Ektr. Yerush fished money from the kitchen jar and said "Three, I guess. Private if possible, with at least one private bath." Ektr borrowed a burzaka and went out the front door.

Yoj began explaining to the children what was going to happen next, that night and the following day. In the middle of it, she heard Qen say loudly "No, not yet! Don't take her from us yet!" Yerush went swiftly into the living room, and after a nod at Danaan, Yoj followed. Yerush murmured to Qen "We must wash her, my love. With all the respect she deserves. And wrap her. We need to do that at the coroner's. Come on, let's get our rain gear on so we can follow."

Api and the coroner spread Ng flat on the couch. When the coroner lifted the white silk, Yoj said "Wait" and called the children into the living room.

"We're going to take abba away now, and you need to say goodbye" she choked out. All of them began sobbing, Speranz and Prl begging Yoj to not let abba go. Halling was standing leaned against Yoj's study door, crying in a way Yoj had not seen since Xaya's death, Bux all but holding her up. Each child was picked up and comforted, then held over Ng so they could kiss her forehead if they wished. Mill and Dodd declined the kiss. Yoj nodded to the coroner, and she wrapped Ng once in the shroud.

"I want to go with you" said Yoj. "We're all going" answered Yerush. "Not the children" said Yoj. She carried Prl back to the dining room. But when she turned around, Mill was behind her, looking at her desperately.

"Please, emma, I want to go, too" pleaded Mill. Yoj looked at Bux, who didn't speak. But Halling pulled herself upright and walked over to Mill, crouching in front of her and saying "It will break your heart. Are you sure you're ready for this?"

After a long moment, Mill nodded. "It's abba. I want to be with her when you -- make her ready" said Mill. Halling looked beyond her at the other children. "Ndege and Dodd -- what about you?" she asked. Ndege was clearly conflicted, but Dodd said "I don't want to. Is that okay?"

"It's entirely okay, my beloved" said Yoj. "You stay with your sibus and keep them company." She turned to her family and said "Who will stay here with them?"

"I will" said Iro, "And Ektr when she returns." But Qala also raised her hand and said "I'll make sure they're all right." Yoj looked at her and said "Good."

"We need to go get our rain gear" said Danaan, "and head down to the jichang. We'll see you as soon as we can."

"Be more careful than you've ever been in your life" said Halling hoarsely. Danaan tipped her hat and they went out the back door.

Veida pulled umbrellas from the rack by the front door, handing them to Api and the coroner as well as her family members. "We'll need to shield her, and the pilots, as we go" she said. She and Yerush got on either side of Qen. Yoj and Bux flanked Halling and Lawa, Mill between them. The pilots lifted Ng and shuffled out the door. Yoj turned and blew kisses to her big-eyed children at the table, saying "We'll be home after dinner. Hold us in your hearts." An assignment that brought relief to Dodd's face.

It was dark and cold, with blowing gusts. The procession was slow. The few people they encountered on the street stood to the side, silent and respectful, calling "Carynn bye" softly to their backs as they went by.

The coroner's preparation room was shockingly chilly. Yoj told Mill to keep on her manteau; she pulled Bux aside and said "Someone has to keep an eye on Mill, this is her first time experiencing -- the preparation for death. If you'll be there for Halling, I'll keep Mill beside me."

Bux kissed her and said "Yes. This is my first time, too. I didn't come with my emmas when my abba died."

"You lean on me, too, then" said Yoj. The pilots had apparently gone back to the Lofthall, which was just as well -- Yoj didn't want to worry about them getting enough rest.

The coroner's assistant brought them a carafe of tea, again laced with honey, and Yerush insisted everyone drink a cup while they sat in the waiting room, blessedly warm, and talked over plans for the service the following day. Once they had a rough outline, pending the input of Moasi and Tu, Veida stood and pulled a small bottle from her pocket. She went into the anteroom and came back with a large basin of warm water, smelling strongly of the rosemary oil she had added to it. The rest followed her into the cold room, where Ng had now been undraped from her shroud and lay on the lipped metal table.

Halling and Lawa each went to a foot and pulled off one of Ng's boots. It seemed to be difficult for them to manage this, and Yoj wondered if the body was beginning to stiffen. As Halling and Lawa removed sokken, again with some resistance, Qen stepped to Ng's chest and began unlacing her gilet. She stopped after a minute and cupped Ng's unmarked cheek in her palm, then continued. Veida left the room and returned with linen washing cloths and several towels, setting them on the table beside the water.

When Qen and Halling pulled Ng's shati over her head, Yoj realized she had never seen Ng naked, in all the years of their living together. She was always shocked to see a chest with no real breasts at all. Ng had a sparse line of grey hair trailing down her sternum, and permanent welts where the tops of her crutches dug into the flesh of her upper arms. Qen removed a small gold chain with a couple of pendants on it from around Ng's neck, a necklace Yoj didn't know she wore, and also gently pulled Ng's partnering ring from her hand. She handed these to Halling, who slid them into her pocket. Lawa folded the clothes slowly and placed them on a chair.

Yerush and Veida had to help Halling and Qen when they tried to remove Ng's ku and knickers, Veida lifting Ng's middle to give them a start. Ng's ginny looked small and fragile, her balls having succumbed to gravity like elders' breasts. Yoj checked on Mill's face, but Mill showed no shock. Yoj realized all of her children had seen their abba naked many times, when they bathed with her as little one, got dressed with her in the morning -- they had known Ng as well as Halling had a generation earlier.

Qen placed the basin of water between Ng's ankles and wet a cloth, then began gently washing her foot. Halling started on the other foot. Their motions were slow and tender, and they lifted Ng's legs to cleanse underneath as well. The silence in the room felt like that of an early frost. Yoj began shivering, and pulled Mill closer to her.

When they reached Ng's ginny, Qen pushed Ng gently onto her side and washed her bottom first. Halling stepped back and let Qen part Ng's thighs, lovingly cleaning her ginny, cradling the small globes and protrusion with her bare hands before she was done. Veida came forward to take the basin of water from Qen, go to the anteroom and rinse it out, and return with fresh. Yoj realized Ng had pissed herself when she died, something she knew was common but still it seemed a cruel trick for Ng's body to play on her at the end.

Halling spoke, startling everyone. "Sibu, do you want a turn?" she asked Lawa. Lawa looked at her with hollow eyes and said "I -- no, I'd rather not." Halling went to kiss her and whisper something in her ear, and Lawa looked a little better. Halling returned to wash Ng's torso and arms with Qen.

When they reached the head, Veida again changed the water. They washed Ng's cheeks, forehead, eyelids, and ears. Mill pulled Yoj down to whisper in her ear: "She looks like she's sleeping."

"Yes, she does" answered Yoj. "But I think her spirit is here with us, watching our love for her. She will never leave our hearts, now." Lawa looked at her, with tears standing in her eyes, and came to stand next to Mill; she must have heard them, despite the whispering. Mill slid her hand into Lawa's.

Halling washed Ng's hair, as Qen began drying Ng from the toes up. She was drying the table underneath her as well, and went through three towels by the time she reached Ng's hair. She used a fourth towel to rub Ng's curls gently dry. Veida handed her a pick, and Qen tenderly combed Ng into her preferred split wave. As she was combing in the short fringe at the front that Ng liked, a knock came at the door.

Yoj stepped over to open it, and in the rush of warmth came Moasi, Tlochin, their three children, plus Tu and, confusingly, Veida's sibu's grown child, Pank. Veida, her eyes showing white, came to hug Pank as Lawa and Halling wrapped themselves around their sibs.

"How did you get here?" Veida asked Pank quietly.

"I was with Tu" said Pank. "We haven't told anyone yet, but we've -- been sharing quarters on Seda."

"Oh, I'm so glad for you -- for you both!" said Veida. She hugged Pank again, the resemblance between them strong, with Pank's long flat limbs and cocoa-colored skin.

Tu began weeping in Halling's arms and said "I never got to tell emma about it! I was planning to come visit next week, and now..."

"Now she knows" said Halling firmly. "And she's as happy as the rest of us."

Kpahi, Moasi's youngest who had been born the year between Prl and Speranz, began wailing. She was looking away from the sight of her abba on the table. Ktiva picked her up and took Vants by the hand, saying "I'm taking them into the waiting room." Vants was a year younger than Ndege and Dodd, and looked relieved to go as well.

Once the door was shut and the chill returned, Yoj asked Moasi, "Where are Rark and Danaan?"

"They carried our luggage to the hostel and said they were going back to your Manage, to be with your children" said Moasi. Yoj pulled Mwiva to stand with her and Mill. Mwiva was almost a year older than Mill but they were even in height. The child looked wretched, and Yoj put her arm around her shoulders.

Moasi and Tu went to Ng, both of them crying now, trying to smooth her cheek as Qen had, picking up her cold hands and trying to cup them in their own. Halling told the story of what had happened all over again. Ng's final words, "Sweet sleep", had become significant to them all, and Halling began crying as well. Bux slid her arms around her from behind, and Yerush held Qen.

After a few minutes, Halling said "You're in time for the wrapping." Veida had carried out the water basin, towels and washcloths, and returned with a stack of bright white linen in wide rolls to set on the table. Moasi reached into her pocket and pulled out two sprigs of lilac, showing them to Lawa and Halling.

"Motu lilac!" breathed Lawa.

"From the bush that aggie planted?" asked Halling.

Moasi nodded. She handed one sprig to Tu, and they each placed them in Ng's palm, then closed her fingers over the blossom. Qen began sobbing so hard that Yoj feared for her ability to remain standing. Bux got her a chair and persuaded her to sit, her face pressed in Yerush's side.

Moasi and Tu began wrapping Ng's feet, overlapping the linen in snowy folds and moving slowly up her legs. Lawa and Halling did the same with her hands and arms. Once all four limbs were bound, Ng's arms were crossed over her chest and her legs were placed snugly together, and the complete body wrap began, again starting at her feet.

When they reached Ng's head, they paused. Moasi went to the waiting room and returned carrying Kpahi. Ktiva was carrying Vants. Both children said goodbye to Ng, and Ktiva, weeping, kissed Ng's cheek and whispered "We love you, emma." She moved to the corner of the room with the children.

Mill walked forward, and Mwiva shadowed her.

"I will miss you every minute for the rest of my life" said Mill, her voice breaking. Mwiva could only get out "abba" before she broke down as well.

One by one, they all said goodbye. Yoj began to wonder how they were going to bear it. Halling went next to last, wailing and pounding her own chest with her fists. Then Qen stood and nearly buckled. Veida got one shoulder under Qen's arm and helped her to the table.

"I love you" said Qen, her voice almost unrecognizable. "You never once hurt me, you never let me down, you made me a child again -- "

Yerush turned to sob on Bux's shoulder.

"Come visit me in my dreams" Qen finished. She closed her eyes and let Veida get her back to the chair.

Moasi and Tu finished the wrapping. The last strip to be covered was Ng's peaceful eyes, and the effect was brutal. But they continued on, using the last of the linen, until all that remained was a swaddled, elongated shape.

Veida helped Qen to her feet and walked to the waiting room. Halling was the last to leave the room. "Carynn bye" she whispered. They sat in the waiting room for a while, having another round of strong tea in silence, except for Qen's single comment "She always hated to sleep alone."

Copyright 2007 Maggie Jochild.

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