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In 1997, my husband Harrison and I were given the most amazing opportunity.

I was driving home from work when I got the call. Doctor Duphrane sounded excited, and I was not exactly sure what she was going to say to me. Usually when people get a call from the doctor, it’s bad news. But this call was not for that purpose. This call was the best news that any mature woman could get.

I was pregnant.

I called Harrison as soon as Doctor Duphrane hung up. He was just as ecstatic as I was. He nearly screamed into the phone as he continued to think of baby names, and tell me how he was going to repaint the guest room to get it ready for the baby. I agreed to everything he said, and was just happy that he even wanted to be a dad, as we had not really discussed it before. Though we never did discuss being parents, we both knew we wanted to, and this news made it even more real for us.

Three months in, the pregnancy was going great. I had gained a couple of pounds, but that can be expected of a first time mother. My favorite thing to eat was mac and cheese and a slushy from 7-11. The woman at 7-11 told me I better stop eating those, or else the baby would come out blue. I laughed, but at this point, I didn’t care. I just wanted that food in my stomach as soon as I could. So I kept eating and eating and eating until I couldn’t eat any more. And trust me, I reached that point a couple of times.

Month five. Everything was on track. My mom, Dorothy decided to throw a baby shower for me. She graciously held it at her house in the Hamptons. It was something from a magazine. Chocolate fondue stations, geese walking around the courtyard. There was even a picture of Harrison and me holding up my already growing stomach. I was glowing.

It came time to open presents. I was getting bored quickly, as at this point, all we had gotten was blankets, bibs and a brand new high chair. These were things I was thankful for getting, but at face value are boring as all hell. But then, my luck changed. I opened a box that had no name on it. At first my mom had thought the box wasn’t for the baby, but then she decided that it can’t hurt me, so she let me open it in front of everyone.

Inside the box was a beautiful old-fashioned clock. It was about 6-inches tall and had a ticking face and pendelum like body. It swang side to side with such elegance that it made me want to have everyone stop talking just to listen and look at the wonder that is the clock. After what seemed like 10 minutes of looking at this wonder, I rubbed my hand slowly up the back of it. I felt a small groove on the back, and turned it over to see what was engraved on it. Written on the back was:

Roan To a Long and Happy Life Stay Strong E I was confused at this point. At first I was concerned with who E was, and who is this Roan person. But then I realized. I needed to name this baby Roan. It was the perfect name. I had discovered that the baby was a boy a while back, and was decided to declare the gender later that night, but this was even better. I could name the baby and then say it’s gender, all in one night. It was perfect. Roan. My little boy. I couldn’t wait.

The rest of the night went perfectly. I took the clock in my hands and stood up in front of the crowd of close friends and family. I stated to everyone, “Thank you for joining Harrison and I here tonight to celebrate the coming of our baby. I just wanted to let everyone know a few details about our baby. He will be a boy.” Everyone clapped. “Not only will he be a boy, but I have also chosen his name.” The room went quiet. “His name, will be Roan.”

I guess that I expected more of a reaction, but the silence was almost better. I saw, as everyone’s faces went from smiles to straight faces as they soaked it all in, and then back to smiles. Not a single noise was heard. The baby was Roan, and everyone loved it. I knew it. I could not wait for the next 4 months.

It was the ninth month, and I was so ready to take Roan out of me that I started to read articles on how to speed up labor. None of the things worked, so I was forced to sit in my misery for a few more days, waiting anxiously for the time to come. Then, on May 23, 1997, I went into labor. Harrison carried me down the stairs, and for the first time, I actually felt like a princess. Then the pain set in. He drove down the freeway like a fugitive running away from the police. You would’ve thought that he was driving away from death because he was not about to stop for anything. I began to scream, and I think that sped him up even more. We got to the hospital quickly, and the doctors rushed me straight into the labor hall. Doctor Duphrane was waiting for us there, and it was nice to see her again.

Labor was awful. I have never experienced such pain in my entire life. I thought that breaking my arm when I was 12 was painful. Please, that didn’t have nothing on this. Doctor Duphrane was working well. She did a good job of calming both Harrison and I down, and I was so thankful for that. I really needed it. Then, after 27 long minutes, I heard a squeal. Doctor Duphrane held up the baby, and then said, “Yep. It’s a boy!”. I laid my head down, and began to smile. But then, Doctor Duphrane’s face turned grim. “What?”, I said. “Is something wrong? Is Roan okay?”

“Yes, he’s fine. Harrison I need to speak with you.”

“Okay Doc. Right here?”

“No, in the other room.”

I got so nervous that I thought I was going to sweat into a river. Harrison stood up and walked into the other room with Doctor Duphrane. After a few minutes, they came back in.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, I said as Harrison sat down beside me.

“Don’t Erin. The baby is fine. There is just one thing that we weren’t planning for.”

“What?” I said. I was really nervous at this point. I was assuming that the worst was going to happen, because I wasn’t very optimistic after that last episode.

“Erin, Roan has downs syndrome. We weren’t able to detect it with the ultra sounds, but just know that he's healthy, and okay.”

“Can I see him?” I asked.

“Of course.”

Doctor Duphrane walked in with Roan and put him in my arms. He looked up at me and I looked back down, staring directly into his eyes. He was the most beautiful child I had ever seen. His hair was matted down onto his forehead, and I pushed it to the side to get a better look at his face. He had my eyes, and Harrison’s nose. He was beautiful.

Most people would be worried about having a child with downs-syndrome. I for one, could not be more excited. It was not expected by neither me nor Harrison, but when I got the news, I was overjoyed. He was my son. Nothing he could ever do or be born with could ever make me not love him. It obviously would be hard for us as a family to find a way to make sure that he succeeds, but we were up for the challenge, and I couldn’t wait to see what comes.

Fast forward 5 years. We were in Roan’s room. He was sitting on the floor, playing with the clock that had given him his name. He turned it over, just as I had done years ago, and began to run his fingers over the wording, again just as I had done. He looked up at me, and then over to Harrison. Then, he opened his mouth. “Stay Strong” he said.

“Stay Strong”, I said back.

And we did. We stayed strong all the way to the end. On January 4th of 2014, Roan became very sick. We took him back to Doctor Duphrane and she took a look at our 16 year old son. She asked us if she could talk to him alone. We said of course, and walked out into the reception area. Harrison turned to me. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this. I’ve never seen anyone so sick.”

“Don’t say that. I said. We’ve overcome so much together. He will be fine.”

We sat for 2 hours, and then finally Doctor Duphrane called us in. Roan was not in the room with her. She sat me down on the chair, and I became nervous again. She began to talk.

“I have bad news. Roan is not doing so well. He has an immune virus that is taking over his blood system. It is going to be harder for him to breath as it takes over his blood. I don’t know how much longer he has. I am so sorry.”

I fell to the floor.

I don’t remember what happened from that point on. I woke up three days later with tears on my face, and a layer of tissues around me on my bed. I had never experienced so much fear, so much suffering. I honestly felt like I was about to die. I woke up, and walked over to Roan’s room. He was sitting on the bed, reading Harry Potter.

“Hi mom!”, he said, with a big grin on his face.

“Hi buddy! How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine Mom. I feel better today. Maybe we can go to the beach?”

“Of course Roan. Anything for you.”

We got up and packed for the beach. On the drive there, Roan would not stop talking. That’s so Roan. He wouldn’t stop talking if someone had a gun to his head telling him to shut up. When we arrived, he ran out of the car, like a stampeding elephant. He ran straight to the ocean. I watched from the car for a while as he splashed in the waves, and screamed when the water touched his face. He would fall every once in a while, and then stand back up and keep going. For the first time, I felt like he was at peace, that he was where he belonged. And it broke my heart to know that it was about to be taken from him by the cold hands of death.

Days passed, and Roan got worse. Some days, he couldn’t walk because of his sickness. Though he couldn’t walk, he would always be smiling. Never did I ever see him without a smile on his face. His new favorite TV show was Survivor. He loved the show so much because it was located on the beach. He often times would not even pay attention to the people on the show, but would just focus on the ocean and the animals they showed in between transitions.

On March 8th, Roan took a turn for the worst. I got the call while I was at work. Harrison had come into his room and found him passed out on the bed. Harrison picked him up and drove him to the hospital, where he was met by Doctor Duphrane once again. I met up with them later, and by the time I had got there, we were allowed to go in and see him again. There he was, sitting in the hospital bed, with his favorite clock sitting on the side table next to him. He looked scared, but dignified. I know that he was trying to be brave. He looked up at us, and after about a minute of silence, he spoke.

“Stay strong”, he said.

“We will. Just know that we love you Roan. You will always be my baby.” I said back.

Then, as if it had been a miracle, the clock began to toll. DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG. Roan closed his eyes. We looked down at the clock. It had stopped. Then, Doctor Duphrane ran into the room. She ran started yelling for backup, and a large man ushered us out of the room. That was the last time that I ever saw my baby Roan.

I will never forget that day. It was probably the most painful day of my life. I didn’t know how to really take Roan’s death. Most people either become depressed, or go to extreme measures like suicide and crazy rampages. I did neither. I felt like the best way for me to remember my Roan, is to act like he never died. That night, I went to 7-11, and the same woman who worked there 16 years ago was still there, and mean as ever. I ordered a slushy, and a side of mac and cheese. She looked at me angrily, and then smiled, as if she knew I was going through a rough time. It made me think of him, and I was happy.

I went to go and visit my mother in the Hamptons with Harrison. This was the first time I had been to the house without Roan since the baby shower 16 years ago. When I walked in the door, my mom had set up flowers, and made a big welcome sign. It felt as if it were a surprise party. Roan loved surprise parties. It made me think of him, and I was happy.

But perhaps the one thing that made me the most happy, was that damned clock. I think about it from time to time, how it wished him a long and happy life, and how he was given just that. Though his life was only 16 years, he accomplished so much. He loved that clock, almost as much as I did when I opened it 16 years ago. I read the stay strong on the back, and I thought of him. It made me happy.

When he died, he was happy. When he was born, he was happy. When he was at the beach, he was happy. He was happy. And how could I be even remotely sad knowing that he was happy until the moment he died. Most people would be sad, but I am happy.

It was hot, and walking for a week with nothing more then hour breaks wasn’t making the situation any better. It wasn’t like they had a plan of where to go, so what was the rush?

Sean stopped and reached into his backpack for his water bottle. Not much left but it was better then nothing. As he put the bottle back he saw the old digital clock. He pulled it out, staring at it with what? Not anger. Was it foolish to keep carrying this around? It hadn’t even worked since the screen cracked. He traced the crack in the glass with his finger. But he didn’t have it to keep time; it wasn’t like time mattered anyway, not since…
“Hey, you going to just stand around all day or what?” Craig, the self appointed leader was stomping over to Sean.
“Oh, yeah, sorry” Sean started to put the clock back into his bag. Before he could get it in Craig snatched it away from him.
“What the hell you carrying this shit around for still? You got somewhere you need to be? Get rid of this shit and stop wasting time!” Craig threw the clock across the deserted road and walked back towards the rest of the group. Sean ran to the clock and shoved it back into his bag. He quickly turned to catch up with the rest of the group before they got to far ahead.

93 Days Earlier

Today was the day. He had it all planned out; he would meet her at the train which would leave at 7:14, they would get into the city around 7:50, from there they would spend the day sight seeing, walking through the park and visiting the museum. He wasn’t too fond of museums but she loved them and anything to make the day closer to perfect for her, he was going to provide.
The ring wasn’t huge but she wasn’t someone who cared about that kind of stuff. The biggest decision was if he wanted to plant it in her food. As a kid it always seemed like such a good idea, but now that the moment came it was scary to think she may accidently swallow it. Then what would he do? Get down on one knee as she is on the toilet?
He laughed at the idea of starting the rest of his life that way as he rolled over in bed to check the time. It must have been the excitement that caused him to wake up before the alarm went off because usually he would sleep until noon if he could.
Hopefully he didn’t wake up too much earlier then planned. A 6:00 alarm was more then enough time to get…”Oh shit!” Sean jumped out of bed tracing the cord of the clock to the wall. Unplugged? Who the fuck unplugged it?
“No, no, no!” He screamed in frustration as he threw the clock across the room, cracking the glass.

Katie was freezing. Why did she have to get to the train station so early, the city would still be there at 10? There was only one other person on the platform with her this early; one creepy, old, perverted looking man. He constantly kept looking over at Katie and licking his lips. Maybe it was just because they were becoming chapped from the cold. Even if that wasn’t why, Katie kept telling herself that was the reason.
After the fifth lip-licking Katie backed away from the man a little with a disgusted look on her face. She checked her watch for what must have been the twentieth time: 7:02. He had about ten minutes to get there before the train arrived, but what should she do if he didn’t make it? Should she just get on and meet him in the city? Maybe this was another part of his plan, to have a big set up for when she gets off the train. She had an idea of what was going to happen today but had no idea when or where.
“Excuse me ma’am, did you drop this?” Ugh, the dirty pervert was right behind Katie now. And what was he holding, a dirty old napkin? Why would she have even been holding that to drop it? He obviously was looking for a reason to get closer to her.
“Um, no, not mine.”
“Oh, ok, my mistake.” He dropped the napkin back onto the platform.
The two stood in awkward silence beside each other, the creep still taking peaks at Katie while licking his lips.
Katie turned away from the creep as she again checked her watch: 7:07. This had to be part of his plan; Jason would never cut it this close to missing the train. Not after all the shit he gave her about making sure she was on time.
“Hey, what is that?”
Really? Another bad line to try and start a conversation? Katie was just about ready to kick this guy in the balls. That will teach him. But who knows where those things have been, better to just curse him out a bit and move to the other side of the platform.
As Katie looked towards the man she realized he wasn’t staring at her anymore. Instead his eyes were fixated on something behind her, something that brought a look of pure terror to the creeps face.
Katie turned around to see what the creep was looking at. It didn’t take her long to find what he was looking at: in the distance she could see what looked like a jet flying straight towards the earth.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” the creep said just before the earth quaked a little. In the distance Katie could see what looked like a wall of bright light coming towards her. The creep turned and ran towards the stairs that would bring him back to the street floor below, while Katie was paralyzed with fear.
The bright light hit her all at once. It didn’t hurt; in fact it felt kind of nice, it warmed her, which was nice for the cold morning. She stood still for what seemed like hours but couldn’t have been more then two seconds. It wasn’t until she looked down at her hands that she realized something was wrong.
She lifted her hands to examine the blisters that were forming all over them. She lifted her pants, then her sleeves a little to see the blisters had started to form there as well. She touched one of the blisters on her arm causing it to burst in an explosion of blood and puss. That is when the pain came. She could feel blisters popping all over her body, each more painful then the one before. Her eyes started to swell shut just as her throat began to close.
She would have known the blisters were also forming and popping inside her body had she seen the blood come out as she coughed for air. Luckily her eyes were already swollen shut at that point making it impossible to see anything. Katie fell to the ground, lying on her side as more painful bursts came from her back.
“Is this really how it is going to end? My last conversation with some creep trying to give me a dirty napkin?” Katie thought to herself as she curled into a painful ball surrounded by a pool of a blood-puss mix.

Fifteen minutes. He had fifteen minutes to get ready and get to the train station. That was possible. Good thing he shaved last night. He wanted to jump in the shower before he left but it would be fine.
He ran out of his apartment, shoes in his hands, and out the front door. As he got into the cold, jumping as he slipped on his shoes, he quickly remembered he wasn’t wearing a coat. He may be able to deal with it but Katie would spend most of the day criticizing him for not planning ahead, so he turned back around and ran inside to get his coat.
When he was finally ready to walk, no, run to the train station he had eleven minutes. It would all depend on the traffic lights. If he didn’t have to wait to cross the street he should be able to make it. He ran as fast as he could, his lungs burning from the cold air.
Out of nowhere someone appeared in front of him. Without enough time to react Sean ran right into the man, sending both of them straight to the cold, hard sidewalk. Sean jumped up rubbing his scrapped hands against his pants. He looked down to see the man who he had run into: a man who looked like he hadn’t slept in a week or shaved in even longer.
“Shit man, I’m sorry, I…” The man said getting to his feet.
“It’s fine, my bad, I gotta go,” Sean said looking at his watch. 7:04, need to pick it up.
“Come with me, I’m sorry, I’ll bring you to mine,” the man said grabbing Sean by the arm.
“What? No, let go, I’m fine!” Sean said trying to pull away from the man’s grasp, but he was surprisingly strong. Finally Sean got his arm free, the momentum sending him right back to the ground, this time his head hitting against the curb. Sean started to get back to his feet but his head was already spinning. He collapsed back down just before everything went black.

Once upon a time Johnny McMuffin was sitting in a 200 year old rocking chair, he was watching the clock tick by waiting for his mom to get back with his double big Mac, his large fries, 2 crispy ranch wraps, a medium diet Coke, and a happy meal toy. That's right, Johnny is the most different kid in Clown town. He was an odd boy though. His face paint was purple instead of white, his squeaky nose was Lima bean green instead of red, he was just, special. Now I now what you are thinking, "I want to know his life story!". Well, it all started in June 13, 1947 when he was the biggest accident any parents could have had. As soon as his mom pushed him out, he fell on the floor and hit his head and had very minor brain damage. He was 2 years old when his mom and dad had one more accident. He was devastated when he learned he was the center of attention no more. He had so many sick, demented, warped thoughts on how he could get rid of his baby sibling. And then, he reached his breaking point. One night Johnny and his little brother Randall were in the bathroom together brushing there teeth before bed, so Johnny went up to the door and locked it. "So, Randall, anything to say?".

"Not really. Hey Johnny, I have a bad feeling about this. What are you gonna do?". "You really want to know, don't you?". "Yeah." "Well then, let me show ya." Right then and there, Johnny lodged his toothbrush inside of Randall's wind pipe. Randall screamed louder than anyone else that Johnny ever heard. Poor Randall, lying on the ground dead. There parents were banging on the door very loud and shouting things like, "Johnny you open the door this instant!", or, "JOHNNY WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THERE!?". But he didn't unlock the door, instead he just stood there, with a look of terror on his face, looking like he regretted his actions almost instantaneously. So his dad ran downstairs and got the shotgun. He shot the lock on the door and kicked the door open. Johnny was horrified because of the noise. "Johnny you son of a bitch!". His dad beat him down within an inch of his life. Johnny woke up in a hospital bed 6 days and 23 hours later. He sat up and his neck felt like a scalding hot knife was digging deep. He quickly lied back down screaming in agony and pain. Eventually, his neck felt better, and he got up of his bed and went for a stroll down the hallway. His real parents were in the waiting room looking like they wanted to beat him even further, perhaps even to a pulp. He headed back to his room feeling uncomfortable. He got changed into real clothing, and got accompanied into a black government styled car. When the car stopped, he was at an orphanage. He got his baggage and walked into the front door, showing hatred for the place within 5 seconds. He was guided upstairs into a black, clean, shiny room with oak wood walls, flooring, and furniture. He put his clothes away into his closet, and settled onto his bed. He lived in that orphanage for 10 whole years, until he had his first visitor in all that time. It was his real mom. He couldn't believe his eyes. "Mom?. "Hi Johnny, how is it here?". "It's a perfect example of hell." "Well Johnny, I have come to bring you home." "What?!". He couldn't believe his ears. His mom forgave him for killing her son? Johnny was very confused. "Well, where is dad? He will just kill me." "Johnny, listen. Your dad was a bad man. He was cheating on me with some prostitute, he got some disease, and died." Johnny was very surprised and very happy. "Mom, I will come home." They hugged and his mom got very emotional. "Lets get you out of this hell hole." They walked out holding hands as they got into a taxi. They arrived at some place Johnny had never seen before. It was apparently, his new home. He went inside loving the place already. "Um, mom. Why are you putting on face paint instead of make up and perfume?" "Listen son, this new neighborhood is called Clown town, now time to eat." "I'm not hungry." "That's unusual for you. You usually love to eat all the time." "I grew out of that." This went on for 4 and half more days, he had no meals for all that time. So, his mom took him to a doctor, where he was told he had anorexia. He was devastated. In a months time, he had dropped from 187 pounds, to 73 pounds. He was dying very quickly, and he knew it. He went to therapy where he practiced eating lots. He fought it for 5 more months, and gained more weight than he had before. He weighed 197.7 pounds. He fought off anorexia unlike many other victims of it. He was 18 years old now, and still living with his mom, struggling to find him an education. He took IQ tests every time he went to a University, and no one would accept him in. But it was very obvious why, every time he would get low 70's. It was because of the incident when he was dropped on his head as a newborn. So eventually he got accepted, but the University fees were too expensive, considering his mom entertained children for a living. So his mom decided to home school him. It was June 13, 1966, Johnny's 19th birthday. His mom woke him up in the morning with balloons and carnival music and she started singing happy birthday to him. She held a cake up to his face and said, "Make a wish sweety pie." He blew out the candles and made a wish. He wished to be a normal person again. Later that night, he got to pick what they had for supper. He chose McDonald's. He asked for a double big Mac, a large fries, 2 crispy ranch wraps, a medium diet Coke, and a happy meal toy. "Okay sweety, I love you. I will be back with the food in 15 minutes." "Bye, mom!" "Stay out of the junk food!" "I will!" And she got into the taxi, and departed for McDonald's. Johnny went into the living room, sat down in an old dusty rocking chair, and watched the clock, waiting for his mom to come back with the food. Finally, the heard the door open up. "Mom, it's about ti-." "Hey son." It was his dad. "How are you here? You died! You filthy bastard!" "Calm down son, I faked my death so I could be with my true lover. Now, time for redemption." His dad pulled a revolver pistol out of his pocket and pointed it at Johnny. "Dad, please! Don't kill me!" "But little Randall would have wanted this to happen." "Burn in hell dad!" Johnny ran down the hallway while his dad fired 3 bullets and missed. Johnny locked himself in a closet. His dad walked down the hallway loading three more bullets into his gun. Just then, Johnny realized he was inside the closet with the safety shotgun his dad beat him with many years before. He picked up the shotgun quietly and he waited for his dad to walk in front of the closet. Johnny popped out of the closet and pulled the trigger while aiming at his dad. But nothing came out, he had forgot to load it. Johnny's dad picked up his pistol and delivered 2 bullets to johnny's gut. Johnny fell to the ground, crying in pain. "Now it is time to put you out of your misery boy!" He aimed the gun at Johnny's head, but right at that moment, there was gunfire. But it wasn't his dads gun that fired, it was the gun behind him. His mom had shot down his dad with the very shotgun Johnny forgot to load. It turns out the ammunition was hidden in a cupboard in the kitchen. There was a pool of blood flowing down the hallway coming straight from his dad's head. "Let's get you to the hospital Johnny." said his mom. Johnny was moaning and bleeding. She got into an ambulance and drove to a hospital. "Mam, your son isn't going to make it." "Don't say that!" "I am just being realistic mam" "Shut the hell up! He is gonna make it!" his mom was yelling and crying at the same time. "We are here!" yelled the driver. They got Johnny on the stretcher and rolled him into the hospital entrance very quickly. They rushed him up the elevator and into the emergency room. They gave him a medicine that calmed Johnny and put him into a deep sleep so they could do the operation. They guided his mom into the waiting room while she was breaking down in tears. The doctors were yelling things like "PASS ME THE PLIERS!" or "I can't get it out!". Finally, after 6 hours, they got the bullets out, and wrapped up the wounds. Then Johnny woke up, lucky to be alive. His mom and a medical assistant were helping him down the stairs and into a taxi. They drove home, his mom still crying, and they got out of the taxi. His mom and the taxi driver helped him into the house, and Johnny and his mom sat down at the kitchen table. They started to eat there McDonald's. "I love you sweety." "I love you too mom." Still grabbing his stomach, and they both smiled at each other. THE END.

Peter had been sick ever since he was a little boy. Once a month the pale little boy had to go into the hospital for something, weather it be for bronchitis, a strange rash, or passing out. Peter was sick all the time.

So, as people do, he developed anxiety around hospitals and doctors. He knew, whenever he had to go to the hospital he would get bad news. “Peter, your joints are too weak, you can’t participate in sports.” “Peter, with your immune system you can’t play in the snow.” “Peter, I think it’s best you stay inside. Your allergies will act up.”
One week after his seventeenth birthday he was in the hospital again. The boy, still thin as a rail and pale as a ghost, sat in the waiting room with his mother. His foot was tapping like mad as he picked at his fingernails. His eyes never left the clock for a moment, watching it tick by, the seconds drew longer and longer, the minutes seemed to take years.
“I have a bad feeling about this.” He said to his mother, although he continued to look at the clock. “A very bad bad bad feeling.”
“Peter, it’s going to be alright.” She assured him and touched his hand lightly. His foot tapping slowed slightly and he glanced at her.. “You’ve always come into the hospital and left just fine.”
“People don’t just have random things growing on their lungs for no reason.” He said as his eyes tore away from her and back to the clock. “People don’t just have that for nothing.”
A few weeks earlier the doctor had taken an x-ray of his chest, checking if he had a fluid buildup in his lungs. What they found was a large mass on his right lung, they had never noticed it before. They did a biopsy and took a sample, they had tested it, and he had gotten a call to come into the hospital today.
Those three weeks were the most stressful of his life.
“How can they make someone wait like this?” The young man stood up and began to pace around the half empty waiting room. “Three weeks! Three weeks I’ve been waiting, they call me in, say “Come in at three” and it’s four. Don’t they know how important this is?”
“Peter, come sit…” His mother told him as he just leaned against the wall, ignoring her. “You will be fine!”
“I’ve never been fine before.” He glanced back at the clock, another minute had passed.
“Yes you were. I mean of course you had limitations, but you always ended up okay.”
“If you consider being locked indoors, unable to go outside because it is either too hot or too cold, not being able to be like any other person is fine, then I was doing fantastic.” He rolled his eyes. “Why not just add lung cancer onto that?”
“Peter, you know how I feel about that word. You have to stay positive…”
“Positive? How am I supposed to do that?” He snapped and glared at her for a few moments, before looking back at the clock. “It’s just a word. Cancer is just a word.”
“Still…” She sighed and stood up, walking beside him. “You are strong… Everything you’ve been through has only made you stronger. Even if you do have… Cancer.” She swallowed. “You can make it through that. I know you can. We’ll figure it out.”
He didn’t look up to acknowledge his mother. He barely even heard her. The only thing going through his mind was fear, how terrified he felt. He sat back down and buried his face in his hands. He had been sick before, but nothing like this. Nothing that could end his life. If that doctor gave him bad news, he didn’t know what he would do. Would he fight, or give up?
A nurse walked into the waiting room and looked over her chart. “Peter Michaels?” She said as he looked up. “The doctor is ready to see you now.”
He stood up and began to walk. His mother followed behind and touched his arm lightly as he jerked it away.She paused as she watched her son walk into the office, said a quick prayer in her head, and then quickly followed behind him.

Prologue

In a faraway land, where nothing existed, no animals lived, no human life forms existed and where no one remained, a single pearl fell from the sky. It fell with grace, floating like a feather, beaming light wherever direction it went.

That pearl fell in the water, and suddenly, the ocean started bubbling. Bubbles and pockets of air started coming from the water and ascending to the heavens. And where stood once an incontrollable forming of bubbles, was a shell.

That shell, closed, was no ordinary shell, as it had a special craving on it. The craving said :
” Thou shall find what you seek, in the eye of the wind. Thou shall end the purges and dangers, that our world is filled. Thou may face problems, just remember to sing. Thou shall, in the end, listen to what you feel.”

After some time, the shell opened, and from it, a god emerged. The Venus of Domca was now born.
The Venus of Domca created the land, the waves, the clouds and the animals. But, not far away, another pearl fell from the sky. This pearl was, however, not made out of pure light. It was made out of darkness.
That dark pearl fell in the water, creating fog and earthquakes, and from it, the god of dark was born. The Mars of Szymon was once again, in control.

Domca and Szymon fought for many years, destroying villages, creating natural disasters, and even killing each other. For many years their bodies were destroyed and set asleep in the Shells of Equilibrium, guarded by the 4 High Lords of Luzon: Gerda the Great, Wesley the Lord, Bailey the Master and Hunter the Sorcerer.

For many years the Shells of Equilibrium have been guarded, but now, a new force will attack the land, which will cause the world to come to a near end....

Chapter 1: A New Day

It was a calm day in a village called Saracen, where farmers were taking care of their plantations, marketers were trading business and everything good was happening.
A humble villager named Craig was ready to wake up. He put on his clothes and went to work. On the other side of the street, he saw his friend, Charley, who was carrying chickens and usable pleasure toys.
“What’s up Charley? Taking care of chickens I see?” - said Craig
“Well no duh, you dummy. I am just taking care of my chickens. I am selling them for my pleasure market. Many men like them chickens, you know?” – said Charley

Craig and Charley walked together to the black market, where they traded pleasure items and food stockings. It was a great afternoon, but Craig saw something interesting on a stand.

“Excuse me, what is this?” – asked Craig while looking at a clock.
“HELLO MY CHILD! How are you?” – shouted Sergiana, in a hype mood.
“Ummm, good?” – said Craig hesitant
“You know, like you have to buy this, I mean, it is a very good clock that came from the sky and it is like very good because it came from the sky and things that come from the sky are good.” – explained Sergiana
“Well yeah bu..”

“No, no, no, you have to buy it, things from the sky are very good and such, I mean people thought I was a man for years, but that is because they never listened to what I got to say and they think I am annoying, but in reality I am not annoying and I like to talk and I still think I don’t talk a lot.”

“Ok, ok, ok, SHUT UP! I will buy it, just shut up…” - yelled Craig in anger “Yay, thank you so much, I am very ha..” “SHUT UP!” “Fine…” – reluctantly said Sergiana

Sergiana gave the clock to watch for 50 rubies, and the clock was a strange one. It has a drawing of a beautiful Venus and an ugly Mars. In the back of it, it said:”Thou shall find what you seek, in the eye of the wind. Thou shall end the purges and dangers, that our world is filled. Thou may face problems, just remember to sing. Thou shall, in the end, listen to what you feel.”

“What is this?” – Craig asked himself
“Hey, what’s that? Looks shiny.” – asked Charley
“Just a clock… Looks cool.”
“Can I steal it? “ – smiled Charley
“No, you klept-hoe-maniac!” – told Craig
Both started laughing, but looked back at the watch.
“Anyway, we can totally ask the folks at the castle about it.” – suggested Charley
“What?! Are you crazy? They will not care about some stupid clock with stupid writing!
“Let’s try at least. I have given them pleasure items for years. I am sure they will let us in.”
“Fine….”

Chapter 2: Castle Man

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this….” – said Craig
“Shut up, you’re stupid. Trust me…” – said Charley
Craig and Charley walked to the castle, but when they reached the door, the guards stopped them
“HALT!” – Yelled Sir Trace and Sir Eddie
“Um, I am sorry, but here is the deal. You let us pass, and you get pleasure. Deal?” – said Charley
Without hesitating, the guards moved back and let Craig and Charley in. They walked through the castle to the throne room.

When they reach the throne room, they were amazed by the amount of powerful people in that room.
There was the High Priestess Sam, Lord Lincoln, the Fair Nuno, Sir Guzrineas, Clown Spencer, High Queen Taylor, High King Trace and Warrior Kaeden.

They all formed the Round Table, consisted of the land’s most brave warriors.

“Excuse me, we have found a clock, it seems a little odd.” – said Charley

Sir Guzrineas stood up to get the clock. He took it and read the writing in it.

“Where did you find this?” – asked Guzrineas
“I bought it on a market.”- said Craig
“Are you a member of the Shadow Clan?”
“No, sir.”
“Are you sure?”
“Definitely”
“Are you sure you are sure?
“Definitely”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Ok, I’ve had it up to here. I am not part of anything related to any Shadow Clan. I just want to know what this is.”

They took Craig and Charley to a room, where they saw the story of Domca and Szymon, of how they were locked in Shells, and of how they could be returning any time soon.

“We have been for years trying to stop the Shadow Clan from getting this clock, because inside it, is a map leading to the Shells of Equilibrium.” – said Nuno

“We need to stop them from getting to it, so your missing will be finding the Shells and destroying them.” – said Sam

“Wait what?!” – said Craig and Charley at once

“Well, we can send Sir Eddie, the Fair Nuno and Lord Lincoln with you.” – said High King Trace

Craig tried to control his anger over the people standing in front of him, but decided to let it go, and accept his fate. He noticed how Charley was also scared near him, and probably was not very happy about that either.

“We have to do.”- whispered Craig to Charley
“I know…”
“Trust me, right?”
“Yeah.”
They fist bumped and jumped on the wagon, who was already waiting outside for them, leading to a journey they would never forget.

Chapter 3: Road Trip The trip took a while, and it was bad. They finally arrived in the place where the clock told them to go. It was a very plain beach with only a few rocks and conchs in it.

“Are we in the right place?” – asked Charley
“Definitely. The clock works like a compass and it only points this way. So I guess we have to go here.” – said Nuno

They started looking for something in the beach, but could not find anything good. They searched for hours and hours, but to no luck.
“Shouldn’t we end it here? I’m bored….” – said Lincoln
“What the hell? Let us keep searching. You people are so lazy.” – said Eddie

They kept searching for more hours, but still could not find anything. However, suddenly, the clock started to heat up in Craig’s hand.

“Ouch!!”
“What happened?” – asked Nuno
“It is burning my hand!!” – yelled Craig while throwing it on the ground

After throwing it on the ground, the clock started to sink in the sand. It sinked and kept sinking, until the ground started to shake.

“What is happening!!!!??” – asked Charley
“Don’t ask me!!”- said Eddie
“Well, this is your entire fault!”
“I don’t care!”
“STOP! Both of you, shut up! We need to get away from here.” – yelled Craig
“No, wait! Something is coming up from the ground.” – said Lincoln
Two shiny objects started to rise from the ground and created a beam of light, high in the sky.

“Look, it’s writing something with light!” – yelled Craig

The message read: “The eye of the wind is in your view, the end is in your view, the emotions are in your view, and life in is your view.”

“Oh my god, what does it mean?” – asked Charley

Well I guess we will have to fin...”

Perry turned the page, but when he did, the entire book disintegrated. He felt shocked and tricked, knowing he should never have trusted Shaniqua Quaflleburg, book best seller, when buying the book.

Perry got the book and guarded it on his closet, having to know that he would never find out about the secret of the Shells of Equilibrium.

“Perry, come to dinner!” – called his mother
“Coming!” – said Perry
Perry left his room, perplexed by the wonders and mysteries he had just faced.

It was blinding. The white was so overpowering, the man could barely keep his eyes open. He was surrounded by light and he felt serene. As he forced himself to look up, he saw something floating above him. It was the most beautifully undefined figure he has ever seen. The golden haired angel was looking over him.

“Chris.. You need to listen to me, this is what you need to do.” The angel basically sang him the beginning of these instructions. “Now remember-“
Suddenly Chris opened his eyes. There was a beeping in the background and strangers in masks standing over him. Everyone seemed so happy, but Chris was confused. It wasn’t until after it was explained to him how he was hit and dragged by a city bus when Chris’s ‘dream’ had started to make sense. As soon as Chris was able to leave the hospital, he realized what he had to do.
Instead of jumping the gun with his idea, he decided he should plan things out. He started by brainstorming how he could see that angel again. He became obsessed with finding out what the angel was going to say. He thought about the probabilities of how he could get back to the angel.
Two months later, after getting hit by the bus, Chris set out to find the angel. He went to his towns local swimming pool. He climbed up the high dive’s tall latter and quickly threw himself off into the water. As soon as he was deep enough under, he opened his mouth and inhaled. Suddenly, he could see nothing but black.
The dark started fading to light. He looked above him, and he could see the angel transcending from above. “Chris,” the angel started to say, “Chris… you need…”
Chris suddenly felt a pain in his chest. He then opened his eyes to see the outside world he tried to leave. The life guard told him he needed to be more careful and to not go off the high dive again. Chris pushed the life guard out of his face and screamed, “Don’t tell me what to do!”
He stormed out of the facility and got into his car. While he was driving, and idea popped into his head. He started driving to his local drug store and ran inside. He searched the shelves full of pills in order to find something that would take him to the angel. When he got home, he took almost the full bottle. He sat on his couch, flipped on the TV, and let the pills take over his body.
It was painful. He kept checking the clock to see how much time has passed. He was starting to feel weary and worn down. ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ he began to think to himself. His stomach gave him pains worse than getting simultaneously kicked by an elephant and stung by bees. His vision started going as well as his hearing. He thought he heard a knocking in the background, but he quickly fell unconscious.
When he opened his eyes, he felt a feeling of euphoria. He was surrounded by white. The angel descended from the sky.
She spoke softly, her voice had a sweet ring to it. “Chris,” she said, “You need to start li-“
The angel was quickly cut off and she disappeared. The white quickly changed to black. Chris opened his eyes. He was in a hospital again. He was hooked up to an IV. There was no one in the room. Chris decided to wait until someone came to see if he was awake. It wasn’t until an hour or more that Chris had enough. He ripped the IV out of his arm and left the hospital.
Chris decided he needed to see the angel again. He was so close. He seemed addicted to the idea of death just to find out the angel’s message. It was his drug. He dedicated all of his time in order to find out the message of the angel.
Chris decided to get in his car and drive. It was late, so he figured no one could stop him from reaching the angel. He got on the entrance ramp and quickly gunned it. He went from 30 to 90 miles per hour quickly. The more he held down the gas peddle, the faster he went. He could hear the gears in his car shifting in order to keep up. Suddenly, Chris jerked the wheel to the left. He slammed into the highway’s center medium and flipped over into the other side of the highway. He was instantly blinded by the light.
“Chris, I’ve been trying to tell you to live your life.. You’ve been so obsessed with reaching death, you missed out. Instead, you are here. But this time.. for good. You missed your shot to be alive, so now.. You must die. Go to sleep now.”
Chris looked up horrified at the angel. The light was gone. There was nothing.

It was a warm spring day in May, when the Favorites went down to an old stream that was still flowing gently with the fresh water that lead out to an old textile mill. They sat on a nice patch of grass that was cool to the touch and as green as emeralds. Around them were a few gray rocks, who's stone faces had begun to crack over the years. Cool moss had begun to spread over the tops of the rocks giving it a peaceful aged appearance. Near the rocks was a small patch of wild flowers that were vibrant colors, they stood out next to the cold gray rocks and their neutral green background which was the grass. The flowers came in oranges, pinks, purples, yellows, and blues, the suns rays highlighted their beauty as they stood in their small patch. The rush of the stream could be heard from where they were sitting, the stream flowed by, providing the lively fish with a rout to swim. The warm sun rays came down and reflected off the stream, turning the water into liquid diamonds that were blinding to the eyes as the glimmer bounced playful off the surface. The dragonflies that zipped around were that of elegance, landing, observing, and flying once more, their colors caught attention of many, the greens and blues were that of the sky and grass, the reds were that of a rose. They flew around always watching, their magnifying eyes seeing all there was to see. The clouds in the sky floated gracefully by, they were as bright as the first snow of winter. The bright sapphire sky look perfect, it stretched over everything and as far as the eye could see. They all sat on a nice clear patch of grass, Charley had prepared a nice picnic lunch with everything they had been craving while on the island. Everyone was digging in, when Trace piped up with an idea “How about we all go down to the abandoned mill!” Taylor had a concerned look on her face as she said “I've got a bad feeling about this,” “Oh come on it will be fun,” exclaimed Trace. “Are you sure we will have enough time?” asked Charley, “I checked the clock in the hotel before we left, it was 11:30 then so it is about 12:20 now and we need to be back by 5:00 so we will have enough time,” explained Jay to Taylor, “Ugh fine if we must,” said Taylor reluctantly. Everyone went down to the old mill and went in, it was gloomy and dark and about to fall apart, the expedition did not last that long when a ceiling board fell and Taylor ran out screaming claiming it was haunted. The Favorites all walked back to their picnic and packed away the food and hopped into the van and drove back to the hotel.

Sam, a contestant on Survivor Madagascar, goes to check the forum for the first individual immunity challenge. Upon reading it, Sam is excited to learn that it is a challenge where she has the chance to be creative. However, Sam looks at her clock and realizes she only has 10 minutes until the deadline. Sam mutters "I've got a bad feeling about this," but typing faster than the speed of light, she manages to whip up a short story with only the small amount of time she had. When the challenge results are announced Sam is excited, yet not surprised, to see that she has won the first individual immunity challenge.

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