The Super Morpher, Chapter 5: Learning Through Practice

Ryan woke up and felt an arm across his chest. He looked over at Becky who was snuggled up against him and he smiled. He had so much fun with Becky on their date last night. First they went and got a pizza from Antonios, who made the best pizza in the city. They’d talked and laughed for a while, he’d had no idea that Becky was so funny. After that, they walked over to the planetarium and did a little stargazing. After that Becky talked him into going to Club Trip, and they had spent most of the night dancing. After that he walked Becky back to her apartment, she invited him up and he ended up staying for some more fun.

The watch on his wrist started beeping and he groaned. He reached over to turn it off as fast as he could, but it was too late. Becky stirred. “Ryan? What was that?”

Ryan sighed. “That was an alarm reminding me that I’m supposed to go and meet with Jordan to work on one of his experiments.”

Becky pouted. “Do you have to leave already? We didn’t even get to have breakfast yet.”

“I’m sorry, Becky, but I have to go. Jordan gets pretty upset if I’m late.” Ryan gave Becky a quick kiss on the lips and and crawled out of bed and began hunting for his clothes that were strewn about the room.

Becky watched Ryan with a longing look on her face. “Are you sure you have to go now? Maybe we could have a little more fun before you go off to work with Jordan.”

Ryan bit his lip and breathed in deep. “I’m sorry, but I have to go. I had a great time last night, and I’ll call you later to see if you want to have another one tonight.”

Becky smiled. “You had better. If you don’t, I’ll call Jordan and see if I can’t get him to stand you up.”

Ryan laughed. “I’ll see you later, Becky. Stay beautiful.” Ryan gave her a wink before opening the door to her room and nearly bumping into Becky’s roommate, Samantha. She was wearing a bathrobe with her hair wrapped up in a towel turban and a toothbrush in her mouth.

She glared at Ryan. “So you did end up spending the night. If you decide to do so again, could you try to keep the noise down? Some of us have class in the morning.”

Ryan smiled back at her. “I can’t make any promises, but you should definitely get a different advisor; one that can help you avoid morning classes.”

Samantha crossed her arms. “I’m sorry, not all of us are only in school because we’re football superstars. Some of us are here because we actually want to learn.”

“I’m not a football player anymore, but I do know how to have fun. Maybe I can help you have some fun sometime too?”

Samantha gasped. “You are a pig! Get out of my apartment!” She pointed at the front door.

Ryan laughed and walked toward the door. He opened the door, turned and said, “The offer is still good if you change your mind.”

“Out!” Ryan ducked through the door and closed it behind him.

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Ryan walked into the lab. “I’m sorry I’m late. I didn’t know how hard it was to catch a bus this early in the morning from the other side of town.”

Jordan looked up from his computer screen and absently said, “Oh, hi, Ryan. I didn’t even realize you weren’t here yet. Guess you had better start exercising.” Jordan turned back to his computer and started typing away at it while mumbling to himself.

Ryan pulled off his gloves and set them on the counter. He dropped down to the ground and started doing pushups. “So you’re not mad that I’m late? Usually you freak out about stuff like this.”

Jordan replied distractedly, “Is that so?”

“Yeah, you usually get on my case about me shirking responsibilities and being late.”

“Yeah?”

“Are you even paying attention to me?”

“Interesting.”

Ryan stopped doing pushups, stood up, and looked at Jordan. “You have a monkey on your head.”

“I agree.” Ryan picked up one of the textbooks sitting next to Jordan and dropped it onto the ground with a loud thud. Jordan jumped and glared at Ryan. “What was that for?”

“You aren’t paying any attention to what I’m saying. What has you so distracted?”

Jordan turned off the computer and sighed. “Dr. Mechanique has me working on a new project for him. I’m working on finding a new lightweight, durable, non-corrosive alloy for him to use in his prosthetics and I’m having a difficult time finding one with the right mix of qualities. I’m not looking forward to telling him that I can’t find one for him to use.”

Ryan smiled. “Oh, come on. I’m sure that a genius like you would have no problems finding a solution that would work. I’m pretty sure Dr. Mechanique feels the same way, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked you to work on this. You haven’t come up with anything yet?”
“Well, I have come up with several possible alloys for him to use, but I’m certain there is one out there that can have the strength of the ones that I’ve already found, but is lighter.”

“It sounds to me like you have already done more than he was able to.” Ryan snapped his fingers. “You know what you need? You need to do something fun, to get your mind off of the problem for a while so that you can come at it with a fresh mind. That’s what you usually tell me when I’m having trouble with homework.”

Jordan laughed. “It is, isn’t it? I might have to try that. So, why didn’t you come home last night?”

“I was out with Becky, and she invited me to stay over for the night, if you know what I mean.”

Jordan looked at Ryan in shock. “You slept with Becky? I didn’t even know you guys were dating! What about waiting for Kari?”

Ryan shrugged. “Who knows how long it will be before Kari agrees to go out with me? While I wait for her to come to her senses, I may as well have some fun with Becky.”

Jordan shook his head. “You know, that was a pretty dumb move, Ryan. I’m pretty sure that Kari is the type of girl that will be less likely to go out with you if you do stuff like this.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Psst, shows what you know. If the girls are playing hard to get, you have to make them jealous. I’d say, if anything, I just improved my chances.”

“Whatever. Shouldn’t you be doing some pushups or something?”

Ryan dropped back down to the ground and began doing pushups again. “So have you been working on any fun new toys for me to play with?”

Jordan looked away. “I have a few ideas for new gadgets for you to play with, but I haven’t had time to work on any lately. I’ve been a little busy working on that problem for Dr. Mechanique.”

“That’s okay. I’ve been doing pretty well so far with what you’ve already given me. What kind of gadgets are you thinking about working on?”

Jordan turned and smiled. “I noticed the biggest problem you have with your powers is that you are limited to turning into what you have around you. So I am working on making special containers that you can carry with you that will have different materials you can absorb.”

Ryan stopped doing pushups and looked at Jordan. “I usually have plenty of stone around me to use. Body made out of stone combined with unbreakable fabric seems like a pretty good combination to me, why would I use anything else?”

“What if you end up someplace with no stone for you to absorb? Or what if someone knocks you into a lake? Being made of stone will just make you sink then, but wood floats and is also very durable. It’s more light-weight too. Rubber could be useful for getting around or absorbing blows. There are a lot of possibilities that could end up helping you in the field.”

Ryan nodded his head. “I see what you mean. What else have you been working on?”

“That’s the only idea I have that’s ready to be worked on at this time, but I am working on trying to come up with a way to get you around the city faster. I’m thinking possibly…”

Ryan interrupted Jordan and said, “A motorcycle!”

“Some grappling hooks. A motorcycle? You don’t even know how to drive one.”

“I would learn how! Besides, grappling hooks? Really? That’s so lame compared to a motorcycle!”

Jordan shook his head. “So far when you have been out helping people the police end up chasing you, and you run to the rooftops to escape. Grappling hooks would help you to get there faster. A motorcycle is a bad idea because it limits you to staying on the ground, where the police could set up ambushes to trap you, or someone could steal it while you are helping someone else. Plus the police would be able to trace a motorcycle back to you. Grappling hooks are much better.”

“What if you invented a motorcycle that could drive on walls? That could help me escape.”

Jordan sighed. “I’m a scientist, I can push the boundaries of science, but I can’t perform magic. Get back to your workout.”

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A firefighter supervised his team moving into position to combat the flames eating up a building. “Get a hose on the east side of that building! If we let it get out of control the building next to it is going to go up as well!”

Another firefighter ran up. “Chief, we have two adults and a baby trapped on the second floor. We need to send someone in to get them out of there!”

The chief bit his lip and stared at the fire. “Alright, get Stromski and Wansworth prepped to go and fast. We don’t have long before the building comes down.”

Ryan landed on the ground next to the fire chief. “I’ll get them out of there for you, chief, but I’ll need to borrow this!” Ryan reached out and touched the firefighter chief’s jacket and absorbed it. His body transformed to become the same material as the firefighters jacket.

The firefighter pointed at Ryan. “Hey, you must be that Super Morpher guy that I’ve heard people talking about! Can I get an autograph?”

The chief glared at the firefighter. “That’s not what’s important right now, and I thought I gave you an order.” The firefighter saluted and ran off. “I appreciate the offer of help but you aren’t trained for this situation and we are. Stick to stopping muggers.”

Ryan shook his head. “Can’t do that, chief. My powers give me an advantage over your training and I’m going to help people whenever I can!” Ryan turned and ran toward the building despite the chief’s protests. Ryan burst through the door of the burning building and tried to get his bearings. He saw a stairway at the end of the hall and ran for it.

The stairs had started on fire, but he dashed up the smoke-filled stairway. He breathed in smoke and started to cough. The smoke made his eyes water, and he lost his concentration and turned back to normal. The fire coat reappeared and fell down the stairs, and Ryan reached for it, but it was out of reach. Flames jumped up to lick at his now exposed hand, and in a panic Ryan tried to focus on absorbing fire. To his surprise he absorbed the flames and his body transformed into flame.

Ryan looked down at his blazing palms. “This is incredible.” Fire shot from his hands and started to make the ceiling smolder. “Ah! I can’t control this!” Ryan focused on rejecting the fire. His body turned back to normal and he started to run up the burning stairway.

Jordan’s voice sounded in Ryan’s ear. “Ryan, what’s going on?”

“I lost the fire suit, found out I can absorb fire, but can’t control it, so now I’m running through fire and pretty sure I’m going to have some burns from this.”

“My suit should protect you from the flames, but it can’t do anything about the heat. Get out of there as fast as you can and get back here. I should be able to whip up some cream for that burn for you.”

Ryan made it up onto the second floor and looked at the hallway with five doors running along it. “Where are you? I’m here to help!” Ryan started running down the fire-filled hallway, kicking a door open. He looked inside the room and saw nothing. He moved onto the next door. “I want to help you, but I can’t find you!”

Ryan was about to kick another door down when he heard a muffled cry from the baby. Ryan moved to the door at the end of the hallway, kicked it open and found the mother and father collapsed and unconscious. Ryan quickly scanned the room looking for the baby, but was unable to find it. He finally noticed that the muffled cries were coming from under the parents. Ryan picked the two adults up and found the crying baby girl. Ryan ran to the window on the room and opened it up. “I have two unconscious adults here! I need someone to catch them!”

The firefighters down below started moving and set up a life net below the window. Ryan picked up the mother and tossed her down onto the lifenet. She hit the net, bounced a few times and then the firefighters pulled her off of the net and set it up again to catch the father. Ryan tossed him down, didn’t wait for them to clear him off of the net before he scooped the baby up and jumped out of the window, over the firefighters heads, to land on the ground a short distance away. A paramedic and the fire chief ran over to Ryan.

The paramedic took the baby from Ryan and started checking its vitals. Ryan started coughing, but managed to get out, “Those two need medical assistance, they were passed out on top of the baby.”

The fire chief stared at Ryan in disbelief. “They need help? What about you? You must be covered in burns and be suffering from smoke inhalation!”

Ryan gave the fire chief a weak smile. “Don’t worry about me, I heal pretty fast. I lost your jacket, though. Sorry.”

The fire chief shook his head. “You’re crazy, you know that?”

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard that.” Ryan heard sirens approaching from down the street and glanced nervously in that direction. “I believe you have a fire to fight, and I have to get back to protecting this city. Keep me in mind if you have to fight any more fires.” Ryan took off running.
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A man wearing a bunny mask lifted a machine gun over his head and fired it up at the ceiling of the bank. People turned and stared at him in panic, some even fell to the ground and covered their heads. “This is a robbery! I want you all down on the ground with your hands on your head,” he pointed his gun at the teller, “except for you! I want you to open up the vault for me.”

The teller began sobbing and turned to start turning the knobs on the vault. One of the security guards rose to his knees and pulled out his pistol. He aimed it at the robber’s back, and a burst of machine gun sounded out from behind the security guard. The robber turned around and saw the security guard collapse onto his face, a puddle of blood beginning to form under him. The robber looked up at a man wearing a turtle mask with a smoking machine gun in his hands.

The man with the turtle mask made a disgusted sound. “You’re starting to get sloppy. This guy had you dead to rights.”

The other robber growled, “Maybe I was counting on you to watch my back for me!”

The teller snuck over to the booth and pressed the silent alarm button, but a third man wearing an elephant mask backhanded her face. “You’re both getting sloppy! She just triggered the silent alarm! Let’s get this vault cleaned out before the cops show up!”

The other two robbers ran and jumped over the tellers booth and pulled the vault door open. They ran inside and the three of them began filling the duffle bags they wore over their shoulders with money and gold bars.

Ryan walked into the vault and touched a gold bar, turning himself into metal. Ryan tisked, crossed his arms and shook his head. The robbers all turned and looked at Ryan. “I’m pretty sure this isn’t the right way to make a withdrawal, fellas. If you put the money down, maybe the teller will be able to help you find the proper forms?”

The robber in the bunny mask shouted out, “Who the heck is this guy?”

The robber in the elephant mask picked up his machine gun and pointed it at Ryan. “Who cares? Waste this guy!” The three robbers stood there and fired bullets at Ryan, and all of them bounced off of his suit.

Ryan started laughing, “Stop it, that tickles!” The robbers stopped firing and stared at Ryan in confusion. The turtle-masked robber reached into his jacket and pulled out a grenade. Ryan darted at the robber with the grenade in his hand and punched the man in the face. “If you are going to be that way about it…” The robber collapsed to the ground, and the grenade rolled out of his hands with the pin still in it. “Then you give me no choice but to play this way!” Ryan punched the other two robbers, and they dropped down onto the ground as well.

Ryan turned back to normal and the gold bar dropped back onto the pile with a klink. Ryan groaned in pain, reached down and grabbed the three robbers by the collar of their jackets and drug them out of the vauld. “I thought turning into gold would help to protect me from their bullets, but I can already feel I’m still covered in bruises.”

Jordan’s voice came over the radio in Ryan’s ear. “Gold is a soft metal, so of course it’s still going to hurt. You should have absorbed part of the vault door.”

“I’ll try to remember that next time.” Ryan dropped the three thieves off behind the booth and closed the vault door. He smiled at the teller and she smiled back. Ryan looked at her name tag. “Here you go, Amber. I don’t think these three should cause you any more trouble. Make sure the police put these three somewhere they won’t hurt anyone else, and call an ambulance for that security guard.”

Amber’s smile faded. “Oh, no! Jerry!” Amber picked up the phone that sat on the bank booth, and Ryan turned and ran out of the bank.

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Ryan ran past screaming people into Sam’s Electronics and Things, and took in the scene. Five men wearing the red and orange uniforms of employees of the store were carrying flat screen TV’s and crying. Behind them walked five men with machine guns in their hands. One of them pointed at Ryan. “I think that’s that Super Morpher I’ve been hearing about lately! Waste him, boys!” He walked forward and shoved one of the men carrying TV’s over and started firing at Ryan.

Ryan frantically looked back and forth for something to absorb, but found nothing within reach. “I hate it when this happens.” Bullets crashed into Ryan’s chest, and he cried out in pain. His hands came up to clutch onto his chest, and he dropped to his knees.

One of the other gunmen laughed. “I don’t know why anybody had any troubles with this guy. He wasn’t anything special!” The other robbers laughed as well, and started to nudge the employees with the muzzles of their machine guns. “Keep moving, we have a truck to fill.”

Ryan rose back up to his feet, his body turned to lead, and he darted at the gunman that had shot at him. He punched the man in the face before he had a chance to react, sending him flying into a display, where he collapsed to the ground. “I really hate being shot before I absorb anything!”

The other robbers pointed their guns at Ryan and started firing. Ryan smiled and nodded his head. “Yes, now that I absorbed one of your bullets it’s fine to shoot me all you want. Just so you know, if you keep doing that I’m going to have to do this!” Ryan ran up to one of the other robbers and punched the man in the face. The man’s eyes rolled back and he fell face first to the ground. Ryan grabbed the machine gun from the man as he collapsed, and bent the barrel of the gun so that they couldn’t fire it any longer.

The employees dropped the TV’s they were carrying and ran toward the front of the store. One of the remaining gunmen turned to point their gun at the backs of the fleeing employees, but Ryan threw the gun he held and nailed the robber in the face with it. the robber fell over unconscious, his gun firing bullets up at the ceiling, one of them hitting one of the light bulbs. Sparks flew from the broken light bulb and the lights started flickering.

Ryan started running at the remaining two gunmen. “Stop right there, or I end this man’s life!” yelled one of the gunmen. He had grabbed one of the retreating employees and had his machine gun aimed at the man’s head.

Ryan stopped. “Let him go!”

The gunman laughed. “Oh, we’ll let him go. After you do exactly what I say! I want you to move to the back of the store, and lay down on the ground! Once we’re safely outside, we’ll let him go!”

Jordan came over the radio. “Do what they say, Ryan. The police are forming up outside to form a raid. Take this opportunity to get away and let the police handle the rest of this.”

Ryan started to move toward the back of the store. “Alright, I’ll do what you want. Just don’t hurt him.”

The store employee was sobbing, and the men started to move to the front of the store. Ryan continued to the back of the store, and started running for the loading docks. After a little while, Ryan said, “Jordan, give me an update! Do the police have the men in custody?”

The line was silent for a few moments before Jordan replied. “I don’t believe it. Those gunmen killed their hostage, and injured two police officers before they were shot down.”

Ryan stopped, and his hands formed into fists. He screamed out in frustration and punched through the concrete wall he was standing next to. “How could I have let this happen? I should have stopped those men. I should have been able to stop anyone from dying today.”

“Ryan, this isn’t your fault. There wasn’t anything you could have done to save that man. You need to get out of there, the police are sweeping through the building looking for other gunmen.”

Ryan started running. “Jordan, I want you to come up with a new way for me to train. I need to become better so I can prevent things like this from happening again.” Ryan opened the door at the back of the building and started to make his way onto the roof.

Jordan replied, “Sure, just head back to the dorm, you’ve had enough crime fighting for one day.”

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Lieutenant Jacob stood next to his car with the fire chief. “The Super Morpher was here? And you didn’t detain him?”

The fire chief chortled. “He just saved the lives of three people after running into a burning building. Why would I want to detain the guy? He’s a hero!”

“Either that or he’s trying to make himself look like one. He could have been the one to set the fire.”

The fire chief shook his head. “I looked into the cause of the fire. Someone left an oven mitt too close to the soup cooking on the stove. Once the parents regained consciousness, they said they had left the soup simmering on the oven and were giving their little girl a bath. By the time they realized the fire had started, they were trapped on the second floor.”

“You interacted with him, what can you tell me about him?”

“Besides his blatant disregard for his personal safety? Not much. He touched my jacket and it disappeared, and then his body changed. He ran inside the building after that. Next time I saw him he was coughing, but that’s no real surprise. Darn fool, running into the building like that without an oxygen mask.”

“He was coughing. Maybe he’s not invincible after all. You said that his body changed. What do you mean by that?”

“Suddenly his body looked like it was made from the same material as my jacket. There’s not much else I can tell you.”

Lieutenant Jacob started stroking his chin. “Hmm, thanks for your time.”

Lieutenant Jacob’s partner walked up to him. “I just heard over the radio that there’s a bank robbery in progress.”

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Lieutenant Jacob looked at the computer screen showing the security footage of the robbery. “There, stop the video! Now rewind it a bit.” Jacob watched carefully as Ryan reached out and touched a gold bar, and it disappeared. “He just took that gold bar! The guy’s a thief!”

The security guard looked up at Jacob. “Are you kidding? We have witnesses that saw him walk out of the bank, and none of them said anything about him carrying anything with him.”

Jacob frowned. “Well, maybe he hid it somewhere in his suit.”

The security guard looked at Jacob incredulously. “Have you seen his suit? Where would he hide anything in that?”

“I don’t know, maybe I’ll ask him when I track him down. Go ahead and and continue the security footage.” The security guard hit play on the tape and Lieutenant Jacob watched the screen closely.

The security guard pointed at the screen. “There, did you see that? He put the bar back.”

Lieutenant Jacob frowned on the screen. “But where did it come from? It seems like it just reappeared.”

The security guard rewinded the tape and watched it closely. “You’re right. I wonder how that happened? Tape must be skipping.”

“Hmm, I don’t know about that. Thank you for your time, give us a call if you can think of anything else that might be useful.”

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Lieutenant Jacob walked up the stairs behind one of the security guards from Sam’s Electronics and Things. “I’m sorry to hear about Darrell’s death. I’ll make sure that the Super Morpher pays for it.”

The security guard turned his head and looked at Lieutenant Jacob. “Why should the Super Morpher pay for it?”

“It’s his fault that Darrell died. If he hadn’t interfered with a police operation we would have been able to save Darrell’s life.”

The Security Guard shook his head and continued up the steps. “It wasn’t until the police got involved that Darrell died. The Super Morpher did everything he could to keep Darrell alive.”

“Well, that is your opinion, and maybe it will change after we watch the fight.” The security guard opened the door to a room that was filled with computer monitors showing different areas of the store.

The guard sat in a chair in front of the monitors and pointed at the middle screen. “You’ll want to pay attention to that one. It gives the best view of the confrontation, in my opinion.”

Jacob watched the computer monitor intently. He watched the fight between the Super Morpher and the thieves. He pointed at the monitor. “There, rewind that. I need to see it from a different angle.” The security guard rewinded the tape and Jacob watched a different monitor. “Did you see that?”

The guard looked at the screen confused. “See what? That he got shot?”

Lieutenant Jacob smiled. “Yes, and it looks like it hurt him. Maybe this guy isn’t as invincible as everyone thinks he is.”

The guard shook his head. “That may be, but he sure didn’t act like it bothered him too much. Look at how hard he’s fighting now. The bullets aren’t even making him flinch now.”

Jacob stroked his chin. “Hmm, you’re right. Something about him changed. Wait, his skin color, it’s different now than it was before. He looks like he is made out of metal!”

The guard nodded his head. “That would make sense if that was one of his powers, being called the Super Morpher and all.”

“But why did he wait to change until after he got shot? Is it possible that he can only change into what he’s touching? Thank you for showing me this tape. Could you send copies of all camera angles to my office?”

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Lieutenant Jacob walked into the police department and cringed when he heard the police chief bellow out, “Jacob! My office, now!”

Jacob sighed and walked into the police chief’s office. The police chief slammed the door shut behind Jacob. Jacob put a fake smile on. “You’re looking good, chief. Did you get a hair cut?”

“Really? You want to talk about my haircut? I figured you’d want to tell me all about how the Super Morpher is responsible for the busy day our department had. He seems to be all you can talk about lately!”

“He was at all the crime scenes, Terry.”

“From what I understand he helped out at all the crime scenes as well.” Jacob opened his mouth to reply, but Terry held up his hand and cut him off. “Save it, I don’t want to hear about your conspiracy theories right now. There’s something bigger than a masked vigilante going on here. These attacks both happening today seems like more than a coincidence to me. I think a gang war is about to break out, and we’re going to have our hands full dealing with it. So I have a new assignment for you.”

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Ryan ignored his ringing phone as he continued to do pushups with one hand. Jordan looked up from his computer screen. “Ryan, aren’t you going to answer that?”

“No, right now my phone is only a distraction, one that I can’t afford until I become a better hero, until no one else dies because I wasn’t good enough.”

“I agree that your phone is a distraction, but it’s a distraction for me as well, so either answer it or turn it off.”

Ryan stopped doing pushups and pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Oh, it’s Becky. I probably shouldn’t ignore this one.” Ryan answered the phone and held it up to his ear. He walked out of Jordan’s lab. “Hello?”

Jordan smiled and turned his attention back to his research he was working on for Dr. Mechanique. He heard a knock on the door frame and he smiled. “So, are you running off now because Becky called? I thought your training was too important for distractions.”

Lieutenant Jacob cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who Becky is. My name is Lieutenant Jacob and I’d like to talk with you.”

Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more stories like it, check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page for updates on the stories here: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read.

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