pez_love: ([Emote] Love Me Love My Pez)
http://community.livejournal.com/paradisa/7614154.html

[lots of pen tapping can be heard, a little ink is spattered, and finally writing begins to appear in strong, slanted print]

I know I can speak into this journal, but writing sometimes helps me think. Getting things down on paper where I can see them laid out nice and neat.

I've been here for a while, and so far I think this place is really quite fantastic! I'm constantly finding Pez in my room, I suppose I've been wanting it without meaning to. This castle's very receptive to the desires of others, to all outward appearances...

But the one thing I really wanted is gone. I checked this morning: Miss Parker is gone.

She wasn't happy here, I know, and I hope she's happier back where she came from. Still, I do feel a little lonely. There were things I wanted to say and do, things I lost my chance at.

Again.

[audible sigh]

There's something gratifying, though, about the fact that I have no one but myself to blame. It's reminded me that I'm free here, where the Centre can't touch me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that in this place I can be whoever I want to be...including just me.

I'm really hoping that maybe here, I can find out who that is.
pez_love: ([Emote] Sneaky)
http://community.livejournal.com/paradisa/7268622.html

[All he did was close his eyes for an instant. He didn't fall asleep, he didn't lose consciousness...at least he's pretty sure he didn't.

So when he opens his eyes and finds himself not in the dingy hotel room that is his latest lair, but in a richly appointed room, he does more than note his surroundings and mentally catalog the contents within eyeshot...he feels a true sense of fear for the first time since his recapture.

Rising from the bed slowly, he moves to the center of the room and starts looking for cameras as, unwittingly, he's recorded by the journal calling out to nothing.]


Hello?!...HELLO! Where am I, who did this?!?!
pez_love: (Jarod Pez)
[locked from everyone at The Centre]

If you want the truth, I sometimes feel a little guilty about the hoops I make Sydney, Broots, and Miss Parker jump through...Miss Parker especially, with regards to her mother. I’ve never deliberately withheld information, and by that I mean store things up, you know? If I know something, I give it to her as soon as I possibly can...I just don’t make it easy for her. It’s not like The Centre’s made it easy for me, after all.

The thing is, I have something that she doesn’t, something that helps the pain. It’s an outlet, something that’s real and very tangible...my freedom. It’s a liberation, a way out of the darkness she doesn’t have. Not anymore, anyway...The Centre took that from her when they killed her boyfriend.

The pain of her mother’s death only adds to that, and I know the games, the clues...they all drive the knife deeper.

I don’t mean to hurt her, but what’s going on here is bigger than both of us. I’m fighting for my life in a very literal sense...everything I am, everything that makes me a person. She has that where I don’t...I may have my freedom, but she has an identity, and I envy her that.

Still...it doesn’t make it any easier. I want to go to her, to give her everything I know without reservation...to tell her how important she still is to me. I know she gave up the chase a long time ago...in her heart, she doesn’t really care anymore about catching me for the Centre.

She wants me for herself...the answers I have, the secrets I know.

And I want her for the same reason...and then some.

I’m doing what I have to do...but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

[/locked]

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 308
pez_love: (Jarod Who Am I?)
Jarod stood at the end of the tracks, watching the man walk slowly into the horizon with the boxcar looming beside him, his head down and his shoulders bent. The air was quiet and still, laced with the memory of early morning fog. Every step he took caused a cloudy puff of air to pass through his lips, visible as it rose before him into the air...the smokestack of a departing train.

As the man walked, his hand stretched out to touch the side of the boxcar, a loving caress that hit like a heartpunch. Jarod knew how much Carter Moldorf loved his trains...how much the whole Railroad Museum meant to him.

Yet somehow, it wasn’t enough to fix things.

For the first time it struck Jarod how even in triumph, a picture like that could be so sad. With Jarod’s help, Carter had managed to stop the city from taking away his permit to run the museum...had even declared the surrounding rails a historical landmark, allowing him to continue under the auspices of the local government. It didn’t change the fact, however, that Carter’s son had died in one of the train car displays, and that Carter himself had been framed for mismanagement of the cars...accused of killing his own child.

Carter had gotten back what he cared about...but nothing would ever bring back the son that he loved.

It was a rare occasion where nothing Jarod could do would ever be of true comfort...where winning the day just wasn’t enough to make things right. It hurt him badly, knowing he’d been unable to ease Carter’s suffering...he was a good man.

Good men didn’t deserve this kind of sorrow.

Glancing down at his notebook, Jarod shut it on the article covering the reclamation of the museum and laid it on the rails near a prominent railroad spike, buried in the track...golden, symbolizing the spike laid to join the two halves of the Transcontinental Railroad. Reaching into his coat pocket, he withdrew a small model train car...one that Carter had given him from the gift shop when Jarod first arrived in Lake Forester.

With great care, Jarod set the little train car atop the red notebook, along with a single red rose and a horseshoe. The train car was for Carter...

...but the rest? Carter told him all about the strange, wonderful notion of horseracing.

After he left Lake Forester, Jarod was going to head down south...see if this Kentucky Derby was worth a shot.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 425
pez_love: (Jarod Smirk!of doom)
Are you speaking in the literal sense? Because I’ve done just that...to a certain degree. Granted, at the time I executed them, such things were recent, but I have lived through a lot of historical moments. I became Lee Harvey Oswald to learn whether or not he had an accomplice in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I became a member of the Apollo 13 mission in order to figure out a way for them to safely return to earth.

I’ve been through a lot of history in my life...not all of it good. You want to know what I would change?

That’s an easy answer...nothing. Because I couldn’t change it the second time around.

Wishing to change the past is an exercise in futility...and *not* wishing to do just that is equally useless. It’s a part of human nature, wanting to correct the mistakes of the past...to right the wrongs that are so painfully obvious in hindsight.

The fact is, we live in the present...and in the present, there is no way to correct the mistakes we make. We’re human...it’s both a terrible and beautiful thing.

Now, in regards to the question, if you’re asking me what I would change about my *own* past if I could? I might change my parents past instead...keep them safe from the Centre somehow so that the Centre never found me...so that we could all be a family. I might let myself die rather than do any of the things the Centre wanted me to do, even as a child.

Other than that? I couldn’t change a thing, even if I wanted to.

You have to *have* a past in order to change it.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 289
pez_love: (Jarod Who Am I?)
Dreams often take images from the subconscious mind, which is why they’re so often left up to interpretation. Mine are no different, except for the fact that my own memory has been so thoroughly compromised through the machinations of circumstance and the ever vigilant servants of the Centre.

I dream of many things...I always have. The things they’ve made me do, the things I can’t remember...like my parents.

I suppose that’s the one dream that haunted me the longest, and in some ways still does. In the dream, I’m surrounded by clocks, and in the distance I can see a house. I’m on the front lawn...at least, me when I was younger, about four or five years old, not long before the Centre took me, I’m guessing.

I also see my mother...she’s hanging wash on the line outside, her back to me. I can hear her voice calling my name as my child self stares at me...trying to tell me *something* with his eyes...but even when I call out to my mother, she doesn’t turn around. I never see her face in the dreams. I didn’t then...and I don’t now.

What’s disturbing is that now? I *have* seen her. I have a photograph of my mother, and I’ve seen her in person...I was so close to meeting her, to holding her...

Yet in my dreams, I still can’t see her face. I can’t dream of my younger self running into her arms, of her turning around to smile...perhaps it’s because I don’t have those memories anymore, nothing for my mind to manifest. Sure, the imagination can do wonders...but mine was pretty severely restricted while I was growing up.

Maybe that’s why I can’t see her face, though...I need that memory. Going to her, putting my arms around her...maybe it’s one of those dreams that don’t come in sleep. You have to make it happen before you can ever even see it.

Well...just like nothing gold can stay, neither can the darkness. And when this waking nightmare that is the Centre is finally over, you can bet your life that I’ll find my family...my father, myself...and my mother.

And together...we’ll make the dream come true.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 379
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
The biggest secret I have is a hard one to bear. It hurts me, every day...but it also gives me hope.

I know where my father is.

I couldn’t find my parents before because I didn’t know them...I never met them. That’s why I can’t find my mother...I can’t become someone that, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist to me.

But I’ve met my dad...I know him, I’ve *been* him. I know where he would go...where he *did* go after I was recaptured. For the sake of his safety, and of my clone, I won’t go into specifics...sorry, Miss Parker.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, though, that I’ll find them one day. When it’s safe...when I can finally find a moment’s rest running from the Centre...when the truth of everything is exposed and I can have a real home, I’ll go and find them. I dream about it, sometimes...seeing my dad, and my clone...kind of like a little brother, really. I mean, you can’t get much closer than that.

I dream about it all the time...but above all else, I dream of asking my father the one thing I never got a chance to before we were separated.

I want to ask my dad what my last name is...who I *really* am.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 226
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
I used to think that I knew a lot about sex, growing up at the Centre...I read all the biology manuals I was given, I understood the mechanics of reproduction...but that’s all I knew about: reproduction. Sex...it’s not *just* procreation. Sex is this entire concept that’s terrible and incredible at the same time.

I know all about reproduction...but I’ve only known what sex really was for a few years now. The first time it happened to me was with a girl named Nia...and it was a beautiful experience. Even before that, though, my first encounter with sexual chemistry came when I got my first kiss.

Believe it or not, it was Miss Parker who kissed me...in every sense of the word. I still remember exactly what it was like...that innocent press of her lips against mine. I remember she smelled good...something sweet and earthy at the same time. I wouldn’t learn until I finally escaped that it was flowers...that she smelled like flowers.

The warm thrill of that one kiss...it was, in some respects, good preparation for my later encounter with physical love. The night I was with Nia...it was an incredible experience. We were both lost in our own pain...hurting, aching, and lonely, and through that miracle of touch and taste and...just *being*...it drove the pain back. It lit up the darkness and made everything warm again.

Like that first kiss, it illuminated corners of my world...of *myself* that had been dark for far too long. I think that’s what sex is...it’s a light in the dark. It’s something good and beautiful, and it upsets and confuses me when I see how so many people in the world warp it and twist it into something that’s ugly or shameful. *Life* comes from this act, this event that brings more than just pleasure...it brings comfort.

Sex is a good thing...one of the best things, I think. And anyone that says any different obviously has never experienced just what it’s really all about.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 348
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
You want to know what really bothers me? People who think everyone else is stupid.

I encounter them frequently, more often than I’d like to...almost every week, if you want to know the truth. And in every single person I’ve made pay for the suffering they’ve caused? It’s always the same...they think that people are idiots. That bothers me, and not just because it’s flat-out mean spirited. It bothers me because it’s simply not true.

I know I’ve only been out in the world for a handful of years...but I know people. And they’re not stupid, not a single one of them. It’s the people I go after that fall into that category, because they allow themselves to be deceived by their own arrogance. They mistake the kindness in others for weakness, and faith for gullibility. They capitalize on the basic goodness that’s in all of us and taint it by letting it serve their own selfish purposes. Above all, they think people are dumb because they believe they’re smarter...they don’t think anyone else can top them when it comes to brains.

They’re wrong...because there’s *always* someone out there who’s better, smarter. And usually? That person is me.

I’m not saying that to be arrogant, it’s just a fact...but even that fact can change. Notice I didn’t say it’s always me, because it’s not. I know what I am, but I also know that there can always be someone else a step ahead.

I never assume people are stupid...I know better than that.

And if you think that makes *me* stupid? Look over your shoulder...because somewhere out there, someone’s probably thinking the exact same thing about *you.*

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 284
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
It’s kind of hard to decide what I’d do if I could get away with something...no legal or moral repercussions to worry about. There’s any number of things I’d want for myself, and for others. Burn the Centre to the ground, take the lives of those who’ve destroyed my life...Mr. Raines, Mr. Parker, Brigitte...

But there’s only one thing I’d want more than anything in the whole world...and that’s my family.

I’d find my father and my clone...I guess he’s kind of like my younger brother, you know? I mean...he’s *me*, but...he’s a member of my family because of that.

I’d find my mom and my sister, too...we’d all be together again. It’s a really simple thing, I know...but if I could do that, without repercussions? It means the Centre would never find us. Nobody would come looking for me...nobody would hurt any of them.

[locked]

And I’d even share that with Miss Parker...once, I’d have wanted to get rid of her, but after everything that’s happened, everything we’ve been through? She would be part of that...her and Sydney, and even Broots.

They’re not a part of the Centre...not in my eyes, and they haven’t been for a long time.

Everyone else? Well...that’s another story.

[/locked]

All I want is to be free...to have a family...a home, without fear of having it taken away from me.

Is that really so wrong?

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 243
pez_love: (Jarod Pez)
While I’m familiar with the dogma and ordinances of most world religions, I’ve never really considered them from a personal perspective outside of my simulations.

But my simulations themselves are an entirely different story.

I’ve experienced religion and faith, or lack thereof, secondhand through my simulations countless times. I’ve felt the peace of men who died knowing they would see their loved ones in Heaven, the righteous conviction of those who were ready to sacrifice everything for their fellow man all because it was what God asked of them.

I’ve felt the rage of those who don’t believe in God, or have faith in anything, much less an omnipotent creator. I’ve felt the fear of those with faith who believe there’s no eternal reward waiting for them, only damnation.

The familial aspect of religion strikes a chord with me...the idea of coming from a single creator, of being spiritual brothers and sisters with all those around me. I understand the nature of religion, and the root of faith. It gives comfort due to the fact it lets you know that no matter who you are or what you do...you’re never truly alone.

I’ve experienced the belief of countless others...but I’ve never had the chance to find my own, and I don’t think I will any time soon.

I think there’s a lot of solace to be found in believing in something greater than myself, believing that I might be able to see my brother again in the hereafter. I wish that very thing for Miss Parker...that one day she can be with her mother again, and with Tom. He made her happy...and he gave her the things she deserved.

[locked]

The things I never could.

[/locked]

But I can’t put my faith in too much of anything, not yet. I put faith in the Centre, believed in the people there, and in the end it cost me too much to make that mistake ever again.

I’m saving my faith for my father...that I’ll get to see him again. I’m saving it for my mother and for Emily.

When I’m free to live my life like any other person...when I can finally stop running? Maybe I’ll give religion a try then.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 375
pez_love: (Jarod Pez)
When I first escaped from the Centre, one of the wonderful things I discovered was PEZ. I assume you’ve seen it...those little pellets of candy you eat from a plastic dispenser with a top shaped like a clown, or an animal, or even a cartoon character. The candy’s really very good, and the dispensers are so interesting...through them, I’ve really learned quite a lot about the world around me.

Did you know there are actually people who collect them? Vast amounts of these little PEZ dispensers, going back to when they were first developed. There seems to have been a PEZ dispenser created for every major pop culture event in history. It’s really very remarkable.

I don’t collect the dispensers, though. Oh, I have many, but they’re not showpieces. I just think that PEZ tastes good. It’s fun, eating those little pellets of sugar that way...I’m particularly fond of the lemon. So I suppose eating PEZ is a habit for me...aside from being really good? I always remember my first days of freedom when I eat it...it reminds me of what I’m doing out here, and why I escaped.

I admit...the world sometimes scares and confuses me...frustrates me with the irrational way people act and hurt each other...but amidst all the pain, suffering, and ignorance? There’s things like the sky, trees..plus there’s ice cream. And PEZ.

And those are two things you *definitely* can’t find at the Centre.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 243
pez_love: (Jarod Pez)
Considering that my life hasn’t been my own for more than a few years, I can’t say I have a lot of regrets because I’ve never had the opportunity to make those kinds of mistakes, you know?

But...if I had to pick just one? I’d have to say that my biggest regret was letting my family down.

Specifically, I’m talking about Kyle. When I learned that I had a brother...a *younger* brother, a certain responsibility fell on my shoulders. I can’t help but wonder if all older siblings feel it...the responsibility of taking care of another human being.

Kyle was my little brother, and it was my job to protect him...to keep him safe. And I failed.

Twice.

The knowledge nearly killed me...not because of a sense of duty, but in finding out the truth about Kyle, I found a piece of myself. Everything he was, everything he did...it was a part of me, because the same blood flowed through our veins. Even at his worst...I know in my heart that if our places had been switched, that could have been me learning to kill under the care of Mr. Raines.

He may have been a little more strong-willed, a little less intellectual, and morally confused, but he wasn’t a bad person. I sometimes wish I could be a bit more like him...freer, not unstable. Kyle was unapologetic, and not just morally...he never ever second-guessed himself, and he probably never had any regrets of his own.

When he came to get me away from Lyle, it only made my own failure worse. It hurt, but in a good way...knowing that no matter what happened, my brother would come for me...that he would save me.

I just wish I could have done a better job of saving him, too.

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 306
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
It makes me sad, sometimes...looking at the way the world works and realizing how many people don’t like their families. They dream about getting away from them, leaving behind their own flesh and blood to do other things...some good, some bad. Still, there’s this deep-seated need to *escape* from their families.

The only real dream I’ve ever had has been to find mine.

You want to know what my family means to me? It means everything...it’s meant more than that since I saw my mother...I didn’t get to meet her, to touch her or hold her but I *saw* her. Alive. And I saw my sister, too...she’s so beautiful, just perfect...

I love my family. So much so, I’d willingly give anything for them...including the truth.

I know that somewhere, my mother and sister are alive...and I know now that even though Kyle’s truly dead, a little piece of him is still alive in a young boy...the good my brother did will literally last a lifetime.

My family’s my salvation...no matter what else happens, I’ll be able to survive now. The Centre stole my life, but they can’t steal the ‘I love you’ my mother screamed before she got back into that cab in Boston. They can’t change the fact that when I was in trouble, my little brother came for me. They may have hurt him, but he and I still loved each other, just like brothers should.

My family is who I am...a son, a big brother, a man and not a machine.

They wanted a human computer...instead, The Centre made me a monster worse than Kyle ever could have tried to be. I’m unstoppable...I can do anything now, because at the end of the day, I know my family loves me.

And if I got caught tomorrow, The Centre could never hope to take that away from me.


Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 322
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
Where will I be in twenty years? The simple fact is, I don’t know.

And I’m grateful for that fact every single day.

I can tell you where I *won’t* be, however...and that’s back at the Centre. I know that it sounds a bit extreme, but I’d rather die than go back there. The world is such a vast, confusing, *beautiful* place...I think it would be easier to die than be caught again. My worst fear is becoming like Angelo...losing myself to this gift of mine. That’s what would happen if I went back there. Some people are just meant to be free, and I know in my heart I’m one of those people.

I think in their hearts? Sydney, Broots, and Miss Parker know it, too. They’ll never stop hunting me, and they’ll never really give me a free pass...but I’m certain that Sydney’s always glad to see me free. Broots, too. Miss Parker? Well...she just doesn’t know that she’s glad. ;)

Back at the Centre, I knew what each day would bring. Out here...I never know what the next sunrise will look like. All of them are different, you know...I’ve watched dozens. The only thing I’m sure of is that here, each day I get to be myself...I get to figure out just who I am. Every day, I discover new likes and dislikes...things I’ll do, things I won’t do, I have dreams of things I want to do with my new life.

The confusion about my past aside...after so many years of simulations, I’ve lost touch with my own identity more than once. I don’t even have a last name...I had to escape to learn just what and who Jarod really is. Jarod loves Pez, ice cream, and comic books. If I could settle down, stop running, I know that Jarod would be a doctor, or maybe a fireman. Those were two of my favorite people to be.

You know what I just figured out? I know *exactly* where I’ll be in twenty years...more specifically, *who* I’ll be.

I’ll be Jarod, well and truly...and I won’t be a Pretender any longer. Oh, I’ll have my mind and my skills, but I’ll be useless to the Centre as an asset.

After all, how can I simulate real life anymore when I’ve experienced the real thing?

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 399
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
His First Taste Of Freedom )

Muse: Jarod
Fandom: The Pretender
Words: 566
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
Hello there, everybody…my name is Jarod. You’ll have to forgive me if I get anything wrong here, I’m new to this medium. Not the Internet in general, but this…recreational use of it. Still, I like this online journal idea…especially since it allows me to keep in close contact with certain individuals I don’t want to lose touch with…and still manage to maintain the secrecy of my location.

I’m sorry…I’m rambling, aren’t I? I tend to do that…I sort of get caught up in things. The whole world just *fascinates* me…

Anyway…I wish I could tell you more about myself, but I really can’t. I was abducted from my parents and exploited by a government corporation as a child raised in Blue Cove, Delaware. I never knew my family…but I’ve devoted myself to finding them, getting them back. I have one brother and one sister…Kyle and Emily. Kyle…I lost him a while ago. Emily…well, I guess you could say I lost her, too. When I’m not pursuing what’s left of my past, I help people where I can. I’m good at that.

Another thing you should know about me is that I’m not like other people. Some call me a Pretender…if you’ve ever heard the expression ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, then you have a better idea of what I am. Only I’m a jack *and* a master of all trades, you could say. It’s part intelligence, part emotion…call it empathy, if you will. Nothing supernatural…I just know people. How they work, how they think…how they feel.

Funny word to use for me, huh? I don’t really pretend anything…not anymore. I become what I want to be…a doctor, a musician, even a criminal. What I do…it’s no game.

Wow…I just discovered the most incredible thing. Did you know you can use punctuation marks to make little typewritten drawings of faces? Like this :D See? That’s a smiley face. So is this one :) and this one :}

This is something I want to play with a little bit more. ;) There’s another one! Isn’t that marvelous?

Oh, and by the way…if you should run into a dark haired woman…very attractive, very aggressive, and very bossy, her name is Miss Parker. She’s one of those people I told you about. Do me a favor…send her this for me, will you?

:-p

And also tell her Jarod sends his love.

Catch you all later. :-)

Gosh, that’s *fun*…
pez_love: (Jarod Ice Cream)
1)What is one thing you've learned from your past?

Nothing. I don’t have a past.

But, I suppose if you look at it another way, I *have* learned something about *the* past. It’s a valuable thing...a thing too many people take for granted. To know who you are, where you came from...it’s a precious thing to know what makes you a person.

I sometimes wonder if my parents were anything like me. Do I like ice cream because my mom did? Do I like doughnuts because my dad did? What part of me comes from my dad? Do I have his nose? Do I really have my mom’s eyes, or do they really come from him?

Little things...*tiny* things, and I feel like I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t have them.

I know a lot of children are adopted, never know their families...but sometimes I think they got a better deal than I did. They grew up and ate PEZ and Oreos. They got to play with X-Ray Glasses and Rubix Cubes. They lived their lives...I simulated my way through mine.

I want memories of my own...that’s one of the reasons I ran away. I want answers, I want to fix the wrong I’ve done...but I also want memories. I think...I think that if I got caught tomorrow and locked away forever in the Centre again, I could be happy remembering my first bite of ice cream. I’d smuggle in some bubble gum and blow bubbles all day long. I can do things now I never could before.

Being a doctor or a police officer or a scientist is okay...but what I’m most proud of is the fact that I can blow bubble gum. That I know how to eat cookies. I even learned how to skip rocks.

I still don’t have a past...but I have a life. And I have a future.

It’s not much...but it’s a start.

2)Describe a dream you had. How did that dream make you feel?

He was outside again, staring at his younger self. All around him, there were clocks...time racing past, moving along without his consent. Lost time, wasted time...time he could never get back, time he didn’t have.

He could hear her voice...melodious and musical, see her as she put laundry up on the line.

“Mom?”

She didn’t answer...she never answered.

And she still wouldn’t turn around.


Jarod’s eyes snapped open, body humming with tension until he finally relaxed back into the mattress, rubbing a hand over his face.

His face...*her* face. How much of it was hers? How much of it belonged to his dad? He had her picture and still, she never turned to face him in his dream. She still looked the same from behind, too...long, pretty red hair and a slender frame with perfect, smooth young hands. He didn’t see the aged woman in the picture he’d had altered...he saw the fragment of memory that had haunted him for so long.

And as Jarod lay there motionless, staring up at the cracked ceiling of his latest lair...he knew, deep down, that his mom would never turn around...because even if she had a picture...she still didn’t have a real face.

He was still looking...and had a feeling he always would be.
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