This is 2020’s Valentine’s fic – enjoy!
Dean jumped off the couch and surveyed the living room, what the hell…, he frowned as he confirmed he was alone, “H-hello?”
Why are you so jumpy?
He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up at hearing the voice again and turned the T.V off, just in case. He listened for a moment and when he didn’t hear anything he let out a nervous chuckle and sat back down, don’t psyche yourself out, Winchester.
Don’t… don’t you remember?
He surveyed the room again, “Okay, this isn’t funny, alright?”
How don’t you remember?
Dean got up from the couch cautiously, “S-Sam?” Remember? What the hell am I supposed to remember?
He couldn’t help but tense as he was only greeted with silence. He rubbed at his temples, I must finally be losing it.
You’re not losing it, Dean.
“Where are you?” He crossed the room to check the kitchen.
Dean, relax. I’m not in the house.
Empty… shit. “How do you know my name?” Wait… Dean froze as the words sunk in, you’re not in the house? Then how the hell can I hear you? No, you know what? The blonde started toward the stairs, I don’t care. Guess this is what old age does.
You’re not that old, Dean.
He locked the bathroom door behind him and leaned against the sink, still doesn’t explain why I can hear some dude I don’t know talk to me who apparently isn’t here.
That’s… hard to explain.
He stared at his reflection in the mirror, is this really what I’m doing now? Conversing with the voices?
There’s only one of me.
Dean snorted and shook his head, of course, my mistake… he let out a breath and splashed some water on his face, why couldn’t I at least hear a chick? That woulda been way more entertaining.
I’m not just a random voice, Dean! Do you really not remember?
… and now I’ve offended him, great, the blonde sighed and exited the bathroom, heading over to his bedroom before flopping down on his bed.
I can explain, if you like. It’s just… hard. You’re gonna have to trust me.
Trust you? I don’t even know you!
Maybe you’ll remember if you see me in person.
You’re just a voice in my head, how am I supposed to-
You’re home, right?
Dean sat up and looked around the room, “Ugh… yeah.”
He heard a thud from downstairs and got up off the bed, before creeping over to the steps. He peered over the railing and saw a man standing in his living room. What the…? He pulled the gun out from the back of his pants and ran down the steps.
The man squinted his eyes as he spotted the gun and tilted his head to the side.
“Who are you? How’d you get in here?”
“Where did you get a gun from?”
Dean blinked absently, his hand faltering as he heard the voice that was in his head come from the man in front of him. What the hell? “H-how did you do that?”
The raven-haired man looked around the room in confusion, “Do what?”
The blonde let out a nervous chuckle and ran his free hand through his hair, “So… what? You’re some sort of ventriloquist?”
“That’s… that’s not what that is.”
“Okay, fine, whatever. You need to leave.”
“Look,” he tucked his gun back into his pants and took a few steps forward, “I don’t know who you are, or how you got in here, but you’ve gotta leave.”
The man squinted his eyes again and bit his bottom lip, “You… you really don’t recognize me? … At all?”
Dean looked the man up and down and shook his head, “Trust me, I think I’d remember meeting some trench-coated-blue-tied-sex-haired dude.”
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Happy New Year everybody!
I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season (or at least, had time to unwind now that it’s over) and are ready to dive head-first with me back into the tutorials.
To kick off the new year, I’ll be showing you how to use the Burn tool. It’s pretty straight forward, but if you need a quick refresher, go skim back over the Intro. It’s alright, I’ll wait.
…. You back? Good.
Okay, so using the Burn tool like I said is pretty straightforward, fortunately, this is one of the PHSH tools that’s aptly named. Using this tool will do exactly what the name implies: it’ll burn the picture.
If that sounds scary, I promise it’s really not that hard. You can control the intensity of the burn, so you don’t end up ruining the picture. Which is great, because sometimes, you just may want to go simple and say, darken the picture.
(Don’t mind the red background)
You could mess with the white balance or other picture exposure, but messing with those tends to be much more complicated.
Or, you may want to go for a more extreme manip, like actually making the picture appear to be burned:
Or you may need something in the middle. Regardless, it’s a very straight forward tool to use.
Let’s get started.
Today, we’ll be working with my I.D. pic, simply because I think it looks good burned. Pictures that tend to be darker and have lighter edges usually work better for this effect, but again, it depends how far you’re going.
Alright, so to start, you’re gonna need the un-touched picture.
Once you have this in a Layer, you may want to change the background colour from white, just so it’s easier to see where the edges of the picture are, so you can be more precise.
The colour of the background doesn’t really matter, especially since we can change it once you’re done, but I find it’s easier to work when you can see where the edge of the picture is.
Alright, now that we have the picture, we’ll want to select the Burn tool from the left side Tool Bar. It’s the picture of a hand in a C shape, directly under the Blur/Sharpen/Smudge tool.
You may have to click on the box and manually select Burn from the drop-down menu. I believe the default image may be the Dodge tool, which looks like a lollipop.
Once you have the Burn tool selected, (and the layer you want to use the tool on selected), you’ll notice some options came up at the top of the application, in the same space where the Eraser options are.
The drop-down menu with the circle in it is the brush size, similar to the Eraser, you can make it bigger or smaller by using the sliders. The Hardness slider underneath will determine how hard/feathered the edge of the tool will make. (These are both exactly the same as for the Eraser tool)
For example, if the Hardness is on 5%:
For the burn tool, it works the same:
There’s also the option to change the Range. This will change the area of the picture you’re targeting. You can choose from either the Highlights, Mid-Lights or Shadows. I discovered that if you (for example) only target highlights, there will be a point where the image won’t get any darker. (I presume because it’s gotten rid of all the highlights)
When I was experimenting for the tutorial, as I did this, the picture didn’t get any greyer until after I changed what I was targeting. I recommend you play around with this, as it depends on the picture. I’ve tried changing the targeted areas in the past for other projects, and I saw no difference at all, as if the tool wasn’t working.
And the last option will be the Exposure. Next to the brush size, this is the most important part of using the Burn tool. The Exposure will determine how dark the section will get. I recommend not starting at 100, unless you want the entire picture to go near all black on your first go. I usually start small, and then up the Exposure depending on the look I was going for.
For the picture above with the burned-by-fire look, I used 100% Exposure on the edges. The rest of the picture, to just darken it, I used about 10-20.
Now that you know the options, let’s show you how I did the Soft Burned or just darkened picture, and then the Burned By Fire picture.
So, for the Soft Burn, I kept the Exposure low, about on 10, and I feathered the edge of the brush. Because I rubbed the tool all over the entire picture, I don’t actually think the Hardness made a difference, but since I was being ‘soft’ it just seemed to go.
Okay, so, set the brush size to really big (I used 300-400), and (while keeping the Exposure low) click and drag the brush over the entire picture.
And boom! Soft Burned pic is done. Told you it was easy!
Now for the Burned By Fire picture, it’ll be the same thing. We can actually continue on from this picture, since it’s already burned.
For the Burned By Fire pic:
Now that we’ve got the whole thing looking a little singed, we’ll want to up the Exposure to about 50 and reduce the brush size (I reduced it to 130).
We’re going to just go around the edges of the picture now, similar to when we made a Border. You can leave the Hardness down at 4% for this as well. A lack of hard edge will make it look more realistic of a burn.
Now we’re going to do that again and again, until the border becomes almost black. So, keeping the stats where they are, continue to go around the edges until it becomes blackened.
At this point (it took me about 10 go a-rounds to get it this dark) you should up the Hardness to about 40-50 as well. We’re going to be concentrating now on just getting the edges black, so we’ll need to contain the burn a bit more.
After changing the Hardness, keep going.
Also: don’t worry about making the outline too clean cut straight, it’s okay if it’s a bit of wobbly lines. Again, it adds to the realism of if the picture were burned, and we’ll be erasing the very edge of the photo after anyway. And, as you’re going, make sure to round the edges of the corners slightly.
After a few more go arounds, you may notice that the border isn’t getting any darker any longer. Mine wouldn’t get darker than this:
That’s because we’ve been burning with the Highlights selected. Now we can change to either the Midtones or the Shadows. I like going to Midtones and then to Shadows, just because I like to do them in order. Again, I’m not entirely sure at this point, but since we’re trying to replicate what I did, we gotta do it the same way, right? Right.
Okay, so after selecting Midtones and going around a few more times, mine stopped getting darker again at this point:
At this point, you need to switch to the Shadows, and then keep going until the edges turn all the way black.
Okay, now that we got the edges, I think you can tell, the all over burn job we did at the beginning no longer matches, does it?
No worries, we’re gonna go back over the entire picture now. We had to wait to see how dark the edges were going to get, juuust in case we messed up.
Remember: You can always make the picture more burned, but it’s harder to un-burn it.
Alright, so to go over the entire picture, change the hardness to softer, the brush size to bigger, and the Exposure back down to about 10. And, you may need to switch the Range back to Highlights. If you try to go back over the lighter part of the picture with the Range still on Shadows, it may not work.
You don’t want to make it too much darker, but it has to match the edges. Try to get it to look as realistic as possible.
Now, you could leave it like this, but, for a little extra realism, I like to erase the hard edge of the picture. How often have you seen a burned picture with perfectly intact edges?
Switch from the Burn tool to the Eraser tool, change the size of the brush again (smaller), and keep the hardness semi-low. (50-60-ish)
Now – carefully – erase the very edges of the picture, and make sure to round the corners a bit. Again, this erase job doesn’t have to be perfectly straight.
And boom! That’s everything.
Don’t forget to take out/change the background so you can save the picture by itself, or drag it on over to whatever file you need it in!
This way of burning pictures does take longer (obviously) but depending on the look you’re going for, it’s also a more realistic effect.
You can pretty much use this burned technique on any photo. And of course, you can make the burned/blackened edges bigger or smaller if needed, so you can erase more of the picture for a more burned up effect.
Have fun practicing this technique until next month.
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SPN x Lucifer crossover, Hallucifer
“I got a tip Lucifer Morningstar was supposed to be here?”
Her brows creased in confusion, “A little late to the party, aren’t you?”
“Another agent already came by.”
“Yeah. I think he said his name was… Smith?”
“That’s my partner.” he replaced his badge, “We were supposed to meet here.” He surveyed the scene again, “…Is he still here?”
“I told him he was free to wait, but he didn’t stick around too long after our talk.”
“Of course,” he scrubbed a hand down his face, “How long ago was he here?”
“Uhm…” she dug her phone out of her back pocket, “Maybe about an hour?”
“Okay, great. Did he-”
“Sorry I’m late,” The British voice cut off the end of the hunters’ sentence. The Brit started over to where they were standing, box of doughnuts in hand, “But I brought gifts.”
Dean turned back to the detective, “This is how you let your people behave?”
She didn’t bother to hide her annoyed look as he got closer, snatching the box from the man, “He’s a consultant.”
The Brits’ mouth dropped open slightly as she took the box, placing it on the hood of a nearby police car, “I got you the kind with the jelly, I know they’re your favourite.”
“Lucifer,” she gave him a pointed look before gesturing to the Winchester, “This FBI agent has a few questions for you.”
“Ah, right, gotcha,” he spun around to face the hunter, thousand-watt smile on his face fading as he saw who it was, “I’m sorry,” he half-turned back to his partner, “You said he was…?”
The raven-haired man scoffed, “He’s not FBI.”
“What?” She pulled him slightly to the side, dropping her voice, “Lucifer, are you sure?”
“Yes, of course!” He strode the few steps back over to the hunter, “Or, at least he wasn’t last night.”
“Last night?” She turned back to the hunter, “What is he talking about?”
Dean swallowed thickly, adjusting his tie, “I-I think he has me confused with somebody else.”
“Pfft, please.” Lucifer waved a dismissive hand, “I’m not one to forget the faces of my latest conquests’.”
“Whoa, hey,” Dean let out a nervous chuckle, holding up his hands, “We did not sleep together.”
“You and Maze may have started the party,” he took a step closer, sly smile on his face, “But I was definitely there for the happy ending.”
Dean eyed the man for a moment, lips twitching into a nervous smile. He cleared his throat, shaking his head before turning back to the woman, “Mind if I ask him a few questions?”
Her cuffs were already out of her hip holster as she shook her head, “Hands behind your back, Sir.”
“Oh, come on,” he grunted as she pushed him against the police car, “I can explain!”
“I’d love to hear it, I really would,” she ripped the door open, “But we have actual police business to attend to. So,” she placed a hand on his head and all but pushed him inside, “you’re gonna wait right here until we’re done, got it?”
“But, I-” he cut himself off as she slammed the door damn it! He kicked the back of the seat and hung his head, how am I gonna get out of this?
“Ran his prints,” Chloe walked into the holding room, look of disapproval on her face, “According to our database, you’re one Dean Winchester.”
Dean shrugged, yanking his tie loose. “Guilty.”
“Well, Dean,” She took a seat, sliding the file toward him, “it says here you’re dead. So, who are you, really?”
“Really?” Lucifer snatched the file, brows going up, “Well there most certainly is a first time for everything.”
“We did not sleep together.”
The raven-haired man shrugged, leaning back in his seat, “Tell that to your hickey.”
Deans’ hand instinctively went to his neck, mouth opening silently to reply before he closed it again, glaring at the smirking man.
Chloe held up her hand, dropping her voice, “Lucifer, maybe it’s better if you wait outside.”
He half-turned, looking offended, “What? Why?”
“Because your… personal interest seems to be getting in the way.”
“My personal…?” He eyed the hunter before sighing, standing up, “Fine.”
She gave him an apologetic look as he left, before turning back to the hunter, “So, your name?”
“I told you.”
“No,” she shook her head, “There’s no way you’re Dean Winchester.”
He leaned back in his chair, “If it helps, some days I wish I wasn’t, either.” She eyed him for a moment before he sighed, “Look, this is all just a big misunderstanding.”
“Okay,” she nodded, crossing her arms over her chest, “So tell me, what are we misunderstanding?”
Dean ran a hand through his hair, “You wouldn’t believe me.”
He blew out a breath, scrubbing a hand down his face, “It’s… it’s hard to explain, alright?”
Chloe raised an eyebrow, “I don’t think you understand just how much trouble you’re in.”
Dean let out a dry laugh, “I think I have a pretty good idea.”
She leaned over the table, “Impersonating an officer is a huge offence. Lots of jail time.” Her eyes drifted back to the file between them, “And with your record…” she shook her head, “they’re not exactly gonna go easy.”
Dean sucked his teeth, I’m going to kill Sam.
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“It’s ruined! Ruined! Why do bad things happen to good people? I’m a good person. Aren’t I a good person? Why? Why must I be punished?”
Dean came out of the kitchen, black smoke billowing out around him as he hurried in the direction of the smoke detector.
“Uh, is every–” the smoke alarm blared, cutting off the younger Winchesters’ question.
Dean took in a heavy sigh and waved a towel in front of it vigorously with both hands. Sam shot a look over to Gabriel before they sprung up, opening all the windows in the living room. Grabbing decorative pillows off the couch, they hustled over to help Dean wave away the smoke. Between the three of them, it wasn’t long before the thick haze began to clear and it looked like they might be able to salvage their evening.
And then the sprinklers went off.
Defeated, Dean scrubbed a hand through his now-wet hair, “Awesome.” Dropping the towel, he snagged a beer from the case on the coffee table in front of the couch. Twisting the cap off, he took a long pull from the bottle before making his way to the front door, disappearing outside.
“For the love of Liza Minnelli!” Cas stomped out of the kitchen, hair matting under the shower from the ceiling. He flicked some sopping hair out of his face as he spotted the two guests. He spread both arms wide, “Are you seeing this? Well, I hope everyone’s thirsty, because apparently? All we’re serving this evening is water. No, no champagne for us. We’re much too good for that.” He scrunched up his face in distaste, “Champagne, so boujee.” He flicked his sopping hair out of his eyes again, “So we’re trying something new. Isn’t that simply fabulous?” He laughed hysterically for a moment and then sobbed. His face crumbling into a pout, he put a hand over his heart, “I can’t. I can’t even. I mean, how am I meant to salvage this catastrophe? This would take more fabulous than the entire cast of Queer as Folk and The L Word combined. I could die. I could just die!”
Shoulders slumping, he ticked the items off on his fingers one-by-one, “Hors d’oeuvres? Burnt to a crisp! Wine? Out of stock. Out of stock. How could it be ‘out of stock’? It’s a ‘wine store’!” He rolled his eyes and then looked down at the floor, “And this. Just look at this. It’s like the last 2 minutes of the sinking of the Titanic in here. That’s it.” He threw his hands up into the air in defeat. “I’m done. I’m cancelling New Years!”
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She pointed to the stairs, “I left the suit on the bed.”
He groaned before standing, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, “Why do I have to dress up?”
“Because they deserve it.” She looked around the rundown house and sighed, “It’s not like we have an abundance of holiday cheer in here.”
“For Gods’ sake, you told Dean about monsters this year!” She spun around, slamming the bottles down, “I want him to know that doesn’t mean there isn’t still good out there.”
John blinked at her in surprise, taking a few steps toward her before letting out a heavy sigh, scrubbing a hand through his hair, changing directions, “O-okay. I’ll go.”
“Thank-you,” she picked the bottles back up before disappearing into the kitchen. “Be ready to leave in fifteen.”
“You have to get Deans’ pie.”
He stopped halfway up the stairs, “You didn’t make one?”
She poked her head out of the kitchen doors, giving him a bewildered look, “I’m sorry, have we met?”
He chuckled before starting back up them, “Right. Sorry.”
“Well? Whaddya say?” Mary held out the box of decorations, smile plastered on her face.
“Hell yeah!” Dean snatched the box, before running over to the undecorated tree, thousand-watt smile lighting his features.
Sam shook his head before joining his brother, digging out a box of big, blue glass bulbs.
Dean dug out the garlands, wrapping it around his hand before using it as a whip, chuckling, “Hey look! I’m Indiana Jones!”
Mary chuckled and shook her head, “Be careful with those, Dean.”
Sam smiled as he placed a bulb on the tree, “This is awesome, Mom! Just like I always imag-” he cut himself off and blinked, as if just noticing what was happening.
Mary made her way over to him, slightly crouching, “What’s wrong, Sammy?”
His brows creased in confusion and he looked around, “I… I don’t…” He chewed his lip as he turned his gaze out the window, catching a glimpse of something he couldn’t make out, “This doesn’t seem…. right.”
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“In Canada they celebrate Thanksgiving in October,” she shrugged, taking the seat beside him, “so I thought maybe we could make that our tradition.”
Sam tore his eyes away from the food to look up at the blonde, confusion still evident on his face, “But… what are we gonna celebrate in November?”
Jess’ smile slightly faded at the question, “Y-you don’t know?”
She sighed in disappointment as his face stayed the same, holding her head in her hands, “You’re right,” she stood, grabbing one of the dishes from the table, “This was a stupid idea.”
“Whoa, hey,” he stood, taking the dish, searching her eyes, “What’d I do?”
She studied his face, impatience growing, “You really can’t think of anything important in November? No important dates come to mind?”
Sam blinked in surprise before thinking, chewing his lip slightly as he did so, before shaking his head, “No, not really. Why?”
Jess rolled her eyes, stealing the dish back, “Oh, great. Good to know I mean nothing,” she stomped away into the kitchen.
“Whoa, what?” He followed her through the door, and she could feel his eyes on her back as she faced the counter, “What are you talking about?”
She took a deep breath before turning back to face him, “Our anniversary is in November, dumb-ass.”
Sam chuckled, “Oh.”
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Sam sat up in bed, looking around the dark room, hey.
Relax, I’m not there.
Oh, he settled back against the pillows, going back to his laptop, are you ready to tell me what the hell that was all about?
He heard a sigh, and could picture the fallen angel scrubbing a hand down his face, I shouldn’t of got that worked up.
But you should’ve stopped pushing it, too.
I wasn’t trying to push you. Sams’ stopped on the line he was reading, not actually taking in the information anyway, I just thought you’d have fun. And I’d really like it if you came with us.
I know… I just… I can’t…
I can’t swim! There are you happy now?
Sam blinked, you can’t swim?
Sam closed the laptop, doing his best to keep his laughter at bay, that’s it?
… What do you mean ‘that’s it’?
That doesn’t mean you can’t come with us! The giant took some deep breaths, unable to keep from chuckling, we don’t have to go swimming you know.
No! We could go fishing, on a boat ride, sun tan… there’s tons of other things we could do.
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“Of course I know how to hunt.” Dean huffed, how can I explain without sounding crazy? “Something… weird is going on, Cas. I- shit, I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Cas nodded before slowly reaching for the doorknob, “I’ll examine you in more depth after we kill the Alpha.”
Maybe it’s some sort of curse… he pulled the machete out of his jacket, hand white-knuckling around the handle, or African Dream Root. That would explain all the… scene changes.
The blonde sighed and turned to his left, surprised to see a five-year-old, who looked oddly like Sam did when he was younger. He looked around, not that surprised to see the scene had changed yet again, and he was now in a dingy motel room, at least this is familiar.
He strode over to the bed the child was on, “Where’re your parents, Bud?”
The brunette tilted his head to one side, bangs falling into his eyes, “… Dad’s working.”
Shoulda seen that coming, he sat on the edge of the bed, doing his best to keep calm, “Okay… what’s your name?”
This caused the 5-year-old to squeal with laughter, flopping backwards against the pillows, “It’s me, De! Told you you wouldn’t rec’nize me!”
Definitely gotta be Dream Root, “… Sammy?”
The kid nodded, smiling a big, toothy grin at the blonde, and he noted the missing front tooth. Sammy reached under his pillow and pulled the tooth out, holding it out for the blonde to inspect.
This is too weird. I don’t think I’ve dreamt about Sam this young since… ever. Dean took the tooth and blew out a whistle, “This came out of you? No way.”
Sammy giggled again, snatching the tooth back from his brother, satisfied smile on his face, “Told you it was loose!”
“Okay, smarty-pants,” Dean chuckled, rubbing his hand at the back of his neck, how am I gonna wake up? “Whaddya say we get you to sleep now?”
Sam poked out his bottom lip, shaking his head, “But I’m not tired!”
Oh! I know. Don’t really want him to see it though. “If you don’t go to sleep, the Tooth Fairy can’t get your tooth,” The blonde got up off the bed, making his way over to the bathroom.
Sammys’ eyes went wide before he dove under the covers, “I didn’t know you had to be asleep!”
“Yep, just like Santa.” Dean stopped in the doorway, turning back to the bed, “So you’ll sleep?”
The five-year-old nodded his head so violently his bangs shook wildly around, before he all but head-butted the pillow, squeezing his eyes shut. Dean smiled at him before closing the bathroom door, locking it.
He plucked his fathers’ razor off the side of the sink, digging out one of the blades, stopping as he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Whoa, I didn’t think I’d be younger, he shook his head at his younger reflection, turning his attention back to the razor blade, bringing it to his left wrist, time to wake up.
Dean groaned, stretching his arms out over his head, bed sheets. That’s either good or… He sat up slowly, looking around before shaking his head, damn it. He was back in the fancy bedroom. If I wasn’t dreaming, then what the hell-
Wait a minute, Dean slid out of bed and crouched on the floor, peering down at the trim on the bottom of the wall, what is this? He jumped back as he saw the thing move, is it a bug? Whoa! Definitely not a bug, he crept a bit closer as he watched the thing jump in front of him. Carefully, he stretched one hand toward it, picking the end of it up off the floor, it looks like… words? His brows’ furrowed as he turned it around in his hand, silently lip-reading. “Rachel smells bad.”
“Dean,” Cas craned his neck to see the page, “that’s not what it says.”
“No, it is, I swear!” Dean held the book up out-
What the hell? This is… me? Whoa! He nearly dropped it as it as it leapt forward in his hand again, it gets bigger every time I think something? Where the hell did this come from? He looked around the rest of the room, and saw that the string went all the way around the base of the wall, and snaked its way under the door, guess I’m going on an adventure.
Dean began wrapping the string around his hand, doing his best to tie it up so he could move, this has got to be some kind of curse or something. He sighed as the string expanded again and fell from his hand. How am I supposed to carry this if it gets bigger every time I- He stood, eyes catching on the pillows on the bed, worth a shot. He strode over, shaking the closest pillow out of it’s case before scooping up as much of the string as he could, before slinging the sack over his shoulder and heading for the door, this ends now.
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