• Published 5th Aug 2013
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The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters

Callum lives a miserable life on Earth. But that is soon to change, as some unexpected visitors will change his life forever.

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Chapter Five: Dying to be Free

"Oh yeah!"

"Yee haw!"

"Woo! Hoo!"


All throughout the house, from room to room; bash, smash, smack, crack, crash and wallop; glass was shattered, wood was splintered, and metal was bent, we trashed the house to hell.

"Now this is what I needed!" I yelled, chucking my mum's favourite coffee mug through the dining room window.

Rainbow Dash galloped through the hall and skidded past me, before bucking the kitchen door, breaking the bottom hinge and bending the top one, causing it to stand at a very precarious angle. Applejack trotted along and delivered the killing blow, kicking the door in the middle and snapping the top hinge; the door fell to the hallway floor with an almost deafening smack.

"Yee haw!" AJ yelled.

I laughed wildly as I whacked the lounge television with my brother's cricket bat, I jumped back in mild shock as the damn thing made a loud bang and sprayed me with sparks. Rarity, whom was next to me, chuckled at the scene, before looking to the ground solemnly.

"I must admit that I feel terribly guilty about breaking things that I don't own..." She started.

I was about to give a response, when she levitated a glass jug with her telekinesis, and then proceeded to forcefully launch it across the room and into the wall, smashing it to hundreds of tiny pieces.

"Oh but by Celestia is it satisfying!"

We both burst into child-like laughter and continued to trash the house with the others; my god did it felt so good to break all this stuff, it was so wrong, yet it felt so right. Since my dad left and the abuse had begun, my young brain had been contorted and tormented by the abrupt and unfair treatment. Mixed with my natural teenage hormones, a vicious fire had formed within me, burning with an emotional rage, and it had been slowly growing for years, and it was time to set the house ablaze with it.

"Take this you mysterious voodoo box!" Pinkie Pie screamed as she head butted the kitchen microwave at full strength, making it quite literally explode; sparks were showered in all directions and Pinkie yelped loudly, jumping back about six feet and scrambling on top of the kitchen countertop like a scared cat, now with a slightly singed mane.

"The voodoo box is spicy! The voodoo box is spicy!" She shrieked, hissing at the destroyed contraption.

At this, Rainbow Dash began laughing like a nutcase, creasing up and barely able to keep herself standing.

"Pinkie! You absolute nutter, you're insane!" I called after her.

Gasping for air, Rainbow was belly laughing so hard that she could barely breathe.

"What made the microwave a voodoo box exactly?" I asked, still chuckling.

"Well duh, it cooks food with glowing voodoo waves!"

"That's called radiation, Pinks, micro waves to be specific, hence why it's called a microwave."

"That's what it wanted you to think, Callum!"

Although I found her to be utterly hilarious, I was rather worried that Pinkie had given herself an electric shock, but she seemed somewhat okay by her standard. After that little stunt of hers, I had to compete with her in order to create the biggest ruckus possible.
I slowly approached the French windows in the dining room, an absolutely enormous pane of double-glazed glass that stood over six feet high and eight feet wide; the others watched me with great anticipation, eager to witness what I was going to do next.

Tilting my head low and glowering at the window with hostility, Pinkie Pie somehow knew exactly what to do.

"This is blasphemy, this is madness!" She shouted defensively, impersonating the Persian far too accurately.

"Madness...?" I muttered to myself.

I looked round to face the others, I then glanced at Pinkie, who gave me the little nod of approval, somehow she knew the Three-Hundred reference, it must have been her Pinkie logic, there was no other explanation; it seemed that even in my dimension, she possessed the ability to occasionally defy the laws of time, space, and logics entirely.

I turned back to the window, and glared at it with the fierce intent to destroy it.

"This! Is! Sparta!"

Raising my knee up to my chest, I kicked out at the giant pane of glass with all my might, shattering it into at least a million pieces; the entire pane screeched with dying agony, it was nearly comparable to a cannon going off in terms of volume. Each tiny little fragment twinkled faintly in the light and made a crystalline 'ching' noise at it hit the floor; and due to the never-ending number of uncountable pieces, there was a lot of 'chinging'. It easily took half a minute for the slaughter to fall silent.
After that, everything went silent, nopony spoke, it seemed that they weren't even breathing, one could have heard the scratching of a wasp crawling on a window pane...

It turned out to be Rainbow Dash who spoke first.

"Yo, dude... That... Was... ... Awesome!" She yelled, giving a fan-girl squeal.

All the other ponies burst into cheering, Pinkie reared up and kicked her forelegs around in excitement.

"OhmygoshCallumyou'resocoolthatwaslike, soooooooooo amazing!!!!"

Even Fluttershy gave her famous little, 'woo-hoo'.

All good things come to an end eventually, and as expected, it just so happened to be Twilight to cut the lights on the party.

"Is your kind always this intent on destruction?" She asked, giving me a dull look.

Everypony looked round at her with dull expressions of their own, Twilight then continued.

"Are your kind also usually that foolish? Sending broken glass all over the place like that could have seriously injured somepony, I wouldn't be surprised if you were hoping to cut someone with such a reckless act!"

Hanging my head, I accepted that it was a rather stupid thing to have done; meanwhile Fluttershy had something to say for once in regard to her cruel accusations.

"Now Twilight, I know you're feeling stressed, and are most probably very tired, which can make anypony a bit grouchy, but come on now... No one was harmed, and Callum was only playing."

Then Rarity joined in.

"Fluttershy's right Twilight, you are taking this whole ordeal further than it needs to go. Listen-"

"No!" Twilight barked, interrupting Rarity. "You listen! You don't understand what is truly going on here, you don't know what these things are really like!" She snarled, pointing a hoof at me.

Rarity gasped, horrified at Twilight objectifying me as a 'thing'.
I remained in quiet observation, while somewhat offended, I wanted to see if Twilight would give me a clue to what Celestia had divulged to her, because whatever it was, it wasn't all that nice, to put it lightly.

"How dare you address Callum in such a manner!" Rarity shouted, "We may not have known him for long but-"

"But nothing!" Twilight growled back, "Humans are wicked on the inside, they're full of hate and lust for war! This whole nicey nicey business is just a facade!"

{Some progress...} I thought to myself, I supposed Celestia must have told her about the world wars.

"Hey! He's not evil!" Pinkie piped up, "If he was, my Pinkie senses would be going all twitchy twitch, twitcha twitch!"

"I don't care about your Pinkie Sense, I know he's bad on the inside! Princess Celestia said so!"

Twilight was getting herself into a state now, she clearly didn't realise how delusional she appeared before everyone. Obviously Celestia's word was gospel to her, but now she was clearly obsessing on it.
Choosing to insert myself into the situation, I calmly asked what it was that Celestia had specifically said about me, and why it had drawn Twilight to the conclusion that I was undeniably evil.
Despite my politeness, I received only a glare from the unicorn.

"It's none of your business!"

"Actually, I think it is my business, seeing as it's about me and my species."

Having raised my volume a tad, Twilight looked up to me and the dominance amongst us began to shift.
Before she could speak, I continued.

"Look, if we're going to get along, you're going to have to tell me what Celestia's said to you. Because from how you're behaving, she's most likely given you false information, or at least heavily exaggerated."

Her intense glare became even more furious, she even bared her teeth. Something was clearly wrong with her, this wasn't just excessive tiredness, there was a much deeper mental issue going on here.

"You dare say that Princess Celestia is wrong?" She barked.

"If she's outright told you that we're evil, then yes, yes I do."

Uh oh... Bad move...

Somewhere in Twilight's mind, something very brittle just snapped.
In her eyes, I'd just committed the worst crime of all, treasonous blasphemy. She looked up to Princess Celestia like both a parent, and as a literal god, her mentor couldn't possibly be wrong in her eyes, if Celestia said so, it had to be true. Merely suggesting the ruler could be wrong ignited a raging inferno within her in no time at all. Pinkie Pie's head rotated from facing Twilight, to me slowly, in an almost robotic manner.

"Oooooooohhh golly..." She said quietly, wincing while she spoke.

Her left eye twitching, Twilight's anger came to a threshold and finally erupted.

"You, you... You vile! Twisted! Monster!" She bellowed at me, before storming out of the doorway that I had just shattered.

Gobsmacked, the other ponies stood there in silence, until eventually a shocked Rarity began to stride after her in an attempt to scold her.

"What did you just call h-"

"Rarity, please drop it." I interrupted.

Rainbow Dash darted forward and stood beside Rarity in protest.


"But, nothing, I don't want any more arguments." I stopped her.

I had tried to get information out of Twilight, and it had failed; now I just wanted things to settle down so we could embark on the mission. I'd try to probe her for intel at a later date.
I turned to Applejack and gave a weak smile.

"AJ, it seems that you're quite good when it comes to getting through to her. Would you mind talking to her please?"

"I can try, Sugarcube, but don't be expecting any miracles here, I ain't no therapist." She said with a nod.

Tipping her hat and hopping out of the shattered doorway, Applejack headed off to find Twilight.
Groaning loudly with anger, Rainbow Dash stomped her hoof onto the wooden floor.

"Well this is just perfect! Twilight's once again started a civil war!"

"This isn't some toddler tantrum going on Rainbow Dash, this is something serious." I replied.

Beckoning everyone closer, I gathered the remaining four ponies into a little huddle around me.

"Look girls, Twilight is really struggling, obviously. She's well out of her comfort zone, and the Princess has very evidently told her some very sinister things about this world. Now, I am not going to lie to any of you, this is world isn't perfect, not by a long-shot, and some of what Celestia has told Twilight, could very well be true.
The problem here is that Twilight has associated such things with me personally, she thinks I'm the one that's bad; and there's no use trying to persuade her that I'm good, not yet anyway. We just need to accept the fact that she doesn't like me, all we can do is progress through this mission and do our best to avoid these sorts of conflicts."

Frowning, Rainbow Dash looked like she was going to object, but I continued speaking before she could do so.

"This mission, is indeed dangerous, as Twilight rightfully mentioned, but danger is different from harm.
Danger means that harm is possible, while harm implies that you are actually being hurt.
This quest may lead us to danger, which I cannot prevent, but I can, and will keep you from harm."

Judging from the positive facial expressions now around me, explaining the situation had made everyone feel somewhat calmer and safer. What's more, is that I had managed to discreetly change the subject from Twilight, whom in all honesty, I was trying to back up. I didn't quite know why I was on Twilight's side, I guess I felt sorry for her?
Either way, I had to make peace with her, somehow...

Our group huddle had just dispersed when Applejack finally returned.

"Well, I've calmed her down to the best of my ability, but I can tell you sure as eggs, she don't like you one bit..."

"Tell us something we don't know, AJ." Rainbow Dash groaned.

Ignoring Rainbow's remark, I dipped my head in kindness.

"Thank you Applejack, as long as she's calm and focused on the mission, that's all the matters. If she chooses to hate me, then so be it, all I care about is helping you six. All I want is your safety, and I will go to all lengths to make sure of that, I will ensure you succeed in this mission no matter the cost, even if it means your hatred in the end, for whatever reason. Because knowing that I've helped you all get back home, and protect Equus, is more important."

At that, Rarity sniffed and looked away.

"Oh Callum, that is just, beautiful... Selfless too! Even if Twilight never does, I can see now why the Princess sent us to you. You have a pure heart, a real gentleman."

{Pfft, drama queen, I was only speaking the truth.} I thought to myself.

"Ooooooooohh, sounds like someone's got a crush." Rainbow Dash sneered.

Scoffing loudly, Rarity was taken off-guard and a tad insulted, (although mostly just embarrassed), I personally found it amusing as it was perfectly clear that Dashie was teasing, but Rarity took it the wrong way.

"Rainbow Dash, shame on you!"

"Alright, alright, settle down, let's not have anypony else falling out now, Twilight is enough." I interjected, chuckling.

They did as I asked and sat down, to which I continued.

"Right then, as we've now trashed the house, our time is limited. We need Twilight to generate the clone, and for him to be killed, then we need to get the dogs to Bruce, then we are ready to hit the road."

Fluttershy took a step away from me, taken aback.

"K-Kill the clone?"

Confirming that I did intend to kill the clone, I explained that faking my death had to look real, as though someone had broken into the house and killed me. Fluttershy looked at her hooves, unsure of what to say; the others were all somewhat similar, they didn't really know how to conduct themselves with such a subject.

"Callum dear, are you absolutely sure about this?" Rarity asked, rather nervously.

Honestly, no, I wasn't sure about this; as I thought over the matter, I thought perhaps it was too much, what if I just wrote a suicide note and vanished without a trace? But then people would search for my body, it would end up as a permanently unsolved investigation as to where I'd gone.
No, generating and then killing a clone was necessary, if there was just a body with no evident cause of death, there would be large investigations, with an alarming autopsy that would lead to further speculations and who knows what else to follow. I just wanted this escape from my life to be smooth with no risks, and I even Twilight would agree with that.
Besides, we'd already trashed the house, so there was no turning back now. On top of that, this was a non-sentient clone we were talking about, it would have no thoughts, pain, or emotion.

"Well, I hope you're not expecting me to stick around when it happens."

{Holy crap, did they all think that they had to watch my do it?} I thought to myself, before speaking my mind.

"Oh goodness no Rarity, I never intended for you to see it happen, none of you!"

"Well, um, I don't mind," Rainbow Dash stated anxiously, "I mean, we may have to kill one day in the future..."

I whipped around to look at her, scowling with a face like thunder.

"You are not watching, none of you are, okay? And don't say things like that either, don't even think about killing, ever! The whole purpose of my job is to keep you away from such things, understand?"

My sudden change in attitude frightened her some; I was genuinely angry with her, how on Earth could she have even suggested having to kill, it was nothing like the Dash I knew.
But then again, how well did I truly know these ponies? I've known who they are since the first season aired, all the way up until present day while Season Three was airing, and yet there was far more to them that met the eye.

"S-Sorry..." She stuttered, "I just-"

"You just, nothing." I cut in, "There is nothing good, nor heroic about killing, it's taking away life. That is all."

Shame befell the pony as she understood the severity of her words, bowing her head, she sighed heavily; within the blink of an eye, I had forgiven her, how could I not? I had only met the six just yesterday, this was all still fresh, I was still buzzed just for knowing of their existence, staying angry at any of them was simply impossible at this point.
I exhaled slowly through pursed lips, it was time to get this done, facing Applejack, I decided that it would be best for her to retrieve Twilight, and not me.

"Applejack, I think that it's time, can you fetch Twilight?"

She nodded, and left without saying anything; I turned to the others to find them all suddenly look very saddened.

"You girls okay?"

"I suppose so," Rarity answered, "it's just that with all this talk of death and whatnot, I can't help but fear for what's going on back home in Equestria, I'm just feeling a bit homesick."

The others were evidently dwelling on the same subject, for they all wore similar expressions.

"I'm worried about my little Angel Bunny..." Fluttershy sniffed.

The poor things, they were a very long way from home, and they were going to be for a long time, it made perfect sense for them to have home on their minds.
That's when a realisation dawned upon me, when I had read the fanfiction 'My Little Dashie', the time between our worlds were distorted, an entire year in our world was merely a day in theirs, we had months, possibly even a couple of years to look for the orb shards. Right now in Equestria, no more than a few seconds had passed since the girls stepped through the portal. I smiled at this thought, I looked to the others, beaming.

"I know it feels like you've been away for a long time, and you will be here for quite a while, but I know a little something about the connection between our worlds."

Rainbow Dash tilted her head, the others did the same.

"As it happens," I continued, "a single day in Equestria is a whole year in this world. Back in Equestria, the lot of you have barely been gone a minute."

"And how, do you know that?" A shrill, disgruntled voice spoke from behind me.

I turned to face Twilight, whom quickly used her magic to open her saddlebag and levitate a scroll from it. Before I could speak, she unravelled the paper and read it aloud for us all to hear.

"My dear Twilight,

Due to a previous occurrence that I cannot divulge to you at this given time, I have come to understand that the working of time is different between Earth's dimension and that of our own.
For an unknown reason that even I cannot explain, a full year in their world is but a single day in ours; fortunately, this fractured time very much plays into our advantage, as your company will have far more time to search for the Titan's Orb.

I have every faith in you.

Good luck, my faithful student.
Princess Celestia."

The others looked at Twilight, then to me, then to Twilight again.

"How did you get hold of my notes?" She asked through gritted teeth.

I looked back at her calmly.

"I didn't, I know about it from elsewhere."

"Where then?"

I broke eye contact to glance at the others, whom were now looking at me as intently as Twilight, also curious as to how I'd obtained such knowledge, especially considering that I didn't know of their existence until yesterday.
But if Celestia had wiped their memories, I was confident that she had done so for a good reason, and so I reluctantly had to lose some of the trust I'd been able to develop over the past twenty-four hours.

"I can't tell you." I answered.

"And why is that?"

That's when something clicked in my mind, I could use this to my advantage...
Twilight very much wanted to know what I knew, and I in turn needed to know what she knew; funny that both pieces of information related back to the Princess.
With a sly biting of my lower lip, I smirked at the unicorn.

"Well Twilight, it seems that we're at a bit of a compromise. I would very much like to know what Princess Celestia told you about me and my planet. And you want to know what I know. Would you like to trade information?"

"Don't you dare blackmail me," She snarled, "I am her student, it's completely within my right to withhold the information that she's given me in relevance to this mission!"

I merely shrugged.

"And I'm well within my right to withhold my own information, as it does not impede our objective."

She growled in frustration, desperate to know of my source.

"I'm telling you nothing." She spat.

"So be it, if you don't tell me, I won't tell you. Simple as that, Twilight."

Before she could argue further, I broke the argument by telling her that I was ready to relocate the dogs and embark, and her piercing gaze instantly became less intense. She finally entered the room, opposed to standing in the broken doorway, and put her note from Celestia back into her saddle bag.

"How far away is this friend of yours?" She asked.

"About a half-hour walk, but I'll try to get there a little faster." I answered.

"You do that."

Ignoring her dull remark, I told her that I wanted to be absolutely sure of the address and quickly dashed through the kitchen, into the hall, up the stairs, and into my bedroom. Luckily my laptop was still on, (it was one of the few things I hadn't destroyed), I quickly opened up Google Earth and typed in the address that I believed to be correct, the globe rotated as it zoomed in on the house, I chuckled as I saw Bruce in his garden, semi-nude, lying in a deck chair, luckily Google Earth had taken the satellite photograph at just the perfect time, (needless to say, it was definitely the right place).
I rushed back downstairs and into the dining room.

"Right, I'm a hundred percent sure where the place is."

"Would it be too much to ask if I could come along as well? I'd very much like to meet Bruce." Fluttershy requested.

"Oh sure, sure. Hey, how about everypony goes and we call get caught?" Twilight spat sarcastically.

"Oh Twilight, do shut up." Rarity deadpanned, rolling her eyes.

"Ugh, fine then, three Pullie-Portals and two cloaking spells. What are we going to do first? Deal with the clone business here, or get your dogs to your friend?" Twilight asked.

I looked around, not quite sure of what I should do. Rainbow Dash was the first to speak up.

"I think you should take care of the clone, it'd be better to get it out of the way."

Seems like Dashie had learned her lesson. The others nodded, and we all agreed that it would be for the best, if we took care of the clone first, we could all leave and never have to come back here.

"Very well," Twilight said, "let's do this in the kitchen, as there are knives there. It would appear like you reached for one to defend yourself against your attacker, but weren't fast enough, it will look more realistic."

As rude and arrogant as Twilight had been, she was very observant, if only she were to use her head like that and be nice at the same time, that'd be a treat.
Rarity anxiously stepped forward and made her thoughts known.

"Twilight, Callum, how exactly are you going to deal with this clone? Obviously it's agreed that Callum is to kill it, but do you mean to... To actually... Kill it?"

"Well, duh, how else are we going to make it look realistically dead? Casually nail a sign to him that says 'dead guy'?"

Twilight levitated an orange out of the kitchen fruit bowl, along with a kitchen knife from the rack. Looking at me with a dull expression, she drove the knife into the orange and twisted it, splitting the fruit open.

"You know what to do." She muttered.

I shrugged and snatched the knife from her telekinetic hold. When she put it that way, stabbing the clone didn't seem so bad, it was just like a piece of fruit, like the orange, right?

"Let's get this done..." I said.

Twilight nodded and walked towards me, her horn glowing; the same purple stream of light began to escape from my body, the same purple ball of light formed in front of me, and just like last time the ball began to stretch out into the shape of a human. With a white flash, there stood a clone of me, but there was something different about this one, he had no facial expressions whatsoever, his eyes were glassy and unblinking, it was as though he were already dead.

"Get it done, and get it done quickly, I don't want to be in this house anymore. For all we know, your mother could be back at any moment." Twilight ordered.

While I knew that my mother wouldn't get back for at least another four hours, (as it was only midday), I decided not to argue the toss with her, for I wanted to get out of here as well. The others left the room, but I quickly stopped Twilight upon her exit.

"This clone won't feel anything, right?"

"No, this clone is a much simpler version in order to conserve my mana, he has no emotion, or functioning nervous system, he's basically a vegetable, or an orange for that matter."

Assured by her answer, I allowed her to leave and picked up the knife, before facing the clone as Twilight closed the door behind me.
It was time to do the deed.

"Okay, it's just like an orange, it's just like an orange..." I mumbled to myself.

I walked right up to the clone and waved my had in front of his eyes, to which he didn't react; after poking him with my finger a few times, I forced myself to accept that he wasn't real.

{Okay, he's just like an orange.} I thought to myself, my hands already sweating.

My fingers trembled like leaves in the wind, clinging onto their branch for dear life, and the knife's blade gleamed in the kitchen light as though a small star were dancing upon it.

{Come on Callum, it's just a piece of fruit, a human shaped fruit...}

A thought most useful then entered my mind, as a child I once went to a theme park called Thorpe Park, and there was a rollercoaster named Stealth, I remember being absolutely terrified of it at first, and I found that the only way to get over it, was to simply throw myself onto it without thinking. Now, I knew that getting onto a rollercoaster was slightly different to stabbing oneself, but it was the same principle, I had to do it without thinking.
Closing my eyes, and holding the knife tightly, I took a deep breath and then lunged at the clone as hard as I could without a moment to consider the action.

There was a small thud as the knife went into the clone's gut, I gave it a twist and then pulled the blade out, and he fell to the floor with a loud smack as his head collided with the oven handle behind him as blood poured out of him. The knife too was dripping with the stuff, along with a small amount on my fingers and on my palms, I momentarily felt like I was going to be sick, I dropped the knife and ran to the sink to wash off the thick, sickening liquid.

Although I wasn't sick, my mouth began to salivate heavily as though I were going to be, it took me a good minute to regain my senses properly and get a hold of myself.

{It's done... It's done... Let's get the hell out of here.} I thought, almost saying it aloud.

Leaving the kitchen and closing the door behind me, I found the others patiently waiting on the other side, their expressions became lightly sunken with sorrow upon seeing me.

"Callum?" Rarity asked, her eyes full of worry. "Are you okay?"

I tried to talk, but couldn't, it appeared that I was in more shock than expected, so much in fact that it seemed as though I had gone mute, but I managed a nod.

"Good, now let's go," Twilight ordered, "We're done here and won't stay a moment longer."

"Twilight, show some respect for Pete's sake! You can see clear as apples that he's in shock!"

Biting her bottom lip in an attempt to stifle an argument, Twilight exhaled through her nose heavily in irritation..

"T-Twilight's right, we sh-should go." I stuttered, finally able to find some words in my throat.

I grabbed my rucksack and slung it over my shoulder before anypony could say otherwise. Chilli's little stump tail was wagging frantically as she loved going on walks; t'was a shame that this would be the last walk I'd ever have with her...

Opening the back door and walking outside, I took in a breath of cool air before stepping out into the sunlight; the weather was lush today, there was no wind and barely a cloud in the sky. Applejack came over to give Archer a last goodbye, stroking the deerhound's neck and giving him a gentle hug.

"This here's a fine pooch, I wish Equestria had these deerhounds, I could see myself having two of them guarding the farm." She chuckled.

Despite my breath still being rather shaky, I was able to maintain enough focus to respond.

"Well depending on how things turn out over our journey, perhaps you could head home with a couple of deerhound pups of your own?" I suggested.

"Heh, I'd very much consider that, Sugarcube!"

Tipping her hat, she went to help the others in packing up their camp.

"You know the ping spell, yes?" Twilight asked to Rarity.

"For the millionth time, yes Twilight. You've planted your own memory of the inscription into my head at least six times now, I've got it okay, darling?" The white mare replied, rolling her eyes playfully.

Twilight nodded, and her horn began to glow, flickering like a road flare. An immense heat started to surround my body, it was so hot that it was almost painful, I gritted my teeth and prepared for whatever sensation came next.

It was then when then my vision was replaced with the purest white I'd ever seen.

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