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End of Times - The Last City - (Season 1 Finale) 

It's been almost two months now; two months of heading West.  I am not sure how much longer I am supposed to go or how much longer I will be able to go. Heading in only one direction, without a spot-on destination is tough. Sometimes you wonder if you passed it, if you missed it, or if you will ever get to it.  But in this age and time what else do I have to lose? Nothing!  I shall continue going. What I can gain is much more important than dying without trying. 

I have noticed, though, that during the last couple of days, there is more of a presence of people in the area.  There are more foot tracks on the ground, more areas used as gathering places, more put out fire pits.  It is like they are more people all around.  Now don't be confused; when I mean more is not like I find these every couple of hundred yards.  I mean I find these every couple of miles, whereas before I could go days without noticing anything.  This discovery has to mean something.  I must be close, but close to what? What will I encounter. 

One night, after a couple more days of travelling, just before I set camp to sleep, I noticed this faint glare at a distance... this faint orange kinda hovering light at afar.  Like one you would see at night from the lights of a baseball stadium from miles away.  Similar to that but different.  I could notice it only because it was a dark night, one without moon. One with no haze or smog or fog... a clear dark night.  I checked my compass and the glimmer was effectively West!  I had found my destination. I was eager and anxious.  I wanted to run toward it just then and there, but I had to get my rest.  I needed to conserve my energy and plan my approach. I can't get so close to my goal and just let it all go to hell because of lack of planning, triggered by pure desperation and excitement. I went to sleep!

The next morning I started my journey bright and early. It would take me at least a whole new day to get to my destination if I travel at a fast pace. So I packed up and started fast. Still careful of my surroundings and attentive to every noise.  After about 16 hours I was close enough to asses the area, but far enough, at least in my mind, to not be detected if they had any kind of patrol.  I was at the top of a hill, still miles away. I checked my surroundings, searched for a good spot, much like a sniper would do, and waited there to observe.  I took my monocular out of my bag and began observing...... Impressive!

This looks like the last civilization standing.  They are running on some sort of energy, that either emanates from the ground or from the sky. It is like a huge bolt. It is surrounded by these huge birds, or at least some kind of animal that flies. I had never seen those before, but hell, I have never being in this situation before either. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, with what seems as only one main entrance road.  For now that is all I can see, still I continue watching.

After a couple hours of surveillance, and after being up for almost 24 hours, which is not uncommon in these end of times circumstances, I noticed movement.  The road is patrolled.  Very diligently and very stealthy.  As one would say: "You can't just walk into Mordor".  From this distance I can't quite see, but I am sure there has to be some kind of huge gate security and more before you get into this remnant of civilization. Also as noticed earlier, you seem to not be able to just walk in, you need to be taken in. I guess I need to start working on finding other ways to get into the city. But now is time to rest. I went to sleep!

The following couple of days I moved closer... slowly and vigilantly. I wanted to be able to monitor the area better without being detected and at the same time, try to pick up any pattern that I could use to my advantage. How do they move, how do they operate. It is clear by now: people that are not careful are captured and taken into the city.  They are stripped of their belongings and just taken in by armed guards. Guards.......... Guards! That is my in, I need to be a Guard! By hook or by crook!

I started monitoring dutifully the movement of the guards. Everything, every step, every hour, every minute. Tracked downtime, alone time, changing of shifts and even bathroom time. How they operate and how they communicate. This took me a couple more days. I wanted to make no mistakes. I think I figured it out.

I made my way down to the road...... I am determined, I am prepared, and I am ready.

It is time to enter the gates of hell...... into the Last City!


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End of Times - The Letter

I have been following for weeks now.  No matter how much I speed up my pace, I never seem to catch up with them. I havent seen them in days.  I know I am on the right track because I keep finding clues; ones they had never left before. It's like they want me to know what they are doing or where they are heading. Anytime I feel lost or confused, I check that old piece of paper and try to decipher the scribbles left on it.  See if there is anything else I am missing.  Reality is I have only had to do that 3 or 4 times, because the breadcrumbs they are leaving are so obvious. Not so much for a regular wanderer, but kinda specifically tailored to me.  This is creeping me out.

This is day 69 of the quest. After more than 8 weeks with nothing but clues and a gut feeling that the road I am following is the right one, I am now getting the feeling I am close. I had set my sleeping grounds at the bottom of this steep hill the night before, and it was now the early hours of a very hazy morning. I climbed to the top of the hill..... and when there..... looking down..... I saw it: The Ship!

Magnanimous in both his ginourmous presence and astonishing decay, another reminder of the destruction that surrounds us. This area was once a valley, now a swamp. How in the world did this Carrier got here? Dont know, not my problem.  The good this is I found it, I found the ship.  But now what? Have I been lured here with evil intentions?  What is not evil in this day and time anyway.  I started to feel doubt and concern. I looked around to see if I could spot anyone... but didn't notice anything suspicious.  So I slowly made my way to the ship, looking for an entrance a way to explore, while staying always in high alert. 

I made my way inside through a whole in the hull of this gigantic vessel.  It must have been, at one point, an engineering marvel of the seas.  Now it it just a decadent giant piece of metal, holding up out of pure well developed craftsmanship. Navigating these areas, with no flashlight is not an easy task.  I made myself an improvised torch and made my way through mazes and levels.  The putrid stench is indescribable. Carcasses of animals, and even people, are all over. Flies, filth, maggots.  This is the make of your worst nightmares. I stopped, I puked. And then again. I kept on, and stair after stair I made it to the top, and then later to the The Bridge.  Right there in front of me, on what used to be the control boards I see it: A Letter. 

"Dear guy with the not so white shirt, 

We know you have been following us. We have known for weeks. We have been travelling together for almost a year now, we know when we are being watched! We have a monocular too! As a matter of fact, we have two! We are glad that balcony fall a few months ago didn't affect your will or determination. It did slow you down a little. We don't know your intentions, but we assume they are not bad as you have not tried anything against us. If you have made it this far you are probably, like us, in search for some answers."

- They are wrong! I am in search of a person! A woman, too dear to my heart!

"We do not have the answers but we have learned of a place that probably does.  And that's where we are heading. Notes are leading us to the place where it's rumoured all started, or at least a place where things are still operating - sorta! Survivors are supposed to go there, or are taken there. Who knows with what intentions. If that is what you are looking for, there is where you will find us.  Provisions and weapons you will find around in this ship or other ships, that's why we stopped here. If you are brave and ready head West, after a few weeks you will get there.  Rumour says you can't miss it: Dragons and bolts of energy!

Godspeed,
The Four"

My hope is somewhat restored.  Is there still a possibility she is alive? I need to regroup, and start my journey... yet again.


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End of Times - Search

Before I could turn around to check what this noise was, another noise, louder than the first one struck again.  I identified it this time, it was a cracking sound. I have never heard it before. Then there was another, and another one.  Before I could move to safety, as I figured out what was going on, the floor collapsed and the the balcony I was hiding on, plummeted to the ground. 

I don't know how long I was out, but it was now dark and cold. The light of the sun was no more and I was just surrounded and covered in rubble and debris.  I felt no pain. Is that good or bad? I asked myself.  What happened to me?  I was out of it and it took me about 5 minutes to remember what had happened. I was afraid to move, hoping I did not find any major injuries or broken bones.  I didn't want to move, but I had to.  I tried to pick myself up and during that effort the pain I felt was REAL. It hurt all over, but despite all of it I was still able to move and crawled out of all the rubbish and litter that surrounded me.  I did not see major signs of blood or areas of unbearable pain, so I figured I dodged a bullet.  Except for my pinkie finger, it was dislocated.  I figured that one was a quick fix. And some rags would do for the cut on my right thigh.  The limping while walking will take a couple days. 

It was at this point I realized I had no idea what happened to the group I was following.  Did they come over and check the noise of the collapsed balcony? Did they ignore and kept on their way? Are they close or far away? I had so many questions and many decisions to make, but was too tired to think clearly.  I found myself the safest place to spend the night, considering the circumstances, and forced myself to sleep with my axe in hand.

I was up bright and early the next morning, with the first orange-pink lights from the sun. These days you really don't know what color the sky will be.  The pain was considerably higher now, but I had to keep on going.  I figured I would follow whatever seemed like a logical path for the small group ahead of me to follow.  If they also slept at some point in the night they might just be a couple hours ahead of me. That is, if they didn't find me in the rubble, waited and are now following me.  Or maybe they saw me and left me for dead? Although still possessing my tools was a quick assurance I could dispatch that last idea.  They either saw me and left me to see what happens or didn't see me at all.  I am counting on the second choice.

After a couple hours I found what could have possibly been their rest spot.  Some empty cans, a place where a fire was burning, and some clean spots on the ground where people could have laid to rest.  The fire coals were not close to warm, it had been a while since they were last there. I also found a piece of crumbled up paper under a rock.. it had some notes and scribbles.  At the bottom it had a drawing and two words: "The Ship"

This was too obvious, why would they leave so many clues. Something is not right.  Unless they want people to know this, to search, to follow... but why?  Are they unto me? Is this a trap?  I swiftly looked over my shoulder and all around a 360 degree angle, up and down, to see if I spotted anything, anyone watching. 

Nothing. 

I guess if I want to know the answer to my questions, there is only one way to find out.

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End of Times - Got my eye on you

I have been running rampant for weeks now.... I am guessing weeks, it feels like weeks. Heck, I haven't even been following time, it could be months.  My focus is there but my goal is gone.  My mission is now to survive, by all means necessary.  Although I constantly, every day, struggle with the question: Survive for what? Why? What is the purpose..... if only to live alone or learn to live again?  My mood changes, my character flakes, my determination dwindles. I go along my day, each day a single instance; there is no continuity, no desire, nothing but a constant fight. 

Provisions are scarce and far in between.  What is not rotten is expired; what is not putrid is unsafe. Animals are slowly growing in numbers... birds, wild life, etc.  Maybe I should find myself a dog. Been alone is so hard, especially when it is your only option. Loneliness has become like a disease, that eats at you faster than you can imagine.  You end up talking to yourself, just to have company... without realizing that the company is yourself.  Am I going crazy? Is not like there is nobody else out there.  I have heard, I have seen others....but I don't know them. I can't trust them... Groups of 2 or up to 5. I spy on them and follow them just in case they have her. So far, all of it has been unfruitful. It is just me... and myself.  Two people, yet the same person. 

I started following this group of people four days ago... They seemed different, resourceful, experienced, seasoned. Three men and one woman...  for all I can see from afar, she is the leader and damn good one she is. I am very careful and keep my distance, I don't want to be seen.  They seem to have a plan, a route .... a purpose!  They seem to be in search of something.  A thing I can't see or understand, is it a thing or a place ....... or both?  This monocular I found a couple months back has proven to be so helpful. I found it in a dead man's bag, his lost was my gain.

Anyway... I  have made this my new priority: to follow them until I can get my head straight again or until I find another clue; which seems next to impossible in this land of complete nothingness, desolation and catastrophe.  Their is a scary green fog today that is surrounding everything at dusk... sometimes it is green, sometimes red, sometimes orange .... it always seem to change.  It makes it hard to watch, hard to see ... but I have my eye on them... they are on the move again.  But something is different... they splitted up, I can only pick up on 3 ... I can't find the fourth one.....  

That's when I heard this noise behind me.... 

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End of Times - Despair

I raced to the top of the stairs, to the wall behind the statue, and read the writing on the wall.  It was less cryptic, it was direct, but it would only work if it was for the right person. 

- Your Birthday North, My Birthday East, for you a stride for some a leap.

That is 16 strides North and then 11 strides East. For a regular person, one of my strides might be a short leap. Being 6'8" would do that to you!  But when I got there there was nothing.  I mean I could not even get there because there was a wall before I could even get my 9th step in. I searched all around but found nothing, no other clue. Something was off!  What?  What if it is not only the days but also the months?  So I tried again.... adding months to my simple math equation. I arrived, of course, to a different destination.  There were no walls impeding my progress, but there was nothing around or above.....maybe below?

I dropped to my knees and checked the ground. Nothing obvious.  I started scrubbing with my hands and using a stick to dig around the dirt and broken wooden floors and quickly was able to find a weak spot. After more digging I removed the dirt and debry, and there in a rotten dirty box it was.  The clue I was looking for.  I read, and immediately felt despair.

- "Provisions are low, medications are gone. I need to get my meds. Find the closest hospital. I am using a map from the gas station! Guess google maps doesn't work anymore uh?! I cant wait to see you! Hurry!"

She was hopeful that we would reunite, and so was I.  But it know seems like time is running out. She is running out of food and possibly water, she is tired and weak... and she needs her medicines. What if she doesn't get them! "Don't panic!" - I said to myself. "Move!"

I  headed quickly to the gas station and picked up a map.  The closest hospital was less than 2 miles away.  I got there in no time. Once there I searched and searched. Top to bottom.  It took me 2 whole days to search everything.  I didn't find her.... I couldn't find her... I didn't even find a clue! Is it possible I am at the wrong place? I double checked the map, this is indeed, the closest hospital.  Why is there nothing for me here, no clue, no Debbie! 

I suddenly felt a sense of rage and anger I never experienced before. A delinquent and destructive mood.... Have I lost her forever? - I asked myself. What if she is no more?  These and other questions invaded my mind, which made me lose control of it all.  At that point, completely out of myself, I used all my energy to break and destroy everything around me.  I didn't care anymore, the option of living life alone ... well, was not one I could cope with! 

When there was no more damage to do there, I fearlessly moved on.. and started my reckless journey to .... wherever anger took me!

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End of Times - Where Life Ends

It has been 16 days and 15 nights of walking, hiding, crawling my way to where I am now.  I hope I moved in the right direction, followed the tracks to where they were supposed to lead me.  It's being 16 days, or more like 17, 18 or 15.  My memory is failing.  Lack of sleep and lack of food can do that to you. Nobody to talk to, nothing to hear. No words, no noise, no music! Except the music in your head and the occasional brush of an animal against the bushes.  Yes, the animals are slowly coming back... or should I say they never left and are surviving the times?  They seem to adapt pretty well, so much better than we, the humans!  But in all this you know what seemed to be not affected at all? Take a guess..........  Yes, cockroaches. Is like nothing kill those damn cockroaches.  I have a new appreciation for them.

While on my path to who knows where, I was beginning to wonder if I had missed my turn off point. What is "to the end of Life"?  Is that the end of the tracks, because I am certainly not there yet, or is it something else?  Is it a specific train wagon with a specific name? - I made sure I stopped and read/analyse all of them in detail looking for clues and more - Or is it a specific building or place?  What if it is a building?  What if it is a building I already passed days ago.  My mind was beginning to falter and I was starting to doubt! My feet were aching and tired and my body was thirsty. But I kept walking... heading who knows where.

It is incredible how vegetation can take over every existing man made construction.  Like mother nature is taking back what was always hers. I still had a half-day of walking in front of me but I had to stop.  Too thirsty, too tired.  I walked just enough to a high dense area that was overridden with trees, bushes and plants.  A good place for hiding, resting and possibly spending the night! Safety first! When I got there and pushed through the wall of branches and bushes... that's when I saw it. 

Behind all of that was the remnants of what used to be a huge and, from what I can tell, beautiful church. Just pieces of what used to be a magnificent construction remained standing.  From outside in the yard I watched in awe how the roof had caved in and how the walls were gone. I couldn't believe my eyes.  While walking around I stumbled upon something and when I looked down I froze in a combination of panic, fear and WTF. It was a tombstone, they were many more, all around... everywhere. So many tombstones, and that's when it hit me. "To the end of Life"

I paused and figured I had reached the right place, but then again.... was it the right time?

- I need to search for clues! I need to find my next clue!

- I think I see it, just above the stairs.  Just behind the Statue.

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End of Times - The next stop

Six days it took me to get to the house.  Walking through mud pits, devastation, overgrown bushes and a bridge... a bridge some 15 miles away upstream that was not completely destroyed.  I wish I had gone upstream before trying to find a way in the other direction.  It would have saved me 2, maybe 3 days.  But what is done is done and I am finally at our home.  Or what used to be our home....... if this can still be called a home.

I quickly searched the house.... and there was nothing. I then searched intently for any sign of recent activity, but again nothing! I waited at our home for two days, giving her a chance to show up in case she was out looking for food or water, or just making her way back! But nothing.....One day more just in case. Nothing!

I sat at the front door entrance, pondering what to do? Thinking about all the possibilities. But mainly I just sat there!  Just sat. Tired, hungry, weak and with yet the defeat of not being able to find the only thing I went looking for.  

Suddenly I realized there is this one spot I did not check. So I went to the TV and the DVR and turned them around, upside down and inside out. We used to spend a good amount of time watching DVR Series and shows.  Sitting on the couch or she just laying on me! "Of course she would leave a clue there, she said she was coming home... 1828" - I said to myself!  But again it was devastating when I found nothing.  Nothing!

I stood in the middle of the living room and tears started rolling from my eyes... under my gas mask. "I am not sure I can handle this any more!"- I thought! I felt a sudden weakness in my knees and not wanting to fall on the nastiness on the floor I let myself plummet to the nastiness on the couch! At least that was a little more comfortable. And as soon as I did that I heard a noise. I juggled and shake my body again, and there was the noise again. I quickly opened the middle compartment of the couch and there was the remote... and in the battery compartment..... a note! 

"Couldn't wait any longer PYT! On the move! Follow the Tracks! To the end of Life!"

I wanted to wipe my tears, but I just let them dry instead! I was now smiling. This just keeps me going and I will do whatever it takes. 

I rested for one night and then made my way to the station.  When I got there I looked left and right and then wondered: What direction should I go? It was then when it hit me. "First Up, Then Down"..... I hope this is what she meant! 

I am singing Pretty Young Thing and I am heading North! 

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End of Times - The Quest

A couple of weeks ago my leg stopped aching and I have been able to cover a lot more distance than before. It's being 69 days since the day I found that clue; since the moment I found purpose again and a burning desire to do whatever it takes to find my girl. My woman! My love! I found a renewed sense of energy and hope when I found that note. I knew what to do and I knew where to go... but there was still something bugging me, something I quite didn't understand!  

"First up then Down"

What does that mean? I still haven't been able to figure that out.  It is also interesting to me that she wrote "you know where I went" and not "you know where I am".  Does that mean she would be constantly on the move? Probably! Does that mean she won't be waiting for me at any specific place? I surely hope so, that would be smart. But then, what if I get there and she is not... anywhere around? Then what.............

Sometimes I get caught up in thoughts.  I guess it won't matter if I don't get there, I guess I shouldn't worry until I get there. But we humans, we worry and wonder, part of the reason we are alive.

I am close now, maybe a 2 day walk away. Just a couple miles to 1828. That is the number of the house we lived in, our house; and that's where I am heading.  I have been able to scavenge along the way, and this is my favorite, some cans of tuna in water! I also still have my can opener!  If I could only find a wine bottle we could celebrate with tuna and wine when we meet again. Ha, I would have never imagined that was a great combination, but in these times anything you can eat (and drink) is great! But first I need to get there, then she needs to be there! 

I suddenly stopped on my tracks. Life is life, and sometimes it seems like you never get a break.. and again this time it proves to be right. The bridge is down, all the bridges are down. I need to cross this river. I can swim I said!!.... I ran close to the river and then suddenly stopped. Because of debris and other stuff, but also because of common sense. I am really too weak to swim, plus the current can take me down for miles (to who knows where) before I even get across. 

I stop and look up to the skies, weak and battered. A two day trip has now turned into at least a 5 - 6 day voyage. So close yet so far! 

But I still have hope and purpose.

Hold on babe, I will be there soon!

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End of Times - You So Crazy

I ran as fast as I could, despite the leg and other ailments.  I couldn't feel the pain, the adrenaline rush was too high. A couple seconds later I was there... I could read clearly the message on the wall, right at the entrance of a subway stairway. It is a message that only I would understand, only I would be able to interpret the meaning. She was smart, she has always being.  In this day and era you can't leave a clear message that would indicate your whereabouts or plans, because people would use that to hunt you down, find you and hurt you.  You have to be stealth, cryptic, subtle.... and this message was exactly that.

I read it, over and over again, as to remember each and every time we said it to each other, in that funny, jovial joking tone.  When we were together on the couch cuddling watching a movie, or cooking in the kitchen, or eating at the table. It was as funny as it is silly:

"You so Crazy!"

I suddenly broke out of my almost hypnotic state and tried to enter the subway station, but the entrance was blocked by debris and concrete. It was impossible to get through that.  But I had to get in, nothing could stop me.

I searched and searched, every angle, every possibility.... and after about an hour I found a way.  There was a hole on the north side of what was a building, completely on the opposite side of the subway entrance.  The hole lead right into the station. Without thinking about it I jumped in. I was there, where I wanted to be.  I started searching, I am not completely sure for what. For anything, any clue, any sign. The smell was putrid, the place was humid, I knew for sure it was very unlikely that there was a living person there.... I searched for hours and couldn't find anything. Whatever was there I couldn't "see" it. Exhaustion got the best of me and I dropped to the ground....  I passed out.

A stream of light woke me up, I am not sure how long I was out. Defeated and battered, it was time to figure out a way out of this hole. That is when I saw it... there was this locker closet behind a red door... all the lockers were open and sacked except one.  One locker was untouched, it had a lock.  I made my way to it and started trying to open it.  There was no proper angle or tool to force it open, maybe one of the reasons it was still there. I needed to come up with the combination, what could it be?

One try, nope. Second try, nope. Tried and tried again, what combination would she had used for me to figure out.  Tried again, and again and again.......finally it hit me: 1 - 8 - 2 - 8

It opened.

Inside was a note: "If you opened this locker, you know where I went. First up then down. You so crazy! I love you!

I turned around, put the shirt on, walked out of the locker room and gathered myself.

I know where to go now!

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End of Times - Rage and Hope

I am hungry, tired and weak. There is just pestilence, destruction and a depressing atmosphere all around.  What used to be great cities are now a faint, ignominious debacle of a great existence. Who we were, we are no more. This is now just terrifying. I would have never figured this is what the NWO (New World Order) would look like.  

As I take every step the pain in my leg gets worse, that Tornado from a month and a half ago is still cashing in on the bruises it left on my already battered body.  I remember running from it, trying to find refuge, with no idea what to do.  A building, a house, a car... they would have provided no safe guard.  But a manhole, a direct access to a rat infested underground sewer system, provided the protection I needed, not without also providing many battle scars.  The debris that was sucked out and dropped in left me with little movement and a whole lot of pain for weeks. 

I am now able to scavenge and move around again, albeit slowly and precariously. That's when I spotted something, is it really? I could not believe my eyes.  I knew that shirt.... yes, that shirt!  Or is it just a regular shirt?  I hunched behind a car and watched as that person came out of an abandoned building, is it really possible? She took that shirt with her on all of her trips, she said she wanted something to remind her of me! I thought it was funny, but romantic. She took it on this last trip too.  I looked closely, yes it is my shirt.  But, it is not her.  Who the fuck is him?!?!

Ignoring my pain and body limitations I stealthily approach this person. When I am right behind him, he turns, but no sooner than that he receives a right fist to the face. While dazed but facing me I grab behind his head with both of my hands, pull down with force and drive his nose right into my knee!

- Where did you get that shirt? - I asked.
- Who are you, I am sorry! - He replied, while spitting blood and looking disoriented.
- Where did you get it? - I asked again, with fire raging in my eyes!

A bit less surprised he looked up at me and with a sinister laugh he babbled back....
- Fuck you! She is gone..... 

The rest of what happened is just a blur... I remember hearing begging, snorting sounds, scuffles, gasps ... and after a while nothing! Silence again... That is when I noticed my hands still around his neck!

I left him there, my first kill! I took the shirt, MY Shirt, Our Shirt!  And moved on!

After just a few steps I wondered: What to do now? As somebody once said: Having purpose is essential to the will to live.  And my purpose, seems to be gone! 

I dropped to my knees and looked up at my surroundings, tears rolling down my cheeks.  I was contemplating taking my mask off, and just laying and staring up to the dirty contaminated skies... and it was then I saw it.  Is it really possible? Is it really there? There is Hope!

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Background image found on the internet from http://hdw.eweb4.com/out/1082930.html

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