The Shadow Knows! (Final Update 6/3/04)

Which of the Shadow's epithets do you like the best?

  • The Cloaked Crusader

    Votes: 1 6.3%
  • The Dark Avenger

    Votes: 7 43.8%
  • The Man of Mystery

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • The Sable Sleuth

    Votes: 6 37.5%
  • I've got the perfect one! (post it!)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Damn. Didn't know I was being that transparent. :) Yes, it's Carlos. This is situated after Alex's death.

No, I hadn't really considered publishing. God knows Loren's had enough trouble breaking into the market, and he's much more talented than I am. I'm open to ideas, though.

Gotten the chance to look at the SW campaign yet?

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First Post
I've got it printed out and have almost the first page (I'm on a roll here). So far I have no comments as I just havn't had time to think about it.

I probably wouldn't have thought it Carlos if you hadn't basically said it was. In this timeline, what would have happened to David (Alex's son, if I remember right)?

I never thought this would actually happen, but...

It seems that there will be an actual, real, in-continuity update to this thread within the week. I anticipate there being only the one, to tie up a loose end.

The story is this: SuentisPo and I were reminiscing about the game, when it suddenly came out that Alex's last conversation with David was a complete maze of cross-purposes. The two were basically having utterly different conversations, without realizing it. Alex was approaching it from the angle of, "I've been a terrible father," and David from the angle of, "Dad's disappointed in me because I'm not a telepath."

The more I thought about this, the more aesthetically displeasing I found it. Further, Alex's relationship with Carlos had ended on a high note, but his relationship with David had ended with a big question mark.

Our plans to rectify this were interrupted by my recent hospital stay. (See below.) The plan now is for SP and I to play out a scene between Alex and David this Saturday. SP needs the time to work his way back into character as David, among other things. (While I can still fall into character as Alex at the drop of a hat, even after all this time.)

P.S. Gah. I just realized that 'drop of a hat' was, in this context, a truly horrible pun. :)

P.P.S. Yes, I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital recently, nine days of which in the ICU. I'm out now, but still very weak, and will be recuperating for at least a month. Any prayers/good wishes/karma you care to send my way are greatly appreciated.

[I was looking over some of the old Shadow game-writeups to prepare for the David scene I promised a while back but haven't yet delivered on - another case of SP and I being hopeless when it comes to scheduling. And while I was doing so, this scene came to me all at once, almost in whole cloth. I honestly don't know how or why that happens, but here it is for your edification and delight.]

[This is another What If?, in a possible future where David is getting married to Twyla.]

Twyla fussed with her gown, increasingly nervous on her big day. The chatter and giggling of the bridesmaids did nothing to calm her nerves, and she started at the knock on the door.

David's father came in carrying a small cardboard box. The tuxedo he wore only accentuated the formality and reserve she associated with him. I hadn't realized he was so tall, the irrelevant thought came to her, but she collected herself as he said with a slight bow, "I wanted you to have this, my dear."

She tilted him a smile and opened the box, gasping at the vibrant colors of the orchid corsage inside. "It's... gorgeous!" The girls likewise oohed over the flower. "Thank you," he said modestly, "I was not certain it would bloom in time for the wedding, but fortune smiled upon us." "You grew it yourself?!" "I'm full of hidden talents," he said wryly.

Something flashed between the two of them, and Twyla came to a decision. "Girls, could you give us a moment?" They filed out and she looked at him more directly than she usually dared. There'd always been something a little frightening about him, the more so after that memorable phone call.

"Mr. Brighton..." "Please! Alex." "Alex, then... I just wanted to say..." She swallowed, then spilled out, "I know you've never much liked me..."

With the courteous directness she knew drove David crazy, he said, "My dear, the feelings I had toward you before this day are now entirely irrelevant. You are my daughter, and I love you." His words were sincere, and she could not doubt him. Whatever else might be said about him, somehow she had always felt he was scrupulously honest.

She dropped her eyes. "That... means a lot to me. I know you and David fight sometimes, but I've always seen how much you love each other. It's... something I never had at home." "I know," he said gently, and again she did not doubt him, though she couldn't imagine how he knew.

After a short silence, he stated, "I gather from David that there is something else you wish to ask me."

"Yes," she said quietly.

"How much has he told you about me?" "Nothing much. But it's been obvious for a long time that you're just as - what's the word you used? - 'special' as he is."

He sighed. "As I said - hidden talents." Her hand cupped her slightly-swelling abdomen protectively. "Alex, is our baby going to be 'special' too? David didn't know."

"I cannot say for certain. My own brand of 'specialness' is quite different from David's, and I do not know the reason. But yes, I think it very likely that my grandchildren will have quite the range of unexpected abilities."

She absorbed that, startled. "Different? But you can beat David in a fight, and he..." "Not any more. My skill is purely the result of training. His raw power has dwarfed any skill I can bring to bear for years now."

"Then," she swallowed hard, "then I suppose you should tell me what I can expect." He closed his eyes, letting out a long, drawn-out sigh.

After a moment, he said, "There are forty-six people in the building presently. I can recognize many of them from here, and for the rest I can tell you their locations, genders, approximate ages and emotional states. David, for example, is pacing up and down in the room down the hall; he is nervous. 'Little Dave' is trying to jolly him out of it. Your parents are downstairs getting mildly drunk. Give me a moment of concentration, and I can see and hear any of them clearly, or tell you what any of them is thinking. Give me a few moments more, and I can retrieve for you any of their memories. If there were a pressing need, I could alter those memories. Or afflict any of them with mortal terror. Or do any of a number of other things." He smiled sadly. "In the lingo of the trade, I am a telepath, an empath, and an esper. Your children could end up all of those things, or some of them, or none. I simply do not know."

She paled as she stared at him, shocked. He continued quietly, "Please do not fear me. I never spy on people unless there is a great need. I have no desire to know the inner thoughts of others, least of all my loved ones."

"Does... does David know?" "He does. But he does not understand." His eyes mutely begged her to.

After a long silence, she asked, "How do you bear it?" "At times, Twyla, I cannot."

"If... If my baby has this thing..." She could not continue, and Alex said quietly, "He or she will be able to bear it better than I can. I did not have the help of another telepath as a child, and so I had to deal with it alone and in ignorance. That fate, at least, will not befall your children. I swear it."

She shook her head, then realized something else. "What, uh, 'trade' were you referring to just now?"

"Daughter," he said with a tender firmness, "it is best for everyone that you not know the answer to that question."

"I suppose so," she said slowly, "But hear me now - my children won't be part of it." Her voice rang with firm decision.

"No. They will not be. I am as determined in this matter as you are, I promise you."

"Then I guess we have an understanding." "I guess we do." "...Am I going to remember all of this tomorrow?" He quirked a smile. "If I were of a mind to change your memories, I would have done so years ago, after the whole bandage incident." Surprised, she said, "I guess you would have. Why didn't you?" Quite seriously, he replied, "My son loves you."

That brought her to the sort of sudden impulsive decision she had always trusted: "I love you too, Dad." He closed his eyes, visibly pleased but struggling for the poise she now had an inkling why he needed. She kissed him on the cheek. "And I'll try to help David understand. He's too close to you." "I know."

"Do me a favor?" "Ask and it is done." "Read my mind as I come down the aisle." He looked at her oddly, disapprovingly. "If you wish it."

Later that day, he stood at the front of the groom's side, a fidgeting tux-clad Carlos next to him. As he promised, when she appeared on her father's arm (wearing the orchid), he opened his mind to hers. For a moment, she met his eyes, and he sensed clearly, Tradition says this man gives me to my love, even though he cares little for me. I'm glad to enter a real family.

Then she caught sight of David, and her heart swelled with joy. Alex remembered Jennifer, and discovered something new about himself:

He was the sort to cry at weddings.

[Yes, I realize that realistically they would've had this conversation weeks if not months before the wedding; it was just more dramatic this way. Plus, it preserved the original impetus of the scene:]

[Reading Alex's background again, I thought, "That's right, he likes to grow tropical plants. We never did anything with that in the game." -> "Alex is the sort to grow an orchid for somebody on a special occasion. Say, a wedding." -> "Of course. David and Twyla." -> Whole scene drops neatly into my mind, nearly verbatim.]
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Thanks, thatdarncat.

It's weird how easily I can still fall into character as Alex after all this time. He means a lot to me, the big lug.

[Remember that scene with David we were going to do, to tie up loose ends? Well, it never happened, and SP doesn't feel up to it any more. But I have this one which I wrote up when I got impatient, around the same time the Twyla scene came to me. I'd forgotten about it until the thread was bumped.]

[SP tells me that, as always when I write David, that his characterization is a bit off. But he can't articulate why or how, so it'll have to do. :)]

[This one takes place the day after the last scene of the campaign - the long-awaited Thanksgiving.]

A Tale of Two Turkeys

Alex pulled a sweater on over his dress shirt (his one concession to informality), then went and knocked on David's door. When (as expected) there was no response, he opened it, to find David websurfing idly in boxers and a tank top. "We're heading to the Vu's in half an hour, so be ready." "Yes," the boy acknowledged shortly, without looking in his direction.

Alex folded his arms and noted mildly, "I do hope you won't be sulking the entire time." David replied, using (if he but knew) Alex's careful enunciation when exasperated, "I am not. Sulking." "What term would you prefer?"

David closed the window he was surfing in with excessive violence to the poor mouse. Looking only vaguely in Alex's direction, he stated, "Oh, I don't know. How about, 'restraining oneself from parricide'?"

"I approve of the restraint, at any rate." "Ha. Ha. You slay me." "I thought it was the other way around?" "No. Restraint, remember?" "Ah."

Then, "David..." "Just don't even start, OK?" "Start what?" The boy snorted. "Does it matter?"

Alex's voice became positively Arctic: "That. Is. Enough." David flinched involuntarily at his tone. "Look at me, young man." David compressed his lips but evidently made the decision not to escalate; he met Alex's eyes grudgingly.

Alex stated, "You have a right to be angry with me. I do not deny it. You do not have a right to treat me with disrespect while living in this home." To his surprise, David took a deep breath and said, "Yeah. I'm sorry."

He studied his son for a long moment, then said, "I accept your apology. Can we agree it is past time for us to discuss our differences?"

David finally swivelled his chair toward him. "OK, Dad, let's. How am I supposed to take all this? Not only do you go out at night and beat criminals up, but apparently you also..." He visibly stopped himself from saying something cutting, breathing hard.

"Before I attempt to answer that question, may I ask you one?" Bitterly, "Sure, fine."

Alex carefully modulated his tone, trying to be more expressive than he usually permitted of himself. "Son... Where have you gotten the idea that you could be replaced?"

The dam of David's anger finally broke. He abruptly stood up, sending the computer chair flying. "Why do you even bother ASKING all these questions?! Is it manipulation or what?! Pushing me into saying what you want?"

Alex's face went blank as he retreated behind the ramparts of his mind. "I do not understand."

"Oh sure! What's the poker face for, then, huh? Guilty conscience much, Dad?" Alex let his hands slip to his sides, and repeated faintly, "I do not understand."

"The thing I don't get is, you really are a straight arrow. You don't lie to me otherwise. Is it all part of the whole 'secret identity' thing, or what?"

Alex stated with emotionless finality, "I have never lied to you. There are things I have concealed from you. But I have never spoken an untruth to you."

"Come off it! Do I have to spell it out for you? You're. A. F*cking. Mind. Reader. It explained a whole hell of a lot, when that came out last year. You always seem to know what to say, despite not being able to read a room for sh**. All those 'man-to-man' talks over the campfire? I always wondered how you worked it, because I really did start to see things your way. Must be easy when you can know exactly what someone's thinking, huh? Maybe even give them little nudges? I'll give you this much, though - at least you haven't mindwiped me like you wanted to do to Twyla. I figure you'd have done it last year if you were going to."

Alex had been shaking his head through this outburst, trembling slightly. "No." "No what?"

"David, I have only read your mind twice, and that only very superficially." David stared at him, disbelieving. Alex continued, "The first time was the day after the trial of your mother's killer. That was the day I consciously realized I was a telepath, and I accidentally read your surface thoughts. The second time was when I contacted you to send you with Jerry out of state. In order to communicate, I had to read the thoughts you consciously sent me. I got a few sensory and emotional impressions besides those, but as little as I could manage."

"Why should I believe you?" "Do you think I WANT to know what you're thinking?! Do you think I want to live that way, pushing the people I love around like game pieces? Would YOU always want to know what Twyla thought of you? What your friends think of you?"

David cocked his head. "So you don't even pick stuff up by accident?" "Not since that first day, no." "I don't get it... How does the campfire thing work?" Alex snorted. "I'm your FATHER, you idiot. I don't have to read your mind to know you well. How did you think it worked before you knew I could read minds, anyway?"

David thought it over, then said sheepishly, "I guess I figured it was a dad thing." "So it is." Alex took a deep breath, then let it out and deliberately joked, "You don't get to learn the secret handshake until you have kids of your own." "Darn. Do you get to wear funny hats?" "It's a secret. ... You still haven't answered my question." "Huh?"

"Where have you gotten the idea you could be replaced?" David suddenly remembered he was still furious with Alex. "Oh. That." "Yes."

"OK, so you haven't been reading my mind. Glad to hear it! Really, I am! But I've watched you and Grace. The way you glance at each other and get all thinky. Or cock your heads sometimes as if you're listening to something that isn't there. You're talking with each other, right?" "Yes." "Pretty rude, don't you think? But that's not the point." "What is?"

David's anger had been slowly rising as he spoke. "You live in a whole different world, Dad! Hell, even leaving the Shadow out of it, you can talk to people from miles away, erase their memories, whatever. sh**, I don't even KNOW what all you can do, and I might not even understand if you told me! I'm the stupid one in the family, huh? The 'Sucker', as YOUR dad would say. Guess I didn't get the genes from you or Mom. So then you come and tell me, 'Oh, there's this other guy out with me while I'm the Shadow. I've known him eight months, and I love him like a son.' Guess 8 months of 'A$$hole' is worth 17 years of 'Sucker', huh?!"

"Stop. You are making so many false assumptions I hardly know where to start." "Oh please! Enlighten my ignorance! Maybe then I'll be worthy."

Alex ticked off points on his fingers. "First, one reason I have never picked up your thoughts by accident is that you have a pretty good mind shield. I doubt my father could've sold you anything." "...HUH?!" "Living around me tends to do that to people." David shook his head, stunned.

"Second, your mother had no telepathic powers that I know of. I don't know where you even get the idea." "I figured... You said he couldn't control her..." "She had a shield, just like you. So congratulations, you're an 'A$$hole' too." "Gee, thanks."

"Third, the 'other guy' isn't a telepath any more than you are. Why did you think he was?" David dithered, bewildered. "I... Uh... Eight months?" "Eight months of trusting your life to someone, every day. He's saved my life at least three times I can think of. I've saved his, as well. Even so, I did not feel fatherly to him until..." Alex's face twisted, and he could not speak. David, for his part, didn't dare to.

"Until my enemies used him as a 'Sucker', as you put it. Put a mental bomb in his mind, tried to use him to spy on me. Even in the midst of THAT, even while being controlled like a puppet, he was as loyal as he could manage. But in the end I had to knock him out, handcuff him, and take him to Grace. And I felt... like I did the time when they hurt you, son. I realized all at once how much I loved him, and how I had failed him, caused him to suffer... even added to his suffering myself. It was more than I could bear."

David looked down at his feet, biting his lip. "Wow. I guess I really have been an a$$hole, huh?" Alex squeezed his shoulder, then said quietly, "Fourth, I am glad you are not a telepath." David swallowed hard. "Why?" "Because it has been nothing but a curse to me, David." He paused to let that sink in. "Perhaps for someone like Grace, who has been able to control it since childhood, it is truly a gift. But for me... it has destroyed any chance of ordinary, normal happiness. It has... kept me... from being the father... I want to be."

David hugged him impulsively, sobbing. Alex held him, stroking his back. "It is hard for me, David. I have to... hold it all in, all the time." David asked quietly against his chest, "Hold what in?" "Everything. It's not the receiving of thoughts and emotions that is the problem. It is the sending. You've had to shield yourself from me all your life, without even realizing it. Think of the other people I meet, who don't have shields. The people my father could sell anything he wanted. I have to hold it all in, and I am weary of it. Is it strange that I can't read a room, as you put it? I'm too busy trying to keep them from reading me!"

David finally pulled away and wiped his eyes, still sniffling slightly. "I feel so stupid. I'm sorry, Dad." "I am sorry too, son. I have concealed too much from you. It must have been hard for you, to wonder about all this with no hard data." "Yeah." "Shall we forgive each other, then?" David managed a smile. "Sure. You first."

Alex snorted, but said seriously, "I forgive you for leaping to conclusions and sulking about them." "I wasn't... well, yeah, I guess I was." "Your turn." "I... Damn. Dad, I just gotta process all this first. I'm not even totally sure yet what I'm forgiving you for. Tomorrow?" "Very well. Can I give you one more thing to process?" "Um. OK?"

Alex hesitated. "I want... to share something with you, David. It will be very difficult, but I think it is necessary. If... well, if anything untoward happens, call Grace, all right?" David stared at him. "Uh..." "And if it comes to that point - and I don't think it will - well, it would probably be best if you didn't touch me until she got here." "Dad, I don't think..." Alex repeated, "It is necessary." "All right..."

Alex retrieved the computer chair and sat down, his eyes on his son's. "I love you, David." "Yeah, Dad, I..." "No. Hear me out."

Alex took a deep breath, let it out. "When you were born... When I held you in my arms, looked you in the eyes..." His voice was soft, tender, more full of expression than David had ever heard it.

"I knew that my life had forever changed. I knew that my life fell in two parts. The time before I became a father, and the time after. I knew..." He had to pause, his breathing getting ragged, "I knew... that I would do anything for you and your mother. To keep you safe, to make you happy. That was the meaning of my life, from that moment on." David stared at him, mute.

Alex's knuckles went white on the arms of the chair. "I failed... your mother." He sobbed once, and continued: "I became the Shadow because I had to let it out, all the stuff I told you about. I had to. And... I wanted to keep it from happening to anyone else."

"Then, because of the Shadow..." Alex's face twisted in agony as his shields came to the breaking point. David started forward, looking frantic, but Alex held up a hand to stop him. "No, don't touch me! That will make it harder... I failed you too." "Dad, I-" "Let me speak! I don't know how much longer I can do this. ... I don't know how to bear it, son. I don't know how to bear it, putting you and Carlos into danger, but I don't know how to stop. I don't know how to stop." He bowed his head to his chest and was silent. David asked nervously, "Dad? Are you OK?"

"Yes, David. There is one more thing." "Are you sure-" "Yes. You're growing up, son. You're more a man every day." He paused for strength, then said, "I'm proud of you."

When he recovered enough to lift his head, he saw David slumped against a wall, tears running steadily down his cheeks. "Nobody can ever replace you, David. Nobody."

"Dad, I... I didn't realize. It's so hard for you to talk about this stuff?" "Yes."

"All my life, I've waited for you to say that." "Say what?" "That..." The boy swallowed hard. "That you're proud of me. I thought you were just a jerk." Alex smiled wearily. "Oh, I'm a jerk all right. Just not for that reason." He struggled to his feet. David asked anxiously, "Do you need help?" "No, I'm fine. I am reliably informed that I have the constitution of a horse." He said it lightly, but his sweater was living up to its name.

"Dad, I... don't know what to say." "I'm not surprised. You said you needed time to process." "Yeah." "...We're late for the Vu's." "Crap! You're right!" "You get dressed and I'll change."

David was quite subdued on the drive over there. Dat's questions died on his lips after one look at the two of them. Wisely, he put them both to work at once, chopping veggies and such. Soon Alex and Mrs. Vu were in their element, coddling the turkey almost to the point of putting in an IV, and discussing whether the green chili sauce needed more garlic. David for his part was kept chattering by the seemingly innumerable Vu cousins, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.

After a heavy and satisfying meal of American/Vietnamese fusion cuisine, an old two-family tradition was enacted. Dat poured a large cup of tea and held it in his hands as he recited a Buddhist blessing over it, then stated what he was thankful for before taking a sip: "Family and good friends." Passing it around the table, each person did likewise. The cup came to David first, seated next to Alex at the other head of the table. He looked into it for a time as if seeking for secrets. Then he looked at Alex. "I'm thankful for my father." Alex nodded gravely as he accepted the cup from David's hands. "I am thankful for my son."

After an equally subdued drive back home, Alex said suddenly, "I just realized something." "Yeah?" "We still have a loose end to take care of, for consistency's sake." "What's that?" "I seem to recall certain forbidden vocabulary words being used earlier..." David was torn between bemusement and chagrin. "Aw, crap. Yeah." "How many did you earn, you think?" "A lot." "Pick a number you think is fair." David rolled his eyes, and pondered. "500 at the very least. Call it a thousand." "Get to it."

David nodded, stripped off his shirt, and dropped into pushup position. "Ready." Alex asked curiously, "Are these really a deterrent for you any more, given how strong you're getting?" "From the effort? Not really. From the sheer monotony? Oh heck yeah." Alex chuckled, then frowned slightly as David abruptly went onto his fists before beginning.

After a dozen or so, Alex said hesitantly, "I need to go." Sarcastically, "What, you're going to let me count?" "I trust you." "...You're going to go have Thanksgiving with him, aren't you? With Carlos?" "Yes." After a long silence save for soft counting on David's part, "Tell him I said hi, I guess." Softly, "I will."

Alex ruffled his son's hair and went out into the night.


Returning in the wee hours, Alex was shocked to find David still doing pushups on his fists in the dining room. One glance at the set of the boy's shoulders told him they had started getting difficult some time ago; and there was a puddle of sweat under his torso.

"What do you think you're doing." David gasped, "Pushups. What's it look like?"

Alex walked over and knelt by his son's head. "How many?" "Lost track... a long time ago. Suspect we'd better... call the Guinness Book... people though." "You're in pain." "Got... a bit of a burn... yeah. Real problem... is the fist thing though. ... My knuckles and wrists... really hurt. ... Shoulders now too."

"Why are you doing this." "Processing. The pain... keeps me focussed." "David, I want you to stop." "...Okay." The boy lowered his knees to the ground and gingerly pushed himself up a final time. He winced as he lifted his hands from the ground and straightened them out, sitting down abruptly. "YOW! That hurts!" Alex took his right hand and began massaging it gently. "Are you punishing me for going to see him?"

David winced again but let his father work on his hand. "No. I meant to be in bed by the time you got back, in fact. ... Guess I lost track of time." "Why, then? And I don't believe it's just processing."

David didn't answer for a long time. "I had to know." "Know what?" "If I could push myself as far as you did, just to prove a point." "Prove what to whom?" "To myself. Not sure what exactly. That I've got your guts, maybe." Alex started working on his left hand. "You certainly don't have to prove anything to me." "I know, Dad. I... know it for the first time. It's a weird feeling." "I'm sorry to hear that."

"Knock it off." "Eh?" "Apologizing. We've both been jerks. Must be hereditary or something." Alex laughed despite himself. "Must be."

David said sleepily, "Did learn one thing from the processing, though." "Oh?" "Yeah. I forgive you for being a telepath, Dad. Must really suck." "Yes. Thank you."

The boy perked right back up for a moment when his father started rubbing his shoulders. "YIKES! My pleasure. ... The forgiveness, not the shooting pains." "I gathered. Need a hand up?" "No..." Then, rapidly, "Yeah. Guess I didn't inherit the constitution?" Alex snorted as he hauled the young man to his feet. "We'll let the Guinness Book decide."

David asked over his shoulder as he picked his way to his room, "When am I gonna meet him?" "Probably next week sometime. Grace wants to check him out again on Monday to make sure he's recovering OK." "...I can't promise anything." "I know." "Well... I guess I can promise one thing." "Oh?"

"Yeah. I'm going to give him a chance. At least three chances, in fact. I owe him for bringing you back home to me." They exchanged an embrace, though David couldn't manage much of one just yet. "I love you, Father." "...You've never called me that before." "You've never called me a man before, either." "Not yet, I think. But you're well on the road." "Ah. So I still get to be obnoxious for a while, huh?" "Yes. I love you too, son."

"G'night, Dad.." "Good night, David. It's good to have you home."

[OK, yes, so the loose ends got wrapped up a little too neatly with a bow. That's what the scene was for, deal. :)]

[I also have an unfinished piece on Alex's Thanksgiving with Carlos. There's some good stuff in it, but it ended up surprisingly cathartic (the relationship between Alex and Carlos evidently pushes some of my buttons, I'm not entirely sure why), and I got stuck halfway in. I'll consider posting it after I've looked it over some more and shown it to SP, as I don't think I ever shared it with him.]
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I also just realized that I've never posted a link to my latest Story Hour, Life and Light.

It's been on hiatus the last several months, but I anticipate that it will be waking up again within the next week or so!

Oh, and there's a brand-new Shadow scene posted above this one, if you're coming in just now.
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Every once in a great while, I come back to this game and look over the logs. I can still, after all this time, fall into character as Alex at the drop of a hat (pardon the pun). And each time, I get something new out of it.

This time, it was both amusement and amazement at how quaint the game feels, technologically-speaking, after 15 years! Here's a list of some things I sent to SP to laugh over. They made perfect sense at the time, but now they feel like something archaeologists would benefit from discovering!

1. Several times, Alex goes home to listen to messages on his answering machine.

2. David has a cell, but Alex doesn't. Even more amazingly, David sometimes *leaves his at home!* Can't easily picture a teen doing that any more!

3. The ubiquity of cell cameras is such that Mental Invisibility itself seems rather quaint. The Shadow would have a LOT harder time convincing people he's an urban legend these days!

4. Alex takes it for granted that a homemade website will have a guestbook. When's the last time you saw one of those?!

5. Hooking up a new computer to the household network takes an entire afternoon.

6. Floppy disks are still a thing. (Though admittedly, they were on the way out even in 2004.)

7. Pay phones are still a thing!

8. Perhaps most glaringly of all, the only way Alex could think of to find Twyla's number was to hunt up where David had it written down!!

Also, David and Carlos would be in their 30's by now. This makes me feel positively ancient.

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