|1||Team Leader Introduction||Introduction||imizzyg|
|2||Before The War||Writing||Pinkylapigs1|
|3||What’s Up, Doc?||Advice Column||“Doc”|
|5||A Love Lost||Poem||BloodLotus|
|6||D&D Character Sheet||Writing||iAmbitious|
|7||Digital Line Art||Graphic||TraidKelly|
|8||Waves of Emotion||Poem||.Kate.|
|9||Speaking and Writing Confidently!||Writing||LookAtThis1256|
|10||One With My Monster||Writing||Aneha|
Team Leader Introduction
Hello friends!! I’m Izzy, and I am your new XO PO *insert Kung Fu Panda meme here*!! I have been around USDF for almost a year now and have loved every second of it! I’ve been in OPA for just under 5 months after being in OJFD for 7 months! When not screwing around in the OPA chat, you can find me in HQ at all hours of the day or doing something with the Marines as I am the current Events Director!!
A little about me, I am a University student studying education in the US! I am in the EDT time zone but I can be reached at all times of the day because what is sleep anyway? Anywho, I absolutely love Harry Potter and anything Marvel (no spoilers please) and am a BIG Disney fanatic!! Stitch is my favorite Disney character by far.
This month of The Libertarian is much different than what we have seen in the past. This month I wanted to focus on the many talents that OPA members have! Some of these talents include writing, graphics, and comics!
The goal this month was to allow OPA members to be as creative as they would like to be!! Hopefully you enjoy the many talents that the members of OPA offer for this month’s Libertarian!
Before the War
While Branch Wars is solely surrounded by the purpose of fun and games, the efforts put into creating this month-long event is way more than any of us (besides OPA Command) could really fathom. We thought it necessary to expose bits and pieces of Branch Wars preparation to shine light on the complexity of it. To kick us off before we get into specifics and interviews, did you know that the discussion of Branch Wars 2022 began WAAAAY back in February, roughly 4 months in advance to the actual event?
I decided to interview a couple of different people who played a part in BW this year. Given that everybody has such different experiences of Branch Wars overall, I decided to provide all of the interviewees with the same question prompt, simply to reflect how different perceptions can be!
- What part did you play during the Branch Wars preparation this year?
- Would you say that preparation for it is stressful? Why or why not? How else would you describe it?
- What’s the most memorable moment you have from this year’s BW22?
- Is there anything else specific you’d like to share?
- I was brought on to build one of the event rooms for BW. I made the Base Wars room. Afterwards, I was asked if I’d like to host for BW which also means that I couldn’t participate during the Event. I’ve always known BW was crazy to prep, but others there’s nothing overly new to it. It’s the same process when building for events, just there’s a higher level of OPSEC around it than a regular event build.
- For me, it wasn’t stressful as I had a lot of time to design and then transfer the design over to Habbo. Only stress that came was to make sure all the wired was there and working for the room to be functional but that wasn’t entirely on me. Now the stress for literally everyone else in prep, yeah it was insane. It’s a bit like a ticking time bomb or when a game has it’s release date announced, and all of the game developers now have to go into crunch time to push out the game within time.
- Tbh, I can’t say hahhahahaa. I’ve been pretty MIA cause of work so I’d just work for the week get caught up before evening BW game on friday for saturday and sunday xd
- As much as BW is great, it does really take a lot out of OPA Command and sorta OPA as well. Because BW is for the whole month, it really puts a stop on branch events, opa operations and possibly even oisa events. So if you are in OPA and you are doing project duties, it all revolves around BWs. You really can’t get away from it once July hits which puts a damper on creativity and wanting to create.
MIDN2 armando498, CO MO.
- I was part of the organizing and hosts of branch wars, we started planning branch wars since April, and it did turned out the way i was expecting, it was a total success
- To be honest, in the early stages of planning it was not that stressful, it was normal stress. but the hosting part was a bit more stressful due to having to be on point 24/7.
- The most memorable would have definitely been the opening performance, having to rehearse that, and with the very good backstory that we created for it, and by the end everything turning out a success was great, definitely a time to remember
- I hope that everyone enjoyed participating and watching BW as much as we enjoyed hosting it.
CWO5 KraziiKendii, XO MO.
- For this year’s Branch Wars – I was given the chance to help a bit with some writing, graphics and some hosting! This was my first branch wars so I was abit new to it and did not really have any expectations other than it to be fun, and it indeed was! Although I wasn’t really able to experience it due to us being not allowed to play for our branches, overall it was still fun, I was able to work/host with different people and get to know them at the same time!
- Tasks were delegated so I got to focus and work on my parts and personally did not feel stressful for mine. I wouldn’t say it was super stressful, its just a matter of making sure the people assigned were submitting/doing stuff on time!
- It has to be during one of the final weeks game, I was hosting with Nick and Owen, and the two besties were just being themselves and singing together in VC which was cute!
- I can finally say TANKS GO BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
As our article naturally concludes, I thought I’d chime in with my own personal experience of Branch Wars, though this takes place way back in 2018! I got to serve as an OPA HNCO during BW18, and I was appointed in the middle of July, SOOO, I wasn’t there for any of the prep.
I was new blood, excited and proud to be hosting game events for days on end – though, the dynamic between my attitude towards BW and my fellow OPA Command’s attitude was well…notable. I hadn’t understood how exhausted they were! My limited perspective was opened the very day of my appointment.
This article has become quite dramatic, though it’s just honest. OPA Command can still have fun though, don’t get it twisted!! In fact, some of my favorite memories at USDF were actually of when me and my fellow command members at the time would play around in the BW game rooms as we waited for the events to fall out – it felt rewarding to be able to pause and have some fun ourselves!
What’s Up Doc?
What advice do you give to someone who is struggling to find the motivation to work out?
Signing Off, Eagle.
I actually experienced the same issue before, finding the motivation to work out. I can only give you some tips and tricks that others who’ve gone through the process shared. One of the most common ways is having a workout buddy or group. This can seem very cliche and corny but the key to this is accountability for yourself and each other. If that doesn’t help you, I’ve personally been looking into personal trainers. Which I know can be a lot of money, so if that is a possible route look into it but don’t stress over it. Besides that a big question is why are you working out, and what is the most efficient way for you? Figuring out your why could help you focus on goals and then answering the other question on how to obtain that. The other note is that there’s many ways to workout that aren’t just going to the gym. Sports, cross fit, even yoga and pilates are great ways to workout that aren’t necessarily gym related. Another thing that can affect motivation is the time of day. A lot of people say mornings are easier since your day hasn’t started fully yet. There’s also been research showing that exercise in the morning actually helps boost you through the day compared to not exercising. Mornings can be hard to fit in a full workout so there are quick workouts that are 3-5 minutes long on the internet for free. Hope this helps you or the other person, let me know how it goes!
Dear Dr, I am having trouble with insomnia, I’m reluctant to take medication for it. Any other tips or ideas?
Signing Off, Ms. Sleepyhead.
I see. I hope that maybe some of these tips can help, but I can’t guarantee anything as I’m not a professional doctor. You could try taking a warm bath before bed to help relax. Avoid long naps, strenuous exercise, caffeinated drinks, and big meals after 7pm, your time. You could also look into bedtime yoga videos. This is different from exercise as you’re doing slower, gentler movements to relax the body and mind, like shavasana. Now if your insomnia is persisting and you’re lacking the sleep your body needs, I highly recommend letting your doctor/physician know or if you don’t have a personal one, a professional doctor/physician so they can work out what’s going on with you.
– Sleep tight, Doc
Hi Doc, I really wanna go on a vacation with OPSEC, what excuse should I tell my parents?
Signing Off, Anonymous.
You could go with the old fashion of OPSEC being a friend. Now if they don’t know of OPSEC, you could say you and a friend – the stand in – are planning a trip to wherever you were planning for however long. Let that friend know of what is going on – doesn’t have to be detailed – so if it were to ever come up, every player is covered from being busted.Now if lying or as I would say a little white lie/little deceiving isn’t your thing, you could always slowly hint towards it. Or first introduce them to the place of travel, and then slowly leak out the info of possibly going to visit the place. If none of those work, go rogue, plan it, and let them know you are busy from the start and end date of vacation because of “work”.
– Safe travels, Doc.
I’ve fallen head over heels in love with a guy. He had this gorgeous salt and pepper combover and beard, wears a brown suit and has the cutest little glasses. Anyway he is in line for a BIG promotion and I’m a LOT of ranks below him. What do I do Doc? Do I fess up and let him know that I’m in love? Or do I let him rise to the top and forever keep my silence? I just don’t know what to do…
– Signing Off, The green haired lover.
I see your dilemma and it’s complicated for sure. I’m assuming this guy is single, but if not it’s best to try and die down the crush, – not cold turkey of course – if not then I would do some thinking. I know you described some of the guy’s looks, have you thought of him about future plans or noticed any behaviors of him showing interest? Also do you both interact besides the workplace to have a relation besides being acquaintances? The other thing to take note is the guy could be just generally friend incase there were times it could be mistaken as flirting. You know you and the guy more than I do, so please don’t take any of my questions as offense. As for the promotion, I can see how that could mess things up with being at different levels of work. If that situation isn’t that big of a deal for you, I would try maybe just hinting at feelings more than a workplace setting if out right telling makes you more nervous. My other question is would it make a rift between you and him if you were to tell? If not then I’d go for just letting him know. He can’t have a chance to reciprocate or not if there’s nothing given. Now if you think it could possibly ruin things, I’d go back to hinting. It wouldn’t have to be huge hints just something subtle and naturally comes up in conversation. I know the advice I gave you might have heard from everyone else, but as nerve wracking as it can be, the only way to know is taking that leap of faith.
A Love Lost
He tells me those words I have longed to hear for months… He says, “I still love you,” and I pause.
In my mind, the memories of our relationship play like a movie in my head.
They start out all kisses and road trips, flowers and late-night promises, but then they turn.
They turn to broken hearts, tears, and suicide attempts because he is the first person in a long time to actually love me.
Finally, I opened my mouth and broke the silence that hung between us like a thick fog.
I tell him that I still love him too.
My eyes sting and my cheeks are wet with tears as I tell him
“I never stopped loving you and I would gladly open my heart back up to you so you could glue every tiny piece back together with your love. But I do not know if it will be enough to make you stay.”
I turn and walk down the quiet street. The cold wind is my only lover now. The streetlights illuminating my path like spotlights showing me that my life now will be spent alone. My tears hit the cement like rain trying to wash away my past.
I love him now and forever, but while his memory will always make the sun seem to shine brighter, I know that our love story needs to fade away into the blurriness of history.
D&D Character Backstory
Modak had quite the odd childhood. As he, born in a village of goliaths, knew something was “different” about him. While the others in his class were getting ready to train against each other, Modak had a dream of his calling elsewhere. At the age of 7, Modak had a dream of something burning in the distance, something that he was able to vision people working beside tirelessly to serve something higher. When Modak woke from that dream, Moradin spoke to him saying: “Come child, follow me”. Modak knew that this meant he had to leave his family, the people whom had cared for him for his early years, but deep down he knew that he wasn’t meant to train against the other goliaths that this was his calling.
Modak began to pack up his things, but he wanted it to remain a secret from his parents, because he knew they wouldn’t let him leave and he felt like they’d be ashamed of him if he told them his dream. As he was packing his older brother, Mokin, spotted him with his things “What are you doing… Where are you going, we have to go train!” exclaimed the brother. Modak just looked at him, and stood in front of him pressing a finger to his lips, “Not now… I’ll be back, just please don’t tell mom and dad. I don’t want them to be disappointed, but I’m not meant to fight – I’m meant to help in other ways” explained the young goliath. Mokin quickly shut the door behind him, and bent down to help his younger brother pack. Mokin knew that Modak, though young, could handle himself with ease. Once all packed, Mokin turned to Modak and looked at him “I want to go with you, and drop you off, make sure you’re safe” explained the older brother. Modak just gave a slight nod in acceptance, and put his pack on his back, as they made their way downstairs he briefly left a note for his parents:
“Mom and Dad;
It’s me Modak… I just wanted to leave you a brief note saying that Mokin and I went off, but he’ll be back. I have to find my true self, my true identity. I had a dream and in that I saw something burning, and crafting. I need to see that. Then someone spoke to me saying to follow, and he’ll lead me. I’m off to find that. I’ll always be your son, but I need this. I’ll be back, and I’ll be safe.
Your son, Modak.”
That was it, at a tender age of seven, Modak was off to follow the voice that appeared to him. With his brother by his side, he knew that he was safe. The two of them traveled up to the highest peak of a mountain, where they saw tents and huts as well as stands of armor standing. A shorter man with a long beard approached the two brothers, “Ah, what brings two young travelers to our humble village” the dwarf explained. Modak looked towards the dwarf, and back at his brother to give a quick nod, “This is where I need to be. This is the place. Keep mom and dad, and the village safe, I’ll be back one day” Modak explained as he hugged, and waved his brother to return. Modak walked up to the dwarf and explained who he was, the dream he had, and the voice that called to him. “My brother… I’m not like him, I had this dream, this calling… This is where I belong” Modak stated.
The dwarf introduced himself as Zeth Warmclock, and led the young Modak to his hut. Zeth made introductions between Modak, and his wife Erra. Zeth even showed Modak the forge which he had been working at, and asked for Modak to show his worth and prove his dream to the dwarves. After that first week, Modak had another dream, this time much closer to the forge. Modak then woke up suddenly and heard the voice of Moradin again, “Good… You listened, now prove yourself. Master the art, and then I will listen”. Modak worked tirelessly at the forge for years, gaining the trust of this new voice and his new dwarven family.
Spending all the time at the forge, and with the new village, Modak became protective of his new family, the forge, and the temple of Moradin. Anything that would stand in his way or that could cause harm to the temple, he would be on the front lines offering himself to save his belief. Several times, Modak made a habit of traveling back down to the goliath village secretly, to ensure that everyone was okay, but he wouldn’t stay long or get caught as he would hurry back and return back to the forge.
Usually goliaths get a nickname from their tribe leader, but because leaving at such a young age, and not really finding his true self with the goliaths, Modak still lacks his nickname. To this day he is still known as Modak Thuligala, being that he is only 18 years of age. Modak wonders what made Moradin call upon him to follow this power. Why was a young goliath chosen as the next follower of Moradin. Modak will do whatever is in his power to help others find their true identity, so that they don’t have to just fit in with the crowd because that’s what they do. Modak challenges others to stand out and do what they believe in, and he will support them 100% along the way, while also continuing to find himself, and find time for himself to worship and practice his craft at the forge.
Digital Line Art
Waves of Emotion
I love this beautiful beach
Feeling the soft sand beneath my freckled feet
Hearing the seagulls squawk and squeak
I love watching the oscillating ocean
Hearing the whooshing waves
Crashing in endless motion
I Live only a few short steps away
I can come here everyday
With my dog, a faithful friend
We can splash in the sea
Until our hearts content
Eating ice cream for tea
Yes, this is plenty enough for me
I feel happy and relaxed
Recharged and ready to head back
Content in fact
I do not normally feel much of that
But here, on this sunny beach bay
Yes, I can say
My eager eyes scanning the ocean
That I am, today, evoking true emotion
Speaking and Writing Confidently!
Here at USDF we can be pushed to our full potential, through command experience and branch
councils, to handle situations confidently within HQ. We are constantly being tested on our abilities not just within USDF but in life.
Speaking with confidence can be accomplished by using strategies that produce a powerful message. The most important thing to keep in mind, is to completely understand what you are saying and why you are saying it! Nobody enjoys hearing someone speak in a boring, emotionless, or muttering tone. You have the potential to dramatically change how other people perceive you. You have the option of being true to yourself! Within USDF we are given the opportunity to apply for a variety of positions and pathways, a main factor of the deciding process is interviews and EOIs. This is your time to shine, during an interview confidence is key. Confidence about what you’re saying and being able to confidently present your ideas and opinions to help better your chances when going for that dream position!
Here are OPA’s top 5 tips to help improve your confidence in speaking and writing!
1: Practice – Practice your information, reciting it and memorizing it. When you’re nervous about a difficult conversation, practice what you’ll say beforehand and be prepared for all situations! Confidence is as much about appearance as it is about feeling it.
2: Avoid filler words and unnecessary sentences. During an intense interview or speech, using filler words can often show that you’re nervous or unprepared. Try to avoid using it to maintain a strong and confident appearance.
3: Be concise – Another part of speaking well means knowing what not to say. Your thoughts will come across more strongly since you choose the best points rather than presenting many mediocre examples. You may think you need ten examples to prove a point, but in reality, you may only need one or two.
You can identify areas of repetition and terms you want to eliminate by reading your own writing or asking your peers to review it for you!
4: Repeat your main points – You may think that stating your main points once is enough and that your audience will understand what’s most important, this is not true! If you have a few main points that you really want to get across, whether you’re addressing a crowd or trying to make a good point in your USDF interview, stating your main points again, perhaps at the end of your conversation or speech, will help you define your message and make your point more memorable!
5: People want you to succeed! Audiences and interviewers want you to be interesting, informative and entertaining. Think positively about what you have to do before you begin and know that no one wants you to trip or stumble over your words. We all understand that interviews, speeches and even EOIs can be a scary thing. Here at USDF we want you to succeed at everything you do! We are here to support and guide you through the tough times. You are never alone!
One With My Monster
No one ever saw it coming. Those who knew Selena on a fundamental level, knew she had always had a quiet and relentless will that most people failed to see. She was that one child who slipped under the radar, giving her parents the least amount of trouble, and was always willing to bend to their every whim. It’s not that Selena was easily manipulated or that she yearned to please her parents, she just didn’t have any indifferent feelings towards the requests of others. Selena was the girl who always did what she was told.
That was Selena’s weakness, she would give anyone anything they asked, and she’d do it without hesitation – but this also made her deadly. No doubt, if she was asked to kill someone, she’d do it without question, as if it was her duty. It was a wonder that no one had yet to take advantage of this weakness. But when it came to Selena, there was no way of knowing what she was truly capable of, and that’s what scared little Enya.
Selena’s younger sister Enya, who entered her life when she was 12, was the complete opposite of Selena. Enya didn’t share the same fate as her sister, nor did she know of Selena’s past or upbringing before her. It was as if their meeting was the start of both their lives. Enya never understood the gravity of Selena’s childhood, she never knew of the scars that marked her soul, and Enya knew that she probably never would. The one thing Enya did know was that Selena was different, and there was something not quite right about her sister.
Selena and Enya only shared half their blood, though they never knew from which parent. Everything about these sisters was different, the only other thing they shared were their eyes. Eyes of emerald green with flecks of oranges and browns that swam around their pupils. These were the types of eyes that mirrored their souls, yet even though they were the same eyes, they reflected different experiences, one haunted by their past, the other untainted by the cruelty the world had to offer. If Selena had a heart, she might have hoped that Enya would never know the price it cost to be a monster.
Unlike other children, Selena never vocalized her needs. She had learned that lesson at way too young an age, when darkness became all she knew. She would never let herself appear weak and she would never ask for help, because the one time she had – it never came. Selena came to realize that she was alone, no matter what, she’d always be alone.
As Selena grew older, the light in her eyes had dimmed. Enya was lucky enough to have met Selena at a time before it was completely gone, though it was barely a flicker. As the years went by, her light was hardly recognizable, and it disturbed Enya to see that the person she loved the most was slowly dying, becoming a shell of herself. But when Selena’s light was almost snuffed out, Enya curled around it for years, protecting it from demons and the whispers of her fears, until Selena’s light was strong enough to survive on its own again.
Now that Selena was older, she had a quiet power to her that vibrated in the air. She had an aura that demanded her presence be known, that commanded others to fear her. But the wounds inflicted, long before she was this powerful woman, were dark forces that made her who she was, and she was beyond saving, even Enya knew that, though she would never leave her sister’s side. She would never give up on Selena, no matter what path she chose to walk, Enya would walk it beside her, being the light that led her home, the only good thing that Selena had in her life, the only thing she had ever chosen to be selfish for. These sisters, one of light and one of darkness, were bonded together by not only blood but something far deeper. Enya wished to be Selenas hope, though Selena was what Enya wished to never become, and this made Enya stick to the straight and narrow. However, it was Selena’s monster who had chosen her life for her, for she believed that she had been born to walk in the dark.
Selena preferred to keep her distance from the world, unsure of what she might do if given the opportunity. She didn’t understand emotions, and she had decided long ago that a world full of emotion wasn’t for her. Selena’s monster was a construct of pain, fear, darkness, torture, deprivation and many other things. It was born in her mind and grew as she grew, becoming infused with her very being till Selena no longer knew what she was like before the darkness. All she knew was that it happened gradually, then all at once, so quick that it overwhelmed her, controlled her, and became her. Selena became one with her monster.
As Selena grew older, her monster became hungrier, it wanted to feel pain, it wanted to feel death. There were nights when she would return home to Enya, after days of silence, only to walk through the doors with splatters of blood on her clothes. Enya knew that Selena would never tell her what she had done, so she never asked. Selena would have a blank expression on her face, though Enya felt that this was a mask she wore, one she’d long ago perfected. Deep down, Enya thought that Selena relished in the suffering of others, that it made her happy and fed her monster, stopping her from going completely crazy. Selena had chosen a lifelong profession as an assassin, though if you’d asked Selena, she would have said it was a lifestyle.
**On the Hunt**
Selena ran through the thick forest, as quiet as her beast would allow. She was quick and light on her feet, fluttering across the damp leaves that covered the forest floor. She was on the hunt for a man with a rather large bounty on his head. But Selena wasn’t after the money, nor was she hunting for revenge. She was never one to question what her prey had done, all she wanted was to sink her claws into her next kill and satisfy her monster.
As she thought of what it would be like to end him, she came to an abrupt stop and crouched low behind the bushes, watching him by a stream catching his breath and attending to his wounds. The man had already fallen into several traps Selena had strategically placed prior to the chase, traps aimed to harm and slow her prey – but not kill. The latest trap had been thorns dipped in poison and she knew that within the next three days he’d be paralyzed. That’s when she’d make her move, all she needed to do was be patient, wait and stalk.
Selena followed for three days, and just as she’d predicted he slowed, no doubt battling for control over his body. A few more steps forward and his legs gave way, turning to jelly under his weight. She watched, satisfied that he could no longer support himself, there was no strength left, and nowhere to run. When the man realized that this was to be his end, she saw the exact moment that he decided to give up and admit defeat. It was as if the man’s will had completely vanished. She didn’t feel sorry for him, in fact, she didn’t feel anything at all.
Selena casually walked out from her hiding spot, as if she hadn’t just spent three days squatting in the forest covered in mud. She came to her knees beside the man and looked at him. After several seconds, she used gentle fingers to brush the hair that fell across his forehead, attempting to get a better look at his face.
The man’s eyes shot open and he stared up at her, both of them looking at each other waiting for someone to make the first move. They stayed like that for god knows how long, until something on the man’s face had changed. It was the tiniest of shifts that Selena noticed because she had predator eyes, eyes that noticed things, that saw what others could not. Though it was something small to Selena, the man’s universe had just tilted on its axis.
“If I am to die here today, then I am glad it is by your hands.” The man looked at Selena with awe. She was a natural beauty, even when covered in days of sweat and mud. She looked like a goddess among humans, in a world she didn’t quite belong. The man closed his eyes, content and ready for his journey to finally be over. Selena continued to stare at the man, unsure if she was confused or taken aback.
No one had ever been glad before. No one had ever WANTED to die by her hands. There was a sense of peace and finality to him that distracted her. She wondered whether she’d ever be able to find such peace for herself, whether it existed for a monster like Selena. She thought about it for a second too long, because not a moment too soon, he opened his eyes to look back up at her.
Selena wasn’t sure what shocked her more, the fact she was having these feelings at all or the fact that this man had just awoken something more vicious than her monster. For the first time in her life, Selena actually hoped for something more, and wondered what life would be like if she was something other than what she was.
“It’s ok, I’m ready.” The man was trying to reassure her that he had accepted his fate, that she should not feel guilty about what she was about to do, and that it had now become something he wanted. She no longer felt the thrill of the hunt, her monster disinterested when its prey showed no fear or pain. She thought about walking away, but decided to sit next to him.
Selena spoke for the first time in days, her voice croaky from little use, “I’m tired”. He wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, but he had a feeling that those two short words held so much meaning. He thought about what might have happened to this woman to leave her soul exhausted.
They both fell asleep next to each other listening to their steady breathing until the man began to snore. Selena was startled awake at the disruption in the pattern that had lulled her to sleep. She suddenly felt this compulsive need to save him, as if this man would soon become someone of importance to her.
Selena injected the man with the antidote, and waited for him to wake. He was confused when strength returned to his limbs, but he wasn’t going to let himself have hope too soon, not when there was still a risk he wouldn’t survive. He watched Selena, contemplating whether she was now safe to be around. She looked as if she wanted to say something, so he waited, not willing to move in case she changed her mind. For the first time in her life, Selena’s monster wanted to talk, for the first time – she was ready to talk.
“Let me tell you a secret…”
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