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  • A month ago I came across a note neatly folded laying on the ground in my parking lot. I picked it up, unfolded it and quickly scanned the page. It was a poem. I refolded the paper and decided I'd enjoy this treasure in my car.

    Once in my car I smoothed out the note. The unlined paper was worn soft and yellow. It was decorated with beautiful penmanship centred left. The ripple of each word blended into the next, reminding me of Grandmother's writing. I began at the top - it was titled "May 7" and the first line repeated the title, "It all began May 7th". The introductory stanza delicately described a difficult labour leading to a woman dying right after the birth of her daughter. Grimacing I continued on. Next the girl's father died under suspicious circumstances. Suddenly the poem plummets into darkness. I hesitate with a doomed feeling for the protagonist.

    My eyes hurriedly glaze over the third and fourth stanza, picking out morbid words. Then I get to the bottom with a line that taunts me. "Continued on the other side ---->"

    With a dramatic pause I stare at this line, but am resigned to my curiosity. I flip the page and to see my fear was justified. The young woman ends her own life in a violent and gruesome way. Then the last line: It all began on May 7th.

    I must say my first reaction after reading this was that I was doomed. Horrible! Why would someone write this for any other purpose than to curse someone? I immediately feared my sleep would be tormented with these words and terrible images from the movie The Ring. After making this connection, I tore up the letter and quickly located a garbage to dispose of it.

    I still think about the letter from time to time. Not about the story or what will happen May 7th, but how it made me feel. Alive. It sharpened my world. It stopped me in the tracks of what was going to be an ordinary day and forced me to connect with it's anonymous author.

    I've taken this little bit of horror and turned it into my own game. I don't use scare tactics; I don't enjoy invoking paranoia. Instead I ask a simple question. But like the author of May 7, my notes intend to be a spark of mystery and wonder that can bleed into a stranger's thoughts.
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