Kiara sky nails

gimmemetalvinylclub

2020.09.11 02:40 Ghost-Of-Nappa gimmemetalvinylclub

A subreddit for Gimme Radio's metal vinyl club
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2008.05.03 12:22 Nails

Nails: A place to show off your beautiful nails!
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2011.03.25 14:31 Teatoly The C was sold to pay for polish 💅

The C was sold to pay for polish 💅
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2023.06.05 08:46 aidenbechamps Don't want to game to end. Ran from Ganon.

I just got to what seems like the end of the main story in the Phantom Ganon boss battle. Turned my switch off because:
A) It's 2:30 AM and I'm tired and this battle looks hard.
B) I DON'T WANT THIS GAME TO END
I know there's plenty to do after the main story is over but I feel like I might not have the same motivation to do all the side quests and more exploring of the depths and sky islands once I finish off Phantom Ganon.
I don't even know how I could say this because I've played well over 70 hours of the game by now but it feels like this game was too short. Maybe I didn't savor it enough but I just want more put of this game. A replay is definitely in my future. Once I finish the main story, I'll likely do a bunch of side quests and more exploring and go back to old titles (Skyward Sword, Wind Waker, Majora's Mask, OoT and more), but a replay of this game is definitely in my future.
Nintendo absolutely nailed this game. Can't believe how much fun I had and that I still want even more. What a game.
submitted by aidenbechamps to tearsofthekingdom [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 04:26 Tangou-888 The Hoax Story of Remarkable Testimony of a Buddhist monk in Myanmar (Burma) (Part I)

The Hoax Story of Remarkable Testimony of a Buddhist monk in Myanmar (Burma) who came back to life a changed man!
Introduction The story that follows is simply a translation of a taped testimony from a man with a life-changing story. It is not an interview or a biography, but simply the words from the man himself. Different people react in different ways when they hear this story. Some are inspired, some skeptical, a few will mock and ridicule, while some others have even been filled with rage and anger, convinced these words are the ravings of a mad man or an elaborate deception. Some Christians have opposed the story simply because the radical and miraculous events described herein do not fit their feeble image of an Almighty God.
We were first made aware of this story from several Burmese church leaders who shared it with us. These leaders had looked into the story and had not found any suggestion of it being a hoax. It was with this in mind that we decided to step out and circulate the story. We do not do so for any monetary gain, or with a motivation of self-promotion. We just want to let the story speak for itself, and invite Christian believers to judge it according to Scripture. If God wants any part of it to be intended for His glory or to encourage His people, then we pray His Spirit will work in the hearts of the readers in those ways.
Some people have told us they think the monk in this story never actually died, but that he just lapsed into unconsciousness, and the things he saw and heard were part of a fever-driven hallucination. Whatever you think, the simple fact remains that the events of this story so radically transformed this man that his life took on a complete 180-degree shift after the events described below. He has fearlessly and boldly told his story at great personal cost, including imprisonment. He has been scorned by his relatives, friends and colleagues, and faced death threats for his unwillingness to compromise his message. What motivated this man to be willing to risk everything? Whether we believe him or not, his story is surely worth listening to and considering. In the cynical West many people demand hard evidence of such things, evidence that would stand up in a court of law. Can we absolutely guarantee, beyond doubt, that all of these things happened? No, we cannot. But we feel it is worth repeating this man's story in his own words so that readers can judge for themselves.
My Early Years Hello! My name is Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu. I am from the country of Myanmar. I would like to share with you my testimony of what happened to me, but first I would like to give some brief background information from my life growing up.
I was born in 1958 in the town of Bogale, on the Irrawaddy Delta area of southern Myanmar [formerly Burma]. My parents, who were devout Buddhists like most people in Myanmar, named me Thitpin [which means 'tree' in English]. Our lives were very simple where I grew up. At the age of 13 I left school and started working on a fishing boat. We caught fish and sometimes also shrimp from the numerous rivers and streams in the Irrawaddy area. At the age of 16 I became the leader of the boat. At this time I lived in Upper Mainmahlagyon Island [Mainmahlagyon means 'Beautiful Woman Island' in English], just north of Bogale where I was born. This place is about 100 miles southwest of Yangon [Rangoon], our nation's capitol city.
One day, when I was 17, we caught a large number of fish in our nets. Because of the many fish, a large crocodile was attracted to us. It followed our boat and tried to attack us. We were terrified so we frantically rowed our boats toward the riverbank as fast as we could. The crocodile followed us and smashed our boat with its tail. Although no one died in this incident, the attack greatly affected my life. I no longer wanted to fish. Our small boat sank because of the crocodile attack. We had to go home to our village that night on a passenger boat.
Not long after, his employers transferred my father to Yangon City [formerly spelt Rangoon]. At the age of 18 I was sent to a Buddhist monastery to be a novice monk. Most parents in Myanmar try to send their son into a Buddhist monastery, at least for a time, as it is considered a great honor to have a son serve in this way. We have been observing this custom for many hundreds of years.

A Zealous Disciple of Buddha When I turned 19 years and 3 months old (in 1977), I became a normal monk. The senior monk at my monastery gave me a new Buddhist name, which is the custom in our country. I was now called U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya. When we become a monk we no longer use the name given to us at birth by our parents. The name of the monastery I lived at is called Mandalay Kyaikasan Kyaing. The senior monk's name was called U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [U Zadila is his title]. He was the most famous Buddhist monk in all of Myanmar at the time. Everyone knew who he was. He was widely honored by the people and respected as a great teacher. I say he "was" because in 1983 he suddenly died when he was involved in a fatal car accident. His death shocked everyone. At the time I had been a monk for six years.
I tried hard to be the best monk I could and to follow all the precepts of Buddhism. At one stage I moved to a cemetery where I lived and meditated continually. Some monks who really want to know the truths of Buddha do things like I did. Some move deep into the forests where they live a life of self-denial and poverty. I sought to deny my selfish thoughts and desires, to escape from sickness and suffering and to break free from the cycle of this world. At the cemetery I was not afraid of ghosts. I tried to attain such inner peace and self-realization that even when a mosquito landed on my arm I would let it bite me instead of brushing it off!
For years I strived to be the best monk I could and not to harm any living being. I studied the holy Buddhist teachings just like all my forefathers had done before me.
My life proceeded as a monk until I got very, very sick. I was in Mandalay at the time and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. The doctors did some tests on me and told me I had both Yellow Fever and malaria at the same time! After about one month in the hospital I was getting worse. The doctors told me there was no chance for me to recover and discharged me to make arrangements to die.
This is a brief description of my past. I would now like to tell you some of the remarkable things that happened to me after this times...

A Vision that Changed My Life Forever After I was discharged from the hospital I went back to the monastery where other monks cared for me. I grew weaker and weaker and was lapsing into unconsciousness. I learned later that I actually died for three days. My body decayed and stunk of death, and my heart stopped beating. My body was prepared for cremation and was put through traditional Buddhist purification rites.
Although I faded away in my body I remember my mind and spirit were fully alert. I was in a very, very powerful storm. A tremendous wind flattened the whole landscape until there were no trees or anything else standing, just a flat plain. I walked very fast along this plain for some time. There were no other people anywhere, I was all alone. After some time I crossed a river. On the other side of the river I saw a terrible, terrible lake of fire. In Buddhism we do not have a concept of a place like this. At first I was confused and didn't know it was hell until I saw Yama, the king of hell [Yama is the name ascribed to the King of Hell in numerous cultures throughout Asia]. His face looked like the face of a lion, his body was like a lion, but his legs were like a naga [serpent spirit]. He had a number of horns on his head. His face was very fierce, and I was extremely afraid. Trembling, I asked him his name. He replied, "I am the king of hell, the Destroyer."
The terrible, terrible lake of fire The king of hell told me to look into the lake of fire. I looked and I saw the saffron colored robes that Buddhist monks wear in Myanmar. I looked closer and saw the shaven head of a man. When I looked at the man's face I saw it was U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [the famous monk who had died in a car accident in 1983]. I asked the king of hell why my former leader was confined to this lake of torment. I said, "Why is he in this lake of fire? He was a very good teacher. He even had a teaching tape called 'Are You a Man or a Dog?' which had helped thousands of people understand that their worth as humans is far greater than the animals." The king of hell replied, "Yes, he was a good teacher but he did not believe in Jesus Christ. That's why he is in hell."
I was told to look at another person who was in the fire. I saw a man with very long hair wrapped on the left hand side of his head. He was also wearing a robe. I asked the king of hell, "Who is this man?" He replied, "This is the one you worship: Gautama [Buddha]."
I was very disturbed to see Gautama in hell. I protested, "Gautama had good ethnics and good moral character, why is he suffering in this lake of fire?" The king of hell answered me, "It doesn't matter how good he was. He is in this place because he did not believe in the Eternal God."
I then saw another man who looked like he was wearing a soldier's uniform. He had a large wound on his chest. I asked, "Who is this man?" The king of hell said, "This is Aung San, the revolutionary leader of Myanmar." I was told, "Aung San is here because he persecuted and killed Christians, but mostly because he didn't believe in Jesus Christ." In Myanmar the people have a common saying, "Soldiers never die, they live on." I was told that the legions of hell have a saying "Soldiers never die, but they go to hell forever."
I looked and saw another man in the lake of fire. He was a very tall man and he was dressed in military armor. He was also holding a sword and a shield. This man had a wound on his forehead. This man was taller than any person I have ever seen. He was six times the length between a man's elbow and the tips of his fingers when he stretches his arm out straight, plus one span of a man's fingers when he spreads out his hand. The king of hell said, "This man's name is Goliath. He is in hell because he blasphemed the Eternal God and His servant David." I was confused because I didn't know who either Goliath or David were. The king of hell said, "Goliath is recorded in the Christian Bible. You don't know him now, but when you become a Christian you will know who he is."

I was then taken to a place where I saw both rich and poor people preparing to eat their evening meals. I asked, "Who cooked the food for these people?" The king of hell replied, "The poor have to prepare their own food, but the rich people get others to cook for them." When the food had been prepared for the rich people they sat down to eat. As soon as they started a thick smoke came up. The rich people ate as fast as they could to ease their consciences. They were struggling to breath because of the smoke. They had to eat fast because they were fearful of losing their money. Their money is their god.
Another king of hell then came to me. I also saw a being whose job is to stoke the fires beneath the lake of fire, to keep it hot. This being asked me, "Are you going into the lake of fire too?" I replied, "No! I am only here to observe!" The appearance of this creature stoking the fire was very terrifying. He had ten horns on his head and a spear in his hand that had seven sharp blades coming from the end. The creature told me, "You are right. You came here just to observe. I cannot find your name here." He said, "You must now go back the way you came." He pointed me toward the desolate plain that I had first walked along before I came to the lake of fire.
The Road of Decision I walked a long time, until I was bleeding. I was hot and in great pain. Finally, after walking for about three hours I came to a wide road. I walked along this road for some time until I came to a fork. One road, going off to the left, was wide. A smaller road went off to the right hand side. There was a signpost at the fork saying that the road to the left was for those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The smaller road to the right was for believers in Jesus.
I was interested to see where the larger road led so I started down it. There were two men walking about 300 yards ahead of me. I tried to catch up with them so I could walk with them but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't catch them up, so I turned around and went back to the fork in the road. I continued to watch these two men as they walked down the road away from me. When they reached the end of the road they were suddenly stabbed. These two men cried out in great pain! I also cried out when I saw what happened to them! I realized the bigger road ended in great danger for those who traveled down it.
Looking into Heaven I started walking down the believers' road instead. After traveling for about one hour the surface of the road turned to pure gold. It was so pure that when I looked down I could see my own reflection perfectly. I then saw a man standing in front of me. He was wearing a white robe. I also heard beautiful singing. Oh, it was so beautiful and pure! It was much better and more meaningful than the worship we have in churches here on the earth. The man in the white robe asked me to walk with him. I asked him, "What is your name?" but he did not answer. After I asked his name six times the man answered, "I am the one who holds the key to heaven. Heaven is a very, very beautiful place. You cannot go there now but if you follow Jesus Christ you can go there after your life has finished on the earth." The man's name was Peter.
Peter then asked me to sit down and he showed me a place to the north. Peter said, "Look to the north and see God create man." I saw the Eternal God from a distance. God spoke to an angel, "Let us make man." The angel pleaded with God and said, "Please don't make man. He will do wrong and will grieve you." [In Burmese literally: "He will make you lose face."]. But God created a man named anyway. God blew on the man and the man came to life. He gave him the name "Adam". [Note: Buddhists do not believe in the Creation of the world or of man, so this experience had a significant impact on the monk].

Sent Back with a New Name Then Peter said, "Now get up and go back to where you came from. Speak to the people who worship Buddha and who worship idols. Tell them they must go to hell if they don't change. Those who build temples and idols will also have to go to hell. Those who give offerings to the monks to earn merit for themselves with go to hell. All those who pray to the monks and call them 'Pra' [respectful title for monks] will go to hell. Those who chant and 'give life' to idols will go to hell. All those who don't believe in Jesus Christ will go to hell." Peter told me to go back to the earth and testify about the things I had seen. He also said, "You must speak in your new name. From now on you are to be called Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu ["Paul who Came Back to Life."].
I didn't want to go back. I wanted to go to heaven. Angels opened a book. First they looked for my childhood name (Thitpin) in the book, but they could not find it. They then looked for the name I had been given when he entered the Buddhist monk hood (U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya) but it wasn't written in the book either. Then Peter said, "Your name is not written here, you must return and testify about Jesus to the Buddhist people."
I walked back along the gold road. Again I heard beautiful singing, the kind of which I have never heard before or since. Peter walked with me until the time I returned to the earth. He showed me a ladder that reached down from the heaven to the sky. The ladder didn't reach to the earth, but stopped in mid-air. On the ladder I saw many angels, some going up to heaven and some going down the ladder. They were very busy. I asked Peter, "Who are they?" Peter answered, "They are messengers of God. They are reporting to heaven the names of all those who believe in Jesus Christ and the names of those who don't believe." Peter then told me it was time to go back.
It is a Ghost! The next thing I was aware of was the sound of weeping. I heard my own mother cry out, "My son, why did you leave us now?" I also heard many other people weeping. I realized I was lying in a box. I started to move. My mother and father started shouting, "He is alive! He is alive!" Other people who were farther away did not believe my parents. I then placed my hands on the sides of the box and sat upright. Many people were struck with terror. They cried out, "It is a ghost!" and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them.
Those who remained were speechless and trembling. I noticed I was sitting in smelly liquid and body fluids, enough to fill about three and a half cups. This was liquid that had come out of my stomach and my insides while my body was lying in the coffin. This is why people knew I had indeed been dead. Inside the coffin there was a type of plastic sheet fixed to the wood. This sheet is placed there to retain a corpse's liquids, because many dead bodies release much fluid like mine did.
I learned later that I was just moments away from being cremated in the flames. In Myanmar people are placed in a coffin, the lid is then nailed shut, and the whole coffin is burned. When I came back to life my mother and father were being allowed to look at my body for the very last time. Moments later the lid of my coffin would have been nailed shut and I would have been cremated!
I immediately started to explain the things I had seen and heard. People were astonished. I told them about the men I had seen in the lake of fire, and told them that only the Christians know the truth, that our forefathers and us have been deceived for thousands of years! I told them everything we believe is a lie. The people were astonished because they knew what kind of a monk I had been and how zealous I had been for the teachings of Buddha.
In Myanmar when a person dies their name and age is written on the side of the coffin. When a monk dies, the monk's name, age and the number of years he has served as a monk are written on the side of the coffin. I had already been recorded as dead but as you can see, now I am alive!
Epilogue Since 'Paul who came back to life' experienced the above story he has remained a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Burmese pastors have told us that he had led hundreds of other monks to faith in Christ. His testimony is obviously very uncompromising. Because of that, his message has offended many people who cannot accept there is only one Way to Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite great opposition, his experiences were so real to him that he has not wavered. After many years in the Buddhist monk hood, as a strict follower of Buddhist teachings, he immediately proclaimed the Gospel of Christ following his resurrection and exhorted other monks to forsake all false gods and follow Jesus Christ with all their hearts. Before the time of his sickness and death he had no exposure to Christianity at all. Everything he learned during those three days in the grave was new to his mind.
In a bid to get his message out to as many people as possible, this modern-day Lazarus began distributing audio and video cassette tapes with his story on them. The police and Buddhist authorities in Myanmar have done their utmost to gather these tapes up and destroy them. The testimony you have just read has been translated form one of those cassette tapes. We are told it is now quite dangerous for citizens of Myanmar to be in possession of these tapes.
His fearless testimony has landed him in prison at least once, where the authorities failed in their bid to silence him. Upon his release he continued to testify of the things he saw and heard. His current whereabouts are uncertain. One Burmese informant told us he is prison and may have been killed, while another informant was told he is now released from prison and is continuing his ministry.
Translated by: Asian Minorities Outreach P.O.Box 901 Palestine, TX 75802 U.S.A. E-Mail: monkst... u/yahoo.com Website: http://www.antioch.com.sg/mission/asianmo
________________________
Dear Triplegem Members, The following message was posted to the NDE.com Website by someone called 'James' on 23rd July, 2000. (NDE = Near Death Experience). The Monk's story is identical. But the source is different. Details can be viewed at
<>
The message began with: "Buddhist Monk visits Hell" I believe this person died, body decay & rotten. He was then brought to those places by the LORD to show him some vision. <-------
This is taken from a mission paper "Northside Missions Update" Northside Christian Centre 31-61 McLeans Road Bundoora Victoria 3083 Australia
The same 'Monk's Story' followed. Then, exchange of interesting messages took place at the NDE.com Bulletin Board among NDE regulars, some of them are Christians, and finally, someone called 'Melvin', 'a Myanmar Buddhist', posted the following message and the discussion came to a close.
The fact that the same story has re-surfaced in another form (cassette), perhaps in a another country is a bit disturbing!
Best wishes to all our Triplegem members, MM Lwin
...................................................................
submitted by Tangou-888 to TBSDaoismVajrayana [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 02:22 TechnologicalMc Who knew being a Therapist had consequences.

The dimly lit room exudes an air of discomfort as I sit across from my patient, Melissa. As a therapist, I've listened to countless stories of trauma and pain, but something about Melissa's recent experiences unsettles me. She's been plagued by a series of unfortunate events that defy logical explanation. Little did I know that her unsettling tales would soon become my own nightmares.
"Will, you have to understand," Melissa pleads, her eyes filled with fear. "Ever since I moved into that old Victorian house, strange things have been happening. It started with whispers in the night, but now, I see dark figures lurking in the corners of my vision." Melissa's voice trembles, causing a shiver to run down my spine. I remain composed, reminding myself that I'm here to offer support and guidance. Yet, as she delves deeper into her account, the atmosphere grows thicker, a tangible unease encircling us.
Days turn into weeks, and Melissa's tales become more chilling. She speaks of shadowy figures following her, sharp nails scratching against her windows, and an incessant feeling of being watched. Each session leaves me increasingly disturbed, questioning the nature of reality.
One evening, as I return home from the office, the weight of Melissa's stories still fresh in my mind, a chilling breeze sweeps through the hallway of my apartment. I dismiss it as a draft and continue with my routine. But as I enter my bedroom, a sense of dread takes hold of me. The air grows heavy, as if an unseen presence looms within the room.
Shrugging off the paranoia, I ready myself for bed, only to find the lights flickering ominously. Panic begins to seep into my veins. I call out for reassurance, "It's just a power surge," but my words fade into the silence that now engulfs me.
With trepidation, I climb into bed, but sleep eludes me. The room feels suffocating, as though an invisible force presses against my chest. As I lie there, my eyes tracing the dark corners, I glimpse a fleeting shadow darting across the walls.
I jolt upright, beads of sweat dotting my forehead. The specter of Melissa's haunting tales has infiltrated my reality. The boundary between her experiences and mine begins to blur, and I fear I'm being drawn into a malevolent force beyond comprehension. Days turn into a sleepless haze, as each night brings its own torment. Murmurs echo in my ears, whispers that twist my thoughts and taunt my sanity. Faces appear in the mirror, distorted and twisted, haunting my reflection.
One stormy evening, as lightning tears through the sky, I find myself walking the same path Melissa once did. Against my better judgment, I venture to the foreboding Victorian house that housed her terrors. Its ominous facade stands tall, luring me towards its enigmatic secrets.
Inside, the air is thick with foreboding. Shadows dance in the flickering candlelight, mocking my curiosity. I step cautiously, the creaking floorboards echoing in the silence. The house whispers secrets, its secrets becoming my own.
The walls seem to close in, and a bone-chilling gust of wind extinguishes the last remaining candle. I am trapped in a labyrinth of darkness, disoriented and vulnerable. Panic grips me, but I stumble forward, desperate to escape this living nightmare. As I search for an exit, I hear a voice, a sinister whisper that speaks my name. "Will, you shouldn't have come," it taunts. Panic swells within me, but a sliver of determination propels me forward, refusing to succumb to the paralyzing fear that grips my heart. The voice continues to echo, growing louder and more menacing with each step I take.
Suddenly, I stumble upon a hidden door, partially ajar. It beckons me with an eerie allure, and against all rationality, I push it open. A cold gust of wind greets me, carrying with it the scent of decay and despair. I find myself in a forgotten room, long abandoned, its secrets buried beneath layers of dust.
With trembling hands, I fumble for a light switch, and a feeble bulb flickers to life, casting a dim glow across the desolate space. The room seems frozen in time, filled with forgotten relics and tattered photographs. But among the artifacts, my eyes fixate on a faded journal lying atop a decaying desk.
Curiosity consumes me as I open the journal, its pages crackling under my touch. The words within recount tales of malevolence and despair, echoing the torments Melissa endured. The journal's author, a previous occupant of the house, had fallen victim to a dark presence, much like Melissa and now, myself.
In that moment, the pieces begin to fit together, revealing a harrowing truth. The house, a vessel for a malevolent force, draws unsuspecting souls into its web, feeding on their fears and amplifying their darkest nightmares. Melissa's tales were not mere hallucinations but a warning, a desperate plea for help.
Realizing the imminent danger, I resolve to break free from the house's clutches. With newfound determination, I trace my steps back through the labyrinthine halls, my heart pounding with each desperate breath. The house resists, its walls seeming to shift and contort, as if alive.
Finally, I burst through the front door, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. The storm rages on, rain lashing against my face, but I feel a sense of liberation, a glimmer of hope. The curse that had ensnared Melissa and me would not claim me as its victim. Months pass, and I distance myself from the horrors that unfolded within the Victorian house. The nightmares gradually fade, replaced by a cautious optimism. I continue my work as a therapist, drawing strength from the belief that I have escaped the clutches of darkness.
Yet, a lingering unease remains, a reminder of the fragility of our existence and the depths of the unknown. The experiences with Melissa and the haunted house forever alter my perception, a constant reminder of the delicate balance between the realms of the living and the unseen.
As I listen to my patients' stories, I approach them with a newfound empathy, acutely aware that sometimes, the line between the healer and the healed blurs. And in the depths of my being, I silently vow to protect them, to shield them from the horrors that lurk just beyond our comprehension. For in the shadows, where the veil between reality and nightmares is thin, we are reminded that the darkness seeks to claim us all. But together, with resilience and unwavering determination, we can navigate the treacherous depths and emerge into the light, forever changed, yet stronger than ever before.
submitted by TechnologicalMc to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 01:36 ReplyInteresting1304 [FTF] Dark Secret - Western

Their exchange carried them through the week-night 'til the sun turned red. The big blaze was setting on Bull Creek, & they had gotten drunk enough to prove it. Turner hunched over his hickory countertop, ice rattling in his empty glass. His Stetson hung low, his gray fuzz suspended over the table's fine wooden ridges.
At his home that evening was kindred spirit, Digby Jones, running the opposite end of the counter. Another old man clinging to the dark hair of youth. He sat back on the creaky barstool, lifting up his pint to polish off a bit more whiskey. Alcohol was hard on the ol' liver for Jones, ever since he cleaned up his act. He was still soaking up his rye.
"Awful nosy people 'round here, then." Turner muttered. Jones fought to keep him grounded. "Ain't that the truth. Either that, or ya really do got some'n fancy in that ol' hatch."
The banter caught a coy wheeeeeeeeeeze from the man, pulled from his mix of pondering & drunken stupor. Jones beamed at his grin. "No, I ain't got nothin' in that cellar. Just more of this shit!" Turner raised his glass for emphasis. Jones laughed, his bud backtracking into offended confusion.
"Now-- who's even sayin' all that? Who's got business in my floorboards?" He waved a perplexed hand. Jones pressed his palms into the hickory, tapping the table as he leaned in. "Isaac reckons it's some'n to do with Dean Whitley's daughter!" He reeled his head with a cackle. Turner pounded the counter with a balled fist.
Gruff teeth-grinding spat out his mouth. "Damnit, I knew it. I done told that boy..."
"Oh Lawrence, say it ain't so! You, with the paper-man's daughter?"
Rolled eyes. "C'mon, Digs, it's not like that." Jones' laugh drug on & dried up. "I know, I know. It doesn't sound like you anyway, Lawrence. Not with your Catherine expecting, now." His burned-out chuckles left in a sigh. But Turner had said nothing. By then, he was clasping the countertop with both hands, pinning Jones' attention with dry eyes.
He had already given up his oath to secrecy.
"Do you really wanna know?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The wooden cut-out raised, peeling back on its iron hinges. A lantern passed through, carried by two boot sets. The hatch closed.
They stepped past crisscross shelves with moonshine décor. In a corner, Jones outlined rods & a bucket hat sat on a barrel. Remnants of Turner's fishing days in the south-east. He trailed in pace with the brother, stepping 'round a wood beam here, over a canyon portrait there.
The journey stopped with the lantern sat atop a dresser. Jones stood over Turner's side. His wrinkly fingers slid the top nook back, unveiling a patterned chest in the dim gas-light. The top lifted off, & he gently plucked the contents of a red bandana, sitting it by the lantern.
There was silence. Still, Turner lifted a finger to his lips. Shh.
"What am I looking at?" Jones whispered.
His buddy unfolded the bandana wrapping, a six-piece tucked inside.
He buried his suspicions within. "...Hell of an iron."
"You act like you've never met her."
"...Met her?"
"Yeah, Digs." A piercing, oiled gaze. "It's Catherine."
--------------------------------------------------------------------
His Stetson hung from its hook, his gray fuzz rocking back 'n forth in the hickory chair. His constant movement, the homeostasis of drunken restlessness. A sandy breeze tumbled in their far-off gaze. And Jones was frozen, nails curled 'round the end of each armrest; an anxious slouch in his chair.
Their eyes were best left apart. Under the lantern glow and moonlight, they instead peered into the desert. It was like a pebbled ocean. A long beat sat in the air; the saddle of confession.
"...You told us she went to see her mother, up north."
The soft whale-sound of the bellowing night wind.
"I did."
Sweat drunk in his scalp, watching the old coot finger with the frame. Just as, wind chime kisses rang overhead.
"...Why her?"
It came out like a demand.
"She bit my shoulder."
An avian dot curved in the black sky.
"...I don't understand."
Turner rocked. And rocked. And stopped to think for a moment.
"Life's complicated, Digs."
And he rocked. Crickets sounded in the dunes. Jones tried to lighten the mood, in denying disbelief.
"...Shoot her any?"
"Fuck no."
Another injection of adrenaline to Jones' system. He clamped his eyes shut.
"...Why not?"
Another end to Turner's rocking. Even he pondered on his quick response. A perverse stare mapped out each ridge of the sidearm. Wherever he was looking, he arrived.
"Lord knows I hate to give her away."
Jones lifted a hand to sponge the liquid caking his cheek.
Turner lifted the muzzle, pointing its tip like a compass into the night.
"Y' see it?"
Eyes scanning the deep.
"No sir, I don't." Jones panted.
The wasteland's belly groaned, and the aching was the wind.
"It rides at bedtime. A posse like thunder. Horses without hooves..."
The man leaned forward in his chair with a squint.
"They're wranglin' somethin' out there."
Jones was out of questions. He didn't want to know anymore. He nestled his temple in his palm. By then, he had just been speaking on Turner's accord.
"Is that right, Lawrence?"
Turner's index coiled onto the trigger, his thumb fingering the hammer.
"Yeah."
The hand over his head had become a mask for his eyes. Jones offered a final inquisition.
"What are they wranglin' on, Lawrence?"
Catherine clicked. Her voice was a gargling of blood. Her intonation said she had accepted that bubbling red long ago. By now, she only tasted moonshine.
"The spirit of Dean Whitley. It's out there, in that desert. Maybe it's the hooves."
submitted by ReplyInteresting1304 to replyinteresting1304 [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 01:11 starblueloser Kiara Sky - Bubbleicious

Kiara Sky - Bubbleicious
Kiara Sky - Bubbleicious, diamond FX. The new run of colors for the diamond FX brights are great. The polish is not nearly as thick as the originals but the sparkles are definitely less intense. Still a great polish.
submitted by starblueloser to Nails [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 00:54 ThePhlyingPhish What Happened on June 3rd?

Honestly? I have no idea how to start this one. In fact, I don't even know if I should post this, period. My parents brought me my phone a couple hours ago, and scrolling through YouTube and Reddit doesn't do much to take my mind off of things. I might as well write my heart out, right? Maybe somebody out there can find my story helpful, insightful, thoughtful... I dunno. Anyways, I might as well get writing before another couple officers walk in, looking for some details that they missed the last time I told them about what happened on June 3rd.
This part isn't exactly central to the story per se, but I'd like to just honor my buds, say what I thought about them before I forget. These guys, to me, were like a second family. The type of guys you'd call to help get rid off a body, the type of guys who would follow you anywhere. I've known them since I transferred in 4th grade. Only pair of dudes that would give me the time of day in the entire school, Andy and Gabriel. Andy was a sort of short and skinny guy, but he'd talk so much you'd swear he was six inches taller than he was. He'd always go on like he was God's greatest gift on Earth, especially when it came to sports. He'd yell Kobe and miss a rebound, or tell us to call him Messi and miss every goal. Your typical jokester. We didn't start off as friends either. It was around the fourth time
in the Office for fighting that I got wise, looked over at him, glanced at his bruised eye, then felt my own jaw. "Hey, we good? I got my licks-" I paused to scratch my cheek for effect- "and you definitely got yours..." Andy just looked me up and down once, checked himself, grinned like a Hyena and that was that. I met Gabriel through Andy. He was the only one of us you could call a popular kid. He's good at Baseball, really friggin' athletic, tall, built like a milk truck, and kind. Super kind. Like you could just ask him for a french fry, or a slice of bacon off his burger or something and he'd just do it. Didn't expect anything back. Didn't say anything. He'd glance up and just give you whatever you needed, no BS. We were walking back to Gabe's house after a party at a Junior's house, some slacker that wears a bunch of fake bling to school and takes "bathroom breaks" to vape in the stall. Some dude destined to be handing you a Big Mac in a couple years, you know? Not exactly the shining example of morality, not that I would know. Anyways, I really only showed up to shoot the shit with my buds and for some "apple juice" in those plastic red cups. I was going to bounce when I figured out this dude who was hosting the party, Mr. "I'm too cool for school", didn't have anything that could get me plastered. As it turns out, Gabriel wasn't feeling the party either, and Andy was "having no luck with the ladies", (Giggity,) so we all decided to nab a couple of waters and cookies for the road and stepped out into a warm summer evening. (Seriously, Andy gives me pedo vibes sometimes)
It wasn't exactly dark when we left the house. It was that perfect time of night where there was red, orange and purple reflecting off of the clouds in the sky. I snapped a photo 'cause I'm that kinda guy, and we started walking. This neighborhood was one of those aging 60's neighborhoods with all of the one story buildings, rusty chain-link fences, crack houses, senior citizens, that sort of stuff. Perfectly square blocks and blocks of houses with the peeling paint, broken sidewalks, barking dogs, you get the picture. If you were to think of the neighborhood from the top down, it would be like a big square with about three streets of depth inwards, with a big forest in the middle. Inconveniently, the party was in the western corner, while Gabe's house was down a slope, on the exact opposite side, the east side of the neighborhood. Basically a big pain in the posterior. Now just to be clear, we couldn't call Gabriel's mom for a pickup because of the nature of the party, and we weren't really feeling like taking the shortcut path through the woods at night, so we took the long way around. about a quarter of the way down, like 10-15 minutes into the walk, the lights lining the street flicked on. Now, that didn't bother us too much, because Gabe's casa was su casa, or whatever. In short, we had spent a lot of time walking around here before. Anyways, when the lights turned on they sort of dazzled my eyes, and a whole thing happened with me and the sidewalk called tripping. I went down and cut up my hands real nice and both of the guys turned around to help me up. It took them a second to spot me, because the lights lining the street were spaced in such a way that they would have a sort of staggered area of effect when they turned on. I had happened to trip right in one of the dark spots, so like I said, it took them a second to get me off of the ground. I got up, and did that thing you do when your hands hurt after a fall and you smack them together and rub them against your pants.
"You good?" asked Andy.
"Yeah yeah, I'm fine," I said, still slapping my thighs.
I looked up and saw somebody standing underneath the closest streetlamp. They were positioned in such a way that they faced the road from the lip of the sidewalk they stood on, with their head cocked slightly way from us and down, like they were staring intently at a bug or something in the road.
they guys must have seen me gazing off into the distance and they turned around to stare with me. the figure was around 20 feet away, right underneath the halo of light that the streetlamp made. they were wearing an old ice cream coat and uniform, like something out of the 60's. The folded cap on their head at a jaunty angle, a shock of slicked back golden hair just underneath it.
"Whaaaaat theeeee fuuuuuuck..?" I whisper to no one in particular.
When did he get there?
We had started walking towards the man, transfixed, and stopped just outside of the light's reach. He looked gaunt, sickly, almost. His mouth was pulled into a thin customer service sort of smile. the uniform he wore was a bit dirty, with a twig or two hanging from his pants like he had been running through the forest or something. that something on the ground seemed to be pretty interesting to him, so we all turned to try to sot what was capturing his attention. Looking back, I should have known right there. Have you ever seen someone doing or wearing or saying something that had compelled you to stare at them? Like a junkie downtown or some dude wearing a sign saying the end is nigh? And do you remember how you tried not to stare but kept that person in your peripheral vision, because they were interesting or suspicious or whatever? That's exactly what this guy was doing. He was looking at us. We never even noticed. Anyways, we hadn't seen anything on the ground so we looked back at this dude. BOOM! Instant time-out. Somewhere in that quick glance when we weren't paying attention, his head snaps up and locks us with this piercing stare. Now my heart's going a mile a minute. Fight or flight's kicked in and I tense up. my hands come up and I'm making fists. Meanwhile, the rational, thinking part of me is analyzing this guy. He hasn't broken that unnerving, artificial customer service smile. in fact, it looks almost wider, almost hungry. that's not the worst part. there's blood on his left thigh, black now after so much time. His eyes. I'm going to remember those eyes 'till the day I die. Even at night, his pupils were a darker black than anything in the world had any right to be. All consuming, omnipotent, soul-seeing eyes. The killing intent radiating from this thing was overpowering. Time-in.
"Jesus Christ!" Gabe barks.
It's the first time I've heard him swear. Andy's transfixed.
"What's the game plan?" I say, surprising myself with the icy calm in my own voice.
Andy's practically talking to himself. "I-I think we should-" he swallows audibly- "go around?"
The light creates an invisible barrier between us and the man-thing. we shuffle along the edges of each streetlight's effect. The neighborhood goes silent, save for a slight breeze along my back. every time i glance towards the ground to make sure I stay out of the light, he seems to get closer. of course he doesn't in actuality, because every time I look up in fear, he's still standing there, right there on the curb. We finally make it around that first light and turn around to face the second one. He's right there. Right on the border. that invisible line that separated the living from the dead.
Andy falls backwards. His arm falls into the light and instantly it's upon him. it's nails have turned into long, wicked claws. They rip into his upper arm and shoulder. It managed to nick his artery before we pull him out of the light. Andy is screaming bloody murder and I take off my shirt and tie it around the worst around the worst of his wounds. An uncaring, cold part of me surveys the damage and notes that Andy is unlikely to live more than an hour without emergency care. I hate that part of me. I hate how in that time of crisis, I could come to terms with one of my best friends dying to a freak on the street. Did it even matter? those years of friendship, now that I look back? That's one of the reasons I'm writing this story I guess. This story is me caring, right? The fact that I'm writing this shows I care, right? Anyways, in that instant I know we're screwed. there's no way we can get Andy back to Gabriel's house in time if we have to deal with this thing. The Ice-Cream Man surveyed his work as Gabe tried calling his mom for the fourth time. Andy had stopped screaming and passed out. I ended up holding his hand, staring up at this monster. It seemed to enjoy hurting us, enjoy it's handiwork. I grimaced and turned to Gabriel.
"Time to go, dude." Gabe looked up at me, still holding his buzzing cellphone to his ear. there was desperation and shock in his eyes, and I guess it was the same for me too. "We've got to go."
I made it clear this wasn't a conversation to be having.
It's sort of an open secret that I'm the thug of the school. At least, that's what everyone else thinks. It's not like I'll try to rob you or anything, but everyone knows that time I bent a kid's knee backwards. I didn't get into major trouble because of it, due to the fact there was a recording showing three guys ganging up on me, hurting me. I didn't have to make that kid a cripple, but I did. I got beaten for a year and a half, by those same three guys, and it all came out at once. I wanted to hurt him, and I did. but when you do that to someone, no matter how justified, people treat you different. especially when they're the same people who watched me get punched, and kicked, and hit, and put down. In a heartbeat, I was an untouchable. No more social life. No girlfriend, or anything like that. So, my only friends on this earth were Andy and Gabe. Blah blah blah, I'm sure you don't care about the sob story screw-up called my life. Anyways, the important part is that Gabe knew my business voice when I spoke.
"Okay, here's the idea." I glanced over to Mr. Freak. "We're going to take the forest path. It doesn't have any lights, so we'll be fine. if we move fast on the downhills, we can make it to your Mom's house and go to the hospital before..." I spared a glance to looked at Andy's face. he looked like he was sleeping. I felt around for his pulse.
He was still alive, thank God.
Gabe looked like he wanted to say something, and I knew exactly what he wanted to say. We were going to cross that bridge when we came to it.
We had, like I said, been around the block before. we made it to the trailhead, with that thing following us all of the way. jumping from streetlight to streetlight. The streetlight that would normally light the signpost and path into the forest was out, and it had been for years. That wasn't the issue. The issue was that the exit, the exit that was a short jog away from Gabe's house, had been replaced just last summer. we both knew that it was very likely that someone wouldn't make it. Gabe hoisted Andy into a fireman's carry, and we started our descent down the hill in silence. I made a sparing glance backwards, and there the Ice-Cream Man stood waiting.
It was hard keeping track of which trail we were on and where to turn in the pitch dark. It was around 10:00 now, and Andy seemed to get worse as time went on. We almost got lost a couple times, and we had to double back every now and again too. Gabriel and I said nothing as we went downhill. We said nothing when we saw the trail outlet at the bottom of the hill. We said nothing when the Ice-Cream Man appeared right underneath the lamppost. The sign read; "Rubicon Valley River Loop: 1.1 mi". We came right up to that invisible border again.
"I'll go first."
"Will you? We both know-"
"Shut the hell up and listen to me."
Gabriel. He was good at Baseball, really friggin' athletic, tall, built like a milk truck, and kind. Super kind. Like you could just ask him for a french fry, or a slice of bacon off his burger or something and he'd just do it. Even if there was a deadly monster chasing you, with his Mom's house just a short jog away. Even if you were willing to fight it instead, even if it didn't make sense for him to stay behind. Even if he knew you wouldn't want to keep living without him and Andy. Didn't expect anything back. Didn't say anything. Even though I'm writing this story just 6 hours later, I can't remember for the life of me how I got across that halo of light without him right behind me. Gabe's Mom flew down the porch when I rounded the corner of the cul-de-sac. I bet she was wondering why we were home so late, why Gabriel wasn't with us, why I was staying clear of the streetlights.
I remember her asking me where her niño was.
When I woke up in the hospital, the police asked me where the wolves attacked us. I didn't correct them. What was the point? I assume they knew what was actually out there. After all, wolves bite and tear. It was just a line for the news stations. Turns out I was raked across the back by a wolf too. The doctors told me I was very lucky. They said if Gabe's Mom was a second slower getting us to the ER, I would have ended up like Andy. I feel cold. I haven't been crying. Do I even care? I feel like I'm a horrible person. I hope that I'm allowed to go to their funerals, pay my respects. My Dad has a Machete hidden under the bed. That Ice-Cream Man better be counting every second he has left, because I'm going to do more than bend his knee backwards next June 3rd.
submitted by ThePhlyingPhish to scarystories [link] [comments]


2023.06.05 00:30 Trash_Tia Camp Redwood are running out of counselors! These children ARE NOT CHILDREN. Update: our counsellors are not who they say they are.

Welcome to Camp Redwood! The feel-good camp for ALL AGES.
We toast marshmallows around the fire, tell spooky ghost stories, and hide in random secret military bunkers under the campgrounds! Because SOMETHING IS HERE WITH US.
Camp Redwood is the PERFECT PLACE for a summer getaway where we start EVERY DAY with a CAMP REDWOOD SMILE. Where our counselors disappear every five minutes, and our campers disembowel us for funsies! Did I forget to mention our littles aren’t actually eight years old, but fully grown adults?
We hope you enjoy your fucking stay!
We are also not responsible for any counselors revealing they are not who they said they are—and not who they appear to be.
...
So. There’s a LOT to tell you and not a lot of time to tell it.
Right now, I suppose you could say we are under lockdown—if that is the word. I want to go over the last several days to get you up to date. That’s all I can do right now. I can hope and pray the thing with Teddy’s voice does not get in here, and once again cry out for help—that I know is not coming. Not from the authorities, at least. But hey, if any of you fancy coming to rescue us, we’re in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. The closest rest-stop is maybe three fucking hours away. So have fun. Has it really almost been a week since I posted? Well, we’re still here!
And surprise, surprise, help is not coming. So, please excuse the salt. I am seventeen years old and I have been abandoned by the adults who were supposed to be looking after us.
Who were supposed to act under protocol if something like this happened. I know they were waiting for it—there are specific fucking guidelines on an emergency evacuation for counselors if this ever happened. But then the little shits took over before we could do anything. I guess I’ll start by letting you know that there are two of us left. (three, if we count Rowan, but I’m not). What I thought was going to be a quiet summer getaway with kids my age has turned into a nightmare.
For one, we have been cornered inside the head counselor’s underground secret bunker. If you want to know why she has a secret military bunker, I guess you should keep reading.
Because shit gets weirder than animal crackers having the power to turn adults into kids, and vice versa. When I made my first post, I thought that was it for us. I thought for sure there must have been a self-destruct somewhere—which meant whoever was running this camp was waiting for something like this. I was sure we were going to die, so after making the post, I have to admit with ya’ll—I just slept. I curled up, tried to ignore Harry and Carmel calling our names through childish laugher, and went to sleep with the thought in my head that I was completely at peace with what I had done with my life.
Sure, I was young. Seventeen years old is too young to be ripped apart by littles who are in fact grown adults. But as I was falling into slumber and allowing myself to fall, with my head resting in my lap, my head turned towards a separate pile of files on the other side of the room—I realized I really wanted to know how this was possible. There was so much I needed to know. Why did eight-year-old Eleanor Summers have a file where here birthday dated back to 1979? Why had supposedly innocent sugary snacks turned our adorable littles into mini psychopaths?
These kids were not kids, somehow. But how? How was that even possible? Could it be that the files were wrong?
1979 was definitely 45.
But Eleanor Summers couldn’t be 45 years old. I knew what 45 looked like. I knew that they thought like. They spent half of their time on Facebook laughing at outdated memes, and the other half… I don’t know, working? They have job’s! They’re happily married with kids, maybe soon grandkids! That was not Eleanor Summers. Because Eleanor Summers was most definitely eight years old. I had played several rounds of teddy-bears picnic, and spent hours reassuring her that Harry's ghost stories were in fact not real, enough times for me to know that this little kid was little—and a kid.
But something was bothering me. More than the secret military bunker, and magic age-regressing animal crackers. When I first signed up to Camp Redwood, one of the tag-lines to gain attraction had been, “Solve mysteries in the woods in the dead of night, with nothing but a flashlight and your fellow campers!” I had no idea I would be solving this thing on my own, trapped inside a bunker.
“What are you doing?” Rowan, who was still looking through Allison’s dinosaur laptop, turned to me with half lidded eyes, when I slowly got to my feet, careful not to make too much noise, and crept over to the pile of separate files which seemed to be crumbling apart from age. He kept his voice low, but it sounded almost like a whine. He could have been scared, but from the way he was sitting, cross-legged with a frowny face, I figured something must have been going on with him. The guy looked tired. More tired than normal.
The bags under his eyes were practically shadowing his face, and were an odd contrast to unusually ashy colored cheeks and slightly dilated eyes. Still though, Rowan refused to look vulnerable. I caught glimpse of Harry’s raybans sitting on his head, pinning back thick dark brown curls from falling in front of sleepy eyes. Maybe he was finally losing his cool and breaking out of the well-constructed façade he had been hiding behind since Teddy disappeared.
We had just narrowly escaped a crowd of psycho littles high on age-regressing sugary snacks who were doing who-the-fuck knows to the other counselors who had been captured, so I didn’t blame him looking like that. I guess he couldn’t look me in the eye, because in Rowan’s mind, he was the reason why this happened. He was the leader, and the camp had fallen to psychopathic little eight year olds who had taken half of the counselors hostage, and the other half—most likely taken apart in the physical sense, after what we had witnessed in Cassie’s cabin. Still though, it wasn’t Rowan’s fault. He could sit there and pull a face all he wanted, it’s not like I was going to blow up at him for getting us stuck down here. He actually saved us.
And trapped us, judging from the footsteps upstairs, Carmel and Harry still bouncing around looking for us.
It was a game in their heads. The little’s thought it was cat and mouse. Harry and Carmel were the oblivious cats prowling, while we were the mice, hoping to fucking GOD we weren’t caught and eaten. Ignoring Rowan, I glimpsed what looked like a box full of DVD’S—all of which were labelled with dates and names. I saw familiar ones, my heart racing into my throat. Phoebe. Eli. Cassandra.
Each DVD had one of the kid’s names scribbled on the front, as well as a date.
I found Eleanor’s right at the back of the box.
Eleanor Summers.
08/05/2021. (PM)
Before I could hesitate and think what I was doing, I slid the DVD into the portable player attached to the MacBook. Rowan, to my surprise, didn’t move. But he did make an acknowledging noise when the screen flickered to what looked like video footage. Peering at the screen, I found myself staring at a small white room. There was no door. Only a wooden desk and a chair, and sitting on it was a middle aged woman with dark blonde curls tied into a strict ponytail. She was wearing what looked like a prison jumpsuit.
Her eyes were eerily glued to the camera, unblinking. Her wrists were cuffed in front of her. Though from the look on her face, she saw the restraints as a game. Her eyes lit up with intrigue and I could practically see the cogs in her mind starting to turn as she struggled with them.
As soon as I saw this woman, I felt all of my nerve endings set alight. I wanted to turn the screen off, or look away. But once I was looking at the screen, I couldn’t bring myself to tear my eyes away. “Let’s try this again.” There was a woman offscreen. She sounded young. Too young to be in that kind of authority. I figured there was no way teenagers were being hired as special ops agents, but I guessed I was wrong. She cleared her throat. “It is 4:35 exactly. August 5th 2021. My name is Agent Lemrac,” she stated. “I am asking once again for you to comply with us. As I have said several times, the court are willing to lessen your sentence if you plead guilty with insanity.”
The woman surprised me with a snorting laugh. She seemed to come alive, leaning forward with animated features, her brow reaching her hairline. She was acting like a child, bouncing up and down in the seat, her lips stretching into a wider grin. “What did you just say?”
There was a pause. I could tell the woman was intentionally antagonising the interviewer.
“It means you have been legally declared insane,” the interviewer stumbled over her words slightly. “Mrs Summers, it would be in your best interest to work with us to lessen your current sentence which at the moment is standing at,” the sounds of shuffling paper crackled through the speakers. The interviewer cleared her throat again rustling paper. “Thirty six years. Without parole.”
The woman didn’t speak, only continued to smile—and the interviewer delved further into the sentence. “If you do in fact plead guilty with declared insanity, you will be sentenced to a program which is in the process of supporting and rehabilitating people with your…” she caught herself for a moment. I could tell this interviewer had a biased opinion and it was definitely showing through her interviewing style. I could hear the rapid intakes of her breath as she hurried through what seemed to be a script she was reading from. “Conditions.” She finished. “The Redwood program aims to help people exactly like you.”
Redwood? I thought.
Like… Camp Redwood?
Rowan whistled behind me. I guess I could call that a reaction. The guy was probably still in shock after seeing Café de Teddy splattered all over little Cassie’s cabin floor. I should have known those little bitches weren’t playing Operation for eight hours straight. Turning my attention from Rowan and back to the screen, the woman in the jumpsuit appeared to have changed tactics. Her expression twisted into nonchalance. She leaned back in her chair. “I am not pleading insane because I am not insane.”
“Mrs Summers—”
The woman cut her off. “I am not crazy.” She raised her hands “I am doing what needs to be done.” She leaned forward. “Humanity suffers in the skin. We age and die— and how is that fair? What if we want to see the next millennium? And the next two millennia after that? Why should our bodies dictate our lifespan? Why should we sit here and wait to rot and wither and die when we have the intelligence and mindset to do it? If nobody else is willing to throw ethics aside to take a step forwards in human evolution, I should do it myself.” She folded her arms across her chest, again, like a child. “I did what was to be done.”
“Dr. Summers.” The interviewer’s tone grew stiff. “You and your colleagues conducted illegal and unethical procedures on your family and friends—as well as four other victims.”
The woman inclined her head. “You have a daughter, am I correct? I have a son.”
“A child you killed, Dr Summers.” The interviewer retorted in a hiss which was definitely expressing emotion. She ignored the mention of her daughter, but I could tell it had rattled her to her core. Her voice had cracked. This case was close to her.
That was obvious. Without seeing the interviewer herself, I could sense how uncomfortable she was, shuffling in the chair. Every so often I would hear the sound of her rubbing her hands on her knees and tapping her shoe against the chair leg. She oozed anxiety, not just from her tone of voice, but the way the frame seemed to move with her. “Dr. Summers, you used your son in your research, along with several of his friends. This was not science.” Her voice shook. I heard her sharp inhale. Unprofessional, but very human. Instead of staying stoic and keeping to script, this agent was cracking apart. “It was murder.”
“Agent Lemrac, concentrate on the interview only.” An official voice crackled through what sounded like an intercom on screen.
“Got it.” She spoke through her teeth.
The woman was finding wounds and pressing on them. She was scanning the interviewer for vulnerabilities and preying on every insecurity. She leaned back speaking through a sigh. “Without my son’s sacrifice we wouldn’t have created an answer to death. To growing old and dying, and leaving loved ones behind.” Her voice softened into a murmur, but I didn’t trust it.
After identifying the shattering pieces of this interviewer which were very clear visible in her view, the woman was taking advantage.
“Agent Lemrac, you have a daughter. Am I correct in saying her name is Mari?
“That… that is not relevant.”
“Glioblastoma.” Dr. Summers lips curved into a sickening smile hidden behind mocking sympathy. “A sickness of the brain--which, unfortunately, I cannot fix. If your daughter’s brain was in my hands, I would try. However, not even a brand new body would help her. One which would never age or grow sick. And for that, I am deeply, deeply sorry.” She reached her cuffed hands forwards. “My condolences, Agent Lemrac. Honestly. I have to hand it to you. You are incredibly brave for coming here today and talking to me while abandoning your sick child.” She shook her head.
“Your daughter is dying of an incurable illness, suffering inside fragile skin which will break and fall apart and be unable to keep her standing for much longer. While my son will live on forever. He will see every millennia, a planet which will crumble and build itself back together. And maybe the end of the universe itself.” There was a twitch in her expression and a glitter in her eye I did not recognise. Insanity.
She was fucking insane. I was seeing the pure of it, the depraved and disgusting gleam in eyes empty of remorse and regret. This woman did not care what she had done. I could tell from the look on her face. If she had the chance, she would do this again.
But there was no way they were trying to say her cruelty and complete disregard for her son’s life was due to insanity.
“You are sick, Dr. Summers.” The interviewer said after a moment of gathering herself.
The woman shook her head with a chuckle. “I told you. I am not sick--”
“Sick in the head!” The interviewer’s voice exploded through the speakers in a shriek—a terrified cry she had been trying to hold in. I finally saw her—or at least the back of her. She was a young woman with light blonde hair falling loose on her shoulders. She was trembling. Slamming her hands down on the table, she screamed at the orange jumpsuit woman.
“You are psychologically fucked in the head! You psycho bitch! That is my sister!” She spoke through strangled sobs rattling her whole body. “Mari is my little sister. She is not my child.”
Her breaths were strangled and harboured. I noticed figures looming in the background, but she was continuing. “You killed your own fucking son,” she spat. “You are not legally insane, you are sick!” she shrieked. “You planned and put this together! You sit there and you talk about your son like he’s a… like he’s a tool! You deserve to rot. Do you hear me?” I noticed the orange jumpsuit woman was still smiling, satisfied with the interview’s reaction. Her words were spoken in a vicious poison as she leaned forward and spat directly in orange jumpsuit’s face.
“Agent Lemrac!” Whoever her superiors were—were panicking. “I told you not to turn it off. I knew this was going to happen. Can we stop the demonstration, please? Human emotions present inside an Aceville soldier are too powerful—"
Voices were murmuring in the background, and Agent Lemrac raised her hands. “I want to stop.” She choked out, her hands trembling. She spoke like she still had control over the situation and wasn’t being apprehended. “I want to stop. Do you hear me?” The interviewer was crying, I realized. “Stop the recording! I can’t do this. Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick—”
When the footage ended in a burst of static, I found myself backing away, something slimy creeping its way up my throat.
The woman in the orange jumpsuit who had murdered her son and countless others in what sounded like an attempt at playing god, was Eleanor Summers. I thought back to Teddy’s corpse, and the surgical precision of every organ’s removal. The young interviewer had mentioned colleagues of Eleanor.
Was it possible that Camp Redwood was in fact nothing more than a rehabilitation camp for murderous criminals? There was a loud bang from above, and I was torn from my thoughts.
I turned to Rowan, who had been unusually quiet. And I realized why, when I twisted around to find him three inches from my face, his laboured breath tickling my cheek.
The boy jumped back with a chuckle—like me noticing him was some kind of game, before diving back into the chair. I did notice something odd, as my thoughts spiralled. Rowan couldn’t sit still. Slumped in the leather spinning chair, he fingers tapped a rhythm on the armrests while his feet jumped up and down. In the dim light of the bunker, I glimpsed a sheen of sweat glistening on his forehead and the flesh of his neck. He looked to be… feverish—and now that I was looking at him properly, all of my attention on the boy, I noticed small things which seemed… off about him.
For one, he wasn’t coming up with a plan. Rowan always had a plan. Even if he wasn’t completely sure of it, or was completely winging it. This time though, he was strangely quiet. I found my voice when he stuck out his tongue at me. “What are you looking at?”
“Rowan.” I spoke softly, careful not to garner attention from above us where Harry and Carmel were still clamouring around, playing games. “Are you… feeling okay?” I asked, when he turned back to the laptop, manically biting his fingernails.
“I dunnnooooo, Josie! Am I feeeeeeling okaaaaaayyyyy?” He surprised me with an uncharacteristic laugh.
But I did know it.
I knew it from earlier when he reacted to Allison’s bunker and I had been too freaked out to realize that I was dragging along the enemy with me.
Because the fucking idiot had consumed animal crackers. I had seen him for myself earlier, pouring a pack into his mouth for a snack. Which meant either the ‘kids’ had intentionally dosed him with mind altering sugary snacks, or the more likely, he could not resist those preservatives which was the equivalent of caffeine. It’s not like I could blame him when he harboured the weight of an entire camp, but come on, did he really have to sacrifice his own fucking mind to keep himself awake?
Rowan wasn’t just biting. His nails. He was gnawing. Which he previously thought was a filthy habit. He had yelled at a camper for chewing on her nails a few days earlier.
Now that I was noticing it, I couldn’t… stop noticing it. The boy’s whole demeanour had changed; the way he was sinking into the chair, instead of sitting up straight like usual—- I used to call it having a stick up his ass. The boy started typing on the laptop, ignoring me. But when I watched the pattern of his fingers, he was just typing gibberish. Footsteps pounded above us, Harry and Carmel acting as the kid’s’ brainwashed foot-soldiers. Or, more likely somehow, if the animal crackers had caused the littles, or I guess, the fully grown forty year old criminals, to relapse in age-- then maybe it was possible for the same thing to happen to us. To Rowan.
I could feel myself starting to back away, but there was nowhere to run. I just slammed into a cupboard. My gaze flicked to Rowan again, who was tapping a beat on the laptop tracking pad, swaying back and forth, his eyes elsewhere before his gaze found mine. “Marcoooooo!” Harry shouted from above, giggling with Carmel.
I had to guess their mental age had to be at least 8-10 years old. Which meant I wasn’t just dealing with a camp full of forty-year-old psycho’s, I was also dealing with mentally relapsed counselors acting like toddlers.
Rowan seemed to jolt in the chair, twisting his head around, his eyes suddenly incredibly childlike and playful, and very Un-Rowan, were finding the ceiling, his mouth stretching into a smile, like he was seeing butterflies. His eyes flashed to me, and I caught a twitch in his lip. I knew that look. It was the look on my seven year old sister, who knew mom was mad at me, and wanted to make it even worse.
His cheeks were starting to blossom scarlet from what must have been the overwhelming urge to laugh. Rowan pressed his lips together and held in a breath like a hamster, and the asshole was fucking with me. Waiting for me to beat him to it by accident. Kids were fucking ruthless, but there was something terrifying about an 18 year old with a little kid’s mind.
I lifted my index to my lips, miming for him not to even try, but the boy just mimicked me, bugging out his eyes and pressing his finger to his grinning mouth. “Don’t you fucking dare.” I managed to whisper. The boy was definitely playing his own game, moving in twitching movements, baiting me. When he cupped his mouth, I almost let out a cry, but then he dropped his arms with a giggle, as if to say, “I’m just kidding!”
Slowly, I turned around, grabbed the salt I’d found in Allison’s cupboard, and a flat can of soda. Without making too much movement, I poured a handful of salt into the can. But Rowan seemed to know exactly what I was doing. Because in the time it was taking me to advance towards him with the can of salty soda, one arm shakily ready to grab hold of him, and put him into a headlock, he was cupping his mouth, all logic and everything adult, everything he had been as our leader, igniting in playful eyes, leaving me the last one standing.
“Pollloooooo!”
By the time Rowan had managed to reveal our hiding place in a spluttered laugh, I had hold of the squirming boy, one arm wrapped around his neck, my other forcing the can of soda into his mouth. I had definitely miscalculated his strength. During camp Redwood activities, he was always the last one to come back from the trail, holding his knees and panting. I figured he was unfit. However, I was wrong. Underneath his shirt, the guy had some serious muscles.
It was like attacking a brick wall. However, Rowan was mentally a kid. So, I had my intelligence and logic on my side. When it became obvious I wasn’t going to get anywhere with brute strength, I resorted to tickling him, which made him squirm, squeaking out a laugh. When he opened his mouth to yell at me to stop, I took my chance, thrusting the can into his lips and holding his nose so he swallowed it down.
“No!” His laughter turned into muffled yelling, as he batted his fists at my chest. “No, no, no! Get off, get off!”
His body convulsed as the salt did its job, causing the boy to lurch to his knees and choke up forbidden animal crackers in a gooish sludge which turned my stomach. By the time Rowan seemed half himself and half not, still kneeling, his head pressed against the floor, Harry was poking his head through the door with a goonish grin. “Found you!” He giggled, before forcing the door open, allowing Carmel and Callen, freshly caught and mentally turned into littles, to advance down the stairs with equally terrifying grins. There was something wrong with Harry’s face, and I only realized it when the guy himself was hauling me from the bunker, Carmel dragging a barely responsive Rowan. There was nothing in Harry’s expression, only blind childish excitement at winning the game. When he dragged me out of Allison’s cabin and threw me to the ground, I realized he too had insane strength I had not been expecting. But that thought quickly retracted when I was seeing his face in the light of a crescent moon lighting up the sky an eerie glow. Harry’s cheeks were puffy and swollen, his right eye way bigger than it should have been.
When he spoke, his voice was more of a lisp. This was something far more realistic than magical animal crackers fucking with his brain.
“He needs help!” I managed to choke out when Carmel wrapped jump-rope around my wrists. Next to me, Rowan was refusing to get up, still choking up salty soda, groaning into his hands. Every time Callen tried to restrain him, he hissed out like an animal.
“Do you hear me?!” I struggled violently. “Harry needs—”
BANG.
Is what it felt like. The feeling of something—what felt and sounded like a toy car—colliding with my temples, sent me onto the ground, my head spinning itself off of its axis. I remember lying on my back and frowning at the moon which almost looked like it was getting closer to me, blurring into a white ball of light—before reality sunk in, and it was in fact Carmel’s converse coming down to finish me off. I didn’t stay knocked out for long. But I did dream.
I think you can call it a dream? I was lying in bed at home; my room drowned in the dark. I was cosy, curled up in my blankets, when a clammy hand slammed over my mouth, rousing me from slumber. There were two figures in my room. They didn’t have faces. They just existed as shadows, silhouettes. Before one of them raised something above their head, and… impact.
It was the same impact as the toy car hitting me, snapping me back to that night. It wasn’t a dream. Because I remembered his clammy fingers over my mouth, and his hisses for me to shut up as he dragged me from my room.
My parents stood in front of me with expressions of sympathy. Basked in warm light, my mom and dad looked almost otherworldly. “For the best.” Was what they mouthed when my own phantom screams slammed into me. I asked them why, and they didn’t reply, allowing him to pull me further and further from what I knew, from my life as I knew it. But.. that couldn’t be real. I had memories of getting on the bus to camp Redwood. I could recall the whole journey. So, why… why was my tangled mind saying otherwise?
When I gathered myself, the first thing I realized was I was sitting down. I was outside, cool night air grazing my bare arms. There was something attached to me, jerking violently, And it took me several disorienting blinks to understand that I was tied back to back with Rowan. My head pounded, and something wet and warm dripped down my temple. Great. I could add head injury to the long list of things to worry about.
“Let me go you little fucking witch.”
Rowan was back to himself, though from the muffled hissing and the sound of choking—I had to guess he was being force-fed animal crackers.
“Let me—mpphmmm. little…. fucking… mphmmphhmhppmm!”
“Rowan.” I managed to get out in a croak. Through flickering eyes, I caught glimpse of a familiar figure dancing around us. Shivers rocketed down my spine, and I wrenched at the jump-rope restraints, but they did a surprisingly job of restraining my arms behind my back.
Eleanor was with Rowan, while Eli was knelt in front of me. Looking at him, the boy had definitely aged in the face—and I couldn’t help wondering what exactly he had done as a forty something year old to be sent to this place.
“Josie!” Rowan responded in a wail. “Josie. Wake the FUCK up.”
“Stop swearing.”
Eleanor spoke with the cold tone of her actual age.
“Oh, yeah?” Rowan spluttered. “Fuck you.” The boy’s laugh was still rough from almost vomiting his insides out from too much salt intake. “I’m sorry, you were a fucking boomer all along?!” He wriggled in the restraints, lunging forwards, which sent me backwards.
“Stop swearing, Rowan.” Was all the girl responded with calmly.
“Like I’m going to listen to you!” He sneered. “Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fucking fuck!” What are you going to do, huh? Bite me with your false teeth?” The sound of saliva hitting skin made me wince. He was pissed. I had no doubt his completely rational anger was going to get us killed. Rowan was also somehow getting mixed up between forty and eighty. Though he was unwillingly snacking on mind bending sugary goodness.
“Fudge, Rowan.” Eleanor spoke in a giggle.
“What?!”
“Say fudge. Not fuck.”
“No.”
His hiss of pain caught me off guard. I don’t know what she was doing to him, but it was hurting him.
“You fudging fudge! I’m going to fudging kill you when I get out of these fudging ropes—“ his manic cursing became a muffled yell.
“Say fudge,” Eleanor hummed, followed by his hiss when the palm of her hand skinned his cheek. “Fuck is a bad word. You even said so yourself and you’re my favourite counselor.”
He heaved out a breath.
“You fudge,” Rowan spat. “When I get out of this, I am going to fudging kill you, you fudging—” His manic ranting morphed, once again, into muffled yelling, after another fistful of animal crackers were forced into his mouth. When I risked twisting around, I could see his rebellion slowly starting to simmer out as he relaxed slightly. I wanted to yell at him to keep a clear head before cold fingers were dipping under my chin and forcing my head around where I found myself face to face with Eli.
“I like you, Josie,” he said, before untying me and pulling me to my feet. Now at the age of nine or ten, he was a lot stronger. When I tried to pull away, the cruel blade of a knife grazed my gut. I caught his grin. “But we don’t need you.” Eli pointed to Rowan.
“We just want them.”
I followed his pointer finger which went from Rowan to Harry and Carmel, who were just standing there like fucking idiots, probably awaiting the next game. Harry’s face was getting redder. It looked like he was suffocating, and yet his grin was growing wider and wider, splitting his lips apart. “Rowan Atlas.” Eleanor said, dragging him to his feet. Something was stapled to his forehead head, which caused him to howl in pain, hissing another strangled line of “Fudge”. but I couldn’t read what it was.
“Camp leader. Intelligent, and problem solving skills.”
“Harry Carlisle.” Eli nodded his head with a smile. “Quick thinker. Strong minded.”
“Carmel Locke.” Cassie spoke behind me. She had her arms folded, a wry smile on her lips. “Smarter than she makes out—- an independent learner, and can work well under pressure.”
Looking at these kids, I felt sick to my stomach. They were planning something—and had the intelligence of renowned scientists, which was what I gathered from the footage on the MacBook. “What?” was all I could hiss out, as Eli prodded the blade of the knife into my back, ushering me to walk. “What are you talking about?”
“Duh.” He spoke in a more tweeny giggle. “Like I said, Miss Josie. You’re my favorite counselor but we don’t need you, so I’m going to use you for parts.” He laughed when a shiver spiderwebbed down my spine. “See! I told you I was going to show you my collection!”
“But… what do you need them for?”
Eli pressed his index finger to his lips with a laugh before forcing me to face forwards. “That’s a secret!”
When I didn’t, or couldn’t move, he shoved me into a stumbling power-walk, and I managed to turn my head quickly, making feverish eye contact with Rowan.
“Rowan.” I said calmly through the gutter in my throat. “Get…. Get help.”
If I was going to die, I needed him to get a hold of himself and somehow alert the outside world what was going on.
“From whom, Josie?!” He wailed back—and as I was dragged away, I could once again sense the childish undertones in his voice.
I had no choice but to obey Eli’s orders. If I didn’t want a knife in my back. He took me to the main lunch cabin, which, when I set foot inside, almost sent me to my knees.
Something lurched inside me, and I was screaming with no voice, staggering backwards, only to be shoved onto my face. In front of me was what had been the lunch hall, fully converted into the beginning of a laboratory.
What had been cafeteria tables were fashioned into makeshift gurney’s and beds, and I was looking at all of the missing counselors. Yuri and Noah had been skinned completely, their faces laid out on a makeshift surgical table. Joey had been ripped open, his heart and brain removed, a glittering metallic substance creeping its way across his forehead. It was then when I remembered Eleanor Summers words.
She wanted to prevent death and preserve the human mind. Looking at what was in front of me, this was the start of it. There was equipment I had never seen before. Lily’s body was empty, carved out completely, tubes forced inside her. When I glimpsed her fingers move and begin to ball into a fist, I saw red. I saw fucking red. The exit was so close and yet Eli, fucking Eli, wielded his knife. I think that is when part of me gave up. My brain just stopped. It short circuited. Seeing my friends murdered and yet somehow being kept alive through playing god, my body slumped to the ground. I was numb. Completely numb.
I’m not sure what would have happened if those bloody saws and instruments which had been used on my friends were used on me too.
Luckily, that did not happen. Before Eli could get his slimy hands on me, he crumpled to the ground in an almost cartoon-like fashion, and standing over me was Harry. Who was looking better. When he grasped hold of me and helped me up, I only had one word. “Out.” And he was nodding, his eyes glistening as he drunk in our friends’ fate.
“How?” I managed to sputter out, when we made it out of the cabin, ducking behind a tree. Harry turned to me, motioning for me to shut up. There was a group of now ten to eleven year olds already running around, searching for what I guessed was him.
“I’m allergic to peanut butter,” Harry murmured, his grasp tightening on my wrist as he led me across the camp, the two of us stumbling.
“What, and you just magically healed?”
He didn’t respond to that, which bothered me.
“The bunker is our best shot,” I hissed out. “I think we can get in contact with someone down there.” I paused, unable to stop myself. “What makes you so important?”
“Dunno. Maybe I’m their favorite.”
When we found Allison’s cabin, which was more of a safehouse (an exposed safehouse) I found Rowan sitting on the wooden porch with his legs swinging over the side. “Rowan!” Harry groaned. I found it hard to believe their roles had been switched. Now he was the one yelling at the camp-leader. “I told you to stay inside!”
He ushered the boy inside, before barricading the door with some hefty looking equipment. I could tell from the grin on his face that our so-called leader was once again no longer himself.
I had to bite back a groan. “You’re kidding.” I said, pointing to Rowan, who buried his head in his knees and blew a raspberry. “Does he look and act like our leader right now?!”
“It’s Rowan, Josie.”
“He’s a liability.”
“He’s our friend! Wouldn’t Rowan do the same?”
Yes, he would. But. He would also realize we’re lost causes.
“Gag him with something.” I said. “If he makes any more noise, we’re dumping him.”
“He’s a kid!”
“Just the mind of one.”
I don’t know how animal crackers worked, but his age seemed to be progressively younger. This time he just sat with wide eyes watching us.
Harry almost tore apart the place looking for means of communication, before an old fashioned ringing sound made me jump.
“What was that?” Harry turned to me with his lip curled.
“How am I supposed to know?!” I hissed. “Keep looking!” But when I ducked under the table, my hands crawled under the desk, finding a wire—and attached to that, an ancient looking phone which looked straight out of a 1940’s movie, a bright green rotary phone.
Hesitantly, I answered it, lifting the phone to my ear. “Hello?”
“Did you awaken the subjects, Agent Salta?"
The voice on the other end was a woman, an oldish sounding woman with the tinge of a British accent.
“What?” I shot a look at Harry before shaking my head. “No. My name is Josie Greenfield. We’re at Camp Redwood, and we need help.”
The woman paused.
“Where is Agent Salta?” She cleared her throat. “This line is reserved for communication with agents only.”
“I don’t know who the fuck you’re talking about!" I squeaked out. “My name is Josie, and whatever is happening here, we need help!”
“Josie. Did you awaken the subjects?”
I paused after a moment, shooting Harry a look when he tried to take the phone off of me. “Yes.”
“And… are our agents unavailable?”
“I don’t understand.”
“When a health and safety breach is activated, our agents are awakened to deal with the Project Spearhead subjects if they were to ever go rogue, or become conscious enough to think. Josie, can you tell me what is in front of you? Describe it to me.”
I held my breath. Next to the hidden phone under the desk was what looked like mismatched wires, all of which had been severed. I lowered myself slowly, poking at mess. “Wires. I see… cut up wires.” I whispered. “Does this mean they know about you?”
She hummed. “Ah…That makes sense. The only way to activate our sleeper handlers would be to send out the signal. You appear to have been sabotaged. Unless activated manually, our agents cannot help you. I am sorry. They are your problem now.” The woman paused.
“If I were you, I would hope and pray they have not sabotaged the self-destruct. If you find that, then you may be able to save yourselves and find peace.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you for your service, Josie Greenfield.”
“Wait.” I managed to get out. “Wait, no! You can’t just… you can’t leave us! We need help!”
I found myself yelling at nothing when the phone went dead. The dull tone of the dead ringtone was clanging in my ears before footsteps from up above. “Fuck this.” Harry picked up a lead pipe. “They’re still little kids, right? I mean, their head must still be partly kids—- so let’s fucking beat their heads in.”
He noticed something, then, starting forwards towards the mess of files I had left earlier. Harry knelt on the ground and picked up Eli’s file, his eyes wide. But he wasn’t staring at the dates confirming the little boy’s age.
Instead, Harry pointed at the bottom of the file. “I don’t want to freak you out, Josie,” he whispered. Initially, I didn’t know what he was trying to show before I glimpsed notes scrawled at the bottom of the file, followed by a signature. “But I’m pretty sure that is my fucking writing.”
Harry was right.
I pulled the paperwork off of him, flicking through each file before turning my eyes to him. “Who the fuck are you?”
A clanging sound from above broke the tension, and whatever Harry was about to reply with was strangled in his throat. He slammed a hand over his mouth.
“Guys?”
The voice twisted me up inside, threatening to release a shriek from my mouth I had managed to clamp shut.
Teddy.
“Are you down here?” His voice was strained, and had an odd tone to it. “I can’t… I can’t see you.”

Can someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?! It’s been a blur of a week. We’ve managed to stay down here, surviving off of Allison’s rations. Rowan isn’t getting any better. He seems to have stopped mentally de-ageing at the age of maybe six. Harry has spent the last few days trying to get in contact with anyone, but it’s like they are IGNORING US.
I’ve been looking through everything I can find on Project Spearhead, but nothing points to Harry being involved. So. How is his signature all over the files? How is it possible that two friends I thought I knew several days ago, are now complete strangers?
Teddy keeps coming back.
He’s crying out to us.
I think he’s… in pain.
My god, I can’t stand this anymore. Please. CAMP REDWOOD NEEDS HELP.
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2023.06.04 22:36 Sturdy_Raptor The connection between Teyvat , Khaenri'ah,the Abyss Order and Descenders.

Disclaimer : I am not too good at remembering critical plot points but this is an idea that has been keeping me busy for a while and i wanted peoples opinions on how plausible it is and to just discuss with people in general.
Now for the main topic . We know the sky is fake , but what is it exactly? My idea is that it is a kind of tapestry that is "woven".
We know the theme of fate is very prevalent in the world of Genshin and there are some things that kinda fit together when it comes down to it . For example , there are 3 Moon sisters and my guess is that they are based off of the 3 sisters of Fate from Greek Mythology(same as the Enkanomyia NPC names which were around during the unified civilization, which if i am not wrong is the same period the 3 moon sisters were mostly prevalent according to what we know? Need confirmation). In greek mythology the fates would weave the fate of every titan, god and mortal with these threads ,1 of the the fates was responsible for weaving thread (beggining of a life) , 2nd sister was responsible for embelishing the threads (course of events through said life), 3rd sister was responsible for cutting the thread (death).
So if the 3 moon sisters represent the sisters of fate and the "moons" dance across a "fake sky". I was lead to the conclusion that the sky in Teyvat is a kind of "woven tapestry" ,some elaborate mechanism to control the fate of every creature within it(or some could say the future) , similarly to how the Irminsul can control the past (kind of).
Now we know that when the Khaenri'ahn disaster happened the citizens were cursed and according to Dainsleaf they were cursed on the level of "fate itself". We also know from the recent nahida story quest with Apep etc , that the nails do not completely purify the power of the abyss but rather transmute it , into a less harmful effect (in the case of the chasm the black sludge, in the case of dragonspine the red crystals etc). What if it wasn't a curse , what if the alternative outcome of the Khaenri'ahn disaster was total annihilation all across Teyvat , and the fates of the Khaenri'ahns was changed to bear all the the abyssal power that would otherwise wreck havoc across the world? What i am proposing is that the so called "betrayal of the gods", was really a "sacrifice of few to save the many". A transfiguration of abyssal power similar to the function of the nails , and the only way possible to pull it off fast enough is to transfigure what they have control of , and that is the fate of people. Instead of trying to find a better way , they changed the fate of the Khanri'ahs to be transfigured into monsters and locked all the abyssal power within that transfiguration. And though the monsters posed a horrible threat and caused a great deal of destruction that can be felt even 500 years later , that is still the better outcome (just like the toxic black sludge in the Chasm while still dangerous , was still the preferable outcome).
And that leads to some brief thoughts on the Abyss order , whatever the Sinner is , and whatever he did to Caribert . It gave them the ability to transcend fate . Caribert being "The loom of fate" could be quite literal , allowing someone to use him to weave their own fate similarly to how the moon sisters did on the fake sky. The travelers sibling appearing on the Irminsul record could be a direct use of whatever Caribert turned into for example.
Now some thoughts on Descenders and some interactions with the main character. For 1 out of the original 7 archons that were present in the disaster 500 years ago , we know of 3 that survived those being Morax, Barbatos and the Cryo Archon , and so far they are the only 3 that have presented extremely peculiar behavior . Venti is saving poems and Ballads like a maniac and though some might say it is because he is a bard his motives for that becomes more questionable when you learn that such folk lore can survive the alteration of the past through messing with the Irminsul. Similarly Zhongli was looking for a record keeper which didn't make much sense at the time , but makes much more sense now if you consider what we know.
And while those 2 focus on the preservation of the past , i find the Tsaritsa much more interesting , since she is actively trying to gather the gnosis to alter the future.
Conclusion: All who were present and survived the incident 500 years ago with their minds intact now know of Celestias ability to influence fate and are affected by it.
Which means that the gnosis somehow play a role on controlling the fate of Teyvat , otherwise the Tsaritsa wouldn't bother gathering them for the sake of power.
Which then brings us to the last bit of this post . How was the Tsaritsa even able to collect the gnosis if they are so important and her fate is controlled? The answer is the Traveler, we know that Descenders are not subject to Teyvats laws , and Tsaritsa wasn't able to actually gain a single gnosis other than the cryo one before the story begins.
Venti would never have dropped his guard enough to be caught by Signora. Liyue wouldn't have been able to fight off Osial and Zongli wouldn't have traded his gnosis(i think that was how the contract was?).
And one of the most interesting things to me is Paimon. The very first thing we experience in the story , either something extremly dangerous to the world of teyvat that was never meant to be unearthed , or a tether on the traveler sent by Celestia to try and mitigate the effect they have on the world?
What are your thoughts , anything i missed that changes any points? Would love to read peoples insights on such topics (or even extensions such as what role doe the visions hold in such a scenario etc).
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2023.06.04 22:32 Mother_Tell998 A very long joke

(Apologies to anyone who reads this in full. But this joke is hideously long on purpose. It's effects are best if you actually sit someone down and tell it to them. I took up my workmates entire lunch break with this and he hasn't spoken to me all evening.)
There are one hundred priests of an unspecified religion. They have arrived dressed in the symbols of their faith in a new land to spread the word of their 'Superbook'. This could be any land, France, Egypt, Feudal Japan, the Toronto Film Festival, any land. Absolutely any land you can imagine, Gondor, Pangaea, 1992 or your own home and surrounding lands which are unique to you.
Upon arriving in this strange new land they learn that the people here have no knowledge of Superbook. They decide that the best way to spread the word is to construct a building as a symbol of the new faith. So they purchased some basic tools and set to work gathering wood for their shrine. As there were one hundred priests in their prime the shrine was constructed in under a week.
It was a basic thing. The sort of shrine you would look at and say "that's pretty shit. Did children build this? You didn't tell me there were feral children around.". A central trunk with a roughly carved deity symbol nailed to the top stood in a forest clearing. A few rows of log seats encircled it and around the edges stood a few tall torches burning incense.
The priests stood back and looked proud over their creation, happy that they could begin spreading the words and illustrations of Superbook. It was suggested by one of the priests that "Hey we should go for a drink to celebrate our success!" to which exactly half of the priests thought would be a good idea. So fifty of the priests headed down to the local pub where they spent the night drinking whatever beverages Superbook allowed.
Upon returning from their celebrations the priests were greeted by a horrifying sight. "Have I got beverage in my eyes!?" one of the priests was heard to say "or has something destroyed our shrine!?". The priest was correct, before them lay the ruins of their primitive shrine, a tangle of wood and limbs all set ablaze by the incense torches.
How exactly all fifty priests who remained at the shrine managed to perish as the single tall, thin structure collapsed remains a mystery to this day. As the priests stood in shock staring and mourning over their lost friends, one of them turned to notice something that looked out of place. As he squinted he could make out on the horizon a figure all in black, speeding away on an unspecified vehicle. It could be a motorbike, a sports car, a horse and carriage, a horse without a carriage, absolutely any vehicle you can think of, a bicycle, a unicycle, a pangolin, or a petrol powered pangolin.
But it was too late, the man disappeared over the horizon. As the remaining priests gathered their thoughts, one of them suggested that they should not be discouraged, and that their fallen friends would want them to rebuild the shrine in memory of them.
The priests agreed and set about building a new shrine! bigger and better than the first to remember this tragic day. They quarried stones, they cut down trees and they sewed curtains, nice curtains, I mean REALLY nice curtains, with tassels and everything. It took the fifty priests a few weeks to complete but eventually they were able to stand back and admire their new creation.
It was a quaint chapel on the hill. The sort of chapel you would look at and say "hey look at that quaint little chapel, and oh damn check out those nice curtains!". A trodden dirt path led to the entrance of a small stone structure, inside was the picture of simplicity and modesty. A few rows of pews on a polished wooden floor, and an altar stood in front of a patchwork deity symbol.
As the priests admired their new chapel, they remarked that yes, their fallen friends would be happy with this. One of the priests suggested that they visit a local theme park to celebrate this day. Exactly half of the priests agreed, they spent the day riding deity approved rides, gambling deity approved amounts of money and not riding deity condemned rides.
Upon returning from their celebrations the priests were greeted by a horrifying sight. "Have I got deity approved theme park snacks in my eyes!?" one of the priests was heard to say "or has something destroyed our chapel!?". The priest was correct, on the hill lay a pill of stone rubble, limbs and silky smooth curtain tassels.... which was all on fire for some reason.
As the priests stood staring in horror over their lost friends, one of them turned to notice something that, yes, upon the horizon he could just make out the man in black speeding into the distance. But it was too late, he was gone. As the remaining priests took care of the dead in the way decreed by Superbook, one of them suggested that this should not be the end, and that their fallen friends would want them to rebuild the chapel in memory of them.
The priests agreed and set about pillaging neighbouring villages for building supplies. They gathered glass, mixed cement, smelted iron, mined for gold and expanded their quarry. They didn't just rebuild the chapel, they built a fully fledged church! The sort of church that when you refer to it like "Oh it's up by the church", people would know what you are talking about and benefit from your informative directions. It had taken the twenty five priests six months of labour but there it stood. A paved path led through an iron fence, protection against and would-be-church-destroyers and towards an imposing stone structure. Stain glass windows adorned the front complete with deity symbols, the pews could seat a thousand and a golden forged Superbook sat upon the altar.
The twenty five priests patted themselves on the back and said a prayer for the lost friends. One priest suggested that after six months they deserved a celebratory meal to mark the occasion. Twelve priests agreed whilst the rest stayed to rest, content in the safety of their shiny new iron fence. The twelve priests spent the evening at a nearby Italian restaurant, because everyone is allowed to eat Italian food.
After an evening of scoffing increasingly abstract pasta shapes the twelve priests returned to their church. One of the priests was heard to say "Have I got tagliatelle in my eye!? Or has someone knocked down our church!? AGAIN!" The scene that greeted them was one of sorrow and anger. Sorrow for their dead friends, crushed under heaps of stone and glass. Anger at their dead friends, for placing so much faith in an iron fence. Yet more anger at the figure they could see vanishing over the horizon.
At this point you are probably thinking that these priests are idiots, that surely they can understand the pattern by now that building a church plus staying in the church equals death. You would also think that after the previous events they would not believe that the solution would be to build a bigger church.... as this in no way addresses the problem at hand. You may think that surely he can't just keep rambling on like this and that he will wrap this up soon, after all we have figured out the pattern of the joke and we know where it is going anyway.
So one of the priests, suffering from long term memory loss, suggested that to honour their friends they should build a new monument to their faith. The others, after giving him concerned looks, figured they had come this far and, resigned to their fate, they agreed. The priests then spent the next five years ravaging the lands for resources. They felled forests, flattened hills and drove the critically endangered Pentapus to extinction to use their tears for cement (its like an octopus but it only has five arms... and only has five eyes.)
After a further five years of construction, they were finally able to stand back, crane their necks high, and admire their creation. This was a truly great achievement. This was now a cathedral, the sort of cathedral that architecture student congregate around. The sort of structure that everyone for miles around would refer to as "That massive f***ing monstrosity made of tears" and there would be weird rumors like "at night I've heard that you can hear the pentapusses crying from inside the walls". Whether these rumors were true or not, it was an impressive building. The size of an aeroplane hangar. It had an attached aeroplane hangar. It was the first cathedral built with a solid steel support structure and, for added protection, a moat and barbwire fence surrounded it.
The priests had been at the whole 'building monuments for the Superbook' for many years now and were getting old and tired. One of them suggested that they should take a trip to a local spa for a day of relaxation after this great achievement, "after all..." he said "page 69 of Superbook does proclaim in giant text, 'Thou shalt spa'". Five other priests, who probably had better survival instincts, agreed and the six of them took off. Six remained content in their reinforced structure, even taking shifts to keep watch for added security.
The six who left spent the day wallowing in mud, having cucumbers placed on various body parts and being generally as un-energetic as possible. They were also pleasantly surprised to find that their local infamy granted them free access to all the spas facilities. After they had left in their own time and the spa owner barred the doors shut behind them they headed back to their church.
"Have I still got cucumber in my eye!?" one of the six said as their home loomed on the horizon, "or has someone destroyed our church!?"
The priest was correct. As they approached and crossed the moat they found a towering pile of rubble. There was an eerie silence as they glared at the destruction, picturing their dead friends somewhere inside. The silence was only broken by the sound of the man in black speeding off over the horizon and the joyous cries of Pentapus souls being freed.
The sight of the man in black filled one of the priests with rage. He turned to the others and said "Hey I know what we need to do!" ... The others agreed before he had chance to say what it was.
The priests set about gathering more resources. After the ten years it took them to gather this, they were surrounded by a scorched barren earth. They had felled all the trees for twenty miles, flattened the earth, hunted all life to extinction (I mean all life, even worms... they took all the worms and used them to lure down all the birds. Then they trained the birds to help lift heavy objects for them. Then they ate the birds. Then they made a monument to remember the birds. Then they... didn't really put much effort into maintaining it and it ran into disrepair... the end), drained lakes and sucked clouds from the sky somehow.
It took a further ten years for the small group of ageing priests to complete their construction. For the sake of this story four of the priests died during a slave bird rebellion that was later crushed. Mainly because I can't think of many more advancing stages of church besides going into ghost churches or space churches, though those would be awesome.
Their creation could barely be called a church.Yes it was built in the shape of their deity symbol and inside were super mahogany (like regular mahogany only more awesome) pews and a diamond pulpit, but to all other purposes this was a fortress. The entire structure was titanium, standing thirty stories high. It was surrounded with laser fences, laser moats full of lasers, and atop the building were placed a cluster of guns which shot bullets which were also made of lasers. There were immense speaker systems built into the walls which issued threats as well as religious good will messages to all who approached. It was the sort of church that you wouldn't say anything about... because the church would know what you said and rain lasers upon you.
The doom of the man in black was built. But they needed bait. The two old priests drew straws to decide who would stay. The priest who left made it known that he would be leaving for a day on the beach.
He spent his day pretending to sunbathe, pretending to build sandcastles and pretending to dip his toes in the water. Until he heard a commotion in the distance. He raced back towards his fortress with a smile on his face, the sort of smile you would have if the person who has killed ninety eight of your closest ninety nine friends had been killed. When he could peer over the next horizon however, his smile vanished. All he could see in front of him was a smoking heap of titanium and misfiring lasers. As he peered through the smoke he could make out the man in black making his escape.
Something inside him had told him that this would happen and this time he was prepared. He knew there was no sand in his eyes... he had only been pretending to touch the sand. He ran behind a nearby bush and hopped aboard his Super Priesty Priest Scooter and gave chase.
Through the desolate lands he chased the man, gaining ever so slowly until after hours, to the priests surprise, the man had pulled over. The priest pulled up and approached the man, his face red with rage.
"HAVE YOU BEEN KNOCKING DOWN OUR CHURCHES!?" The priest roared.
And the man replied
"...... no....... "
submitted by Mother_Tell998 to Jokes [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 14:36 Jumpy_Outside_2594 Short Story

The water patters down. I wonder if it's God crying on how much he has broken one of his children. For I am not a creature that was born, but a fire that was set. I stand alone looking up at the skies, feeling each drop like shards of glass cutting into my skin.
I close my eyes softly and spread my arms wide, envisioning that the sting of these cuts are not from daggers of desolation but currents from the caress of love. For who am I to know the difference? My chastity to another's devilish beauty does not permit me to be held by another, whilst my sanity does not let me return to her.
What a tragedy I have become? A mature mind yet a romantic heart. A walking contradiction I stand.
I try to look at the eyes of the others that walk past, if I can see my world in them. I see the ocean in one, foliage in the other and Earth in another. I am yet to see all three together - I saw them once a moon ago, but that was merely the devil's desire within me. No wonder whenever she sang my name, I looked over my left shoulder to hear where her voice came from. The truth be told in her eyes I saw enough Earth to be buried under, her embrace was just the bare grave for me to lay in. Yet I couldn't resist.
My hair drenches in the rain, the water trickles down from the roots to my nose. For a minute, I imagine the tip of her finger nail as sharp as a knife inching closer to wipe the droplet away. As it comes nearer and nearer, the sound of a revolver rolling and the sirens approaching audiates in my head. 'Sanity is overrated' my heart whispers in thirst. 'Hush, Hush, boy - how many more bullets can you call diamonds?' my mind reasons.
I clench my fists and fall to my knees. Oh Jupiter, Oh Odin, Oh Zeus is this why your statues were never erected along with a woman? For I have broken pieces of me to sculpt her and now I exhaust. I tuck my head in my lap and bow in submission.
A hand lays flat against my spine. A head presses on mine. I look up, I don't recognise her. Who is she?
Her hair, majestically sways down each fibre made with fine threads of heaven's silk. As the wind blows, her hair dances as though it had a life of its own, twirling in sync with the wind chimes like a ballerina lost in melody. I couldn't help but be mesmerised by her magnificence. A small streak untidily rests on her forehead, my hand tremors as I resist the urge to correct it for the fear of being scorched.
Her eyes, pearl bronze, I look into them and see stars from a hundred different galaxies twinkle - her magic is beyond my comprehension. Each star sparkling praises of her beauty. They glimmer like pools of liquid gold, with long, dark lashes that frame them perfectly. My mind says Medusa, but my heart says Athena.
Her nose, slender like the stem of a delicate flower. Tilted flawlessly laddered to paradise. It rises from her face with a gentle curve, like a wave breaking on the shore. The delicate bridge that supports it is as elegant as the strings of a harp, and its tip is as pointed and sharp as a sword.
Her lips, built from the softest rose petals, stretching so gracefully to smile. They are a luscious shade of pink, with hints of red from the ruby rocks of hell. Hidden, a power within them, holding the secrets of the universe.
Her cheeks, crafted from beige velvet, wrapped tightly around her jaw. They sit like beautiful canvases waiting to be painted. I must be careful. I must be careful. For my blood supply is now too meagre for me to dip a brush into.
A small beauty mark sits beside her lip, accentuating her features in a way that was august. It adds a touch of glamour and sophistication to her look, like a small but precious gem that had landed on her skin. Her only imperfection too was perfection.
If I had enough ink or life to write about her beauty. It would be a race on which would end first. For there is not enough ink or time to explain and if there was, neither could do justice.
She floats around me, and her warmth evaporates the dampness from my skin. Her halo umbrellas us both, and I gaze at her in awe, my pupils dilating in the presence of her radiance. She looks back at me and giggles like a sparrow on a summer's day, each sound causing my heart to skip a beat and my mind to falter.
"Beauty or Beast, which are you?" I implore her.
She giggles and looks away, gliding ahead just out of reach. She turns her head over her right shoulder and smiles at me with her eyes, simultaneously, she rests her right hand across her left shoulder and tauntingly dances her fingers on her clavicle.
Surrounded by darkness, her aura is the only thing that emits light. I limper to my feet and inch closer to her. She moves ahead with a gentle flight, turning back every so often to catch my eye. The intensity of her gaze fuels my adrenaline, urging me to follow her into the unknown.
I push myself until I can go no further. My muscles tire, and even with adrenaline coursing through my veins, my body can no longer sustain the effort. I collapse onto the unforgiving concrete road and close my eyes, giving in to the exhaustion that has overtaken me.
" I can...I cannot" I plead to her.
Her gentle laughter fills the air as she lays down beside me. With a feather-light touch, she traces her index and middle fingers over my forehead, down over my eyelids, and finally to my chin.
"But, you must." Alluringly she whispers.
As her words leave her lips, my mind is flooded with memories, each one flashing before my eyes like scenes from a movie. I see her nestled in my arms on a Himalayan mountaintop, tucking her head under my chin as we sit at the peak. I see us rowing a boat along the canals of Venice, the wind blowing her hair as she presses her nose against mine. I see us climbing the pyramids of Egypt, her eyes glistening with love as she looks back at me. I see us running hand-in-hand on the beaches of Bazaruto, our footprints marking a path of love in the sand. I see the colour of our hairs erode to the colour of the snow, that we once laid in our youth. I see us sitting on a weathered park bench, sharing a walking stick between us, as we watch others find their world.
As the vivid dreams fade away, I slowly open my eyes to the reality of the dimly lit street lamp shining down on me. I find myself lying all alone, the cold concrete sending shivers up my spine as the stones gently roll against my head. I remain still, feeling the ache of a beard grown out of the patience I have for her return. The leaves rustle around me, their whispers like cruel laughter echoing in the stillness of the night, a mocking chorus to my loneliness.
I look up at the darkened sky and yell "Oh Lord, I do not know if I am destined for Valhalla or Hades, the first one buried me. Let this one return to cremate me."
submitted by Jumpy_Outside_2594 to creativewriting [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 05:56 sister_moon1 My Story of Growing Up With Psychics and Mediums

This is a true story of my young life growing up with psychics and mediums and I believe it was a necessary experience for me to have, in order to adjust me to being a psychic and a medium, it is both a very fortunate, and an unfortunate story. I say it was fortunate because it gave me a strong foundation of knowing and believing in spirit, and a family that never doubted me when I began having psychic experiences, and of course it was unfortunate because I got to experience such things that most young children should not ever know.
I came to realise that spirits existed from a very young age because my grandmother, mother, uncle and his wife, my aunty, were all open to spirit in one way or another.
And we all lived together in the same home within the UK.
My cousin lived there too, he was my uncles son and he was 18 months older than me.
My earliest memories of the house was around the year 1967 when I was 3 years old. My mother had her back to me, she was sitting in a chair holding my new baby brother, and he was looking at me over my mothers shoulder and smiling, I was smiling back at him and I was very excited to have a baby brother, but sadly this joy didn't last long as he died tragically, when he was only 3 months old. Looking back now on that single memory, I often think of how old and intelligent his soul was for a young baby, to be aware of me at such a tender young age.
Has I mentioned, I was very young and the house we lived in was haunted by at least three spirits. I never actually saw any of these spirits myself, and I don't believe my cousin did either, but I heard lots of screams and screeches from my mother and my aunty, whenever they witnessed an apparition. !
My Grandmother was the sober, and less excitable of the adults, but even she had a few funny turns from time to time, and I often overheard stories of a young child that was seen playing in the garden (she was a girl) or of the red haired women that had been seen on the stairs.
On one occasion, I remember I was sitting playing in the kitchen, it was a bright summers day and my aunty and my mother were busy spring cleaning the house. The door in the kitchen lead into the lounge and there was an old wooden door to the right, when you entered the lounge that lead to the stairs leading to the upper bedrooms. The door to the kitchen and the stairwell door were both wedged open, as my aunty was busy brushing the stairs with the tall handled broom, the atmosphere was pleasant and happily busy, when out of nowhere, I heard a terrifying scream coming from my aunty, followed by running as she flew down the stairs, my grandmother was up and out of the kitchen and I overheard my aunty talking to my grandmother about seeing the lady's long red hair floating as she looked up from her brushing, just when it disappeared down the stairs.
There were a couple of other instances of the little girl being seen in the garden and the red haired lady on the stairs, I only ever heard my grandmother and my aunty talk about seeing them.
The most scary of all the incidents that ever happened in that house, happened when I was about 5 or 6 years old, and it had me terrified of the stairwell right on up until we finally moved out.
Before beginning this terrifying story, I do think I should mention that the house never had any creepy or eerie feeling and the overall atmosphere of the place was pleasant. I should also mention that my mother was a lazy selfish women, and this story is her experience alone, although, by default its mine too.
It was a terribly wet, windy day, it hadn't stopped raining all day long and now it was late in the afternoon and the shopping needed to be done for us all to have dinner. My uncle and aunty had moved out at this time, so there was just my cousin, me, my mother and my grandmother who was 70 years old that were still living there. My selfish mother did not want to go out in the pouring rain and so it was left to my grandmother to have to get ready to go, I did not want my grandmother to go out in the pouring rain, she was old and wind and the weather was very bad. I think I asked if I could go with her, but I wasn't allowed. I remember looking out the window at the grey sky and all the rain, worrying about my grandma, for what seemed like forever. then finally I saw her shadow arriving back and coming up our path, and I ran to the door to greet her.
When she got in the lounge she looked very ill and her poor face was ashen white, her coat and clothes were soaking wet and I was very sad to see her looking so ill, and my mother ran around to make hot tea and get her dry clothes and towels.
Much later that evening I'd fallen to sleep on the coach, and my mother was carrying me up the stairs to bed, she had nearly gotten up to the landing when I was awoken by my mother screaming for her mother on the top of the stairs.! I woke up and tried to look to see why my mother was screaming, but my mother held my head pressed in her chest, so I could not see anything, then I heard and saw my grandmother shouting and waving her umbrella in the air, has she came up the stairs to the rescue, My mother came down the stairs with me and that night we slept in the lounge on the sofa.
I don't recall when I heard them talking about that night, but I know I was still in the house as I was terrified to go up those stairs at night after hearing that, so I was still very young when I heard about it.
what I heard was terrifying. !!!
My mother said she was climbing the stairs the light on the landing was off, but there was a full moon out illuminating through the landing window, so it was bright enough to see as she walked up the stairs towards the landing, she said she heard someone breathing and has she looked up she saw a figure coming out of the spare room that was at the far end of our hallway, the figure was covered in hair right down to near the floor and she couldn't see its face, she saw it put it's hand on the banister rail as it was moving towards her, and she said the nails were long, yellow, and twisted around like a cork screw and she could hear the breathing getting loader as it was coming towards her
This is the point when I heard my mother scream for her mother, and she added that when grandma opened the stairway door it started to move back towards the room where it came from and finally disappeared just before grandma had gotten up the stairs, so grandma saw nothing.
I believe I overheard repeated pieces of conversations about this at different times, when grandma and my mother were talking in the lounge, unfortunately in those times the assumption was that younger children didn't really understand what you were talking about. but I did, and I was terrified I would see the same thing too, but no one ever did.
My grandmother concluded that it was her dead husband, my grandfather, that had scared my mother that evening for her wickedness of letting her poor old mother go out in such weather, and I have to agree, especially after having a psychic encounter with him myself years later.
It was not a terrifying encounter, but he warned me very softly but seriously of the dangers of dabbling with drugs and the effects it has on the soul when you pass, I understood then that my grandfather was the patriarch that kept the family all in check, and even after he'd passed on, he was still watching out for us, needless to say, but I headed his warning and never messed with drugs again.
It sounds very strange to say this, but besides all the things that happened, I did love that house and have some of my fondest memories there of when all my family were happily together, unfortunately there is only me, my cousin, and my mother left who remembers those days in that house.
submitted by sister_moon1 to Mediums [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 04:04 Zachthema5ter The Herd of Sigmar, Lord Thavara, the Blood Flies Regiment of Renown, and the Free City of Candleheld, my homebrew Stormcast army

Lord Thavara:
Thavara serves as the commander of the Herd of Sigmar Stormhost. She is noted for having unusually sharp teeth and nails as well as a more feral and aggressive fighting style. This is because of her origins. Thavara wasn't her original name, and she can't remember what her name was, or even if she had one.
Thavara was a beast of chaos of a bloodgor herd, one of the very few female beast of chaos. Her herd stalked Shyish, where Thavara served as her beastlord's mate. She mothered a large portion of her herd's warriors, and when the forces of Order wiped her herd to the last man, Thavara stepped onto the front lines. Not for Khorne, but for her children. The Celestant-Prime sensed her love and desire to sacrifice herself for her children, and deemed her and some of her children worthy to be reforged as a stormcast eternal.
During the reforging process, she was taught to read. She the first book she ever read featured a character named Thavara, so she named herself after the character.
Now Thavara fights with a feral fury of a mother protecting her young, for she sees herself as the mother for her new Herd. While some of her stormcast were her actual children, she laments that she no longer remembers who, and insteads treats all of her warriors as her children. Even freeguild and mercenary warriors that help out her herd.

The Herd of Sigmar:
This redemption stormhost primarily operates within Shyish, waging a never ending war against the Legions of Nagash. As such the name, many of stormcast within the Herd of Sigmar were once beast of chaos, though the Herd is mostly made up of warriors originating from nomadic tribes across the realms.
These tribal origins helped train the Herd into masters of ambushes and hit-and-run tactics. As well, they favor armor with muted, natural colors and regularly don furs collected from hunted and slain monsters.
The Herd treat their comrades in arms as if they were apart of a tribe. Veterans, or elders, would help train the new 'casts as well as share stories and myths. Some of these oral traditions originated from the Stormcast's tribe of origin, while others come from the tales of their brothers and sisters. They share these tales to prevent them from being forgotten, and they have found that keeping a close knit culture .
The stormhost owns a Stormkeep in Candleheld. However, the Herd operates more as a nomadic army, traveling between Candleheld and other nearby free cities, eliminating any threats they come across. The Herd is joined by volunteer warriors from these cities, while holding small garrisons in the cities (think Nakai in Total War, acting as a horde army while leaving a vassal behind in captured cities).
Small patrol and hunting parties regularly break off from the Herd to solve any issues the locals may have. Because of this, alongside their more aggressive and dirty combat tactics, the Herd is viewed more as a mercenary company instead of an army of Sigmar's holy warriors.

Candleheld:
Built around a realmgate connecting Shyish to Ghyran, Candleheld is a small yet highly fortified freecity. Being a "twin city," the city exists in both Shyish and Ghyran, and it's not uncommon for a resident to travel through the realmgate on an average day.
Candleheld is a very mixed city, consisting of humans, aelves, duardins, seraphons, sylvaneth, and even some undead. Of course, the sylvaneth residents favor the Ghyran side while the undead primarily lives in Shyish.
The most notable feature of Candleheld is the reason for its name. Standing high into Shyish's cloudy skies is a spire of bone. This spire was created back in the Age of Myth, when Nagash and his legions were still apart of Sigmar's Pantheon. Sitting at the top of the spire is a lone candle. This ever burning flame was created as a gesture of good faith from a vampire lord to the sylvaneth, so it's light can guide the living out of the land of the dead. This founder vampire, a former aelf named Zari, was rumored to have been a survivor from the World-That-Was, with this candle being a relic that she was able to rescue. As well, she claimed to have a connection to the sylvaneth of the World-That-Was (ie, wood elf vampire). Zari remains buried underneath the Spire.
At the center of the city, guarding the Realmgate, sits the Herd of Sigmar's Stormkeep. Because of the Herd's focus on taking the fight to Nagash's forces, they keep a relatively small garrison with the only purpose of keeping the peace. This garrison is regualrly switched out whenever the Herd visits Candleheld.
The half of the city in Ghyran leads into a large forest, where the Sylvaneth of Candleheld lives in. Should Shyish's side of the gate is every at risk, the forces of the Gnarlroot stands ready to charge through the Gate, or, if necessary, close or even destroy the Gate.

The Blood Flies:
A regiment of sylvaneth that regularly fights alongside the Herd, the Blood Flies can tie their origins to the Age of Chaos. When chaos attacked the realms, Candleheld was under siege on both sides of the Realm Gate. Many of the sylvaneth fled Ghyran to escape the plagues of Nurgle, only to meet Khornate berzerkers in Shyish.
During the hold out, a small group of sylvaneth warriors were seemingly infected by the blood rage of Khorne. This rage gave those infected some resistance to the plagues ravaging Ghyran as well as the strength and tenacity to push the invaders back. However, when the fighting was over, the newfound bloodlust amongst roughly half of the sylvaneth defenders didn't.
Not fully falling into Khorne's sway, the newly founded Blood Flies became wanderers, seeking either a cure to the rage, or death. After centuries of fighting the Blood Flies are now down to five archers and their Arch-Revenant leader, Lyndantha.
The Blood Flies has recently tagged along the Herd's travels, feeling sense of a kinship with the nomadic warriors.
Lyndantha has a special interest in Thavara specifically, though she isn't sure why. Unbeknownst to both of them, Lyndantha and her Blood Flies helped destroy Thavara's herd when she was a beast of chaos.
submitted by Zachthema5ter to AoSLore [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 03:32 missjeanlouise12 [sell][US to anywhere][perfume, makeup, nail polish]

Hello, and welcome to my sale!
My spreadsheet of scents can be found here.
I have a few samples from a lot of houses (such as Astrid, NAVA, Area of Effect, Stereoplasm) and a lot of samples from a few houses (most notably, Alkemia, Possets, Deconstructing Eden, Nui Cobalt, Poesie). I have the occasional full size as well.
I go by timestamps, so please do not message me until we have come to an agreement about pricing. I accept PayPal Goods and Services and will cover associated fees. I’ll hold items for a couple of hours unless you request differently, and will then move on to the next interested party if there is one. Some items may be posted on multiple platforms, and I will go by timestamps across all platforms (although I reserve the right to prioritize buyers who are purchasing more).
Shipping starts at $4.50 for perfumes and light items within the continental US and will increase with weight and distance. I'm happy to ship internationally as long as you are willing to pay postage. I look for the best rates, domestic or international, and ship within a few business days.
I have priced items based on what I believe is a fair reflection of value, but please discuss offers with me if your research shows that my pricing is off. Happy to entertain offers and/or bundle if you are buying multiple items. No minimums.
I’ve added swatch pictures that I found online for many of the products that have glimmer, shimmer or shifts. Hopefully this helps show how beautiful and unique these products are!
Eyeshadow Palettes
Ace Beaute Falling for You palette, BNNU, $15 $10
Beauty Bakerie Sugar Cookies palette, most colors used 2 or 3 times, 30 $20
Fantasy Cosmetica Bard palette, Never used but arrived with middle shade shattered. Retails for $38.99. $20
Juvia’s Place The Magic Minis , BNNU, $15 $10
Juvia’s Place The Zulu, 3 colors swatched, $12 $10
KimChi Chic Juicy Velvet palette; see swatch photos from Kimchi Site, BNNU, $12
Lethal Cosmetics Magnetic Pressed Powder Palette in Jolina, 3 or 4 colors swatched. $25
Menagerie Feral Palette, sold out, light usage, $25
Notoriously Morbid Aim With My Eye palette, 3 colors swatched. $16.00
Peach Queen We’re All Mad Here, 3 colors swatched. Sold out on site $20
Pink Crush Cosmetics Nocturnal Garden palette, brand new, $22
Pinky Rose Cosmetics Sunflower palette, most shades swatched once, $12
Pretty Vulgar Pretty Birdie, light use, $36 $10
Sigma x Beauty Bird Dream Palette, most colors swatched, comes with brush, $25
Sigma Warm Neutrals Vol. 2, 4 colors swatched, $15 $10
Sydney Grace Chase Your Dreams, 2 colors swatched, $18 $10
Sugarpill Capsule Collection in black and orange versions, each have a couple of colors swatched, $22 each or both for $40
Single eyeshadows, liners, etc.
About Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint (l - r) in It’s a Blitz and Vertigo Flowers. Swatched with clean, disposable brush. $11 each or both for $20
JD Glow cosmetics L-R: Galaxy liner in Nocturnal; glitter tube in Poise; galaxy liner in Facetime. Each used up to 3x with clean, disposable brush. Retail for $9-10. $4 each; all 3 for $10
Indie shadow large pans $3 each
JD Glow 37mm metallon shadow in Bestie, swatched, $7
JD Glow 37mm metallon shadow in Blue Avenue, swatched, $7
Give Me Glow foiled pigment in Anastasia, swatched, $6
Give Me Glow ultra matte pigment in Dramatic, BNNU, $6
Give Me Glow ultra matte pigment in Tan Lines, BNNU, $6
Moira Cosmetics Lucent Cream Eyeshadow, L-R Cosmos, Earth, Nimbus, each BNIB, $5 each or all 3 for $12
Semi-Loose pigments
These are jars with ¼-1 tsp of semi-loose pigment, some shimmers/metallics, some duo- or multichrome. I encourage you to look up swatches! All are BNNU; most still sealed.
Notoriously Morbid: $6 each
Alkali Lake Monster; see a blogger-posted swatch here
Casualties are Inevitable; see a blogger-posted swatch here
Collaborative Effort; see a blogger-posted swatch here
Stalking Scarecrows; see a blogger-posted swatch here
Spectrum Cosmetics: Aztec, Scale
Lips and Face
MBA Cosmetics Glossy Glaze in Miss Monroe, still sealed, seller image here. $7
Sydney Grace lip cream in Lacy, BNIB, $9
Indie Nail Polish all full size/15 ml unless otherwise indicated
Chaos and Crocodiles in Wishing Star Sky, probably a few years old. Swatch photo. $6
LynB Designs Fishing With No Bait, golden peach linear holo, used for one mani, $6 photo from blogger Naked Without Polish
LynB Designs, L - R Sage It Ain’t So, Rustworthy, Gamboge You Don’t, all BNNU from Tonally Awesome collection. See pictures from site of Rustworthy, and Gamboge You Don’t. $7 each, will bundle.
Moon Shine Mani Nail Polish. Click on shade for swatch photos. And Then There Were None , The Geller Cup, North by Northwest. BNNU, $8 each; will bundle multiples
~ ~
Again my perfume spreadsheet can be found here.
You can also check my sale on makeupexchange [listed here](https://old.reddit.com/makeupexchange/comments/13ue02sellus_to_anywhere10_palette_section_includes/.
Thank you!
submitted by missjeanlouise12 to IndieExchange [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 01:23 xtremexavier15 TSROTI 3 (pt 1)

Toxic Rats: B, Geoff, Scott, Leshawna, Sammy
Mutant Maggots: Anne Maria, Katie, Molly, Scarlett, Dave, DJ, Trent
Episode 03: Ice Ice Baby
"Previously on Total Drama Revenge of the Island!" Chris opened on the now-typical shot of the somewhat decrepit Camp. "We learned that although our campers are here to win," the recap montage began with the two recently-awoken team assembled before the host, "they're all losers in one way or another," Scott was shown fleeing in terror from a mutant wooly beaver during the flashback of his Chris Head hunt. "Really, really big losers," Chris added over shots of Fang chomping off the corner of the Rats' stand, and DJ admitting his secret of sleeping with a teddy bear.
"It was a psychological butt-kicking that quickly turned literal," Chris continued as Trent was shown sizing up the angle of his final swing into the Grand Slam, and Geoff got kicked forward by the Kick Start. "Then comical," the host added as Leshawna was shown painfully bouncing from one butt-shaped apparatus to the next, "then hysterical!" Chris finished with a laugh as Sierra's first try at the Grand Slam was shown, ending with the girl hitting the muddy floor.
"In the end, Sierra got the biggest boot of all," Sierra was shown in the bucket of the catapult. "Bye-bye," Chris added mockingly as the obsessive uberfan was flung into the night.
"I love my job," he said as the scene cut to him on the Dock of Shame, "Stay tuned as more things blow up! More contestants throw up, and some even try to hook up. Right here, on Total! Drama! Revenge of the Island!"
XXXXX
The episode opened on Camp Wawanakwa's lodge and mess hall, the camera panning to the left to show the communal bathroom and, more importantly, a cluster of bushes. The shot zoomed in as one of them began to rustle, and a mouse with a bulging, veiny head scurried out into the open. It paused as the shadow of a bird of prey fell over it, and looked up to see a bald eagle diving towards it with its talons out.
The mutant mouse's eyes glowed green, and a beam shot out of them and hit the approaching eagle. The bird froze in mid-air, then slammed back and forth as though in the grasp of some unseen hand. It was finally tossed off-camera with a squawk, and the mutant mouse scurried onward. It climbed the steps of the main lodge and crawled through a hole in the door, and the scene cut inside.
The camera, situated high on the right wall relative to the entrance, showed the two teams eating and the lodge itself in a state of near disrepair. The floor had become a patchwork of different colors and styles; one of the front windows had been broken and halfheartedly boarded up; there was a gaping hole in the roof over the other front window; a few planks were missing from the far left wall around the fireplace; and a bit of wallpaper was peeling on the partition dividing the kitchen from the rest of the lodge.
The seven members of the Mutant Maggots sat at the forward table, to the left of the camera, while the five Toxic Rats sat closer to the kitchen; and both teams had only logs to sit on.
Katie stuck a spoonful of the grayish food they'd been served into her mouth, cringed, and spat it out. "This is so nasty! Gruel really is cruel!"
The perspective inverted to show Dave's face covered in the food. "Sorry Dave," Katie said from off screen.
Confessional: Dave
Dave started his confessional with a heavy sigh. "I never thought I'd say this, but I'd rather eat dirt than any more of breakfast."
Confessional Ends
The static changed to Molly and Anne Maria sitting together. Molly was coughing due to how much spray Anne Maria was using.
Anne Maria noticed her plight and stopped. "Sorry, retro. On the upside, now your lungs are waterproof."
"I'll make use of that," Molly coughed again.
The shot cut to B at the right end of the Rats' table. He picked a hair out of his spoonful, and threw it away uncomfortably.
The camera panned to the left to show Leshawna and Geoff in what looked like an eating contest. Just as they were really getting into it, Geoff accidentally swallowed his spoon and started to choke.
Leshawna finished her meal first before checking on Geoff. "Let me help you out with that." She smacked the back of his neck, allowing the spoon to come out of his mouth.
Geoff sighed in relief. "Thanks. I really needed that."
"Bad news, I finished before you," Leshawna teased Geoff in good fun.
"Awesome," Geoff said. "Back home, I'm the kind when it comes to food competitions with my buds."
"If you say so," Leshawna replied.
The perspective changed, now showing Sammy and Scott eating across from Leshawna and Geoff.
"I've eaten fruits and vegetables just to keep my body fit for cheerleading, but this is too gross!" Sammy winced and shoved her gruel away.
Scott, who had witnessed her complaint and finished his gruel, grabbed her bowl and helped himself to a second helping.
Confessional: Scott
Scott began his confessional by chuckling while whittling a wood stick with his shark tooth. "Wimps. I grew up on a dirt farm." He brought out a clod. "I can always chomp on a clod if I get the munchies.
He took a bite out of his aforementioned object and chewed on it for a few seconds. The dirt farmer then smiled for the camera, only for his teeth to shatter and fall to the floor.
Confessional Ends
The footage resumed to the Maggots' table as DJ scooped up a spoonful of gruel with a little antenna poking out of it. He didn't notice, but when he put it in his mouth, he began to choke. Clutching his throat, he got to his feet, and stood away from the table, gagging.
"Hang on!" Trent called out, rushing up behind DJ and pumping his stomach repeatedly. The force was enough to make him spit out whatever he was choking on. A little beetle flew out among bits of gruel, and bounced onto the floor before landing on Geoff's hat.
DJ awkwardly breathed. "Thanks for the save," he said.
"Don't sweat it," Trent replied. "We're teammates."
The shot cut back to Scarlett, who was looking down to the bulbous-headed mouse now sitting on their own table. "What is that Apodemus sylvaticus doing over here?" she remarked. Without warning the mouse's eyes began to glow green again, and to the horror of the brainiac it levitated into the air.
The scene moved outside the lodge as crashes and screams of terror filled the air. All the campers except Molly fled out the front door and a refrigerator was flung out after them. They paused to catch their breath, and it was then that Molly was finally tossed out to them with a scream of her own.
The whine of the intercom turning on caught their attention, and the camera cut to an upward shot of the loudspeaker. "Attention, players!" Chris announced. "Please head to the looming tragedy that is Mount Looming Tragedy!" The shot switched to a tall, craggy spire of rock in the distance, it's broad and flat peak seen only in silhouette thanks to a ring of ominous clouds. "Your race begins, NOW!"
He punctuated his broadcast with his blowhorn, and Scarlett immediately turned to her teammates. "Maggots, let us make haste!" she declared, and all twelve campers raced off.
\
A flash ahead showed the two teams arriving at the base of the mountain, all of them out of breath.
"Did we win the challenge?" Katie panted, doubled over with her hands on her knees.
Dave arrived last just then, clutching his stomach and groaning. He walked over to a bush, fell to his knees, and threw up.
"Not to judge, but you should exercise more, dude," Molly told the germaphobe as he stood back up and wiped the bile from his lips.
A sudden whistle interrupted any reply that may have come, drawing the campers' attention to the side. "Okay, mutant food," Chris greeted, standing with Chef next to a muddy jeep, "on with the challenge! Part one is an uphill battle," he explained, the shot moving to and upward pan of the rocky tower before them – it was covered with barbed wire, toxic waste barrels, and what looked like pipes of some kind. "You have to climb all the way up to that cliff," Chris explained, the camera coming to a rest at the broad, flat rock that topped the mountain; a dead tree and another toxic waste barrel were the only things to be seen on top. "First team to reach the top gets an advantage in part two."
"You can climb with your hands," the host continued as the shot returned to him, "or use whatever you find in the pile." He motioned over his shoulder, and the camera cut to a large mound of junk – appliances, furniture, pipes, tires, and other abandoned pieces of scrap. "But don't worry," Chris added, growing more and more excited, "this junkyard doesn't have a dog. It has a giant mutant beetle!"
On cue, a gigantic beetle similar to the one DJ had found in his gruel popped out of the junk pile and hissed at the humans; B, Sammy, DJ, Molly, and Trent all gasped in shock.
"Hahaha, big guy's a bit of a hoarder," Chris laughed. "His estate is full of useful crud," the beetle was shown picking up a paintball gun and a sewing machine from the pile and casually tossing them away, "aaaand disgusting crud." The beetle picked out a toilet next, and threw it at the humans with a hissing roar; B, Sammy, DJ, Molly, and Trent quickly ducked, and it crashed to the ground behind them. "That is, if you can get near it," Chris told them with an impish smile.
"One last thing before we start," the host announced. "Since the Rats are looking uneven, I'll need one member of the Maggots to switch over to their team. Who's it gonna be?"
"I'll move to the Toxic Rats," Trent shrugged.
Chris turned towards the mountain and gave a thumbs-up, and Chef – now on top of the cliff – blew on an alphorn, shaking the area. "It is on!" the host declared.
"Let's move Maggots!" Scarlett said as the campers started running.
\
The Maggots' logo appeared in the corner as Dave was shown struggling to pull himself up to a ledge. "Molly was right. I need more exercise." He fell off completely, and sighed as he laid on the ground.
"Don't give up Dave," Katie called out to him while hanging from a dead tree that was jutting out of the rock. "You can do it!" The branch broke and she started to fall with a scream, until a hand pulled her up to a higher ledge.
The camera panned up to show that DJ had saved her. "Thank you," Katie said happily.
"Anytime," DJ replied. The two looked into each other's eyes and smiled.
"Rock climbing," Molly yelled as the shot cut to her climbing the mountain, "was never on my bucket list!"
"You don't have to like it," Katie said. "You just have to help us instead of wanting to bail."
"It's not my fault I wanted to avoid being killed," Molly said, referring to the challenge last episode.
"Keep it together, Geoff," Scott called out as the shot cut to him and Geoff climbing another part of the mountain, the Rats' logo in the top-left corner of the screen. "At this rate, we'll be the ones winning for our team!"
"Don't worry about me!" Geoff advised. "This is no sweat."
Confessional: Geoff
"I'm a bit of a rock climber back home," Geoff said. "It makes me feel free and adventurous. I normally wear sunglasses just to prevent the rocks from getting into my eyes, but I didn't come prepared. Wish me luck."
Confessional Ends
The shot cut next to Anne Maria, still on the ground looking at her reflection in her hand mirror. "And will the lady be participating?" Chris asked in a mocking prim tone as he walked over.
"Have you seen my nails?" Anne Maria denied. "These are why I drive with my feet."
"I see," Chris said blankly. "What about you?" he asked, turning his head towards Scarlett – who was also still on the ground, looking up at the cliff.
"I will climb," Scarlett replied. "I'm just doing some calculations right now."
The camera panned over to the right, where Leshawna was trying to climb the cliff with Trent watching her failed attempts.
"And I'm coming back down," Sammy slid to the ground with a deadpan expression. "Practice doesn't make perfect, Trent."
"I was trying to prep you up," Trent admitted.
"Sammy, wait! I see B has a plan," Leshawna told Sammy as she saw B near the junkpile.
"Okay then. I hope it involves not climbing." Sammy said off-camera.
\
The scene cut back to Geoff lingering at a ledge with a few small, loose stones on it. He misstepped as he climbed, and accidentally kicked them off – they tumbled down the mountainside, catching DJ and Katie and knocking them off. The two crashed into Dave, who was making his own slow progress up the mountain, and all three landed on the ground in a heap.
Back down at the bottom, Scarlett stopped at the three that had fallen, who had still not made any move to get up.
"Are you all still able to function later?" Scarlett asked.
"We're fine," Dave said. "Thanks for asking."
Confessional: Scarlett
"I didn't immediately start climbing up the cliff," Scarlett explained her plan. "I wanted to see how everyone would go about it. That way, I can seek out any obstacles and how to avoid them."
Confessional Ends
Back over the junk pile, B attempted to grab a barrel, only to be stopped by the beetle breathing fire.
"It can breathe fire? Seriously?" Leshawna said, flabbergasted.
"Maybe we can distract this beetle," Trent suggested.
B held up a refrigerator door to prevent himself from getting burned by the beetle's fire, giving way for Leshawna to snatch a flute that was on top of the pile.
"Toss it over! I could give it a try," Sammy offered before Leshawna threw at her the flute.
Sammy's flute playing wasn't very good, and the beetle quickly breathed out another jet of fire, then curled up into a ball and rolled towards them as the intense challenge music resumed. Sammy stopped playing as she and Trent scattered, with the balled-up beetle only following the guitarist.
"Why are you going after me?!" Trent exclaimed as he ran from the mutant, Sammy and Leshawna watching from the junk pile. "I didn't use the flute!"
Dave, DJ, and Katie got back up from the fall and saw B dragging the barrel on the ground.
"The Rats have the right idea. We can take things from the trash pile so we can climb up," Scarlett said to the three as they went to the trash pile to pick up items while the beetle was jumping on Trent and smashing him to the ground.
\
The shot cut to the top of the mountain, where Chef was waiting with several large blocks of ice. Geoff was almost there, causing Chef to scowl – though he brightened up when his walkie talkie beeped. "You know what to do," Chris told him. "Ice 'em."
"We might just win this," Geoff said confidently. The shot cut up to Chef as he held out an ice block with a vicious grin. He let it fall, and Geoff looked up just in time to see it hit him. It knocked him off the cliff face, and he fell and knocked Scott off as well. The two fell past Molly, who watched in shock as they landed with a pained thud and groan.
Molly scowled upwards, and Chef was shown throwing more and more ice blocks down towards her. With a smirk, she dodged each one in turn. "Like I'm gonna get iced like that!" she taunted up at the man.
Anne Maria was still on the ground spraying her hair. "Nice hairspray, pouf head!" Molly taunted her. "Maybe if you used spray on style, it might be easy on the eyes!"
Anne Maria got enraged enough to crush her can with one hand. "What'd you say to me? Oh, it is on!" Anne Maria declared as she started her climb.
Chef threw an ice block in her direction, but it got shattered thanks to how hard her hair was.
"Hey! Quit it!" Anne Maria punched another ice block out of her way. "I'm coming for you, Pasty!"
Molly watched her with a bit of fear, but got over it. "She'll thank me later."
\
As Geoff and Scott got back up from their falls, the camera went over to Scarlett, Katie, DJ, and Dave ready to go back up the cliff again.
"If all else fails, just use whatever you have," Katie noted to her team. "I've done a lot of DIY projects that way."
"DIY?" Dave asked incredulously.
"It means Do it yourself," Katie pronounced before showing off her fingers that were wrapped with metal sharpened to resemble Wolverine's claws. She latched on to the cliff with them and started to climb. "Let's get climbing!"
DJ used a pair of plungers as his climbing method, Dave spun around a coil of rope before throwing it up so that he can climb on it, and Scarlett used a grappling gun she made out of metal in order to climb certain parts of the cliff.
Trent was now getting punched in the face by the beetle, who was wearing boxing gloves now.
Geoff watched with concern, until the beetle from earlier hopped out of his hat. He noticed this and swooped it up. "Wait! Is this why you're being so harsh?"
This attracted the attention of the larger one, who promptly dropped Trent. He hit the ground with a groan.
The smaller beetle jumped from Geoff's hand and scurried over to its parent, who picked it up with its forelegs, looked at it lovingly, and gave it a quick tap on the back so that it burped out a small jet of flame. Satisfied, the guard beetle scurried away and disappeared behind its horde.
"That was really touching," Geoff commented in a touched tone.
Confessional: Trent
"Beetles can put up one heck of a fight," Trent said with his bruises on display.
Confessional Ends
The camera quick-panned back down to the Rats. Several bottles and bags and electronic bits had been tied to the waste barrel, two long wires were leading out from them, and a couch was seated over it.
"Baking soda? A broken chair leg? We were chased by a giant, fire-breathing beetle so you could collect all of this?!" Trent said to B.
B motioned them to come sit down. Seeing that they're out of options, they complied and took a seat.
With everyone in, B intersected two wires together, instigating a spark and setting the couch to fly up to the sky.
"We're flying now!" Leshawna cheered out loud as they passed Scarlett, DJ, Dave, and Katie, who were still climbing.
Molly got to the top and hauled herself up with a triumphant cheer... just before the couch crashed down on top of Chef, Scott nowhere to be seen.
"You did it, B! We won the challenge!" Geoff congratulated the silent inventor, leading the Rats to cheer for their victory.
It was then that Scott finally landed on the mountain with a thud, leading the five Rats to look at him in shock.
Confessional: Scott
"Okay, seriously. Beverly the explosives expert mime has to go!" Scott stabbed his tooth into the wall angrily.
Confessional Ends
Chris arrived with his jetpack. "Slow your roll, Party Boy, I say who wins."
"Good enough," Molly smirked.
"The Rats, thanks to B!" Chris announced, earning a triumphant cheer from the six winners and a groan from the losers. "See how I do that better?"
"I got up here first!" Molly shouted while Anne Maria went up to her. "Doesn't that mean we win!"
"First team to the top wins. That means the whole team. You're still missing them." Chris enforced the rules.
"How swell," Molly moaned, and got slapped on her arm by Anne Maria. "What was that for?!"
"Nobody disrespects the hair or the spray," Anne Maria reminded her.
"Harsh, but true," Chris got in front of her. "Who else is heading for a fall? Find out after the break."
\
(Commercial Break)
\
submitted by xtremexavier15 to u/xtremexavier15 [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 01:03 Uxcis My thoughts after playing 165 hours (SPOILERS!!)

I just finished the game yesterday, with a 60% completion and 165 hours played, and I just wanted to share my thoughts.

First of all, in a vacuum, this is a phenomenal game. It's like BOTW, which is already incredible, but on steroids.
When you start to compare it to BOTW though, it loses some of that greatness.

Let me start with the good:

-The soundtrack is, for me, the best OST of any video game I've played. And with that also the sound design. Botw nailed it but this feels like a step up, with more orchestral themes, weird reversed sample things, but not eliminating the piano with the crazy virtuosic pieces, and the Satie-esque chords and melodies that made botw's track so great (for me). Dragonhead Island's theme along with the spirit temple music might be my favorite, but the music when you approach ganondorf is also amazing though I haven't listened to it apart from in game. It's all phenomenal.

-The new abilities are great, and open up many more ways to be creative in combat and travel.

-The final bosses in each dungeon are definitely a big step up from the blights, but I don't feel like they are quite at the level of other zelda games. maybe 85% there, they feel just a bit too short but are fun nonetheless.

-they way you get into the dungeons is great. Aligning the mirrors in gerudo desert, making that whirlpool in zora's domain and after that climbing up the floating islands was very zelda-like IMO.

-absolutely love the character progression from botw to totk. Purah, Impa, Paya, Robbie, Sidon, etc.

-I love the story, which also opens everyone up to SO MUCH theory crafting! (which is one of the best parts of Zelda IMO).

-ending was pretty epic, but maybe too short and crammed in total, and too easy for the final part. But still pretty epic.

-The side adventures were fantastic.

-Basically all new weapons/items/armor, I like.


less good:

-I don't dislike shrines, I liked them in botw, and here they feel a bit more creative, but I would have liked a different kind of overword-filling quest thing. When I discovered the game had shrines I was kind of dissapointed because I already know the concept.

-The great sky island feels to me a bit too much like the great plateau. Of course it wasn't an exact copy, but the big idea of "get 4 shrines with guidance from a spirit and then you can go" is basically the same. Not a bad way of doing it, but, I feel like I've already done it, just with a different skin.

-I was kind of hoping we were going to get a companion throughout the game in the form of Rauru after I met him but that's not really a downside, just a bit dissapointing when he dissapeared.

-The sky islands are a bit meager and the depths are kind of empty and monotonous. The new enemies are cool like the frox but I feel they could have added more.

-The dungeons are just too similar still to divine beasts. Of course they do this to make the dungeons feel more open/free: activate 4 ternimals in any arbitrary order by completing the puzzles associated with each one. I, like everyone else, would have definitely liked something closer to, say, skyward sword's dungeons. If it was only one dungeon that had the 4 terminals it would have been okay, but the fact that each one is, concept wise, the same, makes it feel more monotonous.

-I was not expecting korok seeds to return and I was immediately a bit dissapointed when I found out the way to increase inventory space is identical to botw. The korok puzzles here are more creative though, more variety.

-The loot in the depths (armor sets) is kind of cool to someone who didn't have the amiibos in BOTW (which I didn't and still don't), but if you, like me, even just knew about those items existing, it makes them just feel like useless filler stuff. I don't think I will ever actually wear the set of the hero of time for example. Why would I? I mean, it looks kind of cool when you equip it, but after 5 seconds you just go back to your other armor and then that's that. The armor with an actual use though, like zant's helmet, I would wear but then my complaint is that I already know it exists and just feels kind of random when you get it from one of the many chests in the depths. Like they just dumped all the amiibo stuff down there.

-I think it's kind of strange that the master sword, after presumably many 10.000's of years of healing, still runs out of energy so easily. Though this does also give opportunity to more theories!

-where is Kass :(

-still can't pet dogs


That's everything I can name off the top of my head but there are definitely more critisisms I had and forgot, and more good things to name which I don't remember.



All in all I still definitely enjoyed playing until this point and will continue until I have done almost all side quests and stuff, but I expected more. It feels just a bit too much like BOTW with the shrines, dungeons, korok seeds, etc. The new content is fantastic, but just not quite enough. I would say for me this game was about a 7.8/10 which is still fair! I think some DLC could get that score to a 9/10 for me even. I really don't understand all the 10/10's though, unless they don't compare it to BOTW.

This game has really given more questions than it answered IMO, for example the timeline placement, so coming up with theories and explanations is, as always, gonna be a ton of fun, which for me definitely makes up for the shortcomings. I cannot wait for all the new videos and online threads discussing said theories.

Please share your thoughts! I'd love to enter discussions.
submitted by Uxcis to tearsofthekingdom [link] [comments]


2023.06.04 00:53 siouxzieb An appeal for Stephen Bardo to never use the nickname “Slooty” again.

I don’t doubt that he’s a super nice guy, but as an announcer Stephen Bardo drove me insane calling the Liberty/Sky game last night. For one thing, PLEASE STOP CALLING COURTNEY VANDERSLOOT ‘SLOOTY’! That’s not her nickname! She doesn’t need another nickname, and certainly not a stupid and diminutive one like that. She’s Sloot. OK?
And no, Courtney and Elizabeth Williams are not The Williams Sisters! And there is no established symbiotic cord attaching them that should prompt the whole ‘law partnership’ thing he was trying to push, one that oddly took hold with Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano.
And stop implying that it’s surprising that the ‘veteran’ players can still run—they are professional athletes, their fitness shouldn’t surprise anyone, regardless of their age.
Bardo was also spouting a lot of bordering-on-mansplaining as well. I just found him intrusive and distracting and by the end of the game his voice was like nails on a chalkboard. Is it just me??
submitted by siouxzieb to wnba [link] [comments]


2023.06.03 23:22 Ineedtobeworking [US to anywhere] [SELL] Huge De-Stash of Essie, Zoya, Kiara Sky, Love Love Polish and more

Shipping via USPS with tracking $10 due to hazmat fees, may increase with international shipping. Free shipping for orders $100 and over.
All items come from a smoke-free home. Additional pictures provided upon request. Willing to make deals, especially for bundled items! (Check out my other posts across reddit)
Kiara Sky Dip Powder Nails Starter Kit plus a few extra colors. Only used twice. $40 https://imgur.com/a/PcO7J8L
Sally Hanson Gel Polishes & Insta Dry Polishes, extremely light use $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/xdIr8Og
Live Love Polish, some use $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/Up4lr1G
Essie, some use $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/Io9uWkM
Kokie and Finger Paints, never used $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/j5m0BLp
Zoya, extremely light use $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/xEPHre6
Nicole by OPI, some moderate use $1 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/2lSa6Y9
China Glaze, light use on the colors, moderate use on the holo $7 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/4ClAT4Z
Formula X & Superchic Laquer, minor use $8 for bundle https://imgur.com/a/W2ARoiW
submitted by Ineedtobeworking to RedditLaqueristaSwap [link] [comments]


2023.06.03 21:06 Trash_Tia Camp Redwood are running out of counselors! These children ARE NOT CHILDREN. Update: our counsellors are not who they say they are.

Welcome to Camp Redwood! The feel-good camp for ALL AGES.
We toast marshmallows around the fire, tell spooky ghost stories, and hide in random secret military bunkers under the campgrounds! Because SOMETHING IS HERE WITH US.
Camp Redwood is the PERFECT PLACE for a summer getaway where we start EVERY DAY with a CAMP REDWOOD SMILE. Where our counselors disappear every five minutes, and our campers disembowel us for funsies! Did I forget to mention our littles aren’t actually eight years old, but fully grown adults?
We hope you enjoy your fucking stay!
We are also not responsible for any counselors revealing they are not who they said they are—and not who they appear to be.
...
So. There’s a LOT to tell you and not a lot of time to tell it.
Right now, I suppose you could say we are under lockdown—if that is the word. I want to go over the last several days to get you up to date. That’s all I can do right now. I can hope and pray the thing with Teddy’s voice does not get in here, and once again cry out for help—that I know is not coming. Not from the authorities, at least. But hey, if any of you fancy coming to rescue us, we’re in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. The closest rest-stop is maybe three fucking hours away. So have fun. Has it really almost been a week since I posted? Well, we’re still here!
And surprise, surprise, help is not coming. So, please excuse the salt. I am seventeen years old and I have been abandoned by the adults who were supposed to be looking after us.
Who were supposed to act under protocol if something like this happened. I know they were waiting for it—there are specific fucking guidelines on an emergency evacuation for counselors if this ever happened. But then the little shits took over before we could do anything. I guess I’ll start by letting you know that there are two of us left. (three, if we count Rowan, but I’m not). What I thought was going to be a quiet summer getaway with kids my age has turned into a nightmare.
For one, we have been cornered inside the head counselor’s underground secret bunker. If you want to know why she has a secret military bunker, I guess you should keep reading.
Because shit gets weirder than animal crackers having the power to turn adults into kids, and vice versa. When I made my first post, I thought that was it for us. I thought for sure there must have been a self-destruct somewhere—which meant whoever was running this camp was waiting for something like this. I was sure we were going to die, so after making the post, I have to admit with ya’ll—I just slept. I curled up, tried to ignore Harry and Carmel calling our names through childish laugher, and went to sleep with the thought in my head that I was completely at peace with what I had done with my life.
Sure, I was young. Seventeen years old is too young to be ripped apart by littles who are in fact grown adults. But as I was falling into slumber and allowing myself to fall, with my head resting in my lap, my head turned towards a separate pile of files on the other side of the room—I realized I really wanted to know how this was possible. There was so much I needed to know. Why did eight-year-old Eleanor Summers have a file where here birthday dated back to 1979? Why had supposedly innocent sugary snacks turned our adorable littles into mini psychopaths?
These kids were not kids, somehow. But how? How was that even possible? Could it be that the files were wrong?
1979 was definitely 45.
But Eleanor Summers couldn’t be 45 years old. I knew what 45 looked like. I knew that they thought like. They spent half of their time on Facebook laughing at outdated memes, and the other half… I don’t know, working? They have job’s! They’re happily married with kids, maybe soon grandkids! That was not Eleanor Summers. Because Eleanor Summers was most definitely eight years old. I had played several rounds of teddy-bears picnic, and spent hours reassuring her that Harry's ghost stories were in fact not real, enough times for me to know that this little kid was little—and a kid.
But something was bothering me. More than the secret military bunker, and magic age-regressing animal crackers. When I first signed up to Camp Redwood, one of the tag-lines to gain attraction had been, “Solve mysteries in the woods in the dead of night, with nothing but a flashlight and your fellow campers!” I had no idea I would be solving this thing on my own, trapped inside a bunker.
“What are you doing?” Rowan, who was still looking through Allison’s dinosaur laptop, turned to me with half lidded eyes, when I slowly got to my feet, careful not to make too much noise, and crept over to the pile of separate files which seemed to be crumbling apart from age. He kept his voice low, but it sounded almost like a whine. He could have been scared, but from the way he was sitting, cross-legged with a frowny face, I figured something must have been going on with him. The guy looked tired. More tired than normal.
The bags under his eyes were practically shadowing his face, and were an odd contrast to unusually ashy colored cheeks and slightly dilated eyes. Still though, Rowan refused to look vulnerable. I caught glimpse of Harry’s raybans sitting on his head, pinning back thick dark brown curls from falling in front of sleepy eyes. Maybe he was finally losing his cool and breaking out of the well-constructed façade he had been hiding behind since Teddy disappeared.
We had just narrowly escaped a crowd of psycho littles high on age-regressing sugary snacks who were doing who-the-fuck knows to the other counselors who had been captured, so I didn’t blame him looking like that. I guess he couldn’t look me in the eye, because in Rowan’s mind, he was the reason why this happened. He was the leader, and the camp had fallen to psychopathic little eight year olds who had taken half of the counselors hostage, and the other half—most likely taken apart in the physical sense, after what we had witnessed in Cassie’s cabin. Still though, it wasn’t Rowan’s fault. He could sit there and pull a face all he wanted, it’s not like I was going to blow up at him for getting us stuck down here. He actually saved us.
And trapped us, judging from the footsteps upstairs, Carmel and Harry still bouncing around looking for us.
It was a game in their heads. The little’s thought it was cat and mouse. Harry and Carmel were the oblivious cats prowling, while we were the mice, hoping to fucking GOD we weren’t caught and eaten. Ignoring Rowan, I glimpsed what looked like a box full of DVD’S—all of which were labelled with dates and names. I saw familiar ones, my heart racing into my throat. Phoebe. Eli. Cassandra.
Each DVD had one of the kid’s names scribbled on the front, as well as a date.
I found Eleanor’s right at the back of the box.
Eleanor Summers.
08/05/2021. (PM)
Before I could hesitate and think what I was doing, I slid the DVD into the portable player attached to the MacBook. Rowan, to my surprise, didn’t move. But he did make an acknowledging noise when the screen flickered to what looked like video footage. Peering at the screen, I found myself staring at a small white room. There was no door. Only a wooden desk and a chair, and sitting on it was a middle aged woman with dark blonde curls tied into a strict ponytail. She was wearing what looked like a prison jumpsuit.
Her eyes were eerily glued to the camera, unblinking. Her wrists were cuffed in front of her. Though from the look on her face, she saw the restraints as a game. Her eyes lit up with intrigue and I could practically see the cogs in her mind starting to turn as she struggled with them.
As soon as I saw this woman, I felt all of my nerve endings set alight. I wanted to turn the screen off, or look away. But once I was looking at the screen, I couldn’t bring myself to tear my eyes away. “Let’s try this again.” There was a woman offscreen. She sounded young. Too young to be in that kind of authority. I figured there was no way teenagers were being hired as special ops agents, but I guessed I was wrong. She cleared her throat. “It is 4:35 exactly. August 5th 2021. My name is Agent Lemrac,” she stated. “I am asking once again for you to comply with us. As I have said several times, the court are willing to lessen your sentence if you plead guilty with insanity.”
The woman surprised me with a snorting laugh. She seemed to come alive, leaning forward with animated features, her brow reaching her hairline. She was acting like a child, bouncing up and down in the seat, her lips stretching into a wider grin. “What did you just say?”
There was a pause. I could tell the woman was intentionally antagonising the interviewer.
“It means you have been legally declared insane,” the interviewer stumbled over her words slightly. “Mrs Summers, it would be in your best interest to work with us to lessen your current sentence which at the moment is standing at,” the sounds of shuffling paper crackled through the speakers. The interviewer cleared her throat again rustling paper. “Thirty six years. Without parole.”
The woman didn’t speak, only continued to smile—and the interviewer delved further into the sentence. “If you do in fact plead guilty with declared insanity, you will be sentenced to a program which is in the process of supporting and rehabilitating people with your…” she caught herself for a moment. I could tell this interviewer had a biased opinion and it was definitely showing through her interviewing style. I could hear the rapid intakes of her breath as she hurried through what seemed to be a script she was reading from. “Conditions.” She finished. “The Redwood program aims to help people exactly like you.”
Redwood? I thought.
Like… Camp Redwood?
Rowan whistled behind me. I guess I could call that a reaction. The guy was probably still in shock after seeing Café de Teddy splattered all over little Cassie’s cabin floor. I should have known those little bitches weren’t playing Operation for eight hours straight. Turning my attention from Rowan and back to the screen, the woman in the jumpsuit appeared to have changed tactics. Her expression twisted into nonchalance. She leaned back in her chair. “I am not pleading insane because I am not insane.”
“Mrs Summers—”
The woman cut her off. “I am not crazy.” She raised her hands “I am doing what needs to be done.” She leaned forward. “Humanity suffers in the skin. We age and die— and how is that fair? What if we want to see the next millennium? And the next two millennia after that? Why should our bodies dictate our lifespan? Why should we sit here and wait to rot and wither and die when we have the intelligence and mindset to do it? If nobody else is willing to throw ethics aside to take a step forwards in human evolution, I should do it myself.” She folded her arms across her chest, again, like a child. “I did what was to be done.”
“Dr. Summers.” The interviewer’s tone grew stiff. “You and your colleagues conducted illegal and unethical procedures on your family and friends—as well as four other victims.”
The woman inclined her head. “You have a daughter, am I correct? I have a son.”
“A child you killed, Dr Summers.” The interviewer retorted in a hiss which was definitely expressing emotion. She ignored the mention of her daughter, but I could tell it had rattled her to her core. Her voice had cracked. This case was close to her.
That was obvious. Without seeing the interviewer herself, I could sense how uncomfortable she was, shuffling in the chair. Every so often I would hear the sound of her rubbing her hands on her knees and tapping her shoe against the chair leg. She oozed anxiety, not just from her tone of voice, but the way the frame seemed to move with her. “Dr. Summers, you used your son in your research, along with several of his friends. This was not science.” Her voice shook. I heard her sharp inhale. Unprofessional, but very human. Instead of staying stoic and keeping to script, this agent was cracking apart. “It was murder.”
“Agent Lemrac, concentrate on the interview only.” An official voice crackled through what sounded like an intercom on screen.
“Got it.” She spoke through her teeth.
The woman was finding wounds and pressing on them. She was scanning the interviewer for vulnerabilities and preying on every insecurity. She leaned back speaking through a sigh. “Without my son’s sacrifice we wouldn’t have created an answer to death. To growing old and dying, and leaving loved ones behind.” Her voice softened into a murmur, but I didn’t trust it.
After identifying the shattering pieces of this interviewer which were very clear visible in her view, the woman was taking advantage.
“Agent Lemrac, you have a daughter. Am I correct in saying her name is Mari?
“That… that is not relevant.”
“Glioblastoma.” Dr. Summers lips curved into a sickening smile hidden behind mocking sympathy. “A sickness of the brain--which, unfortunately, I cannot fix. If your daughter’s brain was in my hands, I would try. However, not even a brand new body would help her. One which would never age or grow sick. And for that, I am deeply, deeply sorry.” She reached her cuffed hands forwards. “My condolences, Agent Lemrac. Honestly. I have to hand it to you. You are incredibly brave for coming here today and talking to me while abandoning your sick child.” She shook her head.
“Your daughter is dying of an incurable illness, suffering inside fragile skin which will break and fall apart and be unable to keep her standing for much longer. While my son will live on forever. He will see every millennia, a planet which will crumble and build itself back together. And maybe the end of the universe itself.” There was a twitch in her expression and a glitter in her eye I did not recognise. Insanity.
She was fucking insane. I was seeing the pure of it, the depraved and disgusting gleam in eyes empty of remorse and regret. This woman did not care what she had done. I could tell from the look on her face. If she had the chance, she would do this again.
But there was no way they were trying to say her cruelty and complete disregard for her son’s life was due to insanity.
“You are sick, Dr. Summers.” The interviewer said after a moment of gathering herself.
The woman shook her head with a chuckle. “I told you. I am not sick--”
“Sick in the head!” The interviewer’s voice exploded through the speakers in a shriek—a terrified cry she had been trying to hold in. I finally saw her—or at least the back of her. She was a young woman with light blonde hair falling loose on her shoulders. She was trembling. Slamming her hands down on the table, she screamed at the orange jumpsuit woman.
“You are psychologically fucked in the head! You psycho bitch! That is my sister!” She spoke through strangled sobs rattling her whole body. “Mari is my little sister. She is not my child.”
Her breaths were strangled and harboured. I noticed figures looming in the background, but she was continuing. “You killed your own fucking son,” she spat. “You are not legally insane, you are sick!” she shrieked. “You planned and put this together! You sit there and you talk about your son like he’s a… like he’s a tool! You deserve to rot. Do you hear me?” I noticed the orange jumpsuit woman was still smiling, satisfied with the interview’s reaction. Her words were spoken in a vicious poison as she leaned forward and spat directly in orange jumpsuit’s face.
“Agent Lemrac!” Whoever her superiors were—were panicking. “I told you not to turn it off. I knew this was going to happen. Can we stop the demonstration, please? Human emotions present inside an Aceville soldier are too powerful—"
Voices were murmuring in the background, and Agent Lemrac raised her hands. “I want to stop.” She choked out, her hands trembling. She spoke like she still had control over the situation and wasn’t being apprehended. “I want to stop. Do you hear me?” The interviewer was crying, I realized. “Stop the recording! I can’t do this. Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick—”
When the footage ended in a burst of static, I found myself backing away, something slimy creeping its way up my throat.
The woman in the orange jumpsuit who had murdered her son and countless others in what sounded like an attempt at playing god, was Eleanor Summers. I thought back to Teddy’s corpse, and the surgical precision of every organ’s removal. The young interviewer had mentioned colleagues of Eleanor.
Was it possible that Camp Redwood was in fact nothing more than a rehabilitation camp for murderous criminals? There was a loud bang from above, and I was torn from my thoughts.
I turned to Rowan, who had been unusually quiet. And I realized why, when I twisted around to find him three inches from my face, his laboured breath tickling my cheek.
The boy jumped back with a chuckle—like me noticing him was some kind of game, before diving back into the chair. I did notice something odd, as my thoughts spiralled. Rowan couldn’t sit still. Slumped in the leather spinning chair, he fingers tapped a rhythm on the armrests while his feet jumped up and down. In the dim light of the bunker, I glimpsed a sheen of sweat glistening on his forehead and the flesh of his neck. He looked to be… feverish—and now that I was looking at him properly, all of my attention on the boy, I noticed small things which seemed… off about him.
For one, he wasn’t coming up with a plan. Rowan always had a plan. Even if he wasn’t completely sure of it, or was completely winging it. This time though, he was strangely quiet. I found my voice when he stuck out his tongue at me. “What are you looking at?”
“Rowan.” I spoke softly, careful not to garner attention from above us where Harry and Carmel were still clamouring around, playing games. “Are you… feeling okay?” I asked, when he turned back to the laptop, manically biting his fingernails.
“I dunnnooooo, Josie! Am I feeeeeeling okaaaaaayyyyy?” He surprised me with an uncharacteristic laugh.
But I did know it.
I knew it from earlier when he reacted to Allison’s bunker and I had been too freaked out to realize that I was dragging along the enemy with me.
Because the fucking idiot had consumed animal crackers. I had seen him for myself earlier, pouring a pack into his mouth for a snack. Which meant either the ‘kids’ had intentionally dosed him with mind altering sugary snacks, or the more likely, he could not resist those preservatives which was the equivalent of caffeine. It’s not like I could blame him when he harboured the weight of an entire camp, but come on, did he really have to sacrifice his own fucking mind to keep himself awake?
Rowan wasn’t just biting. His nails. He was gnawing. Which he previously thought was a filthy habit. He had yelled at a camper for chewing on her nails a few days earlier.
Now that I was noticing it, I couldn’t… stop noticing it. The boy’s whole demeanour had changed; the way he was sinking into the chair, instead of sitting up straight like usual—- I used to call it having a stick up his ass. The boy started typing on the laptop, ignoring me. But when I watched the pattern of his fingers, he was just typing gibberish. Footsteps pounded above us, Harry and Carmel acting as the kid’s’ brainwashed foot-soldiers. Or, more likely somehow, if the animal crackers had caused the littles, or I guess, the fully grown forty year old criminals, to relapse in age-- then maybe it was possible for the same thing to happen to us. To Rowan.
I could feel myself starting to back away, but there was nowhere to run. I just slammed into a cupboard. My gaze flicked to Rowan again, who was tapping a beat on the laptop tracking pad, swaying back and forth, his eyes elsewhere before his gaze found mine. “Marcoooooo!” Harry shouted from above, giggling with Carmel.
I had to guess their mental age had to be at least 8-10 years old. Which meant I wasn’t just dealing with a camp full of forty-year-old psycho’s, I was also dealing with mentally relapsed counselors acting like toddlers.
Rowan seemed to jolt in the chair, twisting his head around, his eyes suddenly incredibly childlike and playful, and very Un-Rowan, were finding the ceiling, his mouth stretching into a smile, like he was seeing butterflies. His eyes flashed to me, and I caught a twitch in his lip. I knew that look. It was the look on my seven year old sister, who knew mom was mad at me, and wanted to make it even worse.
His cheeks were starting to blossom scarlet from what must have been the overwhelming urge to laugh. Rowan pressed his lips together and held in a breath like a hamster, and the asshole was fucking with me. Waiting for me to beat him to it by accident. Kids were fucking ruthless, but there was something terrifying about an 18 year old with a little kid’s mind.
I lifted my index to my lips, miming for him not to even try, but the boy just mimicked me, bugging out his eyes and pressing his finger to his grinning mouth. “Don’t you fucking dare.” I managed to whisper. The boy was definitely playing his own game, moving in twitching movements, baiting me. When he cupped his mouth, I almost let out a cry, but then he dropped his arms with a giggle, as if to say, “I’m just kidding!”
Slowly, I turned around, grabbed the salt I’d found in Allison’s cupboard, and a flat can of soda. Without making too much movement, I poured a handful of salt into the can. But Rowan seemed to know exactly what I was doing. Because in the time it was taking me to advance towards him with the can of salty soda, one arm shakily ready to grab hold of him, and put him into a headlock, he was cupping his mouth, all logic and everything adult, everything he had been as our leader, igniting in playful eyes, leaving me the last one standing.
“Pollloooooo!”
By the time Rowan had managed to reveal our hiding place in a spluttered laugh, I had hold of the squirming boy, one arm wrapped around his neck, my other forcing the can of soda into his mouth. I had definitely miscalculated his strength. During camp Redwood activities, he was always the last one to come back from the trail, holding his knees and panting. I figured he was unfit. However, I was wrong. Underneath his shirt, the guy had some serious muscles.
It was like attacking a brick wall. However, Rowan was mentally a kid. So, I had my intelligence and logic on my side. When it became obvious I wasn’t going to get anywhere with brute strength, I resorted to tickling him, which made him squirm, squeaking out a laugh. When he opened his mouth to yell at me to stop, I took my chance, thrusting the can into his lips and holding his nose so he swallowed it down.
“No!” His laughter turned into muffled yelling, as he batted his fists at my chest. “No, no, no! Get off, get off!”
His body convulsed as the salt did its job, causing the boy to lurch to his knees and choke up forbidden animal crackers in a gooish sludge which turned my stomach. By the time Rowan seemed half himself and half not, still kneeling, his head pressed against the floor, Harry was poking his head through the door with a goonish grin. “Found you!” He giggled, before forcing the door open, allowing Carmel and Callen, freshly caught and mentally turned into littles, to advance down the stairs with equally terrifying grins. There was something wrong with Harry’s face, and I only realized it when the guy himself was hauling me from the bunker, Carmel dragging a barely responsive Rowan. There was nothing in Harry’s expression, only blind childish excitement at winning the game. When he dragged me out of Allison’s cabin and threw me to the ground, I realized he too had insane strength I had not been expecting. But that thought quickly retracted when I was seeing his face in the light of a crescent moon lighting up the sky an eerie glow. Harry’s cheeks were puffy and swollen, his right eye way bigger than it should have been.
When he spoke, his voice was more of a lisp. This was something far more realistic than magical animal crackers fucking with his brain.
“He needs help!” I managed to choke out when Carmel wrapped jump-rope around my wrists. Next to me, Rowan was refusing to get up, still choking up salty soda, groaning into his hands. Every time Callen tried to restrain him, he hissed out like an animal.
“Do you hear me?!” I struggled violently. “Harry needs—”
BANG.
Is what it felt like. The feeling of something—what felt and sounded like a toy car—colliding with my temples, sent me onto the ground, my head spinning itself off of its axis. I remember lying on my back and frowning at the moon which almost looked like it was getting closer to me, blurring into a white ball of light—before reality sunk in, and it was in fact Carmel’s converse coming down to finish me off. I didn’t stay knocked out for long. But I did dream.
I think you can call it a dream? I was lying in bed at home; my room drowned in the dark. I was cosy, curled up in my blankets, when a clammy hand slammed over my mouth, rousing me from slumber. There were two figures in my room. They didn’t have faces. They just existed as shadows, silhouettes. Before one of them raised something above their head, and… impact.
It was the same impact as the toy car hitting me, snapping me back to that night. It wasn’t a dream. Because I remembered his clammy fingers over my mouth, and his hisses for me to shut up as he dragged me from my room.
My parents stood in front of me with expressions of sympathy. Basked in warm light, my mom and dad looked almost otherworldly. “For the best.” Was what they mouthed when my own phantom screams slammed into me. I asked them why, and they didn’t reply, allowing him to pull me further and further from what I knew, from my life as I knew it. But.. that couldn’t be real. I had memories of getting on the bus to camp Redwood. I could recall the whole journey. So, why… why was my tangled mind saying otherwise?
When I gathered myself, the first thing I realized was I was sitting down. I was outside, cool night air grazing my bare arms. There was something attached to me, jerking violently, And it took me several disorienting blinks to understand that I was tied back to back with Rowan. My head pounded, and something wet and warm dripped down my temple. Great. I could add head injury to the long list of things to worry about.
“Let me go you little fucking witch.”
Rowan was back to himself, though from the muffled hissing and the sound of choking—I had to guess he was being force-fed animal crackers.
“Let me—mpphmmm. little…. fucking… mphmmphhmhppmm!”
“Rowan.” I managed to get out in a croak. Through flickering eyes, I caught glimpse of a familiar figure dancing around us. Shivers rocketed down my spine, and I wrenched at the jump-rope restraints, but they did a surprisingly job of restraining my arms behind my back.
Eleanor was with Rowan, while Eli was knelt in front of me. Looking at him, the boy had definitely aged in the face—and I couldn’t help wondering what exactly he had done as a forty something year old to be sent to this place.
“Josie!” Rowan responded in a wail. “Josie. Wake the FUCK up.”
“Stop swearing.”
Eleanor spoke with the cold tone of her actual age.
“Oh, yeah?” Rowan spluttered. “Fuck you.” The boy’s laugh was still rough from almost vomiting his insides out from too much salt intake. “I’m sorry, you were a fucking boomer all along?!” He wriggled in the restraints, lunging forwards, which sent me backwards.
“Stop swearing, Rowan.” Was all the girl responded with calmly.
“Like I’m going to listen to you!” He sneered. “Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fucking fuck!” What are you going to do, huh? Bite me with your false teeth?” The sound of saliva hitting skin made me wince. He was pissed. I had no doubt his completely rational anger was going to get us killed. Rowan was also somehow getting mixed up between forty and eighty. Though he was unwillingly snacking on mind bending sugary goodness.
“Fudge, Rowan.” Eleanor spoke in a giggle.
“What?!”
“Say fudge. Not fuck.”
“No.”
His hiss of pain caught me off guard. I don’t know what she was doing to him, but it was hurting him.
“You fudging fudge! I’m going to fudging kill you when I get out of these fudging ropes—“ his manic cursing became a muffled yell.
“Say fudge,” Eleanor hummed, followed by his hiss when the palm of her hand skinned his cheek. “Fuck is a bad word. You even said so yourself and you’re my favourite counselor.”
He heaved out a breath.
“You fudge,” Rowan spat. “When I get out of this, I am going to fudging kill you, you fudging—” His manic ranting morphed, once again, into muffled yelling, after another fistful of animal crackers were forced into his mouth. When I risked twisting around, I could see his rebellion slowly starting to simmer out as he relaxed slightly. I wanted to yell at him to keep a clear head before cold fingers were dipping under my chin and forcing my head around where I found myself face to face with Eli.
“I like you, Josie,” he said, before untying me and pulling me to my feet. Now at the age of nine or ten, he was a lot stronger. When I tried to pull away, the cruel blade of a knife grazed my gut. I caught his grin. “But we don’t need you.” Eli pointed to Rowan.
“We just want them.”
I followed his pointer finger which went from Rowan to Harry and Carmel, who were just standing there like fucking idiots, probably awaiting the next game. Harry’s face was getting redder. It looked like he was suffocating, and yet his grin was growing wider and wider, splitting his lips apart. “Rowan Atlas.” Eleanor said, dragging him to his feet. Something was stapled to his forehead head, which caused him to howl in pain, hissing another strangled line of “Fudge”. but I couldn’t read what it was.
“Camp leader. Intelligent, and problem solving skills.”
“Harry Carlisle.” Eli nodded his head with a smile. “Quick thinker. Strong minded.”
“Carmel Locke.” Cassie spoke behind me. She had her arms folded, a wry smile on her lips. “Smarter than she makes out—- an independent learner, and can work well under pressure.”
Looking at these kids, I felt sick to my stomach. They were planning something—and had the intelligence of renowned scientists, which was what I gathered from the footage on the MacBook. “What?” was all I could hiss out, as Eli prodded the blade of the knife into my back, ushering me to walk. “What are you talking about?”
“Duh.” He spoke in a more tweeny giggle. “Like I said, Miss Josie. You’re my favorite counselor but we don’t need you, so I’m going to use you for parts.” He laughed when a shiver spiderwebbed down my spine. “See! I told you I was going to show you my collection!”
“But… what do you need them for?”
Eli pressed his index finger to his lips with a laugh before forcing me to face forwards. “That’s a secret!”
When I didn’t, or couldn’t move, he shoved me into a stumbling power-walk, and I managed to turn my head quickly, making feverish eye contact with Rowan.
“Rowan.” I said calmly through the gutter in my throat. “Get…. Get help.”
If I was going to die, I needed him to get a hold of himself and somehow alert the outside world what was going on.
“From whom, Josie?!” He wailed back—and as I was dragged away, I could once again sense the childish undertones in his voice.
I had no choice but to obey Eli’s orders. If I didn’t want a knife in my back. He took me to the main lunch cabin, which, when I set foot inside, almost sent me to my knees.
Something lurched inside me, and I was screaming with no voice, staggering backwards, only to be shoved onto my face. In front of me was what had been the lunch hall, fully converted into the beginning of a laboratory.
What had been cafeteria tables were fashioned into makeshift gurney’s and beds, and I was looking at all of the missing counselors. Yuri and Noah had been skinned completely, their faces laid out on a makeshift surgical table. Joey had been ripped open, his heart and brain removed, a glittering metallic substance creeping its way across his forehead. It was then when I remembered Eleanor Summers words.
She wanted to prevent death and preserve the human mind. Looking at what was in front of me, this was the start of it. There was equipment I had never seen before. Lily’s body was empty, carved out completely, tubes forced inside her. When I glimpsed her fingers move and begin to ball into a fist, I saw red. I saw fucking red. The exit was so close and yet Eli, fucking Eli, wielded his knife. I think that is when part of me gave up. My brain just stopped. It short circuited. Seeing my friends murdered and yet somehow being kept alive through playing god, my body slumped to the ground. I was numb. Completely numb.
I’m not sure what would have happened if those bloody saws and instruments which had been used on my friends were used on me too.
Luckily, that did not happen. Before Eli could get his slimy hands on me, he crumpled to the ground in an almost cartoon-like fashion, and standing over me was Harry. Who was looking better. When he grasped hold of me and helped me up, I only had one word. “Out.” And he was nodding, his eyes glistening as he drunk in our friends’ fate.
“How?” I managed to sputter out, when we made it out of the cabin, ducking behind a tree. Harry turned to me, motioning for me to shut up. There was a group of now ten to eleven year olds already running around, searching for what I guessed was him.
“I’m allergic to peanut butter,” Harry murmured, his grasp tightening on my wrist as he led me across the camp, the two of us stumbling.
“What, and you just magically healed?”
He didn’t respond to that, which bothered me.
“The bunker is our best shot,” I hissed out. “I think we can get in contact with someone down there.” I paused, unable to stop myself. “What makes you so important?”
“Dunno. Maybe I’m their favorite.”
When we found Allison’s cabin, which was more of a safehouse (an exposed safehouse) I found Rowan sitting on the wooden porch with his legs swinging over the side. “Rowan!” Harry groaned. I found it hard to believe their roles had been switched. Now he was the one yelling at the camp-leader. “I told you to stay inside!”
He ushered the boy inside, before barricading the door with some hefty looking equipment. I could tell from the grin on his face that our so-called leader was once again no longer himself.
I had to bite back a groan. “You’re kidding.” I said, pointing to Rowan, who buried his head in his knees and blew a raspberry. “Does he look and act like our leader right now?!”
“It’s Rowan, Josie.”
“He’s a liability.”
“He’s our friend! Wouldn’t Rowan do the same?”
Yes, he would. But. He would also realize we’re lost causes.
“Gag him with something.” I said. “If he makes any more noise, we’re dumping him.”
“He’s a kid!”
“Just the mind of one.”
I don’t know how animal crackers worked, but his age seemed to be progressively younger. This time he just sat with wide eyes watching us.
Harry almost tore apart the place looking for means of communication, before an old fashioned ringing sound made me jump.
“What was that?” Harry turned to me with his lip curled.
“How am I supposed to know?!” I hissed. “Keep looking!” But when I ducked under the table, my hands crawled under the desk, finding a wire—and attached to that, an ancient looking phone which looked straight out of a 1940’s movie, a bright green rotary phone.
Hesitantly, I answered it, lifting the phone to my ear. “Hello?”
“Did you awaken the subjects, Agent Salta?"
The voice on the other end was a woman, an oldish sounding woman with the tinge of a British accent.
“What?” I shot a look at Harry before shaking my head. “No. My name is Josie Greenfield. We’re at Camp Redwood, and we need help.”
The woman paused.
“Where is Agent Salta?” She cleared her throat. “This line is reserved for communication with agents only.”
“I don’t know who the fuck you’re talking about!" I squeaked out. “My name is Josie, and whatever is happening here, we need help!”
“Josie. Did you awaken the subjects?”
I paused after a moment, shooting Harry a look when he tried to take the phone off of me. “Yes.”
“And… are our agents unavailable?”
“I don’t understand.”
“When a health and safety breach is activated, our agents are awakened to deal with the Project Spearhead subjects if they were to ever go rogue, or become conscious enough to think. Josie, can you tell me what is in front of you? Describe it to me.”
I held my breath. Next to the hidden phone under the desk was what looked like mismatched wires, all of which had been severed. I lowered myself slowly, poking at mess. “Wires. I see… cut up wires.” I whispered. “Does this mean they know about you?”
She hummed. “Ah…That makes sense. The only way to activate our sleeper handlers would be to send out the signal. You appear to have been sabotaged. Unless activated manually, our agents cannot help you. I am sorry. They are your problem now.” The woman paused.
“If I were you, I would hope and pray they have not sabotaged the self-destruct. If you find that, then you may be able to save yourselves and find peace.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you for your service, Josie Greenfield.”
“Wait.” I managed to get out. “Wait, no! You can’t just… you can’t leave us! We need help!”
I found myself yelling at nothing when the phone went dead. The dull tone of the dead ringtone was clanging in my ears before footsteps from up above. “Fuck this.” Harry picked up a lead pipe. “They’re still little kids, right? I mean, their head must still be partly kids—- so let’s fucking beat their heads in.”
He noticed something, then, starting forwards towards the mess of files I had left earlier. Harry knelt on the ground and picked up Eli’s file, his eyes wide. But he wasn’t staring at the dates confirming the little boy’s age.
Instead, Harry pointed at the bottom of the file. “I don’t want to freak you out, Josie,” he whispered. Initially, I didn’t know what he was trying to show before I glimpsed notes scrawled at the bottom of the file, followed by a signature. “But I’m pretty sure that is my fucking writing.”
Harry was right.
I pulled the paperwork off of him, flicking through each file before turning my eyes to him. “Who the fuck are you?”
A clanging sound from above broke the tension, and whatever Harry was about to reply with was strangled in his throat. He slammed a hand over his mouth.
“Guys?”
The voice twisted me up inside, threatening to release a shriek from my mouth I had managed to clamp shut.
Teddy.
“Are you down here?” His voice was strained, and had an odd tone to it. “I can’t… I can’t see you.”

Can someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?! It’s been a blur of a week. We’ve managed to stay down here, surviving off of Allison’s rations. Rowan isn’t getting any better. He seems to have stopped mentally de-ageing at the age of maybe six. Harry has spent the last few days trying to get in contact with anyone, but it’s like they are IGNORING US.
I’ve been looking through everything I can find on Project Spearhead, but nothing points to Harry being involved. So. How is his signature all over the files? How is it possible that two friends I thought I knew several days ago, are now complete strangers?
Teddy keeps coming back.
He’s crying out to us.
I think he’s… in pain.
My god, I can’t stand this anymore. Please. CAMP REDWOOD NEEDS HELP.
submitted by Trash_Tia to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.03 21:04 bucksfan740 [For Sale] MOVING SALE, ALL RECORDS $25, MOST UNDER DISCOGS AVERAGE

Happy SaturdayI will be moving in less than a month and need to get rid of some records that I don't listen to or haven't got around to listening to yet.All records are sealed and NM/NM (unless otherwise noted). I am experienced collector & seller so purchase with confidence! I can send pictures of any record(s).SHIPPING INFO:- $5 for USPS Media Mail shipping, if you purchase multiple records include $1 per additional record.- Shipping out of Beachwood, OH in brand new mailers. I will ship out on Tuesdays & Fridays.- International Shipping available, buyer pays for shipping. Payment via PayPal Goods & Services only.MISC INFO:- Please use chat feature if interested.- Please include the record you're purchasing and your address in the PayPal comments.Thanks in advance!--
2 Chainz - Rap or Go To The League
Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls (Blue and Pink Swirl, Platinum Edition)
Altopalo - Farawayfromeveryoneyouknow (Blue, VMP, #/500, played once)
August Burns Red - Looks Fragile After All (Tusk, #/750)August Burns Red - Looks Fragile After All (Black, #/750)
Bartees Strange - Farm to Table (Green/Brown/Tan Tricolor)
Benny The Butcher - Pyrex Picasso (Alternate Cover, Tricolor w/ splatter)
Benny The Butcher - Pyrex Picasso (Green)
Benny The Butcher - Pyrex Picasso (Red/Black Splatter)
Benny The Butcher - Pyrex Picasso (Clear with Red Stripe)
Black Wing - No Moon (Aqua w/ Orange/Black Splatter, Silk Screen Cover, #/???)
Boy Pablo - Wachito Rico (Purple w/ Yellow Splatter, Urban Outfitters)
Brejean - Feelings (VMP, Red Nebula, #/300)
SOLDBright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (VMP, Red Marble, 180 gram)
Caribou - Our Love (Black)
SOLDCARRTOONS - Homegrown (VMP, Terra Cotta colored #/300)
SOLDClipse - Hell Hath No Fury (VMP, 45 RPM, Dirty Green Money)
Dead Kiwis - Systematic Home Run ! / Karate Karnage (Blue w/ Pink Splatter, unsealed but never played)
Deem Spence - Pretty Face (VMP, Red, #/500, played once)
Death Grips - No Love Deep Web (Black, small corner ding)
Denzel Curry - Melt My Eyez See Your Future (VMP, Purple Marble, #2,000)
Destroyer - Kaputt (Roughtrade, Green/Blue, #/300)
Dinner Party - S/T (Black)
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca (VMP, Blue + Red Color In Clear)
Disclosure - Energy (Multicolor Marble, unsealed but never played)
Drowse - Light Mirror (Flenser Series One Membership Exclusive, SilveMilky Clear Split, #/150)
Dufflebag Hottie - MAX Three (Daupe!, Black, #/100
Eyedea & Abilities - First Born (VMP, Red/Silver 2xLP)
Fiddlehead - Between The Richness (Newbury Comics, Quad Color, #/500)
For Your Health - In Spite Of (CleaRed Quad, Revolver Exclusive, #/100)
Foxing - Draw Down The Moon (Newbury Comics, Brown in Light Blue, #/600)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Pinata '74 (RSD 2020)
FUN - Some Nights (Silver)
Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy (VMP, Red/White)
The Garden - Kiss My Superbowl Ring (Black)
George Clanton & Nick Hexum - S/T (Yellow w/ Blue Splatter, #/???)
Grimes - Art Angels (Black, opened, played once, NM/VG)
Grimes - Visions (VMP, Purple/Grey Galaxy)
Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction (Black, Repress 2015)
Holy Fuck - Congrats (Black)
Invisible Familiars - Disturbing Wildlife (Silver, opened & never played)
iwresteledabearonce - It's All Happening (Clear w/ Rainbow Splatter, #/500)
Jack White - Entering Heaven Alive (VMP, Heavenly Eclipse Colored, #/2000)
James Blake - Friends That Break Your Heart (Silver, Alternate Cover)
SOLD John Prine - S/T (VMP, Orange)
John Williams Empire Strikes Back (VMP, Ice Planet Hoth Blue, #/1,500, 180 gram)
Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music (VMP, Clear w/ Green & Black Splatter)
KOKOKO! - Fongola (Rough Trade, Yellow, #/1,200 w/ Bonus CD Remixes)
Lorde - Solar Power (Blue Marble)LANNDS - Lotus Deluxe (CleaPurple/Cream Swirl, #/300)
Maxim Mental - Fucking (RSD, Pink)Melody's Echo Chamber - S/T (Black)
Mid-Air Thief - Gongjoong Doduk - (Gray/White Marble, OBI strip, #/1,000)
Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked At Me (Black, Corner ding)
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (Urban Outfitters, Smoke)
My Morning Jacket - At Dawn (20th Anniversary ,Clear Orange Swirl, 3xLP #/500)
My Morning Jacket - At Dawn (20th Anniversary ,Orange Opaquel, 3xLP #/750)
Nails - Abandon All Life (White, Relolver Exclusive, #/300)
SOLD Nappy Roots - Watermelon, Chicken, & Gritz (VMP, Brown)
Naughty by Nature - Naughty by Nature (30th Anniversary Blue w/ Yellow Splatter)
Needle Drop Compilation (Yellow/Black Split, Significant Corner Damage)
Nick Hakim - Will This Make Me Good (Rough Trade, Blue w/Black Smoke, #/300)
No Alarms - Deja View (Red)
Open Mike Eagle - Unapologetic Art Rap (VMP, Blue)
Real Estate - Atlas (Black, played once)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Unlimited Love (Urban Outfitters, Light Blue)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Unlimited Love (Lakers Purple/Yellow)
Rome Streetz X ANKHLEJOHN - Genesis 1:27 (Red/Blue, Split Cover 1, #/75)
Run The Jewels - RTJ4 (Deluxe 4xLP, Gold/Magenta)
Sault - 7 (Turntable Lab, Clear, #/1,500)
Sharky - Love and Ownership/Fruit (VMP, Transparent Dark Blue, #/500, Played Once)
SPACEGHOSTPURRP: Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp (VMP, Red/Black Vinyl, #/1000)
Stranger Things (A Netflix Original Series) Volume 1 (Blue with Black Splatter, played once, NM/NM)
Sylk - Sylk (VMP, Magenta Galaxy, #/300)
tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l (RSD, White w/ Black Splatter, #/3,500)
tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l (Black, played a few times)
Turnstile - Glow On (Black)
twenty one pilots - Scaled & Icy (Light Blue, Webstore Exclusive)
twenty one pilots - Vessel (Clear, played multiple times, NM/NM)
Tyler, The Creator - Call Me When You Get Lost (Black)
Underoath - Voyeurist (Cerebellum)Underoath - Voyeurist (Egg Drop)
Underoath - Voyeurist (Deluxe, Coke Bottle Green)
Vein - This World Is Going To Ruin You - (Picture Disc, #/500)
Vein - This World Is Going To Ruin You - (Oxblood & Silver Striped w/ Oxblood Splatter, #/500)
Vitallic - OK Cowboy (RP, Blue, Corner Damage)
Wye Oak - The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs (Blue & Beige Split "Sand & Sky", played once)
submitted by bucksfan740 to VinylCollectors [link] [comments]


2023.06.03 20:05 Rand0mness4 Trails of Our Hatred Ch. 5

Special thanks to u/SpacePaladin15 for allowing fanfiction and giving us Tilfish.
[First] [Prior] [Next]
.*~*.
Memory Transcription Subject: ? , run run run run run run.
Date: December 2, 2136
.~*~.
I'm tired. I'm so unbearably tired. I don't remember the fall or when my legs quit working, but I'm still denied the sweet release of sleep by the fires radiating from my muscles. It's sick and twisted, but I don't think I can move any more. I'm stuck here face down in the soil, unable or unwilling to do anything but wonder if a harvesting drone will roll over me and turn me into mist on the crops I'm lost in. My mouth itches. Some loose soil in my nose makes me hack, but there's nothing I can do but wheeze and pant. There's not a drop of moisture left in me. I'm all shriveled up. Everything's a haze.
I should've stopped for water. There was time. A few ponds that didn't look filmed over with vile algae blooms. The last town had a fountain on the outskirts. There were a few distant outbuildings that could've had a sink or a hose. Really, a few mouthfuls would've been enough to keep me from cramping up. Now I feel like I'm all dried out, like a stick of fruit jerky.
I should've taken a break. I've not been able to run in so long. I knew it was getting bad, but I ignored it. I'm paying for it now. I pushed way too far. Run until I black out. Wake up. Repeat. For days and days, or however long I've been free. I don't know. Every time I wake I can't tell if minutes have passed or days. I would push myself back to my feet and run. Because distance is all that matters. I made the right call avoiding the roads. The cameras. The soles of my feet are battered and wail in pain, but for every step I took was a minute longer I got to feel the sun kiss my scales and the gentle caress of the wind upon my neck. The cool soil seeping into my burning side. Fresh air in my lungs. Faint mist on my back.
I should've calmed down. I'm wasting what little time I have left stuck here in misery. I missed my chance to escape. My saviors were predators, but it would've been a better fate. And they're everywhere. Monsters and Predators alike. The whole planet is getting what it deserves. I made my choice, but now I'm squandering it. At least the soil is nice. Even as broken as I feel, it is only temporary. I know this is heaven. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Even if my tongue is dried and bleeding.
I.
Just.
Need.
To.
Get.
Up.
no no no no no. Hurts. Hurts hurts hurts.
UP.
My body rebels. I settle on crawling. Dragging my tainted digits through the soil and forcing myself through the mud.
Puddle. Puddle Puddle Puddle.
I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad for this puddle. It's my whole world. I crawl to it as quickly as my body allows and beyond, but I'm too dehydrated to cry at the lancing pain in my joints. I slip and tumble into it face first, a cold shock making me freeze up. I don't even try to drink at first, my eyes closed as I lay partially submerged in this brackish water. It makes me feel slightly better as the cold gently eases my neck muscles, and I feel the rest of my body cramping up again.
Imagine drowning in a claw of water. I'm suddenly terrified that it's possible. I throw an arm out and dig it deep into the mud, clawing silt as I awkwardly pull myself in sideways. I roll, splashing the rest of the way in and feeling my poorly treated scales weep as the cold bleeds into them. I lay my head sideways and drink, gagging at the taste but unable to stop myself. I still can't cry, but my face is still trying to produce tears anyways.
In delirium, I notice the corner of a structure well above me. It's a pole, made of metal and towering well above me. Morning dew drips off of it and into my eye not currently submerged, and I blink it away.
Thank you pole. You're a life saver.
I don't plan on moving for a while, so I don't. The dew drips onto my snout several times, and my body rejoices at the cool water I've partially submerged myself in. The silt in my mouth is a necessary and tolerable evil from my desperate dive, and I angle my snout so that I can catch the fresh dew dripping from above instead. It tastes far better than the puddle, and for the first time in ever, I feel a smile creeping on my face.
.*~*.
I blink lazily, one eyelid operating a few seconds behind the other. I feel better. This blackout felt more natural, less forced. Like a gentle wave over my mind than the harsh crack of a baton. My mouth is still full of silt that I spit out, and a moment later I realize I can spit again. The bitter taste of blood in my mouth is faint now, and the joy of having a wet palate can't be described.
ow.
It hurts to move. I try again, but my flesh feels like it's been filled with concrete. My muscles are too tight on my bones. Stiffly, I try again, making little progress, but still progress. I edge out a claw at a time, barely getting my neck out of the pool before collapsing, the chilly waters leaving me shivering.
Where am I?
A very good question, I ask myself. I don't know. That's the cost of running without direction for so long. I think I'm in a field, judging by the crops looking over me and encompassing my wide vision of the vibrant sky overhead.
Yeah... that's it. I'm in a field. Brilliant observation skills.
I try again, but nothing new comes up. For the first time since I fled, I think about what I'm going to do. I'm free. I'm free. What am I going to do now that I'm free? How long do I have? I know the answer to that already. I have a long time. Everybody that knew me is dead and gone. I just need to be careful and not ruin this chance. I should try and find a town. Cities are too big, too many problems could come up. Too many exterminators. I could start over off the beaten path. Somewhere I can hide in plain sight.
This is Sillis. Being me shouldn't be an issue. I... I can get a labor job somewhere. Change my name. What can I do?
...
What can I do?
What is my name?
"Oh dear." I whispered quietly to myself, brows furrowing. Odd. How odd. I can move on from that. Makes starting a new life easier. Something that isn't four walls and a paper thin mattress. Something outside. I just... need to get... out of this darn puddle. No, still not happening. Ouch.
I splash my paw into the puddle in frustration, using about the full range of motion I seem capable of in a mild fit. I want to stay on the move, but the consequences of my poor decision making have come back to bite me right on the rear. At least I have some time to think.
I could try the lumber industry. That's usually away from people. I think I can figure out how to knock down trees, or at least fix up the machines that can. Maybe I can join a farm around here once I'm cleaned up. There's always something to do on a farm. Like counting shipments, or unloading shipments, or loading them. Maybe I can fix things around the property. Golly, I hope I know how to fix the automated machinery. That would really be nice.
Ooh! I could try and be a tram service maintenance operator. Wait, no no no. That requires background checks, I think. Darn it. Uuuh, road utility services? No, that'll take me into cities one way or another. There's a ton of work with drainage systems and water run off here. I could get good money for that since it's risky. Pollutants, constant thundering streams of water. I think I can go with that. There would be a lot of rural investigations that I could apply for. If not, I'm certain the underground construction projects would bear fruit. I'll miss the sun but nobody would bother me too much... no, still too many people. Drainage systems it is!
A faint whistle catches my ear and I freeze, tilting my head as something green flies just overhead. It clips several stalks and leaves as it passes, but seems unbothered as the severed branches fall to the ground and leaves gently cascade after. I follow its path with an eye and it vanishes between some tall plants, leaving me alone just as quickly as-
Nope, the same thing floats by again, darting between crops once more directly above me. It's odd, I can't hear wing beats or buzzing, or see anything keeping it airborne as it passed, and I wait with baited breath to see if it shows itself again. I don't know what I feel, but it isn't terror. It's... something. Curiosity? This time I hear a chirrup, but it's close. I don't see it float by, and painfully I crane my neck and look at the other side of the puddle.
It's an insectoid of some kind, strangely wide and flat. It looks pretty similar to the leaves on the many trees that I've seen since I got out, with uneven, tapered sides. It has a few pairs of legs, and it scuttles to the puddle and dips the front of its body towards the surface. It really does look like a large leaf, but my observation is cut short when the bug abruptly stops moving within barely a claw of the water, a pair of forward facing compound eyes snug against the stem near the tip of its body. It chirps again, and I see narrow maw under the front of this creature, a slim set of fangs briefly glinting in the sun before its mandibles hide them.
"Oh dear." I manage to whisper.
With remarkable dexterity it hops across the body of water and splashes down on top of me, and several legs grip my ribs and arms. My tail flicks under the water's surface, but I don't move as the thing's maw looms over my snout. A smaller set of feelers touch my scales and let it guide where it can't see, and it pecks at my nostril once. I smell ozone and feel a different fire burn in my core, and relax.
This isn't ideal. It really isn't. But it's still better that what once was. You won't hurt me for too long. You're better than they ever were.
Trading my cell for this... it's not that scary. Somehow, despite this predator straddling me and chewing on my snout, I'm not scared of it. I have alarms shrieking in my ears and ozone burning my nostrils and wrists. Bubbly poison twisting my insides and making me gag. I'm terrified of that, but that's long gone. That broken visage cuts deep, but it leaves me feeling empty. I'm alone with this thing pecking at my skull, occasionally chirping or hissing softly as it chews over my scales.
It's little mandibles flutter over my cheek and squish it, the fangs behind it pricking at my scales but never really puncturing. It's odd, almost exploratory. I hear a faint plip as some dew from the pole overhead drips onto the creature, and it leans back slightly to presumably look up. It lowers back down on me, and I wince as it gets a little rougher. It halts for a moment, mandibles still dancing over my scales, before I feel a set of legs slip past my arms and latch onto my back.
I grit my teeth, expecting it to finally lunge down and bite into my flesh as the rest of it's body tenses, but with a start it lifts me up with strength I didn't think it had. My back scrapes along the mud as it lifts me and drags me partially out of the muck. It lowers me down just as quickly as it started, leaving a bit of my upper body out of the water and in the warm air. I blink as it lowers its body down onto my own, legs tightening its grip on me as it presses itself against me. It chirrups again and resumes nibbling on my neck, and my mind absently puzzles over this change of events.
It's roosting on me. Is it my body heat? I feel cold, but maybe it's colder. I wish I knew what you were. I'm glad you're not really biting me. It tickles, stop!
I couldn't help but squeak out a laugh, despite the very present danger I was in. The bug tensed for a moment but didn't sink its fangs into my neck, and after a moment it resumed licking at me. Slowly, it's legs tightened on my body and it pressed itself against me further, and it hissed softly. I closed my eyes when it's maw pressed against me, but once again no bite split me open and drained my lifeblood. It's mandibles tickled my scales some more as the creature flattened out, the ridges of its body laying in the mud as it settled down. I was all but buried under the thing that was almost as big as me, and my tail swished lightly in the water.
Once again, I find myself stuck. I wasn't going anywhere anyways, but now I'm very stuck. Hopefully it doesn't get peckish. This thing could definitely eat me if it wanted to. It's funny that I'm supposed to fear it. All those training exercises failed. Every test and experiment. Maybe it enforced the wrong behavior. I think I might've been respectfully afraid of this creature once, but that part of me is all burned up. If it existed at all.
.~*~.
I've missed the novelty of clouds. Sillis has an overabundance of them, but so far I've been lucky that none of the ones passing overhead were angry. It's almost odd that no rain has come, but I'm glad. I faintly remember that the rains could become acidic if there's too long a pause between storms. Too much smoke or warp residue building up in the atmosphere.
So far I've counted two absolutely towering thunderheads and small storm systems roll by in all their stunning glory, and dozens of smaller offsets in their wake. Hundreds of individual clouds dot the skies, not quite blanketing it yet. It's pleasant, even within the grasp of a large, sleeping predator that's fully enveloped me. I can feel it's diaphragm shifting ever so slightly on my chest, and it twitches occasionally.
I don't mind. For now, things are peaceful. I'm enjoying that. At least, until something crunched a few rows over.
That sounds a lot bigger than this predator.
The creature shifts slightly but doesn't wake as whatever else is out there stalks through the crops. It has to be a predator, from how quiet it moves. Every little rustle and faint step happen far from each other, and my mind immediately jumps to an ambush hunter. Carefully, I move my head to catch a glimpse of the thing, trying not to disturb the slumbering creature that is currently resting it's mouth on my neck. My scales fade into a dirty black that matches the soil, and I squint to hide my eyes from whatever is out there.
There's movement on my left, something tall shifting between the crops a few rows down. I hear a rumbling noise- a deep based growl, and the back of my skull itches.
"...D-1?"
No no no no no. I don't want to go back. I want to be free.
I know what the thing is. It's a new predator. A sapient one. The same ones that freed me. The same ones that wanted to herd me onto a ship. I can't do this. Sapient predators are cruel, far crueler than the average ones. A normal predator wasn't personal about the kill. It could be reasoned with. Where did that come from? A sapient predator was ruthless for entertainment.
I owe them my life.
They'll just take it.
There's a rustle from a different direction, and a behemoth steps out of the crops far closer to me than I would prefer. It is armored like the many I've seen before, but I realize instead of a firearm it wields a bulky tool of some kind tightly in its paws. It dawns on me that it's colors are different, green and blue instead of solid blue, and there's a colorful flag of some kind pressed on the garments of its arm.
"Copy." It rumbled quietly.
"Crikey, you spooked me there!" the other predator whispered, changing course. Thankfully the closest one broke off to meet it, and they stopped one row over. It was best I stay still. Their hearing was better than they let on. "Okay, did you get it done?"
I can't see them clearly, but some non verbal communication must have occurred because the one predator continues speaking.
"Good. Look, trouble is coming. A fellow seppo noticed the ordinance went missing. He's suspicious. There'll be heat soon. Have you made any progress with the other front?" A pause. "Same. I've dealt with several of his goons, but none knew anything good."
"I'll have him tonight."
"...D-1?"
"An exterminator account and reversed polarity on some switches works wonders."
"...you seppos are terrifying."
"We're a world power for a reason."
"...yeah. Do you have the drive? Nice. You keep this up and we'll have everything we need from this planet before Christmas. We're going to make things right." There's an odd grunt, and one of them starts rumbling quietly in what translates as amusement. "Involved in peace. What do they really think this accomplishes?"
"Don't care. We find our whales and move on."
"Come on, we can have some more fun if we're careful! Don't act like that doesn't entertain you after that bomber plot of yours!"
"S-4," there's an undertone in that growl that makes my scales shrink, "remember the prize."
"...God, you're a hard ass. Fine. I'm certain you're carrying that giant wrench for peaceful reasons and not to crack open any skulls out here. I'll check the smuggling routes. Rig up something to keep these bugs under our thumb. You keep being you. I need to move before they notice I'm gone."
Faint footsteps leading away, and I sighed. While brief, just being around them made my scales crawl-
The crops right beside me parted, and the other predator stepped out. It's covered foot splashed into the puddle, and stirred the predator enveloping me. Much to my horror the thing chirruped and hissed, releasing me and spinning around. The apex predator looked down at the smaller thing and regarded it.
:)
The drawing on the mask was comical, and not at all what I was expecting. Most humans didn't wear masks, so blinding terror didn't sweep me away. I almost laughed at the absurdity of concealing one's face, only to make a lazy drawing of a face overtop of it.
The smaller predator didn't find it nearly as confusing or entertaining as I did, and hissed. The apex didn't falter, but surprisingly held its ground despite being threatened by a lesser predator.
Most predators would make a threat back and assert itself. Or lash out. What is this one up too? It's not acting submissive so it isn't backing down. But it isn't retaliating either. Does it need to? It's using it's own size as a deterrent.
My thoughts are interrupted when my toothy cover abruptly spins and flees, gaining air under its body and become airborne. It slashes through a row of crops and is gone, just like how it arrived. The apex still hasn't moved. It takes a few steps forward, nearing me. I can't tell if it's looking at me or not so I close my eyes tight, hoping that my eyes hadn't given me away. There's a thump right beside me and I flinch. I can feel it's presence. It has stopped walking.
It knows. Somehow it sees me. It knows it knows it knows.
Something warm grazes my neck and I flinch again, despite myself. I can't do it. I don't want to die with my eyes closed. I want to see the sun and the clouds and the crops, not this faux darkness.
I open my eyes and it's right there, crouched over me. I can't bother with wasting my energy by screaming. It saw through my camouflage and had a paw to my neck. I wished it to be merciful and just strike me down with the wrench it brought, but it doesn't. Instead it plunges its paw into the water, under my rump. It rips me out of the water and I gasp as its other paw slips down under my shoulders and lifts, but my mind catches up a moment later when it pressed me against it's chest instead of its mouth, forsaking my exposed stomach. It's grip loosens slightly and it adjusts, an arm under my shoulder blades and legs. I can feel the muscles rippling in it's grip, and how easily it could fold me over backwards and squish me. I've seen it first hand.
But it's so gently. So unbelievably gentle. I don't remember the last time I was touched like this. Something in a dark recess of my mind wavered, and I realized I'd curled my tail around the creature's arm without meaning to. It holds me a little closer, nowhere near enough to hurt, and my scales start to change to match the colors it wears. It's not looking at me, the mask is angled too far up. We're moving at a blinding pace suddenly, the rows of crops blurring in my vision. It doesn't stop. This apex runs like a machine, each breath consistent and calculated to a rhythm I notice. Its breathing labors but it keeps going, warm jets of air spitting out the bottom of its mask and onto my soggy, damp form.
It's so warm. I didn't realize the chill of the water until now but I'm shivering. My body takes over for my confused mind and curls into the predator's grasp, trying to get as much warmth from the human's rough garments as I can. I don't know what's come over me. I don't know where it's taking me. I don't care. I can't escape it, and if this thing kills me it was at least kind enough to be gentle.
The skies are so beautiful. I try and focus on them but all I can really see is the predator's mask. I can see the bottom of it's jaw, the taught muscles there. I dread what its face looks like in this moment under that mask. Its digits tighten on my shoulder and side in response to me curling into it, and absently I wonder how this predator is the same as the ones from days ago with their thundering bellows and ruthless firepower.
The apex thunders out of the field and I'm assaulted by new sights. There's a few dozen of them roving around a clearing by several vehicles.
I also spot an Exterminator's van, and my claws unsheathe. The predator winces and I realize I've nailed him with them, but he doesn't throw me down or bark at me. He sprints by the van without stopping, but I see several Tilfish locked inside and doomed to a terrible fate worse than being eaten.
"Ambulance!?" It barks sharply, out of breath. It skids to a stop beside one of the transports, clutching me firmly.
"Just left with the patient. Where the hell did this one come from?" An unmasked predator growled, eyes beady and looking over me. Mine made an odd jerking motion and continued.
"Get Doc."
"I will. What hospital are we calling?" The thought of a clinical space makes me flinch. White walls. White floors. Cold tiles. Needles. Beeping. Humming. Frying.
"None. Operational security."
The other predator screwed its face up and departed, and abruptly mine was sitting down on the back of one of the trucks. Gently I was plopped down on its lap, and I watched transfixed as it peeled its armor off, then its outer garment. There's an image of a veiled human on the back with its eyes closed, head craned down. Its hands are clasped together in thought, and the meaning of it goes over my head.
The predator is a lot smaller than I thought it was. It gently lifts me and set me in the garment, before it starts wiping me down with it. I'm too sore to fight it, and the cloth is exceptionally warm from the creature's body heat. It pulls me closer and holds me in a way that makes my chest hurt, and it looks out at an approaching predator. It rumbles softly.
"You're going to be okay."
My body relaxes despite my mind's warnings. I'm wrapped up in this garment it wore. I can't escape it. But it's warm. The material soaks up the water on my skin, and wipes away the grime and muck I've accumulated over the days. Slowly, my scales begin to shift again, bleeding back to my normal tan coloration.
"Did something finally bite you Sunshine? I haven't seen you run like that in- oh-kay." The approaching predator flinched when it got close and tensed up.
It wants to eat me. This one- Sunshine- it won't let it without a fight. Are they going to eat me? Sunshine won't. Right?
"I thought there was only one victim." The predator rumbled after a moment, creeping closer. I shrank into the material and took on it's color, only for a warm paw to settle on my arm.
"You're fine." Sunshine whispered. It looked up at the approaching predator and jerked its head awkwardly. "There is. Look at it. Do you see it too?"
Gently, it lifted my arm. I was too stiff to pull it back, not that I could've against its powerful grip. I was completely exposed to this other predator.
"Relax. Please." Sunshine whispered once more. The growl was soft, and I looked up at the mask above me. The grip on my arm was careful, I realized. I could pull away right now. Slowly, my scales lightened. The other predator leaned in closer and I flashed white and yellow briefly, but Sunshine propped me up a bit and started gently poking at sore parts of my body. My ribs. My neck. "Here. And... and here."
The other predator's eyes seemed to get bigger. Something deeper changed in its face. "Holy shit." It made to move forward and I reeled back, pressing myself further into Sunshine. The predator immediately froze and slunk back.
"He can help." Sunshine rumbled softly.
Oh dear. Oh dear.
It touched me. It's diminutive nails didn't rend into my scales as it touched my ribs, prodding them softly. Sunshine adjusted how it sat so that the other predator could have better access to me, and I couldn't help but focus on the skies again as it assessed what part of me it wanted.
Sunshine won't let it eat me.
I don't know where the thought came from, but it was firm. I believed it entirely. Even though Sunshine was a sapient predator, it wouldn't let it happen. Maybe it claimed me as its own already. I... I had doubts I would be eaten. The thoughts were there, but Sunshine had a perfect chance already. Unless it wanted to flaunt its catch first, which the Arxur did- but it was gentle. Sunshine was better than an Arxur.
"Malnourished, deep sores. Ulcers. There's bruising up and down the rib cage. Jesus- sorry."
"They're old. Persistent. Its feet."
"What about..." The predator got quiet. I felt my scales shift in worry as it gingerly lifted one of my legs. It remained quiet, but its face stretched further. "What happened?"
It was looking at me. Asking me. I shrank further into the fabric, but there was nowhere to go. The silence was unbearable, and I started trembling.
The silence continued.
"A runaway." Sunshine rumbled after forever. I didn't understand what that meant. My translator didn't pick it up quite right. Run-away? Like fleeing? Was that what these predators called their prey? No... no that didn't seem right. It was possible, but...
"Could have been kidnapped." Another word I didn't understand, but my translator worked on the other predator. Stealing a person by force? Using fear outside of the law? How did predators have such a word? "We need to get it to the hospital. Figure out what happened and how it ended up in this field."
NO NO NO NO NO
Sunshine's arms draped over me before I could escape, my attempt no better than a drunk Mazic trying to fit through a Venlil sized door. I couldn't stop the whine in my throat, but its soft digits down my back froze me. A subtle noise filtered out behind the mask, and it settled me back down in its garment. It picked up an edge lined with little metal teeth and draped it over me, blocking my sight from the other predator. I felt safe, suddenly. Sunshine's firm grip on my body didn't feel threatening. It felt like a promise, as it carefully pulled me against it's bulk. I was warm, despite my terror.
"Zuda will handle it. No hospitals. This stays with us."
"Sunshine," the other predator protested, "we need to figure out what happened!"
"Think, Doc." Sunshine growled, and this was no doubt a warning. I felt relief that the difference between the two growls was so obvious.
"What?"
"Think. Use your head."
There was a period of silence. "You don't... that can't be right." I didn't understand what conclusion it made.
"The injuries are uniform. Too clean to be anything else."
They can't know. How can they know?
"We need confirmation!"
"We already have it." Sunshine stated, and slowly the fabric was lifted off of my head. I blinked, and noticed that the other predator had changed a different shade.
That's odd. Are you predators like me?
That's terrifying. I'm not a threat. I'm me.
"It reacted to the van and mention of a hospital, Doc. Nobody outside the UN hears of this. Operational security."
It... does Sunshine know? How do they know?
"What the fuck is this planet, Sunshine?" The other predator lamented.
Sunshine didn't respond. He looked around at the surrounding encampment, and I realized it was shrinking. They were leaving. A few other predators were subtly watching as they worked, but I doubted they could hear the conversation with how quiet it was. I realize there's a few Venlil in their ranks, unbothered by their presence and even wearing garments similar to the predators around them.
A digit tapped the end of my snout and I flinched, looking up at Sunshine. It's paw retracted as the other predator withdrew a medical kit with a paw print on it and began to unclasp it. "You're safe. We're... we're going to help."
You know. You know what I am. And you're helping me anyway. Why are you helping me? I'm weak. I'm dangerous. But not to you. You're an apex. Is that why? Does your species stick together, unlike the Arxur? Do you uplift those around you, no matter if they're prey or dangerous? The Venlil are not afraid of you. You must not eat them. What do you eat? It has to be meat. But, it must be something that they can handle. Does what makes me dangerous fall away under your hierarchy? I hope it does. It doesn't seem real. I guess to you, what makes me a threat is meaningless.
I believe Sunshine. I really do. When the other predator comes forward with a healing gel, I surrender.
I am safe.
submitted by Rand0mness4 to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]


2023.06.03 17:57 tryna_write DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE

I parked in the tower's lot, letting my headlights bore into the amalgam of twisted metal and glass for a few moments before shutting them off.
Josh muttered, his voice low. "We're really doing this, huh?"
He ran a hand through his mop of curly hair— a dumb tic he developed last summer when his girlfriend, Annabeth, told him it was sexy. She was beside him now, cuddled up in the backseat across his lap.
I glanced at my own girlfriend, Ellie, in the passenger seat. She was trying her damndest to appear brave, but I knew better. There was no way she was comfortable with trespassing tonight.
I sighed, realizing that Josh would also chicken out.
"We're doing this? You sure you want to come?" I prodded.
Josh shifted in his seat, hand running through his hair yet again. "Maybe it's better if I stay in the truck.”
Annabeth shrugged next to him, unsurprised.
"Me, too,” Ellie chimed in, nodding at Josh.
Annabeth met my eyes, a glimmer of understanding passing between us. Our partners were both boring, god-awful goody two shoes.
"Pussies," I jabbed, swinging open my door without giving them a moment to respond.
Annabeth hopped out behind me, waving at the two losers in the truck before spinning towards me with a grin on her face.
"They're weird," she said, rolling her eyes.
For a moment, I was drinking in the way her golden hair shimmered in the moonlight. A light breeze tickled at our faces, sending sparkles of her moon-lit hair between us.
"Yup," I mustered.
I turned, strolling towards the chain link fence that formed a circular perimeter around the base of Sabe's Tower.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of abandoned potential, whispering of times past when our town's inhabitants thought we'd hit a population boom, becoming the Houston of West Virginia. In the 70s, our success was tied to coal. Jobs flooded in, and with them, a myriad of people trying to make their way in life. Then the mines abruptly ran dry, decimating our town's economy. Since that time, our population has done nothing but dwindle.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of decaying grandeur, silently rotting from the inside out. Some say that's what happened to Sabe himself— a rot took hold in his core, spreading and spreading until nothing but rot was left. In the end, he took his own life, which some say was for the best. He was a greedy fool, the wealthiest man for miles, owning half the surrounding countryside before the mining industry took off. Made a fortune selling his family's land to coal companies, putting every ounce of profit into making his towering hotel more luxurious than a Ritz Carlton.
Sabe’s Tower. Thirteen stories of failed dreams, now screaming vulgar obscenities at our eyes. It is a truly ugly behemoth, domineering our town's skyline with unmerited arrogance. Sabe thought painting the tower purple would give it an air of majesty, like royalties of the past, swaddled in silky lavender robes. His aspiration, after all, was nothing less than to emulate the sacred Tabernacle of Moses, to make his hotel a dwelling place for gods among men. In its current state of disrepair, however, the tower was no more than an eyesore— a visual cacophony of broken glass, peeling sickly-purple paint, and rusted steel inlays.
Adding to the hotel's disgrace, it was cylindrical in form, perched atop the highest peak for miles, jutting into the sky like a middle finger to the gods. Its phallic outline stood in stark contrast to the run-down strip malls lying in its wake.
The fence surrounding the tower was a bit too tall and a bit too wobbly to safely scale, so we circled, looking for an entry point. Every few yards, a DO NOT TRESPASS sign hung, tied to the fence with zip-ties in each corner. Someone had taken the liberty to spray paint a word underneath each sign, now making them all read:
DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE.
"Good thing you're coming with me," I joked, pointing at one of the signs.
Annabeth paused to read it for a moment. "Yeah... kinda weird that someone did that. I wonder why?"
I shrugged, continuing around the perimeter.
Eventually, we found a gate in the fence, held closed with chains at waist level. The gate's post careened steeply outward, creating a manageable gap near the top. The gate post was only held in place by the chains, not even slightly anchored to the ground. Without too much of a struggle, we hoisted ourselves up and through the gap.
Once inside the fence, I found myself spellbound by the abandoned hotel. The stars in the night sky reflected across the windows, bending and warping around the curved perimeter. Each glimmer of starlight turned into dizzying fractals, melding together and slipping between the shards of broken glass with each shift of my gaze.
The result was honestly breathtaking.
At night, the eyesoriffic tower was beautiful. Its silhouette dared to embrace the star-studded cosmos, standing with a quiet dignity that defied its daytime mockery.
I felt Annabeth shuffle beside me.
Suddenly, her phone flashlight was on, illuminating a path through overgrown concrete to the tower. At the end of the path was the structure’s entrance— a gaping hole with no attempt to conceal the darkness within.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!" I yelled, spinning to face her.
"W... What do you mean?" she stuttered.
"Turn that off, you idiot," I explained, lowering my voice. "Someone might see the light and call the cops."
The light flicked off, Annabeth mumbling apologies.
I blinked away the afterimage of weeds eating through the concrete lot, silently cursing myself for being so ridiculously hostile toward her.
"Sorry," I mumbled.
"You're good, Donovan" she whispered, brushing her hand across my arm.
As we continued to the open doorway, the outside of the tower came into focus. It was far further dilapidated than I had realized— each accent of purple paint, faded and peeling, was bulging out from between the glass and steel like it was trying to escape. I rubbed a fingernail on the paint, revealing a soft, rotting wood beneath.
I entered the tower first, pausing to let my eyes adjust. The darkness of the doorway opened up into an atrium that must have once made for a magnificent entrance. It was shaped like a slice of pie, us standing near the crust, peering inward toward the center. Above was pitch black, not yielding any answers to just how high up this mighty room's ceiling stretched.
The musty scent that filled my nose was surprisingly welcoming— somewhere between the smell of fishing trips and century old bookstores. I took a deep breath, relishing in the soft stench.
I could vaguely make out wires dangling down from the ceiling of the atrium. They were impossibly long, stretching upward into the infinite gloom.
"They look like vines," Annabeth whispered, her voice a soft purr.
The air was thick with falling dust, filtering down from the abyss above, twirling between the wires in satisfyingly slow-motion. The falling dust made it even harder to see in the dark, leaving the walls on either side of the room foggy blobs. I waved my hand, sending fleeting dust spirals through the air.
I remembered seeing photos of the atrium online, taken on some of the earliest digital cameras ever made. Those pictures showed marble countertops, intricate wooden carvings, and lushly carpeted floors.
The room, as it stands today, is a barren husk of Sabe's vision. The carpet, only present in scattered clumps, was impossibly dark, soiled to the point of true black. It clung to the concrete foundation, viciously holding on for dear life in a losing battle.
I bent down to examine a clump of carpet in front of me, amazed by the absence of light reflecting back. It was like staring into a pit of nothing, a vague absence, an outline of something that should be there.
I poked the toe of my boot at it.
FPOOSH.
It exploded, erupting into my face.
I gagged instinctively, tasting the vile substance mix into my lungs. Annabeth slapped my back as I continued gagging and coughing, begging the mucus to tear itself free from my lungs and just fucking get out of my body because it feels like I'm dying oh GOD.
And eventually, it did.
The violent hacking subsided into slight wretching, then was gone.
"Are you okay?" Annabeth tested.
Do you think I'm fucking okay?
"What the fuck was that?" I spewed.
She bent over the clump of carpet. Underneath the blackened top layer that just violently erupted was a pale network of matted spiderwebs.
"Hmm..." she began, "It kind of looks like mycelium."
She met my raised eyebrow with an eye roll.
"You know, like the roots of a fungus or some shit, I don't know. I just saw the shrooms growing in Bryce's closet that one time he showed me his stash. This white stuff looks just like it. So I guess that makes this black stuff like the part of the shroom we eat, or whatever."
"Oh dip," I responded, nodding. "That makes sense. One time I saw a nature show about some plants that shoot their seeds everywhere when something touches them. It's probably just spreading its spores when we touch it."
"Yeah," she breathed, "pretty gnarly."
We shuffled deeper into the gloom, weaving between dangling cables and clumps of fungus. I felt a drop of moisture flick off a cable, sliding onto my arm.
I groaned. "Fuck. That cable was wet."
"Disgusting," she whispered back.
We made our way to the apex of the room, the center of the tower, revealing a rusted set of elevator doors leaning together like drunks at a quinceanera. The doorway to the stairs, however, beckoned to us with the same unobstructed, pitch-black allure that the tower's entrance emanated just minutes before.
In the dark, it's truly amazing how utterly void all open doorways look.
Upon stepping inside the stairwell, the world vanished. The only proof of having working eyes was a faint, vertical glow of light filtering through the door, abruptly fading into all-consuming black.
Every sound in the entire building bored through my soul, bouncing from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, echoing on and on for all of eternity. The stairwell, directly in the center of the decrepit hotel, was the focal point of every creaking floorboard, every popping nail, every howling gust of wind. It was as if I was holding up a monstrous conch shell to my ear— a deafening murmur of echoes in disarray, smelting together to form satanic harmonies.
"Whoa," Annabeth mumbled.
Her word cut through the other echoes, impossibly loud against their monotonous hum.
Instantly, the echo of her voice filled the stairwell, rising like the build up of a dubstep song until peaking, impossibly overwhelming for a few brief seconds. The echoes of her voice then faded as quickly as they arrived.
She put a hand to her mouth, the whites of her eyes barely visible in the glow coming from the doorway.
I reached out, placing a hand where her shoulder should be. There was not enough space for us to stand abreast in the stairwell, leaving us in a comically squished proximity. She was breathing rapidly, barely managing to stay silent. I squeezed, and her breathing quickly slowed. I felt her hand creep onto mine, and we stood for a minute, simply listening to the cries of the dying building echo around us.
As my eyes adjusted, I could make out a staircase spiraling up the curved wall. Clearly this was a service stairwell, as it is much too cramped for the likes of Sabe's guests. Only a few steps were visible through the darkness at a time, making the staircase feel even tinier than it already was. Luckily, no fungus grew on the stairs themselves, leaving the metal alone to rust.
Annabeth shuffled onto the first step, producing a small object from her pocket. She handed it to me, then pointed up the stairwell, careful to not send echoes through the cylindrical chamber again.
I brought it close to my eyes for inspection, straining against the lack of light.
A joint...
She wants to go to the roof and smoke.
A smile cracked my lips. Classic Annabeth.
Every couple stairsteps, there would be a doorway. Most of them let in a dim glow, offering a glimpse into what must have once been a custodial closet on each floor.
On floor 9, I tugged at Annabeth's hand. We made eye contact in the faint light coming from the doorway. I motioned through it, pointing to the nearly fungus free floor. I wanted to explore at least a little bit, to see if the closet circled around the stairwell or not.
I poked my head through the doorway, freeing myself from the overwhelming cacophony of echoes in the stairwell.
I verified that the closet did, in fact, curve around the circular staircase like a donut. A few steps in one direction led to a terrifying drop— the elevator shaft. Next to it, a sidewalk sized ledge led to an open door, giving a view of the floor's main hallway. The path looked safe— no fungus, cracks, or otherwise obvious defects— so I proceeded, treading as light as a fox, fumbling for Annabeth's hand behind me.
The main hallway ran between the custodial closet and the guest rooms, creating another donut ring around the central stairwell. Throughout the hallway, patches of fungus grew alarmingly close together, threatening to overtake the concrete.
"That stairwell was insane," Annabeth whispered.
I nodded. "Fuck yeah, I wonder what it was like when the hotel was actually open. Must have been miserable for the staff."
We weaved through the fungus filled hallway, coming to room 901. I glanced at Annabeth, raising my eyebrows. The door was slightly ajar, hanging from its one remaining door hinge. I pushed gently, eliciting a monstrous creak.
The room was empty, extending away to the outside in a familiar pie shape. The mold seemed to grow thinner in the room, leaving most of the exposed concrete safe to cross. At the far side, a floor to ceiling panel of windows looked out over our town.
I gasped, taking in the view. Never before had I seen our town from this high up. My eyes drew to the smokestacks by the river, their blinking lights ominously flickering over downtown. Individual streets ran in parallel lines away from the tower, lit with yellowing streetlights. Between the roads, tiny lights cast from window panes twinkled, blending with one another into a starscape of their own.
"Dude," I said. "Look at this."
No response.
I spun, looking for Annabeth, frantically scanning the room. My eyes had adjusted to the outside light, leaving me sightless.
"Annabeth," I hissed.
A cold tingle went up my spine, pulling at hairs on the back of my neck.
"Annabeth?"

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

I crept back across the floor, now aware of the entire room at once. There was nowhere for her to be hiding. No desks, cans of paint, ladders, nothing. Just an empty room with patchy fungus growing on the cement.
Something must have happened.
I studied each fungal growth in the room as I passed by. Even with the light cast from the windows, the tops remained impossibly dark. Not a single feature was discernible— only an outline was visible.
Halfway to the door, a three foot wide hole led straight to floor 8. I could have sworn it wasn't there before. I peered into the opening, seeing straight through to the room below. From what I could see, it was identically empty.
"Annabeth," I tried again, nearing the door to the hallway.
"BOO!"
I stumbled backward, tripping over my own feet. I landed squarely on a patch of fungus.
FPOOSH.
I remembered to hold my breath, close my eyes, and plug my nose.
Annabeth cackled from the threshold of the doorway, standing over me with both hands on her forehead.
"You should have seen the look—" she began, breaking off into another fit of laughter.
"Shut up," I groaned, pushing to my feet. My entire body was covered in squishy fungus gunk. I pointed at the hole behind me, continuing. "You could have killed me."
"Blah, blah, blah," she mocked. "You're fine... you're just being a baby."
Annabeth gave me a playful shove, hands lingering for a moment overdue. Swatting her paws off me, I marched back to the stairwell. I led the rest of the way to floor 13, followed by her snickers.
As I reached the top of the stairs and stepped onto the 13th floor, my jaw dropped. It was a scene straight out of a surrealist painting. An enormous pool room lay before us. Glass walls extended up from the tile floors, creating a massive, clear domed perimeter. A swath of stars twinkled brilliantly through the clear ceiling, their light refracting through the glass, casting ethereal patterns onto the room's otherwise bleak surroundings.
The pool itself was a semi-circular cutout covering half the floor space, starting at ground level and deepening in a corkscrew motion. Its ceramic tiles, once probably a bright blue, were now tinged with patches of the same fungal growth we had come across on the lower floors. The growth was sparse here, though, letting the original floor design take prominence.
In the center of the room— on top of the staircase we just stepped out of— stood a circular pillar that extended up to the middle of the glass dome, like a spine holding up the entire tower. A small antenna jutted out from above the pillar atop the dome. Surrounding the antenna was a low fence, perhaps a safety measure for maintenance workers.
Annabeth, having finally contained her laughter, stepped beside me, her face illuminated by the soft starlight filtering in through the dome. She too stood silent, taken aback by the unexpected beauty of this forgotten space.
As we moved around the room, our steps echoed across the vast emptiness. With every patch of fungus we passed, the same eerie darkness hovered, the undulating mold standing stark against the ceramic tiles.
We made our way back to the central pillar. A ladder, carved into the pillar, connected to the glass ceiling with a trapdoor.
"To the roof?" Annabeth sang, rubbing her hands together in a goblin-like motion.
"Ladies first."
As she climbed above me, I couldn't help but crane my neck and drool. She slammed open the trapdoor, and we burst through to the roof.
The fenced-in area was covered with a dark spongy surface, gripping at my knees when I stood up. Wind whipped around us, carrying a chill that cut through my clothes and bit into my skin. With each gust, the antenna above us groaned and swayed, almost as if it were joining in a dance with an unseen partner.
We sat on the squishy rubber surface, comfortably in silence. I met her eyes, smiling dumbly. We passed the joint back and forth until it dwindled down, its ember glow flickering one last time before extinguishing completely. A familiar haze crawled through my thoughts, slowing the passage of time to a languishing crawl.
"Hey..." she started, "I think I've finally found inspiration for my next album."
I scooted closer to her, taking her hand. I knew the topic brought about an unusual timidity in her— a blemish in the badass persona she's so keen on presenting. She won't even talk to her own boyfriend about her music career.
"Yeah?" I floated.
She hesitated for a second, settling into the moment. I felt a tug at my crotch, suddenly all too aware of how pretty she looked in the moonlight. I took in every detail— the way her hair fell across her face, the pattern of her freckles, the soft speckling of stars reflecting across her eyes.
"I think you need to take off your shirt, first, though," she whispered, now inches from my face. "You're filthy."
I glanced down, remembering the fungal gunk that had soiled my clothes when she scared me.
Without warning, her hands slid under my shirt, warm and sure. I helped her yank it off, collapsing into her lips.
***
When we got back to the truck, I was still high enough to see everything in slow motion. Before pulling out of the parking lot, Annabeth and I regurgitated the events of our urban exploration, trying to show our significant others what fun they missed out on. It goes without saying that part of the story was intentionally omitted.
Ellie and Josh were unamused. Their lack of adventure will forever be a mystery to me.
We swung out of the lot, hopping onto the highway headed into town. I swayed between lanes, struggling to keep the double-yellow lines in focus.
"Are you sure you're good to drive?" Ellie asked, gripping the armrest.
"I'm fine," I slurred.
Seconds later, another truck materialized in front of us. I swerved to avoid it, then everything went black.
***
I woke up to a strong hand pulling me out of the window. My truck was upside down, the roof completely caved in.
I groaned. "Aww... fuck...."
The person who pulled me out looked like the kind of guy to chew tobacco and spit wisdom. His fishing cap cast a deep shadow across his eyes in the moon's glow, concealing his gaze. He was an old timer, that's for sure, one of those folk who came during the coal rush and decided to stay when all was said and done. I could see his truck— the same truck I saw moments before the crash— pulled into the shoulder of the highway with its blinkers on.
"Easy now," he reassured, his voice like gravel under a boot. "Anyone else inside?"
I nodded, unable to speak.
I plopped onto the grassy slope embarking off the side of the road. The old man pulled their mangled bodies out, one by one.
The countryside shrank around me. I felt the corners of my vision pulling in, the weed in my system straining the limits of shock I could take before melting down.
"I'm sorry, son," he whispered, his voice carrying the weight of my guilt. "The police will be here soon. Don't you worry."
The police.
I stood up. I knew exactly how the police treated people with my skin color in this town.
I ran.
"Hey now!" the man hollered.
I kept running.
Away from my truck, away from my dead friends, away from the police.
I ran until my breath came in ragged, uncontrollable huffs. I flopped to the ground, laying on the cool concrete, cradling my head with my hands. Blood flowed between my fingertips, pooling onto the pavement.
I laid there until police sirens wailed through the night, rapidly approaching. They stopped at the wreck, leaving me in silence. Moments later, the sirens picked up their mournful song again, heading toward me.
I sat up.
I was back in the lot of Sabe's Tower. Only then did I realize how little distance I really ran from the wreck— a couple hundred yards at most.
Four, five, maybe even six sirens filled the air. They were all coming for me. They knew what I had done.
I bolted from my position on the concrete. I could hide in the tower. No way the cops would look for me in that rotting place. They wouldn't dare.
I squeezed through the gap in the fence, same as before, vaulting past the
DO NOT TRESPASS ALONE
signs in a fluid lunge. The sirens behind me screamed into the night, melding together into a continuous doomsday chant.
Red and blue lights filled the lot. I hit the ground right in front of the gaping entrance to the tower, praying that the weeds poking through the concrete would be enough to mask my form. I army crawled, inch by inch, dragging myself across broken bottles and plywood shrapnell, until I was safely in the darkness of the tower.
In.
Out.
I breathed.
In.
Out.
A police cruiser parked in the lot. Its siren drowned out all other wails for a moment before shutting off. A chubby white officer hopped out, surveying the scene. His gaze came to rest on the spot where I had lain. He squatted down, raking a finger through the pool of blood I left behind. He took a few steps toward the tower, squatting down yet again. Another splotch of blood, no doubt.
His voice floated through the plaza, slightly nasal and a little out of breath. "Dispatch, this is officer Chetty, badge number 741. I'm on the scene at 1019 Pleasant Valley Lane, in the lot of Sabe's Tower. I've located a pool of fresh blood that may be linked to our hit-and-run suspect. Possible injury, suspect could be close. Requesting immediate backup and forensics for evidence collection."
Fuck.
I wormed my way further into the tower's belly, sliding between patches of fungus like a mouse in a snake pit, heading for the stairwell. I had to ascend, to find some nook or cranny out of reach of the pursuing officers. The godforsaken tower was one big game of hide and seek, only this time, losing meant far worse than a bruised ego.
Something gurgled in the darkness.
My blood froze. I halted, my heart hammering a tattoo against my ribs. Holding my breath, I strained my senses, eyes peering into the graying murk, searching for the source of the sound.
It came again, a wretched retching, like an animal choking on its own vomit. Hacking, gurgling, bubbling wetness bursting through strained vocal chords, a sound of fading vitality. It was coming from near the door, just outside the meager halo of light slipping through the hole.
A wet line smeared across the back of my neck. A yelp escaped my lips before I realized it was just a cord dangling from the ceiling.
At my yelp, the gurgling paused.
A heavy hush fell over the place, the quietude of the hunted.
I could faintly make out echoes emanating from the stairwell, only a few feet behind me.
The gurgling continued, sucking at the thick air. It began to drag itself forward through the fungus covered floor— a slow, steady, rhythmic drag against the concrete.
FPOOSH.
A geyser of spores bloomed, mingling with swirls of dust in the meager light. The creature, or whatever it was, did not slow its approach. Out of the darkness, a form began to shape— a silhouette clawing its way toward me.
FPOOSH.
I could see this eruption envelop the mass on the floor. One hand appeared, then another. Its fingers scrabbled over the concrete, searching for any purchase to grip. They flexed, heaving the thing even closer.
A mop of curly hair appeared between the hands. A body, face down. It pulled itself closer, into another fungal growth, grinding its face through the rough concrete.
FPOOSH.
A knife protruded from its back. The handle jutted upward, a grim totem amidst the grime and gore. I shuddered, involuntarily taking a step closer to the stairwell.
It looked up at me.
Or rather, Josh looked up at me.
I stared back, mouth agape.
His face was nearly sanded off from the concrete. His nose took the worst of it, ground down to the bone, leaving only two sucking, gurgling holes between his eyes. His cheeks were a mangled mess of blood and rocks, viscous red flowing freely to the tip of his chin before dribbling off. The chunks of meat hanging where lips should have been flapped against his teeth with every jerky motion, tethered to his face by all too little strands of flesh. Beneath them, his teeth showed bright red and white in a perpetual grimacing smile.
"Josh?" I managed to whisper, my voice a frightened squeak.
Josh opened his mouth as if to respond, ripping both cheeks in half. He hacked, gurgling, spitting up blood that came from deep within his torso. He slowly cocked his head to the side, but instead of stopping at a slant, he kept twisting his neck until bones started to crack and his head dangled upside down.
His mangled, upside down head swung limply as he pulled himself to his knees, his neck like jelly. He wasn't wearing the same clothes he was wearing earlier tonight— no, he was wearing clothes from the night Annabeth first cheated on him with me. He was at a Villanova game, supporting his favorite team since birth. Annabeth knew he would be gone for the weekend, so we took our chance. I was still at her place when he came back, wearing his Collin Gillespie jersey and reeking of beer.
Now in front of me, his prized jersey was in tatters, torn to ribbons by the concrete. He groaned, shuffling and reaching for me with bloody fingers.
I bolted into the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time. I pushed myself faster and faster until the door to floor 9 loomed to my side. I didn't pause for a moment, pushed forward by the gurgling echoes reverberating from below.
My thighs, weak from the frantic climb, begged for a break. I wobbled into the hallway, painfully tip-toeing through the fungus. The door to 901 beckoned ahead, hanging open like it had been awaiting my hasty return.
I stumbled over the threshold when Annabeth's singing filled the room. "Oh, Donovan!"
I froze.
Outlined against the window was a two-headed beast. One face belonged to Annabeth, the other to Ellie. The creature swayed, an obscene dance of bare, fused flesh. It wore no clothes, as if to mock God himself. It had two sets of everything— eight appendages total, like a humanoid arachnid. Annabeth's breasts, now side by side with Ellie's, put Ellie to shame, even now.
Annabeth crooned again, "Oh, Donovan!" each syllable laced with acid and honey. The sound made my skin crawl as it floated through the silent room.
"You always did want more, didn't you Donovan?" Ellie sneered, a harsh grin splitting her face.
Annabeth spat, "More than Ellie could give. More than anyone could give."
The thing dropped to the floor with a thud. All eight limbs moved in unison as it crawled.
"Isn't this what you wanted? Both of us at the same time?" Their voices tumbled over each other, mouths moving in synchrony. Together, their laughter filled the hollow room. "Don't you like the thrill, Donovan? Don't you like playing with fire?"
The thing scurried at me, jumping over fungal growths with powerful leaps. The sudden movement broke my paralyzation, spurring my legs to action. I darted into the closet and through the stairwell door, into the gurgling echoes.
Back down the stairwell I ran, the two headed beast in pursuit. Both girls snarled, hindered by their conjoined size in the narrow passageway. Their struggle echoed through the stairwell, mixing with the gurgling. I fled further down, needing to put distance between that thing and me.
I stopped dead in my tracks between floors 2 and 3.
Josh was there, leaning against the wall with the knife removed from his back, now grasped tightly in his hand. I staggered back up the stairs, instinctively retreating, narrowly avoiding the blade as he lunged at me.
Glancing up, I caught a flash of pale skin bearing down on me, cutting off my escape. My only way out was the door to floor 3. I charged through the closet, leaving the echoes behind me.
Floor 3 was empty— no walls, only fungus and windows. The atrium loomed to my left, a pie shaped hole missing from the floor and ceiling. I backed away from the door, eyeing the dangling cords hanging in the atrium.
Maybe... Just maybe....
Josh stumbled from the stairwell, filling the air with his wet slurping. Annabeth and Ellie followed, scrambling toward me.
I didn't have time to think.
I jumped, grasping at the dangling wires, praying they would hold my weight.
Time stuttered, hanging suspended like an icicle on a winter's morning. The world spun in a dizzying blur as I twisted, fingers stretching for a grip. Panic clawed its icy fingers up my spine, but it was the surprise that struck me most. The simple disbelief that this was happening.
A wire found its way into my hand, snapping without slowing my fall.
The wind whooshed past, ripping the breath from my lungs. Above me, the third floor retreated, its grimy concrete replaced by a view of the atrium's ceiling, wires swinging back and forth from my desperate escape.
Then came the sensation of falling. It's a feeling that strikes a primal chord, an orchestra of fear and adrenaline that means the end of a life. My stomach lurched, free-falling alongside me, while the rest of my body seemed to hover in a state of disbelief.
The impact came as both a shock and an inevitability. There was a moment of sheer, undiluted pain, a soundless scream reverberating through my very bones. It felt like being shattered from the inside out, an explosion of agony that started from my back and radiated outwards. An iron-hot spike of pain shot through me, and then, a chilling void as everything below my waist slipped into a terrifying numbness.
The echo of my body's collision rang in my ears as the world spun into a disorienting whirl of blurs, shadows, and pain. The cold concrete beneath me felt real, solid, a chilling contrast to the sudden loss of sensation in my legs.
In the throbbing silence that followed, I understood. I had fallen. I was broken. I lay sprawled on the atrium floor, gasping, the world tilting dangerously in my vision.
Annabeth and Ellie emerged from the staircase, scrambling across the atrium floor. Red and blue police lights filtered through the tower’s windows, making shadows dance between the monster's eight limbs. Josh wasn't far behind, still clutching onto the bloody knife, head rolling upside down between his shoulders.
"Police, we're coming in!" a familiar nasally voice shouted.
The moment officers stepped foot in the tower, the monsters vanished in a spray of spores.

X
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