Waltuh put your dick away waltuh


2012.08.19 10:22 Jontology shitposting

Be Funny

2020.03.24 15:39 Walter White/Steely Dan Fan Page

Ironic and satirical posts that are Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul related. Must pass the bar exam to post.

2022.08.07 21:09 Cumbandicoot PutYourDickAwayWaltuh

A sub dedicated to BrBa and BCS memes, preferably ones that relate to or are focused on sex/porn/kinks.

2023.03.21 19:09 Aware-Guard-8119 Eating disorders are symptoms

Eating disorders are symptoms
It's necessary to remember that restricting/purging, etc are symptoms. The cause is trauma and the link between PTSD and eating disorders is becoming known. I'm recovered and I know that the ED behaviour makes you feel that you're able to cope. It's totally the reverse. Food is just the medium that you're using to try to escape from the pain. I recovered with the help of a cognitive behavioural psychologist, who gave me 15 tools to help me to rewire myself. For example, i had the typical habit of always thinking that I 'should' do such and such. This was part of the disorder (it's not all about food). She told me that whenever we act from a sense of 'should,' we are giving our power away to others. It's then a case of putting it into practice...small steps. In doing so you gradually take back the control over your own life.
submitted by Aware-Guard-8119 to Eating [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 19:05 possum_thief Any suggestions on what I should change, add, or remove? (It doesn't have a title yet)

(I don't know where else to post this too so l'm posting it here for now)
I met a beautiful woman, her hair was gold like the morning sun, her eyes as blue as the deep ocean, her voice was kind and warm, her skin was pale like snow, her smile was comforting, her husband was the complete opposite. When I accidently bumped into her in the grocery store I fell in love at first sight. When she asked me if I could grab something on a shelf that she was too short to reach, I agreed without hesitation. When I left the store, I saw her in the parking lot, struggling to carry the many bags of groceries to her small teal Morris Minor. I couldn’t bear to see her struggle so I approached her and offered her assistance. She accepted gratefully. “Thank you so much for your help! My name is Mary Carmine, by the way ” She said, her smile made my heart flutter and my stomach do backflips. “It’s my pleasure! My name is James Booker” I said while giving her a small bow. “It’s nice to have help like this while being pregnant…” She said, her smile a little less bright. I was shocked. Pregnant? But that would mean that she’s married… I felt my heart shatter but I didn’t let it show. After we said our goodbyes I went to my own car and drove off. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of her. I couldn’t get her off my mind so I decided to go for a walk. While on the walk, I passed a house where I heard a man yelling and a woman crying. Even though it wasn’t my business I was still curious and had nothing better to do, so I peeked through the curtains. What I saw made my blood boil. Mary was on the floor with her hands covering her face, blood running down her forehead and the man who I suspect was her husband, was standing over her with his fists clenched. I felt something inside me snap. I felt anger like I never felt before. I hid behind a bush when I heard him say he was going to the bar. Once I was sure he left I got up from my hiding spot and knocked on the door. She answered the door and was shocked to see me there. “W-What are you do-doing here…? H-How did yo-you find me…? Y-You really sh-shouldn’t be he-here!” She said in between sniffles. “I know we’ve just met, but I love you Mrs. Carmine! You deserve someone better than him! Someone who won’t hurt you!” I said, holding her hands close to my chest. “I-I shouldn’t…! I-I couldn’t possibly…!” She said, I could tell she felt the same way but she was scared. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down. “If he w-were to find out then-” she said before I cut her off. “He doesn’t have to. Don’t be scared! I’ll make sure he doesn’t find out!” I said. She thought for a moment. “...Do you promise…?” she sniffled. “Yes!” I said, holding her hands tighter but not tight enough to hurt her. I made sure to never hurt her. She thought a bit more, I saw her beautiful, blue, doe eyes flick from my face to the picture of her and her husband hanging on the wall behind me, then back and forth between me and the picture before making her decision. She looked me in the eyes and nodded, I could tell she was fighting back more tears that were threatening to start falling. We sat on the couch for half an hour, talking about what lies to tell, and how we’d get away with it. When we heard his car pull up to the house she panicked but I reassured her everything would be fine. I left through the backdoor and went back home. We saw each other everyday without being caught. Her husband was big and bad but he wasn’t very bright. One night she requested to meet in the park after her husband passed out drunk. She was dressed in a lovely yellow dress but my attention was immediately drawn to her black eye. “James! I’m so sorry… My husband is starting to suspect something…! We can’t keep seeing each other!” She said she was crying. “Mary!! Your eye…! Did he…?” I said. My head began reeling when she nodded her head. I felt many emotions at once. Heartbreak, sadness, and anger. I wasn’t mad at her, no. I could never be mad at her. I was mad at the man keeping us apart. She was my love, my world, my life, she was my everything. I won’t let anyone take her from me. I knew what I had to do in order to keep us together. She was distraught, I assured her I’d make everything better. I told her to go home and go to sleep and everything would be okay in the morning. After we parted ways I went to a bar I knew her husband frequented. As expected, I saw him sitting at the bar alone, clearly drunk. I walked up to him and put on the friendliest smile I could muster up. I greeted him as though he was an old friend. We laughed and drank together, just being beside him made me sick. I loathed him. Before this, I had never touched a drop of alcohol before, vile stuff, but in the end it was all for her. When he got drunk enough, I promised to take him home. I put him into my car, drove him to a secluded spot in the forest near the park. I pulled him out of my car, he was passed out drunk, I laid him face down on the ground then I took the revolver I carried around for safety, out of my pocket and shot him in the back of his head. I was splattered in blood and brain matter but I didn’t care. I took the handkerchief out of my pocket and wiped the gun clean of any finger marks then tossed the gun into a nearby lake. I was planning on disposing of him for sometime now but now I had a reason. I searched him and found a pocket knife, one that army men carried around. I cut open his stomach and all his intestines, filled his stomach with rocks, then threw him and the knife into the water. I drove home in silence. When I got home I took a bath, then burned my clothes. The next day I went to see her. She invited me in and she cried to me that she was worried because her husband never returned home. “Y-You-” She stuttered. I had told her what I did. “Yes…” I said. I knew she didn’t want to believe it but she forced herself to. “Mary? Do you still love me?” I said. The way she looked at me when I told her what I had done made me keep my distance from her, I didn’t want to scare her anymore. “Yes! Of course I do…! I know that what you did was to keep me and my baby safe… Oh James, I’m so sorry you were dragged into this…!” She cried. “Don’t be sorry… Mary, listen to me very carefully. If the police ask you anything, don’t cover for me. Pretend you met me after your husband disappeared, Okay?” I said, wiping her tears. “Bu-But what i-if you beco-ome a suspect…?” She said between sniffles. “I won’t deny anything. I promise I’ll leave you enough money and support to raise your child, okay? I want you to be happy, even if it’s without me…” I said. “...Our child…” She said quietly. “Our-” I said before being interrupted by banging on the door. “Mary Carmine, you’re under arrest for suspicion of the murder of David Carmine” Mary let out a small scream but I shushed her. “Mary, I love you from here to eternity… Be safe my love” I said as I hugged her tight, making sure I didn’t squeeze against her stomach. “James-” She said before she cut herself off as I walked towards the door. She stood there, frozen with her mouth agape and tears streaming down her gorgeous face. I stepped out of the house and confessed everything I did. The officer cuffed me and put me in the back of the police car with neighbors and everyone watching. I noticed Mary in the crowd. Her teary face was easy to spot. I smiled at her and pointed to my cheeks, signaling her to keep smiling, and with that we started driving away. As we drove I saw fathers saying goodbye to their wives and children as they left for work, birds caring for their young, baby bottles drying on window sills, and children playing in their yards. I smiled at seeing all these happy families, hoping Mary and her unborn child could be able to live that way. Mary attended my court trial, I heard her gasp when I was sentenced to the death penalty. I just smiled at her. When the date for my execution came, I didn’t see her there. I don’t think they allowed her to watch. They put the noose around my neck and put the bag over my head. Suddenly, I felt the floor drop.
submitted by possum_thief to KeepWriting [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 19:04 thepeacockmantis I did something unethical and got a huge emotional and mental boost with the results

I work in the tech field, which includes occasional desktop support.
A program wasn't cooperating on my boss' computer, so I uninstalled and reinstalled. The reinstall program was in her Downloads folder.
Within, I see a document titled "thepeacockmantis-USI" or "Unique Salary Increase"
She had mentioned it to me in our meeting last month, but I took it to be just blowing smoke up my ass. “We’ve put in three USI requests. Two have gone through. For some reason, yours hasn’t.” I’d been asking for a change to my salary for months. I figured she was trying to shut me up and as such I didn't ask for details.
I'm currently being paid ~92% of what I’m SUPPOSED to be making as per HR’s listing for my salary tier; which has been ruffling my feathers for almost a year now.
Yeah, I shouldn’t have opened the USI document, but it was right there. I’ve been feeling less than great about how valuable I am at work due to the fact I’m literally not being paid what they claim I’m worth.
Boss is asking HR to give me a 24% raise. Not two point four percent; twenty-four percent. That would not only cover the missing part of my salary, but would also bump me almost halfway into the next pay tier.
Due to CPTSD, I’ve learned that I’ve almost completely locked away my positive emotions. I can emulate happy or joy, but the FEELING never comes. I used to have butterflies, tingling sensations, warmth, and other uplifting moments internally. I thought it was all dead.
To me, this is written, undeniable proof that not only am I doing my job, but my coworkers are rooting for me, and want me to stay. I can’t even begin to explain what reading that said to me.
…and it’s waking up something inside I honestly thought wouldn’t ever return: those happy feelings. I’m starting to FEEL SOMETHING GOOD INSIDE! Even now, my subconscious is trying to douse it yet again. CPTSD is screaming that this is only temporary and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
No. This victory is mine. You can’t have it, bullshit brain.
Note: this does not mean I will indeed get that full amount as a raise, but my boss wants it for me, and that's what matters to me here.
submitted by thepeacockmantis to CPTSD [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 19:00 MadmanRavings One Piece: Devil Fruit Awakenings.

Leave your opinion in comments, if you will.
Whenever a devil fruit awakens, it practically finishes its role. It gives the power it holds to the eater. Whoever it is that made these fruits, obviously made them to have people easily master the powers they hold.
When someone awakens a devil fruit, he gets the 'concept' of the powers stored in the fruit, and from this point his abilities are no longer fixed by the fruit, but are whatever he can imagine and however he can utilise this concept.
Doflamingo, for example, instead of just creating and controlling strings, after awakening can turn anything into strings. The reason it is only inanimate objects is probably because it will take too much energy to convert a living thing into strings. He'd rather turn it's surroundings into strings and kill him, and for enemies he can't cut with a string, they are already powerful enough to resist him turning them into strings.
The same goes for other awakened devil fruits. After awakening, the abilities given by fruits are no longer a 'mold' but a container. Whatever you can 'pull' and put into this container with a 'concept' shaped hole, is now an ability of this devil fruit.
For example, ope ope no mi is operation devil fruit. It allows law to create a single operation room centred on him, but after awakening, his operation can be anywhere he wants. The only limitation of whatever it can do is law's physical strength.
So, devil fruits, after awakening can give one concepts.
Spoilers below, btw.
For example, if lufffy, after awakening his rubber fruit can turn anything around him into rubber, he can actually turn the space around him into rubber to stretch and bounce himself through space.
The only limitation is physical strength, and whether he knows how to do it.
I would venture a guess that the civilization that created the devil fruits was a very very high magic civilization, as they could capture concepts from nature, from phenomena, from divine beasts and even gods and put them into fruits. Perhaps the magic simply faded, or something happened that sucked away the magic of the world away, but let's be honest, no normal world would simply randomly have devil fruits born naturally, or people being able to learn the several types of haki, or the sea kings, or even the red continent. The whole world of one piece to me looks like it is the remains of a high magic civilization, one that could move continents, capture concepts, and do many such abilities not possible for high technology, but completely normal for high magic.
submitted by MadmanRavings to FanTheories [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 19:00 greg0525 Reflections of the Past

Sophie shifted in her seat, her heart pounding as she waited for the verdict to be delivered. She glanced over at her sister Emily, who sat beside her, her hands clenched tightly in her lap.
The courtroom was packed with people, all waiting to hear the fate of the man who had killed Sophie's beloved husband. Sophie could feel their eyes on her, judging her, and she felt a surge of anger rise within her.
Finally, the judge spoke.
"The court finds the defendant guilty of murder in the second degree," he said, his voice echoing through the room. "I hereby sentence him to 10 years in prison."
Sophie gasped, feeling as though the air had been knocked out of her. "Only 10 years?" she whispered, her voice shaking with anger.
Emily placed a comforting hand on Sophie's shoulder. "I know, it's not enough," she said, her voice low. "But at least he'll be off the streets for a little while."
Sophie nodded, but she couldn't shake the feeling of injustice that filled her. "He took my husband from me," she said, her voice rising. "He deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life!"
The man who had killed her husband sat in the defendant's chair, his eyes cast downward. Sophie glared at him, hatred burning in her chest.
"You'll never know the pain you've caused," she spat, her voice cold.
The man looked up at her, his eyes empty of emotions.
Sophie's voice was rising again. "You took away the love of my life, and for what? A stupid argument?"
The man hung his head, unable to meet Sophie's gaze.
Sophie shook her head, tears streaming down her face. "You'll pay for what you've done. One way or another."
Sophia and Emily walked out of the courtroom, both feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. The weight of the verdict was heavy on Sophie's heart, and she couldn't shake off the feeling that justice hadn't been served.
At Sophie’s house, Emily wrapped her arm around Sophie's shoulder, trying to offer some comfort.
"It's okay, Sophie. We'll find a way to make it right," Emily said softly.
Sophie let out a deep sigh and leaned her head on Emily's shoulder. "I don't know, Em. Ten years is not enough for taking someone's life."
Sophie was lost in her thoughts for a moment, replaying the memories of her husband and how much she missed him.
Then Emily left and Sophia went straight to the couch and collapsed on it, feeling emotionally exhausted. She closed her eyes and tried to relax, but her mind kept replaying the events of the day.
As Sophia lay in bed, she couldn't shake off the feeling that something was not right. She felt uneasy and restless, her thoughts still lingering on the verdict and the killer of her beloved husband.
Suddenly, she noticed a faint glow from the corner of her eyes. It was coming from the large mirror on the wall.
Sophia got up and made her way towards the mirror, her curiosity piqued. As she drew closer to it, she saw that the glow was getting stronger and stronger. The mirror was emitting its own light.
To her surprise, the mirror now looked like a TV screen. It showed the same living room at night, and she could see her husband walking in with his briefcase. Sophie was dumbfounded. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.
Suddenly, she saw the image of her husband freeze, and then the mirror went dark. Sophie was so startled that she stumbled back and ran out of the living room. She ran to the garden, trying to catch her breath and make sense of what had just happened.
As she stood there, taking deep breaths, Sophie couldn't help but wonder if the mirror was showing her the last moments of her husband's life. The thought made her shiver, and she couldn't shake off the feeling of unease that lingered in the back of her mind.
The next day, Sophie told Emily that she saw her dead husband in the mirror Emily did not believe her. Emily tried to examine the mirror but there was nothing wrong with it. Then Emily left and Sophie started cleaning the house, including the newspaper clippings about the murder of her husband.
Sophie was in the living room when Emily arrived. "Sophie, how are you feeling today?" Emily asked.
Sophie replied, "I am feeling a little better, but I saw something strange yesterday."
"What did you see?" Emily asked curiously.
Sophie explained, "I saw my husband in the mirror last night. It was like a TV, showing the living room at night, and he walked in with his briefcase."
Emily looked at Sophie skeptically, "That's impossible, Sophie. Maybe you were just dreaming."
Sophie was starting to feel frustrated, "No, Emily, I saw it. You have to believe me."
Emily tried to reassure Sophie, "Okay, okay, let's take a look at the mirror and see if there's anything wrong with it."
Sophie led Emily to the mirror, and they examined it carefully, but there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it.
Emily turned to Sophie, "See, there's nothing wrong with the mirror. Maybe it was just your imagination."
Sophie was starting to feel alone and misunderstood, "I know what I saw, Emily. You don't believe me."
Emily tried to console Sophie, "I believe that you saw something, Sophie, but we just don't know what it is yet. Let's keep an open mind and see if anything else happens."
Sophie nodded, "Okay, that sounds fair."
After Emily left, Sophie decided to clean the house, including the newspaper clippings about the murder of her husband. She couldn't bear to see them anymore, as they reminded her of her loss. She put them all in a box and tucked them away in the closet, hoping to move on with her life.
As Sophie was tidying up, she happened to catch a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. To her surprise, the mirror seemed to be displaying a series of moving images. The images showed her husband Rick returning home and shortly after, the doorbell rang.
Sophie could see the anger in Dave's eyes as he confronted Rick.
"You have no idea how much money I lost because of you!" Dave spat, his face twisted in fury.
Rick, his own voice growing louder, shot back, "I know exactly what I did! You're not thinking clearly, Dave."
Dave stepped closer to Rick, his fists clenched at his sides. "Don't you dare tell me what I'm thinking! You don't know anything about me!"
Rick stood his ground, his own fists balled up in preparation for a fight. "I know enough to know that you're acting like a madman right now."
Suddenly, without warning, Dave lunged at Rick, his fist connecting with Rick's jaw. The force of the blow sent Rick staggering backwards, and he stumbled into a nearby table, knocking over a vase in the process.
Sophie watched in horror as the two men continued to fight, their movements growing more and more frenzied by the second. The sounds of grunts and shouts echoed through the house, and Sophie could feel her own heart racing as she realized that things were quickly spiraling out of control.
"Stop it! Stop it, please!" Sophie cried out, but her words went unheard as the fight between Rick and Dave raged on.
She was frozen in place, unable to move or intervene in the fight. The sounds of their shouts and grunts echoed throughout the house, adding to the chaos of the scene. The scene in the mirror continued to play out, showing Rick collapsing to the ground as Dave walked out of the house, looking triumphant.
“He didn’t kill him! He didn’t kill him! It wasn’t him”, she said and the thought that an innocent man was going to be sentenced for years was terrifying.
Sophie's heart raced as she made her way to the DEA's office. She knew that what she was about to tell him would be hard to believe, but she had to try. When she arrived, she explained to the agent that she had seen in the mirror a different version of events than what had been presented in court.
"You see," she began nervously, "my husband wasn't murdered by the man who was sentenced. I saw in the mirror that it was someone else entirely."
The DEA agent raised an eyebrow skeptically. "What are you talking about? That's impossible."
Sophie took a deep breath and explained everything that she had witnessed in the mirror, from the argument to the violent altercation and the aftermath. She pleaded with the agent to reopen the case and investigate further.
But the agent remained skeptical. "I understand that you believe what you saw, but the sentence cannot be changed based on what you think you saw in a mirror."
Sophie felt her heart sink as she realized that her efforts might be in vain. She had hoped that by coming forward, she could right the wrongs that had been done and bring justice to her husband. But now it seemed like that might not be possible.
Deflated, Sophie left the DEA's office and began to consider other options. She knew that she couldn't give up on finding the truth, even if it meant going against the system.
Sophie's mind was still reeling from her encounter with the DEA agent as she returned home. She needed to distract herself from the disappointment of not being able to get justice for her husband, so she decided to focus on something else. Cleaning was always a good way to keep busy, she thought.
However, she couldn't help but wonder if there was more to the story that she didn't know about so she went back to the mirror.
As she stared into the glass, she was surprised to see a new image materialize. It was the dark living room at night, and she could barely make out any details. But as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she could see her husband Rick rummaging around under the couch.
Her heart racing, Sophie watched as Rick retrieved a mobile phone from under the couch. She recognized it immediately as the same phone she had found earlier. Rick checked something on the phone, and then put it back under the couch.
That was the moment when she spotted a dark figure standing at the door. Sophie's heart was pounding in her chest as she watched the scene unfold in the mirror. Sophie strained to hear what they were saying, but the sound was muffled and she couldn't make out the words. The tension in the room was palpable, and Sophie felt like she was holding her breath as she watched the two figures interact.
Suddenly, the woman stepped forward, and Sophie could see that she was holding something in her hand. As she got closer, the object came into focus, and Sophie felt her blood run cold. It was a knife.
Sophie watched in horror as her sister approached her husband, who seemed to have no idea what was about to happen. The woman raised the knife, and with a swift motion, plunged it into Rick's chest. Sophie felt sick to her stomach as she watched the gruesome scene play out in front of her.
Now she could make out more of the dark figure. She could immediately recognize her blonde hair: it was her sister.
She couldn't believe that her own sister was capable of such a horrific act. Tears streamed down her face as she realized that the truth had finally been revealed - her sister was responsible for her husband's murder.
But why?
Then she remembered the phone. She bent down to see if it was still there and it was. It was a sleek black model that she had never seen before.
Curious, she picked up the phone and pressed the power button. To her surprise, the phone came to life. She entered a random PIN number and it worked, to her astonishment
“How is that possible?”, she told herself and registered it as a lucky guess.
She scrolled through the contacts and messages, hoping to find some clue as to who it belonged to.
And then she saw it - a message from her sister, Emily. She hesitated for a moment, wondering if she should invade her husband's privacy. But her curiosity got the best of her, and she checked the message.
The phone revealed a slew of messages and photos that left Sophie feeling sick to her stomach. It seemed that her husband had been cheating with her own sister. Some photos were taken in their own bedroom during intimate moments.
Sophie felt tears stinging her eyes as she realized the depth of her husband's and sister’s betrayal. She had thought that she knew them so well, but it seemed that he had been living a lie all along.
Was it possible that Rick wanted to break up the affair? Was Emily too afraid of Rick telling the truth?
Sophie heard a knock on the door, which made her jump with fright. She hesitated for a moment before approaching the door, her heart racing with anxiety. When she opened it, she found Emily standing there, holding a bag of food from a fast food restaurant.
"Hey, I brought some food," Emily announced, her voice sounding cheerful and friendly.
Sophie's nervousness was evident, her hands shaking as she took the food from Emily. She tried to act normal, but her mind was racing with fear. Her sister looked at Sophie, trying to read her expression, but she couldn't tell if Sophie's sister was hiding something.
"Are you all right?" Emily asked, trying to sound calm.
Sophie nodded, but she knew that she was not entirely convincing.
As they sat down on the couch, Sophie's eyes filled with tears and she started to sob uncontrollably. Emily's concerned gaze bore down on her. She knew what she had to ask, but the words caught in her throat like a fishhook.
“Emily...the mirror showed me something I wish wasn’t true. Did you and Rick have an affair?" she finally managed to choke out.
Emily's face fell, and Sophie could see the guilt etched into her features. But the admission she was about to make could change their friendship forever.
"Sophie, I...I did have an affair with Rick," Emily confessed, her voice barely above a whisper.
Sophie felt her heart drop into her stomach. She had suspected it for weeks, but hearing the truth was like a blow to the chest.
Tears streamed down her face as she struggled to process the betrayal. "How could you do this to me, Emily? How could you do this to us?"
Emily's face twisted in anger as she shot back, "Maybe if you weren't so possessive and controlling, Rick wouldn't have strayed. You don't show him enough love and attention. It was me who truly loved him."
Sophie recoiled as if she had been slapped. She had always thought of herself as a good wife, but Emily's accusations cut her to the core.
"You're just trying to justify what you did," Sophie said, her voice rising. "You knew how much Rick meant to me, and you still went behind my back and slept with him. How could you be so selfish?"
"I'm not the selfish one here," Emily shot back and got up from the couch, her own voice rising to match Sophie's. "You've always been so possessive of him like he's some kind of possession rather than a person. Maybe if you had shown him more love and attention, he wouldn't have looked elsewhere."
Sophie's anger grew as Emily continued to twist the knife. "You have no right to blame this on me. Rick's infidelity is his own fault and yours. You knew what you were doing was wrong, but you did it anyway. When he realized what sort of person you are, he wanted to leave you and you killed him, I saw it!” she said and got up too.
Emily’s face was contorted with rage now. "I can't listen to this anymore and I am fed up with your stupid mirror," she spat. Without warning, she grabbed a nearby vase and hurled it at the mirror on the wall. The glass shattered into a thousand pieces, scattering across the floor.
Sophie gasped in shock as the full weight of the situation hit her. She then snapped out of her trance and rushed over to the broken mirror, her hands shaking as she started collecting the shattered pieces. Tears streamed down her face as she desperately tried to piece the mirror back together, hoping to undo the damage that had been done.
But no matter how hard she tried, the mirror remained broken and fragmented, just like their relationship.
As Sophie frantically tried to collect the shattered pieces of the mirror from the floor, Emily slowly approached her with a menacing look in her eyes, her hands balled into fists. Sophie could feel her heart racing as she realized the danger that was looming over her.
"Calm down, Sophie," Emily said, her voice low and dangerous. "We need to talk about this."
Sophie's eyes widened in fear and she stumbled backwards, her hand reaching out for a piece of the mirror to hold onto. She grabbed it from the floor and her mind was racing how to get away from Emily, but her legs felt like jelly beneath her.
Without another word, Emily started charging towards Sophie, her arms outstretched as if to grab her. Sophie's instincts kicked in and she turned around, dashing up the stairs to the bedroom.
As she ran, she could hear Emily's footsteps pounding on the hardwood floor behind her, growing closer and closer. The fear that had been building inside her suddenly exploded into a desperate panic as she realized Emily was almost upon her.
Sophie's legs felt like lead, but she pushed herself harder, the adrenaline surging through her veins. Finally, she reached the bedroom door and slammed it, and locked it behind her, her back pressed against it as she gasped for breath.
Outside, Emily was still pounding on the door, her voice raised in anger. Sophie knew she had to find a way out of this situation, and fast.
Sophie's hand trembled as she held up the jagged piece of mirror. It caught the light from the moon and the reflection of the street lamps outside, casting an eerie glow across the room. As she stared at it, she noticed that one section of the mirror was still intact, like a small television screen.
With a sudden curiosity, Sophie held the mirror up to her face and peered into the reflective glass. The image of the living room materialized in front of her eyes, like a ghostly apparition. She saw the same scene as before, the living room at night with her sister standing over the lifeless body of her husband.
Blood stained the carpet beneath them, spreading out like a dark, ominous cloud. And then, as if in a trance, her sister reached down and retrieved the mobile phone from under the couch.
The screen of the phone illuminated her sister's face, casting a sickly green light over her features. Sophie's heart pounded in her chest as she realized the significance of what she was seeing.
Realizing that it was not her sister but herself with the same blond hair, she was overcome with terror. Tears and screams erupted from her as she remembered everything. She had always known about the affair, but the shock and remorse of it had caused her subconscious to try and repress the memory.
In the psychiatric hospital, where she belonged now, the guilt of the murder clung to her like a heavy shroud, refusing to fade away like haunting echoes.
submitted by greg0525 to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:58 a15minutestory [WP] You are a student in the most prestigious magic academy in the kingdom. No one knows how you got in, sure you have amazing magic potential, but you’re “magic blind” meaning you can only feel the presence of magic and not see any magic. [Part 64]

A slave-driving murderer had just publicly declared war on us. The cheering and applause of the people standing around us was an eerie and ominous accompaniment to the feeling of dread swelling in my chest and radiating down to my stomach. He'd captured all of them thus far. I swallowed and dropped my gaze down to the pavement as it dawned on me that all of those people had tasted freedom, and were then immediately and mercilessly hunted down and dragged back to hell.
But there was an interesting caveat there. He called us by the names O'Malley had erroneously wrote down in his ledger. The men that were chasing us that day had picked up our actual fake aliases, but then we'd killed them at the inn. It seemed that knowledge died with them– a drop of good luck in a raging downpour it seemed.
"William," I said just loud enough to catch his attention.
He turned and eyed me. "Huh? Were you talking to me?"
I lifted an eyebrow. "Yeah. Who else would I be calling William?"
He narrowed his eyes, "It's Tovin, you spaz."
I glanced around nervously. Nobody appeared to have been listening to us. I took him by the shoulder and led him away from the crowd gathered around the picture boxes. "What are you doing?" I hissed.
"What am I doing?" he scoffed. "What are you doing? You know my name. What, are you playing a game right now?"
"Our aliases," I said through my teeth. "We're using fake names, remember?"
His expression changed from annoyed and confused to forlorn and somber. He swallowed and looked away. "... I'm losing it again, aren't I?" he asked.
I remained silent. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want him to feel worse about it, but that would have been a dangerous slip-up in front of the wrong person. Before now, I was starting to think that Tovin back home had overblown how quickly the mental decline would be.
"Don't worry about it," I said finally, passing him on the sidewalk further into the city. "Come on. We need to find a way to make some money."
"And fast," he added, trailing behind me. "We need food, clothes, and a couple of beds. And more cigarettes, too. I've only got a few left and I'm trying to make them last."
We walked the mazelike streets of Bronzegirder looking for work. I wasn't used to Diesel society yet and often found myself hung up on storefront windows that marketed all kinds of gadgets and technology. I would do my best not to stare when people walked by wearing metallic pieces on their persons.
Some wore gadgets on their forearms, some on their wrists, and others in various other areas. I wondered what purpose they served, where they were sold, and how expensive they could be. And it wasn't just the gadgets. There were far more dark-skinned people here than we had in Galgia. It was something I had read about but never experienced. They ranged from light tan all the way to almost black, and it just added to the culture shock.
There appeared to be people living in the buildings above the storefronts. The tall towers we had seen in the far distance earlier served as housing as well as business space. Diesillians stood on their balconies, some hanging wet laundry, others leaning over their railing while they enjoyed a drink or a smoke. We passed so many things I would have wanted to stop and look at were we not being hunted. DuPonte seemed awfully sure of himself when he said he'd find us, but for the life of me, I couldn't imagine how one would find antything they were looking for in this city.
"I'm totally lost," I admitted. "We need a map or something."
He remained quiet. I turned to speak to him more directly only to find that he wasn't behind me anymore. My stomach dropped as I looked around at the sea of people.
"William?" I called out. "William!"
It was no good. I'd have to literally scream if I wanted to breach the drone of the crowd, and I couldn't afford to draw too much attention to myself. There was also the possibility that he'd forgotten his name again anyway. I adjusted the straps of my backpack and sighed deeply before doubling back. He couldn't have wandered too far away, and he'd be easy to spot against the horde of people in more modern clothing.
I kept close to the storefronts as I picked up my pace. I began to peer into each store as I passed them. The longer I searched, the more I worried. He wasn't in his right mind. He'd get himself noticed and captured if he let too much slip, or pulled down his hood. I came to the turn we had taken after we'd left the picture boxes. He was with me at this point, I was sure of it. I turned around and swallowed as I scanned the crowd.
This was really, really, bad.
"William?" I tried again. I decided to cross the street and nearly got run over by one of their vehicles. It screeched to a stop and when I lowered my arms, I found the front of the metallic machine inches from my face.
"Git the fuck oudda da road!" shouted the pilot, shaking his fist in the air. I quickly scurried onto the opposite sidewalk and made my way down the street with the flow of the crowd. I kept my eyes peeled as I walked. It was difficult to see over everyone's shoulders. Diesillians were a good deal taller than Galgians as a rule, and it made it a nightmare for an average-sized guy like myself. Just when I was about to start asking around, something caught my ear.
Something I never expected to hear– music.
I stopped in my tracks and the public parted around me like a river around a boulder. I turned toward the sound and followed my ears to a large silver pavilion nestled between two tall buildings. It looked like an empty lot that had been designed for another tall building but instead served as some sort of inner-city courtyard where live entertainment performed.
I slowly approached as a woman stood in front of a mic stand singing while a band performed with shining metallic instruments behind her. She had black hair styled in a way I'd never seen hair styled. It was pulled up and around under a hat and shined the same as her red lipstick did. But what awed me the most was that she was singing.
No danger; no combat; no sign of beasts being summoned forth. She sang beautifully, adding something to music that I had never in my life once considered because in Galgia, to sing was to slaughter. Music was a tool of war and forbidden entirely outside of such circumstances, for if one of us were even to hum, anything could come crawling out of the resulting portal.
But here she was, singing what I presumed were the words to a poem in perfect rhythm and harmony with the band that played behind her.
"You're my machine, my heart's ignition. The gears that keep my love in motion. You're the engine that never tires– the pistons set my soul on fire."
I was completely taken in. It was therefore no surprise to me that here in the crowd, I spotted Tovin watching her with equal admiration from the edge of the stage. I weaved through the crowd as politely as I was able and then stopped next to him. He glanced at me before quickly returning his eyes back to the stage. I didn't say anything to him; no words needed said so long as she was singing.
"You, my dear, a love machine, the one that keeps my bearings clean– I'm addicted to your engine's roar, your power's what I'm living for."
I wasn't a hundred percent sure what she was talking about, but it was clearly a love song written for one lucky guy. When the song was finished, she ever so slightly lifted her ruby-red dress from the sides and took a bow. The crowd clapped, a few whistles coming from somewhere behind us.
"Thank you," she said softly into the mic. "It's important to remember that love conquers all," she said, passing her deep black eyes over us. "Hatred fades over time, but love lasts; it endures. This next song is about a long lost love and reconnection."
We stayed and listened to a couple more songs before she left the stage, and the band with her. She disappeared on promises of returning tomorrow for a second show. Of all the things thus far I had seen in the land of our enemy, something so sweet as non-weaponized music ranked among the most surprising and awe-inspiring.
As the crowd began to disperse back onto the main street, I turned to Tovin. "Hey, do me a favor and don't disappear like that. I didn't know where you were and we've got to stick together."
"Can we come back here tomorrow?" he asked, completely ignoring what I'd said. He stared at me with hopeful eyes, a small smile on his face. It still felt strange of him to ask me permission for anything, but I couldn't deny that it was a pretty magical performance.
"Only if we live that long," I answered with a heaping helping of snark. "We need money so we can get off these streets tonight. Come on, we're losing daylight."
He looked past my shoulder and suddenly pointed. "What about that?"
I turned to see a bulletin board posted on the side of a building not far from us. On it were several posts, but one of them specifically read, "200 Octim Sign-On Bonus." The two of us walked up the board and looked over the job.
"There's a sign-on bonus," Tovin said as his eyes moved down the paper. "The Empress needs you. Galgian dogs sent monsters to run amok in our fair empire. Officials are spread thin amidst heightened tensions with Galgia's military. Find and kill monsters for bounties. Seek employment at the Hunters' Barracks at 443 Alloy Avenue on the north side of town. Look for the men in uniform."
"Monsters?" I asked. "There aren't any monsters in Galgia. None in all of Aurii if our textbooks are accurate."
"You want to at least check it out?" he asked.
"I think we'd be wasting our time," I said dismissively. "We hiked through a bunch of wilderness closer to the Galgian border and we didn't see anything all night."
He folded his arms. "Then let's get our sign-on bonus and leave."
That was such a fantastic point that I pushed my palm against my forehead and visibly cringed. "Oof. Why am I so dumb?" I whined.
"I don't think you're dumb," Tovin said as he moved down the bulletin board to look at other flyers. "I think you're just honest to a fault. It never would have occurred to you to do something so underhanded."
I would never get used to compliments from Tovin. It was like watching a different person wear his body and speak with his voice. Had life at ENU really been such a drag on him?
"None of these other jobs are offering money upfront," he added, turning to face me. "Let's head to the north side of town and see if we can find Alloy Avenue."
x - - x - - x - - ★ - - x - - x - - x
The walk was long and difficult– not because it was too far, but because we had to pass so much delicious-smelling food along the way. I hadn't been sure before if Tovin was as hungry as I was, but the north side of Bronzegirder was quiet enough to hear both of our stomachs growling in concert with one another. The buildings were made of brick in the district we wandered through, and the walkways were closer to cobblestone like the kind we had back home. The roads were three times as wide, there were benches along the walkways, and they had planted trees caged in black iron gates at the trunks. The few people that strolled the sidewalks on Alloy Avenue were well-to-do, dressed in expensive-looking suits and wearing high hats with wide brims.
"I like this side of town better," Tovin said as we looked for building addresses. "Though I have to say, I'm surprised to see trees in the collossity."
"Goes a little against what we were taught doesn't it?" I asked.
"I don't recall being taught anything," he grumbled. "It's just another thing I somehow know."
I cast him a sympathetic glance and he didn't seem to like it. He scowled at me, "Don't you pity me."
"I'm not," I rolled my eyes. "I'd never feel bad for you Tovin, not in a thousand years."
"Just shut up," he snapped. "We're here."
He stopped in front of a brick building with an impressive stone staircase that had bronze handrails running up the length of them. At the top were two men in uniform just as the flyer had indicated. He was the first to start up the steps and I quickly followed behind him. As we passed them I took a good look at their uniforms. I could have sworn that I'd seen them somewhere before. We walked up to the glass doors and pulled them open.
A blast of warm air blew over us as we entered the building and it was a welcome reprieve from the cold. Inside was smaller than I had anticipated. I was expecting high ceilings, murals, metal artwork, and all kinds of stuff from how nice the outside looked. Instead, we found ourselves standing in a dirty lobby about the size of a headmaster's office. There were several rows of chairs dotted with people filling out forms on clipboards. At the back of the lobby was a little window with a man sitting on the other side. He was dark-skinned, had a shaved head, and bore a grisly pink scar across his cheek. He waved us forward when he noticed us.
"Let me do the talking," I whispered to Tovin, taking the lead in front of him as we made our way over; he didn't protest.
"Afternoon, gentlemen," he spoke into a microphone that relayed his voice to us through a little black device on the window. "Thinking about joining up?"
Before I could even speak, Tovin leaned onto the counter. "So when you say monsters," he adopted a skeptical look. "You mean like the ones that don't exist?"
The man behind the counter rolled his eyes. "Oh, great, another conspiracy theorist."
"What did you call me?" Tovin shot back.
"Ahhh, ha ha," I called out loudly, pulling Tovin back by his shoulder. "My brother is better at fighting than talking," I covered quickly. "Just talk to me from here on in."
He cast me a disinterested glance before handing us both clipboards with forms attached. "Whatever. Just read the whole thing and sign the liability waiver at the bottom. He's free to deny their existence while they're chewing his face off, but the empire won't be responsible for it."
I took both of the clipboards and passed one to Tovin. The two of us sat down and began going through them– and immediately, we faced a problem. They wanted first and last names, home addresses, medical history, and something called landline numbers. Tovin and I exchanged glances; this wasn't going to work.
I stood up and slowly walked back up to the counter as I looked over the document. Every time I looked, it seemed more and more ridiculous. Blood type? Social security number? Insurance provider? I didn't know what any of this meant. It might as well have been in an entirely different language.
"Did you have a question?" asked the man behind the counter.
"Yeah, I don't have most of this information," I said, setting the clipboard down on the counter. "Sorry, but we're gonna have to just go."
"Well, hang on now," he said, reaching under the little pass-through window and retrieving the clipboard. "I take it you boys are homeless then?" he asked.
"Uhh... Yeah," I answered tentatively. Did they really have such a homeless problem that he was able to jump to that conclusion so quickly? "We don't know how to answer these questions, so thanks anyways."
"I said hang on, dammit," he called through the mic before swiveling around in his chair and pulling some kind of lever underneath it that caused it to sink lower to the floor. He opened a cabinet and began rifling through it. I peered through the window at his chair– it was on some kind of ball axis that allowed him to spin in it freely. I felt like every couple of minutes I was seeing something I'd never seen before. He swiveled back around and lifted his chair back up before he handing me a new form. It was more like a strip of paper with three questions on it.
Shirt size, shoe size, and pant size.
There was a second slip of paper underneath it. I looked back up at the window attendant as Tovin appeared next to me. I handed him the slip of paper and we exchanged glances.
"The empire isn't being picky right now," spoke the man through the speaker. "You'll be assigned a number, a gun, and a uniform. You won't be eligible for emergency care, and you can't be assigned to a party. It'll be just the two of you. If you're still interested, we need all the help we can get."
I shrugged at Tovin, and he got to work filling out the information. I leaned on the counter and jotted down my uniform size before signing the waiver and handing everything back. He took both of the documents and then nodded toward the door on his right. "Come on back."
He reached under the table and did something that caused the door to make a whirring sound. It popped open on its own, and he thumbed us over to it. "Close it on your way in. Walk straight down the hall and through the third door on your left. Your hunter number is 27B and his is 28B."
We walked down the hallway and found the designated door already opened and with a sign on the inside that read, "Uniforms HERE" with an arrow pointing into the room. We were met by a portly woman with bouncy curls that hung down to her shoulders. She sat behind a desk absolutely surrounded by hanging uniforms, all kept in clear covering. She sized us up with a retractable ruler– the coolest ruler I had ever seen. After she took our measurements, she began sifting through uniforms.
"Why did they ask us for our sizes if they were going to measure us?" Tovin grumbled.
"I don't know," I whispered. "Just be quiet."
"Don't tell me to be quiet," he shot back, elbowing me in the ribs.
She turned around holding two suits by the hangers, one in each hand. "Your uniforms will come out of your first bounty collected," she announced. "No money needed upfront. Change into them and make sure they fit." We took them from her and she breezed past us. "Holler out here when you're changed." She closed the door behind her.
We turned away from one another and began getting dressed. I pulled back the crinkly clear material and looked down at the uniform. Now that I was seeing it closer, it was actually an extremely dark shade of blue, rather than black as I had thought prior. I looked down at the hat and held it in my hands. I had seen it before. Then, all at once, it came rushing back to me.
These were the uniforms of the men that had come to the mine. They had come carrying guns to inspect the worksite after what had happened to Hammer. Skully must have thought a monster had gotten to him based on the state of his body. I stared down at the uniform in disbelief. Could monsters really be running around in Diesel territory?
"You better not be looking over here," Tovin warned.
They had mistaken what Tovin had done for a monster attack. Skully's "fonekall" wasn't a pilgrimage. It was some form of long-distance communication. She reached out to the capital to request aid from someone, and they sent these guys. I began to wonder if I was making a mistake. If we could be dispatched like that, then we could feasibly be sent back to the camp.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. We were only in it for the sign-on bonus. Once we had that in our hands, we'd be outta here. We could even jump to the next town. They knew nothing about us other than our clothing size. We could be dust in the wind by tomorrow morning.
I shoved those thoughts to the back of my mind and quickly got dressed. The uniform fit perfectly, it was comfortable, and best of all had been designed with a high collar. It covered our neck markings perfectly. I turned to see Tovin with the hat on already. He looked like a classic Diesel villain from a comic book I had read as a kid.
"It fits nice," he said, testing the range of motion he had in his arms. "I think this will work."
"Yeah," I nodded. "Let's get our money and get the hell out."
"Speaking my language," he smirked.
He moved for the door and leaned out, calling for the attendant. I looked at myself in the full-body mirror and did a quick turnaround. I had to admit, I looked pretty darn stylish. The white gloves, belt, and hat looked pretty good against the dark blue and gold buttons.
The woman returned and smiled at both of us, her curls bouncing as she tossed her gaze cartoonishly left and right between us. "You two look good!"
"Thanks," I smiled back. "When do we get our sign-on bonus?"
"Oh, don't worry about that just yet," she said, moving back to her desk. "Do you boys know how to shoot?" she asked as she sat down.
"Shoot?" Tovin asked.
"A gun," she clarified, her smile fading. "Have either of you shot a gun?"
"No, ma'am," I answered. "Our parents didn't let us near them growing up."
"That's no problem," she said, lifting her hands. "We're happy to teach you the basics. You'll just exit the room and go left down to the very end of the hallway. I'll buzz you through the double doors at the end, and Old Mitchell will take you from there."
Tovin audibly groaned, and I took him by the arm, leading him out of the room. We walked down the hallway as he bellyached about what a waste of time it was. It was unlike him to turn his nose up at the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of a new weapon. In fact, he'd been acting weirdly childish lately. I didn't like it. It beat dealing with Tovin-Classic, but it was still a hassle. As we neared the end of the hallway, we began hearing the sound of guns being fired one by one.
The doors buckled and hummed the same as the first door had, and we pushed them open. We passed into a large room with Diesillians shooting at targets a good distance away. This was why the building was so large and the lobby was so small. The brick walls were covered in informational and safety posters, as well as what appeared to be schematics for the weapons themselves.
I looked across the large room to see a man striding toward us. He was wearing shiny black boots that were laced tightly to his calves. His pants and jacket were hunter green, and he bore perhaps the silliest mustache I'd ever seen; It was long and curled at the tips. I had to be careful not to snicker– his eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses, and I couldn't tell if he was watching me.
"New recruits?" he called out to us from entirely too far away.
"Yes sir," I called back. "My brother and I just signed up."
"Brothers!" he exclaimed. "I love it, dammit!" He stopped in front of us. He was chewing on something and was being as obnoxious as he possibly could about it. He was wearing perhaps the stupidest hat I had seen of the Diesel yet. It had no visible brim and was high on one side while sloping down toward the other. For the life of me, I couldn't discern the purpose of it.
"You boys know how to shoot?" he asked.
"No sir," I shook my head. "We're new at this."
"Good," he smiled widely. "That means you haven't formed any bad habits yet. I love newbies," he said before waving for us to follow him. "Come on, let's get you your rifles. I'm Mitch, but folks around here call me Old Mitchell."
"James," I said as I followed after him. "This is my brother William." It was difficult to talk over the noise of the weapons. I occasionally jumped when someone shot their gun nearby– a reflex I couldn't wait to be rid of. He led us to a small room; so small that it might as well have been a glorified safe. He disappeared inside and came back out holding two guns. The same long metal tubes Tovin and I had been attacked with at O'Malley's inn.
We each took one and promptly inspected it. Suddenly, Old Mitchell stepped forward and grabbed both of our guns by the barrel, lifting them so they were pointed at the ceiling.
"You boys ever even held one of these?" he barked. "Careful where you aim. Never point one of these at anything or anyone that you're not prepared to destroy."
"They sweep you, Mitch?" asked a man as he passed behind us.
"Pointed 'em right at me," he called back with a laugh. "We'll get 'em straightened out, don't you worry about that." He looked at us both, chewing aggressively. "Now I'm gonna let these rifles go. You keep 'em pointed up, you understand?"
"Yes, sir," I answered.
"Sure," Tovin said in a disinterested tone.
He let go of our rifles and we kept them pointed at the ceiling as we were told. I looked up and down the length of the tube before turning it over and inspecting the area under the barrel. It was split underneath with what looked like some kind of spring running along the length of the tube.
"They're not loaded," Mitch said, waving for us to follow him to the other side of the room. "But you will always treat them like they are. I'm going to show you how to load them over here. Set them down on the desk, I'm gonna stand between the two of you so I can watch you both."
I set my gun down in front of me and looked to my right. There was a box of what I presumed to be bullets. I expected them to be round pellet-like projectiles, but they were tubular with roughly textured heads on them.
"Turn your weapon over. You'll notice you can see a spring inside the bottom of the barrel. Close to the other end of your gun, you'll find a little round tab there. Take that tab and push it with your thumb all the way up toward the tip of the barrel. You'll then pop it out to the side there."
I did as he asked, and sure enough, the barrel popped out to the left at the tip of the weapon. I glanced over at Tovin who was struggling with the spring. Old Mitchell moved over and helped him with it. "Sometimes they get stuck," he muttered as he got Tovin to the same step I was at.
"Now," he shouted. "Take your ammunition right there in the box next to you, and begin placing the rounds into the underside of the barrel, flat side first. Then, you'll load more bullets into the gun overlapping one another. Be careful not to let the rounds collide with one another too heavily, or you could have a little accident."
I loaded the bullets carefully one after another until the barrel was about full. He checked on Tovin's rifle, and then inspected mine.
"Good. Now realign the barrel, there and come with me to the bay," he said, starting toward the practice range. I carefully lifted the weapon and rested it against my shoulder, turning with Tovin to follow him. When we stopped at the range, he motioned for Tovin first. "Come on, Will, we're gonna start with you."
"Pass," he said nonchalantly.
Old Mitchell blinked twice. "What?"
"I want to see Gill do it first," he said, stepping out of my way.
"It's a nickname," I said quickly, stepping up to the range. "Anyways, I'll go first, I don't mind, what do I do here?"
Mitch remained silent for a couple of seconds before clapping his hands once. "Okay! Well, go ahead and pull the hammer back."
I looked down at the weapon and then back up at him. Sensing my confusion, he carefully reached forward and pulled back a little tiny lever on the top of the rifle until it clicked. "That's called pulling the hammer back," he said. "Will, you watching this?"
He didn't wait for a response. "Next thing you're gonna do is pull that lever out underneath the gun. That's going to load the weapon with a fresh cartridge. You're gonna do that between every shot, now. Lift it up against your shoulder like this; get it snug in there." He pulled it against my shoulder. "Look down the iron sight there at the tip of the rifle and line it up against your target. Your weapon is primed and ready to fire. You're good for fifteen shots before you've got to reload. You can always flip it over to see how many bullets are left. Go ahead and aim carefully, and try and hit that target paper down there."
At the end of the range, there was a piece of paper with a silhouette of a human head, shoulders, and torso. I closed one eye for better aim and held the gun tightly as I lined up my shot.
"Don't pull the trigger," Mitch advised in my left ear. "Squeeze it. Squeeze the trigger until it doesn't move easily anymore. Then when you're sure about your aim, squeeze with just that little bit of extra strength you need."
I did as he said, and felt what he was referring to. With my target in sight, my hand steady, and my aim as true as I could hope for, I fired the weapon. The shot rang out right in my ear, but interestingly enough, it wasn't so bad when I was the one firing. I was ready for it, and expecting it.
"Holy smokes!" exclaimed Mitch. "You put one right between the eyes!"
"Beginners's luck," said a man from behind me. "I did the same thing first time I shot, and never did it again."
"Let's prove him wrong, James," Old Mitchell laughed. "Now use that lever under the gun to eject the casing and load a fresh bullet."
I pulled the lever and the shiny little bullet casing popped out the top and flew over my shoulder. It was a really satisfying feeling.
"Do I pull the hammer again? I asked.
"Nope, it'll pop back down. You'll only pull that hammer back the first time. Go ahead and fire again, only this time, aim for the neck."
"Alright," I said, closing my eye and tightening my focus. I squeezed the trigger just as I had the first time and shot a hole straight through the center of the target's neck. I lifted my head and smiled. "I hit it!"
"No way," said the man behind me. "Ain't never shot before, my ass. He's taking you for a ride, Mitch."
"You're sure you're new at this, son?" Old Mitchell asked, one eye half shut. "That's really impressive, kid. Seriously, if this is your first time holding a rifle, you might be cut out for the military. Had a staff sergeant with worse aim than you."
"Alright, alright," Tovin pushed me aside. "My turn. Let me show you something you'll never forget."
The two of us took turns shooting for hours. We hadn't even noticed the time going by. For once, it seemed Tovin had found something he wasn't naturally amazing at, and it was infuriating him to no end.
Conversely, I found something I was really, really good at. I hit my target almost every time, and to be honest, I couldn't figure out what was so difficult about it. A crowd had gathered to watch me shoot. I got really swift with the lever, and could shoot out both of a target's eyes, and put one in its forehead in a matter of seconds.
Tovin wasn't a bad shot, but I knew how he felt. If he wasn't first, he was last as far as he was concerned, and at one point he about threw his rifle. Old Mitchell had to talk to him about how some things come naturally to others, and how he shouldn't be discouraged from coming to the range and practicing.
It was rich hearing Tovin get that talk of all people. The natural genius that outshined everyone, struggling with something for the very first time. I almost couldn't believe I was better than him at something, and of course, it just had to be the thing that we'd never do again once we found our friends and went back home.
Our friends.
We were wasting time here. "Hey, Mitchel," I turned toward him. "When do we get our sign-on bonus? It was supposed to be something like 200 octims."
"You get your sign-on bonus when you bring back your first bounty," he responded quickly.
"What?" Tovin shouted. "That's not fair! We signed on, now where's our money?"
I was equally upset. We were lied to. But it made sense that they couldn't just hand us uniforms, cash, and a gun, and let us go. They wanted to make sure we at least killed a monster.
"It's fine," I said with a sigh. "Where can we find bounties?"
"It's not fine," Tovin protested.
I yanked him by the collar of his shirt and looked him in the eyes. "It's fine," I said slowly and firmly. "We'll run out, bag a monster, and be back before dark."
He held eye contact with me for several seconds before shrugging me off of him and walking away. He stormed across the bay and left through the double doors at the other end of the room.
"My brother was the same way," said Mitch. "Hard-headed. Stubborn as a mule. Loyal as anyone you'd ever meet though."
He had no idea. Tovin wasn't just difficult, but he was turning into a walking liability. I didn't know how much longer I could take him acting like this. Suddenly, Mitch extended his arm, pointing to a door adjacent to where he'd gotten our guns from.
"Bounty board is in there. Come on, I'll show you."
It was a medium-sized room with several corkboards wall to wall filled with bounties. Every monster was named and almost all of them were sketched to a professional degree. You could find how much money the monster was going for, which hunters it had killed, where it was last seen, as well as whether or not there were hunters currently after it.
They had a system where you would notate which monster you were going after, and if you didn't return, they'd add your name under the list of hunters that died searching for it. There were so many monsters I couldn't believe it, and according to Old Mitchell, these were only the monsters within a five-mile radius of Bronzegirder.
I learned the process of choosing a bounty and chose a smaller monster with no names under its fatality list. Mitch agreed it was a good monster for beginners, and offered a few pointers for tracking it. I submitted the bounty request and got it approved before leaving the bay and heading down the hall in search of Tovin. I entered the lobby and didn't see him. I left the building and found him at the top of the steps staring out into the street where a couple of vehicles were hauling something massive together under a tarp.
Several uniformed hunters were walking slowly next to the vehicles. Their uniforms were tattered and bloodstained, and a few of them walked with a limp. We watched as the exhausted men passed the building on their way down the road. Two of them were sobbing silently, but we could tell by their exposed teeth and wrinkled expressions that they'd lost someone.
From beneath the tarp, a scaly limb fell off the side of the vehicle and dangled lifelessly. It was a reptilian-looking arm with an open wound, and the shredded remnants of a uniform hanging from its claws.
"Gill," Tovin said quietly. "Is that..."
"Yeah," I answered.
"That's definitely a monster."
Writing Prompt Submitted by u/My-Last-Hope
submitted by a15minutestory to A15MinuteMythos [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:58 apt210wyou Making love at the Brittany's

It"s in the quiet moments, the downtime, that my thoughts, feelings, and emotions can get stuck on you......on us, or whatever that was we experienced. My life forever changed the night we met, never again will I feel the way I did before our paths crossed. I wonder every single day if there is light at the end of this tunnel, or if the rest of my days will be lived in this confusion, this heartache, and this darkness. It would be so simple if I felt nothing for you, but how could I ever feel nothing for you? What about the memories? The "happy memories" as you once called them? Do you still look back on them and feel happy? I can only hope so, knowing is not an option. When I ask myself if I was good to you, or how you percieved me, another thing I dont get to know, I can only promise you that I tried to be everything a girl could ask for, I tried to make it as obvious as I possibly could that I absolutely adored you! To show you that you meant so much more to me than you ever understood. Both inside and out you stunned me with both types of what I can only describe as pure beauty. Honestly from the moment our eyes first met I knew that my life would never again be the same, what I didnt know was how god awful it would feel when you left. Not a single day has passed since we hugged each other goodbye where you are not on my mind. What does that mean? Do you know? Did I feel as familiar to you as you did to me? I continue to believe that we must have known each other in some previous existence, the trust alone that both of us put in each other suggests that we both felt very comfortable with each other. Do you feel like you will ever have any regrets? The only regret I have is not meeting you sooner in life, unfortunately, I had no control over that, I would give anything to go back and cross paths with you at a more opportune time, which I guess you did tell me "You have to realize things would be so different if we met at a better time" Would you have given me an actual chance if that would have been the case? To be honest, part of what hurts the very most is that you never got to really know who I am. I have no doubts that you would love the way that I would love you, never again would you ever have to fear for anything, I would have loved you unconditionally, I love you unconditionally now for fucks sake. I promise you that I am happy for you! I hope that you get the love and life that I know you deserve! Do you know when I close my eyes I can still see your beautiful smile? I'll simply never forget you, or how happy I felt throughout my entire body and soul every single time I was with you. I think in order for me to move on I just need to know that you are ok, that you are happy. It would also be nice if you could forgive me for anything I did to hurt you, I hope you could easily see I never, ever wanted to hurt you. I often think back and wonder what I did to make you so angry at me? Was it because I had feelings for you? I admitted them to you, hoping it would make you feel good, hoping you would feel cared about. Really though, would you ever tell me why you got so angry at me in the end? I understand that you must have been hurt, but did I hurt you? When I think back to every interaction we ever had I cant think of a single one where I was mean to you for any reason. I guess it would just be nice to know, maybe it is something that I could work on? If meeting, falling in love with, and then losing you has taught me anything it is the value of self love. My heart and soul hurt so incredibly bad when you left, especially after some of the things you said to me. Loving myself is one thing I have tried to do which has gave me a little bit of peace. I dont know, somedays I feel like I am getting through this, that I can be happy for you, and just be happy that we got to love as much as we did, others the mere notion of never hearing from you, or seeing you ever again feels soul crushing, crippling, and sometimes like I cant breathe. Sometimes I pour my heart out in a text to you, but never send. I know it took me a minute, but I really want to respect your wishes that I not reach out to you. You told me that you knew how bad it hurt to lose someone you loved, but in my defense you have never lost someone as amazing as you so maybe if you take the pain you felt and multiply it by 7 billion then you might know what it feels like in my heart and soul since the day you told me with tears in your eyes that we just couldnt continue seeing each other. My life will never be the same again. Im done here, please know that I hold no hard feelings for you, I could never feel anything but love for a beautiful soul like yours. Take care of yourself and be happy! It goes without saying that I would love to hear from you again someday, I will never forget how amazing you made me feel, and will forever treasure the beautiful memories we made together, Thank You! I will always love you! Goodbye sweet girl! I can only hope to hold you in my arms again someday, even if thats in the next lifetime, or not for a thousand lifetimes, you will always be worth the wait, after all real love is patient. Love Always, The one you had to walk away from.
submitted by apt210wyou to UnsentLetters [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:58 Vermontious Fly Away Split Timeline Theory

Walking back from Morrisons, Fly Away comes onto my Spotify autoplay. It being a massive tune I let it play as usual, but something stood out to me this time
"I've crossed the wastelands from the mountains to the sea"
Before I go further I'll just outline a few things that this theory relies on
Album 1 happens, Zargothrax is encased in liquid ice. 1000 years later, he's woken up and Dundee is destroyed along with the rest of the planet. Him and Angus jump through the vortex and end up back in the past in Universe B. Zargothrax is killed and a message is sent back to 1022 in Universe A to awaken the clone.
All simple stuff, but let's assume here that by sending that message back and awakening the clone who then proceeds to nuke Dundee - the past was changed. Album 4 takes place in Timeline 2. I think Fly Away had some very cleverly placed hints which become contextualised more with Album 4
Fly Away is from the perspective of Angus McFife V, inventing the telescope and discovering Space and wishing to explore the Galaxy. On top of that, he has knowledge of his lineage ending in the year 1992 and wishing to change that to fulfil the McFife destiny of surviving to see 1993.
On the artwork for album 4, we see a shrine to those who died in the War of Space Dundee in 1992. According to Chris this shrine was built using Time Crystals which exist in all places in time at once. Let's assume this is something that was planned and not just the first thing Chris could think of to respond to the comment he replied to - what if this shrine existed in both timelines at once? Either the existence of this Shrine was enough to convince Angus V that 1992 would spell the end of the McFife name, or Timeline 1 is bleeding into Timeline 2 using this shrine as like an anchor linking the 2 parallel timelines together and Angus V is getting visions of his lineage's future not realising that these visions are from a whole other timeline?
Going back to the lyric at the start of this post, Angus V describes how he crossed the wastelands. In a recent comment from Mike - the rough outline of this album was finished in 2020 so the destruction of Dundee (and possibly a lot more of Scotland depending on how large the Nuke is, the largest designed Tsar Bomb if dropped on Dundee would cover Edinburgh in radiation and the blast damage would almost reach Glasgow) has been in the behind the scenes lore for a while now, so choosing such a specific word to describe Scotland a few hundred years after a nuclear blast was powerful enough to put Dundee into a nuclear winter seems intentional
Moving forwards to when eventually Timeline 2 catches up to Timeline 1, due to the shift in events back in 1022, The War of Space Dundee never happens and the Earth isn't destroyed?
This could also spell disaster for Timeline 2, unfortunately. The Shrine for the dead simply shouldn't exist in a timeline where the war never happened. Could potentially cause some kind of paradox? Not too sure on that one though considering the shrine is from a timeline where the war did happen. I'm definitely looking way to far into this specific point for now, as well as looking way to far into things for this whole post but man I'm too far gone now I can't just unthink this
I had a bout 1000 thoughts about this all while I slithered back to my flat so I think I covered everything I had for this theory, I'll add more if I remember anything else
Thanks for your time xox
submitted by Vermontious to Gloryhammer [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:57 queen_above_18 Hi everyone! I used to suffer from IC, and I'd like to offer my support to anyone who's going through this. You CAN get better!!

I haven't checked this sub in a long time because my symptoms have basically dissipated entirely, but I remember scouring the internet for answers and having a hard time finding anything positive. I want my story to be out there to offer hope.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and I'm not giving medical advice. I just want to share MY experience and what worked for ME, in addition to showing that you CAN heal from this condition. If anything resonates with you, then great!
Possible trigger warning: SA (mentioned but do not go in detail about it at all)

A little about me: I'm a woman and my symptoms started when I was 19 years old (I am now 28). I had nonstop urgency/pressure, and after a week of suffering went to a doctor and was diagnosed with a UTI. Following the treatment, my symptoms only got worse. The urgency seemed to increase. I couldn't sleep at night, couldn't concentrate. I spent all day feeling like I'd just finished half a gallon of water, only for almost nothing to come out when I went to the restroom.
I say several different specialists. Urinalysis came back normal, ultrasounds showed no abnormalities, and I refused a cystoscopy to check my bladder out of fear of physical damage (for better or for worse, I don't know). I was offered experimental drugs, but they had less than a 50% chance of working and severe side effects, so I also refused.
At this point I was feeling very lost. Tried the elimination diet for about 4-5 months, eating nothing but "IC safe" food. Nothing changed. I was stuck with these severe symptoms for about 3 years.
What ultimately helped me was eating a CLEAN, healthy diet with NO processed foods whatsoever, and good quality water. Also STAYING HYDRATED. This meant salads every day, and any protein/grain/etc was prepared at home so there weren't any additives. Nothing changed for a while... until it did. After about a year of eating clean, my symptoms all but disappeared one day. This was when I was traveling abroad. Maybe it was the combination of clean eating and destressing in a different country-- I really can't say.
My symptoms stayed away for a long time, until a couple years later when I moved to a new city and started picking up bad dietary habits again. Low and behold, my IC flared back up. I had it for 3 weeks, and thought I'd have to start everything over again. In desperation, I ended up going to a Chinese Herbalist, and I told them my symptoms. They suggested Ba Zheng San, which is normally used to treat UTI's. It cleared up my symptoms virtually overnight! I was amazing. I still get flair ups here and there, and if they last more than a day I take these herbs and they're usually gone by morning. Whether or not it's the herbs NOW, I don't know, but there's no doubt they helped me when my symptoms returned for 3 weeks.
Before I finish this off, I want to add there is a possible psychological/trauma component that may have an effect on IC. I haven't seen any official research, but it's a pattern I've noticed with other people who've shared their IC experiences: These symptoms often show up in people who've been SA'd. If this is the case for you, your body may be holding on to a lot of tension from the trauma, resulting in urgency. I did not see a specialist for this, but I did look up stretches and exercises to help with tension associated with post-SA trauma. I do think this helped to an extent.
Regardless of whether or not you've been a victim of SA, stress and tension can exacerbate your symptoms. Seek counseling if you can, practice mindfulness, stretch, meditate. These things can help.
Also, calming herbs can ease your mind. Passion flower is a good one.
And no, believe me, I’m not saying that this is all in your head, don’t worry!! I know these symptoms are VERY real and sometimes need to have physical treatments. But I can’t help but make a point about this connection since it’s come up a lot.
I did also use herbs throughout the duration of my affliction, but I don't know if any of them actually helped me so I don't want to highlight them too much. Here's what I tried, in case anyone wants to know:
-Chaste berry tea (AKA Monk's Pepper or Vitex)
-Marshmallow root tea
-Nettle tea
-D-mannose (for a very short period of time)
That is all for now. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any further questions, or if you have anything to add.
I'd also like to acknowledge that I understand that not everyone is comfortable with the "alternative" medicine I used for myself, and I understand and respect that. All I know is that it worked for me, and it's worth putting out into the world in case it helps someone else, even if it's just 1 person.
Sending love and good wishes to everyone!
submitted by queen_above_18 to Interstitialcystitis [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:55 cloud_777_ Family

The family unit is priceless, whether it be large or small.
Marriage and child raising are at the heart of society, the healthy family and home being crucial to a healthy society.
In these strange times we’re in, everything good is undermined, torn down, and if possible, destroyed.
In the future, will they even know what a family is anymore?
Will marriage be outdated completely?
Will any child survive the womb? If it does, will it be raised by a mother and a father? Or an institutionalized system that takes the God-given authority away from the parents, and legally calls all the shots?
I think dark days are ahead, regarding the human family as we’ve known it thus far. No one has had a perfect family, but most of us alive today at least know what a healthy family group is supposed to look like.
I’m afraid, in the future, it will be changed beyond recognition.
Everything good in the world is under attack, on every level.
I don’t know what will be considered “normal” tomorrow, but as for today… hug your children, teach them God’s ways, and pray that God will make a way for them, through even the darkest times.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psalm 127:3)
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:6-9)
Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:19)
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. (Proverbs 15:20)
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (1 Timothy 3:4)
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 19:18)
For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (1 Timothy 3:5)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. (Psalm 128:3)
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)
My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. (Proverbs 6:20)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:4-5)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children are their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6)
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children. (Psalm 103:17)
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. (Acts 10:2)
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8)
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. (Psalm 27:10)
submitted by cloud_777_ to christianreads [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:54 RestoredV Active Military Officer vs 1811/2501

There was a thread that touched upon this, but I thought I’d specify the topic and pick the brains of the sub a bit more.
Can anyone speak to lifestyle differences and career prospects for someone deciding between pursing AD O Life and becoming an 1811/2501?
Financially and benefit wise - the military is the better choice. 4 years in an O3 is making $80k pretax, and depending on BAH, an additional $20-40k untaxed. Everything I’ve seen puts an 1811 below that. It’s hard to compete against tri care - it’s almost impossible. So in this regard - military wins.
Lifestyle - this is the biggest, as money is nice but not everything. Both have the potential to spend time away from home - that’s a draw. How about day to day? My coworker who retired after 20 years in the FBI said he never stopped doing his job, which was amazing. In the military, after 4-6 years as an O, you’re pretty much relegated to staff. From what I’ve read and heard talking to my peers, it’s mostly politics and managerial work. That isn’t to say 1811 life isn’t without that either, but my coworker was still handling cases and doing “cool stuff” towards the end of his career. In the military, depending on branch you can train for 20 years and never do your job. I imagine as an 1811 you at least have missions to complete, and you can do your job and see progress. 1811 wins here.
Flexibility - From what I know, 1811 wins here. It’s really hard to change branch as you promote in the military other than dropping packets, or maybe some USCG magic, but my coworker said you can change what you do every 2/3 years if you want, sometimes more often in agencies such as the DSS.
Just an 11B with a GI Bill, and over 90 college credits trying to decide what to do.
Appreciate the replies, and I welcome any insight possible.
submitted by RestoredV to 1811 [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:54 Environmental_Cow347 Mother in law getting back together with an abusive guy…

So me and my fiancé moved into an apartment together in September, I work full time and she’s a full time college student. She came with an emotional support dog in which she rescued from an abusive home. When we moved into the apartment he seemed to adjust well however we could not leave the house ever unless we had someone to watch him the WHOLE time because he would bark and whine the whole time no matter what we tried and we didn’t have anyone in our lives that could watch him for 8+ hrs every day nor did we have the money to bring him somewhere. We thought of doing doggy daycare but he is not really good with other dogs and is extremely unpredictable with his reaction to new people. This being said we stayed in the house and I changed my work hours to be home when my fiancé wasn’t and vice versa, I would take him in the car to pick her up from school and whatnot. So that being said I was walking him out of our apartment to my car to pick up my fiancé from school and there was a cleaning guy outside with a cleaning cart going to the apartment building over and the dog unfortunately got out of my grip and bit the cleaning guys ankle. (Which neither one of us has seen him do that). That being said our property manager said if he did it again we would be kicked out because of safety reasons, so we had to give him to her mother two and a half hours away while we finish the lease.
Her mom met a guy this summer and they “hit it off” (she thought). At about OctobeNovember, he moved into her house which wasn’t really a cause for concern. However two weeks ago they got into a huge fight and he left her house. She’s filling for annulment so she looked back on her kitchen ring camera and found a completely horrific scene which included him just walking up to our dog, picking up our 35 ish pound beagle by his throat and holding him there by his throat for about 20 seconds seconds which followed by him throwing him across the room and kicking the dog in the face a couple times. He also is verbally abusive to my fiancés 11 year old little brother, has inappropriately touched me.
As soon as my fiancés mom saw this video she was straight to the police and pressed charges. Seeing that video messed with my fiancé and I’s psyche, because about two weeks earlier we told her mom that her little brother told us he was mean to to the dogs and I told her mom that if he put one finger on our dog there WILL be extreme consequences.
That all being said, about two weeks later I came home from work and my fiancé is balling her eyes out and I rush over and ask her what happened, that’s when she told me her mom is talking to him again after she promised us she wouldn’t, after he literally abused our dog. She is coming down this weekend to visit and whatnot and she told my fiancé she was going to sit me down and tell me she was talking to him again because she told my fiancé she want f to tell me herself but since I have bad anger when it comes to the people I love, my fiancé gave me a week to process it and figure out what I was going to say. When my fiancé was on the phone with her mom and she told her about it my fiancé said if you are going to let him into your life, I’m taking the dog back and I will not come back down ever again, you will never have a relationship with our future kids and you will not have a relationship with either one of us seeing we are both terrified of this guy and he has clearly proven himself not trustworthy. After my fiancé said that her mom said I understand you have to protect your family. I’m not sure what I’m going to say to her when I sit her down and how to even react to get it through to her that this guy is bad news and we down want to loose her but we’re going to have to because of this guy. So s what should I do when she tells me she’s going to let this guy back into her life?
submitted by Environmental_Cow347 to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:47 Colt_Leasure I stayed at the Cecil Hotel.

The Stay On Main hotel, referred to by its former title of the Cecil, stood tall before me. Its brown brick front loomed. I walked through the main entranceway with my suitcase in hand.
I made my way into the empty lobby and approached the front desk. The inside had glossy black and white tile flooring. Stanchions with red ropes led to the check-in counter.
The clerk looked up at me from his phone with a side-eyed glance. He had wavy blonde hair and blue eyes. He resembled a surfer more than he did a night manager.
“I’m looking to stay here for a week,” I said as I handed him a wad of cash.
“This is an affordable housing unit for the homeless,” he said. “You’re well dressed and have an Irish accent. I’m guessing you’re a journalist or documentary filmmaker. Either way, it wouldn’t feel right to let you stay here when you can afford somewhere else. You’d be taking up space someone of greater need could use.”
“This should erase guilt,” I said as I handed him another stack of hundreds.
The man accepted the bribe and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. He then slid a room key over to me after I gave him a false name and a credit card that did not belong to me. He mentioned the complimentary breakfast available in the morning.
“I’m Scottish by the way,” I corrected him as I made my way onto the elevator.
There were fifteen floors and my room was on the fifth. I pressed the button. The sounds of the creaking wires holding the platform stable reverberated above.
It dinged and let me off. I went down the hallway, which had wooden ground and drab white-painted walls.
I entered my room and saw it was not much better than the corridor. There were a few places I had stayed at with my wife around Loch Lomond far above such a decrepit den as this.
The first thing I saw was the view of skid row outside. Its wandering figures resembled the madhouse painting by Goya. Street lights, neon, and litter were everywhere.
The desk drawer had the to-be-expected Bible. Shock coursed through me as I saw the completed works of Alfred Tennyson next to it. A highlighted passage got my attention:
‘and this gray spirit yearning in desire to follow knowledge
like a sinking star, beyond the utmost bound of human thought.’
It was well-known that Tennyson was a part of my agency when the organization was first founded.
I laid my piece of luggage on the bed and opened it. I took out a leather-bound journal, an EVP recorder, external microphones, and a few mini cameras. I placed the items in each corner.
I waited and retrieved my ledger. I scribbled about my findings later in the morning.
There is a streak of blood underneath my mattress. It is faint, very old, and would not even be noticeable to the average eye due to its faded quality. I would not have found it had I not spotted and attempted to kill a roach that scurried across the carpet. The insect has disappeared. I presume it to have fallen between the cracks into another dreary unit below. I have not observed strange or unusual sounds within my space in particular. I have not seen any visions, ethereal or cerebral, which would sound any alarms. Screaming, honking horns, and drunken babbling seep through the boundaries. The wind seemed to flow through the rafters at an unusual pace around those noises. By that, I mean it whistles a song of its own in perfect rhythm.
I awoke the next day to the sound of my phone. It was the landline in the room. I answered it and pressed the receiver to my ear in a groggy state, entangling my neck in the wire.
“Meet me at the Civilization Cafe,” a familiar woman’s voice said. My response would have been irrelevant since it was an order and not a question. I placed it back on the hook and managed to get out of bed.
I showered, dressed, and made the walk to the coffee shop.
Dani sat outside with a steaming mug in hand. She did not acknowledge me with anything more than a quick nod as I took a seat across from her. She scanned her surroundings to make sure no one was within earshot.
“Why did you rent the place for a week?” Dani asked between sips. “We agreed on one night.”
“You know why,” I said. I tried to remind myself to remain assertive without being hot-tempered. I did not want a write-up for insubordination.
“We need you to find out what’s wrong with this place," she said. "Report your findings soon. Otherwise, what happened to the last occupants could very well occur to the next civilian.”
“Please don’t put pressure on me like that,” I said. “Catching a poltergeist in a place with so much suffering is almost impossible. It's like summoning the ancients and asking them about the order of their calamities.”
“Could you at least streamline it by sending us emails instead of relying on a pen and notebook?” Dani’s voice became an aggressive whisper. “We’re getting tired of hiring an administrator to sort out your papers. Keeping your intelligence on point is a full-time job.”
“Writing it out by hand gives me a closer connection to the source material. I have to trust my way, or I’ll make mistakes by breaking my habits. You wouldn’t want that.”
She looked down the road. She finished her drink, slung her purse over her shoulder, stood, and pushed her chair in.
“Stay safe,” she said as she walked to a black cherry-painted Honda parked near the sidewalk. "Take care, Graham."
There has been one odd synchronicity after another. My window, accumulated so much mist that I reasoned it must have been pouring. Of course, it was bright out. Some of my filming devices have readjusted without me having touched them since set up. The towel rack in my restroom bent at its center. I guarantee it was not that way beforehand. I have taken this as a lesson to take photographs of every square inch of the place. This is for future reference in my studies. After observing these anomalies, my body fell into a lethargic sensation. I was reading a book titled The Origins of the World’s mythologies by EJ Michael Witzel before it fell out of my hands. As sleep enveloped me, something tendril-like moved in my periphery. It disappeared when I tried to stare at the illusions. I fell off of my mattress after having a nightmare of a lion chasing me through the Serengeti. I hit the floor. I looked to the side and saw a fog creep through the small crack at the bottom of my door. I went to investigate where this was coming from. I did not see anything as the remnants of the precipitation evaporated completely. In the hallway was an orange feline. She scampered away into a grimy stairwell.
I walked outside after I finished the report. I stepped into my rented vehicle and drove to a liquor store to pick out a bottle of whiskey. There were so many evenings when I was comfortable in my sobriety. This was no longer one of them. I had an uncontrollable urge to drown myself in the brown liquid that had been a scar on my life for so long.
I passed by a few markets that were teeming with too many suspicious people outside to risk going in. It took a while until I found one that was quiet and clean.
I went across the parking lot and saw a mural of Venice beach on the wall. It brought back memories of walking along the sands of Prestwick, with Lynsey.
Her eyes were emerald and her hair was darker than any cave I had explored in my youth. We had met at the Old College Bar in Glasgow at an age we kept secret from the bartenders with our fake IDs. We had a competition to see whose fraudulent driver's license was the most convincing.
I do not remember if I fell in love with her at first sight. I do recall being in disbelief that she even bothered to give me the time of her day. I can remember kissing her for the first time. The scent of her blossom honey perfume lit my body up.
I snapped out of my reminiscences and purchased a bottle of Glennmorangie blue label.
I was back at the Cecil in minutes. I imbibed two highballs and passed out. My tolerance level had weakened compared to the binging of my younger days. When I awoke, I analyzed what had occurred in the room during my sleep.
I am feeling hungover but alert. My 450-milliliter friend is half gone, but I am seeing straight right now without any problems. In other words, I am sober with a grudge. I hope my Supervisors at the Providence agency will forgive my conduct on the job. I do not believe they will blame me. A cobalt-hued smoke emanated from one of the corners. Jazz music is playing around me, whereas it never has before for the duration of my stay. It sounds so old and improvised. The notes are as unfamiliar to me as they would be to a new listener in the Flapper era. Worst of all is how out-of-tune it sounds. My tub has overfilled itself with brackish water. I have not even bathed yet, so I know that was not by my hand. A piece of the footage shows a silhouette moving across the room. Before it reaches my sleeping body, the camera lens shattered.
I ran out of pages and my hand cramped. I wrote new entries within the margins. I also started to hear things other than old tunes from a bygone era.
Human wails seeped in, each one more agonized than the last. Within a few minutes, I differentiated how there were two different voices. One male, the other a woman. I attempted to record them, but it was useless. All my mics picked up were static and the hum of the air conditioner, despite how they plagued my ears like tinnitus.
I lit a circle of candles and created a makeshift altar in the center of the room. I drew the circle with salt. I sat in the lotus position, closed my eyes, and endeavored to remain open to any visions. Seances were always my last resort.
I fell into a dream. I saw a couple, both from the decade of prohibition. They were lounging in the same room as me. The man had a copy of the completed work of Alfred Tennyson in his hands.
It all seemed like a peaceful scene until an argument commenced between the two. The man retrieved a blade from his vest and advanced toward her. He stabbed her. She turned the knife on him by gripping the sharp edge in her palms and hoisting it towards his midsection. He tried to claw towards the door, but failed and instead made his way under the bed.
I now realize I have not met my intended goal. I was hoping to receive some answers why my wife took her own life in this place. Instead, I came in contact with a murdered couple from the 1920s. They killed one another, but the woman acted in self-defense. Following research, I have learned the female is an ancestor of my departed wife, Lynsey. They share the same name. Her family immigrated here in the 1850s. She had mentioned this to me over dinner on more than one occasion. I never knew they had made their way here, to the exact spot I am sitting.
I am grateful to these organizations for allowing me to make an effort at settling this matter. I hope I have completed my duties with integrity. Unfortunately, I was unable to contact her. I will revisit this place one day soon since I have no intention of giving up.
submitted by Colt_Leasure to u/Colt_Leasure [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:46 Jskidmore1217 Little known gem recommendations - blu ray

Well I put in my order of all the ones I really wanted. Hit the $50 gift card reward. So I’ve decided to blind buy another movie or two- was wondering if anyone had recommendations for some of Criterion’s more obscure picks that you found to be especially great films. The kind of thing your average movie buff might overlook because it’s not by a director that is widely discussed or part of an important film movement.
For example of a couple of blind buys that have blown me away in the past:
submitted by Jskidmore1217 to criterion [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:46 Ravenhozh The Soy And The Moist

In support of Moist, I have analyzed Sneako's confession about him getting cucked through his body language. I am not a professional at this, but I have some insights that might make sense.
And I would like to apologize for bringing up the old news. I thought it would be interesting.
My analysis has slowly changed from a mix of an essay to a novelization of Sneako's demise. Enjoy reading this masterpiece. (Try hearing this in a British narration voice.)
So, first off, let us begin with his posture. In the beginning, you see his shoulder are relaxed, and his hands are loose. But his legs and feet get a little wider as he continues his story.
Sneako's legs are not like the guy on the right sitting cross-legged, nor are they chill like the guy on the right. The difference between them is that they are very chill, with nothing to hide.
If you noticed, Sneako's legs and feet are firmly on the floor. If he were shaking his legs, it would be a clear indication that he is nervous. But he was tense, and he couldn't move his legs.
If you look at his hand holding the mic, it has already got harder on the grip. He braced to let it out, to share his ultimate story that would break the universe, knowing it would get mixed reactions.
He stutters at the thought of his girlfriend getting railed and fails to finish his sentence correctly. After he drops the bomb, he lets go of his mic for a bit to relax. But he immediately grips it again to face the music.
At this point, he contains his nervousness to some degree.
Sneako then tried to convince them that it was normal but was interrupted by the gentleman on the right. He breaks eye contact often when given a chance to speak and tends to look at either the ground or when he switches faces between them.
It's almost like he's checking to see their reactions constantly. Hoping they don't start to frown at him for what he just said.
Sneako then tries to explain the situation again, but this time he fails to complete it himself and lets one of the kind gentlemen finish the sentence for him.
But, do you notice how Sneako emphasized the word "Fucked"? This is the first time I have heard such a tone. My ears were ringing with surprise.
You could hear the frustration. Sneako was dragging it out and saying it very hard, like he was telling himself that he got cucked. There was no excitement or lust in his voice.
It was as if he was complaining about it rather than praising it.
That's right, and it was jealousy—pure jealousy and anger. And Sneako can't admit it. He couldn't, and not like this.
You can hear that Sneako doesn't want to keep this conversation going. But now that he said it, he can't escape it. He tries to keep a straight face as the other two repeat what he had just said to his face so casually. He was insulted, licking his lips and probably thinking about killing him with his clips.
He then calls his supposed girlfriend his queen and says he's a proud simp, and he's not afraid to show it, trying to justify his action by almost rudely calling his queen a bitch. People speak fast when nervous, and Sneako has slowly started to crumble. His grip remained firm on the mic, which has become his only means of comfort and protection.
As the other gentlemen in the room continued to remind him of his failures, they insisted that he explain his statement even further. Going where no one has ever gone before. To which the little soy boy obliged with a faint shrug.
His confidence is fake, and his will is slowly breaking inside.
They asked how specific it was to understand the situation better. And Sneako, by this point, was already moving his head back and forth even more than before. The mic was so close to his mouth, never resting from his hand, and he was ready to speak to defend himself.
The gentlemen in the room tried to ease the soy's little mind off the harsh humiliation it had suffered by making sex requirements for other men who were better than Sneako himself.
Sneako had no choice but to go along with their words and said, "That's not fair."
Now, this response has caused much confusion for all of us. What was it that was not fair for Sneako? Is it his dick size? Or perhaps his permanent soy status?
No matter, my dear readers, I shall leave this question in your capable hands.
Going back, the poor gentlemen tried to reason with the soy. But Sneako was now trying to delay the inevitable, but again failing as if his cries were insufficient to convince them. You can see his chest quickly closing and expanding with air. His breathing has become like a hot air balloon, barely lifting off from the ground.
And this is where we know, oh, he's panicking. And it's going to be good.
The gentlemen began to laugh at how absurd the whole story was, but the little soy wanted it to end. He regretfully laughs with them, knowing they are not laughing with him but at him.
The soy began to massage his legs, trying to calm himself down, tapping, gripping, and waving his hands to shake off the embarrassment he was feeling. And even messaging his dick for comfort.
(He didn't do that last part, but I just wanted to write it in.)
The gentlemen shot down any attempts of his reasons, and they were not believing it, not one bit of it.
The soy tried to control the situation, but his speech got louder and faster. It was getting difficult to control his sentence.
To avoid a complete meltdown, he explained how easy it was for the other gentlemen to bring his girlfriend into an orgasm with only three little McLovin pumps.
The soy was about to break, but he stood up at the last second.
At his point, he has lost all respect in the room. No, he can't be like this. He's soy, and he is damn proud about it. He needed redemption to bring himself back from the depths. But he wasn't done.
Sneako then explains that he, too, had a part in the supposed orgy when it was for two.
But then, he accidentally called his queen another gentlemen's girl. And he sounded so sincere about it as well. What a caring little soy boy he is.
They thought he was mentioning an orgy. But what happened was that it was only him, his queen, and the other gentlemen.
Sneako stutters again and immediately takes his words back and calls it an orgy. What a close save.
But the outcome was different from what he had expected. He thought that it would be enough for his satisfaction. But the gentlemen had other ideas and started making other stories about him instead.
They are now more interested than the soy liked them to be.
"Wait, it's not like that," Sneako weakly begged.
No, it turns out, it was another reason his queen did it. They got the idea from the media, as he claims. But the gentlemen disagree.
Sneako's body now moves with purpose. He spreads his legs and pushes his arms out. He was determined to be the one to win.
But it only gets worse. Oh, so much worse.
His legs are now fully spread, and his jacket is off. He needed more confidence to give his great speech about getting cucked. He then claims that there were 40 people at his imaginary orgy now.
But we all know that it was a party of two. Plus one.
But the most generous thing that Sneako has done for us is to share our girlfriends with the other gentlemen to understand the true meaning of being tucked. And his wild obsession with being a pedophile as well. Please put children away from this soy.
He says this because he doesn't want to feel alone in his mistake. But sadly, no one wants to be a loser like him. And now, everyone knows that Sneako is a lowly cuck.
Well, I'm afraid that I have to end this story here. I'm sorry if you still wanted more or if it was too long. I hope you all enjoy my analysis, and I hope that you all have a wonderful day, a day that will be even better than Sneako's.
Thank you.
*Bows to you and exits the stage*
submitted by Ravenhozh to moistcr1tikal [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:44 goonerfrog10 Storm chasing is actually a pretty safe job. Or at least I thought it was.

Storm chasing is actually a safer profession than factory work, public transit, and even teaching now. Every known storm chaser death over the last 60 years has been driving related, most of which had nothing to do with the actual storm itself. You don’t choose to chase tornados because its safe, but when people bring up safety as a reason they could never do the job it proves to me they don’t know what they’re talking about. At least I felt that way for the first 15 years I was storm chasing. Then last year everything changed.
I was in Chickasha county, Oklahoma heading south towards Texas. I was in Norman for a storm chaser meet up a week into spring, tornado season was up and running, I’d already put 600 miles on my truck. Everybody knew everybody else for the most part, sometimes we had newcomers, most of them didn’t come back the next year. It isn’t the storms that drives people away it’s the driving, the tedious radar checking, the disappointment when you been chasing a cold wind for 3 days and the damn twister doesn’t even touch the ground. You have to be obsessed with these storms, the horrific beauty, the terrifying power, it has to be in your bones or you won’t make it back out here. Not to mention Oklahoma is about the least visually appealing place the country has to offer. Now I’m from west Texas and there ain’t much to see out there either, but my god do I pine for the hundreds of miles of desert when I’m in the plains of Oklahoma. Hell, at least we have mountains. But a storm chaser in the mountains is like a fisherman in the in the Gobi, just don’t belong.
Anyway, I was on the tail of storm system making it’s way over to Wichita Falls, it had changed direction on me twice and I almost gave up on her, but there was a warm wind coming up from Louisiana and it was sure to bring a hell of a storm with it. Now I’ve had more sub-par meals in local diners than I’ve had hot meals at home but every single one of them is worth it when I get a tornado that touches ground. I’m not a scientist, I’m not doing this to further the knowledge of mankind. I’m what is now being called a “storm journalist” although “guy who really likes tornados” is more accurate. I document what I see, take pictures, take some measurements of winds and temperatures and then I send them to websites that give me enough money to live. I happened to be a little low on funds and I had to follow this storm and just hope and pray it turned in to something.
Buddy of mine named Jeff Skelton had a real nose for the cold winds and where they were headed told me the twister would turn up about 40 miles northeast of Wichita, I headed out there, saw a couple of other teams on the way. I worked alone but most people didn’t now a days. Safety in numbers and all that. I parked the truck in a field after I paid the owner of the land a small fee for letting me on it. This was my favorite part of the whole thing. Setting up my equipment while the winds grew more powerful and the rain started, the chaos always brought a deep peace to my mind. Like all the shit flying around inside my head finally matched what the outside was looking like. I used to love being in the middle of the storm. Until I didn’t.
I first noticed this storm was different because of the lightning. Or lack there of. I’d never seen it before. All tornadoes come from thunderstorms. Sometimes the lighting strikes aren’t as many, sometimes they don’t even hit the ground, but the sky is always lit up when a twister starts turning. The funnel started to form in the clouds and I hadn’t seen a hint of lighting in an our more when I was up north. My first reaction was how lucky I was to be covering such a rarely occurring natural phenomenon. My second reaction was doubt, and uncertainty. The doubt and uncertainty didn’t have much time with me though. Soon every inch of my body was enveloped in fear.
As the twister touched the ground I could see something moving inside of it. Not the usual swirl of debris from houses and trees, but something gigantic. Something moving against the swirls of the wind, something that you could feel in the ground beneath you every time it took a step. There is a mysterious reoccurrence whenever there are deaths from a tornado. Many bodies are never found. The logical thought is, of course, that the bodies are thrown such great distances and such random locations that the couldn’t possibly be located, but it happened even with smaller twisters. I think I was beginning to understand why.
Whatever was in the twister kept taking swipes at the ground. It was pulling up tress and dirt and whatever else was in it’s path and sending it into the swirling winds. The storm was coming closer to me but I was glued to the part of the earth I occupied. From the field to the left of me a red jeep pulled up right next to me.
“Jerry we got to get the hell out of here. What is that thing?” I didn’t answer. I stayed staring into the storm as much as I possibly could, I needed to understand what I was looking at. The guys in the Jeep were friends of mine, Dave and Harry. They hopped out and grabbed me, threw me in the back seat and took off. Madder than spit and running like a hot damn. But my eyes were fixed on the monster in the twister. I watched it throw my truck into the swirling winds. I watched it as it started to ascend back into the heavens. I watched until Dave turned onto the main road and I couldn’t see it anymore. Dave pulled over about 15 miles down the road and started to weep. Harry was also overcome with emotion. We tried to talk about it then and there but the words kept getting stuck in the back of our throats.
I haven’t chased a storm since I seen the thing inside the twister. The cold winds will disappear soon and then twister season will be over. Usually that’s the saddest part of the year for me. Hell, it can’t come fast enough.
submitted by goonerfrog10 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:43 PIGEONS_UP_MY_ASS I feel like my life is permanently ruined at 17 (Porn addiction & Self harm)

Sorry if this seems incoherent, I'm rushing this out and I don't really know where to start. The biggest problem right now is a porn addiction. I've been addicted since I was 14 and I can't stop. I feel so hopeless and it's completely out of control. I've considered suicide over this more times than I can count.
I also have a self harm problem. I go through phases where I feel negative emotions very strongly. In order to counter those emotions and make them manageable, I self harm. Sometimes I do it impulsively (punching myself in the head), other times I put more effort in by doing things like cutting myself on my thighs and arms
I said phases earlier, because I go through phases of negativity and extreme creativity. Here are some examples of the extreme creativity
Every "creative" or "good" phase, I feel very happy and passionate. Sometimes I find it hard to sleep because I am just so excited to continue my project the next day
Each time I enter and leave a phase (lasting about month in length each), it's very extreme. It's not a gradual loss/gain in interest, it's literally waking up and becoming obsessed with some random bullshit. And once the month is over I wake up and want nothing to do with it and feel down and unmotivated all the time.
I made a thread on askParents and they suggested bipolar. I am undiagnosed and I'm not convinced I have it. This is a recent thing (age 16+).
Lastly, the porn addiction. I'm not excepting DMs and comments talking about how porn/masturbation is good for you or good in moderation. I don't give a shit. It appears some redditors feel like it's a personal attack when someone doesn't like porn and wants to quit. This is NOT a religious thing, this is a personal choice.
This porn addiction has destroyed me. I nearly killed myself in January. When schools broke up in December for christmas, I edged for 2 hours. When I finished, my eyes were heavy and my dick was sore. An hour later I relapsed again. I decided I was going to live through Christmas and kill myself the day before I went back to school. Luckily I got a good streak in and a change of heart. Every time I relapse (which is VERY often) I feel suicidal. I know all these techniques on how to quit porn, I have helped people on forums with how to use them. It's ironic how I spend so much time helping others with this addiction but I can't fucking help myself.
To me, the porn escalation is the worst part. Escalation is when your brain gets bored of a type of porn so you begin to crave more extreme material.
The only thing stopping me from killing myself right now is the fear of surviving and ending up brain damaged or paralysed. I have no drive for my future, I'm getting low test scores and headaches everyday. I am slowly destroying my life because of this fucking addiction and I desperately need help before it's too late. I don't think I'm going to live to become an adult if this continues, I am for sure losing this battle and I am very close to admitting defeat
I don't know too much about Dr K, but he seems very helpful so far. This community seems very friendly as well. I hope this post fits here well, I'm sorry for writing so much.
submitted by PIGEONS_UP_MY_ASS to Healthygamergg [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:41 Billcryptic At the Base of the Hanging Tree

(The Giving Tree is written by Shel Silverstein, The Hanging Tree is by Suzanne Collins)
He chuckled, and called again.
Hey where was she, he was a smol, wide eyed childgen snuggled up in bed with his red and white patchwork quilt with his Raggedy Ann doll who contrary to popular belief, was NOT HAUNTED and instead infused with good dreams and good vibes.
Good vibes which included Amon’s grandma READING HIM A FUCKING BEDTI-
Her head peeked through the door, glasses wobbling on her pointed nose. She huffed and puffed, and Amon had a twinge of consciousness, a ‘oh wait I’m in better health than her maybe I should be nice,’ sort of feeling.
He then realized that as a child, he was entitled to entitlement, and threw that notion out the window and into the dumpster, where it rested with other bad ideas like, ‘hey let's make a Bible version of dungeons and dragons, or literally anything else that we find morally reprehensible yeah that’ll hinder sales if we tell people to not do this cool thing that is totally bad for you and will result in your eyes being gouged out by Satan’s asshole.’
He, of course, didn’t voice any of this. Because, above fear of God, he had a fear of grandma.
“Did someone say they wanted a bedtime story! Well, by golly, do I have a story for you!”
He paused, “Is it Narnia?”
She narrowed her eyes at him, setting the book that she held behind her down, “Of course not dear! I would never put my preferences over yours, my oh so picky critic who whittles down what stories I read to you with the sharpest razor I’ve ever seen. I am only here to cater to your preferences because your time is the most valuable in all the world!”
He squirmed under the blanket, “....Look, I hate to admit that you’re right but can you not be right.”
“It’s a talent of mine.”
Why can’t I have come out of the womb as a fully mature adult so I can debate grandma to death into an early grave?
Then another thought came.
Wait, I don't want her to die. She loves me or some shit and I think that’s good.
He gulped, attempting to sound less…full of himself, “Could you um…if possible…by any chance.”
“Spit it out sonny if my hearing gets any worse I’ll have to get some robotic implants and do you really want grandma being the catalyst for the AI uprising?”
Please for the love of God nobody let this women near any missile turrets.
“.....I could throw you a dislocated hip.”
Amon squinted, “You’re going to need those in ten years when your bones start fossilizing.”
She patted his back, “Ten years! You’re very generous, in fact those bones of yours with the freshest marrow look….quite appetizing for a geezer like me!”
“All the better to eat me with?”
The night went on, a star or two who hadn’t twinkled out to dream land like he had standing in the heavens, wisps of gray clouds swirling round the moon. He could hear the caw of a crow or two, probably picking off the dead racoons left on the road because of grandma’s driving.
Damned dumpster drivers had it coming.
Grandma leaned back in her rocking chair, its faded brown surface creaking as she swished back n’ forth in it. She folded her arms, closed her eyes, and let out a yawn as she flipped a lightswitch, the thin, pale beams of the moon shining through the shudders.
And the heater chugged along like a train, blanketing them both into a slow, dreary slumber,
Grandma began her story.
“Once upon a time, there was a brave knight. So brave in fact, that he didn’t squirm when doctors, who may or may not have been vampires, took his blood, and always opened up his mouth wide for the dentist when they wanted to see his pearly whites! And the king sent him off on many a quest, to save all the damsels in distress because the king had a bad habit of keeping a harem. After all, in those days, monogamy was a myth.”
Amon wondered if the king was based on grandma’s love life.
“The knight loved his king, so why wouldn’t he serve him? Even as the wounds piled up like a pile of rusty coins, infection creeping up on his flesh as the doctors prescribed him leeches and his blood turned to ice. Even as each step became an insurmountable mountain, he had a duty to serve his king, and the king loved him too, right? There was something beyond that icy stare? Some glimpse of hope, a spark of love? Yet they say be careful of he who slays beasts, lest he become a beast himself.”
She paused, and Amon shivered, like the mist creeping outside was the last dying wisps of smoke from the maw of a decaying dragon.
If the time came, would he be able to slay his demons?
“The knight’s greatest beast he would never slay was the one sitting upon the gilded throne. One day, he outlived his usefulness.”
The silence hung in the air. Amon wondered how long it took for the man’s flesh to be wrent from his shoulders.
He shivered, tears barely restrained, as grandma pulled him in.
“Never let anyone tell you how to be. Never do anything someone else wouldn’t do for you back. This world will want to beat you down and spit you out but I know you’re stronger than that.”
She got up, patting his head as the moon glinted in her spectacles and she grinned back with a fiery stare of her own.
One day, Amon would share it, for she had long since kinded the flame in his heart.
Burn, my grandson. Burn and show this world what you made of. Show them what I see in you, what you don’t see in yourself.
One day, you will.
One day, you will know how to look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you.”
“.....Could the knight have saved himself?”
“Every story has an end. Just….make sure yours is a good one.”
Nearing the end of her days, wondering the length of the shadow she’d cast, and if it brought others shade.
She hobbled off. The door shut behind her.
………God we are both overdramatic as fuck aren’t we.
Amon reminded himself to tell grandma to lay off the old testament for a while. She didn’t need that kind of toxic masculinity in her life.
“You know, I’m going to tell you a story this time!”
Amon was waving a pencil, not because he was going to write God forbid anybody see his handwriting no siree, but rather when his hands were flailing and the unsharpened point was ready to fly from his fingers at any second and impale someone’s eye the creative juices were flowin and his imaginative boat was rowing and sure it may sink once or twice along the way but that was just apart of the creative process!
That, and procrastinate on writing said story for two goddamn weeks and when you went over your plot notes you wondered who this madman was who’d seized your journal and favorite fountain pen.
“It’s about time! You think I have time to keep running my lips Mr. I’m young and needy and I want to drive grandma into dehydration because I want to turn one bedtime story into fifteen?”
Amon averted his gaze, “Can I just say that you’re the greatest woman I’ve ever known and I hope I can have one ounce of your creativity so I can inspire the masses with the love and forgiveness you demonstrate so all the little children, not including me because five foot one and a half is not little by any means thank you very much…”
Napoleon complex much, sonny?
“And through all these wonderful…”, he coughed, “Parables I can conjure up surely everyone can and will find Jesus?”
He gave her the baby blue puppy dog eyes. She melted.
But she really didn’t want to.
“Has anyone told you that flattery will get you everywhere?”
“Yes, actually, you did.”
“Damn right,” she mentally gave her past self a pat on the back.
And Amon struck a match, lighting the fireplace with its grizzled logs, silvery bark peeled back as flames licked their sides all over. He cuddled up with grandma on the oversized recliner, leaning back. Eyes closed.
Like he could see, like he could taste and touch and smell and hear the story unfolding in his mind’s eye.
“Once, there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.”
It was growing now, its roots feeding into the forest. Birds came here to lay their young and worms burrowed in her rich soil beneath. Squirrels always found the best holes in her trunk to bury their nuts in, snuggled up all cozy as the wind battered her outsides but the tree saw that wind and told it where it could shove it cause no breeze would take away her warmth! She was happy and she liked it that way!
“And every day the boy would come, and he would gather her leaves, making them into crowns to play king of the forest.”
The squirrels were scampering away and here he came charging through the grass and falling into the bushes headfirst! He could take and take and take and twist those twigs and thorns into a wooden circlet befitting the child prince. And if he craned his ears he could even hear the fae sparkling and laughing and merrymaking as they poured wine from goblets neverending and gossiped about that adorable little child over there let’s go visit him no wait we can’t interact with humans can we kidnap him NO KIDNAPPING IS BAD.
Remember what happened with a midsummers night's dream, there’s a precedent for this shit!
“He would climb up her trunk, and swing from her branches.”
Don’t look down, whatever you do don’t look down like a tumbling sack of apples about to go splaaaaat. Climbing up to see the forest was definitely a good idea and you’re not going to throw up whatsoever.
“And eat apples, and they would play hide and seek.”
“Ready or not, here I cooome!”
“.....Oh, you’re right behind me.”
“I don’t think hide and seek is the best game if one party doesn’t have legs.”
“And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade.”
“I don’t want to go home, I want to stay with you but it’s getting dark and there’s monsters prowling about!”
“Whenever you are with me, I promise, I will keep you safe.”
And the boy stared up in wide eyed wonder.
“You….you…really mean that?”
She bowed her great head, leaves falling on his face, embracing him in a branch, pulling him close.
“I love you. And I don’t let harm come to those I love.”
“And the boy loved the tree very, very much.”
He pressed himself against grandma’s warm, woolen, side. She smelled like peppermint.
“The tree was happy."
He sighed, and Amon looked down, shivering. The clock went tick, tick, tick, and he wondered if he blinked, if he’d miss the seconds passing by.
“But time went by.”
He grew up and the world wasn’t small anymore. It wasn’t good to just imagine, you could no longer play pretend, you had to have a purpose for your life and fill that aching void that’d grown in your heart, didn’t you feel it beating? Take, take, take, my boy, you’re number one and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Forget about the tree, that withered shrub has nothing for you except to be food for the worms.
“And the boy grew older.”
He peered into grandma’s gaze. How many people had she lost over the years, and what hole did they leave in their absence?
“And he wanted. But that want wasn’t just a I want this colorful toy off the shelf, gimme, gimme, gimme. No, this was a need.”
“I am too busy to climb trees.”
“I want a house to keep me warm.”
But that little boy was left unheard, to just go back to the simpler times when he could just be a boy she could just be his tree. He was worthless and if he just had what everyone else had maybe it’d feel better, if he could raze and tear and break down the tears would stop flowing and the sirens would stop blaring and everything would just fucking shut down, for just one second please, for the love of God, be still.
“I want you. I want you in my life and you’re so far away but I think that’s just me.”
So he ripped the tree down and shed her emerald coat of leaves and wrent her into a stump so for himself he had a home. Her apples laid moldering and discarded, and maybe if he had cast their seeds out into the brush they both wouldn’t have been so lonely anymore.
“And he met the end of his days and they both had nothing left. She asked, ‘What more do you want of me?’ He didn’t know anymore.”
“Would you like to rest?”
He sat down on her stump.
And the tree was happy.
Amon sniffled, then there was snot. He shivered and wrapped his teensie head in his legs and grandma yanked him on over to her side and held him close and he ugly cried and she wailed right with him.
She hoped he knew it was okay to cry, so long as there was a crazy bitch like her to cry with him.
And finally he wiped his nose, eyes puffy, before he looked down, murmuring, “....I don’t deserve you.” Her heart sunk right along with his and she wondered where he learned that self loathing.
Was it by design?
The wind picked up and her’s fell, the wooden, mossy floorboards outside, the red paved bricks littered with cracked nuts and wilted flower petals, creaking right along with her.
“Are you, are you, coming to the tree?”
I could see, grandma and I, sitting there together on that worn stump. And maybe if you turned back the years you’d see the tree at the height of its youth with the freshest apples and sap running for miles. I’d be running too.
I knew who’d be watching and egging me on along the way.
“Where they strung up a man, said he murdered three.”
“Strange things have happened here, no stranger would they be
If we met at midnight, in the hanging tree”
Her dad taught her that song so long ago, with whiskey under his breath and a revolver at his belt. He might have been one who knew how to drink and drink till he dropped but he sure damn as well knew when to pour out, lest he become bloated for others’ sake.
“I never want you to become like that man, I never want you to love someone so much it comes at the expense of yourself.”
Amon’s voice was an echo.
“Are you, are you, coming to the tree?
Where I told you to run, so we’d both be tree?
Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be
If we met at midnight in the hanging tree.”
Was the tree’s greatest sin, the inability to say no?
What befalls us when we answer yes?
But if I take and take and take from grandma what shall I have left?
Amon sniffled.
“Are you, are you, coming to the tree?
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee?
Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be
If we met at midnight in the hanging tree.”
Her singing became a flurry of notes, tapering out to the breeze.
It was quiet.
“I’m here grandma.”
They stood up and he took her hand.
“Let’s go to that tree together.”
And the grandma was happy.
submitted by Billcryptic to Odd_directions [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:38 Tamatista AITA for asking our neighbors to turn off lights at night

We live in a rural area away from city lights. We built our house with three 6-foot tall glass panels (one is a door) in our second floor bedroom face the woods so we could enjoy the view from bed and have the door to the deck open in the summer.
Several years ago a new house was built 400 feet behind ours on the property next door. When the current owners moved in in 2021, I greeted them with a warm mulberry cobbler. I also explained that their outdoor lights would shine into our bedroom at night. My request was that they shut them off when they go to bed -- which fell on deaf ears.
A couple months later, after one of their dogs attacked ours ($535 emergency vet visit for a deep puncture wound that they did pay for), I mentioned the lights again. She said that they live far off the "street," it gets very dark at night (duh!), and their kids sleep on the front side of the house. Then she suggested we get window treatments (at a cost that would be around $650 to match the wood blinds we have).
Then the holidays roll around, and they have lights installed around all of the eves on their house and shed. It's lit up like a nuclear plant; you could probably see it from space! Even one of our other neighbors wondered how we liked living next to the airport. So, at 4 o'clock in the morning I sent her a text with a picture from our bedroom saying the lights looked nice, and asked if they needed to be on all night as they light up our bedroom.
Her response: "Lights really seem to be an issue for you. They are Christmas lights -- Millions of people have them. I don't believe there is a law against having them."
My suggestion was to put them on a timer so they'd go off at bedtime. Again, she was prickly...
"I will see if I can put them on a timer. But I don't understand why I'm the only one that needs to make changes. Why are you always asking us to not have lights on when you still must not have window treatments if they're still bothering you? If the roles were reversed and your lights were bothering me, I personally would just get blinds vs asking you to make a change to your way of living.
"I just feel like from day one you've got on us about our lights. I too moved out to the country to be able to live freely and I feel like I've got more restrictions now than I did when I lived in a neighborhood.
"I will see if I can get them on a timer, but I can't possibly keep restricting my families way of living for one person."
The lights were put on a timer to go off at 11:30 PM, and came back on at 5 AM. That was in 2021. This last holiday season, they went off at midnight and came back on at 4:30 AM. Sometimes the lights on the shed would stay on all night. They don't have the lights taken down own until the beginning of February.
I've always been civil with them, and even took a bottle of champagne over around New Years the first year to thank them for using a timer.
They still leave the lights on all night on the front of their house and shed. 😕
AITA for wanting to sleep in the dark?
submitted by Tamatista to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:38 CEO_Of_Rejection_99 I think I'm starting to get an idea of what it's like to be a true friend.

Wow. It's hard to put this into words. But I feel like I'm making a realization. I may not absorb it immediately, but it's still a realization nonetheless.
This is a follow up to these three posts: https://www.reddit.com/IncelExit/comments/zx05ce/focusing_on_small_details_versus_the_big_picture/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
Quick summary: I developed a friendship with someone several months ago and we became close. We hung out a lot at that point and also developed a system of hugs and handshakes. I noticed that sometimes she doesn't respond to text messages, or requests a smaller form of hug/handshake. I then became worried that these were signs that she was pulling back, and this was the beginning of a slippery slope that would result in the end of the friendship.
I've covered this topic extensively with my family, and they became concerned that I was obsessed with her. And now that I think about it, I agree with them. It may not have been a romantic obsession, but still an obsession nonetheless - an obsession out of an excessive worry of losing her, even though there were never any actual bad signs to begin with.
I realized that a lot of my previous worries about supposedly losing her after massive gains in the friendship came from past bad social experiences in high school. Many of these were "crushes" that ended in a damaged friendship and sometimes being blocked on social media. A lot of these experiences were my own fault. Another source of these worries came from someone whom I used to be close with, but turned out to be a toxic person who gave me a lot of anxiety about interpersonal relationships, and gave me bad advice. (In fact, I recently blocked him on all social platforms for this exaact reason.)
I inherited a lot of bad mindsets and interpersonal relationship strategies from these sources. My past response to an apparent "pulling back" from the other person was to put even more energy into the relationship by making myself excessively available, excessively apologizing, and not giving them space to try to cover the apparent losses. (While I like the idea of apologizing, I think it can actually make certain situations worse if the issue at hand wasn't even huge to begin with.) These bad experiences have made me hyperaware of minute details within relationships, from responses to texts (or the lack thereof) to whether or not they're talking to other people, and recently, patterns of hugs and handshakes. They have made me excessively worry that one small interruption in these processes will just be the start of a slippery slope that could spell disaster for the friendship. I was afraid to just be my true self and let go of minute details, out of fear that would end in disaster because I was apparently too carried away to notice the supposed bad signs.
I have instinctually treated interpersonal relationships as a competition where I have to race to the finish line to receive a prize as fast as possible, as opposed to the more natural processes by which interpersonal relationships form. I became afraid of the other person talking to other people, or even doing their own thing, because I feared that meant I was losing the competition, and so I needed to compete harder. I first learned this instinct when trying to enter romantic relationships, but I've also unintentionally applied it to platonic friendships as well. This was only made worse by the bad dating advice that I have recieved that has essentially pushed the idea of treating it as a competition, or you will "miss your chance."
It's easy for me to assume that people, and by extension interpersonal relationships, are constant. I want to believe that they are nice, neat, formulaic, and follow a predictable sequence of events. But here's the truth: they're not. I've had to learn it the hard way. People are complicated creatures. Sometimes we want one thing, and sometimes we don't. We can be in the mood for one thing, and not in the mood for another thing. This extends to interpersonal relationships. Sometimes there's lots of enthusiasm and excitement, and other times not so much. I guess it's just the nature of interpersonal relationships, and it doesn't change whether you're close to the other person or not.
Looking back at these previous posts, I almost giggle at myself knowing how much I've worried over minute details and approached this college-level friendship with the attitude of a teenager. In hindsight, I don't think she was really "pulling back." She just wasn't receptive on that specific day. Perhaps there are reasons why. Maybe our schedules just didn't line up, or maybe there was the stress of the school trip that these occurrences took place in.
Things like texting, pictures, and patterns of hugs and handshakes are not the entire relationship. These things should follow the natural social interaction that is the basis for the connection, not completely replace them. How I've tended to operate this friendship was to ask for pictures/hugs right away. Thank you so much to the people who mentioned that I might have been pressuring her in my previous posts. While I'm a big fan of asking for consent before things such as hugs and pictures, I think starting every single interaction off with asking for something would give off the impression of a transactional relationship that the other person has to invest in, which might make them uncomfortable.
I realized that I've had an urge to try to establish "control" over other people, but it's not out of malicious intent, but instead a fear of loneliness and losing friends because I didn't try hard enough to keep them in my circle. While it may not be out of malicious intent, it can still make people uncomfortable and feel pressured to act in my favor.
The truth is that people have their own free will and have freedom to make their own decisions. It doesn't mean my friends hate me, or are pulling away from me. It's just human nature by default. They might be stressed, or having a bad day, or request a handshake because a hug would take too much time and they're running late to class. Just because someone doesn't want a hug, or a handshake, or picture, or whatever that particular day, doesn't mean they don't want to be friends with me anymore. That's just how they feel. It has helped me to seperate the concept of free will from signs that the friendship is ending. The most I can do is match the other person's level of communication. If they're not being receptive on a particular day, I should back off and lessen my intensity.
I used to think of the concept of giving space as a bad thing. Not in the sense that just the idea of giving space is bad, but I believed that giving space was something only restricted to the worst of the worst friendship situations, as if the friendship had gotten so bad that space is warranted. But now I believe that giving space is not a bad thing at all, and I can give anyone space, even if they're not uncomfortable around me. In fact, perhaps I should give everyone space so people don't actually become uncomfortable. I think it's a perfectly healthy thing to do, and giving someone space doesn't mean the friendship is bad.
Now that I think about it, the concept of a relationship that benefits me and me only is pretty ridiculous, as much as it may seem like the easiest option to pursue. Because this friendship I'm speaking of is not just about me. It has never been solely about me to begin with. It's about her as well. The purpose of a relationship is to benefit both people within the relationship, not just one. I've read somewhere in a Reddit thread that true friends are people who open you up to greater possibilities, and those who restrict your possibilities are not considered close friends. So I really shouldn't try to restrain people's options since that would make me a shitty friend. I should also not be surprised if they talk to other people besides me, since people are allowed to have multiple friends at the same time. In fact, I should do the opposite and open up their options.
I've worried a little bit that this would result in me getting yelled at by "dating gurus" for willingly "giving away" the friendship with the other person, and I would "miss my chance". While this mindset of "try super hard or you will miss your chance" is very oversimplistic and misguided, it's admittedly been really hard to shake off after being ingrained in my head for years.
People will say "Just be confident!" "State your intentions!" "Be direct!" And I will say the following: I don't think this advice is incorrect. I think it's generally helpful in a lot of situations. That advice alone is just too oversimplified in my opinion, and there's a lot more that goes into close relationships than just "being confident" or "being direct." You should also be your best, kind, respectful self, and if it's clear they're not being as receptive, then cut the interaction short. Plus, in my opinion, confidence is more than just having the guts to speak to the girl you like. Confidence is more than just being overly bombastic and boisterious. It's being confident enough to move on if they're not interested, and confident enough to be your best self.
It's been a few months since the last time I posted about this friendship. And despite my fears, it's still going strong, and I believe it will continue that way despite my anxieties. I don't see this friendship as a failure at all. In fact, I see it as one of the most wonderful, successful friendships I have ever formed. I see this entire friendship as a rite of passage - a symbolic transition from an immature and oversimplied understanding of interpersonal relationships, to a more developed and comprehensive understanding of such things.
I used to think that close friends were 100% involved in each other's lives, that the friendship is always constant, their text messages never get left on opened, they hang out every single time, etc. I've always wanted to be like one of those people who had a "best friend" with whom they always hung out and did fun things all the time.
And then I met her.
I initially thought the friendship was following my preconceived "plan" of a close friendship. Then this stuff started happening. My previous beliefs were challenged, and everything I thought I knew was stretched to the very limit. And now my views of close interpersonal relationships have changed.
It's hard to describe in words. There's no definite way I can explain this. But I'll do my best. I realized that even the closest of friends are not 100% involved in each other's lives. They have their own lives and their own friendships outside that particular friendship. What keeps the friendship going is that they respect these lives. They might have different schedules and be around different groups of people. But it doesn't change the closeness of the friendship. And with this particular person I am speaking of, we're both on different schedules and we're both around different groups of people. But it doesn't change the closeness of the connection, and we will still be friends no matter what, plus all of the silly hugs and handshakes (and maybe even occasionally hang out with each other).
I admit I've had a distorted view of the friendship for some time. I still believe it's a truly beautiful development that will continue to live on through the future. But I don't see it as me being the knight in shining armor, protecting the princess that is my friend. I see it as just two travelers whose paths just happened to cross. Because I am not a knight in shining armor, who can get any princess to fall for me. I am just a lone explorer, just going on the journey of life. I have no real authority over anyone else's paths. The only thing I can truly control is the path that I choose to go on. Sometimes our paths diverge, sometimes our paths converge, and that's not a bad thing. That's just the way it goes.
The friendship is not "recovering." And not because it has died and will never be brought back, but because there's nothing really bad enough to "recover" from. It's not that something really bad happened and the friendship is being built back up again, one social interaction at a time. It's just normal social interaction interlaced with human nature.
It's not a friendship that basically "owns" her. It's a close friendship that can coexist along with HER other close friendships. And for HER sake, it should stay that way. It doesn't mean she hates me, or her other friends are overtaking me in some sort of friendship building competition. It just means I'm part of her greater circle of friends, and the friendship with me is just one among the others that she has. I'm not saying this to express pessimism about the friendship; I'm just telling the truth.
The most I can do is to continue to support her on her journey, wherever she goes, and be my best, kind, gentle, nice self. And I don't mean nice as in "nice guy" or pretending to be nice and expecting things in return; I mean being a genuinely nice person, so it would benefit HER instead of just ME.
I truly believe this is a wonderful and beautiful friendship, and I believe it has potential to become an even better friendship than it is currently. It's been one of the most successful friendships I've ever had with another person, and the first time I've developed a close friendship with a woman as a man. It's truly been an honor to even have this friendship in the first place, and I am strongly convinced that it will continue to remain strong in the future.
submitted by CEO_Of_Rejection_99 to IncelExit [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:34 free_advice_4you What is the scientific process of losing weight?

I’m looking for science here, not opinion. I know all about calories, glycogen, etc. But what is the process, how do our bodies decide what and when to use those stores of energy? I guess I’ve never seen fat storage as a quick in and out process, from what I’ve read that seems to be the case. As in, it’s not this long drawn out thing for your body to lose (AND store) fat, it’s just a constant put away, take out. When do you break down muscle vs fat? Give me all the answers or research articles that explain, this is just curiosity on my part
submitted by free_advice_4you to loseit [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 18:33 cruisingNW The Foundations of Humanity 8 (Cultivation) - an NoP fanfic

The Foundations of Humanity 8 (Cultivation) - an NoP fanfic

Thank you u/SpacePaladin15 for establishing the Nature of Predators Universe, and for allowing Fanfics to flourish!
Warning. This is disgustingly cute and very intimate with lots of touching. You have been warned.
First -- Previous -- Next
Memory transcription subject: Valek, Venlil-Human Partnership Program Participant
Date [standardized human time]: August 25th, 2136. Early morning
I knew the heat beside me before I finished dreaming, and I knew the arms around me before my eyes opened. Maeve was huddled against me, nuzzled into my collar wool as she dozed. I dared not move, as I knew she had another hour or more before a full rest.
While planning my extraction, I felt her pull harder and take a deep breath, before opening her eyes.
"Good morning, handsome,"
"Good waking, little leafy green." Maeve pushed her face further into my mane at that. "I know you have a longer sleep than we do, please don't wake up on my account."
"It's ok, I'm doing this as much for me as for you," she whispered, as she pressed her lips to my shoulder.
Maeve pulled herself from me and stretched the length of the bed with a loud groan, before settling back against me on her side, and looked at me with a smile, "I'll be honest you are very comfortable, I could see this becoming a habit."
It was only then I noticed, to my horror, my tail had found its way between us. I hoped she didn't catch on to the implications of my tail curled around her foreleg, but my shaking reply left no questions. "I think I could be convinced."
We giggled to each other, while she reached over and started to idly scratch through the tuft on my chest, to my immense satisfaction. I could only see half of her face around the pillow, but the look from that gleaming green eye was the closest thing to 'predatory' I've ever seen from Maeve.
"Well!" Maeve said with a start, lifting her hand from me, "as lovely as this is, it's time to get up, and I wouldn't mind a snack. Do you still want to try the rec room for art supplies?"
"Oh that would be wonderful! My parents couldn't afford art classes, so I only had public events to really try it."
"You didn't have art in school?"
"Well no, we couldn't afford it, that's what I said."
"Sorry, that's not what I mean," Maeve clarified, muffled through her changing of clothes, "Ok, first off, do the Venlil have a concept of public schooling? Education of subjects deemed necessary, paid for by the state, and free to the parents?."
"Of course we do! You can't have modern civilization without everyone knowing the basics of things like math and science."
"Well for humans, several of those subjects are art."
My ears snapped forward, utterly surprised, "Really?? Why??" I asked as we left the room.
"I'll admit, it is relatively recent; for most of human history, several hundred thousand years at least, artistic expression was something that humans just did, without any assistance or education. There were earlier instances of art being treated like a trade, apprentice learning from journeymen, but I think the earliest examples of formal artistic education were in pre-Christian Rome, so that would be… 3, maybe 4 thousand years ago? At that time and for a long time after, artistic education was only taught to the elite. Not because of pay or profit, but because the wealthy and powerful were cultural leaders and needed to be taught as much about culture as possible, including art."
"The concept of public education has come and gone several times in human history, but our current era started I think in the 1500's, almost 700 years ago, and even then artistic expression only became part of it around 300 years ago, or less. There were a lot of reasons why they included it: social reasons, political reasons, scientific… but it wasn't until after the Satellite Wars that such practices became ubiquitous. So now, almost every living human will have had at least one or two years of formal training in the arts by adulthood, to familiarize them with the concept of expression and creation."
"That's incredible!" I exclaimed as we entered the Mess Hall, to the shock of several Venlil and a few humans nearby, "I mean, Maeve! Your people's warlike history is well documented; why, by the sun and stars, would artistic education be compulsory for a species at war?"
"Like I said, there's a lot of reasons" gathering our food, we found empty seats by the window, "In fact, one of those reasons is precisely to prevent war." My mouth hung agape as I nearly dropped my tray; settling in, Maeve now had my full attention.
"You remember what I said about humans feeling too much?" I did, and the reminder of last waking's events did not help my nerves, but I nodded and Maeve continued all the same between sips of what I now know was coffee, "Humans appear to have incredible impulse, or as the Venlil call it 'instinct', control because we have had to learn and develop effective ways to control it. One of the most effective of which is Expression; to put that emotion out of your body and into the world in some way."
Having finished our meal, we started toward the rec room, "True, this can manifest in… unkind ways such as posturing, fighting, or just yelling, but it can also be expressed in others such as running, talking with someone who listens, and, of course, artistic works."
"So we started to teach our children how to express their imagination and emotions in non-violent ways such as the Arts. Not everyone continues practicing, and very few find professional success, but every human knows enough to understand and participate." The door to the Rec Room slid open in front of us, "Here we are, Valek. You said you checked this out on the first day, so how about you give me the tour?"
It was a large room, about the same as the bathing room including the drying corridor. The walls were lined with full bookshelves, colored boxes, and several large viewing screens with comfortable seating. Several tables made up the interior, some with what appeared to be a Pad-mount attached to a keyboard; some designed for humans, some for Venlil. I saw several pairs already engaged in activities; a mixed group of six were seated and watching what appeared to be a world of cubes, and several pairs appeared to be using their pads together, though I couldn't tell what they were doing.
“I didn't have anyone to show me around last time, so I’m not sure what some of this is. Social media is pretty big on Venlil Prime, so I think these are to communicate with the herd," I said, motioning to the Pad-mounts. “It looks like Humans are as fond of reading as we are, judging by the bookshelves. But I’m not sure what that is,” motioning to the large displays, “I think they're watching a movie? I’ve never seen one like that, though.”
“Oh! They’re playing Minecraft. Interactive media, such as video games, are really big with humans. The one they’re playing is a little more than a hundred years old now, but it never lost its appeal.”
“You said it's interactive? How?”
“Oh you just use the controller to… wait… um…” She seemed to be trying to find out how to begin, “So you told me the Venlil have, like, shows and stuff right? Well, just like those shows take place in a False World where the actions of the actors influence change upon it, video games also take place in a false world. The difference is; your actions in the Real World are interpreted as actions in the False World; it’s like you, the player, are the actor in these shows.”
“That’s so cool! I’ll have to try that sometime.”
Maeve and I explored the room further, I was especially interested in their library; what kinds of stories would I see here? About to pull a large anthology book with what appeared to be a large human holding a lightning bolt, I heard Maeve call from the other corner.
“I think I found the art supplies! So when you did your community art, were you a paint guy or a chalk guy?”
“Oh, chalk please! Most of our public works are temporary, so using something that washes with the rain is very useful.” Their artistic education is complex enough to teach different mediums? Such classes are prohibitively expensive to have, and every human learns this??
“Well I don’t see chalk, but that tells me you prefer a dry medium, so let's try pencil and markers.” Maeve said as she pulled out sheets of paper and two buckets of what I assumed were the art supplies.
We spent the next entire claw working together, drawing what fit our fancy. Maeve told me about the forests of earth, and how her family used to go camping. She explained it was like leaving home, to make a new home, in a place where a home has no right to be. I was still wrapping my head around that when she told me about the clear skies, and how her family would stay up late to see the stars, and share ancient stories about their shapes.
We were silent for a moment while we worked, when I heard Maeve speak from beside me, “Are those your woods from back home?” she asked about my drawing, “It's so colorful! Are these broad colors typical of Venlil styles?”
To the human eye, my work appeared as large swathes of color, with vague shapes representing direction and shape, rather than form. Emotion mixed with reality to create something that gave an impression of overall calm and nostalgia over the representational work.
“I do often see something similar in the parks when others are being creative. I have seen some Venlil try a style that is more detailed, but I like to show what I feel rather than what I see.” I explained, while making another long streak of golden sunbeam.
Maeve asked about my home, and I told her how we lived in a traditional burrow-style house; not an actual burrow, it was above-ground, but it made use of smooth lines and soft corners to lend structural support, spreading more out than up. We still had a 2nd floor, which was where most of our living and sleeping space was, but it looked like barely a mound against the modern stem-style houses, which was what used to be my university apartment. I was just talking about the kitchen on the ground floor when I looked over at what Maeve was working on. To my surprise, she was making an incredibly life-like imagining of our kitchen. It wasn't perfect, our dishes never stacked that high, but this could absolutely be someone else’s kitchen.
“How did you draw that?” I asked, unbelieving.
Maeve giggled as I stared, and answered lightly, “I did a lot of things back home, either as work or hobby, and one of them was room concepts and architectural design. I followed your descriptions as best as I could, with some artistic flavor. Some older human cultures also had burrow homes, so I took ideas from that. What do you think?”
“It’s incredible! This could absolutely be someone's kitchen, though it isn't ours. You even have the berry field in the window!” I was so enthralled by the detail I was seeing, I didn’t notice Maeve’s hand reaching for the work. She pointed to two figures in frame: a Venlil with what was clearly my salt-and-pepper pattern and…
“I’ve given it some thought,” Maeve whispered beside me, “and I think, yes. I would like to keep doing this.”
My heart leapt with joy and and my tail thrashed behind me; if any attempt at subtlety was made I clearly ruined the secret. Maeve smiled broadly, hiding her teeth in a vain attempt to hide her quickly reddening cheeks. We quickly packed up our projects, and I saw Maeve making to throw them away! “What are you doing?”
“Oh, I was…” She paused, not truly having an answer. I walked over and gently, wordlessly, took the sketches from her hand, and filled the space with my own paw. The message received, we exited to the corridor. "You mentioned something about camping, what is that?"
Maeve paused in thought without breaking stride, then asked, "You mentioned your favorite place was taking the road between The Grove and University. If you had the chance to live there, for a few days or a week, would you?"
I thought about this. It's a beautiful place, and I would find great joy in staying there for a time. But I remembered the look of that predator, "No. I know, in my head, that the predators in that forest would leave us alone; I'm certain it would be fine. But no, I don't think I'm brave enough for it."
"It's ok, and I won't ask you to. But Humans would, though that doesn't say much for our judgment." she added with a chuckle, "Most humans live in cities. Massive places of steel and concrete with more people than plants. Just like cities on Venlil Prime, they are comfortable, safe, and good places to live; but humans are drawn instinctively to the natural world. Despite our industry, we have to see the Earth and its bounty, or we get out of sorts."
We had reached the room and, picking up on human mannerisms, I invited Maeve to enter first. "Thank you, my good sir." She said through a giggle, "anyway, because of this many humans will leave the city to live in nature for a while. We have a lot of ways to make it more or less comfortable, and the varied ecosphere on earth combined with our diurnal cycle means we have to be very prepared. Personally I prefer a tent, rain cover, and camp stove; but some people take as much as a rolling house, or as little as a sleeping bag."
Maeve sat down on a chair, and I on the bed as we continued talking, "do you hunt when you do this?" I asked.
Carefully, Maeve spoke in measured words, "Not always, and myself never; the vast majority of people bring food with them to eat as-is or cook on site. But yes, some humans do still hunt, kill, consume, and use the dead of wild creatures. But I'd like to point out it has been regulated in most countries for a few centuries now, and even more so in the last few decades. These days, only a couple thousand animals are killed annually due to hunting practices, worldwide. And, as we continue to become more prosperous, cede more of earth to nature, and find alternatives to killing, that number will continue dropping to almost nothing." she said, matter-of-factly.
"But why do you still hunt at all? If you can eat plants, have domesticated livestock, and can now print synthetic meat, why is that number not zero?"
"it is a part of our history, and our culture; such things are very difficult to unlearn. Also, we humans have assumed the responsibility to maintain the ecologies of our world. This is done in large part as penance for the damage we did during our colonial and industrial ages, but that sense of guardianship still carries on. Answering that question is pretty complicated, and I won't dance around the fact that controlled murder is a big part of it, do you want me to keep going?"
I will never be totally ready for frank discussions of murder, but I felt this was nothing compared to what we've already done. With a deep breath, I steeled myself and flicked an affirmation.
"Ok, this is a phenomenon we have seen nearly everywhere on Earth, but we are going to talk about Yellowstone National Park, specifically. Yellowstone is a large evergreen forest that is host to a huge variety of wildlife, but early in America's history, the colonists eradicated the local Wolf population. True we had domesticated wolves earlier, but not here, and these wolves were more harmful than helpful to the colonists, so they killed them. What followed was a process called a Trophic Cascade."
"Wolves were a natural predator of Deer, so without wolves to control their numbers, the deer population exploded. The deer over-grazed on many things, most especially tree saplings. Without saplings reaching maturity, the forest couldn't create new growth, and this reduced usable living space for many small herbivores; so things like squirrels and beavers left the area. Without these small herbivores, small carnivores like the fox left as well, which made very small omnivores, like mice, also explode in population. These mice over-hunted grubs, beetles, and other detritus-eaters, so the forest floor stopped getting new nutrients, which made all plants, including trees, even sicker. With trees dying faster and still not able to make new growth, because the deer were still a problem remember, their root systems became weaker, which could no longer hold the soil. This exacerbated the effects of erosion, causing landslides to be more frequent, and even changing the course of rivers, leading to droughts in places that have never seen it"
"All of this because: we killed the Wolf. There were many examples, this is just the one I know best, but humans are well familiar with the effect of adding or removing a species from local ecology."
I sat for a long moment, letting this sink in. "You changed the shape of mountains, and the path of rivers… by killing wolves?
"Yeah!" She confirmed, with just as much surprise as I had. "We tried a few things to help heal the damage: manually planting more trees, shoring up at risk earth, even controlled culls of wildlife; this is where most of our modern hunting practices came from. But no matter what humans did, we just couldn't keep up with the forces of nature. So, Occam's Razor, we decided to try the obvious option: put the wolves back into the forest, using the natives' local cousins from further north. And you know what?" I flicked my tail expectantly, both ears swiveled on Maeve, "It worked! The wolves hunted the deer to manageable numbers, the trees had a chance to grow, the small herbivores came back… a complete reversal of all the damage I mentioned. So now, the only species that have an overall open-season are invasive species, like the European Rabbit in Australia. Among humans, it is both illegal, and socially taboo, to kill wild animals without specific cause."
This was… a lot. All of this made sense on its own, it logically followed, but I couldn't wrap my head around how everything could be so connected. Predators kill! That's all they do! How could killing be a good thing? Finding my voice, I spoke up, "I won't pretend to know what this means. I cannot get it through that everything is so dependent on murder. But I know you've told me the truth as best as you know it, so I'll leave it alone. Can we talk about something else? You mentioned something about stories in the stars?"
"Oh absolutely!" Maeve seemed to glow with this topic, I loved seeing her so excited, "so humans have a day/night cycle, but some of us would have to keep watch during the night while others slept; so we learned to entertain ourselves by telling stories. At night, and before industrialization, our skies were brimming with stars! So we would see shapes in their patterns, and tell great stories about who they represented. There have been stories since before writing, so sadly most have been lost to history, but one story, Orion, is about-"
A ping from my pad, and then hers, interrupted the lesson.
Please report to the Partnership Program lead office promptly. Suite 4006 on deck 4.
We shared a worried look, sharing an understanding of what prompted the summons. We would face it, together. We left the room and made our way to the elevator, mostly in silence. Sensing my worry, Maeve touched my shoulder, "It's ok, this will work out." I'm not sure I believed her. We stood apart in the elevator, and the distance felt cold. Walking down the hall of offices I felt more fear and anxiety than the past week, but I had to keep moving forward.
We reached the door, and as I reached for the handle, Maeve stopped me, and gently pulled me by the shoulder against her in a desperate embrace, as one would say goodbye. She whispered into my ear,
"Whatever happens in there, I want you to know I love you, Valek."
"I love you too, Maeve."
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