Side profile woman body

Tags: side, profile, face, woman All rights to paintings and other images found on PaintingValley.com are owned by their respective owners (authors, artists), and the Administration of the website doesn't bear responsibility for their use. Women have a very specific look they are going to give when they are interested in a man. She will likely raise her shoulder and half look back at you, so you get a side profile. Apparently, this is the seductive look, the one you will see women use when posing in a magazine. Keep your eyes open for this one. 9. She makes sure she’s using her ... The actress and singer, 47, is flaunting her amazing figure in photo she posted to Instagram on Thursday, in which she is kneeling on a bed wearing a revealing black bodysuit that puts her booty ... Use the length of the head to make a ruler on the side of your drawing. Don’t draw it too close to the face because you want to make room for the nose. Divide your ruler into 8 equal spaces and use a straight edge to draw lines from each tick through the head. Don’t forget to keep your lines light. It’ll be a pain to erase later on. side view in this step by step tutorial! This is a very basic instructional tutorial of drawing the female body profile or “side view”. You will learn to draw the female anatomy from the torso, and pelvis to legs in this online step by step basic sketching lesson for illustrations and comics. Learn How to Draw a Face from the Side Profile View (Female / Girl / Woman) Simple Steps Drawing Lesson for Beginners. Written-Out Step by Step Drawing Instructions (Step 1) Lightly draw a circle guide line. All guide lines in this tutorial are in blue and will be erased later. (Step 2) Lightly draw guidelines through the center. 1,907 Side View Breasts stock pictures and images. Browse 1,907 side view breasts stock photos and images available, or start a new search to explore more stock photos and images. Explore {{searchView.params.phrase}} by color family {{familyColorButtonText(colorFamily.name)}} Learn how to draw woman body side view (female figure): video and step by step tutorial. Drawing girl body profile, sideview: Torso Step by Step basic sketching online lesson for cartoon illustration, and comics. Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. That’s part of what makes each of us unique. It’s important to know that there isn’t an “average” or “typical” body. People Are Sharing Side Profile Selfies To Prove That All Noses Are Beautiful. ... the cellulite and the body hair all being reclaimed as our own and beautiful online. But noses are still hidden ...

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 5

2020.07.10 18:00 LiseEclaire [The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 5

Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
Hello Sev,
I hope you and Alexander are doing well. Things are a bit chaotic here, so although I’ve been granted some communication privileges, I can’t access any of my external messages. The wonders of modern bureaucracy are so amazing.
Apart from that, things are slowly moving along. The ship I’m on is bigger than the last one. My room can hold three people, though for the moment there aren’t enough cadets to fill it all so I’m not sharing it with anyone. That might change soon enough, when the rest of our crew gets here. The ship commander made a huge announcement about it yesterday. I was there with the rest of the cadets and the command staff. The speech was quite good. We’ll be starting our mission in a few days. And that means I might not be able to write for a while. Because of my last mission, I’ve had an external message limit imposed.
I think you should invite the entire family to see you. It’s a lot of work, but Alexander can handle it, if you don’t grumble at him all the time. If you hold a get-together, give a big hello from me to everyone.
Take care and remember to get a med check up every three months,
Elcy
    The message text filled the entire screen of the datapad. There was so much I hadn’t added that I might as well have lied. The administrator’s address had been mundane, hardly deviating from the fleet’s presentation template. It was almost inconceivable how little actual information we had been given in an event that had lasted an hour and seventeen minutes. Other than presenting the ship’s administrative and military staff, everything related to the actual mission was quite vague. The only reliable piece of info was a repeat of the widely known, PR-approved statement that we were heading to explore a new region of space. Considering the firepower the ship had, I found the explanation doubtful.
  “Elcy,” a hoarse voice came from the corridor. Ever since arriving at my new quarters, I had made a habit to leave the door open unless I was sleeping.
  I sent the message and put my databad away. Cadet Juul Sapro was standing in the doorway. A mesh of scars covered most of his face—an unfortunate accident during training, as he liked to say—making him appear three times older than he actually was. I had tried looking through his file, but unlike the rest, it was completely redacted, displaying nothing more than a date of birth and his current assignment. His dark skin and occasional inability to handle cold made me suspect he came from a tropical planet. During the cadet classification, he had been selected to be the other senior cadet, ranking just above me.
  “Yes?” I looked at him from my bed.
  “The commander wants us,” Juul said, the scars on his face moving as if someone was playing a game of cat’s cradle.
  “Sure.” I stood up. “Casual or office uniform?”
  “Casual’s fine,” he replied. So far, I had never seen out of office uniform since he’d come aboard. “Just try not to piss Kridib off too much. He’s in one of his moods again.”
  “Nothing new.” Kridib is in one of his moods every day.
  I straightened the shirt of my uniform, then walked towards the corridor. On the way, I slid my fingers over the pair of sandals I had on the shelf. One of the advantages of having a large room was that I had an abundance of space to do with as I pleased. I had also adjusted the settings so an image of three suns in orbit filled an entire wall.
  “Why do you have those sandals?” Juul asked as we went along the corridor. “Are they a good luck charm or something?”
  “Sort of.” Explaining that I got it from my ward would be complicated, regardless if he suspected I was a battleship or not. “They are a reminder of someone I know.”
  “Hmm, okay.” He shrugged as if I were hiding something.
  Reaching a flight of stairs, we rushed up and into the internal transport pod. One of the advantages of a vessel this size was that I could always rely on transport vehicles and elevator pods. In my time, ship interiors were one of the main problems in space design. When I had been created, my internal layout was considered significantly less rigid than that of previous ship models. Even so, the location of elevators, halls, and stairways remained largely immutable. Going from one place to another involved a considerable amount of time and walking. Here, I could go from one point of the Gregorius to the further opposite in less than five minutes. Fast travel had made life aboard considerably easier; it had also removed the need of key locations having to be clustered in close proximity. The bridge, the officer’s quarters, and the administrator’s office were all located kilometers apart, and about twice as much from the cadets’ rooms.
  “What’s the story between you and Kridib?” Juul asked as the pod sped through the inner workings of the station-ship. “Is he your ex?”
  “Hardly.” This wasn’t the first time a question this nature had been asked, but it remained amusingly enjoyable as if it were. “I think he just dislikes the fleet. Most land to fleet transfers do.”
  “Looked to me it was more than that. It’s okay if you don’t want to share, but I’m not getting caught in the crossfire.”
  “No worries.” Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that. “He’s been in the service, he knows what’s expected of him.” As do I.
  The trip lasted slightly over a minute. There were no wall messages or verbal announcements that we had arrived at our destination, very much in contrast to the shuttle ride ten days back. Gregorious was definitely sparing with his subroutines. I wouldn’t have allowed myself such negligence even during extreme combat.
  As we stepped in the corridor, I noticed that Kridib was already there, leaning against the wall. Seeing me, he crossed his arms in a clear display of disapproval.
  “You’re out of uniform,” he said, scoffing at my purple attire.
  “Technically, this still counts,” I countered. Unless you deliberately chose not to inform me of the opposite.
  “We’ll soon find out.” He went in front of the door to the commander’s office and knocked.
  They have comm-panels here, I thought. For some reason nearly ground troopers had the habit of knocking instead of using the appropriate terminals.
  “Any idea what this is about?” Juul asked, standing two steps away from either of us.
  “No.” Kridib knocked again. This time the door slid open, revealing an unusually small room. Considering the size of Gregorius, I had expected the office to be at least as large as our living quarters. In truth, it was half that, harsh and spartan, as if it were a ground troops command outpost.
  “Enter,” a voice said from inside.
  This was the second time I’d seen my direct commander in person since my arrival. The first time had been yesterday, during the administrator’s announcement. She had been in her formal green attire, covered in service ribbons and three campaign medals. Looking at her now, I had to admit that office clothes made her seem unremarkable, almost lost behind her massive desk. Her personnel file stated she had been deployed on the Scuu front, though it didn’t specify in what capacity. Aboard the Gregorius, she was responsible for me and all other cadets.
  “At ease,” Commander Everar said, before we had a chance to salute. “I’ll keep this brief. There have been rumors concerning the nature of your mission and your roles concerning it. All of those stop now! Am I clear?”
  Evarar’s attitude was brief and straight to the point. She also seemed like the person who wouldn’t tolerate disobedience. The message in her eyes was clear: “Make trouble on my ship, and I’ll end you.”
  “Good!” Everar leaned back in her seat. “The three of you were given junior command duties thanks to your previous combat experience. That doesn’t change the fact that you remain cadets and are subject to fleet hierarchy.”
  In other words, we can’t command the crew.
  “Also, I expect you to make use of that experience and serve as a model to other cadets, and that includes not propagating rumors or displaying hostilities between each other.”
  Both me and Kridib were given a glance. Hardly surprising, since everyone knew how “well” we got along. What I found interesting was that Juul was said to have seen some action. So far, we had chatted on several occasions and not once had he mentioned it.
  “That said, a number of things on this mission are on a need-to-know basis,” the commander continued. “Details will be shared with you when and if need requires. Anything you are told, you are not to share with anyone else without my explicit go-ahead. I trust that won’t be a problem?”
  “No, ma’am,” we all replied in unison. Her manner reminded me a bit of Augustus. I wouldn’t be surprised if she took out a cigar and lit it.
  “Moving on, regardless of what the administrator said yesterday, we’re nowhere near launch,” she went on. “So, until we get a captain, we’ll have to—”
  “We don’t have a captain?” I couldn’t stop myself.
  Officially, our captain was supposed to be Nic Verra, as presented during the administrator’s announcement. His brief service record was impressive as any, and he was one of the few hundred that had witnessed the Scuu fracturing from the front lines. Supposedly, he was supposed to be en route for the Gregorious and expected to arrive thirty-seven hours from now.
  “No, Cadet Elcy, we don’t,” the Commander said, giving a sharp edge to every word. “Tomorrow, there will be a ship-wide announcement stating that the captain has experienced a death in the family, making him ineligible for the position. The standard one-week delay will be imposed, with the administrator’s office assuming temporary control of his duties.”
  This was unusual, and it was also against every known regulation. No mission was allowed to start unless the command structure was intact, even dark ops. My gaze wandered from the commander to the few decorations on the wall behind her: five division banners, an engineering diploma, and a framed carbon copy photo of her and a current fleet admiral. If anything, she was perfectly aware of the implications of what she was saying.
  “During that time, a small detachment will fly to the system of our true captain candidate on one of the auxiliary ships and bring him here,” Everar added. “Until then, we’re to pretend it’s business as usual.”
  There was a common saying in the fleet: never attribute to stupidity what could be explained with a cover-up. My first captain had coined the phrase “plausible stupidity,” perfectly describing the phenomenon. Since the flaws of the bureaucratic apparatus were abundant, they could serve as the perfect excuse. So far, there had been plenty of missteps and sudden changes regarding our current mission. Now, I could see why.
  Because of my ability to skim my restricted memories, I had witnessed more than enough similar cases. In my case, what the fleet couldn’t hide, it could restrict or erase entirely. I had gotten used to the notion. Humans, however, tended to react in a different fashion. Looking at my fellow cadets, both understood what they were being asked to do, and neither of them liked it.
  “Permission to speak freely?” Kridib stepped forward.
  The Commander hesitated a few moments. She had to be blind not to see the anger raging under his pale exterior. As Augustus would say, Kridib was a grenade waiting to go off.
  “Go ahead,” Everar said calmly.
  “This is all a bunch of crap, ma’am!” The left side of his mouth twisted into a mocking smirk as he spoke. “Two months ago, there was a captain, and a mission, a plan of action, and no damned civvies! Now we have bureaucrats running the show and it’s all gone to shit! I’ve no idea who gave the order, but—”
  “Perhaps you want another assignment?” the commander interrupted. I could feel the tension rise to the point I could cut it with a knife. Kridib glared forward, fists clenched, ready to leap forward and snap Everar’s neck. The fleet uniform was the only thing standing between him and a court-martial. Running a few simulations, I could tell there was a one in seventeen chance that he would escalate the confrontation further.
  Don’t be an idiot, I thought. Slowly, I moved my right foot back, shifting the weight of my body onto it. Ironic that the first person on whom I’d use my military combat training would be a fellow cadet. It was preferable to the alternative, though.
  “Cadet?” Everar pressed on. A few seconds later, Kridib capitulated.
  “No, ma’am,” he hissed, relaxing his fists. “My apologies, ma’am.”
  “Good, because I would have hated to replace you.” The commander stared at each of us in turn, then diverted her attention to the last gen screen on her desk. “Dismissed.”
  We gave a salute.
  “Cadet Elcy,” Everar added all of a sudden. “You stay.”
  So much for keeping a low profile. If Kridib disliked me before, he would absolutely hate me now. I remained at attention as my fellow cadets left the room. When the door closed shut, Privacy Mode messages appeared on every wall.
  “What do you think of the situation?” the woman asked.
  “Which situation, precisely, ma’am?” There were a lot of things I could say. In light of my recent record, none of them worthwhile.
  “The situation aboard. Given your experience, you must have an opinion.”
  Cute. “I’m not aware of a ship ever setting off without its captain, ma’am,” I said carefully.
  “Even if the ship administrator is technically considered to be in charge, command would have never allowed such a mission to proceed, especially with this number of troops and firepower.” Not to mention forty-eight next gen ships attached as well. “I can only speculate that there is a yet-unshared reason for all of this.”
  I expected there would be a smile on the woman’s face. Unfortunately, there was none. The commander stood up, then made her way past me to the opposite side of the room. There, she pressed against the wall with all four fingers of her left hand. Instantly, the texture flickered, replaced by images of a bloody corpse taken from several angles. Multiple black censor squares covered parts of the pictures, but there was enough left for me to tell that the person had been killed with a non-standard weapon.
  “Captain Avicena Ruz,” she explained. “Killed twenty-three days ago, several months after taking command of the Gregorius. He was highly decorated, expected to be made rear admiral in the next round of promotions, and—according to his subordinates—quite merciless.”
  The facial features of the corpse were too distorted by damage for me to make a proper identification. Meanwhile, I did have a brief bio of Ruz’s file, along with the highlights of his service record. As Everar had said, he was a wardog veteran who had been in hundreds of missions, all fighting the Scuu. From what I could see, he had opted to remain non-stop on the front, despite the three-year pause requirement. Normally, conditions on the Scuu front were too harsh for humans to last for a full five-year rotation, and thus the fleet had reduced the number to three, giving the option for personnel to apply for a new assignment after one.
  “Was he an agent?” I asked, moving closer to the wall. All the wounds seemed to be grouped in clusters, originating from the inside out. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that something had meddled with the nanites inside of him, causing them to burst out.
  “That info is way out of your league,” she said, which was the fleet way of saying ‘not to her knowledge.’ “The point is that we can’t afford a repeat of this. While circumstances surrounding Ruz’s death are still classified, he was under non-stop surveillance for the duration of the period in question. No evidence of leaks, net-intrusion, or biological agents have been found. When the team goes to get our replacement captain, we need to make sure he arrives here in one piece and breathing.”
  The images disappeared from the wall.
  “In the next seventy-four hours, you’ll go through a series of procedures that will protect your core from Scuu influence,” the commander said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Additional implants will be necessary, though I’m told none of them will be particularly intrusive.”
  At this point, I had been through enough med checks to know that when something was said to not be “particularly intrusive,” it usually meant placement of cranial modules—most likely a few failsafe and possibly a self-destruct implant. With my being a ship, it would be easy to explain the procedures away as part of my standard check-ups. Of course, for that to work, they would have to be told I was a ship.
  “Once you’re set, you’ll join the team to fetch our future captain and bring him here safely.” She returned to her desk. “One last thing. Cadet Kridib Lyuk will also be on the mission. Will that affect your performance?”
  “No, ma’am,” I was quick to say, although I would have preferred knowing a bit more about him before making such a statement.
  “Keep an eye out during your mission, while performing your main objective.” Her attention was focused on the screen once more. “And, cadet.” The commander paused for a few moments. “Don’t believe Cadet Lyuk, no matter what he says.”
  “Ma’am?” I tilted my head slightly. “Am I to understand that you do not trust him?” And yet you’re still sending him on the mission.
  The commander looked up, straight at me.
  “No.”
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2020.07.10 17:47 LiseEclaire [The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 5

Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
Hello Sev,
I hope you and Alexander are doing well. Things are a bit chaotic here, so although I’ve been granted some communication privileges, I can’t access any of my external messages. The wonders of modern bureaucracy are so amazing.
Apart from that, things are slowly moving along. The ship I’m on is bigger than the last one. My room can hold three people, though for the moment there aren’t enough cadets to fill it all so I’m not sharing it with anyone. That might change soon enough, when the rest of our crew gets here. The ship commander made a huge announcement about it yesterday. I was there with the rest of the cadets and the command staff. The speech was quite good. We’ll be starting our mission in a few days. And that means I might not be able to write for a while. Because of my last mission, I’ve had an external message limit imposed.
I think you should invite the entire family to see you. It’s a lot of work, but Alexander can handle it, if you don’t grumble at him all the time. If you hold a get-together, give a big hello from me to everyone.
Take care and remember to get a med check up every three months,
Elcy
 
 
The message text filled the entire screen of the datapad. There was so much I hadn’t added that I might as well have lied. The administrator’s address had been mundane, hardly deviating from the fleet’s presentation template. It was almost inconceivable how little actual information we had been given in an event that had lasted an hour and seventeen minutes. Other than presenting the ship’s administrative and military staff, everything related to the actual mission was quite vague. The only reliable piece of info was a repeat of the widely known, PR-approved statement that we were heading to explore a new region of space. Considering the firepower the ship had, I found the explanation doubtful.
  “Elcy,” a hoarse voice came from the corridor. Ever since arriving at my new quarters, I had made a habit to leave the door open unless I was sleeping.
  I sent the message and put my databad away. Cadet Juul Sapro was standing in the doorway. A mesh of scars covered most of his face—an unfortunate accident during training, as he liked to say—making him appear three times older than he actually was. I had tried looking through his file, but unlike the rest, it was completely redacted, displaying nothing more than a date of birth and his current assignment. His dark skin and occasional inability to handle cold made me suspect he came from a tropical planet. During the cadet classification, he had been selected to be the other senior cadet, ranking just above me.
  “Yes?” I looked at him from my bed.
  “The commander wants us,” Juul said, the scars on his face moving as if someone was playing a game of cat’s cradle.
  “Sure.” I stood up. “Casual or office uniform?”
  “Casual’s fine,” he replied. So far, I had never seen out of office uniform since he’d come aboard. “Just try not to piss Kridib off too much. He’s in one of his moods again.”
  “Nothing new.” Kridib is in one of his moods every day.
  I straightened the shirt of my uniform, then walked towards the corridor. On the way, I slid my fingers over the pair of sandals I had on the shelf. One of the advantages of having a large room was that I had an abundance of space to do with as I pleased. I had also adjusted the settings so an image of three suns in orbit filled an entire wall.
  “Why do you have those sandals?” Juul asked as we went along the corridor. “Are they a good luck charm or something?”
  “Sort of.” Explaining that I got it from my ward would be complicated, regardless if he suspected I was a battleship or not. “They are a reminder of someone I know.”
  “Hmm, okay.” He shrugged as if I were hiding something.
  Reaching a flight of stairs, we rushed up and into the internal transport pod. One of the advantages of a vessel this size was that I could always rely on transport vehicles and elevator pods. In my time, ship interiors were one of the main problems in space design. When I had been created, my internal layout was considered significantly less rigid than that of previous ship models. Even so, the location of elevators, halls, and stairways remained largely immutable. Going from one place to another involved a considerable amount of time and walking. Here, I could go from one point of the Gregorius to the further opposite in less than five minutes. Fast travel had made life aboard considerably easier; it had also removed the need of key locations having to be clustered in close proximity. The bridge, the officer’s quarters, and the administrator’s office were all located kilometers apart, and about twice as much from the cadets’ rooms.
  “What’s the story between you and Kridib?” Juul asked as the pod sped through the inner workings of the station-ship. “Is he your ex?”
  “Hardly.” This wasn’t the first time a question this nature had been asked, but it remained amusingly enjoyable as if it were. “I think he just dislikes the fleet. Most land to fleet transfers do.”
  “Looked to me it was more than that. It’s okay if you don’t want to share, but I’m not getting caught in the crossfire.”
  “No worries.” Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that. “He’s been in the service, he knows what’s expected of him.” As do I.
  The trip lasted slightly over a minute. There were no wall messages or verbal announcements that we had arrived at our destination, very much in contrast to the shuttle ride ten days back. Gregorious was definitely sparing with his subroutines. I wouldn’t have allowed myself such negligence even during extreme combat.
  As we stepped in the corridor, I noticed that Kridib was already there, leaning against the wall. Seeing me, he crossed his arms in a clear display of disapproval.
  “You’re out of uniform,” he said, scoffing at my purple attire.
  “Technically, this still counts,” I countered. Unless you deliberately chose not to inform me of the opposite.
  “We’ll soon find out.” He went in front of the door to the commander’s office and knocked.
  They have comm-panels here, I thought. For some reason nearly ground troopers had the habit of knocking instead of using the appropriate terminals.
  “Any idea what this is about?” Juul asked, standing two steps away from either of us.
  “No.” Kridib knocked again. This time the door slid open, revealing an unusually small room. Considering the size of Gregorius, I had expected the office to be at least as large as our living quarters. In truth, it was half that, harsh and spartan, as if it were a ground troops command outpost.
  “Enter,” a voice said from inside.
  This was the second time I’d seen my direct commander in person since my arrival. The first time had been yesterday, during the administrator’s announcement. She had been in her formal green attire, covered in service ribbons and three campaign medals. Looking at her now, I had to admit that office clothes made her seem unremarkable, almost lost behind her massive desk. Her personnel file stated she had been deployed on the Scuu front, though it didn’t specify in what capacity. Aboard the Gregorius, she was responsible for me and all other cadets.
  “At ease,” Commander Everar said, before we had a chance to salute. “I’ll keep this brief. There have been rumors concerning the nature of your mission and your roles concerning it. All of those stop now! Am I clear?”
  Evarar’s attitude was brief and straight to the point. She also seemed like the person who wouldn’t tolerate disobedience. The message in her eyes was clear: “Make trouble on my ship, and I’ll end you.”
  “Good!” Everar leaned back in her seat. “The three of you were given junior command duties thanks to your previous combat experience. That doesn’t change the fact that you remain cadets and are subject to fleet hierarchy.”
  In other words, we can’t command the crew.
  “Also, I expect you to make use of that experience and serve as a model to other cadets, and that includes not propagating rumors or displaying hostilities between each other.”
  Both me and Kridib were given a glance. Hardly surprising, since everyone knew how “well” we got along. What I found interesting was that Juul was said to have seen some action. So far, we had chatted on several occasions and not once had he mentioned it.
  “That said, a number of things on this mission are on a need-to-know basis,” the commander continued. “Details will be shared with you when and if need requires. Anything you are told, you are not to share with anyone else without my explicit go-ahead. I trust that won’t be a problem?”
  “No, ma’am,” we all replied in unison. Her manner reminded me a bit of Augustus. I wouldn’t be surprised if she took out a cigar and lit it.
  “Moving on, regardless of what the administrator said yesterday, we’re nowhere near launch,” she went on. “So, until we get a captain, we’ll have to—”
  “We don’t have a captain?” I couldn’t stop myself.
  Officially, our captain was supposed to be Nic Verra, as presented during the administrator’s announcement. His brief service record was impressive as any, and he was one of the few hundred that had witnessed the Scuu fracturing from the front lines. Supposedly, he was supposed to be en route for the Gregorious and expected to arrive thirty-seven hours from now.
  “No, Cadet Elcy, we don’t,” the Commander said, giving a sharp edge to every word. “Tomorrow, there will be a ship-wide announcement stating that the captain has experienced a death in the family, making him ineligible for the position. The standard one-week delay will be imposed, with the administrator’s office assuming temporary control of his duties.”
  This was unusual, and it was also against every known regulation. No mission was allowed to start unless the command structure was intact, even dark ops. My gaze wandered from the commander to the few decorations on the wall behind her: five division banners, an engineering diploma, and a framed carbon copy photo of her and a current fleet admiral. If anything, she was perfectly aware of the implications of what she was saying.
  “During that time, a small detachment will fly to the system of our true captain candidate on one of the auxiliary ships and bring him here,” Everar added. “Until then, we’re to pretend it’s business as usual.”
  There was a common saying in the fleet: never attribute to stupidity what could be explained with a cover-up. My first captain had coined the phrase “plausible stupidity,” perfectly describing the phenomenon. Since the flaws of the bureaucratic apparatus were abundant, they could serve as the perfect excuse. So far, there had been plenty of missteps and sudden changes regarding our current mission. Now, I could see why.
  Because of my ability to skim my restricted memories, I had witnessed more than enough similar cases. In my case, what the fleet couldn’t hide, it could restrict or erase entirely. I had gotten used to the notion. Humans, however, tended to react in a different fashion. Looking at my fellow cadets, both understood what they were being asked to do, and neither of them liked it.
  “Permission to speak freely?” Kridib stepped forward.
  The Commander hesitated a few moments. She had to be blind not to see the anger raging under his pale exterior. As Augustus would say, Kridib was a grenade waiting to go off.
  “Go ahead,” Everar said calmly.
  “This is all a bunch of crap, ma’am!” The left side of his mouth twisted into a mocking smirk as he spoke. “Two months ago, there was a captain, and a mission, a plan of action, and no damned civvies! Now we have bureaucrats running the show and it’s all gone to shit! I’ve no idea who gave the order, but—”
  “Perhaps you want another assignment?” the commander interrupted. I could feel the tension rise to the point I could cut it with a knife. Kridib glared forward, fists clenched, ready to leap forward and snap Everar’s neck. The fleet uniform was the only thing standing between him and a court-martial. Running a few simulations, I could tell there was a one in seventeen chance that he would escalate the confrontation further.
  Don’t be an idiot, I thought. Slowly, I moved my right foot back, shifting the weight of my body onto it. Ironic that the first person on whom I’d use my military combat training would be a fellow cadet. It was preferable to the alternative, though.
  “Cadet?” Everar pressed on. A few seconds later, Kridib capitulated.
  “No, ma’am,” he hissed, relaxing his fists. “My apologies, ma’am.”
  “Good, because I would have hated to replace you.” The commander stared at each of us in turn, then diverted her attention to the last gen screen on her desk. “Dismissed.”
  We gave a salute.
  “Cadet Elcy,” Everar added all of a sudden. “You stay.”
  So much for keeping a low profile. If Kridib disliked me before, he would absolutely hate me now. I remained at attention as my fellow cadets left the room. When the door closed shut, Privacy Mode messages appeared on every wall.
  “What do you think of the situation?” the woman asked.
  “Which situation, precisely, ma’am?” There were a lot of things I could say. In light of my recent record, none of them worthwhile.
  “The situation aboard. Given your experience, you must have an opinion.”
  Cute. “I’m not aware of a ship ever setting off without its captain, ma’am,” I said carefully.
  “Even if the ship administrator is technically considered to be in charge, command would have never allowed such a mission to proceed, especially with this number of troops and firepower.” Not to mention forty-eight next gen ships attached as well. “I can only speculate that there is a yet-unshared reason for all of this.”
  I expected there would be a smile on the woman’s face. Unfortunately, there was none. The commander stood up, then made her way past me to the opposite side of the room. There, she pressed against the wall with all four fingers of her left hand. Instantly, the texture flickered, replaced by images of a bloody corpse taken from several angles. Multiple black censor squares covered parts of the pictures, but there was enough left for me to tell that the person had been killed with a non-standard weapon.
  “Captain Avicena Ruz,” she explained. “Killed twenty-three days ago, several months after taking command of the Gregorius. He was highly decorated, expected to be made rear admiral in the next round of promotions, and—according to his subordinates—quite merciless.”
  The facial features of the corpse were too distorted by damage for me to make a proper identification. Meanwhile, I did have a brief bio of Ruz’s file, along with the highlights of his service record. As Everar had said, he was a wardog veteran who had been in hundreds of missions, all fighting the Scuu. From what I could see, he had opted to remain non-stop on the front, despite the three-year pause requirement. Normally, conditions on the Scuu front were too harsh for humans to last for a full five-year rotation, and thus the fleet had reduced the number to three, giving the option for personnel to apply for a new assignment after one.
  “Was he an agent?” I asked, moving closer to the wall. All the wounds seemed to be grouped in clusters, originating from the inside out. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that something had meddled with the nanites inside of him, causing them to burst out.
  “That info is way out of your league,” she said, which was the fleet way of saying ‘not to her knowledge.’ “The point is that we can’t afford a repeat of this. While circumstances surrounding Ruz’s death are still classified, he was under non-stop surveillance for the duration of the period in question. No evidence of leaks, net-intrusion, or biological agents have been found. When the team goes to get our replacement captain, we need to make sure he arrives here in one piece and breathing.”
  The images disappeared from the wall.
  “In the next seventy-four hours, you’ll go through a series of procedures that will protect your core from Scuu influence,” the commander said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Additional implants will be necessary, though I’m told none of them will be particularly intrusive.”
  At this point, I had been through enough med checks to know that when something was said to not be “particularly intrusive,” it usually meant placement of cranial modules—most likely a few failsafe and possibly a self-destruct implant. With my being a ship, it would be easy to explain the procedures away as part of my standard check-ups. Of course, for that to work, they would have to be told I was a ship.
  “Once you’re set, you’ll join the team to fetch our future captain and bring him here safely.” She returned to her desk. “One last thing. Cadet Kridib Lyuk will also be on the mission. Will that affect your performance?”
  “No, ma’am,” I was quick to say, although I would have preferred knowing a bit more about him before making such a statement.
  “Keep an eye out during your mission, while performing your main objective.” Her attention was focused on the screen once more. “And, cadet.” The commander paused for a few moments. “Don’t believe Cadet Lyuk, no matter what he says.”
  “Ma’am?” I tilted my head slightly. “Am I to understand that you do not trust him?” And yet you’re still sending him on the mission.
  The commander looked up, straight at me.
  “No.”
submitted by LiseEclaire to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.07.10 08:38 Ozone21337 Women and Poker - the Exploitation of the Female Form

Some of the main hubs of poker are also the most sexualized cities in the United States, name New Orleans and then later Las Vegas. These cities are absolutely oozing with sex, and although this paper is not trying to make a moralistic argument decrying these wild cities' lifestyles, much of these images have stuck to the game of poker itself. Perhaps this phenomenon would not be so bad if it played out evenly between the two sexes, but all one sees is the portrayal of partially disrobed women advertising for poker sites. One only needs to log onto the internet and search for "Women and Poker" to have a dozen women in bikinis immediately pop up on the screen.
In fact, yours truly actually did run a search specifically for "Women and Poker", and here are some of the surprising results. In no particular order we present 10 of the most tasteful poker sites on the web:
-Pokerium Online Poker Room and Casino: The front page of this website is a model of good taste and restraint. Many of the searches yielded interesting results, but this website was head and shoulders ahead. Upon opening the home page one finds an illustration of a scantily clad brown-haired vixen with a flower in her hair(no real women were harmed during the production of this design). The interesting part of this drawing is that she is placed inside of a huge Ace of Clubs. In the middle of the card, where the woman is located, lies a very large club, and the stem of said club just happens to terminate in the center of the woman's crotch. Although there is a possibility that this not-so-subtle innuendo was unintentional, we would not bet on it.
-Next on our list is the deliciously tasteful advertisement on hollywoodpoker.com for their "Babes & Bounties" tournament. To begin with, the title itself should be enough to ruffle the feathers of most women poker players. Then, the image used on the page is of a woman in a bikini top with money in the background behind her. And finally, for those players who aren't sold by the picture in the middle, the site claims that "12 of the sexiest poker hostesses in the game" will be present at the table. It's a good thing too, because most serious poker players refuse to play in tournaments with any less than 8 sexy poker hostesses. Finally, jus tto make sure that one can notice all the different features on the side, there is a picture of a woman on the left-hand side of the screen dressed in her rather unsupportive underwear lying down in front of a laptop with poker chips lying around her body. She is happily wearing a pair of flattering white high heeled shoes so that she can model at any moment during her poker game. A truly classy website.
-Not to be outdone, Jungle Poker has its own female spokeswoman: none other than the lovely Cheynelle Fraser, a bartendemodel who is now the official face of Jungle Poker. Why a poker site would need a sizzling hot model as a spokeswoman is a grand mystery. We suspect it is because the photos of Cheynelle - which include several excellent cleavage shots - surely have everything to do with poker and nothing with selling sexuality. Although the site may be using the good looks of beautiful Cheynelle to help promote their site, they are not just about T & A on their site: on the front page of the site they have an advertisement for their heads up Sit & Go tournaments, featuring two headshots of a man and a woman, both fully dressed, challenging each other to a card game. Hurray for equality!
-Europeans are no exception when it comes to using alluring images of the female form to help them sell their products. In a recent article published on poker.gamble.co.uk, the author writes about the upcoming Great British Poker Tour, and the centerpiece image of this article is a nude woman relaxing in a bathtub full of poker chips. It's a good thing that they posted this picture, because nothing says Great British Poker Tour better than a woman bathing nude in poker chips.
-The most morbid result found during the search came from best-poker-rakeback.net on their rakeback advertisement, which features a frightening illustration of zombie woman in a corset, fishnet stockings, heels, and a short skirt using a rake to gather up some playing cards that must have fallen off a tree. Although the idea of having somebody literally raking poker cards is cute, we're not sure about the need for a sexy undead woman.
-Gambling blog Oddjack paid homage to the women of poker in an article titled "Top 10 Sexiest Women of Poker". This enlightening four part series takes the readers through their list of what they view as the sexiest women in the poker world. Just to give a small taste of their depictions of these women, we will go over the first three women they talk about. Each woman has a picture with a caption beneath it. At number ten on their list is Courtney Friel, a television hostess for the world poker tour. The picture they have of her is in a lacy tank top: fair enough. She's obviously OK with the picture considering she modeled for it. Underneath the picure is a caption that says "Stop teasing us Courtney, tear those laces off!"
The next featured profile is that of Evelyn Ng. Underneath her picture they put a quote that says, "Evelyn sure is one sweet ride..." Sadly, they did not even try to be creative with this comment, the only possible connotation for this remark is a sexual one. They also remarked in her profile that she won the WPT Ladies Night event and that, "Yup, she kicked ass. Asses that belong to Annie Duke and Kathy Liebert. Asses I don't want to see anytime soon. No matter how much they pay me to." This hilarious joke about the physical assets of two of poker's greatest female players was insulting to say the least.
submitted by Ozone21337 to qsarangkiucominfo [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 23:48 WeathersRabbits Skull Of Linda Sue Sherman In The Mexican Restaurant Window.

Updates 7/10/2020\ Updating some information about the restaurant.*
Updates 7/10/2020\ I noticed Linda did not have a profile on Namus. So, I contacted the regional specialist to see if that was something that could be done. They said after they research it some more they might look into doing that!*
Updates 7/10/2020\ Fixing text errors and adding some character information about Linda on her profile.*

This one is a strange case because it seems very obvious. Except for one issue, the skull of the victim is identified and now laid to rest but her body is missing.
This case has a previous post here but it is now archived.
I do not like this case. It is old enough that a proper paper trail is nearly non-existent. I personally think this is the intention of the killer and the era of the time was on their side. Most of my write up is based on other people's blogs. The links and sources are below. I will edit my post and date with any updates I find or more information. Sometimes I add your theories so the next time I post it will be with updated ideas.
The key to this case is going to be a witness or finding the rest of the body. So, if you have any information or a tip, please call the Vinita Park Police Department in Vinita Park, Missouri, (314) 428-7373 or call Unsolved Mysteries at 1-800-876-5353 (If you call the unsolved it just growls at you. It's now a disconnected number.)
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Linda Sue Sherman officially vanished on April 22nd, 1985 around 6 pm. According to her husband Donald Edward Sherman, Linda came home after her 2 am work shift. According to Don, they had an argument until around 4 am in the morning which ended with her sleeping on the couch and Don sleeping in their bedroom. Linda did not wake to take their daughter Patty to school. Patty saw her mother laying on the couch with her face to the back. Patty remarks that it was very unusual that her father was taking her to school and that her mother did not wake to even say goodbye.
Don took Patty to school and went to work. He arrives home a little before 6 pm where he states that his wife was running late for work. They didn't speak much and according to him, she was angry and antsy. Linda left for work around 6 pm with no witnesses seeing this event take place. Linda did not report to work that evening and was never seen again.
Don did not report her missing until at least one more full day. The family of Linda had to urge him to do so and Don stated that this was a regular occurrence of her to leave and pointed out that her overnight bag was gone. (Investigators said they did find evidence of missing items from the home) Don stated that she had been cheating hence why they had the argument the other day. Linda's sister Fran of Hazlewood, Missouri talked on the phone every single night with Linda but not get their usual phone call on the 22nd.
Linda did have a history of leaving and she was having a confirmed by law enforcement affair with a man from her work. However, the man had an alibi and was cleared. Linda's family also pointed out that Linda never left Patty alone with Don Sherman because he had threatened to murder the entire family on a previous occasion. Linda had been making moves to secure her independence such as routing her mail to her sisters and sending her paychecks there. Linda's family was aware that she was attempting to leave for good and was having an affair.
Linda's family began a search and made flyers along with offering a 1,000 dollar reward for any information. The next clue was found entirely on a hunch by Fran and her husband Dennis. They went to the St. Louis Lambert Airport and discovered Linda's '97 yellow Volkswagon (Correction it was 1971 car. Thanks peachdoxie) on the first turn into the short-term parking garage. No signs of a struggle and the doors were locked. They could see her school supplies and hat in the car. The trunk was unlocked but there was nothing else there. The airport kept track of cars that were parked longer than 24 hours and this car was marked on April 24th. There was no Linda Sherman that left on any airplanes either. At the time one could just buy a ticket with cash. Linda's family points out it would have been possible to walk back to the Sherman home from the airport and on google maps, it says it would be about a 1 hour and 30-minute walk.
Around this time the case switches lead investigators and Michael Webb began to work the case. It became his obsession and his family's obsession because he pursued this case until he died nearly twenty years later. It is well known that Webb looked into every tiny detail or lead that he could. It is of public opinion that the case was never solved because law enforcement did not care. I think this is untrue.
Everyone tried to move on with their lives at this point because nothing was moving this case forward. Patty moved in with her Maternal Grandmother and saw her father on the weekends. Don became depressed and starting heavy drinking. He attempted to divorce Linda on the grounds that she was cheating and abandoned him. It was overturned, the judge saying they would wait until Linda could consent.
Five years later on 12:30 p.m. on June 28, 1990, Linda's skull was recovered. Casa Gallardo https://imgur.com/a/oUl2vCV Mexican Restaurant ( which is now permanently closed and removed. (Savydreams says it was a chain restaurant and they worked in another location. It had no skull motifs or decorations there) It is only about 7 minutes from the airport. Two flight attendants happen to look out the window that was on the east side and see a skull placed underneath a yucca plant that was positioned so it was staring back. (Clarification the skull was outside in a small manicured strip but able to be seen from the window inside the restaurant)
The police did not declare the scene a crime as nothing else had been disturbed. The event was classified as 'found human remains' and quickly dismissed as a cruel teenage prank. In the area, a local cemetery was being exhumed and moved. There had already been an incident with teens breaking into the area and taking photos of skeletons. The skull was taken to the morgue and sat on a shelf.
Don was actually at the restaurant that day in the evening. This was his favorite spot to go and drink and he heard reports of the skull being found.
14 months later, on September 6, 1991, a letter arrived at the police. It was an unsealed envelope with a flyer from the restaurant and the day the skull was recovered. One side of it in purple ink sometimes described as rubber-stamped was the sentence. "THE BRIDGETON POLICE HAVE L. SHERMAN'S SKULL."
The skull was taken off the shelf and matched to Linda Sherman's dental records. There were no further clues to gain from the skull or the letter. Both were void of any evidence.
Don was informed at his home and Patty was there as well. Patty said all he told her was "They found your mom" and went to his room. Patty was 16 years old at the time and didn't learn the details until much later through a cousin.
Webb desperate with any leads begged the public for information with a news article. Anytime he went to a police convention he would pull aside detectives that worked the world's most difficult and famous cases. They were not able to provide any more tips or ideas.
When technology had finally advanced enough Webb tried to test the soil samples that were on the skull. They also tested the plant matter growing on the skull. They exhumed Linda's skull and sent her to the University of Columbia in Missouri. They concluded the skull had been buried in a large wooded area in Missouri and that the plant was common purple morning glory. Webb sent cadaver dogs to Perryville, MO where he thought matched the description and a rumor but nothing turned up there.
Unsolved Mysteries aired an episode about the case on July 2, 2001. You can see in-person interviews with her family, Patty, and even Don.
With nothing else to propel the case forward, everyone moved on with their lives. Webb passed away with the case unsolved. Many people from Linda's family passed away as well. Patty Sherman relocated and had her own child. Don relocated, remarried, and passed away.
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Profiles
Linda Sherman is also known as Linda Sue Lutz Sherman. There are no other alias or nicknames that I could discover except for that people may have just called her Linda Sue. Birthday is 19th Oct 1958, St. Louis City, Missouri, and her death is listed as 1985 from her gravestone and April 22nd, 1985 on the find a grave memorial site. Linda's skull is currently buried at Steedman Cemetery in Steedman, Callaway County, Missouri. Linda was working at the U.S. Government Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. (Renamed National Personnel Records Center) and lived in Vinita Park, Missouri at the time of her disappearance. Linda had a large and loving family who tried to support her and advocated for her. Linda was the youngest of the group with her personality being described as sheltered, quiet, and reserved. (Sister Fran Miller, Brother Dennis Through interviews of family, friends, and co-workers they determined Linda did not have any enemies. The opposite of what Don describes her as. Linda was raised in Florissant on other accounts grew up Dadebridge Court in Ferguson and attending McCluer High School which is still in the St. Louis area. There at McCluer High School, she met future husband Donald Sherman.
They wed on February 10, 1975, at Christ Memorial Baptist Church. Linda was 17 at the time. The couple rented a home next to Linda's parents Walter and Elenora Lutz (both now deceased and buried in the same cemetery as their daughter) Linda gave birth to Patricia Marie Shermanat at 17 years old in August of 1975. Linda still graduated from high school and pursued education. It is noted that Linda's family said their marriage was always strained. During the early years, the often worked opposite work shifts to make ends meet and it was hard on them. Linda worked many jobs; Sears, Site Oil Company, and as a cocktail waitress at the Flaming Pit restaurant. Don was particularly upset by Patty working at the Flaming Pit and said she flirted with many and changed there.
Linda filed for divorce in 1977 in October important to note she wanted the home and custody of Patty. They reconciled and moved to Vanita park in a five-room bungalow it may have been at this address 8300 block of Monroe Ave.
1980 Linda had a miscarriage or a stillbirth and was diagnosed with epilepsy and seizures. The couple chose to not have any more children, something Don reportedly was upset with. This event seemed to be a catalyst for discontentment with the marriage.
Linda suspected Don had tampered with her car and Don told the court he did because it was in his name. The reasons were because he was suspicious of her movements and whereabouts. It was reported he was even jealous of her spending time with her own family. Eventually, she got a protection order and moved to a small apartment in St. Ann, Missouri with Patty after Don threatened suicide and murder of Patty and Linda. The order was granted but after only a month Patty (edit because I switched Patty and Linda around! Thank you teetole) Linda discontinued it on the grounds they were back together. I found a reference in a blog that Linda had actually handwritten a small note with the explanation on why to the judge to explain why she didn't need the protection anymore. That seems very meticulous/thorough of her. Also, she had been described as classy by someone from that court.
In the early months of 1985, Patty Linda (edit I switched it again. Thanks fancyfreecb decided to finally start putting things together to leave. This time however she saved money, re-rerouted her mail, and then on April 11, 1985, she filed for divorce with Frank Vatterott as her lawyer.
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Donald Edward Sherman born April 6, 1957, in Missouri and died 10:54 a.m. on Thursday, May 07, 2015, at Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon Illinois Don's memorial page says he lived in Nashville along with his wife Sue Gale and her children; John "Jake" (Rebecca) Gale and Tiffany Gale. The memorial mentions a daughter but lists her name as Hanna Sherman of St. Charles, Mo, and not Patty. I assume this was Patty and maybe whoever wrote the obituary did not realize all the details about this daughter. On his memorial page there a virtual candle lit by his "One and only daughter". He was also survived by 4 grandchildren; Jax, Jasmine, Noah, and Emmalyn Gale. A brother; Ken Sherman of Missouri and numerous friends. His obituary also describes him as a "manufacturing machinist and loved to build things. He enjoyed hunting and spending time with loved ones." Interesting as he has no final burial spot as he was cremated.
Don worked as a gas station attendant, a manufacturing machinist, it's reported as well as various factory jobs.
Don is described most often as controlling, verbally abusive, physically abusive, and very jealous. Linda's brother said Don would have a fit even she even went out to lunch with her own brother. There was a confirmed incident in which Don admits to disabling his wife's car. Don has an interview on the unsolved mysteries episode. I would appreciate anyone with good body language skills to watch it and leave their thoughts. Body language is not my strong suit.
Don had wild theories about what happened to his wife and often convoluted the casework with them. He also was offended that that police made him the main suspect. One week after his wife's disappearance he told police that he had seen her in a truck/van with another man and had ducked out of sight when he chased afteyelled. At one point he said she had been killed for her involvement in a cocaine ring at her workplace. Then he said the skull was placed at his favorite restaurant to frame him or intimidate him. sometimes he'd deflect the topic entirely by saying things like "I don't remember exactly what was going through my head," he says now. "It's way too long ago to remember that."
Don lawyered up right away with Frank Anzalone and refused polygraph testing and even his choice in lawyers was Bizzare because it was the same lawyer that represented his mother. February 25, 1974, his mother Audrey shot her husband and tried to say someone broke into the house. They found the gun in the air duct. His mother went to prison just after they were married and served 6 months in jail. Don says the murder happened because they were both alcoholics. Don also said his choice in lawyer was simply because he already knew him.
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Lieutenant Michael Webb started his way as a patrol officer in 1974 and ended up being a Police Cheif of Vanita park police in 2001. Webb also was an investigator for the Major Case Squad. Webb refused to allow the case to rest and investigated it for over twenty years. February 4, 2009, due to pancreatic cancer he passed away in his own home of St. Peters. Webb had a son Sean Webb who spoke of the fact his father didn't want this case to be forgotten so that he could get justice for Linda. "Frankly, this has become a sort of an obsession for us and for the family," Mr. Webb told reporters in 1993. "In addition to his son, survivors include his wife, Donna J. Webb of St. Peters; two other sons, Nicholas Webb of San Diego and Daniel Webb of St. Peters; a stepdaughter, Dawn Waters of Stillwater, Okla.; a stepson, Tim Nolting of St. Charles County; his mother, Maryann Webb of St. Peters; a brother, Gene Webb of Creve Coeur; two grandchildren; and five stepgrandchildren." - Obituary Webb was buried at St. Charles Memorial Gardens and any memorial contributions can be made to the BackStoppers.
Michael Webb was a true-crime memorabilia collector and also a supporter of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Patrica Marie Sherman was born in August of 1976. Patty is now Patty Harvell of Attica, Indiana. Patty still has recurrent nightmares of the last day she had seen her mother. Though she is aware her father is the main suspect of this case she still hopes for closure and wants to bring all of her Mother's body home to rest. “In my heart, I think that he might’ve done it. You know, I can’t think of anybody else who would’ve.” -Interview from Unsolved Mysteries.
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Notes/Thoughts/Theories/Loose Ideas
Watch the interviews from Unsolved Mysteries; Patty Sherman's body language is interesting. When speaking about the last time she had seen her mother she shakes her head adamantly no. It was obviously a traumatic moment because in other news articles she says she has recurrent nightmares about this moment even into adulthood. When speaking in the rest of the interview she does not shake her head no but is not steady and adamant.
I wonder if she doesn't know just a little more than she is letting on? Did Don threaten her to never speak of something? After all, he did previously threaten to murder Linda AND Patty. It's an interesting theory to think about especially since a lot of people seem to think Don had an accomplice at least with hiding his wife's body.
Most people seem to think Linda was dead on the couch that morning or dying.
Did Patty actually go to the school that day? What time did she come home? Did she not encounter her mother at home after school?
Don's jealousy went from insanely persistent and intense to none after her disappearance. I wonder if that's because he knows where she is.
Interesting that her skull appears at a restaurant especially since Don particularly got jealous of her going out to lunch with her brother. I wonder if this was one last dinnelunch date that she could not refuse.
The fact her car was locked but the trunk unlocked was also interesting.
If I understand the timeline of events correctly... Don would have had a day or so to hide Linda's body but I think it would have been done a little at a time to avoid long periods of absentees.
Linda's death date listed on her memorial website is April 22nd. Obviously Patty or Linda's other family would have had to choose this date. I find that interesting that they believe she had died on that day and not a few days after.
Don uses his wife's full name during the interviews. Just a strange quirk. I'm not sure what to make of it. I read someone thought this might indicate his dissociative nature to her at this point.
Don may not have kept contact with Patty as his obit either omits her or mistakes her information. Indicative someone wrote the obit that didn't have much information about Patty. They lived in different states.
Many people seem to agree that Don killed his wife and had to have evidence of her death in order to remarry/divorce from her legally.
People rumor that the skull was placed at that particular restaurant simply because Don knew it well enough to take the risk of placing it there. It's interesting he even had a flimsy reason on why at the ready.
My impression of Don is that he is the kind of man that mixes a whole lot of truth with a little bit of a lie.


https://unsolvedmysteries.fandom.com/wiki/Linda_Sherman
https://unsolved.com/gallery/linda-sherman/
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13038307/linda-sue-sherman
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/10550337/st-louis-post-dispatch/
https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/michael-webb-vinita-park-police-chief-pursued-murder-case-foarticle_af4d26e9-195a-5206-ba1c-4bad8557c3c9.html
https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/body-of-evidence/Content?oid=2475396
https://peoplelegacy.com/linda_sue_lutz_sherman-3s1L16
https://www.reddit.com/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/apc6m4/the_unsolved_disappearance_of_linda_sherman/
https://www.styningerfuneralhomes.com/notices/Donald-Sherman
https://medium.com/true-crime-by-cat-leigh/womans-skull-placed-outside-of-restaurant-35cf547edd4e
https://truecrimearticles.com/2019/02/11/the-unsolved-disappearance-of-linda-sherman/
http://www.theoccultmuseum.com/skull-staring-back-unsolved-homicide-linda-sherman/
http://trailwentcold.com/2019/05/01/the-trail-went-cold-episode-122-linda-sherman/
submitted by WeathersRabbits to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]


2020.07.09 08:26 Justwonderinif Tara Grinstead Timeline II

<<< Timeline I
Sunday, November 6, 2005
Monday, November 7, 2005
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
November 20 - December 4, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Thursday, December 1, 2005
Saturday, December 3, 2005
Sunday, December 4, 2005
Monday, December 5, 2005
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Friday, December 9, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Monday, January 2, 2006
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Friday, January 6, 2006
Saturday, January 7, 2006
Monday, January 9, 2006
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Friday, January 20-Saturday, January 21, 2006
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Sunday, February 5, 2006
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Wedneday, February 22, 2006
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Saturday, March 4, 2006
Thursday, March 9 and Friday, March 10 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Monday, March 28, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
Saturday, April 1, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, May 6, 2006
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Saturday, May 25, 2006
June 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
September, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
November 2, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Christmas, 2006
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
February, 2007
March, 2007
May, 2007
June 18, 2007
June 20, 2007
July, 2007
August, 2007
October, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
2008
March 8, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
June 20, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
August, 2008
August 17, 2008
September 26, 2008
September 30, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
February 1, 2009
April 30, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 30, 2009
October, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 30, 2009
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
June 20, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
June 20, 2011
November 9, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thursday, February 2, 2012
June 20, 2012
October, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Friday, November 30, 2012
December 19-20, 2012
December 21, 2012
January 3, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
April 25, 2013
June, 2013
July 7, 2013
July 8, 2013
October 3, 2013
November 4, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
2014/2015
April 8, 2014
April 11, 2014
May 2, 2014
June 20, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
September 13, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
February 1-5, 2015
Monday, February 9 & Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Monday, February 16, 2015
Thursday, February 19, 2015
April 27, 2015
Timeline III >>>
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2020.07.09 07:41 Justwonderinif Golden State Killer Timeline III

<< Golden State Killer Timeline II
1977: Continued
1978
1979
1980
Golden State Killer Timeline IV>>>
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2020.07.08 23:01 dem0n0cracy Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet as an alternative treatment for type 2 diabetes in a normal weight woman: a 14-month case study (Case Series from Megan Ramos & Jason Fung)

Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet as an alternative treatment for type 2 diabetes in a normal weight woman: a 14-month case study (Case Series from Megan Ramos & Jason Fung)
Innovations in treatment
Case report
https://casereports.bmj.com/content/13/7/e234223.full

Megan on Twitter
https://twitter.com/meganjramos/status/1280831215738781698

Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet as an alternative treatment for type 2 diabetes in a normal weight woman: a 14-month case study

  1. Charlene Lichtash1,
  2. Jason Fung2,
  3. Katherine Connor Ostoich3 and
  4. Megan Ramos4

Abstract

This case demonstrates the effective and sustainable use of intermittent fasting (IF) and ketogenic diet (KD) in a normal weight patient with type 2 diabetes, who did not attain glycaemic control with a standard care approach. A 57-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes treated with metformin and strict adherence to a standard diabetic diet presented with a haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 9.3%. Within 4 months of transitioning to KD, combined with IF, she achieved glycaemic control off pharmacotherapy, with HbA1c of 6.4. IF regimens started as 24 hours three times per week, followed by 42 hours three times per week, then 42 hours two times per week and 16 hours once per week. A maintenance phase was then begun at 8 months; IF was reduced to 16 hours per day, with 24 hours three times per month, and metformin was restarted. At 14 months, HbA1c reached 5.8%, and body mass index was minimally changed.

Learning points

  • The use of intermittent fasting (IF) and a ketogenic diet (KD) is an effective and sustainable alternative to a standard care approach in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
  • IF and a KD can be used in a patient with type 2 diabetes who is normal weight. Glycaemic control can be achieved without resulting in significant weight loss.
  • The use of this dietary strategy minimises or eliminates the need for pharmacotherapy, and it may be superior to a standard care approach to type 2 diabetes.
  • We demonstrate good adherence to a strategy of IF and a KD in a patient who could not tolerate the adverse effects of additional oral hypoglycemic medications when under a standard care approach.

Background

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disease characterised by hyperglycaemia, varying levels of insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic beta-cell function. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.1 The growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes worldwide highlights the need for accessible preventative and therapeutic strategies. According to a global estimate by the WHO in 2014, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes, with the prevalence of diabetes having doubled since 1980.2 In 2012, diabetes was the eighth leading cause of death among both sexes and the fifth leading cause of death in women.2
Standard approaches to the treatment of type 2 diabetes incorporate lifestyle management, pharmacotherapy and occasionally bariatric surgery.3–5 The goal of treatment is euglycaemia and a reduction of the incidence of microvascular and macrovascular complications of type 2 diabetes. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is widely accepted as part of the standard of care in a diabetic patient.4 Guidelines cite several diets, including the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, vegetarian diet and low-carbohydrate diet, as effective in lowering haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).4 However, there is no consensus on the ideal macronutrient composition of diet to achieve control or remission of type 2 diabetes.4 Ketogenic diets (KDs), which induce a state of nutritional ketosis (defined in the medical literature as a blood beta-hydroxybutyrate level of 0.5–3.0 mmol/L), have demonstrated effective reduction in HbA1c and metabolic parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes; however, studies are limited in size and number.6–8
Remission in type 2 diabetes has been demonstrated in large trials studying caloric restriction, as well as bariatric surgery.9–11 While effective, bariatric surgery is limited by its accessibility, potential for complications and invasive nature. Caloric restriction is limited by long-term patient adherence.12 Caloric restriction results in compensatory changes in the hormonal regulators of body weight, effectively reducing energy expenditure and increasing hunger.12 These changes have been shown to persist for at least 12 months after implementing a calorie-restricted diet, explaining the challenge in applying this approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes.12
By contrast, intermittent fasting (IF) is emerging as a potentially sustainable strategy to achieve control or remission of type 2 diabetes. Fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food, and IF is an eating regimen by which all meals are consumed within a strictly defined window of time, followed by fasting.13 Some available studies on IF use variations of fasting that allow for the ingestion of fewer calories during this window, while others abstain from caloric intake altogether.13 Patterns and lengths of fasting also vary among studies. Studies on the therapeutic use of IF in type 2 diabetes are very limited. Herein, we present a case of woman with type 2 diabetes who successfully used a combination of IF and a low-carbohydrate KD to achieve glycaemic control.
While reduction of body weight is typically the goal of IF regimens, not all patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes are overweight. Many cases of type 2 diabetes improve or remit with weight loss, but the two goals are not the same. In this case, a change in dietary pattern effectively controlled type 2 diabetes, although the patient was not overweight and overall weight change was minimal.

Case presentation

A 57-year-old woman with a 15-year history of type 2 diabetes had been managed for the majority of her illness with metformin and a standard diabetic diet. She had a remote history of gestational diabetes at age 20 and 34 years. At the time of her diagnosis with type 2 diabetes mellitus at age 42 years, her HbA1c was 7.1% and body mass index (BMI) was 21.9 kg/m2, classified as normal weight. During the course of her illness, she had strictly adhered to a diet prescribed to her by a registered dietician and based on prior American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines.14 It had consisted of carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy, as well as poultry, fish and nuts. She had strictly limited her intake of saturated fat, red meats, sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium. She had regularly eaten three meals per day with two snacks.
In June 2016, at age 54 years, her HbA1c had risen to 8.7% and BMI to 23.2 kg/m², while on metformin and her diabetic diet; glipizide was then added to her regimen. By February 2017, her HbA1c had only marginally improved to 8.3%, but she experienced weight gain with a rise in her BMI to 24%, a common side effect of sulfonylurea drugs. Pioglitazone was subsequently added to her regimen of metformin and glipizide, but she reported not taking it consistently due to episodes of hypoglycaemia and dizziness. In June 2017, her HbA1c was 7.8%, and she was told to lower her dose of glipizide, continue metformin and to resume pioglitazone. In October 2017, her HbA1c had improved to 6.5%; however, she reported frequent hypoglycaemia, dizziness and feeling unwell, and she discontinued her pioglitazone and glipizide on her own. In July 2018, her HbA1c had risen to 9.3% on a regimen of metformin and her diabetic diet.

Treatment

In July 2018, she began strictly following a KD, followed by the initiation of an IF regimen 2 weeks later. The KD, a low-carbohydrate high-fat (LCHF) diet, consisted of the following macronutrient composition: 80% fat, 15% protein and 5% carbohydrates. The diet focused on eating natural, unprocessed fats containing a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources. Protein was predominantly from pasture-raised chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish. Grains, starches, legumes and the majority of fruits were eliminated, with most of the carbohydrates in the diet consisting of leafy greens and raw or fermented vegetables. Total daily consumption was estimated to be 20–30 g of carbohydrates and 1500 calories. She reported eating to satiety, without strictly measuring calories.
IF was started at 24 hours three times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After 2 weeks, she increased the duration of fasting to 42 hours three times per week, which she continued for 4 months. Because of the significant improvement in blood glucose, and the lack of available data to guide the choice of a follow-up regimen, she then reduced her fasting to 42 hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 16 hours on Fridays for 4 months. In an effort to test the need for continued 42 hours fasts, a maintenance phase was then started, during which fasting was reduced to 16 hours per day and 24 hours three times per month for 6 months. Metformin 1000 mg two times per day was reinitiated at the start of the maintenance phase. When not fasting, she ate two meals per day with no additional snacks between meals. On days she fasted 24 hours, she ate one meal per day. During fasts she drank water, plain tea or coffee and occasionally homemade bone broth.

Outcome and follow-up

Four weeks after initiating her dietary changes, the patient discontinued all medications, including metformin, an antihypertensive and a statin, while at the same time significantly improving glycaemic control. A timeline and summary of the patient’s diabetic medications with health parameters recorded at each visit are displayed in table 1. HbA1c dropped by 2.9%, from 9.3% to 6.4% during the first 4 months of dietary treatment, as depicted in figure 1. A few hypoglycemic episodes were noted only when initiating the IF regimen, but none subsequently. Her HbA1c at 8 months was 6.4%, at which time, fasting insulin, postprandial insulin rise and C peptide were all at the lower end of normal range. At this point, when glycaemic control had been achieved, metformin was added. At 14 months, HbA1c was reduced to 5.8. The patient’s weight and BMI were mildly reduced, as demonstrated in figure 2, with her most recent weight and BMI being 53.5 kg and 21.6 kg/m2, respectively. When fasting, she recorded ketone levels at 0.5–1 mmol/L using a commercial blood ketone monitor, confirming nutritional ketosis. During the first 8 days after initiating KD, the patient reported mild fatigue and headache. These self-limited symptoms are common when starting a KD and are often referred to colloquially as keto flu. Thereafter, she reported no difficulties in maintaining the diet and fasting regimen, and she noted an improvement in her energy level, exercise tolerance and quality of life. Despite tolerating the 42 hours fasting periods without difficulty, she reported greater satisfaction with her fasting regimen in the maintenance phase, citing a greater sense of normalcy when able to engage in daily meals. The patient currently continues with her KD and IF, which she plans to maintain indefinitely.

Figure 1 - Glycosylated haemoglobin prior to and during treatment with intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet. HbA1c, haemoglobin A1c.

Figure 2- Weight and body mass index during treatment with intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet. BMI, body mass index.
We present a case of a normal weight patient with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes despite adherence to oral hypoglycemic medications and standard dietary advice, who successfully managed her condition using a relatively novel lifestyle approach, combining IF with a KD. The therapeutic benefits of IF and KD in the management of type 2 diabetes are reported in the medical literature, but they have not been studied in large scale. Their use is guided predominately by an understanding of their proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms reported in animal data, and by outcomes reported in limited human data.
Studies on IF generally demonstrate its effectiveness in improving glycaemic control and other metabolic parameters, including reduction in visceral fat, blood pressure and markers of oxidative stress and inflammation.13 15–20 The available human data for IF show marked benefit in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In a case report of three patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes each requiring at least 70 units of insulin per day, the implementation of 24 hours fasts either three times per week or on alternate days, combined with a recommended low-carbohydrate diet resulted in the complete discontinuation of insulin in all three patients; reductions in HbA1c, BMI and waist circumference were also demonstrated.17 Moreover, the benefits of IF on insulin sensitivity extend beyond its influence on weight loss. A recent trial in men with pre-diabetes and overweight or obesity showed that 5 weeks of an IF regimen improved insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta-cell responsiveness, independent of weight loss.20 Another study comparing caloric restriction to an IF regimen for weight loss showed a greater increase in insulin sensitivity when using an IF strategy.21 The findings in our case mirror those in the literature; IF was an effective and sustainable tool for achieving glycaemic control and reducing the need for pharmacotherapy in our patient, independent of weight loss.
Animal data propose a mechanistic understanding of the effects of IF on glycaemic control, providing hope that this treatment modality may slow or reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes. Mice fed a fasting-mimicking diet showed an increase in the proliferation and number of insulin-generating pancreatic beta cells in late-stage type 2 diabetes.22 Differentiated cells in the pancreas first decreased in number in the fasted state, and then pancreatic transitional cells and beta cells proliferated in the refed state.22 This study suggests that the therapeutic benefit of IF lies in the combined physiologic effects caused by both the fasted state, and by the recovery period during the feeding phase, to promote beta-cell repair. Another study in mice showed increased pancreatic beta-cell mass using IF.23 Glucose stimulated insulin secretion increased and beta-cell apoptosis decreased.23 Additionally, weight loss was not required for the benefits of IF on pancreatic beta-cell survival and function.23 The possibility that IF can promote pancreatic beta cells to regenerate and has the potential to revolutionise our treatment of type 2 diabetes, currently viewed as a chronic progressive disease. Further human studies are needed to help illuminate the potential role IF may have in slowing or reversing this disease.
The processes linking IF and benefits in insulin sensitivity are currently being studied to help with targeted pharmacologic therapy that can mimic effects of IF. One such area of ongoing research is in the sirtuin proteins, a family of enzymes with regulatory effects on glucose homeostasis, fat metabolism and life span regulated by both nutrient levels and calorie restriction.18 19 In particular, sirtuin-6 (SIRT6) is currently being studied as a potential therapeutic target for treating insulin resistance.24 SIRT6 in animal studies enhances insulin sensitivity and thereby decreases fasting blood glucose levels.24–26 Both short-term fasting and long-term calorie restriction increase SIRT6 levels in animal data further highlighting the role IF may play in disease modification19
Carbohydrate restriction is considered an effective treatment of type 2 diabetes in standard MNT, as defined by the ADA and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.4 This approach even predates the development of exogenous insulin treatment in 1921, and is based on the fact that carbohydrates are the macronutrient with the highest glycaemic and insulin indices.27 An increased carbohydrate intake worsens markers of insulin resistance, such as postprandial glucose and insulin levels.28 Several trials have demonstrated improvements in HbA1c and insulin sensitivity when implementing a low-carbohydrate diet.29 The benefits of dietary carbohydrate restriction on control of blood glucose do not necessarily require weight loss, and low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to be generally well tolerated.30 31
While the benefits of low-carbohydrate diets in type 2 diabetes are well accepted, the role of KD in the management of type 2 diabetes is not widely accepted at the present time, partly due to limited long-term safety data. A KD is typically defined as a LCHF diet that induces a shift in energy source from glucose to fatty acids and fatty-acid-derived ketones. Achieving nutritional ketosis has been shown to result in diabetes remission and reversal in some cases.8 A non-randomised long-term study implementing KD found significant improvements in biomarkers, including HbA1c, weight, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, blood pressure, cholesterol profile, high sensitivity C-reactive protein and a reduced need for type 2 diabetic medication.6 By contrast, the control arm consisting of patients with type 2 diabetes receiving ‘usual care’ with counselling on lifestyle interventions by a registered dietitian showed no significant change in any of the biomarkers measured.6
However, in other disease states, both KDs and IF have a long history of safety. KD was first used in the 1920s in the treatment of epilepsy.32 During nearly a century of clinical use, there have been remarkably few health concerns. IF has been used even longer in the treatment of epilepsy, having been described by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates more than 2400 years ago.33 Further, IF has been a traditional part of virtually every major religion in the world.
Our patient tolerated the KD well, with her only reported difficulty being the week-long initial period of adjustment, termed in popular media as keto flu and in the medical literature as keto induction.34 Common symptoms of keto flu include influenza-like symptoms, headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, gastrointestinal discomfort and decreased energy.34 The symptoms tend to peak within the first 7 days of initiating a KD and resolve within the first month.34 While data show that IF and the production of ketone bodies result in adaptive responses that influence health and longevity, further research on KDs is needed to help support their widespread use in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
IF and a low-carbohydrate diet, such as a KD, appear to be particularly effective when used in combination. These two dietary interventions address different but complementary parts of the total diet. A KD specifies which foods should or should not be eaten (what to eat), but does not give guidance on the timing of meals (when to eat). IF provides guidance on the meal timing but not meal composition. Together they provide a complete dietary solution that each lacks on its own.
The time to achieving glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes with this combined approach varies, and further studies are needed to define the determining factors, such as degree of insulin resistance and pancreatic beta-cell reserve. Our patient achieved glycaemic control within 4 months of combining KD and IF. Another study found that in three patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, implementation of IF and a low-carbohydrate diet resulted in discontinuation of insulin between 5 and 18 days of initiating treatment.17 For maintenance of glycaemic control, the duration and degree of IF and carbohydrate restriction must also be tailored to the individual patient. As demonstrated in our case, once glycaemic control was achieved the lengths of fasts were able to be reduced, without compromising glycaemic control. Further studies should help identify patient characteristics that predict ideal fasting lengths and carbohydrate limits in the management of type 2 diabetes.
The available data on KD and IF is encouraging, and our case report and review of the literature highlights the need for more extensive research on these two treatment modalities in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. With the alarming rise in incidence of type 2 diabetes worldwide, the need for cost-effective and widely available strategies to manage this disease is growing. The need for pharmacotherapy and invasive bariatric surgery can be effectively lowered through the use of our approach. Further, as shown in animal and preliminary human data, the strategies we discussed in our study have the potential to modify the course of type 2 diabetes, which has long been understood as a chronic progressive disease. If validated in large-scale randomised studies, the current data on both IF and KD have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and profoundly impact the standard approach to treatment of this disease.
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2020.07.07 13:04 SaintSayaka [My Little Pony] Battle of the Sexes, or; How to Grieve the Loss of a Fandom Through Horny Ponies

When one thinks of My Little Pony as fandom, bronies are what immediately come to mind. Though their presence online has doubtlessly faltered, furthered especially with the end of the show in 2019, most internet denizens from the 2010-2014s remember a time when they couldn’t escape the show anywhere: in stores with specially made adult merchandise, with characters from every piece of media conceivable being turned into ponies (“ponification”), gifsets a-plenty, Steam profiles being plastered in colorful Equestria duds, fanmade music making the rounds, SFM videos, cringe compilations...you get the picture.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a brief description of brony culture’s origins; feel free to skip if you have a general understanding of bronies already. In 2010 a reboot of the show My Little Pony was created for the children’s channel the Hub (now known as Discovery Family). It was created by Lauren Faust, a writer and animator with titles under her belt such as “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”. It’s interesting to note that the former, Powerpuff Girls, also gained quite a bit of traction with adult male fans in its heyday, which just goes to show you what good writing can do for a show meant for any audience. When the show aired, it quickly began circulating on 4chan, mostly as the subject of “holy shit I can’t believe I’m saying this but this show is actually really good you should watch it” posts. From there, as most popular things on 4chan tend to do, it diffused out into the general internet, and the rest is history. Male fans of the show began popping up in droves, contributing think-pieces, Youtube video critiques, art, fansites, fanfiction, music, etc. (also a lot of porn, but we’ll get to that later). Of course there were a fair number of female fans, perhaps (and probably) even a competitive number to the male ratio, but it was the fact that grown men adored the show that really defined the hype and general awe surrounding the fandom - hence the term “brony” coming to define this generation of fans. Gender as a defining feature of the fandom will become relevant later.
Loved it or hated it, My Little Pony was an online phenomenon. And it’s hard to deny that the fandom drew out a lot of creativity from its fans, giving the community a unique vibrance that is still documented through this day via image boorus such as Derpibooru and high-quality Youtube productions. But the franchise wasn’t a cultural juggernaut solely because of bronies. After all, there’s a reason it survived from the eighties - and that’s to be found in its female fans. It’s now time to talk about My Little Pony as a “hobby”, not necessarily a fandom culture.
In case you couldn’t tell from the everything about it, My Little Pony is a franchise intended for women, particularly of the toy-consuming demographic. Coming from an era where cartoons were quickly becoming pilots for toys, My Little Pony was no different. And to give credit where credit is due, the playsets and toys obviously resonated with a lot of children, leading to the franchise’s immediate popularity. They were also the perfect amount of creative to take off with toy collecting communities, the remnants of which I personally can trace back to the nineties via old personal webpages and forums, but have a feeling probably existed as soon as the toyline did, just with no means to interact at the scale that the internet provides. Between visually interesting display pieces such as the waterfall, stables, and many more, there was obvious thought put into the design of the toys. And of course the proliferation of accessories and sets was a money-printing technique, but the construction of these toys wasn’t entirely cheap; a lot of these sets have survived to this day with only the expected wear-and-tear you get from old children’s toys. So essentially, you have this toy franchise that is striking a perfect balance between appeal to children, largely girls, and unique design in comparison to other girl’s toys from the era. It’s the perfect storm for raising a generation of nostalgic women who want to collect toys. This generation of My Little Pony is known as “G1”, or generation one. Generations in My Little Pony fandom - notice how I’m not saying brony fandom, and remember this distinction - are marked by toy design, with some slight personal variation in what counts as what (leading to transitional generations as MLP figures out what the hell it’s doing, such as G 3.5’s large-headed, small-bodied baby ponies). These toy designs largely differ from generation to generation, making the distinction important. You can see for yourself here how much evolution the toy designs and show has gone through. This is usually followed by some new show reboot by My Little Pony’s parent company, Hasbro. G2 couldn’t nearly match the success of its previous generation, but is often considered fairly well by current adult fans, possibly (in my own personal opinion) influenced by the scarcity of the toys themselves. G3 has a fairly dedicated following for its toys; most non-brony My Little Pony fans now in the young adult range grew up with this generation and have a fair amount of love for the designs of this era, which were quite bright and distinctive.
And then, we’ve got G4: the era of the brony. G4 introduced the show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” to the world, the one that took off with adult males.
Prior to G4, My Little Pony was a fandom totally dominated by women in toy-collecting forums talking about their collections, tracking international design differences (did you know that in Spain, G1s were fatter and had blinking eyes?), and posting huge images of their personal collections. I have no doubt that there were active male/non-binary collectors as well, but the hobby was fully pink-coded. It’s important to note that opinions on the shows/movies associated with each generation are mixed. I don’t think many fans consider this content to be high art, but many of them have a certain tinge of nostalgia associated with them, and it’s always nice for a fan to see their favorites in full animation, regardless of the quality. And besides, the large interest in the franchise was just that - in the franchise as a whole, not necessarily just the shows. It was the collection aspect that really appealed to many pre-G4 fans. To be sure, there were people who loved the media associated with MLP as well - one only need take a stroll through any collecting Tumblr blog to see that - but the appeal of the franchise largely rested in either toys themselves or the toys in combination with the media, not solely the media. G4 would upset this fine balance in more ways than one.
If we look at G4 in terms of solely toy-collecting quality, the results were disappointing to many long-term fans. The new ponies are significantly smaller than their older counterparts, the G1s and G3s (G2s are around the same size, but again, they’re pretty scarce, so I’m omitting them from this argument), and as silly as it sounds, the “chunkiness” of MLPs was a huge draw to them for many collectors. It’s a bit hard to put this feeling into words, especially for non-collectors, but there’s something much more satisfying about handling and displaying these “thicker” models of ponies than slim, small models - and this loss was palatable across the pre-brony community. These G4s were the same size as ponies considered “babies” (or, smaller ponies) in previous designs. G4 also had an egregious habit of releasing essentially the same exact pony designs multiple times and selling it as a “brand new” design. To be sure, this wasn’t a new practice for the franchise (nobody is denying that MLP loves to make a quick buck), but there was a noticeable lack of effort put into making these new designs. In previous generations, at least one could expect some level of distinct variation between pony models, to distinguish one pony from another. They might have all come from the similasame toy molds of their generation, but each had their own unique personality and take. From an image of a G3 collection such as this, it’s obvious that the toys are from similar molds, but each of them looks distinct. The G4s, damned already because they all came from the same exact mold with variation only in giving them wings or a horn (the G1s/G3s could have raised legs, backs, etc., which doesn’t sound like much until you’re staring at a shelf of a hundred of them), didn’t have much to distinguish them from one another, probably not helped by the fact that their small size didn’t give much room for detail-work. Actually, any sense of detail-work was stripped from this generation, only to perhaps be found occasionally in the more expensive, differently-molded toys - this was the true loss, for even in previous generation’s cheaper models, there was still clear distinction and effort. G4 said “we added tinsel to this pony’s hair, so now it’s a new model! This one has a design running up it’s leg, so it’s a new model!”, changing little to no coloration, pose, etc. from horse to horse. Collection-wise, this generation faced a lot of mixed reviews. There are some genuinely nice pieces from it, but not at nearly the same scale as previous gens.
But the show? That was a different story. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that G4’s accompanying show, “Friendship is Magic”, was the best written My Little Pony show to ever exist. This is probably due to the fact that it’s the first MLP show not written solely to sell the toys (though it certainly was created for that end, make no doubt). There was genuine care and effort into making the show appeal to a large variety of ages. Lauren Faust herself has said that she specifically wrote the show so that families would be comfortable watching it with their children, instead of the usual grating nonsense we give to kids - and obviously she hit it out of the park, because the show quickly gained an adult following. Between well-paced writing, good morals, adult jokes, non-adult jokes that were just funny, and entertaining character chemistry, bronies arrived on the scene not too long after the show’s air date, give or take a year. The media had a field day with this development - adult males intensely following a kid’s show, and one as female-coded as My Little Pony, at that, was a virtual goldmine for interest pieces and point-and-laugh fests alike. But this newfound popularity with adult males didn’t mean that the “OG” female fans ever left. And some of them were pissed.
Let’s go back to what I said the MLP fandom was up to before bronies: women cataloguing toys and collections, largely. What does the My Little Pony in a G4 world become famous for? Not toys, but for adult males. And specifically, of the horny variety. The world of My Little Pony porn (called “clop”) is a large and winding one, but suffice it to say that it’s the most damning part of brony culture in the eyes of many. Look up any of the main characters of the show, and the first google result page will have some form of fetish art, guaranteed. And I do mean any - child characters included (dubbed “foalcon”). When you have such an intense concentration of adult fans on any form of children’s media, porn is going to become the immediate topic of interest to any outsider looking in; after all, we tend to contribute such intense, strange desire to sexual undertones. It’s only natural that this began to define the fandom, alongside the largely male populace.
Put yourself in the shoes of an “OG” female fan. For years now, you’ve been enjoying this franchise - and suddenly, overnight, it near immediately becomes associated with sexual perversion, which many new fans are taking intense delight in (perhaps literally). Not only that, but it becomes presented as a total boy’s club. Oh, and add to the mix that many of these new fans are actively dunking on older generations, with people drawing art of the new generation’s cast recoiling in disgust at their previous depictions, these new fans coming onto collector’s boards to complain about the older generations, or drawing new porn of old characters for the lulz of it. You can see how this sudden shifting of the tides wasn’t ideal.
The bulk of this resulting drama could be found on Tumblr, a site that a) appealed to many women in general and allows for a fair bit of boy-bashing, and b) hosts a large amount of pony collectors, even to this day. You’ve got post after post of women making complaints about bronies from the fair to the outrageous - mourning the franchise’s association with porn (can’t really say that one’s unfair), saying that bronies will never understand what it truly means to love the franchise (perhaps unfair), demanding that all male fans leave because they’re only in it for sex (pretty unfair assumption). Yet this drama wasn’t just composed of female fans making melodramatic posts to grieve the loss of a fandom that was once their’s. I wouldn’t be on this subreddit if it was. You see, they also took quite an active role in “exposing” fandom members. And this all came to a boil in what was fondly referred to on the brony side of things as “Molestiagate”. If you’re wondering how that term has any association with My Little Pony, strap in.
If there was one thing that the brony fandom loved, it was making inside-joke headcanons. See a totally insignificant background character sitting upright like a human? The fandom has dubbed that horse a mega-fan of human culture, and that’s her god-given personality by anyone who draws art of her from that day forward. Some pony make a joke about bread? That character is now obsessed with bread, to the point of sleeping with it. These influences on personality usually came from the show, but occasionally fandom juggernauts would make associations so strong, that the entire fandom lept on the bandwagon. And that’s exactly what happened with a little webcomic known as Princess Molestia. Princess Molestia was a fancomic drawn by (unsurprisingly, probably) a well-known porn artist within the community that documented the adventures of the show’s two princess characters, whom rule the MLP universe. It was considered to be an alternate universe, and thus not quite the actual princesses from the show, but with the show character names being “Princess Celestia” and “Princess Luna”, and the comic character names being “Princess Molestia” and “Gamer Luna” - well, you can see the overlap. The comics followed the follies of Molestia, who did just as her name suggested. Irreversibly horny, Molestia was constantly on the lookout for or engaging in sexual actions. Her sister’s personality was just gaming, and she often served as Molestia’s foil (and occasional sex release). It’s important to note that the comic was extremely suggestive but not pornographic. While the artist had explicit images of his characters, these were not integrated into the comic past a handful of exceptions, the likes of which also had “SFW” versions (as SFW as something called Princess Molestia can really be). These personas really took off within the fandom, and though they were not the “real” Celestia and Luna, many integrated these traits into their fan interpretations of the character.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Molestia’s shtick inherently relies on a lack of consent, and there are plenty of comic examples where she engages with involuntary subjects to ease her cravings. Many of the jokes associated with the series inherently relied on implied assault (and occasionally rape). This made the series the perfect target for OGs - a glowing symbol of everything wrong with bronies. Because not only was this series being produced, but it was being actively endorsed by fans, as well as being historically the longest-running fancomic bronies had. “Down With Molestia” emerged from a long-deleted blog known as PinkiePony, an OG fan with a sizeable collection. PinkiePony was an oddball beyond being a mega-MLP fan, as many incensed bronies would be quick to point out in screencaps - she had previously ranted on Tumblr about giving up one of her male guinea pigs for supposedly “raping” one of her female ones, she was strongly anti-porn in all regards despite having lingerie photoshoots of herself available online, etc. - but Tumblr seemed to agree that the cause was a good one even in light of her quirks, and thus “DWM” took off on the platform. There exists this unlisted video of PinkiePony explaining her side of the ensuing situation/her story, but the veracity of the information she provides has been called into question. Make your own mind up if you decide to watch.
A practical civil war ensues between OGs and bronies, who naturally refuse to see any shades of grey in the situation (forgive me in advance for not being able to provide receipts as Tumblr is notoriously bad for finding old posts). OGs denounce all bronies as sex-addled maniacs who have ruined the fandom beyond all conceivable repair. Bronies denounce anyone against Molestia as prudish SJWs who want to take away their fun, and start pulling out that fun “rape jokes are actually a good way for rape survivors to heal” statstic with no understanding of nuance whatsoever. The drama escalates as you’d expect from these things, with crazy-ass receipts being pulled from both sides - the porn artist makes the majority of his living from his work and his livelihood is being threatened, to the glee of OGs and horror of bronies, Pinkiepony lies about trying to fake her own suicide as a result of the fallout to garner respect points, same old internet nonsense. But nothing could have topped the Viking incident.
Tumblr user Vikinglumberjack was an outspoken female brony on the side of Princess Molestia supporters. And as you can imagine, this made her bit of an ace in the hole for bronies. After all, how anti-feminist/woman could the webcomic really be if a woman supported it? Through intense research on the side of DWM supporters, it was revealed that she was not only a mother, but married to an immigrant. Pinkiepony and friends saw an ample opportunity. And thus began the harassment. But this wasn’t your normal Tumblr bullying, where you get a couple dozen anons telling you to kill yourself. Because Viking was about to wake up to a package on her doorstep containing knives - with a note included that she should use them to kill her daughter first, and then herself. Her address had been leaked to PinkiePony supporters, and they were having a field day. Before this event had come a slew of death and rape threats, and now finding that her address was clearly known, panic had begun to set in for the mother. This wouldn’t be the end of the nightmare, or even close to it. Shortly after, an investigation began into her husband by the government which very nearly resulted in his deportation from the country, costing them a great deal in legal fees to fight for his right to remain. It was subsequently revealed that her husband had essentially been used for slave labor before coming to the states, and it was a strong likelihood that he would return to this should he leave America. This incident was not started by Pinkie, but instigated by a fan of her’s and subsequently supported by her. And all this over a horny My Little Pony blog!
Eventually, the all-encompassing fire of DMW caught the eye of Hasbro, who swiftly took down the blog. Many bronies cried foul play as the characters depicted were not the show’s creations, but for Tumblr, this was an absolute win, and as such, the drama dimmed into the night, leaving merely its ashes behind to remind those involved of the great conflict between two sides of the same coin. With G4 officially over, and G5 on the horizon, who’s to say what awaits the fandom? But history has taught us anything, it’s probably more of the same.
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2020.07.06 16:39 slightlyassholic [Tales From the Terran Republic] Judge Dredd Remembers and Sheloran Gets Screwed

Sheloran discovers the joys of miniatures, Judge Dredd remembers the past, and Cerberus has their morning meeting.
The rest of this series can be found here
***
Thad Carter leveled his pistol at the last of the Parson clan.
“Why?!?” Hesta Parson screamed.
“You know why,” Thad said grimly as he pulled the trigger and, with a searing flash, Hesta fell.
He turned to a rail-thin grim-faced woman standing beside him.
“We don’t have enough for our own.” he said with a resigned sigh. “We can’t feed their kids...”
The woman silently nodded and walked out of the tent.
He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed heavily. How had it come to this? Killing an entire family over a few chests of canned food. No. They brought this on themselves. They drew first blood. This was on them.
It was ugly, but it was justice… Or what passed for “justice” these days...
He stepped out into the morning light as a terrified child started to sprint, screaming, through the shabby compound.
Cursing the world, God, and himself, he raised his pistol…
***
Judge Thaddeus Carter awoke. As he did so glowing lines of text appeared in his vision reporting his vitals and the status of the dozen different systems that kept him breathing.
One of the lines had the time. It was 03:00. Tired as he was, he was not going back to sleep.
You’ve suffered enough... a little xeno voice whispered in his mind. You need to forgiv-
“Some things can never be forgiven,” he said quietly to the empty room.
He struggled to his feet and wandered into the kitchen.
He winced as he reached for a bowl.
***
“Thad, honey,” the thin woman said, her voice filled with concern, “C’mon… you need to eat.”
“I’m not hungry, Selene.” he said with a sigh.
“You ‘haven’t been hungry’ for two days,” she said. “And you didn’t eat that day either.”
“I can’t touch it,” Thad said quietly. “That food, what we did to get it… I can’t.”
“Well, this is from our stock,” she said holding a small bowl. “Can you at least eat that?”
Thaddeus Carter just rolled over and stared at the wall.
“Hey… hey...” the woman said. “You didn’t know. None of us did. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just this… this fucking ash!”
“I examined the evidence,” he said. “I passed judgment. I made the call. It’s my fault.”
“How were you supposed to know that Sammy wasn’t running with them anymore?” Selene asked. “And you aren’t a judge anymore. We all made the decision and we all have to live with the mistake that we made, ok? Now please eat something.”
“Please leave me, Selene.”
“Goddamn it!” the woman yelled. “You just gonna give up? Let yourself starve?”
“Murders don’t deserve to live...”
“Ok, fine,” Selene said and then took a deep breath. “Thaddeus Carter, I find you guilty of the murder of the Parson clan and I sentence you to an eternity of servitude in the worst place I can send you, Earth. There you will lead a bunch of murdering scum and keep their innocent kids alive. Happy? Now get up off your sorry ass and eat!”
***
You served your time long ago... Sheloran’s voice whispered in his ears.
Judge Dredd just sighed sadly as he filled the bowl with instant oatmeal.
“An eternity means forever, frog-girl,” he muttered as he stirred in the water.
An email came in. His new kidney had been built.
***
Sheloran turned a small holographic “Orgg” back and forth thoughtfully “painting” it a mottled blue color.
“I appreciate you giving me a hand,” Krista said as she was carefully “assembling” a scrap giant.
“Oh I don’t mind!” Sheloran said happily. “This is fun!” she exclaimed as she examined her orgg. It needed something.
“So you have to repaint all of the miniatures that get killed?” Sheloran asked.
“We play for ‘skins’ here,” Krista replied as she started carefully painting her orgg mech. “Makes it more interesting. Makes it so that you actually lose something.”
“Huh,” Sheloran said as she examined her orgg. Stripes! Warriors should have stripes! She carefully started “airbrushing” them on.
“Wow,” Krista said looking over at Sheloran’s work. “That’s nice! You don’t need to put that much into them though. They are probably going to get eaten by the bionids.”
“Sorry,” Sheloran replied. “I can take them off.”
“No!” Krista exclaimed. “He looks awesome and the computer grades the paint job. The better and more detailed the paint the better the stats! It keeps people from just painting their guys one color and chucking them on the board. Shit paint means shit stats.”
“So that’s why Zippo is so nervous around you.”
“Heh, little bitch had to repaint damn near her entire legion.” Krista chuckled. “Damn, froggy!” she exclaimed as she looked at a small glowing panel hovering over the figure that Sheloran just finished. “You can paint any of my shit that you want! Here! You want to paint this big guy?”
A much larger orgg appeared in front of Sheloran.
“Ok!” Sheloran smiled.
A few minutes later Sheloran looked up with dreamy eyes.
“So these guys were created by another race to fight a war for them?”
“Yep,” Krista said as she zoomed in on the mech. She wasn’t going to let herself be outdone by this noob. “The Elder Ones made them to fight in the Celestial War.”
“No wonder they lost,” Sheloran mused as she started idly “carving” strange glyphs into the chest of the holographic figure in front of her.
“Got something to say about the orggs, bitch?” Krista laughed.
“No… It’s not that...” Sheloran muttered lost in her work. “It’s just that the Elder Ones put all that effort in creating these guys and that other race...”
“The elvaren.”
“Yeah, them...” Sheloran muttered as her hands took on a life of their own. “They had much better material to work with...”
“They did?” Krista asked, intrigued.
“Themselves,” Sheloran murmured. “They were so much more advanced than whatever they would have used as the base stock for these orggs and those other guys. They should have just taken some of their own species and used them to make a warrior caste. They might have won if they did that. Too many of the first races made that mistake. They didn’t want to get their hands dirty so they hid behind their creations be they flesh or machine. You don’t win wars by distancing yourself from it. You win by embracing it… You don’t close your mouth. You drink deep.”
“Huh,” Krista said. “I never thought of that.”
“Thought of what?” Sheloran asked brightly and then gasped in astonishment at what was sitting in front of her. “I… I think I’m done with this one...”
Krista just looked in stunned surprise at the stats panel for Sheloran’s latest creation. Holy shit!
“Here!” Krista exclaimed as she handed over the mech she was working on. “Do this one next!”
Sheloran just grinned.
This was fun!
***
Gloria stood in front of her Reaper and laughed an honest, genuine laugh.
“I know I said I didn’t care what it looked like but, goddamn!” Gloria laughed. “That is fucking ugly
“You say fuck ship!” that wispy xeno said holding a strange looking welding rig. “So I fuck ship!”
Gloria walked along the modification. It wasn’t pretty but it was perfectly symmetrical. She poked at the seam where it was attached.
“Glue?” she asked raising her eyebrow.
“Sealant,” Harval replied. “Fresh welds that long and heavy would screw with the crystalline structure of your ship’s frame so we attached it with spring rivets and used miner’s paste to make it airtight. The whole thing will flex instead of crack. It will be good up to twenty-five G's.”
“Fuck,” Gloria replied. “I’m not saying that the Navy uses something like this but IF they did this would actually be better.”
“Pssk,” the xeno welder scoffed. “Better than your Navy no praise. You humans think you weld. You no weld. You stick metal together. You no weld.”
“Big words, little guy,” Gloria smiled.
“I thought so too,” Harval said, “until he showed me. These weird little fucks know welding!”
Gloria opened the hatch and looked inside.
“I know it looks like hell,” Harval said. “But the webbing attachment points are secure and the insulation will keep things at least habitable. We couldn’t grab a proper life support module so we had to improvise. It’s ancient-tech but we were able to scab it together with shit we had laying around and it will support six humans for four hours.”
“More than long enough,” Gloria replied. “We can do it in two.”
“Noodle here,” Harval said as he nodded at the strange wispy xeno, “says that he can do one more major weld without ‘fucking ship’, but that’s it. I know you don’t want a modular weapons package but...”
“You guys do whatever you think is best,” Gloria smiled. “Just don’t fuck ship!”
“I no fuck ship!” Noodle screeched. “You! You fuck ship!”
“Well unfuck ship then!” Gloria grinned and turned to Harval.
“I like this guy!” she laughed.
***
“Great!” Sheila said to Gloria’s image on her screen. “We move tonight!”
She terminated the call and turned to Jessie.
You got our target’s location?
“Yep!” Jessie bubbled. “She spends her day getting worked over and then they tuck her in for the night right… here!” she said as a projection of Tartarus appeared in the middle of the bridge.
“Nice work you two,” Sheila said as she examined the model.
“There is one thing I need to talk to you about though,” Jessie said, her face becoming uncharacteristically serious. “It’s about our little frog-buddy. She’s fucked.”
“Oh?” Shelia asked.
***
“What the FUCK do you mean I’m off the case?!?” Thaddeus Carter yelled into his communicator.
“Sorry, Carter,” a refined looking black woman with close cropped grey natural hair replied. “After that scene in your courtroom we feel it best if you not handle this one, for appearances sake.”
“Fucking appearances?!?” Judge Dredd yelled. “You doubt my impartiality?!?”
“Of course not,” the woman smiled. “It’s just that the xenos are all up in arms. It’s just politics, you understand. If there is a conviction with you presiding then her little xeno lawyer is going to appeal using you as the reason. We don’t want this circus lasting any longer than it needs to.”
“That shit-loach is fucking slippery!” Judge Dredd replied. “Only I know how to deal with that slimy little fucker.”
“I’m certain that the judge handling this case will be up to the task.”
“Oh, yeah?” Judge Dredd asked skeptically. “Who.”
She just smiled.
“I will be handling this case personally,” she said with a cold smile.
“You?!?” he asked, completely astonished. He then narrowed his eyes at her. “Why?”
“The Republic just feels that this one should be handled delicately, that’s all.”
A chill started to creep down Judge Dredd’s polymer spine.
“Ok,” he replied with a smile. “I know when I’m beat.”
“I’m glad you have decided to be reasonable for once.”
“So when is the next hearing?” he asked.
“You needn’t concern yourself with that.”
More chills.
“Oh I disagree,” Judge Dredd smiled. “It seems that I need to work on my ‘refinement’. Who better to study than you, and if it is so ‘delicate’ then an extra set of eyes wouldn’t hurt, would it? Besides, I called dibs.”
“Oh Jesus Christ, Thad,” the woman said with an exasperated tone.
“I’m just trying to help,” Judge Dredd said with a syrupy sweet tone. “I’m intimately familiar with her attorney and know all of his tricks. I can keep him from being able to successfully appeal.”
“That won’t be necessary, Judge Carter.”
“Necessary or not,” Judge Dredd replied. “You are stuck with me on this one! So, when is the next hearing.”
“I haven’t scheduled it yet,” she smiled. “My docket is quite full so it will be worked in as time allows.”
“Then someone else should handle it. The Republic guarantees the accused a speedy trial.”
“The Republic,” the woman said coolly, “guarantees a citizen a speedy trial. A piece of Federation garbage can fucking wait until the state finds it convenient to convict them. She’s guilty as hell and we both know it. She can sit in Tartarus until we make it official. A few months or even years won't make the slightest difference. I’ll even give her credit for time served, not that it will matter.”
Fuck, he thought as he felt a sick feeling settle in his gut.
“Citizen or not,” he said his voice starting to raise, “Sheloran is a living breathing person who deserves-”
“Sheloran?” the woman sneered. “Not ‘the accused’? ‘A living breathing person’? Seriously?” the woman laughed. “Thad, you’re too close to this one. Back off.”
“The hell I will!” he snapped. “You will not just sweep her under the rug!”
“Don’t worry,” the woman said. “I assure you that she will be processed in accordance with all of our laws and customs.”
“Processed?” Judge Dredd yelled. “She is not a fucking sausage! She has rights!”
“Such passion, even after all these years,” she said with a smile. “so very admirable...”
Her eyes narrowed.
“Let this one go, Thad. Just walk away,” she said with just a touch of menace in her voice.
“Not going to fucking happen!” Judge Dredd shouted. “Sheloran and people like her get rolled over time and time again. Not this time! Not on my watch! She might be guilty as fuck but she will be tried and if found guilty sentenced. She deserves that! She deserves a trial, Tamlyn!”
“I never said she wouldn’t get one,” Tamlyn replied. “She will. I personally guarantee it.”
“Oh yeah,” Judge Dredd asked. “When?”
“This conversation is over, Thad. As a courtesy I will email you with any further details,” she said with a cold gleam in her almond shaped eyes. “but you had better stay the Hell out of my way.”
The line went dead.
”FUCK” Judge Dredd yelled.
He stood there, seething. Tamlyn was fucking evil! Not corrupt, not incompetent… evil. She would send someone to the gallows just to free up her tee time! She wielded the law like a weapon. So did he but in his hands it was a sword of justice. In hers it was a garrote.
Sheloran didn’t have a chance!
But why? She was a major player. Why was the Tamlyn Johnson interested in a little blue frog-girl from the Free Port?
Why was she going to destroy Sheloran? That poor kid was never getting out of that hell hole…
Why?
He accessed the databases and pulled up cases.
His suspicion was correct. Every single time Judge Johnson became involved in a case involving someone being held in Tartarus they went away for life.
Every. Single. Time.
It wasn’t too shocking on the surface. I mean people who are being held there pending trial aren’t there for shoplifting. If someone is being held there they are probably guilty…
Just like the Parsons PROBABLY raided his camp...
Judge Dredd started to pull up the entire files for every single Tartarus case she had ever touched and then stopped. If his gut was right…
He looked down at his phone, smiled, and then hurled it into the wall, shattering it.
He sent off an email stating that he was feeling poorly, grabbed a portable battery pack, strapped it on, and headed for the door.
***
“No, see?” Kolbth said as he showed a portly blonde the screen. “It’s completely fried. You are gonna need a new phone.”
“But I heard you could fix anything!” the woman cried.
“I can fix a lot,” he said with a wiggle of his eyestalks, “But it would cost five times what a new one would just to try and-”
“Do it!” she exclaimed slamming down her bank card.
“Ok,” Kolbth said with a wiggle. “What do you really need here?”
The woman looked down.
“I want the chat logs… from this phone...”
“Is it your phone?”
“I paid for it! I paid for the account!” she snapped, “So, yes! It is MY phone!”
“Hey, easy,” he said soothingly. “Now that I can do but… are you sure?” he asked. “From my experience this won’t help anything.”
“I… I need to know!” she said, her lip quivering.
Kolbth sighed.
“Ok, I’m gonna need cash,” he said. “Two hundred and fifty credits.”
The woman just nodded and reached into her purse.
The door opened.
“JUDGE CARTER!” Kobth exclaimed, deftly making the phone disappear. “How LOVELY to see such a noble champion of the LAW here in my humble and COMPLETELY LEGAL establishment.”
Kobth turned to the terrified woman.
“Ma’am, I will be happy to repair your phone!” he exclaimed. “Just come back this afternoon and it will all be taken care of!”
“O...Ok...” the woman stammered and with a speed one wouldn’t expect from someone so large, departed.
“I was going to ask if you were keeping out of trouble, Kobth,” Judge Dredd grinned. “But it seems I don’t have to.”
“I don’t know what you mean, Your Honor,” Kobth replied testily. “I learned my lesson! I’m now just an honest electronics repair guy!”
“Then I’ve come to the wrong place,” Judge Dredd replied. “I need something done.”
Kobth looked at him suspiciously.
“If you need a new phone I can help but otherwise you got the wrong guy.”
“I actually do need a new phone,” Judge Dredd replied with a chuckle. “And while we are setting it up we are going discuss something else… something that you will help me with.”
Kobth sighed and turned his eyestalks skyward. Why did the universe hate him?
***
Queen Ulkarettka cleaned her eggs miserably as some larvae snuggled her. She stroked the larva sadly, already mourning them.
They were doomed, all of them, so were the eggs.
They were just warriors. They shouldn’t matter…
But they did! They mattered so much! They meant so much to her that her heart broke every time they were taken away, never to be seen again.
They had been so confident when they had invaded. Every projection guaranteed success…
But their projections didn’t include them
If you had asked her before the War Accursed who the most fearsome, merciless, and strongest species ever gifted with sapience by the progenitors was she would, without a shred of doubt, would have said it was them, the Blessed Ones. She and her sisters were the pinnacle of creation, destined to wipe clean all inferior life as was the fate of all inferior life.
Now, she knew better. She grunted as yet more eggs, doomed eggs, squirted from her distended belly. Ascension to motherhood, surrounded by her progeny… every queen’s dream…
Now an unending nightmare…
Ulkarettka flinched as a hatchway opened and she walked in.
“Good morning!” Pam, clad in a simple black trousers and a tunic bearing a silver three headed hound, said with a bright smile. “And how is my favorite bug doing today? More eggs? How wonderful! The Republic deeply appreciates your assistance!”
Ulkarettka just whined and cowered in pure terror as the monster drew closer. Her antennae quivered as the unmistakable scent of dominance and command filled the air.
Pam smiled and exhaled at her as lab-grown, surgically implanted glands sprayed alien chemicals into her throat.
It tickled.
OBEY
The queen, every fiber of her being screaming with despair and rage, bowed.
“K’veech Pa!” Pam buzzed, her enhanced vocal chords pronouncing the words perfectly.
OBEY
Whimpering, the queen rolled over, exposing herself.
Pam smiled and pulled out a syringe with a long flexible needle.
“This might sting just a little,” Pam said pleasantly, “But then again, you already know that, don’t you?”
The young Collective queen’s anguished screams echoed down the pristine halls of Tartarus.
***
“Let me get this straight,” Kobth said as he eyed Judge Dredd suspiciously, “You want me to help you break the law?”
“The law is only valid when it protects the people,” Judge Dredd said grimly. “If I’m right, then that is no longer the case. The law and the Republic must be protected!”
“And if you’re wrong?”
“Then I will turn myself in.” Judge Dredd said calmly, “And you are doing this under duress from a fucking judge. Entrapment doesn’t even come close to describing it. You are covered.”
Kobth just sat there silently looking at Judge Dredd.
“I need your help,” Judge Dredd said, “The law is being perverted by one of our own and they must be stopped. I’ve turned a blind eye to it for too long. A good person’s life is at stake! She might not be innocent but a good person is going to be… I don’t know what is going to happen to her but I am certain it’s not good!”
Kobth turned his eyestalks skyward.
“Right,” Kobth replied. “If I do this I’m going to need something from you. ‘Duress’ ain’t gonna cut it.”
“What do you want?” Judge Dredd chuckled.
***
Pam walked into a large conference room where twenty black clad Cerberus members were sitting around a long table.
“How is your pet?” An elderly man sitting at the head of the table asked.
“Healthy and full of eggs,” Pam replied in a cold, flat voice as she sat in the empty seat immediately to his left. “The next batch of warriors should be pupating within the week.”
“Excellent,” the man replied. “We’ve run out of them again.”
He turned to a bald, heavily tattooed man.
“How are the prospects coming along?”
“We’ve lost three,” he replied. “Two washouts, one fatality.”
“A fatality?”
“Suicide. We are still within acceptable losses for the class. We also have a graduate of phase one. They will be undergoing enhancement tomorrow.”
“Which package”
“Infiltrator-7 gamma,” a black-clad kalesh replied. “Their physiology and epigentic heritage lends itself well to the gamma strain. Projected chance of success eighty-five percent. Projected chance of fatality fifteen percent.”
“Very nice,” the man at the head of the table nodded. “We could use another gamma. RARPA wants more data concerning that strain and Lord knows we could use another infiltrator. Moving on to active operations. Adept Carya?”
“Operation Snickerdoodle is proceeding well however we have a minor complication,” a raven-haired Asian woman replied. “One of Team Epsilon broke her conditioning and attempted desertion. Adept Ixion eliminated her. Her body was disposed of discretely and samples were extracted. Operation Buttercup failed. Team Beta sustained three casualties and the target was not captured. Adept Electra initiated containment protocol theta. The target site was completely leveled using a captured plasma device and our fallen were completely incinerated. Chance of human involvement being detected is less than five percent. Electra reports that there was no time to recover samples.”
“Regrettable,” the man at the head of the table replied. “When they return, dissolve Team Beta and disqualify all survivors including Electra. However, allow her to retain her name and allow all members including Electra to restart the training program. Electra will continue to lead the reformed Team Beta once she graduates.”
He turned to Pam
“Achlys, you have a new toy?”
“Yes, Hades,” she replied. “A plath of all things.”
“The one from the news?” he asked. “A bit high-profile for my tastes.”
“The reward far outweighs the risks,” Pam replied. “Her performance in the field in addition to her… remarkable… technological abilities make her valuable. The Republic will benefit greatly with her under our care.”
“What do we know of the Plath?”
“Next to nothing,” She said with a trace of annoyance in her otherwise emotionless voice. “They are a minor Federation species with virtually no presence outside of their home system. In fact their councilor spend only the barest minimum of time in their capital opting to do most of his work remotely. They have a reputation for extreme docility and are considered very technologically backward. Their standard education is on par with one of our fifth-graders.”
“And this one is technologically advanced?”
“Extremely,” Pam replied. “RARPA is going nuts over her weapons, both the one she normally carried and the two delightful toys she took to the Harkeen restaurant. I don’t have all of the details as of yet. They haven’t completed their initial assessment.”
“These plath are interesting,” Hades said after a moment. “We should grab a few for study.”
“That would be a mistake,” Cassandra, an auburn-haired woman, said calmly.
“Why?”
“They are too much of an unknown at this point,” Adept Cassandra replied as she laid a small bunch of yarrow stalks on the table in front of her. “If this Sheloran exists whose to say that they don’t have squads of her. Until we know more both about Sheloran and about the plath in general it would be unwise to move. There is no need for haste.”
“And Sheloran’s prime motivator is ‘her people’,” Pam said calmly, “If she finds out that we have taken some of her own species for study it would complicate conditioning to the point that it may be impossible. We should focus on the bird we have in our hands before we start beating the bushes.”
“Speaking of,” Hades said picking up his coffee mug, “do you have a plan yet?”
“I haven’t fully completed my assessment,” Pam replied. “However I am beginning to get a feel for her, enough to begin softening her up. However, I need more information about the plath. I would like to apply for an excursion.”
“The reason?”
“Doctor Stephen Fallbridge,” she said, “He is a doctor of xenology at the University of Buenos Aires. As it happenes he did his masters thesis on modern agrarian cultures and the plath were one of the species that he covered in detail. He also has at least one contact on the plath homeworld, an abbot. He is the closest thing the Republic has to an expert on them. I would like to establish a rapport with the good doctor.”
“Approved,” Hades said in an emotionless voice. “No side trips this time, Achlys. I will not tolerate another indiscretion.”
“Yes, Hades,” Pam smiled.
“And speaking of ‘indiscretions’,” Hades said with a disapproving glance, “A certain prominent businessman lept to his death yesterday.”
“He was on the list.” she replied with a shrug.
“The list isn’t for entertainment,” Hades said with a stern voice. “They are for research and training. Did you learn anything?”
“I learned that he was really afraid of spiders,” Pam chuckled.
“I am beginning to tire of this, Achlys.” Hades said with just a touch of menace.
“I was also able to get useful data on several promising technologies,” she added, “I was able to completely break him from the comfort of my cell in less than two weeks. Here is my report.”
“Interesting,” Hades replied as he examined his tablet. “Excellent work, Apate. Your scripts performed flawlessly.”
“Thanks,” a silver-haired bespectacled female said completely without emotion. “Achlys, I am still waiting for your data, especially concerning the ultra and infrasonic noise generation apps.”
“You will get your report by the end of business today,” Pam replied. “As far as the noise generators go I adore them. They absolutely destroyed his sleep quality! His mental state deteriorated quite rapidly.”
Apate just smiled and briefly typed on her tablet.
“If there is no further business,” Hades said, rising. “This meeting is adjourned.”
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2020.07.06 07:09 BavishiFertility IVF at Bavishi Fertility Institute, Ahmedabad

Anything which occurs outside the body is called in vitro and when fertilization of egg with sperm occurs outside the body it is called “IN VITRO FERTILIZATION”. The first In Vitro fertilization was done in the test tube and that is why it is popularly known as Test tube Baby.
The process of fertilization which normally in fallopian tube of the woman and the fertilized egg than moves into the uterus of the woman. It an implants there in to the uterus and developed into the baby. When for some reason this process of fertilization cannot take place naturally or sperm and egg cannot be transported naturally to the tube or from the tube to the uterus or either is egg having some problem or the sperm.
Some problem in fertilization during test tube baby process we need to asses the fertilization to help fertilization we take out of the egg from the wife of egg from the woman’s ovary and in control lab and environment we fertilized egg with the help of sperm of her male partner. After fertilization the fertilized egg are cultured into the control laboratory environment to form pre-embryos and this pre-embryos are then transferred back into the uterus of the woman. If they implant and grow become the pregnancy, and hence test tube baby is most convenient process.
IVF – Step By Step
Preliminary testing
This includes first consultation, blood tests culture if necessary, hysteroscopy, D21 visit i.e. mock transfer trial, semen freezing and serum progesterone.
First consultation
We will complete a history and physical examination of both partners.
Transvaginal sonography of female partner and semen examination of male partner and culture of it, if necessary. It is helpful to bring of your old medical reports, if available.
First consultation
We will complete a history and physical examination of both partners.
Transvaginal sonography of female partner and semen examination of male partner and culture of it, if necessary. It is helpful to bring of your old medical reports, if available.
Base line blood investigation
This includes D3 FSH, LH, PRL, TSH, Major pre operative profile and other special blood investigations if necessary This will help us to choose best stimulation (Medication) protocol to complete your IVF cycles.
Hysteroscopy
If you have previously had a hysteroscopy please bring their reports. This test must be scheduled to be completed on days 5-11 of the menstrual cycle. Menstruation must be absent for this test to be done.
D21 visit
Semen freezing
Mock transfer trial
Serum progesterone
TVS
Semen freezing: It is necessary to freeze a semen specimen before your IVF cycle starts. This sample is used only as an emergency back up for the day of retrieval. We prefer to inseminate the eggs with fresh semen if possible. We will discard the sample after completion of cycle except if you choose to have another IVF cycle.
Transvaginal sonography will tell us thickness of endometrium on D21.
Serum progesterone level estimation.
Mock transfer trial: Embryo transfer is very important procedure and it is usually done without anesthesia so, on day 21 we will do mock embryo transfer to anticipate any difficulty and solution far it before actual transfer. It is painless procedure.
Development of oocytes (Eggs)
It is necessary to stimulate the ovary to produce multiple follicle (the sac that contains the egg), in order to improve your chances of a successful outcome from an IVF cycle. After the consult with the doctor, you will receive prescription for a specific type of medication stimulation protocol. There are many different medication protocols that the doctor may prescribe for you. This decision is based on factors such as your age, infertility history, a past response to these medications, and a base line FSH level. The fertility medications that are necessary to stimulate the ovary are unfortunately all injectable medications. Doctor and nurse will explain you the dosage and method of administration.
Fertility Medication
If we have more than one egg we have better chance of pregnancy of in IVF cycle. To get more eggs we stimulate the ovaries with stimulation drugs called gonadotrophins. Gonadotrophins can be manufactured from urine or by recombinant DNA technology. Appropriate type of gonadotrophins and dose of administration are selected for individual patients. Available gonadotrophins include HMG, FSH and recombinant FSH manufactured by different pharmaceuticals.
Side Effect Of Fertility Medication
Over stimulation of the ovary, It can occur to varying degrees: mild, moderate or severe.
Multiple births:
The risk of conceiving a multiple pregnancy during and IVF cycle is dependent upon your age, response to the medications, the quality of the embryos, the number of embryos replaced into the uterus and other unforeseen factors are considered when judging your specific risk of multiple births.
Common complaints:
Pain at the injection site, headaches and fatigue.
Special note:
You may have read reports that fertility drugs increase the risk of ovarian cancer. To date there are no conclusive studies that identify an association between taking fertility drugs and ovarian cancer.
GnRH analog (Lupride)
This medication is administered by subcutaneous injection. It is given to prevent premature release of the oocytes (eggs). Side effects may include: localized skin reaction, allergic reaction, headaches, hot flashes and mood swings. If your scheduled menstruation is late while on Lupron, you should have a pregnancy test.
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
You will be given instruction for the exact time of this injection. It is generally taken 34-36 hours prior to the egg retrieval. This medication should be injected into the muscle. This medication completes the maturation of the egg.
Progesterone
You will begin talking this naturally occurring hormone on the next to egg retrieval. This medication, assist the embryo to attach to the uterus.
The side effects that have been reported include: breast tenderness, headache, nausea, fluid retention, fatigue, mood swings, depression, pain at the site of injection (in the case of injectable progesterone).
Vaginal itching and irritation (in the case of vaginal form). If you have a history of blood clots or thrombophlebitis you should alert the medical staff.
Sperm Collection And Insemination
While the egg retrieval is underway, you will be notified by the andrology/embryology staff that a sperm sample is needed. The specimen will be processed in our laboratory and prepared for egg insemination.
Please discuss with the embryology staff if any question or concern you may have prior to the day of egg retrieval. Frozen specimen collected will be used only in case of emergency (illness, inability to procedure a specimen etc.)
Oocyte (Egg) Retrieval
The egg collection process (retrieval) is usually accomplished using the Ultrasound-guided trans vaginal method. Other methods of retrieving oocyte that are rarely utilized in our practice but are sometimes necessary, include Laparoscopy or a Trans-Abdominal approach.
This ultrasound-guided trans vaginal method of egg retrieval allows this procedure to be done in an out patient setting. A vaginal ultrasound allows for visualization of both ovaries.
A needle is inserted through the vaginal wall in the ovary. Each follicle is punctured individually and the fluid containing the egg is examined by the embryologist under the microscope until the egg is found. The duration of this procedure is usually less than 45 minutes.
This procedure is done under general anesthesia.
Incubation And Fertilization Of Oocytes (Eggs)
The eggs and sperm will be placed together in a special culture fluid and kept in incubators in our laboratory. This procedure is called insemination.
Formation And Cleavage Of Embryos
The eggs will be examined 16-20 hours after insemination for signs of fertilization. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized eggs are now described as pre-embryos or zygotes. When they divide to at least 2 cells they are called embryos.
The laboratory environment is conducive for fertilization to occur, however, it cannot be guaranteed that fertilization will occur. Typically, 60% of the eggs retrieved will be fertilized. This percentage may be higher or lower depending on each couple.
Embryo Transfer
Embry transfer (ET) usually occurs forty eight to seventy two hours post retrieval. The time of transfer will be designated by the IVF staff. The embryo(s) that is (are) assessed to be developing normally will be considered for transfer. Although a recommendation (3-5 embryos) will be made regarding the number to transfer, the final decision resides with the couple and the doctor.
Transferring multiple embryos may result in the growth of more than one foetus. If you have extra embryos after the transfer, they will be cryopreserved if they have demonstrated appropriate development.
The method used for transferring embryos is similar to that of the mock transfer. ET is performed by inserting a small catheter through the cervical opening into the uterine cavity. The embryo transfer is usually a painless procedure. There is a recommended rest period after the transfer. You will be given specific instruction prior to the transfer regarding your medications, future testing dates and activity restrictions.
Within 13 days post-transfer, hormonal levels and a pregnancy test will be done. If a pregnancy has occurred, further blood testing blood work and ultrasound will be required to assess normal progression.
Cropreservation (Freezing) Programme
The purpose of embryo freezing programme is to give a couple participating in the IVF programme the best chance to achieve a pregnancy with a maximum of safety. At the end of an IVF cycle there are often multiple embryos available for transfer. It has been found that transferring more than four embryos caries a significant risk of multiple pregnancies, while it does not increase the singleton pregnancy rate proportionately. The advantage of cryopreservation is that there may be an increased chance of pregnancy without the necessity of multiple stimulation cycles and oocyte retrievals.
The frozen embryo transfer takes place in an identical manner to a fresh embryo transfer.
Embryo selected for cryopreservation will be frozen up to three days after the egg retrieval. The embryos will be placed in a cryopreserved media and frozen in a step-wise manner. At the end of the cryopreservation procedure the embryos will be stored frozen in tanks filled with liquid nitrogen. Brought back to normal life. There is no guarantee of the survival of human cryopreserved thawed embryos. If they have not survived (as seen at the time of thawing), they will not be transferred. We consider couples whose eggs and sperm become an embryo to be the owners and persons who control their embryos. However, there is a time limit on this ownership and control.
The method used for transferring embryos is similar to that of the mock transfer. ET is performed by inserting a small catheter through the cervical opening into the uterine cavity. The embryo transfer is usually a painless procedure. There is a recommended rest period after the transfer. You will be given specific instruction prior to the transfer regarding your medications, future testing dates and activity restrictions.
Within 13 days post-transfer, hormonal levels and a pregnancy test will be done. If a pregnancy has occurred, further blood testing blood work and ultrasound will be required to assess normal progression.
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2020.07.06 02:02 Zithero I Guard High Profile Prisoners, but I couldn't guard this one from what hunted her

I can’t say who it is, there’s enough heat on this case already, so some names have been changed.
Let’s just say I received a prisoner that the FBI has been trying to find for months. They brought her here for me to protect until her trial. Well, I tried to protect her until trial.
From the second the security guards walked her in, they were checking her over. She looked in her early thirties, despite the fact I know she was pushing 60. She had a stylish outfit on, and despite all that was being patted down to a level I couldn’t even grasp.
A Police officer combed her short black hair, checked her ears, and even made her open her mouth to check for any potential devices, weapons, or contraband. She was taken into a private room for our resident female officer to check her out, prior to the end of her shift.
My job was to watch our new guest, Gisella Slightill, like a hawk, as per the FBI agent who spoke to me and my fellow three guards and supervisor.
“She so much as shifts to the left, you watch her. Do I make myself clear?” Agent Blake narrowed his eyes on us. “I don’t want a damn repeat of the last time!”
Nuñez, my buddy and fellow guard, chuckled, “those guys had to be on his payroll to let that shit go down.”
“He didn’t kill himself,” Bradley, the other guard, said under his breath.
“Boys, enough,” my supervisor, who went by the name John Brown, bellowed. “We’ve got it, sir, no repeats, we’ve got our eyes on her.”
Agent Blake nodded and left.
At the time, I was out of the loop. “What’s so special about this chick?”
My supervisor and co-workers were all staring at me incredulously, “Really, Mike?”
John broke the silence, “She’s being arrested for running a kiddie sex trafficking ring.”
“Allegedly,” the woman’s voice rang out from the cell not far from us.
John ignored her, “That’s all you need to know, so just keep things quiet. Okay? No one knows she’s being held here, an added precaution. So if anyone asks, you don’t know who is here, got it?”
I gave a nod, and we went on with our shift.

With Miss High-Profile in the cell, I had a hell of a shift. John was on our asses every time she so much as got up to stretch.
We started taking special shifts just to watch her.
On one of my shifts, a suit walks up to the lobby, hitting the call button at the front.
“Hello, anyone home?” The man spoke, American accent, likely local. New York, for those curious.
I head into the cage, unlocking the initial security door, and locking it behind me, raising up the gate. All the gates, doorways, and security points clear, I finally approached him, “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m representing Ms. Slightill… there’s a minor problem with her release, we have a judge looking into it,” he smiled, “should be a call coming to you shortly. I’m here to escort her out.”
I raised my eyebrow, looking at the phone. It’s not a number that’s easy to get, but also not something too difficult to fake. “What’s this about?”
The lawyer cleared his throat, “Ms. Slightill has, well, a number of enemies as you would imagine.”
“Can’t possibly imagine,” I grumbled.
“Yeah,” the lawyer laughed, “she’s actually been rather difficult to track because of all the negative press. You see, she’s in very real danger.”
“Wait here,” I implored as I saw Nuñez walking by, “Nuñez, can you keep an eye on this guy, uh… Mr?” I turned to the lawyer.
“Rodger Lee,” he smiled, offering a card.
I looked at the cards, sure enough, “Rodger Lee ESQ” was written rather boldly on the card. Just a phone number underneath.
“Right,” I scoffed, “I’ll tell her you’re here…”
I made my way towards her cell, to which she was staring at the clock. She smiled wickedly as I approached. Her face was thin, wrinkled in some places, sure, but she was a handsome woman for the most part. Clearly a woman of privilege. “Oh good,” she responded in a posh British accent, “I assume Rodger is here with the court order?”
I frowned, “He’s here. No court order. I was going to ask if this was your guy but, I guess so.” I showed the card.
She nodded, a half-smile on her face, “Yes. He’s slightly late, but always worth his salary.”
“Clearly,” I glanced at the bars, and back to the cage, spotting Nuñez answering a phone. I sneered as I approached the cage. If this bitch got out on some technicality or bail, I was going to throw a fit.
Nuñez nodded, “Yes your honor, understood.” He smiled at the lawyer, “Wait, really? Okay.” He hung up the phone. “That was Judge Roberts on the line,” Nuñez gave Rodger Lee a nice grin, “he said, and I quote, ‘Fuck Off’.”
“What!?” Rodger growled, “That… He said it was a sure thing!”
“Apparently,” Nuñez smiled, “new evidence came to light that made her temporarily ineligible for bail release,” he shrugged. “Maybe you should take it up with him?!”
“It’s a damn holiday weekend!” Rodger groaned, “Like there isn’t enough shit going on as is!”
“Sorry sir, hands are tied!” Nuñez smiled.
“You don’t understand!” Rodger pleaded, “My client is in very real danger!”
“I assure you,” I chimed in, “she’s perfectly safe.”
“No, she is not!” Rodger glared, “something had been chasing her for months! Why do you think she was so hard to track down for the FBI? We weren’t running from them!”
I couldn’t help but perk up one of my eyebrows, “Some… thing?”
Rodger went a little pale, “what? No no, I said Someone!” he chuckled, “someone! Someone very dangerous, yes. Listen, I cannot leave my client alone!”
“Sir,” I began, “visiting hours are drawing to a close, and as you said, it’s a holiday weekend: why don’t you head on back to your assuredly nice car and give the judge a call from there, okay?”
“No, you have to release her into my custody! We have a plane ready and everything!” he demanded.
“So you have a flight risk ready,” I smiled, “and you want me to ignore a judge's order?”
“I can pay you, she can pay you, please!” he begged.
I walked over to the cage, “how about my co-worker here escorts you out to your car, and you can call the judge first thing on Monday, and tell him all about it.”
Rodger narrowed his eyes as Nuñez walked to the cage. I buzzed him through the first door, the chainlink opening for him. Nuñez walked to the second door, and after the first was closed, I buzzed him through.
Nuñez took him by the arm, pulling him towards the door.
“You idiots have no idea what’s coming!” he shouted. “You have no idea what it’s capable of!”
I shook my head, pretty sure this guy had lost his damn mind.
Without thinking about it much, I took my radio, and confirmed Nuñez was still walking the guy out, “Nuñez, you good? Over.”
Nuñez came back, “Oh yeah Mike, all set! I’m just making sure he makes it to the car, Over.”
“Good, over,” I grumbled, putting my radio back on my belt.
I heard the radio scratch on for a second, then go dead. I didn’t think much of it. In retrospect, I should have verified Nuñez was okay.
With a proud swagger, I made my way to Ms. Slightill’s cell.
“Well?” she said, standing, expecting to be going somewhere.
“I’d have a seat if I were you,” I smiled.
“Excuse me?” she hissed, agitated.
“Seems your fancy lawyer couldn’t convince a judge you were eligible for any sort of release,” I boasted, a satisfied smirk on my face.
“That uneducated swine!” she hissed, “damn it!” She turned to me, “I need to make a phone call.”
“Afraid you got one of those before you arrived,” I smirked.
“Listen to me you lower-class filth!” She shrieked, “let me out of here right now and allow me to make a Goddamned phone call this instant!”
“I thought British ladies were supposed to be polite,” I chuckled.
“Oh blow it out your ass you bloody bastard!” she began to pace, “I have to get out of here!”
“Why’s that?” I was enjoying watching some rich uppity bitch squirm.
She stopped, turning to me, “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Try me,” I pulled up a folding chair in front of her cell and had a seat. “I’ve got all night.”
For a moment I saw fear come over her face, her eyes grew frantic, “in the past few weeks, something has begun to chase me. Follow me, as it were.”
“Follow you?” I grinned.
She rolled her eyes, “if you aren’t going to believe me-”
I held up my hand, “no, no, by all means, keep going. Maybe you can convince me to call your lawyer to come by again.” There wasn’t any way to convince me, that was for damn sure. But I was going to enjoy her attempt to get out of prison by talking to me one way or another.
Ms. Slightill hesitated for a moment before she looked at me again, “it started a few weeks ago. I was meeting a friend of mine, Sam Waldroop, she was holding some capital for me.”
“Must be nice,” I chuckled.
Ms. Slightill, for her effort, sneered at me, “regardless, a woman I hadn’t met bumped into me. For Sam’s part she tried to tell her not to bother me, but this woman… she wasn’t a woman at all…” she shuttered.
“Oh?” I probed her for more information.
“You see, she’s some kind of-” before Ms. Slightill could finish, someone banged their hand loudly on the front counter.
I grumbled, picking up my radio, “Nuñez, check the check-in cage please, over.”
No answer.
I rolled my eyes, “John,” I called into the radio, “I think Nuñez got his dick stuck in the glory hole in the bathroom again, Over.”
No response. That normally got a rise out of someone. I got up, “Bradley, do you have eyes on John or Nuñez? Over.”
Bradley’s radio chimed in, “no, haven’t seen them in a bit, but I’m on the other side of the block. Problem? Over.”
“Maybe, meet me at the check-in cage, okay? Over.” I responded, heading towards the front cage.
Standing there at the counter was a woman with sunkissed skin, long dark hair, and dark brown, almost maroon eyes. She wore an expensive-looking black dress and stylish high heels, likely a friend of Ms. Slightill, or so I thought.
“Can I help you miss?” I asked.
She smiled sweetly, speaking with a slight accent, Italian perhaps? “Yes, officer,” her teeth were oddly white, perfectly so. “I’m seeking a close associate, Ms. Gisella Slightill?”
I’m not allowed to tell you of the names of any inmates inside,” I frowned, “and it’s past visiting hours.”
“We go way… way back,” she beamed at me.
“Your name is…?”
“Bella,” She chuckled, “Bella DelAvana.”
The lights flickered as she spoke.
“Listen, Ms. Delavana,” I began.
“Bella is fine,” she corrected.
I cleared my throat, “Bella, it’s late, well past visitation hours, so I need to inform you that you need to come back after making an appointment.”
Bella smiled sweetly, looking to my name tag, “Michael, yes?” She chuckled, “may I call you Michael?”
“Mike is fine,” I explained.
“Mike,” Bella said, flashing her dark eyes at me, well painted red lips turning into a smile, “there are exactly two things that can stop me from going back there right now: A direct act from God himself, and the end of all time as we know it.”
“Mmhmm,” I moved my hand to my gun instinctively.
“So if you can just let me back there, open up the cell, and allow me to have my way with that woman for only five minutes, I’ll be on my way,” Bella informed.
“Pretty sure that’s the exact sort of thing I’m supposed to prevent,” I explained.
Bella chuckled sweetly, “so she is back there?”
Shit.
The lights flickered again, and her dark eyes began to glow red. In an instant, the lights all went out, and her eyes, which had been glowing briefly in the dark, vanished. I pulled out my gun, and clicked on my flashlight, holding one in each hand as I looked in front of me, seeing nothing.
A loud crash, a shudder to the cage around me, and I heard footsteps rushing back towards the cell block.
I ran after them, knowing damn well who’s cell that Bella would be running to.
Sure enough, I found Bella standing in the pitch-black prison block, staring directly at Ms.Slightill.
“Get on your knees!” I shouted.
Bella ignored me. “Gisella, long time no see.”
“Get away from me you monster!” Gisella shouted from inside her cell.
I moved behind Bella, gun and flashlight pointed at her. This cast Bella’s shadow over Ms. Slightill as she cowered in the furthest corner of her cell.
“On your fucking knees!” I shouted.
“You’re a bloody American!” Ms. Slightill shouted, “You have a bloody gun! Shoot this cunt!”
Bella TskTsk’ed Ms. Slightill, “such a nasty mouth on you,” she turned to me, her eyes shimmering in the light of my torch like some kind of wild animal’s. “If you shoot me, you’ll just waste bullets. I suggest you don’t.”
I was about to squeeze the trigger when her hand was on mine in an instant, my shot firing up into the ceiling.
Bella began to squeeze my hand harder and harder, her red eyes boring into my own. I cried out in pain as I felt my fingers break against my own pistol.
“Sit,” she said, releasing me.
I crumbled to the ground.
“And bare witness to my vengeance,” Bella explained.
With that, the lights turned on again.
My fingers were broken and even flexing my hand caused severe pain, but I kept my eyes on Bella.
“Mike!” Bradley screamed, drawing his own pistol, aiming it at her as he ran down the hall, “Get on the fucking ground!”
Bella looked to him, her eyes glowing red again.
“Bradley! Get out of here!” I shouted.
Bradley kept running but as he did he dropped the gun to his side, slowing his advance, “get on your knees, hands behind your… your head,” he stammered.
“Bradley?” I frowned, his eyes were completely dilated and he seemed more and more unsteady.
He fell to his knees, heaving heavy breaths, “Get… get on your knees…” he moved the gun back up, but began to slide the gun towards his own mouth, “or I’ll open fire.”
“Bradley!” I screamed.
Tears rolled down Bradley’s cheeks as he mumbled the words around the barrel of his gun. “Don’t move or I’ll shoot,” Bradley sputtered, almost choking on the gun barrel now sitting in his mouth. I could hear him whimpering in distress, his hand shaking as his eyes were locked on Bella’s “Don’t move…” he muttered around the gun barrel.
Soon he was pissing himself, his hand shaking so violently in his mouth I could hear the metal of the gun barrel rattling against his teeth.
“Stop,” was the last thing he said before he pulled the trigger and blew his brains out the back of his head.
“Bradley!” I screamed over and over again.
“Shut up!” Bella snarled at me, an animal-like growl behind her voice, “his fear was a lovely appetizer but your despair is not something I find savory in the least.”
I shut my mouth, eyes wide as the woman turned her attention back to Ms. Slightill.
“Now, time for the main course,” Bella grinned, and as she did the heels she wore cracked and snapped, a pair of heavy hooves replacing her feet. Furred legs lifted her higher and higher off the ground as her once trim waist widened with sinewy muscle and deep red skin.
A thick and fleshy tail slithered out of her tailbone as a pair of black bat-like wings sprouted out of her back. Her dark hair grew now, sprouting out of her back and between her wings, ending at the small of her back. From her head, a pair of mighty horns grew, her dark crimson skin covering huge cords of powerful muscle beneath. As she shifted, she nearly tripled her original height, towering over Ms. Slightill and myself.
An alto voice resonated from her chest as a pair of huge hands grabbed the bars, long black claws scraping against the metal as her fingers encircled the heavy metal barrier. “Mmm… see Mike?” she hissed, “That fear? That’s what I like.”
With a quick motion, the bars were torn off of the cell, and Ms. Slightill shivered in the corner. Tears ran down her face and I was pretty sure she was sitting in a puddle of her own piss.
“Fear,” Bella grinned, a mouth full of razor-like teeth interlocking perfectly, “tastes far better than despair.”
“W-whatever you want,” Ms. Slightill whimpered, “I can give it to you! Money! I can give you more money than you’ve ever seen! Do you want to be part of a government…? Own a government? I-I know people! I can place you in any office you want! I swear! I have power, you see! I can make people very powerful, very rich!”
Bella chuckled, “yes, you do…” she walked into the cell.
“You don’t know what you’re dealing with!” Ms. Slightill snapped, suddenly gaining back some courage, “do you know who my master is? Truly? I-If you do anything to me you’ll have to answer to him!”
“Your Master is Belial,” Bella chuckled, “you serve him so loyally, don’t you? Corrupted Lust going every which way… enticing people, lying to them, tricking them into your little inner-circle of lust, lies, and flesh.”
With each footfall, I could feel the ground shudder under Bella’s hooves.
“S-So if you know, then you know you’ll suffer the consequences of your actions!” Ms.Slightill’s fear had returned.
Bella’s smile grew, revealing more flawlessly locked together teeth. The teeth made her mouth look as if it was one of those ‘Ball Chomp’ things from Mario. These were far sharper, far more unsettling to see up close, and real.
“Do you know who I serve?”
Ms. Slightill looked her over, “n-no.”
Another chuckle resonated out of Bella’s body, and I couldn’t do anything but shiver in her presence.
“I serve no one,” Bella knelt closer to Ms. Slightill, sniffing her, “but I was made by Lord Asmodai.”
“Th-that brute?!” Ms. Slightill spat.
Bella’s mouth opened, and she let loose a horrifically loud and animal-like roar directly into Ms. Slightill’s face.
Ms. Slightill, for her part, shrieked as bits of thick saliva splattered across her face. When Bella was done with her roar, Ms. Slightill was sobbing.
“I sent back Abbadon,” Bella chuckled, “I don’t care what the Lords of Hell desire… I only wish for one thing. Can you guess what it is, Gisella?”
Ms. Slightill was taking rapid and short breaths, “n-no.”
“Revenge,” she licked her lips with a long and putrid black tongue, “to taste your fear…” her large hands now reached out to Ms. Slightill’s hands, “and your flesh.”
“N-no!” Ms. Slightill screamed.
“What hand is your favorite?” Bella asked, her burning red eyes locked on Ms.Slightill’s.
“W-what?!”
“What is not a hand!” Bella roared, chuckling, “What hand is your favorite?”
Ms. Slightill swallowed hard, “l-left,” she sputtered.
Bella’s smile grew, and she brought Ms.Slightill’s right hand slowly towards her mouth. Soon she opened wide, and I watched as Ms.Slightill struggled fruitlessly against Bella’s inhuman grip.
“No! No No, I lied! I prefer my right! Take my left! Take my left God Damn you!” she shouted.
Bella’s smile might have grown, it was hard to tell, as her mouth clamped shut on Ms.Slightill’s hand.
She screamed, pulling back a stump of a forearm as Bella made loud chewing noises.
Bella grabbed Ms.Slightill’s hand, the bleeding stopped, and new flesh covered the stump. The wound was healed, but her hand was missing.
“W-why?!” she screamed.
Bella held up a finger, and then swallowed, “Sorry, it’s rude to speak with your mouth full…”
Ms.Slightill whimpered as Bella’s eyes blazed.
“Now, only a little longer… the authorities will be here and they will have so many questions for you… but I cannot leave here without letting you know what pain you’ve caused,” Bella informed.
“W-what are… you…” I watched as Ms.Slightill’s eyes dilated like Bradley’s, and she grabbed at her head with her good hand, and stump. “No! Getaway! Stop it! It hurts! Why?!”
“Can you feel it?” Bella licked her lips again.
Ms. Slightill collapsed to the floor, her body spasming, “Get out! Get out of me! Stop! Please Stop!”
“All the pain you caused all those girls…” Bella leaned down, her tongue sliding over Ms. Slightill’s cheek, roaming over a tear or two, “oh how delicious… you taste… so sweet… just a little bit more…”
Bella picked up Ms.Slightill’s face, and took a bite out of her nose, shearing it clean off of her face.
Ms.Slightill screamed again as the wound closed, but her nose remained gone.
“There!” Bella announced, “Now you look far more like your heart does… monstrous!”
“Why?!” Ms. Slightill cried out, “why are you doing this!?”
Bella stopped, her smile fading, “don’t you remember… your men spotting a pair of homeless women in the street? One a girl… the other, her mother?”
“Y-You’ll have to be more specific…”
Bella growled low, the rumble coming from her chest vibrating through the floor. “Two women in Italy… In Rome. Not but a few blocks from the Vatican… your men stole them and took them to their little house. There they were raped, and the mother raped to death,” Bella spat.
Ms. Slightill shivered, turning to Bella, looking her in the eyes. “Y-you… you were both left for dead… You should be dead!”
“No,” Bella grinned, “that day, I made a pact with the demon Arioch. And my life has been on this path to true vengeance ever since.”
“Oh… oh God…”
“God is not here,” Bella chuckled, “not for you… but don’t worry Gisella, I won’t kill you today.” Bella fell forward on her hands, her face moving close to Ms.Slightill’s, “But you’ll wish I had.”
“P-Please… Mercy…”
Bella laughed cruelly, “Before I go, I have a question. What is it that American’s measure distance in, instead of meters?”
Ms. Slightill swallowed hard, “t-they measure in feet.”
“But you don’t use feet, do you?”
Ms. Slightill shook her head.
“Say it.” Bella taunted.
“W-what?”
“Say it.”
“I-I don’t use feet,” Ms.Slightill whimpered.
“So, you won’t mind then, if I…?” Bella chuckled, grabbing both of Ms.Slightill’s ankles with one hand, and moved her head downward.
“N-No! No!” Ms. Slightill cried out as Bella’s maw opened wide, and chomped down, clipping her feet off in one swift motion.
I watched again as the flesh mended on Ms.Slightill’s stumps, and Bella rose up onto her hooves, grinning ear to ear, chewing flesh and bone sickeningly.
Ms.Slightill was in a fetal position, unable to stand now.
“Like a worm…” Bella turned to me now.
I was gasping like a fish out of the water as she chuckled, leaning down towards me, “you need to tell them,” her hand moved to my broken one, and I felt the bones painfully snapping back into place. “It’s hard to type with one hand, yes?”
I dropped the gun from my hand, flexing it and grimacing as I saw it was still bruised, fresh scars arching along the back.
Bella walked towards the exit, her body shrinking and her clothing reappearing on her body. “Thanks, Mike. Like I said,” she turned, her human face smiling sweetly, “I only needed five minutes.”
“W-what the hell are you?” I stammered.
Bella stopped for a moment, smiling to me, a flash of her red eye paralyzing me in place. “I’m a prelude to the end. Soon all of humanity will burn in hellfire, I only came here to exact my personal vengeance before the end comes.”
“T-The end? W-what do you mean?” I gasped.
She didn’t say another word, turning from me. She walked out of the prison, like nothing had happened, stepping over Bradley’s corpse on her way.
I grabbed the radio, calling for back-up, and ran out into the parking lot.
No one was there, though I did spot Nuñez’s radio with a few drops of blood, and the lawyer’s briefcase, also covered in a splattering of blood.
I have no idea where either of them is, and I shudder to think that, perhaps, Bella devoured them whole. John, my supervisor, had gone missing too.
They’ll likely lock me up in the looney bin, as I’m typing this, back-up is on the way.
But she said to tell you, to tell you all.
And I know now not to earn the anger of the demoness known as Bella DelAvana.
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2020.07.05 17:41 hercreation Fran Hart's Fabulous Frocks and Happy Haberdashery Series End Notes

Hi all, and welcome any newcomers!
I finally posted the ending to Fran's series yesterday - if you haven't read it yet, find it here and don't read any further until you have! There will be spoilers abound. 😉
The main spoiler - though several of you guessed it quite early on!! - is, of course, Fran's backstory. I'm a nonbinary individual, and although I am personally not very attached to the concept of gender, I understand how incredibly important it is to so many people... especially when one's gender is denied or rejected. The entire series and her character were conceived out of a desire to see more trans/gender non-conforming representation on NoSleep and horror in general. (Side note - a big reason why I decided to allow users to designate their own flair was so folks could put their pronouns next to their usernames, if desired. And/or just silly nicknames, of course!)
I think we all know that trans representation would come best from trans writers themselves, but I'm hoping to have done as good of a job as I possibly can despite not being a trans woman myself. I drew on my own experiences as a nonbinary individual, and through reading content written by trans women. I crafted Fran with more love and heart than I have most of my other characters; I genuinely, deeply, love her. I would love to get feedback from any of my trans readers - if there is something that sat wrong with you in Fran's characterization, please reach out... especially if I wrote anything that felt hurtful or harmful. The last thing I want to do is perpetuate more harm, and I will change whatever necessary to avoid doing so.
I've been moved to tears by the overwhelmingly positive response to this finale. I must admit that I held my breath a bit before posting it... the internet can be a cruel place, after all. The fact that Fran has not only been tolerated, but accepted and celebrated by the community warms my heart. I am overjoyed that her series secured my first contest win; her story will be seen by so many more people as part of the contest archives. I really hope to see more trans/GNC representation on NoSleep, especially from trans/GNC authors. 🖤
Like normal, I'd like to go through all the parts to give some extra comments!
I've left the series open on purpose - I will likely write additional installments in the future. In my mind, Fran is on a hiatus; she's not gone gone. I need time to come up with more ideas so it does not feel so formulaic or redundant moving forward, and I don't have that time right now. These will likely be released under a slightly different name, and I'll probably incorporate Ren a bit more into future stories; she may even narrate one or two.
Any future additions are on the back burner, so I'm not sure what the timeline on that would be like. If and when I'm ready to release a few more stories from Fran's world, I will absolutely keep you all in the loop! You'll also see her pop up elsewhere very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!!
As always, thank you so much for your support. I am feeling extra grateful for you all today. 🖤
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2020.07.04 12:33 MilkbottleF M.A.C. Farrant - Eighteen Stories

Collected in Down the Road to Eternity: New and Selected Fiction (Talonbooks, 2009). Dozens more of her tiny stories are available in The World Afloat: Miniatures (Talonbooks, 2014):

The Bright Gymnasium of Fun

How many laughers make up a laugh track? How are laugh tracks engineered?
Is there a laugh track company? With its own building/parking lot/cafeteria? Does the laugh track company have its own stable of laughers and highly trained technicians? Are laugh track companies union shops? With shop stewards and an annual general meeting? With negotiated contracts covering such items as sick leave for laryngitis and with the right to strike for better working conditions?
Do laughers laugh at anything? At nothing? Is the mark of a good laugher one who can laugh for no reason at all, as if a switch were turned on?
Do laughers practice laughing? Sitting or standing in their living rooms/kitchens/bedrooms or on public transportation systems, do they suddenly ring out with laughter, practising the same laugh over and over until they get it right? Do professional laughers, therefore, have to carry identification on their persons at all times which will reassure startled or frightened passersby that they are indeed just practising their trade and not, in fact, mad or deranged or both?
Is there a pay scale for laughers? Are guffawers, hooters, roarers and howlers paid more for their work than are gigglers, twitters, cacklers and snigglers? Do belly laughers and shriekers command the highest fees, enough to make a decent wage? Enough to claim, in real life, the equivalent of the humorous, middle-class counterpart presented in many of the TV sitcoms they perform for?
What is real life? Is it that state of being which exists other than what is presented on television and in movies and videos? Something other than performance and posture?
Are there child laughers in special demand for childhood laugh track events such as cartoons/birthdays/tooth extractions? And what of amateur laughers? Are there how-to-laugh books developed especially for them which can be purchased at airport magazine shops/drugstores which encourage them to embrace laughing as a hobby? Are there night school courses that amateur laughers can attend in January/February/March? Tricks of the trade they can learn from practitioners who are slightly more skilled at laughing than they are? Techniques such as breath control/crescendo/decrescendo as in the training of singers and musicians? Are there laughing forms to master?
And what of those sad/abnormal souls who stubbornly refuse all merriment, all lampshade and lewd joke activity? What of them? Should there not be places/institutions/homes where they can receive treatment for their affliction? From which they can emerge, restored to rapture, and armed with tanks of nitrous oxide to declare that it is not better to sorrow than to laugh, it is not better to die than be born?
Is it true that the aging process kills off dopamine cells in the brain, that as we get older euphoria declines, and our capacity to have fun diminishes? Why there is no fool like an old fool, young fools being a dime a dozen?
Is there a market, therefore, for personal, portable laugh tracks? Small, special recording devices that we can all carry around? Attach to our persons? To enable us to laugh at our families/governments/worlds? Would illness/despaihopelessness/anguish finally vanish as some people have suggested? Would we then all be prodded into states of chronically good moods, becoming perpetually pleased, and not tormented to death as we are now with the what-fors and whys of an absurd existence?
Would the boundaries, then, melt away between what is laughable and what is not? With everyone wearing their portable laugh tracks and laughing at everything/nothing, even in their dreams, even in love, would not the world as we know it become like one enormous California, as smooth and mild as a grapefruit? A heaven on earth? A bright gymnasium of fun?
On the other hand, in a world of stunned, uniform laughers, would there not emerge a deviant subclass, a deliberately unfunny, underground movement of anti-laughers declaring their right to misery/ bleakness/doom? Intent on the destruction of stand-up comics and gameshow hosts? Would not the cry of dadaist ecstasy be heard again, this time as “Assasinate the Laughers!” in an updated attempt to startle/ shock the smiling millions who, poised before their television screens, are laughing on cue as if possessed by some grand/homeric/universal tic?
Should not television laugh tracks be scrutinized? Do they not control the quality/frequency/duration of our laughter? Do they not disallow transcendence by rendering all experience cute? Do they not tranquilize us by rendering our laughter thin and meaningless until death do us part?
What if all the laugh track laughers went on strike? How would any of us know what is funny?

Kristmas Kraft

I heard about this cute Christmas gift idea that you can make at home—your own Kraft nativity scene, colourful too, and mmmmmm yummy.
First hollow out a three pound brick of your favourite luncheon meat so that it resembles a stable and so that you, looking down through its roof, look like an angel. Then put your stable onto a cookie sheet and surround it with shredded coconut. This is the hay. Next stick four tooth picks into four wieners and stand them up. Top each wiener with a Kraft green olive. These are the cattle. For Mary, top an upright cocktail wiener with a Mini-Mallow and use strands of coconut for her hair. A hollowed out Maxi-Mallow will do for the manger and the infant Jesus will be a cocktail wiener wrapped in a Kraft Cheese single. Surround the table and the hay with Miracle Whip and shredded Velveeta Cheese.
Take a picture.
Then place your Kraft nativity scene in a three hundred and seventy-five degree oven for forty-five minutes. Serve when friends drop over on Boxing Day or use as a festive centrepiece, a Merry Christmas gift from Mom in the kitchen, that happy lady, that wise shopper.

On Holiday with Giants

Our children are larger than us. They carry us about on their huge backs like packsacks, you on the boy, I on the girl. Riding them through the city streets in search of playmates it’s evident that other parents are being carried about in a similar way; some are even slung on their children’s hips like bags of groceries, some ride anxiously on fat shoulders. Then we are set down in designated areas for drink and conversation, dozens of parents gathered together for worried viewing of the park across the way; the children are playing their fearsome games there with baseballs the size of pumpkins, and bats sturdy enough to support a house. Grandparents, no bigger than dolls, sit amongst us nodding quietly to one another: Ah, the wisdom of the world!
At night it’s back to the hotel room. You and I in a corner of the room sharing a single mattress on the floor. The children each with a king-sized bed arranged before the TV set where they watch game shows and eat peanuts—the shells rising in mountains from the floor. The room growing smaller by the minute. The children growing larger and larger.
During the night the room heats up like an incubator. But the children don’t notice. They sleep with massive fists thrust in their pink gaping mouths. When our daughter laughs and tosses in her sleep her roundness bruises the hotel walls. At three A.M. our son cries out in a man’s voice: Barricade the door, the troops are coming! His size twelve feet flailing against the hotel quilt.
We, on the floor, sweat and lose moisture, shrivel a little more, dry out. Our lotions of little help. Our lovemaking of little help. We keep reducing in volume. Peanut shells spill onto our mattress. On the way to the bathroom we wade through a clutter of pop cans and pizza cartons, track shoes, comics.
Regarding these sleeping giants, we realize it’s too late not to have had them. The die has been cast. Inexplicably, our pride in them remains.

Vacation Time

Each summer during the two weeks of vacation time goldfish flee their bowls to build dazzling orange nests in trees. Monkeys, lions and snakes trade places with accountants, lawyers, and priests, holidaying in another kind of zoo. Free birds fly voluntarily into cages allowing their rarer brothers a two-week dose of the sky. All the hard-working ants, red and black, get two weeks off to loaf on the beach. Worms crawl out of their dirty holes to hang like brown tinsel from the eaves of churches.
During the two weeks of vacation time every wronged animal is avenged: gangs of domestic cats and kamikaze budgies rampage the streets in search of juvenile delinquents; a committee of gerbils and hamsters makes plans for the eradication of small boys; angry butterflies work round the clock sharpening their specimen daggers; pet turtles grow temporarily huge commanding their owners to languish in slimy tanks on the front lawn—two weeks go by and they don’t feed them or change the water.
During vacation time, old women watch in horror as their pet terriers turn into porcelain dogs, as their china figurines come leeringly alive—girls with parasols, boys with fishing poles—to run off for two weeks of fragile sex in a place far away from glass cabinets.

Refusal

SLAP
First there was a slap. Two slaps, one on either cheek. Don’t interrupt me when I’m on the phone! Slaps you’d see a princess give a nobody in a movie, or a maid, or a workman. Smack, smack. Like that. Quick. With the hand that fed, that washed the body, that brushed the hair. Slaps like the sound of sudden gunfire, unpredictable. And the war zone: the living room, the narrow hallway where the telephone rang.
She must have placed the phone under her chin, must have positioned it carefully so she could slap with ease. Come here while I slap you. No, it was the pulling at her skirt, at the long slim high-heeled legs that did it. Close enough for her to whirl around, one hand free. And a dummy child in place to receive it, not figuring it out in time, always too close, always surprised and shocked. A sudden slap like the slap of birth, or of insight.
ANGELS
There’s a house at the foot of a steep hill, a rented house with dusty passageways and hidden rooms, with balconies overlooking a large wood-panelled living room, a castle of a house. In an upstairs bedroom there are angels. Yes, angels, you’re sure of it. Three in white gowns, two in blue, with thick, waxy wings. Hovering at the end of your bed; one is floating near the ceiling, its golden hair brushing the overhead light. Angels living—if that’s what angels do—in your room. They don’t speak but their presence is so claustrophobic you scream. Scream and scream. Their presence is sucking the air from the room, but they’re smiling at you warmly, like Bible drawings of Jesus, and their smiles never change. Smiling while they eat your air.
Quit imagining things, you’re later told. Come down to earth.
HANDLESS
This woman who slaps. What of her? Oh, you keep away from her, at least you try, keep her at arm’s length, refused. Because a nightmare is having your arms cut off below the elbows. There’s so much blood when you push her away. But still she grabs, still she slaps.
Why won’t you call her Mother? Because the word sticks hard in your throat like a growl and won’t form into music?
Instead, you call her the slapping woman.
BROWN
What does the slapping woman look like? Is she beautiful? Is she a beautiful, wicked Queen? No, not beautiful though she has a certain grace, like the cold stiffness of a China figurine.
But everything about her is brown. Like dirt? Yes, like dirt. From her thin hair to her dull-brown eyes, from her tailored suits and her alligator high-heeled shoes to the fox-fur she wears when going out, draped around her shoulders like a live thing. Two tiny fox heads with yellow glass eyes staring at you from either side of her neck.
MUD PIES
In the back yard you mould the slapping woman out of mud and twigs, a whole family of mud-pie women, some larger and more fierce than the others, some small and helpless. When the mud is powdery dry, you have wars with them, smashing them together until they crumble, until armies of perishing slapping women are strewn in broken clumps about the ground.
You use twigs for their arms and legs because her bones are so sharp they hurt you when you’re held. Twigs that snap easily in half, then snap in half again.
LAPS
Tea in the living room. She pulls you onto her lap in front of a neighbour woman. Her knees are sharp through her brown skirt; it’s difficult to balance, to sit still without falling off.
She’s being careful with you, formal, slow. No, you couldn’t call it kindness, but her voice is even, a silky veil, a kind of song. She’s talking to the woman about her home, far away, across the ocean. The sun shines all the time in Australia. Just shines and shines. Not like here where there’s nothing but rain.
Warily you let her hold you, soothed by the delicious sound of her newly soft voice.
Her slapping hands for the moment lying still.
MUSIC
A crowd of strangers with drinks in their hands have gathered around the piano at the far end of the living room. The slapping woman is playing “Kitten on the Keys,” “The Twelfth Street Rag,” “Hernando’s Hide-Away.” Everyone is singing. You’re sitting on the piano bench beside her plunking at the high end of the keyboard, at those shrill notes that are never used. Miraculously you’re at the heart of things, ignored.
Once during these times she calls you Darling and strokes your hair. Darling!
Play us another one! Something we can get our teeth into. Play “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra.” Play “My Heart Is Like A Red, Red Rose.”
Darling! The music of that rare caress.
THE FATHER
She’s given him your plate with the cut-up meat. Then laughs and laughs. Standing at his side, she’s feeding him the meat, one piece at a time. Be a good boy and eat your supper! And he’s laughing too, his head’s thrown back, his wide mouth open. Oh, the bells of that private laughter! His paper napkin at his throat like a bib. He’s holding his mouth like a hungry bird, she’s teasing him with the meat. Don’t be a naughty boy! Making him bend after it, further and further, until he falls off the chair.
PRISON
The slapping woman is shouting. Throwing plates of food against the kitchen cupboards, a bowl of stewed prunes, a gravy boat against the kitchen door after the father’s retreating back. A white door, brown gravy.
Once again she’s crying. I want to go home. I hate this country, and all this rain. It’s a prison. I hate everything about it.
SAILORS
Dressed in a night-gown, you’re running circles around the edge of the living room rug, jumping on the armchairs, keeping time to “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” Play the record again! And again! The Father’s on the floor beneath a lamp holding a needle and pink thread, sewing doll’s underpants. And a cape! And a doll’s skirt made from a piece of cut-up pillowcase. Threading elastic with a safety pin through a crude waistband. I learned how to sew at sea, on the ships at night. We had to do our own mending.
You’re sitting on the living room rug with the Father eating toast and jam. Then the floor’s a heaving black ocean with orange circle islands made from the light of table lamps and you’re a sailor hopping from one circle to the next. Yo ho ho. The Father’s clapping his hands. And a bottle of rum.
GONE
Where is the slapping woman?
She’s gone.
Gone like a drifting fog because her departure is so quiet. She’s slipped out at night, floated through the bedroom ceiling with the angels.
You’ve looked up from your playing, turned around at the supper table and she’s not there. You weren’t watching and she stole away. You weren’t watching and she’s slapped you again.
BOAT
Why won’t you eat? The Father’s given you all your favourite foods: chocolate cake and ice cream, fish and chips, orange pop, jelly beans, marshmallows. You should be happy; this should be a celebration, she’s gone away. Why won’t you speak? Cat got your tongue?
But there are no words for this emptiness, it’s too large to name. You long for her slippery legs, for the hands that once stroked your hair. Without her presence you feel eerily alone.
The Father rocks you on his lap. He reads to you: Winnie-the-Pooh, The Owl and the Pussycat. You cry and cry, adrift in your sadness. You’re clinging to a ball that’s too wide for your grasp. Hold onto the Father, he’s a sailor, he won’t let you drown. Listen he’s telling you a story: She’s gone away on a boat, maybe never to return.
She’s sailed in a boat, in a pea-green boat, she’s slapping the ocean blue.
BOOK
In the living room of the castle house. You’re helping the Father put toys into a large cardboard box.
And where will I love?
You mean live?
Yes, where will I live?
With your Grandma on the Island. And I’ll visit every weekend. You can make me toast and jam, and we’ll take rides in the car and go to the beach.
And stand on the shore, and wave at the waves, and stare at the boats in the distance.
And what about your tricycle? Do you want to take that?
Oh yes. And the doll and the doll’s clothes and all the books. Hans Christian Andersen. The Princess and the Pea. The Snow Queen. The Snow Queen! There once was a child who lived frozen inside …
Pushing aside the toys you take hold of the Father’s hand.

All Chickens are Sucks: Notes from the Litshow

  1. A man asks if he can pray before I begin a reading, kneeling in the cafe and asking for God’s protection. This was in a dream. The same dream in which my reading was sabotaged by a young Jehovah’s Witness poet who flung my books into a bank of blackberry vines.
  2. I give a reading on a B.C. ferry. Over a hundred Japanese tourists are in attendance. All of them are asleep except for one who is manning a video camera. It occurs to me that I often see Japanese tourists sleeping en route—heads slumped against bus windows, bodies leaning into each other in airport lounges. But there are always one or two taking pictures. Perhaps they draw straws to pick who will stay awake and do the filming. Perhaps they gather, later on at home, on their day off from the corporation, to view these slides and videos. All of them amazed and delighted by what they slept through. In this way having a kind of second vacation.
  3. A literary agent writes to say he’s interested in representing my work. He wants to tell me about his clients, most of whom, he says, are professionals in one field or another. “There are medical doctors,” he writes, “Ph.Ds, an Indian author who used to be a movie star, a lady veterinarian pilot who has spread her wings into adult mysteries, an eighty-five-year-young medical missionary with a wooden prosthesis leg (lost to gas gangrene in her early thirties) who has worked for over fifty years as a nurse in the remote regions of Northern India. There’s a … ”
  4. An organizer who has a German accent gives me details about an upcoming reading: “You will catch the three-thirty ferry. Dinner is served promptly at five-thirty. The reading begins at seven-thirty. You will read for forty-five minutes. Then there will be a lengthy coffee break after which you will read for another forty-five minutes. You will sleep on my couch. If you bring your husband he will sleep on the floor.”
  5. Driving to the town in southern Saskatchewan which has become famous as the home of junior hockey coach-pedophiles, the reading organizer tells me that there is one word I cannot say during my reading. “It’s the four-letter word beginning with ‘c’ and ending with ‘t,’” he says. “They just cannot abide that word.” I ask him if the four-letter word beginning with “f” and ending with “k” is all right. Also the seven-letter word beginning in “a” and ending in “e” which is used for rear end. “Are these words okay?” I wonder. These words, the organizer assures me, are fine: “There’s no problem with them. But they’ll walk out if you use the ‘c’ word.”
  6. After seeing me on a cable interview a woman acquaintance telephones. “You did very well,” she tells me, “but I noticed that you used a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs.’ I can help you with that. I’d like to invite you, as my guest, to the next meeting of Toastmasters International. It’s at the Silver Threads. You go in the front door. But don’t turn right. That’s Bingo. Turn left.” I instantly decide I love my “ums” and “ahs.” I’ll keep them. It’s what saves me from sounding like I’m in sales.
  7. After a reading I sleep in the home of a woman who is enamoured with angels. Small, glittery angel forms appear on tables, floors, countertops. They’re everywhere like air freshener. There are also angel sayings placed here and there. On the sewing machine: Every blade of grass has its own angel. On the typewriter: If everyone only listened to their angel. On the bathroom mirror: Make angel wings ten times.
A large poster in the bedroom where I sleep is titled “How To Be An Artist.” The poster lists several things I can do to become one: invite someone dangerous to tea; make friends with freedom; swing as high as you can on a swingset in moonlight; give money away; believe in magic; laugh a lot; take moon baths; draw on walls; giggle with children; play with stuffed toys; build a fort with blankets; hug trees.
The poster is colourful; there’s an angel blowing a golden trumpet in each corner and the how-to instructions are printed against a large rainbow. A Care Bears ambiance hovers in the room. In the morning I flee. As I’m getting in my car, the woman calls gaily from the front steps, “You never know when you’ll be touched by an angel!”
  1. A book reviewer creates a prize. It’s made out of an empty cereal box. He calls it the “Wet Salami.” I am one of seven winners. It’s possible I dreamt this. The winners are required to perform a musical number on stage; all of us wear identical blonde wigs. One of the winners plays the piano, the rest attempt a chorus line. I then step forward to deliver a speech of thanks. Looking back at the other winners I notice that they are all idiots, drooling sub-normals happy to be fêted. Each of us is holding a wet salami. One of the idiots is eating hers.
  2. I give a reading before twenty-four empty black chairs. The reading goes well. There is nothing dreamlike about this occurrence. The reading goes well because I’ve given up all hope of an audience ever arriving; it’s become clear that the twenty-four chairs have become my audience. I therefore conjure up significance: There is something exquisite about the way this double semicircle of chairs have hurled me into the moment, something … er, wonderful … about the way I’ve crashed into where I am. Which, on this rain lashed Wednesday evening in mid-December, is exactly nowhere, or as Donald Barthelme would say: nowhere—the exact centre.
  3. At the last minute, my publisher changes the title of my new book to All Chickens Are Sucks and puts me in charge of promotion. This may or may not be a dream. I take my duties seriously. At the book launch I wear a chicken outfit and sing in a chicken squawk the theme song from Saturday Night Fever: “Stayin’ Alive.” Then I read excerpts from the book. Every so often I let out a terrible chicken screech. For my finale I settle myself on the floor, grunt several times, and lay an egg. Everyone rushes for the book table. The publisher immediately begins a second printing.

The Compassionate Side of Nature

For five weeks we watched the video feed of the eagle’s nest. A man had placed a video camera in the nest and we along with several million people sat transfixed before computer screens and watched as a nesting pair took turns sitting on two eggs. It was exciting. Soon we would witness the birth. But mysteriously one of the eggs disappeared. It was explained via the newspaper and TV coverage that this often happens with eagles—an egg may be empty. We consoled ourselves: this was raw nature, after all. Then holes were seen in the second egg and we became excited once again—a chick was about to peck its way out of the egg. But it soon became evident that this egg was also empty. There was great sadness among the several million people. But we continued watching to see what might happen next, if anything, and were not disappointed. Three days after the second egg was discarded a new form appeared in the nest—a miniature dachshund wearing a rhinestone collar. We think—and hope—that the dog is a replacement for the failed eggs. You hear about these things, about the compassionate side of nature. For example, mother ducks adopting abandoned kittens, and so on. Perhaps it is the same situation here. The parent eagles at present seem attentive to the dog; they feed it and have in no way harmed it. And they appear mesmerized by the rhinestone collar, staring at it for minutes on end then tapping at it to see what it might be. During sunrise the collar glints spectacularly. But we fear for the dog. What will happen when the eagles decide it’s time for it to fly? Will they push it from the nest to its certain death? A rescue operation has been mounted. The world watches as firefighters, who have a well-deserved reputation for rescuing cats from trees, confer with wildlife experts. The great worry is that the eagles will be spooked by human intervention and fly off with the dachshund in a bid to protect it from predators. The dog’s name is Bismarck. His owners, an elderly couple who live in a cottage nearby, are receiving trauma counselling. Meanwhile scores of grief workers are on standby should the story end badly.

Because of Russell Edson

They are clearing out old theories, their no-longer-fruitful theories: the theory of possible; the theory of want; the theory of restlessness; the theory of wandering; the theory of lizards; the theory of coffee mugs; the theory of figure skating lessons; the theory of clocks.
They’ve shoved the old theories into garbage bags and set the bags at the end of the driveway. A propped sign says: Free.
Behind the living room curtain they watch who stops by.
A boy on a bike takes the theory of lizards.
Predictable, says the son.
A woman with a dog drags off the theory of clocks.
She’s old, says the mother.
A woman pushing a stroller grabs the theory of want.
Makes sense, says the father.
The daughter lets out a scream. You threw out the theory of want? While I was still using it?
We thought, says the father.
How could you? It goes with the theory of desire!
We got rid of desire last summer, says the father.
You what? screams the daughter.
Oh dear, says the mother.
We’ve still got the theory of open, says the son.
Open? shouts the daughter. That old thing? I wouldn’t be caught dead.
Dead? says the father. We threw out dead when you were born.
Oh dear, says the mother.
Now I’ll never, cries the daughter.
Never? says the father.
Shut up! screams the daughter.
Didn’t we give never to your cousin Shirley? says the mother.
Shut up! Shut up!

A Little Something

Fifty thousand vaginas were sent through the mail. Free samples. Part of an ad campaign for a revived play. We couldn’t get ours open. It was shut tighter than a bivalve. “Useless!” My husband cried. “You call that a talking vagina?” I knew how he felt. Last week, a shriveled penis was left on the doorstep. Another free sample. It came with a card: “A little something from the Goddess.” Goddess is a line of lubricants. The penis was supposed to enlarge and chase you around the house and call you baby when rubbed with the cream. No dice. I couldn’t even get it to squeak. The cream’s a fraud. The penis lay on the dining room table like an old carrot. Then the cat dragged it off but gave up trying to chew it because the skin was so tough.
We’ve buried the vagina and the penis together in the back garden. Perhaps a little something might erupt through the dirt this spring.

Breakdown of the Month Calendar

January. Outside, the everlasting wheezes and falters. The dog poses on the community picnic table then vanishes. The town is flabby and grey. At home there is a tight limit on table language.
February. Mother’s mind goes missing on a drive for soft ice-cream. A return to the picnic table turns up a bird’s skull. Grandma wears work boots and lime-green stretch pants to Grandpa’s funeral. The language on the fridge magnet says You Are Loved.
March. At home Mother’s mind is found buried beneath the laundry. Sister writes a poem in praise of emotion. A new dog is bought and named Odysseus. Outside, the everlasting is crackling and green.
April. It rains on the town for thirty straight days. For thirty days Brother watches TV. Father unplugs the sink, the toilet and the storm drains. Mother’s mind scurries off in a torrent of ditch water.
May. Brother gets a prize for taking a bath. Grandma wears a black sarong and bare feet to Old Age Bingo. Sister writes a hymn about dread. The planet tilts nearer the sun.
June. Outside, the everlasting bubbles and bursts. Mother’s mind returns inside a yellow helium balloon. The balloon settles in a backyard tree and glows at night like a lamp. Father lies on the living room rug laughing hysterically.
July. Odysseus begins his wanderings through the blue and silver town. The balloon bursts when a robin lands on its surface. Grandma breaks her arm climbing the tree to gather pieces of Mother’s mind. The robin is taken to the vet.
August. The car breaks down on a trip for Krazy Glue. For two weeks, the glue keeps Mother’s mind attached to her brain. One evening the everlasting, the town and Mother’s mind are cast in a lovely bronze light. The car breaks down on a trip for pizza.
September. Brother wins a prize for taking out the garbage. Mother gets a new broom to commemorate renewed effort. Grandma gets a new pot to bang on because she’s not dead yet. Brother wins new love—the vet’s comely assistant.
October. Mother’s mind hitches a ride on her broom and soars towards the moon. Father says the trick in life is to keep your eyes averted. Grandma says the treat is hardly worth the effort. Grandma runs off with the bingo caller.
November. Outside, the everlasting is ragged and brown. Odysseus returns with Mother’s mind on a leash. Father lies on the kitchen floor laughing and laughing. The planet tilts away from the sun.
December. Sister writes a poem about renewal. Brother wins a prize for leaving home. Mother’s mind is housed with the budgie. The car breaks down on a trip for birdseed.

The Gnats That Blur Our Vision

We turned off the lights to see through screens into other worlds. To absolutely lose ourselves in madness, passion, abandon, sublimity. To fully fucking wreak shit with our puny conscious minds. Because each of these new worlds has its own physics, its own creator. Because after everything the screens were so lovely, glowing, casting a deeper spell, allowing multiple universes, allowing ecstasy. “Because after something comes nothing. No enemy armada. No music. No score.” Just us and our control of the unseen. Plus the satisfying wasteland at the end of rapture. Our only requirement is to have a kick drum knocking at all times, occasionally wind chimes.
Still, the old deities hover nearby like a cloud of gnats. Some burrow beneath our eyelids and blur our vision. This has happened more often than we liked. One such gnat was especially persistent. This was the blind seer Jorge Luis Borges. Suddenly our eyes would feel scratchy, as if a handful of dust had been thrown at them, and then, when we’d try to rub them clean, there he’d be trailing his entourage of former selves, multiples of Borges.
“Every man runs the risk of being the first immortal,” he and his younger selves would intone, their hawk-like profiles flickering across our screens.
“Every man runs the risk of disconnecting his subconscious.”
We’d fiddle with the controls.
“Every puny ecstasy rushes toward its own demise. Not even a bird’s trill can save you.”
We’d shrug him off, having no time for the prophesy of dead seers. Having time only to execute our parts as the kings and queens of the graceful glide. For the engine running mankind’s ambitious extinction.
Our eyes glow like abalone swans in a pool of glare.

The God of Banality

We have washed the house in morning rain. Bathed the children with words plucked from the lips of poets. Bathed ourselves with the music that inhabits the end of dreams, three descending notes of rapturous birdsong.
We have swept the pathway of ashes, tethered our farm animals to oak trees, chopped wood at sunrise, sprinkled salt and milk across our doorsteps, lit outdoor fires for the morning feast where eggs boiled with pig’s snouts and magical words have been offered and consumed. We have re-told the death anecdotes and the tales of narrative luck that allow us to take heart in this world.
We do these things every morning to ensure the enduring presence of the god in our lives. The god of the everyday—soothing, predictable, common to all—a singing hologram that lives in dust.

Play Button

I want to be the play button that sends out laughing songs. Thereby reprising the merry view. Where its folk reign. Sacred champagne. An endless ticker tape parade.
I’ll even project pictures of the world’s dumb work. What we do, the mush of things, the clinking animosities, the wondrous starving in the wondrous world.
If I can stay the old form, thoughtful and sweet from the history store.
If I can be a slot machine for Chekhov. A one-armed bandit winning a jackpot of sight. Though I’ll settle for a sly aside of knowing why. And how and when. A merry-go-round as to words, tra la …

What We Need

A handler. A hand up. A hand-hold. A Han(d)sel and Gretel. A handstand. Handlebars. Handball. A handbook. Handwriting. A handicap. A handgun. A hand grenade. Handcuffs. Hands wringing. A handle on it. A hand out. A handmaiden. A handyman. A hand job. A handbag. A hand mirror. A handout.
A good hand. A hand over a fist. A hand over a hand. A handsome thank you.
A hearty handshake. A handful of good luck. The sound of one hand clapping.
A handspring. Another handspring …

Jesus Loves me but he Can’t Stand you

I’m drinking alone this Christmas.
I’ve hired a wino to decorate my home.
I’ve put a bar in the back of my car so I can drive myself to drink.
Jesus, will you be drinking with me this Christmas?
Will you be thinking of me if you do?
My head hurts and my feet stink.
I don’t know whether to kill myself or go bowling.
* Compiled from C&W song titles.

Pulse

The timeline is shrinking. We are entering the risk zone. Consumers are in the dump, victims of financial advisors, psychopaths, corrupt CEOs, their own greed. We wonder: should we stay in the dump or should we go? Cut our losses or take a wait and see approach? Spend what’s left on Christmas or cut back, hunker down? It’s a rich mystery. It’s feared the crisis could get much worse. Surplus has been scaled back by billions. What does this mean? Falling prices in a broad range of categories have created a nightmare scenario that worries the top cop. He’s pledged to end disorder. We’re not in the best place on earth any more. This much is clear. This much has been repeatedly stated. The homeless are no longer docile or whacked out but angry. Their numbers have swollen to include former haves. Now everyone’s in danger of slipping into the red. It’s feared the bloodbath’s about to begin. We are in deeply negative territory. We are plunging hard and fast into meltdown. It is feared we are headed beyond what is known.
* Compiled from newspaper headlines, late 2008.

Author Interview

  1. Thank you.
  2. Sure. Appears to be. But isn’t.
  3. Five of us, actually. Though everyone’s left. Except us.
  4. School. Work. One to a nursing home.
  5. That’s right. Two of us in this big house.
  6. Not bad. I write. He cycles. We visit the others.
  7. Oh, every few weeks.

To Be Continued

Last night we returned to the beach to see the massed gulls. So many were circling the sky overhead as we walked that we were certain we’d find them perched on the rocks as before. There was a strong wind and the sun had broken through the heavily overcast sky so that the underbellies of the gulls were illuminated, flashing white as they rode the wind. But the beach was empty of birds. The herring must have moved farther down the inlet. The strong wind, cold on our faces, pushed at the sea with such force that whitecaps had formed. The light on the small surf, on the overhanging arbutus trees lining the beach, and on the larger firs and cedars beyond them was green and yellow. The scene was hectic, exciting, with the cawing birds overhead. We climbed the rocks and stood looking out, the dog beside us. The wind blew our hair back and the dog’s fur was blown flat against her body; she angled her nose and sniffed the windy air. When we returned to the path along the shore we saw uneven lines of grey and brown herring roe spread along the beach. They were woven amongst the seaweed, and together they glistened in the yellow and green light like a living veil.
There are times when the experience of living in this world is rapturous. And there are times when it curls us crying in our beds. Between these extremes we tell one another what we know …
submitted by MilkbottleF to shortstoryaday [link] [comments]


2020.07.03 17:24 prendes4 Men With No or Few Pictures on LS profile?

Ok, I have a tendency to be a bit wordy so I'll TRY to be concise. This is partially a question and partially an unpopular opinion. I see post after post railing against couples with profiles on LS sites like SDC and SLS about them having either none or very limited pictures of the male portion of the relationship. As the objectively less attractive male half of a LS couple, I would like to put forth an argument FOR this arrangement. However, my mind is not closed on this issue and I am open to revising my position on it.
The first thing to keep in mind is that I am NOT supporting guys that only have dick pics on their profile. There may be a valid argument for that but this is not that conversation. First of all, I think it's worth bringing up some of the objections to this viewpoint that will likely come up as you read it and I will try to address them as we go. Yes, swinging is more physical than it is emotional. Yes, not all women are the same; and not all men are the same. And yes, I can understand how this could feel deceptive.
That said, here's my argument: Why should someone feel obligated to start an interaction with a quality or trait that might be among their least appealing? As the old adage says, "put your best foot forward." That is what most LS couples are doing by putting their female partner's appearance on display rather than their male partner. My appearance is not my most endearing or attractive quality and I feel that I am doing myself a disservice and limiting my potential play partners by using it as a proverbial "hello." I have two analogies that I think will help illustrate this point. Consider that being pressured into putting a picture of myself on a profile is like being pressured to start the "about me" section with an endorsement of Trump or Biden. No matter which side of the aisle you're on, I am alienating about half of the people on the site before they've even had a chance to consider me. Similarly, in case that analogy doesn't quite work for you, think about introducing yourself to someone and instead of being able to say hello and start talking about safe, neutral topics, you are expected to admit one of your deepest character flaws. To be clear, I would support the right of any woman that is concerned about her appearance to do the same thing I am proposing. I am only making it male-specific because I happen to be a man and most of the complaining seems to be directed at men.
However, there is another reason it tends to be mostly a male problem. Women, on average, are more willing to overlook physical hang-ups if they are given a chance to emotionally connect with someone first. I know this DOES NOT apply to all women but as a trend, whether through cultural indoctrination or natural inclination, women tend to place more weight on the personality of any sexual partner than men do. This tendency holds true even though swinging is mostly physical. My wife, for example, is demi-sexual. So she really doesn't like the "hit it and quit it" kinds of interactions because she really isn't almost ever attracted to anyone on sight. She needs to get to sit down with them and see if there's chemistry first. This tends to hold even in the admittedly "physical" activity of swinging.
So, even though it can feel manipulative or deceptive to only include pictures of your Esmerelda on your LS profiles while excluding your Quasimodo, I would put it to you that it's no more deceptive than conveniently ignoring political discussions while mingling or than introducing yourself without mentioning your deep yearning to kick puppies. Neither of these things is likely to endear you to your potential partner and I propose that it's out of line to expect people to start an interaction with one of their least appealing qualities or traits.
There are potentially major points to this argument that have been cut in an effort to avoid turning this into a research paper. The most notable being the fact that while you can hide your political leanings throughout an entire LS relationship, you really can't hide your body the whole time. I would be happy to provide a rebuttal to this if it is a sticking point for anyone but suffice it to say I have reason to hold to the above position even with that objection on the table.
submitted by prendes4 to Swingers [link] [comments]


2020.07.03 07:39 Cadledelhi Laser Hair Removal in South Delhi

What is Laser Hair Removal
Superfluous hair growth may occur due to a hereditary predisposition, as a side effect of certain types of drugs, overproduction of male hormones, and aging. No matter, how beautiful a woman looks, just a few unwanted hairs on the face can camouflage her entire beauty.
No matter what way you may use to remove unwanted hair, be it waxing, threading, bleaching, plucking, or shaving, laser treatment for hair removal is permanent, safe, and easy!
Not just women, even men are walking in for laser hair removal for Beard Shaping, Unwanted hair on ears, chest, etc.
The hormonal profile is indicated when there are other clinical problems associated with excessive unwanted hair.
Preparing for Laser Hair Removal
Before laser hair removal, schedule a consultation with the doctor. The doctor will use this visit to:
Review your medical history, including medication use.
Discuss risks, benefits, and expectations, including what laser hair removal can and can't do for you.
Take photos to be used for before-and-after assessments and long-term reviews.
At the consultation, be sure to discuss a treatment plan and related costs. Laser hair removal is typically an out-of-pocket expense.
The doctor will also offer specific tips to prepare for laser hair removal. For example:
Stay out of the sun. A tan increases the risk of side effects, such as skin lightening. If you have a tan - either from sun exposure or sunless tanning products - waits until the tan fades completely before undergoing laser hair removal. Some doctors recommend staying out of the sun for up to six weeks before laser hair removal.
Avoid plucking, waxing, and electrolysis. These hair removal methods can disturb the hair follicle and interfere with laser hair removal. Shaving is OK, however, since it preserves the hair shaft and follicle. In fact, shaving might even be recommended. Some studies suggest that shaving before laser hair removal improves results.
Before laser hair removal, the hair in the treatment area might be trimmed with a pair of scissors. You might also be fitted with special goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam. The doctor might apply a topical anesthetic to your skin to reduce any discomfort during treatment.
During the Procedure
The doctor will press a hand-held laser instrument to your skin. Depending on the type of laser, a cooling device on the tip of the instrument or a cool gel might be used to protect your skin.
When the doctor activates the laser, the laser beam will pass through your skin to the tiny sacs (follicles) where hair growth originates. The intense heat from the laser beam damages the hair follicles, which inhibits hair growth. Some discomfort in the skin is possible, and you'll likely feel a sensation of cold from the cooling device or gel.
Treating a small area, such as the upper lip, might take only a few minutes. Treating a larger area, such as the back, might take several hours.
After the Procedure
You might notice redness and swell for the first few hours after laser hair removal.
To reduce any discomfort, apply ice to the treated area. Your doctor might also suggest an aloe gel or other type of cream or lotion, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers. If you have a skin reaction immediately after laser hair removal, the doctor might apply a steroid cream to the affected area.
After laser hair removal, avoid sun exposure - both natural sunlight and tanning beds. When your skin has healed, use sunscreen whenever you're in the sun. You might also prepare yourself for possible hair shedding in the first few weeks after treatment. Don't mistake this for hair regrowth.
Results
The results of laser hair removal vary greatly from person to person. Multiple treatments can prolong the duration of hair loss - up to years in some cases - but hair regrowth is still possible. For best results, you might need five to seven treatments spaced a number of weeks apart. Additional periodic maintenance treatments - perhaps once every six to 12 months - might be needed as well.
Risks
Laser hair removal doesn't guarantee permanent hair removal. Some hair could be resistant to laser treatment or grow again after treatment — although the new hair growth might be finer and lighter in color.
The most common side effects of laser hair removal include:
Skin irritation: Temporary discomfort, redness, and swelling are possible after laser hair removal. Any signs and symptoms typically disappear within several hours.
Pigment changes: Laser hair removal might darken or lighten the affected skin, usually temporarily. Skin lightening primarily affects those who have darker skin, especially if an incorrect laser is used in an incorrect setting.
Rarely, laser hair removal can cause blistering, crusting, scarring, or other changes in skin texture.
Laser hair removal isn't recommended for the eyelid or surrounding area, due to the possibility of severe eye injury.
Depends on the body part to be lased. The upper lip takes 10 mins. Time Interval between two sessions is generally 4 to 6 weeks. Number of Sessions Recommended: 6-10
In Pulastya’s Cadle, we use the latest and Gold Standard High-Speed Light Sheer DUET which uses state of the- art diode with vacuum-assist technology to remove unwanted hair and with greater speed and comfort than other methods. Approx. 80% of hair reduction can be achieved over 5-8 sittings conducted at 4-week intervals.
It is important to select a laser machine with a built-in cooling system which cools the whole surrounding skin and areas being treated before, during and after the procedure to make the treatment safe and comfortable It is a very safe, cost-effective and permanent way to get rid of unwanted hair from face or body.
The hormonal profile is indicated when there are other clinical problems associated with excessive unwanted hair.
submitted by Cadledelhi to u/Cadledelhi [link] [comments]


2020.07.03 00:23 WimperBang [TH] A play I wrote for you

I really don't know what genre to put this under, i'm having a hard time removing myself from the Narrator (who would love to put this in romance). Please read the whole thing and leave feedback as I would love to develop this character.
You are the rising star, to my latest masterpiece. To say I am obsessed with you would be a crass injustice to what I experience when I whisper your name to myself. There are so many dull creatures who can barely move me to blink. But you, you leave me breathless with your beauty. Lara, they don’t know your name like I do. You are not Laura, a laurel, a crown to held by another. You are Lara, the nymph struck speechless by betrayal. But you will not betray us Lara. There is no way for you to let us down. You inspire me.
And now we set the background to your character. I struggle to call the place you were raised “A home”, that trailer, the alcoholic mother, and cherished father figure who would come and go until you no longer saw him. That is our motivation isn’t it? Your insatiable desire to fill the void left by your father. To chase down a targeted man and hold him accountable. I wish there was a way to write this without you having to have endured such pain, but how else would we have our Fiery Irish Rose?
Lara please don’t try to rewrite our play… Well, when we deviate from the lines, we improvise. And I can still make this work. In your desperation you resorted to swiping right on a dating app. You are better than this Lara. No, this is good. This base act makes you human, relatable to the common folk. We can use this for character development.
Enter the goofy side kick. Braiden… FUCKING Braiden. Nothing more than a common fish. Could you have picked a more depraved caricature of a degenerate millennial? That Greasy hair tied into a man bun, that unkempt facial hair, and the way he dresses, he might as well be homeless. But he is a good supporting character for you. He performs well in the bedroom, I couldn’t allow the show to go on if you were not satisfied there. It’s nice to learn you like to use your handcuffs, the department wouldn’t approve if they found out. Braiden isn’t the kind of man that would take the time to improve his sex act. I know, I record every session between the two of you. I watch the way you move so that I can think of ways that I would better service you. Humbly, I must admit when it comes to passionate love making, I am by far the best. Lara, this is the only arena where I will admit you are a distant second place.
You take him to mass with you on Sundays. You cling to your Irish Catholic roots. Is this the way you remember your father? Braiden claims to be an atheist, how adorable, you are always looking to help people. They quote the scriptures, “But who do you say I am?” See Lara, even the Bible is telling you to decide for yourself. And yet you still want to let someone else decide divinity for you. To me though, you are my goddess. They should be worshipping you. I sacrifice myself on the alter of Lovely Lara.
Braiden manages and owns rental properties through his computer, allowing him to earn a steady income and stay at home. Your home Lara. Did you really think it was a good idea to move in the boy toy? I can’t stand the way he runs with you in the morning. Your body glistens Lara, if I were a weaker man I would stop the show and lick every bit of sweat off of you in the middle of the streets, and expose you for the filthy whore you want to be. But that is not your role, you are the valiant hero. I am starting to worry about the way he cooks for you (too much salt in the potatoes by the way), the way he rubs your feet and is constantly checking your temperature, claiming that he is worried that you are working yourself sick. I fear that you are planning on altering the play yet again. He talks about how uncomfortable condoms are while your doctor switches your birth control, what a base creature. No Lara, it’s time for me to enter conflict and drive the story forward.
I take action, and you are called into work. Finally, we can build upon your role in the police force. Police are not liked right now Lara. You are despised by the people you hoped to help. To top that off you are a woman struggling in a man’s world, surrounded by crooked cops. Our love story shall transcend your typical feminist empowerment trope, but I don’t need to mansplain that to you. Several wealthy individuals with ties to criminal organizations have been mutilated and their bodies have been put on display. The displays were works of art, some of my finest work, their beauty is still nothing when compared to you. The department reaches out to all divisions, they need help in this high profile case. Do you catch that Lara? We are high profile. Don’t worry about the corrupt officers Lara, we will expose them in the acts to follow.
You stress as you go over the details. Finally, I have our doofus sidekick contribute something to our story. A property was recently rented to 3 individuals, 2 of the names are pseudonyms of men killed in our case, the third is a human trafficker. It wasn’t hard to manipulate that into our story. You bring it to your higher ups. Some undercover work reveals that they plan on using an abandoned theater to sell some young girls. Those girls were a small price to pay for your story Lara. I shall break the mold Lara. I will be your journeys guide, your villain, and your destined love.
Our buffoon sidekick has supplied the department with blue prints to the property to help you in your hunt. He let’s out a performance of woe and worry. He pleads with you and sets an ultimatum. If you push forward with the case he can’t stay with you, he worries too much. You upstage him Lara, you cast him off. Not to worry, we have outgrown him. He has played his part and his story ends with mediocrity. Out story is fast approaching it’s thrilling climax.
You are among the highly armored individuals who are to storm the theater. They have practiced the raid dozens of times. But this is our fated night and I have set the stage and rehearsed hundreds of times. It’s time for me to take the stage Lara. I hope you don’t mind, I bought your favorite Roses to give to you following the performance. 24 inch Multicolored roses with the name “Peace” scattered throughout our theater. These are the rose petals that should adorn your beautiful naked form. Not those cheap store-bought reds sprayed with chemicals that you were forced to endure in our previous scenes. Unfortunately, another scene with you naked can not be written in.
I can sense you about to join me up here on stage, I don a mask and my most extravagant outfit, I will be your Phantom in this Opera. On stage I sit to play a song, what is a good play without a musical performance? As you enter, I make sure that you are where they normally have you during training. The second person to enter, the most likely to be killed.
Dozens of individuals come with weapons drawn demanding that I surrender. The only voice I hear is yours, it is the only one that matters. I think it rude that you don’t mention the roses. I finish my sonata and with the final note the theater is filled with the bang of black market explosives and automated gun fire from drones. I took into account the fact that there would be the occasional flat note sung by a choir of dozens. So I pull out my black powder weapon and correct the few quivering individuals who failed to execute their part. There story is no longer one of domestically violent sociopaths, but of valiant heroes who have been sent to Valhalla through self-sacrifice in a splash of crimson.
But not you Lara, ringing ears are the only thing I would give you in this act. You draw your weapon and fire. You missed your mark. I made sure to fix the sites to your prop this morning. I feign being wounded and begin to flee. You give chase. YES, a chase scene, a little overplayed. But this is our dance, the only way for me to make love to you in my most genuine form. I turn a sharp corner and you hear a loud thud. I have made a blunder in my otherwise perfect play. You turn the corner to see my frills and mask on a broken captured form. A twisted ankle and a little too many opiates have caught this villain. And you have finally held accountable a man that would abuse an innocent child.
And now for the resolution, A week later I can hear a news caster in a distant television screen singing your praise. They describe a 52 year old immigrant who has been manipulating and trafficking people for years. They say he has finally been brought in by a “Rising Star” Lara Dograw age 27. I am stuffed in this tight space with the dregs, an inconvenience for a man of my refined tastes but a small sacrifice to see you shine Lara. Corruption has been exposed, several fellow officers who were holding you back in your career have been tied to a scandal related to this case. Unfortunately, they will be quietly forced into retirement. You will be promoted, and everyone will know your name. 7 months from now you will shine as an example to others who struggle to make the climb up the ladder of life as a single mother. Your conservative views will keep you from aborting, and Braiden is too immature to be counted on. You know about the pain of a on again off again father, so why bother? Are you surprised? Your new birth control was nothing but shaved candy, and I have been monitoring your body temperature to capitalize on periods of ovulation.
The only thing I would have done differently is I would have checked the padding on the trap door. It made too much noise as I called upon my stunt double in the final act. Lara, you really did bring a foul human to justice. It took quite a bit of effort to finally capture him and proxy his business until the time was right.
I politely ask the young man to turn down his cell phone, despite it being the sweet song of “Praise to Lara”. As I stare at my reflection in the window to my grey hound bus, I indulge in finally being able to throw off the costume to our play. No more greasy man bun, a clean shaven face, and my favorite custom tailored suit. Of all the characters that I have played, I would have to say that taking on this role was far below my talents. But I would play a dog, if that meant bringing our play to life Lara, it was necessary. If I got to pick a name it would have been something other than Braiden, but that’s the name of the man you swiped on. Improvising the telephone switch and intercepting you at the bar was a work of genius on my part. It has been a long and arduous journey, and I need my rest before I start to write my next play.
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2020.07.02 21:33 leowr The /r/books Best Books of the Decade - Results

Hello everyone,
First off we would like to thank everyone who participated, by either nominating and/or voting, in our Best of the Decade Vote. Below you will find the top 3 voted on books in every category. I would, however, recommend you also check out the nomination threads as quite a few great books are mentioned in there.
Best Science Fiction of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin - nominated by Speaker4theRest
Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.
2nd place: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - nominated by sSlipperyPickle
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
3rd place: The Martian by Andy Weir - nominated by Aglance
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Best Debut of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - nominated by okiegirl22
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
2nd place: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - nominated by baddspellar
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
3rd place: The Martian by Andy Weir - nominated by TheItalianDream
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Best Literary and General Fiction of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Circe by Madeline Miller - nominated by honeyiamsorry
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
2nd place: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - nominated by SinoJesuitConspiracy
My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.
3rd place: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara - nominated by Scurvy_Dogwood
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
Best Mystery or Thriller of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Gone Girl by Gillain Flynn - nominated by johnnywash1
Marriage can be a real killer.On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
2nd place: 11/22/63 by Stephen King - nominated by thatgirl21
Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
3rd place: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - nominated by mercutio_died
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed--again. She's been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden's only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle's murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend--but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
Best Short Story Collection of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Tenth of December by George Saunders - nominated by rjbman
In the taut opening, "Victory Lap," a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In "Home," a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antique store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders' signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.
2nd place: Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang - nominated by amyousness
This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary "Exhalation," an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in "The Lifecycle of Software Objects," a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over twenty years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: "Omphalos" and "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom."
In this fantastical and elegant collection, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth—What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?—and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning, and compassion.
3rd place: Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh - nominated by ApollosCrow
There's something eerily unsettling about Ottessa Moshfegh's stories, something almost dangerous, while also being delightful, and even laugh-out-loud funny. Her characters are all unsteady on their feet in one way or another; they all yearn for connection and betterment, though each in very different ways, but they are often tripped up by their own baser impulses and existential insecurities. Homesick for Another World is a master class in the varieties of self-deception across the gamut of individuals representing the human condition. But part of the unique quality of her voice, the echt Moshfeghian experience, is the way the grotesque and the outrageous are infused with tenderness and compassion. Moshfegh is our Flannery O'Connor, and Homesick for Another World is her Everything That Rises Must Converge or A Good Man is Hard to Find. The flesh is weak; the timber is crooked; people are cruel to each other, and stupid, and hurtful. But beauty comes from strange sources, and the dark energy surging through these stories is powerfully invigorating. We're in the hands of an author with a big mind, a big heart, blazing chops, and a political acuity that is needle-sharp. The needle hits the vein before we even feel the prick.
Best Horror of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer - nominated by Bennings463
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.
2nd place: The Fisherman by John Langan - nominated by ifthisisausername
In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.
3rd place: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix - nominated by leowr
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Best Graphic Novel of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - nominated by improveyourfuture
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
2nd place: Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon - nominated by RanAWholeMile
What are the most important days of your life?
Meet Brás de Oliva Domingos. The miracle child of a world-famous Brazilian writer, Brás spends his days penning other people's obituaries and his nights dreaming of becoming a successful author himself—writing the end of other people's stories, while his own has barely begun.
But on the day that life begins, would he even notice? Does it start at 21 when he meets the girl of his dreams? Or at 11, when he has his first kiss? Is it later in his life when his first son is born? Or earlier when he might have found his voice as a writer?
Each day in Brás's life is like a page from a book. Each one reveals the people and things who have made him who he is: his mother and father, his child and his best friend, his first love and the love of his life. And like all great stories, each day has a twist he'll never see coming...
3rd place: My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris - nominated by zedshouse
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge.
Best Fantasy of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Brandon Sanderson - nominated by holden147, AHerosJourneyPod & spaldingmatters
Brandon Sanderson is a well-liked and prolific author. This past decade he has published over a dozen books, novellas, short stories and graphic novels. The books that were nominated for this vote in particular were The Way of Kings, Oathbringer, Words of Radiance & A Memory of Light with Robert Jordan.
2nd place: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - nominated by cheesechimp
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze -- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years -- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
3rd place: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft - nominated by ullsi
The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.
Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.
Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he'll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.
This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.
Best Poetry Collection of the Decade - Nomination Thread
Not enough nominations for an award in this category.
Best Young Adult Novel of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - nominated by okiegirl22
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
2nd place: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - nominated by Suzune-Chan
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
3rd place: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus - nominated by AnokataX
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Best Non-Fiction of the Decade - Nomination Thread
1st place: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - nominated by TriangleTingles
In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.
2nd place: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann - nominated by GanymedeBlu35
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, they began to be killed off. One Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, watched as her family was murdered. Her older sister was shot. Her mother was then slowly poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes such as Al Spencer, “the Phantom Terror,” roamed – virtually anyone who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations. But the bureau was then notoriously corrupt and initially bungled the case. Eventually the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau. They infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most sinister conspiracies in American history.
A true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.
3rd place: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - nominated by Flashy-Band
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.
In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work.
For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.
Again, thank you to everyone who participated.
Happy reading!
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2020.07.02 17:01 MyNameIsJeffHarrison Respect the Superior Spider-Man (Marvel, 616)

Respect Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man!

Farewell, Peter Parker. Know this, I will carry on in your name. You may be leaving this world, but you are not leaving it to a villain. I swear. I will be Spider-Man. Better yet, with my unparalleled genius-- --and my boundless ambition-- --I'll be a better Spider-Man than you ever were. From this day forth, I shall become... The Superior Spider-Man!
 
While Peter Parker was visiting a dying Otto Octavius, a contingency plan in the form of a small robot allowed the dying Otto to swap minds with Peter, taking over his body and assuming the mantle of Spider-Man. Originally intending to use his new body and connections for his own personal gain, Peter's memories and personality began to resurface, gradually teaching Otto the true importance of great power and great responsibility.
Despite his change of heart, Otto remained a much more brutal hero than Peter Parker ever was, maiming several villains and taking over parts of New York in his quest to eliminate crime. When a group of supervillains, criminals, and citizens tired of having their rights trampled formed a coalition against Otto, he realized the error of his ways and allowed Peter's mind to assume control of Spider-Man's body once again.
 
Link to the 616 Peter Parker respect thread, and to Otto's respect thread with his own body.

Source Key

Strength

Otto, in Parker's body has the proportional strength of a spider, which allows him to lift and strike at a level far beyond any human. Unlike Peter, he tends to not hold back and is not very concerned with the injuries caused by his strikes.

Speed

Spider-Man has the proportional speed of a spider, allowing to him evade attacks easily and makes it much harder for opponents to dodge his strikes. He is also able to perform superhuman feats of acrobatics and can travel very quickly by using his webbing to swing between buildings.

Durability

Peter's body grants Otto superhuman durability, enabling him to remain unharmed when hit with attacks that would kill or severely injure ordinary people. He tires out much more slowly than a normal human, and is able to fight for extended periods of time while wounded.

Spider-Sense

The Spider-Sense is a precognitive sixth sense that warns Otto of incoming attacks or danger, mainly used to evade ambushes and help dodge attacks in battle.

Intelligence

Otto Octavius is one of the smartest beings on Earth, knowledge in several different disciplines, and uses his intellect to prepare for various enemies and make inventions to assist his life as Spider-Man.

Webbing

Improving on Peter's web formula, Otto uses the webs for a variety of purposes, primarily combining it with his superhuman agility to web-sling around the city and restrain opponents.

Wall-Crawling

Otto has the ability to make his skin adhesive, allowing him to crawl and walk on walls and other surfaces.

Gear and Equipment

As part of his quest to be the Superior Spider-Man, Otto designed several pieces of equipment to assist him, and established several support bases to expand his reach.

The Spider Suit

On-Person Gear

Resources

The Spider Army

SpOck enlisted a private army of henchmen to assist in his war against crime in New York. These goons are referred to as Spiderlings, with the large spider-shaped vehicles they pilot being called Arachnaughts.

Spider-Island

Other

Personality

Otto is much more brutal, cruel and unforgiving than Peter when dealing with criminals and super-villains, the point where several of his friends and fellow heroes noted his change of approach. Despite this, Otto was not without compassion and demonstrated empathy on several different occasions.

Notable Fights

submitted by MyNameIsJeffHarrison to respectthreads [link] [comments]


2020.07.02 14:48 PinkBlackandBlue What happens when you don’t own your own story?

TL;DR answers that I discovered are at the bottom of this post. If you have your own answers or stories to this question, I would love to read them!

Context

This post is a bit of a meandering self reflection and not about one particular story I have to share.
I jump around what age I am in my post a lot. So to just clarify: * I am almost 30 years old; * I am the oldest of 3 children; * have been No Contact to extremely Low Contact with my parents since October 2019.

Preamble

I’ve slowly been picking away at this post for 3 weeks or so. Doing my best to put my thoughts together. I might sound clear and concise in a few parts of this post but really... I’m a tangled ball of messy thoughts and emotions.
When first I started this post it was; * a fragment list of incomplete thoughts and life events, * the incomplete thoughts were scattered inside other incomplete thoughts, * and lots of paragraphs repeating the same thing.

The Post

Discovering Loss of Ownership

In my mid 20s, I found that I was having troubles recalling memories when I wanted to. Only at random fleeting moments or when mom got into a mood to tell all the family’s stories. (This was before I started jotting down notes or letting myself meditate on those notes).
Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of stories of my childhood that involve me but... they are not my story... these stories belong to someone else... why..? I didn’t start to understand why until I joined Reddit.
I joined Reddit about a year and a half ago. Made an account and lurked for a few months. Built up the courage to make a comment or two. Lurked some more. I then thought “why not make a post, you built up enough confidence for that” but the question now was; what type of post should I make?
I settled for funnystories. I was going to tell all the funny stories in my life!! I have so many!! When I sat down to write one. For some reason couldn’t. Even though I was in the story I was about to write... it wasn’t my story... and I felt like I would be disingenuous if I told some else’s story pretending it was mine. I didn’t write down or even post anything to funnystories.
Sounds strange... A story I am apart of but the story doesn’t belong to me. At the time, I couldn’t put these feelings into words and didn’t for a long time.

Where Did All the Good Times Go?

As a teenager to very young adult, I would read up on psychology for shits and giggles. (This was when I had my “Oh No!! Am I a narcissistic!?!” phase. This was also before I knew about raisebynarcissus).
One bit of information I would keep running into and stuck with me was; the idea of “the sad and lonely childhood”. It was something along the lines of “every one has a sad and lonely childhood”. I found this laughable because I had a perfect childhood. I was the exception. I have so many “good” memories of being a child. Also my parents are perfect!
As time went on, my “happy” memories became fewer and fewer. I was panicked, thinking I was losing my childhood memories!! Then I became resigned, thinking to myself that after 25 you just start losing the majority of your childhood memories and your teenage years become a blur.
What was actually happening was my “happy” memories were turning into sad memories. But I wasn’t allowed to have sad memories... so my brain would suppress them...
As an adult in my late 20s, I’ve learnt more about the world and how healthy relationships actually work. Over time I’ve subconsciously realized that most of my memories I once thought were happy were actually really messed up. I can now see so much emotional neglect from my parents now.
It took me a wile to realize that I was subconsciously suppressing bad/sad memories. So as my “happy” memories turned into bad/sad memories, my brain would not allow me to revisit them. I still had this perfect ideal image of my parents, and nothing was allowed to taint that image. Hence the “oh no! I’m losing my memories!” panic.
Onece I realized that I was not allowing myself to have bad or sad memories, only good ones. I was able to start writing down my stories. I would wright down the stories that mom never told at family gathering. I didn’t write down happy memories like I initially wanted. This was a year or so after trying to post to funnystories.
After I accepted the bad memories, I found it a lot easier to recall memories. I had blanked out a lot of stuff. My parents were not kind to me, as I once thought. They were belittling and dismissive of me. I was told by my parents that they knew best and thus I must willingly give up my atonality to them. I was a kid. How was I supposed to know differently.
I had made three posts on RBN; * one about Dad teasing me with not getting me a blanket when my other siblings got one each and how I remember feeling numb during that, * one about Dad violently strangling me for the first and only time, * me asking RBN when you were in the FOG, if you deep down knew you had to go NC at some point.

Side Story: There Was No Yelling

I genuinely believed that my parents never yelled at each other, me or my siblings. I was straight up proud of this “fact”. I was shock to hear from one of my siblings, wile we were reminiscing, how mom and dad would always yell at each other all the time. The reason my sibling remembers this so clearly was because they would listen to screamo music to purposely drowned out mom’s and dad’s yelling.
Looking back, I do have 5 particularly vivid memories of mom and dad yelling at me, my siblings, each other and our swim coaches. I’ll probably find more as I let myself explore my memories.

Why Am I Not Allowed I Have Bad Memories?

When I first started letting myself go into mediative state to recall my memories. I would allow myself to re-experience my story from my point of view. To the smallest details that only mattered to me.
The first few times experiencing my story from my point of view... felt wrong... no... it felt more like not-correct... it felt... it felt... I’m having a hard time trying to putting my emotions into words... I think I found the words; “I’m not allowed”
“I’m not allowed”
”I’m not allowed”
”I’m not allowed”
This was my mantra as a child (I think about 6-10 years old). I remember walking down empty sidewalks in my small town, repeating, repeating, repeating this to myself out loud. I would mostly repeat “I’m not allowed” in my head most of the time but on those lonely walks I would catch myself saying “I’m not allowed” out loud.
I would talk back and forth to myself out loud (I probably looked like someone with schizophrenia during these moments):
“I’m not allowed”
“What are you not allowed?”
”You are not allowed to know... I’m not allowed. I’m not allowed...”
“Why am I not allowed to know?”
”I don’t know why but you are not allowed... I’m not allowed. I’m not allowed...”
”WHY!?!”
”YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED!!!”
I would think and think, trying to understand what I’m not allowed. Only for the voice to say “you are not allowed” in an increasingly louder and more angry voice. Leaving me to feel that I wasn’t even allowed to think. I would be a crying mess then numb or go straight to feeling numb after this cyclical internal dialogue concluded.
Thankfully I was able to grow out of this mantra during my teen years. As a teen I still remembered my mantra but very rarely did I go into a trance like state like I would as a child. As an adult, it was forgotten. On October 2019, I painfully rediscovered my mantra.

Feeling of Emptiness — (Alternative Title: Where I Think I Got My Mantra)

Recently, I’ve felt extreme feelings of emptiness on two separate occasions; October 2019 (the falling out of contact with my parents) and about a month ago (a bad experience I had with a different support sub Reddit).

October 2019

A summery of October 2019 events (this happened over the span of 3 weeks):
On October 2019, after being given an extremely cold shoulder and cold replies by my mother, I found my old mantra again. As if a tangled mess of forgotten slimy garbage was being dragged out of a riverbed. I was scared of being abandon, so I apologized. Right after I apologized to my parents, I walked home with my partner. I kept repeating to my partner how hallow I felt.

A Bad Experience With a Support Sub Reddit

About a month ago, a mod told me I had a personality disorder and permaban me after I made one comment on their sub. That set me in a spiral of “Oh No!! Do I really have a personality disorder!?!”. So I delete all of my comments and posts on RBN and most of everything else.
I don’t want to hurt anyone. I also want to heal. I know that someone’s journey to healing can be someone else’s relived trauma. I’m more interested in healing then causing harm. That was one of my reasoning for deleting almost all my profile content. Not wanting to hurt anyone.
In retrospect, my reactions and feelings line up with what could be called a panic attack.
As of right now, I fully believe that I do not have a personality disorder. Unless a therapist tells me otherwise, I’m going to hold onto this stance.

My Personal Conclusion:

I used my mantra to empty myself out. Just like how I deleted almost all of my Reddit content. I didn’t get these knee jerk responses out of nowhere. I emptied myself because that is what i was trained and encouraged to do. I fully believe that this was a survival tactic; to survive Mom’s child rearing emotional neglect.

The Forgetful Child Who is Bad at Telling Stories

Poor Story Teller

As a child, not even in my double digits, I would tell Mom my stories. As a novice story teller I would: fumble over my words, repeat sections, dwell on details that had no relation to the overall story. Mom would tell me to: “hurry up”, “get to the point”, “you are not very good at telling stories”. Then Mom would let my youngest sibling tell the story because they were much better at telling stories.
I felt so discouraged to tell stories. Because I felt like I couldn’t tell my own stories, I would always encourage or prompt Mom or others to tell my stories for me.
Of course I was bad at telling stories. I wasn’t even in my double digit!! I was a fucking child!! My brain was still developing!!! Have you see the vid of the ”Have you ever had a dream like this?” kid? He is not dumb, his brain is literally still developing!! Him being allowed to tell stories like this helps his brain neutron make new pathways! Mom! You were expecting to much of me!!

Little ol’ Forgetful

If mom and I were at the same event, and I later tried to tell the story from my perspective, mom would tell me: “no, that’s not how it happened”, “you are telling it wrong”, “you forgot this part”, “you are so forgetful”.
“You are so forgetful”
This is who I was to you; the forgetful child. I was probably the easiest child to gaslight too. No wonder my siblings were scared to tell me anything. I was your little informant buddy.

Some Examples of Mom’s Bullshit

Mom stole stories from me and wile I was in the FOG, I was more than compliant. I would be happy for her if I over heard her telling my story. I even actively try to act a certain way during an event to give her the opportunity to be the centre of my story. Mom’s happiness came first.

I’m Happy that I was Able to Give Mom My Genuine Moment

Setting: I’m around 15 years old. I was learning about how body cell work in Science Class. I couldn’t wrap my head it. Mom was helping me at home. My textbook is open in front of us.
Mom told me that cells communicate with hormones and something clicked in my head. Cells could talk to each other like people, not with spoken words, but with hormones and electric pulses. Blew my teenage mind.
Much later, I over heard Mom talking with Dad. She was telling him how she missed being a teacher and seeing a student’s eye light up in that a-ha moment. I remember feeling happy and proud that I was able to give that moment to her. I remembering wishing I could give her more.
A moment that was mine was taken from me. It now belonged to Mom and I was happy for her to take it.

Realizing I’m Being “Corrected”

Setting: In my early 20s and I had moved out of my parents place. I’ve lived with my partner for 2-3 years now. I’m in the living-room of my parents’ retirement house with Mom, Dad and my soon to be partner-in-law. I’m telling a story.
As I’m telling my story Mom “corrects” my story. I hold fast onto my interpretation of the story. Mom then saids in a brushing off matter “Oh you know, you are so forgetful”. She almost seemed proud that she was able to bring up a “flaw” of “mine”.
I looked at her point blank and said without thinking “Don’t be mean” in a mildly irritated to mater of fact tone of voice. Mom’s smile disappears and she quickly bows her head. Avoiding eye contact. The story is dropped and the conversation moves on without skipping a beat.
After that moment, I internally realized that I have never spoken to my Mother like that. I was surprised by myself. In retrospect, I must have developed some small amount of autonomy after living 2-3 years outside of Mom’s house.

My Story Was Dismisses

Setting: I think am about 18. I have not met my partner yet. I’m in the living-room of the city house I grew up in as a teenager. Mom is in the living-room with me.
I was proud of what is did at my job and I wanted to brag about it. (My job title is not a prestiges job title. In fact I’d get negative prestige points if I said it out loud). I told mom how proud I was for accomplishing a task in 5min less and because of the way I did the task, it saved me 20min later in my shift. I worked a labour intensive job, so any time shaved off was more time to have a relaxed working pace.
When I bragged about this in detail, Mom cut me off and said in a exasperated voice, “get a life”. That shut me up real quick. I knew that my accomplishment wasn’t something I would throw a party over but it was something I worked hard on.
Mom took my story, crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage.

Mom Stole Dad’s Story

Setting: This happen a year or two before I tried brag about my small work accomplishment to Mom. My siblings and I were all in the living room, which is next to the stairs and kitchen. Mom was in the kitchen. Dad is walking though the front door, excitedly telling his story wile taking his jacket and shoes off.
Dad came home late one day. The reason was because... I can’t remember exactly what it was... but it was something along the lines of Dad’s boss’s boss and maybe another head state boss recognizing all the hard work he has done and gave their compliments to Dad.
I remember him walking up the stairs, continuing his good news story to mom, who was in the kitchen. Before Dad got to the top of the stairs mom shot the remark “I bet they think you shit gold”. Dad got to the top of the stairs and just stood there. He then replied in a very sad and defeated voice “ya... they think I do...” and the conversation die. Really hard.
Then the very next fucking day Mom comes home bragging about her accomplishment at work and how she got praised from work. The house felt very celebratory. I don’t remember exactly what mom was bragging about. I do remember thinking “what the hell? That is not even that impressive compared to Dad’s accomplishment.”
I remember feeling that the house should have been this celebratory yesterday. Dad has been working his ass off for years and had talked about this for years. Mom never talked about this part of her work until today?? Right after Dad got recognized by some very high up big wigs??
Mom stole Dad’s story and claimed it as her own.

I Would Rather a Genderless Interpretation of the Story, Actually...

My stories didn’t even belong to my gender. Heck, not even my siblings childhood stories belonged to their respective genders. We all acted like the opposite of our gender, according to our Mother.
I remember Mom bragging about being able to “win” listen-to-what-my-kids-did type of stories at work. Simply because she had more stories and were more fun to listen to.
There was a day where Mom came home and bragged that HER stories about HER children are so good that she “won” even when she wasn’t even there to tell them.
There was this coworker guy, he had the same amount of kids as my mom and they were all about the same ages too, but they were the opposite genders of me and my siblings.
This coworker guy went on a business group trip. During the trip, the group started telling stories about their kids. This guy ran out of his own kid’s stories so he started using Mom’s kids stories. Because these stories were “more fitting” for his kid’s gender, (aside from changing the names) coworker guy was able to tell the stories without changing anything.
Being the “wrong gender” really reenforce that our childhood stories didn’t belong to me or my siblings.

My Family’s Cycle of Abuse

I believe everyone has a personal story worth telling but not every story is worth your time or my time. Same goes for abusers, they too have a story worth telling (as long as they are being genuine) but they are not entitled to you or me listening to them. We get to decide if we want to continue to engage with those stories. The abuser can go find someone else... preferably a professional.
I know my parents grew up in abuse and they have stories worth telling. The few stories my parents would tell me about their parents, I was able to form some opinions of:
These are bits of my parents’ stories.
These people shaped my parents.
These people indirectly shaped me.

Learning to Break The Cycle of Abuse

I’ve heard the argument “my parents did the best they could” from: OPs on this form, my own aunt, and from myself before I heard this argument anywhere else. After going over my stories and having my own child, I strongly feel they could have done better.
“But OP!! The internet wasn’t like it is today. How could they have gotten new information? Information was not that excisable for your parents during their time!”
Ya... your right, my fictional commenter, but I argue that there are still books and therapists.
“Books not everyone has access to or even able to read and/or understand. Therapy is expensive!!”
My Mother and Father are learned people. I was told, Dad had to teach Mom how to read when they first met but now she is an avid reader. My Mother and Father are very smart people and know their respect trades well. Trades that required high levels of collage education.
There was this book call “The Child Called It”. I never read it, but I saw Mom read it. Every once in a wile (unprompted), she would point to that book and say “that woman in that book acted the same way as my mom. That was my Mother”. So she knew her own mom was a bad person, then why did she used classic emotional narcissistic tactics on her own children!?!
Don’t get me started on therapy!! Oh No, you did!! I’ve got an ear full for you, my fictional commenter!!
I remember hearing Mom talk about her therapists every once in a while (I’m assuming for every bullet point is a different therapist. Mom made it sound like she went though a lot of therapists):
Dad also went to therapy for his mental breakdown (work mandated). I never heard him talked about his therapy sessions.
So ya, fictional commenter, I fully believe that they could have done better. They had every opportunity given to them.
As for me, I keep seeing the book “The Body Keeps Score” pop up in this Reddit time to time. I’m looking into getting this book. The YouTubers TheraminTrees and QualiaSoup helped me out a lot. Writing down things in a personal journal has been helping. I know I’m going to need to go to therapy at some point. I’m still a little nervous about that. I don’t what to end up with a bad therapist. I feel I need to know exactly what I want from therapy before I can get anything out of it.
As for my child, I’m going to listen to every story they have and want to tell me!! I fully know that most of my chid’s stories will not be interesting to others, but they are my child’s stories and those stories matter to them! And my child matters to me! I wanna hear their voice, feeling, dreams and even the fictional stories they come up with. I want them to have an emotional fulling relationship with me. Sadly I did not have a good role model for a emotional fulling parents-child relationship. So I need to work hard for my child.

Expectations I Expect Others Have of My Stories

Wile writing, I always feel I need to tailor my stories to meet peoples expectations so I don’t upset anyone. I will keep a particular group or person in mind wile writing. I don’t always realize I’m doing this. It only becomes apparent when I switch a different person I’m “keeping in mind” when rereading my writings and see that I need to make “corrections”.

Using this post as an example:

Having myself in mind (I found this mindset less stressful and scary at the same time. It feels so open and free... naked and exposed): I have no expectations of what tone the writing should be in. It’s just a feeling of; this is what happened. No I’m not making shit up. This is what my memories are telling me.
Having RBN community in mind: I need to really lay into the abuse. Make sure all abuse is obvious or I might be called a lair.
Having my partner in mind: they probably think I’m over exaggerating. They know I participate in RBN. They probably think RBN is a bad influence. I need to tone it down so it is more believable. (Side note: They know and respect that I am having issues with my parents at the moment but I can see that they don’t fully understand why. I get the feeling they assume after a year or two, my relationship with my parents will go back to normal)
Having Mom in mind: WHY ARE YOU EVEN WRITING THIS!! THIS IS MAKING HER LOOK BAD!! DELET EVERYTHING!! THESE EMOTIONS AND MEMORIES ARE NOT REAL!! YOU ARE OVERRATING TO EVERYTHING!! WHY ARE YOU TAKING THIS SO PERSONALLY?!? (Side Note: I had to actively push Mom out of my mind as someone I expect to read this post, as to not tailor my story for her)

Thank You for Reading!!

Thank you so much for reading this far!! I know this post was super long. This post turned out much longer then I expected. I hope some of you can relate to some of my experience and find healing. Selfishly, I also want to know if these thoughts are relatable so I don’t feel so alone.
I wanna thank one Redditor in particular. You know who you are! Thank you for the time you gave me!!
I want to thank Hannah Gadsby. I stumbled into her content on a whim, three weeks ago. I first watched “Douglas”, thought it was great, thought it was really funny. Next I watched “Nanette”, it turned me into an uncontrollable balling mess. Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” emboldened me to wright up this post. Thank you Hannah Gadsby.
I wanna thank the mods here on RBN for creating and maintaining this wonderful sub Reddit. I’ve seen glimpses of some of the toxic people who try to get on here. Thank you for keeping them out. I also want to thank you for giving naive people a chance to change and not ban them right away. Thank you for all your hard work and time on keeping this a safe place.
Thank you fellow Redditors of RBN for being an amazing community!!

My Method when Creating this Post for Anyone Interested:

First I would write down my thoughts and memories, in quick note form the moment they randomly creep into my head threw out my days. This has helped me remember because I know I have had some deep and intensive thought conversation with myself but forgotten them the next day or two.
Next I would sit down at the end of the day or the week and letting myself into a relaxed state of mind, so I could expand on these notes I’ve jotted down.
Lastly, I would fix grammar, spelling mistakes, or to make sure my thoughts were being communicated clearly. I’d give myself brakes between rewriting and reread my work. But I would not stop myself from jotting down new notes or if a new memory came flooding in.
This helped me see the bigger picture. I could much more easily comparing my thoughts, emotions, memories, and stories objectively. Now that I didn’t have to go digging into a emotional mess of a brain every time.
I can now share my thoughts more easily, instead of immediately verbally shutting down and my mind going blank. I can now sometimes verbally express myself or I can hand them my written work to express myself.

TL;DR answers to “What happens when you don’t own your own story?”

1) Anyone can tell you who you are;
2) it takes a long ass time to reclaim your story;
3) once you reclaim your story, you are sill prone to allowing others to take your story way again (aka fear of people you trust invalidating your story. So you keep your story all bottled up. Where your story can’t get hurt retconned);
4) it takes a long ass time to heal (aka trusting your judgement, and not being prone to gaslighting)
submitted by PinkBlackandBlue to raisedbynarcissists [link] [comments]


2020.07.02 12:21 cesly1987 I'm a Rural County Deputy, I met the Devil on Night Shift: Part 2

I sat there overwhelmed, but first things first, I had to deal with the infant in my arms. Retrieving my light, I slowly stood and searched the room for a safe place to lay my screaming bundle. I settled with placing the baby on the floor and building up a pillow fort around it with throw pillows.
I could feel precious seconds being wasted. As much as I wanted to stay with the baby, the longer Zeke was alone with the mother. With trepidation I stood to face the hallway. Zeke must have taken her back there. I stepped forward, deciding on the door to my right first.
My kick blasted the door open as my light flooded the room. It revealed a woman's bedroom that had been completely trashed. It looked like an explosion had occured from a large hole in the center of the room. Wood and torn carpet was scattered all across the area. The flooring was bent up and outwards like something had come up though from the bottom.
I leaned over the hole to see down into the muddy ground beneath. Is this how Zeke got in? It looked like the Hulk had smashed his way up through the floor. Any other time I wouldn't believe it, but sanity had left the moment I was dispatched to this house. I knew he could still be down there with her. If I crawled down there I would be putting myself in dangerously tight corridors with Zeke again. I didn't want another wrestling rematch with his freakish strength.
A bolt of lightning crashed somewhere close, the bright strobe outlining a tall figure outside the bedroom window. I looked up to only catch a glimpse of it before it vanished. But it was a imposing huminoid figure of blackness with purple reflecting eyes. It must have been 10 feet tall, pressing its hands and face against the other side of the glass. As quickly as I saw it, it winked out of existence. Only the after image of it in my mind.
I shuffled around the hole to look out the window. Standing further out in the backyard was a group of shadows. I didnt have to wait long for another lightning strike to illuminate the night. What the light exposed hardly surprised me, but made me shuddered anyways.
It was Zeke, soaking in the rain. His outstretched arm holding the mother up by the back of her neck to face me. The unnatural ease in which he held her outwards was as effortless as he had held the baby. It was if he was presenting her to me. A twisted grin dominated his bloodied, one-eyed face as she hung limply. He beckoned me with his free hand to come before turning curtly and strolling for the woods with her.
I spat a curse at him as he faded into the trees. I had to get her back. I could care less if he got away in the end. But I couldn't live with my final memory of her being taken by that grinning cyclops. He had sought her out this night. I had to stop whatever morbid plans he had for her.
I ran back into the kitchen and located a backdoor. I flew out into the cold rain, jumping down the slick steps, and sprinting towards the woods. I could see were the foliage parted to make a small pathway. This was around the place I last spotted Zeke. He must have taken it.
Once I hit the tree line my momentum almost came to a stop. The water sloshed up to my knees as I took heavy steps forward. After trudging a few yards into the woods, I spotted a glimpse of movement pulling away from me. Every time I thought I lost Zeke's trail, I would see him slipping further into the darkness, dragging the poor woman with him.
My legs burned as I forced myself forward through the deep foliage. I tried to keep Zeke in my sights through blinding trees and vines. I dont know how long I chased after him. Time did its weird thing again. I fell into a fugue state, of desperation and exaustion. All I knew is I had to keep moving forward.
Though I was surrounded by a thick forrest I felt isolated. Like I was floating in the void of space, or standing at the edge of a great chasm. The darkness outside the reach of my light was a void into nothing. I seemed only the immediate area where I stood was solid. The only things tangible around me were the figures my light discovered. As soon as I moved pass the ground I stood on, or my light passed by the surrounding, the matter returned to nothing.
I could fall into the abyss and never be heard from again. Another soul lost to the forest. How long would it take before people noticed I was missing? Maybe it would be deemed important enough for a small local news report. My Sheriff might call in reserves and troopers to have the woods searched for me. But after a couple of weeks it would be called off. To expensive to keep it up. I know because I've seen it happen a couple of times. I would just be gone. No one would really know I had been swallowed up by despair. I had glitched out of this reality to be forever falling in darkness.
In my grim reverie of stalking after Zeke, I was vaguely aware of something shadowing me. From my peripherals I would catch the dark figure with purple eyes keeping pace with me. I could smell the stink of BO and bad breath wafting around me. I wanted to turn my head and face the creature directly, but was too afraid to loose track of Zeke. He was pulling further and further away from me as my body screamed to rest.
Zeke disappeared through some shrubbery and I yelled in frustration as I urged myself to speed up. The corners of my vision faded and I knew I was on the verge of passing out. On the cusp of falling into the water in exhaustion, I broke through the shrubs and entered a clearing
I looked around in wonder. A perfect circle with a 30 yard on diameters. In the middle of the clearing stood an old tree stump jutting 3 feet out of the water. I could see a small sappling shooting out of the deed tree. Its skinny branches reaching out about 15 feet above the water.
With a flash of lightning I noticed Zeke standing next the the tree, holding the slumping woman by the collar. He had his hand reached up playing with something swinging from the tree. As I stumbled over I could see it was a noose.
"Something old for something new," Zeke proclaimed loudly, still focused on the noose. " This what MY Jesus's demands!" The way he said 'MY Jesus,'made it clear it wasn't the Jesus Joel Olstein was peddling.
He finally turned to face me. With a effortless and fluid motion he hosted the limp woman atop the the stump.
"Its gotta be something sweet He says," Zeke groaned, his one eye throwing daggers at me. " Maybe it can be you. Lets see what he says. But someone hangs from the tree. But I want you. You and the baby are just a bonus. After the massacre ill return to stomp the life out of the child."
I had about enough of this cryptic vodoo talk and threats. I knew I couldnt take him hand to hand, but now he couldn't use the woman as a shield. I leveled my pistol and fired two quick bursts.
My ears rang after the shots. The smell of gunpowder enveloped me. Two sporadic sounds of "bloop bloop" as the casings hit the water. I had closed the gap between us to about five yards. An easy shot. So why didn't Zeke go down? Not even a flinch. I figured excitement and heart rate had made me miss.
In anger I squeezed off 5 more rounds while marching towards him. It felt like I was shooting through a shadow. He just stared at me with his cyclops eye. When I came to about seven feet I stopped.
We stared at eachother for awhile. Him glaring while I breathed ragedly. The only movement was the downpour around us. I knew I was out of options. It began to dawn on me I was going to die out here with the girl. We both were. I couldnt save her. I had chosen to chase this possesed man to the place I would never return. A willing sacrifice.
A mental picture flashed through my head. I would be laid out on the tree stump, like a tribute on an alter. While the woman hung lifeless from the branch above me.
Zeke smiled at me and gave a short laugh. He streached his arms out wide, as if welcoming me for a hug. That's when I saw it. No more hiding in the corners of my vision. It revealed itself to me.
A tall figure peaked out from the hangman tree behind Zeke, its purple eyes glinting. I saw it clearly as I ever could. The inky black profile of a humaniod standing three feet taller than Zeke. It was made out of the same unnatural blackness that had almost consumed me back in the house. My light was useless at dispersing it.
It stretched out an unnaturally long hand to lay it atop Zeke's head. Zeke closed his remaining eye and began to quiver, shaking like a holy ghost televangelist.
"No Deputy," Zeke spoke in a throaty crackle. He jerked his head from side to side, the entity never releasing its grip. Zeke gave a terrible cough and heaved his chest like he was about to throw up. It was as if his body was trying to reject the monster leaching off of him.
"My Jesus has made a decision. He wants the women. She has a sweetness most deserving defilement. A kindness to rip and tear. Her desecration will be an agony felt most by those who love her. In return I receive his gifts. The fruits of the spirit."
Once agian I felt the world around me fall out of focus. Some dark magic was pulling me under a trance. The veil of reality thinned and the cold darkness waited for my soul fall in. I was so tired. Why fight it? I lazily put my gun back in its holster and nonchalantly dropped my light into the water. I felt the cold creep up my body, like terrible claws. The unnatural cold took over my body and I realized I couldnt move. Or I didnt want to move. It didnt matter.
I realized the rain had stopped. Turned off like a switch. I moved my eyes around in my frozen head to see millions of droplets frozen in the air. It was if time had stopped and the rain was suspended like little planets floating against a dark galaxy. Zeke looked up and marveled at the sight.
The dark entity moved out from behind the tree. My eyes were ajusted enough to the moonlight in the clearing to see the inky black mass getting closer. Panic rose within me. I didn't want the thing to get any closer, to touch me. I just knew if it touched me it would be the most violating thing ever. But i still didn't move. It was useless to resist. The darkness was inevitable. It lowered itself in front of me. Its glinting saucer eyes staring into mine. Of course the overwelming smell followed.
It reached out a pitch black hand to lay on top of my head. When it touched a jolt of energy shot through me. I could feel its hate, its disgust towards me. But it wasnt just me, it was everything, even Zeke. Zeke was just a means to an end. A plaything used to spread wrath and hurt others.
But then the real event started. As I stood there dumbstruck, It showed me things. I saw the woman standing, it told me her name was Alisa. She wore the same blank look I had. Then realization flooded back in to her face. She blinked rapidly and began to whimper. She made eye contact with Zeke, me, then the dark figure. Her eyes bulged as if pleading for escape.
What followed I am not sure of. Time was hard to measure. But it felt like an eternity. I dont know if it was real or a trance. Maybe it was a little of both. Both of us locked away in crack in reality. A crack that let the darkness in to infect and corrupt.
I stood motionless with tears streaming down my face as they tortured Alisa in front of me. Zeke ravaged her in countless ways with the entity hovering closely over his shoulder. Knives and cutting intrument would be handed to him out of the dark mass of the thing. They committed acts of violence Ill never repeat, never write. But I could see Alisa felt all of it. She would scream through gritted teeth. Her eyes bulging so much it seemed if they would pop out.
At the end of the mutilation Alisa would always end up hanging from the noose. In a malicious display of sadism, Alisa would be granted the use of her disecrated body. She would thrash around and weakly try to free herself from the rope around her neck. She never got free. But right before she stopped struggling the scene would reset. Jump back in time. She would be completely healed and standing in the water. Trapped in her own body. Waiting for the ritual to began again.
I dont know how long it went on. Maybe hours, maybe days. Time had no meaning. As the macabre show played out on repeat again and again, I began to lose hope just as assuredly as Alisa must have. I had given up. I had failed. I was a fool and deserved this cruel fate. I maybe even deserved worse.
I deserved worse.
It was this self defeating statement turned out to be my salvation. The life line to pull me out of the bottomless pit I was sinking. But at first it was just another arrow to my heart. Another stone tied to my feet. I did deserve worse. It should be me up there. I had taken the job to help people like her. How I had failed. Standing on the sidelines watching this mother be assaulted on repeat. I had no kids. I was just a single useless man. Nobody would really miss me. Not like her.
I should take her place.
This thought sparked through my mind like lightning. It was my job to stand in front of the innocent when the wolf came. Zeke spoke of sacrifice. I could take her place. Maybe find some semblance of honor for my pathetic actions. I felt a warmth begin to grow inside of me.
Zeke had cut Alisa hundreds of times and now lead her to step on the stump so he could put the rope around her neck.
I didnt know what was happening at the time. My brain was still caught in a feverish cycle of self hate. Wanting to take her place. Hating it was her instead of me. I began to regain control of my body. I moved sluggishly towards Zeke, but he was too preoccupied with Alise.
I saw the entity spin around to face me. Its eyes somehow bigger. It let out a deep growl that reverberated in my brain, but it did not attack. Zeke had fastened the rope around Alisa's neck and stepped down to admire his work. Alise let out an audible wimper as tears flooded her eyes. She knew what was coming. Maybe she prayed she would be allowed to die this time.
"Jump," Zeke said grinning theough his teeth. Alisa stepped off the stump and began to choke. Her legs kicking slightly as she swung back and forth. I noticed she didnt even attempt to remove the noose. She had given up.
"No!" I screamed as I shouldered past Zeke. He reeled back in surprise. I ran up and grabbed Alisa's legs and lifted. Taking the strain off her neck. "Let me do it! It needs to be me! Not her! Not her!" I screamed with insane fervor.
It took Alisa a moment to realise I had finally come to her aid. I was screamed for her to take off the noose. She began squirming and pulling at the rope around her neck. I lifted her up further and stabilized her enough to remove the rope and topple us both over into the water. The cold water completely knock my body out of its sluggish stupor, but my mind was still all haywire. I pulled Alisa out of the water and leaned her against the tree trunk. She stared back at me and began screaming as she wrapped her arms around me. She hid her face in my chest and refused to look up at the monsters. I could feel her body quivering against mine as she continued to let out muffled screams.
I tried to turn to face Zeke, but Alisa held me too tight. So i just looked over my shoulder. I noticed it was raining again. Time was unfrozen.
"No! Take me instead!" I pleaded. "She has had enough. She is done! I'm a willing sacrifice! Let her sins be mine!"
I dont know where that last sentence came from. Divine intervention? I dont know. My mind was still in a tail spin of misery. All I know is the entity didnt like it.
I heard a loud unnatural yell. A bark? A growl? The closest thing I can compare is a mix between baboon and a jaguar. It was terrifying and I knew it came from the tall shadow. As if it was a command, Zeke started raining blows down on my head. Pounding hammer fists over and over. I squeezed Alise closer to shield her from the blows. I could take the pain. I wanted it. Zeke then tried to pull me off of her, but I held on.
That's when I realized Zeke had lost his strength. His blows hurt, but they were the blows of a normal man. He couldn't even pull me away from Alise! A small becon of hope bloomed in my soul. Zeke was tiring.
Zeke began cursing me. Hopefully he was reading my mind as I thought the most heinous things about him. Then he reached for my gun on my hip.
I have a level three retention holster. Meaning you have to press a button, push it down, and rock it forward to release it from the holster. It takes practice, but Zeke manipulated it smoothly and pulled it away from me.
I half turned to face Zeke. Still shielding Alise away from him. Zeke huffed and pointed my gun at me with a shakey hand.
" You would die for her, pig?" He screamed at me.
"Yes, you backwoods inbred!" I spat in defiance. I had already accepted my fate. If I was to die, at least let it mean Alisa would survive. One honorable thing during a life of failure.
" Ill kill you! Then I'll kill your girl anyways!" Zeke shrieked. I closed my eyes and waited for the hot bullets to pierce my body. What does being shot feel like? Will he make it quick and go for the head? Closed casket for sure. But the shots never came. Ten seconds felt like ten hours before I opened my eyes.
Zeke's face was one of confusion. His body quivered as his eye twitch around in its socket. That's when I noticed the entity had placed a hand back on Zeke's head. Zeke gritted his teeth an let out a huff of frustration. It didn't take me long to realize Zeke was frozen like Alisea and I had been.
"L-let me do it!" Zeke begged. The muscles in his neck strained and his outstreatched arm twitched. I could tell Zeke desperately wanted to put the required pressure on the trigger to blow my face off. He tried to look at the entity even though his head could not move. The creature got inches from him, Just outside of his field of vision, and began to whisper in his ear. Zeke's expression transformed from anger to fear.
"No! We had an agreement!" Zeke pleaded. His hand sprung open and dropped the gun with a splash. Now his expression turned to anger. " You forsake me! You liar! I still have time. I still have power. He is just a damn idiot. I'll get you the girl!"
The entity shot another hand into Zeke's chest and let out a sharp hiss. Zeke's face contorted in pain and he began to cough. The shadow creature grew bigger, towering over Zeke. slowly it pulled him into its dark mass, enveloping him. Zeke began to cry out in high pitched yelps as his body disintegrate into the blackness. He looked like he was bent over backwards with the entity pushing him inwards by the top of the head. Before his head was consumed he looked at me and begged," Just alittle more power! Let me kill this cop!" Then Zeke's head was pushed in and he was no more. Only the looming shadow creature with purple glinting eyes.
I cradled Alisa's drenched and shaking body tightly. I tried to met the creatures piercing stare, but it was too much. It projected so much anger into my heart. I knew this was the end. At least Zeke wouldn't get the satisfaction. But i didn't know what untold horrors the creature would perform on me. Maybe I would be taken away like Zeke. Lock away within this unholy creature.
"Just leave her," I said. The entity just stared back silently, the rain wiping around it. Then I heard a deep rumbling coming from it. Was it laughter? It was. A wicked sound.
It began to back away from me as the deep chuckle continued. The thing made it to the edge of the tree line and all I could see was its reflecting eyes floating in the storm. And just like that, it disappeared.
Just like that, it was over. It took a minute for it to register with my rattled mind. But I knew in my heart it had left. The fog over my soul had lifted. I sat Alise on the stump and stared up into the sky. The rain felt refreshing instead of drowning.
I won't bore you with the after action report, or the mountain of paperwork that followed. But I fished my gun out of the water and I silently helped Alisa limp back to her house. Not a word said between us. What was there to say? Oh, and backup still wasn't there yet!
The baby was fine, if not a little bruised. And the EMT's took Alisa to the hospital. She had returned to a semi catatonic state. Not saying anything for about a week. She finally did start talking again, but she claimed she didn't remember anything. I consider it a mercy. She and her child went to live with her parents. They told me she had extreme night terrors every night, but quickly forgot them upon waking. Hopefully she can have a normal life for her child, but she will never be the same. Evil had left its stain on her.
I kept my report short and sweet. I wisely chose to omit the shadow monster and the hell dimension of torture Alisa was in. I left out the part about emptying seven rounds into an unkillable demon powered man. I just told the narrative of chasing Zeke out of the house and into the woods where I rescued Alisa. Oh, and Zeke may have an injury to his eye. It was too dark to tell how bad I hurt him.
That same night Zeke's brother had died. It was in the papers the next day. He was locked up in the neighboring county. He had suffered a heart attack in his cell. There was a whole investigation. The video showed him banging on the door and crying for help. But there was a big fight in another part of the jail. Nobody heard or paid attention to his cries as he died alone.
I stayed with the department for another month. They put a warrant out on Zeke for burglary and assaulting a peace officer. But I never expected him to turn up. Until one day he did.
My sergeant had come into the office with a big smile on his face. He let me know they had found my guy. He said Zeke was found on some hunting lease in a neighboring county. Sarge slapped down a folder with pictures in it. I opened it to see a familiar sight.
A clearing with a tree stump in the middle. Another younger tree growing out of the middle of it. And there hung the body of Zeke. Dangling from the noose. His body bloated and rotten. I turned the page to see a picture with a closer look. He wore the ratty black rain coat and his left eye was missing.
"What happened?" I asked incredulously.
"Well, some hunter found ole Zeke about a week ago. I guess he got tired of running and offed himself." My sergeant spoke matter of factly. " The strange thing is the coroner said he been up there for months. Kinda messes up your timetable of events. Maybe the doc is a quack. The summer heat does speed up decomp. He was at least up there long enough for the birds to get at his eyes."
I felt sick. I had a strange feeling that the Zeke I had encountered had somehow been hanging from the tree at the same time. Some sort of cruel trick played out by the power of the purple eyed shadow. I don't know how I knew this. It was like I had always known.
Before my sergeant walked into his office he turned to face me. " Can you believe bullets were found in him? Post mortem they say. But people must have hated him enough to do some target practice instead of reporting him."
I left the department shortly after that. See, I had been changed too, like Alise. Driving alone at night I would be terrified of the shadows moving in my peripherals. Hoping I wouldn't catch a glint of purple. I knew that thing was still out there waiting for me on every call I went to. I could turn any corner to see it looming there, staring at me with its hate filled eyes.
I don't know what stopped him from taking me that night. Or why he stilled Zeke's hand from pulling the trigger . Maybe it was my willingness to sacrifice myself. Something pure in the midst of evil. I hope it was. Rather it be Harry Potter logic or sunday school logic. I don't care. "No greater love," right?
But then there's the darker thought. The one that keeps me up at night. I volunteered. I made a deal. Maybe the thing decided to honor my deal over Zeke's. Maybe I owe a debt that hasn't been paid yet. The entity is just waiting. Hoping I'll forget before he comes for me. Pushing me into the void like he did Zeke.
I work at another police department now. I took a step back to work in dispatch. But the call of the wild still effects me. I want to get back in a black and white and be in the field. I know I can't live in fear. I have to reclaim my life. A test for a patrol position is coming up and I've already signed up.
But there is part of me I suppress everyday just to keep moving. It lingers in the recesses of my mind. I just know it for some reason, like i do other dark things now. Whether on my death bed at ninety or answering another disturbance call tomorrow, Ill see it again. Its inevitable. It knows me now. It marked me. The purple eyes filled with hate. Zeke's Jesus.
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2020.07.02 02:36 knight4bishop The Unseen: a Storylocks mystery

(Originally posted as a collaborative fiction on Storylocks.)
The prompt: A scientist who has been working for decades to create a solution for invisibility has finally perfected the formula. As the first test subject, he drinks the solution to become invisible, but starts to realize he can see many other people who he never could see before...
Chapter One: Doomed to Succeed
Simon Mitchell was exhausted. His skin hung over his bones like a limp sheet, muscles sagging from their tendon attachments and bones grinding against other bones with every aching movement.
He had worked so many long, seemingly endless nights, staring into fizzing test tubes and analyzing frustratingly dormant beakers, pacing across the same linoleum tiles and tugging at the tufts of hair at his scalp that still remained, slamming his fist against the soapstone laboratory tables after every undesired outcome, but it was finally over.
After decades of research and experimentation he had finally succeeded.
It had cost him nearly everything to achieve it. His wife had left him years ago, bitterly claiming he cared more about his work than he ever did for her, and over the years following their separation Simon couldn’t help but admit that she was right. Every waking moment was spent in full concentration on his experiments. Even his sleep was plagued by dreams of his work, occasionally culminating in astounding success and acclaim but more often mimicking his reality with humiliating, repeated defeat. He had lost clout among his colleagues and contemporaries. At first they laughed, calling him a “mad scientist,” assuming this was some flight of fancy that he would eventually abandon. Who on earth would attempt to make an invisibility solution?
If there was anyone who was qualified to make a chemical compound that could turn the user invisible, it was certainly Simon Mitchell. Before his obsession fully took hold, he had been one of the most prominent biochemical engineers in the world and sat on several boards for prominent companies and government agencies. Industry leaders turned to him to solve what seemed to be unanswerable questions, and somehow Simon always managed to resolve the problem with unbelievable ease. But when his mind began to be fully tethered to the project of unlocking the secrets to invisibility, he became less and less interested in consulting with these industry leaders and government agencies. Their problems bored Simon and could not hold his attention. Soon he found himself being quietly voted off organizational boards, and invitations to lecture became fewer and fewer until his name was nearly forgotten in the biochemical technology world.
It didn’t matter now, though. Simon Mitchell would have the last laugh.
He carefully reached under the industrial hood and removed a small Erlenmeyer flask, careful not to disturb the delicate condenser of the complicated distillation apparatus that branched out from the flask like the glass skeleton of an alien creature. The flask radiated a soft warmth that he could feel through his latex gloves and with it he felt a tingling of anticipation and excitement spreading through his body. He licked his dry, parched lips. A wrong move now, a clumsy slip, and all his hard work would be lost. He was not confident he could exactly replicate the conditions that resulted in this final solution. He was still trying to mentally sort out what had made this experiment different, what minutiae had been altered to result in this. It had been a fluke. A happy accident. Joining the ranks of penicillin and the microwave, Simon Mitchell nominated his invisibility solution for consideration as the greatest accident in the history of science.
He set the flask carefully down on the soapstone tabletop and stepped back, unconsciously holding his breath as he observed it in awe. The solution was an unremarkable hue of barely-there pink, like someone had placed a single droplet of blood into a clear liquid and swirled it about. It was slightly more viscous than water, with a consistency more similar to oil, and it seemed to have an almost greasy sheen across its surface. Even though he had done no experiments to confirm it, Simon was confident he had finally reached the goal.
“Jeanne,” he called, his voice scratchy and hoarse from disuse. It had been hours since he had spoken, and his saliva felt like a sticky paste in his mouth. He cleared his throat and repeated the name, louder, but his eyes never left the flask sitting before him.
A woman came to the door of the laboratory. Her white lab coat was crisply ironed but there were numerous ink stains at the sleeves and a small scorch mark on her right elbow. She was younger than Simon by nearly 30 years, but her face had the same haunted, hunted look as his.
“You called for me, Dr. Mitchell?” She tucked the pen she was holding behind her right ear, navigating it through a hectic mass of tangled tight black curls.
Jeanne Follain had been with him for the last four years. She had answered a job posting for a lab assistant she saw on a posting board at her graduate school and after a brief interview and a review of her credentials, Simon had hired her and given her an overly generous salary with benefits. Jeanne celebrated her sudden luck. She saw Simon Mitchell as a still brilliant scientist who had simply gone off the rails, perhaps burned out after so many high profile and intensive positions, or maybe he had been exposed to too many experimental chemicals and it had softened his brain prematurely. His moods were mercurial, with blinding highs of near euphoria when he thought he was close to a breakthrough spinning suddenly into crippling rages and abysmal depression when he consistently failed. Jeanne had to learn to adapt to these flighty moods and she slowly learned through experience how to modify her interactions with Dr. Mitchell depending on these attitudes. Some days she would pack her bags and go home convinced he would fire her the proceeding day, only to come to work and find the man nearly skipping about the lab in joy because he had dreamed of a new possibility for a solvent combination and would beg her eagerly to help him.
Despite his unpredictable airs, she still respected his work ethic and his experiments were nevertheless novel and groundbreaking. During the course of his pursuit of the invisibility solution, Simon Mitchell had, out of necessity, invented several new ways of executing scientific procedures, some of which resulted in greater yields than previous set-ups and others which created new compounds entirely. But Simon shrugged them off as useless byproducts. Jeanne had pleaded with him to write up papers, to submit his findings to scientific publications as these results would benefit other scientific fields and streamline numerous aspects of commercial biochemical engineering. Simon did not share her view because he could not appreciate the value of the byproducts of his research. He had eyes only for the invisibility solution and any other result was simply a waste and disappointment, to be scrapped and then abandoned if it could not bring him closer to his goal. He had waved her off like a silly child.
“Do what you like,” he said. “I won’t be bothered with such trivial distractions. If you feel like writing them up and publishing them under your name, you have my blessing. As long as it doesn’t interfere with your contributions here.”
She had thus published several papers during her tenure with him that detailed revolutionary new ways of executing procedures that led to higher and purer yields, and other papers discussing the production of novel compounds that were far superior to current comparisons. Jeanne had managed to make a name for herself in the scientific community through these publications. Despite the fact she originally felt she was simply babysitting a brilliant old man in his Sisyphusian efforts to achieve the unachievable, Jeanne stayed on at her position in order to reap the personal benefits of Mitchell’s stumbling research. At some point in her third year of work, however, Jeanne had caught Simon Mitchell’s subtle madness. His inexhaustible pursuit was inspirational, and what had begun as a creeping sensation of pity for the man evolved into a genuine desire to see his dream fulfilled. Jeanne had never encountered someone whose entire life purpose was so palpable and yet so unattainable, and who never fully lost sight of his goal, no matter how many setbacks or disappointments, regardless of how much he lost in his personal life. It was tragically inspiring and before she knew it her own dreams, too, began to be haunted by the unattainable specter of an invisibility solution.
“Jeanne,” Simon Mitchell said again, unable to suppress a grin creeping across his face. “We’ve done it.”
Jeanne felt the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. She drew in a deep breath, narrowing her eyes skeptically.
“What do you mean ‘we’ve done it?’”
Simon finally tore his gaze away from the Erlenmeyer flask and looked up at Jeanne. His eyes were wide, almost bulging out of his gaunt orbital sockets, and his grin was stretched so painfully wide that Jeanne instinctively took a step backwards, interpreting his expression as that of a madman.
He gestured to the flask.
“We finally did it. God only knows how, but this is it.”
Jeanne gasped.
“You don’t mean…” She started, her words dying on her lips as Simon began excitedly nodding in response.
“My invisibility solution.”
All the tension from Jeanne’s face suddenly melted away. She released a single laugh, the sound escaping from her in a moment of surprised relief.
“But– but, how?” She shook her head in stunned disbelief, her own lips now curling into the same ear to ear grin as her employer.
Simon Mitchell shrugged and in a surprisingly uncharacteristic move he responded that he couldn’t care less how it came to be. He just knew now that he had it and that was all that mattered in this moment.
Their eyes met for a brief, silent moment. Between them passed an unarticulated sharing of relief, of ecstasy after years of disappointment and discouragement. The fever dream had finally ended and they had survived.
“What do we do now?” Jeanne broke the silence, her smile fading as her mind returned to its habitual realm of rationality.
“We have to test it, of course,” Simon looked back to the flask, his own toothy grin unaltered.
“Do you want me to start the forms for requesting approval to test on rodent models?” Jeanne pulled the pen out of her tight curls, pausing momentarily to detangle its clip from a snag.
Dr. Mitchell gave her a dismissive wave.
“We need to test it on a human. That’s the only way we will know for sure if we have been truly successful.”
Concern flashed in Jeanne’s chestnut colored eyes.
“You know we won’t get approval for human testing if we haven’t attempted lower subject models first,” she said, her tone becoming more worried as she continued. “We would potentially violate the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Declaration, and the Belmont Report. I mean, if you try to rush this, you’ll have the Institutional Review Board at our throats faster than you can say Jack Robinson and we’ll be answering to The Hague.”
“Oh, I don’t give a fig about The Hague!” Mitchell cried, throwing his hands into the air. “We don’t have time. I don’t know how long this solution will stay stable, as it is.”
He picked up the flask again, bringing it to eye level and sighing deeply as he admired how flecks of nearly microscopic particles floating in the solution glittered in the fluorescent lab lighting.
“So what are you suggesting?” Jeanne’s brow crinkled in confusion.
Simon flicked his gaze to her, suddenly composed and serious.
“I have to know, Jeanne.” His voice was calm, cold. “I have to know if it truly works.”
With a sudden flurry of movement, Simon Mitchell brought the flask to his lips and took a swig. A cry of dismay sprung from Jeanne as she rushed forward and tried to pry the flask away from him, but she was too late. Simon’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down triumphantly as he swallowed a gulp of the mysterious solution. As he pulled the flask down and set it back upon the table, Jeanne stumbled back from him, horrified.
“Dr. Mitchell,” she cried hoarsely, “what have you done?”
Simon felt the solution flood into his stomach like liquid lead. His body was rejecting the foreign substance, and before he knew it he found himself coughing uncontrollably as he barely suppressed his gag reflex. Grabbing the edge of the lab table for support, his muscles began to cramp and he could feel the solution burning through every tissue, every cell in his body. The feeling was excruciating.
Jeanne Follain watched in horror as the old man before her began to convulse and jerk as if with St. Vitus’ dance. She ran from the room and into the hall, where she nearly knocked the wall mounted telephone off its perch in her terrified rush to call for help. With trembling fingers she dialed the emergency line and requested immediate medical attention. Receiving a promise of prompt arrival, Jeanne hung up and rushed back to her employer to check on his condition.
Expecting to find the man crumpled on the floor or vomiting uncontrollably, Jeanne was surprised when she returned to a silent, empty room. She stopped dead in her tracks and the color drained from her face.
“Dr. Mitchell?” she offered tentatively, wondering if perhaps he had unconsciously stumbled into the supply closet or passed out somewhere where she could not readily see him.
“It’s all right, Jeanne.” The voice was clear, calm. It was Dr. Mitchell’s voice, and it emanated from somewhere near her, but Jeanne could not determine exactly where.
“Dr. Mitchell?” she said again, this time louder but more confused.
“I’m all right, Jeanne. Everything is fine.”
“Where are you?” Jeanne checked behind the laboratory table and walked over the supply closet and opened its doors. She heard a loud, amused chortle from over her shoulder.
“I’m invisible, Jeanne.” The voice oozed with excitement. “It worked. I’m invisible!”
“Oh my God,” Jeanne gasped. She shot out her hands in front of her like a blind woman feeling for obstacles. “You mean, you mean you’re in here? Invisible?”
In an area of space where her employer had stood only a few minutes before, her right hand suddenly came into contact with something hard. The air felt firm, with a slightly forgiving give when pushed, and there was a warmth emanating from the unseen mass.
“You did it, Dr. Mitchell,” she whispered, astounded. “You did it!”
Suddenly she felt a hand grasping hers and shaking it up and down, clasping it firmly. The same amused laugh as before chimed in the air as he reveled in his success.
“We’ve got to document this!” Jeanne beamed, excitedly grabbing at a lab notebook and pulling out her pen once more. “We have to submit this immediately to the international council. You’ve finally done it, Dr. Mitchell!”
Dr. Mitchell felt a wave of relief wash over him and for the first time in over a decade he felt at ease. He nodded, still unfamiliar with his newfound invisibility and not realizing Jeanne could not see his inaudible response.
A flash of movement out of the corner of his eye brought his attention to the doorway. Two men had entered the room, both smiling like they knew the punchline to a joke that Simon wasn’t in on.
“Jeanne,” Dr. Mitchell called, pulling her from her excited babbling about to whom they would first submit their results. “Did you ask anyone to come to the lab today?”
Jeanne snapped her head up and stared into the empty space she assumed to be occupied by her employer.
“Oh,” she said, remembering, “I called for an ambulance right after you drank the solution. I thought you had poisoned yourself.”
“Ah,” Simon said in relief, taking a few steps towards the men in the doorway. By some rare chance, they seemed to be staring directly at him. “No need for assistance, gentlemen. Don’t be alarmed. I know you can hear my voice but you can’t see me. You are witnessing history, my friends!”
The men smirked, exchanging amused glances. One of the men, who was excessively tall and lanky but with a young, attractive face, shrugged his shoulders and broke into a full grin as he locked eyes with Simon. Simon shivered at the gaze, wondering how the man was able to so accurately pinpoint his location.
“Who are you talking to, Dr. Mitchell?” Jeanne was turning her head and looking about the empty room. There were no men in the doorway. To her eye, she was currently the only human in the room.
“Those gentlemen in the doorway,” Simon replied, already feeling a flush of worry seep into him as he said it. “They are the medics you called for, surely?”
Simon could not mask the lack of confidence in his voice. Still, he was unsure how else to explain the two men, who stood as clear and real as day at the opposite end of the room. Jeanne turned and looked directly at the doorway. Simon watched as the two men shallowly bowed at her gaze, still smirking, but Jeanne turned back to him with a look of puzzlement. Perhaps Jeanne was playing some sort of prank.
“This isn’t funny, Jeanne,” Simon said, gesturing futilely at the two men.
"Stop playing around. I know you can see them.”
Jeanne’s face was a dark mask of concern.
“There’s no one there, Dr. Mitchell. I’m the only person in this room. Besides you, I mean.”
A cold sweat began to form on Simon’s brow. The gentlemen proceeded to enter the room, moving noiselessly across the laboratory floor tiles. The lanky man playfully placed a finger to his lips to indicate silence, which was unnecessary as both of them seemed to move in absolutely silence. The second man, a slightly stouter gentleman with thick round lensed glasses that gave him the appearance of an owl, cast his partner a slightly disapproving look.
“Hello, Dr. Mitchell,” the owlish man said. His voice was airy, and it seemed as if it emanated from somewhere inside Simon’s own head and resonated about his skull. Simon shot a quick glance at Jeanne and immediately confirmed from her distracted, searching look that the voice was as imperceptible to her as the gentleman’s physical presence.
“This might be a sort of surprise, I’m sure.” The man adjusted his glasses on the perch of his nose and somehow the gesture gave him even more the semblance of a bird of prey.
“Who are you?” Simon whispered hoarsely.
“Friends,” the lanky handsome man offered, a large smile still plastered across his face. His voice seeped like a rich syrup through Simon’s brain.
“What are you doing here?”
The handsome man shrugged with feigned aloofness.
“Just seeing the sights, enjoying a day out on the town,” he grinned.
“Don’t listen to him,” the owlish man interjected, almost apologetic in tone. “He’ll tell you nothing but lies unless he’s standing in a triangle.”
Baffled, Simon shook his head. The owlish man continued. “We’re here because we took an interest in your work, Dr. Mitchell. There was a time, many years back now, when you were in what some might call a truly low spot. Desperate.”
The man cocked his head to the side, again mimicking the appearance of a bird.
"You called out to us for help. Said you would do anything. You were so hopeless, such a wretched, forlorn thing. I bet you didn’t think anyone was actually listening. I bet you didn’t think anyone would actually respond. Didn’t think there was anyone there simply because you couldn’t see them. How foolish."
Simon had completely forgotten about Jeanne in the room. His attention was completely captured by these two gentlemen who now stood before him, conversing naturally but seeming to never truly make a sound.
“What are you talking about? Who are you?”
The stout man smiled, his glasses catching the glare of the overhead fluorescent lighting and reflecting it back.
“My name is Stolas and this here is Furfur. We’re here to collect our debt, Simon.” He cooed. “We have delivered on our end. Look at your success today. How do you think that came about, hm? We had a deal, Simon. Now it’s time for you to hold up your end of the bargain.”
submitted by knight4bishop to stories [link] [comments]


2020.07.02 02:20 CountOfCristoMonte Maybe the National Parks Aren't Just There to Preserve Nature - Shenandoah

“And how long will you be staying at the Skyland Lodge?”
I winced, at the hotel’s unfortunate name. The members of a Depression-Era Public Works committee had no doubt deliberated for months on just what to call Shenandoah’s in-park accommodation, but their efforts had not paid off.
“Just the one night.” I handed the desk attendant my credit card.
“Well we’re glad you can join us.” She passed a map over the counter, along with two keys and my receipt. “You’re in room 188, in the Hazletop building. Just follow this road to the right.”
I thanked the woman, crossed the small lobby, and pushed open the door into a crisp autumn afternoon. My decrepit 4Runner waited in the lot outside. I dropped the room keys and their associated paperwork into my backpack on the front passenger seat and started the old beast. The SUV rumbled reluctantly to life and its engine spluttered at the indignity of being called again to service so shortly after I’d last shut it off.
I patted the dashboard affectionately. “You’re doing great, girl.” As if on cue, the engine quieted at my affection.
Rather than head directly to my no-doubt dingy room, I took a left out of the visitor center parking lot. I noted on the map that a portion the Appalachian Trail crossed through the park just down the road. The Trail was on my bucket list. I certainly couldn’t hike the whole thing today, but I always enjoyed walking a few miles when I visited the parks it passed through.
After only a moment on the road, I came to the “Stony Man Trail” parking lot. The area provided little more than a dusty shoulder off the main road, so I found a hospitable section of dirt to park the 4Runner. I opted to leave my backpack and boots in their place on the passenger seat, but decided to take my hat. As I unsnapped it from its place on my backpack strap, I remembered the cooler, just below the seat.
A lifetime ago, a college girlfriend had painted its top to mimic a brown wicker weave. “A pick-a-nick basket for your next hike,” She’d teased. A gift for a beach trip we’d taken with friends, the cooler lasted far longer than the relationship, and I’d filled it with sandwiches before departing from my Washington apartment. I lifted its lid, digging past a cold pack to fetch a foil-wrapped turkey and swiss. I stuffed my lunch into a back pocket, and left several sandwiches and a sports drink for my return.
The Stony Man trail climbs gently uphill through a mile and a half of dense woods. About halfway through the hike, the White Blazes of the Appalachian trail give way to blue swatches that mark a path to the summit. Autumn had decorated the Shenandoah foliage in brilliant orange, red, and green, and I found myself so caught up in this natural fireworks display that I nearly missed the turn. I managed to tear my attention from the trees for long enough to find my way, though, and after about half an hour of hiking, I reached the summit.
Below me, the Shenandoah Valley stretched in every direction. Farmland checkered the countryside, creating a haphazard patchwork of wheat brown, rolling green hills, and brilliant autumn color. Little white farmhouses dotted the landscape, and I imagined their occupants concluding a hard day’s work in front of roaring fire.
I sat there, daydreaming, for some time. The drive had worn me out though, and I looked forward to dinner, a good night’s sleep, and a morning of hiking the next day. The blue blazes guided me back to the white swatches, and at a leisurely stroll, I made my way back down, accompanied by the lyrical trill of birdsong. After about forty-five minutes of walking, I spotted the silver glint of my ancient car through the trees. As I got closer, though I spotted something else.
Distance, and the dense forest obscured my view. But through the trees, a massive animal seemed to wrap itself around the right side of my car. I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t see it clearly. I stared at the shape for what felt like hours, but was surely only minutes.
I crept closer.
A yard or two nearer I could make out a few details. Shaggy arms pawed at the door and claws clacked against the window. A bear? The creature seemed to stand head and shoulders above the SUV though. A truly massive bear. I didn’t dare venture any closer.
Whump
A heavy impact shook the nearby branches.
Whump
I glimpsed a flash of silver through the trees and I realized what was happening.
Whump
The beast was rocking my car.
Whump
Left
Whump
And right.
Whump.
I didn’t move. I didn’t breathe. I didn’t dare so much as blink, lest the animal turn its attention from my car to me. The thumping continued for I don’t know how long, and, terrified though I was, I worried at how much abuse the old car could take. At this thought, though, the sound stopped. I couldn’t’ see the black form through the trees anymore, but I also couldn’t’ be sure it was gone. I waited, crouched amongst the trees.
After what felt like hours, I worked up the courage to leave the woods for the parking lot. My car was in rough shape.
Long scratches marked the windows, and the already-battered exterior now sported several new, deep dents. I unlocked the door, and climbed into the driver’s seat. Turning the key in the ignition, I prepared myself for the worst.
The 4Runner roared to life. Its engine thundered more vigorously even than it had when I left the lodge, as if the car was celebrating its own survival. I drove carefully back to Skyland, half expecting the bear to leap from the woods along the way. I made it back to the welcome center without incident though, and parked the 4Runner in the same place I’d left it when I checked in. I figured that I ought to report the incident to a ranger, and I went inside to find one. The desk attendant was nowhere to be found. I poked around the lobby, passing a smattering of old couples and young families. But no ranger.
A sign indicated the “Mountain Tap Room” to be around the corner. I followed it, telling myself I’d report the bear tomorrow.
The restaurant was small. Just a few square tables scattered across the floor and a short bar, all decorated in dark, rustic wood. A young family sat at one of the tables, and the only other patron was stationed at the far end of the room, chatting pleasantly with the bartender. I parked myself two stools down from him.
The man wore a red, grey, and green checked flannel shirt and a pair of faded light blue jeans. He sported salt and pepper black hair, cut near to a buzz on the sides. His hands, resting on the bar, were tanned, and while I couldn’t see his palms, I knew they’d be calloused. He turned part of the way to me as I sat. I could only see his face in profile, and the partial view did not betray an age. He could have been anywhere from thirty to sixty.
“Evening bud.” He raised his beer. I lifted a hand in return, but didn’t say anything back. I scanned the short menu as the bartender made her way to me.
“What’s it going to be?” She asked for my order politely, but didn’t offer a smile.
“Three Rivers Belgian.” I selected the draft randomly from the list of unfamiliar beers. “And a burger as well, please.” She poured the drink, and handed it over the bar. I nodded my thanks.
“You spend a lot of time in the parks?” asked the man in flannel. He spoke in a confident baritone that immediately disarmed my usual hesitance to strike up conversation with strangers.
The image of a coyote with two snouts flashed, unbidden through my mind. In the years since I’d visited Big Bend, that night’s events had faded into memory. The steady march of time, coupled with a busy life, and a cross-country move, had reduced the horrifying experience to little more than a distantly remembered fever dream. I’d convinced myself that what I saw in the desert been the product of an overactive imagination, and too many late-night podcasts.
I banished the image from my mind and answered the question.
“I grew up hiking them.” He turned more fully to face me. “My Dad was a ranger before we came along, so he used to take us all around.”
“Can always spot a Friend of the Parks.” He responded, pronouncing the phrase as if it were an official title, or a military rank. “Cheers. We tapped our mugs.
“How were the trails?” he asked. My rocking car returned immediately to the front of my mind, and before I could think better of it, I told him about the experience.
“Saw a bear out by Stony Man. Damn thing almost ripped my car in half.”
By this point he’d turned in his stool to face me with his whole body. He raised his eyebrows, but his ageless face remained otherwise impassive.
“You didn’t leave food in the car did you?” he asked. I cursed myself internally, remembering the cooler.
“Damn.” I spoke as much to myself as to him. “I suppose I did leave a couple of sandwiches in the cooler, didn’t I.” I knew better.
His expression didn’t change.
“Did you get a good look at him?” He fixed me with an intense, but unreadable stare, and I noticed that his eyes were nearly the same shade of grey as the hair at his temples. I shifted in my seat.
“Only through the trees. Couldn’t see him all that clearly. He was big though. A good bit taller than my car on his hind legs.”
The man wrinkled his brow and looked away for a moment, before turning his grey eyes back to me.
“Did you see his feet?”
“Excuse me?” Surely, I’d misheard him.
“Did you see his teeth?” I let out a breath. The question was still strange, but at least it made proper reference to animal anatomy.
“No, couldn’t bring myself to get close enough.” I chuckled at my own cowardice, but the man didn’t return the laugh. He looked at me a moment longer, and opened his mouth to speak. Whatever he’d been about to say, though, he thought better of it. He turned his attention to the bartender.
“Close me out Katie?” She nodded and, began printing his check from the register.
“I’m going to head in for the evening pal.” The bartender brought his bill in a plastic tray, and he signed the receipt. “You make sure you report that bear to a ranger tomorrow.” He didn’t look at me as he spoke, and he was gone before I could return the farewell.
I watched him go. Katie brought my burger, and I turned my attention to the food, putting the brief conversation out of my mind. A wave of exhaustion hit me nearly as soon as I finished the burger. The drive from D.C., the hike, and an adrenaline hangover from my bear sighting combined all at once, and it was all I could not to pass out on the bar. I closed out my tab, and shuffled out to my car where it waited in the parking lot. On the way out, I passed the man from the bar, speaking animatedly into his cellphone. Rather than interrupt what appeared to be an intense conversation, I passed him without acknowledgement.
A brief drive brought me to the Hazletop. After finding a place for the 4Runner outside, I gathered my backpack and hauled the cooler from its place on the passenger side floor. I found room 188 just up a set of outdoor stairs and juggled my belongings, trying to hold my backpack, cooler, and keys, all while unlocking the door. I managed to shoulder my way into the room and the awkward shuffle brought me in backwards. I dumped my belongings on the floor, and collapsed, thinking only of sleep, to the room’s single bed.
I woke with a start some hours later. I’d fallen asleep in my clothes. I climbed from the bed, peeled off my jeans, tugged my musty t-shirt over my head, and stumbled to the bathroom. I considered showering, but told myself I’d do so in the morning. I rubbed my eyes as I shuffled back toward my bed. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw it.
On the far wall, between the drawn blinds of two long windows, was painted a horrifying mural. It was difficult to see in the low light, but I squinted to make out the details.
The image showed a creature with the same general shape as a bear, but bigger, and up on its hind legs. It had a bear’s heavy lower body, large round head, and narrow shoulders. But it seemed thinner than a bear, nearly emaciated, and more at ease upright. As if the artist hadn’t been aware that bears ordinarily walk on all fours. The creature’s coat too, was longer than any woodland animal’s. Matted, black fur, almost like human hair, covered the beast head to toe, except in a few mottled patches that exposed shiny, twisted skin, like burn scars. Its face was flatter than a bear’s, and a heavy lower jaw, featuring two jutting teeth, hung in a prominent underbite. For whatever perverse reason, the artist had included a shiny dribble of drool at the corner of the creature’s mouth.
I stared at the image, unmoving for a moment. Once the initial shock wore off, I decided I was too tired to think especially hard about the picture, and dismissed it as another product of the same mid-century public works nightmare that had provided the hotel with its tragic name. I crawled back into bed, and in moments, slept again.
Sunlight, directly in my eyes, woke me up. Remembering the twisted mural, I made of point of rolling out of bed the other way before shuffling out of the room. I started my car, and drove the short distance back to the visitor’s center in search of breakfast.
I parked amongst a handful of other cars, and crossed the gravel lot towards the lobby. A sign for the “Potluck Dining Room” guided me to breakfast. A hostess sat me at a table in a far corner. Like the Mountain Tap Room, dark wood covered nearly every surface of the dining restaurant, and floor-to-ceiling windows offered sweeping views of the surrounding forest. A handful of other diners sat, scattered around the wide room.
When the server came around, I ordered eggs and bacon. I enjoyed the view until the food arrived. As she brought my breakfast, though, a familiar face joined her.
“Morning pal.” The man from the Tap Room. “How’d you sleep.” His ageless face remained as impassive as ever, but I sensed that he genuinely wanted to know the answer.
“Like a rock,” I answered truthfully. “I was pretty toast after the drive, the hike, and the bear yesterday, so I was out pretty quickly.” He looked relieved.
“Glad to hear it.” As the man turned to go, I thought of the mural, and the twisted bear it had shown.
“Hey did your room have one of the murals?” He stopped dead. As he turned back to me, I saw that the color had drained completely from his face.
“Mural?” He asked quietly. I could see him thinking, and he asked the next question carefully. “What did yours show?”
“A bear. . . thing.” I answered. “But a big one, with a weird face.”
He set his jaw, and nodded, as if he’d hoped that I wouldn’t answer in the way I had. He thought again, for a moment, and then, as if he’d made up his mind, fixed his expression in a look of grim determination.
Without a word, he grabbed my arm, and before I could protest, he’d hauled me from my seat.
“Hey man, what. . .”
I tried to shake the arm free, but his grip was like steel. He frog-marched me across the restaurant, as the few other patrons looked on in confusion. He didn’t answer though, as we left the restaurant, and crossed the lobby. That same look of determination remained fixed on his ageless face as he led me outside to the door of my car.
"You need to follow me.” He issued the command with authority, and before I could protest, or ask just what, exactly, was happening, he’d turned, and begun jogging across the parking lot to a bright red pickup truck. I thought of Big Bend, and the old couple. And when he peeled out of the lot, I followed.
The red pickup truck sped up as we crossed onto Skyline Drive. Trees, hills, and fall foliage whipped past me as I forced my decrepit SUV to keep pace with the much newer car in front of me. After only a few moments on the road, red and blue lights filled my rearview, and the wail of a siren drowned out the 4Runner’s struggling engine. I slowed as what I assumed to be a Park Ranger approached. A horn blared. I looked again to my mirror. The ranger drove only a few feet behind me, and I could make out his brick jaw, dark-tinted aviators, and smoky-the-bear hat on the dashboard. She shook his head, waving a hand forward in a keep-going motion. Soon, he overtook me, and as he passed, I noticed that he drove not the usual white-and-green park service car, but an unmarked, gunmetal grey pickup SUV, with a siren mounted to the roof.
The ranger passed me and the red truck, siren still blaring. The red pickup crossed into the left lane, and its driver waved for me to pass, indicating that I should continue to follow the ranger. I kept pace with the flashing lights, and the pickup crossed back into the right lane behind me.
The three of us continued in this formation for miles as the ranger led us on harrowing, cannonball run of the scenic highway. The famously winding road twisted and curved through the Park, and every time we sped around a curve, I feared that my aging 4Runner would flip. I remembered the drive from the park entrance to Skyland taking around an hour. The three of us covered the distance in twenty minutes.
The ranger didn’t slow until we’d passed the entrance hut. The white and yellow entry barrier was conveniently thrown up by the time we passed. He pulled over to the side of the road once we’d left the park. I did the same, as did the red pickup behind me.
The ranger opened the door and stepped out, carrying my backpack. My hands shook as I opened my own door. The terrifying drive had required one hundred percent of my focus, and I’d hardly had a moment to think of what exactly to say. I wanted answers, though.
“What the fuck.” I yelled the words at the ranger, gesticulating wildly as I did so. He stared, impassive, his expression unreadable behind the tinted aviators. The other man had also stepped from his red pickup and joined us by the side of the road. The two shared a meaningful glance.
I looked frantically from one man to the other, searching both of their expressions for some explanation, some reason why I’d been escorted from a National Park at 75 miles an hour, first thing in the morning, while my belongings sat in my hotel room. The ranger took off his sunglasses, and looked me in the eye. The other man put a hand on my shoulder. Both stood in front of me. I stared.
“You told me about a mural in your room, friend.” The gray-eyed man said this slowly, almost sadly. The men shared another look, and the ranger followed up.
“Pal, the rooms in Skyland don’t have artwork.” He trailed off, looking to the trees, then turned back to me.
“Your room didn’t have a mural.”
We locked eyes.
“It had a window.”
It took me a moment to process his words. I looked again, from one man to the other, but found nothing by way of explanation in either face. The image of the twisted bear-creature came again to my mind. It’s cruel fangs. It’s long claws. The drool at the corners of its mouth. I thought again of my car, shaking the woods, and the black form that had wrapped itself nearly around the vehicle, clawing desperately at its window. My stomach dropped, and I thought for a moment that I might lose my breakfast on the ranger’s boots. The two men stared.
“Head straight on home pal.” The ranger looked almost sympathetic. “And I wouldn’t plan any more trips to Shenandoah.” He turned toward his car, and the man in flannel followed suit.
“Wait.” My voice cracked as I yelled the final word. But I didn’t know what to ask. “Do you have my cooler?” I finished lamely and he turned back to me.
“That’s staying in the park, friend.” He smiled and shook his head. “I hope you didn’t have anything too valuable in there.” He turned again, and I could tell the conversation was over. The gray-eyed man climbed back into his truck, and as I watched, the two men turned and drove slowly back into woods.
The drive back to Washington was quick. Once I turned off the engine in my old 4Runner, it never started back up again. The bear—or whatever it was—coupled with the furious flight down Skyline drive had finally been too much for the old girl. And that night, as I tossed and turned in my bed, high above the noisy streets of the nation’s capital, I thought again, more sure this time, that maybe the national parks, aren’t just there to preserve nature.
**\*
Big Bend Shenandoah Yellowstone
submitted by CountOfCristoMonte to nosleep [link] [comments]


beipepadeno.tk

♡ How to Draw a Face -Side View! ♡ How to Draw a Head in Profile View (Female) How to draw side face of female for beginners  Easy Way to Draw a girl face  Pencil Drawing How I Draw Side Profiles How to draw side face of female  Easy Way to Draw a girl(Side View)  Pencil drawing THE BEST HAIRSTYLE FOR YOUR FACIAL PROFILE!  Brittney Gray Drawing - Realistic Female Face (side view) How to Draw Anime Girl Body Proportions Side View [No Timelapse] Drawing the female body 7--the side view

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  9. Drawing the female body 7--the side view

How to draw the female face side view: Drawing the human head from the side profile - Duration: 20:34. learningasidraw 24,198 views. 20:34. Hey guys. A few of you have been asking how I draw portraits from the side. This is a quick video to help explain my thinking process. I hope you get something out of it ️ Instagram ... Category Howto & Style; Song Fun Guitar And Ukulele.-9291-RFR; Artist Joel Hunger; Licensed to YouTube by AdRev for Rights Holder; AdRev Publishing, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., and 8 Music Rights ... Hello loves I hope this video helped you all! Thanks so much for watching God Bless! Go ahead and show me you own version of this drawing and use #rawsueshii. Art Supplies I use is listed below ... Hey, we are drawing the female body, part 7, which covers how to draw the female body in the side view. If you want more free drawing lessons, then visit Here comes the video that people have requested since my last video. Please check out my channel if you want to learn how to draw hands or heads, as I have covered those topics before ... pencil name : DOMS ( ZOOM ULTIMATE DARK ) pencil Subscribe to my channel to get more drawing videos. Visit to my channel : https://www.youtube... Drawing - Realistic Female Face (side view) step by step. I used DOMS (ZOOM ULTIMATE DARK) Pencil in this drawing. Subscribe to my channel to get more drawing videos. Visit to my channel : https ... Intro was made by a lovely subscriber, Michaela! Top, earrings, bracelet: Windsor Necklace: Francesca's ...