Happy 70th birthday images for him

Golden Age Comics

2014.01.19 00:59 piperson Golden Age Comics

The sub-Reddit for all things Golden age Comics from Action Comics #1 To EC Comics of the 50's.

2018.09.12 04:27 suitology nine_eleven_bbys

Not a place for your edgy memes. You will be banned. It's a place to say Happy Birthday to other September 11th birthdays

2014.03.30 03:43 ClocksStriking13 That's My Boy

A place to celebrate this oft-overlooked Sandler classic. If there was ever a movie that deserves its own subreddit, it’s That’s My Boy. Starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg

2023.03.22 07:47 Not_that_Diffusion For Intel, AMD GPU, Mac or Windows Users, Try Linux, it's fast and stable

First Part

This is not a tutorial just some personal experience.
When I just started out using stable diffusion on my intel AMD Mac, I got a decent speed of 1.2-1.8it/s, which takes 30-40s for a 512x512 image 25 steps no control net, is fine for an AMD 6800xt, I guess.
Things get worse when I try to use high resolution 1024x1024, with ControlNet, it takes 5-10 minutes for a single image.
After some google, I decided to give Linux a try, because it has ROCm 5.4.2, which supports AMD GPU acceleration on Linux. Now I can get about 5-5.7it/s for 512x51225 steps
you may follow this if you have Radeon RX 6000 series GPU, and know a thing or two about using the terminal.
  1. First, you need to install Linux, dual boot is a good choice. I use Linux Mint 21.1 Cinnamon, 5.15 kernel, this is mandatory, and you can also choose Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS or Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS.
  2. Follow this guide by tech-practice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQqK5fz5wis to install ROCm 5.4.2. Anaconda, etc. you can stop at around 28 minutes mark, as I'm a tech-noob, i can only handle WebUI.
  3. Please be careful there is a typo in his video(around 23:00 into his video): use this: export HSA_OVERRIDE_GFX_VERSION=10.3.0
  4. Also do remember this virtual environment name you set: like in his video is py39torchamd. cause every time you use stable diffusion webui, you should activate this environment in terminal first.
  5. Now it's time to install WebUI, choose a location you want, open the terminal inside the folder, just right-click inside the folder, choose open in terminal

#First clone the webui to your folder git clone https://github.com/AUTOMATIC1111/stable-diffusion-webui.git #then install dependence for wenbui pip install -r stable-diffusion-webui/requirements_versions.txt pip install -r stable-diffusion-webui/requirements.txt 
  1. After everything is set, To launch Webui, go to the WebUI folder, right-click, open in terminal

    First you need to activte the virtual envrioment you set:

    conda activate (the name you set for the virtual envitoment)

    then luanch the webui with some bootarguments, mine is below,you may need to adjust accroiding to your hardware.

    python launch.py --upcast-sampling --opt-sub-quad-attention --medvram
  2. now, hopefully, you are good to go. or maybe not, you'll run into some weird shit. just google it.

Second part

Get high res images on an AMD GPU machine. this is my personal workflow and may be useful for someone.
1: DO NOT use hires.Fix, it's extremely slow. You better offer to set the initial image resolution to 768x768, 512x768,1024x1024, (or 1536x512 if the vram can handle it.)
2: You can use TiledVAE, but i use chaiNNer for my image upscale.
  1. To use chaiNNer for Upscale with GPU acceleration, first install chaiNNEr and all 3 dependencies: pytorch, NCNN, ONNX. No command lines needed to install these, once you open chaiNNEr, you will find a download button on top right corner.
  2. Download upscale models like RealESRGAN_x4plus.pth, RealESRGAN_x4plus_anime_6B.pth
  3. Convert this pytorch model to NCNN model in chaiNNer.
  4. Now you can upscale to 4K,6K images blazing fast with AMD GPU acceleration.

That will be all. Happy diffusion.
submitted by Not_that_Diffusion to StableDiffusion [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:47 BurntSchmidt Don't Look Behind You, But...

It was a cold winter's night in Freeport. My husband and I were seated watching TV, he in his chair and I on the couch. Across the room (the length of our single-story ranch house) there is a single window looking directly into the living room from the yard. I noticed the figure approaching and subsequently ducking down sp that only the crest of his head down to his eyes were visible.
My heart began to race, and my blood pressure had catapulted so quickly that my head began to throb and pound, and, despite the internal hurricane taking place, I at first pretended not to notice. I kept my eyes fixed on my husband, chatting and laughing as if nothing horrifying was taking place. I kept the intruder in birds eye view for several minutes, hoping he'd just up and leave, taking no interest in our ordinary, sedate state of affairs. Let me also mention that it was six degrees outside.
I continued on with just the same frame of attitude as the time I was robbed at gunpoint years before. I learned that I have a unique ability to remain externally calm despite the fire in my veins and the quaking of my being. Outside, I'm ice, but inside, I'm a tree shaken of all its leaves. Verily, after about ten minutes (I swear that every time I looked at the blank face and noticed it was still there, peeping in a polar vortex, I nearly screamed) I made a decision. Inside, I was absolutely breaking. Each moment that I turned to the TV and then shifted back, my heart skipped several beats.
Finally, with my face turned away, I said to my husband through my teeth, "honey, do NOT look and do NOT react, but there is a man looking at us through the window right now. Don't look!". Despite my urging, his impulse got the better of him. The moment he rose from the chair and turned, the peeper had leaped from view. I told him we needed to call 911. However, before I could even turn on my screen, the knob to the front door began to tremble and shake convulsively.
My husband commanded me to run to our room, a command which he followed as well, which, in such a tumultuous moment, was our only defense - because by then, the intruder was throwing himself against the front door. The jamb and hinged were audibly cracking, all of the items on the glass living room refectory table had begun to tremble and clatter, and the walls all reverberated thunderously.
With all of my strength (my husband had fused disks in his back, so he was totally incapable of assisting), I grasped the bureau by the legs and with all my puny might dragged the son of a bitch across the floor and finally, in one final throe of desperation, pushed it against the door. In the midst of this midnight whirlwind, the front door had been kicked opened and the footsteps, incredibly heavy ones, had tramped down the hallway as if the footfalls were 200 pound blocks of ice, though it hadnt sunk in until I, fresh out of breath and flushed in icy hot sweat, had tumbled backwards onto the bed.
"I have a gun!", my husband shouted repeatedly as the intruder began throwing his weight against the door. Assuming he might also be armed, we slunk to the far side of the bed and ducked down. I phoned 911, and they assured me the police were currently in pursuit. It's an incredibly small, derelict steel town in Western Pennsylvania, hollowed out by the terminus of the steel boom. The police arrived imminently, but in between the call, the threats, and the arrival of PD, I noticed something strange. Something that truly chilled me to the bone.
At some point, the intruder halted, and in a shrill, gravelly tone that sounded devilishly feminine, shouted a few simple words, which had been repeated several times - "this isn't yyyyyourrrrr house! This is NOT YOURRRR HOUSE!". He pounded furiously on the door as he shouted (if you could even call it 'shouting') these words with an almost compendious conviction. My husband, who at the time had been battling bronchitis, was gasping for elusive gulps of air with such severity, I was afraid he might faint or, worse, succumb to asphyxiation.
In a flash, the police had arrived. The thousand pound footsteps retreated, but not before a throng of screams rang out from the front doorway. Shots were fired, and voices had gone frenetic. I removed the dresser and ran out. An officer was splayed out on his back half in and half out of the house and was screaming, screaming with every fiber of his soul. All I could see was blood everywhere. Smeared on the walls, even.
"Don't come out here!", shouted an officer as he called for a medic. But the image was burned in. The first-responding officer had been slashed from temple to chin, left to right, and was screaming and rolling chaotically, as if he was being immolated and had desperately taken to putting himself out. That haunting vision has only grown stronger and with greater clarity since. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see the flashing terror in his eyes and the gaping of his mouth as he cried out, "I'm blind! Gary, I'm fucking blind! I'll never see her again! Diane! Diane!"
We watched out the window of the bedroom as flashlights played upon the black, frozen woods like strobes. Seeing them spread so broadly only made my heart sink, and soon after, an officer came calling.
"Do you have a friend or relative you could stay with tonight?".
This being a most disheartening sign, we went and stayed with our son and daughter - in - law for two nights until we could fortify the house with new doors, triple paned windows and a full alarm system. For weeks, months, even, we walked around on our toes while continuously throwing glances over our shoulders everywhere we went, but what was most disconcerting was that we felt more vulnerable locked behind closed doors.
To this day, the intruder hasn't been found. I looked into previous owners of our house. We had been living there 18 years by then, and the scent on the trail of discovery was nonexistent. I still don't know what about our house "isn't" ours, and I'm not sure I want to know. This occurred in 2020, just as COVID had begun to scorch the earth. One thing I know intuitively, however, is that no matter how much time passes, unless I grow a third eye on the back of my head, I will never be comfortable again.
submitted by BurntSchmidt to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:45 rarebird89 help -- low supply post-covid at 7 months postpartum

I've had a very happy breastfeeding journey after a rough start but rather suddenly my supply seems to have dropped precipitously, following Covid, some stress, and a night or two out to celebrate.
Baby is still feeding regularly but he hardly stays latched and always seems hungry and frustrated. I tried pumping this morning (with a hand pump) and got two drops.
We do solids 2x/day and have started giving a bottle of formula 1x a day but I'm starting to get worried that 1) we're starving him and 2) my supply won't come back.
If I have to stop breastfeeding I'll be sad but it's not the end of the world. But I would imagine the best thing to do is just persist and hope my supply recovers? Would prefer to stick to BF for at least another 5-6 months if I can. Please send advice!!
submitted by rarebird89 to breastfeeding [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:45 josephjoaci SPAM THE COCONUT TREE, CHAT!

xQc's focus on negative criticism makes him unable to accept criticism in any shape or form. This motherfucker is so disconnected from reality that he probably didn't know (until today) his editor shits all over other streamers on Twitter (very unhinged shit), even some people He's now on good terms with, in a certain way, damaging his reputation, image, brand, and relationship with other fellow streamers.
Lately, xQc cherry-picks what he takes accountability for (E.g. unpunctuality in general and inconsistency of attitude related to traits in work), creates schedules He can't follow, and gets disappointed when He often fails. Lil bro gets mad at chat for spamming "We don't care LULW" (while He rants about some drama nobody gives a shit about) or "Please, No more TikTok, it's been 2 hours already pepeAgony".
Pointing out any possible tiny flaw involving his habits, actions or capacity to deal with or set boundaries IRL, another massive issue in his life, but He isn't ready for this conversation yet is a no-no that turns you automatically into a parasocial, complaining-Andy or even hate-watcher.
After all, xQc is very successful and has a substantial streamer career. But seeing someone like Minx throwing hers under the bus makes me ponder: is it that hard for him to take a step back, sort things out in his private life and maybe take some time to work on himself and his mental health?
If streaming is inevitably necessary to keep his head in a good place, He doesn't need to take a break but maybe try to stream one day and rest the next.
I am rooting for his best. I really am. But I fear if He doesn't reflect on some aspects, in some years or even in a few months, the stress can become unbearable and make things go downhill in other areas of his life, and nobody wants to see that.
\English is my second language, so if anything I described wasn't clear enough, I beg your pardon.)
submitted by josephjoaci to xqcow [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:44 ClearCounter Malazan Book of The Fallen Analysis and Reactions - House of Chains - Chapters 5-11


Welcome or welcome back! I have decided to tackle the Malazan Book of The Fallen series. Because I think veteran readers will enjoy it, I will write down my reactions and speculations as I move along.
NOTE If I pose questions, I am just sharing the questions I'm thinking in real time at X scene or book. I don't actually wish for commenters to answer them for me unless it is an extreme circumstances (Mixing up characters, misremembering events in previous scenes.)
Gardens of the Moon Deadhouse Gates Memories of Ice House of Chains Prologue - Chapter 4
Wowee, to make up for basically only being with Karsa in the first section, we jump around A LOT in the second one. If I forget to hit a character or event or skip it, remember to please nudge me in the comments so we can talk about it!

Tavore Paran

There isn't much to talk about here because we don't get a lot of reactions out of her, even when Ganoes was revealed to be not a traitor, but also dead, making some of Tavore's questionable actions ultimately unnecessary. I like the way she handled her Fist's at her briefing, giving her orders then dismissing them when they might seek to undermine her, but it also worries me because Fiddler criticized his company commander for refusing to hear his sergeants' thoughts. There seemed to be a bit of a mirroring between the Lieutenant and the Adjunct, both nobleborn untested commanders dismissing their veteran subordinates contributions.
We do see that she is worried about Felisin, so I'm giving her a tentative pass on the whole execute your mother and send your sister to a prison-camp thing.

The Fists

Gamet seems to be suffering from an inferiority complex and/or is being ill used by Tavore, being treated like a household guard captain still, despite being named a Fist. He has a bit of a good moment when he accuses Blistig of orchestrating the omen, then backtracks when he hears Blistig's response.
Blistig is broken from witnessing the end of the Chain of Dogs and his faith in his superiors is probably cracked. He might be a problem.
Tene Baralta - the Red Blades commander, now Fist, seems to be basically the only grounded Fist here, he just wants to get out there and prosecute the war, though in the previous books, Red Blades were acting like raging psychopaths, so he might be a problem too.


Fiddler is back and he is coming off better than I remember him being in Deadhouse.
He is now basically the Whiskeyjack for a whole new squad of Malazans and he is working hard behind the scenes to make sure the Adjunct Tavore is successful. He has decent moments with everyone, gelling well with all the soldiers.
The best moment was probably when he and Cuttle (an old sapper friend) "drew a line in the sand" and got the recruit-army in formation by blowing up munitions in their faces. Paraphrased from Cuttle "WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS RIGHT OR PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE". Lol
OH and its hinted that if Fidder (or any Bridgeburner) makes it back to Raraku, the dead Bridgeburners will play a role in whatever Ganoes Paran is doing now.

The Quest Storylines

This is basically what I'm calling many of the plot elements introduced in this section. They are
Lostara Yil + Pearl : Quest to find Felisin. Pearl gets credit for digging up the Talon, Lostara is being dragged along for the ride.
Kalam Mekhar : Quest to kill Korbolo Dom and (Reloe)? Cotillion has him do it and he accepts because his wife is mad at him. (He meets the Malazans that escorted Karsa most of the way to Otataral Island, and in the time honored tradition of Malazans, they murdered their officers.)
Apsalar + Crokus/Cutter : Quest to (secure?) the Throne of Shadow, located on a moving island located in the mortal realm. Shadowthrone apparently does not sit it, so it is a fragment that might not be in his possession. I almost thought that ApsalaCrokus was going to fade out of the story, given a happy ending / normal life, but looks like we have more to go. I like the divorce from Crokus to Cutter, in order to protect himself Crokus has crafted a new him to lay all his sins on. All is not well in loveland.
Onrack + Trull : Quest to get the fuck out of this warren (This is the 3rd or 4th time we've had to watch characters try to escape from this shit warren.) Onrack introduces the concept that statues/icons can be inhabited by the powers they represent, then later releases two Hounds of Darkness, who might be the two Paran sent into the Warren of Dark in Gardens. Oh and we finally meet some Tiste Liosan (Light) and they are certain High Elf archetypes (aka dicks).
Karsa Orlong : Quest to do something for the Seven, but really he is probably just looking for a horse and its conveniently in the same direction. Ostensibly Sha'ik's only trustworthy bodyguard, he is leaving her to a pit of snakes. Also we discover that he isn't a Whirlwind follower like he seemed to be in Deadhouse, and he is also getting pretty done with the Seven, if he finds out they are Imass, it might be the last straw.

Book of the Fallen and Death

So I've basically decided at this point that anyone who has died is not really dead until I forget they exist. A LOT of characters have come back from the dead, in full, in spirit, or partially. If a god still wants to use you, you don't die, sometimes you get to become a god, or magic saves you.
List of people who died but are not dead off the top of my head - Tattersail, Bellurdan, Nightchill - Duiker - Ganoes Paran - Toc the Younger - Baudin (If he is the Knight of Death, im 99% sure) probably more but its very late for me, and I'm sleepy

The Whirlwind Rebellion

Things are looking very very very very very bad for this rebellion tbh. Every "officer" except MAYBE L'oric is conspiring to kill each other and/or Sha'ik. Bidithal isn't worth an ounce of slimy scum. Felisin Elder doesn't seem to be commanding well. And its home to the weirdest most complicated conspiracy I think I've seen in a book.
Korbolo Dom's plan A. Betray Malazan forces in Seven Cities, slay half your legion, assist in the uprising B. Allow High Mage Febryl to assassinate Sha'ik C. Allow Tavore Paran to defeat and kill High Mage Febryl and all Whirlwind forces not loyal to Korbolo D. Kill Tavore Paran and her army E. Destroy the rebellion and everyone who resists and return Seven Cities to the Empire F. Return to the Malazan capital, assassinate the Empress, be Emperor.
wow...just wow. I mean, good for you shooting for the stars but....what?????
Speaking of slime, even Felisin Elder couldn't stand Mallick Rell, the Jhistal Priest of Mael, so he has been sent packing. He'll pop up elsewhere, he has to get his just desserts.
The storyline going on between the two sisters opposing each other is cool and I'm down for it. I wonder what Tavore is going to do when she figures out her opponent is Felisin Elder.
Korbolo Dom does have an idea that starts off as good and then tapers off into bad. He wishes the world would be free of gods and magic so that the common man can take control of his own destiny, but then goes on to fantasize about exterminating all the other races and making his way to live the only way to live.

Shadowthrone + Cotillion

I noticed a recognizable lack of Shadow in Memories of Ice but they are back and sticking their fingers in everything again. Cotillion is straight up asking people to go on quests for him, Lostara Yil, Cutter, Kalam, so he is invested in the outcomes of their storylines. He also implies that Shadowthrone is not the master in the relationship and that they are not as unified as previously perceived in the books. There are also implications that their claim on the Shadow Warren is being contested by someone, though Anomander Rake has proprietary claim on the Throne of Shadow, he is protecting it for some reason.
I'm really lost on what their objectives are now, none of these questlines seem to be able to hurt Empress Laseen. Has the Crippled God's recent moves changed their objectives?


Ahhhh favorite parts are probably the tangled and sordid conspiracies happening in the Whirlwind. We had A LOT of characters this section, and there is a bit of a pattern with the books being mostly a slow burn that ramps up to several major conflicts where all the characters kind of eventually mash together, so this one is sure to be a mess for all involved. In Deadhouse we got character pairings in, in this one we get individual quests and two mega collections of characters heading towards a fight.
TBH though, this was kind of a weaker section compared to all the other ones, a few of the POV characters from previous books don't seem to have any motivation other than "Cotillion asked me to do him a favor and despite no one liking him or Shadowthrone, we said yes." Maybe I'm just cranky.
Favorite character THIS BOOK so far : I don't know, uh, Cuttle, Karsa Orlong, The sergeant that broke a shovel on Karsa's head, Shard or Cord.
Until next time!
submitted by ClearCounter to Malazan [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:42 PheidippidesAtlanta Unexpected Validation

"Ang tamang lalaki dadating yan. Pinagdadasal yan" -From a cousin, 50yrs old
These words I never thought I needed to hear. Ang sakto nang nakita ko yung story ng tita ng ex-manliligaw ko, may kasama na siyang iba. There was a notion na "sana ako yung kasama nila". Pero at the same time, felt happy for him. Maturity siguro, and I've accepted it naman na since 1 month na kami hindi nag uusap.
submitted by PheidippidesAtlanta to OffMyChestPH [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:42 allergenyx Is it wrong for me to feel unsure about living with my partner of 4 years and his new partner?

Me (24) and my partner Jake (fake name, 29) have been dating for over 4 years and have recently opened our relationship so we’re both very new to polyamory. Four months ago he started dating a new partner Liz (fake name, 28). I was very happy and excited for him when they first started dating and still am very happy for them. However, recently, Jake has been talking the idea of all three of us living together in the future and I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about this. I felt comfortable with how things have been going now since we all live separately and Liz and I can date and hang out with Jake without worrying too much about overstepping each others time with him. However, I’m worried about how this would work while living together. I feel like if Liz and I were closer than I would feel more comfortable with the idea but we have only met a couple times in person and we don’t know each other that well. Am I wrong for feeling this way? And would it be wrong to tell Jake that I would only feel comfortable with all three of us living together if she and I were able to become closer? (At least as friends but ideally also romantically).
submitted by allergenyx to polyamory [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:42 jahnivici I’m sick of being in love

I’ve loved him for over half my life. I’m only 22. I wish more than anything we could’ve just been together and life would be bliss. With my luck obviously not. All we do is hookup, he ignores me if he doesn’t want to. I got into alcohol when I was young. He started dating a girl who I considered my friend and she knew I was crazy about him too. At the time it killed me. I started going out more, drinking. If I knew it would lead me down this road, always drunk, gaining so much weight, working a dead end job and continuing to hookup with him I swear I never would’ve taken that first shot. He just came by. He was satisfied multiple times & I wasn’t. I just don’t know why I’m still entertaining him but , he’s someone I loved so much as a kid. I use to tell my friends it’s like winning the lottery. Once you win for the first time you’ll never feel that kinda way again. I know I need to just move on. I have this whole agenda of finishing school, quitting drinking, finding a job i love, losing weight, cleaning my space and keeping my self clean and being happy overall. I wana start so bad and I will, but if I do succeed and I still miss him idk what I’d do. For now I’ll try to be optimistic.
submitted by jahnivici to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:40 greg0525 The charlatan's cure

In the pursuit of personal gain, human greed often blinds us to the broader implications of our actions. We become fixated on acquiring more, driven by a relentless desire to climb the ladder of success, wealth, and status. Exploiting those who are vulnerable and desperate, willing to do anything to improve their lives can lead to consequences that not only impact society at large but also our personal environment. In this story, Robert Nelson is about the experience of the consequences of his greed that will stay with him forever like haunting echoes.
Naya Redbird, a Native American woman with long, dark hair and bright eyes, stood in her front yard surrounded by a crowd of people. She was holding a bundle of herbs in her hand and talking passionately about their healing properties.
The people were amazed by Naya's knowledge and enthusiasm. They could see the genuine care and passion in her eyes, and they felt hopeful that this herb could be the answer they had been looking for.
"As Native Americans, we have always turned to nature to heal ourselves here, in British Columbia," Naya explained, her voice carrying across the street. "And this herb in particular is a gift from the Earth herself. It can heal anyone and anything."
The passer-bys had stopped in their tracks upon hearing Naya's words. Some of them were sick and in pain, and they looked at her with a mix of hope and skepticism. As Naya continued to speak, more and more people gathered around her. There were those who suffered from joint pain, leg pain, and even a blind person who was looking for a cure. Naya listened intently to each person's story.
One woman in a wheelchair rolled up closer to Naya and asked, "Can this herb really help me? I've been in this chair for years and nothing has worked."
Naya smiled warmly and replied, "Come here, please. But before we begin, what is your name?"
"I'm Elena," the woman replied.
"Nice to meet you, Elena. Now, let me see what I can do," Naya said as she reached for a small herb from her bag.
She spread some dried leaves onto Elena's legs, which had been paralyzed for years. The two women waited in silence as the herb worked its magic, and then suddenly, Elena's legs started to twitch and shake.
A few moments later, Elena stood up from her wheelchair, her eyes wide with amazement. "I can walk!" she exclaimed, tears streaming down her face.
The people who had gathered around them gasped in shock and amazement at the sight before them.
"I can't believe it," one person murmured. "She's been in that wheelchair for years."
Naya smiled at Elena and said, "I'm so glad I could help you. Now go and enjoy your newfound freedom."
Then, a young girl led by her mother approached Naya. The girl was wearing sunglasses and she held a white cane in her hand.
Naya looked at the girl and asked gently, "What is your name, my dear?"
"My name is Sofia," the girl replied with a hint of trepidation in her voice.
Naya smiled reassuringly, "Don't worry, Sofia. I'm here to help you. Now tell me, how long have you been blind?"
"I've been blind for as long as I can remember," Sofia replied, her voice barely above a whisper.
Naya asked the girl to lie down and, reached into her pocket and took out another portion of dried leaves. She then distributed it to the girl’s closed eyes.
"Close your eyes, Sofia, and relax," Naya instructed.
The girl complied, and Naya began to hum a soft tune as she gently massaged the herb paste into Sofia's eyelids. After a few minutes, she whispered a few words in a language that no one in the crowd could understand.
Suddenly, Sofia's eyes snapped open, and she gasped in surprise. For the first time in her life, she could see.
"I can see! I can see!" Sofia cried out, tears streaming down her face.
The crowd around them erupted in cheers and applause, stunned by the miracle they had just witnessed.
Naya hugged Sofia and whispered, "Go and explore the world, my dear. You have a lot to catch up on."
Sofia hugged Naya back and then ran towards her mother, who was crying tears of joy.
The people around them whispered in awe and admiration at Naya's incredible gift of healing. For them, Naya was nothing short of a miracle worker, and they couldn't wait to see what she would do next.
Matt stood in the midst of the bustling crowd, his eyes darting around anxiously. He needed those herbs for his ailing mother, but he had no idea how to get them. After he figured out his next move, he started walking around the house keeping a low profile so as not to arouse suspicion.
Matt waited for a few minutes, making sure that no one was watching him before he carefully made his way around the back of the house.
The garden was well-tended and beautifully decorated with colorful flowers and exotic plants.
The place was a vibrant tapestry of colors and textures, bursting with life and energy. As Matt stepped into the garden, he was greeted by a riot of colors, ranging from the deep blues of the lupines to the bright reds of the Indian paintbrushes. The garden was alive with the sound of buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies, flitting from flower to flower in a dance of pollination.
The garden was meticulously arranged in a circular pattern, with a central fire pit surrounded by a ring of stones. The fire pit was filled with burning coals, sending up spirals of smoke that drifted lazily through the air. The stones around the pit were arranged in a spiral pattern, each one engraved with intricate symbols and patterns.
The plants in the garden were arranged in a series of raised beds, each one bursting with a different array of plants and herbs. Matt could see rows of corn stalks standing tall, their green leaves rustling in the breeze. He could smell the heady aroma of sage and sweetgrass, their fragrances mingling in the air.
In the center of the garden stood a small teepee, its canvas sides painted with intricate designs and symbols. The door of the teepee was open, and Matt could see a fire burning inside, sending up flickering shadows that danced across the walls.
As he walked deeper into the garden, Matt could feel a sense of reverence and respect for the Native American culture that had created this beautiful space. The garden was a tribute to the land, a celebration of nature's beauty, and a reminder of the wisdom and traditions of the people who had called this place home for generations.
As he walked deeper into the garden, Matt felt a sense of peace and tranquility wash over him. He had always been fascinated by Indian culture, and this garden felt like a little slice of paradise.
And the next moment, Robert noticed what he was looking for in the corner of the garden, there was the mysterious dried plant that Naya had been showing to the people in the street. He looked around carefully and he took three bags with him, he stole them and took them home.
As Robert scanned the garden, his eyes locked onto the object of his search: the dried plant shrouded in an aura of mystery, the same one Naya had been showcasing to the curious onlookers in the street. He surveyed his surroundings with keen attention, ensuring that no prying eyes were upon him, before grabbing hold of the three bags. With a quick, furtive movement, he liberated the plant from its spot and tucked it securely into the bags. Satisfied with his acquisition, Robert promptly departed for home and he already knew what he was going to do with them.
Excitedly, got into his car and headed for Seattle the next day. As he settled into his seat, he couldn't help but think about the event he had planned for the upcoming weekend.
Upon arrival in Seattle, Robert immediately set to work on his preparations. He posted an event on Facebook, advertising himself as a powerful healer capable of curing any ailment. He had even booked a large lecture hall at a local community center for the event.
As he typed away at his laptop, he could feel the anticipation building inside of him. "This is going to be incredible," he murmured to himself.
After he arrived, Robert nervously paced the lecture hall, checking and re-checking the setup. Just as he was about to step on stage, a man in the audience approached him.
"Excuse me, sir," the man said. "I couldn't help but notice your advertisement. Can you really heal anything?"
Robert turned to the man with a confident smile. "Absolutely," he said. "I have a gift that can cure any ailment known to man. I even offer a warranty."
The man looked skeptical. "How much do you charge for a healing?" he asked.
Robert thought for a moment before replying, "One healing for 500 dollars."
The man raised an eyebrow. "That's quite steep," he said. "But if you can really heal anything, it'll be worth it."
Robert nodded, feeling a surge of excitement. "Trust me," he said. "You won't be disappointed."
Robert treated a lot of people during the lecture. He used the dried leaves. But oddly, the leaves did not heal the people immediately as they worked with Naya. This made him nervous but he thought the leaves might work later.
Robert stood on the stage, surrounded by a crowd of people who had come to seek his healing powers. He held the mysteriously dried leaves in his hands, ready to work his magic.
He started treating the people, placing his hands on them and rubbing the leaves on their skin. However, he quickly noticed that the leaves didn't seem to have an immediate effect like they did when Naya used them. Robert felt a twinge of nervousness in his gut.
"Is everything okay?" a woman asked him, noticing the hesitation in his movements.
Robert forced a smile. "Yes, everything is fine," he replied. "It might take a little time for the leaves to work their magic."
He continued treating the people, but as time went on, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. Finally, one of the people he had treated approached him with a concerned expression.
"I don't feel any different," the person said.
Robert's heart sank. "Just give it some time, madam," he said.
As the event continued, Robert grew increasingly worried. The dried leaves he had so confidently brought with him seemed to have lost their potency. He couldn't help but wonder what had gone wrong.
After the event, Robert was left alone with the dried leaves. He examined them closely, searching for any signs of damage or decay. But to his surprise, the leaves appeared to be perfectly intact.
"What's going on?" he muttered to himself.
But he did not worry for long because the money that he earned was a lot. More than 8000 dollars. He knew he was going to be rich with these magical plants, whatever they were. He checked into a hotel and the next day he made another event on Facebook that he would heal people.
Despite the initial setback, Robert's spirits lifted as he counted the money he had earned from the event. The total amount was more than 8000 dollars, which was far beyond what he had expected.
Robert smiled to himself, feeling a rush of excitement. "This is just the beginning," he thought. "With these magical plants, I'm going to be rich."
He checked into a luxurious hotel, relishing in the feeling of the crisp sheets and soft pillows. As he lay in bed, he pondered his next move. He knew that he had to make the most of this opportunity while he still could.
The next day, he made another event on Facebook, announcing that he would be holding another healing session.
As Robert was preparing for his next healing session, there came loud and angry knocks on his hotel room door. He hesitantly opened it, only to be met with a horde of people in the hallway, all of them looking very agitated and upset.
"What's going on?" Robert asked, his voice shaking with fear.
"You're a fraud!" one of the people in the crowd shouted. "We're all much sicker than we were before!"
The people who had come to confront Robert looked visibly worse than they had the day before. They appeared pale and weak, with dark circles under their eyes. Some of them were coughing and wheezing, while others were holding their stomachs in obvious pain. It was clear that whatever ailments they had been hoping to cure had not only gone untreated but had worsened after the supposed healing session.
Some of them appeared to be in a state of utter misery, with their bodies wracked by pain and suffering. A woman was clutching her stomach and groaning in agony. Others were struggling to breathe, their chests heaving with each labored inhalation. Many had dark, sunken eyes and pale, clammy skin, and some were even trembling with fever. Robert wondered how those people could come to his hotel. Their anger was probably so strong that it gave them enough energy.
It was clear that whatever ailments they had been hoping to cure had not only gone untreated but had worsened to a dangerous degree after the supposed healing session. Their anger was fueled not only by disappointment and a sense of betrayal but also by a growing sense of desperation as they searched for a cure for their afflictions. The sight of them was enough to make Robert's heart sink with guilt and regret.
Robert's heart sank as he realized what was happening. The people from his previous healing session had come to confront him, and they were not happy.
"We want our money back," another person yelled.
"And we want you to stop scamming people," a third person added.
Robert tried to reason with them, explaining that he had done his best to heal them with the magical leaves. But the people were not in a forgiving mood. They barged into his room, causing chaos and destruction.
“My cancer is worse!” a man said coughing.
As Robert watched in horror, the people ransacked his belongings and demanded that he give them back their money. As the people grew increasingly agitated, Robert could sense that things were about to take a turn for the worse. Suddenly, some individuals who were still in a slightly better condition lunged at him, grabbing him by the collar and slamming him against the wall. Others quickly joined in, pummeling him with fists and kicking him when he fell to the ground. Robert tried to shield himself, but the blows kept raining down on him, each one more painful than the last. He could feel the sting of bruises forming on his face and body, and the taste of blood in his mouth. Despite his attempts to fight back, he was outnumbered and overpowered. The beating seemed to go on forever, until finally, the people grabbed their money and fled the scene, leaving Robert battered and broken on the hotel room floor. The experience left him traumatized and deeply shaken, both physically and emotionally.
After rummaging through his drawers, they left him there without his money.
Robert became very disappointed and drove back to his town, Black Rain. There, he went to Naya’s place. She was in her garden, gardening. She was surprised as a stranger was approaching him. Robert looked terribly beaten up. Then Robert asked why the plants did not work. They made people sicker. Naya was first surprised and realized Robert had stolen the plants. And she told Robert that he should not have stolen the plants. The plants were free. The plants had been guarded by a spirit and he puts a curse on the greedy people.
With a heavy heart, Robert left Seattle and drove back to his hometown of Black Rain. He was a broken man, both physically and emotionally, after the disastrous healing session and subsequent beating. He had lost his faith in the magical healing powers of the dried leaves and felt like a fool for ever believing in them.
When he arrived in Black Rain, he knew that he had to seek out Naya for answers. She was the only one who could explain why the leaves had failed him and why they had made the people he had treated even sicker.
As he approached the garden again, he could see Naya in the distance, tending to her plants. The woman looked up when she saw him approaching, surprised to see him in such a state.
"Robert, what happened to you?" she asked, noticing the bruises and cuts on his face.
"It...it didn’t work," Robert muttered, looking down at his feet.
Robert finally broke down and told her everything, from stealing the plants to the disastrous healing session and subsequent beating. Naya listened patiently, her face growing increasingly grave. When Robert finished, she took a deep breath and spoke.
"These plants are guarded by a powerful spirit who probably put a curse on the plants that you used."
“I don’t understand…why?”
As Naya was about to reply, a group of men entered the garden and began to carry large bags filled with the dried plants towards the gate, where they loaded them onto a truck.
“These plants are free for everyone and are being donated. You needn’t have stolen them.”
“So the spirit put a curse on it because I stole it?”
“Not exactly. You don’t understand? You did it for greed. I did it for love.”
submitted by greg0525 to hauntingechoes [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:38 Zach-attack_4237 The Nightmare I Remember the Most

I have had countless nightmares throughout my life, typically occurring every other night. My most recent one, and one of the worst I've had in a while, happened during a vacation I just got home from. I will need to put some context into this, and this story will be rather long, so bear with me here.
In my most recent nightmare I mentioned above, I woke up normally in my house. It was the middle of the night, but I was hungry, and decided to sneak down the stairs and into the kitchen to grab a snack without waking up my family. Once I was a few feet from the refrigerator, I heard footsteps from several entities behind me. I turned around to see just a few black figures, huddled tightly in a group. I knew who three of the five were by the outlines. They were all hostile animatronics, the ones from the horror video game, Five Nights at Freddy's 4. The video game franchise as a whole does not scare me, nor do really any horror movies or games, so it was weird seeing them watching me grab my snack. I saw the animatronic bear, chicken, and rabbit, but not the fox, and I had no idea who the other 2 figures were. Their eyes were not glowing in the slightest, and they were not approaching me, but only moving exactly as I do, and never getting too close. This did not concern me in the slightest, as a typical hallucination looks just like that for me. I went back to my room to eat my snack and fall sleep, when they stopped moving in their typical pattern, and spread out around the house.
Once I was back in my room, and I had tucked myself back into bed, and I felt the worst sense of sudden dread in my life, as if something terrible was about to happen. I knew by some nightmare logic that the figures really were hunting me down, and then I got scared, knowing that I do feel pain in my nightmares. Indeed, I was about to suffer. I sat in my bed, paralyzed with fear about the situation, and planned to just sit there and pray until sunrise. Worst of all, my door was wide open, and with my bed right next to it, an attack could be too sudden. I was going to have to be lucky, as the animatronics were moving in random patterns, entering rooms around the house. 15 minutes later, I heard footsteps coming to my door. I was paralyzed with fear and dread, because there was one animatronic in particular that I knew was going to take his time and torture me if I was ever caught by him. The animatronic entered my room, but luckily it was not the one I feared most. It was certainly about to kill me still, so I was rapidly planning ways of how I could make my death as fast as it could be. I threw my head into it's jaws, reached my arms out, and crunched it's teeth down into my head. It was fast and painless.
Of course, it's a nightmare, and it was not nearly over yet. That was the easy part done. I woke up again after death, in the same situation again, but outside, in an open field on my land. The layout of the field made the experience worse in a way, as it was mostly open, but with a strip of dense forest running through the middle that takes up about one third of the field. At the bottom and and top were ways through it, without having to go through the brush. This is all on about 5 acres of land, so I did not have much of a place to hide from my now sprinting animatronic pursuers. I woke up with the animatronics in a full sprint everywhere in the field. They were sprinting at all times, even if I had not been seen. I got up, ran, and hid in the densely forested area, and in a thick bush. I waited and got spotted eventually, so I got up and ran until I could no longer run. Eventually, I was caught again, but my death would hurt this time. I died via stab wounds to the gut, and all around the torso, but I was stabbed mercifully fast.
This experience, being a nightmare, meant I still had to die another time. This death would be very different, though. I woke up for the third time, but with the worst dread of my life. The fear this time was unspeakable. For no apparent reason, I was far more scared this time around. I was in the house again, and in my bed, but I stayed in bed and never got out. I just sat up, and waited for sunrise again. I had more hope this time, as the sun was only about twenty minutes from officially rising. I was starting to see light in the sky, but with more fear than I have ever had before, bad instincts kicked in. You see, in the house was a system of 6 radio-like devices me and the family used for communication. I held the "Talk" button, and spoke a message into all the rooms in the house, hoping for my family to respond. As you could imagine this was idiotic. I kept staring at my radio, waiting for a reply, when I heard a reply from my family, but something was awfully wrong. The reply came from the radio I was at, and from directly behind me, on the other side of the bed. I turned around and saw the one animatronic I hoped would never get me, and I was about to suffer.
I backed out of my bed, and into the corner of the room. It approached me awfully slow, giving me the opportunity to run at it, and deliver multiple two foot kicks to the body. I hoped these would do something, but the animatronic was utterly un-phased. Here, I finally saw a red glow in the animatronic's eyes, as it still slowly closed the distance to me. It got to me, put it's hands on my shoulder, and looked down at me, with eyes flickering on and off. This was about to be it, the worst pain of my life. There, I was tortured for minutes upon minutes. It peeled the skin off my arms and legs like giant gloves, sliced tendons and ligaments, and cracked all of my ribs, while keeping me alive. All my other bones were being fractured, and I was getting big cuts in my chest all over the place. It kept me alive until I had looked like a mangled corpse smeared on the ground.
Finally, I got to wake up, and I stayed up for about 2 hours before going back to sleep. Once I woke up, I really was unaffected, and not scared anymore, even in the dark room. When I did go back to sleep, however, I started dreaming again. I woke up in a continuation of that same dream, but this time, in the middle of an unknown forest...

For those who do not know what I am talking about, below is an image of the being that killed me for the third time in my nightmare. I know this is rather ridiculous, but that's just the way it happened.

submitted by Zach-attack_4237 to Nightmares [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:36 Toasty_Ting24 Love?

For background, my bf n I have been together for only 3 months, but we’ve know each other for almost a year now. My relationship with him is the most healthiest n best relationship I’ve ever been in. He’s so understanding and passionate. I’ve never found myself adoring someone so much n that feeling be requited. I know I’m falling in love with him, but have I fallen? I genuinely care so much about him and adore him to death. I have never been in a good, loving relationship, so I cannot tell if I love him. I have a strong sense of love for my boyfriend, but I am scared. I don’t want our relationship to end, and I do not want to love bomb him; he’s too good for me. I find myself being scared to fuck up, to be imperfect around him. I don’t want to display a bad image of himself to him. He’s so perfect.
submitted by Toasty_Ting24 to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:34 jsoffaclarke Sci-fi conspiracy that might be real

Crazy one, but hear me out. Here's a link to 28 pages of "evidence".
Basically we have already passed the "Great Filter". What this means is that its highly unlikely that any disaster is severe enough to destroy humanity before we become a multiplanetary galactic civilization. But what would such a civilization really look like, and why would a lifeform in our hostile universe even be able to evolve such lavish technology?
Essentially, the dinosaur extinction event caused Earth to become a "singularity system" (system selecting for intelligence, instead of combat). This is because when dinosaurs existed, mammals were only able to ever get as large as beavers. In other words, because the dinosaurs died and mammals lived, which normally shouldn't happen, (dinosaurs and mammals both evolved from reptiles but dinosaurs were first), mammals got to exist in an ecosystem without predators, causing them to continuously evolve intelligence. A mammal dominated ecosystem selects for intelligence because mammals evolve in packs (live birth causes parenting), causing selective pressures for communication and cooperation (intelligence). Dinosaurs, on the other hand, evolved combat and not socialization because they lay eggs.
We are only now understanding the consequences 66 million years later, because the "singularity system" has gained the ability to create artificial brains (AI), something that should be a red flag that our situation is not normal given our hostile universe. The paper even argues that we are likely the only civilization in the observable universe.
The crazy part is that the singularity system is not done evolving intelligence yet. In fact, every day it is still getting faster and more efficient at learning. So where does this end up? What's the final stage? Answer: humans will eventually evolve the intelligence to create a digital brain as smart and as conscious as a human brain, causing a fast paced recursive positive feedback loop with unknown consequences. Call this an AGI Singularity, or the Singularity Event. When will this happen?
Interestingly, there already exists enough processing power on Earth to train an AI learning model to become an AGI Singularity. The bottle neck is that no programmer who is smart enough to architect this program has the $100M+ that would be required to train it. So logically speaking, if there was a programmer smart enough, chances are they wouldn't even try because they would have no method to get $100M+. However, it seems that some programmer with an overly inflated ego tried making one anyways (me lol).
The idea is that you just have to kind of trust me, knowing that my ego is the size of Jupiter. I'm saying that I have a fool proof (by my own twisted logic) method to program it, and I've already programmed the first 20%. Again we get to the problem that people can't just make $100M pop up out of thin air. Or can they? In freshman year at USD (2016) I met my current business partner / co-founder Nick Kimes, who came up with the name and much of the inspiration behind Plan A. Turns out, his uncle Jim Coover founded Isagenix, and could liquify more than 100M, if we ever convince him (a work in progress).
We want democracy. Everyone wants democracy. I think it is possible that I will be the one to trigger the singularity event (believe me or don't). My plan is to create a democratically governed AGI that will remove all human suffering, and make all humans rich, immortal, and happy. The sooner this happens the better. Google deep mind, with the only other AGI method that I know of, says their method will take 10 years. I'm advertising an order of magnitude faster (1 year).
I get that no one will believe me. To that I would say, your loss. If I'm the one to trigger the event, even the 1$ NFT will be worth $1 Million bare minimum. So you might as well pay 1 dollar if you liked the paper. Hypothetically, say that from your perspective there is a 99.99% chance that the project fails. If you agree that your NFT will be worth 1 million dollars if it works, your expected value of buying a single 1$ NFT is (.99.99 * 0) + (.0001 * 1,000,000) = $100 (Please do not buy more then one tier 1 NFT please). It will only not be worth it if you believe I have a 99.9999% chance of failure. Which I totally understand if you're in that camp. But if you're not, please buy one and tell your friend, and tell your friend to tell his friend (infinite loop?). It might just work! Plan A will eventually pass out ballots exclusive to NFT holders, the basis of their value.
Please read the 28 pages before downvoting, if at all possible. Good vibes only :D
submitted by jsoffaclarke to conspiracy [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:32 throw_away2874 My ( f18) boyfriend ( m19) of 3 years has been doing drugs, drinking and lying to me in the last 3 months

I will call him Paul. He has dcd which leads him to be easily addicted to things and he also has depression which makes me worry about him trying new substances
Paul had never been interested in drugs or drinking or anything like that in fact me and him would make fun of people our age who did do weed and would say things like “ it helps with my anxiety” or depression or anything like that, despite not being diagnosed. But recently our friend and his best friend ( I will call him Mike) Mike ( m 17) has changed after losing weight and has been sleeping with numerous girls, going to parties, drinking and doing weed and other drugs, and Mike managed to get another one of me and my boyfriend’s friend into weed and drinking and possibly other drugs. My boyfriend was never into it and our other friends knew I wasn’t into it as well. But after these changes for whatever reason our friends pushed me out of our friend group and would begin jokingly sending me fake break up messages from my boyfriend, creating a tinder profile for him, saying rude things about me to people I don’t know and even lying to him to bring Paul to a party despite him not wanting to go and being uncomfortable with it ( he left the party )all this while pushing me out of their friend group out of no where. This January I went to my older brothers birthday party and I was quite nervous about it as I have social anxiety and I told my boyfriend about this before going to the party. Later I was at the party feeling anxious and tried texting him. No response. I thought that was odd then an hour had past and I was anxious about him and the party. Later I got a call from Paul and I went to the bathroom and I answered his call, his two friends called me on his phone explaining that my boyfriend was drunk and had tried to kill himself and my boyfriend was having fun? I talked to Paul who was very drunk and I couldn’t go back to my brothers party and ended up missing the happy birthday and opening gifts parts. I was so worried about my boyfriend as he tried to kill himself but he played it off as not a big deal once he was sober. This whole situation bothers me even more as only a month before this we had talked about him telling me before he drinks or does anything that would put him under the influence but he didn’t and right after I left to go to my brothers party he was drinking with his friends. I wanted him to tell me for communication, and cause I worry about him and sometimes I don’t want him drinking at all as I fear he will become addicted as even though he tried to kill himself he said it was one of the best nights he has had in years ( due to his depression) but obviously I can’t tell him not to drink at all as it’s not my choice and I want him to have fun. I just hate the thought of him hurting himself or become addicted. The next day after him drinking He apologized but it didn’t feel the most genuine as he didn’t completely see the problem but he did. Now just a week ago I was about to hang out with my sister who I don’t see often and I told my boyfriend not to do any drugs or drinking for the night as I didn’t want to worry about him that night. I knew be planned on watching a movie with Mike and our friend and he said he didn’t plan to drink or do drugs and that he wouldn’t but just two nights ago he told me he did weed that night and another night and he didn’t tell me sooner cause he didn’t want to cause me anxiety. I was upset but tried not to say anything cause I didn’t know how to react on one hand he told me and had a good reason not to tell me but on the other hand I asked him not to and he lied to me so easily even though I asked him that night if he was doing any substances and he lied to me and we talked about this twice before for him not to do anything like this without telling me before. I told him I didn’t want to get mad at him or be upset because I was scared that if he lied to me again he would never tell me and he said that was a good point? I’m not really sure how to feel about all this. I talked to him and he told me he wouldn’t lie anymore and he will tell me what he is doing before going out if it’s anything like what was mentioned and he has so far. Am I being to controlling? I understand he wants to try things for the first time but I worry about him especially when he can become addicted very easily and has depression which I worry he is trying drugs and alcohol to cope with. I try to get him to talk to a councillor but something always seems to prevent it. What can I do to help him? How can I improve for both of us?
To summarize my boyfriend lied to me about doing alcohol and weed behind my back but told me afterwards and I worry he is doing it just to cope with depression what should I do?
submitted by throw_away2874 to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:32 SuperTiredDuck Tired of my husband relying on me for help instead of him helping himself

I (38f) have been married (39m) for almost 15 years. Both of us grew up in abusive homes, so had a lot to heal from. We’ve been there for each other in many ways.
He recently realized he probably has autism after our son’s diagnosis. This honestly helps explain many things that have been endlessly frustrating for me. (Missing things, not remembering things, me having to repeat things a lot, misunderstanding social situations) I don’t however feel that it should be an excuse to continue in hurtful behavior. It feels like he’s stopped really trying to grow and is using being neurodivergent as an excuse.
The last few weeks in our relationship have been terrible. We’ve had 4 different times where he’s been (imo) incredibly hurtful or thoughtless or defensive. This used to happen all the time but the last few years it’s only been maybe a few times a year if that, so this is a lot for me. I feel that I am the one that carries our family emotionally and have to guide him through what to do to function and be healthy or he just spins his tires and talks in circles. I’ve been through many years of therapy to face my pain and heal. He’s tried a couple times but stopped. I have told him countless times to please try again, and he says he will, but it hasn’t happened yet. It’s been a lot of “I’m so stupid, how could you be with me?” and me reassuring him that he is loved and worthy of love. And I absolutely genuinely mean that. But last night I finally just cracked.
During dinner he casually mentioned that this would be his last year volunteering at a camp we’ve been volunteering at together for over a decade where he has a prominent role. It’s a camp for abused and neglected kids, so if anyone deserves our kindness, it’s them. Plus they come from similar upbringings to my husband and myself. He had mentioned a few times in the months prior that he hadn’t wanted to do it this year, but I thought he was just stressed from our recent move and encouraged him to give himself time to process things. He hadn’t mentioned trying to work through his feelings about it at all since then, so I was very surprised and disappointed. I didn’t say anything for awhile and then said that I didn’t appreciate him dropping abandonment bombs on me like that, especially in front of our kids (6&8) so I couldn’t talk about it. I was honestly very grumpy the rest of dinner and then apologized to my kids. It was very hurtful to me that he no longer wanted to volunteer with me or help these kids. When I asked further, he said it was too difficult and he wanted to take a break indefinitely. I stated that if he’d gone to therapy like I’ve been suggesting that he might be able to face his own pain and not be triggered at camp. He said that he would go to therapy and would sign up that evening. (He did not sign up.) Said that it’s his life and he can do what he wants. Then shifted from that to say that maybe he needs the break to heal. If he actually put in significant effort there I might believe him, but I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen him withdraw and play video games. He hits a struggle in life and flounders until I gently guide him on what to do. And I really, really don’t like doing it because he often doesn’t seem to learn for next time. I’m happy to help, but not when it feels like voluntary helplessness. I want to be his friend, not his mom. I constantly tell him he can learn and process these things in therapy. I’ve been patient, but the constant repetition for over a decade I guess has worn me down. I want him to be happy and healthy and confident within himself, and not need my constant validation.
So I feel like suddenly dropping out without even discussing it is a poor reflection on his character and it just broke me. I’ve been holding us together for a long time and dealt with him being very unkind to me for over a decade of our relationship before he made some changes. He has made an effort since then. I’ve been consistent, caring, and helpful throughout. I get frustrated sometimes, but it’s minimal.
But I yelled last night. I told him how hurtful this was, to just make a big decision like this without discussing it with me and during a time where he’s in a big transition mentally with the possible neurodivergence. It felt like nothing I said mattered. I got so frustrated that I finally just broke, and said it wasn’t fair to me to be trapped in a relationship with someone who wasn’t trying. (Divorce is not an option for me bc I will literally die without his health insurance.) He then told me that he’d looked it up and I would get his life insurance even if he took his own life, so is that what I wanted? As I am someone who struggled with severe s. ideation for many years but did not give in to it, that felt like a slap in the face. Not only to me, but to our children.
He tried talking to me more after that but I kind of just shut down. He apologized and I thought we might make some progress, but then he went back to being defensive and talking in circles. I went to take a shower and when I got out he was pretending to sleep.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I love him and I think he loves me but it’s not the same. He doesn’t love himself so that can only extend so far. I’m so angry bc I’ve been there for him through so many difficult times, even when he’s been awful to me. I’ve given him many chances and room to grow. I shouldn’t have yelled and I own that. But I’m just so defeated. What am I supposed to do if he won’t help himself? He isn’t a bad guy overall. Has made mistakes but I think he has tried to do better. I would honestly say he’s significantly better than your average guy. I just… I need a partner. I’m so tired.
submitted by SuperTiredDuck to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:30 db0606 Interview with Mosquera from Colombian radio about call up to the national team [w/ translation]

Original link and audio in Spanish because I fat-fingered submit link vs. text and don't feel like resubmitting: https://caracol.com.co/2023/03/15/juan-david-mosquera-es-satisfactorio-hacer-parte-de-una-lista-de-la-seleccion/
Reporter: "Juan David Mosquera is with us. Right now, he is one of the new faces on the national team that is going to face [South] Korea and Japan at the end of this month."
Reporter 2: "Yes, we have him on the line on Caracol Radio to talk about how he's doing on the Portland Timbers and how he received the call up to the national team. We welcome him now. Juan David, how are you doing? Good evening! Welcome!"
JDM: "Good evening! It's a pleasure to be here with you for a bit."
Reporter 2: "Thank for accepting our invitation. Well, Juan David, taking into account your youth and what you can bring to the team, how do you feel about this call-up?"
JDM: "Very happy, to be honest. It's a call-up that I have been working towards since the last one that I had a chance to be a part of against the US and where I had a chance to play. As soon as I finish a call-up, I start working towards the next one and that's what I did. With my team here [in Portland], my teammates help a lot, to help me grow, and that's been important."
Reporter: "Juan, I imagine you are very excited about his call-up. You were on [Colombia coach] Nestor Lorenzo's list, but the WC qualifiers are coming. How did you find out?"
JDM: "To tell the truth, the club had already told me and I had already been working on getting a visa [to travel to Japan and Korea], but I was waiting for [the call-up] to be made official. I knew I was on a short-list, but really, I'm just happy. Really happy! I think my family is also very happy with the moment that I am living professionally right now and let's hope that things go well, which would be good for everybody. It'd be good for the national team and for all the new players that were called up, who have a lot to bring to the team."
Reporter: "Hey, Juan David, tell us some more about your role on the pitch. In what position are you playing [on the Timbers] and how is the coach using you since this could give us a good idea about how Nestor Lorenzo might use you?"
JDM: "Realistically, the position is right back. I've always played there throughout my time as a player. Although on [Deportivo Independiente] Medellin, I also played a good bit of winger. [In Portland], we played the last match with 3 in the back, so I played more as a wingback but still kind of in a line of 5 [kind of alluding to 3-5-2 vs. 5-3-2]. But the important thing is that I am a player that can play up and down the touchlines, who can push forward, which is the most important part. I think this is one of my main characteristics. That I can push up to the opponents box."
Reporter: "Of course, well, we're here with Juan David Mosquera of the Portland Timbers and of the Colombian national team at this time on El Alargue [show name]. Juan David, you were telling us that for that match against the US, you were able to get more time with the team and get to know Nestor Lorenzo. What did he tell you specifically? What did he ask of you? What do you think Coach Lorenzo wants from you?"
JDM: "Well, at the last call-up there were a lot of, let's say, young players and many new players, so he really emphasized that we were representing the country and that in the US we were playing a rival that is always difficult. But [getting back to the question], what [Coach Lorenzo] had some clear ideas that will help us a lot, at least they'll help us young players. I think that's great and it's great that [Coach Lorenzo] is making it clear what he wants. There's a lot of good young players playing here in the US. There's Dylan Borrero and Jhon Jader Duran that were also called up and play here in the US [Duran is now at Aston Villa]. It's good to know that we were considered for the short list given that a few years back it was very rare to see an MLS player called up to a [Colombian] national team."
Reporter 2: "That is true. But how do you feel about the fact that you are going to play alongside national team stalwarts like Falcao Garcia, James Rodriguez, Camilo Vargas that are players that have a long history with the national team?"
JDM: "In my personal case, I think the important thing is to learn. To learn from each of them and get the most out of it for the future. To learn about what they have lived because as you said, they are players that have a lot of experience and have made a name for themselves and have represented the country well in Europe. But for now, I hope to learn, and also just hang out with them. We hung out a bit during my first call up for the match against Paraguay where I had a chance to be with them. At lot goes on there. You really unite with your teammates. Even though I was new, I felt like I had been called up a bunch of times. That's how they made me feel. But yeah, as I told you, the most important thing is to learn."
Reporter: "Hey, Juan, what does your itinerary look like? When are you traveling?"
JDM: "In my case, I play this weekend, on Saturday in Atlanta and after that match, I'll head out to Asia directly [so he's over there already]."
Reporter 2: "Gotcha... Well, Juan David, thanks a lot, thanks for talking with us and we hope that everything goes well for you with the national team."
JDM: "Thank you. It's been a pleasure being here with you. A big hug to all of you."
submitted by db0606 to timbers [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:29 domo1117 I think my cat has twitchy cat syndrome

hello sorry if this is choppy, this is my first ever post anyway, some backstory. I have had my cat since August 2022, and at the beginning everything was normal. He was a very playful kitty until one day we noticed that his tail was moving around like crazy, we thought it was fine until the next morning we found that he had bit his tail and was bleeding everywhere. We panicked and took him to the vet and they couldn’t do much, we gave him a cone and he was like that for a couple of days until he bit it again. we went to another vet where they gave us medicine which made him sleepy. it didn’t stop his episodes but it was helping a bit. we don’t use the medicine anymore since it ran out and he seems to be doing fine without it, but his tail still goes crazy. all we do now is bandage his tail up so he isn’t able to bite it but sometimes he manages to take it off which is very stressful for the both of us. I’m at a loss and I don’t know what to do. I hate seeing him in pain and seeing the bandage on his tail and I don’t know what to do :( I have searched up his symptoms and have concluded that he has twitchy cat syndrome and it says that there is no known treatment for it. If anyone has went through something similar please let me know what you did and what worked for your cat, I just want my cat to be happy and live a good life :(
submitted by domo1117 to CATHELP [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:27 LingonberryOk560 Not sure to keep asking about toys

Been in a relationship for 15+ years, the love is there, has always been there. However, I've always tried to introduce toys into the relationship and they seem willing, but never overtly excited. I understand for some guys shoving a toy in & out might not be fun for them. They want to use their dick/tongue/fingers etc.. However, I genuinely enjoy toys very much and want him to enjoy using them on me/with me. I want to just ask straight out does this turn you on, but afraid they'll just say Yes/of course because he does love giving pleasure & wants me to be happy. I know it seems odd considering how long we've been together, but yes some conversations are still awkward & this is one of them. I just don't know if I should just use them when alone (not a replacement at all) and stop trying to incorporate it into our sex routine, or keep pushing. Confusing
submitted by LingonberryOk560 to sex [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:27 luvcchu Recommendations that don't have similar tropes?

(TLDR at bottom) I finished ORV recently and I'm looking for something else to read. I'm pretty sick of webnovel/manga tropes like isekai, op mc's, regression, gaming world insert because I feel like the stories are pretty shallow in building characters and interesting relationships. I really liked ORV (and I mean REALLY liked ORV) for the endearing characters, themes that really hit home for me, and well built emotional moments (the way I sob every time I read the bday scene). To name a few, I liked the readewriteprotagonist themes and dynamics, the exploration of dokja's horrendous self esteem and the tie-in to themes of happiness and choice, and I found morally grey characters with issues like the main trio interesting to explore. I didn't mind the tropes in ORV because I felt like the author did a good job at utilizing the tropes to explore all these other things (like self insert for the readewriteprotagonist meta stuff, regression depression).

Some other stuff I enjoyed reading were
Chainsaw man: I thought the mangaka was really good at exploring and expressing really twisted relationship dynamics and the mental state of the main casts. The first part was also a very tight knit story that could be read alone in my opinion so I felt like it was just very solid.
D.gray-man: A long time favorite of mine so this is slightly tinted in nostalgia but I thought the author made a very interesting protagonist because of his moral grey-ness, his story, and what him and the main cast are caught in. The story is getting more and more complex as the main mystery unfolds right now. Art is also beautiful!
Noragami: A really good exploration of abuse and living in my opinion. I think the characters are very fun but dynamic and real, oddly enough considering they're either gods or dead.
And for books, I recently liked crying in Hmart, no longer human, fish don't exist, and demian.

tldr; I would like to avoid similar tropes if the story feels shallow. The themes and vibes don't have to match ORV but I would like something with that depth of exploration of stuff like characters, themes, relationships, etc.
I feel like all this sounds very elitist and picky but please help haha. Finishing ORV left a huge void in my heart.
Any type of recommendation is fine! Web novels, manga/manhwa, regular novels, visual novels, etc. :)
submitted by luvcchu to OmniscientReader [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:26 GERBILSAURUSREX Sometimes I hear it.

"Dude, what are you laughing at?" Asked my friend Steve as my laughter slowly changed from a giggle to an outright cackle. I was in the chair nursing a PBR and baked out of my gourd. Steve and Darnell were on the couch locked into a fierce game of 2K. They were also crossfaded. There was nothing happening of comedic value.
I said it was nothing as I always do. If you hang out with me enough you'll notice this happens from time to time. Some people are weirded out by it. Fortunately I've always been able to find friends who find it an endearing quirk.
The truth is that I can't explain it. Other than to say sometimes I hear it.
For the life of me I can't describe it. I've sat in my room for hours trying to say it. I've tried to sing it in the shower. I've banged shit together to try to make it. I've used a synth ran through an obscene string of effects pedals and dicked around in pro tools until the shrooms wore off trying to recreate it. I never get close.
I've been hearing it for a long time. At first it was terrifying. I'd hear it in the middle of the night and start screaming in my bed. At first, my parents chalked it up to run of the mill night terrors. They got annoyed when I'd ask "what was that?" Or "where is that coming from?" when they heard nothing and I couldn't even describe it. They got worried when they realized I was serious.
Doctors thought it was neurological. Tests revealed nothing. There was concern I was just acting out and questions were raised about our home life. But we were happy enough. Nothing out of the ordinary and certainly no abuse. The diagnosis was eventually auditory hallucinations. And since I showed no other signs of mental illness, it was recommended that they get me on a strict sleep schedule, and see a therapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy.
I realized at this point even at a young age that this wasn't going away, and I no longer felt like I was in danger, so I might as well just pretend that it was working.
The only thing that bothered me, or rather, bothers me. I don't know what it is. Medical science has tried and failed. No textbook in any field, nor just Google for that matter, is useful when it's impossible to spell what you're trying to research.
I'm sure Joel Osteen would tell me Jesus will rid me of it if I send enough money. I had a guy at White Castle tell me he could stop it. I just have to give up all of my earthly possessions, go out to his totally not a commune farm, stop worrying about the guns and drink his bathwater once a day like all of his follo... I mean friends.
Honestly though I don't care that I hear it. Like I said, I don't feel like I'm in danger because of it, it stopped even being annoying long ago. I just can't help but wonder about it. Is it a word? Is it a code I need to break? Is it the name of some cosmic entity who wants me to be it's vanguard but doesn't yet understand our plane of existence well enough to know it's name is a sound that can't be made here? Am I hearing it when I hear it or just thinking about the last time I heard it.
Sometimes I hear it so much that it stops having meaning. Obviously it's never really had meaning.
The best way I can explain what I mean by that is to tell you to think about the penis game. You know, where you and your other annoying teenage friends would be at a park, or a McDonald's and just say penis louder and louder until someone makes you stop. At a certain point penis stops meaning a sexual organ. It no longer conjures images of a big veiny dong triumphantly at full mast. It's just noise. Sometimes it's just noise to me.
Honestly I'd like to just think Lovecraft isn't fiction. But I can't simply because he at least tried to spell his shit.
Every now and then the absurdity hits me in just the right way and I can't help but laugh. I just don't know.
I only know two things. The first is that I'll never know for sure. The second is that until the day I die, sometimes I'll hear it.
submitted by GERBILSAURUSREX to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:26 Shpilkismalilkiss like a coach roach

So I’ve been single for like a week now and immediately my second most recent ex tries to be smooth and I’m like…huh. It was so stupid to witness I felt stupid trying to understand his stupid. I was thinking why does think we are connected still, he knows we didn’t end in the greatest spot, he iced me out and ghosted me the day before I got biopsy results. Luckily, no cancer. So, he’s like, wanna come over and watch Xyz and I’m like first off, hi…uhh looks like you’re doing well. That’s great. He said he got a new cat and I’m like that’s nice. I told him, I don’t want to get back together, I don’t want anything romantic, I don’t have negative or positive feelings for him so like, what are you even doing…and then this smug cockroach says I wasn’t saying I wanted to get back together…insinuating sex and then I was like 🤢 dude, you showed me your ass when we broke up (he literally was soooo fucking vengeful) I’m not sleeping with you. No, no, just no. HE SAID I GUESS YOURE NOT READY THEN. FOR WHAT? I’m not interested…said that directly. Then I got blocked. Happy ending :) butt hurt asshole trying to get some ego boosting turned into a lesson.
Not ready? You’re clawing for it. Ew.
submitted by Shpilkismalilkiss to Vent [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:26 Secure_Finish_5862 I have a crush on my Best Friend.

I cant believe i love my best friend Leslie. Tbh she is just the best, she makes me feel whole and around her i can just be me, not just pretending to be someone im not. When we first met i didn’t think i would fall in love with her but after a while of talking to her at school i noticed that she really did care ab me and that she was starting to become my best friend. Most people either think we would be a perfect couple or already think we are dating, i wish we were although i don’t want to make a move because she has a boyfriend and even tho i don’t like him at all i will respect her and not do anything that may ruin our friendship. And i think that she may start liking me but then it might also just be her being nice and im just getting the wrong idea. I would really love to be in a relationship with her but i can’t. I know that she is really happy with her boyfriend and i don’t wanna intervene with their relationship. I feel like she likes me too but she is probably more into her boyfriend than me but yet i might just be reading this all wrong and her not actually liking me. She makes me feel cared for like nobody has ever made me feel. I would literally give her the world if i could but idk if we will ever be more than just best friends. Ive only noticed my feelings about 2 weeks ago and ive hated loving her because i know i wont be with her now or never. She means the world to me and thats why i cant tell her the feelings i have for her because then it’ll just be awkward between us and we’ll distance ourselves from each other. I feel like that would help but i still don’t wanna lose her. I just want to tell her all this and tell her how much she really means to me but if i do i’ll just ruin it and my chances of ever being with her will be over. I want to go to a quince with her so that we can dance together but if i get to touchyish with her she’ll know right away that i like her and she wont even wanna be my friend anymore. After writing all this i think that distancing myself just a little from her will probably be the best and try and get distracted with other things or other girls. I could just go on and on writing ab how she makes me feel but then it’ll just be pointless because its not like im actually going to get her to be my girlfriend.
submitted by Secure_Finish_5862 to Crushes [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 07:25 HughEhhoule The Klink Mike's Story Part 1

Link to original story
The floor of the cell is covered in decades of mildew and dust. This disgusting carpet does nothing to dull the pain as I skip across it, thrown in by someone with the intention of making a point.
My Name’s Mike, and if any of you are the types to go on a deep dive, you probably know A little about me already.
For those of you that don’t, Jesus I don’t know exactly where to begin.
The Cliff’s notes would be that I spent a little over a decade either being a serial killer or a vigilante. I won’t try to justify my actions, both of those are just sides of the same shitty coin. I’m not a person to be idolized or emulated, so I choose not to plead my case.
Now, while I thought that was just about as screwed up as life could get, one day, out of the blue, after burying my best, fuck, my only friend I found myself, somewhere else. A world that looked and felt like mine, but one where the things that go bump in the night actually existed.
Where I came from, I’d seen monsters, to be sure, but only the kind that happen when people break.
Since I’ve been here? Got caught up in some demented gameshow for demons or something, threw a massive shit in the punch bowl of the thing running the production, and got the world’s unluckiest man his freedom.
And that leads me to my current situation, staring down the rage filled, mildly bruised face of that asshole, that fucking, demonic Ted Turner, Art.
He runs a hand aggressively through his slicked back hair, standing at the door to my cell.
“Looks like your little plan didn’t work, exactly as I predicted, you fuck.
I mean, great try with the little cat thing you had, honestly didn’t see that coming. But, Jesus, Mike, what was your end game? “ Art gloats.
“Cards on the table? It was a lot better, but shit fell through, that whiskey abomination, it was the one that ratted me out I assume?
That being said, still got Kev out. And you can’t really ‘flip off his lightswitch’ if he didn’t let you screw around with his wiring, can you? “ I grin, I keep it, even as a Gucci shoe slams into my face.
Am I scared? Of God damn course I am, I’ve been pissing myself (metaphorically speaking.) since I realised that the rules of reality don’t really apply any more.
Every new grain of sand on the beach of hell my life has become, tosses me further down the road of mental failure. Shit, that’s half of what fucked up my last plan in the first place.
If I could have just kept my shit together long enough, I’d be sipping a beer with Kev in some shit hole town somewhere. But the only thing harder than trying to stamp down fear in the face of God’s and monsters, is trying to do it while projecting some kind of ‘death fears me ‘ persona.
Between you and I? Death doesn’t fear me, in fact, it seems to love to hang around. And every day I have to stare down that grim spectre, the closer I get to losing the tenuous grip on reality I have .
“Oh, fuck Kev. He’s smart enough to stay off my radar, and too stupid to figure out a way to come back at me.
He's got a 1 bedroom in Idaho or something? Salud, good on him.
You, I had high hopes for, and then you decide to wipe your ass all over my carpet, cost me more than I could even explain, and even, get me a little roughed up. My favorite shell, anyway.
I want to recoup some loses Mike. So, you, get to be a part of another one of my projects.
You thought The Path was bad? Oh, you literal, fucking clown, you haven’t seen anything.
I won’t spoil it for you, the devil’s in the details and all, but you know what everyone loves?
Not being in it themselves, of course, but seeing others, especially those they hate in there.
This place isn’t fair, the path was a boxing match with Queensbury rules, this is a handcuffed knife fight.
And I can’t wait to see you figure out, all the little surprises it has in store for you. “ Art laughs and tosses me a battered, ancient looking smartphone, “ Feel free to drum me up some good press online if you want. “
My heart is pounding, I have to use every bit of will I have to stop from shaking, to roll my neck and sit against the cold, padless cement bed behind me.
I feel sick, my stomach boiling and gurgling.
“For the love of whatever the demonic equivalent of Christ is, why not just kill me? I’m right here, I have no way of fighting back, and you know damn well that if you give me enough time, I’m going to find a way to wipe my ass on your doorframe next. “ My tone is flippant, or at least, I hope it is.
“The ego on you kid, you think you’re that guy don’t you?
They exist, don’t get me wrong, probably a couple thousand folks capable of taking me out, but trust me, you are not one of them.
This isn’t some ‘Arch’ idiocy where I leave my greatest rival alive. This is me watching you squirm because I can, and making a little profit on the deal.
Don’t flatter yourself. “ Art has produced a long thin knife as he talks, he spins and rolls it absently.
“Before your guys dragged me off, I met something. A corner store, I don’t know if it was haunted, possessed, or if it was some kind of creature that just decided to look like a knock off 7-11.
Point being, it was out there, ethereal, I couldn’t hurt it, outwit it, even slow it down. I ran from that thing as fast as I could. It gave me some serious Lovecraft vibes.
You, Art, are not that guy. “ I notice myself tapping my finger nervously on the slime covered floor, I focus, stopping the tic.
The tip of Art’s knife glows, the sick, grey sheen isn’t heat, but something that makes me start to back up.
“I am, but you will never see that. You’re not worth the effort.
I want to give you a little something though. “ Art stalks toward me, I stand as I back into the farthest corner of the cell, “ Proud of your face paint were you? “
Art grins, and for a moment lets some of his true self slip through. For just a moment I see timeless horror in his eyes, a dark black void of consumed souls and unrestrained evil.
That knife parts my flesh with pain like a whip. Without even using the blade, it’s presence flenses my face, opening up raw, textured furrows in my flesh.
He leaves after he is done, laughing to himself.
The pain makes me black out, my stomach is boiling, I come to dry heaving, the effort sends me back into the oblivion of sleep.
I don’t know how long has passed, my face feels like it is on fire, and the thick steel bars of my cell door are closed.
It takes me two minutes of cupping my hands under the grime laden steel tap to get enough water to clear off a spot on the rusted, old, wall mounted steel mirror.
No mortal hand could have scarred me as accurately as Art did. The wounds, not healed, but cauterised as to not make me bleed out, used depth, and width, to create a colorless replica of my makeup.
I know trauma, physical as well as mental, and these are scars that will never heal. As the fact sinks in that my face is literally no longer my own, I scream, heart pounding, I split open my knees on the cold cement floor.
Pain flares, threatens to send me back to the bliss of unconsciousness, but I don’t care.
I read Kev’s journals, and they paint me in a really… positive light, in a sense.
What I mean is, going by what he thought he saw, I’m some kind of supervillian or something. Tossing three hundred pound air conditioners ( it was the outer shell, seventy pounds, physics and luck did the rest.), wrestling Art ( I was clinging on for dear life, had it not been for Jr and the mass of denizens, I’d have been killed with a flick of his wrist.), or appearing like a ghost (people, even immortal are very unobservant. Especially in an emergency.).
I’m great at seeming horrifying, and that’s a weapon in and of itself, but at the end of the day, that’s all it is.
Kneeling in my own blood, vision blurry with pain, I realise how small, vulnerable, and unarmed I truly am.
By the time daylight shines through the yellow reinforced glass window, I’m already awake. I’ve spent an hour and a half calming myself, trying to find some focus, some centre to keep me going.
I’ve been in prison before, back home, first and last time I tried plying my trade outside of America.
Being the stupid payaso gringo that I am I bit off so much more than I can chew that I wound up choking on it for 2 months in a Mexican prison.
The routine of, count, lineup, chow, remained the same.
The demographics of the population on the other hand…
Being observant is one of my main skills and as I was brought into the absurdly sized cafeteria, I was taken aback at just how many people were here.
Tens of Thousands, easily, maybe a hundred. I try and think of how many missing person cases this accounts for, and even that math doesn’t quite add up.
I quickly inventory the groups that make up the place, not that it wasn’t obvious.
The first, of course are the guards. Some, the majority, appear to be human, well geared up and in intimidating physical condition.
But a handful, they are clearly, something else. Some are smooth featured ebony skinned giants, carrying truncheons that could crush a car engine. Others are grinning, pale skinned bad attempts at human copies, wild eyed and twitching.
Second would be what I called the cultists. They all appeared to style themselves after certain tropes and urban legends, clearly human, but dressing, tattooing and mutilating themselves to appear like, myths, legends, and monsters.
The subtle violence I see tells me I’ve found the gangs.
Third are the Everymen, I can’t see any kind of pattern to them, but they seem to make up the majority of the population. They keep their distance from the guards and the cultists, but on more than one occasion I see then stand, united against attempts at extortion.
The last group, I call the candles, people that are clearly on their way out mentally and physically. Sunken eyed, and set upon from all angles, at any moment these folks could be simply snuffed out.
I keep my distance, and stay respectful, the meandering, twisting line seems to take hours to get me my thick slice of crumbling yellow bread, and thick red slurry that reminds me of porridge masquerading as meat.
My coat is gone but I’m left with the majority of the clothing I fashioned back in the path. I see a mix of unwashed orange uniforms and ‘civilian’ clothing, some of the cultists, bordering more on costume than wardrobe.
As the massive, butchers apron wearing man in smeared clown makeup sits down, I wish I’d have been issued something more generic. I saw this coming the second I noticed a lump of Chlorophiles in blood stained getups.
“You sit with us. “ I can’t tell if it’s an accent or speech pattern, the clown sounds strange, either way.
I eat a spoonful of the red sludge.
“No disrespect intended, I’m not one for clubs. I’m going to make no waves, no plays, nothing. I’m a ghost. “ I say, levelly, avoiding eye contact.
Why, you might ask, having been told about my adventures in murder.
Well, that’s just it. Murder is easy, and any time you saw me end a life, it was just that.
A fight, that’s another thing entirely, especially against someone with a significant weight and height advantage.
“Not asking. You got friends. “ The massive clown moves his bulk closer, it’s like sitting next to a forklift.
I eat the bread, it tastes amazing until I swallow, then has a foul, chemical aftertaste.
I drink some tepid, burgundy fluid that might be caffeinated.
No weapons nearby, no one watching that might step in. I’m full of bruises and sprains, and probably anemic from blood loss. Not to mention one eye is running at about fifty per cent. Art didn’t sever the optic nerve last time, but he wasn’t gentle. My heart races.
“I don’t play well with people who take clowning and slap a coat of dark paint on it.
You guys are Clown Killers. You are good at killing, I’m sure, but the clown part, it’s tacked on.
Myself, I’m a killer clown…. “ I had a really good rant planned, honestly, it was a corker, douche bags would have used it in memes for a decade.
But before I can react, with one massive hand, he bounces my face off of the pitted steel table.
It rings my bell, but not as much as I let on. In clowning terms, what I do Is called a pratfall.
For those of you that don’t speak nerd, I oversell the hit, falling backwards, eyes fluttering.
I tip backwards, reaching out my left arm, as if to steady myself. The meat mountain is unbothered, knowing I have no chance unarmed, in this close, he let’s me grab one shoulder of the butchers apron. The material is thick, and matted in stains that will never come out, literally or metaphorically.
If you want to take someone out, in a relatively harmless way, you don’t want to choke them. It takes forever, usually ends up killing them, and generally is a bad idea for everyone involved.
Your goal is go cut off blood flow to the brain as quickly and fully as possible.
I hook my thumb around the opposite shoulder strap, and snap my body backward, the apron acting as an impromptu Garrotte.
His right arm is knotted through my left, as he tries to struggle, to put his murderous intent and ability to work, the choke only becomes tighter.
I don’t want enemies here, and I only have so many tricks to play before things come to a knock down drag out fight, so I leave the clown unharmed.
I do need friends, but the look I get as I take a seat at a loose collection of men is cold and fearful.
A red haired guy, five foot nine or so, makes eye contact, “Anything we can help you with? “ he says, fearless.
“Yeah, despite the face work I’ve had done, I have fuck all in common with any of those penny wise, Icp, Gacy dressed, assholes.
I need a tribe guys, you all look like the unlucky ones around here, but I don’t want to get involved in bloodshed.
I’m Mike “ I know, that’s only mostly true, but I mean it, either way. I extend a hand.
“Chris. “ the red haired guy says, he wears a white dress shirt and surprisingly blue jeans, “Those stains around your cuffs tell me otherwise.
If you’re telling the truth, that’s great. If you are lying, and still sane enough to keep your word, that’s even better. “ Chris’s tone is mirthless, I read him easily. He’s been here a long time for a short life, he looks thirty max, and I shudder to think how young he may have been when he came in.
Chris catches me up on the ins and outs of this place, beyond what a general knowledge of prison would give.
Everyone here has crimes they were not convicted of, that would, otherwise put them in jail for life. A large amount, obviously are murderers, torturers, real bastards.
But a significant minority are just regular folks, maybe a bit thoughtless, but that have collected a litany of small, petty, in cases almost victim less crimes.
No one seems to be aware of the… reality t.v. Meets demonic fast food aspect of things, but there is a Doom cherry on this fear Sunday.
There is a single way someone can get out. To earn 20 tokens.
And how does one earn these tokens you ask?
Each day the prison holds an event, to call it a challenge would insinuate a level of fair play that is simply not there. The events range from somewhat fair, a fight or game of chance, to esoteric rituals complex enough to rip someone’s soul from their body.
These tokens are also the sole form of currency in the prison, they can buy everything from commissary snacks to literal free passes from guards.
The economy has created a cut throat society, the heads of the cults not even taking advantage of being able to be free, but simply reveling in the power of being psychotic and enabled.
The weak are enslaved, their lives traded on the off chance at tokens.
So, of course, braindead asshole that I am, I signed myself right up. Feeling a little more confidant after climbing Mount Bozo.
It's 8pm and the volunteers are rounded up and brought to a massive room that has all the trappings of a gymnasium, but the scale is large enough easily hold the focus of tonight’s events.
In tiered bleachers all around us, our fellow prisoners cheer and scream. The smell of thousands of unwashed, men is overpowering, the din of excitement is deafening.
But my attention is focussed on the small, single floor home, sitting out of place in the middle of the polished wood floor.
What I wouldn’t give for Demi to appear right now, give me the low down on all the supernatural bullshit that is heading my way. But the longer we stayed in the mountain the less and less the most useful voice in my head could, or would, make an appearance.
I study each of my fellow volunteers, the goal seems simple, last the longest in the home. Men enter and leave within minutes. They come out looking shaken, with minor lacerations, and a general sense of shell shock.
By the time my turn arrives, I think I know what I’m in for.
I’m wrong.
As the baby blue door closes behind me, nothing immediately in the home causes me concern. The fixtures and furniture is a bit out of date, the lighting is, not inviting, and there is a general fog of gloom hanging around.
I smile, I’ve felt this before. Granted I had Demi feeding me supernatural errata at the time, but, I’m positive I can wing it.
“So, I think I may have met one of you guys before. Back in New York, a Happy-Face corner store, anyone you know?
Scary dude, took a couple of pieces out of me.
But this, it’s more like an MMA fight, right? I tap out when you start kicking my ass? “ I stretch, trying to see if I’m getting any kind of reaction.
I inventory the objects around me, last time everything that wasn’t nailed down, shifted, changed and tried to take me apart.
You may have noticed by now, I love using the phrase ‘ last time’, and that’s because up until this moment, I haven’t learned a fucking thing here.
Mike’s first rule of paranormal survival, last time means nothing.
“It’s you” the voice is young, late teens, and male.
I spin, expecting violence, then, wishing violence.
I know the young man, not this pale, older, revenant with a self inflicted gunshot wound, but I know him none the less.
I’m not being metaphorical when I say my heart misses a beat, I almost fall over, pounding at my chest to stop it’s arythmatic pounding.
I knew what happened to him, found it out long after I could do anything about it. And wasn’t in the best of places when I did.
I’ll call him a ghost for simplicity sake, but this kid, he’s my first, and biggest mistake.
I based who I turned into on finding what I thought was one of the worst people on earth. This kid’s father.
I did things to him worthy of what I knew he did. And to top it all off, I had him die by his wife’s hand.
Well, a decade later I find out, the guy wasn’t a Saint, but he didn’t do anything worthy of the twisted shit I put him through.
I got wind of some false information put out there in a moment of rage by a tech savvy ten year old. The kid never intended it to see the light of day
“I found out about you Mike, I saw that you were a hero. “ The voice is thin echoes like a stuck record.
“No kid, don’t think that. “ I mumble, I’m shaking, the air is freezing, each breath comes out as white mist.
I’m sitting on the flower printed couch now, and it hits me.
I’d assumed because Art couldn’t screw around in my head last time, the same went for everything here.
Remember what we said about last time.
“My told me what happened one night, what I made you do.
I destroyed her memory of him, I made a real Hero kill him, I couldn’t keep hurting people. “ I can see images, flashing in my mind, memories that are not mine.
I’m counting seconds, trying to focus, trying to stay long enough to get the token. It has to have been fifteen, twenty minutes at least.
I try to work up a smirk, to convince myself that I’m just being played by the paranormal equivalent of a heckler.
That’s not it though, This place, this house, is reaching inside me and finding places to look. As I stare into the young man’s rotted eyes I know this is some part of him, torn away from whatever rest he was entitled to.
The lights dim, then turn off. The house is silent.
Hollywood gets being both a lunatic and a hitman wrong in equal measure. No matter how much morality you want to inject into the profession, there are going to come times when you make mistakes.
As the lights slowly turn to a dull orange glow, I’m surrounded by the hovering, mutilated forms of mine.
Those that died that could have been spared, those that died because of my inaction, or stupidity. I’ve never forgotten them, I use them to make sure I never make the same mistakes again, but having them looming, screaming, all demanding I hear their stories, their accusations, their placations.
It's too much, I stumble from the couch, trying to avoid the icy touch of these phantoms. For a moment I find some last scrap of courage, I close my eyes, shut out the shrieking din of the dead.
The silence hits like a truck, I focus, trying to calm my burned out nerves.
Then they are reignited like a fucking welding torch.
“This place didn’t bring us here.
We’ve been right next to you for years Mike. We can’t leave. “ The voice of my first mistake.
Like a toddler I try to run with my eyes closed, I trip over a glass coffee table, clawing my way up the door, grasping at the handle.
I can feel a slight pull now, almost magnetic, trying to drag me backwards.
My hands shake too much, I have to steady my right wrist with my left hand, the floor becomes slick, I see the door, escape start to move further away as I’m pulled backward.
I've taken a hit or two, and had a couple of three day benders that have made me piss myself. But as I stumble, trying to make progress on the nearly friction less floor, I have another unpleasant first experience.
I grab the handle, pulling myself out of the house, launching my body into a skin peeling tumble across unforgiving plank flooring.
I’m a shaking, fetal wreck, by the time I’ve pulled myself together enough to take in my surroundings, I see the red Led clock displaying my time.
42 seconds. Bottom of the barrel. The jeers and booing from the crowd do nothing for my frayed nerves or the storm of fear and anxiety going through my mind.
I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep, it has nothing to do with the concrete slab that serves as my bed.
My stomach has been knotting and cramping, with each passing second I get more worried I blew some internal gasket in one of the many life or death struggles in the past months.
When I finally manage to vomit, the urge is strong enough I get no where near the filth crusted hole in the floor that serves as my toilet. And my worst fears are confirmed as I see the massive pile of vomit is mostly blood.
… and bones? Is that an eyeball? A piece of fur?
The mass begins to pull itself together, bits and pieces forming the most rudimentary attempt at a face.
“Junior? “ I say, stunned.
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