Animal crossing kitchen ideas
2020.04.13 06:23 Puppypoopoo AnimalCrossingIdeas
Show off you house/island decorating skills. Give and get some new ideas for both. :)
2013.05.24 06:02 LykaBoss Animal Crossing New Leaf
Welcome to the largest Animal Crossing New Leaf subreddit! Share your Friend Code (FC), ask questions relating to ACNL, share your accomplishments, trade with others, ask for ideas, or chat!
2020.05.16 01:01 kyuubiwan acsuggestions
Suggestions and ideas of how to improve the Animal Crossing games
2023.05.29 17:00 AutoModerator Watch The Magician’s Elephant Full/Movie online free
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The Magician’s Elephant is a 2023 American computer-animated fantasy adventure film directed by Wendy Rogers, written by Martin Hynes and produced by Julia Pistor. Based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, the film features the voices of Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin, Natasia Demetriou, Benedict Wong, Miranda Richardson and Aasif Mandvi. Animated by Animal Logic, the film was distributed by Netflix on March 17, 2023.
follows Peter, who is searching for his long-lost sister. When he crosses paths with a fortune teller in the market square, he want to know, is his sister still alive? To get the answer, he must find a mysterious elephant and the magician who will conjure it, setting Peter off on a journey to complete three seemingly impossible tasks that will change the face of his town.
On August 17, 2009, 20th Century Fox announced that Martin Hynes would adapt a novel titled The Magician’s Elephant, which was yet to be released, into a feature film.
Martin Hynes,Kate DiCamillo,Mark Sperber
Animal Logic,Netflix Animation,Village Roadshow Pictures,Pistor Productions
In that same announcement, Julia Pistor was also confirmed as the producer of the film.
On December 15, 2020, after languishing into development hell for a number of years, it was announced that Pistor had taken the property to Netflix who acquired the film rights to the book and screenplay to develop the animated feature film, with Animal Logic working on the animation. In the same announcement, Noah Jupe, Benedict Wong, Pixie Davies, Sian Clifford, Brian Tyree Henry, Mandy Patinkin, Miranda Richardson, Cree Summer, and Lorraine Toussaint were all cast to star in the film.
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2023.05.29 16:57 StaticNocturne Why some guys find it so much easier than others (it's not just looks)
Brothers are out here are trying to crack the fucking Da Vinci code to win the affection of womenfolk, meanwhile other brothers are naturally attracting ladies by being unapologetically themselves.
Case in point: I know a knuckledragger who has little emotional intelligence or self-awareness (or at least he doesn't show it) and a dimwitted demeanor akin to James Franco in the Pineapple express. He's got a stable but low paying and unglamorous job, and he's a bit above average in the looks department but not nearly handsome enough to counteract the aforementioned issues... only they rarely prove to be issues since he seems to be able to attract casual partners and longer term partners much more easily than some of us would assume based on complex calculations using the Fibonacci sequence and Hipparchus' star charts and whatnot.
Anyhow, as far as I can tell there's no sorcery at work, the fact is he's just being himself - or more accurately the character mold of what I would call your average blue collar sports fan in the city I live in. He essentially says and does what he wants when he wants, doesn't seem to have any grand plan, and I would eat my shoe if I were to learn that he had ever looked for advice on a dating forum or referred to a guide of some sort.
There's some definite je ne sais quoi to be felt whenever anyone is being unapologetically themselves - even if it isn't exactly appreciated and even if there isn't any real wit or charm to them. Conversely it's difficult to be truly charismatic when one is attempting to play a game of sorts, it's usually perceptible, and is partly what people refer to casually when they say 'the vibe was off'.
An obvious yet crucial point to bear in mind is that some men simply have personalities which are naturally aligned with that which a large portion of women are drawn toward - even if it includes some less politically or socially acceptable elements and even if they'd be loathe to admit or perhaps even unable to consciously rationalize their attraction.
Some guys - many guys - are quite effortlessly drawing women in by being brash and assertive, lustful and a bit vulgar, by engaging with their manly sports and hobbies, getting inked and shaving their head and so on - It wouldn't be quite right to say it all comes naturally because it's socially conditioned, but it doesn't involve painstaking strategizing and planning when it comes to courtship, and I think that has an enormous impact both in rendering them more charismatic and in helping them to avoid a lot of the burnout that comes with the more calculated approach.
Of course this personality profile is going to absolutely repel certain types of women, just as a meek and geeky personality will repel certain types of women (perhaps not as viscerally but it will dry them up like the Atacama) but in general, if a guy isn't equipped with many of the traditional / prototypical male traits and behaviors, even the arguably cunty ones, they're effectively playing the game on a harder difficulty.
So, what's to make of all this?
I suppose it supports the view that we'd be better off sticking to our guns and accepting that we won't find appeal with most women, just as we aren't attracted to the majority of women we cross paths with.
It's possible to fake it and make it - I have a close friend who did exactly this with a lady with whom he was (as much as I revile the idea of dating tiers) punching well above his weight... in fact he lied about a range of things relating to his lifestyle and work to try and position himself in the most flattering light, as he knew her preferred type. They dated, he got crushed by the guilt and burden of keeping up the charade, came clean, they very nearly parted ways but ultimately remained together. Seems like a lot more trouble than its worth, not to mention it's pathetic, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't lose a bit of respect for him.
Most likely the optimal strategy is to identify and remedy a few pain points that are likely to be posing the biggest blockades to connecting with women - in my case this involves things such as oversharing personal information too soon (including mental health struggles) and hesitation around physical escalating (it doesn't come naturally so I need to consciously remind myself to be more touchy) - being the most appealing version of yourself, not acting like somebody else.
I was going to delete this after realizing it's all so obvious, but it's written now so I'm posting it
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2023.05.29 16:56 bimbo_wannabe_ [I Accidentally Joined The Mafia In South Brooklyn] Chapter 6: On The Organizational Habits of Unrested Spirits and The Taste of Demon's Blood, Part 1.
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Becca invited me to her apartment when we made it back, sent me through the alley behind the building to keep the prying eyes at the minimum. That was fine with me as I was a lot more noticeable than I liked to be, at the moment. I had already lit a cigarette by the time she opened the back door of the stairwell to let me in. It was the last in the pack, and I'd only opened it this morning. The temperature on my phone screen had finally hit zero.
"You're gonna have to give me a second, B, I don't wanna smoke around you in your condition but I really need one."
She gave me another watery grin.
"Little too much blood in the nicotine system, huh?"
"Exactly, my young friend, exactly that."
She propped the door open and sat herself down on the ground. I could tell the high heels were starting to hurt her because she kicked them off and set them neatly to the side, though I knew the concrete had to be freezing her feet off. She tucked her skirt between her legs and sat with her back against the wall, her elbow propped on her bent knee, the other leg stretched out straight before her. It was exactly how what was left of Antoni had been sitting beside me less than two hours ago.
I was getting a little tired of all the patterns appearing in my life these days.
I flipped to my news app, as was my habit. There was an article at the top of page about the preparations the SDNY were making to get ready for the coming storm, but frankly I didn't really give a fuck so I just kept scrolling.
"Your old neighborhood is in the news, B."
"You ain't had enough bad news?" Beccs asked with a rueful laugh.
"Eh, I like to stay abreast of current events. I mean, you got me pegged, B. I'm a nosy fuck. But, uh, fifteen years on the inside, you learn that it pays to pay attention to the shit other people don't notice, cause you never know when the information you pick up is going to end up being the information you need."
She gave me a look that said she had to yield to my point.
"So what's the news from Koreatown?".
"Somebody shot a wedding up, apparently. Says seven were killed, including the bride and groom and the bride's father, as they was leaving the reception. You know, most of these names are Rhees. Ain't nobody you know, is it? Kinda feel like you've had enough death for the day, kid."
There was another look on her face, one I couldn't quite read even with all my people-watching prowess.
"Lemme take a wild stab at it. Two of those names are Rhee Seong-Min and Rhee Bong-Cha."
"Yeah," I nodded. "You do know 'em. I'm sorry, B."
She gave a low, almost rumbling, chuckle. It gave me a little shiver, not from the cold, and not one of enjoyment, either. She flashed a sign, one I'd seen her flash before, but it wasn't from any gang I knew personally, and lacking any official affiliation of my own, I'd dealt with my fair share of different gang members in the Upstate Correctional Facility. Double E's, one backwards, one forwards, three quick shakes of each hand.
"God bless old K-town. But you ain't got to worry about it. I'll not shed a tear over any of them. They's family, but they ain't exactly family
, you know. I might tell you about it one day."
The last sentence had a note of finality to it, so I didn't ask any further questions in that regard, but I was still as curious as always.
"If all your family has Korean names, how the hell did you end up as Rebecca and your Dad as Sam?"
"My Dad's name is Park Kyung-Sam. Just Sam was easier to tell people and he, uh, he wanted me to have the same benefit of blending in in American society, and he liked the name Rebecca. So, Rhee Rebecca Hyo-Jin. My Mom's name was Rhee Chung-Cha, but everybody just called her ChaCha, like from Grease."
"So your Mom was the Rhee?"
She made an affirmative noise and nodded.
"She didn't exactly wanna give up her family name, and… my Dad didn't exactly give a fuck cause he was in love with her crazy ass. You know, that's where I get this from. Except my Moms, if she was still around she'd make me look like I grew up to be a calm, quiet girl."
I'd hate to see what was worse than Beccs.
"You done?" Becca asked. I nodded, tossed my cigarette into the sand-filled bucket we kept here for just that purpose. I followed B inside and we climbed the stairs to the third floor. I leaned against the wall as she pulled a ring of keys from her coat pocket and waited while she unlocked the knob and the three deadbolts on her door.
"Pretty serious about your home security, B?"
She shot me a look but didn't say anything as she opened the door. A steady beeping greeted us, and Becca stopped just inside and punched in a code on a security panel. As I stepped around her and entered the apartment, I understood why.
Do you know that part in Coming To America
where Akeem comes home to his dilapidated Queens apartment and realizes Semmi has filled it with expensive furniture? Well, it was exactly like that. Becca locked the door back behind her, threw her stilettos onto the shoe rack, and hung her coat on the brass tree beside it. I did the same, removed my boots to place them on the rack as well.
"Jesus Christ, B, this place looks amazing."
There was a gray suede sectional in the center of the living room, a 152 inch Panasonic plasma bolted to the wall. The coffee table, the wool Oriental rug beneath it, and the end tables looked antique, as well as the green velvet chaise set near one window. There were three ornately-carved bookcases set against the far wall between the two windows facing the street, one filled with DVDs, and on the other two almost all the books were old and leather bound. The kitchen was open to the room, separated by a butcher block bar from the living room, all matching stainless steel appliances and black marble countertops. All along the walls were family pictures dotted between massive paintings held in golden Baroque style frames.
They were… stunning was the only word I could think to describe them. Most of them were portraits done in a slightly impressionist style, impasto if my memory served me, seemingly random strokes of thick paint that somehow managed to form the perfect images of faces and a few nudes.
"Jesus Christ, these paintings must have cost a fortune alone."
Becca stepped beside me, her arms crossed over her chest as she surveyed the painting I was looking at. It was done in mostly black and red, the image of a sleeping nude man, one arm tucked behind his head, his other draped across his stomach, his hips and legs covered with a sheet. If I touched it, I could have felt the wrinkles in the bunched fabric. There was something oddly familiar about it.
"They didn't cost shit," she answered.
That made me look away from the painting and back to Beccs.
"What the hell? Did you rob a gallery?"
"No, you mook, I
painted them. They didn't cost anything but the price of the canvas and the paint, which, you know, I stole most of that from school."
"You painted them," I repeated, looking back.
As I looked closer at the canvas, I realized why it was familiar. The sleeping man was our dear friend Antoni Zabrowska. I had mistaken his tattoos for shadows, though I had to admit I had never seen him look quite so relaxed. As I glanced around the room, I realized I recognized many of the paintings. I was able to pick out her father's face, Rossi's, and I realized the model for the two female nudes was none other than Nia Bianchi. There was one of a woman in white with bloody skeletal wings that bore a strong resemblance to Becca and I imagined that was the infamous ChaCha.
"That's what I go to Columbia for. Visual Arts."
"You're a goddamn genius, B."
"No, I'm fucking serious, kid. My sister collects art, and she refuses to go for the big names. Shit like this, she pays 10 to 20 grand for a painting half this size, more if it's one of the artists she likes."
Now she snorted.
"What? Your sister got a money tree?"
"No, my older sister Aurie's a writer. She wrote her first book when she was ten. She's published 20 so far, but she's got 30 or 40 more in backlog that she's still tweaking. She's kind of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, but I guess it pays off. Her books sell like fucking hotcakes everytime she puts one out, two of her series got picked up by Netflix, and Lion's Gate turned her seventh book into a movie. She even got to be involved in the productions.
"She's got a penthouse on the Upper East Side that she bought about six years ago. That's where I lived when I got out of the Upstate. Aurora, she's a fucking Saint, you know. I mean, I had a shitty PO that was up my ass every five minutes but Aurie never said a word about it. She just… always told me she was glad I was home, which, you know, was nice to hear considering that according to my grandparents I died 19 years ago. She was the one that helped me get this place down here, paid in full for a two year lease."
Becca raised an eyebrow at me.
"No offense, Tony, I can tell you're crazy about her, but she couldn't have picked a better place for you than this hell hole?"
I laughed as softly as I could, to save the muscles in my stomach.
"I picked this place myself, B. Cheapest apartment I could find in any of the boroughs, and it even had three bedrooms. I was thinking about having space for a library and a home gym."
"Yeah, it's cheap cause the fucking place is about 90 years old. Nobody's been able to get a hold of the slumlord who owns it for repairs in 8 months, but I bet you the motherfucker still collects the rent checks we deposit in his fucking bank account every month."
"Yeah, I figured that out just about as soon as I moved in, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides, Antoni always used to help me out whenever something broke."
Becca gave a small smile.
"They did that for everybody. I used to call them the apartment elves, cause instead of making shoes they were skittering around fixing fucking toilets and sinks, and rewiring burned up outlets and bringing in new refrigerators and stoves when shit broke in everybody else's places. And they bought it all with their own money. Everybody tried to pay them, but they never took a dime for any of it. Ironically enough, Pops used to talk about Antoni all the time because of all the money he'd spend over there every week. Said he had a good heart, just no good sense when it came to what was his responsibility and wasn't. You know, I had my own opinions about Antoni's heart, but I kept them to myself."
"I really wish I had paid more attention when Antoni was working on the boiler, though. Instead of just passing him tools and running my mouth."
"Yeah, you're good at that," she replied with a smirk.
"And fuck you, too, Miss Rebecca. You might be the strong type, but you're not exactly silent yourself."
"Make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back."
I nodded and obeyed as she exited into what I saw was the bathroom as she opened the door and closed it behind her.
The sectional was goddamned heaven, and she'd said make myself comfortable so I kicked out the recliner and leaned back. I closed my eyes for a moment and sighed, and when I opened them I nearly jumped out of my skin. I barely managed to stop myself from letting out a yell as I jerked back up to sitting.
Antoni's corpse was standing by the picture wall, looking intently at a photo of a child Becca wearing a ruffled, cream colored dress with a ribbon in her long black hair. It was the picture of her first Communion.
"Goddamn, you can't give somebody a warning before you do that?"
He neither answered me nor turned to look at me because he was using the stumps of his wrists to adjust several of the frames back straight again.
"Fucking neat freak," I laughed. "She wasn't lying."
He finally turned toward me.
You ever seen a corpse try to look annoyed when he's missing about a quarter of his face? I mean, what am I saying, you probably haven't, but suffice to say, it's pretty fucking funny. He raised his left wrist, and if he had hands, he'dve been shooting the bird.
Almost hysterical laughter burst out of me as Becca exited the bathroom.
"Least the pipes ain't frozen yet," she muttered.
She gave me a strange look.
"Who are you talking to out here? And what's so funny?"
I glanced back to Antoni, but he was gone again.
"Don't mind me, B, I'm pretty sure I got a concussion. I'm pretty much seeing pink elephants at this point." Or, you know, the mutilated corpse of my best friend, but it's probably best I leave it at elephants.
"Yeah," she answered, and crossed the room to hand me something. "Speaking of."
It was a mouth guard.
"What is this for?"
She didn't answer me, but headed to the kitchen and opened a cabinet, withdrawing a cut crystal scotch glass and then opening the refrigerator and withdrawing… two bags of blood. Nia's blood, to be exact. She unscrewed the cap at the bottom of one, punctured the seal with a fresh insulin needle, and to my supreme discomfort squeezed some into the glass. The mouth guard suddenly made sense. It was so I wouldn't break my teeth or bite my tongue off when the convulsions started and my jaw locked down from consuming demon blood.
"Oh no, B, I don't want that."
"Yeah. That's why I didn't tell you why I wanted you over here, cause I knew you was gonna be a pussy about it."
I tried one more last-ditch effort.
"You need that more than me, B."
"I can just take my next dose early, but you, you can't go down and see Ma looking like that. She's gonna ask too many questions."
That one stopped me.
"I've had enough of interrogations for one day, B."
"There ain't no interrogation when it comes to Ma. She just puts it in your head that you ain't got no choice but to tell her the truth, and you do. She's made state witnesses get up on the stand and confess their own crimes, pleading the fifth be damned."
She screwed the cap back onto the bag and carried them and the glass over to the coffee table and set them down. She walked over and opened a closet door, pulling out an IV pole with a little box attached to it, and grabbed a small cardboard box from off a shelf and what looked like a tackle box. She set it on the coffee table after she pulled the pole over to the sectional and plugged it into the wall, opened the cardboard box and removed a cassette from inside and inserted it into the box on the pole.
"It's a blood warmer for rapid transfusions, so I don't go into hypothermia or hemolysis. Little bastard cost 137 thousand, but at least you can buy them online. You put a fresh cassette in every time, the blood runs through it, by the time it gets to my arm it's body temp."
She opened the tackle box and removed two fresh lines, attaching one to the bottom of the warmer and one to the top, hanging the bags of blood but not connecting the first of them yet. The top had a drip chamber with a filter, and the bottom held the flow regulator and the hypodermic needle with the cannula inside.
"You know, it's not fucking fair, B, you shouldn't have dealt with half the shit in your life that you have."
She snorted and her lips pursed with anger as she sat down beside me.
"You sound like Rossi with that shit. That's why he wouldn't let me die, said it wasn't fair
. I was ready to go into hospice, fuck it, I was ready to see my Mom again. But I'll tell you the same thing I told his stupid old ass. Life ain't fair. Cause if it was I'd have my mother and my baby's father and Jimmy's ass would be the one laying in the morgue. You think it's fair you almost lost a finger because of what he ordered?"
"No, I actually think that's pretty fair. That's karma, B. I was usually the one doing the beating. How do you think I ended up in prison?"
She looked hard at me for a moment.
"I mean, you never told me. You were pretty open about having gone to prison, but you never said why."
"Well, I learned to be open about it. Some people get real upset when they find out they're dealing with someone who's been through the system, so I didn't really wanna go through that again. So now I just tell people up front, let them decide for themselves if they wanna deal with me or not. That way they can't throw it back in my face, say I lied to them."
Becca let out a bitter chuckle.
"So what's your story?"
"Well, we still ain't finished your story, yet, but we'll take a detour. The whole thing started my Senior year of high school. First game of the year, I blew my knee out, big as a bitch, tore everything there was to tear, shit was basically hanging on by the skin alone. Orthopedics said I had two choices, keep playing football or, retain the ability to walk on that leg, so… there went all my big dreams of college ball and making it onto the Giants."
I nodded. "Middle linebacker. I was good at it. 6'7, 265 pounds but light on my feet, all muscle. Back then I was running 7 percent body fat, and wasn't even trying. Shit just… all came natural to me. It all blew up in my face. Shitloads of surgery and physical therapy, and then one day the pain pills stopped but the pain didn't. Everyday, every night, I was still hurting."
"I know about bone pain. I could always tell when I needed to up the dose when my bones started hurting. When I started out all it took was an insulin needle. Now I take so much, I'm not even sure I qualify as human. But I guess I won't be much longer. That's always been the plan. Just keep me alive till 30 and Ma's gonna make me like her. That's the preferred age for the Entrance, something to do with the Trinity."
"I started asking around school if anyone knew where to get some Percs but pain management keeps that shit so tight I could only get a few at a time. Not only was they expensive, it wasn't enough. I got hooked up with this kid named Alessandro, he told me if I really wanted to control the pain, he could get me something better and cheaper. He took me to meet his uncle, Colombian guy named Marco. First shot is free and it was… it was beautiful. Everybody always gets sick the first time, but I didn't. And then after that, all my free money from my after school job started going to horse, and uh, I got my last six months off school. I already had all the credits I needed from AP classes, started working full time. They didn't piss test. But, my tolerance was rising faster than my income was."
I took a deep breath.
"I'd been buying enough that Marco was offering me fronts but I never took it. So next time I went, I asked him for my usual and I asked how much it would be for two O's on the front, cause I knew a lot of other users and I was thinking of starting to sell myself. So, he told me he'd give me a pound, and we could settle up at the end of the month."
"Jesus Christ, if you were selling a pound a month you must have been making bank."
I shook my head.
"I wasn't in it for the money. I was in it to keep myself supplied. If I kept my prices right, I could use for free, and I had enough left over to pay my portion of the rent and help pay for the groceries. I got good at it, I'd take a shot, and nod out for a few minutes, then get up and start walking the streets."
"You wasn't standing on a street corner?"
"Fuck no. Too visible. I did all my business by phone. I had a burner and gave everyone the number, and when they needed some they'd give me a call and I'd meet them or they'd meet me. I had ethics. I used to have people offering me fucking blowjobs for a bag, but I always said no, shit felt wrong. All they had to do was pay me by the end of the month but, sometimes…"
She gave a grin.
"But sometimes, 'Bitch, where's my money?'"
"Yeah, sometimes people would try to skip out, so I had to apply a little pressure to persuade them to pay. I never killed nobody, it's hard as hell to get money out of a dead man. But, black a few eyes and break a few bones and suddenly they had money they didn't before. Being my size, there wasn't many of them that could fight back. But, I fucked up the wrong lowlife.
"There was this prick, he'd been dodging me for weeks. He owed me like two grand, I'd given him that much because I knew he had money, so when I finally caught up to him, I was pretty mad and, the bitch, he told me he wasn't going to pay me. Thought he was better than me, thought he could fuck me and get away with it. So I beat the mortal hell out of him, took his wallet. He had five grand in there but I figured, 3K surcharge for wasting my time."
I shook my head.
"But I should have done some better research on who I was going after. Turned out the little prick had a socialite for a mother and his Daddy was a hedge fund manager and… I'd hurt him pretty bad. First three months, not only was I dealing with DTs, I was waiting to see if they were going to add Murder to my charges. He was in a coma for that long, and when he woke up, he had to learn to walk again, how to feed himself. I beat him so bad I gave him brain damage."
"Apparently his parents knew their son's habits and knew exactly who I was, cause they went straight to the police, and two days later SWAT showed up, turned the house upside down. I smashed my phone into pieces, flushed it so they couldn't get my contacts, but I didn't think about the fact I still had the wallet with his driver's license in it. My grandparents disowned me, right then and there. I had just reupped so they caught me with 14 ounces, all it takes is 8 for Class A felony possession. I spent 13 months in Rikers, but my sister got me a good lawyer, he knew the judge and the prosecutor personally, golfed with them, so he got me a plea deal. I was looking at life in prison, but he argued that I was a good student that had made a bad mistake because of a chronic pain issue, and they were both first offenses, so if I pled guilty, agreed to go through a substance abuse program and anger management, then they'd give me the minimum sentence.
"15 years, Class A Felony Drug Possession, 3 years, Class B felony First Degree Assault, intentionally causing grievous bodily harm while in the commission of another felony. But, at my sentencing, the judge said I was a big guy, with a big anger problem. I hadn't killed anyone, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Said I was a danger to society, so when I got to the UCF, they put me in dark red."
"23 hours a day in a box by myself, no visitors, barely saw the guards. But, I stayed quiet, made no problems. Prison was overcrowded so I ended up with a cellmate, and I was glad to see him. It could have been Hannibal Lecter and I would have gave him a hug. He might have been a murderer but he was actually a decent guy. Him and his crew had knocked over some jewelry stores in Manhattan, last job went bad. He'd killed three cops, so he wasn't never getting out. Neither was his wife. Life in Bedford Hills."
"That's where they was gonna send me if Ma hadn't got the jury to give me a Not Guilty verdict."
I knew Becca had a tendency to get in trouble because beside the cheerleading pictures in the bodega, there was also a mugshot.
"What did you do?"
She gave a bitter chuckle again.
"Unlike you, I killed someone. 2021, this fucking crackhead tried to rob the store. He shot the customer that was in there, old guy named Mickey, killed him. He used to live in your apartment. Tried to shoot me, too, but the gun jammed and I had the aluminum baseball bat under the counter. I just started swinging. He went down, but I jumped the counter, and hit him again. Blood lust is a real thing. Once I saw he was bleeding, I wanted to see more. I beat his brains out, literally, he was dead long before the cops ever got there. Bat looked like a toothpick when I was done.
"They arrested me, and the DA himself showed up at my arraignment. Said self defense didn't apply, sent me straight up to Murder 2, requested I be denied bail because I had a passport and plenty of money so I was a flight risk. But we all knew the truth. He was still pissed that he hadn't been able to send Rossi away for longer, and I was the next best thing. Ma had to pull a lot of strings to make sure I still got my transfusions when I was in lockup. I was in Rikers for four months, had my eighteenth birthday sitting in the Singer Unit."
"Goddamned patterns," I muttered, then raised my voice again. "You, me, and Antoni all got that in common, except he wasn't like us. He was already in prison. That's what the rose meant, turned eighteen in prison. Life sentence, triple murder."
"He told you that?" She looked betrayed, so I was quick to answer.
"No, the tattoos told me that. Google is my best friend, B. That's what the skull and crossbones, and the coffins on his arm meant."
She swallowed, and nodded again.
"But, I moved down," I continued. "Went to orange when they moved me to Gen Pop, and I had friends waiting for me. Marco was very appreciative of me keeping quiet about my source at trial, so outside Abuela Bogota's
was where I hung out the most. But I had friends all over. My sister was smart. She always put way more in my account than I could spend, so whenever I heard that somebody needed something, I'd go to the canteen and buy it myself and pass it to 'em. Nobody had to owe me shit. All I wanted was to be left alone, so I had people watching my back from all sides. I ended up in blue, got moved to the dormitory, started working in the kitchen, ended up running it, cause I was a 'model prisoner.'"
"You ever fool around with any of your cellmates?" Becca asked with a grin. "Cause I did."
I gave an uncomfortable laugh.
"I mean, yeah. 15 years is a long time to be alone. I don't consider myself bisexual even, but if somebody offers, you know…" I shrugged.
"I think the word you're looking for is heteroflexible. That's how Antoni referred to himself. He had a thing for you, you know."
That stopped me dead.
"You're fucking with me, B."
"Nope. He asked me once if I'd mind if he ever got the chance to hook up with you, and I told him no, as long as he didn't mind I still hooked up with my old girlfriends from high school. But he never asked you, said he loved you too much, was afraid of ruining your friendship."
"Jesus Christ," I shook my head, finally decided I needed time to process that, and moved on. "But, my last year there, Covid hit, and, I volunteered to work in the infirmary, but pretty soon the infirmary was filled, they started keeping people in the hallway, and finally they just ended up leaving them in their beds, I was all over the place. People dropping like flies. Everytime someone coughed or sneezed, everbody'd get nervous. I been smoking since I was 16, so I cough my lungs out every morning.
"People was looking at me like I was Death Incarnate. But I never caught it, not even once. And I was all around the sick, I was taking the bodies out to the truck outside the gate. Could've run but I didn't. Only had a few years left. It worked in my favor. They cut the last three years off my sentence, put me on supervised release and now, here I am, 36 years old, and just starting my adult life."
"Rossi got let out of lockup right before lockdown, poor bastard. Me, him, and my Dad all quarantined at Ma's, but of course, you know, me and Dad was essential workers so at least I got to get out of the house everyday. I graduated early, at 16, been working seven days a week since."
I glanced at the glass on the table.
"So let's get back to your story."
She shook her head, lips pursed again.
"Uh-uh, you're not wasting anymore time. Take the blood, but first," she reached out, quicker than I could even register, and used her thumbs to set my broken nose back straight.
I let out a yell, momentarily unable to see as my eyes filled with tears.
"Jesus wept, Becca, fucking hell, goddamn."
"Sorry. It would've hurt more if you'd known it was coming. Besides, you're a good looking guy, Tony, you don't wanna ruin your face."
"Thanks, B," I muttered as I pressed the toilet paper back to my freshly bleeding nose, tears streaming down my cheeks. "Need a haircut though."
"Nah, you oughta keep it. It's very The Dark Knight
Joker, just black, not blonde and green."
I laughed quietly.
"Not sure that's the best association, B. A little too psychotic and violent."
She raised an eyebrow at me.
"Alright, alright. It's probably an accurate association, just a little less arson and murder." I sighed and looked at the scotch glass. "So how do I do this, B?"
"Think about it like a tequila shot. Take the shot and then slip the guard in quick. Then sit back, try to relax."
I nodded and grabbed the glass before I lost my nerve. I raised it in her direction.
." She responded.
2023.05.29 16:54 Hummerous a detective who can talk to animals cw: gore(?)
2023.05.29 16:54 izigravambogaoca Apex is fucking me over
Recently switched to pc from console and as there is no cross progreession i lost all my skins but thats far from the biggest problem. I'd now have to grind to lvl 50 to play ranked. I understand that this is bc of smurfs but coke on surely cross prog. can come sooner or implememt a systrm that lets og players play ranked. My best idea is to lower the lvl req to 20 but idk man. Time to ppay csgo i guess.
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2023.05.29 16:50 bumblebrutis Questioning every narrative is essential to uncover real truths.
(sorry for the length but its needed to get my perspective across)
Generally any alternative theory holds truth when it receives a range of support from people with different backgrounds.
Anthropogenic climate change is supported by every serious scientist world wide (tens of thousands of people) and the evidence of it is obvious and proved ( sea level rise, average global temp increases, changing migration and distributions of mobile marine animals and birds, increased occurrence and severity of weather events, loss of ancient ice coverage ect.). before people think the climate has always changed, yes it has but not usually at this fast a rate and when it has its coupled with mass extinctions. The problem is not that the climate is changing to quickly, the problem is that evolution acts over very long timescales and it cant keep up with this rapid change, which is why animal populations globally are suffering as their environments are less representative of the enviroment that they have evolved to exist in. The final outcome of extreme climate change will be ecological collapse that will be followed by global famine and hostility.
Considering the danger of climate change our action should be immense, yet big corperations focus on virtue signalling whilst in the background making no changes to the sustainability of their practices (as we would expect).
And as a beliver in the new world order the level of instability that climate change will bring will empower governments and those that controll the government to place more and more freedom-grabbing controls.
So considering all this my question is :
why does the conspiracy community often deny climate change?
when in reality the truth is that its real and by purpetuating the idea that its government designed plays into the hands of our rulers (whoever they may be), who’s profits would drop considerably if they were to prioritise the conservation of our natural world (stop single use plastics, reduce pollution, investment in conservation ect) instead of focusing soley on profit and control as they do now
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2023.05.29 16:50 jlu5 My growing DS collection
2023.05.29 16:47 Dr-Alex-Blast Tell me what's your favorite videgame and I'll tell you who you are
2023.05.29 16:41 chipmunk_cyclotron Loud HVAC return vent (x-post from r/homeowners)
Posting this here for additional visibility. I'm some having some issues with the noise generated from our HVAC return. We have an open plan living room / dining room / kitchen and the HVAC return is located on the shared wall of those three spaces next to our dining table. When the fan is running, it creates loud white noise that makes it hard to hear or talk. The fan/AC runs frequently in the summer due to the heat in our area and the constant background noise is grating.
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to mitigate this. I have two ideas right now: 1) rotate the vent 90 degrees around the corner, build a baffle into the bottom of a custom table/cabinet (so it doesn't look out of place), put the baffle against the vent or 2) completely relocate the return to our front room.
I'm hesitant to do #1 as I don't know how easy it will be to just rotate the intake but I believe I can match airflow specs with a custom cabinet/baffle design. #2 seems like it could be pricey but at this point it may be worth the cost. I'm just worried that moving it to another room may not completely solve the issue. There are no doorways in between the front room and our main living area so sound could still reverberate.
We've also maxed out our wallspace with some sound dampening art canvases but it hasn't reduced the noise enough.
Does anyone have any suggestions or insights on how to deal with this? Thanks for reading and for any help! pictures
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to HomeImprovement [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 16:41 Then_Marionberry_259 20230528 cross asset animation. Gold gapped up $15 on the open edition.
2023.05.29 16:40 chevycam79 The website has been found!
Hello everyone and anyone who is reading this from weirdwebsites
or maybe rbi
I want to give some big thank you's to some users who have suggested and found the website, I have expressed many times I don't understand how this app works and these people found and suggested things for me to research and look into, I want to thank u/adonisjones2
for finding the website, you've both been amazing and given me such relief, my partner is extatic and cannot believe you guys found it so quickly, I'm beyond happy and this will probably be one of the happiest days in our lives (silly or not)
I'd also like to thank u/Vhanjiia
for suggesting to cross post the original search post and educating myself on what any of this means, and thank you to the countless users who suggested alternatives and other ideas!!
I really cannot thank you guys enough and I'm glad (so so glad) that this stress has been taken off of my shoulders, once again thank you
- Adrius (me) and Will (partner)
(And to those who may be interested in the website, it is: https://remoji.com/
submitted by chevycam79
to u/chevycam79 [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 16:38 chipmunk_cyclotron Loud HVAC return vent
I'm some having some issues with the noise generated from our HVAC return. We have an open plan living room / dining room / kitchen and the HVAC return is located on the shared wall of those three spaces next to our dining table. When the fan is running, it creates loud white noise that makes it hard to hear or talk. The fan/AC runs frequently in the summer due to the heat in our area and the constant background noise is grating.
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to mitigate this. I have two ideas right now: 1) rotate the vent 90 degrees around the corner, build a baffle into the bottom of a custom table/cabinet (so it doesn't look out of place), put the baffle against the vent or 2) completely relocate the return to our front room.
I'm hesitant to do #1 as I don't know how easy it will be to just rotate the intake but I believe I can match airflow specs with a custom cabinet/baffle design. #2 seems like it could be pricey but at this point it may be worth the cost. I'm just worried that moving it to another room may not completely solve the issue. There are no doorways in between the front room and our main living area so sound could still reverberate.
We've also maxed out our wallspace with some sound dampening art canvases but it hasn't reduced the noise enough.
Does anyone have any suggestions or insights on how to deal with this? Thanks for reading and for any help! pictures
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to homeowners [link] [comments]
2023.05.29 16:38 arclightmagus The Apartment (Part 22)
First Part 21
Let’s see…. Ah yes, I was telling my…uh.. Well the neighborhood witch that she’d likely created a kind of magical dam in an extraplanar region and so she’d have to do something about it.
Or at least that was my guess. Now we just had to figure out both the hard part and the easy part.
The easy part would be switching off the portal. The problem was going to be A) knowing how long to leave it switched off and B) being able to reconnect.
Unlike modern electronics, the magical community is rather… slow about adopting certain technologies and patterns and so the concept of pairing (like most of us know about with bluetooth and wifi) was… not exactly foreign, but definitely something that didn’t come as a natural progression.
So not only would the portal have to be reconfigured at the ‘sending’ end (thank Terra for what are effective 2-way wormholes - suck it SG1), said portal would have to have something to home in on. And given that Miss Skuld had never actually turned the portal off since she activated it, that made things extra problematic.
But I was being paid in very expensive herbs, so it was on me to figure it out.
As I said, first it needed switched off so it could be re-runed, which would take a few hours at a minimum and would require a bit of research to determine the right runes to create a means of ‘pairing’.
Then those same new ‘pair’ runes would have to be added to this far side. This would help, but again, both would have to be offline and whomever was on the ‘inside’ would be stuck there until the portal was re-established. And guess who the lucky winner on that one was?
But again, that’s how being a consultant works. Dirty jobs and at the mercy of clients who need your help, but given the circumstances, short of calling a few wizards who were better with runes, it was not going to be an easy solution regardless.
“How certain are you about my portal being the issue?” Miss Skuld asked as we looked at the arch that formed this side of the portal.
“Sufficiently based on what you’ve told me that I’d find it very hard to believe that it wouldn’t impact something,” I replied, sipping on a cider she’d thoughtfully provided from her garden’s fermenters.
“And that’s a tried and true technique is it?” she asked, rather more cheerfully than the harsh school mistress facade she normally wore.
“Oh yes. Turn it off and on again is practically the very first step. If you can replicate a problem after you’ve done that, that’s when you know you have a real problem,” I smiled slightly.
“Except we already know that it’s a problem or have you forgotten my poor golems?” she seemed slightly hurt.
“That’s not what I meant. But in short, it is a best standard practice at deliberately taking steps to fully reset a system from a base state or as close as you can get to it.”
She considered this and nodded.
“I’ll need to close my shop for the day then. I’ll have to get some spellcasting ingredients and a tracer in case this doesn’t work as simple as turning it off and on again,” her face already returning to the grey, neutral stone that was her normal.
“I’ll need to get some provisions and some camping equipment in case this takes longer than we expect,” I concurred with breaking for the day. “Do you know if there’s a good cross-planar communicator?”
“In theory, yes. But they are research institute issue only and they are exorbitantly expensive to operate, let alone borrow,” she said, matter-of-factly.
“How expensive are we talking?” I decided to ask before realizing it.
“Three 25 gram essentia crystals grade 8 or better per minute,” she said without even a pause.
I swallowed heavily. That was the equivalent of my fee of saffron every 10 minutes. I could afford some luxuries and some back-ups, but nothing of that magnitude.
“Then I guess I’ll just have to do without and we’ll have to be adequately certain of the pairing runes,” I said, shrugging, trying to not imagine being lost in the extraplanar realm for an indefinite future.
“I’ll see if I can provide a means of making it auto apply. I don’t know how good your runes are and I’d hate to make this any harder than necessary in trying to guess between your runes and my own,” she said, in the tones of one who is already certain that your penmanship is not up to standard.
Being fair, she was absolutely correct.
I knew some about runes, but only enough to get into trouble. A bit like being able to read a bit of code, but not enough to actually fix it and more likely to just make a mess of it and/or break it.
I finished the cider and set the wooden mug back onto the table where we had been sitting, pondering a solution.
We rose as one and walked to the portal. I looked at it as closely as I could without my eyes watering. It seemed to be fairly standard, but was clearly formed by some very special vines which had the runes engraved on them. Certainly nothing I’d want to have to try and recreate.
She appeared to think for a moment at the edge of the portal and turned around, looking out at the garden.
I turned with her, in case there was something my senses had missed.
Seeing nothing, I turned to see what direction she was looking in. In doing so, I saw her raise her hands to full extent and a strange kind of warping seem to emanate from her fingertips.
You know that heat waves on the road, making you see water at a distance? It was the same kind of strange bending of air and light, except up-close.
Of course, being around a djinn who can leak fire from their fingertips when adequately upset, I was not overly concerned, but I knew better than to say anything until Miss Skuld was doing whatever it was she was doing.
It took about 30 seconds, but the bending light faded and nothing appeared to have changed.
“May I inquire as to what you just did?” I asked as we turned back to the portal together.
“My golems will now protect you if it becomes necessary and they will respond, to a degree, if you command them,” she said.
“Protect me from what?” I prompted.
“From if you’re wrong,” she said and we stepped through the portal.
We said our goodbyes from there and I left through the front, deciding to hail a rideshare to the local sporting goods store that had a grocery next door.
I thought hard about her last statement.
I couldn’t deny that she was right. I was effectively toying with magic concepts that didn’t have to follow my simple baseline logic. And if there was some malicious force at play, it was someone either targeting her or potentially targeting me by proxy.
Alternately, there was also the strong risk that in doing this, I could be stuck in her garden for days, week, or even months if we couldn’t manage to do this right. At a minimum, someone of equivalent or better extraplanar skills would have to find me, create a portal to me (even a one-time portal would be problematic), have a homing signal to get us back to the right plane, and then portal us back. Such a specialist would be worth a lot more than me, but seeing as this was her garden and not lightly created, I didn’t suspect that she’d be looking to maroon me in extraplanar space.
The rideshare was nice and quiet, which is always a benefit, and I wandered through the camping section of the sporting good store.
For an outing like this, where good weather was a guarantee and I could probably get by with very simple items, the biggest challenge was going to be cooking and keeping anything cool.
I hadn’t asked whether it would be ok for me to have a small fire or not or if there was a means of refrigeration. I decided that the simplest answer would be no on both, at least for anything other than a root cellar or some equivalent (since she did have to keep the fermenters somewhere).
And while essentia or similar powered ‘field equipment’ existed, that got expensive and was usually reserved for teams of wizards on expeditions.
So MREs, dried/freeze-dried foods, and self-heating chemical packs were going to be my friends in this. Imperfect, but without having a better idea on what I was looking at, it was better than surviving on purely fruit and veg (which I know some people manage to do, but I’m not them).
Water wasn’t going to be a problem and given the cider, neither was alcohol if I did end up there for days on end.
Power could be a problem for entertainment, so I grabbed a small solar panel with USB charging and included battery.
I decided on a camping hammock with straps instead of bolts and grabbed a few other odds and ends for hygiene. I thought the clerk was going to swallow their eyes at seeing my fully stocked cart and when I declined any bags, but they dutifully checked me out and I pushed the cart outside and around the corner, just enough to be out of line of sight of anyone except in the immediate before I started loading it all in my bag.
Yes, that’s right dear readers, I have a Mary Poppins/Dr. Who ‘bigger on the inside’/D&D ‘bag of holding’ backpack. And I love it. It’s the first and best thing I invested in when I kicked off my fully independent consulting. Anything that goes in is stacked according to some kind of internal warehousing and if you go looking for something, the enchantment on the bag listens and will lift up whatever it is that you’re asking for. I have a hard time believing that I’ve never had anything like it before or what I would do without it.
Once I finished up at the sporting goods, I decided to skip the grocery, since most of what I could come up with was items that either needed freezing/refrigeration or needed some kind of intense heat source. Since I would likely be lacking both, I would simply do without.
Caffeine was going to be a ‘problem’ but I had some cold beverage instant caffeine type flavored water mix that I could get by on, so that was sound enough for me to press forward on.
Another ride-share to the corner nearest the apartment and into the apartment I went, vanishing from the world outside and realizing that I hadn’t gotten the herbs I’d gone to Miss Skuld’s to get in the first place.
Oh well, my pasta with meatballs and marinara sauce would just have to do without.
That is, until Lucy and Warren found out about my plan for the next day and possibly longer if things didn’t go right. But I’ll get to that later.
For now, it’s a beautiful day and I intend to spend it doing as little as possible.
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2023.05.29 16:35 Thin_Baker4059 Let's make the game more known and famous
Do someone have an idea to make the game more famous? Even if the game has stopped beeing updated, it have a huge potential so, i think, we sould make it more known, if you got ideas, i'm open to it, if you have a yt chanel, there still is the possibility of making videos (for exemple, animations)
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2023.05.29 16:34 Inevitable_Way_9752 Why I went with the 450l
I loved 450s since they came out. I had a yz 450 and a kx 450. When they released the 450l I couldn’t believe it. Why would you buy a drz or a 650l. Why ride a bike that was new when you first started riding when you could ride a bike with fuel injection and 20 years worth of new tech just cause your stuck on the idea that 650l and a drz or whatever old tech bike is more reliable than a crf450l. It does everything. I can keep up with the lighter enduro bikes in the woods. Yeah it does take way more effort and skill but it’s so nice to be able to rip the rd home after a long woods ride. And who doesn’t like to rip a dirt bike on the rds? There’s crfs that stickly rode ride with 20,000 miles with no major issues so I don’t wanna hear my xr650l and klx can cross country or what not. Crf will do it do it better an with actual power.
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2023.05.29 16:31 SleeplessFromSundown The Séance Club - The End of Windhaven Manor [Final]
This post is the final part of this story. Sorry it has taken so long to get through. And I'm not sure I even understand all of it yet. If you're new, this all started here
. The previous part (Part 7) is here
. Thank you to everyone who followed along.
“Do you see her?” I asked in a meek voice.
“You mean that girl in black?” Harvey answered.
It was her, in the flesh. Her lips parted and formed a malevolent smile. Her dark eyes fixed on mine. My legs turned to solid lead. My feet refused to move. The anxiousness to reach Parker and Juliet and Beth in the cellar crumbled like the wood turning to ash behind us. She demanded my attention.
A hand rocked my shoulder. Harvey. I pushed him away.
“You have to go. Help them. I’ll take care of her.”
“What about you?”
“I’ll be right behind you.”
A mirage of Harvey flitted past Ally and disappeared into the kitchen. Everything blurred, everything but her.
She tilted her head to one side and bridged the gap between us with four slow and deliberate steps. She pushed her right hand out from a long sleeve and ran the black painted nail of her index finger across my cheek, the smooth lacquer cold against my skin. I shuddered as the chill spread like ice creeping up a window.
“It is such a shame to be losing you so soon. We’ve only just met, and yet I feel like we’ve known each other our whole lives. Do you feel it too?”
I shook my head. “Let me go.”
“We’re past that now Sam. I considered if we could coexist, you and I. It gave me a thrill knowing there is another one out there like me. But you insist on meddling with my work.”
“You mean locking all those girls in that filthy dungeon where they met their end? And Jane here.”
“The work is sometimes unpleasant.”
“But the pay is good?”
“This isn’t about money Sam. You and I are the same. The pain you felt from not fitting in. The lonely nights lying awake, wishing you could be like everyone else. The stares and the whispers. The rejection from those who are supposed to love us the most. I too know. But where you hid, I searched out a path where my talents were appreciated and rewarded. You don’t hate me Sam. You hate yourself for not thriving like I have.”
“Thriving? Is that what you call it?”
“By all measures yes. I am good at what I do. The best. The only. Or so I thought. And then there is you. A naïve, sheltered little boy who can barely put on his own pants in the morning. It is such a shame. And these so-called friends of yours, that was always doomed to failure. Oh and if you harbour any thoughts of them escaping, know that we blocked the little secret entrance the stable boy showed you. There’s no escape except through the fire. When they pick through the ashes of this building they will find their bones, and yours. Is this how you imagined it turning out?”
I flexed the muscles in my legs, but they refused to move. Ally smiled.
“It’s useless now Sam.”
I heard the faint whisper of Juliet’s voice in my head. She pleaded with me. Come on Sam, you can do this. I remembered the last encounter with Ally, outside the wall separating Windhaven Manor from the world. Ally had put me in the white room. I had broken free. I had overcome her power once. I had to do it again.
I took a deep breath in through my nose and cried out and willed my feet to move. Electricity coursed through my body and I directed it down to the floor. My left heel separated from the floor and that set the whole thing in motion. The dam burst. I lurched forwards and overbalanced and sprawled to the floor.
Ally crouched beside me and chuckled. “Some would call it a tragedy for a child to die so soon after learning to walk.”
I looked back towards the front of the house. The fire burned hot. Thick black smoke circled up the huge open space of the gallery. Portraits hanging on the wall bubbled and curled as flames consumed them.
A figure appeared at the foot of the staircase. The spectre of Crown. The goons had dragged his lifeless corpse out of the house, but stood before me was the spirit with unfinished business. The ugliness of his actions showed through now in death. His skin was sallow and wrinkled. His head too big for his body and his teeth yellowed. A grotesque monster made worse by his mortal demise.
Ally whispered in my ear. “He knows it was your meddling that brought about his end. I’ll leave you two alone.”
She brushed my cheek with the back of her hand and stood. As she walked away leather straps materialised out of thin air and pinned my body to the floor.
The spectre of Crown grew before me, swelling in size until he had to crouch to stay below the chandelier. He clenched his fists and with burning red eyes let out a guttural growl that skipped my ears and penetrated directly into my skull.
I tried to pull my hands to my ears but they would not come. It made no difference. The roar coming from Crown stabbed the inside of my head like a thousand daggers. I lifted my head and the growl grew to a scream that ricocheted around the inside of my skull. I couldn’t take much more. It felt as though my head would explode.
Guilt bubbled up and mingled with the fear and I shrank into the floor and wished for it to swallow me. They were down there, the only friends I had known, banging against a locked door denying their escape. I sobbed. I sobbed like I had the night my parents turned from me.
In the pit of my stomach something else grew. A seed of frustration born of a lifetime existing in a world that didn’t make sense. A world where I had no idea who I was and what I could or should do. A world in which I hid. I couldn’t do that now.
Juliet’s voice as clear as day, cutting through the racket of Crown’s scream. Do it Sam. I gritted my teeth and electricity buzzed somewhere deep inside, at first dull and imperceptible, and then amplified and resonating until it peaked into a deafening roar.
Above Crown the bulbs in the chandelier glowed white. He swivelled his head and watched them dumbly.
I concentrated, felt the energy forming an extra limb. Like the arms and legs of a newborn it flailed spasmodically. I fought to control it, to turn it to my will. I focussed on the straps pinning me to the floor. The electricity fed into the straps and turned them hot. For a moment I feared they would scold my skin, and then in a moment of release they split and flung upwards.
I picked myself up off the floor and faced the spectre of Crown. Like a spent boxer throwing one final punch I threw out my hands and screamed, willing Crown to be quiet and be still. Demanding he be so.
The floor shook. The dozens of bulbs in the chandelier shattered. The giant spectre of Crown diminished and the screaming inside my head softened until it was no more. Crown’s eyes opened wide as his mouth stitched together and his arms wrenched behind his back. I flicked my hand like I was swatting a fly and Crown flew into the corner of the room and slumped to the floor.
I bent over and rested my hands on my knees. My muscles ached, like I had run a marathon. Shadows played on the floor. I sucked in air and smoke and spluttered and coughed.
In the hallway the silhouette of Ally. She turned and shook her head. The heat of the fire intensified and crackled at my skin. If we were to make our escape, she could not be here to block us. I straightened and strode towards her.
I cycled furiously through the events of the last few days, searching for something to defeat Ally. I had to do to her what she had done to me. The time for running and breaking her spells was through.
I closed my eyes and concentrated. I stripped away everything except for the two of us. The crackle of the fire replaced with silence. The smell of the smoke disappeared. The heat washed away. One by one I shut down all my senses. When I opened my eyes a monotone room of white. Sterile calm had replaced the burning insides of Windhaven Manor.
Her eyes scanned the room and she giggled. “Cheap tricks won’t get you far,” she said. “And you learned this one from me.”
The white rippled as if the walls were made of water. She was fighting it. I concentrated, focussing all my energy, all my will. The ripples slowed and then stopped.
“You’re a fast learner,” she said. “But I have been doing this for more than a weekend.”
Strips of colour permeated the white. A rectangle of tile appeared on the floor. And then some blue from the curtain. Enough of a smouldering wall to let in some smoke. The acrid smell reached my nose and I spluttered. As each wedge of colour appeared, I filled it back in white. But it was a sinking ship and the pail I held to bail out the water would not be enough.
Ally grunted under her breath. A grunt of frustration. The white room shook and made a sound like a train bearing down.
I had to bind her. I raised my palm and coils of rope rose from the ground and oscillated like snakes around her. She swatted them away and wrenched them from the ground and flung them at my feet, limp and unmoving.
“It won’t be that easy,” she sneered.
My arms jerked behind my back. She bound my wrists and then my ankles. She pursed her lips and blew as if extinguishing a single candle on a birthday cake, and it was enough to send me to the floor. I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed help.
I shut my eyes and concentrated my energy not on my bindings, but on the woods at the back of Windhaven Manor. On the girls who escaped the dungeon and now roamed the forest, watching the house burn from behind the barrier Ally constructed.
I fed the energy coursing through my body into the giant snowdome structure until it burned hot and then like the globes in the chandelier, it cracked and exploded into the night sky. The spirits of the girls watched the shards disappear and then strode towards the Manor.
I turned my attention to the tiny room beside the pantry, where Jane Laughlin lay bound to the bed. I stood beside her and lay my hand on the shackles binding her to the bed. She shuddered as the mask came free from her mouth and then stood as the shackles broke.
I opened my eyes and the white of the room flickered off and then back on again like bad reception on a television. I had to keep the white walls up long enough for them to draw near. For them to be ready when the façade fell. Ally strode towards me, exuding confidence.
“You can’t beat me Sam.”
Ally squeezed her hands into fists and screamed. In a burst of energy she wiped the white room clear and we were back in the burning house. The air was thick with smoke. Behind me a timber beam tumbled from the ceiling and crashed to the floor. The heat and smoke sucked the moisture from my insides and I heaved out a series of coughs.
Ally opened her eyes and smiled. She had bested me. But then they came. The girls from the dungeon and Jane Laughlin surrounded her. The sum total off all the pain and hurt inflicted in this place. Everything Ally had worked to keep hidden from the world.
They lurched at Ally. She raised her hands and pushed them back one by one as they went for her. She spun on the spot, trying to keep them at bay. She could not hold them all back. The sheer weight of numbers overwhelmed. They leaned in and pushed their heads into hers and showed her what those men had done. Made her feel it. The fear and despair and anger of each individual stacked together and Ally crumpled to the floor holding her head.
“Make it stop,” she said.
They kept at her.
Jane Laughlin sidled over to the base of the stairs where Crown sat, bound and with his mouth stitched. She considered him, restrained and helpless on the floor as she had been. He fought with his restraints, and then whimpered, as she had. As I ran for the pantry and the wine cellar, the corridor filled with the muffled sound of his screams.
The door to the cellar stood open and I made the descent of the stairs in three leaps. The enclosed space already full with smoke. At the end of the long corridor leading outside, Parker and Harvey shouldered the door. Juliet and Beth screamed encouragement. The door would not budge.
“We can’t go that way,” I yelled.
They raced back up the long corridor. A sudden rush of emotion bubbled up to the surface. I was so happy to see them all still alive. My lower jaw rattled and my hands shook. I fought to hide it.
Beth reached me first. “Sam, you’re ok.”
I blubbered a response and took in a lung full of smoke. We had to get out.
The fire raged outside the kitchen door. A wave of flame climbed up and spread across the ceiling. A subtle cracking sound from above intensified and a chunk of the upstairs floor came crashing down through the ceiling, blocking the rear door. We couldn’t get out the back. The only way now was back through the house. A ball of flame whooshed through the doorway and I put my arm up too late, my eyebrows wilting in the heat.
We crouched together in the middle of the kitchen, lowering our heads to get the last of the remaining oxygen. Malicious red flames and choking black smoke surrounded us on all sides.
“Where do we go now?” Parker’s words came out between coughs. Tears streaked down his cheeks. Soot covered his brow. I wished I had an answer.
Then he was there, standing over Parker’s shoulder. Leon. With the protective bubble gone, he too was free to come in the Manor.
“The fire has not yet consumed the dining room. But you don’t have long.”
I looked vaguely in the direction of the kitchen door and blinked back the stinging from the smoke. “I don’t think we can find it in this.”
I pulled my shirt up over my head. “We have to go. The dining room, we can make it. All together on three.”
I shouted out the numbers, the sound drowned out by the roar of the fire. I grabbed Beth’s hand and yanked her into action. Leon led the way and I kept my eyes on his heels. Together we were a flurry of arms and legs bounding for the dining room. I gritted my teeth against the heat. We burst through the doorway and everything turned orange.
From below the sweater pulled tight down over my hair, I shot a glance over to the floor of the grand gallery where I had left Ally writhing on the floor. She was not there now. Nor were the spectres of the girls.
I followed Leon’s heels into the dining room. The great wooden table smouldered in the centre of the room. Brilliant orange flames consumed the thick curtains. Parker spotted his camera still atop the tripod and set to pulling the camera free before Harvey grabbed his arm and yelled something that sounded like ‘leave it’.
Harvey grabbed one of the heavy chairs with their high backs and velvet cushions and heaved it at the window in the back corner of the room. The chair disappeared into the darkness of the night and Harvey kicked at the glass shards left behind. Parker joined. We piled out the opening.
I drank in the fresh cool air of night, staggering over the narrow path beside the house and to the small strip of grass beyond. Parker collapsed beside me and pulled the laptop out from under his shirt. He tapped at the casing and for a moment a brief smile flashed across his face, but it did not last long. He wiped soot and sweat from his face with shaking hands.
Harvey checked us all in turn, like a parent fussing over their children. We had scrapes and bruises and our skin was red and raw, but we were alright. We had survived. He ran to the front of the house and came back with palms held out by his sides. The man in the black suit, the goons Ponytail and Beanie, and Ally were all gone, along with the black van and the BMW.
Huddled together, we watched the fire consume Windhaven Manor, bright reds and oranges lighting up the windows and thick black smoke tumbling into the purple haze of sky. It was almost morning, the horizon signalling the coming of the sun.
Leon stood apart on the grass. I went to him.
“Thank you for coming back for us.”
He shrugged. “It’s something. It isn’t enough to make up for the rest.”
“You saved our lives. And those girls, they had their chance to meet their tormentors. That’s something too.”
He nodded. “What happens now?”
I turned my head sideways. “I’m still learning how all this works.”
The red of the fire reflected in his eyes. “Me too. I might go for a walk in the woods. I always liked it out there.”
He glided across the lawn and entered the trees and was gone.
The sound of sirens fought with the crackle of the fire. The fire brigade and the police. I got to my feet and shuffled to the front of the Manor. The burnt out carcasses of our cars stood by the low height wall. Black soot smudged the stone façade above the windows and the doors.
By the oak tree on the ocean side of the house stood Jane Laughlin. She peered down into a hole dug at the base of the tree. A pale and withered hand poked up out of the dirt. Her hand. They had meant to remove the body, but had aborted the task and fled.
A fire truck appeared at the head of the driveway and then another. They sped down the gravel and came to a sliding stop. A lone police car followed. Harvey sidled over.
Jane looked to the horizon. Out on the cliff edge stood a figure in a red dress. She recognised her sister Kylie immediately and ran down the slope. The two sisters embraced in the first light of the sun. I turned to the whoosh of water through a hose from the fire trucks and when I turned back, the Laughlin sisters were gone.
The members of The Séance Club, which I now consider myself a part, sat together on the low-height stone wall as the firefighters extinguished the flames consuming Windhaven Manor. The house was quiet now. The nausea and vibration I had felt that first night replaced with calm.
The police stripped the compound clean for the best part of a week. They identified Kyle the sketch artist and Hugo from the teeth that survived the fire of the hovel built over the dungeon. Hugo’s wife lay on the back lawn where Beanie and Ponytail had left her. But as to specific evidence of the crimes that occurred, they could not find enough to put a case together.
The two fires and the disappearance of Crown made some headlines, but there wasn’t enough to hang anyone else. The police claimed publicly that there was no link between the fire at Windhaven Manor and the fire at the squalid residence over the back fence. At Harvey’s behest they searched the area with cadaver dogs for the remains of the girls, but they found nothing.
Parker turned his laptop over to the police. They identified the two goons, Ponytail and Beanie, low level thugs who had disappeared from the streets years earlier. Those in the know presumed them dead. It made tracing them almost impossible. Tracing their vehicles lead to a dead end.
The man in black the suit on the other hand might as well be a ghost. On him they found nothing. They have a face, but nothing else.
As for Ally, the girl somehow managed to always turn her face away from the cameras, as if she knew where they were.
I sat in a small room at the police station for three days with Harvey putting the pieces together. He showed me a photograph of an old and gaunt man with a bent back, the last owner of Windhaven Manor before it was sold after his death. He had to be the man with the bent back from the ceremony in the dungeon, but I could not be certain. I never saw his face. Of the faces I did see, we knew Crown and Kyle and Hugo, but the others were harder to pinpoint.
At the end of it all Harvey sighed. There was nothing more we could do. But we could rest on the knowledge that the key players in the ceremony were all now dead.
Questions nagged at me. Where was Ally and what was she doing? Would she try to find me? Who was she working for?
That was the biggest question of all. Who was at the top and pulling the strings? Harvey wasn’t giving up. He was a dog with a bone at the best of times, and now he had a taste of blood. He refused to go back to the police even after Crown’s departure, which he described as the removal of a cancerous limb.
Harvey called me after the dust settled on everything. I told him that the trail had gone cold and I had no idea where Ally was. For all I knew she had evaporated into thin air. Harvey thought it unlikely, and I agreed. He told me it was time for some old-fashioned detective work. The names of the goons would be a start.
And there was something else Harvey mentioned, something that I had almost forgotten. He had always believed that his investigation into the disappearance of the girls was the reason one of his colleagues was murdered. Crown confirmed as much in the bedroom right before he was shot. Harvey thinks there is something to it. Another thread to pull, and he has a hunch. For now he’s keeping his cards close to his chest until he has some proof. I almost pressed him on the issue but decided I’d rather put it all behind me.
The story made headlines in the local press for a while, but ultimately it fizzled into a non-story, quickly forgotten by a public with a short attention spans. We all waited for a reckoning from within the police ranks, but it never came. Harvey predicted that’s the way it would go, and he was proven right.
The one item they did recover was a gold necklace with a heart pendant. The necklace Jane Laughlin wore the night of her death. The police found it where the black van had parked. After a few days in the possession of the police, Harvey arranged to have the necklace released to the family of its former owner.
The following day Mr. and Mrs. Laughlin appeared on the local news, thanking the efforts of those who recovered the remains of their daughter. It was closure, though not the kind they had hoped for. Both their girls were dead.
A week later The Séance Club convened in Beth’s apartment. Parker and Juliet were already there when I arrived. It was cathartic to talk about the events at Windhaven Manor, to compare stories and scars. I guess that’s why they have the saying about a problem shared.
After a brief silence, Beth asked, “Are you going to talk to the parents of Jane and Kylie?”
I shook my head. “What will I tell them?”
“That their daughters found each other out by the cliff edge.”
“And what about the agony of their deaths? Should I tell them that too? Besides, it doesn’t feel right. None of this feels right to me yet. And what weight do my words hold over those of some Priest talking about how he knows their souls are at rest.”
“Because you really do know.”
I shrugged. “I can’t prove any of it.”
Truth was I had no idea how to integrate the things I could see and do into my life. From childhood all I had wanted was to be like everyone else. For people not to stare or whisper as I walked by. To find acceptance. Sitting with my three new friends at Beth’s tiny kitchen table, with our shared experience behind us, I finally had it. This could be the start of something.
Parker was already planning the next Séance Club trip. An abandoned farm up north with mysterious sightings going back centuries. Juliet was already on board. I told them to wait. I couldn’t jump back in right away.
I was the last to leave, Beth and I sipping mug after mug of coffee and sharing comfortable silence. When I sighed and told her I should go, she grabbed my arm.
“I’ve never had a real family, and then I found Juliet and Parker. The Séance Club became my family. Whatever happens we are there for each other. And we mean it when we say we want you to join.”
I thought about that all night, unable to sleep.
The next morning I called Parker.
An abandoned farm up north you say?
* * * *
I navigated to the narrow alley and checked the time. The Exchange should be open. It looked out of context in the Saturday morning light. No bright light spilling from the window. No surge of Friday night after work traffic.
I slipped in the front door. A lone man lifted upturned stools down from the bar. He had his back to me and I crept across the hardwood floor in the direction of the stairs down and the bathrooms.
The vibration swelled in my chest, but I did not fear it. A dull pain rose in the base of my skull, but I gritted my teeth. A man wearing a pair of rough leather shoes came from the other end of the corridor and stopped before me.
“Are you here to help?”
I nodded. X
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2023.05.29 16:30 Jmaksi Weird bald man in online
I was running around free roam and was attempting to find a treasure with my friend at Bard's Crossing. However, while we were searching for the treasure a unusually tall (2x the height of a normal character), bulky, pale and naked male figure appeared to both me and my friend. Soon after he bound my friend with a very strong lasso (that took almost 2 minutes to break free from) and not long after that I was bound as well. Then the man teleported me into a cave somewhere outside of the map and threw me down there. I died multiple times but he always reappeared to me and took me back to the cave.
Who is this man? I can't seem to find any prior occurrences like this from the internet. Me and my friend are equally freaked out by this since we can't find out what even really happened. Could it be a hacker? I'm new to the game so I honestly have no idea about the possibilities.
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2023.05.29 16:30 NegotiationOld9106 I made some of my favourite Animal crossing villagers into stickers!
2023.05.29 16:29 YukiteruAmano92 There Will Be Scritches Pt.98
Interlewd XXVII Next First
---2686 Terran Calenda27 years BF---
I watch the British woman of FrancoJapanese parentage stride from the floor of the Parliament of our (recently capitulated) enemies.
She is surrounded by four of the most physically imposing Humans I’ve ever seen
! Not one
of them less than 210cm!
, when our army numbers in the hundreds of billions, finding one-in-a-millions isn’t too hard(!)
Me and the rest of her retinue fall in behind her as she passes through the vomitorium and turns to my left, her right, towards her temporary office.
As large in stature as the durasteel clad soldiers are, they do not compare
to the woman’s android husband, 230cm tall and, from the sound of his bare footfalls, a few hundred kilos
We reach the door of the (newly designated) office of the Terran Representative and she snarls “You
four, guard the door…” addressing her bodyguards “…Ezra, Zurab, Lhamo, inside
… Everyone else
off and find
something to do
The door closes behind us.
“Bug sweep, darling…” says the woman, exhaustedly.
“No bugs detected.” answers her husband, instantly.
She slumps onto the chair that had to be brought from our ship after the one provided by the Parliament collapsed under her weight the first time she sat in it.
Tilting her head back, she asks “So… how did I do
“You did wonderfully, sweetheart.” answers Ezra, immediately, in his flat, serene cadence.
She reaches a hand out to one of his and says “Thank
you, darling! You are my rock
… but I was really asking these
two…” gesturing at me and the KartveloTamil man with her other hand.
opinion…” smiles Mudaliar “…pitch perfect
“Agreed.” I concur.
She leans her elbows onto the table in front of her, quickly removing them when she hears its groans of protest.
“There’ll be a lot
of people back home who think that we let them off too easy
… who’ll think that we should have pulled a fucking Versailles
on their arses!” she muses.
Peace would foster resentment in the gardenworlder populace… They would feel as if their leaders stabbed them in the back by surrendering… Not to mention
giving ammunition to antideathworlder bigots!… We need future generations of gardenworlders to think their ancestors were wrong to declare War on us, not
wrong to sue for Peace…” I remind her.
“Enumerating their various hypocrisies, warcrimes and the many violations of their own
laws that they perpetrated serves that end well… Hundreds of trillions of GU citizens, who personally had little to nothing to do with the War, suddenly finding their salaries cut in half to pay our War reparations would very much be counter
to it(!)… Let us hope
that demanding the most heinous
warcriminals be remanded to Terran custody to stand trial placates the sabre rattlers back home…” adds Mudaliar.
, but…! I don’t know
… I feel like we should have got something
more from them!… Instructions on how to reproduce their more advanced tech, maybe…?”
Mudaliar purses his lips in a joyless smile and shakes his head “We just (relatively handily
) defeated them in a War with technology centuries behind
theirs… Their tech is not something we can ask them to trust us with yet… we need to build their trust
first. It’s going to take time
… It’s going to take…”
!?” snarls Miyazaki to whatever poor unfortunate soul is requesting entry.
One of the towering guards, in their sleek, state of the art durasteel, enters.
“Apologies for the interruption, Mistress Miyazaki… There’s a delivery for you. Already been scanned for explosive, biological and chemical agents etc… It’s clean.”
…?” she says, screwing up her face in a mixture of confusion and contempt for a moment before shifting to appraisal and beckoning wordlessly.
The towering man enters the room and stands to one side, revealing a small woman with pink skin, purple tendrils covering her scalp, three teal eyes and three legs with one too many joints.
The girl looks terrified as she walks in, a levitating platform following behind her with a heavy looking cube (around a metre wide, deep and tall) on top.
Looking as if she might be about to burst into tears from her fear, the pink skinned girl holds out a holo toward Miyazaki (though still around 8m away
) and says “C-c-could you… s-s-s-sssign h-here, p-please?”
“What am I signing
for?” asks Miyazaki, flatly.
“Th-this?” says the scared delivery girl, gesturing at the glossy cube.
Fury flashes across Miyazaki’s face and, before she can traumatise the poor girl, I step in.
“I think what our Representative means
is that we weren’t expecting
a delivery… Would you mind telling us what this is
?” I say, kindly, smiling (without
teeth) down at the girl.
“I-it’s… a d-data drive…?” she asks more than tells.
With how insanely
advanced their computing is, a physical storage device this
large would represent several multiples
of all the information Humanity has ever set to page
this data drive, sweetie?” I smile, trying not to betray any of my desperate curiosity to her.
“It’s a c-compendium… of a-all Galactic Union t-technologies and ssscience…”
The room stands in stunned silence for 9 straight seconds while we all process what the little xeno girl just said.
She shifts uncomfortably, looking at Miyazaki and, clearly, unwilling to approach her.
Shellshocked, I eventually manage to say “I
… can… sign… for that…”
Looking relieved, she hands me her holo and a stylus.
I scrawl out my name in the abugidic script of my native Tibetan, my hand then making a second pass on the line, adding the vowel markers.
The girl looks thoroughly relieved not to have had to get any closer than she is to the intimidating woman behind the desk, in the formal blue dress.
I hand the device back to her and she uses it to direct the platform to unload its cargo.
She does not wait to be dismissed, beating a hasty retreat from the room, leaving behind the single most
valuable object ever possessed
---2687 Terran Calenda26 years BF---
“We need gardenworlders
!” growls Miyazaki, frustratedly, as we pore over the plans for the new agency we’re trying to design “This needs to be more
than just the Terran embassy to the GU and vice versa! It needs to set the tone
our interactions moving forward! We need
qualified gardenworlders, ready, willing and able to work alongside the Terran staff! Helping us build our networks and win over potential allies in the Parliament!”
“Yes… well… unless you want to kidnap
a complement of gardenworlders to staff it as forced labour, then our choices are open it with a Terran dominated staff and hope we can entice more gardenworld employees at a later date or delay it… again
!” points out a weary Mudaliar.
…” I interject, equally wearily “…I think we’re past
the point of productivity for this evening… how about we call it quits and come back to it with fresh eyes, tomorrow?”
idea…” he answers.
The two of us begin getting up but Miyazaki says “Wait…”
We turn to look at her, expectantly.
“How about we go out
tonight?… No shoptalk
, I promise
!…Just think it might be good for us to have a night to cut loose… just the four of us… five
, if that hot, young nurse you’re dating wants to come, Zurab?”
Mudaliar smiles “I appreciate the offer… but I really
need to sleep
“Fair enough… Lhamo?”
I hesitate, considering.
“Wooooo! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots shots SHOTS
!!!” shouts a merry
Miyazaki as she and I raise small glasses of weak spirits to our lips, in a booth in the xeno bar, and tip them down our throats.
Her android husband mimics the action with an empty glass.
She slams her glass onto the table and releases a sigh as she slumps against the padded seatback.
Her expression turns slightly melancholic as she says “Y’know… I don’t know if I
the right woman for this job…”
.” replies her husband, instantly, almost
displaying an emotion for a second there(!) “The fact that you were appointed above all other potential candidates should prove your fitness for the role. They could have chosen anyone and they chose you
with your husband… but what makes you say
that, Jeanne?” I query.
“IIIII don’t knooow…” she grumbles “…I sort of feel like I was chosen on the strength of my reputation… and my parents
’ reputation for ferocity
… but, the thing is
, while my mum and my shitstain of a father could give a fiery speech, they also had all the other
skills you need to be a diplomat as well
!… I feel like I
skill and it’s scaring
“That’s why I
here, sweetheart.” smiles Ezra, serenely “You’re the stick and I’m the carrot…”
you, darling… It’s just… much as I hate to give that man the credit
… difficult not to think that my father would’ve done a better job if he’d managed to make it hear without getting his ship blasted out of the sky!”
While I have far
more sense than to ever say
it, it’s absolutely
apparent that the husband Jeanne ‘Blitz’ Miyazaki commissioned for herself is, in all
ways, the polar opposite
of the late father she despises!
I only ever knew him by his reputation but; where her father was a passionate firebrand, Ezra is calm, measured and tranquil.
Where her father was a gorgeous
heartthrob who became a handsome silver fox in his later life, her husband (while certainly not ugly
) is definitely much plainer
in his looks.
Where her father famously favoured flamboyant modern dress, her husband’s wardrobe looks straight out of a Unification
era vid in its conservativeness.
Where her father had a slight frame and a diminutive stature, her husband is tall and solidly built.
And, where Yuki ‘Blizzard’ Miyazaki famously left his wife, Charlotte ‘Guerre’ d’Aureville , after a scandalous
extramarital affair with Tombe ‘Breeze’ Upash (another (obviously married
, no less!) in a move that would have sunk the career of anyone
else in his line of work, Ezra certainly seems as if he only
has eyes for her
Several times, she has expressed the thought that raising her half sister, Emiko, to be a decent person is the only
good thing that man ever did!
My rumination on that is cut short, before I can answer her imposter syndrome, when she says “You ever consider the diplomat track, Lhamo?”
I give a rueful smile as I answer “I’d need a spouse
for that, Jeanne(!)”
Her eyebrows raise in surprise as she says “Oh… you’re ace
? I didn’t realise…”
I chuckle and shake my head “Not
ace… just 42 with crowsfeet
…” I gesture to the corners of my eyes “…I feel like, if I were going to meet Mr Right, it would have happened
…!” she dismisses, letting out her Francophone
side for a second(!) “…None
of this ‘too old to find love’ tripe
! You’re still a stunner
!… Not to mention
woman with a fantastic
personality!…Plus… we’re this
close to cracking regen!… Pretty soon, 42 will be the new 25… along with every other
age over 25(!) You’ve got all the time in the world
!… It’d be really
great to be able to hand this job off to you or Zurab!… Either
of you’d do better than me
, I’m sure!… I could go back to Earth, safe in the knowledge that things were being taken care
“Ma’am…” I lean forward and reassuringly pat her wrist “…I promise
are the best person for the job… certainly at the moment
, anyway!… Please
grace us with your presence for a few
She chuckles “How about you get the next round and we’ll make a toast
I smile back “No problem… but I don
think we’ll be allowed anymore of these
…” I gesture to the, one-per-customer, shot glasses.
“Vinjirian ale… 900ml.” says the woman, immediately.
“I will take an empty 900ml glass.” states her husband.
“Got it.” I smile.
“Don’t drink any until Ezra can run chem analysis on it… Don’t want to get drugged
!” she reminds me, seriously.
“I promise I won’t!” I chuckle, walking away.
“Oh, and watch him pour
! Make sure he doesn’t spit
in it or anything!” she adds, a little louder than she needs
to but not loud enough that I think the large, porcine, xeno barman will have heard her.
I cross the crowded bar and step to the counter.
“Two Vinjirian ales and an empty glass, please… 900ml, all. Pretty sure you have our waivers for it already.” I smile, with closed lips, up at the orange xeno with the piglike face.
He oinks an acknowledgement and starts pouring.
As I watch him, I notice myself being noticed by a xeno at the far end of the bar.
I don’t turn to look but keep track of him in my periphery while my foveal focus rests, squarely, on the drinks being drawn.
…” I whisper to myself.
There’s one of two reasons a xeno is likely to be approaching me: either, he’s going to angrily vent at me about how I’m a monster
and caused him to lose X number of loved ones in the War… or
he’s about to test the rumours about Human promiscuity
I’m not particularly in the mood for either but I really
hope it’s the latter… I don’t know that I would trust the proprietor to take my
side if one of his gardenworld patrons gets belligerent.
As the man approaches, he occupies more and more of my attention to the point that, even though
I’m looking right at
them, I wouldn’t necessarily see if our drinks were tampered with!
Good thing I’ve got a walking laboratory
back at my table(!)
The gigantic man has now made it to within a metre of me on my left and stands, looming over me. Despite
the fact that I know, if push came to shove
, I could probably put his head clear through the countertop without too much trouble, it’s still uncomfortable to have such
a large person so close.
The first words the man speaks catch me completely off guard.
“It’s been a while
, Dr Yeshe… I’m very
glad to see you again!” comes a warm, familiar voice, speaking Gangsri accented Tibetan and sounding a bit
like a Human with a blocked nose.
My head whips left and up, my eyes resting upon a very recognisable patch of smooth, flat, periwinkle coloured skin between two large, orange eyes.
I haven’t seen this man since I was transferred to Forward Operations, 4 years
My joy is so immediate and genuine that I momentarily forget to restrain my smile, so as not to be perceived as making an aggressive display!
He doesn’t flinch at the brief flash of my teeth I involuntarily give him.
“Well, well, well, well, well
!… If it isn’t my favourite
prisoner of War(!) What a pleasant surprise, Wing Commander!” I say, my voice joyful.
Then, my face falls as I notice the dark blue bruise across his right eye.
“What happened to your eye
, Ong?!” I ask, ready to demand the name and badge number of whatever guard it was that did
that to him… then
remembering that we’re no longer on Gangsri!
He casts his eyes down and shamefully confesses “It’s… not ‘Ong’ anymore
… and it’s not ‘Wing Commander’ either… I’m just Ngngomg
It takes a second before the pieces click together for me.
I gasp as I realise “*Hhhhh*…You were expelled
from your tribe
He answers with a doleful Terran nod.
“Because you defected
“Just got released here, yesterday… went to my embassy… found my tribal representative… he punched me… told me not to come back to Gollogng… and… here I am
…” he gestures around the bar “…drowning my sorrows
! I’m so
…” he lies “…I’ve got some preWar savings to live on for the moment… should
also be due two years salary from the GU military… but who knows when or if
I’ll ever see that
, given how my service ended!”
“They don’t count time spent as a POW to be time you served
?” I query.
He puffs through his lips before answering “They do not
, no… certainly
not when you became
a POW by treason
“Is… is there anything I can… do
?” I offer, pathetically.
He gives a joyless curl of his lips and answers “Sweet of you to offer
but… there’s really nothing to be done
… Anyway… it was nice seeing you…” and turns to walk a way.
!” I say, a little more desperately than I mean
He turns back, one of his dark blue eyebrows raised quizzically.
“How would you like a job?”
…?” he frowns “A job doing what
“Let me buy you a drink and… we can tell you all
about it at my table…”
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Interlewd XXVII Next First Dramatis Personae
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2023.05.29 16:28 hillenium Does Every Culture and Civilization Have Monotheistic Roots?
By:Bheria May 25, 2023
Islam, as a system or way of life that imposes itself as being the obvious truth, necessarily makes many claims and propositions.
One of these is that it is the last revealed religion, as we had discussed in a recent article
Another claim is that all human communities were greeted by messengers and prophets who taught them Tawhid (pure monotheism) before they innovated and corrupted the original message, birthing the cults and religions we have today.
Among the many Qur’anic verses on the subject, including the following:
Indeed, We have sent forth among every community a messenger [with the commandment]: You shall worship Allah [alone] and shun [all] false deities [and objects of worship]! So among them were those [people] whom Allah guided [aright]. And among them were those who [persistently rejected guidance. Thus they] deservedly remained astray. So journey in the earth, and see how [devastating] was the end of those who belied Allah! (Qur’an, 16:36)
Under the explanation of this verse, Ibn Kathir writes in his Tafsir
Allah continued sending Messengers to mankind with this Message, from the first incidence of Shirk that appeared among the Children of Adam, in the people to whom Nuh was sent—the first Messenger sent by Allah to the people of this earth—until He sent the final Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ, whose call was addressed to both men and Jinn, in the east and in the west.
The inference from such information is that all communities were taught about Tawhid and that, despite the now deformed message, it may still feature some features of the original monotheism that they were supposed to maintain.
Due to this, many Muslims have sought to “recuperate” some religions and even religious figures. For example, many have supposed that Zoroaster
, the founder (or more correctly the Mazdean reformer) of Iran’s main pre-Islamic religion might
have been a prophet. Similarly, the late Muhammad Hamidullah—the prolific and polyglot Indian-born pioneer of Islamic Studies in France—famously suggested in the explanatory notes to his translation of the Qur’an into French (the first by a Muslim) that the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) may also have been a prophet (those who speculate regarding the supposed potential prophethood of the historical Buddha tend to look at Surah 95). RELATED: The Traditional Buddhist View of Women: Feminists Beware
Of course, they all remain cautious and speak only in terms of hypotheticals. This is because we simply cannot assert that any such figure was a prophet or messenger of Allah without the existence of solid grounds for such a claim within the Qur’an or Ahadith (prophetic narrations).
But Muslims are not alone in trying to trace the monotheistic roots of the world religions. Once upon a time, Western anthropologists were immersed in this venture too.
“Primitive Monotheism” in Western Anthropology
“Primitive monotheism” is basically the idea that all communities essentially began as monotheistic prior to degenerating into different forms of polytheism.
The first modern proponent of this idea was the Scottish poet Andrew Lang, who was active during the second half of the 19th century.
These were the decades in which Darwin and his theories were slowly encroaching the Western intellectual discourse and public imagination. Due to this evolutionary approach, the “simple” religion was viewed as just a form of adaptation to the society itself, and when the society evolved, the religion evolved along with it. Monotheism was thus considered to have followed “primitive polytheism,” which is often equated with tribal cults and animism.
Edward Burnett Tylor—perhaps the foremost acclaimed British anthropologist of his days—was someone who propagated such an evolutionist approach, to the extent that he could potentially be regarded as the spiritual father figure of evolutionary anthropology, if not the entire field of modern anthropology. In fact, it was Tylor who popularized the term animism within the public discourse.
It is not difficult to guess the ideological underpinnings of Tylor’s worldview. He lived at a time when the British Empire was at its peak, and by saying that polytheists are uncivilized by virtue of their belief system, he was essentially justifying British imperialism.
On the other hand, Andrew Lang, who was Tylor’s student and disciple, disagreed. He believed that monotheism is not merely some sort of evolution which tells us about a society’s so-called complexity but rather that it is a concept of its own right. According to him, it was not something to be used for differentiating some “savages” from the “civilized” crowd.
Lang even debated directly with Tylor on this issue, arguing that the idea of a Supreme Being, creator, benevolent, source of morality, etc., is the default position so to speak, not some sort of animism.
Lang looked at the Australian Aboriginals in particular and their concept of the “sky father,” Baiame.
During the 20th century, many would actively promote this idea of primitive monotheism. Included among them were famous anthropologists such as Paul Radin, who was one of the most influential American anthropologists of the first half of the last century, having studied Native Americans in particular.
But the most important figure was someone named Wilhelm Schmidt, a Catholic priest from Germany. Over the course of four decades (1910s–1950s), he compiled a 12-volume work entitled The Origin of the Idea of God
To get a basic idea regarding the scope of this work, we can read the following summary of its main thesis (albeit with some criticism) by Stanley Arthur Cook, who was a professor of Hebrew at Cambridge. He writes in his article “Primitive Monotheism
” (1931), published in The Journal of Theological Studies
From the evidence for the prevalence of beliefs in High Gods or Supreme Beings among people who are ‘ethnologically’ primitive, Father Schmidt argues that a monotheism of a strikingly pure character distinguished the very beginning of the history of religion but has been overlaid by the less pure when not degraded cults of peoples living at higher stages of developement. […] From his survey of the peoples who are held to be ethnologically primitive, Father Schmidt constructs a picture of the worship of a Supreme Being, a personality transcending all experience, omnipotent, universal cause and creator, omniscient, beneficent, all righteous, father, giver of moral law, and the centre of cult. These Primitives include pygmies, Tasmanians, Algonkins, Eskimo, etc., and are food-hunters. Above them in the scale are the Primary peoples, living at the stage where man exploits nature. They fall into three classes, each with religious characteristics : (a) matrilineal, agriculturists (with lunar ideas, mother goddesses), (b) patrilineal, totemists (solar ideas; men are prominent), and (c) patrilineal, nomads (sky-gods, social hierarchy). Next, with all sorts of complex crossings come the Secondary and Tertiary cultures, the latter comprising the old civilizations of Asia, Europe, and America. RELATED: Sikhism’s Dubious Monotheism – Between Auto-Deification and Book Worship
This idea of “primitive monotheism” is no longer popular in Western anthropology, due primarily to the secularization of the West. The concept of primitive monotheism is considered to be too indebted to a Eurocentric and even Christianized definition of religion. What is preferred now is the “phenomenological” approach. This is the idea of learning a religion directly from its adherents, without superimposing Western concepts onto it.
Such a methodologically secular and even postcolonialist approach is quite clear in James L. Cox’s 2014 book, The Invention of God in Indigenous Societies
Yet even if the interpretation were to differ, the ethnological data remains. Furthermore, the interpretation of the adherents themselves may itself indicate towards primitive monotheism. For example, this was the case with Hehaka Sapa (also known as Black Elk), a Native American religious figure who said that the concept of Wakan-Tanka
(“The Great Mysterious”)—found in varying forms in virtually all Native American shamanism—contained a belief in the Supreme Being, though in a pantheistic way. This is quite clear in his discussions with ethnologist Joseph Epes Brown.
In Black Africa, the Shona people of Zimbabwe believe in Mwari
, a Supreme Creator (though one that has a sort of internal duality); in Latin America, the Aztecs have Ometeotl; and pre-Islamic Iranics who didn’t accept Zoroaster’s reforms have Zurvan. All of them believe in a sort of unique Supreme Creator. However, their belief in this Supreme Creator includes a belief in there being some sort of internal duality within them. This would, of course, mean that their initial beliefs had already been corrupted.
We could go on providing numerous other examples—and Schmidt has already covered pretty much all he could for every continent—but the point is this:
Despite this belief having been polluted in many cases (with that pollution later degenerating into different forms of polytheism, including animism), every civilization and culture seems to have held a belief in the idea of some kind of unique Supreme Being.
It thus seems that the Qur’anic claim of every human society being graced with some divine message resonates with anthropological research. Of course, this is not to say that there was ever any doubt regarding the veracity of the Qur’an’s claims to begin with; or that the Qur’an needs any sort of support or validation from contemporary sciences.
But, that being said, all of this should serve to make us more conscious and appreciative of Tawhid and Iman (faith), along with our own individual and even societal approach to them. Let us be grateful to Allah for endowing upon us these great blessings by increasing in our worship and devotion. RELATED: The Genius of Islam Episode 3, The Curse of Polytheism
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2023.05.29 16:27 SemplexCZ Have I just figred out why it is called FROM?
Just an idea that just came to my mind. If you reverse FROM, you get MORF, which has the same pronounciation as MORPH.
Here's one of many definitions of Morph:
To morph is to change from one shape to another. A cute bunny, for example, might morph into a killer dragon in a fairy tale or an animated film.
The monsters are clearly able to morph into a normal looking person, trick people and then kill them.
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2023.05.29 16:26 RedAardvark377 Beginner Cross Training
I have recently decided that I would like to start training a martial art (or two) for a combination of discipline and self defence, I have looked at what is available near me and found judo, kickboxing, and kung fu. I would like to do judo and kickboxing starting at the same time with no prior experience in martial arts. I have heard that cross training is a bad idea for beginners due to conflict between different arts however since judo is grappling and kickboxing is striking I wondered if this might be an exception? Any input is much appreciated
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