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Keeping up with the Stepfords

2013.07.11 01:41 Keeping up with the Stepfords

Come to share your experiences about your abilities as a "Domestic Goddess". Your husband will be home any time! So, put on your aprons, heat up your ovens, slip into those heels and get to doing what you do best! Feel free to share any ideas about keeping house all while looking your best.

2023.03.26 13:28 lolpolice88 Moe mai ra e te Toa. Kane Te Tai honourably fought to defend Ukraine from the fascist, Neo-Conservative Christian Putinist regime & the cynical manipulations of debt-finance driven USA. These murderous ideologies must be overthrown and cooperation & tech made to heal & bring peace. Donate to No Duff

Donate to his veterans support charity No Duff if you can, it will go to his daughtewhanau, to return his body and continue his enduring kaupapa, which will help other whanau in this conflict and others.

No Duff Charitable Trust Givealittle page:

Kane Te Tai remembered as man of honour committed to aiding Ukraine
Whānau and friends of slain soldier Kane Te Tai say he will return home as a warrior in life and death, and be remembered as a man who always fought for what was right.
RNZ understands the body of the slain New Zealand soldier has officially been identified as Te Tai and is now being transferred to Kyiv.
He is understood to have been killed while clearing a trench in the Vulhedar area of Ukraine.
Sources have told RNZ he had moved deeper into the trench, away from his team, when he was killed by Russian soldiers.
His team were forced to leave his body there, before Ukrainian marines went in and recovered him overnight.
Veteran support and advocacy group No Duff is now working to ensure a New Zealander can be available to escort his body through the country to the Polish border, before travelling with him for his final journey home.
Comrades and friends have said they believed it was important a Kiwi was always with him, but the process would not be simple.
Te Tai co-founded No Duff with Aaron Wood, who told Midday Report his mother had asked them to manage the journey home.
"We're pulling all the pieces together. A number of volunteers and interested people from New Zealand, all the way through to Ukraine and in between, are coming together to make this happen."
It was highly likely they would be able to bring him home, Wood said, but there were numerous jurisdiction challenges ahead.
Deeply respected during time in Ukraine
Te Tai joined the Defence Force after leaving high school and went on multiple deployments while serving in the 2/1 Royal Battalion.
He left the Army in 2010 and travelled to Ukraine in April last year, operating under the call sign 'Turtle'.
Te Tai was a prominent character in the warzone and was widely followed on social media.
His colleagues described him as well-known and deeply respected for his professionalism, skill, leadership and relentless sense of humour.
They said he never underestimated the importance of his job, or the lives he held in his hands.
His death marks the third New Zealander to be killed in the combat - after the deaths of his best friend Dominic Abelen and humanitarian Andrew Bagshaw.
Te Tai had become the unofficial expert for New Zealanders in Ukraine, often acting as the point of contact for Kiwis wanting to travel to the warzone. He would ensure people knew what they were signing up for, a way to get into the country and a unit to go to.
He admitted in an interview with RNZ his initial motivations for going there were selfish, but that changed quickly on arrival.
The soldier became an infamous figure in the war, often featuring on Russian propaganda sites - seen by RNZ - particularly the Wagner group, who put a NZ$11 million price tag on his head.
In a conversation with friends he joked about ratting himself out for the money, illustrating his sense of humour.
Te Tai always said to his friends he was not afraid to die, but he also was not afraid to live.
During nearly a full year in Ukraine, he garnered respect from people in all walks of life. He volunteered with Ukrainian families, taught civilians how to fight and eventually found a spot at the frontline as one of the team's leaders.
Te Tai said he was fiercely protective of his team and did anything to make sure they were safe.
During one mission in August 2022, his best friend, Abelen, was killed in trench warfare. In an interview after the mission, Te Tai said the team were unable to get his body back and it ended up in Russian hands, but that did not stop him from trying.
He told RNZ they only stopped because Abelen would not have wanted them killed in the process.
Just last week Te Tai posted on social media, revealing that while clearing a Russian position he had found a "long lost friend" who had wanted to visit New Zealand.
Te Tai had thought his friend was dead and was amazed to find him alive, describing it as a "Hollywood moment".
He said at first he did not recognise the man, who had been shot four times and was skinny.
"He'd been starved by Russians for two months and drinking anti-freeze because the Russians wanted a laugh."
The man did not want to be left with the Ukrainians, but Te Tai had to keep fighting. He promised he would return and walk him personally to hospital.
That was exactly what he did, he said.
'The people grow on you'
In that August interview with RNZ, Te Tai said he had fallen in love with the country and its people, and was deeply respectful of their resolve.
"I was sort of getting a bit bored of being at home... and coming into this conflict was just one of those things that selfishly I thought I could be close to the war without getting too entangled.
"But then that sort of changes... I've met so many people, I've been everywhere in this country and the place grows on you, the people grow on you, and their strength, and that's why I'm still here."
Te Tai said he was prepared to leave everything in Ukraine, but in the weeks before his death he had made moves to return home.
His mother said he always kept her up to date, ending the calls with "I love you Mum", but more recently it was like "I'll see you soon".
In a Facebook message to another friend he said he loved Ukraine, but it was time to start living a real life - "gotta put the toys away and start to build while I can", he said.
"That's enough war for me, I love this place, it's like a playground where I can do anything I want.
"But that's the problem isn't it? So before the game gets me or before I decide that life here is too easy, maybe it's time to start living my real life.
"This place is pure escapism, we are all trying to run from something, mine is from having a real life, but the time is near."
Passionate about the cause
Te Tai is being remembered by his friends and comrades as a man of honour who was passionate about his cause, always doing everything he could to protect people.
Longtime friend Aaron Wood described Te Tai as a beautiful man, who he loved to bits.
"He just wanted people to live their best lives and he wanted to help as many people as he could.
"That sounds like a cliché, but with him it's a truism. That's his whole life... Just serving people, that's what he did, that's what his message was."
That was what he died doing, Wood said.
His mum, Ngaire Te Tai, said there was never any talking him out of it.
"He never did anything by halves, my son. We tried to stop him, but he had his mind made up, that's just Kane.
"When you were around him, you just felt safe."
A gift she said she knew he spread much further than just Ukraine.
Ngaire Te Tai's final comment about her eldest boy was: "Don't let my son's death be in vain."
He leaves behind a 12-year-old daughter.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find anything glorious about killing young mobilised Russian boys who are crying in their trenches”

The shelling is so close it makes you puke, says Kiwi fighting in Ukraine

A Kiwi soldier fighting under Ukraine’s military intelligence says he’s prepared to die.
Kane Te Tai, code name Turtle, is fighting in a secretive reconnaissance unit on Ukraine’s front line in the eastern Donetsk region.
After deaths, injuries and resignations, Te Tai now leads the Foreign Reconnaissance Team after only joining in July.
A December article in The New Yorker magazine revealed the existence of the unit and featured Turtle.
It’s the same unit that 28-year-old Kiwi Dominic Abelen was fighting in when he was killed in August, and the two were like brothers.
Te Tai’s unit has set up a PayPal to fundraise for vehicles it needs to move around its area of operation, near the town of Pavlivka.
As Te Tai was interviewed, he had to be careful his phone wasn’t too bright, so as to not give his unit away to any Russian drones flying overhead.
“We live on the line, we just occupy whatever place we can find at the time. If it gets too hot we just find somewhere else,” he told Stuff.
His unit’s job is primarily reconnaissance, a small mobile force that could reach into Russian land or no-man’s land between the trenches, and destroy a tank or hold a position, before the Ukrainian army moved in.
“Find it, locate it, observe it, report it, attack it.”
Good 4x4 vehicles are a necessity.
Donetsk is known for farming and coal production, and Te Tai described the land as similar to the Canterbury plains.
Soldiers try and use the tree lines separating the fields for cover, and trench systems are built through them.
During the winter, the roads and fields are muddy, pocked by craters from Russian artillery barrages.
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team can get the necessities of war – food, bombs, clothing, bullets - just fine.
Reliable working vehicles and parts, and enough for an emergency stockpile, are harder to come by.
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team is reliant on vehicles driven into Ukraine from throughout Europe by volunteers and paying for them with donated money.
“You can use that vehicle until it is blown up or you crash it, unfortunately both those things happen all the time,” Te Tai said.
“The last three vehicles we’ve had, in the last month, they’ve been hit with artillery. Holes in the front, s... just smashed through.”
Unlike the famous International Legion Battalion, which tens of thousands of foreigners have joined since the start of the war, the Foreign Reconnaissance Team is for some of the highly-trained foreign few.
Te Tai served a tour in Afghanistan for the New Zealand Defence Force and thinks of himself as having spent his whole life training to fight.
His team is given autonomy, building trust with local Ukrainian commanders to find out what they want and then formulating missions.
Te Tai was able to talk about one operation the Foreign Reconnaissance Team conducted during a December battle in Pavlivka, first described in the New Yorker article.
Te Tai and a small team of a half-dozen were set to cross a bridge at night and enter a tree line which ran into the centre of the town.
The mission was to see how close they could get to the Russian positions before they were fired on.
“The moment that we got onto the bridge, everything just opened up, rockets, missiles everything. We ran across this bridge and were just trying to scramble to the safest nearest spot.”
Te Tai’s team managed to get into the tree line and into a trench – all in the dark – but the Russians began to shell progressively towards them down the tree line.
“I remember just looking at everyone in the pit and we all had this look on our faces like, ‘well, the party had to end some time’. We had this feeling of acceptance.”
But, just as the next shell was set to kill the team, it flew off somewhere else and the Russians then began to bomb regressively back along the tree line.
“By divine intervention we missed getting smashed... We all knew we were supposed to die that night.”
Before joining Foreign Reconnaissance, Te Tai was working for a church training Ukrainians in basic military skills.
He was open with people back in New Zealand about what he was experiencing, including old army colleagues.
Te Tai described an environment where Kiwis in Ukraine often stayed in touch and worked together, including Dominic Abelen who contacted Te Tai before making the trip.
When Abelen said that he was set to join the International Legion Battalion, Te Tai told Abelen he was hearing bad stories.
“You go there as a foreigner, you get given a weapon, some ammunition, and sit inside a trench and you fight or die, that’s how it’s portrayed.
“People would tell us: 'Thank you for training my son, he didn’t make it back, but I felt he was better off than he was before’,” he said.
Abelen, now with the nickname Tolkien, made his way into the Ukrainian army, but managed to get taken into Ukrainian military intelligence.
Talking to Abelen about what he was doing, Te Tai had had enough of training soldiers and the 37-year-old felt like he was running out of time to fight.
“I told him [Abelen], ‘I’ll jump in with you too’.
“And he [Abelen] was like ‘thank God, cool man’,” said Te Tai.
He ended the volunteer work and a recruiter told Te Tai to get to Lviv where he entered a secretive military intelligence training camp.
Recruits weren’t allowed to use their phones and were closely evaluated for a two-week period.
“Pretty much from the second they take you into the camp, they don’t tell you what’s going on.
“They operate it like a psychological test, to see if you can be just told what to do and not know any other parameters,” he said.
Access to weapons was heavily restricted and there was heavy scrutiny as Ukrainian officials went through candidates’ records and social media, trying to weed out spies and the weak.
“When you talk to someone, it’s always a cover story, you’re never talking to who you think you’re talking to,” Te Tai said.
Then, one morning in July, officials gave Te Tai a contract and drove him to the Foreign Reconnaissance Team in Donetsk.
“As soon as we pulled up... Dom had no shirt on... he said, ‘let’s do some work’.”
“I was like ‘my man!’.”
Abelen had put in a good word for him with Ukrainian intelligence, Te Tai said.
He gave Te Tai the code name of Turtle, after he had originally named himself Talon. Talon was too cool, Abelen said.
Te Tai described new troops arriving for the unit as a big event, a celebration of strengthening the group after the fighting took its toll.
“There’s a high attrition rate either by death, injury, or guys wanting to leave.”
The Foreign Reconnaissance Team currently operates out of a house, planning their missions on a whiteboard.
“We’re normally strapped for time. If we’re not out working we are resting, or we are giving instructions.”
Te Tai said there aren’t ranks in the unit, so while he is the team’s leader, he sits on the same step as the other foreigners in the unit.
He eats Ukrainian food: soups like borscht, and two-minute noodles and toast.
At night Te Tai watches Netflix and YouTube fail compilations to decompress. Sometimes, he hears the Russians shelling, keeping him awake.
When you’re fired on by artillery, you can hear the lifespan of the shell, he said.
He described how shells left the Russian gun with a distant duh-boom, screeching through the air, before exploding somewhere on the Ukrainian side of the line.
Some shells landed far away, but some hit so close to soldiers that the concussion made them puke and made them feel sick for the next day, he said.
“That shit happens like every week.”
About six weeks after Te Tai joined the unit, Abelen was killed during a mission.
“It pissed me off more than anything, it just consolidated for me that I’m not leaving any time soon.”
Te Tai said Abelen didn’t have a death wish, but he was a soldier and fighting was what he had trained for his whole life.
“I could have told him, ‘you are going to die today’ and he would have been like ‘it’s a good day to die’, that’s just who he was.”
Killing didn’t weigh on Te Tai’s mind, he said. He described it as part of the job, and said his views hadn’t changed since Abelen’s death.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find anything glorious about killing young mobilised Russian boys who are crying in their trenches,” he said.
“I’m willing to die, for sure, but I don’t want to die.”
Te Tai has no plans to leave and wants to attend a victory day parade in Kyiv.
“I know we’re going to win, I know that for sure,” he said.
“I’m staying here until I can’t take it any more, or I am dead.”
submitted by lolpolice88 to Maori [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:25 sagecage I need advice moving on from friendship (?) to relationship with crush

I'm a uni junior and she's a senior. Over a year ago, she approached me alone in the middle of the night one day, and she seemed really interested in me as a person. She even told me I have "good genes". I mistook this friendliness for romantic interest and had a one sided crush for over a year.
We weren't even friends. At most we'd just greet each other. Especially since a few months after that she got a bf. We rarely ever talked, and I really just admired her silently from afar because I'm a very socially awkard person and rarely talk with people.
Come exactly 1 year after we met and she broke up with her bf. My feelings got stronger for some reason, culminating to me asking her out late january. She kindly let me down, told me all relationships just lead to pain, and that shes down to hangout anytime.
Well for the rest of february i just decided to not do anything. We rarely ever talked anyway, the only thing that changed was that i stopped greeting her. Apparently she noticed this and asked me several times why Im ignoring her.
Come early march, she approaches me in the labs in a friendly aggressive way. Gave this speech about the importance of networking, made me repeat after her to say "I think youre cool and would like to hang out sometime".
So heres the timeline after that:
Note: by hangout i mean like we go to the pc labs and sit by each other talking a lot and working at the same time. At first, i thought she wouldnt like this but she told me she and her friend did this all the time, and that I talk to her more during these hangouts than her friend does, so this does seem like something normal.
As for the hangout themselves, ive definitely gotten more comfortable with her and we do sit close to each other throughout.
How deep am i going into the friendzone? Is there any hope to salvage a relationship? Got any advice?
edit: I would like to point out she told me a few months ago was a very tumultuous time in her life. She just found out her mother has cancer and her bf broke up with her immediately after, so she was going through some rough stuff.
submitted by sagecage to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:22 Veledala My stepmother told me she wants to divorce my father and I don't know what to do

When I (23M) was 10 years old my father divorced my mother and about two years later he married my stepmother with whom he has 3 children. After my parent's divorce, my mother went to live about 10km away from my father, who bought a house with my stepmother, they still live there to this day. My family has always been multicultural, apart from my stepmother being Ghanaian, my mother is French and my father's parent emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the 80's. By the way, English is not my mother tongue, therefore I'm sorry for any mistake I could make.
I've been aware the situation has been deteriorating for a while, a few years after they've got married, my stepmother developed pathological jealousy and suspiciousness towards my mother. She basically forbade my father to contact her over any matter, throwing a fit and almost leaving the country with my stepsister when she discovered they were still talking together over work related issues. We all quickly realized we were walking on eggshells, she would be deeply suspicious of him and would pick fights with him over little misunderstandings, even for things me and my (1 year younger) sister would say. Overall she revealed herself to be quite selfish and irresponsible, she's the one that earns the most money in the marriage, yet she spends it on beauty products, expensive clothes and sends a significant amount to Africa, where she launched some business. She's hardly ever there for the kids, leaves my father at home with the them and goes out with friends or after-work events. From my father's perspective, she's a bad mother and I would tend to agree on this.
On the other side, my father hasn't been himself lately. He found a new job with the help of my stepmother and is now earning about as much as she does, but at the same time he keeps working for his own company, even though he's supposed to have closed it for months. My grandfather got sick with rapidly progressing dementia, last year, he's now in the late stages, unable to move, and is taken care of by my grandmother, my uncle and him. My sister dropped out of college and works for my father's company, she's clueless as to what to do with her life and lives with her boyfriend, which doesn't seem to care much about it. He has to take care of the kids, take them to school, take care of the house which is basically still under construction. So many things lie on his shoulders and he looks exhausted. Overall he seems to be letting everything unfold as if he wasn't part of it. He takes forever to answer to us - me and my sister - and changes his mind all the time, he doesn't seem to see things clearly. Lately he has been talking about buying a house for my mother, because she's in a precarious financial situation, but as soon as my stepmother heard about it, she disappeared for a week to "make him realize his mistake".
My father is a very secretive person, he does not talk about his problems, he keeps everything inside and never seeks help from anybody. After living a few years in Czechia, I realized this attitude was very common amongst Czechs, as it is unacceptable, in the Czech society, to bother other people with your personal issues.
He's basically the one on which my whole family relies, but it is beginning to get clear that he's failing at it, because nobody can stand that much pressure without putting his own health in jeopardy. On the other side I must say that he was not always a good father to us - me and my sister - he left us alone when we were 10, we didn't see him for a year. He would give me financial help when I was abroad, and then decide to cut it without warning. He told me many times he did not believe in me and I basically had to make myself alone. It's beginning to clear to me that he doesn't know how to manage his own life, but at the same time I just see what's on the surface and God knows what he's going through by himself.
I've been living in a city about 100km away from them, and came to visit yesterday, while staying at my mother's place. Last night my stepmother proposed to take me back there because it was late and I came without my car. Upon arriving, we started to talk about my father, she told me how she feels exhausted from him, how he's been hiding things from her. There was, for instance, some issues with the nurse that takes care of my grandfather, as she's apparently been sending very personal messages to my father, she noticed it and also noticed he was buying train tickets for her. When she confronted him about it, he went to see the nurse and apologized for my stepmother's jealousy, the nurse recorded it and sent it to people in the local African community, now apparently everybody's talking trash about my stepmother. She then fired her, but my grandmother called her back and told my stepmother to stay away from her house. On another occasion she found a hotel reservation for two people on the backseat of my father's car.
She then went on to tell me she was, in fact, not suspicious at all of my mother, but the fact that my father would try to hide every conversation they had from her made her think that there was more to it. Also the fact that my father keeps so many things inside makes her very distrustful of him. She then told me she has been gathering evidence and contacted a lawyer, but she's waiting to see if my father wakes up and changes something after their trip to Africa, next April.
I'm sorry for the length, but there you see how complicated this whole situation is. I've always known that it was, but I didn't suspect it to be nearly as bad as this. I told her I would discuss with my father, but just what am I supposed to tell him? I don't even understand who's at fault, if not both of them. Of course he could take charge of his life, sell his company, get more sleep and be more clear and honest when communicating with other people, but isn't this just a consequence of this terrible marriage? I don't really understand what's going on and yet I bear this information and am clueless what to do with it. Should I warn my father about a potential divorce ahead? Should I tell him what my stepmother think is wrong and ask him why he's been behaving this way? She did not say she would divorce, but she's considering it.
TL;DR : my stepmother told me she's considering divorce with my father and I don't know what to tell him, but they both seem to have messed up.
submitted by Veledala to Divorce [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:19 Stevert9 Diaryganronpa - END OF CHAPTER TWO

Diaryganronpa - END OF CHAPTER TWO submitted by Stevert9 to LodedDiper [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:19 SimbaTheSavage8 I don't think I'm normal, and I'm scared (Part 2)

Part 1
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think even.
Emily knows my biological mom?
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” I asked.
Emily’s smile was as thin as ice. “I didn’t think you were ready. Now you are.”
“Ready for what?”
“You’ll know soon enough. Sleep tight, Skye. You have to go to school tomorrow.”
I couldn’t sleep. All I saw, in my nightmares and painted on the ceiling, was Alfie’s face. He whispered my name while I dreamed and wriggled into my happiest memories. I woke up screaming as his body twisted and swelled.
We will meet again. Alfie hissed through a series of clicks.
It was too quiet when I woke up the next morning. I was used to Emily yelling for me to wake up for school or my dad rushing to get dressed for work and brushing his teeth or the smell of burned bacon and pancakes and eggs down from the kitchen. Or at the very least Alfie ringing my ears off to tell me he was waiting too long outside.
But the silence whispered through the halls, sneaking into my room and tickling my heart. I rubbed my eyes and sat with my knees tucked against my chest, watching the sun rise. The sky was lit in gold as the darkness slithered away, but it was as if dawn had never arrived at all.
I got dressed and headed downstairs. At that point I realised exactly why the house was so quiet and my heart stopped cold.
Most of the stuff we owned was packed up into boxes; and anything that was too big was covered by translucent tarps. Emily and my dad were huddled together in the kitchen. They looked so lost, so hollow, like they’d just come back from Alfie’s funeral and had not stopped crying since.
“Hey morning,” I said tersely.
“Morning,” Emily said. She still wasn’t looking at me. “Did you sleep well or do you still look like a panda bear?”
“Ha ha.” I made myself some coffee. It tasted like muddy water.
Emily looked at the clock. “You better hurry up or you’ll be late for school, Sleepy Skye.”
“But—” The night before was still spinning in my mind. Questions bubbled to the back of my throat, dying on my lips.
Emily placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Skye. I’ll explain more later when the time is right.”
School felt like forever. All of my classes passed in a blur. Everyone avoided me like the plague, and whispered behind their hands when I walked past. I didn’t really care. I rested my head on my hands and wished Alfie was here. Whispering that everything would be okay.
When the last bell rang I plodded through the halls. The chatter around me had blended into a monotonous stream of nothing. I looked around me and saw Alfie’s face around me, in the couples making out near the lockers, in the teenagers huddled together like penguins.
My heart ached again.
My dad’s van was waiting for me at the school entrance, coughing up smoke like an old, retired dragon. It was jammed full of boxes and things wrapped in bubble paper. I was surprised it could even move a centimetre without something breaking inside.
“Hop in Skye,” said my dad, poking his head out of one window.
“Um, where are we going?”
“To my old place,” Emily explained, poking her head out of the other window. “I—we—thought it would be good for you, for…for the both of us.”
Alfie died.
The wind was still once more, as if mourning over him in its deep grief too. I crumbled against the side of the van, letting hot tears stream down my cheeks.
Without a word more I climbed into the van and my dad sped off immediately. I gazed outside the window, watching country roads blend into billboards and highways, and let the van rock me into a soothing sleep.
“We’re here. Wake up, Sleepy Skye.”
Emily’s house, as it turned out, was a two-storey monster tucked away from the heart of the city. The paint was peeling away and the bricks underneath were slick with slime. Mold crawled between the bricks and stayed there, dying the house green. I turned away and nearly threw up.
“This way,” Emily said, climbing a set of stairs. It was really dark, and everything was covered in shadow. The only source of light was a small Gothic window that shone through the gloom in a weak white arm. Set at the side of the stairwell was a black iron door. I started towards it, but Emily glared at me, so I abandoned the door and followed her.
The second floor was surprisingly well-kept. The floors were swept and the walls clean of dust. Picture frames depicting bugs and scarabs hung onto the wall, polished until it shone. There was even a pot of tea on the table.
“Knock yourself out,” Emily said as she collapsed onto the couch. She closed her eyes.
“Make yourself at home.”
“It stinks,” I observed, wrinkling my nose.
In fact it was the worst stink I had ever smelled in my life. It tore through the walls and floors like it was made of paper and I gagged. I sprinted to the window, stuck my head out and breathed in relief.
Emily raised an eyebrow.
“There’s some…construction going on downstairs,” she explained. “We just got here, so bear with it a little longer, okay Skye?”
“Yeah,” I choked. My eyes were watering. If I could see the smell it would be a big black cloud hovering in the air, howling and shaking in its stinky fury.
“Can I explore the city? I need some fresh air.”
“Go ahead,” Emily said, turning away. “Just be back for dinner.”
I nodded. I had never sprinted out of my old house so fast in my life, rubbing my smarting eyes. Even at the distance I could smell it, and once again I felt like throwing up.
After some time I slowed to a walk and really started to look around. It wasn’t much of a city—and it also wasn’t much of a town—but somewhere in between. It was getting quite late in the day with the sun streaming slowly in from the west, but the town felt…alive in a way. Shopkeepers hollered their wares from the inside of their ornate walls, and people were strolling on the streets, their arms interlocked laughing and whistling.
I tried not to think of Alfie.
A couple of blocks away I saw a large diner, its neon sign beckoning me inside. Getting closer I could smell heaven: char-grilled meats, fresh cakes and cookies, and something else in a fryer or oven.
My stomach growled. I wiped off my drool with my sleeves.
Pushing the door open, I went in.
The diner was abuzz with chatter and laughter; people were toasting each other with glasses of beer and ale. Yet everything died the moment I came in. Time stood still; heads swiveled to look at me and a collective gasp rose from the frozen crowd. I felt like an animal in a zoo as I navigated through the chaos and found a table to sit.
“Don’t mind ‘em.”
The speaker was a living Popeye, with a big, floppy nose and bigger arms that bulged with muscles and fat and a tattoo of a beetle instead of an anchor. He was wearing a greasy, bloody apron and a cap that was too small for a nest of blonde hair.
“It’s been a while since we had anyone new around here. Thirteen years, in fact. Also, hold on…”
He squinted hard at me, his eyes moving from my head down to my legs.
“Are you Skye?”
Goosebumps pricked my skin once more. I looked outside and realised the wind had once again stood still.
“Yes! How do you know?”
The man opposite me thought for a moment, then shouted something to the kitchens. Then he sat down opposite me and grinned, revealing yellowed teeth.
“Your stepmom talks about you a lot. She adores you, you know.”
He cupped my head in his hands and brushed a lock of hair off my head. Tears welled in his eyes.
“You look a lot like your mom. Same face, same eyes.”
He knocked on my face like it was a piece of wood.
Click clock
“Rock solid too.”
My hair stood up on my skin as I stared straight into the eyes of this man who I just met.
“Y-you know my biological mom too?”
The man’s smile grew even wider. “Let’s just say…kind of.”
He extended his hand. “I’m sorry I haven’t introduced myself earlier. Call me Mr Lancaster. I’m the owner here.”
“I’m pleased to meet you too,” I replied, shaking his hand.
“Boss? Everything is ready.”
One of the waiters skidded to a halt near our table. He was a handsome youth—freckles and curly red hair. He held out a huge plastic bag to me.
Mr Lancaster smiled at me in a way that made my heart melt.
“Fish and chips. And I threw in some strawberry milkshakes as well. It’s one of our best dishes on the menu. Emily is always going on and on about how crazy you are for ‘em.”
“Wow! Thank you Mr Lancaster!”
“It’s on the house too. A welcome gift from me. Tell your stepmom she doesn’t have to pay back a single cent.”
He glanced out at the darkening sky, sweat mopping his brow.
“You better be going now. It’s getting late. See you soon, Skye. You’re always welcome here.”
And with that, he practically shoved me out of the door.
The bell tinkled as I stumbled onto the street, nearly tripping over the food. It was really heavy, mind you. Like a thousand dumb-bells made out of solid gold. By the time I reached my flat my arms ached.
I dropped the takeaway on the floor and sat down on one of the stairs to rest. The sun had completely set at this point; long, thin shadows crawled across the wall to the corners. Soon I was plunged in darkness. I could barely see my hand in front of my face.
My vision suddenly cleared, and I realised I could see. Somehow. Dark shapes shifted and twisted before my eyes, but I could still make out details of every brick, every scratch on the stairs and wall. The takeaway sat untouched before me.
It was like looking through an extremely grainy CCTV.
As the bangs echoed throughout the hallway I froze, the excitement of my discovery gone.
My name was shouted with great abandon, the call tinged with sorrow and pain. I inched closer and realised that it was coming from the iron door.
Whoever was calling me was thrashing against the door, making the hinges shake. I backed away, my heart in my throat. All the hair on my skin was standing up straight.
The stink slapped me in the face, making my nose itch. My eyes didn’t leave the door as I scrambled up the stairs to the main apartment, leaving everything in the dust.
It was only when I slammed the door behind me and sprinted down the hallway to my bedroom did I realise I forgot the takeaway still sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
Oh well I told myself, trying to calm my shaking heart. I can go back in a few minutes.
I’m sure Emily and Dad won’t mind.
The city had fallen asleep. The hustle and bustle seemed to have vanished with the last of the sun. The streets were illuminated faintly with lamps that shone like a halo. My room looked like it belonged in a horror movie.
I lay on my bed for a while, squeezing my eyes shut and listening to my heart beat. The screams had long died down, but I somehow heard them long and clear in my mind, as if blasted by an invisible loudspeaker.
Low and loud, like a foghorn from a ship lost at sea.
“Shut up!” I screamed, my eyes welling with tears. I curled up in a ball and squeezed my head with my pillow. Even then the screams rammed against the sides of my head, over and over again, and I was dizzy from the pain.
Eventually I got out of bed and wandered throughout the house, hoping for something to distract myself from the eternal noise. The apartment was shaded in the same grainy darkness, except for the dining-room, which was glowing invitingly like a crackling campfire. Something clanged and tinkled. Cutlery probably. Either Emily or my dad setting the table. My stomach grumbled. The smell from the diner was making me hungry.
I started towards the dining room but then I heard it. A strange chitter-chatter. Like crickets, even though we lived so far from nature.
It was coming from the pictures hanging on the wall.
I hadn’t paid much attention to them when I first came in, but now it was drawing me closer like a moth to a flame. The bugs chittered again, and their legs twisted and struggled, almost like it was dancing. Looking closer, I realised that all the pictures depicted the same figure. A woman in various poses with the head of a bug with too-large eyes. She was wearing a dress that shone like fire and was glaring at the camera.
I clapped my hand over my mouth. I didn’t know where that came from. I looked nothing like her. I didn’t know her. It was my first time seeing her.
But Alfie…
No, no, no! I’m mad! I must be going mad! It’s the screams, I thought, the screams were driving me cuckoo! Making me think crazy thoughts!
I forced myself to look away and shove those thoughts out of my mind. I didn’t know what to believe anymore.
“Skye? Dinner time!”
Emily’s calls broke through the confusing mess in my head. I was grateful that she came to my rescue. Glancing back at the photo of my mum (no, she isn’t! How can I be related to…that?), I scurried down the hallway and into the dining room.
Emily had saved the takeaway.
It sat between us on the newly-dusted table. Emily pulled out foil containers and set one each before me and my dad.
“Mr Lancaster called about the fish and chips,” she explained. “He was delighted to have met you, Skye.”
She ruffled my hair, and chuckled as she handed me a strawberry milkshake. “But it looked like his little delivery girl got cold feet on her first order, eh?”
“Emily!” I groaned. I took a long sip and licked my lips. The milkshake was delicious. Rich, creamy and filled with enough sugar to make my insulin go straight into overdrive.
“Hey,” I noted, sitting down after a while. The pure sweetness of that drink was enough to make my head spin. “Mr Lancaster made some extra fish and chips.”
And it stank too. Almost as much as whatever is behind that iron door.
“Oh, that’s nothing,” Emily said quickly, sweeping the bag off the table and rushing it to the kitchen. “Mr Lancaster always makes me extra. He knows I’m always hungry after midnight!”
I chuckled nervously, feeling the weight of my worries lift off my shoulders. Emily did eat a lot after midnight. A couple of times I had spotted her sneaking to the living room with the television on and a bag of chips.
Yet this particular container stuck out like a sore thumb. Not just the smell, or how big it was compared to the others, but…but, was it me or was it glowing?
I buried that thought into the deepest recesses of my mind. No. I had enough wild and crazy thoughts and visions for one night.
Succumbing to them was not what Alfie would have wanted.
That was not what any of us would have wanted.
Once we had finished dinner, I helped to clear the table and wash the cutlery. Emily turned to me and said:
“I’ve got some things to do tonight. Take care, Skye, and take care of your dad.”
“He does not look well.”
Sick actually. Dad looked like he was going to throw up. He staggered to the couch and passed out on the leather. I couldn’t help but pity him. Fifty-six years old, and all that oil into the fish and chips was not doing his heart any good.
“I’ll look after him,” I promised.
“Good girl.” Emily gave me another thin smile. She pulled on a jacket—a black jacket with a golden rim—and gave me a kiss on my forehead.
“I won’t be long.”
Emily strode out of the house, taking the last box of fish and chips with her. There was something clinking in her pocket, like suits or armor banging together. And just as she stepped out of the front door, she pulled out that something from her pocket. I only saw it for a brief second, but it was enough to make my heart race.
It was a key. But not just any key.
This one was black. Like evil. Like ash. Like the iron door.
It smirked at me as it hid back in her pocket. A shiver ran up my spine.
“Emily, wait!”
“Is there a problem, Skye?”
“Yeah. I wanna ask you something.”
I took a deep, shaky breath. There was a lump in my throat and my heart was beating way too fast.
“The iron door on the first floor…what’s behind it?”
“It’s nothing, Skye,” Emily said. Her eyes darted to somewhere behind me and fixed on one of the bug women. “Just some of my old stuff, y’know? From before I met your dad?”
“Now I have to go. I’ll be late otherwise. I’ll see you later, okay Skye?”
I swallowed as I watched her leave. Uncertainty still sat tight in my stomach, wound up like a spring, and wouldn’t let go.
“Dad? You okay?”
No response. My dad was out like a light.
Then his eyes shot open.
I gulped.
They got bigger and bigger. I saw each individual vein popping out and weaving into each other like mini spider webs.
Then it bulged and swelled. His head enlarged to accommodate it.
Chills shot down my spine as I realised exactly what was going on.
Click click click.
His lips split and burst into mandibles. I scrambled over and held his hand.
“Don’t do this to me. Don’t be like Alfie.”
I was crying. I was shaking. Oh god, I was shaking so bad it felt like I was in an earthquake.
Click click click
I scrambled over and held his hand. It only seemed to make it worse, however. I watched as it shrank and turned black and folded into itself.
“Dad! Fight it!”
He hunched over and coughed out so much more blood.
Ack ack ack
His spine was curving over and hardening into a black shell. I dropped his hand and backed away into a corner, my face white.
Ack ack ack.
The floor was blooming. Grass spread thin like a carpet and tall trees grew. I saw red flowers explode onto new branches, like a bundle of fireworks.
My dad clicked and clacked, as if enjoying the new scenery.
My skin was crawling. Literally. I looked down and saw bumps pulsing beneath the folds, marching along to my heartbeat. Then it broke and a cockroach popped out. It took a deep breath, bowed, clicked and clacked in the same rhythm as my dad’s—slow and steady, a pulse
And I SWEAR I heard the cockroach say:
“Your Highness.”
I screamed. It bounced off new grass and fresh flora.
I’m really going mad now.
I pinched myself, wondering if I was living in some kind of nightmare. But I wasn’t. It was as real as the still lights from the street lamps shining in through the window.
Click clack.
More cockroaches were spilling out from my skin like a dam left unchecked. My dad looked at me inquisitively. Cement was quickly turning into dirt.
Click clack
My thoughts were clambering over each other as I squatted, paralysed in my corner, watching the cockroaches with my mouth open. My dad—no longer human—crawled into the walls and towards me. Staring at the roaches and slowly reaching out to them. They squeaked and climbed over him.
This was too much. I did the only thing I could think of.
My phone was butter in my hands. My vision blurred and I kept on punching in the wrong numbers.
Thankfully, Emily answered the phone on the first ring.
I took a deep breath and screamed into the receiver. My voice was shaking so bad I was surprised I could say anything at all.
submitted by SimbaTheSavage8 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:18 ThrowAway----_- Should I have a discussion with my MIL about not wanting her to move in?

Okay so im just going to clarify a few things, im 27 and still dating a wonderful guy, lets call him Tim, hes 24, so we aren't married, however we have been talking about wanting to get married in the future and owning a home together.
His mother, lets call her Jan, is 64, and she has this delusional idea that we are all going to stay as one big family unit and support eachother financially, because in her opinion "this has worked for thousands for years in Asia, so why cant we do it too?" Btw we are Italian-Australian, so yes some people in our ITALIAN culture do live with parents, I personally do not. I identify more with my Australian side. I want to have my own home with my partner and future kids, thats it. Call me selfish, I dont actually care. I know what I want, and thats final. IF a parent becomes very old and needs to be taken care of, only then will I be okay with them living with us. I've been extremely open to Tim about this from the moment we started dating, he said that he's okay with that. If he doesn't like it, then he's free to dump me and find someone who is okay with still living with his mum. I've made it crystal clear.
His mother is a hoarder, and im talking....hoards everything and anything. Jan earns decent money from her job but spends it all on usless stuff that just piles up and never gets used. She owns 2 fridges because her first fridge is full of expired food that she just refuses to clean out. She owns so many pets (4 cats, 3 dogs, 4 giant lizards and heaps of mice). The entire house STINKS. She rents a different house every year and was never able to own a home. She has this grand idea that her son will provide a house for her. Jan has been drilling the "family unit" idea in my head since the beginning of our relationship, and it only angers me more and more. I tell her that Tim and I dont have to rush to buy a house because we are still young and allowed to live our life, just like she got to live hers. She left home at 17, and yes her family life was rough, but it not Tim's responsibility to provide a house for her.
I told him that I dont want her living with us if we get a house, unless if shes absolutely unable to care for herself ONLY THEN can she live with us, and her animals are not welcomed (im severely allergic to animals and i refuse to take antihistamines everyday in my ow home). He agreed. He said that Jan will most likely threaten to off-herself if we dont let her move in immediately, I told him "i literally dont give a damn, i will not succumb to emotional manipulation like that, i will make sure she gets checked-up on by mental health professionals if she pulls that stunt with me".
I just know her. She will use depression, loneliness, su**ide, financial instability, ANYTHING to move in with us with we ever do own a home.
Should I, along with Tim, sit her down and discuss these future theoretical plans with her, and mention that we want to live on our own without any parents because shes hoarder and because i dont want animals? Or is that not a good idea since we dont even actually own a home yet? Tim has mentioned to Jan in the past that me and him want to move interstate together, to which she replied with "which city? because if its Brisbane then I'll come too". And yes, we were thinking of Brisbane or Melbourne, and now i wanna go to Melbourne to deliberately not have her move with us.
I just really, reallllllyyyyy want my OWN space with no animals, no hoarding, very minimal things (i grew up with very minimalistic, super clean parents) and I dont want my house to be disturbed with her constant nagging and god-awful attitude (she has bipolar). Shes so extremily nit-picky and although she treats me well, I genuinely have this resentment towards her growing because of how often she lectures us about the "family-unit" idea.
submitted by ThrowAway----_- to motherinlawsfromhell [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:16 OpeningTheoryBot [Random] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 (Ruy Lopez Closed)

Opening line: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3
Opening name: Ruy Lopez Closed
Board image:
Lichess board:
Wikibooks page:
Winning percenatages:
White: 8328 (31.67%)
Black: 4251 (16.17%)
Draws: 13717 (52.16%)
Ruy Lopez Main Line
The position in the Ruy Lopez after 9. h3 is one of the most strategically interesting in the whole of opening theory. Blacks reasonable options at this point run to double figures, which for a position nine moves into the game is almost unique.
9...Na5 is the old main line, the Chigorin Variation. Black hunts down Whites light-squared bishop and frees her c-pawn. The knight may end up back on c6, on c5 via b7, or on c4, depending on developments elsewhere.
9...Nb8, the Breyer Variation, is the other traditional move. With White taking her time developing her queenside, Black reckons she can spare two moves to redeploy the knight on d7 out of the way of the bishop which will appear on b7. It is a little more committal than the Chigorin and appeals to defensive-minded players.
9...Bb7, the Zaitsev, is the current red-hot theoretical battleground. The bishop eyes up the e4 pawn and the knight reserves its options.
9...h6 is the Smyslov Variation. The Zaitsev is considered an improvement on the Smyslov; in the Smyslov the bishop will usually go to b7, but in the Zaitsev Black can usually manage without ...h6.
9...Nd7 on the plus side enables an f5 advance and controls g5, and on the minus side clogs up the queenside and removes a defender from the king.
9...Be6 is another way to challenge the b3-bishop, usually leading to an exchange of bishops and a boring position in which White has a little more activity.
9...Re8 will transpose to the Zaitsev unless both players are desperate for a draw by repetition.
9...a5 is a quirky attempt to force matters on the queenside. White will probably meet it with a central charge.
9...Bd7 and 9...Qd7 are both at least semi-useful, and even 9...d5 doesn't lose on the spot - although players interested in getting their d-pawn to d5 should look at the Marshall Gambit on move 7.
Wikipedia has related information at Ruy Lopez
Most popular responses
  • 9...Bb7 (Ruy Lopez: Zaitsev Variation) This is the main theoretical battleground in the Ruy Lopez today. Black's bishop aims at the White e-pawn, which will be ganged up on through moves like ...Re8 and ...Bf8, followed by taking on d4 to maximize the pressure. (Lichess analysis) (Wikibooks) (111222 games)
Engine Evaluation
Depth: 46
Score: +0.32
Best Move: Re8
PV Line: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Re8 10. Ng5 Rf8 11. d4 Bb7 12. Nf3 Re8 13. Nbd2 Bf8 14. a3
Puzzles based around Ruy Lopez
Historical games for Ruy Lopez Closed
Game Result Year
Vachier Lagrave, M.. (2784) vs Carlsen, M.. (2862) 1/2-1/2 2021
Karjakin, Sergey (2767) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2868) 0-1 2013
Anand, Viswanathan (2800) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2826) 1/2-1/2 2010
Anand, Viswanathan (2800) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2826) 1/2-1/2 2010
Anand, Viswanathan (2800) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2826) 1/2-1/2 2010
So, W. (2775) vs Carlsen, M. (2834) 1/2-1/2 2015
Anand, Viswanathan (2804) vs Carlsen, Magnus (2802) 1-0 2010
Anand, V. (2767) vs Carlsen, M. (2834) 1/2-1/2 2018
Anand, Viswanathan (2817) vs Ivanchuk, Vassily (2779) 1/2-1/2 2011
Radjabov, T. (2713) vs Carlsen, M. (2881) 1/2-1/2 2014
submitted by OpeningTheoryBot to chessopeningtheory [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:13 Gurbaj414 Access point messing up the whole internet

Adding additional routers to the main router as access points blocks some port or messes with the DNS, blocking connections between certain websites and games (modern warfare 2019). As soon as I unplug the access point router everything works as normal and everything is fine. If I then reconnect it will start to block content on the main router. Im using the access point for the other side of the house. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the configuration. Pls help
submitted by Gurbaj414 to HomeNetworking [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:12 Clover689 Ariana Griande idea

Saw the Ariana Griande Album and had to try and match some songs with it lol. Sorry I'm really late haha.
  1. I'm AGrian with you - (Problem) or (Break up with your girlfriend) or (34 + 35)
  2. thank you vex - (thank you next)
  3. Pumpkin Tunnel - (Let me love you)
  4. Mumbo Jumbo AFK - Already been made!
  5. I'm NOT Poultry Man - (God is a woman) or (Dangerous Woman)
  6. Did you Die? - (Positions) or (Side to Side) or (Rain on me)
  7. ISKALL, ARCHITECH, LOL? - (Almost is never enough)
  8. Pickles on the seafloor - Already been made!
  9. Please Shop at Sahara - (Problem) or (Break up with your girlfriend) or (34 + 35)
  10. I Love Rustic Houses - (Problem) or (Break up with your girlfriend) or (34 + 35)
  11. Sand, Sand, Sand - (Positions) or (Side to Side) or (Rain on me)
I'm horrible at deciding things so help me out here guys hahaha
Would make a bonus but I think this is a good start, maybe later lol
(all songs belong to ariana grande pls dont copyright strike me pls)
Use this if you'd like! Remember to credit, thanks!
submitted by Clover689 to HermitCraft [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:12 AarizTheGhost ordered 2k$ foods and only payed 5?

so the story is i joined my friend to rp, i said "abc to rp" this woman said abc so i asked her "whose house?" she said "come to the cafe on burger side" and it is my friend cafe so i asked my friend to invite me. Now everything is normal until she said to me "um ur not rp with us" even tho she said abc. So i think this woman is weird. i told my friend about how i think of her and they think the same. So i decided that i want to troll her with some baby foods. But then she ordered 2000$ worth of foods. My friend make the food that she wants and i make the baby foods. She came back and we asked her for 2k and she is not paying. (The baby foods is free btw). We keep asking her to pay but she only payed 5$ so we reported her for scamming, she came back with her friends. Her friends payed 1k. And i asked my friend to remove the woman permission and kick her friends out but she got away.

Someone please tell me reporting her was fair
submitted by AarizTheGhost to Bloxburg [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:08 sagecage I need advice moving on from friendship (?) to relationship with crush

I'm a uni junior and she's a senior. Over a year ago, she approached me alone in the middle of the night one day, and she seemed really interested in me as a person. She even told me I have "good genes". I mistook this friendliness for romantic interest and had a one sided crush for over a year.
We weren't even friends. At most we'd just greet each other. Especially since a few months after that she got a bf. We rarely ever talked, and I really just admired her silently from afar because I'm a very socially awkard person and rarely talk with people.
Come exactly 1 year after we met and she broke up with her bf. My feelings got stronger for some reason, culminating to me asking her out late january. She kindly let me down, told me all relationships just lead to pain, and that shes down to hangout anytime.
Well for the rest of february i just decided to not do anything. We rarely ever talked anyway, the only thing that changed was that i stopped greeting her. Apparently she noticed this and asked me several times why Im ignoring her.
Come early march, she approaches me in the labs in a friendly aggressive way. Gave this speech about the importance of networking, made me repeat after her to say "I think youre cool and would like to hang out sometime".
So heres the timeline after that:
Note: by hangout i mean like we go to the pc labs and sit by each other talking a lot and working at the same time. At first, i thought she wouldnt like this but she told me she and her friend did this all the time, and that I talk to her more during these hangouts than her friend does, so this does seem like something normal.
As for the hangout themselves, ive definitely gotten more comfortable with her and we do sit close to each other throughout.
How deep am i going into the friendzone? Is there any hope to salvage a relationship? Got any advice?
edit: I would like to point out she told me a few months ago was a very tumultuous time in her life. She just found out her mother has cancer and her bf broke up with her immediately after, so she was going through some rough stuff.
submitted by sagecage to dating_advice [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:06 rkglac22 Migraine from CSF leak?

Hello everyone, I've grazed this sub for awhile, and thanks to some of the symptom descriptions, I'm starting to think a CFL leak might explain my wife's current 5-month diagnosed status migrainosis. If anyone has the time, I'd love to know if these symptoms match up with CFL leaks as you understand them.
This came about after I actually heard a gas/liquid escaping either her ear or neck from several feet away. She said she hears it all the time. It doesn't seem to be sinus related, so my searching has led me here. Her symptoms aren't textbook, which is why I thought I'd ask.
Thank you so much for your time. She's on month 5 of no work or being part of society, and I really appreciate the help.
submitted by rkglac22 to CSFLeaks [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:05 SilenntVolcano Serious advice needed

After a year and a half post op, I think I have reached my goal weight (I’ve been at this constant weight for over 4-5 months now, no changes).
I would like to lose 6 lbs more honestly but probably that is just SKIN, because I’m skin and bones (and i love it).
I look great with clothes on. But naked it’s another story. Everything is saggy. From boobs, arms, belly to even the lower intimate area and legs.
The sag is not huge (except on the abdominal/inner tighs area+inghinal area).
I consider surgery! And I know that if I won’t do it soon (this year) I will keep on delaying to the point I’ll never do it.
I’ve never been slim. I want to enjoy this side for as long as possible. I want to wear a bikini. I want to feel beautiful. I’m in my late 20’s and my body looks like after 5 pregnancies. I had no pregnancy.
Nobody supports me (again).
My family tells me to have the surgery AFTER i’m having kids.
But I feel so insecure already, how can i make babies and feel beautiful? I would feel like a vedel to carry a baby in a body that i’m not please with its aspect.
I know that after baby, other priorities will come so i will delay surgery again.
I really want to know if i’m overreacting
The surgery is expensive for me. It would be a huge financial effort. And I can chose : car / loan for a house / surgery.
Only one of these. I can’t do them all.
And I feel selfish if I take the skin removal procedure because now it’s not a health-related thing to be an emergency. But I really want to feel young and happy while I still can.
If I have this surgery, i’ll also stop advancing my career for. While to recover. Basically my life will pause in all other aspects, probably minimum this year
Please give me some advice. Maybe share some experiences if you had this surgery.
Should I wait more? What should I chose
submitted by SilenntVolcano to gastricsleeve [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:03 OperationCriticalHit I (20 F) got to see what my family looked like today and I’m in tears.

So I grew up in a pretty old family. I’m 20, but my dad is 78 and my mom is 59. My parents aren’t very involved with their families, especially since their parents died. My dads parents had already been gone from over 20+ years by the time I was born, and my moms dad passed a year after I was born, and with my grandma passing away in 2019 (and at 100, you go Grandma!), but we live across the country and could not afford to visit my Grandma since 2003. Point is- I knew almost literally nothing about my family and that annoyed me. I’ve always wanted a big family dynamic, where we can count on each other.
Well, I’ve been doing family history research for a while, and after living in a crowed city for two years, I finally got around to seeing my aunt and uncle after I was pretty sure it was safe to do so, cause plague. My uncle is 84, and he has a lot of family photos. Originally I was looking for a photo of my 2nd Great Grandma, she was Mexican, she the reason why we have a tradition of J names in our family, and from what I gather her story is traumatic. 2nd great grandpa kidnapped her ‘legally’ because he was rich white guy and thought he could strut his ugly rich people boots into Mexico, point to a preteen, and marry her. That’s the more family friendly version. Ive been through trauma and her story really resonated with me, so I’ve been trying to find information on her. I’ve been looking for a photo of this woman for 7 years; and my uncle had one!
Well I went over and I got to see some amazing photos. My grandfather was a well respected man, and after learning about him I realized that him and I would have been best friends. He loved history, wrote poetry, he was a man in power who made his dental practice affordable because he didn’t like that people would have to suffer money wise if they wanted to take care of their teeth. He was a community man who would clean gravestones when he went to a grave yard. There was no dentist in his hometown, so when he visit his parents, he pulled teeth for people for dirt cheep out of the houses bathroom. (Also for preface on how much older he is from me, he was born 1895. I am aware he would not be alive now even if he didn’t die in the 80’s, but I still feel cheated.) He was someone, who I see myself in, and I feel much closer to him than I did. I always envied my older half siblings (Dads side) for getting to meet my grandparents. I always felt left out because I never got those experiences. No one in my family is as passionate about those values as I am, and just being able to learn about him, and how well we could have gotten along, makes me feel so much less alone.
I got photos of my beautiful grandma, my great grandmas & grandpas, and my 2nd great grandma. I heard stories about how wonderful, or awful, or kind, or smart they were. I wasn’t able to learn much about my 2nd great grandma, but I did learn that her son, my great grandpa was a strict yet kind man. I got some amazing stories and even got him and my great grandmas obituaries from the original newspapers. Based on what my aunt and uncle told me about him, I assume she raised him well. I learnt so much. I got given some awesome photos of my dad growing up. I got to read a poem written by my granddad. I got confirmation that he would be proud of me. It warms my heart, and I’ve been sobbing absolute happy tears for hours.
On top of that, I got to try my grandma’s recipe for dinner rolls and they are delicious. I feel so included guys!!!
submitted by OperationCriticalHit to offmychest [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 13:00 ReggieBasil LAST MAN STANDING 13 speeds into Round 5 shedding 39 users this week. We're down to 137! Tip now

LAST MAN STANDING 13 progresses to round 5, eliminating 39 ineffectual users this week. This brings our total remaining users down to 137 and our users sporting both lives down to 25.
The upset in Thursday's game was responsible for the majority of lives lost this week, and the punishment game proved so tricky very few bothered to try it at all.
We move speedily on to round 5 which seems on paper an easier assignment, but with recent hoodoos, who knows.
Check your tip below, if you feel I have made a mistake, let me know before Thursday or forever hold your peace
Progressive results
users correct incorrect % eliminated still alive with both lives
R1 768 251 403 38% 0 768 251
R2 768 174 411 30% 403 365 62
R3 365 162 120 57% 175 190 34
R4 190 128 39 77% 53 137 25



1) EACH WEEK, go to the GOOGLE FORM above and submit your single tip. That's one team, that you think will win their game that week. A single team, out of the entire round. Surely that's easy as! If your team wins, WOOHOO! You're through to the next week. If they don't, you're OUT OF THE GAME!* A draw is a loss, as far as this game is concerned. All decisions are final and the result as it stands at the end of any extra time is the result we use. ONE TIP PER PLAYER PER ROUND!
2) THERE WILL BE ONE LIFE available to you until the start of Round 10. That means, you can tip incorrectly once only prior to Round 10 and you won't be eliminated. That gives us all a chance to see what's going on with each of the teams and also allows for users to start late.
3) Once we get to ROUND 16 then it's new rules whereby you cannot tip the same team twice. We will cover that when we get there. Until then, you can tip Melbourne every week if you want to.
4) Whoever is the last man standing wins the /NRL Reddit jersey of your chosen size.
5) If everyone happens to get it wrong on a particular week, then we move on to the next week as if nothing happened.
6) We are tipping State of Origins independently of the round matches.

No More New Entries Allowed Sorry

Tips by match

Home users v users Away
✔️ Parramatta 1 18 Penrith
✔️ Melbourne 61 1 Tigers
Dolphins 38 Brisbane ✔️
✔️ North Qld 4 2 Gold Coast
✔️ South Sydney 1 4 Manly
✔️ New Zealand 6 3 Canterbury
✔️ Newcastle 11 Canberra
St Geo Illa 17 Cronulla ✔️


Tips by user Round 4

🗡️ indicates user on their last life
life user tip result
🗡️ 0_Kids_Three_Money Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ 365DonaldLover Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ 5een1tBefore Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ 60framespersecond Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Ajn_7 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ AmazingChicken99 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Andaloop21 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Arkascius Brisbane ✔️
AstonishedXMan Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ aussierob Penrith
🗡️ Barmy90 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Basicbitchbartender Brisbane ✔️
BazzaJH Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Bbqsaucebottle no tip
🗡️ Bc56710 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Bg_rl Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Big-Vas Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ bl90 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Black-House Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ -Bloodnut- Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ brockthesock South Sydney ✔️
🗡️ broggacio Penrith
🗡️ ceedog86 Brisbane ✔️
celebrationrock Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Charkers196 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Chillynotsilly Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Competitive-Jelly21 Melbourne ✔️
Cruising88 Melbourne ✔️
-Dark_Helmet- Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Diffaadiffa Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Disastrous_Salad6302 Canberra
🗡️ dominator619 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Elasticfingers Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Empyreal5 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ EntirelyOriginalName New Zealand ✔️
EyeDeeKayy Brisbane ✔️
Fattdaddy21 Parramatta ✔️
🗡️ Formal-Register Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
Frenchduke Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ _BigNutsWayno Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ _BuzzRothfield Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ jaggedlittlepill Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ _MartinKapowReal Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ _SquidGames Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ _TysonGambleFanpage Brisbane ✔️
Geoffroman Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ geokek Canberra
🗡️ GoblinLoveChild Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ goodnewstime Melbourne ✔️
Grizaz North Queensland ✔️
Hasra23 Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Herms911 Melbourne ✔️
Historical_gur9973 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Horsey2 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ ilove_pizza Penrith
🗡️ Impulsebuyerdude New Zealand ✔️
🗡️ infinitemonkeytyping Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Issedia Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Itsturtletime01 Brisbane ✔️
jeeves_nz Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Jexta Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ JoeyJohnsCocaine Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ JonesTheDoctor Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ jsnoodles Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
Julz72 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ kirang1902 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ le_skunk Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Logggers Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ luke363636 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Luke-st Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Malaxage918 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Mc_shammer Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ misanthropiccynic Brisbane ✔️
moojiminy Melbourne ✔️
Morg_n Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Mr_mat89 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Mr-Hindsight Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ MrSmithers11 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Muddogz New Zealand ✔️
🗡️ MyDearJohnWatson Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Nameisinappropriate Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Ninjapussypounder Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Notaroboticfish Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Overclocks_ Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Peppypls New Zealand ✔️
🗡️ pundit14 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ purplepop9 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ qldmaroon7 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ r717 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Ratamancer Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
redmusic1 Brisbane ✔️
ResidualCoolness Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ retrosaurus-movies Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Reyfa Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ roscoes_rashie Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Safe_interest_3973 Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ scrubbism Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ SeanSaid North Queensland ✔️
🗡️ shifty-eyed-dog Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Shkatspeare Melbourne ✔️
Shortielah Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ SideQuestNoRest Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ SilentStorm117 Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Sleepycathay Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Smiles8893 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ smilingface2 Brisbane ✔️
snowbird10 Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
🗡️ Sprucemoose101 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Stagger_once Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Stevensmith2702 Melbourne ✔️
StokedVenus Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Strait_DooKs Manly Warringah
🗡️ Strayadude North Queensland ✔️
🗡️ suckmynewts Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Sullos93 Brisbane ✔️
swampthroat New Zealand ✔️
🗡️ TaffyAUS Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ tbyrn21 no tip
🗡️ Thatnewbguy Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ thebuckledwheel Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Themgoodvibess Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ thephoenixfoundation Melbourne ✔️
Thepokemonman Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ TON6I8 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Tonche_ Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Trenticus7 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Trogdor208 New Zealand ✔️
Twitchbruh Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Upkick_ko Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ V3ndettas Manly Warringah
🗡️ Valcor Cronulla Sutherland ✔️
Victims_Arent_We_All North Queensland ✔️
🗡️ Voidaura Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Volcanicthunder Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ Wazza85 Melbourne ✔️
🗡️ yesmyson Brisbane ✔️
🗡️ Yurts123 Brisbane ✔️

Users removed forcefully from the premises

life user tip result
💀 Sullyy Canberra
💀 1bigcontradiction Penrith
💀 AndrewRoid no tip
💀 BabeRuthsTinyLegs Penrith
💀 Barney98 Canberra
💀 Belco-dick-owl no tip
💀 BustaGee Canberra
💀 CatWool no tip
💀 Crazywiththemkicks Gold Coast
💀 DavidTP Gold Coast
💀 daz1331 Penrith
💀 Disaintasu Manly Warringah
💀 downbythesea Penrith
💀 flyingorangutan13 no tip
💀 funtasia Wests Tigers
💀 GutwrencheR Canterbury Bankstown
💀 ijustliftweights no tip
💀 Jakeruddy22 Manly Warringah
💀 jamiott7 Penrith
💀 Johnnyrayusa Penrith
💀 Junathun no tip
💀 Liamman01 Canterbury Bankstown
💀 LordSlasher Canberra
💀 lowefforts no tip
💀 Manbunfc no tip
💀 Mooguh Penrith
💀 noccero Penrith
💀 notmariyatakeuchi no tip
💀 Notthehilltodieon Canberra
💀 Poonpuncher420 Penrith
💀 Prestigious_Dot_9490 Penrith
💀 Rab1dGuy no tip
💀 Revolutionary-cow862 no tip
💀 RS994 no tip
💀 Safetyrock Canberra
💀 saynonames no tip
💀 sliperiestofthepetes no tip
💀 Sprntr no tip
💀 Starlord174 no tip
💀 stevedaher no tip
💀 StrakenKing no tip
💀 Successharvester no tip
💀 superherofbmx Penrith
💀 Tabshark Penrith
💀 thc216 Penrith
💀 tropicaljim1090 Canberra
💀 Unorthed0x Canberra
💀 —username—11111 Canterbury Bankstown
💀 weak-gutted-dog Penrith
💀 WillZENex no tip
💀 wjack37 no tip
💀 Yeahsothisnameworked Canberra
💀 Ziuzudra Penrith
submitted by ReggieBasil to nrl [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:59 Particular_Ad5011 Puppy piddler

Hey guys! I have a 4mo bull mastiff/great dane mix and tbh I am very proud of the progress she's made with going outside instead of oopsies in the house. But every once in a while, if we're upstairs sleeping or just relaxing and she doesn't have the door to whine at.. She just goes. Does anyone have any suggestions to help us train her to cry or let us know she needs to go out? ** More info- I'm wondering if it could be because the previous owners would lock her in a room with a puppy pad bc she seems to always go in the same couple of places. Thank you so much - A tired carpet cleaner ❤️
submitted by Particular_Ad5011 to Dog_PuppyTraining [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:54 DullFuture6583 Unsure of what to do

tl;dr: I have been dating my boyfriend (65m) for over 10 yrs now with the promise of marriage in the near future. But the guy I loved cheated on me with a 4yrs relationship and lied to my face saying he will end things. I feel scared, sad, angry and heartbroken and its affecting me heavily. Do I end things with him or try and fix our relationship? I'm scared to end things and don't know what to do. I do love him, but I'm hurting inside alot.
Doing this on mobile so personal information will not be given here. English isn't my first language so please be patient with me. It my first time on Reddit and first post. Long story sorry.
I (65f) have been going out with someone (65m) for about 10 yrs now. At first everything was ok he was kind, supportive and knew just what to say to get people to like him. My daughter (34f) on the other hand saw a side of him I just could and did not believe. Yes I'm a mom from a previous marriage that ended in an abusive divorce. But both my children are grown adults and have there own lives now.
My daughter along with her friends warned me that the man I'm currently dating has a lifestyle that causes women to give him everything that he desires. If he needs a phone or home he toys with the woman emotionally nd sexually, with promises like marriage and repaying them back. but never does. He goes after women that are well off financially and doesn't care whether the woman is married, old or younger than himself. But because of him being a first-responder women have over looked that fact and the women he goes after to give him everything he asks for. I myself overlooked what my daughter had told me in order to see the good side of him. I was struggling emotionally with the divorce and was looking for support. Therapy was not the least bit helpful and I was plummeting down a dark ditch. When he came into my life it was like a light had guided me out and I wouldn't listen to the warnings.
My daughter then just sat back and watched me. My happiness grew and I believed this was the one. The man that I could spend my entire life with outside of abuse both emotionally and physically. If only I had listened back then to my daughter and her friends. But I wouldn't be here asking internet-strangers for help on what to do. Well my boyfriend asked me if we could get a car for him to go to work and back. That he was tired of waiting for me to pick him up and drop him off that it was embarrassing for him. I told him I would agree to getting the car if he helped me financially to help lower my bills and the I'd help him get the car he wanted. He told me that he would help me with the financial situation, but it was a lie. He never helped me he only helped me after we got into arguments. He constantly belittled me and argued with me. To make me feel as if i was not a important person in his life. I did everything I could to keep him happy, but it was not up to his standpoint. It also took me 5yrs to convince him to get a stable job because he did not want to pay child support from is previous marriages. Alll he was doing was getting a job and lasting about 1 day to 2 weeks then he quits. Just cause the child support people were going to garnish his wages. I told him that regardless of him getting a job he should start paying them. He told me that i should mind my own business and worry about my own finances in order to get him a car. I decided then not to help him if that was what he was going to do.
Finally in 2019, I was in a financially stable place due to the help of my daughter. But when it came to helping him get a car I didn't have to. Surprisingly he came with a car out of the blue one day and said his male friend brought him a car. I knew something was off about his story, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. However the belittling didn't stop and soon turned into yelling over the phone and in my own household. So much so that my daughter had to intervene a few times in order to keep the peace in the house. My daughter is no stranger to abuse and has gone though it her whole life.
Well my daughter had, had enough of this and hired an investigator on him and found that his male friend the one that gave him the car was not a man, but a woman (80f). To make it worse the woman was a pastors wife. They had been dating for about 4yrs and were set to annouce the engagement in the upcoming month in a family reunion.
When my daughter confronted me with the information, I wanted to see for myself if what she had found was the truth. So I waiting til he left to go to his mancave to watch football with friends and we followed him. Turns out she was right instead of going to the mancave with his friends, he took his new woman to the mall. They were at the laughing and kissing. But when he saw me, they both made a be-line for the car. He told her to get the car so he can "lose me and get away." She did. When he got home an argument ensued and he lied saying that he did nothing wrong. That she was nothing to him and that he would end the relationship between them. He lied and still kept up the sharade of not seeing her, when he was. However in order to keep me from finding out more truth out of his lies, he kept calling me in facetime to see if I was in my proper place. Meaning if I was not at work or home he will question where I was. But if I question him about where he was or if I made a joke he would yell at me.
I had to go through his things and find the answers to the lies he was spewing. Finally I had enough and confronted him. I demanded he tell me the truth when I saw that the title of the car was in her name and not his male friends name.
He kept deflecting the truth until I showed him the paperwork I found with her name on it. He told me that they met in the place where he worked and had been seeing each other for the past 4yrs. That he was using her to get the car that I would not give him. He told me that he used his sexual relations to get her to give him the car. However that he wasn't planning to marry her or anything. That she fell head over heals for something that was not going to happen. That he would tell her husband in front of me what went on and how it is over and will be returning the car back to her. However the investigator said otherwise. The investigator said that the phone conversation suggest that she is still married and that she is looking for an apartment for my boyfriend. Well she has already given him two brand new cars so I believe she can get him a home.
There has been so many times I have ask him to leave and that we are breaking up. He tells me to let him stay so he can find a place to stay. I let him cause I'm not the type of person that likes seeing people I know and love in the streets. After such time he doesn't find a place and only plays the I want to be with "only you" card on me and makes me believe that I'm the only one for him. I've been eating that up because I'm afraid. It's not only that I will be afraid of being alone, but of being ostracized by society. He has already made a fool out of me in two places where he has worked and has gotten my friends to hate me. I love him to death, but I can't see any future of me getting past the arguments, belittling and cheating ways my boyfriend has been doing.
My mind says to leave him, but my heart says otherwise. My daughter wants the best for me but I don't know. What do I do? Please don't be to harsh on me as this is my first time on reddit and asking internet-strangers for help. Thanks.
submitted by DullFuture6583 to u/DullFuture6583 [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:51 DEL994 (Spoilers Extended) How will karma catch up with Randyll Tarly ?

Randyll Tarly, the lord of Horn Hill and father to Sam and his siblings Dickon and Talla, is clearly not a sympathetic person in the earnest, having been a horrible father to Sam for being a fat and book-loving and in his father's eyes cowardly, womanly and weak, instead of the strong and martial loving boy he wanted, to the point that he forced Sam to dress in his mother's clothes, chained him to a wall for three days for wanting to be a maester and even forced him to join the Night's Watch under the threat of death to make Dickon his heir.
He also isn't nice at all to Brienne during their meeting, having a sexist if not mysoginist attitude toward her, telling her that she was basically asking others to try to rape her by dressing like a knight and refusing to acknowledge her already proven martial prowess.
Knowing that, and the various theories about him betraying the Tyrells and siding with Aegon and the Golden Company, how do you think that karma will catch up with Randyll Tarly in the coming books ?
What kind of punishment do you think that he will get for his abuse of his son and his other actions ? What would be the most fitting fate for him ?
I do think that he may truly betray House Tyrell and side with Aegon, only for it to backfire on him when the revengeful Tyrells led by Willas or Garlan outsmart and get back at him, similar to how the Reynes and Tarbecks paid the price for their rebellion against House Lannister and how the Boltons and Freys are going to pay dearly for their betrayal of House Stark and Tully, and when Daenerys arrives and overthrow Aegon with her dragons.
It would also be poetic if Sam end up getting released of his vows and become Lord of Horn Hill anyway.
submitted by DEL994 to asoiaf [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:48 bschoolyah11 Those who were vaccine hesitant and then got the job, how do you feel now?

Those who got the jab due to work, peer pressure, other reasons even tho they were hesitant / did not want to, how do you feel about your decision now? Both mentally and physically (e.g. if you have any side effects or anything to report)
Lol title typo : should say “jab”
submitted by bschoolyah11 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:48 oniong Do I have costochondritis?

I had a chest infection 4 weeks ago (now recovered). 2 weeks ago I suddenly started getting chest pain in the right side of my rib cage. It’s at the front of my chest, but there was a point I was feeling it around the side of my chest as well. It hurts when coughing, breathing in deeply, putting pressure on my chest (even hugging hurts) and lying down. I find it particularly painful when trying to get up after lying down.
I spoke to my doctor but we only had a telephone consultation, no in person exam, and he diagnosed me with costo. The pain doesn’t seem to be getting better and I want to know if this sounds like costo or if it could be something else.
The pain is pretty bad so any tips on fixing this would be great.
submitted by oniong to costochondritis [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:47 ProfessorInMaths Bleach Captains and Vice-Captains if they were in the Avatar World

This is a short summary of how various Bleach characters could be fused into the Avatar universe, with regards to their powers and abilities, and how they would fit in the world of Avatar. Additionally, snippets about how the lore of the Bleach universe might fit in with the lore of the Avatar universe. Note that this is a fanwork and there are elements that I have changed slightly. Also this does allude to certain elements in the Thousand Year Blood War arc that have not been released in anime format.


The most powerful firebender in recorded history whose strength surpassed the Avatar's. His unmatched prowess with flame allows him to not just produce vast quantities of fire, but also directly manipulate the volatile element (similar to how a waterbender bends water); additionally, he can control his inner flame to allow him to maintaining his mental and physical state (in a similar manner to how Kyoshi lived hundreds of years). He left the Fire Nation and founded the Soul Society during the reign of Fire Lord Yosor, during this time of great upheaval many people, from all nations flocked to the Soul Society, under the protection of the most powerful and dangerous warriors at the time. Since that day, the Soul Society has remained as a neutral fifth nation, despite many external attempts to "unite" it with both the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom.

Soi Fon

The Fon Clan were originally a group of Air Nomads who were captured and subjugated by the Shihoin Clan before the era of Avatar Szeto, when the Soul Society was founded the Shihoin Clan brought along the Fon Clan as their retainers. As the centuries pass nothing remains of the Fon's nomadic heritage other than their bending, with Soi Fon being one of the last remaining air benders and the 9th clan head. She utilises her bending to manipulate the air currents and pressure around her body, allowing her to move at speeds faster than the human eye can see. She carries a short blade on her back, and wears a black and gold gauntlet with a middle finger stinger; the stinger contains a poison which can kill with two stabs. Her most powerful technique involves encircling her body with a hyper-sonic vortex of air, once created she can maintain this vortex indefinitely.

Gin Ichimaru

An incredibly cunning earthbender; without warning he can rapidly move the ground under his opponents feet, which he uses to create openings to strike with his blade. However, his blade is where his true power lies, he claims that he has mastered metalbending a particular alloy which forms his blade. It appears as though he thins and stretches his blade allowing him to lunge and strike at opponents from great distances. However this is a lie, he has actually mastered bending a the dust of a rare substance, which is both extremely poisonous and capable of being compressed into a dense blade. During battle, he earthbends his blade expanding the dust at incredible speed to slice through his opponents before returning all of the substance to it's original blade form (to keep the poisonous nature of the blade a secret). The top-speed of his dust expansion technique is faster than the human eye can follow, however he only unleashes the true speed in the last moments of a strike, to keep his opponent's off-guard and guarantee a hit.

Unohana Retsu

The first and most brutal bloodbender in history, in every nation she was regarded as the most heinous villain alive, bringing slaughter and death wherever she went. In battle, her used a large curved blade to slice open her opponents, before draining the blood from their body through the newly formed wound; she would then use this new blood to create razor thin sweeping arcs of blood to carve through yet more opponents, thus repeating the cycle. Additionally, she used her bloodbending on herself, forcibly moving her body at incredible speeds to make her one of the deadliest swordsman in the world. However, as the decades passed (after the Soul Society was formed) the stories about this monster faded over time, eventually becoming myth and legend. This is because Unohana forsook her murderous ways and instead utilised her bloodbending with her natural waterbending healing to become one of the most powerful healers in the world. As a consequence over this mastery of healing and self-bloodbending Unohana has successfully extended her lifespan by hundreds of years and granted herself eternal youth.

Sosuke Aizen

A charismatic and intelligent waterbender who has completely mastered spirit bending and seeks to use this ability to transform himself beyond his present human body. As a water bender his control over the element is so fine that he can create illusions to manipulate his opponents. He controls the water vapour in the air to diffuse and reflect light to create a visual component to his illusions; he vibrates the water molecules in the air to produce pressure waves to either create false sounds or mask real sounds. However, it is his studies into the spirit realm and spirit bending are what make him exceptionally dangerous; Aizen came to the conclusion that there is no single spirit (other than Vaatu) which is stronger than Raava. Therefore, to surpass the Avatar he would need to forge a new spirit by amalgamating the souls of humans and lesser spirits. Through the process of creation, this forged spirits will would be subjugated by Aizen's own will, thus when he merges with the amalgam Aizen will retain his sense of self.

Byakuya Kuchiki

A calm and collected metalbender, who is renowned for his absolute control over the substance Cobalt. Cobalt is a light pink metal with a silvery white surface; the blade of the Kuchiki clan hereditary weapon is made from this substance. In battle, Byakuya separates his single blade into hundreds of razor thin slices that float around him, these blades have the appearance of cherry blossom petals dancing in an invisible breeze. He swarms his opponents with the petals, killing them through thousands of cuts, all the while using metalbending to maintain the edges of the blades. His skill with manipulating the metal is so great that is he capable of controlling and generating lightning using the magnetic properties of the metal. The Kuchiki clan are one of the founding bodies of the Soul Society, they were once a noble clan from the city of Tienhaishi, but fled as the city was razed to the ground by the vengeful spirit, General Old Iron. Several years ago, Byakuya defied his clan elders and married a refugee waterbender who was originally from beyond the Soul Society.

Sajin Komamura

A loyal and kind-hearted member of the Wolfman Clan, Koamura is regarded as one of the most powerful earthbenders in the world. His signature technique is to earthbend a colossal earthen golem, over three-hundred feet tall, which copies his movements. Among all mortal creatures, there is no other capable of moving that amount of earth for hours on end. The Wolfman Clan originated during the Era of Raava, and were humans who were cursed by spirits with a beastly appearance because of their sins in life. The clan has remained hidden for many years; however, a young Komamura left his clan to explore the wider world. However, he was deeply scarred by the times when he was spurned by humans for his appearance; forcing him to wear armour which covered his entire body. His travels eventually lead him to the Soul Society, where he was greeted and accepted by Yamamoto. Finally, with a place to call home, he became close friends with the blind-man Tōsen.

Shunsui Kyōraku

A laid-back and flamboyant swordsman, who merged with Kemurikage, a dark spirit of a grieving mother who lost their child to the violent warlord, Toz. Shunsui’s abilities are not elemental based, but instead derived from the spirits yearning for the lost days when her child would sit with her and play games. Shunsui can make children’s games a reality, through this he can conjure illusions, travel through shadows, and turn non-lethal blows deadly. He is originally from the Fire Nation, and traveled to the soul society when he was young, at the behest of his brother’s widow, the then current head of the Ise Clan. Through his deep connection with the dark spirits, Shunsui sealed away the Ise Clan’s legendary artifact to prevent anymore deaths. Shunsui remained in the Soul Society as steward of the Ise Clan artifact, training his spirit bending abilities under Yamamoto and mastering the skills of swordsmanship.

Kaname Tōsen

A blind earthbender who is a master of neutral jing, he can controls the vibrations of all earth and dust within his vicinity. His signature technique is to use his earthbending to grind the ground in the area to dust, then lift the dust into the air and hold it perfectly still. The dust forms a dome which blocks all light and the stillness of the particles means that sounds are dampened to nothing; thus rendinger all inside the dome blind and deaf. He even dampens his footsteps thus becoming invisible to those who sense using tremors in the ground. The airbourne dust becomes an extension of Tōsen’s senses, allowing him to feel the minute movements of his opponents in all directions. This ability can be used offensively, moving the dust particles rapidly to create high pitched resonating sounds and small shockwaves. He has dedicated his life to battling injustice and corruption, after his dearest friend, Kakyō, was murdered by her husband.

Tōshirō Hitsugaya

One of the most powerful waterbenders in the world, Hitsugaya was blessed by the great heavenly ice dragon Hyōrinmaru. Hitsugaya can control the water in the surrounding atmosphere, cooling the vapour to form fearsome dragons of ice and water. Hitsugaya’s immense power is eclipsed by both his intellect and potential, he utilised the principles of thermodynamics in conjunction with his bending, to form fire resistant barriers made from thin layers of ice separated by a vacuum. His greatest achievement is using his waterbending to lift and control a large set of ice wings which are connected to his back, allowing him to fly. Thus he is the Soul Societies most powerful aerial combatant. He was born in the Soul Society, and alongside his close friend Hinamori he was raised by his grandmother. But once she left to train her firebending, he found that his power was growing wild, and that it was hurting the ones closest to him. He began training as a way to gain control, help those around him, and protect the Soul Society from attacks.

Kenpachi Zaraki

The most dangerous non-bender in the world, similar to how the Avatar merged with Raava and became the embodiment of balance and harmony, Zaraki Kenpachi is a human who has merged with a nameless malevolent oni spirit, who is the embodiment of battle and slaughter. Through this union, Zaraki became stronger, faster and more durable than any other mortal alive, although the spirit could not reincarnate, he could slow the rate at which Zaraki aged. As Zaraki fights, he enters into a euphoric frenzy, merging closer with his spirit; the stronger the opponent the closer Zaraki merges with his spirit. The origins of this individual are unknown, even to himself, however he has wandered the world seeking a battle that will finally bring him joy. In the beginning of the Hundred Year War, Zaraki had made his way to the Soul Society, and finally found his fated opponent; Unohana Yachiru’s bloodbending enhancement allowed her to survive against Zaraki’s onslaught. However, as the battle progressed, he realised that if he were to win, then he would never again be able to experience the extasy of battle like this again. He subconsciously weakened the connection with his spirit and eventually lost that battle.

Mayuri Kurotsuchi

One of the most intelligent men in the world, Mayuri Kurotsuchi is an earthbender who has mastered the art of bending pure rare metals, such as gold. He travels with a golden sword and a large golden golem in the shape of an insect-like monster. Mayuri utilises the non-reactive nature of gold to contain plethora of chemicals and poison within his sword and golem, with each substance being confined within it’s own sealed golden compartment. Should he require a given amount of a pure chemical, he changes the porosity of the gold, so that it may emit the substance. If he requires a mixture of substances, he bends an empty vial within his golem and then siphons off chemicals from the other containers into this new vial to react together (using substances like platinum as a catalyst). He is widely regarded to be a sadistic monster, who holds no regard for human life. In his youth he trained under the legendary Shutara Senjumaru before being imprisoned for his horrific experiments. He was eventually released by Kisuke Urahara, for his technical mind.

Jūshirō Ukitake

A spiritual Firebender who was blessed by the Moon Spirit Tui and has mastered the rare ability to energy-bend. When Ukitake was young he developed a fatal lung disease, his parents prayed to every spirit they knew till eventually the spirit of the Moon answered their prayers. This blessing healed his lungs, turned his hair white, and allowed him to feel the ebb and flow of the energy around him, bending it as if it were water. Ukitake is able to bend the flames as if they were water, regardless if he produced them or not. Additionally, Ukitake is the progenitor of lightning redirection, a technique that would be passed down to the Dragon of the West, Iroh, when the general travelled to the Soul Society in the aftermath of the Siege of Ba Sing Se. Ukitake’s kind nature and unwavering belief in good, has allowed him to develop a connection to the spirit world, where he mastered the ability to manipulate spiritual energy. Through this he bonded with his long-time close friend Kyōraku.

Chōjirō Sasakibe

An exceptionally loyal Firebender who has served Yamamoto since the foundation of the Soul Society. Despite his rank and appearance, he is a deadly warrior who has mastered and the art of lightning bending, and pushed beyond the limits of what was originally thought possible. Utilising heat-bending in conjunction with his lightning, he is capable of summoning vast thunderbolts from the sky, eclipsing any lightning generated by a mortal. Additionally, through careful chi control and artful lightning manipulation, he has slowed his aging so that he may serve alongside his commander.

Marechiyo Ōmaeda

A large but crafty non-bender, Marechiyo Ōmaeda is descended from a long line of professional hitmen. Prior to the formation of the Soul Society, the Ōmaeda family were a small time bandit clan in, what is known today as, the Fire Nation. However, upon the defection of Yamamoto and the formation of the Soul Society, the Ōmaeda family prospered and profited in the ensuring war. Eventually, they would come to serve as another vassal house for the Shihoin clan, alongside the Fon clan. Marechiyo Ōmaeda is the heir to the family fortune, and currently serves under Soi Fon, much to her chagrin. Despite his appearance, he is an exceptionally fast combatant and a cunning fighter, utilising his opponents assumptions about his size to bludgeon them in the head with a massive spiked iron ball, which is his signature weapon. However, he is exceptionally cowardly, and will utilising smoke and tear gas bombs to facilitate his escape.

Izuru Kira

An introspective and tactical earthbender who utilises a family technique to energybend. The Kira family were descended from a lesser prince of the Earth Kingdom royal family; during the Wars of Secrets and Daggers, the patriarch was killed and the remaining family fled out of fear. Pleading their case before the sages and judges of the Soul Society, the family was allowed to settle within the protective walls and hold some amount of political power, befitting their former status. Izuru Kira has mastered the family technique of the “earthen crush” whereby the user imparts their earthen chi into an object that they touch, allowing them to bend the object or person directly downwards, crushing them. This powerful technique requires the bender touch the target, so that they may impart their chi.

Isane Kotetsu

The protégé of Unohana, this waterbender is second only to her master in terms of healing capabilities. Her grandfather was originally from the Southern Water Tribe and fled to the Soul Society during the raids, bringing with him the tribes scrolls of healing, which were passed down through the family. She and her sister were originally split during their brief time in the slums; however, fortune smiled upon Isane as she was reunited with her sister within the Soul Society. Unbenownest to the pair, Unohana sponsered both of their entries, and holds a genuine affection for Isane, something which the ancient bloodbender had never felt before.

Momo Hinamori

An exceptionally clever firebender who has mastered the art of altering the trajectory of her fire mid-flight. Similar to how energybenders utilise the connections between all living creatures to search, Hinamori can utilise those connections as pathways to channel her fire, giving her a dangerous degree of accuracy. She was born in the Soul Society, and alongside her close friend Tōshirō she was raised by her grandmother. However, inspired by the powerful benders who defended the Soul Society and fuelled by her desire to protect her friends, she left to begin her firebending training. Her focus on academics and on connections within energy bending is how she was introduced to Aizen, a well established defender of the Soul Society; she grew enamoured with him, which only encouraged her to pursue her firebending techniques further, so that she may protect her family alongside such a powerful figure.

Renji Abarai

Renji Abarai was born in the slums outside of the Soul Society, the areas that consist of the refugees and families who are awaiting judgement on if they may be granted citizenship. The soldiers who patrol these areas are purely to deter foreign invaders, resulting in a lawless sprawl of shanty towns. After Renji’s childhood companion, Rukia was adopted by one of the noble houses within the Soul Society, he began training in one of the nearby valleys, where he encountered a wild spirit. The jungle this spirit ruled over was burned to ash by the Fire Nation, and it was left aimless and wandering. Renji began to bond with the spirit and promised a better life for them, if the spirit bonded with him. After this union, Renji was able to gain citizenship within the Soul Society because he demonstrated his immense physical abilities, that had been enhanced through the union. After training with Zaraki, who possessed a similar spiritual nature, he came to serve Byakuya Kuchiki, the adopted older brother of his childhood companion Rukia.

Tetsuzaemon Iba

A dangerous non-bender who specialises in swordsmanship and hand to hand combat. Originally he was the leader of one of the many gangs who ruled over the slums, having inherited the position from his mother. However, after an Earth Kingdom raid devastated his hometown, he vowed to protect those under his care, and enlisted in the army of the Soul Society. Iba’s loyalty to the Soul Society and his Captain are well renowned; his skill as a fighter is exceptional as he is always training to master all forms of combat. Nanao Ise
Nanao Ise is the last of a long line of matrilineal priestesses, who oversaw and carried out rituals and rites related to spirits. To accomplish this task, the Ise clan passed down a sacred blade which can reflect energy in all forms. It is regarded as the pinnacle of energy bending, and it is through this scared blade that Nanao is training to become a master of energy bending. Her superior, Kyoraku, was a close friend of the family, and was entrusted with the blade until Nanao was of age to begin training. Her tutors are the aforementioned Kyōraku and the affable Ukitake; her personality is diametrically opposed to these two, she is a serious and pragmatic person, yet she remains respectful to her teachers in the spiritual arts.

Shūhei Hisagi

Shūhei Hisagi is one of the few air-benders within the bounds of the Soul Society, he is descended from monks who fled during Sozin’s attack on the temples. However, as a result of the air-bender purges, Hisagi learned nothing about air-bending philosophy nor the cultural roots. Despite this, he is a master air-bender who has developed his own philosophy on the balance between life and death. It is this understanding of balance, that drives his unique, and aggressive, air-bending techniques, which are focused on manipulating air currents around a pair of chained scythes. He is highly respected within the Soul Society, and is the managing editor of the largest newspaper within the Soul Society … despite his inability to write a popular article.

Rangiku Matsumoto

Rangiku Matsumoto is a gregarious and lively Earth-bender, who grew-up alongside Gin Ichimaru within the slums outside the Soul Society. To gain entry into the Soul Society she trained to become adept at the art of dust and ash bending, she moves these particles at high speed to cut through an opponent as easily as a sword. The elders of the Shiba clan, one of the founding clans of the Soul Society, sponsored her entry and assigned her to assist the, then, head of the clan. Her outgoing personality has made her popular within multiple circles, and she is close friends with many other of the defenders of the Soul Society including Hisagi and Kira.

Yachiru Kusajishi

Yachiru Kusajishi is a dark spirit, bound to the mortal realm, that took the form of a human child. Initially, this spirit was formless without thought or body; however, the area that this spirit inhabited became the site for a series of violent and bloody conflicts. Out of the bloodlust and suffering this spirit began to grow and bond with the creature that exhibited the greatest lust for battle: that being the future Kenpachi Zaraki. Eventually, this bond became strong enough to allow the spirit to manifest within the physical realm. This juvenile spirit was adopted by Zaraki, becoming a surrogate daughter. Through interaction with humans beyond violence, the spirit grew into a person in her own right; becoming a bubbly and excitable child. Despite this, she is a dangerous combatant; her physical nature as a spirit makes her both faster and stronger than any mortal. Through her upbringing she associated violence with playing, her favourite game is “dodge”, wherein she attacks an opponent to force them to dodge. However, the trick of this game is that she has the ability to hit an opponent both “before” and “after” the hit, making dodging nigh impossible.

Nemu Kurotsuchi

Similar to Yachiru, Nemu Kurotsuchi is a dark spirit bound to the mortal realm who took the form of a young woman. However, she was artificially created by the mad scientist Mayuri, who captured and tortured spirits, forcing them into subservience and then manifesting those in a homunculus body. Through many repeated attempts Mayuri succeeded in the creation of Nemu; however, his experiments could not be kept secret for long. Under direct orders from both the governing body of the Soul Society, and Yamamoto himself. Mayuri’s ability to energy-bend was sealed completely and Nemu was removed from his custody. She has taken residence with Kyoraku, Ukitake and Nanao, and is regaining the free will that was so cruelly taken from her. Similar to Yachiru, whom she shares a kindred bond with, Nemu is faster and stronger than any mortal and has an incredible durability as a result of her Homunculi body. Additionally, there are several chemicals and aspects of her mortal form, which are only known to Mayuri himself.

Rukia Kuchiki

Rukia Kuchiki is a powerful water-bender with an affinity for manipulating ice and snow. She was a refugee from a Northern Water Tribe outpost, and was carried to the slums outside the Soul Society by her sister, Hisana. In a desperate attempt for survival, Rukia’s sister abandoned her within the slums when she was less than a year old. Rukia grew up alongside Renji within these dangerous areas; however, Hisana had not forgotten about her and upon her deathbed Hisana made her husband, Byakuya, promise to bring Rukia to safety. After Byakuya fulfilled that promise, Rukia began training her waterbending and developed her own style, distinct from the traditional Northern Water Tribe form. This new form is to waterbending what the dancing dragons is to firebending, an elegant form which alters the fundamental principles. Rather than the fluidity and change, Rukia focused on the rigidity and stillness of water. This philosophy was inspired by her earthbending step-brother, and allows Rukia to form structures of super-cold ice at temperatures that are unnatural even by spirits.
submitted by ProfessorInMaths to ATLA [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 12:47 CreditMission A Day with a Dog ( a HwP fanfic)

Howdy, thought I'd write a fanfic in its purest form. Taking characters which are not mine and bending them to my will.
Ever since Slanek's little dog problem, always wanted him to have a meet up with the honeybadger. So here we are.
Special thanks to u/Banancake for permission to use Vikri.
Thanks to SP15 for Slanek and the universe.
Warning potential spoilers for Hunting with Predators.
As for Slanek, assuming shore leave post successful evac from Sillis.
Thanks for reading.

Memory transcript: Slanek, Venlil Space Corps
Date [standardized human time]: December 22, 2136
The sky was grey, with white powder raining relentlessly. Thick snow was piled up on the sides of the road which itself had a fine coat; the layered black lines carved by other traffic the only effort keeping it clear. In this weather they would be quickly erased, leaving the long power cable strung between frequent poles the only indicator of the road’s existence. The UN driver accompanying me had been quiet for a while now, focusing hard ahead, gripping the steering wheel despite the autonomous nature of our ride. All I could do was look out and survey the scenery, trying to calm my beating heart as our destination grew closer.
The landscape was muted in shape by its icy covering, only broken by the dark shapes of imposing trees; sometimes sparse, sometimes grouped to form a forest. Despite their stillness, they put me on edge. There were wolves out there, hiding in their shadows. Dogs were terrifying, despite Marcel’s frequent reminders that they were loyal and would not harm me, I could not shake that fear. But wolves, they were big, they were wild, and they were skilled at the hunt. Their existence would not have been tolerated on any other federation planet. Speh! They shouldn’t be tolerated here.
My concern when voiced was brushed off. Just stay in the car they said. Don’t stray from the town. But I had made the mistake of looking them up on the internet and had seen their hideous form. Compared to the terror of their fangs, this car felt awfully flimsy.
Regret once again began to seep in, but I shook it from my head. I refuse to disappoint Marcel again. Time and again my stupid fear of predators gets in the way. I loved Marcel, I accepted his nature. But that wasn’t enough. Tillis proved I had a long way to go before we could be on equal terms. Once again, he forgave me. Understood me. But surely there is a limit. I can’t rely on his kindness forever. I must be better.
As we drove a green sign caught my eye, standing out against the monotonous background. “HAMILTON 17”
A small town, deep in the wilderness. Since the bombing, it had lost a lot of its population due to the collapse of the supply network. Even those far from the bombing were still turned into refugees. However, it had recently served as a rendezvous point for some survivors from the battle of Earth. One, in particular, I had arranged to see.
Driving through town, it was clear some life had returned to it, though you could hardly call it bustling. A lit window here, a pedestrian there. Cars were few and far between. The house that was our destination was on the outskirts, part of the last remnants before the wilderness began. Why would a venlil choose to live in such a dangerous place like this? Is this not the definition of straying from town? A month ago I would have diagnosed this guy with predator disease but now I knew that to be somewhat ignorant. Stars, according to Marcel, I would have predator disease. That label stung, though I couldn’t dismiss it. But I wasn’t broken, was I? Defective? Surely not. Not to him at least. No, I was the best venlil, his words. ‘bout time I actually lived up to that high praise.
Upon pulling up at the house, a venlil came out to greet us. I was thankful to see that his…companion was elsewhere, hopefully secure. His tail curled around him slightly with unease though his ears were relaxed, dipping slightly to acknowledge my approach.
“Greetings Vikri, I’m Slanek. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me,” I gave a respectful ear flick in greeting.
“The pleasure is mine,” he replied, returning the greeting, his lips parting slightly revealing teeth though they were quickly hidden. “I am honoured to meet someone of your acclaim.” Acclaim? Me? “Sorry you had to come all this way but I’m reluctant to travel with her at the moment.”
His companion was why I was here, but to hear such casual reference to it was discomforting. I felt my ears press against my head in response, consciously moving them back to a neutral position.
“Would you like to come in?” He moved to open the door.
“Is…she…” I stammered. He gave a reassuring tail wag.
“She’s in the barn over there,” he said gesturing to a large wooden building some distance away. “Thought we might want to take this slowly. I know how terrifying dogs can be.” He gave a shudder.
Wait, he was scared of dogs too? This doesn’t make any sense. Didn’t he have predator’s disease?
“You’re scared of her?” I asked, incredulous.
“Not now, no. But I was. Terrified.” He looked out to the woods. “We were hunted by them you know. Wolves. Lucky was one of them.” His arms and tail wrapped around his body. “They are terrifying. Their persistence, their violence. They attacked my friends. Nearly ripped their arm off…I can still hear his screaming. See the blood.”
I was at a loss for words
“Then how…why…”
“Why did I befriend her?” He laughed softly. “It’s a long story. Come in. Are you familiar with human tea?”
“I have heard of it,” I replied, moving past him into the building and out of the cold.
The room I entered was sparsely decorated, the furnishings that did fill the meagre space were mismatched and well-worn, with most being of wooden construction. On one wall was what appeared to be a strayu forge constructed of brick, though its opening was at ground level and covered with a metal plate adorned with simple imprints of Terran animals. I sat on a chair made of wood and cloth, perched upon two wooden arches that were unstable by design. Without care it would rock violently, risking the contents of the hot cup handed to me. Vikri occupied the only other chair in the room, notable for having a more respectable 4 legs.
“Have you seen humans hunt?” Vikri asked too casually, causing me to fumble the cup of steaming red liquid I was bringing to my lips. A scorching drop hit my leg.
“Uh, p-persistance hunting correct? Sounds terrifying,” I stammered, rubbing the sore, damp spot on my thigh.
“Not always,” he spoke steadily. “They are…adaptive. Tell me, how do you picture them, as they prepare to kill?”
The image of sharp teeth penetrated my head, moist lips drawn up in a snarl. Their binocular eyes locked on the living creature with hunger as it desperately tried to avoid its gruesome fate. I shook my head to clear it. These visions had finally disappeared after spending so long with Marcel. Why would Vikri reconjure them?
“Fearsome,” I replied. “Delighting in the hunt…like the Arxur.” Even though they still chose to eat meat, I’m glad they had done away with this savage past. Growing it was not dissimilar to plant farming in execution, though the mere thought of it still turned my stomach.
He nodded slowly, staring at me in the eye. A very human gesture.
“Yes, that’s what I expected too. Surely a people built around death would delight in it no?” His gaze softened. “But when the moment came, they were afraid. No blood lust, no savagery. Only quiet resolve” Vikri’s eyes broke contact as he reminisced. “I was scared too. But for them. They needed to do this to survive, and I feel that was the only reason they persevered.”
“You saw them hunt?” I interjected. His ears flicked the affirmative.
“And cook. And eat. It was necessary.” He appeared to study his drink. “But the meat, they enjoyed it. That was confronting. A part of me hoped they wouldn’t. But who was I to speak out against their simple pleasures in the snow and ice. After all they’d done for me.”
“I came to understand the hunters, but that means nothing when you are the prey. Wolfs set upon us, hunting us for hours. Their attacks viscous. Humans were one thing, but these were monsters. It was everything we were taught about predators and more.” He shuddered again.
“In the attack, many were injured. Quarek lost use of his arm. Tenga received life-threatening injuries too.”
I recognised Querek’s name but “Tenga?”
“Uh, he’s a…he was my human. If you understand.” I did.
“We killed a lot of them too, and good riddance I thought. But even after we escaped one kept following. If we had the rounds to spare I would have asked it be shot. But Tenga, he wasn’t like me. He pitied it. She was only trying to survive, like us, he said. Imagine that.” He scoffed. “Compassion for the predators that almost killed you… But he wasn’t wrong.”
“The dog just kept on following us. Devouring any snacks we threw her way but never attacking. It was stressful but if Tenga said she was safe, then I could only believe him. She apparently wanted a pack and the humans welcomed her. Named her Lucky.”
“I was still nervous but then we got attacked by an even bigger predator. A bear. It had me trapped and Lucky ran in to protect me. That dog chose me as someone she needed to protect. How could I dismiss her after that?” He stood up and walked to the window, staring at the barn in the distance. “She’s my partner now. As silly as that sounds. Part of my herd.” He turned back to me, his tail flicking in excitement, his ears showing apprehension. “So, do you still want to meet her?”
Walking through the snow was an odd sensation. It stuck to my legs and penetrated my fur. My feet were quickly sapped of their heat but at least the air temperature was quite tolerable. My posture was hunched with my tail curled around me, but not from the cold.
Vikri ambled ahead, an ever so slight limp to his gait but otherwise confident, a small pouch was attached to a strap around his waist. It wasn’t long before we stood before imposing wooden doors. I heard a faint scratching and panting from the other side.
“I’ll go in first and keep her calm. I’ll call you when we’re ready.” With familiarity, he unlatched the door and cracked it open. A moist snout quickly appeared through the gap which he gently redirected inside before squeezing himself in.
“Good girl, good girl. We’re going to meet a friend so best behaviour alright.”
The sound of panting intensified as I heard movement from within.
“Ok, when you are ready,” he called out.
“Oh, Stars!”
With tentative movements I approached the gap, squeezing my head in to survey.
Next to Vikri sat a fearsome creature reaching up to his chest in height, covered in gray and white fur. Its maw hung open showing its moist pink tongue and many sharp teeth. The only thing restraining it was a thin strap held firmly in Vikri’s paws.
“Arf!” it barked.
I stumbled backwards, falling into the snow. The impact sent sharp pains through my injured shoulder, a seeping cold reaching my rear.
“You okay?” A concerned voice called out.
“Ah, yes, I’m fine. Ju-just stay in there okay,” I whimpered. Get a hold of yourself Slanek! You’ve faced down arxur for stars sake.
Gingerly righting myself, I approached again. With a few deep breaths, I shut my eyes and hastily stepped into the barn, closing the door behind me. No retreat!
Upon opening my eyes, I was greeted by the sight of the pair in the same position I left them.
“Just walk up to me Slanek. You’re completely safe,” Vikri encouraged, gently stroking the dogs head. The dog’s eyes remained locked on me.
Alright, confidence soldier. Forward march.
Keeping them both in focus I approached, the dog pivoting its head as it tracked me.
Reaching Vikri I froze. I could touch the dog if I wanted.
“Okay, reach out and place your paw on the back of her neck,” Vikri prompted.
I slowly complied, gently making contact with the dogs fur. It was coarser than I expected. As I dug in deeper I could feel the body heat. The dog craned its head back to look at me, making a quiet whine in their throat.
“Very good, she likes it. You can touch her head too.”
I moved my hand up, the softness of the scruff giving way to the more solid bone. Their ears depressed slightly as I pushed them down, but I was very gentle, ears could be sensitive. I was resting my hand on the top of a predator’s head, just above their golden binocular eyes that were staring into mine. I was ok.
“Good girl,” I said tentatively. I caught Vikri’s approving tail flick.
“Want to hold the leash?” he offered. “Take her for a walk.”
This was progressing fast. Could I control a predator?
“I’ll try.” Vikri pressed the strap in my hand and took half a step away.
Despite the slackness in the strap, the dog remained seated, her head snapping to follow her master.
“Up!” he said, and she rose to all fours. “Good girl,” he praised, pulling a small item from his pouch and offering it to her with open paw. The dog moved towards him, jolting my arm slightly as I moved to follow. Their pink tongue shot out and secured the morsel, their jaws closing and chewing with an audible crunch.
“Is that bone?” I asked, disgusted.
“Just a biscuit,” he replied, offering one to me. I grabbed it and on inspection, it was a small dry square that was a dark red colour. It appeared to have been baked hard, but not so much that it couldn’t be broken by teeth.
“It does contain meat though, so don’t eat it.” I felt my stomach shift, as I held it as far away from me as possible, barely resisting the urge to throw it away. The dog saw this as an opportunity and deftly snatched it from my paw before I could even register what was happening.
Crunch, crunch
All that remained was a slightly damp patch on my pad as a shiver went up my arm and resonated throughout my body.
“All right! Let’s go!” Vikri headed towards the door, his tail wagging in amusement. Lucky followed him, dragging me stumbling behind. The answer was no. I could not control a predator.
Vikri walked with purpose, casually waving greetings to anyone we passed, be they in car or on foot. Lucky paced along beside him with me on her other flank, the leash slack between us. He was in a different league from me in embracing human customs, even after I had come so far with Marcel. A feeling of defeat crept in, but I kept it at bay. I was expecting this. It was why I had pursued this meeting.
The fallen snow thickened and the thinning signs of civilisation fell behind us, trees becoming more common. This was definitely straying out of town.
“Aren’t there wolves out here?” I asked nervously, ears high and alert.
“Not this close to town. To many humans,” he replied matter of fact. “Just wild enough to have fun.” He stopped, surveying the surroundings. “Want to set her loose?”
“Huh?” He gestured to lucky with his tail.
“Unclip her leash and let her frolic,” he clarified. What a terrifying notion, but if I didn’t trust him what was the point of me coming? My paws fumbled with the mechanism attaching the leash to her collar, eventually disconnecting it. For a few seconds she sat there, indifferent to the lack of restraint until Vikri gave her an energetic pat.
“Go!” he barked, and a grey-white blur shot off into the snow, remarkably quiet considering the speed. Suddenly she faltered, tumbling into a bank, sending white powder flying. Rolling around to right herself, she sped off again until she found another suitable snow bank to throw herself into. Vikri watched on with a relaxed expression.
“Care to join her?” He asked. I marked my incredulity to him, but he dismissed it. With a loud yelp he ran after her, throwing himself into a previously disturbed snow pile. Instantly the dog was upon him, digging and barking, Vikri’s limbs flailing as he contended with his attacker. My heart leapt into my throat as the nightmare unfolded. Reaching instinctively for my sidearm, my fear began to turn to panic on realisation it wasn’t there. What do I do? Run? No! I’ve got to help. But how? I was frozen.
After a short tussle, Vikri easily pushed her off, sending her running in another direction. The now patchy white venlil returned to my side, breathing heavily.
“She’s so full of energy,” he wheezed, ignoring my frozen expression of terror.
“You’re incredible,” I responded, trying to regain my composure. To shrug off an attack like that. Even if Marcel did something similar to me I fear how I’d react, and I knew him to be sapient and kind.
“Hardly,” he dismissed, “I’ve just had to learn.” He took a moment to catch his breath.
“Thank you for coming Slanek.” His sudden gratitude caught me off-guard. “It means a lot.”
“You’re the one helping me,” I reminded.
“Yes, but you reached out. To a broken venlil like me.” He looked at me and bared his teeth in an attempt at a human smile.
“You’re held in high regard, it’s how I heard about you.”
“By humans maybe,” he clarified. “Doubt most venlil will be understanding. Only the bravest.” He nudged me with his tail.
“Marcel seems to think I have predator disease, so I don’t think anything I do should give you much comfort,” I confessed.
“Do you think you have predator disease?” he asked, staring at me.
“No…I… uh…it’s complicated. I thought it. I was normal, I think.” He didn’t break his gaze. There was a pit in my stomach, Marcel’s recent criticisms stinging anew.
“I don’t know anymore. I want to believe I’m the same, normal venlil that left Venlil Prime, but I know that can’t be true. It hurts.”
Vikri stopped staring, focusing more on the dog as it played.
“I always thought it was something you were born with, a defect,” he paused. “Now I fear it’s more a contagion.”
“Exterminators were always concerned about predator corruption spreading,” I added, images from Tillfish flamethrowers worming their way into my head. “Hang with predators and you’re bound to catch something.”
“Do you think I have predator disease?” He asked. Despite the seriousness of tone, it almost made me smile. That was my diagnosis from the start. But maybe not the worst thing.
“It colours your fur. Too much human’s rubbed off on you.” This time I gave him a playful nudge. Despite my indication of joking, Vikri remained pensive, still just watching for the dog. Trying to catch his eye, I flicked an apology, “Sorry, I don’t think you’re sick…really.”
“No, no,” he responded, moving an eye back to me. “To be honest I want that. To acknowledge them changing me and all. Otherwise, what was the point?” His gaze drifted back to Lucky. “No, I am different now. He changed me and I can never go back. It’s all I have left of him now anyway.” The last part almost disappeared into a whisper. I sidled up to him in support, wrapping my tail around his. I felt sick at the sorrow he must be experiencing, for it was what I feared most.
“I’m sure he’s proud of what you’ve become.” I encouraged.
“Un” Vikri gave an affirmative flick.
“Raising a dog for star’s sake. He’d definitely think you are the best venlil.”
“And for the little it’s worth, I do too.” He didn’t respond directly to that one, but he did press in closer.
“I do miss my old life though,” he continued after some time, his voice recovering. “Though I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Prime. Not with her.”
I shrugged. “There are currently thousands of humans on Prime. We can only pray to the stars that predator disease is as contagious as we’ve experienced,” I chuckled softly.
“Wouldn’t that be something,” he mused.
I was hopeful. Humans had lived up to our greatest fears. They were manipulative, changing whatever they touched to their own ideal. And stars if they weren’t persistent. Once you were their prey, they would not stop until they had you. The evidence was here. Two venlil, standing on an alien world, happily watching an apex predator play before us. Changed forever by the nature of predators.
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