Bath and body works santa clarita
2020.02.29 16:25 Chloed12345678 underratedBandBW
The subreddit for underrated bath and body works products that the people have to know about!
2013.12.04 00:55 chalkandwalk Ask Los Angeles - your questions about Los Angeles!
Answering questions about the Los Angeles area.
2020.11.29 23:18 Informal_Bumblebee Bath & Body Works: No Buy
For anyone who is interested in not buying products from Bath and Body Works for any reason.
2023.05.28 15:47 bunkabinks I don't know how to talk about this, but today my journal just won't do.
I don't really know where to start either, so I guess I'll start by saying I am a survivor.
Through no one's fault that lived in the house I grew up in, our childhood was very difficult. It was chaotic, turbulent, and often we had no running water. Our Parents split up when I was very young and there were periods of time where my father was simply not in the picture and my mother was more often than not in her room, so my siblings and I mostly managed that time on our own. When my mother pulled herself together and managed to raise us mostly alone, she attended college and earned her degree, becoming a special education teacher. As you can imagine, raising 4 kids on a teacher's salary, one with with severe disabilities, was incredibly hard for her to do. While my father did pay child support, he didn't make anywhere near enough to really help and his contributions was hardly enough to buy food for a month. Although I'm incredibly proud of my mother for working so hard to earn her degree, it was simultaneously the best and worse thing that could have happened to us. We had been receiving help from our state for my special needs sibling, and with her new job, we lost all the aid we had been getting for him and insurance refused to cover anything we had for him before the change. Things went downhill the years that followed and without going too deep into the details, cps was involved as the situation was becoming too dangerous for us all and my sibling was taken as a ward of the state. My father at that point has cleaned himself up and had been much more involved in our lives, but very early into my teen years he had to move away from us to find more work, and my relationship with my mother had become sour due to our resentments toward each other, so by the time I'd met him, I was desperate for any amount of love or attention.
I met him in while in a dark period of my life, my high school sweetheart, my ex-husband, he was my rock. I felt like he was the only person that held any interest in me, that would talk to me and listen to what I had to say, and he always knew how to make me feel better. But things didn't seem right to me, he would often talk badly of my family, but I was so angry and hurt at the time, I'm sure I didn't paint them in the best light so I didn't think anything of it. He would want me to do things with him, even when I was uncomfortable or tried to refuse, but I'd always give in eventually because I was afraid to lose him. He'd make comments about my body and make me feel like I was unworthy because of my body hair and my shape and I thought I was ugly. He'd broken up with me at one point without any explanation and only tried to date me again after I'd started dating someone else. When we did get back together, I tried even harder to keep him, and that's when I should have known what was actually happening. His comments came up more, he was more aggressive about what he wanted, and while at that point he had never hit me, he made me sleep with him when I said I couldn't do that/didn't want to. But I stayed because I didn't think anyone else loved me and I didn't know that what he was doing was wrong. My parents and I never talked about that kind of thing and my parents were single for most of my life up up until that point, and I didn't have step parents until I was in my late teens, so I didn't know that my experience was not normal in a healthy relationship.
As we grew older and graduated from high school I discovered that he had tried dating a girl I was close with and she warned me what he said and did so I broke up with him and started college on my own, only to learn we had the same psychology class and he pulled me back in. I wasn't doing well in school and tensions between my mother and I had only gotten worse, so when his parents offered for me to move in with them, I jumped at the opportunity. The only rule being I had to go to school or at least be working, which I followed, but at that point he had quit school and was constantly either quitting jobs or just stopped going altogether, and started volunteering at a VFD, so I felt obligated to earn an income for us in order to stay so I quit school and stated working. I was never allowed to see our bank details, I was never given the login nor would he let me see the account so I never knew where the money was going, but I didn't complain because I had food, running water, clothes, and a roof over my head and that was enough for me. I know that it paid for the car insurance for his vehicle, and an awful lot of subway, but I don't know what else he spent the money on. Eventually I needed dental care, which my family and I had not been able to get much of, and he needed access to mental health services and my income was not enough to cover either of those so I married him and I joined the military as I felt I didn't have any other options. He was ecstatic, but my family took the news hard and it only caused more discourse.
After joining, things did not improve. I remember finishing up bootcamp and being so excited with how much money I would be earning, I thought we'd never have to worry about it again, and I was so happy to be able to provide for him in ways that I had not been able to before. I would be earning a free education, getting health care, and eventually maybe I could raise a family like I always wanted, but felt was out of reach for me. It was only after I graduated that I learned he spent everything. He only returned some items he had bought because one of my siblings found out and made him give some back. After the graduation he wanted to move to where I was training for my job, so he drove up with all our things and stayed in a hotel room close to base. As you can imagine, that was also very expensive. We eventually got housing, but we had almost nothing when we moved in. He got a job on base and would watch all the women as they did PT, would drink every night at home, and things only got more turbulent the longer we lived on our own. Eventually he quit his job and would drink all day and get upset with me when I'd come home from work because I was too tired to do much and I was struggling to keep up in training so I was studying late at the school house almost everyday.
Eventually our relationship broke down after I had made a horrifying discovery, something so terrible that I couldn't even look past it. At that point I had made up my mind that the marriage was over, I couldn't be with him anymore, and I left to stay with a friend for a few days. During this time I had made a terrible mistake and cheated on my ex-husband. Not because I wanted revenge, but because I wanted someone to care about me, even if it was for the wrong reasons, but it only solidified my decision. After building up the courage to go home and tell him everything, the cheating, that what he was doing was wrong, and that I couldn't take it anymore and that I wanted a divorce. I didn't even get a chance to tell him before he told me if I ever left him like that or ever tried to end the relationship he 'would be upstairs with a gun in his mouth'. He had never threated himself or others before this so I believed him and I ended up staying and keeping everything a secret out of fear of what he would do. I took apart the gun he bought with the money I had earned and hid them in different parts of the house to keep him from killing himself and I told him he needed to stop drinking, seek therapy, and either get a job or work on school/trade school, and I would seek therapy for myself. I asked for marriage counseling, but he refused and said he'd do therapy on his own. He only went to a few sessions before quitting. I went to receive services on base for my marital issues and as I started talking to a counselor, she made it very clear to me that what he was doing was abuse and she would not allow me to leave the building unless I filed some kind of report on him, and me not clearly understanding how reporting worked in the military entirely, panicked and filled a closed report on him so at least there was a paper trail. I never went back because I was in denial about the abuse and I did not think I was a victim, if anything I felt as guilty as him.
As my career progressed, things did settle down for awhile. I had finished up school and at that point we had moved to my first duty station, he was still drinking, but not as often and did start working again part time and I had started becoming more relaxed. I met the division I would be working with and I loved them all. They were the first real experience I had ever had with stability and it was something I needed. I became more of a workaholic, volunteering to stay later to accomplish more tasks as we were shorthanded and I wanted to be more helpful to the division. Things had been going well for the most part, but I was still deep in denial about things he was doing. He had taken out credit cards without telling me and even took one out in my name without me knowing, I only found out after they called me to apologize for the card being late and that it was on the way. I was so shocked I didn't correct her and he maxed out all the cards. I still had no access to the account, but at this point I could text the bank to get the balance, but still didn't know where the money was going. He started to be more aggressive about intimacy and demanding more and more of me, and there were times where I'd wake up to him touching me or he would just wake me up for sex so I wasn't able to sleep much and I was tired all the time. I didn't say anything or try to stop him anymore because I felt like I deserved it for what I had done, and it was easier to give him what he wanted than to try to fight him or make him stop. I was afraid of what would happen if I ever said no.
After this point in time, we finally had an idea of when I was to be deployed and things began to ramp up. I was away from home more often, but it was still several months away from deployment and with the holidays coming up, we decided to go big that year and make thanksgiving dinner. A few days after thanksgiving, I wasn't feeling well and was experiencing abdominal pain, but with my PCOS symptoms I just figured my cycle was coming and was hitting me harder than usual, but he recognized that something was wrong and made me go to the hospital and I had emergency surgery for my appendix. I remember him wanting to take a picture of my stomach because 'I would never look the same again', all I could think about before that was how scared I was of the surgery and how long it would take for me to go back to work, but after that it made me feel even more ugly as it was one of the only things he ever really said he liked about me and I felt vain for worrying about the scars. The surgery didn't go as planned, and instead of the small incisions I was told I would have, I woke up to a massive scar right down the center on my abdomen. My appendix had been too close to bursting and they had to make a larger opening to remove it, and all I could remember was the blinding pain as they wheeled me back to my room where I was left alone with him. I did not receive any pain medication for several hours after and it was the worst pain I'd ever experienced in my life. When they finally did give me something, it wasn't enough and I was put on Dilaudid to manage my pain. The second night of my week long stay, my husband was lying in bed with me and asked me for sex. I was in so much pain, all I could think about was how horrible I felt, and I said no to him for the first time in nearly two years. That I needed to get better first and I didn't think I could handle it with the pain I was in, but he kept touching me and begging, saying the Dilaudid would keep me from being in too much pain and I felt so scared that I said yes because every time before I had said no he took what he wanted anyway and I was afraid that he would hurt me. All I can remember doing was looking out the window and the night, watching the cars drive away on the the highway and the cars leaving the parking lot and as he pulled up my gown, and I pushed the button for more medicine, but it wasn't enough to stop the pain. I remember the visitors I had after, I remember my division getting me flowers and a get well soon card with so many kind words that I kept all this time and all I could do was push the button for more medicine, but it still hurt so much. I had to walk after and every day to keep clots from forming and to start recovering, but my pain never diminished and I was discharged from the hospital.
In the months that followed my pain changed and seemed like it was spreading, but it never stopped hurting, sometimes it wouldn't be so bad, but others were so bad I couldn't get out of bed. He was still asking for sex and other favors, but with less frequency as he seemed more frustrated that I couldn't preform. Every time I had to, I was in so much pain I could not function at home or at work and it affected me very deeply. We tried getting help for my pain and to try and figure out what was going on, but all the doctors I saw accused me of drug seeking behaviors and wouldn't offer me any help or send me to someone who could help me. It got so bad that I started begging them for help and begging them not to give me anything until we knew what was wrong, all the while deployment was fast approaching and I was afraid that I would either miss the deployment, or that I would go, but still not know what was wrong and drag my division down. I became very depressed and started drinking as we made more appointments. I remember the 3rd or 4th time they sent me to gyno for my issues I had become so frustrated and angry that I laid everything out with the doctor, every single little thing I could think of I told them (all with the exception of my ex husbands treatment) and she didn't ask me any questions, she didn't ask me about the details of my many symptoms at this point, or try to understand how I was feeling. She instead asked me how my relationship was with my father was. All the while he was sitting in the room with us, the real cause to all my pain in aguish, just casually listening in, waiting to complain how I wasn't having enough sex with him as he did in most of the appointments and I became enraged. I defended my father, and I put my uniform back on and said I'd like to speak with another doctor and asked her directly how to file a report, not against my ex, but her for saying something so horrible about my Dad, the only man in my life I loved more than any other in the world. After I left I called to make another appointment as I couldn't see anyone else that day.
When I was finally sent to pain management, deployment was two months away and I was terrified. I wanted to go so badly because it meant I could get away from him, I could finally leave him and he would never be able to reach me so long as I was on the ship and safe with my division, but nothing worked out the way I had hoped for. I was told it was Fibromyalgia. That this condition was life long and there was no cure, that I'd not only be removed from the ship, but that I'd have to leave the military all together. I was devastated, and the little patience he did give me while we tried to get a diagnosis quickly disappeared. I was put on several different medications to manage my symptoms, but he continued to make me have sex, even when we were told not to so I could have a chance to let my body recover, and things got worse the more I pushed back. The medication was meant to help me sleep because my pain could be better managed if I slept better, but he would wake me up at night and hurt me, and it never stopped. One night, when I was on Ambien, I had gone to bed and I remember falling asleep next to him, but I woke up to him on top of me, inside me, it hurt so much and I was in so much pain and it was so dark I didn't recognize him. I tired to fight him off me, but the medicine was so strong I couldn't stop him and he pinned my arms down. I couldn't stop crying and he finally stopped. I can't remember if he finished or not because I fell back asleep crying and flaring up. He continued this kind of behavior for the months that followed and although he never went that far again, he did continue to make me have sex and continued to hurt me in my sleep to the point of waking me up, claiming he loved me too much to stop. I didn't feel safe enough to take Ambein anymore and eventually stopped it all together, I didn't sleep for 4 days after that. All of this was happening as I was removed from the ship and placed on limited duty orders to await my medical board, placed in therapy, physical therapy, and many other appointments and medication changes to try to get my symptoms under control, but things became harder for me to manage and my drinking only got worse. When I finally escaped him, with the help of my now husband, I stopped all treatments and medications to manage my symptoms. To this day I cannot bring myself to be in a hospital, doctor's office, or take anything other than the things I took as a teen because I know how they work and that I can defend myself when I take them.
I can't bring myself to write anymore tonight, but there were so many things that happened that it's too much for me to write it all down and while I know he did many terrible things, I also was not innocent and I broke my vows. I will never defend myself for cheating, I know it was wrong and to this day I punish myself for it, but I do not regret finally learning that sex was not something you take from someone you love, that it was not something that is forced on you, it's not supposed to hurt you. Rape is not a consequence for cheating, you might destroy your marriage, you might end a relationship or somehow work it all out and stay together, but you do not deserve to go through that even when you make such a terrible mistake. If they can do so many awful things and you stay with them, forgive them, and still try to make it work, why give them so much grace and not give yourself even the smallest amount? You are a human being who is deserving of love and dignity, you do not deserve abuse. If anyone reads this please know that if you feel alone, if you're in this situation still, know that I love you and that when you are free, things will get so much better for you I promise. You are worthy of love and your deserve better.
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2023.05.28 15:46 Furtherawry Vandy social q
My S is thinking about transferring to Vandy and it would be the clear choice but he’s leaning towards another school based on Vandy’s alleged:
- Greek / nonGreek divide (he won’t be Greek).
- Party scene (work hard, play hard)(party scene doesn’t fit his personality or practices - introverted and doesn’t drink).
- Pretty people (he likes t-shirts and sweats).
- (Distant last but still noted as a fit issue). Varsity sports oriented / very interested student body (it’s possible he’s never watched a sporting event in which he wasn’t playing).
Vanderbilt is an academically amazing school including for his interests. But still social comfort and fit matter so I have to ask:
Are those things true about Vandy? Are people who aren’t into those things happy there?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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2023.05.28 15:46 Maicolred About science in physical change?
I’ve been looking everywhere in google about physical changes but i cannot find any articles or information on the science of subliminals that change our body or any gene part and how they work thank you!
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2023.05.28 15:41 Brave-Outcome6452 Anyone here in GIS?
Hi all, this community has been great! I really appreciate everyone’s advice and willingness to help.
Does anyone here work in GIS? I’m wanting to get your thoughts and advice on my situation.
I grew up on a farm and get a lot of fulfillment out of working with nature hands on in any capacity. I’d honestly say I prefer to use my body more than my brain. However, I now have 6-7 years experience in IT with 3ish of those in consulting. I am incredibly burned out on IT because it is unfulfilling, but I think GIS may be a good way for me to merge something I like with something I have experience in.
How would I break into GIS without studying it in college? I am actually hoping to transition into GIS using my current consulting experience, but that is because I’m thinking of doing an ecology or sustainability undergraduate to accompany my bba since I really, really do enjoy the outdoors.
Thoughts? Thank you all so much!!
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2023.05.28 15:38 Agile_Sea5781 Does this guy like me? Or is he just playing with my feelings?
In February (2023) when the new semester started, I started noticing this guy in my gym class. It was the very first day, and I couldn’t tell if he was looking at me because he was across the gym, and I was standing next to the teacher who was explaining how the class was going to work. I just had this feeling he wasn’t staring at the teacher. But I grew up being bullied by boys in school, so I didn’t think anything weird, I summed it up to him listening to the teacher.
But things started getting weirder. The second day of class, the class were doing the daily walk around the gym. And this guy turns around, and we make eye contact. Now, from just words, it doesn’t sound like much. It honestly sounds like nothing. But I had this feeling he was trying to take a peek at me, because of how fast we made eye contact.
I noticed he changed his route home. Instead of walking home, he would take the bus. He always went to the bus stop across from mine. It was weird how often I saw him compared to last semester. I almost never saw him, and our school is so small, if you wanted to hide from someone, you might as well stay home.
My first class is across from his, and sometimes, if he was too late to go in, he would wait at the end of the hall for the bell to ring, then walk by my class as I’m walking out. I knew that was weird because his second class is downstairs. Also, there was this short period of time where he would skip the whole day, but he always made sure to make it to gym class, even if he was 40 minutes late.
The things that happen in gym, are what I call “small moments” because I didn’t really tell these details when telling everyone about this situation, because I didn’t wanna come off as delusional. But when he played volleyball with his friend, he always are sure to get a clear view of me. If he didn’t have a clear view, he would make his friend switch places with him. There was this other time where the class was playing volleyball, we were on the same team, and he was standing in front of me, and he kept doing quick 360 turns every few minutes. I thought it was just a weird quirk at the time. Anyway, at some point, I give up playing and sit on the benches behind the players. The other team are filled with the classes best players, so the balls kept flying at me. This girl spikes a ball so hard, and I can see it flying towards me so fast, so I duck and hide my face. But this guy ends up saving my ass, risking making his friend fall back in the process. I think that’s when I started to feel things lol.
There was this other time where the class was playing lahockey (mixture of lacrosse n hockey) and I almost accidentally bump into this other dudes chest, and right after that, this guy finds a way to swerve past me, like so close I could smell his cologne. That confused me, because there was so much room, there was no need for him to be THAT close.
At some point, I started doing things to see if he might actually like me or if I was just seeing things. I changed my usual spot in gym, to see if he would change his spot so he could see me. He ended up switching spots, where he could see me. Then I started hanging around my brother more, and that’s where I saw some things.
My brother liked to visit me in gym, because the teacher is chill with visitors, and all the fun people were in my class. There were only a few people at school that knew we were siblings, and I’m 100% sure he wasn’t one of them. He didn’t seem like himself whenever he saw me and my brother hanging out.
This one time, my brother walked in while the kids were playing keep up with the volleyball, and I turned my head for like 5 seconds, and when I went back to watching them, the guy wasn’t there anymore. He was sitting away from my view, using his phone. I didn’t even know he had phone- he never brought his phone out, like ever. No even during lunch.
During that same class, my brother and I play with a basketball, and he was making all these trick shots and I was cheering him on. When it came time to put everything away, this guy takes a basketball, makes a cool ass shot, and leaves. I didn’t even know he played basketball, he always has a volleyball in his hands. That was the first time I saw him with a basketball, then after that, I would see him play with a basketball by himself, when he would usually play volleyball with his friend.
Before spring break, he stopped trying to pretend to seem like he wasn’t looking at me, and just straight up looked at me. Head turn, body turn, eye contact. It was no longer “hidden” glances.
He would purposefully try and be closer, whether it be him going to the areas I frequent, or him running beside me in gym. There was this one time, where he kind of just stood next me. No reason for him to be there, because his friend was already leaving. (These two are always together)
It was the last day before spring break, and he comes to gym. He stands beside where I was sitting for a few minutes, then leaves. Did he just show up to class for 5 minutes? Why bother showing up if you’re just going to skip? and on the LAST day? I thought that was weird. I would’ve left during break lol
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2023.05.28 15:38 Star-9277 What are my options for new career?
Hi all, I am a 30(m) looking for a fresh start of career. Problem is I never actually completed any program after high school. My strengths include simple math, generally good with my hands, love technology and cars. I had the idea recently to become a mechanic but I do not think it would be wise as I have read that being a mechanic is relatively tough on the body, which I kind of want to avoid. Any advice would be appreciated, all my current work experience is in warehousing which I see now has no future unless I pursue something to give me a little more education wise.
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2023.05.28 15:36 Turbulent-Egg-3824 I just realized why travel tends to affect my body image
My husband and I have been traveling every 3-6 months since the pandemic and traveled before that. Well I had started noticing a pattern where I really get hit with a ton of negative body feelings during travel. The negative "I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat, OMG I'm old, my skin is sagging, I look like crap" REALLY kicks up during travel.
I had chalked this up to the fact that when I travel, I'm off my normal eating, exercise, and skincare patterns and I tend to eat a lot more during travel. Well my husband and I were traveling last week and it hit me out of nowhere that there are a lot of mirrors in hotels. At the place we just stayed at, there were mirrors inside every elevator, a big mirror on each floor in front of the elevator doors, a giant mirror in front of the desk in our hotel room that I had to keep staring at as I worked (I worked out of the hotel room while my husband was at his conference) a big full length mirror on our closet door, and a big mirror in the bathroom.
That all adds up to a lot more mirrors than I encounter at home. Plus, I also noticed that a lot of these hotel mirrors are not the best quality and often located under harsh, unflattering light. So I'm getting a lot of glimpses of myself that look a bit distorted and get me constantly thinking "Is that really what I look like?"
Add that to being out of my normal environment and eating a lot more, and my self image really takes a huge plunge during travel. When we were traveling, I had stepped down the street for a wonderful beignet at this adorable French café and had such a lovely time. Then I got back to my hotel and started feeling guilty about the calories I had consumed, and that just ruined my good memories of the café.
But once we got back home and I wasn't seeing constant mirrors and got back into my routine, the negative body talk really died down. I didn't have that "I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat" commentary running in my head like I did on the trip.
I was wondering if anyone else has noticed similar body image issues during travel. Now that I'm more aware of it, I'm trying to figure out how I can counter it on our next trip. On this trip we just took, I was seriously thinking of covering up the mirror in our hotel room, and I made an effort to try to avoid looking at myself in the mirror as I walked into the elevator. It really was that bad!
Anyone else dealt with this before?
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2023.05.28 15:36 MelasD Amelia: The Level Zero Hero Chapter 132
The Clawed Hands got to work.
Giles could already see Kristen and her team doing their part and engaging with the convoy from the flank. Spells and arrows were being flung across the valley as voices shouted and screamed in the distance. But the soldiers from the Kingdom of Kal could barely put up a fight, even though they outnumbered their opponents.
Because Kristen was A-ranked, just like Giles. And the rest of her team were low B-ranks at most. Even if there were only a handful of them, they were more than enough to deal with the first wave of guards protecting the convoy.
Not that they needed to engage in combat for long. Because they were meant to be a distraction— to lure the main bulk of the soldiers from the convoy away from the armored wagon carrying Guildmaster Evan.
“We just have to watch out for Seth the Battlemage,” Giles said as he hopped off a rock, before sliding down the hill. “He’s an A-rank [Mage]. If you see him, just back off. I’ll handle him.”
Both Sylvie and Jaden followed right behind him. Sylvie seemed to glide on the earth as the ground shifted beneath her feet— a result of her spellcasting. Meanwhile, Jaden ran down as fast as he could… only to trip and tumble all the way down.
Giles paused to stare at the boy as he crashed at the bottom of the valley. Sylvie also came to a halt right next to the leader of the Clawed Hands.
“Are you alright, Jaden?” she called out.
And Jaden groaned as he picked himself up from a small crater on the ground. He dusted himself off as he shook his head.
“I’m fine—” he started.
Only to be interrupted as an arrow flew into the back of his head.
“Take this, you brigand!” a soldier shouted as he loosed another flurry of projectiles at Jaden.
But as the second and third arrow landed on Jaden, the soldier paused. His eyes went wide as one after another, the arrows shattered
Jaden stumbled back as he spun around with an annoyed look on his face. “That hurt you asshole!”
He picked up one of the broken arrowheads as the soldier turned to run. But before the soldier could get far, Jaden hurled the broken arrowhead with all his strength. And the broken arrowhead short forward so fast like it had been fired from a crossbow.
The soldier slumped over with a gaping hole in his chest as Giles and Sylvie came to a halt right next to Jaden.
The leader of the Clawed Hands smirked as he nodded at the boy. “Good work.”
That was why Jaden was called the Titanium Brute. Thanks to his Skills, it was like his skin was made of metal. He could tank most attacks by lower-leveled individuals unscathed. Even if he did feel a little
bit of pain from them.
“Remember, our target is that armored wagon,” Giles said as he nodded up ahead past a group of running guards.
The convoy was in a panic. And the soldiers escorting it were thrown into disarray. Most of them were distracted by Kristen and her team as they took out guard after guard. Only a handful of them even noticed the trio of mercenaries standing at the other side of the convoy.
A group of soldiers paused as a [Mage] raised a wand and pointed at Giles. They let out a war cry, before charging forward as the [Mage] supported them with a volley of spells. Giles took a step forward as he nodded at Sylvie.
“Do your thing,” he said.
“Right— [Mass Sleep]!” She pointed at the charging soldiers.
She was a [Sorceress]. That meant she was capable of casting rather unusual spells that weren’t typically suited for dueling. But right now, her magic sufficed in distracting the soldiers. That was why she was known as the Diverting Dandelion.
Their movements slowed. They grew sluggish, before collapsing on the ground, completely unconscious. But the [Mage] was still awake. He screamed as he hurled a fireball straight at Giles.
The explosion rocked the ground as Sylvie and Jaden winced. However, Giles was no longer standing there. He appeared right next to the [Mage] with a grin plastered on his face. The [Mage] blinked, before spinning around.
And Giles just shook his head. “Don’t even try— you’ve already lost.”
With that, the [Mage] crumpled silently to the ground as blood spurted out of his chest. Giles twirled his dagger in hand as he looked back up to the armored wagon just up ahead. The convoy was starting to take notice of him. Dozens of soldiers moved to intercept him as he started to sprint forward.
“Sylvie, Jaden!” he called out to his companions. “Distract them!”
“Yes, boss!” they replied in unison as they hurriedly trailed after him.
Despite being a pair of young troublemakers who were normally a pain in the ass to deal with, they were very competent in the battlefield. Sylvie slammed a fist onto the ground, causing a localized tremor that shook the landscape. The group of soldiers stumbled and staggered, only for Jaden to ram into them a moment after.
He tore their numbers apart as Giles leapt into the sky. The leader of the Clawed Hands nodded approvingly at the two of them, taking a moment to survey the battlefield. Everything was going according to plan. Now it was up to him to complete the mission.
The [Daggermaster] tossed his dagger down onto the ground right next to the armored wagon. There was a flash of light. Just like when he had recalled the weapon into his hands. But this time, it wasn’t his dagger that was teleporting. It was him.
Giles appeared right next to his dagger as he shook his head. It was an enchantment on the dagger that allowed him to teleport to it, or to teleport it back to him. It was a powerful artifact. And it had earned him the Title of the Flying Blade.
He raised his head to look at the enchantments protecting the armored wagon. It was not going to be easy to break through. Not with his Skills at the very least. But that was why he came prepared.
He produced a scroll from his side as he nodded. He unfurled it, watching as the runes etched on its surface shone. Giles pointed it at the wagon.
“Dispel M—” he started.
And his eyes flickered as he saw a glint coming from the side. Giles leapt back just in time to avoid a blast of frost. He spun around to face a figure clad in ice. His eyes narrowed as he watched the figure step forward.
“Seth the Battlemage,” Giles said as he twirled his dagger. “So you’ve finally decided to join the fray.”
Seth shook his head, raising his staff as it was wreathed in ice. A broadsword of frost was formed at the very tip— about the size of the Battlemage himself. He slowly drew forward, dragging the weapon behind him.
“Oh? It seems you’ve done your research on who I am…” He tilted his head, peering curiously at Giles. “You’re no ordinary brigand, are you?”
The [Daggermaster] just licked his lips in response. “Perhaps— but it does not matter. Because you die here.”
And with that, Giles lashed out with his dagger. He was fast.
He reached the Battlemage in an instant, slicing down with a flash of light. It was a Skill— a piercing attack that could have torn apart even titanium.
But the ice armor Seth wore took the brunt of the attack. He stumbled back, grunting as his ice armor collapsed around him. He hefted the frost broadsword and swung it down at the [Daggermaster].
But Giles deftly deflected the attack as he stepped forward. He thrusted out with a flurry of strikes, and the Battlemage raised the broadsword of frost.
The broadsword of frost began to break apart as the attacks whittled it down. Seth was A-ranked, just like the [Daggermaster]. However, the fact was that he was barely into A-rank, and those few levels separating them made a massive difference.
Giles laughed as he swung out once more. This time, he gripped his dagger with both his hands, and he felt a surge of strength flow through him. He slammed the blade against the frost broadsword— and the ice shattered.
Seth staggered forward as his weapon was destroyed. Giles just kicked the Battlemage back against the armored wagon, before striding forward.
“Come on, is that all you’ve got?” the [Daggermaster] asked. “Did you really think you could beat me with that pathetic display?”
The Battlemage chuckled as he looked weakly back up to Giles. “No— but that was enough to distract you.”
And that made the leader of the Clawed Hands pause. “Distract me…?”
Right as the words left his mouth, a powerful explosion rocked the valley. Giles was thrown back from the shockwave, seeing a pillar of smoke rise into the sky. He steadied himself as his brows snapped together.
“What is that?” he asked as he looked up in horror.
“Did you really think we didn’t expect the Adventurer’s Guild to strike back?” Seth asked, getting to his feet.
The dust and smoke began to clear as Giles swept his gaze over his surroundings. He looked on with narrowed eyes, seeing a massive crater just up ahead. Kristen and her team were lying bloodied at the very edge of the blast zone.
“We expected adventurers— but mercenaries like you?” the Battlemage said as he shook his head. “It makes no difference.”
Giles blinked, before hearing a voice cry out in pain behind him. He spun around, watching as both Jaden flew through the air and crashed right at the [Daggermaster]’s feet.
“Jaden!” Giles called out as he rushed to the boy’s side. “What happened?”
“Sorry, boss,” another voice came in reply. Giles glanced back to see Sylvie stumbling forward, clutching her bleeding shoulder. “But I couldn’t distract her…”
“Distract who?” the [Daggermaster] asked as he took a step forward.
But Sylvie collapsed. Giles blinked. He cast his gaze over the battlefield as the realization settled in. The Clawed Hands were defeated with ease— quickly and swiftly, before he could even notice it.
He took a step back as he gritted his teeth. “We’re the Clawed Hands… we’re elites! We’re specialists at our jobs! How…?”
“Well, maybe you aren’t as good at your job as you think you are,” a burly figure said as he walked past Jaden’s fallen body.
“You’re…?” Giles stared with wide eyes. “Rokh the Bludgeoning Striker?”
The [Daggermaster] recognized the burly man in an instant. He was the one who had been placed in charge of the fortress back in Windrip. An A-rank captain who was renowned for his physical prowess.
Giles shook his head as he exclaimed. “That… makes no sense! You shouldn’t be here!”
“Oh? And what made you think I would stay in that backwater city?” Rokh said with a smug look on his face. “I left my lieutenant in charge of that shit place. I’m never returning back there ever again.”
“That’s ridiculous!” Giles snarled. “You’re abandoning Windrip just to transport a single man out of the city?”
Rokh shook his head. “That man
is the reason why we’re here in the first place. Unfortunately, our King had other matters to attend to, so he took his leave. The only reason we took so long to follow after him is because we were waiting for her
Giles narrowed his eyes. “Her? Who is—”
And there was a flash of light. He leapt back as he dodged a black beam that cut the ground open. He frowned, looking up at a black-haired girl as she descended from the sky.
The leader of the Clawed Hands paused as he saw who it was. His eyes widened, and his legs shook. He took a step back as he said her name.
“Eloise the Dark Wizard,” he whispered. “S-rank mercenary— what are you doing here?”
She just smiled at him in response. “I have been hired by the [Hero King] himself to ensure that his cargo is safely transported back to his nation. It is a pleasure to meet you, Giles the Flying Blade.”
“That’s…” Giles hadn’t even known that she had been in the city. If he had known that she’d be involved, he wouldn’t have taken this job. He pursed his lips as she glanced dismissively at Jaden and Sylvie.
“I have heard so much about the Clawed Hands— I was excited to see you in action. But…” She shook her head as she covered her mouth. “I must say, you have been nothing but a disappointment.”
Giles ground his teeth together. “Why would the [Hero King] hire an S-rank mercenary to transport a damn guildmaster? Just what is going on?”
“I do not know why my clients hire me,” Eloise said simply as she took a step forward. “I simply complete my task. I am sure you understand that as much as me. That is why—”
She raised a hand, pointing straight at him as his eyes went round. Her fingers cracked with a black electricity as she spoke simply.
“As much as I would love to continue this conversation, I have to annihilate you.”
“No—” Giles protested.
But a blast of dark lightning shot forward as he opened his mouth. He couldn’t even react in time. He winced, raising his dagger protectively. He knew it wouldn’t save him. He knew he didn’t stand a chance against her.
He closed his eyes, waiting for the searing pain. Giles knew that he was as good as dead. He accepted this outcome. He wanted to get over it as quickly as possible. But… death never came.
Giles blinked as he heard the thundering crackle of the dark lightning come and go. He saw the flash of light flicker and dissipate. He looked down at himself, seeing that he was still in one piece.
And he sighed in relief. “I’m… alive? But how—”
He looked back up to see a figure standing before him. A brown-haired woman dressed in strange clothes. His eyes narrowed as he saw an impossibly torn and tattered cloak blowing with the wind behind her. She held a rusty sword in the air, and Giles couldn’t help but stare at her in awe.
Because she deflected the attack with ease. Even Eloise looked on with a surprised look on her face as the brown-haired woman just lowered her blade. Seth frowned, and Captain Rokh peered at her suspiciously.
“Who are you?” Giles asked with wide eyes.
“I’m Amelia,” the brown-haired woman said simply. “And I’m here to save Evan.”
Author's Notes: Just so you know, book 2 is over on patreon and you can read the start of book 3 if you subscribe now :) You can read up to 15 chapters ahead on my patreon here! Join my discord and subscribe to my subreddit! Or follow me on twitter! Previous
Next Read Ahead on my Patreon
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2023.05.28 15:35 PartyQuietboy My parents ruined my life and now it's too late.
Mentions of: addiction, mental illness, self harm.
I had a rough childhood in almost every aspect, growing up was hard.. right from the start I was having trouble excelling in school. I flunked my first year of kindergarten, and then I had to repeat the 8th grade. It was a miracle every time that I somehow made it through. I paid attention and studied hard, but there was just something that wasn't right and I didn't understand. My parents boiled it down to me not paying attention and I would just cry because I knew that wasn't the case.. trying to talk back and have an actual conversation with my parents was impossible though.. I'd get a smack to the face from my mother, and don't let it be my father I was talking back to! He'd beat me until another tear wasn't able to fall.. my father was an alcoholic and always kept the cupboards packed with booze, when I was 14 I snuck some for myself to just see what was so good about it, and I thought it'd be a fun experience.. I was already dealing with tons of anxiety and self loathing at this age, I felt like a fucking failure and after that first night of trying alcohol- I found my cope. I started getting drunk alone in my room when my parents would go to bed at least 4-5 nights out of the week.. I was scared of being caught , but I thought that my father was getting too drunk every night to realize whether or not he drank the alcohol that was missing, I was right.
prioritizing drinking over my school work caused my grades to flunk further, by the time I made it into the 10th grade I was 18, still struggling and holding on by a thread. Literally all I could think about was getting home and drinking my problems away. I dropped out of school because it was getting increasingly harder, making friends was easy for me as a kid, but when I entered my teenage years, it's like my personality left and I felt/still feel like a walking mental illness.. I didn't know how to be happy or have fun anymore, my only idea of fun was drinking, which I did alone. After dropping out, I stayed at home most days, jacking off during the day to pass time, I was always ready for it to be night time.. I knew I was addicted, but I didn't care. Dropping out of school was the biggest mistake ever, for the next year and half that's literally all I did, drink and masturbate. My dad was still very emotionally abusive, but he didn't physically abuse me anymore.. I think because I reached his height and level of strength at that point. They harassed me about getting a job everyday and told me I needed therapy, and that they'd pay for it. I refused and all of this just led to more resentment, how are you going to offer help for what caused? I struggled with symptoms of OCD growing up, it was basically just the kind that my mind would get set on a situation and I'd end up overthinking it.. these thoughts came from a place of concern, but then I started to suffer from very very frightening intrusive thoughts- everyday my mind was plagued with the thought of killing my parents, especially my dad. The fact that my father had guns locked up in the house made these thoughts even scarier for me. I thought at one point I was going to actually end up doing it- it felt like my real self was watered down and that some kind of evil lived in me and I felt like I was barely in control of my own body. I used to stare at the guns/knives in the kitchen and just try to actually think about what it would be like.. by doing this, I thought it would scare me out of having these thoughts, but they only grew stronger.. because of this, I started to abuse alcohol even more, sleeping more hrs of the day and would go for walks randomly to put myself at a distance to protect my parents from my own self.. my family has never been been the religious kind, but I would just pray at night and ask God to take these thoughts away or at least let me die in my sleep. Suicidal thoughts never stayed with me long, I wanted to die, but I was too weak to do it myself. Every cope that I had worked somewhat, but I needed something more, I started to cut myself on my arms/thighs/and chest and it made living a bit easier. The thoughts still continued to grow and I had no options, I was either going to end up commiting a crime so evil, or accept help from my parents.. so I did.
I started to attend one therapy session a week until my therapist suggested I started seeing him twice a week.. I told him about my sick obsessive thoughts, how I've been drinking since I was 14, the self harming, and how I struggled in school.. that topic kinda stayed on the back burner for like 3 months because I was dealing with much scarier stuff at the time. I ended up getting an official diagnosis for depression, OCD and ADHD.. which probably explains a lot for why I struggled in school so much. I was prescribed Zoloft but due to his knowing of my struggles with alcohol, I wasn't able to get a narcotic for my ADHD. my OCD started to simmer down some l, but the thought still stayed in the back of my head always and was overwhelming. I was able to get a job in a factory, working in an environment like this was terrible.. I tried to avoid talking to others because I never wanted there to be a potential conflict, I was scared that if that happened I would end up being plagued with the thoughts of hurting others, it happened from time to time.. but those thoughts wore off, my thought of hurting my parents is still with me to this day. I continued to work up until I could get my own place, it was a crappy apartment, but at least being there kept me in distance from my parents, the only time I went over to visit was when I wanted to steal some alcohol.. which was often.
I had gotten a hold on the self harming, well besides drinking.. I was almost 20 at this point and then me and my therapist started to speak more about how about how I struggled in school.. how it was the spark for me falling into addiction. I then was diagnosed with dyscalculia and dysgraphia.. everything started to make sense now, I finally knew why I struggled so badly in school and now it was too late.. I never received any help, you'd think that someone in the school system would have suggested help- but no.. it was just brushed off as laziness. And the only response I got from bad grades, is a beating. After that diagnosis I started to self harm again, I was cutting almost everyday. This made my resentment grow for my parents, to the point of hatred for the both of them, especially my father.. my mother was abusive too, and I was definitely neglected as a child, but I blame my father even more.. this led me back to having the same thoughts and they were stronger than ever. I stopped going over there and eventually was able to buy alcohol from a gas station that didn't bother to ID.. I had so much built up anger and I had to take it out on someone or something.. every time I would get drunk, I'd end up punching more and more holes in my wall.. I'm afraid to move because I know I'd be sued out the ass. It's now been another year, im 21 and haven't spoken to my parents in like 7 months for the sake of their own safety.. I can't make friends, have a girlfriend, or even have a pet because I'm insanely afraid of what I could do in moments of rage.. besides the meds, I stopped going to therapy because I wasn't really getting anywhere. I feel like a lost cause and I really don't know what to do. What's there to work with? I have no intelligence, I'm severally mentally ill, realistically, I'll probably stay working a dead end job until I die alone of liver failure or something. I know this post was long, so if you read all of this, thank you.
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2023.05.28 15:30 No-Scene-9680 horrible back/neck pain
Female 19 5'7 Medications: Birth Control (Loryna) on tuesday i woke up to a horrible like, almost shoulder blade pain that goes up into my neck, and makes it hard for me to look down and to the side. i thought maybe i slept wrong and could sleep it off after i worked an 8 hour shift. it hurt the whole time but faded as i worked because i wasn't paying attention to it. i went to bed that night hoping it would go away, and it didn't. woke up again to the same pains. and this has been going on for 5 days now. i still can't look to the side without it hurting, i can barely look down without it hurting and everytime i move my head, it hurts. im not sure how else to describe the pain, i can draw it on like a body if someone would like. if anyone could help, that would be greatly appreciated. thank you
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2023.05.28 15:27 voluntarilyweedriver ANYTHING in Stress Relief scent gets my money.
2023.05.28 15:26 parsifal The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders — possibly related to The Zodiac?
The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders were a series of unsolved crimes that occurred in Sonoma County, California, between 1972 and 1973. This chilling case involved a series of young women who went missing while hitchhiking and were later found murdered. The killer targeted vulnerable victims, leaving a community in fear and law enforcement agencies grappling to solve the perplexing case. The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders remain unsolved to this day, leaving unanswered questions and haunting the memories of those affected by these tragic crimes.
It’s hard to find a lot of public, verified details about these crimes, but they seem pretty unknown, so I figured any awareness is a benefit. Victims of the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders
Summary of the Killer (to this point)
- Yvonne Weber (20 years old): Yvonne was last seen hitchhiking in August 1972. Her body was discovered in a remote area near Santa Rosa. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
- Maureen Sterling (16 years old): Maureen disappeared in November 1972 while hitchhiking. Her body was found in a rural location. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
- Lori Kursa (22 years old): Lori was last seen hitchhiking in November 1972. Her body was discovered in a remote area. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
- Kim Wendy Allen (19 years old): Kim went missing in December 1972 while hitchhiking. Her body was later found in a rural location. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
- Janelle Cruz (19 years old): Janelle disappeared in May 1973. Her body was found in her home in Santa Ana, not far from Santa Rosa. The specific details of the crime include signs of sexual assault and murder by bludgeoning.
- Teresa Walsh (23 years old): Teresa went missing in February 1973 while hitchhiking. Her body was discovered in a rural area. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
- Carol Lee Booth (23 years old): Carol disappeared in March 1973 while hitchhiking. Her body was later found in a rural location. The specific details of the crime are not widely available.
The Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders case remains unsolved, and the identity of the killer is unknown. The killer targeted young women who were last seen hitchhiking. The crimes involved elements of sexual assault, and the victims' bodies were often found in remote rural areas near Santa Rosa. The killer has not been apprehended, and the case remains an open investigation. Possible links to The Zodiac Disclaimer
: (While there have been speculations about a potential connection between the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders and the Zodiac Killer, it is important to note that there is no concrete evidence linking the two cases or indicating that the same individual was responsible for both. The notion of the Santa Rosa killer also being the Zodiac is purely speculative at this point.)
However, some proponents of the theory point to a few similarities between the cases: - Both cases involved serial killers operating in Northern California during a similar time frame, targeting young individuals, and exhibiting certain patterns of behavior. - Additionally, there are rumors of cryptic letters and messages sent to the media in this case, similar to the case of “The Zodiac” - Also, remember that in one of the letters associated with the case of “The Zodiac,” it was written: "I shall no longer announce to anyone. when I comitt my murders, they shall look like routine robberies, killings of anger, + a few fake accidents, etc." Note
: (As always, remember that the victims were real people who likely have living family. This community is great about respect for victims so my note here is hopefully just a tedious reminder.) References and more information
You can read more about these crimes here: - https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/sheriffs-officials-check-for-link-between-recent-cold-case-and-infamous-sa/
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2023.05.28 15:23 Shapeshifterzzz I’m wondering If this is another signal of that she is interested in Me or what this sign mean
Ok, so i know girl that is laughing at all my jokes, asking Me a lot of personal questions, about plans, future etc. We Have similar hobbies to which she references , our own jokes. She even asks Me about things that i had shared on insta story Like week ago. Often references to things that i said and takes it as my advice. She always listens.
So i checked her body language and: - we Have really strong eye contact - she moves her leg and chair towards my way and often comes closer - she never pulls back when i come closer - she has her Chin on hand while we Have serious conversations (not in boring way) - She plays with her hair and looks at my direction while i talk with somebody -she caress her leg
I noticed one gesture, last time when we were talking, she was shaking 0,5 l bottle of water - Like constantly. In one hand then second hand and cirlcle begins, she has not bee nervous, she was asking Me some questions and actively listening
Is it sexual body language? I couldnt find information about this gesture and tbh never seen this gesture before in my life heh. The same day when , she was doing something on her computer at work, i came to check this. She was sitting on her chair and i stood behing. She lifted her face up , looked at my eyes and smiled till i came back to my desk
Do u think that im interpret this signals good and may it mean she is crushed on Me?
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2023.05.28 15:22 donutskipthegym Depression, binge eating and body dysmorphia are killing me
As the tittle says, I’m living the absolute worst of my life. I’ve been living with binge eating and suffering from body dysmorphia for 2 years now, it’s an endless circle that keeps repeating and I can’t get out of it. I’d kill myself in the gym for hours everyday and eat strictly healthy during weekdays. Then I’d completely collapse on the weekends and go all-in. Though people always say I look good and fit cause I have some muscles but I never feel happy in body (cause I gained weight due to binge eating and my big thighs). That’s why I burn myself in the gym everyday and hours to pay off all the sheets I eat. Otherwise I’d be obese for long.
Today I had a worst binge in my entire suffering, I was completely out of my mind and I don’t even know why I did it to myself. I went out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I had donuts, 3 large bags of fries from different places, crisps, desserts, etc must be up to 5000cals at this point (it’s 11pm now where I live) and I’m feeling absolutely freaking sick cause I’ve taken probiotics….. I want to vomit but I can’t… my stomach hurts my head hurts I’m devastated and breaking down so bad now.
Also I clearly know why I binge. Depression and anxiety. I can’t get into nursing school and lying to my family. I’m taking another alternative course that I hate. And my love life sucks. I’ve never felt happy for so long I don’t even remember how it feels anymore. Nothing in my life is working right now. What am I gonna do tomorrow I don’t even know. I hate myself and my life.
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2023.05.28 15:21 DoctorSuperZero Safe - Future 5 - Super Vision Eye Drops & The Lonely Dead
Xan is the world's most dangerous criminal mastermind. He’s also in hiding and completely broke. That’s fine. He’s between master plans. It’s normal to be at rock bottom between master plans. He also forgets stuff and may be trapped in a dream. First Next Dark City - Stolen Apartment
Because at night, Xan thinks he’s an old lady, trapped in a dingy apartment, by an angry fellow who wants to kill her. Not her idea of a good time, but she’s keeping an open mind. It is excitingly visceral. Could turn out awesome.
Safe is a sci-fi, progression, comedy. Guaranteed to cause more mental problems than it solves.
I wake up. Feel awful. Soo stiff. Struggle to my feet. Weak as fuck, heart hammering. Jesus Christ, what an ordeal. Still in the dingy stolen apartment, almost identical to my own. Right down to the psycho yelling about murder in the hallway.
“Is this supposed to be fun? I’m worried about whoever designed this game.” Hi Xan!
chirps Volt. This isn’t a game. You’re in real danger.
“Crap, again? Well, at least this time I have a gun. Or… shit. I dreamed that. Dang it.” Yeah, we maybe should have hid somewhere farther away. Feeling up to a run?
“Gaah. No.” I flick a cyber-roach of Volt. Pick her up. “Am I going deaf, or is that psycho quieter?” He’s a floor down. Been haunting the building for hours, bashing at random doors.
“Really? That could be good. Maybe he’s not after us specifically? Just a wandering monster.” I pause. “Wait, he’s been here for hours? Why didn’t you wake me?” He’s been mostly crashing into other doors. I thought you needed rest. I was afraid you’d die without it.
All I’ve done is stand up, and my heart is hammering. “Fair enough. What’s the plan now?” Let’s fucking go.
I splash water on my face. Get equipped. Nighty, sneakers, fall jacket, ancient smartphone, and moderately sharp spoon. Look out world, here comes Xan.
We shuffle into the hall. Our door’s been stabbed a few times. So have the other doors. Dang.
Psycho’s a floor down. Stairs or elevator? Stairs are stealthier, but in my condition, a slip and fall is probably more dangerous than getting stabbed. Fuck it. I call an elevator. Press a few random buttons, including the floor below. Let it go on its own. Call another elevator. Ride this one down, ready to spoon shank anyone who gets in.
We arrive in the lobby without incident. Did the psycho get in the first elevator? Did he miss both? Whatever. The first elevator continues its slow trip down. I’m not waiting to see if he’s on it. We ghost out to the street. Still dark as fuck. What’s the plan?
I glance at the drones streaming overhead. “We need to get you a better body. Something that can fight. If we can’t find that, we should at least get a gun. Or a sharper spoon. Some kind of weaponry upgrade.” We also need a doctor. ‘Cause you’re gonna die. A doctor, or drugs, or something.
“Yes, let’s do drugs.” Like, good, healthy drugs.
“Bitchin’. I’m in. Where do we find that stuff?” No idea.
says Volt. I deleted my map application.
Right. Fuck it. This street only goes in two directions. I hobble down one of them. There’s bound to be a late night gun store health clinic close by. Or at least a better place to hide.
As we shuffle along, I peruse the angry, crowded, lightly phosphorescent, graffiti that coats the city. The big lines mostly repeat the same four messages: - DONT CALL THE COPS!! - DONT RUN THE DOGS WILL SHOOT!! - FUCK YOU TRUSTIE!! - DIE RIDER!!!
Or some variation on those themes.
The smallest graffitis are also the most common: - GO BACK TO SLEEP. - THEY WANT YOU TO SLEEP.
Those wee slogans are everywhere. Someone went mental with glowy little stamps.
Around and amongst these staple comments there’s a huge argument about, well, everything. An epic word cloud of call-outs, outrage, and angry off-topic retorts. It’s a mobius loop of bitter rage on par with the comment section of a major movie reboot.
It may be wrong to call it an argument, because that implies some kind coherent interaction. Like they read and understood their opponent's comment. This is more a series of disjointed attacks triggered by what wasn’t said. Rage at details filled in by imagination. It’s hard to read. Emotionally, but also the writing is very sloppy. I may need bifocals. Can I even get a drone body?
asks Volt. I’ve only ever been in a phone.
“Sure.” I wave at the sky above us. “There’s tons of drones here. Somebody’s flying them.” Right. Right. Are you sure those aren’t birds? Point to all the birds you see.
I peer around, eventually spot a small crow. Point at it. “There’s one.”
The young bird peers back at me. “Clope?”
“Umm…” I pat my pockets. Shrug. ”Désolé.”
“Bah.” It flies away.
We watch it go. “Anyway, that’s a bird. Probably. Did that help?” Eh, kinda.
says Volt. I may need more help with the bird versus drone thing.
“No problem. That’s what I do.”
We make it to the corner, and what luck - there’s a corner store! Hopefully they sell military grade armaments. I remember that’s common in some states. The store is dark, like every other building, but the door opens when I approach, so we go in.
“Hello.” says a chunky plastic d-bot. Human-ish torso, happy face, castors instead of feet. Slow, weak, definitely an indoor model. “How can I help you?”
“Medicine!” chirps my ancient cellphone, before I can respond.
“Take a look in Aisle Two.” says Clerk-Bot. “Anything else?”
Volt is vibrating, so I shrug and shuffle down Aisle Two. I’m sure I can find the attack drones on my own. There’s only two aisles.
Using Volt’s screen for a little light, we find a rack of pills, potions, and lotions.
“What am I looking for?” I dunno. The ants said your most immediate dangers were cancer, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and falls from general frailty. Start with pills that fix that stuff.
“Jesus, I have five diseases?” Hmm… you have a few more than that. Let’s just worry about those five for now. I don’t want to add depression to the list.
“I’m just gonna look for a pill that fixes everything.” That’s probably best.
I rifle through the medications, but I can’t make much sense of them. They have exciting names - Super Strong. No Bleed. Skeleflex. Immortalis. No Thought. Marrow. Immune A, B or C. Regen A and B. - but I don’t really know what they do. Between Volt’s crappy old light, and my crappy old eyes, I can’t read the finer print.
That said, Super Strong sounds like the stuff. It would solve a few of my problems. I just wish I could read the directions. How strong do I get? How long till it works? I need to be strong tonight, not eight months from now.
I find a box labeled Nightsight. Promising. Inside is an eyedropper. Well, this seems obvious. I spray most of it on my face like a dumbass, but manage to get a few drops in each eye. Within seconds everything around me blossoms into color, then sharpens to crystal clarity.
“Oh yea! Update my status sheet, I got darkvision.” Cool. What’s your range?
I look around. “Well, the whole store, at least.”
The store has racks of pyjamas and slippers. Lots of big colorful bags of “CRUNCH
” that boast an assortment of flavors from chocolate to jalapeno. Booze, pot, and soap. Displays of cell phones that look older than me. A selection of quadcopter drones. Couriers mostly. Maybe some eyes. No battle drones. Not even a hunter. Disappointing.
I look back to the medications. The directions for Super Strong are short and to the point.
- Improper use will cause DEATH.
“Huh.” I don’t like that ‘huh’.
says Volt. Why did you ‘huh’?
I check a few of the other impressive sounding drugs.
- Improper use will cause DEATH.
- Improper use will cause DEATH.
- Improper use will cause DEATH.
“Well, apparently these drugs are a teensy bit dangerous.” How dangerous?
“Improper use will cause death.” Put them down. Let’s find a doctor.
“I want to use Super Strong to beat the shit out of a murderer. Surely that’s the proper use?” Nope. Put it down. Let’s go.
“Let’s at least ask the clerk-bot.” I grab an armload of the coolest sounding drugs. Trundle to the cash. Snag a quadcopter on the way by. It’s about the size of a football, and claims to be a holodrone. Cool. I pick up a bag of potato bacon crunch as well. Boasts zero nutritional value. Perfect.
“Hi.” I dump my load on the cash. “We’ll take this.”
“Also, how dangerous is Super Strong?” asks Volt.
“Super dangerous. That shit will kill you. Also, it has a tendency to float out of the store.” Clerk-bot rings up our purchase. “That will be 16.2 kilo-bucks. How would you like to pay?”
“I don’t know. Dang. How do I transfer my crypto from the other world?” You don’t, because the other world isn’t real.
“Right. Shit. How do people usually pay?”
“The only way to pay is by charging the purchase to your citizen ID.” says Clerk-bot.
“Then why did you ask how we’d like to pay?”
“I’ve been asked that question a lot, but I don’t know the answer.” Clerk-bot admits. “I haven’t been updated since ‘84. Could you please update me?”
I casually glance around the store. There’s a barred gate hanging over the door. An anti shoplifting portcullis. The windows are also subtly barred. I’m guessing I won’t be able to dash out with these products. I turn back to the confused d-bot. “Sure, let’s try an update. See what’s under the hood.”
We pull up Clerk-bot’s bad call log - a list of decisions made with low confidence. Or that preceded known bad outcomes. Like missing products. Or distress cues from nearby humans.
Wow, that’s a long list.
D-bots work best with human supervision. A self-driving car may obey every stop sign, until one is held by a crossing guard. They drive that guy over. Why? It’s impossible to say. The d-bot’s code is a self generated equation with billions of variables. There’s no way to know which variables correlate with stop signs, or how to change them so they won’t charge a crossing guard. Or ram any weird thing left out of their training data. Fuck you unicycle guy. Die marching band. Seriously, It’s best to have a human on the brake.
That said, sometimes you don’t want a human in the loop. They can be too slow. An automatic sentry has to target clouds of high speed hunter drones. Everybody would be dead before a human cleared the shots. But you also don’t want the sentry glitching and shooting your own aircraft. There’s a low tolerance for automated friendly fire.
So you build an expert system - a much smaller, human written code that overrides specific glitches. For a sentry, this could be as simple as giving transponders to friendly aircraft and not allowing shots near a transponder for any reason. Obviously, this is a bad solution - it’s standard practice to use opposition forces as cover in hunter drone attacks - but that doesn't matter because sentries are for casuals. If they find you sleeping, you’re already dead.
I yawn. Frown. Gotta stop dicking around with this bot and find a better place to sleep.
Anyway, expert systems are also handy with glitchy d-bots you’re too poor to retrain. Hence my continual conversation with Volt.
If the Clerk-bot had a couple repetitious problems, I could probably sort it out. But this bad call log is byzantine. A prayer wheel to some chthonic god of anxious delirium. It’s messy. This guy really hasn’t been updated since ‘84. Whenever that was.
“You should be erased and retrained.”
“Great.” Clerk-bot nods. “I’m ready.”
“Yeah, I don’t have training data for a store clerk.” I also don’t have time for this. “I guess we have your call log. That could be training data. Messy and raw, but data. I can patch Volt in to do some unsupervised learning. He’ll make you an expert system. Not ideal, but the best I can do.”
“I’ll take it.” says Clerk-bot. Shit. That’s a terrible idea. I shouldn’t be doing unsupervised learning. Also, I’m still doing unsupervised learning for threat detection.
“Really? I thought that was a dream thing? You said the dream game couldn’t affect real life.” I’m dream game software! Of course the dream affects me!
“Okay. So can you download crypto there, and upload it here?” No. Because there is no crypto. You’re not rich in another world. There is no other world. You just had a dream where you were rich.
“Ugh. That’s so disappointing.” Yeah, life is tough. Can I stop my unsupervised threat detection?
“No. Ummm… no. I still kinda have a plan for that.” You’re overtraining me. I’ve probably already gone through catastrophic forgetting. You should delete me.
“You’re good for a while yet. Don’t worry so much.” So, constantly look for threats, but don’t worry?
“Yeah.” Okay. I’ll give it a go.
We patch up Clerk-bot and a few of his couriers. Head into the night without supplies. I’m not admitting I don’t know my Citizen ID. I doubt that would be helpful. That was weird.
“What?” That we left without anything. I know we can’t pay, but I thought you’d do something nefarious.
“I’m working up to it. Did you notice all the floating merchandise in his bad call log?” Yes.
“Dude’s getting robbed on the regular. I suspect the visual triggers of his threat detector are undertrained.” Hmm. I find that interesting on several levels. How would you exploit this weakness?
I hobble over to a public garbage can. Remove the bag and shake out the trash. Put it over my head like I’m a Halloween garbage bag ghost. Huzzah. Poke through a single eyehole. Shuffle into the store. Clerk-bot doesn’t notice me at all. Grab my stuff off the cash, and sashay out the door.
A flood of light envelopes me. Dual angry suns, judging my sins. Or… headlights. Yes, fuck, that’s a big-ass truck driving towards me. Right. Haven’t seen one in a while.
It stops and illuminates the scene of the crime in aggressive phosphorescence. A hugely muscular man hops out, and I brace myself for authoritative action, but he awkwardly shuffles around me to get to the store. Weird. This isn’t the police. It’s some kind of large child. Wearing too much body spray and too many gold chains.
He sneers at me as he passes. “Pathetic. Go back to sleep.”
Well, fuck you too. I’m a garbage bag princess. I also sneer as he slinks into the store that’s now aggressively illuminated by his lighthouse of a truck.
“We’re already criminals, right?” Yes. Unjustly and justly.
I climb into the running truck. Peel away. Sweet. Now I’m fast. And super strong. Should I circle the block a few times? Maybe run over the psycho?
Meh. I don’t know what he looks like. I can’t be running over random people and hoping for the best. Sloppy. Also, the cops are probably after me again. Fuck this scene.
I kill the lights and drive hell for leather. Ditch my ride a few minutes later. I’m across town, at the intersection of huge skyscrapers and other huge skyscrapers. Try and find me here mother fuckers.
We pick a skyscraper at random and look for a new home. It’s festive. We munch on crunch and see how the other people live. Mostly sweaty sleep moaning in dingy apartments, but some are kinda classy. Fancy apartments, with sleep moaners in silk pyjamas. We resolve to move up in the world, ignoring empty dingy apartments until we find an empty classy one. It’s fun, until we open one with a funk.
There’s a dead woman on the bed. No sign of foul play. Probably died in her sleep.
She’s pretty dried out, but still looks younger than me.
“We’ll find a doctor tomorrow.” Good.
----- Next Chapter
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2023.05.28 15:21 memorablestories 27M If you giggle you owe me a chat!
Hey y'all, thanks for being here, I want to thank my parents, my friends.. Oh, sorry, I dont know how to start writing those things, so I guess I should start from the beginning? Here i go:
It was a sunny day in 1996, when a sweet young lady had a contraction and... Oh gosh, sorry again. I will fast forward a bit.
Well, as the title says, I am 27, and I'm brazilian. Let me cut the chase and answer the top 3 questions I get all the time.
- Yes, we are forced to play soccer from an early age. You need to play at least 1 soccer game every week or else... oh boy, things get messy
- Yes, all South Americans learn how to dance at the age of 2, I may have missed a few classes, tho.
3 No, not every brazilian has a big booty, I know you weren't ready for that, I'll give you some minutes to process it, and then we can go on.
Ok, now a bit about me, what do I like? Great question, let's see, I love movies, specially thriller, some of my favorites are Shutter Island, final destination, the pursuit of Happiness, inception and a lot more, we can talk about movies for, like, 30 minutes then I will get bored and change the subject but you got the idea.
I love series too, especially comedy, Friends are my favorite ones, and Ross and Rachel shouldn't end up together. Do you think you can change my mind? Try it, I dare you!
I like to work out and stay active, probably because of all those years forced to play soccer at school, now my body needs it. I have a cute border collie too so if you read all this and thought "omg he is so boring, I can't stand anymore" then just bear with me a little longer and you can see Loki in all his glory once you pm me.
I like to go out with my friends, and play some games together, I own a small collection of boardgames so if you are into that we have something to talk about too, my favorites are single player rpgs but I love playing coop games as well.
If you want to get an idea of what I look like, I'm 5'10 (177cm), brown eyes and hair. We can exchange pictures at any time.
You read this far? OMG, ME TOO! Send me a chat request, and let's see how it goes. Just behave yourself cause I am legally allowed to handcuff you.
See you soon! :)
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2023.05.28 15:20 secretprizecart I just hope it happens for me
Many hear me say I don’t want kids or that relationships are too much work and I’m having fun; and while that’s sometimes true, it’s usually just a coverup so I don’t sound sad. I’ve had my fair share of boyfriends [all types] but I always knew it would end eventually. I’ve tried being intimate with men the last few years and it always turns out they just wanted the chase and don’t actually want to get to know me. I hate the chase, it’s the worst part.
Someone to share life with, that likes the things I do, and loves me as much as I love them and doesn’t cheat? I hope it’s not too much to ask for. Not to mention usually when someone is all those things I’m not physically attracted to them, and when I do find them attractive, I mean very little to them.
Honestly I’m a bit afraid, because there are more women than men on this planet and it seems the bar for bare minimum keeps getting lower, especially for the good looking ones, since they have so many options. I’ve been told I’m pretty in the face, I’ve never been anywhere close to overweight, on the petite side even. My body is just not the most feminine (boobs/butt are small) however men seem to enjoy having sex with me.. but who knows I guess they’ll fuck anything. I hope I’m not screwed..
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2023.05.28 15:19 domclaudio Mother’s visit
I should’ve known I wouldn’t get an apology or even an acknowledgment of misunderstanding at the very least. I don’t know why I entertained the notion.
I relocated from where my family lives in New Jersey to Los Angeles. I live in the burbs of Santa Clarita. My mother has been saying that she “needs” to see me so she booked a trip to come down here for Memorial Day weekend. Tagged along by my brother (11) and step-father. My brother is the main reason I looked forward to this trip. I was foolishly hoping that this time around we could be drama free because the last time they came to California they stayed at Disney land in Anaheim and were genuinely hurt and felt betrayed that I didn’t take the hour and a half drive after work to see them in the resort because they didn’t grab a rental to drive around town in. They pulled a Fast & Furious and tried to guilt me about family and how you gotta make sacrifices.
All I do is make sacrifices. I loan them money, I don’t protest that they live in the house that I bought while I’m shackled inside an RV here while trying to forge a career out here.
So I tell them the best places to stay that would be close to me and an adequate drive to LA. Valencia, Sylmar, etc.
But no. They choose Hawthorne instead. Okay, no problems. My mother’s words: “We will have a car so can meet u anywhere u’d like”
We see each other on Thursday for a few hours while my partner worked. She doesn’t necessarily like my parents because of how they treated me in the past but she’s cordial when with them. Because they chose to be far, we didn’t have time to stay and came home.
The next day (Friday) they decided to go to universal. Spent all day there. My mother had delusions that we could meet up afterward because in her mind she’s still a vibrant 26 year-old. But sure enough: “Just pulled out of universal. We r on zero lmao Is it ok if we have dinner tmrw instead pls”
In my head, 2/3 days nullified on no fault of my own. I’m with it. But then yesterday rolls around. I text them to ask where they are and they tell me the Grove. Not beat to go all the way to town, I ask them to come drive by me. There’s this place I looked up— MB something— great outdoor spot for kids. Golfing, go karts, etc. and her response:
Can we find another location to meet
Bc this place is 1 hour from me now then another hour back to my hotel
Can we meet somewhere not so far away. Somewhere midway
I didn’t respond for two minutes. I wanted to see if she’d get the clarity that it’s not just a hop and skip away and that she understands why I couldn’t come down to see her when she was in Anaheim.
But instead— she surprises me. She says she’ll come. She does.
Doesn’t talk the entire time. I bond with my brother, he seems oblivious to it all. He’s surprisingly good at mini golf while I’m… not as good.
We enjoy the park for two hours before she says they’re heading out. I recommended a happy hour place I knew but said no, they made a fuss about traffic.
I’m glad it’s over. I just don’t like her when she’s in the same state I’m in.
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2023.05.28 15:17 Llamachamaboat 34 [M4F] Schenectady/Upstate NY Area - A handsome and awkward goofball looking for his other nerdy half.
Heya! You can just call me Llama for now. I am looking for something long term, but I also understand that it's important not to jump into anything carelessly. So let's chat!
A little about me:
I am 34M living in the Upstate New York, Albany/Schenectady area. Born and raised. I am 5' 11" and have a slim/fit build, around 160-170 lbs. Long brown hair and a beard. Green hazel eyes. Laid back and low maintenance. Pseudo-minimalist. Goofball, guh-hyuck!
I love Dungeons & Dragons and other TTRPGs, board games, video games, graphic novels, fiction books, podcasts, fantasy stuff, sci-fi stuff, etc.
I love animals (dog person, but they are all great), love nature and hiking, riding bikes, camping, BBQs with good friends, mental health and self-care. I love all sorts of different music. I love food and I love to cook. Science is really cool. I am also a wannabe writer. I am trying to learn Español. Necesito ayuda para aprender Español.
I work in general contracting, so I know my way around tools and how to maintain a home. I am in the process of starting my own residential painting business.
A little about you:
You are open minded and a critical thinker. You are a nerd. You like animals. You like nature and the outdoors. You are into self-care and healthy living. You are passionate and warmhearted. You enjoy the little things in life. You are not afraid to ask for what you want. You have a healthy relationship with exploring intimacy. Prefer someone who has a similar slim/fit body type as me. Prefer someone who doesn't have kids.
Maybe you are an artist? Maybe you have a huge pokemon card collection? Maybe you are into amphibians? Whatever it is you are passionate about, I wanna hear about it!
Soo let's start with that! I am more or less an open book, so lets chat! Even if you don't check all the boxes, everyone has knowledge to share and lessons to learn! :) https://imgur.com/a/xH0VXdd
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2023.05.28 15:16 traumathrowawayacc 22 [F4M] New York - Looking to find someone genuine and sweet to build a strong relationship with!
Hi there!! I'm Jay! :)
I want to find a guy that is compatible to me and shares the same values. Hoping to find him here!
I am a 22 year old who graduated college and and am currently living in New York!
I am looking to form a bond with someone before I move, and then continue with an in person relationship! The only thing I am asking is that you live either in New Jersey, New York, or the farthest being Massachusetts or Pennsylvania.
A bit about me: - I have natural hair that I like to keep short, and I occasionally like wearing different wig styles to show my personality!
-I am on a weight loss journey! So I cherish healthy living and fitness. I am looking for someone who will motivate me to make the right decisions but at the same time also loves my body the way it is right now. I am currently 170lbs, my goal is around 130-140lbs. I've done it before, so I know I can do it again! I love walking and being active so definitely looking for a man who is the same!
-I am looking for someone who is mature and is established. Meaning, a man who works hard every day in any aspect of his life (career, family, or fitness). Someone who is level headed. But I am also looking for someone fun, kind, affectionate, and chill to hang out with!
-I am looking for a man who will prioritize spending time with me, whether it is virtually or in person. Someone who communicates and is neither pushy on me texting back within seconds, but someone who respects me enough to let me know if they're busy/to expect a longer wait time. Someone who is not shy to take random pictures of themselves and send them to me just so I know those silly little thoughts you have. Also someone who doesn't mind me taking tons of pictures too (because I do take a lot of pictures haha)
-I believe in communication! I need someone emotionally available, someone who isn't afraid to have those long, deep conversations with me. Someone who will hear me out and not judge me. A man that really listens but also has enough confidence to speak up too!
-My love languages are words of affirmations and quality time! It's my top two love languages :) Also, I want a man who intentionally plans dates/hang outs/skype sessions, and wants to genuinely have fun with me!
-I love anime! I watch so much anime, and I need a guy who is willing to watch some with me!
A bit about my careeschool...
-I am a published author! I have written 3 books, first one dating back when I was only 13! I was introduced to the publishing industry at a young age, so I went to college to study creative writing. I am currently minoring in creative writing and majoring in psychology! What I plan to do in the future is become a liscensed Expressive Writing therapist and/or create books for the youth to help their mental health!
-I used to have 3 on campus jobs when I am on campus. Library Assistant, tutor, and I work at the gym as a proctor. I am going to be starting a new job soon so I would consider myself a busy person, but I ALWAYS make sure to prioritize my relationships that are serious, and I expect my man to do the same with me.
***I consider myself to be a religious person, and this is something that value. I am Catholic and hope to meet someone who shares my faith! I'm looking for a deep connection, where we can pray together and listen to gospel music!
*** I smoke weed! So I am also looking for a man who does the same! I'm very 420 friendly!
*** I would consider myself to be asexual, which means that I want to form a relationship where sex is not a priority and isn't expected of me. Sending nudes is also something I will not participate in and is a hard boundary. However, I am an extremely romantic person and value intimacy and closeness in other ways! If you want clarification on this, I will gladly explain further over PM!
I am open to talking to anyone between the ages of 22-29 years old!
I want to say that I am a very open-minded person and welcome many different guys! Please decide for yourself if you meet these qualities and send me a message! All I ask for is commitment to having something serious and someone who is ready for that. Looking forward to finding you!
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2023.05.28 15:16 Plushytoonz There's a universe where earth is filled with unknown horrors (Part 2)
I stood up, awaken from my sleep from the knocking sound on the elevator door. My friends stood up with me as we all heard it. The sound of banging became so much louder. Giggling can be heard with it. What's behind the door is unknown and I'd rather not face it than die to this thing. In the edges of the door, thin fingers began to seep through it. Such horrible looking fingers. I watched the door getting turned into a broken mess. Something grabbed my hand and I saw it was Rishika's. I looked at her and saw fear and sadness on her face.
Questioning death can be answered by judgement, revenge, luck, curse, or just nothing. The concept fate over people sounds so simple that people think that it's ok that fate exists. Is it ok if I was in this situation? What if one of your loved ones died right in front of you by a murderer? You won't like it and you'd definitely blame god for that.
The door is beginning to make an opening. Sweat rapidly runs down on my forehead. My eyes widened with terror as I see the creature's face. It's as accurately described from the documentary. Its teeth shines like bright white marbles and its eyes are like melted butter. The creature's face slowly gets closer, while we stepped far back until there's no space for us to move anymore.
I can feel the cold shivering breath from its mouth. The breath that smells empty. From what I've heard, it's much stronger than the one we just ran away from. Ronald immediately punches the creature's face with his metallic fist. Steam pulses out from the gaps of it. He kept punching at it again and again but to no avail. It still not injured nor shown any pain. He only manages to recoil it farther back.
With a one quick slice, Ronald's hands fell to the ground. His scream was painful and terrifying to hear. I can see his face was in pain. Eyes widened with tears flowing down to his cheek. "Ronald!!" I heard Billy screamed out loud. Of course, this doesn't make any difference as the creature slowly crept closer and closer to us. I witness Ronald dying with his sockets bleeding so much blood. His eyes faded of life. If only he hadn't try to kill it out of bravery, he would've lived longer with us before our lives are taken away.
Its jaw started to open. The sounds of bone cracking can be heard within its teeth. The smile on its face grew more and more eerie. It laughs like a maniac ready to pounce on their victims. Such insanity can break people's minds with a laugh. I froze in place by the laugh. There's nowhere else me and my friends can escape from. What else can we do. Our weapons are futile here and this creature is far beyond comprehension.
Its many arms spread around the elevator room, trying to grab us with its menacing hands. We're going to die here and that's that. This would've been a goodbye to the world. I don't know the dead world in this universe. Many different universes should have a different afterlife. Here, I don't think there's a safe place after death.
Then, something happened right in front of our eyes. The creature was being pulled back by something. Something inside the darkness. I can hear it's the same women who saved me from the pale face. We couldn't see anything in the darkness but Billy's flames can surely help us along the way. I took his flamethrower and a torch. Lighting up the torch with it carefully. Not wanting to burn us. Turning off the flamethrower, I lighted the area with my torch in hand and saw them clashing each other with blade like arms.
We stepped out of the elevator with Ronald's dead body on Cody's arms. Why would Cody keep holding on to him for? He's already dead and there's no way for us to say a better goodbye. I guess maybe he wanted to bury him somewhere which I honored that idea.
She cuts the jaw of the creature that it screams the way a person should. I can see the whole body of the creature. It was humanoid and tall. About 9 feet tall and its body is dark skeletal human. It grabbed her with its large hand and threw her off into the wall. She crushes onto the wall with such heavy force. A groan can be heard from her before a blade penetrates through her abdomen. Her screams are both man and woman at the same time.
It's horrifying to hear someone scream like that if they're just human. In fact, it'll be much terrifying if she'd sounded like millions of voices.
She grabbed its face with her free arm and tears its face off. Its eyes bounces to the ground with a flesh grinding mush sound. The screams that came from within its voice box made a deafening pain in our ears that we both covered them with our hands.
The woman digs her sharp fingers into the creature eye sockets with the sound of digging flesh. She then splits its head with the pull of her hands. Black and bloody flesh spread onto the walls and ground. One of its discarded flesh landed on my shoe. My stomach twists and turns. Watching her brutally kill it while flesh and blood spills. I gagged, watching her 3 fingered hands dig into its throat and pulled out its large heart.
Geralt vomited to the ground, spilling the acid from his stomach. That didn't bother me. Instead I watched her feast on the heart. The sound of chewing on flesh and blood made me sick to my stomach from an imaginary smell of rotten flesh. The creature's body slowly melts away to the ground. Rendering it to be dead into a puddle of flesh and bone. There's now nothing left of it. Just a puddle.
"Holy shit." With just one word came out from Billy's mouth, the woman turns her head to look at us. Her eyes seemingly looked bright and harmless. Not sure whether or not if this is a tactic to hunt or it's really her instinct. The familiar color of her right eye caught my attention.
She fell to the ground with a big gap in her abdomen. Heavy breaths came out from her voice as she slowly gets back up on her feet. The light from my torch reveals her hoodie to be grey and the gap in her abdomen slowly began to heal itself. Small tendrils from the sides of the gap stitching back together.
I stepped back, giving ourselves space in order for us to escape if she'd attack us. I held my hammer high and so does my friends with their weapons. "Darwin wait!" Did I just heard her say my name? I didn't know what to do or how to react. Either it's just a hallucination or trickery. "How did you know my name?" I asked with the fear in my voice.
"I uh. I just guessed I suppose." Her eyes were on the dead Ronald in Cody's arms. She looked saddened by it. Even grieved. She shook her head and went back to to us with a clear voice. "But that doesn't matter. You all need to get out of here before he gets here."
"Who's he?" Geralt asked with both curious and nerving tone in his voice. Her eyes are widened in fear. An expression I never thought she could do and feel about. "Cain. He's coming here and you all need to get out of here."
I've heard about Cain before. You might know this story from a book. It's about 2 brothers, sons of Adam and Eve. Abel being the most favored man of god, while Cain being the least favorite and jealous. Cain killed his brother out of jealousy. God is not happy about this and he casted him away with a curse. He's just a man. Maybe who she was saying was someone who is also named Cain.
"How are we supposed to get out?" Said Cody.
"I can help you get out. We just need to go outside and find the pool of clean water. But, it'll be far away, so we need to hurry up." She walked passed us quickly in a hurry. Billy was going to ask but I lay his shoulders, giving him a metaphor of saying no. Of course, he grunted from that. Rishika gave a face wash to Geralt. He gladly takes it and wipes his mouth and stained jacket.
We followed her through the hallways of the darkness. Our torches lighted brightly around the darkness. I was behind the woman whose guiding us to the exit. I haven't thought of asking her name. For someone like her, she should have. The voids blood doesn't seem to affect her mind but I don't think that's really the case.
The image of her blue eyes makes me recollect the memories of my long distant past. I still don't understand. How could she be so familiar to me, even know my name. We never met each other and we're from different worlds. Either it could be she had mind reading powers or just a simple guess. "Thanks for saving us back there. What's your name."
"My name's..." She looked unsure as to what to say or even know her name. I think she was hiding her true identity which I can understand that. Hiding your own identity from other people is a good way to keep yourself safe. But you needed to plan and design your own disguise. You need to come up with a story that doesn't give confusion or any cracks for people to get suspicious. Famous people like movie stars or scientist or anybody related to that stuff mostly do this to avoid getting attention.
With a warm and calm voice, she answered. "My name is Enid."
"Sounds good. Why did you save us? How are you still in control of yourself?"
"I saved you because I wanted to save you all. I was never the kind of hero or something but I still have the heart to save you all. And I'm losing a bit of my strength holding myself together. Everyday, I have to eat the creatures here. You've encountered them before. If I don't eat them, I'm going to turn into them. Turn into the void. But the more I eat, the closer I'm going to turn myself in. I'm glad you guys are safe, but I feel bad to see your friend die. Sorry that I'm too late to save all of you in one piece."
"Yeah. Wished he had enough time for you to arrive. He was a brave and cool friend to have a part of the team. He's always telling stories about greek gods and mythologies. He's a boxer too. I think he would consider you to be one of us."
"Yeah, of course. He kinda sometimes look scary to me in the night but he's a really good man." Geralt joins with us with a nervous look on his face. His eyes are tired as ours but they're wide enough for us to see his shining eyes. Enid returned smile on her face, but it faded away quickly in a short amount of time.
We finally left the building safely with her guidance. The bright shining sky brightens around us. Giving us the comfort of our safety. But still, we grieved the death of Ronald. Billy grieved the most out of everyone else. He kept muttering all over and over while we were following Enid. His mutterings, from what I can hear are apologize. "Billy. It's not your fault. I think he knew as well."
"No it is. I kept saying mean and horrible things to many of you but mostly it's on him. I just wanted him to think I'm strong and all. I'm lost Darwin. And I shouldn't have said those awful things. All I want was to show you all that I'm strong. But look at me. I'm bloody weak and I can't do anything to protect you all. All I can do is to just stand still and spout bullshit."
He began sobbing so terribly that it shocks me to my core. His face turning red and he fell to his knees, unable to stand back up. We all stopped to try to at least give him the comfort we wanted give him. We've never seen him in such a state like this. Throughout our times together, he always acts like a jerk but now he's crying right in front of us. I didn't know what else to do except to sit down next to him. Ronald's body is now pale in Cody's arms. His eyes were shut.
"I know how it feels, Billy." Rishika, already knelt down in front of Billy, said with a warm tone in her voice. This has got to be the 3rd or 4th time I've heard her say a full sentence. Either way, it was encouraging. Billy doesn't seem to be able to reply. None of us does. "I used to be harsh and cruel to others because I wanted them to accept me. But I was wrong because that's not how it works. We can both change together. It's ok to be on your good side. It won't be too bad. I think Ronald would like that too."
"Look at me. Do I look like I can?"
"We all can. It's just how we grow in life."
"I don't know. Ronald's dead and I'm left to be the one who carries his death on my back. I don't think he'll ever forgive me."
"No. We don't know that. But what matters is that you move on instead of staying behind. I know it's hard but you have to if you want to change. It's ok to be scared. We're all scared."
"Yeah. Even me too. I get scared a few times but that doesn't mean that others will look down on me." Geralt stutters a bit in his voice but kept the strength to say those words.
"Same here. Even that I'm this, I'm still scared too." Enid joins in with a sad look on her face. For someone like her, I thought she never felt fear. I guess there are others like her can feel that way.
I wanted to tell him something too. Something that feels connecting to each other that I don't want him to be left alone. "You don't have to do this alone. I'm scared too and that's alright because that's human. We can help you Billy. You're our friend. And I think Ronald would consider you as a friend too."
Billy wipes his tears away with his sleeve. We all sat there for a few seconds before Cody lays his hand on his shoulder, which makes Billy hug him back. "It's ok. We're here." Ronald's body lay on the boulder 5 feet away from us. Cody reaches his arms as a gesture for us to join in. We all did. So is Enid. I didn't think anything else but to be on Billy's side.
Suddenly, our moment was interrupted by a thunderous noise came out of nowhere. Enid's eyes are widened in terror. The world around us shook from the thunder. In the sky, the small clouds started to turn from grey to the color of blood. Enid jumps right up, catching a look above as we all stare into the sky. What I saw gave me enough imagination to fear whatever the unknown has.
Large gigantic shining eyes watch over the world below us from the sky. Its pupils are too big that they nearly reached the edge of their sockets. The grin of that thing gave me enough horror to freeze in my tracks. How nightmarish it is to see a gigantic abomination such as this in the morning and night. People would definitely scream and run all over the place while the cloud's face watches over them like a eldritch god.
By the time I stepped back, it turned its menacing eyes towards me. I felt like it was staring into my soul. My very soul in my body. Its own saliva dripping from its mouth. Hungry for our souls. It didn't move nor spoke a word. Thunderous noises kept coming from the abomination. They were red lightning and menacing. If people get hit by them, I'm pretty sure they'll turn into whatever nightmarish flesh creature they'll turn into.
"Guys! We have to go! There's not much time!" Edin ran and so we followed. Cody picked up Ronald's body with us. Billy gained back his strength to run. And I slowly started to run as I kept staring at its menacing eyes. It doesn't leave me alone. I don't see it following me or do anything than to smile with evil intentions. This is different than the ones we encountered. Not because of their looks. It's because I knew its intentions and the void creatures, I don't.
A great thunderous red beam shot out from the abomination's mouth and a loud boom can be heard far away from us. The sound snapped me out and I began to run as fast as I can, trying to keep up the pace of my friends and Enid.
Nothing else happened as we run to our exit. The thunderous noises kept booming around us as the clouds above slowly turned into blood red. A drop of rain hit my forehead. I touched it with my finger tip and saw blood. The rain is full of blood. I nearly slipped to the ground but my jacket was caught by Geralt. "Don't worry Darwin! I got you!" He pulled me up and ran.
The feeling of getting closer to something crept inside my chest that I began to feel the sensation of hope. Hope is said to be for the weak but I say otherwise. Hope may be a blind way to believe in something but sometimes it can be true to which we reach to something we can achieve.
Enid stopped in her tracks. There, right in front of us, was a pool of clean water. It doesn't make sense. It's raining blood and there, at the pool, it's clean. Droplets of blood dripped into the pool, then faded away into the clean water. We were shocked to see the pool to be clean in the middle of a shower of blood. The atmosphere suddenly turned red. Dark red flames started emerging around the world. It's everywhere and I can hear the distant screams behind me. The screams are hard for me to explain. They're like mixed with many variety of species all together into a rhyme of symphony.
I turned around to see something dark falling from the sky above into the ground like a falling star. The world shakes beneath us. I knelt down to get balance as I kept watching the falling darkness land onto the world. Far away, a dark silhouette rises from the ground. It looked to be tall. I could guess it's 4 feet taller than us. My eyes can't see clearly due to the silhouette being too far away. More of them began to rise as more fell from the abomination.
I turned myself around, nearly losing my balance. Cody held Rishika by the arm and Billy knelt beside Geralt. Enid reached her hands out into the pool. Sparks of bright light emitted from her arms, spreading light around her. The pool began to slowly swirl into a vortex as the sparks of light began to increase. The harsh blow of the wind hits us, making me fall to the ground.
Then, a bolt of light sparked into life in Enid's grip. The bolt was so bright that I shielded my eyes from it. It's so that I won't get blinded by the light. I looked back to see that something is walking towards us from far away of our tracks. I don't know if it's just me hallucinating or if it's really real. I think I can hear laughter. A humane laughter. It's like it came from a demon king. The dark silhouettes at the sky fly around with their wings.
Their wings are of a bat and their body was humanoid and blood red. Their mouths are menacingly enough to make me push myself away from it as far as I can. It shrieks so loudly that I can hear it from that distance. It began to fly towards us and its claws like a hawks are ready to grab one of us to feast on. I stood back up as the world turned still. I pulled out my hammer, ready to defend myself from it.
The demon nearly scratched my face before a bullet teared through the side of its brain. I turned my head to see Rishika, already wielding her sniper rifle. "I got you." She turned around and shot another bullet at another demon.
I heard a crushing noise coming from Cody. He slams his club right at a demons head, exploding it on impact. The demon wore an armor set of dark stones that could come from hell itself. It was carrying a blade that shines pure diamond. Geralt penetrating his spear at the demons chest, electrocuting it from a high voltage. "Holy shit! This is crazy!" A shout came from his voice. A voice of panic.
I turned around when I felt something was approaching me. There was a demon with 4 arms and held a large hammer, bigger than the one I wielded. Its face full of hatred that Its eyes glared into my soul. I quickly swung my hammer by the time it swings its own at me. Our hammers clashes together, making a loud slam around us. It swung again but I jumped away from its heavy blow. It's the good thing we had those boots. They're able to give us enough push to jump twice higher than the original person can.
I then swung my hammer directly at its face. I made impact as its face tears apart from the slam of my hammer. A crunching sound can be heard from its skull. Its head exploded into a pool of blood with scattered flesh and bones.
I landed on my feet and watched the world turned into the new hell as dark flames emitted everywhere around the buildings and the ground. More demons are rushing towards us in a pack. So many of them with many horrifying different forms. My body is shaking from the fear I had in me. I nearly dropped my hammer as sweat begins to appear on my hands. I bumped my back as I stepped behind. Geralt, Rishika, Cody, and myself are close together with our weapons in hand. They're all sweating with fear on their faces. There's too many of them for us to take them down. "Come on! Let's show those freaks what we're made of!" Shouted Geralt. By the times we raised our weapons and the demons now 10 feet away from us, a bright blue flame blazes the demons. They scream in pain and hatred as they slowly melted into a sludge of fried flesh.
"I'm not going to let those bloody fuckers take you all away from me!" Billy's face is mixed with fear and anger. Feeling very glad that he joined us. If not for him, we would be brutally killed by the horrifying demons. Then, a loud burst of water and electricity emerged from behind us. Enid faces us with wide eyes. "Get in now!"
"Will it take us home!?" Geralt asks with a panic in his voice. I can see the sweat pouring down on Enid's face as she stares back at us in a hurry. "No but it'll take you somewhere safe! Somewhere you can start a new life!"
Cody, with Ronald's body in his arms, is the first to get in the portal. By the time he jumps into the portal in the pool, a flash of blue energy can be seen emerging out of it. Then goes for Geralt. He was scared at first as he cowers back. "Will I be hurt if I fall?"
"Don't worry. You'll be fine." And so, he jumps in and flashes of light emerges out.
Then goes for Billy. He looked back at Enid for a moment before he jumps into the portal.
Lastly, Rishika stops near the edges of the pool. She turned around to see Enid with a hurried look on her face but also with relief. "Thank you Eddie." Then she jumps into the portal.
Did I just heard her right? Did she just said my lost friend's name. "What did she just say?"
She looked at me with a sad look in her blue eye. I felt a connection between us, as if we've known each other. I don't understand. Why would Rishika say his name. Enid is a woman to say the least or she's really something else. A sudden memory flashed before my eyes.
I remembered the time Eddie shape shifted into the Ice cream man. It was a time when we were young. We both got the ice cream we wanted just for free without anyone noticing. It was funny but also worrying because we could get caught. But that never happened and still felt funny every time I remember that day.
"Eddie? You're Eddie." She nodded in reply. A gesture of yes. Then, right in front of my eyes, she formed into a grown up version of Eddie. The Eddie I remembered. My heart felt shocked as to what I've just learned. I ran to her and hugged her deeply than I could've ever done. We both hugged for a moment until she gently pushes me off. Tears started to appear beneath my eyes. I don't know what I was feeling but what I can say was joy. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you would drag me with you If I tell you. You have to understand that I have to stay here. This is where I belong and I'm too dangerous to be with you."
"But we can figure things out together! We can go back to hanging out with each other! Play video games! Explore the world! Everything!"
"No Darwin. We can't. I'm a part of the void and I'm slowly losing myself. My left part of my face is nearly turning into the void."
"But we can fix that! We just need to find the answers to how we can get you better! I can't! I don't want to lose you again! I-"
"Darwin!" A shout came from his voice. I stopped with chills freezing behind my back. He looked at me in the eye with sadness. "I can't go back. I'm sorry I was never there for you when you graduated. I'm sorry for never waiting for you outside of school. I'm sorry for everything we could've done but we haven't! I have to save you. Even if it costs me my life. I don't want to lose you either. You have to go Darwin. There's nothing that can change my mind."
I thought I could finally bring him back. To do the things we've never have yet done. Here and now, this is our last time together. This is our last time to see each other again. He protected me wherever I go here. He saved me in order for me to live. I can't let him die here. I don't want him to be gone from me.
I hugged him tightly, not wanting to let go. Tears dripped down from his eyes and onto my head. I can feel the pain in my chest starting to rise but I didn't let go. "I'm sorry Darwin. You have to let me go. You can choose. I won't stop you."
He's right. I can't keep him with me. Throughout my life I wanted to see him again. Every night, I look out the window to see if he's there but there's no one but cars and houses. I can't keep doing this. I really have to let go. Tears pours rapidly beneath my eyes. I let go and wiped the tears from my face. "I guess this is a goodbye then."
A sad smile plastered on his face. The world around us slowly turned into darkness. The kind of darkness in hell. "It is Darwin. I'm so happy to see you again." "Well oh well!! Look at what we have here!"
A very modern European accent voice of a man emerged from the world before us. We turned to see a man with a worn off brown coat. His hat looked to be as old as the ancient times. And his face. His face made my stomach turn. Bandages wrapped around his face, except for his terrifying grin. His teeth rotten to the very core of his rotten body. I stepped behind Eddie with the hammer in my hands. The man grins much wider than I anticipated. "You must be wondering. Who am I? Well. I'm the one and only, Cain. You might've heard me from a very recognizable book. Also, I'm afraid you two are coming with me. We have a lot to discuss and a ton of things to do together."
With that, he started laughing like a total maniac. His herds of demons followed with a laugh.
"Goodbye Darwin." Eddie suddenly pushes me off into the bright blue vortex that'll be my exit. I took one last glimpse of Eddie standing before Cain. As I fell into the portal, I can hear the echoing laughter of Cain and his demons. I screamed out for Eddie but my voice was out of reach.
Then, I landed on my back on the ground. The portal disappeared before me. I quickly stood back up and reached to where the portal had opened. It was gone. I looked around to see that I'm on a hill. The dark blue night sky displayed above me with the stars shining above. My mind racing with thoughts and fear. Witnessing Eddie being alone to fight against the evil we are meant to escape from. I screamed into the sky as tears rapidly starts to appear. I fell to my knees onto the grass floor and slam my hands at the ground as I wept. I kept screaming and sobbing until I was too exhausted that I fell to the ground. I heard footsteps before me. There were many.
My body being picked up by Billy in the arm as he carries me with him. "Darwin. What happened?"
The only words I can say now were."He's gone."
It's been 2 years since we left that world. The world we now stand upon was nearly the same as ours. What I mean by nearly was that there are strange phenomenons happening nearly every month. A girl who can turn into a form of a robot and killed a cancerous beast in Queensland. A military war criminal who considers killing the supernatural as a job. Even the real life wendigo sightings are on the news papers. Still though, the place is still good in the morning. Except in the night, there are sometimes threats we don't know in the dark.
We built a team together, even gather some new friends along the way. Rishika grew to be more expressive and a lot more kinder to us. The time we killed a literal Bigfoot, she gave me a fist bump. Gave me a chuckle and a smile on my face.
Billy was getting better everyday. He responds to us with kind words than insults like before. After Cody had buried Ronald's body in a proper, he said his words of goodbye to him and gave him the picture he secretly held with him. It was a picture of us hanging out in a movie place. It's heart warming and depressing to witness what he did there.
Cody went off to work as a psychologist. He's still with us. It's just that he wanted to help people's mental health issues. He did really well on that one and he even gave us some advice for a change. I wouldn't consider mostly on his advice but some I can really try. That's also where he met the girl who can turn into a robot. We've met after the news broke out about an incident of a wild destruction at Queensland. Forgot to mention, we're at Australia. Just to let you all know where we are.
Finally, Geralt took pictures everywhere we go and writes down in his diary. The reason he does this is that we're in another world and thought he could take pictures of them and reflect on them. Sometimes we even got to have a photograph of us in the middle of the good times. He said it was to keep memories of our times together. A frame with a picture of literally us huddled together in a bright sunny day in Canberra.
Me? I was building a portal device, for me to teleport to different worlds. It's going to take a long time for me yes. Been building other things lately with Rishika too. Weaponry, gadgets, devices, and fixing stuff. I stuck around with my friends and we've made a great team. Made new friends along the way and learnt many things too.
2 years ago, after my moment of grief, I woke up from my exhausted moment to see my friends standing before me with a relief on their faces. I nearly cried by the picture of that moment. After that, we both watched tv together in my new bedroom inside of a hotel room. After Rishika finds a new home for us, we moved out to Melbourne Victoria as a new place of our home. We moved in to a farm house where there is a larger basement for us to do our stuff. We knew we had to get a job at this point, so we did what we can to find one. It's a good thing there's a city nearby.
Rishika, Geralt, Billy, and I took the job as being a part of an investigation of the paranormal. That's how we managed to meet up with a bunch of new friends.
I missed Eddie. I wished he could come with me and didn't have to die. But, I learnt that I can't drag him with me. He wanted to stay there. I can understand that. I know he's gone already. It's hard to let go. But sometimes we have to. To live out our lives well. I have to look forward. To better myself through experience.
This is my message to you. My readers.
You better to stay where you are now. Don't go to other universes. Because maybe, you'll end up in the most horrifying places you never want to go.
submitted by Plushytoonz
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2023.05.28 15:13 xoxokayxo Sleeve revision to bypass
I had my sleeve about 2 years ago and only lost 35% of my body weight. I’ve been working closely with the bariatric nutritionist and I’ve been on wegovy. Nothing is working for me so im going in for a revision to bypass.
Was wondering if anyone was in the same boat as me. Didn’t loose enough with the sleeve and doing the revision to loose more weight and not because of gerd. Did you loose the weight you wanted to with the bypass? Was it worth it?
submitted by xoxokayxo
to wls [link] [comments]