Lawn mower won t stay running

The official Reddit board for Blarla

2016.05.18 23:57 Blarla The official Reddit board for Blarla


2018.07.14 06:22 mdfgcrispy Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

A place for all things doofenshmirtz

2012.11.21 21:52 keepishop Windows 98

This is the place if you want to discuss, or really do anything else, when it comes to the version of Windows released in 1998, Windows 98!

2023.06.01 23:35 EmergencyNo5674 Need Help Post Adoption

Throwaway account. I am having issues with a child that my partner and I adopted in 2020. This child was 12F at the time (Now 15) and had zero issues. The foster family she was placed in and she was eventually removed from was over medicating their children, so after having a discussion with her we decided to stop medication but continue therapy. The therapist indicated everything was okay, which it was, and concluded therapy late 2020. Up until June of 2022, she was honor student and had zero issues. Very social, friend group, and great student.
However, end of 8th grade 2022 we caught her with her first vape. Obviously concerned because this is out of the ordinary, we restricted her to show this is not acceptable behavior especially for her age (14). Since then, we have had nothing but issues. She has been very distant at home, staying in her room until everyone is asleep. She is openly using drugs and alcohol, even stealing from the neighbors. She was kicked out of her first highschool within 3 months of being there for fighting and illegal substance abuse (these also came with 3 citations). She is now going on getting kicked out of her second high school due to fighting, defiant trespassing, and use of illegal substances (this also came with 3 citations and a criminal charge). She has openly communicated she does not like living in our home despite having anything she wants up until the dramatic change in behavior. Due to her age she can decide to not do therapy or medication, and has turned down all support.
We have tried contacting the police due to aggression towards us and getting physical in the home as well as running away when she does not want to follow rules. We have tried our local crisis which offered partial intake but was denied due to her aggressiveness and they state that can only help her if she wants support, even though she is openly under the influence. We have tried children and youth for support however are only offered therapy since she is adopted. We have even contacted several lawyers to try and force help and there is nothing that can be done.
At this point we are on edge all the time at home, barely sleeping as we do not know what she will do and there is a younger child in the home as well as a newborn on the way. She is only being fined for her court activity which we do not have the funds to continue paying and she doesn’t have money, and we are at risk of losing our jobs due to having to leave to address her actions. I’m asking at this point for any suggestion, help or anything if anyone as been in a similar situation, please feel free to chime in on what helped the situation. We have tried everything, clean slates with no punishments, trying to communicate more, more bonding time etc. she is just not open to changing.
submitted by EmergencyNo5674 to Adoption [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:35 Koala_Guru [TotK] The Importance of Link's Companions

I will start things off by saying that I am talking about the role of the companions in a story sense, not discussing their gameplay. It is undeniable that some aspects of the new companion system need to be tweaked. Many have lamented how unwieldy it is to have to run up to each companion in the heat of battle to make use of their abilities. But this post is about how important and amazing this new system is for the story of the series, and why it should no go away any time soon.
Hyrule's Incompetent Races:
The Zelda series has always been about one thing at its core: the eternal struggle between the recurring representations of the three pieces of the Triforce. Link, the Triforce of Courage, must rise up from humble beginnings to defeat Ganon, the Triforce of Power, with help from Zelda, the Triforce of Wisdom. Link is the hero, and he must be the one to save the day. To save all of Hyrule. In the beginning, this was all very simple. Aside from occasional encounters with old men in caves or random NPCs in towns, the only characters of note were Link, Zelda, and Ganon. But when the series jumped into 3D, things changed.
Hyrule was now full of a variety of different races, and in order to show the true threat Ganon posed to the world, each one was afflicted with some sort of dilemma. Link was again, the hero who had to save these disparate people and then defeat Ganon himself. The unfortunate consequence of this sort of design is that it made the races of Hyrule out to be incompetent, and unable to continue on living without the intervention of the almighty Link. See, unlike the Hylians, who have their own heroes represented by characters like Link and Zelda, these races were entirely separate, and generally seemed to exist solely to need saving. In spite of their unique attributes that would seemingly give them an edge over Hylians in certain situations, they spectacularly failed to solve any problem that occurred.
In Ocarina of Time, this served to make some of them look utterly helpless and a bit stupid. Who could forget the might Gorons, able to lift the heaviest objects and chew through rocks...about to die of starvation because Ganondorf dropped a boulder over their favorite cave? Or the water-dwelling Zora, an old and wise people who are at home on both land and water...unable to locate the bottle their missing princess had left for them at the bottom of a lake? The incompetence on display is even played for laughs on some occasions, like having to watch the lazy king of the Zora slowly scoot his ass cheeks to the side so Link can go save his daughter.
And this sort of thing continued throughout the series. Every time any of these races appeared, they had a problem that needed fixing. They couldn't do it on their own, so Link comes along to single handedly save their race from extinction.
Previous Attempts at Addressing the Issue:
That's not to say they never attempted to make these races more active. In OoT, the goal of the five temples of the game is to awaken sages: champions of each race who will go on to support Link in his quest. The only issue is, they don't really do anything. Each sage has a pattern. You go to their home and hear from someone that they went off to solve the issue on their own. Entering the temple, you encounter the sage if you're lucky, and otherwise you simply see them all in the Sacred Realm after defeating their associated boss. They awaken as sages, give Link a representative medallion, and then fade into the background until the end of the game where, with their powers combined...they build a bridge. Then they seal Ganon away after Link has defeated him. In fact, the lack of any appearance by each sage after they enter their temples has led to a common theory that the sages actually die. We see Darunia go after Volvagia on his own and then disappear. We hear that Saria and Impa went to their respective temples but we don't hear from them until the Sacred Realm.
In Majora's Mask, you actually play as a few different races. Only, you aren't actually playing as characters of these races. You are Link, inhabiting their bodies to basically do their job better. The Deku Scrubs are not seen as fighters and are pushed around by everyone. But Deku Link navigates the Woodfall Temple and defeats Odolwa. Darmani died trying to stop the blizzard affecting his home, but Goron Link does it just fine. Mikau dies trying to get the Zora's eggs back, but Zora Link can do it. Again, Link is the hero. He is the reincarnated wielder of the Triforce of courage. Only he can accomplish anything of note, even if he has to take on other forms to do so.
The Wind Waker has Link go through the game's two temples with Medli of the Rito and Makar of the Koroks acting as his actual companions. With their help, he is able to solve various puzzles, with Medli having a reflective harp and Makar planting seeds. The two can even be controlled using the command melody. This is closest the series came up to that point of giving the non-Hylian races more agency. After all, in this same game, Link's life is saved by the Rito and Valoo. Unfortunately, things still aren't perfect. Medli and Makar are more sort of escorted through their temples, unable to fight and often having to be literally carried through rooms. Once Link gets his own mirror shield Medli quickly loses much of her unique utility, and a whole segment of the Wind Temple is dedicated to saving Makar who has been kidnapped. The command melody is also explained by the King of Red Lions to be Link straight up controlling his companions so that they do what they need to do, implying that the two cannot figure out "Stand in this light" or "plant seeds here" without Link literally taking over their minds.
And that brings us to Breath of the Wild. Simultaneously the best and most disappointing effort up to that point. Positives first. This game's backstory is about Link and Zelda teaming up with four Champions: representatives of the best their respective races have to offer. They are all competent warriors and play a pivotal role in the plan to defeat the Calamity. In the present day, Link teams up with different members of these races, and it is with their help that he is able to board the Divine Beasts. Only through Sidon's fast swimming, Teba's aerial maneuverability, Yunobo's resilience, and Riju's Thunder Helm, is Link able to gain access to this game's dungeons. Once inside, Link frees the spirits of the Champions of old and gains their abilities to use on the rest of his journey.
How about those negatives, though? For starters, all of the Champions are dead when the game starts. They may be paragons of their respective races, but they have no chance against the Blights that face them. No way could Mipha, a Zora, stand up against an enemy who wields water. Daruk, a Goron, is clearly cooked when facing a fiery opponent. Urbosa, wielder of lightning, seems to be not so lightning-proof herself. And Revali, master of the wind, can't stand up to tornadoes. Not like our boy Link here, who beats them all with ease. Next, the problems facing most of the races in this game are somewhat laughable. Sure, the Zora can't touch shock arrows, but the rest? You mean the Gerudo race of powerful warrior women can't storm the Yiga stronghold to get their Thunder Helm back? The Gorons who are mighty and can stand against any kind of heat can't get close to Rudania and no one but Bludo can use his cannons because...he's the boss? The Rito, literal birds, cannot take out Vah Medoh's cannons without being hit, but Link, a dude with a paraglider, can handle them just fine?
Tears of the Kingdom Finally Shows Some Respect:
All of this preamble later, we now reach TotK and its companion system. From a starting perspective, things may seem to be business as usual. The different races have problems caused by Ganon, and Link must show up to help them. But the differences are very apparent. For starters, the problems are much more believably bad and difficult to handle. The Zora's water is poisoned with sludge that is literally suffocating them. The Rito's home is being buried in a blizzard. The Gorons are straight up mind controlled. And the Gerudo are facing down a never-before-seen enemy that has them on their back foot as they try to keep their civilians safe.
We also see that, unlike in most other cases, the races are already working to solve their own problems before Link arrives. Sidon is manually separating the sludge from the water while healers tend to Zora wounds and researchers try to find some answer to stopping the sludge. The Rito adults are all out of their village searching for food and investigating the source of the blizzard. The Gerudo are actively investigating ways to harm their new foes, and their chief is practicing her new ability that is the only one to show any signs of effectiveness. And the only ones not actively solving their problems, the Gorons, are doing so because their minds are taken over and forcing them to be apathetic.
Another great thing that helps mix up the monotonous formula of Link being the only one able to help all of Hyrule, is that the completion of each temple and solving of each race's problem leads to each of those races aiding the Hylians in turn. Each race sends out representatives to reinforce the Hylian base of operations, and they start performing tasks only they can achieve to aid in the untangling of the problems caused by the upheaval.
But all this leads to the single greatest thing this game does in this regard. Now, each race Link saves is not saved alone. Link instead teams up with representatives of each race and they solve their problems together, providing Link with support that makes an otherwise impossible task possible. They lend him their unique abilities and fight alongside him to defeat any threat that comes their way. When they awaken as sages, they use their power to stay by his side at all times rather than fading into the background. And when the time comes, they fight Ganondorf right alongside Link.
Hyrule is always facing crises, but usually this tends to paint most of Hyrule as helpless civilians with only two heroes in the entire kingdom who can do anything about it. Rather than Ganon endangering Hyrule and Hyrule fighting back, it's more like Ganondorf endangers Hyrule and they call their dad to come beat him up. Here though, in TotK, for the first time, Hyrule truly does fight back. Hyrule's diverse and capable races bring their unique skills to bear in order to defeat the greatest threat they have known, and as a result the world feels more alive and worth fighting for than it ever has before. I hope the companion system does not disappear in the next game, and is instead expanded upon. Because after this, I really can't go back to the way things were.
submitted by Koala_Guru to truezelda [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:35 goosette3000 Would this be an appropriate request?

my NF is going on a vacation for 10 days and I am staying home to keep G1. My husband is going on work trips both the weekend before and the entire week after, so we total won’t be seeing each other for almost the entire month of June. would be inappropriate to ask if my husband can join me for dinner a couple nights while they’re gone (after G1 is put to bed) just to spend a little time with him? I have talked multiple non-nannies who have all said i shouldn’t even have to ask because he’s my husband, but i’m just not sure what the etiquette here would be. please let me know yalls thoughts!! TIA
submitted by goosette3000 to Nanny [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:32 kathymarie1124 Seasoned moms- have a question for you

So I am a first time mama and I work full time. We send my little one to day care for 3 days a week and the other two days he is home with us with babysitters since we both work from home. Anyway, I am ridden with mom guilt as I work from home and miss my baby like no man’s business. And no I cannot stay home and quit my job like I want. I have too many loans that need to be paid off but that’s another story. Anyway- my question is, do babies who go to daycare still have an attachment to their moms? I’m so scared he won’t recognize me or love me or want to be with me. I spend time with him as soon as work is done and the entire weekend so he gets every second of me there but I’m still so scared. Any moms who sent their kids to daycare, so tthey still have an attachment to you???
submitted by kathymarie1124 to beyondthebump [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:30 Coldhardytropicals 2011 Honda Shadow VT750 Aero

I recently purchased a 2011 Honda Shadow vt750. It’s been a great bike. It was purchased with 10,500 miles from a second owner. When I got the bike I changed the oil and changed the tires. That’s it. I’ve put about 1,750 miles on the bike since I’ve owned it this season.
About 500 miles ago I did remove the baffling from the exhaust. I noticed no difference besides a louder noise. There was minimal if any power gain.
This bike runs and drove very well. Today while driving home about 20 miles into my ride my bike had suddenly lost power.
It would chug, choke and hesitate while applying the throttle. The bike would slowly accelerate but absolutely didn’t want to. When down shifting the engine RPM would rise and it sounded normal but would continue to chug and choke while applying the throttle. It felt like the engine wasn’t breathing enough. I had to drive the bike home at 35-45 mph because it wouldn’t go any faster. No matter what the engine stayed running the entire time.
While idling the bike sounds fine.
I got home and double checked the air filter and it was pretty clean. I decided to drive it quickly down the road, with the filter assembly off and it ran and accelerated normally. I then added the filter and cover assembly and drove it again. It also ran normally after that too. So I’m kind of stumped.
If it was the air filter it didn’t prove it during a test drive with it on and off. If it was a vacuum line it seems like it would have have shown it’s self right away.
What else can I be looking into before I send this to a mechanic?
Thank you!
submitted by Coldhardytropicals to hondashadow [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:30 Thatonecrazywolf Too in the middle for dating

Anyone ever feel like they're too in the middle when it comes to dating?
I date someone masculine, I'm too masculine for them. I date someone fem, I'm not masculine enough.
I date someone introverted, I'm too extroverted. I date someone extroverted, I'm too introverted. I talk too much or get told I don't talk enough. Date someone submissive, I'm not dom enough, date someone who's a dom, I'm not submissive enough. I go out too much or I stay in too much. I spend too much money, or I don't spend enough, etc etc.
I feel like I'm constantly running into this issue.
Recently, I had been talking to someone for a couple of months. Everything seemed to be going great, but then it was an issue that I was awkward the first two dates and suddenly she wasn't feeling it. The only thing she mentioned on the second date was her being extroverted and feeling like I wasn't, we talked about it and I thought we had cleared it up when I told her previously I was given a hard time for being too extroverted so I was being cautious. Thought we were in a mutual understanding, then after the second date she was barely talking to me. I knew what was coming but kept trying to make excuses like "she's busy with work" nope sure enough got a text in the middle of the night saying she suddenly wasn't feeling it.
I'm a firm believer you don't need a reason to break things off and if you're not feeling it, it happens. But before, she flat out was pushing about us being committed, talking in ways about things we could do, etc.... but because I was awkward on the first two dates, she threw that to the trash.
And yet, my last relationship, the person said I was too extroverted, talked too much, was too out going, etc. I can't catch a fucking break.
I just feel like everyone expects one extreme or the other in dating when it comes to personality traits and habits.
I identify as a nonbinary lesbian. I present butch, but sometimes I wear women's jeans, concealer, and I'll brush my eyelashs so they look fuller.
I have a skin care routine as well but I feel like everyone should?
I can work on cars, do wood work, but I also like poetry, sewing, and clothes.
I'm just so tired of dating.
submitted by Thatonecrazywolf to LesbianActually [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:28 GANNICUSISADADDY First bike/ msf course

So I’m saving up to get my first bike and I was looking at the obvious choices like the ninja 400 and the r3(mostly the r3 just cuz i love how the r series bikes look personally). But looking at the prices for msrp (cuz it seems like Craigslist and marketplace bikes are going for around the same price in my area anyways), the r3 is only like 3-4K more expensive than the r7 and it seems like there’s ppl who get bored of the r3 at some point and wanna trade up to a new bike anyways. (To be clear I have 0 experience in riding a motorcycle) And tbh in the long run i don’t see myself getting into 1000 bikes or even most 600s if I’m being honest I think I’d be fine with having the r7 be my first and last bike (at least for the foreseeable future). Do you guys think it’s worth the extra $ to just get the r7 or just stick with a beginner bike like the r3? ALSO i am only going to be using this bike for stuff like commuting, city/street riding and stuff like freeways and canyon roads. I won’t be doing any track or smthn like that. I live in southern cali
Second ALSO, is the msf course worth taking for someone who has no experience but does have a friend who rides a bike and could probably just teach me most of the stuff anyways? And if yes how much in advance would you recommend taking the course before getting my motorcycle?
submitted by GANNICUSISADADDY to motorcycles [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:26 zeurosis LPT: if you need to raise your credit score, call up the companies you have credit cards with and ask about increasing your credit limit

Be sure to double check that they won’t run a hard inquiry (they shouldn’t). If they say no then no biggie, but if they say yes then you get an increase and your credit utilization rate automatically goes down, boosting your score. If you’ve had an increase in your income lately it is especially probable that they will say yes; the info they ask for is your salary and your payment for housing. I just increased my Discover credit limit by $1500 and my Wells Fargo limit by $700 with a yearly salary of $20,000 and housing payments of zero (I live at home).
submitted by zeurosis to LifeProTips [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:23 Psychological-Nail81 I had the worst host shift I've had in a long time.

I know most of my rage/sadness is directed at old people. Or just generally people who don't have reddit but why do people walk into restaurants expecting us to cater to their every whim? And why does it always fall back on hosts. This is more of a rant post than anything sorry that there's so much text.
Here's a list of some of the tables I had in my shift on a not even busy day, just a day that attracted all the jerkfaces in my county. -A lady came in and told me she had a reservation, we don't do reservations. Oh well my family is sat, then she gave me a name. Okay, we don't have that name currently down but we do have a Diana. Her tone got harsh, she told me her name wasn't Diana. I was so taken back I didn't even process for a moment and I paused and asked her if there was a person in her party named Diana. She replied that there was, and asked if they were here. Yeah lady, they're here and they put down their name sorry it wasn't yours.
On any other day I know my fellow hosts would just assume that she wasn't with that party and made her wait but we got a phone call the other day where a lady complained to a manager for 30 minutes that she waited in the lobby while her party was here. So I just double checked.
-A couple came in and the lady immediately stood by the doors into the dining room, whatever. The guy tells me that they would like a table for two and I bring them to one. No requests for a specific table or anything. I set down the menus and tell them to enjoy. And as I'm walking away the lady just picks up the menus and walks to a different part of the restaurant. I had to hunt them down, guys you can't just do that. Servers have sections. You could sit in the 60's for an hour before anyone would even notice. And then the blame falls on me for seating you there. Oh we're sorry they say we just wanna sit by a window. Okay, I'll tell u a window you can sit by. It's not a seat yourself restaurant for a reason.
-Another table complains that it's too dark when I'm trying to seat them and they want to sit in a different section. But more specifically the section they pointed out. There's no server in that section. Please sit in the ones I told you that you can. "oh it's fine, they'll just come to us." No they won't. But they wouldn't listen to me and I had to run feeling frantic in the back cause I was the only host on and I have to make sure someone knows they're serving them. My servers WILL walk past you if you're not in their section, get mad when I tell them that you sat yourself and you've been there for a while. Etc etc
-A one top comes in and I try to seat him in the bar area (we have tables in there) and he doesn't even walk in. He tells me that he doesn't want to sit in here. Okay sorry about that sir, let's find you somewhere else. I walk out of the bar and walk around to a different area telling him to follow me. Actually, the bar area is fine. You just said it wasn't it's okay I got you a different table. No this is fine. So I walk back in the bar and set down the menus and finally he comes in and sits down.
-An older couple comes in and asks for someplace quiet. I say okay we just got a server on in this section so there should be no loud noise. And they were like okay :)) The moment we past the very loud and packed booths they ask why they're not being sat in there. I was confused and said because you wanted someplace quiet? The lady starts loudly complaining about me. And how I'm making her run a marathon in the restaurant. I'm just confused and a little annoyed by this point but the quiet area isn't that far away it's not that big of a restaurant. They then immediately seat themselves at a random table. Saying things like I guess this table will do. And I don't even know what to do at this point. There is a server in this area but I just double sat him and I felt bad but I didn't know really what else to do so I just hand them their menus. And the lady loudly complains about how they're never able to sit where they want to sit to her husband and overall just complaining about me. I was so pissed I just walked to the front and clocked out cause I was bringing you to the table that you wanted what do you mean:(((
The other two hosts were on and my manager told me I could leave early but what a bad way to end a shift omfg
People were just generally aweful today and these are just the ones that stuck out to me. It was mainly slow but everyone was just so rude and weirdly entitled. And it just bugs me because everything falls on me. Their first impression, letting the servers know if they go somewhere else. Servers complaining to me they're not getting tables (I keep trying but they're seating themselves with others) or servers complaining that I'm giving them too many tables (there's a three table limit and I can't inforce it if customers take my job as recommendations).
Back again tommrow to do it all again. Just hopefully people are better tommrow smh
Thanks for reading and I hope y'all shift goes better
submitted by Psychological-Nail81 to retailhell [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:22 Obvious_Silver_485 70 year old tantrum.

FIL suggested an 20 hour road trip to see his mom, husbands grandma who he hadn’t seen in over 10 years. He also wanted us to bring our toddler her only great grandchild who she had never met. I agreed. Knew it’d be hell, but felt it was important for her to get to meet him.
Anyway, he kept getting frustrated about the frequent stops and not making it half way the first day. We sat down and said hey, you said you wanted to share a car. We have a toddler who needs to get out roughly every hour to two hours. Yeah it’s annoying but we’re managing. That was the first offense 🤣
Second, this “family trip to see grandma” turned into us leaving a day early to go sight seeing which FIL wanted to do. I was annoyed cause the whole point of the trip was to see grandma not sight see and also we paid for a hotel for four nights, and now we’re only using three. But I obliged.
The third offense that takes the absolute cake happens sight seeing. We’re at a museum our toddler is running crazy from exhibit to exhibit having a good time. He calls us to see where we’re at cause he got separated and has a literal melt down. Pulls my husband aside and said how left out he felt, cause we keep leaving with out him and not including him. My husband says I’m sorry you felt that way we’re just trying to keep up with the toddler we can’t make him slow down. FIL says you can you’re the adult you tell him what to do, tell him to slow down. My husband said that’s not how we parent, we follow his lead. I can ask him to move slower but it’s on you to keep up with us and not be on your phone getting lost. FIL literally starts sobbing in this museum. That this is a family trip and we need to spend family time together. My husband said he agrees but he’s not going to do that at the expense of my toddler having a good time. FIL cries harder saying he deserves to have a good time too.
Husband just walks away while I’m stunned that the only person who had a meltdown on this 20 hour trip was a 70 year old man.
Would also like to point out he got upset that my kid didn’t want to hold his hand (my kids not big on physical touch). Was upset we wouldn’t make him hug FIL. Got upset that we wouldn’t let him stay in the king sized bed with him in a separate hotel room cause “he was just being nice trying to give me and husband some alone time”.
He also spent most of his time on his phone taking pictures. Which I get capturing memories but I’m not joking one of them was us waiting to cross a sidewalk? And it’s not like it’s 15 candids it’s 15-20 pictures of making us ( yes even the toddler ) stop pose and do different poses. Then he’d get mad when my kid would start crying say no more pictures.
On top of all that the actual family time at lunch we had? Sitting down at a table? He spent watching stocks on his phone for an hour until it was time to leave.
Also caught him sexting two of his “lovers” who live over seas. He’s delusional and they’re using him for money, but to each their own. but still inappropriate to be sending that kind of content in the car with the fam when you could just wait to the hotel room at night when we have separate rooms.
submitted by Obvious_Silver_485 to Justnofil [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:22 Trash_Tia My college's cheer squad have too much school spirit. In fact, I think they're going to kill me.

If I had to pick an embarrassing moment which will haunt me until I die—it has to be the time I tried out for The Sunbeam cheer squad last year. I was a freshman, and I wanted community. Friends.
I heard the cheer squad were just an extra-curricular group rather than an actual majoring level class, so I figured I’d give them a shot. It’s not like I could ignore them.
On my first day when I was moving into my dorm room, I must have walked into the same girl three times. I am in strict belief that it is not possible for a human being to be permanently happy.
And yet that was her. She wandered around like the sun shone right out of her ass, and it was both endearing and terrifying.
The girl resembled the sun herself, a halo of golden curls held in a scrunchie and a flaunting sundress, matching ribbons wrapped around her. The Sunbeam Squad were easy to spot because they were all wearing insanely bright yellow—waving around gold streamers, ribbons tangled in their hair. They all spoke in insanely high pitched voices like they inhaled helium for a living, but that must have been their shtick, right? It was kind of cute. I wasn’t expecting such a welcome in the shape of guy’s and girl’s looking like they had just stepped off of ABC Kids. The girl who handed me a flyer and yelled in my face about school spirit was practically hopping up and down, a bright grin splitting her lips apart.
I nodded and smiled politely, stuffing the flyer in my bag and heading into my room to finish moving my stuff in. When I looked out of my window a few hours later, the Sunbeam squad was still threaded through the crowd, each of them wrapped in glittering fairy lights illuminated in the late evening sunset glow. Sunbeam. Yeah, I got it, but it was still kinda overkill. They were starting to remind me of a cult.
That, however, didn’t stop me trying out. I’m fairly athletic, and they were exactly what I wanted. I’ve never had a group of people I could call friends.
Though it’s not like I could blame anyone but myself. I was a shut-in for most of high school. I either worked or preferred my own company in my room. One of my biggest regrets is pushing people away, friends I wanted to get even closer to. Because now they had built these lifelong friendships and relationships, and I was stuck at 18 years old with nobody but childhood friends I spoke to once a year when we sent mutual holiday greetings to each other. But college could change that.
At least, that’s what I hoped. I spoke to as many people as possible on my first day—and in my head I was making them. Slowly but surely I was actually making friends in my classes I wanted to hang out with.
Sunbeam were my attempt to go even further and join a club. Through word of mouth in my first few weeks of classes, I learned they were more of an extra-curricular group for fun.
They didn’t cheer competitively and had been formed in the mid-90’s by some kids who wanted to make a community out of positivity and school spirit. Sunbeam had a reputation for being Watson State student body’s beacons—and their team’s good luck charm. It was well known across campus that the squad was the reason behind the college’s fortune.
It had been like that since they formed 30 years ago, with members through the generations carrying out that pledge to spread as much pep as possible. While I say that they seemed nice judging from what I heard from others, they weren’t exactly the easiest clique to get into. Unless you were on the squad.
I saw them around campus between classes. They always moved as a group, the six of them with their arms wrapped around each other, brandishing the school colours. The guy’s in loose fitting varsity jackets, while the girl’s flaunted cheer skirts.
The way they acted was a little too close, like they were more than friends—and community and friendship had bled into something else. Like they had just walked out of an early 2000’s teen movie. Not that I was complaining. Their style was intriguing. They were like this untouchable group of god’s who had been placed on the highest pedestals. They ruled over campus, which made me want to get to know them even more. So, I tried out. Which was my first mistake of many in my freshman year.
It didn’t hit me that I was in way over my head until I was in the college gymnasium, standing in front of a four person panel like I was auditioning for a Hollywood movie. Sunbeam took their try-outs incredibly seriously. Which was weird considering they were known to be the complete opposite.
There were maybe fifty or so applicants, and we had to stand near the back wall and watch others try out one by one. Which was already setting off my anxiety. Weren’t they supposed to be closed try-outs? Initially, I was excited.
I had my routine in my head. What I had learned from watching the squad at my old school. High V, Low V, followed by a Touchdown, and then a backflip. I was confident. I mean, it ticked most cheer moves off, and even had a flip to complete the routine. My high school were a multi-sex quad, so I learned a lot from watching the guy’s moves during pep rallies.
I wasn’t really worried about the quality of the moves since they were known not to take everything too seriously. But watching the others try-out, impossible flips without crash mats and twisting their bodies in ways I didn’t know was possible, I quickly realised I was screwed. My competitors were acting like they were auditioning for an Olympic level team. My gut was dancing when I took centre stage.
The panel were made up of four members of the squad. Two boys and two girl’s, including the blonde who handed me the flyer on my first day. I was surprised when her eyes lit up with recognition.
"Oh, I know you!" She squeaked. Leaning forward, her smile seemed to brighten, illuminating her features. All four of them seemed to emanate a warm glow.
I felt myself relax slightly, the knot in my stomach loosening. Maybe their heightened positivity thing wasn’t a shtick, after all. The girl, as well as the other members of the team seemed genuinely happy to see me trying out. “What’s your name?” Her voice reverberated off of the walls, and I was suddenly aware of a dozen other students watching me.
“Alex.” I said, offering a shy wave. “Hey.”
Still grinning, she nudged a redhead next to her playfully. The guy was like no other I’d seen before. He was a god damn traffic light. He was easy to spot in a crowd and was usually one of the low-key members who kept his head down. All of those colours painting him, and yet somehow he wasn’t blinding people.
Though admittedly, he suited them; bright red hair clashing with the blue and gold of his football jersey, pasty skin and dark eyes drinking me in while the blonde girl pulled at his sleeve. “See, I told you annoying freshmen would work!”
In response, he chuckled, rolling his eyes. “Whatever you say, Evie.” The guy straightened up, leaning his chin on his fist, a curious spark in his eyes. “Alright.” Twisting around in his chair, he signalled for music. When it started, the beat slammed into me, rumbling under my feet. “Let’s see what you’ve got!”
I’m not going to describe my routine because I don’t have time to describe how fucking bad I was. In my head, I was doing okay. I was ready to finish with my back flip, but the music abruptly cut off and I found myself struggling to find my breath with my hands in the air, panting like an idiot. The blonde maintained her smile, but it was slightly strained. I could tell she was struggling to keep the façade of a Sunbeam member while also retaining critical thinking.
The redhead looked like he was in pain. He was first to speak, and I could tell by his sympathy smile I’d screwed up. The others who I hadn’t fully taken in until that moment, an asian American guy, and a girl with pigtails, were laughing like pre-schoolers. And they didn’t stop until the redhead shot them the warning eyes.
Weirdly enough, the crowd of onlookers didn’t join in. I expected the redhead to politely tell me I sucked, but instead he cocked his head, chewing on his pen. “You’re good.” He said. “You’re a good dancer, and I liked your moves…”
He trailed off. “But it’s positivity we’re looking for. And you didn’t smile once through your whole routine which made you look stiff. Like you weren’t even enjoying it.” He shrugged helplessly. “I like you, and I like your dancing. And I’m sure you could be better if you worked on it. There are countless dancing clubs here, so maybe you might be better fitted there.” After exchanging a look with the blonde, he sighed. “Unfortunately, you’re not the type of person we’re looking for.”
Evie nodded. “I agree. We pride ourselves on staying positive and smiling. I didn’t see that on you, Alex.”
“Same here.” Pigtails, still giggling, joined in. “I don’t think you’ve got enough school spirit.”
The other guy scoffed. He looked to be of Korean descent. Unlike the redhead, he was always at the centre of their group, always joking around and laughing. Just looking at him told me he was the leader. “Bullshit!” He slapped the table with one hand, running his hands through thick dark hair with the other. “I liked it. Fuck pep, amirite?” He threw his pen at the blonde, who retaliated in a squeak, lobbing hers at him. “Ignore these clowns. I think you’ve got what it takes. We just gotta work on you, y’know? All you’re missing is a cheesy grin.”
He pointed to himself, stretching his lips into the widest smile he could muster. “See? Like this.”
“Clowns?” Evie shook her head. “I didn’t see one smile. Sunbeam is all about smiling!”
“You make us sound like a cult.” The Korean-American caught my eye. “Which we’re not, by the way. These guys are just scared of change.”
“Okay, that’s too far.” Pigtails shot him a scowl. Are you seriously disrespecting the alumni who created us? Who birthed us?
“Well, yeah!” He threw his paper at her. “Sunbeam is a pep cult. We get high off of happiness. I thought we distinguished that.”
“Take that back!”
“Never! Why do you think I joined? To get high! Do you really think I joined for the cheering?”
They were joking around. I could tell by the smiles on their faces—a smile I knew I would never be able to mimic.
“Quiet.” The redhead shushed them. The guy had been sitting silently. Studying me. He leaned back, folding his arms.
“See, even now—even when I’m considering giving you a chance, there’s no hope in your eyes. Not even a glitter of excitement. You’re still not smiling and that’s what we want, Alex. We want people who will embody what Sunbeam is all about. Even if I give you a second chance to brighten up your routine your smile will be fake. And that’s not what we want. We want people who are willing to shed their humanity and become beacons.”
Beacons, huh?
And they were seriously saying they weren’t a cult?
The redhead stabbed at his sheet of paper with the end of his pen. “Can’t you just give us one smile? It won’t kill you.”
It was then when the others watching started to laugh—and I wanted to punch the asshole in the face.
“Dude, chill.” The Korean-American played with his pen, twirling it between two fingers. “He’s right, as much as I hate saying it. We do need smilers, unfortunately. But hey, you can try out next year! Just remember to smile, alright?” He threw something at me. A squashed candy bar.
Which made me look even more pathetic.
I found myself nodding, even when I knew it was all bullshit. Still though, what each member had told me hit me harder than it should have. They were just words, what could they do? It turned out, words were far more powerful than I realised—I just didn’t know it yet. I didn’t wait for the others to speak and made a quick getaway, my gut twisting and turning.
They were a cult. That is what I decided. These guys were a cult who needed members willing to throw away their souls. Probably for ritualistic sacrifice.
They needed weak people, I thought. Even when part of me knew they were right. I wasn't a smiler. Every photo I'm in, I'm either frowning or look constipated. Still though, I didn't dwell on the try-outs for too long. By the time a week had gone by, I had mostly forgotten about it and threw myself into my studies and college life.
Though something was wrong with me. It was as if the world had slowed down, had stopped making sense completely. Every day felt like a dream, and I myself felt like I was a ghost, like I was disassociating from my own body. Conversations with people felt fake. Like I was making them up.
I remember waking up day after day in a daze I couldn’t get myself out of. It was only several weeks later did the thick mind fog which had been blanketing my brain finally lift—only for me to hear the news that all six members of the Sunbeam squad had disappeared. I don’t know how I didn’t notice, how I didn’t see the police investigation, or hear rumours being spread around like wildfire.
According to the college, it wasn't technically considered a disappearance since the members were all over eighteen, no longer minors. However, an investigation was conducted, with a statement being released that they were due to be performing at Knoxville College, cheering on our football team. But they never turned up. And what made it worse, was their bus was found abandoned on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Sounds bad, right?
Well, that's what we all thought. Vigils were already being held, and bodies weren't even found yet. Every time I walked back to my dorm after classes, the night would be lit up in warm golden light, candles flickering in the breeze. I'm not sure how many days had gone by-- they all seemed to blur into one-- when our college made another statement. The members of the Sunbeam squad were alive and healthy and had been sent to a training academy for professionals.
When the student body responded with confusion and scepticism, the college reassured us they were coming back once they were finished training. And while my classmates were relieved, I found myself confused. Sunbeam didn't cheer competitively. Their whole thing was that all they wanted to do was spread cheer and pep, regardless of how good they were. I had seen them perform, and they were good, sure. They were better than average. But definitely not good enough to be trained into pro’s. Their moves were too clumsy, too half assed—which I was convinced they thought overwhelming amounts of positivity could fix. So it didn’t make sense that they had been sent to some training academy. I kept up my scepticism until I saw them for myself.
The college were right. Sunbeam returned a week later like nothing had happened.
I did see a change in them. I think that was a universal opinion though. Sunbeam were well known for their pep and cheer, their constant smiling faces which drove me crazy—and it’s not like that stopped. They still smiled. They still walked around campus laughing together, in their own little world. That was when people were watching. When they had an audience. I caught them when they didn’t have an audience. Without eyes on them, they detached from each other, their eyes darkening, expressions twisting, like each of them could smell something rotten in the air. I started noticing they were getting progressively clumsier at keeping up that Sunbeam façade they must have pledged when they joined the group. I figured it was just tiredness. They must have been through some pretty intense training.
Anyway, months went by. I started to feel less distant, and the fog which had been choking me faded, thankfully. I started my junior year moving into a shared house with my roommate, and the only talk I’d heard about Sunbeam was that one of their ex members was rumoured to be pregnant. As for the rest of the squad, they were still popular, still talked about—but their disappearance had definitely made people wary of them. I even heard someone say they were considered bad luck. I guess people thought they had sold themselves out for a chance to get into the big leagues. And it wouldn’t surprise me.
Forced positivity can get you a long way, sure—but recognition can get you further.
It was just a few weeks ago when I was invited to a game. Our first of the season, thanks to delays due to cuts in the sports department. I’m not much of a sports fan, though I needed a distraction from the copious amounts of assignments I’d let pile on my desk.
When I sat down with a chilli dog and Coke, I wasn’t expecting to get so invested in a game where I had no idea what was happening. It was loud and obnoxious and I was choking on the stink of fried food, but it was fun. It was fun until Sunbeam walked out onto the side-lines. I glimpsed them in a blur of blue and gold, and a dull pain crawled across the back of my head. “You okay?” My housemate’s voice was barely distinguishable in my ears, when I found myself transfixed by the way they moved in erratic jumps, quickly taking position. They had gotten better. Everything which was Sunbeam had been stripped away. Their smiles were forced. Wrong.
I remembered they used to push and shove each other, making the crowd laugh. Now though, they were in almost perfect sync in the way they moved, no longer shakily, sometimes stumbling into each other. Their routine was longer than it usually was—and when the Korean-American guy perfected a triple flip, the crowd went crazy. I expected him to smile when he landed, grinning into the audience to generate what Sunbeam was made for. But his expression stayed stoic. Robotic. They were stiff. Heads up, backs straight, staring ahead of them. I was told when I tried out that fake smiles weren’t allowed, and yet that was all I was seeing. I was seeing egotistical grins and curled lips, quick glances between each member.
I expected looks of reassurances, and in jokes only they found funny. Instead, it looked like a mutual agreement.
They were planning something. From the looks on their faces, it wasn’t a firework show.
Sunbeam used to generate happiness. Their smiles, even under a façade, had always been real.
These guys emanated power. The way they stood. The guy’s at the front, readying what I guessed was a lift, and the girl’s on top of them.
Their routine ended with the music reaching a climax, and the two main girl’s being lifted into the air while performing High V’s.
But they didn’t stop there.
When the crowd exploded with applause, one of the girl’s slowly raised her right arm and shot into the crowd with finger guns.
She shot twice—and with every time she pulled that imaginary trigger, her painted lips stretched into a maniacal grin.Until her gaze was on me. And then behind me. I could see it in her glittering eyes I could no longer call human. I met Evie at the start of my freshman year, and then at the disastrous try-outs.
I knew her wide smile, and the glint of passion twisting her expression—a love for the group and the members she couldn’t put into words. Right then I wasn’t seeing Evie, a Sunbeam cheerleader. I was seeing something else entirely, a being scanning faces in the crowd for a victim.
Her expression seemed to melt, from a gleeful grin, to something twisted and putrid, someone who craved the exact opposite of what Sunbeam preached. I watched her lips. I watched the words pop into existence, drowned into nothing by the crowds cheering. But I saw them in perfect clarity. “Drop.” She said, before pulling the imaginary trigger again.
No sooner had the words left her mouth before someone screamed behind me. I twisted around to see a guy had collapsed. He was pronounced dead five minutes later by his sobbing girlfriend who had attempted CPR. When I twisted back to look out onto the field, the Sunbeam Squad were gone. It didn’t make sense that they were the ones to cause the guy’s death—but it couldn’t have been a coincidence, right? Evie had shot into the crowd at the exact same time the guy had dropped dead. Finger guns weren’t a weapon of course, but the timing was too coincidental. I already knew there was something wrong with Sunbeam. And this just strengthened my claims.
Obviously, when I tried to tell people this, I was called crazy. Delusional. I reported it to the student information building and just got a blank stare.
The woman wasn’t even attempting to hear my story. She just heard “murder” and “Sunbeam” and her lips curved into an amused smirk. “You know, you are quite fascinating,” leaning back against her chair, the woman frowned at me through wonky glasses. "First you unexpectedly quit, and then you accuse them of murder. Which I can tell you is false.”
She flipped through a notebook in front of her. “According to the autopsy report released a few days ago, the young man died of a brain haemorrhage, not the result of being pretend shot at by a cheerleader miming finger-guns.” The woman cleared her throat.
“Tell me, what exactly do you have against the Sunbeam squad?"
“You quit the squad at the end of your freshman year,” she said, “And now you’re trying to accuse them of murder? Fascinating.”
Her words struck me, a shiver sliding down my spine. The office was cosy, and when I sunk into the rich leather of the couch in front of a roaring fire I recognised the book on her desk. It was a dog eared copy of Harry Potter. I’d seen it before. But that was impossible. I had never been in her office. “Quit?” I shook my head. “No, I don’t…” I trailed off, stumbling over my words. “I’ve never been part of Sunbeam.”
“Were you not?” She shook her head, a crease forming between her brows. “Ah, I must be getting you mixed up with someone else.”
I nodded. “Just… can you just listen to me? That Evie girl was fucking—”
She cut me off. “Language.”
“Sorry. Evie. She was… I don’t know what she was doing... she was doing like... like voodoo?”
“Are you sure you didn’t dream it?”
“Mmm hmm.” The woman cleared her throat, dismissing my protests. “I’m not a doctor, but If you’re experiencing memory loss and confusion, I suggest you go to the hospital. As for your ludicrous claims, you should keep them to yourself. That poor young man died due to a brain haemorrhage. Terrible and tragic, yes. But it was accidental, and not the work of… I’m sorry, what were you claiming it to be?”
“Voodoo.” I said, again.
When she raised her brow, I couldn’t resist a groan. “I saw her! She shot into the crowd and mouthed something!”
“She… mouthed something?”
“Yes! But—"
Again, her words sliced into mine. “Okay, let’s say you were right,” she said. “If you are saying this girl shot into the crowd with her imaginary gun, wouldn’t it be a gun shot which would have killed him? You said it yourself—it was voodoo, some kind of witchy magic to kill him. So, where was the bullet wound?” When I tried to speak, she raised her arm to shut me up.
“Exactly. There was none. Because the man suffered a haemorrhagic stroke, and nothing could be done to save him. Your claims a group of young people carried this out as a murder is not only blatant defamation, but also disrespectful to the young man and his family. Now, please leave my office. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” The woman nodded for me to stand up. “I think you have been watching too much TV. Might I suggest focusing on your studies?”
I left her office, slamming the door.
My housemate wasn’t helpful when I told him. He told me I was maybe a little too obsessed with Sunbeam. He headed to work, and I ended up in the lounge trying to focus on an episode of Criminal Minds. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Evie.
I saw what she said.
But it wasn’t the force of her imaginary finger-guns ricocheting back. It was the word. Drop.
It had been alive on her lips like it was a sentient thing bleeding into existence. I managed to fall asleep, twisted like a pretzel in my housemate’s favourite chair, when three loud knocks on the door tore me from slumber. I was on my feet, blinking, disoriented. It was rare when we got a visitor. Stumbling over to the door, I had a moment of hesitation. I imagined Evie on the other side.
I imagined her raising her arm and shooting her pretend finger-guns directly into my head.
When I opened the door, I was surprised to see three little kids. The youngest must have been maybe nine years old. To my surprise, they were dressed in Halloween costumes. There was a little witch, a ghost, and a scarecrow all carrying pumpkin shaped holders It took me a moment to realise I was staring at a group of Trick or Treaters. It wasn’t even mid-October yet.
“Hey there,” I said, “Uh, you guys are a little early.”
The little girl’s eyes were wide and unblinking. “We want candy.” She held out her candy holder. “Now.”
I decided to be firm with them. “It’s not Halloween.” I said, taking a small step back. I was grasping the handle, ready to slam it in their faces. These little shits were freaking me out. Not just their tone, but their expressions were vacant. There were no lights on and that terrified me. “Sorry kids, I don’t have any candy. But like I said, come back when it’s actually Halloween, and I’ll have candy bars for all of you. "
What I wasn’t expecting was for the Scarecrow to pull a knife out of his pumpkin shaped candy holder. He didn’t hold it like a kid should, clumsily, confused. There was a strategic way the way his fingers were wrapped around the handle—like he’d brandished one before. The kid held the knife up to his own neck and made a slicing motion. Like the little girl, his eyes were blank. Unblinking. There was something wrong in the way he was standing. Stiff, like a puppet on strings. “Are you fucking kidding me?” He squeaked out a laugh. I didn’t see him lunge forward, I was already moving back, stumbling, losing my footing.
The kid moved with impossible speed—and before I knew what was happening, the hilt of the knife was buried in my lower leg. I didn’t even feel pain. My body was being driven by adrenaline, pushing me to get away from him. I remember falling back. I remember my own trembling hands grasping hold of the handle and pulling out the knife. Red was pooling down my jeans and onto our hardwood floor. The little kids turned around and ran back down the steps into the night, and I watched them in a sort of daze.
They didn’t move like normal.
They stalked down the sidewalk like video game characters. The witch shoved a passing old man before pulling out a gun and pointing it at his head. But she didn’t shoot. The three of them ran off—and it was only when I was watching the top of the girl’s witch hat disappear into the night, when I glimpsed something—or someone—at the corner of my eye.
Before I heard laughter. The tree in front of me moved. At first I thought they were shadow’s. Before the shadows bled into figures. Four of them. I glimpsed the school colours. Blue and Gold. I saw twin ponytails, velvet and blonde-- as well as the tell-tale Sunbeam varsity jacket. The group were laughing, whispering to each other. Not exactly doing a good job of hiding. When they slipped from their hiding place, I recognised Evie. Her fingers gingerly on her nose while intense red pooled down her chin.
The others were the same, swiping at their faces with jacket sleeves. They didn’t seem fazed. The redhead’s gaze was latched onto the retreating children, his lips curling. I could sense he was still tethered to them. He was still commanding them to act out grand theft auto. They had caused the man’s death at the game and had controlled those children.
I wasn’t crazy or delusional. Evie had killed someone by simply shooting imaginary finger guns, and somehow the others were able to bleed into children’s heads, taking them over.
Pulling my phone from my pocket, I heaved out a breath. The pain was starting to hit in waves I had to grit through. I couldn’t move. I was stuck, curled up on my floor. While they laughed.
I was halfway through stabbing 911 into my phone when one of them came over. It was the Korean-American. The one who had been the nicest to me out of all of them. The real smile I remembered was gone, replaced by something inhuman. Something I didn’t want to question.
With his hands stuffed in his varsity jacket pockets, he approached me with mocking eyes, almost an attempt at trying to mimic his old self.
The guy knelt in front of me with a chuckle. “Kids these days, right? They’re animals.”
His voice, no, his words, were hurting me. I felt each one penetrate me like gunshots.
My wound wasn’t bad. That’s what I estimated, anyway. I don’t think the kid had hit anything vital. But I needed the emergency room. I still had one hand grasping at my side, drenched in red.
I managed a hiss, grasping for my phone when he pulled it out of my grasp and waved it in the air. “Fuck off. What did you do to those little kids?” I gritted out, trying to reach for my damn phone. I was starting to feel the pain in my side and it hurt like a mother fucker—dizzying bolts of electricity which felt like waves of boiling hot water slamming into me one by one. I tried to get onto my knees, but he pushed me back down again. The guy cocked his head to the side, confusion creasing his expression.
“Ouch. That must hurt.”
"What did you... what did you do?" I hissed out.
His presence was hurting me. Every time he opened his mouth, it was agony. Somehow, it was worse than the stab-wound. This kind of pain was no other I’d felt before. The type I’d rather die than feel. A cry was clawing at my throat, fight or flight taking over. Again, I tried to move, I tried to get away from him. But he was holding down my arms and prodding at my side before sticking his finger in the cut and twisting. "I didn't do anything, Alex.”
His voice barely hit me when my vision blurred and I screamed. Like a fucking animal, I screamed. But not because his fingers were digging around in my insides.
Because my brain was suddenly boiling, a metal rod piercing my skull and stirring it into a soupy mess. His voice was inside me. It was bleeding into me, taking over me. But not just his voice. The world blurred around me and I was no longer in my doorway, bleeding out against the wall.
Instead, I was moving. I was… I was walking. No, I was being dragged. Except these weren’t my memories. This wasn’t my mind. I could see bare feet beneath me delicately slapping on white tiles. When I looked up, I saw an expanse of white like I was being led straight into the clouds. This was a building. There were glass doors and electronic panels, people in black guarding each one. It took a while for me to gain my senses—or him to gain his.
We could smell something like chlorine and taste rusty coins at the back of our throat. Feel the ice cold tiles against our bare toes. A strange feeling at the back of our head. We kept wanting to run our fingers through our hair, but every time we did, our fingers only touched bare skin. Scuffed and rigged skin. Tight fingers were wrapped around our arm, dragging us further and further into a white oblivion. Until a glass door seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
From now on, I am going to describe his memories very vaguely. I’m just going to tell you what I saw.
The room we walked into reminded me of a classroom—but there were no desks. In front of me were the other members of Sunbeam pressed against the back wall. They faced forwards, their gazes penetrating nothing. But I saw they were trembling. Terrified. The squad were dressed in pale white shorts and t-shirt, ugly red spattering the front. There were still traces of blue and glitter on their faces, ribbons hanging from bedraggled curls.
Their feet were bare and filthy like ours. When we were shoved forwards, we took our place next to Evie who had half of her hair shaved off. Her arms were folded across her cheer uniform, her bare feet tapping a beat against the floor. When a woman with dark red hair held in a strict ponytail entered and asked if either of us wanted to show her what we had learned, Evie eagerly raised her hand. “Okay, Evie.” The woman’s voice was too sweet. Sickly sweet. She gestured for the girl forward. “Show us what you’ve got.”
The door opened, and a man stepped through. His hands were tied in front of him, his eyes blank.
Evie nodded, her eyes set in determination. She cleared her throat. “Shatter.”
Nothing happened.
“Intent, Evie.” The woman said. “It doesn’t matter how you say the word unless you use proper intent. Try again.”
The girl did, growling in frustration.
The man’s head flew from his torso suddenly in a river of red, and the girl squeaked in excitement.
While we watched in horror, the rest of the squad gave in to their own despair.
Different days bled into one—and we watched faces change. Heads were shaved. Hair grew back. Fear turned to joy.
A blonde girl exploded into bloody chunks, splattering against the walls.
“Yes!” The redhead high-fived pigtails, the two of them locked into some bizarre handshake. “That’s what I’m TALKING about!”
“Bang!” One of the girls used finger guns, and with each “shot” innocents dropped against the wall one by one, their heads blown through.
She jumped up and down in glee. “Bang, bang, bang!”
“Keep going,” the voice of the woman crackled through the speaker. “You’ve almost got it.”
“Divide.” Pigtails used her pointer finger at an old man who was skewed by an invisible force sending bloody chunks of him to the floor.
"Show off.” The redhead said in a sing-song voice. He was slumped against the back wall using his jersey to wipe blood from his face while the others painted the room scarlet. With simple words of intent and a hand gesture, they were able to take people apart piece by piece.
Pigtails snorted when another “test subject” was brought in. "Oh, you think you can do better?”
“Think I can? I know I can.”
This time he plunged two fingers into his temples. He was centre stage, the others against the back wall with their arms folded.
“Rip it out.”
The test subject’s eyes widened, her trembling hands clawing at her own head, fingernails digging into flesh. “Rip…rip it out?”
His lip curved. “That’s what I said.”
We didn’t see the test subject rip her own brain from her skull. We were already burying our head into our knees and screeching into the floor. Another flash. Like watching a movie.
This time we’re cutting into our wrist with shards of glass. Pulling back fleshy flaps of our flesh, there are two wires entangled with muscle and bone. One red and one blue. “Why won’t you submit?” A sharp growl, and I can feel our body pressed against metal. Our arms are restrained. “Out of all of them, you refuse it.” A hand slaps our face. “You don’t want it!”
He started to laugh.
“You don’t want… control?”
He leaned his face closer. “Tell me to mutilate myself. Tell me to… to tear out my brain stem! That’s the beauty of it! No matter how impossible the order is, it will be completed! Control, my boy. Use it. Do you even understand how much you are going to shape the world? Words! Do you know how powerful they are? When said from the right mouth, with the right intent, they can cause bloodshed, pain and misery-- a despair drowning our already shattered earth. And you will be the centre of it. You will bring this world to its knees, Jason."
"Now, do it. We call it cutting, but you will find familiarity in referring to it as erasure. You can make up your own words if you would like. What matters is the intent.” I feel something slicing into our arm. It’s nothing medical. It’s torture. He plunges something sharp into the same spot and twists the blade until we throw our head back and scream at the ceiling.
“You’re the last one.” The man hissed. “Do it.”
“No.” I heard his—our—voice. “I… I can’t!”
“Do it!”
He’s dragging us again, forcing us down a long winding corridor until we reach another door.
"Drown." The boy - - Jason's-- voice was suddenly in my head. I could sense it was trying to hold back, attempting to peel back whatever power his own words had. But the word came again and again until it was suffocating his mouth. “Drown. Drown. Drown. Drown.” We were standing in the doorway of a smaller room. In the corner there was a figure curled up with their head pressed against the wall.
It was a guy.
I recognised our school colours, a bloodied varsity jacket over shorts and t-shirt. When he lifted his head and twisted to face the boy whose mind I was in, I noticed he had an uncanny resemblance to me. His eyes wide, frightened. They were my mother's.
This guy looked exactly like me.
No, it WAS me.
My eyes were shadowed and haunted.
Like I had been drained of everything I was.
As quickly as the memories came crashing into me, they were yanked away when the guy must have pulled back.
I blinked rapidly, and Jason looked as confused as me. Slowly, he pulled his finger from my cut. The man's voice was in my skull, and it was agonising. I felt the command in my head, my body instantly reacting to... to nothing. I had my hands out, ready to do.... do something.
"That was… just a trick,” He said. “Yeah! Just a trick!”
I found myself nodding, echoing his words. Something warm ran from my nose.
"Just... a trick..." I whispered, the words forced from my lips.
Blood spattered down my chin.
“Louder.” He said.
"JUST A TRICK!" I yelled, the force of the wail sending me my knees, panting. The guy was frowning, seemingly unsure what to do with me.
He wrapped up my wound and told me it wasn’t bad—and it wasn’t. I watched in disbelief as my skin stitched itself back together.
"Go into your kitchen." Jason said, and I felt the power of his words ripping through me like bullets. My body moved on its own, and I got to my feet and stepped into my kitchen. He followed me, grabbing a scarf off of the table.
"Get on your knees." I did, dropping to my knees, my breath in my throat, my mouth sealed shut. I could sense the others in the doorway as he wrapped the scarf around my eyes, the heel of his shoe slamming into my neck forcing me onto my stomach.
"I want you to wait for me to kill you."
His words pierced into me. I did. Even when I knew he was gone, the door slamming shut-- I waited. I waited until the next morning, until I regained control over my own body and pulled the scarf from my eyes. I'm still waiting, my brain in constant panic, twisting around when I'm alone, looking into every corner.
I was roped into going to Friday's game against Harrington. During Sunbeam’s routine, they did it again. They had the crowd's attention, and Evie was mouthing something. I felt her words, sharp like needles cutting into me. But they didn't penetrate. They have done something to the student body. Ever since, I’ve been catching looks around me. Those whose heads they have crawled into. Mindless eyes. Every so often an arm will touch mine, fingers will wrap around my neck. I can hear their feet pitter pattering after me. Those little kids from that night. I keep seeing the little witch girl in the corner of my eye. They’re creating an army who are coming for me once he decides to kill me.
If only I knew what happened to the Sunbeam squad. Maybe I can help them somehow.
But something tells me they’re way past help.
And so am I.
I wonder if one day, I might be allowed a glimpse of my memories. What really happened to me during my freshman year.
And why, ever since going into his mind, I dream of a white room.
submitted by Trash_Tia to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:21 FernBTB How to stay positive?

I just found out that I’m pregnant a few days ago and my husband and I are struggling to stay positive. I had struggled with infertility for a while and my mind just goes to the negative, like it’s too good to be true and won’t stick.
How did you guys stay positive in the weeks between finding out your pregnant and your first ultrasound?
submitted by FernBTB to BabyBumps [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:15 Inner-Version3759 Suncream help

From a young age I’ve been scared off from using suncream as whenever my mom would put it on me my skin just burned and itched like hell I’d have to run and jump in my blow up pool just to calm that and thus since have never used suncream now I’m about to turn 21 and I’m noticing fine lines and textured skin, and I’m starting to care about my overall skin health, as a man skincare has never been at the top of my priorities as I’ve viewed it as something a woman would do not a man but now more than ever I’m focusing on overall skin health and want to find a good suncream that won’t cause the aforementioned burning/itching I guess to add i also might have rosacea not sure if it is but ive got butterfly redness across both cheeks and my nose but as a dermatologist is expensive as my skin health isn’t causing me any issues my doctor won’t refer me to one so haven’t seen one yet to get a clear yes or no on why my cheeks have been red for as long as I can remember. Anyway any suncream recommendations would be greatly appreciated
submitted by Inner-Version3759 to SkincareAddictionUK [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:11 danny9295 Day 4 dbacks continue to increase my bank account 🤑

submitted by danny9295 to fanduel [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:11 Benzene07 32 [F4M] Denmark. Interested in connecting with people from the US/Canada. Pics and proof included

If you message me, please tell me about yourself and include a/some photo(s) of yourself right away. Putting it in the very first sentence hoping people will actually read it? 😅. Repost. Got a few messages accusing me of not being the woman in the photos or saying “too so and so to be real”. I’m flattered but I am, in fact, the woman in the pictures and I’m very much real, so I’ve included proof (pic 1).
Moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and got broken up with shortly after. I’m a pretty social person and I’ve made some good friends here, but the evenings/nights do get a bit lonely sometimes. I’m pretty much just looking for someone to help me get rid of the restlessness/boredom until I’m ready to date. However, if it turns out that you are the man of my dreams, I’m not going to fight it if it turns into more (you don’t exist, do you?). Let’s chat, maybe voice chat and see how things go, I guess. Not interested in hookups.
Interested in talking to Americans/Canadians (around NYC/Toronto would probably make the most sense, I can explain why if we hit it off, but I guess anywhere on the east coast of the US is fine). It’s an accent thing, (the standard accents, what you hear on tv I guess), I’m into all races/ethnicities. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in NY/NJ and I’ll be moving to North America for work within the next year as well, if everything goes according to plan (won’t be giving up my Danish citizenship and could go back anytime. I love Denmark. A lot of people ask about this so thought I’d explain).
The break up was pretty ugly and it pretty much destroyed me and my self esteem. I’m doing a lot better now though, but I do feel like I need positive people in my life right now. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about anything, including bad days (we absolutely need to!), but if you’re struggling with mental health issues I don’t think we would be good for each other right now. If you’re super introverted we probably wouldn’t be a good match either.
I’m a happy and positive person in general (with a bit of sass/sarcasm once you get to know me, but it’s all in good fun and I can definitely take it as well). I do get mad/annoyed/sad at times but it usually doesn’t last long. Honestly though, I hope you do too, cause it’s human. The important thing is to be able to talk about it. If you’re not a good communicator and if you can’t handle emotions, let’s not communicate at all.
I’m into socializing with my friends (it doesn’t matter what we do really, I’ll have fun as long as the company is good), going to the gym/being active, cooking, watching tv, occasionally gaming on my PS… and a bunch of other stuff. I’m a big fan of UFC and I enjoy watching other sports as well. I’m educated and have a successful career, but I definitely enjoy my free time and I’d probably vibe with people that are similar. I’m super independent - right until I see spider or need to open jars :p.
If you wanna know more, and if you’re a decent human being, I guess I’ll catch you in my DMs/chat and feel free to ask!
If you do contact me, please include a photo of yourself and tell me a bit about yourself. I did the same, right? If you don’t, I won’t be responding.
Alright, so here’s proof that I am me:
And here’s another photo of me:
And here’s another one:
It may not seem like it, but I smile a lot and it’s super easy to make me laugh, I promise!
Born and raised in Denmark, but ethnically I’m… a secret for now ;). My skin color ranges between olive - tan/brown. I’m 5’3 and curvy but into taller guys (6’0-6’2). Total sucker for abs, obliques and strong arms, haha but it’s not a dealbreaker. I have been very consistent with working out though, so it would be cool if you’re into that too, as it would help me stay motivated.
Like I said, into all races/ethnicities but I do have a preference to at least a bit of melanin. Prefer men around my age (maybe 31-35?). Not into youngeolder men, married/engaged/cheating men, polyamorous people… yeah I could keep adding to the list but I hope you get the idea.
submitted by Benzene07 to R4R30Plus [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:09 Benzene07 32 [F4M] Denmark - Interested in connecting with people from the US/Canada. Pics and proof included

If you message me, please tell me about yourself and include a/some photo(s) of yourself right away. Putting it in the very first sentence hoping people will actually read it? 😅. Repost. Got a few messages accusing me of not being the woman in the photos or saying “too so and so to be real”. I’m flattered but I am, in fact, the woman in the pictures and I’m very much real, so I’ve included proof (pic 1).
Moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and got broken up with shortly after. I’m a pretty social person and I’ve made some good friends here, but the evenings/nights do get a bit lonely sometimes. I’m pretty much just looking for someone to help me get rid of the restlessness/boredom until I’m ready to date. However, if it turns out that you are the man of my dreams, I’m not going to fight it if it turns into more (you don’t exist, do you?). Let’s chat, maybe voice chat and see how things go, I guess. Not interested in hookups.
Interested in talking to Americans/Canadians (around NYC/Toronto would probably make the most sense, I can explain why if we hit it off, but I guess anywhere on the east coast of the US is fine). It’s an accent thing, (the standard accents, what you hear on tv I guess), I’m into all races/ethnicities. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in NY/NJ and I’ll be moving to North America for work within the next year as well, if everything goes according to plan (won’t be giving up my Danish citizenship and could go back anytime. I love Denmark. A lot of people ask about this so thought I’d explain).
The break up was pretty ugly and it pretty much destroyed me and my self esteem. I’m doing a lot better now though, but I do feel like I need positive people in my life right now. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk about anything, including bad days (we absolutely need to!), but if you’re struggling with mental health issues I don’t think we would be good for each other right now. If you’re super introverted we probably wouldn’t be a good match either.
I’m a happy and positive person in general (with a bit of sass/sarcasm once you get to know me, but it’s all in good fun and I can definitely take it as well). I do get mad/annoyed/sad at times but it usually doesn’t last long. Honestly though, I hope you do too, cause it’s human. The important thing is to be able to talk about it. If you’re not a good communicator and if you can’t handle emotions, let’s not communicate at all.
I’m into socializing with my friends (it doesn’t matter what we do really, I’ll have fun as long as the company is good), going to the gym/being active, cooking, watching tv, occasionally gaming on my PS… and a bunch of other stuff. I’m a big fan of UFC and I enjoy watching other sports as well. I’m educated and have a successful career, but I definitely enjoy my free time and I’d probably vibe with people that are similar. I’m super independent - right until I see spider or need to open jars :p.
If you wanna know more, and if you’re a decent human being, I guess I’ll catch you in my DMs/chat and feel free to ask!
If you do contact me, please include a photo of yourself and tell me a bit about yourself. I did the same, right? If you don’t, I won’t be responding.
Alright, so here’s proof that I am me:
And here’s another photo of me:
And here’s another one:
It may not seem like it, but I smile a lot and it’s super easy to make me laugh, I promise!
Born and raised in Denmark, but ethnically I’m… a secret for now ;). My skin color ranges between olive - tan/brown. I’m 5’3 and curvy but into taller guys (6’0-6’2). Total sucker for abs, obliques and strong arms, haha but it’s not a dealbreaker. I have been very consistent with working out though, so it would be cool if you’re into that too, as it would help me stay motivated.
Like I said, into all races/ethnicities but I do have a preference to at least a bit of melanin. Prefer men around my age (maybe 31-35?). Not into youngeolder men, married/engaged/cheating men, polyamorous people… yeah I could keep adding to the list but I hope you get the idea.
submitted by Benzene07 to r4r [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:08 haidu345 Need some advice on where to go next

Need some advice on where to go next
My setup: I’m a college student. I work a lot with heavy microscopy data (each experiment generates usually 200-300 gb of data). All of the data is stored on school servers, but I wanted to also have local copies. So I have a WD My Book 12tb drive which stores all the microscopy data.
I also have some personal stuff I’ve been hoarding over smb on a 4tb my passport connected to an old laptop running Ubuntu (the image which is my current setup). The laptop also runs a few docker containers.
Why I need to upgrade: I have no backups. The data is stored on school servers but once I graduate I won’t have access to them anymore. Also if I try to watch a movie on the 4tb over smb, it is very slow and buffers.
What I’m looking for: Some ideas or equipment that are relatively cheap. I don’t know if it’s worth building a pc and making it a nas or buying a prebuilt ready to go nas. Either way the computer would need to be able to handle docker. If possible I’d like something with some power so maybe I could also run some computations on it.
submitted by haidu345 to DataHoarder [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:04 Frosty_Smoke3705 AITA telling my BF that our daughter will not be around his mom much and definitely not a stepdad

I’m currently 7 1/2 months pregnant (18F) and have been with my BF (20M) for about three years. Now my boyfriend and I have had infidelity in the past before, a lot. Unfortunately it has messed me up and caused me to overthink every situation and think that he’s doing the worst. Some backstory, I’ve been around my boyfriend’s family for a long time always hanging out with them, always going on trips, being there on certain holidays, I was just always around, until I got pregnant. Yes, my boyfriend and I argue a lot but we are learning and growing. We were kids when we got together and didn’t know how to value a relationship so it’s been hard trying to get out of that stage to be a fully committed family together. Everything has been pretty good so far except for his parents.
When I found out I was pregnant my boyfriend was in New York picking up his older friend. Not to mention he’s lived above me for about two years now in a two-part house. We decide to go upstairs to go tell his parents. I was already nervous and my parents were completely okay with everything and we’re by my side. She seemed shocked and his stepdad just seemed out of it completely. Now I just thought that they were in shock because his stepdads daughter was also pregnant. So I thought it would just be good to give them time to realize what was actually happening. So my boyfriend would spend most nights with me. One day I was allowed to come upstairs and his stepdad told us that the sleepovers have to cut down a lot.
I was confused as to why because I would get them up for work on time and he would do whatever he needed to do still. So after while we cut down. My boyfriend and I would argue. I would tell him how he’s not understanding how I feel about certain things or that he wasn’t taking me seriously. I started to feel my intuition tell me something was off with his phone and I asked him if I could see it he made it a big problem and wouldn’t let me and he went upstairs.The next day I asked him if he can come down to talk things out and show me and prove to me he’s serious about our relationship. What he told me made me flip shit it was the last straw for me. He said depends. He’s cheated a lot over the past 2 1/2 years on the phone on Snapchat, Instagram, dating apps, and more. I’ve caught him a lot and still stayed. Every time it hurt and made me think differently of myself. Now that I am having a daughter of my own I know that I do not deserve that.
So when he didn’t want to talk about things or show me his phone, everything of his and he gave me I started to throw out the window. My question is why did it take me to lose my shit for him to actually be serious with me. After many times where I forgave him and took him back and gave him more chances. After that we talked about things and figured it out. Yes there were things on there that I did not like and I told him the next time it happens I have to walk away. I reminded him how would he feel if a boy would ever do that to our little girl how would it make him feel. It has now been about five months and I’ve only been upstairs about two or three times. I’m getting to the point where it’s not right because they have another son and he is with this girl and she has been up stairs recently a lot. Now I’m realizing they didn’t need time to realize that I was pregnant they just didn’t want me up there because I was pregnant.
His own stepdad told me he wish I wasn’t pregnant. Now he had his first kid at 10 years old, altogether he has five kids. He has told me stories about how he messed around with many girls especially while with my boyfriends mother. Hearing that made me think that’s why boyfriend would cheat on me. That’s all he saw around the seven years that his stepdad has been with his mother. His stepdad would always hand us some weed to go have fun with. I would let my mom know just so she knows I’m safe while doing it. She understood that I am at the age where I’m going to try new things and do it either way. She just wants to make sure I’m safe.
His mother and my mom have argued a few times she thought I was trying to trap him but that was not true. I had to get my gallbladder removed and it was causing acid reflex and I could not take my birth control or my Zoloft medication and he knew. He still wanted to do it knowing the consequences that could happen. And that’s how I got pregnant. My boyfriend told me that they didn’t want me up there anymore and he respected that. Which I completely understand but it’s not fair because I know once my little girl is born they will try and have just her up there and I will not be okay with that.
They would always call me family to them. Now I just feel like I’m the baby mama. My boyfriend told me that his mom wants to take our baby when she’s around two years old with his brothers and his grandma to Disneyland or World one or the other. I asked what about me what he told me is that it’s a family thing that they do during the summer. Him saying that hurt, like I’m not family but he might have not meant it that way, but either way I told him she would not go not unless I would go. He said if anything he’ll just pay for my ticket. That’s not the point though after me being around for so long I’m not allowed to go on family trips anymore? I’m having two whole different baby showers one for my side of the family one for his side of the family. Now I understand that means double and more things which I don’t mind but why couldn’t we just have a big one. I understand that they’re both pretty far distances away but still it makes me think.
I recently argued with him that our baby girl is not going upstairs whatsoever when his stepdad is around or won’t be up there much. I’ve been upstairs once in a while but once his stepdad is on the way home I have to go back downstairs to my house. It’s mainly his stepdad but his mom is completely okay with it. That’s what I think is wrong, they haven’t been around my whole entire pregnancy I don’t want to give birth to my daughter and then all of a sudden they want my daughter upstairs all the time. It may be petty but it’s unfair to me, it’s like once I got pregnant they treated me completely different. His stepdad has a drug problem, and his mother has an alcohol problem, I don’t really want my daughter around that. my boyfriend recently told me the reason why I’m not allowed upstairs, I think there’s more to it though. His mother was drunk once and decided to call CPS on his stepdad’s niece. So if I’m being honest I don’t trust his mom and I don’t trust his stepdad.
So I told my boyfriend that our daughter will not be around them alone without me. I told him he will not bring her up there even if it’s to let me sleep. I will go anywhere my daughter goes. If they do not like the fact that I will be with her every single time she’s around them they do not have to see her at all. AITA?
submitted by Frosty_Smoke3705 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:02 Sufficient-Duty1635 Help w/ fitness + vent

Sorry just a little vent I’ve been in my head for a long time and I just want to be heard.
Came straight out of OSUT and I’ve been at my first duty station for a while now. Before going in I was like 230 lbs and when I graduated OSUT I came out around 190. Once I got to my station I let my depression eat me up and I’ve gotten fat as fuck. I hate myself. I joined to get away from family and find some purpose in my life but funny how I miss them now. I feel so alone and invisible. I’m not suicidal but there’s times where I just wish I stopped existing. I feel empty and time feels so weird and warped. Sometimes I struggle telling what’s real and what’s not. I’ve deleted all my social media as I found it distracting and people don’t really talk to me. I’ve redownloaded Reddit as a last resort. I try to get out and socialize but I feel like a background character. I say something and people just walk past me. I feel like people only wanna talk to me when they need or want something. I try my best to be a good soldier at all times. Right uniform, right attitude, and right time. Only words that come out of my mouth is “yes ____” or “no ____” and then work ends and I just go and rot in my room. I try to go outside and do things but there isn’t much to do and everything is so far away and I don’t have a car. I try to compensate for my lack of PT and be a good soldier by working hard and doing more because I’m ass at PT. I feel constantly looked down upon and shitted on for being dog water at PT. I’m 19 and I just don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I feel like I need to have everything figured out as I’m an adult now. I feel like a big ass baby with no clue what I’m doing in life 24/7 and constantly looking for guidance by older people. I don’t know how to drive or do taxes or mow a lawn and etc. Maybe if I had parents in my life I’d have some purpose or sense of what I’m doing. I feel constantly pressured as a man that I need to have everything. Like oh I need a house and a car and this and that and more money and degrees. I’m constantly unsatisfied with myself as I feel like I haven’t done enough. Since I’ve been away from home I’ve had trouble sleeping and I lay in my bed for hours trying to sleep and struggle with night terrors. I avoid caffeine and dip or nic or whatever people use. I’ve tried to schedule a BH appointment but I have to wait like 2 months. I feel so distant from everyone. After high school friendships and meaningful relationships seemed to dissolved before my eyes but I guess that’s part of growing up. I feel like no one understands me. I wish had a “bro” or “homie” that can understand me. I just want meaningful relationships, and all my relationships feel so surface leveled such as family or my battle buddy’s. I try to connect and go in depth with people but no one seems to match my energy? There’s so much more to life that just getting wasted for the weekend or getting with a new chick. I want rich and deep conversations and where people can connect but everyone is so shallow? But yeah, I just want to be heard and understood and so thank you if you’ve read this far. Hopefully someone can relate? There’s more but I’ll stop there sorry about that.
Fitness I have never exercised once or played any sports in my life before the army. I have no knowledge about diets or exercises. I wanna lose fat and build muscle. This is my attempt of reaching out for help and trying to retake my life and change. I’m tired of being fat and hating how I look. I’m tired of being weak as shit and looked down upon. I want to become better. I want to feel better. I want to eat better. If anyone could help me create a split or full body routine or some sort of schedule and some sort of diet I’d be forevermore grateful. I’ll share my recent acft scores based off memory but maybe this can determine where I am. I know they are terrible.
Deadlift: 340 Ball throw: 9.6m and 10m Push ups: 55 Sprint-drag-carry: 1:45 Plank: 1:38 Run: around 22 mins from what I remember
submitted by Sufficient-Duty1635 to army [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:01 JRLee62 UGLY DUCKLING COMPLEX: the painful path of transformation ~ a new TJL episode

UGLY DUCKLING COMPLEX: the painful path of transformation ~ a new TJL episode
We all understand the Ugly Duckling complex because we lived it at one time or another. Hans Christian Anderson’s famous tale paints a poignant picture of a child’s experience of rejection only because he’s born in the wrong nest. People who seem different or have not yet matured into their natural beauty endure a kind of scorn that can bring them to despair. The ugly duckling’s capacity to endure and find refuge once he is recognized by fellow swans can hearten us during the long winters of our lives.
As an individuation metaphor, the tale dramatizes how many of us feel essentially different than our playmates and family. The combination of alienation and desperation drives us to merge with others’ feelings and paradoxically escape into fantasies. When the Self finally activates to save us, it drives us toward the reality principle—only through regarding ourselves accurately and meeting the eyes of others can we discover our true nature and feel welcomed. Just as Jung suggested, we need relationships to feel whole even though we are afraid of being hurt. The Ugly Duckling shows us the archetypal theme from misery to fulfillment.
The mother hen suspects something is off with her one oddly large egg and normalizes the duckling’s uncanny size when he’s born. Seeing he can at least swim, she gives him a chance to fit in. But, one by one, the barnyard creatures assess him and announce he is lacking. Ridiculed, chased, insulted, and kicked, even the mother abandons her goodwill and wishes him gone. In horror and despair, the ugly duckling finally runs away. Hans Christian Anderson wrote so poignantly about this because he lived it.
Born into the crushing poverty of Odense, Denmark, Andersen, too, felt marked by his stark divergence from the norm. His father, a cobbler with an affection for literature, instilled the young Andersen with a zeal for reading, an enthusiasm not shared by most of his peers. This distinctiveness set him apart, foreshadowing the artistic blossoming that was to come. His transition from the confines of his provincial town to the majesty of Copenhagen, where he found his footing in the Royal Danish Theatre, mirrored the unexpected transformation of the Ugly Duckling. Yet, this narrative of becoming was intertwined with another layer of complexity — Andersen’s homosexuality. His sexual identity, a fact that he could neither fully express nor openly explore in the conservative climate of the 19th century, amplified his sense of estrangement. His unreciprocated affections, extended towards both men and women, nurtured a profound isolation that catalyzed his writings, infusing his narratives with deep empathy and personal experience. In one sense, Andersen transcended the narrow prejudices of his society to secure a place in the annals of world literature. His ability to transform his personal suffering through art is where Andersen’s true genius lies, resonating with every underdog, every unacknowledged genius who yearns to break the chains of circumstance and find a place of acceptance.
The motif of the uncanny and frightening child runs through many fairytales. Marie Louise von Franz described how children who have a relationship with the unconscious are often characterized as magicians or terrifying in one way or another. She and Jung lamented how people are frightened by almost anything unusual, leading to a powerful suppression of unique gifts a child might evidence. Many of us drawn to Jung’s ideas feel we did not meet cultural expectations. The quantitative measurements in modern schools can’t assess depth of feeling or inexplicable intuition and undervalue relational skill.
Frightened by the repeated accusations of inferiority, we are vulnerable to believe we’re broken and race to do things perfectly. Guided by school, family, and religion, we try to be pleasing by abandoning ourselves and aping what we were instructed to do. Cycling through self-hatred, depression, and desperation, we may feel that running away is the only choice left. This is often the beginning of a different kind of hero’s journey. Not drawn forward by a glorious us but motivated by a desperate hope to escape pain, the Ugly Duckling is cast into the complexities of life. From the nest, into the barnyard, then away to the wintry pond, we also flee to college, then employment in city after city, fleeing from pain and learning about life. For a time, we may cast ourselves into job after job, only later realizing we want peace so we can quietly heal and rediscover our instincts.
Like the duckling who the snarling dog overlooks, we discover the protective value of hiding in plain sight. We wonder if our ugliness makes us invisible. Secretly relieved to slip by safely, we realize we’re free to rediscover our natural personality and experiment with following our own interests. It’s an interesting thing to rediscover the Self; its influence compels us toward new places and also creates a corrective orbit around us, repelling certain people and drawing others naturally closer. This happens to the duckling, who glimpses a strange flock of huge white birds that vault into the sky, leaving him breathless. When we catch a glimpse of who we might become, our golden-shadow surges with life, and a new possibility is felt.
A glimpse of who we could be can steel us against adversity. It acts like a tiny candle we diligently tend. The duckling, too, survives a winter in the pond. His feet frozen in ice, he is rendered immobile. Jung mentions this phenomenon. In his alchemical writing, he notes a strange description of a mystical creature who swims up from the ocean floor and attaches to the bottom of a swift ship—stopping it dead in its tracks. He equates this with being reclaimed by the Self after years of losing the connection. Much like being frozen in ice, the ego must be held in suspension for the restoration of the ego-self axis.
Enduring a winter on the moors is a heroic battle. A peasant finally takes pity and frees him, offering humble shelter. Awkward and listless, the duckling accepts help. If we are lucky, a kind soul will see our suffering and compromised state as we submit to the Self and offer safety and warmth. Like a Jungian analyst’s office, the peasant’s home is liminal; there is fire and acceptance, but only the natural maturational process can effect the necessary changes.
Spring finally comes, and with the sun warming his body, the duckling flies into the air. We also eventually feel the warmth of the Self upon our backs. The unobstructed archetypal energies vitalize us, and we finally feel we can choose our own direction. No longer hobbled by memories of traumatic rejection, our vitality is restored, and like the duckling, we are Synchronistically guided to the fateful encounter with our own kind. At first, we cannot recognize the beauty we have become and prepare to be rejected once again. Like the duckling, we may bow our heads and whisper, just kill me already. But our true kin understand how to touch us gently and coax us to see who we truly are. The swans croon and stroke his elegant neck; in disbelief, he finally feels happiness.
Like Hans Christian Anderson, we may find ourselves alien in our own homes. We may flee only to discover the world cannot understand us. Yet one day, perhaps in the nadir of despair, something greater will claim us from within. Then, quickened and set aright in the world, our true kin will recognize us, and in their embrace, we may understand our suffering as a process that eventually enabled us to fly.
“I was eating at a restaurant with a familiar group of people, though many of them were just familiar dream people, not people I know in real life. I felt something on my foot and thought I had dropped a piece of food, so I looked down. It was a small frog jumping across my foot. I picked it up and recalled feeling repulsed by it. I started cutting it across its back and pulling its legs off, but it was dying; it remained alive and kept looking at me, almost as if it was begging me to stop. Suddenly, I thought, “Why am I doing this?” “Why didn’t I just take it outside and set it free?” then, I knew I couldn’t fully kill it, so I asked someone at the table to come outside with me, and I wanted them to ‘finish the job’ and kill the frog so it wouldn’t suffer anymore. The dream ended with the other person killing the frog and me crying uncontrollably at my callousness and gratuitous violence towards the frog.”
We’ve created Dream School to teach others how to work with their dreams. A vibrant community has constellated around this mission, and we think you’ll love it. Check it out:
Hey folks, we need your help. Please become our patron and keep This Jungian Life podcast up and running:
Submit your dream for a possible podcast interpretation:
Enroll in the Philadelphia Jungian Seminar and start your journey to become an analyst:
Subscribe to our free newsletter:
submitted by JRLee62 to Jung [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:00 JackPembroke [SF] God Mode - A Litrpg Short Story

Inside the boundless expanse of Loria Online, Guspy the elven mage drained the last of his mana vaporizing a Vickerbite. It was his third hour of grinding this particular mob, and he was getting tired.
“What’s the drop rate on this thing again?” he asked Collins.
Collins cleaved another Vickerbite with his greataxe. “0.02% or something. Getting bored?”
Guspy was indeed getting bored. Despite their grotesque appearance (they looked like flying crocodile heads with mosquito feet), Vickerbites were pushovers.
“Yeah, I might only have a few minutes’ more patience for this.”
Collins slammed his axe into the ground, causing a shockwave that killed another three. “That’s ok, we’ve been playing for a while. It just kind of feels like wasted time if we quit now, though.”
“Are you getting close to leveling?”
“Me neither.”
A Vickerbite burst when he swatted it with his staff. A loot bag dropped onto the rust colored dirt.
Probably another Vicker Tongue or leg or something, Guspy thought. He almost didn’t bother to check. But when he did, he found what he and Collins had been seeking for so long.
“I got it! The belt dropped!”
“Thank God, let’s get out of here,” Collins said, regrouping with the mage he protected.
Guspy read the item description for The Belt of Endurance.
The Belt of Endurance Slot: Belt Rarity: Very Rare Earth Resistance: %%0 Air Resistance: %%0 Fire Resistance: %%0 Water Resistance: %%0 Physical Resistance: %%0 Magic Resistance: %%0 Debuff Resistance: %%0
“What the hell?” Guspy said.
“What’s wrong? Is it the wrong belt?” Collins casually swatted two final Vickerbites.
“The stats are glitched or something. It’s supposed to be 5% resistance to everything, right?”
“The BoE? Yeah, 5% resist all. Is it not?”
“It shows ‘percent percent zero’.”
Collins shrugged. “Put it on, see what happens.”
Guspy equipped the belt and checked his character’s stats. “Ha, that’s so weird. All of my resistances show backslash, open parenthesis, ‘N’, close parenthesis.”
Collins used the Warrior’s Assessment ability on Guspy. “Huh. When I analyze you, I see hashtag ‘null’.”
“That’s either really good or really bad,” said Guspy.
Collins raised his sword and struck Guspy on the shoulder.
Collins attacks you for 0 damage
“There are safer ways to check!” Guspy said.
“It didn’t hurt you, weird. Mind if I use a little Fire Fan scroll on you?” Collins asked with a toothy grin.
“You have one? Aren’t you a little over leveled for that?” Fire Fan produced a tiny cone of flame that did very little damage.
“I’m a hoarder. So, can I?” Collins wiggled the scroll between his fingers.
Guspy agreed.
Collins casts Fire Fan for 0 fire damage
“Guspy, I don’t want to alarm you, but I think that belt makes you invincible,” said Collins.
Guspy began to bounce up and down in excitement. “Oh man, think of the possibilities! I can solo raid a guild hall. The Nighthawks deserve that kind of ass whupping,” he said, referring their rival guild in Loria. “Or I can loot an end-game dungeon! We’re not far from The Death Pit.”
Collins looked into Guspy’s eyes and gave him the smile a parent gives a child when they ask where rainbows end.
“Oh, you asshole!” said Guspy.
“I think you should turn it in,” said Collins.
“Why?! Why would I do that?! The Nighthawks have been bullying us for months now. With this, I could walk right in their guild hall, wipe them out, and tear the whole thing down. They wouldn’t be able to stop me! You can’t tell me they don’t deserve it.”
“Not saying they don’t,” said Collins.
Guspy pressed, “I can farm The Death Pit for Soulflayers. Everyone in our guild could have a Soulflayer, even the newbies. They’d finally be tough enough to join us on raids. You know how they’ve been dying to play with us in high level zones. Think how happy they would be!”
“Oh, they’d be awfully happy,” said Collins.
Guspy unleashed his coup de grace. “And! I can go to Fort Murder, stroll through it without a care in the world, kill the general, and not have to split the loot with anyone. That means I would get a Headsman’s Axe, which I would of course donate to my dear friend Collins. Wouldn’t you like a Headsman’s Axe?”
“I absolutely would,” said Collins.
“Ok, good. So, I’ll just—"
“Turn it in, Guspy,” said Collins.
Guspy stamped his feet in frustration. “Why though? You just said you were on board with the Nighthawks and the Soulflayer and the axe!”
“Oh, I am. The Nighthawks need to get taught. Having the newbies be tough enough to join us would be great. I’ve been dying for a Headsman for months now. But you’d be cheating. Momma didn’t raise no cheater, and daddy didn’t raise no troll,” said Collins.
“That’s so backward. You know the Nighthawks would do that to us if they got it,” said Guspy.
“Sure enough. But we can’t control what they do, and I can’t control what you do. I just want you to remember what I’ve said before: there’s a person on the other end of that character. A person just like you. I can only imagine how tilted you’d get if someone cheated to become invincible and killed you. Or farmed their whole guild ultra-rares and used them on you. I’m just asking you, as a friend, to turn it in. Please.”
Guilt. He’s put the guilt in me, thought Guspy. What an asshole.
“Fine, I’ll head to Pokate and turn it in,” said Guspy, pouting and kicking an errant stone.
“Thanks, Gusp. I promise I’ll help you find a legit one. I gotta go, though. Play later?”
“You know it,” said Guspy, and he watched Collin’s avatar dissipate.
Guspy walked back to Pokate City, the largest player hub in the area. The journey was a particularly hazardous one. Wild beast attacks, an assassin, a rockslide, even an errant fireball from an ongoing battle, all harmless in the face of his perfect resistance. He crossed into the city proper, whitewashed buildings that held little shops and extra dimensional guildhalls. Pokate Palace loomed over all of this like a resplendent sundial. The stained-glass windows shimmered in the sunlight.
Guspy approached a beggar in the street. The beggar’s body was gaunt. His dirty rags and matted beard spoke of hungry days and cruel nights. The beggars of Loria Online were portals to moderator attention. Speaking to a beggar cued a request. A moderator would eventually take control of the beggar and offer assistance.
Guspy knelt before the beggar.
“I’d like to speak with a moderator, please.”
“All in good time, my boy,” the beggar wheezed.
Guspy felt an itch in his legs. There was still time to run wild, to reap the rewards of his lottery ticket. He cursed Collins for guilting him and attempted to distract himself. Guspy admired the features on the beggar. His eyes traced cavernous wrinkled flesh. Saw the tiny movements of lice in the filthy thick beard. Saw the faintest deposits of salt in two long tracks leading down from the cloudy blue eyes.
The beggar had been crying. Why would they include such a heartbreaking detail? Why haven’t I ever noticed this before? Guspy thought.
The clouds in the beggar’s eyes parted, revealing a bright blue sky. “Thank you for waiting, this is Raymond. How can I help you?” A voice as crisp as autumn wind now spoke through the beggar.
“Uhh, hi. I’ve got a problem with an item I found?” Guspy spoke at the mouth of the beggar.
“Sure thing! Is it an item you have equipped right now?”
“Yeah, The Belt of Endurance. The values look wonky, and It makes me immune to every element. I’m immune to physical and magic damage now too.”
There was a long pause, the beggar’s eye fluttered. “You’re reporting that an item is broken in your favor?”
Guspy winced. “Umm, yes sir? It basically makes me immortal.”
Guspy waited patiently. The moderator was using his tools to see Guspy’s menu screens, something that was normally private.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” the beggar said. “It’s a null shunt error.”
“A null shunt error?”
“Yeah. Sometimes during a drop-roll, the system shunts over a clipped value that…sometimes it breaks.”
“They’re a bitch to fix. Thankfully very rare. This one is particularly bad, and I’m at the end of my shift.” The mod let out a sigh that prophesized an exhausting tedious future.
“Well…thank you for your honesty! Usually when an item glitches in a player’s favor, they keep it a secret for as long as they can. Then they have a temper tantrum when we take it away. Alright, Guspy, I’m on morning shift tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with this right now. I’m giving you eight hours of god mode. Can I trust you not to make me regret it?”
Guspy was stunned. A mod was allowing immortality for eight hours? Trusting him? Why?
“You can trust me,” Guspy said.
“I hope so. I’ll fix this in the morning, don’t take the belt off or you’ll have negative infinite resistance and die from a sunburn.” The beggar’s eyes clouded back over.
Guspy threw a gold piece into the beggar’s bowl, a good luck ritual that even the highest level raiders did before a dangerous run.
He was in the clear. A mod had okayed him having god mode. Anything I do is the mod’s fault now! Guspy thought, but the thought gave him a queasy feeling the moment it passed through his mind. He was being trusted. He had promised to not make the mod regret it.
What was the mod’s name? Randy? He remembered Collins's words about there being real people on the other end of the game. He supposed that meant Randy too. He imagined telling someone to their face that his actions were their fault, like trust somehow absolved him of responsibility. He imagined someone else doing that to him. Or doing that to his little sister…
He spent a fair amount of gold on fast travel scrolls, valuable, single-use items that would transport the player anywhere in Loria. Guspy now stood on the craggy lip of Salamander’s Eye. The massive active volcano dominated the primordial jungle landscape. A vast column of ebony smoke rose from the lava pit, the birthplace of thunderclouds. Guspy spread his arms wide and fell into the heat, letting simulated gravity carry him downward to the roiling floor of liquid earth.
At the last moment he reflexively raised his hands to shield himself. Lava was instant death in Loria, doing an infinite amount of damage per second. Guspy was now sinking slowly in this most dangerous of elements unharmed. He raised his hand in a thumbs up as he sank beneath the surface.
Whorls of incandescent crimson, brown, and orange materialized and dispersed endlessly. It was like looking into the fickle furnace of creation, so eager to invent but too chaotic to design.
Guspy wondered if he’d fall forever. At last, his feet settled on something solid. He was the first player to set foot here. A unique accomplishment, one he could keep. He moved through the lava as though it was water. Must not have been a very important thing to program considering you die as soon as you touch it, he thought.
Guspy explored the floor of the volcano. It was perfectly smooth and without texture, an entire volcano held up on a pane of glass. But then he found something. A deformity in the bottom of the world. He explored it with his hand. It felt like a solid bubble sticking up out of the flat plane beneath him. It moved a little.
It’s a doorknob! Guspy realized. He turned it and felt it fall away beneath him. He sank further and dropped into a vast open room, the lava didn’t follow past the entry. Guspy cast a series of Light spells, banishing the darkness to the black obsidian of the walls and floor.
A giant floating sign that hung suspended in midair grabbed Guspy’s attention.
“Shows what you know, sign,” Guspy said, and began to explore.
In the secret chamber Guspy found dozens of monster models from the surrounding area, frozen in the sterile T-position. He took the time inspect them in the minutest detail. He saw the way salamander skin glittered with the luster of countless ruby gemstones. He watched the dancing flames of fire elementals, and discovered their heat rose above the limitation of their hitbox. He looked deep into the eyes of a stone golem and saw that they were prisms. They split the blue glow of the golem’s magical core into a frigid winter sunset, whites and blues dancing and concealing a secret whisper of deep red.
I don’t think I ever really looked at the models before, he thought. Even now he couldn’t recall any specific details of any monster he had fought. They were all colored blurs in his mind, faceless values and blocks of information.
Despite his immortality, he still froze in fear when his spell illuminated a colossus of steel tucked away in a corner of the room. It was a broad suit of cold iron armor, bereft of adornment and pockmarked with the careless ministrations of a thousand hammers beating the metal into shape. In one clenched fist it carried a wicked looking cleaver, one that belonged in a giant’s butcher shop, used to crack the toughest dragon bones and partition the choicest bits.
Guspy had never seen or heard of this creature in his life.
You must not have made it into the final game. At least not yet, thought Guspy. Despite its beastly ugliness, Guspy felt a pang of remorse. Someone worked to design every aspect of this monstrosity to evoke the feelings of fear and disgust, and they had been very successful. But it had gone unused and unseen since the game’s inception.
I remember the Christmas ornament I made in middle school. A Christmas light made to look like a reindeer, googly eyes and fuzzy brown pipe cleaners for antlers. I was so proud. But when Christmas came, they didn’t want to put it on the tree. They thought it looked too silly.
Guspy left a gold coin at its feet, alms for unsung effort.
He was preparing to depart when he noticed an unadorned chest had appeared beneath the presumptive sign. Guspy was certain it hadn’t been there before. He approached, circling the chest, before reaching out and lightly tapping it. He may invulnerable, but this was a developer’s world. Who knows what treachery could hide here? He lifted the lid, tilting his head and peeking at its contents with one eye shut. Inside was a billiard sized ball of translucent glass. Guspy recognized a Title Sphere. These rare items would grant a moniker to the character’s name. It was a single use item worth tens of thousands of gold. Too curious to resist learning what it would bestow, he shattered the sphere in his palm. Red dust flowed between his fingers like Martian sand. His name had changed from Guspy to Guspy the Wanderer.
Guspy used his next scroll and teleported to the shipwreck of the Soothsayers Doom. A brig suspended above the ocean on a monstrous coral bed, the ship itself was a mid-level dungeon. Players could fight their way from deck to deck, battling undead crewmen that fired grapeshot salvos into crowded rooms, shredding players into bloody clouds. The Captain was the boss of the dungeon, and part of his loot was a map that would send players on a quest line that eventually led players to the halls of the merfolk king, an extremely high-level dungeon at the bottom of the ocean.
Being immortal, Guspy took what players called the ‘express route’, swimming directly downward from the open sea. It was suicide. Besides suffocation, players had to contend with titanic carcharodons, giant squid, invisible water elementals, and elite merfolk guard. These creatures had mastery of the terrain, and few players were accustomed to attacks that could come from any direction.
Beneath him, the phosphorescent glow of the Coral Castle overpowered the distant sun for dominion of the depths. Guspy slipped into a castle window, ignoring the tridents of the pursuing Knights of Pearl. The Castle was a dungeon that needed to be completed quickly, lest the player’s water breathing magic wear off. That made it the perfect sight-seeing location for someone who didn’t need to breathe. Guspy examined the meticulously decorated royal bedrooms. The books in Loria were filled with open source stories from the real world. Players spent hours in this fantasy world engrossed in the prose of Tom Sawyer and Paradise Lost. But yellowed letters fell from between the pages like autumn leaves.
Never whole without you, my beloved Jennifer,
Guspy didn’t know the merfolk princess even had a name. Neither had he any idea who B.C was, or if these pages were part of some fetch quest he had never come across.
Deeper in the palace he found the throne room of the merfolk king. The king was gigantic, of course, all raid bosses were. The king was also an enemy that demanded constant focus and attention to defeat. He cycled seamlessly through attack patterns, buffs, and stage activations. Missing the tell-tale signs would leave you a step behind the dance and doomed to failure.
Guspy now had a unique opportunity. He ignored the king completely. The throne room was heaped with chests of gold and artifacts plundered from sunken ships. But they were only decorative, ersatz décor designed to regale the room with the trappings of wealth and luxury. Being worthless, players ignored them. Guspy took the time to closely inspect the mountains of coins and bejeweled quillions that rose from the coin piles. Ignoring the world-shaking bolts of lightning, magical rays, and great sweeps of the merfolk king’s trident, he crouched to the level of a single coin.
There, in the face of the coin, were three smiling children. The normal relief of Empress Aubrianna, a mythical figure in Origin’s history, was replaced with a picture of a family. The normal Latin phrase, “A solis ortu usque ad occasum”, had been replaced with, “Jason, Melody, Brock”. He moved from one coin to the next. Families, pets, and selfies looked back at him. Some had names written, others messages, “Thx Mel, my rock <3” “Joe & Cara 4 eva” “We did it!”
Guspy wondered if any player had ever seen these. Maybe, but he hadn’t, and that made it special to him. He wondered what he would put on his own coin. Me, Collins, and Becca at the beach, he thought. A picture that had been his desktop background for years. The only evidence of a perfect day.
Having taken his fill of the throne room, Guspy pulled out another scroll and teleported away.
Hogglerock dungeon was an aberration. Most dungeons tried to evoke a sense of awe or fear, but Hogglerock was just gross. Its entrance was at the center of a mud-smothered swamp. Poisonous insects and carnivorous slugs roamed the wastes searching for carrion to strip or making their own if none could be found.
To descend into the putrid depths of Hogglerock, you entered the mouth of a great saurian beast. It was long since dead, its flesh in a perpetual state of decay. Down its mucus-caked throat, you entered a dungeon that had been created from the offal that remained of its digestive system. Noxious acid pools, monstrous parasites, and bloated scavengers challenged players that came to plunder the carcass.
Guspy had to stop and think before entering the sixth stomach of the beast. He had no idea if his plan would work, or even made sense. Guspy removed all his armor and weapons, save for the Belt of Endurance. He entered the dungeon’s final room, aggroing a great bipedal minotaur and its bovine kin. Guspy sat and crossed his legs. He closed his eyes and focused on slowing his breath and his heart. Aggro in Loria was based on a series of factors: proximity, source of damage or debuff, equipment levels, class, movement, and supposedly even biometric data the VR rig was able to obtain.
The monsters were instantly aggroed when the rubbery sphincter of the sixth stomach was touched, converging on their only target. Guspy’s lack of equipment, aggression, and stillness would reduce his aggro over time. He waited and he watched. In time the monsters lost interest, ceasing their attacks and wandering back to their starting positions. Guspy continued to watch. For a time, they only bobbed in place, replaying idle animations and howling blistering war cries. But, in time, Guspy saw a strange behavior begin. One smaller minotaur creature pulled out a hunk of meat, clutching it by the pure white protruding bone. It chomped a piece and munched in contentment, eyes closed in blissful indulgence. The giant boss minotaur began to sniff the air, and a game of keep away began. The smaller minotaurs tossed the meat between themselves as the boss zeroed in on the source of the smell.
Who is this for? wondered Guspy. Who was meant to see this? And how? Why hide it? How many monsters of Loria Online had these little secrets? Tiny moments of humor buried in terabytes of code, only visible in a state of extreme passivity. Once the capering script had completed, the bovines returned to their normal places and continued to cycle basic idle motions.
It’s for me. Since I’m the one watching it, that means it’s for me, thought Guspy.
Guspy pulled out his final scroll, completing the spell just before he was beset again.
Guspy the Wanderer appeared back in Pokate City. His new title drew lingering looks from other players who searched their memories. Guspy’s time was running low, and fatigue massaged his mind and eyes. There was more he could search for. He could run down the hours until the mod logged back on and set things to rights. But he didn’t want the last moments of such an enlightening day to be a race against the clock. It would spoil the sense of calm and contemplation he had cultivated. Instead he sat down next to a beggar and composed a message to Collins.
“I won’t be joining you today, Collins, but I’ve got so much to tell you about when I do.”
He had seen beyond the veil. He witnessed tiny miracles of creation hidden from mortal sight. Sparks of love that flickered once more when observed. For a precious few hours, he was blessed with a peace that allowed him to fall in love with the game all over again, to appreciate its creation like a benevolent god.
Collins and Guspy returned to the red rock canyon. Guspy admired the visible strata of the walls. Simulated eons left perfect layers of color stacked like the pages of a book. Little details, so insignificant yet so engrossing. He appreciated the work that went into this game. The efforts of artists always caught his notice.
submitted by JackPembroke to shortstories [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 22:59 Austin112420 I’m looking at building a new rifle that won’t break the bank. I don’t want to buy a factory gun. I was thinking about buying a used bergara action, how much will those run me if I can find one? Give me some other recommendations.

For the recommendations, I’d love for the ability to QC the barrels without a barrel nut if possible.
submitted by Austin112420 to longrange [link] [comments]