Why is pop smoke considered afrolatino


2009.01.12 04:28 Madonna

Bitch she's Madonna! We are your reddit home for news, information, music and everything else concerning the legendary Queen of Pop.

2014.01.10 07:37 CBD: The Medical Marijuana and Hemp Cannabinoid Community

Visit our community site for vetted suppliers at http://theCBD.place. It's time that this subject was given more internet exposure. We are here to discuss topics related to medical marijuana and our experiences using CBD and other cannabis/hemp derived cannabinoids. Please do not assume that anyone here is a medical professional and be respectful of all sub members.

2017.11.17 15:53 shinfo44 ThrowbackCore Let's Go Back!

/ThrowbackCore is dedicated to focusing on punk, metal, and alternative subgenres dating from the late 90's to late 00's. These genres include (but not limited to) pop-punk, post-hardcore, metalcore, emo, hardcore, ska, and deathcore. Music, news articles, tour announcements and discussions are all welcome here surrounding that topic.

2023.05.29 00:54 anaf28 I’m so frustrated. Can someone please teach me how to beat this new player?

Ok this will sound pathetic but I’m actually tilted now. I have 200 hours in this game, I quit for a few years and highest I reached was Juggernaut. This new player is my buddy’s brother, he played Marduk for two weeks and somehow constantly destroys me it’s beyond tilting. He does like 5-8 moves and doesn’t even sidestep. I labbed it but I just can’t execute anything in-game. He only does regular grabs and I can’t break them but he literally breaks all my grabs even with King. Idk if it’s a mental block or if he’s actually figured me out and is popping off.
Can someone please go against him and show me what to do? I’m that desperate. It’s not about winning, I’m just confused on why I can’t figure this out.
submitted by anaf28 to Tekken [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:53 JoshAsdvgi THE AHOLI AND OTHER WALPI KATCINAS


A Hopi Legend

Alíksai! In Wálpi and Sitcómovi they were living, but not at the places where the villages now are, but where they used to be. In Wálpi lived an old man, the Ahö'li Katcina.
He had with him a little maiden who was his sister, the Katcín- mana.
As he was very old and feeble this maiden would always lead him.
In the other village, Sitcómovi, lived a youth with his old grandmother, and as she also was very feeble he took care of her and used to lead her.
One time the Ahö'li and the little maiden went to their field 'south of Wálpi where they wanted to plant.
They carried with them little pouches containing seeds.
In their field was a báho shrine, and when they came to their field the Katcina first deposited some prayer-offerings in the shrine, first some corn-meal and then also some nakwákwosis which he drew forth from his corn-meal bag.
This bag he had tied around his neck.
In this shrine lived Mû'yingwa and his sister Nayâ'ngap Wuhti. "Have you come?" Mû'yingwa said.
"Yes, we have come," they replied. "Thanks," Nayâ'ngap Wuhti said, "thanks, our father, that you have come.
You have remembered us.
No one has thought about us for a long time and brought some offering here, but you have thought about us."
And she began to cry.
Hereupon Ahö'li gave to each one a stick upon which some nakwákwosis were strung, and also some corn-meal.
Hereupon Nayâ'ngap Wuhti was crying still more.
"Yes, we have come here," the Katcina said, "we are pitying our people because they have not had any crops for a long time, and now we thought about you here and have brought these prayer-offerings here.
And now you pity them and let it rain now, and when it rains then a crop will grow again and they will have something to eat, and they will then be strengthened and revived, because they are only living a very little now.
Hereupon he took out his little bundles of seed and gave to the goddess a small quantity of yellow, blue, red, and white corn as an offering.
These he placed before her on the ground.
The two deities then arose. Mû'yingwa had in his left hand a móngkoho, móngwikuru, and a perfect corn-ear (chóchmingwuu).
These he pointed upwards towards the sky.
The female deity held in her hand a squash, which was filled with all kinds of seeds, and as Mû'yingwa pointed up the objects towards the sky she raised the squash with both hands, and then forcibly threw it on the ground on the seeds which the Ahö'li had placed there.
"There," she said, "in this way I have now planted for all of your people these seeds and they will now have crops." Thereupon Mû'yingwa handed the objects which he held in his hand to the Katcina, saying, "You take these with you and with them you produce rain and crops for your children, the people in Wálpi."

So the Ahö'li and the Katcín-maha returned, first going to their booth, or shelter (kísi), that was near by in the field.
Here they partook of the food which they had brought with them.
"Thanks," the Ahö'li said, "thanks that our father was willing. We shall not now go back to the village in vain."
"Yes, thanks," the mána also said.
Hereupon they returned to the village.
It was now late in the afternoon.
As they passed the top of the mesa upon which Wálpi is now situated, they heard somebody singing on top of the bluff, but they went on, and arriving at their kiva they sat down north of the fireplace and smoked over the objects which they had brought with them.
"Thanks that we have returned," the Ahö'li said, ''that we have not been too late for our people.
We shall now possess our people."
And as they were smoking and thus talking somebody came and entered the house.
It was the youth who lived with his old grandmother in Sitcómovi.
He came in.
"Thanks that you have come," he said, "thanks that you have come and provided something for our people here," whereupon he shook hands with them.
"Sit down," Ahö'li said, "and smoke, too."
So the youth filled the pipe with tobacco that he had brought with him and also smoked over the objects.
He took special pains to blow the smoke in ringlets upon the objects.
After he had done that four times, also praying to the objects, they became moist so that the water was beginning to flow from them, indicating that their efforts had been successful and that these objects would produce rain, which was symbolized by this moisture.
Hereupon the youth prepared to return to his home, but Ahö'li restrained him and said:
"Now, tomorrow when the sun rises we shall make a prayer- offering and you must do the same, because when we came we heard somebody sing away up there somewhere."
So early the next morning they dressed up in their costumes, the Katcina being dressed in a tû'ihi, a kilt, and his mask; his body also being painted nicely.
In his right band he carried a stick, natö'ngpi, to the middle of which were tied beads and a bundle of báhos.
In his left hand he carried the objects which he had obtained the previous day.
The mána was dressed as the Katcín-manas are yet dressed to-day.
She carried in her left arm a tray (póta), containing different kinds of seeds.
They proceeded to a báho shrine west of the present village of Wálpi, half-way down the mesa.
Here they sprinkled a little meal to the sun and on the shrine, this little rite being called kúivato.
As they were performing this rite they again heard the same voice singing on top of the mesa, which they had heard before.
There were then no villages on top of the mesa, but the shrine of Taláwhtoika was there already, and at this shrine some one was singing.
When looking up they say that it was the Big-Horn (Wopákal) Katcina.
Hereupon they returned to their house, but immediately started up on the mesa to look for and meet the one that they had heard singing.
So they went up and reached the top of the mesa somewhat west of the bahóki.
Here they noticed some one dressed in a white mask with very small openings for the mouth and eyes.
His body was also white and he wore a thin bandoleer with blue yarn over his shoulder.
He was standing by the side of the shrine shaking a rattle of bones slowly up and down.
After having shaken the rattle four times he started off.
"Wait," the Ahö'li Katcina said, "wait, we have heard some singing up here and want to see who it is." "Yes," the other Katcina, which was the Â'ototo, replied, "yes, I am not singing, but we are two of us here, and the other one was singing."
By this time the Big-Horn Katcina came from the west end of the mesa holding in his left hand a bow, and having a quiver strung over his right shoulder.
He had a green mask with a big horn on the right side and an ear on the left.
He wore a nice kilt, nice ankle bands, and his body was painted up nicely.
When he arrived at the shrine he asked the Â'ototo:
"Why do you tarry here?" "Yes," the Â'ototo replied,
"these are detaining me."
"Why?" the Big-Horn Katcina asked.
"We heard somebody singing here," the Ahö'li replied, "and we came up here to see who it was, and so it is you.
Now, what do you think," he continued, "let us go down all together and then we shall possess the people," and he told the Katcinas about what they had obtained and were going to do.
So the two Katcinas were willing and they prepared to go down.
The Â'ototo took the lead and was followed by the Ahö'li Katcina, and the mána, the Big-Horn Katcina coming last.
This way they went down a part of the way at a place west of the present village of Háno.
Here they made a báho shrine (bahóki), erecting some stones as a mark between the villages of Háno and Sitcómovi.
This shrine is still there.
They then went farther down to the present gap north of Háno to the large shrine with the twisted stone which is still there, Here they met somebody coming out of that shrine and then going up and down there.
It was somebody dangerous (núkpana), who had large protruding eyes and a big mouth in his mask, and many rattles around his body and along the front part of his legs.
His arms were painted white, his body red.
Around his shoulders he had a small blanket of rabbit skin.
On his feet he had old, torn, black moccasins.
In his right hand he had a large knife, in his left hand a crook, to which a number of mósililis were attached.
It was the Cóoyoko, who used to kill and devour children there.
When the Katcinas saw him they said to him:
"Do not trouble us, we are going to possess these people here.
We are going home now.
You can destroy the bad ones, since you are bad anyway, but do not trouble us.
Hereupon they descended and went to their home.
When they arrived at the house of the Ahö'li, which was a very beautiful house, the Ahö'li said:
"Now, here we are, and you stay with us.
It is not good down here it does not rain, but up there where you are it is better.
When it will rain here you can go back, but we want to help the people first.
So to-morrow morning we shall go to the fields and plant for the people."
During the night they did not sleep but they were singing all night, on their masks, which they had standing in a row in the north side of the room.
When the yellow dawn was appearing before sunrise it commenced to rain, and it rained hard.
Towards noon the Katcinas dressed up, putting on their masks, went out, crossed the mesa, came to the fields south of the mesa, and there they beheld large fields of corn, patches filled with melons, watermelons, and squashes. Everything was growing beautifully.
Having looked around a little while they turned around, taking with them a watermelon, an ear of fresh corn, and a melon.
It was still raining so that their feet sank deep into the ground.
When they arrived close to the mesa somebody met them.
It was Big- Skeleton (Wokómásauwuu), who owns the earth and the fields.
He lived about half-way down the mesa near the mesa point. He told the Katcinas that they should go up the mesa and prepare a house there and live there, and from there they should perform their rites.
So they went up on top of the mesa and have lived there ever since.
Soon after that the Wálpi also commenced to move up the mesa and build the new village, where it is at the present time situated.
submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:52 Pretty-Mycologist268 Thoughts from a CS student

With more and more people vying for a spot in a CS course, I thought I'll share my thoughts on opportunities a degree in CS would open up and the reality of these jobs.
For some context, I have interned at FAANG as an SWE, a trading firm as an SWE and another trading firm as a trader. While this allows me to compare and contrast my experiences, keep in mind that experiences are often team dependent so I shall focus on things that apply at a company level. I'm sure there are many of you who dream of landing a job at the likes of Google or Jane Street - I have been in your shoes too and hopefully I can help you figure out whether these jobs are what you really want.
Doors a CS degree would open
A CS degree is extremely flexible. You will have the math and programming foundations for jobs like: software engineer, machine learning engineer, product manager, quant trader, quant researcher, data analyst, data engineer and any more. While these seem like vastly different titles, a CS degree will equip you with the foundational programming skills and more importantly, the ability to solve problems independently. A lot of the learning happens on the job, which means you shouldn't rule out applying for something just because you don't fully satisfy the job descriptions - most people don't anyway.
I feel like the go-to job for CS grads is software engineering, but designing new features and doing code reviews all day is not for everyone. CS is also a very broad field with subfields like AI, ML, NLP, systems, graphics, algorithms, software engineering. Take the time to look into areas you might be interested, and use internships to explore different areas to get a feel of what you like the most.
Tech vs Finance
These are probably the 2 most common industries CS grads end up in, so I thought I should comment a bit about their similarities and differences.
- There is no shortage of smart people in either industry
- Both are pretty results-driven
- Both industries pay quite well, and can have good benefits
- Tech is more laid back, finance moves faster. I was coming into office anywhere between 9-10am in tech with option to WFH, in finance it was more like 8am with no option to WFH
- Some roles are limited to tech - UX designers, product managers. Some roles are limited to finance - quant traders and researchers
Expectations vs Reality
Unsurprisingly, many people aim to land jobs at FAANG companies and trading firms because of their eye-popping pay, crazy benefits, and the prestige associated with working at these places. Everyone has different things they look for in a job, so you should tailor your search to suit your goals. That being said, I will weigh in with my thoughts having worked at a few of these firms.
I'll start off with the premise that if these companies could pay you any lesser to do your job, they would. Lower employee cost => More profits for shareholders => Attract more investment => Company grows. There are 2 main reasons why they are not offering you lower than they are.
  1. Competitors: if Company A offers you 5,000/month while Company B offers you 7,000/month and all else is equal, everyone would leave A to join B. We saw this when trading firm intern offers topped off at 96/hr in 2022, but Optiver raised to 112/hr in 2023. Citadel quickly followed with 120/hr and Jane Street called up interns to raise their offer to 120/hr
  2. Work that is expected of you: if a trading firm offered the same salary as a tech firm, nobody would join the trading firm. Trading firms offer more because more is expected of you - just because you cleared the interview doesn't mean that you're getting twice the salary for the same amount of work
With that in mind, hopefully you can start to see how not everything is captured in the number that is your total compensation. There is a big element of the fight for talent and work expected that goes into it.
Another thing that isn't captured by numbers is job risk. Nobody told Meta and Amazon engineers in their contracts about the possibility of being laid off, yet it happened. Tech firms are barely hiring in an economic climate where recession is a possibility, and I'm sure there are many non-FAANG companies that looked to cut costs in other areas instead of having a knee-jerk reaction and laying off 11% of the company at short notice.
Trading firms are also notorious for cutting under-performers, even more so for front office roles like quant traders. Jane Street has a roughly 50% conversion rate for trading interns, and when you see the profiles of some of these trading interns - IMO medallists, ICPC world finalists, attending top universities like Harvard and MIT, you can probably imagine how much effort you might need to put in to keep up. Just to give an example of what my schedule looked like as a trading intern: I would wake up at 7am, get to office by 8am, trade all the way from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and clear up admin tasks until 6.30pm, getting home at around 7.30pm. After dinner and shower it's already 8.30pm and I hit the bed by 10pm.
Not saying this schedule is something people cannot cope with, but this life is not for everyone. It requires a lot of discipline, not to mention being focused at work so you don't lose 10k in a matter of minutes by making the wrong trades. I'm fortunate that this is something that I find pretty fun which keeps me going, but staring at an ever changing wall of numbers for 8 hours a day is not everyone's cup of tea.
Another shallow reason to factor into where you want to work is company prestige. FAANG and trading firms are hyped up a lot in schools and on these forums, with people dreaming about getting an offer from Hudson River Trading or Apple. Even as someone who values prestige, I can tell you it fades away pretty quick when you're dragging yourself out of bed at 7am and you're given what will likely take a year as a 3-month intern project. Sure, it feels good to have an offer from these companies and put in on your CV, but please look beyond the brand name and consider things like company culture too. I know way too many people who have joined Citadel, gotten free IPads and private jet flights for an offsite event, just to work 70 hour weeks and hate themselves afterwards.
These are some things I have come to value through my internships that you can consider too:
  1. Good mentorship: The difference in having a managementor who cares about you is massive. I've been fortunate enough to get mentors who were willing to get on a 4 hour call with me to debug my code, advocate for me during reviews with my manager. Some firms have a strong mentorship culture like Google (each intern has a host) and Amazon (each intern is assigned a mentor), but there are many other companies that do as well
  2. Exploring other areas: I also used to be under the impression that studying CS is simply preparing to be a software engineer. That is most definitely not true, and I'm glad I got to try out trading during an internship
  3. Culture: Again, this is usually quite team dependent, and you don't always have control over what team you get placed on. However, some firms are known for having a more laid-back culture like Google, a more intense culture like Optiver, or a more elitist culture like Jump Trading (barely takes any new grads). You can probably use this and your personality to decide where you would be a good fit at
These are the key points that I felt should be touched on, but feel free to ask about others!
submitted by Pretty-Mycologist268 to SGExams [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:51 MammothReality5253 We lost it all..

Both of us. But even during my most desperate and alone time this far in my life I still thought of you and when I was allowed to have a brief time to gather some things before we lost the unit we kept our remaining possessions and memories I didn't just think of myself ,and get as much of my stuff as I could and fk it . We weren't communicating at that time you couldn't /didn't want to figure out with me what or how to go about keeping that locker.You were making big moves improving urself definitely not in a relationship with anyone else as u had literally ditched me after I questioned why you were using incognito on my phone the night before .. and choosing to leave me in freezing car so you could not spend the night with Ty at Kay's smoking dope and fucking two times in two weeks before playing me for stupid and lying to me instead of being honest when i confronted you both . Of course u weren't cheating on me as you'd done oh two three times before in our first round of relationship. Anyway who cares long past now . It's just you I understand that now ik who you are admit it or not we both know ik and it's ok just be happy . I was sayn I did think of you and grabbed some things I thought may be stuff I'd like to not lose. I was allowed one bin and the yellow ice can we jacked that one snowy night. Being broke and unable to earn income during that period I had no money to get storage elsewhere however was able to put the few things at a safe place til I was able to secure financial means to get a new locker in the future . I'm sure you could GAF bout any of it as ur new life took precident over all else . But I being the idiot who you strung along and cared for you in one of your most uncertain yet self inflicted difficult times of ur life and was shown gratitude in the form of distancing and rejection and isolation then finally abandoned in a snowstorm after a argument,totally forsaking the agreement we both made about what each would do in event of such argument opting to drive away and never come back to me. Totally didn't fade me fooo seen it coming .. I can read u like a book . IG where I'm going with this is even tho you had zero fks for me and expected me to just handle shit make it easy as possible for you as I struggled to stay warm fed clean ,I couldn't do that not cuz I didn't want to but literally couldn't . I don't know if u'll ever reach out to me ,be able to face me or GAF bout anything besides living ur best life moment to moment thrill to thrill new relationship to next one free and aloof free to love anyone whenever u want . But if u actually did what u said u were doing and growing and improving urself u should have financial stability if not by now I'm sure shortly . Those things are safe and secure. Let me know so we can make a plan and I can make arrangements to go get everything organized and shit . Anyways this phone is junk but you know my name..hope you're happy and doing well . Deuces nigga !!!As you say..
submitted by MammothReality5253 to UnsentLetters [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:49 ClaudiusAetius FPS sudden drop

Does anyone knows why ACO has those weird sudden FPS drops to almost 13-15? This is completely weird considering I have a decent (but not top best) computer with ZERO problems with all performance demanding games...
submitted by ClaudiusAetius to AssassinsCreedOdyssey [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:47 FuzzySocksFetish Anyone have any health issue dealbreakers? And I have a question about my dates possible problem.

Ok so he(53) took me(53f) to dinner, and we kissed before we got in our cars to leave. I put my hands on his sides, and it felt like a rib was sticking out? About halfway up his torso, on his left side. I’ve never encountered this before, and am wondering what’s going on. It was quite pronounced. Like inches poking out. I mean, I moved my hand quickly. But he texted after to ask if I liked how he feels. So I guess he’s self conscious about it. I like the guy, and I will ask him eventually, but we are just starting to get to know each other. It’s not a dealbreaker or anything anyway.
Dated a guy who had a cpap machine, and i wasn’t concerned till he had heart trouble one day. My late husbands heart failed. So things like that are hard for me to deal with. Though they aren’t always detectable.
Otherwise I just want to guy to be fit enough to keep up on a hike. Non smoking is so important too. Had one guy argue with me that I would never know he was a smoker because he’d wash himself up. I know, first of all, that it’s impossible to wash most of the stench and stains away. But also that he’s risking his life. I have personal experience with that as well.
Oh one guy had really bad teeth. Definitely a health risk. As well as unattractive.
ED is one thing I don’t consider a dealbreaker. There’s pills, and patience.
Obviously we all want someone healthy, but the older we get the more issues we have with our bodies. Most of us anyway. What’s a big no from you?
submitted by FuzzySocksFetish to datingoverfifty [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:46 mrosietx Does this makes sense? I would lose the free line promos?

Can anyone validate this? I have 10 lines (6 paid, 4 free) plus home internet. My son is considering dropping from the family plan and going on his own. Don't know why. Don't care. I asked Tforce how this will impact my plan and the answer was "Any removal of any voice lines does make the free line promos fall off the account.". WTH?! Even though I still have 5 paid lines I lose the free line benny for the other 4 jacking my bill up by $115 (3x$30+1x$25). Does that make sense?
I don't know if I can keep his paid line (as I'm sure TMO would prefer), assign a different number to it and have my son port his number to another carrier or get his own TMO account and "port" that number to it. This is ridiculously convoluted. Any thoughts?
submitted by mrosietx to tmobile [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:44 ILoveWesternBlot Mouthbreather's """Guide""" on matching Diagnostic Radiology

I’m an MS4 that fully matched DR this year. I had 21 interviews for DR and matched my top 3 for both DR and intern year. I wanted to share some of my thoughts/reflections/things I wish I knew applying into diagnostic radiology this past cycle. There have been writeups in the past but in the era of virtual interviews, mass applying, and record application numbers, I thought I’d talk a little about how I think the application landscape is changing for radiology and my lowly n=1 opinions on how rads hopefuls can prepare themselves. This is colored mostly by personal experience so obviously take it all with a tablespoon of salt. Everyone’s story is different, I’m just sharing what I learned from my journey.
This year, there were 0 unfilled spots for DR and 2 for IR (those spots were programs that didn’t participate in the main NRMP match cycle, and one nucs med spot that’s being internally filled). For reference, the only other specialties that also filled completely were ortho and Plastics. Neurosurgery, ENT, and Derm all had unfilled spots. This isn’t to suggest that DR is now more competitive than those fields (it’s not, those fields are still far more self selecting and you don’t need to be proficient in softball to match) but just emphasizes how cutthroat the field has gotten in the past couple of years.
Disclaimers: I’m writing from the perspective of a (low tier) USMD. If you’re a DO or IMG, you can probably learn stuff from this info as well but truthfully I’m not fully familiar with all the extra hurdles DOs and IMGs go through to match DR and I don’t want to espouse misleading information for you guys. Connecting with matched DO’s and IMG’s on the discord or spreadsheet will be in your best interest. Also, I only applied DR. The broad strokes advice may still apply here but IR is pretty different in terms of your application and approach so if you’re gunning for integrated IDR you may not glean much from this.
--------------------------------Application Foundations--------------------------------
School Rank: Yea no shit this matters. In general USMD >> DO >>>> IMG except for a couple programs that are IMG heavy (Mercy catholic, Yale bridgeport as examples) No, this isn’t Yale’s main program you prestige whore If you’re at a T20 why are you reading this. You’ll match by virtue of existing. Go outside.
DOs and IMGs really struggled with the match this year and it will not get better. If you’re a premed reading this and choosing a school and you’re at all interested in DR or any other competitive specialty then attending an MD school with an attached academic centehome program is your best bet.
Step 2
With step 1 now P/F this will be the big number programs use I think. My general benchmark estimates:
Sub 240- would consider this to be a genuine weakness/borderline red flag in your app, I’d make the effort to compensate in other areas of your application
240- will probably put you among the weaker end of radiology applicants, but not unworkable
250- baseline goal you should shoot for, basically the average range of matched applicants
260- a great score, theoretically makes you competitive for any program in the country depending on the rest of your app
270- 🤓
If you fail step 2 or step 1, your app is dead in the water.
I’m gonna get like 50 comments saying shit like “well I know xyz student who matched UCSF rads with a 196!!!” yea well as you can see by the length of this post scores aren’t everything. Anyone can match with anything theoretically. But these score benchmarks at least let you get an idea of your competitiveness relative to the rest of the pack, which is important for building the rest of your app. Bottom line: P/250 should be ok as a USMD. P/260 is ideal tho. DO’s should shoot for P/260 as a baseline I think.
DO’s- take both steps. Yes, even though step 1 is P/F. This is non negotiable. Programs do not give a single shit about COMLEX even if their site says they accept it.
Clinical Grades
Don’t need perfect grades, but honor as many as you can. Do whatever is necessary outside of academic dishonesty. Practice your head game. This isn’t a guide on how to honor rotations, those exist elsewhere. Honors in big rotations (IM, surgery) mean more than smaller ones. How much Honors vs HP vs P impacts you depends on your school’s grade breakdown. If you’re High passing when 45% of your class is honoring that’s less than ideal. If only 5% of your class honors then HP is fine. If you’re Passing and your school is P/F then you’re chilling. DON’T FAIL A CLERKSHIP. You probably will not match. If your school publishes shelf grades in your MSPE, don’t fumble those. Avoid shitty MSPE comments and try to get those scrubbed from your record.
Preclinical Grades
Don’t matter as much as clinical grades, especially if they don't factor into AOA. Doing well in preclinicals doesn’t hurt though, and being bottom quintile certainly won’t help. Don’t fail anything. Probably not as big of a deal as failing clerkships but you don’t want any red flags in your app no matter how small.
Nice to have. I was AOA and had several programs comment on it. If you’re squinting for patterns mostly community programs and lower tier academics actively mentioned it (“Congrats on AOA” or “I see you’re academically strong, since you’re AOA” and comments of that ilk were what I heard). The big name programs I interviewed at did not mention it, so not sure if they care. If you’re gonna rant about how AOA is a diversity award/popularity contest go soapbox somewhere else. You definitely do NOT need AOA to match radiology (the vast majority of people that match don’t, I was the only rads match from my school in AOA). I’m just commenting on my thoughts on how much it impacts your app, not making a political statement.
No one gave a shit. This is a mickey mouse award
Do something. This isn’t ortho, you don’t need 20 first author papers in the field. But do something. Does not have to be rads related, unless you’re gunning to match Stanford/UCSF/MGH/NYU or the like. For reference, I had several pubs/presentations/posters in non rads fields that were based on interesting clinical/translational studies. I also had 2 first author radiology case reports. Every interviewer asked about the clinical projects. No one mentioned the case reports. Obviously rads clinical research would be the ideal, but the point here is to not only demonstrate academic productivity, but to have something interesting/memorable to talk about in interviews. 20 case reports isn’t a conversation starter. Original research, even in another field, is a conversation starter. Original rads research is harder to do as students generally can’t read scans which is a big part of most studies but if you can swing it it’s awesome.
Can’t comment for sure on numbers, NRMP says like 8 total items which sounds about right. I’d try to do like 1-2 clinical research projects (in any field, no need to be super anal about radiology) and then fill the rest with case reports. ACR case in point is a good place to pump those out if you have a good mentor (RIP RSNA case reports). Radiology Case Reports has a publishing fee but turnover time is like 1 week so you can really go hard in that journal if your department pays for it.
Former surgical subspecialty switchouts/dual apps, you’ll be okay (I was one of those) Radiology accepts people like you all the time, including residents that match these fields then regret it. I wanted to do a surgical subspec before rads and had a decent body of research in that field. Bonus points if that ENT work you did looked at imaging, It’s an easy pivot on interviews! Like I said before, this isn’t ortho. Research productivity doesn’t compensate for poor grades and scores, and you can’t kill an away like you could in surgical subspecs. So make sure your raw grades/scores are good as they build the foundation of your app. Good grades/scores with low research >> great research with shitty grades/scores.
Bonus: If any research work you did involved coding, statistical programming, or machine learning, try to swing it as a budding interest in AI. Many programs, especially academic ones, get their dicks hard the minute someone mentions AI/deep learning models.
Conferences: Unfortunately, networking is becoming more of a thing in radiology as is the fate of any competitive field in a world of less objective metrics. If you can present at RSNA or ACR or SIR or any other conference, absolutely take the opportunity. Introduce yourself to as many PD’s and APD’s as possible, plant the idea of your existence as a seed into their subconscious. If you have nothing to present, I don't know how much value these conferences would have though unless you're a rizz god or somethng. I can’t comment on this too much because I did literally none of this but if your above application metrics are weak then I’d highly recommend doing this. As a terminally online introvert with the personality of a cement block I think networking is cringe but you gotta play the game. IMGs/DOs should especially be trying to do this.
Extracurriculars/Work Experience
No one really cares about interest groups. No one cares if you worked in the student clinic. Programs do care if you did an interesting service/leadership activity. I had one cool service activity I did in preclinicals that got brought up in every interview (wasn’t rads related at all). Make sure you can speak well on what the activity entailed and how you personally contributed.
Nontrads with previous work experience, wear it like a badge of honor. It makes you more interesting as an applicant. I can’t comment on it firsthand because I went straight through but anything that makes your story more than “I was premed in college and now I’m in medical school” is gonna be a talking point on interviews.
--------------------------------Building your App--------------------------------
Letters of Recommendation
IMO the best setup for this is 1 radiology letter and 2 nonradiology clinical letters. Assuming all you did was a rads rotation and little else, a radiology LOR is going to inherently be weak. Students don’t do much besides shadow on rads rotations and everyone knows it, so what’s it gonna say? “Oh student X sat there like a good little boy/girl and didn’t fall asleep in the reading room please RTM them :)” -yeah not the best letter pal. Your clinical letters on the other hand can actually speak to your ability as a medical student so they can be more impressive. The specialty doesn’t matter too much, just make sure they can speak strongly on your ability as a future resident.
If you’re wondering how to get a good rads letter, the best answer is to do research with a rads mentor. Then they can say that you’re academically productive and worked well on projects which makes your letter nicer. If you do research with multiple rads mentors, that’s the only instance in which I’d get a second Rads letter.
How you set up your 4th year rotations should depend on what you need. If you aren’t sure about getting a good nonrads letter, do a Sub I, especially in IM or Surgery- I really really recommend this as a great way to get a good letter or two. If you’re a newer switch into the field do a rads rotation to get a letter. Honestly your rads letter is more of a checkbox at that point than anything else but having one at least confirms you’re not blatantly backup applying.
Dual/backup appliers should get try to get one rads letter from a rotation. Also, make sure your other letters don’t say how great of an orthopedic surgeon you’re gonna be lol don’t get snitched on by your own homies
Away Rotations
Ding ding ding the big million dollar question. You probably scrolled to look for this. I am of the opinion that yes, you should do an away if you can. This is coming from someone who didn’t do one. Now, they aren’t mandatory like they are for surgical subspecialties, but you should try to fit one into your schedule if you can. With step 1 going pass fail and the increasing number of apps, programs are looking for more ways to separate applicants from the flock. Away rotations can be your key. Some general guidelines:
1. DO A ROTATION AT A PROGRAM YOU WOULD BE ALREADY BE COMPETITIVE AT. Doing an away at a rotation at a program does not guarantee an interview. This may sound lame, but think about it- all you do on most DR aways is shadow, or maybe take an exam or present on a topic. That’s nice but it tells a program nothing about how good you’d actually be as a resident.This is why I made a big deal of being able to assess your relative competitiveness as an applicant. Use texas star and residency explorer to get a better idea of this- if you’re in the upper 25% of matched applicants statistics then it’s probably a good idea to do an away there. Don’t rotate at UCSF or MGH if you’re a DO or have below average stats- you’re not gonna get an interview and you’re gonna waste everyone’s time.
2. Aways should not take precedence over important application building rotations. If you need a non radiology letter and you’re debating between doing an away vs doing a sub I in medicine, the answer is the sub I. A strong application with no aways > weaker app with an away IMO. Getting letters from aways is hard to say. Do it if you don’t have a home program. Otherwise, it’s probably more valuable to build a strong connection to your home program and get radiology letter(s) there.
3. If you’re looking to match in an area that you have no educational/personal ties to, do an away there. If you’re from the midwest and want to match in NYC, do an away in NYC. If you’re looking to match to california and aren’t attending medical school there, do an away in Cali. Unless you’re a superstar candidate you will probably see poor yields in areas outside of your med school/hometown area so an away can help boost yields. That being said, rule 1 takes precedence here.
4. I don’t recommend getting LOR’s from away programs. The big exception here is if you don’t have a home program, in which case then you should. It’s just that these letters are probably gonna be mid at best and home rads letters where the PD/writer knew you for longer will probably be of better quality. Again, everyone is different-maybe you really really vibed with an away faculty and want a letter from them. If you are confident it’ll be a really quality letter, then go for it. But don’t strategize your app around getting letters from MGH or NYu or Stanford and thinking this is like surgical subspecs where you do aways at places for great letters- it’s not.
Make sure to apply early and broadly- it’s first come first serve for most programs. If you haven’t finished your app and submitting to programs already, you’re probably running late. Oops, probably should probably have submitted this sooner. This is what League of Legends does to you folks. Try to do research and ask around about what programs highly value away rotators. I have some leads but there are definitely many many others out there.
NYC- Mt. Sinai Icahn SOM- great away experience, gave interviews to away rotators
PA- Einstein Philly- highly highly values away rotators/demonstrated interest in the program
CA- Santa Barbara Cottage- gave interviews to away rotators, great “foothold” program into CA
CA- Cedars Sinai- another great “foothold” program into CA
Shoutout to these programs for doing the exact opposite:
Wash U St. Louis- rejected an away rotator 3 weeks into the away (per name and shame)
UMD- did not provide interviews to multiple away rotators
FYI both programs I listed above are great places to train at, and programs are under no obligation to give interviews to away rotators, especially in DR. Just know if you rotate there that you should prepare for this possibility.
Post-ERAS submission aways are probably still valuable especially early on in interview season. The only thing is that you won’t be able to get LORs from those but I think LOR’s from away rads programs are almost guaranteed to be mid at best so I’d recommend not building your app around those unless you have no home program.
The other million dollar question. This year apparently applicants get 6 gold and 6 silver signals. I think the best thing to do with signals is just send them to where you wanna go. I have no clue why anyone would want a silver signal, but I don’t think it’s worth the headache of trying to mindgame which programs are getting silvers and which are getting golds. Send your golds to the ones you really like, and your silvers to the ones you also like but maybe not as much. Don’t overthink it.
My only advice regarding signals is to NOT signal big name academic centers. UCSF, NYU, MGH, Upenn, etc do not put much weight into signals. They know everyone wants to train with them so they get their pick of the litter. Sending a signal to them is likely throwing your signal in the trash, especially if your application metrics aren’t at or above their matched averages. I think you get the most bang for your buck from signaling smallemid tier academic centers and community programs. That being said, I’m not your dad. Signal who you want.
PS ask your home program if they want you to signal them. Some don’t but others are dickheads and want one of your signals. Make sure you know.
Damn i dont know what the fuck they’re smoking at AAMC with this change but I guess I can talk about it. Sounds like common sense but talk about shit that’s actually meaningful and you can talk freely and confidently/passionately about in interviews. Especially now since you have limited space. The student clinic you and 1000 med students volunteered at probably doesn’t mean much. Oh, you led the student clinic? Well that’s a lot better, you should talk about that. Activities where you took a leadership role are always gonna be more meaningful and interesting in interviews than stuff you were just a floater in. Gonna copy and paste a comment I made a while ago about putting research as experiences in your ERAS. Applies to any specialty I think:
Publications and "experiences" are different parts of your ERAS application, with Pubs having no cap. You can enter any publication as a "research experience" but you'll need to think a little harder about which ones you wanna put in.
For example, if you do a small filler case report and it gets published in a smaller journal, this is a publication and should be in your ERAS publication section. You could enter it as a research experience as well, where you describe the process you went through to get it written and published. However, this would not be a very meaningful experience and a waste of one of your ten entries.
Let's say you lead a longitudinal translational research project in your field of interest that gets presented at a conference as an abstract, and then subsequently published in a large journal. Both the abstract and the pub will, again, go in your ERAS pubs section. However, this would also make a great research experience to use in your experiences tab. You could talk about how you led the project, the role you played in completing it, where it was presented, etc. This would make for a strong candidate in your experiences tab.
TL;DR: Smaller filler projects are pubs but shouldn't be listed in experiences. Larger important projects should be publications and also listed as a research experience. Hope this makes sense.
I would highly highly recommend including some space for hobbies in your eras. DR interviews are like 80% hobby talk, 10% why rads, 10% random shooting the shit. You don’t need to have insanely interesting hobbies- even mundane stuff is great conversation food. I talked about TV (almost spoiled an interview on Better Call Saul's ending) and manga (Chainsaw Man my love) in some of my interviews. Just be sure you’re genuine in those interests and can talk about them. Don’t fabricate a hobby like underwater basket weaving to make yourself look cool because if you sound fake then that’s gonna be an almost instant DNR. My home PD told me a story of a great applicant they DNR’ed because he said he loved fly fishing in his hobbies section and our PD (who loves fly fishing) asked about it he couldn’t talk anything about it. because it was made up. Yeah, don’t do that.
Probably 2-3 hobbies and elaborate a little on each. Don’t just say running- were you on any competitive teams? Did you run a marathon/halfy/5k? Give some meat to it but not your whole life story.
Personal Statement
I feel very unconfident in talking about this part so I won’t say too much. I was told my PS was good but no one really commented on it in interviews. I think the 10/80/10 rule applies here- 80% of PS’s don't move the needle in any way, 10% are profound, 10% suck ass. You’re not gonna be in that top 10% most likely so just try not to be in that bottom 10%. Spell check, and don’t talk about how you wanna do rads because of lifestyle or because you “Like PUZZLES” -it’s generic as fuck. Have as many eyes on it as possible- your mentors, your friends, your parents, your parole officer, Dealer Jim- get as much feedback on it as possible. Just make sure it doesn’t suck or unintentionally reveal any personality disorders- that time you lit a live squirrel on fire and looking at the bones made you interested in Xrays is probably not a good radiology PS.
Conclusions/I skipped to the bottom
Rads is getting pretty competitive. I’d say it’s not on the level of the surgical subspecs/derm but probably the most competitive one of the remaining ones. It’s still not too bad if you’ve built a decent app- I’m not gonna hype it up like the psych and gas doomposters, but it’s not a walk in the park like it was pre-COVID. Especially if you’re a DO or IMG….
My spicy prediction we will see a small dip in application numbers this cycle- ChatGPT “concerns” and people realizing it’s not a safe backup may cause a small decrease in app numbers- but the process is becoming more opaque with tiered signals and more importantly P/F step 1.
-GET GOOD STEP 2 SCORE. 250+ goal, 260+ ideal if you want to feel safer but I don't think there's really a safe score nowadays
-GOOD GRADES IN MEDICAL SCHOOL- honors and HP’s, don’t low pass. DON’T FAIL ANYTHING. Be top tertile/quintile/quartile/kitchentile or whatever your school does.
-DO SOME RESEARCH- a couple case reports and a independent project or two that you can talk about is your goal. Don’t need 10+ pubs like an ENT manwhore but don’t have nothing.
-DO AN AWAY AT A TARGET RANGE PROGRAM. Know your competitiveness and choose your away intelligently. Don’t ego it. Do it in a region you’d potentially like to match in especially if you don’t have prior ties. Again, not mandatory but it can really help.
-BE A REAL PERSON- you’re not a stat stick. Mention hobbies, ecs, prior jobs that you can talk about in interviews. The first 3 points get you the interview- it’s these last two points that get you the match.
I hope this helps a little. I wish I wrote this in march post match because then some of this advice would have been more timely like the aways but what can you do.
I might do a part 2 on interviews and rank lists and what I think you should look for in a program so let me know if that's something you might be interested in. I feel like those are later cycle questions and wouldn't be super relevant right now. Plus I've already procrastinated on writing this up when I said I would so I try to write that this shit is never gonna get done.
Other matched rads people feel free to chime in/correct me/share your experiences. I don't claim to be a know it all for this process by any means I still wonder how I managed to pull the devious heist on the program that matched me.
I’m willing to take DM’s if you have more specific/personal questions but no butthole pics please.
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2023.05.29 00:43 InevitableEmphasis33 I (24f) feel like I might be being too harsh on my (26m) boyfriend

I’ve been with my long distance boyfriend for a little over a year now. I love him dearly and we have so much in common it’s really something from a movie sometimes. I do wish to be with him it’s just sometimes there’s just so many little things adding up that make me question? A big problem we have is his sleeping. He has absolutely no schedule. He’s a trust fund baby so he doesn’t work and on top of that he has sleep apnea. I’ve made an ultimatum before about this because it was really taking a toll on me mentally. Some weeks he’d be texting me at 7 am and the next week I wouldn’t hear from him until 6. Now he’s gotten to no later than 3pm which I appreciate so fkn much because it’s better than 6 but some times he stays up and wakes up later and does the whole “give me a break” thing. In my head I just see it as him not caring about time with me because it’s not like we can see each other yknow? The second thing that I get on him about is he use to be an amazing texter, all day and fast reply’s but latley it takes like 20-30 minutes to get something back. And while I understand at least he texts back, to go from texting how we were to how we do now is bothersome. When I have a conversation with him about things he agrees and apologizes and he works hard to fix it but it always goes back to being this way. Now I because of trauma my first instinct is cheating but I know for sure he wouldn’t because he talks about how hurt he’s been from being cheated on. So my second thought is maybe he’s getting bored of us? But he calls me everyday and if he plays games he lets me watch through discord so I know he cares and wants me around. I’m just confused on why working on these two things that I consider to be major bumps in our relationship seems so difficult. all we have is texting and calling because we live in different states and I wake up and can’t wait to talk to him and I just don’t feel that same energy from him.
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2023.05.29 00:43 idontwannath1nk Relapse after a year (tw: ✂️, 🍃)

i was heavily addicted last year and the years before, didn't even know why I started cutting at the time, and honestly i still don't know. i never had a real reason to start, or continue but i did. about two years ago i started going to the gym and after about a year i got more serious about it, putting all my time into it, which made the need to do it fade away. but for some reason it didn't last, I'm still as serious about the gym but a while ago i relapsed again, after such a long time. I also started smoking weed with my friends quite some time ago. maybe also about a year. over the past few months i haven't felt like anything really mattered, I've been feeling like nothing around me is real or important. I felt like that mainly after smoking, sometimes the feeling lasted over a few days to a week. a few weeks ago i had the thought to cut again, no clear reason for me to think about it, but it just got to my mind. and a few days ago i did it. it was right before we went out to smoke with friends again and i just did it. and it felt so real. like it got me back to reality. it wasn't much because i was in rush, just a few cuts. but since then I've been back at it. I've even been trying some new places to cut instead. seeing the cuts just gives me such a weird sense of reality. i don't know if I'll ever be able to give it up, but i know that not now.
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2023.05.29 00:42 ohnoe12130 My neighbors are really triggering to me.

My neighbor has really loud aggressive dogs that she will, without fail, take outside every time I'm in my yard (even though I'm not even in my yard a lot to begin with but a part of it is because of that) and I have to tolerate quite a bit of barking in my face from them and feel like I can not have any peace in my own yard. If this was a few times I would just say that it's not on purpose, but it happens almost all the time.
I actually believe she's being petty because I reported her about her loud music that she would play at 2am in the morning for hours on end with the bass up. Or reporting her for not picking up after her dog poop which she has on some occasions try to pile up behind our house or alongside our house. There are many other things she's done.
I don't even hate dogs, but because of the owner and her past behaviors I can't help but resent their noise. I know it's not the dogs fault they have dumb owners but wtf. Mind you there are better dog owners here who are not like this and have better behaved dogs. Her dogs will quiet down if she would say so but she just leaves them barking their head off. Like it's really not asking for much to keep them quieter or at least make more effort to, if you're a dog owner it's your job to train them.
We're not allowed fences, either. I've thought of getting a privacy screen if that would work but don't get why I have to spend my money to work around them. They should be paying for it.
I did pop off at her and had to have a ton of self control to stop midway through since she clearly doesn't give af. It pisses me off that after I have to go back inside when my peace is ruined, she's just sitting there lounging on her porch enjoying her peace because all of us other neighbors are actually quiet and considerate. How is that even fair? SHe make me want to take abunch of waterballons and dump it onto her while she's sitting there.
Of course, maybe some of you are thinking what this has to do with CPTSD. I think she was someone who added a lot of stress into my life during a time when I already had a lot going on in personal life, so I think that also plays a role to why I feel so much anger towards her.
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2023.05.29 00:40 purplehashira My collection (Super Mid)

Collection 5/23
Hey everyone, Saw some people do this and I thought it would be fun to see this and possibly get some feedback and/or answer questions!! I am also going to add the ones I am still getting shipped to me; I'll add them at the very end. Im going to talk about why I like them, give them my rating based off of everything, and for the memes, put how many compliments I've gotten from them LOL hahaha.
(Row by Row)
Row 1 ________________________________________________
YSL Y EDT: Super Aromatic, I feel like it has a mass appeal. Its super fresh and this is my 2nd bottle of it since I liked it so much. 8.5/10 (4 compliments in 2 years (Lol))
YSL L'Homme: Nice, Calm, and Cirtus-y scent. Doesnt really project too much but the dry down is super nice. Wish it lasted longer but it is an EDT. 6.5/10 (1 compliment in 1 year)
Versace Pour Homme: You can wear this cologne for most occasions and it really does show. Its super popular and it shows, it has a really nice dry down and I pick up on the grapefruit top note HEAVILY. I like it a lot. 7/10 (0 compliments in 1.5 years)
Haltane Parfums de Marly: My first niche cologne that I hesitantly spent 300 dollars on LOL. So worth it. It lasts for so long on clothes and skin. It has a nice sweet oud scent that I love and so do other people that arent my mom! I was really reluctant buying my first niche cologne, but I really like this one and I am going to get a few more from De Marly for sure. 8.8/10 (2 compliments in 6 months)
Xerjoff Uden: I bought this because someone gave me a sample, and I kind of felt like pressured to buy it lmaooooo. I liked it a lot and to be honest I bought this during the end of the Souths winter. It was way too warm to wear this sweet scent. Nevertheless, it is a very calm and sweet scent. I cant wait till it gets a little colder to wear because it really does smell amazing. 8/10 (0 compliments in 5 months)
Touch Burberry: I got this as a gift 3 years ago, its nice, I dont personally love it. I wore it here and there, and everytime I wore it, my friends told me I smell like baby powder and it pissed me off. I dont smell that. I smelt the ocean and the dry down is not my favorite on my skin 4.5/10 (1 compliment in 3 years)

Row 2 ________________________________________________
Valentino Uomo Born In Roma Yellow Dream: Man, I LOVE this scent. I got a bundle of like 7 colognes at once from Kohls when I got my bonus and I spent them on a few things. You'll notice from the timeline of when I got them. This one of those colognes that I literally looooove. It just has such nice sweet and tame fruity scent. Super nice. Only downside is that it doesnt really last all that long, and the projection and sillage is only good for the first hour. 8.5/10 (3 compliments in 6 months)
Valentino Uomo Born in Roma: This fragrance is really woody and it works well. I didnt know it had a salty top note until I googled it, and whenever I went to spray it again, I smelt it. I wore this cologne everyday doing absolutely nothing. While I was working from home, getting groceries, filling up gas. I liked it a lot. Doesnt project the best on me. 8/10 (1 compliment in 6 months)
Acqua di Giò Profondo: I got this cologne because the lady at Kohls told me that it was perfect for the summer. Aromatic, fresh, aquatic. I liked the other Armani colognes and I loved this one. I wear it quite often since the weather is getting warmer. It lasts pretty long and it is definitley a go-to for me. 8.3/10 (2 compliments in 6 months)
Club de Nuit Intense Man: My brother bought this like 2 years ago because he really wanted the Creed Aventus cologne. I liked the way it smelt but it was my brothers so I never sprayed it. I always had doubts about it smelling like Creed but whenever my brother eventually pulled the trigger and spent 500 bucks of a bottle, he gave me this. My oh my does it smell exactly like his. Creed definitely lasts 3x longer but I will still wear this one here and there. 6.8/10 (0 compliments in 2 years)
Xerjoff Torino21: This is my most recent purchase. I went to Neimann Marcus to smell some samples that I saw on google and was really interested in a specific cologne. The lady offered this and when I smelt it, I fell in love. It was either this or the alexandria fragrance. Torino 21 is sooooooo fresh; Its the perfect spring scent. Top note of lemon, basil, mint, you smell all of those. The dry down is amazing, the sillage is great, the projection is out there. 8.9/10 (1 compliment in 1 month)
Dior Homme: I got this as a gift and I really liked it. It has such a manly smell to it and I wore this whenever I wore a suit or to a fancy occasion. I realized a lot of people have it and its clear to see why. The projection on this is pretty good for an EDT. Whenever my brother comes and visits, he ignores all my colognes and just sprays this on him while he plays video games haha. I pick up on a leathery and musky scent. 8/10 (0 compliments in 2 years)
Mr. Burberry EDP: I used to be a server back in 2019 when I got this cologne; it was a gift. I wore it every day and I got a few compliments from my coworkers. I sprayed in the car right before I left when it was the most prominent. Now when I smell it, I get really crazy flashbacks of when I was 19 years old; kinda makes me a little sad lol. Grapefruit and minty top note, amber base notes. Nice and masculine. 0/10 (I want to cry when I smell this.) (6 Compliments in 3 years)

Row 3 ________________________________________________

1 Million Lucky Paco Rabanne: This was my first real cologne and I got it back in 2018. I was a freshman in college and I kid you not, this was MY scent. I have so many stories on this cologne and I will share my favorite. I used to cheat this cologne by spraying it in the elevator coming up to the library where everyone used to hangout after classes, not only did everyone on the table smell me and compliment me, but I used to get texts from friends telling me that they smell me in the elevator. I used to get guys asking me to spray them because of how often I would get compliments and how people always asked me what I was wearing. I had people who would hug me and then come back and hug me again because I smelled good. I bought maybe 5 bottles total and I will buy my 6th if this runs out. it is my all time favorite cologne. My brother bought it for me in 2018 and I cannot thank him enough. The scent is a nice and sweet one with ozonic top notes, hazelnut middle notes, and amber base notes. The dry down is amazing and of course im biased and am going to say that the projection and sillage are 10/10, even for an EDT. 10/10 (70ish compliments in 5.5 years)
Titanium for men Aris: Got this as a gift from my aunt when she came back from Qatar. Its alright, I like to spray it whenever I am home and just want to smell something. Fruity top notes, Leather woody mid notes, and amber base notes. My mom complimented me on this once but that doesnt count. hahaha. Projection and Sillage are ehhh. 5/10 (0 compliments in 1.5 years)
K by Dolce & Gabbana: I got this in an airport because I forgot my GOAT 1 million cologne. My dad was hurrying me to get something because I have a fear of not smelling good, I couldnt find anything I wanted and so my dad picked this for me. Its a fresh aromatic and citrusy scent. Lemon top notes, cedar base notes. Projection is alright, sillage is not the best. I cant believe I paid 100 something dollars because my dad was yelling at me. lmao. 6/10 (0 compliments in 2.5 years)
The Most Wanted Azzaro: I remember asking my super-into-fragrance friend about what I should get since I liked amberish and sweet scents. He gave me this and scent me a link to buy it. I have worn this on a date and a few occasions considering the weather is too warm in the south to really wear this. The 4 times I have worn this, i got compliments. I got told it is alluring which is good? Lol idk. the projection is really good for the first hour and so is the sillage. 8/10 (4 compliments in 6 months)
Spicebomb Extreme Viktor&Rolf: I bought this at Kohls as well. Originally I didnt like the scent but when it dried down after like an hour, I went back the next day and got it. Its a sweet and spicy scent and its actually insane how it smells. My friend came over and smelt this and started to wrestle me because he wanted to steal it lol. It was super funny and I enjoy wearing it but again, the weather makes it tough to wear. The vanilla and spice really are prominent in this. Someone told me I smelt like Dr.Pepper and it pissed me off. 8/10 (3 compliments in 6 months)
Freshy R183 MAA ALTHAHAB: I got this as a gift from Saudi Arabia. I am super cautious with when to spray this because it is rare in my opinion. It is a sweet scent that smells holy-like. I dont know how to explain it. It is like spicy, vanilla, musky, etc. 9/10 (1 compliment in 1 year)
Hero Burberry: Woody and aromatic. Hints of citrus. Super elegant smell and I feel like you can wear this in whatever occasion. My brother also comes and tries to steal this one too. It smells amazing and I sprayed this once before playing sports and the people were telling me "why do you smell good when were playing soccer?" In my defense, I didnt know I was about to play soccer. 8.5/10 (2 compliments in 6 months)


Millésime Impérial Creed: I went into the creed store to smell a few of them out of curiosity, I wish I didnt. I know creed is one of the most duped fragrances ever, however, I felt like a connection to this bottle along with the other one I was going to smell. It was truly amazing. Oceany, Fruity, Musky, Citrusy. It was just a holy grail of things. 9/10 (N/A)
Aventus Cologne Creed: My favorite creed, not to get confused with Aventus, this is a lot different. Perfect for warmer weather as it has citrusy, fresh, and woody smell. I cant wait to have this and get absolutely no compliments. LOL. But seriously, this is a very good scent and I love it. I cant wait till it gets shipped so I can start wearing it to sleep. 9.2/10 (N/A)
Galloway Parfums de Marly: When I smelled Haltane by de Marly, I went the next week to smell its other collections. I did some research on ones that I might like, and this one caught my eye. Citrusy and musky, fresh and sweet. I was hesitant to buy this so I got a small decant and wore it for a few days and I liked it a lot. So i bit the bullet and got it. Im really glad I did because the decant finished and Im waiting for this. 9/10 (1 compliment in 2 weeks)
Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait MFK: yeah shut up i know. i know its basic, but guess what. IT SMELLS SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. The sample bottle was 15 dollars and I wore it out with my friends and they told me that I smelled so good. 6 hours after when I went to say goodbye, they said it was still really nice and strong. I cannot wait till this one comes in 10/10 (2 compliments in 6 hours)
Edit: yes i bought them at once (I had points about to expire so I used them and got a good deal)

I really hope you guys liked this. It took like 2 hours to do lol. If there is anything questions lmk! I am open to feedback and criticism!!
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2023.05.29 00:40 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio.

The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week.
Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family.
“Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static.
Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left.
Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones.
Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County in Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing.
If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger.
Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others.
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat.
What is that?
“Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over.
“Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a nearby ridgeline.
“Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet?
Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled.
“Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.”
“Calm down.” The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.”
“You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.”
“Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke.
What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp.
I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it.
You are here.
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark.
This way, kleineun.
My ouma’s voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows.
This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down.
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose.
They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me.
I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .”
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.
Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind.
Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.”
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse.
You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning.
The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself.
My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere.
The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man TV series as a kid.
Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—”
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear.
Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark.
The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock.
Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike, that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs.
This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth.
They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun.
Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was.
A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, making a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
submitted by RandomAppalachian468 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:40 Cautious_Arrival_145 Petty Revenge

Just wanted to tell someone my petty revenge story since I can’t tell anyone I know. So I stumbled upon a website where you can find anyone’s up to date personal information; address, cell phone number, email addresses, etc all for free. I remembered a TikTok I had seen a while back where a woman used her ex-boyfriend’s info to sign him up for a bunch of spam online and thought I can do better. There are a few people who have wronged me in my life, causing me undue stress, aggravation, and turmoil….but one particular person came to mind who has recently resurfaced. Here I was minding my own business when this person and their significant other (who I never knew existed) popped back into my life. I’ll keep things vague just in case anyone I know sees this, but they began to divulge details about our relationship to our friends, family, etc (this happened years ago and again I never knew they were in a relationship when we began ours). They began to tell our families (our families know each other) about or relationship, like actual details….ugh I can’t even say it because it pisses me off so much. Anyway, they told the story as though I knew about their relationship and was trying to be some sort of side piece, essentially breaking up their “happy home.” (Side note: They came out as a couple just recently, they had been secretly daring for years…and no, I don’t know why they kept it secret ). My first reaction was WTF is wrong with them, like what sick twisted person talks to their family members about their sexual activities? Who wants to share with their mom what they did with someone in bed? And if you’re asking yourself why like I was, the reason is even more infuriating. This person was openly cheating on their boy/girlfriend (by openly I mean they told their partner they were not being faithful and with who). So their partner knew about me and I didn’t know about them. And their partner now dislikes me even though we have never even met. Because their partner was cheating on them for months (with multiple people - found this out later too) it was somehow all my fault. Oh btw they also claim to have a sex addiction so I guess that absolves them of any guilt and somehow places all the blame on me. Idk how the fuck that works, but whatever helps you sleep better at night. Anyway onto the revenge….So I decided spamming their email wasn’t enough. So I found every website that sells your information to third parties, ya know like car insurance and medical insurance quote websites, and signed them up to receive calls, emails, and texts. Then I went to the Jehovah’s witness, Mormons, and any other denomination (I did not discriminate) and signed them up for home visits. I figured they should be prepared for these visits and what better way than with a plethora of free religious books and pamphlets (you’d be surprised how many free religious things you can get). Hopefully they read them all because they both need Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, and any other deity to save their twisted souls. Then I got to thinking maybe they are such twats because they need a change. So I thought maybe a new job would do the trick. So I filled out a few job applications at places that matched their maturity level which one can only assume is that of a high schooler. And where do high school kids work? Well, fast food places of course, like Arby’s, Wendy’s, etc. Lastly, I signed them up on a couple of those shady “we buy houses quick for cash” sites and opted in to receive text messages, calls, and emails. Maybe they decide to sell and the change of scenery does them good. I wish them the best of luck. Just kidding I wish them nothing but unhappiness and misery.
Note: If anyone thinks I’m being childish I don’t care. I never once said anything to anyone about the situation and never said a mean word about them. I did ask to speak to them to resolve the matter and they refused. So rather than me acting out of character, which is what I think they were trying to get me to do, (so I can seem like the villain) I kept my cool and ignored them….until today that is. Thanks for listening, I feel so much better now.
submitted by Cautious_Arrival_145 to GetOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:38 burn_krash I don't know what to do

Hey ya'll, well my wife cheated on me since March until April 20th,.
Everything started in April 15th, around 2 am I couldn't sleep and I decided to go to bed and we have our 8 month old baby, and I decided to put our baby monitor on her phone, she always wakes up when I go to bed and puts the baby monitor, so I thought well we trust each other why not open the app for her and giver that peaceful time. When I unlocked her phone I saw a conversation with a guy, and I just read the last messages and her last message was "I love to hear your voice", when I read that I thought it might be a guy that might have a podcast or something, I couldn't sleep that night and I decided to go to the living room.
When I woke up she was upset with me for leaving the bed, I just told her "I couldn't sleep and I didn't want to wake you up" she didn't talk to me, and I confront her, when I told her about that I just read the last message she sent, her face dropped and she said that it was a guy she met while working and she loved the attention he gave her, and that's why she was talking to him.
That day I spent all day thinking about it, she acted like it wasn't a big deal and I told her about how guys might want to just f her, and she didn't want to hear about it.
Long story short, I Sarurday she went out to her friends house and I was devastated, I was talking xare of our baby, and I got drunk (not my proudest moment, also not considering that I was taking care of our baby), I texted around 11pm she replied back at 12am when I sent her the message "well to that guy you reply pretty fast, and me you just don't care", she came back home and I didn't want to talk to her.
That week I slept in the living room, and around friday April 21st I spent the afternoon with my baby while she was working, but it was something tickling in the back of my head, so I did something I promised my self I wouldn't do, I hacked all her social media, and I found out that she spend the whole week talking to him, even the day I gave her such hassle she talked to him and their condo was, "if he leaves it is a great opportunity for us." She replied: "yeah, no more hotel idea", I confronted her about it, she spilled the beans and she told me that is one of her ex from 15 years ago, and that got me devastated, I didn't sleep for 3 days I ended up in the hospital for that reason.
Well this is the thing since then she blocked him, she started sharing her location with me whenever she goes to work, but I'm upset about it, I didn't think this is going to be a thing between us specially after 3 years and a baby, she gets upset when I tell her how I feel, and complains on how her friends know about the situation and how they think about her.
Sometimes it feels surreal, other times feels like never happened, I live in constant fear she might do it again, and if she didn't think about me or US why she didn't stop talking to him when I first knew about, why she kept talking with him on how they will f themselves if I leave her.
What should I do, I love her, I went through good things and bad things with her, she made me a father but I know if we go for the big D I might be out of my daughter's life for good I might miss lots of good memories of her.
submitted by burn_krash to survivinginfidelity [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:37 Iceblader Would I be "abnormal" if I didn't feel the need to experience bodily sensations with another person?

A bit of context, although I hate labels like this, I consider myself demisexual but not asexual, this for lack of a better way to explain my tastes.
From a very young age (even during puberty) I did not feel very physically attracted to girls, I was open to the idea of liking one, I knew that I liked girls, it was just that none aroused my interest, there were situations in which I knew they could attract me physically (accidental body contact and that kind of stuff) but I never felt an "urge/need" to have body contact with one. I have noticed that other people wanting to explore this type of sensation have casual encounters or go to places where it is easier to find people who are willing to experience this for each other (parties, clubs, etc.), but I have never liked this type of scenarios and I don't know if this is linked to this lack of necessity. I have discussed this with other INTJs and although their answers have not been different from mine, I have felt that they have not lacked that desire to explore that I have.
That is why I ask: Is there something wrong/strange with me? Is this kind of lack of desire to explore abnormal?
submitted by Iceblader to intj [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:37 celticslytherin Need to rant about brother.

TLDR: my brother and I are not close and my mom always makes it out to be my fault.
My brother is 19 and I am 21. I am female. We are not close. This is not for a lack of trying on my end as we go to different schools and I frequently text him trying to have conversations but he does not reply to me for days on end.
When we are home, he often flakes on plans I try to make with him and he only seems interested in plans that involve smoking or drinking together.
Every time I bring this up to my mom about how it hurts my feelings that he always flakes and never replies to me, she always has something negative to say about me. I need to set the example, I’m more mature, he just doesn’t understand, he’s so busy (me too.), etc. it’s always an excuse for him.
I recently made an account to document my travels abroad. He did not follow the account and I asked him why and he said he “didn’t want to see that shit all the time”. It hurt my feelings and I mentioned it to my mom. She started in with how I must be misinterpreting what he is saying, how clearly HE feels like I don’t care about HIM, and then sarcastically goes “I guess he just doesn’t love you”.
Ironically, it is always my mom saying that she wishes my brother and I were closer. She often laments about how we are not close and how that upsets her. But every time I’ve ever mentioned a grievance with my brother, she turns it back onto me and gives an excuse for why he acts the way he does.
I don’t just want to cut my losses because he is my only sibling and I know maybe he will grow out of it. I do think he is suffering from a temporary syndrome of Being A Teenage Boy but nonetheless it hurts, especially when I feel like I try to text him (which is our primary method of communication because we go to different schools) and ask him about his life.
submitted by celticslytherin to family [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:35 kenmcnay Question about schooling choices

I want a discussion. I don't want an answer.
A number of years ago, I was talking to a work colleague about the topic of private schooling. I respect this man; he and I could easily talk about religious topics without contention. He and I are both fathers and feel strongly about raising kids in the gospel. He is not a member of our church but does have quite a lot of exposure and respect.
He shared with me that he enrolled both his kids in private schools using classical teaching methods. He later asked why LDS families appeared to use private schools or homeschooling less often than other Christian groups. He felt it was explicitly valuable to avoid public schools and implicitly valuable to use homeschooling. I didn't disagree, but it wasn't even on my radar at the time.
I stammered about being in the world and not of the world. His response spoke of his fear about exposure to falsehoods, saying it is his precise role to protect his children from harmful influence and that's best fine by homeschool and private institutions. Rather than public.
But, I later thought his sample size is probably limited and possibly inaccurate.
I also considered that doctrinally, we believe individuals are accountable at the age of eight, so that's a fine age to be setting an example and facing challenging situations that exercise faith and agency. I also considered the context of some BoM verses that referenced wealth and private education (I can look those up later if you ask me).
As I said, I don't want an answer; I'm interested in comments and conversations.
How might you respond? Do you have strong opinions on education choices (not the education itself, just the choices available)?
Did you use homeschooling or private schooling? Did you experience homeschooling or private schooling?
submitted by kenmcnay to latterdaysaints [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:35 Cornconic Please read this. I'm all out of options and I desperately need your help.

To whom it may concern: this message is of the utmost importance. Please do not disregard it. I don’t know for sure what website you’ll be seeing this on, whoever you are. Probably something submission-based, hopefully one where it stays up. Regardless, it is imperative that you keep reading. I’ll explain why soon, but before I do, some context is in order.
My brother was a brilliant man. Brilliantly talented, brilliantly clever. It was difficult growing up in his shadow. We were raised in the same nurturing, middle-upper class environment, with two loving parents that encouraged us at every turn, but it seemed there was nothing I could do that he wouldn’t outshine me at. He was no savant, you see. Julian held his own in any situation, whether that be an exam or a party with friends. Hardly ever was he not the smartest person in the room, or the most popular.
Needless to say, I was a jealous sibling. My main source of bother was academic performance. I’m not an idiot, even in comparison to my brother, but I was an underachiever for a long period of my adolescence. I’m not sure what I’d attribute it to. Hanging around the wrong people, perhaps, having my head in the clouds, something like that. I’ve always been intelligent, but for a while I really struggled to knuckle down and use that intellect. For so long, I heard the same tired expression: “if you’d only apply yourself…” I’m sure some of you reading this can relate. It wasn’t until many years later that that sentiment really rang true.
I never outright hated Julian, but I have to admit there was invariably a growing seed of resentment in my heart for him, especially as we got older and his natural aptitude really began to shine. We both had an interest in computer science from a young age, most likely inherited from our father, who worked for Microsoft before they went out of business. I still remember those nights as kids when he’d sit us down in front of his computer and show us all the little intricacies of the code he was working on. Any other children our age would be bored out of their skulls, but there we sat, attentive as ever, our developing minds fascinated by the job’s seemingly endless possibilities. Julian’s other main curiosity, which I did not share, was an affinity towards online horror fiction, though he grew out of that kind of stuff in his late teens.
He knew I had a chip on my shoulder. Mostly, he was apathetic towards it; we were never estranged, but he wasn’t going to let my discontent get in the way of his success. Though I don’t blame him, I suppose that was always Julian’s downfall. He was just too headstrong, too confident.
When we became adults, we parted ways. He went on to study at Harvard while I ended up dropping out of some bang-average local university you won’t have heard of. Following that, things were a little rough. My parents were fairly disappointed. They didn’t cut me off, rather, interacting with them became a depressing chore as they waited for their son to get his life together. At family gatherings, I gritted my teeth at the stories Julian told: developing virtual reality hardware, cutting-edge stuff, pushing the boundaries of the way we interact with technology, all while I was couch-surfing, barely making ends meet as the IT guy at a shitty school in a town I hated. It only made the prospect of snapping out of whatever haze I was in feel more difficult.
It all changed one day soon after I got my first apartment. Julian showed up out of the blue on a dewy morning with an armful of equipment and a huge, beaming smile on his face. I let him in, we talked, and he promised that what he was going to show me would completely blow my mind.
I watched as he paced about my living room setting up all his gadgetry. As soon as everything was ready, he switched on my computer and handed me a thin, plastic headset with exposed wires. Two nodes hung from either side of the thing, which fitted snugly over my temples. While I sat back on the sofa and stared at the monitor before me, he gave me one simple instruction.
“Type something into Google.”
“But I don’t have a keyboard.”
“You don’t need one.”
According to Julian’s wishes, I simply thought about the action, and it happened. The word “something” came up in the search box, and my jaw dropped open in shock. At first, I thought the obvious, that my brother was purposefully fooling me with some kind of prank or gimmick, but repeated tests all came up with the same result. And it wasn’t just searching I could do telepathically, but anything. Literally anything I could think of, limited to the capabilities of the computer, of course. I had total control. There was even a sort of projection in my mind’s eye as it was happening, like the process was actually occurring inside my brain. It wasn’t perfect, but it was nothing short of amazing.
“You’re one of the first people to try it,” he told me once I’d tested everything out. “We’re calling it NeuroWorks, or something to that effect.”
I don’t think that feeling of astonishment ever truly left me. It was then that I realised my petty indignation, the dissatisfaction I felt after so many years of being outclassed, meant nothing in the face of my brother’s achievements, and I would be doing the world a disservice by failing to assist him. Julian departed that night after some drinks and a few laughs, and the next day, I enrolled once again for a degree in computer science. Four years later, I passed with flying colours, and Julian hired me to work for him at his company. There may have been a bit of nepotism involved, but that’s neither here nor there.
The next few years were dizzying. During the time in which I was getting (re)educated, Julian had been working with a team of elite neuroscientists, specialists that filled in the gaps in his knowledge, did all the things he couldn’t. Immediately, I felt I was in way over my head, but as my learning advanced, I gradually got up to speed, and my mood improved quite rapidly. That feeling of pride, like I was finally doing something productive with my life, was nothing short of fantastic, especially in the face of so many wasted years. I was never quite on Julian’s level, of course, but with enough time, I grew to be a valued contributor to the NeuroWorks project. Off the back of a long period of arduous work, the device fully came to fruition, culminating in an international commercial release.
It was a global success, and we made a fortune. Once we’d fully optimised it, it ended up being surprisingly cheap to produce and implement. The result was its adoption in billions of households and businesses. As expected, it completely changed the way we live and work in the virtual world. Worldwide productivity and efficiency increased tenfold. Even now, I’m typing this message with those same two nodes attached at either side of my head, hands-free. As cliched as it sounds, at that point, it truly felt like we were living in the future.
Honestly, I would’ve been happy to stop there. I could’ve moved somewhere green and sunny, spent the rest of my days doing TED Talks and sipping cocktails on the balcony of a villa, not giving a single damn. But not Julian. Like always, Julian had his eyes set on further horizons, on the subsequent stretch of progress. No sooner than a few months after NeuroWorks was released did he come up with his next magnificent idea.
“Consciousness splicing.”
That was how he described it on the day he first sat me down to try and explain. We were outside a café, some pretentious, gentrified establishment in the heart of London, with a coffee each.
“The next stage of human learning, or maybe even existence as a whole. NeuroWorks, compared to this…it’s just a stepping stone, Alex,” he told me. “If we get this right, we won’t just be able to use computers with our minds, we’ll be able to think like them, too.”
I struggled to wrap my head around the concept. “How do you mean, exactly?” I replied.
“Take what makes us sentient. Our minds, our passion, our free will. Everything a machine lacks. How can it be improved? How can it be bettered? What we lack naturally, we as a species, I mean, can be found in a computer. The processing power, the boundless memory, the objectivity. Not to mention the ability to conjure up any kind of information on a whim, the entire collective library of human knowledge, dating back thousands of years. But there are limitations. Computers can’t truly think for themselves. Not yet, anyway. They require input, direction. If we can intersect the strengths of man and machine, cross the gap that separates us…”
He was stirring his drink all the while. Julian had a thing about that: he could never look at you directly when he was thinking, like the image of your baffled face would put him off somehow.
“Okay, but you’re talking purely in theoretical terms, right? We’re centuries off reaching that point. I mean, creating a neural link between a person and Mac OS is one thing-
“I think it’s possible.”
A beat passed before he sighed, grabbed a napkin, and produced a pen from his pocket. I waited as he sketched out a crude, yet complicated diagram. I can’t recall it exactly – it was something to do with the relationship between time, space, and information. Far more philosophical than scientific, I remember thinking.
“The internet is a powerful beast. Our means of controlling it, of accessing it, even with NeuroWorks, are subpar. We just need another breakthrough, and then that could open the door for who knows what else. Traversing through decades online, going back and forth whenever we want-
“Easier said than done.”
“But it could be possible. It could.”
“I disagree. Not in our lifetimes, anyway. And even if it is, it sounds…dangerous. Very dangerous. The number of things that could go wrong, the variables…it doesn’t bear thinking about. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s learn to walk before we run, eh?”
He was quiet after that. The conversation stuck with me for the next couple of years. We were working mostly on maintaining NeuroWorks at that time, delivering a steady stream of updates and enhancements as society began to mold itself around its advent. There was some discussion as to when the next big leap forward would be, the next huge announcement from Julian’s company, but he remained tight-lipped about anything regarding that.
It was then that he started acting…weird. I saw him less and less in what was supposed to be our spare time together. The cancelled reservations and missed family events added up, but whenever I asked him about it, he just shrugged it off. “I’m a workaholic,” he would say. “You know you all mean the world to me, but so does this job.” I tried to comfort myself with that, but deep down, I think I knew he was hiding something. Something he thought would worry me, that was outside my area of expertise. I was going to confront him about it eventually. I just ended up waiting too long.
One night, he rang me out of nowhere. I remember shooting straight up into a sitting position in a pitch-black room – I think I’d been having a nightmare. The metallic surface of my phone was cold and smooth in my sweaty palm as I picked up the call and pressed it to my temple.
“Meet me at this address in half an hour. And be quick.”
I spoke a word or two in return, but the call had already ended. There was a soft blip, and some postcode I didn’t recognise appeared at the top of the screen.
Doing exactly as my brother asked, I got up, got changed, and made the 20-minute journey by car.
The place was a run-down warehouse in one of the rougher areas of town, where property prices were at their cheapest. I parked up and stepped outside, shivering as I cursed myself for not having the foresight to bring a thicker jacket. It wasn’t immediately obvious which building I was looking for, until I saw a flash of light through a broken window in the distance. Cautiously, I approached it, glancing around to assure myself I wasn’t walking into a trap, as stupid as that thought was. The main door being completely boarded up meant an obscured gap in the brickwork was my entry point.
Dodging the tiny droplets of water trickling in from the broken ceiling, I rounded a corner. The main, spacious area of the warehouse had been kitted out as a kind of makeshift workshop, near identical to a setup from NeuroWorks. It was as if someone had carved out one of our labs and dumped it here, beside walls of crumbling paint. My brow was furrowed as I stared from a distance at the scurrying scientists, who flicked me awkward looks as they went about tending to a central apparatus. I recognised a few of them, but they paid me little mind. I’m sure they knew I was coming.
It took me a few moments to realise, but Julian was part of the almighty cluster of machinery in the middle of it all. His body was a biological cog in an otherwise artificial setup; he was on his back, head tilted slightly forwards, arms splayed in a t-pose like he was being crucified. I’ll never get that image out of my head: him lying there, not having quite noticed me yet, sweat upon his brow. He was shirtless, too, wires running up and down his arms and a mesh inserted atop his shaved head, which was next to a monitor. The wires came down in gangly clumps off the side of the ‘bed’ he was on and fed into this gargantuan hunk of steel by his side. It was truly massive, topped with blinking lights and seemingly missing its outer casing. If I didn’t know better, I’d have assumed he’d been kidnapped and experimented on.
He looked at me, directly upwards from his perspective, and said, “You’re late,” through a smile.
I wasn’t smiling. “Julian, what the fuck is all of this?”
“I apologise for not telling you sooner. Truth be told, I didn’t want you to worry. But this is too important for you not to see.”
I was at a loss for words.
“What we’re going to do here, today, right now, will change the course of humanity. And you need to be here to witness it. So get ready. We’re starting!
He shouted that last sentence, and all the scientists in the room shuffled to what could only be described as their ‘posts’. I merely watched as they started a countdown sequence of sorts, dutifully coordinating the machine through a large control panel. They communicated with short, snappy gestures and mumbled technobabble that I could barely pay attention to. Instinctively, I stepped back until I was at an arbitrarily ‘safe’ distance.
Seconds later, my mouth turned dry and a quiet ringing in my ears began to form. I chalked it up to nerves initially, but it soon became apparent there was some kind of static in the air, palpable interference that manifested in a painful shock as my hand grazed the shiny edge of a worksurface. It seemed to be emanating from the middle of the room, where Julian was. His eyes were closed now, tightly; he gave the impression of someone concentrating very intently on something.
There was a hum, so low you almost felt it before you heard it, slowly increasing in pitch. I suddenly had a headache, and I’m almost certain my hair was standing up under the confines of my flat cap. Panic surfaced within me as I noticed the scientists arguing. I shouted a word of protest, only to realise my ears had popped, and the faint ringing from earlier now sounded like a cacophonous bout of tinnitus.
Something was clearly and utterly wrong. Julian’s deathly stillness as he honed his thoughts had ended, and he was now thrashing around, foaming at the mouth, unable to break free of his confines. I ran back over to his side-
“Don’t touch me!” He managed to force out. I could barely hear him, but the crazed look in his eyes, dilated like a cat’s, convinced me to leave him alone. Instead, I focused my attention on the scientists.
“What are you maniacs doing to him?” I yelled. “Fucking switch that thing off! Now!”
One of them came and pushed me away. His mouth was moving, but I couldn’t make out the words. The noise of the machine was just too loud. There was a collective moment of fear as the tone became ear-splitting. No-one could hear anyone anymore.
Julian looked like he was being possessed. My attention was drawn to the monitor beside him; before, it had been inert, but it was currently displaying a fast-moving, almost psychedelic kaleidoscope of uniform shapes and colours. If you’ve ever seen what a computer looks like when you remove its RAM while it’s running, it was like that, but even more erratic and animated. I was practically hypnotised by it, and as I gazed further and further into its depths, an awful image began to emerge.
It was Julian. I swear to god, I know it sounds crazy, but Julian’s face materialised in the form of this…nightmarish coalescence of text and code. His mouth was open, and his eyes were bulging out of his skull. I turned to my brother to see him doing the exact same expression there on the table, unable to breathe. It made me feel sick to my stomach.
Suddenly, the machine shut down, taking the monitor’s display and oppressive interference with it. Julian’s eyes glazed over, his face went pale as a sheet, and he slumped down onto his back, letting out a huge exhale. It was when he didn’t take another breath that two white-coated men went to check his pulse.
A single head shake between them confirmed what I feared. Gone.
I think I was in shock the whole rest of the night, because I didn’t speak a word to anyone until the morning. They sent me home in a taxi and promised to take care of what had happened. I burst into furious, bitter tears as soon as I put the keys in the door. I was so, so angry at being kept in the dark and lied to for so long, with this having been the culmination. Little did I know that was just the beginning.
Julian’s team called me into work the next day for a private meeting. To maintain the company’s work and appearance, they were going to sweep the whole thing under the rug. Fucking figures, I remember thinking. My first urge, naturally, was to fight this burial, to expose them and bring about some sense of justice, but I was talked down from it. You might call me cowardly for that, but put yourself in my shoes for a minute; I had no real evidence at hand, and it soon became apparent that the scientists were only operating under my brother’s command. Everything had been planned out in advance, even the system that was being followed now, for what would happen if a fatal accident occurred. Telling the world the true events of that night would’ve been a losing battle – already, they’d began cleaning up their mess – demolishing the warehouse lab, scrubbing all evidence from the archives, etc. It was a tough call, but I felt compelled to adhere to my brother’s wishes and keep moving forward with NeuroWorks. You can judge me for that if you want, but I don’t care.
I forgave them all over time. It wasn’t even really their fault Julian had died that night – there’d been a freak malfunction with the equipment, leading to them being unable to turn it off. I won’t go too in-depth; there’s a lot about it that I still don’t understand to this day. Anyway, once the dust had settled, we put the incident behind us and gave up the whole ‘cutting-edge’ angle for a while. We started pursuing safer technological ventures like media creation, but that was when something strange began happening.
You see, Julian’s cause of death seemed obvious initially – most likely a heart attack or stress-related aneurysm – but the autopsy revealed something startling. There was little to no internal damage anywhere in his body: no burst blood vessels or spasmed arteries. Rather, all the electrical signals in his body had simply vanished simultaneously, deactivating his brain. It was as if he had literally been switched off.
None of this ever got out, of course. NeuroWorks, now one of the most valuable, powerful companies of all time, made sure of that. Julian’s death was publicly credited as a stroke due to undetected high cholesterol levels. But it’s certainly interesting considering what came after.
Over the next few weeks, we had virus troubles. A malicious software was making its way through our computer system. There was a bit of a panic to begin with; an internal investigation revealed we had far too much unsecured data that anyone working for a market competitor would be happy to steal and sell to the highest bidder, but the more we found out about it, the more curious we became. The strange thing about it was only partly what it did. Corruption and deletion are pretty bog-standard as far as viruses go, but its effects were largely patternless, like it was picking items at complete random. But it was also when it was doing it. After some research, we found that people had been complaining about this mystery malware they’d designated as ‘WerStar’ (due to the word apparently repeating itself over and over again in damaged code and text boxes) since the beginning of the internet. Despite this, its existence had never been formally documented anywhere, which is extremely bizarre. Whatever WerStar is, it’s completely transcendent of time.
We think we know what’s going on, though. We had our ideas to begin with, and there were plenty of skeptics amongst us, but a recent event has all but verified it. A couple of months ago, I found a .txt file on my computer that wasn’t there the day before, entitled ‘WerStargift’. It was an enormous mass of code that took weeks to fully analyse. Delving into the nitty gritty of the whole thing would take forever, but from what we’ve been able to glean from it (and I promise I’m being serious when I say this), it’s a formula for communicating virtually with the past.
Which brings us to today. Well, our today. We’re sending this message from the year 2050 to what we’ve calculated to be the mid-2010s. Myself and Julian should only be little children. Don’t worry, this isn’t some Terminator-style mission to erase or alter a former timeline. We just need you to tell us something.
The code wasn’t the only thing in the .txt file. There was a message, a message we can’t read. It’s been cobbled together on an old, outdated editor that isn’t compatible with the modern NeuroWorks setup anymore. Believe me, we’ve tried everything, but not even old computers will display it. We think our failure to view it is the whole reason we’re even able to talk to you now. In your time, it should still be legible. You may need to do something with it, view it through a Source editor, perhaps, but it won’t be hard to decipher.
You should be able to communicate with us, too. Hopefully. We’ve tested this with random forums – dozens of messages we made that were supposedly sent in 2012, and had people respond to them in that same year. We’re well aware of the danger associated with this, but at the same time, it’s the only chance we’ve got.
I’m going to wrap this up by apologising. I’m sorry that I haven’t been more specific throughout this message; there’s a lot I’ve glossed over in the pursuit of keeping things relatively short. Maybe this is just a lost cause – the technology we’re using is still extremely unrefined, so there’s a chance this might not even get out there. But it’s been 10 years since Julian ‘died’, and I’d give anything to be able to see my brother again. If this works, if we’re able to somehow establish contact, then we may even be able to reverse the process, to find him a human host.
So, please, for the love of God, please, what does it say? Where is Julian?
submitted by Cornconic to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:35 assetguru Could it be low testosterone?

I've had a rough 5 years. I've been dealing with depression and anxiety after taking a triple antibiotic treatment to kill H Pylori and dealing with some major life stressors. Lately my mental health is doing better but physically I feel terrible most of the time, no energy, motivation, feel sick without actually being sick. My labs look fine with the exception of my testosterone levels. My total testosterone is at 395, my bioavailable testosterone is at 148.5 and my free testosterone is at 6.4 which is marked as low. Can someone interpret these numbers for me and tell me if these numbers are considered low (42M) and if so are they low enough to cause these physical symptoms? I'm trying to get to the bottom of why I feel so bad. Thanks.
submitted by assetguru to trt [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:29 pineapple159 i have been trying to remain strong but after today, i think im done.

I (19m) lived with dad (48m) and my brother (22m) my whole life. My dad and mom divorced very early in my life. There is so much to the story but to speed it up alittle bit, basically my dad was awful. Verbally abusive, possibly mentally and sometimes physical. He was horrible and that affected me and my brother. I wasnt the best kid, i took after my dad in personality and my brother did too i suppose. That affected how i was too friends.
Anyway, last year after a long buildup, we lost our house due to bankruptcy because my dad quit paying after having bankruptcy. I moved in with my mom(55f) and at first it was actually nice. My video game addiction due to depression was gone and aside from a couple times there was an angry moment between my mom and her boyfriend(58m), everything was good there. My brother and dad lived in a truck then at my grandparents(dads side) then a house they rented then now a camper in someones yard. Im sure that seems weird. Its because they lived in a truck until my dad wrecked it, they lived at his parents until after like 6 months whennmy dad finally got into the rented house, and the landlord did him a favor and let him pay extra rent until the deposit was paid off because my dad couldnt afford it first thing.
They lived there for 3 months until stuff that coincidentally stopped my dad from having money and preventing him from paying a penny to the landlord in all 3 months got them kicked out. My dad bought a camper and now they are living in it at yard in which actually a few weeks ago, they started sleeping in tents because the camper was so packed that they cant even enter it anymore. That's the simplification of them up until now.
Things where i am have gotten worse. My mom acted awful every day for a while, her boyfriend started being mean too. Got somewhat better though. Its just been a whole lot of stress though. My dad has continuously screwed up and that screws over my brother who up until 5 or so months ago, i still disliked alot. I have understood that if i wish to change and hope that people will understand i did and my friends will forgive me, i have to forgive him too. I have understood that while i mostly acted how i did because of my dad, it was the same for him.
So because of those realizations, i have started "caring" and feeling bqd and trying to help. Atleast for my brothers sake. But it's been awful. I have no money and cant drive which means i can't do anything and my mom wants him to live here. If something messed up, im completely dependent. She wasnt her own place because of her bf (who is pretty bad recently) and would have my brother move in (IF he even would) but again no license and no money. My mom also has no license, lost it last year and hardly has no money. Her car is in her boyfriends name. Considering all that, who help me drive, who would get our stuff to her new house and what would happen with her car if we moved?
With all that, everyday is awful. I hate getting up because i wonder what will go on today. We have had to constantly help my dad out after his screw ups. Im down a few hundred dollars i got for graduating and im just sick of it. The last few months i have tried to be happy. I will soon have my license which will let me go anywhere i want when i want, i will have money which will let me get whatever i want and i am talking to my friends again and they dont have hard feelings against me but we arent going to hang out until i can drive.
Its not working. Im not happy. Things have just been getting worse and more worrisome with my brother and we always say we need to say something because "this cant keep going on" but then my mom and her mom(75f) wimp out because "what if my dad does something bad because we angered him" but in my opinion TRYING to talk to him but angering him is so much better than not doing anything and them starving to death or something and all we did was non directly help with that. So today my dad needed to pay the owner of the property he is at 80 bucks but didnt have it (surprise surprise) so my aunt (50f) lent it and i said some stuff to him basically saying how it cant go on like this and he got pissed and raised his voice at me and fast walked towards me as if he was going to put his hands on me. I just walked inside my house. I was pretty angry. I told my mom and she was worried they weren't going to get any money back. But me? I am so done. This was 4 hours ago and I have done ALOT of thinking. My post might seem alittle over the place and that is because i have been typing this for 3 hours and been constantly thinking of everything.
My thoughts are that i think i want to leave. Im going to get my license and a job, buy myself a car, save a little then leave. Everyone else be damned. I can't do it anymore. All this going on is a constant battle of thoughts in my head. Am i a bad person? Are these people around me bad people or just assholes? Im done with my dad but my brother, im not too sure. We were both bad back then. I was a jerk and didn't realize it if that makes sense and had anger problems which came out when someone was mean to me or bothering alot. He was the big brother that knew they were bigger and stronger than the little brother and took advantage. Then he became super different and worse the last few years and my hate and anger grew which made me meaner to him.
Moving here, i have been thinking in my head that it wasnt always our fault (with my mothers help of course) but while i was very angry today, i wondered if my mom has been manipulating me to believe that or rather that NONE of it was his fault. Everytime i complained about him she always blamed my dad. I dont think i have ever heard "your dad" more in my life. Thinking about stuff in the past kind of makes me believe she has been manipulating and brainwashing me (which is easy because i have a very weak mentality) into thinking he wasnt bad at all. Anytime i complained about him at the other house she always just said geez or shook her head. I told her once that i was feeling depressed and a specific thing depressed people feel and she hugged me but then that was it. She acted as if i never said it after that. She seems to be more sympathetic towards him.
I dont think he is bad but when i have to deal with my dad, my mom manipulating and guilt tripping me(just remembered that im done a few hundred bucks because she guilted me into lending it to my dad) and my brother who wont really help himself, i very much want to just give the middle finger and be done. I am feeling very de-motivated to keep typing and my thoughts are slipping but last thing is i honestly think my mom might believe im like my dad or something. It would explain why seems to always be sympathetic towards my brother. She might think me and my dad were the abuser towards him. I joked(very obviously) about giving a hot pepper to the dog and she almost threw it away because she thought i wouldve. I wouldnt have. That is evil to do. There was another piece of "evidence" but it is out of my mind now so i am just going to finish up now.
But yeah this post definitely changed a little bit from what i was originally going to say but yeah i feel like im done with it all. I hate dealing with this.
submitted by pineapple159 to confessions [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:28 Mean-Classic-7739 Something in the blizzard pt.3

Part 3
Day 14
Chloe walked into what had once been the beautiful home of the Garrisons. The room she walked into was the main hall. It was large and square-shaped with a room on both sides and a hall on the other side of the door. In the middle of the room, a large antler chandelier lay in a destroyed twisted mess on the hardwood floor. She looked over at the walls and saw a few small circular holes. Bullet holes. She thought, taking a step closer to get a better look. Herman followed her wagging his tail like nothing was wrong with this situation. She looked down toward the floor and spotted large claw marks on the hardwood floor. Some looked like hound claw marks (she became acquainted enough with the marks to recognize them) but others were much larger. Far too large to be from one of the hounds.
After scanning the room for another minute she decided she’d go into the left room first. The left room was a small lounge that seemed unassuming at first glance until she noticed the couch that had been thrown against the wall and the dried blood stains on the walls and carpet. It was human blood and was mostly frozen.
She walked across the main hall and into the room on the right. This room was unassuming with very little apart from bookshelves and a small desk. It also seemed relatively undisturbed with little to no damage.
She walked down the hall into the main part of the house. This main section had an open-air kitchen/dining room and a large living room. It looked horrible, it was clear a massacre had happened here. Blood was everywhere on the floors, the walls, and even the ceiling in certain spots. Most of the blood was a dark red with occasional splatters of yellow-greenish blood. She saw bits of muscle and tissue in the blood, and all around that was wreckage. Their large 100-inch flat-screen TV lay crushed on the floor. The leather couch was flipped over and ripped in countless places. The fan lay on the floor looking like it had a sledgehammer taken to it. The kitchen was worse though… slumped against the wall was a mostly eaten body. It was essentially just a skeleton with small bits of meat and tendon still clinging on. Despite being absolutely terrified something made her want to get a closer look. She noticed most of the bones were broken if not shattered, and it wasn’t until that point she realized everything below the rib cage was missing. She yelped and looked away. The rest of the kitchen was destroyed with the drawers and cupboards broken, and one section of cupboards laying on the ground with shattered glass all around it. Lastly, the dining room. Another antler chandelier lay destroyed on the ground and the table was leaned over like it had been used as firing cover.
She walked over to the dining table only to realize another destroyed body lay behind it. This one looked like it had been thrown around by the look of its breaks. This one only had half a skull with the frontal and parietal bones absent. She looked and saw this was wearing dog tags. She let out a small sob when she saw that. She knew who it had to be. It had to be Timothy Garrison. She and Timothy were the same age and had dated through most of high school. After they graduated they had a mutual break up and she met Joey in college, but she and Timothy remained good friends. He had come to their wedding and he was the one who taught her how to shoot a rifle, and he had been the only person in his family to serve in the military.
Herman slowly walked up to the body and started sniffing it.
“Get away from him!” She screamed at the dog.
She started to sob when her brain seemed to kick back into gear. Pull yourself together and cry later, She told herself. She stood up, wiped the tears off her face, and kept going. She went back over to the kitchen and yanked their fridge open. It was stocked to the brim with meats, fruits, vegetables, and bottles. She restrained her excitement at the sight but still grabbed as much as she could. She filled a duffel bag full of only a portion of the goodies in their fridge then moved on. CREAK! The loud sound interrupted her walk over to the pantry. It came from the wooden ceiling just above her, and whatever it was that caused it sounded large. She froze and listened for more sounds, but after a while of nothing she moved on hoping beyond all hope that it was just a house noise.
She and Herman crept over to the pantry and with a quick pull she opened it. The pantry was large and also stocked with food. Most of it was crap that would expire or had already expired, but what excited her was the large sack of potatoes sitting by the door. She grabbed the sack and set it on top of the duffle bag by the fridge.
CREAK! This one was louder than the last and sent a chill down her spine. She wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to run out of the house or go upstairs and investigate. Her head was telling her she should leave but the other part of her so wanted to know what was making that sound. Finally, she made a decision. She’d search the bottom floor then she would go upstairs to check out the noise. CREAK! This one was the quietest so far, coming from below her. The basement, she thought, looking down at the floor.
She crept down a hall on the first floor with Herman right behind her. She was following a trail of blood like it was a trail of breadcrumbs. It was a deep crimson red and there was a lot of it. Whoever was bleeding definitely wasn’t alive anymore, she thought. She slowly followed the trail up to a white door which was now half covered in blood. Shakily she reached for the blood-covered knob and pulled the door open. It was the basement staircase but she looked at the way the blood had puddled and it told a story. They had hurried halfway down the stairs before something knocked them down to the bottom. There they are killed and then dragged into another section of the basement. She slowly walked down the stairs watching each step carefully until finally, her boot made contact with the linoleum floor.
I sat messing with and poking at the satellite phone trying to see why it wouldn’t send a call through. I’d looked through the manual and popped it open to see if anything had broken, but it was perfectly fine. I angrily smacked the phone against the coach, but still, nothing happened. At last, I set the phone down in defeat hoping Chloe was ok.
I turned from the couch to the window and saw Gretchen and Mom still busy with the shoveling. For the amount of snow on the driveway they’d made good work. Almost half of the driveway was clear of snow and covered in salt.
I watched on for a while before I heard a little beep. I looked over and saw the little screen of the satellite phone was showing an empty battery. I smacked my palm into my forehead annoyed by my stupidity.
“Hey Alby, can you get me some batteries?” I asked, looking over at him.
He nodded and disappeared into the kitchen a minute or two later he came back out holding the box of batteries.
“Thank you!” I said taking the box and quickly popping two new batteries in.
The basement was dark, very dark. Chloe could hardly see a thing, but she had thought of this scenario and pulled a flashlight from one of her pockets. Ca-Click! The thin beam of the flashlight kicked on. She was expecting to see the light illuminate the wall on the other side of the room or maybe a piece of furniture. But it illuminated a wall of webs. She saw through the webs at least a dozen cocoons far more than just the Garrison family. But even worse she saw dozens and dozens of stingers. They’d made the basement into a nest.
The satellite phone continued to buzz and an uproar began to grow around her. Herman let out a growl and looked ready to pounce. Chloe in a hurry grabbed Herman’s collar and started running upstairs with him. The basement became full of the sound of screeches and she heard something big started moving down there. She sprinted as quickly as she could, making it to the top of the stairs and turning around to see at least a dozen stingers following her. Rat-a-tatatatatat!! She shot a barrage of bullets down at the stingers hitting most of them. Then something big appeared at the bottom of the stairs. Two things actually. Two hounds. She yelped and then slammed the door shut. She looked around quickly for something to barricade the door. Her eyes met a small dresser in a bedroom near the door. She pulled it out and shoved it against the door. CRACK! It came from the other side of the door and was quickly followed by a loud slam. She grabbed the still-growling Herman and started pulling him along with her. After a minute he started walking by her side and she let him go.
Suddenly she remembered the walkie and pressed the button.
“Joey… Joey, I'm here!” She yelled half excited and half still terrified.
I let out a sigh of relief; “Did you check out the Garrisons already?” He asked.
“Sort of… I’m still over there,” She explained.
She thought about telling me what she’d encountered but didn’t want to overly worry me. Plus recounting that day's events would just make things worse for her, not better.
“Ok, just be safe. I love you,” I told her.
“Love you too,” She said.
She sat in the kitchen near her bags thinking for a minute. Since the crash, she hadn’t heard a thing from the basement door which made her start to suspect that the stairs had collapsed. Her curiosity had gotten desperate and she now felt like she had to check what was upstairs. She would never forgive herself if someone was still alive up there and died because she didn’t go and help them.
She slowly crept upstairs, her rifle trained and Herman at her side. The Garrison's house was set on a hill in such a way that the second floor was larger than the first. The second floor was made up of four halls that made a square with rooms within and outside of that square. The spiral stairs entered a corner of the square. Chloe reached the top stair and looked down the halls. Both were wrecked like upstairs but down one of the adjoining halls a body lay on the floor, or what was left of a body. She slowly walked over and saw this was by far the worst body she’d seen so far.
This one looked like it had been eaten similarly to Carl. The sternum and ribs were shattered and the spine was broken, but this one was worse. The bones were covered in bites and scratches, but worst of all the splatters around the body were immense; the person had likely struggled while they were being eaten alive. Chloe shivered at the thought and could only hope that they didn’t suffer long.
She stepped away from the body and got a better look around her. Apart from the body and the blood around it, there wasn’t much sign of death up there, but it still looked awful. Just like downstairs, the walls were covered in gashes and holes, and Chloe was becoming very surprised that they didn’t hear any of these gunshots.
CREAK! She looked down the hall where it had come from. For a brief second, she saw something at the end of the dark hall then it disappeared. It was only then that she noticed how dark it was up there, because of the houses set up there were no windows in the hall and the power had been out for days. She pulled out her flashlight Ca-Click! The narrow beam popped on and barely illuminated the end of the hall, but as she had thought whatever was there was gone now. She started to go about the search process methodically slowly going down the hall checking a room on the inside of the hall and then on the outside. The first room she poked her head into was a girl’s bedroom. It was decorated with a wallpaper of pink flowers and a small bed with pink covers. It was the stereotype of a little girl’s room. She noticed the covers were disheveled and a few things were knocked over. It looked like something had happened in the room but she wasn’t sure what.
She stepped out of the room and moved on to the next and the next. They were both similar with a similar disheveled nature. She started to realize whatever had happened it had woken them all up. She tried to push the last door in the hall open but it wouldn’t budge.
She continued up to the corner where she’d seen the thing. Multiple things then happened at once. She saw something massive lurking in the hall she began to turn down, she heard a creak behind her, Herman barked, and screeches began coming from downstairs sounding like the things had finally escaped the basement. Before she could stop Herman he started making a charge for the thing growling and barking. Chloe made a move after him but a gloved hand grabbed her and then covered her mouth. She watched Herman lung towards the thing then SLAM! It whacked Herman mid-air sending the dog flying back down the hall. He landed with a crash right next to her, a large bloody slash across his body. SCROAR! The sound came from the massive beast and nearly shattered her eardrums, and for one brief second, she raised the flashlight from Herman to the creature. She didn’t see much but that was enough.
She saw its face. It had four disturbing brown eyes, they were eyes she recognized. Those eyes… Those were the eyes of Mrs. Garrison. She gasped in horror through the gloved hand and she heard the person holding her let out a slight sob. The rest of its face wasn’t any better. Its top of head and forehead were all one bony plate. Its mouth was a black hole of teeth, and like the hounds, its lower jaw split into two mandibles. The back of its head had strange thin attachments that reminded her of the gills on an axolotl's head. Then in an instant, a few more things happened. The person holding her made a move for a door, the monster made a move for them, and the slamming footsteps of the hounds as they sprinted up the spiral staircase.
“Get in,” The person said, letting go of her and opening the door.
She turned around and saw the person who’d grabbed her and saw Fred Garrison standing next to the open door.
“NOW!” He yelled, grabbing her and pulling her into the room.
Fred hurried inside after her and quickly slid a fridge against the door. Seconds later angry screeches and slams rang out from the other side. They sounded like the hounds, not the big ones. Then she caught one other sound in the chaos, a wine. Oh gosh, Herman is still alive, She thought.
Fred stood by the door shotgun in hand while the slamming and screeching continued. She stood there and listened as they continuously tried to get in. Suddenly she heard Herman let out a growl, seconds later one of the hounds shrieked like they were in pain. CRUNCH! The sounds of Herman’s attack stopped and were replaced with sounds of meat ripping.
Chloe let out a small sob with her only comfort being that the crunch was likely Herman’s neck breaking.
Fred stepped away from the door and looked at her. He did not look like the man she remembered him as. His hair and beard looked like large rose bushes that were never cut. His blue eyes looked depressed like there was nothing there but sadness. Then she noticed a large bandage on his left arm. It looked like the whole arm had gotten cut open at some point.
Then her eyes wandered around the room. It was a small shop/man cave room. There were a few guns on the table, but more importantly, she noticed lit candles everywhere.
“I… I… I’m sorry,” He said with tears in his eyes.
She let down a quiet sob and Fred walked over helping her find a seat on the couch. After a minute of crying with Fred awkwardly trying to comfort her, she pulled herself together and looked up at the man.
“What happened?” She asked.
The man's face changed and she saw tears build up in his eyes; “A massacre,” He said grimly.
Then he followed with his story: “It happened around the fifth day I think. It was late and Jess and I were watching TV in the living room. Tim, Tom, Bart, and Gerry were chatting at the dinner table. Tom's wife and my four daughters were upstairs in bed. Everything was quiet and peaceful when suddenly my two dogs started barking outside. Now I know sometimes they’ll bark at dogs but this wasn’t that type of barking. This was get the heck away from me or I’ll kill you type barking. Then I started hearing weird screeching noises and at that point, I went over to the backdoor to check out the problem. I saw a bunch of massive spiders outside trying to attack my dogs, except they weren’t really spiders. Some of them had stingers and others kinda looked like slugs with spider legs. They’d stung one of my dogs a bunch and she was lying on the ground, the other was trying to stand her ground but it was a losing battle. I pulled at my revolver and started shooting at them. They were really fast. I think only one or two shots actually hit them. They started running over to me. One ran right in between my legs and a few of them tried to attack me. I shot those ones and turned around to try and stop the one that had gotten in, but it was already running havoc in the kitchen. My sons were chasing it, but they weren’t having the best of luck. Suddenly there was a crash, more spiders jumped through the now shattered windows, and something was banging on the front door. In an instant, the door was knocked off its hinges and one of those creeper things came through the door…”
Chloe interrupted him with: “I’m sorry but what are “those creeper things?””
“The… the big ones. The type that got your dog.” He explained.
“Anyways… it came running into the house, and before any of us could stop it. It threw Tom across the kitchen and into the wall. I came running to help him but that’s when it slashed my arm and threw me into the TV. The TV fell on top of me and then one of those spiders ran over and stung me in the thigh. I lay there with my eyes beginning to grow heavy. I saw Gerry, Tim, and Bart using the table as the shield. All three were hunched behind the table as the creeper began eating Tom. In a quick move, all three made a run for it. As they were running the creeper pounced and threw Tim into the table. Then it slashed Bart across the chest. Gerry managed to maneuver the creature and hurried over to help me. Bart ran down the hall to the basement and me and Gerry started hurrying upstairs. At some point, I blacked out and woke up here. Everyone was gone.” He finished with a somber look on his face.
“Oh gosh, I’m sorry.” She said looking at him.
“And somehow they turned my beloved Jess into one of those.” He said motioning to outside where the Creeper had been.
She stopped to listen and realized that she couldn’t hear the hounds anymore.
“Are they gone?” She asked, looking over at Fred.
“Probably, they eat fast for their size,” Fred said grimly.
They sat there again awkwardly before Chloe asked, “What are all the candles for anyway?”
“Well I started lighting them for warmth, but I realized those things don’t seem to like them. Especially the scented ones.” He explained.
She took a whiff of the air and realized how strong the scents were in the room. It almost gave her a headache smelling them.
“So why were you here anyway?” He asked.
She got a little nervous. She felt like a little kid in trouble with her parents. She didn’t want to tell the truth because she worried it would anger him.
“We were running out of supplies.” She said simply.
Her thoughts turned back towards me as she sat there.
I sat on the couch still watching them work. They were about two-thirds done now, but they were starting to really tire and it was getting late. It had started to darken and I knew soon night would fall, and I just hoped she would make it home before nightfall. I’d tried to call her again, but this time it would ring but not go through. I started to wonder if hers had run out of battery. Bang! I immediately turned to the window in a panic. I saw Gretchen standing holding the rifle a few feet away straight down the barrel as a dead stinger. I let out a sigh of relief and turned back toward the phone in my lap. I hope you’re an ok babe.
“Fred, we have a plan. Come with me, don’t stay here, you'll die,” Chloe pleaded.
“Maybe I want to die.” He said, “Look I’m not stopping you from leaving but I’m not going.”
“Well if I go alone I’ll die, please my family needs me,” She said desperately.
Memories of his family flooded through Fred’s mind. He remembered how he felt when his first kids, Tom and Tim, were born. She hadn’t even had a kid, and suddenly he found himself doing something he didn’t think he’d be doing.
“Fine, let's go send those things back to hell!” He yelled pushing the fridge out of the way.
“Follow my lead,” He ordered turning around to her.
Then he cocked his shotgun and slammed the door open. As he had suspected the hounds and creeper were both gone, but lying on the floor next to the door were two bodies. One was the sprawled-out body of a now-deceased hound. Its neck was broken in multiple places and its yellow-greenish blood was everywhere around it. The other body was ripped off most of its flesh, but she knew who it had belonged to. Herman wasn’t going to sit there and bleed out so he must’ve lunged for one of the hounds nailing it in the perfect spot on the neck killing it. Then the other hound quickly retaliated by feasting on the dying Herman, or maybe it was the creeper she wasn’t sure which one actually ate him. But what she did know was that the skeletal remains of Herman on top of the hound had its teeth in the hound's neck.
Chloe let out a small sob and in barely a whisper said: “You were such a good boy, but you can rest now.”
She reached down and picked up a ripped piece of leather near the bodies. It was what remained of Herman’s collar. She stuff the piece into her pocket and looked over at Fred. Fred had tears in his eyes as he saw the corpse of Gerry just down the hall.
“H… He was only 15,” Fred cried as he got a better look at the scene.
Chloe stood there unsure of what to do or say because Fred looked like he was about to have a meltdown. Then his sad face turned to one of anger. She moved the flashlight past the body and down to the corner and the staircase. Lurking next to the staircase its brown eyes glowing in the light was the creeper. It was guarding the stairs and most likely wasn’t going to let them leave for as long as it lived. Her curiosity was getting the better of her so she turned a dial on the flashlight to make it brighter. She wished she could go back and stop herself. Stop herself so she didn’t have to see the horror that was the creeper. Her first interpretation of the face was fairly accurate except for one part. Inside its gaping maw behind the mandibles almost looked like a separate set of jaws. The second set was much more human-like and looked ready to shred any meat to bits, but its head was nothing compared to the body it sat upon. It appeared to have six limbs, two very long front arms with two large claws at the end, and two more arms that attached to roughly where pectoral muscles would normally be. These arms were much shorter than the previous set. It had two back legs that appeared to be quadruple-jointed. It had the normal heel and knee joints, but it had one additional joint in the foot. Despite this the legs looked vaguely dogfish, but not nearly as those of the hounds. Coming out where the tail should be was a large thorax with two nasty stingers on the end. The thorax was curved like that of a wasp ready to strike when necessary. It almost looked like it had a shell of exoskeleton on its back and thorax, and spouting out of the thicker plates were large needle-like spikes.
It let out a demonic shriek as soon as the light brightened. It ducked out of sight and started making a loud clicking noise. Chloe and Fred kept their guns trained on where it had disappeared ready for it to come out charging, but unfortunately, they underestimated it. It made a loud ticking sound followed by CREAK! Before Chloe could even turn the hound that had crept from behind had her pinned to the ground and was bitting and slashing at her back. BANG!!!! BANG!!!! Fred had lowered his shotgun to its head. The first blast blew out two of its eyes and shattered part of its exoskeleton, and the second blast dug through the broken exoskeleton into the brain. The hound collapsed dead and with his gun pointed at where the creeper had been Fred helped push the body off of her.
Chloe got up a little shaken but relatively ok. She started guarding back while he guarded the front as they slowly made their way towards the stairs. Any second they were expecting the creeper to appear from around the corner, but it didn’t. The creeper was planning something again but they didn’t know what. Just as they made it to the stairs they turned down the other hall, but saw nothing. The creeper had likely walked into one of the rooms and was waiting, but they weren’t there to explore. They hurried down the spiral staircase, but just as they got to the bottom they saw the place was still swarming with stingers, slugs, and 3 hounds. A loud ticking sound came from upstairs and the three hounds charged towards them. They started running back upstairs only to see the creeper now lurking at the top of them. Cornered in the middle of the stairs back to back with each other they began to accept their fate.
I started to really worry about where Chloe was I hadn’t heard from her in a while and it was getting late. I sat there trying to call her every few minutes but it would not pick up. BANG! I dropped the phone and turned to the window. Gretchen stood there with the rifle pointed at something off in the snow, but I couldn’t see what the thing was. BANG! I saw for a brief millisecond the bullet flying into the blizzard then nothing. BANG! I tried to pull myself up to see what it was, but searing pain went through my body when I tried. I looked out again and saw something massive emerge from the blizzard charging for Gretchen.
“I’m sorry we should’ve stayed up there,” Chloe cried as the hounds slowly stepped closer.
“Kid, I would rather die here than die in the room a coward, but you ain’t going to die here!” He said triumphantly.
Suddenly he pulled out a small can of spray deodorant and sprayed it in the hound's faces. All three toppled over making loud hacking coughing noises.
“GO!” He yelled and she quickly made her way past the hounds and downstairs.
There were still dozens of stingers down there and she still wasn’t sure what to do. Before she could do anything. RAT-A-TATATATA! All around her, the stingers began exploding as Fred landed shot after shot.
“A little help would be nice!” He yelled.
She quickly pulled out her semi-automatic and started firing as well. RAT-A-TATATATA! The hall began to fill with the exploded bodies of stingers and slugs. Suddenly she heard shuffling behind her and saw the hounds getting up. Without a second thought, she sprinted down the hall and into the kitchen. Standing in the living room was another group of stingers and a hound. How many hounds are there? She thought, then she remembered how many people in their town had two or three hunting dogs. If all of them were changed they’d be a small army.
She ducked behind the island sitting uncomfortably close to Tom’s body. Fred sprinted in a second later and saw what she did. He jumped to the ground and shimmied over to her.
“Crap kid we really are screwed,” Fred said his momentary confidence completely diminished.
Before anyone could do anything the monster that had emerged from the blizzard was attacking Gretchen. In one quick motion, it slashed open her gut and she dropped the gun. I stared outside as my mom tried desperately to fire, but even from this distance, I could see she’d loaded the gun wrong. In an instant, she was on the ground bleeding. I looked over at the shotgun sitting next to me and fired a round through the window at the beast. The window shattered and I saw the creature get hit right solid in the chest, but it didn’t matter much. Like the dog beasts, this one had a thick darkly colored exoskeleton that the round didn’t pierce. The beast looked up from what it was doing and started charging for the house. I fired again but it didn’t even slow the creature it just kept on charging straight towards the house. The boys at some point had caught onto what was going on and started crying and screaming. I tried to get them to quiet down, but they were too distraught. I grabbed the box and loaded two more rounds just as the door was thrown out of its hinges. SCROAR! It charged into the house. BANG! I shot it directly in that face and saw one of its eyes explode. SCROAR!!!! It swung a large two-clawed hand straight across my face throwing me across the room. I landed against a wall and in my weak state I leaned over and felt myself begin to fall. Unfortunately, it had thrown me right next to the basement stairs. Every time I hit a stair only hurt more than the last. At some point, my bandaged left hand slammed into a wooden stair. The pain was so bad I almost passed out. Finally, with one lass unceremonious thud, I landed on the basement floor.
Chloe looked around her hope beginning to fade then her eyes locked with the pantry. The large pantry with a window.
“Follow me,” She whispered as she started crawling for the pantry.
Fred followed close behind. Chloe crawled into the pantry and ducked into it. She peeked out of the doorway and saw that Fred had froze. The four hounds had gathered right behind him. He looked horrified and clearly unsure of what to do. Suddenly with a loud creak, the creeper's head poked into the kitchen and it let out a loud ticking sound. The hounds started screeching and one began to slowly walk towards Fred. RAT-A-TATATATA! She struck the approaching one 9 times in the face and the sudden burst seemed to wake Fred from his fear. RAT-A-TATATATA! Yellow-greenish blood exploded from the approaching hound's mouth and it slammed its head into the wall in pain. Fred turned around and sprinted into the pantry with Chloe closing the door as soon as he was inside.
Instantly sounds of slamming and scratching erupted from the door. Chloe turned to the window in the pantry and slid it open diving out into the snow. Fred quickly followed slamming the window behind him to give them more time.
Chloe sprinted through the snowy evening as quickly as she could Fred trying his best to keep up with her. The man wasn’t exactly in his prime and combine that with him not having snow shoes to be frank Chloe was surprised he was able to stay caught up at all.
As she sprinted down the darkening street getting closer and closer to home she thought she heard a faint Bang! Followed quickly by SCROAR!!!! Her worries suddenly switched from her and Fred to her family. She hadn’t called them in hours and now there was clearly something going on. She sprinted ever faster looking up and realizing she’d already made it onto their street.
As soon as their house was in view she saw the shoveled driveway, but she also saw my mom laying in a pool of her own blood. Along with that, she saw Gretchen weakly trying to get up also bloody. Chloe ran over to Gretchen.
“Gretchen, what happened?” Chloe asked as she helped Gretchen stand.
“Something… something big.” Gretchen sputtered out.
Gretchen had a lost far away look on her face. She almost seemed drunk but Chloe knew that wasn’t the case. Gretchen was likely in shock. SCREAM! Chloe immediately recognized it as one of the boys. She gently sat Gretchen down and then pulled out the rifle. Fred had finally caught up and quickly but carefully Fred and Chloe made their way into the house guns drawn.
They hurried inside and saw the creeper looming over a now-still Alby. Without a second thought, Chloe raised her rifle RAT-A-TATATA! She shot the thing a few times in the back knowing that it probably wouldn’t do any real damage. It turned around and looked at the two of them standing there. The scene was eerie as the still-burning fireplace cast a strange glow on the creeper. Everything seemed to go still for a second the two of them staring at the creeper and the creeper staring right back at them. All three of them trying to make a decision but are not sure what to do. SCROAR! It dives forward slicing at the welding helmet Chloe was wearing and then pinning her to the ground with its four legs. BANG!! His shotgun blast hardly seemed to phase the thing as started digging its claws into Chloe. She let out a scream that I heard loud and clear from the basement.
I’d managed to pull myself halfway up the stairs with my good arm and leg but my energy was running out and I was feeling lightheaded. I had to save her I had to protect her. BANG! I heard another gunshot followed by an unfamiliar scream. I didn’t know at the time that Fred was putting everything he had into trying to protect my wife.
Chloe gunless and pinned down was beginning to accept her fate when she remembered what she’d done last time. She reached for her knife and stabbed one of its feet. SCROAR!! It backed up off of her clearly in pain. Quickly she pulled the sniper rifle off her back and Bang! The bullet went clean through one of the thing's legs. She’d quite literally found the creeper's Achilles heel. It half fell to the ground letting out another roar of pain and agony. Both its front legs were crippled and it lay there defeated. Fred stepped forward ready to put a shotgun blast to the temple when suddenly. The thing reared up onto its two back legs throwing Fred into the wall. It had to hunch a little as the ceiling wasn’t very high but it still was tall. Chloe figured that on two legs without a hunch it was probably 10 feet tall. SCROAR!! Bang! It lunged towards her and she used her first shot to shoot its arm. The bullet embedded into the exoskeleton but didn’t seem to hurt it. The creature stopped for a moment as if to think. Bang! She shot the creature in the belly. The exoskeleton cracked. Bang! The second shot sunk into its stomach and the creature's blood began to leak out. SCROAR! It bashed one of its arms into her. She felt her left shoulder get cut open and the helmet went flying off.
BANG!! BANG! Two shotgun blasts rang out at the exact same time. The first blast was Fred's. It hit the creeper directly in the back of the head causing it to stumble forward. The second was my blast hitting it directly in the face. The two shots managed to hit at the exact perfect times. The creeper collapsed to the ground critically wounded.
Fred ran over to Chloe who was in a daze on the ground.
“Are you alright kid?” He asked helping her up.
“I’ll live,” She said weakly.
The creeper let out a growl from where it lay on the floor. I pointed the shotgun from where I was on the stairs and fired one final blast into its head.
“Chloe who is that?” I asked cautiously.
“Fred,” She said sounding weak.
I crawled the rest of the way up and saw Alby laying near the fireplace motionless. I froze as I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes. Then I looked closer and saw besides a cut on his arm he wasn’t hurt, and better yet it looked like he was breathing.
“Alby!” I yelled trying my best to over to him with my broken body.
He lifted his head and turned it to look at me.
“Is the monster gone?” He asked.
“Yes it’s gone,” I said trying to sound comforting.
“Ba… Babe,” Chloe stammered, now leaning down over me.
Her eyes were locked with mine but she had a horrified expression on her face. I didn’t care and gave her a long tight hug.
“You’re not leaving me again,” I told her.
Finally, I pulled away and looked at her and for a second it was just the two of us and nothing else mattered.
Fred hurried into the house helping Gretchen walk.
“Everyone downstairs now!” He ordered and we all hurried down.
“Alby where’s your brothers?” I asked him as he followed us downstairs.
“They're down here.” He said pointing down the staircase.
“Fred, what’s happening?” Chloe asked the panic-stricken man as we all stepped into the basement.
“More, more of them are coming.” He said a look of fear on his face.
“Well then let's get ready for a fight!” Chloe said, cocking the shotgun she’d taken from me.
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