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Don't fly over Barron County Ohio.

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 00:38 Darkhex78 New player, stuck on what to add to my first list.

A local LGS is hosting an escalation league to grow the local legion scene. I decided to grab a clone wars starter and split it with a buddy, keeping the Separatist side for myself. The first game of the league is 500pts, and I have enough space to add either another unit of B1's to my list, or a unit of B2 super battle droids.
I've been watching videos and I understand that B1's are very important to Separatist lists, but I'm curious if I could comfortably run a unit of B2's instead, for a little extra firepowestaying power. Atm this is what I have:
General Grievous with no upgrades
2 squads of B1 battle droids with an extra B1 and an E-5C equipped battle droid
1 squad of Magnaguards with Protector and an Electro-whip magnaguard
1 squad of Droidekas, no upgrades.
Any advice on stuff I should change/add is appreciated. Always wanted to try Legion and I'm glad it's finally catching on near me.
submitted by Darkhex78 to SWlegion [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:37 Lanky_Resort1486 Is it normal to have two periods in one month?

So my cycle is always very regular and it always is about 28-31 days long( I’ve had the Flo app for two years so I can see my statistics). My first period of this month started on the 12th and ended around the 17th, but then this morning on the 28th I woke with blood clots in my underwear. I had work so I put a tampon in expecting not to need any more but I managed to bleed through it within 3 hours.
A few months ago I had a similar experience but it was a light pink red sort of colour and only lasted a day and only needed one of those super thin pads, but todays one was heavy, normal red blood and I had period cramps and I’m still bleeding now at 11pm and I first noticed bleeding at 7:30 am. But is this normal to sometimes get a second period in one month because Google confuses and scares me, but is this something to worry about or is it like a hormone imbalance?
(I am nearly 18, but I’ve had my period since I was 11 but it’s had roughly over 6 years to regulate. Don’t know if age is relevant)
thanks 🤎x
submitted by Lanky_Resort1486 to Healthyhooha [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:37 TheAusNerd Debris [Part 81]

[First] [Previous] [Next]
"So we've got an extra million?" asked Finn, phone in one hand, cigarette in the other, a light breeze sweeping the ash off his balcony. "Cool. Put it in the fund. If Arges plays ball, we'll have the I-75 fixed up by June." He stared down at a sheaf of documents beside him. "Alright, goodbye."
He hung up, slumping his shoulders. Taking up the sheaf, he squinted at the papers. "I really need to get my eyes checked." he muttered to himself.
Finn stubbed out his cigarette and turned to the door when his phone rang again. He groaned and picked up the call. "Finn Stevens."
"Hello, Mister Stevens, this is Adeline from N.A.S.A."
Finn perked up, quietly shutting the balcony door behind him. "Uh, hello Adeline. How can I help you? Is there a problem with the funding?"
Adeline chuckled. "No, don't worry; your donations have all made it through okay. I called in relation to a report we received from the scout party that launched about a month ago."
Finn sat down in the kitchen as he poured from the coffee pot. He tried not to get his hopes up. "Oh, is everything okay?"
"More than okay, Mister Stevens. We got word that your father's alive."
A jug of milk fell from Finn's hands and exploded on the floor. "... Come again?"
"... Your father's alive." Adeline repeated, a twinge of concern in her voice.
"Where? Is he okay?" asked Finn shakily.
A sigh made its way over the line. "Mister Stevens, all other information related to this operation is strictly confidential. However, I can assure you that Mark is alive and safe. I'm sorry if that's not enough for you, but it's all I'm permitted to say."
Finn's breath came in trembling bursts. "A-alright. Thank you, thank you so much."
"You're we-" Finn hung up.
The world reeled, Finn's head thumped and whirled, and his breathing grew more laboured. He slumped to the floor, his phone clattering down beside him. A hesitant smile forced its way onto his face, and joyous tears spilled down his cheeks. A slow, almost nervous laugh escaped his lips, slowly growing in volume and intensity, until Finn appeared mad, cackling and crying on the kitchen floor.
Margaret reached the top of the stairs with curiosity in her steps. Her face fell when she saw her husband sat convulsing in a pool of milk, and she rushed to his side. "Babe? Finn, are you okay? What happened?!" she asked frantically.
Finn seemed from the outside to slip from a trance, his gaze fixing upon Margaret. "H-he... He's alive, Marge! Mark's alive!" And with those words, his rapture overwhelmed him once more, and he clung to his wife, laughing and crying into her shoulder. In that moment, the mess in the kitchen fell away, and all the world seemed possessed by Finn's euphoria. Margaret held him tightly, feeling tears begin to well in her own eyes.
Finn's laughter wavered for a moment."He's alive."
The mess halls aboard Holy Krek'ka saw their usual midday bustle as prisoners lined up to be served lunch. Behn and Wora stood side-by-side as they waited their turn; the routine had become so rote that the most interesting thing to do was determine which lunch tray they held based on scratches in the plastic. <"... I'm telling you, I had this one two days ago; this mark here's from when that X'andi in Block 3 knocked into me."> Wora traced the shallow scrape in the tray as she talked.
Behn screwed her face as she tried to remember. <"I remember that being more off to the side, around here."> Her finger pointed to a scratch an inch away from the tip of Wora's thumb.
<*"No, that was a week before that. You said: If that girl's ass was any bigger, she-">* Wora's speech was cut off by a flash of movement in her periphery. She followed it to see a towering X'olandi woman, tray tucked under her arm, marching past the line. She stopped near the front of the line, and began menacing a X'andi woman half her size. It was impossible to tell what the pair was saying over the hall's usual din; it was, however, impossible to miss the sight of the smaller woman being thrown from her place in line, with her aggressor taking her place. The X'andi tried to regain her place, quickly being shoved aside. She then tried to appeal to the guards, who simply told her to join the back of the line.
Behn squinted, pointing a finger at the immense woman ahead of them. <"Hey, wasn't she taken out of gen. pop yesterday?">
Wora's face was stern. <"She was. No way she got off early for good behaviour.">
<"Friends working the desks?">
<"Maybe."> Wora's tone was heavy, as though her words were more than sound. She watched the woman as she picked out a table, and saw the point of a blue diamond on her ankle.

The day passed like any other, and the prisoners were sent to their cells. The couple's cell was quiet, save for Wora using the toilet. Behn leafed through her box of cards, confusion thick in her expression. <"Come on! I could've sworn Bloodletter was in this deck. Hey Wora, you think someone's sneaking in and nicking cards?">
<"Probably."> replied Wora distantly, pulling up her pants. <"My card pool's looking a tad thin, too.">
<"Mmm. You still up for a game?">
<"Nah, I'm just gonna go to bed."> said Wora as she ruffled her fur.
<"You okay?"> asked Behn, making her way to her lover.
<"Yeah, just seasonal shit. I'm always like this this time of year."> Wora turned. Her fur was unkempt and her every movement screamed exhaustion.
Behn stared at her with pity. <"I get it. You wanna take the edge off?"> she asked hopefully.
A weak smile came across Wora's face. <"Thanks, but no. Too tired.">
<"Alright."> said Behn, disappointed. <"You know I'm here for you, right?">
<"Yeah. I know."> Wora took Behn's hand and ran her teeth across it.
Behn mirrored this affectionate gesture. <"Sleep well.">
<"I plan on it.">
The lovers embraced, then left for their separate beds.
Behn had trouble sleeping, worries for Wora's mental and physical health plaguing her mind. Still, if she was to properly support her partner, she couldn't afford to neglect herself. Eventually, she managed to drift off to sleep.
Wora laid facing the wall, appearing to all as though she were in a deep slumber. When she was confident nobody was looking, she pulled Behn's Bloodletter card from deep within the fur on her chest, in addition to a card from her own box. She bit into the cards and tore them into uniform strips. Once more, she scanned for any onlookers, then lifted up the corner of her mattress and pried off the cap to her bedpost, where she removed two sharpened lengths of metal. She had gathered the metal from heavily damaged police equipment left beside that which she had been tasked to clean; waiting for the opportune moment had taken months. Each jagged piece had a crude handle held together by loose thread taken from clothing during laundry duty. The handles themselves were made for countless strips of More Than a Myth cards glued together with saliva. Wora silently apologised for the many thefts of Behn's property, but reassured herself that should the time come, Behn would forgive her. And not too soon, for if that incident with the Resh'Nilon girl was any indication, the gang had something big in the works.

In the dark of night, Ser'ke was escorted down to solitary confinement. The faux guards present were laughing amongst themselves with malice on their tongues, and Ser'ke could almost feel the prisoners joining them from behind their thick cell doors. He was let into the Lord's cell, where he was greeted with warmth and a glass of brandy. <"Ser'ke, my brother!"> The Lord boomed. <"The time is nigh! By the end of the month, Ta'X'rtana will be laid at our feet! And it's all thanks to you.">
Ser'ke paused mid-sip. <"Me, my lord?">
The Lord chugged from the bottle of brandy. <"Of course! Without yours and Ledrn's help, none of this would have been possible! Although we have friends on the inside of damn near everything in the city, moving to exert control on more than a few minor sectors at any one time would have given us away. But this? Using a time of crisis to completely remake the city in our image? Only a madman would think of such a thing! And only a madman would aid him in doing so. So I salute you, son!">
Ser'ke mulled on these words, continuing to sip his drink. <"So, how long now?">
<"Can't really say."> said the Lord frankly. <*"Could be tomorrow, could be in a week, could be tonight. Either way, know this: For your integral role in bringing this plot to fruition, I hereby grant you my protection.">*
<"Protection, sir?">
<"Should anyone lay so much as a finger on you without your say-so, come to me, and I'll have that fucker pay dearly. So long as you keep clear of the law, you'll make it through this without a scratch.">
Ser'ke watched his reflection in his glass. <"And afterwards, my lord?">
<"I'll have boys on the ground scrub your file. So far as the law's concerned, you've always been a law-abiding citizen."> He took a moment to think on his words. <"'Course, that won't stop you from getting up to some mischief should the mood strike you."> He guffawed, his immense frame seeming to bend his bedframe with each chortle.
Part of Ser'ke wanted to see the outcome of this bout of laughter, but his better judgement won out. <"That's good to hear, sir. If the time to strike is as imminent as you say, I had better get going. Thank you for your protection and hospitality, sir.">
<"Ah, hold on!"> Said the Lord frantically, wiping brandy from his chins. <"Have your hands healed up, son?">
Ser'ke flexed his recovered wrists and digits. <"They have, sir.">
A malicious shadow fell on the Lord's face. <"Then expect a package to be delivered to your cell later.">
Not wanting to start second-guessing the gleeful tint in his voice, Ser'ke took his leave.

It was in the early hours of the morning, while the lights remained off, that Ser'ke was awoken by a soft hum. By the time he roused from his restless sleep, he saw the last instant of his cell's energy gate thrumming back to life; Laying nearby the gate was a long chest. Ser'ke crept up to the container and quickly hurried back to his bed with it in tow. Checking to see if the coast was clear, he opened the chest, and his breath caught in his throat. Without a second wasted, he stashed the box between his mattress and the wall, tucking it beneath his blanket. His heart raced; he had thought he would never get to hold one again. He only hoped he wasn't too out of practice.
Beneath Ta'X'rtana, unbeknownst to any save the participants, the many Resh'Nilon Lords were in communication. <"We can spare a crew out west, but that's it."> said a rail-thin, elderly X'eti. <"Any more, and we'll be leaving ourselves open.">
An immense X'rtan woman huffed. <"Don't expect any more from us, Bol'kad, we're spread thin as it is hitting Ma'kerl and Goll.">
<"Cool it, Fila'mas."> chimed in the forgemaster beneath the mechanic garage. <"I have a few boys with nothing to do; I'll have 'em sent out your way, Bol'kad.">
<"Much appreciated, Agra'mil."> Fila'mas looked questioningly at the other woman in the call. <"Ulind'erak, you've been awfully quiet.">
The young woman stationed beneath the restaurant looked away from her second monitor. <"I have nothing to input; my men are stationed as best as I can. Do keep in mind that the escapees will provide support, so any shortages will be mitigated.">
Agra'mil clicked his tongue. <"Wukrof'in's lax, you know that. From what I've read, there's only a crew's worth of boys with designated drops; the rest are just gonna land wherever they want.">
An eyebrow was raised past the rim of Ulind'erak's glasses. <"That lack of coordination will disorient any cops left on the ground, while giving our crews ample cover.">
<"Ulind,"> chimed Fila'mas. <"Do you really expect a completely uncoordinated drop of prisoners to do the job for an entire city?">
<"In addition to our own crews."> retorted Ulind'erak with pointed annoyance. <"Not to mention gods know how many X'olandi.">
<"Enough."> said a fifth, faceless voice. The Lords immediately ceased their squabbling. <"It doesn't matter how many we have in the field; so long as our primary missions are accomplished, the day is won. Am I clear?">
The Lords replied in chorus: <"Yes, my Lord.">
<"Good."> said The Lord. <"Keep your ears open for the signal. Blessed be our charge; Our lands beheld.">
<"Blessed be our charge; Our lands beheld."> replied the Lords.
The call ended.
The commotion in Kaneti Square was palpable. Angry stall owners gathered behind barricades and hurled insults at construction workers, while those on break joined unarmed security in attempting to calm the crowd. In the square's center, scaffolding and thick sheets of metal were beginning to take the shape of a landing pad and an accompanying platform for welcoming ambassadors. A cubicle stood off to the side of the site, and K'ul was waiting patiently outside. The cubicle's interior was spartan, with only a desk and some minimal storage for documents. "How soon is this going to be finished?" asked T'aro, admiring the build quality of the desk.
<"Tomorrow at the earliest."> replied the thick-furred foreman as he took a swig from a mug of ramut. <"Sure, the platform'll be built by sundown, but it'll need testing for structural integrity. That can take half a day in and of itself, not to mention any potential alterations it'll need.">
T'aro sighed. "Just get it done; It'll still need furnishing and equipment setup before it's ready."
The foreman shrugged. <"It'll take as long as it takes, pal. Can't do ya any better than that.">
T'aro grunted. He nodded to the foreman, and left. K'ul followed him back to the car. "Remind me," said T'aro. "How many days now?"
<"Four, sir."> replied K'ul. He opened the car's door for T'aro. <"Assuming no delays.">
T'aro grumbled in response as he took his seat. He looked over the remaining items on the checklist with loathing. "I don't have enough booze for this." he groaned.
<"In four days, sir, nobody will.">
submitted by TheAusNerd to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:36 ConditionOpening5747 Synastry chart help?

Synastry chart help?
Hi, this is our synastry chart for me (25,f) and my boyfriend (28,m). We have been together for nearly 4 years, living in the same house.
He decided to break up with me recently, in fact, he has been trying to break up for so long, but somehow we managed to stay together. This is a critical time for us, never been this close to break up actually.
Can someone help me with that, I don’t know where to start.
Thanks in advance!
submitted by ConditionOpening5747 to AskAstrologers [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:36 vvatchlover Fresh oil change from dealer and this happens:

Fresh oil change from dealer and this happens:
Hi all, long time lurker, love seeing the posts come across my feed. I’m hoping someone can provide some advice. I had my oil changed in my Ram 1500 yesterday morning at the Ram dealership and the photo is what happened the next day (today). My wife, 5 mo old son and I were driving back from a day near the Poconos when I saw smoke in my rear view. Quickly pulled over to inspect what was going on and found oil splattered all over my tow hitch which caused me to look under the truck. That’s when I saw the oil nut hanging on by a thread and oil pouring out. All the oil poured out by the time the turnpike roadside assistance showed up.
My question is, what recourse do I have? All I’m looking for from the dealer is reimburse me for the 7qts of oil I had to buy at the gas station, a free oil change to put the right oil back in, and a free inspection to make sure nothing happened to the engine or brakes as the oil sprayed the entire under carriage.
Luckily the engine did not seize and it started back up after I refilled the oil. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Sincerely, An annoyed father and vet on Memorial Day weekend.
submitted by vvatchlover to Justrolledintotheshop [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 Extension-Act-9353 Should I get braces?

I've had crooked teeth since I was young and just recently found out about mewing and its definitely the reason they are crooked. Anyway im supposed to get braces some time in the near future. Should I wait until I have mewing down to a T before getting them? Should I stop mewing until I get the braces and they do their thing?
Im also in need of one or two implants and have all my wisdom teeth still so I'm unsure. I've read about how mewing and having braces is bad and wondering which one I should go for as I know the local ortho is just trying to get money out of me. How do you think I should go about this?
submitted by Extension-Act-9353 to Mewing [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:35 vieuxfort73 Fish! Sorry for the bad photo, thought some might find it interesting. Great fish market near me.

Fish! Sorry for the bad photo, thought some might find it interesting. Great fish market near me. submitted by vieuxfort73 to phish [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:34 jayflex1010 D197 Version Control Guide

I'll start off this post by saying that this course has some of the worst instruction I've ever seen. The cohort is literally the instructor reading the rubric line by line without any other explanation.
This course took a few days when it should take less than an hour. I'm writing this to help people fill in the gaps that are not provided in the resources (when they should be) and not waste time.
First download the template from the course resources.
  1. Make a GitLab account. Create a repository with your student ID and course number. They want 0101010_D197 as an example.
  2. Go to your repository page. Next click on Project information on the left side. Click on Members, once on this page select the blue "Invite members" button. Type in "WGU Evaluation" a suggestion should come up. For role select "reporter," then select invite.
  3. Download the file from the Task 1 overview page. Upload each file one at a time. I started with all the HTML files, then added the folders and uploaded each file one at a time. This took forever but I followed what was recommended in the resources.
  4. On the left side panel move your mouse over Repository, near the bottom of the pop out menu select Graph. Once on the page take a screenshot. For windows I suggest using Snipping Tool. Add the screenshot to the Step A section of the template.
  1. Copy the link from your repository and keep the browser window open. Open git bash and navigate to the folder you want to set the local repository. Type in git clone Your browser will open and direct you to GitLab and you will be asked to give permission to the clone request.
  2. Once that is done take a screenshot of the command being executed in git bash. Add the screenshot to the template.
  1. This part asks you to modify three files. I did each file one at a time. I would open a random html file in Visual studio code from the local repository and add in an comment by typing in Comment example . Save the changes and close the editor.
  2. Type in git status and you'll see a line that says, "Changes not staged for commit:" at the bottom you'll see in the color red, "modified: filename.html"
  3. Next type in git add filename.html
  4. For the next step type in: git commit -m "A comment describing the changes made."
  5. Take a screenshot of git bash, add it to your template, then repeat steps 1 - 4 above two more times.
  6. For the next step you'll need to link your local repository to the remote repository. Type in the following command: git remote add origin
  7. Clear the git bash window by typing in clear. Then type in git push -u origin main. Once that is done take a screenshot of the command executing in the git bash window and add it to the template.
  1. In git bash type in the following command git branch readme
  2. To add your student ID to the file type in echo "Student ID: 0101010" >
  3. Next do: git commit -m "Created a readme branch and added in student ID to the README file."
  4. Type in: git push -u origin readme
  5. Make sure it executes properly and take a screenshot and add it to the template.
  6. For the second screenshot go back to the GitLab repository and take a screenshot of the graph. I clicked on readme in the drop down menu of the graph page and took a screenshot. Add that to your template. You're done with step D.
  1. This part gave me the most confusion so I'll include the YouTube video that I used to help me create a merge conflict. Here is the YouTube video:
  2. After watching that I used nano to modify the file in the main repository. I also added in the git version to the file. I replaced one number in my student ID. I added and committed the changes.
  3. Then I used git checkout readme to change repositories in git bash. Once in the readme repository I used nano to modify the file I put in my correct ID and git version. I then added and committed the changes.
  4. I used checkout to go back to the main repository. Once there I typed in git merge readme. This is where you will get the merge conflict. I used the vi command that is used in the video to modify both files. I fixed my student ID and kept in the git version line. I then saved the files and exited the vi interface. Note: I had to Google how to exit the vi interface. You type in :q then press enter to exit.
  5. Once that is done do git commit -m "Comment on how you fixed the merge conflict."
  6. Take a screenshot and add that to the template.
  7. The final step for E is going to the graph in GitLab and taking another screenshot.
  1. Clear out your git bash window and type in git tag -a "V.1.0.0" -m "Added tag V.1.0.0"
  2. Next type in git push origin V.1.0.0
  3. Take a screenshot of the git bash window and add it to the template.
  4. Next go to the graph on GitLab and take a screenshot. I clicked on V.1.0.0 in the drop down menu.
That is it for the template portion. Delete all the red text from the template and add any comments you want. I added in my name, student ID, course number, and date to the top of the file. Once I had it formatted the way I wanted I exported to PDF.
  1. In the git bash window type in mkdir retrospective. Then move into the retrospective folder.
  2. Next type in touch log.txt, once you do that type in git log > log.txt
  3. Next do touch summary.txt, then type nano summary.txt, add in how you fixed the merge conflict and the three changes you made in part C.
  4. Go back to the main repository folder and add and commit the new directory.
  5. Type in git push to upload the new folder to the online repository.
For the last part I made a folder in the local repository and put all the screenshots in the folder. I then made a zip file for the local repository.
Then I uploaded the pdf, zip, and added in the repository link on the Comments for Evaluator section.
I hope this guide saves you some time and makes your life easier.
Let me know if you have any questions.
submitted by jayflex1010 to WGU [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:33 vieuxfort73 No one is parking near me. Actually pretty far out in the lot, but I found it funny.

No one is parking near me. Actually pretty far out in the lot, but I found it funny. submitted by vieuxfort73 to badparking [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:33 JoshAsdvgi Tale of Evening-Star And Orphan-Star

Tale of Evening-Star And Orphan-Star

Tale of Evening-Star And Orphan-Star

A poor orphan boy lived with a large family of people who were not kind to him and mistreated him.
He could not go to play or hunt with the other boys, but had to do all of the hard work.
Whenever the camp broke up the family always tried to steal away and leave the boy behind, but sooner or later he found their new camp and went to them because he had no other place to go.
One time several families went in boats to an island in a large lake to hunt eggs, and the orphan boy went with them.
After they had filled their boats with eggs they secretly made ready to go back to the mainland.
In the night, while the orphan boy was asleep, they stole away in their boats, leaving him to starve on the lonely island.
The boy wandered about the island, eating only the scraps that he could find around the dead camp fires, until he was almost starved.
As he did not have a bow and arrows, he could not hunt, but he sat by the water’s edge and tried to catch fish as they swam past him.
One day as he sat on the lonely shore he saw a large animal with horns coming to him through the water.
He sat very still and watched the animal, for he was too frightened to run away.
The monster came straight to him, then raised his head out of the water and said: “Boy, I have come to save you.
I saw the people desert you and I have taken pity upon you and come to rescue you.
Get upon my back and hold to my horns and I will carry you to the mainland.”
The boy was no longer afraid, but climbed upon the animal’s back.
“Keep your eyes on the blue sky, and if you see a star tell me at once,” the animal said to him.
They had not gone far when the boy cried, “There in the west is a big star.”
The monster looked up and saw the star, then turned around at once and swam back to the island as fast as he could.
The next day he came and took the boy again, telling him, as before, to call out the moment that he saw a star appear in the sky.
They had gone a little farther than they had the day before when the boy cried out, “There in the west is a star.”
The animal turned around and went to the shore.
The next day and the next four days he started with the boy, and each time he succeeded in getting a little farther before the boy saw the star.
The sixth time they were within a few feet of the opposite shore when the boy saw the star.
He wanted to reach the shore so badly that he thought he would keep still and not tell the monster that he saw the star, for he knew that he would take him back to the island at once if he did.
He said nothing, and so the monster swam on until they were almost in shallow water, when the boy saw a great black cloud roll in front of the star.
He became frightened and jumped off of the animal’s back and swam to the shore.
Just as he jumped something struck the animal with an awful crash and he rolled over dead.
When the boy came upon the shore a handsome young man came up to him and said: “You have done me a great favor.
For a long time I have tried to kill this monster, because he makes the water of the lake dangerous, but until now I could never get the chance.
In return for what you have done, I will take you with me to the sky, if you care to go.”
The boy said that he wanted to go, as he was alone and friendless upon the earth.
The man, who was Evening-Star, took him with him to the sky, and there he may be seen as Orphan-Star who stands near Evening-Star.
submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:32 qiqikimbapart What are good non-mental health related reasons to put in resignation letters?

Hi. So I'm planning to resign from my current job but I'm still looking for an alternative source of income because I really can't take it anymore.
My reason is my mental health has deteriorated na to the point na I have panic and anxiety attacks nearly everyday lalo night/hours before ng workday and I barely get any sleep din because nahirapan din ako makatulog tapos 6am pa yung start ng work. Di na rin ako makakain ng lunch kasi walang gana and 30 minutes lang kaya tinutulog ko na lang.
It's a drafting job for clients abroad and dapat kasi accurate yung gawa so everytime na may error sa job, napapahiya yung draftsman tas sisigawan pa ng boss na parang lahat ng kasalanan sa mundo siya may kagagawan. I dread every email we receive. We have one shared email lang din kasi so everyone sees every email.
I dread everyday and I pray na mawala na lang ako everytime. Andami ko na rin absences including today. I'm so burned out but I don't wanna tell them my issues because my boss is toxic af and yung workmates ko naman are not open about mental health stuff. I hear them say na wala naman dati yung mental health mental health na yan, pauso lang, ganern. For sure kasi kakausapin nila ako about my reason dahil may 30 days to render pa, kahit na the resignation will be final since notice naman yon and not for their approval. So can you give me advice of what reason to give them kaya? What are normal/acceptable non-mental-health-related reasons to quit?
submitted by qiqikimbapart to AntiworkPH [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:32 JoshAsdvgi Tale About Three Storks

Tale About Three Storks

Tale About Three Storks

There lived a man who did not know where he was born.
We think, however, that we were born of this man.
He was rich in everything.
One time a She-Monster came to him and wanted to be his wife.
The She-Monster said, "You must take me for your wife.
Otherwise, I shall devour you."
So he married her, and they lived together.
After some time he felt sorrowful and thought to himself, "Is it fair, that I being a man, so strong and rich, must have for a wife this unclean monster?"
He came to a water-hole, and sat down there.
For three days and three nights he cried from vexation near the water-hole.
One time, when he was crying there, a girl appeared out of the water.
He said, "I am lonely.
Sit down by my side and cry with me?" – "How can I sit by your side? Your Monster Wife will surely kill me."
The man spoke fair words to the girl.
Three times she appeared out of the water-hole and talked to him.
The She-Monster said, "What is the matter with you?
For three nights in succession you have stayed near that water-hole.
Did you not find another woman there to spend your nights with?"
The man answered, "Where should I find a woman better than yourself?
And why should I look for another woman?" They lay down and slept together.
Early in the morning the woman arose from the bed.
She threw her thimble upon the man; and his sleep grew sound and strong, almost like death.
He slept throughout the day, and on until midnight.
The Monster-Woman took his bow and arrows and went to the water-hole.
She lay there in ambush, holding the bow strung and ready to shoot.
At last, the water-woman appeared out of the water-hole.
The Monster-Woman shot at her, and hit her straight in the heart.
She fell down, and sank to the bottom.
The Monster-Woman came home and picked up her thimble from the man's bed.
The man awoke instantly.
He looked around, and said, "Ah! how long have I slept?"
So he put on his clothes and ran to the water-hole.
It was full of blood.
He saw the blood, and cried bitterly.
"Ah!" said he, "it is my wife who has spilled this blood."
He plunged into the water-hole head foremost.
When he reached the bottom, it was like another earth.
He looked about, and saw that every bush had, instead of leaves, small copper bells, and the tussocks were covered with sableskin instead of moss.
"What a fine place!" thought the man, and he walked onward along the beaten track.
After a while, he came to a river.
On the other shore stood a tent of Lamut type, made of silver.
He came nearer and heard voices within.
So he entered.
A woman lay on the bed of skins, moaning with pain.
Two strong men were sitting by her, right and left.
The men jumped up and laid hands upon the visitor.
They shouted, "This man has killed our sister!"
And they wanted to kill him on the spot; but the woman said, "Do not kill him!
He did me no harm. His wife killed me."
He looked at her more closely.
An arrow was sticking out from her heart, and the woman was ashen from pain.
She moaned pitifully, and said, "Bring him nearer!"
They brought him close to the woman, and he took his place by her bed.
She cried, and he cried with her.
He wanted to pull out the arrow; but the woman said, "Leave it alone! I shall die at your first touch.
But if you want to restore me to life, go off across two stretches of land.
In the third country you will see a silver hill and three she-storks are playing on it.
You must creep close to them, and catch one of them.
Then you must bring her to me."
He set off, and after passing through these two countries he saw the silver hill.
Three she-storks were playing on the hill, and amusing themselves with their stork-play.
He tried to creep nearer, but after some time the storks noticed him.
He fell to the ground full of despair, and in his despair he turned into a little shrew.
Then he heard the storks talking to one another, plainly, in the Lamut language.
The youngest one raised herself on her long legs, stretched her neck, and asked, "O sisters! where is that man?
And what is coming now, so small and mouse-like?"
The other said, "Why do you stretch your neck in such a manner?
This is no man at all.
Otherwise we should have noticed him sooner than you."
They flew up and circled around the hill.
In the meantime, the man had reached the top of the hill.
The storks descended again; but the youngest said, "Ah! my heart misgives me.
This man is hidden somewhere."
But the two others retorted, "Ah, nonsense!
We should have noticed him sooner than you."
The two eldest ones descended to the hill; the third was still circling around in the air.
All at once the shrew turned into a man, who caught one of the storks by her long leg.
"Ah, ah, ah!" blubbered the stork, "and how does our other sister at home fare?
Is she still living, or is she dead?" He told them everything.
They were greatly moved and said, "Go home, and we will follow you."
He went home, and the three storks followed him on high, with much talking and many songs.
He reached the house and entered it; but the storks were circling on high, singing their incantations.
They wanted to pull out the arrow.
The oldest said to the youngest, "Do try and pull out the arrow!" – "You are older than I.
You have more skill than I." – "No, we are unable to pull it out. Do try to get it out!"
Then the youngest stork flew upward, and for a moment stood still directly over the vent hole of the silver tent.
Then she dropped down like a stone; and when half way down, she soared up again.
They looked up, and the arrow was in her beak.
The patient sat up directly and wiped away the tears of pain.
Then she said, "Indeed, our youngest sister is a shaman."
She entered the house, and also praised the man. "Your heart is true.
Will you take me for your wife?"
He took her for his wife, and on the bridal night they slept in the silver tent; and the three female storks were circling above all night long, keeping watch over them and singing incantations.
In the morning, the storks said to their two brothers, "You must send our brother-in-law, together with his wife, back to his home." – "All right," said the brothers.
"Let them stay here for one day more, and then we will get them ready for the trip; but you must fly first, and see that everything in their home is in order."
The storks flew off, and came to his house; and that very evening they came back.
The man said to them, "How shall we go home? I have great fear for my young bride."
The storks answered, "Have no fear.
We caught your old wife, and threw her into the sea.
She turned into a big sea-worm."
The next morning they started on their journey; and the youngest stork warned them, "Be sure not to sleep on the way!"
They moved on, he in front, and his young bride close behind him, both on reindeer-back. Half way along he was overpowered with sleep.
Do what he would, he could not keep awake, and at last he fell from the saddle like one dead.
The wife tried to wake him and said, "Did not our sisters warn us against sleeping in the way?" But he did not hear her words.
In the meantime, while she was busy over him, nudging him, and pulling him up, a big Eagle-Man with two heads came, and shouted, "I have been making suit for her since her earliest years."
The Eagle-Man caught her by her tresses and threw her upon his back.
Then he flew off, and carried her along.
After a while the man awoke, and his wife was nowhere to be seen.
He cried from grief, and then looked around.
No trace was left upon the snow, he saw only their own tracks made when they were coming to that place.
The three storks arrived.
The youngest one said, "Did we not tell you not to go to sleep? Now what is to be done? The giant Eagle-Man is the mightiest of all creatures.
They flew away in pursuit of the Eagle-Man.
The young man followed behind on foot.
After a while they overtook the Eagle.
He was flying on, carrying the woman.
Then the two elder storks told the youngest one, "Why, sister, we can do nothing.
You alone must try your skill and good luck.
All we can do is to aid your efforts." "I will try," said the youngest stork.
She flew straight upwards, and vanished from sight.
Then she fell straight down upon the Eagle, and snatched the young woman from his talons; and he still flew onward, noticing nothing at all.
The youngest stork put the young woman upon her back and carried her back to her husband.
They prepared for the journey again.
The youngest stork said, "Now, you must go home.
Nothing evil will befall you. You shall live there in wealth and good health.
Children shall be born unto you every year.
Take our blessing and go away." They went on, and came to their country.
There they saw that the silver Lamut tent was standing in their own place.
They entered. They lived happily and quietly.
submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:31 throwawayhhhh23 Upgrading from saffire 56

So I’ve used an old saffire 56 for years and really enjoyed it but think time has come to upgrade as I’m being hampered by lack of osx support etc.
I want to retain the pres and connect via adat as it’s still working and I have a fair bit of outboard gear I like to use.
I don’t think in total I need more than 10 ins and outs.
I’ve found a few secondhand listings on marketplace near me.
Behringer umc1820 for £160 Audient id22 for £110
Am I right in thinking both would allow me to retain the 56s pres?
Which would be the most prudent purchase?
Thanks :)
submitted by throwawayhhhh23 to audioengineering [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:31 Babymama1707 Just need to rant

Hi, I just need to rant a little bit. I recently went to A&E with breathing difficulties and because I was seriously lacking nutrition. It turns out what I thought was a cold being made worse by me being pregnant was a chest infection. I have immune issues anyway and this pregnancy is making me seriously sick. I can’t keep much food down and no matter how much I drink I seem to be dehydrated all the time.
I’m going a little insane dealing with my 13 month old who is currently going through a phase of only wanting me on top of doing majority of the housework. I don’t get to sleep very much at night because my son still wakes up during the night needing comfort. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I’m terrified that my health being constantly bad is going to affect the baby I’m pregnant with. I know I need to rest, it’s just hard because the housework doesn’t get done if I’m unwell bc my partner focuses on our son and that’s it.
I don’t have very much support from anyone near me. My in-laws live 4 hours away and work all the time so I can’t rely on them and I don’t really have a family of my own. We haven’t had a break since our son was like 4 months, and when I was more well I offered to give my partner a break which he refused. He recently decided he wanted to take a break knowing how much I need his help right now. I just needed somewhere to rant, to get my thoughts out so I don’t explode. I guess I’m just an anxious and burnt out mess right now
submitted by Babymama1707 to beyondthebump [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:29 Maleficent_Taro9549 Does my she like me back?

Basically theres this girl in my class that I really like. I fell inlove with her 2 weeks ago and think about her everyday Shes so beautiful, her smile is adorable. We stare at eachother in class often and touch eachother, too, in a teasy way. During the break when she and her friends pass my friend group, we make eye contact (she smiles too) and looks embarrassed and slightly blushes.She also always finds ways to look at me when im near her. I notice that but i dont look back bc i want her to glare more. It made me think she likes me back since she only does that to me and no other boy in my school.
submitted by Maleficent_Taro9549 to Crushes [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:29 Try-To-Relax I (29M) seem to be losing my group of friends (23F, 27F, 28M, 30F) because I'm not interested in dating an extended friend (31F).

This shit is starting to get to me so I need some perspective on this whole situation please. I'm using my main account since two of my friends use Reddit and know my username anyway.
As a preface, I was in a 6 year relationship in which we were engaged that ended 2 and half years ago. The engagement ended due to incompatibilities that we couldn't ignore any longer, but it ended on great terms since we genuinely cared about each other. This current friend group formed during the last year of that relationship. We all hang out together all the time, have been on several trips together, support one another, and regularly stay the night at each other's homes. They are like my second family of sorts. Nothing sexual has ever happened between anyone in the group that I know of.
Well about 8 months ago I was finally feeling ready to date again with the intention of getting married and having kids after two long term flings. I expressed these feelings to my friends after we got back to my place from a bar. They were all excited for me and offered to help look, to which I declined since I'd rather let the process happen as organically as possible. Well nearly two weeks after this conversation, we've all gathered at 30F's 4ghouse after work for a dinner party since she loves to cook; except she had also invited one of her friends (31F) that doesn't normally hang out with us on nights like this. I couldn't care less since I think she's a great person to be around, super kind, and pretty funny although I've only talked to her a handful of times. As you have probably guessed already, she was invited for me which everyone was in on except for 28M and me. I'm not entirely oblivious/naive so I figure out pretty quickly that this is an informal date between 31F and myself. She spent a large portion of the night making conversation with me in an effort for us to get to know each other. Towards the end of the night I took 31F aside to the patio in order to talk about this situation in privacy. She tells me that 30F said that we would be great together and that finds me attractive and wants to find out where things could go. I tell her that I'm flattered but she's just not what I'm looking for in a life partner. There was some back and forth about why and what she might have done wrong, I stressed that it was nothing she did wrong and that she is attractive but I'm not interested. The conversation ended something like this:
31F: "But I don't understand, why wouldn't you be interested? From our conversations I think we should at least give each other a chance. "
Me: "It doesn't matter why I'm not interested. I think you deserve to be with someone who is crazy about you. Besides, I'm sure you have a ton of guys who are interested in getting to know you on an intimate level. "
31F: "Ok I understand, but let me know if you change your mind".
Exact words escape me, but I thought this whole thing was tied up that night with they conversation. We re joined the get together and had a good time with everyone before we all went home. The next goddamn day I'm contacted by friends 30F and 27F about 31F. They were annoyed that I didn't give 31F at least 1 date since she really tried to get to know me. I ignored the fact that they tried to set me up because I genuinely don't think it's a big deal. I reiterated what I said to 31F the night before but they continued to press me about why I won't date her. After like an hour of pressing me I finally told them that I don't like dating promiscuous women. How do I know that 31F was promiscuous in her past? Because it's hard not to listen to 23F, 27F, and 30F gossip and talk about people they know when we hang out. I know all about 31F's past since she and 30F went to college together. Now let me just say that I do not care if an individual is sexually free, as long as every one is safe, consenting, and healthy, please do whatever you want. I also don't look down on any one who chooses to live their life that way and try my best to treat everyone with respect. However I learned from that gossip that 31F was a "party girl" and had slept with over 50 men during her time in college. Again, she can do whatever she wants but I don't find that type of behavior appealing in a long term partner. I equated it to dating a vegetarian or someone who doesn't like pets. It's just a preference, that's it.
27F and 30F immediately jumped down my throat until 23F came to my rescue and helped them understand my perspective and thought process. I felt as though I was perfectly reasonable. I was a bit shocked when they acted like I shouldn't have this preference and that it was based in misogyny. Look, I have two sisters and most of my family are women, I don't have a misogynistic bone in my body. There was a slight shift in how frequently we hung out after that, but things seemed fine for the most part over the next few months. Even 28M came to me and said that he thought it was ok for me to have whatever preferences I wanted for whoever I plan to spend the rest of my life with. Case closed right?
No. A few months after that blip I met someone that I'm excited about (she sent me a rose on Hinge) and I began spending a bit less time with the group to spend more time with her. Everyone noticed and asked if I was dating someone and I of course said that I was and told them about her. Well 27F and 30F didn't like that she was 23 years old and started throwing out some pretty shitty accusations about me grooming her, or that I might have pedophilic tendencies. Then they brought up 31F again and said they now understand the "real" reason why I wouldn't date her. Friends 23F and 28M again defended me but things became increasingly tense. I don't understand what the fuck is happening with 27F and 30F. We were all solid before all of this and everyone has been so reasonable up until that night with 31F.
Can you all please share your thoughts? Is our friend group done? While 28M and 23F think it's fine, I'm still getting shit from 30F and 27F.
submitted by Try-To-Relax to relationship_advice [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:29 Broad_Brilliant_5743 33 and now completely debt free after owing 30k and seeing no way out 5/6 years ago.

Hi, I just wanted to post just to offer and encouragement or open for advice/chat to anyone suffering with debt and seeing no way out.
For context I had an addiction to gambling from an early age, which only increased as I earned more money and spiralled out of control from 25-28 years old. I was in a decent job earning between 40-50k a year, however built up debts of near 30k. No one else knew about this not my partner of 7 years or close family until one day I left a letter out by mistake from debt collectors which mum found and finally it was out. It was best thing that ever happened to me.
I had 4 loads. One for 11k, one for 8 one for 5 and one for 3. Sainsburys, Santander, hitachi and bamboo. 3 of these had been passed to debt agencies. At my worst I was being paid and 1800 was coming out on payday/days after to cover loans and leaving me just enough to pay money to mum and other bills often leaving me with nothing for 3/4 weeks before next pay day. In the end I managed to get a minimum payment on all 4, paying around 500 a month to all 4 and I saved a lot of the money I had spare (1k a month ) sometimes. All the while I managed to save enough after 6 months to offer to settle the debt of 11k for 6k so that was one gone. I carried on and by time my daughter was born and I was 31 I was debt free. I’m now 33 and managed to move into house with my partner of 13 years and not gambled in 5 years.
I wanted to post this as if I can do it I know everyone else can. I was gambling stupid amounts, pay day loans anything and was at rock bottom. Easy options out such as suicide crossed my mind more than once. I thought I was a pathetic, useless man. It’s not an easy road but best thing I ever did. 5 years seems a long time but it flew by. Keep positive and talk to family/friends it really does help.
All the best and messages always open
submitted by Broad_Brilliant_5743 to UKPersonalFinance [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:28 elleisforlife Moving close to Pluto Mc Line or Moon IC?

Moving close to Pluto Mc Line or Moon IC?

I live in the panhandle of Florida ( 20 + years) right now and really want to move. I lived outside of Atlanta ( looks like it's near my moon IC) briefly a few years back but had to move back to the panhandle. My hubby couldn't find decent employment. I actually enjoyed living in that area of ATL.
I also like visiting Birmingham, AL ( no lines near this location ) but not sure if it agrees with my chart. I've also been interested in Ridgeland, Mississippi ( near my Pluto McLine it's on the west side of it. Based on this info and my chart. which would benefit me more in a way of career and peaceful living? Thanks
submitted by elleisforlife to astrocartography [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:28 Skarlit-Sage There was a strange post on my reddit account, I don’t recall posting it.

I’m not an extraordinary individual. Not to my knowledge at least. However, there have been many anomalous things that have happened to me throughout my life. Some of these incidents were harmless while others were downright haunting. Either way, all these incidents were well beyond simply being “out of the ordinary.”
The most recent of these incidents involve my reddit account. Specifically, a post that I don’t ever remember posting. I don’t have any medical or family history of memory-related disorders. I have never shown any signs of such memory disorders, nor do I have any predisposition to them. I also do not partake in injecting any drugs including alcohol or anything else that could cause me to forget certain events. Therefore, I would’ve remembered originally posting the following post and yet I don’t. The original post was titled, “A former work partner sent me a strange email last night, now I fear for my safety.”
I discovered this post this morning after vomiting for the first time in years. However, the vomit wasn’t what scared me. The fact that it was partly black. Closing the lid of the toilet after vomiting in it, I noticed something on the underside of my left forearm. “Subject Number 9: Attempt number 1; Result: Conversion Rejected; minimal to no physical alteration; failure” where the words printed on my arm. That was the final straw and that’s why I’ve decided to repost the original post rather than simply deleting it.
-Original Post-
It happened last night around 11:30pm. I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard a notification sound from my laptop. It was an email titled, "If you get this email, you’ve been selected for a true opportunity. Don’t resist it!" and attached to it, was a Word Document. It was from an ex-coworker whose real name I won't use (I'll be using the name Dave as a replacement). Not wanting to stay up for what I thought was an advertisement or promotion of some kind, I simply saved the attachment after verifying the email's origin.
I then went to bed before being woken up around 3:00 at night to a loud thumping sound and my laptop being turned on seemingly by itself. Upon opening the laptop, I saw that it was opened to the word document while a page to reddit had been open. After reading the Word Document in its entirety, I was dumbfounded. It wasn’t an advertisement; it was a warning. At first, I would’ve assumed it was just a dumb, ridiculous prank. However, following events made me convinced that’s not the case.
I tried to delete the word document and close reddit with no success and laptop will only pull up reddit, email, and Microsoft Word. I then tried to turn off my computer, but it only gave an error sound in response. Worse yet, my phone won’t even turn on so calling for help via my phone isn’t an option. It’s definitely some sort of virus. Furthermore, in the process of trying to leave my apartment on the fifth floor, the door wouldn’t unlock, and the peep hole was obstructed. Following this, I tried to scream for help, but nothing happened. This has only made me fearful and desperate. That's why I've decided to post the document I received here so I can maybe appease whatever virus this is.
To give context, I met Dave when we were both hired in the same group. Long story short, the job simply wasn't for us, and we were both let go the same day right before the end of our job's probationary period. After that, I went to work for a warehouse job to stay paying for the bills. I'll admit it's not the best job, but I won't complain because it pays enough for me to afford my monthly expenses. However, that didn't stop me from being jealous of Dave once I had learned that he had found work in an unnamed experimental treatment facility.
I live in an area on the southeast coast of North America that's known for constant innovation. Dave on the other hand, lived 20 minutes away from me. That's partially why it wasn't so hard for both of us to find replacement jobs. However, it didn't explain his luck as I never took him as the kind of guy to work in the field of Biology and Gene Therapy. He seemed more of a mechanic than a scientist. Regardless, I was happy for him and moved on with my typical life.
That was all about 2 months ago.
The document that was attached to the email was a letter. Any details such as the name of the CEO or the company Dave worked for have been removed. This was the message I saw when I read the document.
-Message Starts-
[My Name], you’re one of the people I sent this to. You need to read everything that is in this document very carefully, word for word and then post this to a site that it is or will be pulled up on your device. I’ve installed a virus on your computer that will only be nullified once this document has been posted onto a specific internet page designated as “Safe to post” by the virus’ code. I’ve done this to ensure that the truth gets out there not to harm you. I’m sorry it had to be this way.
However, I shall give you some context first.
It all started after I didn't make my previous job's probationary period. I had moved to the local area just for that job. So, when I didn’t make the cut, I originally was planning on moving back to my home state. However, that soon changed as two nights before I was going to begin the move. I had gotten a letter from [Removed] Inc. It was a job offer.
"Hello [Removed], we've heard about your recent and unfortunate separation from [Removed]. We would like to extend a job offer after reviewing your skills and experience as we’ve determined that you'd be a better fit here with us and your contributions valued. Your job would be relatively simple, safe, and rewarding. You will be trained, costs covered by us. Should you choose to stay, you’ll enjoy our amazing benefits including, but not limited to, full insurance coverage, competitive pay, and 152 hours of PTO! All we ask is that you're willing and able to work 12-hour shifts, lift more than 50lbs, comply with our reasonable NDAs and do the job with quality and safety in mind. Should this offer pique your interest, don't hesitate to call us or email us!
Sincerely, [Removed].”
“Today’s biological questions are tomorrow’s biological achievements here at [Removed].”
I must've read it twice before deeming it as "too good to be true" However, the truth is, I was desperate. Desperate enough to take the time and reach out to the company. The fact is, I didn't want to go back to my home state. If I had a chance to stay here, why not try and see if the job is genuine. “The worst thing that can happen is I get my time wasted” I thought.
I called the CEO the next day and to my surprise, long story short, it was successful! I was hired! Not only that but the job's hourly wage was $10 more than my previous job and I only had to work 3 days a week! I was told to come in the next available shift for training.
I eagerly began my first two weeks here normal enough. It was mostly training videos relating to our job procedure, receiving hands-on training for simple tasks, and meeting my coworkers. On the first day, I noticed that all the coworkers barely ever talked. I chalked it all up as they simply being standoffish to me, the new hire. I figured they needed to warm up to me.
After the first 2 weeks were done, I had a good idea of what I'd be doing. I would be experimenting on human and wild animal tissue as well as live animals. This was to study the effects of mutating and altering certain genetic codes. I know the last part might seem unethical, but it was to discover cures for diseases using gene therapy. I wasn’t hurting animals; I was helping them. However, the job still began to feel wrong.
It started with me meeting the CEO. Immediately I noticed something was different about her. Specifically, the way she looked for a CEO. She towered above me at almost seven feet in height and her skin was insanely pale. Her hair was jet-black as was the color of her eye’s irises and the shape of her upturned eyes made her gaze very intimidating as well. She looked young, perhaps 25 at the oldest. Furthermore, the way she dressed; she wore a black and grey camo military-style uniform didn’t help. There was what looked to be the patch of a flag or symbol on her left shoulder, but it wasn’t that of any nation or group I recognized. The symbol/flag in question was a red-letter X in the middle of a red outline of an eye with a black background. Her voice was also very off.
After meeting her, I was then made to sign several NDAs and other contractual documents. The documents I was signing seemed standard but something in me felt wrong with it. After signing the NDAs, I was then introduced to Arin, the person I'd be shadowing. Everything went downhill from there. Immediately, within 5 minutes of meeting him, Arin began to give me a list of ominous, strange suggestions that sounded more like warnings.
  1. If you hear the CEO seemingly talking to herself behind a locked door with the hallway lights flickering outside, walk away. She’s talking to the voice. Whatever they are talking about is none of your business and you want to keep it that way.
  2. If you are working by yourself and the lights turn off. Don't move. You will hear a voice, cooperate with it, answer any questions it has and do what it says. I don't want to have to clean up after another, "unfortunate work accident."
  3. Though this is unlikely, if the CEO tells you to meet them in their room. Do not keep them waiting. She doesn't like it when you're late because it is likely demanding your presence.
  4. If you have questions about what exactly we do, don't ask. Don't try to tell anyone outside of this facility the nature of our work and its end goal should you find out. It's not us that will come for you, it's the voice.
  5. If you happen to see the figure that the voice belongs to, it has respect for you. Keep it that way but avoid eye contact with it.
  6. Do not refer to the voice as the CEO or a mental illness. Even if that’s what it seems like, I promise you It not that. You treat it with the utmost respect and legitimacy even when it's not around.
  7. None of these suggestions I’ve given you are a "joke" of any kind. Take it seriously.
I didn't say anything, but I was more than confused. I could tell by his face that he was intent on convincing me. In fact, he had the most serious look I had ever seen on anyone’s face. He then said, "I have your back but don't get yourself in trouble. Don't mention what I've told you at lunch either. Everyone learns in their third week. Now, you know what they say about Rome? When in Rome, do as the romans do yeah? Well, you're in Rome so do as we do. Oh, and I'll say this one final time, nothing I've told you is to be talked about outside of the workplace. Don't think about it too hard though. Just don't forget either." My heart began to race slightly after hearing this as I struggled to go about the work routine of isolating and studying DNA strands, reorganizing documents, Injecting certain labelled syringes into various lab animals, etc.
The next 4 days went roughly the same as I got into the routine of things. I got better at my tasks and was even allowed to work alone by the end of the week. All the other coworkers at lunch would say things like, "I went to go work at my station but the door to the room was locked, I then heard the CEO talking on the other end." or "The lights went out at my station yesterday, IT didn't say anything. The lights came on after 2 minutes. IT must've been observing." As these things were said, they exchanged knowing looks with no sign of any joking going on. At this point I was beginning to be convinced that the CEO was insane just by that alone.
The following 4 weeks were almost completely normal. There was no mention of "The Voice" except towards the end of my 4th week when Arin said, "IT must be taking a break or a vacation if it does that sort of thing." before one of our coworkers apparently got a little too clever and said, "IT might just decide to screw off for once." Everyone then stopped to look at him with stern expressions and no one even smiled. No one else said anything about the voice for the rest of lunch that day. The whole event made me nervous even more.
Midway through my 5th week, I had my first encounter with the voice while working the last hour of my shift. I was in a level A biohazard suit and about to mix two separate solutions in a petri dish based on instructions projected on my station's computer screen. One was dark red and labelled, "Human Blood; O- Type" and the other was black and simply labelled, "Black Blood." I was just about to mix them when the all the lights, including the light from my computer monitor cut out. Then, I heard a low-pitched, inhuman voice speak, "So interesting.” It spoke before continuing, “Tomorrow you will be made to do something dangerous but very important. In fact, that's why we brought you here. You are expendable due to your lack of prior experience and knowledge. However, I know you need the money and if you come in tomorrow, I’ll pay you 100k after you complete the task.”
The voice was beyond haunting because of how abnormal it sounded. It was like 3 people speaking at once. One voice was a deep, yet feminine, prominent, and loud voice while the two sounded like a man’s faint whispers echoing the same words. The voice then continued to my dismay, “Now, you were about to mix the two agents. Remember to destroy the petri dish after 3 minutes.” I didn't even ask how it knew to respond with that. I just stood there drenched in sweat and shaking, horrified at the whole experience. Then I thought back to the rules I was told on day seven. There was no doubt in my mind that this place was insane!
The voice then left without a trace as the lights came back on. I then completed the task according to instructions given. I watched as the Human Blood mixed with the Black substance. The entire petri dish became black within 1 minute before reverting to blood. When analyzing the liquid under a microscope, I saw that the cells had their entire genetic code rewritten. There were also what appeared to be stem cell like cell in the blood. They were black and moved through the other cells mutating any that hadn’t been converted. I immediately stepped away from the microscope as I gasped and then disposed of the mutagenic waste by placing it in the incinerator. The day then ended not long after that. I was reluctant to come back but the money promised was undeniable.
When I got to my assigned station at the basement level of the facility the next day, I was greeted by the CEO again who told me we’d be working on a "willing test subject" for an experiment. She also told me that I and my immediate coworkers were the only employees on site except for a few executives that would also be present. I was still shaken up from the previous day’s experience and the weirdness of that current day. However, I was then fully convinced with the promise of an additional 100k being deposited into my account immediately after successfully completing my task. I would've turned back had I known what would happen less than 30 minutes later.
I was escorted by the CEO to an all-steel room except for a panel of heavily reinforced, thick observation glass and door that looked like it belonged in Fort Knox. In the middle of the room lies a medical bed with a tube full of black fluid beside it. Several of my coworkers then stepped in the room with me as they saw my confusion. The door then closed behind them. Then Arin spoke, “So I guess the CEO didn’t tell you. Listen, there’s a reason why our team is the only one here today. It to put you in that bed.” I shouted in protest, “What! No! I don’t agree with this! Please, you can’t do this to me! This is illegal! Stop it!” Arin then replied with the last words I heard him speak, “Sorry buddy, this is why we brought you here. No one’s going to find out! We are all getting 100k individually to do this. You’re not the only one who needs money right now. Now let’s just make this easy for everyone. Get on there!” I then replied with, “Fuck you! I kill all of you!” as they wrestled me to bed with ease. They then cuffed my feet and hands to the bed with metallic restraints. The last thing I remember is a cloth being put over my nose as a strong scent filled my nostrils.
The next thing I remember was my eyes being covered by my hands as cried. I then pulled my hands away to see that they had become elongated, and my fingers had become claw-like. I then looked down at my mutated, blood-soaked body in horror. All around me was death and bodily destruction. I didn’t recognize a single body. The bed, equipment, walls, and floor were painted with blood and littered with human tissue. I immediately froze for a second time before retching. As a towered above the destruction, I realized I was significantly taller than I remembered. Then I looked ahead of me and saw that the tube with the black fluid was empty. “…No” Was the only word I could get out. That was when I noticed that my voice was altered. I sounded like the voice except prominent voice was a demonic version of my original voice and the faint whispering voices that came from my throat afterwards were feminine. Then I heard The Voice call out to me from the direction of the door behind me. I turned and saw the CEO. “It’s okay child, you’re mine now.” Were the words she spoke to me… and they will be the words she speaks to you.
Dear viewer, I am known by many names. One of them is Goddess Cerridwen. I know all of this is a lot to take in but soon it will all make sense. You were meant to worship me and soon you will as well as everyone else revieing “An email supposedly from [Dave’s real name]”. Your device is being tracked as of the time the Virus is installed onto it. I’m on my way to take you. You shall spread the word. It will do you no good, but it will make my name known furthermore so they may worship me.
-Message ends-
After I first got done reading this, I thought it was some ridiculous joke but now I no longer feel that way as the lights have begun to flicker and I’m beginning to hear whispering sounds from my closet. I’m going to try one more thing to escape.
I thought of an idea to get out of this situation and that was to start a fire in my kitchen to trip the fire alarm and get help. However, as I went over to the stove the power shut out and all the light from the outside streetlights seemed to dim unnaturally until no light came through. The only thing illuminating my entire apartment was my now laptop with its now eerie blue glow lighting up the dark world around me.
I decided to do the only thing I could think of, post the document on reddit. However, just as I was about to do this, I heard what sounded like three demonic voices speaking at once coming from behind me. Then I lost all hope of escape as the horror of reality sunk in and froze my body still as Goddess Cerridwen, the CEO, spoke to me, “Once you read the document, I simply manifested myself near your device’s location. That’s how I’ll get the first of the other ones too. You’re mine now. Go on, post it.”
-End of Original Post-
As I’m reposting this on here, there’ve been several local reports of people in my area going missing with no trace. “The first 10 of the missing people had received an email from [Dave’s real name]. However, now people are going missing without having received any previous let-” I turned off the TV after hearing that. The local news had also been saying that some other people had been waking up with words stamped on their arms. Some of these people that had reported these words on their forearms have since gone missing again. I fear that whatever this “Goddess Cerridwen” is, they are responsible for the disappearances. I fear that she might come for me now. I saw this because no light is coming through my apartment despite it still being mid-day and the lights of my apartment… have begun to flicker rapidly.
submitted by Skarlit-Sage to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.05.29 00:28 ArtisticKittyLunatic Discrimination or am I over reacting?

I (29f) have been with this company for nearly two years. I did a lot of the nightshift at this job because no one didn't want to do it or there wasn't anyone else who applied for it. So I said nothing and spent a whole year without taking holidays or being out... That was until I caught COVID and was to sick to work on one of my nights off. (Someone called out sick).
So recently I noticed a change in behavior from my boss. I have been having issues with my stomach and got sick. So I left because I didn't want to puke all over the place. So my boss took me off the schedule a long with scheduling a meeting. My boss (36?f) told me that "You're easy to replace and if you don't want to work then please tell us so we can replace you." Straight to my face. After a whole year, it takes me getting sick for the insults to start. My boss said "I don't care how sick you are! You get your ass in that toilet and stick your head in there and get back to work." This shocked me because she never was like that. So I said nothing and went on home.
A few months later, I got extremely sick one morning. I had to call a coworker in early and couldn't work that next night. I went to the doctor to find out I had stomach ulcers. So I was trying not to do to much. So I noticed since I've gotten sick my boss has been dodging me and don't speak to me hardly. She has been showing a ton of favoritism towards a white coworker who has became a supervisor recently a few months ago. So the new supervisor (22f) defended my Manager's insults towards me and claimed she was "stressed out" or "she was having a bad day". She just justified anything bad my manger said to me that was disrespectful. And I noticed this favoritism over the months. So I stayed quiet.
Mind you. The store is short staffed and they claimed that is why they called me undependable. Which is a them problem. They should hire more people and stop running them all off. I can't help I get sick. But they kept making excuses on why no one couldn't take my spot. But it takes four or five people to work first shift (6am to 2pm) Two for second shift (2pm to 10pm) and one person for third (10pm to 6am) ... Which is jacked logic. The manager claims because of the budget, that's why it's like this. Which I am not buying it.
Here is the part where the discrimination comes in. I am now the only black person at the store. So a week or two ago, my coworker was an hour late to work. She read the schedule wrong along with another supervisor. So I did as well until I noticed we were all looking at the wrong schedule. So we laughed about it and worked like normal. But nothing was done to her since she was an hour late. Fast forward to today. So I forgot to set my alarm and I fell back asleep this morning. (Which is a honest mistake on my part.) So I got a call that woke me up. I realized I was thirty minutes late. So the supervisor calls me back again saying the manager wants me to stay home and not worry about coming into work. So ten minutes later, I get a text from the supervisor saying my manager says I'm now off the schedule and she has someone to cover my shift. So I wasn't surprised by this. But I do find it unfair how my white peers are never punished for being late but I am.
So reddit. Am I being petty or is this discrimination?
submitted by ArtisticKittyLunatic to amiwrong [link] [comments]