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11 Terrifying-But-True Horror Stories Reported in the News - From fatal exorcisms to unexplained deaths and devil worship—these are some real-life nightmares.
2023.05.28 04:51 Junior_Button5882 11 Terrifying-But-True Horror Stories Reported in the News - From fatal exorcisms to unexplained deaths and devil worship—these are some real-life nightmares.
A terrifying movie
gets your blood pumping in the moment of consumption, sure—we covered our eyes in Squid Game
with the rest of the world. But for the most part, you rest easy afterward knowing that what you've witnessed is fiction, deliberately spun up to creep you out. When the real world gets eerier than anything Stephen King
could dream up, that's
when you have every right to get a little scared of the dark.
Once in a while, a story of a dreadful disappearance, demonic possession, or devil worship will land in the local paper instead of a pulpy old paperback. We've rounded up the most unnerving real-life tales below. In honor of spooky season, here are eleven we can't stop thinking about.
The Axe Murder House
The Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa is a well-known tourist attraction for ghost hunters and horror lovers alike. The site of a gruesome unsolved 1912 murder, in which six children and two adults had their skulls completely crushed by the axe of an unknown perpetrator, was purchased in 1994, restored to its 1912 condition, and converted into a tourist destination. It costs $428 a night to stay
at the old haunted home, where visitors always report strange paranormal experiences, such as visions of a man with an axe roaming the halls or the faint screams of children.
But in November of 2014, the haunting took a darker turn. Robert Steven Laursen Jr., 37, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was on a regular recreational paranormal visit with friends when true horror struck. Per VICE
His companions found him stabbed in the chest—an apparently self-inflicted wound—called 9-1-1, and Laursen was brought to a nearby hospital before being helicoptered to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said
Laursen suffered the self-inflicted injury at about 12:45 a.m., which is around the same time the 1912 axe murders in the house began.
Laursen recovered from his injuries, but has never spoken publicly about what occurred that day. For Martha Linn, the owner of the home, the incident was very upsetting. "It's publicity, but it's not exactly the kind of publicity you desire to have. I don't want people thinking that when they come to the Villisca Axe Murder House something's going to happen that's going to make them do something like that.” The house remains open for tourist visits and overnight stays today.
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The Haunted Doll
When you think of haunted dolls, it’s likely the creepy old Victorian-looking porcelain kind that springs to mind. None of which you probably have laying around. Still, don’t get too comfortable around any kids toys too soon, though: a Disney’s Frozen
Elsa doll that was gifted for Christmas 2013 in the Houston area made headlines earlier this year when it seemingly became haunted.
Per KPRC2 Houston News:
The doll recited phrases from the movie Frozen and sang “Let It Go” when a button on its necklace was pressed.
“For two years it did that in English,” mother Emily Madonia said. “In 2015, it started doing it alternating between Spanish and English. There wasn’t a button that changed these, it was just random."
The family has owned the doll for more than six years and never changed its batteries. The mother says the doll would randomly begin to speak and sing even with its switch turned off.
The family decided to throw the creepy doll out in December of 2019. Weeks later, they found it inside a bench in their living room. “The kids insisted they didn’t put it there, and I believed them because they wouldn’t have dug through the garbage outside,” Madonia told KPRC2 Houston News.
At that point, Elsa ceased to sing the English rendition of “Let It Go” altogether, speaking only Spanish when pressed. The family then double-bagged the bizarre doll and placed it at the bottom of their garbage which was taken out on garbage day. They went on a trip shortly after, but when they returned, Elsa too had come back, and was waiting in the backyard of their home.
This time, the family mailed Elsa to a family friend in Minnesota, who taped the haunted doll to the front bumper of his truck. It doesn’t seem to have made its way back to Houston yet, as per Madonia’s latest February Facebook update
on the creepy doll.
A Deadly Exorcism
In August 2016 in North London, 26-year-old Kennedy Ife began acting strange and aggressive following a pain in his throat. He reportedly bit his father, threatened to cut off his own penis, and complained of a python or snake inside of him before his family restrained him to a bed with cable ties and excessive force.
As the BBC reported
“The family then set about attempting to ‘cure’ Kennedy through restraint and prayer over the next three days, the court was told.”
His brother, Colin Ife, told
“It’s clear that thing was in him, what we believed was a demon because it was not natural. It was clearly trying to kill him,” he said.
“We had to restrain him for himself. It was clear if we didn’t restrain him, he could have tried to harm people in our family.”
Kennedy Ife had been bound to his bed for three days without medical attention when his brother called emergency services, explaining that Kennedy Ife was complaining of dehydration. He appeared to have developed breathing issues, and was pronounced dead at 10:17 a.m.
As The Independent reported
While police were at the house Colin Ife allegedly carried out an “attempted resurrection” by chanting and praying for Mr. Ife.
All seven of Kennedy Ife’s family members were accused of manslaughter, false imprisonment, and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult. A post-mortem examination revealed over 60 wounds including a possible bite on Kennedy Ife’s body, and his father, Kenneth Ife, along with four of his brothers, sustained injuries as well.
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The BBC reported
Kenneth Ife told jurors he ordered his sons to take shifts and use "overwhelming force" but denied that an "association with cults, occults and secret societies" played any part in the death.
After a four day jury deliberation
, all seven family members were cleared of charges on March 14, 2019.
📷Witches prepare themselves for a journey by broomstick to the Black Mountain, circa 1650. From a 17th century Dutch copperplate by Adrianus Hubertus.Hulton Archive
Dead Animals in the Walls
When the Bretzuis family decided to insulate their home in Auburn, Pennsylvania in 2015, they discovered that it had already been—with scores of dead animal carcasses.
As Fox reported
The dead animals were wrapped in newspapers from the 1930s and 40s and were among half-used spices, and other items.
After removing the items they sent hundreds of artifacts and carcasses to an expert in Kutztown.
The expert attributed the rotting animals in their walls to Pow-wow or Dutch magic, a ritual originating in the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch to treat ailments and gain physical and spiritual protection. The Pennsylvania Dutch were a group of German-speaking settlers to Pennsylvania in the 1600 and 1700’s, and are often of Lutheran, Mennonite, or Amish faiths.
The Washington Post notes
on the magic:
Many of the spells deal with the care of livestock, finding water, or the treatment of minor ailments, reflecting the conditions and concerns of early American settlers.
But powwow also has within it a tradition of darker spells, and even of such things as conjuring demons.
One notable ritual in their tradition is this hex
to create loyalty in a dog:
To attach a dog to a person, provided nothing else was used before to effect it: Try to draw some of your blood, and let the dog eat it along with his food, and he will stay with you.
The mold found on the rotting carcasses in the Bretzuis home has caused illness among the family members, and they say that the odor hasn’t gone away.
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Florida Devil Worshipping
Friends noticed that Danielle Harkins, a 35-year-old schoolteacher near St. Petersburg, Florida, started acting strangely in June of 2012, developing an interest in demonic rituals.
Soon after, she was arrested for abuse of seven of her former students, as the Tampa Bay Times reported
Danielle Harkins told the kids they needed to rid their bodies of demons as the group gathered before dusk Saturday around a small fire near the St. Petersburg Pier. They should cut their skin to let the evil spirits out, police said she told the children. Then, they needed to burn the wounds to ensure that those spirits would not return.
When Harkins held a lighter to one teen's hand, wind blew the flame out, police said. That prompted her to douse his hand in perfume before setting it on fire. The boy suffered second-degree burns, police said.
Another teen was cut on the neck with a broken bottle, police said. Harkins used a flame to heat a small key, which she then used to cauterize the wound.
The police were notified because a friend of one of the students who participated in the ritual raised alarms. However none of the students themselves told their parents about the event or would comment following the arrest of Harkins for aggravated battery and child abuse.
Investigators said they've spoken to Harkins, but she didn't spell out what type of religion would require such drastic measures.
"She hasn't informed us exactly what she was trying to accomplish with this," Puetz [of the St. Petersburg Police Department] said.
The Death of Elisa Lam
Elisa Lam was last seen on January 31, 2013 in the lobby of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. She was vacationing through the West Coast, documenting the trip on her blog, and checking in with her parents every day. On January 31 those calls stopped. Lam had vanished. Soon the police were involved and her parents arrived to help with the search.
They had nothing. That February, LAPD released elevator surveillance footage of Lam before her disappearance. The footage shows Lam behaving strangely in the elevator, appearing to talk with invisible people, peering around the corner of the door, crouching in the corner, and opening and closing the door. But what exactly is going on in this video raises more questions than answers. Theories range from psychotic episodes, to demonic possession, to unknown assailants just out of the camera's view:
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Around that time, hotel guests started reported weird things happening with the Cecil Hotel water supply. As CNN reports
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"The shower was awful," said Sabina Baugh, who spent eight days there during the investigation. "When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal."The tap water "tasted horrible," Baugh said. "It had a very funny, sweety, disgusting taste. It's a very strange taste. I can barely describe it."But for a week, they never complained. "We never thought anything of it," she said. "We thought it was just the way it was here."
On the morning of February 19, a hotel employee climbed to the roof and used a ladder to investigate the hotel's water storage tanks. That's where authorities found the decomposing, naked body of Lam, whose personal items were found nearby. After an autopsy, her death was labeled accidental. NBC Los Angeles reported at the time
about the strange circumstances in the hotel's past:
The tank has a metal latch that can be opened, but authorities said access to the roof is secured with an alarm and lock.The single-room-occupancy hotel has an unusual history. "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, who was found guilty of 14 slayings in the 1980s, lived on the 14th floor for several months in 1985. And international serial killer Jack Unterweger is suspected of murdering three prostitutes during the time he lived there in 1991. He killed himself in jail in 1994.In 1962, a female occupant jumped out of one the hotel's windows, killing herself and a pedestrian on whom she landed.
In February 2021, a Netflix doc
called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
explored Elisa's tragic case and the history of the "cursed" Cecil Hotel
An Exorcism in Indianapolis
Last year, the Indianapolis Star published a lengthy report
on a family terrorized by three children allegedly possessed by demons. The account of Latoya Ammons and her family tells disturbing stories of children climbing up the walls, getting thrown across rooms, and children threatening doctors in deep unnatural voices. It would seem like something straight out of a movie–a work of fantasy, except all of these accounts were more or less corroborated with "nearly 800 pages of official records obtained by the Indianapolis Star and recounted in more than a dozen interviews with police, DCS personnel, psychologists, family members and a Catholic priest."
One of the more chilling sections of the report includes a segment about the possessed 9-year-old:
According to Washington's original DCS report—an account corroborated by Walker, the nurse—the 9-year-old had a "weird grin" and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over Campbell, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother's hand.
Another segment of the piece reads:
The 12-year-old would later tell mental health professionals that she sometimes felt as if she were being choked and held down so she couldn't speak or move. She said she heard a voice say she'd never see her family again and wouldn't live another 20 minutes.
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In September of 2014, a Utah teen returned to his home to find his parents and three siblings dead. "In a notebook, a 'to-do list' had been scribbled on the pages ... The list looked as if the parents were readying to go on vacation—items such as 'feed the pets' and 'find someone to watch after the house' were written," The Salt Lake Tribune reported
. It appeared to be murder-suicide, but there was no suicide note, no prior indication that they would do this, no explanation. Police could not figure out why two parents would kill themselves and three of their four children.
For a year, no one knew exactly what happened to the family, or what would drive the parents to do something so unthinkable. In January, police released more chilling details in the case. According to accounts from family members and an investigation by police, the parents were driven by a belief that the apocalypse was coming and an obsession with a convicted killer. As the Washington Post reported
Friends and family told police that the parents were worried about the "evil in the world" and wanted to escape a "pending apocalypse." But most assumed they just wanted to move somewhere "off the grid." Investigators also found letters written by Kristi Strack to one of the state's most infamous convicted killers, Dan Lafferty, who was convicted in the 1984 fatal stabbing of his sister-in-law and her 1-year-old daughter. According to trial testimony, he killed the victims at the order of his brother, Ron Lafferty, who claimed to have had a revelation from God. The story became a book called "Under the Banner of Heaven."Police said Kristi Strack became friends with Dan Lafferty, and she and her husband even visited him in prison.
The Phone Stalker
In 2007, ABC news documented
a series of cell phone calls to families with terrifyingly specific death threats. The unidentified callers knew exactly what families were doing and what they were wearing.
The families say the calls come in at all hours of the night, threatening to kill their children, their pets and grandparents. Voice mails arrive, playing recordings of their private conversations, including one with a local police detective.The caller knows, the families said, what they're wearing and what they're doing. And after months of investigating, police seem powerless to stop them.
This went on with the Kuykenall family for months, who reported a caller with a scratchy voice threatening to slit their throats.
When the Fircrest, Wash., police tried to find the culprit, the calls were traced back to the Kuykendalls' own phones -- even when they were turned off.It got worse. The Kuykendalls and two other Fircrest families told ABC News that they believe the callers are using their cell phones to spy on them. They say the hackers know their every move: where they are, what they're doing and what they're wearing. The callers have recorded private conversations, the families and police said, including a meeting with a local detective.
After moving into their $1.3 million dream home, a New Jersey family started receiving creepy death threats from someone who identified themselves as "The Watcher." As CBS News reported
earlier this year:
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Since moving in, the owners said they have received numerous letters from the mysterious person. "The Watcher" claimed the home "has been the subject of my family for decades," and "I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming," Castro reported.The new owners have several children, and other letters asked, "Have they found out what's in the walls yet?" and "I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me."
The family was forced to flee from their home and later filed a lawsuit against the previous owners.
Issei the Cannibal
In 1974, 24-year-old Wako University student Issei Sagawa allegedly followed a German woman to her home in Tokyo, Japan, broke into her apartment while she was sleeping, and attempted to cut a piece of flesh off her body to consume. When she awoke, she reportedly fought him and he was later captured by the police. According to a 2012 Vice
documentary that covered Issei's bizarre story, he was mistakenly charged with attempted rape and his wealthy father paid the victim a settlement outside of court to have the charges dropped.
Seven years later, in 1981, he allegedly committed a murder in France—shooting and eating a fellow University student, Renée Hartevelt. Issei creepily documented the entire experience with photographs and he was captured by authorities once again while attempting to dump the rest of her body in the Bois de Boulogne lake. He was deported back to Japan and committed to a mental institution. For reason unknown, his psychologists in Japan declared that he was sane. Furthermore, a legal technicality involving the French government refusing to turn over the documents from his case meant that his murder charges were dropped completely. He checked himself out of the mental hospital and has reportedly been walking the streets as a free man ever since. Issei has even become a controversial celebrity, writing over 20 books. According to Japan Today
, he most recently fantasized about an unnamed TV actress, saying: "I'll catch a glimpse of her thigh and think, 'That sure looks tasty.' But I don't feel like I actually want to eat it. As I accomplished the act of cannibalism once, there's no meaning to maintaining the desire for it anymore. In my book, I wrote that it [human flesh] was tasty, but that was not really true; I'd much rather eat Matsuzaka (Kobe) beef. But because I'd desired to consume human flesh for so long, I'd managed to convince myself that it would necessarily be delicious."
Issei Sagawa was also referenced in the Rolling Stones song "Too Much Blood," with the lyrics reading: "And when he ate her he took her bones/To the Bois de Boulogne." He is currently
73 years old and continues to live in Kawaski City, Japan. To this day, no one knows why France did not allow Japan to give him a trial.
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2023.05.28 04:50 Ogiwan A Storm Comes
Had this story in my head for a while. Finally getting around to getting it out. Apologies for any spelling or grammar errors, as I'm writing this while inebriated and without the benefit of any copy editors.
___From: Klarabad naa Qu'oria, kla Tur’a Sept___
___To: The Most High Eminences, Klanavian Host___
___Subject: Inhabitants of System K-3190, aka SOL SYSTEM___
My most esteemed eminences of the Blessed Ones, I wish to convey the lessons learned upon interacting with some of the Lesser Races. Specifically, the inhabitants of the K-3190 system, which the inhabitants call the Sol System.
*Klarabad looks up at the fresh sound of rumbling. He had always liked thunderstorms at his parent's lake house, but he did not like this storm. He continued writing.*
We began our subjugation campaign as we always do: by attempting to insert contrary mores, beliefs, and practices into the subject species. Surprisingly, it worked even more effectively than the norm. Obviously, these "Terrans" are an even more fractious species than the norm. Fairly soon, we began our reconnaissance overflights; typically, this induces the subject species into a heightened sense of fear. Not so for these Terrans. This probably should have been a warning to us, but we ignored it. After all, some of our client species have blithely ignored our reconnaissance overflights.
*The rumbling continued*
We moved into the next stage: small-scale abductions, to heighten fear, and to study the future subject species for marketability as a client species. This is where we began to encounter.....issues. As my most esteemed eminences are aware, these small-scale abductions are usually carried out by recruitment teams primarily composed of client species, but with a single member of Our Blessed Race providing oversight and leadership. This member was always provided with an energy shield, but here we see the first issues with our attempt to subjugate these Terrans.
As my most esteemed eminences are aware, our shields are designed to stop certain speed and energy levels of projectiles, which is typically what most of these primitive species are armed with. Generally, primitive species will settle on a certain speed and energy level, and we can calibrate our shields to negate that specific ballistic balance, and nearby levels as well. However, the Terrans had not settled on a standardized projectile. Because of their fractious nature, they used a gamut of cartridges. Those of a higher speed and energy level would partially penetrate our shields, and those of a lower would drain our shields until they failed. Furthermore, regulations regarding personal ownership of weapons varied across the world; not only could we not prepare against a specific caliber, but we could not even prepare against kind of weapon. While in some areas of Terra, we seemed to run into an almost solid wall of projectile fire; in others, we faced bows, thrown weapons, and even melee weapons. We could not prepare our shields to protect against this gamut of weaponry.
Further complicating this, the Terrans quickly learned to kill the member of Our Blessed Species in command of our recruitment teams, which would lead to our client species defecting from our Just and Noble Cause. Despite our generosity in uplifting their primitive species, our client species would swiftly defect once their leader was slain. We attempted to use discipline collars, but after a few too many units spontaneously self-destructed due to losing contact with their leader, we discontinued the process. It lead to simply too much waste. We switched to recruitment units composed entirely of either members of Our Blessed Race, or Meklari automatons lead by one of our people.
*The rumbling intensifies*
It should be noted that we attempted to use all of the inducement policies that we have developed. Our messaging was foiled, regardless of the medium. While physical chastisement initially seemed to work, in the long term it induced the Terrans to either fight to the death or suicide upon capture. Even extreme and public chastisement did little but harden the Terran resolve to fight. While some Terran nation-states submitted to Our will, the majority didn't, and they eventually conquered our subjects on Terra.
We should have abandoned our attempts here, but the Terrans looked like a very lucrative subject species, due to their hardiness and creativity. This proved to be our downfall; after they had subjugated our client states on Terra, they then moved on our forward base on their planet's moon. Since they had previously visited their moon before, we thought little of it. However, their cleverness cannot be understated. They took the technologies they captured in their lunar assault, and learned from them. Before we could properly prepare, our position on the fourth planet from their sun was already under assault.
*The lights flicker, and Klarabad looks up in concern. He quickly focuses back on his report.*
After a great deal of time fighting against our species, the Terrans knew how to counteract our shields. Not only did they commonly fight with a wide array of projectiles, but by captured samples they unlocked the principles of magnetic linear acceleration. We could either prepare our shields to protect against these, or against their chemically powered projectiles. What is worse is that the Terrans began to employ a weapon of such horrific nature that it almost echoed our methods of physical chastisement. Apparently it was a weapon that had existed among their kind for a great deal of time, whose use had lead to its prohibition. Unfortunately, our attempts to induce subjugation convinced the Terrans to allow its use again, to our dismay. It would propel burning jellified incendiary material at a low enough speed that it would penetrate our shields, and badly burn the target.
*The lights flicker again, and a loud rumble is heard. Soon gunfire and screams are heard. Klarabad begins to type quicker. "The storm comes," he thinks.*
They took our position on the fourth planet of their solar system, and we had already departed their system, in what would have been a clear cessation of hostilities to anyone else. But they did not relent. Even our overt diplomatic attempts were rebuffed; the Terrans were stirred to a wrath we have never before seen in a sapient species. We began to evacuate this installation in the closest solar system to them, but they have apparently already reverse-engineered our faster-than-light technology. They are assulting our installation as I write this.
*A bang is heard seemingly right outside his door. Klarabad mashes the "Send If No Activity In 15 Seconds" button*
Please, my most esteemed ones, I beg of you, try to mollify the Terrans. They are a race bread for war, and I fear their retribution should they ever-
*The door explodes inward, and two humans storm in. Klarabad stands up and tries to surrender as he was taught, but one of the humans grabs him by the neck and slams him against the wall. His breath blasted out of him, he cannot even whimper as the human's knife disembowls him. The human throws him to the ground, and Klarabad convulses in agony. One of the humans looks at the terminal Klarabad was working on.*
"Oh, hey, looks like it was working on something. Should we do anything?" asks one.
"Nah, leave it for the intel boys. They can speak Tur'a." the other replies.
Klarabad tries to voice something, anything, but he does not have the breath. The two humans move out of the room, and the last thing Klarabad hears is the screams of his comrades.
After a few seconds, the terminal asks, **Are you still there?"**
After a little bit longer, the terminal's message changes to, **If you do not do anything in the next few seconds, the AutoSend will commence.**
After a few more seconds, the terminal's message changes again. **Thank you for using Kla'turWRITE, the best document creation program in the galaxy! Your document will be sent to your designated recipients now. Have a nice day!**
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2023.05.28 04:49 moe_master The world longest joke (Pt 2)
I told you that you'd heal quickly now."
"Yeah, well, still," said Jack, "it's the principle of the thing. And nobody likes being bitten in the butt! Couldn't you have gotten my calf or something instead?"
"More meat in the typical human butt," replied Nate. "And less chance you accidentally kick me or move at the last second."
"Yeah, right. So, tell me all of these wonderful secrets that I now qualify to hear," answered Jack.
"Ok," said Nate. "Do you want to ask questions first, or do you want me to just start talking?"
"Just talk," said Jack. "I'll sit here and try to not think about food."
"We could go try to rustle up some food for you first, if you like," answered Nate.
"Hey! You didn't tell me you had food around here, Nate!" Jack jumped up. "What do we have? Am I in walking distance to town? Or can you magically whip up food along with your other powers?" Jack was almost shouting with excitement. His stomach had been growling for hours.
"I was thinking more like I could flush something out of its hole and bite it for you, and you could skin it and eat it. Assuming you have a knife, that is," replied Nate, with the grin that Jack was starting to get used to.
"Ugh," said Jack, sitting back down. "I think I'll pass. I can last a little longer before I get desperate enough to eat desert rat, or whatever else it is you find out here. And there's nothing to burn - I'd have to eat it raw. No thanks. Just talk."
"Ok," replied Nate, still grinning. "But I'd better hurry, before you start looking at me as food.
Nate reared back a little, looked around for a second, and then continued. "You, Jack, are sitting in the middle of the Garden of Eden."
Jack looked around at the sand and dunes and then looked back at Nate sceptically.
"Well, that's the best I can figure it, anyway, Jack," said Nate. "Stand up and look at the symbol on the rock here." Nate gestured around the dark stone they were both sitting on with his nose.
Jack stood up and looked. Carved into the stone in a bas-relief was a representation of a large tree. The angled-pole that Nate was wrapped around was coming out of the trunk of the tree, right below where the main branches left the trunk to reach out across the stone. It was very well done - it looked more like a tree had been reduced to almost two dimensions and embedded in the stone than it did like a carving.
Jack walked around and looked at the details in the fading light of the setting sun. He wished he'd looked at it while the sun was higher in the sky.
Wait! The sun was setting! That meant he was going to have to spend another night out here! Arrrgh!
Jack looked out across the desert for a little bit, and then came back and stood next to Nate. "In all the excitement, I almost forgot, Nate," said Jack. "Which way is it back to town? And how far? I'm eventually going to have to head back - I'm not sure I'll be able to survive by eating raw desert critters for long. And even if I can, I'm not sure I'll want to."
"It's about 30 miles that way." Nate pointed, with the rattle on his tail this time. As far as Jack could tell, it was a direction at right angles to the way he'd been going when he was crawling here. "But that's 30 miles by the way the crow flies. It's about 40 by the way a man walks. You should be able to do it in about half a day with your improved endurance, if you head out early tomorrow, Jack."
Jack looked out the way the snake had pointed for a few seconds more, and then sat back down. It was getting dark. Not much he could do about heading out right now. And besides, Nate was just about to get to the interesting stuff. "Garden of Eden? As best as you can figure it?"
"Well, yeah, as best as I and Samuel could figure it anyway," said Nate. "He figured that the story just got a little mixed up. You know, snake, in a 'tree', offering 'temptations', making bargains. That kind stuff. But he could never quite figure out how the Hebrews found out about this spot from across the ocean. He worried about that for a while."
"Garden of Eden, hunh?" said Jack. "How long have you been here, Nate?"
"No idea, really," replied Nate. "A long time. It never occurred to me to count years, until recently, and by then, of course, it was too late. But I do remember when this whole place was green, so I figure it's been thousands of years, at least."
"So, are you the snake that tempted Eve?" said Jack.
"Beats me," said Nate. "Maybe. I can't remember if the first one of your kind that I talked to was female or not, and I never got a name, but it could have been. And I suppose she could have considered my offer to grant requests a 'temptation', though I've rarely had refusals."
"Well, umm, how did you get here then? And why is that white pole stuck out of the stone there?" asked Jack.
"Dad left me here. Or, I assume it was my dad. It was another snake - much bigger than I was back then. I remember talking to him, but I don't remember if it was in a language, or just kind of understanding what he wanted. But one day, he brought me to this stone, told me about it, and asked me to do something for him. I talked it over with him for a while, then agreed. I've been here ever since.
"What is this place?" said Jack. "And what did he ask you to do?"
"Well, you see this pole here, sticking out of the stone?" Nate loosened his coils around the tilted white pole and showed Jack where it descended into the stone. The pole was tilted at about a 45 degree angle and seemed to enter the stone in an eighteen inch slot cut into the stone. Jack leaned over and looked. The slot was dark and the pole went down into it as far as Jack could see in the dim light. Jack reached out to touch the pole, but Nate was suddenly there in the way.
"You can't touch that yet, Jack," said Nate.
"Why not?" asked Jack.
"I haven't explained it to you yet," replied Nate.
"Well, it kinda looks like a lever or something," said Jack. "You'd push it that way, and it would move in the slot."
"Yep, that's what it is," replied Nate.
"What does it do?" asked Jack. "End the world?"
"Oh, no," said Nate. "Nothing that drastic. It just ends humanity. I call it 'The Lever of Doom'." For the last few words Nate had used a deeper, ringing voice. He tried to look serious for a few seconds, and then gave up and grinned.
Jack was initially startled by Nate's pronouncement, but when Nate grinned Jack laughed. "Ha! You almost had me fooled for a second there. What does it really do?"
"Oh, it really ends humanity, like I said," smirked Nate. "I just thought the voice I used was funny, didn't you?"
Nate continued to grin.
"A lever to end humanity?" asked Jack. "What in the world is that for? Why would anyone need to end humanity?"
"Well," replied Nate, "I get the idea that maybe humanity was an experiment. Or maybe the Big Guy just thought, that if humanity started going really bad, there should be a way to end it. I'm not really sure. All I know are the rules, and the guesses that Samuel and I had about why it's here. I didn't think to ask back when I started here."
"Rules? What rules?" asked Jack.
"The rules are that I can't tell anybody about it or let them touch it unless they agree to be bound to secrecy by a bite. And that only one human can be bound in that way at a time. That's it." explained Nate.
Jack looked somewhat shocked. "You mean that I could pull the lever now? You'd let me end humanity?"
"Yep," replied Nate, "if you want to." Nate looked at Jack carefully. "Do you want to, Jack?"
"Umm, no." said Jack, stepping a little further back from the lever. "Why in the world would anyone want to end humanity? It'd take a psychotic to want that! Or worse, a suicidal psychotic, because it would kill him too, wouldn't it?"
"Yep," replied Nate, "being as he'd be human too."
"Has anyone ever seriously considered it?" asked Jack. "Any of those bound to secrecy, that is?"
"Well, of course, I think they've all seriously considered it at one time or another. Being given that kind of responsibility makes you sit down and think, or so I'm told. Samuel considered it several times. He'd often get disgusted with humanity, come out here, and just hold the lever for a while. But he never pulled it. Or you wouldn't be here." Nate grinned some more.
Jack sat down, well back from the lever. He looked thoughtful and puzzled at the same time. After a bit, he said, "So this makes me the Judge of humanity? I get to decide whether they keep going or just end? Me?"
"That seems to be it," agreed Nate.
"What kind of criteria do I use to decide?" said Jack. "How do I make this decision? Am I supposed to decide if they're good? Or too many of them are bad? Or that they're going the wrong way? Is there a set of rules for that?"
"Nope," replied Nate. "You pretty much just have to decide on your own. It's up to you, however you want to decide it. I guess that you're just supposed to know."
"But what if I get mad at someone? Or some girl dumps me and I feel horrible? Couldn't I make a mistake? How do I know that I won't screw up?" protested Jack.
Nate gave his kind of snake-like shrug again. "You don't. You just have to try your best, Jack."
Jack sat there for a while, staring off into the desert that was rapidly getting dark, chewing on a fingernail.
Suddenly, Jack turned around and looked at the snake. "Nate, was Samuel the one bound to this before me?"
"Yep," replied Nate. "He was a good guy. Talked to me a lot. Taught me to read and brought me books. I think I still have a good pile of them buried in the sand around here somewhere. I still miss him. He died a few months ago."
"Sounds like a good guy," agreed Jack. "How did he handle this, when you first told him. What did he do?"
"Well," said Nate, "he sat down for a while, thought about it for a bit, and then asked me some questions, much like you're doing."
"What did he ask you, if you're allowed to tell me?" asked Jack.
"He asked me about the third request," replied Nate.
"Aha!" It was Jack's turn to grin. "And what did you tell him?"
"I told him the rules for the third request. That to get the third request you have to agree to this whole thing. That if it ever comes to the point that you really think that humanity should be ended, that you'll come here and end it. You won't avoid it, and you won't wimp out." Nate looked serious again. "And you'll be bound to do it too, Jack."
"Hmmm." Jack looked back out into the darkness for a while.
Nate watched him, waiting.
"Nate," continued Jack, quietly, eventually. "What did Samuel ask for with his third request?"
Nate sounded like he was grinning again as he replied, also quietly, "Wisdom, Jack. He asked for wisdom. As much as I could give him."
"Ok," said Jack, suddenly, standing up and facing away from Nate, "give it to me.
Nate looked at Jack's backside. "Give you what, Jack?"
"Give me that wisdom. The same stuff that Samuel asked for. If it helped him, maybe it'll help me too." Jack turned his head to look back over his shoulder at Nate. "It did help him, right?"
"He said it did," replied Nate. "But he seemed a little quieter afterward. Like he had a lot to think about."
"Well, yeah, I can see that," said Jack. "So, give it to me." Jack turned to face away from Nate again, bent over slightly and tensed up.
Nate watched Jack tense up with a little exasperation. If he bit Jack now, Jack would likely jump out of his skin and maybe hurt them both.
"You remember that you'll be bound to destroy humanity if it ever looks like it needs it, right Jack?" asked Nate, shifting position.
"Yeah, yeah, I got that," replied Jack, eyes squeezed tightly shut and body tense, not noticing the change in direction of Nate's voice.
"And," continued Nate, from his new position, "do you remember that you'll turn bright purple, and grow big horns and extra eyes?"
"Yeah, yeah...Hey, wait a minute!" said Jack, opening his eyes, straightening up and turning around. "Purple?!" He didn't see Nate there. With the moonlight Jack could see that the lever extended up from its slot in the rock without the snake wrapped around it.
Jack heard, from behind him, Nate's "Just Kidding!" right before he felt the now familiar piercing pain, this time in the other buttock.
Jack sat on the edge of the dark stone in the rapidly cooling air, his feet extending out into the sand. He stared out into the darkness, listening to the wind stir the sand, occasionally rubbing his butt where he'd been recently bitten.
Nate had left for a little while, had come back with a desert-rodent-shaped bulge somewhere in his middle, and was now wrapped back around the lever, his tongue flicking out into the desert night's air the only sign that he was still awake.
Occasionally Jack, with his toes absentmindedly digging in the sand while he thought, would ask Nate a question without turning around.
"Nate, do accidents count?"
Nate lifted his head a little bit. "What do you mean, Jack?"
Jack tilted his head back like he was looking at the stars. "You know, accidents. If I accidentally fall on the lever, without meaning to, does that still wipe out humanity?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure it does, Jack. I'd suggest you be careful about that if you start feeling wobbly," said Nate with some amusement.
A little later - "Does it have to be me that pulls the lever?" asked Jack.
"That's the rule, Jack. Nobody else can pull it," answered Nate.
"No," Jack shook his head, "I meant does it have to be my hand? Could I pull the lever with a rope tied around it? Or push it with a stick? Or throw a rock?"
"Yes, those should work," replied Nate. "Though I'm not sure how complicated you could get. Samuel thought about trying to build some kind of remote control for it once, but gave it up. Everything he'd build would be gone by the next sunrise, if it was touching the stone, or over it. I told him that in the past others that had been bound had tried to bury the lever so they wouldn't be tempted to pull it, but every time the stones or sand or whatever had disappeared."
"Wow," said Jack, "Cool." Jack leaned back until only his elbows kept him off of the stone and looked up into the sky.
"Nate, how long did Samuel live? One of his wishes was for health too, right?" asked Jack.
"Yes," replied Nate, "it was. He lived 167 years, Jack."
"Wow, 167 years. That's almost 140 more years I'll live if I live as long. Do you know what he died of, Nate?"
"He died of getting tired of living, Jack," Nate said, sounding somewhat sad.
Jack turned his head to look at Nate in the starlight.
Nate looked back. "Samuel knew he wasn't going to be able to stay in society. He figured that they'd eventually see him still alive and start questioning it, so he decided that he'd have to disappear after a while. He faked his death once, but changed his mind - he decided it was too early and he could stay for a little longer. He wasn't very fond of mankind, but he liked the attention. Most of the time, anyway.
"His daughter and then his wife dying almost did him in though. He didn't stay in society much longer after that. He eventually came out here to spend time talking to me and thinking about pulling the lever. A few months ago he told me he'd had enough. It was his time."
"And then he just died?" asked Jack.
Nate shook his head a little. "He made his fourth request, Jack. There's only one thing you can ask for the fourth request. The last bite.
After a bit Nate continued, "He told me that he was tired, that it was his time. He reassured me that someone new would show up soon, like they always had.
After another pause, Nate finished, "Samuel's body disappeared off the stone with the sunrise."
Jack lay back down and looked at the sky, leaving Nate alone with his memories. It was a long time until Jack's breathing evened out into sleep.
Jack woke with the sunrise the next morning. He was a little chilled with the morning desert air, but overall was feeling pretty good. Well, except that his stomach was grumbling and he wasn't willing to eat raw desert rat.
So, after getting directions to town from Nate, making sure he knew how to get back, and reassuring Nate that he'd be back soon, Jack started the long walk back to town. With his new health and Nate's good directions, he made it back easily.
Jack caught a bus back to the city, and showed up for work the next day, little worse for the wear and with a story about getting lost in the desert and walking back out. Within a couple of days Jack had talked a friend with a tow truck into going back out into the desert with him to fetch the SUV. They found it after a couple of hours of searching and towed it back without incident. Jack was careful not to even look in the direction of Nate's lever, though their path back didn't come within sight of it.
Before the next weekend, Jack had gone to a couple of stores, including a book store, and had gotten his SUV back from the mechanic, with a warning to avoid any more joyriding in the desert. On Saturday, Jack headed back to see Nate.
Jack parked a little way out of the small town near Nate, loaded up his new backpack with camping gear and the things he was bringing for Nate, and then started walking. He figured that walking would leave the least trail, and he knew that while not many people camped in the desert, it wasn't unheard of, and shouldn't really raise suspicions.
Jack had brought more books for Nate - recent books, magazines, newspapers. Some things that would catch Nate up with what was happening in the world, others that were just good books to read. He spent the weekend with Nate, and then headed out again, telling Nate that he'd be back again soon, but that he had things to do first.
Over four months later Jack was back to see Nate again. This time he brought a laptop with him - a specially modified laptop. It had a solar recharger, special filters and seals to keep out the sand, a satellite link-up, and a special keyboard and joystick that Jack hoped that a fifteen-foot rattlesnake would be able to use. And, it had been hacked to not give out its location to the satellite.
After that Jack could e-mail Nate to keep in touch, but still visited him fairly regularly - at least once or twice a year.
After the first year, Jack quit his job. For some reason, with the wisdom he'd been given, and the knowledge that he could live for over 150 years, working in a nine to five job for someone else didn't seem that worthwhile any more. Jack went back to school.
Eventually, Jack started writing. Perhaps because of the wisdom, or perhaps because of his new perspective, he wrote well. People liked what he wrote, and he became well known for it. After a time, Jack bought an RV and started traveling around the country for book signings and readings.
But, he still remembered to drop by and visit Nate occasionally.
On one of the visits Nate seemed quieter than usual. Not that Nate had been a fountain of joy lately. Jack's best guess was that Nate was still missing Samuel, and though Jack had tried, he still hadn't been able to replace Samuel in Nate's eyes. Nate had been getting quieter each visit. But on this visit Nate didn't even speak when Jack walked up to the lever. He nodded at Jack, and then went back to staring into the desert. Jack, respecting Nate's silence, sat down and waited.
After a few minutes, Nate spoke. "Jack, I have someone to introduce you to."
Jack looked surprised. "Someone to introduce me to?" Jack looked around, and then looked carefully back at Nate. "This something to do with the Big Guy?
"No, no," replied Nate. "This is more personal. I want you to meet my son." Nate looked over at the nearest sand dune. "Sammy!"
Jack watched as a four foot long desert rattlesnake crawled from behind the dune and up to the stone base of the lever.
"Yo, Jack," said the new, much smaller snake.
"Yo, Sammy" replied Jack. Jack looked at Nate. "Named after Samuel, I assume?"
Nate nodded. "Jack, I've got a favor to ask you. Could you show Sammy around for me?" Nate unwrapped himself from the lever and slithered over to the edge of the stone and looked across the sands. "When Samuel first told me about the world, and brought me books and pictures, I wished that I could go see it. I wanted to see the great forests, the canyons, the cities, even the other deserts, to see if they felt and smelled the same. I want my son to have that chance - to see the world. Before he becomes bound here like I have been.
"He's seen it in pictures, over the computer that you brought me. But I hear that it's not the same. That being there is different. I want him to have that. Think you can do that for me, Jack?"
Jack nodded. This was obviously very important to Nate, so Jack didn't even joke about taking a talking rattlesnake out to see the world. "Yeah, I can do that for you, Nate. Is that all you need?" Jack could sense that was something more.
Nate looked at Sammy. Sammy looked back at Nate for a second and then said, "Oh, yeah. Ummm, I've gotta go pack. Back in a little bit Jack. Nice to meet ya!" Sammy slithered back over the dune and out of sight.
Nate watched Sammy disappear and then looked back at Jack. "Jack, this is my first son. My first offspring through all the years. You don't even want to know what it took for me to find a mate." Nate grinned to himself. "But anyway, I had a son for a reason. I'm tired. I'm ready for it to be over. I needed a replacement."
Jack considered this for a minute. "So, you're ready to come see the world, and you wanted him to watch the lever while you were gone?"
Nate shook his head. "No, Jack - you're a better guesser than that. You've already figured out - I'm bound here - there's only one way for me to leave here. And I'm ready. It's my time to die."
Jack looked more closely at Nate. He could tell Nate had thought about this - probably for quite a while. Jack had trouble imagining what it would be like to be as old as Nate, but Jack could already tell that in another hundred or two hundred years, he might be getting tired of life himself. Jack could understand Samuel's decision, and now Nate's. So, all Jack said was, "What do you want me to do?"
Nate nodded. "Thanks, Jack. I only want two things. One - show Sammy around the world - let him get his fill of it, until he's ready to come back here and take over. Two - give me the fourth request.
"I can't just decide to die, not any more than you can. I won't even die of old age like you eventually will, even though it'll be a long time from now. I need to be killed. Once Sammy is back here, ready to take over, I'll be able to die. And I need you to kill me.
"I've even thought about how. Poisons and other drugs won't work on me. And I've seen pictures of snakes that were shot - some of them live for days, so that's out too. So, I want you to bring back a sword.
Nate turned away to look back to the dune that Sammy had gone behind. "I'd say an axe, but that's somewhat undignified - putting my head on the ground or a chopping block like that. No, I like a sword. A time-honored way of going out. A dignified way to die. And, most importantly, it should work, even on me.
"You willing to do that for me, Jack?" Nate turned back to look at Jack.
"Yeah, Nate," replied Jack solemnly, "I think I can handle that."
Nate nodded. "Good!" He turned back toward the dune and shouted, "Sammy! Jack's about ready to leave!" Then quietly, "Thanks, Jack."
Jack didn't have anything to say to that, so he waited for Sammy to make it back to the lever, nodded to him, nodded a final time to Nate, and then headed into the desert with Sammy following.
Over the next several years Sammy and Jack kept in touch with Nate through e-mail as they went about their adventures. They made a goal of visiting every country in the world, and did a respectable job of it. Sammy had a natural gift for languages, as Jack expected he would, and even ended up acting as a translator for Jack in a few of the countries. Jack managed to keep the talking rattlesnake hidden, even so, and by the time they were nearing the end of their tour of countries, Sammy had only been spotted a few times. While there were several people that had seen enough to startle them greatly, nobody had enough evidence to prove anything, and while a few wild rumors and stories followed Jack and Sammy around, nothing ever hit the newspapers or the public in general.
When they finished the tour of countries, Jack suggested that they try some undersea diving. They did. And spelunking. They did that too. Sammy finally drew the line at visiting Antarctica. He'd come to realize that Jack was stalling. After talking to his Dad about it over e-mail, he figured out that Jack probably didn't want to have to kill Nate. Nate told Sammy that humans could be squeamish about killing friends and acquaintances.
So, Sammy eventually put his tail down (as he didn't have a foot) and told Jack that it was time - he was ready to go back and take up his duties from his dad. Jack, delayed it a little more by insisting that they go back to Japan and buy an appropriate sword. He even stretched it a little more by getting lessons in how to use the sword. But, eventually, he'd learned as much as he was likely to without dedicating his life to it, and was definitely competent enough to take the head off of a snake. It was time to head back and see Nate.
When they got back to the US, Jack got the old RV out of storage where he and Sammy had left it after their tour of the fifty states, he loaded up Sammy and the sword, and they headed for the desert.
When they got to the small town that Jack had been trying to find those years ago when he'd met Nate, Jack was in a funk. He didn't really feel like walking all of the way out there. Not only that, but he'd forgotten to figure the travel time correctly, and it was late afternoon. They'd either have to spend the night in town and walk out tomorrow, or walk in the dark.
As Jack was afraid that if he waited one more night he might lose his resolve, he decided that he'd go ahead and drive the RV out there. It was only going to be this once, and Jack would go back and cover the tracks afterward. They ought to be able to make it out there by nightfall if they drove, and then they could get it over tonight.
Jack told Sammy to e-mail Nate that they were coming as he drove out of sight of the town on the road. They then pulled off the road and headed out into the desert.
Everything went well, until they got to the sand dunes. Jack had been nursing the RV along the whole time, over the rocks, through the creek beds, revving the engine the few times they almost got stuck. When they came to the dunes, Jack didn't really think about it, he just downshifted and headed up the first one. By the third dune, Jack started to regret that he'd decided to try driving on the sand. The RV was fishtailling and losing traction. Jack was having to work it up each dune slowly and was trying to keep from losing control each time they came over the top and slid down the other side. Sammy had come up to sit in the passenger seat, coiled up and laughing at Jack's driving.
As they came over the top of the fourth dune, the biggest one yet, Jack saw that this was the final dune - the stone, the lever, and somewhere Nate, waited below. Jack put on the brakes, but he'd gone a little too far. The RV started slipping down the other side.
Jack tried turning the wheel, but he didn't have enough traction. He pumped the brakes - no response. They started sliding down the hill, faster and faster.
Jack felt a shock go through him as he suddenly realized that they were heading for the lever. He looked down - the RV was directly on course for it. If Jack didn't do something, the RV would hit it. He was about to end humanity.
Jack steered more frantically, trying to get traction. It still wasn't working. The dune was too steep, and the sand too loose. In a split second, Jack realized that his only chance would be once he hit the stone around the lever - he should have traction on the stone for just a second before he hit the lever - he wouldn't have time to stop, but he should be able to steer away.
Jack took a better grip on the steering wheel and tried to turn the RV a little bit - every little bit would help. He'd have to time his turn just right.
The RV got to the bottom of the dune, sliding at an amazing speed in the sand. Just before they reached the stone Jack looked across it to check that they were still heading for the lever. They were. But Jack noticed something else that he hadn't seen from the top of the dune. Nate wasn't wrapped around the lever. He was off to the side of the lever, but still on the stone, waiting for them. The problem was, he was waiting on the same side of the lever that Jack had picked to steer towards to avoid the lever. The RV was already starting to drift that way a little in its mad rush across the sand and there was no way that Jack was going to be able to go around the lever to the other side.
Jack had an instant of realization. He was either going to have to hit the lever, or run over Nate. He glanced over at Sammy and saw that Sammy realized the same thing.
Jack took a firmer grip on the steering wheel as the RV ran up on the stone. Shouting to Sammy as he pulled the steering wheel, "Better Nate than lever!", he ran over the snake.
submitted by moe_master
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2023.05.28 04:48 moe_master The world longest joke (Pt 1)
So, there's a man crawling through the desert.
He'd decided to try his SUV in a little bit of cross-country travel, had great fun zooming over the badlands and through the sand, got lost, hit a big rock, and then he couldn't get it started again. There were no cell phone towers anywhere near, so his cell phone was useless. He had no family, his parents had died a few years before in an auto accident, and his few friends had no idea he was out here.
He stayed with the car for a day or so, but his one bottle of water ran out and he was getting thirsty. He thought maybe he knew the direction back, now that he'd paid attention to the sun, and thought he'd figured out which way was north, so he decided to start walking. He figured he only had to go about 30 miles or so and he'd be back to the small town he'd gotten gas in last.
He thinks about walking at night to avoid the heat and sun, but based upon how dark it actually was the night before, and given that he has no flashlight, he's afraid that he'll break a leg or step on a rattlesnake. So, he puts on some sun block, puts the rest in his pocket for reapplication later, brings an umbrella he'd had in the back of the SUV with him to give him a little shade, pours the windshield wiper fluid into his water bottle in case he gets that desperate, brings his pocket knife in case he finds a cactus that looks like it might have water in it, and heads out in the direction he thinks is right.
He walks for the entire day. By the end of the day he's really thirsty. He's been sweating all day, and his lips are starting to crack. He's reapplied the sunblock twice, and tried to stay under the umbrella, but he still feels sunburned. The windshield wiper fluid sloshing in the bottle in his pocket is really getting tempting now. He knows that it's mainly water and some ethanol and coloring, but he also knows that they add some kind of poison to it to keep people from drinking it. He wonders what the poison is, and whether the poison would be worse than dying of thirst.
He pushes on, trying to get to that small town before dark.
By the end of the day, he starts getting worried. He figures he's been walking at least three miles an hour, according to his watch for over ten hours. That means that if his estimate was right, he should be close to the town. Unfortunately, he doesn't recognize any of this. He had to cross a dry creek bed a mile or two back, and he doesn't remember coming through it in the SUV. He figures that maybe he got his direction off just a little and that the dry creek bed was just off to one side of his path. He tells himself that he's close, and that after dark he'll start seeing the town lights over one of these hills. That'll be all he needs.
As it gets dim enough that he starts stumbling over small rocks and things, he finds a spot and sits down to wait for full dark and the town lights.
Full dark comes before he knows it. He must have dozed off. He stands back up and turns all the way around. He sees nothing but stars.
He wakes up the next morning feeling absolutely lousy. His eyes are gummy and his mouth and nose feel like they're full of sand. He’s so thirsty that he can't even swallow. He barely got any sleep because it was so cold. He'd forgotten how cold it got at night in the desert and hadn't noticed it the night before because he'd been in his car.
He knows the Rule of Threes - three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food - then you die. Some people can make it a little longer, in the best situations. The desert heat and having to walk and sweat isn't the best situation to be in without water. Unless he finds water, he figures, this is his last day.
He rinses out his mouth with a little of the windshield wiper fluid. He waits for a while after spitting that little bit out to see if his mouth goes numb, or he feels dizzy or something. Has his mouth gone numb? Is it just in his mind? He's not sure. He'll go a little farther, and if he still doesn't find water, he'll try drinking some of the fluid.
Then he has to face his next, harder question - which way does he go from here? Does he keep walking the same way as yesterday (assuming that he still knows which way that is), or does he try a new direction? He has no idea what to do.
Looking at the hills and dunes around him, he thinks he knows the direction he was heading before. Just going by a feeling, he points himself somewhat to the left of that, and starts walking.
As he walks, the day starts heating up. The desert, too cold just a couple of hours before, soon becomes an oven again. He sweats a little at first, and then stops. He starts getting worried at that. He knows that when you stop sweating, you’re in trouble. It’s usually right before heat stroke..
He decides that it's time to try the windshield wiper fluid. He can't wait any longer - if he passes out, he's dead. He stops in the shade of a large rock, takes the bottle out, opens it, and takes a mouthful. He slowly swallows it, making it last as long as he can. It feels so good in his dry and cracked throat that he doesn't even care about the nasty taste. He takes another mouthful, and makes it last too. Slowly, he drinks half the bottle. He figures that since he's drinking it, he might as well drink enough to make some difference and keep himself from passing out.
He's quit worrying about the denaturing of the wiper fluid. If it kills him, it kills him. If he didn't drink it, he'd die anyway. Besides, he's pretty sure that whatever substance they denature the fluid with is just designed to make you sick: their way of keeping winos from buying cheap wiper fluid for the ethanol content. He can handle throwing up if it comes to that.
He walks. He walks in the hot, dry, windless desert. Sand, rocks, hills, dunes, the occasional scrawny cactus or dried bush. No sign of water. Sometimes he'll see a little movement to one side or the other, but whatever moved is usually gone before he can focus his eyes on it. Probably birds, lizards, or mice. Maybe snakes, though they usually move more at night. He's careful to stay away from the movements.
After a while, he begins to stagger. He's not sure if it's fatigue, heat stroke finally catching him, or maybe he was wrong and the denaturing of the wiper fluid was worse than he thought. He tries to steady himself and keep going.
After more walking, he comes to a large stretch of sand. This is good! He knows he passed over a stretch of sand in the SUV - he remembers doing donuts in it, or at least he thinks he remembers it; he's getting woozy enough and tired enough that he's not sure what he remembers anymore or if he's hallucinating. He thinks he remembers it, so he heads off into it, trying to get to the other side, hoping that it gets him closer to the town.
He was heading for a town, wasn't he? He thinks he was. He isn't sure anymore. He's not even sure how long he's been walking anymore. Is it still morning? Has it moved into afternoon, and the sun is going down again? It must be afternoon; it seems like it's been too long since he started out.
He walks through the sand.
After a while, he comes to a big dune in the sand. This is bad. He doesn't remember any dunes from when he was driving over the sand in his SUV. At least he doesn't think he remembers any. This is bad.
All the same, he has no other direction to go. Too late to turn back now. He figures that he'll get to the top of the dune and see if he can see anything from there that can help him find the town. He keeps going up the dune.
Halfway up, he slips in the bad footing of the sand for the second or third time and falls to his knees. He doesn't feel like getting back up, since he'll just fall down again. He keeps going up the dune on his hand and knees.
While crawling, if his throat weren't so dry, he'd laugh. He's finally gotten to the hackneyed image of a man lost in the desert, crawling through the sand on his hands and knees. It would be the perfect image, he imagines, if only his clothes were more ragged. The people crawling through the desert in the cartoons always had ragged clothes, but his have lasted without any rips so far. Somebody will probably find his dessicated corpse half buried in the sand years from now, and his clothes will still be in fine shape - shake the sand out, give them a good wash, and they'd be wearable again. He wishes his throat were wet enough to laugh. He coughs a little instead, and it hurts.
He finally makes it to the top of the sand dune. Now that he's at the top, he struggles a little, but manages to stand up and look around. All he sees is sand. Sand and more sand. Behind him, about a mile away, he thinks he sees the rocky ground he left to head into this sand. Ahead of him, more dunes, more sand. This isn't where he drove his SUV. This is Hell. Or close enough.
Again, he doesn't know what to do. He decides to drink the rest of the wiper fluid while figuring it out. He takes out the bottle and starts removing the cap when he glances to the side and sees something. Something in the sand. At the bottom of the dune, off to the side, he sees something strange. It's a flat area, in the sand. He stops opening the bottle and tries to look closer. The area seems to be circular, and it's dark: darker than the sand, and there seems to be something in the middle of it, but he can't tell what it is, so he looks as hard as he can but still can't tell from here. He's going to have to go down there and look.
He puts the bottle back into his pocket, and starts to stumble down the dune. After a few steps, he realizes that he's in trouble; he's not going to be able to keep his balance. After a couple more sliding, tottering steps, he falls and starts to roll down the dune. The sand it so hot that he thinks he's caught fire on the way down - like a movie car wreck flashing into flames as it goes over the cliff, before it ever even hits the ground. He closes his eyes and mouth, covers his face with his hands, and waits to stop rolling.
He stops at the bottom of the dune. After a minute or two, he finds enough energy to try to sit up and get the sand out of his face and clothes. When he clears his eyes enough, he looks around to make sure that the dark spot in the sand it still there and he hadn't just imagined it.
Seeing the large, flat, dark spot on the sand still there, he crawls towards it. He'd get up and walk towards it, but he doesn't seem to have the energy to get up and walk right now. He must be in the final stages of dehydration he figures as he crawls. If this place in the sand doesn't have water, he'll likely never make it anywhere else. This is his last chance.
He gets closer and closer, but still can't see what's in the middle of the dark area. It’s hard to focus, and lifting his head up to look takes so much effort that he gives up trying. He just keeps crawling.
Finally, he reaches the area he'd seen from the dune. It takes him a minute of crawling on it before he realizes that he's no longer on sand - he's now crawling on some kind of dark stone. Stone with some kind of marking on it - a pattern cut into the stone. He's too tired to stand up and try to see what the pattern is, so he just keeps crawling. He crawls towards the center where his blurry eyes still see something in the middle of the dark stone area.
His mind, detached in a strange way, notes that either his hands and knees are so burnt by the sand that they no longer feel pain, or that this dark stone, in the middle of a burning desert with a pounding, punishing sun overhead, doesn't seem to be hot. It almost feels cool. He considers lying down on the nice cool surface.
Cool, dark stone. Not a good sign. He must be hallucinating this. He's probably in the middle of a patch of sand, already lying face down and dying, and just imagining this whole thing. A desert mirage. Soon the beautiful women carrying pitchers of water will come up and start giving him a drink. Then he'll know he's gone.
He decides against laying down on the cool stone. If he's going to die here in the middle of this hallucination, he at least wants to see what's in the center before he goes. He keeps crawling.
It's the third time that he hears the voice before he realizes what he's hearing. He would swear that someone just said, "Greetings, traveler. You do not look well. Do you hear me?"
He stops crawling. He tries to look up from where he is on his hands and knees, but it's too much effort to lift his head. So he tries something different: he rolls over and leans back trying to sit up on the stone. After a few seconds, he catches his balance, avoids falling on his face, sits up, and tries to focus his eyes. Blurry. He rubs his eyes with the back of his hands and tries again. Better this time.
Yep. He can see. He's sitting in the middle of a large, flat, dark expanse of stone. Directly next to him, about three feet away, is a white post or pole about two inches in diameter and sticking about four or five feet out of the stone, at an angle.
And wrapped around this white rod is what must be a fifteen foot long desert diamondback rattlesnake, with a hovering tail and rattle seemingly prepared to start rattling, looking directly at him.
He stares at the snake in shock. He doesn't have the energy to get up and run away. He doesn't even have the energy to crawl away. This is it: his final resting place. No matter what happens, he's not going to be able to move from this spot.
Well, at least dying from a bite from this monster should be quicker than dying of thirst. He'll face his end like a man. He struggles to sit up a little straighter. The snake keeps watching him. He lifts one hand and flicks it in the snake's direction, feebly. The snake watches the hand for a moment, then goes back to watching the man, looking into his eyes.
Hmmm. Maybe the snake has no interest in biting him. It hasn't rattled yet - that’s a good sign. Maybe he isn't going to die of snake bite after all.
He then remembers that he'd looked up when he'd reached the center here because he thought he'd heard a voice. He is still very woozy; he feels like he might pass out soon. The sun still beats down on him even though he is now on cool stone. He still doesn't have anything to drink. Although maybe he had actually heard a voice. This stone doesn't look natural. Nor does that white post sticking up out of the stone. Someone must have built this. Maybe they are still nearby. Maybe that was who talked to him. Maybe this snake is even their pet, and that's why it isn't biting.
He tries to clear his throat to say, "Hello," but he’s too dry. All that comes out is a coughing or wheezing sound. There's no way he's going to be able to talk without something to drink. He feels his pocket, and the bottle with the wiper fluid is still there. He shakily pulls out the bottle, almost losing his balance and falling on his back in the process. This isn't good. He doesn't have much time left by his reckoning before he passes out.
He gets the bottle open, manages to get the bottle to his lips, and pours some of the fluid into his mouth. He sloshes it around, and then swallows it. He coughs a little. His throat feels better. Maybe he can talk now.
He tries again. Ignoring the snake, he turns to look around him, hoping to spot the owner of this place, and croaks out, "Hello? Is there anyone here?"
He hears, from his side, "Greetings. What is it that you want?"
He turns his head back towards the snake. That's where the sound seemed to come from. The only thing he can think of is that there must be a speaker hidden under the snake, or maybe built into that post. He decides to try asking for help.
"Please," he croaks again, suddenly feeling dizzy, "I'd love to not be thirsty anymore. I've been without water for a long time. Can you help me?"
Looking in the direction of the snake, hoping to see where the voice was coming from this time, he is shocked to see the snake rear back, open its mouth, and speak. He hears it say, as the dizziness overtakes him and he falls forward, face first on the stone, "Very well. Coming up."
A piercing pain shoots through his shoulder. Suddenly he is awake. He sits up and grabs his shoulder, wincing at the throbbing pain. He's momentarily disoriented as he looks around, and then he remembers: the crawl across the sand, the dark area of stone, the snake. He sees the snake, still wrapped around the tilted white post, still looking at him.
He reaches up and feels his shoulder, where it hurts. It feels slightly wet. He pulls his fingers away and looks at them - blood. He feels his shoulder again - it feels like his shirt has two holes in it - two puncture holes. They match up with the two aching spots of pain on his shoulder. He has been bitten. By the snake.
"It'll feel better in a minute." He looks up - it's the snake talking. He hadn't dreamed it. Suddenly he notices - he's not dizzy anymore. And more importantly, he's not thirsty anymore - at all!
"Have I died? Is this the afterlife? Why are you biting me in the afterlife?"
"Sorry about that, but I had to bite you," says the snake. "That's the way I work. It all comes through the bite. Think of it as natural medicine."
"You bit me to help me? Why aren't I thirsty anymore? Did you give me a drink before you bit me? How did I drink enough while unconscious to not be thirsty anymore? I haven't had a drink for over two days. Well, except for the windshield wiper fluid... hold it, how in the world does a snake talk? Are you real? Are you some sort of Disney animation?"
"No," says the snake, "I'm real. As real as you or anyone is, anyway. I didn't give you a drink. I bit you. That's how it works, it's what I do. I bite. Plus I don't have hands to give you a drink, even if I had water just sitting around here."
The man sat stunned for a minute. Here he was, sitting in the middle of the desert on some strange stone that should be hot but wasn't, talking to a snake that could talk back and had just bitten him. And he felt better. Not great - he was still starving and exhausted, but much better - he was no longer thirsty. He had started to sweat again, but only slightly. He felt hot, in this sun, but it was starting to get lower in the sky, and the cool stone beneath him was a relief he could notice now that he was no longer dying of thirst.
"I might suggest that we take care of that methanol you now have in your system with the next request," continued the snake. "I can guess why you drank it, but I'm not sure how much you drank, or how much methanol was left in the wiper fluid. That stuff is nasty. It'll make you go blind in a day or two, if you drank enough of it."
"Ummm, n-next request?" said the man. He put his hand back on his hurting shoulder and backed away from the snake a little.
"That's the way it works. If you like, that is," explained the snake. "You get three requests. Call them wishes, if you wish." The snake grinned at his own joke, and the man drew back a little further from the show of fangs.
"But there are rules," the snake continued. "The first request is free. The second requires an agreement of secrecy. The third requires the binding of responsibility." The snake looks at the man seriously.
"By the way," the snake says suddenly, "my name is Nathan. Old Nathan, Samuel used to call me. He gave me the name. Before that, most of the Bound used to just call me 'Snake'. But that got old, and Samuel wouldn't stand for it. He said that anything that could talk needed a name. He was big into names. You can call me Nate, if you wish." Again, the snake grinned. "Sorry if I don't offer to shake, but I think you can understand - my shake sounds somewhat threatening." The snake give his rattle a little shake.
"Umm, my name is Jack," said the man, trying to absorb all of this. "Jack Samson."
"Can I ask you a question?" Jack says suddenly. "What happened to the venom...umm, in your bite. Why aren't I dying now? How did you do that? What do you mean by that's how you work?"
"That's more than one question," grins Nate. "But I'll still try to answer all of them. First, yes, you can ask me a question." The snake's grin gets wider. "Second, the venom is in you. It changed you. You now no longer need to drink. That's what you asked for. Or, well, technically, you asked to not be thirsty any more - but 'any more' is such a vague term. I decided to make it permanent - now, as long as you live, you shouldn't need to drink much at all. Your body will conserve water very efficiently. You should be able to get enough just from the food you eat - much like a creature of the desert. You've been changed.
"For the third question," Nate continues, "you are still dying. Besides the effects of that methanol in your system, you're a man - and men are mortal. In your current state, I give you no more than about another 50 years. Assuming you get out of this desert, alive, that is." Nate seemed vastly amused at his own humor, and continued his wide grin.
"As for the fourth question," Nate said, looking more serious as far as Jack could tell, as Jack was just now working on his ability to read talking-snake emotions from snake facial features, "first you have to agree to make a second request and become bound by the secrecy, or I can't tell you."
"Wait," joked Jack, "isn't this where you say you could tell me, but you'd have to kill me?"
"I thought that was implied." Nate continued to look serious.
"Ummm...yeah." Jack leaned back a little as he remembered again that he was talking to a fifteen foot venomous reptile with a reputation for having a nasty temper. "So, what is this 'Bound by Secrecy' stuff, and can you really stop the effects of the methanol?" Jack thought for a second. "And, what do you mean methanol, anyway? I thought these days they use ethanol in wiper fluid, and just denature it?"
"They may, I don't really know," said Nate. "I haven't gotten out in a while. Maybe they do. All I know is that I smell methanol on your breath and on that bottle in your pocket. And the blue color of the liquid when you pulled it out to drink some let me guess that it was wiper fluid. I assume that they still color wiper fluid blue?"
"Yeah, they do," said Jack.
"I figured," replied Nate. "As for being bound by secrecy - with the fulfillment of your next request, you will be bound to say nothing about me, this place, or any of the information I will tell you after that, when you decide to go back out to your kind. You won't be allowed to talk about me, write about me, use sign language, charades, or even act in a way that will lead someone to guess correctly about me. You'll be bound to secrecy. Of course, I'll also ask you to promise not to give me away, and as I'm guessing that you're a man of your word, you'll never test the binding anyway, so you won't notice." Nate said the last part with utter confidence.
Jack, who had always prided himself on being a man of his word, felt a little nervous at this. "Ummm, hey, Nate, who are you? How did you know that? Are you, umm, omniscient, or something?"
Well, Jack," said Nate sadly, "I can't tell you that, unless you make the second request." Nate looked away for a minute, then looked back.
"Umm, well, ok," said Jack, "what is this about a second request? What can I ask for? Are you allowed to tell me that?"
"Sure!" said Nate, brightening. "You're allowed to ask for changes. Changes to yourself. They're like wishes, but they can only affect you. Oh, and before you ask, I can't give you immortality. Or omniscience. Or omnipresence, for that matter. Though I might be able to make you gaseous and yet remain alive, and then you could spread through the atmosphere and sort of be omnipresent. But what good would that be - you still wouldn't be omniscient and thus still could only focus on one thing at a time. Not very useful, at least in my opinion." Nate stopped when he realized that Jack was staring at him.
"Well, anyway," continued Nate, "I'd probably suggest giving you permanent good health. It would negate the methanol now in your system, you'd be immune to most poisons and diseases, and you'd tend to live a very long time, barring accident, of course. And you'll even have a tendency to recover from accidents well. It always seemed like a good choice for a request to me."
"Cure the methanol poisoning, huh?" said Jack. "And keep me healthy for a long time? Hmmm. It doesn't sound bad at that. And it has to be a request about a change to me? I can't ask to be rich, right? Because that's not really a change to me?"
"Right," nodded Nate.
"Could I ask to be a genius and permanently healthy?" Jack asked, hopefully.
"That takes two requests, Jack."
"Yeah, I figured so," said Jack. "But I could ask to be a genius? I could become the smartest scientist in the world? Or the best athlete?"
"Well, I could make you very smart," admitted Nate, "but that wouldn't necessarily make you the best scientist in the world. Or, I could make you very athletic, but it wouldn't necessarily make you the best athlete either. You've heard the saying that 99% of genius is hard work? Well, there's some truth to that. I can give you the talent, but I can't make you work hard. It all depends on what you decide to do with it."
"Hmmm," said Jack. "Ok, I think I understand. And I get a third request, after this one?"
"Maybe," said Nate, "it depends on what you decide then. There are more rules for the third request that I can only tell you about after the second request. You know how it goes." Nate looked like he'd shrug, if he had shoulders.
"Ok, well, since I'd rather not be blind in a day or two, and permanent health doesn't sound bad, then consider that my second request. Officially. Do I need to sign in blood or something?"
"No," said Nate. "Just hold out your hand. Or heel." Nate grinned. "Or whatever part you want me to bite. I have to bite you again. Like I said, that's how it works - the venom, you know," Nate said apologetically.
Jack winced a little and felt his shoulder, where the last bite was. Hey, it didn't hurt any more. Just like Nate had said. That made Jack feel better about the biting business. But still, standing still while a fifteen foot snake sunk it's fangs into you. Jack stood up. Ignoring how good it felt to be able to stand again, and the hunger starting to gnaw at his stomach, Jack tried to decide where he wanted to get bitten. Despite knowing that it wouldn't hurt for long, Jack knew that this wasn't going to be easy.
"Hey, Jack," Nate suddenly said, looking past Jack towards the dunes behind him, "is that someone else coming up over there?"
Jack spun around and looked. Who else could be out here in the middle of nowhere? And did they bring food?
Wait a minute, there was nobody over there. What was Nate...
Jack let out a bellow as he felt two fangs sink into his rear end, through his jeans...
Jack sat down carefully, favoring his more tender buttock. "I would have decided, eventually, Nate. I was just thinking about it. You didn't have to hoodwink me like that."
"I've been doing this a long time, Jack," said Nate, confidently. "You humans have a hard time sitting still and letting a snake bite you - especially one my size. And besides, admit it - it's only been a couple of minutes and it already doesn't hurt any more, does it? That's because of the health benefit with this one.
submitted by moe_master
to copypasta [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:46 wharrisofficial Top comment add word to hail to the thief cover DAY 58 (Since u/WeInTheUSA gave up, I will now be doing this until they decide to pick up the torch again. Please feel free to downvote this post and kick me out of the subreddit. Maybe if I'm kicked my dad will finally come back with the milk.)
submitted by wharrisofficial to radioheadcirclejerk [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:46 Cucumber_Sweet Solarpunk check list
How do we get started with our ideal solarpunk society?I made a check list of all the things I think it should have. I'll leave it to the economist to figure out how to implement it.
Basic package (America+) -Medicare for all (or any other state sponsored health care scheme) -Universal preschool -minimum 30 days of PTO -minium 3 months paid maternity leave -free college -free daycare -bike lanes in every city -residential neighborhoods required to allow small business -citizens must be allowed to repair products they own it manufacturer must guarantee to repair the product for free - ranked choice voting (or anything besides first past the post)
Premium package (Europe/Asia+) Everything in the basic package plus more! - preschool and elementary class size cap of 12 students - minimum $75k a year for teachers - minimum 90 days PTO - 1 year paternity & maternity leave - free public transportation - cities required to have dedicated bus lanes and a stop in every neighborhood - yearly car ownership tax and street congestion fees - decriminalization of drugs - subsidized housing for everyone - dental, vision, prescription, and pyschological care included in universal health care scheme
Elite (Scandinavia+) -free dorm style housing for anyone -nurse starting pay $75k year -federal interest free small business loan of $50k available to anyone -maximum city speed limit 20mi/30km per hour -cities required to offer public transportation to necessary business (grocery, dr offices) -Ubi of at least $30k year (more or less dependent on city) -medium & large businesses required to offer internship/apprenticeship opportunities to students and inexperienced workers -mandated 4 day work week (companies must pay overtime if they require workers to work Fridays) -nutrition and personal training included in health care scheme -pay differences between employees in a company cannot be greater than a magnitude of ten (i.e. if lowest paid employee makes 10k CEO cannot make more than 100k)
Radical -Profits taxed at 100% -free food dining halls available in every neighborhood and within a five minute walk of every residence (must provide every citizen 3 nutritions meals per day) -free utilities and Internet in every residence -smartphone or computer available for free for every citizen -Business are taxed for any waste they produce or any product they sell that can't be reused. -cars banned within cities. -20 hour work week -free clubs and camps available to students during school holidays -1 year off for parents plus two secondary care givers of there choice -free in home nanny for infants under 6 weeks -elected officials selected by lottery -inheritance income and assets above $30k taxed at 100% -remove national borders. Countries are no longer allowed to deny potential immigrants a work visa.
What did I miss?
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to solarpunk [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:42 Muse_Ingenue Self-promotion Thread
EVERY WEEK I'd like to spend 1 day allowing smaller Creators to share their works.
I also am thinking of setting a day for Authors to share their works here, but I don't want any confusion about their stories being open to be performed by anyone without the Author's explicit permission. So perhaps we can discuss Authors we've become fans of, or reccomend others check out.
I haven't decided the day of the week yet.
submitted by Muse_Ingenue
to MuseysModernDreadfuls [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:34 omidiumrare Literally the most crooked company in existence
Alright, I don’t even know where else to turn. Xfinity is a joke. Can’t wait to see this locked in 3 days and shoved under the rug in this sub.
March - this is when it begins, the beginning of this entire fiasco. It starts with some overages, that’s it. I contact support, they tell me they can waive my overages if I sign an agreement (first lie), they offer me a higher speed for the same cost. I agree.
April - My waived overages are back on my bill, I contact support again - they say there was an issue with the fee waiver and they were taking care of it, and to not worry (second lie).
May - I now show a past due balance, my speed has never increased from my prior plan, I now am getting service disruptions that leave me for 3-4 hours at a time without internet. I contact support… again - they give me the familiar lies, “it’ll be taken care of”, in addition they schedule a technician to come check the feed to my house.
Which takes us to today. Reddit, of all places because “support” on their app and website, as well as phone support - all absolutely no help. They are so eager to transfer you to someone else who can “help” only to get told the same thing by them. I’m convinced it’s an endless line of people there only to kick the can further down the road.
The agreement I signed, which was based on lies I was fed - has never reached the speeds advertised. After all of this, I still have a past due for fees that seemingly is never going to be waived, on top of all that, the technician who came out - told me nothing was wrong, then drove away. I’m being charged $100 for that.
I love how you’ve monopolized my area and now extort us all for money. ❤️
submitted by omidiumrare
to Comcast_Xfinity [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:33 Chickenpotpie14 What do you do to ensure you don’t experience burn out?
I quit mid year this year due to a bad situation and burn out (you can check my post history for details). I swore I would never go back to teaching and looked into other careers. But to be honest I missed teaching. I really loved it and was good at it!
Anyway, I just was offered a job at a school next year that seems to check all my boxes and seems like it would be a good fit. But I really want to set boundaries early and not burn myself out.
What steps do you take to set boundaries and keep your work-life balance?
submitted by Chickenpotpie14
to Teachers [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:26 TheWingalingDragon Auction House - Buy Orders
| || |Official Discord Suggestion submitted by TheWingalingDragon to Celticheroes [link] [comments]
Every market needs to be a balance of buy and sell. Where those two giants do not meet is where all the price action is and helps everyone to better understand value.
Right now we only have the ability to sell.
My proposal would be to allow us to create auction house buy orders in the SAME WAY we create sell orders, even using the same market slots (so as not to overburden the servers)
Essentially, a play would walk up to the Auction House and select "manage my auctions"
From there, they can select ANY ITEM THEY ALREADY HAVE IN THEIR INVENTORY.
This is where things would branch. Once you've selected the item from your inventory there would be TWO OPTIONS instead of simply "Place Listing" we would have a "BUY LISTING" and a "SELL LISTING".
The Sell listing would work exactly as we have now, no changes.
The BUY LISTING, however, would be worlds apart. If you selected to buy, you would place how many of the item you wish to purchase along with the price you're willing to pay for the items and the duration of the order.
With a BUY order, the tax would be paid by the person listing the buy order in the event that the transaction was completed.
When placing a BUY order, you would immediately lose the gold from your inventory to be held by the server mail systen, including tax, to ensure the money was available for anyone who completes the sale for you.
If anyone completes the sale, the items and gold would transact through the mail system exactly like how we have with sell orders.
If you agree, it would be greatly beneficial for you to join the Official Discord Topic
and leave a comment in support! o7
2023.05.28 04:23 madurochurro I got chatgpt to write me a story see what you think of it
In the words of chatgpt
Once upon a time, in the distant year of 2055, on the enigmatic and icy planet Uranus, two curious extraterrestrial beings named Zara and Xander found themselves embarking on a unique journey of discovery. They were part of an advanced alien civilization known for their remarkable intelligence and deep philosophical understanding.
Zara and Xander had always been intrigued by the concept of unlocking their full potential, both intellectually and emotionally. They believed that there was more to their existence than what they had experienced thus far. Guided by their insatiable thirst for knowledge and the desire to explore their own depths, they delved into the mysteries of consciousness expansion.
In their quest for self-realization, Zara and Xander stumbled upon a rare substance known as 2C-B, a powerful empathogen with profound effects on cognition and emotion. Intrigued by its potential, they decided to embark on a shared journey, hoping to unlock new realms of understanding and tap into the depths of their consciousness.
Under the swirling auroras of Uranus, the two aliens consumed the 2C-B. As the substance took effect, their senses became heightened, and their minds were filled with a flood of vibrant colors and patterns. They felt an intense surge of empathy, a deep connection to one another, and a profound understanding of the cosmos.
As their minds expanded, Zara and Xander delved into deep philosophical discussions, exploring the nature of intelligence, the importance of ethos (the guiding principles of their society), and the powerful influence of pathos (emotions) on their decision-making. The empathogenic properties of 2C-B allowed them to experience firsthand the interplay between logic and emotion, realizing that a balance between the two was crucial for a harmonious existence.
Their consciousness soared through the cosmos, witnessing the interconnectedness of all beings and the beauty in diversity. They embraced the notion that intelligence alone was not enough, but the ability to empathize and connect on an emotional level was equally essential for the advancement of their civilization.
As the effects of 2C-B slowly waned, Zara and Xander felt a profound sense of clarity and purpose. They realized that their journey had not only unlocked their individual potentials but had also brought them closer as companions. They vowed to share their newfound wisdom with their fellow beings, spreading the importance of emotional intelligence, compassion, and the harmony of ethos and pathos.
Thus, with their minds expanded and hearts awakened, Zara and Xander became beacons of enlightenment in their alien society. Their transformative journey on Uranus served as a catalyst for a paradigm shift, where the pursuit of intelligence was no longer separated from the cultivation of empathy and emotional understanding.
And so, the legacy of Zara and Xander, the two visionary aliens who embraced the power of empathogens, lived on, forever altering the course of their civilization and inspiring generations to come.
submitted by madurochurro
to ChatgptStories [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:23 misha511 [H] 70% LTC, 80% PayPal/etc. [W] Physical Amazon GCs/balance (<=$1600)
Trusted Buyer $20k+ buying reputations
pinned to profile
I only buy cards/balance that I know are legitimately obtained. Please message me after you comment on here. Expect to go through a test to ensure that I can buy from you. Please message me via Private Messages
:%20%0A%0AAmount:%20%0A%0AOrigin%20(where%20the%20card%20is%20originally%20from):%20%0A%0AHow to pay:%20%0A%0AThank%20you!) after commenting on here.
PayPal F&F no longer allowed even if you're from the US. PayPal G&S otherwise.
Crypto rate is slightly negotiable for larger amounts. If you're just starting with crypto, I suggest Binance, links below.
Sorry there are so many versions; they have multiple subsidiaries depending on where you're from.---
Use the referral links if you want to support me. You also save money on conversions if you choose to use the referral links. Other than that, referral and non-referral links are identical from your end. If you’re from the US, you have to sign up for the US Binance.
* United States
Non-referral International United States
*According to Binance, you save 5% on trading fees if you use this link to sign up
submitted by misha511
to giftcardexchange [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:14 picklepiepete Someone tried to enter my apartment at 12:30 AM.
I am a single female who lives alone in the city. A couple nights ago I saw a weird white figure on my camera. It faces front door in dining room. After my dog started freaking out and growling, and refusing to go in the dining room, I decided to check my camera( I couldn’t see into dining room from living room and light was off) and saw a weird white fog figure moving around the dining room before disappearing. My camera requires a subscription to allow playback and cloud storage. So I automatically did this when I thought something paranormal was going on in my home. The camera is triggered by motion to start recording, therefore I wake up to about 20 notifications in the morning. They have all been my cat or a car passing by. Until this morning. Like I’ve been checking the past couple mornings I start at the beginning which is 00:12 or 00:20. Within the first two clips I hear weird noises and my cat jumps up and looks out the side window. Then a man comes to my front door and tries to enter my apartment. He turns the knob, pushes a little then pauses and looked into my apartment before quickly turning and leaving. I’m thoroughly freaked out. My biggest concern is that it’s somebody who has seen me leaving and entering my apartment and they were there to get me not for theft. I bought more alarms and cameras on Amazon and they’ll be here tomorrow. I also filed a police report. I think the coincidence of why I decided to get the subscription to allow playback and someone deciding to try to break in is too creepy. What else should I do to keep myself safe as a young adult who lives alone in the city on ground level?
submitted by picklepiepete
to Advice [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:10 cosy-a [30F ᐧ AEST GMT+10] Looking for a Study Buddy for weekly virtual study sessions.
👩🏻 About Me:
Hey there! I'm 30 and juggling work while studying part-time for my post-grad (UX Design). I find myself lacking motivation to keep up with my studies while balancing work. That's why I'm looking for a study buddy or a tiny study group to virtually meet up with and have longer study sessions together (On Fridays). Besides studying, I would love to support and encourage you with your own goals and habits.
My current routine includes exercising (3-4 times a week), daily journaling, and reading for pleasure in my downtime. I'm also interested in incorporating a short daily meditation or mindfulness practice. I'm all about taking small steps to build positive change (atomic habit philosphy)
📚 Study Accountability:
The main reason for this ad is to find someone (or a couple of people) who would like to join me for virtual study sessions on Fridays. Studying alone can lead to procrastination and sometimes it gets lonely. But when you have someone keeping you company, it's easier to stay focused and much more fun as it feels like you're in this together. So, if you're the type who works better with a study buddy, then keep reading and reach out if you feel we would be a right fit :)
🍃 Life Accountability:
Are you someone who's determined to adopt healthier habits or working on personal goals/hobbies? I would love to support you with text message check-ins.
💭 The Accountability Plan:
- Virtual Study Sessions on Friday: We can meet up in a private virtual study room using the StudyVerse desktop app. We'll take a few minutes at the beginning to discuss the tasks we'll be working on during the study session. Then, we'll dive right into studying. These study sessions can go on for 2-5 hours.
- (Optional) Frequent/Weekly Check-ins: If you have specific habits you want to keep track of during the week, we can do frequent text message check-ins.
⭐️ About You:
Ideally, you're in a similar timezone (AEST / GMT+10). Around the same age range (late 20s-30s but not super important as long as what I've described here resonates with you). You should be comfortable with being on camera during our virtual study sessions and would like frequent/weekly text message check-ins. You appreciate having a support system/friend (me 🙂) to keep you accountable for your goals and habits. You find comfort in routines and schedules. I believe these accountability buddy systems thrive when we're open to engaging with each other, sharing bits of our lives, and building a connection that creates a supportive environment with open communication.
Are you a keen bean?
If you're interested you can DM me here and tell me a bit about yourself. If you'd like, we can hop on a call to talk about your goals/habits and go through the details of an accountability system that works for both of us ☺️
submitted by cosy-a
to GetMotivatedBuddies [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:09 PipeHuman Anybody else's site get this announced
2023.05.28 04:07 Aggressive_Mistake47 In My Dreams…
idk if i’ll be alive for much longer but below is what i wish my life looked like.
In my dreams i am a wife. I wake up next my best friend in the whole world every single day. We aren’t morning people so we don’t do much talking as we do 5 minutes of cuddling before it’s time to see him off for the day. In my dreams I send him on his way with a light lunch of grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinegar dressing and bocconcini (he doesn’t like anything too heavy bc it weighs him down, he’s blue collar and can’t get too tired from a heavy lunch), water, a slice of peach crumble cobbler i made the previous day, and a secret note with a stupid joke written inside. he says they’re cornet but i know he secretly loves them. In my dreams, i send him off with a kiss.
In my dreams my marriage is happy - not perfect. I’m forgetful and i lose things and sometimes it makes us late to outings. sometimes he leaves his clothes on the bathroom floor instead of the hamper. but in my dreams we laugh so hard our stomachs cramp and i have to leave the room because just looking at him will keep me laughing, we hold one another’s hands during difficult conversations, and we spend time together separately: him reading, me painting - together but separate. in my dreams we have a healthy sex life. at least 3 times a week; it doesn’t feel performative or like a chore. we kiss, we giggle, we lose ourselves in the moment, we sigh and sweat, and moan into one another’s mouths. in my dreams we satisfy each other.
In my dreams we have community. i don’t have family as i grew up in a toxic household but i have my chosen family/friendship. i’m close with his mother and his little brother comes over to hang out with him because he looks up to him. in my dreams we host dinners every few months with our loved ones. the lighting is low, the record is a jazz vinyl, everyone’s telling stories and listening intently, his hand is on my leg under the table.
in my dreams, i am a mother. i get to spend my time at home with my kids(s) 2 maybe 3. but i’d be happy if it were just one. i’d be lucky. in my dreams we are making mud pies outside and talking about the sensory aspects of it: cold, wet, gritty. in my dreams we take walks to the brook and hop along the rocks and use our binoculars to watch birds and squirrels in the trees. in my dreams, i get to watch my kid(s) be kids. to run, jump, play, scream, laugh, cry. i get to put bandaids on their knee caps and teach them to ride a bike. in my dreams we finger paint during rainy days and sing karaoke in the car on the way to the grocery store. i read bedtime stories from the books i saved in my closet from my childhood. they like the same stories but also have their own favorites. in my dreams, i do night checks: all clear, no monsters! i’ll leave the door cracked in case you call for me. in my dreams there’s matching PJs on Christmas morning and hot cocoa on the stove.
in my dreams my husband, my best friend, my rock, life partner, my mountain of a man yet also my sensitive sweet man returns from work. i kiss him like i haven’t seen him in 3 days (i’m wearing the perfume he likes). he hands me flowers (white roses and pink gladiolus). i made beef ribs that had been cooking for 3 hours with mashed potatoes and grilled broccoli. in my dreams our child(ren) reach for him and they share highlights of their day with one another. i watch lovingly from the doorway. in my dreams we sit down to eat as a family and talk about maybe adopting a rescue pup this weekend.
in my dreams we clean up the kitchen and watch a little TV before bed, we get through two episodes of our current show. we turn out the lights, i check for monsters and leave the door cracked. we head to bed, we giggle and sigh and satisfy. we fall asleep and begin to dream. in my dreams…. (start from the top)
submitted by Aggressive_Mistake47
to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:03 FlashCardManiac fBomb alternatives?
I enjoy the fBomb brand
. A high fat, low carb composition sits well with my stomach while hiking and they taste decent enough. Currently they're out of almost all inventory and there's been several complaints about customers getting expired product. Anyone have a brand they really like? High fat, low carb tasty snacks?
I was looking at these, but wondering if there's better?
For those who think I'm dieting or choosing a poor poor source... Not on a diet, it's simply my stomach. I've tried Mars bars, Cliff bars, protien bars, almost every bar or spread on the shelves at grocery stores. High fat, low carb is the only snack that allows me to keep hiking without feeling sick or like I'm still hungry. High carb leaves me feeling sick unless I can sit down, and high protein dehydrates me as most protein bars will (they also aren't filling).
submitted by FlashCardManiac
to Ultralight [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 04:03 bcbritt7 What are added sugars?
I was checking out some items at the grocery store, and saw that some items has sugar listed then "added sugars". What are added sugars? If something is already processed food, like chips or cookies, why would they need added sugars?
submitted by bcbritt7
to sugarfree [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 03:58 HoopersXcalibur Feedback on the game
Hey everyone, I wanted to give my feedback on the state of the game after playing for some hours.
First off, I am really enjoying the game a lot. In all honesty, these asymmetrical games have never worked for me. DBD seems to be way too focused on metas and is a difficult game to pick up with a not so friendly player base. Other games in this genre seem to have been mediocre at best and died for various reasons. These and many other issues that I won't get into, have scared me away from the genre as a whole.
So, what is different about TCM?
- The addition of a Team rather than a single killer like all others in the genre, makes it so tasks and tactics are spread across a team, rather than a single person having to micromanage every aspect of the match. For example, Leatherface is the brute which has the most damage output but is slower than the other members of the family. He can break off some of the shortcuts and doors victims use which gives the player the responsibility of closing off as many escapes as possible. The Cook in the other hand, is a more management focused character which can temporarily block shortcuts, sense moving players, and can collect the most blood for grandpa out of the current playable characters. Most importantly he can place locks on doors which again makes him a sort of base manager. Lastly, The Hitchhiker does the lowest amount of damage but, he can follow victims into shortcuts, place traps around the map, and is very agile. This is very high level and isn't meant to be an in-depth guide on the family, so my point is, each player has a task to do and isn't running around trying to do a million things at once while also trying to make sure the victims haven't escaped.
- The other major plus for me is victims are much more limited on their ability to endlessly "cheese" a family player. The number of times a pallet is used by survivors to run around in circles endlessly in DBD is truly annoying. The way TCM fixes this is by having the multiple players on the family team. If someone attempts to exploit a shortcut, they will most likely be ambushed by the family in no time. Also, most shortcuts aren't placed in a way where victims can exploit them as easily as they can in DBD. This basically forces the victims to actual plan an escape and not just stress the enemy out until they give up on the chase.
- Solo play works well as a victim. Teamplay as a victim will help your chances of escape but, the matches I've played have not required full cooperation. I like this because it enhances the moments when a random player decides to guide you to the escape that they have found even though they didn't really need to do it. The same goes for when a player leaves you behind because helping you might end up getting them killed. This reminds me a lot of how the movies work, which is awesome.
- No generators or skill checks
- There are multiple ways you can plan an escape as a survivor, or even just multiple ways to hide and ambush a family player. The same goes for the Family itself, there is many things you can do to plan out how you will get the victims and multiple ways to find out where they are, which helps the match to constantly keep evolving.
- Victim players are against the clock since they are constantly bleeding out. This forces them to take more risks in order to escape in time before they keep getting slower and slower until they collapse.
Those are just some of the things that I feel have made me enjoy this game like I've never enjoyed an asymmetrical game before.
Now moving on to the things I feel like need improvement:
- Options menu needs to be available on every screen. It's very inconvenient to only have the options available during a lobby or in the match.
- Perks, Loadout, and other character menus need to be available in the main menu. Right now, this doesn't matter as none of it is available. But, for release we need to be able to customize before the lobby to avoid wasting other people's time just to change stuff.
- Ultrawide support would be nice, I understand that a 16:9 aspect ratio was probably done for balancing reasons but, I'm sure there is ways the dev team can mess with the camera to avoid having an advantage when using ultrawide.
- The gore needs improvement, I think right now the gore just doesn't live up to the name of this franchise. Obviously, I know that the original film did not feature much gore at all, but it takes me out of the game to see Leatherface basically cut the woman in half in the intro, only to just see some red mark on her when the match starts.
- Clearer Context inputs. In don't know if it was just me, but I originally thought that the "Press E" prompts were supposed to be tapped and not held down. Again, this could just be a me issue.
- Speaking of button prompts, there seems to be an issue with doors not opening sometimes even when you press the proper button or just being noticeably delayed. Also, Grandpas prompt to feed him is very bugged as I keep having to reorient the character and the camera to a specific position in order for me to be able to press "E".
- This is nitpicky but, from what I have noticed, the chain on the chain saw does not move at all. It would be nice to see it properly move. Also, would be nice to see Leatherface actually pressing the button on the chain saw when revving it up.
- Where's Leatherface's Hammer?
- Mainly I would love to see some sort of short arcade type story for each character for both the Family and Victims. Similarly, to how fighting games have intro cutscene and ending cutscene (could just be artwork with voice over) whenever you play through a couple of fights (or towers for MK fans). It could simply work in this game by having an NPC match where depending on who you play or survive with you will get a character ending for that character.
- Introduce more storylines and movie content down the line.
These are just some of my initial thoughts and feedback. Would love to hear what everyone else thinks about the game. Also, for any DBD fans who may read this, I am in no way trying to shit on your favorite game or say it's bad, I'm just explaining why it pushed me away and why this is a game that fits better for me. And yes, I am shit at DBD no question about it.
submitted by HoopersXcalibur
to TXChainSawGame [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 03:57 SolventAssetsGone To be given the impression that you can't check a bag when flying with American Airlines the night before your flight.
2023.05.28 03:55 Drakolf The Test:
[This is an aftermath sequel to Sanctuary
. Please read it for context.]
Humans could get used to anything, given enough time and patience.
Intellectually, I am aware that I used to be Human, that prior to my exit from the dungeon, I'd had an entirely different life, that everything I knew from my past was a convenient lie to keep me trapped and servile.
There are many fanciful tales of Humans being taken, and through sheer willpower recalling their past lives and successfully destroying a dungeon's Core.
I know better, and I tell that to every would-be Adventurer who walks in through those doors.
When we were safely out of danger, John, Jimmy, and myself had come to an impasse on how to proceed. My entire life was gone, I was a monster, pure and simple, and even standing benignly in town got me more than a few terrified looks.
Dungeon Withdrawal is not unlike recovering from an addiction, I had to be locked up in a cell because every now and again, I got violent, demanding a Human to take me to the nearest dungeon.
The irony was not lost on me as I was indeed brought to a
They kept me fed on a ration of meat and milk, both of which tasted horrible to me, because a dungeon sustains its monsters through mana, it's why several vicious monsters could coexist without killing each other.
But as it ran its course, the food began to taste better, and though they kept me for a week longer than necessary, once I was fully removed from the dungeon's influence, I was free to go.
John and Jimmy couldn't stay, they still had their own lives to live, and returning home victorious with both their manhoods intact was certainly going to make their lives easier.
They took one fourth of the loot each, at my direction, during one of my more lucid moments, and they ensured the Adventurer's Guild kept my half safe for me.
When I went to the Guild for my loot, it was given to me, coinage exchanged for viable currency, offers made on magic items that I staunchly refused to sell until I knew what I was going to do with my life.
Plus, that dagger is mine, I killed for it.
Because I didn't have any life to return to, the only clue being a letter that meant nothing to me taken from the body of a brother whose memory was utterly gone, save for the fact that my first and only look at him was a split skull and the look of fear in his eyes.
I didn't mention the funerary cannibalism to anyone, even if I didn't have any issue with it, the Humans certainly did and dragged me away from the body before I could even begin to explain.
It was the least I could do for someone who had once meant something to me.
The Guild also offered me a job, Monstrous Adventurers were valuable, they couldn't be taken by a dungeon with the right protections- and I had those protections tattooed beneath my scales- and their innate understanding of how a dungeon worked gave most adventuring parties an edge.
Plus, dungeon Cores were pretty, and could do practically anything if you removed it and bound it to you. Which I did. More on that later.
They had a Grandmaster Wizard try to recall my memories, he couldn't, the letter only indicated an empty house with very little of note or value to me, but since it was mine, I sold it for a modest sum.
It was a pair of brothers who entered the Guild, the sight of them joking and laughing dredging up unpleasantly sad emotions that had nothing attached to them except whatever remained of love for a brother that I had.
"We're here to register." The older of the two called out, completely missing the fact that I was there.
"Do you have an entry fee?" I asked as I climbed the step-ladder to address them. They screamed, I yelled, they screamed even louder. It was good fun, I liked scaring Humans.
"Now that you've sufficiently hurt my ears, do you have an entry fee?"
"It's a little lizard thing!"
"Kobold!" I snapped. "I am a Kobold, and you will stop acting like a bloody arse or I will have you thrown out so you can calm down!" Latent hatred for Humanity aside, I didn't have a particularly good temper, and when stabbing was a more efficient way to get your point across, I wasn't allowed my dagger.
They elected to calm down. Progress. They approached cautiously, as all newcomers do, and said, in a hesitant voice. "We're here to register?"
"Congratulations, you've echoed something I've already heard twice. Allow me to echo something a third time. Do. You. Have. An. Entry. Fee?"
"Entry fee?" He asked.
"Yes. An entry fee guarantees you basic armor and weaponry properly assigned for your roles. Without one, you will have to provide your own. The entry fee is fifty silvers."
"We, uh, we don't have enough for that." The younger said.
"We, uh, also don't have any weapons." The elder added.
"Bloody brilliant. You Humans cease to amaze me. Come this way, I can give you a quick job to earn enough to pay. You're going to need this."
I led the duo to a door, this was my
door, because before I got a job here, it did not exist.
"Are either of you familiar with dungeon Cores?" I asked.
"They're really powerful." The eldest said with a nod.
"They create dungeons?" The younger asked uncertainly.
I sighed. I really did not have the patience for this. "Beyond this door is a dungeon. It is my
dungeon. I aided a party in destroying a dungeon and claimed the core after giving them free rein on the loot."
I opened the door, which led into a recreation of the dungeon I had once called home. That was largely due to the fact that the same dungeon Core that dwelt in this one had come from that one. "Dungeons are graded based on what they create. This is a Grade 1 Dungeon. It is the safest and easiest of dungeons to survive in, and because it is under my command, this one is even safer."
I paused, making sure they understood.
"This dungeon does not have many monsters in it. This makes it the kind where, if you stay too long inside, you become a monster. This is something I cannot change, and I keep it this way because there are people who simply want a completely fresh start. There are ten Kobolds in this dungeon, they are the ones who did not get out in time, even with my help."
"Why are you showing this to us?" The older brother asked.
"Because it is the most expedient way for you to earn enough to pay for the fee, or to find enough armor and weapons to kit yourself out. The Kobolds in this dungeon are passive, but become hostile if you start taking things. Killing them is allowed, I can resurrect them without issue. But do bear in mind they used to be Humans."
I paused again, they nodded.
"You will experience the beginnings of the dungeon claiming you after one hour inside, this will manifest in growing scaly patches, your limbs becoming non-Human..." I explained the process of being claimed, which I described in exact detail. "After twelve hours, if you fail to return, you will be claimed, your memories utterly destroyed, and your will belonging to the dungeon Core."
I looked at both of them. "Now, would you like to opt for a cleaning job instead?"
"Once you lose your memories, you cannot retrieve them." I warned as I led them through the dungeon. I had given them both a dagger to defend themselves, once they staunchly insisted on doing things the expedient way.
They were going to run this dungeon regardless, but under easier terms.
"I was minutes away from being claimed, and I only got out because I had given a pair of Humans a bag of loot that I was damned and determined to retrieve."
I stopped at the first intersection and turned around. I stomped one of my feet. "Now, unless you want to become Kobolds- which I will happily oblige- you will navigate this dungeon by yourselves. I will be observing you, ensuring you don't die, but I won't prevent you from being injured."
I teleported to the Core, its glossy blue surface growing translucent as I observed the Humans running through the hallways.
I raised the floor a step, causing them both to stumble and fall to the floor. "You have triggered a trap." I said. "You are dead now."
They pushed themselves up and kept going. I set a few traps ahead, non-lethal ones, ones designed to capture and hold. The elder brother fell into a small pit, just high enough that he couldn't climb out on his own. The younger brother immediately helped him out.
"Excellent instinct." I said. "Your survival in a dungeon depends on your capacity to cooperate and protect one another."
I directed a Kobold toward their direction. They weren't mindless, certainly intelligent, but utterly incapable of being removed from the dungeon, even if I tried. Severing them simply killed them, returning their mind and soul to the core.
I told him there were intruders who were after our shinies, he immediately attacked.
They were cognizant of what this dungeon was meant to be, a home for myself, and a place to train Adventurers. They understood this intellectually, but they were fanatical when it came to protecting what the dungeon produced.
Even I still got a little grumpy, seeing Humans grabbing my treasures. Generally, the angrier I was by the end of the run, the better their grade.
The Kobold attacked with a dagger. Their duty was to incapacitate and imprison Humans so that they became Kobolds. I let the Humans out, of course, unless they were too far gone by that point, at which point I simply gave them the choice of staying or leaving.
Most people were surprised they elected to leave, though they always came back after they were severed.
The elder brother kicked the Kobold, knocking him down and making him drop the dagger. I watched, and shook my head when they ran.
The Kobold pushed himself up, scooped up his dagger, and went into a side tunnel, moving through the walls and catching up to them. He ambushed them, leaping from the inside of a wall and tackling the younger brother, dagger already jabbing into his side.
The elder brother immediately moved to protect his sibling, and this time, he didn't hesitate to kill.
"The Kobold you just killed is the same one you left alive." I said, the elder brother tensed, horrified. "Understand, you cannot assume you will outrun an enemy, your brother's blood is on your hands, he has paid for your choice."
It was brutal, but it was an important lesson.
I moved a chest and a mimic near them. The mimic was a mindless construct, set to devour or entrap.
The elder brother helped his sibling stand, removing the dagger.
"Congratulations, you have now ensured his stab wound is bleeding freely, in any other dungeon, without any form of healing, this would be a death sentence. Do not remove daggers until you can treat the wound."
He began to panic, looking for anything that would save his brother, likely forgetting I wasn't going to kill them. He spotted the chest and the mimic and rushed over to them. I set up some non-lethal traps, to remind him not to hurry. I even had one resemble a mimic opening up to capture him.
He triggered them all, but managed to avoid getting hit. He hesitated at the chest and mimic.
He took off one of his boots, letting out a sharp cry of shock as he saw his little toe had transformed. He gingerly touched it, the dungeon Core fed him pleasant sensations to make him want to stay.
Particularly weak-willed Humans would find themselves enjoying the sensations, not realizing that they were becoming monsters, until it was too late.
He pulled his hand back, still unsettled, and threw the boot.
The mimic triggered instantly, grasping at the air in front of it before resetting, taking the boot with it. He took the other boot off, letting out a cry of distress as he saw all of the toes on that foot had already transformed. He threw the boot at the other chest, determined it was safe, and opened it.
The trap struck him in the torso, flinging him backward.
"Remember, your brother is currently sitting on the floor, bleeding, an easy target for the Kobold who's heading in your direction." I said. That was a flat-out lie, but it got him moving. He checked the chest, took out a red potion, and ran for his brother.
He gave the potion to him, the wound sealed shut.
"I'm not evil." I said. "I ensured you would have a means of healing your brother. At the same time, never drink a potion you cannot identify. That could have just as easily been a potion of transformation, or even poison."
"What's a potion of transformation do?" He asked.
"Costs you an hour." I replied. "Outside of a dungeon, it just flat out turns you into a monster. One with memories intact, mind you, but a monster nonetheless."
His brother healed, he led him carefully to the chest and they grabbed the armor within. It was piecemeal, a single pauldron, a breastplate, and a ring.
The younger brother got the breastplate, which shrunk to fit him, the brother wore the pauldron, and picked up the ring. This was a Ring of Binding, it accelerated the process of transformation, it is a cursed item.
I sensed someone entering my dungeon, it was the Guild Master. I teleported him to me. An old man, he was one of the strongest men in the Guild, and that was only because old age had worn him down.
"Prospective members?" He asked.
"Yes, sir." I replied. The older brother stowed the ring in his pocket. "Good instinct, never wear unidentified magic items." They continued, the elder brother removing his ruined socks and going barefoot. They slowed down, started paying attention to their surroundings.
"Do you expect them to survive this?" He asked.
"I do not interfere, Guild Master." I said. "Unless I absolutely have to or it's necessary to teach them a lesson." I looked at him. "The younger brother will absolutely make it out fine, the elder brother might, if he doesn't put on that ring. The moment he puts it on, he would have to run and avoid every threat between him and the exit."
The Guild Master nodded. "I expect-"
That was when the younger brother collapsed.
Dungeonrunning is extremely dangerous, even in this 'tame' one, death was possible.
The younger brother was still alive, but he had certainly fallen unconscious.
"No! Not now!" The elder brother shouted.
"What condition is the younger in?" The Guild Master asked, concerned. I reached out and felt his energy, his soul.
"He has a condition that causes him to faint." I replied. "One that is treatable with medicine, and expensive magic." I shook my head. "He should not have brought his brother with him, now he has dead weight he has to protect.
"Hey! Kobold! Can you help me?" The elder brother asked.
"No." I said. "Interference is not permitted by Guild regulation unless absolutely necessary. Your brother is not dying, he is not in any present danger of death. However, he is along the same level of change as you."
The brother looked desperate. "If I have to rescue him, he will be considered unfit for the job. Indeed, his condition may be serious enough that we could not- in good conscience- put him in anything but a clerical position."
Now, the question remained if the brother was sensible, or stupid.
Given that he almost immediately chose to lift him up and carry him on his back, stupid was the answer.
"A shame." The Guild Master remarked.
I moved some Kobolds in their path, the Guild Master raised his brow. "Are you intentionally sabotaging his progress?" He asked in mock offense.
"It's only sabotage if you intend for them not to succeed." I said. "If he's willing to risk his brother's safety instead of forfeiting his brother's chances of joining the Guild, then he will have to live with the consequences of his actions."
The Kobolds set up an ambush, creating a noticeable fake trap that the elder brother would have to walk around to avoid. To their utter shock, as well as mine, he just ran across it.
"Did he intuit the trap was fake, or was he just that bullheaded?" I asked as the Kobolds moved to intercept. They got ahead of him, prepared an ambush, and the moment he was close, they jumped out, punching and kicking him and cackling with glee.
"I still find it disturbing how monsters delight in Human suffering." The Guild Master remarked.
"Quiet, this is the best part." I said. They tied the elder brother up and dragged the unconscious younger brother into a panel. He screamed out a name. "Daniel!"
"I'm giving him half an hour before I fail him." I said. "That should be enough time to determine his competence."
The elder brother, legs bound together, arms behind his back, began to desperately inch away from where he'd been put, toward the dagger that he had dropped. I nodded approvingly, that was a sensible plan. But then he inched past
it and deliberately triggered a trap.
I gaped in absolute shock as the trap sliced cleanly through the ropes, barely missing his wrists. He then got up, grabbed the dagger, and freed himself.
"Resourceful lad." The Guild Master remarked. "Yet his brother has been abducted."
The brother went toward the wall they'd taken Daniel, who was already halfway across the dungeon and heading straight for the holding cells. One of them requested to grab a Transformation Potion to speed things up.
"Reserve that for later." I said. "I want to see how the elder brother handles this."
The brother in question gave up, and began searching around desperately for something. There was a chest nearby with a proper sword and more armor, even a non-cursed magic item and a scroll. He kept searching, keeping his hand along the right wall, until he found it.
"He has an uncanny sense of what he's doing." The Guild Master remarked. "He might be an untrained time mage."
"That would explain the bravado with the fake trap and the willingness to push forward. He might not even be aware of why he's doing what he's doing." I remarked. He threw one of his ruined socks at the chest- "He still had those!?" I yapped- and proceeded to dig through its contents.
By now, his feet were fully Kobold, with his legs beginning to accommodate. He would be off balance for a while.
"Greaves, bracers, a standard short-sword, a werewolf's skin, and a scroll." The Guild Master remarked. "Not a bad find for a dungeon of this caliber."
Werewolf skin was a fun item that turned the wearer into a monster. The effect was effectively the same as being in a newly formed dungeon, and was meant to bring about some diversity to to the monster population.
It was also one of the few ways a monster could return to Human form, if it merged with them.
"Ragnar is a Werewolf, isn't he?" I asked.
"Aye, he is. He's been looking for one of those for his wife."
The brother seemed to know what it was, or at least, what its properties were, and tossed it back into the chest, that's when he pulled out the cursed ring.
"He's going to be sorely disappointed." The Guild Master remarked. "That's a Ring of Binding if I've ever seen one."
The scroll burst into flames, and he looked at the ring, wincing as his mind was filled with knowledge he didn't have before. He stared at the ring in his hand, clearly disappointed by the fact that it was utterly-
"Did he just put it on!?" The Guild Master sputtered. He was right, the brother had put the ring on and was beginning to transform faster. He then opened the wall panel and began following along the path the Kobolds had gone.
"Pull him out." The Guild Master commanded. "You've engineered a desperate situation, and we can clearly see he's not capable of rational thought in such instances."
"No." I said. "Look." The brother was stepping out of the walls, grabbing gear and other items, before going back in. "Kobolds are innately good at dungeoneering. Even in a foreign dungeon, we can figure out where we are in relation to everything else. But in your native one, especially one that's actively claiming you..."
"He's deliberately doing what he can to salvage the situation." The Guild Master remarked. "How much time does he have left?"
"Approximately one hour before the transformation is irreversible, so thirty minutes with the Ring of Binding on." I ran the time in my head. "Even if he manages to rescue his brother in time and gather enough gear for the both of them, by the time we could remove the ring, he would already be a Kobold."
The brother got as much armor on as he could, continued making his way to the holding cells, where Daniel was already bound, the transformation proceeding just as slowly as normal.
His eyes opened, he shifted around on the table, unable to get out.
That's when he began to grow fur.
"He's a Werewolf." I said numbly.
"If his brother doesn't get him out, he'll be a Kobold Werewolf." The Guild Master remarked. "Those are technically among the more powerful of the moderately dangerous monsters, all of the strengths of a Werewolf, plus the innate understanding of a dungeon? Terrifying creatures."
"Don't give me ideas." I said. "Ragnar needs a gift for his wife still, right?"
I moved the chest with the Werewolf Skin over to me and, wincing at the idea of taking it out and removing it from the dungeon, put it into my bag.
The brother was almost there, and Daniel was undergoing a transformation.
"Going unconscious suddenly is a commonality with natural born Werewolves," The Guild Master remarked. "He's still in danger of being claimed by the Dungeon, but this is something he is naturally."
The younger brother broke his restraints, and with a feral growl lunged at the Kobolds, tearing them to shreds and beginning to eat them.
"Ferality, not a good sign." I remarked. "Go get Ragnar ready, I'm on retrieval."
I teleported the Guild Master out, then the elder brother, who looked around in confusion.
"Out. Now. There is an emergency." I said. He ran out of the dungeon, and then I teleported Daniel to the entrance, where he bolted out into the Guild Hall.
I teleported over and saw Ragnar wrestling with Daniel, keeping him pinned to the ground while the older brother stared in confused horror.
"You have ten minutes before your transformation becomes irreversible." I said. He looked at me, "Nine, if you keep staring at me like that."
"What's wrong with my brother? Why is he like that?" He asked.
"Congratulations, you and your brother are natural-born Werewolves, which explains why you had such good flashes of intuition in there, and why you refused to abandon him. Eight minutes."
He held his hand out, but then brought it in, holding it against his chest.
"I don't particularly care if you want to be a Kobold- in fact, I welcome it, we need more Kobolds in this city- but if you do, and you don't want to be, then let me take the ring off."
"I... don't really want to." He said. "All I could think of when I saw the first changes was, I wanted it to go faster."
"Ah." I said. "Well, then. You were doomed from the start. Lovely. Once you're finished with that ring, we'll have it on your brother so he can finish transforming and calm down. Since you're out of the dungeon, you should be relatively safe, but for both of your sakes, we'll need to hold you for a while.
Ragnar finally got Daniel to calm down, he was whimpering, clearly experiencing pain.
"Aye, pup, let it all out." Ragnar said, gently petting his fur. "There's a good pup, inner peace, lad." Daniel started thrashing about again. "Inner peace, not outer squirm!"
"Also, yes, this does count as failing." I said to the elder brother. "However, due to the circumstances- and the fact that your brother would have doubtlessly been a mindless beast if left in there- the Guild Master will talk to you about your options after your holding period."
He nodded. His transformation finished, I clapped him on the back, took the ring, and- with Ragnar's help, got it on the Werewolf pup's finger so he could get it over with faster.
Once the two were in holding, I walked over to Ragnar, pulled out the Werewolf Skin from my bag, and held it out to him.
"You know what to do with this." I said.
He looked surprised, then nodded, taking it. "Aye, lad. I do."
I thought about what other things I needed to do. "Oh, right. I need to resurrect the Kobolds." I said, before walking into my dungeon.
It did take about a week for Daniel to finally calm down.
At first, there was some concern that the nature of his transformation had left him potentially feral, but the morning he was meant to be let out, he was in Human form
I was the one who went in, covered him with a blanket, and put some spare clothes out for him.
"Where am I?"
"A holding cell." I said.
I heard him shoot up, accompanied by a sound I was familiar with, in that his fur suddenly floofed up. "W-what happened to me!?" He howled in fear.
"You are a Werewolf." I said matter-of-factly. I looked at him, he was looking at his claws with a mixture of horror, fear, and joy. I had vague feelings of that same mixture of emotions. "More specifically, at least one of your parents was a Werewolf."
"Wait, then is Jason-?"
"He became a Kobold." I replied. "He used an item to speed up the transformation so he could rescue you. If you had maintained your sanity in that moment, I would not have interfered. But you didn't, and you are going to need training to keep yourself in check whenever you're scared or angry."
"I- see." He said.
"For what it's worth, you won't pass out anymore, so your reason for coming has ultimately resolved itself."
"What's going to happen to Jason?" He asked.
"The same thing that happened to me. He will live." I replied. "He has retained his memories, due to accepting that he was likely going to be lost, just to save you. Even though he could
have forfeited at any point like I told him."
"Aye, Kobold, is he safe?"
"Yes." I said.
The door opened, Jason stepped inside, then ran over to his brother and hugged him. "Little big brother, meet big little brother." I snarked.
They both looked at me, and then they laughed. I let them have some time together, to talk and acclimate.
After their reunion, I brought them with me to the Guild Master.
"So." He said. "You have a few options. One, we tattoo dungeon protections on you and have you sign on to helping clearing out dungeons, or two, we let you go, except you return every week so Ragnar can train you to keep yourself under control."
"Dungeon protections?" Jason asked.
I nodded. "We are monsters." I said. "Without the proper protections, a new dungeon can claim you, making you a part of its system." I looked at them both. "I don't think it need said why you should refrain from going inside dungeons without it."
"What happens to those who do?" Daniel asked.
"The dungeon claims them." I said. "They lose their memories of their past life, becoming convinced they always lived in it. They become trapped inside, forever."
They both looked at each other, then looked at us. "We, uh..." Daniel started.
"We actually wanted to go back." Jason replied.
"You want to be claimed by the dungeon." The Guild Master said.
"When I was looking for my brother, all I could think of was how much I liked being there." Jason replied. "That's honestly why I put on the ring."
"And I'm not leaving my brother alone." Daniel said. "We've only had each other our entire lives."
I nodded. "As the master of the dungeon, I will approve this." I said. "Any arguments against, Guild Master?"
He sighed. "Just go." He said.
With the brothers close behind me, I led them to the dungeon entrance. "Understand, by doing this, you are consigning yourself to protecting what is effectively a practice dungeon." I said. "You will be killed and brought back."
Jason nodded. "I know."
He opened the door, and they walked in.
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2023.05.28 03:52 old_lump_of_coal How should I follow up and protect my accounts after a sketchy bank experience?
I went to a Chase bank after moving to the Bay Area to learn about opening a new checking and savings account since the bank I currently use is a small bank from my hometown (far away). The “relationship banker” walked me into his cubicle where I sat across from him at his desk.. He asked if I already had an account, I replied yes a credit card.. He asked for my credit card and drivers license.. which I handed over. He looked up my account and mentioned there were some offers to start a new account if I set up direct deposit etc… there was another offer for an additional 200 if I kept a balance greater than 15k. He asked what I planned to keep as an average daily balance in my savings+checking and I replied around 60K. We talked about the savings account interest rates and CD rates etc… i realized to open the accounts and add that balance, I would need to wire money which wasn’t possible until a weekday.
I then communicated that I wanted to hold off opening an account until a weekday due to my hometown bank being closed..
I promised to come back later in the week and asked him to print out the details of the CDs and checking/savings account terms and offers for me to read in the meantime… at this point, my license and credit card were sitting on the desk in front of him..
he then proceeded to pick up both my license and credit card from the desk and walk to the back room presumably where the printer is located, looking over his shoulder a little as he walked… I thought it was odd to take my card and ID but didn’t speak up in time to stop him..
he was gone for at least 5 minutes and then came back with the printed papers and my card and license in hand.
I asked him if the documents had anything to do with my license or card.. he said no, and that he just brought them with him but didn’t offer an explanation while looking a little embarrassed… I was in shock about this answer because it didn’t make sense and confirmed my fear that it was unnecessary to bring my stuff to the back room. At that time, I didn’t ask the obvious follow up question being, “why did you take them then?”…
I left with the documents and got nervous about what he could have done in the backroom.. my fear is that he took a photo of the front and back of both my license and credit card because he had absolutely no reason to bring them..
This experience was very strange, and unnerving since he is an employee at one of my banks… I mean, a random hacker would have a tough time piecing together all my personal info, but a bank employee can view everything including SSN, address, zip code, birthdate.. with a picture of my license, he can probably do worse…
What is my risk? And what are some recommendations for how to deal with this situation? The bank is closed until Tuesday.. what should I do when the bank opens?
What should I do in the mean time?? I need to use the card this weekend since I don’t actually use a debit card or cash.
TL;DR A bank employee took my license and credit card to the back room for 5 minutes, despite having no business purpose for taking them out of my sight and admitted there was no reason. This was after telling him I was planning to transfer a sizable amount of money.. what do I do?
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