Mucinex freefrom cold and stuffy nose

Gotta love it

2023.06.02 20:58 LibraOnTheCusp Gotta love it

Short vent ahead.
SD10 has a birthday next week and she’s with us this weekend.
She gave DH a list of gift ideas and one of the items was a comforter for her room here. Weird, right?
Turns out that she told HCBM that she is always “freezing cold” in her bed at night here.
She has NEVER said a peep to either DH or me about this issue.
But complains to HCBM about it which makes us look like great people. 🙄
Love when kids play one house against the other. Ugh.
I wonder if she ever told HCBM how she picked her nose and smeared her snot down the wall of her bedroom here. Bet not.
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2023.06.02 20:31 figgypie Any other Wisconsinites been coughing and wheezing all week due to the wildfire smoke blowing down here?

There have been some out of control wildfire up in Canada for a while now, and all week the winds have been perfect for blowing the smoke down to central and south eastern WI. Normally stuff like this doesn't bother me but holy cow, I'm starting to wonder if I have developed bronchitis, it's gotten so bad. It's like there's glue in my lungs, not to mention my nose keeps getting stuffy and just feeling bleh.
Apparently it's supposed to be better starting tomorrow, but I'm wondering if that's the culprit or I'm just lucky lol. I just wanna sleeeeeeep.
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2023.06.02 20:06 OnePoet6601 My cat has a stuffy nose

My 3yr old neutered male rescue cat (domestic medium hair) 4kg has had a stuffy nose for the past 4 days - i noticed this because he was making slight noises when he inhaled sometimes. He’s now periodically snoring throughout the night, and I haven’t noticed this before. Am I being overly cautious or does this warrant a visit to the vet? I’m in AUS and his only medical condition is a back deformity that has not caused him any issues so far.
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2023.06.02 20:00 smookiesmoothie Six Solstice Scents First Impressions

I've been meaning to try Solstice Scents for awhile, so I recently jumped on the opportunity to pick up a sample pack during their spring re-opening. Although Solstice Scents provided multiple warnings that shipping times were going to be longer than usual due to order volume, I received my samples in about a week.
It may be helpful to know that I generally like: white amber, white musks, sandalwood, citrus, berries, other fruits, herbs, lush florals and greenery, ambergris accords, oakmoss, vanilla, spices, and tea. And I tend to dislike: honey, jasmine, rose, patchouli, violet, incense, tobacco, leather, and most alcohols.
All scents are oil perfumes tested once after resting for at least five days.
Iced Wisteria - Wisteria Ice Cream, Waffle Cone, Tahitian Vanilla, Sugar Cone, Lilac Infused Sugar
This is the scent that pushed me to make this purchase. I wanted Iced Wisteria to be like Arcana's Apples Crave Leafy Seadragons, which to my nose is a creamy jasmine ice cream, just swapping wisteria in place of jasmine. Sadly, what I get is damp (in a musty, not refreshing way) florals with no detectable trace of waffle or sugar cone. I'll let it rest some more and revisit in a couple of weeks but my hopes are not high. 1/5
Mountain Vanilla - Sweet Clover, Coumarin, Vanilla Musk, Fresh Green Accord, Poplar Buds, Morning Dew
Opens pretty medicinal, dries down to an earthy green vanilla. To me, this is the fraternal twin of Poesie's Villa Diodati and the younger sibling of Possets' Bar Sinister. Mountain Vanilla is well-blended and pretty but I'm not sure I'd reach for it often. 3.5/5
Chiffon - Vanilla, White Musk, White Amber & Lemon Myrtle
Vanilla, white musk, and white amber should make this a safe love for me. However, I think the lemon myrtle (which I'm not familiar with) turns Chiffon into pure bubblegum on me? Also faded fairly quickly compared to the other samples tested here. I will also revisit this one after more rest. 1/5
Chantilly Cream - Fluffy Whipped Cream, Peach Nectar, Vanilla & Yellow Mandarin
Delivers on the creamy fruitiness the notes promise. It's a good inoffensive summer gourmand and I will probably use it up in the next couple of months. 4/5.
Manor - Woody-Vanilla Musk, Vanilla, Agarwood (Oud), Sandalwood
Manor deserves all of the rave reviews I've seen imo. I smell a rich, somewhat spicy wood and vanilla marshmallow. Super wearable, but I think I will enjoy this more in the cooler months. Also lasted nearly all day on my wrist which is great performance for an oil. 5/5.
Snowshoe Pass - White Amber, White Musk, Vanilla Accord, Peppermint Cream, Cold Winds
Yep, that sure is a cool white amber. The mint stays in the background of this fragrance but it is there if you look for it. Like Chiffon, it faded fairly quickly. Nonetheless, I will keep for the winter months. 3.5/5.
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2023.06.02 19:57 MatgamarraAlt3 Lunar Transient Phenomena

///11th of June, 2006
“Dad, the moon!” I shouted as I entered the garage. My father was on the floor, under his Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, obsessively removing and re-installing pieces of the car like he always did. He quickly got up, a smile on his grease-stained face.
“Finally!” He said with his beer-breath, grabbing a towel and cleaning most of his face, before running outside as fast as he could. I followed him. I don’t know why I always liked these moments. Any child would find them terribly boring. But I always reveled on them. Maybe it’s because they were the only moments he smiled. He positioned his telescope on our front yard, adjusted the lens, drank a beer can and started looking at the full moon above us.
“Do you see it?” I asked, sitting on the grass next to him.
“Shut up.” He said, still looking. After half an hour of waiting, he started laughing. I opened my mouth to ask if he was seeing it, but I held my voice. Didn’t want to anger him.
“It’s blinking! It’s blinking Johnathan!” He laughed. I smiled. That wasn’t my name, though he called me that. Only several years later I would learn that was the name of his deceased younger brother. Every full moon, we would come look at it with the telescope. And he’d always call me Johnathan. Probably because he was always so drunk. But from always avoiding me or calling me “Brat”, Johnathan was a nice shift.
“Can I see?” I asked, and he lowered the tripod so I could see the moon. There was a small light blinking on it’s surface. It was truly beautiful.
“Fine, my turn again.” My father shoved me back, adjusted the tripod back, and started looking at it again. “It’s blinking so much tonight… Maybe… Brat, get my camera!” He shouted at me. I quickly went inside the house, and looked around for the camera in the living room. There it was, on a little pile of beer cans and empty rythmol boxes in the corner of the room. I hurried back outside, as fast as I could, as I did not want to anger my father.
I stopped on my tracks as soon as I was out of the house. There was a strange being involving my father. It looked like a snake, but I knew it was anything but a snake. There were not snakes that big where I lived. And certainly not with human faces. My father seemed oblivious to it, looking through his telescope, but the thing was all around him, from the bottom of his legs all the way to the top of his head.
“It’s blinking so much…” He said, in awe. The creature looked at me, locking eyes with me, and smiled, revealing several sets of sharp fangs. And then, it disappeared. My father looked at me, he was sweating. “I think… I need to lay down for a bit…” He muttered, before falling on the grass. I spent the entire night trying to wake him up, before my mother found me there crying the following day.
///09th of November 2021
“And that’s why you decided to study astronomy? Really?” Melissa laughed.
“Oh, come on, babe… Don’t make fun of my tragic past.” I said, finishing my waffles. She went to the fridges, grabbed the orange juice, and poured some in our cups.
“Shall we toast?” She asked.
“With orange juice? And what for?”
“Your impending graduation. What else?”
“Impending? Ha! I didn’t even start my capstone thesis.”
“So, what will it be about? Venus, right? Or was it Mars?”
“Nope. Too many people I know will already be working on planets like Venus and Mars. I thought about Neptune, but it’s too far away. So I figured, why not the Moon?”
“Please, don’t tell me this is about your father.”
“Mel, he wasn’t the best dad in the world. But he did left me his collection of vintage cars. This is what paid for my education.”
“He didn’t left it to you, it was divided between you and your mother.”
“Regardless, I feel like I owe him this. Apart from the cars, the moon was the only thing he loved.”
“You owe him nothing, Ezra.”
“I need to know what the blinking lights are! Lunar transient phenomena, it’s how they call them. There’s no scientific explanation to what they are.”
“Just because there’s no known scientific explanation, it doesn’t mean one does not exist. And if there’s one, it’s certainly not creepy snake-man” She laughed.
///04th of September, 2022
The first thing you feel when you start seriously investigating the moon is how mysterious it is. We only went there a handful of times, and then never again. All reasons are given for this, but it never really felt right to me. Maybe what happened to my father always made me feel paranoid about the subject, but I somehow felt there were things about the moon that were hiding on plain sight.
The focus of my research, the lunar transient phenomena, is incredibly unknown. Few studies were done about it, and most of them were never published or were abandoned. The few that were made available were either from little-known universities in third-world countries, in languages that I couldn’t understand and without English translation, or mere compilations of recorded occurrences. I found some theories. The lights were caused by magnetism, or by gasses, or by asteroids, perspective…
But mere hypothesis were not enough for me. I needed to know. I needed to understand. I needed… I needed to confirm it weren’t those lights who killed my father that day.
So, I delved deep into the research. I spent weeks in my bedroom, reading books and more books, entering all sorts of websites, sending emails to experts, looking for anything that could give me more information. But through all my effort, the only thing I could find were theories or hypothesis, all of them with little to no evidence. In my search for answers, I started straying further away from modern science, entering strange websites and reading books that talked about blatant pseudoscience, like astrology or the paranormal.
///17th of February, 2022
“So, what books will you be basing your capstone on?” My orienting professor asked. I could not see his face properly, we were talking through a videocall and he was not very tech savvy, so his eyes and nose were out of the frame.
“Chris, I can only see your mouth!” I laughed.
“Sorry…” He said, adjusting his camera. The framing was not perfect yet, but it was better. "Have you read the books I sent you?"
"They... They were not what I was looking for."
"What were you looking for, Ezra?"
"I told you. Answers. I have been looking for answers, yet I only find questions."
"We will only be able to find real answers when we actually set a lab on the moon. Until then, we will have to live with merely hypothesizing."
"I know, but..."
"Have you tried reading Kulikovsky?Or Hakan Kayal? Non-american studies in general."
"Yes, professor Chris. But... All studies seem to contradict themselves. Some point to studies that I can’t find anywhere, like they don’t exist anymore. Like they were erased by someone…”
“Some texts were never made digital or registered. It’s very unfortunate.”
“Everyone tries to find a logical explanation... What if there isn't one?"
"What is this truly about?"
"What?"
"It's just... You do know you can change your capstone thesis theme, right? Maybe an analysis of something more well-known could work better with your methodology."
"Chris, I will not change my mind. We have discussed this before."
"Well, well... I talked to one of my former colleagues, he is retired now, who also studied the moon, but his research was more focused on gravity. He told me there's a book called "A Study of the Moon with a New Lens" or something like that. Written by one Dr. Karl Hollfern in 1935."
"That is way before LTP was even catalogued."
"Catalogued, yes. Recorded? No. Hollfern studied extensevely the lunar mysteries. Unfortunately, he was executed by the Nazis because he opposed them. But his research lived on. My friend told me they have one of his books in the library. But it's in German."
///18th of February, 2022
I entered the library carrying a bag full of German grammar books and a dictionary. I would not let a little language barrier stop me from getting to the truth.
“Hello, how can I help you?” The librarian asked, barely averting her eyes from her cellphone.
“I’m actually looking for a book that could either be in the astronomy section or in the foreign titles section… Can you help me?”
“Which book?” She was still looking at her phone, seemingly playing one of those generic casual mobile games.
“It’s in German. Old, from the 1930s. Talks about studies of the moon made at the time.”
“Unusual request, but ok…” She put her phone on the counter, and started typing on the computer. “Can’t find it. Do you have the author’s name?”
“Karl Hollfern.”
“Uncanny. It’s unlisted.”
“What?”
“We have it in the library, but it’s not available. We usually do this when books are being cleaned. Usually takes a couple of days… It says it won’t be listed until… Until 2100?
“What? How does this makes sense?”
“I don’t know. I’ve been working here for sixteen years, and have never seen something like this. Regardless, I can’t lend you the book. I can’t even let you access it in library grounds.”
///23rd of February, 2022
I was drinking my Starbucks cappuccino while trying to make myself comfortable on the shopping mall bench, to no avail. I was tense. I had never involved myself with something like this. If my mother or girlfriend knew, they would kill me. An older man made his way out of the crowd and patiently sat down next to me.
“You were supposed to be sitting on the bench next to Nike. But no problem.” He laughed.
“Sorry. I got confused…” I facepalmed.
“I got the book you asked me too. But the price is going to be different in your case.”
“As in more expensive?”
“No. Normally, I charge twenty five grand, or double If the job is hard. In your case, the job was ridiculously easy. I will be charging five grand only.”
“Thanks! I’m transferring to your account right now…” I said as I typed on my phone.
“The book is in your car.”
“How did you… Oh, of course.”
“Pleasure doing business with you.” He got up and left. I immediately went to my car. There it was, Eine Untersuchung des Mondes mit einer neuen Linse.
///28th of February, 2022
“Honey, are you still awake?” Melissa asked me. I was sitting on a pillow in the corner of the room, aggressively doing more and more Duolingo lessons.
“I’m busy, Mel.” I said, without averting my eyes from the green owl.
“Is this about that German book you have been taking everywhere?”
“No…” I blatantly lied.
“Honey, you’ve been up all night. It’s ten to six.”
“What?”
“You are obsessed with this shit, Ezra! Look at you! This is the third time I find you here studying German instead of sleeping!”
“I’m sorry, but you do know I have a capstone thesis to finish, don’t you?!” I screamed back at her.
“Oh. So this is what’s all about, right?”
“Babe, it’s not like that…” Before I could say anything, she stormed out of the apartment. I stood there, frozen, for a minute or two, before I went back to my Duolingo.
///3rd of March, 2022
“Hello Ezra” Chris said, as I adjusted my camera. As usual, I couldn’t see his face properly.
“Good evening, professor Chris.”
“Ezra, are you okay? You look tired.”
“I’m fine.” I said vehemently.
“Ezra… I… I have bad news for you.” When he said that, I felt like a hand was smashing my heart. “The university has rejected your intended theme.”
“W-what?”
“You’ll have to pick something else. I’m sorry.”
“What? Why?!”
“Apparently there’s information about Lunar Transient Phenomena that is undisclosed to the general public. The feds were here yesterday, talked with the dean about it. Said that researching the LTP was considered meddling in national security affairs, and that all projects focusing on it were to be halted.”
“Bullshit!”
“I’m sorry. I know how much time you have already invested in this. But we’ll find something else, Ezra. There are more lunar mys…” I interrupted him.
“Why is it so hard to research a simple lunar phenomena?! Every time I advance, everyone tries to block me! They will not stop me from uncovering what happened to my father!” I slammed the table.
“What?”
“This will not stop me.” I muttered, while ending the videocall.
///8th of March, 2022
After some turbulent days, I was finally making progress again. My knowledge of German wasn’t great, but knowing basic grammar, using online dictionaries, and with a little help from online German studying communities, I was making my way through the book.
The book was almost a century old, yet I felt like I was finally making progress. The research by Hollfern was fascinating, but disturbing. He described how the “blinking moonlights” if watched carefully, could be interpreted as having meaning. My German was advancing but far from perfect, so I didn’t have the exact translation, but it said something about the moon speaking in some sort of secret code using the lights.
It also referenced some books, most of which seemed to not exist anymore, but some of them not only existed, I also managed to download their scanned PDFs. It was pretty unorthodox for a scientific study. There was a book on symbols and sigils of different religions, a compilation of theological texts about Gnosticism, a book compiling works by Schopenhauer, and a Hindi scroll explaining Chakras.
I didn’t understood yet how everything connected. Seemed like a strange collection of unrelated weirdness.
///10th of March, 2022
I stumbled upon something I had previously overlooked. There’s an work by Schopenhauer where he discuss reading the Upanishads, which are old Hindi texts. The Hindi text I had downloaded was translated to English, but what if I looked for the original? Maybe there was something I wasn’t shown.
The original had a section that was censored in the English version that talked about a Devas that was corrupted by an evil unknown entity called that attached on it’s solar plexus and made it miserable with overwhelming sadness and pain. A thing described as a floating jester.
///13th of March, 2022
The phone in the living room started ringing. I left it there, unwilling to stop reading the book and trying to translate the contents. The call went to voicemail, and then I heard the caller recording it:
“Hey Ezra, I know you’re going through a bad time, but as your orienting professor, I care for you. You didn't show up for any of your tests. I know you seem to be focused on your research, but this isn't the-" I unplugged the damn thing.
///16th of March, 2022
I got evicted after not paying my rent. Or I was supposed to be at least. I picked up my research stuff and rented a cheap motel room on the outskirts of my town. I could not pay for the rent, and least not for now, I spent most of my money buying books and old magazines during the last weeks. I don’t need a place to call mine for now. I just need to find the truth.
I know the government will come after me. I’m coming too close. But if they want me to stop, they will have to kill me. I’ve already lost everything. This investigation is all I have left.
///18th of March, 2022
There's an old website that I found while researching. A true relic, seems to be from the early 90s. It contains old conspiracies theories, like stuff about the Illuminati and New Age, Satanic Panic, how Ronald Reagan was actually replaced, among other things. But there was something among the insanity that I felt was the last thing missing in my investigation. The true reason why we never returned to the Moon and why the Soviets never even attempted landing on it.
According to that website, during the last moon expedition, in December of 1972, the astronauts were secretly instructed to find out what was causing the Lunar Transient Phenomena, and spent three days on the Taurus-Littrow Valley, the region where the phenomena was more frequent on the previous five years. They were carrying a seismometer, as the most influential theory at the time was that the LTP was being caused by moonquakes cracking the surface of the natural satellite and releasing gasses.
But what the seismometer detected was that there were no such thing as moonquakes. Their equipments revealed humongous structures, seemingly biological or mechanical, moving under the moon surface.
One day before they left, NASA detected an instance of LTP a few kilometers near where they were stationed, so the astronauts went there to check. What they found there was never disclosed, but some theorize they met one of the beings responsible for causing the blinking lights. And that was the reason humanity abandoned all expeditions to the moon. After five missions in three years, we never returned there.
///20th of March, 2022
I woke up feeling like my head was spinning. I was lying on the sofa of my motel room. Once again, I had spent the entire previous night and day reading texts cited by Dr. Hollfern. My tablet was out of battery, so I got up, feeling pain all over my body, and went looking for my charger. It took me a couple of minutes to notice the two men wearing dark suits, black ties and dark sunglasses sitting on my sofa. One of them had a silenced pistol on his hand.
“Good afternoon, Ezra Thornbridge.” The one holding the firearm said, with a voice so ordinary it was scary.
“W-what?!” I blurted, still trying to overcome the pain.
“Oh, don’t mind us. We are just here to recover something.” The other man said, smiling.
“Something that isn’t yours, yet you’re in possession of.” The man with the gun complemented.
“I… Who are you?” I asked.
“Right now, I’m the man pointing the gun at you.” The man with the weapon said, while his partner just shrugged.
“Fine, I’ll return your damn book. But I already know about it. I already put the pieces together."
"Oh, interesting. What do you think you know, Thornbridge?" One of them mocked.
"The Solar Plexus Clown Glider. I have studied them in depth. Or do you prefer to call them like the Gnostic theologians called them back in the day? Archons…
“Look what we have here, Spencer. Like father like son.” The guy with the gun scoffed.
“I told you we should have just doped him and looked for the damn book while he slept. He is totally gone.” Spencer said.
“I’m not crazy! The Archons are real! They killed my father! They kill people! And you, instead of trying to protect the people, just hide their existence, just lie, just lie and lie and lie!”
“How can you be so smart yet so stupid?” The guy with the gun said.
“The Archons don’t kill people, Ezra. They just make you miserable and drown you in fear and pain.” Spencer said.
“But I saw one kill my father.”
“Your father died of chronic ventricular arrhythmia coupled with excessive alcohol ingestion. The thing you saw was merely an emotional parasite, feeding off his negative emotions and influencing him to indulge on them.” Spencer said.
“Does this mean…”
“Yes. It also infected you that day. That’s why you saw it. It’s been with you ever since. The more you learn about it, the more you dread, the more you obsess, the more you lose… You were feeding it all along.” Spencer explained.
“And why do you think we tried to protect you, dumbass? If the knowledge was harmless, we wouldn’t be around breaking the law and breaking people’s necks to prevent it from spreading.” The guy with the weapon said.
“It’s not too late, Ezra. When your father was alive, there wasn’t much we could do, but now we have technology to make them go away. But it has a cost.” Spencer explained.
“What cost?”
“You will forget your father. You will forget most about the moon and astronomy. Probably the entirety of the last few months. And there are probable side effects, like sporadic short-term amnesia.” Spencer said.
“Or we can just fucking shoot you in the forehead right now to prevent the thing from infecting more people. Your choice.” The guy with the gun said. I just turned around and ran as fast as I can towards the window behind me. I jumped out of it, shattering the glass, and fell on the hard cold concrete of the parking lot. I tried to get up, my body was all cut from the glass, and I felt something warm on my back, even though it was raining.
“Are you stupid?!” I heard the guy with the gun shouting while he and the other agent descended the staircase that led to the parking lot. I finally got up, feeling cold from the rain, and tried to run, but could only limp. Yeah, jumping out of the window like I was in an 80s action movie wasn’t the best idea. I heard another click behind me, and fell to the floor. I could see the agents running towards me, smoke coming out of the gun. There seemed to be snakes around both of them, smiling witch their human faces and several sets of sharp fangs.
I looked towards the sky. Among the raining clouds, I could see the moon above me, full and blooming. Blinking. Blinking so much.
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2023.06.02 19:55 MatgamarraAlt3 Lunar Transient Phenomena

///11th of June, 2006
“Dad, the moon!” I shouted as I entered the garage. My father was on the floor, under his Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, obsessively removing and re-installing pieces of the car like he always did. He quickly got up, a smile on his grease-stained face.
“Finally!” He said with his beer-breath, grabbing a towel and cleaning most of his face, before running outside as fast as he could. I followed him. I don’t know why I always liked these moments. Any child would find them terribly boring. But I always reveled on them. Maybe it’s because they were the only moments he smiled. He positioned his telescope on our front yard, adjusted the lens, drank a beer can and started looking at the full moon above us.
“Do you see it?” I asked, sitting on the grass next to him.
“Shut up.” He said, still looking. After half an hour of waiting, he started laughing. I opened my mouth to ask if he was seeing it, but I held my voice. Didn’t want to anger him.
“It’s blinking! It’s blinking Johnathan!” He laughed. I smiled. That wasn’t my name, though he called me that. Only several years later I would learn that was the name of his deceased younger brother. Every full moon, we would come look at it with the telescope. And he’d always call me Johnathan. Probably because he was always so drunk. But from always avoiding me or calling me “Brat”, Johnathan was a nice shift.
“Can I see?” I asked, and he lowered the tripod so I could see the moon. There was a small light blinking on it’s surface. It was truly beautiful.
“Fine, my turn again.” My father shoved me back, adjusted the tripod back, and started looking at it again. “It’s blinking so much tonight… Maybe… Brat, get my camera!” He shouted at me. I quickly went inside the house, and looked around for the camera in the living room. There it was, on a little pile of beer cans and empty rythmol boxes in the corner of the room. I hurried back outside, as fast as I could, as I did not want to anger my father.
I stopped on my tracks as soon as I was out of the house. There was a strange being involving my father. It looked like a snake, but I knew it was anything but a snake. There were not snakes that big where I lived. And certainly not with human faces. My father seemed oblivious to it, looking through his telescope, but the thing was all around him, from the bottom of his legs all the way to the top of his head.
“It’s blinking so much…” He said, in awe. The creature looked at me, locking eyes with me, and smiled, revealing several sets of sharp fangs. And then, it disappeared. My father looked at me, he was sweating. “I think… I need to lay down for a bit…” He muttered, before falling on the grass. I spent the entire night trying to wake him up, before my mother found me there crying the following day.
///09th of November 2021
“And that’s why you decided to study astronomy? Really?” Melissa laughed.
“Oh, come on, babe… Don’t make fun of my tragic past.” I said, finishing my waffles. She went to the fridges, grabbed the orange juice, and poured some in our cups.
“Shall we toast?” She asked.
“With orange juice? And what for?”
“Your impending graduation. What else?”
“Impending? Ha! I didn’t even start my capstone thesis.”
“So, what will it be about? Venus, right? Or was it Mars?”
“Nope. Too many people I know will already be working on planets like Venus and Mars. I thought about Neptune, but it’s too far away. So I figured, why not the Moon?”
“Please, don’t tell me this is about your father.”
“Mel, he wasn’t the best dad in the world. But he did left me his collection of vintage cars. This is what paid for my education.”
“He didn’t left it to you, it was divided between you and your mother.”
“Regardless, I feel like I owe him this. Apart from the cars, the moon was the only thing he loved.”
“You owe him nothing, Ezra.”
“I need to know what the blinking lights are! Lunar transient phenomena, it’s how they call them. There’s no scientific explanation to what they are.”
“Just because there’s no known scientific explanation, it doesn’t mean one does not exist. And if there’s one, it’s certainly not creepy snake-man” She laughed.
///04th of September, 2022
The first thing you feel when you start seriously investigating the moon is how mysterious it is. We only went there a handful of times, and then never again. All reasons are given for this, but it never really felt right to me. Maybe what happened to my father always made me feel paranoid about the subject, but I somehow felt there were things about the moon that were hiding on plain sight.
The focus of my research, the lunar transient phenomena, is incredibly unknown. Few studies were done about it, and most of them were never published or were abandoned. The few that were made available were either from little-known universities in third-world countries, in languages that I couldn’t understand and without English translation, or mere compilations of recorded occurrences. I found some theories. The lights were caused by magnetism, or by gasses, or by asteroids, perspective…
But mere hypothesis were not enough for me. I needed to know. I needed to understand. I needed… I needed to confirm it weren’t those lights who killed my father that day.
So, I delved deep into the research. I spent weeks in my bedroom, reading books and more books, entering all sorts of websites, sending emails to experts, looking for anything that could give me more information. But through all my effort, the only thing I could find were theories or hypothesis, all of them with little to no evidence. In my search for answers, I started straying further away from modern science, entering strange websites and reading books that talked about blatant pseudoscience, like astrology or the paranormal.
///17th of February, 2022
“So, what books will you be basing your capstone on?” My orienting professor asked. I could not see his face properly, we were talking through a videocall and he was not very tech savvy, so his eyes and nose were out of the frame.
“Chris, I can only see your mouth!” I laughed.
“Sorry…” He said, adjusting his camera. The framing was not perfect yet, but it was better. "Have you read the books I sent you?"
"They... They were not what I was looking for."
"What were you looking for, Ezra?"
"I told you. Answers. I have been looking for answers, yet I only find questions."
"We will only be able to find real answers when we actually set a lab on the moon. Until then, we will have to live with merely hypothesizing."
"I know, but..."
"Have you tried reading Kulikovsky?Or Hakan Kayal? Non-american studies in general."
"Yes, professor Chris. But... All studies seem to contradict themselves. Some point to studies that I can’t find anywhere, like they don’t exist anymore. Like they were erased by someone…”
“Some texts were never made digital or registered. It’s very unfortunate.”
“Everyone tries to find a logical explanation... What if there isn't one?"
"What is this truly about?"
"What?"
"It's just... You do know you can change your capstone thesis theme, right? Maybe an analysis of something more well-known could work better with your methodology."
"Chris, I will not change my mind. We have discussed this before."
"Well, well... I talked to one of my former colleagues, he is retired now, who also studied the moon, but his research was more focused on gravity. He told me there's a book called "A Study of the Moon with a New Lens" or something like that. Written by one Dr. Karl Hollfern in 1935."
"That is way before LTP was even catalogued."
"Catalogued, yes. Recorded? No. Hollfern studied extensevely the lunar mysteries. Unfortunately, he was executed by the Nazis because he opposed them. But his research lived on. My friend told me they have one of his books in the library. But it's in German."
///18th of February, 2022
I entered the library carrying a bag full of German grammar books and a dictionary. I would not let a little language barrier stop me from getting to the truth.
“Hello, how can I help you?” The librarian asked, barely averting her eyes from her cellphone.
“I’m actually looking for a book that could either be in the astronomy section or in the foreign titles section… Can you help me?”
“Which book?” She was still looking at her phone, seemingly playing one of those generic casual mobile games.
“It’s in German. Old, from the 1930s. Talks about studies of the moon made at the time.”
“Unusual request, but ok…” She put her phone on the counter, and started typing on the computer. “Can’t find it. Do you have the author’s name?”
“Karl Hollfern.”
“Uncanny. It’s unlisted.”
“What?”
“We have it in the library, but it’s not available. We usually do this when books are being cleaned. Usually takes a couple of days… It says it won’t be listed until… Until 2100?
“What? How does this makes sense?”
“I don’t know. I’ve been working here for sixteen years, and have never seen something like this. Regardless, I can’t lend you the book. I can’t even let you access it in library grounds.”
///23rd of February, 2022
I was drinking my Starbucks cappuccino while trying to make myself comfortable on the shopping mall bench, to no avail. I was tense. I had never involved myself with something like this. If my mother or girlfriend knew, they would kill me. An older man made his way out of the crowd and patiently sat down next to me.
“You were supposed to be sitting on the bench next to Nike. But no problem.” He laughed.
“Sorry. I got confused…” I facepalmed.
“I got the book you asked me too. But the price is going to be different in your case.”
“As in more expensive?”
“No. Normally, I charge twenty five grand, or double If the job is hard. In your case, the job was ridiculously easy. I will be charging five grand only.”
“Thanks! I’m transferring to your account right now…” I said as I typed on my phone.
“The book is in your car.”
“How did you… Oh, of course.”
“Pleasure doing business with you.” He got up and left. I immediately went to my car. There it was, Eine Untersuchung des Mondes mit einer neuen Linse.
///28th of February, 2022
“Honey, are you still awake?” Melissa asked me. I was sitting on a pillow in the corner of the room, aggressively doing more and more Duolingo lessons.
“I’m busy, Mel.” I said, without averting my eyes from the green owl.
“Is this about that German book you have been taking everywhere?”
“No…” I blatantly lied.
“Honey, you’ve been up all night. It’s ten to six.”
“What?”
“You are obsessed with this shit, Ezra! Look at you! This is the third time I find you here studying German instead of sleeping!”
“I’m sorry, but you do know I have a capstone thesis to finish, don’t you?!” I screamed back at her.
“Oh. So this is what’s all about, right?”
“Babe, it’s not like that…” Before I could say anything, she stormed out of the apartment. I stood there, frozen, for a minute or two, before I went back to my Duolingo.
///3rd of March, 2022
“Hello Ezra” Chris said, as I adjusted my camera. As usual, I couldn’t see his face properly.
“Good evening, professor Chris.”
“Ezra, are you okay? You look tired.”
“I’m fine.” I said vehemently.
“Ezra… I… I have bad news for you.” When he said that, I felt like a hand was smashing my heart. “The university has rejected your intended theme.”
“W-what?”
“You’ll have to pick something else. I’m sorry.”
“What? Why?!”
“Apparently there’s information about Lunar Transient Phenomena that is undisclosed to the general public. The feds were here yesterday, talked with the dean about it. Said that researching the LTP was considered meddling in national security affairs, and that all projects focusing on it were to be halted.”
“Bullshit!”
“I’m sorry. I know how much time you have already invested in this. But we’ll find something else, Ezra. There are more lunar mys…” I interrupted him.
“Why is it so hard to research a simple lunar phenomena?! Every time I advance, everyone tries to block me! They will not stop me from uncovering what happened to my father!” I slammed the table.
“What?”
“This will not stop me.” I muttered, while ending the videocall.
///8th of March, 2022
After some turbulent days, I was finally making progress again. My knowledge of German wasn’t great, but knowing basic grammar, using online dictionaries, and with a little help from online German studying communities, I was making my way through the book.
The book was almost a century old, yet I felt like I was finally making progress. The research by Hollfern was fascinating, but disturbing. He described how the “blinking moonlights” if watched carefully, could be interpreted as having meaning. My German was advancing but far from perfect, so I didn’t have the exact translation, but it said something about the moon speaking in some sort of secret code using the lights.
It also referenced some books, most of which seemed to not exist anymore, but some of them not only existed, I also managed to download their scanned PDFs. It was pretty unorthodox for a scientific study. There was a book on symbols and sigils of different religions, a compilation of theological texts about Gnosticism, a book compiling works by Schopenhauer, and a Hindi scroll explaining Chakras.
I didn’t understood yet how everything connected. Seemed like a strange collection of unrelated weirdness.
///10th of March, 2022
I stumbled upon something I had previously overlooked. There’s an work by Schopenhauer where he discuss reading the Upanishads, which are old Hindi texts. The Hindi text I had downloaded was translated to English, but what if I looked for the original? Maybe there was something I wasn’t shown.
The original had a section that was censored in the English version that talked about a Devas that was corrupted by an evil unknown entity called that attached on it’s solar plexus and made it miserable with overwhelming sadness and pain. A thing described as a floating jester.
///13th of March, 2022
The phone in the living room started ringing. I left it there, unwilling to stop reading the book and trying to translate the contents. The call went to voicemail, and then I heard the caller recording it:
“Hey Ezra, I know you’re going through a bad time, but as your orienting professor, I care for you. You didn't show up for any of your tests. I know you seem to be focused on your research, but this isn't the-" I unplugged the damn thing.
///16th of March, 2022
I got evicted after not paying my rent. Or I was supposed to be at least. I picked up my research stuff and rented a cheap motel room on the outskirts of my town. I could not pay for the rent, and least not for now, I spent most of my money buying books and old magazines during the last weeks. I don’t need a place to call mine for now. I just need to find the truth.
I know the government will come after me. I’m coming too close. But if they want me to stop, they will have to kill me. I’ve already lost everything. This investigation is all I have left.
///18th of March, 2022
There's an old website that I found while researching. A true relic, seems to be from the early 90s. It contains old conspiracies theories, like stuff about the Illuminati and New Age, Satanic Panic, how Ronald Reagan was actually replaced, among other things. But there was something among the insanity that I felt was the last thing missing in my investigation. The true reason why we never returned to the Moon and why the Soviets never even attempted landing on it.
According to that website, during the last moon expedition, in December of 1972, the astronauts were secretly instructed to find out what was causing the Lunar Transient Phenomena, and spent three days on the Taurus-Littrow Valley, the region where the phenomena was more frequent on the previous five years. They were carrying a seismometer, as the most influential theory at the time was that the LTP was being caused by moonquakes cracking the surface of the natural satellite and releasing gasses.
But what the seismometer detected was that there were no such thing as moonquakes. Their equipments revealed humongous structures, seemingly biological or mechanical, moving under the moon surface.
One day before they left, NASA detected an instance of LTP a few kilometers near where they were stationed, so the astronauts went there to check. What they found there was never disclosed, but some theorize they met one of the beings responsible for causing the blinking lights. And that was the reason humanity abandoned all expeditions to the moon. After five missions in three years, we never returned there.
///20th of March, 2022
I woke up feeling like my head was spinning. I was lying on the sofa of my motel room. Once again, I had spent the entire previous night and day reading texts cited by Dr. Hollfern. My tablet was out of battery, so I got up, feeling pain all over my body, and went looking for my charger. It took me a couple of minutes to notice the two men wearing dark suits, black ties and dark sunglasses sitting on my sofa. One of them had a silenced pistol on his hand.
“Good afternoon, Ezra Thornbridge.” The one holding the firearm said, with a voice so ordinary it was scary.
“W-what?!” I blurted, still trying to overcome the pain.
“Oh, don’t mind us. We are just here to recover something.” The other man said, smiling.
“Something that isn’t yours, yet you’re in possession of.” The man with the gun complemented.
“I… Who are you?” I asked.
“Right now, I’m the man pointing the gun at you.” The man with the weapon said, while his partner just shrugged.
“Fine, I’ll return your damn book. But I already know about it. I already put the pieces together."
"Oh, interesting. What do you think you know, Thornbridge?" One of them mocked.
"The Solar Plexus Clown Glider. I have studied them in depth. Or do you prefer to call them like the Gnostic theologians called them back in the day? Archons…
“Look what we have here, Spencer. Like father like son.” The guy with the gun scoffed.
“I told you we should have just doped him and looked for the damn book while he slept. He is totally gone.” Spencer said.
“I’m not crazy! The Archons are real! They killed my father! They kill people! And you, instead of trying to protect the people, just hide their existence, just lie, just lie and lie and lie!”
“How can you be so smart yet so stupid?” The guy with the gun said.
“The Archons don’t kill people, Ezra. They just make you miserable and drown you in fear and pain.” Spencer said.
“But I saw one kill my father.”
“Your father died of chronic ventricular arrhythmia coupled with excessive alcohol ingestion. The thing you saw was merely an emotional parasite, feeding off his negative emotions and influencing him to indulge on them.” Spencer said.
“Does this mean…”
“Yes. It also infected you that day. That’s why you saw it. It’s been with you ever since. The more you learn about it, the more you dread, the more you obsess, the more you lose… You were feeding it all along.” Spencer explained.
“And why do you think we tried to protect you, dumbass? If the knowledge was harmless, we wouldn’t be around breaking the law and breaking people’s necks to prevent it from spreading.” The guy with the weapon said.
“It’s not too late, Ezra. When your father was alive, there wasn’t much we could do, but now we have technology to make them go away. But it has a cost.” Spencer explained.
“What cost?”
“You will forget your father. You will forget most about the moon and astronomy. Probably the entirety of the last few months. And there are probable side effects, like sporadic short-term amnesia.” Spencer said.
“Or we can just fucking shoot you in the forehead right now to prevent the thing from infecting more people. Your choice.” The guy with the gun said. I just turned around and ran as fast as I can towards the window behind me. I jumped out of it, shattering the glass, and fell on the hard cold concrete of the parking lot. I tried to get up, my body was all cut from the glass, and I felt something warm on my back, even though it was raining.
“Are you stupid?!” I heard the guy with the gun shouting while he and the other agent descended the staircase that led to the parking lot. I finally got up, feeling cold from the rain, and tried to run, but could only limp. Yeah, jumping out of the window like I was in an 80s action movie wasn’t the best idea. I heard another click behind me, and fell to the floor. I could see the agents running towards me, smoke coming out of the gun. There seemed to be snakes around both of them, smiling witch their human faces and several sets of sharp fangs.
I looked towards the sky. Among the raining clouds, I could see the moon above me, full and blooming. Blinking. Blinking so much.
submitted by MatgamarraAlt3 to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:52 katehestu Developed flu or COVID two days before my two biggest exams, final year. How to get through this

I really need to revise tonight, tomorrow and the day after but I just home from the library earlier after getting chills, bone aches, sore throat, headache, can't think straight, feeling nauseous. No runny nose or cold symptoms.
The only two times I've felt like this was with the onset of glandular fever in 2018 and with the onset of flu last November. What on earth do I do, with my LAST EVER two biggest exams for my degree on Monday and Tuesday?????
submitted by katehestu to UniUK [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:43 tulpacat1 To Kill a Predator, Chapter 22

Hi everyone.
To Kill a Predator is a work of fan fiction set in the Nature of Predators universe originally created by SpacePaladin15 whose Patreon you should subscribe to.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Depiction does not equal endorsement.
Hope you enjoy it!
[First] [Previous]
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Memory transcription subject: Jarkim, Unemployed Krakotl
Date [standardized human time]: November 30th, 2136

If they were following standard procedure, they’d be storing munitions separate from personnel and weapons. In guild offices there were hermetically sealed rooms for it, ensuring any stray fires would be snuffed out as soon as they devoured all the oxygen.
In a place like this, my bet was one of the sheds or root cellars. I had sent Russo and Mosun to handle the garage and workers’ quarters.
Of course it was possible they hadn’t got enough fuel, ammo, and explosives to prosecute their campaign. Possible, but unlikely. The attack on the shelter hadn’t been the actions of a group running on fumes.
Honestly, if I were in their position I’d hole up here too. A large farm makes sense. They’d have phosphorous, ammonium nitrate, local stores of benzene or fuel oils, ipsom grain to make into powder, even the septic tanks if you’re really desperate… there’s more ways to create fire bombs at your average farm than I can be bothered to count.
I ran the math in my head. I didn’t like the result I got: the Liberators probably had enough fire to turn every human in the district into ash several times over, and they might still have enough left over for everyone who voted for Tarva too.
I approached the first shed with Slavik. It was one of the simple above-ground ones. Unlikely target to bear fruit, in my mind, but it was the closest. “I’ll go in first. You watch out with the rifle.”
They nodded at me, grimly.
The door opened and I rushed into the darkness.

“It’ll be the fourth.”
“Why’s that?”
“Four’s a lucky number.”
“No it’s not.”
“Sure it is. If you have to count past it, you have to use a second paw.”
The first shed had been empty but for tools. The second had held spare parts for their generators. The third had led to a root cellar full of sun-dried and salted fruit, and some jars of preserves.
Lucky number four was a steel door surrounded by concrete inset into the ground, and as soon as it was wrenched open the stench of chemicals assaulted me. Even Slavik coughed with distaste, and they didn’t have a nose.
“Well Slavik, turns out you were right.”
“That… does not taste lucky.”
“It doesn’t, does it. Alright, let’s go.”
I moved in. Slavik was right behind me. We headed into the gloom, slowly waiting for our eyes to adjust. Slavik muttered a bit before turning on the light attached to their rifle. They swiveled their entire torso back and forth, eyes focused on the rifle sights.
Industrial tanks of chemicals stood like forlorn monsters in the dark, the threadbare light by the rifle’s muzzle casting ugly and stark shadows.
“Never should’ve come here.”
I froze. The voice was coming from behind me… and to the left.

There was a second Venlil, lunging out from behind one of the tanks with a breaching tool held in both paws. He struck Slavik’s gun, and I heard the weapon hit the stone floor somewhere in the dark. With a second swing he caught Slavik across the head, and they went down hard.
I lunged at him, talons grasping for purchase in the short Exterminator-cut fur of the assailant. I got a good digging grip and pulled him back, raking grooves in his shoulders in the process and sending the crowbar clattering into the shadows.
I recognized him as Vilrak, and he screamed with anger and pain and managed to strike me in the eye with his elbow. I reeled back, squawking, when his paw struck me in the stomach. Pain blossomed and spread like fire. His claws were outstretched, and dug in under the feathers and tore skin.
In response I lashed out with a talon, tearing bloody gouges in his snout. Venlil snouts are sturdy and solid bone, and I did little actual damage. It was still enough to send him back with a yelp.
We both caught our breaths, blood dripping from claw and talon alike.
Slavik was on the ground. They weren’t moving.

“Vilrak, it’s over… Stand down.”
His voice was filled with loathing. “…Jarkim. So Karta failed to get rid of you, you traitorous piece of-”
I interjected immediately. “What you’re doing here isn’t going to work.”
“Oh, but it is. We’re going to bring Venlil Prime back to sanity, and back into the Federation.”
“There’s no going back. The Interview, the humans, the proof that even the Arxur can be bargained with after they returned their Venlil cattle… The galaxy’s a different place than it was just a cycle ago.”
“So what?”
I plead with him to turn from his path. When he realized and accepted the situation, he’d do the right thing. Just like I had. “We’re going to have to learn to live in the new world. One that doesn’t need us. We believed our job was necessary… We were only acting on… On the information we had, the information we were given. But we were wrong. Listen to me, Vilrak. There’s another path here. We can reform the Exterminators. We can make it into something better, something that serves the community.”
He straightened up and lashed his tail at me, turning and walking away. One eye was locked on me the entire time. “Oh you stupid, sanctimonious fuck. You’re the only one who ever believed any of that predshit.”
I paused. “…What?”

He walked slowly. I followed, staying at a careful distance. “Being an Exterminator was the perfect job. We had respect. We had power, Jarkim! You’re the only one who didn’t seem to realize that! Oh, you useless damn joke of a Krakotl… You turned your beak and curled your talons every time you had to pull the trigger, and always made sure the PDs came in without a fight. The rest of us loved it!”
I felt sick. I had never liked Vilrak, but this was… Like Vikar, and Renak, and Luarik, and Karta, and… Not unprecedented. But hearing it put in such stark terms…
“I always hated rolling out with you, because you’re too insufferably straight-laced. The rest of the guys understood the opportunities. But not you, oh no. As soon as you get in the van the fun stops. No taking money to make PD cases go away, no letting off steam with the rods and some drunk, no sharing cuties collared in the back of the van…”
My talons itched to tear out his evil fucking throat. But more than that, I wanted to tear down the entire system I had been complicit in. I had looked the other way, made sure to not ask awkward questions I didn’t want the answers to. And that made me one link in the chain. The facilities, the prosecutors, the assessors, they were all working with the Exterminators. Everyone knew that we were the only way they’d stay safe, the firebreak between the civilians and the predators. So they let us do whatever we wanted.
“Vilrak… It’s not going to stay that way anymore. It can’t. It mustn’t. The winds are changing. If everyone’s as… sick and twisted as you, and the Exterminators can’t be reformed? Then we’ll be abolished instead.”
“That’s right, because the humans are fucking it all up! They did more for Venlilkind in one paw than we Exterminators have done since we joined the Federation, just by sharing food with the greys! And now everyone knows it!”
“Exactly. There’s no going back.”
“Yeah, well. It’s worth a shot.”
When he turned to face me again he was holding a flamethrower, the tank under one arm and the nozzle under the other. In the darkness I only realized he was firing when it spewed incendiary death in a wide arc.

I had to gracelessly take flight, leaping back and thrashing with my wings to get behind one of the chemical tanks in time. I ended up smashing into the wall for my trouble, and I felt something in my wing snap.
But seeing the burning trail where I had stood a blink of an eye beforehand, it was still a worthwhile trade-off.
Other than what little light the fires gave off, and the light from the open door, the room was dark. The flashlight on Slavik’s gun had gone out.
I slowly crept around the tank… step by step. Listening for the Venlil’s footsteps, and hearing nothing.
I heard the sound of the tank shifting nearby, and froze in place. I held my breath.
He was speaking from just a couple of wingspans away, in the dark. “You’re not the first predator I’ve had to hunt. And you’re not gonna be the last.”
There was a click as the flamethrower’s ignition line turned on.
A line of fire spewed from the muzzle, sending me scrambling for cover again. I needn’t have bothered, he wasn’t aiming at me.
With the second line of burning fuel gel, he created a ‘V’ shape against the wall. He was simply boxing me in, cutting off my escape. Standard procedure when dealing with poor-visibility terrain.
Now all he had to do was hose the enclosed area, and that would be it.
I felt panic slowly begin to flood my brain, and forced it down. I couldn’t let myself become an animal. He knew how to burn animals.

Gotta get out of here, or I’m kindling.
With only one working wing, I was rapidly running out of options. When Vilrak spewed another gout of flame, my options dwindled further. I took flight, my one wing fluttering as I twisted my body in a desperate attempt to get above the flames and the equally dangerous super-heated air right above them. I felt the oppressive heat and could imagine my feathers curl and blacken as I made my desperate lunge over the fire-wall.
My talons scraped the stone loudly upon my rough landing, and I ended up falling prone. I yelled out as I landed on my bad wing again.
Starting to rise slowly, far too slowly, I heard Vilrak whistle out a laugh from nearby. I saw his shadowed form looming out of the dark, lit from the side by the growing flames. The flamethrower’s ignition line clicking on. Faced straight at me.
There was a bright, sudden light. And a scream.

Vilrak reeled back. So did I, good wing raised in a meaningless gesture of defense. I couldn’t see anything, blinded by Slavik’s flashlight. I heard a shout. “Jarkim, get down!”
I laid myself prone on the ground without hesitation.
KRAK-Ow
Superheated plasma flew overhead, sizzling the air and filling the enclosed space with the rank stench of ozone.
The shot impacted Vilrak’s fuel tank. The ensuing breach sent burning fuel and bits of hot metal all over the cellar, and threw him back into the wall. With my head down I could do nothing but flinch and hope.
A searing lance of pain impacted my leg, making me squawk out. A glance down showed a piece of jagged metal the size of a wing feather sticking out of my thigh.
Blinking the spots out of my eyes and coughing from the smoke filling the room, I saw Slavik holding the plasma rifle. It was aimed at the prone Exterminator, who was already screaming and crawling. His legs were on fire, and looked shredded from shrapnel. The flames were eagerly eating their way up his short-cut fur, already spreading up over his back and sides. His voice was a high-pitched, babbling shriek.
All that confidence, bravado, and gleeful sadism had vanished the instant it was his turn. And I wasn’t a good enough person to not take some vindictive joy in that.
Not the flames not the flames please not the flames!! No no no nono please please not the flames!! Help meeeeee!!!
KRAK-Ow
The second shot took him in the face. I looked away sharply, not interested in seeing the results.

“C’mon, you useless lump. Move your ass before it’s cooked.” Slavik grabbed me by my good wing, dragged me out of the burning cellar like a sack of grain, and closed the door behind us.
The fire would eat through all the oxygen long before it burst any of the chemical tanks. Even so, Slavik didn’t stop dragging me until we were a good distance away and we could both collapse in a panting heap on the ground.
Slavik’s head was leaking orange blood into their wool from the hit, and an ugly lump was already forming on their head. They looked at me darkly. “…That was mercy. I’m not going to let myself become the kind of person who’d have let him burn.”
I felt jolts of pain searing through my body each time I coughed. “Khakh, Khahhk… Y-You just saved my life. You don’t have to justify yourself to me.”
They looked down at their weapon in silence for a while, before speaking so quietly that I barely heard it. “You’re not the one I’m trying to convince.”
After a long silence, I tried my arm and grimaced. My leg refused to even bend now that the adrenaline was flushing out, and I didn’t want to take the metal out in case it was sitting in an artery. I didn’t even want to know what my feathers looked like. “…Wing’s busted. L-Leg too. I’m no good like this. Khahhk… I’ll head back, you try to link up with the other team.”
Slavik shouldered the rifle, and lifted me up. “After I get you back to Hanya.”
The trek back was awkward, and slow. I was left to hop and cling to Slavik as they half-dragged me along. I hoped the other team was having more success.
---
Memory transcription subject: Martin Russo, Human Refugee
Date [standardized human time]: November 30th, 2136

I raise my hand to Mosun. Three. Two. One.
The door opens. Mosun lunges in low, I sweep in high.
Nothing greets us but silence. We sweep the ground floor of the main house slowly, room by room. I move my aim back and forth like a metronome as I seek targets. My eyes dart around from place to place. Those saccades the Venlil are so afraid of.
The place shows clear signs of being lived in. Very recently. There are still-damp dishes in the kitchen.
The living room is an even bigger tell. On the table there’s a map of the whole district, and another of the town. Addresses are circled in different colors. I might not have recognized the map so quickly, except I’ve also been studying up for my own campaign.
As we search the place it appears that nobody’s home. They seem to have removed all the signs of the original inhabitants. I see pale reverse-shadows on the wall where once hung pictures or pieces of art.
I tap Mosun’s shoulder. He looks at me, and I point up, then down, and give a shrug. Upstairs or basement first?
As Mosun considers the question, we hear a scream. I freeze stock still, and Mosun’s eyes go wide. It’s from upstairs.

I brave a soft voice. “…Is that…”
Another scream. A word carries through the drawn out, inelegant blubbering. “Mhh-aaa-aahhhahhhu-hurttii-hi-hiiinnnn!!” My blood feels ice cold, and my stomach drops out.
Jesus Christ it’s my name. She’s screaming my name.
I’m acutely aware my tongue is dry.
Another scream, this time just a shrill sound of pain.
I’m running up the stairs. My grip on the gun is so tight it hurts. For a few seconds my thoughts don’t form words, just the panicked urge to rush to my beloved friend. To help and defend her.
Upstairs there are four rooms. Two on the left, one on the right, and one in the far back. The only one that matters is the one with the noise.
I rush to the door and almost wrench it open right away, but pause.
Stay frosty.
Mosun almost runs into me in his haste to keep up.
I turn and look at him. His furious face mirrors mine. I cringe as another shout comes from the room right beside us.
He nods grimly and grabs the door handle. We both take a couple of deep, steadying breaths.
I raise my hand to Mosun. Three. Two. One.
---
Here's some fun fanart of Martin's Ghost Gun by Asclepius on the discord, thanks Asclepius!
https://imgur.com/a/zpJf1S9
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2023.06.02 19:36 4ShotBot My Roommate is Slenderman Part 25: (Revised)

Part 24: https://www.reddit.com/Viidith22/comments/13taoss/my_roommate_is_slenderman_part_24_revised/
(Terry)
It had been a day or so and I hadn’t gotten a response from Megami. There are spurts where we don’t talk, she tends to be pretty accident-prone with electronics. Sometimes the frequency she’s singing goes haywire and fries it. But it had been a good five months or so since we last spoke. Taking a shot in the dark, I called Rachel.
“What is it, Terry?” She grunted, “I’m a little busy.”
“I need to talk to Megami, but she’s been MIA since the whole ‘Maerod’ situation.” My mind shot back to what Jones had told me, to watch out for “her,” momentarily questioning whether or not Dexter’s team had been dumb enough to keep her alive.
There was a pause, the line was silent. Then, a sigh, “Actually, I’ve had the same problem. I figured she just broke another phone, or was pissed at me for… Well, I’ll keep an ear out and let you know if I hear anything. What do you need her for?” She grunted again.
“Small mission.”
“Joseph?”
“Yeah.”
The line went silent again, then an exasperated sigh, “Good luck, be sure to bring The Doctor with you. You know how you can get.”
A flush of anger pulsed through me, but I took a deep breath, “Sure.”
She shrieked, “Oh shit!” The call ended.
I thought over the list of everyone, wondering what I was gonna do. I had actually intended to have Doc and Megami be the last two after Smudge, no one else would really work. Chad wasn’t right for the type of incognito mission we were doing, Abraham wasn’t available, Rachel and Sepratine just didn’t quite mesh with what we were doing, Megami was supposed to be the last one to fill out the party. I mulled it over, but I still owed David, the huuldefolk, a favor from the Maerod raid. I would’ve called Jacob, but he was in another country doing who knows what.
My phone rang as I stood, leaning against the couch, “Jones, something wrong?”
He chuckled, “Not in the least. You got your group together?”
“We’re one short.”
“No problem, bring everyone by tonight, we need to prepare on our end, and Dexter sent us a bit of backup.” He hung up.
I called up Doc and Smudge, telling them to be at my place and ready by the time dusk rolled around. Heading to the bathroom I downed my meds, trying to shake off a weird feeling that slowly crept up on me. As if something was going to happen when we got there. It was more than just a bad feeling, but a conviction, I knew something would happen, and it made me uncomfortable. One of the pills I took was supposed to ease it, but when it got that bad, it meant my brain had already determined some kind of outcome. It’s not a superpower or anything, more like enhanced intuition. It only happens when my brain has the information to go off of. But there’s a disconnect between my conscious and subconscious, so whenever something like that happens, I just have to wait for it to come to fruition.
-----------------------------------------
Stepping into the office, I looked around, “Where’s the new guy?”
Xavier looked up, baffled at the sight. Then Jones stood, walking over to greet us, the bags under his eyes less defined, “He’s in the back getting himself something to eat. Smudge, nice to see you again, you haven’t aged a day.” Smudge chuckled at that, “You must be The famous Doctor, I want to thank you for coming. I’m sure you’re a busy man.” He outstretched his hand, but Doc just gestured between Jones and me.
“You see, that’s how you should greet me. You really ought to get a notepad out, you might learn a thing or two about how to respect your elders.”
“If I remember correctly, I’m about 2,000 years your senior. When did you start your… questionable medical practices again? 16th, 17th century?”
Doc ignored me, angrily shaking Jones’s hand, “Nice to meet you, lad! Glad to hear somebody thinks highly of me, even if it is a meager thinskin.”
“Me and my dislocated fingers thank you for that.” As he brought his hand back, Jones uncomfortably pushed his fingers back into their sockets one by one. “So, who were you planning on bringing? You said there was going to be another?”
“Right, had my sights set on a Siren, she’s pretty skilled and can be silent when the occasion arises. But I couldn’t get ahold of her.” I paused, “Actually, you’ve got your ear to the ground, you heard anything about someone named Megami? It’s been a few months since we talked, I’m kinda worried.”
Jones was a mannequin, despite trying to seem calm, his eyes flicked to Xavier before shooting back to us. He leaned against his desk, reaching for his coffee mug several times, not looking away from us, before finally grabbing it, and raising it to his mouth.
I stared hard at Xavier, a few moments later, he cracked, “Look it was a life or death sit–”
My legs tightened, I could feel the meds pushing to the side as I grew, stepping over to him in two long strides. He threw out his hearing aid, grasping his one intact ear as he held himself up with his free hand on the desk, “You killed Megami! Tell me why I shouldn’t give you the same treatment!” Something grasped my waist, then each of my legs. They were trying to push me back. When I released a tentacle to shoot Xavier through the head, I felt a prick stab into it. I fell limp, shrinking back down instantaneously.
Much calmer, I looked at my surroundings, Doc stood over me, making sure I was fine, Smudge looked between Xavier and me, wondering how he should react. Then I saw Xavier, Jones standing beside him, and on the other side of the desk, just across from us, stood the blonde buzzcut, and scarred musculature, of a Texan soldier. “Fucking Tucker.” I chuckled with disdain, “Of course.”
“Wish I had my H.O.P.S. but unfortunately it was destroyed along with the U.S.P.M. You’re one terrifying son of a bitch when I’m not in a full suit of armor, I’ll tell you what.” Looking close, I noticed he was wearing one of the older exosuits they used to wear. It was clean, but there were scuffs in the black paint job here and there.
“The U.S.P.M is just a bad fucking omen at this point.”
“Hey, we didn’t kill Jeff, and we didn’t kill Megami. So why don’tcha chill the fuck out.” Tucker crossed his arms, staring at me.
Smudge let out a jittery sigh, “You know, Jane’s death wasn’t necessarily the fault of Jeff.”
I looked at him, “Are you really going to side with the thinskins on this one?”
“Terry, behave yourself. We’re only here for Joseph’s sake. After we’re done you can go wipe out the US government. But we’re here for a reason. Doctor back me up here.”
“I’m neutral in this, I don’t care much for anyone.”
“And yet you’re here to help save Joseph.”
He sighed, “Joseph is okay I suppose. But I’m here because Terry gave me a deal on a pixie a month or so back.”
Smudge and Doc continued their back and forth as I stared at Xavier, he stood upright again, fixing the aid back into his ear, “I don’t blame you, Terry, I’d kill me too. I even did. But at least wait till this is over, yeah? I wanna slip in one last good deed if I can.” He blinked tears back as he put on a ski mask.
“When we’re done, I’ll thank you, but you better hope we never cross paths again.”
“I could say the same to you… I could.”
The air was still for a minute or so, even Doc and Smudge had stopped their bickering. “Well then.” Tucker smacked his hands together, making a metal clink, “Y’all ready to kick some shit in?”
“How long is the drive? I’ll need at least an hour to recover.”
Jones answered, “Hour and a half to two, you’ll be fine. We’ve got guns in the van, all suppressed. I had a mutual acquaintance of ours send us a care package yesterday. Regardless, I say we should all keep our blood inside our bodies.”
Tucker joined in, “Speaking of, I managed to scrounge the materials to make up some of those SIOM rounds. I left them in the van, along with the last resort.” He winked at me.
Jones nodded, “We should be good to go then, you guys oughtta join us in the van, less conspicuous.”
I nodded, “Yeah, that’d make the most sense. I’ll be taking the lead when we get there though. Which reminds me, you never sent me the schematics.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ll send them over. Are you gonna have enough time to put a plan together?”
“Yeah, I already know how we’ll follow into the building. I was thinking Tucker at first, but without his suit, he’s basically just a liability.”
He rolled his eyes, “Yeah, we’ll see about that one.”
-----------------------------
As the van slowed, Tucker pulled on his combat gloves. He was decked out in full gear that I hadn’t really noticed till we got in the van. A flexible vest that was essentially a skin-tight long-sleeve shirt, meeting his wrists. His pants were tight and were made of the same fabric as his shirt.
We came to a complete stop as he slung his rifle around, clicking off the safety on his Bizon. Doc clapped his book shut, and Smudge stood.
“Alright, everyone up, we need to get to the gun cases.” Jones had come back through a door-sized hole connecting the back of the van to the front. He’d already pulled his mask over his face, the only color that came from him was his remaining eye and parts of his lips, only revealed by small, cut strips in the fabric.
We stood, sidestepping so he could get to the guns behind the seats. One by one we filed out the back.
Xavier hopped out the back, followed by Jones who stared at Tucker for a moment, “Did you uh… Did you put a new scope on this?” He raised his PS90 which held an ACOG and a suppressor.
“Oh yeah, it’s kinda like a thermal scope. But instead of heat it picks up… well I don’t actually know. But you should be able to see anything invisible or not.” Xavier inspected his own gun, “Sorry guy, I only had enough for Jones and me. You should be fine, but just cause you don’t got a fancy scope don’t mean you can go missing your shots. Them rounds’re expensive as hell.”
“Well, let’s get going, I’ve got the map down, I know how to get there. Second floor of their basement has the data. Unfortunately, we have no idea what security looks like, so we have to be cautious if we intend to stay hidden.”
Tucker spoke, “Just to be clear, you’re upfront, Jones is behind you, then the Doctor, then Xavier with me covering our asses.”
“Smudge is behind Doc, and while I’d like to have Xavier in the back–”
Xavier rolled his eyes, “Well I’d like to have you in back.”
Tucker sighed, “Anyhow, guess it works. Maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll have a huuldefolk I can put some rounds through. Release some of this tension.” He shot his gaze between Xavier and me.
“Well let’s head out. Smudge, you’ll be able to keep the cameras down right?”
“Based on what you said about their layout I should be able to, but I won’t be able to keep us hidden from the perception of the guards once we’re inside. There are far too many electronics I need to keep down so if we run into anyone inside the building, we need to kill them and hide their bodies to avoid being caught. I can’t keep the entire building down, so I can’t stop them from setting off an alarm if we miss anyone.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem.” Tucker lifted his gun.
“Let’s hope those sights are as powerful as you say.”
Before long, we were on our way. We’d parked some distance out so as to not draw any attention. Taking the lead, the only noise I could hear was the occasional snapping of twigs as we walked through a forested area. Despite having come in contact with the exoskeleton previously, it still surprised me how stealthy Tucker could be wearing it.
Breaching the treeline, I held up my hand. Surrounded by a gravel driveway stood a three-story tall modern office-style building. Men patrolled around the lot, all wearing tactical gear. Focusing on the shadows, I could tell there were hidden guards as well, those ones were wearing light, flexible clothing and minimal if any weapons.
“Smudge,” I whispered, waving him up with two fingers.
“Yes.” As he looked out, he seemed to understand, “This will be a tough one if they aren’t all humans. Seems like there are about 30 guards that may see us. If even one of them is around a five, I won’t be able to blind all of them from our presence. If Rachel were here we’d be able to determine such a thing, unfortunately, we don’t have her spiritual sense.”
“I might be able to help with that,” Tucker whispered from behind us.
“What kind of bullshit caused you to break formation without my asking.”
“As I said, these scopes can sense alternative forms of energy. I have a few frames of reference, I know what civies look like through this thing. Smudge, if you can point out all the hidden ones, I’ll be able to tell you what we’re dealing with.”
Smudge looked at me, then shrugged, “Alright, if you’re certain.”
---------------------------
“We’re good to go then? That was the last one?”
“So it would seem, that scope of yours ought to be reliable.”
“If we don’t get by, you have my full permission to do whatever you want to Xavier.”
Jones butted in, “I believe that’s up for me to decide. I still need him around.”
Smudge whispered at a frequency that’d set dogs off, “Enough bickering, you’re worse than when I have to babysit Chad and Rachel. Everyone get in formation, it’s easiest on me if we go in single file.” Getting back into position, he spoke up, “Sorry Terry, I know you’re leading, but, well you get it.”
I nodded back to him, “Everyone ready? No piss breaks past this point. If you have cold feet, just head back to the van.” I looked back to Xavier, to which he flipped me off, signaling me to start.
I wasn’t worried about the situation until we got about ten feet from the door. One of the two guards standing beside it looked over at us. I signaled everyone to stop, and the guy continued to stare. A few moments later, he shrugged, facing forward again, and we continued on through the door.
There was no one in the immediate vicinity, though there were several cameras pointed toward us, blinking.
Smudge said one word as he took a deep breath, “Break.”
Nodding, I signaled for the three of us up front to take the right wall, and the other three to take the left.
------------------------------
Once Smudge caught his breath, he stood back up, and we all got back into formation, right as a guard turned the corner. I shot a tentacle out, grabbing him by the throat and snapping his neck, all while bringing him closer so we could hide the body.
That was when an alarm went off, “FUCK! Keep the humans hidden, Doc and I can handle ourselves.” My brain froze time, trying to figure out what happened. Eventually, it clicked, heart monitors, a precaution not even Maerod took.
“Leave me out of it Smudge, I can handle myself too. You need all the focus you can get.” Tucker stepped up, aiming down sights.
The door bashed open before I could get my tentacles out. Turning, Tucker already faced the door, dropping people in one to two rounds a piece.
Turning back toward the dead body, I headed on, alarms blaring overhead. Bodies came and went. Despite how badly we’d apparently messed up the plan, I knew where the database was, and I refused to let anyone stand between me and it.
Each step I took was further than the last, “KEEP YOURSELVES SAFE, I’M GOING FURTHER IN!”
“Not without me you’re not!” Metal clattering rang out, “IMBECILE!” Doc caught up to me as I flung several bodies out of the way.
“Watch where you’re throwin’ em!” Tucker yelled out, “We shouldn’t split up!”
I was already at the staircase making my way down when something smacked across my face. Turning to my right, I saw a lanky man with his hands in his pockets. He was slouched as if bored.
“FINE, GO DOWN, I’LL MEET YOU THERE!” Swinging a tentacle at him, he made a popping motion with his mouth, the limb slammed into a wall. Shooting them all at him, he blew air out in a circle, then at me directly, lunging at me as he threw me off balance. He kicked me in the chin, then down on my head, knocking me to a knee. A second later I was thrown into the air, then to the ground.
“Damn man, you look like you could use a hand.” The strange man stood over me, offering me his right.
I took it, spinning him around, snapping his arm, and flinging him against the wall, where lay motionless. I stabbed him in the head, then the heart just to be safe. Scoffing at his arrogance, I headed down the stairway.
When I got down to the second basement floor, there were already several dead bodies strewn about. Everyone was hiding behind metal tables. Tucker injected Doc with something, sitting beside them was a heaving Smudge.
I put my tentacles away, and a sudden burst of gunfire came from the back of the wide-open office room. A few bullets hit me, but I was already too tall, they crumpled on impact.
“THEY GET AHOLD OF YOUR FORMULA!?”
“Fuck that’s loud, yeah, there was a leak a few months back! Doc ain’t doin’ so hot!”
“That’s, The Doctor, to, you.” He spoke each word with individual breaths.
Walking toward the guards, they panicked. With a thud hitting my chest, one of the men screamed, “We need you up here!” Looking down I found a pinless grenade, which I kicked, knocking one of the men unconscious. Bodies tumbled over one another as it exploded, sending shrapnel everywhere. A few pieces stuck in my face, but I headed straight for the room.
“YOU’LL WANT TO GET BACK! SOMEONE IS COMING FROM DOW–” The ground gave out from under me, falling a few floors, I was kicked into a wall in a dark room, aside from the hole. Landing on my feet, I looked around, rubbing my side. I felt something wet, where I’d been hit. Then I saw who it was. A scaly humanoid, each scale tipped with a tinted blue, serrated prong. His shadow fluctuated, then its eyes sprung open, and a black mist shot me. I blocked with my tentacles, but they were cheese to a grater.
“Kenet himself breaking in here? Must think you’re hot shit!”
I grunted, springing off the wall, using a shredded tentacle to slam the scaly man with a table. Sure enough, the mist formed into a shadow-walker, same as Jacob. I slammed my fist into his face before he could react.
“I NEED SOME LIGHT DOWN HERE!”
But the scaled man already rebounded, swinging his pronged fist at my face. I managed to block with my arm, but it was getting stiff.
“DOC, I NEED YOU!”
I heard Tucker to my left, “He’s still recovering, close your eyes!”
Before I could tell him I couldn’t close my face, a clinking sounded, and I saw a small metal canister roll into view. A blinding light took over, banging nine times, each followed by a flash. Then several gunshots.
Accepting the pain to come, I grabbed the scaled man, flinging him into the ceiling, dazing him. The shadow-walker was already dead on the ground, three bullet holes planted in his skull.
“NICELY DONE!”
“Got any weaknesses on the other one? Never seen anything like him.”
“SKIN TRANSFORMATION, WE MUST WEAR HIM DOWN!”
“Lovely.”
The prongs tipping his scales had already shrunk considerably. Stumbling to his feet, he glanced down at the motionless skinwalker, “Goddamn.” His scales evaporated, leaving behind a hollow man, standing still, “Ju–”
Tucker put a bullet right between his eyes, “Didn’t have to ask buddy.”
As we turned to head back up the stairs, a thud reverberated from behind us. Turning back, Smudge lay, face first, and uncovered. He wore a full-body outfit ensuring no skin was revealed, but my concern was on whatever had dropped him down. Aside from the alarms, it was eerily silent. They landed on Smudge, hopping off, and kicking him into the wall.
The black suit was almost a fabric, but it was certainly mechanical. Parts at joints stuck out slightly, giving him mobility along with full body protection. At his neck, the material fluctuated, phase shifting at the slightest movement. The entire front of his helmet was a velvet red visor, the changed to a light blue when the light reflected just right. He had several weapons littering his body, including two hook swords, an unknown kind of pistol, a pump action shotgun, and a few others; all of which were as black as his armor.
I had to lean my head and chest down to avoid hitting the ceiling. I couldn’t move anymore, and Tucker looked a little nervous, “DOC! YOU ALIVE!?”
A German accent replied with a chuckle, “He was already dead.”
“Yeah, right.” Tucker said, “What’re you waitin’ for big guy?”
Shooting out my back, I held the odd man at tentacle point, Tucker readied his carbine, and the man retrieved his hook blades.
“Come, let me get this over with.”
Tucker stammered, “B-be careful.” He swapped magazines, “This guy is radiating like a human.” He fired a round, I felt it slide between two tentacles, and as it hit the man in the visor, an explosion errupted. I engaged, picking the man up by the leg, but before I could fling him, pain shot through it, the tip was sliced off. Tucker fired two more rounds, both exploding as they met their target, filling the room with a cloudy haze. I took a deep breath, forcing myself to move, but I felt like a turtle.
Suddenly, my leg ripped up, I held in place, stabilizing with a few tentacles, then smashed where a crack had formed on his visor, but he swung his other blade down, cutting it in half. A rapid succession of explosions slowly knocked the man back, and for the first time, he looked at Tucker, throwing one of the hookblades at him, it was angled for his face, but he snatched it mid air, then lunged at the man. He slammed the blade down on his shoulder, spinning it around and hooking the back of his arm, yanking him in, Tucker punched full force. In an instant, Tucker was against the wall, falling face first into the tile floor, leaving ceramic to crack the area around him.
The man chopped the last of my tentacles down as he approached me. When they were practically useless, he put the remaining blade away, pulling out the pump action shotgun. He shot me in the face six times before throwing the gun to his side. A small stream of black ooze dripped down my chin, and I had a hard time seeing anything in front of me.
“Damn, you’re one tough fucker, I’ll give that much.”
Pulling out his pistol, he proceeded to unload every round into my forehead, despite being ordinary metal, something about them kicked like a mule. When that gun was out, he dropped it, looking to his right, seeing where Tucker had dropped his gun.
“I wonder, how will you hold against explosive rounds? Not well?”
As he picked it up, I felt something prick my back, a familiar sensation made its way toward my heart, like organic WD-4D.
“You’re awfully quiet over there. Lost will to fight?”
“You’re an asshole!”
“Please, stop, I’ll shit myself.” He let out an antagonizing laugh, “You’re strong, but you’ve too much a stiffy going on there.” He let off a round into my face, nearly knocking me down, but I staggered just enough to stay in place.
“Wow, this has some nice kick to it, perhaps I’ll join the military after this.” He shot three more into my face, with each explosion, my skin peeled away just that much more, my brain rattled, but my limbs loosened.
By the fourth round, I regained some mobility, walking toward him. He stepped back, switching the gun to burst fire. I maneuvered around three bursts, only getting hit three times, each one in my torso. Those explosions seemed to boost the Doc’s serum, and I was able to grab the man by the head, crushing his visor with the palm of my hand. “You rely too much on your gadgets and luck. Neither will get you out of this.”
The helmet cracked, and blades shot out, slicing my fingers off. He pulled his remaining hook blade and slid under me. A sharp pain hit the back of my skull, then a cracking reverberated through my head. A metal clattering followed, and when I turned, the man stood there, shocked. He lunged back, throwing several kunai at my face, but I ducked them. With my full range of motion returned, I slung one of the tables at him, flinging him into a wall front-first.
Walking over to where he’d dropped Tucker’s rifle, I snagged it, and walked over to the man. He staggered back to his feet, a broken nose and a shard of ceramic sticking out of his eye. I held the gun to his forehead and fired, his head bursting like a pipe bomb.
I stumbled over to Tucker, dropping his gun beside him, and dropping to one knee. I smacked him in the face a few times, “You still alive?”
He rolled onto his side, “Kinda wish I wasn’t.” His face was covered in small cuts from the ceramic tiles, “Wish I’d had my Odyr suit, couldda kicked his ass. Fuckin hell what a dick.”
I sat beside him, “Hopefully he was their last line of defense, I think your gun gave me a concussion or something.” The room spun, my stomach on a Ferris wheel.
“Wow, the Doctor was right.”
I turned to the stairway, Xavier held Jones’s arm around his neck, helping him stand, “What happened, is Doc really dead?”
Tucker staggered his way to a standing position, “Nah, that stuff I gave him slows heart rate. He was too stupid to check for a full minute. He should still be alive, don’t worry.”
“And you two?”
Jones cleared his throat, “Smudge hid us, but he was worn down.”
Hearing that, I turned back to see Smudge, still laying flat. I stood, stumbling over to him, checking his pulse. It took a bit, but eventually, I felt a weak heartbeat. “DOC, YOU ALIVE UP THERE!?”
“I suppose!” He groaned.
“WE NEED YOU DOWN HERE! SMUDGE IS IN BAD SHAPE!”
A faint hint of a sigh made its way down the hole. I picked Smudge up, and moments later, Doc landed on the ground, a leg giving out from under him.
------------------------------------------
Some time passed, and we patched ourselves up as best we could before heading back up to the proper floor. Jones was able to walk on his own, but his right leg was in bad shape. I carried Smudge on my back, and despite Tucker’s several broken bones, he was walking just fine, occasionally stumbling from a torn tendon. As far as Doc went, the only sign he showed he was injured was his panting. Fortunately, we never ran into anyone else aside from the odd straggler, and we managed to grab the data we needed.
With the stressors passed, we laughed and joked, trying to bring ourselves back down from the adrenaline high. Exiting the building, I spoke up, “Xavier, I’m not going to forgive you, but I will thank you.”
He looked over at me, “To be fair, it was the Doctor’s idea.”
“That’s why I’m not forgiving you, anyone could’ve done it.”
“Oh, fair enough. Guess you could’ve done it too aye Doc?”
“That’s Doctor.” He let out an exhausted sigh, “In theory, but by the time I got around to it, who knows if Terry would still be alive. For a thin-skin, you did well.”
That’s when a limo pulled up through the gravel headed right for us, stopping just in time to not hit us, “Doc, wake Smudge, have him get you guys out of here. NOW!” I set him on the ground behind me.
“Well, I certainly hope he’s feeling up to it.”
“If not, you guys need to run.”
The back door opened, and a man in a suit stepped out. Pulling off his glasses, he tossed them in the back seat before closing the door and signaling the driver to leave. They couldn’t get away fast enough.
“Terry, son of Charles, I was under the impression you wouldn’t get involved with us. But after the Maerod incident, we decided we should implement additional security measures. Seems we should’ve invested more heavily into that. What was your intent here? If you had just called on Charles and told him about us, I’m certain he could’ve turned the entire building to mist.”
“If you know that, why’d you come to see for yourself, you can’t kill him. Or are you really that arrogant?”
The man laughed, “Because the alarm is still going off. If he had come, there would be no signal sending the alarm. You’re strong sure, but even three assassins managed to do this to you. Hence the difference between you mortals and us gods.”
“Didn’t realize living for 3000 years classified me as mortal.”
“You know, it’s interesting. Even after thousands of years, some still feel the need to attach themselves to this world. It’s as if they’re unaware of the insignificance of this world, this solar system, galaxy, supercluster, hell this universe! If you will live to see it all end, then what’s this part of it matter? They get animals to give themselves more meaning, call them pets. They feed the animal, water them, domesticate them, protect them. But they also prevent them from living in their natural habitat. Pulling the animal from where it belongs to give themselves a sense of purpose, it’s selfish wouldn’t you say?”
“Sure, I guess in a nihilistic sense.”
“So why are you here? To retrieve your pet? As I’ve said, there’s a transmitter in there, I saw what you pulled. Data on where your pet is. Why not just let him live in his terrarium?”
“He’s one of us now.”
“Due to your interference.”
“What are you really doing here!?”
“That’s the question of the day is it not? Quite frankly, I think Maerod was right to kill her. You’re far too attached to this world, though I suppose you are still a mere child. You could be so much more wise, and yet you refuse to allow it, you latch onto what’s been lost when you could focus on what you could have.”
“Sounds to me like you’re not quite past your own insignificance.”
He sneered, “Are you certain that’s your final answer?”
“I guess so.”
“Gods, the apple really does fall right to the roots.” The grass around him shriveled to dust when he charged me. Time stopped as the gleam in his eyes froze me, each fist pummeling me to the dirt, creating a deeper crater with each fist.
Then I was back in place, so was he. I’d never felt it so strong before, but I couldn’t deny the reality, he would kill me. Unlike Maerod, that man had absolute control over his soul, a feat all my attempts couldn’t achieve. All I could do was hold him off until I had an opportunity to slip out of his perception.
The grass around him slowly disintegrated, ready for his lunge, I leaped into the air, grabbing him mid-air with my tentacles and throwing him full force into the building. I sprung myself to the forest, latching onto a branch and engrossing myself in the tree, doing what I could to suck as much energy out. It wasn’t long before I was forced out. The tree crumbled to dust and I lept from it, charging the man with what little extra energy I had. He stood still, tanking four punches to his face. He kicked me back, nothing but a streak of blood running down his nose.
I lunged back searching for another tree. I found one a ways back, flinging myself at it, I fell into it and absorbed the tree’s power. I forced myself and found I could suck it out of other nearby trees. Until I was once again forced out, the trees crumbling in decayed mass, “You’ve gotten a bit stronger, Charles must be so proud.”
“What are you trying to achieve? Is losing your HQ really that important?”
He stepped toward me casually, “The same thing Maerod was trying to achieve, and really all the other gods in this disoriented country. However, no, killing you isn’t punishment for the damages, it’s for the audacity it took for you to do it. Entering my domain and destroying my primary facility? That takes balls, unfortunately, the rest was only a few inches.”
I tried to leap back again to gain a foothold, but all nearby trees crumpled to dust. Seeing no other way, I charged him again, but just as I came face to face, I spun and sidestepped, launching a single tentacle for the back of his heart, but on impact, it turned to dust.
“Unfortunately, the rest of you won’t be so easy to get rid of.” He turned, jumping, and once again, I met his bloodthirsty gaze. My skull cracked on impact, and when my head hit the dirt, a crater was left behind. He stood over me, “I’m gonna be on his shitlist for this one, but really, it’ll be worth it.” He pointed a finger gun at my head, and as the darkness closed in, three gunshots followed by a familiar light filled my senses, and when I could see again, his head was missing, the body still standing up-right, three bullet holes oozing blood at different angles...
I staggered to my feet, adrenaline keeping me awake. I looked around, seeing everyone but Smudge scattered around, “RUN! HE’S GONNA BLOW JUST FUCKING RUN!” I used my tentacles to move, sticking them in the ground and launching myself, then staggering to my feet. I headed in the direction the van was in, and a few seconds later, an intense blue light erupted from behind me, the shockwave hitting immediately after.
Part 26: Coming Soon!
submitted by 4ShotBot to Viidith22 [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:36 foxyboomer6789 Lemons

Lemons. Some people enjoy them as a lemonade, others may even go as far as eating the whole thing. They also provide many health benefits. As long as they are in fact Lemons and not a knock off.
The town of Mayfair was known for its Lemons, The residents all wearing yellow to honour the fruit that gave them their large yellow houses and their large yellow sports cars. Everywhere you looked was yellow. Even the water was yellow. But surely someone was going to get fed up of this charade. And one unspoken rule of Mayfair was you could never leave.
But all that Mayfair is now is a decaying mass of peeling yellow paintwork, and lemons growing a green fuzzy coat.
One day an outsider who took a wrong turn drove through the obnoxious town. It was completely silent. He wondered if he had perhaps stumbled upon a movie set and being curious opened one of the homes front doors and took a look around.
Three people were sat around their bright yellow dining table, a bowl of lemons in the centre, piled high up to the ceiling like some sort of abstract artwork, Half eaten lemons in front of them. Their faces. Warped and twisted into a grotesque creature, their mouths twisted like twizzlers, lips split from the unnatural position. Their noses plugged with some sort of fleshy mass. Their eyes bulbous and leaking fluid. This was the same scene the man was met with as he explored the other houses of Mayfair.
The man was disgusted, and not entirely sure whether these were even people or perhaps some sort of Halloween props. As it would make sense if this was in fact a movie set. Before he left he thought it would be good to take something to remember this strange encounter. A perfectly cold crisp bottle of lemonade, and to his surprise it was actually lemonade, not a prop. He popped the cap open letting the cool sour elixir coat his throat.
But this was far more sour than anything he’d ever tasted. He began to pucker his mouth, the sourness now more like chemicals. His lips began to twist, splitting apart, his screams unable to exit his sealing mouth.
So next time you eat a lemon, make sure they didn’t come from Mayfair. As rumour has it they are still around.
submitted by foxyboomer6789 to shortscarystories [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:19 ItaySeven Focus on God during trials

Many times we're feeling overwhelmed by situations. Then we begin to overthink them, and our feelings change so quickly. Have you ever tried to balance water into room temperature, by those water machines? Some only have cold/hot feature built in them. By balancing the water you'd be taking an empty cup of water, then pour cold water, then hot, then taste it, then cold, hot etc. Until it gets kind of balanced. That's pretty much our emotions - they change all the time, as if somebody's pressing that hot/cold button for a while during our trials and not necessarily just them, but any situation in life that makes our hearts race, for the good or the bad.
With God you'll find balance. You'll have His presence and knowledge that He is there with you, no matter how badly you fall. How many times you've opened porn, been watching it secretly since you've come to faith, been delievered by it and yet kept on doing it because you've felt so lost and suicidal.
Having an unhealthy heart, holding grudges towards your abusers who happen to have destroyed your life, and yet God called you to serve them. Having hate towards people who hurt you, to the point you hate humanity entirely. Losing faith in humanity, and your cat is all that you've left to cheer you, dare I say guide your life into somewhat of a balance of not being alone.
You might be talking to a woman you like, and you're unsure if it's even mutual. You're having the prayer of your entire life, since you remember yourself, coming true in front of your eyes. But you're unsure if that's really it. Your boss might call you, or just treat you differently, and you'd not know if that means you'd lose your job, stay single forever without a mean to take care of your wife, or children, to the single mothers out there.
I want you to know that God is always there. He hasn't left, trials and pains are promised to us. Not joy and an easy life. Everybody suffers from the curse of sin we have brought upon ourselves. Everybody, the creation itself, your cat and dog too. Yet God has made a way for you to be with Him by His Son Jesus Christ.
And when you truly do understand the depth of what it is to have God with you, literally in you, and Him watching over you - you'll understand what that peace Jesus spoke about is. That He gave us His peace, that He didn't leave us as orphans, but sent the helper to be there for us.
Jesus said He no longer calls us slaves, but friends, and I'm quoting many scriputes in this post, indirectly, because I don't want to let the flow of my mind and typing go away by looking for each one of them. I trust you are familiar with the Bible to understand which ones I'm on about.
Go to His presence when you're dealing with things of the sort I wrote, or anything that bothers you, pains you. When you're a kid and hungry or wanting water, you ask your parents and they give you what your basic needs require, assuming they're sane in their mind. God is the perfect Father, gives food to the worst human beings out there, loves them, doesn't mean He approves of what they do, but He provides to those wicked beings - how much more to His children?
How much would a Father run towards His children when they yell for help because they suffer and aren't able to endure it anymore? Or when a thief would enter the house at night and the kids will see him and shout "DADDY!!" wouldn't the Father jump off His bed instantly, run towards His children and fight the criminal off? How different is God when those He calls His children need His help?
Jesus did not call to healthy people into His church. Jesus didn't call for the strong and successful people on this world. Jesus looks at your failures in math and physics and says "Hey you, you've failed? Let's eat together, let's be friends" Jesus doesn't look at you with His nose up, thinking He is better than you. Jesus called the weary, the weak, the brokenhearted, those society rejected, those who want justice, love and joy, those who love what is good - those who understand they're nothing but dust, needing God.
Jesus never looked at your past and laughed at you, nor would He ever will. He threw your sins and failures to the sea of forgetfulness, never looking back at the bad things you've done.
I've got a ton more to write, I only hope you can get closer to God by this post. No matter what you're dealing with, and suffering isn't pleasant - God has a purpose for it. Ask Him what is He up to, what's a lesson he's trying to teach you. Is it about your mental state, spiritual, is it your physical one? Ask God what He has in mind for allowing all this. Sometimes He won't tell you right away, sometimes He'll tell you later on in your life. And sometimes He will tell you during what you're going through.
The most important thing is never let go off God's hand. Hold it tight, He is worth any persecution you'll go through in your life. Believe me it's way better to die for His name's sake than to be Biden or Trump I don't know, hold a thousand wives as Solomon had and anything else your flesh might like.
God is greater than all, and He should be treated as such. Make Him your treasure, when you see something you want, you'll dedicate yourself to it. Wouldn't you work 12h shifts daily to bring your spouse into a lovely vacation, when she means so much to you? Wouldn't you work on your personality so much, because you wanna be the best for your husband? Study 8 years for masters degree to do something you've dreamt of your entire life?
Things you value are things you'll chase. Do you value God? No need to answer me, that's between you and Him.
submitted by ItaySeven to TrueChristian [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:11 AdJaded6793 Is this a cold?

48 male no medications.but smoke a pack a day cigarettes.
I have not had a cold in years, not sure if they've changed.
I woke up in the middle of the night last May 27th Friday into Saturday morning with a severe itchy throat. I coughed it out and the next day I have a really sore throat all day but it went away.
That Monday i started coughing up green colour phlegm I (I cough up alot of phlegm all day anyway from smoking) but it was green.
Over the last few days the green mucus has changed to soft chunks mixed in with phlegm, miss particularly worse first thing in the morning.
the mucus get sticky in my throat especially when I'm sleeping with fans on, it can be hard to cought up. Green snot at times as well. I have dry stuffy sinus Dry throat My ears crackle a couple days ago but next day they popped. I sneezed a few times on early on as well. Once I get it out in morning for a couple hours I'm good until late day evening and sleeping it all builds up.
I have no other symptoms I have appetite actually the last couple days more hunger in morning. No fatigue or body pain No fever No chills Lungs clear (Dr checked) No chest pain No trouble breathing
Just the green stuff and congestion at evening and nights, and I'm extra hungry not alot but noticeable.
I think it's a cold? But no other obvious signs like runny nose etc.
Cogid negative 4 tests.
I'm stumped green bits
submitted by AdJaded6793 to KingstonOntario [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 19:10 Swordbender One of the most interesting things about Half-Blood Prince is how Harry becomes much more emotionally mature

Order of the Phoenix was Harry's real growing book, but Half-Blood Prince was the book where Harry really came into his own as a young adult.
Even though Harry is the most popular kid in school, he doesn't let it go to his head:
"Hi, Harry, I'm Romilda, Romilda Vane," she said loudly and confidently. "Why don't you join us in our compartment? You don't have to sit with them," she added in a stage whisper, indicating Neville's bottom, which was sticking out from under the seat again as he groped around for Trevor, and Luna, who was now wearing her free Spectrespecs, which gave her the look of a demented, multicolored owl.
"They're friends of mine," said Harry coldly.
"Oh," said the girl, looking very surprised. "Oh. Okay. "
And she withdrew, sliding the door closed behind her.
"People expect you to have cooler friends than us," said Luna, once again displaying her knack for embarrassing honesty.
"You are cool," said Harry shortly. "None of them was at the Ministry. They didn't fight with me."
Also, out of the golden trio, Harry was the only one who behaved appropriately when it came to romance. Hermione and Ron were being snippy at each other because of their shared attraction -- but Harry dealt with his burgeoning feelings for Ginny the right way: he was a supportive friend to Ginny. He wasn't passive-aggressive with her, and he didn't make his feelings known about Ginny and Dean being together until after they'd broken up. Even though he wanted to:
When Harry pushed open the tapestry to take their usual shortcut up to Gryffindor Tower, however, they found themselves looking at Dean and Ginny, who were locked in a close embrace and kissing fiercely as though glued together.
It was as though something large and scaly erupted into life in Harry's stomach, clawing at his insides: hot blood seemed to flood his brain, so that all thought was extinguished, replaced by a savage urge to jinx Dean into a jelly. Wrestling with this sudden madness, he heard Ron's voice as though from a great distance away.
...
"Yeah, it is!" said Ron, just as angrily. "D' you think I want people saying my sister's a --"
"A what?" shouted Ginny, drawing her wand. "A what, exactly?"
"He doesn't mean anything, Ginny --" said Harry automatically, though the monster was roaring its approval of Ron's words.
Yeah, it's not great that he's agreeing with Ron. But it's nice that he's acting like a mature person, rather than letting those thoughts rule his actions. And it was also interesting to me that he actually physically stopped Ron from taking things too far when Ron cast a spell at Ginny.
A streak of orange light flew under Harry's left arm and missed Ginny by inches; Harry pushed Ron up against the wall.
"Don't be stupid --"
Actually, Harry stood up to Ron a few times. As Dumbledore said, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to your friends.
"ENOUGH!" bellowed Harry, who had seen Ginny glowering in Ron's direction and, remembering her reputation as an accomplished caster of the Bat-Bogey Hex, soared over to intervene before things got out of hand. "Peakes, go and pack up the Bludgers. Demelza, pull yourself together, you played really well today. Ron. . . " he waited until the rest of the team were out of earshot before saying it, "you're my best mate, but carry on treating the rest of them like this and I'm going to kick you off the team."
But the big shining Harry moment for me is after Hermione and Ron had their fight, Harry ended up being the mature peacemaker who kept his nose out of shit talking either one.
"She can't complain," [Ron] told Harry. "She snogged Krum. So she's found out someone wants to snog me too. Well, it's a free country. I haven't done anything wrong. "
Harry did not answer, but pretended to be absorbed in the book they were supposed to have read before Charms next morning (Quintessence: A Quest). Determined as he was to remain friends with both Ron and Hermione, he was spending a lot of time with his mouth shut tight.
...
"He's at perfect liberty to kiss whomever he likes," said Hermione, while the librarian, Madam Pince, prowled the shelves behind them. "I really couldn't care less."
She raised her quill and dotted an 'i' so ferociously that she punctured a hole in her parchment. Harry said nothing. He thought his voice might soon vanish from the lack of use.
And we get this sad, but sweet scene where Harry goes to comfort Hermione:
Hermione laughed unkindly at Ron's disastrous first attempt, during which he somehow managed to give himself a spectacular handlebar mustache; Ron retaliated by doing a cruel but accurate impression of Hermione jumping up and down in her seat every time Professor McGonagall asked a question, which Lavender and Parvati found deeply amusing and which reduced Hermione to the verge of tears again. She raced out of the classroom on the bell, leaving half her things behind; Harry, deciding that her need was greater than Ron's just now, scooped up her remaining possessions and followed her.
He finally tracked her down as she emerged from a girl's bathroom on the floor below.
Then Harry calls Ron out on it later:
"You could say sorry," suggested Harry bluntly.
"What, and get attacked by another flock of canaries?" muttered Ron.
"What did you have to imitate her for?"
"She laughed at my mustache!"
"So did I, it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen. "
submitted by Swordbender to harrypotter [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:57 NovemKRF Rash’s on my Upper Thigh (Hamstring) and Buttocks Area

24 year old male w/ 15 day history of hyperpigmented macular rash , red/yellow in color, on buttocks and thighs that is not pruritic or painful but slowly worsening, maybe 15 spots randomly spaced. I haven’t taken any new medications or had any changes that would be related to symptoms that I know of recently. Other than some allergy symptoms which are new such as stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Photos are in comments.
Basically asking should I go see a doctor about it or is there something I can get myself that will resolve it?
submitted by NovemKRF to AskDocs [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:54 DixNeufsz Creative writing mark please

Can some one mark this creative writing did it in exam conditions thanks, I didn't get to finish so I don't know if that will make me lose marks

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing with a child like that. When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window. At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, 2 because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls. "Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got into his car and backed out of number four's drive. It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar -- a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen -- then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive -- no, looking at the sign; cats couldn't read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day. But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn't bear people who dressed in funny clothes -- the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren't young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt -- these people were obviously collecting for something... yes, that would be it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills. Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swoop ing past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five different people. He made several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery. 3 He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn't know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collecting tin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying. "The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard yes, their son, Harry" Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it. He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone, and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking... no, he was being stupid. Potter wasn't such an unusual name. He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold. There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her sister. He didn't blame her -- if he'd had a sister like that... but all the same, those people in cloaks... He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still so worried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door. "Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell. It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!" And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off. Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged by a complete stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping 4 he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination. As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw -- and it didn't improve his mood -- was the tabby cat he'd spotted that morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes. "Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly. The cat didn't move. It just gave him a stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife. Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word ("Won't!"). Mr. Dursley tried to act normally. When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to catch the last report on the evening news: "And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowed himself a grin. "Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?" "Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, but it's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early -- it's not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight." Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters... Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He'd have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. "Er -- Petunia, dear -- you haven't heard from your sister lately, have you?" 5 As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn't have a sister. "No," she said sharply. "Why?" "Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls... shooting stars... and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today..." "So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley. "Well, I just thought... maybe... it was something to do with... you know... her crowd." Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." He decided he didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, "Their son -- he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?" "I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly. "What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?" "Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me." "Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes, I quite agree." He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something. Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the Potters? If it did... if it got out that they were related to a pair of -- well, he didn't think he could bear it. The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs. Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about 6 them and their kind.... He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on -- he yawned and turned over -- it couldn't affect them.... How very wrong he was. Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all. A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known." He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again -- the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down 7 on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it. "Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall." He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked. "My dear Professor, I 've never seen a cat sit so stiffly." "You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall. "All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no -- even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars.... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent -- I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense." "You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years." "I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he 8 really has gone, Dumbledore?" "It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?" "A what?" "A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of" "No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -" "My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You- Know-Who' nonsense -- for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name. "I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of." "You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have." "Only because you're too -- well -- noble to use them." "It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs." Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?" It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until 9 Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer. "What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are -- are -- that they're -- dead. " Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. "Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it... Oh, Albus..." Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know... I know..." he said heavily. Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But -- he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke -- and that's why he's gone. Dumbledore nodded glumly. "It's -- it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done... all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?" "We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know." Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?" "Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?" "I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now." 10 "You don't mean -- you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore -- you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son -- I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!" "It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter." "A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous -- a legend -- I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future -- there will be books written about Harry -- every child in our world will know his name!" "Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! CarA you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?" Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes -- yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it. "Hagrid's bringing him." "You think it -- wise -- to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?" I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore. "I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to -- what was that?" A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a 11 headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky -- and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them. If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets. "Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?" "Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir." "No problems, were there?" "No, sir -- house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. "Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall. "Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever." "Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?" "Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well -- give him here, Hagrid -- we'd better get this over with." Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house. "Could I -- could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his 12 great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. "Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!" "S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it -- Lily an' James dead -- an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles -" "Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out. "Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations." "Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall -- Professor Dumbledore, sir." Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night. "I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply. Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once, and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four. "Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone. 13 A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.
submitted by DixNeufsz to GCSE [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:54 NovemKRF Rash’s on my Upper Thigh (Hamstring) and Buttocks Area

25 year old male w/ 12 day history of hyperpigmented macular rash , red/yellow in color, on buttocks and thighs that is not pruritic or painful but slowly worsening, maybe 15 spots randomly spaced. I haven’t taken any new medications or had any changes that would be related to symptoms that I know of recently. Other than some allergy symptoms which are new such as stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Photos are in comments.
submitted by NovemKRF to u/NovemKRF [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:41 M_Tootles The Recursive Homecomings Of Petyr & Theon Part 10 of 10: Oswell & Aeron; Lothar & Dagmer; The Closing Twist (Spoilers Extended)

This post is the last post in a series looking at the massive amount of 'rhyming' recursivity I believe exists between (a) the homecoming of Petyr Baelish to the Fingers and (b) the homecoming of Theon Greyjoy to Pyke.
While this series/post can be read simply as a study 'for its own sake' of the curious recursion between these storylines, it is my belief that the 'rhyming' explored here between the stories of Petyr and Theon may exist (at least in part) to foreshadow that, like Theon, Petyr Littlefinger, is (among other things) a scion of ironborn kings, because Petyr is Hoare-ish: I.e. because Petyr's blood is (in some part) the blood of the ironborn kings of House Hoare of Orkmont and, later, Harrenhal.
This post is also post 25 of 25 in my broader series on the topic of a Hoare-ish Littlefinger, which is indexed [HERE].
Even if I'm wrong about Littlefinger's lineage, the 'rhyming' recursivity between the homecomings of Theon and Petyr detailed in this series remains, and certainly merits attention.
NOTE: In what follows, all uncited quotes are from ASOS Sansa VI, which describes Petyr's homecoming to his "Drearfort" tower of the 'Smallest Finger', or ACOK Theon I, which describes Theon's homecoming to "drear" Pyke.
As in past posts, I sometimes use "→" as shorthand for "'prefigures' and/or 'informs' and/or 'is reworked by' and/or 'finds a recursive rhyme in'.
As in: ACOK Theon I ASOS Sansa VI.
This post picks up straight-away from where Part 9 left off. You can read Part 9 [HERE].
If you want to begin at the beginning, Part 1 is [HERE].

Aeron & Oswell

After Theon's homecoming chapter opens with Theon thinking "There was no safe anchorage at Pyke", which is copied nearly verbatim during Petyr's homecoming with Sansa, we see Theon anticipating his first glimpse of Pyke castle, and read this sentence:
Theon drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray, and looked for home.
That line proves to be a key part of a pun-tastic 'rhyme' between (a) Theon coming ashore from the Myraham and meeting Aeron and (b) Sansa coming ashore from the Merling King with the aid of Oswell.
I'll explain.
Note first that Oswell, who is…
tall and gangling, with long white hair and a great hooked nose, with eyes shaded by a cowl [like a monk's cowl!]… (ACOK Theon V)
—clearly 'rhymes' with Aeron, an ascetic priest (see Oswell's monk-ish cowl) who is…
Tall and thin, with… a beak of a nose… [and] ropes of dried seaweed were braided through his waist-long black hair and untrimmed beard.
They're set up as yin and yang: Tall and similarly built with notable noses and long hair… but one has "long white hair", the other "long black hair", and Aeron has an "untrimmed beard" while Oswell is clean-shaven.
Aeron's beard is not simply a beard, though, but a beard with seaweed in it, which 'rhymes' with Oswell being not simply clean-shaven, but clean-shaven in a sea-faring way, as his "windburnt face"—
She studied the old man's lined windburnt face, hook nose, white hair, and huge knuckly hands. (ASOS Sansa VI)
—prefigures the "wind-chafed skin" of Aeron's niece Asha, which is tagged as typical of the sea-faring ironborn—
Ironborn, he knew at a glance; lean and long-legged, with… wind-chafed skin, strong sure hands….
—as are her notably "strong sure hands", which similarly 'rhyme' with Oswell's notably "huge knuckly hands".
SIDEBAR: As for Aeron's robes here being "green and grey" ("and blue"), this underlines that Petyr's oft-mentioned "grey-green" eyes are like the sea, which (as I've mentioned in previous posts) suggests per Archmaester Haereg's maxim—
"You may dress an ironman in silks and velvets, teach him to read and write and give him books, instruct him in chivalry and courtesy and the mysteries of the Faith… but when you look into his eyes, the sea will still be there, cold and grey and cruel." (TWOIAF)
—that Littlefinger is, at least in part, an ironman.
END SIDEBAR
The first thing we're told about Aeron after Theon realizes who he is is that "he washed up safe on shore"—
A memory prodded at Theon. In one of his rare curt letters, Lord Balon had written of his youngest brother going down in a storm, and turning holy when he washed up safe on shore. "Uncle Aeron?" he said doubtfully.
—which prefigures Oswell splashing his way ashore at the Smallest Finger:
Oswell and Lothor splashed their way ashore, as did Littlefinger himself.
(If Oswell is Aeron-ish, surely Petyr making like Oswell and splashing about in the surf here could foreshadow that he is Hoare-ish. And perhaps some kind of religious figure as well.)

Drawn Up Hoods

With that Oswell/Aeron 'rhyme' in mind, consider again that, as Theon approaches castle Pyke on the Myraham
Theon drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray, and looked for home.
Sound familiar? That's because it's reworked when Sansa is rowed ashore by the "gangling", Aeron-esque Oswell:
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore. Sansa huddled in the bow under her cloak with the hood drawn up against the wind….
When Sansa gets to shore, "two old men" help to make sure she doesn't get even a little bit wet—
The two old men waded out up to their thighs to lift Sansa from the boat so she would not get her skirts wet.
—which was, of course, exactly the thing Theon was trying to avoid back in ACOK when he "drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray", as Sansa drew hers "up against the wind" when Oswell rowed her in.

Gangplank → Gangling.

GRRM is just warming up. When Theon reaches Lordsport and disembarks from the Myraham, he, too, avoids getting wet. At least initially. Where Sansa uses "gangling" Oswell to come ashore, Theon uses… a "gangplank":
Without waiting for a reply [from Myraham's captain], he strode down the gangplank. "Innkeeper," he barked. "I require a horse".

Kneeling Servants

The innkeeper never gets Theon his horse, of course (of course), because Aeron shows up. And what does gangling white-haired Oswell's black-haired physical mirror Aeron do? He makes Theon get wet after all.
"Kneel."
The ground was all stones[!] and mud. "Uncle, I—"
"Kneel. Or are you too proud now, a lordling of the green lands come among us?"
Theon knelt. He had a purpose here, and might need Aeron's help to achieve it. A crown was worth a little mud and horseshit on his breeches, he supposed.
"Bow your head." Lifting the skin, his uncle pulled the cork and directed a thin stream of seawater down upon Theon's head. It drenched his hair and ran over his forehead into his eyes. Sheets washed down his cheeks, and a finger crept under his cloak and doublet and down his back, a cold rivulet along his spine. The salt made his eyes burn, until it was all he could do not to cry out. He could taste the ocean on his lips. "Let Theon your servant be born again from the sea, as you were," Aeron Greyjoy intoned. "Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel."
Note that Theon kneeling on "stones and mud… and horseshit" before a priest with "seaweed" in his beard is reworked even as Oswell rows Sansa ashore and she huddles in her cloak like Theon, when the Baelish household kneels on rocks covered by nasty seaweed and Sansa dodges sheepshit:
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore. Sansa huddled in the bow under her cloak with the hood drawn up against the wind, wondering what awaited her. Servants emerged from the tower to meet them…. When they recognized Lord Petyr they knelt on the rocks.
[Petyr] led them up the strand over rocks slick with rotting seaweed. … Sansa had to step carefully; there were pellets [i.e. sheepshit] everywhere.

Blessings

Meanwhile, Aeron giving Theon his holy "bless[ing]" is reworked just before Sansa is rowed ashore, when Petyr asks for Sansa's "blessing" after he tells her they're not going to Winterfell and that he's going to wed Lysa:
"So silent, my lady?" said Petyr. "I was certain you would wish to give me your blessing. …"
"I . . . I pray you will have long years together, and many children, and be very happy in one another.
Sansa's reluctant acquiescence — both to giving the blessing and to going ashore and going along with Petyr's plan, which she had not anticipated — echoes Theon's reluctant acquiescence to both Aeron's blessing and Balon's plan of invasion, which he hadn't anticipated.
I suspect Littefinger was fed the line, "So silent, my lady?" before asking for Sansa's blessing as a nod to several pertinent silences in ACOK Theon I. First, the "sullen silence" of the Myraham's captain when he reluctantly acquiesces to Theon taking his would-be salt wife daughter below deck to get a blowjob; second, the "gloom of silence" between Theon and Aeron as they make the final approach to Pyke, post-blessing; and finally, Theon marking the absence of Euron's 'lady', Silence, as he sails into Lordsport:
Theon searched for his uncle Euron's Silence.
Truly, all things come round again.

Getting Wet & Staying Dry 1

But what about Aeron getting Theon pointedly wet? Aeron not only making Theon kneel but getting him wet and then riding with him to Pyke, is reworked (and reversed) not just by Oswell and Lothor rowing Sansa ashore — note the "rode" → "rowed" wordplay:
They [Aeron and Theon] rode in a gloom of silence.
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore.
— and not just by Sansa being carried ashore and kept pointedly dry by two old men who were, seconds earlier, kneeling reverently on the seashore, but also by Aeron-ish Oswell helping Sansa "up" onto The Merling King from his rowboat while assuring her he won't let her fall into the sea, which he makes sure she doesn't:
The rower shipped the oars and helped Sansa to her feet. "Up now. Go on, girl, I got you." Sansa thanked him for his kindness, but received no answer but a grunt. It was much easier going up the rope ladder than it had been coming down the cliff. The oarsman Oswell followed close behind her(ASOS Sansa V)
So: Where Oswell-ish Aeron forces Theon to kneel and then wets him down with seawater, ceremonially "drowning" him after he comes down the "gangplank", the "gangling" Aeron-ish Oswell helps Sansa "to her feet" and then "up" while promising not to let her fall in the sea, where she could drown.

Getting Wet & Staying Dry 2

Aeron forcing Theon to kneel and getting him wet before he "rode" with him to Pyke is also reworked/reversed inside Petyr's tower, when Sansa's 'other' rower Lothor protects Sansa from Marillion's rape attempt— from being (like Theon) forced to get "wet", so to speak:
"My blood is stirred. And yours, I know … there's no wench half so lusty as one bastard born. Are you wet for me?"
"I'm a maiden," she protested.
"Truly? Oh, Alayne, Alayne, my fair maid, give me the gift of your innocence.
The wetness motif is played up again:
"He put a hand on her breast, and squeezed. "Let's get you out of these wet clothes. You wouldn't want them ripped, I know. Come, sweet lady, heed your heart—"
He wants to "get [her] out of [her] wet clothes" so he can get her "wet", so to speak. But where Aeron forced Theon to "kneel" and get wet in language that suddenly reads as quite rapey and spine-chilling—
Sheets washed down his cheeks [which cheeks?], and a finger[!] crept under his cloak and doublet and down his back, a cold rivulet along his spine."
—before he "rode" with him to castle Pyke, Lothor Brune, who "rowed" Sansa ashore, keeps her safe and 'dry':
Sansa heard the soft sound of steel on leather. "Singer," a rough voice said, "best go, if you want to sing again." The light was dim, but she saw a faint glimmer of a blade.
The singer saw it too. "Find your own wench—" The knife flashed, and he cried out. "You cut me!"
"I'll do worse, if you don't go."
And quick as that, Marillion was gone. The other remained, looming over Sansa in the darkness. "Lord Petyr said watch out for you." It was Lothor Brune's voice, she realized.

Dagmer Cleftjaw → Lothor Brune

And what do you know? Oswell's rowing partner Lothor Brune is also prefigured by Theon's homecoming. Not by Aeron, but by Dagmer Cleftjaw, who Theon thinks of as he approaches Lordsport on the Myraham. In fact, there's a huge 'rhyme' between (a) Dagmer Cleftjaw and his "gut-churning scar", on the one hand, and (b) the beginning of ASOS Sansa VI, which describes Lothor Brune and Sansa's upset stomach (i.e. her churning guts) and seemingly permanently scarred psyche, on the other. I'll try to lay out now.
Consider first that as Theon approaches Lordsport on the Myraham, he goes below deck, where he thinks about Dagmer Cleftjaw (along with the sour-like-Aeron Sylas Sourmouth, who was discussed in Part 8):
As the Myraham made her way landward, Theon paced the deck restlessly, scanning the shore. He had not thought to find Lord Balon himself at quayside, but surely his father would have sent someone to meet him. Sylas Sourmouth the steward, Lord Botley, perhaps even Dagmer Cleftjaw. It would be good to look on Dagmer's hideous old face again.
We meet Dagmer in ACOK Theon III,
He smiled himself to show how it was done. It made for a hideous sight. Under a snowy white mane of hair, Dagmer Cleftjaw had the most gut-churning scar Theon had ever seen, the legacy of the longaxe that had near killed him as a boy. The blow had splintered his jaw, shattered his front teeth, and left him four lips where other men had but two. A shaggy beard covered his cheeks and neck, but the hair would not grow over the scar, so a shiny seam of puckered, twisted flesh divided his face like a crevasse through a snowfield "We could hear them singing," the old warrior said. "It was a good song, and they sang it bravely."
Dagmer grinned more often and more broadly than Lord Balon ever had.
Ugly as it was, that smile brought back a hundred memories. Theon had seen it often as a boy, when he'd jumped a horse over a mossy wall, or flung an axe and split a target square. [More fond memories of Dagmer.]
We later learn that Dagmer is "fearsome" and a "fierce fighter" as well, despite being marked as aged by his "white mane of hair". (ADWD The King's Prize)
Dagmer's ship is named Foamdrinker, a double-entendre about ale-drinking, as he likes drinking, as well as reaving songs — especially the one a singer wrote about him:
He knew that would give Dagmer pause. A singer had made a song about the axe that cracked his jaw in half, and the old man loved to hear it. Whenever he was in his cups he would call for a reaving song, something loud and stormy that told of dead heroes and deeds of wild valor. (ACOK Theon III)
Balon puts Dagmer in Theon's reaving detachment. Theon foolishly resents this, not accepting that he is inexperienced and needs and could benefit enormously from a seasoned number two with whom he has a good relationship:
"You are to harry the Stony Shore, raiding the fishing villages and sinking any ships you chance to meet. … Aeron will accompany you, and Dagmer Cleftjaw."
…Theon felt as if he'd been slapped. He was being sent to do reaver's work, burning fishermen out of their hovels and raping their ugly daughters, and yet it seemed Lord Balon did not trust him sufficiently to do even that much. Bad enough to have to suffer the Damphair's scowls and chidings. With Dagmer Cleftjaw along as well, his command would be purely nominal. (ACOK Theon II)
Balon gives Theon Dagmer to help him, but Theon can only see it as an affront, so he tries to sideline him:
Dagmer Cleftjaw stood by the high carved prow of his longship, Foamdrinker. Theon had assigned him the task of guarding the ships; otherwise men would have called it Dagmer's victory, not his. A more prickly man might have taken that for a slight, but the Cleftjaw had only laughed. (ACOK Theon III)

That Splintery Ladder Again & Lothor's Hand Up

Now, remembering that we're introduced to Dagmer Cleftjaw while Theon is still aship en route to Pyke, consider again the first paragraph of Sansa VI, plus a bit more (which of course takes place while Petyr and Sansa are still aship en route to Petyr's Drearfort):
The ladder to the forecastle was steep and splintery, so Sansa accepted a hand up from Lothor Brune. Ser Lothor, she had to remind herself; the man had been knighted for his valor in the Battle of the Blackwater. Though no proper knight would wear those patched brown breeches and scuffed boots, nor that cracked and water-stained leather jerkin. A square-faced stocky man with a squashed nose and a mat of nappy grey hair, Brune spoke seldom. He is stronger than he looks, though. She could tell by the ease with which he lifted her, as if she weighed nothing at all. …
She had seldom ventured out on deck herself. Her little cabin was dank and cold, but Sansa had been sick for most of the voyage . . . sick with terror, sick with fever, or seasick . . . she could keep nothing down, and even sleep came hard. Whenever she closed her eyes she saw Joffrey… dying….
…Even this close to shore, the rolling of the ship made her tummy queasy.…
[Petyr] put a sympathetic arm about her shoulders. "Are you quite well? You look so pale."
"It's only my tummy. The seasickness."
We're subsequently reminded of Brune's "squashed nose" and "mat of nappy grey hair", and told of his "square jaw" and more:
With his squashed nose, square jaw, and nap of woolly grey hair, Brune could not be called comely, but he was not ugly either. … Sober, he was a quiet man, but a strong one. (AFFC Alayne II)
Recall too that Brune saves Sansa from Marillion, who tries to use her as Theon used the captain's daughter.
Having surveyed the field of (word)play, we can now see the 'rhyming':
  • Where Theon goes below deck as he approaches Lordsport and thinks about Dagmer, whose jaw is (verbatim) "splintered", Sansa, with Brune's help, climbs up to the deck using a (verbatim) "splintered" ladder as she approaches the Drearfort.
  • Where Theon spurns the 'hand up' Dagmer and his splintered jaw could have given him, "Sansa accept[s] a hand up from Lothor Brune" and climbs the "splintered" ladder.
  • Where Theon think of the Cleftjaw, who has a "gut-churning scar", Sansa thinks about her literally churning guts — her upset "tummy".
  • Where Theon thinks that Cleftjaw's "gut-churning scar" resulted from his being "near[ly] killed as a boy", Sansa's churning guts are related to the evident psychic scar she's suffered, which causes her to see a boy killed over and over again.
  • Dagmer's "shattered" teeth and "splintered" jaw (and Dagmar being sent to "Torrhen's Square") → Brune's "squashed nose" and "square jaw"
  • Where Dagmer is ironborn, and had his jaw "cracked… in half", Brune wears a "cracked and water-stained [as if from the sea]" jerkin.
  • Dagmer's "snowy mane of white hair" → Brune's "mat of nappy grey hair"/"nap of woolly grey hair"
  • Despite their 'old hair', Dagmer is "fierce" and "fearsome", Brune "strong".
  • Where Dagmer's smile is "ugly" but nonetheless fills Theon with warm memories (defying its appearance), Brune, who "could not be called comely, but… was not ugly either", is "stronger than he looks".
  • Where Dagmer "covered his cheeks and neck" with a beard but can't grow a 'proper' one due to his scar, which appears as a "seam", Brune doesn't look like a "proper knight" in his "patched… breeches" and "scuffed boots". (Note the sewing language — "seam" → "patched" — and the lexical similarity: "cheeks" → "breeches".)
  • Both men seem to have a penchant for drink (per the implications of Sansa commenting on Brune's nature "when sober") and a foregrounded relationship with singers. (Where Dagmer loves singers and songs, Brune is in conflict with Marillion — although the deeds of "Lothor Apple-Eater" are likely sung of, like Dagmer's exploits.)
Thus just as the Aeron of Theon's homcoming 'rhymes' with the Oswell of Petyr's homecoming, so is Theon's Dagmer Cleftjaw reworked in the person of Petyr's Lothor Brune.
And thus everything about Petyr's homecoming continues to remind us of Theon's homecoming, which makes sense… if Petyr is likewise a scion of ironborn royalty (e.g. if he's Hoare-ish).

The End, and The Distinct Possibility That The Rhyme Between Petyr's and Theon's Homecomings Isn't (Just) About Petyr Being Hoare-ish, After All

That's it. That's all I got regarding the recursively 'rhyming' homecomings of Theon and Petyr. For me, the insane scope and depth of the 'rhyming' between Petyr's homecoming and the homcoming of a scion of ironborn kings is entirely consistent with my broader hypothesis: that the blood of ironborn kings likewise flows in the veins of Petyr Littlefinger — namely "the black blood" of House Hoare of Orkmont.
And yet . . .
It remains that notwithstanding that my Hoare-ish Littlefinger posts connected virtually everything we're told about House Hoare and its various historical kings with things we're told about Petyr Baelish, this (sub)series has detailed recursion not between Petyr and the Hoares, but between Petyr and Theon Greyjoy, who is like the Hoares in that his blood is that of ironborn kings, but who is, nonetheless, a Greyjoy.
It also remains that Theon is the grandson of Quellon Greyjoy, and that [as I show here] — or just scroll down, I'll reproduce that post in the comments — Quellon Greyjoy as described in both TWOIAF and in ASOIAF is nothing if not incredibly Hoare-esque, and not just because his policies and biography in TWOIAF 'rhyme' with the policies and biographies of various Hoare kings, but because ASOIAF proper subtly suggests he was something of a 'whore' in that AFFC makes it abundantly clear that Quellon was a prolific sperm cannon by repeating over and over that he sired nine sons we know of (on three different wives).
Recall that we saw in [Part 2 of the original 'Littlefinger is Hoare-ish' series] that Petyr is in certain striking respects similar to Balon, to Euron, to Aeron, to Asha, and even to Victarion.
This all gives rise to the question: Does all the 'rhyming' between the homecomings of Theon Greyjoy and Petyr Baelish as detailed in this series 'merely' (further) hint that Petyr is (literally) Hoare-ish, and hence that he is like Theon in that he, too, is the scion of ironborn kings?
Or do all the Petyr-Greyjoy connections, coupled with Quellon's foregrounded fecundity and the presence of a barely concealed metaphor for an ocean-based sperm (whale) cannon on Petyr's estate (alongside a reminder of invaders from the sea)—
There was one place where the tide came jetting up out of a blowhole to shoot thirty feet into the air, and another where someone had chiseled the seven-pointed star of the new gods upon a boulder. Petyr said that marked one of the places the Andals had landed, when they came across the sea to wrest the Vale from the First Men.
—hint that at some point during his travels, Quellon Greyjoy bedded Petyr's mother Alayne (or perhaps Petyr's father's mother), cuckolding her husband and impregnating her with Petyr (or Lord Baelish)?
Note that Quellon was a direct, analogous contemporary to Petyr's 'father': Both are said to have fought for the Targaryens in the War of the Ninepenny Kings.

The Mockingbird & The Cuckolding Cowbird

Here we must consider that Petyr's sigil is the mockingbird, and that certain species of mockingbirds (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-banded_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk-browed_mockingbird) are well-known as hosts for the [brood parasitism] of certain [cowbirds]. That is, it is well-known that mockingbirds frequently care for the eggs of cowbirds and feed the hatched chicks of cowbirds as if they were their own offspring.
In short, mockingbirds accept being cuckolded.
Recall here that the men of Pyke greeted Theon with "bovine [as in cow, as in the cowbirds that cuckold mockingbirds] eyes", and that the o.g. brood parasites are cuckoo birds, from whence we derive our term "cuckolding".
Recall, too, that the Greyjoy banner over Pyke weirdly takes on the appearance of a bird during Theon's homecoming, which I've just spent 10 posts comparing to Petyr's homecoming:
Above the Sea Tower snapped his father's banner. The Myraham was too far off for Theon to see more than the cloth itself, but he knew the device it bore: the golden kraken of House Greyjoy, arms writhing and reaching against a black field. The banner streamed from an iron mast, shivering and twisting as the wind gusted, like a bird struggling to take flight.
Thus the possibility that Petyr's nominal "father" Lord Baelish (or Petyr's nominal paternal "grandfather") was cuckolded by Quellon Greyjoy, the Hoare-esque sperm cannon from the land of cowbird-evoking "bovine eyes", whose sigil is likened to a bird, is right there in his mockingbird sigil.
Indeed, I very much wonder whether we're not told all about the super-pollinator Garth Greenhand in part as a 'rhyming' hint that Quellon Greyjoy was a super-pollinator who spread his "seed" amongst the ladies of what the ironborn call the "green lands".

The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo

The notion that Petyr's mockingbird sigil may nod to Petyr's supposed father (or supposed paternal grandfather) getting cuckolded by Quellon Greyjoy reminds me of a song brought to my attention by MaxPayload: The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo was recorded in the 1930s by at least two acts, including the British movie star [Gracie Fields] — the highest paid film actress in the world c. 1937 — and an act called "The Two Gilberts".
[HERE] is a link to the Fields version.
To say the lyrics of the song remind me of Littlefinger's story is if anything an understatement, beginning with the opening image of "a lovesick youth and maiden":
A lovesick youth and maiden (down on the farm)
With hearts so heavy laden (down on the farm)
They held each other's hands and looked into each other's eye
And started to tell each other lies
To say the least, Littlefinger is closely identified with being a lovesick youth and with lying (including about his sexploits with the sisters Tully). And notably, he and Sansa practically begin their relationship by agreeing to lie about her being his daughter. (Sansa's heart is notably 'heavy laden' when this happens upon arrival at Littlefinger's tower — and sheep farm.)
Regarding the "down on the farm" setting, ASOIAF makes regular reference to the bountiful crops and rich farmlands of the Tullys' Riverlands, and we see the courtyards of Riverrun "teem[ing] with… cows, sheep, and chickens" in ACOK Catelyn V.
The song continues with a first kiss "by the cowshed door" (recalling that we're told that Petyr's estate has "a sheepfold"):
He kissed her by the cowshed door
She said "I've not been kissed before"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
Petyr was, of course, Lysa's first kiss, and probably Catelyn's as well, as well as Lysa's first fuck (regarding which, rest assured that the song gets deep into sexual double-entendre soon enough):
[O]ver there, beneath that bower, she and Lysa had played at kissing with Petyr.
She had not thought of that in years. How young they all had been—she no older than Sansa, Lysa younger than Arya, and Petyr younger still, yet eager. The girls had traded him between them, serious and giggling by turns. It came back to her so vividly she could almost feel his sweaty fingers on her shoulders and taste the mint on his breath. There was always mint growing in the godswood, and Petyr had liked to chew it. He had been such a bold little boy, always in trouble. "He tried to put his tongue in my mouth," Catelyn had confessed to her sister afterward, when they were alone. "He did with me too," Lysa had whispered, shy and breathless. "I liked it." (AGOT Catelyn XI)
"Petyr's breath is always fresh … he was the first man I ever kissed, you know." -Lysa (ASOS Sansa VI)
Next we see the maiden tease the eager "lovesick youth", as Cat ostensibly teased Petyr:
He said "My love I'll swear to you"
She said "I'll smack you if you do"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, said "Oh how you tease me"
"I'm so shy, I'm so shy, when you start to squeeze me"
He said "Come tell me pretty miss"
"Where did you learn to squeeze and kiss"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
I'd heard the name "Nellie Bly" before in the version of Frankie & Johnny recorded by the legendary father of country music, [Jimmie Rodgers], so hearing it again made me look it up. It turns out the name in both songs was borrowed from [a world-famous American journalist]. (Recall that GRRM went to school for journalism.)
The real Nellie Bly first became famous for writing an expose of conditions in a lunatic asylum for women in New York City. Her fame redoubled after she traveled around the world in 1889. She went on to write pulp serial novels and — notably, given Petyr's apparent designs on Sansa — to wed a much older millionaire man named . . . (wait for it) . . . "Seaman".
(Obviously "Seaman" resonates with the idea that Petyr is ironborn, with the sea in his eyes, and with the sperm-whale like "blowhole" on Petyr's lands, which recalls Theon's foregrounded semen from ACOK Theon I. It likewise suggests a reading of the song per which an older "Seaman" is seducing the "Nellie Bly". Could this presage Quellon seducing original Alayne, who I happen to believe has very intrepid genes herself?)
Anyway, back in the song, things take a "dark" turn:
She said "I love the twilight," down on the farm
Said he, "The dark is my light," down on the farm
My original Hoare-ish Littlefinger series highlighted various ways in which Petyr Baelish is Satan/Lucifedemon-coded, so the lovesick boy saying "The dark is my light" absolutely leaps out to me.
Especially because the couplet it's part of smells like it may well have informed a certain infamous exchange:
"Are you the Sword of the Morning now?"
"No. Men call me Darkstar, and I am of the night." (AFFC The Queenmaker)
Consider that the Sword of the Morning wields dawn, which colloquially coincides with (the maiden's preferred) morning "twilight", while we are clearly supposed to suspect that "Darkstar" (who is "of the night" a la the lovesick boy) — who is for some reason "the most dangerous man in Dorne" and who apparently resembles a "Dragonlord" — was sired by Aerys during his 270 visit to Dorne, with Aerys cuckolding, presumably, a man of House Dayne. (AFFC The Princess in the Tower; The Queenmaker) Note the double-entendre of laying pipe here — life-giving, fertilizing pipe, no less:
In 270 AC, during a visit to Sunspear, he told the Princess of Dorne that he would "make the Dornish deserts bloom" by digging a great underground canal beneath the mountains to bring water down from the rainwood. (TWOIAF)
There's a clear symmetry between the notion that Aeyrs cuckolded a Dayne to produce Darkstar and the idea that the noted Aerys-supporter and loyalist Quellon Greyjoy cuckolded a war hero small lord on the Fingers to produce Littlefinger. Doubly so if Littlefinger's mother was (as I have speculated elsewhere) the daughter of Duncan "the Small" Targaryen, Prince of Dragonflies.
If that couplet (in a song that otherwise smells Littlefingerian) reminds us of Darkstar, isn't it curious that the basic structure of Darkstar's implied origin (in the cuckolding of a small lord by a far greater lord) may (also/instead?) apply to Littlefinger's origin?
Back to The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo. The next line reads like a reference to Lysa's opinion of Petyr:
Said she "You seem to big and brave and mighty strong to me."
Compare with Lysa's very personal opinion of Petyr:
"He may not look as tall or strong as some, but he is worth more than all of them." (ASOS Sansa VI)
The song's next line is wild given Petyr and Lysa's history with moon tea (a tea brewed with certain plants not used in ordinary tea) and especially my conviction that [Petyr dosed Sansa with moon tea] during their voyage on the Merling King so as to make sure she was not pregnant with Tyrion's child:
Said he "Yes, I had onions for my tea."
(By the way, onions in ASOIAF are of course all about Davos. And who do I think Davos is? A possible Hoare-son or Quellon-son, and the Sailor's Wife's sailor, i.e. a sailor who sired a child and abandoned the mother, as, perhaps, Quellon sired Petyr on original-Alayne before leaving her to raise him on the Smallest Finger. Surely coincidence . . . unless this strange, weird old song has been informing George's Song since the mid-1990s.)
The lyrics continue with more Catelyn-esque teasing:
He said "I love you, yes I do"
She said to him "Oh yeah, says you?"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
He said "You're sweet beyond belief!"
Said she "You said it! OK, chief!"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
The lovesick boy is then encouraged to "walk 'round the houses"—
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, said "Walk 'round the houses"
—which 'just so happens' to recall rather closely Petyr and Sansa's sight-seeing tour of his lands, when "Petyr walked with her around his holdings", which include not just houses, but a symbolic sperm cannon and a reminder that foreigners sometimes land on these shores:
When the rains let up, Petyr walked with her around his holdings, which took less than half a day. He owned a lot of rocks, just as he had said. There was one place where the tide came jetting up out of a blowhole to shoot thirty feet into the air, and another where someone had chiseled the seven-pointed star of the new gods upon a boulder. Petyr said that marked one of the places the Andals had landed, when they came across the sea to wrest the Vale from the First Men.
Farther inland a dozen families lived in huts of piled stone beside a peat bog.
The song then references farm work and (via double-entendre) sex:
"Just while I, just while I go and milk the cowses"
Milk cows are, of course, linked to wet nursing and babies. And remember: It's cowbirds who make like cuckoos and cuckold mockingbirds.
The double-entendre gradually becomes obvious:
As they sat 'neath the stars above
She says to him "Oh, what is love?
And the mockingbird went hee-haw and the donkey went cuckoo [note the reversal!]
Well she sat there and milked the cow [lol]
"I'll do my bit" said he, "and how!" [lmao]
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
He found an old three-legged stool
And sat right down to milk the bull [come on!]
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
A milked bull? Quellon's son Victarion is linkened to a bull. Was Victarion's sire "milked" of his "seed" by Alayne Baelish? Did Quellon not only marry a woman of House Stonetree, but bone a woman wed to a man whose sigil was a "stone head"?
Regarding that "three-legged stool", recall that the dragon must have three heads, that a cuckolder turns a partnership into a three-legged affair, so to speak, and that a man with a large penis (see: "Littlefinger"?) is sometimes said to have [a third leg].
From there the song grows only more suspicious as potential inspiration, as it makes explicit reference to concealed paternity, and implicitly to an improper sexual relationship involving a "father" (which see Littlefinger and "Alayne"):
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly went all in a lather
Began to cry, shouting "Why, that's the cow's father!"
He turned white and looked surprised
Then to the bull apologized
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
The closing line about apologizing to the bull resonates with Petyr's dealings with Hoster, and perhaps with cuckoldry as well, as a trespass against patriarchal rights of possession over a woman.
The foregoing represents the seemingly better known Gracie Fields version. [The Two Gilberts version] is mostly the same, save for a few passages in the middle.
Sidebar: Regarding "The Two Gilberts", there 'just so happens' to be exactly two Gilberts in the ASOIAF canon.
One of ASOIAF's two Gilberts 'just so happens' to be one of the legendary scions of legendary sperm cannon and possibly Quellon Greyjoy analogue Garth Greenhand, Gilbert of the Vines, who 'just so happens' to be responsible for all that good Arbor wine Petyr loves so.
The other Gilbert is Gilbert Farring, who Stannis tells us "holds Storm's End for me". (ASOS Davos IV) Repeating that: ASOIAF'S second Gilbert "holds" something that belongs to Stannis in lieu of Stannis holding it himself. Almost like he's cuckolding him.
There are two other Farrings (like Gilbert) in the canon. One is Godry, "the Giantslayer", which sounds like something one might nickname a guy who cuckolded a guy with the Titan of Braavos on his shield. The other is Annara Farring. She was Lord Frey's seventh wife, and guess what she 'just so happens' to be known for? If you said "cuckolding her lordly husband", congratulations. And guess how we're told that? Via, of all things under the sun, a milk cow analogy:
[Black Walder had] had Edwyn's wife too, that was common knowledge, Fair Walda had been known to slip into his bed from time to time, and some even said he'd known the seventh Lady Frey [Annara Farring] a deal better than he should have. Small wonder he refused to marry. Why buy a cow when there were udders all around begging to be milked? (ASOS Epilogue)
(It was at this point that I went from "Maybe George has heard this song" to "George is 100% familiar with this song.")
End Sidebar
Right after the line about the onion tea, The Two Gilberts version sees the lovesick boy promise riches and wealth, recalling Petyr's lifelong interest in making money:
He said "I'll buy you furs and gems"
"And all the pretty thees[?] and thems[?]"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw

CONTINUED & CONCLUDED IN OLDEST REPLY, BELOW or HERE

submitted by M_Tootles to asoiaf [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:29 M_Tootles The Recursive Homecomings Of Petyr & Theon Part 10 of 10: Oswell & Aeron; Lothar & Dagmer; The Closing Twist (Spoilers TWOW)

This post is the last post in a series looking at the massive amount of 'rhyming' recursivity I believe exists between (a) the homecoming of Petyr Baelish to the Fingers and (b) the homecoming of Theon Greyjoy to Pyke.
While this series/post can be read simply as a study 'for its own sake' of the curious recursion between these storylines, it is my belief that the 'rhyming' explored here between the stories of Petyr and Theon may exist (at least in part) to foreshadow that, like Theon, Petyr Littlefinger, is (among other things) a scion of ironborn kings, because Petyr is Hoare-ish: I.e. because Petyr's blood is (in some part) the blood of the ironborn kings of House Hoare of Orkmont and, later, Harrenhal.
This post is also post 25 of 25 in my broader series on the topic of a Hoare-ish Littlefinger, which is indexed [HERE].
Even if I'm wrong about Littlefinger's lineage, the 'rhyming' recursivity between the homecomings of Theon and Petyr detailed in this series remains, and certainly merits attention.
NOTE: In what follows, all uncited quotes are from ASOS Sansa VI, which describes Petyr's homecoming to his "Drearfort" tower of the 'Smallest Finger', or ACOK Theon I, which describes Theon's homecoming to "drear" Pyke.
As in past posts, I sometimes use "→" as shorthand for "'prefigures' and/or 'informs' and/or 'is reworked by' and/or 'finds a recursive rhyme in'.
As in: ACOK Theon I ASOS Sansa VI.
This post picks up straight-away from where Part 9 left off. You can read Part 9 [HERE].
If you want to begin at the beginning, Part 1 is [HERE].

Aeron & Oswell

After Theon's homecoming chapter opens with Theon thinking "There was no safe anchorage at Pyke", which is copied nearly verbatim during Petyr's homecoming with Sansa, we see Theon anticipating his first glimpse of Pyke castle, and read this sentence:
Theon drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray, and looked for home.
That line proves to be a key part of a pun-tastic 'rhyme' between (a) Theon coming ashore from the Myraham and meeting Aeron and (b) Sansa coming ashore from the Merling King with the aid of Oswell.
I'll explain.
Note first that Oswell, who is…
tall and gangling, with long white hair and a great hooked nose, with eyes shaded by a cowl [like a monk's cowl!]… (ACOK Theon V)
—clearly 'rhymes' with Aeron, an ascetic priest (see Oswell's monk-ish cowl) who is…
Tall and thin, with… a beak of a nose… [and] ropes of dried seaweed were braided through his waist-long black hair and untrimmed beard.
They're set up as yin and yang: Tall and similarly built with notable noses and long hair… but one has "long white hair", the other "long black hair", and Aeron has an "untrimmed beard" while Oswell is clean-shaven.
Aeron's beard is not simply a beard, though, but a beard with seaweed in it, which 'rhymes' with Oswell being not simply clean-shaven, but clean-shaven in a sea-faring way, as his "windburnt face"—
She studied the old man's lined windburnt face, hook nose, white hair, and huge knuckly hands. (ASOS Sansa VI)
—prefigures the "wind-chafed skin" of Aeron's niece Asha, which is tagged as typical of the sea-faring ironborn—
Ironborn, he knew at a glance; lean and long-legged, with… wind-chafed skin, strong sure hands….
—as are her notably "strong sure hands", which similarly 'rhyme' with Oswell's notably "huge knuckly hands".
SIDEBAR: As for Aeron's robes here being "green and grey" ("and blue"), this underlines that Petyr's oft-mentioned "grey-green" eyes are like the sea, which (as I've mentioned in previous posts) suggests per Archmaester Haereg's maxim—
"You may dress an ironman in silks and velvets, teach him to read and write and give him books, instruct him in chivalry and courtesy and the mysteries of the Faith… but when you look into his eyes, the sea will still be there, cold and grey and cruel." (TWOIAF)
—that Littlefinger is, at least in part, an ironman.
END SIDEBAR
The first thing we're told about Aeron after Theon realizes who he is is that "he washed up safe on shore"—
A memory prodded at Theon. In one of his rare curt letters, Lord Balon had written of his youngest brother going down in a storm, and turning holy when he washed up safe on shore. "Uncle Aeron?" he said doubtfully.
—which prefigures Oswell splashing his way ashore at the Smallest Finger:
Oswell and Lothor splashed their way ashore, as did Littlefinger himself.
(If Oswell is Aeron-ish, surely Petyr making like Oswell and splashing about in the surf here could foreshadow that he is Hoare-ish. And perhaps some kind of religious figure as well.)

Drawn Up Hoods

With that Oswell/Aeron 'rhyme' in mind, consider again that, as Theon approaches castle Pyke on the Myraham
Theon drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray, and looked for home.
Sound familiar? That's because it's reworked when Sansa is rowed ashore by the "gangling", Aeron-esque Oswell:
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore. Sansa huddled in the bow under her cloak with the hood drawn up against the wind….
When Sansa gets to shore, "two old men" help to make sure she doesn't get even a little bit wet—
The two old men waded out up to their thighs to lift Sansa from the boat so she would not get her skirts wet.
—which was, of course, exactly the thing Theon was trying to avoid back in ACOK when he "drew the hood of his cloak up against the spray", as Sansa drew hers "up against the wind" when Oswell rowed her in.

Gangplank → Gangling.

GRRM is just warming up. When Theon reaches Lordsport and disembarks from the Myraham, he, too, avoids getting wet. At least initially. Where Sansa uses "gangling" Oswell to come ashore, Theon uses… a "gangplank":
Without waiting for a reply [from Myraham's captain], he strode down the gangplank. "Innkeeper," he barked. "I require a horse".

Kneeling Servants

The innkeeper never gets Theon his horse, of course (of course), because Aeron shows up. And what does gangling white-haired Oswell's black-haired physical mirror Aeron do? He makes Theon get wet after all.
"Kneel."
The ground was all stones[!] and mud. "Uncle, I—"
"Kneel. Or are you too proud now, a lordling of the green lands come among us?"
Theon knelt. He had a purpose here, and might need Aeron's help to achieve it. A crown was worth a little mud and horseshit on his breeches, he supposed.
"Bow your head." Lifting the skin, his uncle pulled the cork and directed a thin stream of seawater down upon Theon's head. It drenched his hair and ran over his forehead into his eyes. Sheets washed down his cheeks, and a finger crept under his cloak and doublet and down his back, a cold rivulet along his spine. The salt made his eyes burn, until it was all he could do not to cry out. He could taste the ocean on his lips. "Let Theon your servant be born again from the sea, as you were," Aeron Greyjoy intoned. "Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel."
Note that Theon kneeling on "stones and mud… and horseshit" before a priest with "seaweed" in his beard is reworked even as Oswell rows Sansa ashore and she huddles in her cloak like Theon, when the Baelish household kneels on rocks covered by nasty seaweed and Sansa dodges sheepshit:
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore. Sansa huddled in the bow under her cloak with the hood drawn up against the wind, wondering what awaited her. Servants emerged from the tower to meet them…. When they recognized Lord Petyr they knelt on the rocks.
[Petyr] led them up the strand over rocks slick with rotting seaweed. … Sansa had to step carefully; there were pellets [i.e. sheepshit] everywhere.

Blessings

Meanwhile, Aeron giving Theon his holy "bless[ing]" is reworked just before Sansa is rowed ashore, when Petyr asks for Sansa's "blessing" after he tells her they're not going to Winterfell and that he's going to wed Lysa:
"So silent, my lady?" said Petyr. "I was certain you would wish to give me your blessing. …"
"I . . . I pray you will have long years together, and many children, and be very happy in one another.
Sansa's reluctant acquiescence — both to giving the blessing and to going ashore and going along with Petyr's plan, which she had not anticipated — echoes Theon's reluctant acquiescence to both Aeron's blessing and Balon's plan of invasion, which he hadn't anticipated.
I suspect Littefinger was fed the line, "So silent, my lady?" before asking for Sansa's blessing as a nod to several pertinent silences in ACOK Theon I. First, the "sullen silence" of the Myraham's captain when he reluctantly acquiesces to Theon taking his would-be salt wife daughter below deck to get a blowjob; second, the "gloom of silence" between Theon and Aeron as they make the final approach to Pyke, post-blessing; and finally, Theon marking the absence of Euron's 'lady', Silence, as he sails into Lordsport:
Theon searched for his uncle Euron's Silence.
Truly, all things come round again.

Getting Wet & Staying Dry 1

But what about Aeron getting Theon pointedly wet? Aeron not only making Theon kneel but getting him wet and then riding with him to Pyke, is reworked (and reversed) not just by Oswell and Lothor rowing Sansa ashore — note the "rode" → "rowed" wordplay:
They [Aeron and Theon] rode in a gloom of silence.
Lothor and old Oswell rowed them ashore.
— and not just by Sansa being carried ashore and kept pointedly dry by two old men who were, seconds earlier, kneeling reverently on the seashore, but also by Aeron-ish Oswell helping Sansa "up" onto The Merling King from his rowboat while assuring her he won't let her fall into the sea, which he makes sure she doesn't:
The rower shipped the oars and helped Sansa to her feet. "Up now. Go on, girl, I got you." Sansa thanked him for his kindness, but received no answer but a grunt. It was much easier going up the rope ladder than it had been coming down the cliff. The oarsman Oswell followed close behind her(ASOS Sansa V)
So: Where Oswell-ish Aeron forces Theon to kneel and then wets him down with seawater, ceremonially "drowning" him after he comes down the "gangplank", the "gangling" Aeron-ish Oswell helps Sansa "to her feet" and then "up" while promising not to let her fall in the sea, where she could drown.

Getting Wet & Staying Dry 2

Aeron forcing Theon to kneel and getting him wet before he "rode" with him to Pyke is also reworked/reversed inside Petyr's tower, when Sansa's 'other' rower Lothor protects Sansa from Marillion's rape attempt— from being (like Theon) forced to get "wet", so to speak:
"My blood is stirred. And yours, I know … there's no wench half so lusty as one bastard born. Are you wet for me?"
"I'm a maiden," she protested.
"Truly? Oh, Alayne, Alayne, my fair maid, give me the gift of your innocence.
The wetness motif is played up again:
"He put a hand on her breast, and squeezed. "Let's get you out of these wet clothes. You wouldn't want them ripped, I know. Come, sweet lady, heed your heart—"
He wants to "get [her] out of [her] wet clothes" so he can get her "wet", so to speak. But where Aeron forced Theon to "kneel" and get wet in language that suddenly reads as quite rapey and spine-chilling—
Sheets washed down his cheeks [which cheeks?], and a finger[!] crept under his cloak and doublet and down his back, a cold rivulet along his spine."
—before he "rode" with him to castle Pyke, Lothor Brune, who "rowed" Sansa ashore, keeps her safe and 'dry':
Sansa heard the soft sound of steel on leather. "Singer," a rough voice said, "best go, if you want to sing again." The light was dim, but she saw a faint glimmer of a blade.
The singer saw it too. "Find your own wench—" The knife flashed, and he cried out. "You cut me!"
"I'll do worse, if you don't go."
And quick as that, Marillion was gone. The other remained, looming over Sansa in the darkness. "Lord Petyr said watch out for you." It was Lothor Brune's voice, she realized.

Dagmer Cleftjaw → Lothor Brune

And what do you know? Oswell's rowing partner Lothor Brune is also prefigured by Theon's homecoming. Not by Aeron, but by Dagmer Cleftjaw, who Theon thinks of as he approaches Lordsport on the Myraham. In fact, there's a huge 'rhyme' between (a) Dagmer Cleftjaw and his "gut-churning scar", on the one hand, and (b) the beginning of ASOS Sansa VI, which describes Lothor Brune and Sansa's upset stomach (i.e. her churning guts) and seemingly permanently scarred psyche, on the other. I'll try to lay out now.
Consider first that as Theon approaches Lordsport on the Myraham, he goes below deck, where he thinks about Dagmer Cleftjaw (along with the sour-like-Aeron Sylas Sourmouth, who was discussed in Part 8):
As the Myraham made her way landward, Theon paced the deck restlessly, scanning the shore. He had not thought to find Lord Balon himself at quayside, but surely his father would have sent someone to meet him. Sylas Sourmouth the steward, Lord Botley, perhaps even Dagmer Cleftjaw. It would be good to look on Dagmer's hideous old face again.
We meet Dagmer in ACOK Theon III,
He smiled himself to show how it was done. It made for a hideous sight. Under a snowy white mane of hair, Dagmer Cleftjaw had the most gut-churning scar Theon had ever seen, the legacy of the longaxe that had near killed him as a boy. The blow had splintered his jaw, shattered his front teeth, and left him four lips where other men had but two. A shaggy beard covered his cheeks and neck, but the hair would not grow over the scar, so a shiny seam of puckered, twisted flesh divided his face like a crevasse through a snowfield "We could hear them singing," the old warrior said. "It was a good song, and they sang it bravely."
Dagmer grinned more often and more broadly than Lord Balon ever had.
Ugly as it was, that smile brought back a hundred memories. Theon had seen it often as a boy, when he'd jumped a horse over a mossy wall, or flung an axe and split a target square. [More fond memories of Dagmer.]
We later learn that Dagmer is "fearsome" and a "fierce fighter" as well, despite being marked as aged by his "white mane of hair". (ADWD The King's Prize)
Dagmer's ship is named Foamdrinker, a double-entendre about ale-drinking, as he likes drinking, as well as reaving songs — especially the one a singer wrote about him:
He knew that would give Dagmer pause. A singer had made a song about the axe that cracked his jaw in half, and the old man loved to hear it. Whenever he was in his cups he would call for a reaving song, something loud and stormy that told of dead heroes and deeds of wild valor. (ACOK Theon III)
Balon puts Dagmer in Theon's reaving detachment. Theon foolishly resents this, not accepting that he is inexperienced and needs and could benefit enormously from a seasoned number two with whom he has a good relationship:
"You are to harry the Stony Shore, raiding the fishing villages and sinking any ships you chance to meet. … Aeron will accompany you, and Dagmer Cleftjaw."
…Theon felt as if he'd been slapped. He was being sent to do reaver's work, burning fishermen out of their hovels and raping their ugly daughters, and yet it seemed Lord Balon did not trust him sufficiently to do even that much. Bad enough to have to suffer the Damphair's scowls and chidings. With Dagmer Cleftjaw along as well, his command would be purely nominal. (ACOK Theon II)
Balon gives Theon Dagmer to help him, but Theon can only see it as an affront, so he tries to sideline him:
Dagmer Cleftjaw stood by the high carved prow of his longship, Foamdrinker. Theon had assigned him the task of guarding the ships; otherwise men would have called it Dagmer's victory, not his. A more prickly man might have taken that for a slight, but the Cleftjaw had only laughed. (ACOK Theon III)

That Splintery Ladder Again & Lothor's Hand Up

Now, remembering that we're introduced to Dagmer Cleftjaw while Theon is still aship en route to Pyke, consider again the first paragraph of Sansa VI, plus a bit more (which of course takes place while Petyr and Sansa are still aship en route to Petyr's Drearfort):
The ladder to the forecastle was steep and splintery, so Sansa accepted a hand up from Lothor Brune. Ser Lothor, she had to remind herself; the man had been knighted for his valor in the Battle of the Blackwater. Though no proper knight would wear those patched brown breeches and scuffed boots, nor that cracked and water-stained leather jerkin. A square-faced stocky man with a squashed nose and a mat of nappy grey hair, Brune spoke seldom. He is stronger than he looks, though. She could tell by the ease with which he lifted her, as if she weighed nothing at all. …
She had seldom ventured out on deck herself. Her little cabin was dank and cold, but Sansa had been sick for most of the voyage . . . sick with terror, sick with fever, or seasick . . . she could keep nothing down, and even sleep came hard. Whenever she closed her eyes she saw Joffrey… dying….
…Even this close to shore, the rolling of the ship made her tummy queasy.…
[Petyr] put a sympathetic arm about her shoulders. "Are you quite well? You look so pale."
"It's only my tummy. The seasickness."
We're subsequently reminded of Brune's "squashed nose" and "mat of nappy grey hair", and told of his "square jaw" and more:
With his squashed nose, square jaw, and nap of woolly grey hair, Brune could not be called comely, but he was not ugly either. … Sober, he was a quiet man, but a strong one. (AFFC Alayne II)
Recall too that Brune saves Sansa from Marillion, who tries to use her as Theon used the captain's daughter.
Having surveyed the field of (word)play, we can now see the 'rhyming':
  • Where Theon goes below deck as he approaches Lordsport and thinks about Dagmer, whose jaw is (verbatim) "splintered", Sansa, with Brune's help, climbs up to the deck using a (verbatim) "splintered" ladder as she approaches the Drearfort.
  • Where Theon spurns the 'hand up' Dagmer and his splintered jaw could have given him, "Sansa accept[s] a hand up from Lothor Brune" and climbs the "splintered" ladder.
  • Where Theon think of the Cleftjaw, who has a "gut-churning scar", Sansa thinks about her literally churning guts — her upset "tummy".
  • Where Theon thinks that Cleftjaw's "gut-churning scar" resulted from his being "near[ly] killed as a boy", Sansa's churning guts are related to the evident psychic scar she's suffered, which causes her to see a boy killed over and over again.
  • Dagmer's "shattered" teeth and "splintered" jaw (and Dagmar being sent to "Torrhen's Square") → Brune's "squashed nose" and "square jaw"
  • Where Dagmer is ironborn, and had his jaw "cracked… in half", Brune wears a "cracked and water-stained [as if from the sea]" jerkin.
  • Dagmer's "snowy mane of white hair" → Brune's "mat of nappy grey hair"/"nap of woolly grey hair"
  • Despite their 'old hair', Dagmer is "fierce" and "fearsome", Brune "strong".
  • Where Dagmer's smile is "ugly" but nonetheless fills Theon with warm memories (defying its appearance), Brune, who "could not be called comely, but… was not ugly either", is "stronger than he looks".
  • Where Dagmer "covered his cheeks and neck" with a beard but can't grow a 'proper' one due to his scar, which appears as a "seam", Brune doesn't look like a "proper knight" in his "patched… breeches" and "scuffed boots". (Note the sewing language — "seam" → "patched" — and the lexical similarity: "cheeks" → "breeches".)
  • Both men seem to have a penchant for drink (per the implications of Sansa commenting on Brune's nature "when sober") and a foregrounded relationship with singers. (Where Dagmer loves singers and songs, Brune is in conflict with Marillion — although the deeds of "Lothor Apple-Eater" are likely sung of, like Dagmer's exploits.)
Thus just as the Aeron of Theon's homcoming 'rhymes' with the Oswell of Petyr's homecoming, so is Theon's Dagmer Cleftjaw reworked in the person of Petyr's Lothor Brune.
And thus everything about Petyr's homecoming continues to remind us of Theon's homecoming, which makes sense… if Petyr is likewise a scion of ironborn royalty (e.g. if he's Hoare-ish).

The End, and The Distinct Possibility That The Rhyme Between Petyr's and Theon's Homecomings Isn't (Just) About Petyr Being Hoare-ish, After All

That's it. That's all I got regarding the recursively 'rhyming' homecomings of Theon and Petyr. For me, the insane scope and depth of the 'rhyming' between Petyr's homecoming and the homcoming of a scion of ironborn kings is entirely consistent with my broader hypothesis: that the blood of ironborn kings likewise flows in the veins of Petyr Littlefinger — namely "the black blood" of House Hoare of Orkmont.
And yet . . .
It remains that notwithstanding that my Hoare-ish Littlefinger posts connected virtually everything we're told about House Hoare and its various historical kings with things we're told about Petyr Baelish, this (sub)series has detailed recursion not between Petyr and the Hoares, but between Petyr and Theon Greyjoy, who is like the Hoares in that his blood is that of ironborn kings, but who is, nonetheless, a Greyjoy.
It also remains that Theon is the grandson of Quellon Greyjoy, and that [as I show here] — or just scroll down, I'll reproduce that post in the comments — Quellon Greyjoy as described in both TWOIAF and in ASOIAF is nothing if not incredibly Hoare-esque, and not just because his policies and biography in TWOIAF 'rhyme' with the policies and biographies of various Hoare kings, but because ASOIAF proper subtly suggests he was something of a 'whore' in that AFFC makes it abundantly clear that Quellon was a prolific sperm cannon by repeating over and over that he sired nine sons we know of (on three different wives).
Recall, too, that we saw in [Part 2 of the original 'Littlefinger is Hoare-ish' series] that Petyr is in certain striking respects similar to Balon, to Euron, to Aeron, to Asha, and even to Victarion.
This all gives rise to the question: Does all the 'rhyming' between the homecomings of Theon Greyjoy and Petyr Baelish as detailed in this series 'merely' (further) hint that Petyr is (literally) Hoare-ish, and hence that he is like Theon in that he, too, is the scion of ironborn kings?
Or do all the Petyr-Greyjoy connections, coupled with Quellon's foregrounded fecundity and the presence of a barely concealed metaphor for an ocean-based sperm (whale) cannon on Petyr's estate (alongside a reminder of invaders from the sea)—
There was one place where the tide came jetting up out of a blowhole to shoot thirty feet into the air, and another where someone had chiseled the seven-pointed star of the new gods upon a boulder. Petyr said that marked one of the places the Andals had landed, when they came across the sea to wrest the Vale from the First Men.
—hint that at some point during his travels, Quellon Greyjoy bedded Petyr's mother Alayne (or perhaps Petyr's father's mother), cuckolding her husband and impregnating her with Petyr (or Lord Baelish)?
Note that Quellon was a direct, analogous contemporary to Petyr's 'father': Both are said to have fought for the Targaryens in the War of the Ninepenny Kings.

The Mockingbird & The Cuckolding Cowbird

Here we must consider that Petyr's sigil is the mockingbird, and that certain species of mockingbirds (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-banded_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_mockingbird and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk-browed_mockingbird) are well-known as hosts for the [brood parasitism] of certain [cowbirds]. That is, it is well-known that mockingbirds frequently care for the eggs of cowbirds and feed the hatched chicks of cowbirds as if they were their own offspring.
In short, mockingbirds accept being cuckolded.
Recall here that the men of Pyke greeted Theon with "bovine [as in cow, as in the cowbirds that cuckold mockingbirds] eyes", and that the o.g. brood parasites are cuckoo birds, from whence we derive our term "cuckolding".
Recall, too, that the Greyjoy banner over Pyke weirdly takes on the appearance of a bird during Theon's homecoming, which I've just spent 10 posts comparing to Petyr's homecoming:
Above the Sea Tower snapped his father's banner. The Myraham was too far off for Theon to see more than the cloth itself, but he knew the device it bore: the golden kraken of House Greyjoy, arms writhing and reaching against a black field. The banner streamed from an iron mast, shivering and twisting as the wind gusted, like a bird struggling to take flight.
Thus the possibility that Petyr's nominal "father" Lord Baelish (or Petyr's nominal paternal "grandfather") was cuckolded by Quellon Greyjoy, the Hoare-esque sperm cannon from the land of cowbird-evoking "bovine eyes", whose sigil is likened to a bird, is right there in his mockingbird sigil.
Indeed, I very much wonder whether we're not told all about the super-pollinator Garth Greenhand in part as a 'rhyming' hint that Quellon Greyjoy was a super-pollinator who spread his "seed" amongst the ladies of what the ironborn call the "green lands".

The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo

The notion that Petyr's mockingbird sigil may nod to Petyr's supposed father (or supposed paternal grandfather) getting cuckolded by Quellon Greyjoy reminds me of a song brought to my attention by MaxPayload: The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo was recorded in the 1930s by at least two acts, including the British movie star [Gracie Fields] — the highest paid film actress in the world c. 1937 — and an act called "The Two Gilberts".
To say the lyrics of the song remind me of Littlefinger's story is if anything an understatement, beginning with the opening image of "a lovesick youth and maiden":
A lovesick youth and maiden (down on the farm)
With hearts so heavy laden (down on the farm)
They held each other's hands and looked into each other's eye
And started to tell each other lies
To say the least, Littlefinger is closely identified with being a lovesick youth and with lying (including about his sexploits with the sisters Tully). And notably, he and Sansa practically begin their relationship by agreeing to lie about her being his daughter. (Sansa's heart is notably 'heavy laden' when this happens upon arrival at Littlefinger's tower — and sheep farm.)
Regarding the "down on the farm" setting, ASOIAF makes regular reference to the bountiful crops and rich farmlands of the Tullys' Riverlands, and we see the courtyards of Riverrun "teem[ing] with… cows, sheep, and chickens" in ACOK Catelyn V.
The song continues with a first kiss "by the cowshed door" (recalling that we're told that Petyr's estate has "a sheepfold"):
He kissed her by the cowshed door
She said "I've not been kissed before"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
Petyr was, of course, Lysa's first kiss, and probably Catelyn's as well, as well as Lysa's first fuck (regarding which, rest assured that the song gets deep into sexual double-entendre soon enough):
[O]ver there, beneath that bower, she and Lysa had played at kissing with Petyr.
She had not thought of that in years. How young they all had been—she no older than Sansa, Lysa younger than Arya, and Petyr younger still, yet eager. The girls had traded him between them, serious and giggling by turns. It came back to her so vividly she could almost feel his sweaty fingers on her shoulders and taste the mint on his breath. There was always mint growing in the godswood, and Petyr had liked to chew it. He had been such a bold little boy, always in trouble. "He tried to put his tongue in my mouth," Catelyn had confessed to her sister afterward, when they were alone. "He did with me too," Lysa had whispered, shy and breathless. "I liked it." (AGOT Catelyn XI)
"Petyr's breath is always fresh … he was the first man I ever kissed, you know." -Lysa (ASOS Sansa VI)
Next we see the maiden tease the eager "lovesick youth", as Cat ostensibly teased Petyr:
He said "My love I'll swear to you"
She said "I'll smack you if you do"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, said "Oh how you tease me"
"I'm so shy, I'm so shy, when you start to squeeze me"
He said "Come tell me pretty miss"
"Where did you learn to squeeze and kiss"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
I'd heard the name "Nellie Bly" before in the version of Frankie & Johnny recorded by the legendary father of country music, [Jimmie Rodgers], so hearing it again made me look it up. It turns out the name in both songs was borrowed from [a world-famous American journalist]. (Recall that GRRM went to school for journalism.)
The real Nellie Bly first became famous for writing an expose of conditions in a lunatic asylum for women in New York City. Her fame redoubled after she traveled around the world in 1889. She went on to write pulp serial novels and — notably, given Petyr's apparent designs on Sansa — to wed a much older millionaire man named . . . (wait for it) . . . "Seaman".
(Obviously "Seaman" resonates with the idea that Petyr is ironborn, with the sea in his eyes, and with the sperm-whale like "blowhole" on Petyr's lands, which recalls Theon's foregrounded semen from ACOK Theon I. It likewise suggests a reading of the song per which an older "Seaman" is seducing the "Nellie Bly". Could this presage Quellon seducing original-Alayne, who I happen to believe has very intrepid genes herself?)
Anyway, back in the song, things take a "dark" turn:
She said "I love the twilight," down on the farm
Said he, "The dark is my light," down on the farm
My original Hoare-ish Littlefinger series highlighted various ways in which Petyr Baelish is Satan/Lucifedemon-coded, so the lovesick boy saying "The dark is my light" absolutely leaps out to me.
Especially because the couplet it's part of smells like it may well have informed a certain infamous exchange:
"Are you the Sword of the Morning now?"
"No. Men call me Darkstar, and I am of the night." (AFFC The Queenmaker)
Consider that the Sword of the Morning wields dawn, which colloquially coincides with (the maiden's preferred) morning "twilight", while we are clearly supposed to suspect that "Darkstar" (who is "of the night" a la the lovesick boy) — who is for some reason "the most dangerous man in Dorne" and who apparently resembles a "Dragonlord" — was sired by Aerys during his 270 visit to Dorne, with Aerys cuckolding, presumably, a man of House Dayne. (AFFC The Princess in the Tower; The Queenmaker) Note the double-entendre of laying pipe here — life-giving, fertilizing pipe, no less:
In 270 AC, during a visit to Sunspear, he told the Princess of Dorne that he would "make the Dornish deserts bloom" by digging a great underground canal beneath the mountains to bring water down from the rainwood. (TWOIAF)
There's a clear symmetry between the notion that Aeyrs cuckolded a Dayne to produce Darkstar and the idea that the noted Aerys-supporter and loyalist Quellon Greyjoy cuckolded a war hero small lord on the Fingers to produce Littlefinger. Doubly so if Littlefinger's mother was (as I have speculated elsewhere) the daughter of Duncan "the Small" Targaryen, Prince of Dragonflies.
If that couplet (in a song that otherwise smells Littlefingerian) reminds us of Darkstar, isn't it curious that the basic structure of Darkstar's implied origin (in the cuckolding of a small lord by a far greater lord) may (also/instead?) apply to Littlefinger's origin?
Back to The Mocking Bird Went Cuckoo. The next line reads like a reference to Lysa's opinion of Petyr:
Said she "You seem to big and brave and mighty strong to me."
Compare with Lysa's very personal opinion of Petyr:
"He may not look as tall or strong as some, but he is worth more than all of them." (ASOS Sansa VI)
The song's next line is wild given Petyr and Lysa's history with moon tea (a tea brewed with certain plants not used in ordinary tea) and especially my conviction that [Petyr dosed Sansa with moon tea] during their voyage on the Merling King so as to make sure she was not pregnant with Tyrion's child:
Said he "Yes, I had onions for my tea."
(By the way, onions in ASOIAF are of course all about Davos. And who do I think Davos is? A possible Hoare-son or Quellon-son, and the Sailor's Wife's sailor, i.e. a sailor who sired a child and abandoned the mother, as, perhaps, Quellon sired Petyr on Alayne before leaving her to raise him on the Smallest Finger. Surely coincidence . . . unless this strange, weird old song has been informing George's Song since the mid-1990s.)
The lyrics continue with more Catelyn-esque teasing:
He said "I love you, yes I do"
She said to him "Oh yeah, says you?"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
He said "You're sweet beyond belief!"
Said she "You said it! OK, chief!"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
The lovesick boy is then encouraged to "walk 'round the houses"—
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly, said "Walk 'round the houses"
—which 'just so happens' to recall rather closely Petyr and Sansa's sight-seeing tour of his lands, when "Petyr walked with her around his holdings", which include not just houses, but a symbolic sperm cannon and a reminder that foreigners sometimes land on these shores:
When the rains let up, Petyr walked with her around his holdings, which took less than half a day. He owned a lot of rocks, just as he had said. There was one place where the tide came jetting up out of a blowhole to shoot thirty feet into the air, and another where someone had chiseled the seven-pointed star of the new gods upon a boulder. Petyr said that marked one of the places the Andals had landed, when they came across the sea to wrest the Vale from the First Men.
Farther inland a dozen families lived in huts of piled stone beside a peat bog.
The song then references farm work and (via double-entendre) sex:
"Just while I, just while I go and milk the cowses"
Milk cows are, of course, linked to wet nursing and babies. And remember: It's cowbirds who make like cuckoos and cuckold mockingbirds.
The double-entendre gradually becomes obvious:
As they sat 'neath the stars above
She says to him "Oh, what is love?
And the mockingbird went hee-haw and the donkey went cuckoo [note the reversal!]
Well she sat there and milked the cow [lol]
"I'll do my bit" said he, "and how!" [lmao]
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
He found an old three-legged stool
And sat right down to milk the bull [come on!]
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
A milked bull? Quellon's son Victarion is linkened to a bull. Was Victarion's sire "milked" of his "seed" by Alayne Baelish? Did Quellon not only marry a woman of House Stonetree, but bone a woman wed to a man whose sigil was a "stone head"?
Regarding that "three-legged stool", recall that the dragon must have three heads, that a cuckolder turns a partnership into a three-legged affair, so to speak, and that a man with a large penis (see: "Littlefinger"?) is sometimes said to have [a third leg].
From there the song grows only more suspicious as potential inspiration, as it makes explicit reference to concealed paternity, and implicitly to an improper sexual relationship involving a "father" (which see Littlefinger and "Alayne"):
Nellie Bly, Nellie Bly went all in a lather
Began to cry, shouting "Why, that's the cow's father!"
He turned white and looked surprised
Then to the bull apologized
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw
The closing line about apologizing to the bull resonates with Petyr's dealings with Hoster, and perhaps with cuckoldry as well, as a trespass against patriarchal rights of possession over a woman.
The foregoing represents the seemingly better known Gracie Fields version. The Two Gilberts version is mostly the same, save for a few passages in the middle.
Sidebar: Regarding "The Two Gilberts", there 'just so happens' to be exactly two Gilberts in the ASOIAF canon.
One of ASOIAF's two Gilberts 'just so happens' to be one of the legendary scions of legendary sperm cannon and possibly Quellon Greyjoy analogue Garth Greenhand, Gilbert of the Vines, who 'just so happens' to be responsible for all that good Arbor wine Petyr loves so.
The other Gilbert is Gilbert Farring, who Stannis tells us "holds Storm's End for me". (ASOS Davos IV) Repeating that: ASOIAF'S second Gilbert "holds" something that belongs to Stannis in lieu of Stannis holding it himself. Almost like he's cuckolding him.
There are two other Farrings (like Gilbert) in the canon. One is Godry, "the Giantslayer", which sounds like something one might nickname a guy who cuckolded a guy with the Titan of Braavos on his shield. The other is Annara Farring. She was Lord Frey's seventh wife, and guess what she 'just so happens' to be known for? If you said "cuckolding her lordly husband", congratulations. And guess how we're told that? Via, of all things under the sun, a milk cow analogy:
[Black Walder had] had Edwyn's wife too, that was common knowledge, Fair Walda had been known to slip into his bed from time to time, and some even said he'd known the seventh Lady Frey [Annara Farring] a deal better than he should have. Small wonder he refused to marry. Why buy a cow when there were udders all around begging to be milked? (ASOS Epilogue)
(It was at this point that I went from "Maybe George has heard this song" to "George is 100% familiar with this song.")
End Sidebar
Right after the line about the onion tea, The Two Gilberts version sees the lovesick boy promise riches and wealth, recalling Petyr's lifelong interest in making money:
He said "I'll buy you furs and gems"
"And all the pretty thees[?] and thems[?]"
And the mockingbird went cuckoo and the donkey went hee-haw

CONTINUED & CONCLUDED IN OLDEST REPLY, BELOW or HERE

submitted by M_Tootles to pureasoiaf [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:24 neverheardofsports Green snot after a week after cold goes away??

So recently my body has been feeling rough. It started out Saturday with a possible UTI, and at the same time I was exhibiting possible symptoms of a cold or sinus infection. I thought it would go away so I didn’t go to the doctor. During that time I developed a minor cold, I was blowing my nose a lot and of course I had green snot. My cold/sinus infection went away but I’ve still been dealing with a runny nose. On Wednesday I decided to get put on antibiotics for my UTI, and today when I went to go blow my nose my snot was green again. Does this mean my cold is coming back? I feel fine otherwise, there is a little pressure in my nasal area but other than that I feel fine other than my UTI symptoms. What do I do?
submitted by neverheardofsports to NoStupidQuestions [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:16 RoughRidersRecruiter [A3][NA/AU][Recruiting] Rough Riders: Accessible Milsim Dedicated to Storytelling

Before you read any further, check out our Unit Culture Primer to see what we’re all about.
NATO JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
US CENTCOM
OPERATION MYRMIDON
3D COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE “ROUGH RIDERS”
The 3rd Combined Joint Task Force, colloquially known as the Rough Riders, is a special purpose task force created by NATO JSOC with the intent of deterring CSAT influence in the Mediterranean and abroad. Falling under US Central Command, the Rough Riders are a unit hand picked from volunteers across all NATO/ANZUS operating forces. Typically, the Rough Riders are attached to conventional NATO forces to serve as force multipliers. They specialize in Direct Action, Counter-Insurgency, Special Reconnaissance, and forward observation for NATO fire support assets.
What we do:
The year is 2026, and the world stands poised for great change. With rising tensions in the Middle East and the Pacific, a new world power has emerged: the Canton protocol Strategic Alliance (CSAT). Premiered by China and Iran, this new treaty organization stands poised to threaten NATO's long-reigning global military hegemony. A new Cold War has begun.
In the face of this new threat, NATO Joint Special Operations Command has authorized the formation of a special purpose unit to directly intervene against CSAT’s growing sphere of influence. As a member of the Rough Riders, you will witness firsthand the years leading up to ArmA 3’s “The East Wind” campaign and the vibrant political climate of 2035. Your actions and the actions of your brothers in arms will tell the story of NATO defiance in the face of CSATs rise to power. You’ll have epic tales to tell, comrades to mourn, and more than enough action.
In the Rough Riders, we put storytelling and fun at the forefront. With a wonderful team of Game Masters and Writers, we aim to give you those “movie moments” and incredible stories of heroism, intense combat, and even hilarity when ArmA decides to ArmA somebody (or all of us).
What can I expect from the Rough Riders?
What do the Rough Riders expect from me?
What does “Accessible Milsim” mean?
In the Rough Riders, we've built our community around making the junior enlisted experience as drama-free as possible. We believe that solid milsim operations can still work without suffocating our enlisted with constricting MOS systems and countless hours of basic training. The idea is that new members can join the unit, download the mods and jump right into the action.
This is made possible by increasingly serious levels of milsim orientation the further up the chain of command you go. Your average player can jump right into fun and challenging operations if their Fireteam and Squad Leaders have the adequate training and mentality. By volunteering to try for a leadership position, you increase your commitment and seriousness level.
Accessible milsim means that you choose the level of dedication and milsim seriousness that you want. From casually showing up to be boots on the ground blowing stuff up, to managing training and combat leadership, all the way to the paperwork simulator that comes with an officer commission.
You get out what you put in.
Training:
You don't need to be a grizzled ArmA veteran to join the Rough Riders. Our simple training program is intended to bring even brand new players up to speed without killing them with boredom. You can expect to learn the following:
- TFAR Setup
- Rough Riders Intro (who we are, what we do, expectations-both ways)
- Intro to Unit Life (who you are, what you'll be doing as a new member, chain of command)
- Role Interest Declaration (helps us shape and personalize your training)
- ArmA Basics
- ACE Basics
- TFAR Basic Training
- Common Sense Combat/Fireteam Training
- CQB Basic Training
Between deployments, we do a garrison rotation that is focused on catching any new members up to speed and helping veteran members and NCOs grow and improve. The Hebontes schedule is a several week process. This allows for the writing/zeusing team to have time to create a quality deployment with all the necessary lore bits and planning considerations, while giving the unit time to relax and make mistakes in a controlled and learning-focused environment.
Opportunities:
Rough Riders members fill a multitude of roles, and are allowed to switch between them for different missions so long as they have passed the appropriate training. Roles available to Rough Riders are:
-Zeus
-**Rifleman/Designated Marksman
-AT/AA Specialist
- Automatic Rifleman
-Grenadier
-Radio Operator
-Combat Medic/ MEDEVAC Medic
-Combat Engineer
-Artilleryman/Fire Direction Officer
-Rotary-wing Aircraft Crew/Pilot
-Fixed-wing Aircraft Pilot
-IFV/APC Crew/Commander
-Media ReporteJournalist
Leadership opportunities are made available to interested members who are noted to possess technical competency and the ability to communicate effectively. Through a program we call the Warrior Leaders Course, NCO candidates are put to the test via a series of written and field exams. We have systems in place for leadership development too- so if you’re not ready to lead now (but want to), we can teach you how to be a leader.
Community members may join our writing/zeusing team and contribute to the development of our world in-game. It is expected that these individuals be team players overall, and be able to understand and support the bigger picture as determined by the administration team. At the end of the day it's about making sure the players had fun, and telling a memorable story/giving them opportunities to have stories about the operation- not about how cool you are as a Zeus.
**Designated Marksman/Sniper School is open to Rough Riders with a score of 38+ (Expert) on their Rifle Qual, who have achieved the rank of Lance Corporal. Members are eligible for promotion to Lance Corporal after one (1) full deployment with the unit.
Operations:
We operate Monday/Friday/Saturday starting at ~7pm-~8pm EST. Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday are off days and Squad Leaders may run trainings if requested or if they see fit. Members typically play other games in the discord together on these off days as well.
There is no mandatory attendance expectation- we want to see you around, but everyone understands that real life comes first.
We operate on a deployment system, meaning that we spend prolonged periods of time in various regions of the world participating in roughly 1-2 month long persistent environments. Between these deployments we dedicate a few weeks to retraining the unit, catching new players up on anything they haven't already figured out during their deployment, and testing NCO candidates while our Zeus/Writer team works on the next deployment.
Information:
Founded September 2018, Rough Riders is actively seeking new members to help increase our core of dedicated players. We operate with a reinforced platoon (~40ish) that includes infantry and a myriad of support elements also manned by our members.
The Rough Riders consists of primarily North American (NA) members, and so most things are scheduled with that in mind. We do however have an international community with wonderful members from places like Australia, Laos, Russia, and elsewhere. Anybody and everybody is welcome in the Rough Riders- we just ask that you are able to speak, read, and understand English.
To join, simply join our discord and introduce yourself! No application necessary, and no sitting through hours of tedious basic training just to blow things up.
Check out some badass screenshots!: https://imgur.com/a/MEvB9by
Our discord server: https://discord.gg/KEKeawr
Our Official Arma 3 Unit page: https://units.arma3.com/unit/3djtf
submitted by RoughRidersRecruiter to FindAUnit [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:09 InitiateConscious Feedback on my recovery/spiritual story

I appreciate everyone in this sub Reddit. I haven’t posted anything here yet but I have read a lot. I have been working on a book for the last several months and I have 28,200 words. I would like to share one of my chapters to get feedback.
This is chapter 8
My father was a chief of police and several other members of my family were in law enforcement. I had been raised around and amongst police officers since I was very young and the seeds had been planted in my heart to follow in my father’s footsteps. I dropped out of high school in my junior year because I was utterly failing in my academics and frankly had no interest. I was working at Marvin’s IGA grocery store for most of the time when I was 17. After I turned 18 however, I began to look for a more serious job. My dad had heard that the local jail was hiring and that they would hire at 18 years of age. He explained that the jail was typically the first step on the path on starting a career in law enforcement and that many cops he knew had spent a year or two working at the jail before becoming police officers. In February of 2008 I applied and in early March I began a pre-employment screening process. This consisted of a background check and a polygraph test. I had never been criminally in trouble so the background check went fine. I am sure some of them had heard about my UFO 911 call but it was never mentioned to me if they had. As I walked into the administration side of the Sheriff’s Office, I could feel my heart pounding against my chest. I knew what was waiting for me - a dreaded polygraph test. The room was small, and the only thing between me and the stern-looking lieutenant was a desk. But what caught my attention was the intimidating chair in front of the desk, with various sensors and attachments ready to measure my every physical response. The lieutenant welcomed me, but his tone was stern as he explained that this was a mandatory test for all recruits seeking employment at the facility. The silence in the room was deafening, and the air was thick with tension. I knew that this moment would determine my future, and I could not help but wonder, would I pass the test or fail? I had been previously told what sorts of questions would be on the test. Several of which I knew I would have to lie on. Especially if they asked if I had ever used illegal drugs as I had smoked marijuana with friends by this point. I had been quite a book reader at this point in my life all ready and at one point I had read about how to fool a polygraph test and it essentially went like this. To fool the polygraph sensors, you have to believe your own lies. The sensors are looking for physiological signs of deception, guilt, anticipation anything of that sort. So, you must not view your answers as lies. There has to be an agreement in my mind already that the entire thing is a farce. This man is not really trying to read me, this is simply a round about way of filling out a form in his possession and I am putting the answers as I want them to appear on the form. So, in my heart this is no a question of true or false. It is a question of what I want to appear on the paper. Therefor when a question is asked. I am not lying regardless of what I say, I am simply dictating to him what to put on the paper for me. Another tip I had read was to focus on a particular place on the wall in front of you and concentrate on it. I sat down and said I was ready. He then began by asking my name and what town we were in for a base reading. Next came the questions. Have you ever committed a serious crime that went undetected? A normal response to this question would be to begin to think back over one’s history and to question one’s self to make sure you weren’t missing anything. However, I stared at the wall and decided the answer to that question needed to be no, so I said no. The polygraph examination went on like this until the end. I can’t say I passed with flying colors however. Lieutenant Carter at the end looked at me and told me my lines were strange and did not indicate either deception or truthfulness but were what they would call inconclusive. Which is still passable for I passed my exam although I got a few odd looks from the lieutenant before I left. Not long after this I was being fitted for a jailer uniform and being distributed the equipment I would be using in my new role as Jail Deputy. I had a grand sense of embarking on a noble quest that would lead to untold adventures and a feeling of being a part of something much bigger than myself. Putting on the uniform for the first time went straight to my head as I could almost feel the new powers of authority emanating out from my being. The jail was connected to the main Sheriff's Office by a set of sturdy steel doors, which were operated remotely from a centralized command center. Once inside, there was no way out unless the command center authorized it. Although there were one or two physical keys, they were not kept on the premises and were reserved only for emergency situations where the controls at the command center were inaccessible. As I walked down the corridor towards the "Pod" where I was to begin my work, I couldn't help but notice the thick, grey concrete walls that lined the passageway. The Pod I would be working in for the first few months was known as D Pod. Essentially, a Pod was a hexagonal command center situated on a raised platform, encircled by remotely operated doors that led to various cell blocks. D-Pod comprised of 6 cell blocks and 2 recreational yards. When entering D-Pod, the two largest cell blocks, D-109 and D-130, were situated on the left-hand side. D-109 housed individuals jailed on misdemeanor charges, while D-130 was reserved for those facing felony charges who had not yet gone to trial. Essentially, it was the pre-trial felony block. On the right-hand side, there were four smaller blocks. One of these, D-150, hosted federal inmates who were predominantly Hispanic individuals with immigration-related holds. However, occasionally, unique inmates with charges related to federal crimes, such as crossing state borders to commit a crime, would also be held in D-150. The final two blocks were D-169 which hosted all inmates with sex related crimes and D-170 which held all inmates with Felony charges who had recently been convicted at trial but had not been sent to prison yet. Initially, my job at the jail was titled "Working D-Pod Direct," which involved spending time in the two largest cell blocks, D-109 and D-130, rather than simply standing in the command area of the Pod. As I began to acclimate myself to the environment and interact with the inmates, I noticed a variety of odors that were foreign to me. The persistent scent of sweat and human body odor was particularly revolting. I couldn't help but cringe at the thought of it. As I glanced around at the inmates, I couldn't help but feel a sense of disdain towards them. They had made choices that landed them in jail, and now they were paying the price. While I would be civil and courteous, I didn't feel as though I owed them anything. It was clear that breaking the rules on my watch was not an option. I quickly familiarized myself with the list of inmate infractions and their respective punishments. If an inmate broke certain rules, they could be subjected to lockdown. It became somewhat of a game to try and catch them in the act, and why not? They had committed a crime and their time in jail should not be pleasant or enjoyable. After all, what motivation would they have to not reoffend and come back? Thanks to constantly splitting wood, my arms had become rock-solid. In addition, I had been diligently honing my boxing skills and was eager for a potential altercation. The idea of an inmate attempting to intimidate me was thrilling, and I relished the possibility of a challenge. My father had earned a reputation as a formidable fighter, and now it was time for me to begin carving out my own legacy. As I searched through the bunks in D-109, my eyes caught sight of an inmate's thin, uncomfortable mat resting on top of his metal bunk. I couldn't help but wonder what could be hiding underneath it. My curiosity got the best of me, and I lifted the mat to find small, circular objects made of toothpaste. It was clear to me that the inmate had made these "mints" himself. I immediately located the inmate responsible and demanded an explanation for his actions. He fumbled through a feeble excuse, which did nothing to sway my judgement. As punishment, I stripped him of his privileges to have a mat and associate with other inmates. I then escorted him to E-Pod, on the opposite side of the jail, which served as the lockdown block. While I found the concept of lockdown amusing at the time, it was a truly awful experience for the inmates. They were stripped of all their belongings except for a Bible and confined to an empty cell for 23 hours a day, with only one hour of freedom to take a shower or read the newspaper in the main area of the cell block. I found myself getting a rush from catching inmates breaking the rules. It became a daily goal of mine to ensure that at least one person was placed in lockdown. At the time I thought that the rules were very simple for people who clearly cared little about society, simple dos and don’ts. There were big ones such as “Don’t assault any jail staff”, “No Fighting.”, “Attempts to escape.”, “No sexual activity.” Etc. Then there were the pettier issues, these were the ones I spent my time on. “Leaning on the wall.”, “Storing food after meals have been picked up.”, “Being unsanitary, failing to keep cell clean.”, “Possessing anything not authorized or issued directly to the inmate through jail staff.” The latter rule was very open to interpretation, and was used if inmates had extra of anything. Many an inmate met lockdown due to having an extra roll of toilet paper in those days. A typical portion of my day might go like this. I stride purposefully down the dimly-lit prison block, my boots echoing off the concrete walls. My chest swells with a sense of authority as I approach the inmate's cell. Without a word, I barge in, my hand firmly gripping my baton. "Face the wall!" I bark, my voice carrying the weight of my position. The inmate jumps, fear etched on his face as he turns to comply with my order. I begin to inspect his cell, my eyes scanning every inch for any signs of contraband. My nose wrinkles at the faint smell of sweat and mold, but I push on, determined to maintain control. And then, there it is. An extra roll of toilet paper, sitting innocuously on the shelf. I whirl around to face the inmate, my lip curling in disdain. "What is this?" I demand, my tone dripping with arrogance. The inmate stammers, fear and distress etched on his face. "I-I didn't know," he stutters. "I didn't know we couldn't have more than one roll." I snort in disbelief. "You expect me to believe that? You should have read the handbook more closely." I reach out and snatch the booklet from his hands, flipping through the pages with a sneer. "And here it is," I say triumphantly, jabbing my finger at the relevant section. "One roll per inmate. Did you even bother to read this?" I pull the inmate out of his cell, dragging him along behind me as I stride purposefully down the hallway. "Lockdown for five days," I snap, my tone leaving no room for argument. "Maybe you'll learn to follow the rules next time." I stride out of the prison gates, my uniform crisp and my badge shining in the sun. It's been a hard day, but I've managed to keep the inmates in line, as I always do. The weight of the day's events still heavy on my mind, I pull out a pack of Marlboro reds and light one up. The smoke fills my lungs and I let out a long exhale, feeling a sense of relief wash over me. Driving down the winding country roads, the sun beating down on my face, I can't help but feel a sense of peace. The green pastures and fields stretch out for miles on either side of the road, and I feel like I'm the only one in the world. When I finally get home, I grab a cold beer from the fridge and climb into the driver's seat of my truck. The sounds of the woods and insects fill the air as I crack open the can and start to read a book. The sun slowly begins to set, casting a warm orange glow over the trees. As the night deepens, I feel a restlessness stirring within me. I decide to take my truck out for a spin, driving through the small town I grew up in. The beer has been flowing freely for hours, but it doesn't even occur to me that I might be breaking the law. I revel in the feeling of being an adult, of having power and control over others. It doesn't matter that I've spent the day punishing inmates for petty offenses, because in this moment, I am invincible. The irony of my situation is lost on me, and I continue to drive around, the night stretching out before me like an open road. After I get home and as the night wears on, I continue to drink, the bottles piling up around me. The sounds of the woods outside provide a backdrop to my drunken stupor, and I stumble out into the darkness. The insects hum around me, and the night birds call out in the distance. I feel my stomach churning, and I lurch forward, retching onto the ground. The smell of beer and bile fills my nostrils, and I heave until there's nothing left. As I stumble into the woods, their darkness and isolation seem to envelop me completely. The only witnesses to my weakness are the insects and birds, their chirping and buzzing forming a constant, mocking chorus. No god, no divine presence to judge my actions or offer me solace. I know that I can’t linger here for long. I have to be at work again at 6 in the morning, ready to continue my reign of power.
submitted by InitiateConscious to KeepWriting [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 17:51 Junket-Independent Did my babies get sick cuz of my 9 year olds allergies?

My son has very bad seasonal allergies and very mild asthma that comes on when allergies hit him too hard. Last week we didn’t give him his daily dose of allergy med one day and the next day he was sneezing, stuffy and eventually on day 3 started with a heavy phlegm like cough. Now it’s day 5 and he’s better but my 5 month old got super stuffy on day 3 when the cough started with a very mild fever and my 22 month old is also starting to show signs of runny nose, cough & irritability. Oh and I’m also getting stuffy and sore throat now that the my babies have gotten stuffy and I’m in closer proximity with while I breastfeed. What are the chances they caught something from their brother? I know allergies aren’t contagious but he’s the only one that left the house with his uncle. We haven’t been out anywhere or with anyone.
submitted by Junket-Independent to ScienceBasedParenting [link] [comments]