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They take away your nightmares. But the price is too high. Part Seven.
2023.03.25 03:36 Verastahl They take away your nightmares. But the price is too high. Part Seven.
Part Six We’d made it back through the maze of downtown to the side opposite from the gym, but it didn’t matter. Not only were the ones from the gym still after us, along with a few more dreamers they’d picked up along the way, but up ahead was another group of fifteen or so men and women were running towards us with impromptu tools and manic grins that both flashed murder with each bouncing step closer. They were practically skipping towards us as they guffawed and giggled, and it might have been funny if not for the dead ice in their eyes.
“Jesus. We…In here!” I’d spotted the garage door of an old-fashioned service station across the street—it was propped open a foot by a cinder block, and while it might have been a trap set to lure us in, I didn’t really think the people of Braxton had had the time or the sense to arrange it so quickly. These people…they didn’t move or look right, and not just because they were crazy and trying to kill us. They all looked off somehow. Maybe it was the way they moved, or the loose way the skin hung on their cheeks, even when pulled back with their fishhook smiles. They were becoming something different, though whether it was less or more, I couldn’t say.
All of those thoughts were in the back of my mind as we rushed over to the door and I tried to pull it up further for Mrs. Graves and Mr. Holliman to crawl under. The door only budged a few more inches before it let out a protesting rusty squeal and would go no further. Graves had already rolled through the gap, leaving a smear of blood in her wake, and Holliman was grunting as he sucked in his stomach and pulled himself past the door. Gasping with exhaustion and terror, I looked over my shoulder to see how far away the crowds were. The one cutting us off was still some distance away, though they were moving fast, but the ones behind us since the gym were thirty yards at most. I dropped to my belly and rolled through the gap, kicking the cinder block free as I went.
It all happened in a few harried seconds, but as I was getting to my knees I already realized the problem. The block had been so easy to kick away because the door hadn’t dropped back down when I let go to scoot under it. It was stuck, and as I stood up and started pulling on the other side, it immediately became clear that neither me nor Holliman’s frenzied yanks and kicks were doing much good.
“Back here! There are tires! Wedge them under!”
Mrs. Graves’ voice was soft but strident, cutting through my panic as I followed her words to the back wall of the garage. There were several stacks of old tires back there, including several truck tires big enough to block the door gap if put end to end. Holliman ran with me to the back, yanking tires down and sliding them across the concrete floor to jam them into the space between the ground and the edge of the door. They were on the other side, clawing and pounding and laughing their heads off as they told us to let them in, but either they didn’t catch on that we were plugging the hole they could crawl through or they just didn’t care. A couple of minutes later we had five tires jammed across the opening, with the last bit of space partially blocked by a heavy-duty hand truck we stuffed into the corner and ran through with chain to the last tire so it wouldn’t be easily removed.
Yet for all that, I knew it would only take a few minutes for the mob to dismantle our defenses, and that’s assuming they couldn’t force the door up themselves. I looked over and saw the same worries on the faces of Holliman and Graves.
She looked past me and nodded towards the far corner. “There’s a door back there. You better go close it in case they come in that way.”
Turning fast, I saw what she meant—an open door that seemed to lead to the store part of the gas station. Heart in my throat, I went to the door and peered through it. The store itself still seemed empty and intact, but I could see more and more people gathering outside. I jerked backward, afraid they might see me through the glass despite the darkness inside the store, but peeking back out a few moments later, there was no sign that they had. Still, they’d seen us go in here, right? Why weren’t they coming in after us?
Stepping back through the door and closing it behind me, I quietly slid over a mechanic’s creeper and propped it under the knob before turning back to my employers. Holliman had managed to tourniquet Mrs. Graves’ upper arm with her belt and bandage her forearm with a strip from his shirt, and while the strip of cloth was already turning red with blood, it was definitely an improvement from how she’d looked a few minutes earlier. Other, of course, from the fact that she looked as terrified as I felt.
I walked back over to them, keeping my voice low. “Why aren’t they coming in? There’s more around on the store side, but they weren’t even really looking in through the windows. It’s like they forgot we’re in here.”
Holliman grimaced and gave a nod. “That’s probably exactly what has happened. We need to be very careful to not make noise or let them see us.”
I frowned at him. “But how does that work? Are they like so crazy or brain-damaged that they don’t remember chasing us in here just now?”
Graves shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. Based on what we’ve seen and what we know, they may be insane, but they retain a large degree of sophistication. I think this is just…well, a measure of protection we’re being provided by our service, even here.”
I felt a flare of anger at her carefully chosen words. “Oh, so more magic from ‘our service’? And what exactly do we serve again? Because I seem to always miss out on that part.”
Holliman started turning red. “Clint, now is not…”
I raised my hand and cut him off. “Fuck it. Just save your bullshit. You’re actually right. We’re about to die, and I’d rather focus on that not happening. Any ideas?” I glanced between the two of them. “Either of you?”
A look passed between them and then Holliman glanced toward the shadowy back corner of the garage. “I don’t think there’s another way out of here, but even if there was, they’d just be after us again as soon as we ran. But if they’re that discombobulated…Clint, how many do you think are out there right now?”
I shook my head. “Shit, I don’t know. There were probably thirty or forty following us, right? And another twelve or fifteen trying to cut us off.” I glanced back toward the store side of the gas station. But when I was closing the door I could see out the windows pretty good and…yeah, there are still more coming.”
Holliman fluttered his hand in frustration. “Yes, I understand. But how many? By your best guess?”
Scowling, I gave a shrug. “I don’t know. Probably a hundred or more if none of them are leaving again.”
He gave me a grim smile. “Good. That may be enough.”
“Enough for what?”
Wiping his forehead, he gestured up at the fluorescent light sullenly illuminating the dingy garage we were in. “Have you wondered about the electricity? Not every place has power it seems, but some do. And where is that coming from? Is there an active power plant within the bubble of this place, filled with giggling electricians and engineers that are keeping the lights on? Or are there power lines running outside the bubble to where time and nature move differently? Some kind of life line to the world outside this…” he waved around at the garage, his face contorted with disgust. “This insane hell?” He waggled a finger. “No. Neither. The thing that has taken this place and its people is keeping the lights on. Keeping the people asleep until now, feeding on their dreams and using a bit of that power to maintain certain things for whatever reasons. Perhaps to more easily lure in the occasional traveler, though that’s just a guess. And it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it takes resources, and the more dreamers we take from it, the weaker it will become.”
I rolled my eyes. “Well, no shit. But I don’t think these fuckers are going to let us get near them with the eyedropper. And they don’t look too sleepy either.”
Holliman started to give an angry reply when Mrs. Graves put a hand on his arm and my own. “When they were in that dream state, the Elixir was the only way to end that connection. If we had simply gone around and killed them, their deaths would have provided a powerful boost to this thing, perhaps more than just letting it feed on them until they could no longer be sustained. It would have been akin to a ritual sacrifice.”
I felt my stomach twist as I saw where this was heading. “And now?”
She let out a long, tired sigh. “Now? Now it has had to wake up part of them. Sacrificing the power of their dreams to create a standing army to eliminate a threat—us. Unless and until they sleep again, that power is lost.”
Holliman cut in. “And if you’re right, and there are a hundred or more out there, and given those we’ve already dosed, we could move past the breaking point in one fell swoop.”
I stared at her. “You’re talking about killing them, aren’t you? Murdering a hundred people.”
Graves shook her head. “No. Not murder. Self-defense. They will kill us eventually, and in horrible ways. This place…we’re trapped here. Hard as it may be to hear, it’s going to be either them or us.”
Holliman snorted. “Enough of this. We can moralize after we’re no longer in danger.” He pointed to the abandoned sedan sitting in the far corner of the garage. “Clint, go look for gas and oil. If you can’t find much, see if you can syphon some from that car. I’d guess we’ll need at least twenty gallons to spray them all down.”
I backed up a step. “What’re you talking about? You’re going to walk out there and what? Spray them down with oil and gas and set them on fire?”
He chuckled. “No. That’d be suicide. Don’t be an idiot.” He pointed to a skylight above the sedan. “I’m going to have you pry that open and we’ll go onto the roof and spray it down on them. If we’re careful and they don’t see us, they may just let us do it until it’s too late. But first you need to find something liquid that will burn.”
I looked back at Graves. “And you’re okay with this?”
She looked on the edge of tears. “I’m not okay with any of this, but we don’t have a choice. We have a job to do, and they will kill us otherwise. Please Clint.”
Holliman looked ready to argue further, but I cut him off. “Save it. I’m doing this because you’re both right, but that doesn’t mean I like it.”
He nodded. “I appreciate that. I feel the same way. Will you please go find us some flammables while I stay with Gracie?”
The garage was big enough to hold two cars at a time, but with only the one slot occupied, I didn’t think there’d be much to really search. Most of the walls were lined with tools, and there were miscellaneous pieces of equipment along the perimeter, but it wasn’t until I started around the car that I saw something of interest.
It was a pair of feet.
I let out a gasp and started to back away, but something stopped me. This…wasn’t right. The feet were laying at a weird angle and looked…lifeless. Taking a couple of steps forward, I could see more of the man’s body.
He had clearly been dead awhile, though it was to tell how long in this place, and it wasn’t hard to see how he’d died. A box cutter still lay clasped in his withered hand, stained from the gash he’d put in his own neck at the end. I thought about the cinder block at the door and wondered if he was the one that had put that there, maybe hoping someone else would come along and rescue him for a time before he gave up hope.
Tears springing to my eyes, I looked over at his other hand. It was a plastic grocery bag, and inside were the dried ruins of what had probably once been half an ice cream cake, along with plastic plates, candles, and other party supplies. Jesus. This looks like he was going to his kid’s birthday party.
I stumbled back a step before my eyes caught on a large metal drum in the corner. Black painted letters were stenciled along the side, with the first line saying “50 gal”. Below that, was a longer line. “Waste Oil.” Stepping cautionly by the poor dead man, I gingerly rocked it. It felt most of the way full. Sighing, I looked back down at the birthday bag.
When I came back around, Graves and Holliman were looking at me with expectant desperation. I nodded. “I found a drum back here. I think it has like thirty or forty gallons of old oil in there.” I threw a small plastic bag at Holliman’s chest. Flinching, he fumblingly grabbed it and looked at it before giving me a sullen stare.
“Party balloons?” His face split into a grin as he began to laugh softly. “Oh, I see. Yes. That should work well. Yes, yes.”
“Yeah. Let’s just…let’s hurry and get this done. Come help me get the barrel out.”
Easing up from his spot next to Mrs. Graves, he bustled over past me, still chuckling. “Sure thing, chief. Time for a fire tonight!”
Frowning at him, I turned to look back at Graves, her eyes wide and more fearful than when we’d barely escaped the mob outside. She was mouthing something to me, lips trembling as she tried to enunciate each word clearly across the shadowy space.
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2023.03.25 03:10 blury_come_clean 32 [F4M] Midwest/USA/Anywhere-I’m just an animal/metal music lover searching this weird place for a compatible match for a long term relationship
I’m interested only in men that live in the USA & I will not respond to messages without a photo* Also I want to be up front and honest that I am a plus size woman even though I don’t necessarily look it in my photo but I am. Wanted to just be open on that since I know not every guy out there is into bigger women.
Hi there :) my name is Kara. Though I know my post says I’m seeking a serious relationship, I just want to disclose that that’s not what I expect to find here. It’s just my own personal journey I’m on but I very much welcome genuine friendship if that’s all we’re compatible with.
So, about me. The things that make me smile the most are animals, heavy metal music, peaceful nature landscapes, deep meaningful conversations where there’s mutual emotional and mental connection
Things that make me laugh the most are South Park, a random YouTube channel I watch that involves vulgar puppets, inappropriate words/drawings on random things that make said object appear more obscene than it is
I’m mostly a very friendly, chill person with a passion for traveling and animals along with enjoying doing my own thing. I’m not much of a follower, I prefer to walk my own path and indulge in my own hobbies and interests. I’d love to find others on here who enjoy doing that as well.I’m also a big fan of horror movies. If you’re also really into horror movies then that would be a big plus for me. I do prefer to connect with others who also enjoy horror movies. It unfortunately is disappointing to me if you’re not real into horror movies and I’ll be honest, not being into them or being open to them is a dealbreaker.
I won’t go into too many details on what I look for in a relationship but I do want to briefly state that I’m not the casual hook up type. If you’re into that then that’s cool, you do you. But that’s not for me and it never will be. I’d be most compatible with someone who also prefers something serious and long term. Someone who is honest, hard working, sincere, genuine, funny, emotionally intelligent, patient & considerate,is introspective, along with being physically affectionate , and loves animals as much as I do. I’m definitely not the religious type since I’m agnostic and I don’t ever want kids either. I don’t do drugs either so again, if you do them then that’s your choice. I won’t judge you but drug use is a deal breaker for me unless it’s occasional pot use for medicinal purposes. As a whole, I definitely seek a partner that will make me smile, make me laugh, support me, respect me and shares some of my values and beliefs. I know no one can tick off all of my boxes cause no one is a perfect fantasy. I just want you to tick off enough to where there’s enough chemistry to make a healthy long lasting relationship.
So yeah, that about wraps up my post and what I’m aiming for :) if I sound like we’d click well and hit it off then feel free to reach out. But I’d prefer you to do so if you have intentions of wanting to keep in touch. I know ghosting is normalized in society and we all have our reasons for choosing that. I’m just not here to waste time or find a casual connection. That’s just not me. I also don’t mind a long distance relationship if we happen to hit it off well enough and I’d like to find someone who is open to that is well and would want to put in actual effort with communication and eventually meeting up in person.
Here’s a photo of me :) https://imgur.com/a/RISvYfo
If you message me, please include a photo of yourself. I really do want to see the person I’m interacting with.If you don’t send a picture, then I won’t respond to you. And physical attraction is definitely a must for me when it comes to relationships. I don’t expect you to look like a celebrity or a Greek god but I definitely am most attracted to a masculine, clean shaven (beards are a turn off for me) looking face & a healthy body that’s just fit and can tell that a person cares about their health and how they look.First impressions matter a whole lot to me as well, I don’t particularly like when a guy comes on too strongly or comes across as too desperate. That’s all. And also I’m only interested in forming connections within the 24-36 age group. We’re probably more likely to have things in common that way. When it comes to the younger crowds in their mid 20s, I can vibe with them well but only if they’re mature for their age and can hold deep conversations on various topics and at least have some confidence in their social abilities.
also want to list a few dealbreakers cause I do know what I want and what I don’t want. Mainly my biggest deal breakers are if you want/already have kids, don’t want true commitment, have an immature/low confidence attitude, or if you don’t have enough of your life together. By that I mean if you currently have a lot of drama or just too many chaotic things going on to where you don’t have the time to devote to someone to form a true connection. Also being a big workaholic puts me off as well. I do understand how a job you’re super passionate about can be a big part of your life but I just don’t want someone who puts more effort into their career than a relationship. When it comes down to everything, I just want someone who is able to strike a good balance between work and family and friends and everything else. That’s really all I ask for.
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2023.03.25 01:08 JoeAsh97 Universe Mode One Of My Custom Storylines
Hi all, thought I would share one of the storylines I’m running in my universe mode at the moment and if you would like to hear more, please let me know. As we can’t do create a story anymore please imagine this being like it would be in real life with promos and backstage segments etc
Now for context there’s a new stable I’ve created which is basically going to take over the entire women’s division including NXT called The Passage of Sisters which features:
Bianca Belair Sasha Banks Jade Cargill Rhea Ripley Nikkita Lyon Shayna Baszler Bayley Naomi Kana (not yet featuring)
Here’s how the show starts out as
On SmackDown all the members of The Passage of Sisters come out and declare that they are banding together to dominate the women’s division. Each get on the mic and declare which titles they are going for but unfortunately Shayna is the last one to speak leading to the following to happen.
Shayna Baszler takes the mic and states she’s the toughest woman in the women’s division and as her sisters have already laid a claim to the women’s belts; well she has eyes on a title that hasn’t been around another woman’s waist since August 27th 2000. The Vacant Intercontinental Championship!
Just as she announces this, Teddy Long comes out to say that a lot has changed since then and if she wants to compete against the men, she’ll have to beat 3 opponents of his choice starting tonight.
<< Later on in the night >>
A group of loud voices can be heard pushing and arguing their way into GM Teddy Longs office led by R-Truth, LA Knight, Reggie, Commander Azeez and Elias Samson on who’s going to fight Shayna. Teddy states that tonight R-Truth will be her first opponent as he came into the room first, and the other four will fight it out in singles matches with the winners of each being her final two opponents.
Teddy also states that if anyone is able to beat Shayna, they will have the opportunity to face Dexter Lumos for the vacant Intercontinental Title against Dexter Lumos at MITB. Note. will also lead to a storyline between all 5 men after the Shayna matches
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2023.03.25 00:08 next3days For anyone looking for something to do this weekend, here's some ideas....
There's a lot going on this weekend and even better the weather forecast looks great with 60s and 70s and only a little rain on Saturday morning.
Here's 35 local events you can enjoy at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg and throughout the New River Valley: 1. Pink Moon Peach Milkshake IPA Release Moon Hollow Brewing, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 3:00 - 10:00 PM Admission is free. Beer and food are regular price.
Moon Hollow Brewing presents the Pink Moon Peach Milkshake IPA Release in support of the local Pink Boots Society. This year’s blend contains Loral, Eukanot and HBC 586. A heaping dose of lactose, peach purée and vanilla bean also help create a rich and delicious brew. $1.00 from each pint is donated the Pink Boots Society Blue Ridge Virginia Chapter. This helps the chapter continue to put on educational, community enriching events. The Pink Boots Society aims to assist, inspire and encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry to advance their careers through education. Food will be available for purchase from Countryman Jamaican Grill. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685855 2. Root Down in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Root Down is a jazz trio based in the New River Valley. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684803 3. College Softball: Chattanooga vs. Virginia Tech Tech Softball Park, Virginia Tech Friday, March 24, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM (Doubleheader) Admission: Free
Watch the Virginia Tech Softball team compete against non-conference opponent the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in a three game series. No tickets are required for Hokie Softball games. Parking is available behind the outfield at Tech Softball Park and enter along the right field side of the stadium. Stands open one hour prior to the start of the game. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685859 4. Music Theatre: "Book of Mountains and Seas" Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Friday, March 24, 2023, 7:30 - 9:00 PM Adult Tickets (based on seat location): $25.00 - $55.00 Virginia Tech Students with ID and Youth 18 & Under: $10.00
A daring new music theatre work by composer Huang Ruo and puppeteer, designer, and director Basil Twist, "Book of Mountains and Seas" is a modern take on ancient Chinese creation myths that are relevant to our current climate change struggle, featuring the chorus of Ars Nova Copenhagen alongside massive puppets and striking lanterns. The work is sung in Mandarin with English supertitles. Book of Mountains and Seas is inspired by the ancient Chinese compilation of early myths of the same title, which was first transcribed in 4th-century B.C. Book of Mountains and Seas is a 21st-century adaptation and expansion of four of these tales. The work contains timeless codes about the universe, creation, planet, nature, life, human ambition and fate, the relationship and interaction between mankind and the planet. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=678174 5. Will Easter & The Nomads in Concert Dogtown Roadhouse, Floyd Friday, March 24, 2023, 8:00 - 11:00 PM Admission: $8.00
Will Easter has one of those voices that is like a home-cooked meal for the soul. Will has the cool throwback rock edge of Tom Petty with the modern folk-Americana appeal of the Avett Brothers, but with something hard to put your finger on that could only be born out of the shadows and peaks of the North Carolina mountains. One iteration through a chorus and you’ll find yourself humming along, by the second time around you’ll be singing out loud, ready to hit the repeat button. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684795 6. Juxtaposition A Cappella Spring 2023 Concert: Time For A Hoedown Haymarket Theater (Squires Student Center), Virginia Tech Friday, March 24, 2023, 8:00 - 9:30 PM Virginia Tech Students: At the Door: $7.00 Non-Students: $10.00
Juxtaposition A Cappella presents their Spring 2023 Concert titled "Time For A Hoedown". Juxtaposition will be performing seven new songs including their entire ICCA set. Juxtaposition is an all-male Virginia Tech A Capella group that was established in 1994 and has since produced seven albums and been awarded numerous awards and honors. They enjoy performing their wide repertoire of 70's, 80's, 90's and current hits. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685879 7. 2023 Ramp N Roads Eastern Elementary/Middle School, Pembroke Saturday, March 25, 2023, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM Admission: Free
Renew the New presents the 2023 Ramp N Roads where volunteers will be cleaning up litter from highways and byways, boat ramps, and river & stream access points. Be prepared to pick up litter off road in ditches and over the banks. Each volunteer will be assigned a team who will be led by captain when they arrive at Eastern Elementary/Middle School. These captains will lead the on-site clean up and will provide any needed safety instructions. There will be no buses running this year. Each volunteer will take their own car or carpool and convoy to one of the planned cleanup areas. There you will be given gloves and bags to use. Each volunteer is asked to return to Eastern Elementary at noon where they will receive pizza for a to-go lunch and a t-shirt. Volunteers need to sign up in advance. This is a rain or shine event however pick up along roadways will be suspended during active rain if it happens. ReNew The New is a volunteer organization committed to stewardship of the of the New River flowing through Southwest Virginia. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685871 8. Yoga On Tap with Blacksburg Yoga Collective Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 9:30 - 10:45 AM Suggested donation of $15.00-$20.00.
The Blacksburg Yoga Collective presents Yoga On Tap with an energizing and uplifting flow. Flow with Blacksburg Yoga Collective in the beautiful settings of the Rising Silo Saturdays. These Kundalini-inspired, donation-based Yoga and meditation sessions focus on therapeutic movements and various breathing techniques aimed toward collective wellness. Meditate, chant, and move together to ease stress, manifest positivity, and improve our awareness and focus. Admission includes the class and a post-yoga non-alcoholic beverage from the brewery. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685840 9. 2023 Warm Hearth Village Arts & Crafts Fair Warm Hearth Village Center, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Admission: Free
If you love unique, beautiful, locally handcrafted gifts and art, then attend the 2nd Annual Warm Hearth Village Arts & Crafts Fair. The show will feature high-quality artisanal goods from both artists on our campus and throughout the New River Valley. Handmade items for sale will include pottery, woodworking, home goods, accessories, soaps, candles & more. The Huckleberry Cafe will be open for grab-n-go refreshments. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=683666 10. Free Wine Tasting Vintage Cellar, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Vintage Cellar presents Free Wine Tasting every Saturday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Join them for a decadent wine tasting at our free wine tasting. They will teach you all about the regions and grapes from the wines as you taste. After the tasing, grab a bottle or glass and enjoy it with some food from their kitchen. Must be 21 or older to participate. IDs required. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685724 11. Open Virginia Tech Football Practice Lane Stadium, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 11:45 AM - 1:00 PM Admission: Free
Fans are invited to attend the open practice to get an early look at how the Hokie's 2023 football squad is shaping up. Gate 6 will open up at 11:45 AM for fans to enter. Note: It is prohibited for fans to take photos and videos when the Hokies are on the field. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685711 12. 2023 Beliveau Bridal Expo Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
Bring your friends and family and visit with the area's leading wedding professionals on display to plan your perfect wedding in an elegant venue. Wedding vendors such as florists, musicians, photographers, bakeries and more will set up in our Great Hall to talk to you about their services. This is a great opportunity to meet many of the vendors in one afternoon. Food and wine will be available to purchase throughout the entire event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684117 13. Women's Lacrosse: Boston College vs. Virginia Tech Thompson Field, Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 12:00 - 2:00 PM Admission: Free
Watch the Virginia Tech Women's Lacrosse compete against ACC conference opponent and #7 ranked Boston College. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684297 14. Program: Vegetable Gardening Meadowbrook Public Library, Shawsville Saturday, March 25, 2023, 1:00 - 2:00 PM Admission: Free
Want to grow your own vegetables, but aren’t sure where to start? Join Dr. Emma Patterson, VCE Volunteer Master Gardener, to find out more about planning a vegetable garden, caring for it, and keeping it going through year’s end. Free seeds and soil testing kits will be provided. For ages 12 and up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685348 15. 2023 Oyster Dinner Drive-Thru Riner Volunteer Fire Department, Riner Saturday, March 25, 2023, 2:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: $15.00
The Riner Volunteer Fire Department presents their Annual Oyster Dinner Drive-Thru featuring fried oysters, baked beans, slaw and dessert. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Eagle Express, Riner Food Center and Village Barber Shop. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685387 16. Delta Chi's Into the Wild Benefit Concert featuring Audio Fever and The Red Ferns The Milk Parlor, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 2:00 - 5:00 PM Ages 21 & Over: $9.00, Ages 20 & Under: $12.00
The Delta Chi Fraternity at Virginia Tech presents their Into the Wild Benefit Concert featuring music from Audio Fever and The Red Ferns. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The Red Ferns is a groovy guitar band based in Blacksburg and Audio Fever is a Blacksburg based band as well. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685882 17. March Flashlight Tour St. Albans, Radford Saturday, March 25, 2023, 5:30 - 7:30 PM Admission: $15.00
Join St. Abans for their March 2023 Flashlight Tour which includes a little history and paranormal in one. This is a guided tour. Take a walk through the dark halls of St. Albans Sanatorium and join them for a flashlight tour of the building. Hear all the chilling tales of what paranormal investigators, and the public, have encountered within these 120 year old walls. A little bit of history, a little bit of paranormal. Tickets are available online in advance and will be sold at the door provided tickets are still available. Comfortable shoes and a flashlight are recommended as there will be lots of walking and many dark areas. Dress accordingly as the building is not climate controlled. You must be 18 years of age (16 if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian). Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685883 18. March's Beans and Banjos (Final Event) Meadowbrook Public Library, Shawsville Saturday, March 25, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 PM Admission: $5.00 requested donation
The Shawsville Ruritans and The LINC Letter presents March's Beans and Banjos and the final event of this series. Nothing lasts forever, not even Beans and Banjos. March's Beans and Banjos will be the last. Instead of having a couple of bands the organizers are inviting everyone who's ever played or sung at Beans and Banjos to come out and jam to play Beans and Banjos out in style. Beans and Banjos has been going for at least 14 years. Enjoy a dinner of beans, cornbread and desserts. Organizers ask for a donation of at least $5.00 to help keep the LINC Letter publishing. The LINC Letter is the non-profit community newsletter for Eastern Montgomery and is distributed to residents of Alleghany, Elliston, Ironto, Lafayette and Shawsville, Virginia. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685325 19. Amelia Empson in Concert Rising Silo Farm Brewery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free
Amelia Empson plays a variety of Indie-Folk and Americana covers and originals from the Appalachian Mountains with talent far beyond her years. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=684804 20. Salsa Night 2023 Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 11:00 PM Advance Tickets: $12.00, At the Door: $15.00
Join Beliveau Farm Winery for a dancing experience with your loved one, group of friends, or come single; you are bound to have a good time no matter what. Lessons begin at 7:00 PM and the event lasts until 11:00 PM. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685126 21. 2023 March of Ales Mardi Gras Celebration German Club Manor, Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM Admission: $50.00
The Blacksburg Junior Women's Club (BJWC) presents the 2023 March of Ales Mardi Gras Celebration featuring unique beers for tasting, along with wine and a signature cocktail. Coffee, water, lemonade, hors d’oeuvres and desserts will also be available. Guests will enjoy entertainment by a DJ, dancing, and a live and silent auction. The auctions feature an extraordinary variety of items donated by local businesses and individuals. At the end of the evening, discounted Uber service will be available to guests. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door if the event is not sold out in advance. All money raised at March of Ales is used to fund service projects and donations throughout the year. The funds have benefitted groups and causes such as Special Olympics, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Montgomery County Christmas Store and many others. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685695 22. WUVT's Jazz Night with Copy Cat Syndrome and Yung LZRD Odd Fellows Building Lodge #20 (Wilson Avenue), Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Admission: $6.00
Join WUVT for a night filled with the sweetest jazz melodies provided by Copy Cat Syndrome and Yung LZRD. Copy Cat Syndrome is a fusion trio performing jazz based in Blacksburg, VA. LZRD is a jazz band from Blacksburg, VA. Entrance to this event is ticket only (sold online) with a maximum of 50 being sold. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the music starts at 7:00 PM. WUVT-FM 90.7 Blacksburg is the New River Valley's only source for independent, alternative programming. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685887 23. TechNotes Spring 2023 Concert: TechNotes Lightnin’: Feeling the 50s Haymarket Theater (Squires Student Center), Virginia Tech Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 8:30 PM Advance Tickets: $5.00, At the Door: $7.00
TechNotes presents their Spring 2023 Concert titled "TechNotes Lightnin’: Feeling the 50s". Enjoy a night full of new songs and old TechNotes favorites and chances to win epic raffle prizes. TechNotes is a co-ed A Cappella group at Virginia Tech that performs at various events throughout the year. TechNotes was founded in 2010. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685878 24. Caroline Owens & Company in Concert Floyd Country Store, Floyd Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:00 - 10:00 PM General Admission: $15.00, Reserved Seating: $20.00
Caroline Owens is a 2X IBMA nominated Bluegrass and Gospel artist. She has performed alongside many of her heroes such as Alison Krauss, Suzanne Cox, The Isaacs, Larry Gatlin, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Lorraine Jordan and many others. And, has made quite a name for herself in the North Carolina bluegrass community. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685713 25. Hoppie Vaughan & The Ministers of Soul in Concert The Floyd Center for the Arts, Floyd Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30 PM General Public: $15.00, Students: $10.00
Don't miss your chance to see the long awaited return of Hoppie Vaughan & The Ministers of Soul. It will be a fun, funky night of soul. The diversely talented Hoppie Vaughan is all about the soul! He is a blue eyed soul singer, song writer, guitar and bass player. Besides performing solo, he is the front man for Hoppie Vaughan and the Ministers of Soul based out of Roanoke, VA performing classic soul, R&B, blues and funk. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685712 26. Three Band Concert with Kenny Vaughan, Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions and Friend of the Three Southpaw Cafe & Community Space, Blacksburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 7:30 - 10:00 PM Admission: $5.00
Southpaw Cafe & Community Space presents a Three Band Concert with Kenny Vaughan, Sullivan Smith & Stray Lions and Friend of the Three. Friend of the Three is a band based in Virginia that performs adult alternative, pop and rock. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685881 27. Stand-Up Comedy Show Lost In Taste, Christiansburg Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10:00 PM - TBD Admission: $7.00
The Cosmic Comedy Club returns with performances by comedians Sage Delong, Derek Budd, Julia Goyer, Tony Rodriguez, Jermaine Callando and hosted by Andrew Gustafson. Recommended for ages 18 & up. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685853 28. 2023 Hot Diggity Dog Day (Fun for Your Dog) Beliveau Farm Winery, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 12:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free
Bring your pup and come have a day at Beliveau Farm Winery annual canine event. There's 165 acres of dog fun for your furrr-ever friend to explore and relax. Fresh air, dog parade, lots of outdoor space. Beliveau will have food and drinks for purchase throughout the day. With every hot-dog sold, they are donating 20% of our proceeds to the Montgomery County Humane Society. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685322 29. Community Quilting Bee: Rotary Cutting Fabric Blacksburg Library, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: Free
Blacksburg Library presents their monthly Community Quilting Bee with the the topic "Rotary Cutting Fabric". This month atteneeds will learn how to use a rotary cutter and ruler to make accurate fabric pieces. Everyone is welcome including beginners. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685349 30. Book Club: The Winemaker Blacksburg Wine Lab, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: $40.00
Join the Blacksburg Wine Lab for the Wine Lab Book Club tasting & discussing featuring "The Winemaker" by Noah Gordon. About The Winemaker: Josep Alvarez is a young man in the tiny grape-growing village of Santa Eulália, in northern Spain, where his father grows black grapes that are turned into cheap vinegar. Joseph loves the agricultural life, but he is the second son, and his father’s vineyard will be inherited by his brother Donat, the firstborn. He yearns for a job growing grapes and for an opportunity to marry Teresa Gallego. In Madrid, an assassination plot, conceived against the political leader of Spain by men of wealth and power, creates a storm of intrigue that sucks into its vortex a group of innocent young farm workers in Santa Eulália. How Josep’s life is changed drastically by these events, and how, ironically, they gradually turn him into an inspired vintner with an evolving vision of life, is the fascinating story of "The Winemaker". During the Book Club, enjoy four fantastic Spanish wines to taste. Chef Bryan will create a pairing board of house–made Spanish tapas, cheese and charcuterie to accompany the tasting. Reservations required. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685385 31. Willard Gayheart and Ricky Cox performing "Old Favorite Songs of the Blue Ridge" Floyd United Methodist Church, Floyd Sunday, March 26, 2023, 2:30 - 3:30 PM Admission: Free
The Floyd County Historical Society presents an encore performance of Willard Gayheart and Ricky Cox performing "Old Favorite Songs of the Blue Ridge. Ricky Cox’s friendship with Willard Gayheart also goes back 35 years. This shows in the programs they present together, harmonizing and appreciating one another’s contributions as they delight their audiences. Willard is a pencil artist from Southwest Virginia. He is originally from Eastern Kentucky, working mostly from the theme "Nostalgic Glimpses of the Appalachians". His works are positive images of Appalachian Culture, presenting the region as a place alive with interesting personalities. Besides his artistic talent with the pencil, Willard is also an accomplished bluegrass musician having played as a member of the bluegrass band The Highlanders. Ricky Cox has been entertaining and educating many of us for decades. Throughout his teaching career at Radford University he shared the history and culture of our region through his music and writing, earning a number of special recognitions along the way. Ricky contributed his photographic talents to the second of two books featuring Willard Gayheart’s drawings. Note: The event was originally scheduled for Sunday, March 12th, but had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685328 32. Blacksburg Community Band Spring Concert Blacksburg High School Auditorium, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 3:00 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free
The Blacksburg Community Band presents their Spring Concert conducted by David McKee and Associate Conductor, Dean Chiapetto. Christiansburg High School's band director, David Miller, will be guest conducting. Jefferson Ritchie will solo on trombone. The Blacksburg Community Band, Inc. is an all-volunteer community organization formed in 1989 under the auspices of the Department of Parks and Recreation in the Town of Blacksburg. The ensemble is open to individuals of all ages and ability levels from the New River Valley and surrounding areas. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685314 33. Helping Hands Fundraiser with Spaghetti Dinner and Live Music Belview United Methodist Church, Radford Sunday, March 26, 2023, 4:30 - 7:30 PM Donations Appreciated
Join Belview United Methodist Church for some fun and great fellowship all while helping support a wonderful mission. Help them fund their Helping Hands Pantry by enjoying a spaghetti dinner starting at 4:30 PM, silent auction, raffle and live music from Eddie & Sherry Richards and Spoken For beginning at 6 PM. Belview's Helping Hands Pantry supplies clothes, personal care items, cleaning items and household items to those in need in Montgomery County, Radford, Dublin, Giles County and Pulaski and other surrounding areas. The Silent Auction starts at 1:30 PM and ends at 7:30 PM with over 40 items to bid on. There are over $2,000 in prizes for the raffle. Raffle tickets are $5.00 each, $10.00 for three or $20.00 for seven. Donate a pack of diapers, pull-ups or Depends and get three free raffle tickets on the day of the event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685880 34. Indian Run Stringband in Concert Palisades Restaurant, Eggleston Sunday, March 26, 2023, 5:00 - 7:30 PM Admission: Free
The Indian Run Stringband from Blacksburg, VA plays fiddle and banjo foot stomping dance tunes and sings traditional songs with old time harmonies perfect for dancing the two step. From dance tunes to the blues, the Indian Run Stringband plays with love and abandon. They make old-time music fresh and new. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685310 35. Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble in Concert with Guest Artist Michael Burritt Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Sunday, March 26, 2023, 6:00 - 7:30 PM General Public: $15.00, Seniors: $12.00, Students & Youth: $10.00
The Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Annie Stevens, performs a concert with guest artist Michael Burritt who is one of his generation’s leading percussionists. He is in frequent demand, performing concert tours and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. He has been soloist with the United States Air Force Band, Dallas Wind Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Ju Percussion Group (Taiwan), Percussion Art Quartet (Germany) and the Amores Percussion Group (Spain). Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=685872
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
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2023.03.24 22:54 ID10-T Express Test
Getting Rid of Most of My Flavors, Part 39 PREVIOUS > Part 1
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Starting flavor count: 2,514 (down from 2,972)
TASK OR TRASH - Each flavor gets assigned at least one task or it goes in the trash.
FLAVORS EXPRESS Green Tea
No bad, mostly green tea, but pretty floral. If I had to name it, I’d say it tastes a bit like wildflowers, maybe the way dandelions smell, but the flower, not dandelion greens. It doesn’t quite taste just like jasmine which is a little more common of a floral to find in tea. So it tastes a little weird, but mostly ok. Floral increases with more concentration, but can be tamed a little with creams. I remember a time when this was the best green tea we could get, way better than TFA or FA green tea flavors. But then Flavorah came out with Eisai Tea. This Pure Green Tea
recipe looks great if you really want to vape just straight-up green tea, but since I don’t want to do that, I don’t have a use for FE Green Tea. TRASH 1 Guava
Tropical red flavor. Tastes like the tropical version of the color red made into a flavor. Thick, heavy, very sticky sweet syrupy flavor. Maybe a guava candy or strawberry-watermelon-guava candy, but not a realistic type of guava. It’s a little tart and there’s a light funkiness to it, enough to lend it a tropical vibe, but still tastes pretty candied. Could be a sweet base for a tropical punch or an enhancer for strawberry, watermelon, or other red fruit hard candy. No throat hit but it does get a little dry at the end after vaping it for a bit. Enough to make me thirsty; tastes like it should be mixed with something juicier, like some Cactus or FA Pear.
I’m excited to try Crazy Town
, a 3-ingredient recipe that uses FE Lychee (love) and FLV Cream (love) with FE Guava. TASK 1 Kiwi
Candish with a distinctly lemony tartness, very sweet, with even a hard candy type of sweet body, but also a little off. Like it’s trying to have a hairspray type of off note but it isn’t quite strong enough or clear enough to be hairspray just yet, it’s just a slight chemical weirdness. Could make a pretty great lemony kiwi candy if that off note is overflavoring at 2%, or it needs a steep, or that could be covered up. I have other kiwis I’d rather use, though. TRASH 2 Lemon
Probably the best lemon out there or certain uses. It’s a bit sweet and a bit more of a candy lemon standalone but it is a more natural lemon than most of them, and it does two things really well - it mixes well with bakeries - really seems to soak right into them - and IT DOES NOT FADE much or change with steeping. Not harsh. No off notes.
I use it in Viserion
but really, with that little of it just to make the blueberries pop a bit more, just about any lemon would do. Also for Long Gone Lonesome Blues. I also need it for Manson & The Pebbles, for and Blog Day
, which is an old favorite I haven’t had in a while. TASK 2
Several recipes I already plan to try use it, they are about to be joined by a bunch more. Just look at this stuff! Sadboy Butter Cookie
. Creamy lemon filling smashed between two Golden Oreo style cookies. Do Want. TASK 3 Lemon Tart Cheesecake
. I love a good lemon bakery and this looks like a good one. TASK 4
So does MlNikon Lemonade Cookies
, even though it’s just a simple 1-2-3 recipe. TASK 5
And this Lemon Cream Pie TASK 6 Backwoods Lemonade
Forest fruit lemonade, looks like an oldie but a goodie, especially in summer. TASK 7 1-2-3 Forest Blueberry Mix
is another simple recipe using both FE Lemon and FA Forest Fruit, this time with TFA Blueberry Wild. TASK 8 Blushing Lady
another three-ingredient recipe with FE Lemon, the other two are INW Grapefruit and FA Pomegranate. That FA Pom can be tricky but I bet it’s great in this one. TASK 9
This Lemon-Lime Cactus
looks like it might be a great refreshing summer vape, too, if the cactus isn’t too much. TASK 10 Simple Lemonade
. It’s just VT FIzzy Sherbet, FE Lemon, and some CAP SS. But that sounds simply delightful to me. TASK 11 Dumbledore
. Another one that uses both VT Fizzy Sherbet and FE Lemon, this one in a sweet-and-sour lemon candy. TASK 12
And other with those two flavors, plus sour apple. Sour apple lemonade. Pucker Butt Lemonade
. TASK 13
And of course, another blue razz recipe. Razul
- I’m really interested in how the CAP HIbiscus and CAP Sweet Candy work with this combo of blue razz flavors. TASK 14 Lemonade
Weirdly warm sweet lemon. Like that kind of weird warmth that makes you check to see if you’ve accidentally bumped your wattage up. Not sure what’s up with that. Also something like a vague, soft spice note to it. It’s not bad tasting to me, but it’s not what I want from lemonade, either. TRASH 3 Lychee
This is actually my favorite lychee. I’ve had a lychee hard candy from Taiwan that I’m certain was made out of this. The flavor was identical. Very subtle rosy floral upfront, sugary sweet flatter more artificial base with a subtle funky ripeness to that white grape plus grapefruit tartness that lychee does. Strong, punchy flavor. I’m not sure if there’s actually some hard candy body here or if it’s just my mind playing tricks on me because of how much this tastes like that lychee candy. But it’s even sweeter than more syrupy flavors. Drier floral at first, but overall mouthwatering. Very bold, full-flavored.
Love it. It’s in a couple of things I already plan to mix. Really excited to try this Lychee Candy
recipe too, it looks fantastic. TASK 15
If the combination of CAP Sweet Lychee and FE Lychee isn’t a lychee overdose, I bet this Lychee Apple Hard Candy
is great, too. TASK 16 Mango
Fades very badly. At first it’s funky, juicy, complex, and most of all very vibrant and pretty much perfect. Unfortunately after just a few days it starts changing from this super vibrant mango flavor to something duller and flatter, shedding all of those bright top notes and even some of the funkier ones and basically leaving behind a dull slightly tropical mediocre peach. I don’t know the science behind why this works, but I’ve had it stick around a bit more in a mix with creamy things than without, but it still loses much of what makes it so great at first and as such I can’t recommend using it, unless you’re after an amazing mango shake and vape and aren’t making more than you can vape in a couple of days; in which case, grab some of this and mix it up at 2.5%, it’s really good. No task or trash with this one, it’s not included in my original flavor count because I used it all up and decided not to replace it before starting this flavor-hoarding recovery process. Melon
I don’t think I’ve tried this one yet. Will mix a 2% sample and see what it’s about. TASK 17 Meringue
Does not taste like meringue. Sugary sweet but has a butter flavor under it that tastes a kinda fakey, like butter mixed with a little movie theater popcorn butter. Thick, creamy mouthfeel, very smooth. Not dry, almost oily with the butter. Lingering sweetness. FE meringue tastes like it might make a better, less waxy replacement for CAP Butter Cream at a lower % than the 2.5% I tried it at. Say 1%.But I did not see a recipe that used it that way - or any way for that matter - and because of that fakey butter taste, I’m not sticking my neck out for it. TRASH 4 Migua (Honey Dew)
This one is interesting. Not interesting in a bad way, but more of an I’m not sure what to do with this way. Sweet candy honeydew flavor with no real sense of juiciness. Really top heavy flavor in a sense, with all the honeydew packed right up front, comes across as artificial but not in an offensive or unpleasant way, on top of a very sweet but bland sort of candy body. The sweetness is really interesting here. It’s heavy, dense, and sticky feeling like hard candy, different from cotton candy or sucralose sweetness. Somewhere between syrup and hard candy, really quite sugary without having the grit of raw sugar. Bit of a dry finish versus the juiciness you probably want from a honeydew, but more sticky dry than full on Sahara desert dry. Can’t find a good-looking recipe that uses it, I’m going to let it go. TRASH 5 Mile Seven
Tastes more like a recipe than a single flavor, very complex. Unlike many other nutty tobaccos that are mostly nut, this one has a fairly good balance of roasted peanut and mild, generic tobacco. But I also get hints of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. Lots of flavor from top to bottom, very full-bodied. I could have a lot of fun with this, like by enhancing the tobacco and boosting one of those accents, could probably make a delicious three-flavor sweet tobacco recipe out of this. My first thought is FLV Red Burley to play on both the nuttiness and the chocolate while driving the tobacco home, but a caramel or vanilla tobacco or separate tobacco and vanilla or caramel flavors would play well too.
There is seriously not a single recipe on ATF using this super-interesting flavor? Ok. I’ll mix something simple and think about where to take it from there. In the meantime, people who like INW 555 Gold need to get on this.
Mile Seven Experiment V1 TASK 18
|Co. ||Flavor ||% |
|FLV ||Red Burley ||1.75 |
|FE ||Mile Seven ||2 |
Comes pretty close to milk chocolate. Lighter milk chocolate flavor, thick creamy feel. Very sweet, noticeably sweet above and beyond the sweetener put in my base for testing this. Some issues - it just isn’t super flavorful, and has a very slight chemical taste at 2%. Four percent brings out that chemical unbearably and makes that sweetness run a little fruity, 1% is just weak. 2% is too weak to pull off all the milk chocolate flavor of something like a candy bar, but maybe it could help move a darker chocolate flavor into more of a milk chocolate direction?
All five of the recipes currently on ATF that use it are by the same mixer, Sorteal. I’m going to try the three of them that look best to me. 3rd Wheel V2
I get a strong hazelnut taste from MB Glamour Chocolate but the Peanut Butter in there might swallow it up, and this one has a couple of shining reviews. TASK 19 Angelic Toffee
this one not so much for anything I see in the recipe but for the food it’s based on - torn angel food cake mixed with whipped cream and crushed chocolate-covered toffee bars. Get in my belly! TASK 20
And Chocolate Overdose Custard V2
which looks like an improvement from V1 and appears to have been obsessed over to the point that it’s got to be good. TASK 21 Oak Milk
Y’all. This stuff is delicious. Maybe not “go to Flavor Jungle and buy it right this second” delicious, but if you’re already buying stuff at Flavor Jungle or some other place that sells it, definitely pick some up.
I’m not sure what “Oak Milk” is supposed to taste like, but FE Oak Milk mostly tastes like thick, rich, sweetened condensed milk, but it also has a fairly prominent soft caramel to it. Like you started making dulce de leche out of sweetened condensed milk and stopped halfway through. There might be something a little oaky hanging about in the background of that caramel top note, or that might be the power of suggestion from the name. The base is really clearly sweetened condensed milk, and then a softer caramel comes back in the finish and lingers. It’s thick and extremely rich and silky smooth, without any kind of butyric yuckiness.
I found FE Oak Milk to be a fairly complex concentrate that’s pretty satisfying even as a single flavor, but it seems like a lot of fun could be had with it. The caramel makes me want to do a creamy RY4 type of recipe. But it also seems like it would be good with any kind of fruit in a fruit and cream situation, or part of milkshake, or malt since that thing that might be wood tastes a little malty, or mix with nuts or chocolate. This plus VT Devon Cream and a little VT Chocolate Mousse would be amazing. I could also see putting some vanilla and bourbon flavors with this and using it to make something like a bourbon cream sauce. It’s just really, really delicious.
I already plan to mix The Baker’s Pipe
. Happily adding Just Search Ass
to the list. TASK 22 Oatmeal N Milk
This needs a steep. Even a week in, it’s alcoholic. It’s thick and rich but there’s more than a little alcohol in there that did not steep out over a week. Freshly mixed, it tasted like taking a shot half-vodka half-oatmeal with heavy cream and sugar. After a week, I still get a trace of alcohol. Other than that, it tastes sort of like oatmeal with lots of milk, more milk than oats really, and the oats are maybe a little overcooked and lacking texture beyond thickness. They’re also a little...the word that comes to mind is “gamey.” It tastes like it could be great in a cereal and milk recipe with the cereal flavor providing the texture (after a long steep). I wouldn’t use it as an oatmeal when there are other oat flavors as options. TRASH 6 Passion Fruit
Sweet passionate dryer sheets. Candy sweet but with a somewhat bitter floral top note. Fresh passion fruit should be a little floral, but this is a bit too much and also not quite right. Nectary sweetness, thinner than syrupy. A lot like sweetened and watered down passion fruit juice or thin passion fruit syrup mixed with some sweet guava nectar. Much less tartness than it should have. Instead, where more acidic tartness should be, there’s a bit of a perfumey floral that kind of reminds me of FA Summer Clouds (aka FA Dryer Sheets) but not so oppressive and blatantly dryer sheet-y as that and not something that would keep me from trying a recipe that uses it. Some mild throat hit, but nothing like FA Passion Fruit (aka FA Throat Razors). It’s not a bad flavor, but it’s definitely one I can live without. TRASH 7 Rainbow Sherbet
Tastes a bit like Rainbow sherbet, but mostly like tart and sweet raspberry-orange candy with a considerably floral top note and weird bitter sort of chemical or medicinal finish. There’s a bright, tart raspberry upfront that goes floral or perfumey as raspberries can do, at least at 2% after steeping for almost a week. After that it’s just citrus, mostly orange.
There’s supposed to be lemon in FE Rainbow Sherbet according to Flavor Jungle and I don’t really taste lemon, but the orange is more tart than it should be and I guess that’s a lemon? There’s not really a creaminess here. The orange is full-bodied right after that raspberry but the finish thins out and is a bit sweet and dry. And weird. It finishes weird, like with the bitterness of a floral perfume without that much of the actual perfume taste, more like medicine. It’s not fun.
Maybe you could fix it with some cream flavor, like maybe Vanilla Swirl will eat FE Rainbow Sherbet’s sin, but I don’t know, and I’m not going to stick around to find out. TRASH 8 RY4
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t RY4 supposed to be caramel-vanilla-tobacco? This one tastes much more like a caramel-nut-tobacco, but the caramel is a bit sharp and raw brown sugary, not especially rich or creamy. Vanilla is present but not creamy, more like a slight hint of darker vanilla bean. The tobacco is extremely nutty, like roasted toasted nuttiness, and that makes up more of the body of this flavor than the caramel. Overall I really like this flavor, it finishes quite drier than some of the others in the RY4 category, but I’m ok with that in a tobacco vape, and it still manages to be rather smooth. 4% seems to really be pushing some of the raw brown sugar here and I’m thinking it probably fares better at 2 or 3%. Anyway, it’s a pretty good flavor, but there are three recipes on ATF that use it, one has a flavor I don’t have in it. The other two both otherwise look good to me but contain a level of FLV Connecticut Shade I’m not comfortable with.
However, FE RY4 and the Super Concentrates (SC) RY4 that used to be sold by Bull City are the same thing, and this Coastal Wolf
vanilla custard tobacco that calls for SC RY4 looks fantastic. TASK 23 RY4 Double
Tastes more like caramel coffee than caramel tobacco, and it’s a little green, like extra extra light roast coffee or maybe half coffee/half green tea. Sticky-sweet caramel and light vanilla is at least half of the equation, but that green coffee thing, while not terribly off-putting, is very odd. I’m so close to tossing this, but here’s a recipe harnessing that coffee aspect: PSL
. I don’t expect it to be a “keeper” because it’s a “live mixing” thing and not a recipe meticulously crafted over time, but I really want to see how that worked out. TASK 24 Strawberry
Perfectly serviceable but fairly boring strawberry. Reminds me of FW Strawberry except more concentrated. Tastes fairly natural but again there’s that out of season or heat lamp strawberry that just doesn’t have that much flavor, with just a little artificial bump to it. Has a tartness to it -- also similar to FW Strawberry but a little sharper and less soft than FW’s - but similarly doesn’t have a lot of other complexity. It isn’t a very deep flavor but isn’t top heavy, it’s more just in the middle, without much of that brighter top note or ripe, juicy depth. TRASH 9 Sun Seeds
Overly sweet, under-roasted, and only almost salty, but otherwise tastes like sunflower seeds. The top note tastes like kind of green but not quite raw shelled sunflower seeds. Base is where it gets overly sweet and more of an indistinct, almost creamy nut flavor more than the distinctive seedy top note. Saltiness is there but light, more of an impression than actual saltiness, and more in the aftertaste than the vape.
There’s only one recipe with it that interests me, this chocolate peanut butter
, but the problem with that one is that it’s 4 years old and I can’t remember if that means the old LB Lava Cake or the new one, and at 3%, I’m pretty sure that matters. Tempted to steal liberally from that recipe to make my own chocolate PB, and I still might eventually, when it comes to using it at an additive level like that, I don’t believe FE Sun Seeds can do anything that FLV Beer Nuts can’t do better. TRASH 10 Sweet Bread Crust
Mostly tastes like peeling the crusty outside off a baked Kings Hawaiian roll. Like those rolls are great just out of the bag, but this is the crust from one that’s been put in the oven until the outside is a little crisp. Essentially, the perfect top note for something like a bread pudding. Not yeasty, the only “off” note I’m getting is a light and pleasant but weirdly dark, chocolatey caramel in the finish, like a very watered down melted Rolo. I know from two recipes I tried that it can be covered up fairly easily, as neither of the recipes have any hint of chocolate, though I kinda wanna lean in to that and hit it with some VT Devon Cream and maybe another chocolate, WF Salted Caramel, and come buttery custard like FA Custard Premium and see if I can do like a chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel sauce. But, that sounds like a lot of work, and I’m not sure I’m up to it.
This Bread Puddn V3
recipe by Enyawreklaw is, believe it or not, awesome. I think I can make it even better, though. Going to swap the CAP Super Sweet out for FW Sweetener, same amount, and drop in 0.1% FLV Rich Cinnamon. TASK 25 Sweet Grape
There’s a crisp, slightly tart but very sweet white grape underneath there, but it initially and mostly tastes like I’d just been vaping hair gel. I can’t remember the brand, but back when I had hair I definitely used a hair gel that smelled exactly like 75% of this flavor. Mix it with some white grape juice and you have this. Graham (RIP) once said it was the worst flavor he’d ever tried and was more offensive than a Hitler action figure. I’m much more offended by barf flavor than weird chemical off notes so I’m not going to say it’s anywhere near the worst. But it ain’t good. TRASH 11 Sweet Orange
It’s a vibrant and juicy mandarin orange, I personally love this one. It also tastes like canned mandarin oranges more than it tastes like anything, but at the same time it does have some orange peel and zest in the top notes, though they’re understated. The body is very sweet, like canned mandarins in syrup, but still bright. It’s little thin at 4% but starts to get a little waxy to me at 5%. It’s smooth for a citrus. Tried working with it quite a bit and had trouble with it not showing up behind other ingredients as much as I want it to, and with it needing help in the thickness department to actually pass as juice, but it certainly tastes great compared to a lot of other mandarins, oranges, and tangerines.
Already planning to try 3 days 2 nights
that uses it. I love the idea of a POG Milkshake
but couldn’t possibly enjoy that because of the TFA VBIC pepper thing. Instead I’ll take a recipe a made a couple years back, Creamsquat
that’s dead now due to no lemon mix, and see what happens if I replace the Kumquat 3.75% and INW Lemon Mix 0.25% with 4% FE Sweet Orange for a more traditional but still coconut-milk-based dairy free vanilla filling orange creamsicle. It if blends too much (Kumquat and Lemon Mix were great at separating from cream into a distinct layer) I’ll probably just have a tasty orange-coconut-vanilla mess on my hands, and that’s ok. Might go back and add some passionfruit and guava later. TASK 26 Sweet Rice
Freakishly authentic fragrant plain white rice, like jasmine rice, for a week or so, then devolves into much more of a bland starchy body like a stale flour tortilla. Before devolving, nice rice texture on top, finish is quite creamy but still rice-tasting. Very thick, full mouthfeel even while the flavor is more subtle, again accurate to rice.
Mixing with VT Rice Base helps with the fading issue considerably.
I need it for Clouds of Buddha
. I also love the idea behind Broke Breakfast
, because been there, ate that. Still miss it sometimes. But I think I can do it better than that. Also my family wasn’t quite as broke as Gachatay’s apparently, we got a little pat of butter on our hot rice before pouring milk over it.
My Broke Breakfast V1 TASK 27
|Co. ||Flavor ||% |
|FE ||Sweet Rice ||4.5 |
|VT ||Rice Base ||1.25 |
|FA ||Meringue ||0.75 |
|FA ||Milk ||1.25 |
|FA ||Cream Fresh ||1 |
|VT ||Butter Base ||0.75 |
|FLV ||Rich Cinnamon ||0.13 |
|FW ||Sweetener ||0.5 |
Weird, darkly sweet strawberry with a strange funky sort of tropical flavor. Full flavored but almost overripe, while at the same time fairly simple without too much else going on, almost like a candy flavor in its simplicity. Not a clue what to do with this stuff unless mixing with a tropical flavor that isn’t funky enough. TRASH 12 Turkish
Very vague and very light spice notes, light to medium tobacco base, and just a touch of brown sugary sweetness. Woody, with some nutty tones. Peanut, specifically. Like tobacco mixed with peanut shells. Pretty solid amount of flavor at 2%. Pretty good depth, medium thickness. Can’t say I enjoyed it a whole lot by itself but I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to mix a tobacco recipe that uses it. Unfortunately, I did not see one. TRASH 13 Whipped Cream
Terrible. It tastes like whipped cream, but also tastes like it has lemon dish soap in it. If you’ve ever used Lemon Joy to hand wash dishes, it’s a pretty recognizable thing. Tastes like I wanted to make vanilla whipped cream with two tsps of vanilla but I only had one tsp of vanilla, so I subbed in Lemon Joy for one of the tsp because I was dropped on my head and fed lead-based paint chips as a child. I can’t understand how this gets manufactured and sold to people, it’s so bad. TRASH 14
FLAVOUR ART 7 Leaves Ultimate
Woody, dry tobacco, very light spice, like an autumn spice with the slightest hint of anise, not enough to be licorice-y. It’s not perfumy, but it’s kinda cologne-y in that wood and spice combination and hint of tobacco, kinda tastes like it could be a men’s cologne. The woodiness is similar to sandalwood but not exactly sandalwood. It’s definitely not pine or oak, though. Very distinctly brown sugar sweetness. That’s mostly what I get, wood and brown sugar, with spice. Not much tobacco really, just a leafy hint of it..
I need it for Chem Twista Lime
. TASK 28 Almond
Definitely not trash. If you forced me to keep only one FA flavor, it would probably be this one. It’s a clear, clean, almond flavor. It mostly tastes like a raw almond. Slightly sweet and extracty, but dry, rich, and woody enough to come across as the actual nut in a mix, while being smooth enough to be the almond taste in almond milk. Medium body, not thin and top heavy. Rich and creamy but not too thick and basey either. It really is the quintessential and most essential almond flavor and it can be used in so many ways. If you don’t have FA Almond already, get it now.
I need it for a bunch of favorite recipes, such as Mango Blossom Macaron, Vanilla Almond Milk, Saturday Morning Macaron, Big Papa’s Macaron, Blog Day, Goddaron, Stoned Alone, Dummies, and Sandy Pineapple, not to mention a dozen or so new-to-me recipes I already plan to try.
Here’s a couple more that look too good to pass up: High Society
. Butter. Almond. Custard. Tobacco. Going to sub FW Sweetener for the PUR. TASK 29 Spandauer
. Danish puff pastry. TASK 30 Amarula
I don’t know what Amarula is supposed to actually taste like, but this one can best be described in a word as “interesting.” It’s very rich and creamy, with a flavor that reminds me of Irish Cream with that slight mocha coffee-type note, but it also some really bright, citrusy grapefruit-esque thing going on, just thinly laid over the heavy cream. It tastes like something you couldn’t enjoy in real life because the acid would curdle the cream and make it nasty. It also tastes like FA Irish Cream and FA Grapefruit mixed together. It’s a little boozy, but not at all strongly so. No clue what the heck to do with it, but it’s interesting. There’s not a single recipe on ATF that uses it, so this seems like a good chance for me to go ahead and expunge something weird from my stash. TRASH 15 Anise
Brighter, spicier anise with some woody accents and a light but almost creamy base. No off notes. If I saw a recipe using this that I really wanted to try, I’d keep it, but seeing none, TRASH 16 Apple Pie
I really just get pie crust from it. No apple. Just the slightest bit of fruity sweetness. No spice, not really, maybe they like wave some cinnamon over the vat of the stuff at FA HQ but don’t actually drop it in. But it’s a really solid pie crust, probably the most solid. It’s strong and shows up in a mix and tastes like buttery if a bit doughy crust. Very full and dense crust, no off notes, just missing ones.
I need it for my 1-2-3 Butter Pecan Pie
. TASK 31
But I will be mixing that and tasting it with the intention of trying to make it better, and this Butter Pecan Crumble
looks like about where I would have wound up, so I’ll go ahead and try that and see if improving Butter Pecan Pie is something I still need to do or something that’s already been done for me. TASK 32
Also, here’s a recipe that specifically states that the mixer has already done that for me, so of course I have to try Butter Tarts
- it looks amazing. TASK 33
I have already planned to mix other recipes that use this, too. Apricot
Very nice, authentic apricot. It’s one that everyone should probably own. It tastes much more natural than candied and not overly sweet. Top notes are mild, subtle yellow peachy-type of flavor. Pushing it higher doesn’t really make it less weak, it’s just a gentle type of fresh fruit flavor. A little dry, or at least not especially juicy, but not too dry. Of note, I’m aware some people think it is aggressive and does stand out in a mix, but I’ve never had that issue using it with bold fruits. Not a dried or cooked type of flavor at all. I don’t get any sort of harshness from this, overall it’s just a smooth and gentle flavor. Its exhale starts and finishes weaker: it’s more of a middle-range flavor, with a nice full fleshy body like you’d expect from a fresh apricot. Hence why I like to use it to help fill out various other stone fruits - peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries - and it even works for some tropical fruits like mango and papaya. It’s not very aggressive or prone to standing out too much in mix with other fruits, in my experience, although I’ve had a tobacco recipe that used it at 1% and I didn’t think it would show up at all, but it definitely did. . So, mixed results. Works especially well with flavors that have their own aggressive top notes and you want to make it a fuller bodied fruit without pushing those flavors higher and getting more harshness or having them run floral on you, like peaches, or for filling out a cherry without letting it get too mediciny if you want a fresh natural cherry flavor.
I need it for Counter Punch TASK 34 Impropapiety
(papaya sweet tea recipe I created) TASK 35 Apricaught Me Slippin
(the aforementioned apricot 1% tobacco recipe) TASK 36
And a couple of other favorites that were added to the to-mix list too recently to repeat just yet.
I also want to try Cookie-On-Me
,. A fruit-filled cookie recipe that has some of my favorite ingredients in it - with the exception of FA Cookie (I’ll just JF Cookie instead) and CAP Super Sweet (which I’ll replace with FW Sweetener because 0.5% CAP SS seems like a lot for a cookie recipe). TASK 37 Arctic Winter
It’s just menthol. The only reason I would keep it over any other just plain menthol is a recipe using it that I want to make, since I’m not exactly sure how much of a different menthol to sub in.
Unfortunately for my getting rid of flavors project, there is one such recipe: Spiral Out
, an orange, papaya, menthol mix. TASK 38 Aurora
Heavy, realistic lime zest top end with some bitterness and a much softer but sweet, limeade-type body that almost feels effervescent. Perfect for the “twist of lime” in a cocktail because of that zesty lime and sweeter body.
I need this for something I’m working on. I also want to try Strawora Limealis
, though I imagine that if I love it I’ll soon be trying it again with a rum flavor or two or FLV Tequila Agave added to it. TASK 39
, which looks weird. But it might be amazing weird. TASK 40 Banana
Very typical FA Flavor. Realistic, sightly underripe banana, all thin, dry top notes with essentially no creamy base at all. 1 to 2%, beyond that, overly dry to the point of added throat hit,, also candyish, but not in a good way like LA or TFA Banana Cream, because that underipeness also ramps up and just gets weird. Also, at 3%, it tastes almost like there’s a bit of clove in here. Sounds like a negative review, but I actually used to love 1.25ish % of this on top of TFA Banana Cream because it creates a more realistic banana. The problem is that we have quite a few better bananas now. I think I’ll be ok without this one TRASH 17 Banana Candy
When WF came out with a banana candy, I really appreciated the embracing of the candy, since so many other bananas taste like banana runts or banana laffy taffy but don’t just come right out and admit it. But then Chef’s Super Concentrates (RIP) comes out with one that’s super potent and spot-on banana runts but the “at least they’re honest about it” novelty starts to wear off. Then FA’s comes out and by now, I’m not interested in candy banana. But there’s nothing wrong with this one. It tastes very much like those banana puffy candies, but with a little less punch of flavor than those have. If you’re really into those foamy banana candies you might want to pick this one up, but I don’t feel a need for it personally. TRASH 18
New Flavor Count: 2,496
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2023.03.24 22:37 GratefulTiger28 Part 4: The Come Apart, The Last False Hope, & Where I am Now
This is the final part of a 4 part effort to get this out of me and into the cosmos. This will be the final part and by far the longest one.
I once again would like to thank the mods for allowing me to share this story in this space and thank everyone who has followed along. Maybe one day when it’s all finalized I’ll provide an update.
PART 1: https://www.reddit.com/SupportforBetrayed/comments/1205fb2/part_1_the_beautiful_beginning_the_start_of_life/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
PART 2: https://www.reddit.com/SupportforBetrayed/comments/120gqby/part_2_the_unraveling_the_restart/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
PART 3: https://www.reddit.com/SupportforBetrayed/comments/120tedb/part_3_the_drama_the_nightmare_the_affair_the/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
When I last left off it was mid November 2022. We were in the throes of finally seeking things out together. My wife had grown bored with marriage counseling and honestly I had become so focused on saving us and giving into her needs and wants so much that I just said forget it it’s too expensive anyways.
So by mid November, she tells me “I love our sex life again, I’m really into you again, I’m getting everything but I like the attention from other guys and just flirting, could I do that?”
I was rather surprised after all she had always hidden things from me so to be so straightforward was shocking. It made me uneasy but things had been decent and steady and so I said sure, but under these conditions: I get to see the conversation, I have to vet the person and I get access to your device. She agrees. Cool.
Then it all begins. The drugs, the drinking, the immense amount of time spent on her phone talking to these dudes. It drives me up the wall and the month of December is tumultuous to say the least. But we push through with the “happy little family” narrative and get through the holidays.
January 1, 2023 we go to a family get together for New Year’s Day. She pounds shots, pops a few Xanax, and we blow up in a huge fight and go home: I’ve had one beer. Sober as a judge. She flys off the handle leaves the house and goes back to her cousins house and stays the night.
Comes home the next day and the week that follows, is absolute hell. I catch her in more lies, more bullshit, more everything. No physical cheating but she’s trying. I finally get to my breaking point on Wednesday of that first week and she goes to her moms and stays the night.
The next morning (a Thursday) I drop our kids at school and go to her mothers and tell her mom everything. Get her help. She’s out of control. Drugs, alcohol, unreliable, lying all the time, sex addiction, a constant need for attention from men. Her mother is appalled and calls her father and brother. They plan to confront her the following week. Just give it a week and they will handle it.
Then Friday rolls around and that’s when I finally gave up and kicked her out. Caught again, and I make her leave this time. Again as I referenced in part 3 I have a high tolerance of bullshit. But I was done. She leaves and the next morning on Saturday she comes to the house, says she’s never going to stop, so I packed a bag and left town and called her mother and she went straight to the house. Figured out how to get the kids out to a safe place (other family members house in town). I get to my parents house and finally tell my story to them. Shockwaves hit the immediate family.
Her brother calls. She’s agreed to go to detox and rehab. She’s going away for 40 days. I get back Sunday and she’s leaving so I’m now in the house alone with the kids. I throw myself into intense therapy 3 days a week, devote all my time to the kids, complete purge the house and do home improvement projects I’d been wanting to do for years. I get my kids on a good path. A solid routine. Things are remarkably stable.
She’s gone for a month and ten days. We talk occasionally by phone and have a good conversation with her inpatient therapist/counselor. Set boundaries. Expectations. Of which I had none at this point. But for the first time in a while I see some clarity. She gets out February 15, 2023 and asks that I pick her up. So I drive across the state and pick her up, and for about 4 days things were seemingly normal. She’s hitting meetings, got a new doctor, off the drugs, isn’t into her phone,in an outpatient rehabs program, she’s a present mother and wife, and then the fist Sunday upon return she gets a phone call.
I’d heard about all kinds of people she met in detox and rehab. The rehab was a women’s only facility so no worries there for me. But she gets this call and is exuberant when it’s done. That was my friend Evan! He’s awesome blah blah blah. And right then I knew nothing had changed and there was no hope.
She passed out and I look in her bag and find letters between her and this guy she met at detox. “Soulmates” “always and forever” “can’t wait for what our future holds.” I sit on it. For days. And I begin gathering my evidence. Meanwhile she’s still talking to guys from before she left, meets another guy in AA (with a 3rd degree domestic violence charge over him), and things quickly escalate upon me confronting her.
And that’s when it came: “I haven’t loved you since our first child was born and I want a divorce:”
I grab my things and call her mother. Her mom comes over and stays the night with her and the kids, and I leave for my parents house. I get there and make clear: I’m taking her for everything. I lawyer up immediately. File for divorce and an expedited hearing for temporary custody and sole possession of the house. Meanwhile I’ve compiled mountains (300+ pages of paper, screenshots, phone records, text records) and take them to my attorney.
He files for expedited hearing. Granted. I have pictures of a refilled prescription of the drugs she was supposed to be off of. Pictures of empty booze bottles in her car. Pictures of contact with paramours and the love letters from detox dude. Expedited hearing is granted.
I’m between I’m forced to go to her cousins wedding because one of our kids is in the wedding. What a miserable experience that was. Her whole family just act like I don’t even exist. One of the few in-laws (who married into this family) approached me and says “I’ll always have your back, but take my advice, get your kids and leave this wedding as soon as you can.” And I did. She came home drunk and tried making a move on me that night (last Saturday).
She was served with papers this week. Me asking for sole custody. Only supervised 3rd party visitation, pay my attorney fees and child support, vacate the house, no adverse contact, no talking to paramours, submit to drug testing, re-enter outpatient rehab program (because she quit on week two). And I’m being granted a chance at a 90 day divorce on grounds of adultery and habitual drunkenness and substance abuse.
I finally told ALL my friends. ALL my family. ALL her friends. ALL of our friends we made together. And I told all of them EVERYTHING I have told you all here. Why? Not for revenge. But for accountability. Accountability for myself to NEVER go back. Accountability to NEVER be with not tolerate someone that exhibits the same behaviors (impulsiveness, lying, cheating in all forms, laziness, bullshit, habitual intoxication, financial illiteracy, and just plain old stupidity because this woman is NOT intelligent at all, for Christ sake she never even read to kill a mockingbird and thinks Plato is a children’s play thing)
So where am I now? Living under the same roof as her. This horrible disgusting human. And ya know what? She still tries to make moves on me. I’ve kept her from the bed. And she’s been on the couch. I’ve stayed in therapy intensely and finally have grown so disgusted with her there is zero attraction, zero recourse, zero respect (partner wise) and zero tolerance for her. I do my laundry and the kids. I take care of them. Feed them and make myself dinner. Play with the kids constantly. Wow I finally realize where all my money and time has gone. To her. Sacrificed myself and my own well being for years now for her and chasing something that’s been dead so long all that’s left is the dust collecting on the bones as they disintegrate into the earth.
She can’t cook. She hates doing laundry and always made me use sensitive skin detergent, fuck that, I went and bought a bottle of fucking Gain for the first time in a decade and it was glorious. I leave the toilet seat up again because I can. I lock my bedroom door each night. Cut off her phone and made her go pay her own way. Has to stay on insurance till the divorce is final but fine, just another bill she never paid and has to assume now. I’ve ordered out a few nights for me and the kids, never got her anything. She’s sad and down and eating microwave dinners because it’s all she knows to cook.
“My back hurts from the couch can I sleep in the bed?” No. “Can you grab that for me?” No. Can I use your phone charger? No. Can I run tot he store in your car? No. Send me money so we can split dinner? No. Can I get you dinner? No. Give me time to get on my feet and we can settle out of court. Absolutely hell to the no.
Ever since being served and seeing what I said and what I’m asking, she’s tried to be super mom, tried to be present, tried to be “sorry” tried to talk about us and remaining friends. Stonewalled. Every. Single. Time. And it’s driving her mad and crazy, crazier than she already is. She can’t stand I’ve reached this point.
And ya know what?
For the first time in 10 years but especially the last 3, I feel good. I feel ok. I feel like I see light. Sure nobody gets married to somebody they are madly in love with with this expectation. Ever. But it’s what I’ve been dealt, and ya know what? For the first time in forever, I have put myself and my children first. I have, in a strange way and I’m a very short time, moved on from her. Rejected her sexual advances, gotten my jabs in when I can (never around the kids EVER), done ME. Working out constantly. Focused on my job. Playing with my kids.
Just yesterday I learned I got a promotion and massive raise and huge bonus for performance. That despite the shit she dragged me through, I still achieved something in my career.
So while I am just beginning the start of the divorce process (as of now it seems it’ll be finalized mid summer), she wanted a year separation then divorce. Well she’s not getting that. For the first time in forever, I’m in charge, and seeing her squirm, and beg, and plead, for the first time ever, is the catharsis I need.
All that said, she is the mother of my children. Others have said get a DNA test. I did that long ago. The kids are mine. And as the mother of my children of course I hope, but do not expect, but hope that she does find the help she needs to be better, to be a present and real mother to them and a healthy person to herself. And I’d never drag her name or anything around or to our children, that’s not who I am, and never will be. I’m relearning who I actually am again and I know I’m worthy of better than her one day but right now? It’s all about my kids, their safety from this person, and my own emotional and mental well being.
Now it’s my turn to live my life and be happy. Now it’s my turn to be in charge. Now it’s my turn to LIVE AGAIN. And let me tell you now: I’m already living again and already finding my happy: in myself and with my kids.
And so that’s my story. Terrible right? How could you stay so long? How could you do this to yourself? Well, I’ll figure that out one day, but for now? I’m good for the first time in years and finally feeling: FREE
I’m gonna be just fine. I’m gonna be better than just fine, I’m gonna fucking own my life and be better than ever. I’m 31 years old, I got a whole new life ahead of me and I’m going to live and love and enjoy ever single second of it because I earned that. She’s in the rear view and knows it and that she can’t get me anymore, can’t make me do anything anymore, can’t control me and manipulate me and lie to me and me care and fawn after her? It’s driving her insane. And it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
Thanks for the support and comments even the shitty ones. And wish me luck, my hearing is next Wednesday and from that day forward she will finally be out of my presence for good. And damn that feels good to know.
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2023.03.24 22:18 SCArchbold I just moved back to my childhood town... People are going missing now, and I think it has something to do with the coal mine... [Part 1]
People have been going missing in my hometown ever since I moved back. And things don't really feel the way they did when I was a kid. I don't know if those two are related.
This has been really nagging at me lately. I had no idea where to post it to get some help or peace of mind. I just really need some support right now before I drive myself crazy over it. Maybe I'm overreacting because it's been a stressful few months since my parents died, or maybe someone can shed some light on the events that have been happening and show me that I am just being crazy...
I guess, I should probably start by introducing myself? My name is Jeremy Coleridge, as a kid I used to live in a very small coal mining town of about 7000 in a desolate area of the north called Calkirk. Picture every single midwestern small town Podunk you've driven to on your way to a bigger city, and you would be pretty close to what Calkirk looks like
I was there until I was about 17, when I decided to live with my aunt in New York, where I threw away a lot of money going into journalism which, if I have to be honest, was probably the worst decision of my life at the time. But, with my parent's kind of disowning me for not agreeing with their very strong religious devotions I kind of had no place to go. My aunt pushed me to attend college a year after I graduated high school because I really liked writing and investigation, so what better to study than investigative journalism right? Plus; she said I had to be in school if she was going to let me stay with her. Well, do you want to know how many investigative journalists are in New York?
The answer is: A lot.
So, a few grand down and four years of school wasted, I can’t get a job with that degree. I ended up living in a 2-bedroom apartment bunking with another dude while I work 50 hours a week between two part time jobs because that’s all anyone wanted to offer, and I was struggling. My aunt Clair moved back to Calkirk to take care of my mom who was diagnosed with some rare disease that she wouldn’t tell me about. Now, I’m 24, my mom passed away 3 months ago from whatever disease it was that she had gotten, my dad committed suicide the next day…
My aunt paid for me to fly back to Calkirk for the funeral and the Will reading. Being their only kid, I guess my parents willed me their small 3-bedroom one bath house in the town and with that, a small inheritance that basically would pay my student loans off and still leave me a few grand of left over money to put in savings. The life insurance my dad had from working at the Calkirk mine for almost 40 years paid everything off. I wouldn’t owe a cent on a single thing except my utilities and food.
I had to go back to New York for a few weeks to get my assets in order. I waited for my roommates to find some new, desperate fool to move in, sold my old buick, sent off the final check for my bank to cover my loan, flipped off one boss as I walked out of one job, and gave a respectable 2 weeks notice to the other, then I paid a company to pack up my small amount of crap I had and bought myself a plane ticket back to Calkirk.
Well, I say “to Calkirk” but as you may or may not know, a town of 7000 doesn’t usually have an airport so I had to fly into a city about two hours from there and get my aunt to agree to pick me up.
Two weeks living in the house, I got bored sitting in the place alone and decided to apply for a few jobs in town. I was able to score a job at the Calkirk Times. And being the only news outlet in Calkirk, business was actually booming. But when I asked my interviewer why the position was open, he said something that sort of freaked me out.
“Well, the last kid with your job stopped showing up a couple weeks ago…his house is empty, skipped town, no one can find him...”
I was basically hired on the spot, and I accepted immediately, call me desperate. But what my new boss said gave me a weird feeling… Everyone knew about everyone in this town. How could one of only three journalists go missing and nobody knows where he went?
When I met my new coworkers Abbigale and Tommy, they said the guy, Jim Remus, was an out-of-towner from Texas who came to live here with his girlfriend, a local girl we went to school with. They both went missing two weeks ago with no sign of them anywhere. Abby and Tommy, both thought it was way weirder than what our boss thought, he denied any articles even mentioning it. He even reprimanded Tom for asking another coworker about it, saying it was personal business and we shouldn’t be talking about it at work...
The second weird thing I experienced was a couple weeks after that, when I officially emptied my parents' pantry of all the nasty old people food they had. I decided it was probably time to go grocery shopping. I got home late on Friday night after writing a pointless article about news that had come out almost a week previously in bigger outlets, but people here ate up the content like it was breaking news so, who cares. I decided Saturday would be a better time to go grocery shopping.
Now, let me explain Calkirk a little better before the next piece of my story. Like I said, Calkirk is an old mining town in the Midwest part of the United States. I’m not saying where because I don’t want anyone trying to find it and something bad happening to them.
The town sits a few miles from the highway and has one main road with everything that’s not a house on it. Two gas stations, one on each side of town, two bars barely 3 blocks away from each other, the post office, the fire hall, the grocery store on one side, the K through 12 school on the other, then there are a few buildings with random business scattered between, a small vet clinic, a photo lab, a small coffee shop, stuff like that. The jail sat smack dab in the middle of town between the two bars. The town itself probably wouldn’t be visible from the highway if the factory wasn’t billowing out thick clouds of what I assumed to be coal ash and soot 24/7.
The factory was supplied by the Calkirk Mines and a tunnel delivery system had been made to transport coal to the factory from the mine about 15 miles away. The mine sat in a deep coolie with hundreds of trees around it, near a river, and a few long dirt trails in and out. the tunnel system was a long belt covered most of the way by piping. Inside, there's train cars that run almost constantly to the factory. With only small viewing ports for maintenance every so often. All of this knowledge was thanks to my dad working there for 40 years and a few take-your-child to workdays before he and my mom basically disowned me.
I should also mention before I get too far, since I came back here about 8 weeks ago, there have been three massive dustings, which the locals call “Ash events”. An Ash event in this town is when the factory spouts out way more of its black smoke than usual and the town gets covered in layers of black soot like material, it’s easily washed away with a hose and the fire department goes around each time and uses a low-pressure hose to rinse basically everything off. I remember these events from when I was a kid, but they never happened this frequently, at least not in my memory, or maybe it was washed off before I noticed.
It usually happened overnight and if you woke up too early, you'd have to wash off your own cars if you want to get anywhere. Part of the city ordinance was no one drives in town with their cars covered in the ash. It can be met with an almost $2000 fine. And, with the amount of police officers with not much to do all day, they were posted everywhere after a good dusting, so you’d be seen.
The first Ash event since being back home happened about two weeks after I got to town, two weeks before I got my new job. The second ash event two weeks after that got my dad's truck that I had parked outside so I could work on a dirt bike in the garage when I was bored. It happened the night I decided to go grocery shopping. The third one was just a week ago as I’m writing this...
Anyway, when I woke up, I could smell the ash in the air. It leaves this really heavy burning smell like someone burning ham bones with wool. It's hard to explain, but it's one of those smells you could remember from anywhere if you smelled it again. When I walked out, I already knew what I’d see, the dark dust caked on my dad's truck. I unraveled the hose in the front yard and sprayed the whole truck down before heading to the store to get there right when they opened. And yeah, I realize most people would look at this and say, that's weird, but for Calkirk, you kind of just grew up doing that. It's a generational habit, everyone did it.
In the store, I shopped for about two hours, packed a cart full of groceries and went to the registers to check out. Two older ladies were sitting at a small booth beside the windows sipping coffee. I recognized them as ladies that live in my neighborhood that would often have contact with my parents and I when I was a kid.
“Did you see Genie this morning?” I overheard one say, the other shook her head and made an exasperated face.
“I was just gonna ask you, haven't seen her at all!”
“That’s so unlike her…”
“Do you think…” There was a pause and the other shook her head.
I listened as they went back and forth saying how this lady always met them on Saturday mornings, every year for the past 25 years, she never missed a day.
I paid, I rolled my cart over to them and said, “I Uh, couldn’t help but overhear, you said your friend is missing?”
The women gave me a skeptical look then both suddenly perked in an almost robotic manner then one smiled, “Oh, little Jeremy Coleridge, you sweet little thing, when did you get back in town!”
I responded with “Like 2 months ago…”
“So sorry about your parents dear. Hope the town is treating you well.”
I nodded, but like a lot of crap in this town, their sudden change in attitude freaked me out.
I tried to divert the conversation back to the missing friend “So Genie…”
“Oh, I remember when you were just a tiny baby waddling over to my house for candies with your mom!” One spoke.
“Yeah, I did. But I want to ask about your friend…” I began again.
“Oh worse, as a kid he would follow my granddaughter for hours outside while they played.” The other said. She waved her hand at the other, “You two are about the same age, you should remember her, her name is Abbigale.”
“Oh and what about that time Marty found him playing in the mud puddle in the backyard.”
“Listen” I said abruptly over their talking. “I’m with the newspaper now. You said your friend is missing, have you gone to her house yet!? Have you checked on her at all?”
Their moods changed again, they frowned deeply, and went rigid for a minute as if they were really mad… Then they suddenly smiled again, big wide creepy smiles that really freaked me out.
“She’s fine Jeremy.” One said in a tight-lipped smile. “Just… resting…” her creepy smile widened, her lip twitched at the word ‘Resting’. Then, she shoo’ed me away with her hand without another word. My attempts to ask after were ignored as if I wasn’t even there.
feeling thoroughly unsettled, I left the store, packed my stuff in my truck, and drove it home. I put everything away and pulled out an old phone book my parents had in the house. The only Genie I knew was Genie Carlson. She worked at the school as a nurse for a long time before retiring. I found her number, dialed it, no answer. I dialed it again, same thing. On the third ring, the ringer was cut after 2 rings and flipped to voicemail, like someone had sent the phone to the answering machine. “This is Genie Carlson, Sorry I missed you… Please leave a-” but it cut itself off. The next call didn’t go through, I just got a “The number you dialed is no longer in service…”
Feeling thoroughly unsettled, I left the store, packed my stuff in my truck, and drove it home. I put everything away and pulled out an old phone book my parents had in the house. The only Genie I knew was Genie Carlson. She worked at the school as a nurse for a long time before retiring. I found her number, dialed it, no answer. I dialed it again, same thing. On the third call, the ringer was cut after 2 rings and flipped to voicemail, like someone had sent the phone to the answering machine. “This is Genie Carlson, Sorry I missed you… Please leave a-” but it cut itself off. The next call didn’t go through, I just got a “The number you dialed is no longer in service…” I thought it was odd that her phone would go off after I had just called it three times.
I, at least, remembered where Genie lived from my childhood and decided I’d pay her a small visit before going about the day just to make sure she was okay. I mean, maybe she was sick or something and just stuck in bed, or maybe she fell and needed help? Maybe she didn’t have a life alert, she for sure did not have a cell phone, and I think she was a widow, and all her kid's left town when they turned 18. So, if her friends hadn’t checked in on her she could have been lying there alone for lord knows how long needing help.
When I got to her house it was really dark, and quiet, the only way I knew it was still her house was the name inside the mailbox lid said “Carlson”. I knocked on the door, waited for a bit, but nothing happened.
“Ms. Genie! Ms. Genie! It’s me, Jeremy Coleridge! Jan and Cals son!” There was no answer. I looked in the little window in the door, but it was dark. I stepped to the side and looked into the front window and found an empty house. Her porch had signs that the Ash Event was never cleaned up properly, but the blanket of ash was disturbed by boot marks that weren’t my own. I tried the door handle, it opened, but almost like something pulled it open from the inside.
The house was completely empty, except for large boot marks made of the black ash from the porch leading into the entryway. And a few small blood splatters on the wall beside the stairs. It was eerily quiet; the house didn’t creak the way old houses were supposed to creak. There didn’t even seem to be wind around me. The whole area, inside Genie's house and outside, was just still and silent.
Before I took another step, I called the jail and asked if they could send a cop. I told them that it looked like something weird went down at Ms. Genie’s. They told me to wait outside and not touch anything. So, I turned right on my heel and planted myself on the step of the porch. I pulled out my phone to distract myself from the scene behind me. It didn’t keep my leg from shaking though…
Sheriff Nixon showed up about 10 minutes later. He was old, looked like a corpse himself, but he had been the Sheriff in town since before I could even remember. He was always super friendly and had a smile on his face, even now while responding to a potential disappearance.
“Little Jer Coleridge. My, my son, you’ve grown.” He patted my shoulder hard, almost threw me off balance.
“Hey Pat… I think something happened with Genie Carlson…” I pointed to the door, thinking he would be more surprised than what he was.
“Now, why would ya‘ think that, son?”
I told him I saw Ruth and Beth Anne at the grocery store saying they hadn’t seen her today. I even told him about them saying she was “Resting” and how they smiled the whole time, not acting like they were really bothered by it at all.
“Well, let’s just take a look here then. Wait out here.” He went inside with a flashlight, looked around for a few minutes then came back out. He clicked the lock behind him and shut the door.
“Well Jer, looks to me Genie moved out.”
“Without telling Ruth and Beth Anne?”
He nodded and his face suddenly smiled widely, the same way Ruth and Beth Anne had done at the grocery store earlier in the day when I kept pressing them to tell me about Genie. “Looks like it.”
“But the boot prints, and blood…”
“Probably a movin’ accident.”
I shook my head at him, trying to talk some reason into him. That didn’t make sense at all. “Pat… Genie is in her 80s. Why would she just leave without telling anyone? Genie has been going to the store every Saturday for 25 years, she hasn’t missed a single day, she wouldn’t just leave without…”
“Now son…” Pat grabbed onto my shoulder and squeezed hard, causing me to pause. He raised an eyebrow at me. “I think you’re reading too much into this. I bet Genie was needin’ a change of pace in her old age, didn't want to hurt herself with the goodbyes.”
“Pat, I don’t think she’d…”
His voice suddenly dropped into an angry tone “Son, I think you’re meddlin’ in people's personal business too much.” He titled his head closer to me. One of his eyes twitched at me, just like how Ruth's had at the grocery store. “Think you need to take your investigative head and go home, forget what you saw here.” He then smiled brightly as if he didn’t say anything and patted my shoulder again. “Nice seein’ ya Jer.” He walked back to his patrol car then tilted his hat at me “I’m sure I’ll be seein’ you around, son.”
I mean, Am I the crazy one? I seem to be the only one who cares that Genie Carlson is missing... Ruth and Beth Anne don't seem to be bothered, and it seems like Sherrif Nixon couldn't be bothered. And that's not even getting into the guy and his girlfriend who went missing a few weeks ago...
I think I am going to look into it and see if I can track Genie down at least, to make sure she is okay. I have resources at work that could maybe help me. So, I'm going to check those out when I take my next break. In the meantime, I have to get back to work, But I'll post an update if I find anything out.
submitted by SCArchbold
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2023.03.24 21:30 Trash_Tia In my town of Brightwood Pines, murder was legal. I didn't question it until I started getting toothache.
Murder was legal in our town of Brightwood Pines.
I had grown up seeing it. At eight years old, I watched a man come into our local café while I drank my peanut butter chocolate milkshake and shot two people dead.
There was no malice in his eyes, or any kind of hatred. It was just a normal guy who smiled at the waitress and winked at me. Mom told me to keep drinking my milkshake and I did—licking away excess whipping cream while the bodies were hoarded out, and pooling red was cleaned from the floor. I could still see flecks of white inside red, and my stomach twisted.
But I didn’t feel…scared. I had no reason to be. Nobody was screaming or crying.
The man who had shot them had sat down to eat burger and fries, and didn’t blink an eye. That was my first experience seeing death—and not my last.
With no rules forbidding murder, you would think a town would tear itself apart.
That is not what happened.
Murder was legal, yes, but it didn’t happen every day. It happened when people had the urge. Mom explained it to me when I was old enough to understand. “The urge” was a phenomenon which had been affecting town’s people long before I was born, and there was no real way to stop it. So, it didn't stop. Mom told me she had killed her first person at the age of seventeen. Her math teacher. There was no reason or motive. Mom said she just woke up one day and wanted to kill someone.
Unfortunately, it was her math teacher who had gotten in the way. I always wondered why she described her killing so vividly to me. I was eight years old, and mom spent hours detailing how she had successfully managed to sever his head from his body with nothing but a phone charger, and a knife taken from her kitchen.
That specific killing became more of a bedtime story to lull me to sleep.
Mom would sit on the edge of my bed and tell me all the ways she had wanted to murder her math teacher—describing how it felt for his blood to spatter her hands and paint her face.
I didn’t like her smile when she told me about her killing. Sometimes I got scared she was going to murder me too. Growing up, I have been constantly on edge. Every day I woke up and pressed my hand to my forehead, asking myself the same questions. Did I want to kill anyone? And those thoughts blossomed into paranoia when I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. It’s not like I didn’t know what it was like.
Dad had let me hold a knife, and taught me how to properly hold a gun, and mom gave me lessons in severing body parts. Both of them wanted me to follow through with The Urge when it hit me inevitably, and I wanted to fit in.
Our elementary school teacher had told my class as little kids, that The Urge was part of growing up, and if we fought it, if we tried to get out of it, our mind and body would face the consequences. She didn’t elaborate, though I didn’t really want her to. All our teacher had to say was “bleeding from the mouth” and “severe reaction in the brain” and I was already squirming, along with my twelve other classmates. The Urge became something I anticipated instead of fearing. Because, if I got it—if I had my first kill as young as my mom, then my parents would be proud of me.
When I started middle school, our neighbors were caught killing and cannibalising their children, turning them into bone broth. I knew both of the kids. Clay and Clara. I had played with them in their yard and eaten cookies with them.
Clara told me she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up, and Clay used to tug on my pigtails to get my attention. They were like siblings to me. No matter what my parents said, or my teacher’s, my gut still twisted at the thought of my neighbors doing something like that. Days after the cops had arrived, I saw Mrs Jenson watering her plants. But when I looked closer, there was no water. She was just holding an empty hose over her prize roses.
I stood on my tiptoes, peering over our fence. “Mrs Jenson?”
“I am okay, Elle.”
Her voice didn’t sound okay.
“Are you sure?” I asked. I pointed at the hose grasped in her hand. “You forgot to turn your water on.”
“Mrs Jenson…” I took a deep breath before I could stop myself. “Did you like killing Clay and Clara?”
“Why, yes,” she hummed. “Of course I did. I slurped up that bone broth like it was my prize tomato soup. They were…. delicious.”
I nodded. “But… didn’t you love them?”
She didn’t reply for a moment before seemingly snapping out of it and turning to me with a bright smile. With too many teeth. That was the first time I started to question The Urge.
It was supposed to make you feel good, acting like a relief, a weight from your chest. Killing another human being was exactly what the people in our town needed. But what about killing their families and children?
Did it really make them feel good?
Looking at my neighbor, I couldn’t see the joy my mom had described in her eyes. In fact, I couldn’t see anything. Her expression was the kind of blank which scared me. It was oblivion staring back, ripped of real human emotion. Mrs Jenson’s smile stretched across her lips, like she could sense my discomfort. I noticed she was yet to clean her hands.
Mrs Jenson’s fingernails were still stained a scary shade of red. Instead of replying, the woman moved towards my fence in slow, stumbling strides. She was dragging herself, like moving caused her pain, agony I couldn’t understand. It was exactly what my mother had insisted didn’t exist when killing. Pain.
Humanity. All of the adults told us we would not feel those things when killing. We wouldn’t feel regret, or contempt. We would just feel good.
It was a release, like cold water coming over us. We would never feel better in our lives than when we were killing—and our first would be something special. When Mrs Jenson’s fingers still slick with her children’s blood wrapped around the wooden fence, I found myself paralysed. Her manic grin twisted and contorted into a silent wail, and once vacant eyes popped open. Like she was seeing me for the very first time. “I want to go home,” she whispered, squeezing onto the wooden fence until her own fingers were bleeding.
“Can you tell them to let me go home? I would like to see my children. Right now. Do you hear me?” Mrs Jenson wasn’t looking at me. Instead, her gaze was glued to thin air.
She was crying, screaming at something only she could see—and for a moment I wondered if ghosts were real. I twisted around to see if there were any ghosts, specifically the ones of her children, but there was nothing. Just fall leaves spiralling in the air in pretty waves.
“Mrs Jenson is sick,” she told me once I was sitting at the dinner table eating melted ice-cream. It tasted like barf running down my throat.
I didn’t see Mrs Jenson after that.
Well, I did.
She looked different, however.
Not freakishly different, though I did notice her hair color had changed. I remembered it being a deep shade of brown, and when my neighbor returned with an even wider smile, it was more of a blondish white. When I questioned this, mom told me it was a makeover.
The Urge affected people in different ways, and with Mrs Jenson, after having her come-down, she had decided on a change. Mom’s words were supposed to be reassuring, adding that there was no reason to be scared of The Urge.
But I didn’t want to be like Mrs Jenson and have a mental breakdown over my killing. I wanted to be like mom and have a glass of wine and laugh over the sensation of taking a life. Mrs Jenson was my first real glimpse into the negativity of killing because it was so normalised. Dying, for example, wasn’t feared.
From a young age, we had been taught that it was a vital part of life, and dying meant finding peace. When I first started high school, I expected killing to happen. Puberty was when The Urge fully blossomed. Weapons were allowed, but only out of classes. In other words, under no circumstances must we kill each other in class, but the hallways were a free-for-all.
I had seen attempts during my freshman year, but no real killing.
Annalise Duval was infamously known as the junior girl who had rejected The Urge, and thrown out of school. Struck with the stomach flu on the day of her attempted killing, I only knew the story from word-of-mouth. Apparently, the girl had attempted to kill her mother at home, failed, and then bounded into school, screaming about laughter in the walls, and people whispering into her head.
Obviously, my classmate was labelled insane—and judging from her nosebleed, the girl’s body had ultimately rejected The Urge, and her brain was going haywire. Nosebleeds were a common side effect. I heard stories from kids saying there was blood everywhere, all over her hands and face, smeared under her chin. She had been screaming for help, but nobody dared go near her. Like rejection was contagious. Annalise survived. Just. I still saw her on my daily bike-ride to school.
She was always sitting cross legged in front of the forest with her eyes closed, like she was praying. The rumor was, after being thrown out by her parents, the girl wandered around aimlessly, muttering about whispering people and laughter in her head. It was obvious her rejection had seriously affected her mental state, but I did feel sorry for her.
It wasn’t known what had caused her to reject The Urge, though some of the kids in her class did comment that she had been complaining of a loose tooth beforehand. Mom told me to stay away from her, and I did. Annalise Duval was the first and only case of rejection, and thanks to her, I knew exactly what would happen if it happened to me too. So, I ignored the bad feeling about my neighbor, and forced myself to anticipate the day when I would get my very own urge to kill. I waited for it.
On my fourteenth birthday, I confused a swimming stomach and cramps for The Urge, which turned out to be my first period.
I remember biking my way home, witnessing a man cut off a woman’s head with an axe.
It’s funny, I thought I would be desensitised to seeing human remains and severed heads, glistening red seeping across the sidewalk, but it was the passion in the man’s face as he swung the axe and dug in real hard, chopping right through bone and not stopping, even when intense red splattered his face and clothes, until the woman’s head hit the ground, which sent my stomach creeping into my throat.
Then, it was the vacancy in his eyes, a twitching smile as he held the axe like a prize.
Part of me wanted to stay, to see if he had a similar reaction to Mrs Jenson. I wanted to know if he regretted what he had done, but once I was meeting his gaze, and his grin was widening, the toe of his boot kicking the woman’s motionless body, I turned away from him and pedalled faster, my eyes starting to water. It wasn’t long before my lunch was inching its way up my throat, and I was abandoning my bike on the side of the road, and choking up undigested Mac N’ cheese onto steaming tarmac.
I didn’t tell mom about the man, and more importantly, my odd reaction to his killing. I wasn’t supposed to be feeling sick to my stomach. Murder was normal. I wasn’t going to get in trouble for it, so why did seeing it make me sick?
I had been taught as a little kid that visceral reactions were normal, and it was okay to be scared of killing and murder. However, what our brains told us was right wasn’t always the truth. Our teacher had held up a teddy bear and stabbed into its stuffing with a carving knife.
We had all cried out, until the teacher told us that the bear didn’t care about dying. In fact, it was ready to find peace. And it didn’t hurt him.
In other words, we had to ignore what our minds told us was bad.
Mom told me I would definitely start having conflicting feelings before my first killing, but that it was nothing to worry about.
I did worry, though. I started to wonder if I was going to become the next Analise Duval. Maybe the two of us would become friends, sharing our delusions together.
My 17th birthday came and went—and still no sign of The Urge. I noticed mom was starting to grow impatient. She had a routine of coming to check my temperature every morning, regardless of whether I felt sick or not.
“How are you feeling?” I couldn’t help but notice mom’s smile was fake.
She dumped my breakfast on a tray in front of me, and when I risked nibbling on a slice of toast, she dropped the bombshell.
“Elle, you are almost eighteen years old,” she said. I noticed her hands were clenched into fists. “Do you feel anything?”
I considered lying, though then I would have to kill someone—and without The Urge, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do that.
“I don’t know,” I answered honestly, propping myself up on my pillows. “Most of the kids in my class—”
She cut me off with a frustrated hiss. “Yes, I know. They have all killed someone and you haven’t.” Her eyes narrowed. “People are starting to notice, Elle.” She spoke through a smile which was definitely a grimace. “And when people start to notice, they get suspicious. I’ve been on the phone with three different doctor’s this morning, and all of them want to book you in for an MRI. Just to make sure things are normal.”
“MRI?” I almost choked on the apple I had been chewing.
“Yes.” Mom sighed. “We can’t ignore that things aren’t…. abnormal. You are seventeen years old and haven’t had one urge to kill. The minimum for your age is one kill,” she said. “Minimum. Elle. You have not killed anyone, and when I bring it up you change the subject.”
I changed the subject because she started asking if I wanted to practise. I wasn’t sure what “practise” meant, but from the slightly manic look in her eye, my mom wasn’t talking about dolls or teddy bears. It was so-called normal to practise killing. There were even people who volunteered to be targets at the local scrapyard. Most of them were old people.
Joey Cunningham in my class told everyone his uncle took him to practise when he was thirteen—and he had killed three people without The Urge. Five years on, Joey had accumulated a total of fourteen kills.
He never failed to remind everyone almost every class. I could taste the apple growing sour in the back of my mouth. Mom was just trying to help, and it’s not like I was doing this intentionally. The idea of going to the scrapyard and killing random people, even if they gave me permission to, wasn’t appealing in the slightest. “I’m okay.” I said, and when mom’s eyes darkened, I followed that up with, “I mean… I have spare time after class, so…?”
I meant to finish with, “Maybe.” But the word tangled in my mouth when I took a chunk out of the apple, and pain struck. Throbbing pain, which was enough to send my brain spinning off of its axis. For a moment, my vision feathered, and I was left blinking at my mother who had become more silhouette than real person. I was aware of the apple dropping out of my hand, but I couldn’t think straight.
The pain came in waves, exploding in my mouth. When I was sure I could move without my head spinning, I slammed my hand over my mouth instinctively to nurse the pain, except that just made it worse. Fuck. Had I chipped my tooth? Blinking through blurry vision, I knew my mom was there. But so was something else.
As if my reality was splintering open, another seeping through, I suddenly had no idea where I was, and a familiar feeling of fear started to creep its way up my spine. The thing was though, I knew exactly where I was. I had known this town, this house, my whole life.
So that feeling of fear didn’t make sense.
The more I mulled the thought over in my mind, however, pain striking like lightning bolts, something was blossoming.
It both didn’t make sense, and yet it also did. In the deep crevices of my mind, that feeling was familiar. And I had felt it before. No matter how hard I squinted, though, I couldn’t make it out.
When I squinted again, a sudden shriek of noise rattled in my skull, and it took me a disorienting moment to realise what I could hear was laughter. Hysterical laughter. Which seemed to grow louder and louder, encompassing my thoughts until it was deafening. Not just that. The walls were swimming, my posters flashing in and out of existence before seemingly stabilising themselves. I blinked. Was I… losing my mind?
Maybe this was a side-effect of rejecting The Urge.
“Elle?” Mom’s voice cut through the phantom laughter which faded, and I blinked rapidly. “Sweetie, are you okay?”
The word was in my mouth before the thought could cross my mind. I shook my head, swallowing. “Yeah, I’m… fine.”
She nodded, though her expression darkened. Scrutinising. I knew she couldn’t wait to get me under an MRI. “Alright. Finish your breakfast. School starts in half an hour.” Mom stopped at the threshold. She didn’t turn around. “I really do think practising killing will help a lot.”
I flinched when another wave of laughter slammed into me—faded, but very much there. Definitely not a figment of my imagination.
Checking in my bedroom mirror, I didn’t have a loose tooth. Even thinking that, though, panic started to curl in the root of my gut.
When I was sure I wasn’t losing my mind after checking and rechecking the walls were actually real, I got washed and dressed, grabbing my backpack.
My brain wouldn’t shut up on my way to school, and my gut was twisting and turning, trying to projectile that meagre slice of toast.
Annalise Duval had complained of a loose tooth before she rejected The Urge. Was that what was going to happen to me?
Was it all because of that stupid apple?
At school, I was surprised to be cornered by a classmate I had said maybe five words to in our combined time at Briarwood High.
Kaz Issacs was one of the first kids in my class to be hit with The Urge, and almost ended up like Annalise Duval. I don’t even think it was The Urge. I think he was driven to kill through emotions, like so many adults had tried to tell us wasn’t real. Kaz was a confusing case where a teenager had actually blossomed early, or not at all, and struck with his own intent.
People argued that there was paranoia, and the local doctor insisted he was fine, though I couldn’t help wondering if it wasn’t paranoia.
Kaz didn’t need The Urge. Halfway through math class, two years prior, I had been daydreaming about the rain. It rarely rained in Briarwood. Every day was picturesque. I did remember rain. I knew what it felt like hitting my face and dropping into my open mouth and cupped hands. When I asked mom if it was ever going to rain, though, she got a funny look on her face. “Sweetie, it doesn’t rain in Briarwood.” She told me. Which just confused me even more. It’s not like I had imagined the feeling of freezing cold rain, and my own shivering as I splashed through puddles without an umbrella.
The more I pried into these memories, I realised there were no puddles in Briarwood. It never rained. So, where had I jumped into puddles? Did I really dream of my experiences in the rain, and if so, how?
How did I know what it felt like? These thoughts came over me pretty much every day, and that day had been no different.
My gaze had been on the windowpane, trying to guess what a raindrop would look like sliding down, when Kaz Issacs let out an exaggerated sigh from behind me.
In front of him, Jessa Pollux had been tapping her pen on her desk. It wasn’t annoying at first, then she kept doing it—tap, tap, tappity tap. And then it was annoying. I could tell it was annoying, because Kaz had politely asked her three times to stop making noise, to which she had ignored him, and if anything, tapped louder, this time drumming in frenzied beats on her workbooks. Now, I had grown up learning that The Urge came with no warning or motive, or reason. It happened whether you liked it or not. Kaz was… different. His case was rare.
This time he did have a motive, and despite having it hammered into us our whole lives that killing didn’t need a reason and was not driven by negative emotion, my classmate did have a reason—and was in fact driven by anger.
Anger strong enough to murder.
This time, I saw it happen in clarity. When I caught movement in the corner of my eye, I was twisting around with the rest of the class, to see the boy halfway off his chair, his fingers wrapped around a knife.
The girl instantly knew what he was going to do, even without turning around. We weren’t supposed to be scared of dying, I thought dizzily, watching the girl let out a wail and dive forwards, her eyes cartoon like. Like an animal, Kaz already had a tight hold of her ponytail and tugged her back. Though in fight or flight, this girl was screaming, flailing.
She didn’t want to die, I thought.
Was that normal?
Mom always insisted if it was our time, it was our time. If someone attacked us, even family members, then we accepted it.
I caught the moment her elbow knocked into the boy’s mouth, just as he drove the blade of the knife into her skull. Until then, he had been panting and laughing, his eyes lit up with an insanity I only knew from my mom’s tales.
She told me stories where her friends had gotten pleasure from killing. As quick as it had come, though, the euphoria of taking someone’s life left the boy’s eyes, and he dropped to the ground, one hand over his mouth, the other slipping from the knife.
The teacher was already commenting on no murder allowed in class and ordering Kaz to go and clean himself up. I wasn’t sure he could hear her though. When he lifted his head, I glimpsed something seeping through his fingers, running in sharp rivulets down his wrist.
And then my gaze was flicking to his expression which was definitely not what I was expecting. Replacing joy and unbridled pleasure was fear. His eyes were wide, frightened, lips twisted.
It was the exact same expression I had seen on Mrs Jenson. A cocktail of confusion and pain, followed by a sense of emptiness. Like neither of them could understand where they were, or even who they were. I guessed that was what The Urge did, or the variants which contorted in people and made them reject it.
Like a wounded animal, Kaz’s frenzied gaze scanned our faces and he blinked, before realising his nose was bleeding. “Fuck.” He muffled under his hand. The boy jumped to his feet, and in three shaky strides, he was pulling open the classroom door and disappearing down the hallway in a stumbled run. The next day, the boy came to class with his usual smile.
When I asked him what happened, he explained it was just an ”abnormal reaction” and he was fine. Kaz’s words were strange though.
He wasn’t even looking at me, and his smile was far too big. He got his first kill though, so that gave him bragging rights as the first sophomore to come of age. Kaz Issacs and Annalise Duval both had similar experiences. One of them had clearly lost their mind, while the other seemingly avoided it.
And speaking of Kaz, it wasn’t the norm for him to be talking to me at school. But there he was, blocking my way into the classroom.
“Hey.” He was quick to side-step in front of me when I tried pushing him out of the way.
There had been an instance the year prior when I considered asking him to prom. He was a reasonably attractive guy, reddish dark hair sprouting from a baseball cap. But then I remembered what he did to that girl in front of him. I remembered the sound of his knife slicing through skin, cartilage and bone, and despite her cry, her wails for him to stop, he kept going, driving it further and further into her skull. I couldn’t look him in the eye after that.
“Can we talk?”
My mouth was still sort of hurting, and I was questioning my sanity, so speaking to Kaz wasn’t really on my to-do list that morning.
Kaz didn’t move, sticking an arm out so I couldn’t get passed him. “Have you got toothache by any chance?” To emphasise his words, he stuck his finger in his mouth, dragging his index across his upper incisors.
“Like, bad toothache.” His voice was muffled by his finger. Kaz leaned forward, arching a brow. “You do, don’t you? Right now, you feel your whole mouth is on fire and yet you can’t detect any wobblies.”
The guy’s words sent a slither of ice tingling down my spine. He was right. I hadn’t felt right since biting into that apple.
When I didn’t say anything, his lip twitched into a scowl. “Alright. You don’t want to talk.” He raised two fingers in a salute. “Suit yourself.”
“What do you mean?”
He shrugged. “When you feel like talking, I’m here, aight? I’ll be your support system or whatever.”
Kaz’s words didn’t really hit me until several days later when I woke up with a throbbing mouth, knelt over the corpse of my mother.
The Urge had finally come. It was something I had been anticipating and fearing my whole life, terrified I wouldn’t get it and end up ostracized by my loved ones. But when I saw my mom’s body, and the vague memory of plunging a kitchen knife into her chest hit me, I didn’t feel happy or relieved. I felt like I had done something bad. Which was the wrong thing to think. Killing was good, the words echoed in my mind. Killing was our way of release. How could I think that when there was a knife clutched between my fingers?
The weapon which had killed her. Hurt her. How was this supposed make me feel good and not like I was dying? My mother's eyes were closed.
Peaceful. Like she had accepted her death. The teeth of the blade dripped deep, dark red, and I know I should have felt something which was joy, or happiness. Except all I felt was empty.
I felt despair in its purest form which began to chew me up from the inside as I lulled from my foggy thoughts. I screamed. I wasn't supposed to scream. I wasn't supposed to cry, but my eyes were stinging, and I felt like I was being suffocated. I saw flashes in quick succession; a room bumbling with moving silhouettes, and the smell of... coffee. Mom never let me try coffee, and I was sure we never had it in the house. So, how did I know the feeling of it running down my throat and quenching my thirst? How did I know the aroma of crushed coffee beans struggling to prick at memories refusing to surface? My mouth throbbed once again, my thoughts growing foggy and distant.
Just like in my bedroom, the walls started to swim. This time, I dived to my feet and jumped over my mom’s corpse, slamming my hands into them. They were real. I could feel them.
Even as I slammed my fists into them, however, somehow, they felt wrong. Like I was hitting an object which was supposed to be real but wasn’t. Almost as if on cue, there it was again.
Laughing. Loud shrieks of hysterical laughter thrumming in time to dull pain pounding in my back tooth. Blinking through an intense mind fog choking my mind, my first coherent thought was that yes, Kaz was right. I did have a loose tooth, and when I was sure of that, I was stuffing my bloody fingers inside my mouth and trying to find it. I had grabbed at the knife feverishly, my first thought to cut it out, when there was a sudden knock at my front door.
Slipping barefoot on the blood pooling across our kitchen floor, I struggled to get to the door without throwing up my insides.
Annalise Duval was standing on my doorstep. I had seen her in an odd assortment of clothes, but this one was definitely eye catching.
The girl was wearing a wedding dress which hung off of her, the veil barely clinging onto the mess of bedraggled curls she never brushed. Blinking at me through straggly blonde hair, the girl almost resembled an angel. The dress itself was filthy, blood and dirt smeared down the corset, and the skirt torn up. But she did suit it, in a weird way. “Hello, Elle.” The girl lifted a hand in a wave. Her smile wasn’t crazed, like my classmates had described. Instead, it was… sad.
Annalise’s gaze found my hands slick with my mother’s blood, though barely seemed fazed.
“Do you want to see the wall people?” She whispered.
Until then, I had ignored her ramblings. Then I started hearing the laughing, and suddenly “wall people” didn’t sound so crazy after all.
“Can you hear the laughing?” I asked.
“Mmm.” She did a twirl in the dress. “That’s how it started for me. Laughing. I heard a looooottt of laughing—and then I found the wall people.” I winced when she came close, so close, almost suffocating me. “Nobody believes me and it’s sad. I’m just trying to tell people about the wall people and they label me as crazy. They say something went wrronnnggg with my head,” Annalise stuck two fingers into her temple, miming pulling a trigger. “I’m not the wrong one. I know about the wall people, and the laughing. I know why I got the urge to kill my mom.”
“Annalise,” I spoke calmly. “Can you tell me what you mean?”
Her eyes were partially vacant, that one slither of coherence quickly fading away.
Instead of speaking, I took her arm gently, and pulled her down my driveway. “Can you show me what you found?”
Annalise danced ahead of me, tripping in her wedding dress. She cocked her head. “Did you kill your mother?” Her lips twitched. “That’s funny. According to the wall people, you’re not supposed to kill someone until seasonal two.”
The girl blinked, giggling, and I forced myself to run after her. Jesus, she was fast. Even wearing a wedding dress. Annalise leapt across the sidewalk, twisting and twirling around, like she was in her own world. Before she landed in front of me, and her expression almost looked sane. “I wonder which season it will be. Will it be Summer? Maybe Fall, or Winter. I guess it’s not up to you, is it? It’s up to The Urge.”
Laughing again, the girl grabbed my hand, her fingernails biting into my skin. I glimpsed a single drop of red run from her nose, which she quickly wiped with the sleeve of her dress, leaving a scarlet smear. “Let’s go and see the wall people, Elle,” she hummed. As her footsteps grew stumbled, blood ran down her chin, spotting the sidewalk. I don’t know if coherency ever truly hit Annalise Duval, but knowing she was bleeding, her steps grew quicker. More frenzied.
“Your nose,” was all I could say, when rivers of intense red strained the girl’s dress.
Annalise nodded with a sad smile. “I know!” she said. “Don’t worry, it will stop when I shut up.” Her smile widened. “But what if I don’t shut up? What if I show you the wall people?” To my surprise, she leapt forward and flung out her arms, tipping her head back and yelling at the sky. “What if I don’t shut up?” Annalise laughed. “What are the wall people going to do, huh? Are you going to explode my brain?”
When people started to come out of their houses to see what was going on, I dragged her into a run.
“Are you insane?” I hissed out.
Annalise seemed to be floating through awareness and whatever the fuck The Urge had done to her. “Don’t worry, they’re just peeking.”
The girl had an attention span of a rock. Her gaze went to the sky. “They’re going to turn the sun off so I can’t show you.”
Her words meant nothing to me, before the clouds started to darken, and just like Annalise had predicted, the sky started to get dark.
Knowing that somehow this supposedly crazy girl knew when things were going to happen only quickened my steps into a run.
Halfway down the street, Kaz Issacs was riding his bike towards us. Which I found odd. Kaz didn’t own a bike. He rode the bus to school.
“Elle!” Waving at me with one hand, his other grasping at handlebars, Kaz pedalled faster. “Yo! Do you want to hang out?”
“Peeking.” Annalise said under her breath.
Ignoring Kaz, I nodded at Annalise to keep going, though the boy didn’t give up. We twisted around, and he caught up easily, skidding on the edge of the sidewalk. When he came to an abrupt stop in front of us, his gaze flicked to Annalise. “Shouldn’t you be praying in the forest?”
The girl recoiled back like a cat, hissing out, “Peeking!”
Kaz shot me a look. “Of all the people you could have made friends with you chose Annalise Duval?” His eyes softened when I ignored him and pulled the girl further down the road. Kaz followed slowly on his bike.
"Where are you going anyway? Isn't it late?”
It was 4pm.
I decided to humor him. “We’re going to see the wall people.”
“Do I sound like I’m kidding?” I turned my attention to him. “You asked me if I had a toothache, right?”
His expression crumpled. “I did?”
I noticed Annalise was clingier with him around, sticking to my side. Every time he moved, she flinched, tightening her grip on my arm. She was leading us into the forest, and I swore, the closer we were getting to the clearing, the more town’s people were popping up out of nowhere. An old woman greeted us, followed by a man with a dog, and then a group of kids from school. Annalise entangled her fingers in mine, pulling me through the clearing.
Kaz followed, hesitantly, biking over rough ground. I caught him fall off balance for a moment before his hands flew out to grasp onto his handlebars. “Once again, I think this is a bad idea,” he said in a sing-song voice. “We should go back.”
When it was too dangerous for his bike, he abandoned it and joined my side.
“Elle, the girl is insane,” Kaz hissed out. “What are you even doing? What is this going to accomplish except potentially getting lost?”
“I want to know if she’s telling the truth,” I murmured back.
He scoffed. “Telling the truth? Look at this place!” He spread out his arms, gesturing to the rapidly darkening forest. “There’s nothing here!”
“No.” Annalise ran ahead, staggering over trippy ground. “No, it’s right over here!” She was still fighting a nosebleed, and her words were starting to slur. The girl twisted to Kaz. “You’re peeking,” she spat, striding over to him until they were face to face. “Stop peeking,” she said, her fingers delving under her wedding skirt where she pulled out a knife and pressed it to his throat. “If you peek again, I will cut you open.”
Kaz nodded. “Got it, Blondie. No peeking.”
Annalise didn’t move for a second, her hands holding the knife trembling. “You’re not going to tell me I’m crazy again,” she whispered.
“You’re not crazy,” Kaz said dryly.
“Say it again.”
“You’re not crazy!” He yelped when she pressed pressure onto the blade. “Can you stop swinging that around? Jeez!”
Annalise shot me a grin, and it took a second for me to realise.
Kaz was scared of the knife.
He was scared of dying—which meant, whether he liked it or not, the boy had in fact not gone through with The Urge.
I thought the girl was going to slash Kaz’s throat open in delight, but instead she looped her arm in his like they were suddenly best friends.
“Come on, Elle!” She danced forwards, pulling the boy with her. “We’re closeeeee!”
I wasn’t sure about that.
What we were, however, was lost. When the three of us came to a stop, it was pitch black, and I was struggling to see in front of me. Annalise, however, walked straight over to thin air, and gestured to it with a grin. “Tah-da!” Spluttering through pooling red, she let out a laugh.
Kaz, who was still uncomfortably pressed to her no matter how hard he strained to get away, shot me a look I could barely make out.
“I’m sorry, what did I say? That we were going to get lost? That Annalise is certifiably crazy and we’re very fucking lost?”
At first, I thought I really was crazy. Maybe Annalise’s condition was contagious. I could hear it again. Laughing.
But this time it was coming from exactly where Annalise was pointing—and when the girl slammed her hand into thin air, there was a loud clanging noise which sounded like metal.
Slowly, I made my way towards it, and when my hands were touching sleek metal, what felt like the corners of a door, more pain struck my upper incisors. “Holy shit.” Kaz was pressing himself against the door, and then slamming his fists into it. “The crazy bitch was right.” His words hung in my thoughts on a constant cycle, as we delved into what should have been forest.
After all, we had been standing in the middle of nowhere. The laughter was deafening when I stepped over the threshold, and I had to slap my hands over my ears to block it out. Through the invisible door, however, was exactly what Annalise had described. Wall people.
All around us were what looked like television screens, and on those screens—were people. Faces.
They were not part of the laughter. The laughter was mechanical and wrong, rooted deep inside my skull. The faces which stared down at us looked like normal people, men and women, with some of them teens, and even younger children. Annalise and Kaz were next to me, their head s tipped back, gazes glued to the screens. Not the ones I was looking at. The ones on tiny computer monitors.
It was when I was tearing my eyes from our audience, did I start to see what made Kaz stiffen up next to me. One screen in particular showed his face. He was younger, maybe a year or two. No, I thought, barf creeping up my throat. It was when he had killed that girl.
His hands clasped in his lap were still stained and slick with her blood. The Kaz on the screen seemed a lot more laid back, his feet resting on the table in front of him. There was a cockiness in his eyes I had never seen before. This boy’s eyes were cruel. “Why exactly have you signed up for this program?” A man’s voice crackled off screen.
“Duh.” Kaz held up his scarlet hands, a grin twisting on his lips. “So I can get my Darkroom rep back.” He leaned forward, his eyes wide. “That is going to happen, right? I don’t do this shit for free, and I’ve got one million followers to impress, man. Darkroom loves me. Even if I did go too far that one time, which wasn't even my fault."
“You are correct.” The man said. “Darkroom does benefit from its influencers. Our program aims to help satisfy certain… needs across the planet, by broadcasting them right here,” He paused. “You have killed five people before signing up for Darkroom, correct? Your parents?”
“Parents and brother,” Kaz chuckled. “I gutted them with my fave knife, and then filmed it. Obviously, my Tik-Tok got taken down with all the freaks in the comments moaning, and suddenly I find you guys! A whole lot of sick fucks, but who’s complaining, right? Not me.”
“And,” the man cleared his throat. “You will keep killing? We are aware the initial implant impacted your brain quite badly. In the subdued state, you will keep killing, as the so-called ‘urge’ says. However, in reality we will be sending signals to your brain which will make you kill.”
“Alright, do it.”
“Are you sure? We couldn’t help noticing during your first kill, you seemed to… well, react in a way we haven’t seen before.”
He cocked his head. “Did my fans like it?”
“Good.” Kaz held out his arm. “Do it again. And do it right this time. As long as I’m getting 40K every appearance, I’m good. You can slice my brain up all you want, I’m getting paid and followers. So.” His gaze found the camera.
“What are you waiting for?”
When the screen went black, before flickering to a birds-eye view, and then a close up of my house, I felt my legs give-way.
As if on impulse, I prodded at my mouth and felt for the loose tooth.
“That…” Kaz spoke up, his voice a breathy whisper. His eyes were still glued to the screen. “That… wasn’t me! Well, it was me... but I don’t… I don’t remember that!”
Instead of answering him, I turned to the startled looking boy when alarm bells started ringing, and the room was suddenly awash in red.
“Peeking!” Annalise screamed, dropping to her knees, rocking backwards and forwards.
Ignoring her, I focused on Kaz. Or whoever the fuck he was. “You need to knock my tooth out. Now."
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2023.03.24 21:13 KyleKKent Out of Cruel Space, Part 633
The debates on taxes have gone in circles and he’s taking notes again. The little bits of information shows that perhaps Girtl will lose some buying power sometime soon. Or the prices that go up to a Girtl piece will be made just a few trytite lower in order to get around a possible slight tax hike. It... it really doesn’t mean much to him. Logistics purchases things in bulk and logistics is his game, not small purchases here and there. But it is something to note.
“Sir.” A voice whispers and he glances back to see Private Stream, one who is clearly not human but he can’t casually see through the Axiom disguise on him. The good private has a folder for him.
“Thank you.” He replies and the contents of folder brings a smile to his face. He quickly reads through it and nods. “Create a properly redacted version and deliver it to the representative of the Juvanis Sector. She will want to see this.”
“With your compliments sir?” Private Stream asks.
“With my condolences on being proven wrong so quickly.” He remarks and Private Stream nods before rushing out of the room. Hmm... this one needs a bit more training on staying in character. Thankfully the booth was private so the deception wasn’t really seen.
It wasn’t hard to guess that there were anywhere between three to three dozen shorter Undaunted playing Private Stream at any one time. But it was the principal of the thing.
Still, a quick and simple report that Saint Veloska had decided to help set up an orphanage and had vanished from the scopes of things because she wanted to offer spiritual advice to a girl who had run away from home would certainly hearten the representative.
There’s a sudden flicker on things and Admiral Cistern smirks.
“Drink and snack with the floor show sir?” Another Private Stream says as he unfolds a small table and places down a tray with a carafe of coffee and a small plate of cookies.
“Thank you Private.” He states as a recently installed ‘hidden’ projector starts broadcasting. The woman in a hooded purple cloak immediately begins proselytizing in a language that Admiral Cistern doesn’t fully know, but it’s clear from the tone and body language that she thinks she’s being impressive.
“Sir, do you think the ‘representative’ realizes that only a quarter at most of the councillors actually understand her, sir?” Private Stream asks and Admiral Cistern shrugs.
“I don’t know. Most of the galaxy is having a hard time dealing with a near literal comic book villain. That and the villain has an equally hard time dealing with the rest of the galaxy.” Admiral Cistern notes.
“... Do you know what she’s saying sir?” Private Stream asks.
“Only in the vaguest sense. I’ve only just started dabbling in the language.” He remarks before he takes a sip of coffee. The projector has already been located by security and is being checked for potential bombs. “From what I understand the message rarely changes and it shows up once a year on the Overlady’s birthday. It’s her little reminder to the galaxy that they shall soon all kneel to her, how all shall be ordered under her reign of benevolent tyranny and how we are all insects beneath her and so on and so forth. The details of the rants change from annual announcement to annual announcement but the broad strokes have been the same for at least two centuries.”
“You’d think such a society would collapse in that period of time sir.”
“Downsides of eternal life. If you want some regime to fall or some tyrant to die it has to be done manually.”
“Interesting way to indicate assassination sir.” Private Stream notes wryly before both his and Admiral Cistern’s eyebrows go up as the massive projection turns and points directly at the both they are in. She rants something about something that Private Stream cannot understand but the scoffing from Admiral Cistern indicates he understood enough to be distinctly unimpressed.
“Sir?” Private Stream asks as the purple cloaked figure continues to rant.
“In essence, this messenger from the Overlady La’ahbaron has dictated that I shall be her concubine. One of several apparently. Of course this could be directed to someone else, do remember that we have recently had a new council building set up. So this message might or might not be calibrated to the older one.” Admiral Cistern explains and Private Stream pauses.
“Sir... I believe the phrase come and get some is appropriate here?” Private Stream asks.
“Something like that. Also I’m not going to partner up with anyone who’s officially calling me a ‘nubile barbarian’ or some kind of translation to that.” Admiral Cistern notes as he takes another sip.
The ranting of the Overlady La’ahbaron’s representative is suddenly cut off and there’s a silence over the chamber.
“So... the odds of this becoming a new problem?” Private Stream asks.
“Fairly low. The Overlady is a paper tiger, she doesn’t actually have the power to move out of her little area of the galaxy and do anything. There may be a team or two popping up to be a bother, but... I doubt it’ll be more than that.” Admiral Cistern notes.
“If you say so sir.” Private Stream notes. “Although the small force of guards in purple just outside your booth hint at something else.”
“Really? How many?” Admiral Cistern asks.
“Five.” Private Stream answers.
“I see... well, it’s time to inform Miss Overlady that my ceremonial sabre and pistol are anything but ornamental.” Admiral Cistern notes. “Do you think they’re going to break in?”
“Oh possibly Sir. Do you need backup?”
“What am I facing?”
“Five Cannidors in imposing looking but impractical power armour. Especially with the rich purple cloaks that are going to get in their way and are blocking their sensors.” Private Stream offers.
“Have you taken any steps against them?”
“They’re all tagged with trackers and we have teams gathering just out of sight and scanning range even now.”
“Are those trackers?”
“Keyed into the teleportation arrays? Yes. Yes they are. Chamber Six has been prepped and large numbers of automatic weapons are already prepped and waiting.” Private Stream says.
“Excellent. Time to have some entertainment then.” Admiral Cistern says rising up with his coffee and heading to the back of his booth. “Just tell me when all my men are in position.”
“Very well sir.” Private Stream says as he casually pulls out the portions of a rifle and assembling it. The khutha gilding on it have familiar markings to make the weapon completely silent. He then tilts his head to the side and nods. “They’re in position sir.”
“Excellent. Open the door please.” Admiral Cistern says. He cannot help but grin to find out that his timing has been nothing short of flawless as one of the purple guards is outright reaching for the door. “Good afternoon madam. I assume you’re here to enforce what your Overlady has been threatening me with?”
“Threat? Being a concubine of The Overlady is an honour.”
“Ma’am, I have my own objectives to pursue and my own organization to run.”
“A pittance in the galaxy. Events and attempts to empower men like your own all fall apart as the natural order prevails over brash foolishness. You WILL be coming with us.” The spokeswoman for the group states.
“No.” Admiral Cistern says and quickly reaches over and closes the door.
“...Sir, is this just a game?” Private Stream asks.
“One with high stakes, but yes.” Admiral Cistern answers before the door is opened by the furious guard.
“Are you insane?!” The Guard demands.
“Troops reveal yourselves.” Admiral Cistern says and the guards are suddenly looking towards the size, including the spokeswoman. Admiral Cistern closes the door again.
“If they open the door again have them teleported to chamber six and placed in holding cells. They’re going home without their armour.” Admiral Cistern orders and Private Stream nods as he giggles.
“Orders received and transferred.” Private Stream says in a somewhat strained voice.
“What is going on here?!” Someone demands in the hallway and Admiral Cistern opens the door and glances out through the hallway. It’s the representative of Juvanis with a Private Stream in attendance.
“I’ve entertained you ladies long enough. Private Stream, get them out of here.”
“Sir, yes sir!” Private Stream orders and before the guards can finish turning they’re simply pulled away with a sense of distant Axiom. He then steps out into the considerably emptier hallway to the shock of the Juvanis Representative and the Private Stream next to her cheerfully waves at the Private Stream with Admiral Cistern and receives one of his own.
“Thank you for your help gentlemen.” Admiral Cistern says and the Soldiers at the corners of the room disperse quickly.
“What on... what in the name of the stars just happened?”
“Overlady La’ahbaron clearly didn’t think her demands for my hand were something I am allowed to refuse.”
“Yes, but what did you do to them.”
“An excellent question. Private Stream, what’s happened with our friends?” Admiral Cistern asks.
“They’ve been safely subdued and are being transferred to holding cells sir!” Both Private Streams explain and Admiral Cistern chuckles before sipping his coffee.
“Now then, what is it that you wanted to speak about?” Admiral Cistern asks and she seems taken aback for a moment. And in that moment another hidden projector opens up and a woman in spiky black armour begins her own spiel of empty threats against the Galactic Council.
“It’s about Saint Veloska... I’m...” The Representative begins but she’s clearly distracted by the announcement that is being quickly shut down and disabled. This is shortly followed by a scuffle in the hallways and Admiral Cistern looks around and raises an eyebrow. The Representative leans over to the pen door and looks into the central chamber. “Did a second overlady just announce that they will make you their concubine?”
“Evidently I’m rather popular.”
“Very sir! Our teams just intercepted a pair of kidnappers in the hallway! They’re carrying Malishana stamped coins on them!”
“Malishana... that’s miss spikes there I assume?” Admiral Cistern asks knowing full well that it is her name and that she changed it to that name after going by Nicole for at least a century. Contained or not he had a fairly good grasp on the big political leaders, even if they’re rulers of unpopular and distant hegemons.
“Yes. Yes it is.” The Representative states and Admiral Cistern considers.
“By the by, we haven’t been properly introduced. I am Admiral Garfield Cistern. The Grand Admiral of The Undaunted Military Polity.” He says holding his hand out for her to shake. She looks confused at it for a short while before taking his hand and kissing it on the wrist.
“I am Representative Miata Moore.” She says firmly. “And I thank you for informing me about the general health and activities of Saint Veloska. Cultural touchstone or not, she’s an enormously difficult woman to keep track of. Her constant push for charity and helping others without thought for oneself is wonderful in theory, in practice it’s exhausting to keep track of.”
“Well, having her help set up an orphanage for young boys will no doubt sooth a lot of issues with her most recent runabout.”
“Maybe. But the fact that the woman she’s helping is currently redacted is... frustrating.”
“I’m sorry, the police on Lilb Tulelb are playing things very close to the chest until all the legal proceedings are finished with. But since I have some men near her, I can certainly pass a message if you needs such a...”
There’s the sounds of a fight nearby and it trails off quickly.
“Third Hegemon sir! It’s their time of year to act up and then be slapped down!” Private Stream explains and Admiral Cistern nods even as Representative Moore quickly looks around to find out where the other Private Stream went and then stares at the only remaining one and tries to determine which one he is.
“The price of popularity.”
“Or more likely the hegemons fighting among themselves again. If one wants you, others will want to claim you for themselves in order to force concessions from that one or try to lord you over them like a prize.” Representative Moore says and Admiral Cistern nods.
“That makes sense.” He notes even as a small form rushes around the corner and makes a beeline for Admiral Cistern.
Ambassador Nikta Tal jumps up and grabs Admiral Cistern by the lapel and kisses him full on the lips. “Mine! Mine and you need to go through me if you want some!”
“What? But I...”
“I’m making my claim! No one gets to go at him without my say so!” The Gohb asserts.
“She’s thanking me for helping her. We’ve already dealt with the crazy women trying to take me.”
“Oh... uhm... alright then.” Nikta replies as she lets go and stands between them, but doesn’t seem to be hostile anymore.
“Perhaps we should all head back to our booths?” Admiral Cistern offers.
“... I think I’ll be sticking with you for now.” Ambassador Tal says and Representative Moore grins a little.
“You may not follow our beliefs Ambassador, but you certainly follow our ways. I bid you both good day.” Representative Moore says before giving a slight bow and then turning to leave.
submitted by KyleKKent
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.03.24 21:11 Sufficient_Water_301 Dating app scammers
Watch out for men on dating like hud,badoo and meetme pretending to be women then claiming to being under age and then their father. The messages get sexual out of no where then the guy starts calling you by different numbers and try to extort money from you. In my case the man claimed to live in a town Wisconsin but the caller id was from South Carolina then it switch to one from my state he’ll text you and call you. he tried extorting 2500 dollars from me for damages and send me a bill from oasis behavioral health a hospital in Arizona while clamming he’s in Wisconsin. I’ve found two instances where this has happened to others the main number I could find is +1 (608) 512-0268 and I’ll link the post where something happened to someone else with the same number
submitted by Sufficient_Water_301
to ScamNumbers [link] [comments]