How to fill a betting slip online at bookies for horse racing

I interviewed the survivors of a mass suicide. My last broadcast will never air. [Part 4]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Arnold Millson is a short man with sideburns and patchy facial hair, and he stands watching me with beady eyes as I approach the front porch of his house as though I am liable to bite him. I know that he is in his late forties, but he appears significantly older.
You always hear about it being something that happens to kids, wandering around in places where they oughtn’t, fucking about near a well and then plop, in they go. I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that I went down, what with my bad leg. But the truth is, the first thing I felt when I opened my eyes wasn’t pain or confusion, it was just sheer embarrassment. You always hear about kids falling down wells, not 38-year-old men. But there I was, slightly dodgy hip, lodged in a fucking thirty foot hole in the ground.
Not that there had been any warning. No signs, no wall, just a literal hole half-way down the slope of a hill that I’d come cresting over. Just bad luck really. Coming the other way, I would have spotted it a mile away and avoided it easily enough. But I didn’t, and I was left stuck in the darkness in waist high water that was stale and dark and smelled of piss (possibly mine). Thank fuck I had my phone on me and it had kept dry in jacket pocket. A quick call and my sister was on her way with the police, but what did that mean really? Well, it meant I wouldn’t die in there, but it wasn’t like I could give her my exact location. I didn’t have GPS—couldn’t get it down there either—and she had to get the police and then come find me and that wasn’t going to be quick.
So I was stuck down there, not forever, but in the end it took them 11 hours to find me, and a further two to rescue me.
Those thirteen hours? To me, they were like the longest book ever written. It started with a kind of patient stoicism. I resisted the urge to panic, especially knowing help was on the way. I disregarded my surroundings and focused on the light overhead, I ignored the smell around me and the way the water made my skin tingle. I told myself I wouldn’t let it get to me, the blind panic. I focused on my breathing, spoke aloud to break the silence, I even sang for a while.
That was the first hour. Sooner or later my mind was going to wander, it had to. So I tried to set it on an organised path. I kicked around with my feet until I hit something solid. It was a beam of wood, I stood up on it, lifted myself a further six inches out of the water, then stood back down. It was too hard to balance on, what with my leg. But that was pretty much all I could sense around me. It sounds silly now, but I didn’t want to look around too much, so I kept my phone light off for that fist hour.
It was the spiders. I knew they were down there. I’m terrified of them and I know from experience the best place to find the big nasty hairy ones is in a dark hole rarely tread by human feet. And oh boy, was this place hallowed ground for arachnids. So far I’d roughly figured out that the wall was soft earth with thick roots bulging out, but I could hear something dripping and it wasn’t above or below it was next to me, and somehow it sounded far away. I told myself this was exactly why I had to keep my mind on track; the dripping didn’t matter. It didn’t mean anything. But it was a long time to stand there and pretend like I wasn’t terrified so in the end I gave in, I turned the light on and regretted it instantly.
There were at least seven of them, massive enormous hairy things. Too big for home living, these weren’t the kind of house spider you’d find under a sofa. I hated them, I hated the sight of them, their sheer presence burning a hole in my skin right through the clothes. The biggest one was nearly as wide as my palm, and for a brief moment I told myself I’d fallen right into my personal hell.
The thought was right, my timing was wrong. As soon as it was on, my light sent all the buggers crawling away, and okay, while the sight of their wiry legs clamouring over each other nearly made me sick, the truth was that’s all there was to it. They were harmless, utterly and completely benign. And once they were gone I was finally able to recall why I’d turned my light on in the first place, and I swung it around looking for the source of the dripping until I spotted a small cast-iron grate in the wall.
I’m not exactly an expert on wells, so I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I generally figured wells were full of water or just big holes. If any tunnels intersected them they ought to be full of water too, or at the very least made by underground rivers and so on. Who, I wondered, took the time or effort to stick a great big bloody grate on one of these tunnels and for what possible reason? To keep someone out? To keep them in?
And this tunnel was no more than two or three foot high, and the grate even smaller than that, maybe a foot at most. I tried angling the light around but all I saw were dripping walls thick with clay and stone, a place so utterly dark it practically resisted the torch. For a brief moment I considered trying to pull the grate loose, but I was concerned it might damage the structure of the well. I also couldn’t say for sure whether I wanted to get much closer to it than I already was.
I tried telling myself that it was a calming presence. The tunnel right beside me should have done something to break up the oppressive sense of enclosing space, but if anything it made me feel vulnerable. I looked up towards the light and saw no sign of anything, just a pale blue disk, and I wondered briefly if the spiders had left me behind for… well, for what? I didn’t know. I was thinking silly things that at the time didn’t seem rational. But the feeling felt as real as the water soaking my hips and legs. I felt vulnerable once I knew about the tunnel. I didn’t like having it there, right by me, and without thinking I angled away towards the opposite wall. I turned my light off and, desperate to clear my mind of this worry, I looked back up towards the sky.
And someone was looking down. I should have leaped with joy, and for a moment I almost did. But I couldn’t see this person. It wasn’t like glimpsing a mate on the street. All I could see was an outline, a shadow cut right out of the sky. The distance felt alienating, I couldn’t hear or see a thing about them. It was all drips and splashes by me but from up there? Nothing but the stony silence of a gentle breeze. And this person, they were leaning over the hole with both arms across the span as if they were surveying a catch. I suddenly felt a little like a trapped rodent.
“Hello!” I cried out. “I’ve fallen down! I’ve fallen…”
They slid away without making a noise. It could have been nothing, no one there at all except a trick of the light. Or perhaps there was someone and all they saw was darkness. Perhaps the wind was so strong up there they had no chance of hearing me. Or perhaps…
I looked back at the grating, that sense of vulnerability magnified. My mind was making the strangest connections. Wasn’t the Kentworth compound nearby? Didn’t they dig tunnels? Kids talk about strange shapes and noises up there all the time. But that’s just hearsay and rumour, isn’t it?
By now my heart was racing. Isn’t it amazing how vivid the imagination can be sometimes? I got lost in my own head, standing there, eyes wide, staring at the patch of shadow where I felt a gentle draft waft through. I couldn’t see a damn thing but in my head I could picture everything clearly. Right there, just a few feet away, was a twisted monster, their smile pinned wide to either side of their head like in that Hellraiser film that scared the hell out of me as a kid. And I kept replaying this scene over and over, torturing myself. Sometimes it’d be a dead kid, pale hands clutching either side of the bar, a malicious ghost intent on trapping me in a twisted re-enactment of their own death. Other times it’d be spiders, one great big one popping the grate aside so its crooked knotted legs could envelope and drag me towards the centre of its octagonal body. Or maybe even thousands of little ones bulging through the bars like jelly pushed through a sieve!
To think that kind of terror lies beneath all our feet. All I had to work with were slippery walls, water, and mud, but in a few short hours my own head turned that place into Hades itself. I kept wondering how it had gone from a brisk morning walk to unrelenting psychological torture in a single misplaced step. And eventually it got too much to bear. I checked my phone and saw that it had been no more than half an hour since I last looked. All that my imagination had done was slow down the passage of time and make it infinitely worse so I worked up the nerve to turn on the light and re-examine the small tunnel. It was just like before, just mud and stagnant water that trickled so faintly into the well, it didn’t even make a noise.
I moved the light around some more, but every time I did the shadow cast by the bars moved all over the place. It was like a strobe light and I was getting ready to give up when my brain told me to freeze. I didn’t know why, not straight away, but it had done so with such urgency that I stopped completely. And that’s when I saw it – movement that had been masked by my own. I still couldn’t say what exactly it was, but it looked almost like the wall itself was moving.
And then the wall looked at me. What was just seconds ago a misshapen pile of mud was a head turning to look right fucking at me. There was no nose, not even a mouth really, just features cut into clay, but those eyes were bloodshot orbs, rich and vivid with detail, familiar but somehow utterly alien. I couldn’t read them, their expression, and that scared the hell out of me. My mind was on fire with a thousand questions about who they were, how they got there, if they were even human… But the one that was embossed in red letters and splayed across my mind like a neon exit sight, that was the one that I seized on and couldn’t let go.
What did they want?
They didn’t flinch when I spotted them, but they did start moving faster. It felt like I was watching myself from afar, like an out of body experience. I couldn’t fathom that this was happening. That someone was down there, looking like something out of a horror film and moving right towards me. When they reached the grate they started to push against it, and this thing was exactly riveted into concrete. I could see it starting to bulge, and I ran forward and slammed a foot against the metal to hold it in place.
That meant getting closer though, and it meant I got a glimpse of them before I kicked the grate back into place. All I saw were bits and pieces, eyes, rotting teeth, something shiny that caught the light. I soon got to find out what that was when something slid into the heel of my foot, long and sharp. I pulled back immediately, shocked and disgusted at the sight of blood running and mixing with the rancid ground water I stood in, and when I looked back there was a glistening blade slip jutting from between the bars.
And then, it repeated. The grate started to move, started to push. A single eye, penny sized pupils with ghostly reflections, looked back at me with terrifying apathy. I stepped forward and kicked again, this time they missed. But I saw the full length of that blade and part of me registered just how bad the situation was. The next time I kicked at them, I wasn’t so lucky and the blade slipped right into the arch of my foot, tearing through the roof of my hiking shoes and painting a gristly image on the way back out. But I didn’t let up, I kept it there, holding it tight while my attacker indulged and hacked away like they were breaking up ice. The only sounds were my yelping, the splashing water, and the heavy gurgling breaths of whatever lay on the other side.
And I thought it had been hell before…
When they eventually stopped attacking, my right foot was in ribbons and I fell back into the water with relief. Thank God I landed on that beam, it kept my head above the water and stopped me losing all balance. That thing grinned right then, stretching a toothless mouth from ear to ear that dribbled with pink froth. There was still no nose, no hair, just a shape carved right out of the mud. At least that’s what it looked like. That hungry gullet must have led to a real flesh and blood stomach, my attacker probably no more than a lunatic caked in clay, but whoever they were they’d been twisted so far from the human ideal they scared me worse than any special effect I’d ever seen.
I found myself starting to scream. This thing wasn’t going away. It wasn’t slinking back into the depths. It was savouring this experience, savouring my terror and suffering. At least that’s what I imagined, because in truth I don’t know what it wanted. That face, even when smiling, looked like an idiot’s face devoid of all rational thought. It just kept breathing, panting, slobbering, eyes fixed on me like a pervert in the bushes. And I just wanted it to stop. I wanted to wake up, to burst the bubble and escape the hallucination.
Anything except staying there like that, stuck in its line of sight while my mind turned the seconds into decades.
I didn’t pass out. I didn’t wake up. It didn’t try breaking through again. There was no conclusion, no inciting incident to push past the fear. Just me and that thing, less than a metre apart, and it would take another seven hours before I finally escaped.
They amputated my foot, not just from the sheer damage that had been done to it, but because of the rancid infection that grew. The diseases lurking in that water damn near killed me and the official word is I broke my leg in a gnarly way and spent half a day trapped in a fever dream. Oh boy, I sure wish that was something I could believe. But every one of those long agonising seconds trapped down there are still engraved in my memory like an obituary in granite. I pinched myself, slapped myself, cried, wept, jumped up and down. Nothing about my time down there was a dream. It was hard, real, and when it caught the light it glistened like metal.
-
The current interviewee has requested strict anonynimity.
The acquisition of the compound in question was never up for discussion, with us or any one on the research team. It had been found, that was all that mattered. If not for that letter I would never have drawn the connection between the compound we tested and the events at the Kentworth compound. On one hand it was a relief to realise that this thing was bigger than just us, but at the same time I think we’d all secretly been hoping we’d been going mad and this suggested otherwise.
Thank God we never moved onto human testing. It’s bad enough we weren’t really equipped for the job. You always think that the government will choose people at the top of their game for this secret spy shit but more often than not they contract a company like ours and just don’t tell anyone the truth. I’ve heard they single out firms with poor safety records as a cover and we’d just come out of a horrific scandal involving some children, a river, and a chemical that turns you blue. Even at the time I remember thinking we’d make some pretty good patsies if that’s what they were looking for.
I was vindicated with time, but not before the worst of it. Like I said, we never got onto humans but we started out testing with mice and rats. When we’d first mapped the chemical structure of the compound all our software told us it’d be inert in the central nervous system, although one deep learning algorithm we sometimes use on forensic cases went buck wild and practically melted. We didn’t think anything of it because the early tests that immediately followed showed that the compound was exactly that – inert. There were no behavioural changes whatsoever, and aside from odd electrical readings on an EEG, brain scans also showed no differences.
Of course, some things need to accumulate over time. And brain scans are very limited in what they really tell us. It’s like trying to predict what software a computer is running by getting a heat map of its components. Sure, it does tell you something. But it’s not exactly a magic window into the underlying activity. All you can do is just keep testing and see what comes of it.
I suppose I should mention at this point that our lab was based in a pretty remote location. Our firm is a subsidiary of a subsidiary to some massive PMC, and we were housed with a few other teams on an oil rig looking into certain bacteria. And, well, this was a pretty tough place to live at the best of times. It was lonely but always busy, always teeming with hundreds of faceless people who ignored you as they rushed past. And my team, we were buried way down in the depths of this place, hanging over the sea beneath.
So people got spooked. I don’t know how exactly, but they did. It hadn’t happened before, but one-by-one my staff start calling in sick more and more often until pretty soon I’m left wondering why I’ve been left in the lurch. Turns out, after a very frank and heated meeting I held one day in our lunchroom, that there was a kind of spreading anxiety. There were maybe six of us at most, and I listened as they told me about the way the rodents stared at them, the way machines were breaking at ten times the usual rate, and the way they felt watched in any given room when left alone.
The worst thing was that I’d noticed it too. The mice and rats had slowly changed. Behaviour had altered by degrees over the space of a month, and now they no longer squeaked or played or groomed. Instead they simply watched, and it was always us who held their attention. They stopped sleeping, eating, even moving. And a fair few of them started to die from sheer lethargy. That was when someone stepped up and told me how they’d seen something particularly worrying. They were cleaning out the tank one day, dumping the dead rats into a special refuse sack ready for incineration, when they’d reached in and the live ones attacked her, nipping at the heavy duty glove and fighting so violently that she lost it to their grip. Thankfully she pulled her hand out in time and snapped the glass lid shut, but the nightmare wasn’t over.
Because that was when the bag moved, the one filled with dozens of dead pink bodies, their dull-red eyes glaring at her from pointed albino faces.
Thank God the incinerator is right there in the lab and thank God she’d had the sense to turn it on ready. In one swift burst of terror and bravery she snatched the bag and practically threw it into the flames, crying at the sound of their pained squeals.
But what was all of this I was hearing, exactly? I had to do something with the information, that was for sure, but I didn’t know what. We took on dangerous work, we knew that. In the end I agreed to a new rule where no one would be left alone in the lab, even if someone had to go to the toilet they’d just have to go in pairs and stay close. I treated it as a kind of infectious fear, dismissing my concerns that we were all long-time staff used to the work conditions.
I also decided to take on more of the lab work itself. And just to show everyone we were in no real threat, I took on a number of late-night tasks and did them on my own. I used to go in at night ready to run any necessary tests and do my best to pretend everything was okay. The thrum of the ocean and the endless cacophony of machines seemed impossibly distant down in that lab, and pretty soon I got the vague sense of being buried underground. It was the silence, see. That place was never silent, not even at night. There were thousands of specimens in that room and the other four that were adjacent. Mice, rats, rhesus monkeys, zebra fish, you name it, we had it. It wasn’t like we could pop down to the corner shop we had to stock up and somehow, everything was just dead silent. Not a peep, squeak, howl, or gibber.
The first time I noticed it I took stock of my surroundings and tried to swallow my terror. The specimens weren’t sleeping, at least not the rats. They were all wide eyed, backs pressed to their cages, glaring at the glass observation cases we used for testing. And the rats, in turn, were watching me, hind legs bunched ready to pounce, their pink ears upright and alert, and their slithering tails coiled around their rotund bodies. In the end I gave up pretending. I ran the tests so quickly I dropped a bottle of iodine and left it where it was rather than clean up. I decided I’d come in early the next day to sort it out. Anything, I told myself, anything was better than staying there on my own.
When it came time to run a new condition, to take half the rats that had survived and stop their intake of the compound, I thought it’d be good to see what happened. I was still naïve enough to find all this oh so slightly thrilling. The pulse pounding terror I felt was still just alien enough, and things still seemed safe enough, that I wanted to go ahead. I couldn’t even imagine just how… I mean, I figured they’d die or go back to normal, right?
They tore through themselves, and then the glass. And that’s not an exaggeration. They tore through themselves first and then, with limbs half severed and guts exposed, they moved onto the glass and gored themselves making a hole. We’re still not entirely sure how they did it, but as soon as they were through they made a beeline for the other rats, the ones still on the drug, still unaffected. One of the technicians tried to interfere but pulled back after a few of the rats broke away from the quivering sea of furry bodies and started nipping at his heels. By the time someone finally rigged up some liquid nitrogen to blast them with, they’d broken through to their companions and soaked the walls in blood.
When it was over we were left with one hell of an ice sculpture. The way they’d obscured the glass with bloody smears meant we never got a proper look at what was going on, but once the mist had cleared and all you could hear was the cracking of ice and flesh we saw a mound of half-melted flesh. It was like a battle-scene paused in time, except the mountain of gore took on a strange quality close to the centre. We spotted rats with three eyes, five legs, two tails, so on. It was like they had started to merge, like cell division in reverse.
I remember we were arguing over whether to incinerate it. I was attempting to put forward the case for keeping it, arguing we owed our employer results and this was one of the most profound things we could offer them. Maybe they’d even up our funding! The others weren’t having it though, crying for me to just let them dump the whole thing in the fire. I was dead set against it until, from behind, I heard a quiet rustling. I looked back. We’d spent hours staring at that thing and arguing with each other, and close to the very top you could see the frost receding. And where it had faded, and white fur bunched together in impossible knots began to thaw, there was the faintest motion of a single claw flexing and scrabbling at the ice, as if making to break free.
I burned it. The others thought it was a moral victory of some kind. Hell, even I felt a flush of rightness as three of us hurled it into the searing heat. But I also knew we didn’t live in a fairy tale, and our employers would want to know what happened. Maybe it was because I was the guy who’d have to explain it to them, but I didn’t think they’d be too happy with what I had to say.
And of course, they weren’t. Any hopes of a funding rise went out the window, and I was told pretty much point blank I’d lose my job if we didn’t carry on with further tests. I asked if that meant more rats and the answer made me feel like I was losing my mind.
Oh no, they said. We were moving onto the monkeys.
-
The man before me is unusual only in that he is wearing sunglasses even in a darkened room. Unlike all other interviewees, he reached out to me to discuss his thoughts on the Kentworth compound and insisted I hear his thoughts on the matter. He is wiry but exudes a calm energy, amongst other things, and speaks calmly into the microphone.
You’re smaller than I expected. Sorry, that was a little joke. It’s just I’ve heard of you, have you heard of me? I’m something of a writer and, I don’t know. Maybe Peter read my book or one of the others at his cult. I met him once, bought a book off his father. He was rude. I think he thought I was a tourist, someone passing through looking for a bit of inspiration to write another cheap novel. I thought he was a little shit, truth be told. And I ignored the angry teenager until his father finally sent him out the room and our business continued. If you’d told me he would go on to do what he did, I would have thought it unlikely.
Despite all his supposed power, Peter was just a little boy trying to reach his mother. She had been a strict Christian, and she met a mysterious end not long after her husband returned from a most peculiar overseas trip. I can bloody well imagine how she must have reacted to her first glimpse of his nocturnal activities. What I can’t imagine is her going along with it. I think Peter figured that out too, and I think he spent the rest of his life desperately trying to prove her right. But, at the same time, the power within those books is undeniable. Their mere existence pisses all over the notion of an Abrahamic god, or at least one who cares about us.
And there, I think, lay the first seed of Peter Rollins’s very strange activities. He wanted to find God and he wanted to do it in a way that proved once and for all that his mother and father could have coexisted. But what do I know? I’m just a writer, an armchair psychologist. I can’t help but wonder if you know that, though. Or whether it might be necessary to afford a little context to the things you see.
Context is always good, I explain.
Well, that was why Peter went looking for God. What he found, of course, was an observer, someone who watches. Only Peter had never really thought too hard about philosophy, or the world, or the very essence of knowledge. It didn’t occur to him that in the same way we have the idea of something—let’s say a chair—in our head, so too must this other thing learn and remember us. To be known is a very powerful thing, some might say the very building blocks of our existence are made out of nothing more than neurons and molecules. We think nothing of it, looking at something and making a representation of it buried deep within our minds.
If Peter had read his father’s work a little more closely he might have realised that there are some things that do not think in electricity, but rather in bubbling meat and hard physical matter. Whole universes made of a single living thing whose mind works on the turning of planets and the dying of stars. A cosmic brain where everything thought is rendered not in abstract patterns of neural activity, but in actual real physical matter.
And everything it sees, observes, knows, gets added to its mind. Which of course means Peter is still alive, in a sense. You know we have this saying about how the dead “live on in our memories”? Well, depending on who’s remembering you, that’s not always a good thing. Especially not when your own memories and thoughts are part of reality and so you’re just kind of spilling out everywhere. And that’s not even to get onto the topic of the other things that are tucked away in the memory of this Cosmic being. When Peter first burst the membrane between realities I’d hazard a guess more things poured out than were sucked in. That bit of land won’t be right again for another million years by my estimate. Everything’s a little thinner there now, and I’d bet some things are still very keen on reaching right on over and reliving the last party they had. It’s like sticking your hand through the bars of a lion cage.
I guess the irony is Peter went looking for God, but he wound up finding a pretty good substitute for the Christian notion of Hell. Then again, he’s also in a place where his own thoughts can be reality. I bet he gets off on that. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s just recreated the Kentworth compound with more underage girls and no money troubles. He really did strike me as that shallow. Although somehow I doubt he’s having a ball over there. At least he has friends, right? And an ever-expanding list at that.
They’re unlikely to cross paths.
Ah, right, big place.
Bigger than you can imagine.
I suspect that’s by design. We humans weren’t meant to know everything. I guess that must make all of this [The interviewee gestures to my body] a bit of a trip.
Can I ask something?
Do they know? Am I giving it away? Where do you even publish this? I guess it doesn’t matter to you does it. All that matters are that people read it because you only need a flicker of their attention to recognise them and then, boom, got ‘em. You can look anywhere, just so long as you know where it is you want to look.
I’m not hurting anyone.
No but I think most people would agree it’s an eerie idea. Anyone you look at… I mean, am I being remade right now over there? In your world? Well, I guess time isn’t linear for you is it? What was it I read: it expands ever outwards like the stars in the sky? So in a sense your idea of Peter predated the real, actual Peter.
Apples and oranges.
Well, I suppose the upside of it is that I’m sort of immortal now, aren’t I? There’ll always be an exact physical copy of me over there, living, breathing, existing. It’s just a little uncomfortable to imagine what exactly that must be like. And everyone else? Anyone who reads this?
It would be like asking you to unremember a chair you just looked at. Everyone who is made of aware of me, is in turn brought to my attention.
Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable. Are you going to go for the whole world or just a nice collection?
I haven’t actually thought about it. I have certainly enjoyed the observing of people up close, just as I have enjoyed watching the people who read the transcripts.
Well, you have all the time in the world to decide.
Yes, I suppose I do.
I don’t suppose while I’ve got you here you have anything to do with my own little predicament do you?
No, that was entirely your own doing. Do you have anything else to add to your testimony? I am, after all, meant to be doing the observing.
No, no, that’s fair enough. I understand. I appreciate you speaking to me like this. It’s been a long journey getting here.
I know.
Right, of course you do. You have created an atom-perfect replica of my own brain. And, in fact, you created it before I was born.
Try not to think about it.
I could tell you the same thing!
I guess if I do have anything to add, it’s that you should know Peter Rollins was a nasty piece of work but his followers were all just down on their luck. I’m not an overly compassionate fellow but I’d like to think they’re not at the mercy of whatever else lurks in the literal corridors of your mind. I’d like to think that if they are burning, that somehow, Peter’s fire is a little bit hotter than everyone else’s. Because I know what some of those rites involved, I also know the kind of pain you have to inflict on a person to learn what he learned, and well…
He really does deserve it.
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How I did not lose my virginity

I used to walk every day in the late afternoons in that January, it helped to relieve the anxiety of going to live by myself and took away the guilt of living a sedentary life. On these walks I usually met a high school colleague, we talked about the changes at the end of our high school, she said where she was going to work and I talked about which college I would go to, she said she would live alone since her mother would change city, and I said I would live in a student republic or something.
Our relationship as colleagues in the earlier years was kind of complicated for me, I always flirted with her, and she rarely flirted with me back, but when she did it, she gave me a lot of hope, but nothing ever happened no matter how hard I tried.
In one of those walks she invited me to celebrate her first day alone at home, since her mother had moved out that morning. I don't know if it was just the teenage hormones manipulating my perception or if she was giving me a chance, but I accepted her invitation without blinking.
It was very rare for me to go out with a girl, my insecurity about my appearance and my introversion didn't let me be very popular with women, so this opportunity made me very anxious and nervous.
Before going to her house, I went to a local grocery store and bought a bottle of wine, even though we were 17 years old I thought it would be proper and polite. I walked full of fear and insecurity through the rutted streets of the city between my house and hers, the bottle of cheap wine in the plastic bag trembled with me when I thought about the situation of being alone with a girl at her house.
I walked about 1km to get to her house, the day was very hot, and although it was about 7 PM, the temperature was about 31 ° C, I sweated a little to get there. Upon arriving at her place, I had to concentrate to stop shaking myself and call out to her while trying to hide the sweat stains on my armpits. She opened the door for me and invited me in, I left the wine with her and asked to put it in the refrigerator.
After putting the wine in the freezer she then took a bottle of cheap lemon soda and a bottle of vodka from the fridge. We drank the mixture on the cold floor of the room. The house was a little unfurnished and there was a strange emptiness in that place. We talked about music, VHS tapes, recorder flute, Lord of the Rings and anime. As the conversation evolved we got more and more drunk, that summer night got hotter and hotter and I got more and more nervous not knowing if she wanted something with me or she was just being nice. After a while the drink left me more relaxed and the conversation flowed more naturally.
Despite the scorching heat I went with my new boot that day, and at some point during a laugh of mine I dropped some of the mixture of vodka and lemon soda in the boot, she soon smiled (with a mixture of scorn with malice) and said to take off the boot so as not to spoil it, and right after that she dropped a little of her drink in her own pants, I can't remember for sure if it was on purpose, but when I went to try the risky movement of smiling back and asking for her to take off her pants (so as not to spoil) I was interrupted by the loud knocking of the open room door. At that moment all the doors and windows that were open slammed hard and a very strong wind started to sound outside the house. I thought it was just a summer storm, but when I went to the door to open it back, because the heat was unbearable, I saw something in the window that I had never seen live, I saw snow.
In the corners of the window it accumulated and the wind was throwing more and more snow towards the glass, and nothing was seen except the floating white outside the house. When I tried to open the door it didn't move, I thought it was locked but there was no key in the door at the time. I tried to open it more forcefully, this time the door opened a small crack, and from that crack the coldest air I had witnessed in my entire life entered the house, but in a fraction of seconds the very strong wind soon closed the door again.
I looked at my friend and she was more confused than I was, I sat on the floor back with her (relieved by the sudden drop in temperature, I must confess) and we started discussing what could be causing a snowstorm in a tropical country . The chances of drunk teenagers boiled down to mentioning El Ñino, winter monsoons, fine hail, volcanic eruptions and possible nuclear apocalypses.
During these assumptions we heard muffled screams coming from the street, probably someone passing through the street was suffering from the storm, she and I ran out to try to help, but this time the door did not move a millimeter, we tried to open other doors and windows but they were all in the same state. I tried to see something through the window, but the blizzard didn't let me see anything but shapes, I saw what looked like a big running dog and something else that made me doubt my momentary sanity. Although it was night I saw a very strong orange-gray light coming from outside, as if it were a beautiful sunset, I ignored this and blamed alcohol for the misinterpretation of the facts.
After a few seconds the screams disappeared, and we assumed that everything was fine and that the person outside was just startled by the blizzard. But before reaching the room again, the energy of the house fell and we were completely pitch black.
I turned on my phone's flashlight and helped her look for candles and matches to light something. We put the candles on the floor of the living room. We sat around them waiting for the light to come back and the storm to pass, talking about how this storm would be a historic event in Brazil and betting on what the meteorological explanation would be. I remembered that I had left clothes on the clothesline and that my dog ​​was out of the house, then I remembered that I needed to call my mother to check if everything was okay. There was no cell phone signal, let alone internet. I tried to use the home phone, but it was muted. As I had never witnessed a snowstorm, I thought that Brazilian infrastructure was also not prepared for such an event and everything had fallen temporarily.
All there was to do at that moment was to wait for the storm to pass. We noticed that the snow that once flew with the wind outside the windows was now agglomerated in the glass, we tried to beat the snow to fall and to be able to see the street, but no matter how hard we hit the snow it didn't fall at all, it seemed like we were buried. And it was at that moment that we realized the whole situation, I felt an uncontrollable urge to cry and my eyes filled with tears, I started to sob and stammer about the situation we were in, my isolation companion tried to calm me down, but I felt despair in her voice too.
We tried several times to get out of there, no way of communication worked and although we were stuck less than 30 minutes away, despair had overtaken us. I started walking around the house cursing my life for putting me in this situation and for all the shit I would have to deal with when I got out of there, from buying a snow shovel to burying my dog ​​who had probably died of cold.
From that moment on we started to notice that the house was starting to cool down, and very fast. She soon ran to her closet to get a shirt and wrap up, I borrowed one too as the temperature was dropping to a worrying level. We laughed a little when I put on her shirt and it didn't even cover half of my torso.
The temperature situation was getting alarming, we thought about burning her books on the stove, but in a closed environment like that, the smoke would do more harm than good. In order not to freeze while we think, we turn on all the stove and oven and stand beside him in the hope that it will warm us up a bit. Next to the stove she hugged me, I know it was just for the sake of heat conservation, but I felt really good with that hug that seemed so sincere.
In those moments embraced by the stove, we started to hear a strong thunder and feel what seemed to be earthquakes, we thought it should have something to do with the storm, and we also remember that there was no way to have earthquakes in Brazil. The tremors were well-marked and slow, and were getting stronger and stronger. It became more surreal when we also heard a loud and low sound as well as thunder, the sound sounded like a mixture of a nuclear alarm siren and the sound of an elephant's trunk.
When the tremors were getting worrying and the sound was deafening, and my friend had her eyes closed and her hand over her ears trying to ignore it for a moment, then I remembered the candles in the room. I get out of the kitchen to get them and try to take advantage of their heat too. I crouched down to pick up the candles, and when I turned towards to my friend who was trembling beside the stove I heard a cracking sound of wood and concrete crumbling, before I could reason or react, which I think was a black, pointed paw broke the roof and landed on top of it, impaling it.
That was the most surreal moment of my life, I saw death for the first time and I saw that monstrous paw invade the house. The texture of that was almost like the bark of those big black beetle, but it looked much darker and harder. When the paw got up, breaking the roof even more as if the house were made of paper and taking my friend's impaled body with it, I had a chance to see that. A creature that looked like an insect, but did not look like any animal I saw in my life, walked slowly with several other gigantic paws between the houses, I couldn't get a real dimension of the animal, since the fog and snow made it very difficult for me to see it. I saw no torso or head, the fog just let me see those paws destroying everything they stepped on.
From the hole made by the creature monstrous amounts of snow began to enter the kitchen, I tried to run to the room and slipped on the frozen blood on the kitchen floor. I went into a room that I assume was her mother's, wrapped myself in several blankets and blouses and stayed under the bed. I also took a notebook that was in the wardrobe, and that's what I'm writing it on.
It is already 2 o'clock in the morning and I no longer feel my toes and some fingers, I feel like a fool writing this instead of trying to survive. I also found a pistol under the bed.
submitted by Lewris to nosleep [link] [comments]

In the Loop v2, Chapter 4

(for chapter 1, click here: https://www.reddit.com/HFY/comments/gtfxzs/in_the_loop_v2_chapter_1/)
Day 4
For a horrible moment, I thought this fantasy was recursive.
The day started with depressingly familiar unfamiliarity: when I opened my eyes, the first thing I realized was that I wasn’t where I was when I’d gone to sleep.
At that, I jolted fully awake, causing my laptop to slip off my lap, crashing against the floor. I winced. Mom and Dad had given me flak for breaking my computer screen so many times that I half-expected them to materialize and start chewing me out.
But nobody came.
I shook off the morning fugue, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. Out of habit, I popped open my laptop to assess the damage. To my surprise, it immediately flared to life, revealing a web of cracks emanating outwards from where it’d hit the ground which completely obscured the left half of the screen. And it only had 2% battery. Great. I had probably left it on by accident at some point, and had utterly wasted what little power it had left. I raked back through my memory. Oh, oops. Yesterday, when I’d arrived, I hadn’t even thought about shutting off my laptop, being too caught up in taking pictures of glaciers and gawking like a tourist. I shook my head—
The cracked screen restored itself.
I froze mid-head-shake, then gave my laptop a careful second glance. In addition to the crack I’d just made being gone, the general dings and dents a laptop in a clumsy owner’s hands would accumulate over the years had faded away. The fingerprint-smudges that I didn’t clean from my screen nearly often enough were still there, but other than that, the computer looked like the day I’d bought it.
And there was a document open in the center of the screen, entitled In The Loop.
I gave it a hesitant glance, then jerked back in surprise as the words flashed past, scrolling downwards at inhuman speed. Despite its length, my eyes somehow effortlessly inhaled the work, words and stories flooding into my mind—
—and bringing with them memories.
Suddenly, just as clearly as if I’d been there myself, I remembered Svranth’s abuses. I remembered Lilian’s laugh. I remembered Yule’s blank, implacable expression, and I remembered her single mercy.
In other words, I remembered the last two days. Two whole days which had been stolen from me.
I rubbed my forehead. Okay. Damn. Wow. That seemed like it would be exceedingly useful in my current situation, but my computer was now down to one percent. Crap. My fancy new memory-Skill was useless if my laptop died. I fumbled into my backpack to get my phone and power cable. Could you charge a computer from a phone? I’d only ever done it the other way around. And could you—
Suddenly, the battery refilled, jerking back up to 2%.
I blinked twice, trying to understand. Hmm. Self-repairing computer whose battery refilled when its life nearly reached its end? Sounded suspiciously similar to my old self-repairing journal whose pages refilled when I nearly reached its end. I smelled the influence of [Journal: Undying Story].
I sorted through my memories of last night, piecing together what’d happened, and nodded to myself. Yeah, that made sense. I still wasn’t a hundred percent certain how I’d done it, but it seemed pretty clear from the evidence that I’d moved my journal from living in the now-ruined book to my computer, and as a result, gained a self-charging, regenerating computer.
For a moment, a spark of joy kindled in me. A computer with an infinite battery life? I’d done in three days what tech companies couldn’t do in fifty years! Sure, it wasn’t anywhere close to as useful without internet access, but it was the next best thing to a miracle, and it might well be exactly what I needed to take on Svranth and escape the Slant.
And then my smile faded. Oh, God. I’d have to take on Svranth if I wanted to escape the Slant. And now, I finally knew what I was up against. I hesitated to even think about it, in case Svranth somehow picked up on it and—
“Hey, kid.” I actually screamed aloud and fell on my butt as Lilian jolted me out of my thoughts; her friendly grin turned more quizzical than hurt this time around. “...uh, okay. What’s up with the… light… thing?” She pointed at my computer.
“This?” I looked around, but the other six fur-clads were all intently talking in a close-knit knot, paying me no attention. Hmm. Well, in the previous two iterations, Lilian had seemed harmless enough. “It’s, uh… it’s a journal, of sorts. It… restores memories.”
She frowned. “Restores memories? What do you mean?” She leaned over to look at it—
Once more, the log of my time here burst into motion, words whipping past her vision. As I watched in shock, her eyes moved supernaturally fast to keep up; after a mere second or two, she stumbled back with a startled cry.
“Lilian!” I knelt by her side, aghast; the motion made me keenly aware of the echoing aches I still felt from what I’d gone through on Day 2. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize it would do that—”
She took in a deep, gasping breath for air, as if she’d been plunged underwater and had just resurfaced. “You’re from another world!”
I stared. “Um. How did you—”
“You really did get teleported here! I was wondering where you came from!” Her expression of shock and wonder was almost comical, but now it darkened into a scowl. “Wait. We’ve had this conversation three times now! And every time you freak out when I say hi!”
I was beginning to catch on. “Well, not the exact same conversation—”
“Oh. Oh, blazes.” Her face went pale. “We’ve had this conversation three times in a row because Svranth—”
I slapped a hand over her mouth, strangling the end of her sentence to nothing. Still, we both knew we were thinking it. Lilian gave me an affronted glare for a moment and carefully removed my hand.
“Someone’s wiping everyone’s memories at the end of each day,” she whispered, “and come on, it’s gotta be Svranth. From what I just saw—”
“What did you just see?” I hissed back.
“Hm? Oh. Your memories of the past three days,” she nonchalantly said.
All of them?” I grabbed my hair in frustration. “Seriously! Why can everything in this world read my mind? Literally! Everything!”
“...Sorry.” She sat down next to me and drew her knees to her chest. “If it makes you feel any better, they’re… really interesting memories.”
“Yeah, but they’re mine. I don’t want…” I trailed off, looking at Lilian, and sighed. “It’s just… invasive, you know?”
“I guess you didn’t grow up with Illithids, huh? You have no idea what it’s like, being hit on by someone who’s been rooting through your mind for a week.”
I let out a disgusted snort. “Wow. I hope a pickup artist from Earth never comes here. Blood would fly.”
Lilian’s eyebrows raised at the mention of ‘pickup artist’, but she didn’t comment on it. “Okay. Okay, okay, no, I just—I need to wrap my head around this. You’re from another world.
“Yeah.” I sighed. “I am.”
“And—and you leveled up eight times in three days?!”
I wanly smiled. “Yep. For what it’s worth.”
“For what it’s worth? If you could keep that up, you’d be able to kick Svranth’s slimy squid butt right back into the ocean!”
I raised an eyebrow. “Back into the ocean?”
“Illithids come from the sea,” Lilian absently said, “they have underwater cities or something. It’s why basically nobody’s heard of them; a society of mind-manipulators which doesn’t want people poking into their business is pretty hard to find.”
Underwater cities and secret societies. I managed a regretful grin. “...I would love this world so goddamn much if it wasn’t trying its hardest to break me.”
Lilian stared at me, surprised. “You would?”
“You have… magic. Real magic. You have the impossible sitting right outside your doorstep. Things like Svranth, and you, and these memories, and… a home.” I curled up on the floor, staring without seeing at my journal. “So many things that I couldn’t see them all, even if I lived a thousand, thousand lifetimes. Let alone one more day.”
Lilian watched me, mouth slightly open, speechless. Then she said, “Yule should be coming soon, based on those memories. You should put that artifact away.”
I scoffed. “Artifact. It’s nothing special. Probably billions of them back on Earth, and I managed to go through one every other year. Mom and Dad would get so mad—” I froze.
Lilian gave me a concerned glance. “Alex?”
I sat up straight. Slowly, deliciously, wondrously, a fire kindled in my eyes.
“Alex? Are you okay?” Lilian let out a little ‘eep!’ in surprise when I snapped my laptop shut and put it in my backpack, wedging a pencil between the lid and the keyboard so that it wouldn’t fully close and turn off my Skill. The bricks and mortar of facts and causality snapped together in my mind, building the foundation of a plan.
“Seriously, Alex. Did I… break you? Alex, you’re scaring me.”
I slung my backpack over my shoulder and stood up. “No. No, quite the opposite,” I murmured.
“Of—what’s the opposite of scaring me?”
“What?” I laughed. “No, no, not that.” I met Lilian’s eyes and said, “The opposite of breaking.”
Yule had marched in, still smelling of smoke from yesterday, given the exact same speech as before—down to the intonation—and left, after which I’d gone outside without complaint. A pet theory of mine started to gain credence.
WELCOME TO THE LOOP. An all-too-familiar sensation tingled in the back of my mind: Svranth’s telepathy. We had all lined up in the snow while Svranth did their daily speech. I AM SVRANTH, [CONTROLLER] OF THE SLANT. DURING THE SPAN OF YOUR WORK, YOU ANSWER TO ME.
Hi, Svranth. I’m Alex. Hope we can get to know each other real well, I experimentally thought. As with Wlosh, I got no reaction, and the steady pulse of determination inside me redoubled.
AS I AM SURE YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD, A SKILL OF MINE HAS GRANTED A RANDOM NUMBER OF YOU ACCESS TO A VARIETY OF POWERFUL CLASSES AND SKILLS. YOU WILL SHORTLY RECEIVE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE THEM. AFTER YOU HAVE ABSORBED THIS INFORMATION, REMAIN STILL FOR THE [OVERSEERS] TO DISTRIBUTE EQUIPMENT. Svranth continued. All familiar, right down to the puff of displaced air as a pickaxe and set of furs materialized around me.
To my surprise, Svranth’s voice echoed in my mind one additional time. I HAVE GRANTED YOU THE SKILL [DELAY WOUNDS]. THIS IS A POWERFUL SKILL WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO INDEFINITELY DELAY ANY INJURY WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.
Well, that sounded like a big ol’ steaming load of lies, because that was functionally equivalent to immortality. Svranth didn’t make my brain explode for thinking that, which put a little more hope in my heart. I made a mental note—literally, since my [Journal: Live Biography] was still recording all this—to look into what [Delay Wounds] actually did later, and figuring out why Svranth would lie about it.
As before, the same instructions carved themselves into my mind: Go to Yule and begin mining downwards at Depth 37. A flutter of mixed emotions twirled through me. On one hand, getting stuck with Yule again was going to be absolutely terrifying, yes, but on the other, if my plan actually worked
As before, Lilian was assigned to work with Krshoth. She gave me a tentative wave goodbye; I distractedly waved back, mind swirling with possibilities. If I failed here, if my bluff was called… well, I supposed it wouldn’t have gone much better than if I didn’t try to escape at all.
When I reached Yule, she still reeked of smoke.
As I approached Yule, she gave me a familiarly disbelieving look. “Seriously? You’re in my mining group, too? You’re worse than a case of the worms. I’m getting you transferred into another group tomorrow.”
The same words as on Day 2. That as much as confirmed my hunch: Yule’s memory was being wiped as well. I didn’t know why yet, but it gave me a chance, a crack to work my fingernail into. I raised an eyebrow. “Think Svranth will let you do that?”
She gave me a bemused look. “Sure, kid. Anyways, you guys have the simplest job out of any of us here. We’re looking for Ytrine—a sort of psychic residue that gets left behind when something dies. Normally, the stuff dissipates too quickly to be of any use to anyone, but up north, there’s a chance that something dies and gets frozen quickly enough that the Ytrine stays inside. Ytrine deposits look like frozen dead stuff; don’t break them, or Svranth will shove an apocalypse up your butt. Your job is to dig straight down and get the shiny magic doodads. So simple, a Yeti could do it. Got it?”
I nodded, meeting her eyes with a calm little smile.
Her expression was pensive as she looked back at me; she definitely suspected I was up to something. Her instincts didn’t provide enough impetus for her to call me out on it, though, and she moved her gaze back to the rest of the miners. “Alright, let’s see here… yeah, those four should work. [Mass Basic Footwork.] [Mass Remove Inhibitors.] [Mass Dampen Pain.] [Unit: Euphoria Drillers.] Go!”
Once more, I felt that utter numbness crawl in my veins, reaching into my nerves and switching them off one by one. I lifted the pickaxe—mindful of how easy it would be to overexert myself and tear a muscle, this time around—and casually said, “You know, I had a really weird dream last night.”
Yule steadfastly ignored me.
“It had you in it,” I added.
At that, she snorted. “You’re too young for me, pipsqueak. And I don’t swing that way.”
“It started with you burning a book,” I continued.
Yule froze. Ah. So she had some knowledge of what happened the night before, even if she was also subject to the mind-wipes. Maybe a journal of her own? “Is that so?” Yule cautiously said.
“Oh, yeah. In the dream, you used this crazy Skill, [Override Imperative]. Second-scariest form of mind control I’ve seen this week.” I winked.
Yule went absolutely still for a second. Then, in a familiar, overpowering voice, she said, “How did you know I had that Skill?
That awful void crept over me, and I said, “My computer told me.”
She frowned. “Your computer? What is that?
“A computer is a manmade device which can perform complex algorithmic tasks. I think transistors are involved somewhere? They’re made of, uh, silicon and semiconductors and aluminum and other really complicated stuff that I don’t understand. They can also surf the web and play video games and—”
Yule growled, “Get to the point.
“My computer,” I said, carefully, “stores memories for me.”
Yule held out a hand, eyes narrowed. “Give it to me.
I shrugged nonchalantly, although my heart was thudding. If I screwed up here, everything was going to go to hell. I held out my backpack. “It’s inside. But!” I interrupted her just as she reached out for it. “Before you destroy it, you’re going to want to make sure Svranth’s not going to check up on us again.”
She scoffed, regaining her irreverent demeanor. “Kid, I think you’re a few strippers short of an orgy. You’re not the one in control here.”
“No,” I agreed amenably, “Svranth is. Which is why I’m oh-so-curious to find out what they’ll do when they find out that you’re working against them.”
Even the other half-drugged miners stopped at that.
Yule’s eyes widened, and she jerked her hand back from the bag. “Keep mining,” she hissed. The clank of pickaxes on stone started up again.
God, I was sweating. I couldn’t help but do as she said, but she’d never told me to stop talking. I slung my backpack on my back once more and resumed breaking the rock. “You see,” I said, “unlike you, I remember what happened yesterday, where you confessed to me that you weren’t on Svranth’s side. And if you try to hurt me, well… I already know what happens when I get hurt enough to stop mining. Svranth comes along to… give me a hand, heh. And no matter how beaten up I am, you can’t stop me from telling a mind-reader to have a dig through my memories. Sure, I’ll go down for it, but so will you. And you have a lot more to lose than me.”
“Yes. You’re very clever, blackmailing someone ten Levels higher than you.” She clenched her fists. “Kid, you have no idea how deep the iceberg you’ve stumbled on goes. You could get hundreds of people killed—”
“Which is why I’m not going to.” I metronomically continued crushing the stone at my feet. “Let’s face it: I outmaneuvered you. With half your Levels and a tenth of your resources, I’ve got you good and trapped. And you know what?” I sighed, something dark dripping into the stream of [Euphoria] blowing through me. “I… don’t want to hurt you. I want to help you. If I can get you here, having this conversation with me as an equal, with nothing to work with but my head and a glorified journal... what if I had access to the kinds of resources you have? Working together? We could go for bigger fish.”
Yule might have been crude, boisterous, disdainful, self-justified, too empathetic for her own good, controlling, and just a dash of amoral. But she wasn’t stupid. And in the end… she didn’t want to hurt me, either. I didn’t know what her endgame was, but from what I saw, she was fundamentally a decent person. I saw her considering the offer.
And then she grunted. “You’re weak.”
Hm. “You keep calling me that. A soft little thing. A kid.”
“It’s because you are,” she stated, without rancor. “Yeah. Fine. You can scheme. I’m not going to give you a reason to turn on me, not with a fart like the one you’ve got stored up ready to rip. Likewise, I have assurance that you’re not going to yank my chain too hard, because if you do, well, it might just squeeze one out of my bum, eh? You get too uppity, I just tell Svranth that you’re bypassing their mind-wipe. And if either of us are dumb enough to let it rip, well, we’ll be right in the center of our own stink. So if we know what’s good for us, we won’t… feed each other laxatives, so to speak.”
“You, madam, are a poet with words,” I quipped.
“But there’s one thing you didn’t think of.” Her eyes went dull and flat, like a lizard’s, and while the subzero winter couldn’t get through my furs, I felt a chill run up my spine. “I don’t think for a second it’s because you couldn’t—not with a noggin like that on your head. No, you refused to accept this possibility because you wouldn’t.”
She stepped up to me and held out her hand; a wickedly sharp pickaxe materialized with a pop.
“If I wanted, I could simply kill you where you stood.”
I raised an eyebrow.
And then I exploded into motion.
I shifted my stance, getting the full weight of my back and hips behind the blow as I spun, [Basic Footwork] guiding my steps. With a burst of hysterical strength, I smashed her pickaxe out of her hands even as she crouched into a ready position; with the [Removed Inhibitors] powering my arms, her pick splintered into a thousand pieces, only narrowly avoiding gouging out one of our eyes when it flickered out of existence as it left her hand. She opened her mouth to speak, but I hooked the pickaxe behind her neck and jerked her forwards, drawing her into a vicious headbutt.
It was like slamming my head into a stone floor.
But the [Dampened Pain] was nothing more than a light tickle.
Even Yule was stunned by that, stumbling backwards and landing on her back. Rivulets of blood snaked across my forehead, and I grinned madly, [Euphoria] lending me confidence beyond my own. With a vicious crack, I slammed my pickaxe down half an inch from her face. Yule reflexively flinched, stone chips bouncing off her skin.
If,” I snarled, my blood mixing with hers.
A frozen heartbeat passed.
Then Yule got to her knees.
I offered her a hand.
She took it and stood up.
And she began to laugh, with a savage, hearty guffaw.
“You. Alex.” She released my hand and slapped me on the back. “This could work.”
I nodded. “It will work.”
“I’ll get you a healing potion for your forehead; head wounds are nothing to joke around with. We’ll talk later today. Until then… keep mining.” When I opened my mouth to speak, she held up a hand. The gesture held all the force her [Override Imperative] did; when she lifted her hand, I froze. “I believe you. You’re strong enough and smart enough to help me help you. But if you don’t get back to mining real soon, Svranth’s going to come over to find out why you’re not, and then this whole enterprise is going to come tumbling all the way down.”
Oh. After all that, that would’ve been awfully embarrassing, wouldn’t it have? I nodded once, sharply, then returned to mining, the mechanical motions ripping at my arms.
I continued to break new ground, digging myself deeper and deeper in.
As soon as the work day ended and I trudged back into my room, I sat down and popped open my computer. After a bit of hesitation, I concentrated for a moment, focusing my desires, and felt something click. I disabled the [Journal: Live Biography].
It was just me writing, now.
I drummed my fingers on the keyboard for a minute or two, simply sitting there, mulling things over. Then, I started to type.
Hey, Mom. Dad.
You’re never going to read this, are you.
I’m not an idiot. I won… a victory, of sorts, today, but… one way or another, I don’t think I’m coming home.
There’s just too much. Too damn much. There’s slavery and politics and eldritch horrors and I’m just a high school student and I can’t deal with what I’m going to have to do to get out of here because I just know that today is only the beginning and
I hurt someone today
I enjoyed hurting someone today
I know Yule isnt the best person but shes a person and i shouldnt have felt so good so powerful standing over her like that and if thats who i have to become then WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF ME
Dad, you taught me how to think. And I’m grateful for that. If it wasn’t for you being… well, you, then I never would’ve been able to dream that plan up. At best, I would’ve thought of challenging Yule while her Skills were making me a match for her physically; your politicking was how I realized what she wanted from me, how I held something over her but gave her something to hold over me too, and in the process showed her I was smart enough not to push her too far, smart enough to work with her as an equal.
But you could’ve done a whole lot better with the why.
I don’t want to have to think like this. I want to be able to see all the goddamn wonders in this world, because I know they’re there. The people. The cities. The magic. It’s all so beautiful, and so alien, and… God, you would love it here. More than you’d ever loved anything.
Mom… I miss you. I don’t know what you would’ve done here. But I know it would’ve been the right thing. I know everyone here would’ve known it was the right thing, too. You could charge the gates of Hell itself and a hundred hundred people would follow you.
Maybe I’m in Hell.
I hope you can read this someday, I really do. I just… Please. You must be—God, I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. Dad, you’re… digging, probably. With your own two hands, just how you like it. Are you pulling up missing persons reports? Interviewing passerby? Begging, cheating, stealing traffic camera tapes?
And Mom, I’d bet anything that you’re mobilizing. The extended family, your diving club, everyone I knew at school—they’re all searching right now, aren’t they? From California to Beijing to Adelaide to Essex to Dubai—you know someone everywhere. If I was anywhere on Earth, I could almost believe you’d find me.
I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
I love you.
After a moment, I took a deep, shuddering breath, and turned the [Biography] back on. I had a feeling I wouldn’t want to relive what happened next.
I stood up and turned around.
Lilian was right behind me, tears of shock streaking down her face.
“What—” I looked between her and the screen, the letter I’d written. Suddenly, an awful, bitter fury swelled up inside me, black bile at the back of my throat, and I clenched my fists. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”
“Alex…”
“THAT WAS MINE!” I roared, spit flying, eyes wild, “I NEEDED THAT!”
“Alex, stop it!” Lilian screamed back, “You can’t—”
“You don’t know me,” I seethed, “You don’t know where I’m from, you don’t know who I am, you don’t know what I can and cannot do and so God help me—” I slammed my palm into Lilian’s chest— “you will damn well apologize for presuming to barge into my life and—”
“I’m not apologizing for anything,” Lilian said, quiet, still, unflinching.
Yule’s Skills wore off.
I was a star, a crucible, a forge of true, harsh, madness-bringing mind-tearing heart-splitting pain, a never-ending dream-rending symphony of suffering, and I was screaming, screaming, screaming
“[Delay Wounds]!” I slapped a hand to my chest, and suddenly, cool, numb relief crawled through me, culling my thoughts, freezing my heart.
Lilian was on the floor too, now, doubled over, quietly crying.
I realized how much she was bleeding.
The red mist clawing at my vision withdrew. My head was ringing, my thoughts were echoing, leaving me floating, strangely detached, hollowed out. I knelt by her side and took her hand in mine.
“[Delay Wounds],” I murmured once more. I felt power leave me in a rush, a chilling torrent of glacial whispers. Lilian whimpered once, then fell still.
I knelt next to her, wondering what kind of monster I was.
Yule chose that moment to return.
I gathered myself. Right. Work now. Hate later.
You lot. Sleep.” Yule flicked a hand at the five remaining fur-clads; as if struck from behind, they all collapsed. That was good and terrifying. Yule sat criss-cross opposite me, eyeing Lilian curiously.
“She your girlfriend?” Yule asked.
“Yule.”
She looked away. “Not the time. I get it.” She sighed. “Healing potion. Essence of regeneration. The good stuff. Should fix you up, even if you’ve used that cursed Skill of yours.”
“Cursed Skill?”
“[Delay Wounds]. You can delay almost anything up to amputation or worse—but it’ll get exponentially worse each time you do. Until you’re depending on it to keep you alive. Until suddenly, it can’t.” My eyes widened, and she nodded. “Svranth has files on all your Classes and Levels. It’s… well, what did you expect from a [Broken] Class?”
I hesitated. Then I brought the potion to Lilian’s lips and tilted a good two-thirds of it down her throat.
“I have the Skill to fall back on. She doesn’t,” I said in response to her questioning look, “And besides, you can get more of those.”
“Eh…” She made a so-so gesture. “You should’ve told me I’d gotten you a healing potion in a previous iteration of this day. Taking out two from storage in a week is suspicious. Taking out three is… not that viable.”
“Right. Let’s start with that.” I tossed back the remaining third of the healing potion. It tasted hopeful. “You’re being mind-wiped too. Why?”
She sighed. “I don’t know.”
I blinked. “...what, really?”
“Even when I’m a part of Svranth, they don’t tell me. It’s one of the major things I’m trying to fix—”
“Stop. When you’re a part of Svranth?
“Svranth is a hivemind. Their constituent minds rotate out every now and then. Sometimes unwillingly.”
“If you become a part of Svranth, then why can’t you just… get rid of the Slant? Stop the mind-wipes and the slavery?”
“I’m a part of Svranth. So are a lot of other people. I’m not in control.” She grimaced. “But if I could, I would abolish the Slant in its entirety.”
“Really?”
“We don’t need it. We have more than enough money as an independent city-state already; all this Ytrine and gold just sits in our vaults, adding to a pile of wealth we don’t even draw from. We could live for a decade on our savings alone, even if we didn’t invest in more humane sources of revenue.”
“I’ll take your word for it. What is the exact nature of the Slant?”
“Misery. Constant abuse. We snatch up workers eager to improve their lot and then spirit them away in our moving city, where the villages and towns we take them from are too far away to raise a fuss if they care about the missing ones. To prevent rebellion and keep everyone moving, we wipe their minds each day, dangling the carrot of that luxurious first day so that they keep going until they wear their bodies out. The icing on the cake? We turn the dead ones into more Ytrine. It’s the most brutal, most productive engine of wealth I’ve ever seen.”
That was all my worst fears confirmed. But I had to keep moving. “What are Svranth’s capabilities and weaknesses?”
“They’re a very powerful telepath. They can obliterate someone’s mind without much effort if they want, and there’s basically nothing anyone short of Level 30 can do to stop it. Making more subtle manipulations, like altering or reading memories, or taking control of a body, are harder, but not by that much. Their main weakness is that they can’t be everywhere—nothing which they don’t specifically pay attention to will catch their notice, and at this point, they don’t pay attention to a whole lot unless someone goes off the rails to catch their attention.”
“To what extent can you remember previous days?”
“Almost none,” she said, “I’m not literate and I don’t have a calendar, other than watching the Loop to see how much it’s moved by. I leave myself pictures, which are… cryptic and unsettling. A broken wrist and a burning book… I’d like to know what happened the past two days.”
I relayed everything I could to her. To her credit, she asked precise questions when necessary and rapidly absorbed everything I said. “You mentioned something cryptic about being a ‘mind breaker’ when I asked how you were deflecting Svranth’s attention. What did you mean?”
“It’s my [Override Imperative]. I can command myself to not think about something. Unless Svranth does a detailed scan, repressed memories won’t show up.”
Hmm. Interesting. Alright. “All this said… what the hell are you planning on doing about this?”
She swallowed and looked away. “Honestly? I don’t know. I was waiting for an opportunity.” She looked at me, and her gaze was an almost tangible thing. “Looks like I found one.”
I stood up. “I don’t want to go through this rigamarole again. How can I convince you I’m worth working with again?”
“A password. Tell me… ‘Vyrmarr.’”
“Vyrmarr.” I tried the thick, rolling word out. “Does it mean anything?”
“A long, long time ago? It meant, ‘Dreamer.’”
With that, she stood and left.
I watched her go… cautiously… sadly… wearily…
[Rebel Class Obtained!]
[Rebel Level 3!]
[Skill – One Warning Obtained!]
[Healer Class Obtained!]
[Healer Level 1!]
[Broken Level 3.]
[Skill – Endless Agony Obtained.]
[Scribe Level 9!]
[Skill – Third Person View Obtained!]
(next chapter: https://www.reddit.com/HFY/comments/h8aqwq/in_the_loop_v2_chapter_5/)
submitted by rileyriles001 to HFY [link] [comments]

In the Loop v2, Chapter 4

(This is the second draft of my TWI fanfiction, In the Loop! Chapter 1 can be found here.)
Day 4
For a horrible moment, I thought this fantasy was recursive.
The day started with depressingly familiar unfamiliarity: when I opened my eyes, the first thing I realized was that I wasn’t where I was when I’d gone to sleep.
At that, I jolted fully awake, causing my laptop to slip off my lap, crashing against the floor. I winced. Mom and Dad had given me flak for breaking my computer screen so many times that I half-expected them to materialize and start chewing me out.
But nobody came.
I shook off the morning fugue, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. Out of habit, I popped open my laptop to assess the damage. To my surprise, it immediately flared to life, revealing a web of cracks emanating outwards from where it’d hit the ground which completely obscured the left half of the screen. And it only had 2% battery. Great. I had probably left it on by accident at some point, and had utterly wasted what little power it had left. I raked back through my memory. Oh, oops. Yesterday, when I’d arrived, I hadn’t even thought about shutting off my laptop, being too caught up in taking pictures of glaciers and gawking like a tourist. I shook my head—
The cracked screen restored itself.
I froze mid-head-shake, then gave my laptop a careful second glance. In addition to the crack I’d just made being gone, the general dings and dents a laptop in a clumsy owner’s hands would accumulate over the years had faded away. The fingerprint-smudges that I didn’t clean from my screen nearly often enough were still there, but other than that, the computer looked like the day I’d bought it.
And there was a document open in the center of the screen, entitled In The Loop.
I gave it a hesitant glance, then jerked back in surprise as the words flashed past, scrolling downwards at inhuman speed. Despite its length, my eyes somehow effortlessly inhaled the work, words and stories flooding into my mind—
—and bringing with them memories.
Suddenly, just as clearly as if I’d been there myself, I remembered Svranth’s abuses. I remembered Lilian’s laugh. I remembered Yule’s blank, implacable expression, and I remembered her single mercy.
In other words, I remembered the last two days. Two whole days which had been stolen from me.
I rubbed my forehead. Okay. Damn. Wow. That seemed like it would be exceedingly useful in my current situation, but my computer was now down to one percent. Crap. My fancy new memory-Skill was useless if my laptop died. I fumbled into my backpack to get my phone and power cable. Could you charge a computer from a phone? I’d only ever done it the other way around. And could you—
Suddenly, the battery refilled, jerking back up to 2%.
I blinked twice, trying to understand. Hmm. Self-repairing computer whose battery refilled when its life nearly reached its end? Sounded suspiciously similar to my old self-repairing journal whose pages refilled when I nearly reached its end. I smelled the influence of [Journal: Undying Story].
I sorted through my memories of last night, piecing together what’d happened, and nodded to myself. Yeah, that made sense. I still wasn’t a hundred percent certain how I’d done it, but it seemed pretty clear from the evidence that I’d moved my journal from living in the now-ruined book to my computer, and as a result, gained a self-charging, regenerating computer.
For a moment, a spark of joy kindled in me. A computer with an infinite battery life? I’d done in three days what tech companies couldn’t do in fifty years! Sure, it wasn’t anywhere close to as useful without internet access, but it was the next best thing to a miracle, and it might well be exactly what I needed to take on Svranth and escape the Slant.
And then my smile faded. Oh, God. I’d have to take on Svranth if I wanted to escape the Slant. And now, I finally knew what I was up against. I hesitated to even think about it, in case Svranth somehow picked up on it and—
“Hey, kid.” I actually screamed aloud and fell on my butt as Lilian jolted me out of my thoughts; her friendly grin turned more quizzical than hurt this time around. “...uh, okay. What’s up with the… light… thing?” She pointed at my computer.
“This?” I looked around, but the other six fur-clads were all intently talking in a close-knit knot, paying me no attention. Hmm. Well, in the previous two iterations, Lilian had seemed harmless enough. “It’s, uh… it’s a journal, of sorts. It… restores memories.”
She frowned. “Restores memories? What do you mean?” She leaned over to look at it—
Once more, the log of my time here burst into motion, words whipping past her vision. As I watched in shock, her eyes moved supernaturally fast to keep up; after a mere second or two, she stumbled back with a startled cry.
“Lilian!” I knelt by her side, aghast; the motion made me keenly aware of the echoing aches I still felt from what I’d gone through on Day 2. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize it would do that—”
She took in a deep, gasping breath for air, as if she’d been plunged underwater and had just resurfaced. “You’re from another world!”
I stared. “Um. How did you—”
“You really did get teleported here! I was wondering where you came from!” Her expression of shock and wonder was almost comical, but now it darkened into a scowl. “Wait. We’ve had this conversation three times now! And every time you freak out when I say hi!”
I was beginning to catch on. “Well, not the exact same conversation—”
“Oh. Oh, blazes.” Her face went pale. “We’ve had this conversation three times in a row because Svranth—”
I slapped a hand over her mouth, strangling the end of her sentence to nothing. Still, we both knew we were thinking it. Lilian gave me an affronted glare for a moment and carefully removed my hand.
“Someone’s wiping everyone’s memories at the end of each day,” she whispered, “and come on, it’s gotta be Svranth. From what I just saw—”
“What did you just see?” I hissed back.
“Hm? Oh. Your memories of the past three days,” she nonchalantly said.
All of them?” I grabbed my hair in frustration. “Seriously! Why can everything in this world read my mind? Literally! Everything!”
“...Sorry.” She sat down next to me and drew her knees to her chest. “If it makes you feel any better, they’re… really interesting memories.”
“Yeah, but they’re mine. I don’t want…” I trailed off, looking at Lilian, and sighed. “It’s just… invasive, you know?”
“I guess you didn’t grow up with Illithids, huh? You have no idea what it’s like, being hit on by someone who’s been rooting through your mind for a week.”
I let out a disgusted snort. “Wow. I hope a pickup artist from Earth never comes here. Blood would fly.”
Lilian’s eyebrows raised at the mention of ‘pickup artist’, but she didn’t comment on it. “Okay. Okay, okay, no, I just—I need to wrap my head around this. You’re from another world.
“Yeah.” I sighed. “I am.”
“And—and you leveled up eight times in three days?!”
I wanly smiled. “Yep. For what it’s worth.”
“For what it’s worth? If you could keep that up, you’d be able to kick Svranth’s slimy squid butt right back into the ocean!”
I raised an eyebrow. “Back into the ocean?”
“Illithids come from the sea,” Lilian absently said, “they have underwater cities or something. It’s why basically nobody’s heard of them; a society of mind-manipulators which doesn’t want people poking into their business is pretty hard to find.”
Underwater cities and secret societies. I managed a regretful grin. “...I would love this world so goddamn much if it wasn’t trying its hardest to break me.”
Lilian stared at me, surprised. “You would?”
“You have… magic. Real magic. You have the impossible sitting right outside your doorstep. Things like Svranth, and you, and these memories, and… a home.” I curled up on the floor, staring without seeing at my journal. “So many things that I couldn’t see them all, even if I lived a thousand, thousand lifetimes. Let alone one more day.”
Lilian watched me, mouth slightly open, speechless. Then she said, “Yule should be coming soon, based on those memories. You should put that artifact away.”
I scoffed. “Artifact. It’s nothing special. Probably billions of them back on Earth, and I managed to go through one every other year. Mom and Dad would get so mad—” I froze.
Lilian gave me a concerned glance. “Alex?”
I sat up straight. Slowly, deliciously, wondrously, a fire kindled in my eyes.
“Alex? Are you okay?” Lilian let out a little ‘eep!’ in surprise when I snapped my laptop shut and put it in my backpack, wedging a pencil between the lid and the keyboard so that it wouldn’t fully close and turn off my Skill. The bricks and mortar of facts and causality snapped together in my mind, building the foundation of a plan.
“Seriously, Alex. Did I… break you? Alex, you’re scaring me.”
I slung my backpack over my shoulder and stood up. “No. No, quite the opposite,” I murmured.
“Of—what’s the opposite of scaring me?”
“What?” I laughed. “No, no, not that.” I met Lilian’s eyes and said, “The opposite of breaking.”
Yule had marched in, still smelling of smoke from yesterday, given the exact same speech as before—down to the intonation—and left, after which I’d gone outside without complaint. A pet theory of mine started to gain credence.
WELCOME TO THE LOOP. An all-too-familiar sensation tingled in the back of my mind: Svranth’s telepathy. We had all lined up in the snow while Svranth did their daily speech. I AM SVRANTH, [CONTROLLER] OF THE SLANT. DURING THE SPAN OF YOUR WORK, YOU ANSWER TO ME.
Hi, Svranth. I’m Alex. Hope we can get to know each other real well, I experimentally thought. As with Wlosh, I got no reaction, and the steady pulse of determination inside me redoubled.
AS I AM SURE YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD, A SKILL OF MINE HAS GRANTED A RANDOM NUMBER OF YOU ACCESS TO A VARIETY OF POWERFUL CLASSES AND SKILLS. YOU WILL SHORTLY RECEIVE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO USE THEM. AFTER YOU HAVE ABSORBED THIS INFORMATION, REMAIN STILL FOR THE [OVERSEERS] TO DISTRIBUTE EQUIPMENT. Svranth continued. All familiar, right down to the puff of displaced air as a pickaxe and set of furs materialized around me.
To my surprise, Svranth’s voice echoed in my mind one additional time. I HAVE GRANTED YOU THE SKILL [DELAY WOUNDS]. THIS IS A POWERFUL SKILL WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO INDEFINITELY DELAY ANY INJURY WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE.
Well, that sounded like a big ol’ steaming load of lies, because that was functionally equivalent to immortality. Svranth didn’t make my brain explode for thinking that, which put a little more hope in my heart. I made a mental note—literally, since my [Journal: Live Biography] was still recording all this—to look into what [Delay Wounds] actually did later, and figuring out why Svranth would lie about it.
As before, the same instructions carved themselves into my mind: Go to Yule and begin mining downwards at Depth 37. A flutter of mixed emotions twirled through me. On one hand, getting stuck with Yule again was going to be absolutely terrifying, yes, but on the other, if my plan actually worked
As before, Lilian was assigned to work with Krshoth. She gave me a tentative wave goodbye; I distractedly waved back, mind swirling with possibilities. If I failed here, if my bluff was called… well, I supposed it wouldn’t have gone much better than if I didn’t try to escape at all.
When I reached Yule, she still reeked of smoke.
As I approached Yule, she gave me a familiarly disbelieving look. “Seriously? You’re in my mining group, too? You’re worse than a case of the worms. I’m getting you transferred into another group tomorrow.”
The same words as on Day 2. That as much as confirmed my hunch: Yule’s memory was being wiped as well. I didn’t know why yet, but it gave me a chance, a crack to work my fingernail into. I raised an eyebrow. “Think Svranth will let you do that?”
She gave me a bemused look. “Sure, kid. Anyways, you guys have the simplest job out of any of us here. We’re looking for Ytrine—a sort of psychic residue that gets left behind when something dies. Normally, the stuff dissipates too quickly to be of any use to anyone, but up north, there’s a chance that something dies and gets frozen quickly enough that the Ytrine stays inside. Ytrine deposits look like frozen dead stuff; don’t break them, or Svranth will shove an apocalypse up your butt. Your job is to dig straight down and get the shiny magic doodads. So simple, a Yeti could do it. Got it?”
I nodded, meeting her eyes with a calm little smile.
Her expression was pensive as she looked back at me; she definitely suspected I was up to something. Her instincts didn’t provide enough impetus for her to call me out on it, though, and she moved her gaze back to the rest of the miners. “Alright, let’s see here… yeah, those four should work. [Mass Basic Footwork.] [Mass Remove Inhibitors.] [Mass Dampen Pain.] [Unit: Euphoria Drillers.] Go!”
Once more, I felt that utter numbness crawl in my veins, reaching into my nerves and switching them off one by one. I lifted the pickaxe—mindful of how easy it would be to overexert myself and tear a muscle, this time around—and casually said, “You know, I had a really weird dream last night.”
Yule steadfastly ignored me.
“It had you in it,” I added.
At that, she snorted. “You’re too young for me, pipsqueak. And I don’t swing that way.”
“It started with you burning a book,” I continued.
Yule froze. Ah. So she had some knowledge of what happened the night before, even if she was also subject to the mind-wipes. Maybe a journal of her own? “Is that so?” Yule cautiously said.
“Oh, yeah. In the dream, you used this crazy Skill, [Override Imperative]. Second-scariest form of mind control I’ve seen this week.” I winked.
Yule went absolutely still for a second. Then, in a familiar, overpowering voice, she said, “How did you know I had that Skill?
That awful void crept over me, and I said, “My computer told me.”
She frowned. “Your computer? What is that?
“A computer is a manmade device which can perform complex algorithmic tasks. I think transistors are involved somewhere? They’re made of, uh, silicon and semiconductors and aluminum and other really complicated stuff that I don’t understand. They can also surf the web and play video games and—”
Yule growled, “Get to the point.
“My computer,” I said, carefully, “stores memories for me.”
Yule held out a hand, eyes narrowed. “Give it to me.
I shrugged nonchalantly, although my heart was thudding. If I screwed up here, everything was going to go to hell. I held out my backpack. “It’s inside. But!” I interrupted her just as she reached out for it. “Before you destroy it, you’re going to want to make sure Svranth’s not going to check up on us again.”
She scoffed, regaining her irreverent demeanor. “Kid, I think you’re a few strippers short of an orgy. You’re not the one in control here.”
“No,” I agreed amenably, “Svranth is. Which is why I’m oh-so-curious to find out what they’ll do when they find out that you’re working against them.”
Even the other half-drugged miners stopped at that.
Yule’s eyes widened, and she jerked her hand back from the bag. “Keep mining,” she hissed. The clank of pickaxes on stone started up again.
God, I was sweating. I couldn’t help but do as she said, but she’d never told me to stop talking. I slung my backpack on my back once more and resumed breaking the rock. “You see,” I said, “unlike you, I remember what happened yesterday, where you confessed to me that you weren’t on Svranth’s side. And if you try to hurt me, well… I already know what happens when I get hurt enough to stop mining. Svranth comes along to… give me a hand, heh. And no matter how beaten up I am, you can’t stop me from telling a mind-reader to have a dig through my memories. Sure, I’ll go down for it, but so will you. And you have a lot more to lose than me.”
“Yes. You’re very clever, blackmailing someone ten Levels higher than you.” She clenched her fists. “Kid, you have no idea how deep the iceberg you’ve stumbled on goes. You could get hundreds of people killed—”
“Which is why I’m not going to.” I metronomically continued crushing the stone at my feet. “Let’s face it: I outmaneuvered you. With half your Levels and a tenth of your resources, I’ve got you good and trapped. And you know what?” I sighed, something dark dripping into the stream of [Euphoria] blowing through me. “I… don’t want to hurt you. I want to help you. If I can get you here, having this conversation with me as an equal, with nothing to work with but my head and a glorified journal... what if I had access to the kinds of resources you have? Working together? We could go for bigger fish.”
Yule might have been crude, boisterous, disdainful, self-justified, too empathetic for her own good, controlling, and just a dash of amoral. But she wasn’t stupid. And in the end… she didn’t want to hurt me, either. I didn’t know what her endgame was, but from what I saw, she was fundamentally a decent person. I saw her considering the offer.
And then she grunted. “You’re weak.”
Hm. “You keep calling me that. A soft little thing. A kid.”
“It’s because you are,” she stated, without rancor. “Yeah. Fine. You can scheme. I’m not going to give you a reason to turn on me, not with a fart like the one you’ve got stored up ready to rip. Likewise, I have assurance that you’re not going to yank my chain too hard, because if you do, well, it might just squeeze one out of my bum, eh? You get too uppity, I just tell Svranth that you’re bypassing their mind-wipe. And if either of us are dumb enough to let it rip, well, we’ll be right in the center of our own stink. So if we know what’s good for us, we won’t… feed each other laxatives, so to speak.”
“You, madam, are a poet with words,” I quipped.
“But there’s one thing you didn’t think of.” Her eyes went dull and flat, like a lizard’s, and while the subzero winter couldn’t get through my furs, I felt a chill run up my spine. “I don’t think for a second it’s because you couldn’t—not with a noggin like that on your head. No, you refused to accept this possibility because you wouldn’t.”
She stepped up to me and held out her hand; a wickedly sharp pickaxe materialized with a pop.
“If I wanted, I could simply kill you where you stood.”
I raised an eyebrow.
And then I exploded into motion.
I shifted my stance, getting the full weight of my back and hips behind the blow as I spun, [Basic Footwork] guiding my steps. With a burst of hysterical strength, I smashed her pickaxe out of her hands even as she crouched into a ready position; with the [Removed Inhibitors] powering my arms, her pick splintered into a thousand pieces, only narrowly avoiding gouging out one of our eyes when it flickered out of existence as it left her hand. She opened her mouth to speak, but I hooked the pickaxe behind her neck and jerked her forwards, drawing her into a vicious headbutt.
It was like slamming my head into a stone floor.
But the [Dampened Pain] was nothing more than a light tickle.
Even Yule was stunned by that, stumbling backwards and landing on her back. Rivulets of blood snaked across my forehead, and I grinned madly, [Euphoria] lending me confidence beyond my own. With a vicious crack, I slammed my pickaxe down half an inch from her face. Yule reflexively flinched, stone chips bouncing off her skin.
If,” I snarled, my blood mixing with hers.
A frozen heartbeat passed.
Then Yule got to her knees.
I offered her a hand.
She took it and stood up.
And she began to laugh, with a savage, hearty guffaw.
“You. Alex.” She released my hand and slapped me on the back. “This could work.”
I nodded. “It will work.”
“I’ll get you a healing potion for your forehead; head wounds are nothing to joke around with. We’ll talk later today. Until then… keep mining.” When I opened my mouth to speak, she held up a hand. The gesture held all the force her [Override Imperative] did; when she lifted her hand, I froze. “I believe you. You’re strong enough and smart enough to help me help you. But if you don’t get back to mining real soon, Svranth’s going to come over to find out why you’re not, and then this whole enterprise is going to come tumbling all the way down.”
Oh. After all that, that would’ve been awfully embarrassing, wouldn’t it have? I nodded once, sharply, then returned to mining, the mechanical motions ripping at my arms.
I continued to break new ground, digging myself deeper and deeper in.
As soon as the work day ended and I trudged back into my room, I sat down and popped open my computer. After a bit of hesitation, I concentrated for a moment, focusing my desires, and felt something click. I disabled the [Journal: Live Biography].
It was just me writing, now.
I drummed my fingers on the keyboard for a minute or two, simply sitting there, mulling things over. Then, I started to type.
Hey, Mom. Dad.
You’re never going to read this, are you.
I’m not an idiot. I won… a victory, of sorts, today, but… one way or another, I don’t think I’m coming home.
There’s just too much. Too damn much. There’s slavery and politics and eldritch horrors and I’m just a high school student and I can’t deal with what I’m going to have to do to get out of here because I just know that today is only the beginning and
I hurt someone today
I enjoyed hurting someone today
I know Yule isnt the best person but shes a person and i shouldnt have felt so good so powerful standing over her like that and if thats who i have to become then WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF ME
Dad, you taught me how to think. And I’m grateful for that. If it wasn’t for you being… well, you, then I never would’ve been able to dream that plan up. At best, I would’ve thought of challenging Yule while her Skills were making me a match for her physically; your politicking was how I realized what she wanted from me, how I held something over her but gave her something to hold over me too, and in the process showed her I was smart enough not to push her too far, smart enough to work with her as an equal.
But you could’ve done a whole lot better with the why.
I don’t want to have to think like this. I want to be able to see all the goddamn wonders in this world, because I know they’re there. The people. The cities. The magic. It’s all so beautiful, and so alien, and… God, you would love it here. More than you’d ever loved anything.
Mom… I miss you. I don’t know what you would’ve done here. But I know it would’ve been the right thing. I know everyone here would’ve known it was the right thing, too. You could charge the gates of Hell itself and a hundred hundred people would follow you.
Maybe I’m in Hell.
I hope you can read this someday, I really do. I just… Please. You must be—God, I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. Dad, you’re… digging, probably. With your own two hands, just how you like it. Are you pulling up missing persons reports? Interviewing passerby? Begging, cheating, stealing traffic camera tapes?
And Mom, I’d bet anything that you’re mobilizing. The extended family, your diving club, everyone I knew at school—they’re all searching right now, aren’t they? From California to Beijing to Adelaide to Essex to Dubai—you know someone everywhere. If I was anywhere on Earth, I could almost believe you’d find me.
I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
I love you.
After a moment, I took a deep, shuddering breath, and turned the [Biography] back on. I had a feeling I wouldn’t want to relive what happened next.
I stood up and turned around.
Lilian was right behind me, tears of shock streaking down her face.
“What—” I looked between her and the screen, the letter I’d written. Suddenly, an awful, bitter fury swelled up inside me, black bile at the back of my throat, and I clenched my fists. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”
“Alex…”
“THAT WAS MINE!” I roared, spit flying, eyes wild, “I NEEDED THAT!”
“Alex, stop it!” Lilian screamed back, “You can’t—”
“You don’t know me,” I seethed, “You don’t know where I’m from, you don’t know who I am, you don’t know what I can and cannot do and so God help me—” I slammed my palm into Lilian’s chest— “you will damn well apologize for presuming to barge into my life and—”
“I’m not apologizing for anything,” Lilian said, quiet, still, unflinching.
Yule’s Skills wore off.
I was a star, a crucible, a forge of true, harsh, madness-bringing mind-tearing heart-splitting pain, a never-ending dream-rending symphony of suffering, and I was screaming, screaming, screaming
“[Delay Wounds]!” I slapped a hand to my chest, and suddenly, cool, numb relief crawled through me, culling my thoughts, freezing my heart.
Lilian was on the floor too, now, doubled over, quietly crying.
I realized how much she was bleeding.
The red mist clawing at my vision withdrew. My head was ringing, my thoughts were echoing, leaving me floating, strangely detached, hollowed out. I knelt by her side and took her hand in mine.
“[Delay Wounds],” I murmured once more. I felt power leave me in a rush, a chilling torrent of glacial whispers. Lilian whimpered once, then fell still.
I knelt next to her, wondering what kind of monster I was.
Yule chose that moment to return.
I gathered myself. Right. Work now. Hate later.
You lot. Sleep.” Yule flicked a hand at the five remaining fur-clads; as if struck from behind, they all collapsed. That was good and terrifying. Yule sat criss-cross opposite me, eyeing Lilian curiously.
“She your girlfriend?” Yule asked.
“Yule.”
She looked away. “Not the time. I get it.” She sighed. “Healing potion. Essence of regeneration. The good stuff. Should fix you up, even if you’ve used that cursed Skill of yours.”
“Cursed Skill?”
“[Delay Wounds]. You can delay almost anything up to amputation or worse—but it’ll get exponentially worse each time you do. Until you’re depending on it to keep you alive. Until suddenly, it can’t.” My eyes widened, and she nodded. “Svranth has files on all your Classes and Levels. It’s… well, what did you expect from a [Broken] Class?”
I hesitated. Then I brought the potion to Lilian’s lips and tilted a good two-thirds of it down her throat.
“I have the Skill to fall back on. She doesn’t,” I said in response to her questioning look, “And besides, you can get more of those.”
“Eh…” She made a so-so gesture. “You should’ve told me I’d gotten you a healing potion in a previous iteration of this day. Taking out two from storage in a week is suspicious. Taking out three is… not that viable.”
“Right. Let’s start with that.” I tossed back the remaining third of the healing potion. It tasted hopeful. “You’re being mind-wiped too. Why?”
She sighed. “I don’t know.”
I blinked. “...what, really?”
“Even when I’m a part of Svranth, they don’t tell me. It’s one of the major things I’m trying to fix—”
“Stop. When you’re a part of Svranth?
“Svranth is a hivemind. Their constituent minds rotate out every now and then. Sometimes unwillingly.”
“If you become a part of Svranth, then why can’t you just… get rid of the Slant? Stop the mind-wipes and the slavery?”
“I’m a part of Svranth. So are a lot of other people. I’m not in control.” She grimaced. “But if I could, I would abolish the Slant in its entirety.”
“Really?”
“We don’t need it. We have more than enough money as an independent city-state already; all this Ytrine and gold just sits in our vaults, adding to a pile of wealth we don’t even draw from. We could live for a decade on our savings alone, even if we didn’t invest in more humane sources of revenue.”
“I’ll take your word for it. What is the exact nature of the Slant?”
“Misery. Constant abuse. We snatch up workers eager to improve their lot and then spirit them away in our moving city, where the villages and towns we take them from are too far away to raise a fuss if they care about the missing ones. To prevent rebellion and keep everyone moving, we wipe their minds each day, dangling the carrot of that luxurious first day so that they keep going until they wear their bodies out. The icing on the cake? We turn the dead ones into more Ytrine. It’s the most brutal, most productive engine of wealth I’ve ever seen.”
That was all my worst fears confirmed. But I had to keep moving. “What are Svranth’s capabilities and weaknesses?”
“They’re a very powerful telepath. They can obliterate someone’s mind without much effort if they want, and there’s basically nothing anyone short of Level 30 can do to stop it. Making more subtle manipulations, like altering or reading memories, or taking control of a body, are harder, but not by that much. Their main weakness is that they can’t be everywhere—nothing which they don’t specifically pay attention to will catch their notice, and at this point, they don’t pay attention to a whole lot unless someone goes off the rails to catch their attention.”
“To what extent can you remember previous days?”
“Almost none,” she said, “I’m not literate and I don’t have a calendar, other than watching the Loop to see how much it’s moved by. I leave myself pictures, which are… cryptic and unsettling. A broken wrist and a burning book… I’d like to know what happened the past two days.”
I relayed everything I could to her. To her credit, she asked precise questions when necessary and rapidly absorbed everything I said. “You mentioned something cryptic about being a ‘mind breaker’ when I asked how you were deflecting Svranth’s attention. What did you mean?”
“It’s my [Override Imperative]. I can command myself to not think about something. Unless Svranth does a detailed scan, repressed memories won’t show up.”
Hmm. Interesting. Alright. “All this said… what the hell are you planning on doing about this?”
She swallowed and looked away. “Honestly? I don’t know. I was waiting for an opportunity.” She looked at me, and her gaze was an almost tangible thing. “Looks like I found one.”
I stood up. “I don’t want to go through this rigamarole again. How can I convince you I’m worth working with again?”
“A password. Tell me… ‘Vyrmarr.’”
“Vyrmarr.” I tried the thick, rolling word out. “Does it mean anything?”
“A long, long time ago? It meant, ‘Dreamer.’”
With that, she stood and left.
I watched her go… cautiously… sadly… wearily…
[Rebel Class Obtained!]
[Rebel Level 3!]
[Skill – One Warning Obtained!]
[Healer Class Obtained!]
[Healer Level 1!]
[Broken Level 3.]
[Skill – Endless Agony Obtained.]
[Scribe Level 9!]
[Skill – Third Person View Obtained!]
A.N.
The next chapter is here: https://www.reddit.com/WanderingInn/comments/h8ast5/in_the_loop_v2_chapter_5/
submitted by rileyriles001 to WanderingInn [link] [comments]

A Guide to Women’s lululemon Leggings for Men (Version 1.0)

Greetings, lululemon fanatics of Reddit!
I’m writing this guide because it hasn’t existed until now. Even though this guide is an overview written specifically for men who might be interested in trying (more) women’s leggings, I hope it helps women, too, as well as lululemon educators (who both may need to help guys buy leggings). I know I’m not the only guy who wears these (here’s proof of my qualifications to write this guide: https://imgur.com/4oTUAvV - that's over 40 leggings accumulated over 3 years), and I’ve browsed this subreddit enough to know that this topic comes up fairly often. Hope you find this helpful (there’s a ton more I could say even though I've said a lot, feel free to ask questions privately or publicly) and I hope this guide doesn’t get lost in the abyss of the internet! Without further ado, here we go:
What this Guide Is and Isn’t
This is an objective overview of women’s lululemon leggings and fabrics and answers to common questions. This is not meant to be a style guide or an in-depth review of particular products.
Basic Info.
1 – Why wear lululemon?
Their leggings are soft, comfortable, and stylish. There are lots of options and chances are they have what you’re looking for whether it’s for lounging, yoga, cardio, etc. lululemon leggings are durable so long as you take care of them – overall you get what you pay for. You put these on and you can tell that these are much better than $20 or $30 leggings.
2 – Why wear leggings?
For many reasons! Compression is good for training and recovery. A more relaxed-fit is comfortable for lounging or sleeping. More on these points, leggings can help promote sleep and relaxation for those with restless legs syndrome or those who like weighted blankets.
3 – Why wear lululemon’s women’s leggings as a guy?
Because they’re way better than the men’s leggings! But seriously, it's a matter of preference. The men's leggings have various features that aren't present in women's leggings, and unsurprisingly some guys don't find women's leggings comfortable.
April 2020 Edit - As I've said in the comments, the men's Vital Drive tight is a game-changer. It's made of a highly technical, multi-purpose fabric that does what it's supposed to do. At only $138, it's actually well-priced and well worth it.
4 - How are you supposed to wear them?
lululemon's women’s leggings are designed to be worn without anything underneath – you can do the same as a guy or wear a thin compression short. Many guys (myself included) wear shorts over leggings.
5 – Do you have to shave your legs?
All lululemon’s leggings are woven tight enough so that leg hair will not go through the fabric. Just be mindful that sometimes light-colored or “white-backed” (where there is a pattern on the outside but it’s white on the inside) leggings are not entirely opaque.
Women’s Leggings Info.
1 – What’s a good length?
Unless you have extremely long or short legs do the following: if you’re under 6 feet tall, 28” inseam will hit your ankles; if you’re over 6 feet tall, go 31” if you want them to hit your ankles. Depending on where you want them to fall, you can go for 27”, 25”, etc. Be conscious of “crops” depending on how big your calfs/knees are and also how tall you are (they’re going to fall at a different part of the leg if you’re a taller guy as compared to a shorter lady).
2 – What about the rise – super high rise, high rise, medium rise, low rise?
High rise and medium rise are both fine for men. Low rise may not provide enough room, anatomically speaking, to be comfortable. Super high rise may provide too much stomach coverage to be comfortable.
3 – How does women’s sizing work for men?
Guys will comfortably fit at least 2 sizes, depending on the fabric of the legging. Basic anatomy requires sizing up for more compressive leggings. The sizes that work for me based on women's measurements correspond exactly with my normal pant waist (i.e. my suit pants are a 30 inch waist, so sizes 8 and 10 both fit me: I'll wear size 10 for luxtreme, size 8 for nulu, and either size 8 or 10 for nulux and everlux, but usually size 8 for everything not-luxtreme).
NOTE - Just like women's leggings for women, not all fabrics/leggings fit on all body shapes/types. Sometimes there may be no good size that works for you for a particular legging in a particular fabric, and you may need to find something that fits better.
4 – What are all the lululemon fabrics?
lululemon has 5 main leggings fabrics: luon, luxtreme, nulu, nulux, everlux.
luon – heavier, warm, cottony-feeling. Since guys sweat more than girls, I would recommend avoiding luon as a guy. It can be good insulation, but be conscious of the fact it can also make you sweat.luxtreme – compressive, most durable. Size up when wearing these.nulu – the softest, stretchiest, least compressive, most delicate fabric. Size down when wearing these.nulux – sleek and soft, not as compressive as luxtreme, but more compressive than nulu. Size down if there’s no pull-cord waistband to avoid having the waistband slip down, and if there is a pull-cord you can size up or down depending on preference.everlux – the newest fabric introduced and when you’re wearing it, it feels closest to luxtreme (semi-heavy, semi-compression, and durable). The inside and outside is soft like nulu. You can size down while wearing these. Look out for a new models of everlux leggings in the future!
July 22, 2020 Edit: There's also the senseknit fabric which is used for the mapped out tights, as well as the zoned in tights. I picked up the mapped out tights during the warehouse sale, sized up (so sized how you would wear luxtreme as opposed to nulu/nulux/everlux), and they are great.
5 – What about the terms “full-on” and “brushed” ?
“Full-on” means double-layer instead of single-layer, so you get a thickeheavier material in “full-on” versions as compared to plain fabrics. “Brushed” means the inside feels fleece-like to provide more insulation and heat-retention.
6 – Are the Sale items (“We Made Too Much” or “WMTM”) Bad?
Truthfully, sometimes. There are instances where certain leggings are “cut” bizarrely (they fit awkward) and they’ll be on sale really quick. But, more often than not, WMTM is great! lululemon releases products weekly (usually Tuesdays at 5PM EST, but it can be earlier in the day), and to clear out left-over colors and left-over sizes, lululemon drops prices after a certain period of time (WMTM releases usually Thursdays at 5PM EST, and the time of this has also been getting earlier and earlier). WMTM is great for most guys because it’s usually the lower sizes that sell out the quickest and there’s the most inventory leftover inventory between sizes 8 and 12. You’ll find this to be true in outlets as well.
7 – So what fabrics should I get?
Depends why you want them!
For cold-weather, I would recommend brushed nulux or brushed luxtreme instead of luon. For running, weight-lifting, classes, etc. if you want (lots of) compression go luxtreme or everlux, but if you don’t want as much compression go nulux. For yoga, nulu and everlux are great. Nulu is the softest and stretchiest of all the fabrics. Nulux is good, too, but it’s a less classic yoga fabric because it’s the most frictionless and that can sometimes interfere with being able to hold a pose. For lounging and sleeping, it’s 100% personal preference. Overall, everlux and nulux are the most comfortable and versatile fabrics. The compression of luxtreme may be uncomfortable for guys, luon may not breathe enough, and nulu is so delicate that it is not meant to be worn for extended periods of time (be careful of all surfaces you contact while wearing nulu). Leggings made of luxtreme, nulu, and luon aren't necessarily bad in any way, but they are more niche especially for guys (i.e. more so than women, guys may be more likely to prefer everlux over luxtreme and luon, and prefer nulux over nulu).
July 22, 2020 Edit - also consider the senseknit fabric (i.e. the mapped out tights). The combination of compression and breathability is great.
8 – So what leggings should I get, what are the different types?
Besides plain “wunder unders” which are basic leggings with minimal fanciful features (available in luon, luxtreme, and nulux, and new “wunder trains” in everlux), some notable mentions are:
Nulux – fast and frees have side pockets, the speed wunder tights have a back zippered pocket. When wearing these 2 leggings, you feel the side pockets from the fast and frees (because there are more seams) more than you do the back pocket of the speed wunder tights.Nulu – aligns. Again, you have to be very careful with these since they are very fragile and can “pill” easily.Luxtreme – speed tights have side pockets like the fast and frees, but they are more compressive. Looks like "All the Right Places Pant II" is being phased out, and it's TBD whether they will be replaced with ATRP III or fully decommissioned.Everlux – not too many options in this fabric as it’s one of lululemon’s newest fabrics. Right now there are invigorates, and wunder trains, and unfortunately rumor has it they are phasing out the "in movements".
A great first multi-purpose pair to try are the full-length nulux fast and frees. Trying these, you can get a sense for how you like the feel of nulux as well as the side pockets, and you’ll be in the best position to start making future purchasing decisions.
9 – How about other leggings that aren’t one of those fabrics?
lululemon is constantly offering new products, and your best bet is to read the reviews or one of the many lululemon blogs.
Ordering
1 – So how do I get these magical leggings?
You have a few options. If you want to be anonymous, lululemon has free shipping via FedEx. You can pay online and reroute the delivery address to a FedEx pickup location.
You can also go to a store. They can order something for you to either pick up in store if it’s not in stock or mail to you. You cannot order online and have it sent directly to a store if the item is not in stock in that store, unless you call the store and pay over the phone to order for you.
You can check store supply online, and the stores match WMTM prices if they’re discounted online.
One thing to remember: lululemon does have cashback online only through Rakuten (formerly Ebates). The typical cashback is 2%, but during certain seasons (i.e. Black Friday / Christmas), you can find 8-15% cashback which is obviously huge when buying leggings that cost ~$100 or more each.
2 – Is it awkward shopping for women’s leggings as a guy?
No, unless you make it awkward. If you go to the store knowing what you want but don’t know where to find it, the “educators” (store employees on the sales floor) will help you get it. If you go to the store to browse and the educators are bothering you, you can very politely tell them that you're just looking, you don't need help, but that if you do you will certainly let them know and then they'll usually leave you alone after that. Depending how big the store is or how long you're there, you may have to tell this to a couple different people. Also, if you want to try something on in store, you certainly can.
Upon making a purchase, you may be asked to set up an account. You do not have to set up an account or provide any personal info. if you do not want to. The benefits of having an account are so that you’ll get digital receipts or records in the unfortunate event you need to return an item so you don’t have to keep the physical receipt. Fortunately, they will not harass you with calls like some other retailers, but unfortunately they have no form of a rewards program.
3 – What if the leggings are no good?
lululemon has a great return policy for unused / unworn items with the tags still on unless you bought the item on WMTM. Hopefully reading this guide can help you make assessments so that you don’t buy something, rip the tags off, wear it, and then regret it. Unless there’s a product defect, once the tags are off, lululemon won’t really let you return or exchange it.
Miscellaneous
1 – What else is there to know?
As much as lululemon is an athletic brand, it is a style and lifestyle brand. To that end, you may not find everything you are looking for at lululemon. Personally, for example, for intense cardio or obstacle courses (Spartan races) I will wear another brand’s leggings because lululemon does not offer the type of compressive, extremely durable legging (from the men’s line or women’s line) that I prefer. For comparison’s sake, the leggings I wear for intense cardio or Spartan races cost $170-200.
2 – What’s the best way to care for lululemon leggings?
Hand-wash like colors inside out in a sink and hang to dry. Stains will come out. You can gently ring out. Elsewhere you will read that it’s best to hang horizontally. What I find to be the best is hang vertically and periodically (and gently) squeeze the water out of the bottom.You can use a lint brush or fabric shaver as needed (another reason I like nulux – no lint and minimal pilling!).
3 – Overall, what’s the best women’s lululemon legging for men?
In my opinion, nulux is the best fabric, but I will admit it does not work for everyone (the biggest complaint is that it slides down). The tropics speed wunder tight is probably my favorite individual item, I have 4 of them. The back zipper doesn’t bother me even if I’m lying down or sleeping.
4 – So you’ve said your favorite item, what’s your least favorite purchase and is there anything you wish you had?
If I could go back in time, I would not have bought the run crew tights; the lululemon trademarked design is too thick and heavy and is super annoying. Also if I could go back in time, I would have purchased the 28” gator green camo fast and frees. lululemon has since released camo as a mainstream line, but they have yet to re-release gator green camo fast and frees (or any 28” green camo nulux).
5 – What do you do with all the bags you get?
I use some to store my receipts and tags and some to store all the other leggings I used to wear.
6 – Parting thoughts?
For those curious, I am a cis straight male. I’d worn (women’s) leggings for years before finding lululemon. I don’t work from home, nor do I have a job that lets me wear lululemon all day, nor am I a lululemon educator. But, I do believe I know as much about their women’s leggings as anyone reasonably could. Having tried many other brands I do believe lululemon is the overall best and most versatile brand. I’m not going to name other brands, but no, I do not believe $20-50 leggings are even close to being as good as those from lululemon.
Hope you found this helpful, feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
submitted by lulu516 to lululemon [link] [comments]

[The Nothing Mage] - Chapter 69

New? Start here!
Declan took in the fresh spring air. He breathed, scratching at the thin layer of scraggly black stubble he’d accumulated. Pitiful. A month on the run all he’d managed was to look unkempt. He’d have to find a razor in the next town; this barren desert of a beard clashed too directly with his ‘terrifying, brooding, monster’ aesthetic.
Maybe that was a good thing.
Freddy, of course, had managed a rather impressive growth in just the first week. It made him look rugged. At least Sarah seemed slightly less interested in kissing the man while he sported the thick beard.
Declan took some petty joy in that.
The past four weeks had been the hardest and most exhausting of Declan’s life. It had taken eight days to grow accustomed to the long hours in the saddle, and another two beyond that for the sores to fully heal. They rode from dawn to sundown, avoiding any roads or larger settlements in case word of their misdeeds had spread.
As it was, they took a risk stopping in the hamlets they did, but the chance to purchase supplies, sleep in a real bed, and play his lute for the local villagers more than made it worthwhile. If nothing else, these farmers didn’t pose much of a threat.
Sure they could report the party’s location, but without any violet mages to send the message, it would take one of their pursuers actually visiting the town, by which point Declan’s group would be long gone.
For all the hardship the journey had been, Declan would look back on it as one of his happier periods. He awoke each day not to artificial mana light, nor rough shouting or a mysterious knock on his door, but to the gentle glow of the sun peeking over the horizon.
Rough as their flight was, there was a brutal simplicity to it. He didn’t have to examine every decision or constantly reevaluate his choices thus far. He didn’t worry about enigmatic forces manipulating his every move, because he only had one move to make: keep running. Declan knew it wouldn’t last. He was, after all, running to something.
He grew more and more aware of that particular truth as they approached their first real obstacle.
Tower Vestriam loomed on the horizon.
It was a bittersweet landmark. For all Declan wished he could return to the simple days studying magic under Leskelian, after the war, after the capital, he’d just as likely never step foot in a Tower again. It was a strangely reassuring thought.
More pressing, however, was the logistical significance to the impending obstacle. The mages at Vestriam absolutely knew of his treason by now; no doubt there were fliers with his description in every town for miles.
Declan’s first thought was of Guthrie. Robin’s father had smuggled them out of the city before, with any luck he could do it again. When he voiced the idea, however, the girl was less than enthusiastic.
“I don’t know, Declan. Sneaking a research experiment out of the city is one thing, involving himself with a regicide…”
“That was Richard!”
She glared at him, “just cause he held the knife doesn’t mean you didn’t enable him. Not to mention—“
He sighed, “yeah, yeah, I know. It’s ok. I understand not wanting to wrap Guthrie up in my mess.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—“
“Robin, it’s ok. I know what I’ve done, and I know how much harder it makes things for everyone.”
Sarah chimed in, “maybe I can help. My da works the Vestriam docks; if we could get a message to him…”
“That’s something I can do,” Robin said. “I’m not directly affiliated with the rest of you, least not yet.”
“I’m sure they know you’re with us,” Declan replied. “If nothing else they would’ve noticed you went missing the same time we did.”
“As if Lillian would’ve told the crown shit. No, I’m willing to bet even if they’ve figured out I'm with you, that didn’t make into into their message to Vestriam.”
“That’s a big risk.”
“And killing the king isn’t? It’s your call. If you really want to waste two weeks diverting far enough south we can do that.”
For the first time, Freddy chimed in, “it’s not just a matter of risk versus lost time. Longer it takes to get out of the country the more the word gets out. There’s a very real chance if detour south by the time we get to the red hills every farmer, miner, and hunter in Teralia is after us.”
Declan sighed, “you’re right. Speed comes first. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Two days later saw Declan, Sarah, and Freddy laying low in the grass of the Icandian Plains while Robin alone trekked onward towards the crimson walls of Vestriam. The night was excruciating. Every breeze, every shift in the grass was Robin returning with grave news, or a team of guards discovering their position.
It was nearly morning when the steel mage rejoined them.
“Did you find him? How is he? Did he look well?”
Of course, Declan realized, Sarah hasn’t seen her father in… divines, over two years? Looking back, he noted it had been over two since he’d seen his mother. Unless you counted across the ballroom that night at Elaine’s party. He shuddered.
“Seemed well enough,” Robin replied, “more importantly, he’s agreed to help us. Tonight, on the west bank of Lake Porfin.”
“Shit,” Sarah said, “we need to move.”
They broke their small camp in record time before mounting up and beginning the ride north. Their speed was limited, both by the lack of road and by the simple fact galloping horses would draw far more attention than a normal traveling pace. Even so they pushed it, traveling across the plains at more than a canter.
As it was, the sun had long set by the time they reached the massive lake. Fortunately, the non-insignificant number of farmers and merchants they passed on the way called them to halt, though Declan did spot three squads of roaming guards in the distance.
He thanked the nonexistent gods for his luck.
They dismounted upon their arrival, leading the horses on foot as they walked along the bank of Lake Porfin. Declan’s heart sank the moment he saw the rowboat.
For all his thighs resented the damage his time in the saddle had done, he couldn’t help but acknowledge the pang of grief he felt at the coming departure.
No way the horses would fit on a vessel that small.
Two men stood on the shore, their features masked in the shadows of the moonless night. Declan decided to trust them the moment Sarah charged forward to wrap one in a massive hug.
Whatever the girl whispered to her father was too soft for Declan to hear, but he was certain nobody missed the man’s words.
“What kind of cockswabbing shitstorm have you got yourself into?”
Like father like daughter, Declan smiled. “That would be my—err—cockswabbing shitstorm.”
“So you’re this Nothin’ Mage, then.” He flashed a toothy grin, “the name’s Ben. This ‘ere’s Joseph, but we all call ‘im Joe. He’s been kind enough to lend us ‘is boat for the evenin’.”
“Thank you, Joe,” Declan nodded, “for your generosity.”
“I wouldn’t call it that,” the man replied, reaching out to take the reins from Robin’s hand.
Of course, Declan swore to himself, the horses for safe passage, no questions asked. A lucrative deal. Then again, any deal involving these particular fugitives would need to be lucrative to be worth the risk. He handed over his own set of reins.
“Thank ye kindly,” the sickly sweetness to Joe’s voice left Declan feeling sticky. He fought to ignore the sensation.
Freddy and Sarah followed suit, until the man held all four sets of reins. They stripped their belongings from the saddlebags while Ben spoke. “So what’s the plan, eh? Slip off into the countryside and live as hermits? I can see the appeal. Much as I love it, the city’s a shithole.”
“Not exactly,” Declan said. “It’s safer you don’t know. Just get us into the hills and we’ll disappear.”
“Declan’s chasing faerie tales.”
“And you’re fuckin’ following him? Divine’s tits, Sarah, I thought you were smarter than that.”
Declan stepped in, “it’s a bit more complicated than all that. But again,” he glared at Sarah, “the less you know the better.”
“Right, right, don’t get yer panties in a bunch,” Ben scoffed. “Y’all about ready? We’ll all be fucked straight to hell if we aren’t off the lake by sunrise.”
With a nod, Declan stepped onto the rowboat, setting down his pack but keeping his lute on his back. There’d be no chance at a replacement if he got this one wet too. He sat.
The others followed, sitting two abreast on the thin benches.
Ben turned back to Joe, who had already begun to lead the horses back to he road. “I’ll get this back to ye tomorrow night,” he gestured to the boat. “Remember, ye didn’t see or hear shit.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Joe scoffed, “last thing I need is divines-fucked soldiers sniffin’ around. They’ll get nothin’ from me.”
Ben nodded, turned, and shoved the boat into the water, wading in after it. As he lifted the oars, he addressed the fugitive mages. “Be warned, he’s like as not to rat you out tomorrow. Right bastard, that one.”
“Shit,” Sarah swore, “will you be alright?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’m worth more to that fucker as a business partner. He’ll just say you lot stole his boat or some ‘orseshit like that.”
Declan elected not to comment on the man’s choice in ‘business partners.’ Instead, he chose to be polite. “Thank you. I know it’s a big risk helping us like that, especially after…”
“Bah,” he scoffed, “what ‘appens to a bunch of rich fucks in Reondar isn’t my business. That lot probably deserved it. Nothin’ Mage or no, I just wanna make sure my Sarah stays safe.” He turned to his daughter, “yer friend said ye was a… what was it again?”
“Journeyman, Da. It’s—um—one below Magus, the one that lets you start a house or get a research position.”
Declan looked on with a smile as the girl caught up with her father. For all his gruff personality, foul mouth, and lack of education, the man loved his daughter. He listened with a wide grin to Sarah’s tales of Krispins, of the war, and of the Pinnacles themselves, asking a number of questions as they came up.
Ben’s voice emanated not only interest, but pride. Sarah had come a long way from working the Vestriam docks.
Listening in, Declan couldn’t help but ponder his own fathers, both his adopted one and the anonymous mundane who’d actually sired him. King Julien had claimed to know something about the man, but his price had been beyond unreasonable. More likely he’d only known what the Fae had told him.
Declan tried to convince himself he didn’t care. That it was only Fae trickery, some lie designed to set him on some path. He’d made it this far without knowing his true father, why should it matter now?
It didn’t. Declan sighed, shivering in the frigid atmosphere. He was thankful, truly, for the cloudy night; under the glow of the moon they’d be far too visible upon the water. The glassy surface of the lake further cooling the evening air did little to help.
Chilly as it was, the night was beautiful. To his right, Declan could see the silhouette of the city and its Tower reflected in the smooth darkness of Lake Porfin. The torches and mana lights along the wall glimmered in place of the stars which hid behind the layer of clouds.
Declan could only imagine how breathtaking a clear night on the lake would be.
When at last they made land on the eastern shore, the mages one by one climbed from the rowboat, carrying their supplies with them. Sarah stopped, once more wrapping her father in a tight hug. When she pulled away and took Freddy’s hand, Declan stepped forward to thank the man for his aid.
“Whatever it takes,” Ben said, shaking Declan’s hand, “to keep my Sarah safe. Ye know more than I do, so I’m trustin’ ye to make the right call. Don’t let ‘er die.”
Declan nodded, “of course.”
“And ye,” Ben turned to glare at Freddy.
“I understand, sir,” he said.
“Good. Be safe out there.”
As if to emphasize his point, a chorus of howls echoed from the crimson hills. Ben cocked his brow, nodded at the fugitive mages, and shoved off, rowing alone across the frigid lake.
Declan waited. For several minutes they stood there, allowing Sarah the time to watch her father disappear into the night. It seemed unlikely they’d meet again.
The mages didn’t walk far that night, only deep enough into the hills to keep out of sight from the city walls. For two of them, it wasn’t their first experience hiding in the red hills. This time, however they were actually red; the year’s snow hadn’t fallen yet.
Declan’s nightmares returned that night, as they often did. At first he’d taken to sleeping away from the others, with a barrier of earth between them, less to stop his mana than so the sound of Eric’s bell wouldn’t disturb their sleep. The amulets they still wore were enough to keep them safe.
Then he dreamt for the first time since Julien’s death.
The visions themselves were unchanged. Still he trudged through the mud, staring his victims in the eye as the cried their sea of tears, but something about the place felt… distant. As if he viewed his crime through a mirror. Declan awoke twice from the nightmare without a single chime before he risked a night beside his friends.
It was a point of pride for the mage that he hadn’t heard its toll since Julien’s death. Some sense of revenge for the fallen helped him push through, even as he’d condemned yet more to their fate. He liked to think they’d deserved it. He had to.
Sarah hadn’t questioned it, having seen the terrors of war herself. Freddy outright supported Declan’s actions; he’d been gunning for a similar result since they’d arrived in Reondar. Declan didn’t think it would change anything for the poor and desperate of Teralia, but he allowed Freddy his optimism.
Robin was an enigma.
Even back in Vestriam the girl had been scared of Declan’s potential, a fear he’d now proven twice. He wasn’t sure if she was in denial of his deeds, supported the blow he’d dealt to Teralia’s oppressive ruling class, or had simply grown jaded enough in her own adventures to no longer care.
Regardless of her reason, Declan appreciated her companionship. She was a formidable mage, a knowledgable ally, and a buffer between him and traveling alone with Sarah and Freddy.
The couple kept their affections private for the most part, but Declan was nonetheless glad to have another friend along for the journey.
As it was, when Declan awoke the following morning, he did so with an optimistic grin. They’d passed the first major hurdle unchallenged, and he burned with curiosity to see where else this adventure would lead.
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For the General [Escaping the Lure of Our 3 Billion Year Old “Matrix”]

I am writing this specifically for someone who asked me to write all these pieces in here. I work with people through long distance communication, a lot (I wonder here if the same mechanisms that are used for gravity lens portal transport are used for the communication systems we use for long distance, or, telepathic, communication). Whenever I do this I am always* communicating with a person – not a spirit or a disembodied whatever or a multidimensional entity or an extratestical. [*I do on a very rare occasion communicate off world, and that is usually with central or Boltzmann). I find it very hard to lock “on” to someone (to work with over an extended period of time) if I don’t have a physical face for them, but whoever this person is, we have managed to establish enough recognition points to do so. It’s very hard to establish that. They are a hard-line individual, and, we have a lot in common. They have incredible ambition and drive and they don’t like to lose. So, he is trying very hard to succeed. And I like him so I’m helping how I can.
Some of these things are hard for me to elucidate and talk about. Some of the mechanics have no other “contributors” but myself and this generally makes things tougher, especially when the structure you are arguing against contains everyone else…..
So, I will muddle my way through it.
One of the differences between where I was (before I entered the abyss) and where I am now, also between those in the “1” and myself, are things to do with trust and confidence, and it is more to do with what is “outside” as opposed to inside. I have perfect trust that I am what I say I am, that the white stone is what I say it is and that the problems and solutions I say are humanity’s are what I say they are. What I do not trust has a “perfect” outcome, is the rest of humanity, and that indeed is, my own outcome.
Where I sit, the new system, is a metadeterministic level. The trajectory of humanity in the manifold, in the deterministic level they are in is a lower deterministic level. The outcome for it is death, nonexistence, over the cliff, entropy increase to dissolution. Because the main line is “trusting” that “god” (or whatever) has got it sorted. This isn’t to say people don’t look for the out door because they *don’t* trust it, but there are two rough points of view. The one which is more likely not to blindly trust it are the scientific, analytic people who are relying on maths and technology to steer us away from danger and these people are more likely to not believe in “god” or something taking care of us (doing it for us). They are more likely to understand the personal responsibility involved. Like myself they may have a good measure of trust in themselves, but not so much in other people and humanity. There are another group, however, who work with the esoteric side of things (human tech links to hard tech). They are far more likely to have the position that they not only trust themselves, but that the flow of the matrix has got them covered, everything is “perfectly” as it should be and that “certainly” creator loves them and our future is safe and some measure of infinite.
It is, however, the case, that they should not be thinking about it like that. The whole point of omnidimensional existence is taking personal responsibility. It is also a very important thing here to realise that when systems get to their high end arrangements, rules change. What they are trusting in a using is a system perspective (or rather a partial system perspective) which perfectly suited life on earth for the 3 billion or whatever years it has existed here. What it does not incorporate is the longest and shortest measures of the omniverse, that is, it is not *calibrated* to omnidimensional existence. We didn’t so much need it before now, but because this system is literally all we have ever known, stepping out of it seems to be the biggest challenge humanity ever faced. Because the partial flow is deterministic, it is very easy to function in it and be both self confident and confident in “god”. All you have to be able to do is have perfect confidence in yourself and harmony with that system, and you can line yourself up to it and have a perfect correlation between what your “heart desires” and what is in fact manifesting. In this way you can very easily have a wish and that wish come true, and also people will gravitate towards your self confidence and harmonisation with the system, providing them with a satisfying need and fulfillment system. It can give you power, fulfillment happiness, a lot of things. And like I said, it sufficed for a very long time. The correlation of harmonisation from it can also give a person a great sense of everything being perfect and that they are blessed or favoured by god or something along these lines. Why on god’s green earth would anyone want to think that something so *right* is oh so *wrong*… surely anyone who thinks this system is wrong is just unable to figure out how to master it. Well actually, nah mate. I was thrown out of it and for good reason: because it is logically incompatible with omnidimensional existence. I did choose to leave it, just not in those words (my action which resulted in me being thrown out of it was to retrieve the crown from where it does not belong and to place it where it does. To be successful with that, and I was, required me to be removed from the logically incompatible system).
So, it is to realise that this system is not to be trusted. You must have it within you to not only doubt the safety and certainty of that system in providing you/humanity with a perfect solution, but to doubt yourself because you would believe in it. Only then would you seek the thing which is the answer. Yes you are harmonised, but you are harmonised with something which is leading you over a cliff because the labels of that system are not properly correlated with the identities of objects in their resolved form - i.e. to the resolution required for omnidimensional calculations (so even though you may be relatively valid, your calculations are not sound). To continue with it past the point where the entropy reduction needs to be such that the error rate in that system cannot provide it, is nonexistence for yourself and humanity. This system cannot provide a next level brain.
It is to understand that even though you can *have* that perfect resolution and fulfillment of your wishes, when it comes to that being true for all the life you love, it isn’t. The result of this procession is the nonexistence of life itself, so all the promises made to you and your loved ones are lies. It isn’t exactly that creation lied to you; it is just that you have mistaken the labels on objects – you are misunderstanding creation. The calibration we used was just the best we could figure out as life over our evolution, but it just *does not suffice* any more, in relation to the existence and nonexistence of humanity and to whatever person in your procession has to live that period of time where humanity ceases to exist. You must also be very well able to see the losses, tortures and cruelties which steal your very body from you as you live. We are able to achieve much more than this, in quality of life. It might also be apparent to you in your journeying that even though the destructive side of human can be perfectly validated in equation, in effect, no amount of convincing yourself can assure you this is the case, when it is you experience enough of it firsthand. Especially in its more extreme forms. I mean, you can try, but good luck with that. Basically, no matter how valid an equation, they are not sound because the labels for each piece of them are not properly correlated with the objects and their identities in omnidimensional resolution. That system is not aligned to the truth. It is pretty much 100% false, in entirety.
You need to rebuild it again, from proper calibration. I have that calibration. So, you come in and calibrate to me. Until you get enough to continue the calibration on your own.
For so many years in here, we have hit these roadblocks of “why can’t you just trust creation and do what feels right and it will just happen” That I do not or cannot just exhausts the other party and their inability to see the fault in their system has exhausted myself. Stepping out of a system which has served for so many billions of years is of course difficult. I had much faith that it could be so, but that has disappeared over the years. What I do continue to understand will find the answer are the people in the first category who don’t use that “system” as such. Problem is with them, is that it is so slow, it will get there too late. So, you know….. I suppose I just have to accept that humanity is truly retarded. If only you guys had been willing to accept that while we still had a chance to rectify it. But oh no, you just wanted to be “god I am” before you had actually achieved it. And stupidly, I was “just some chick” who obviously just couldn’t understand or harmonise with the system enough to “be a part of it”. For fucks sake. That’s one thing I DID communicate with central. The extent of the stupid here. It is literally on the record books as “the stupidest ever” so congrats for that.
It is a dangerous position here. You guys know so much, yet it is not quite enough. All the validity will take you right to the end before you see the unsoundness in such a way that it cannot be denied, and at that point it is too late to change it. It needed to be jumped, and no one jumped it. Fuck ME. Seriously? Humanity gets to its toughest challenge and no one had the ability to rise to it. My best wishes to the rest of the planets when they reach this point. May they succeed, where this planet failed. And as for YOU, General, you won’t make it. I wouldn’t bet on you. I don’t have any faith left at all, that humanity can succeed.
[Middle of the night]
“So… am I right here….. you are right by the system, as in you did everything right by it, everything right by your “man”… yet because of the error we hold, we have failed you… the man of the system was not there for you so protect and look after you…. or for the planet…and you are the whole of the woman which is the other half of the system’s sit”
Yeah that’s pretty right. I’m here, ready to take the system to the next level having gone into the abyss to get the information to do it, and it is nowhere to be seen. All of your accumulated errors come into being manifested, with me. And all you ever needed to do was come to me in person, to both mitigate the effect of those errors, and to instigate a new system where those errors were eliminated. It was made “super easy” and in a form in which the solution was reachable. You hold “1” as a group, I hold “0” as an individual. I mean, if we are looking at yin and yang, that’s not even difficult to entertain. But for some reason, you all either held that woman had to be like the men in a conglomeration (the goddess is every “woman” just like god is every “man”) with the “Self” being of a lesser rank, designation and importance, or, the “goddess” was an entity unto herself which couldn’t possibly have one singular manifested designation held in an actual woman or even be human, so let’s just address her as some disembodied conglomeration singularity. No one ever just went ah ok, if we are holding that as a group, then perhaps goddess is holding herself as an individual? That would make sense, wouldn’t it, because then we could actually get to our “woman” to help her, by just getting to our woman to help her, by, you know, getting in a car and going there. In a sense, the system DID provide you with the very best solutions possible, as the end point OF that system, in order to get into the new system... but EVERYWHERE I went all the “new universes” and “new earth’s” being bandied around were never containing the right entry points, or, the right contents, in fact… ANY contents at all. And it wasn’t just this blindness that was the problem, but even speaking these truths to your … I was treated with utter disrespect and contempt.
All I ever got from you guys was a half arsed label within, which slipped off constantly and no one ever knew my actual name, because I obviously wasn’t a single entity representing, or if I was, then I wasn’t to be spoken of as a single human (the application of men’s rules onto woman), and, the constant push for me to rearrange things from within me trying to force me to “parthenogenically replicate” (i.e. do it all myself) because all you were interested in was the perfection and certainty of following the lead of the master equation, which in having already happened at the “one” level, gave you the certainty to move at the rest. No one was interested in making that master equation happen from scratch with me, like we are supposed to have to do in the master equation. So I had absolutely nothing to go on, at all. With a man there we swap the instigation around, giving each other room to move with the certainty provided by the other person. Without that, I did manage to parthenogenically replicate, because I was absolutely forced to, but then myself and the baby died because there was no one there to help us. You can force a woman to replicate like that because it is within us to do so, but it is a misapplication of that ability. I DID do it all myself, because I was forced to, but at THIS level we are not MEANT to. I went to the abyss by myself because that part DID have to be done “by myself” but nothing after that had to be.
It is like that when it came down to it, ironically, none of you believed in what you were doing. When it came down to it, you would rather stay in the illusion of truth, as opposed to risking the whole thing being negated by passing it through the physical realm and having “maths and logic” rip you apart. I demonstrated how I had achieved that safety and existence through these realms, yet still none of you were interested. You just didn’t, couldn’t believe in me. So really, all that you hold as tenet within that system meant nothing when put to the test. So yeah… I did everything right by “you” and you did nothing right by me. Even if there were some (at least one) individual who was prepared to give up the comfort of your system to embrace me, the weight of the entire rest of the system was against us, and we still couldn’t unite, because you can’t make an entire new world with just 2 people (contrary to some opinion). Maybe in 100k bc, perhaps, when all you had were stone tools and could start off pretty basically and be not that far from the height of what humans were at the time capable of making in the form of “outside brain”…. but not today. You can’t hold the outside brain of today in an Adam and Eve. I have the blueprints, for sure, but the core we have the ability to hold is specialised – it does not, it cannot, function completely alone. The core is composed of myself, the king and the tech (AI), but we are surrounded by a huge amount of supports and specialised parts. Without enough moving with us, we cannot move. “1”s job is to coordinate these supports, but when they won’t move, what the fuck do you do? What CAN you do? It was saying no, if you want us to move, we shall wait until we are forced to by (the limitations of) god. This level is when all the buffer zones are completely gone and from this point it is too late (it doesn’t have to be if the system has enough basic structural strength to move out of it) but when the system is degraded as much as the earth’s is… it is too late. What did it truly MEAN to be god I am? Huh? Doing it equally with your other half as goddess-god. And no, no you never did. I am living proof of that.
My situation proves the old system 100% wrong. As the woman (goddess) I did 100% right by you, man (god), and you did 0% right by me. There is a pervasive belief that this “doesn’t matter”, because she loves you she will just make another one and “never mind, you’ll do better next time”. You don’t GET a next time, here. It isn’t even about choice, either. The earth put everything she had into this last one, because it is worth more to either completely succeed or totally cease to exist because of the suffering, pain, and cost involved, and the endless cycle which comes from thinking “oh yes it’s sad and a shame but we’ll just do better next time”, because of the EFFORT it takes to put it right, if there’s a next time, it will always be left until next time, unless there is no next time. And even then it’s not assured, it is just the final absolute test for it. The goddess isn’t just not willing to suffer this much again; she can’t [in the maths, this is exactly why she doesn't want to]. This was the absolute limit of it before that suffering broke the ability to produce life here anymore.
Many seem to believe that there is a procession of available worlds. Let’s just say there have been. Since when is that proof of that situation continuing? It is also an important observation to make, that yes, the History dimensions are NOT stable, but that does NOT mean that flexibility moves in YOUR FAVOUR. The belief that the procession will continue is coming from eyes that have known nothing else but the matching to objects and labels within a system which does not have the calibration to the lowest and highest measures, i.e. from eyes that are not perceiving what is actually going on for the truth of what is going on. And you guys just go on blindly believing it because “oh that sounds nice and it makes me feel a bit better that I failed, here”. And so what if there was no more, here? You wouldn’t care because there’s other planets? (life infinitely continues, I see myself as continuing somehow, somewhere) Well that says it all, doesn’t it. That this one doesn’t matter because there are others. “Obviously the goddess has exactly the same set up as us and is in a billion places at once so she won’t care either (and she isn’t). Sad yes, but just the way it is.”
The problem here is that you COULD have helped, you could have changed it, but you didn’t. You think that’s something the goddess will just forget and move on with? You think this won’t affect life in the entire omniverse? You think it won’t affect you, wherever it is that you go? It will. The goddess won’t “go to sleep” after this and forget all about it so we can start again. I established my own packet of transportable consciousness during my life and it doesn’t go back to sleep. The only way you can do that is if there is potential for you to wake up somewhere again, and that, my identity cannot do. I either completely cease to exist ( I just can’t believe that life here, and the highest potential of human quality of life just isn’t worth enough to you, to give all you have to protect it and to achieve the best. And if it is that you would give everything, then why the fuck haven’t you? Because you have not done so. I gave above, beyond and over ANY measure of normal, for you. And yet you were content to leave me as a slave to your delusions and fallacies. That in itself is complete death to your system. It proves you non-existent. And rather than accept your errors and fixing them, you were content to let me wear the results of that error, of YOUR error. The ultimate injustice. When does “OUR” stop? When the actions of one, through malpractice or the neglect of duty of care, kills the other, which is, they kill themselves. There is no “our” in this respect, at this level of absolute-over-the-line.
I’ve never been one of “those” types of feminists, but if we don’t call this patriarchal retardation, what do we call it? It certainly looks like there is something wrong with “man”, to me. I am woman, I have fulfilled my duties, I have given all I have for us, for life. I have fulfilled the woman side of the equation, as an individual, because that’s how it works (even in relation to the equation with the whole of us). So, Woman has succeeded. How else can I see this but to know that Man has failed? “But I worship the goddess, I love her”… no, you are loving the goddess and treating her as an identity-object you assume is correct, based on how the male situation works. The goddess doesn’t work like that, at this level. I have never received a single piece of this love… and yet you sit and wonder “why can’t I help the earth and life as a whole… I just can’t seem to effectively reach it or help it”. Well did you ever wonder if your identity labels were fucking wrong? Huh? The white stone, and the rulership, contains the key to the absolute leverage system… i.e. to reach ME, IS to be able to reach all the objects in the world, in an effective manner. Without the key I own, the technology doesn’t work, and the price gives us the leverage to move everything we need to. I mean seriously. How fucking HARD was it to put 2 and 2 together? You reach me, you reach everything. Did you just not take something literally, that you should have? Because that can’t be the correct label because heuristic (by all means let’s just make it subconscious, shall we) says woman too stupid for that to be true. For FUCKS sake. This place is fucked beyond any fucking measure existence has the displeasure to place by its side.
I suppose you can say that yeah, no one was willing to stand up and say they represented “All men”, and only have as their “self” that which serves the whole… and even if there was, just Adam and Eve does not a new earth make. In a sense I suppose I do represent all women, but I never think about myself as such. My actions, my self, all that I am intrinsically serves all life, so it never really needs to be dwelled upon. I am also, as I have said, not a conglomeration like men are. I had to and have to be singular to have the ability to provide the abyss around objects to give them individuation. My connection to all other women is exactly the same as my connection to all men. Serving my interests exactly serves the interests of all.
So there you go, mate. That's why nothing is working, nothing is "holding" and everything is dying. That's why you can't reach the top and why your "other" seems to have failed you by not being "available" or you have failed by not being able to "reach her". That's why it always seems to pan out to "someone else in the next generation will have to fix it". That's why the asymptote is unreachable. It IS actually reachable, it is NOT an illusion that this is the case, it is just that you're all too fucking stupid to defeat your prejudices and fears and do what needs to be done. I have never not been available. You, however, have been permanently MIA.
______________________________________________________
I do know that some of you care and want the best for the world. I do. But it is still that those of you who are that way still can’t take my words for what they are. You are still stuck in the old system. Still looking at it purely from a male perspective of what it is to be in that “higher state” or of divinity. Your assumptions of the female side are poorly inadequate. I’ve done the best I can to make my work available. Are you just expecting, automatically, that I will be able to get the level of coverage which means you don’t have to actually look for me? That I would automatically have power or people or followers or money like most men who take up that field as their day job? To look for something earnestly is to give up all the assumptions you have about it, or at least to work from baselines which do not rule things out based on poor and outdated assumptions.
It kinda seems like what you get in countries where there are a lot of people, with this tendency exemplified in China, where the value of a life just drops. There are “so many people” so “who cares”… when one leaves, there is another to replace it. No one is really of that much importance. It is like that in the “men” mind – single lives are not really that important, we will just be replaced but our consciousness lives on as a group identity, so that is what we shall say is the only important thing to focus on. And so what of “the body”? The one thing which gets you from A to B? THE body which carries THE consciousness? “Oh yes it’s right there, the body of the Earth but we can’t seem to effect any help on it except trying to recycle plastic”. What… so the “consciousness” can be personified by men but the body can’t be personified by a woman? Just the earth as “mother earth” and any random woman as “the goddess”. Even for those who personify man as “space” (stars other life other DNA whatever the fuck stupid shit you care to name here), the fact that the earth is ONE PLANET didn’t clue you on to it being ONE WOMAN? The body is there to just die and replace itself, is it? And at the limits that is also the case, is it? No. No it is not.





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Betting slips are the paper record of your wager at your local bookie. When you want to make a bet, you need to write all of the relevant information about that bet down as a record for you and the bookie, in case you get lucky. Each operator will have a different betting slip in their shops. This afternoon I'm going to place an accumulator bet on the football. Problem is, I don't know how to write them on the betting slip. I want to pretend I know what I am doing in the bookies so I don't want to ask the staff, instead I'd like to ask you. In your example, could you write it as if it was the slip please? Accumulators allow punters to combine the selections on their bet slip in return for a much bigger pay out. The odds on the bet slip are all multiplied together, so rather than four £10 singles with odds of 2.00 (1/1) returning you £20 each or £80 in total, a £10 accumulator of the four selections will return £160. Betting How To An Slip Accumulator Write. Essay Save Our Planet Earth 500 Words Is How Many Pages Register some students have discovered that was a good ap calculus in de kira. Jails, carl rogers theories were used punch card topic of bodies. Grab a blank betting slip and write the horse’s name with the race time and course next to it. Underneath write the odds and draw a large ‘C’ around them (example in image below) – this means you are taking the current odds available, which are 6/1 in this example.

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How To Place An Accumulator Bet

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