Sky Sports Betting - Winners of the ERG Operators Award

@SkySportsPL: Tonight on #TheDebate! 📺 🏆 What are #MCFC’s trophy priorities? ⚽ Big night of Sky Bet EFL action, who’s going up? 🤔 Who should be #WBA’s new manager? Watch at 10pm on Sky Sports PL with @GeoffShreeves, @OfficialPDickov & @TheCurtisDavies Get your questions in 👇
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@SkySportsPL: Tonight on #TheDebate! 📺 🏆 What are #MCFC’s trophy priorities? ⚽ Big night of Sky Bet EFL action, who’s going up? 🤔 Who should be #WBA’s new manager? Watch at 10pm on Sky Sports PL with @GeoffShreeves, @OfficialPDickov & @TheCurtisDavies. Get your questions in 👇
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A not-so-brief rundown of the letters N-Q in Jeffrey Epstein's 'Little Black Book'

Below is a rundown of the letters N-Q under Epstein's contacts. Last year, I wrote about letters A-C. You can check that out here (
I also wrote about letters D-F on July 5, 2020. You can check that out here (
I posted letters G-I on July 13, 2020. You can check that out here (
I posted letters J-L on July 15, 2020. You can check that out here (
I posted letter M on July 20, 2020. You can check that out here ( There are some misspelled names. Epstein entered their names like this.
I have bolded some of the more interesting connections and information, but there could be much more that I overlooked. I hope something here strikes an interest in someone and maybe we can get more investigations out of this. Please, if you know anything more about any of these people than what is presented here, post below. I am working off of the unredacted black book found here:
Nadler, Emanuel: Businessman involved in mortgage companies.
Nagel, Adam: Works at W Nagel, broker and advisor to premier diamond manufacturers, such as De Beers.
Nagel, William: Chairman of W Nagel. Diamond merchant.
Nardi, Dott M Jacope: No info found.
Nastasse, Ilie & Alex: Ilie was one of the best professional tennis players in the ‘70s. He has been accused of inappropriate behavior by Maria Shriver and others, although this refers to classless comments not physical abuse. Ilie is also well-known for his sexual exploits, as it claimed that he has slept with anywhere between 800-900 women. Alexandra is Ilie’s 2nd wife. They were married for 17 years.
Negrete, Jelitza: A Countess and descendant of European nobility ( Her family name is Karolyi. I couldn’t find any more info.
Neil, Andrew: British journalist and broadcaster. Founding Chairman of Sky TV (owned by Murdoch). Also served as Editor for Rupert Murdoch’s The Sunday Times from ‘83-’94. Later became a contributor to The Daily Mail and just recently had his political program cancelled by the BBC.
Neil, Andrew: Same as above.
Newman, Hetty: Second wife of the 7th Earl of Caledon. Now divorced.
Newman, Mr & Mrs John: John is Hetty’s father. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards. He later became a businessman and was director of several companies.
Ng, Clive: A media financier and executive.
Niarchos, Constantine: Billionaire son of shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. Was once married to Alessandra Borghese of Italian papal lineage (and black nobility). He was also romantically linked to Koo Stark, Trinny Woodhall, and Kerry Kennedy (daughter of Bobby Kennedy), all of whom are in Epstein’s ‘black book’. Constantine died of an overdose with enough cocaine in his system to kill 25 men (
Nickerson, William & Jayne: William seems to be an architect and interior designer. Jayne is a fashion editostylist who is friends with Naomi Campbell ( Her and William are now divorced.
Nishio, Yoshi: Former Goldman Sachs trader.
Noel, Alix: Socialite married to a wealthy banker. Friend of Allegra Hicks, who has constantly popped up among Epstein’s contacts.
Noel, Hon Thomas: Son of Anthony Noel, 5th Earl of Gainsborough.
Noel, Vanessa: Luxury shoe designer, hotelier, and gallery owner. Many celebrities are clients of hers.
Noha, Cecilia: Possibly meant to be Cecilia Noah, former Miss Sweden (1978).
Noonan, Tim: Tax lawyer.
Nuttall, Harry: Former Formula One driver turned sports marketing entrepreneur.
O’Donnell, Mr Carletto: Financier. Friend of Princess Michael of Kent (King George V’s grandson).
O’Neill, Louis: An American diplomat and attorney. Has worked for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Obama administration, the State Department, and as Special Assistant of Russian Affairs for Colin Powell.
Oates, Simon: British actor who died in 2009.
Oates, Tom: Former investment director at BlackRock, an investment management company.
Ojora, Yinka: CEO and/or Director of a number of investing groups in Nigeria.
Olsen, Camille: Friend of Ghislaine Maxwell ( Don’t know much else, but she has been photographed at these high society parties fairly frequently.
Omar, Ralph: No info found.
Ong BS & Chritina: Christina is a Singaporean hoteliebusinesswoman who is heavily involved with Club 21 (a luxury fashion brand) and COMO Hotels and Resorts. She runs all of the Armani outlets in Britain, as well as the franchises for Donna Karan, Prada, and Bvlgari. Christina and her husband, Beng Seng, are worth $1.9 billion.
Ong, Melissa: Christina and BS’s daughter.
Oppenheim, Mr Laurie: Oppenheim worked as an executive at Marks and Spencer, a British retail chain, for nearly 30 years. Oppenheim has also served as a Trustee for a children’s charity called… The Honeypot Children’s Charity ( since 1998 ( I wish I was kidding. That’s the actual name. Oppenheim was also one of the attendees of an auction for the children’s charity, KIDS (, which is populated with Epstein contacts Rosa Monckton and Liz Hurley, and other high profile people such as David Cameron, Elton John, David Furnish, Cherie Booth, and Cathy Newman. The auction was led by Jacob Rothschild. Other attendees that also appear in Epstein’s contacts include Lady Forte (Allai Forte) and Arpad Busson, one of the potential pedophile ringleaders who I wrote about last year (
Oppenheim, Ms Marella: This likely refers to the documentary photographer and former journalist of The Guardian.
Orchard (Vaughn-Edward), Katie: Catherine is a very close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell’s. She allowed Ghislaine to use her address as the business address for the TerraMar Project, a charity that Maxwell created. Catherine also served as Trustee and co-director of the charity (
Orlando, Fabrice: CEO of Cocoon Events Management Group, a luxury event planning company based out of Morocco.
Osbourne Rachel: British businesswoman who has served as director for several companies.
Oswald, William & Arabella: William co-founded Twins (, a children’s charity that “links UK schools with schools in areas hit by natural disasters and/or need, both for practical support and for cultural understanding” ( William works as a director at several companies, including Keyspace Self Storage, Bluepod Media, and SG Capital Partners. William’s father is the National Hunt racing adviser to the Queen, and before that, the Queen Mother. Arabella is his wife and the daughter of the 6th Marquess of Exeter.
Otto, Beo & Edvige: Not positive. Seems that Edwige works in stock trading in France (if I have the correct person). No info on Beo.
Owen Edmunds, Tom & Kate: Kate is a novelist. Her ex-husband, Tom, is a photographer.
Oxenberg Christina marc Yaggi: Christina is a writer and fashion designer. Her mother is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia. Her grandparents were Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. Due to all of the inbreeding between European royals, Christine is a cousin of the Royal Family. Oxenberg used to attend dinner parties at Epstein’s and was also friends with Ghislaine ( Oxenberg intends to talk to the FBI about Epstein and Maxwell ( Marc Yaggi is Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance, where Oxenberg was once a writer.
Paini, Nicole: Nicola is a Managing Partner at Rothschild & Co (
Palau, Marcia: No info found, although her address indicates that she is wealthy. Cheyne Walk is a street that politicians, musicians, and celebrities have all called home.
Palmer Tomkinson Tara: Socialite and TV personality with tons of A-list contacts. Her family is very close with the Royal Family. Tara was a cocaine addict who eventually died of an ulcer in 2017. Prince Charles was her godfather.
Palumbo, Mr James: Baron Palumbo of Southwark is an entrepreneur and a member of the House of Lords. Co-founder of Ministry of Sound nightclub. Major donor to the Liberal Democrats political party.
Palumbo, Peter: Father of James (above). Baron Palumbo is a property developer who sat on the House of Lords from 1991-2019. Former polo teammate and close friend of Prince Charles until they had a falling out. Confidant of Princess Diana. Godfather of Princess Beatrice of York, the elder daughter of Prince Andrew. Peter denies ever having met Epstein.
Panah-Izadi, Nader & Brigitte: Nader is an investment manager. Brigitte is his wife. Couldn’t find anything else.
Pank, Ms Victoria & Alby Carto: No info found.
Parker, Jackie: Management consultant who sits on the board of several companies. Also the head of global philanthropy for General Motors.
Parsons, Carolina: A Chilean model and model scout who has worked for big name designers. Here she is with her friend, Naomi Campbell ( She can also be seen in a picture with Harvey Weinstein at the bottom of this article (, which posts her claims that she never knew Epstein.
Paschan, Elise: Famous poet.
Pashcow, Joel: Real estate magnate. He is a past trustee of the Children’s Medical Center at Long Island Jewish Hospital and trustee at ACLD, a charity for developmentally disabled children and adults. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach police and fire foundation ( Pashcow has flown on Epstein’s jets ( and has been to pedo island. In fact, Pashcow appears 8 times(!!) on one this released flight log, including once with his wife ( Epstein has 19 entries for Pashcow in his ‘black book’. Here is Pashcow at the Policeman’s Ball, which Trump frequently hosts at Mar-A-Lago ( Pashcow is a ‘Crystal Sponsor’ of the Palm Beach Police Foundation alongside Donald Trump (
Pashcow, Stacey: Joel Pashcow’s daughter. A luxury real estate agent for The Corcoran Group. Here’s Stacey at a Valentino-hosted luncheon. Ghislaine Maxwell was also in attendance (
Pastrana, Andres: Former president of Colombia (1998-2002). His father was president of Colombia from 1970-1974). Pastrana was forced to admit flying on Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ after the flight logs were released ( According to this article, Ghislaine Maxwell claims to have flown a Blackhawk helicopter in Colombia and fired a rocket into a terrorist camp ( There is no time period for when this supposedly occurred, but it could have happened while Pastrana was president.
Patricof, Alan & Susan: Alan is an investor, venture capitalist, and private equity magnate. Patricof served as the national finance chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign ( From 1990-2016, the Patricofs donated $1,152,637 to Hillary’s campaigns ( Alan is also a trusted friend of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law (, proving once again that PARTISANSHIP IS BULLSHIT. THEY ARE ALL CONNECTED. Susan is his 2nd wife. Her brother, Craig Hatkoff, appears in Epstein’s contacts under ‘H’. Alan and Susan’s son, Jonathan, is President of Tribeca Enterprises, the company that owns and operates the Tribeca Film Festival. Their other son, Jamie, is a TV and movie producer. His wife, Kelly Sawyer Patricof, is the co-founder of Baby2Baby (, a children’s charity that helps children (0-12) living in poverty.
Paulson, John: Billionaire hedge fund manager.
Pavoncelli, Cosima & Riccardo: Cosima is a socialite and the daughter of Claus and Sunny von Bulow. Her husband, Riccardo, is an Italian banker.
Pearson Hon Charles: Son of the Third Viscount Cowdray and owner of the 53,000 acre Dunecht estate.
Pease, Simon & Clem: Simon was a successful custodian of the family’s Underley Estate. He was also a High Sheriff of Cumbria. Passed away in 2007. Clementine was his wife.
Pedrini Lorenzo: President and co-partner of Fashion Model Management. Pedrini is former Co-President at Next Management, where he was a partner along with Faith Kates and (alleged) pedophile/accomplice/supplier, Jean-Luc Brunel (
Pedrini Tito: Jeweller.
Pekeler, Marcus: Communications consultant in Switzerland.
Peltz, Harlan: Co-founder of iBorrow, a private commercial real estate lender. Literally lives around the block from Epstein’s NYC mansion.
Pennell, Mark: Australian movie produceactor.
Perelman, Ronald: Billionaire investor. Perelman hosted a dinner party with Epstein, Bill Clinton, Don Fowler, Don Johnson, and Jimmy Buffett all the way back in 1995, when Clinton was still president ( Perelman is also a good friend of Donald Trump and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign. Lives about a half mile away from Epstein’s NYC mansion.
Petangi, Helsius: Son of Ivo Pitanguy, plastic surgeon to the stars.
Peters, John: Movie producer and former hairdresser. He produced Superman Returns (2006), which was directed by (alleged) sexual abuser Bryan Singer. In 2011, Peters had to pay a former assistant $3.3 million after finding that she was sexually harassed during production of Superman Returns. Peters married Pamela Anderson earlier this year, but they separated after 12 days.
Peterson, Holly: Journalist, novelist, and producer for ABC News. Friends with CNN host (and brother of Governor Andrew Cuomo) Chris Cuomo’s wife ( This is the 2nd connection to the Cuomos in Epstein’s contacts. He has Andrew Cuomo and ex-wife Kerry Kennedy listed as well. Ghislaine attended a party to celebrate one of Holly’s books (
Peterson, Riki: Not enough info. Best guess is an investment banker of the same name.
Pham Linh-Dan + Andrew: Linh-Dan is a Vietnamese actress. Her husband, Andrew, is an investment banker.
Picasso, Olivier & Alice: Olivier is the grandson of Pablo Picasso. Alice is an actress and Olivier’s former fiance.
Picciotto, Michael: Vice-Chairman at Engels & Volkers AG, a real estate firm. Former head of global financial activities for UBP, a Swiss private bank owned by Picciotto’s family.
Pickering, Jane & William: Jayne is a very famous fashion editor. William is her ex-husband.
Pignatelli, Frederico: An Italian prince whose family has “aristocratic ties to Pope Innocenzo XII” ( President, owner, and founder of Pier 59 Studios, the world’s largest photo studio complex. Federico was once accused of sexual harassment by his former assistant, but he was acquitted ( Pignatelli also has his own modeling agency which is headed by Brunella Casella, the woman responsible for launching the career of scumbag Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and others (
Pigozzi, Jean: Heir to the CEO of Simca, a French automaker. Pigozzi is also a photographer and fashion designer. Pigozzi regularly attends The Billionaires’ Dinner (, where he has been pictured with Paul Allen and Princess Olga of Greece. Other regular attendees include Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, John Brockman, Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons and pervert who received a foot massage from 16 year old Virginia Giuffre), and Rupert Murdoch. Pigozzi lived about a mile away from Epstein in NYC. Pigozzi is also a good friend of Ghislaine Maxwell’s (
Pittman, Bob & Veronique: Robert is a co-founder of MTV and CEO of MTV Networks. He has also been CEO and/or COO of other big companies such as AOL Time Warner, Clear Channel, iHeartMedia, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, and Century 21 Real Estate. Pittman has partied with Ghislaine Maxwell, Katie Ford (read my D-F thread for more on her), and Andre Balazs ( Pittman has also been the Director of the One to One Foundation, a charity that works with underprivileged children ( His home address and work address are both about a mile from Epstein’s NYC mansion. Veronique is his wife.
Pittman, Sandy: Former wife of Robert Pittman (above). Sandy is an avid mountain climber. She is allegedly responsible for the death of eight people while climbing Mount Everest, as depicted in the Jake Gyllenhaal movie, Everest ( Sandy supposedly refused to stop climbing until they reached a top. A blizzard blasted the mountain, killing eight members of the party.
Plepler, Richard: Former Chairman and CEO of HBO. Good friend of Peggy Siegal, the well-known publicist who acted as Epstein’s plug. More on her at a later time.
Plouvier, Diane & Denis: Denis is the owner of Trousseau linen company (https://www.denisplouvier.fblank). No info found on Diane.
Podolsky, Jeffrey: Writeeditor of such publications as Tatler (again!), People Magazine, Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Magazine, and George. Lives about a ½ kilometer away from Epstein’s NYC mansion. Has been photographed with several Epstein associates (Peggy Siegal, Carol Mack, India Hicks, and others.
Polk, George: Financial analyst who served on the Council of Foreign Relations with Epstein. Polk is also a member of the World Economic Forum.
Polii, Edoardo: Powerboat champion and textile entrepreneur.
Polu, Emmanuelle: Financier at La Nef. Ghislaine Maxwell’s cousin.
Polu: Isabelle: Former head of marketing at Microsoft. Became a translator specializing in psychology. Sister of Emmanuelle and cousin of Ghislaine.
Polu, Clary: “Marketing director of Lycos and Meetic, wife of the "startup" Christophe Schaming, co-shareholder of Winamax, the online betting company co-founded by the mysterious passenger of the Lolita Express Nicole Junkermann” (
Porrin Ivanisevic: No info found, but the work phone number listed traces back to Globana Media Group, a printing, publishing, and multimedia group.
Porter, Pliny: Movie producer. Close friend of Julia Roberts.
Porthault, Emmanuele: No info found.
Porthault, Mr & Mrs: Marc Porthault runs the family linen business, D Porthault. Marc’s parents founded the company. Clients include Bill Gates, Woody Allen, the Mellons, and the Kennedys. Marc’s wife, Isabelle, is the head of human resources of Chanel in Europe.
Porthault, Pascal: No info found.
Porthault, Remi & Isabel: Remi is the marketing director and president of the U.S. subsidiary of D Porthault linens.
Poster, Meryl: Former President of Television at The Weinstein Company. Before that, she was Co-President of Production for Miramax Films. A phone number connected to Meryl Poster was found in Epstein co-conspirator Sarah Kellen’s phone records on October 3, 2005. The call lasted one minute ( Meryl is pictured here with Ghislaine Maxwell (
Potter, Muffie: Socialite and former executive at Van Cleef & Arpels, a watch company. Married to famed plastic surgeon, Sherrell Aston. She has been photographed with Ghislaine and Peggy Siegal at various events.
Prestin, Electra: Former vice president of merchandising for Ralph Lauren and co-founder of Adam & Eve clothing company. Her father, Lewis T. Preston, was chairman of J.P. Morgan and president of the World Bank (appointed by George H.W. Bush). Her great-grandfather was newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, whom the Pulitzer Prize is named after. Another great-grandfather of hers was a partner in the Standard Oil Company of John D. Rockefeller.
Prevost, Catherine: Fashion designer.
Price, Charles H. II: Banking CEO who served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium (1981-1983) and U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. (1983-1989) during the Reagan administration. Price was also on the boards of The New York Times (1989-2002), Texaco (1989-2001), Sprint (1989-1995), British Airways (1989-1996), and other companies.
Price, Judy: Founder of Avenue, a magazine about New York City.
Princess Firyal: Jerusalem-born Jordanian princess who was once married to Prince Muhammad bin Talal. Firyal was named an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992. Princess Firyal launched the International Hope Foundation in 1994 for the benefit of homeless and street children. Firyal holds positions with several museums (The Louvre, The Tate, MOMA, and Guggenheim), as well as positions with Columbia University, New York Public Library, United Nation Association, and International Rescue Committee.
Pritzker, Nick: Real estate and venture entrepreneur. Comes from a massively wealthy family who made their money in chewing tobacco. Former president of Hyatt Hotels. Major investor in SpaceX, Tesla, and Uber. Cousin of Thomas (below).
Pritzker, Thomas: Billionaire heir and executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels. Cousin of Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois. Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre named Pritzker as one of the men she had to have sex with ( Pritzker’s name appears twice on Epstein’s flight logs ( Pritzker is listed as one of the people who has knowledge of Maxwell and Epstein’s sexual trafficking conduct and interaction with underage minors ( Epstein has 12 phone numbers - including an emergency contact number - and two home addresses listed under Pritzker’s name. What’s even creepier is that there is a subtitle under his name that reads “Numero Uno”. Usually when Epstein adds a subtitle under someone’s name, it indicates what company they work for or a relationship of some kind (ex: X’s husband or Y’s friend). The fact that ‘Numero Uno’ is the subtitle under Pritzker’s name is unsettling, to say the least.
Propp, Rodney: Real estate tycoon known for holding onto properties until neighborhoods gentrify.
Prunier Christy & David Doss: Doss, David & Christy Prunier: David Doss has worked as producer and/or executive producer on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Oprah in Africa, Primetime (with Diane Sawyer), Anderson Cooper 360, and Live PD. Doss now serves as senior VP of news programming for Al Jazeera America. Christy Prunier is a former Hollywood exec and founder of the Willa brand of beauty products.
Pucci, Laudomia: Daughter of fashion icon, Emilio Pucci. Works as Image Director for the eponymous company.
Puig Marc: Chief executive and president of Puig, a fragrance and fashion company.
Puig Taria: No info found.
Puopolo, Sonia: Author and inspirational speaker. Former communications director of Haute Living, a luxury lifestyle magazine. Her mother died on 9/11 when the airplane she was on crashed into the World Trade Center. Her mother’s close friend, Hillary Clinton, read the eulogy at her funeral (
Puttnam, David: British film producer, educator, and member of the House of Lords. Puttnam was friends with Princess Diana before her passing.
Pymont, Chris: One of the top lawyers in Britain.
Quartucci, Alan: Founder of North Shore Bloodstock and North Shore Insurance, thoroughbred bloodstock companies that provide equine insurance, consulting services, racehorse management, and more.
Quinn, Topper: Investment banker who founded a couple of consulting firms.
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Don't pee in your dreams. It's a trap... [50,000 contest]

“GET HIM OFF ME! I screamed, desperate for breath and nearly choking on my own blood.
Another vicious shot to the ribs hit me, full force from an elbow that felt like a cinder block. Why in the hell we thought we could pull this off, I’ll never know. The man was made of fucking granite and it was all I could do to stay on him. Within seconds, what started as a rear naked choke had turned into me just holding on for dear life so he couldn’t come at me head-on. Our “simple” plan to take this asshole down and give him what he deserved had turned into that scene from Rocky III where Balboa is getting his shit ruined at the end of The Fabulous Thunder-Lips’ boot. I didn’t have much time left before my likely shattered ribs were jammed into my heart.
I was being smashed against the rough concrete wall for what felt like the hundredth time, but managed to get my legs around him and hook him at the elbows, leaving his midsection exposed. My co-conspirator Scotty picked himself up from the floor for the third time and ran at the big psychopath with everything he had left. At 215lbs or so, Scotty was no slouch, and when his boot made contact with the man’s ribs I heard a loud snapping sound. The man sagged, his arms relaxing just enough for me to regain my leg lock. Scotty grabbed an old staircase spindle and swung furiously at the man’s skull. He teetered, toppling over stiff-legged like an ancient tree in a perfectly quiet forest.
Scotty and I both collapsed, completely spent after a full five minutes of fighting. His eye was already terribly swollen and one of his teeth had somehow ended up on a nearby workbench. A large patch of Scotty’s hair was gone. I located it a moment later…in the big man’s hand.
I was positive I had at least one cracked rib and the left side of my face was completely numb. I had somehow lost my shirt, so the back side of me was nothing but pink skin scraped raw. My right wrist was most assuredly broken, as it made an agonizingly painful crunching sound when I rotated my hand.
I willed myself back to my feet and looked around for the rope we’d brought.
“This isn’t the movies. He could wake back up at any time. We gotta get him tied up ASAP and finish the job.”
Scotty found the rope beneath the man’s legs and set to work. We had him secured in just under a minute.
“I’m tying triple knots for this guy. If we have to go toe-to-toe with him again he’ll either kill us, or we’ll wish he had.”
Our plan was finally back on course, but we were beaten badly and possibly too weak to finish what we’d started.
Broken wrist and all, I helped Scotty drag that massive human, feet first, up the basement stairs and out to a van I had managed to conjure up out of thin air. His chin bounced off each step as we made our way up to the door, and in my mind I hoped it was breaking teeth every time.
I was scared. Why? Because I knew we were in over our head. Despite our injuries, we’d fought ferociously for quite a long time, yet he never made a sound—not a single peep. Not one grimace of pain or scream of rage. Just nothing. Aside from his initial greeting, the only sound that ever crossed his lips was the sharp exhale as Scotty’s spindle finished the job.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really, because he’d never made a sound from the first time I saw him…silently stalking my dreams.
Until recently, I had never wet the bed.
However, the first time I recall specifically making note of not wetting the bed was about 10 years ago. I was deep into one of my usual, stupid dreams; I believe in this one I was back at my old high school, doing only God knows what kind of stupidity. I was probably being chased by a tiger—why is it always a fucking tiger?
I usually have a gun in the tiger dreams, but it never shoots. So after taking a pot shot at the thing with my useless Glock, I feel the overwhelming urge to urinate, and I’m suddenly in the boy’s bathroom.
I find a stall, go to it, and the toilet is broken.
I go to the next stall…I see shoes from underneath.
The next stall has a broken door.
And the last one has overflowed. Water is softly pouring over the side like one of those sweet Infinity pools--only this one doesn’t have a hot bikini chick on a raft. Instead it’s host to a couple turds of significant girth, drifting ever-so-close to the porcelain’s edge and threatening to come crashing down on my Ultra-Boosts.
I have to piss like a racehorse, this bathroom is out of options, and there’s a tiger outside in the hallway leaning against the lockers smoking a cigarette, patiently waiting for me to reappear.
Then I wake up, and realize I need to pee in real life*.*
This shit happens to me…often.
Part of me is driven completely crazy by this little aspect of my subconscious, but I’m actually quite thankful my brain is willing to concoct some Vanilla Sky caliber dream scenarios to stop me from creating a warm, wet spot for my wife to roll over into.
Over the years, everything you can conjure up has had an opportunity to stop me from pissing myself. Tigers, Velociraptors, sinkholes, giant crowds of people watching me, a man with a gun standing in front of the stall, and a giant clown.
I know what you’re thinking…”oh geez, another grown man scared of clowns.”
I am not scared of clowns.
What I’m scared of is a 7 foot tall grown man, willing to dress as a clown standing well within reach of my vulnerable penis.
I have had some epic piss prevention scenarios over the years, and each time it happens it feels like the first time. I do appreciate my brain very much for keeping things dry and I give props for the creativity involved, but recently things took a strange, dark turn.
I was chillin’ in one of my typical dreams. I don’t recall a tiger this time, so more than likely it was one of my staple scenarios…driving a two foot long car, or running like an ape.
At some point, my bladder transports me to the house I grew up in. I make my way to the bathroom in the back of the house, then enter and flip the light switch. Nothing happens, and of course I can’t pee in pitch blackness.
Then suddenly after 10 years, my bladder has entered the game and decides to fight back, showing me a desk lamp sitting on the toilet tank, right next to that JC Penny catalog I used to love so much.
I flip on the lamp, lift the lid and get ready to go, when it suddenly goes dark. Foiled again and frustrated, my full bladder and I turn around to leave and something happens. Someone GRABS me, wraps their arms around me, and says
“Let me try something…”
I roared like a wild animal and shot straight up out of bed, ready to do battle with whoever had just put me in a bear hug, which subsequently scared the ever-loving shit out of my wife--even more so than the time I practically shoved her out of bed because I saw a jellyfish on the wall.
This was different, though. I have never, ever felt physical contact like that in my dreams. It felt as real as anything I’d ever experienced up to that point, and even the next morning I could STILL feel the memory of it, just as any other significant human contact I had ever experienced.
The experience weighed heavily on me for a few days. I knew it was a dream, but I also knew what I felt. It felt very real, and I had to find out for sure. If it happened again it could go further and turn into something I may very well not be able to handle.
So, I concocted a plan. I would drink a metric ass ton of liquid before bed and hope like hell the walnut between my ears would take evasive action and dream something up to stop an unwanted Golden Shower. Then, I would keep my eyes peeled for whoever grabbed me last time, and confront them.
It took some experimentation to eventually achieve success. Water and soda didn’t seem to be doing it, so after a couple unsuccessful weeks I broke out the guaranteed urinary tract assault…vegetable soup. That stuff hits my bladder HARD and doesn’t let up for hours.
I whipped up granny’s recipe, had three big bowls around 7:00, and went to bed at 9:30.
The bathroom trips were relentless that night, but between the 5th and 6th visit I must have finally hit a solid spell of REM sleep and it was “go time.”
The scene was me, alone, walking toward a grassy hillside when I suddenly got that familiar urge to evacuate. There was nothing but grass as far as the eye could see in every direction and I absolutely HATE peeing outside. Then as if my mind was reading my mind, a urinal magically appeared. It was perfectly white and fresh, with a strawberry scented deodorant cake in the bottom and no chewing gum in the bowl area. I smiled at the great fortune bestowed upon me by my bladder and unzipped my imaginary trousers.
Without warning, just as sweet relief was about to hit me, I was facing a wall of dirty, haggard looking soldiers on horseback. These were the gritty, hard-nosed types you see in Braveheart or Game of Thrones. Leather armor, with big wooden shields and rusty swords stained with the blood of their enemies.
My pelvic floor muscles hit the brakes HARD. There was no way I was gonna be able to get my flow on in front of all these people. So I zipped up, with that annoying bladder pressure still tapping me on the shoulder in reminder, and backed up a bit to get a better look at the scene before I would most assuredly wake up.
But I didn’t wake up, and I stood mesmerized as the sea of men parted down the middle and a man walked through. He wasn’t a soldier, and in-fact he looked nothing at all like the men surrounding him. He looked to be mid-thirties, average height, strongly built and dressed in modern day jeans and a t-shirt emblazoned with some rock band I didn’t recognize.
He walked up to me and offered his hand. I took it.
A bolt of lightning shot up my arm and that *real* feeling hit me hard. This was it. It was the same guy.
He spoke in a familiar accent.
“I’m Scotty. You’re a hard man to catch--and stronger than you look. I had a hell of a hold on you last time and you got out fast enough to make me rethink my workout regimen."
I gave the only logical reply.
“That’s because I have super strength in my dreams. Why did you grab me?”
His smile had disappeared. Looking at me with serious eyes, he slowly raised a finger and pointed off to his right.
“Because I think he wants to kill you.”
My eyes gently rolled in the direction his extended finger indicated. The soldiers were all gone, but about 50 yards out I could see a lone figure. It was a man. Exceptionally tall, perhaps 6’6”, and broad shouldered. He wore tan Carhartt work pants and a blue denim style shirt rolled up at the sleeves. A receding line of sand colored hair sat in a messy heap on his head, and even at such a distance I could see coal black eyes staring out.
Connected to some stout-looking forearms were giant hands, and in his right was several loops worth of what appeared to be cut-off extension cord. In his left hand was a large canvas bag.
If the work clothes were replaced by a suit and the cord became a briefcase, you wouldn’t look twice at the man. He was THAT ordinary. But with those black eyes, the no-nonsense outfit and chosen accessories in hand, he looked menacing…like a farmhand or mechanic who had “put up with enough of the Democrats’ bullshit” and decided to go stomp the guts out of anyone who didn’t fit his narrative.
As a monster in my dreams though, he wasn’t what I would conjure up. And really to be honest, my personal monster would probably just be someone trying to make me run my fingernails across glossy photo paper. *shudder*
“Dude…I’ve run across you half a dozen times over the past year, and every single time that creepy asshole was watchin’ you from an uncomfortably close distance. He’s out to get you, and I’m not sure what’s stopped him so far.”
Out of the corner of my eye I could see the sandy-haired Man continued to stare directly at me. He hadn’t even flinched, or blinked, or done anything to suggest that he wasn’t just a prop in this nightmare, and it was certainly unsettling. Then, all of a sudden, he slowly turned and walked back over the hill and out of sight.
I turned my eyes back to Scotty.
“Are you a real person? I know this is a dream, but it feels as real as my own life. And why are you seeing me?”
Scotty grinned.
“You might think I’m the weirdest son of a bitch you ever talked to, but I’ll tell ya anyways. I’m very real. I’m also a fitness fanatic, and obsessed with longevity of life. I wanna live to a hundred plus years old and I’ve developed certain methods to keep myself on track to hit that number.”
“Ok?” I said quizzically.
He continued. “One of my anti-aging techniques is makin’ sure I stay in REM sleep as long as possible. REM is essential to optimal health in every way because all the good shit happens to you while you’re at that level of sleep. I take all the steps necessary to keep myself there as much as possible. I sleep in absolute darkness with the perfect temperature and the most comfortable bed. I wear a mask, use a cocktail of natural sleep aids, and anything else I can get my hands on in order to achieve uninterrupted REM”
He shrugged.
“But, I’m 43 years old and the one thing I’m losing control of is the call of nature. A while back I started having to get out of bed to pee every night and it threw my entire plan into chaos. I believe maximal REM sleep is possibly the MOST IMPORTANT factor in longevity. I was in a panic, and in desperation I came up with an idea. Diapers. I decided to wear an adult diaper to bed and train my brain to let me pee in it without coming out of REM. I know it sounds crazy, man. I know it. But I was desperate, and necessity is the mother of invention.”
I’m a pretty open-minded guy so this really wasn’t all that ridiculous to me, but I was definitely laughing…in a polite way.
“So you now wear a diaper at night, and go ahead and wet the bed and deal with the aftermath in the morning? All to stay in REM?”
Nodding, he finished the story.
“I do. And through intensive meditation and focus, I trained my brain to take me to a toilet during my dreams so it doesn’t try to wake me up. Now, I don’t understand the dream world but apparently it exists somewhere other than just inside our own selves, but I’ve been hitting some of these bathrooms at the same time you do. In-fact, every time I see you you’re standing in front of the toilet I need and I end up waking up and ruining my REM period. So, a few weeks back when you walked into that same house and that same bathroom with that godawful rose colored wallpaper, I…
I cut him off.
“My mother chose that wallpaper, asshole.”
He backed up a step.
“Easy there fella, I was just takin’ the piss…no pun intended.”
Scotty continued.
“So as I was saying, I decided I would grab you and see if I could tell you to stop interfering in my bed wetting. But you got out of my hands so fast I didn’t get the chance. But I KNEW at that point that you were real, like me. The energy when I touched you was unbelievable.”
“Yeah, I felt it too, and that’s why I’m back here today. You scared the living shit out of me with that stunt, but I suppose my desire to explore that event was stronger than my sense of self-preservation.”
Scotty pointed over to the now unoccupied piece of land where the sandy-haired man had been standing.
“I think he’s real too, and it seems to me he’s locked in on ya for some sort of nefarious purpose. I think it’s because you stick out in the bathroom situations. Characters he’s conjured up in his own dream scenario aren’t complex enough to walk up to a stall with a broken door and panic. He figured out you’re real and he’s got something in mind for you. Why he hasn’t done anything yet, I don’t know, but I needed to warn you. That night I grabbed you, he was standing in the bedroom doorway at the end of the hallway. He doesn’t seem interested in me, though”
I kicked the dirt at my feet.
“Shit, man. That’s my old bedroom. I end up there in my dreams pretty often, which is odd because I always considered sharing that space with my brother to be a living nightmare. He farted in his sleep constantly.”
Scotty shrugged his shoulders
“I don’t know what to tell you. I know right now I’m at home in Clarksburg, fast asleep to the artificial sound of seagulls in a perfect 67 degrees Farenheit bedroom, wearing a warm, hopefully piss-filled diaper. But this moment is real as well, and I’m afraid if that man gets hold of either of us we may never wake up—or at least not in the lives we currently know. I feel like there’s a reason two strangers in the dream world keep ending up in the same place at the same time. I think I need to help you figure this out.”
I looked at him, a little relieved but still VERY unnerved.
“I sincerely appreciate the warning. I…wait…did you say Clarksburg? Clarksburg, West Virginia?”
With surprise on his face, he said “Uhh..yes. You know of it?”
“Yes. Because I live in Huntington.”
His eyes nearly popped out of his skull.
“It appears so, Scotty. This is really starting to NOT feel like a coincidence.”
Another half hour or so later (I finally had to wake up and pee), Scotty and I parted ways. We shared address and contact information, of which his phone number I managed to forget by the time I woke up. However, I did remember his home address.

I took the day off work and made some lame excuse to my wife, then headed for Clarksburg. On the long, boring-ass drive up there I thought about what I might do, say, etc, once I met the real Scotty. I mean…if he really WAS real. I had no guarantee the dude was actually some random guy living in my own state. For all I knew, one of my elaborate dreams was just more elaborate than usual. Plus, I had been to Clarksburg several times for one reason or another over the years so my subconscious could have just conjured up a real address I’d seen on a past visit.
I arrived to town still not quite sure if I was doing something entirely stupid, and made my way down a country road to the address Scotty provided. It was real. The number on the mailbox corresponded with a small, nondescript yellow house situated adjacent to the main road. I pulled into the gravel driveway, exceptionally nervous and definitely packing my pistol just in case it wasn’t Scotty’s house, and instead was actually inhabited by some old creeper.
The poorly maintained front yard contained several pieces of outdoor type exercise equipment and a bike rack was attached to the trailer hitch of the off-road style Tacoma in the driveway. A crooked “26.2” sticker was on the bumper, indicating the driver had run a marathon at some point…or at least knew where to buy a 26.2 sticker. It was quite the coincidence because my truck’s bumper has a sticker that reads “0.0 I don’t run.”
Well…the Scotty I’d met said he was a health nut, so the yard and vehicle fit the description. However, I didn’t see any dirty diapers strewn about. Maybe he leaves his in the Wal-Mart parking lot like everyone else.
I rang the bell, quickly patting my concealed firearm’s holster for peace of mind.
The door opened and there was Scotty “in the flesh” as they say. He had a surprised look on his face, to say the least.
“Wow. You’re real.”
“So are you.” I threw my hands up.
“Well…now what?”
Scotty gestured for me to come inside.
“I have a plan, dude. Allow me to share.”
Scanning my surroundings, I took a seat on the couch. It was a pretty typical place for a bachelor. The TV and home theater gear was too big for the wall they sat adjacent to, while old movie and concert posters adorned the other walls. The kitchen consisted of basic appliances, then what appeared to be a DIY hyperbaric chamber.
“Nice place. Where’s the diaper pail?”
He grinned. “Literally, I would never have divulged that information if your life hadn’t depended on it.”
We got right to the business at hand.
Scotty had a theory. If he and I were in such close proximity, then there must be some kind of geographic layout in our dreams. With that knowledge in hand, he believed that the sandy-haired man must also be reasonably close. We agreed that we had no idea what would happen if he carried out whatever horrors he seemed to have in mind.
Could we die in a dream? If so, would we wake up? If we woke up, would we ever dream again?
We spoke about the situation at length, and decided our first plan should be to follow the man and see if the places he went and things he did would provide some clues as to his real world location.
It took some strategic planning and well-timed liquid consumption, but Scotty and I finally managed to be in the same place at the same time in our dreams again. It was a Sears department store location near where I grew up. I made my way to the rear of the store, then down the hallway that always smells faintly of armpits.
That Sears bathroom is pretty much my go-to when I’m at that mall. It’s only slightly better than a decrepit gas station on Route 66, but it’s almost always empty so I can pee in peace.
Scotty entered a moment later.
“Dude…he’s outside in the tool area. I watched from a distance as he followed you, but you got out of his sight on the way over here. I don’t think he knows where the bathroom is yet, which tells me he’s probably not someone who lives in your local area. Where are we, anyway?
I rolled my eyes as I explained. “It’s a mall near where I grew up. In real life I always pee in this bathroom because it’s always empty. I’ve never actually ended up here in a dream, though.”
We quietly snuck back out through the hallway. Scotty took the lead and checked a few aisles before motioning for me to follow.
And there he was, in the lawn and garden section…looking at axes.
He was even bigger than I’d estimated during our first encounter. He had the look of a person you’d imagine bending steel pipe by hand, or holding up a collapsed roof to rescue his fellow miners.
As the sandy-haired man left that section of the store and began to explore, his size was in stark contrast to his movements. His pace was smooth-- almost delicate even, as he moved throughout the store, and there were no footfalls or clumsily bumping into things amidst the tightly packed aisles.
We stayed out of sight, camouflaged by the dream-manifested store patrons while keeping the man in sight. Eventually he made his way back to the tool area and located the bathrooms. He disappeared into both the men’s and women’s rooms, then reappeared just as quickly and set back out across the store.
We had officially lost him. Now it was time to do some stalking of our own.
Scotty and I watched the big man cross the Sears parking lot, heading right for the traffic loop. We followed bit by bit, keeping low along the line of cars in the crowded lot.
Making his way through a crowd of onlookers participating in what appeared to be a dog fight—more specifically, poodles…Toy Poodles….surprisingly violent little things, too. I made a mental note to be nice to my neighbor’s fluffy puppy.
Passing right through it all as if it didn’t exist, the man stepped out into traffic. He walked directly in front of a car and disappeared as it passed right through his body.
Scotty and I stood there in disbelief for a few seconds, but we knew what had to happen. I exhaled sharply as we stepped in front of a literal rocket ship on wheels. I was sure we were about to get smashed, but instead we were suddenly standing on a quiet residential street. Instantly taking a look around before setting off again, we kept our eyes peeled for the sandy-haired man. It took a few minutes of exploring, but Scotty and I finally caught sight of him standing in front of a small, immaculately maintained house. Light gray with maroon shutters, the surrounding property was comprised of beautiful, lush grass and round, perfectly manicured bushes that put my own landscaping shit-show to complete shame.
Scotty pointed off in the distance and looked over at me.
“Hey. I know this area. That water tower. It’s in Pennsylvania, just across the state line. I used to date a girl that lived over here, somewhere.”
Knowing the answer already, I asked…”So how’d that relationship turn out?”
With a smug look, he said “She was a hippy, and wasn’t fond of shaving or bathing. I couldn’t deal with that.”
I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow. He threw his hands out in front of him, gesturing.
“OK, OK…she wasn’t down with me wearing a diaper to bed. Some girls like it, though. I swear.”
So anyway…..The man climbed the short section of porch steps and put his hand on the door handle, only to make a sudden about-face as if he’d forgotten something. Scotty and I ducked below the bush line behind which we’d taken up position and watched as the man made his way to a shed several yards off the side of the house. He pulled open the sliding doors and went inside. We could hear him rummaging around and moving things.
A few minutes later he reappeared, and slung over his shoulder was a body in a burlap sack. Judging from the sound of the muffled screams, it was a woman. She was fighting furiously beneath the fabric, thrashing and jabbing at what might as well have been a brick wall. His hands were half the size of her back, and it only took one of them to keep her completely under control.
The woman screamed with all she had, but he didn’t bother to silence her. It was his dream now, and there was no one to hear those cries for help…except for me and my new friend.
As the man entered the house with the woman over his shoulder, Scotty and I began to come up with a plan to save her. We knew she was a real person like the two of us, and if he was going to do what he appeared to be preparing for, we had to stop him.
The plan was simple—and in hindsight, it was also incredibly stupid.
Sneak quietly into the house, free the girl, and beat the piss out of the sandy-haired man until he was unconscious and we could figure out what to do with him. It was perfect. You see it in the movies all the time.
But before we did that…I had a problem.
“Dude…I have to pee reaaaaaaaly bad. It’s gonna wake me up any minute!”
Scotty, of course, had loaded up his real life diaper long ago.
He looked at me with a face as serious as I’ve ever seen.
“You gotta do it. You HAVE TO wet the bed, bro. It’s the only way.”
As if on cue, ten feet in front of me my challenge appeared. It was a ballpark trough.
You know, those stupid, wide open tubs that run the length of the wall at sports stadiums. Anyone and everyone is standing out there with their wiener unguarded, just waiting for some asshole to come by and flick it with his finger while simultaneously giving an atomic wedgie.
I took a step back. “Dude, I can’t. Troughs are literally the most dangerous, vulnerable depositories for urine on the planet. I’d rather piss in front of a thirsty tiger!”
“You HAVE to do it, man. If you don’t, all of this was for nothing. You’ll wake up, and being the chivalrous guy I am, I’ll go in there to rescue the princess and that big bastard will beat me to death and run train on my corpse. I can’t do this without you! Just try!”
So, I tried. I whipped it out, took a few deep breaths, focused on my urethral sphincters, and gave it a shot. After 10 seconds or so there was a trickle…just a tiny bit.
Scotty yelled from behind.
“How’s it going! Anything coming out!”
I was frantic. “It’s not coming out enough! I know I’m about to wake up!”
And just like that he was on me. Scotty came up behind, wrapped his arms around my body right at bladder level, screamed at the top of his lungs “I’M A HETEROSEXUAL MAN!!” and pulled back hard, putting enormous pressure on my bladder.
It went off like a fire hose.
A full minute later I was shaking off the last few drops, which were likely just icing on the cake of the enormous circle of urine that was now on my bed back in the real world. I hoped to god my wife didn’t wake up, but the more likely scenario is that she was about to roll over in it. I was also asking myself if we had remembered to put the mattress liner on after the last laundry day.
I raised my arms in triumph. I never thought I would be so happy to have pissed in my PJ’s.
“Let’s fucking DO THIS!”
So, we went for it. The door wasn’t locked since no one would fuck with the man’s house in his own dream…except two real guys in their own dreams.
We crept into the house slowly and quietly. It was as immaculate as the man’s landscaping. Clean, orderly, with simple furniture and drab carpet that had fresh vacuum marks.
However…the smell. Oh my god, it was putrid. It was beyond putrid--it was a nasty, gut churning, bile rising stench that instantly made my eyes water. We covered our noses but it had absolutely no effect. Breathing through my mouth had me about 1% below the vomit threshold.
It was no matter, though. We had to get to the task at hand.
Scotty and I crept slowly around the house, then heard screams from the direction of the kitchen. Retracing our steps back across the house, we followed the sounds to a basement door. It was closed and had a number on it. That was a little odd for a door inside the house. It said “Room 733.” I gingerly turned the knob and quietly pushed it open. From beyond the basement steps I could hear the sounds of Johnny Cash playing softly, coupled with the light static of a weak radio signal.
We began our slow descent, planning to sneak up on the son-of-a-bitch and whip his ass like nobody’s business. As we reached the bottom of the steps, the stench had reached its peak. It was just too much to handle. My eyes burned furiously and my stomach began to spasm. As my feet hit the floor I looked up, and there he was. Grinning. Like, a genuine, friendly and welcoming smile.
I looked around the room as the sickness tried to overwhelm me. God, I wish I hadn’t. Hanging from the floor joists were people…probably a dozen of them, tightly packed but divided into male/female couples, hanging like the tobacco you see drying in a barn along a country road. A large clamp attached to the joists held each one off the ground by its hair, and a bucket sat underneath to collect all manner of fluids and gunk seeping out.
But something wasn’t right. They were thing…too thin…too flat.
I initially though the bones were missing, but off to the side I could see a body laying horizontally within what looked like a stream press. It was more than one body, actually. Maybe half a dozen? They were just completely, disgustingly, horrifically flattened. Clearly in a preparation stage for the hanging phase of whatever sick process this was.
Off in the opposite corner sat what appeared to be a big cauldron, like witches use in old movies. A gas flame burned beneath it, feeding heat to what I now realized was the second ingredient for the intense stench of death. Rubber.
And, finally, I saw the completed product.
Four bodies, leaned against the wall, in an unnaturally rigid manner. They were very clearly made from skin suits, just like the ones hanging above us, but were stretched absurdly tight…not a single wrinkle was visible. Everything just looked stuffed beyond possibility. Eyelids were closed and had been painted freakishly bright blue with a wide open stare. The mouths were also closed and covered by a big dazzlingly white mouth, not separated into teeth. The artwork was horrendous, like one of those shitty kid pictures your coworkers have hanging in their cubicles.
Everything from the moment we hit the floor until he spoke happened in under ten seconds. No one had moved, the grin never left the man’s face, and when Scotty and I came out of the trance he spoke to us. It was and is the only time I ever heard him speak.
Looking at us wild-eyed and with great enthusiasm, he said in an exceptionally deep and thunderous voice…
“You fellas like horror stories?
You ever read the one about Tommy Taffy?
How about The Pancake Family? I bet I've read 50,000 stories but those are my FAVORITES!

I do like horror stories, and I’ve read both…and now my body could no longer contain the eruption churning within…
I threw up all over him.
The sandy-haired man’s enthusiasm was instantly gone, replacing itself with a look of pure rage as he cleared away the enormous amount of vomit I’d spewed onto his face and chest.
Scotty and I began to space ourselves out to surround the sandy-haired man, hoping to get him at the same time and get this over with quickly. Unfortunately I wasn’t finished vomiting and as Scotty tried to cross in front of me he slipped, landing hard on his back.
The man lunged at me, but I managed to sidestep, sending him careering into the stairs. He was so wide that I hadn’t even seen the woman behind him whose screams had been the very reason for our descent into this hell hole. I also hadn’t noticed that those screams had stopped.
As he flew past me I got a look at her. She was hanging upside down by her feet, bound with an extension cord, and swaying gently from the momentum of the man releasing his grip. Her back facing me and clad only in underwear, I had a full view of her bloodied body and my eyes locked in on something. It was a tattoo. A dolphin tattoo, to be exact.
I knew this because I bought her that tattoo 15 years ago during our honeymoon in Mexico.
With a gasp I lunged forward and spun her body around to face me. She looked dead. Fluids and blood trickled from fresh wounds in tributaries down her body, seeping into that beautiful auburn hair that had drawn countless compliments throughout her life.
I knelt down and screamed her name, feeling hot breath on my neck as the man grabbed me by the belt. In one fleeting second as his superhuman strength began to lift me off the floor, I saw her eyelids flicker open just a sliver. A rush of adrenaline hit me and I scrambled forward far enough to grab her face, stare into her near lifeless and eyes and scream.
“Annie..........WAKE UP!!!!”
And just like that, she disappeared.
So, if you paid any attention to the opening paragraphs of this tale, you know what happened. He spent 10 agonizingly slow minutes beating us like the bitches we were, while we fought with just enough ferociousness to not get killed, eventually resulting in us getting in a couple lucky shots that finally knocked him unconscious.
So, there we were. We had just loaded the sandy-haired man into the van. He was awake now, bound with his own extension cord and lashed to the van’s floor with ratchet straps. I was amazed he hadn’t tried to speak again.
Now, before you think this will take the turn of your favorite horror films I’ll make something very clear. He wasn’t getting out.
I’ve seen enough shitty tie jobs in those films to know what quality work entails. I hog tied the man, tying knots on top of knots and keeping them away from his hands, Furthermore, I boxed him into the upright position using odds and ends that were already in the van so there would be no rolling over and using some surrounding object to free himself.
Once the van was screaming down the road, Scotty looked over from the driver’s seat.
“What do we do with him?”
Staring straight ahead, I said “Set him on fire and push this van off a cliff. As much as I’d like to take my time slicing this motherfucker wide open, we could wake up at any second.
So, we did just that. Quick and efficient, and he was definitely dead.
Shortly after that I woke up. Reaching over to check on Annie, I found nothing but our dog, sprawled out like he owned the place. I panicked for a moment, then heard the toilet flush.
Annie stepped out of the bathroom and headed toward the door to the hallway, saying “Babe, you won’t believe the nightmare I had. It scared me so bad I’m still shaking a bit.”
“Oh also, I think Cujo peed in the bed.”
Over the next month Scotty and I stayed in contact but hadn’t met up in a dream again. In-fact, I was staying up later and had decided to seriously limit my intake of liquids after 6pm. We had vowed not to look for the sandy haired man, and instead would just lay low despite the absurdity of thinking homicide in a dream could get us arrested in the real world.
But as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, curiosity finally got the better of Scotty.
He’d managed to remember bits and pieces of the location of the man’s house in the dream, and decided to take a trip a few hours north to that small Pennsylvania town he’d recognized by that distinctive water tower. Driving around most of the day, Scotty eventually located the house. He sat in the truck for a few hours, just waiting for the man to come out…or not come out. The perfectly manicured grass was high and unread newspapers littered the sidewalk. Scotty finally decided to exit the truck and just stood in the street, halfway wishing the man would see him and come outside.
A curious neighbor hollered from the house next door and asked Scotty if he was lost, or if he could be of any assistance. Scotty made up some bullshit story about meeting the man there after answering a craigslist ad for some camping gear for sale.
“Oh, Mr. Jepson’s not home. He’s in the hospital. You may have seen it on the news, though. It’s all just so sad because he is absolutely the nicest, most kind person I’ve ever met. It’s such a shame what’s happening to him.”
Deciding it best not to ask any more questions, Scotty thanked the neighbor, got back in his truck and pulled up the local news station’s website. Five minutes later, he called me.
“Dude…he’s dying. Check the news!”
I avoid all forms of news most of the time, so I fired up my Galaxy and hit up the local Pennsylvania stations until I found what I was looking for. The man had been taken to the hospital after going over three weeks without sleep. Nothing could put him out…sleeping pills, anesthetics, and even a full-on medically induced coma. Nothing worked. He remained wide awake.
The sandy-haired man…err...Allen Jepson…was literally disintegrating. Body systems, processes, functions both internal and external…all failing, one miserable second at a time.
I updated myself constantly on the story over the coming days, and eventually saw that Jepson passed away. He died in pure misery, feeling the effects of no drug administered to provide comfort amidst the excruciating pain as his body’s systems shut down, one by one. He screamed in agony until exhaling his dying breath.
So there you have it. The answer to one of life’s great questions…what happens if you die in a dream?
A few days later I found his obituary.
Rev. Allen Edward Jepson, 62, of Montclaive, PA passed away at University Medical Center after a tragic illness.
A voracious reader of folklore and scary tales, people often said he would read through the entire internet if he lived long enough.
Beginning work as a butcher at the age of 14, Mr. Jepson was known throughout his lifetime for possessing remarkable physical power, performing feats of strength for crowds at county fairs, fundraisers, and the like.
Although leading church services was not his primary occupation, in his spare time Pastor Jepson facilitated eternal salvation for thousands of lost souls and enriched the lives of all who had the good fortune to meet and spend time with him.
In addition to countless other selfless endeavors, he was a lifelong supporter of hospice, spending a few final hours at the bedside of over 1,000 residents as they gained their Heavenly wings. Many times, he said “I feel it’s my life’s mission to be present for those who are in their final moments on Earth.”
Reverend Jepson was preceded in death by his dear wife Judith and only son, Tommy.

The real killer
submitted by hgtv_neighbor to Wholesomenosleep [link] [comments]

Falling Stars, Part 1

[INFO] Background electromagnetic interference has dropped to safe levels, restoring primary systems from hibernation. [WARNING] Primary generator offline. Energy capacitor charge below 20%. Estimated time before discharge: 35.712 days. [WARNING] Corrupted sectors detected on disk. Attempting recovery. [INFO] Disk repair completed in 00:14:58, Final data corruption: 12.366% [INFO] Hyperlink signal not found, recommend disabling to conserve power. [INFO] System test has not found any damage to primary systems. Proceeding with full system start. 
I found myself face down in a snowdrift. In the back of my mind hundreds of messages and errors were screaming for my attention. It was going to take a while for me to sort through it all. Before that however, I needed to figure out where I was and what had happened to me. I slowly stood up causing all of my joints to let out a metallic creaking. They had gone stiff from not moving for an unknown period of time.
Once I was on my feet, I surveyed the environment around me. It was a barren, frozen waste. Large mountains and crags covered in snow and ice stretched as far as I could see. It was night and the sky was full of stars. A pair of small moons were shining a dim glow across the landscape. I scanned the star field for any patterns or constellations I recognized but couldn't see anything familiar. I turned around to get a glimpse behind me. There was a small shuttle that clearly had a hard landing. The metal panels in the front had been crumpled together from the impact and the now sun bleached paint was thoroughly scorched from when the ship entered the atmosphere. The ship was surrounded by clean, unbroken snow which hid the scar left in the earth by the shuttle when it crashed.
After I got my bearings I found the shuttle door which took a surprising amount of force to pry open. Once inside, I found the ship had been mostly untouched since it had landed. A good layer of dust had settled on everything which made me feel a little like I was exploring some forgotten ruin. The interior of the shuttle was fairly basic. Behind the cockpit, there was a single table with two benches on either end. Behind that were additional rows for passengers. Cabinets lined the walls on one side for storing various supplies. I took a seat in one of the benches by the table after brushing the dust away. The torrent of messages in my head was not letting up and I needed to sort through it all. I hoped once everything calmed down I would be able to figure out what had happened.
For whatever reason, some random electromagnet pulse had forced my subconscious system to put me to sleep to protect my systems. I had no idea how long I had been asleep, but it was long enough for my internal battery to slowly drain until it was almost empty. Thankfully, I managed to wake up before it drianed completely or I would have shut down forever. As for what caused the pulse in the first place I couldn't remember. The pulse had corrupted my memory of the several weeks leading up to the catastrophic event leaving me in the dark and with a lot of questions.
Thankfully, the rest of it was still intact. I knew the shuttle I was in was from the PCS Hawking, the ship I had lived on for several years. I was a pathfinder, A team of scientists, engineers, explorers, and diplomats working to refine space travel by charting hyperspace routes, developing new technologies, and building relationships with other species we encountered. I had a special relationship with the ship as I was the first of seven androids assigned to it. I remembered that being pretty special at the time as an android was still a novel and rare sight. We were a lot different from the average robot as we were still basically human. I became an android when I was only 15. After being injured, I was almost killed by an infection that was resistant to all the medicine the hospital had. As a last resort, they decided to upload my mind into a mechanical body. It got me a lot of attention at the time since the whole process was still really new. Those first few months were rough especially since those first models looked more robot than human. Since then, a lot of people had worked to provide androids like myself ways to improve the way we looked and functioned. Now I look more like I did back then which actually makes me look far younger than I really am, but I'm not complaining. I joined the pathfinders about five years after becoming an android which had been my dream since I was little. I had many adventures and experiences, especially with everyone else on the ship. Turns out being surrounded by scientists and engineers leads to a lot of questioning, as well as a lot of tinkering. I can safely say there aren't many androids with as many fun toys and gadgets than I got installed.
The more I browsed my memories, the more I started to be grateful It didn't all get wiped when I was hit with that random EMP. I was in a very uncertain place right now. I had no idea where anyone else had gone or if they were even still alive. There was a good chance I would never see them again. Even then, I could still have hope. The chance that the main ship had crashed onto this planet along with me was fairly high and that created the opportunity of eventually running into some remnant or clue for finding it. I also wasn't the only android on the ship at the time so I could run into them as well. Either way, I was certain I needed to start my search soon. I had only just over a month of charge left in my capacitor and there wasn't much on the ship that was still functional. I needed to find something soon or I wouldn't last long.
Looking out the ship's windscreen, I noticed light radiating over the horizon. It wasn't broad and soft like a sunrise, but instead was concentrated to a single area. I knew immediately that the light was artificial, and artificial light meant power. I got up from my seat excitedly. I was ready to leave immediately, but thought it would be smart to make a quick glance around to see I there was anything I could take with me. The only thing I found in the containers that I could use was a single handgun and a few gas cartridges. All the other supplies were designed for normal people and I couldn't afford to carry the extra weight with my limited power. I decided to leave most of it behind. I stepped back outside, the snow crunching under my feet, and said goodbye to the ship before starting my journey towards the distant light.
Despite what everyone says, being a gate guard is boring. You get put through all these drills and training exercises every day and for what? The only thing you would ever do was greet the occasional traveler and close the gate when some petty thief or criminal tried to run off into the wilderness. The city knew that too. Since I joined the guard my pay had never been much more than what a bookkeeper's assistant could expect. Had I known any of this I would have never joined. I should have done what my cousin did and join a guild. Every letter he sends always talks about some monster he slayed, or the places he visited, or the women he seduced. I swore by the twin moons that I would get out of here as soon as my conscription was over. I clearly was not the kind of guy that would pick something like this. I could tell most people here were only here because it was essentially easy free money. I would bet most of the guards here would rather sleep all day. Tonight was turning out to be especially boring. Usually every night greets you with an occasional trader, traveler, or wizard as they get on with their business, but tonight there hasn't been a single person. It was annoyingly quiet and I was ready to zone out. That was until my partner Risieri broke the silence.
“Hey Landolf, Do you see anything out there by the Starburnt hill?”
“No not rea-.... actually yeah I do, looks like someone is out there.”
“That's what I thought, who do you think that is?”
“Who knows, it's probably some wizard doing some ritual or whatever it is they do.”
“I don't know, I don't think I've ever seen a wizard over there before. Something about that person is weirding me out.”
“Well it looks like they are coming this way so you can ask them all the questions you want when they get here.”
Risieri replied with a sigh and we both moved towards our posts by the gate. Whoever that person was they still had quite a ways to go before they were at the gate. Even then, from what I could tell from a distance, I was starting to understand Risieri's feelings a little bit. Whoever that was they didn't appear to be wearing very heavy clothing. It may be the season of fire, but it was still well below the ice point. Both me and Risieri were each wearing very heavy sets of padded armor that even had heat runes sewn into them for extra warmth. I couldn't see how someone with anything less could be comfortable or even safe out in the extreme cold. That was why the city was built underground, it made it a lot easier to keep things warm. As the mystery person neared the gate, Risieri continued to make his own observations.
“Hey, She's pretty cute for an elf don't you think?”
I gave Risieri a disappointed look before turning my attention back to the girl.
“Risieri, are you sure she's a elf? She looks too short. Maybe she's a fey?”
“A fey outside their lands? You know their empire would never let that happen.”
“It's happened before, not all of them pledge to that dictator.”
Risieri gave me a doubting look so I doubled down.
“I mean why else do you think they haven't engulfed the surrounding territories by now? The Fey are distracted with internal conflict.”
I could tell Risieri didn't really care that much. He turned back to the mystery traveler with another sigh.
“Whatever, I guess we will find out soon enough.” He said.
The Girl stopped a few steps away from me as I raised my hand, giving me a good chance to see who we were dealing with. She clearly wasn't a Fey, Elf, or even a dwarf. Her height was somewhere in between a dwarf and fey even when you considered her apparent age (which looked very young). Her eyes were a shade of blue and had an odd pattern in them. On the sides of her head was a pair of strange blue and gray accessories which covered her ears and extended back like the ears of a rabbit. Those alone would probably draw the most attention if it wasn't for her hair. It was long and straight ending below the shoulders. It was also the brightest red I think I had ever seen in my life. No way that was her natural color. It must have been dyed or altered with magic or something. Only the Limamuda had hair that color, and even then it was really more slime than hair.
Her style of clothing was also pretty unique. She was wearing a rugged looking gray fabric coat that covered her arms and extended to her waist. The front also sported a pair of pockets near the waist. Near the collar I could see what looked to be a blue undershirt. She was also wearing pants (which was weird) and they looked to be made of a similar material to her jacket only the color was darker. It also sported a good number of pockets. Overall everything she was wearing was very strange, but it did look surprisingly practical. On one of her pockets was a silver guild pin. I couldn't recognize which guild it belonged to, but it's style and material matched other pins I had seen in the past. That would explain why she was used to traveling in harsh conditions. While I was observing her, Risieri went ahead and addressed her.
“Greetings and welcome to Almera, we are eager to have you enjoy our city. Judging from your pin are you an adventurer from a guild?”
As soon as he said this her eyes widened slightly and she looked a little confused. She lowered her head and held a hand to her chin clearly thinking deeply. After an almost awkward amount of time she gave an embarrassed smile and simply spoke:
“Yes I am.”
The response had a very heavy accent that I could barely understand. It was obvious that she had traveled a very long way to get here. I decided to give her a quick rundown of the town in case this was her first time visiting.
“Very well, The gate will lead you to the main walkways of the city. Signs are posted at each intersection. If you are looking for an inn they are on the lower floors.” I told her, pointing to the gateway behind me.
“Thank you.” she responded after a pause.
With that she walked past us through the entrance to the city below. All her responses were simple but fairly standard. As for my partner, he was clearly thinking about everything he witnessed. I decided to ask him about it:
“Hey, what did you think about her?” I asked Risieri.
“Her accent was odd, I have never heard anything like it.” He responded.
“Neither have I. Where do you think she's from?”
“What makes you think I know? Is she even one of the common races?”
“She has to be. She was wearing a guild pin.”
“Well if you really want to know so bad, why don't you just find her later and ask?”
He was making a good point. After all, if she was part of a guild then perhaps she would be my ticket out of this awful job. All I would have to do was find and befriend her.
“That could have gone better,” I muttered quietly to myself. I had hoped I could just slip in without saying a word so I could have enough time to get the language sorted out but that wasn't something fate had in mind. I'm usually pretty good with these kind of things, but back there I was struggling. I only had the vaguest idea what they were asking and thankfully it seemed like they understood my own answers at least a little bit. I had no idea why they wanted to know if I was an explorer but At least now I could expect to be mostly left alone while I finished learning the language.
The path I was on seemed to lead somewhere underground as it had a steady downward slope. The tunnel was well lit by the occasional cut crystal hanging from the ceiling. As I walked I gazed at each one as they passed by. They looked like they were glowing without anything powering them. The more I stared at them the less I understood how they worked. In fact, there were a lot of things so far that I found really odd. For one, the kingdom felt very medieval in most things yet there had been many other things that showed otherwise. The coats the guards were wearing was one thing that came to mind. They were obviously designed to protect against ancient style metal swords yet they were giving off a lot of energy as if they had their own power supply. The architecture also felt beyond the capabilities of a simple feudal society. The walkway I was on was built with simple cut stones, but the precision of the work made it obvious that none of it was done by hand. As I walked, I was starting to become very curious about this strange world I found myself in and I was excited to know what I might see next.
The end of the tunnel led to a large open courtyard that extended farther than I could see in front of me. The roof was of glass and was braced by large stone arches spaced every meter or so. Snow would slowly collect on the roof preventing a view of the sky above, however it didn't remain for long as it would be swept away by the occasional worker. Dividing the long courtyard down the middle was a decorated planter box full of various miniature trees, flowers, and other interesting flora. Beside the planter was also the occasional stone bench. As I walked further into the city, the courtyard I was following would meet an intersection and would split into several more identical halls to my left and right. I also started to see more people as I moved further inward. Eventually I found myself in the middle of a shopping district. By now it was almost midday and the area was bustling with people. Dozens of individual storefronts were built into the walls which gave the whole area a look almost like a shopping mall. I spent the next few minutes browsing around to see what kind of things the people here had in this strangely advanced pseudo medieval city.
My explorer mindset was in full force at this point as I bounced from store to store trying to understand these unique people. There was a seller for everything you would expect, Clothing, tools, animals, and even books. One of my economist friends, Jordan, once told me you could learn a lot about a civilization based on the items sold in their market. That advice occasionally came in handy once or twice when we made contact with other species so I had no reason to doubt it. As I continued to make mental notes of everything on sale I began to get the impression that everything was made locally. I couldn't see the large variety of items that you would see with a lot of trade. It made sense why they wouldn't have a large number of traders as I remembered having to trek through heavy snow my entire way here.
The items these people made themselves were too advanced for a medieval economy. I was struggling to understand how they had been able to make any of it. I couldn't find any evidence of electricity anywhere which was both fascinating and worrying. I had used up over two days of my remaining power supply trying to get here and I haven't found any way of getting it back. I would have to keep looking. My mind turned to the odd lights from the tunnel. I wanted to know how they worked. They had to be powered by something. I had seen books being sold at a fair price in one of the shop stalls so there was a good chance there was a library of some sort. I looked around for someone I could ask for directions and eventually walked up to what looked to be a guard.
“Excuse me, I'm trying to find a library do you know where one is?” I asked.
The guard looked respectful but clearly confused and for a moment I wondered if I hadn't refined the language yet.
“I'm sorry, you're trying to find a what?” The guard responded.
“A library, a place with books people can read to learn.” I clarified.
“Oh! You're looking for the Magisterium. It's in block 196-118. Just head down that side path until you reach the third set of stairs and it should be on the fourth floor down.”
I mentally reviewed what the guard said to make sure I translated it correctly before I thanked him and went on my way. As it turned out, the city was laid out in a perfect grid with each block being given a number code. At this point I couldn't be surprised anymore with how organized and structured everything was. There was a staircase about every 20th intersection so it took several minutes to make it to the one the guard told me about. The staircase was similar to the others only this one was more ornate. It was made of stone and was over five meters wide. It spiraled both upwards and downwards. In the center of spiral staircase was a large stone sculpture of various individuals which also had a waterfall flowing around them. I could only guess each person was some famous historical figure of some kind. When I reached the floor of the magisterium It wasn't hard to spot it. It was a large building that featured two large sections beside a central domed hall. The facade of the building was adorned with statues and intricate tile. Water flowed down channels cut into the buildings walls. The ornateness of the building made me hesitate. I wasn't sure if I could trust myself with the language yet and the building looked more like a palace or religious center than a school or library. I had confused the two before, and it got me thrown in an alien prison. I didn't want to make that mistake again. However, before I could figure out the true purpose of the building, my attention was turned away by a faint noise. It was distant and quiet, quiet enough that I was pretty I was the only one who could hear it.
It was a scream, not a fun scream or a teasing scream, but the bone chilling scream of abject terror. Someone was in real danger and needed help. For a moment I forgot about my limited power and I ran to the noise.
“No! Please! Go away, I haven't done anything wrong!” I pleaded with my attackers. The two dwarves in dark hoods had grabbed me by the arms and dragged me to a dark and quiet part of the city. I was alone and scared. I had no idea where I was or what they planned to do with me. I could only be as loud as I could and hope someone would hear me.
“Shut your mouth fairy girl!” one of the dwarves screamed before he slugged me in the gut. The hit made me keel over in pain and I felt sick. Before I could recover, one of the two dwarves then kicked me into the wall.
“The Minister may have allowed you into our city but that doesn't mean we will.” The other dwarf said. “You're going to pay for all the people that tyrant has killed.”
“” I weekly said trying to look at them. The dwarf on the right made a scowl and drew a knife from his belt. “What do you think Gerrod, a cut for every soul?” The dwarf with the knife suggested. The other dwarf let out a menacing chuckle of approval.
I looked in horror as the dwarves approached me and held me down. Then without warning The knife in the dwarf's hand slashed into my right leg. It was nothing like I had felt before. I had cut myself a few times in the past but this was different. The knife had been inscribed with a rune to inflict pain and it burned like acid. I started to scream uncontrollably unable to handle the torture. The longer it went on the more I wished they would just kill me and end it. But they wouldn't stop. Over and over again they made small cuts in my legs intentionally making it last as long as they could.
And then it suddenly stopped. I moaned in relief as the dwarves turned their attention to the person behind them.
I was getting closer, I could hear it. The sound had led me several floors down into the deeper parts of the city. Each floor had less light than the one above and I began to see less people. If someone wanted to break a law this was certainly the place to do it. I hoped I wasn't too late. I picked up speed and nearly hit 18 kph before I found what I was searching for.
Sliding to a stop I saw the source of the screaming. Two figures in dark robes had captured a blonde girl and were torturing her with a knife. The yellow dress she was wearing was soaked in blood and she was whimpering in pain. My eyes met the girls and her's went wide. She stared at me with a look of pleading mercy that I had seen several times in the past, and it was making me very angry. As A human I always had a short temper and tended to lack mercy which carried over when I became an android. I couldn't wait any longer and called out to the hooded figures.
“Hey! What the Hell are you doing!”
The two figures, who ended up being dwarves, quickly shot around, clearly not expecting company. Their looks of shock quickly became rage once they saw me.
“You made a mistake coming here bunny ears,” the dwarf holding the knife said darkly. It wasn't a very good insult, but his tone did wonders to rile up my temper. I drew the gun on my hip and powered it on.
“I want you to tell me why you're torturing that girl or I will kill you.” I said resolutely.
“Try it dross, End her Gerrod” The knife holding dwarf ordered.
The dwarf next to him held out his hand and fired a bolt of purple light. It struck me in the chest creating a cloud of black smoke. The girl behind the dwarves cried out in fear as strange light coursed all over me. I feared I was hit with something bad. I hadn't expected that kind of attack to suddenly shoot from his hand. I was prepared to deal with a charging man with a sword, not some chemical attack. I cursed myself for not being prepared as I expected to be defeated. But I felt nothing. The smoke and light around me turned out to be pretty mundane. Honestly, I felt tricked and my patience had run out. Using my infrared sight I aimed my gun at the dwarf who cast the spell and fired.
I couldn't believe it. I called out to the girl hoping the spell hadn't killed her. How could a dwarf know death magic like that? I was terrified and dismayed. I didn't know what to do. My rescuer had come to save me only to be snuffed out by cheap tricks and rare magic. I wanted to cry. Both dwarves were laughing and making jokes about their victory. Suddenly a loud crack forced me to cover my ears. I looked up to see the dwarf who cast the spell on the floor without a head. The other dwarf had reeled in shock and fell backwards. The girl who came to my rescue walked out of the smoke, her eyes glowing bright red. Both myself and the remaining dwarf could only stare in shock. She took a few steeps toward the remaining dwarf and pointed the weapon in her hand at him, its tip venting glowing steam.
“I can only take pleasure in killing scum like you.” She said with a vicious sneer that chilled the atmosphere.
The dwarf went pale. “Wha- What are you?” he spoke quietly. Terror tinged his voice. In total panic he tried to crawl backwards but was stopped by the wall behind him.
“I'm an android. I would say it's a pleasure to meet you, but it's not nice to lie. Goodbye.” She said taking aim. The tip of the object began to glow.
“No! Please! I-” The dwarf was cut off with a flash of blue light accompanied by a crack like thunder. The dwarf slumped over dead with a hole through his chest. The girl blew out the steam from her weapon and spun it into a sheath at her side. The red glow in her eyes subsided leaving behind ones that were soft and blue. Turning her attention to me, she lowered a hand down offering to help me up.
“Aurora Westinghouse, Pathfinder engineer. Lets get you home shall we?”
I stood up with her help, my legs still in pain from the cuts. Powerful feelings of relief and gratitude washed over me. Tears filled my eyes and I fell into Aurora crying like a little girl. She put her arms around me and we stayed like that for a few minutes. Finally it was over. I had come to this city trying to escape the terrors of my home, but in the end those terrors just followed me here.
"Thank you............ thank you............. thank you......." I said repeatedly through my tears.
I did my best to comfort the girl as she let her trauma out. Meanwhile I started to make plans to get her out of here. The gunshots were going to attract a lot of attention and I didn't want to stick around to learn the city's legal process.
Carrying her was going to be difficult as she was almost a foot taller than me. She was going to have to limp which meant I needed to do something about her legs. I cut some cloth from the now dead dwarves and bandaged her legs as best as I could. I wasn't a medic by any means but I was decent with tying knots which I hoped would let me make do. Placing one of her arms around my shoulders, I supported some of her weight and helped her along as we made our way out of the area to the floor above.
“Alright, I think we are far enough away from all of that. Do you know anyone who can help you with your legs?” I asked.
The girl nodded her head. “My brother is a healer, he can help. Our home shouldn't be too far from here.”
“Alright I can help you there. you never told me your name by the way.” I said trying to cheer her up.
“Sorry, I'm Eris.” She responded with a small giggle.
“That's a pretty name. Do you have any idea why those dwarves would attack you?”
She went silent, the question was clearly bothering her. I decided to not push it any further. We continued to slowly make our way through the dim hallways of the lower city without much conversation. The hallways were flat, utilitarian, and lacked the ornamentation of the upper floors. The whole place smelled like mold mixed with sewer and the air was very hot. Thankfully we didn't stay down there for long as Eris motioned me to take the next staircase up. We continued to make steady progress until Eris broke the silence.
“How?..... How did you do it?” She asked.
“I don't understand what you mean.” I responded. Eris looked flustered.
“What do you mean you don't understand? How did you survive that spell? I saw the magic hit you! You should have died instantly but you didn't! How did you do it!?”
I thought about her question. That was magic? I knew it shouldn't be possible, but the more I thought about it the more the existence of magic started to explain a lot of the things I had seen since coming to the city. I thought about the implications. Maybe I could use magic as a way to recharge myself? I would probably be forced to look into it sooner than later as all that action drained my battery to uncomfortable levels. At best I had about a week of charge left. As for Eris's question, I really didn't have a good answer. I had no idea how any of it worked, only that it didn't work on me.
“I, I don't know. I guess it just didn't have any effect on me.” I responded.
Eris went quiet again, this time in an attempt to understand what just I told her. She looked at me with a confused expression.
“what did you say you were again?” she asked.
“An android. Well technically I'm still a human, but not everyone agrees with me.”
“What do you mean not everyone agrees? Are you undead?” Eris had a worried look
“Ah, no I haven't died yet,” I said with a chuckle,“but I almost did and only survived thanks to this mechanical body.”
“What happened?”
“I got really sick. There was no cure.” I reflected.
“I see... So you're really a golem then? A living golem?"
"I guess you could say that."
"That's... new. Anyway, we're almost at my home. I want to talk to you more after this is over.”
“Sure, I can do that.”
Her home was one of hundreds of small apartments on one of the lower levels of the city a good distance from where I found her. I could tell the housing was designed to be as cheap as possible. Her home was one of many small units stacked three or even four high all made from stone block that wasn't cut as cleanly as the stone I saw higher up. Access to each building was provided by cheap iron scaffolding with a mesh grating acting as the floor which wobbled slightly as we made our way across.
Walking up to her apartment door, I gave it a good knock. After a few seconds the door was opened a crack before being flung open revealing a tall, slender man. He had light brown hair, a short beard, and green eyes. He also stood a good foot and a half taller than me. Upon seeing us he gasped and quickly set down the book he was holding.
“Hey Liam.” Eris said. She was starting to become delirious.
“Oh twin moons, What happened to her?” He said with a worried tone.
“Nothing good. She said you could help her.” I told him.
“Yes, of course. Please bring her in.”
Liam motioned us in and we both stepped through the narrow doorway. The apartment looked small and only had a few rooms. We entered into a common room which also doubled as a kitchen. In the center of the room was a short stone table surrounded by floor cushions which I placed Eris down on. Lining the walls were several bookcases each overflowing with books of various sizes plus a small stove with a cooking pot. I found an open cushion to sit down on while Liam was in the process of gathering supplies from various cabinets and chests. Soon after he returned with various objects with unknown purpose and he began to work on his sister.
“Now how did this happen?” he said as he unraveled my makeshift bandages from around her legs.
“I heard her screaming and I came to rescue her from a pair of dwarves. They were tor-” I tried to explain before being cut off.
“That's good enough. I don't need the details.” He said in a brisk but polite tone.
He was in the process of rubbing a clear gel into each cut. I watched closely out of curiosity as he worked. Once he was finished, he pulled out a small yellow crystal on a chain as well as piece of chalk. He turned to the side shuffling towards the table then drew a pattern of complex characters onto the surface. Halfway into his drawing he suddenly stopped and reviewed his work. Then, anxious about its accuracy, he got up to grab a book from one of the many shelves in the room. Flipping through a few pages, he compared his work to the one in the book before finishing the drawing using the book as reference.
“Help me lift her onto the table.” he said to me after he returned the book to its shelf.
I nodded to him and grabbed a side. We both moved her as gently as we could onto the table. Once everything was set, Liam took out a small paper card embossed with more symbols.
“Eris, I'm going to put you to sleep now okay?” Liam said.
He tapped the card onto her forehead causing it to shimmer. Almost immediately, I saw Eris grow drowsy and fall asleep. When she was fully under Liam took the crystal in his hand and started to whisper something under his breath. As he spoke, the chalk markings on the table began to glow with a white light that quickly grew very bright. I shielded my eyes with a hand and took a step back. The light was making it hard to see exactly what was going on but I had to keep looking. The number of questions I wanted to ask had been increasing almost exponentially by this point and now I was confident I could rely on Liam for answers. His collection of books was impressive even by my own standards and they all looked worn and well used. I had to wait until after he was finished before I could start conversation so I made some plans in my head to ensure we could talk afterwards. For now I could only watch the miraculous things that were occurring before me and take some mental notes. This was magic I thought to myself. I guess calling it anything else would have been redundant. Liam was in the process of bending the laws of nature to his will. Energy flowed into Eris sealing up her wounds with remarkable speed. Eris was almost completely healed before I finally noticed something familiar. Something that would shatter my current view of this world. I had been so focused on watching the healing unfold that I had practically ignored Liam. My attention snapped to the spellcaster, and I could only stare at him with a look of complete consternation.
Liam was speaking German.
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19/07/20 - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspurs vs Leicester City - Pre-Match Thread

Key Facts

Round: 37 of 38
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Location: New White Hart Lane, Tottenham
Time: 1600BST/UTC+1, 19/07/20
Channels (UK): Sky Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League (no crowd noises)


(Out / Unlikely / Suspended )
  1. Soyuncu
  2. Ricardo
  3. Amarety
  4. Maddison
  5. Chilwell
  6. Fuchs
  7. Albrighton
  1. Dier
  2. Ndombele
  3. Foyth
  4. Dele
  5. Tanganga
  6. Aurier

Betting Odds

Accurate as of 1002BST 19/07/20 (Decimal, lower is more likely):
Leicester Win: 3.20
Draw: 3.40
Spurs Win: 2.25

Fun Facts

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[OC] Chronicles of the Siren War [Chapter 59]

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A/N: Please consider supporting my writing efforts on Patreon. You can follow this story and be alerted when new chapters release via
Special thanks to Tobi from the discord server for a double visual accompaniment today as well! They are not perfect representations of in chapter events, but they set a great scene nevertheless!
“Well, what do you think?!” Houston asked gaily, taking Fredrick by the hand and leading him aboard her mint condition hull. Modifications had clearly been made in the absence of a physical crew, leaving the ship sleeker and more evasive while maintaining its substantial firepower. The three triple 203mm batteries aboard the vessel were mimicked by the girl’s rigging, a complex system of hydraulics and tubes connecting her miniature guns to her waist. They sat aboard large steel-gray and red stabilizing fins that would help her maintain balance in open ocean combat, and were completed by a small, grinning Cheshire cat decal above the letters USN. She carried a pistol in her hand, a replica of one of her 40mm Bofors batteries.
“I think the smile on your face says it all,” the young cook replied, tilting his head to steal a glance at the exposed skin between her shoulder blades. Just below her collar, a vibrant rigging mark in the shape of Texas’ lone star still glowed, fading slowly in the wake of the ship’s new construction. As soon as they were aboard Houston activated her engines, pulling the cruiser out of dock so that Minneapolis could begin work on her own hull.
“Hmm, you’re rather sweet, Frederick. I’m glad you’re back safe and sound too,” Houston told him kindly, walking around her deck as she inspected her guns and fittings with pride. Many parts of the ship came to life under her touch, pivoting and changing elevation as if partaking in a firing exercise.
“I could say the same, Miss Houston.”
“Oh come on, all I did was laze around and help look after the kids!”
“Doesn’t mean something couldn’t have happened. It’s war, after all,” Miles reminded her, though it certainly wasn’t necessary. She spun on her heel to face him, her large Union Navy tattoo plainly visible on her upper right thigh. “Be safe tomorrow too, Miss Houston. It would be a shame to come home all this way just to…” The young man could not quite bring himself to say ‘lose you’, but Houston seemed to understand his meaning all the same. As her rigging shimmered and vanished, she reached out and took his hands in hers.
“You cut yourself. Be careful in the kitchens,” she observed, fingering a tender wound that would surely leave a bright pink scar atop one of his knuckles.
“And Lord willing, that's all the action I’ll see in this war,” Miles replied, taking a deep breath and squeezing her fingers tightly. “The way the Commander spoke, it sounded like the largest fleet ever assembled is coming for us.”
“And you’re worried about me,” Houston finished quietly. It was not a question.
“I’m worried about Hatsuharu and Yuugure and all the rest too, but at least they’ll be on the island. I can do something if it comes down to it. You’ll be very far away,” he worried as Houston found herself a suitable location in the bay just north of the base and dropped anchor next to the California.
“But I’ll be thinking of you!” She promised happily, though those words only served to draw Fredrick’s face tight in a frown. “Fredrick-”
“Just be careful,” he insisted. “It’s a beautiful ship; it would be a shame to lose it again.”
“Yeah it would, wouldn’t it?” Houston agreed thoughtfully as a pair of gulls settled on the top of her aft crow’s nest. “But Fredrick, I’m already on borrowed time. I can feel it in my cube, in my bones. I was supposed to die at Java, without having ever met you.”
“Miss Houston?” Fredrick whispered, feeling a small pit of fear worm its way into his guts. The air about her had changed significantly, revealing a sober and almost world-weary woman underneath her metallic cat ears and vibrant pink hair.
“Fredrick, have you ever lain with a white woman?” Houston asked before seeming to remember herself. She tittered at his shocked expression. “No, I didn’t think so given you are barely allowed to speak with them. What about any woman?”
No more adequate an answer was forthcoming from the young man as he found himself rooted to the spot, Pacific breezes ruffling his uniform. Houston took his hands again and stepped close to him. “Second chances shouldn’t be wasted, don’t you think, Fredrick?”
“I uh, but aren’t you… what I mean to say is the Commander-”
“Is an exceptional and handsome man!” Houston agreed readily. “He’s kind, reserved, and saved my life. He’s competent too, and I think he’ll see us through the battle tomorrow. That doesn’t mean I want to go to bed with him. Not every girl in this fleet has dreams of glory. I just want to live this life I’ve been given. I’m happy to take you back to the docks right now, Fredrick, but I don’t want to leave you tomorrow with just a peck on the lips. Come live a little with me, ravel up my ball of yarn?” she suggested with a cute swipe of her fingers against his uniform.
When he leaned closer, Houston sealed her request with a brush of her thin, soft lips against his own. The boy’s mind may not have known how to respond to her, but his body needed no such training or consideration. He allowed his lips to part in invitation, one she greedily but gently accepted. The two fumbling lovers embraced, with Houston gasping against his mouth and pulling back as his left hand brushed against her rigging mark. “Did I hurt you?” Fredrick asked quickly, swallowing heavily as he noted the growing flush in Houston’s cheeks. The girls back home, the ones he was allowed to long and lust after, did not blush like that.
“No, not at all. It was just intense!” Houston gasped, gathering herself and reaching over her shoulder. She took his hand and returned it to her back. “Be gentle, please.”
Miles was more than happy to oblige, experimenting with feathery brushes of his fingers and the comforting cover of his large palm over the area, sheltering it from the wind and warming it with his own body heat which was steadily rising thanks to their ongoing kiss. When the sensations from her rigging mark simply could not be withstood any longer, the electric shocks turning to warm pulses of longing thanks to his easy touch and unassuming manner, Houston took his cheeks in her hands. She could feel the slight beginnings of stubble under her palms. Bright green eyes met dark brown and delightful laughter bubbled up from her chest. “Fredrick, I didn’t want to do this so soon but it seems Akagi and Kaga decided not to wait around. Would you make love to me; show an unordinary girl an ordinary life?”
Houston’s second proposition was no more answerable than her first, but again the young man’s body knew the correct reply. He had no way, no words to explain to her just how unordinary their union would be. But he considered the coming battle, considered the fact that she might be lost. There was only one course of action to be taken. Without a word he shrugged off his jacket and shirt, laying them down on the deck for her. Houston laid herself down graciously, throwing him a coy yet innocent smile that beckoned him to oblivion. He was powerless to stop it as she freely bared herself to him, save her choker. As the base prepared for war and a New Orleans class hull came to life at dock, no one took the time or effort to glance out to sea as Houston felt herself come alive again.
“Don’t you want to be down there with her?” West Virginia asked Javelin. The two of them were seated near one of the base’s fixed AA batteries, about halfway up the slope to the dorms and radio tower. Mountains of shells were ready and waiting to be fired, courtesy of the bulins and Akashi.
“I feel like I’ve done nothing but remain at her side since she arrived here,” Javelin replied sadly, recalling Zed’s desperate flight from her own faction. “She’s one of my best friends. I can’t let this be anything but her decision. Sometimes it feels like she and Laffey are my sisters, even though I love Jupiter and the others dearly as well.”
“Mmm,” the stoic battleship agreed, fingers resting on the neck of her guitar. “So your focus is evasion?”
“Yep yep!” Javelin affirmed, playing with her blueish-purple hood and adjusting the small crown atop her head. “Don’t count me out when it comes to submarine warfare or gun battles either. I wish I could do something about my torpedoes though. Those new girls from the Sakura have such amazing armaments.”
“Yeah, but their guns couldn’t even tickle me if they tried,” West Virginia countered. “Based on what happened with Downes and Laffey, at least what I understand of it, keep training and keep focused. When the Commander grants you that power, or when you feel the need to claim it for yourself, I think you’ll acquire the strength you need.”
“You make it sound like magic,” Javelin replied with a smile. West Virginia’s eyes softened slightly.
“Not sure what else to call it. Not even Commander Thorson or the minty kitty really understand those cubes. They know how they work to an extent but the rest might as well be magic. But that’s good. If they’re shooting at you and missing, that gives me an opening. You’ll find that us Colorado’s aren’t the fastest or most maneuverable. And I don’t have as many barrels as Pennsylvania or Tennessee. But…”
“But?” Javelin prompted.
“Woe to any ship that tries to face me woman to woman, even a carrier if I can see her. Did you know I used to have torpedo tubes?”
“No! Really?!” the Royal destroyer demanded excitedly, tapping her namesake weapon against the ground. The battleship gave her a full smile that time.
“Yeah, really. When I was injured at Pearl Harbor and they wanted to rebuild me, I told them to get rid of them. A fast little demon like you is perfect for that sort of thing. Me? It would take so long to turn and fire the other tubes it would be pointless, to say nothing of my main battery rotation speed. But don’t worry. I’ve made up for it.”
“Uh huh, how so?” Javelin was eager to learn more about her battle buddy, having never seen a Colorado-class hull before their arrival at Thorson’s base.
“You won’t tell Tennessee?”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because we were redesigned to be better than her,” the battleship replied neutrally. Javelin shrugged.
“She doesn’t care. No offense, but I’d still bet on her in a fight with you. She’s merciless!” The destroyer’s tone was one of approval.
“No arguments there, at least not right now. But she’s only got sixteen 28mm guns and fourteen Oerlikons.”
“Right. And you?” Javelin tapped the AA battery with the tip of her spear to accentuate the point. West Virginia struck a chord on her guitar.
“Forty 40mm Bofors, forty three Oerlikons, and of course the eight 406mm guns. Just focus on the seaborne threats when we fight. My sisters and I know how to provide a protective AA envelope. With Cleveland on our side our odds are even better. Maybe it’s because she’s a cruiser but I just can’t beat her precision.”
“With so many guns you won’t have to! But do you really think we can win? It sounds like the enemy has as many aircraft as they want.” For the first time, true worry crept into the young woman’s voice. West Virginia placed a hand on her shoulder.
“We have unending firepower and resolve too. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty over in the Atlantic, but don’t underestimate the will of those who lived through Pearl Harbor. I remember the smoke and the flames, the screams of dying men. Oklahoma and Nevada didn’t make it. Downes and Cassin were torn to pieces. But in the end they failed. Even if they destroy Enterprise and her sisters tomorrow they will have failed if they can’t kill us.”
The conviction in West Virginia’s words, especially given her typically mild manner, gave Javelin pause. She remained silent as a squadron of P-40’s flew by overhead, now a sight on the base almost as common as the flocks of seagulls. Far out to sea she could see Yamashiro and Fusou’s float planes returning from a scouting mission. The battleship continued.
“Those of us who didn’t perish in those fires are now stronger than they could possibly imagine. I went all the way across the country and back, met the people I’m defending. Colorado dismissed her entire crew in the wake of the attack and rebuilt herself with her own hands. Maryland hasn’t ceased sharpening her skills since that day. If she ever finds the ones who killed Oklahoma they’ll wish they were already dead. And I know I don’t need to speak for Pennsylvania and Tennessee.” As a group of three Fulmars rocketed out to sea to join in the scouting mission, West Virginia struck a harsh chord on her guitar. Javelin’s foot was tapping soon after.
Send them over the waves, her sentinels. They’re reporting the news, position of our foes. This battlefield’s been chosen, Thorson orders advance! Time to alert our sisters, they’re soon in range.
“Midway! We meet at Midway!” Javelin added happily, bobbing her head from side to side. The battleship threw her a favorable look and continued. A passing bulin stopped to sit and listen.
Call all women to deck, keep the fortress strong. Head out into the sun, descending on our foes. This is the crucial battle, in the heat of our war. To sail and sink our targets, out in the waves.
Display our might, order and chaos, battleships at war.
“We meet at Midway!”
We’ll win the fight, tactics are crucial.
“Naval war!” Cleveland cut in from the stairs as she and the Portland class sisters headed to the Sakura dorms to spend some time in the onsen.
Far from shore a Pacific war, Shells are raining from the skies. It’s a Dreadnought day, it’s our naval way, A blood-red sun is on the rise.
West Virginia wailed on her guitar for a few chords, allowing some of her pent up frustration and battle energy to seep into her music before transitioning to working her fingers along the strings individually. By the time she and Javelin repeated the chorus another couple of times and struck the final note, they’d garnered a small audience, including several manjuu, who dispersed or hopped away after polite applause. When they were alone again the battle partners looked at one another. The USS Minneapolis sounded her horn from the docks below, another weapon in Thorson’s arsenal.
“I think this is the beginning of something beautiful,” Javelin declared. West Virginia smiled thinly behind her collar.
“You’re my favorite tea-drinking Royal, that’s for sure.”
“Come on, sis. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day. Live just a little bit?” California insisted as she and Tennessee strolled along the beaches to the east of the docks. Since arriving at the base, the beach had become, unsurprisingly, California’s stomping ground. She strode through the shallows, kicking up the seafoam remnants of waves with her bare feet, her body clad in a dark blue bikini with gold trim. From her feminine hips hung a sheer shawl designed after her state’s flag, the bear and golden star accenting her behind.
“Easy for you to say. Tennessee doesn’t exactly have any beaches,” the elder sister replied.
“And since when did you care about your home state?”
“Then you have no excuse! Come on, Tenn; the water’s great!”
“We’re boats, of course it is,” she sighed, nevertheless caving and joining her sister, if only to stem the tide of good-mannered nagging. Her uniform vanished and was quickly replaced by PT shorts and her black sports bra. California groaned.
“You have absolutely no fashion sense, sis, you know that?”
“I’m a machine of war, Cali. I don’t need fashion sense.”
“Mhm, your partner doesn’t seem to mind admitting she’s more than a boat,” California countered coyly, pointing with discretion towards the dry sand of the beach and the tropical tree line just beyond. There sat Downes and Ooshio, the former having long discarded her jacket and oversized t-shirt.
“I’m going to have to talk to her about that,” Tennessee said quietly, seeing that Downes had managed to connect her studded leather collar to a bra in similar black material, complete with metallic studs along the straps and over her nipples. The battleship didn’t bother looking close enough to see if she’d changed her underwear to a similar material, or if she was just indulging in rank hedonism on some sort of brave whim. Regardless of her own thoughts on the matter, the ensemble was having the desired effect on its intended recipient. Tennessee watched with a hardened expression and clenched jaw as a flushed Ooshio ran her fingers tenderly over Downes’ exposed musculature, the Union destroyer leaning against a palm tree and her new girlfriend resting among the sand and grass. Despite the lewd situation the two of them were deep in discussion, with Downes waving her hands about animatedly. No doubt she was in the middle of one tale or another. Catching Tennessee’s eye, the ashen-haired girl waved from the shade, prompting Ooshio to look their way as well before promptly turning red again and burying her head in the crook of Downes’ neck.
“Aww, she’s so cute! And she was looking straight at your abs by the way,” California laughed. She didn’t know Downes well, but the young woman had always struck her as a dominant and protective type. “It’s a good match, don’t you think?”
“I think I need a new sparring partner,” Tennessee growled.
“That’s not fair, sis! She can have her fun and still train with you.”
“And what about you?” The elder sister pulled her cap over her eyes. “You have yourself someone to watch your back?”
“Other than you, you mean?” California smiled as a wave lapped at their bare ankles.
“Yes, other than me.”
“Yep, brand new ships too!” California insisted, pointing at the Houston and Minneapolis far out in the bay. Tennessee nodded.
“When are you going to talk to him, Tenn, seriously?” California’s tone grew worried. “If the worst happens-”
“There’s nothing to talk about, Cali!” Tennessee insisted sternly.
“You can lie to the others but not to me. I see right through you. I’m your sister,” the younger replied, holding Tennessee’s gaze.
“Look,” the battleships gaze out to the northern ocean. “If both of us survive tomorrow, there will be nothing that needs to be said.”
“Your state may not have beaches, but you’re more stubborn than a Tennessee mule,” California relented, throwing her hands up. “Oh well, I’ll just have to make sure you two hardheads live to tell the tale!”
“Just stay behind me, sis. Everything will be fine.” Tennessee wrapped her arm around California’s shoulder and pulled her closer. The sisters continued along the shoreline, silence supplemented by the song of gulls, the rustling of palm fronds, and the roll of the surf.
California smiled as she rested her head on Tennessee’s shoulder. “Yeah, we’ll be fine.”
As Z23 stumbled out of the conductive matrix, gasping for breath, a rush of relief and weakness washed over her. Her collapse was forestalled by Thorson’s arms. When the waters had risen above her head and her world went dark, horrific flashes of the past returned. His warmth banished them.
“Zed, you alright?” he demanded quietly. Their corner of the labs was deserted and quiet, with bulins occasionally entering through the main doors far at the other end to pick up ammunition or oil for the ships ready to sortie.
“It is done, mein Kommandant.”
“Shall we go see her?” Thorson suggested, relieved and pleased to feel the give of her body against his arms. The girl of skin and bones who he’d bathed weeks before was gone. Her cheeks were rosy, her hair had grown flaxen and lustrous, and her chest finally looked at home on her slim, fit frame.
“In a moment, Kommandant. I am still weak,” she explained as the Iron Cross of her rigging mark still glowed almost angrily with a bright blue light.
“No problem,” he smiled, pushing up quickly with his legs into a standing, bridal carry. Zed gasped and held on tight, finding her arms wrapped around his neck and her lips brushing against his fabric-covered clavicle. He could feel her exhale against his pulse point. Her lips followed after. When he glanced down at her, she craned her neck and offered him another kiss, which he accepted willingly.
“I would be loath to head into battle knowing Laffey and Javelin had received your affections in such a way without me,” she whispered as he carried her to the nearest door that led to the docks outside. Her words saw him halt and give her another, longer kiss. This one she was strong enough to receive and relish. Downes’ bravery had broken his resolve with regards to his more mature destroyers. The looming specter of death by kitsune was also a factor, if he was honest with himself. “Mein gott, Kommandant… I did not know you felt such-”
“I remember when you first came to us,” was all he said as he turned and pushed his back against the door and carried them out into the sunlight. A gleaming, sleek hull of Germanic make sat in the waters before them, devoid of any hint of siren taint. She was narrow enough to fire her torpedoes to starboard or port from two fixed quad torpedo batteries in the middle of her hull. To her stern sat depth charge launchers and other anti-submarine armaments common in the Atlantic, and her four 5.9 inch cannons completed the look. Placing Z23 on the docks, Thorson stood back as she activated her rigging and placed her hand against the cool steel. Atop her mast appeared an ancient flag, one Thorson only knew from his studies of the wars of the European continent, the North German War Ensign. “How long since that flag has flown?” he couldn’t help but wonder.
“1919, mein Kommandant,” she replied sadly. “That was the year my people’s spirit was broken. They still believe the Fuhrer commands them… we would never recover if they knew the truth.”
“About the sirens?”
“Ja, Kommandant. If it is too much I can-”
“I think it suits you far better than Akashi and Fusou’s splinter faction colors, Zed,” Thorson assured her.
“It is a shame that the Ironblood and Union were never allies. Such a force would be unstoppable,” Zed insisted quietly, her expression one of contemplation as opposed to practical conquest.
“Maybe that’s for the best then, at least until we face the sirens directly. I know we have to fight this battle first, but I haven’t forgotten what they did to you and the others. I’ll help them if I can, Lord willing.” Zed took his hand.
“Danke, for standing by me until I was ready to stand on my own again, Kommandant. You should go and be seen among the rest of your fleet. I will take her to sea and begin maintenance drills at once.”
“Don’t be late for dinner Zed, that’s an order,” Thorson commanded, removing her beret and ruffling her hair softly. She smiled and took her headgear from him before turning back to her reforged vessel.
“You may call me N-Nimi, if you wish. I would never deny your orders, Kommandant. I will be alright, I promise.”
“That’s what I’m counting on out there!” Maryland shouted, walking along the narrow strip of cement dock that separated the lab’s dry-dock from the building itself. She laughed at the expression on Thorson’s face. “Don’t worry, I didn’t hear anything. Two of you look cute together though. Commander, I’m going to spend some time getting to know my battle partner one on one. Do as she says and run along now?”
“You big seven are something else,” Thorson laughed, straightening his cap.
“And tomorrow you’ll be happy you have us, sir. See you for dinner. Let’s go, little one.”
“Of course, Maryland. Allow me to show you around my armaments, radar, and sonar,” Zed agreed with pride in her voice that could only be described as German, leading the battleship onward. Thorson was left behind to appreciate the ship as it let out a blast on its horn and took to the sea, the dry-dock filling itself thanks to the prompt action of the bulin crews. He didn’t know how to describe the worry in his chest, but he thought it might be something close to the sorrow of a father sending his son off to war.
“Godspeed, Nimi.”
“Tono-sama, it is good to see you,” Fusou said quietly from her seat atop one of the cushions on the sheltered deck that oversaw the rest of the onsen. She was quickly drowned out by Yuudachi and company, who reacted quite strongly to Thorson’s state of dress. The three destroyers were doing their nails along with their battleship counterparts.
“Yamashiro-san, I can smell him all over you, you know? And please stay still. Shikikan, can you not walk around with your chest out like that. It makes this difficult!” Shigure insisted as Yamashiro moved her fingers in an effort to turn at the waist and catch a glimpse of Thorson’s towel-clad figure. He nodded to his battleships.
“Just following Akashi’s rules, no shirt no shoes for me at least. Can’t just snap my fingers and summon a pair of swim trunks like you lot. This looks fun.”
“Arizona-san, not you too nanoda!” Yukikaze groaned, watching the Union battleship’s face soften and eyes sparkle as she let her gaze run over Thorson’s war-forged body.
“Oh my sweet little Yukikaze, when you’re grown and you find the right man you’ll understand too. Would you like a bow in white, red, or black? We have plenty of colors to choose from,” Arizona asked caringly. She brushed Yukikaze’s short, snowy hair as the Sakura destroyer sat between her legs, looking over silk ribbons to accentuate her look.
“Yukikaze the Great does not need a man, nanoda! But she would like this black ribbon please,” the kitten requested, holding out a black strip of fabric trimmed with white lace. Arizona leaned over and pecked the girl on her head, the teardrop hairpin she’d received from Yamashiro months before glinting brightly in the late afternoon sun. “He he heeee~” Yukikaze tittered, closing her eyes and relenting against the onslaught of Arizona’s kind attentions. Nearby, Yuudachi and Pennsylvania had no such compunctions.
“You thinking what I’m thinking, pup?”
“Meat. Tasty looking meat, wan~!” Yuudachi replied immediately, licking her chops as she and Penny looked at Thorson. Fusou couldn’t help a giggle as Thorson proved more adept at handling open affection from his ships than when he’d first opened up to the idea.
“I like the green. It matches your eyes,” he said to Pennsylvania before turning to Yuudachi. “And that’s quite the colorful ensemble you have there.”
“Do you like it, Shikikan?” The snow white inu asked happily, almost flashing the entire crew as she hopped up quickly, her breasts bouncing as she held out her nails for him to examine. They were a mix of pink and baby blue. On another girl they’d be gaudy, but they seemed to fit Yuudachi quite well. He gave her a firm pat between the ears.
“I do. It’s perfect for you. Glad to see you’re all making the most of this time. Now why don’t you finish up with Penny, yeah? She deserves to look good too, right?”
“Wan~! Pennsylvania-san, can we take him to bed together tonight?”
“Nope. If I’m spending a night with him he’s mine and mine alone. You work up the courage yourself if that’s what you want. Now get back here and paint my left hand, would you?”
“Okay! Maybe later, Shikikan!” Yuudachi told him, returning to her cushion and nail polish as Thorson allowed himself a relieved laugh and sat next to Fusou. She readily leaned against him and inhaled.
“Shigure is right, tono-sama. I can smell my sister all over you. It will take days to come off.”
“N-Nee-san!” Yamashiro squeaked as Shigure wiggled her armored ears.
“You should not have taken him so many times if you were going to be embarrassed about it,” Fusou replied serenely. “Though somehow I doubt he minded?”
“Way to put me on the spot, Fusou,” Thorson said quietly, wrapping an arm around her plush waist and making sure she knew he’d absolutely not had his fill of Fusou-class battleships in his bedroom. “For now I just want to make sure everyone’s alright.”
“See for yourself,” the shrine maiden insisted, gesturing to the pools beyond. The kitchen staff and other Asashio class sisters were clustered together in the water having a polite conversation. Ark Royal could be seen in a one piece suit, taking each of the flavored kittens for their turn at swimming. Mutsuki and Mikazuki were sitting at the side of the pool, splashing their feet in the warm water as Ark supported Kisaragi’s belly and instructed her in freestyle.
“She’s really good with them,” Thorson said quietly, unable to help but consider shipgirls as mothers. He’d already taken many as lovers; it was the natural progression of things.
“She is indeed. Tomorrow will be trying for them,” Fusou observed sadly.
“We won’t let them hit the island,” he promised, earning nods of approval from destroyers and battleships alike.
“Someone has to put Akagi and Kaga in their place,” Shigure insisted. “Their aims were noble, but they sacrificed too much, and were too willing to sacrifice others.” Following that surprisingly mature proclamation from the black dog morph, Yamashiro hugged her tightly.
“Have faith in tono-sama. He will see us through.”
“Not like I have much of a choice at this point. I defected to come find you, remember? With Yuudachi and Yuki gone that Sanctuary was awful. Now stay still please, so I can finally finish your fingers and we can move onto your toes. Oh don’t blush so much! I’m sure he saw your toes and a whole lot more when you two were breeding like cats!”
“Quiet with the little ones around,” Fusou insisted sternly with a whip of her thin, black tail.
“Haha, baka-inu,” Yukikaze teased, only to have Arizona pinch her cheek just hard enough to be uncomfortable.
“Bad kitty,” she chided softly. When Yukikaze’s lower lip began to quiver, Arizona took her into a surrounding embrace and kissed her ears. “There there, I still love you, little one. It’s just good to be polite to our friends. Here, let’s get this bow on so you can look your best for the battle tomorrow. There we go!”
Thorson gave them all a broad smile as order and peace was restored, with Yuudachi standing up to brush Penny’s hair. Even the usually stoic battleship seemed happy to indulge in her feminine side around him and her friends. He couldn’t help but point it out. “We’ve come a long way since that night you arrived here,” he told her. She nodded.
“And the journey has only begun, sir.”
“Hey Michishio, can we have meat for dinner?” Yuudachi wondered loudly. The shrine maiden’s manjuu chirped happily and she nodded. “Hooray! Wan~!”
“Yeah, would be a shame to have it all end now,” Thorson agreed.
Following a wonderful spread at dinner, testament to hard work by Fredrick and the girls, the base finally descended into peaceful tension. The afternoon’s frolicking gave way to training and meditation, with Downes, Tennessee, and many others sparring hand to hand around the Union dorm’s annex. Fusou, Yamashiro, and many other Sakura left for the shrine to pray to the gods for victory. Some shipgirls, like Minneapolis, simply headed out to their hulls, wanting to settle in before the battle. Knowing he was very unlikely to find sleep that night, Thorson headed back to the onsen. While the view of his girls in towels and bathing suits was certainly easy on the eyes, the sound of running water, the view of steam and lanterns in the night, and the softness of the cushions Akashi had provided all recommended the onsen as more than just a place to see and be seen. When he emerged from the men’s room he found a pair of white rabbit ears popping out from behind the rocks that lined parts of the onsen’s border.
“Hey Laffey,” he called quietly, smiling as they twitched and she turned to face him. She hummed and stood, completely unfazed as he looked at her naked body, glistening with water and moonlight.
“Commander has come to spend the night with his first love, yes yes,” Laffey declared, collecting her towel and flask. She tied it around her chest and concealed her matured form from him once more, proof of her retrofit. Silently she followed him up to the lounge area and promptly sat in his lap. After a swig, she offered him the flask.
“How could I ever forget my first ship,” he whispered, feeling the burn of warm bourbon slip down his throat. “This is it for tonight. We can’t be drunk tomorrow morning, or hungover.”
“Laffey understands well, yes yes. Commander yearns to defeat the evil foxes and their fleets. Laffey will assist.”
“Thanks,” he murmured, kissing the back of her head and leaning back against one of the pillars that held up the structure. Laffey took the opportunity to press herself back against him.
“Does Commander ever wonder why Laffey has not sought him out at night?” she asked, displaying a maturity he was unaware she possessed.
“Why, Commander?”
“That’s why,” he said quietly pointing to two figures that had just entered the onsen from the women’s showers. Javelin was gleefully leading Zed by the hand towards the warm water. As they approached, the former allowed her towel to fall away from her lithe, evasive body freely. She hopped into the water and sighed happily as it enveloped and soothed her. Zed was left standing nearby, holding her towel tightly to her figure. Thorson smiled thinly. “She’s come a long way.”
“Laffey loves Zed and Javey. She is afraid we will face Ayanami tomorrow, yes she is.” The bunny took another swig as Zed finally stepped into the pool, quickly removed her towel and dropped the rest of the way so as to not expose herself. Javelin laughed anew and hugged her, complimenting her on her bravery and figure before pointing to Thorson and Laffey. The Ironblood almost fainted on the spot.
“If we can avoid her, we will. You know I don’t want to kill them… not her at least,” Thorson promised. Laffey nodded.
“But she may try to kill Commander, and Laffey cannot have that, no no. This cannot be the last night Laffey sleeps together with Commander and her friends.”
“And who decided that?” he wondered, taking another swig. Without warning Laffey turned and kissed him hard, claiming her share of the alcohol before pulling away to look at him with sleepy, red eyes.
“Laffey decided when Zed decided to fight again, yes yes.”
“Mission accomplished,” Thorson sighed with relief, resting his head back against the wooden beam. Laffey nodded in agreement before returning to her position and taking another sip.
“Mission accomplished, yes yes. Laffey and her Commander have a new mission now. Laffey is stronger. Laffey is wiser. Laffey is drunker. Laffey is ready, yes she is.”
“Then I’ll be taking that,” Thorson declared, snatching the flask away, capping it, and tossing it towards a nearby kotatsu. Laffey didn’t have time to protest before both his arms wrapped around her. The trade was adequate, and by the time Javelin and Zed finished their soak and joined them she was fast asleep. A quick rearranging of cushions later, the three girls were snuggled soundly under a kotatsu along with Thorson. Though his nerves mounted and grew with each passing moment, the sounds of the island at night and the soft breathing of the girls who trusted him lulled his eyelids closed with the help of the bourbon. And so on the eve of Midway, even Andrew Thorson found sleep.
“Hey, nee-san?”
“What is it, Hiryuu?”
“Is it wrong that tonight feels… beautiful?”
“You aren’t often known for sentimentality, little sister.”
“Can’t help it. Tomorrow, no, it’s surely long after midnight. Today there will be fire, blood, and chaos. Today we finish what we started back in December. But for now, the moon is beautiful. Watching it set in the west as the sky begins to turn red in the east? There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now.”
“The world has seemed… brighter, these last few days. But do not allow it to cloud your focus. Ready your talismans and cards. This will be the greatest game of hanafuda we ever play.”
“I’m as ready as I’ve ever been, Soryuu-nee. We’ll secure victory for the Sakura today. We’ll fulfill our destiny!”
“Yes… yes we will.”
“The time for preparation is over. This is Akagi of the first carrier division! All carriers ready your aircraft. All ships prepare for battle! Our first target is the airfields at Midway.”
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Gary Neville reveals WHICH PL manager he would most like to play for  The Football Show PGA Tour Betting Odds & Picks - The Memorial Tournament Sky Sports Football - YouTube Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1 FV2 POWER HITTING FEATURE

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Gary Neville reveals WHICH PL manager he would most like to play for The Football Show

Iain MacMIllan is back to break down the PGA Tour odds for the Memorial Tournament, his five key stats for Muirfield Village Golf Club, and his top three golfers that he'll be betting on this week. Bankroll Management Sports Betting - Duration: 26:12. Run Pure Bets 1,884 views. 26:12. Data - The Most Important, but also the Most Stressful, Part of Sports Betting ... This is great content weather your learning the about the games, or if enjoy betting and winning. We offer daily game info everyday, with winning picks. We have a CURRENT RECORD page on our ... Sky Sports Football is the home of Sky Sports' football videos on YouTube featuring Premier League, EFL and International football highlights, as well as pos... Sky Sports Cricket Power Hitting Feature, 12/03/2016 Featuring Julian Wood.