Bed bath and beyond conroe tx

Bed Bath and Beyond

2016.04.07 20:15 sendmebearpics Bed Bath and Beyond

Stories and advice from Bed Bath and Beyond, plus other stuff. We don't care about stock stuff here

2021.01.14 22:39 zoomermoney BBBY

Stock talk about Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) and Buy Buy Baby. HODL.

2023.06.06 21:40 kimicky New releases June 6

MM Romance

Kindle Unlimited
Kobo Plus
  • We Could Be So Good: A Novel by Cat Sebastian - - (historical, boss's son, forbidden relationship) - 383 pages
  • All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim - - (contemporary, romcom, jock/nerd, famous actor mc) - 385 pages
  • King Hunt: A Marriage of Convenience Gay Romantic Suspense (Perfect Play #3) by Layla Reyne - - (series must be read in order, contemporary, established relationship, single dad who hasn't been single since book 1, marriage of convenience that's now real, law enforcement mcs) - 223 pages
  • Scion of the Morningstar: Why Choose Dystopian Romance MMM+ (Rise of the Fallen #2) by Lissa Kasey - - (MMM+, series must be read in order, fantasy, incubus mc, falling angel mc, magic) - 408 pages
  • Countries of Origin: A Novel by Javier Fuentes - - (contemporary, undocumented immigrant returning home, class difference, set in Spain) - 294 pages
  • Rules to Love By: Learning to Adult Together: A MM Romance (Bed, Breakfast, and Beyond Series #4) by Jaime Samms - - (contemporary, navigating dating together, found family) - 352 pages
  • Shadows of the Lost: An LGBTQ Fantasy Romance (Guild of Night #1) by Maxym M. Martineau - - (spin-off series, high fantasy, enemies-to-lovers, reincarnated/reanimated immortal assassin mc, possibly second chance, pining) - 382 pages
  • Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style: A Novel by Paul Rudnick - - (spans over 50 years, class difference, forbidden romance) - 365 pages

Other Queer Romance

Kindle Unlimited
  • Love in the Safe House (Love in Chaos #3) by Eve R. Hart - - (MMX, contemporary, non-binary hacker mc, asexual hacker mc, gym bro himbo mc, only one safe house) - 314 pages
  • ROUND TRIP by D.A. Hartman - - (FF, paranormal, suspense, author mc whose book characters' fates become those of real people, other mc's book character doppelganger is going to die in the book) - 336 pages
  • Love's Learning Curve by Lindsey Pennington - - (FF, contemporary, age gap, former student/teacher, small town, best friend's daughter, one mc still has a girlfriend at the start of the book) - 331 pages
  • The Alchemist's Rose by R.S. Parker - - (FF, contemporary, inheritance with conditions, pressured to marry, very scarred mc) - 203 pages
  • Keep Your Witches Close (Love & Magic #2) by Colette Rivera - - (FF, paranormal, one-sided-enemies-to-lovers, forced to work together, grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity, magic) - 307 pages
Kobo Plus
  • Love is All: Volume 6 by BL Maxwell, Chantal Mer, Susan Scott Shelley, Connor Peterson, Gabbi Grey, Nic Starr, Sean Michael, V.L. Locey, RJ Scott, Lee Blair, Xio Axelrod & Piper Malone - - (anthology, proceeds go to LGBTQIA+ organizations) - 706 pages
  • Pride Not Prejudice: A Romantic Charity Collection Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ Community by Amalie Howard, April White, Camille Duplessis, Cynthia St. Aubin, Darynda Jones, Erica Ridley, Hildie McQueen, Jade Lee w/a Kathy Lyons, Janna MacGregor, Jennifer Ashley, Mila Finelli, Kerrigan Byrne, Kim Loraine, Kristan Higgins, Mira Lyn Kelly, Piper Huguley, Robyn Peterman, Rosalind James, Ruby Dixon, Sara Ney & Clare Rebecca McCarthy - - (anthology, proceeds go to LGBTQIA+ organizations) - 1763 pages
  • Show Girl by Alyson Greaves - - (MM or MX or MF, I think one of the mcs is trans but their gender identity is unclear from the blurb, boss/employee, self-discovery) - 420 pages
  • Mortal Follies: A Novel (The Mortal Follies #1) by Alexis Hall - - (FF, historical fantasy, cursed mc, witch mc) - 400 pages
  • Best Worst Prize (Quaint City Sweet Romance #7) by Avery Morstan - - (FF, contemporary, enemies-to-lovers, winning a date together) - 79 pages
  • This Gilded Abyss by Rebecca Thorne - - (FF, fantasy, horror, enemies-to-lovers, second chance, bodyguard/charge, mystery illness) - 361 pages


MM Romance
  • Got Me Talking (Vet Shop Boys #7) by Casey Cox, narrated by John Solo - - (contemporary, sexuality awakening, age gap, unexpectedly meeting past hookup again) - 5 hrs 6 min
  • We Could Be So Good: A Novel by Cat Sebastian, narrated by Joel Leslie - - (historical, boss's son, forbidden relationship) - 11 hrs 46 min
  • All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim, narrated by Aaron J Albano - - (contemporary, romcom, jock/nerd, famous actor mc) - 9 hrs 43 min
  • Countries of Origin: A Novel by Javier Fuentes, narrated by Timothy Andrés Pabon - - (contemporary, undocumented immigrant returning home, class difference, set in Spain) - 8 hrs 29 min
  • Shadows of the Lost: An LGBTQ Fantasy Romance (Guild of Night #1) by Maxym M. Martineau, narrated by Mark Sanderlin, Nick Mondelli, Jess Nahikian & Jay Alder - - (spin-off series, high fantasy, enemies-to-lovers, reincarnated/reanimated immortal assassin mc, possibly second chance, pining) - 11 hrs 51 min
  • Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style: A Novel by Paul Rudnick, narrated by Daniel Henning - - (spans over 50 years, class difference, forbidden romance) - 14 hrs 18 min
Other Queer Romance
  • Mortal Follies: A Novel (The Mortal Follies #1) by Alexis Hall, narrated by Nneka Okoye - - (FF, historical fantasy, cursed mc, witch mc) - 11 hrs 49 min
submitted by kimicky to MM_RomanceBooks [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:39 s_h_a_n_n_n_0_n Starting to have flashbacks that I never had before. Did I block things out?

Why am I all of a sudden remembering what his bed looked like? I don't remember anything else just his bed and it's like my brain can't go beyond that. I never remember anything happening his the bedroom though, it was always in another room. :( I don't like this.
submitted by s_h_a_n_n_n_0_n to adultsurvivors [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:33 jupitercitylightss Purple Harmony Pillow Bed Bath And Beyond Coupon Code

Click the link for Purple Harmony Pillow Bed Bath And Beyond Coupon Code. Save some money by selecting one of the current promo codes or coupons on that page. That page is updated regularly with the latest coupons, promo codes, and deals. Take advantage of the discounts by selecting one to use.
submitted by jupitercitylightss to DealsJoy [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:22 Firm-Praline-2468 My grandfather was a crewmember on a cargo ship and saw what terrible secret the ocean was hiding all this time.

What do you think of when you hear the term ocean? Do you think of sitting on the beach, watching the waves hit the land and just feeling good? How you stand in the water and the tides gently enclose your feet and the sunlight reflects on the wide water surface?
Or are you thinking further ahead? Are you thinking about what is really beyond the shore? Are you thinking about what you can't see? Of what lurks deep in the absolute darkness of the sea?
I thought until recently that the ocean was a fascinating place. The sheer size made it, in my eyes, a wonderful place for sea creatures and a whole other world is down there that we can't see with the naked eye.
Originally, I was also planning on doing a job that had to do with the ocean. Not boring jobs like fisherman or captain of a cargo ship, but much more something along the lines of marine biology. After all, I wanted to explore things myself and not just swim around bored on them. I don't have to have a profession for that. I could do it that way, too. However, this desire disappeared long ago after I found the message of my recently deceased grandfather.
He was also a "sailor". At least that's what my parents always called his profession. At some point, he had suddenly stopped doing that and seemed extremely afraid of the sea. We suspected that his long working hours on the high seas simply had a negative effect on his psyche and caused an actually unfounded fear in him. He had also never explained to us why he was so afraid of the sea.
You must know that the house I live in is not a new house. It is the house of my great-grandparents. They built it and we have lived in it ever since. My mother, my father, my little brother and me. The original plan was that the house would be passed down from generation to generation. And we still had tons of old junk lying around in the attic that had probably already taken root there.
Anyway. My mother had persuaded my father to move out of this house. I didn't care if we moved out of that house, because our new house is closer to my friends and to my school. It would only make things easier for me but otherwise not change anything.
On the day of the move, I entered the attic and we moved some of the stuff stored there into the moving truck. My brother had just put away a bag of weird stuff and a small inconspicuous box caught my eye. Since I needed to know if the box and its contents were relevant to our move and should be saved, I opened it and looked to see what was inside. However, I could not find more than a dusty envelope.
Without giving it much thought, I opened it. When I read the first line, I was puzzled.
"My dear family, if you are reading this letter, either I have died or you have actually gone through with leaving this house..."
I didn't read any further, as the "dear family" confused me a bit. My eyes wandered to the foot of the letter. Signed by my grandfather was "Love, your grandfather."
I started to grin and looked behind me to make sure no one saw me. I suspected they were just my grandfather's farewell words prepared long before and wanted to be the first to read them. I folded the paper and put it in my pocket. I brought the rest of the things from the attic downstairs and we drove off to our new home. In the evening I fell into the bed that was in my new freshly decorated room, completely exhausted.
As I threw myself on the bed, I noticed the folded paper in my pocket. I pulled it out and noticed that it had become somewhat crumpled in my pants pocket over the course of the day. Fortunately, it was still easy to read everything. So no big deal. I rubbed my eyes again, yawned, and then turned my gaze to the unfolded page.
"My dear family, if you are reading this letter, either I have died or you have actually managed to leave this house. Or both.
I have left it up to fate when this information reaches the light of day. Once the information reaches the light of day, it should be ready to be received. I want to emphasize at the outset that none of what I am telling you here are figments of my imagination. I am tired of these confused looks from my children and I just need to somehow get rid of what happened to me. Writing this down currently feels like the only solution.
Where do I start? I was the assistant officer of a large transport ship in 1957. Our goal was to transport toxic substances such as sulfuric acid, cyanide, nitroglycerin and many other substances. We stored these substances in a special storage room on the ship, which could only be entered with protective suits. The cargo was very dangerous, so three times a day someone had to check the situation in this room. It had to be ensured that the substances did not come into contact with each other and that no substance escaped uncontrolled.
Although I was second officer, my help was seldom called upon because the chief officer always emphasized that he had everything under control. This did not bother me. On the contrary! It gave me the opportunity to perceive this transport as a real vacation. I could lean back and let the first officer do his job. And yet I still had authority over the rest of the crew. No, not that I would ever abuse the power I had. But I felt powerful nonetheless.
I spent most of my time in my cabin, attending to isolated crew matters, but otherwise didn't have much to do. I finished my daily work so early that I could relax early in the afternoon, and even before the night when everything went downhill, I went to bed early. I only got rid of my shoes. I left the rest of my uniform on. I closed my eyes and shortly thereafter sank into the realm of dreams.
I was rudely awakened by a member of the deck crew. He was visibly in stress. Bathed in sweat and with a worried expression on his face, he shook me awake.
"Wake up! There's an emergency!" he stuttered. I exhaled a little annoyed.
"How can I help you?" I said in a slightly annoyed voice.
"We're not alone on the ship. I went down earlier to check on the cargo. There I found that it had disappeared!" he explained in a somewhat shaky voice.
"When I tried to find a lead for the disappearance, I found a body in the canteen."
I looked at him in disbelief.
"You what? Show me that body immediately!"
I straightened up, put on my shoes and asked him to take me to the corpse in the canteen. Once there, I saw the body of one of the security men. His limbs were stretched out. He was lying on his back. His eyes were staring at the ceiling and his mouth was painfully wide open. It looked so unnatural. I checked the pulse and found that the sailor was right. He was dead. I tried to gather my thoughts and instructed him to sound the alarm.
After he disappeared, I checked the rest of the body. I saw deep scratches on the chest and a black liquid oozing from the body openings caused by the scratches. I did not dare to touch the liquid. Shortly after, the deck crew member came back, breathing heavily. He told me that he found the body of the chief officer on the command bridge when he tried to sound the alarm. Furthermore, he said, something had devastated the command bridge and disabled the alarm.
I asked him if he had sent out a distress call to surrounding ships while he was on the bridge. He replied in the negative. I got angry and yelled at him why he didn't do it right away when he was already there.
"Where is everyone else anyway?" I asked him as I grew louder, visibly overwhelmed with the situation.
"I'm sorry, officer. I was already on the lookout for other members of the crew. The doors of all the cabins were open as I made my way through the sleeping quarters. But nowhere could I spot anyone on the way to the bridge," the frightened young man said in a shaky voice.
"What's going on sailor! I demand answers!" I shouted at him.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what happened either. When everyone was already asleep I was simply completing my patrol when I noticed the missing cargo and the body. And then I immediately came to you because your cabin was the closest. I don't know what happened either." he answered me intimidated.
"Then we must assume that we are not alone. Someone must have stolen the cargo and caused the death of our comrades" I said while pulling my pistol from the holster on my belt.
"We go to the command center and send out a call for help. After that, we'll go to a lifeboat until we know what's going on."
The young sailor nodded, slightly uncertain. We walked toward the top deck and finally arrived at the hatch. I lifted the hatch a bit and peered outside. It was pitch black and extremely quiet. The lights on the deck were off. I heard nothing except for the restless waves of the ocean crashing against the wall of our ship. I squinted my eyes, hoping to make out anything, and I could dimly make out a human-looking figure that seemed to have its back turned to us.
Relieved, I was about to open the flap when the figure turned its head to the side and I noticed the extremely wide open mouth of the creature, which was equipped with strange protuberances, one of which I thought was the tongue. At that moment, I can tell it like it is, I almost shit my pants. I was shaking all over and felt like my heart was stopping.
"What's going on officer?" asked the sailor.
"There's something out there!" I whispered in a frantic voice and immediately closed the hatch again.
"We don't enter the command bridge through the main entrance by the top deck, but through the stairs behind the cabins. There's something up there and I'm not going out there under any circumstances," I explained to the sailor.
"What's out there, officer?" the sailor asked in an anxious voice.
"I'll explain as soon as we're safe," I replied, stuttering slightly.
We were making our way to the command bridge when we heard footsteps in the immediate vicinity. And they were getting closer. I wanted to be careful after seeing that thing on the top deck and peeked cautiously around a corner. My breath caught in my throat when I saw what was below deck with us. A strange creature that had taken over the human body of a comrade was walking in this guise towards the canteen and thus, fortunately, past us.
The creature had a human body, but its eyes were blacker than night, on the neck of the human body it had gills, and on its hands it had webbed fingers and regular claws. The mouth also had these disgusting protuberances and the tongue was considerably long. The skin was chalky pale and this strange black liquid was dripping from this thing onto the floor. Along with the footsteps, the thing was making sounds that sounded like a cat hissing. I tried to stay calm and we stayed still and quiet until we couldn't hear the thing anymore.
We then crept to the command bridge and carefully locked the door behind us so that the thing could not follow us. I immediately went to the radio to send a call for help. I paid no major attention to the officer's body.
"Hello? This is Deputy Officer Harper reporting, we need assistance immediately. We found bodies aboard the ship. One in the mess hall and one here on the command bridge. We..."
But at that moment, the lights went out, as did the radio, and my heart began to beat faster. Something had cut the power. My eyes wandered to the sailor who was looking at me worried and scared.
"It's all right sailor, they've probably still heard the most important part. We'll just get to the lifeboats and then everything will be fine," I said in a calm voice, even though I was freaking out inside. I took a deep breath, knowing that we would now have to go outside to get to the lifeboats. We suddenly heard a bloodcurdling scream that I guessed was coming from the lower levels of the ship, and it was clear to me that whatever was on the ship could not have been human.
I opened the door a crack and peered out. I couldn't see anyone. Presumably the things had mostly retreated inside the ship. I made my way outside and pointed my pistol in all directions. Nothing.
I instructed the sailor with a wave of my hand to come out and follow me. He followed my instruction and we tiptoed to one of the lifeboats. But there I remembered that lowering the lifeboats makes a big noise. I instructed him to get into the boat and when he had both feet in the boat, I lowered the boat down. As the boat approached the surface of the water, I heard the screaming again. This time louder and closer and I realized that they had noticed us.
Without hesitation I jumped over the railing into the lifeboat which was about halfway to the surface. Just as I landed on the boat I heard the screaming from above and the windows as well. It was a miracle that my landing in the lowered lifeboat did not seem to have any serious consequences for the boat. The sailor helped me up and we saw the creatures pressing their ghastly grimaces against the window panes and trying to break the glass with their bare hands. When I looked up, where the screaming was also going on, I saw two of the things climbing on the railing and getting ready to jump.
I raised my pistol and fired a few shots at the creatures. The first shot hit one of the creatures in the head, whose lifeless body detached itself from the railing and fell next to us. At that moment our boat reached the surface of the water and we immediately loosened the chains that lowered it and began rowing for our lives. A few of the creatures broke through the glass and crawled through the broken windows.
But we had already been able to put distance between us and the ship as the waves came to our aid somewhat. I breathed a sigh of relief in the hope of having escaped, but when I turned around the sailor looked at me with a broad smile. His eyes were black and gills had formed on his neck. I backed away, startled. He jumped at me and we started a scuffle on the small lifeboat. I tried to grab my gun, but the thing had learned and tried to snatch it from me. A few scratches it landed on me. Thanks to my martial arts training, I managed to overpower the thing, level my weapon, and kill it with a well-aimed shot to the head. Shaking and exhausted, I fell to the ground as the shot cleared and the thing tumbled over the edge of the boat into the sea.
I felt a nauseous feeling come up inside me. I threw up into the ocean and I could feel myself slowly going black. I was about to lose consciousness. I can't quite describe what happened next. It may have been my imagination, because I was about to faint. But shortly before I lost consciousness, I could see two huge white eyes in the water, which opened under the water surface and looked directly at me. Those eyes were gigantic and looked somewhat reptilian. My eyes went black.
I awoke on another ship and received medical attention. When I regained consciousness, the officer of the ship asked me what had happened. I tried to explain it to them. But he just looked at me in confusion and explained that his crew had already searched the ship and they didn't find anyone there. I know I didn't imagine any of this. The scratches I still had were real.
I made this clear to the officer, who looked at me with a very serious look.
"Whatever you saw on the ship. You will tell no one about it. Do I make myself clear Officer Harper?!"
I just nodded. I realized that the officer on the other ship knew something I didn't. I was taken home and made to understand once again that I was not to tell anyone about this incident. This time when I asked why not, the officer stopped, turned his head to me and said in a calm voice, "You saw it yourself."
After that, two of the men took me off the ship. Since the time I am writing all this down, it has been many years and by the time anyone reads this I will probably be dead and then it won't matter if anyone reads this.
So dear family. I know Anthony likes to deal with the ocean, but if you find this letter before he does, which I assume you will, try to talk him out of it. The ocean is an evil place we know too little about.
And I myself would call myself a strong man. And yet it took me years to come to terms with what I saw.
You are now warned. With love, your grandfather."
Thereupon his letter ended. An extreme uneasiness spread through me and I could not believe what I was reading. I think it is unnecessary to mention that I did not sleep that night and also the following nights it was difficult for me to fall asleep. I decided to keep the letter a secret and not show it to my parents. I didn't want to scare them. The dream job of a marine biologist was also out of the question.
Even though what my grandfather experienced at that time seems surreal to me, I see no reason not to believe him. The ocean is a place that is extremely little explored, so I do not think something like this is unthinkable. I believe that my grandfather was telling the truth here and therefore I would like to publish his letter to warn all people about the depths of the ocean.
You never know what might lurk beneath the surface of the water.
submitted by Firm-Praline-2468 to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:21 Money-Maker111 💙 BBBYQ 💙 Upcoming Apish Price Action: and another investable Statistical Glance. SEE IT:

💙 BBBYQ 💙 Upcoming Apish Price Action: and another investable Statistical Glance. SEE IT:

Technicals - Fundamentals - Statistics


As I demo'd last month, sometimes a technical expectation, fundamental analysis, and statistical sample of a correlation [if properly-backed by a 100% success rate in the underlying causation] does properly-predict a future result. $BBBYQ saw a mild 743.75% growth for $BBBYQ on its initial leg1 ($.3570 / $0.048). Yet, the noteworthy/substantial portion of that move came two days earlier (May 9th) than I statistically-anticipated (May 11th): $BBBYQ grew by 489.58% during that expected time.
Yet, data adds merit, right now, to the foundation being established for a newfound, 'Leg 2' runup to begin:

1. New Technicals

What is Fibonacci saying here? regarding the continuous move all the way from $0.048 to $0.357 (the acute 644% gain), profit taking of short-term partiers was expected. A weak 38.2% retrace of that continuous move (which would imply a strong macro bull trend) brought us to $0.239.
Clearly, the Fibonacci retracement is completed: consolidation is healthy in this case. Thus, the macro 'Apish' uptrend can continue.
Zooming out, the price is on the precipice of overtaking the 50 day average price:

As the price overcomes the 50 day average (purple), the price will drag up the 50 day average until it interacts with the 200 day average, which is currently over $3.50 per share. In that case, the 50 day could cross the 200 day, creating a golden cross pattern.

2. Updated Fundamentals

Ryan Cohen's Teddy is showing signs of having the same products as Bed Bath and Beyond
Further, as is normally the case in restructuring court, creditors must be satisfied before shareholders can receive anything, as creditors (institutions) have priority. BBBYQ's top 30 unsecured creditors, shown in Docket 607, include a mix of companies and mostly trade creditors (suppliers and long-term business partners) rather than financial services firms: this here reduces the risk of potential negative interference from bad actors for a buyer who could reduce debt by negotiating with trade creditors who have a long-term interest in Bed Bath's relationships. A good deal for unsecured creditors could involve swapping debt for newly issued securities, potentially representing BBBYQ's post-restructuring operation and/or a spun-off BuyBuy BABY.
This type of deal would benefit current shareholders, as this increases the likelihood of returning value from the acquisition, and likely triggering a Short Squeeze. BBBYQ's top 30 unsecured creditors list is, right now, very encouraging for potential acquisition negotiations, and an overall profitable outcome for shareholders.
And in other news, the Stalking Horse Bidder deadline is this Thursday, June 8th, 2023. We would likely get word of some kind about who is buying up the company and/or its BuyBuy Baby assets.

3. New statistical analysis with a commonly known pattern
Now that the illicit, hedge-fund orchestrated pumps of TOP/HKD are shown to be behind us (the latest HKD pump to push $BBBYQ down was Friday June 2nd, which serves as another data point), I can reapply a new data point and see when we should see a runup for $BBBYQ.

Now 5 data points with 100% success rate. hkd/bbby pairing shows new arithmetical mean: 8 trading days (bars) rather than 9.

The arithmetical mean shows a price gain by Wednesday, June 14th. By applying 2.576x standard deviations to the right, the 99% confidence level shows a substantial gain for $BBBYQ would occur by Friday, June 16th.


  1. Technicals: Fibonacci retracement completed from $.357 to $.24. Healthy consolidation is now in the past, and the green uptrend is now resuming. 200 Day price average is $3.50 per share.
  2. Fundamentals: Ryan Cohen's Teddy has trademarked for bed and bath products. Current creditor situation is providing a positive outlook for shareholders to be paid. Stalking Horse deadline for bidders for Bed Bath and Beyond and/or its assets/shareholders is Thursday (this week).
  3. Statistical Analysis: The new, refined statistical analysis (100% success rate) shows that $BBBYQ's share price will go up, substantially, before Friday, June 16th.
submitted by Money-Maker111 to WallStreetbetsELITE [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 21:18 ochuuu [Listing] 1br 2 month sublet in Williamsburg Apartment

Subletting my room in a 3 bedroom 1 bath apartment in south Williamsburg for 2 months (June 22nd - August 22nd). I've already paid rent till June 22nd so you can move in as early as June 12th for free.
(Female only) Will be sharing with two female roommates who are grad students.
Price: $795 (not joking) room is small but livable. Comes furnished with a bed, mattress, and clothing rack if you'd like. Right next to MJ lines, G and L are close by.
Message only with serious inquiries, proof of employment, guarantor, etc must be ready ASAP.
submitted by ochuuu to NYCapartments [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 20:46 henrietta-the-spy Sneaking drinks at the zoo

This weekend I grabbed a bottle of liquor on my way to the zoo for absolutely no reason. Boredom? Depression? I’ve been in a fog lately: lost all motivation to exercise / eat healthy, impulsively spending beyond my means, hating the body I see in the mirror. If I couldn’t laze in bed all day, then fuck it: let’s drink.
I drank alone on the bus ride to the zoo. Met up with friends who immediately knew something was wrong — initially, I didn’t care to put on the shining, smiling veneer that I’m known for. I proceeded to dip into the bathrooms all day for drinks between exhibits, kept wandering off by my lonesome to mournfully gaze at monkeys because “my friends will have more fun without me.” Just really feeling sorry for myself. I’m embarrassed.
I wasn’t hungover the next day. I didn’t black out or act sloppy. I didn’t even feel drunk, so what’s the point, you ask? Me too. All it did was help me further disassociate from my life and sleepwalk through a day with friends.
The break in my sobriety was uneventful and drama-free, yet I feel so dirty my skin crawls. I’m a liar; my sneaky little pants are on fire. The guilt and shame was enough motivation for me to get on my bike the next day, first time in a month. I exercised. I tackled important chores I’ve been procrastinating. I’m at the gym holding back tears on the elliptical as I type this.
Do I want a cookie? I’m not allowing myself to be proud of this. It’s a W achieved through deceit. I lost my wallet on that first motivational bike ride, which is historically my “karmic sign from the universe” that my self-care efforts are in vain, I should resign myself to the black hole, see now Henrietta why do you even try? I can’t stop focusing on the weight gain and contemplating fasting as a form of punishment, which I know is unhealthy. I wish I was as kind to myself as I am to others.
I dunno man. My unbreakable cycle. I’ll grind on this motivation til it has run its course, then fall to shit again, probably. I’ll continue to take my meds and see a therapist all the while, though my psych team is currently unavailable for these next 2 weeks, so thanks for letting me babble here.
Disappointed and lacking a whole lot of faith in my future, but IWNDWYT. Love to you all.
submitted by henrietta-the-spy to stopdrinking [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 20:41 blushingbags Roses, cream, vanilla and suede: A Possets Review (8 Fragrances)

Hi all! This is my first review as I've dived into this addicting world of indie fragrance. I hope you find it helpful - CCW too! I'll be rating it on a scale of 1-5; 1, I'll destash and 5 is a definite full-size purchase. I literally just received these samples yesterday so I can't quite speak to the longevity yet except for one that I am wearing today. I'll try each one for all-day wear but I was too excited to post my review.
A little bit about me: I'm always on the hunt for the perfect smell-like-a-rose scent. You know how in romance novels the main heroine is described with "a trace of roses follows as she walks by" or something ridiculously romantic like that? That's what I aspire to. But I also want to be the witch in the story - dark and sultry and mysterious and probably a badass. Think of patchouli and incense - I love that stuff. A little sweet, a little spicy. I'm not crazy about too sharp scents or on the flip side, powdery dusty scents. I want to feel transported or transformed when I wear perfume.
Isabella - Notes of rose are combined with a light resin, white tea leaf, and a rare honey/milky-musk. I purchased this sample because I saw a high review of it from u/Zaltara_the_Red in her rose spreadsheet. Do you want to smell like a lovely little cabbage patch doll? Then this perfume is it for you. It's creamy and sweet first, then rosey. It's really delicate and soft. It's the perfume I decided to wear today for longevity. It's faded into something even softer but still there. Like skimming a rose across your nose, setting it down, and taking a sip of tea. It slightly reminds me of Rose Jam by lush but without the sticky sweetness of Rose Jam. It's very feminine, not overpowering with roses (I could probably actually use a little more rose). I love it. 5/5 will full-size this.
Beatrice - Skin musk, 2 white musks, "Crystalline" musk, and grey musk. In the bottle and wet on the skin, it reminds me of a day at the beach. The smell of freshly applied sunscreen with a hint of shea butter. (I'm still learning these notes but I'm guessing it's the white musk.) It faded into something a little more mature. I think this perfume could have used a kick of spice, but it is pleasing to smell. Golden and soft. 3/5 I think if you love beachy smells without the coconut, you'll enjoy this one.
Dance with Me - A superb coumarin-laced lavender combines with fizzy pink grapefruit, and it all rests on a bed of white musk. SO MUCH GRAPEFRUIT. Do you remember that Grapefruit perfume by Bath and Body Works? This is it right off the top. Fun fact, I used to wear that B&BW scent in my early 20s and it was like a man-magnet. I'll try Dance with Me one day to see if it has the same effect in my 30s now ha ha. I did not get any lavender or coumarin, and to be honest, I had to Google coumarin ("freshly mown hay"). I'll be interested to see if any other notes come through more as it lasts on my skin. It seemed to fade quickly. I liked it, not sure if I'd wear it as a signature scent though now. 2/5 mostly because I think I've outgrown it but maybe I'll boost my rating after a full-day wear.
Lavender Corset - Lilac, musk, versatile, feminine, clean, sophisticated, long lasting, cooling, summer scent. Guys, this was pretty close to that romance novel scent I'm chasing. I felt like I smelled like a garden. Side note: I love lilacs. For three years, I have tried planting lilacs in my yard but they die each time so if you have any gardening tips, throw them at me. Back to it - I have tried Just Lilacs scents before, and the lilac is strong in this one (iykyk). Lilac is at the forefront of this perfume and then it is followed by light musk. It is indeed clean and feminine. Con: it is a sharp scent. It faded into something a little softer, but it had me wondering "Do I like this? Is it still too sharp?" so it will require more testing. You would really have to be a fan of floral, feminine scents. It was not powdery, which is a plus in my book. 3.5/5 maybe a 4 depending on all-day wear.
Queen of the Night - A deeply perfumy blend with a deeply foody core. If your goal is to smell like a kitchen witch, try it. It is very perfumy. Toffee syrup, a little nutty. It's like eating pancakes smothered in syrup on a crisp September morning. This is a really nice fall scent IMO. It's really warm and cozy and feels a little bit like I'm being enveloped by a cozy cottage kitchen witch. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of witch I'm vibing to be. 1.5/5.
My Love Like is a Red, Red Rose - A very comforting, sweet, and almost sugared rose--not sharp at all. Floral. As I said before, this is one of my "maybe this is ~the rose~ scent that becomes my signature." Alas, it will not be. It is sweet. The rose note is stronger than Isabella. Although at the cost of it not being sharp, the softness is powder as opposed to cream/sugar. Kinda dusty. Mature. Meh. 1/5.
Amethyst - A sharp amber to start combines with a smoother and more caramel-like amber and a great shot of lavender on top of it all. This was one of the freebies sent to me. As it described, it's a sharp amber. Kind of like a punch in the face at first. Then the caramel comes out to smooth out the sharpness. Unfortunately for me, the lavender seems like a weak shot. It's somewhere hanging in the back but I have to search through the amber. It is very amber-heavy. It gets softer as it lingers on my skin, but I guess I learned I really don't enjoy amber. 1/5
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba - Mysore sandalwood, suede, frankincense, patchouli, 4 vanillas. This was the second freebie. I was honestly so surprised by this one, in a good way. So another fun fact about me is that I ride horses. Western. Barrel-racing. And smelling this perfume, I was the Queen of Sheba arriving in the middle of a Western movie scene. The suede is a twang that is calmed by sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla. The vanilla is a strong backdrop of the perfume. It fades and the suede comes through. Like the leather of a saddle. Surprisingly, and because I wouldn't say vanilla is my vibe, I liked it. I would try this for a day to see how it lasts. 4/5
And that, my friends, is my first review! I'm still learning so I hope it was helpful. I have a larger sample order of BPAL arriving soon so I'll post my review of those too. I also have one lone order from DeathandFloral (Rose Seltzer) that I'll throw in a review of with the BPAL.
Do you have any of these scents? What do you think?
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2023.06.06 20:33 medhern Mortgage/Housing Questions

I am a single, 23yo 2LT who will be PCSing to Fort Sam Houston for graduate school in SEPT. I am currently looking for a place to live near the school house and came across a great condo for $117,000.
I was approved for a VA mortgage for 250k at 6.75% APR as I was originally planning to buy a house, but since I will only be in the Ft Sam Area for 1-1.5 years before clinicals I don't see it worth the investment. The monthly payment would come out to roughly $1100/month, which is a lot for a 1 bed x1 bath but I do not mind paying that high monthly cost if I could rent it out at some point after I complete schooling.
My question is, since I am now looking for a condo, should I re-apply for a different mortgage at a potentially lower rate or just stick with the rate I received? Is a condo worth it in my situation or should I bite the bullet and take on rent with roommates? The program will be intense and I would prefer to live alone to focus on studying. Any advice is appreciated. I would really like to start real-estate investing and think a condo would be a good place to start.
submitted by medhern to MilitaryFinance [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 20:17 Joadzilla The alt-right economy is failing. Here’s the real performance of anti-woke entrepreneurs
In commenting on Bob Iger’s defense of Disney’s values and brand in the face of threats from Florida Governor DeSantis, Nike CEO John Donahoe said, “I think Bob’s doing a great job at this. If it’s core to who you are and your values, then you stand up for your values.”
That spirit has been rewarded by the free market. Across many fronts, we have shown in quantitative analysis of business performance that doing good for society is not at the expense of doing well for shareholders, with clear examples ranging from Russian business exits to public engagement on voting rights.
Yet still, grandstanding political ideologues are using opportunistic attacks on iconic U.S. enterprises to showcase their own nascent anti-ESG businesses, and reportedly build a “parallel economy” catering to conservative constituencies. But far from flourishing, an objective review of the facts suggests these anti-wokester jokesters are financially foundering.
One little-known index fund provider, the American Conservative Values ETF (ACVF), recently received a flurry of media attention for boycotting Target over what they described as its “pandering to the woke agenda,” confidently declaring that their boycott of Target will ensure “Target stock’s long-term performance will suffer.”
Target stock is down, but in reality, the fund’s total holdings of Target amount to just $100,000–equivalent to the revenue that Target nets every 20 seconds. In fact, ACVF’s total assets under management are a rather measly $40 million–and many of their other “boycotted” companies–including iconic All-American enterprises such as Apple, Microsoft, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Disney, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, and JPMorgan–have performed quite well since being targeted by ACVF. Delta is up 10% this year, American is up 15% this year, Microsoft and Apple are both up over 40% this year and Salesforce is up 60%. Thanks in part to missing out on these top-performing stocks, ACVF is underperforming the S&P 500 by over 2% this year through June 1. No wonder even politically conservative investors stay away from these anti-woke ETFs.
ACVF’s struggles rather pale in comparison to those of its much larger and better-known rival, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s Strive Asset Management. We have contacted both firms about our findings by phone and email, but their representatives directed us to figures published on their respective websites, which we checked–and double-checked.
The business models of both Strive and ACVF are similar: They construct exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, for mom-and-pop retail investors to passively track a basket of stocks, matching rather than trying to beat the broader market. Unlike hedge funds, these ETF providers do not care if the stocks go up, down, or sideways–rather, they get their money from fees charged on anyone who has their money in a Strive ETF. Most ETFs are very low-fee products–but the anti-woke ETFs come at a premium. BlackRock ETFs, for example, usually charge around 0.03% fees. Strive’s fees are comparatively higher at up to 0.41%–but nothing compared to ACVF’s 0.75% fee.
To survive over the long run, these nascent ETF providers need to continually attract new money from mom-and-pop investors. And that is exactly what it appears they are struggling to do. All the evidence, out in the open, shows that Strive has had a hard time attracting additional investor inflows beyond its original anchor investors after the launch of its ETFs last year. Its assets under management appear to have stagnated despite Ramaswamy’s loud media presence.
For example, its largest flagship ETF, the Strive US Energy ETF (DRLL), has almost exactly the same amount of assets under management (AUM) as of June 1, $320 million, that it did when it was launched in August/September 2022, and its AUM is down nearly 25% from the start of this year.
Fully half of Strive’s eight current ETF products–including the Strive 1000 Growth ETF, the Strive 1000 Value ETF, the Strive 1000 Dividend Growth ETF, and the Strive Small-Cap ETF–have less than $12 million assets under management each, which is microscopic relative to the industry standard–and less than the average compensation of a single major CEO at most companies.
Thus it is hardly surprising that some of the most admired CEOs are flippantly swatting away Strive’s attempts at “activism.” Ramaswamy has become the court jester of corporate governance. The mere mention of his name brings anything from smirks to outright gales of laughter amongst some corporate audiences.
One hopes that Strive is not on a path to fail as badly as some of Ramaswamy’s previous ventures, such as Axovant, a Ramaswamy-founded company whose stock price plunged from $200 to 40 cents, or Campus Venture Networks, Ramaswamy’s much-hyped undergraduate startup which, despite his self-aggrandizement, he apparently sold for just a few thousand dollars, if his tax returns are correct. Even one of Strive’s biggest financial backers, Bill Ackman, is apparently embarrassed and rushing to disavow Ramaswamy. Meanwhile, Strive is reduced to seeking “consulting contract” handouts from friendly politicos. Perhaps this helps explain why Ramaswamy is running his longshot Presidential campaign: Nothing turns around sagging business fortunes quite like a new burst of free publicity!
It is not only in high finance that these “parallel economy” startups are flailing. Attempts to build a new alt-right media ecosystem are similarly landing with a thud.
Perhaps most infamously, Donald Trump’s much-hyped Truth Social alt-platform has imploded in value, with its SPAC packaging (ticker DWAC) shares falling from $95 to $13 even as the former president flails away on this otherwise quiet platform. Alt-right social media rivals such as Gab and GabPay are struggling to gain traction, begging for donations through crowdsourced funding, while provocateur Alex Jones and his Infowars declared bankruptcy after a record $1 billion verdict for the Sandy Hook families. More prominently, One America News has now been dropped by every major cable operator, partially driven by low audiences, while its behemoth rival Fox’s struggles are just beginning after the record $787.5 million Dominion settlement–with its board reportedly becoming weary of deviating too far from the mainstream.
Efforts to expand the alt-right parallel economy across digital services and even physical goods are running straight into the ground as well. Virtually all major retailers from Bed Bath & Beyond to Walmart to Kohl’s to Costco have cut ties with Mike Lindell’s MyPillow, which just months ago closed its last in-person retail mall store while losing $100 million, according to Lindell himself. Former Trump personnel director Johnny McEntee’s project–an alt-right dating site, “The Right Stuff”–has been lambasted even by its core constituency, with its mostly men frustrated by the lack of women users, and its seed funding from Peter Thiel is reportedly scheduled to run out in the next few months.
To a hammer, everything looks like a nail; and the exertions of some anti-woke activists in extrapolating politicized rhetoric into the economy can stretch into caricature. Strangely, the struggles of the nation’s regional banks, such as SVB, Signature, and First Republic, were superstitiously blamed on “wokeism” and the facts–that these less diversified banks were unprepared for the Fed’s interest rate hikes and that larger, equally “woke” banks were better insulated from these interest rate swings–were ignored. This month, even the conservative New York Post was bewildered by the sudden ire this month of anti-wokesters targeting the privately owned, very spiritual, Christian values-guided restaurant chain Chick-fil-A because, years ago, they promoted a longstanding internal HR executive to oversee diversity and equal opportunity.
Despite positioning themselves as reverent guardians of free markets against government and social overreach, many anti-wokester jokesters seem to have forgotten the most basic requirement of capitalism: to make a profit. Ironically, the free market delivers the most condemning verdict of all. The favorite “woke” targets of anti-ESG activists continue to soar to record economic heights, effortlessly shrugging off anti-woke attacks.
Clearly, despite all the hype and drama, there is little financial threat to mainstream business posed by the anti-woke economy. It’s not a genuine parallel economy–these are scattered cases of ideological grifters and struggling entrepreneurs. Their real talent seems to lie in fast-talking media platforms into giving them an undeserved platform to unfairly target iconic pillars of U.S. enterprise. But as these anti-wokester jokesters struggle to gain financial traction, the numbers will continue to disprove their claims.
submitted by Joadzilla to gamefaqs261 [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 20:01 Objective_Young259 Bath/bed time

I babysit two boys (4 & 6) occasionally. They are well behaved until it’s bath time. I give them a bath together (suggested by the mom), but once it’s time for them to get out they are wild. They don’t listen, and will just lay on the floor and not move. Then neither of them will put on their pyjamas, and they just start screaming and running around and it’s quite difficult to get them in to bed.
My first solution is to stop bathing them together, but I’m worried the same thing will happen once they are out of the bath. I remind them of their routine and always let them know what’s coming next (for example, dinner time and then ice cream and then two episodes of a show, bath time, story time, and finally bed).
Does anyone have any tips for this kind of situation?
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2023.06.06 19:52 hamcicle Bed Bath & Beyond in talks to sell Buybuy Baby to Go Global Retail - WSJ

Bed Bath & Beyond in talks to sell Buybuy Baby to Go Global Retail - WSJ submitted by hamcicle to BBBY [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 19:46 Mistopher65 Looking for Roommate

I’m looking for a roommate for 2 bed/1-2 baths in the area close to the loop or by a metro stop close to the loop (river north, Gold Coast, west loop, west town, maybe wicker park). My budget is ~$1600 per person, so $3200 total. Trying to start lease 7/1 or 8/1.
Little about me, new grad moving from Virginia for a finance job. 23 years old. Gay male so I’m good living with whatever gender. I tend to be fairly clean but am also pretty lax as long as dishes are done. Plan on joining the gay rugby team in the fall and otherwise spend my time on video games, going out, consuming media, and going to the gym. Working a hybrid 3:2 schedule. 420 friendly as long as it’s out a window (I mostly prefer edibles).
I’ll be going out a lot to events and random things to meet people and explore the area the rest of the summer. I’m fairly social and would love someone to go out/explore with, leave a comment or pm if you think we’d be solid roommates.
Also I already have an agent and access to MLS (so I’ve already found a few places) and will be in Chicago touring them next week if potential roommates are there and wanna come.
submitted by Mistopher65 to chicagoapartments [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 19:36 RowBowBooty Someone keeps airdropping me photos of myself.

My nightmare started when I woke up on a park bench in Omaha, Nebraska. My original travel plans were much more adventurous, but most of the vacation fund dried up after the company’s CFO found me in his car…with his wife. Turns out she wanted to get caught, to make him jealous or something.
That is how, for reasons not totally beyond my control, I ended up summering in Omaha instead of Oahu. But hey, at least they have great fried pickles. I spent most of my time their napping, and that was what brought me to the park bench.
I woke up to a bird on my shoe. He was pecking away at the residual crumbs of what may or may not have been fried pickles.
“Hey little guy,” I said, smiling down at my visitor. He wasn’t a bird of paradise, but at least he liked me. Then the crumbs ran out, and he didn’t like me so much anymore. “Fuck you, too!” I shouted as he flew away, off to go play with some other man’s heart no doubt. Just as I was about to settle back in to my midday nap, I felt my phone buzz.
Finally, I thought. Someone to talk to. I was getting sick of just swiping through my home screen pages every time I wanted to look busy, but when I pulled my iPhone out, I found something even more surprisingly than a text from a friend or loved one. It was an airdrop:
ANONYMOUS would like to share some photos.
Decline Accept
I looked around. There were people near me, but most of them weren’t young enough to know how to airdrop something, and no one was using their phone. I accepted.
“What the hellll?” I let out before a chuckle. The first picture was of me, slumped over on the park bench, sleeping with my mouth open. I was instantly filled with embarrassment and wonder. On the one hand, it’s pretty depressing to see yourself sleeping in an unflattering position and I had a triple chin thing going in the photo. On the other hand, I couldn’t deny that it was pretty funny.
I looked up, hoping to catch someone giggling or at least staring in my direction, but I couldn’t see anyone who gave the slightest indication that it was them. In fact, by the time I looked up, I was alone.
The second picture wasn’t funny at all. It was all black, with a bunch of characters in what looked like Mandarin or some other Eastern language drawn on with the digital marker. A message from the sender. But I couldn’t read whatever language it was, and I didn’t know how I would go about translating it, seeing as I couldn’t just copy and paste the text, so I chose to just ignore the message, telling myself I would go to the trouble of translating it later. God, do I wish I wasn’t such a procrastinator.
The sun was setting so I stood up, took one last glance around for any hidden airdroppers, and walked back to my motel.
Later that night, I found myself hopelessly scrolling through Tinder. I realized long ago that dating apps can tell you a lot about the place you’re visiting, and I considered it part of my cultural experience to judge strangers behind a screen in my pajamas. Mostly I would just swipe my way through and laugh at the weird corn people without even considering a meet up, but every once in a while I would swipe right if I felt something. I never imagined that I would get anywhere.
Then I got another notification, and this time from someone I actually wanted to talk to. It was a girl (who looked waay out of my league) named Cristina.
“Hey, Greg. If you were on a lifeboat with me, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the Queen (who was already dead at this point), who would you eat first?” I stared at her message. It was kind of quirky, but I liked it so I texted back.
“Obviously you, because I need the Rock to do all the rowing, the Queen is dead, and you’re quite the snack…” I smiled, proud of my work. The CFO’s wife didn’t know what she walked out on. Luckily, Cristina liked my reply as much as I did, and we struck up a nice conversation that had me copying the address to a local karaoke bar into my phone an hour later. It was only then that I began to regret my choice in vacation attire, and noticed that the bird had shat on my loafers. I ironed the only Polo I brought, threw on my sneakers and sped out.
On the way I stopped to fill up at a Chevron and went in to grab some mints (I thought about buying some banana sleeves, but that seemed a little too boastful.) When I went to pay, I dropped some change out of my wallet. Shit. The cashier, some kind of wannabe cowboy like everyone else in that city, smirked. I took a penny from the little plastic dish out of spite before leaving the store. While I was in my car, my phone buzzed. I snatched it up with excitement, assuming it was Cristina, but saw a different yet familiar name.
ANONYMOUS would like to share a photo.
Decline Accept
What the fuck? I looked around at the cars in the lot. Two others were filling up, and about four more were parked in front of the convenience store. I wondered whether someone inside the store would still be close enough to airdrop. Cautiously, I accepted.
The photo was of me bending over to pick up the change I had spilt, taken from the parking lot. I stared at it for a little while. It was funny and embarrassing just like the first one, my butt crack was even showing a little, but for some reason this photo made me uneasy. Is someone following me? I wondered. Had some influencer punk started a one-man hidden camera show where he just waited for you to do something embarrassing? I stared at the other cars.. Some of the windows were too tinted to see in. After a minute or two, I rolled out of there and drove off.
At the bar, I was relieved and elated to find that Cristina looked as good, nay, better than she did in her photos. “Wow,” I stuttered. “You’re beautiful.” She also said the same about me, which I chalked up to having ironed the polo. Things were off to a good start.
Throughout the date, Cristina was bubbly and adorable. She told me all about her life in rural Nebraska and what brought her to the “big city”, but I couldn’t pay attention to any of it. I really wish I could have, but I just couldn’t get those damn airdropped photos out of my head.
Cristina left to go to the bathroom, and I took the opportunity to look around the bar, scanning the room for any familiar faces. Everyone looked engrossed in their own evenings and dates and cringy singing, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.
“Hey, your profile says you really like to sing,” Cristina began with a smile. That was a fast bathroom break. “But you never said what type of music!” I stared at her, still a bit lost in thought, and it took a couple seconds to register what she was saying.
“Oh, well I like simple boring things, really. Commercial jingles, recycling PSA’s, communist propaganda, that kind of stuff.” Cristina smiled.
“You’re…you’re not a communist, right?”
“Of course not!” I laughed. “Let’s go sing something,” I got up from our table and offered her my hand.
“Good, because my parents always said that if I moved to the big city I’d end up marrying a commie, and I hate to prove them right about anything.” She giggled.
“Hey, baby, I’m so capitalist I changed my birthplace to the Cayman islands.” Cristina giggled even more. Damn were we getting along well. I got up onto the little square stage they had for karaoke singers and looked out at the crowd. Then I got a notification. You can probably already guess how it read.
ANONYMOUS would like to share a photo.
Decline Accept
I looked out across the room, dumb founded that ANONYMOUS had followed me here. I thought about showing Cristina but decided it would just worry her, and, even worse, prove her parents were right about the “big city”. I accepted the photo and startled backwards. My phone nearly fell to the floor. It was a photo of me at the bar, but not up on stage where it would have been easy for anyone to sneak a photo. It was from before, at our table, when I had turned to check out the other people. The worst part was that I was looking right at the mutherfucking camera!
My hand trembled. I tried to calm down. For some reason I didn’t want whoever sent the photo to know I was nervous. And I did NOT want Cristina to think that I was scared to sing Ring of Fire in front of a couple dozen famer hicks. But it was obvious from this picture that the photos weren’t just to be funny. This time, I wasn’t making any faces and my ass wasn’t showing. My face in the photo was one of concern.
How did I look right at the camera without realizing it? It struck me that the person sending these photos was going to extra lengths to remain hidden, maybe even as far as to camouflage themselves. They could be anyone, anywhere, with any sort of goal in mind. I shuttered.
The music started up and Cristina began to sing. I whipped around and looked at her. She was smiling, oblivious to the whole thing. And she looked happy. I didn’t want to spoil this moment, which was probably the only truly fun one of my vacation and the first time in a while that I was feeling some self-confidence. I began interchanging lines with her.
“I went down, down, down and the flames went higher.” I baritoned into the mic. She winked at me. I made it through the song and asked her to get the hell out of there, to which she excitedly said yes.
On the way back to my place, I thought about telling her about the photos but didn’t want to kill the mood. Still, I couldn’t help but look through the windows of every car that we passed.
I checked the rear view mirror for the umpteenth time, and a blue pickup truck was tailing close behind us. I made a right turn, then another, and the truck stayed close behind. After a while I made two more right turns and the headlights disappeared from my rearview mirror. Phew.
“What are you doing?” Cristina asked.
“You just made four right turns. You went in a circle.”
“Oh, yeah haha. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice, I wanted to be smooth. Just made a wrong turn back there.” Cristina nodded and reached out for my hand. I checked the rearview mirror. More headlights. Another pickup.
When we rolled into the parking lot of the motel, the truck behind us continued down the road, and I noticed it was red. I felt relieved until I pulled into my parking spot and hopped out of the car. Behind us to the right, the same blue truck from before was parked. Shit, he must have taken a quicker way over here.
How did he know where I was staying?
I put my arm over Cristina’s shoulder and rushed her into my room.
After the deed was done, Cristina promptly fell asleep (which I hoped was the sign of a job well done) and I decided to go for a walk in the parking lot. I wanted to figure out what the fuck was going on, but I didn’t want to call the police before there were any real threats or anything.
So, like every dumbass horror film victim, I went alone into the dark to investigate. I stepped out into the dark motel parking lot and eyed the truck sitting across the lot. Its headlights and grill formed an angry face that stared at me. I felt like it could read my thoughts. Leave, it said to me. Get out of here, you’ll only get into trouble. The headlight eyes bore into my brain. Don’t be dumb and you won’t get hurt-
A loud BANG came from behind me. I spun around to see a dark figure turn the corner and disappear around the back of the motel. My heart started to pound, urging me to move my legs in either a flight or fight direction.
I sprinted off towards the figure, and in moments I was turning the corner. Behind the motel, there were only tall thin trees and a formidable darkness that shielded whatever had run away from me. I paused, searching through the trees for my stalker. I squinted but couldn’t quite make anything out in the dark.
Then I heard something. Behind me. Something was...coughing.
Slowly, with my eyes first, I turned around and what I saw made my heart flutter. The sounds were coming from a dumpster, the kind usually left behind restaurants or apartment complexes that can only be moved by big semi garbage trucks. From within the dark dumpster, the head of a terrible beast with a black mask rose up. Its mouth, full of razor sharp, enamel covered fangs, clamped down onto a chicken bone with a hiss. It was a raccoon.
I laughed. There was so much pent up adrenaline in my body that I couldn’t help but convulse with the giggles. Soon tears were spilling out of my eyes and I had to lean on my knees to keep from passing out.
“You scared the shit out of me,” I told the raccoon, and it scampered off into the shadows. I remained there until my laughter subsided, and when it was gone I decided to stay a little while longer. It was a beautiful spot. Nebraska wasn’t that bad when you got to know it.
After a few more minutes spent collecting my thoughts and calming my nerves, I went back around the bend of my motel. I strode with new confidence towards my room, but still couldn’t resist looking over my shoulder at the blue truck in the parking lot. Is there someone in the driver’s seat? I didn’t want to be paranoid, but there was no way to deny that I felt like eyes were burning into my back. I walked more quickly until I reached my door, unlocked it and slipped inside.
Acting quickly, I shut the door behind me and put in the chain lock. I felt safer in my room. That is, until I lied back down onto the bed next to Cristina.
The instant my sweaty ass made contact with the crusty bed sheets, I got a notification. A lump formed in my throat and I grabbed my phone, but paused and said a silent prayer that it would just be a message of support from my mom, or a campaign donation request, or any other useless shit besides an airdrop before checking it. But I knew what it was, and looking at the screen only confirmed it.
ANONYMOUS would like to share a video.
Decline Accept
I gasped for oxygen. The humid air around me suddenly felt too thick to breath. I accepted the air drop and the video downloaded. It showed the door of my motel room. As I stared at the still frame, a new sense of anger rose up within me. Who the fuck was this Anonymous guy, anyway? Did he think he was scaring me? I mean, was he hoping that after seeing a few photos of myself I would send him my bank information? It was pathetic. I decided that I had done enough cowering and whimpering. I didn’t even play the video, but went to frantically jotting down a strongly worded letter in my Notes app threatening to call the police if he didn’t stop stalking me and at least tell me what he wanted. I signed off by writing;
Wishing you the best,
Pissed off Guy
I took a screenshot. “Pissed off guy” wasn’t my best work, creatively speaking, but I couldn’t think of any better names. I was too pissed off.
I opened the airdrop recipients in the vicinity. Despite my newfound courage, I trembled as the airdrop recipients in my area registered on my phone. For some reason, I was afraid that ANONYMOUS would pop up. Proving he was at the motel would make the situation feel more…real. Up until that point, all he had done was send me some pictures. If I sent something back to him, would he get more…aggressive?
I stared at the screen, my heart beating faster than a Browning automatic could shoot hollow-point bullets into a cheap motel room. One named appeared: ANONYMOUS’s iPhone. I swallowed a heavy breath. Was the air getting thicker? Slugs of sweat rolled down my face. I exhaled and sent my note to ANONYMOUS.
Shit, I thought to myself. What am I doing? I wanted to unsend it. For some reason this suddenly felt like the dumbest thing I’d ever done. I watched my screen intently. The tension was so high my heart almost sprung a leak, and I was afraid my bladder just might. Thankfully, it didn’t take very long to get a response.
ANONYMOUS would like to share some photos.
Decline Accept
I hit “accept” the instant I got his request.
It was a collection of photos. All the same photos he had sent me before. My blood boiled, and my face heated up. I work up the courage to talk to him and he just ignores me? I was starting to grow less concerned and more irritated by Anonymous’s antics, but then I noticed something.
The first picture of the most recent airdrop, the one where I’m asleep on a park bench and sporting a triple chin, had a red circle on it. The kind that you draw on a picture when you want to draw attention to something, except there didn’t seem to be anything particular inside the circle. I zoomed in, and my heart dropped into my stomach. Far off in the background, in the middle of the circle, was a man’s face hidden between the bushes.
He was wearing a dark hoodie that cast a shadow over his face, but zoomed in I could make out the details. He was bald, and most of his features were normal and indistinct, but his lips were curled up into an enormous hungry smile, with too many crooked yellow teeth crammed into his mouth for him to be a normal human.
His nostrils were flared, like he was breathing heavily. It gave the impression that he was almost lusting after me, like a beast stalking its prey. My blood pressure fell through the floor as I realized that he was looking straight at me. His ravenous chops wet with saliva, itching to sink his teeth into my plump, dormant flesh.
I nervously swiped to the next photo. Me in the gas station bending over to pick up my change. There was a red circle around someone standing a few yards behind me in line. It was the same man. He stared at me intently with eyes that were opened impossibly wide, and drool dripping from the corner of his mouth.
I nearly threw my phone in shock. He had been so close to me, and yet I didn’t remember seeing him. If you weren’t paying close attention, it would be easy to miss his inhuman features. I had probably been too distracted and embarrassment at having dropped my change on the floor to notice him. Damn my social anxiety.
The next photo was from the karaoke bar, the one where I was looking directly into the camera. Seeing me stare directly at the photographer without recognizing him or her made me queasy the first time I saw it, but now I was more worried about what was in the background. There was another red circle, in the dark hallway that led to the bathroom behind the bar to the left, but it was too dark to see anything in the shadows. I zoomed in and turned the brightness all the way up, and then I could just make out one thing.
A crooked, yellowed smile pointed in my direction.
Whoever or whatever he was, he had followed me for the whole day.
The last photo was all black except for something Anonymous had written, also in red. It said:
Goosebumps popped up behind my neck and down my shoulders. That’s when I remembered the video of me walking back to the motel room, the one I hadn’t watched.
With shaky fingers I opened the video. It was centered on the door of my motel room. For the first few seconds nothing happened. I thoroughly scanned the backgrounds and corners, making sure to search extra hard in the shadowy areas, but I couldn’t see the man anywhere.
Then he walked into center frame. This time he wasn’t hidden. He crept towards the door, his arms remaining eerily immobile as he walked, and when he got to the door, pulled a key card out and slipped inside. I gasped. When was this recorded?
That question was answered for me when a moment later I walked into frame, unlocked the door, and went in. It was from when I came back after finding the raccoon in the dumpster, less than two minutes ago.
I shivered. Suddenly, it was dawning on me that Cristina’s breathing sounded…different. It was just a little heavier and deeper than I remembered it being. Very slowly, I turned my head to look over at the other side of the bed and noticed that the lump under the covers seemed larger than it had before. I felt the air; it was thicker and wetter than I remembered it being and had a warm, almost metallic smell.
The body lying next to me wasn’t Cristina’s. I froze. What do I do? Dear God, what should I do now? Slowly, I sat up and pulled my legs over the side of the bed. I thought about turning the lights on, shouting for Cristina, trying to fight the stalker, but I had the gut feeling that she was beyond saving. Even if she was still alive, there was no way I could last more than a few seconds against this thing in bed with me. Whatever it was, it was built for hunting down humans and tearing them apart.
I casually mumbled “better take a shower” and crept over to the hall. Luckily the bathroom was right next to the front door.
Once I got in front of the bathroom door, I silently lunged for the front door, turned the lock as quietly as I could and tried to open it without making a sound. CLANG.
I stared in horror at the chain lock I had set when I came in. Idiot! I heard a rustle from the bed. The time for stealth was gone.
I yanked the chain out and swung the door open. In less than a second I was outside closing the door behind me and then bounding towards my car. I turned it on and peeled out without even checking to see whether my visitor had followed me.
I sped away from the motel towards the city and dialed 911.
At the police station, I waited for the cops to check out my room. When they came back, they asked to talk with me. I was led into the interrogation room, and they started to hit me with some accusatory questions. They said her body was ripped into pieces and strewn across the room, everywhere except the bed. Imagining myself in that room, totally oblivious to Cristina’s organs and tissue around me made me sick.
It soon became obvious that the police believed I killed her. I tried to convince them that there was someone else in my room, and told them there was video proof on my phone. I showed them the video that ANONYMOUS had sent me. They were intrigued, but still skeptical.
I was starting to get nervous that I wouldn’t return from my lame ass vacation for 10-30 years when something amazing happened.
Still in the officer’s hand, my phone got a notification.
ANONYMOUS would like to share a video.
Decline Accept
“That’s him, that’s the guy who’s been airdropping me stuff!” I said frantically. The officer raised an eyebrow. He hesitated, looked around, and after an agonizing pause accepted the video. They hid the screen from my face, but from his expression I could tell the video was something violent. All I could hear was an animal-like growl, heavy panting and a guttural human yell.
It wasn’t until after being cleared to leave and given my phone back that I watched the video. ANONYMOUS had filmed me leaving the parking lot of the motel, and then gone into the room and turned the lights on. The ‘thing’ was standing in the middle of the room, only a few feet from the camera. It stared at the camera and gave it a slow wave. Its slender fingers seemed to pulse with excitement, and the creature wiggled them elatedly. It smiled and its lips peeled back to reveal blood soaked teeth.
The room was covered in blood and body parts. There were intestines hanging off the lamp, what looked like a half-eaten liver soaking the office chair, teeth laid on the t.v. stand close enough to the camera to see that they were neat and white. I pictured him sucking them clean like cherry pits.
The most disturbing part of all was a big piece of skin that had been ripped off like a sheet and laid on the bed post by my side of the bed. In the middle of the skin was what looked like a belly button. I had been lying with my head right underneath Cristina’s drying stomach leather and never had a clue.
After the camera panned around the room, it focused back on the man. He stood there for a moment, his chest rising and falling rapidly, eyes wide and hungry. Then he took a lighting quick stride forward, and the camera turned toward the door. That is where the video ends. Watching it made me fear for ANONYMOUS’s safety, but I knew that he at least made it out healthy enough to make it to the police station.
Sometimes, when I’m alone and get the feeling I’m being watched, I open my airdrop options to see if ANONYMOUS is somewhere near me. I haven’t ever found him.
Earlier this morning while on the subway, I looked up and had a heart stopping shock. I was sitting at the end of one car and just happened to look through the window into the car behind us. There he was; the same creature that killed Cristina. The doors were still open and I almost took off running but… he wasn’t looking at me.
He was staring intently and smiling at a woman on the opposite row. Every few seconds he would lick his lips hungrily. I shuddered looking at his teeth because I couldn’t help but imagine them cutting into Cristina’s flesh, piercing through her skull and ripping her teeth out of their gums down to the root.
His prey had headphones in and was flipping through a magazine, totally oblivious to the terrible monster sitting just a few yards away from her. I took a picture through the foggy glass.
You can’t see the creature very well in the photo. But I can always circle him. Maybe she’ll have to zoom in, and she just might need to turn her brightness up all the way, but I’ll make sure she gets the message. I have no idea how to get the photo to her without drawing the attention of the creature, but I’ll figure it out. We’ll both figure it out. Wish us luck.
submitted by RowBowBooty to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 19:31 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 18 - A Name

--- Table of Contents ---
Winter 4986, 22 Aoimoth
They never locked the door. She checked the handle just in case. Did they honestly expect Her to stay in this white room forever without locking Her in? She opened the door just a crack and peeked out. No one.
The Cleric coughed. She closed the door quickly and pretended to examine the altar of Hengist on a nearby shelf, Her neck itching. The kindly man finished straightening his papers, slipping them into a desk drawer and locking it. So they locked their documents away but not the door? Or did they think he alone would be enough to stop Her if She chose to go out?
She watched the Cleric out of the corner of Her eye as he stood and stretched, but looked quickly to the altar again when he walked Her way. He stopped beside Her, bringing his hands up in a short prayer. He seemed nice enough, and She found Herself wanting to trust him. But Archmage Morndancer had moments when he was nice too.
She scratched the scales on Her neck, still unaccustomed to having unimpeded access to the area. The collar had become so much a part of Her that She felt awkward without it, never mind that it had been used to keep Her in line. She wondered again how these Paladins planned on keeping Her under control and debated different ways to find out without going so far that She would end up tied to one of these beds and stuck full of needles.
“Do you pray, Miss?” the Cleric asked, eyes still closed.
She shrugged, “I don’t really like one-sided conversations.” She glanced at him, half hoping he would get angry, maybe punish Her just a little, so She would have a better idea what methods they might use.
He laughed, “Yes, I remember occasions, before I took my Oath, when I wondered if Hengist could hear me.” he reached down and held Her shoulder for a moment, as long as his heat tolerance would allow, before letting his hand fall back to his side, “It's hard to take the word of others sometimes, but I know he’s listening. He delivered you from the Warlocks...” he let the idea trail as if he expected Her to thank the god for his intervention. But if Hengist had really wanted Her free, then why not come sooner? Why not when they had isolated Her? Even just an hour sooner would have saved Her treasures…
“Perhaps, when you’re ready, I will take you to the chapel.” he continued to smile, “Or perhaps you will find a greater calling to one of the other gods,” the Cleric shrugged, “We are not ones to proselytize.” She could only return his shrug.
She moved back to the window, Her favorite place in the infirmary. Below, a group of boys, young men really, practiced with weapons too small for Her to see. One stood apart from the others and She wondered what he'd done to be ostracized from the rest. She hadn’t met any of them yet and wondered if they were being kept from Her intentionally. She'd met with the Major General, Selibra, as well as another high-ranking Paladin, a woman, and a handful of Mages. Seeing the Mages, She'd been sure they were about to take Her to another tower, to lock Her in the basement again. They'd assured Her that wasn’t the case, and explained the difference between Her Mages -Warlocks- and true Mages -Guild members- though She still had a hard time believing them.
She wasn’t afraid. She'd gone past fear. There wasn’t anything more they could take from Her that the Warlocks hadn’t already taken. Instead, She was curious, what would they do? And how would She work around it?
Behind Her, the Cleric cleared his throat, “I’m going to the chapel,” She nodded without looking at him. Brom and Ran would leave Her alone for most of the day. This was a new place, but some things would always be the same. The door opened, then clicked closed again.
She stood at the window for a while longer before turning around and tilting Her head at the door. He hadn’t locked it… It must have been a mistake. She moved for the door and cracked it open just in case… The hall beyond was empty.
She looked back into the room with all its white, then back into the hall. Well... She'd wanted to test Her limits. She slipped out of the infirmary.
No one stopped Her, and nothing happened. She walked slowly at first, glancing at each door as though She expected it to swing open and reveal one of the Mages, fingers ready to snap. In the distance, a set of Paladins rounded a corner, and She froze. They spoke to each other, one laughing at something the other said. She glanced around for somewhere to hide before remembering that this was exactly what She'd wanted. If they saw Her out of Her room, they would undoubtedly take Her back, and if She resisted, they would have to play their hand. She just hoped the friendly Cleric wouldn’t get in too much trouble for forgetting to lock the door.
The Paladins' steps faltered when they noticed Her. Exchanging glances, one stepped forward, “Are you lost, miss?”
“No,” She answered, looking over Her shoulder. For a heartbeat She expected Brom to be there. He wasn’t. He never would be again. She forced the thought away. Locking it somewhere it couldn’t interrupt Her exploration, focusing on the Paladins.
The knight exchanged another look with his companion, who shrugged, “Well, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to ask.” they continued past Her.
Turning to watch them go, She tilted Her head to one side, then the other. Slowly, a grin began to spread over Her face. With a wicked giggle, She set off down the hall, ready to explore until someone stopped Her.
Shon stood well away from the others, his dagger clenched too tightly in his left hand. The first day back, Master Daunas had tried to include him in training as if nothing had changed. Then Shon had frozen the practice grounds, and no less than ten of the sixteen squires had fallen on their backsides, letting slip a variety of colorful curses that had them all doing pushups in full armor for at least five minutes straight. After that, he had been ordered to do drills alone while the others practiced. “Just until Ivelm finishes your item,” Master Daunas had assured him.
The little dragon that now followed Shon everywhere, whistled from the roof covering the weapons racks. Shon tried to loosen his grip on his dagger. He was getting sloppy, focusing too much on not extending the blade with an extra three inches of ice and not enough on the precision of his strikes. He tried to keep the power pulled in, but it made him tense, and he often found himself holding his breath unintentionally. Getting frustrated only made it worse. Instead of fighting his visualized opponent, he felt like he was fighting himself. And losing.
The pseudodragon swooped down and landed on Shon's extended arm, distracting him further. Growling, Shon tried to shoo it away, shaking his arm but only causing the tiny beast to dig its sharp claws deeper. "Not now," he hissed at the dragon, who hissed back, sending a wave of annoyance into Shon's mind to join his own. It walked up his arm to his shoulder, wrapping its tail around his neck to help keep itself balanced as Shon continued to try and finish his form.
He'd been confused but intrigued by the flying cat-like lizard on the night it had shown itself, but was quickly finding the thing to be as annoying as the Sorcerer magic it represented.
On the first day he'd resumed training, the little dragon had attached itself to his shoulder, as it did now, and wouldn't get off no matter how in the way it got. He'd asked, threatened, and begged, but at most, it would move from one shoulder to the other.
On the second day, he'd ordered it to stay in his room, closing the door quickly before it could slip out. Shon had been pulled out of drills for the first time since his arrival to clean and reclean his trashed room after the pseudodragon had dug through his uniform box and desk drawers.
On the third day, he had to physically resist the urge to grab the thing by the neck and throw it across the courtyard. Though to his surprise -and annoyance- Master Daunas had actually stepped in. Speaking to the pseudodragon kindly but firmly, the Weaponmaster ordered it to leave him alone during lessons at least. And for the most part, it obeyed. The fact that it was pestering him now meant the lesson had to be almost...
The bell for their break rang out from the tower high above the fortress. Shon snapped to attention with the others, the little dragon twittering happily and swaying with the motion. When dismissed, he was the first to return his dagger, then cleared off to give the others room to do the same.
No one said anything when he went to the water barrel instead of the fortress. His friends were still mostly supportive, but even they were growing annoyed by his occasional loss of control. Like freezing the running trail, so on the next pass, they had to dodge icy footprints.
Breaking the thin layer of ice that had formed over the top of the water barrel and splashing the back of his neck with it, Shon stared at his wavering reflection until the water stilled. Cold blue eyes stared back until the little dragon stuck its head in the way, smacking Shon's nose with its wing. He slapped the water, sending it splashing up into the pseudodragon's nose. The little dragon hissed, then scooped up a huge wing-full and splashed it over his face and chest. He could feel the little dragon's mirth as it chortled its clicking laugh.
Shon could only sigh, he'd come to cool off out of habit, not necessity. He didn't really feel hot in the same way as before. The exercise and exertion still made him sweat, but he only seemed to grow colder. Like even his body was acting out of habit...
He waited for the others to finish crowding into the fortress, most heading to the showers, some heading for their rooms, and a few to the library to play cards and socialize. Shon glanced towards the weapons storage -with the boxes of daggers and racks of various swords and polearms- but shook his head. He was in no mood to continue the fight with himself, and instead made for his rooms.
Squires laughed in the halls, and Shon stayed close to the wall to give them space as he walked. The pseudodragon draped itself over his shoulder like a scarf so it wouldn't hit the stone or passers-by. Apparently, sometimes, it was conscientious of Shon's desires. Once in his room, Shon retrieved his journal and opened it on the desk, but then focused out the window without sitting down. In early winter, the sun was already setting, painting the skies in colors he could never hope to match with simple pencils and white paper. He normally enjoyed this time of year, when the wind grew chill and snow occasionally fell as a promise for the deeper winter to come.
Now, he wanted to hate the cold. He wanted to toss it and everything like it to the wind. But not only could he not rid Clearhelm of winter, he also couldn’t convince himself to hate it. The little dragon sent a wave of concern over him, whistling quietly.
Closing his journal Shon scooped it up and left. Even if he opened the window, not much of a breeze would reach him from there, so he made for the stairs to the central tower.
Though now the tower was used only to house the hour bells, it was originally designed to be a lookout. It offered a complete view of the surrounding area through ten tall glassless windows around the perimeter.
He picked a window ledge facing west and sat with his journal closed, just enjoying the cool breeze. The knots in his stomach eased, and the power he could still feel swirling around him calmed. The pseudodragon purred, and he reached up to pet its side. It was okay to still enjoy the cold, wasn’t it? He just wished he didn’t inflict it on others who never seemed to like it as much as he did.
Someone hummed behind him, and Shon jumped, spinning in his seat. A girl with golden hair stepped up to his window. Her eyes were closed, and the wind blew her hair back, revealing three scarlet stripes across her right cheek. They merged together on her neck into a single line that disappeared below her white hospital dress.
She smiled, and Shon had to swallow, his mouth suddenly dry, “I was sure they wouldn’t let me up here,” she said, opening her eyes and looking at him, still smiling, “But I suppose if you’re up here, then I can come and enjoy the view too.” She perched herself on the sill next to him and tilted her head to the side, looking for all the world like a curious kitten. The pseudodragon mirrored the expression with an inquisitive chirp. Were her pupils slitted? "You have a pseudodragon... are you a Mage?" She asked.
Shon looked away, but the little dragon wrapped its tail around his neck and chirped again, "I'm a Squire," he stated, though if more to himself or the girl, he wasn't sure.
"Oh, so you're here to be a Paladin?" she accepted his answer without argument, and Shon looked her way again to find her still smiling, "I don't understand the appeal, but if it makes you happy," she shrugged, but then narrowed her eyes at him, leaning closer and squinting. Shon leaned back, keeping his distance. “Your eyes... You were there, weren’t you? At the tower?”
Shon blinked. She'd switched topics so suddenly. He nodded in answer, and she sighed, turning in her seat and bringing her knees up to her chest. She was probably annoyed he hadn't answered verbally...
As she wrapped her arms around her legs, he saw that her red stripe continued out her left sleeve to break apart into three again along the back of her hand. Looking down, he noticed three more pointed stripes on her bare right foot that merged at her ankle to twist around and disappear back into her dress. Did they all meet somewhere in the middle? He had to shake himself to banish the mental image and turned to follow her gaze out over the horizon.
“Thank you…” she whispered, and he turned back to her, arching an eyebrow. It took her a moment to look away from the view and see his expression, but when she did, she continued without further prompting, “I don’t remember everything that happened, but I’m glad I wasn’t alone,” she smirked and looked back out to the horizon, continuing, “The Cleric thinks I should thank Hengist, but I don’t remember seeing him there, so I’d rather thank you instead.” Shon didn’t know what to think about that, but the girl didn’t seem to expect an answer.
The pseudodragon dug its claws into Shon's shirt and climbed down his chest, pulling at the fabric and scratching the skin beneath. It walked across his legs then over to the girl gingerly. Her giggle was small and quiet, and she didn't hesitate to reach out and pet the flying lizard, though she did so carefully with brief pats, "Careful little one, I'm not the safest person to touch..." she whispered down to it. Shon furrowed his brow in confusion at her words, and predictably the pseudodragon ignored them completely. Crawling up her knees until she lowered them again so it could reach her lap, where curled up like a cat, complete with purring.
She giggled again and stroked its back all the way down to its tail, "It doesn't even care..." she sounded in awe of the little dragon, and Shon couldn't blame her. He'd only ever heard stories of the beasties before he'd seen this one. But the dragon wasn't nearly as interesting anymore, not compared to this girl.
“What’s your name?” he blurted before thinking. And silently cursed himself into oblivion. He sounded like an idiot. Those were the first words he said? She was obviously content just petting the pseudodragon. Couldn’t he have at least waited for her to address him? Or ask something? She was probably up here to think. You have no idea what she’s been through; she probably wants to be alone…
But hadn’t she chosen to sit next to him? And she'd already spoken first...
As if to confirm his fears, she sighed in obvious annoyance, her head falling back to hit the side of the pillar with a whine. When she looked at him, he could somehow tell that if she was annoyed, it was with herself, “I know I should know it by now, but I don’t. Do you think I’m going to have to explain every time I meet someone new? It’s really embarrassing…”
Shon could only stare, trying to understand. She didn’t say she couldn’t remember her name, just that she didn’t ‘know’ it yet. But that didn't make any sense. “You don’t have a name?” he tried to confirm.
She shrugged, exaggerating the motion by bringing her shoulders all the way to her ears then letting them drop limply, “They always said that I would know my own name. But every time I tried to guess or make one up, they got mad at me. What’s your name?”
“Shon,” he answered slowly, still confused.
“And when did you know your name?” she tilted her head again, confirming Shon’s mental comparison with a kitten.
He shook his head, “No one just knows their name. They're given one when they’re babies.”
Her mouth fell open for a full heartbeat before it snapped shut again, and she glared into the setting sun. The air had grown strangely warm, the pseudodragon chittered, and Shon fumbled for something to say, “What did they call you if you don’t have a name?” She'd said 'they' had told her she would know her own name, so that must mean 'they' had spoken to her. He could only assume she meant the people at the tower. The memory of burned corpses flashed through his mind, and once again Shon regretted speaking.
She didn’t look at him as she answered, “Ran called me ‘Red,’ for my scales,” she ran the fingers of her right hand over the stripes on her left, “Brom called me ‘Goldy,’ for my hair,” she brought a lock over her shoulder and stroked it absently, “But the Archmages didn’t like it when they did that…” the pseudodragon watched her dangling hair, swaying its neck back and forth to follow its motion.
Those sounded like nicknames someone gave a pet… He remembered Ivelm saying something about her being experimented on, like an animal. Shon brought his hand up to run through his hair, thinking fast. “You could pick one.” she looked at him, and he rushed to continue, “No one can stop you, and it could be temporary, just until you know your true name." whatever that meant, "Even the gods used to have different names depending on the province.”
“A name,” her eyes glazed over as she stared into the setting sun and absently started petting the dragon again. It tilted its head up at her and whistled, “I don’t even know where to start…” she whispered.
Shon searched the horizon for inspiration but saw only trees and birds. “What’s your favorite flower?” he blurted.
She focused on him again, “Flowers have names?” she asked. When he nodded, her cheeks puffed out, and she glared at him. Looking away again, she grumbled, “Even flowers get names, and I just have to sit around and wait for one to come to me?”
Shon opened his journal, turning it to the side and drawing quickly. The girl stopped mumbling to herself and looked over his shoulder, the pseudodragon crawling to the edge of her knees so it too could tilt its head at his drawing. He usually hated when people tried to watch him draw, but -for some reason- was able to continue without being distracted. It was a drawing for her after all, it made sense that she should see it. Never mind that she was so close... close enough for him to feel the warmth from her skin... or perhaps that was his imagination.
Finishing the final flower, Shon turned the book towards her. “Which one do you like most?”
She stared transfixed at the six flowers depicted, and Shon suddenly felt self-conscious. He'd only personally seen four of them, the other two he'd copied from memories of other drawings in books. She reached out, and her fingers hovered over the rose for a moment before she rested it on a six-petaled lily. The little dragon trilled in approval.
“Lily,” Shon said, then tried to explain, “I trained with a girl named Daisy,” he tapped the daisy flower on the page, “Daisies were also her favorite flower, so I thought…”
“It’s so beautiful…” she whispered, then grabbed his hand, desperately searching his face, “Can I really use it as a name?”
Shon’s heart skipped a beat. Her hand was hot, and he felt his power flow to where she touched, cooling his skin and making it tingle. Even before his power had awakened, everyone else had gotten colder the longer he touched them. As if he were pulling the warmth from them.
Her heat seemed unending.
Even more transfixing was the desperation in her eyes, which were dark blue and slit, like the pseudodragon's, who had crawled from her lap onto his journal and was studying the other flowers. Finally, Shon managed a nod, adding, “You can have whatever name you want. It’s yours.”
She looked at the flowers again and whispered, “Lily…” she seemed to chew it over for a moment, then smiled. And Shon realized all those before hadn't been in true happiness. This was her first real smile. “Lily.” her joy lit up the darkening sky and caused Shon’s heart to race, making up for its lost beats, “My name is Lily!” Lily pulled his hand closer to her and gripped it with both of hers, “Thank you. Oh wow, thank you, Shon!”
He could bask in that smile for hours. He stared at her, trying to memorize every line. Then she finally looked down at his fingers, and her brow furrowed. Oh no…
“It doesn’t hurt?” she asked.
Shon pulled away from her, looking away so he wouldn’t have to see her rub her palms on her dress, “No.” he answered shortly. She'd held his hand longer than anyone even before his awakening, but she'd been distracted by picking her name. She was probably freezing now…
He didn’t want to see her trying to warm her fingers after holding his, so instead, he focused on his journal, pushing the pseudodragon gently off so it wouldn't scratch the papers, then slowly working the page with the flowers out of it.
The breeze picked up, and Shon ran his hand through his hair, stealing a glance Lily's way. Her eyes were closed and she'd turned to face the wind again, “Refreshing…” she whispered.
He sighed. He could still feel her hands wrapped around his, a phantom memory he would just have to hope would last. Shon held out the drawings to her. She blinked at them, then at him, then back down to the page again. “You can have it,” he told her.
Lily hugged him.
Shon stiffened instantly. He'd never been hugged like this before. She smelled like cinnamon… Before he could fully register the sensation, Lily pulled away and took the page carefully with just her fingertips, “I will treasure it…” Shon felt himself blush, looking away to try and hide his face. Luckily Lily didn't seem to notice because she asked, "What's its name?"
Shon turned to look at her questioningly, only to see her tilting her head down at the pseudodragon. Shon's blush deepened. She was so happy to have a name, and now he had to tell her, "It doesn't have..." shame burned his cheeks, and he actually flinched when she looked at him in shock.
"You're not going to make it come up with its own, are you?"
"I... I just haven't..." Shon stuttered around for an excuse, but he really didn't have one, "I didn't think about it..." he finally finished, defeated.
He expected Lily to get upset, maybe chastise him, but instead, she just clapped her hands and smiled, "Well, we can fix that now." reaching down, she scratched the little dragon's chin, "Any ideas?" the pseudodragon purred, then climbed back over to her lap, wrapping its long tail around Lily's forearm so she couldn't pull away from the scratches.
"Pest," Shon mumbled.
Lily giggled, "That's not a name," she tried to stop scratching only to have it reach up and grab her fingers, forcing it back to its chin with both clawed hands. She giggled again, "Could be a nickname, though." the little dragon huffed but still wouldn't let her stop petting it.
"Pest..." Shon told it directly. Feeling jealous; the realization almost made him blush again. He was doing an awful lot of that all of a sudden.
"Well, it's a tiny dragon..." Lily mused, "So maybe something in draconic?"
Shon arched an eyebrow at her, but Lily just tilted her head at his unspoken question. "Draconic? Isn't that a dead language?" dead with the dragons who spoke it, he asked.
"You mean you don't speak it?" she answered with her own questions, "How do you read books written in it if you can't speak it?"
Shon shook his head, "I don't know of any books written in draconic..." he was becoming more confused by Lily every moment. The provinces all had their own ancient languages, but learning it these days was only an old tradition. No one actually used it. And yet the ones who'd held her, the ones who hadn't given her a name, had taught her a second language? A dead language?
"That's so weird..." Lily said, looking back out over the horizon. Just when Shon was sure she wasn't going to say anything else, she hopped a little in her seat, shaking the pseudodragon in her lap, "What about Ryuuko?"
Once again, Shon's eyebrow went up and Lily explained with a giggle, "It means 'little dragon.' Not very creative, I know, but if it likes it..." she dipped her head, lifting the pseudodragon's face to her nose, "Do you like it, little one? It's a bit feminine with the 'ko' at the end, but..." the little dragon licked her nose and Shon felt a wave of approval from the creature.
"I think it likes it." He told Lily as she laughed, pulling the pseudodragon in for a real hug, rubbing her cheek along its scaled neck.
Around them the bells sounded at full volume. Shon and Lily covered their ears, and Ryuuko took off, flying in circles around the bell tower, chittering angrily at being surprised. Lily laughed, but Shon could only hear the resonating rings shaking him from his head to his toes as the bells counted out the hour.
When the last bell faded, Lily dropped her hands, her laugh turning to a snicker, “I suppose that means it’s dinner time.” her smile faded, disappearing over the course of a few heartbeats, “I should probably get back to my room…” she clutched the page Shon had given her to her chest as if afraid it would be snatched from her fingers.
Ryuuko landed on Shon's shoulder as he stood, and Lily slowly lowered her feet back to the ground as if heading towards a hangman’s noose. It had been at least six days since the incident that brought her to Hamerfoss. Had she been eating in the infirmary all this time?
Shon arched an eyebrow at her, and Lily met his expression with a confused tilt of her head again. Shon asked, “Come to dinner with us?” and Lily’s smile lit up the night.
--- Table of Contents ---
Thanks for making it this far, you are the real MVP
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2023.06.06 19:20 ScreechingDaze Let's be real, how long you think Staples stays open worldwide?

I seen bed bath and beyond close, I think Staples will be next. The only reason why Staples is still in business is because of copy and print and stores and stores that have shipping. My guess is 2 years Staples closes for good unless it's worth it to them they will keep Staples as just a copy and print company but IDK if they make that much off that to keep the chain alive. What yall think?
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2023.06.06 19:18 ReceptionCreepy Suffering in Silence

Currently keeping myself distracted and trying not to completely have a nervous breakdown. For the past month or two my husband has been nit picking things I do and then turning them into huge ordeals. Following the outburst with deliberate passive aggressive silence and avoidance. I am mentally exhausted.
These things seem so trivial and everyday type incidences but he makes them such a huge ordeal like I am deliberately doing things to slight him or piss him off. When he finally pushes me to my break point and I snap back, its like I am the worst person in the world. Only he is allowed to express his emotions in an explosive insulting way and I am beyond sick of it. He's now at work and has only spoken to me in small, short increments when it is absolutely necessary for the past two days. When he comes home he will go straight to our basement and hide down there until its time for bed. Meanwhile I am upstairs trying to emotionally hold it together so our kids don't see me breakdown.
I have to mention the incidences I am referring to are things like misplacing a paper while I clean our office, using too much water while cooking, asking questions about things he is doing or planning to do so I can help in some way, or moving the remote from the spot he likes it. Things that are either mindless accidents or mistakes. I am at the point now where I am so tired and bitter its hard to function and do the normal day to day things that I need to get done.
I am codependent and I do lean on him for emotional support and dependence. I am starting to think that he uses this "silent treatment" as a form of punishment. He claims its him needing space or that he wants to be left alone. I completely understand and respect his need for space if he is upset or pissed and I leave him be but when its begins to last for days on end, to me this is no longer needing space and its abusive. Especially when our kids start to notice and our youngest has to go down and ask him why he is mad at mommy. It breaks my heart. Its so fucking stupid and immature. I get upset and mad at him but I never feel the need to "punish" him this way or withhold affection or attention. He knows this bothers me and triggers my abandonment issues and anxiety.
I am fighting hard to maintain composure and not let him see me upset. If this is an actual punishment tactic maybe he will quit if he sees its not working. Either way I am over it. I am tired of giving someone the power to control my emotions for some sick pleasure. Grow the fuck up. Sorry for the long post. I am just venting and trying to stay sane.
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2023.06.06 19:12 chivanilla I've been calling in 'sick' far too much lately

I work in customer service, and it's not easy. Lately, I've realized that I've been calling out far too much. At least once a month, and these past couple of months, twice a month. I was told that I have carryover vacation hours that my boss didn't realize I had, so I've been taking advantage of them. However, it's not cool to always call out at the last minute. I do it anyway because it's just difficult to get out of bed, try to appease strangers who often get angry and entitled, and then deal with a bunch of rowdy, disrespectful middle schoolers around 3 PM. It's not easy when you are constantly uncomfortable in your own skin.
This job has taken its toll on me. I've been told a couple of times by different people that I am overqualified for my position. At the same time, I don't feel qualified for many jobs beyond entry-level jobs. It's not that I lack the ability to type and follow directions; it's my personality. I can't pinpoint it, but I have obvious flaws. I've made great improvements, but my fundamental defects are still present.
I have a dream. I want to be a designer and illustrator. However, I don't believe I'm good enough to pursue it as a career. I feel like I'm only capable of creating something that looks okay to post on social media and might garner likes. My abilities are inconsistent. Occasionally, I can draw or design something that looks good, but I don't think I can rely on myself to consistently create from imagination.
I'm in the last year of my twenties (aka 29). I'm not one of those people who believe life ends at 30. I am more than okay with entering my thirties. However, I do feel like I've wasted my twenties, especially my early twenties, dealing with depression and anxiety. I could have pursued the career I wanted instead of withering away at this job. I find myself really envious of a former coworker going back to school pursuing a graphic design degree. I don't have the money for that, and I already have a degree that I have to pay off.
Even now, knowing all of this, I know what I should do: I should try really, really hard to get to where I want to be. To become healthier, hone more skills, study harder, and move on from my job. I know what I should do. It's just difficult when you don't even want to leave your bed that is surrounded by trash and clothes.
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2023.06.06 18:56 jak3th3panda Increase water pressure for bathroom?

My fiance and I moved into a 3 bed/2 bath trailer last month but one of our bathrooms has terrible water pressure. Is there any way I can increase it?
submitted by jak3th3panda to howto [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 18:36 ppseeds Who is Jason Coggins? 500m in bonds feel like this should be discussed. Credit to Pratiken

Who is Jason Coggins? 500m in bonds feel like this should be discussed. Credit to Pratiken submitted by ppseeds to ThePPShow [link] [comments]

2023.06.06 18:30 VentItWithSafty I am the worst, dead-beat, pathetic husband and father that has been and will ever walk on this earth by killing the love of my life and the mother of our child.

I give no fucks where you post this. I just want this off my chest. I just need to vent.1
My wife was 26 and I am 29. Last year, we held our final conversation about having children. When we first met, we talked about wanting kids one day. We talked about the genders, names, what they would look like, the whole 9 yards. Everytime she never failed to metion how she would not pull through being pregnant or PPD with her anxiety and depression disorder. That being pregnant would be a death wish for her and how we should talk about getting a surrogate or just adopting. These talks always ended with me being angry and telling her that I don't want to be with anyone who is not willing to carry our child and how I don't feel comfortable with the idea that some stranger lives away from us with our child for 9-10mnths and possibly harm our baby by doing things that could be dangerous. Several years later and after sometime we've been married, we finally got off the pill and got pregnant. The whole pregnancy was filled with the worst panic attacks I had ever seen her have. It was daily hospital trips for her attacks and constant doctors appoinment for things she thinks is wrong with the baby or pregnancy.
Ultimately, it made her go into labor too soon and our son was born two months too early and living in the NICU until 2 weeks ago. I was beyond pissed off at my wife for putting our child in danger with all the stress she had "caused" and lost it on her, which I regretted instantly because it's no ones fault and no one can control these things. I told her we might as well have a stanger carry our kids because they have a better chance at surviving with them than their own mother. I also said she only has herself in mind by allowing her issues to continue instead of stopping them for the sake of our baby. Of couse, this made everything so much more worse. She never left the hospital, cried all of the time, said sorry to our son and to god. She stopped eating all together, lost intrest in everything, and no longer came to me for any of her panic attacks or problems. 3 weeks ago, me and the staff begged her to go home to shower and rest. She screamed at us that she refuses to let anything happen to our child again and leave him. I held her as she cried and calmed her down and told her I would stay up at the hospital all night so she can take a break and rest. I took her home, got her in the shower, gave her the meds for ppd she'd just got, held her for an hour in bed, and left for the hospital. The following morning I came home and found her but she was already gone. She left a note saying how sorry she was for everything.
If I had just listened to her years ago, trust her, and not encouraged her to suffer alone she would be here with me and our sweet son. I would have the love of my life and she could finally hold and feed our son without all thoes cords and know that she is a fantastic mother and wife. Men, I don't fucking care if you are married or not. Listen to them if they say they can't do something.
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2023.06.06 18:30 tulpacat1 To Kill a Predator, Chapter 24

Hi everyone.
To Kill a Predator is a work of fan fiction set in the Nature of Predators universe originally created by SpacePaladin15 whose Patreon you should subscribe to.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Depiction does not equal endorsement.
Hope you enjoy it!
[First] [Previous]
Memory transcription subject: Thiva, Venlil Civilian
Date [standardized human time]: December 6th, 2136

Thank the Protector for Vilek.
She had stepped up in every possible way. She coached me on the right answers to give to the assessors. She worked with a Krakotl named Jarkim to keep the Exterminator’s office at bay. And she took care of answering questions from a reporter named Sharnet that reached out to me since both the humans who contacted her, mister Sinclair and Martin, had fallen prey to the Liberators.
This was the paw where I got to leave the hospital. My injuries were actually quite minor (or so they claimed), but they had kept me under observation for several paws to see if I’d display Predator Disease after everything that happened. There was a real risk that after all that, after what Martin sacrificed for me, I’d just end up in a Facility.
At first I thought I probably should be. I was happy that Renak was dead, and I wanted Vansi to die too. For the first couple of paws just thinking about being tied in that chair with Renak whistling and leaning over me with his knife and claws and teeth… it made me shake and scream, once even until I soiled myself.
Thinking about what Vansi had done to Martin made me shriek with anger and throw things and tear curtains. Vilek had stayed by my side though, and helped cover up the incidents each time. Without her I’d be in a Facility for sure.
Then she got me in contact with a human assessor over video calls, a man named doctor Johan Eriksson with ice-blue eyes and a lot of yellow fur all over his face. And just as Martin had promised, Johan was aghast at hearing about the Federation’s treatment of Predator Disease. Johan promised me that my feelings were entirely normal, and that he’d help me work through everything.

I’ve had three calls with him since then, and while every one of them ended with me in tears I always felt better afterwards. He was teaching me a system called ‘Mindfulness’. By examining my own emotions and surroundings in a neutral way, it was possible for me to significantly reduce the symptoms! And it was working, it really was. I was more able to manage my emotions. I could recognize when the world was fading into a furious orange or horrid gray, and pull myself back from the brink.
And he said there were other coping strategies to use too, that he’d be providing me with all the tools I needed to grow myself like a garden: Pruning the bad parts, watering the good, and planting the seeds of the sort of person I wanted to grow into.
The humans love their metaphors! But this one was rather beautiful, so I didn’t mind. I quite liked to imagine myself as a garden! But not the ones on Venlil Prime. One of the ones on Earth. Johan had showed me pictures. So full of different colors, dozens of types of insects, so many birds… an explosion of life and color and joy!
That’s the kind of garden I wanted to be. Someday.

Coming back home was tough. Not just because I had to pick between being woozy from painkillers or aching with all the little motions of daily life (I had settled on being woozy), but also because of all the little reminders.
Vilek had pressured the landlord into replacing the front door, but the new color reminded me of the break-in. The door to Martin’s room was entirely absent. Martin was entirely absent.
I didn’t feel safe sleeping in my bed. Vilek let me share hers. I woke up crying and feeling her claws stroking through my fur to comfort me.
I was grateful, truly grateful, for my friend. But she wasn’t the one I wanted to hold me.
A claw later I screamed when the pad rang for a phone call, and had to sit and do my mindfulness exercises while Vilek answered it.
She hung up in a hurry and rushed over to me and grasped my paw. “Thiva, we have to get to the hospital! Right now!”


Memory transcription subject: Martin Russo, Human Refugee
Date [standardized human time]: December 11th, 2136

I am in more pain than at any other point in my entire life.
Every single part of my being hurts on a level so deep I can feel it in my soul, and I don’t even believe those exist.
My tears are flowing freely and shamelessly. My mouth is open and my drool tastes alkaline, my throat trying to shield itself from the vomit that’s threatening to flow forth.
Taking a single step requires more willpower than I can even wrap my head around. Every single muscle has to be tensed manually, my brain simply refuses to pass the ‘walk’ signal to the body. My shaking limbs move in slow motion, like wading through thick non-Newtonian fluid. Like an arthritic, decrepit old man.
And always that voice. That fucking voice. That fucking voice I need to shut it up I hate you I hate you so much I hate you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you

“Good job, Martin! One more step, c’mon, you can do it! Gold star!”
“fuck you… fuck you… fuck you… fuck you…” The mantra helps me manage the last step, before I collapse. First to my knees, then down to my hands. Then onto my face, on the soft and spongy floor.
Chasa, my Zurulian arch-nemesis, pads over to me fearlessly and sits down. She licks a paw before stroking it through my hair, giving me a cowlick. “Great job! I can tell you’ve been doing your exercises! Good boy!”
I can’t move my limbs right now. “hate you. hate you so much.”
She pads over to a small teddy bear-sized table and holds up my medical file. She’s had it printed out on actual paper with an actual manila folder, just for this purpose. “That’s fine! You don’t hate the gold star, though, do you?”
“…that’s for children…”
“Oh, so you don’t want it?”
I growl as menacingly as I can. It’s not particularly impressive. She holds up the little gold star sticker and wags it at me, before placing it on my file. She doesn’t seem particularly afraid of me. Though to be fair, even though she weighs maybe 20 kilos soaking wet she could probably take me in a fight.
Chasa looked up human physical therapy before taking on my case, and apparently learned about this incentive system… someplace. Each session she gives me a gold star if I manage to go above and beyond. I hate it. It’s infantilizing, condescending, and juvenile. And it works. I want the gold star. This is my fifth fucking physical therapy session and I want my fifth fucking gold star. It’s the least she can do after she makes me torture myself.
“Fantastic work! Alright, so after third-meal I want you to try and walk around your bed. Back and forth, as many times as you can. And remember to rotate your arm!”
“ah, i see. you hate me too.”
Chasa looks immensely happy and pleased as a couple of Venlil nurses get me onto a too-small gurney. She takes a little sugar and salt treat from a bowl for cubs or pups or whatever, and walks over to place it in my lap. “See you next paw, Martin!”
I will find a way to pay her back for this.

I woke up around five or six paws ago with tubes in every orifice on my body, and was very surprised to find myself alive.
The full story only came later. Slavik and Jarkim had taken out one of the Liberators, but Jarkim had gotten badly wounded as a result. As soon as they had dumped Jarkim back at the truck, Slavik double-timed it to the house. They passed Thiva and Mosun on the way, and managed to arrive in time to stop Vansi from setting me on fire. By shooting her.
Not that that would’ve mattered, considering my massive blood loss and organ damage and being stuck out in the middle of Fuckoff Nowheresota.
The fact that there was a UN army base about two dozen miles away saved me, as their helicopters showed up to take over the scene and haul all the injured to the hospital. The medics were able to get to me within the Golden Hour. Though considering the extent of my injuries it was apparently closer to the Golden Ten Minutes.
Since then I had been in a medically induced coma while the hospital grew replacements for just about every single one of my organs. To hear tell of it, I’d have had no chance long-term without the Zurulians’ almost unfathomably advanced technology. The alien teddy bears were able to salvage my broken body, even though it’s likely that my left leg, left arm, and right hand will never be the same again.
And now I get to torture myself back to health. Oh joy.

My lambchops have been showing up every day or paw or whatever for visiting hours, and staying each time until they’re chased out by the nurses.
Each time I see them enter my room it feels better than a shot of whatever the aliens use instead of morphine; the sight of them together and safe lifts my spirits and puts a smile on my face.
We spend most of our time watching movies or TV shows on the pad, while they take turns holding my hand or stroking my head. I pet them back as much as I can, but for now both that and talking for any length of time are too draining.
They’ve been showing me some of the classic works of the Venlil. I’ve been showing them classics of humanity.
“Hey Blondie! You know what you are?! Just a dirty sonofa-” Aaa-aa-aaaaa!
The lambchops whistle with joyful laughter, releasing the tension of the long finale of the finest Western of all time.
Thiva sighs with relief. “Oh Protector, I really thought he was going to kill Tuco!”
“No way, he’s ‘The good’ of the title! And it was a call-back to the first part of the film where he kept shooting him down, there’s no way they wouldn’t take the opportunity to tie it all together!”
“Yeah, I guess… Is that seriously what humans considered ‘good’ back then?”
I interject. “You could argue that Blondie is supposed to be ‘the good’, but he’s really more like the ‘least bad’. The people making the movie were living under a dictatorship, so a lot of films from the nation of Spain around that time were made from a very cynical point of view.”
Thiva leans against me and runs her claws through my hair, making me shiver. “You haven’t been showing us a lot of movies with war in them, but they’re apparently pretty common for humans?”
I give a nod. “Yes. We’ve always had a complex relationship with war and violence. You might’ve noticed that this movie took a very somber perspective, largely viewing the war as pointless. While it was a controversial conflict in the past, nowadays the common view of the US civil war is that it was a necessary conflict to end the evils of chattel slavery.”
Vilek is silent for a short bit. “So like Blondie, violence isn’t necessarily good, but sometimes it’s the least bad.”
“Oh, I like that. That’s clever.”
She wags her tail. “Alright, what’s next on the list?”
“Next… I do my exercises, before I get too tired. Can you girls help me get into the leg brace? Can’t walk at all without the damn thing.”

They help manhandle me into a standing position and latch the leg brace, and I can start my agonizingly slow and agonizingly agonizing journey around the bed and back again.
To keep my mind off of the pain, and because I can’t loudly curse my beloved lambchops out like I can my arch-nemesis Chasa, I try to talk instead. “S-So… I’ve been looking into… human universities… that’ll take both of you… and ideally… transfer your… credits…”
Vilek wags encouragingly, and helps support me on my slow journey. “That’s great! We can all head to Earth instead and I can become a human assess-no, therapist!”
Thiva sighs. “Honestly, I like the sound of that. I feel safer around humans than around Venlil at this point.”
“Great… I’ll let you know… once I hear back…” Shit that topic didn’t last long. Okay what else what else “How’s that… trial thing… coming along…?”
Thiva grumbles. “The Liberators plead guilty today… including Vansi, who was being tried as a member of the group.” She had survived, but Slavik’s plasma rifle had seared her arm off at the shoulder.
“No media’s being allowed in the courtroom, to ensure they don’t get an audience for their views. The sentence hasn’t come down yet but it looks like none of them are going to feel the free breeze again for as long as they live.”
“Can’t say… I feel bad…”
“It’s too good for them!”
“The state… shouldn’t get… to do worse… than imprison… fuck, I’m done, please help.” My leg gives out and I’m left to cling to the bed frame until the girls intervene.
They help me back onto the bed before Vilek speaks. “…Even someone like Kalsim?”

I nod, sweat covering my body in a thin sheen. I take a deep drink of water and wait a few moments before answering. “Yeah… Kalsim’s not a threat in a jail cell. The state has a monopoly on violence, and shouldn’t get to use it to kill people just because we’re upset at them.”
Thiva frowns. “What about justice, though? Don’t people deserve to see those that have hurt them get punished?”
I shake my head. “That’s not justice. See it like this… Why not eat him?”
The girls look disgusted. I press on. “See… If killing him as punishment is fine, then just beating him up has to be fine too. Right? That’s less bad than killing him. And torture, that’s still less bad than killing. And if killing is fine, how about killing him extra painfully like by setting him on fire? And at that point we might as well eat him. I mean, why not?”
Thiva protests. “Because… Because that’s barbaric! You humans don’t eat sapients, you all say so!”
I nod firmly. “Yeah, exactly. Because it is barbaric. State punishment is just barbarism, just sadism to make the worst part of us feel better. Once we agree that it’s acceptable to do that to anyone, all we’re doing is haggling over price. There was a human philosopher named Nietzsche. He said ‘Beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong’, and I think that’s the sort of thing he meant. Not just to beware of people in power who seek out punishment for people they have power over, but… to beware that part of ourselves.”
The girls are silent for a moment. I take a slow drink of water and speak more, even though it’s really tiring by now. But this is important.
“Listen, Vilek… When you study to become a therapist, please keep something in mind. Predator Disease doesn’t exist. Not even Renak had Predator Disease.”
Vilek frowns confusedly and bursts out. “What?! But you said he was a ‘textbook psychopath’! You said he was a monster who didn’t feel empathy! You said so yourself!”
“Yes, I did. But in human society… the majority of people with that condition are not actually more dangerous than anyone else. Because they can be taught coping mechanisms, by therapists, to fit into society. Renak was a monster because Venlil society, and Vansi, failed him.”
Thiva protests. “But…”
I shake my head. “Nobody is born a monster. And even in cases where people are truly unsalvageable for whatever reason… what’s the point in punishing them for it? Thiva, I didn’t shoot your brother because he was a psychopath. I shot him to keep you safe. Slavik didn’t shoot your mother because she was an abuser, they shot her because she was about to set me on fire. If someone shot Kalsim at this point… how would that make anyone safer?”
I sigh and take another slow drink of water. “...Christ, I do not have the energy for this heavy stuff right now. Next film, girls, what’ll it be?”
They start bickering, apparently as happy to be distracted from the topic as I am. Every time it’s their turn to pick they end up fighting over it, you’d think they’d make a list ahead of time instead. “Flower-bird Red!” “Fainting for You!” “Garden in the Stars!” “Okay, yeah, that’s good. Remake or original?” “Original, obviously!” “But the remake-” “We can just show him both!” “Okay, deal!”
I don’t end up remembering a blessed thing about the film. With the girls cuddled up to me on the Mazic-size bed I’ve been given for use since they apparently lacked human-size ones, I fall asleep by the end of the opening credits.

Date [standardized human time]: December 14th, 2136

“Hey human, you got visitors.” The nurse informs me. I glance at the clock on my pad, which I had set to count down to the lambchops’ daily visit. Still half a claw out.
Instead of my cherished friends, I see two other people step into the room. A Venlil, and Robert McGinley.
“…Hey Bob. You’ll forgive me if I don’t get up.” I jest from the hospital bed. McGinley doesn’t seem to find it amusing.
“I’ve been waiting for you to show up, to be honest. Who’s your friend?”
“District Magister Vaska. Russo, we need you to sign-”
“Fuck off, McGinley.”
“If you don’t sign these documents, your refugee status can be rescinded.”
“No it can’t. Literally, there’s a list of reasons I can have my refugee status taken away, and ‘not signing hush documents’ isn’t on the list.”
McGinley gives me a tiny smile. On his blank face that might as well be an ear-to-ear grin. “But it can be if you’ve been charged with a crime in the host sovereignty.”
I nod. “Yeah, that is true. I don’t even need to be convicted.”
“So I haven’t been charged with anything yet. And if I had to guess, I’m not going to be.”
McGinley scowls. Vaska scowls beside him too.

I continue. Talking is a bit tiring, but not as bad as it was just a few days ago. “Because if I’m charged with a crime, I’ll need to take the witness stand. And I can have ex-officer Jarkim take the stand. And you don’t want that. Because the raid on the Liberators’ compound here in Greenmeadow was ‘a heroic joint operation between the UN and the Exterminators’ office, approved by Governor Tarva herself’.”
Now Vaska speaks up. His voice is trembling with anger. “A stunt that you forced us to engage in! I had to call the governor on the emergency line to get approval for it! A UN military operation on sovereign Venlil soil!”
“I’m not going to apologize for making you do your fucking job.”
McGinley takes a step forward. I don’t bother to flinch back, since I can’t exactly run anywhere anyway. Instead I just look up at him passively and wait for him to say something. “It’s in your best interests to play nice, Russo.”
“Because that worked out so well for both of us last time. Remember ‘An inferno of incredible horror’? Pretty great article, really. ‘The Liberators Unveiled: Terror and death in Greenmeadow’ was killer too. Do you really want to go for a third, about what really happened to VP’s little homegrown terrorist cell that was literally funded with the salaries of the Exterminators in it?”
The ‘Liberators Unveiled’ article had run while I was comatose, revealing the full truth of the shelter arson and the identities of the Liberators involved. However, it had neither contradicted nor reaffirmed the official government narrative about the ‘joint operation’ that took the bastards down.
McGinley is practically snarling now, putting both hands on my hospital bed and making it shake a bit. I wince with pain, while he raises his voice for the first time in either of my meetings with the man. “You can’t be allowed to just run around doing whatever you want. There have to be consequences for your actions, Russo!”
I nod solemnly. “I agree. That’s what the law is for. So charge me with a crime, or fuck off.”
He shakes the bed slightly. There’s a few beeps from some of the machinery monitoring me and making sure I’m still alive. Vaska looks a bit taken aback. “You nearly ruined the whole investigation; you almost destabilized the relationship between humanity and the Venlil!”
I take a steadying breath. He’s being overly dramatic. “So charge me with a crime, or fuck off.”
McGinley snarls and slams a bundle of papers down on the bedside table. “I’m offering you a chance to change your mind.”
I glance at the papers, then lift them up with more effort than I’d like to admit and drop them directly into the waste bin.
I wave my hand, tired of this pointless farce. “No, seriously. Fuck off, McGinley. Magister, a word of advice. If you want my silence, try offering some hush money next time. Us humans are a lot more partial to bribes than to threats.”
They storm out.
Guess I won’t be going to jail. The rest of the posse will be fine too, then.
I lean back and sigh and try to take a nap. I don’t want to still be pissed off when the lambchops show up. I have something important to show them.
Some of the universities I’ve reached out to have answered back.
Sharnet is of course the very same from u/Acceptable_Egg5560's inimitable The Nature of a Giant.
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