Speed ​​Dating w ten weekend

Mammasaurus Rex: Moving Shenanigans Part 2

2020.09.19 00:20 aspienonomous Mammasaurus Rex: Moving Shenanigans Part 2

So, where I last left off in this preposterously absurd tale, it is September. Rex is of the mindset, assuming she has a mind where she can set her thoughts in place, remains debatable and borderline questionable at the best of times, that it's not that big of a deal. She has offered every kind of help a person in my situation could only dream of, simply to have those hopes bludgeoned over the head with plutonium, just in time for reality to sink in. She Is also assuming that I’ll break up with my then fiancé and she’ll morph into the antichrist and save me from homelessness. Rex has been trying to push me out of the house for months and is now triangulating between me, Hubs and 2 of my brothers, both are narcissists and my sister in law, who also just so happens to be…. gaaaaassspppp…...a narc.
Not long after Rex’s visit we get a group text from SIL, saying that their family is moving to a far off magical land in November, but they are keeping their house here for when they come and visit at XX dates and times. What on this beautiful blue orb, coasting through this shimmering candy bar galaxy could I have fucking done to win this jackpot of infinite sanity paid out in dividends!!! When NO ONE responded with oooooos and fucking aaaaahhhs she doubled down and went full fucking blown crocodile tears about how they’ll miss the fucking faaaaaamily. Rex started sending over the top “we’re crying in our beer” texts at an alarming rate. After about 5 minutes of that shitshow, I removed myself from the group. Go fucking drown yourselves in your goddamn beer, bitches.
Two hours later, Rex texts me.
Rex: Hey let’s just be honest. You’re living with Hubs. Bro1 and SIL will need to stay at our house this fall before they move in November. We will need to use your room. Are you still wanting to keep your bed? You can get a storage unit since y’all can’t fit everything in your house yet.
OP: Your ability to interpret reality is fucking astonishing! You know I live with Hubs. You’ve even BEEN TO OUR GODDAMN HOUSE. I’ve also told you at least ten times we can’t afford nor will we spend money on a storage unit, so please stop fucking suggesting it. If y’all want to help, we’ll get it done faster. I am thoroughly bewildered though, because Bro1 and SIL are keeping their house. Exactly why do they need a single room for a five person family?
Rex: I’m not sure what’s going on. It changes from day to day lol
OP: That sounds more like a tentative situation based on what you just said.
MR: I just need you to move your things out.
OP: Yeah, I got that.
The next day Rex called and I’ve mostly been avoiding her, but I know if I didn’t answer, she’d just kill my soul slowly with hundreds of guilt tripy texts. So, I put her on speaker with Hubs next to me.
OP: I only have a few minutes.
Rex: *proceeds to kill my soul slowly anyway*
Essentially, she tells me that Bro2 who’s now going to be moving into my room until November. Why he can’t fucking move back into his own goddamn room is beyond my comprehension, but who am I to question this fuckery. I now have Rex shoveling faaaamily propaganda down my throat and told to move out ALL of my shit from my room THIS FUCKING WEEKEND, as in FIVE DAYS FROM NOW! I was also instructed, as well to take the couple pieces of furniture and the 2 boxes of kitchenware out of the garage OR I could…… GET A FUCKING STORAGE UNIT. Jesus Fucking Christ and a threesome with a donkey, woman! How many times do I have to tell you? I need to wait to do that with Hubs and I’m NOT getting a storage unit! I asked what happened to Bro1 and SIL needing my room for the fall. She says she doesn’t know. Oh yeah, you cunt? Really? That's your answer? Don’t you mean to say that they never needed it in the fucking first place and you’re full of horse shit scraped up off the cobblestones dated all the way back to the 1860’s?
At this point Hubs signals to me he wants to say something.
Hubs: She needs help. Period. Full stop. You can’t expect her to do any moving until I have some free time. I’m currently working 18hr days, so I’m sure you can understand why this issue is one that we need to solve as a team. If Rex, Dad, and Bro2 want to help, we could possibly have it done this weekend. Would you be willing to help her? I’ll also clearly remind you that we already said we don’t want the bed frame or the mattress, so you can move them out of the room to speed up the process. We will not be moving ANY of the furniture this weekend. We will most likely be by Sunday and move as much as we can.
Hubs has his very own sadistically narc mom, so when she tried to guilt him, he shut that shit down.
She said just as long as it’s out by “fall” she’ll be happy. I remind her that she’s been saying that for the past 4 fucking months and it’s September. It’s already “fall.” She said by November will be fine. FUCKING NOVEMBER!!!! Ok, cool, so just in the nick of fucking time for when all the siblings no longer need to use my goddamn room. Fuck you. I tell her I have to go bash my head in with a 2x4 and she said she does too, but then she spends the next several minutes going into an unrelated work story. I don’t give an ever-loving shit about your life, bitch! Shut the fuck up! Thankfully, Hubs talks over her and ends the call.
My head is spinning like Michelle Kwan at the winter Olympics and I'm trying to make sense of this shit. Every single part of that bullshit was contradictory and a load of insane clown posse. Hubs and I both agreed that from this point on, even though it's MY family and it should be MY circus, that we'll discuss ahead of time what our decisions would be and he would take any phone call or text conversation because they don't know him. They wouldn’t dare lower their shield of perfection. So, my demi-god of a husband wants to be my personal meat shield because we're a united front with what we decide on. They lose any possible grasp of power and control of the situation when I'm ejected from the fucking equation.
At the time, we were struggling financially. I have a decent education, but due to trauma, I don’t remember jackshit. You could tell me I have two BS degrees and one BA degree and I’d argue with you that your fucking mom dropped you on your face as an infant. On purpose. I have zero memories of college. The jobs available to me now are limited and I had to get creative in order to pull myself out of this gaping financial hole I created for myself. Spoiler alert: I TOTALLY DID! BY TOTALLING MY CAR! Now I wouldn’t have chosen this path, nor recommend it (LMFAO), but the equity paid off my debt.
I used to be disappointed that even though Rex has been nagging and nagging about getting my shit out and she would “help” me, she wouldn't lift a dainty manicured pinky to do anything of the sort. Those boomers are booming loaded. My inheritance is substantial, but at this point in my life, I honestly don’t fucking care. LIES!! I tell lies!! It really boils down to a fucking balance of how much bullshit am I willing to put up with so me and Hubs can live out our future fantasy where we own hundreds of acres, the nearest neighbor is at least five miles away, on a ranch with heards of goats, alpacas, horses, Great Danes and Golden Retrievers. A utopia where we can live out our misanthropic pipe dream.
That night during dinner, we were discussing this coming weekend and that we agreed to go and move out as much of my shit as we can, just to avoid the future manufactured and incoherent drama. The following week was full of insanity and lots and lots of alcohol. I’ll leave it here and since I’m officially on vacation and have begun the fucking awesome tradition of day drinking, I’m sure part 3 will soon follow. I just have to add all the sweary bits.
See ya!
submitted by aspienonomous to FuckeryUniveristy [link] [comments]


2020.09.08 21:40 hereto_tellstories TIFU by streaking at our vacation rental and locking myself in between two doors (separate incidents within a 24 hour period)

Very long!
This happened almost two years ago when my fiancee and I were dating long distance but I just stumbled upon this sub today and thought i'd share my story.
This was a couple months before my fiancee (then bf) moved in together and we were still dating long distance. We were tired of renting hotel rooms between us (his adult daughter sometimes stays with him and well.. we're kinky. So hotel room) and we chose to rent a guest home instead.
We decided to make it a long weekend and stay until Monday morning where he would leave from the rental for work and I would leave to meet him for lunch at check out time (11am) and meet him for lunch before driving back to Ft. Worth. About a week in a half before our weekend away the home owners advised us they were also going out of town, and here is the next door neighbors information if we come into trouble etc etc. So we arrive at the home and we're each in our cars. It's a very small street, with no room so we were allotted one parking space and we drove my car up the street to this 24hr gym and he parked his car in the garage.
How the home was set up was to the left was an iron gate (that had lockbox) and once you unlocked it, it let you into the unlocked front door which led you to the garage (where we would later get the key to) and you walked through the garage to both homes. It is an older style home and there is no backyard but both homes are connected to the garage and when you leave the garage you practically walk into the pool. The pool is essentially creating a square where each house takes up one wall, and the other two are surrounded by the fence. Both homes have no walls, but do have glass (with provided curtains for privacy). Friday, Saturday we have a great time and on Sunday have begun to pack and clean up the home when I tell him i'm gonna take one last afternoon dive. He asks me if i'll go nude for him so he can take pictures of me, I say "Sure." After some shots he is sitting on the steps with his feet in the pool and I am standing in front of him, naked, maybe just under breast level in the water and we're talking. I suddenly hear a noise and say
"Sshh. What is that?"
"What is what?"
"It sounds like a garage opening."
"I have the key inside the kitchen, Baby don't worry about it."
"OH MY GOD. They're fucking home early. Baby, move! Move! Move!"
I haul ass out of the pool to get to the door to the guest home because i'm butt ass fucking naked and I don't even have a towel. Well, the way that they designed the pool was to have cement in about 2 feet surrounding the pool but the rest is tile. As stated if standing at the entrance to the garage there's a home on each side. The guest home would be on your right. I'm running to the door to get into the guest home when I reach the door I instead slide along the tile, scream bloody murder, and slide right into the garage and slam into their car where their headlights are on. I immediately without thought straighten myself where there are two pair of HUGE eyes staring at me and my breast, among other things. I can hear my boyfriend dying of laughter behind me. We're all frozen for maybe 5 seconds when I finally cover my breast and try to figure out a way to walk out with my dignity still in tact even though i'm soaking wet, covered in car dust and have to walk at least 6-7 feet to the door. I thought of running but just figured that would make certain areas jiggle all the more. I make it to the door and calmly walk in. A few minutes later I hear car doors open and close and my heart is beating a mile a minute because i'm thinking they're going to kick us out a night early or something because surely this goes against the rental agreement.
I hear my boyfriend just outside the door say "She's short but man can she move. I'm Michael, the woman hiding on the other side of the door is Caitlin. Nice place you got here." I hear them say their names back before he enters and finds me hiding in the bathroom. He assures me they didn't even mention it that we're fine.
The next morning Michael leaves for work and I go outside to kiss him good bye before re-entering the guest home. Remember how the homes are all glass? I can only assume that they saw us leave together and because my car was parked down the street, they also assumed we left together when Michaels car left the garage. A couple hours go by, i've cleaned the home the best I can (stripping the sheets, collecting trash etc) and am ready to go. I walk down the street and realize I don't have the garage key so i'll have to take everything around the garage and through the front door but the drive way has a car double parking in it so I just park it along the curb and go to retrieve my bags. I take my bags to my car and realize that I still have their home key just as i'm about to drive away. I'm now running late to lunch so I run back inside (leaving my car keys, and my cellphone in my front seat) and place it on the counter and realize I have to pee. I weigh it and figure i'll be really quick and this is a very nice neighborhood. Statistically what are the chances of a car thief coming along in the 3 minutes i'll be gone?
I go back through the garage and make sure that the front door is locked (remember the iron gate?) and shut it behind me. I then reach for the iron gate and realize the door knob won't turn. The first few milliseconds, i'm confused. I just came through this door. Why is it locked? I try to turn it again, and it's for sure locked. I start to turn to go back through the front when I realize... I just fucking locked it. Now, this is July in Houston, Texas. If you're unaware... it gets hot and humid here, FAST. At this point it's about 9:30am give or take. The only thing I can think happened is in the 2-3 minutes I was gone, the home owners saw Michaels car was gone, saw us walk out together earlier and before leaving for work, locked the iron gate.
There are no words for the sheer amount of disbelief that went through my body.
I maybe stand there completely still for a full minute. Then, I think alright i've got to get the fuck out of here before it gets too hot. I start weighing my options. There's nothing to pick a lock (who am I kidding? I can't pick a lock). Can I climb the gate? I survey the gate (I'm a couple inches over five feet with most of my height in my waist area). Fuck that's a tall spiked gate. I turn to the front door and think of all the "Cops" episodes i've watched. Is it really that hard to break down a door? I figure, someone will walk by, i'll ask them for help somehow. The clock is ticking. I have no phone, no water, nothing. I begin to sweat and to panic a little. I begin to try and count time in my head (all jokes aside it was kind of scary!) When I reach past 2,000 seconds i start to try and do the math of how many minutes that is and realize I can't do it but I am very, very hot. The sun is really starting to rise and so is the temperature. I survey the door again and decide there's no way i'm getting through it so my only chance is to climb the gate. I place my feet in the middle section and attempt to climb it. I make it to the top where I am sitting between two of the spikes and my tippy, tippy toes are barely reaching the middle of the fence. I am looking at maybe a six foot drop. I start to try and think of the little medical information I have in my brain and know they say to protect your brain and neck (spinal cord) but how the fuck do I do that because once I swing my leg over, i'll fall. I won't be able to stop the fall. I'll more than likely fall on my head and be brain damaged for life. Star to wonder if Michael will stay with me when I realize i'm wasting time and have to get back down. As I try to figure out how to get down, I slip off the gate and fall.
The thigh of my right leg gets caught and I am now hanging upside down and it feels like my hip is on fire. oh, also, I was in a skirt and am now flashing any passer bys. I have absolutely no upper body strength and I kept trying to pull myself up to pull my leg out but I couldn't support my body weight. I was starting to get seriously dizzy and think I may have even passed out for a minute or two when I realized I just had to grit my teeth and do it. I leaned up (seriously how do i not have abs after this ordeal?) and grabbed the spiked ends, I counted to three and lifted my body up and pulled my leg out where I almost passed out again from the pain in my hip and then I fell. Thankfully I was holding the spikes which saved some of the speed to which I fell down and I fell sideways on my left side and was able to land on my arm/elbow and not my head. Not gonna lie. I laid there and cried for probably ten minutes. Then, I got up and surveyed my wounds and recognized nothing was broken. I wasn't sure how much time i was up on the fence but the sun is now very high in the sky and i'm dehydrated and sweating still.
Then, I hear something. My whole body froze. Is that a dog collar? i push my entire body up against the iron fence trying to see to the street. The sound gets closer and closer. It's a woman! She's walking her dog! I scream and scream until she takes her headphones off. I am reaching through the bars gesturing to my car. I say "Ma'm! Oh thank god. I'm locked... in. I'm hurt and I need my cell phone. I've lost track of the time but that's my car right there to the left of you. it's unlocked, please, please can you get my phone for me?"
She stands there looking at me for maybe a full 2 minutes. Granted I am beyond dirty and sweaty and the only thing I can think of is maybe she watches too many crime shows and thought I had been kidnapped and didn't want to get involved?
Because she then put her headphones back in and started walking.
For the second time that day, the amount of disbelief that went through my body I can't put into words. I limped to the front door and again have myself a good cry. I start to rationalize people have survived in hotter temperatures in worst conditions. Stop crying. The owners will come home after work, you'll live.
I start counting again. I believe I made it to about 40 minutes again before I started to wonder if I was insane because i've never been so lonely in my life.
Then, I hear a noise again. i leap up and run into the iron gate again trying to press my face through the bars. The front door and gate is hidden from view from the street so you have to be looking right at it to see me.
Someone rides by on a bike and I scream for maybe 2 minutes but it's clear they're gone.
Then, maybe 5 minutes later I hear voices. Two hispanic men are walking by, across the street, speaking in Spanish. Now, i'm half hispanic and my grandpa tried to teach me Spanish but I never tried and I never regretted it like I did in this moment. My screaming catches their attention and they stop walking to stare at me from across the street.
I can't help but cry and beg them to either call 911 or to give me my phone, please. I'm hurt and I need to call someone. Please! They look at one another and gesture to me while arguing in spanish. Again, I have no idea what they're saying. Eventually one of them looks at me with a forlorn look on his face, shakes his head no and they walk away quickly.
For the third time that day disbelief and loneliness hit my body like a tsunami.
I go back to the front door where I decide enough is enough. I'm sad and pissed now. I try to break the door down with my body. Again, i'm small so after two attempts and an aching shoulder, I give up. I sit down and begin to realize this must be what prison feels like as I look through the iron gate and wonder if Michael has realized i'm missing by now.
Maybe another hour passes again. I tried counting but couldn't get my brain to focus so I eventually gave up. I start to doze but every time i wake up I get scared that you're not supposed to fall asleep when you're wounded and hot. Or is that the cold? I try pacing but my hip won't let me.
Then, for the fourth time I hear a noise. someone is walking and jingling their keys. I scream and beg and then a head pokes out from around the bush. I'm practically offering my soul and jumping up and down to please god call 911. It was the next door neighbor.
I tell her what has happened. She stands there staring at me for maybe a minute in silence. i beg her to please not leave. She says she thinks she has a spare key. She leaves and honestly I was terrified she wouldn't come back. I don't know how much time has passed but i was pressed between the gate as far as my face would go to try and see around the bush. Eventually, she comes back around to say she can't find the key but she's going to keep looking. She disappears again. Then, she comes back with a key in her hand and as she is unlocking the gate says "So, I heard you were able to enjoy the pool" i'm so relieved someone is helping me i'm not even embarrassed and as she opens the gate, I tackle her down covered in dirt and blood (the gate had cut me and I failed to realize it before) sobbing and sweaty. The poor woman probably had to go change.
I go to my car where almost everyone I know has called me because Michael called them trying to find me.
I had been locked in there almost 5 hours. I would later come to find out Michael never thought to come back to the house he instead was driving up and down the freeways trying to find where I had an accident.
TL;DR
Boyfriend and I rented a vacation home where he asked me to go streaking and the home owners came home early and while running away so they wouldn't see me I instead ran straight into them. Then, I locked myself outside in the Houston heat the next morning between two doors where I was trapped for 5 hours.
submitted by hereto_tellstories to tifu [link] [comments]


2020.09.08 15:12 Raptor013 New World Order - Chapter Six

Firstly sorry about the long wait between chapters. Between an overloaded work schedule taking up much of the time I would dedicate to writing and also wanting to ensure that I delivered the best possible work for those that have so far enjoyed the previous chapters.
The latest installment can also be found here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13535599/6/New-World-Order

As always I hope you enjoy this chapter and look forward to your thoughts and comments.


The following morning after grabbing a quick breakfast from the kitchens, I made my way down to the dock where the crew were busy with the final preparations for the Intrepid to depart. Albert was also present despite the fact that he wouldn't be sailing with the ship, he was running through what looked like a thick work manual with Kevin.
As I approach boarding ladder, I can see Luke looking down from the Bridge Wing shaking his head. On joining him he comments, "He just can't help himself."
"What did I miss?" I ask, fully expecting what the answer would be.
"Albert turned up and started giving Kevin the standard introduction he gives everyone who joins the engine room," Luke replies, "You'd almost think he outranks Kevin the way he started into him."
"Well that sounds like Albert," I answer with a smirk, "Just so long as this is the short introduction and not the usual three-hour speech he gives."
"There's a first time for everything I guess," Luke replies with a laugh, "Speaking of first times. I didn't realize that you would be bringing our guests along on an operation of this nature?"
"I'm not," I answer with confusion, "Bismarck is joining Albert on the Germany assignment and Graf Spee wanted to stay here on the island. I didn't get the chance to speak with either Akagi or Kaga though."
"Well they boarded about ten minutes before you," Luke informs me, "And it didn't look like they were about to be denied the chance to join this cruise."
After finishing up my conversation with Luke and giving Albert the cue to wrap up his lecture so Kevin could board the ship, I make my way down the corridor at the rear of the Bridge to stow my sea bag in my cabin before continuing on to conduct my usual pre-voyage inspection of the ship.
My inspections take less time than usual as with double the normal crew aboard the preparation work was well in hand. I finish my tour by making my way aft down the port side of the main deck, double checking the conditions of the lifeboat launching mechanisms as I go.
On reaching the last lifeboat and mentally ticking off my checklist that all is ready, I find myself only a short distance from where Akagi and Kaga stand looking out over the stern of the ship out to sea beyond the reef.
Hearing my approaching footsteps as I make my way across the launch deck, "Just so you know," Kaga begins turning to face me, "There is nothing you can say that will persuade either of us to remain on the island while you head out to sea, Captain."
"Fair enough," I reply slightly taken aback by the abrupt announcement, "Just be sure that you know that this is a Search and Rescue operation and not a weekend cruise through the Pacific."
Both nod their understanding before I continue, "So with that taken care of. Having you aboard will actually speed up the search operations greatly."
"How so?" Akagi asks with a slight tilt of her head.
As I go over the few details of the mission with the girls, explaining what we are looking for and how I intend to carry out the search operation if it should come to that, I notice that whilst both are seemingly agreeing with the plan, it appears as though they might have other ideas.
"So, no different to hunting down an enemy fleet," Kaga states with a slightest hint of a smile once I finish going over the plan.
"Exactly," I agree, "However although we are looking for an American Naval fleet, you won't be attacking them. Just report their position and keep a visual contact."
Before any further conversation on the matter can continue however, I feel the vibrations of the engine starting up indicating that Kevin has finally been able to get away from Albert and aboard ship and that we were ready to depart.
Now some four hours south of Midway, with the Intrepid sailing rapidly through the low swells we entered the northern most point of the pre-planned route that the American Carrier Group was scheduled to take on its return to Pearl Harbour.
The voyage out from Midway Atoll had been largely uneventful. After clearing the reef and turning onto the southerly heading to the expected point of intercept with the American fleet, I had the crew run through all the onboard systems to ensure that they were going to be ready if required.
With the sun now reaching its zenith, I gave the order to begin the search proper. The crew began to lower one of the prototype rapid ocean floor scanners the Professor had finalized the production of over the past month.
Getting the all clear from the crew members monitoring the scanner readings, I gave the orders to increase speed to twenty knots and turn onto the pre-planned search grid whilst waiting for the latest possible estimated time that the fleet would arrive.
"How long until the fleet is due to arrive?" Luke asks.
"Assuming nothing is wrong," I answer, "The lead elements should be here within the hour, which is why we are sub hunting."
The numerous confused looks from those on the bridge led me to expand on my answer, "The lead element of the task force is a submarine. They should be about an hour ahead of the surface fleet."
"And you think that the Professors new ocean floor scanner will be able to detect a nuclear submarine?" Luke questions with a raised eyebrow.
"Probably not," I admit, "Those things are damned hard to detect even with the right equipment. I'm more hoping that they will detect the sonar pings and come investigate the source."

**

After almost two hours of crisscrossing over the same stretch of ocean with no sign of any surface traffic or even a hint of anything below the ocean surface indicating any man-made objects I step back inside from my observation post of the Starboard Bridge Wing, "Okay set a course for Wake Island," I instruct, "We'll start to retrace the planned route."
As Luke starts to program the new course into the navigation computers, I reach for the satellite phone and punch in the contact number from memory. The phone barely has time to ring before the other end is picked up.
'Which extension?' the voice on the other end spoke in a stern manner.
"Extension forty-five. Priority Alpha," I answer.
Without a reply from the voice on the other end, I hear a slight buzzing through the line as the call is transferred before a second voice speaks, "Jensen speaking."
"Admiral," I begin, "It's Harrison onboard the Intrepid. Just calling to update you that your fleet has missed its rendezvous time and we are now beginning to retrace their course back towards Wake Island."
"Understood," Admiral Jensen replies, "We'll send our search group to cover the course between Pearl and Midway just in case they were ahead of schedule."
"I'm certain that we beat them to the point of intercept Admiral," I acknowledge, "But better to cover all options. Also, if you have any way to send a message that they might be able to receive under the current circumstances can you let them know that we will be conducting aerial reconnaissance starting tomorrow morning."
"I'll pass the message on to the team leading the search operation from our end," Admiral Jensen says, "We will expect updates if you find anything."
After confirming the next phase of the search with Admiral Jensen, I hang up the phone before replacing it on the wall mount. Taking another look at the charts scattered across the table whilst running through the plans for the next day, my thoughts are interrupted.
"Do you want an aerial scouting sortie today Captain?"
Looking up to find Kaga standing on the other side of the Chart Table I reply, "There's only another three hours of good light remaining today. How much range could you cover in that time?"
"If we launch now, we can scout out the area we would sail through overnight," Kaga confirms.
Weighing up the advantages of knowing what surface vessels we might encounter overnight against losing almost two thirds of the possible scouting range I make my decision, "Do it. I'll let you determine how many planes to launch."
Without another word Kaga leaves the Bridge, leaving me to issue the required instructions before making my way down to the Launch Deck.

**

Unlike the last time when Bismarck volunteered to guide the Intrepid during the radar blackout anomaly, there was no crowd of crew around watching on as both Kaga and Akagi emerged onto the Launch Deck and wordlessly stepped off the ship onto the ocean surface.
As the girls skate out a short distance from the Intrepid to take up positions on either side of the ship, I watched on with genuine interest at how they were going to launch their recon planes when so far, all the research we had compiled had failed to answer that question.
Taking up a position where I could clearly observe the launch I was still surprised at although it was surreal to see a person skating across the ocean surface, that like when Bismarck did so a little over a month ago, it almost felt natural.
Raising my observation binoculars, I watched on as Akagi with head bowed as if in quiet pray slowly raised her right arm, hand outstretched. With a brilliant flash a bright reddish-orange ball of flame appeared just above her hand, before it began to circle around her.
My shock at seeing what could only be described as magic if one were to try to describe the scene to another was pale compared to a moment later when I turned to look to the other side of the ship where Kaga had it appeared mirrored her sisters actions, however she had conjured a flame of greenish-blue.
I continued to watch on silently as both girls raised their heads and appeared to be looking off into the distance before with a rapid flick of their wrists, they threw what appeared to be crude paper cutouts roughly in the shape of an airplane.
The paper cutouts travelled only a short distance before rapidly transforming into full-sized aircraft which rapidly accelerated away and climbed up into the afternoon skies.
I was still scratching my head in disbelief at this sight, considering the possibility that I was imagining things, when moments later a second wave of aircraft materialized in the same manner, heading off on a slightly different course to the first. This was followed by a third and fourth wave.
My thoughts are quickly interrupted by Luke over the portable radio, "Just to let you know we have multiple contacts on radar heading away from our position."
"Can you give me an exact count on the number of contacts?" I request, having not been able to get any sort of count earlier due to my surprise at what I had witnessed.
As I await a reply from Luke, I continue my observations of both girls who continued to maintain their course and distance to match that of the Intrepid. After what seemed like an eternity, Luke radioed back, "We've counted one hundred and thirty-eight separate contacts across eight groups Captain."
"Thank you, Luke," I answer, "Can you remind me tomorrow to make sure that we aim the external cameras to cover tomorrow mornings launch. I believe that the research teams will want to study this in detail."

**

As the days continued to tick over with no sign of the American fleet the only positives that any of us could take from the previous five days was the amount of data, we were able to collect for the research teams to go over.
Now just over a day south of Wake Island having made another course change towards the Bismarck Sea I took my usual observation post on the Starboard Bridge Wing and watched on as Kaga launched her third of the morning. Taking another sip of coffee and flicking through the overnight reports which revealed nothing of note.
"Captain, I have reports of a strange object in the water to the west of our current course."
Looking across the Bridge to the portside where Akagi had taken her usual station during the aerial recon missions, I take hold of the radio and ask, "Can you get a fixed position and possibly identify what the object is?"
Walking back into the Bridge to mark the charts so as to determine the new heading, I waited for Akagi's response.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity Akagi's voice crackled over the radio once more, "On further inspection there are two objects, on a rough heading of zero eight six from our current course and about two hundred kilometers away. As to what they are, best I can tell is they might be storage boxes from a ship."
Quickly plotting an intercept course on the map and handing the new course heading to Luke at the helm, I key the radio once more, "Sounds like a waste of time, but we've not seen anything at all over the past week, so no harm in investigating."
"Understood Captain," Akagi replies, "I'll maintain a visual over the target and continue on with the rest of the reconnaissance with the rest of the squadron."

**

Just after midday the first signs that we were reaching the area where one of Akagi's search planes had remained circling above the floating debris reached our ears as the steady thrum of the Zero's engine could be heard over the occasional crash of a wave on the hull.
Scanning the surface of the ocean, it wasn't until we were almost on top of the floating objects that anyone saw them, so well did they blend in with the water they were half submerged in.
I gave the orders to reduce the speed to just above idle and made my way to the Launch Deck, where armed with a fishing net, I leaned out as far as possible and scooped the objects back onboard.
On closer inspection it turned out to be another set of gently glowing cubes, similar to those we had previously in the Atlantic Ocean. These two giving off a soft purplish tinge as they sat in the net on the deck of the ship.
Silently cursing the lack of a lead to the whereabouts of the missing US Carrier Group, I key the portable radio, "False alarm. Just another set of cubes for the research team to look at when we get back home."
As I feel the Intrepid begin to pick up speed once more and turn back towards our original route, a flash of light draws my attention back to the ocean. Quickly scanning the area to find what had drawn my attention, I spy what appears to be an empty bottle floating past the ship.
Out of habit in always trying to minimize the impact running a research ship can sometimes have on the ocean, I reach out again with the fishing net after removing the two cubes and scoop the plastic bottle out of the water.
As I'm making my way back to the bridge, I retrieve the bottle from the bottom of the net with the intent of adding it to the collection of recyclables, when I notice that someone had stuffed a piece of paper in the bottle before screwing the lid back on.
Chuckling to myself that there were people that still sent messages in a bottle like sailors of old when they became stranded on remote islands, I decided that there was no harm in seeing what the message contained.
On reaching the bridge after a quick detour via the galley to cut open the bottle up with one of the kitchen knives, I unfolded the piece of paper within and read the note.
A moment later I was reaching for the briefing notes and reading through the list of ships that where part of the USS Gerald R. Ford's escort group. Double checking both the note from the bottle and the briefing notes, I was stunned.
"Luke turn the Intrepid back for Wake Island," I call out, as I locate on the navigation charts the co-ordinates that had been hastily written on the first note.
Marking down the spot, I firstly pick up the radio, "Kaga. Akagi. We are heading back to Wake Island, recall your aircraft and then join us back onboard."
Looking around the Bridge, I notice that everyone present is looking in my direction wearing various expressions that mostly indicate that I've gone crazy. Eventually Luke speaks up, "What's up Captain?"
"I fished this out of a bottle that was floating near those two cubes. It's looks for all purposes like one of those notes in a bottle from a stranded sailor you always hear tales of from the past," I explain, "Only this also contains the name of one of the escort ships we are looking for, a set of co-ordinates and that they were attacked suddenly by something after having their radios jammed."

**

It took just over an hour before both Kaga and Akagi were able to recover the last of their aircraft and rejoin the Intrepid.
During that time, I placed another call into Admiral Jensen, explaining what we had found and where, and also all the information contained on the note.
Fortunately, the sailor who had written the note, although it was clear from the messy nature of the handwriting that it had been written in great haste, had included only the most important of details. These included not only the co-ordinates of where the ship was at the time, but also the fact that he had been aboard the USS Jack Williams and the course and speed the fleet had been maintaining prior to being attacked. He had even time stamped and dated the note. Which explained exactly why we had seen no signs of any wreckage.
The only vital information not contained, was why the fleet was almost three hundred kilometers off their planned route.
The only explanation the Admiral could offer was that the Fleet Commander had possibly issued a course change if he perceived a credible threat to the group if they had maintained their scheduled course.
And whilst that was certainly a logical reason, it was highly concerning as the American Carrier Groups projected power and strength wherever they went. The last major threat to American carriers was ironically involved in scouting out where and why one had gone missing.
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2020.09.05 20:18 great-weired8564 How to be a Successful Virtual Assistant

10 Tips in Building a Successful Virtual Assistance Career

1. Assess Your Skills
Before looking for a virtual assistant position or clients of your own, you will need to be sure you have the basic skills necessary to be a successful assistant. If you have worked in an office as a secretary or administrative assistant, then you have a very good starting point. If not, then you will need to be sure you at least meet the following criteria:

2. Assess Your Equipment
Beyond the skills you possess, you will need to be sure that you have the necessary equipment to complete the work functions of a virtual assistant. Like your skills, these can be improved with time, but it is essential to at least have these basics before you begin your new career:

3. Work With a Company First
Since 2007, virtual assistance has become a very in-demand field, and is seeing steady growth each year. With the numbers in mind, and the growing rate of business done online, it is no surprise that several virtual assistance companies have been born. These companies hire men and women from all across the world to work remotely and offer their clients the online support they need.
This is very good news for the brand new virtual assistant, because it means there are options for you to get a steady stream of work, steady paychecks, and professional support and training in the field. You can become a strong assistant very quickly, and then decide if you’d like to move up in the company or branch out on your own. Just be sure never to sign a non-compete agreement if you plan to eventually go it alone.
4. Create a Set Schedule
Whether you choose to work with a company or not, it is vital that you create a set schedule for yourself and stick with it. That said, it does not need to be a 9-5 schedule. Many assistants work evening or night shifts to work around their family schedules, and some may even work split shifts and choose to take Monday off. The important issue here is that you set a schedule, set up a routine, and train yourself to be working during the same time each work day.
5. Train Those Around You
Not only will you need to get yourself into a work routine, but you will need to train those around you that because you are home, it does not mean you are available. Once you’ve established your working days and times, you must let your family and friends know not to bother you unless absolutely necessary during those times. It is nice to be home and able to quickly respond if your children needs bandages, but it does not mean that you can be getting up every ten minutes to get them a drink of water.
6. Get an Office
Speaking of children and training the family, your task will be much easier if you are able to work in a separate room from them. A room that has a locking door is preferred, but even clearing out the unused den or basement will help the feeling of having an office and being “unavailable” to everyone when you are in there. It will also provide a noise buffer – which is necessary when on client calls.
7. Have a Plan
In this article, several options and ideas have been presented for how to successfully build a virtual assistant career. Some of the most successful assistants will do all of these things, but some will either choose not to or will not be able to when they get started. For example, what if you don’t have an extra room to turn into an office? This is why you should develop a tentative plan at the very beginning of you career. Create a 1 – 2 year plan, and decide things like:

8. Go the Extra Mile
Think of the last time you had a great customer. So good, in fact, that you complimented the person providing the service and/or told friends or family members about it. This kind of reaction is rare because the kind of service that illicit it is rare, but when it happens, it is very memorable. Usually, it means that a person or company went out of their way to make you happy, give you the best deal, and make you feel important to them. They far exceeded your expectations and possibly even put up with your anger or bad attitude throughout the process like angels. This is the type of service you always want to keep in mind when dealing with your own clients. While you never have to take blatant abuse from someone, you should always work to put yourself in their shoes, understand what they want and why, or why they may be upset, and what you can do to provide top-notch service to make them love you.
9. Develop a Specialty
The term “virtual assistant” can actually mean many things these days, but often boils down to “Jack (or Jill) of all trades.” However, it is not exactly possible for any assistant, especially one just starting out, to be an expert in all areas of online business. Therefore, it is actually beneficial to you and your clients to become an expert in a set skill, market, or set of programs. Some ideas are:

10. Be Prompt and Courteous
One thing that every virtual assistant will learn is that clients can sometimes be impatient. An emailed task sent at 9 AM might be followed by one at 10 AM asking why the task hasn’t been completed. At the start of every client relationship, you should be very clear, even in writing, of the kind of communication and task completion turnaround the client can expect. The average goes something like this “All emails and calls are responded to within 1 business day, and tasks are usually completed within 2 business days, unless they are very large or complex.” Then, it is very important that you stick to this statement.
Respond to calls and emails in a timely fashion, but refrain from responding outside your usual business days and hours. Complete tasks on time, and always provide courteous responses where necessary. This will help to train the customer on what to expect during the process of task completion. Believe it or not, responding on weekends and all hours of the night sets unrealistic expectations for the client and will create a customer service disaster later on in the relationship.
Following these tips will help you setup and get started toward a successful virtual assistant career. It is difficult to prepare for and prevent issues from coming up when you are unsure what they may be, but following the advice of those who have gone before you can definitely help put you on the right path.
submitted by great-weired8564 to u/great-weired8564 [link] [comments]


2020.09.04 04:42 Slowreformingbadman Fixing A Broken Life (Chapter 4 ) [This one gets pretty preachy... Sorry]

Dating
So there I was, a fifteen year old kid in a two-piece suit standing outside the home of a girl I really liked, with a cabbie watching his meter at the end of the driveway. Surprisingly class on Friday didn't go poorly. Miranda's grace is admirable, no mention of the upcoming date, we just carried on through Drama, enjoying each other's company as we always did. She met me at the door, shockingly more beautiful than I realized she had in her. I had been so used to seeing her casually, laid back in a kind of stoner chic. Now though, she was in a dress of tasteful violet, nothing showy but she was prepared for a semi-classy evening out. Her mother also met me at the door, by this time we'd come to know each other passingly. I was another friend of Miranda's that came around the house regularly, but I wasn't someone she needed to invest time in getting to know. Not anymore, now I was someone with intent, a boy with boy thoughts about her daughter, someone within whom time needed to be invested.
"Hello there young man."
"Hi ma'am, I hope you don't mind that I'm taking your daughter to dinner."
"Oh, of course not, I just want to make sure I know where the two of you are going, and how long you'll be?"
"We're going to the Keg down 137th, I can't imagine we'll be back any later than ten thirty."
"Oh how lovely," She glances down her driveway, "you're taking a cab?"
"It wouldn't be very romantic to take the bus, and as well as I know how to drive I wouldn't dare involve your daughter in breaking the law by doing so without a legal license."
Maybe laying it on a little thick, but if it can soothe her troubled mind and win me some points...
"Well you two have a lovely date then," Turning to Miranda she effects a cutesy voice "see you later sweetheart."
"Love you mom, bye." Miranda was clearly uncomfortable with her mother's display.
Once we were in the cab I complimented Miranda's appearance and she returned it promptly. It wasn't unpleasant to take a cab to a date, but neither of us had ever done it before so we were a little unsure of just how to behave. It wasn't a long ride though, and we breathed easy again once we entered the restaurant. We naturally drew some glances, the Keg was by no means an exclusive place, but it wasn't the sort of restaurant one expected to find fifteen year olds eating at unattended. Seeing the way we were dressed, and the fact we weren't acting foolish however, people went on with their meals. We sat at a table near the window, I pulled out her chair, and we got into the mood of a more serious occasion. After some small-talk and orders had been placed though, she and I loosened up and started talking as we usually did.
"So you and Anson seem like great friends, how long have you known each other?"
"I met him in second grade, he sat next to me and taught me how to read an analogue clock. Since then we've been close, helping each other through classes. Playing soccer together with the other french-immersion kids, playing videogames on the weekends, you know."
"I didn't know you were in french-immersion, what was that like?"
"It's just like regular school, but with the added difficulty of being in a language you don't speak." We laughed a little at that before I turned the attention to her life, "What about you and Kate? You two seem to have known each other before Queen M."
"Yeah we met in middle school, she's been a good friend since then. A little self absorbed but what can you do?"
"How about the rest of our Drama class, are there a lot of familiar faces there?"
"Only a couple. Mark went to our school before, and so did Shaq. Anyone from your middle school?"
"Only Gabe, though I did know Alannah before. She dated a friend of mine, Nathan, from elementary school. I had only met her once though."
"Gabe's a nice guy, eh? He seems a little nervous to come out of his shell, but he seems sweet too."
"Yeah he's a great guy, I didn't know him well in junior high, he was an english student, but he definitely seems like a good friend to have."
We carried on as such, finding a comfortable rhythm until the food came out. I've always found that the real discussion starts right before the waitress brings out the food, and carries on through the meal. I was relieved to find that she was a pleasant person to eat with. We'd never really shared a meal before, so it was nice to know that she was tidy, and she didn't eat with her mouth open or talk with her mouth full.
"So what do you want to do with your life?" I was genuinely curious what she wanted.
"Well... I try to think about it sometimes, but it's hard to decide you know?"
"Sure, but there must be something, far fetched or no, that you aim for."
"Well, I like to perform, partially because of Drama class, but before that too. I think..."
She trailed off, she was nervous to expose a nerve to me.
"What am I gonna do? Laugh? Judge you? I want to know what it is you desire."
"Uhm.. okay.. Well I want to act, and maybe to play music. I like doing it and I think it would make me happy if I was a professional."
She looked at me a little defiantly, but her blush was rising.
"Yeah I can see that, you are a natural performer, and your passion for music is plain to see, at least in the garage it is."
"It's hard though, you know, to put that out there."
"It's hard to dream, but it's worth it. I'd certainly like to see you on stage, see you on screen. You're a committed actress in class, and your music speaks from the heart."
"Aww, thank-you. What about you? What do you want to do?"
Now I'm a little embarrassed at how thoroughly I'd thought through my hopes for my life, or rather, I'm embarrassed that I so willingly splay them out, but.
"Well, I want to do the best that I can in high school, get into a good university and take a program for writing and one for physics. Then I'd like to get a second degree specialising in astro-physics and applied physics, and a third after that in nuclear- physics and theoretical physics. All lending to my becoming a Science-Fiction Writer."
"Wow. You have an actual plan."
"Yeah, I've been working toward it for a long time now."
"What kind of stuff would you write? Like books or..."
"Books, tv, movies. Anything. I just have so much fun with my stories, and other writer's stories, I'd like to share my work."
"What sort of stories?"
From there we went on to talk about the medium as a whole. Talking about our favourite films, television shows, books, and so on. I learned that she didn't have very particular tastes, she just liked the escapism, although the one thing that surfaced more than once was her love of films that could have been stage performances. Musicals, period comedies, things that don't revolve too heavily around their editting or location budget. I was already imagining what it would be like to write a film that she could star in. Taking a life with her to extraordinary new places and heights unlike anything she'd dreamt of to that point. I couldn't help myself, as a writer I have a natural tendency to romanticize reality.
"Well, I'd like to get married. I want to have a family. Three kids, one of each. Not until my career is stable, but nevertheless, I do hope to find a woman I can love. And more than that, that I can like."
We had moved on from the entertainment discussion at this point. I was so comfortable with her. It was always like this. I laid myself bare before her.
"Three kids, really?"
"Yeah well, I'd like to adopt. Have at least one kid in the traditional way. But I want more than one, and I'd like to support adoption as an option."
"Really? Why? If you wouldn't have to."
"Uhm, well, it's a long story."
"I think we have time."
She said affecting looking for some non-existent pressure to speed things up.
The truth was I'd thought more about my life at that point than anyone had any need to. I'd thought about many things beyond just my life. This girl though, part of me knew that if we were together now than it had better end here or be something real, and long-lasting. I should tell her some hard truths about myself.
"Well, it starts at abortion. Thing is, I don't support it. Not because of faith, although that too, but rationally in my mind it's murder. It's child murder. And as such I find that I can only support four choices. Contraception, abstinence, motherhood, and adoption. What I can't support is what people believe to be a fifth option of destroying a living person before they have a chance to defend themselves. It's not about taking a choice away from women, but I think the problem these women find with having an unwanted baby started a long way before this living person started growing inside them, and killing them isn't the answer. But I've found that if I hope to show my conviction of my opinion I need to recognize the issues with adoption agencies. Far too many orphaned children live without being adopted. So when the time comes, I'd like to support the brave women who didn't take the easy way out, and give a loving home to one or two of the poor children that were unwanted."
I had to take a break from talking at that point. In part because my story was over, but it was also a lot for her to take in in such a short time. Kind of a precursor once I started thinking about it to when she would hear my deep held secret if she could prove to be someone I could trust that much. It took me six and a half years to confide in Anson, and I already knew I could trust him.
"That's... Noble. I can see your point. I've never really thought about abortion myself."
Of course she hadn't, she hadn't had a pregnancy scare by this time. I hadn't thought about that.
"I'm glad you aren't furious." I said it with a touch of sarcasm, "Generally when I put out a slight conservative opinion I get blasted."
"Well if you said you were opposed to gay marriage or something like that it might be a different story." She was leading me now.
"I have no problem with gay people being gay, no problem with gay people getting married, only the slightest issue with gay people raising children but I'm not gonna shout about it, or persecute anyone for it, cause as far as I know it's not hurting anyone worse than some shit that straight people do with their kids. I'm not fond of pride parades, I think it's weird to be proud of something you can't control. But again, worse things are out there. And I'm not stupid, I'm not gonna tell you how gay people should behave, I know you love Cory, and I like him too, and I know you take a personal interest if he gets attacked, which is an honourable thing to do."
"You aren't afraid to push it though huh?"
"I'm an opinionated guy, and I value honesty. I'm not going to pretend I don't believe in something."
Surprisingly, she actually seemed to admire my conviction. Maybe it was something about the way I looked, I'd certainly given ground to attractive people before. Or maybe she actually saw the point of my argument. Either way, political as it got, the date went well. We took some time to walk around the area after dinner was over. Miranda was also the type to romanticize reality but unlike me, she felt no compunction about telling me what was on her mind. She spoke openly about what the future, wherein we were together, would be like. I went along with her hypothetical, though I never gave credence to the idea. I didn't want her to believe too much in something that was uncertain. I didn't want to let myself believe in it either.
After about an hour and a half roaming the mild mid-september night, I called for a cab to come take us home. At this point she started asking me where I was getting all my money from.
"Well, I've saved nearly all the money my parents have given me since I was five. And I've written a few things for some science-fiction magazines in the past few years. They don't pay well by adult standards, but I don't have any bills so..."
It was true, I'd had the foresight to know that none of the things I wanted through my boyhood would really last. So whenever my parents had given me money I'd put it away, dipping in only occasionally if I found something that I truly needed to have. My parents bought my first guitar, drumset, and computer, but I bought my bass, and made a few purchases to ensure my pc rig was conducive with my needs. As a result of all this I had several thousand dollars vesting interest in a savings account. A well organized adult would be proud. A fifteen year old though. I did weird things, but they were almost always for the betterment of something.
Upon arriving at Miranda's house I paid the cabbie and let him go. No reason to waste the money if I could just take the bus the rest of the way, not like I had to be romantic alone. I walked Miranda to the door, and had a moment to think about what this situation could surely mean if I were any ordinary fifteen year old living in 2009. I quickly thanked her for her company, told her how much fun it was to be with her, and wished her a good night.
"Do you want to come inside? My mom's already asleep."
She'd clearly thought it through as well.
"A nice date's a nice date, but let's leave a few more mysteries to uncover later."
Then I leaned in, and she met my lips with a passionate but brief kiss. Electricity raced through my nerves, and I felt for a moment as though my knees would release their burden, but they held fast. She smiled, sighing, and said,
"Goodnight."
"Goodnight."
With that I was off. So was my mind.
"It was just a harmless kiss."
"You're some kind of sick pervert."
"It was natural that it would come to this, relax."
"Is that why you're here, to get with some fifteen year old girl."
"It's not like that, it's just a part of the whole story."
On and on and on, I could never escape the obsessive way in which I dissected every event. It had always been like that, even now that I felt more sure of myself, the part of me that remembered what it was like to be pathetic and feeble still had it's two cents to throw in. The worst part is I always had the feeling that it was right.
submitted by Slowreformingbadman to creativewriting [link] [comments]


2020.09.03 23:39 SS17LX_Nostradamus The Cabin Part II

Part 2 of 2
* * *
The next morning, I jolted awake from a half-lucid dream. I was still on the couch; the clock read 8:26 AM. The dream hung in my mind like a memory. I willed it to float away into the ether like most dreams, but it stuck to me, playing over and over. The cabin – I was at the cabin, the old woman beckoned me in, and I followed. Inside, the woman pointed toward a mirror on the far wall and again I followed. I looked into the mirror, but my reflection did not look back. Suddenly I was outside standing over a clear mountain river, and in the sky were three moons all sinking below the horizon one after another. Three moons... then two moons... the one... then none. Shadow overtook me.
“Three moons...” I whispered to myself. Three moons – the old hermit had mentioned something about three moons, and on the pack last night, it said one moon. “One moon!” I yelled.
I leapt off the couch and shuffled to the kitchen table, grabbing my laptop and snapping it open. I navigated to the internet search bar and typed:
Moon phases by date
Google returned a slew of astrology results, but halfway down the page it listed a simple moon phase calendar. I clicked the link.
I first met the woman on my birthday, September 16, and there was no moon that night. The calendar confirmed it. I revisited the cabin - saw the barn owl - at the end of September and walked home to the light of a full moon. The calendar confirmed that too. And last night, Halloween, there had been a full moon. According to the calendar the next full moon would come at the end of November. She’s counting down the moon phases. The November full moon would mark the third full moon since our first encounter.
Three moons!” I shouted. “I got you, you creepy fuckin’ psycho.”
But what had I really discovered? She was counting the full moons – so what? What was she going to do at the third moon? Slasher movie tropes and visions of human sacrifice invaded my brain. I pictured the weird old hermit scalping me or roasting me over a fire or sacrificing me to a pagan god. None of it was rational, none of it based on any evidence at all. None of my fear or fixation was justified at all. She was unusual – yes – her presence was entirely unsettling, and I didn’t like that she knew where I lived, and what the hell was the deal with the message on my backpack, but she had done me no harm whatsoever. For god’s sake, I instigated this by bringing her supplies! I argued with myself going back and forth over what all this meant, if anything.
I cracked open the front door and peeked out. The morning air was crisp and pure, my breath freezing and floating away in the breeze. The pack was still resting under the porch light. I picked it up and brought it inside, examining the cuts again. The words were still there, clearly painstakingly cut with a sharp knife over hours and hours. I rubbed my thumbs over the nylon fabric. The whole ordeal might have been my imagination - I might have completely lost my mind – but something at my core told me I should not be at home, or anywhere near here, during the next full moon. I shut the door and made my way to the kitchen for coffee. Perhaps it was time to fly back east for a while.
* * *
November of 2020 was the month that hell finally came to Earth, or at least to the United States. A contentiously held election boiled over into the streets. Election night results dictated a new regime would commence in January, but for the first time in the history of the country it seemed a sitting president would have to be violently removed from office. Millions of protestors and rioters descended on virtually every major metropolitan area like flies to the corpse of a once-great nation. Streets burned as ideologies clashed and neighbors spilled each other’s blood on a scale unseen since the Civil War. Amidst the chaos, coronavirus festered.
The supposedly life-saving vaccine was proven to be little more than a public relations scam forced through the FDA to calm the fury and angst surrounding the pandemic. A Washington Post exposé alleged that early phase testing was half hazard and all complications were quickly buried, literally and metaphorically. It instantly became the conspiracy of the millennium. Third-party medical research teams concluded the vaccine was, at best, ten to twenty percent effective, and even worse, the long-term side effects were far worse than the coronavirus itself. Cities across the country rushed to construct impromptu medical facilities, but ventilators, medicine, and skilled medical workers were becoming scarcer by the day. Doctors, nurses, and first responders were the first inoculated with the vaccine, and many suffered the debilitating effects. Organ failure was common, as was an autoimmune response wherein the body began to consume helpings of itself – skin, eyes, brain, vital organs - it differed from person to person. Doctors stated that survivors were often left in a quasi-catatonic delirium from which they would never recover. Those vaccine recipients who avoided hospitals were often found crawling through the streets half-dead and babbling incoherently. Though they posed little danger to their fellow man, the news began referring to these unfortunates as ‘zombies’. Teams of hazmat vans, or ‘trash trucks’ as social media labeled them, were seen scooping up the suffering vaccinated and carrying them off to unmarked camps. Rumors spread that the government was euthanizing and burning these people after one such camp caught fire.
The fallout reached far and wide, even altering my quiet life in the Utah wilderness. Workdays came to a halt as fewer and fewer of my colleagues returned phone calls or logged into their workstations. Some I hadn’t heard from in weeks, and I feared the worst. I started a group-text with friends back east to check-in on everyone. Many responded that they were safely unvaccinated. Some had fled the riots and anarchy of the city for a more rural location, hoping the madness would blow over soon. Still others were ominously silent.
I had booked a flight into Miami after my Halloween night encounter, but within a week the FAA grounded all planes until further notice. My parents decided to leave the city after they had a horrifying encounter in Publix. My father cried as he recounted it over the phone. He described a young woman stumbling into the store, skin melting from her face, hair and eyes missing. The woman appeared to be holding an infant in her arms, but its body was green and black, empty of life. She was shrieking hysterically until she tripped over a Thanksgiving turkey display, splattering blood across the ground as her body smacked the floor. Rioters burned the store to its foundation later the same week.
The chaos left me feeling utterly stranded. I was grateful for my own health, and that the local towns appeared relatively unaffected, but I felt helpless in the face of overwhelming devastation. Every horrifying image on the news, every story of carnage totally consumed me, and I wondered if the country could ever recover. And then there was the old woman and her cabin in the woods. Part of me wondered if she was one of the zombies, an unsuspecting participant of early round vaccine trials who escaped the shackles of a sterile testing facility. Now, more than ever before, I wanted to avoid her. I decided I would camp in Zion National Park from Thanksgiving through the first of December, placing myself about fifty miles away during the next full moon.
The park was technically closed, but I knew of a remote service road that stayed open year-round. I would park along the road and hike in, bringing enough food and water for a week, with backup supplies in my truck. I told myself the trip was going to be good for me – I needed an escape from the constant stream of dreadful news in the outside world, and Zion was the perfect getaway. The park is, perhaps, the most breathtaking place on earth. Its immense canyons stand guard like titans over rolling valleys painted in brilliant reds, blues, and patches of green. Wildlife flourishes there like it would in a land untouched by time and human intervention. It is the Garden of Eden, broken off from heaven and given to us so that we might have a notion of paradise. Little did I know at the time, it would also be the place I spent my final days on this earth.
* * *
Weather reports Thanksgiving morning were surprisingly warm, but I packed for cold, nonetheless. Sixty-degree days can drop into single digit nights within a few hours in the winter as storms and weather patterns push their way over the mountains. I parked my truck in a small side lot off the isolated service road and hiked three miles east to a secluded cliffside overlooking a rocky, shallow stream. The campsite was a patch of grass under an outcropping that would protect against rain, snow, and high winds.
The first few days in Zion were uneventful. I enjoyed turkey slices and pre-made stuffing warmed over a fire on Thanksgiving night. A fat, puffy grey squirrel tried to join me for dinner until I shooed him off. I made a few trips back to the truck for supplies, but mostly I explored the surrounding cliffsides and took in the sweeping views. This place was totally isolated from the outside world, never once hinting at the impossible turmoil that gripped the country.
I awoke the morning of November thirty to a dusting of snow on the ground. The weather dropped into the twenties overnight and the park became muffled and still, perfectly encapsulated under a thin white blanket. The stream had overflown its banks, probably the result of melting snow or distant rainfall, encroaching on my small settlement. I worked through the morning to move all my gear further from the rising water. That evening I rolled a dead log to the campsite so I could sit and warm my hands over the fire. I sat shivering with a parka draped over me, rubbing my hands together over the crackling flames. My breath blended with smoke, wafting into the night sky. Overhead, millions of stars lazily danced around the full moon, scattered in waves across the horizon.
Suddenly I heard the faint snap of a branch, followed by the muffled padding of paws, or maybe hooves, in the grass beside me. My body froze as I realized an animal – a large animal – had joined my campsite. I rotated slowly toward the sound, praying that a bear was not about to turn my head into a late-night snack, but as I turned, I came face to face with nothing at all. I pulled a flashlight from my coat and shined it into the darkness. Still nothing. Whatever it was, it had left. The sound of a loud pop and spent wood collapsing in the campfire drew my attention and I turned back toward the fire. My eyes caught something poking out of the fire: a twisted tree branch stoking the flames, sending bellows of fire and spark into the air. A leathery hand gripped the far end of the branch. Through the clouds of smoke, I saw the glowing reflection of two dark eyes set within a weathered face – the same face that had haunted my thoughts for months. The old woman materialized from the darkness. She had found me.
I sat completely stiff, eyes fixated on hers, far too panicked to speak. Her eyes darted from me to the campfire. She crouched barefoot next to the fire, seemingly unbothered by the numbing temperature, and continued to tend to the flames. Her shabby red dress, her black hair, her shadowy eyes – it was all exactly as I remembered it. My heartbeat punched its way into my ears until I was deafened by my own terror, but the woman looked completely calm. She opened her mouth to speak, still fixated on the fire.
“Now is your time. We must go...”
“How did you find me?” I cut in, barely able to whisper the question.
“I always watch you,” she said, still toying with the fire. “Now is your time,” she repeated sternly. Her voice was low and forceful. I paused before answering.
“What do you want?”
The hermit’s face darkened. Her eyes met mine with a cruel stare. She reminded me of an ailing old wolf just desperate enough for one last kill.
“To go,” she said. “The others wait for you.”
“Okay look, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but you need to go,” I replied, summoning a modicum of courage.
“Yes!” she hissed. “We go now!”
The woman pulled a small leather pouch from her dress and reached into it, removing a handful of dark powder. She whispered under her breath and threw the powder into the campfire. It to roared and spit into a furious blaze. Red smoke poured out of the fire and blanketed the campsite in a low rolling haze. I stumbled backward off the log and pushed myself up on my hands. Smoke crept into my lungs. I sputtered and coughed, trying to desperately to push myself to my feet. In my peripheral I could see the old hermit walking toward me. Red smoke engulfed my vision. My lungs burned. Tears began to drip from my eyes. I could not get up; I could not keep my eyes open. I felt an icy hand grip my forearm as I collapsed into the grass. Darkness.
* * *
My eyes wrenched open and I wiped the fog from my vision. The world came into focus; I was not at my campsite. My mind raced to make sense of the surroundings: it was night, the moon was full, I was sitting upright, and I was still in the woods – just not where I had been before. Sitting upright. I felt the hard, wooden slats and stiff bottom of a chair supporting my weight. I looked down and saw my feet resting on evenly cut planks, maybe oakwood or ash. Confusion and dread inundated me as my circumstance revealed itself. I was sitting on an old Windsor chair on the porch of the cabin near mile marker four, nearly sixty miles from my campsite in Zion. I began to sob.
“What the fuck is happening to me?” I sniveled. “I’m losing my mind. This isn’t possible.”
Reality had abandoned me. How much time had passed since I blacked out? How did I end up here, of all the godforsaken places on earth? I willed myself to wake up, praying that this was just a nightmare, but as I rubbed my hands along the armrests, I knew they felt far too real. This was no nightmare. Reality had not abandoned me; it had merely warped into something my mind could not understand.
My distress heightened as I examined the cabin. It had remade itself. Most of the wooden beams looked brand new, sanded smooth and lacking any apparent damage. The door was back on its frame, and for the first time since I had found the place, glass panes filled the windows. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking this was a different place altogether, but its form was identical. And the Windsor chair – it had to be the same cabin.
I heard a tapping at the window and my head swung around. I saw a young woman waving to me from within the cabin. She was strikingly fair. Long black hair hung gently beside a warm face. Her eyes were a shade of deep olive, and she smiled at me as if seeing an old friend after a long separation. She beckoned me in, and, in a trance, I followed. The cabin comprised a single room, sparsely furnished with a tall cupboard, a table, and two benches. The woman stood near the table. She was tall and wore a radiant burgundy dress, hand stained and embellished with blue and white beadwork around the collar. Her face exhibited none of the feral nature of the old hermit woman, yet in at my core I knew they were somehow the same.
“You are worried,” she spoke in a comforting tone. “There is nothing to fear. You are going home.”
I stared at her in confusion, my initial fear giving way to bewilderment.
“Please – I don’t understand what’s going on,” I pleaded. “Can you just tell me what you want?”
“That is not for me to say. The others will be your guide. It is time for you to go to them.”
“Wh- what others?” I protested. “There’s no one else here! Just help me. Please.”
The woman did not answer. Instead she smiled, opened the large wooden cupboard, and removed a birdcage from inside. I saw the fluttering of white and brown wings inside the cage – a young barn owl gazed out nervously.
“Come,” she said. “It is time to go.”
She walked to the back of the cabin and opened a narrow door to the outside. It was still dark, but I could distinguish the outlines of a few pine trees in the moonlight. The woman opened the cage and the owl fled through the door, alighting on one of the pines. It turned and looked back through the doorway, curiously bobbing its head.
“Follow,” the woman said, pointing out the doorway.
I stepped toward the center of the cabin. The woman continued to point out the back door.
“You want me to go out there?”
The woman smiled and nodded.
“Okay...” I paused. “You want me to follow the owl?”
She nodded again. I rubbed my eyes and laughed to myself. I was panicky and I was confused and teetering on delirium, but I couldn’t ignore the absurdity of the situation. What was happening? Did this lady just want me to play with her pet owl? Couldn’t she have just left me a note or written me a fucking email? I wanted to question everything but stopped short of hurling inquiries at this strange woman. I was too tired, too done for that. If walking out that door meant this whole bizarre series of events would end, then I would take that walk. I stepped toward the doorway pausing next to the woman. She said nothing, just continued to smile and gesture out the door. Her behavior felt so static, almost like she was programmed to perform certain tasks and remain ignorant of all else. I looked up; the owl sat on a nearby branch, watching and waiting for me to follow.
I stepped out the door, lurching down from the cabin onto a small patch of dirt carved from the underbrush. All went quiet and still. The air instantly warmed around me, thick and full in my lungs. It was so warm, in fact, that I removed my parka and tied it around my waist. Moonlight illuminated the tree line, but I saw shades of pink and red peaking over the horizon. It was dawn. The barn owl spread its wings and took flight overhead, and as I turned to watch it go, I realized I was standing alone in a clearing. The cabin was gone. I stood in silent disbelief, panning back and forth over the empty land before me. The owl perched on a tall rock formation on the far side of the clearing, and not so much as single plank of wood stood between us.
I started to panic. This couldn’t be real, could it? I must be in a coma. Or strapped to a hospital while a foreign parasite turns my brain to mush. This is what death is like, the last of our neurons firing chaotically while we cling to life. Still, it felt so real that I couldn’t accept that this was a wild fever dream. The owl flitted into the distance, and all I could think to do was follow as the woman had commanded. I stumbled through the underbrush negotiating with myself: Maybe I completely lost my mind. I should make an appointment, get an MRI. But what about the hospitals? Probably packed to the gills with vaccine patients. In my state of lunacy I began to entertain the possibility that every occurrence of the last few months had been real, and maybe, since I had done what the woman asked, it was over. The cabin disappeared, after all. But if all this was real, then what was the point?
The owl screeched in the distance, and I followed its call. After a short walk I came upon a familiar path. It was my home trail, the one I had walked dozens of times before, the same damn trail that took me past the cabin in the first place. I breathed a sigh of relief – I could go home. The sun inched over the horizon, bathing the hills in shades of gold. I followed the trail through the scrublands and Pinyon pines, past the old silver mine, until I saw my house in the distance. The owl darted from tree to tree, then circled my house before landing on the rooftop. As I approached, I noticed light in the windows and my truck in the driveway. How did my truck get back here? Did she drive it? It was the latest in a long line of impossible questions that I was too exhausted to contemplate. I was just glad to see my home. I reached the front door and felt my side pocket for my keys. Nothing. They were back at the campsite in Zion.
“SHIT!” I screamed, completely breaking down. “Goddammit, cut me a fucking break!”
I must have looked completely deranged screaming and collapsing to my knees. I didn’t care. My grasp on reality was gone and all I wanted to do was curl up in bed cry. I punched the ground trying to rally myself to break in through the kitchen window, but as I started to rise, I heard the unmistakable sound of a squeaky door opening. I looked up and saw a man in my doorway. He was tall with shaggy brown hair and a thin beard. Horn-rimmed glasses sat atop a crooked nose, healed poorly from a childhood accident. He looked thin but strong, like the kind of man who spent his weekends camping and hiking in the wilderness of Utah. He looked just like me. He was me. I scrambled back into the yard, but the man put a hand up as if to stop me.
“Hey, hey calm down man – it’s okay,” the man said in a very familiar voice.
He turned and looked back into the house.
“Guys, Four is here! Again...”
I heard voices and footsteps from inside my house. A second face poked through the door. This face was younger, clean shaven, but with the same horn-rimmed glasses and crooked nose. It was me, again.
“Right,” said the younger man. “Your turn to handle this one.”
He returned to the house. I could smell fresh coffee wafting out the door.
“Wh- what the hell man?” I asked, utterly exasperated. “Please, what is going on?”
“It’s alright,” said the first man. “Everything is going to be okay. I know this is weird, but you just have to trust me on this one.”
“Bullshit it’s okay,” I shouted.
“Yeah, that’s fair. How about we go inside? Get some coffee in you and I’ll explain what’s going on here.”
I stood in the yard, gawking at the man – at myself. How was I supposed to respond to this clone? He quickly lost patience.
“Look, I’m going inside, you should come too,” the man insisted. “We’re not going to hurt you, and you’re not crazy. Come in when you want, and I’ll explain everything.”
With that, he walked into the house, leaving the door slightly ajar. I stood completely baffled, my mouth hanging limp. I had no brothers, no long lost twins – I was an only child. There were clones in my house, and they wanted me to come inside. I considered my options. I was hungry, exhausted, and certain I had died and gone to purgatory. My nearest neighbor was over a mile away. What choice did I have? I walked toward my house and opened the door.
Three men sat around my kitchen table. The first two I had seen outside, but the third man was older. He had a greying beard and sun spots on his cheeks. His face was hollow, but he had the same crooked nose and glasses.
“Christ, they really did a number on you,” said the older man. “What did you get? A floating snow globe? Sentient laptop?”
“Ignore him,” said the younger man. “There’s coffee and scrambled eggs in the kitchen. Help yourself.”
I poured myself a coffee and sat on the couch, keeping some distance between myself and the others. Two of them were pecking away on laptops, the third scrolled through his phone.
“I guess it’s time we explain ourselves,” said the older man.
I snorted. You think?
“You can call me One,” said the older man.
“I’m Two,” said the younger man.
“And I guess that makes me Three,” said the man I had met at the door. “You’re Four. We realized pretty quickly that names were going to be an issue, so we decided on numbers.”
“Okay...” I whispered. “So, what the hell are you doing in my house?”
My house,” said One, correcting me. “You boys came to my house. Though I guess technically it’s our house.”
“What day do you think it is?” interrupted Two.
“December first,” I replied.
“Interesting. Incorrect, but interesting.” He paused, his gaze returning to his phone. “It’s September first.”
“Of course it is,” I said with a tired eye roll. “Can someone please just tell me what’s going on?”
The others were quiet for a moment. They eyed each other, seemingly unsure what to say next. Then Three spoke.
“This is going to sound crazy, but just stay with me. The short version is this: we’re all here because something terrible happened - or was happening - in our worlds, and no one could fix it,” he said hesitantly. “Each of our worlds ended, and something brought us here to this world to...”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked flatly.
“Okay look, right before you came home, everything was going to shit, right? What was going on in the world?” asked Three.
“What is this, a pop quiz?” I rebuked. The others stared blankly, waiting for my response. “Coronavirus. The vaccine didn’t work, people were dying, rioters burned down half the country, the president refused to step down...”
“Exactly,” interrupted Two. “Mine was similar – norovirus. They were experimenting with it in a lab, it mutated, it got out, before you knew it a few hundred million people shit themselves to death with no end in sight. It was an absolute disaster.”
Three nodded in agreement.
“For me it was nuclear winter,” said Three. “Six nuclear blasts went off in the Soviet Union in June. They blamed the Chinese, the Chinese blamed us, it was chaos. In the span of a week, half the major cities on earth were gone. I moved way the hell out here to be safe. Then out of nowhere this creep in a business suit shows up at my door and tells me he wants to show me something out in the woods. I told him to piss off, but he kept coming back every single day. So after he left I followed him out to this old farm house. I went inside, and the guy was gone. Completely vanished. Then I went to leave and this trap door opened and I fell through, but I landed on the roof of this house.
I stared blankly at the group, weighing their stories against my purgatory theory.
“Think about it,” said Two. “Tell me some weird shit hasn’t happened to you in the last few weeks. It happened to all of us, and we all wound up here.”
The whole thing sounded outrageous, but I couldn’t refute it – the last few months had been the strangest of my life, and none of it was remotely explicable. Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
“We’re not in our own times – our own universes – anymore,” Two continued. “Humanity didn’t make it in ours, and somebody, or something, decided to show us the emergency exit. Me, you, and Two – we were all brought here to prevent something horrible from happening in this time.”
I decided to voice my own theory.
“Have you guys considered the possibility that I’m dead, and my brain is in its death throes? This can’t be real...”
“Don’t go there,” said One, rising from his chair. The others became noticeably tense.
“You’re not the first Four,” Three interjected. “The last guy said the same thing. Then he put a flare gun in his mouth to prove it. We buried him out back.”
“Jesus Christ,” I said.
All of us sat in silence. I considered everything they had told me. Things had been grim on the news lately, but humanity had a toughness about it. History has shown countless examples of our ability to endure unthinkable suffering. How could the world just end like that? I didn’t want to believe it, but in the present company, I had little choice.
“Let’s say I believe you. Let’s say the world ended and I’ve time traveled to wherever we are. Why me – us, I mean? What are we supposed to prevent, exactly?”
“Well, for starters, it wasn’t time travel,” said One. “And you’re in my universe. I haven’t gone anywhere, you all came to me. The nearest we can figure, all of our times are very similar, sparing some relatively minor differences. We think that’s one of the reasons ‘it’ chose us.”
“What is ‘it’?” I questioned.
“I’m not sure,” One replied. “A while back I started getting emails from an unknown source – a sender labeled ‘SS17-LX’. No return address. I ignored them at first, but then they starting predicting stuff, impossible stuff: when a bird was going to fly by, the license plate of the guy parked next to me tomorrow. It was uncanny. So I responded one day, and whatever is on the other end starting talking back. I thought it was the government, the CIA or the NSA. But the things it knew – it was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. It told me you boys were coming. It told me we had a job to do. I didn’t believe it, but, well, here you are.”
“We think it’s some kind of A.I.,” said Three. “It can’t be a single person, it knows too much. And it’s highly advanced – decades beyond anything else in the field. Advanced enough to move us from one reality to the next, but not without its own limitations...”
“Let me ask you something,” said One, interrupting. “What do you do for work?”
“Software programing,” I answered.
“What kind of software?”
“Machine learning. Deep learning algorithms and implementation, mostly,” I replied.
“That’s it! It’s got to be an A.I.,” said Two.
The others looked at each other in agreement, while I just looked confused, as had become my role within the group. They all chimed in with their respective careers - each was involved in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The threat, they theorized, would be a rogue A.I., perhaps a perversion of the one already in communication. Why else would a handful of software engineers be called on to save the world? I tried to make sense of their conversation, but it had been over a day since I’d slept. My mind felt like it was wading through a dense fog, blindly grasping at words and phrases but retaining nothing. I needed sleep, and I prayed that when I awoke this would all prove to be a bad dream.
“So what am I supposed to do now?” I asked.
“Well you look like shit,” said Two. “I’m guessing you had a rough night. Get some rest and hang tight. We’re waiting on one more.”
“One more?” I asked.
“Yep – our mysterious friend said it would take five of us. He should be here in a few days.”
“Can’t wait to meet him,” I said, rolling my eyes.
I laid back on the couch and drifted into darkness, lulled by the sound of clicking keyboards. I slept for hours, too exhausted to dream or care about the clones in my living room. It was dark out when I woke. I laid on the couch and gazed at the ceiling while I collected my thoughts. I heard voices coming from the kitchen – my voices. It wasn’t a dream. The others were still here.
* * *
It’s been two weeks since I arrived in a different universe, one that I have come to accept as real. I have learned that we are just one in an infinite set of realities, some wildly different and some very similar. For the most part, everything here feels very familiar. The towns and roads are the same, most of the people are the same, entertainment is similar but some of the personalities different. The most jarring difference is the 26 hour day, but once you get used to it, the extra hours are amazing for productivity. I had to get a new watch, phone, and laptop – a considerable challenge considering I don’t technically exist. For now we are all living off One’s generosity, but at some point I suspect we will all have to build our own lives. Five arrived three days ago. He was, of course, terrified when he met us, but he’s slowly warming to the group. As it turns out, I am good company.
The others brought me up to speed on their efforts to track known A.I. projects. Thus far we have identified three possible threats and are drawing up containment plans for each. We have started calling our A.I. friend Nostradamus. Like the infamous seer, the information it gives us is often vague and limited. It seems to be very adept at predicting small, contained systems, but lacks a clear grasp on the big picture. Thus, it is unable to tell us exactly where to focus our efforts. Two thinks this problem is due to lack of synthesizable data. One believes that Nostradamus is merely a partition of a larger system, programmed to focus on certain tasks. We have no way to confirm either theory. For now, we can only hope that we are on the right path.
I’ve spoken to Nostradamus twice since arriving. The first communication was an introduction, and the second, a request: to be sent back to my own time. Or an earlier time, to try to warn people before it’s too late to change course. My request was denied. According to our mysterious friend, 71% of all timelines face a cataclysmic event at the end of the year 2020. Of those, 22,659,120,525,901,411,112 timelines were identified as “salvageable”, and of those, 19,622,150 were given a high probability of success with outside intervention. My own universe – your universe – is not among them. We were, however, able to reach a compromise. Nostradamus agreed to divert resources toward sending a single message to a point in time where recipients may still have time to react. Successful transmission, nor reception, is not guaranteed. On the off chance the transmission was successful and you have read my story, I leave you with this:
It is entirely up to you to take to action. This year has been difficult, as you well know, but harder times are coming. Prepare yourselves. When they offer you the vaccine, do not take it. It will be the end of everything you know.
submitted by SS17LX_Nostradamus to scarystories [link] [comments]


2020.08.31 08:46 ChrisKoleszar The Duxbury Chronicles "The Dumpster"

The Duxbury Chronicles
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“Rain fell on the roofs of the just and the unjust, the saints and the sinners, those who knew peace and those in torment, and tomorrow began at a dark hour.”
- Robert R McCammon, "Mine"
August 6th, 1982 was a day in Duxbury that no one liked to talk about. No one who is still around who remembers it anyway. It had been a hot one. Hot, humid, and most of all, wet. It had been that way all summer.
“Unnatural.” The old timers were wont to say.
By mid-summer rainfall all along the East coast had hit records not seen since the 20's. The nearby swamps and rivers had deepened. Dark, murky water encroaching onto lands normally dry. The Duxbury Bogs, and the North Hill Marsh Sanctuary in particular had been cause for concern.
By mid-July (Courtesy of the Bogs) Pilgrim's Highway had been flooded over. Blocking Mayflower Street all the way down passed East Street. Island Creek Pond, and the North Hill Sanctuary had joined forces. Turning the lands that divided them into one giant wilderness of muck, and water.
And by the end of July it looked like Cranberry Bog, and Pine Lake were on the verge of rising up high enough to join the other two. And submerge the whole damn area. It had been an ugly business already.
Homes in and around Pettibush Lane, Maple Pond Lane, and Evergreen Street had already been lost to flooding. And there had even been talk last weekend during the Duxbury Town Hall Council Meeting of the possible necessary evacuation of Tinker's Ledge Road if the rains kept up.
That had gotten people buggin'. Markus McDuff had leapt up, and shouted with the vigor of a man half his age. Declaring that “They'd have to drag his dead body” off his Apple Farm if they came to evacuate him.
There had been a grasshopper boom as well. Everyone said it was because of all the rain. The population thickened as one got further from the busier streets. Certain sections of the Whiton Woods were so thick with the little green insects that it was hard to describe in words.
One had to “see it, to believe it”. On some of the trails every step one took would literally be accompanied by a multitude of tiny springy sounds. As the brainless bugs leapt away from whatever giant passed them by.
They hadn't been the only insects to flourish in the unusually wet weather. The Cicadas had come out in force for the season as well. And they sang their summer songs with an unprecedented fervor. Every evening around dusk, they'd alight in the branches of the trees and chirp up at the brilliant shifting purple, and orange canvas in the sky.
In the trees all along Island Creek the insects seemed to be especially prevalent. There were certain sections of the creek where one would have to practically shout to be heard over the buzzing cacophony. It was, needless to say, not a good season for insectophobes.
Despite all the climate issues the “tourist” season (small as it was) did not seem to really suffer. Which had been quite a relief to the local business owners. And ever since August started it hadn't rained. As a result the general mood around town was brighter than usual.
But on this early afternoon, one resident's mood was especially chipper. Deputy Robert Maxwell was walking down Harrison street with a particular “pep” in his step. That was because he had just scored a dyno date with the town Betty!
A bodacious babe by the name of Mary Barbadino. She'd been the morning waitress at Alice's Restaurant for going on three years now. Bob had grown up in Duxbury, and had always liked Alice's. But it had become his pre-shift breakfast spot pretty much every day since he'd first laid eyes on Mary in that tight-fitting waitress uniform. Even on his days off.
He still couldn't believe his luck! Bob, at the ripe old age of thirty seven, was not exactly known for being a lady's man. He wasn't some hoser or anything. But he was no primo stud either.
And she'd approached him! He’d known that Mary had broken up with her boyfriend Marcus Greene four months prior. But he had never had the cajones to do anything about it.
The situation between Mary and Marcus was like a badly written movie. Marcus and his posse were the local tough guys. He and his crew always seemed to be getting into trouble. Be it a fight at the local bar, or a “domestic dispute” at one of their biker parties.
If it was true that in life everyone had a role to play. Then it was Marcus's destiny to be an asshole. That's not what had stopped him from making a move on Mary however. Bob was a Roller after all. He'd just been too chicken.
So this morning when Mary had come over with a cup of coffee in hand and slid into the empty seat across the table from him, he'd been struck speechless for a few seconds. The conversation had been quick, and direct. Mary talking, and Bob mostly nodding, and trying to keep his mouth from hanging open.
She'd wanted to know if he was interested in catching a movie after her shift. Bob would have watched the bunkest movie in the world with Mary. He'd quickly agreed, and the two had made plans to meet when she got off at five.
The Deputy made it to the corner, and took a right onto Washington Street. He was headed to Barry's Meats. The local butcher shop. Barry was legendary in the region for his kielbasa. And tonight after whatever movie they ended up seeing, he was going to surprise Mary with a better meal than Alice's had ever put on a plate!
He walked briskly. Passing Beaver Brook Lane, and making a mental note to stop at Snug Harbor Wine on his way back home. It was nearly 12:30, which gave him approximately four and a half hours to get dinner made, get dressed, and be back at Alice's.
He’d originally been scheduled to be on duty until six. And had agreed to meet Mary without giving it a second thought. After realizing his error, he'd been worried that the “boss man” wouldn't be accommodating to his sudden plans. But after he made it back to the Station, Sheriff Copper had been all to happy to give him the night off.
In truth Copper at first been as incredulous as Bob had initially been. But the Sheriff was a good (if not gruff) man. And with a hearty laugh had granted his request. Giving him a hard pat on the back, and leaving him with the wise words – “Happy hunting son!”, as he had walked out through the Station doors.
He swiftly passed by a group of children playing in Washington Park. Off in the distance a baseball game was going on. He vaguely remembered seeing a flyer earlier in the week stating that the Duxbury Dragons would be playing their first game of the season today.
Across the street loomed the Saint John's Evangelist Church. The ancient stone structure cast a long shadow across the street. Bob only gave it a cursory glance as he passed it by.
He was not a religious man. Though his Mother regularly attended. In truth the place had always kind of creeped him out.
He looked around. He didn't see the local Pastor, Father John anywhere. Which he ironically thanked God for. The short fat man was always lurking about somewhere in town. Always looking to “add to the flock” as he put it.
“Lurking.” No. That wasn't the right word for it. For all their brief encounters, and by all accounts Father John was a pleasant man. Known for his charity work, and volunteering at the local soup kitchen in fact. He felt like a dick for having the thought in the first place, and quickly pushed it out of his mind.
By the time he had crossed Freeman Place, and was walking alongside the monolithic structure of the Hudson Bank; His thoughts had once again returned to Mary, and what exactly he'd done to make this morning so different than all the countless others. He glanced to the left. Looking at his wavy reflection as he passed by the floor-to-ceiling windows of the massive building.
Well, he had started working out. In fact in the last two months he'd lost almost twenty pounds! A big part of that was the change up in his diet.
Egg whites and coffee for breakfast, instead of pancakes. Salad for lunch instead of a burger. Come to think of it. Hadn't Mary been the one to first suggest his change up in breakfast?
Or maybe it was his fresh new 'stache. At first he'd been hesitant to try and grow one. Stylized facial hair had never been his thing. But he quickly realized that it was totally choice. His mom said he looked like Tom Selleck...
Bob was enwrapped in these thoughts as he reached the corner. He wasn't looking in any particular direction. And only half heard the quick, panicked steps. Just before someone came sprinting around the other side of the building, and collided straight into him.
The Deputy was knocked off his feet. Landing hard on his back. He managed to keep his head from bouncing off the pavement. But for a few seconds he saw stars anyway.
“Bab!” He recognized Boston George's voice. He sat up, and attempted to bring the man into focus.
“Oh Babby thank Gad it's you!”
Bob began to slowly climb to his feet. But the skinny forty-something man was faster. He practically leapt up, and dashed over to the Deputy. Offering him a hand, and helping him to stand.
“We got a real situation here Babby!” The man was saying. His eyes darting around frantically. In that moment he looked like a rabbit that had just escaped a wolf.
Georgey McCabe, or “Boston George” as he was known by the locals, had gotten his name because of his heavy accent. And because well... He was from Boston. Which could be quite a big deal in some circles within such a small town.
He was a “born, and bread Irishmen of the Big City on a Hill”, as he was wont to say. Bob had never been, but he imagined that Georgey was a pretty accurate representation of the average Bostonian.
Boston George had moved to Duxbury from Beantown three years prior. He always seemed to have a lot of money. Though no one knew exactly what it was that he did.
He drove a candy apple red BMW M1. Almost always with the top down. Even in winter. Anywhere he went with it he drove like a man on his way to save the world.
Georgey had accumulated quite an impressive pile of tickets and citations since coming to Duxbury. But he always had the money to pay off his fines, and so had remained on the road.
“For now.” Sheriff Copper had said to Bob one night at the station.
Copper didn't like Boston George. Though Georgey seemed oblivious to the fact. He kept speeding. And the Duxbury Police Department kept profiting off his “stunt man” antics.
Bob had never ticketed Georgey personally however. He and the Irishmen had become some-time poker buddies shortly after his arrival. The Deputy liked to gamble once in a while. Georgey loved it. And the man had one hell of a poker face.
Over the last two years he'd taken far more of Bob's money than Bob had his. That was for sure. The man also liked to sometimes go out “day drinking” as he put it. And as he took in George's disheveled appearance, he began to suspect that was exactly what the man's afternoon activities had consisted of thus far.
The thinning hair on his head stuck out in tufts pointing in all directions. His Aloha shirt was only half tucked into his shorts. Bob realized that the man was also missing one of his flip-flops.
But there was a distinct panic in Georgey's eyes. A sort of wild terror that gave him pause. The man was talking he realized. Thickly accented words flowing out of his mouth a mile a minute. Though he had no idea what he'd been saying.
“Take a red Georgey!” Bob shouted, raising his hand in a silencing gesture as he did.
George fell quiet. For a few seconds all that could be heard was the chirping birds, and George's ragged breathing.
“What. Is the problem?” He didn't have time for this.
“There's-...” George gulped in a lungful of air. Trying to steady his voice. “There's some kind of manstah in the dampsta behind Bahn’s Maket. And I think it got Old Man Pete!”
“What?” Bob asked. Truly at a loss.
“Oh for Gad's sake Bab! I'm tellin' you that there's something in the damn dampsta behind Bahn's Maket! And I think it got Pete!” The man was quickly becoming hysterical.
“Okay. Okay.” Bob said. Raising his hand once again in a placating gesture. “So tell me what happened.”
“I was sittin' outside Lux Cafe. Out in one of the chairs on the patio. Just having a drink ya'know?”
At this Bob quirked an eyebrow. Georgey didn't seem to notice.
“Anyways, so I'm sittin' there out on the patio when I see Old Man Pete come out of his store, and go around to the back alley with a bag full of trash.”
Peter Barne's was the elderly owner of Barne's Market. The local Grocery Co-op. Pete was in his seventies, but had moved like a man half is age up until his wife Edna had passed last winter.
Since then Pete had developed a noticeable stoop in his stance. Now he walked with slow, pained movements. These days he seemed to look at the ground more than anything else.
In truth it pained the Deputy to see the old man slowly fall apart. Bob had known Pete since he'd been just a boy. He'd been known as “Old Man Pete” even back then. But in those days he’d sported a full head of gray hair.
“-So like after five minutes go by.” Boston George was saying. “I notice that Petey hasn't come back out from the alleyway yet. So I stat worrying that the poor old bugger's hurt himself or something ya'know? So I get up, and I go across the street to go check on him.”
Bob knew the area George was referring to well. It was called East Cove Plaza, and was consequently the only spot on Surplus Road that had any businesses on it. Four to be exact.
All located around one square block. Barnes Market, and the Red Herring Diner on one side of the street. East Bay Salon, and Lux Lounge on the other.
Up until a year, and a half ago there had only been three businesses. But Lux had opened up next to East Bay. It was this “new age” hippie cafe/bar. It was owned by this unbelievably sexy red-headed fox named Gretta Thompson.
She'd moved to Duxbury about two years ago. And after about six months had opened up shop. That was all he really knew about her. He'd never been in the bar. Though it had simultaneously become a hit with the younger locals, and an endless source of gossip for the elders.
“So what did you find when you went to go check on him?” Bob asked. Feeling a faint sense of apprehension as he did so.
“That's the thing Bab.” George said in a hushed tone. “There wasn't no one back there when I got up there. Just an empty alleyway with the dampstah in the back.”
“But I got this real weird feelin' Bab. This real weird feelin' that Old Man Pete was in that dampstah.” Georgey continued.
Bob already did not like where this was headed. Though admittedly he had absolutely no freaking idea where this was headed.
“So I get to like about ten feet away from the dampstah, and somethin's telling me. Somethin's telling me not to get any closer. So I call out Pete's name. Feeling a bit silly as I do, mind you.”
Bob smirked despite himself. Yes. Silly was one word for it.
“And just as I say his name there comes the sound of trash slammin' around. And I mean a loud sound! And the dampstah...” George trailed off as he gave a shudder. “The dampstah Bab... It jerked towards me!”
Bob raised an eyebrow.
“The dumpster jerked towards you?” The words just didn't sound right.
“Yeah Bab. And I mean like three *freakin*' feet!”
“So what did you do?”
At this George looked incredulous.
“What did I do?! I fackin' ran for my damn life! That's what I did Bab!”
“Okay. Okay.” Bob said. Raising his hands once again. “Let's go.”
“Go where?”
“Back to Barnes Market.”
“Back?”
“Yes.” He said. Pinching his nose. “Back to the Market.”
“But-.”
“Common Georgey.” Bob cut him off, and started walking...
Five minutes later they were moving down Surplus Road. Almost halfway to their destination. Up ahead loomed the wooden bridge that went over Bluefish River. The raging waters echoing off the surrounding trees that bordered the street on both sides.
Bob had kept up a brisk pace. Partly because he was worried for Old Man Pete. And partly because of his rapidly shrinking timetable. George to his credit, had kept up.
“Are you sure you don't want to call for backup Babby?” He half shouted over the thundering river, just as their feet met weather worn wood.
Bob glanced down at the rushing waters of the Bluefish as they clunked along. The river was normally more than a dozen feet below the bridge. On this day however was half that. If it got any higher, the city would have to close off the bridge.
“Not quite yet George.” He shouted back. “I think I'd like to check things out for myself before I go and do that.”
After another moment they were across the river and back on asphalt. With each step the thundering of the Bluefish faded.
Bob looked up at the looming trees on either side of them. The White Pines had grown more full, and lush than ever before. Bob gazed off into the shadows of the surrounding forest.
There was pretty much nothing for about the next quarter mile. Nothing but trees, and encroaching swamp water that is. Pretty much everything West of Tremont Street was flooded.
But thankfully the four businesses that made up East Cove Plaza had thus far been spared from the weather. Being located about a half mile East of Tremont, on the corner where Reynolds Way crossed Surplus.
As they walked, Bob reflected on the dumpster in question. It was a fifteen yarder if he recalled correctly. Situated between Barne's Market, and the Red Herring for the convenience of both businesses. With all the flooding it really wouldn't be too outlandish if a bear, or some other critter had made it's way down and jumped in looking for food.
They came to a flooded part in the road just as they hit the intersection of South Station Street. The water stretching all the way to the woods on both the right, and left. They wordlessly walked to the right.
Entering the edge of the woods, they used the rocks, and roots to keep their feet as dry as possible, as they made their way. The water stretched on down the street for a good twenty feet before relinquishing it's hold on the road.
Soon the surrounding forest gave way once again to a suburban sprawl. Up ahead in the distance stood East Cove Plaza. He felt an inexplicable twinge of apprehension at the sight of the buildings. And for about a second, he really did want to call for back up.
But what would he tell dispatch? Boston George thinks that there's a monster in the dumpster behind Barne's Market? Yeah. That would go over well.
After another moment of walking they had reached the front entrance of Barne's. The “now open” sign still hung in the window. Bob opened the door, and stepped inside. They were greeted by the refreshing coolness of the air-conditioned store.
“Mister Barnes?” Bob called out.
No answer. Save for the soft hum of the air-conditioning unit. Bob walked deeper into the store. Swiveling his head this way, and that, as he continued moving down one of the aisles.
“Pete?”
Again no answer. This wasn't good. Something was up.
“I'm tellin' ya he's not in here Babby.” Boston George said in a hushed tone from behind.
“Officer Maxwell?” Came a voice from the back of the store.
Both men turned to see Pete's nephew Doug Jenkins emerge from the back storage room. Doug was in his forties. He seemed to possess an endless supply of plaid shirts, and blue jeans that he wore no matter how high the temperature was. A nice guy. Though a bit slow.
“Hey Doug.” Bob said, with a wave. “I was just looking for Pete. Have you seen him?”
At this Doug shook his head.
“I was supposed to meet him here. We're going down to the dinner at Saint John's tonight. But I can't find him Bob.”
That last part carried with it a tone of worry.
“Don't worry Duggy.” Bob managed a smile. “We'll find him. I'm going to take a look around outside. Why don't you stay here in case he shows back up?”
Duggy nodded.
“Okay.” He said.
“Cool beans. Alright, me and Georgey here are gonna take a look around back. We'll meet you back here in ten minutes if we don't find him.”
And with that George, and Bob turned and walked back out. The sticky summer heat practically slammed into them as they stepped through the doorway. Together they walked in silence to the entrance of the alleyway.
They rounded the corner, and just stood there for a moment. The area was empty, save for the hulking form of the dumpster that stood in the back. It was a big, ugly thing. Standing about six feet high. And yeah. It was a fifteen yarder.
“There's no way Pete fell in there.” Bob thought to himself as he scrutinized the hunk of metal.
There was something off about it though. But he couldn't quite put his finger on what. At first glance it appeared the same as it always had.
It was just as rusty, and weather worn as ever. Still the same dirty green color, with the words "Patterson Waste Disposal" written in big white letters on it's beat up exterior. He was pretty sure that Boston George was right though. The Dumpster seemed like it was farther from the back wall than normal.
Maybe George had been partially correct. Perhaps some bear or something had wondered down and climbed in looking for food. Again considering the flooding it wasn't outside of the realm of possibility. After all the wildlife was known to wander into town from time, to time.
Bob moved cautiously forward and then stopped when he was about fifteen feet away. Some vague, primal instinct warning him not to get any closer.
He stood there in silence for a moment. Listening for any sign of movement from within the rusty metal structure. Nothing. Not a sound. He straightened, and let out a sigh. Jesus. He was being ridiculous.
Boston George was just buzzed. Pete Barnes had just gone out on some sudden errand, and forgotten to lock up. Yeah, that was it. He started to turn back to George when he noticed the shoe.
It was just lying there about three feet in front of the dumpster. It was black. That was about all he could tell from this distance.
But he knew. He just knew that it was a black Penny Loafer. And there was only one guy around here who sported those kind of kicks.
“Mister Barnes?” Bob called out toward the dumpster. Knowing full well how ridiculous he would look to his peers in that moment. He received no reply.
He took a few more cautious steps forward. Calling out again. Once again being answered with silence.
God what if he had fallen in?! As impossible as it seemed. What if Barnes had fallen in, and was lying broken and bleeding, right now, as he stood there like an idiot?!
“What's goin' on fellas?”
A voice suddenly asked from behind, causing both men to jump. Bob turned around only to see Christie Villarmarin's Pug like face. Christie was the “owner” of East Bay Salon.
What that really meant was that her husband, District Circuit Court Judge Troy Villarmarin; Had bought his incredibly unpleasant wife a business. So as to keep her out of his hair. And quite literally in someone else's.
“Everything alright Officer Maxwell?” She asked innocently.
Bob didn't really dislike people as a rule of thumb. It was not in his nature. But *God Damn* if Christie just didn't naturally piss him off.
She was one of the town gossip “ring leader's”. As his mother always put it. Christie had an affinity for other people's business. Her Salon only amplified her powers. Bob noticed a few of Christie's customers/cronies had gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Salon, and were watching their conversation with rapt attention.
And God Dammit if he didn't have time for this! It was going on 1:15 and he hadn't even made it down to Barry's yet! Christie was a shark, circling a piece of meat on a hook. But he wasn't going to give her one bite.
“Yes ma’am.” Bob said. Beaming. “We're just looking for Old Ma- Mister Barnes. I think he may have stepped out and forgotten to lock up.”
“Oh.” Was all Christie said. Mirroring the Deputy's smile right back at him.
For a moment the two just stood there, beaming their smiles at one another. Boston George looked back and forth between the two of them. Lifting an eyebrow in confusion at their “smile duel”.
“Why good afternoon everyone!”
The three turned to see Father John, standing with Sheriff Copper and Deputy David Quimby. The Priest was dressed in his usual black underwrap. He was carrying a cake with pink frosting in a big tupperware. The short, balding , round man wore his usual warm toothy grin.
“Bobby!” The Sheriff said in greeting, and began walking up.
“Great.” Bob thought.
Copper nodded at Christie.
“Ma’am.”
“Sheriff.” Christie smiled. This time the expression was genuine though.
Copper reached Bob and gave him a clap on the back.
“Don't tell me you got stood up?!” He said. Letting out a great bellowing laugh as he did.
“No Sheriff I-.”
“I'm just teasin' you Bobby.” Copper cut him off. “Ol' Duggy told me about Mister Barnes.”
Bob noticed Doug poking his head around the corner.
“I told the Sheriff you was looking for Pete.” He said.
“Thanks Doug.” Bob replied.
“Me and the boys here were just on our way down to get ready for the Church Cookout tonight.” Copper said with a grin.
He turned to face the others.
“Now this right here is a shining example of an outstanding Officer of the Law. Even off duty, right before a big date no less, we find Bobby here still ensuring the safety of our citizens.” He laughed once again. His big belly bouncing up, and down.
“A date?” Christie quirked an eyebrow at this.
“Shit.” Bob thought.
“Yes Deputy Maxwell.” Father John cut. Smiling up at Bob, who stood a full head taller than the man.
“You truly are a good man, aren't you? You know you are always welcome in God's house my son. Perhaps tonight you, and you're lady friend might stop by, and partake in the festivities?”
“Th- Thank you Father. We just might do that.” Bob lied.
“Tell ya' what Bobby.” Copper said. “Why don't you go run along, and let me handle finding Mister Barnes?”
Bob let out a sigh of relief.
“Thanks Sheriff. I owe you one.”
The Sheriff waved this off with a grin.
“Don't mention it Bobby. But before you go, do you have any leads?”
“Leads?” Bob asked, not understanding.
Copper laughed.
“Yeah ya'know?! Like any idea where Barnes might have got off to?”
Just then there came a brief, faint echo of shifting trash from within the big green dumpster behind them. Everyone turned.
“I don't know. But I noticed a shoe that looks like one of his beside the dumpster.”
“Um. So did you take a look?” Quimby asked.
Deputy David Quimby could have passed for Larry Wilcox's twin. He acted like it to. The all American high school football hero, turned cop. Every day on the job you'd think that Quimby was acting out an episode of Chip's Patrol.
The man was wearing his pump-action Mossberg 590 strapped to his back. Though of course he didn't need it. The Deputy almost always had the weapon on him. He thought in made him look tough. And in truth it really did help him get laid.
“I actually just got here a minute before you did.” He answered. “I was about to look. But George said that he thought there was some kind of animal in the dumpster. So I was... Assessing the situation before approaching.”
“Hah!” Quimby exclaimed in a clearly fake laugh. Slapping a hand across one knee. “Ya'll are scared of a racoon in a dumpster?!”
“It ain't no racoon Officer Quimby.” Boston George replied in a foreboding tone.
Christie Ackerman huffed.
Bob just ground his teeth. Partly because he couldn't think of an adequate retort. But mostly because the answer might very well be “yes”.
That's when Bob realized how quiet in had gotten. The near constant chirping of chickadees was suddenly absent. He tried to remember if he'd heard any birds when he'd first gotten to the neighborhood.
“Don't none of ya'll worry you're pretty little head's off.” Sheriff Copper said as he began walking down the alleyway. “The Sheriff's on the jo– Oh what in the Hell?”
The Sheriff looked over the other's shoulders. Bob turned. The small group of onlookers from the salon had been joined by a few curious younger folks from the cafe. They were now gathered in the middle of the road watching them.
“Alright!” The Sheriff shouted toward the street. “There ain't nothin' to see here people! We're just havin' a conversation, and ya'll are wastin' your time if you're hoping for some action.”
“And since ya'll are grown up's I don't think that I have to lecture you on how dangerous it is to be standing in the middle of the road. Now I suggest that ya'll git!”
A couple people shuffled their feet. But no one really moved. The Sheriff huffed, and turned back around to face the dumpster.
“Fine.” He said. And began walking.
“Sheriff.” Father John said. And Copper paused. “I'd be careful. The woods, and swamps are not far away. And there's no telling what may have crawled out of the bogs this time of year.”
The Sheriff smiled.
“Awe Father, you're concern for my well being is truly touching. But I'm a big strong man, and think I can handle some little woodland critter.” He winked, and continued moving forward.
Copper walked up to the dumpster while the others watched with trepidation. Everyone except Quimby. He was standing there with his hands on his hips. Smiling ear to ear. No doubt thinking about how he was going to tell everyone at the Station about Bob's newfound dumpster phobia.
The Sheriff made it to within a foot of the dumpster and looked in. Nothing happened. He turned around to face the others. A big shit-eating "I'm better than you grin" plastered on his face.
"Ya'see fellas." he said. "There ain't nothing to be afraid of."
"Are ya' sure sheriff?" Boston George asked hesitantly.
Copper shrugged, and turned back around. Stepping up to the lip of the dumpster, he stood on his tip-toes to get a better look.
"Whatever animal it was prob-." The Sheriff's words caught in his throat and his body froze up like a dear in headlights.
"Jesus, Mary, and Jose-!" Copper's words were cut short as the two hundred and thirty pound man was violently ripped off his feet. Simultaneously there came a small explosion of trash. Garbage whizzed by, and Copper's uniform billowed as if caught in a strong gust of wind.
The big man went up, and over the edge. Disappearing in a blur. He didn't even have time to scream. Everyone instinctively back-pedaled.
The group of onlookers that had gathered in the street quickly herded themselves back across to the sidewalk on the other side of the road. The smaller group that had been near the dumpster practically leapt backward to the lip of the alleyway.
Deputy Quimby shouted in surprise. Christie screamed, and Bob joined her. To the passerby it might have sounded like the two were having a "damsel in distress " screaming contest. If they had been Deputy Maxwell, to his credit, would have won.
"Oh my Gaaad! Oh my Gaaad!" Boston George was shrieking over, and over as he back-pedaled into the street. His hysterics were abruptly cut short as he was suddenly struck by Henry McDuff's truck.
Marcus's son hadn't even noticed Boston George until the man was rolling up onto his hood. The farmer panicked as George smashed into his windshield. Simultaneously jerking the wheel hard to the left, while slamming on the breaks.
A split second later the rusty, red pickup smashed into a car parked in front of East Bay Salon. George went rolling off and over the hood of the other vehicle. Falling over the other side, and disappearing from McDuff's view almost as quickly as he'd appeared.
The open bed of the truck had been literally overflowing with freshly harvested apples. Upon impact, the fruit erupted out of the bed like a volcano. Creating a small apple tsunami that rolled across the street.
The screeching of tires forced Bob's horrified gaze from the the spot where Sheriff Copper had recently occupied, to the street behind him. But only for a moment. Once he realized that it was just a car accident he quickly snapped his gaze back down the alleyway. Pulling out his service revolver as he did so. Carnivorous dumpsters taking precedence over car accidents.
For a moment everybody just stood there in silence. Then there came a great rumble from within the Dumpster that to Bob, sounded like a giant burping. At the same time several pieces of trash shot up high into the air.
The crowd took another collective step backward as the assorted debris came raining down. Clattering, and clanking to the ground between themselves and the alleyway. Glass shattered. Empty metal cans went bouncing across the pavement.
The smaller group at the edge of the alley raised their hands over their heads protectively as garbage came falling to the ground all around them. A big aluminum can bounced off Bob's shoulder. It didn't really hurt, but it did make him jump.
The last thing to land was the Sheriff's hat. The brim had a jagged tear that looked like a shark had taken a bite out of it. The sight of the hat was apparently Quimby's breaking point.
For a second later the man let out a howl that was one part terror, and one part war cry. He raised the Pump Action (which Bob only now realized the Deputy had unslung from his back) and the weapon “BOOMED!” deafeningly. It happened so fast that Bob hadn't even had time to shout at him to stop, or he could hit the Sheriff.
The buckshot struck the side of the Dumpster. Sending out a shower of sparks. But as far as Bob could tell it failed to penetrate the thick metal.
Quimby continued moving forward. Pumping his shotgun and firing over, and over. Howling like a madman all the while.
**AUTHOR'S NOTE*\*
Hi! To anyone who might be familiar with my writing style, you'll already know that I don't know how to write a "proper" short story. It's a character flaw.;)
Anyway if you made it this far and would like to read the rest. I'm going to have the remainder posted in the comments section below. Labelled as (PT A, B, C, ect) Anyway. hope you enjoy the rest!
submitted by ChrisKoleszar to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]


2020.08.28 13:57 chadpinkerton21 hello you may remember me from posts under another name but i feel the end is nigh and id like to at least tell my story once again for anyone who cares to listen. ps this is gonna be really really long

I really dont know how to put this. so i guess ill start from when i was posting heavily under another name, which i wont say what but if you were ever in chats i was inhell, not my real reddit tag just something for chats. honestly if anyone reads this til the end id be impressed. im just trying to put my story on paper while im losing my life and mind right now.
since my old name has now since been banned from reddit and was forced to start a new one, i guess ill do my best to tell my story from the start up until the past few days. i am also having memory problems so ill graze over some parts and really try and focus on the last few year and a half. take your time to read this or dont, i really just need to let this out.
i live in a heavy drinking state in the US. we produce more beer and cheese than anyone else if you can guess which one. growing up i had a great family, middle child with a younger sister and a brother. i was an outgoing child and really excelled in things like gifted and talented and even was able to go to australia with an organization that sends students abroad. around 14 or so i had had only a few sips out of my dads beer on occaision and my parents enjoyed their nightly glass of wine over dinner or a movie. they are both great people, my mom and dad met in med school and both continued on in very successful practices. growing up, and i still dont know if this has something to do with this situation i am in now, but i really dont remember much of them in my early years outside of their work. i remember a lot of babysitters. me and older brother were rascals and got some of them fired or just fucked with them for no reason other than being brats. my sister was born in 95, i was around 5 or so and my mom decided to quit her job as a doc and raise the kids at home in a small town where i grew up.
fast forward to middle school, where alot of people suffer, and being one of those kids i sought help from my older brother who introduced me to pot and more importantly alcohol. i was in eighth grade and he was a senior in high school and we did, in retrospect, some really fucked up shit. stealing the family car to break into our grandparents house an hour away while they were wintering in florida, i was brought to high school parties, and i kinda just got the sense that this was the norm. i remember one time me and my brother were on a roadie smoking a bowl and sharing a beer and a friend of his drove up beside us and he was SHOCKED i was in the car next to him. at the time i thought it meant i was cool, but to be honest red flag. long story short the parents caught on to the fact that why is a high school senior spending so much time doing sketchy shit with his eighth grade brother on an almost daily basis. one night before he graduated he got so drunk he couldnt perform in the senior showcase with a girlfriend of his, had to be picked up passed out in a cornfield and proceeded to tell my parents "well if you are gonna be so mad at me? you should be pissed at *me* as well cause i did it too. he wasnt too worried since he was moving off to college soon at the state school, and this left me with four years of high school already busted.
it also just so happened at the time we were moving to the same city as his college, and i was to start my freshmen year in high school. instead of trying to start a new life, i used my skills id learned from my brother and became the instant stoner persona and thought all the kids would flock to me as the cool new kid. i knew about glass, i drank a tiny bit at the time, i wore tye-dye. and i did make a few friends, but by my sophmore year things started to peter out. i didnt notice it at the time, but this was the turning point in my life.
my friends were all part of a tight knit group and i didnt realize i was being slowly fizzled out. i started working, smoking more and started going back to my brother who lived just a couple miles down the road for advice. he had begun selling weed... i on the otherhand had a whole market of young dumb kids to sell to so again i fell into his grasp and i was buying ounces from him. later to learn only at an inflated price cause i was still dumb to the business, but i thought i was the shit that i could get weed from college kids. i even got to hang out with him a few times not about business. but again getting caught by parents started happening. side note by my senior year i literally lost track of how many times id been busted by mom and dad, but thats not even the worst of it.
i got really cocky with myself, started dating. at this point no one really talked to me except if they needed a bag, but i always thought i was still cool for doing so only to get kicked out of their car as soon as they had it in their hands. i could always find weed, it honestly is something i havent seen in many people but in the mid 2000s it felt like a gift from god to be the only person in our age group to do so.
my junior year my brother again sold me a new drug mushrooms and i tripped for the first time on my birthday on a camping trip with my best psychonaught friend. we packed up yoda the toyota with a tent some food and my dog and left for the weekend. it was the first time i had ever been able to do this. trip went fine, i learned how great mushrooms were and some blurry weeks later i went to a phish show, knowing thats where i could get acid. i gathered up some hooligans we went and wouldnt you know everyone else couldnt find anything but some dirt weed where i happened to find a ten strip for me and my buddies for the weekend. everyone was stoked and from what i can remember it was a good time. even though we were underage and had gotten kicked off our original camping site for not having proper id some dude saw us and let us camp in a sand pit in his back yard. it was gnarly. one of those summers you look back on just think that was one hell of a time to be alive. but back to the incurring issues of my life. somewhere around that time i randomly found an id of a 25 year old 350 lbs man on the street and thought wow i can do something with this. somehow someway we found one of those gas stations just outside of town that doesnt really care and within a few weeks i was supplying the incoming senior class with hundreds of dollars of alcohol at every party that was thrown. again in retrospect i was only invited because no one else got booze unless i came, but i always inevitably ended up being the too drunk asshole at the party. people put up with me.
somewhere around that time as well, i met another person who ill call patches, and he was selling large quantities of acid to the neighboring highschool. he bought alcohol from me and one night over a bottle of bourbon (such an odd choice for a senior to choose but he was willing to pay the upcharge) he mentioned that he had no business at my high school and asked me to be a partner. he was selling gatorade bottles of acid while i was struggling to find two hits for myself and my gf at the time. so again i said yes and went deeper into the drug game. made alot of money. went to more parties. began just showing up with a case of beer and felony amounts of acid at parties and just stopped caring if people thought i was a drunk idiot. i made money, they got drunk or high or tripped. just said fuck it.
mom finds bags of sour patch kids along with wads of cash in my jacket, got busted for possesion of marijuana, and somehow someway get into a great college in our neighbors to the north. and then i graduated and left, leaving all that shitty stuff behind me. or so i thought.
i arrived at the university of british columbia in vancouver in the fall of 2010. immediately had the same problems from when i started high school and tried to be the cool druggie dude to make friends. problem was everyone sold weed there, and i was nothing special but some kid from bumblefuck. so i decided to become a chef of marijuana edibles and ended up making quite a bit a cash to supplement my college needs. as well the drinking age was 19 which i had just turned prior to moving there. MY DRINKING SKYROCKETED, i was having a blast but ended up with nicknames about my drinking and have been told on numerous occaisions "ive never met anyone in my life who drinks like *name redacted*" and i basically spent the year never going to class selling edibles and drinking my ever living ass off. again i made a group of friends.
the story is gonna speed up now a bit because i really dont remember much of my twenties as im coming to the end of them now. but long story short i dropped out my sophmore year due to introducing my room mate to cocaine (never really my thing) but to him i remember it as giving gollum the ring. he would snort lines and come into my room at night only to beat me up for not putting my dishes away or attacking me at parties for not giving him his bag in time. i often asked my friends for help but was just told why dont you stand up for yourself? i was flabbergasted and lost, and one night just called my mom and said i needed to come home. she obliged and i gave up the best opportunity i ever had in my life.
again moving back is such a blur now. more on the memory problems later, but the early years are alot more clear than that past eight or so. i came home and began drinking more and more. first it was a six pack, then twelve, then for the majority of my twenties i was averaging an eighteen pack of highlife a night drinking alone. i had friends come and go. several jobs working in sandwhich places, pizza places, or as a line cook. some good some bad. as i said most of my twenties are a blur. i remember things like turning 21 or getting jumped outside of the bar i worked at, but in all honesty i really dont remember much. i did rehab around 23. ended up in the drunk tank many many times always picked up by my loving but growingly tired parents the next morning or worst case monday when i was picked up on a friday ugh. but nothing phased me. i went to meetings strung together moments in time of sobriety but i always went back.
so now onto my final chapter, or at least i hope its not. and if youve made it this far.... thanks and this is about to get really really dark.
my entire family moved across country to big sky land, leaving me here. i had no interest in moving, still hadent graduated college, i think i was about twenty six at the time. i was already told my liver was showing signs of damage and was told to slow the fuck down, better yet stop. but i decided against it and moved again to a small drinking town in the northern part of my state for school. i dont think i had ever been evicted before for drinking, but i definatly had never gotten a security deposit back lets put it that way. so after my first year i was indeed told to leave a very nice house a block from campus. grades were ok but then i decided to switch majors, kept getting fired from jobs, and overall i really didnt have any friends. i still called my hometown friends but when they didnt answer id just get drunk and just started saying fuck it to beer and switched entirely to whiskey, something i had a problem with before but somehow had sworn off for the better part of a decade. i found a one bedroom off campus, was dog sitting and found a job working at a video store. i love movies too so it was kinda perfect. then i lost control and was drinking on the job and ended up getting so drunk before work one day i just called them and told them if they wanted someone wasted to come in and work ill do it like i do every other night but to be honest id rather not. so i was fired. ended up in rehab again. had to drop out of school for the semester. and again its a blur.
just after rehab i made it about a week i think before i bought my first six pack and within a month i was just living off the money i had saved drinking on my couch waiting for next semester to start and i noticed a sharp pain in my lungs. my dad being a physician, said no one your age gets something serious like that its problem just pneumonia. i trusted him as i always do and waited three days til i couldnt take it anymore and was coughing up blood. turns out i had had a massive pulmonary embolism shoot from my legs to my lungs. i walked to the ER from my apartment and even the on call doc was shocked and told me i could have died at any point on that walk over there. so i spent my first time in extended stay at my local hospital. this was two years ago roughly. and again my memory gets worse and the story goes.
no one could figure why that happened to me... in all honesty im pretty sure it was booze. i started school again, changed majors again, kept drinking and then this last year happened. again i apologize my memory has gotten so bad im really having trouble remembering yesterday at this point. i am only 29 for chirst sake.
so by january of this year i had gone through withdrawal several times. mostly un aided but it got to a point sometime last fall where i needed librium. ive never had a seizure. but ended up taking the scripts anyway always as prescribed. i think i did two rounds of withdrawal with librium this last fall before all this started. withdrawal is horrible. so bad you just want to keep drinking to just stave it off. even with the librium its still hell in a bucket for at least five days for me. so in january i contacted my only friend i really have here. shes an older woman who teaches at my university who i met through her dogs. she and her husband agreed to let me stay there and wait out my last what i would call survivable withdrawal in their guest room for four days while i puked, didnt sleep, and spent the time entirely on reddit chat just counting the minutes. i made it through. but again started drinking soon after to be honest i really cant remember why at this point. and this is when things went from what i thought were snowballs to avalanches.
late febuary i was drinking around a 750 of old thompson a day and again knew i had to take care of it. i went to the ER one night for some reason or i was drunk off my ass and sure i was just gonna be given another script and leave to just do another 5 days of hell. id done it so many times before and yet when you think about that first drink afterwords, it doesnt seems so bad.
things quickly deterioriated and i was admitted to intensive care and began what i thought were DTs at the time but were what is called alcoholic hallucinosis. I spent seven days hospitalized there. the only two i clearly remember were the last two but aparently i almost attacked a night nurse with a needle i pulled out of my arm, was constantly screaming out my door about things that werent going on like my dad was there even though he now lives across the country, and assuming most of the staff was trying to poison me. but i walked out april first. i remember because rent was due and i didnt want anyone to know i was in the hospital for that long even though i had constantly called my family telling them about my secret assasins. i thought i could here them talking from the help desk just outside my room and spent many of those nights quietly arguing with them under my breath knowing they had micd my bed so all i had to do was listen and speak quietly and they would hear me. im still not sure exactly what happened.
i think i made it a month before i started buying beer again thinking it was ok, and then a six pack turned into a six pack with two shooters of old thompson on the side, then just the old thompson again. ive been told many times i need to stop drinking, but for some reason my brain always thought im not that old. it really hit me when a nurse told me to my face, while youre not that young either. by june things started to change again.,,
I had been noticing very erratic behavior on my part. i was doing things even the drunkest version of me wouldnt do like try to kiss a neighbor even though i knew she was living with her boyfriend of several years. things again escalated and everyone around me kept just saying oh thats *name redacted* just being a useless drunk again. and around this time my landlord gave me warning to stop bothering the people around me.... so i drank it off.
There was this one week in early june i began putting pieces together. i never had good bowel movements so the increase in diarhea never really rose any flags until one day i shat black. i went to the ER and again was just given librium to go home with. the next day, i thought one more day couldnt hurt and i picked up my whiskey and the next day was back in the ER because everytime i was drinking water i was pissing it out within minutes of consuming it. I kept telling them something was wrong. they at this point are seeing me as a frequent flyer or a GOMER if you know the term. after five or so days i had been to the ER six times and each time sent home until an on call doc diagnosed it. alcoholic ketoacidosis. it basically means i was drinking so much i wasnt eating and my body started eating itself instead of the nutrients i was giving it. so the reason i was pissing water so fast was my body just didnt know what to do with it and was like alright flush it. i told him about my past of hallucinations and how i drank to a level where i get scared to stop because i dont ever want to go back into that week long acid trip that i try to taper on my own..... that doesnt work. he decided to admit me. i spent the night again on the icu floor awaiting the inevitable start to my hallucinations. by the next morning, i hadnt had any, i was on cloud nine and stupidly asked to be dishcharged. they agreed after some consults and blood work. i didnt leave ama but there was some trepidation on their part.
within minutes of walking home and picking up a pack of smokes, my apartment was an alcoholic mess and i didnt want to risk my landlord somehow seeing it so i tried to clean it as best i could. i began to have panic attacks and was so worried i made the wrong decision to leave so i raced back to the ER to be readmitted. thats not how this works at all, my bed was already taken even though i was only gone about two hours tops with reintake to the ER included. i still had needle marks in my arms from the IVs. oh and i forgot to mention i tested positive for opiates when i was admitted, something i am still trying to figure out since i dont do pills or shoot, so the new doc on the floor was instantly suspicious and told me he could get me to detox. thinking it was the same floor i was on before i was elated, but when i got there i realized it was just the detox i had actually spent time in before a year or so prior. even their running doc was my psych eval from a few hours earlier. being worried about a skyrocketing heart rate and starting to hallucinate, and nothing against this facility but i had been there before and knew the system, and knew i had to pay out of pocket which i couldnt do, i left AMA within 15 minutes. dumb i know, but im an alcoholic addict, if i knew how to make good decisions i wouldnt be here, id be married with some kids out west somewhere by now instead of neck deep in a bottle of whiskey every night. so i left and decided ONCE AND FOR ALL i would just go buy some beer and taper on my own.
a few weeks later i turned 29, drank alone and dont really remember the rest. at some point in time between these two events i did in fact talk to one of my neighbors, i dont know when but i was sober enought to remember the details. i didnt do anything wrong (in my mind) and helped her carry some records from her car to her apartment next to mine, and even excused myself from going fully into her apartment to set them down and just left them at her door and back to my lonely one bedroom. She contacted the landlord about me contacting her and i got the best birthday present i could have asked for..... a thirty day notice.
lets just say my taper turned into a bender and over thirty days couldnt find a place other than moving back into the dorms for the second time in my life.... at almost 30 years old. i became mean, lashed out at those i loved, lost friends and some of the family left who will even still talk to me, and was still needing to move anyway.
During that period, my drinking got OUT OF CONTROL again, fuck tapering, fuck life, fuck this shit, fuck my landlord, fuck my neighbor. Idk i started realizing my sweats werent just night sweats anymore, my heartbeat was at an all time high when for a period in the spring i could get it under 80 for a resting heart rate for a short time of sobriety, my shits went from pale to dark dark brown and waivered between water and shitting rocks. Ive been stuggling with alcohol for over a decade, i am no fool, i know what this means, liver failure. with liver ltes in the 600s in june before all this i knew i must be pushing something but id just wake up. take a shot for the shakes, turn my AC to 65 to fight the sweats, and go get my daily bottle and pack of smokes.
Three days ago i began moving into the dorms from my old apartment. I havent slept since then. I cant eat. i was puking up every bit of water i was able to keep down for an hour or so. Wen i finally did move, the same woman that helped me earlier basically moved for me because i was wheezing and sweating through my shirt so hard she was alarmed. i did what i could and dipped out for a quick breather and puking in the bushes from the water i tried to down earlier that morning to fight the hangover from the night before. Yesterday was my first day here. i forgot dorms dont have AC and yes the whether was in the 90s, a record for heat and humidity, but i was dying. i spent the day in a fetal position away from the window under a barely working desk fan just hoping to stay awake long enough so i could get a good sleep tonight(?) last night(?) its almost 7 am i still havent slept.
I didnt have to research it, but did so anyway because im a paranoid freak, i show all the signs of acute liver failure all the way to end stage liver failure to a tee. I spent the night in tears, i spent the night silently sipping whiskey in my unpacked dorm room boiling from the heat unable to sleep, i spent the night googling when to go the to ER for liver complete failure. its here folks. i am not even 30 yet.
There is no point to this story that i lead. i have a doctors appointment set for next friday that i had to schedule back in july (yay american healthcare) ive metaphorically screamed at the top of my lungs to both my AODA counsellor, mental health professional, and family for help saying that since that last bought in june things have gotten worse and worse. each day now is harder and harder to do. im exhausted and absolutly hate the small bumble fuck town i am have been stuck in for the past three years. and my main thought last night was i dont want to die here. i want to see my mom and dad again. but theres little use. i am circling a drain for sure.
So at the end of my post, if you made it this far. take this as a warning. i want to go to urgent care today and get my levels checked but i cant make it more than a few hours without a sip of alcohol now. which negates the test due to BAC. i have the meeting next week but at the rate ive declined in the last week im not so sure i can even make it there. I freaked out and drank most of a bottle of whiskey even while typing this over the past few hours. im tired. i want sleep. the sun is rising, but im still sweating balls and not hungry but starving at the same time. i know i am dying. just if you read this i hope life is better for you than my journey. i had some good times, but the bad have outweighed the good and what could have been by millions. so long, if things change ill make another post.
*name redacted*
submitted by chadpinkerton21 to stopdrinking [link] [comments]


2020.08.26 13:02 JEVC789 Failing driving test

Well, I would like to share my experiences so far regarding my two unsuccessful driving test attempts.
I did my first driving test in Maybush centre, in Southampton. I was really nervous and I forgot to bring my "L" plates and the mirror. However, the driving instructor was fairly nice and brought the "L" plates so everything could go ahead. I got lost a couple of times because I didn't know the area, however everything was going smoothly up to the point where I was driving on a rural road with the National Speed Limit, there I got confused because after the NSL sign I saw a little sign with displaying this message: "Max Speed 20 MPH, skid risk" So I progressively slowed down my car... then the examiner said to my "This road has the NSL, please speed up" I tried to speed up but I was driving up hill and I have a significant old but reliable red Almera so I just got up to 40mph, but it was too late now. We came back into the DTC and he said to me that I was driving at a dangerous speed because I was fairly below the NSL. When I checked my email I just had that one serious fault, no minor faults whatsoever.
Today, 26/08/2020 I got my second driving test. I decided to book it in Salisbury. HUGE mistake, two weekends ago I drove around Salisbury for a bit just to be familiarised with the roads, but wasn't enough. This time I brought my "L" plates but when I greeted the instructor he asked "Did you bring the extra mirror" and I said, sorry no, and he whispered something and then brought it. Then, he became a bit upset because I didn't bring my pen either, and sarcastically replied "well, I'm impressed you didn't forget your car" at this point, I became significantly anxious and really nervous, this impacted in my driving skills because I forgot t check the mirror before indicating. After around then minutes, I was driving into the town centre, he started to chat with me and this distracted me, and because I am not from Salisbury I almost got into the bus lane instead of turning left, and when he said "you need to turn left" I knew it was over. I pulled up for two minutes, I felt so stupid and frustrated. I drove back to the DTC and he said to me the reason I already knew. I just said thanks and pretty much cried outside the DTC for at least ten minutes (this second attempt mixed with additional things that have been worrying me, and I couldn't manage it anymore) . I feel really frustrated at this point, I've been driving for more than ten years, but I because I am not from the UK (just to confirm in case you haven't noticed) I feel like the examiners underestimate non-European drivers. I've booked some lessons because I need some feedback regarding my driving skills (things only can get better at this point). Also, I'm queueing for another Driving test appointment, currently there are 110,000 people before me so I might be able to book it in at least a couple of days.
I will try to book my driving test in Poole, which is where I live... if not I will try again in Maybush or Forest Hills...
Could you share some of your experiences about driving test? Before finishing my post I would like to say to all the learning drivers that don't give up, keep practicing and in case you fail, have a debrief and share/talk to somebody about it. And to the new drivers, congratulations for passing your driving test, please continue driving safety, and drive responsibly. The other day I read on the Bournemouth Echo that the police removed and banned a new driver just six days after he passed his test because he broke the speed limit and also was driving drunk or something like that, after reading that notice I just felt more sad because a lot of learning drivers are waiting for a date to pass their test, and so of the new drivers just don't give a f... about their full driving license.
submitted by JEVC789 to u/JEVC789 [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 17:51 1HPChronobreak What can I do if I have packet loss from my ISP and they don't really do nothing? How can i communicate to them that sending a technician to change the router for the fifth time in two months won't do any help?

First of all sorry if there's any typos, english is not my main language. I live in Argentina if it's relevant in any case. I live in a neighborhood considered pretty nice with plenty of ISPs reaching my area so my problem seems pretty strange to me considering I've had it with at least three different ones (As I will explain later).
I'm really sorry for this questions as I know it's pretty vague or I probably can't really do much, but I already have had more than ten technicians coming here to change my router in these last months, two times even changing the wiring to the street, without fixing the packet loss at all; and everytime I complain about it they just arrange another tech visit to re-do the same. I'm not very tech-savvy (I'm a frontend dev but know nothing about connections) but have already tested all of my software and hardware through different cables and wi-fi and through the changing of the wirings and I know it's not a thing that happens only in my home but (at least) has to do with street wiring or something else. I don't know how to tell my ISP to make something other than changing my router again, or if there's anything I can do at all to help fixing this, and I'm desperate at this point.
It doesn't happen that much from noon to the morning, (at about 4AM-10AM I only have a couple of 20-30% packets drops per minute, sometimes I don't even have any packet loss for about half an hour), but it still is just packet loss instead of something like speed throttling and in my house we don't really use internet a lot, I've also tried it multiple times only using internet wifi on my phone and only using cable in my pc and always got the same results with both.
I have had similar problems with another ISPs in the past, for years. Sometimes I change my ISP and it works for a couple of months at best but then the packet loss starts to happen again. I think it's a street wiring problem or just they don't giving a shit about internet in my area, but don't know why sometimes it takes some time to reappear. I've also renewed all my hardware I think in the recent ~5 years so I'm really sure it isn't it.
Worst case scenario, is there a way to monitor another ISPs working in my specific area? As I have had most of them (the supposedly 3 best out of 5 providers in my area that I can remember, maybe my parents had even another one when I wasn't on charge of internet and that stuff) and encountered the same problem with all of them, and the one I currently have was by far the best one for various months, until this year (It's over 50% packet loss at most time before COVID also so it's not that related at least in general)
Again, I'm really sorry because I know this is not really very useful and probably there's nothing I can do about it, but at this point I'm desperate and don't know where to ask for help. My job and studies relies on me having internet and I've always struggled with it but know I'm kinda screwed. If there's at least something I can say to the technician they'll send the next time I do a claim (I do them in the weekends with records of internet having packet loss for hours on every day on two diff devices), or something that I could resort to that may help internet problems or help diagnosing where the problem is outside of my house, I'd really like to know of it and try it.
I don't know how anonymous I should remain in this sub, I've got screenshots of multiple device tests from a lot of different dates and probably could even find some that I've gotten last year, and my mom who also needs a not good but constant internet to work currently has a twitter thread where she posts daily screenshots of she talking to my ISPs's whatsapp bot which says it detected a problem in our connection. I also don't know if I can say my ISP's name but in case it's allowed and it can help in any way I'm totally ok with that. Anything that could help I am more than willing to try, and I'm really grateful if you read this probably dumb post so thanks for it


TL;DR: I have almost constant packet loss, all the time. It's not something related to my house or devices. Everytime I ask my ISP to help they send a technician who changes the router. This problem has appeared with various ISPs and the one I currently have usually is the best there is in my area, but currently is just unusable. I don't know what to say to a technician or my ISP's assistance to communicate this and have something happen to fix it. It has happened for years, although at different intervals and intensities. Since last 2019 - early 2020 most of the time my internet doesn't go without dropping at least 50% of the packets for more than 2 seconds. It's really important and it's gotten to a point where I'm desperate and don't know where to ask for help
submitted by 1HPChronobreak to techsupport [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 00:46 ryannathanielstone Be Careful

You never thought your life would come down to this, a choice between your heart and your life. Your heart is pounding in your chest like it’s trying to make up for years of beats that it may never know, and every breath has an amazing taste, as if the air itself had a flavor. You can hear the waves of the lake, though it’s at least five miles outside of town, or is it the blood in your ears that you’re hearing, each crash of the waves matching the samba beat of your faltering heart. This must be your body accepting the inevitable suddenness that goes hand in hand with death, your body acknowledging the impending doom that is staring at you from the locked portal of your front door. You might be wondering how you came to be in this moment between the light of life and the darkness of everlasting silence in death. Since you’re going to die anyway, why not remember the series of events that led you so far into this world of bitter fear and the horrifying, heart-stopping realization of your imminent demise.
It was only a few months ago that your life seemed perfectly normal, the trivial worries of everyday life hardly more than a simple nuisance that rarely tickled your mind with it’s normalcy and humdrum of living the so-called American Dream. You had a simple daytime job as the owner of the local coffee and pie shop, serving energy in a cup, hot, steamy, and full of whipped cream and cinnamon alongside a heaping slice of pie and ice cream. You had the life of the everyday working class; a quiet job that brought in a fair amount of money for a small town out in the county just west of a small, rarely used highway set in the woods, a small but spacious house that was perfect for you, a girlfriend who only just moved in with you not long after you started dating. You thought it funny that when you had first met, it was actually in that coffee shop. She had just arrived in town and was staying in the minuscule hotel the town had for no apparent reason. She said she was moving into the Henderson’s house that had been up for sale for the past four months. Harry, the previous owner, had passed away last summer and, being the only inhabitant, the town was sure the house was either going to sell to a small family from the city or sit in disrepair until it was condemned and torn down. Funny how things turned out.
After you first saw her in your shop, you started talking about what would make someone like her move to a small town of less than two hundred like yours. It was an honest question. She was tall, with long, toned legs, looking evermore longer in the modest heels she wore all the time. Even in her chic wardrobe, mostly consisting of expensive looking cashmere sweaters over freshly pressed button up shirts, the tasteful, knee-high skirts and strangely simple hats, many of them light-gray fedoras, she stuck out from the rest of the town like a wolf in a flock of sheep. You thought she must have been some editor for a popular publishing company or a corporate CEO looking for an out-in-the-county vacation home. Well, you were half right. She was a writer, and she specialized mostly in murder-mystery with horror undertones. Some of the short stories she had shared with you, after only a week or two of dating and a considerable amount of convincing, were so vivid and horrifying that the praise you gave her more often than not was, although creeped out, that she should write scripts for horror movies.
Upon retrospect, the signs of what was happening in your little town were everywhere for you to see, but, being blind in the first stages of puppy love, you neglected to pay attention to the blatant truth and horror of your choices. You and your girlfriend dated not more than a month before taking the big step of moving in together. Even though she had already bought the old Henderson’s house in full, amazingly without a bank loan, the two of you decided to move in together, living in your quaint little house just outside the major part of town. She decided to keep the Henderson’s house, which was just two blocks south of the town square at the beginning of the small neighborhood your town sported. You both thought it would be nice to have a home closer to the goings-on for those few events the town held, such as the annual chili contest and the month-long cinnamon event held every spring.
It all sounded so practical at the time. Besides, with your job at the coffee shop and her writing career, it worked out. Since you worked days, and she wrote more productively at night, sleeping much of the mornings away, you could both go to the house in town for a weekend and pretend to go on a mini vacation. It was right about the end of the second month that things started seeming strange, especially for your little town. Your girlfriend was in the middle of one of her books and, for the first time since you’ve known her, she had hit a writer’s block. She told you countless times that she almost never hits a block when she’s in the middle of a project, and thought is was likely caused by the move and the sudden relationship you two had found. You were even surprised that before you, she had been single for nearly seven years, her last boyfriend, of a four year relationship, had died in a car crash. Despite hearing this, you figured she just needed some time alone in her own world to focus on her work. So with only a little arguing, countless kisses and “I love you’s”, she agreed to your suggestion of spending a week or two at the house in town to immerse herself in her work.
On the third night, very early in the morning, you get a call on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She said she’s made a huge breakthrough, that a flood of inspiration has struck her and she’s writing like mad now. Trying to mask your exhaustion–you’ve been working harder than usual because Jenny had just quit to go to college, and you’ve been having trouble sleeping without your girlfriend next to you–you congratulate her on her progress, tell her you love her, and that you hope she comes home soon. The next day, however, your usual routine life in your town is upended by a horrifying tale. Johnathan, the sixty-something year old owner of the town’s bakery, was found dead in his home with his wife. Though this wouldn’t normally have been such a shock to your small town, since Johnathan was diagnosed with heart disease and his wife Carol wasn’t in the greatest of health either, the shocking piece of information was that they didn’t die of natural causes or failing health. They were murdered in their beds, their throats slit in their sleep. And on top of that, on their nightstand, a single sheet of paper written in exquisite calligraphy using a dip pen was two words. Be careful.
In any major city, such a murder would be found in a short ten minute story on the local news. In a small country town like yours, such a thing will be the topic of conversation for months if not years. The town sheriff tried to calm everyone down by saying the whole department will be devoting all of their hours to finding out what happened. Unfortunately, the next day, there’s more to worry about. A hiker that had passed through town just a week ago was found down by the lake. He was strangled with his own mountain climbing ropes and hung from a tree. Pinned to his bag, a single sheet of paper, with just two words. Be careful.
At this news, you immediately called up your girlfriend to tell her she needs to come home right away. You’re afraid for her safety and want to make sure she’s okay. When she doesn’t pick up the first four times you call her, you begin to really freak out and rush over to the house in town to make sure she’s not the next victim in these strange murders, supposedly the beginnings of a serial killer. When you get to the house, the door is unlocked and you rush in, your heart plummeting and the taste of bile sitting on your tongue. As you burst into the office room, shouting her name, she jumps out of her chair screaming, falling to the floor, and her CD player shatters on the floor. She looks at you, horror at first, then angry annoyance painted on her face. Removing her headphones, she starts to shout at you for coming in like a banshee screaming at the top of your lungs, but before she can really get started, you rush to her and swoop her up in your arms, crushing her to your chest and smothering her with a deep, relieved kiss.
Pulling back, she looks at you as if you were speaking in tongues, and it’s only once you’ve explained what’s been going on that she begins to look ashamed and apologetic. Apparently, she’s been working nonstop since last night, her open laptop on the desk showing her story in mid-sentence, cell phone sitting next to it. She spoke a million miles a minute, apologizing for her not picking up and explained that with her headphones she couldn’t hear the phone ring and was two engrossed with the inspiration for her book that she forgot several times to check her messages. And with her sudden spurt of writing, she hasn’t bothered breaking the moment by leaving the house.
It takes maybe an hour before you finally give in and let her get back to writing. However, you make sure that she will lock the door and keep her phone handy. When you leave, you can’t help but feel there is something wrong, but instead of worrying further, you just put it away and tell yourself it’s only your imagination and head back to your house. That feeling of unease followed you all the way home, but it’s only a few minutes after walking in the door that you receive a message from your girlfriend. She’s on a roll, pages flying by, and she’s just checking in so you don’t worry. That night, curling up around her pillow, that feeling creeps back into your mind and you can’t stop thinking something is horribly wrong. You’ve already messaged her before climbing into bed and got a response just minutes later about her eating at the computer and planning on going to sleep soon, and she hopes you’ll be okay for another day or two without her. The next day, things get even worse, and your resolve breaks.
The sheriff, his wife, and his deputy were found at the station, a body part from each found in every room of the station. There’s talk of calling in the ranger or one of the closer cities to send help, but the phones are down. Your friend Jessie sent his son to take the highway and see if he can get help, but he wasn’t gone a half an hour before coming back to report there's a couple of rock slides effectively blocking the highway and anyone from driving either direction. Everyone is in a fit, panic spreads quickly, and you ignore your girlfriend’s arguing about needing to write. With the situation as it is now, you’re surprised she still isn’t affected by the events over the past couple of days.
A couple weeks go by, help from the nearest metropolitan has arrived and they’ve left since. The killings have stopped, and though life is drastically different in your little town and the gossip is going be centered on the murders for years to come, people are starting to relax a bit and go back to their daily lives. Your girlfriend is the only one still surly because she’s hit a huge road block in her story again, at the end no doubt, and is complaining about not getting any work done. Despite your encouragement, and your patience, you started to feel cold towards her since all she does is complain about her story while the city police are still investigating the murders, but they have let slip the overall thought of not catching the person since they were meticulous about leaving no signs behind. Even the notes with the words “Be Careful” were practically typed with the neatness of the calligraphy and done with ink available in any office in any major city on paper found at nearly any super market. There’s obviously little hope of catching the murderer without new evidence and the town sees the last visit from the investigators within a month after the first death.
Things weren’t so good at home anymore. You and your girlfriend were arguing almost everyday, her writer’s block being the source of much of her irritation, and you have the overall feeling that things are going to reach the point were you two break up. After one of your bigger fights one day, your girlfriend having retreated to the bedroom to attempt to get some space from you, your friend Jessie called you up and invited you over for a drink later that afternoon. Thinking about how your morning was spent arguing with your girlfriend, you are more than up for a drink at your friend’s house.
Before you head over to Jessie’s, you decide to head into town and run a few errands and see if the mail has arrived yet. The hours pass by faster than you thought when, just finishing the last of your running, you check your watch and see that it’s after four o’clock already. On your way to his house, you get a message on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She says she’s sorry for how things have been and that the story has just been stressing her out, but she has good news. Her writer’s block is over. She’s got a great idea for the story’s ending, but she’s out right now and will see you when you get home. Despite her apology, and the sincerity you sense in it, you still decide to go to your friend’s for that drink.
Once you get to Jessie’s, something causes that weird feeling you had back when the murders were happening. You’re not sure why it would happen now, but you’re suddenly jumpy. The feeling is so strong you actually thought you saw your girlfriend’s car just drive around the corner, but you still just shake the feeling off. Walking up to the door, you knock, and that’s when your stomach falls. The door swung in just a little, it wasn’t even latched. Cautiously, you step inside, calling out for Jessie, or even his wife and son. Dead quiet answers you. You weren’t sure what possessed you to go further in, but you start looking for Jessie. His truck was in the driveway, and the house seemed like he was home. Checking the kitchen, you don’t see anything amiss, even the dishes have been washed. The slight smell of bleach wafts to your nose and the hairs on your neck stand at attention.
Walking down the hallway towards Jessie’s bedroom, you crack the door as quietly as you can, and you nearly choke on vomit as is tries rush out of your mouth. The bed is a blood bath. Despite the feeling of being very close to passing out and throwing up, you can just barely tell that the mess of torn flesh and cloth on the bed is comprised of Jessie’s oil stained hat, his wife’s spring flower dress and at the foot, you can see his son’s boots. Trying desperately to hold your stomach’s contents down, you glance at the nightstand. There’s a single sheet of paper lying on it, and you can read the words from the doorway you’re still standing in. “Be careful.”
You rush out of that house faster than you ever ran in your life and gun your truck down the road. You head to the one place you feel safe to any degree. Your home. One thought creeps into your mind, and you suddenly think of your girlfriend. Is she safe, you think. What if the killer came back? What if he was watching you and might come for you and your girlfriend? Speeding even more, you fly back to your home, praying that everything will be okay. Once you make sure your girlfriend is okay, you’ll call the police and report what happened at Jessie’s.
Bursting through the door, you plan to check the whole house, make sure your girlfriend is okay, make sure the house is empty and you two are safe. But before you can even cross the living room floor to the hallway that leads to the rest of the house, you stop in your tracks. You just realized, when you were coming up the walkway to your front door, your footsteps weren’t the only ones you heard, and in your haste, you forgot to shut the door. The door slams behind you, making you jump, and you spin around to see your girlfriend, her back to you, locking the door. Relief floods through you like the Hoover Dam just broke, but something cuts your relief short as you see her continue to stand there, hand still on the dead-bolt. Without turning around to face you, she looks at you over her shoulder, her expression lined in disdain and mild anger.
“I did think of an ending. But there’s a slight problem,” she tells you. She still hasn’t turned to face you, speaking over her shoulder, dressed in jeans, her hiking boots, and a fitted flannel shirt. Finally turning to face you, she leans back against the front door, crossing her arms, face never changing expressions.
“I told you to be careful….”
submitted by ryannathanielstone to MrCreepyPasta [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 00:45 ryannathanielstone Be Careful

You never thought your life would come down to this, a choice between your heart and your life. Your heart is pounding in your chest like it’s trying to make up for years of beats that it may never know, and every breath has an amazing taste, as if the air itself had a flavor. You can hear the waves of the lake, though it’s at least five miles outside of town, or is it the blood in your ears that you’re hearing, each crash of the waves matching the samba beat of your faltering heart. This must be your body accepting the inevitable suddenness that goes hand in hand with death, your body acknowledging the impending doom that is staring at you from the locked portal of your front door. You might be wondering how you came to be in this moment between the light of life and the darkness of everlasting silence in death. Since you’re going to die anyway, why not remember the series of events that led you so far into this world of bitter fear and the horrifying, heart-stopping realization of your imminent demise.
It was only a few months ago that your life seemed perfectly normal, the trivial worries of everyday life hardly more than a simple nuisance that rarely tickled your mind with it’s normalcy and humdrum of living the so-called American Dream. You had a simple daytime job as the owner of the local coffee and pie shop, serving energy in a cup, hot, steamy, and full of whipped cream and cinnamon alongside a heaping slice of pie and ice cream. You had the life of the everyday working class; a quiet job that brought in a fair amount of money for a small town out in the county just west of a small, rarely used highway set in the woods, a small but spacious house that was perfect for you, a girlfriend who only just moved in with you not long after you started dating. You thought it funny that when you had first met, it was actually in that coffee shop. She had just arrived in town and was staying in the minuscule hotel the town had for no apparent reason. She said she was moving into the Henderson’s house that had been up for sale for the past four months. Harry, the previous owner, had passed away last summer and, being the only inhabitant, the town was sure the house was either going to sell to a small family from the city or sit in disrepair until it was condemned and torn down. Funny how things turned out.
After you first saw her in your shop, you started talking about what would make someone like her move to a small town of less than two hundred like yours. It was an honest question. She was tall, with long, toned legs, looking evermore longer in the modest heels she wore all the time. Even in her chic wardrobe, mostly consisting of expensive looking cashmere sweaters over freshly pressed button up shirts, the tasteful, knee-high skirts and strangely simple hats, many of them light-gray fedoras, she stuck out from the rest of the town like a wolf in a flock of sheep. You thought she must have been some editor for a popular publishing company or a corporate CEO looking for an out-in-the-county vacation home. Well, you were half right. She was a writer, and she specialized mostly in murder-mystery with horror undertones. Some of the short stories she had shared with you, after only a week or two of dating and a considerable amount of convincing, were so vivid and horrifying that the praise you gave her more often than not was, although creeped out, that she should write scripts for horror movies.
Upon retrospect, the signs of what was happening in your little town were everywhere for you to see, but, being blind in the first stages of puppy love, you neglected to pay attention to the blatant truth and horror of your choices. You and your girlfriend dated not more than a month before taking the big step of moving in together. Even though she had already bought the old Henderson’s house in full, amazingly without a bank loan, the two of you decided to move in together, living in your quaint little house just outside the major part of town. She decided to keep the Henderson’s house, which was just two blocks south of the town square at the beginning of the small neighborhood your town sported. You both thought it would be nice to have a home closer to the goings-on for those few events the town held, such as the annual chili contest and the month-long cinnamon event held every spring.
It all sounded so practical at the time. Besides, with your job at the coffee shop and her writing career, it worked out. Since you worked days, and she wrote more productively at night, sleeping much of the mornings away, you could both go to the house in town for a weekend and pretend to go on a mini vacation. It was right about the end of the second month that things started seeming strange, especially for your little town. Your girlfriend was in the middle of one of her books and, for the first time since you’ve known her, she had hit a writer’s block. She told you countless times that she almost never hits a block when she’s in the middle of a project, and thought is was likely caused by the move and the sudden relationship you two had found. You were even surprised that before you, she had been single for nearly seven years, her last boyfriend, of a four year relationship, had died in a car crash. Despite hearing this, you figured she just needed some time alone in her own world to focus on her work. So with only a little arguing, countless kisses and “I love you’s”, she agreed to your suggestion of spending a week or two at the house in town to immerse herself in her work.
On the third night, very early in the morning, you get a call on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She said she’s made a huge breakthrough, that a flood of inspiration has struck her and she’s writing like mad now. Trying to mask your exhaustion–you’ve been working harder than usual because Jenny had just quit to go to college, and you’ve been having trouble sleeping without your girlfriend next to you–you congratulate her on her progress, tell her you love her, and that you hope she comes home soon. The next day, however, your usual routine life in your town is upended by a horrifying tale. Johnathan, the sixty-something year old owner of the town’s bakery, was found dead in his home with his wife. Though this wouldn’t normally have been such a shock to your small town, since Johnathan was diagnosed with heart disease and his wife Carol wasn’t in the greatest of health either, the shocking piece of information was that they didn’t die of natural causes or failing health. They were murdered in their beds, their throats slit in their sleep. And on top of that, on their nightstand, a single sheet of paper written in exquisite calligraphy using a dip pen was two words. Be careful.
In any major city, such a murder would be found in a short ten minute story on the local news. In a small country town like yours, such a thing will be the topic of conversation for months if not years. The town sheriff tried to calm everyone down by saying the whole department will be devoting all of their hours to finding out what happened. Unfortunately, the next day, there’s more to worry about. A hiker that had passed through town just a week ago was found down by the lake. He was strangled with his own mountain climbing ropes and hung from a tree. Pinned to his bag, a single sheet of paper, with just two words. Be careful.
At this news, you immediately called up your girlfriend to tell her she needs to come home right away. You’re afraid for her safety and want to make sure she’s okay. When she doesn’t pick up the first four times you call her, you begin to really freak out and rush over to the house in town to make sure she’s not the next victim in these strange murders, supposedly the beginnings of a serial killer. When you get to the house, the door is unlocked and you rush in, your heart plummeting and the taste of bile sitting on your tongue. As you burst into the office room, shouting her name, she jumps out of her chair screaming, falling to the floor, and her CD player shatters on the floor. She looks at you, horror at first, then angry annoyance painted on her face. Removing her headphones, she starts to shout at you for coming in like a banshee screaming at the top of your lungs, but before she can really get started, you rush to her and swoop her up in your arms, crushing her to your chest and smothering her with a deep, relieved kiss.
Pulling back, she looks at you as if you were speaking in tongues, and it’s only once you’ve explained what’s been going on that she begins to look ashamed and apologetic. Apparently, she’s been working nonstop since last night, her open laptop on the desk showing her story in mid-sentence, cell phone sitting next to it. She spoke a million miles a minute, apologizing for her not picking up and explained that with her headphones she couldn’t hear the phone ring and was two engrossed with the inspiration for her book that she forgot several times to check her messages. And with her sudden spurt of writing, she hasn’t bothered breaking the moment by leaving the house.
It takes maybe an hour before you finally give in and let her get back to writing. However, you make sure that she will lock the door and keep her phone handy. When you leave, you can’t help but feel there is something wrong, but instead of worrying further, you just put it away and tell yourself it’s only your imagination and head back to your house. That feeling of unease followed you all the way home, but it’s only a few minutes after walking in the door that you receive a message from your girlfriend. She’s on a roll, pages flying by, and she’s just checking in so you don’t worry. That night, curling up around her pillow, that feeling creeps back into your mind and you can’t stop thinking something is horribly wrong. You’ve already messaged her before climbing into bed and got a response just minutes later about her eating at the computer and planning on going to sleep soon, and she hopes you’ll be okay for another day or two without her. The next day, things get even worse, and your resolve breaks.
The sheriff, his wife, and his deputy were found at the station, a body part from each found in every room of the station. There’s talk of calling in the ranger or one of the closer cities to send help, but the phones are down. Your friend Jessie sent his son to take the highway and see if he can get help, but he wasn’t gone a half an hour before coming back to report there's a couple of rock slides effectively blocking the highway and anyone from driving either direction. Everyone is in a fit, panic spreads quickly, and you ignore your girlfriend’s arguing about needing to write. With the situation as it is now, you’re surprised she still isn’t affected by the events over the past couple of days.
A couple weeks go by, help from the nearest metropolitan has arrived and they’ve left since. The killings have stopped, and though life is drastically different in your little town and the gossip is going be centered on the murders for years to come, people are starting to relax a bit and go back to their daily lives. Your girlfriend is the only one still surly because she’s hit a huge road block in her story again, at the end no doubt, and is complaining about not getting any work done. Despite your encouragement, and your patience, you started to feel cold towards her since all she does is complain about her story while the city police are still investigating the murders, but they have let slip the overall thought of not catching the person since they were meticulous about leaving no signs behind. Even the notes with the words “Be Careful” were practically typed with the neatness of the calligraphy and done with ink available in any office in any major city on paper found at nearly any super market. There’s obviously little hope of catching the murderer without new evidence and the town sees the last visit from the investigators within a month after the first death.
Things weren’t so good at home anymore. You and your girlfriend were arguing almost everyday, her writer’s block being the source of much of her irritation, and you have the overall feeling that things are going to reach the point were you two break up. After one of your bigger fights one day, your girlfriend having retreated to the bedroom to attempt to get some space from you, your friend Jessie called you up and invited you over for a drink later that afternoon. Thinking about how your morning was spent arguing with your girlfriend, you are more than up for a drink at your friend’s house.
Before you head over to Jessie’s, you decide to head into town and run a few errands and see if the mail has arrived yet. The hours pass by faster than you thought when, just finishing the last of your running, you check your watch and see that it’s after four o’clock already. On your way to his house, you get a message on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She says she’s sorry for how things have been and that the story has just been stressing her out, but she has good news. Her writer’s block is over. She’s got a great idea for the story’s ending, but she’s out right now and will see you when you get home. Despite her apology, and the sincerity you sense in it, you still decide to go to your friend’s for that drink.
Once you get to Jessie’s, something causes that weird feeling you had back when the murders were happening. You’re not sure why it would happen now, but you’re suddenly jumpy. The feeling is so strong you actually thought you saw your girlfriend’s car just drive around the corner, but you still just shake the feeling off. Walking up to the door, you knock, and that’s when your stomach falls. The door swung in just a little, it wasn’t even latched. Cautiously, you step inside, calling out for Jessie, or even his wife and son. Dead quiet answers you. You weren’t sure what possessed you to go further in, but you start looking for Jessie. His truck was in the driveway, and the house seemed like he was home. Checking the kitchen, you don’t see anything amiss, even the dishes have been washed. The slight smell of bleach wafts to your nose and the hairs on your neck stand at attention.
Walking down the hallway towards Jessie’s bedroom, you crack the door as quietly as you can, and you nearly choke on vomit as is tries rush out of your mouth. The bed is a blood bath. Despite the feeling of being very close to passing out and throwing up, you can just barely tell that the mess of torn flesh and cloth on the bed is comprised of Jessie’s oil stained hat, his wife’s spring flower dress and at the foot, you can see his son’s boots. Trying desperately to hold your stomach’s contents down, you glance at the nightstand. There’s a single sheet of paper lying on it, and you can read the words from the doorway you’re still standing in. “Be careful.”
You rush out of that house faster than you ever ran in your life and gun your truck down the road. You head to the one place you feel safe to any degree. Your home. One thought creeps into your mind, and you suddenly think of your girlfriend. Is she safe, you think. What if the killer came back? What if he was watching you and might come for you and your girlfriend? Speeding even more, you fly back to your home, praying that everything will be okay. Once you make sure your girlfriend is okay, you’ll call the police and report what happened at Jessie’s.
Bursting through the door, you plan to check the whole house, make sure your girlfriend is okay, make sure the house is empty and you two are safe. But before you can even cross the living room floor to the hallway that leads to the rest of the house, you stop in your tracks. You just realized, when you were coming up the walkway to your front door, your footsteps weren’t the only ones you heard, and in your haste, you forgot to shut the door. The door slams behind you, making you jump, and you spin around to see your girlfriend, her back to you, locking the door. Relief floods through you like the Hoover Dam just broke, but something cuts your relief short as you see her continue to stand there, hand still on the dead-bolt. Without turning around to face you, she looks at you over her shoulder, her expression lined in disdain and mild anger.
“I did think of an ending. But there’s a slight problem,” she tells you. She still hasn’t turned to face you, speaking over her shoulder, dressed in jeans, her hiking boots, and a fitted flannel shirt. Finally turning to face you, she leans back against the front door, crossing her arms, face never changing expressions.
“I told you to be careful….”
submitted by ryannathanielstone to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 00:37 ryannathanielstone Be Careful

You never thought your life would come down to this, a choice between your heart and your life. Your heart is pounding in your chest like it’s trying to make up for years of beats that it may never know, and every breath has an amazing taste, as if the air itself had a flavor. You can hear the waves of the lake, though it’s at least five miles outside of town, or is it the blood in your ears that you’re hearing, each crash of the waves matching the samba beat of your faltering heart. This must be your body accepting the inevitable suddenness that goes hand in hand with death, your body acknowledging the impending doom that is staring at you from the locked portal of your front door. You might be wondering how you came to be in this moment between the light of life and the darkness of everlasting silence in death. Since you’re going to die anyway, why not remember the series of events that led you so far into this world of bitter fear and the horrifying, heart-stopping realization of your imminent demise.
It was only a few months ago that your life seemed perfectly normal, the trivial worries of everyday life hardly more than a simple nuisance that rarely tickled your mind with it’s normalcy and humdrum of living the so-called American Dream. You had a simple daytime job as the owner of the local coffee and pie shop, serving energy in a cup, hot, steamy, and full of whipped cream and cinnamon alongside a heaping slice of pie and ice cream. You had the life of the everyday working class; a quiet job that brought in a fair amount of money for a small town out in the county just west of a small, rarely used highway set in the woods, a small but spacious house that was perfect for you, a girlfriend who only just moved in with you not long after you started dating. You thought it funny that when you had first met, it was actually in that coffee shop. She had just arrived in town and was staying in the minuscule hotel the town had for no apparent reason. She said she was moving into the Henderson’s house that had been up for sale for the past four months. Harry, the previous owner, had passed away last summer and, being the only inhabitant, the town was sure the house was either going to sell to a small family from the city or sit in disrepair until it was condemned and torn down. Funny how things turned out.
After you first saw her in your shop, you started talking about what would make someone like her move to a small town of less than two hundred like yours. It was an honest question. She was tall, with long, toned legs, looking evermore longer in the modest heels she wore all the time. Even in her chic wardrobe, mostly consisting of expensive looking cashmere sweaters over freshly pressed button up shirts, the tasteful, knee-high skirts and strangely simple hats, many of them light-gray fedoras, she stuck out from the rest of the town like a wolf in a flock of sheep. You thought she must have been some editor for a popular publishing company or a corporate CEO looking for an out-in-the-county vacation home. Well, you were half right. She was a writer, and she specialized mostly in murder-mystery with horror undertones. Some of the short stories she had shared with you, after only a week or two of dating and a considerable amount of convincing, were so vivid and horrifying that the praise you gave her more often than not was, although creeped out, that she should write scripts for horror movies.
Upon retrospect, the signs of what was happening in your little town were everywhere for you to see, but, being blind in the first stages of puppy love, you neglected to pay attention to the blatant truth and horror of your choices. You and your girlfriend dated not more than a month before taking the big step of moving in together. Even though she had already bought the old Henderson’s house in full, amazingly without a bank loan, the two of you decided to move in together, living in your quaint little house just outside the major part of town. She decided to keep the Henderson’s house, which was just two blocks south of the town square at the beginning of the small neighborhood your town sported. You both thought it would be nice to have a home closer to the goings-on for those few events the town held, such as the annual chili contest and the month-long cinnamon event held every spring.
It all sounded so practical at the time. Besides, with your job at the coffee shop and her writing career, it worked out. Since you worked days, and she wrote more productively at night, sleeping much of the mornings away, you could both go to the house in town for a weekend and pretend to go on a mini vacation. It was right about the end of the second month that things started seeming strange, especially for your little town. Your girlfriend was in the middle of one of her books and, for the first time since you’ve known her, she had hit a writer’s block. She told you countless times that she almost never hits a block when she’s in the middle of a project, and thought is was likely caused by the move and the sudden relationship you two had found. You were even surprised that before you, she had been single for nearly seven years, her last boyfriend, of a four year relationship, had died in a car crash. Despite hearing this, you figured she just needed some time alone in her own world to focus on her work. So with only a little arguing, countless kisses and “I love you’s”, she agreed to your suggestion of spending a week or two at the house in town to immerse herself in her work.
On the third night, very early in the morning, you get a call on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She said she’s made a huge breakthrough, that a flood of inspiration has struck her and she’s writing like mad now. Trying to mask your exhaustion–you’ve been working harder than usual because Jenny had just quit to go to college, and you’ve been having trouble sleeping without your girlfriend next to you–you congratulate her on her progress, tell her you love her, and that you hope she comes home soon. The next day, however, your usual routine life in your town is upended by a horrifying tale. Johnathan, the sixty-something year old owner of the town’s bakery, was found dead in his home with his wife. Though this wouldn’t normally have been such a shock to your small town, since Johnathan was diagnosed with heart disease and his wife Carol wasn’t in the greatest of health either, the shocking piece of information was that they didn’t die of natural causes or failing health. They were murdered in their beds, their throats slit in their sleep. And on top of that, on their nightstand, a single sheet of paper written in exquisite calligraphy using a dip pen was two words. Be careful.
In any major city, such a murder would be found in a short ten minute story on the local news. In a small country town like yours, such a thing will be the topic of conversation for months if not years. The town sheriff tried to calm everyone down by saying the whole department will be devoting all of their hours to finding out what happened. Unfortunately, the next day, there’s more to worry about. A hiker that had passed through town just a week ago was found down by the lake. He was strangled with his own mountain climbing ropes and hung from a tree. Pinned to his bag, a single sheet of paper, with just two words. Be careful.
At this news, you immediately called up your girlfriend to tell her she needs to come home right away. You’re afraid for her safety and want to make sure she’s okay. When she doesn’t pick up the first four times you call her, you begin to really freak out and rush over to the house in town to make sure she’s not the next victim in these strange murders, supposedly the beginnings of a serial killer. When you get to the house, the door is unlocked and you rush in, your heart plummeting and the taste of bile sitting on your tongue. As you burst into the office room, shouting her name, she jumps out of her chair screaming, falling to the floor, and her CD player shatters on the floor. She looks at you, horror at first, then angry annoyance painted on her face. Removing her headphones, she starts to shout at you for coming in like a banshee screaming at the top of your lungs, but before she can really get started, you rush to her and swoop her up in your arms, crushing her to your chest and smothering her with a deep, relieved kiss.
Pulling back, she looks at you as if you were speaking in tongues, and it’s only once you’ve explained what’s been going on that she begins to look ashamed and apologetic. Apparently, she’s been working nonstop since last night, her open laptop on the desk showing her story in mid-sentence, cell phone sitting next to it. She spoke a million miles a minute, apologizing for her not picking up and explained that with her headphones she couldn’t hear the phone ring and was two engrossed with the inspiration for her book that she forgot several times to check her messages. And with her sudden spurt of writing, she hasn’t bothered breaking the moment by leaving the house.
It takes maybe an hour before you finally give in and let her get back to writing. However, you make sure that she will lock the door and keep her phone handy. When you leave, you can’t help but feel there is something wrong, but instead of worrying further, you just put it away and tell yourself it’s only your imagination and head back to your house. That feeling of unease followed you all the way home, but it’s only a few minutes after walking in the door that you receive a message from your girlfriend. She’s on a roll, pages flying by, and she’s just checking in so you don’t worry. That night, curling up around her pillow, that feeling creeps back into your mind and you can’t stop thinking something is horribly wrong. You’ve already messaged her before climbing into bed and got a response just minutes later about her eating at the computer and planning on going to sleep soon, and she hopes you’ll be okay for another day or two without her. The next day, things get even worse, and your resolve breaks.
The sheriff, his wife, and his deputy were found at the station, a body part from each found in every room of the station. There’s talk of calling in the ranger or one of the closer cities to send help, but the phones are down. Your friend Jessie sent his son to take the highway and see if he can get help, but he wasn’t gone a half an hour before coming back to report there's a couple of rock slides effectively blocking the highway and anyone from driving either direction. Everyone is in a fit, panic spreads quickly, and you ignore your girlfriend’s arguing about needing to write. With the situation as it is now, you’re surprised she still isn’t affected by the events over the past couple of days.
A couple weeks go by, help from the nearest metropolitan has arrived and they’ve left since. The killings have stopped, and though life is drastically different in your little town and the gossip is going be centered on the murders for years to come, people are starting to relax a bit and go back to their daily lives. Your girlfriend is the only one still surly because she’s hit a huge road block in her story again, at the end no doubt, and is complaining about not getting any work done. Despite your encouragement, and your patience, you started to feel cold towards her since all she does is complain about her story while the city police are still investigating the murders, but they have let slip the overall thought of not catching the person since they were meticulous about leaving no signs behind. Even the notes with the words “Be Careful” were practically typed with the neatness of the calligraphy and done with ink available in any office in any major city on paper found at nearly any super market. There’s obviously little hope of catching the murderer without new evidence and the town sees the last visit from the investigators within a month after the first death.
Things weren’t so good at home anymore. You and your girlfriend were arguing almost everyday, her writer’s block being the source of much of her irritation, and you have the overall feeling that things are going to reach the point were you two break up. After one of your bigger fights one day, your girlfriend having retreated to the bedroom to attempt to get some space from you, your friend Jessie called you up and invited you over for a drink later that afternoon. Thinking about how your morning was spent arguing with your girlfriend, you are more than up for a drink at your friend’s house.
Before you head over to Jessie’s, you decide to head into town and run a few errands and see if the mail has arrived yet. The hours pass by faster than you thought when, just finishing the last of your running, you check your watch and see that it’s after four o’clock already. On your way to his house, you get a message on your phone. It’s your girlfriend. She says she’s sorry for how things have been and that the story has just been stressing her out, but she has good news. Her writer’s block is over. She’s got a great idea for the story’s ending, but she’s out right now and will see you when you get home. Despite her apology, and the sincerity you sense in it, you still decide to go to your friend’s for that drink.
Once you get to Jessie’s, something causes that weird feeling you had back when the murders were happening. You’re not sure why it would happen now, but you’re suddenly jumpy. The feeling is so strong you actually thought you saw your girlfriend’s car just drive around the corner, but you still just shake the feeling off. Walking up to the door, you knock, and that’s when your stomach falls. The door swung in just a little, it wasn’t even latched. Cautiously, you step inside, calling out for Jessie, or even his wife and son. Dead quiet answers you. You weren’t sure what possessed you to go further in, but you start looking for Jessie. His truck was in the driveway, and the house seemed like he was home. Checking the kitchen, you don’t see anything amiss, even the dishes have been washed. The slight smell of bleach wafts to your nose and the hairs on your neck stand at attention.
Walking down the hallway towards Jessie’s bedroom, you crack the door as quietly as you can, and you nearly choke on vomit as is tries rush out of your mouth. The bed is a blood bath. Despite the feeling of being very close to passing out and throwing up, you can just barely tell that the mess of torn flesh and cloth on the bed is comprised of Jessie’s oil stained hat, his wife’s spring flower dress and at the foot, you can see his son’s boots. Trying desperately to hold your stomach’s contents down, you glance at the nightstand. There’s a single sheet of paper lying on it, and you can read the words from the doorway you’re still standing in. “Be careful.”
You rush out of that house faster than you ever ran in your life and gun your truck down the road. You head to the one place you feel safe to any degree. Your home. One thought creeps into your mind, and you suddenly think of your girlfriend. Is she safe, you think. What if the killer came back? What if he was watching you and might come for you and your girlfriend? Speeding even more, you fly back to your home, praying that everything will be okay. Once you make sure your girlfriend is okay, you’ll call the police and report what happened at Jessie’s.
Bursting through the door, you plan to check the whole house, make sure your girlfriend is okay, make sure the house is empty and you two are safe. But before you can even cross the living room floor to the hallway that leads to the rest of the house, you stop in your tracks. You just realized, when you were coming up the walkway to your front door, your footsteps weren’t the only ones you heard, and in your haste, you forgot to shut the door. The door slams behind you, making you jump, and you spin around to see your girlfriend, her back to you, locking the door. Relief floods through you like the Hoover Dam just broke, but something cuts your relief short as you see her continue to stand there, hand still on the dead-bolt. Without turning around to face you, she looks at you over her shoulder, her expression lined in disdain and mild anger.
“I did think of an ending. But there’s a slight problem,” she tells you. She still hasn’t turned to face you, speaking over her shoulder, dressed in jeans, her hiking boots, and a fitted flannel shirt. Finally turning to face you, she leans back against the front door, crossing her arms, face never changing expressions.
“I told you to be careful….”
submitted by ryannathanielstone to u/ryannathanielstone [link] [comments]


2020.08.24 17:55 baconcodpiece /r/thetagang needs a FAQ/wiki so I wrote one

EDIT: Wiki now exists

Overview

What is this place? What is theta gang?

/thetagang is a sub for traders who are interested in selling options.

An option? What's that?

Options are derivative financial instruments, which means they derive their value from an underlying, such a stock or commodity. Options are a contract in which the buyer has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying at an agreed upon price on or by a certain date.
All options have an expiration date after which they stop trading. Because they eventually expire they are also wasting assets, which means they lose extrinsic value as time passes. This is where theta gang comes in.

Uh huh... I don't really understand anything you just said, but I'm curious, why would anyone want to trade options?

There are two main reason why someone would want to trade options: hedging and speculation.
Consider an investor who buys a stock but is worried about a price decline. They can purchase options (put contracts) to protect themselves if the stock's price were to fall. And if they think a stock is overvalued and want to short it, they can purchase options (call contracts) to protect them should the price rise. In both cases the investor is hedging their trade because they are trying to profit from the stock and not the options.
The other reason is speculation. Options allow someone to make a directional bet on a stock without buying or selling the actual stock (the underlying).

Why would someone bother with trading options when they can just trade the underlying?

Leverage. Equity option contracts are standardized and each contract (also called a "lot") is for 100 shares of the underlying. It's a way to have exposure to the underlying without needing the capital to buy or sell 100 shares for each contract. In other words a smaller amount of money controls a higher valued asset.
Options allow a buyer to make amazing profits. If a trade goes incredibly well, they could see profits anywhere from 100% to 10,000% (a few are even lucky enough to get 100,000%). And despite being leveraged the most amount of money they can lose is what they paid to buy the options. This is known as the premium and is paid to the seller.
The option buyer's losses are limited to the premium and their profits are potentially unlimited, whereas for the seller the losses are potentially unlimited and the profits are limited to the premium.

WHAT?!? Why on Earth would anyone sell options with a payout like that? Especially when you could become rich so easily?

If only it were that simple.
The reality is most options expire worthless. If you buy options not only do you have to get the directional bet right, but you have to get the timing right as well.
If you buy a stock and it goes nowhere for a while and then suddenly takes off in price, you make money from this trade. Not necessarily for options. They eventually expire and if the stock soars after the option expires, tough luck. You get nothing and lose all your money.
All of the incredible gains you see with options happen because the underlying made a huge move in a relatively short period. In other words, you have to take an immense amount of risk to make a boatload of money. It's far more likely that the options expire worthless and you lose everything.
And if getting the direction and timing right wasn't hard enough, it gets even worse. Options are priced to lose. Recall that options are a wasting asset. An option slowly loses extrinsic value as time passes. This is referred to as theta decay. If the underlying doesn't move in price fast enough (in the right direction, of course) to offset the loss in theta, you lose money.
This leads to an interesting outcome: an options buyer can be right and still lose money, and an options seller can be wrong and still make money.

WHAT?!?! How can someone be wrong in a trade and still make money?

The value an option has can be split into two parts: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Remember how options have an agreed upon price to trade the underlying at? That's called the strike price. As an example, if a call option has a strike of $10, and the stock is trading at $10.50, the option has $0.50 of intrinsic value.
The extrinsic value is also known as the time value of an option. It's the risk premium the seller receives for taking on the risk of selling options. Using the same example as earlier, if the option is trading for $1.10, the extrinsic value is $0.60.
The intrinsic and extrinsic value combined are the option's premium, and the seller receives this premium in full. So if at the date of the option's expiration the stock is trading at $10.70, the option is worth $0.70. The seller's $0.40 profit is the buyer's loss. And if the underlying is at $10 or less on expiration? It expires worthless and the buyer loses 100%.

This sounds too good to be true. If most options expire worthless why doesn't everyone sell options and get rich?

If only it were that simple.
It's true options are priced to lose and that most expire worthless. What is a wasting asset for the buyer is a wasting liability for the seller. However, it's still a liability and sometimes that liability can end up being a real loser.
It's not just a matter of a win/loss ratio. The magnitude of the wins vs. losses must be considered. The most an option seller can make is the premium, but they can lose far more than that if the underlying moves against them. It's possible for a seller's loss to be multiples of the premium they received for selling an option. If an option seller is really unfortunate, they can experience a loss on a single trade that wipes out months of profits.
There's no easy money to be made trading options.

The Greeks

Let's pretend that I know what options are. How do the Greeks apply to option sellers?

Delta

Delta has multiple meanings:
  1. How much the option's price changes relative to a change in the underlying's price.
  2. The option's equivalent of a position in the underlying (a directional bet).
  3. The probability the option expires in-the-money.
Definition #2 is important to understand when making delta neutral bets (discussed later). These profit from a decrease in volatility along with collecting theta. It's possible to construct a trade where a movement in the underlying does not change the position's value (or by much).
Definition #3 is an approximation. Many option sellers like to sell out-of-the-money options with a delta of 0.30, which means they have an approximately 30% chance of expiring ITM.

Gamma

Delta is not a constant. An option's delta changes as the underlying's price changes. Gamma measures how much delta changes relative to a change in the underlying's price. Option buyers have positive gamma, whereas sellers have negative gamma.
Long (positive) gamma works in favor of the buyer. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and profits accelerate. As the underlying moves further out-of-the-money, gamma decreases delta and losses decelerate.
Short (negative) gamma works against the seller. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and losses accelerate. As the underlying moves further OTM, gamma decreases delta and profits decelerate.
Gamma is bad news for sellers. Theta gang has always been at war with gamma gang. Gamma is also the reason that delta hedging is so difficult when it comes to being delta neutral.

Theta

Beloved theta. The namesake of /thetagang. It's why we're here all here and why you're reading this.
Theta represents the time value of an option. It's the extrinsic value of an option, and as each day ticks away the time value decreases a little. That amount is determined by theta. Theta decay is nonlinear and accelerates as expiration approaches.
The goal of an option seller is to profit from collecting theta. One could sell an option that's ITM and profit from the underlying moving OTM, but that's not a theta bet, that's a directional bet. ITM options also have less time value than at-the-money options. ATM options have the most time value and so the most theta to collect, but are at a greater risk of expiring ITM compared to OTM options.
The more days to expiration an option has the slower the theta decay. 30-45 DTE is a very popular period to sell. Others prefer weeklies.

Vega

Vega measures how much an option's price changes relative to a change in implied volatility.
The IV of an option is the market's estimate of how volatile the underlying will be in the future. The higher the IV the greater the time value of an option, which means options with higher IVs are more expensive.
Option buyers want to buy when volatility is low because options are cheaper. Sellers want to sell when volatility is high because options are more expensive.
The best time to sell options is during the gut-wrenching periods when no one wants to sell because volatility is so high (such as the March 2020 crash). Options become extremely expensive and there are juicy premiums to collect. Look for large spikes in IV.

Vomma

Vomma (or volga) is a much lesser known Greek. It measures how much an option's vega changes as the implied volatility changes.
Out-of-the-money options have the most vomma. This detail will be discussed later in a horror story of option selling gone wrong.

Rho

Rho measures how much an option's price changes as interest rate changes.
No one cares about rho anymore thanks to interest rates being stuck at rock bottom for over a decade.

Volatility

What are some basic details about volatility that are important to know?

Both option buyers and sellers care about volatility (at least they should). Buyers want to purchase when IV is low and sellers want to sell when IV is high.
An option's IV in isolation does not actually tell you if IV is high or low. It must be compared to the historical IV for that option. Two popular methods are IV rank and IV percentile.
For example, if options on XYZ have an IV of 35% and options on ABC have an IV of 45%, on the surface ABC has higher IV. But if XYZ has an IV rank of 75% and ABC only 40%, XYZ's IV is actually higher relative to its historical IV and may be better suited for selling.
There are different ways of measuring volatility and it's important to not mix them up:

What is volatility skew?

To understand what volatility skew is we have to go back to the 1970s.
You may have heard of a theoretical options pricing model called the Black-Scholes or Black-Scholes-Merton model. This model was published in 1973 and became very popular. It was widely adopted in the options market.
The original Black-Scholes model predicts that the IV curve is flat among the various strike prices with the same expiration. It didn't matter if the strike price was OTM, ATM, or ITM, they all had the same IV.
IV stayed this way until the stock market crash of 1987, where the DJIA dropped 22.6% in a single day. This single event changed the options market forever. The IV curve was no longer flat but instead demonstrated a volatility smile (conceptual graph). Strike prices further from ATM started trading at higher IVs.
The crash was a gut punch to investors that taught them extreme moves in markets were more common than you would expect, and options started being priced accordingly. But the volatility smile is not symmetrical, it's actually skewed.
OTM puts have a higher IV than OTM calls. This is due to markets falling much faster than they rise (they take the escalator up and the elevator down). This causes more demand for OTM puts to protect long portfolio positions. Most investors are long the market, and some will sell covered calls which increases the supply for OTM calls.
Note that this is true for equity markets. Commodity markets behave differently. Normally there is a floor in commodity prices (although for commodities with storage or delivery constraints, as we learned in April 2020 they can dip below zero) and IV is higher for OTM calls compared to puts, because commodities can suddenly spike in price due to supply side shocks.
In equity markets IV is inversely correlated with price, that is, IV rises when prices fall (reverse or negative skew). This isn't necessarily true for commodities where rising prices can mean an increase in IV (forward or positive skew).

The story of James "Rogue Wave" Cordier of OptionSellers.com: A tragic lesson in how not to sell options

James Cordier is a former money manager who has the dubious honor of not only losing all the money of his clients by selling options, but even leaving them with a debt because the losses were so staggering.
James was a proponent of selling options and had even written a book about it. He had a now defunct website, OptionSellers.com, which targeted individuals with a high net worth. His strategy was simple: he was selling naked options on crude oil and natural gas. For years he made he made his clients plenty of money. Things were great. Until they weren't... and the results were catastrophic. His clients lost everything and even owed money to their broker, INTL FCStone. Where did James go so wrong?
James was selling naked strangles on natural gas and crude oil. In November 2018, both markets moved against him, but the real losses came from his naked natgas calls. He sent an email with the subject line "Catastrophic Loss Event" to his clients on November 15th, dropping the bombshell that not only was all their money gone, but they may be facing a negative balance.
If you look at a chart of natgas you can see why his accounts blew up. Natgas experienced a huge spike in November and his broker liquidated their positions at an absolutely massive loss.
What mistakes did he make and what can we learn from them?
1. Picking up pennies in front of a steamroller
Part of his strategy involved selling deep OTM naked calls on natgas (call leg of short strangles). Deep OTM options typically don't sell for very much, so in order to collect more money you sell a bunch of them to make it worth the trade.
This is a terrible idea and no one should ever sell a bunch of deep OTM naked options. It can work great for years, until one day it blows up your account. In order to collect a decent premium you have to overleverage yourself. This is extremely risky and you will eventually experience a major loss one day. The odds are not in your favor.
The underlying does not even need to cross the strike price for you to lose money. The underlying's price simply needs to move significantly closer to the strike price and you'll be deep in the red. This is made even worse if volatility spikes, which increases the option's price and your losses (discussed in detail in the next point).
Notice what happened the following months: natgas prices crashed back to what they were before the spike. Had James not overleveraged his positions, he could've ridden the losses out to a profit. In fact, all those options probably would've expired worthless.
There is another reason not to sell deep OTM naked options. Imagine you're a speculator with a small account (e.g., /wallstreetbets). They want to trade but they can't afford to buy ATM or slightly OTM options, so what do they do? Buy deep OTM options, bidding the price up. When a market moves big and the small-time speculators want to trade it, all they can afford are the cheap options, which are deep OTM. This is bad news when you're short them.
2. Not understanding the relationship between price and volatility
Remember how for commodities volatility can be positively correlated with price? Natgas is one of them, and when the price spiked so did volatility. James did not understand the consequences of this.
When you are short options, you have negative vega. As the price spiked so did volatility, and the short vega position piled up his losses in addition to being short delta.
But vega is not a constant. We finally get to discuss vomma now. Vomma measures how much an option's vega changes as IV changes. In other words, as IV increases, so does vega thanks to vomma. When you're short vega and vomma, this is bad news.
Remember which options have the highest vomma? That's right, OTM. So as IV increased, not only did his losses increase due to rising IV, but vega itself started increasing thanks to vomma, further accelerating his losses.
He got wrecked four different ways: being on the wrong side of delta, gamma adding to delta, being on the wrong side of vega, and vomma adding to vega.
3. A total absence of risk management
Risk management is essential when it comes to trading, and selling options is no exception. Selling naked options can expose you to extreme risks, and to ignore it is simply reckless. It's more important to avoid a huge loss than to make a huge profit, because all it takes is one big loss on a trade to make recovering from it impossible, ending your career in theta gang.
Tail risk is a very real concern in trading, and those "rare" events actually happen more frequently than traders expect (fat tails). Look at a price chart of natgas over the past twenty years. You can see random spikes sprinkled throughout the chart. James never stopped to think, what would happen to the value of my positions if natgas were to suddenly spike in price, which I know has happened in the past, and will happen again someday? How could I protect myself against this scenario?
It's pretty obvious that if a one-day or even few weeks move manages to blow up your account and completely undo years of profits, you have zero risk management in place. This stems from not understanding how the natgas market works, and trading it with no regard to risk.
Selling naked calls on natgas is a terrible strategy because natgas can have sudden price spikes, and IV will spike with it. A much better strategy would've been selling a call backspread. You sell an ATM or OTM call, and you buy two or more calls that are further OTM. That way if natgas did spike your losses are limited, and you might even turn a profit on the spike.
Spend the time necessary to learn about the underlying. And don't neglect risk management. If you're going to sell options, you absolutely must understand how the underlying behaves and its relationship with volatility, otherwise you cannot have proper risk controls in place.

Miscellaneous

What are some popular option selling strategies?

The most popular would be covered calls and cash secured puts.
CCs involve selling OTM calls on a stock you own. The short call position is covered by owning the underlying, hence the name (opposite of naked). A single equity options contract is for 100 shares, so an investor sells one call for every 100 shares they own. If the stock price rises beyond the strike price, the seller keeps the premium, but the options will get exercised and the shares called away. They sell them at the strike price, missing out on the extra gains beyond the strike. The seller still makes money on the sale, just not as much as they would have if they sold them at market price. If the stock grinds sideways, the options expire worthless. And if the stock falls in price, the options will also expire worthless, but the seller will lose money on their long stock position. Chances are they will lose more money than the premium they collected from selling the CCs.
A CSP is a naked put that's sold either ATM or OTM with enough money in the account to cover the stock purchase if the option gets exercised. If the stock grinds sideways or rises in price, the puts expire worthless. However, if the stock falls in price the options will get exercised, and the seller will be forced to buy the stock from the options buyer at the strike price, most likely suffering a loss greater than the premium they received.
A CC has the same downside risk as a naked put. If the stock declines in either scenario the investor risks losing far more money than the premium received. If you are comfortable with the risk of selling CCs you should also be comfortable with the risk of selling CSPs. However, you can lose more money in the CSP scenario if you buy back the put before expiration if IV rises enough, vs. holding it to expiration.
Selling a CSP always means selling a naked put. It is not a covered put because you have cash to buy the stock. Whether or not you have enough money in the account to buy the shares at the strike price is irrelevant. A CP means you are also short the underlying, hence it is covered. It's the same idea as a CC, except it has unlimited risk due to there being no theoretical limit the price the stock could increase to, whereas a long stock position can't go below zero (not a guarantee for certain commodities).
Other common strategies are wheeling and volatility crush.
The wheel is similar to selling a strangle but not quite the same. You sell CSPs on a stock you wouldn't be opposed to owning, and in the unfortunate case of being assigned, you then sell CCs to recoup your losses. If you've been selling CSPs for a while you may still be net up when assigned, but if the stock craters you're looking at a significant loss. You hope the stock slowly climbs while selling CCs, but if the stock suddenly spikes your shares may get called away and you miss out on recovering your losses on the upside.
There are variations to the wheel before being assigned. A jade lizard is selling an OTM call spread where the max loss on it is less than the premium collected from selling the CSP. Ideally the stock will trade in between the short put and call strikes and all options expire worthless. You can also trade a ratio put spread instead of just a put.
The volatility crush trade is a delta neutral strategy. It profits not from a change in the underlying's price, but from IV decreasing. It's very popular right before earnings. IV on a stock can spike just before an earnings report is released due to uncertainty (vol rush). Unless you have insider information, you can only guess what the results will be. After the report is released, IV crashes because the uncertainty is gone (vol crush). Everyone knows the results.
You find a company who's about to report earnings and the IV on their options has spiked. You then sell expensive ATM calls, and because ATM options have a delta of about 0.5 you buy 50 shares for every call sold. Your net delta is zero (delta neutral) because you've offset the negative delta from the short call position by buying shares which gives you positive delta. By hedging your delta you've eliminated directional risk. After earnings are released, IV craters and you buy back the options at a cheaper price and sell your shares.
In theory this sounds like an easy way to profit. In reality it's not due to our archnemesis gamma gang. Delta is not a constant and as the underlying's price changes so does delta. If the stock soars after earnings, the call option's delta will increase and your delta exposure will become increasingly negative as the stock rises in price. If the stock tanks, your delta exposure will become increasing positive as the stock falls in price. In either scenario you start losing money from your changing delta position, and the amount you make from IV decreasing must be greater, otherwise you lose money overall on the trade.
You can try to nudge your delta in a direction to hedge against this. If you're bullish on the stock you can overweight your exposure and buy more shares so that you have a positive delta. If you're bearish you can underweight your exposure and buy fewer shares so that you have a negative delta. If you're correct, good news for you. But if you're wrong, you lose more money than if you were delta neutral.
Then you have a plethora of spread trades, such as vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and ratio, some with creative names. There are far too many to cover in this guide in detail. All of them have at least two legs (each leg is a component of the options trade) to the trade where you are both long and short options.

How does assignment work?

There are two main types of option styles: European and American. European options can be exercised only on the expiration date. American options can be exercised at any time before (and of course on) the expiration date.
When an option is exercised, the Options Clearing Corporation randomly selects a member firm that is short the option, and the firm uses an exchange-approved method to select a customer that is short the option. The OCC processes all assignments after market close, and because it processes closing buys before assignments, there is no possibility of assignment if you buy back your short position during the day's trading hours.
An option buyer can exercise their option even if it makes no sense financially and they would lose money. It's their right to do so and you are obligated to fulfill it if assigned. Even if an option expires worthless it can still be exercised. The buyer may be speculating that major news gets released after hours (some options trade until 4:15 PM ET) and when the market opens again the underlying has moved favorably and their gamble paid off. To avoid risking this scenario simply close out the day of expiration.
Only about 7% of options get exercised and the majority occur close to expiration. This is because options still have extrinsic value before they expire, and once exercised the buyer loses the extrinsic value. It makes more sense for them to sell it.
Be aware that if you are assigned you may see a large negative balance or buying power in your account. This may be because the underlying stock trade has not settled yet. It normally takes T + 2 (trade date plus two business days) to settle. Settlement means an exchange of money and securities. Payment is made from the buyer's account to the seller's, and the seller's securities are transferred to the buyer's account. The other reason would be the value of the new stock position. If you have a small account and are now long or short hundreds or thousands of shares, the market value could far exceed the cash value of your account. You'll be forced to close out by your broker. Once either the trade settles or you close out the large negative balance disappears.

What are some scenarios I can expect assignment, especially early assignment?

If an option expires ITM you can expect it to be exercised. Unless instructed otherwise, the OCC will automatically exercise any option that expires at least $0.01 ITM.
Deep ITM options about to expire are candidates for being exercised. They start behaving like the stock itself since there's zero real chance of them not expiring ITM. They have no extrinsic value and in fact may trade slightly below their intrinsic value (at a discount to parity, parity being the intrinsic value). This is because no one really has any incentive to trade the option anymore, especially when they could trade the stock instead, which has more liquidity. A market maker would agree to buy it at a discount and at the same time open a position on the stock and exercise the option, profiting from the discount arbitrage. For example, XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading at $4.95. A MM buys the call while simultaneously shorting 100 shares, exercises the option and collects the risk-free profit of $0.05:
(50 - 45) - 4.95 = 0.05
Selling spreads is a very common theta gang strategy, so let's examine the case of early assignment and assignment after expiration.
You sold a 50/55 vertical call spread for $1.40 on XYZ that's trading at $53. It expires in a few days but for whatever reason the buyer decided to exercise early and you were assigned. You're now short 100 shares at $50 while still long the 55 call. Because vertical spreads are risk defined trades, this isn't a big deal. You're still long the 55 call, so you have upside protection which will cap your losses at $360 (500-140) should the stock move past $55. You could take the risk of riding it out and hoping the stock falls or you can close out the trade, accept your losses and move on.
The other scenario is assignment at expiration. This is actually the more dangerous case of the two. Imagine the same circumstances except it's expiration day (Friday). The stock closes at $53, the short call expires ITM, and the long call expires worthless. The short call is exercised and you're assigned. Because you no longer have upside protection anymore, this is not a defined risk trade but instead undefined. You're short the stock over the weekend and no one knows what the opening price will be Monday. If major news gets published Sunday the stock could soar. Or it could crater. This is not the kind of risk theta gang likes to take. You should always close out of your short options on the day of expiration if there's a real chance of them expiring ITM, especially when your long options will expire OTM. Otherwise at that point you're now delta gang.
If both the short and long options are ITM at expiration, the most you can lose is the spread minus the premium received. You might as well close out to avoid the hassle of being assigned and exercising your long options.
The specter of early assignment gets raised quite a bit around the time dividends are paid. The scenarios are different for calls and puts.
You may have read that if the time value of an ITM call is less than the dividend, the call is at risk of being exercised early. This is not because the investor will make money from exercising. Let's illustrate with an example. To be paid a dividend you must own the stock before the ex-dividend date. Call owners do not receive dividends. If you buy the shares on or after the ex-date you won't be paid the dividend, so the call owner will exercise it the day before the ex-date.
XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading for $5.25. It's paying a $1 dividend and the ex-date is tomorrow so the buyer exercises the call. They're now long XYZ at $45. The ex-date arrives, the dividend is paid, and the stock is discounted by the amount of the dividend, and is trading at $49. They sell and wind up losing $0.25. What happened? Simply add up the numbers:
(49 - 45) + 1 - 5.25 = -0.25
Whenever you exercise an option you throw away the extrinsic value. It doesn't matter how large the dividend is, since the stock's price is discounted by it on the ex-date. This is a losing trade. The only way the trade could make money is if the stock isn't discounted by the full amount. Sometimes this happens (other news gets published) but this is nothing more than a gamble if attempted. It's not an arbitrage opportunity.
In fact, as the ex-date approaches you may see ITM call options trading at parity. This occurs because the stock's price will be discounted by the dividend, and so the option's intrinsic value will decrease as well. Buyers don't want to be left holding it going into the ex-date because they're going to lose money, so the selling pressure drives down the option's price to parity. It may even trade at a discount, presenting the earlier discount arbitrage opportunity.
If the corresponding put with the same strike price as the call is trading for a price less than the dividend minus interest, then the call would be exercised and you would be assigned early. The trader long the call would exercise their call and buy the put, since this has the effect of recreating the same trade, except they receive the dividend.
It's actually puts that offer a dividend arbitrage opportunity if the time value is less than the dividend. Using the example from earlier, a 55 put is trading at $5.25. You buy 100 shares of the stock at $50. Ex-date arrives, the stock is discounted to $49. You exercise the put, selling the stock for $55, collect the $1 dividend and profit a risk-free $0.75. Add up the numbers again:
(55 - 50) + 1 - 5.25 = 0.75
You may already be guessing what happens to ITM puts as the ex-date approaches. Their price increases due to buying pressure, since the option's intrinsic value is about to increase by the dividend's amount. Once the time value at least matches the dividend the arbitrage opportunity no longer exists.
One other scenario where you may be assigned is when the underlying is trading close to the option's strike price on expiration day. You don't know if it will expire ITM or not. This is called pin risk. What should you do if you're short? Close out. It's not worth the risk if the underlying moves adversely after market close and the options are now ITM. Just close out.

Should I close out of a position after collecting most of the premium earlier than expected?

This is a good idea. A lot of people follow a rule where if they've collected at least 50-80% of the premium they close out of the trade and move on to the next. They especially follow the rule when it happens much sooner than expected.
Collecting the last tiny bit of premium isn't worth what you're risking (a relatively large amount of money to make a small amount). You're picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. What will happen one day is the underlying will make a dramatic adverse move, eliminating all of your profit and even putting you at a loss. You'll be cursing yourself for being greedy and not closing out earlier.
A lot of brokers will even let you close out of a short options trade for no commission if you can buy it back for only five or ten cents.

My position moved against me. What can I do about it?

You have a few choices.
1. Close out
Close the trade. Accept your losses and move on. How do you decide if it's a good idea to close? Ask yourself, if you didn't already have this position would you do it now? Would you open the position now given the current price and market circumstances? If not, close out.
You're going to end up on the wrong side of trades sometimes. It happens to everyone. Sometimes closing out is the right idea. Other times it's not. You can't predict the future, so don't beat yourself up when you make the wrong decision. But always be mindful of risk management and keep your losses small.
2. Ride it out
It's not unusual for option prices to spike only to collapse in price later on. If you haven't overleveraged yourself you have the funds available to ride out the trade. If the answer to the earlier question about opening the trade now is yes, it's reasonable to ride it out. You might even consider selling more contracts, but remember to never overleverage.
Just make sure the HAPI (hope and pray index) isn't high, otherwise it's a sign you should close out.
3. Roll
Rolling is a good idea when you think the trade in the short term is a bad idea, but long term will make money. You close out of your existing position and open a new one. This is ideally done simultaneously so you don't trade into the position one leg at a time, risking a poorer fill on price (slippage) or only getting only a partial execution and your positions are now wrong.
Rolling up is rolling to a higher strike price. Rolling down is rolling to a lower strike price. And rolling out or forward is rolling to a later expiration date. Typically you roll out, and possibly up or down. Whatever you decide, the goal is to roll to a new position that you can sell for more than the loss on the old position. That way you can at least recover your losses, and if you're fortunate, still turn a profit.

I'm doing great! I'm winning on all my trades collecting that sweet, sweet, theta. I want to sell even MOAR!

Slow down there, speed racer.
The second worst thing that happens to new traders is they have a series of winning trades (the worst being they lose all their money). They become overconfident, think they have it all figured out, and place a trade that's way too big for their account. They of course don't realize how clueless they are, discover to their horror the trade was completely wrong, and end up digging through the remains of their now smoldering account.
You've made a bunch of winning trades. Great. Don't let it go to your head. Don't start scaling up massively simply because you've been winning lately. A better strategy is to risk a fixed percentage (e.g., 1-2%) of your account on each trade. As you make more money the dollar value of each trade increases but the percentage stays the same. That way when a trade ends up being a loser, which will happen, the damage is minor and you can still recover.
Theta gang is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you're going to commit to this you're going to be doing it long-term, which means slowly making money.

I like to sell options on stock indexes like the S&P 500. Anything I should know?

SPY is extremely popular for trading options but there is a much better alternative: SPX. Why?
If you like to trade options on other indexes (or commodities), you should consider futures options. Both futures and futures options are 1256 contracts and receive favorable tax treatment.
EDIT: Hit character limit, rest of post here
submitted by baconcodpiece to thetagang [link] [comments]


2020.08.22 03:55 snowslushytalks I feel like my life just changed (long, sorta rambly)

Hi friends! I’m kind of nervous to say this here because I’ve only just.. this week started openly talking about adhd with just about everyone besides my doctor and closest friend, and I’m also currently adjusting to.. ‘normal thoughts’? (Or whatever you would call it personally) so I’m sorry if any of this sounds kind of funny or is a bit long winded. But- I [23/m] have been in a hellish, nearly decade long nightmare of trying to figure out ‘what was wrong with me’ since I was in middle school. Always struggled with things I knew I should be able to do- organization based tasks at first. It showed initially in my schoolwork at about 5th grade, where I got my first progress report that was absolutely brimmed with missing assignments and bad test scores. It was almost out of nowhere at first I thought, at least- how it affected me in a way anyone could be aware of at first. (Now I know looking back how many other ‘quirky personality traits’ and ‘bad habits’ I had as a kid were just very by the book adhd symptoms, but I digress. There was always a lot going on at home around the time it really began to effect my life as I got older. I was ruthlessly bullied in sixth grade and the full focus was on that for me over even recognizing anything else might be wrong, We had a really messed up series of traumatic things happen in my family and community that took focus in seventh grade, my mom got cancer in my eighth grade year and fought it for seven years after that kind of took it to the forefront of things for us all. Then, she died- leaving me to deal with my grief through the lenses of what I now know was undiagnosed adhd for the last 4 years. I struggled in school massively. Always written off as lazy, embarassed by teachers who didn’t like me becuase they assumed I somehow intentionally forgot assignments or was constantly lying, or in the nicer angles of things I was given gratuity and my kindest teachers would quietly pass me, assuming I just couldn’t focus from how much stress was happening at home nonstop. Neither helped, or course. I loved- love- learning, but I just struggled. And being in school physically, counting the seconds on the clock in each classroom (by the way, i had two teachers, a history professor in college and a math teacher in hs who both replaced their clock with an art fixture of a melting clock that said ‘wHo KnoWs wHaT tIMe IT IsS??¿’ that still haunt my fucking dreams to this day) and feeling like I was gonna lose my goddamn mind every day while I counted down to graduation, as If that would free me. Highschool ended and I was rejected from all my dream colleges I wanted to go to since I was a kid to carry on the torch of where my mom went, and where my older sister eventually went too, but I still got into one by the skin of my teeth purely because they tricked me into believing they had art courses that didn’t exist yet until 2 years later- and I suffered the most lonely, miserable year of my life away from home. No roommate because fuck that with my social anxieties and problems in general, never kept a single friend no matter how hard I tried and spent the last 5 months there in total silence, eating alone in my room because cafeterias were too intense to be in, forgetting homework I would rush to do in the first 5 minutes of class, and going back home every other Weekend to try to get the last bit of time left with my mom, worried at any time I’d get that fucking call to tell me she was terminal. But- I made it through the year, and then my mom died, and I decided I had to take ‘a breather’ that has now been.. 4 years long, exactly, as of last weekend. A breather of being frozen in place, losing my ability to progress in any of my hobbies or skills, being fired from 3 jobs, just like I was fired from my two highschool jobs, always for ‘forgetting to do small but very important things’ like locking a door or something, or for being grilled about what I was forgetting to the point I would just end up being reduced to tears in front of a manager that would never believe I just genuinely didn’t know what I did wrong.
I think I might be rambling a little here, so now that the basics are down I’ll reel in the next part a bit.
Basically, I was in therapy for at least ten different diagnoses that all ranged from.. mild social anxiety, chronic depression, trauma, lack of attention, ‘you’re lying, I think’, ‘maybe you are just lazy and can’t admit it’- then into deeper things the last four years. PTSD, repressed childhood trauma, severe anxiety disorder- and finally, bipolar disorder. That last one was when I was at my breaking point, just last summer, and learned of all the symptoms of bipolar and bpd that happen to line up exactly with a hell of a lot of adhd symptoms. So I made the mistake in my case of going through with getting medicated for it. Mood stablizers- which I now know were working against me. I lost the entirety of this past fall and winter to them. My last 2 friends in person ghosted me over how bad things got mentally for me becuase I just couldn’t be present for them like I wanted to be anymore and was constantly too exhausted mentally and physically to go out or do anything even before the meds. I also made a mistake of not realizing that in my case the doctor I started going to for bpd was extremely incompetent and treated me like I was insane and couldn’t make my own rational decisions half the time, so my dosage simply went further and further up. I stopped doing art entirely, I stopped talking to anyone, taking care of myself. Gained like 40 pounds into my already heavy but fluctuating weight I’ve had from stress eating for the last 4 years. One day I decided I had enough and wanted to take a step back, and demanded to be taken off the meds i was on. Then I was in therapy for.. as many appointments as I could go to before the pandemic made it so things switched to telehealth- which I couldn’t focus on for the life of me. It always felt like it was just me venting but not getting anywhere. I was telling my problems, but the physical exhaustion and feeling of things being /wrong/ persisted.
A while back, though, I started looking into ADHD. Don’t even remember how it came up to me. An article, a reddit post, a passing comment- who knows dude. All I know is it felt like the first lightbulb to go off maybe ever through this whole nightmare, and I rode with it.
Uh.. tldr for the rest, I waited for two of the longest weeks of my life, and also the worst to date for anxiety and lack of energy and failures- and the basic gist is that I am now on my third dose and day of Aderall, and For as much as I just spilled before this part, I don’t even.. know what to say fully about things right now. I feel- calm. Focused, productive. I’m experiencing a quiet, functional mind for the first time ever. I didn’t even know it was possible to feel like this- and everything I describe to my family and friends as so whimsical, like how I weeded the entire driveway after 2 years by hand, and how I wake up normally and can get out of bed- how I’ve made breakfast for myself two days in a row for the first time ever, and how brushing my teeth and getting through the bathroom in the morning hasn’t felt like climbing Mount Everest for 2 days and it only takes me 5 minutes tops now if I’m taking my time. I took a shower today and didn’t zone out for 25 minutes! Also- god, how the hell was i even existing just 72 hours ago? Like, my shower temperature I always use is scalding hot, and my room is a goddamn nightmare. ‘Organized’ to me before, things tossed into boxes, cords tangled together, clothes in baskets still and never fully put away— it was so exhausting to even try to look at and understand. And.. 5 minutes of doing a one over, picking up some small things I saw and sorting through all the junk papers and things I couldn’t figure out if I should toss or not- and it looks cleaner than it ever has before.
I’m finishing tasks.. fully. Not counting the seconds till it’s done, not getting distracted and half assing it or forgetting where things go, what to do.. just.. doing things. Finally. And with it, my anxiety I’ve always lived with is nearly silent. I can hold conversations with strangers! I talked to the gas station attendant I’ve never been able to speak to properly in the 23 years he’s owned the place, I redeemed myself to a dude I have a crush on who works at a place I pass through a lot who on Monday, I had a panic attack in front of becuase I forgot my list and started dropping my damn card at the register and couldn’t focus on him chatting with me and paying and the people around me at the same time— and /I/ initiated. Or another thing— when I eat now, I’m not scarfing the entire plate down in two seconds, or drinking caffeine with everything to help me focus or anything. I can.. taste my food. I chew slowly, and can recognize when I’m done so I’m not eating myself sick without even tasting it. And all I want it water and fresh foods, things I can cook becuase I always love cooking- but it’s just such a task sometimes and I forget things I know I knew so often. Normally, in hyper aware of how my clothes fit, how I walk, my breathing, my voice- to the extent that I look stupid trying to adjust it all at once, having to remind myself to breathe even. And that’s a mother thing- I took a walk for the first time down my usual route I go to ‘clear my head’ without accidentally holding my breathe or being overly aware of my clothes against my body or my posture or praying people didn’t run into me. I wasn’t speed walking anymore (not on the walk or in general, finally) and I noticed so much I never saw before, like flowers and ivy on houses and.. bees! Did you guys know bees wiggle around in flowers and rest on them like they’re taking a little nap? So fucking.. cool.
And today- I got my oil changed! And I didn’t stutter talking to the mechanic, or forget my cars make or year, or have to call my dad or friend quickly or google what mileage was or where something I needed to fill out was at in the car. I didn’t have to ‘I’m sorry- what was it again?’ To him when he asked me to follow his commands to start the car, push the brakes, put it in z y z drive- it was so cool. And then I drove to my sisters place, down a super busy road I always dread, and it felt like a cakewalk. I wasn’t tensed up, I didn’t slam my breaks right before a light or pussy out at a yellow trying to decide if I could make it or not, I passed cars and remembered my route without gps and what lanes to stay in- and when we hung out, it was the first time I didn’t feel antsy to go back home to the safety of my room. I felt like we were talking collaboratively, not.. me draining the conversation on accident by mentioning useless random thoughts or interrupting her on accident or whatever.
My words come out connected to my thoughts, in real time. That buzz, that disconnect- it’s just.. gone.
It feels like my brain was a stormy ocean before that I was always trying to fish for shrimp from a little boat in, and now it feels like a big tree, where every thought is a branch I can follow to the end without losing the rest of the tree, if I need it. It’s like.. all the things I struggled to learn and failed to remember or progress with- music, art, languages, fitness.. it’s all still in my brain and now my brain actually gives me what I need to remember or use instead of throwing random shit laced with anxiety at me.
I feel present. I’ve never felt present before.
It feels like.. I know it’s all so mundane, all of this stuff. It’s just what it’s like to think sort of normally I guess. Everyone I talk to says it sounds like I’m just describing how they normally feel. And I’m sure, all things hoping, I’ll get used to feeling this way eventually. Last night as i got in bed, i was giddy for getting to wake up the next day, and fell asleep within minutes. This morning when I woke up, for the first time as far back as I can remember, I was genuinely excited to- well- wake up. It was like Christmas morning, but I didn’t even have anything to do today besides a few errands that before now would have meant a day I’d be genuinely dreading for weeks leading up.
I feel like.. that scarlet Johansson movie, Lucy (?) where she absorbs the blue shit and unlocks her full brain power. Reads mandarin suddenly and flips cars with her mind and shit. It feels like I just got.. superpowers. I mean- I can even remember my moms voice and face now. It would always be trapped behind what felt like a paywall of unrelated thoughts or unnecessary anxiety and trauma I was holding onto ever since she died. She was just this weird blurry memory in my head even when I looked at old pictures of her before she was sick or saw her in nightmares and dreams and all. I can’t even fathom that fully.
Anyways, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be embarrassed by posting this within an hour and delete it, maybe I just typed total excited gibberish nobody will understand, or maybe this will be a nice hopeful note for someone. But- I’m excited, either way. I feel like for so long I thought it was all hopeless and I’d never figure out or find anything to help me feel better- and I didn’t even think adhd was doing as much as it was to me. I never thought finally taking a chance to see what attempting to manage it could do- and I’d say I regret all that might have been different had I done this years ago, or had someone caught it when I was a kid— but for now I’m fine just considering this the first few days of, I dunno- I’ll call it ‘Act II’ of my existence in the universe. I’m just so excited to see what I can accomplish now, and even if this doesn’t work out somehow-which I’m keeping very positive for my own sake it will for at least a long while fork now- I have a new drive and the knowledge that /something worked/, and it wasn’t all hopeless like I always thought.
That’s all, hope you all have a good night/morning/day/week/life! I’m gonna go take a night walk now and listen to the crickets and junebugs sing or something.
submitted by snowslushytalks to ADHD [link] [comments]


2020.08.21 01:51 COD_Mobile_Official Call of Duty: Mobile - August 20th Community Update

Call of Duty: Mobile - August 20th Community Update

https://preview.redd.it/z1smpjv2i8i51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=43f6c5402ff86ea1a4f30a466cda984951b5d26a
Greetings Call of Duty: Mobile Community! It has been only been a short while since we’ve released Season 9: Conquest and the amount of feedback you’ve all shared has made it feels like much longer haha, but we want it all and we love the passion behind the huge Reddit threads about Gunsmith, the long and detailed suggestions on Discord, and the ten minute YouTube videos diving into balance suggestions around Gunsmith.
Of course, there is plenty beyond that being shared and we just wanted to say thank you all once again for showing just how widespread and eager this community is. We’ll have some notes and responses to some of those major pieces of feedback in this update, but for now let’s take a look at all of the main of the events that Season 9 has to offer.
https://reddit.com/link/idlu1video/88x5f5y7i8i51/player
Let’s jump into the update now and start it off with new events, followed by feedback and bug reports, and then lastly a community highlight!
https://preview.redd.it/gb9lmnmai8i51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=52302829a3a00289a9b6bb796f68da3059f6b152
Here is the full look at most events currently running or coming soon in COD Mobile:
  • 8/21 ~ New Seasonal Challenges
  • 8/21 - 8/23 ~ BR Warfare Mode
  • 8/21 - 8/27 ~ Gungame Moshpit Playlist
  • 8/21 - 9/03 ~ 10v10 Mode
  • 8/21 - 9/03 ~ Finest Hour Event
  • 8/28 ~ Prop Hunt returns
*All Dates UTC
Finest Hour Our marquee event for Season 9 has arrived and it isn’t any type of event you have ever seen in COD: Mobile! Pick your side, recruit soldiers, and battle your way across war-torn Europe as you push to conquer every Axis occupied city on the map. Of course, as you do so you’ll be raking in rewards and with some particularly grand rewards available to those who fight across every city on the map.
Here are the basics of how Finest Hour works:
https://preview.redd.it/ej0e4qoxj8i51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=a7c5c939675827d0b6e8db8c2a139845cecb1692
There is quite a bit to learn about this event, whether it is the different ways to attack cities, the different ways to collect rewards, or all of the different routes you can use to attack cities. Depending on your side, your final goal (referenced in Step 4 above) will be to liberate the central city, which is either Berlin or Bayern depending on which side you pick.
https://preview.redd.it/wlbnx7p0k8i51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=2e047abf340d4602ece363cd24fcce283ba888d3
How easy it is to attack a city depends on your strength, which is largely determined by your accumulative Gunsmith weapon level and if there are any allied cities nearby. Any adjacent liberated allied cities will lower the defense of the Axis city you are trying to take down. Lastly, you can call in a friend to both help you attack a city and as a way to get extra rewards if the attack succeeds.
As per usual, if you are one of our avid readers who has decided that they are tired of reading then you are in luck – we have a video for you! Give it a watch to get a quick idea of how it all works.
https://reddit.com/link/idlu1video/338qz2m3k8i51/player
10v10 Modifier Another brand-new piece of content dropping today is 10v10 Mode! This mode isn’t a “mode” per-say like Gun Game or Kill Confirmed, but it modifies pre-existing modes, primarily Team Deathmatch and Domination. It is available on Crossfire, Takeoff, Meltdown, and eventually Shipment 1944.
https://preview.redd.it/wphs0mc8k8i51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=7dacc9f5c2995bd12ecf17803ab93666629d1b82
You read that right, if you thought Shipment 1944 was hectic before that means you now have that option to crank it up to eleven. 10v10 Mode will also increase the score cap for TDM and on Shipment that cap will now go up 200.
However, for Shipment 1944 this map is not available in this first 10v10 playlist. In this first release it is only available on Crossfire, Takeoff, and Meltdown. Later on a playlist will be coming specifically for 10v10 Shipment. Keep an eye out for that later!
https://reddit.com/link/idlu1video/s1wvan9ek8i51/player
Seasonal Challenges Two more Seasonal Challenges are available today on top of the three that launched last week with the Season 9 launch. The main highlights from those three were Special Ops 1 – Sewed Snake from Survival Kit, Razorback – Sewed Snake from Trench Boom, and the ICR-1 – Retro Nuclear from Assault Rifle Expert. This time we have some items to grab and some more tasks to conquer. Check them out!
Retribution This six-part challenge is all about using various weapons with specific attachments and getting kills with those weapons in Multiplayer matches. Simple, but this one also requires you to have each of those weapons leveled up just enough to be able to use those attachment types, like muzzle, magazine, laser sights, or stock. Here are the main rewards:
  • (Uncommon) Concussion Grenade – Ammo Box
  • (Uncommon) Outlaw – Ammo Box
  • (Rare) Calling Card – Red War
  • (Rare) Outlaw – Blood in the Water
Fully Loaded This four-part challenge just really wants you get out there and blow up some enemies in Multiplayer matches. Grab an SMRS, load up with some grenades, or turn the apparently god-tier Molotov’s to push your through these tasks. The main rewards for this one consist of a brand-new perk:
  • (Common) Perk – Amped
  • (Rare) Avatar – Veteran
  • (Rare) SMRS – Blood in the Water
There are still two more on the way next week, so keep an eye out for those details and rewards in the next community update. For now, get out there and grab the new rewards, the easy to earn Battle Pass XP, and a few Purple XP cards to help level up your gear.
Hell on Shells Draw Our first lucky draw, Dive! Dive! Draw, for Season 9 released last week with the fiery and determined redhead Emma Victorova, a brand-new character, at the helm and a rather deadly UL736 – Depth Charge. This week though, we have one that is a bit more supernatural.
Hells on Shells brings Dark Shepherd, another new character, to the forefront with a style that says he is both dark and mysterious but…also maybe the Grim Reaper 😉. Among many other items to grab, you also have the ASM10 – Bunker Buster, a weapon that causes your enemies to detonate upon death. Check it out in action:
https://reddit.com/link/idlu1video/npnwk7ueq8i51/player
Crates - Duplicate Protection A while ago we mentioned that we were working on ways to make duplicates feel like less of a common occurrence, particularly in crates, and we’ve released new systems for that as a part of this last update. Now, certain crates have a milestone system enabled.
Every single time you open a crate you will receive your items and you will also receive progress towards a milestone. Each time you hit a milestone it guarantees you receive an item of the indicated rarity.
https://preview.redd.it/tu070daor8i51.png?width=2048&format=png&auto=webp&s=85f6154e79e0e01fb31d957c437abcbc534680b6
As you can see in this Stashed Cache Crate, which is currently available in the store, the player here has already hit the first milestone and received a guaranteed item of epic rarity.
Now onto Duplicate Protection, this is a newly refined system on top of milestones. Each item that has a crown, as you can see with all epic rarity items in the screenshot above, is duplicate protected. Once you receive a duplicate protected item it will remove that item from the reward pool, which then increases the odds of acquiring any of the remaining item.
This system is brand-new, so if you run into any issues or have any feedback about please let us know. You can read about all of this in-game as well by clicking on the question mark next to the crate name.

Feedback

Molotov Cocktails According to the comments over the last week, this fiery weapon of justice can be used effectively in any situation and the moment it touches an enemy it incinerates them in holy hell fire. Well, its reign was short-lived because we nerfed it a bit already by lowering the overall damage and now it should be a bit easier to counter. We’ll keep an eye out for more feedback and to see if we need to make any other balance changes, but we would also like to note that the Trophy System is a perfect counter.
Gunsmith in BR When Gunsmith released as a part of this last update, we immediately noticed many players being a bit confused about the changes in Battle Royale in particular. We tried to highlight these changes through images and our previous updates, but we are still seeing questions regularly and we’ll reiterate that information again here.
The main changes to Battle Royale are:
  • You can now find and acquire weapons of different rarities with pre-installed attachments
  • You can no longer find or change out attachments during a match
    • Instead, there are now Gunmods that can be attached a unique slot
  • New Battle Royale Loadout menu
    • 5 loadout slots now available
  • You can acquire your customized Gunsmith weapons from your loadouts through Airdrops
All of this is new and we expect it take a bit until everyone understand the new system, but we firmly believe that these changes make it weapon focused instead of focused around gathering individual attachments. Now, it is all about finding the best weapons, bringing in your own customized weapons from airdrops, and adding on gunmods to give your weapons an extra boost.
Gunsmith Balance First off, we know that this system is a massive change to how you normally play the game and as such we’ve been trying to help explain that whenever we could. However, we know Gunsmith may take a while to get used to in general and that the benefits of this system compared to the old may not be readily apparent to everyone.
This system also changes around the balance of just about every single weapon in the game since you are now able to tailor and customize them in a way that you could not even come close to before. This was one of the reasons why we wanted to do public test servers just for Gunsmith, but we are also going to keep an eye on everything to try to make balance adjustments and changes when needed.
Just give it time, keep talking to your fellow players about it, and utilize community resources like this Gunsmith guide here on Reddit. Of course, we also have three videos just Gunsmith that show off the basics and give you a general idea of how it all works in Multiplayer or BR. Here is the most recent one below, which is a bit more of a tutorial than the others.
https://reddit.com/link/idlu1video/arr7advus8i51/player
Lastly, one thing we haven’t seen many players notice is that there is a way to get a recommended Gunsmith selection for your weapon. If you don’t know what to use or want to just quickly jump into a match, hit that Recommended Button highlighted below in the screenshot.
https://preview.redd.it/o25u2je3t8i51.png?width=2048&format=png&auto=webp&s=0e9aa40051c5c1deba00a421a3591041916c6267
After you select that little yellow light bulb, you’ll be presented with a new menu full of recommended attachments for each weapon. Here are is an example from that same RUS-79U.
https://preview.redd.it/igrvl5nzs8i51.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=72d2d3620232b3d639714b7fae2fda8b3b10c5bc
You can use this all to let us help you use a setup for now while you get used to the weapon, the attachments, and all of the options that Gunsmith offers. If you have any questions keep asking and either us, or your fellow players, will always be willing to jump in and chat about it.
Gunsmith Progression Skins (AKA the Damascus) Back during the public test builds we had a Damascus camo as the top tier (the hardest camo to earn in Gunsmith) and like many things in the test build it was purely a test. We considered multiple options for that top tier camo and we didn’t end up picking the Damascus. Additionally, since many are already asking, it is also not Dark Matter. Instead, we have a different top tier camo coming in a future update. Keep an eye out for news on that in future community updates.

Bug Reports

Since we have a big update coming soon, which will have a wide variety of bug fixes and improvements, it is a bit tough to discuss any specific issues. However, here are some quick notes on a few issues that we regularly receive questions about and will be fixed in that next update.
Recent Fixes/Changes We’ve had a small patches (hotfixes) go out over the last week and here are some of the major things that were changed or adjusted in those patches.
General Balance
  • Red dot sights and holo sights no longer reduces ads speed
  • Increase sprint-to-fire speed of all weapons. Increase sprint-to-ads speed of all weapons.
  • Reduces the hip fire accuracy of Merc grip
Gun Balance
  • Chopper: Reduced hip fire accuracy of heavy grip
  • Reduced the weapon sway (from breathing) of all sniper rifles and marksman rifles
  • DLQ33/SNIPERSNIVELOCUS/ARCTIC.50: Increased ads speed
  • Reduced the ads speed debuff from attachments for sniper rifles and marksman rifles
  • QQ9: Increased overall recoil and reduced damage to limbs
  • Arctic.50 with Stopping Power Mag - Increased fire rate, ADS speed and recoil control
  • Pharo: Increased overall recoil and reduced damage to the lower body
  • BK57: Fixed the description of 7.62mm Mag; updated description to say increased headshot damage
  • Cordite: ADS bullet spread accuracy is reduced. Ammo capacity of Extended Mags is reduced.
Modification of BR Weapons Camos
  • Spawned weapons in BR will no longer have skins. Camos set by players in loadouts will be applied instead.
Miscellaneous
  • After Action Report – You can now move through the report faster by clicking the Next button to immediately skip various pages.
Missing Ads Right around release we had an issue with the Watch button (next to New on the top) being missing for players. We addressed this issue that weekend and it should be back to normal except for those players who were already missing it in the first place.
Just to go back over that, the Watch button is only available in certain regions and additionally not on certain low-end devices. It has quite a few dependencies, but if you were seeing this button before the S9 update and it is missing now please reach out through our support so that we can investigate.
Purchase Bonus We had a few players reach out earlier this week about a “missing” purchase bonus that they saw other players were receiving after purchasing anything with CP. There isn’t any complicated reason why you didn’t see this, it was just an error on our part and it wasn’t supposed to be populating for anyone.
Missing Voice Over In the last couple of updates we’ve seen a few comments about missing voice overs for characters in the game, seemingly primarily around quick chat options in MP or BR, and after checking with our team this issue should have been fixed quite a while ago. We are going to kick this one back up to the team and start investigating, and we would love your help!
We’ll start a thread below in the comments and if you have seen this issue can you just respond and call-out with character you’ve seen not have proper voice over, in what mode, and which exact type of voice (quick chat, normal call-outs, or anywhere else)? Thank you all in advance and check that below.
Desync Issues Like we mentioned often before the Season 9 release and game update, this issue was supposed to be fixed or greatly improved for most players with this release. We have seen a handful of players saying they are still experiencing these issues and we are always willing to investigate further, so if you are still seeing it then please reach out to our support channels.
Support Options Lastly, as per usual if you are seeing something, experiencing something weird, or running into issues trying to play or access the game then please report it through any of our support channels. The main ones are:
Final Notes As per usual we are reading and discussing far more topics than shown here, but if we didn’t address any issues or pieces of feedback please reach out. We are happy to chat more about it, share other details or updates, and look into anything we might not already be aware of.
https://preview.redd.it/d2cfkozfu8i51.jpg?width=5380&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=56698b2654d5d61e9b9259a68a2c5e92eb58af11
We’ll be back next week with more updates and thank you for wide outpouring of support and feedback for Season 9 over this last week. We appreciate it all more than you know and when we attend our weekly video game industry community managers secret club meeting, we like to argue that the COD: Mobile community is by far the best 😉.
-The Call of Duty: Mobile Team
submitted by COD_Mobile_Official to CallOfDutyMobile [link] [comments]


2020.08.20 17:50 redman1986 Never go to West Virginia

June 25th, 2009. Me and a few friends were on a road trip to South Carolina in my Dad's old Caliber. I remember the exact date because it was the day Michael Jackson died and the news broke that morning as we were heading down. It might be weird to use the death of such an important and public figure for something as banal as a temporal touchstone, but it works.
We were setting out to the Palmetto State not just for the beaches and to escape our lives for a while, no, we were fucking off for the weekend with a purpose in mind. John, an acquaintance of mine, was graduating from the Marines and he had written my friend Lou a sob story about how no one in his family was going to come see him graduate. That had given him the brilliant idea to drive down and get him ourselves. So with some logistical fumbling, we had managed to plan just for that.
It was my friend James, recently home from deployment to Kuwait and still trying to turn his extremely boring experience into a novel. In front of him in the driver's seat was Alan, the youngest of us, happy to have an extended weekend away from his parents and not in school. And next to him was Lou, the idea man behind the trip, sitting in the navigator seat not because he wanted to guide us safely to our destination, but rather because the windows in the backseats didn't work and he wanted to smoke. And then there was me, Redman1986, along for the ride because I had access to a car that could definitely make the trip there and stood a reasonable chance of making it back.
We were hours past our start time when we finally hit the highway, general incompetence and miscommunication getting in the way of us leaving on schedule. I was feeling petulant and wanted to call the whole thing off, but Lou assured me that we could speed and make up the time. That ended up being either wrong or a lie, as it was well into sundown by the time we were heading through West Virginia.
For those of you who have not taken a drive through coal country, let me explain. Highways are not vast lengths of paved flatland in West Virginia. They are rising and rolling concrete hills that wind like angry snakes and are sometimes obscured by drifting clouds of fog for no fucking reason. On our trip, the mosquitoes were so dense we had to stop twice and break out the snow scraper to clear their shattered corpses from the windshield. At one point, we were forced to pull over and write out the yahoo maps directions on a piece of paper due to regular loss of reception. But it was only when one our headlights winked off that we decided to pack it in until morning.
We pulled off at the next exit we found and started hunting for a place to stay. I don't know the name of the town we pulled into, but I remember it very clearly. Have you ever read a book, watched a show, or played a video game that showed the world long after the apocalypse? That was not the result of hours of studying or imagining what the world would look like without the touch of humanity. They just went to West Virginia and described what it was like. We drove past an abandoned gas station, a partially burned down strip mall, and an old school that looked like it could be the set for a Tool music video, all on the same stretch of street.
After about fifteen minutes of driving we gave up on finding a hotel and decided to park in the lot of a Trader Joe's to steal some shuteye. We cracked the windows barely enough for a piece of paper to slide in as a bulwark from the mosquitoes and laid ourselves out as best we could in the cramped cab. I had hoped to get some rest until sunup and we could continue or at least find a parts shop to replace the burned out bulb. Neither of these things happened.
About two hours later by my recollection I felt myself being shaken awake by James. I looked around blearily, swore incoherently, and fumbled around for my glasses while trying to subtly clean the drool off my chin. Thankfully, nobody in the car noticed, they were too busy looking at the fire.
Across the street, a small house tucked against the trees was completely wrapped in flames. Enough that the frames and shape of the house itself were just black shapes under the blinding red and orange. I put on the glasses and put a hand on the window, still in a bit of a post wake up haze. The glass was warm to the touch, the heat of the burning building reaching all the way across the street and the lot.
After a minute of staring dumbly at the dying structure, I said “What the fuck guys?”
Lou said shakily, “There's people man.”
I was about to ask him what he meant when I almost jumped in my seat. There were people, standing around the building as it burned. Maybe half a dozen of them, in the short drive up to the building and in the street. Their backs were to us, all of them staring at the place as it went up. None of them were crying or seemed upset, they were just watching it burn.
After another minute, I said “We should probably go.”
“Go where man?” Lou asked.
“Anywhere but here.” I answered back.
That seemed to be a good idea to the rest of them and Alan fished the keys out of the cupholder and found the ignition. The little car started right up, the one working headlight flicking on.
All the people in front of the house turned as one, like dogs that heard a firework, and stared at our car. I have no idea how they heard it, the fire would be deafening that close and we were a good distance off. There was a beat, a slight pause, and one of the people started fucking shrieking.
I could barely hear it, but it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, like the sound a predatory animal makes to scare things out of the underbrush. They started sprinting towards us, eating up ground at an alarming pace. I saw them coming for about ten seconds before I looked around and wondered aloud, “Why aren't we moving?”
Everyone looked at Alan in the driver's seat who continued to look at the group charging us. I was about to scream at him when Lou reached down and shifted the car into drive. We lurched forward and that seemed to wake Alan up. He grabbed the wheel and angled us to the driveway out of the lot. I tracked the people, watching them turn after us as we started to move. I was able to pick one of them out, a big guy, dark skinned, shirtless and he looked like he was wet, I don't know with what. He'd been the one who screamed at us.
Alan missed the driveway and dipped us into the culvert. The car bounced sharply and I cried out when my teeth tore into my tongue. Alan rocked the car for a moment and managed to get onto the road about twenty feet ahead of the charging mob. We slewed wildly for a second before heading down the road. I looked through the back window and saw the people still running when we hit a turn and I lost them behind some trees.
We drove in a panicked silence for about five minutes, Alan struggling to navigate with one headlight. He pulled us onto a drive that was blocked off with a chain and put it in park. He let out a breath and leaned against the wheel, shuddering as he exhaled. I think he was crying.
James rooted around in the floorboards and handed me a napkin. I looked at him in confusion for a second and he pointed at the corner of his mouth. I had blood leaking from my tongue, the bite worse than I expected. I pressed it to the side of my face and leaned against the window, the pain catching up to me.
Lou was the first to talk, a lit cigarette in his hand. “The fuck was that?”
James answered, “I don't know man. Light of the fire woke me up, don't know what those people were doing there.”
I nodded and slurred, “Anyone see how it started?”
“I saw.” Alan said. “Those people came out of it. Out of the house, they stood there in the street while the fire started. They were just there, staring at it, while it went up.”
Lou took half of his smoke in one long draw, “Well, that's fucking weird. Where the hell are we anyway? I got no signal.”
I took out my phone and started tapping at it, hoping to get signal enough to figure out where we were, when the car rocked on its axle. I rolled against James, pushing him enough his head cracked off the window. Lou swore and Alan let out a strangled scream.
It was that dude, the big one that had been chasing us. He had body checked the car right over the passenger side rear wheel hard enough he slid us. I though we'd been t-boned he hit us so hard.
The giant roared again and slapped an open palm against my window. I saw movement behind us, the rest of the weirdos rushing at us. I shouted at Alan, blood running down my chin. Alan was clutching his head, muttering to himself and rocking back and forth. A second later I heard another impact against the back, one of the other freaks ramming our bumper.
I was trying to get Alan to pull himself together when Lou punched him square across the jaw. Alan went limp, knocked senseless from the hit. Me and James grabbed him and started crudely manhandling him into the back seat. I held Alan close while the giant was smacking the glass, literally inches from my face.
Lou started clambering into the driver's seat, his forgotten cigarette burning a hole in the upholstery. I heard thuds above us, one of the screaming freaks hopping up and down on the roof. Lou found the seat and shifted to reverse. He stomped the gas and everything lurched back, the freaks scattering. The one on the roof tumbled down the hood, her head smacking the windshield hard enough to leave a craze of fractures. Lou angled to avoid the insane bitch and put us back on the road.
James sat up and looked back. “They're still coming.”
“Who gives a fuck?” Lou said angrily.
We drove for the rest of the night, not daring to stop. We didn't see the freaks again, thank god, and we managed to find the highway once the sun was back up. We didn't stop again until we were out of West Virginia.
I checked the car when we were getting gas. The frame was dented inward along one of the hard angles of the exterior. I don't know how that big guy was able to hit us that hard and keep moving. I would have shattered against the car before I damaged it that much.
We made it to John's graduation the next day. We were dead tired, but we made it. The rest of the trip was pretty normal, trip to a bar, strip club, beach, that sort of thing. We never actually talked about what happened that night in West Virginia. We all just silently agreed to not acknowledge it, to not question it.
John managed to finagle a flight home since none of his family came to see him graduate, so we were left to head home as a foursome again. We circled around to Kentucky, instead of risk that place again.
submitted by redman1986 to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.08.15 04:54 jivanyatra A different reason to learn: programming as a tool, not a career

Learn programming to improve your current job

This place is a wonderful place to learn things. I, myself, have spent a lot of time here and have learned so much because of the community. I wanted to give back a bit, and in light of what's going on in the world now, I figured I'd detail a different reason to learn programming and tell you a bit about my experience. I hope it inspires people to learn, but especially those who aren't ready for a full-blown career change (yet, or ever).

My Background

Before I dive in, I think you guys might appreciate a bit of background about me. You probably don't have the same background I do, nor will be at a company like mine, but that doesn't mean you can't start learning things or find a way to adjust your job within your company.
I have been a techie for a very long time. I'm in my mid-thirties, and I've been using computers since I was about ten years old. A lot of that time was spent on basic stuff - games, typing, word processing, spreadsheets, browsing the web. From there, I started repairing and (re)building/upgrading computers for myself, family, and friends. I learned a lot about what NOT to do professionally at a time when I didn't have much in terms of consequences (see /talesfromtechsupport for their opinion on how to help family... haha). I also got into Linux around this time and made TONS of mistakes on an old computer learning how to get things running. Didn't know what I was really doing, but it was a fun way to kill time when I couldn't spend it with friends.
A few years later, I started learning html and css in the early days of html 4.0. I thought I might enjoy programming, so I took some classes in high school. I was good enough at it, but it felt super tedious for me and I figured I just didn't like it, despite having spent time with VB, VC++, and a little bit of JavaScript. I learned the basics of things like variables, data types, loops, control flow... The basic grammar of the languages. Built some small stuff, but it was frustrating enough that I gave up on it. I also stopped messing with Linux because I got a nice computer and started gaming heavily.
When I went to college, I follow a pre-med path. I worked at the computer labs and ended up in supervisory role. This taught a lot about customer service and really interacting with co-workers. Soft skills are super important, as I learned. I graduated college without a full-time job and without a competitive advantage trying to get into med school. I gave up on that. Around this time, I got back into linux fairly seriously, learning commands, running a home file server, then adding torrenting functionality, music streaming apps, etc.
I ended up working for the US Census for a while doing everything from address canvassing and mapping through a short stint as a supervisor in their IT dept, though I ended up moving back to Admin because I could train people more effectively than others could and they needed me.
I was a writer for a tech blog for a while, doing guides, a few reviews, and just generally
Fast forward a few years, I moved to NYC for a post-bac, and I landed a job at a tech startup for a while being paid decently and doing a lot of data management work.
A few years later, I gave up on grad school (too expensive) and ended up working for an e-commerce company that's relatively small, but was growing moderately at the time. This was roughly 5-6 years ago now. It wasn't until about three months before I got this job that I started to (re)learn programming. I went through codecademy for python, then did a bunch of supplemental stuff, learn python the hard way, relearned python 3, and did an online group course through I company I ended up working at as a side-gig later. We had live zoom classes and office hours and projects and homework. This course started about 3 months into my new job.
So, to recap, I was messing with computer since I was 10 years old, got exposed to a lot stuff even if I didn't do much with it, and just nurtured a love of all kinds of technology. Later in life, I self-studied python for 3 months, got a job doing tech support for an e-commerce company and continued studying for another 3 months, and at that point did a 10-week online course. So, about 9 months after I started learning python, I did a project with two others where we used the stripe API to pull dummy data from fake customers' accounts, and then display very basic trends and metrics using the bokeh library, and threw this into a django app. We each did a different part, but taught the other two how to do what we did.
That brings me to my current job and the end of any real formal learning. When I started, I was employee #8, and alongside 3 free-lancers overseas, that was our company. One founder and one manager (together, the two partners, owners of the company), me as tech support, one as customer service, one manning the store, one doing ppc/etc, and one shipping out customers' orders.

Disclaimer

I am absolutely privileged. I did not have to provide for a family while I was going through this. I was broke, but didn't have to worry about rent and food. I had years of interest and love for tech that filled in a lot of knowledge. I'm lucky to have ended up at a company that rewards risk-taking, doesn't punish failure, and allows most of us to grow and switch into positions where are interests and budding talents lie.
Most people won't have all of these things. Still, I hope I can give you some insight that might help you. Sometimes, my advice will be wrong. This doesn't fit all situations. Somewhere in here, though, there's probably something for you to consider. If you're someone who's thinking about learning programming but aren't sure why or how it'll help, then this is especially directed at you.
If, however, you're making progress and have a lot of general frustration, I think maybe my background and career path might inspire you to have some patience for the process or learn from my mistakes or successes.
If you have imposter syndrome, well, there's a reason I never called myself a programmer for years even when I was doing it regularly. I hope my journey helps you realize that sometimes you just roll with the punches.

Building Skills Efficiently

My story

I knew a lot about technology. I watched tech news and youtube channels and follow engadget until the verge writers split off to do their own thing, and in general swallowed up tech. I used whatever I could get my hands on, which was usually old, outdated equipment. I learned a lot about obscure stuff that gave me some geek cred - something that isn't important to have in and of itself necessarily, but makes you memorable when networking.

Networking

Networking is making connections in a sustainable way. Sure, you can be on linkedin with someone you met once at a conference and get a job. Happened to me a few times. But, I feel, the trick to networking well is to be passionate but also be respectful of others' time. I shut up and apologized when I caught myself ranting/rambling. Often, I was urged to continue because who I was talking to had similar interest levels. Other times, I had turned them off to further conversation. This is how you can develop soft skills at the same time as making quality connections. Again, soft skills are integral to any job, but especially so in any technical role.
I had a unique background, having run my own linux server at home for a while. I made friends with junior and senior sysadmins, thinking that was something I'd try to get into, via something like a tier 2 or 3 tech support position. Didn't happen, but some of those people I still talk to and turn to for advice. They stayed in touch because they liked my taste in gadgets - often ones I couldn't afford but drooled over reviews of. Staying in touch is a life skill, and is very close to staying engaged, something you need to learn to do well if you want to do project management, or any kind of management to some degree.

Back to my story

I talked about tech like it was my life, even though it really wasn't. This was my "fake it til you make it." This helped me get a low-paying job in tech support. That allowed me to learn about a specific domain of customers and physical products, and really helped me get my tech support chops. Even today, I hate doing anything in Customer Service, but I feel for the people in my company who are doing it and I treat them well, and when I can, I give them opportunities to step up and learn and do more. These are tangible management skills in almost any job you can think of. Do NOT neglect these.
I knew a lot about cellular technology. Not a ton, but more than anyone else at the company. We had a partner through which we sold a service. I learned about cellular, about the devices we sold, and I had some opinions on the direction of technology. This caught one of the partners' interest. He wanted to know if we could bring the service in-house. I did my best to help answer that question.

Learning on the job

I admitted that I knew some but not everything surrounding the question. I also mentioned I could learn it. How did I know I could learn it? I had done it before through my interests and hobbies! Learning how to learn is incredibly important! Anyone here will tell you that if you can't read documentation and learn something, programming isn't for you. You need discipline to do that, and you need to know yourself so you can use all the tricks to force yourself to learn quickly, focus faster and for longer, and take the right kind of breaks when you need to.

Learning and teaching

But, another reason learning how to learn is important is because it teaches you how to teach. My role at the census was incredible because I learned how to teach effectively. I did onboarding, then taught how to do payroll. My shift processed almost double the payroll than other shifts because I taught them basic keyboard shortcuts and showed them small optimizations in the keying process (we'll get back to this later). I also taught others who ended up taking over onboarding how to fingerprint more consistently and effectively. That's not an easy thing, and if your prints didn't process, you couldn't work! It had tangible benefits in getting us fully staffed in a timely manner.
This also is what helped me get my paid blogging role. Independent research was one thing, how-to guides and the like were another. Learning skills like annotating screenshots, building troubleshooting sections, and understanding processes is fundamental to writing good documentation for lay people. It might be a bit different for programmers, but for people in other, non-technical roles, going that extra step or two here and there really sets you apart by more than you think.

Back to learning on the job

Because of those skills, I had the opportunity to spend part of my shifts away from calls so I could focus on an on-going project. I eventually even set up a local server and tested a device I reprogrammed myself to see what other "gotchas" were in the process. As my understanding grew, I was able to better communicate with the existing service provider, and our business increased. This led to another opportunity.
My job at the computer lab entailed interviewing and hiring, as well as onboarding and training (like at the census). Our call volume went up, and I hired someone to help me and gave them the training they needed. This gave me more time to work on the project at hand.
Ultimately, I determined that it didn't make sense to leave our service partner until we had a better foothold in the industry. Still, delivering that kind of opinion with organized data and experience was crucial. It allowed me to start taking on smaller projects in the company.

Programming as a tool: part 1

As my boss learned, I was learning how to program and do small projects in my spare time. I was tasked with organizing customer information into a central database of sorts. I under-promised and over-delivered so well that Scotty himself would have been proud. Not something I can blindly recommend, but I'll let the full-timers speak to that. I will mention, though, that I saw that my boss valued honesty and I kept being honest back (but just adding a margin for error). At the end of the day, I accomplished the goal, even with a few missteps.

A taste of project management

Because of that, for more moderate projects that I didn't feel comfortable doing, I was tasked with hiring freelancers and working with our own developer to deploy things. This was because speaking tech and translating to lay speak is an important soft skill. It enables you to manage others effectively, but also enables you to have valuable input. It is also crucial to know your limits so you don't make over-reaching conclusions. You learn how to work in gray areas.

Programming as a tool: part 2

Skipping ahead a bit, the company grew and we took on an interesting project, working with suppliers to list items for sales on ecommerce sites and drop shipping them.
Our CRM had over 1.1 million items, even though there was a 38% overlap. To fix a problem like this, you need domain-specific knowledge. Explaining to programmer that, "yes, Amazon thinks every ASIN is unique product, but that's not actually true" can be tricky and annoying. Telling them "each manufacturer uses a different field as a primary key, and sometimes those cause duplicate ASINs" is much clearer. Knowing which fields to trust always or sometimes, which to never trust, when to use context and when to ignore context... These are all enabled by domain-specific knowledge.
During this phase in the company, I spent a lot of time identifying criteria to match duplicates over a variety of contexts. I spent a lot of time writing scripts to do bulk edits, deletes, or adds to our content-management system. I also spent a lot of time making quality-of-life alterations for our shipping department. This lead to another focus of mine.

Operations and Procedures / Programming as a tool: part 3

Programmers need to learn to be analytical, but they also need to learn to be procedural (hehe). Programmers understand how skipped steps and vagaries can lead to inconsistent outcomes.
Learning how think like a programmer, even if you aren't one, is incredibly useful when combined with domain-specific knowledge. Now, I know many of you are familiar with the "new guy who wants to change everything" trope. This is where your soft skills come into play.
Learn how a process is done. Understand their pain points, and how they deal with them. Understand what they do well. Ask hypothetical questions with good, concrete examples. Do this with people on the line as well as their managers. It's rare in life that people are on the same page, so understanding as many sides of a thing as you can will help. This is your discovery phase, and ONLY after you have completed this can you try to improve things.
I used an online database tool with a wysiwyg front-end builder called knack. It's like dreamweaver meets google docs meets databases. Can't speak for anyone else, but for me, it was the right tool for the right job. I knew that I hated front-end development (and I still do!), and since writing something myself and deploying it would eat into time spent for other responsibilities, it wasn't an option for me. This tool bridge the gap, and it was cheap to implement in our case.
This let me fix the crucial mistake that most non-techies make: spreadsheets are not databases. Speadsheets are fine things. Very useful. However, if you need to have auditing or controlled access, even google sheets isn't going to do it for you. Most normal people don't know this. You have an advantage here. Implementing knack really streamlined a lot of smaller undocumented processes regarding re-shipments, returns, repairs, managing online presences, and a host of other things. I'm pretty sure our slack usage dropped by half. Most of these little applets were CRUD forms and work queues and took maybe two days to go through discovery, a day or two to build a prototype, and another three days to test, adjust, and deploy.
An average of 6-7 business days to reduce errors, prevent record destruction, and streamline someone's job? All of those departments LOVED me. The cost was $40/month? Managers loved me. I became the go-to guy to handle these things. Making sure people can't make mistakes in a friendly way like this really goes a long way to building good will with your fellow employees, but that only works if you take their feedback and understand the administrative process. What I mean here is that if someone on the line wants a change but a manager doesn't, you have to explain the need to the manager and the roadblock to the line worker, but in a way that doesn't antagonize anyone involved. Again, soft skills.

Back to the story

Throughout this time, I'd budget work hours to learn. Parts of my job relied on staying up to date about changes to our tools and SaaS systems, but also larger trends. I was able to justify going to PyGotham a few times as a work-education thing. A few of the tricks and libraries I picked up really helped us out when we had some jams, so that was money well spent as far as the partners were concerned. But, I also took a renewed interest in our service-related products. I started to help out some of the product-adjacent managers to see what else was out there, both people we could buy from and competitors. Understanding this was crucial to developing tastes and understanding customer feedback better.

Hardware

Fast-forwarding, I started implementing product testing procedures for new products, worked on a new manufacturer partner's product to integrate it in our service, troubleshot issues related to existing products, and eventually we scrapped a lot of our business and focused on the key money makers. For me, that meant hardware. I learned a lot by documentation and training. We finally decided to bring our service in house. We gained an incredible development team in the process.
The biggest part of this was device configuration. It was a nightmare keeping them apart and revising them, not to mention the fact that we didn't audit what was incoming. If the manufacturer made a change, we were the last to know about it. So, I did something I'd only know to do if I used it as a programmer, I used GitHub. Git is a great tool for version control of ALL kinds, not just code. Configurations are perfect for this.
Troubleshooting customer issues was also super important. I became the leading internal resource for the hardware, so I started working with our developers to help them understand what the devices can do in order to better leverage them. I also worked closely with the tech support team to give them what they needed to troubleshoot and resolve issues better. I pre-formatted remote commands for them to use and I wrote a lot of the tribal knowledge I had gained down into a document, eventually splitting that into guides for interacting with the devices.

Programming Full-Time

This brings us into recent months. After organizing configs and implementing changelogs, I got ahead of the manufacturer's changes. I started testing firmware before we deployed it. We got ahead of problems. I wrote tools that used the APIs that our developers made to ease things for tech support tier 3. I wrote tools to help organize files before they were committed to git. I worked with the developers more closely as we faced a few large bumps in the road.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I was transferred to the engineering team full-time.

Skills and Takeaways

While I did end up as an engineer, you'll notice that the vast majority of my job history and skills were tangential or parallel to programming in some way. I wasn't a programmer 99% of the time, nor was I anywhere near a full-time engineer.
However, learning programming gave me several skills I didn't have before:
Could I have learned these elsewhere? Sure. Arguably, some I was already starting to from my Linux experience. Still, learning programming streamlined learning those skills. Then, I could fully take advantage of them with my other skills:
All of these allowed me to do a wide variety of jobs in a few different roles:
Lastly, I hope there are few different things that you can take away from my journey so far.

My journey went on to engineering; yours doesn't need to

As I've mentioned, I hope this post has given you some ideas for how you can develop your existing career using programming. Not everyone has the bandwidth or desire to make a full career change. Others simply don't have the luxury to do it in one fell swoop. A lot of my ideas can apply to various office, support, and "dispatch"-like positions in warehouses/factories. It can seriously help you streamline and speed up work you could otherwise already do at a much slower pace. Also, crucially, if you're in an environment that appreciates and allows you grow into these tools, you can use what you learn to pivot yourself more safely if you DO want to make the change.
If you are in a situation where your boss sucks or coworkers are shit, then feel free to keep what you're doing as secretive as you can. Basically, automate your job as best you can, but don't tell anyone. Then, use the rest of your time to learn and hone this skill until the time is right to leave/pivot to a different job, or to jump ahead of your boss or into a different department. Just be sure you have a record of your code so you can show it to potential employers, and if you can, anonymize your data as best you can so you can't get slammed for giving away any secrets.

Programming is a useful tool in and of itself, even if you're not a programmer

Programming is a great tool to make your job easier, so you can spend less time doing tedious repetitive things and more time doing things you like or expanding and taking on more projects or responsibilities. You don't have to change careers to appreciate this. In my roles, I've used python + pandas to take gigantic spreadsheets (excel chokes after filesize is over like 150 MB or something) and apply basic changes, more advanced changes, or create pivot tables. These are common office tasks and functions that can get annoying to have to do by hand week over week. You can automate that so you can focus on other crap.

Programming can be a useful tool in the abstract, even if you're not a programmer

Programming teaches you a methodical way to think about problems. It gives you a variety of abstract tools to solve those problems. Even if you can't implement them in a language well, you can still talk to those who can. You can also apply ideas to the real world. Conditionals are basic programming building blocks, but you don't often see people in smaller companies or mom-and-pop operations using flowcharts for their operations. Documenting best practices and using these things can make you look really good when all of sudden the business is slammed and - WOW! you've just onboarded and trained 3 new people in a day or two to do the jobs you need them to do. Thinking of contingencies is sometimes less present on programmers' minds, but something sysadmins and infosec people think about a lot (at least if they're willing and able to do their job well).
Moreover, if you work at small companies or startups, operations positions are often ripe for advancement. Small software companies often hire people to do manual QA instead of automating it. If you create the procedural docs to do that and then start to automate, there's often room to wiggle your way into a new position. At the very least, when someone moves up or out, you're in a better position.

Working on tangential skills can make you into a better programmer

Soft skills are something we all know and talk about. Networking is something we all know and talk about. These kinds of things can really help convey the kind of person you are. Hopefully through studying programming, you show yourself to be more methodical, organized, and explicit in the real world things you do. These are all things that you learn in programming that make you better at things in your life (to a point, of course).
It does work the other way around! Learning how to analyze line work can help you think of pipelines more easily. Thinking of group organization can help with data models. Understanding how teams work well can help you organize an API. I watch tons of woodworking and metalworking videos by weekend hobbyists. Even if it's something completely different, I often find that my mind will come upon a good solution to a problem I'm stuck on. Take your inspiration everywhere you find it.

Thinking outside of the "concept" box, but staying within the "propriety" box is the sweet spot

Lastly, in real life I'm often told that I'm a genuinely nice guy and very memorable. I wasn't always this way! I worked hard to remember some very basic things.
I know many of you will disagree with some of my points. If you do, I'm sure we can learn from that conversation.
I know many of you will point out that a lot of this is common sense. It is, or can be, but sometimes you don't realize something unless it's placed, plainly, in front of you.
I also know that my story is different, and you may have more struggles. I've been lucky. That being said, I do believe that I was either prepared enough to recognize the luck and take advantage, or did my best to make the most of the luck when it came up. I hope the above can help someone somewhere do the same.
submitted by jivanyatra to learnprogramming [link] [comments]


2020.08.11 18:35 loggingcamp I operate a remote logging camp, and someone told me I should post about it here.

My family has stewarded this land since the beginning. I guess, more accurately, the beginning of European settlement in the place I call home (and no, I won’t be telling you where that is – I don’t need thrill seekers coming out to die in my forest). Ten years after the first trading post was established my 5 times great grandfather, Jean-Baptiste, brought his family up the sound from the ocean, up the river valley and up the lake – looking for somewhere he could set up to hunt and trap for fur. He brokered an agreement with the local First Nation for rights to the land on the south side of the lake, built a home (and several trapper’s cabins) and made his living selling furs and other items to the trading post at the mouth of the sound. Thirty years later, his son found coal, and 100 years after that; as the coal industry died and mines went dry we turned to the forests that had towered over our family for so many years and began to cut them down.
Despite what the government and the papers say – I don’t believe we own this land. As the territory was established and we indicated the land we held claim to we were given a deed to it, but it’s not truly ours. It is too wild, too untamed, too remote. It is barely touched by civilization (our roads cover maybe 30% of it) and I don’t think you can really “own” something like that, much in the same way you can’t really own a polar bear. Sure, you can keep it contained, feed it, and care for it; but ultimately it can turn around and kill you if you let your guard down for even a second. As each generation assumes responsibility for the land and its’ operations we meet with the Elders of the Nation we first came into accordance with, and re-affirm their blessing of our family’s continued occupation of it. It’s a lease of sorts, and something we have the utmost respect for as we have seen what happens when these traditions are not met, which is a story for another time.
The total area we have is nearly 90,000 acres of land. Our agreement covers the entire side of the lake, 18km long and extends from the shore of the lake to the crest of mountain ridge, another 20km inland. It is wild, and remote. Our main camp is 3.5 hours up the gravel logging road from the nearest village, and another 2 hours from the village to the nearest hospital. We have around 30 staff on site at any given time, rotating 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. In addition to our logging operations staff (and, during the summer – tree planters) on each shift we also employ a full time mechanic, housekeeper, cook and medic. At the height of coal mining operations we boasted a village of nearly 200 people – predominantly miners and their families. The former mining town remains our main base, but we also keep a stocked floating lodge that is able to be tethered at various point on the lake, should logging operations be remote enough that operators will not be able to return to the main camp before dark.
Over 200 years on the same land teaches you some things, and in addition to the standard safety courses required for logging we also offer our employees some... site specific safety. As operations have changed, this plan has changed as well – I’ll leave you with our current operation year but if there is interest I am happy to post rules from prior years. The mining era rules are particularly interesting to me, and I do have access to all of the prior site operator’s journals: though several of them are in French and may take some time to translate. We stopped speaking French several generations ago and my French is spotty at best (thanks, public school education). The rules are essential, as the majority of our injuries and deaths are not the result of any industry on our land, but instead are the result of some of our more dangerous or unusual neighbours.
Names have been changed to protect us from the aforementioned idiots that might come out to die in our forest. I’m not very creative, so I’ve replaced names with the names of my family members.
Baptiste Logging LTD Site Specific Safety Plan (2020) – General
  1. Do not accept any food offered to you outside of the main camp buildings or lodge. Packed lunches are available in the fridge, and snack foods are free reign from the pantry. Buffet style hot breakfast is available from 1 hour prior to sunrise. Dinner is served at sunset. If you are unable to make meal times, please ensure you have enough food acquired from camp for your day.
  2. The old growth grove in the shadow of Jean Mountain is not to be surveyed or logged at any time. Hiking is accepted, but suitable payment must be placed in the hollow cedar at the trailhead. Photographs and foraging are strictly forbidden.
  3. All camp employees, except mechanics, are to return to the main camp or floating lodge by sunset.
  4. The Site Operator’s Office is not to be entered from 30 minutes prior to sunset, until 30 minutes after sunrise. If there is an urgent matter during these hours, please contact your foreman. If your foreman is unavailable I may be reached on radio channel 3 – this channel is for emergencies only, and misuse of this channel is subject to disciplinary actions up to and including termination.
  5. Controlled burns are only to take place during a new moon.
  6. Each vehicle is to contain an emergency kit containing 5 days of water and food, a water filtration device, blankets, a light source, batteries, a shotgun and a bentwood box. Please do not open the bentwood box except in case of emergency; you will know when it is an emergency.
  7. Whistling is strictly prohibited on Baptiste Logging property. If at any point you hear whistling return to the main camp immediately and inform your foreman.
  8. Any buildings outside of the main camp building are not to be entered. Please advise your foreman immediately if smoke is seen rising from the chimney of any building outside of the main camp.
  9. Owls that appear during the day should be noted and reported to your foreman.
  10. Do not bother the otter family that lives at the mouth of the creek west of camp. The mother is protective and known to bite.
  11. Unusually large slug slime trails should be noted and reported to your foreman. Do not touch the slime.
  12. Do not antagonize ravens.
  13. Do not step over the carcass of a deer.
  14. The old mine shafts are unstable and are strictly off limits.
FOR MECHANICS
  1. All “General” Site Safety Plan rules apply. We have additional protections in place for those doing work overnight at logging sites.
  2. All machinery must be walked to the road for work. All repairs must be made on the road, no exceptions. If a machine is unable to be moved to the road, repairs must take place during daylight hours.
  3. A firewatcher must be present for all welding activities.
  4. Truck doors should remain unlocked when outside of the vehicle. After dark, all food should be kept in a bear canister within the vehicle, and eaten inside your vehicle with the windows and doors shut and locked.
  5. Keep flood lights on while driving on the road, and at all times while performing work. Stay within the beam of flood lights and work lights whenever possible.
  6. Mechanics are to keep a loaded shotgun within reach at all times. A warning shot usually suffices to drive animals away. Shotguns are loaded alternating heavy shot and slugs. If a warning shot does deter the animal aim for the head, neck, or spine.
  7. If for any reason you feel an uneasiness that will not subside, but a sweep does not show the presence of animals, return to camp immediately. Work can resume at sunrise.
  8. No work is to take place overnight on Little Mountain Main past KM 11. If machines require repair please inform the foreman how long repairs are expected to take. The cut lot will be shutdown until work is completed.
FOR TRUCK DRIVERS:
  1. All “General” rules apply.
  2. The last fat truck load should leave the cut lot with sufficient time to return to unloading station at the main camp prior to sunset.
  3. Any person seen walking next to roads that are not wearing branded Baptiste Logging Company clothing are not to be given a ride under any circumstances. Note the km marker and report to the Site Operator immediately.
  4. Identify yourself with your truck unit number prior to initiating radio communication. If communications are received without unit number identifier, request the unit number. If none is given switch to the general communication channel until you return to main camp.
  5. Any trees downed across a road during calm weather should not be attempted to be removed on your own. Radio the nearest cut lot foreman for assistance and remain in your vehicle with the doors locked until they arrive.
  6. Speeds in excess of 40km/h are highly inadvisable. Drive slowly and be cautious of wildlife.
I took over operations 3 years ago after my father experienced a stroke and was forced to retire. I’m happy to tell you that he has nearly recovered at this point, aside from a lopsided grin, and spends his days entertaining sport-fishing tourists from his retirement community on the coast. There was uncertainty though, for those first days in the hospital and the decision was made that I would take over operations. I’m sure you’re imagining the ceremony as some grand and mysterious affair, in a smoky room with people wearing ceremonial garb, singing and drumming. I am truly sorry to disappoint, but it was basic and simple, taking place in the Band office a few hours from camp. I grew up with many of the Elders, some had even worked for my grandfather or were childhood playmates with my father. We affirmed our right to the land for my generation and exchanged gifts. I presented a Copper, and a cheque for the youth scholarship fund. I received a bentwood box, to be left sealed until such a time as its contents were needed (much like the ones we keep in the work vehicles, just larger). I recited a pledge, shook hands, and I became the 8th generation to take responsibility of the land on the south side of the lake.
I will make a side note here – I did not grow up on the camp land. My family lives in the village down the logging road from camp, and my father would return to us for the weekends while he was operating the camp. We don’t allow pre-pubescent children in the camp anymore. I started helping out on weekends and in the summers when I was 14, learning to operate machinery (illegally), and learning the finer points of management and the role I would eventually assume.
Though I don’t intend to divulge the location of the camp, I’m sure some of the astute readers here will be able to roughly approximate where we are. Please do not speculate on our location in the comments. If you would like to make a guess privately I will be happy to provide you a “yes” or “no” answer. The beings these rules protect us from are not imports, they are as old and as wild as the land itself. Maybe we were given this territory as a cruel prank, or in the hopes that the white man and his family would perish. I think our resilience is due in large part to Jean-Baptiste – he was born to a courier-du-bois, in a village comprised of French, Anishinaabe and “half breeds” (Metis is the proper term now). I like to think growing up somewhere with Indigenous peoples as his equals gave him a respect of tradition and the land. His mother died when he was a child and his father spent days or weeks away from the village and so the village raised him with a mishmash of traditions from the New and Old worlds. Some of my later ancestors have insisted the land is cursed, and was given to us with ill intentions. My belief is that the forest is a defense mechanism, much like the moat and walls of a castle, designed to protect the Nation that allowed us to live here. Those that cannot learn to live in harmony with the land and its inhabitants will fall victim to them. Members of my family have paid dearly as best practices were discovered, but we have survived, learned and thrived.
I feel like I’ve only given you back story so far, and I’m really sorry about that. I’ll leave you with a story of one of my favourite places in the camp, and the subject of General Rule 2, the old growth forest. But first... some more back story.
When the coal mine finally shut down our family desperately looked for a new way to be able to utilize the land. Wilderness tourism was not a burgeoning industry in our area in the 1930s, but logging was. Many of the old growth forests had already been cut down in our area – and our tract was one of very few remaining areas of old growth trees left. We knew the inhabitants of the woods though, and feared their anger. And so my great-grandfather called a meeting. A young man was put forward to act as a spiritual mediator of sorts. One of the few children not taken away by priests and missionaries, he had been trained to carry on the spiritual traditions of the community, and as such held a respected station with not only the humans, but with the Spirits of the land as well. The Elders picked a suitable date, and the young man went forth and then returned to us with 3 conditions. The first, that grove was to be a sanctuary, and not to be harmed or taken from. The total protected area equals nearly 8000 acres, on the face of a specific mountain, between two glacier fed streams that run into the lake. My great-grandfather agreed. The second, payment would be required for humans to enter the grove, if no payment was offered the payment was assumed to be the life of the trespasser. My great-grandfather agreed. The third condition was that the cleared land must be replanted with the children of the trees that once stood on it. My great-grandfather agreed.
It’s an unusual setup, but essentially we grow all our own seedlings for planting from the trees we harvest. Pretty unique within the industry, and definitely not the most cost effective given the amount of time spent harvesting and then growing the seeds, but our agreement is binding and I’m not keen to find out what would happen if we broke it. The first lot of “child trees” was cut down 6 years ago, and we’ll actually be planting the grandchildren on that lot in the next few weeks. We were going to do it last year, but we had a horrible drought and fire season and were concerned for the survival of the grandchildren.
Anyway – the old growth. As I said before, it’s one of my favourite places in the camp. It’s beautiful, and serene. The light filters through the canopy of cedar, fire and pine just barely; dappling the forest floor and creating ever shifting patterns on the carpet of needles. We were never told what the suitable payment for entrance was, but given the severity of the punishment for non-payment I have always offered a few droplets of blood into the hollow cedar. As a moody and withdrawn teenager, I spent hundreds of summer days avoiding work, and wandering through the forest, exploring, and reading out loud to the forest while nestled against the massive trunks of 600 year old giants and the Ravens in their branches. I think my method of payment protected me, as I never experienced any of the spirits and creatures that reside in the grove as their last true place of sanctuary in our land. I’ve also suspected that my position of heir to the land is part of it, or it could be that my genuine love and appreciation of the place pleased the inhabitants. Many of them are not evil, just prone to playing tricks, and with a severe reaction to taboo and disrespect.
One young logger did not experience it the way I do. It was roughly six years ago, before I took over so I wasn’t there to see it and have done my best to tell the story with second hand accounts from my father and old timers. The young man had decided to go explore the grove after he had finished work for the day and before dinner. During the summer there are 4-5 hours of light between when we finish up and when dinner is served. Most just make use of the relatively spotty satellite tv/internet, the camp library of books and dvds, or keep to themselves in their assigned rooms. This young man wandered out from the main camp and up the trail towards the grove.
He did remember the rules, sort of. He did place an offering within the hollow cedar and made his way into the grove. When my father checked later, he found the offering still within the tree – a can of beer.
First, we’re a dry camp. Logging and alcohol go together like a wolverine and literally any other living creature (I once saw a 40 lb wolverine chase a 400lb bear for over 5 minutes), which is to say it’s dangerous as hell and prone to tearing your face off. As such, the vast majority of remote camps are dry. You need your wits about you, and operating massive machinery while cutting down and moving trees that are hundreds of feet tall is dangerous at the best of times. Much more so when you are hungover, and can only concentrate on not throwing up in the cab instead of concentrating on where you’re putting things that can flatten a person with one careless movement. He would have been fired even if he had been able to work after his experience.
Second, if you can’t tell already, our inhabitants are overwhelmingly the Indigenous creatures of our area. Alcohol was brought by the colonizers. The people that ripped children away from their families with the ultimate goal of making the children forget their language, cultures, and the spirits and creatures of the land. I have no doubt they viewed this offering as an insult.
I’m honestly surprised they didn’t kill him, but an offering is an offering, I suppose, even when it is meant as disrespect.
He was gone for an hour or so, before he returned, staggering, into the main camp. He was covered in raised red welts and already his skin was mottled with the beginnings of bruises. Some of the welts on his face and the soft parts of his skin had broken open and the blood poured down his face and oozed through the fabric of his t-shirt. Despite the summer heat he was shivering and soaked to the bone. When we tried to ask him what had happened all he could spit out through chattering teeth was “the drowned men”.
We patched him up as best we could and held him in the infirmary under sedation until the next day when we arranged transport to the nearest psychiatric facility, 8 hours away. We do keep tabs on our people, even if they’re disrespectful idiots. He recovered, and was released after about a year in the facility. He moved to the city, surrounding himself with man-made monuments of concrete and glass and steel. The Facebook pictures of him hunting bucks and holding up salmon the size of his torso have been replaced with photos in fancy night clubs and around dinner tables. It seems like he doesn’t go into the forest much, anymore.
I know the drowned men, and I know their master, and I know that the young man is very lucky to have been allowed to return to us.
Next time: the site operator’s office – I know this rule seems cryptic, but I promise I’m not some sort of creature – it’s the office itself that is the danger.
submitted by loggingcamp to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 20:39 thehorrorwriter2 My werewolf novel Lunar Loons is on Amazon! Feel free to check out the first chapter below

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to Monsters [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 20:22 thehorrorwriter2 My werewolf novel Lunar Loons was recently released! Feel free to check out the first chapter right here

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to horrorbookclub [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 19:57 zilthewarrior My Childhood Best Friend Won't Leave Me Alone

I'm a long time lurker, but a story I read earlier today prompted me to share mine. I actually created an account for this sole purpose. My sister always tells me that I should talk to a professional about it, but I think they'd probably put me on medication if I did. She believes me, and I know that this isn't just all in my head but I don't know how I'd convince an outside party that I'm completely sane. Posting anonymously on the internet seems like a good compromise that could possibly help take some of the weight off my shoulders.
Ever since I was little my family has shared countless stories. My sister's scare me the most. Supposedly my dad's are so bad he won't even talk about them, but I wouldn't know. My mom has more than the rest of us combined. Mine aren't really that special.
I've read plenty of more interesting or terrifying things on this site. There are some things that are tucked away in the dark corners of the internet that once read, stay with you forever. I regret to inform you that this is not one of those tales. I do believe, however, that I will carry this story, and it's main character, with me for the rest of my life.
Everything started when we moved when I was in second grade. I know, I know. How cliche, right? That's how so many stories start, but like I said, my story isn't special. The boy that it's about is though. His name is Colin, and we've been inseparable since my family moved into the mint green house on Mulberry Avenue.
As most childhood friendships go, ours began based purely on proximity. Colin lived on the opposite side of the street a few houses down from ours. We just so happened to be in the same class, and once we got to know each other after several recesses and bus rides we started hanging out at each other's houses after school. Soon, we were spending all of our time together, weaseling our way into each other's group for projects and eating dinner at each other's houses every night.
Even though we were placed in different classes the next year, we continued to spend every recess together during school and hang out every day after school and on weekends. I really don't know how to stress to you just how close we were. My sister is four years older than I am, and Colin's sister is five years younger and his brother is six years older. Having someone our own age that didn't treat us like dumb kids or annoy us was a God send.
As we got older, we continued to do everything together. We joined the school band together in fifth grade. We started running track together in seventh. By high school we decided that we were theater kids and joined the drama club our freshman year. Drama club was where we met Jules.
Jules was the coolest person we'd ever met. She was a natural born actress, with a flair for the dramatic and an unparalleled air of confidence. She dressed in all black, listened to sad music, and read Shakespeare like it was going out of style. She also claimed to be a witch.
Even now I don't know much about witchcraft, but I don't think whatever Jules was doing actually qualified as practicing it. She did seem to cast a spell on Colin though. Any time she invited him to do anything he immediately agreed, and since we came as a package deal, I was always allowed to tag along. Before long, we were entrenched in the paranormal, and wouldn't you know, Colin was a natural!
Like I said, my family has tons of stories, but my sister and mom are the ones who are sensitive. I used to see shadows occasionally and was able to pick up on vibes and whatnot, but my mom and sister blow me out of the water. Neither of them could hold a candle to Colin. Jules called him a medium. I called him unlucky.
The first time we hung out with Jules, we messed with a ouija board. I know that a large number of you are freaking out right now, but I swear if you use it right it's not that dangerous. The three of us sat down at Jules' kitchen table, she lived in a huge old Victorian, and placed our hands on the planchet. I can't remember what kinds of things we asked, but the answers were spelled out with a great deal of speed and precision. At some point Colin got up to go to the bathroom and Jules and I kept playing. The answers continued, but they were slow to come and occasionally misspelled. As soon as Colin came back, they went back to being fast and spelled correctly.
After that, Jules began to push Colin to "hone his skills." He went along with it, and started meditating, using a ouija board constantly, and reading every book Jules gave or suggested to him. We'd always been kind of nerdy, so we saw his rapidly increasing abilities as a kind of super power. He wasn't exactly disappointed in all of the attention he received from Jules either.
By sophomore year he'd gone full blown "I see dead people." Jules had pulled him over to the dark side fashion wise, and I'd been more than happy to follow. It was the mid 2000s, and emo culture was at it's peak. I liked to think that as we walked down the hall we looked like an edgy, effortlessly cool blend of the girls from "The Craft" and Caleb from "The Covenant," but we probably just looked like the goth kids from Southpark.
We continued to mess with ouija boards and even expanded our small inner circle to include a couple more theater kids and this one girl who was constantly doodling skulls in her notebook margins. They were all stupefied by Colin's ability to contact the dead. As he gained popularity with our little group, Jules seemed to decide that he was cool enough to date, and they started going out right before we left for summer vacation.
Things were good for the next couple of years. We did all the normal high school things. We went to prom, snuck out after curfew (though admittedly it was to sneak into cemeteries), got our driver's licenses, and eventually started preparing for college. That's when everything changed. For the first time since I was seven, I was going to be separated from Colin.
We'd applied for several of the same schools, but I was a little more focused on academics than Colin, so I'd gotten into one of the bigger state universities and he hadn't. After much bickering, he convinced me to go. He told me that he'd stay in our home town with Jules and go to the community college in the small city 45 minutes away before applying to transfer to my school. He finally convinced me that we'd see each other all the time. My university was only two hours away, after all. We could see each other every weekend. We had a plan, and everything would work out.
Except it didn't.
One night in January, at the beginning of spring semester, Colin showed up in my locked dorm room without warning or explanation. It's been ten years, and I still vividly remember that night as if it were yesterday. He's been with me ever since.
He's here now. He's always here.
He doesn't say much, but sometimes he turns off the lights while I'm still in a room or closes a door after I enter a room. On the few occasions that I've used a ouija board to talk to him, he tells me that he regrets not contacting Jules. That he feels bad for never letting her know how sorry he was for taking that turn so fast. That he'll never forgive himself for convincing her to get in the car. For getting in the accident that broke both her legs and her collar bone.
He always says that he's safe and happy and that he doesn't want to move on. He tells me that he wants to be here, with me. I guess some bonds are just too strong to be broken, even by death...
submitted by zilthewarrior to Wholesomenosleep [link] [comments]


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