Miss to mrs bridal shower decorations

I'm starting to feel like there is no single valid tip for dating.

2023.06.05 01:16 tiredmude I'm starting to feel like there is no single valid tip for dating.

Male. Starting Uni soon. There have been times where I felt lonely and was craving affection physical and mental.
I haven't had any experience with romantic relationships, so I decided to try all the tips. none of them worked.Through my whole life, I've noticed that I didn't have trouble making friends at all. I consider myself an extraverted introvert. I tend to speak a lot in certain communities and with people i'm familliar with.
Despite of being an introvert, most of my friendships would just fall into my hands. I got along with my classmates naturally, but I think that's mostly because they come from good famillies.
I remember being at a local Parkour park once. I didn't speak a single word, but I got approached by other athletes or just random dudes. We had long chats and would become friends with ease.
I remember my first day at the gym. A guy started a convo with me and we had no trouble communicating.
When I got my first job at a local fast-food place, I decided to socialize for a bit and got to know all my colleagues. On one night a couple of guys invited me for drinks and we would make this into a habit. We would laugh our asses off, and have a good time in general.
I used to make friends very very easily in online games or the internet when I was younger.
Now, you may say that I must be a person with a lot of contacts, but I really am not. These friendships did not last long, mostly because I was inactive, but they were smooth as butter while they lasted.
And you know what's the similarity between those encounters? I didn't have to say a lot, nor I had to be charismatic/deep/attentive. They just happened. And a lot of these people would compliment how much of a mature, chill, cool guy I was.
I cannot say the same for girls. Most of the girls i've spoken to in my life would give me short, cold answers.

I've had a few girls flirt with me or be active in general. One of them manipulated me for an ego boost, the others just friendzoned me.
I remember feeling pity for the shy girl in my class who did not speak to anyone at all. I had no romantic intentions towards her, just a few casual chats about interests. I've noticed that she was very active in no time and I guess we got along well.She started flirting and I played along. I decided to take a step further and invite her to a date. She would play it off at first, but then agreed.
Fast forward to our "date"It was some shitty harry potter movie during which she kept staring at her phone. Turns out her toxic best-friend who would insult me in front of her was enraged that we went to the movies without her.
I brushed it off at first.
After this "date" I texted her: So, how was our date? :)To which she responded: Date? I thought it was a friendly movie night?I understood her true intentions and decided to stop taking her seriously at all.
She would continue to flirt with me, talk about sexual stuff and shower me with flattery.
Then she would gaslight me and try to "roast me"To which I called her a manipulator jokingly.
She started ignoring me in class and not even greeting me. I asked her what's wrong to which she replied "I need a break"I didn't question her further and just said "Alright"Later on that night one of her friends tells me to apologize because she misses me.
I apologized for the sake of it, and she said something like "Finally you apologized. I missed you"Her constant fake compliments and gaslighting would continue until I decided to cut ties with her and ghost her overtime.
I found out that her attitude towards me was actually a form of manipulation called "Love-bombing" since she was flirting with me and sexting me in a matter of days, before starting to gaslight me.
The second girl that I met was through my girl classmate who's a good friend of mine.
I would occasionally reply to her stories and chat. I remember dropping a flirty line jokingly, because I found her cute.
She replied positively and would flirt back. She started to become very active and would ask me a lot of questions and keep me updated on everything everyday.
But i've noticed that her behavior of flirting was very similar to the first girl, so I decided that i'm in the friendzone. I was right. She mentioned having a crush on other guy in a few days.
By providing this second example, I'm trying to say that the tip to be confident and flirt still didn't get me out of the friendzone.
Another tip that I hear constantly and find reasonable is to make the first move and approach them.
I approached this girl at my work and struck up a convo. We shared interests and I could tell she wasn't creeped out and seemed genuine. She even offered to go out on our first talk. We did and we would share a few laughs, I would chat a lot with her, ask her questions, we'd talk about different topics.
I felt a little shy, because this girl was not like any others I've ever seen and I was developing a crush for her. I decided to follow the tip: Just be yourself and don't try to pretend something you're not.
FFW I got friendzoned. She said that I was shy.
Another tip that I heard was to cold approach girls. I was reluctant to follow this tip, because I heard a lot of girls complain about guys "constantly talking to them"So I tried to come up with an original line, and not just hey what's your name.
On my first try, It did work. I talked with a girl for a bit and we didn't have any awkward silences in our convo. As soon as she gave me her social media, her personality changed. She'd give out short answers up to the point where I had no idea what to ask her or how to communicate with her, so I decided to send her some funny vids or those that were related to our common interests like movies, which we spoke about during our first convo.
I decided to be confident and make the move. In a few days I messaged her, politely asking if she wants to hang out and chat at a local park if she's free. She replied instantly and said something like"yeah, of course. I'm a bit busy with schedules, friend Bdays coming up, and i'll message you when i'm free"I sent her a like and asked her how she's doing a few days later. She never replied.

The way people describe attracting a girl is like solving some kind of a mystery.
I was told to be funny, ask her a lot of personal questions, be interesting, find common topics and be mysterious.And at first these characteristics seem realistic, but like I mentioned, most of the girls I met would give short replies, which would make me run out of questions to ask or any sort of motivation.
As for the funny part, my sense of humor is different from others and I don't think most of the girls would appreciate it. It makes my buddies laugh, but our girl friends don't really like it.
I don't really understand what they mean by funny. You expect me to be a psychologist to determine what kind of humor she wants and just dance and cater to her needs like a jester to force her into liking me?
There is a huge difference between men and women in terms of their mentality, so the tip to talk to girls like they're boys is straight up bullshit IMO. If they truly are equal, then anyone with a Gender studies degree is an uneducated fool. Men tend to talk about way more extreme things amongst each other.
I decided to ask for advice from one of my girl buddies. She told me to "let it come naturally and not do anything and by engaging with others I am forcing a relationship"And dare I say, this is the worst piece of advice i had ever heard.
So you're telling me that if I stay passive and don't interact with girls I will suddenly become a magnet?If that's true, then why are people trying to get rich? Why won't they just stand there and wait for the money to come naturally? Bullshit.
I'm not some princess in a castle waiting for a noble knight. Why would I spend my whole youth "waiting for the right moment"?
I've seen a lot of people just being focused on pursuing their career and not giving a fuck. Some of them nerds, some of them normal people who are casually interacting with others and outgoing. But I haven't heard anything about them being popular among girls
Frankly, I don't even understand what to do anymore. I'm starting to think that it's my appearance, since i've been berated a lot for it and my girl classmate would rank me as the least attractive during some comparison games or whatever the hell that was.
I've seen a lot of guys that were bland, uneducated, had zero respect or politeness end up with tons of women around them. They had zero hobbies or didn't share any common interests with the girls.
As for me, I take care of myself and my hygiene, up to the point where it becomes an obsession. Not necessarily because of girls, but because I like being clean in general.
I read, watch movies, shows, exercise, and NO, my hobbies do not involve Video games or any shit like this.
It's just that I hate the fact that I'm forced to follow a strict number of rules to find someone, while there are guys who aren't doing the basic minimum and still have huge fucking success.
The only path for me left is Tinder or dating apps, which I'm certain won't do me any good.
At this point I'm just really tired of interacting with people, asking the same questions and ending up in the same place all over again. I no longer have the same drive as I had in the first time. I no longer want romance and bonding, I just want to some casual hookups and that's it.
That's it. Sorry for making it too long.
submitted by tiredmude to Advice [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 01:03 UmbreonGhoul Hoping infection will take hold

It started as just my normal picking at skin to clear up some of my skin condition. Now it just feels like self harm and I don’t bother trying to clean or bandage them. No antibiotics either. I don’t clean scratches from my cat either (other than showers). My immune system usually sucks ass so hopefully something will stick. Just hating life lately and feeling so left out. Not cared for as much as I used to be. My sister is the star of the show anyway so it’s kinda only pointless to think things could’ve been different. I understand that my family cares for me and me dying would be very upsetting for them. That’s why I’m hoping for something natural. I’ve complained about my immune system for a while now but no one really cares. Purely coincidence that I used to have chronic strep throat as a kid and have had Covid 5 times. Had the rarer form of the flu right after one of those infections. I used to never get the flu. I also have chronic pain from degenerative disc disease and am starting to develop arthritis. I’m 23. Just so tired of the pain and sickness. I don’t really want to live a life of just suffering. I try to keep going but it’s been getting harder and harder to cope. Would really love to be reunited with my dad as well. I miss him terribly. I’m just so tired.
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2023.06.05 01:02 Scipio_Sverige About to play on Core for the first time - looking for advice

Ever since buying WotR about two months ago, the Pathfinder games became my new obsession, to the extent I specifically instructed the Mrs to please tell me if I should start neglecting her. After playing through it on normal I played Kingmaker and yesterday finished my first run. So naturally I intend to replay WotR now ;) . Want to try my hand at core, though and would like to know any general advice for dealing with higher difficulty.
I've managed to get the UMM running on the Steam Deck, so I can use the Bubblebuffs mod this time around. Besides that one I intend to run ToyBox just in case and to re-enable achievements, the ReSpec mod, DisableFilmGrain and Dark Codex. I used the SkipIntro mod for Kingmaker, but couldn't find one for WotR. If I missed it, please show me the link. Are there any other recommended non-cheaty mods I should use?

Also for my planned party:
  1. I intend to play as a Kineticist KC, as I've never paid attention to that class before in any D&D game I played, but really liked it on the twins. Don't want to go the default Earth & Air max DoT build, though. I found AoE either too powerful or impractical to use. I intend to go Fire->Earth-> Fire. That way I can still use Magma Deadly Earth with bowling and instead of cloud, then have Blue Flame later. Pitfalls I see: A) Will I make it until getting Ascended Element or have a useless main character? B) I wont actually get Blue Flame until lvl15 and it's dispelling infusion until lvl17. Kineticism stuff is still new to me so grateful for any advice. Does Dark Codex give me other build options I should consider?
  2. I intend to run Regill as my tank instead of Seelah, as I've played with her last time. Want to respec him into a Skald though, as I've never played with that class before. Any links to good Skald tank builds? Any pitfalls to look out with the mod?
  3. Is there a list with sorta hidden unmarked quests that give high XP rewards? Like killing that spectre 7 times in act3? During my first game, I only reached lvl20 about half an hour before reaching the final boss and I guess I could use any XP I can get for Core.
submitted by Scipio_Sverige to Pathfinder_Kingmaker [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:52 tallulahQ Replied App (for RSVP's)?

Any experience with Replied App for managing invite RSVP's? I'm using WithJoy for our wedding website. My mom doesn't mind paying the $70 if it makes my life easier, but I'm hemming and hawing over it lol. I don't have the RSVP set up atm on our website. I think maybe 1/3 of the bridal shower guests RSVP'd using the website as requested, so I was hoping I'd have better odds if it were easier. The invite would say "to RSVP, text hello to xxx-xxx-xxxx." Waiting back to hear from customer service whether this results in more work chasing down people who RSVP'd their whole family to our kids-free reception.
submitted by tallulahQ to weddingplanning [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:49 juicius Conrad review - on-going review and comparison between Conrad Seoul, Osaka, and Tokyo. June, 2023

Our family is taking a trip in June, 2023, from Korea to Japan and staying multiple nights at Conrad and other Hilton properties. We have 4 nights (10 nights total, across 3 rooms) at the Conrad Seoul, 2 nights (4 nights, 2 connected rooms) at Hilton Osaka, 2 nights (4 nights, 2 rooms) at Hilton Garden Inn Kyoto, and finally 9 nights at Conrad Tokyo.
We're on our third day at the Conrad Seoul and I wanted to give my impressions, and if there's interest, I'll update in the comments.
Overall, I am very impressed with the hotel and the service at the Conrad Seoul. We had previously stayed at the Conrad LV and its sister property Crockfords, and while the Crockfords may have had a tiny bit more polish, the service was by far superior to anything we have received anywhere among the Hilton brands.
A case in point, we arrived severely jetlagged and exhausted beyond recent (and far, to be honest... not the most exhausted you've been, but close) memory due to the foolish (in retrospect) flight itinerary I had booked. We flew into Haneda at 4PM after a lengthy but uneventful flight from the US and had planned to see the sights in Tokyo before making a connecting flight to Incheon the following day (morning?) at 2AM. We had intended to soften the blow by taking a shower and relaxing at the Delta Sky Club (DSC) for a few hours after landing but due to a colossal brainfart on my part, exited the terminal before trying to look for the DSC. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the DSC is behind the immigration control, by the terminal.
4PM Japan being 3AM local time, the kids immediately fell asleep into light and fitful and ultimately unsatisfying sleep and that would come back to haunt us later. My wife and I then abandoned the plan to take the Keikyuu line to the city and tried to make the best of it in the airport. Long story short, everyone was extremely tired out.
We landed at Incheon around 5AM the following day and not having anything particularly to do (immigration line was fast), we took the subway to the Conrad Seoul, hoping against hope that they would show us mercy and let us check in at... 9:30AM. The reservation was booked through AmEx FHR and I'm a Diamond member but I wasn't sure if that would matter. But the staff who greeted us at the front desk immediately tries her best to help us. We had booked 3 rooms, 1 for us and 2 for the family who would be joining us. She gave us several options, even trying to find an upgrade for us, even though I stressed that my priority at that time was a room, any room, that would allow us to take a shower. She found an upgraded river-view room and apologized that it was on the lower floor (14). She said if we could wait an hour or so, a higher floor room can be arranged. No way. A room? Done!
She went through all the niceties and the benefits from the FHR and the Diamond status fast and gave us our keys. The luggage was delivered in a short order and we could finally relax. She (DM for name) even noted helpfully that the breakfast was still being served at the Executive Lounge and at the Zest (2nd floor) if we should be inclined to take advantage. No thank you, but kind of you to offer.
She also extended the Executive Lounge privileges to our kids (13 and 16), and everyone at the other 2 rooms. I was hoping for this but not really expecting. She also extended breakfast to everyone.
The room was a deluxe king. It had a day bed/sofa, and a large (looked larger than ours at home, but I didn't measure it or anything) king size bed. The bathroom was pretty roomy and had a bathtub and a glorious shower I'll go in some length to praise later. The toilet was a bidet and enclosed (which, in a puzzling trend, is increasingly not the norm). 2 vanity sink with a large, peripherally illuminated mirror closes out this intro.
For the shower... The temperature is controlled by a separate dial and it gets scalding hot. Don't tempt the hot water god. Gradually work your way up to your temperature. Sprayer want is mounted on a vertically sliding bar and is controlled for the intensity by its own dial. Lastly, there's a rainfall shower head above similarly controlled. Water pressure is extremely satisfying. And what's more, turning on the sprayer and the waterfall does not seem to reduce the water pressure to an appreciable degree, or reduce the temperature of the water. Other hotels put in shower systems with pulsing heads and lights and aroma and all that, but a good shower just requires water to the temperature of your liking and a LOT of it. That's it and the Conrad Seoul has it. I can't tell you how it felt to me luxuriating in that cascade of almost scalding hot water hitting me from above and the side. The bath robe was good, very absorbent, and not heavy at all. I could stay in it all day.
The service at the EL was impeccable. Afternoon tea was not anything special, just some pastries and drinks. The happy hour had more substantial offerings: buffalo wings, beef cutlets, braised salmon, grilled vegetables along with a complement of alcohol, including make it yourself cocktail. But above all, the view was spectacular. The windows run the entire length of the EL and you can take almost the entirety of the Han river (that you can see) from the lounge. The coffee service is automatic, but it brewed very satisfying latte and cappuccino.
El had breakfast and it was an abbreviated service compared to the breakfast buffet at the Zest. I'll talk more on that in the comments if there's an interest.
Now for the negatives... Our room was carpeted and running along the middle of the room, the carpet had detached and there was a noticeable hump. Not so high you could trip on it, but not necessarily what you expect in a luxury hotel. Our room did not have the signature Dyson hair dryer you expect at the Conrad. I know, the horrors. That's pretty much it. Being closer to the ground actually made the river view more intimate, although we missed the stage that was being set up for the music festival on the banks of the river from our relatively lower vantage point.
And now for something substantial. All the rooms on our reservations were kings and were upgraded to the river view kings. Which was fine, We had planned for our daughter to stay in a room with her cousin and for me to share the room with my brother. 2 in a room so the king was ideal. But with my kids being so tired and falling asleep at odd hours, and also, I remembered belatedly that my brother snored, that plan needed a change. So our whole family of 4 ended up staying in the same room. Not ideal for a king.
Talking to the front staff, they agreed to look for a twin room for us for that say and the remaining day, and it was arranged that we would pack our luggage and leave for the day around 3-4PM, and they would prep the new room and transfer the luggage while we were gone. It did not happen. Apparently, a hotel member stopped by at around 12:30, peeked in, noticed the luggage was not ready, and decided on his own that we did not want to move after all. Our 13 year old son was there but he did not ask him (although he doesn't speak Korean). So when we returned from a diner with an extended family around 9PM, we were still in the same room. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, a minor point but we had not fully recovered from our jet lag and the prospect of unpacking and packing again was not something I was relishing. In this trip, we tried to minimize the packing (see 9 straight days at one hotel) because I hate it. I hate lugging around luggage even more.
But in the larger sense, it speaks of a breakdown in communication and a failure to do a little extra (by reaching out to me) that could have prevented a service issue. I happen to think that running a hotel is 90% service (and 5% hot shower) so failing at the service would sour even the most luxurious facilities and amenities.
In the end, they upgraded us to a twin room at the Executive floor for the remaining stays so they recovered quite well (even though it took a little prompting... Conrad Seoul is notoriously stingy on next tier upgrade). We're not getting any extra benefit for being on the Executive floor because we have the EL access anyway but we now have the Dyson hairdryer! Our two other rooms at the 28th floor had it so maybe the lower floors don't have it...
Feel free to ask if there's anything you are curious about. We dined at the Zest evening buffet, ate at Atrio, and ordered a cake from the bakery in the lobby. I used the gym, toured the pool, and used the underground access to the subways and the malls extensively. I'll make a separate post for the Conrad Osaka and Conrad Tokyo.
submitted by juicius to Hilton [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:48 RealisticFlounder978 AITA for making my sister leave the camping trip early because of her dogs?

28m. My sister (46f) has always been a dog nutter. If you take offense to that term, I'm going to assume you are as well. Every year the entire family goes on a giant week long camping trip and each year, we rotate who pays for it. Like last year it was my parents, the year prior was my sister and her husband. This year is me and my wife. We rented 3 campsites. Two tents on each site, just like it is every year (so me + wife + uncle + uncles wife on one, mom +dad + sister + sister's husband + their dogs on one, other sister + her kids + grandma on the other). My sister brings her 2 untrained dogs every single year, as she outright refuses to let her "son's" miss out on the fun. She even brings them their own picnic table so they can eat side by side us (the SAME food we eat because she insists that they feel excluded otherwise).
It's no secret that the dogs being here is a giant burden. Half the shit we want to do, we can't because of the dogs. Usually my poor grandmother gets stuck watching them when we all go out and try to do anything. This year my grandmother has refused (thank God). We told sister well in advance that none of us would be watching these animals for her. This has caused tension because sister keeps trying to guilt us in to changing up our planned activities because her dogs can't go and has tried conning gram in to watching them several times by day 2. This includes even her trying to get us to watch the dogs while she goes to shower, which we have refused then as well. Why? Because she can leave them in her tent. Her dogs, her problem.
But it really got pushed over the edge yesterday and this is when I told her she had to leave. Everyone is fed up with the dogs but my wife has been the most vocal about it. My wife is visibly disgusted whenever dogs beg for food and my sister didn't get her dogs their plates yet and her bigger dog jumped right up on the table and went for the food my wife was dishing in to her mouth. She ended up with a bloody lip. So, my wife screams out in pain holding her mouth and she took off her flip flop and cocked her arm back and my sister lost her shit. My wife was immediately nose to nose with my sister about the issue. A lot was said. Mainly revolving around my sister being a dog nutter and bringing her untrained dogs around people and ruining everyone's time with these animals. I just ended up telling my sister to leave. We were all done with it. And I made it clear that we wouldn't be allowing her to come next time we pay. I'm being told I took it too far by gram because she's the peace keeper and said she "regrets not watching the dogs because this never would have happened".
submitted by RealisticFlounder978 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:45 ThrowRA_365420 AITA for not going to a wedding that I was uninvited from?

Yesterday was my ex-friend’s wedding.
Backstory: a couple years ago I(28F) started dealing with really bad pains. Spine hurting/swelling, ribs hurting, everything hurting all the time and being so tired. Got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sciatica and a connective tissue disease which I was told is most likely Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus. Pain is mostly under control (except for flare ups) but the mental side/forgetfulness/exhaustion has not let up. I also have been planning my own wedding that is happening in August.
Problem: My ex-friend Mary(fake name)(27F) got engaged less than a year ago and started quickly planning. She told me she wanted me to be one of her Maid of Honors. She was going to have 2; one who had tons of free time/money to help plan (let’s call her Bre-shes a SAHM) and me because I was one of her best friends and she wanted me there. I told her I would, and to let me know if she needed help with anything.
She planned everything with Bre and never talked to me about anything (which I was okay with as I had a lot going on and my own planning) so I didn’t know any details except what they’d post in the group chat.
Well, I did mess up, I will admit this was entirely my fault, I forgot to request the bridal shower off, and got scheduled and couldn’t get out of my shift so I had to miss it. Then I apparently ordered my dress “too late” (2 months before the wedding, couldn’t afford to get it sooner). Here’s where I may be the AH. I chose not to attend her bachelorette party (for reasons I’ll explain below) so she kicked me from the wedding and told me not to show up.
Reasons- it was going to cost us each around $200 to attend the bachelorette party. I had money set aside for it. But I got a nasty dental abscess and got a really bad infection where my whole side of my face puffed up and I had to get multiple doctor and dental visits over the course of 2 weeks, had those medical bills, and missed work so I had less overall money and could no longer afford to go.
That, on top of the fact that I missed the bridal shower and waited “too long” to buy the dress, she said I’m a horrible friend, removed me from the group chats, and told me to not show up.
So I didn’t go. I was uninvited. I’m not going to show up to something I was uninvited from because I’m not going to seem like I’m trying to make her day about me.
I’m now blocked everywhere and I’ve been told I’m a horrible person. Truthfully, AITA?
Tl;dr accidentally missed her bridal shower because of work and missed her bachelorette party because I couldn’t afford it, everyone is saying I’m a horrible friend. AITA?
ETA: added a couple words I missed.
submitted by ThrowRA_365420 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:32 ELKUSHH Loves Rewards Card

Loves Rewards Card
Do the showers and drinks expire every month if you don’t use? Are the PTS equal to money? Does 1000 points mean 10 dollars I can use in store purchases? Thanks In advance
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2023.06.05 00:30 Trash_Tia Camp Redwood are running out of counselors! These children ARE NOT CHILDREN. Update: our counsellors are not who they say they are.

Welcome to Camp Redwood! The feel-good camp for ALL AGES.
We toast marshmallows around the fire, tell spooky ghost stories, and hide in random secret military bunkers under the campgrounds! Because SOMETHING IS HERE WITH US.
Camp Redwood is the PERFECT PLACE for a summer getaway where we start EVERY DAY with a CAMP REDWOOD SMILE. Where our counselors disappear every five minutes, and our campers disembowel us for funsies! Did I forget to mention our littles aren’t actually eight years old, but fully grown adults?
We hope you enjoy your fucking stay!
We are also not responsible for any counselors revealing they are not who they said they are—and not who they appear to be.
So. There’s a LOT to tell you and not a lot of time to tell it.
Right now, I suppose you could say we are under lockdown—if that is the word. I want to go over the last several days to get you up to date. That’s all I can do right now. I can hope and pray the thing with Teddy’s voice does not get in here, and once again cry out for help—that I know is not coming. Not from the authorities, at least. But hey, if any of you fancy coming to rescue us, we’re in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. The closest rest-stop is maybe three fucking hours away. So have fun. Has it really almost been a week since I posted? Well, we’re still here!
And surprise, surprise, help is not coming. So, please excuse the salt. I am seventeen years old and I have been abandoned by the adults who were supposed to be looking after us.
Who were supposed to act under protocol if something like this happened. I know they were waiting for it—there are specific fucking guidelines on an emergency evacuation for counselors if this ever happened. But then the little shits took over before we could do anything. I guess I’ll start by letting you know that there are two of us left. (three, if we count Rowan, but I’m not). What I thought was going to be a quiet summer getaway with kids my age has turned into a nightmare.
For one, we have been cornered inside the head counselor’s underground secret bunker. If you want to know why she has a secret military bunker, I guess you should keep reading.
Because shit gets weirder than animal crackers having the power to turn adults into kids, and vice versa. When I made my first post, I thought that was it for us. I thought for sure there must have been a self-destruct somewhere—which meant whoever was running this camp was waiting for something like this. I was sure we were going to die, so after making the post, I have to admit with ya’ll—I just slept. I curled up, tried to ignore Harry and Carmel calling our names through childish laugher, and went to sleep with the thought in my head that I was completely at peace with what I had done with my life.
Sure, I was young. Seventeen years old is too young to be ripped apart by littles who are in fact grown adults. But as I was falling into slumber and allowing myself to fall, with my head resting in my lap, my head turned towards a separate pile of files on the other side of the room—I realized I really wanted to know how this was possible. There was so much I needed to know. Why did eight-year-old Eleanor Summers have a file where here birthday dated back to 1979? Why had supposedly innocent sugary snacks turned our adorable littles into mini psychopaths?
These kids were not kids, somehow. But how? How was that even possible? Could it be that the files were wrong?
1979 was definitely 45.
But Eleanor Summers couldn’t be 45 years old. I knew what 45 looked like. I knew that they thought like. They spent half of their time on Facebook laughing at outdated memes, and the other half… I don’t know, working? They have job’s! They’re happily married with kids, maybe soon grandkids! That was not Eleanor Summers. Because Eleanor Summers was most definitely eight years old. I had played several rounds of teddy-bears picnic, and spent hours reassuring her that Harry's ghost stories were in fact not real, enough times for me to know that this little kid was little—and a kid.
But something was bothering me. More than the secret military bunker, and magic age-regressing animal crackers. When I first signed up to Camp Redwood, one of the tag-lines to gain attraction had been, “Solve mysteries in the woods in the dead of night, with nothing but a flashlight and your fellow campers!” I had no idea I would be solving this thing on my own, trapped inside a bunker.
“What are you doing?” Rowan, who was still looking through Allison’s dinosaur laptop, turned to me with half lidded eyes, when I slowly got to my feet, careful not to make too much noise, and crept over to the pile of separate files which seemed to be crumbling apart from age. He kept his voice low, but it sounded almost like a whine. He could have been scared, but from the way he was sitting, cross-legged with a frowny face, I figured something must have been going on with him. The guy looked tired. More tired than normal.
The bags under his eyes were practically shadowing his face, and were an odd contrast to unusually ashy colored cheeks and slightly dilated eyes. Still though, Rowan refused to look vulnerable. I caught glimpse of Harry’s raybans sitting on his head, pinning back thick dark brown curls from falling in front of sleepy eyes. Maybe he was finally losing his cool and breaking out of the well-constructed façade he had been hiding behind since Teddy disappeared.
We had just narrowly escaped a crowd of psycho littles high on age-regressing sugary snacks who were doing who-the-fuck knows to the other counselors who had been captured, so I didn’t blame him looking like that. I guess he couldn’t look me in the eye, because in Rowan’s mind, he was the reason why this happened. He was the leader, and the camp had fallen to psychopathic little eight year olds who had taken half of the counselors hostage, and the other half—most likely taken apart in the physical sense, after what we had witnessed in Cassie’s cabin. Still though, it wasn’t Rowan’s fault. He could sit there and pull a face all he wanted, it’s not like I was going to blow up at him for getting us stuck down here. He actually saved us.
And trapped us, judging from the footsteps upstairs, Carmel and Harry still bouncing around looking for us.
It was a game in their heads. The little’s thought it was cat and mouse. Harry and Carmel were the oblivious cats prowling, while we were the mice, hoping to fucking GOD we weren’t caught and eaten. Ignoring Rowan, I glimpsed what looked like a box full of DVD’S—all of which were labelled with dates and names. I saw familiar ones, my heart racing into my throat. Phoebe. Eli. Cassandra.
Each DVD had one of the kid’s names scribbled on the front, as well as a date.
I found Eleanor’s right at the back of the box.
Eleanor Summers.
08/05/2021. (PM)
Before I could hesitate and think what I was doing, I slid the DVD into the portable player attached to the MacBook. Rowan, to my surprise, didn’t move. But he did make an acknowledging noise when the screen flickered to what looked like video footage. Peering at the screen, I found myself staring at a small white room. There was no door. Only a wooden desk and a chair, and sitting on it was a middle aged woman with dark blonde curls tied into a strict ponytail. She was wearing what looked like a prison jumpsuit.
Her eyes were eerily glued to the camera, unblinking. Her wrists were cuffed in front of her. Though from the look on her face, she saw the restraints as a game. Her eyes lit up with intrigue and I could practically see the cogs in her mind starting to turn as she struggled with them.
As soon as I saw this woman, I felt all of my nerve endings set alight. I wanted to turn the screen off, or look away. But once I was looking at the screen, I couldn’t bring myself to tear my eyes away. “Let’s try this again.” There was a woman offscreen. She sounded young. Too young to be in that kind of authority. I figured there was no way teenagers were being hired as special ops agents, but I guessed I was wrong. She cleared her throat. “It is 4:35 exactly. August 5th 2021. My name is Agent Lemrac,” she stated. “I am asking once again for you to comply with us. As I have said several times, the court are willing to lessen your sentence if you plead guilty with insanity.”
The woman surprised me with a snorting laugh. She seemed to come alive, leaning forward with animated features, her brow reaching her hairline. She was acting like a child, bouncing up and down in the seat, her lips stretching into a wider grin. “What did you just say?”
There was a pause. I could tell the woman was intentionally antagonising the interviewer.
“It means you have been legally declared insane,” the interviewer stumbled over her words slightly. “Mrs Summers, it would be in your best interest to work with us to lessen your current sentence which at the moment is standing at,” the sounds of shuffling paper crackled through the speakers. The interviewer cleared her throat again rustling paper. “Thirty six years. Without parole.”
The woman didn’t speak, only continued to smile—and the interviewer delved further into the sentence. “If you do in fact plead guilty with declared insanity, you will be sentenced to a program which is in the process of supporting and rehabilitating people with your…” she caught herself for a moment. I could tell this interviewer had a biased opinion and it was definitely showing through her interviewing style. I could hear the rapid intakes of her breath as she hurried through what seemed to be a script she was reading from. “Conditions.” She finished. “The Redwood program aims to help people exactly like you.”
Redwood? I thought.
Like… Camp Redwood?
Rowan whistled behind me. I guess I could call that a reaction. The guy was probably still in shock after seeing Café de Teddy splattered all over little Cassie’s cabin floor. I should have known those little bitches weren’t playing Operation for eight hours straight. Turning my attention from Rowan and back to the screen, the woman in the jumpsuit appeared to have changed tactics. Her expression twisted into nonchalance. She leaned back in her chair. “I am not pleading insane because I am not insane.”
“Mrs Summers—”
The woman cut her off. “I am not crazy.” She raised her hands “I am doing what needs to be done.” She leaned forward. “Humanity suffers in the skin. We age and die— and how is that fair? What if we want to see the next millennium? And the next two millennia after that? Why should our bodies dictate our lifespan? Why should we sit here and wait to rot and wither and die when we have the intelligence and mindset to do it? If nobody else is willing to throw ethics aside to take a step forwards in human evolution, I should do it myself.” She folded her arms across her chest, again, like a child. “I did what was to be done.”
“Dr. Summers.” The interviewer’s tone grew stiff. “You and your colleagues conducted illegal and unethical procedures on your family and friends—as well as four other victims.”
The woman inclined her head. “You have a daughter, am I correct? I have a son.”
“A child you killed, Dr Summers.” The interviewer retorted in a hiss which was definitely expressing emotion. She ignored the mention of her daughter, but I could tell it had rattled her to her core. Her voice had cracked. This case was close to her.
That was obvious. Without seeing the interviewer herself, I could sense how uncomfortable she was, shuffling in the chair. Every so often I would hear the sound of her rubbing her hands on her knees and tapping her shoe against the chair leg. She oozed anxiety, not just from her tone of voice, but the way the frame seemed to move with her. “Dr. Summers, you used your son in your research, along with several of his friends. This was not science.” Her voice shook. I heard her sharp inhale. Unprofessional, but very human. Instead of staying stoic and keeping to script, this agent was cracking apart. “It was murder.”
“Agent Lemrac, concentrate on the interview only.” An official voice crackled through what sounded like an intercom on screen.
“Got it.” She spoke through her teeth.
The woman was finding wounds and pressing on them. She was scanning the interviewer for vulnerabilities and preying on every insecurity. She leaned back speaking through a sigh. “Without my son’s sacrifice we wouldn’t have created an answer to death. To growing old and dying, and leaving loved ones behind.” Her voice softened into a murmur, but I didn’t trust it.
After identifying the shattering pieces of this interviewer which were very clear visible in her view, the woman was taking advantage.
“Agent Lemrac, you have a daughter. Am I correct in saying her name is Mari?
“That… that is not relevant.”
“Glioblastoma.” Dr. Summers lips curved into a sickening smile hidden behind mocking sympathy. “A sickness of the brain--which, unfortunately, I cannot fix. If your daughter’s brain was in my hands, I would try. However, not even a brand new body would help her. One which would never age or grow sick. And for that, I am deeply, deeply sorry.” She reached her cuffed hands forwards. “My condolences, Agent Lemrac. Honestly. I have to hand it to you. You are incredibly brave for coming here today and talking to me while abandoning your sick child.” She shook her head.
“Your daughter is dying of an incurable illness, suffering inside fragile skin which will break and fall apart and be unable to keep her standing for much longer. While my son will live on forever. He will see every millennia, a planet which will crumble and build itself back together. And maybe the end of the universe itself.” There was a twitch in her expression and a glitter in her eye I did not recognise. Insanity.
She was fucking insane. I was seeing the pure of it, the depraved and disgusting gleam in eyes empty of remorse and regret. This woman did not care what she had done. I could tell from the look on her face. If she had the chance, she would do this again.
But there was no way they were trying to say her cruelty and complete disregard for her son’s life was due to insanity.
“You are sick, Dr. Summers.” The interviewer said after a moment of gathering herself.
The woman shook her head with a chuckle. “I told you. I am not sick--”
“Sick in the head!” The interviewer’s voice exploded through the speakers in a shriek—a terrified cry she had been trying to hold in. I finally saw her—or at least the back of her. She was a young woman with light blonde hair falling loose on her shoulders. She was trembling. Slamming her hands down on the table, she screamed at the orange jumpsuit woman.
“You are psychologically fucked in the head! You psycho bitch! That is my sister!” She spoke through strangled sobs rattling her whole body. “Mari is my little sister. She is not my child.”
Her breaths were strangled and harboured. I noticed figures looming in the background, but she was continuing. “You killed your own fucking son,” she spat. “You are not legally insane, you are sick!” she shrieked. “You planned and put this together! You sit there and you talk about your son like he’s a… like he’s a tool! You deserve to rot. Do you hear me?” I noticed the orange jumpsuit woman was still smiling, satisfied with the interview’s reaction. Her words were spoken in a vicious poison as she leaned forward and spat directly in orange jumpsuit’s face.
“Agent Lemrac!” Whoever her superiors were—were panicking. “I told you not to turn it off. I knew this was going to happen. Can we stop the demonstration, please? Human emotions present inside an Aceville soldier are too powerful—"
Voices were murmuring in the background, and Agent Lemrac raised her hands. “I want to stop.” She choked out, her hands trembling. She spoke like she still had control over the situation and wasn’t being apprehended. “I want to stop. Do you hear me?” The interviewer was crying, I realized. “Stop the recording! I can’t do this. Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick—”
When the footage ended in a burst of static, I found myself backing away, something slimy creeping its way up my throat.
The woman in the orange jumpsuit who had murdered her son and countless others in what sounded like an attempt at playing god, was Eleanor Summers. I thought back to Teddy’s corpse, and the surgical precision of every organ’s removal. The young interviewer had mentioned colleagues of Eleanor.
Was it possible that Camp Redwood was in fact nothing more than a rehabilitation camp for murderous criminals? There was a loud bang from above, and I was torn from my thoughts.
I turned to Rowan, who had been unusually quiet. And I realized why, when I twisted around to find him three inches from my face, his laboured breath tickling my cheek.
The boy jumped back with a chuckle—like me noticing him was some kind of game, before diving back into the chair. I did notice something odd, as my thoughts spiralled. Rowan couldn’t sit still. Slumped in the leather spinning chair, he fingers tapped a rhythm on the armrests while his feet jumped up and down. In the dim light of the bunker, I glimpsed a sheen of sweat glistening on his forehead and the flesh of his neck. He looked to be… feverish—and now that I was looking at him properly, all of my attention on the boy, I noticed small things which seemed… off about him.
For one, he wasn’t coming up with a plan. Rowan always had a plan. Even if he wasn’t completely sure of it, or was completely winging it. This time though, he was strangely quiet. I found my voice when he stuck out his tongue at me. “What are you looking at?”
“Rowan.” I spoke softly, careful not to garner attention from above us where Harry and Carmel were still clamouring around, playing games. “Are you… feeling okay?” I asked, when he turned back to the laptop, manically biting his fingernails.
“I dunnnooooo, Josie! Am I feeeeeeling okaaaaaayyyyy?” He surprised me with an uncharacteristic laugh.
But I did know it.
I knew it from earlier when he reacted to Allison’s bunker and I had been too freaked out to realize that I was dragging along the enemy with me.
Because the fucking idiot had consumed animal crackers. I had seen him for myself earlier, pouring a pack into his mouth for a snack. Which meant either the ‘kids’ had intentionally dosed him with mind altering sugary snacks, or the more likely, he could not resist those preservatives which was the equivalent of caffeine. It’s not like I could blame him when he harboured the weight of an entire camp, but come on, did he really have to sacrifice his own fucking mind to keep himself awake?
Rowan wasn’t just biting. His nails. He was gnawing. Which he previously thought was a filthy habit. He had yelled at a camper for chewing on her nails a few days earlier.
Now that I was noticing it, I couldn’t… stop noticing it. The boy’s whole demeanour had changed; the way he was sinking into the chair, instead of sitting up straight like usual—- I used to call it having a stick up his ass. The boy started typing on the laptop, ignoring me. But when I watched the pattern of his fingers, he was just typing gibberish. Footsteps pounded above us, Harry and Carmel acting as the kid’s’ brainwashed foot-soldiers. Or, more likely somehow, if the animal crackers had caused the littles, or I guess, the fully grown forty year old criminals, to relapse in age-- then maybe it was possible for the same thing to happen to us. To Rowan.
I could feel myself starting to back away, but there was nowhere to run. I just slammed into a cupboard. My gaze flicked to Rowan again, who was tapping a beat on the laptop tracking pad, swaying back and forth, his eyes elsewhere before his gaze found mine. “Marcoooooo!” Harry shouted from above, giggling with Carmel.
I had to guess their mental age had to be at least 8-10 years old. Which meant I wasn’t just dealing with a camp full of forty-year-old psycho’s, I was also dealing with mentally relapsed counselors acting like toddlers.
Rowan seemed to jolt in the chair, twisting his head around, his eyes suddenly incredibly childlike and playful, and very Un-Rowan, were finding the ceiling, his mouth stretching into a smile, like he was seeing butterflies. His eyes flashed to me, and I caught a twitch in his lip. I knew that look. It was the look on my seven year old sister, who knew mom was mad at me, and wanted to make it even worse.
His cheeks were starting to blossom scarlet from what must have been the overwhelming urge to laugh. Rowan pressed his lips together and held in a breath like a hamster, and the asshole was fucking with me. Waiting for me to beat him to it by accident. Kids were fucking ruthless, but there was something terrifying about an 18 year old with a little kid’s mind.
I lifted my index to my lips, miming for him not to even try, but the boy just mimicked me, bugging out his eyes and pressing his finger to his grinning mouth. “Don’t you fucking dare.” I managed to whisper. The boy was definitely playing his own game, moving in twitching movements, baiting me. When he cupped his mouth, I almost let out a cry, but then he dropped his arms with a giggle, as if to say, “I’m just kidding!”
Slowly, I turned around, grabbed the salt I’d found in Allison’s cupboard, and a flat can of soda. Without making too much movement, I poured a handful of salt into the can. But Rowan seemed to know exactly what I was doing. Because in the time it was taking me to advance towards him with the can of salty soda, one arm shakily ready to grab hold of him, and put him into a headlock, he was cupping his mouth, all logic and everything adult, everything he had been as our leader, igniting in playful eyes, leaving me the last one standing.
By the time Rowan had managed to reveal our hiding place in a spluttered laugh, I had hold of the squirming boy, one arm wrapped around his neck, my other forcing the can of soda into his mouth. I had definitely miscalculated his strength. During camp Redwood activities, he was always the last one to come back from the trail, holding his knees and panting. I figured he was unfit. However, I was wrong. Underneath his shirt, the guy had some serious muscles.
It was like attacking a brick wall. However, Rowan was mentally a kid. So, I had my intelligence and logic on my side. When it became obvious I wasn’t going to get anywhere with brute strength, I resorted to tickling him, which made him squirm, squeaking out a laugh. When he opened his mouth to yell at me to stop, I took my chance, thrusting the can into his lips and holding his nose so he swallowed it down.
“No!” His laughter turned into muffled yelling, as he batted his fists at my chest. “No, no, no! Get off, get off!”
His body convulsed as the salt did its job, causing the boy to lurch to his knees and choke up forbidden animal crackers in a gooish sludge which turned my stomach. By the time Rowan seemed half himself and half not, still kneeling, his head pressed against the floor, Harry was poking his head through the door with a goonish grin. “Found you!” He giggled, before forcing the door open, allowing Carmel and Callen, freshly caught and mentally turned into littles, to advance down the stairs with equally terrifying grins. There was something wrong with Harry’s face, and I only realized it when the guy himself was hauling me from the bunker, Carmel dragging a barely responsive Rowan. There was nothing in Harry’s expression, only blind childish excitement at winning the game. When he dragged me out of Allison’s cabin and threw me to the ground, I realized he too had insane strength I had not been expecting. But that thought quickly retracted when I was seeing his face in the light of a crescent moon lighting up the sky an eerie glow. Harry’s cheeks were puffy and swollen, his right eye way bigger than it should have been.
When he spoke, his voice was more of a lisp. This was something far more realistic than magical animal crackers fucking with his brain.
“He needs help!” I managed to choke out when Carmel wrapped jump-rope around my wrists. Next to me, Rowan was refusing to get up, still choking up salty soda, groaning into his hands. Every time Callen tried to restrain him, he hissed out like an animal.
“Do you hear me?!” I struggled violently. “Harry needs—”
Is what it felt like. The feeling of something—what felt and sounded like a toy car—colliding with my temples, sent me onto the ground, my head spinning itself off of its axis. I remember lying on my back and frowning at the moon which almost looked like it was getting closer to me, blurring into a white ball of light—before reality sunk in, and it was in fact Carmel’s converse coming down to finish me off. I didn’t stay knocked out for long. But I did dream.
I think you can call it a dream? I was lying in bed at home; my room drowned in the dark. I was cosy, curled up in my blankets, when a clammy hand slammed over my mouth, rousing me from slumber. There were two figures in my room. They didn’t have faces. They just existed as shadows, silhouettes. Before one of them raised something above their head, and… impact.
It was the same impact as the toy car hitting me, snapping me back to that night. It wasn’t a dream. Because I remembered his clammy fingers over my mouth, and his hisses for me to shut up as he dragged me from my room.
My parents stood in front of me with expressions of sympathy. Basked in warm light, my mom and dad looked almost otherworldly. “For the best.” Was what they mouthed when my own phantom screams slammed into me. I asked them why, and they didn’t reply, allowing him to pull me further and further from what I knew, from my life as I knew it. But.. that couldn’t be real. I had memories of getting on the bus to camp Redwood. I could recall the whole journey. So, why… why was my tangled mind saying otherwise?
When I gathered myself, the first thing I realized was I was sitting down. I was outside, cool night air grazing my bare arms. There was something attached to me, jerking violently, And it took me several disorientating blinks to understand that I was tied back to back with Rowan. My head pounded, and something wet and warm dripped down my temple. Great. I could add head injury to the long list of things to worry about.
“Let me go you little fucking witch.”
Rowan was back to himself, though from the muffled hissing and the sound of choking—I had to guess he was being force-fed animal crackers.
“Let me—mpphmmm. little…. fucking… mphmmphhmhppmm!”
“Rowan.” I managed to get out in a croak. Through flickering eyes, I caught glimpse of a familiar figure dancing around us. Shivers rocketed down my spine, and I wrenched at the jump-rope restraints, but they did a surprisingly job of restraining my arms behind my back.
Eleanor was with Rowan, while Eli was knelt in front of me. Looking at him, the boy had definitely aged in the face—and I couldn’t help wondering what exactly he had done as a forty something year old to be sent to this place.
“Josie!” Rowan responded in a wail. “Josie. Wake the FUCK up.”
“Stop swearing.”
Eleanor spoke with the cold tone of her actual age.
“Oh, yeah?” Rowan spluttered. “Fuck you.” The boy’s laugh was still rough from almost vomiting his insides out from too much salt intake. “I’m sorry, you were a fucking boomer all along?!” He wriggled in the restraints, lunging forwards, which sent me backwards.
“Stop swearing, Rowan.” Was all the girl responded with calmly.
“Like I’m going to listen to you!” He sneered. “Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fucking fuck!” What are you going to do, huh? Bite me with your false teeth?” The sound of saliva hitting skin made me wince. He was pissed. I had no doubt his completely rational anger was going to get us killed. Rowan was also somehow getting mixed up between forty and eighty. Though he was unwillingly snacking on mind bending sugary goodness.
“Fudge, Rowan.” Eleanor spoke in a giggle.
“Say fudge. Not fuck.”
His hiss of pain caught me off guard. I don’t know what she was doing to him, but it was hurting him.
“You fudging fudge! I’m going to fudging kill you when I get out of these fudging ropes—“ his manic cursing became a muffled yell.
“Say fudge,” Eleanor hummed, followed by his hiss when the palm of her hand skinned his cheek. “Fuck is a bad word. You even said so yourself and you’re my favourite counselor.”
He heaved out a breath.
“You fudge,” Rowan spat. “When I get out of this, I am going to fudging kill you, you fudging—” His manic ranting morphed, once again, into muffled yelling, after another fistful of animal crackers were forced into his mouth. When I risked twisting around, I could see his rebellion slowly starting to simmer out as he relaxed slightly. I wanted to yell at him to keep a clear head before cold fingers were dipping under my chin and forcing my head around where I found myself face to face with Eli.
“I like you, Josie,” he said, before untying me and pulling me to my feet. Now at the age of nine or ten, he was a lot stronger. When I tried to pull away, the cruel blade of a knife grazed my gut. I caught his grin. “But we don’t need you.” Eli pointed to Rowan.
“We just want them.”
I followed his pointer finger which went from Rowan to Harry and Carmel, who were just standing there like fucking idiots, probably awaiting the next game. Harry’s face was getting redder. It looked like he was suffocating, and yet his grin was growing wider and wider, splitting his lips apart. “Rowan Atlas.” Eleanor said, dragging him to his feet. Something was stapled to his forehead head, which caused him to howl in pain, hissing another strangled line of “Fudge”. but I couldn’t read what it was.
“Camp leader. Intelligent, and problem solving skills.”
“Harry Carlisle.” Eli nodded his head with a smile. “Quick thinker. Strong minded.”
“Carmel Locke.” Cassie spoke behind me. She had her arms folded, a wry smile on her lips. “Smarter than she makes out—- an independent learner, and can work well under pressure.”
Looking at these kids, I felt sick to my stomach. They were planning something—and had the intelligence of renowned scientists, which was what I gathered from the footage on the MacBook. “What?” was all I could hiss out, as Eli prodded the blade of the knife into my back, ushering me to walk. “What are you talking about?”
“Duh.” He spoke in a more tweeny giggle. “Like I said, Miss Josie. You’re my favorite counselor but we don’t need you, so I’m going to use you for parts.” He laughed when a shiver spiderwebbed down my spine. “See! I told you I was going to show you my collection!”
“But… what do you need them for?”
Eli pressed his index finger to his lips with a laugh before forcing me to face forwards. “That’s a secret!”
When I didn’t, or couldn’t move, he shoved me into a stumbling power-walk, and I managed to turn my head quickly, making feverish eye contact with Rowan.
“Rowan.” I said calmly through the gutter in my throat. “Get…. Get help.”
If I was going to die, I needed him to get a hold of himself and somehow alert the outside world what was going on.
“From whom, Josie?!” He wailed back—and as I was dragged away, I could once again sense the childish undertones in his voice.
I had no choice but to obey Eli’s orders. If I didn’t want a knife in my back. He took me to the main lunch cabin, which, when I set foot inside, almost sent me to my knees.
Something lurched inside me, and I was screaming with no voice, staggering backwards, only to be shoved onto my face. In front of me was what had been the lunch hall, fully converted into the beginning of a laboratory.
What had been cafeteria tables were fashioned into makeshift gurney’s and beds, and I was looking at all of the missing counselors. Yuri and Noah had been skinned completely, their faces laid out on a makeshift surgical table. Joey had been ripped open, his heart and brain removed, a glittering metallic substance creeping its way across his forehead. It was then when I remembered Eleanor Summers words.
She wanted to prevent death and preserve the human mind. Looking at what was in front of me, this was the start of it. There was equipment I had never seen before. Lily’s body was empty, carved out completely, tubes forced inside her. When I glimpsed her fingers move and begin to ball into a fist, I saw red. I saw fucking red. The exit was so close and yet Eli, fucking Eli, wielded his knife. I think that is when part of me gave up. My brain just stopped. It short circuited. Seeing my friends murdered and yet somehow being kept alive through playing god, my body slumped to the ground. I was numb. Completely numb.
I’m not sure what would have happened if those bloody saws and instruments which had been used on my friends were used on me too.
Luckily, that did not happen. Before Eli could get his slimy hands on me, he crumpled to the ground in an almost cartoon-like fashion, and standing over me was Harry. Who was looking better. When he grasped hold of me and helped me up, I only had one word. “Out.” And he was nodding, his eyes glistening as he drunk in our friends’ fate.
“How?” I managed to sputter out, when we made it out of the cabin, ducking behind a tree. Harry turned to me, motioning for me to shut up. There was a group of now ten to eleven year olds already running around, searching for what I guessed was him.
“I’m allergic to peanut butter,” Harry murmured, his grasp tightening on my wrist as he led me across the camp, the two of us stumbling.
“What, and you just magically healed?”
He didn’t respond to that, which bothered me.
“The bunker is our best shot,” I hissed out. “I think we can get in contact with someone down there.” I paused, unable to stop myself. “What makes you so important?”
“Dunno. Maybe I’m their favorite.”
When we found Allison’s cabin, which was more of a safehouse (an exposed safehouse) I found Rowan sitting on the wooden porch with his legs swinging over the side. “Rowan!” Harry groaned. I found it hard to believe their roles had been switched. Now he was the one yelling at the camp-leader. “I told you to stay inside!”
He ushered the boy inside, before barricading the door with some hefty looking equipment. I could tell from the grin on his face that our so-called leader was once again no longer himself.
I had to bite back a groan. “You’re kidding.” I said, pointing to Rowan, who buried his head in his knees and blew a raspberry. “Does he look and act like our leader right now?!”
“It’s Rowan, Josie.”
“He’s a liability.”
“He’s our friend! Wouldn’t Rowan do the same?”
Yes, he would. But. He would also realize we’re lost causes.
“Gag him with something.” I said. “If he makes any more noise, we’re dumping him.”
“He’s a kid!”
“Just the mind of one.”
I don’t know how animal crackers worked, but his age seemed to be progressively younger. This time he just sat with wide eyes watching us.
Harry almost tore apart the place looking for means of communication, before an old fashioned ringing sound made me jump.
“What was that?” Harry turned to me with his lip curled.
“How am I supposed to know?!” I hissed. “Keep looking!” But when I ducked under the table, my hands crawled under the desk, finding a wire—and attached to that, an ancient looking phone which looked straight out of a 1940’s movie, a bright green rotary phone.
Hesitantly, I answered it, lifting the phone to my ear. “Hello?”
“Did you awaken the subjects, Agent Salta?"
The voice on the other end was a woman, an oldish sounding woman with the tinge of a British accent.
“What?” I shot a look at Harry before shaking my head. “No. My name is Josie Greenfield. We’re at Camp Redwood, and we need help.”
The woman paused.
“Where is Agent Salta?” She cleared her throat. “This line is reserved for communication with agents only.”
“I don’t know who the fuck you’re talking about!" I squeaked out. “My name is Josie, and whatever is happening here, we need help!”
“Josie. Did you awaken the subjects?”
I paused after a moment, shooting Harry a look when he tried to take the phone off of me. “Yes.”
“And… are our agents unavailable?”
“I don’t understand.”
“When a health and safety breach is activated, our agents are awakened to deal with the Project Spearhead subjects if they were to ever go rogue, or become conscious enough to think. Josie, can you tell me what is in front of you? Describe it to me.”
I held my breath. Next to the hidden phone under the desk was what looked like mismatched wires, all of which had been severed. I lowered myself slowly, poking at mess. “Wires. I see… cut up wires.” I whispered. “Does this mean they know about you?”
She hummed. “Ah…That makes sense. The only way to activate our sleeper handlers would be to send out the signal. You appear to have been sabotaged. Unless activated manually, our agents cannot help you. I am sorry. They are your problem now.” The woman paused.
“If I were you, I would hope and pray they have not sabotaged the self-destruct. If you find that, then you may be able to save yourselves and find peace.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you for your service, Josie Greenfield.”
“Wait.” I managed to get out. “Wait, no! You can’t just… you can’t leave us! We need help!”
I found myself yelling at nothing when the phone went dead. The dull tone of the dead ringtone was clanging in my ears before footsteps from up above. “Fuck this.” Harry picked up a lead pipe. “They’re still little kids, right? I mean, their head must still be partly kids—- so let’s fucking beat their heads in.”
He noticed something, then, starting forwards towards the mess of files I had left earlier. Harry knelt on the ground and picked up Eli’s file, his eyes wide. But he wasn’t staring at the dates confirming the little boy’s age.
Instead, Harry pointed at the bottom of the file. “I don’t want to freak you out, Josie,” he whispered. Initially, I didn’t know what he was trying to show before I glimpsed notes scrawled at the bottom of the file, followed by a signature. “But I’m pretty sure that is my fucking writing.”
Harry was right.
I pulled the paperwork off of him, flicking through each file before turning my eyes to him. “Who the fuck are you?”
A clanging sound from above broke the tension, and whatever Harry was about to reply with was strangled in his throat. He slammed a hand over his mouth.
The voice twisted me up inside, threatening to release a shriek from my mouth I had managed to clamp shut.
“Are you down here?” His voice was strained, and had an odd tone to it. “I can’t… I can’t see you.”

Can someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?! It’s been a blur of a week. We’ve managed to stay down here, surviving off of Allison’s rations. Rowan isn’t getting any better. He seems to have stopped mentally de-ageing at the age of maybe six. Harry has spent the last few days trying to get in contact with anyone, but it’s like they are IGNORING US.
I’ve been looking through everything I can find on Project Spearhead, but nothing points to Harry being involved. So. How is his signature all over the files? How is it possible that two friends I thought I knew several days ago, are now complete strangers?
Teddy keeps coming back.
He’s crying out to us.
I think he’s… in pain.
My god, I can’t stand this anymore. Please. CAMP REDWOOD NEEDS HELP.
submitted by Trash_Tia to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:29 Southern-Solarpunk Dance Parent Advice on Dance Culture

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post, if you have any subreddit suggestions let me know. We just finished our daughters first year of dance and tumbling and I feel like there are some things we dropped the ball on because we aren’t aware of dance culture and we haven’t been able to make any dance parent friends. There isn’t much opportunity to talk with other parents, we drop her off then pick her up while the next kids come and go. I’ve asked questions but there isn’t much opportunity to do so because they move so quick and are so busy. Some things are more important, some are just some things I’ve noticed. For half the year we sent her in athletic clothes, until I saw a post on Facebook awarding some of the kids for things like always coming to class with their hair done, dance gear on, etc. I didn’t know, and felt really bad. No one told me “hey she’s not dressed right”. For her dance performance this year everything went well, but no one told us parents and family usually bring a bouquet of flowers for the dancers. My mom found out at her waitress job from a customer the day before and brought flowers for herself and for us to give. Those are some important things I missed but some minor things are just like I noticed all the kids in tumbling wear name brand crocs, and not just any plain crocs, the fancy decorated kind. She’s going into the age 6 class this fall and I’m hoping to figure out some more about this so she can fit in or at least stand out less, I don’t want to be part of the reason she gets overlooked or doesn’t have what she needs etc.
submitted by Southern-Solarpunk to Parenting [link] [comments]

2023.06.05 00:13 BagAccomplished944 Wet Footprints

Now that you say it, it seems quite obvious,
End your shower, dry off, then take your leave.
For 22 years, I was fully oblivious,
Before it became something I had conceived.
In grander scheme, it seems to be irrelevant,
My life's course stands unchanged, I'm no uglier,
Yet this feeling to me seems significant,
That I missed what to others seems so clear.
I know it's a hangover from childhood,
Parents busy, and trusted me alone,
Rarely told off, for I was overall good,
Still, I wonder what else I wasn't shown.
Could it be how I first leave an impression,
Or how I treat those most intimate to me?
Quick to respond with such heated aggression,
Petty grievances soon transpose to hate.
I fear how many lessons were evaded,
And the wounds that they will certainly impart.
I’m sure there’s worse to be paraded,
And the wet foot prints are only a start.

submitted by BagAccomplished944 to OCPoetry [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 23:27 truedilemma What happened to these six older and elderly women? A write up of five women who went missing under mysterious circumstances.

This post is about a couple of older and elderly women who vanished without a trace. I wanted to include women who disappeared without much of an explanation. When elderly people go missing, their disappearances can often be chalked up to a dementia-related event. I believe many elderly people who vanished with their cars may be in the bottom of lakes and rivers. Those who lived near wilderness may have gotten lost and died of exposure. Those who were picked up or hitchhiked could've been brought to a hospital where they were unable to communicate their true identity. The women I included went missing under more suspicious circumstances.
Mayme Hart Johnson - Disappeared June 12th, 2000 from Nashville, Tennessee.
Mayme is the first on the list and the reason I decided to do this post. On June 12th, 2000, Mayme Hart Johnson, a local historian, researcher, and teacher went missing from Nashville, Tennessee. Mayme, who was 85, lived in the 100 block of Bosley Springs Road in West Nashville with her son, Sam, in his apartment. At 6:30 am that morning, her son woke to find his mother gone. While he reported that he wasn't initially concerned because Mayme occasionally left the apartment around that time, he became alarmed when she didn't return by lunchtime. Where Mayme would go/what she would do at that time is not known. Richland Creek is close by to the apartments, but from what I've seen, it's narrow and a body would probably soon be found if it was in there, despite it being 28 miles long. Of course, there is always a chance she made it into a larger body of water that concealed her. A maintenance man from the Johnson's building told authorities that he had seen Mayme at 6:30 am the day she went missing. This was around the time Sam woke up. Whether this employee saw her outside the building, inside the building, near or on her apartment floor, or down the street is not mentioned. At the time of her disappearance Mayme was 5'5, 120 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair, and last seen wearing pink pants and a pink blouse. Whether these were pajamas or not (possibly indicating a dementia-like episode, where she got up out of the house and left without telling her son or getting dressed) is, like many things in this case, unknown. Mayme, as I mentioned, was a historian and if you google her name you will find a few sites that show her body of work. In 1986, she published "A Treasury of Tennessee Churches". A search for Mayme was conducted in the Nashville area and extended to Huntingdon, TN, where her husband's grave was, and where she had been visiting the weekend before she vanished. There was also an aerial search of Eastern Maury County that took place in July 2000 after law enforcement came up with a theory that she could be a target of the I-65 rapist. I'm not sure where police got this idea from. The I-65/Days Inn Killer, now identified as Harry Edward Greenwell, murdered three hotel clerks (ages 21, 24, 34) in the late 1980s. He also sexually assaulted a 21 year old hotel clerk in 1990. While LE does believe he's connected to more violent crimes, I'm not sure how they link Mayme to him--if you know, please add your knowledge in the comments. After the aerial search, nothing was found linking anything to Mayme. In 2008 she was declared deceased.
Helen Joyce Rawley - disappeared June 4th, 2003 from College Park, Maryland
Helen Joyce Rawley lived in a bungalow on the 4600 block of Knox Road in College Park, Maryland with her son. 75 year old Helen went by her middle name "Joyce" so that is how I'll refer to her. Seventy-five year old Joyce and her son, Tom, had lived together since the death of Joyce's husband of 48 years, Nelson, in 2001. Between 6:45 and 7:00 am on June 4th, 2003, Joyce was last seen by her tenant, a man who had rented a room at the Rawley home for the last eight years. Joyce was seen by him on her porch that morning as he returned home from work. Beginning the day after her husband died in February 2001, Joyce suffered two strokes four days apart. Because of the strokes, she was unable to talk and considered disabled because of her inability to communicate. In 2002, Joyce underwent chemotherapy and radiation for rectal cancer. She was on medication that made her tired and weak. She didn't go out anywhere by herself except to get the mail. Her mind remained "sound", according to her son. The day she went missing, her son returned home from his foreman job at 3:30 pm, and found the house empty with the lights off. Joyce's purse and wallet remained left behind in her bedroom, everything was in place, and there were no signs of a robbery. Police tracked Joyce's scent out the front door which she never used, and to the corner of the block. However, she went missing on a "rain-soaked" and "dreary" day and it's possible the bad weather could've washed away any more of her scent outside. Since the death of her husband who died unexpectedly in his sleep, and her two other sons who died together in a 1982 boating accident, Joyce's immediate family consisted of her remaining child Tom, who was unmarried and childless at the time of his mother's disappearance. If she had other family out of the area is unknown. She does have a beach house in Annapolis, Maryland, but had not visited there after she went missing. She was 75 when she disappeared, standing between 5'4-5'5 and 110 pounds. Due to her cancer, she wore a colostomy bag and was on several medications that she can't go long without. Fliers with Joyce's information went out, woods were searched, local bus drivers were notified and questioned if they had seen her, and hospitals had been checked. A helicopter flew over the city at night with a heat-detecting device. No sight of her was ever found. She had brown eyes and white hair and was last seen in a sweatshirt and slacks. She enjoys gardening, crossword puzzles, and reading. Police don't suspect foul play and Tom isn't considered a suspect (neither is the tenant who was the last to see her), but they aren't sure what could've happened.
Maebell Dawson - disappeared January 3rd, 1998 from Jefferson Township, Ohio
68 year old Maebell Dawson had lived in a one bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor of the Martin Luther Manor Living Center on Liscum Drive for about a year when she went missing. Maebell was divorced, had two daughters, and had retired from a hospital housekeeping job two years prior. Maebell was close to her family, and when calls to reach her went unanswered for two days, by January 5th, her residence was checked. Nothing in the second-story apartment was missing or out of place. Her winter coat was draped over a chair, her wallet, credit cards, cash, and a check for rent dated 1/8/98 were all found in her purse on the table. Her bank account was never accessed again. There were no signs of forced entry, a struggle or robbery inside the apartment. LE does not believe Maebell was attacked from her apartment or lured from the premises, but they do believe foul play was involved. According to CharleyProject, suicide "has not been ruled out but has been deemed unlikely". In 1998, Maebell was between 5'4 - 5'6 and 180 pounds. She had brown eyes and gray hair, wore glasses, and was last seen in a tan jogging suit. She was last seen entering her apartment at 9:30 pm on January 3rd. Five and a half years after her disappearance, Maebell was declared legally dead.
Norma Mae Maynard - disappeared February 3rd, 1979 from Boone, Iowa.
Norma Mae Maynard went missing in early February of 1979, just two weeks after the unexpected death of her husband, Carl, on January 19th. Norma and Carl had been married for three decades and Norma was deeply grieving the loss. Norma lived with her 30 year old son, and he was the last to see his mother. He stated that shortly before noon on February 2nd, he found a note from his 61 year old mother that stated she was on her way to Los Angeles, not to look for her, and that she'd get in touch again someday. The validity of this note (if seen by LE, if handwritten analysis was performed, etc) is not known. Norma's purse and a few items of clothing were missing, but her checkbook and jewelry were left behind. There was no sign of a break-in at the house. Her husband's pension which she lived off of and her bank account with savings was not touched. Norma was a shy woman who spent most of her time at home and had a regular routine. She didn't drive and her brothers stated that she had never been more than a few miles from her hometown. Her husband's funeral bill was paid for by a check dated four days after she vanished and signed by "Mrs. Carl Maynard". According to Charley Project, "The signature appeared to match Maynard's handwriting, and her son said she had signed a blank check and left it with him to fill in and pay the bill". The validity of this is not known either. A sighting of a woman matching Norma's description was seen by a local Greyhound bus station employee. The woman was boarding a bus bound for Los Angeles. Police are not sure of the accuracy of this sighting and consider it "shaky". Norma didn't drive but she didn't normally travel by bus, and why she allegedly went to Los Angeles is unknown: she had no friends or family there. Norma's son was not considered a suspect in her case, though some members of her family believe he was involved in her disappearance. He has maintained his innocence and has since moved out of state. Norma was 5'3 tall and weight 175 pounds, with blue eyes and gray hair. If she was alive today, she'd be 105. I believe someone close to her knows what happened and made up the story about her leaving for California. My second theory would be suicide, and she made up the California story so her family wouldn't worry.
Yu Chin Goodson - disappeared March 25th, 2005 from Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama.
Yu Chin Goodson is one of the youngest on my list, and at 57, I wouldn't classify her as elderly, but she is an older woman with a lot of mental and physical issues, who went missing under mysterious circumstances like these other women. Yu Chin is an Asian woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, diabetes, and a heart problem which required daily medication. In 2005, she was living in group home for patients with mental disabilities in Russellville, Alabama. On March 25th, 2005, a witness claimed to see Yu Chin enter a small, older grey or silver car with a loud muffler. The car was headed toward the Decatur, Alabama area, which is where her son lives. Staff at the group home were informed that Yu Chin was gone, and within 15 minutes of her disappearance, the police were notified and a search for Yu Chin began. No trace of her was ever found. Her son, who lives in the Decatur area, was never contacted by his mother. There has been no mention of foul play, and authorities believe she could currently be homeless and living in shelters. At the time of this write up, she has been missing for almost twenty years and would be around 75 if still alive.
Barbara B. Blount - disappeared May 2nd, 2008 from Holden, Louisiana
Barbara B. Blount was a 58 year old widow who lived on the same road as her children, kept in regular contact with her family and friends, and was active in her local church. It came as a surprise one morning when her nephew came over to visit her residence in rural Livingston Parish, Louisiana, and Barbara was nowhere to be found. A neighbor had just spoken to her over the phone, and Barbara had said she was cleaning out her kitchen cabinets. By the time her nephew had arrived for a visit, the front door was wide open, Barbara's phone was lying on the floor with the battery pulled out, her car was gone, and Barbara was missing. Besides for the unusual circumstances in the home, police didn't find any proof of forced entry. A few hours later in the late afternoon, the silver four door 2006 Toyota Camry Barbara owned was found a quarter of a mile from her home. It was found 25-30 yards off the main road and out of sight, hidden by trees. No trace of Barbara was discovered, baffling friends and family who described Barbara as a cautious individual who carried a gun when she went outside to milk the cows and didn't open the door to strangers. Waterways and woods were searched in attempt to find Barbara, but nothing was ever found.
submitted by truedilemma to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 23:05 jcbanana Suit or stuff for née home...

So my bf has been asked to be a groomsman at his pals wedding. Which is nice. But it has now come through that the suit will cost £350.. we are buying out first home right now. We simply can not afford it. Especially when on the grooms stag do. He (the groom) gambled like 9k away.. if he can gamble that much surely he can pay for their suits....
Am I being unreasonable for not wanting my parter to spend that much on a suit. When we can't afford it. Because of our new home and mortgage, and that we have to fully decorate and furnish this house..
If he does it i will be mad that were cutting back on what we can afford in our new home.
If he doesn't he'll be mad at me for not wanting to spend so much on a suit and possibly missing the groomsman opportunity.. though we van still go to the wedding.
I also don't believe a different suit is an option the groom wants these specific ones.
What can I do help pls?
submitted by jcbanana to DisputeResolution [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:48 ThatOneKirbyMain2568 Top Monthly Suggestions for May 2023! June 2023's Theme Is "Ow, That's Hot!"

Top Monthly Suggestions for May 2023! June 2023's Theme Is

Your monthly reminder that, yes, there are suggestions that do get over 200 karma from the Minecraft community. Truly riveting, isn't it?

Alongside some announcements, this post showcases all of the suggestions from the past month that have achieved beyond 200 karma, as well as the 10 closest stragglers that were just shy of making the mark.
Our New Year's resolution (not really) is to actually do these things somewhat consistently. And, like all New Year's resolutions, this will last until mid-February at best.
I should be a fortune teller.
Salvete Redditores!
What's this? Unsolicited Latin? A monthly theme that nobody asked for? Could it be?
Yes, it can be. It is I, u/ThatOneKirbyMain2568, back from the deep, dark depths of moderator inactivity. It's a truly terrible place, cursed with perpetual laziness, subreddit lurking, and the occasional warden. But luckily, I've escaped and am ready to actually do something for 3 days tops, starting with a TMS report!

June 2023's theme is "Ow, That's Hot!"

Summer starts this month, so let's heat things up accordingly.
This month's theme is about all things hot. Anything is fair game, from the pretty hot stuff like fires and furnaces to the really hot stuff like lava and villagers. If there's a lot of heat involved, it fits.
This theme is pretty open-ended. You can do the obvious stuff like Nether mobs and fire variants, but you could also look at a new cooking workstation or a temperature system. Whatever new way you want to burn to death in Minecraft, make a post about it with the Monthly Theme flair!

Monthly Challenges

If you're planning on making a Monthly Theme post, try your hand at these challenges! There are 3 this month:
  1. Include an infographic in a post! [30 points per post; limit of 2 posts]
  2. Collaborate with and credit another user in a post! [20 points per post; limit of 2 posts]
  3. Get 15 karma on a post! [5 points per 15 karma on a post; limit of 100 points]
There are 200 points waiting for monthly aspirers. Good luck!

Steps to Participate

  • Your post must be in minecraftsuggestions.
  • Be sure to check the rules before you post. Check the FPS list, and make sure you aren't suggestion listing.
  • Make sure your post has the Monthly Theme flair.
  • Post between now and the next TMS report.
u/Emma_mxyz is the MVP of this month with their 500+ karma post on green fire, which also sports some amazing art! Very well done!
u/Chippy_the_Monk won January's (yes it was that long ago shut up) challenges with 70 points, courtesy of a post on a new type of wood.
In May, 16 suggestions got 200+ karma. Oddly low compared to the 45-ish it's been hovering around since November.
Behold, the breakdown!
These bands here really show how small of a number 16 is compared to usual. Very few posts got above the 200s this time around: 4 in May compared to 18 in April. Unlike April, though, one reached the 500s.
Oh, how the Mobs flair has fa—wait, I said that last time. But here, it's even worse, with Mobs having only a third of what Blocks & Items has. Fun fact: in April, Mobs was tied for 12th place instead of being in 2nd as usual.
Firstly, in case you somehow read through all of this before checking the title of the other pinned post, the subreddit will be locked from June 12 to 14. This is in protest of Reddit planning to lock its API behind absurd costs. Not only will this kill 3rd-party Reddit Apps, but it will also screw over the bot that compiles the top suggestions for us, meaning that TMS reports could become even rarer than they already are.
Secondly, since 2023 began (-_-), there have been a bunch of changes to the FPS and Rejected lists. Here they are in their post-removing glory:

FPS List Changes

We added a couple of common suggestions to the FPS list:
  • [Blocks] Added 'Re-adding roses and/or cyan roses'
  • [Gameplay Mechanics] Added 'Setting to change how often music is played, and/or which songs are played'
Additionally, we removed some things to reflect new 1.20 additions:
  • [Redstone] Removed 'Hoppers/droppers/dispensers/etc. working with Jukeboxes'
  • [User Interface/GUIs] Removed 'Edit signs after placing'
  • [World Generation] Replaced 'Cherry or Redwood Trees' with 'Redwood Trees'

Rejected List Changes

All of the Rejected list changes relate to 1.20:
  • [Mobs] Added 'Camels equipping chests or other storage. (source)'
  • [Vanity and Decoration] Added 'Armor trims give gameplay advantages. (Source)'
  • [Vanity and Decoration] Removed 'Trims or embellishments to Netherite armor. (source)'

Implemented List Changes

To the Implemented List, we added a few things we missed in prior updates:
  • [1.17] Added 'Item in shulker boxes are dropped when the shulker is destroyed [LINK]'
  • [1.19] Added 'Mob heads placed on note blocks cause the note blocks to make that mob's sound instead of a note [LINK]'
Let's take a look at some beautiful suggestions that made this month's TMS report!
Here are the 10 that were closest to 200 karma:
All TMS reports are catalogued on the subreddit's TMS Catalog Wikipage.
That's all, folks! See you in August 2025 for the next TMS report!
submitted by ThatOneKirbyMain2568 to minecraftsuggestions [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:42 cat_bakerz They’re out.

Please send help. Last week i flew out to Calgary to see my family for spring break. I hadn’t seen my parents or my twin sister in about seven months, so i decided id pay them a visit. It was also nearing our birthday, so i thought to buy her a gift.
“Good morning, sir! Where are you headed to today, and ill need to see your passport.” The CBP officer asked.
“Uh, here you go. Im headed to Calgary to visit my family on spring break…” I nervously tumbled around in my bag, searching for my passport.
“That sounds wonderful.” I handed her my passport. “Okay, seems good. Have a great break, sir.” She said, closing the small book and handing it back to me.
I thanked her and moved along into the airport. I decided to text my mom to see where she was.
“Hey. Im about to get off. You here?”
“Hi, Alec. Just about here. Pulling into the parking lot now. See you soon! ❤️”
“Okay, see you soon.”
I spin my head around looking around for a sight of my mothers dark brown hair. Even in her 60’s she never managed to grey. I found a few signs that were in big bold letters. “LEIGHA” one read. “SHAYLEE MOM MISSED YOU!! ❤️” another read.
Then, i saw a sign that a shorter, older lady was holding.
“WELCOME HOME ALEC !” I saw her bobbing up and down, trying to catch a sight of me.
“Mom!” I yelled, running up to her. “Alec!” She hugged me tight and showered me in kisses.
“I missed you so much! So did dad and Mila. They’re both waiting at home right now.”
My house in Calgary was about a ten minute walk away from the airport, so it made sense why the two didn’t come to get me. Id see them in no time, anyway.
We arrived at the house, and Mila opened the door almost immediately after we knocked.
“Alec! Oh my god, you’re back!” She hugged me tight and dad came in to say his greetings.
Dad was never a very verbal person, but today seemed different. Today he was very open and touchy.
“Alec, my boy! How have you been!?” He pat me on my back.
The first thing i noticed was that dad didn’t have his arm tattoo that he got with me a few years back. We got matching tattoos of race-cars on our left arms, symbolizing when we used to play cars all the time back in my childhood.
“Dad? Where’s your tattoo…?” I asked, unlocking from the tight hug Mila gave me.
His face seemed to gloom for a minute, then he was brought back.
“What are you talking about, Alecrisos?” He stopped himself as he called me by my full name. He seemed so distant from me. He had never EVER called me Alecrisos before.
“Uh…” Mom said, shoving me into the house. “Dad? what are you talking about?” Mila questioned him.
“Haha! Just playing around with my boy. The tattoo faded off my arm, thats all.” He smiled with his teeth. Dad never smiled with his teeth.
At supper, my mom made my favourite meal of soup and bread. But, when I ate it, i had a hard time stomaching the food. I remember thinking she must’ve just changed the recipe.
Then, when i went to bed on my bunk bed that i shared with Mila, I remember her turning her butterfly light off. She always had it on when she went to slee, and i always had to turn it off when she went because I couldnt sleep if it was on.
“Goodnight, Alec. I missed you. We all did.” She said.
I smiled and thought i must’ve just been too homesick, that i was imagining things. As i flipped over to face the wall, I managed to catch a glimpse of two red glowing eyes.
“Mila?! Did you see that?!” I panicked.
However, only muffled screams came back. It sounded like it was from under the bed.
“Jesus fucking christ, Mila! Where are you?!” I freaked out, jumping out of the bed and turning on the light to the room. However, when i did, Mila lay still on the bottom bunk, snoring away.
“Mila!” I said, confused. I turned the light back off, and the muffled screaming started again.
I didn’t sleep that night. I don’t think Mila did, either. Because I knew that underneath those covers, she was just as scared as I was. Or maybe Mila was underneath the bed. Maybe Mila was the one screaming. Because i know for a fact that Mila on the bed wasn’t Mila.
No. She wasn’t my twin. More of a distant cousin. Most of the night a constant clicking noise came from Milas bunk. Numerous messages came from my phone from Mila, reading;
I waited til the clicking stopped, and slowly got up from the top. I opened the door and crept down the stairs into the hallway, and then down the basement stairs.
Banging came from the door, and the handle rattled like crazy.
“LET US OUT YOU CRAZY BITCH-!” Mom screamed. “Mom? Mom- its me. It’s Alec.” Why are you in there?” I asked.
However, before i could reach an answer, other Mila walked up to me.
“Alec? Who are you talking to?” She stared at mw with glowing red eyes.
“Who are you…?” She pulled a wooden plank from behind her back, and stunned me with it.
Next thing I knew, I was in the basement, trapped just like the rest of my family. And so if you are reading this right now,
They’ve already gotten out.
submitted by cat_bakerz to scarystories [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:26 dorkasaurus12 ISO Little White Dress

Looking for a white dress that I could where to the rehearsal dinnebridal showe potentially the bachelorette. I’m open to a few different styles but curious if anyone has a dress like this they’re looking to get rid of.
submitted by dorkasaurus12 to weddingswap [link] [comments]

2023.06.04 22:06 martinontheline Failed my first OSCP EXAM attempt, but it wasn't too bad! - learn on my mistakes

Hello everyone, I just failed my first OSCP EXAM attempt and just wanted to share the experience with you and point out my mistakes so you can learn from them (and me too lol :))
Before OSCP I Completed all offsec lab machines and done about 20 HTB boxes (ippsec OSCP/AD playlist, completed about 20 boxes from PG grounds TJ_NULL list and also completed OSCP THM path and the buffer overflow room + some other boxes on tryhackme.
I scheduled my exam on Friday at 2 PM (now I know it was a mistake :) ) and I managed to PWN 2 standalone boxes (I guess that would be around 40 points). It took me 18 hours (it's crazy there was so many rabbits holes I wasted my time on as the machines were pretty tight and it was just a small thing I missed at the beginning that made me waste hours) Anyway I took some small breaks about 6pm and 8pm to eat and shower, then it went a bit easier with clear mind so I finished both machines about 8 am (I didn't sleep, I thought I can just crack OSCP in 24hours as I used to work night shifts in the past and spending long hours in front of the monitor is something I really got used to). However about 9 am unfortunately my body and mind got really tired, and I lost motivation to continue on the AD set I was just really feeling like going to sleep and doing a second attempt soon ( I guess it happened because I took my first OSCP attempt as a "training round" subconsciously and I was kinda prepared to fail it after reading a lot of articles where people were saying that It takes a lot of practice and attempts to pass that exam, however after I pwned 2 standalone boxes I was feeling like I would have passed it if I planned the day better, especially because I spent last 2 weeks doing a lot of AD boxes and felt really comfortable about i.
The mistakes that I've done are: - I haven't prepared any healthy food for the day (ordered delivery at about 6 pm and only had some snacks later, during the night I was really hungry as I didn't prepare any food and it made me really deconcentrated
So basically I'm going for a week's holiday with my gf to Spain now and I'm planning to try OSCP after I come back so my body will be well-rested and I will be mentally prepared for the next round.
I wanted to ask you what the best way to improve privilege escalation on Linux (I feel like I was struggling on this, I got reverse shell in 1 hour however PE made me stuck for another 10 hours + I went through LinPEAS/suggesters all lines output and everything selectively however I still couldn't see what should I do ( I had no write permission to any file, no sudo access and also wasted a lot of time trying exploits and compiling them on different VMs (GCC WASNT INSTALLED ON TARGET) only to realise that I missed little small thing at the beginning. Also, what do you do when there is no GCC on the victim machine? Does this usually mean that kernel exploits are not the way and it's a rabbit hole? Let me know your opinion. Name the best boxes on PG/HTB if you got recommendations, please.
How do you improve your SQL injection skills? I feel like I faced a lot of static HTML pages, and weird pages without .php or any other backend extensions, but they happened to have web forms that probably could have been exploited somehow but I couldn't find any attack vectors on them, and in the end, made me confused if they were just rabbit holes.
Do you recommend any short-paid courses to improve burp/web penetration testing?
Is there any good app to make a map of your whole operation? ( I use mainly CherryTree for taking notes it's brilliant but sometimes I would like to put the notes/screenshots from CherryTree on a wide map - type of board space.
I hope I didn't spoil anything about the Offsec Exam itself! Thank you everyone for your feedback and answers!
P.S SORRy for bad structure - freestyling this article on the go as I got limited time!
Thank you! M
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2023.06.04 21:51 NamelessNanashi [The Gods of Dragons: Beginning] Ch 16 - Aftermath Part 2/2

--- Table of Contents ---
--- Part 1/2 ---
When Shon woke again, it was to be told he'd slept, not only the rest of the day and night of the incident, but the entire day after as well. Despite the Cleric assuring Shon that this was normal, he still had Shon eat breakfast in the infirmary while the Squires attended their morning lessons. He'd slept through drills, breakfast, and prayer.
The Cleric kept the curtains drawn over the window, though Shon's head wasn't pounding anymore, and had added a second set of standing curtains around the girl's bed. Shon's eyes flicked in her direction with every alternate bite he managed to force down, but there was no movement beyond the white cloth.
Master Daunas came in shortly before tenth bell and armor practice to inform Shon that he was to take the day off to rest but could rejoin the others in training the following day. He was at least allowed to leave the infirmary, though he waited until he could hear sparring outside before he did. He didn't want to run into any of the Squires.
As he opened the door to leave something flew by the window, catching Shon's attention enough to make him stop and look over. But it was already long gone. Just a bird... Assuming he hadn't imagined it. He shook his head, still aching all over. His mind swam with worries and memories, made worse by the fact that the Cleric was trying to hide shivers now that Shon was fully rested. He'd probably just imagined it...
Back in his room Shon huddled over his journal. He could still smell the smoke in his hair and had decided it would be best to shower soon, but finally alone, his thoughts and memories could no longer be ignored.
So he drew. He tried to start safe. Nangran atop his borrowed horse; Ivelm mostly naked and shaking a club in his doorway; the Archmage's workroom lined in shelves filled with magical components. That one had taken a while. But as he released these images onto the page, others forced themselves forward. Smoke billowing over treetops; a burning tower; charred bodies; and a girl reaching out through the flames. A girl lying asleep in the bed next to his. The stillness of the picture made her look dead.
He dropped his pencil, letting it roll right off the desk. Crossing his arms over the book, he rested his head on his desk. The wood felt warm compared to his skin, comforting. What more could he have done? What could a Paladin have done? Or Master Veon-Zih? Shon saw again the bodies and shivered.
No one could save everyone. To think otherwise was pure arrogance. But knowing the facts and feeling them were two very different things. The tower wasn’t that far from Hamerfoss. Shouldn’t they have known something was going on? Shouldn’t they have been able to do something sooner? Years sooner? Long before the fire killed those people?
A loud tapping startled him awake. When had he fallen asleep? Shon searched his room in confusion, trying to piece together his dream and what had awoken him. He'd been in the Temple chapel, but as he'd walked down the middle aisle, the pews had started to decay, the stone walls crumbling. Small plants, then trees began to sprout from the ground, overgrowing the once-holy place now in ruin. Shon pressed the heels of his hands hard into his eyes, trying to remember what had come next... A man with white hair pulled back in a ponytail had been standing at the head altar... something with leathery wings on his shoulder...
The painful screech of something sharp on glass had Shon jumping up, his chair falling to clatter on the ground behind him. He looked to his window but saw only orange sky beyond. Was the sun already setting? He knelt on the mattress and looked out the window, unsure what he expected to see. He was on the third floor, but that was definitely where the sound had come from, and the window was the only glass in the room.
Nothing but open sky.
He opened the tiny window, the pane swinging up and letting in cold and refreshing air that helped clear his mind. Master Daunas's voice bellowed orders from the courtyard below, and Shon stuck his head out to look down and see his fellows working through their dagger forms. He'd slept through lunch and afternoon lessons. And he still needed a shower.
If he hurried, he would be able to shower before the others finished their lesson. Shon left the window open and even opened his door before he remembered to grab a fresh uniform. Obviously, he still wasn't thinking clearly.
The halls were blissfully empty, and Shon could almost pretend that even if he did pass someone, their breath wouldn't show in the air. It was a short-lived fantasy, however. He managed to make it all the way to the showers, but when he opened the door a voice called, "Squire! Why aren't you... Oh..." Shon performed a sharp about face to stand at attention before the Major General.
"At ease, Squire Shon," Selibra sighed, waving him down, "Did you get enough rest?"
"Yes, Sir," Shon answered but then caught movement out of the corner of his eye, again. He hadn't managed to turn his head far enough to see before the Major General started speaking. Shon snapped his head back to give the officer his undivided attention.
"You did well, Squire. Smith Nangran told us what happened at the tower." Sir Selibra managed a strained smile that faded quickly, "If you want to talk about what you saw there... any one of us will be more than willing to listen. You shouldn't have had to experience death so soon." an image of an arm pulling away from a charred corpse flashed in Shon's vision.
Shon swallowed down the accompanying nausea at the memory and managed a nod, adding a quiet "Thank you, Sir." for good measure.
Feeling the need to scrub even more than before, Shon was grateful when the Major General left, allowing him to enter the still-open room. The shower was only mildly comforting, however. What should have been scalding water felt merely lukewarm now, the mist billowing off his truly icy skin thick enough that he could barely see the spigots. Closing his eyes, he scrubbed and tried to imagine the images flowing off of him with the filth...
Something chirped, and Shon slammed the water off. Just the pipes creaking... How much longer would he have to rest before his mind stopped playing tricks on him? But as he moved for his towel, Shon stopped in shock, his new uniform had been scattered around the benches and floor.
He hadn't heard the door open, but had heard the pipes creaking? But who here would even do something like this? Shon started to search the showers, but as he did, he heard something else—voices in the hall. The Squires were done with their practice. He still didn't want to see them and dressed quickly, rushing from the shower and slamming the door behind him.
Something thumped into the door from the other side. Shon held his breath and turned slowly. It was his imagination. It had to be. He reached for the handle again and, standing behind the swing, opened the shower slowly.
"He's been gone three days... Do you think they sent him away?" Thom's voice sounded from around a corner, and Shon jumped in surprise, pulling the door open fully as if he could hide behind it.
"No way. he's the best Squire we have, so what if he's a Sorcerer." They were talking about him... Shon definitely didn't want to see them yet. He dashed down the opposite way, taking a long way around through the Paladin's barracks and back to his room. Or that's what he'd planned before he remembered the Squires hall would be full of people now taking their break and trying to get into the shower before everyone else. His feet faltered, and he turned away again, to one of the hardly used stairs that would take him down to the rest of the fortress.
Barred from his room, Shon made his way to the place he associated the most with comfort, the chapel. It wasn't empty, three Paladins knelt in prayer near the front, but it didn't matter anymore. He felt a wash of calm as he entered the incense-filled room, the sweet-smelling smoke finally banishing the stench of burning hair from his memory.
Shon took a spot near the back, kneeling to pray as he stared up at the statue of Hengist behind the altar. He was dressed in full plate mail, his arm raised in triumph, holding his mighty sword, Darkspliter.
Shon sighed and felt himself smile for what felt like the first time in a very long time. He could tell Hengist anything and everything, and none of it out loud... But then his smile faded. What would he say...?
I'm sorry. I feel like I've been lying to everyone, to you. I've known there was something different about me, something wrong with me. That's why no one likes to touch me, why everyone pulls away at the feel of my skin, like it's somehow dirty or painful. I should've realized... Should have known...
But I worked so hard... You know that, don't you? And I'm not ready to give up. I'll do whatever it takes, atone anyway I can if you just tell me how. The Major General said something about it being a sign. I want to believe he meant the unlikely convenience of Smith Nangran knowing an Archmage who could make an item so I won't have to get the tattoo. Thank you. I just hope I don't disappoint after getting a second chance...
The bell for dinner sounded. Feeling better, Shon considered going with the Paladins as they left the chapel. Until one of them shivered as they passed. "Winters right around the corner," another muttered.
"We'll need to install the heating orbs soon." the last answered before the door closed... He wasn't hungry anyway.
Please, Hengist. Don't let me hurt anyone else. Kefir was trying to help me, and I answered that kindness with pain. What if the healers hadn't gotten to him in time? Would I have smothered him in ice? Please, I'll give up everything if it means that will never happen again...
But he didn't want to give up anything. He wanted to fight, to reach his highest potential, and lead a life of meaning. He thought of Master Veon-Zih. The Monk had told him that he didn't need to be a Paladin to fight for justice, and he was living proof of that. But...
I don't want to be alone... At first, I thought I just wanted you, a god, as a guiding light in my life. But now I realize that being a Paladin gives me even more than that. It gives me brothers and friends, and I don't want to lose them either. But I especially don't want to hurt them.
Shon clenched his hands tighter, as tight as he could, digging his fingers into the spaces between his knuckles; as if external pain might dull internal strife...
They say I'm scary... And I know they aren't really joking. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their nervous laughs when they try and make it a joke. But they only mean when they fight me... don't they? And I'll never try to hurt them. It's only sparring... they know that... don't they?
He squeezed his eyes tighter shut,
But what about now? Will they be even more afraid? Even when we aren't sparring? Can I blame them if they are?
He actually found himself waiting for an answer... Of course, none came. He wasn't a Paladin yet, and wouldn't be able to feel the god until he swore his Oath and took a piece of Hengist into himself. For now, Shon took in a deep breath, as deep as he could, then let it out slowly, relaxing his hands and face as he attempted to release his anxieties unto his god.
I won't give up. I'll fight this danger within me as hard as I will fight any threat without. I ask for your help with this. Please don't give up on me yet. I'll prove I'm worthy, I swear.
The bell ending dinner and starting study time sounded. Shon stayed in the chapel until a handful of Squires came in to pray themselves. They hesitated by the door, but Shon didn't look at them. He knew he couldn't hide forever. But he also wasn't sure what he should say to any of them. Or if he should say anything at all. Shon waited until they moved away from the door to finally stand. If he had to face any of them, he wanted it to be the ones he considered friends first.
Shon left the chapel and made his way to the library, fighting the urge to just go back to his room. Heads swiveled in his direction the moment he opened the library door. Shon flinched, sucking in a sharp breath and holding it, pulling his energy in as best he could.
He stepped in, and the Squires exchanged looks, but then the Paladin on library duty coughed, and they quickly went back to reading.
His typical spot was available as usual, so Shon made his way there. The others would want to talk after... and if not, he would just go back to his room. Distracted by his continued worries -and the silent effort to hold his energy in- Shon still heard when something behind him hissed along the stone.
He spun quickly, scanning the floor. This time he definitely wasn't imagining it...
"Squire Shon... Shouldn't you be resting?" He turned back to find the Squires trying to make it seem like they weren't staring at him, while the Paladin who called looked openly concerned.
Shon's cheeks flushed, now feeling cool rather than warm. Another change... He cleared his throat, "No, Sir..." and when the Paladin's worried expression didn't let up, Shon added, "I've been resting all day."
"Three days..." Zihler muttered.
Shon met his eyes and the Squire smiled, but Shon couldn't tell if the expression seemed strained or not. He nodded anyway, taking his seat alone at the table by the window.
Books on their current subject of study were already laid out, and he pulled one forward, opening it without checking the title. As he read, he could hear the others occasionally whisper and even caught snippets of what they were saying,
"I found another one. Do you think this will be enough?" Thom asked.
"We have the rest of the hour; we should find all we can," Rerves answered. It didn't sound like they were studying, but Shon had missed three days of lessons; maybe they were working on an assignment... He went back to his reading. He would get any missed work tomorrow.
When the bell rang that would finally begin their last hour of free time, Shon closed his book. It would be best to just go to bed early; everyone seemed to think he should be resting anyway; they could talk after he got the sealing item... But he hadn't stood yet when his six closest friends jumped up, books in hand, and crowded around him, preventing him from leaving. From running away.
"We're glad you're okay." Rehlien blurted out.
"The Major General told us what happened," Baradin added.
Shon looked from him to Kefir and took in a sharp breath, "I'm..." he started to apologize, but Kefir interrupted with a broad smile,
"I'm fine. I even got a day off for it. I didn't need it though, they healed me up right away."
Rerves placed his book down on Shon's table, "It was just really surprising, you know? But hey! Now we know why you're so cold all the time."
Shon looked down at the massive tome on the table, not wanting to meet their eyes. He didn't know what to make of what they were saying. There was no way it was okay. How could they be alright with a dangerous magic user that could kill them all on accident...
"We found these. We thought they might make you feel a little better," Thom whispered, stacking his book on top of Rerves' and opening it to a page he'd marked with a ripped piece of scrap paper. It wasn't a textbook, it was a record book. Shon furrowed his brows down at the page, reading 'Sir Patrich, served 4876-4929, died 4955. Paladin of Hengist, General. Air Sorcerer...'
Shon looked up to find them all smiling down at him. Zihler set his book down over Thom's, opened to another personal record, "This one was a fire Sorcerer, and they're supposed to be the most destructive."
Rehlien took Baradin and Kefir's books and stacked them with his own beside the open records. He ran his fingers over the slew of bookmarks sticking out of the closed pages, "All Sorcerers and Paladins." Rehlien said.
"Master Daunas said you would be back in a few days, but just in case we wanted to find these for you," Thom explained in a rush, "You know... in case the officers or Mages needed to be convinced..."
Baradin cleared his throat before he spoke, clasping his hands behind his back, "We haven't found any ice Sorcerers yet, but they're also the rarest, so that really shouldn't be surprising."
"Yeah, and there are plenty of fire who are crazy dangerous even when they're trained," Kefir added quickly.
Shon could feel a burning in his eyes and blinked furiously, looking away from his friends. He wouldn't cry.. he wouldn't. "Thank you..." he managed to croak out, finally giving in and rubbing his eyes. None of them commented on his show of emotion, or the frost clouding his window.
Rerves took the seat across from him with a smile, "So, what type of familiar do you think you'll get?"
Shon managed to stop blinking enough to arch an eyebrow. Hadn't Ivelm said something about a familiar too?
"I bet you it'll be something really lame." Zihler laughed, "To balance Shon's badassness."
"Squire!" the Paladin librarian barked, "Pushups! Now!"
Zihler groaned, mumbling as he stepped back to perform the punishment, "How do they always do that?"
"Divine hearing," Rehlien snickered as Zihler started the pushups, "Probably only works for curses, though."
"You can join him," the Paladin called without looking up from his book, and Rehlien groaned, dropping down next to Zihler.
"Seriously though," Rerves said, ignoring the boys huffing and puffing through their punishment, "Familiars are animals, they're supposed to be even closer to their Sorcerer than a Paladin and their mount! Like an extension of yourself. You can see through their eyes and talk to them with your mind. It's awesome!"
Thom actually blushed, confessing, "We read up on it a bit over the last two days..."
They knew more about what he was than he did. Shon actually smiled, starting, "I don't..." but chittering, like a particularly loud squirrel, interrupted him. The Squires all swiveled their heads to look around, Rehlien and Zihler jumping to their feet with the Paladin, who stood so quickly his chair fell over. The chittering turned to chirping, and then to a purr, as Shon finally found what was making the noise.
On top of the bookshelf closest to the door, sat a tiny dragon.
The size of a large barn cat, its scales were mostly brown but had streaks and blotches of red and orange, like the few deciduous trees that still held their leaves in autumn. Its leathery wings were folded against its back and its front claws grasped the edge of the bookshelf. Its long tail, complete with a scorpion-like stinger, flicked back and forth, its sinuous neck held high as it surveyed the library.
Some of the Squires let slip breaths of wonder, and the little dragon seemed to preen at the attention, holding its head a little higher and purring even louder. The Paladin, however, stepped around his desk and commanded, "Stay back, Squires," before he started chanting. The little dragon tilted its head at the Paladin, as curious as the rest of them. A moment later, the knight's spell washed over them to fill the room, sending a shiver down Shon's spine and making more than one of the other Squires shudder.
The little dragon let out another string of chittering and hissed down at the Paladin, whose eyes went wide as he announced in a breath, "It's real."
"How did it get in?" a senior Squire asked. Shon started to stand but then fell back again as images flooded into his mind. He watched a window opening from outside the fortress, and saw himself lean out. Then the image shifted, and he saw himself digging under his bed for a new uniform and towel as the him that was watching slipped out the door. It shifted again, and he saw himself in the shower, mist billowing off his shoulders before he dug through the piles of clothes left on the bench. It shifted again, and he darted into the library and behind the bookshelf, watching as he, Shon, walked in and sat down at the little table.
Shon blinked and shook his head furiously to try and clear it. All the pictures had flooded in so fast that no one even had time to answer the question or pose their own, "I let it in..." Shon whispered, then looked at the Paladin, explaining quickly, "I didn't mean to. I left my window open to air out my room and..."
"It's okay, Squire," the Paladin was actually smiling, and the little dragon whistled, "They're goodly creatures, though elusive. I've never seen a live one." the dragon leaned forward on the bookshelf, crouching down on its front claws and wiggling its hindquarters before it leaped into the air, opening its wings to spread as wide as it was long. It glided a lap around the library then hovered in front of the Paladin, chittering again and flapping hard enough to blow the man's short hair back before flying right towards the group of Squires around Shon.
It brushed Baradin's head with its claws, the boy ducking as it swooped down to land on Shon's table. The dragon looked from the open books to Shon, then, before Shon could pull back, climbed up his arm and to his shoulder, purring hard enough to vibrate Shon too. It weighed considerably less than it looked like it should, though its claws were sharp enough to pierce through his clothes as it climbed. It brought its face right up to Shon's eye, and though he tried to pull away, it followed him with its long neck, rubbing its cheek along his face. The scales were smooth and lacked temperature, like being touched by a gloved hand. It nuzzled his cheek again, then down his neck and into his shirt.
Surprised, Shon tried to throw the dragon off, but it just dug its claws into his sleeves, chittering angrily then clawing its way around to his back before lifting itself up to drape over his head. "What..." Shon started, but the Paladin cut him off with a laugh.
"I think that answers your friends' questions, Squire."
Shon was too confused to even arch an eyebrow at the man, but Rerves apparently understood what he'd meant because he said, "But I thought only animals could be familiars, like cats and crows and stuff..."
The Paladin nodded but then shrugged, "That's usually the case, but sometimes, rarely, there will be a Sorcerer who gets something a bit more special, like a winged serpent, fairy dragon, or in this case," he nodded at Shon, "A pseudodragon."
The pseudodragon purred, vibrating Shon's head. The Squires all gaped slack-jawed in awe at it, and Shon reached up slowly. He wasn't even sure what he was going to do, pet it? Push it off? But before he'd even touched it, it lifted its head, stretching its long neck out and nuzzling into his hand, obviously not caring that his skin was colder now than it had ever been.
"Damn..." Zihler muttered in obvious disappointment, "I was really hoping it would be a toad so I would have something to make fun of..."
The little dragon's answering twitter almost sounded like a laugh.
She groaned, rolling over and nuzzling deeper into Her pillow. Except it didn’t smell like Her pillow. Her eyes flew open, and She sat up. Then fell back down. That was stupid. Ran and Brom had probably taken more blood than usual again… except She couldn’t remember them taking Her for samples. Not for weeks and weeks…
“It’s alright, you’re safe here,” the kindly voice of a man spoke from Her right, and She sat up again, more slowly this time. A stranger in white robes with a sword embroidered on the chest reached out to help Her up, but after touching Her back he pulled sharply away.
She was too confused to apologize for burning him. “Where?” She asked, looking around the room. Like the stranger, it was covered in white. White blankets, white rug, and white curtains hanging to either side of an open window. A window that looked out onto a blue sky. She gasped, scrambling from the bed and nearly tripping over Her white gown. Of course it was white. How in all the hells did they keep it all clean?
She shook Her head and rushed for the window. The man behind Her gasped, his chair scraping loudly as he stood to follow. She pressed Her hands on the cold glass, staring up into the sky, “I’m on an upper floor!?” She grinned excitedly over Her shoulder as the stranger stared at Her, mouth hanging open.
Turning back to the window, She used Her arm to wipe the fog from Her heat off the glass, letting Her gaze trail down. She didn’t see the treetops She expected. Not close anyway. Instead, the forest was beyond a wide clear field, which in turn was beyond a tall stone wall with people dressed in silver walking along its top. She stood on Her toes to look down through the window. Between the wall and Her was a courtyard full of more people swinging things that glinted in the sun.
This wasn’t the tower. None of those people wore robes except the nice stranger. She spun to him, “My treasures, where are they? Brom? Ran? Where…” She saw a flash of red, heard a pained bark, and smelled iron. She fell to Her knees, grasping Her chest and breathing hard, remembering bits and pieces. He killed them. He killed all of them. Then what? She couldn’t remember...
“You are in a training facility of the Temple of Hengist, Hamerfoss, in Clearhelm.” a new voice, deeper, less kind though not cruel, spoke from the doorway. Lifting Her head, She saw the new man wearing a crisp, white, uniform, with a sword hanging comfortably from his belt. Hengist… so that explained all the white.
The kind man in robes had rushed to Her but dared not touch Her. Wise. With Her head spinning so fast, there was no way She was controlling Her heat properly. “How long has she been awake?” the new man asked the kind one.
“She just woke up, Major General,”
“He killed them…” She whispered, squeezing Her eyes shut, pushing back the rage and sorrow, trying to fill in Her memory. What happened next?
“It will be alright. You're safe here,” the kind man said again.
She pulled Her own hair, lacing Her fingers into the golden strands and squeezing. What had happened? She had run down the hall, but how had She gotten out of Her room? There were strangers in Her tower. These men? She glared up at the brown-haired man who looked down at Her, his hands behind his back.
“Who are you? What did you do to the Mages?” She could feel the hair rise on the back of Her neck and a familiar tingling where the collar should be.
The Major General remained calm before Her building fury, saying only, “Calm down.” It was a command backed by magic. She felt the power flow over Her and try to settle on Her mind. She could almost sense the peace it promised but shook Her head, clearing it of the spell.
He could've used his magic to hurt Her. Perhaps not with the collar as the Archmages did, but in other ways. And yet, he hadn’t moved from his spot, his hands still behind his back. She looked again at the sword of Hengist at his side. She'd read all about the gods. Hengist was good and noble, all about self-sacrifice and protecting the weak… A fool, the Mages had said. And yet his Temple ruled this province. The Mages of Her tower would never work with the Temple of Hengist. Or any kingdom order…
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She didn’t need his help to calm down, not when She had something to focus on. She shoved Her grief to the back of Her mind. “How did I get here?” another image flashed in Her mind, fire all around, a white path, blue eyes.
The Paladin didn’t answer right away; instead, he motioned for the robed man - a Cleric? - to bring him a chair. She tilted Her head curiously at him, but he only sat down with a weary sigh, then gestured towards the bed, “Please, have a seat.”
She stood, returning to the bed and eyeing the door over his shoulder. He hadn’t locked it. “We saw smoke from the woods and found you in a burning tower.” the blood drained from Her face, “We have recovered several bodies from around the structure, but there were no other survivors.” he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and fixing Her with a piercing stare, “What happened? What was going on in that tower?”
She brought Her feet onto the bed and hugged Her legs tight, “I don’t… I can’t remember…” a fire, the tower burning… But it was made of stone. Her fire couldn’t burn that hot… Could it?
“Sir Selibra,” the kindly Cleric sounded stern, crossing his arms and glaring down at the Paladin, “She has just woken up from what was obviously a terrible ordeal. Show some compassion.”
The Paladin, Selibra, actually looked ashamed, leaning back in his chair and clearing his throat, “I apologize, miss…” he drew out the last word, looking at Her expectantly. She tilted Her head. “What is your name?” he asked more clearly. She tilted Her head the other way. Were they going to play that game here too?
The Cleric hummed then said, “Please forgive him, miss, we are all very troubled by the events and deaths at the tower. The Major General merely got ahead of himself. If you could tell us your name, then we can let you rest and…”
“I don’t have a name.”
The two men blinked dumbly at Her, and She rolled Her eyes, “I knnnooowww,” She let Her legs fall back down, so She was sitting properly again, “But I don’t know it yet. As soon as I do, I'll tell you.” She assured them. The men exchanged looks as She glanced again out the window. Maybe She should've just told them what Brom and Ran called Her… But those weren’t names. They were descriptors. No better than ‘Firewyrm.’
If these Temple men were to be believed, everything was gone. She had no room, no books, no clothes, no treasures, and no name. What did She have? She pulled Her hair over Her shoulder and stared out the window as She stroked it. She had Her hair. They hadn’t cut it in months. She had Her body. She straightened Her posture, holding Her head high. And She had Her power—the fire crackling deep inside Her soul. The Mages had taken the first two. The third had destroyed them.
“You should rest,” Selibra stood, and Her eyes snapped back to him, “You can send for me when you feel ready to talk. Until then, focus on recovering your strength and your memories.”
He made it all the way to the door, even swung it open before She called out, “What are you going to do to me?”
Selibra turned back, his eyebrows raised in surprise. The Cleric placed a hand on Her shoulder, slowly and carefully, gauging how much of Her heat he could handle. She turned to him, and he let Her go. He'd held on longer than expected. “We will keep you safe, child.” the Cleric assured Her.
The Paladin grew stiff for a moment, then brought his right fist up to his chest, “By the sword of Hengist’s honor, we will safeguard your life and freedom,” Freedom? “Whatever injustices you endured there, you will find justice in the laws of Clearhelm.” She didn’t know what to say, and so, after an awkward moment of silence, Selibra turned for the door again and left.
She didn’t lay down. Instead, She walked back to the window. The view seemed to stretch on forever from so high up, higher than She'd ever remembered being before. Even when She used to climb the trees around Her tower.
Selibra hadn’t locked the door, but the Cleric bustled around behind Her, and the wall below Her clanked with armored knights. What was freedom anyway?
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Thanks for making it this far, you are the real MVP
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2023.06.04 21:33 Vegetable-End-1272 Selecting bridesmaids

Literally losing sleep over this. How do you pick between friends for bridesmaids?? It feels very MySpace top 8.
Here’s the situation: My (28f) fiancé (29m) and I just got engaged and are discussing wedding party. He has selected 9 solid groomsmen, including my one brother, which is super important to me.
I have 6 very solid picks, and then 5 people I am stuck between for the last 3 slots. I’d like the bridal party to be even with his 9 groomsmen.
The last 5 I’m deciding between I’d say I’m friends on equal footing with all of them. But deciding between length of friendship/depth of friendship/how often we communicate literally feels like punishment. Any help deciding between is very appreciated! I know how dumb it is to lose sleep over this and consult strangers on the internet but I literally am at a loss with how to choose:
Friend 1: close college friend, we lived together for 1 year post college. I was her MOH 2 years ago. She also had a matron of honor who she is much closer with ( I was in matrons wedding too) but definitely felt like a second class citizen in her wedding, and in the last two years our friendship has really suffered. I basically got tired of feeling like a third wheel with them and eventually the group text went silent. They hang out all the time and I have spent extensive hours in therapy talking about how this friendship triangle has hurt me. I don’t think F1 committed this hurt intentionally, I think she’s just kind of aloof and not very emotionally mature. But I was her MOH and would be very sad to not include her.
Friend 2: close college friend, we worked together in college. She lives out of state and I’ve traveled to visit her a few times. I have a great relationship with her family and even though our lives have gone different directions I still consider her a good close friend. Fiancé has had limited interaction with her and doesn’t understand why she’s in the running since I don’t see her often but is supportive of any choice I make.
Friend 3: very best friend from highschool. Went different places for undergrad, pretty limited catch ups in the years following, but have pretty well reconnected in the past 2-3 years (she lives out of state and helped fiancé with engagement planning) This is a solid person who I don’t think would care either way, but I feel like she’s a good old friend who I’ll keep in touch with long term. Her and her partner have been together 10+ years and aren’t really interested in wedding/marriage so definitely more sane and laid back in terms of this whole process
Friend 4: newer friend, met through mutual friends. We talk almost every day because she’s constantly sending me memes, texts, is just great at being involved and keeping up. I definitely consider her a close friend but she lives out of state, doesn’t understand the southern sorority sister pressure/wedding bridesmaid pipeline. I do worry that her personality would clash with a lot of the party and I don’t think she’s as familiar with how these events go, showers etc and having to interact with my extended family. However I think she’d be really really hurt to not be included as I think I would be on her shortlist.
And finally friend 5: Good high school friend, I was in her wedding 4 years ago, we don’t talk often but still consider her very close friend. I think she would also be really hurt not to be included but she has a young daughter that I think I could absolutely include as a flower girl (so she would be included this way, instead of being a bridesmaid. )But is that enough to appease our friendship?
Like I said I’m totally lost with how to proceed but I need to ask these people soon. Please be kind, I know I can’t please everyone here but I do want to be considerate about these friendship relationships.
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2023.06.04 21:28 kata389 Prepping for Baby

This maybe belongs in the other sub but I just need to vent for a moment.
I am 6 months pregnant and graduated with my MBA 2 weeks ago. The Friday before graduation I started to feel sick but chalked it up to allergies/ the vocal cord dysfunction I got diagnosed with since becoming pregnant.
My MIL came up for my graduation and offered to help clean up a bit. I thought that they would maybe put some things away for the two hours while I got my hair done and then she would go out to do something fun with DH. While I was getting my hair done, they went shopping and bought some baby items as a graduation gift for me(slightly sad the baby isn’t even here yet and my achievements aren’t mine already lol). They got to my house right before I got back home.
Upon seeing our house wasn’t spotless she turned into a maniac and I asked multiple times if they could just leave and do something together.
Since I was not feeling the best, I tried my hardest to clean too while taking care of our dogs but I’m sure it wasn’t enough. My husband mowed the yard and I was stuck inside with all her comments. She made comments about our pets, our floors, everything. She had the nerve to ask why I even married DH if I knew this would be the mess. I didn’t say anything like that and found it to be a very rude question.
She stayed at our home until 1am(the night before graduation), cleaning and said she’d be back the morning after. The next morning I had absolutely no voice, but was still thinking it was allergies. I stayed in bed and DH worked with his mom. I couldn’t take anymore comments. When she was leaving she told me she’d be back after graduation to continue cleaning and I responded (in my sick voice) “I’d prefer if you didn’t but thank you so much for everything you did!”
She was so freaking petty after that. She didn’t want to hang out with her son before she left and she took the gift 4 hours home with her. She didn’t tell us she took it either. She also threw away all the warranties I had for appliances that was on the dining room table and threw away a card insert I had for the shower and had to order more of.
It took me two weeks to get DH to text his mom and ask about the missing gift because he didn’t want her to think we lost it. When he finally confronted her about it, she said she didn’t want it to be lost. If that were true and she wasn’t being a petty asshole, she would have told us.
I told DH, and he agrees, she is not allowed back into our home. He can do fun things with her the weekend of the shower and when the baby is born they can meet outside of our home. The judgement and pettiness is not something I’m willing to put up with.
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2023.06.04 21:21 lovingheadbutts I resent my partner's new puppy

I (29F) started dating my partner (30M) about 3 months ago and we fell for each other quickly, he is very loving and kind and the healthiest person that has come into my life for a long time. Before we started dating I had planned to adopt a cat from a local shelter, as I have struggled a lot with mental health issues, causing me to leave my jb and take a pay cut to become a freelancer, as I didnt even have the energy to get out of bed and shower some days. As I love cats and have owned a cat previously I thought caring for a fur baby would make both myself and the furball happy - me providing a loving home and cuddles to a kitty and them giving me a reason to get up and feel happier everyday as I get to take care of and bond with an animal.
So, 3 weeks ago I brought home the cutest grey and white 1.5yr old tomcat who was previously a streetcat and we instantly bonded and loved spending time with each other, with him giving affectionate headbutts and sitting on everyone he met to demand hugs. My partner was also there with him from Day 1 as he helped me pick him up from the shelter and loves animals as much as I do - so he obviously got a lot of cuddles and love from both of us.
However, after about 2 weeks at mine he got into a fight with another cat resulting in an injured paw, which I quickly took him to the vets for and was treated - although he wasn't happy about wearing the cone of shame and had to be continuously monitored, meaning I had to miss a family friends wedding, which I got flack for. On the Monday though, he looked very lethargic and violently threw up despite his medication so I rushed him in again to the vet the next day but he now had a major bladder blockage and was rushed into surgery. After a few days, they said the damage to his Kidneys was too severe and had to be put down - a complete shock as he was so young and I'd only had him for less than a month. I was devastated and lost my goddamn mind, with me having to say goodbye to him 3 days ago with my partner by my side, both of us crying and making sure he knew he was loved and cuddled until he passed. I also had to pay over 2k in treatment and cremation costs right after he was gone, which felt like a gut punch as not only had I lost my furry best friend but it also drained my savings which I needed as I search for a more stable job - wrecking my mental health again.
Now, my partner tells me he has decided to adopt a puppy from his two friends who had a surprise litter, after being persuaded by them and also being a huge animal lover like myself. Although I am so happy for him as I know they'll find such joy in living together and forming the best bond ever, a horrible side of me is very angry and sad that my partner is now going to get to have the relationship with his fur baby that I never got to have with mine and I feel so desperately sad and guilty at these thoughts. I am going to be totally supportive but in the back of my mind I have a horrible pang of anger, jealousy and sadness which I wish wouldn't be there as I only want them both to find the loving bond I did with my adorable kitty. I thought I'd post here as I've never been good at processing grief and thought it'd help to write it out, as I want to be as supportive as possible and don't want to put an emotional burden onto his happy time by fully unloading.
Thanks for reading as I know this was long and I wish everyone and their pets a long and happy time together <3
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2023.06.04 21:21 Prestigious-Reveal13 Rgb vs neoxpixel question

Hi guys, sorry if this a common question! Looking at finally buying a lightsaber and one for the Mrs son too (he's 10) I was looking at neopixel as I've read they're brighter and ignite from base to tip which definitely looks better! But Looking at the q&a on this Community I've seen the battery life is terrible compared to rgb - Q- for someone not interested in messing about with sound fonts etc, is it worth the extra £ for a neopixel with the better ignition or are rgb sabers the way to go?
(If im missing any other benefits of the neopixel please educate me!)
Sorry for the long post, thankyou!
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