2017.06.10 02:25 DealsPoster Monster Hunter: World
2020.09.17 10:12 after-life Monster Hunter: Rise
2023.03.30 00:38 DaniGrovyle How Dess disappeared (and how it can explain all of Deltarune)
2023.03.30 00:33 Comprehensive_Dog918 [Online][D&D5E][Any day of the week][1:00 pm GMT+2][Homebrew][Mysteries of the Four Lands][One session every other week][First sessions free][$15/session]
2023.03.30 00:20 No-Guidance-6919 Is something wrong with me?
2023.03.30 00:16 Acid_Traffik Karma finally makes it’s way back around.
2023.03.30 00:03 Kal_El98 Question about psychic protection and WLP (white light protection)
2023.03.30 00:02 Pun-kachu Hot take: Jagex using Navigation as the core mechanic in sailing is a mistake.It needs a quantifiable action.My suggestion:Treasure-Hunting, with Shamanism items created to complete the action, and rewards from shamanism are the treasure items you’re hunting/trading treasure to acquire. Hear me out:
2023.03.29 23:59 LiseEclaire [Leveling up the World] - Academy Arc - Chapter 723
2023.03.29 23:49 cosmic_bolshevik Reflections by Comrade Fidel: The Two Koreas.
submitted by cosmic_bolshevik to MarxistCulture [link] [comments]
Kim Il Sung in a massive welcome to comrade Fidel Castro in Pyongyang (03/11/86), Photo by Prensa Latina.
The Korean nation, with its unique culture different from its Chinese and Japanese neighbors, has existed for three thousand years. These characteristics are typical of societies in that Asian region, including those of China, Vietnam and others. There is nothing like it in Western cultures, some of which are less than 250 years old.
In the war of 1894, the Japanese had seized from China its control over the Korean dynasty and turned its territory into a Japanese colony. Protestantism was introduced in this country in the year 1892, following an agreement between the United States and the Korean authorities. On the other hand, Catholicism was introduced in the same century by missionaries. It is estimated that today in South Korea, around 25 percent of the population is Christian and a similar percentage is Buddhist. The philosophy of Confucius had a great influence on the spirit of Koreans who are not characterized by fanatical religious practices.
Two important figures outstand in that nation’s political life in the twentieth century: Syngman Rhee, born in March of 1875, and Kim Il Sung, born 37 years later in April of 1912. Both personalities, of different social background, confronted each other due to historical circumstances that had nothing to do with either of them.
The Christians opposed the Japanese colonial system. One of them was Syngman Rhee who was an actively practicing Protestant. Korea changed its status: Japan annexed its territory in 1910. Years later, in 1919, Rhee was appointed president of the provisional government in exile, headquartered in Shanghai, China. He never used weapons against the invaders. The League of Nations in Geneva paid no attention to him.
The Japanese Empire was brutally repressive with the Korean population. The patriots took up arms against the Japanese colonialist policy and succeeded in liberating a small area in the mountain region of the north at the end of the 1890’s.
Kin Il Sung, born in the vicinity of Pyongyang, at the age of 18 joined the Korean Communist guerrillas to fight the Japanese. In his active revolutionary life, he attained the position of political and military leader of the anti-Japanese combatants in North Korea, at the young age of 33.
During World War II, the United States decided the fate of Korea in the post-war period. It joined the conflict when it was attacked by one of its own, the Empire of the Rising Sun, whose tight feudal gates were opened by Commodore Perry in the first half of the 19th century, aiming his cannons at the strange Asian country that refused to trade with America.
The outstanding disciple later became a powerful rival, as I have already explained on another occasion. Decades later, Japan successively struck at China and Russia, additionally taking over Korea. Nevertheless it was a cunning ally for the victors of World War I, at the expense of China. It amassed forces and, transformed into the Asian version of fascist Nazism, attempted to occupy Chinese territory in 1937 and attacked the United States in December of 1941; it brought the war to Southeast Asia and Oceania.
The colonial domains of Great Britain, France, Holland and Portugal in the region were doomed and the United States emerged as the most powerful country in the world, matched only by the Soviet Union then destroyed by World War II and by the heavy material and human losses resulting from the Nazi strike. The Chinese Revolution was about to conclude in 1945 when the world massacre ceased. The united anti-Japanese combat was taking up its energy then. Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gandhi, Sukarno and other leaders later carried on the fight against the restoration of the old world order which was already unsustainable.
Truman dropped the nuclear bomb on two civilian Japanese cities; this was a terribly destructive new weapon whose existence they had not reported to their Soviet ally, as explained, one which had been the major contributor to the destruction of fascism. Nothing justified the genocide committed, not even the fact that the tenacious Japanese resistance had taken the lives of almost 15 thousand American soldiers on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Japan was already defeated, and that weapon, had it been dropped on a military target, would have sooner or later had the same demoralizing effect on the Japanese military machine preventing more casualties among U.S. soldiers. It was an act of indescribable terror.
Soviet soldiers were advancing on Manchuria and North Korea, just as they had promised when fighting ceased in Europe. The allies had defined beforehand the point each army could reach. The dividing line would be in the middle of Korea, equidistant between the Yalu River and the southern end of the peninsula. The U.S. government negotiated with the Japanese the rules that would govern the surrendering of troops on their own territory. Japan would be occupied by the United States. In Korea, annexed to Japan, there would remain a large force of the powerful Japanese army. South of the 38th Parallel, the established dividing line, U.S. interests prevailed. Syngman Rhee, reincorporated to that part of the territory by the U.S. government, was the leader the Americans supported, with the open cooperation of the Japanese. This is how he won the hard-fought election of 1948. That year, the soldiers of the Soviet Army had pulled out of North Korea.
On June 25, 1950 war broke out in the country. It is still unclear who fired the first shot, whether it was the combatants in the North or the American soldiers on duty with soldiers recruited by Rhee. The argument does not make any sense if one analyzes it from the Korean angle. Kim Il Sung’s soldiers fought against the Japanese for the liberation of all Korea. His armies advanced irrepressibly up to the far reaches to the South where the Yankees were defending themselves with the massive back-up of their fighter planes. Seoul and other cities had been occupied. MacArthur, commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific, decided to order a Marine landing at Incheon, at the rearguard of Northern forces which by now were in no condition to counterattack. Pyongyang fell in the hands of Yankee forces, preceded by devastating air strikes. That fostered the idea of the U.S. military command in the Pacific to occupy all of Korea, since the Peoples’ Liberation Army of China, lead by Mao Zedong had inflicted a resounding defeat on the pro-Yankee forces of Chiang Kai-shek, supplied and supported by the United States. The entire continental and maritime territory of that great country had been recovered, with the exception of Taipei and other small near-by islands where Kuomintang forces found refuge after being transported there by vessels of the Sixth Fleet.
The history of what happened then is well known today. It should not be forgotten that Boris Yeltsin handed over to Washington the Soviet Union archives, among other things.
What did the United States do when the practically inevitable conflict broke out under the premises created in Korea? It portrayed the northern part of that country as the aggressor. The Security Council of the recently created United Nations Organization, promoted by the victorious powers of W.W. II, passed a resolution that none of the five members could veto. Precisely in those months, the USSR had expressed its disagreement with the exclusion of China from the Security Council, where the U.S. was recognizing Chiang Kai-Shek, with less than 0.3 percent of national territory and less than 2 percent of the population, as a member of that Council and with a right to veto. Such arbitrariness led to the absence of the Russian delegate, with the result that the Council agreed to give the war the character of a UN military action against the alleged aggressor: the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Korea. China, completely outside the conflict, which was affecting its unfinished fight for the total liberation of the country, saw the threat hovering directly against its own territory, this being unacceptable for its security. According to public information, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai was sent to Moscow to inform Stalin of China’s point of view about the inadmissibility of the presence of UN forces under U.S. command on the banks of the Yalu River which marks Korea's border with China, and to request Soviet cooperation. At the time there were no profound contradictions between the two Socialist giants.
It is affirmed that China’s response had been planned for the 13th of October and that Mao postponed it for the 19th, awaiting the Soviet reply. That was as long as he could put it off.
I intend to finish this reflection next Friday. It is a complex and laborious subject which requires special care and information as precise as possible. These are historical events that should be known and remembered.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 22, 2008.
On October 19, 1950, more than 400 thousand voluntary Chinese combatants, on orders from Mao Zedong, crossed the Yalu and waylaid the US troops that were advancing towards the Chinese border. The US units, surprised by the vigorous response of the country they had underestimated, were forced to withdraw towards a region near the southern coast, pushed back by the joint action of the Chinese and North Korean forces. Stalin, who was immensely cautious, offered far less support than Mao had anticipated, though the MiG-15 aircrafts piloted by the Soviets, over a limited 42.5-miles front, proved valuable help during the initial stage of the conflict in protecting land forces during their intrepid advance. Pyongyang was again recovered and Seoul re-occupied once more, attempting to fight back the incessant onslaught of the US Air Force, the most powerful which has ever existed.
McArthur was anxious to attack China with nuclear weapons. He called for their use following the shameful defeat they had tasted. President Truman saw no other choice but to dismiss him from his command and appoint General Matthews Ridgeway head of US air, sea and land forces in the theatre of operations. Next to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece, Canada, Turkey, Ethiopia, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Colombia took part in the imperialist adventure. Colombia, then under the unitary government of conservative Laureano Gómez, who was responsible for the mass slaughter of peasants, was the only Latin American country involved. As we said, the Ethiopia of Haile Selassie, where slavery still existed, and a South Africa still under the domination of white racists, also took part in the invasion.
It had been scarcely five years since the world slaughter that began in September 1939 had come to an end, on August 1945. Following bloody combat in Korean territory, Parallel 38 once again became the border separating North and South. It is estimated that, in that war, about two million North Koreans, nearly half a million or one million Chinese and more than a million allied soldiers perished. Around 44 thousand US soldiers lost their lives. No few of them had been born in Puerto Rico or other Latin American countries, recruited to take part in a war they were driven to by their condition as poor immigrants.
Japan was to reap many benefits from the conflict. In a year’s time, industrial output grew by 50 % and, within two years, it again reached pre-war production levels. What didn't change, however, was how the acts of genocide perpetrated by China's imperial troops in Korea were perceived. The governments of Japan have paid tribute to the acts of genocide carried out by their soldiers, which, in China, had raped tens of thousands of women and brutally murdered hundreds of thousands of people, as was explained in a reflection.
Hard-working and tenacious, the Japanese have transformed their country, bereft of oil and other important raw materials, into the second most powerful economy in the world.
Japan's GDP, measured in capitalist terms, though the data varies across different Western sources, is today over 4.5 billion dollars, and the country has over one billion dollars in hard currency reserves. This is twice China’s GDP, of 2.2 billion, even though China has 50% more hard currency reserves than Japan. The GDP of the United States, of 12.4 billion dollars, for a country with 34.6 times more territory and 2.3 times Japan’s population, is only three times that of Japan. Its government is today one of imperialism's main allies, at a time when it is threatened by economic recession and the sophisticated weapons of the superpower put at risk the entire human species.
These are historical lessons which cannot be forgotten.
The war, however, took a considerable toll on China. Truman instructed the 6th Fleet to prevent the landing of Chinese revolutionary forces that would achieve the complete emancipation of their country by reclaiming the 0.3 percent of their territory that had been occupied by the rest of the pro-Yankee forces of Chiang Kai-shek that had fled there.
Sino-Soviet relations were to deteriorate later, following the death of Stalin, on March 1953. The revolutionary movement splintered nearly everywhere. The dramatic call issued by Ho Chi Minh made evident the damage that had been done and imperialism, through its immense media apparatus, poked the fires of extremism among false revolutionary theoreticians, an area in which US intelligence agencies were to become experts.
Following the arbitrary division, North Korea had been dealt the most rugged part of the country. Each grain of food had to be reaped through sweat and sacrifice. Pyongyang, the capital, had been razed to the ground. Many, who had been wounded or mutilated during the war, were in need of medical attention. They were enduring a blockade and had no resources available. The Soviet Union and other countries of the socialist block were in the process of recovering from the war.
When I arrived at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on March 7, 1986, nearly 33 years following the destruction caused by the war, it was still difficult to believe what had transpired there. That heroic people had constructed myriad things: large and small damns and canals to store water in, generate electricity, service cities and irrigate fields; Thermoelectric plants, large mechanical and other types of industries, many of them underground in the depths of the bedrock, all created through hard, methodical labor. Because of cooper and aluminum shortages, they had been forced to use iron to create electricity-guzzling transmission lines, iron which, in part, was produced from coal. The capital and other cities that had been devastated were reconstructed, inch by inch. I estimated that millions of new homes had been built in urban and rural areas and that tens of thousands of other kinds of facilities had been set up. Countless hours of work were contained in stone, concrete, steel, wood, synthetic products and machinery. The fields I had the opportunity to see, wherever I went, looked like gardens. Well-dressed, organized and enthusiastic people were everywhere, ready to greet visitors. The country deserved cooperation and peace.
There was no issue I didn't discuss with my illustrious host Kim Il Sung. I shall never forget this.
Korea was divided into two parts by an imaginary line. The South was to have a different experience. It was the more densely populated part and endured less destruction during the war. The presence of an enormous foreign military force required the supply of local manufactured and other products, from crafts to fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention services. The military spending of the allies was huge. The same thing occurred when the United States decided to retain extensive military forces in the country indefinitely. During the Cold War, Western and Japanese transnationals invested considerable sums of money, siphoning out incalculable wealth from the sweat of South Koreans, a people who are as hard-working and industrious as their brothers in the North. The great markets of the world were open to their products. They were not blockaded. Today, the country has high levels of technology and productivity. It has suffered the economic crises of the West, following which many South Korean companies were bought over by transnationals. The austere nature of its people has allowed the State to accumulate significant reserves in hard currency. Today, it is enduring the United States' economic depression, particularly the high prices of oil and food, and the inflationary pressures from both.
South Korea's GDP –787.6 billion dollars– is almost equal to that of Brazil (796 billion) and Mexico (768 billion), countries with abundant hydrocarbon reserves and incomparably larger populations. Imperialism imposed its system upon these nations. Two fell behind; the other made much more progress.
There is hardly any emigration from South Korea to the West. There is emigration en masse from Mexico to what is currently US territory. From Brazil, South and Central America, people emigrate everywhere, in search of employment and lured by consumerist propaganda. Today, they pay them back with rigorous and contemptuous laws.
The position of principles on nuclear weapons supported by Cuba within the Non-Aligned Movement, ratified during the Summit Conference held in Havana in August 2006, is well known.
I met the current leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong Il, when I arrived at the Pyongyang airport. He was standing discretely beside his father, to one side of the red carpet. Cuba maintains excellent relations with his government.
When the Soviet Union and the socialist block collapsed, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea lost important markets and sources of oil, raw materials and equipment. As in Cuba’s case, the consequences were severe. The progress that had been attained through great sacrifices was at risk. In spite of this, they showed themselves capable of constructing a nuclear weapon.
When the nuclear test was conducted around a year ago, we conveyed the government of North Korea our points of view on the damage this could cause poor Third World countries that were waging an unequal and difficult battle against imperialist designs, at a decisive moment for the world. It might not have been necessary. Kim Song Il, at that point, had already decided, beforehand, what he had to do, mindful of the geographic and strategic characteristics of the region.
We are pleased to see North Korea’s declaration on its intentions of suspending its nuclear weapons program. This has nothing to do with the crimes and the blackmail of Bush, who now touts the declaration as proof of the success of his policy of genocide. North Korea's gesture was not aimed at the government of the United States, before which it never budged an inch, but, rather, at China, a neighboring ally, whose security and development is vital for the two States.
Third World countries are interested in the friendship and cooperation between China and the two Koreas, whose union need not be from coast to coast, as was the case of Germany, today a US ally in NATO. Step by step, unhurriedly but indefatigably, as befits their culture and history, they shall continue to knit the bonds that will unite the two Koreas. With South Korea, we are developing more and more ties. With North Korea, these have always existed and we shall continue to strengthen them.
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 24, 2008
References: Part I and Part II (English)
Las dos Coreas (parte I) and Las dos Coreas (Parte II) (Spanish)
2023.03.29 23:35 vegasbm Brazil’s 85% e-payment adoption rate shows what’s possible for Nigeria
2023.03.29 23:31 DDoubleBlinDD Everyone's a Catgirl! Ch. 196: House of Healing
2023.03.29 23:21 Solid_Initiative9349 [QCrit]Adult Fantasy - We Stood by Endless Seas - 110k words + first 300
2023.03.29 23:13 Timerx 30/EST/PS5 - Returning console player looking for people to enjoy gaming with again
2023.03.29 23:10 docXfamas [H] Bundled Games from HB and Fanatical [W] Wishlisted games, PayPal/TF2 keys
2023.03.29 23:07 Trouble_Beginning world vs rise experience
2023.03.29 22:58 StygianClaw In light of specific negativity I saw regarding Rise the other day.
|submitted by StygianClaw to MHRise [link] [comments]|
2023.03.29 22:55 DropShotEpee The Elusive Human, So Often Forgotten, Chapter 61 - Brother of Mine
2023.03.29 22:54 RingoCross99 The Adventure Games (Section 4 of 4)
https://preview.redd.it/cb5u4dgfrqqa1.png?width=1500&format=png&auto=webp&s=c30d60d4b57d7dca1f47b56f90903ea4d8d9b410submitted by RingoCross99 to u/RingoCross99 [link] [comments]
The Adventure Games
By Ringo Cross
(Chapter 4: continued...)
“Bro. No they don’t,” Brock chuckled.
“What do you think, Sarah?” I asked.
She shrugged and said, “Who cares.”
“Moody teenager,” Brock mumbled.
“He ate the one sandwich I made.”
“Yeah. And I’m surprised he didn’t die like Aaron did! Oh, I’m sorry, ‘choked to death,’” Brock stated.
“You’re an asshole,” I said.
“Okay, so what, he ate your stupid sandwich. They eat but don’t have to eat!” Brock shouted. He couldn’t care less that what he said didn’t make sense. He wasn’t being crude or rude either, that’s just how the guy was.
“You sound crazy, man,” I told him.
“Let’s ask Roger when he gets back.”
“Sure,” I told him rather dismissively.
“How much do you want to bet?”
“Twenty bucks?” I said with a snicker.
Brock came over and said, “Shake on it.”
“Fine,” I said before shaking his hand.
“Hell yeah! This is going to be the easiest twenty bucks I ever made! I can’t wait to go home after tonight’s vote, so I can tell all my buddies how easy of a mark you are,” he hooted while returning to the stove. He sure was in a lively mood. I could tell by the way he flipped the burner on. “Damn, bro, it’s not working.”
“What’s not working?” I asked.
“The burners to the stove, dummy.”
“It’s a gas stove, dummy,” I replied.
“Shush. I know what I’m doing. And watch who you call a dummy,” Brock said while examining the stove. “Damn. You’d think they’d have an electric one.”
“I don’t know, Brock. Gas is probably better for an underground bunker, considering all things.”
Brock looked over at me as if I was ignorant and just shook his head. For the first time in his obnoxious life, he kept his obnoxious thoughts to himself.
“Maybe there’s a manual?” Sarah proposed.
“Why would there be a... humph, I swear, you guys are useless,” he murmured under his breath. “Neither one of you would survive a week in a zombie apocalypse.”
“Whatever, man,” I hissed.
“Why are you upset?”
“Who said I was?” I asked him.
“Ok. If you’re not. Tell me this. How do you clean dirty water without a stove?”
“You boil it.”
“Yeah, if you want hot water,” he chuckled before having the nerve to add, “And I’m sure you probably don’t know how to start a fire.”
“Oh, trust me, I know how to start a fire,” I snarled while staring him down.
“Is that so?” Brock asked, taking my statement as a clear threat. “If you’re so good, come find the gas line, buddy. If not, then watch your mouth.”
“Why? You scared of a little fire?” I asked.
“F off, I’m sorry everyone can’t be as self-righteous as you. At first, I thought your whole little hero-boy routine was a ploy to get the heat off your back, but then I realized, you really are just a moralizing dweeb.”
“Tch. So annoying,” I mumbled.
“Try to ignore him,” Sarah whispered.
When she said that, the two of us started laughing. It was one of those heavy, heady moments that helped us relax and release some of the pent frustration and anger we had gathered up from yet another painful morning and from yet another set of terrible circumstances.
“Oh my God, I needed that,” I said while wiping the tears of joy from my eyes.
Brock just looked at us like we were the ones getting on his nerves. He grumbled, “I can’t wait to get away from you guys,” before returning his attention back to the stove.
“I wonder what’s taking Roger so long?” Sarah inquired.
“Who knows, maybe he’s plotting his next kill,” I told her.
“I bet he’s back there feasting on her blood.”
“Yeah. I wouldn’t put it past him.”
We stared at each other for a moment in shock. The thought of him tearing her body apart was the image nightmares were made of.
“You know what I don’t get,” Brock said while fidgeting with the knobs to the stove.
“What’s that?” I asked, glad to have the thought of a vampire desecrating a corpse out of my mind.
“Why don’t more killers hide out in the woods?”
“What do you mean?”
“If I were the killer, or a killer for that matter, and the police were hot on my heels, I’d just pack up all my camping gear and hide out in the woods.”
“You really think it’s that simple?”
“Yeah. They’d never find you. The hardest part would be the hike. I mean, obviously, you wouldn’t want to hide out anywhere near where you live.”
“Looks like you’ve got it all figured out.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Heh, I think you already know.”
“Dude. I swear I’m not the killer. Trust me on that. If I was the killer, you’d be the first person on my wish list, hero-boy.”
Roger entered the picture before I could respond to Brock’s disturbing comment. He looked unnerved, like a prince who had been forced to take a cold bath. His eyes darted around the room. “Sorry I’m late,” he said breathlessly and messily, causing more than a few suspicious glances in his direction.
“It’s cool, you didn’t miss anything,” Sarah told him with a watchful eye of her own.
“Good. I’m glad I didn’t miss anything.”
“You ok, man?” I asked.
“Yeah. I just wanted to make sure we finished today’s task before it was too late.”
Brock glanced at me for a second time. So, it wasn’t just me. What he said, well not only what he said, but how he said it, and how he was acting was strange. Why Brock, with his cavalier approach to anything and everything. I just knew he was going to be the one who said what we were all thinking. He paused; some might even say hesitated over the words instead.
When I saw this, I went on ahead and said it, “What do you mean by, ‘Before it’s too late?’”
“You sure?” I asked.
“Yes. Why the odd stares?”
“I don’t know, man. You sure were back there for a long time,” Brock chimed in.
“You’re free to go see for yourself. Just because I’m a vampire doesn’t mean I’m not indifferent to my surroundings,” Roger expressed with a look of injury.
“Ignore Brock,” I told him.
“That’s easy to do,” he replied.
“Turncoat,” Brock muttered out.
“Whatever,” I muttered back.
“Shall we begin?” Roger asked.
“I couldn’t care less about those stupid cards,” Brock said before turning his back to us.
Roger raised the object of his ire and told him, “Careful how you speak. I’m sure they’re not giving us these just to be facetious. I know elites. There’s always a reason behind the things they do.”
“Whatever, just read the thing,” Brock grumbled before returning to his original, obviously more important task of trying to figure out how to light the stove. It seemed he had progressed a bit because now, instead of looking dumb, he was looking for a lighter.
“Hey, Brock, you sure you don’t feel like joining us?” I asked him facetiously.
“Dude. Go away. I can hear you guys just fine from over here,” he protested after noticing he was the only one not at the kitchen table.
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” I said.
“Dude. I’m good. Screw that stupid nonsense. You guys want omelets or not?”
“So much for being a team player,” I said while gesturing for Roger to begin.
He thanked me for some reason, pulled the card from the envelope, and stared blankly at it. I was about to ask if everything was alright, but then he spoke, just in the nick of time: “Task 3: Ok. So, it’s a scripture number. From the Bible no less. All it says is James 2:19.”
He flipped the card around to show us, including Brock, just to prove that he wasn’t lying. As he was doing so, I glanced around the room and asked if anyone saw a Bible laying around.
“There’s one on the table in the rec room,” Brock quickly replied.
“Huh? There is?” I asked.
“Yeah, you had it the other day, dumbass.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I huffed out.
“It’s fine, we all have our moments,” Sarah said while smiling at me as if I were an adorable pet.
“Can you grab it for me?” I sheepishly asked.
“Ew! No way! I’m not touching that thing.”
“Teenagers,” Roger muttered with an eyeroll to die for. “Ahh. How I miss the days of sweet levity and naiveté. Alas, we must all grow old, even us poor vampires.”
Her comment surprised me, but I figured it was just a phase or something. I remember my sister having a weird, but similar anti-religious phase when she was around her age. She styled herself as ‘irreligious.’ I used to tease her and restyle her as ‘emo.’ Ooh wee, she would get real hateful whenever I called her that. I’m talking vengeful little devil. Just thinking about triggering her was reminiscent bliss. God. I miss her. I miss her so much. I had to get out of here so I could see her again.
“Fine, I’ll get it,” Roger announced.
“Wait. I thought vampires couldn’t touch the Bible?” Sarah asked.
“This isn’t the movies, sweetie,” he said with an amused smirk.
“I never said it was,” she grumbled rebelliously under her breath.
I laughed under my breath and told her, “You’ve got to learn how to let stuff roll off your back.”
She frowned a bit, but I could tell my words gave her something to ruminate over. Hopefully with enough meditation they’d germinate into an idea.
Roger returned, Bible in hand, and dropped it on the table. When he did this, Sarah jumped. Roger and Sarah exchanged hostile glances. This turned into a brief standoff—staring contest would probably be a better description for it. Not wanting their childish behavior to last any longer, I grabbed the Bible and began thumbing through it until I found the scripture in question:
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19 NIV)
“Humph. That’s odd,” Sarah said.
“It is indeed, but I think I might have a theory,” Roger stated while studying her.
“Theory about what?” I asked.
“How the scripture relates.”
“Good. Because I have no clue,” I said while looking over at Sarah.
She curled up in her chair and said, “So cold.”
Roger continued to study her. Here he goes again, formulating some wild theory about how she was responsible for all the mayhem. I’m not stupid, I knew she could be the killer. I also knew I was biased because of the collection of sentiments I wore on my sleeve for my sister.
“Hey, Roger, let me borrow your lighter for a second,” Brock’s shrill interruption snapped Roger and me out of our little mental game of chess.
Roger rustled through his pockets before walking over and handing him a lighter.
“Thanks,” Brock said in a very untrusting tone and expression to match. He examined the lighter just to make sure it wasn’t rigged.
“You’re welcome,” Roger winked.
“You can go, I’ll return your precious lighter in one piece unless it’s boobytrapped.”
“It’s an antique. I won it at a party in a game of... never mind,” he said before twirling around and making his way back over to us. “Now where were we?”
“Eh. You were about to tell us what the scripture means,” I reminded him.
“Ok. So—” Roger paused and even jumped a bit when Brock lifted the heavy metal cover to the stove. He glared at him like prey. His look... It stabbed into his thoughts from across the room like a pair of imaginary fangs.
Without even looking back, Brock said, “Sorry! It’s the only way I can get to the burner!”
Roger rolled his eyes before groaning. The clicking and banging sounds Brock made must have been annoying to his vampire senses because it really didn’t bother me all that much. Roger raised his hand but before he could speak, he sighed in frustration. His grand conspiracy was thwarted a second time by Brock’s incessant tinkering.
“Just try to ignore him,” I said.
“Brock!” I shouted.
“Knock it off!”
“I’m almost finished.”
“Ugh. Hurry up!”
He closed the cover which made a loud crashing noise. This startled Roger, which made me and Sarah chortle. I looked over at Brock and saw a big grin on his face. Yup. He had slammed the cover on purpose just to irk the very irksome Roger. He turned the dial all the way up on one of the burners, brought the lighter to it, and flicked it once it was close to the gas vent. “Got it!” he exclaimed after succeeding on the first try. Then he added, “What did I tell you guys? Nothing comes before a bodybuilder and breakfast!”
“You never said that,” I told him.
“Hater,” he grumbled under his breath.
“Yay! Omelets for all!” Sarah cheered.
“I don’t know, Sarah. Maybe he’s not so bad of a guy after all,” I told her with a sarcastic smile.
“Whatever. It wasn’t that hard. The gas line was off. All I had to do was turn it back on. Tch, what a waste of time,” he grumbled in vexation.
“Do you guys want to hear my theory or not?” Roger asked.
“Not really,” Sarah moaned.
“Yeah. Not really,” Brock seconded.
“The floor is yours,” I said with a smirk.
“I’m glad you find this amusing. You shouldn’t because it’s about your evil little minion.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
He pointed at Sarah. But before his lying mouth could wobble together a tale for the ages, we were interrupted by a loud clang and a guttural cry. It was a yelp that oozed with pain and misfortune. We all whipped our heads around and saw Brock engulfed in flames.
It was... it was terrible. The thought... the smell... the sight of him wildly and hopeless flailing about made me flush with fear and anxiety. I jumped from my chair and looked for something—anything to put out the flames! His cries for help did little to aid in his salvation and so much to aid in the chaos and confusion that ensued.
He must’ve cried out to God half a dozen times. Death by fire was slow, much slower than the movies portrayed. He collapsed to his knees like a fallen angel who had been christened by hellfire for the very first time. The agony of it all must’ve been too much for his soul to take. The hellish glint in his eyes, right before his soul vacated his body, was one I’ll never forget.
I took a step back and let his body fall to the floor. There was a soft thud and hard crunch when his body reached its ignoble destination. Skin and clothes baked and crackled as his dead body simmered like a hog that had been charred over a roasting pit.
“What do we do?” Sarah cried out.
“Ok, everyone just stay calm!” I exclaimed in vain.
“Screw this!” Roger said before heading over to the toolbox near the entryway.
“Hey! What’re you doing?” I asked.
“I know what’s going on!” he shouted back.
I looked over at a teary-eyed Sarah and asked if she had any idea what he was talking about.
“How should I know?” she cried out.
“How the hell did this happen?” I mumbled to myself.
“It’s Roger! He’s the killer!”
“No! No, it can’t be.”
“Please! You have to believe me! He was using Roger’s lighter and now he’s dead!”
Roger marched towards us, shouting, “Shut up! Just shut up already! Enough with the lies, devil! I’m sick of your games! I know who you are!”
“Woah, woah, woah, what are you doing with that hammer?” I asked before quickly hopping in front of Sarah, to protect her from this maniac. “It’s ok, just stay behind me. I’m not going to let anything happen to you, I promise,” I told her without thinking.
“I’m not after you!” he sneered.
“Dude! What are you doing! Are you the killer? I should’ve known it was a vampire!”
“I said shut up!” he shrieked. Pure rage was in his eyes. I could tell just by looking at him that he had turned. This was bad. There was no way I could possibly take him on. His wild grin said as much. I could see the tip of his fangs peeking from his mouth. He looked more like a crazed animal in the dim light than a being that could be rationalize with.
“You can’t win,” he sneered and snickered.
I backed away from Brock’s grilled body, pushing Sarah back with me. The whole time I was pleading with Roger, “Hold on, man, let’s talk.”
“Get out of my way! Now!” he yelled and snarled while tightening his grip on the hammer.
“What the hell are you doing man! Were you really the killer this whole time?”
“Of course not! It was her I tell you! Can’t you see?!... No, no that’s right, you can’t! Ha! You don’t know. You’re not a vampire!”
“Roger, snap out of it, man! You’re not making any sense!” I exclaimed, hoping my words would be enough to convince him that he was mad.
“Ha, ha, ha! I should’ve known but I didn’t want to believe it! I thought it was legend. You have to be in the know to know, you know,” he cackled madly. “That’s what all those parties were about! That’s what all those strange rituals revolved around. So, it is true, you are real?!”
I looked back at Sarah and saw her staring coldly at Roger. She said nothing. I had no idea what this lunatic was talking about. I suppose we all handled stress differently, but killing an innocent girl was not the answer. I hated vampires. A vampire was the reason I was here in the first place! Rage began to take over as I thought more and more about my sister.
“Take one more step and—"
“And what? You’ll kill me?” he asked.
“I-I don’t know. All I know is that I won’t let you lay a finger on the girl, you hear me!”
“You humans... your reaction to realizing the futility and inevitably of your demise at the hands of something bred to hunt you down like the filthy dogs you are is a thing to behold.”
“Sarah, run!” I cried out.
“Where am I supposed to go?”
“I don’t know. Just run!”
“Enough! If I have to go through you to get to her, I will!” he hollered while raising the hammer and charging headlong.
I closed my eyes and raised my arms in front of me. This was it. I was about to be some mealy snack for a vampire. I embraced my fate. Knowing there was nothing I could do to stop him. At least I’ll die doing what I knew to be the right thing, I thought. Just when I thought it was over, a funny thing happened. His assault never came. When I opened my eyes, I saw him standing there. It was like he was stuck in place, prevented from moving by some unseen force. I welcomed the miracle as a sign from God. Maybe he did exist? Maybe this was my chance to make it out alive all thanks to the Divine Creator.
It was odd to see fear in the eyes of my predator. What was he doing? Why was he afraid? I glanced back and saw Sarah standing there with her arm raised towards him. Was my mind playing tricks on me? Had she really stopped him dead in his tracks with the raising of a hand? I... I didn’t know what to think. Bearing witness to this made me question everything I knew. He thrashed, rattled, and snarled wildly, like a wolf caught in a bear trap.
“Help me!” Roger screamed.
“Kill him!” Sarah demanded.
“What? No! No!” I exclaimed.
“Do it before it’s too late! I won’t be able to hold him for much longer!”
“Who—who are you?” I asked.
“That’s not important! Take the hammer and strike him with it! Hurry!”
“No! I-I can’t!”
“I thought you wanted to save me?”
“Then do it! Please!”
“O-Ok...” I muttered while slowly and cautiously approaching Roger. My hands trembled as I pried the hammer from his sweaty clutch.
He looked me dead in the eyes and warned me not to do it. His warning gave me pause. I thought about sparing him, but I didn’t want him to hurt Sarah.
I unleashed all the anger and pain that was inside me in a flurry of pitiless blows upon my wretched foe. His sorrowful throes and mournful gurgles did nothing but fuel me with more bitterness. This was for my sister! This was for all the hurt you had caused my mother and father! Her suffering nearly destroyed us! How dare you! “Take this! Take that! Die, you rotten vampire! Burn in misery with the rest of your twisted, perverse kin!”
I watched in awe as his body turned to ashes. All that was left was the sick memory of my twisted deeds. When I turned around, I saw her. She... She looked so beautiful. Tears slipped from my eyes. I-I couldn’t find the words. Only thing I could contemplate was how grateful I was to see her one last time.
“You did it, Josh! You killed him!”
“I-I can’t believe it’s you.”
“I’m so proud of you!”
“I-I don’t know. I-I didn’t—"
“It’s okay. I’m here now.”
“Is that really you?”
“Of course, it’s me, dogface.”
“I wanna go home.”
“Pfft. You’re such a killjoy.”
“I love you, sis.”
“Aw. I love you too.”
I gripped her hand when she placed it against the side of my face. It felt so real, too real to be a lie or a dream. She was even wearing the ring I had given her on Halloween. It’s a long story. What I thought was a joke turned out to be her favorite piece of jewelry.
“May I ask a favor, dear brother?”
“Yes, I’ll do anything you want.”
“Anything?” she asked with a smile.
“Yes, of course. Anything.”
“This might hurt.”
“I don’t care.”
“Bash your head in with the hammer. Do it for me, and we can go home and see mom and dad.”
“Ok. Will it be just like old times?”
“Yes, I promise.”
I arched the hammer above my head and with a crooked smile served up, “Ok. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck, dogface,” she giggled.
The first blow didn’t even hurt or make me so much as flinch. The second and third weren’t so bad either. I did feel a bit of pressure, but that’s about it. The fourth tingled, but only a pinch. The fifth and sixth were the best and worst pain of my life. Crunching and grinding followed by a short seizure accompanied the seventh and eighth blow. She egged me on, giving me the strength to bash my skull in for a ninth time. My fingers started to twitch, causing the hammer to slip from my grasp.
Blood and stringy grey fluid oozed from my head and ears. My mouth twisted unnaturally when I tried to speak. The words wilted away with every writhe and grunt. My head was a jumbled, fractured, pulpy mess of bone fragments and empty euphoric haze. No matter how hard I tried to tell her I was ready to depart, the words just wouldn’t slip from the sticky, syrupy maze that was my mouth.
Great. My vision was starting to fail me. Reality flickered and faded like an odd reoccurring dream. I saw her snap her fingers, or did I? When she did or didn’t, the emergency lights and sirens took over. The blaring rang violently in my ears. The red strobes flashed wildly, wreaking havoc on what was left of my visual cortex.
I looked around in a panic. The reality of what had happened suddenly dawned on me. It wasn’t my sister! No! No! No! God No! It was Sarah? How? Why? The pain, oh the how the pain washed over me like a waterfall filled to the brim with razorblades. Blood oozed and bubbled from the cracks and fissures on my head. It was so painful. It was so hot and viscous like molten lava.
I coughed and choked on a rush of confusion. What little that was left of my senses had been completely overtaken by the darkness. To have my life end like this, in such fear and agony. It was so cruel and unfair! Was there no justice? If there was a God, where was he? This was my last thought. A miserable one, I know. What was left of my very existence slipped away. I... I heard her... Her words were the most painful part of it all:
“Aw. Poor Joshua. Sorry for mesmerizing you. I thought it would’ve been better this way. I guess not. I guess it was cruel to pretend to be your sister like that. Oh well. You humans and your strange emotions. I see why God finds you filthy beasts so fascinating.”
Chapter 5: Hindsight
The doors to the bunker crept open, causing the entire underground shelter to tremble. Sarah skipped down the dark hall and made her way towards the elevator. She entered the code and hopped on, whistling dixie the whole time as if her psychotic deeds were an afterthought.
She quickly made her way to the ground floor. The two acolytes guarding the entrance into HQ stepped aside. She joyfully skipped through the lobby, and playfully waved at the camera above the door leading into the command center. The facial recognition system verified who she was and allowed her access into what was possibly one of the most esoteric rooms above ground.
Inside were countless monitors, elaborate lab equipment, fancy computers, servers, and a fleet of technicians working frantically to maintain it all while simultaneously finalizing this year’s results on what had been deemed the Endgame Trials, by the Department of Paranormal Investigations.
Sarah ignored the fearful glances from scientists and acolytes who had heard the rumors of her return from the pits of Hell. She ignored the blank looks of confusion and dismay, as if a fate of hardship and everlasting torment had been a walk in the park. She skipped and hymned her way into the belly of the room. Her destination only made clear after she had reached the mysterious puppet master behind the first annual Adventure Games.
Seated in the middle of all the maddens was the man, or should I say fallen angel himself. The one who secretly pulled the strings and had thus far put on such a striking performance. He stared deeply into her eyes yet said nothing. Grim silence was something the few who knew him, knew all too well.
His black hair was slicked back and greased. His velvet tie, pinstriped suit, gold timepiece, and black cufflinks, made him look like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was tall and cast a very imposing presence. He grabbed a crystal decanter and filled two glasses about a third of the way with whiskey.
Sarah sat down across from him and said, “What an unpleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to see you here. I thought you would’ve been busy doing stuff only you do.”
“Such as?” he smoothly asked.
“Whispering into the president’s ear.”
He handed her one of the glasses before mentioning, “Intelligence is my department.”
“I know. I’m not stupid.”
“Excellent,” was all he said.
“How are you, Lord Haven?”
“Wonderful. And you?”
“Nice and full, from the games.”
“I figured you’d say that.”
“So, where is this rising star you wanted me to meet?” she asked while looking around.
“Before you ask. The answer is no. She’s not the next antichrist. Far from it.”
“Ugh. How many of those have we had?”
“Hah. That’s a loaded question.”
“Some things will never change,” she sighed.
“To our credit, we did rethink the whole process after Hitler. This new candidate, I have to admit, he’s got a lot of potential,” Lord Haven mentioned.
“Interesting. Tell me more. You know how slow news travels in Hell. Now that I’m back on earth, I’m trying to catch up on everything I missed.”
“We’ll have all the time in the world to catch you up to speed,” he said before taking a sip of whiskey. Then he turned and signaled for one of the lab assistants before politely asking the gentleman to, “Fetch Agent Harris for me if isn’t too much trouble.”
Sarah took a sip. She nearly spat the whiskey all over his executive desk. The sturdy antique stuck out in what was otherwise a modern setting. This small addition to what was otherwise rather stale and sterile décor was enough to quietly demonstrated his power and panache.
Lord Haven studied his old friend for a moment. Then he said, “Hope it wasn’t too stiff.”
“Dear devil! How do you drink this stuff? It was stiff alright. Stiff like an angel with a weighty stone! Seriously, how do you manage?”
“If you can get used to Hell, you can get used to anything. I prefer scotch. Oh, and the richer the expense the finer the flavor.”
“Where is my beloved, Jurael?”
“Busy. He sends his regards.”
“But he swore he’d be here.”
“I know. It’s a long story. Lyrael ordered him to begin the unholy Sacrament of Fire.”
“So, it’s true. His son passed the first test. Which must mean he defeated Jurael? Really? A vampire that strong? I find it hard to believe.”
“I was skeptical at first, considering the many setbacks we’ve had. If it helps, the fight was far from equal. He was afforded a few allies. Even with help, they barely managed to win. But a win against one of us is a win, no less. I must say. It was wise of him to tie his blood with a son. We’ve already taken over the world. Now it’s only a matter of time before we find a more, economical approach to unleashing our forces from the very bowels of Hell.”
Before Sarah could respond, the agent Lord Haven had summoned came into view. Agent Michelle Harris, being the beautiful workaholic she was, seemed a bit jittery and jolted at being pulled from her work.
The much older, more experienced, Agent Adams had accompanied her. He was more relaxed. He hadn’t been doing much of anything, besides monitoring the hidden cameras in Bunker 17, sniffing for clues only his wrinkled nose could discover. He took a big hit from his vape pen before letting out a healthy sized cloud.
Agent Harris tore her eyes away from her clipboard and glared at him. You’d think she’d be used to his addiction by now. She was about to tell him about himself, but when she looked over and saw who was sitting across from Lord Haven, she was too thunderstruck to speak.
Like magic, her annoyed demeaner was replaced with a rush of anxiety and anticipation. She fumbled around with her clipboard, nearly dropping it, while holding out a shaky hand for the lady to shake.
She had done her homework and knew that this woman’s youthful appearance hid a monster that had seen and done the unfathomable. She brought literal life and meaning to the phrase “going to hell and back.” Only her journey was more electric and had left a trail of bones upon the darkened highway to Hell.
“Michelle, this is Sarah,” Lord Haven said.
“Pleasure to meet,” Michelle stumbled and stuttered.
“Aw. Isn’t that cute, you’re afraid of me. Don’t worry we’re on the same team,” Sarah said while making kissy faces as if Michelle was an adorable puppy.
“Uh, sorry. I-I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon after... you know—the experiment.”
“Oh, so you’re one of those beings who always needs to feel in control. Me catching you off guard didn’t give you time to prepare for our encounter.”
“Uh. I don’t know how to answer that.”
Adams chimed in, introducing another element, “I’m surprised you followed the rules.”
“Excuse me?” Sarah said a bit incredulous by his dry tone and crude insinuation.
Agent Adams returned her scowl. He took a hit from his vape pen and just stood there for a moment. The two having something of a little stare off. Revealing or reliving with their eyes and not with their words, touchy history, and painful, unsettled business.
He let out a hefty cloud before explaining, “You voted for yourself. I’m surprised.”
“Why are you surprised?” she asked.
“It’s not like you to follow rules.”
She smirked wickedly. “Are you impressed?”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.”
“Are you impressed by the outcome, as well?”
“No. The likelihood of humans working in their best interest is slim to none.”
“Wait, is that what this experiment was about?” Michelle sheepishly asked.
“Wow. They really don’t tell you much of anything, do they?” Sarah chuckled.
Michelle ignored her comment but hesitated. Her grip on the clipboard was a bit firmer than usual. A few odd stares later, she worked up the courage to say, “May I ask a question about the project?”
“Shoot,” Sarah grinned.
“What if the subjects would have voted correctly? Hypothetically speaking, of course. What would you have done if the humans and vampires would have worked together?”
She shrugged. “Then I would have kept my word and let them live.”
“Yes! I’m so not a monster, contrary to what everyone thinks. I’m sweet and innocent and yeah... I probably would have devoured them—who am I kidding. Especially the yummy vampires. Their blood is to die for. Human blood, not so much. It’s too watery and irony and is irony a word? I mean, I know it’s a word and all, but is it the right word for the job? Tch! Human nomenclature is so strange. It’s something I’ll never get used to.”
Lord Haven chimed in. But before doing so, he kicked his feet up on the desk. His presence was like a cold chill that never left the room. His eyes felt even colder and darker than usual. Here was a fallen angel who stood somewhere between shadow and light. He was as wise and complicated as the scotch that swirled in his glass. Speaking of which, he finished his drink, and held the empty, sparkling glass in front of him.
“Cooperation was never in the cards. The human ego is much too elegant and fragile. All it takes is the right push to plant the seed of curiosity into your mind. Ideas take time to bloom. That’s where I come in. That’s when a trick of the light blossoms into reality.”
The glass turned black when he waved his hand across it. Not just any black. A deep, shifting darkness that was soft on the eyes and intricate on the mind. The glimmering glass held its original quality and artistry. He studied his work while continuing to talk down on humanity as well as their bitter arrangement with vampires:
“You see. There is a certain brilliance to power. An éclat behind the curtains. It’s not easy, turning harden followers away from God, but the trick, you see. The trick isn’t sleight of hand but sleight of word. Sorcery to be exact. Spells if I’m being technical. You use the weaker more flexible against the harder more inflexible. It takes time but with enough patients and practice the impossible becomes possible. Here. See for yourself,” he said before handing Michelle the glass.
She stared at it, completely mesmerized, not only by his handiwork but the maze of ideas running around in her head. “Was that the purpose of all this?” she asked without pulling her eyes from the glass.
Agent Adams answered her question. He could’ve been talking to a brick wall because she wasn’t paying any attention. “Experiment 4470. Part of Project 07, or the Endgame Trials. Officially it is a way to stress test G-HUN. Understand, the individuals forced to live in the underground network will be under a great deal of stress. I think we’ve gleamed a lot from our initial trial. What do you think, Lord Haven?”
Lord Haven said nothing. His eyes as well as his mind were focused on something not of this world. He was prone to random bouts of deep reflection. Breaking him out of meditation could cost you your life.
Knowing this, Agent Adams turned his attention to Sarah. She stared back at him as if she had murder on the mind. The two continued to exchange unpleasantries as he addressed Agent Harris’ concerns:
“That’s the official reason anyway. The real reason is a bit more tricker to nail down. Oh, and to avoid politics, we kept it on a need-to-know basis. You see, we already know there’s no hope for humanity. We’ll never come together to defeat the ‘common enemy’ unless the common enemy is waving around a giant swastika. We wanted to see how well humans and vampires would do and interact when it came to stopping the unseen enemy. We’ll use the data to adjust our strategy for the end times accordingly.”
“What about Mr. Graham’s sister?” Michelle inquired.
“What about her?” Adams asked.
“She’s a vampire. She can’t go home.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her,” Sarah stated with the most wicked of grins.
2023.03.29 22:53 TheSajuukKhar Ten Forward Weekly 3/28/23
2023.03.29 22:48 calvin324hk [H] 800+ games/DLCs/VR Games [W] Games/Paypal/TF2 Offers, Best of Boomer Shooters games
|Stand With Ukraine Charity Bundle|
|Stick Fight: The Game|
|Mad Experiments: Escape Room|
|ibb & obb Double Pack|
|At Eve's Wake|
|Interrogation: You will be deceived|
|Necronator: Dead Wrong|
|Awesomenauts All Nauts pack|
|1993 Space Machine|
|8-bit Adventure Anthology: Volume I|
|Baby Dino Adventures|
|Click and Slay|
|Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon|
|Crash Drive 2|
|Gelly Break Deluxe|
|Journey For Elysium|
|Last Resort Island|
|Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD|
|Pizza Connection 3|
|Renowned Explorers: International Society|
|Tales of the Tiny Planet|
|AWAKE - Definitive Edition|
|Rayon Riddles - Rise of the Goblin King|
|Slash It Ultimate|
|Slash It 2|
|Neon Space 2|
|Duke of Alpha Centauri|
|House Flipper VR|
2023.03.29 22:48 calvin324hk [H] 800+ games/DLCs/VR Games [W] Games/Paypal/TF2 Offers, Best of Boomer Shooters games
|Stand With Ukraine Charity Bundle|
|Stick Fight: The Game|
|Mad Experiments: Escape Room|
|ibb & obb Double Pack|
|At Eve's Wake|
|Interrogation: You will be deceived|
|Necronator: Dead Wrong|
|Awesomenauts All Nauts pack|
|1993 Space Machine|
|8-bit Adventure Anthology: Volume I|
|Baby Dino Adventures|
|Click and Slay|
|Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon|
|Crash Drive 2|
|Gelly Break Deluxe|
|Journey For Elysium|
|Last Resort Island|
|Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD|
|Pizza Connection 3|
|Renowned Explorers: International Society|
|Tales of the Tiny Planet|
|AWAKE - Definitive Edition|
|Rayon Riddles - Rise of the Goblin King|
|Slash It Ultimate|
|Slash It 2|
|Neon Space 2|
|Duke of Alpha Centauri|
|House Flipper VR|
2023.03.29 22:46 RingoCross99 The Adventure Games (Section 1 of 4)
Have a blast!submitted by RingoCross99 to u/RingoCross99 [link] [comments]
The Adventure Games
By Ringo Cross
Chapter 1: Insight
I stepped into my apartment, placed my back to the door and sighed in relief. Thank God I was home. I hadn’t been for the past few days. I was at the hospital watching over my sister with our parents. Just when we were starting to get our hopes up. Just when we thought she was going to make a full recovery, she took a turn for the worse.
It all felt more like a curse than an affliction. My sister went from a healthy, happy-go-lucky teenager, to a fever-stricken soul, stranded somewhere between the land of the living and nonliving. She had a sudden case of sleeping beauty syndrome. The doctors didn’t know for sure, but they suspected the strange bite on her neck was the culprit. Two neat puncture wounds rationalized away as an animal bite. We all knew what it really was, it’s just that no one wanted to be the one who was crazy enough to say it.
It was like her body was slowly wasting away. Was she becoming undone, or perhaps something else altogether? Eh... Who knows. I did know one thing for sure, it was all too grim and preposterous a reality for my parents to accept. No matter what the doctors tried or how hard mom and dad prayed for her deliverance, she just kept getting worse while acting stranger.
It was like she had been pulled from the world, and we had all been pulled right along with her, into a strange new world that made no sense. Her doctors told us that at the rate she was deteriorating, she didn’t have much time left. God. I wish this was the part where I told you, “I became a superhero and saved her life.” Maybe in my own roundabout way, I did become something of her savior.
The truth is, what happened to her, I... I never saw it coming. Did vampires really exist? I couldn’t tell you how much or how long this question had tortured my mind. I was going to do some serious digging and get to the bottom of this. Because if there was any way to save her; to stop her from fading, I swore to find it.
My phone began to ring. It was my parents. They were at the hospital, keeping vigil at her bedside. I shook my head while thinking about how much of a toll her sudden illness had taken upon them. They were both so virtues and upright. Their faith in God had really been shaken. I turned my phone on silent mode. I-I didn’t want to talk to them. I needed time to grieve on my own.
I wanted a beer. No, I needed a beer. Something cold and inebriating to free my mind from the pain of watching my little sister slip away. I’m surprised I made it this long without dipping into my reserves, I thought to myself as I reached into the fridge and grabbed a cold one.
I just sat there at my kitchen table. Reliving as many memories of us together as I could. There were so many. I... I adored her more than life itself. She could do no wrong. Her smile... it... it haunts me. My God, I never knew pain like this. I had never followed my parents down the “righteous path.” I always considered myself a person of logic and reason. Simply believing in a higher power wasn’t enough for me, neither had it ever been enough to ease the void of loneliness within me.
But after this, how could I not believe in God? How could I explain away my grief? All I wanted was for this to all make sense. Maybe it was her time? Even if it was, why like this? Why so tragic and bitter? There were just too many reasons why I stopped believing. Crazy thing was, right now, I desperately wanted to believe. I wanted to close my eyes, clasp my hands together, and pray for a miracle. I tried but couldn’t bring myself to do so, no matter how strong the desire. There was no God, and a crisis wasn’t my chance to retreat.
I had seen the dark side of faith. The way my parents justified what happen to my baby sister by saying, “God has a plan” made me sick to my core. Just thinking about it made me nauseous. My faith had been stretched to the breaking point a long time ago. This was just the sad culmination of a collision between faith and obstinacy. The explosion went off like a bomb in my head. The pain was truly limitless... I just hoped her death didn’t turn me into a serial killer. I smirked at my own inane, insane thought before downing my beer.
I grabbed another beer to drown my sorrows in. Just then, there was a sudden knock at the door. The slight but unmistakable tapping surprised the crap out of me. So much so, I almost spilled my beer. I figured it was my ex. She had planned on stopping by a bit later to return my key and to pick up the last of her things.
When I looked through the peephole, I saw two people standing there in black suits. The sight threw me off and made me briefly sick to my stomach. Little did I know, I should have followed my gut instinct, but instead, I foolishly opened the door.
“Hello, Mr. Graham. My name’s Agent Adams. This is my partner, Agent Harris.”
Before I could process what was happening, Agent Harris extended her hand and said, “Pleasure.”
“Um... You too, I think? I guess? Hope I’m not in any trouble?” I told her.
“You’re not,” she smirked.
“Who are you guys again?”
“We work for the government,” she said.
“The FBI?” I asked.
“Ugh. Everyone says that. I guess it is the suits,” Agent Adams grumbled. He shook his head in annoyance before adding, “We work for the Department of Homeland Security. DPI for short. It’s the paranormal division.”
“Who again?” I asked him.
“Eh. The Department of Paranormal Investigations,” he clarified with something of an attitude.
“Huh. Never heard of it,” I spoke.
“Can we come in, Mr. Graham?” he asked.
I thought about it for a moment. I didn’t like this Agent Adams guy. He gave off a bad vibe. My first mind was to tell them to kick rocks, but I decided against being so brash and rash just in case they had a warrant. I wasn’t thinking straight. My sister’s woes weighed too mightily on my spirit. Before letting them pass, I did ask to see some identification. I’m not that stupid. Had to be sure they weren’t pulling my leg.
Agent Adams flashed his badge with a slight grumble. Agent Harris had no problem letting me see hers. She was at least pleasant, I thought while examining her government ID. I also wondered why someone so young and attractive had been stuck with someone so old and unattractive. I bet she hated her partner, I thought to myself with a smirk, as I let them pass through the door.
Agent Adams took a seat at my kitchen table without me offering. His partner looked at him a bit perplexed before waiting until I said, “It’s ok. You can have a seat.”
“Thank you,” she replied.
“So, what brings two DPI agents to my home? You sure I haven’t done anything illegal?”
“Hmm... Maybe there is something you’d like to confess, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams spoke.
“I don’t know. Maybe I have an old parking ticket or something minor like that.”
“We don’t handle citations,” he replied.
“Sorry. Dumb question.”
“Apology rejected,” he uttered.
“Uh-hm. Forgive my partner he can be a bit—"
Agent Adams brought his hand to his chin. His abrupt gesture caused his partner to pause mid-sentence and look over at him. The two exchanged glances. He paused for a moment more before saying, “That’s a nice brand of beer. I haven’t had a cold one in a while.”
“Would you like one? I have plenty.”
“Really?” I asked.
“You offered. I accepted.”
“Uh, what about you, Miss Harris?”
“It’s Agent Harris. And no.” She looked over at her partner with a raised eyebrow, “Can you not drink on the job? It’s unprofessional.”
“Fine,” he grumbled before reaching into the inner pocket of his suit coat to retrieve his vape pen.
“Are you sure? Like I said I have plenty.”
“I’m sure. I am the senior agent after all. Probably should set a better example and all,” with a wink he added, “If you survive, I’ll come back and take you up on that offer, Mr. Graham.”
“How do you know he’ll even want to participate?” his partner asked. I could hear the annoyance in her tone. She groaned before telling me, “Sorry about that.”
Agent Adams let out a heavy cloud of steam. He studied me a fair bit longer than I was comfort with. Especially someone like him, whose eyes were grey enough to sting. He took another hit from his vape pen. This time blowing the steam in my direction. His wrinkled face blocked out by the heavy cloud as he said, “Oh, he’ll join, alright. He’s not in any position to refuse.”
“That’s pretentious,” she grumbled.
“Hah. It’s the truth.”
“What the hell is this about?”
“Your sister, Mr. Graham,” he said.
“What about her?” I asked.
“We know what happened.”
“Um. Okay? Creepy.”
“Uh, what my partner is trying to say is that we might be able to help. I reviewed her chart. I think I know what the problem is,” Agent Harris explained.
“What can a couple of government agents do that a team of doctors haven’t already tried?” I asked.
“Your sister. She was bitten by a vampire, Mr. Graham,” Agent Adams stated. He paused for a moment to study my reaction before adding, “You seem like a clever guy. I’m sure you already suspected as much.”
“So, they do exist,” I mumbled to myself.
“Yes. The vampire who attacked your sister was probably desperate. He broke what are a set of well-established rules called Blood Codes.”
“Really? Vampires have rules?”
“There’s always rules, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever. And where is this freak? I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on him.”
“He’s already been dealt with.”
“By you guys?”
“By his overseer.”
“Good. I hope his death was slow and painful.”
“It was. Their methods are very draconian.”
“Then what do you need from me?” I asked.
“What about you? Would you kill to save your sister?”
“I would if I had to,” I affirmed without hesitation or reservation. I suppose I only spoke so confidently and assuredly because I thought it was a hypothetical. I mean this was the government after all. They would never ask me to do anything crazy, right? But then again, I would’ve told you you were crazy if you would have told me vampires were a real thing before my sister was attacked by one. Still, his question was odd. And the more I thought about it, the more it disturbed me.
Agent Harris chimed in, “Um, Mr. Graham, I’m sorry. I don’t know why my partner said that. You shouldn’t have to kill anyone. For you, it’s probably more a matter of participation than annihilation. If we did require you to do such a thing, rest assure, we’d provide you with all the materials necessary to succeed. Before you ask, we’re on your side, Mr. Graham. We want you to see your sister once the games have concluded.”
“The games?” I asked.
“Yes. If you enter our game, we’ll save your sister’s life. No questions asked,” she replied.
“What kind of game?”
“The Adventure Games.”
“The what games?”
“Adventure Games,” she smirked.
“What’s the catch?”
“Well, the games could be dang—”
Agent Adams quickly butted in before Agent Harris could reveal the truth. “There’s no catch, Mr. Graham. None whatsoever. Don’t listen to my partner. She can be a bit too detail orientated.”
“The devil is always in the details,” I muttered.
“But not a cure for your sister,” he coldly replied.
“Hey. What is that supposed to mean?”
“What do you think? Do you want to waste time going over the fine print, or do you want to step up to the plate and save your sister?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Eh. How do I know I can trust you to keep your word? I mean the government isn’t exactly super trustworthy.”
“Know what, I like you, Mr. Graham. Tell you what I’ll do. Humph. If you agree, we’ll transfer your sister to our facility, right away. That way she can get a jumpstart on her treatment program before you even set foot in the games,” he checked his wristwatch and added, “We can get her there by midnight. Let’s see... hmm... typical turnaround for blood sickness is what? Maybe a few hours if we play our cards right?”
“Six to eighteen hours is more accurate,” Agent Harris clarified to her partner’s chagrin.
“Close enough,” he grumbled.
Agent Harris ignored him. Turning her attention back to me, she said, “I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?”
“Give me the good news.”
“Ok. Based on her chart, it looks like her affliction has progressed beyond normal blood sickness. Once we administer the antidote, she should be fine, but there’s always a chance she won’t make it. I’m sure our techs back at the lab will make the process as painless as possible for your sister. This is what I can do for you if you decide to join the project. I promise we’ll have her call you before you leave for the games.”
“Great. Where do I sign?” I asked.
Agent Adams put away his vape pen. “You don’t sign. You signing something doesn’t matter. We’re dealing with information above top secret, Mr. Graham.”
“Whatever,” I shrugged.
“There is one other thing,” Agent Harris said.
“The bad news, right?”
“Right,” she nodded.
Agent Harris looked over at her partner. She was careful not to reveal anything more until he nodded his head in approval. Some of the info they had already revealed was pushing the line above top secret into ‘black protocol’ territory, or what agents at DPI called “above top secret classification.”
Agent Adams nodded before quickly returning his attention back to vaping, retrieving the addictive device almost faster than he had put it away.
Agent Harris cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, Mr. Graham. Your sister’s illness has progressed too far. We can save her, but she won’t be human anymore. She’ll be a vampire. The transformation is irreversible I’m afraid.”
“Really? A vampire?”
“That is correct.”
“Jesus. I need a smoke,” I said as I jumped from my chair and grabbed the pack of smokes sitting on my kitchen counter. I lit one up and began pacing back and forth like a madman. With a bit of reluctance, I turned to Agent Harris and grumbled, “How fast can we get this done?”
“Now, if you agree.”
“That fast, huh?”
“Yes. We already have a team standing by. One phone call from us and they’ll began the extraction.”
“I already told you, I’m in.”
When I reaffirmed my commitment, Agent Adams looked over at his partner with a smug “I told you so” expression. He stood and extended his hand for me to shake. “Good choice, Mr. Graham. You’re a real champ.”
I shook his hand while glaring into his eyes. “You guys better not be trying to pull a fast one.”
“We wouldn’t. You’re not that important,” he smirked before blowing a cloud of steam into my face. “Goodbye, Mr. Graham. I’m sure I won’t be seeing you around,” he sarcastically added before heading for the door.
I shook Agent Harris’ hand. She removed her shades and told me, “Good luck, Mr. Graham.”
“What do I do next?”
“Pack light and wait.”
“Really? That’s it?”
“Yeah. We’ll be back in a couple of hours to take you to prescreening.”
“Good to hear.”
“So, what are these ‘Adventure Games’ anyway?”
She placed her shades back on. Her expression distant and cold. “Sit tight. We have to make a few arrangements and finish up some paperwork on our end before I can reveal any information. I’m sure the paperwork will get approved by the time we come back for you. Once this happens, I’ll explain everything you need to know.”
I just stood there dumbfounded by the moment. I could hear Agent Harris discussing Agent Adams’ conduct as they let themselves out and began making their way down the hall. Apparently, Agent Harris was disappointed that he had asked me for a beer. She pointed out that this was an obvious workplace violation, and how he could be terminated for his conduct. He found her chiding amusing and told her he had no intentions on drinking on the job. When he made this claim, she was incredulous and asked what possessed him to even ask in the first place.
I could barely hear them at this point since they were standing by the elevator. But I believe his response was something on the lines of, “I wanted to read his reaction. If he handled himself wisely, I knew we wouldn’t have a problem recruiting him for the games.”
“And if he reacted poorly?” she asked.
“Well then, your little behavioral profile would have been wrong, and we would’ve had a head start on finding his replacement,” he told her.
I closed the door in disgust. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or if they could even be trusted. I knew it too. That cliché feeling had reached all the way down to my gut. My conscience... the good angel on my shoulder was telling me to run.
With a heavy heart, I chose to ignore the voice. My sister’s life hung in the balance. Sometimes in life you had to take risks. My choice to go along with these agents and their dubious claims wasn’t a tough or noble act. It was one wrought from desperation. What were my options? Not joining meant my sister would waste away until it was too late. Phew. This was a lot of pressure. My back was against the wall literally and figuratively.
I let out a long sigh and mustered the courage to begin packing. I hadn’t gotten much sleep either. Hopefully the car ride to wherever we were going would be a long one, and I could get some much-needed rest, I thought to myself as I shoved way too many things into my bag.
Tears escaped from my eyes. I had to stay the course. I had to hear her voice. I finally broke down and prayed to God, asking him to look over me. I still didn’t believe. I don’t know why I did it. I guess out of hope or necessity. My sister meant the world to me, and my parents, I don’t know what they would do if she perished.
Chapter 2: Foresight
The following day was a blur. I was taken to a massive facility that stood in the middle of nowhere. It was on the outskirts of the outskirts. The place was so far removed, they didn’t even bother with a blindfold. There was no elaborate story of denial, or even the whole “we cannot confirm or deny” troupe.
Nope. This was a secret facility where the government housed and did God knows who or what to who or what. From what I gathered, they performed strange experiments on poor sods, such as myself, who had foolishly signed their lives away. I gulped and told myself to shut up. If you think negative things, then you get negative results.
A group of oddly dressed soldiers called “acolytes” escorted me from the transport van to the staging area. I was able to check in with my sister, just like the agents promised. She was doing much better. The thought put a smile on my face and was all the motivation I needed. Now all I needed to do was win, so I could see her again.
Knock on wood, but if something were to happen to me, I didn’t really care. All that mattered was that little sis had finally turned the corner. I swear on my soul. This was more than I could have ever hoped for.
After answering an uncomfortable amount of questions and going through a battery of physical and mental tests, I was given the greenlight by the staff to join the event. This all happened at approximately 1400 hours the next day. I was taken away from the annoying, prodding techs in lab coats. I wouldn’t have mind leaving them behind, along with their invasive procedures if it wasn’t for the soldiers who escorted me to the staging area. They were cold and mechanical. They roughly shooed me to a section of the facility called Bunker 17, as if they were putting a dog back inside its kennel. We arrived at this damnable place, via elevator, twenty floors down.
To my surprise, there were already several people waiting when I arrived. They were all kind of just lingering about not doing much of anything. In front of us stood a pair of massive concrete doors that looked like the entrance to a mini fortress. We were all wearing these odd name tags. The moment made me sick to my stomach. The gazes of suspicion, intrigue, and indifference made me briefly curl up like a shrinking violet.
Hmm... No one told me I would be joined by others. I shrugged and figured as much. I was about to introduce myself when one of the soldiers radioed Command and informed them that we were ready to enter. Command radioed back and told them to give the signal. One of the acolyte soldiers gave a thumbs up, which I imagine they saw on the camera, right above the door.
When he did this an alarm sounded, red strobes flashed all arounds us, and the doors began to slowly creep open. The noise only added to the confusion and bewilderment. I took a step back, sure that the roof was going to collapse with every inch the doors gained. The whole thing was about as unnerving and uninviting as it could get. It looked more like a giant mouth slowly feasting upon the light, warning us to turn back, than an entrance.
We stepped inside only to be greeted by another set of massive doors. These were steel instead of concrete and looked like they could have been placed on the entrance to an impenetrable castle way up in the mountains. I looked back when the concrete doors begin to close. Only when they had fully shut, and we were devoured by the darkness, did the steel doors begin to open their mouth. The inner doors creaked and cranked, making the loudest, most-angriest sound imaginable. The process was excruciating and played on my mind almost as much as it played on my ears.
There was a great deal of radio chatter. The soldiers thrust us through the entrance. When we had all crossed the red line, one of them radioed Command, and the doors began to slowly close behind us. Fight or flight kicked in. I thought about making a run for it, but I could tell that that was bad idea by the way the soldiers were positioned behind the door with their weapons drawn.
I swear I could feel their laser sights more than I could see them in the piercing darkness. There was nothing like a big gun to chop through any language or mental barrier. It was louder and harder than any bull in any China shop would ever be.
I sighed when the doors finally closed behind us. My first thought was, what the hell had I gotten myself into? Followed quickly by, I can’t believe I let myself be talked into this. Before any of us could gather our bearings, the lights began to turn on. Once my eyes had adjusted to the blinding whiteness, I stood around like everyone else, amazed and surprised by the sight in front of me. It was funny in a sense. I was relieved by familiarity as it was the last thing on my mind.
It looked like a well-kept emergency shelter. The floors sparkled as if they had been waxed in preparation for our arrival. The kitchen and dayroom took up the bulk of the space. Before I could really sink my teeth into some good ole fashioned exploration, a voice could be heard over the loudspeaker. The prerecording was that of a woman, who sounded a bit robotic and automated, as if it had been altered to sound as friendly as possible. Which made it even more odd and creepy:
“Greetings, contestants! Welcome to the Adventure Games! These are the inaugural games, making this the very first event of its kind! So, consider yourselves lucky! The games have been lowered in difficulty by our wonderful technicians by approximately fifteen percent in honor of you being the very first souls to be taken.
I’m sure you’re all confused and have a lot of questions. Should I explain? Of course, I should explain! Well, here goes nothing! There are seven of you in total. You have all been locked inside of one of our many, many, many underground shelters! Bunker 17 to be precise. Which is part of the Northeastern Hemisphere Underground Network Systems, or N-HUN for short. That’s right! Your bunker is part of a much wider, global network that is maintained and operated by the New World Government Order or NWGO and members of the New Faith Alliance or NFA.
There are six levels of access in total. To gain access to the lower levels you need a “Marc” card. Which is short for Mark of Identifying numbers. Sorry average humans, only vampires and human personnel critical to the mission are given one. Don’t feel too bad, only high-ranking members of the NFA have access to the lower levels. And only super important people have access to the final level. Take my word for it, I’ve been down to level six and it’s definitely not a place you ever want to be.
I would tell you all about the many wonders, crazy contraptions, odd attractions, and foul creatures we keep below, but then I’d have to release the laughing gas... Just kidding... It’s actually sarin gas!
You have all been locked inside of Bunker 17. We stocked the place with plenty of provisions, so you won’t have to worry about starving to death for a very long time if anything terrible was to happen while you were away like, I don’t know, nuclear holocaust.
The recreational room is also state of the art. All the amenities you need are here. We made sure to provide our contestants with everything imaginable so all you’ll have to worry about is staying alive!
If you were to survive the games, which I highly doubt, then we will do as promised and grant you your wish, via taxpayer expense. There’s nothing the Illuminati loves more than wasting hard stolen taxpayer money on frivolous expenditures like elaborate “stress tests” on bunker sociology to see who’ll break.
All of you came here for a reason. One of you however asked to be here so you could murder everyone else who came here for a reason! Hooray for having zero conscience, our super mysterious serial killer contestant! How do you stop this maniac from murdering you? Why the answer is simple. Figure out which one of you is the murdering maniac and you win! That’s right, the game is officially over, and you can go home and enjoy whatever foolish thing you wished for. Hope it was worth it!
How might you rid yourselves of this psychopath, you ask? Please direct your attention to our voting room. Inside is a small stall, no bigger than an outhouse. At the end of each day, you will go inside, one by one, and vote on who you think the killer is. If the majority votes correctly then the game is over. If there is a tie or lower, then the games continue. Oh, and just to make things fair, the killer will always vote for themselves. This will continue until enough of you vote correctly or everyone besides the killer is D.E.A.D.
♫ Do-do-do dodo! ♫
Congratz subject number 4, Roger J. Pierson III. You have been assigned the master bedroom! Which means you are responsible for reading the daily tasks! What daily tasks you might wonder? Why they’re clues to help you solve the killer-mystery, so pay close attention!
How does it work? Each day Roger will receive a card from HQ, using our spiffy pneumatic system, with direct access to the master bedroom. Our technicians, who helped created this wonderful kill box, call these messages ‘Vital Tasks’. Gather in one place and read them carefully, but only if you’re interested in surviving.
Good luck everyone! Oh, and be sure to have fun while playing. There is a small suggestion box located in the recreational room, next to the TV. All suggestions are anonymous and will help us to not only create a better experience, but even more enjoyable deaths! Salutations! Enjoy your stay at our super-secret underground facility! Thank you for your participation in the Adventure Games! And remember, no matter what happens, you are a valued guest at Bunker 17!”
When the strange announcement ended, everyone just kind of looked around in confusion. It was one of those moments when you question reality. There were seven of us in total. Everyone was wearing a name tag. Each name was more of a twisted moniker than our actual name. I looked down at my own and saw the word “Hero.” I found this odd for a few reasons. The first being I wasn’t a hero. I was your average guy at best. The second, more chilling reason was I did not remember putting this stupid thing on. How it got there was a mystery. I suppose in the thick of the chaos, one of the lab technicians must’ve slapped it on before they rushed me out.
The guy next to me, whose name tag read “Follower,” began to spaz. I tried to calm him, but it didn’t work. He made a break for it, running all the way back to the entrance. “Let me out! I didn’t sign up for this!” he cried and screamed while pounding on the steel slab.
There was a tall, bulky guy, wearing a tank top that barely fit. His name tag read “Bully” and was glued to his chest. He flexed his peck muscles and laughed very loudly and rudely at the young guy. He looked over at me and then everyone else while wildly yelling, “Come on guys! They’re obviously trying to scare us. The lady over the intercom wasn’t even trying to hide how obvious it was with all those corny jokes. What is this supposed to be? Fallout: New Vegas?!” He hooted and chuckled.
“This is stupid,” the woman next to me said. I looked over and saw that her name tag read: “Narcissist.”
“Screw it,” the Follower said after seeing that he was making a fool out of himself by crying and wailing not only in vain but to the amusement of others.
“I want to go home,” a girl sniveled. I glanced over and saw that her name tag read, “Teenager.”
Bully’s laughter pulled me away from the shock of seeing a teenager in a place like this. I cringed when he hollered out “Guys! It’s not real!” as if he wasn’t making yet another useless PSA.
There was this guy leaning against the wall. He watched with folded arms as the Follower finally gave up the goose. I could have sworn he was just standing right next to me, but I could be wrong. His name tag read “the Rationalizer.” He looked over at us and asked, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “So. What do we do now?”
“Let’s go get the message like the lady said over the intercom,” I told everyone with a shrug.
“Good idea,” the Rationalizer said. I think he was being sarcastic when he said it, but who knows. A guy like that was difficult to read.
The seven of us traveled through the kitchen and recreational area. Then we made our way down the narrow hall, towards our rooms. There were two names assigned to each one, except for the master bedroom. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw that the Rationalizer was assigned to the same room as me. Seeing my discomfort, he gave me a pat on the back before opening the door to our room.
I peeked inside and saw a very clean but very bare bones living space. There were a few accommodations, just nothing like home. Let’s see, there was a bunkbed on one side, two lockers, and a large dresser on the other. The floor was just as cold, polished, and uninviting as the kitchen and hall. Turns out, the only thing they bothered to make warm and cozy was the recreational room. Oh, and the master bedroom, hate to forget that.
I poked my head in Roger’s room. If I hadn’t mentioned it by now, his name tag read: “the Lover.” He damn near kissed the floor when he saw how magnificent his stay would be. His reaction rubbed pretty much all of us the wrong way. The Narcissist’s in particular. When she saw her room, and realized she had to share with the Teenager, she hyperventilated. Unlike the Lover’s eccentrics, her selfishly induced panic attack put a smile on my face.
“Huh. Looks like they got at least one of our name tags spot-on,” the Rationalizer said while observing her antics and thinking the same thing I was thinking.
Bully nearly buckled over he laughed so hard. Seeing this and that he shared a room with this meathead, the Follower began laughing right along with him. I don’t even think he knew why he was laughing. He saw Bully doing it and just followed along. I shook my head. I did chuckle a bit under my breath. The whole thing was ridiculous, I thought to myself as I turned my attention back to the Lover. There was something about him that was different. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
Was there a faster way to draw suspicion than being called out by name and given something. Not only was it something, but it happened to be the one spacious, well decorated, most comfortable room out of the whole lot. Silk pillows, satin sheets, and a handwoven quilt that was draped over the bottom of a lavish, four-post bed. The posts were shaped into gargoyles. Even his dresser was handcrafted, the wallpaper elegant, and the red carpet fit for royalty. I could go on and on, but I didn’t want my intrigue to turn into outrage. Not yet at least. This all could be a prank like Bully suggested.
Eh. I know I keep harping on the subject, but it was hella unfair. What could I do? Even if I wanted to take it there, what were my options? Try to take the room from him by force? Yeah. That’s smart. That way everyone would think I was the killer for sure.
I had never even thought about killing someone in my whole life. Ok... you got me. The vampire who nearly killed my sister was the only creature. Hearing Agent Adams tell me he had been cruelly dispatched by his masters was sweet music to my ears. My only regret was that I wasn’t there to witness him suffer. If I was, I would have begged the monster behind the mask to prolong his pain for as long as vampirically possible.
“Hey, pal! Hurry up! I’m starving,” Bully shouted, snapping my mind out of its downward spiral of dark, borderline psychotic thought.
“I’m grabbing the card now!” the Lover shouted back before seizing the plastic capsule that was ejected from a long, pneumatic tube system. He removed the card from the red envelope and read what it said:
“Task 1. Introduce yourself to the others. State all critical information such as name, age, and reason you’re here. This is very important: reveal if you are human or not. Do not lie unless you are the killer. You may remove your name tag afterwards.”
After he read the card, we all glanced around at one another, wondering if this was indeed someone’s idea of a sick joke. Or perhaps this was a dream we would all wake up from very soon? I prayed for the ladder but feared and respected the former. My thoughts loud and sweeping amidst the awkward silence that had overtaken us.
Bully rubbed his stomach. “I’m hungry. You guys can keep standing around looking stupid if you want. I’m off to see what’s in the fridge.”
“Um. Gross,” the Narcissist stated before she checked the pockets of her stylish plaid topcoat. She gasped in exasperation before yelping in dismay, “OMG. But how? How did they even know?”
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“They must’ve taken it!” she cried.
“Taken what?” I asked.
She looked over at me with an expression that told me everything I needed to know. Then she groaned out the most unimaginative words imaginable, “God. I thought I smuggled my backup phone. I put it in my pocket, it should be here. Screw it. Guess I’ll just die of boredom.”
“Or you could reconnect with your other senses,” the Rationalizer said. He folded his arms and stared at the Narcissist hungrily. If she wasn’t so preoccupied with being preoccupied by nothing, she would have noticed his lecherous gawk.
“Whatever. I hate my life,” she sighed.
“What’s a ‘backup’ phone?” I asked.
“Old people, dude,” the Follower blurted before chuckling to himself at my expense.
“I’m not old. I just never heard of a backup phone,” I explained, my tone a bit defensive.
“My bad, bro. Don’t get mad.”
“I’m not getting mad.”
“Hey. Whatever you say, bro.”
“It’s your other phone just in case your non other phone dies. Tch. Duh. I have followers, you know,” she replied all hot and haughtily.
“Come on guys,” I said before making my way towards the kitchen. Bully was already there, rummaging through the cupboards like a man on a mission.
When he saw us, he looked back and said, “I’m starving, haven’t eaten since breakfast!”
“How are we looking? Plenty of good stuff?” I asked as I made my approach.
“Bingo!” he hooted and rooted, ignoring me like a butthole over a loaf of bread. He made some weird comment about how he couldn’t believe they had sprouted grain bread. And how sprouted grain bread was savage. And how sprouted grain bread aided in muscle recovery. And how sprouted grain bread blah blah blah; all bodybuilding nonsense no one else understood. I understood how rude he was, however. He practically commandeered the counter and began making himself half a dozen sandwiches with the ham that he had snagged from the fridge.
“How are we looking?” I asked again.
“Dude, we’re freaking loaded!”
I opened the large pantry and saw four shelves filled with cans. “Wow. Yeah, you’re right.”
The one guy, who had the master bedroom, the Lover, I believe his name tag was; he cleared his throat and said, “Ok. So, who’s going to go first?”
“First in what?” the Follower asked.
“Introducing themselves,” he hissed.
“Tch. I’m not wasting my time,” the Follower laughed. To be honest, he seemed like a nice kid, but his laugh was maddening. This high pitch chortle followed by a guttural snort or two. Ugh. Just thinking about it made my skin crawl.
“I think you should go first,” I told Bully.
“Oh, yeah? Why’s that?” he asked.
“Because you’re a big oaf.”
Everyone at the table laughed, including the Follower. He stood from his seat, still snorting, and said, “Dude! You have a mountain of sandwiches! You could have at least asked if anyone else wanted one.”
Bully laughed before and after taking a chunk out of his first sandwich. “Whatever. I worked hard to get these muscles. Judging by your appearance, I don’t think you’ve ever seen an honest day’s work at the gym.”
“Ouch,” the Follower nervously chuckled. He slinked back down in his seat and tried to hide as we all laughed at the poor guy’s expense.
Bully looked over at me as if he saw something he didn’t like. Before I could ask if he had a staring problem, he said, “What about you? You seem pretty straightlaced. Maybe you should go first.”
I looked around and saw everyone’s eyes fall on me after he had pretty much thrown me under the bus. I threw my hands up in defeat and told them, “Fine. It’s not like I have anything to hide; I’ll go first.”
The Lover gestured for me to take the metaphorical stage and said, “The floor is yours.”
2023.03.29 22:44 KassandraVonBopy My computer keeps freezing then the screen will look deep fried then it will crash reboot.