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The "invisible hand" of the market, a phrase invented by Adam Smith, is a common argument against government regulation. The Invisible Hand of the market creates predictable economic systems such as supply and demand, because humans are relatively predictable in their behavior. For example, you predict that when you go to the supermarket there will be eggs and milk for sale. Invisible hand, metaphor, introduced by the 18th-century Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith, that characterizes the mechanisms through which beneficial social and economic outcomes may arise from the accumulated self-interested actions of individuals, none of whom intends to bring about The Invisible Hand was a Providence -class dreadnought commanded by General Grievous during the Clone Wars. The vessel was colored a light blue-gray, with subtle yellow bow stripes. It was equipped with numerous vulture droids, as well as standard battle droids and Grievous's personal IG-100 MagnaGuards. The invisible hand is a metaphor for how, in a free market economy, self-interested individuals can promote the general benefit of society at large. more Karl Marx The invisible hand is a metaphor for how, in a free market economy, self-interested individuals can promote the general benefit of society at large. Education General The invisible hand is a concept that – even without any observable intervention – free markets will determine an equilibrium in the supply and demand for goods. The invisible hand means that by following their self-interest – consumers and firms can create an efficient allocation of resources for the whole of society. Adam Smith’s landmark treatise on the free market paved the way for modern capitalism, arguing that competition is the engine of a productive society, and that self-interest will eventually come to enrich the whole community, as if by an ‘invisible hand’. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. Definition: The unobservable market force that helps the demand and supply of goods in a free market to reach equilibrium automatically is the invisible hand. Description: The phrase invisible hand was introduced by Adam Smith in his book 'The Wealth of Nations'. He assumed that an economy can work well in a free market scenario where everyone will work for his/her own interest. The invisible hand describes the unintended social benefits of an individual's self-interested actions, a concept that was first introduced by Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, written in 1759, invoking it in reference to income distribution.. By the time he wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776, Smith had studied the economic models of the French Physiocrats for many years, and in ...

2020.08.25 20:23 One-eyed-Abhay Hidden cam wife alone

I am a normal working Joe! Mango people, Aam Aadmi, working for my life and life is miserable. I have not completely failed, but somehow always been at the brink of complete failure with occasional signs of life-changing opportunity, but I could not make it and I always have someone to blame, even bad luck. Luck, God whatever!
Another bad day, but somehow more miserable than usual. Nothing that has killed me, but I am angrier, sadder, and am feeling helpless, powerless in the worse of our worst moments. Moment of the power has never been needed more because once and for all, I wanted to kill this guy who has bullied me his entire life, he always got a bit more than me and always pretended to be my friend on my face but all he was a bully. And today I again met him while having a smoke outside the bar, this time he had two grown Kids with him, his employees; he bullied me again, made fun of me, made dirty comments about my high school sweetheart, who is now my wife, who still treats like I am the same guy as I was in High School, and who keeps talking about Shruti, and her husband’s pearls of wisdom to solve my career problems, refrigerator problems and most important problem of the all- Me. Everybody loves me, and helps me, right? No, because everybody assumes I need help.
My back rests against the wet hotel wall, wet due to this ongoing rain in this rainy season’s rainy night, I am tired of finding a dignified escape from these incessant insults, and mockery. Nobody seems to take any interest in my plight while a human-shaped gorilla has put his hand above my shoulder and caged me with his thumping chest hidden beneath the layers of black leather jacket, t-shirt, and undershirt. Why do all bullies dress in these kinds of bully costumes? He is mocking my fear and his cubs are getting excited about their bully-king Boss and are learning the tricks to rule small people.
When I tried to walk away, he again cornered and bluffed with his passive aggression and then laughed as if it was just funny. Him being bigger is the problem, because the size is always a factor and I am just pissed at it because I am small and he is big , and because I am just feeling pathetic about myself due to my inability to fight back, to shout out, and to just do what I want to do... Live life with dignity and respect! Stop! Please Stop! I am weak. I will just leave. Just walk away you loser! I am thinking about myself in the second person. Voices in my head! Ignore the voices Satvik! I am such a loser. Yes, you are! Because I am not, you are. But you and I are same. You are my thoughts and thoughts are mine and I am me, so you are me. No, I am the only self-respect that's left in you. I am your only awareness which is telling you what is. Rest of the whole you are just finding excuses for our pathetic existence! Thank you, I mean me. Thank me!
Wooo… Am I flying? No, We are falling hard on the ground fool! We got tripped on Jey’s timely stretched legs. Face on the ground, nose bleeding, he is laughing. Get Up! I can't! Pathetic!
It's raining, and the water on our face feels like bloody tears..... Cold, Scary, Sad, alone, pathetic. We are drunk, standing outside the hotel gate drunk, and now we are going back to your place, my phone is about to be dead, call your wife or book cab! Book cab.
Hotel Marriott's lobby is mocking the darkness in me with its fancy lighting which makes looking in the dark even more difficult. It looks like a movie. Yes, It does, innit? We are the hero, who will rise and shine one day. I am?
Only Share cab! We hate it! But no choice. I want to just go home. You think I don't know that. You know nothing, you just want.
The cab comes and I sit! I am Drunk, Sad, and I feel like crying, Phone will be dead, so I have to call my wife else she will be worried if she finds my phone was off. Weird protocols with Phones…
We call and We talk to the woman...My WIFE...I am again hearing voices, what's wrong with me ... oh no... She found I am drunk again... One thing led to another.. I am listening … and responding as calmly as I can… oh great! the topic of my failure as a salesman working for a startup has come up again, my failure as a husband, my career, and my issue with the Bully comes out... I am just talking. You are complaining! I have a bloody nose!
Here we go, you are just mumbling and trying to defend something which somehow we know you are already at fault. Isn't she just perfect! .. perfect bitch!!..no I love her. You do, I don't and that's why you are in pain and I am not. I am? You are.
Someone suddenly appears in our life like another person sitting on the other window seat of the cab, feeling like just empty all this while. Suddenly the passenger on the seat seems to look at us as if he does not know us and yet he looks familiar. How often do we notice other people sitting in shared cabs, standing in queues, walking in the same direction to their unknown destinations, travelling with us, existing around us and looking at each other in a completely nonchalant way? I like my people travelling in shared cabs, living in a shared world, being completely oblivious to me. Because you are scared and worthless.
“You can call from my mobile if that helps you”
What? Some voice from outside us. Not mine. Not yours. Stranger voice!
What? not mine, is it me or is it one of me?
We can see him. Yes, I can, can I? Ignore the voices in the head, Satvik. I am hallucinating. What is real? focus, focus, just look, look like you breath air..just look without thinking!
Black shirt, black overcoat, a shadow on the face. Long fingers, Ring in the finger, skull on the ring, skull staring with red eyes and the voice came from a face hidden in the shadow. No, the voice is coming from the skull! It is talking to us and breaking the unsaid rule of not talking to people who don't know each other.. Actual words. Say something, break the silence. Ok.
“ aaah...No! thank you!..... it's... aaaaa....alright...Tha... thanks for the help" No one can help me, We are muttering this under our breath to no one. I am? Focus.
“If I were you, I would have killed that guy. He seems to be not worthy of living. I mean I believe in this kind of justice for really evil or dark souls."
"What?".. We are mumbling. Am I?
“In my experience, if you let someone fool you, and bully you without fighting back and get your nose broken, soon they will break your spirit too.”
He is right!!, what did I keep telling me, I never listen to us. When did I not? Talk to him… Focus,“No... No... It was my mistake. I should have seen his leg, I was drunk. He .. the guy who tripped me... I mean whose leg I did not see… just jokes around..he means no harm... He is just an old friend .. we just keep troubling each other.. we prank.. do these silly things to each other. He did not do this to hurt me... I was too drunk to have a proper reflex ... ”
“Too drunk to not see his leg or too drunk to not have proper reflex?, Which is it?”
“Sorry!! what?”
“Earlier you said you were too drunk to see his leg, he did not intentionally trip yo..u. Then you said he did this as a friendly prank and you were too slow to not regain your balance. So for what exactly you are blaming yourself for?”
“What..?? I said that he did it? .. yes...right..sure... I know what I said .. But yes ...it was harmless .. and I ...I...I ...got hurt… clearly ..thats a fact..but the hurt is not what he caused..it was me ..that's what I meant.. I mean I could have done something different to not fall ...that's what I was trying to say..” *We are stammering, I know. "*So I don't blame him… and ..and ..and I don't think anyone deserves to die even ..even hypothetically speaking for such silly things... and ...and ..and you..you ...me… we should not speak such things”
“Oh I could not disagree more,” said the shadow and skull’s eyes gleamed with a nasty red with the passing by street lights, “I believe that anyone who intentionally hurts someone deserves to be hurt intentionally as well as structurally. If you don't stand up for yourself because you are too weak to call the bad in people bad, you can just ask me to make this right. The thing is that I kill bad people for good reasons. I am good that ways!”
“You ..you ..don't know me .. you don't know him.. You don't get to call me weak or judge me for not hating an old friend.. These things happen. You just move on, you know”
“Tell me this, do you have a feeling that these things just happen, but they only happen to you and it's always you who moves on?”
*They do ...*and you move on … shhhhhh...let me think.. You cant.
“Its a very generic thing to say... Ya.. so I feel that way... But ..but ..but… that's how everyone feels.”
“How do you know how everyone feels? I think one knows only how one feels, that's it. Tell me don't you feel the anger at what he did to you and that he deserves to face the consequences of his actions, his sins?”
“Ya sure… I felt it… I wanted him dead... There!… happy? What can we do about it? Nothing .... Such thoughts come in the mind...But you don't act on them. They…..They...They...are just emotions ..like..like ..like vapours..but it's not right to dwell on such things.. You..you..move on!” Stop chuckling.... it's funny... “ It's just pointless ..we..we.. we are just talking ...this means nothing... I just want to sit quietly mister! I am ..am .. too tired..just waiting to reach home… once I get dropped..you can change your drop location and kill him.. And all the bad people in my life ..happy.. Now please just..mind your business”
"Did you just ask me to kill him?"
"What..wait ...I mean ..What?" ..mumbles.. You did. Did I?
"What do you want? Feelings like these are perfectly alright. I mean He seems to be way out of line here. It's fair, trust me. Do you want me to kill him for you?"
I am chuckling nervously...pffffff...what's with this guy? "what do you mean by what I want.. It's not like it will matter. You don't know anything. Its life, sometimes life doesn't go your way. Yaaa... I felt like doing something but this is just those things come in the mind as silent vapours of steam and they vanish. Thanks for your concern. It's not what you think it is. By the way, I don't think it's legal to talk like these things”
“Do you want me to kill this guy? You just have to say yes or no”
“What.. Ya sure.. Stranger in the cab... I will like you to kill him...Haha...” You have spoken this out loud. No, I was just talking in my mind.
“Fine.” Shadow raised his hand as a contractual handshake.
“No that's not what I said... I just joked...”
The car stopped, inertia moved my body in shock.
“Your stop sir”. The cab driver is looking at me.
“Oh yeah.just one min… listen to me, mister... Don't get me wrong.. I did not say any such thing... am too drunk… just don't mention this to anyone..”
“Sir.. your stop”
“Yeah.. I know… just one sec... Hey you listen ...don't think..don't say.. anymore .. I did not mean…”
“Yes or No”
“Sir .. your stop..”
Oh for the fuck sake… “Yes… Yes.. I mean ...yes I know it's my stop”
I got out of the car... The other person is looking at me through the window... But I can't see his face. “Who are you?”
“Your luck, God whatever”
The car goes away… I am feeling dizzy ..I am too drunk, Did he Say Jey? How does he know?
You feel dizzy, nausea .. earthmoving, you are about to collapse...Weak, Pathetic Body.
Random flashes, sounds, "Please help", "Thank you", "No problem", "this is embarrassing", "I love you but I can't take this anymore...
no time,
“Yes or No”
I wake up on my bed.
Everything looks normal. Nothing different. My head hurts when I tried to sit up, Bloody Hangover. My body hurts. Water. Water will help. I move to the counter and take a big sip. Everything becomes a bit better. I shrug off my head. How did I get to my bed? *What happened? Bad dream? Must be a dream.*Dream. I am getting late.
Time is not our friend. It's 11:30 AM, my god I am very late to the office. They knew I drank too much. Let me go as fast as I can.
I struggled in the bathroom. How long have I been in the shower? Where was Madhu? Let's just go to the office. You are right. I am. Stop it. I am again hearing these voices. There are not two things. I am just me. Why do I do this?
Weirdly, I keep talking to someone in my head when I think. It's annoying. Why can't thoughts just come as the air comes to lung and blood flows in my veins? I should stop drinking and see some psychiatrist. What a shitty hallucination I had yesterday. Enough. every time I see the right thing to do when I shower. Oh, This is good. Showering is good. I should do it daily. Yes. enough messing around. No alcohol, wake up early, take a long shower and be responsible, that's it! Simple! Aah… This is it.. it's so relaxing...oh I just don't want to get out of it..but yes I should ..I am getting late. Where is Madhu? Must have left for work. Poor Madhu. She has to do everything.
I am feeling so fresh. Oh, Again I Came to shower without a towel, now the floor will get wet. It's ok. Small setback and this is because I was a bad person from yesterday. We will clean it. We. Ohhhh ...shut it. I will clean it.. Stop talking to yourself…
Let me just play some songs while I get dressed.
*“*Alexa, Play Fear of the dark.”
“Playing Fear of the dark by Iron Maiden”
“Alexa is awesome”
-Den den denene ne ne ne ne ne
den den denene ne ne ne ne
Dun dun dunna na na na na..
Feel the guitar... Now listen to drum beats..
Ting ting ting ting ting …
I just love this song...music is life… Let's sing along...
..am a man who walks alone
And when I'm walking a dark road
At night or strolling through the park
When the light begins to change
I sometimes feel a little strange
A little anxious when it's dark
Fear of the dark
Fear of the dark
I have a constant fear that something's always near
Fear of the dark
Fear of the dark
I have a phobia that someone's always there..
That's it! These songs mess with my head, and then I imagine things and hear voices... Kill Jey... I will see the doctor. “Alexa, Pause”
What??? What is this note on the fridge… Madhu wrote something.. “ I can’t deal with you anymore. I have to ask guards to help to bring you to the apartment. You Puked all over the washroom. I can't keep cleaning your mess, Satvik. I need some time. I am leaving and will not come back”
*Not coming back, what? No no.. she does not know that I have decided to become better and shower daily.. How would she? I will call her from the office.. One thing at a time..Keep cleaning my mess.. Nonsense..We are not at fault, I got better.
Lets Book the cab. I know, I do it daily.
Only Share cabs.
I hate share cabs.
We do. I do. Stop Talking to yourself, I mean Myself.
We are waiting outside, I am waiting outside. There is no one in the cab but the driver. We sit.NO I ..I ..I ..I ...I Ok I sit. No more this thinking like someone is running the commentary of what's happening in the first person, the second person in my head. Enough! OK. Cars are slowly moving in the mess of these streets. Accelerate, Honk, Break, Traffic lights, one way, fly over... So many people...They all feel like they matter the most... Nothing does... I do...Do I? I have never noticed this building, where are we going? Are we lost? Check with the driver.
“Hey! Are you sure you are going on the right route?”
“This is the right path! Don't worry! I know these paths really well.”
Yes, I am overthinking. Let's use this time for deciding the plan. Yes, let's do. What am I supposed to do in life? Win. Yes … yes. ... Win.. but win what… Everything ............
Oh.. office compound has come... Now I have to get down... Just when I was about to think about the plan.....damn it!
“ID please”
I show my id to this prick of the guard. I am angry again because he should know my face. He does not know how big I am or will be. Cab goes inside the campus and is passing by all these office complexes. Fancy tech parks with big companies. Each office looks the same and everyone feels that their company is the main attraction of the tech park and everyone else is just there. But I love that we have a Marriot inside the tech park. Yes, we are now approaching it and then pass by it to go to our job and then pretend to work for a few hours. Let's visit Marriott in the evening for one last time. Jey is staying in the hotel and I may meet him again. True. But this time I will not be intimidated, I promise me, us, me, I will not be... what's wrong with me. Nothing.
But why is there so much rush outside the hotel?
I roll down my window to see outside. The driver has stopped the car.
“You have arrived.”
“No No .. My office is a little farther more. You have to take a right after this hotel”
“I have already taken the right measure. See for yourself”
I stuck out my face from the car window to see what other people were looking at. I see that a human-shaped gorilla was lying on the road with his face staring blankly at me. Is that a skull Mark on his face? What? No .. This can't be real.. They will know ... they will know...But I did not do anything... It was a dream...I was here... This is Jey...they will know.... but how... I did not do this.... did I?
“See. I have done it right.”
I looked at the driver to understand what he was saying. How often do people look at the driver’s face and notice him as a person? I see his hands on the wheel... Long fingers, ring on the finger, skull on the ring.
“ You are… oh god.. You are real… did you ..oh god … you did...”
I am feeling dizzy. *Everything is moving.*I step out of the car, and I cant help but notice Jey's blank eyes are no longer mocking me. There are no more voices in my head. Have I gotten better? Am I finally cured?
I turned back to confirm if I really saw what I saw. I was not able to look at the face of driver, as if I was hypnotised by the Skull Ring.
Skull seems to smile on the long finger, "I have told you I believe in this kind of justice for really evil souls. You asked me to change my destination after your drop and kill all the people in your life and I am now on the right path. You wont be hurt anymore. If you get hurt by anyone, I will kill that person."
" You killed him." I was now feeling much more in control of my life than I ever felt in my whole life. I was talking and I was thinking and I was able to look the same way as I breathe.
"You needed help. I helped. Fate has caused us to meet while we both were seeking the redemption. I have been serving the angles for too long. There codes are confusing and I cant wait anymore for the Judgement day. I stepped into the cab from a whole different world than yours. I decided to act and I found my action in you.If you wont stand up for you, I will. Only thing is I know only how to kill. I am the necessary evil, and I am going to stop all the pain in the world"
"Who are you?" I asked as if i was in a trans.

Skull's eyes gleamed at me and the whole world went dark for me before I heard the laughter and echoing voice, "Your Luck, God, Whatever!"

To be continued>
(I was feeling happy, powerful and scared at the same time. He is dead and I did not kill him. Luck was finally on my side, but then I looked at the cc tv cam staring at me in the lobby. Oh God! .. To be continued)

submitted by One-eyed-Abhay to nosleep [link] [comments]

2020.08.05 08:52 5Augenergetic Anything Goes With My Sis-ter for Po-rn

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2020.06.07 11:19 breezas Was my old house haunted?

So a little bit off back story to begin with. I used to live with my ex in a 2bedroom house with her kid (step-son) and our kid. It seemed to be a very normal house nothing eerie and no weird feelings in the house.......until it became dark. We spoke to our neighbour about who used to live in the house just out off curiosity. He told us it was an older guy late 40's and his wife the same age. They were both alcoholics, which was evident as when we first moved in there was wine and beer bottles all over hidden in the overgrown grass. He then told us the man had died in the house in the front bedroom upstairs (our room). Later on his wife died in the hospital. He said they were very argumentative with each other and never seemed.happy to be together but.....carried on anyway.
So the first experience we had was not long after we had moved in it was my birthday, and the ex had got me a dad mug from our kids. I used it all the time as it was my cup for my tea lol. One day we went up to her mums for a few hours and had dinner there. We cam back got the kids to bed as normal and went down to relax with a cup off tea and some TV. I went to make tea but my cup wasnt in the normal place. I searched and searched the full kitchen but it had genuinely vanished........the next day we woke up and there it was, sitting right in the middle off the floor in our bedroom. We most certainly would have noticed it going to bed with the light on.
Nights started to become abit more eerie after a while living there. With the odd noise but nothing to properly spook us. Then one night there was a loud bang downstairs, I get up to go and check. I heard a pouring, dripping noise in the kitchen and I turn the kitchen light on and the full tub off oil had been tipped over and the lid had been opened. I thought that was kinda strange.
Then it became a bit more obvious in trying to get my attention. Whenever I was alone in the house I would heard chatting coming from upstairs if I was downstairs and vice versa. The chatting also sound like it was two people almost arguing with the the tone off the voice but I could never make out what was being said.
One night......me and my ex were in bed as normal and had nothing happen at all happen that night until the morning. I was sleeping and all off a sudden I couldn't breath. I felt myself struggle for breath but couldn't breath at all. My eyes shot open and I even felt it.......almost like 2 cold hands on my face, one covering my mouth and one over my nose. Fair to say I was wide awake and woke up my ex and told her straight away and with everything happening she believed me.
During all this me and my ex were arguing as well. We weren't getting on at all, and I dont know if us arguing and creating bad atmosphere/energy fueled what was going on.
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2020.06.04 10:11 clemaneuverers Hidden cam wife alone

A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses
By Iain Davis, via Off-Guardian
I am what the general population, politicians and the mainstream media (MSM) would call a conspiracy theorist. While I don’t agree with their definition of the term, there’s not much point in me denying it. It is applied to me, and millions like me, whether we like it or not.
For those who deem conspiracy theorists to be some sort of threat to society, we are the social and political malcontents who lack reason and hate our democratic way of life. We are trolls, bots and disinformation agents on social media, probably employed by the Russians, the Chinese or Iranians.
We are supposedly hellbent on sewing the seeds of discontent and can be found protesting against every government policy and decision. Alternatively, we are arrogant fools, both anti-science and evidence averse, who trot out crazy theories based upon little knowledge and no evidence. Apparently this is a very dangerous thing.
Thus we come to the glaring contradiction at the heart of the concept of the loony conspiracy theorist. Conspiracy theorists are both imbeciles, who don’t have any proof to back up anything they say, while simultaneously being dangerous subversives who threaten to destabilise democracy and foment chaos.
Which is it? It can’t be both. Unless society is so fragile it cannot withstand the opinions of idiots.
So where does the idea that fools present a threat to “our way of life,” come from? What is it that the conspiracy theorists say that is so dangerous? Why do their opinions seemingly need to be censored? What are governments so worried about?
Some definitions are required here. From the Cambridge online English dictionary we have:

Misinformation: [noun] wrong information, or the fact that people are misinformed.
Disinformation: [noun] false information spread in order to deceive people.
Fake News: [noun] false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.
Conspiracy: [noun’] the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.
Theory: [noun] a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event.
Conspiracy Theory: [noun] a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people
It is notable that Cambridge University Press have introduced the concept of “secret” into their definition. By describing something as secret you are suggesting that it is impossible to know what it is. This added notion of secrecy is not commonly found in other dictionaries.
Nor is it present in the legal definition of conspiracy. Blacks Law Dictionary defines conspiracy as:
Conspiracy: In criminal law. A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act.
Obviously conspirators would like to keep their plans hidden. But that doesn’t mean they always remain so. If all conspiracies were “secrets” nobody would ever discover any of them.
Known conspiracies, such as Operation Gladio, Iran Contra, the Lavon Affair, the 2001 anthrax letter hoax and so on, would not have been exposed had people not highlighted the evidence which proved their existence.
The notion of the “secret conspiracy” is not one most people called conspiracy theorists would recognise. Often the whole point of our argument is that the conspiracies can be quite plainly evidenced. Most of that evidence is in the public domain and freely available.
More often conspiracy theorists are concerned with the denial or obfuscation of the evidence. It is not that the evidence doesn’t exist, rather that it either isn’t reported at all or is hidden by labelling those who do report it conspiracy theorists.
We can define “conspiracy theory” simply to mean: the reporting of evidence indicating a plan between two or more people to commit an illegal or nefarious act.
We can add that a conspiracy theory is an opinion or an argument. The merit of which is solely defined by the strength or weakness of the evidence.
However, if you read Wikipedia a very different definition is suggested. Suddenly conspiracy theory means an attempt to ignore other more plausible explanations. It is a theory based upon prejudice or insufficient evidence, it resists falsification and suffers from circular reasoning. It has left the realms of logical deduction and become a matter of faith.
This rationale is some distance away from the dictionary and legal definitions. It relies heavily upon opinion and is highly subjective. It is a pejorative definition which claims to be based in science, though the scientific evidence is feeble to non existent.
This depiction of the delusional conspiracy theorist, as described by Wikipedia, is the popularly accepted meaning. Perhaps we can agree, the narrative we are given about alleged conspiracy theorists broadly runs like this:
Conspiracy theorists forward arguments that are unfounded. These are based upon limited knowledge and lack substantiating evidence. Most conspiracy theorists are simply wrong and unwittingly spread misinformation. However, prominent conspiracy theorists spread disinformation and have used their large followings on the Internet to create a dangerous phenomenon called ‘fake news.’
Many of those with the largest followings are agents for foreign powers. They use a global network of trolls and bots to advance their dangerous political agenda. This is designed to undermine our democratic way of life and valued political institutions. Therefore all conspiracy theory is anti-democratic and must be stopped.
It is difficult to understand how democracies, which supposedly value freedom of thought, speech and expression, can be threatened by diversity of opinion. Yet it appears many people are willing to ignore this contradiction and support government attempts to censor information and silence the voices of those it labels conspiracy theorist. Which is genuinely anti-democratic.
Consequently it has become relatively straightforward for politicians and the media to refute evidence and undermine arguments. As long as they can get the label of conspiracy theory or theorist to stick, most people will discount their arguments without ever looking at the evidence.
The label of conspiracy theorist is an umbrella term for a huge array of ideas and beliefs. Some are more plausible than others. However, by calling everyone who challenges accepted norms a “conspiracy theorist” it is possible to avoid addressing the evidence some offer by exploiting guilt by association.
For example, many people labelled as conspiracy theorists, myself included, believe even the most senior elected politicians are relatively low down the pecking order when it comes to decision making. We suggest powerful global corporations, globalist think tanks and international financial institutions often have far more control over policy development than politicians. We can cite academic research to back up this identification of “Biased Pluralism.”
We do not believe the Earth is flat or the Queen is a lizard. However, because we believe the former, politicians, mainstream academia and the media insist that we must also believe the latter.
Psychology is often cited as evidence to prove conspiracy theorists are deranged, or at least emotionally disturbed in some way. Having looked at some of this claimed science I found it to be rather silly and anti-scientific. But that is just my opinion.
However, unlike many of the psychologists who earn a living by writing junk science, I do not think they should be censored nor stopped from expressing their unscientific opinions. However, governments across the world are seemingly desperate to exploit the psychologist’s ‘work’ to justify the silencing of the conspiracy theorists.
This desire to silence people who ask the wrong questions, by labelling all as conspiracy theorists, has been a common theme from our elected political leaders during the first two decades of the 21st century. But where did this idea come from?
Conspiracy theory is nothing new. Nearly every single significant world event had at least one contemporary conspiracy theory attached to it. These alternative interpretations of events, which lie outside the accepted or official narratives, are found throughout history.
In 117 CE, the Roman Emperor Trajan died only two days after adopting his successor Hadrian. All his symptoms indicated a stroke brought on by cardio vascular disease.
Yet by the 4th century, in the questionable historical text Historia Augusta, a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Trajan’s death had emerged. These included claims that Trajan had been poisoned by Hadrian, the praetorian prefect Attianus and Trajan’s wife, Plotina.
While we would call this a conspiracy theory today, the term was not commonly used until the late 1960’s. The earliest written reference to something approaching the modern concept of conspiracy theory appeared in the 1870’s in the Journal of Mental Science vol 16.
“The theory of Dr Sankey as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr Charles Beade”
This is the first time we see an association made between “conspiracy theory” and implausibility. Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, if used at all, it usually denoted little more than a rationale to expose a criminal plot or malevolent act by a group.
After the Second World War colloquial use of “conspiracy theory” was rare. However, academics were beginning to lay the foundations for the interpretation which has produced the label we are familiar with today.
The burgeoning idea was that the large numbers of people who questioned official accounts of events, or orthodox historical interpretations, were all delusional to some degree. Questioning authority, and certainly alleging that authority was responsible for criminal acts, was deemed to be an aberration of the mind.
In 1945 The philosopher Karl Popper alluded to this in his political work The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper was essentially criticising historicism. He stated that historical events were vulnerable to misinterpretation by those who were predisposed to see a conspiracy behind them.
He argued this was because historians suffered from cognitive dissonance (the uncomfortable psychological sensation of holding two opposing views simultaneously.) They could not accept that tumultuous events could just happen through the combination of error and unrelated circumstances.
In Popper’s view, these historians were too quick to reject the possibility of random, chaotic events influencing history, preferring unsubstantiated conspiratorial explanations. Usually because they made better stories, thereby garnering more attention for their work.
Popper identified what he called the conspiracy theory of society. This reflected Popper’s belief that social sciences should concern themselves with the study of the unintended consequences of intentional human behaviour. Speaking of the conspiracy theory perspective, he wrote:
It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.”
Popper also believed that increasing secularism had led people to ascribe power to secretive groups rather than the gods:
The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups – sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from – such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.”
Popper’s theory illustrates the fundamental difference between those labelled conspiracy theorists and those who, on the whole, defend the official narrative and the establishment. For conspiracy theorists the evidence shows that powerful forces have frequently conspired to shape events, control the flow of information and manipulate society. The deliberate engineering of society, suggested by the conspiracy theorists, is rejected by their opponents and critics.
For them the conspiratorial view has some minor, limited merit, but the suggested scale and prevalence of these plots is grossly exaggerated. They see nearly all world events as the result of the unintentional collision between disparate forces and the random influence of fate.
In general, they consider the powerful incapable of malice. Where disastrous national and global events have clearly been caused by the decisions of governments, influential groups and immensely wealthy individuals, these are invariably seen as mistakes.
Any suggestion that the power hierarchy’s destructive decisions may have achieved their intended objectives receives blanket rejection. Even asking the question is considered “unthinkable.”
For many people called conspiracy theorists this is a hopelessly naive world view. History is full of examples of the powerful using their influence to further their own interests at others expense. Often costing people their lives.
For their opponents, like Popper, to reject this possibility outright, demonstrates their cognitive dissonance. They seem unable even to contemplate the possibility that the political and economic power structures they believe in could ever deliberately harm anyone. They have faith in authority and it is not shared by people they label conspiracy theorists.
Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 alternative explanations proliferated, not least of all due to the apparent implausibility of the official account. Many U.S. citizens were concerned that elements within their own government had effectively staged a coup. Others, such as the prominent American historian Richard Hoftsadter, were more concerned that people doubted their government.
Building on the work of Popper, partly as a critique of McCarthyism but also in response to the Republican nomination loss of Nelson A. Rockefeller, American historian Richard Hofstadter suggested that people’s inability to believe what they are told by government was not based upon their grasp of the evidence. Rather it was rooted in psychological need.
He claimed much of this stemmed from their lack of education (knowledge), political disenfranchisement and an unjustified sense of self importance. He also suggested these dangerous opinions threatened to pollute the body politic.
Like Popper, Hofstadter did not identify conspiracy theorists directly. But he did formulate the narrative underpinning the modern, widely accepted, definition. He wrote:
I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind…It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant
Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.”….he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions.
Going to great lengths to focus on the “paranoid’s” tendency to highlight the evidence, as if that were a failing, like most critics of so-called conspiracy theorists, Hofstadter chose neither to address nor even mention what that evidence was. He merely asserted that it was unbelievable. The reader just had to take his word for it.
The Warren Commission Report into the JFK assassination drew considerable criticism. The finding that Oswald acted alone contradicted numerous eye witness accounts, film, autopsy and ballistic evidence.
Four of the seven commissioners harshly criticised the report issued in their name. Widely seen as quite ridiculous, in the absence of any sensible official account of the assassination, numerous explanatory theories inevitably sprang up.
In response to the mounting criticism, in 1967 the CIA sent an internal dispatch to all field offices called Document 1035-960: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report.
Revealed by a New York Times Freedom of Information Request in 1976, the dispatch is the first written record we have of the combination of Popper’s “conspiracy theory of society” with Hofstadter’s “paranoid style” militant. It defined the modern concept of the conspiracy theorist.
The document states:
Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists.”
It can be considered as the origin of the weaponised term “conspiracy theory.” It recommends a set of techniques to be used to discredit all critics of the Warren Commission Report. Once you are familiar with them, it is obvious that these strategies are commonly deployed today to dismiss all who question official statements as “conspiracy theorists.” We can paraphrase these as follows:
The report recommended making good use of “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” and to “employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics.”
The CIA advocated using mainstream media feature articles to discredit people labelled conspiracy theorists.
While the use of these methods has been refined over the years, the essential process of labelling someone a conspiracy theorist, while studiously avoiding any discussion of the evidence they highlight, is extremely common in the mainstream media today. We only need look at the reports about academics who questioned the government’s narrative about COVID19 to see the techniques in operation.
The drive to convince the public to use only “official sources” for information has seen the rise of the fact checker.
These organisations, invariably with the support of government and corporate funding, are offered as the reliable sources which provide real facts. The facts they provide are frequently wrong and the fact checking industry has settled legal claims from those who challenged their disinformation.
People have been directed by the mainstream media to abandon all critical thinking. They just need to go to their government-approved fact-checker in order be told the truth.
Providing the public believe the people labelled conspiracy theorists are crazy, ill informed or agents for a foreign powers, the mainstream media, politicians and other commentators can undermine any and all evidence they present. In keeping with the CIA’s initial recommendations, it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever be openly discussed but, if it is, it can be written off as “conspiracy theory.”
However, it isn’t just the mainstream media who use the conspiracy theorist label to avoid discussing evidence. Politicians, speaking on the worlds biggest political stage, have seized the opportunity to deploy the CIA’s strategy.
Even for Prime Ministers and Presidents, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations is a big deal. These tend to be big thematic speeches as the leader impresses their vision upon the gathered dignitaries and global media.
Yet, despite the fact that conspiracy theorists are supposed to be idiots who don’t know the time of day, global “leaders” have repeatedly used this auspicious occasion to single them out as one of the greatest threats to global security.
In November 2001 George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly with the following words:
We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.”
Even if you accept the official account of 9/11, and there are numerous reasons why you wouldn’t, how does questioning it suggest that you support terrorism or mark you out as a racist?
The suggestion appears absurd but it does illustrate that the U.S. president wanted both to silence all criticism of the government account and link those questioning it to extremism and even terrorism.
This theme was reiterated by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his 2014 address. He said:
To defeat ISIL – and organisations like it we must defeat this ideology in all its forms…..it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. We know this world view. The peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or that the 7/7 London attacks were staged […] We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism. We must work together to take down illegal online material […] we must stop the so called non-violent extremists from inciting hatred and intolerance.
This season we will mostly be wearing anti-fear glasses
Like Bush before him, Cameron was at pains to identify what he called non violent extremists (commonly called conspiracy theorists). According to him, all who question government accounts of major geopolitical events are, once again, tantamount to terrorists.
Calling for online censorship to stop any questions ever being asked, it is this authoritarian need to avoid addressing evidence that led his successor, Prime Minister Theresa May, to propose wide-sweeping censorship of the Internet.
At the time of writing, the UK is among the many nations still in so called “lockdown” following the outbreak of COVID19. When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the U.N General Assembly in September 2019 he delivered a speech which seemed weirdly out of context. With Brexit and possible conflict with Iran high on the agenda his address, which barely touched on those issues, was received with considerable bewilderment.
Six months later his predictive powers appear to be remarkable. It transpires that Johnson’s comments were extremely relevant. Just six months too early.
There are today people today who are actually still anti-science […] A whole movement called the anti-Vaxxers, who refuse to acknowledge the evidence that vaccinations have eradicated smallpox […] And who by their prejudices are actually endangering the very children they want to protect […] I am profoundly optimistic about the ability of new technology to serve as a liberator and remake the world wondrously and benignly […] Together, we can vanquish killer diseases.”
Despite the wealth of scientific evidence which justifies scepticism about some vaccines, anti-vaxxer (a variant of conspiracy theorist), is another label used to convince people not to consider evidence. The assertion is that those who question vaccines all fundamentally reject the concept of artificially inducing an immune response against a disease.
This isn’t true but how would you know? The anti-vaxxer label alone is sufficient to convince most to turn away.
Johnson’s speech rambled across so many seemingly irrelevant subjects there is little reason to suspect any COVID 19 foreknowledge. But given the global pandemic that would occur just a few months later, it was certainly prescient. Johnson was sufficiently concerned about the supposedly baseless questions of so called conspiracy theorists (or anti-vaxxers) to allege they killed children. A ludicrous suggestion the mainstream media strongly promoted.
It doesn’t matter that academic research has proven that the official account of 9/11 cannot possibly be true; it makes no difference that Mossad agents admitted that they had gone to New York on the morning of 9/11 to “document the event;” studies showing that approximately 90% of the total 20th Century disease reduction in the U.S. occurred prior to the widespread use of vaccines are irrelevant.
None of these facts need to be known by anyone and governments are going to censor all who try to tell others about them. All questions that reference them are crazy conspiracy theories. They are both stupid questions and a huge threat to both national security and the safety of the little children.
One of the recurring themes the people labelled conspiracy theorists discuss is that policy is made behind the closed doors of corporate boardrooms and policy think tanks. It doesn’t matter who you elect or what party you choose to rule over you, they are only capable of tinkering at the edges of the policy platform.
The policy agenda is set at a globalist level. So the fact that, over two decades, one U.S president and two British Prime Minsters were delivering essentially the same message doesn’t surprise the conspiracy theorists.
As we move toward a world where certain ideas are forbidden and only officially approved questions can be asked, where governments and corporations have a monopoly on the truth and everything else is a conspiracy theory, only one thing really matters. The evidence.
Hofstadter’s believed that his paranoid style militants constant citation of evidence was merely an attempt to “protect his cherished convictions.” This could be true, but the only way to find out is to look at that evidence. The label of the conspiracy theorist has been deliberately created in order to convince you not to look at it.
Regardless of whether or not you think someone’s opinion is a conspiracy theory, you owe it to yourself and your children to consider the evidence they cite. Perhaps you will reject it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But to reject it, without knowing what it is, really is crazy. Your only other option is to unquestioningly accept whatever you are told by the government, globalist think tanks, multinational corporations and their mainstream media partners.
If you choose to believe that everyone who claims to have identified the malfeasance of officials, the crimes of government or the corruption of powerful global institutions, are all conspiracy theorists, then you have accepted that the establishment is beyond reproach.
If you also agree the same established hierarchy can not only determine what you can or cannot know, but can also set all the policies and legislation which dictates your behaviour and defines the limits of your freedom, you have elected to be a slave and don’t value democracy in the slightest.
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2019.12.08 13:09 nextzero182 Hidden cam wife alone

(2019) Midsommar 9.5/10
This movie isn’t for everyone and I don’t mean that in a pretentious way. I do think almost anyone can understand the plot, the subtext and motifs strewn throughout. However, the way it’s presented, isn’t always traditionally palatable. Astor is just such a student and fan of film that you can see this kaleidoscope of homages and influences throughout this movie, all while making it feel like his own project. Florence Pugh really surprised me. She had huge shoes to fill and my favorite aspects of the film were brought to light through her performance. Her character arc is the entire movie and I really felt like I related to her character, while being terrified by how much I also didn’t relate to her, if that makes any sense. This is just a movie you need to see for yourself.
(2019) Us 9/10
I’m thankful that I can say, put simply, this film lived up to the hype. I was slightly concerned that it was going to be Peele’s attempt at a home invasion horror movie but the script is spectacularly original and I can say with all honesty, it’s very unpredictable. I love how it’s once again, like his previous film, set in an idyllic location. It opens with tons of effective humor, coupled with the cheery atmosphere; its inviting nature just makes the tonal switch hit that much harder.
(2019) Little Monsters 8/10
Lupita is absolutely exceptional. She blew me away in Us and she blew me away here. Her performance, character and delivery are so exceptionally genuine here. Really everyone is fantastic. Josh Gad and Alexander England are hilarious and deliver some really witty dialogue. It's just a surprisingly sweet and funny zombie movie. I loved it.
(2019) Furie 7/10
(2019) Godzilla: King of the Monsters 7/10
(2019) Glass 8.5/10
M. Night’s superhero universe is so special to me simply because it’s different. He took the task of creating and growing these characters in a realistic space, which wasn’t guaranteed to work. It’s pretty much universally agreed that Unbreakable is a fantastic film and Split while respected, was divisive. Now with Glass, everything has only become even more divisive as this universe is fully established. I respected this film so much for not hiding behind itself, the entire plot puts all three characters in the forefront and shines light on all their strengths and weaknesses. It’s clear James McAvoy is the star though. His performance is absolutely incredible.
(2019) Ma 7/10
(2019) Crawl 7.5/10
(2019) I Am Mother 8/10
I Am Mother is an incredible sci-fi horror film that while borrowing from previous successes, manages to add a whole new human element that makes it unique. I thought Clara Rugaard did a great job. My initial thoughts were that the role didn’t require much but the subtleness of her role arguably required a greater effort than a traditional dramatic role.
(2018) Dragged Across Concrete 8/10
S. Craig Zahler is unlike any other filmmaker out there. His style is akin to an NFL ref who really doesn’t care to step-in too much to call penalties. His films are lengthy because he really just likes, natural, raw, uncut scenes and that aspect is pleasantly subversive to traditional filmmaking. It comes with some potential pitfalls like actual missed editing (more so complete omission) opportunities of certain scenes and overall this project can seem too long. Despite the length though, it kept me engaged the entire time and has such a unique, albeit potentially racist perspective.
(2018) Lords of Chaos 8.5/10
I've been a black metal fan forever and this is a biography-ish (who knows what actually went down exactly) film about the band Mayhem. Man, some scenes are so brutal and dark bur most importantly, I loved how it portrayed most of these dudes as neo-nazi incels. I still fucking love Burzum and Mayhem but I'm glad they got this one right. Rory Culkin is pretty fantastic in his role and I feel like the horror community should be interested in this.
(2018) Incident in a Ghostland 9/10
I’m so grateful for a psychological horror film of this magnitude and frankly, the best twist since the M. Night-era. I’m filled with questions but ultimately I thought it was one of the smartest films of the year. I found the sound design to really play into the gut-wrenching meat of this project and it’s something I could discuss for days. The cinematography is also fantastic, violence is fast and impactful.
(2018) Climax 8/10
The dancing in this film almost feels like it’s intertwined with every aspect of both the story and the production. It’s almost hypnotizing at times and evolves eventually into a brutally intense sequence of dizzying follow-cam style shots as you watch these incredible performers contorting their bodies. It all eventually sort of decays as characters separate and reality from the drugged-up trip seems to blur. Actual horrible things are happening in real life but because these characters are consumed by delusion. I think people need to watch this and just sit with it for a bit before forming an opinion; I definitely needed to.
(2018) The House That Jack Built 9.5/10
In my mind, this is Lars Von Trier’s masterpiece and Matt Dillon’s best performance to date. It’s hands down the most fun, engaging, darkly humorous, disturbing, bleak and creative film I’ve seen in a long time.
(2018) Braid 8/10
Braid is a fantastic film and one that I can’t jump to compare to anything else. It’s such a fresh new take on the psychological horror genre. I loved how I actually didn’t understand what was going on in the beginning but was so enamored with the visuals that my attention didn’t waver. The film really excels in storytelling and all three actresses did a great job at selling their roles. It’s one of those great mystery projects that’s hard to talk about because you so badly need to go in blind.
(2018) Venom 7/10
(2018) Head Count 7.5/10
(2018) The Witch in the Window 8.5/10
First off, this film has the funniest fucking spotlight negative review on iMDB about a festering rotten cup of piss and I love that. Unfortunately, or fortunately rather, I wholeheartedly disagree. It was one the most emotionally impactful movies I’ve seen in months. The cinematography is so clean and correlates with the tight knit story itself. Nothing is hidden; the dialogue and visuals are very much the focus. It blends scary with intriguing in a way that’s truly unpredictable.
(2018) The Strangers: Prey at Night 7/10
(2018) Suspiria 9/10
It’s definitely a lengthy film but the narrative is fantastic. The visuals are muted in stark juxtaposition to the original but they’re so fucking raw and twisted that it works. There’s also several performances to note, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth and our lead of course, Dakota Johnson. I don’t think there’s any competing with Goblin’s original soundtrack for Argento’s film but Thom Yorke did a good job. It took a re-watch to fully appreciate his work but I like that it’s different and very melancholy.
(2018) The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot 7.5/10
(2018) Bird Box 8/10
The creature design in this film is so incredibly unique and almost intangible at points. It’s not without its minor flaws, such as some shoe-horned characters and flirtations with over-used tropes but they don’t seem to detract from the big picture.
(2018) Hold the Dark 8/10
Jeremy Saulnier is an incredible director, usually putting forth visceral experiences that both speak for themselves and hit the viewer hardest from a visually artistic standpoint. Hold the Dark is completely different. It contains the same expert level cinematography, sound design and photography but where it differs is its story driven aspects. The tale of this film so-to-speak, is fucking insane.
(2018) Halloween 8/10
I absolutely loved this movie, if not simply for the fact that it balanced that difficulty of paying homage to the original series, while using modern techniques to elevate it. It’s extremely well-produced but still forces itself to break away from the obscured angles and macro shots to give us these raw, long follow-cam sequences.
(2017) The Crescent 7/10
(2017) Cold Skin 7/10
(2017) Jungle 8/10
For a religious-themed film about survival and hope, McLean did decide to pull from his horror-film roots for the most intense, seemingly hopeless portions of the film. The ominous music, tense visuals and crushing psychological twist is for me, what sets it apart from many other films of the same vein.
(2017) Pyewacket 8.5/10
I fucking love occult horror and this film was downright scary. That’s truly one of the greatest accomplishments because I don’t usually get scared watching horror films anymore. It’s somewhat of a slow burn but in a way that really creeped me out.
(2017) A Ghost Story 9.5/10
It’s really difficult to put into words why I loved this movie so much because it was less about the mechanics and more about that way it made me feel. I never thought I would come close to crying watching Rooney Mara eat pie for what seemed like a half hour but here we are. It’s an arthouse film. They fuck with the aspect ratio. They fuck with every shot, oftentimes by not fucking with it at all. It was touching to me; sweet at times, dark, lonely and ultimately hard hitting.
(2017) The Bar 7.5/10
(2017) Tigers Are Not Afraid 9/10
It didn’t even really register to me that even films that portray the Cartel in the most violent way, still tend to be glorifying the culture. This film weighs the innocence of childhood directly against the gang’s ruthless nature to deliver a seriously moving project. I absolutely loved the art direction and cinematography. There’s a certain simplicity to it all which seems to oscillate between endearing, depressing and terrifying. The child actors are also remarkable, I’m not sure how these directors manage to even find them. The story is really tight-knit as well, which makes the pacing almost impeccable. Scene after scene, the film just gets more “real” while also losing itself in fantasy. It’s just wonderful.
(2016) Sam Was Here 9/10
Never in my 4 years of reviewing on here have as so firmly disagreed with an iMBD score but this movie is fucking fantastic. It's evil, it's mysterious, well shot, well acted and one of the most suspenseful films I've seen this year. I was absolutely rocked by the ending and I have nothing left to say. The mystery is the most fun part so just go watch it and pay attention to detail.
(2016) Are We Not Cats 8/10
This is a film that, at least for me, beckoned some further understanding or hidden meaning. Now that I sit with it though, I've very satisfied with the experience. It felt desolate yet intimate, gross, strange and helpless. I feel like it's a fantastic project about acceptance, hardship and empathy. It seems like it was comprised with all amateur actors and filmmakers but I'm impressed with every aspect of the film.
(2015) Southbound 7/10
(2015) Baskin 8/10
The first 40 minutes are a horror-filled dreamlike sequence of dialogue only. Given the explicit nature this film eventually gets into, the fact that it’s my favorite portion of the film says so much about the quality of this script.
(2015) Remember 9.5/10
This is an absolutely enthralling and heartbreaking revenge film. It’s the type of movie where I don’t want to mention a single detail about the story because the story is the entire film. The acting and script are top notch; cinematography clean and focused. It’s one of the most immersive experiences I’ve seen this year and something that felt hard to even pause.
(2014) Tusk 7/10
(2014) Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead 7/10
(2014) The One I Love 7.5/10
(2014) Life After Beth 7/10
(2014) Honeymoon 8/10
There is definitely overt horror as the film climaxes but it’s a very performance driven film. Rose Leslie is to thank for that that, her character is genuine and believable throughout. Harry Treadaway deserves a mention too because he’s great as well. It’s really the contrasting highs and lows of their on-screen relationship that build tension and create this anxious atmosphere.
(2014) Creep 7/10
(2014) As Above So Below 7/10
(2014) Girl House 7/10
(2013) I Spit on Your Grave 2 7/10
(2013) Horns 8.5/10
This film has so many different faces and it’s an absolute grab-bag of emotions depending on what scene you to choose to examine. The reason that mix isn’t to its detriment though is because that constant tonal shift if present throughout the entire fucking film. I love religious based horror like this and this sort of filled me with that wide-eyed fascination that Erremenatri gave me.
(2013) V/H/S 2 7.5/10
(2013) Coherence 8/10
I absolutely love this movie. I’ll be upfront in saying it’s difficult to talk about without spoiling anything. However, I genuinely found the events that transpire during this normal dinner party setting to be unsettling.
(2013) Bad Milo 8/10
This movie is so fucking funny. As a person with anxiety and acid reflux, it was just wonderful. Ken Marino was absolutely hilarious and it’s one of the most ridiculous films of the decade.
(2013) Afflicted 8/10
The found footage genre isn’t new but a version dominated by POV shots, such as this one, is less common. In this instance, it works incredibly well. Considering I’m writing this in 2019, it’s a damn shame directors Derek Lee and Clif Prowse haven’t released another film. They’re such standout filmmakers, writers and even solid actors as well. The story itself isn’t mind-blowing but it’s absolutely engaging and definitely not a weak spot. I feel like without it the production efforts would have felt gimmicky but as an entire package, the film is a vicious, fun ride.
(2012) Vamps 7.5/10
(2012) V/H/S 8/10
Anthologies are one of my favorite mediums to consumer horror but can also be the most difficult to pull off. This film has writing and directing credits in the double digits and with that many creative minds working together as well as separately, it’s very common for a portion of the film to fall short. V/H/S is incredibly special for defying this common pitfall by delivering shorts that are diverse but consistent in quality.
(2012) The Bay 7.5/10
(2012) Sinister 8/10
I found Sinister to be a perfect blend of bleakness and scary. It has some effective jump scares to reel in that horror, cinematic experience but also casually injects some incredibly fucked-up content. For a wide-released, ultra-popular horror film, it pushes the limits quite a bit. The fount footage aspects are the best part. Ethan Hawke is great and everything but there’s something about these tapes, coupled with very eerie audio that just throw you off balance.
(2011) You’re Next 7/10
(2011) Apollo 18 7/10
(2011) The Cabin in the Woods 9/10
It’s literally a statement on the instability of the horror genre itself. The production is fantastic and however goofy it may seem, it’s actually thrilling. The film has the ability to create and break stereotypes simultaneously.
(2011) Source Code 8.5/10
I always pay attention to films that require a character to accept an entirely new reality. With a normal films runtime, it can be difficult to balance that pacing of that sort of character development. This film is a great example of it done right. Gyllenhaal’s characters’ reluctance vs. acceptance are two aspects that work in tandem throughout most of the film. It’s a very human and a definite point of praise.
(2010) The Crazies 7.5/10
(2010) Tucker and Dale vs Evil 8.5/10
This movie is one long gag but it’s both completely genius and absolutely hilarious. It’s truly a masterpiece of satirical meta-horror.
(2010) I Spit on Your Grave 9/10
This is the most gruesome, violent revenge film I’ve seen to date and a shining example of a movie that holds back nothing. It’s 50 min of an elongated rape scene followed by a Hellraiser level revenge sequence that will make the most seasoned horror fans wince.
(2009) Zombieland 8/10
This is an incredible zombie film and despite feeling like a time-capsule of 2009, the core components still hold up really well. It’s a short, sweet, easily digestible and simply, fun to watch. I love all four main characters but the dynamic between Eisenberg and Woody was my favorite. Woody in particular is fucking hilarious and oftentimes I felt as if his energy actually was actually the backbone of the entire film.
(2009) Jennifer’s Body 7.5/10
(2009) Triangle 8/10
It’s a movie that’s strangely simplistic while being really complex. There’s a ton to be gleaned from the details and, outside of the exposition, I actually had the most fun simply pondering what the bigger picture was.
(2008) The Ruins 8/10
I actually had put on this movie looking for a schlocky, vacation horror that I could semi-tune out to but I was so impressed. I feel like I’m the first person to say this but I saw a few big connections to Annihilation. There’s some super creepy shit with plants and relevant to that, a very familiar misdirection. The gore is also fantastic.
(2007) The Poughkeepsie Tapes 7/10
(2007) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 7.5/10
(2007) 1408 9.5/10
John Cusack helms what to me is one of the scariest haunted house films ever made. It’s a project that breaks free of the traditional tactics and roots itself in psychological horror. I highly recommend this for literally anyone and everyone. It feels like being water-boarded by supernatural/psychological horror and by the end, I felt spent, in the best way possible.
(2007) Stuck 7/10
(2006) Slither 7/10
(2006) Bug 7.5/10
(2006) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 7.5/10
(2006) Final Destination 3 7/10
(2006) Hatchet 7.5/10
The predictable characters, campiness and outrageous special effects aren’t just essential to this film but slashers in general. I love Victor Crowley. Does he bear some resemblance to Jason? Sure, I can see it but this inbred mongoloid also happens to have his own unique charm. Despite the film being called “Hatchet”, Victor isn’t afraid to use anything and everything around him to kill.
(2006) Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon 7.5/10
(2005) Hostel 7.5/10
(2005) Doom 7/10
(2005) Shaun of the Dead 9/10
This movie is just wonderful. I find it hilarious on a personal level but also so intelligently funny that it could go down as one of the greatest horror-comedies of all time.
(2005) The Butterfly Effect 8/10
Alright so I watched the director’s cut and wow, I fucking loved it dude. I should note I think it can take an open mind to fully accept and appreciate the new ending but I found it made the entire film much more complex. I highly recommend checking out this version of the movie.
(2004) The Village 8/10
One of the saving graces for this film was the writing of William Hurt’s character. He’s such a uniquely sensitive and honest injection into what lays out on paper as one big deception. M. Night chooses to lift the veils fairly early on about the more thrilling aspects of the film, which is a complaint for many. However, it rightfully reverts the focus back onto the characters in my mind and the sense of desperation that embodies this village. Ultimately what the film represents to me is hope. I’d recommend not listening to what you’ve heard and checking it out for yourself. I think that after over a decade has passed since its misguided marketing, the film deserves a second chance under fresh perspectives.
(2004) Dead Man’s Shoes 8/10
One of my favorite sub-genre’s is revenge horror and this low-budget film implores its characters to be as human as possible. Beyond the veil of violence and even characteristics indicative of slasher films, Considine’s character is a deeply flawed, psychologically broken man. Oftentimes in revenge films, we see this unstoppable omnipotent protagonist fueled by pure rage but here, his fearlessness goes hand-in-hand with recklessness.
(2003) Jeepers Creepers 2 7/10
(2003) House of 1000 Corpses 7.5/10
(2003) Alexandra’s Project 7.5/10
(2003) Scary Movie 3 8/10
As much as both horror and comedy films can succeed without actually being scary or funny, those are still some of the most important aspects. If I’m scared, it’s an effective horror film and the same goes for comedies. Basically what I’m trying to say is that as dumb as a movie like this is, it’s so fucking funny. It also strays away from just making fun of horror with parodies of 8 Mile, which is just delightfully retarded.
(2003) Final Destination 2 7/10
(2002) The Ring 9.5/10
This was one of the scariest fucking movies I saw as a kid and it still is to this day. It also happens to be, what I consider, one of the few powerful uses of grey-scale film in existence. It's bleak, expertly paced and really just pure tension from start to finish. I love everything about this film. Gore did a fantastic job directing but I have a huge amount of respect for Ehren Kruger as well for the screenplay. The original film is iconic but frankly, this is better.
(2001) Jeepers Creepers 8/10
I’d go as far as to say this is the best demonic horror film, post 2000’s. Justin Long is a breakout star. A lot of people shit on him but his wide-eyed looks alone made this film the success it is. He was more successful in portraying fear than most modern actors.
(2001) Dagon 8.5/10
Stuart Gordon doing Lovecraft isn’t something I could ever envision as being anything but fantastic and this film confirmed that. Stuart working with David Marti this time on the visual effects; I can’t even begin to describe how excellent the body-horror is here. It’s fucking fantastic.
(2001) The Others 8/10
It’s a film to be that blends drama with horror in the fashion that tends to suit a really good haunted house film. For me personally, I felt the séance sequence is what stood to me most. It’s not the most violent, lengthy or erratic scenes I’ve seen of its type. However, its reveal and overall fluidity is something that just came off very eerie and hopeless.
(2000) Final Destination 7.5/10
(1999) Sleepy Hallow 7.5/10
(1998) Disturbing Behavior 7.5/20
(1997) Event Horizon 7.5/10
(1996) Scream 9.5/10
Scream just may be the best meta-horror film ever made. It’s so special to me and was probably the film that sparked my fascination with horror. I watched it the year after it came out, at 8-years old, alone in my dark basement. I shut it off after the opening scene with Drew Barrymore and never saw the rest until years later. However, if I had just stuck with it, it actually evolves into this darkly funny, poignant statement on slasher films. I could talk about a ton of performances but Matthew Lillard blows me the fuck away every time I watch this movie. I literally get chills during the climax seeing him become and own this fucking character. He’s just incredible.
(1994) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 9/10
Absolutely, hands down the best modern Frankenstein movie I’ve ever seen. Robert De Niro brought life to a character that was fucking meant to have life. It’s one of the most entertaining, gothic interpretations of the original story.
(1992) Army of Darkness 7.5/10
(1991) Sometimes They Come Back 8/10
This is a simple story by King standards but I think it was incredibly effective. It's childhood based and emotionally impactive. It incites bravery with acceptance and mostly, just makes me want to hug my younger brothers.
(1991) The Silence of the Lambs 9.5/10
This film is a model in dialogue-driven horror and both Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster are incredible in it. I only say dialogue-driven horror because while the film does stand out in blatant, suspenseful, scary moments; it's the conversations between Clarice and Dr. Lecter that make it so memorable. It just adds this timeless psychological horror element that helps establish it as a classic in my eyes.
(1990) Gremlins 2: The New Batch 7.5/10
(1990) Tales from the Darkside: The Movie 7.5/10
(1989) The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover 9/10
This film is so exceptionally cruel. Even when there’s a clear bad guy it seems as if everyone is fighting to get to the bottom. It’s unapologetic, violent, with dynamic characters that thrive on hedonistic impulses. Visually, it’s remarkable. You would think it’s a Giallo film before you heard people speaking non-dubbed English. I’m not just speaking aesthetically too but every color choice and wardrobe decision seems fully intertwined with the film’s central message.
(1989) Intruder 7.5/10
(1988) Following 8/10
Following is actually Nolan’s debut film and seeing that he’s one of my favorite directors, I’m almost mad it took me this long to see it. Shot in black and white, this super low-budget crime-noir, psychological thriller is an incredible feat in storytelling and sets the tone for Nolan as a career director. It features his classic non-linear plot as well as really being a character driven film. For a big-budget director, it’s almost heartwarming to know that he could accomplish something like this on almost nothing. It’s reminiscent of Man Bites Dog and Hitchcock films but very much stylistically, and most importantly, Nolan himself.
(1988) Brain Damage 7/10
(1988) Halloween 4: The Return 7/10
(1988) Beetlejuice 9/10
This film is, head-to-toe, one of Burton’s strangest films to date. Not only is it just a strange original story but the production and overall execution is absolutely insane.
(1987) Evil Dead 2 8.5/10
Just from a technical perspective, everything is so fucking impressive. It’s all basically hand-done, practical effects and the camera work is just remarkable. The film leans more towards the humor side of the series but it does so both intentionally and gracefully.I adore this movie, it’s on par with the original. I don’t think I can necessarily rate it the same from an analytical perspective but from an enjoyment perspective, hell-fucking-yeah dude.
(1987) Angel Heart 8/10
Mickey Rourke is incredible here and it’s simply a satanic, thriller epic. There’s not a huge twist per-say but the entire film slowly reveals something horrible about the main characters.
(1985) Re-Animator 8/10
It’s probably one of the goriest movies of the decade but it’s also endearing in its humor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s brutal. It’s ultra-violent, perversely sexual even but the way fans revere it is what makes it so special.
(1985) Day of the Dead 7.5/10
(1984) Gremlins 7/10
(1983) Cujo 7/10
(1982) Cat People 9/10
I love the original film to death but I couldn’t be more satisfied with the direction this pseudo-remake went in. It’s less of a psychological thriller and more of an erotic, body-horror fever dream. Also features a great score by Giorgio Moroder, as well as an excellent theme song by Bowie.
(1982) Poltergeist 8.5/10
Sans maybe one scene of CGI, this is one of the 80’s best displays of practical effects. I sometimes don’t even think of Tobe Hooper as an elite director until I watch his films and instantly I’m clicked into the magic. I just love how the characters are rough around the edges. The parents smoking weed together and playing around is endearing and humanizing. Humor is strewn throughout very naturally to make the film more fun.
(1981) The House by the Cemetery 8.5/10
People love The Beyond but this film does a much better job at devolving into that hellish landscape from a simplistic approach. The gore is unreal and coupled with his absolute best camera work to date, I can’t see it as anything but his masterpiece.
(1980) Cannibal Holocaust 7.5/10
(1979) Apocalypse Now 9/10
It’s a long film and the scale, especially in certain combat scenes is just fucking huge. I mean the actual production itself, the budget, the scope of this fucking movie is massive. The entire time I was struggling to really understand the narrative, what the actual goal was but really, that confusion was intentional. This is Coppola’s profound statement on the pointlessness, and specifically so, of the Vietnam War. It’s an incredible film and a must watch.
(1977) The Hills Have Eyes 7/10
(1976) Carrie 8.5/10
This film was fantastic. I love Sissy Spacek, she just really embodies this role and it’s one of those performances that I couldn’t see anyone else playing.
(1973) Don’t Look Now 8/10
I felt this film was a great study into ambiguous filmmaking vs overt horror, really relying on the former. There’s tons of fantastic performances suggesting a really sinister narrative, all leading up to a decently insane finale.
(1972) Raw Meat 7/10
(1972) Tales from the Crypt 7.5/10
(1972) The Last House on the Left 8/10
I’ve always respected Wes Craven immensely for both influencing the genre as a whole and also, always having fun with making the films he wanted to make. This film forgoes a lot of traditional horror filmmaking and just filmmaking in general. It doesn’t attempt to conceal anything to build tension. Quite frankly, it has the restraint of a snuff film. That style, berthed a whole new generation of exploitation horror movies.
(1953) The House of Wax 7.5/10
(1953) The White Reindeer 7/10
(1950) Sunset Boulevard 9/10
It totally brings a smile to my face to say this this is, yet again, another film that had to inspire David Lynch. It’s certainly film-noir but the melodrama itself is so creepily in-tune with the struggles of Hollywood actors and actresses.
(1949) The Queen of Spades 7.5/10
(1947) Black Narcissus 9/10
This film is absolutely breathtaking. For anyone who’s ever considered technicolor to look fake, blown-out and oversaturated, this is a shining example of it done right. It’s an entirely created set with gorgeous artwork. It’s not just in how it’s looks from an artistic standpoint but even on a technical level, Powell was able to blow up a studio space with fantastic, wide-panning shots. There is not a better looking film out of this decade.
(1946) Bedlam 7/10
(1942) Cat People 8.5/10
I actually consider this film to be one of the best early psychological-horror films. Masquerading as a b-movie of sorts, I surprisingly found a lot of depth in it. Simone Simon is a fantastic lead and even with the short runtime, I came to understand her character rather quickly. Tons of anxiety as well as repressed sexuality sort of hone her into this timid and frightened woman who brings her own fears to life.
(1938) They Drive by Night 8/10
This is a great fucking movie that totally embodies crime-noir. It reminds me a ton of early Hitchcock and for the 30’s, the narrative is spectacularly clean.
(1937) Song at Midnight 7/10
(1914) The Egyptian Mummy no rating/10 (just a cool slapstick early short)
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2019.11.25 05:57 dourdan Hidden cam wife alone

“Hello Sean, I’m Calvin Williams, a representative of the Male Survivor Alliance. Following your recent publicity, you’ve been subjected to some destructive press. Could you set the record straight?”
I told the interviewer the truth, but I still had a hard time keeping my cool when he asked difficult questions; How does a physically fit male high school athlete fall victim to a female aggressor? I got through everything okay, it wasn’t until after he’d put the camera down that a sharp intake of breath set off my cough reflex. It was such a bad attack that I had to lie down with my inhaler.
Calvin helped me sit up. “Does this happen to you often?”
“Way too often. I’ll be fine. Can I ask, what exactly does your organization do?”
“We offer safe places where men can go and seek help without fear of judgment."
I nodded. “I have a friend. He’s been in contact with my sister, he’s her mentor…The man is a disabled veteran."
“You think he’s being abused. Quite often, the fear of leaving and being found is greater than the fear of staying. Better the devil you know, and all that. Sometimes it takes death’s door for some men to realize that they’ve hit rock bottom.”
I nodded. “Thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight about my assault.”
“I wish more people would speak out.” He gave me a hand up and gave me his card.
I said my goodbyes and headed to the car. Jen was clearly distracted as we headed for the clinic, misjudging traffic gaps and nearly missing a stop sign. I was glad she’d left Shauna with Marci for the day. I took out my phone to call Mom again. It was hard convincing her of my plan, which was for her to go over to Diego’s to get Father Daniel’s contact details, and then to call 911 as soon and as discreetly as she could.
Mom wanted to head over there with the entire Police Force, or so it seemed. I explained to her why that wasn’t going to work. If confronted by the authorities, Jen's mother would manipulate the situation to her advantage. A little pissed at taking our instructions, Mom finally agreed to make an appearance after work.
“After work?” My mother worked from home. “You mean you’re not going to go until after dark?”
“I have a meeting at City hall,” she explained. “But, yes, I planned on going after dark. You said I need to take her on alone, right?” My mother was sounding like someone out of an action movie. I wasn’t sure what to say. After all, when it came down to it, I was all the way in California.
“Do whatever you need to do. I love you, Mom.”
That night I went to bed early, without dinner. Even after the trip to the outpatient clinic, I was still sick with fever and a debilitating bout of nausea. I cuddled under my blanket, trying to find sleep despite the pain.
“We need to go.”
I opened my eyes. The room was dark except for a single figure standing in the corner, his body only a shadow. “Cam, is that you?”
“We need to go, now!”
“How?” I asked. I didn’t even get a chance to hear how. Cam grabbed my arm and yanked me out of bed. The next thing I knew, I’d landed hard on Jen’s parent’s front lawn. “Where have you been all this time?”
“Training,” he replied. “My powers have increased, but not to the level I need them to be. I’m hoping that having you here will allow me to evolve to my full potential.” Suddenly we were both watching my mother repeatedly ring the doorbell of Jen’s parents’ home.
Mother, still dressed in her business suit, started to pound at the door. “I know you’re in there!”
After a few moments, Diego came to the door wearing a wife-beater and sweatpants. Under the light of the moon, I could clearly see bruises on his face. “Where’s the fire?”
“I need Father Daniel’s contact information.”
“For the wedding?” The sadness in his voice cut me to my core. As a group, we’d all decided not to attempt to contact Diego about the wedding until he was safe.
“I’m here to help.”
Diego squinted, clearly unable to figure it out, but he seemed to pick up on her total change of expression at least. “Head to the kitchen. How is Sara? She appears to be having a great time at UCLA.”
“My car’s outside. You’re coming with me.” She glanced at his arm as he retracted his hand from the cupboard handle. I followed her line of sight. Diego had dozens of tattoos on his arms and chest. On his inner arm, on the same side of the body as Jen’s baby picture, was an image of little Shauna. “You didn’t have this tattoo on your wrist the day we first met. And you got that angel for Sean.”
Diego placed his weight on the kitchen counter, leaning heavily. “Your son is a beacon of light… we all need light.”
There’s light at the end of the tunnel: your wife's reign of terror ends tonight.
He gripped the tattoo of Shauna with his opposite arm. “I got this one when I was staying with Remy.” At the mention of Remy, Diego’s eyes closed. His face contorted with painful sadness.
“Are you alright?” Mother put her arm around him and gasped. “I’m calling 911.” As he slid down the counter, Mom barely taking his weight.
Suzanna appeared in the kitchen doorway. “You need to leave. Now!"
“I’m getting your husband to a hospital.”
“You cannot just come into my house and abduct my husband against his will.”
“Well, that just shows how your mind works. You know you’re guilty of abuse, why else would you think he needs abducting?”
Suzanna lurched forward and punched Mom in the face. They got into a fight; Mom got on top of fast, pushing Suzanna backward so she tripped over her own feet.
Cam’s eyes glowed red. His rage caused a massive rush of air to sweep through the room. Suzanna froze in place, sprawled on the floor. The look in her eyes was unmistakable.
You can feel him, can’t you? Was that what Cam had been working towards?
Diego started convulsing.
My mother fumbled for her phone. “A man’s having a seizure. He’s coughing up blood and his airway’s compromised. Please send an ambulance.” She just about managed to get the address out before the wind died and Suzanna got to her feet.
Wide-eyed and shocked, she seemed to be stumbling towards Mom. It was clear that she was aiming to grab my mother’s phone.
But none of us were prepared for Mom pulling a gun. "Leave, now!”
Suzanna hovered for a moment. She seemed to be figuring out some kind of comeback. Finally, she ran out the kitchen, grabbed a coat from the cupboard under the stairs and ran out with it, slamming the door behind her.
The moment Suzanna left, Mom leaned over Diego. “You’re going to be okay. You’re going to see your daughter get married. You’re going to hold your grandbaby. Stay with me, Diego.”
Wake up! Hard shaking rattled me out of my sleep. I got my eyes open to see Johnny looming over me. “There’s news.”
My blood ran cold. “Help me up.” Leaning on Johnny’s shoulder, I made my way over to the couch and peered into the kitchenette, looking for Jen and Shauna.
Sara looked up at me from her cross-legged position. “Mom just called. Diego’s in a coma. There was an excessive build-up of narcotics in his liver. According to the police, Suzanna mixed the drugs with saline and injected him in his sleep. She must have been doing it for months.”
“Or weeks,” Johnny added, “Just enough to make him too weak to leave.”
I was staggered by the woman’s cruelty. She was clearly totally insane. “She ran from the house. Has she been caught?”
“She’s in police custody. The biggest problem now is the damage to Diego’s liver. He’s not going to make it.”
“How much does Jen know?”
Sara shrugged. “I know she didn’t talk to Mom, because when she called my cell, Jen was already headed out the door. I think she might have talked to Remy.”
“I need to find Jen.” Under the heat of the Los Angeles sun, I heard the sound of sobbing coming from the nearby alleyway. Jen was sitting on the pavement, leaning against the building.
Shauna’s stroller was by her side, facing the wall. “I want out!”
I turned the stroller around. “Hey, little one.”
I removed her from the stroller and took a seat beside Jen. “Hey,” I said, placing my hand in hers. Jen’s expression was catatonic. “Jen?” I brushed a single tear from her cheek.
“Am I going to lose you next?”
I put my arm around her. “No, I promise you.” I could feel Shauna cuddling against my chest, sandwiched between her mommy and daddy. “I won’t leave you, not while I still have even an ounce of fight left.” And neither will your dad.
Within the hour I had the following email:
The doctors are going to bring Diego out of his coma. I’ve booked your flight back over here. Your flight leaves at nine tonight. I’ll pick you up at the airport in the morning. Don’t worry about a car seat for the baby, I’ve already bought one. I have also spoken to Sara. You all need to be on that flight. -Mom
I immediately called my mother. “Why is there no return date on the tickets?”
“Sweetheart, they’re open-ended.”
“Oh, sorry. I guess I’m just too tired to think straight.”
“I’m glad you called. I contacted that charity you did the interview for and they were so moved by Diego’s story that they’re willing to pay for his hospice care.”
“That’s something, I guess.”
The flight took off late. Shauna had her own ticket, but once the plane was in the air, I held her in my arms, while Jen sat with Johnny and Sara in the row in front of me. When I looked back at her empty seat, Cam appeared. Hey Cam. How are you doing?
“I’m more than a little mixed up. I’m just relieved Dad’s safe.”
"Can I ask you something? Are miracles real?"
“Of course they are. You’re holding one in your arms right now. She gave you the strength that you were able to lend me.”
What strength?
“Sean, it’s a miracle you’re still alive.”
I was so exhausted when we finally touched down in North Dakota. Thankfully, Mom was already waiting. “Did you kids want to get a few hours of sleep before heading to the hospital?”
“No,” I answered for everyone. “We can sleep on the way over.” I found a comfortable position and awoke later to the sound of Mom pulling the car into a parking garage. We all made our way to the ICU.
Remy was in the waiting area.
Mother ran to his side. “What happened?”
“I kinda got kicked out of the room for lighting incense.”
My mother gave Remy a look, one that my sister and I were all too familiar with.
“Will they let you back in if one of us accompanies you?”
Remy shrugged. “Probably.”
“Ok, Jen and I will come in with you.”
“What?” Jen asked. “Sara can go in first.”
“Are you kidding me? We just traveled halfway across the country.”
Remy took a seat next to Jen. “Your father’s been asking about you.”
“Remy, please don’t.”
“He told me you were his butterfly, When he was deployed, saw your face in every little girl because no matter how bad he knew was coming home to you. He ended his military career with a back full of shrapnel and chest full of medals. Someone that strong is not going to lose, but he needs your strength.”
My mom reached for Shauna, who was still asleep. “I can watch the baby.”
“No thanks,” I said, grabbing Shauna myself. “I’m going to take her with us. She’s never met her grandfather.”
“Sean, do you really think this is the most appropriate time for her to meet him?” Mother asked. “You don’t want to traumatize her.”
As I looked around, I could see my mom was not alone in questioning my plan or my sanity. “Mom, I need you to have faith.”
Mother sighed. “Good luck.”
I picked up the phone by the door and waited as the instructions indicated. “Visitors for Diego Quinto."
The automatic doors opened. Remy led us to Diego’s room. “Hey, guess who’s here?”
At the sight of Jen, Diego started sobbing. Even in his weakened state, he reached for her hand.
“Hi, Daddy.” Jen sat down beside him, holding his hand. “Dad, there’s something I never got to ask you. When you were in Texas, doing the therapy for your back, did you ever see fireflies?”
Diego nodded. “Outside my window, when I couldn’t see the stars; always knew you and your brother sent them to me.”
“Mom told me you were in Texas because you didn’t want to come home. But Cam, he told me the fireflies would lead you home.” Jen kissed her father’s forehead. “Mom won’t hurt you ever again. No matter what happens next, you’re going to be okay. You have a family. You have people who care about you.”
It was time to enact my plan. “Jen, is there room in the bed for one more?”
I coaxed Shauna awake.
“Baby, did you see your grandpa’s tattoos?” I held my daughter’s hand, allowing her to touch Diego’s chest. “This one is of Mommy when she was little, like you.” I placed her on Diego’s chest, making sure she was facing the arm that had her portrait. I held Diego’s hand while watching his heart monitor. “This one is an angel. Doesn’t he look like Daddy?"
Then all on her own, she looked at Diego’s arm. “It’s me!”
“That’s right, baby. Your Grandpa loves you so much he got a picture of you on his arm so you’ll always be with him.”
My little girl fidgeted to reposition herself so she was lying on her stomach. “Hello, Grandpa."
I watched his heart monitor; he was stabilizing. The next part was going to be tricky. I pulled the privacy screen closed. “Jen, watch the door. Remy, let’s try turning down the oxygen.”
Remy frowned. “What are you trying to do?”
“The doctors think he can’t breathe because of the infection, but that’s because they only see a body. They don’t see a soul.”
Jen gripped her head.
"If we turn down the oxygen, his body will be forced to draw upon his inner strength. He’ll stabilize all on his own.” I was getting blank stares. “Being fed oxygen sucks, it’s hard to feel normal once you come off of it, trust me. The more we lower his oxygen, the stronger his breathing will become.” Or we’ll all be joining Suzanna in jail. I turned my attention to Shauna. “Sweetheart, at home when you sleep on Daddy’s chest, it makes Daddy feel warm and loved. And when I’m really sick, having you in my arms makes me feel strong. I need you to be Grandpa’s hero. You’re going to protect him and make him all better."
Shauna had gone completely back to sleep. Diego moved his hand to Shauna’s back. “With her round little face, she kind of reminds me of Sara. I know that’s a strange thing to say.”
I could see what he meant. “You’re Sara’s mentor. You helped her become the person she is. And since Shauna’s your granddaughter, maybe she’ll grow up to be like you.”
Diego’s breathing was still stable. But out of nowhere, he started shivering. “Please take the baby.”
Shauna opened her eyes. “Grandpa!”
Jen quickly removed our daughter from Diego’s arms.
Remy took Diego’s hand, placing it over his heart. “I need you to feel my breathing, the rise, and fall of my chest, the air in my lungs.”
Jen met my eyes, frightened. “Turn the oxygen back up.”
“Let’s just give Remy a chance."
Remy had tears in his eyes. “I’m going to breathe for you. Like when we’re in bed and we’re holding each other. That’s all I want you to focus on.” Remy took a visibly deep breath. “Your daughter is here, your future son-in-law is here, and your precious grandbaby is here. Do you know who’s not here? Suzanna is not here.”
I looked up at the screen. Diego’s oxygen saturation levels were rising again. Thank God.
Remy removed Diego’s oxygen mask and kissed his lips. “I’m here. I will always be here.”
I thought I’d cringe if I ever saw them kiss, but to see the true passionate love between two human beings was inspiring.
I looked at Jen. She was focused on Shauna, who had now calmed down. “Sean Foster, I am not speaking to you.”
“But I was right!” I reached for my daughter. “Shauna, tell Mommy I was right about Grandpa’s big strong lungs.”
Shauna looked up, towards Diego’s bed. “Grandpa?”
“Yes sweetheart, Grandpa’s feeling a little better,” I said as I kissed her cheek. “Right now, we’re going to let Grandpa and his special friend Remy have some alone time. But don’t worry, we’re going to stay in North Dakota for as long as it takes for Grandpa to get better. So, you’ll have plenty of time to spend together, I promise.”
“Okay, Daddy,” she said, resting her head on my shoulder. “Bye-bye, Grandpa! Bye-bye, Remy!”
September passed in a hectic whirl.
“Offer her a plea deal,” Diego told his attorney over the phone. “I don’t want this to go to court. I want to spend the time I have planning my daughter’s wedding.” The wedding was to be in North Dakota. It wasn’t our Californian dream, but everything was coming together to make it a beautiful event. Best of all, Jen’s father was determined to be there.
I knew he was fighting as hard as he could, so I’d given up arguing with him about letting Suzanna off easy.
Johnny slugged my arm. “Earth to Sean, what are your thoughts on the menu?” He pointed at his laptop screen, forcibly drawing my attention to his ideas for the reception menu.
I grimaced. “This is my wedding. Why does the entire menu have to be vegan?”
Jen laughed, “Both Remy and my father are vegans. Marci is vegan—think about our guests.”
“Sara and I have a special surprise for you,” Johnny reassured. “A very special meat, currently being stored in Remy’s basement freezer.”
Remy entered the room with some herbal tea. “What did I miss?”
“Nothing,” I replied. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Walk with me,” I said, moving down the hallway. “What are your thoughts on attempting a chakra cleansing?”
“I don’t know if I can. To attempt a chakra cleansing is to… you wouldn’t understand. You don’t stay here at night. You’ve never seen the worst of it.”
“Make me understand. I know you love him. And I know how it feels to care for someone so deeply that, whenever they hurt, you can’t help but take on their pain.” I patted him on the arm. “You know I’m right."
Remy ran his fingers through his hair as he looked off into the distance. “When you’re here, he’s strong. But at night, his fever flares up so bad. He gets horrible pain in his chest. Sometimes he wakes up screaming, thinking that Suzanna’s hand’s touching him. It’s like she’s haunting him.”
There had to be a correlation, but I didn’t think it was my presence that was helping Diego. When I was there, I always made sure to put Shauna in his arms. She would happily sit with her grandpa for hours. “Are the doctors running any tests?”
“No. They think it’s part of the process; his body’s just giving up.”
That couldn’t be right. I had an idea, a great idea that could only work if the necessary people believed in it. “Could we hold a reiki ceremony at night?”
“This isn’t a joke!”
“And I’m not joking.”
“Since when do you believe in Reiki?”
“I saw how breathing exercises work. And I appreciate that this is how you make a living. You’ve helped teach me to believe in the power of souls and energy. Diego has been suffering for years. His wife broke him. We need a way to restore his spirit.”
Three days after my conversation with Remy, we put the plan into action. Johnny was to tattoo Diego’s sternum in a pattern that would unite the images on his chest into one cohesive piece: the image of a sacred heart; a heart with a cross and a candle flame.
Remy lit the first incense stick, handing it to me.
“The root chakra is the center of strength. We are gathered here to lend you our strength and offer a positive affirmation.” I placed the incense stick in the holder on the bedside table. “Mr. Quinto, you are a survivor. No matter how much the world tries to take from you, you will always persevere.”
Diego looked up at me, his eyes brimming over. Johnny paused in his work. “Are you okay? If you’re in too much pain, I can stop.”
Diego shook his head. “I’m fine. It’s just been so long since I felt a true connection to my spirit.”
Remy took hold of Diego’s hand, placing it against his chest. “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. The sacral chakra is all about emotions. With that in mind, my words to you are that you’re safe, you are loved, and you are home.” Remy placed his incense stick in the holder next to the first.
Jen kissed Remy’s forehead as he handed her the lighter. Her stick smelled like lemon and mint. Jen gave the lit tip a gentle breath. “Solar plexus: this chakra is about acceptance: living a life that is true to who you are. I accept you for who you are. I want you to have the courage to accept yourself and live your life in a way that makes you happy.” She put the incense in the holder and sat back down next to Remy.
I held Shauna with one arm while taking hold of the next incense stick. “Daddy is going to hold the stick while you say your love-words.”
Shauna reached for Diego’s arm. “Mama loves you, Daddy loves you, and auntie and uncle love you. I love you more."
My mother fiddled with her incense, drawing circles of smoke. “I don’t know much about this chakra stuff, but the throat chakra is about self-expression. I remember the day we first met. I hope to meet that man again.”
As Mom put her stick in the holder, Sara lit hers. “There’s so much I want to say to you. The third eye chakra represents wisdom, and… you’ve been such an inspiration to me. I want you to inspire Shauna. I want you to inspire the world.”
Diego moved his hand slightly, beckoning her closer. “Come here, sweetheart. Take a seat next to this brilliant young man.” He was, of course, referring to Johnny.
Sara did as he asked. After putting the incense in the holder, she took a seat beside Johnny, wiping her tears.
Johnny turned off his tattoo machine, placing it on the nightstand. “The crown chakra represents completion. Diego, you’ve lived such a full life. If you need to go into the light, we will all be by your side, offering you our strength the same as we are right now.”
Cam emerged through the wall. The smoke from the incense started to take on a rainbow of colors. Shauna looked up, smiling with delight, but the rest of the room was quiet and still as if frozen in time.
Cam moved closer to his father, his arm passing through Remy, then Jen. “People talk about love like it’s eternal.”
“It’s not?” I asked, no longer feeling the need to keep my voice inside my head when speaking to him.
Cam shrugged. “It depends if it’s real. The validity of love is not for us to judge. I mean, maybe, somewhere in the world there’s a couple who got married in college and lived happily ever after. Would that be strange?”
I watched as Cam knelt at his father’s side.
“Hi, Dad,” Cam said in a whisper. “I don’t know if you can hear me, but I already know you’re going to be okay. With all the love in this room, there’s no space left for pain or doubt. You deserve to be here.”
I reached out to pat Cam on the back, the same as I would any friend. “So, do you, Cam. You deserve to be here, with your family.”
For a brief moment, I could actually feel the fabric of his hospital gown.
The day of the wedding was a day of peace. And it was also really f-g cold. I’d gone to the main chapel to check out the Christmas decorations, but everyone else was hiding out in the basement level.
London and Lita arrived, carpooling in a luxury SUV. I held the door for them as they rushed in, both wearing heavy winter coats. London rushed in and promptly threw her arms around me. Lita carried a small neon pink toolbox that I assumed held her tattooing equipment. “How is it actually colder inside?”
“Let’s head to the basement,” I said. “It’s so much warmer. We’re probably going to end up holding the ceremony in the dining hall.” I led the girls to the dining hall, where Remy was already putting out food. Lita took a seat at a table and began to set up her equipment.
London took a seat closer to the food and took off her fur-lined parka. “Everything smells so good.”
“Is that real fur?” Remy asked as he put down a tray.
London glared at him. “So, what if it is?”
Diego entered the room, holding my sleeping daughter. “What my partner was going to say is that it looks lovely, and appropriately warm, considering the current weather. And if that was not your intention, then perhaps you should adhere to your vegan lifestyle by simply refraining from eating the lady’s coat.”
London laughed. “Sean, are you going to introduce me to your friends?”
“This is Diego, Jen’s father. And the pissed hippy is Remy, Diego’s partner, and Johnny’s cousin.”
“I’m not pissed off!” Remy shouted from behind the swinging door. He came back out with a tray of chocolates.
Shauna opened her eyes. “I want!”
London took a bite of the quarter-sized ball. “That is so good!”
Remy ruffled Shauna’s hair. “I don’t think you’ll like these. They’re grown-up chocolates.”
“I see no harm in letting her have one,” Diego said, looking to me. Ever since Diego had been discharged from the hospice, he’d been able to eat small amounts of solid food.
I tasted the candy. It was gross. As Diego shared a piece with Shauna, the look on her face was priceless. “Yucky!”
I laughed so hard I nearly went into a coughing fit.
“I was planning on taking the rest to try with the ladies.” He kissed Diego’s cheek. “Maybe even impress your mother.”
Shauna pouted. “Does London have chocolate?”
“Sorry, not at the moment."
Shauna buried her face in Diego’s shoulder.
“Hey,” I said to Diego. “If you’re going to the back, ask Jen if she wouldn’t mind having the ceremony in the dining hall.”
When everyone was seated, the ceremony began. Diego walked Jen down the aisle to the music of an old CD player, playing the typical wedding march. We didn’t have a song, and that didn’t matter. To see my bride in her rose-pink gown, with flowers in her hair, carrying a paper bouquet. “Let me guess, you wish Mom could be here to see me so happy?”
“Your mother doesn’t deserve to be here.” Diego straightened his shoulders and patted her hand. “I love you so much.” He looked to me. “Sean, you’re a remarkable young man. I know you’ll be a kind, loving husband and father. Take care of my girls.”
“Thank you, I will.”
Jen gazed into my eyes. “The groom is not supposed to look prettier than the bride.”
“Bullshit,” I said in my thrift store suit. “You look like an angel.” Taking her hand, I stood with my bride. “This is crazy, right?”
Johnny stood to my left as my best man. “I wouldn’t go saying stuff like that. She still has time to run.”
Sara stood as Jen’s maid of honor in this little performance. “Sean would just run after her.”
Father Daniel chuckled. “Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that. Not often am I privileged to witness a love between two people so selfless in their devotion to family, faith and each other. I now open the floor for Jen and Sean to read their vows before their family and friends.”
“Sean, you are the love of my life. I give you my love, my heart, my soul. I know there will come a day when I have to say goodbye. But I don’t want to ever focus on that day. I want to dream only of our possibility days.”
At that moment, I felt unworthy of Jen, the love. But I realized this was never about me. My truths would set free the ghosts who’d saved me; it was for them I would live. I would honor the memory of my biological mother by being the best parent I could. And I would honor Cam by loving Jen and watching over Diego.
A light breeze blew through the room. Cam stood at my side. He touched Jen’s beautiful face. “I told you I’d find you a prince.”
Jen looked around in confusion. “What was that wind? Was I imagining that wind?”
“No.” I shivered nervously, not wanting to sound like a nutjob while we were exchanging vows. “Jen, your brother’s here. When I was in my coma, he brought me back.”
Shauna perked her head up, looking right at Cam, and held out her arms. “I want up!”
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I wish I could hold you.” Cam stepped over and stroked her cheek.
It was all I could do to not cry. I kissed Jen’s forehead. “All I know for certain is: I'm blessed to love you for whatever time God has given me.”
We remained in an embrace until Father Daniel reached the vital moment of the ceremony. “Jenessa, do you take Sean to be your husband?”
“I do.”
“Sean, do you take Jenessa to be your wife?”
I wanted so badly to kiss away Jen’s tears. “I do.”
“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride.”
Jen put her arms around my shoulders, pulling me close. As I closed my eyes, the world went silent.
Sara sidled up to me. “Did you lose your thread a little, back there? You didn’t actually finish your vows.”
“To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed. I had months to write something and memorize it.”
“Cut yourself some slack. We’ve all been watching over Diego. Anyway, it’s time for Johnny to do your ring tattoo,” Sara said, a little too gleefully.
Johnny took a seat beside me, taking hold of my hand.
“Are you going to ask me out to dinner first?”
“Funny,” he said as he applied the stencil. It was the first time I’d ever seen him not freehand.
Johnny tattooed a cross with a plain band. “I’ll put a bandage on your hand. Then I need you to sit at the back table with Jen so you can have some privacy when I bring out your surprise.”
“Sure.” I took a seat with Jen. Looking over at her hand, her tattoo ring was a simple braid. “That’s really detailed.” That explained why her ring took longer than mine. “Did it hurt?”
Jen started to laugh. “Yes, it hurt,” she said in a whisper. “I had to tough it out in front of my dad.” Jen took my hand. “Your ring looks really plain.”
I shrugged. “I like it.” Jen’s ring was an infinite braid because she would live a long life, while my fate was in God’s hands.
Marci was helping Remy finish setting up for the reception. In the corner of the room was a separate table for desserts, slightly obscured by a potted plant. I couldn’t help myself; I needed to take a peek. Staring up at me was a round yellow smiley face with hearts for eyes. Marci came up behind me and giggled. “Isn’t it adorable? Right, now come take a seat. Come on!” She pulled me back to the table, where Jen sat.
“This is the reason why you needed an entire table to yourselves,” Johnny said as he carried out a tray. “Sara will explain.”
Sara joined us. “Sean, Jen, do you remember the night of your first kiss?”
As I closed my eyes, I could picture the moment clear as day, watching the cooking show. “This is bison? You seriously managed to get bison?”
“I special-ordered it online and Johnny cooked it. It’s a present from both of us.”
London approached. “Here’s my wedding gift: a condo, rent-free.” She put the keys in my hand. I knew she was rich and my family could use the help, but I never expected her to just give me a condo. “It’s not a permanent solution. Just something until you can afford something better."
I cupped my face with my hands.
“Dakota, I swear to God, if you start crying, I’m going to cry.”
Sara was doing all the crying for me. “This is amazing! By next year you’re going to be a star, and I’m going to be working at my internship.”
“You are?” I asked.
“It’s not a big deal."
“Well, congratulations,” I said, a little surprised by her lack of enthusiasm.
The sudden silence was broken by the sound of a plate falling to the floor. Shauna was fidgety on Diego’s lap. “I want happy cake!”
“Shauna!” I walked over and took her from Diego’s arms.
Shauna was wailing. “Grandpa showed me cake! I want cake!”
I raised my eyebrow. “Grandpa’s going to get a foot up his ass.”
Diego chuckled. “I do apologize. Only after showing her did I realize why the dessert table was hidden.”
“It’s all good. Okay, I do believe it’s time for some happy face cake.” I turned to my stunning bride. “I get to cut a slice, and then I get to smash it into Mommy’s face.”
Jen shook her head. “Yeah, I don’t think so.” She cut into the emoji cake, stuck her fingers in the slice, and placed the chocolaty bite to my lips.
“I want!” Shauna cried.
“Here you go, sweetheart.” I fed my daughter a single bite.
“I want more!”
I returned Shauna to Diego’s arms. “Are you okay to feed her?”
Diego nodded. “Yeah, I’ll make sure she doesn’t puke down my back.”
“I’m sure you’re used to bodily fluids on your back.” The room went silent.
“Daddy in trouble?” Shauna asked Diego.
“I’m sorry. That was not appropriate.”
Diego gave a little smile, gazing at Shauna. “I know what it’s like to be a young father.”
Sara rested her head on Diego’s shoulder. “Ven con nosotros a California.”
He nodded. “I would love to come to California, someday.”
“I kind of turned down an international fellowship to stay in Los Angeles.”
Diego looked at her with concern. “Sara?”
“I didn’t do it for you, or maybe I did. All I know is my dreams are coming true and I want my best friend by my side.”
Johnny placed his hand on Diego’s shoulder. “In this life, we are all family.”
His words hit home. Looking around, the people in that room were the people who truly loved me and my family. I took a seat with London. “Is there anything you can do to help Jen’s dad?” I asked. “With all that he’s been through, he really would be better off in California."
“I have friends in high places. Maybe I could get him into a treatment center. If that’s something he would even go along with. You should probably talk to—”
Remy took a seat next to me, with his arms crossed in front of him.
“I’ll give you two a chance to get to know each other. Remy, this is London Sharp. She’s the most kind, noble, down-to-earth person I’ve ever known. London, this is Remy. Though he looks like a tree-hugging hippy, there are many deep, nuanced layers to his personality. I’m sure you two will find something in common.”
London extended her hand. “For what it’s worth, I still care greatly about the world around me. I am an avid supporter of fair-trade and ethically sourced food and textiles, as well any worthy cause looking to make the world a better place.”
Remy shook her hand. “Well, I lived in California for a few years, actually did a little modeling for local artists.”
My work here is done. I returned to my steak and my beautiful bride. “Did you know Sara gave up a chance to go to Japan?”
Jen put down her fork and looked at a small cross on the wall. “Is Cam still here?”
“Not at the moment.”
“Oh.” The disappointment in her eyes was clear. “It’s okay.” Jen touched her wrapped tattoo. “When I was little, he called me his princess. He used to say he would make sure I found my handsome prince.”
I swallowed the bite of food in my mouth. “You’re my queen.”
After the ceremony, Jen and I rode with Diego, Remy, and Maria Rosa, heading for the hotel to spend our honeymoon in the suite they’d prepaid for. Since Remy was driving, I felt safe talking about him, literally right behind his back. “Nice car, does it run on biodiesel?” I asked sarcastically.
“Actually, it does. There’s a commune a few miles south that processes corn oil.”
Jen chuckled. “Even I could have told you that.”
“Really?” I might have lost that round, but I wasn’t finished having fun. “Maria Rosa, with all respect, what do you really think of Remy?” I was expecting something comical about his lifestyle or even his hair, but that was not the case.
“Remy saved my son’s life. Similar to how your love saved my granddaughter’s.”
Diego nodded. “Love can move mountains.” Shauna had taken to holding Diego’s hand like a teddy bear, caressing his palm to her heart.
“So, what does your mother think about the fact Remy’s young enough to be your child?”
Diego turned to me with a look I could best describe as a half-smile.
“What?” I asked. Looking around, everyone in the car seemed to be laughing at me.
Remy chuckled. “How old do you think I am?”
“I don’t know, maybe twenty-six?”
“Twenty-six?” Remy burst out laughing. “Let me help you with your bags.” Remy walked in with us to give the clerk his credit card information. After being issued the card keys, he turned to Jen. “Why don’t you go to the room, get yourself comfortable? I want to talk to Sean for a second.”
“Sure,” she said, picking up both bags. “But don’t take too long.” Jen’s shoulder brushed against mine as she left.
Remy watched the elevator doors close before reaching into his pocket. He grabbed my hand, passing along two items. I opened my hand to find a lighter and a plastic bag containing three joints. “Why three?” I asked.
“To keep the party going all night long.” Remy winked as he walked away.
“Thanks, man.” I pocketed his gift before getting into the elevator. Now the question was whether or not I was going to share with Jen. After we’d been in the room for a couple of hours, christening it, my new wife excused herself and slipped off to the bathroom. I waited a while, to catch my breath, before joining her.
I opened the door to the sight of her naked in the hot tub. The sounds she made… I know some girls fake it. I don’t even care. All I knew was with every gasp, every moan, I would get so hard.
Afterward, I stepped out onto the balcony in my sweatshirt and jeans, preparing to light up under the star-filled sky. The room had a strict no-smoking policy, but at least I wouldn’t be leaving any evidence. “It’s cold as fuck out here!” I looked in on my beautiful bride. Even under the blankets, I could make out the curves of her sleeping body. I closed my eyes as I took a long drag. “Jen, you’re a goddess.”
I opened my eyes to the sight of Cam floating in mid-air. “Nice weather we’re having.”
“Do not pop in on me like that!”
“I’m a ghost. I do whatever I want.’”
“So, is this goodbye?”
“Am I crossing over? Not anytime soon.”
“What’s left for you to do? Jen is happy. Your dad is happy.”
“This is only the beginning. You have many trials ahead of you."
I lit a joint, preparing to take a long hit. “What can you see?"
“You mean can I see the future? A little. I know London will find a surgeon for my father.”
“Really?” I hoped that was true.
“Yeah, it’ll be a long recovery, which will force him to stay in California for a few months. Plenty of time for you to convince him to file for divorce.”
“Your parents aren’t divorced yet?"
“She doesn’t want to divorce. She wants to reconcile.”
I stared at Cam in disbelief. “Cam, I have so much going on in my life. Can we at least continue this conversation where it’s warm?” Jen was out like a light, so I felt comfortable taking a seat on a lounge chair by the television.
Cam followed. “It is nice in here.”
“So, why does it have to be me?”
“You’re married to his daughter. You’re the father of his grandchild. Your sister is his best friend.”
“Sara apparently loves him like the father she never had, why can’t she be the one to convince him?”
“Sara’s too close to the situation. Plus, she’s a lot like your mother.
“But you know what it is to hurt, to suffer, but you also know how to rise above.”
“You’re really kicking me in the nuts. I mean, I’ll talk to him. But I don’t have a magic wand."
“Who are you talking to?” Jen asked. “And why do you smell like pot?”
“Cam’s here. Is there anything you want to say?”
“Is that really what you’re in the mood to talk about?”
“What would you say to Cam if he was here?”
Jen shrugged. “I would thank him for being my hero, for showing me what courage really is. For the first time in my life, I’m happy. I wish I could have him here.”
“Ask a question that only he would know the answer to.”
“Fine.” Jen sat up looking directly at the empty chair. “I was 3, you made me a costume out of stuff in your room. What was it?”
“A bumblebee. If I wasn’t already in the ICU, I would’ve taken a beating from Mom.”
I repeated it verbatim for Jen, who smiled at Cam. “Mom would have never laid a hand on you.” Jen held up her hand, closing her eyes, she reached out to her brother. “I hope you’ll follow, wherever our lives may take us.”
“Whatever the future may hold, we’ll face it as a family.”
submitted by dourdan to Wholesomenosleep [link] [comments]

2019.08.20 22:53 Theydidwhatinmybed Caught my landlord having sex on my bed on audio...

TLDR: landlord came into my room one day without knocking or notice when he thought I wasn’t home and due to gut feeling I got it on video. Tried security cam with my iPad every time I left after that but the videos keep cutting out way early for no reason. Discreet Audio recordings got landlord shuffling around unit, him moaning, and my headboard squeaking for 15 min. Parents say there’s nothing we can really do about it but I can’t be there alone anymore....
Okay so let’s start at the beginning. My boyfriend (20) and I (20 F) decided to get our first place together, and living in the Orange County California area a room for rent or guest house seemed the way to go. We ended up finding a 300 square foot studio like room for pretty cheap. The room has its own entrance; and a separate door to the garage, where our storage space is. Them being an elderly couple made us feel better, and they seemed super sweet.
It was too good to be true. Literally.
We were able to move in on 8/1, but ended up dropping everything off early in the afternoon and heading down to San Diego to help my boyfriends dad move, as he was moving up to Oregon and was helping us transport a bed to Orange County. Before we left, and after we got the keys, our landlord explained that the garage-entrance door can never be locked, and that there wasn’t a key for it. He tried to pull it off as “so you don’t get locked out if you walk out the front door you have an open back door” immediately red flags and alarms, as even if I locked myself out of the front, I would walk around the house to a closed garage even if the door inside was u locked.. I wouldn’t be able to get back in anyway? But whatever they promised they wouldn’t come in without notice, but I’m not dumb and planned to get security cameras when I could save up enough money..
We got home at 11:00 at night, and I automatically knew something was up. Our front door was unlocked when I destinctly remember locking it. I pointed it out to my boyfriend but he didn’t seem worried because nothing was gone. I kept getting creepy feelings though, especially at night, like someone was watching, and I could quite literally hear them walking around the unit. Living in a semi detached room we expected to hear them, but not in the back of our unit at 12 at night.
One day when I was home alone; which I hadn’t been in a long time, I got a bad bad feeling and so started to record a video. Throughout the entire 40 minute video I’m freaking out hearing people walk all around my unit and tapping on the doors. I remained 100% silent for 35 minutes when all of a sudden, my landlord and his wife burst through the garage entry door without knocking, and there I am half naked, half asleep, flustered in bed. I just say “hi” and he stutters and tries to go off about how he got me a key to the back door..
you mean the key you brought with you in case we started to lock the back door?
I took the key and left. I checked my phone recording and never got their face on video but both of their voices on camera referring to me by name that matches the other voices on audio. And it was obvious I didn’t let them in or give permission for them being there. I wrote them a letter letting them know this was not okay, illegal, and if caught again we would void our lease and sue. I also put chain locks, but they have a key to our front door and can still come in when we aren’t home.
We started to put up audio recorders, just in case and I got something the first time. You can never hear them open or close the door, which I tested and is possible to do quietly if done slowly which scared me even more, what if I was asleep? but you can hear banging and rustling around and in our room. I also set a “trap” on top of my Jewelry box, a lotion and tums bottle set up in a way that if anyone moved it even half and inch I’d know, and they weren’t even close to being in the same position when I got back. I took before and after photos of this, but I don’t think anything was gone.
I set up a hidden video twice and came back to the endings cut both times even though I had enough storage, and they cut at different points in the videos, so it’s not a storage or cut off issue.
Like things weren’t weird enough? Just last night my boyfriend and I were getting intimate, and I didn’t feel right. We could see a shadow moving back forth between our front blinds. I got up to shut the bathroom light off, leaving us in complete darkness except the small amount of light from their patio light out front. They shut it off about 45 seconds later, and I knew they were watching us the whole time.
This morning, I still didn’t feel quite right. I knew my iPad videos were obviously not working as the device I was using was easily manipulable, and easily found if searched for. So I decided to run my ipads voice memo audio instead because they can’t alter it, just pause the recording which would be good enough for me. I not only got our front door opening, footsteps, our kitchen cart clanging, but I got my male landlord moaninggg EW WHAT THE ACTUAL F. His voice is easily recognizable, and there was no forced entry, my door was locked when I got back so it couldn’t be anyone else. Not only that, you can hear the bed frame squeak back and forth for 15 minutes, and then shuffling to leave. I didn’t get any other voices or any words that were comprehendible, just whispers and moans.
Is this enough evidence to take them to court to get my security deposit and two months of rent back...? I don’t feel safe and have been constantly recording at home in case someone comes in. I don’t have any money either so I don’t know what to do... Should I call the cops? Tell them about the recordings? Any help is appreciated...
submitted by Theydidwhatinmybed to TenantHelp [link] [comments]

2019.07.02 19:50 stephen_prince Cam wife alone hidden

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Knock knock. Ring. Ring-ring-ring. Knock knock.
Annoying and belligerent.
The door opens half-way – woman, mid-to-late forties. She looks me over, assessing me with sleepy eyes. I’m in a dress shirt two sizes too big, tucked into tight brown slacks, with a wide blue tie, hair is parted in the middle (cow lick in back), and glasses with fake lenses in wide, thin gold frames.
“Ma’am, we’re doing a survey on property taxes for the county,” I nasally lie, clipboard in hand.
She bites and opens the door a bit further.
“Too damn high,” she grumbles, more to herself than me. Maybe wine-drunk, maybe napping, maybe oxycontin – I can tell she’s a little out of it but nothing suspicious. It’s mid-day, an hour or two past noon.
I diligently write her words on the sheet attached to the clipboard, some boiler-plate census form I found online. I also nod with approval, and she opens the door enough to stand in the threshold, neither outside nor in. Originally, I had wanted to hire an intern for this – pay them online, send them a badge to pin to their shirt (with a micro-lens camera), and have them trek the whole neighborhood; in the end, however, we agreed it would take someone with a trained eye to find what we’re looking for. So, it fell to me.
“Are they—they planning on changing the county tax?” she asks, fully invested. These houses are big, and extremely expensive, each house on a dozen of acres, most of it empty hills.
“They are, ma’am,” I confidently assure her, “but it’ll only go up for a vote if we get enough signatures.”
The foyer inside is professionally decorated, with a round table in the center, a vase in the middle of the table holding something that looked like the jutting root of a dead tree. Art, I guess. There’s a winding staircase to the side, and multiple hallways branching off in all directions. Again, nothing suspicious.
“Finally,” the woman asks and reaches out for the clipboard.
I flip up the census page of notes, to the petition signature page, and hold the clipboard out just enough that she has to reach for it. Her thin arm has no signs of bruising, no biting, nothing. She snatches the clipboard out of my hand, annoyed she had to reach. The pen drops and swings, dangling by a string attached to the clipper. She quickly pulls up the pen and signs her name, tosses back the clipboard, and shuts the door.
And with that, I head to the next house.
“At least she was friendlier than the last one,” chuckles Hannah.
I wait until I’m a good twenty feet away from the front door before responding.
“It’s the middle part in my hair – women can’t resist it.”
I stop walking and look around. In-between each house is seemingly endless space, more than enough room for thirty more houses. Seems like a waste, like the houses were built not only to be large but completely hidden, not just from one another but the general public, as well; there’s even an intimidating gate around the community, complete with patrolling guard in a supped-up golf-cart. I didn’t have to worry about the gate or the guard since I had immediately received permission from the neighborhood counsel to canvas. If there was one way to get the attention of the wealthy, it was through taxes.
“This doesn’t feel right,” I tell her, looking around like there might be some significant clue in the damn street.
A man had died, from unnatural causes, at a nearby school; this was his neighborhood. He supposedly drove from his house, which I hadn’t yet passed, while dying. The police report, or what we could salvage from it, had been thorough. Local street cams had enough to place him in the car, alone, on the short drive – but not enough detail for anything else. There were a few certainties: the cause of death, that his phone didn’t leave his house during the period between his last sighting alive and his drive from his house to the school, to pick up his child, while dying. None of it made sense.
The wounds were fresh.
It had to be local.
“What other choice do we have?” asks Hannah, knowing I’d been over it to death.
There’s nothing else to go on. I have no other leads. In fact, I’m not even sure it matters anymore. He’s dead but no one’s raising alarms; not his family, not his friends, not the cops or neighbors. (The vacuum of concern actually made it more suspicious, though the official release was a drug overdose; maybe everyone believed it because, why wouldn’t they believe the police?) His death, the real reasons, should’ve been national news – the murder at Six Flags was on national news first thing the next morning. But this guy, this death, it was like it never happened. And no one cared.
I was beginning to wonder, selfishly, Why should I?
It didn’t appear to be a string of murders; nothing similar had ever happened, so far as I could tell. Not in this area, at least, and we searched thoroughly. And the guy was kind of a dick. A financial advisor, someone I wouldn’t normally go out of my way for. I assume he was having an affair but it was circumstantial at best. He did have a wife and a child. And the dissatisfaction of not knowing what happened might drive me up the wall, like a jigsaw puzzle left half-built.
I finish walking the long driveway and get into my rental car. It had been my idea to park on the street and walk the long driveways, get more time looking around, but it hadn’t really done much. The houses could have torture chambers inside and I’d never know from their exteriors. Each one is so proper: the grass cut to an exact height, the many gardens tended to magazine-cover perfection, every inset stone sidewalk power-washed, and so on. The facades are grandiose yet somehow plain, each a simple white or light grey color, with large windows and detailed curtains. It’s simultaneously perfect and eerie.
“Everything around here,” I say to Hannah, just talking to fill a lull in our conversation, “it’s all boring. But it’s a creepy boring. I mean…there’s something about everything being so manicured. So uniform. Every house feels the same around here. I’ve visited seven houses and, truthfully, they all look the same in my head. Very Stepford.
“What’s Stepford?” Hannah asks, then chomps on something crunchy. I can tell she’s walking around her room, one of the rare times she’s away from her computer.
“You better be eating something healthy…” Hannah doesn’t answer, just gives me a quasi-agreeing grunt. “Stepford Wives is this movie where a community turns all their wives into robots or something. I forget how it ends but there’s this neighborhood where all these wives act exactly the same. And it’s creepy because they’re all perfect wives—well, wait wait wait.” I try to head her off before she snidely asks about the perfect behavior of a wife, which in the movie was cooking and cleaning – but there’s an issue with the Bluetooth.
“—et—per—shit—ey…hey, can—ar me?”
Bits of her voice make it through and then it cuts out entirely.
I pull over at the next driveway and look for my Bluetooth charger. I thought I had charged it recently but maybe it wasn’t plugged in enough, and the charger isn’t in my car. I debate continuing without Hannah in my ear but consider it too monotonous and ultimately decide to go somewhere nearby to get a new one, maybe get lunch, take a break. There’s no reversing in the middle of the street but the neighborhood circles back around to the front gate. I pull out, pass the driveway, and continue around an uphill curve.
“—uckin’ broken—pment, stupid piece of—” continues Hannah, smacking something metallic.
“Stop cursing,” I scold.
“Oh, now you can hear me,” she says, annoyed.
“Yeah…” I pull the car over. “…now I can hear you.”
I check my rearview; nothing abnormal, just the street and a driveway twenty yards back.
Finally, something…
I slowly reverse.
“I think my—pment is—seless…” Hannah’s voice comes in, static-like, and cuts out entirely as I approach the nearest driveway once again; then I drive back up the hill as it curves and park in the same spot as before. “—ut smacking—esn’t work. Hold on, I may need to reboot. Your camera and GPS’re blackin’ out.”
“I don’t think it’s your equipment,” I tell her.
“Then what is it? Reception? It can’t be reception.”
I think for a second.
“What kind of instrument would I need to check for any sort of…radio frequency blockers?” I ask. It’s a subject with which I’m not entirely familiar.
“Check what? Like cell phone signals and stuff? Something that blocks them?”
“Yeah,” I answer. “Look it up for me, I’ll be right back.”
I reverse again – the Bluetooth cuts out – and park at the driveway.
Clipboard in hand, I exit the car, straighten the wide blue tie, tuck the big shirt into my brown slacks, and head toward the house. The driveway is straight for most of the way, curving toward the hill near the house and lined with small, black metal lampposts. I check my phone and see it has no reception, not that my smart phone’s reception is reliable – it’s been re-assembled with the camera, GPS, and mic removed entirely. The connection to Hannah is direct, not through a carrier line; it should work anywhere above sea-level.
The grass is cut short like the others but there’s no gardens around this house. No trees, either. I round the curve and the house comes into view. The view from the driveway overlooks the bottom-half of the neighborhood but the house itself is hard to see from most directions, practically built in the crest of a large hill; even for a neighborhood of tucked-away houses, this one’s especially hidden.
The looming house itself has a green-ish hue to it. I notice this at a distance but, approaching the front door, the hue seems to dissipate to a simple off-white. A part of me wants to stop and back away and see if it was a trick of the light, or something with the paint, or maybe just my mind playing with me – but I don’t, in case someone’s watching me. I’m not one to get especially jittery, not after everything I’ve been through, but I also notice that, the closer I get to the door, the more an anxious knot builds in my stomach. I can feel it in the air, something off, non-adjacent.
There’s a brown doormat with the words WELCOME BACK in white.
The door is a dark black, glistening as if recently painted.
No plants.
Plain curtains in a nearby open window, nothing frilly.
And just as I go to knock, I stop.
Inside, I can hear something. It’s too low to make out clearly but it’s rhythmic, like a distant radio.
Knock knock. Ring. Ring-ring-ring. Knock knock.
I wait a moment.
The distant hum of sound inside gets a bit louder. And a bit louder. The rhythm is familiar. Ba-BA-baaa-ba, ba-BA-baaa-ba, BAA-ba-ba-ba-bababa. But there’s no music – it’s just a singular voice. “In a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine.
Lived a miner forty-niner, and his daughter Clementine,” I hear, the source still at a good distance from the front door. “Yes, I love her, how I love her, thought her shoes were number nine. Herring boxes without topses, sandals were for Clementine.” The male voice echoes within the huge house, bringing it closer, as the singer approaches the front door. “Drove the horses to the water, every morning just at nine. Hit her foot against a splinter, fell into the foaming brine.” Closer and closer still, louder and louder within the house and out through the open window. “Ruby lips above the water, blowing bubbles soft and fine. But at last, I was no swimmer, so I lost my Clementine.”
The clip-clap of flip-flops through the foyer.
The singer is belting it out and, truthfully, he’s extremely good. The notes are very specific, careful and precise, and the tone has lost the Hannah-Barbera, Huckleberry Hound silliness; it’s graceful, mourning, familiar yet haunting.
“Oh my darling, oh my darling. Oh my darling, Clementine. You were lost and gone forever, dreadful sorrow, Clementine.”
The door opens to reveal a short man in a Hawaiian-shirt and cargo shorts.
He stops singing.
We stare at each other, a stilted pause in the void.
“You were lost and gone forever, dreadful sorrow, Clementine,” he says in a low, flat tone, carrying the rhythm without belting it out—and then, suddenly, he lets out a hearty laugh and shoves out a hand. “Sorry it’s such a depressing song! Trochaic meter.”
I shake his, noting his tight grip and hairy arms – but, no scars.
He leans in, expecting to hear my name, the first person thus far to care.
“Um, Stephen Prince,” I tell him. “I’m here—”
“For the taxes, right?” he wonders.
“Yeah, I’m collecting—”
He cuts me off again.
“Signatures, I know, I know. I’m on the neighborhood counsel,” he leans in and puts his hand against the corner of his mouth, as if blocking any onlookers from reading his lips, and he adds, in a low voice, “Plus, Peggy down the hill just texted me complaining. Glug glug.” He pretends to drink from a bottle, insinuating she was drunk. He lets out another hearty laugh and introduces himself and then steps aside, inviting me in.
I accept and follow the man in the Hawaiian shirt inside.
The next few minutes are quick.
“Family from the area?” the man in the Hawaiian shirt asks as I cross over the threshold and into his home. He also takes my clipboard, as if to sign it, but instead glances over my notes, checks the signatures, and then holds on to it.
“No,” I answer—but, before he can respond, I follow up with a nasally, “I noticed my phone doesn’t get reception here, which is weird ‘cause I normally get it everywhere.”
“I block a lot of radio signals. Bad for the brain.” He waves his hand around his head. “Neighborhood hates it but I’m head of the counsel so they can suck a fat one.” He saunters off down a hallway, expecting me to follow the clipboard in his hand. He’s forcing me deeper into the house. “Like a drink?”
“No.” Never accept drinks from strangers, and few are stranger than this guy.
I follow the man in the Hawaiian shirt into his kitchen, where he pulls a large pink plastic water bottle from the fridge; the liquid inside is thicker than water, more like milk. He claps the wood clipboard onto the marble counter and sits on a stool. “From these parts? And you work for…the county?” I just nod and avoid eye contact and fidget, pretending to be shy. I’m actually soaking in the details of the house, or lack thereof. It’s almost clinically sterile, the only colors black and white aside from the ostentatious pink plastic bottle. It’s all symmetrical, in order, the black chairs neatly tucked under the wide white dining room table. The kitchen counter is neatly lined, spices and knife stack and cleaners.
“I do work for the county,” I say and reach for my pockets, pretending to search for a business card. I don’t actually have any.
“Clifford,” the man in the Hawaiian shirts says with a wide smile as his focus narrows solely on me, and he crosses the short distance between us with his hand extended. I introduce myself and apologize for not having a business card.
“You don’t need a card,” he chuckles; his laugh is bizarrely gruff. “Unless you and your girlfriend or wife wanna come to a show?”
Clifford in the Hawaiian shirt is throwing out a lot, fishing.
“No girlfriend,” I concede, again nasally, but I can feel my façade of nerdy county worker slipping against this man’s persistence. He sits again at the counter and signs the paperwork, adding a note on the top page. Even though his eyes aren’t on me, and he’s seated, I feel him circling me like a mountain lion. He’s sizing me up. He’s practiced, nuanced. And I take his bait. “What show?”
He pretends to focus on the sheet in front of him a bit more intensely, as if his response needs to hold on a moment while he looks over information he’s already seen, and none of which is pertinent to him specifically.
Finally, he looks up.
“Oh, sorry.” He smiles again; I don’t like it. “I just assume every knows who I am. I’m uh, a jingle writer by day. Any commercial you see on streaming networks, that’s me. Even most of the biggest networks, some jingle I’ve written’s gonna be there once an hour, at least.” He’s bragging, but I don’t see it as boast – he’s trying to get my defense down. How bad can a jingle writer be? he wants me think. “But there’s an entire amphitheater here.”
I pause.
He waits.
I can just smell him trying to work on me.
“Amphitheater where?” I finally ask.
“Here,” he quickly responds and stands and walks over to a nearby door.
He opens the door to a well-lit stairwell, less monochromatic. The walls are solid redwood, the stairs carpeting a slick tan. It’s much more welcoming than the first floor.
“Wanna see it?” Clifford in the Hawaiian shirt asks, smiling.
I check my watch.
“I actually have to get back to the county but…what shows do you put on down there?”
The deep nasal has lost my voice.
“We do lots of stuff. Instrumental, community theater, whatever we feel like. I built it into the hillside around the house so it’s much bigger than you’d think. There’s another entrance closer to the front door, much more formal. This is my entrance, don’t let it…” he trails off but I’m certain his next words were going to be “scare you.”
“I’d love to see a show!” I reaffirm him, letting him know I’m busy but not afraid. And just to solidify how helpless I am, I add, “I don’t know many people in the area so it’d be great.”
“Well, it just so happens there’s one this Friday at 7! It’s more expressionistic, kinda interactive art like an improv show. But there’s gonna be music and drinks, come! We’re always looking for new people to join us.”
He smiles, and it’s hard not to grimace.
“And…what? I just come here by 7?” I ask, sounding eager – enthusiastic, even.
“Absolutely. Park in the driveway. You can be my guest of honor.”
submitted by stephen_prince to nosleep [link] [comments]

2018.10.31 23:37 Dread_Nova My Friends and I Got Trapped in a Horror Game

I used to be indifferent when it came to horror games. I'd play them for my stream and my YouTube channel, but outside of that, I wasn't too interested. I can safely say, I am now not a horror game fan. You would think it was because all those big YouTubers beat them into the ground, but no, it was because I lived one. Like, for real.
Don't get me wrong, I'll admit I still do watch other people play horror games and yes I find amusement in them, but now it's because I know what they experience will never be the same as to what I did. I don't really care if anyone believes me or not, but it happened (last year on this day). Which is why I thought, might as well share it on the anniversary of the incident. It's a long story, so I'll have to break this into different parts, but for now here's the beginning. I'll see if I can find the time to continue, so I'll update this when I can.
"I fucking swear, if this relies on cheap jump-scares I'm not playing."
"Stop being such a baby."
"What? I don't even know why I'm playing this with you guys anyway."
"Because the viewers specifically asked you to join us for the stream."
"Tell them I hate them."
"Hear that viewers? Archie hates you guys."
"I was joking, I don't hate you guys. Please don't hate me."
"They aren't gonna hate you dude, they love you! Anyway, just give me one more second, it's almost done downloading."
Tapping my keyboard impatiently, I scanned the Twitch chat as I waited for the game to finish.
happy halloween everyone!
pickle juice
pickle juice
archie is gonna be shitting bricks lmao
pickle juice
tell May she needs to turn up her mic!
pickle juice
why tf does the chat keep spamming pickle juice?
someone tell May we can't hear her!
hi everyone
pickle juice
can may check her microphone? we cant hear her
Archie we don't hate you!
pickle juice
Turning back to the download screen, I gave a sigh of relief.
"Okay, I'm loading it up now. Chat, no spoilers."
"Fucking finally, it's been like, 20 minutes since we started," May complained.
"Well excuse you, sorry my internet is slow as shit."
"Whatever, the chat has been keeping me entertained."
"Speaking of which, they're telling you to fix your mic, they can't hear you."*
"Oh, my bad guys, just one second..."
I adjusted my headphones as the menu for Dark Woods loaded up. To be honest, reading the description of the game made me think it was gonna be cheesy as hell. It was an indie game, which meant it was either gonna be a total snooze fest or scary as fuck, and considering the story was a cliche "Group of friends get stuck in a haunted house" game, I was thinking it was gonna be bad. And even though it had the perk of being multiplayer, that probably meant it would be glitchy as hell. It would probably be entertaining as fuck though, which is why May had chosen it as the first game we played.
"Is the menu supposed to be spazzing out or is it just me," Archie questioned.
"Fine on my end," I replied.
"Define spazzing?"
"I don't know, it stopped."
"Whatever, let's just start. I'm creating a multiplayer save, the code to get in is 5847581."
"Found it."
"So Quinn, tell the viewers what we're playing." May advised.
"Oh, right!" I gave a small wave at my webcam. "Hello everyone, for those that are just tuning in, my name is Quinn, and joining me are May and Archie. Say hi guys."
"They usually join my streams so, if you enjoy us, be sure to give us a follow on here! Also, sorry that I'm the only one with a webcam, you guys will be stuck with my face for now. Anyway, we are about to play a game called Dark Woods, the first of many horror games in the line-up for this special Halloween stream. The premise of the game is basically, us three will be trying to-"
"Let's just start already!"
"Okay fine, you'll see as you watch. I'm hitting start guys, ready?"
The screen faded to black and a cutscene began. It started with a group of young adults hiking through the woods, talking about the backstory of the house they were going to. Not paying attention, I checked the chat again.
the graphics are so bad lol
pickle juice
I hope Archie ends up playing Gwen lmao
pickle juice
pickle juice
take bets on who survives im gonna say may
this is gonna be good
I wish Archie and May had face cams, their reaction to the painting will be fucking hilarious
pickle juice
agreed with whoever said archie should pick gwen
this is already boring they should have played something else
"Archie, the chat is saying you should pick Gwen," I noted.
"Who's that."
"Pay attention to the game idiot, she's in the purple coat."
"May, who are you gonna pick?"
"Hmm... I kinda like the dude in the hat, since he said this was a bad idea and I agree, so I bet he lives."
"Should we let the chat decide?"
"Works for me."
"Okay, chat, who should May play as?"
may would totally fit jeff
whichever one lives
isnt it ben who dies first? him
yaaas pick jeff!
carly pleaaase!
"Okay, I think the majority is saying Jeff."
"Jeff it is."
"What about you Archie? Should the chat decide who you play as?"
"Hell no, they'll probably make me play the guy who dies first."
"Suit yourself. Alright guys, who should I play as?"
Kyle! He's the best!
kyle for sure
omg play paige!
choose kyle
pick paige! she lives!
"Okay guys, I'm picking Kyle!"
The cutscene had ended and a menu popped up with a selection of characters to play. Seeing as I was hosting, I chose first. May chose next, and last was Archie.
"So Archie, why'd you pick Paige?" I asked.
"Because her bio said she's addicted to Twitter and I am too."
"Nice reason."
"Oh shut up, you only chose Jeff because he's hot."
"I didn't choose, the chat did."
"And they chose him because he's hot."
"Honestly, I'm surprised the chat didn't want May as the hot girl."
"Eww, Gwen? She sounded so bitchy in her bio."
"Whatever, let's just start the game. Hit play guys." I adjusted myself in my chair as "Player 2 is Ready" and "Player 3 is Ready" popped up. "Here we go, take bets on who survives." I hit play and the screen faded to black.
"I swear if Paige ends up being one of the first to die," Archie muttered.
I tapped my foot, waiting for the screen to go back to the game. After a moment of silence, I gave a confused look.
"I think my game is lagging guys, it's still a black screen for me."
"Nope, mine is still black too."
Turning to the chat I gave an apologetic smile. "Sorry guys, it's an indie game that's multiplayer, what can you expect."
lmao fail
"Does anyone else feel that?"
"My body, it's vibrating."
"Wow, TMI Archie."
"No, I'm serious, something is happening to my body."
"Maybe it's the vibrator stuck up your-"
I paused, as I felt my hands begin to shake. Looking down, I could see my entire body trembling like I was on a bumpy road.
"What the fuck?"
"Guys, what the hell is happening?" I heard May cry.
"Okay, this is too weird, I'm gonna-"
It was like someone had punched me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me paired with falling. I gave a gasp of surprise as I felt the room around me warp, and I could feel my body falling. Letting out a yelp, what felt like an eternity ended in my body slamming into the ground.
Coughing and gasping for breath, I clutched at the ground, feeling dead leaves enter my grasp. Dizzy and dragging myself to my feet, I blinked, looking around. I was met with an impossible view. A forest of autumn trees of orange, yellow, and browns, with a darkening sky and thunder in the distance.
"What. The. Fuck."
I blinked. What just happened. One second I was in my room, the next I was in a forest. How? I took a groggy step before almost falling. I was just about to start following the trail I was on when I noticed a body lying in front of me. Rushing over, I stared in shock as Archie's familiar face turned towards me. He gave a gasp and scrambled to his feet.
"What the fuck? What the- where am I? What's happening!"
"Dude I don't fucking know, one minute I'm in my room the next I'm here."
"Oh my fucking god." He put his hands on his head in stunned silence.
"Fuck, my back!"
Both of us whipped our heads around to see May clawing her way up from the side of the dirt path we were on.
"Holy fuck May! What the hell happened!?" Archie cried running over.
"You tell me." She winced holding her head.
"Did we all just experience the same thing?" I inquired.
"Clearly. My body was vibrating and suddenly I feel like I'm falling and find myself here," May retorted.
"But where's here?" Archie wondered.
The three of us stood, looking around before our gazes fell on a large mansion looming ahead of us.
"Um... Does that house look familiar or what," Archie squinted.
"No way," May breathed. Taking a step forward, she did a 360. "No. Fucking. Way."
"What is it?" I looked at the house seeing it looked familiar.
"This is the house. The house from the game."
"What game?"
"Dark Woods."
"The one we were just playing?"
"No shit." She began walking towards it.
"What the fuck? I am so confused," Archie mumbled.
"That's impossible," I objected. "This can't be... Can it?"
"Trust me, unlike you guys I was paying attention to the game. This is exactly like the house, it even has the exact gate pattern."
"Riiiight... Okay, so what are you saying."
There was a pause, before she turned to us.
"This sounds crazy as hell, but what if this is the game."
"You know, the game. Like we're in the game."
"Like the new Jumanji movie?" Archie asked scratching his head.
"Impossible, literally impossible," I replied. "This is some kind of fucked up dream."
"You know as well as I do this isn't a dream. Maybe if we-"
The sound of thunder startled all three of us, and I felt drops of rain beginning to fall on my head.
"Come on, we can take shelter inside the house," May beckoned.
"Shouldn't we be running away if that's the case, like if we're in the game the house is where we die," Archie cautioned.
"I read a bit about the game while we waited for Quinn to finish downloading. The woods is where it resides, hence the name Dark Woods. We're safer inside."
"This is so ridiculous," I laughed. "Is this really real? Am I tripping?"
May rolled her eyes and grabbed my arm, dragging me up the overgrown path to the porch, where she grabbed the handle of the door and swung it open. The three of us clambered inside, just as the rain turned into a torrent of heavy downpour.
"We made it just in time, thank god. Maybe if we-"
May paused as our small party turned to see somewhat familiar faces staring back at us.
"Who are you?" A young woman with a blonde shoulder length hair asked.
"No way," I breathed.
"Paige?" Archie gasped.
"Uh, yeah... Who the hell are you guys?"
I turned to look at May with wide eyes. She turned back to the group who were already there and feigned a smile.
"Uh, we were just um... Hiking and uh, the rain so, uh, we uh..." I began.
"We thought you guys wouldn't mind us staying. At least until the rain stops," May cut in.
"Oh, well this isn't our house, so we don't mind at all," one of the men said. I recognized him as Ben.
"What the fuck is going on," Archie whispered.
"I told you, we're somehow in the game," May hissed back.
"You guys can like, spend however long you need," one of the girls offered. "We're like, planning on staying the entire night. Apparently this place is like, totally haunted."
"Thanks," May flashed a smile.
"So should we uh, should we do introductions?" Ben asked.
"Good idea." May turned to us and leaned in. "Do you guys remember who dies?"
I shook my head.
"I'm Ben, nice to meet you."
Ben had scruffy brown hair and wore a leather jacket. I vaguely remembering seeing some screenshots of the game where he was being confronted by the demon...
"This is Paige," Ben continued. "That's Gwen, Kyle, Carly, Chelsea, Mick, and Jeff."
My eyes followed his finger to identify them. Gwen had long black hair, and was wearing a purple coat. Her scarf was wrapped around her neck so her mouth was hidden, but she gave a wave. Kyle had slicked blond hair and wore a brown jacket with a logo on it. Carly had dirty blonde hair in a bun and a glittery gold jacket with a crop top and jeans. Chelsea had curly brown hair with glasses, and wore overalls. Mick was dark skinned with red highlights in his curly hair, and wore a black hoodie. Jeff was the last of them, with black hair and slight stubble.
Taking a quick mental note of what they looked like, I tried remembering if I saw who died. I had tried avoiding spoilers, but if I recalled I knew one of the guys and girls died almost right away. Turning to May, she gave a friendly nod before introducing us.
"I'm May, this is Archie, and that's Quinn."
Looking at us, we looked way out of place. I was wearing a pirate costume since I was the one that had been streaming, May wore a loose fitting beige shirt and sweatpants, and Archie was in a giraffe onesie. Both of them clearly hadn't been expecting to leave their houses. It reminded me of our excuse that we were hiking, but they didn't seem to notice or care.
"Well make yourselves at home, we haven't explored anything yet, so why don't you join us?" Ben smiled.
"I don't think this is such a good idea," Chelsea whined. "We shouldn't even be here."
"Don't be such a pussy, we're only staying for a night," Carly snapped rolling her eyes.
"If you're scared just stay here, I'm gonna explore," Ben shrugged.
Mick and Carly immediately joined him. Chelsea gave a helpless look to the others, who didn't pay her any attention.
"I'm gonna look around too, that's why we're here anyway," Gwen stated. "Besides, it's not like we have anything to worry about."
Seconds after she said that, there was a loud crash and a lightning strike illuminated the darkened living room we were standing in.
"What the hell was that?" Kyle exclaimed.
"The window!" Paige gasped pointing.
We all looked towards one of the windows, which was smashed completely through. A bit of rain and wind flowed in and we followed the trail of broken glass to a wet rock, lying on the ground.
"Creepy," Ben muttered.
"I told you this was a bad idea!" Chelsea cried.
"It was probably just a freak accident," Carly huffed. "We're fine."
"Someone or something threw that rock, no way that was a freak accident," Chelsea argued.
"Guys relax, I'll check it out," Ben reassured.
"Uh, I don't think that's a good idea," May interjected. "Chelsea is right, maybe there's something-"
"Oh please, just because this place is supposedly haunted, doesn't mean it really is," Carly replied annoyed.
"Yo man, quit arguin' and let's explore already," Mick cut in sensing the tension.
"I'm just gonna check around outside," Ben nodded. "You guys can go ahead and explore."
"You're going by yourself?" I asked, glancing at May and Archie.
"Thaaaat's probably a bad idea. Like really bad." Archie subtly stepped in front of the door to block it.
"I'll be fine, what's the big deal." Ben tried pushing past him but May joined in blocking his path.
"Let's just be cautious okay, there could be... Crazy homeless people."
Ben gave her a confused look.
"I'm gonna investigate whether you want me to or not, it's no big deal."
May rubbed her temples but didn't resist as Ben pushed past them and out the door. Beckoning us over, we huddled in a corner.
"So I didn't read too much about the game because I wanted to avoid spoilers, but I know for a fact that some people always live."
"How is that possible with multiplayer?" I asked.
"I think it's basically one or two characters will always live 100%, but the point is you don't know unless you've read spoilers or played before."
"That ruins any plans of replays," Archie commented.
"It's an indie game, what do you expect?" May responded. "Anyway, the point is, we need to find those people and stick with them like glue."
"That's a good plan, except if we're here, can't we change the direction of the story?"
"Possibly, but if we do that, the person who is always guaranteed to survive might not survive."
"Good point. So you're assuming if we "beat" the game, we'll somehow end up back in the real world?"
"Jumanji was like that, I don't see why this wouldn't be any different."
"Assuming this is like Jumanji..."
"Let's act like it is so we don't end up dying because we think trying to survive is pointless."
I admired May's tenacity, but part of me wondered if playing by the game was the correct way to survive.
"So we can really die here?" Archie shivered in his onesie, his blond hair was messy from the hood and he looked rightfully terrified.
"I'm not taking the chances that we can't." May glanced over at the group who were slowly dispersing. "What I do know, is that this group will make idiotic decisions and get us all killed, so our priority is finding out who the invincible one is."
"Ugh, if there was any time to have a Twitch chat, it would be now," I moped.
"Damn, I wish I had actually payed more attention. I was avoiding it because of spoilers." May bit her lip. "I think I can remember a few comments saying how annoying Carly and Mick were, so maybe they die?"
"We can't base our survival on a personality contest can we? I mean, we should be seeing who looks the best at surviving."
"It's multiplayer, only like, one or two people always live."
"And you assume it's the nice ones?" Archie glanced over at Chelsea.
"Not her, the sensible ones always die."
"You seem very... Knowledgeable of the subject," I noted.
"I've seen enough horror movies and played enough horror games to know the cliches. Smart, sensible, a bit socially awkward... They usually survive until right before the climax. The douchey ones usually die first, and there's always that one character who continually fucks up everything that causes the group to be in even more danger. And let's not forget the ones that have to fucking investigate literally everything."
"Okay, so you're the expert, what should we do?" I checked over my shoulder to see us and Chelsea were the only ones left in the room.
"We do everything like every other video game. Ask questions."
She broke apart from us and walked over to sit next to Chelsea, who was playing with her hair.
"Hey, Chelsea right?"
"Y-yeah, that's me," she gave a meek smile.
"So what exactly are you guys doing here?"
Chelsea looked down and continued playing with her hair. "It was Ben's idea, he heard about this place and how haunted it was, so we all decided to check it out."
"And you clearly were against it."
"Yeah, but I'm... I'm not really the one that has a say in anything." She gave a slight chuckle.
"So what exactly do you know about this house? Why is it so haunted?"
"Not really sure, you'll have to ask Ben." She gave an apologetic smile.
"Ben... The one that went to look around outside?" I grimaced.
May turned to me, hands on her hips.
"This is good, we're on the right track."
"Does this not sound exactly like a horror game? Ask about the location and only one specific person knows who just happens to be the same one that went outside?"
"Uh... I guess? I'm not following you."
"It means it's important information the player needs to know, which in turn means you aren't gonna die if you find him."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because all games do it, trust me."
I looked back at Archie and Chelsea who were quietly discussing among themselves and sighed.
"So you want me to do it?"
"You don't have to." She brushed some of her dark brown hair out of her eyes and I could see a twinkle of excitement in them.
"Oh hell no, are you serious?"
She gave me a confused look and I dragged her out of hearing reach from the others.
"You're enjoying this aren't you!"
"You think this is fun!"
"I do not!"
"It's like how everyone is secretly hoping for a zombie apocalypse! You're enjoying the thrill of surviving a horror game!"
"Quinn, you're being delusional."
"Am I?"
"Yes, now go find some of the others and ask questions."
"Like splitting up? That's like, number one rule of what not to do."
"I told you, nobody is gonna die while we're figuring out the lore of the house."
We had a stare-down and I finally caved. "Fine, but you see anything out of the ordinary, come running. And don't try and save anyone."
"Same goes for you."
She turned back towards Archie and Chelsea. "I'm gonna go check up on Ben, I'll be back soon."
"What? No, you can't do that!" Archie protested. "We should stick together."
"Trust me, it's fine." May gave a quick wave before heading out the door.
"What the hell dude, why'd you let her go out?" Archie tried following but I blocked him.
"She says since we need information about the house, we can't be killed. Video game logic."
"I trust her, you should too."
"Sorry for being slightly concerned, but May has no clue what she's talking about."
"It's fine, she can handle herself, all she needs to do is outrun him."
Archie seemed like he wanted to argue, but a cold breeze from the broken window caused him to shiver and sit back down.
"You okay? Maybe one of the guys will let you borrow a jacket or something."
"I'm okay."
"No, you aren't," Chelsea replied. "We brought some supplies, hold on."
We watched as she disappeared into another part of the house and I took the time to actually have a look around. It was old, but pretty fancy. I could tell it was stunning in its prime, the wallpaper had a faded dark red, there were gold decorations all over the place, and the furniture seemed classy and of upper class. The living room was more like a parlor, with bookshelves and sofas and couches lining the area. Off on the right was the entrance to the kitchen, and a staircase that went up to the second floor. On the left was a hallway to who knows where, and near the back was an entrance to what looked like another parlor where Chelsea had gone.
A loud shriek caused both of us to jump and we rushed to find Chelsea on the ground, an angry look on her face with Mick and Carly laughing from another entrance of the room.
"I wish I'd filmed that, you jumped 10 feet!" Mick chortled.
"Seriously, such a wimp," Carly giggled.
Archie gave them a glare and hurried over to help Chelsea up, who had been carrying blankets that were now all over the floor.
"Yo, did Ben come back yet?" Mick asked.
"No, May went to get him though."
Carly rolled her eyes and turned to Mick. "C'mon, let's check upstairs."
The two bumped past me on their way out, and I wanted to tell them to their face they would probably die first.
"Yeah, they... They do that often. But, it's no big deal," Chelsea sighed.
"Seriously? Why are you friends with them?" Archie huffed.
"Well, I... We're in the same group, I'm not really... Friends with them."
"Are you friends with any of them? Sorry, that came out wrong," I apologized.
"No, it's fine. And yeah, Kyle and Paige I'm pretty close with, Jeff is pretty nice too, once you get to know him. But Kyle especially, he's... A really good friend..." She stared off into the distance and Archie and I exchanged looks. "Oh! Um! Anyway, here are some blankets. I bet the guys wouldn't mind if you borrowed some of their clothes either."
"We should go ask," I suggested, remembering what May had said.
"Sure, any idea where they went?"
"I'll come too, I'm not really interested in being by myself," Chelsea murmured shyly.
"Okay, well, ladies first," I motioned.
Chelsea tossed the blankets onto one of the chairs as she made her way towards the staircase. The boards creaked as we ascended and at the top, we were met with a creepy as hell painting of a woman.
"Shit, that scared the hell out of me," Archie breathed.
"Glad I'm not the only one," Chelsea shivered. "I hate paintings like those, their eyes just follow you everywhere."
I couldn't help but notice she was right, the eyes did eerily follow you. I looked away, though I felt like someone was still staring at the back of my head. Chelsea poked her head into a few rooms before finding Kyle and Gwen in one of the bedrooms chatting.
"Hey, what's up?" Kyle smiled.
"Oh, um, I need some of your clothes... Not like that! They aren't for me, they're for him!" Chelsea quickly explained, blushing hard.
"Oh dude, no problem." Kyle motioned for Archie to follow and paused next to me. "You too? That outfit is uh... An interesting choice."
"It's a pirate outfit, for Hall-" I stopped, trying to remember when the game took place. "I just like cosplay."
"Cool dude, well if that gets chilly, give me a call."
I nodded thanks and watched as Archie and Kyle headed downstairs, before turning to Chelsea who was wiping off her fogged up glasses.
"Oh um, this is Gwen by the way."
"Hey," she waved.
She had lowered her scarf and I could make out her face clearly now. It was still weird seeing a video game character look... Human. She caught me staring and I looked down awkwardly.
"So uh, how're you liking the place?" I asked.
"You mean the house? It's old, nothing much to it."
"Haha, yeah... So uh, you interested in ghosts and stuff?"
Gwen chuckled and patted the bed, so I moved over to sit next to her.
"Honestly, this was all Ben. But, I won't lie, I heard stories about the place so I thought why not."
"What kind of stories?"
"There were a few, but the one I remember being interested in the most was Bella Ludenburgh and her husband Roman. They were the second to last couple who lived here, with the family of their daughter being the last. Apparently, Bella wanted an affair with her daughter's husband and, well, things spiraled."
"Sounds like a recipe for disaster."
"It was. Now, there was no official word on what happened, but the stories go that Bella raped her daughter's husband one night and became pregnant. Her daughter Amelia found out, and promptly killed her and the unborn child."
"That's... Fucked up."
"It really is, especially since the whole thing was swept under the rug."
"What happened to Amelia and her husband?"
"Died in a freak accident, right before they were gonna have a baby."
"Yeah, Bella got her revenge in the end."
"And Roman?"
"Died shortly after his wife."
"Interesting... Is that painting near the stairs Bella?"
"Yep, creepy right?"
"So now what, Ben wanted to see if it was haunted?"
"Well there have been people who come here and either go missing or become insane, he wanted to find out why."
"Sounds scary, almost like a... Horror game."
Gwen blinked at me.
"Anyway, why don't we check in with the others."
Gwen nodded and the three of us headed downstairs. I did my best to avoid looking at the portrait of Bella.
"Hey guys, we were just looking for you!" Ben greeted.
"We have a lot to talk about," May chimed in next to him.
"Glad you guys are okay," I said, giving her a look.
"Have Kyle and Archie figured out the clothing situation?" Chelsea spoke up.
"Not sure, we haven't seen them," Ben replied. "But we can tell them later. Guess what we found."
"A body?" I glanced at May.
"No. We found this!" Ben held up a rusty set of keys. "I bet this belongs to the house."
"Any idea what they're used for?" Chelsea asked looking them over.
"No, but we'll probably find out in due time," May responded, giving me a knowing look.
"All the more reason to explore some more! Who knows what we might find!" Ben cheered.
"Death, lots of it," Chelsea insisted. "This is a bad idea, we shouldn't go poking around where we don't belong."
"Maybe if we-" I began, before being cut off by a loud scream.
Whipping our heads in the direction of the hall, we all bolted towards the sounds. Following the screams, we found Mick, Carly, and Paige in what looked like a study room. Mick was on the floor grabbing at his foot and Carly was panicking while Paige tried to calm them down.
"What's going on?" Ben yelled.
"My fucking foot! Gah! I stepped on a blasted nail!"
Looking down, I winced as I could clearly see a large nail embedded in his foot. His sock was soaked in blood and he gave another cry of pain.
"Oh shit! Hold on, help me get him to the living room," Ben instructed.
I quickly supported one side of him as Ben supported the other, and we slowly made our way back to the living room where he was propped on one of the couches.
"Fuck! It hurts!" Mick trembled.
"Just relax, we need to get a look at it to see if we can pull it out or not," Gwen soothed.
Archie and Kyle had arrived and May quickly dragged us to a corner.
"It's beginning," she hissed.
"What? What's happening, I just got here," Archie whispered confused.
"Mick stepped on a nail," I replied. "It's pretty bad."
"Pretty bad? That nail is fucking huge, he won't be able to run, let alone walk," May retorted. "Which means this is it."
"Still not following," I admitted.
"The nail, the limping, the black guy being the first to get injured?"
"Um... What?" Archie gave me a look.
"Pay attention guys, this is it, we got backstory on the haunting, we found an item to be used later, and now someone doesn't have the ability to run. This. Is. It."
I finally realized what she meant and felt a shiver run down my spine.
"Shit. So this is for real."
She nodded, biting her lip. Archie gave a scared glance from us to Mick.
"I still don't know what's happening, are we in danger?"
"Unfortunately. Up until this moment, we were in the tutorial and safe, now, the real game begins."
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