2020.09.08 02:57 CherryJello312 Cam life eva real
Text Messaging & Chat Abbreviations: Numbers & Characters ?
I have a question
I don't understand what you mean
I have a question for you
Gentle warning, like "Hmm? What did you say?"
Meaning "read line" or "read message" above
Meaning "sideways heart" (love, friendship)
Meaning "broken heart"
Meaning "heart or love" (more 3s is a bigger heart)
At the end of the day
My (or your) two cents worth
Meaning number of items needed for win (online gaming)
Meaning extra life (online gaming)
One-to-one (private chat initiation)
Leet, meaning 'elite'
I love you
I love you too
One for all, and all for one
I hate you
Zero hand (online gaming)
Ten man (online gaming)
One in a million
Meaning "to" in SMS
Too good to be true
Too much too handle
Too much information
Too much to handle
Short for "for" in SMS
I don't know
Lets get high
Means I love you (ILY is 459 using keypad numbers)
For adults only
For crying out loud
Forever and ever
Too much information (more than 411)
Sobbing, crying. (Mandarin Chinese txt msgs)
Crying your eyes out (Mandarin Chinese txt msgs)
Meaning Laughing (In Thai language the number 5 is pronounced 'ha'.)
Meaning Hells Angels (H=8th letter of alphabet, A=1st letter of alphabet)
I love you (8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning)
Bye-bye (Mandarin Chinese txt msgs)
Hugs and kisses
Parent is watching
"A" Text Message & Chat Abbreviations A3
Anytime, anywhere, anyplace
As a matter of fact
As a friend
Asleep at keyboard
Alive and kicking
As a matter of fact
As a matter of interest
Always a pleasure
At any rate
Alive and smiling
As always, Sheldon has the answer (Bike mechanic Sheldon Brown)
Always at the keyboard
As always, your friend
Already been chewed
Already been done
Meaning 'About to'
Meaning Good-bye (signoff)
All bugged up
Anyone can come
ALT / CONTROL / DELETE
Accident (e-mail, Government)
Meaning marijuana cigarette
Accept (e-mail, Government)
Acquisition (e-mail, Government)
Another day, another dollar
All done, bye-bye
Another day in hell
Another day in paradise
Any day now
Area effect (online gaming)
As early as possible
Aggression factor (online gaming)
Away from computer
As far as I am aware
As far as I am concerned
As far as I know
As far as I understand it
As far as possible
Angels Forever, Forever Angels
April Fool's joke
Away from keyboard
Acronym Free Zone
A fresh pair of eyes
Meaning "agility" (online gaming)
And I am a money's uncle
As I remember
As it should be
As I said before
As I see it
Adult in the room
Also known as
Actually laughing out loud
Ask me anything (Reddit)
As much as possible
All my best wishes
All my love
As a matter of fact
Anarchy Online (online gaming)
Available on cell
Area of effect (online game)
Age of majority
Age of Mythology (online gaming)
All of the above
Angel on your pillow
All praise and credit
As quick (or quiet) as possible
Archive (compressed files)
Acronym rich environment
And so it goes
As soon as possible
At your terminal
All the best
At the end of the day
At the moment
All the stars in the sky
Along the same line (or lines)
After awhile crocodile
Away without leaving
Absent without leave
Are you done yet?
All your base are belong to us (online gaming)
At your earliest convenience
At your own risk
Are you stupid or something?
Are you serious?
Are you there?
And you're telling me this because
Are you vertical?
As you were
As you want / As you wish
"B" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations B
Back to work
Bait (person teased or joked with, or under-aged person/teen)
Boss is watching
Background (personal information request)
Bye for now
Busting a gut
Before anyone else
Meaning Babe or baby
Best and final offer
Back at keyboard
Below average mentality
Bad *a* mother *f*
Be aware of
Big 'butt' smile
Meaning anything mainstream
Breathing a sigh of relief
Business as usual
Back at ya
Bebi / Baby (Spanish SMS)
Big bad challenge
Be back in a bit
Be back in a few
Be back in a minute
Be back in a sec
Be back later
Bye, bye now
Barbeque, "Ownage", shooting score/frag (online gaming)
Be back soon
Be back tomorrow
Be seeing you
Big crush on
Big crush on you
Big darn number
Big evil grin
Meaning "Blood Elf" (online gaming)
Best friend at work
Battlefield 2 (online gaming)
Best friends forever
Best friends for life
Best friends for life, no matter what
Big freaking deal
Big freaking grin
Best friend for now
Bye for now
Be gentle with me
Be home late
Boss is back
Beer in, beer out
Butt in chair
Before I forget
Burn in hell
Brother in law
Meaning "I'm going to the bathroom" (or) "Bathroom break"
Believe it or not
Blow it out your *a*
Blow it out your nose
Best in slot (online gaming)
Boy, I sure feel like a turquoise monkey! (unverified)
But in the meantime
Better luck next time
Meaning Man (Discord)
Based on my experience
Between me and you
Back off *buddy*
Meaning "bind on equip" (online gaming)
Bend over here it comes again
Best of luck
*b* of mine
Be on the look out
Bored out of my skull
Meaning "bind on pickup" (online gaming)
Bending over smacking my knee laughing
Back on topic
Be on that
Broke my scale, used when rating someone
Big person little mind
Be right back
Be right back *b*
Be right back, nature calls
Be right here
Be right there
But seriously folks
Blue screen of death
Better safe than sorry
But then again
Been there, done that
By the way
Slang term for the most beautiful of women
Used to reference an insult
Meaning "changed and is now stronger" (online gaming)
Bursting with laughter
Bring your own beer
Bring your own computer
Bring your own device
Bat you on (the) head
Bring your own paint (paintball)
Better you than me
"C" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations C&G
Chuckle & grin
Ciao for now
Control + Alt + Delete
Short for Canada/Canadian
Meaning Birthday (Reddit)
Code 9, Meaning "parents are around"
Care for secret?
Calling for you
Good-bye (Italian word)
Coffee in, coffee out
Crying in disgrace
Consider it done
Crying like a baby
Cover my *a* partner (online gaming)
Call me back
Meaning "Community manager"
Correct me if I'm wrong
Continued (in) next post
Close of business
City of Heroes (online gaming)
Chat post (or continue in IM)
Slang term meaning "crazy"
Can't remember a *freaking* thing
Come right back
Crying really big tears
Meaning "critical hit" (online gaming)
Can't remember *stuff*
Chuckle, snicker, grin
Can't stop laughing
Counter-Strike Source (online gaming)
Care to chat?
Cracking the *heck* up
Can't talk now
Check this out
See you too
See you around
See you later
See you later alligator
See you later
See you in my dreams
See you around like a donut
Comment when done
Complete waste of time
Chat with you later
See you later
Check your e-mail
Close your eyes partner (online gaming)
See you online
"D" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations D2
Dedos / fingers (Spanish SMS)
Down for sex?
Does anyone else?
(What) the *Freak*?
Don't annoy me
Dark Age of Camelot (online gaming)
Doing business as usual
Don't believe everything you read
Dear (or Darling) daughter
Drop dead gorgeous
A phrase used in online chat to annoy or frustrate those involved in the conversation.
Dear (or Darling) daughter
Meaning stupid or silly
Don't even go there
Dead *freaking* last (online gaming)
Don't go anywhere
Don't give a *freak*
Don't go there
Don't go there, girlfriend
Dang, girl you fine
Dear (or Darling) husband
Dinosaur hugs (used to show support)
Darned if I know
Do I know you?
Do I look like I give a *freak*?
Do I look like I give a sugar?
Did I say?
Did I tell you I'm distressed?
Do it yourself
Don't know, don't care
Dragon kill points (online gaming)
Don't let (the) bed bugs bite
Don't let the bed bugs bite
Direct message (Twitter slang)
Dungeon Master (online gaming)
Dude Man No Offense
Don't mess yourself
Do not compute (meaning I do not understand)
Daughter of Eve
Damage over time (online gaming)
Voting negatively on a thread using Reddit’s voting system (Reddit)
Damage per second (online gaming)
Don't quote me on this
Dear (or Darling) son
Define the relationship
Do the right thing
Don't think so
Don't touch that dial
Do you remember?
Dear (or Darling) wife
Divorced white female
Divorced white male
Do you know what you are talking about?
Did you find it?
Dude, you fascinate me
Don't you just hate it when...?
Do your own research (common stock market chat slang)
"E" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations E
Enemy (online gaming)
Easy as one, two, three
Ear to ear grin
Eating at keyboard
Error between keyboard and chair
Editing in progress
Explain like I'm 5
E-mail (Twitter slang)
E-mail address (Twitter slang)
Excuse me for butting in
Excuse me for jumping in
End of day
End of discussion
End of lecture
End of life
End of message
End of show
End of transmission
EverQuest (online gaming)
Meaning "Erotic Role-Play" (online gaming)
Eres tz / are you (Spanish SMS)
Eat *S* and die!
Estimated time (of) arrival
Edited to add
Evil wicked grin (in fun, teasing)
Emailing while intoxicated
Meaning over the top
Excitable, yet calm
"F" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations F
Face to face
Free to play (online gaming)
Follow for follow (Instagram)
Falling asleep at keyboard
Used to represent the gesture of "smacking your forehead with your palm" to express embarrassment or frustration
Funny as *freak*
FFamily, but not limited to actual family members. Could mean friends.
Frequently asked questions
*Freak* all you
Meaning "Facebook buddy"
Meaning "Facebook friend"
Fat boy food (e.g. pizza, burgers, fries)
Fine by me
Facebook official (An official update from Facebook)
For better or worse
Full card (online gaming)
For crying out loud
For crying out loud
A social meme that means to feel negative.
A social meme taking "feelsbadman" to the extreme. This references the DC super hero Batmanbecause he witnessed the murder of his parents.
A social meme that means to feel positive.
*Freak* 'em if they can't take a joke
Follow Friday (Twitter slang)
Free for all (online gaming)
Frankly I couldn't care a less
*Freak* I'm funny
*Freaked* if I know
Forget it, I'm out of here
Father in law
Forever in my heart
Means "Going to"
A second Instagram account where someone can post things that they're too afraid to post on their main account.
First in, still here
Fill in the blank
*Freak* My Life
Falling off my chair
Fear of missing out (definition)
*Freak* off and die
Friend of a friend
Falling off my chair laughing
For real though
From the bottom of my heart
Fixed that for you
For the loss
For the win
Fouled up beyond all recognition
Fouled up beyond belief
Face up deal (online gaming)
Feet up, take a break
Friend with benefits
For what it's worth
Fine with me
First world problems
Fire, something that is cool
For your eyes only
For your amusement
For your information
"G" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations G
Good to see you
Got to go
Got to go I'll see you later
Got to run
Got to tell u (you)
Going for coffee
Get a clue
Get a *freaking* clue
Get a life
Meaning a player ambush or unfair player kill (online gaming)
Got a second?
Greetings and salutations
Get back to work
God bless you
Grinning, ducking, and running
Grinning, ducking, and running
Go for it
Gone for now
Good Game (online gaming)
Brother (Mandarin Chinese txt msgs)
Good game, all (online gaming)
Good game, everyone (online gaming)
Good game, you too
Gotta get me some of that
Gotta Get Outa Here
Got to go pee
Good hand (online gaming)
Give it a rest
Gift in crib (online gaming)
Garbage in, garbage out
Guy in real life
Good luck to you (online gaming)
Good luck all (online gaming)
Good luck, have fun (online gaming)
Good luck everyone (online gaming)
Good luck everyone (online gaming)
Good luck next game (online gaming)
Giggling my butt off
Great minds think alike
Got my vote
Good night all
Good night everyone
Good night, sweet dreams
Greatest of all Time(s)
Get over it
Giggling out loud
Get off my back
Gratuitous picture of yourself
Get right with God
Grinning, running and ducking
Good split (online gaming)
Get the *freak* out
Get the *freak* outta here
Got to go
Giggling to myself
Going to read mail
Great (or good) to see you
Glad we had this little chat
"H" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations H
Hate to be you
Have a good one
Hug and kiss
How about you?
Hugs & kisses
Hope to see you soon
Have a good night
Have a good one
Have a nice day
Have a wonderful day (out-dated, see next in list)
Meaning "sexy" or "attractive"
How about you?
Holy flipping animal crackers
Happy Father's Day
Head hanging in shame
How I felt when... (Used with photo or gif)
Half Life (online gaming)
Hola / hello (Spanish SMS)
Happy Mother's Day
Hit me up
(w)Hole 'nother level
Hold on a second
Hit points / Health points (online gaming)
How are you?
Hope this helps
Head up butt
Head up your *butt*
Heroic Violet Hold (online gaming)
Hell yeah, *Freaking* right!
"I" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations I2
I too (me too)
I already ate
I am an accountant
I am a doctor
I am a lawyer
In any case
In any event
I am not a crook
I am not a lawyer
I am out (of here)
I couldn't agree more
It could be worse
I can't even discuss it
I could fall in love with you
In case you missed it (Twitter slang)
I don't believe it
I don't care
I don't give a *freak*
I don't know
I don't think so
I don't know
I feel your pain
I got to run
I got high tonight
I (I've) got nothing
I got to (go) pee
I have no idea
If I remember correctly
Intel inside, idiot outside
I know, right?
I'll be late
I love you
I love you man
I love you so much
I love you
In my arrogant opinion
In my humble opinion
(in Arial font) Means I love you (a way of using the American sign language in text)
In my not so humble opinion
In my opinion
I am sorry
I am so bored
I am the man
I miss u (you)
I'm not a lawyer
Meaning "incoming" (online gaming)
In over my head
In other words
In real life
I rest my case
I still love you
In search of
It's The Accounting, Man (financial blogs)
In This Thread
I thought you knew
If you say so
I will always love you
I want a way out
Idiot wrapped in a moron
I want sex now
If you know what I mean
In your opinion
Meaning "I like you"
If you say so
"J" Text Message / Chat Abbreviations j00
Just a second
Just a minute
Just a second
Just do it
Just for fun
Just *freaking* Google it
Just in case
Just joking around
Just let me know
Just my opinion
Jackpot (online gaming, bingo games)
Just to let you know
"K" Text Messages / Chat Abbreviations K
Kick butt (online gaming)
Means Cracking (K) the (D as in Da) *freak* up
I will key you later
Key me when you get in
Kiss for you
Know it all
Keep it real
Keep it simple, stupid
Keep in touch
Kiss my *a*
Kiss my keister
Kiss my tushie
Kiss on cheek
Key opinion leader
Someone obsessed with Korean culture
Kid over shoulder
Kill on sight (online gaming)
Knock on wood
Kiss on the cheek
Kicks of the day (Instagram)
Kiss on the lips
Know what I mean?
Keeping parents clueless
Kill then steal (online gaming)
Kind (of) sort (of) chuckle
Keep up the good work
"L" Text Message & Chat Abbreviations L2G
Like to go?
(would) Love to go
Like to come
Learn to play
Leet, meaning 'elite'
Like for like (Instagram)
Life's a *b*
Laughing back at you
Laughing, but serious
Laughing, but very serious
Like, duh obviously
Let me know
Leaving easy reach of keyboard
Left for day
Looking for group (online gaming)
Looking for guard (online gaming)
Looking for more (online gaming)
Lets get high
Lets have sex
Lets have sex
Lord help me
Laughing head off
Like I care
Laugh in my tummy
Meaning really good or something fun and exciting
Love, later, God bless
Laughing like *silly*
Laughing my *a* off
Laughing my butt off
Laughing my freaking *a* off
Lets meet in real life
Let me know
Laughing my mother freaking a** off
Leave my name out
Like my status (Facebook)
Meaning lost in translation
List of acronyms
Laughing out loud
Laugh out loud
Lots of love
Laughing out loud hysterically
Lots of love
Laughing out loud (saying) "What the *freak*?"
Laughing on the inside
Lord of The Rings (online gaming)
Laughing quietly to myself
Laugh so hard my belly hurts
Language, sex and violence
Living the dream
Let's twist like we did last summer
Long time no see
Laptop of death
Laughing to self
Love you long time
Meaning joke, or for laughs
Left voice mail
Laughing without smiling
Love you like a sis
Love you like crazy
Love you so much
"M" Text Messages & Chat Abbreviations M$
Mom behind shoulder
My Dad is a cop
My eyes glaze over
Meaning a "shrug" or shrugging shoulders
Meaning a "so-so" or "just okay"
Meaning a "sigh" or sighing
Meaning "mesmerize" (online gaming)
Mad for it
My face when... (Used with photo or gif)
May God bless
My hat (is) off to you
Me in real life
Meet in real life
Meaning "child and her age". Miss.3 would be a 3-year old daughter
Meaning "Mmm, okay"
Meaning give the middle finger
Sister (Mandarin Chinese txt msg)
Meaning okay? (as a question)
Mother nature calls
Mensaje (message in Spanish)
Modification (online gaming)
Male or female?
My own opinion
Member of the opposite sex
Mother over shoulder
Member of same sex
Mana points (online gaming)
Meaning "child and his age". Mr.3 would be a 3-year old son
Modified ReTweet (Twitter slang)
My reaction when... (Used with photo or gif)
More to follow
May the force be with you
Miss U (you)
Multiple unsuccessful attempts (at/to) humor
Miss you so much
Meaning "kiss" (it is is the sound made when kissing through the air)
Mind your own (business)
Mind your own business
"N" Text Message & Chat Abbreviations n00b
Nothing too much
Not a darn thing
Not a lot of people know that
Not now, no need
No big deal
No bad for a beginner (online gaming)
Nice crib (online gaming)
Nice double (online gaming)
Meaning "Changed and is now weaker" (online gaming)
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2020.03.05 14:52 damazz10 Eva cam life real
2020.01.01 15:04 colie_o Eva cam real life
In Which There is Some Programming, Twinkle Makes a Discovery, And Tom Talks With A Cajun
Somewhere between line three hundred and forty-seven and line five hundred and sixty a persistent banging filled his head. Rhythmic and constant. Light and high.
“Wow, you really don’t do silence well,” a voice said, pulling Tom’s attention up from his tangled position on the floor. He was wedged between two metal shelving units stacked high with computer components.
“Huh?” The tapping ceased.
Eva tucked her hair behind an ear, crouching so their faces were level. She pointed to his idle hand. It rested on the bottom shelf of one of the shelves to his right. “You were taping out what I can only guess was Tom Griffin: Nerd Programmer in A Minor.”
“Shit.” He flexed his hand. Sure enough, the tip of his index and middle fingers were warm with the force of repeated impact against the flat metal surface. He hadn’t even realized he’d started tapping. He’d come to the store room in an effort to avoid interruptions, to really get into a programming zone the likes of which he’d enjoyed in his makeshift workshop while alive.
And while the room had been quiet (and devoid of Hellizens with questions, his friends included), it seemed he’d grown accustomed to the noise Hell brought. So much so that his body had a mind of its own and had started replicating that noise by way of involuntary tapping.
“How goes it?” she asked, going cross-legged in front of him, knee to knee. She was alone, this time. At one point, he’d been in a cavern just off the main one with an empty acid pool, but it’d been too close. All manner of beings had followed Eva in to voice a concern or ask a question of him until finally he’d picked one far enough away she was able to lose them before stopping by to report on the rest of their seemingly endless tasks.
“Slow.” It was hard to fully tell if what he stripped away from the clone’s base code would have catastrophic results. At best, if he removed too much, they’d stand there like drooling idiots. At worst...well, who knew? Earth didn’t have a rogue killer robot army spree in its history.
It’d been some time since he’d used the ink pouches, but the walls (that he could reach) of the store room were covered in scribbled, dribbling lines of code. Ones he wanted to remember for later, others he was worried were important but couldn’t be sure, others yet were just simple translations from demonish to english. While he was working on a copy, experience and common sense told him to back up, back up, back up. And the walls in here (and the sides of the empty pool in his first hideout) were a form of backup that helped him untangle his thoughts.
“Well, want a distraction?” She leaned back onto her palms, stretched out behind her, till she was reclined like someone lounging at the beach.
“The army is useless if I don’t get some kind of program into them.” But his brain was turning mushy and foggy. They’re been blessed few problems in the last several hours. Stanton had stationed a team with the magic wielders working to close Level 5’s doorway, Twinkle worked away in the library, and Kyle was deep into his own program, promising every hour that he’d have it in another hour. There hadn’t been a sign of The Curator or his threat. Either it was still forthcoming, or it had been bluff.
Tom wasn’t going to bet on the latter.
“Well, I phrased it like a question to make you think you had a choice, but Twinkle said if I didn’t come get you and bring to “post haste” to the library he would have no choice but to allow himself to feel the slightest bit of disappointment in me, his fair maiden.”
“Did he really call you his fair maiden?” Tom laughed.
“No, he did threaten disappointment like a dad though. I was properly adolescent and stuck my tongue out. But here I am all the same.”
Tom shook his head, smiling. “You’ve gone soft, Eva. Not even a stomp of your feet as you rebelled against being told what to do?”
She lifted a leg to look at her feet and the ragged coverings they’d all been given upon entering Hell. “In these expensive shoes? I think not.”
He saved his work, making to stand amid the scattered packets of used ink sacks. Glancing around he considered leaving the tablet behind. It had been disconnected from the network to just to ensure he didn’t accidentally sync his practice code with the real one and bring their weapons to a terrible and useless halt. That made this tablet the only one with his project housed on it. If something happened to it, he’d have to start all over again.
But if he left it and something happened to prevent him from returning for it...
“What’s the dilemma?” Eva rose with him, kicking at the empty pouches till they were in a neat pile.
“Lack of backup options has me feeling real nervous.”
“I thought you might say that. I had Kyle take another tablet off the network.” She lifted her tunic and pulled one from the waist of her pants, tapping the screen live. “He said something nerdy about making a backup on a second tablet but I stopped listening about five seconds in.”
He knew she hadn’t really. Eva might not be a programmer or know a lick about how to write code, but she keenly took in everything around her and cataloged it away. That was what was special about her. She was a procurer. If she couldn’t do something, she sure as hell knew where to find you someone who did.
“Bless that man.” He took the tablet from her, bringing up the app he’d been using to write the practice code in. It worked kind of like NotePad, except not. It was hard to describe. It allowed for text entry but no manipulation of that text. Which was where the walls had come in handy. Plus, the act of actually writing had helped center his thoughts. Of which the amusement wasn’t lost to him given that he’d never hand written code or notes about code while he’d been alive. “How long before Twinkle’s disappointment turns really sour?”
“Do what you gotta do. I can handle Fancy Feet.” She winked and settled back down to wait for him to replicate a copy of his work on the back up tablet.
“Twinkle says that the library has been collecting books for well over a billion years. A trillion even. Said it was unlikely we'd truly find an end to the place, but if the journals are any indication, the Kyzin have been running Hell for a long, long time.” Eva picked her way through the stacks of thick volumes that narrowed the space between the shelves of the library.
“Did he find the beginning journals?” Tom sidestepped a teetering tower of hardbacks, steadying it before moving to catch up with her.
In the dim lighting he could just make out the shake of her head. “Said the journals run for rows and rows. He hasn't found accounts from the first Satan of Level Six, might never if there is truly that many years of accounts housed there.”
Bringing up the rear was one of the team that had been tasked with guarding Twinkle while he worked. They carried a makeshift torch, which cast a warm yellow light on their path, but even that wasn't enough to push back the sheer endlessness of the darkness and knowledge that surrounded them to dizzying heights.
The last time he'd navigated these pathways he'd been trying to to escape from Cam's capture. And her annoying tendency to try to take out his kneecaps.
Then he'd tossed her in a cell and hadn't looked back. Probably wasn't the best way to handle the misguided woman, but Tom hadn't felt like trying to convince someone they should join their cause who so clearly wanted to stand on the other side of it.
Still...she'd been left to her solitude for some time now.
Mentally, he added another item to his To Do list: test the temperature of Camille Deveaux.
Ahead, Eva cursed. She'd smacked a hip against the corner of a particularly thick book; it was as wide as five regular volumes and framed in a dull metal, large clasps holding the monstrous thing closed. She gave it a swift kick then continued on, muttering. Tom suppressed a grin.
“What'd you do with Saddie?”
She shrugged, pausing at a junction. Their light-bearer called out a direction and she took it. “I figured it was best, for the time being he spend a little time away from the Hellizens, so I sent him with a recon team. They're showing him how to use the tablets.”
“He doesn't know how to use them?” That was surprising. He hadn't even considered just how much technical prowess the Ruler of Level Six might have but he'd assumed he had at least some level of knowledge.
“He couldn't confirm, but I gather as much. In fact, I don't think he knows much of how anything works around here. Mechanically speaking. He didn't even know the tablet had a floor plan.”
That drew Tom up short. “Really?”
“It's hard to tell but I think I'm starting to recognize when he's genuinely surprised. He's used them to open doors, but that might be the extent of his experience. He's likely had one of those Imps with him each time he went and did something.” Eva cut left and took them down another narrow aisle. He hurried to catch up, mulling that information over in his head.
They'd been worried when following him to the 'Well of Souls’ that giving him a tablet would allow him a chance to regain some control. But he'd only used it to enter each of his designated stops. It was entirely possible Eva was right and he really didn't use them for more than door access.
“So many questions, too few answers,” he mumbled under his breath.
The sounds of their footfalls were joined by the distant sound of voices. Instantly, Tom recognized the authoritative tone of Twinkle Toes. Another, deeper, voice seemed to retort with just as much condescension.
“Oh, I bet those two are just loving each other's company,” Tom said.
“It's positively heartwarming,” Eva joked back.
It wasn't long before their voices drifted to them, clear and argumentative.
“Clearly you aren't accounting for vernacular shift! All language changes.” That was Twinkle.
“This is my native tongue!” Satan Two.
“Which you clearly do not speak well from the help you've provided on this translation.” There was a huff and snort. A clear sign Twinkle was well beyond indignant and straight in the clutches of exacerbated. “You're hardly old enough to speak the ancient dialects of your language. Trust me, Tom wouldn't know what to do with an original copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and it's written in English, a language he knows and speaks poorly as well. You have that in common.”
Satan Two hissed and replied back in the very tongue they were arguing over.
“See, already I know enough to know that was extremely unkind and not helpful to our present situation now is it?” Twinkle snapped back, all the force of a tired parent in his tone.
“I leave you alone for five minutes and you've started in with the insults,” Eva said as they finally turned the last corner to the aisle the two were positioned on. Their heads swiveled towards them, as did those of the three silent Hellizens standing behind them. One held a torch for closer inspection of the journals as the bio-luminescent light from the books wasn't enough for deeper investigation.
“Five minutes? You were gone for well over an hour. I thought I said to bring Tom post-haste.” Twinkle stamped his foot, dipping his horn in annoyance.
Unruffled by the unicorn's clear agitation, Eva patted him on the shoulder. “For a mythical creature you sure do take things literally.”
“My dear, hyperbole is the resort of a dramatic and you are better than that,” he tsked, then locked eyes with Tom. “Do my efforts mean so little, Tom, that you can meander down here like you're taking a Sunday stroll?”
For being not of his world, Twinkle certainly knew a fair amount of colloquiums from it.
There were two ways he could approach his reply: snark or flattery. It was anyone's guess when one would get you further with the prickly beast over the other. He opted for the third option, which never failed to needle at the unicorns sense of self importance, but often redirected him back to the task: pretending he hadn't heard the insult.
“How far back have you gone in the journals?” He moved closer to get a look at the volume currently open in Satan Two's hands. All the more he was certain there really was a difference in his appearance compared to Saddie, much in the same way two white cats looked alike but not. And right now, he looked as annoyed as Twinkle sounded. (And looked.) Satan Two sniffed the air by way of greeting, but whatever emotion he scented on Tom, he made no comment.
Would he ever get used to them doing that? Probably, but it wasn't today.
“It's hard to tell. Their record keeping when it comes to the date is woefully inconsistent. One chronicler will format the date one way and another will have some other kind of rendition, while others still didn't even bother to put a date. I guess they figured no one would be reading these for their placement in a timeline, but I think I've managed to make it back a few billion years. Somewhere near the beginning, but I can't confirm because the help has been second guessing all my translations.”
Tom nodded, continuing without addressing the obvious personal jab. Twinkle was just a little cranky. Probably time to suggest a break, if the proud unicorn would even take one. “What was so important I needed to come so...archaically fast?”
Twinkle rolled his eyes but pointed his horn to a stack of volumes piled high at Tom's left. One of the silent helpers rushed forward to grab whatever book Twinkle was gesturing to, obviously prepared for just such a task as they deftly pulled the fourth spine from the top clear, making sure to hold a hand on the others so they dropped down without toppling over. She handed it to Tom, stepping back to the circle of light their torch-bearer cast.
The sentry at his back stepped closer to cast his own light over Tom's shoulder. He cracked open the front cover, the brittle snap loud in the muffled hush of the library's air. The pages were aged and cracked, the script fat and bleeding on the vellum-like paper.
“I had them mark the page.” Twinkle urged, nodding towards a slim piece of torn paper near the center of the journal. Tom opened to the bookmark, light falling on a set of drawings instead of text.
Etched on the left-handed page were strange vessels, elongated and slim. The right had what looked like a top down view of one of those same vessels. A network of lines trailed out of the belly of it, leading to scribbled lines of text which filled the margins of the page. There were lines that looked suspiciously like mathematical equations though it wasn't any kind of mathematics he'd ever seen.
The vessels themselves were sleek, rendered with shading that implied whatever they were made out of in reality was reflective. Metal.
He'd seen his share of science fiction movies and shows to guess at what he was looking at. “Spaceships?”
“Directly translated, something more like “Bird of the Heavens” but yes, I suppose you might confine it within the cage of such a primitive word.” Twinkle touched the page with his horn. “Turn the page.”
He did. There were more drawings of these “Birds of the Heavens”; larger in scale he realized, as the artist had sketched out the vessel from the previous page in minute detail alongside the others. “What's their importance? I mean, this could just be the imaginative scribbles of a previous Satan's work on a novel he wanted to write. A dream he had that he wanted to record.”
But it felt like more than that. He just didn't want to jump to any conclusions.
Luckily there were no conclusions even within jumping distance. Tom didn't know what to make of this revelation without some context.
Eva leaned over his shoulder to see what he was talking about. She whistled low. “That's some Star Trek shit right there.”
“While I doubt there is much in the way of creative brain power among the Satan's of Hell, having read through as much of their passing thoughts as I have, I wouldn't call you down here for arts and crafts. I've translated and cross-referenced the notations on these pages and the surrounding ones. In fact, these aren't the only volumes with similar drawings, along with star maps-”
“Star maps?” Tom felt his brows raise in surprise.
Twinkle took the interruption in stride, motioning to another volume from the stack the one in Tom's hands had come from. The same girl darted forward and pulled one from the middle out, quick as one might pull a tablecloth from under the place settings. She handed it over, but not before flipping it open for him to the bookmark.
He thanked her and studied the page. It was fully coated in thick ink, like a rendition of a night sky, and where ink had been withheld formed what looked like a constellation, though Tom couldn't name it.
Not that he knew more than the famous constellations, of course. But it felt alien. Strange in a way that was simply intrinsic to him. The page next to it depicted another constellation set. Page after page, till the last one had left enough room at the bottom for an inscription.
As though reading the question on his face before he could ask it, Twinkle offered the translation. “Long I've dreamt, oft a place I'll ne'er know. But the Star is writ upon my atoms even as mine eyes have never seen thee.”
It was oddly beautiful, even poetic.
He was looking at the script when another book was thrust into his hands over the top of that, open to a page rendering the same constellation. Another scribble in a different hand altogether.
“Home.” Twinkle offered in a soft voice. There was more text there than would equal such a single word translation, but Tom didn't need the full break down to feel the gravity of this discovery.
Still, it spun his head, trying to piece it together, to give that gravity a voice.
“Shit...” Eva whispered, coming to the same heavy place as him. “Does this mean the Kyzin weren't from here?”
Twinkle's nostrils flared as he shook his mane ever so slightly, breaking the spell of awe that hung over Tom. “Yes. I'm starting to think the Kyzin came from a world far away from this place.”
“Why leave their home, travel through space, just to make Hell?” It didn't make sense to Tom. He knew in his own world, humans had done something similar with Australia, but even that dark chapter of their history couldn't compare to a whole race of beings leaving earth in spaceships just so they might pioneer a multilevel torture dimension.
“That's the other reason I called you down here to see these. I've gone back far enough, collected enough samples of their writing and the subjects of their writings over the thousands and thousands of millenia and I'm starting to suspect...the Kyzin are not the creators of Hell.”
Like the star maps before him, his understanding of everything fractured outward, bursting into a thousand questions, scattered like a web work of constellations within his head. “How certain are you?”
“About as sure as I can be, but Tom, that's never one hundred percent. The true genius of an intellect is to never stop seeking the truth and to re-evaluate with new information. But unless something in the oldest of these volumes – provided we can find them – tell us something different, I'm strongly confident.” The concession that he might never be fully sure of something was a bit of a surprise, given the surety with which he spoke. Was this a rare glimpse behind the armor of the unicorn?
Tom locked eyes with Satan Two. “I'm guessing you can't confirm or deny this?”
Satan Two chewed on a lower lip, considering his words carefully. He certainly seemed to dance around his curse with more ease than Saddie. Older perhaps? More practice at speaking around the words he couldn't expressly say? “I'll say that I must write, but I need not read.”
Eva pursed her lips. “You weren't even curious about those that came before you? Not even once?”
Satan Two shrugged, though Tom thought he noticed a stiffness in the motion. The curse? “Not everyone is a F'atiaqutaniza-ka.”
“A what?” Tom asked.
“A poet. He means not everyone was a poet,” Twinkle offered with a sigh. “And he is right. Some of the drivel in these journals was bad enough that even if there were valuable pieces of information they're lost to us because I just...I'd rather be thrown into a vat of acid.”
“That's fair,” Eva agreed, taking the book from Tom's palms. She thumbed through a few more pages, scanning the drawings more intently.
Tom turned on his heel, pacing between the shelves of the aisle. Once, twice, three times – churning his chaotic thoughts over till they started to align into neat rows, like code coming together.
“The Kyzin set out into the void of space from where ever - when ever - their home planet is, billions of years ago. They...what? Find the Hell dimension abandoned? Overthrow the previous leadership? Either way, they set up shop, closing off all the levels and put one of their kind over each new micro kingdom, cursing them to silence and promising paradise for time served?”
A tree of questions snaked outward in his mind's eye from each one of those pins in the hypothetical timeline. How had living beings found a plane of existence meant for the souls of the dead? Had they brought the robots with them, or were they relics from the days of creation? Had they found this place empty, devoid of any souls or were there Hellizens among the throng who'd been here since the beginning? He supposed that even if someone among Level Six's inhabitants had been here before the Kyzin found this place, their memory of that time was unlikely to hold any level of clarity by this point.
He didn't remember what he'd eaten the week before his death. If Twinkle's prediction was even close, a soul old enough to remember the beginning (or a change in management) would be somewhere in the trillions. And with how time worked in this plane, who knew what that translated to in their original world. They might be several times over a trillion. Which was a long time considering his universe was only estimated to be roughly thirteen billion years old.
Tom shook his head, thoughts going muddy around the magnitude of this train of thought. He could hear the words of his grandmother once, from when he was a boy. He'd asked her how old God was and she'd said he'd always been and always would be. Which, for a young boy, was a concept difficult to wrap one's mind around. This had the flavor of that.
As a man of logic and science, he believed everything had a beginning. Hell was no different.
“Why?” He continued to pace. “Why leave their home world? Did all of them leave or just a few? Why take over Hell? Why silence their leaders?”
And how did they continue to fill the ranks of Satans? The Kyzin lived and died and while it seemed their lifespans were longer than that of the average human, they would still need to replenish their population to span the number of years they'd been running this operation.
“The answers are in here somewhere. I'll keep digging.” Twinkle almost sounded excited by the prospect of digging further into the mystery.
Tom stopped pacing to take them all in. Eva was watching him, eyes sharp even in the dim lighting. She was processing this all in her usual manner and later she'd give him her thoughts. Twinkle turned back to the shelves, already dismissing him to continue his work.
Something sprang to his tongue before he even realized he'd thought it. “Focus on writings that deal with The Curator.”
If the Satan's couldn't bother to read the writings of their predecessors then they probably operated under assumptions. Anything closer to their present time would be riddled with tall tales and fear mongering, likely passed down by The Curator himself. But in the beginning...the beginning might yield more truthful accounts of the leader given dominion over Heaven.
“There's been precious little about him thus far, but I have noticed some carefully vague grumblings about the Ruler on High.”
“The oldest stuff will likely give us more. Anything at all is better than nothing. Even the disgruntled ramblings of an employee will gives us insight.” Tom tapped the stack of journals nearest him. “Legends aren’t born, they’re created. Hopefully someone knew the man before the myth.”
Twinkle nodded, turning back to his work. The three helpers drew closer while he gave them instructions. “Run three deep this time. Ten minutes instead of five. Then pull a volume and bring it back to me.” They gave a sharp nod of agreement and set off, leaving the rest of them in only the blue glow of the journal's spines and the last torchbearer's yellow light.
“Thank you, Twinkle. We couldn't have gained this knowledge without you,” Tom said, genuinely grateful for the unicorn's help. An army was nothing without knowledge and wisdom. They were well on their way to improve at least one of the latter things.
“Of course you couldn't.” Twinkle snorted.
Tom dipped his head towards Eva, who was smiling at him, rolling her eyes. She moved to stand next to him, likely ready to go check on Saddie and the others while he sank back into his task.
As their escort turned to lead them back towards the door, Tom could just barely make out Twinkle's, “You're welcome.” before they were out of earshot. It almost sounded humble.
He hadn't returned to his quiet store room after bidding farewell to Eva. Instead, he found himself outside the doorway leading to the cell where Cam was undoubtedly fuming. When Eva caught wind of his idea, she'd called for Felicia.
“You're not going alone.”
“She's not a threat. Except to my shins.” She was a little bit of a threat.
“Tom, you're not going alone.” Eva hooked her arm through Felicia's as the woman approached, looking between the two of them. “Lish, would you mind going with Tom? He wants to check on Cam.”
“Really, I'm fine-”
“For the record,” Eva added, to Tom's dismay, “he wanted to go alone. What do we say to that, Lish?”
Felicia gave him a look of subtle disapproval. She schooled her features so strongly that it was often hard to read her emotions, but Tom could feel the wave of horror as it rolled off her. She did not like the idea of him putting himself in what she deemed harm's way. It's why she'd hung around after Swek had made a play for the telephone, cutting them off from Heaven's communication.
Now, he was going to get a stern speech about not taking risks for no reason. See, it wasn't that the viking-like woman didn't believe Tom shouldn't take risks, no, only that it needed to truly be worth it. Being overpowered by Cam was not one such risk.
“We say, 'Not today, Satan'.”
Eva laughed. “I taught her that. ”
“I can see that. Hardly applicable to the current situation,” Tom said, narrowing his eyes at her.
“Au contraire! When a bad idea rears its head, that's the work of satan, coming to shake you off the straight and narrow path.” She made a flicking motion with her thumb and middle finger. “So you gotta tell that bad idea, “Not today!” and send it packing back to the loins of the devil that birthed it.” She grinned at him.
“Did anyone ever tell you you're weird?”
She pretended to be confused. “What's weird mean?”
“Okay, okay, I'll take Felicia.” He waved the large woman forward and turned, heading for the side hallways leading to the prison cells.
“If she steps out of line just tell her you'll have Twinkle knock her into another vat of acid!” Eva called to his back.
“Does Saddie know you’re talking about his loins?" he shot back at her. Her chuckle followed him into the hallway.
Now, standing at the door, he wasn't sure he wanted to open it. What would he even say to her? Would she want to hear it? She hadn't fought too much when they'd brought her here, but neither had she been truly compliant, spitting curses in Cajun french he knew were unflattering to him. It had sounded good though.
Felicia stood ready at his side, arms folded over her chest. He hadn't let her stop to get a weapon, but truthfully, she didn't need one. If one of her fists came for your head, it was, “Hello stars, Goodnight Enemy”, and he'd seen her dole out a hefty amount of hurt with her thick legs as well.
He didn't want to admit it, but he did feel safer with her there. Cam might not be big, but she made up for size with a healthy dose of ferocity and not a little bit of crazy. When coupled together, that could make her formidable.
“You going to open it?” Felicia asked when the silence had stretched for a minute more.
“Yeah, I'm just...” Wishing he had some shinguards. Or a cup. “...gathering my thoughts.”
Felicia nodded but didn't press for further explanation. He liked that about her.
Sighing, he entered the room number and the door opened with a whoosh, ruffling his hair. Inside Cam was sitting cross-legged on the stone bed, back to them. She didn't even glance toward the sound of the door opening. She was hunched forward, resting her head in her hands, which in turn rested on her thighs.
“Cam?” Tom took a tentative step into the cell. Felicia took up a position directly behind him, blocking the entire doorway.
Now she did look back over her shoulder at him, hair falling away from her face to reveal one reddened cheek. Her eyes – the one he could see – looked red and puffy.
Had she been...crying?
“He didn' come for me.” The words were a muffled whisper into the fabric of her tunic.
It took a second for Tom to realize who she meant.
She'd been waiting on the guy to bust her out. Come and release her from captivity. But he hadn't. In fact, he hadn't even tried, not that he would have been able to, but the fact wasn't lost on her. She must have known they'd been trying to get through one of the magically sealed doors. When the alarm sounded...she'd have known he had made his move.
“I'm sorry.” It was all he could think to offer.
She sniffed and stuck her chin up, eyes sharp as glass. He could see her shell hardening right before his eyes, closing him off from the vulnerability she'd let slip a moment before. “So. What's it to ya? G’on ahead, tell me you were right.”
“I was right.” Careful, Tom. This was a delicate game, but he thought he was starting to understand her, just a little bit.
Her eyes shot wide, the tears in her eyes shining now with fury. “You're kind of a bastard.”
“It's true,” he admitted, sitting down on the second stone slab across from her. He hazarded a smile. His comment had done exactly what he'd wanted. Given her some power back. A chance to refocus her hurt into something she found more productive (even if he didn't): anger.
“So you come to ask me to join your side?” She turned in place, bringing her feet over the side of the bed.
“I wouldn't insult you, Cam. You told me you wouldn't ever join us and you're a woman who values their word.”
She eyed him, trying to discern the jest in his words. There wasn't any, but he didn't blame her for being cautious. Ever so slightly, she seemed to relax. “You're right. When I give my word, I keep it. My mere told me the only currency worth anything was your word. Ain't no one gonna value you if you never keep your word.”
Tom nodded. “Smart woman.”
Cam shrugged. “Suppose so.”
“I can't let you go, Cam. But I could maybe move you somewhere more comfortable?” It wasn't that Cam had any kind of inside information that she could give to Swek if she did manage to meet back up with him. Tom just didn't want another unknown variable at his back. And he did believe her. When she gave her word, she kept it. He was starting to see this woman was stubbornly loyal.
To a man who didn't deserve it. But he wasn't about to try to convince her of that. She was likely well aware of that fact, given Swek had flown the coop and left her behind with the enemy.
“So I'm a prisoner of war?” She sounded like she was rolling the word over her tongue, accent more pronounced than ever before. If words were clothes, she wanted to try these on.
“Would you like to be?” He asked, brows arching up.
“It's only fair.” The redness of her crying was starting to fade, replaced by the faint implication that she might actually be enjoying the exchange. That was a start.
“Let's see what we can find you, closer to the action. That way I can grab ya quickly, should I need to use you to bargain with.”
Most women would loathe the idea that they might be tools with which one could parlay with an enemy. Hell, most men would hate that too. Cam seemed to relish the idea, as though it made complete sense. That was how prisoners of war were valuable after all.
Tom had no intention of using her that way, but the banter took his mind off all the other pressing concerns.
Rising to stand, he turned towards Felicia. Her face was hard to read. How had she interpreted their strange verbal dance? Dis-ingenious? Bizarre? It wasn't the former, but it could certainly be the latter. Even to him, who'd participated in it.
Despite her efforts to be a nuisance, Tom didn't actually harbor any ill will to the woman. In fact, he admired her in a way. It must have been so freeing to give oneself over so completely to their sense of duty and commitment. To have no doubt you were doing what you thought was right.
Every villain is a hero in their own story and all that.
Not to mention, the woman had endured nearly being dissolved in a vat of acid for the man she’d sworn her fealty.
Swek didn't deserve her, but he wasn't going to convince her of that. She had to find it out on her own. And he was confident, once she had, her unwavering loyalty might just find a better target. Till then, she'd remain their “prisoner”.
“I'll send a team back to collect you when we've secured a new location for you.”
Cam nodded, shifting again on the bed till she could lay down on it. More at ease with her new status than she'd been before. She had purpose again. A goal.
Back in the hallway, door secured behind him, he sighed.
“Do you have children?” Felicia asked.
The question surprised him. “No.”
Eyes wide and fathomless, she studied him. It was deeply intimate and yet clinical. She was once again assessing him as she'd done many times before. Putting him through whatever filter she saw the world through.
“Among my people, one has two fathers. The one who gave him life and the one who leads him to a better version of themselves. It is the same with our mothers. One to birth us, another to teach. Sometimes they are one in the same. Sometimes, the parent who ushers us to our higher self comes to us by ways other than blood.” She studied him again and turned on her heel, leaving him a little off balance.
He was still mulling over the heavy weight of Felicia's words when he parted with her and made for his silent storage nook. Head down, churning them over and over, he started to feel a little light headed. He'd never seen himself as a leader, that much he'd been clear about with everyone, much less a father figure.
Later, he will teasingly blame her, saying that if she hadn't gotten into his head with her sudden crown of added pressure (a father figure, really? was it the ‘dad bod’?) then he might have been paying attention to his surroundings. Might have seen what lay in wait and avoided it.
But he wasn't; and he didn't.
And when darkness struck him like a bolt, it was accompanied with pain, white hot and screaming (or was that him?), sending him propelling towards nothingness.
submitted by colie_o to HFY [link] [comments]
2019.12.18 21:00 colie_o Real life cam eva
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me well while I battled cancer. I’m pleased to say that I am now currently in remission. I’m still undergoing maintenance for the next year and a half, but I’m hopeful this will continue to stay in remission. So thank you. <3
AND! Thanks to finally participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I was able to write not one, not two, but SEVEN new chapters of All Sapiens. I’ve finally got ahead so I can keep a more consistent posting schedule. So, with these new chapters, I’ll be posting one a month going forward.
If you’re forgotten what’s been going on and want to recap yourself, you can start from the beginning here: All Sapiens Go To Heaven: Part 1
In Which There Is A Reunion, Eva Gives Saddie A Lesson In Lingo, And The Gang Investigates A Door
“I can’t be certain how many went with him. He had us in a room not far from where they were working. Thanks to the bots - nice work by the way - we managed to escape before they broke the magical seal. He had a decent sized group with him, I can only assume they all went through like they planned. We ran all the way back, hoping to warn you before that happened. I guess we just barely missed it.” Eva explained over the sound of the alarm.
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” a voice said from behind Eva. Tom peered around her and spotted Vick, a good-humored smirk on his face. It was bruised and a little haggard looking but otherwise he appeared unscathed. The young man, whom Tom had had the least amount of interactions with from Eva’s squad of chaos dealers, stepped forward and clasped hands with him.
“I’m glad you’re back,” Tom said, genuinely happy to see him. The poor guy had been a hostage of one kind or another for a while now. He scanned the hallway and the room beyond as much as his position would allow him. “Gronak?”
He hoped the apple pie smelling mass of goo was okay. She’d better be okay or Swek was going to have something else to answer for. Blessedly, the sirens stopped. Thank you, Kyle.
“We split up when we broke free. We weren’t sure if you were still in the library so she went to check there while we checked here.” She wiped at a small droplet of blood that ran from a cut on her cheek, wiping it onto her torn shirt without a look.
“That looks bad,” he noted, reaching out to gently cup her chin so he could turn her face to look at it. “We should clean it with the water in the Helliquarters.”
Eva’s brow quirked up. “I see you’re getting into the spirit of things. Besides, what? Like I’m going to die of an infection?”
“And here I thought you might be concerned about that pretty face,” Tom teased, feeling a little jittery with relief. There didn’t seem to be words to contain how happy he was to see her.
“Oof, listen to you. Twinkle’s rubbing off on you too much, someone’s gone and upgraded his snark.” She lightly punched him in the shoulder, tossing her hair over her shoulder.
At the mention of the unicorn he said, “Shit, Twinkle. He needs to know you’re back safely.”
“Where is that four-legged beast of scorn and sarcasm?” Eva laughed.
“He’s translating the Satan Journals in the library with Satan Two.”
Her confused look reminded him there was a lot she’d missed in the time she’d been with Swek. He filled her in about the levels of hell, the volumes of strange personal journals they’d found in the library (including his brief hostage situation with Cam), and the discovery of a second being known as Satan from the level of Hell below them. Her eyes grew wider with each revelation.
“Damn, I missed some good stuff. Our adventure wasn’t nearly so illuminating.” She crossed her arms and ‘hrmphed’ in mocking annoyance at her lack of thrilling tales to share in return.
He stalled on the final part of his recap, sucking a sharp breath through his teeth. It'd upset him enough, but he knew Eva was going to take it harder than him. He'd seen her try to comfort and distract the woman since meeting her.
“There's something else.”
Eva's arms dropped away from her chest, concern replacing her otherwise relaxed expression. “You've gone all Jack Bauer-serious on me, Tom.”
“There was a skirmish in the main cavern. Swek sent some of his people to...we'll we're not really sure what they were trying to accomplish. To cut the line to The Curator. Or a distraction perhaps? We'd been closing in on him with Erika's Twilight Bark-”
“Remind me to thank her. You gotta admit, I picked well when I found her, didn't I?” Eva exhaled. “Tom, I feel like you're trying to stall. Just spit it up, like a hairball. You'll feel better.”
Tom chewed on his lip. “Cher.”
Eva's eyes narrowed. “What about her?”
“She joined Swek's men. Left with the group that attacked when they retreated.”
Eva's eyes went wide and she bent forward, hands braced on her knees, her tangled hair shielding her face from view.
Tom leaned forward to rest a hand on her shoulder, the same anger from witnessing the betrayal first hand returning to sour his tongue. As his fingertips brushed her arm she let out a howl.
“That crafty bitch!”
Tom nodded, then stopped when he registered her whoop was more excited than angry.
Eva lifted her head, chest rising and falling rapidly with her breathing now. She placed a hand on her stomach to stead herself, but she was smiling. “She did it.”
“Uh...did what? Are you hearing me Eva? She betrayed us. Joined Swek cause I guess she didn't like the route we were taking. I...I...don't understand. You're laughing?”
And she was, light and a little childlike with glee. She grasped his arm. “I'm sorry. I'm not laughing at you. Truly, I'm sorry. I didn't have time to tell you before...well before Swek and Crew separated us. Remember after she tried to take down Satan? I knew she needed a direction to focus all that anger or it was going to bring down some delicate plans. I mean, let's be honest, we've kind of been winging it. Spectacularly I might say, but seriously...we're living on a wing and a prayer down here-”
“Now who's drawing out their story?” It was Tom's turn to chide her, though he felt no real ire and a whole lot of confusion.
“That's fair, that's fair. Between her and I, we concocted a plan to infiltrate Swek's ranks. Just in case. It was as far-fetched an idea as most anything else we've stitched together since starting this whole insane operation. She must have seen the opportunity and took it.”
“Huh,” Kyle said from behind Tom, startling him. “That's why she made sure not to strike anyone too badly. Just enough to look convincing.”
Tom stared at him, mouth agape.
“What? You were pretty convinced. Angry even.” Kyle shrugged.
“I thought she betrayed us! Of course I was pissed.” Tom hissed, running a hand through his hair. He turned back to Eva. “You should have told me.”
Her face grew serious. “You're right. I'm sorry. We found the library and I got caught up in the excitement. I figured the less who knew the more likely she'd be able to fall in line with their ranks. Now we have someone on the inside. That's something, right?”
“And how was she going to communicate anything with us?”
“Well, I was hoping I'd have a chance to come up with something with you. Surely these tablets have a messaging app, something we could use. I just hadn't planned on being captured before I could tell you.”
“The bots speak through mesh networks, they wouldn't have a need for a messaging app like what you're thinking.”
“But...you could write one?” She raised her eyebrows in a look all too familiar. Eva was in planning mode. Even with a crusty wound, clothes that looked like they'd spent a few long minutes in a blender, and hair tangled into a mess she was going to hate combing through later, she was working an idea in her head. One, naturally, that relied on his skills as a programmer.
“I've never written a messaging app.”
“But you could learn, right? I mean, you learned how to decipher demonish.” She shrugged like it was nothing so big, nothing he couldn't easily accomplish.
On one hand, he was flattered, on the other...
“She took a risk for us, Tom.”
Eva and her strays. She'd been better at recruiting people for their mission, it was her they loved and followed if he was being honest. He provided the technical know how, but she had always provided the heart.
“My college Intro to Phone Application Writing project was a simple, unencrypted messaging app,” Kyle offered, still standing behind him.
Eva smiled big again and Tom couldn't help shaking his head at her fortune. “See that? A crackpot team I found you, Tom. Boy, do I have an eye for talent.”
He pursed his lips. “Yeah, yeah, okay. I'll add that to my laundry list of To Dos.”
Eva slung her arm around his shoulders. “Outsource, baby. It's time you learn to give up a little control. Who didn't wanna be King of Hell?”
“I don't, I just...” It was hard to delegate, though he'd been working on that part of his own shortcomings. Kyle was a decent coder. He needed to trust those around him to be competent enough to help. It was hard when so much rested on him and the people he'd collected around himself in this little rebellion. “Okay, you're right. Kyle, how long do you think it would take you to get something written?”
“Normally, for something basic, I could have something written in a few hours, but demonish is going to slow me down a bit.”
That pesky language barrier did seem to muck things up quite a bit, but he nodded. “Better get started. If Cher has anything to report we need to get that application written and pushed through the mesh so she can actually report back.”
Kyle nodded in agreement, but his lips drew into a thin line. “Yeah, okay. But Tom, what if she went with Swek through the doorway to the level above?”
Eva looked between the both of them, Vick's brows drawn down in concentration as though trying to comprehend what Tom and Kyle were just realizing together.
“What's that mean? If she went through the doorway?” she asked.
Tom turned back to his friend, chewing on his lip. “If she stepped through the doorway, it won't matter if we write an app and push it via the mesh network to the tablet. It doesn't seem to cross the barrier between levels.”
“She won't be able to receive the app update.” Eva's eyes narrowed, understanding. “Well, we just have to hope he didn't take her with him.”
Tom considered for a moment, thinking back on his tests from earlier. “There might be a way.”
With Kyle focused on the immediate need for a messaging application, Tom was the only one available to check the traffic in the logs to see if the error message had gone out when the Imp had interfaced with the 'Well of Souls'.
“Why did you let that little bastard get near any machinery?” Eva snorted, perched on the couch in the Helliquarters, face freshly washed thanks to the fountain.. She eyed Satan and Twixt, though their ease with each other didn't seem so surprising to her. Lightfoot was curled on her thighs, asleep and nearly purring - if that was what you could call the adorable sound he was making. She absently stroked his fur, while simultaneously scowling at him.
“Thank you,” Satan added. “I wondered the same thing myself.”
“Look, if we hadn't been there, he still would have gone about his routine and sent that error message. The fact that we were there means we can hopefully get ahead of whatever,” he waved his hands haphazardly in the air, “fresh hell this brings us.”
Eva sighed, her hand stilling on Lightfoot's body. “That's fair. So, this 'Well of Souls', you think that's where new souls come into this place?”
Tom nodded, scrolling through lines upon lines of text. It was slower going on the tablet, but he wanted to keep Eva and the others in his line of sight, afraid if he turned his back, they'd be gone once again. He'd never been one to keep company with many people when he'd been alive, the life of an engineer and hobbyist programmer was often a lonely one.
In fact, he'd collected more friends among the Hellizens than he'd ever had while breathing. The irony wasn't lost on him.
“Yeah, though for some reason it's broken. Hell isn't receiving any new souls, at least, not this level. I've sent a group to the level below us to...confirm some suspicions and hopefully bring us some help.”
“Now who's forgetting to clue their partner in on things?” Eva smirked.
Her words jostled free a realization within him. “Shit.”
“What?” Her brows drew tight.
“Stanton.” He needed to get a message to the commander that Eva and Vick had escaped. And that Swek was unlikely on this level of Hell anymore.
“I'm on it,” Twixt jumped up. She gathered up her daggers and a look passed between her and Saddie, but her back was to Tom so he could only read the expression on the Lord of Hell's face. Which was to say he couldn't read it at all. But he fancied it was worry. Could Satan actually feel concern for another creature? One of the denizens he'd been tasked with ensure the torture of? Tom hoped so.
If Saddie felt empathy for another then it would go a long way towards ensuring his help.
Then Twixt left and Satan glared over at him, narrowing his eyes.
“I can smell your curiosity.”
Tom shrugged. “So how does it work? Can a human and the devil even...?”
Eva's jaw dropped and she swung her gaze to the white-faced being on the couch. “Saddie and Twixt? Say it ain't so! Guess I shouldn’t be surprised, that girl likes a little crazy in her.” She winked to Satan and Vick had to hide his smirk with a well timed cough.
Satan actually had enough color in his skin to appear mildly flushed by Eva's comment. “I have no idea what you're insinuating-”
“I'm not insinuating, I'm plainly saying you got the hots for our little hellraiser.” Eva clapped her hands. “You wanna be 'be-twixt' Twixt's thiiiighs!” She started swaying and her voice went sing-song, much to Saddie's horror and Tom's immense joy. It was mean, but he felt a small sense of satisfaction to see the Lord of Hell flustered when he'd managed to so effortlessly get under their skin with his ability to smell their emotions.
Rather than sputter a defense, Satan simply dropped his head into his hands, cursing in his native tongue. Tom couldn't decipher it, but the sentiment was not lost on him.
“I'd be careful about saying anything she might overhear,” he said, after he'd had his fill of curses.
Eva laughed. “You're not wrong. Still, Tom says you're on our side now, so I suppose I can ship it.”
Satan's head lifted. “What does that even mean?”
“Saddie, Saddie, Saddie. I'm going to have to catch you up on the lingo of the cool kids. You've been living in a literal cave for too long.” Eva lifted Lightfoot off her lap and gently placed in on a cushion from the couch whose arm she'd just been sitting on. The ferret shifted and uncurled, flattening into a pancake before exhaling and stilling again.
The little guy was going to be sad he'd missed a chance to join in on some teasing.
Eva joined Satan on his couch, slinging an arm over his shoulders. The sight was comical in that he was taller than her even when sitting and her arm rose into the air at an awkward angle. Her hand couldn't even cup his shoulder on the other side so she just waved it beside his head. “I got the inside scoop. You wanna know the way to Twixt's heart, I got you covered.”
Tom shook his head. “Okay, while you play matchmaker, I'm going to do some actual work.”
Eva scoffed. “If we can't find love in the afterlife, what's it worth even fighting for?”
“I mean, not being tortured for eternity sounds like a good enough reason.”
“I'm with Tom on that one,” Vick agreed.
“Psh! I'm for the eradication of all non-consensual torture, but the magic of life, the things that separate the living from the dead – friendship, love, connection – that's the end game, boys.”
“Eva, I hate to break it to you, but we are dead.”
She let her arm drop from Satan's shoulders. “Doesn't mean we have to feel like it.”
Tom turned his attention back to the lines of code on his tablet, allowing a brief moment of familiarity and contentedness to sweep over him. If it weren’t for the fact they were surrounded by fire and brimstone, the threat of The Curator looming over them, he could almost imagine he and Eva and their companions (human and non, because that was just how familiar this all was to him now) sitting in his work room off the back of his house.
Eva would be chatting companionably while he programmed, Lightfoot would tire himself out exploring every inch of the workshop, asking unending questions about Ragnarok, Twinkle would be arguing about just using magic to bring his robot alive and bemoaning the intelligence of bi-pedals. Would Crissus and Greystone be working on some new technology never seen before on earth? He could imagine Twixt and Reese discussing the best way to dispatch future enemies. Maybe they'd own an armory, or run a martial arts school.
And he found, in that moment, he wanted nothing more than that.
To see the potential of all those who'd grown so dear to him so quickly. A Hackerspace collective of beings from every known world, coming together to share their knowledge and interests.
His mind wandered as it scanned the code. Already he was thinking of classes in magic and mechanical engineering. There would be an eternity to learn every possible language. Time to really become an expert at anything and everything you wanted to do. What could a person accomplish, when they had ten thousand lifetimes? Twenty thousand? A billion.
His fingers stilled on the tablet, stopping mid-scroll on a line of code. Eva was saying something but he'd zoned out so completely, relying on visual clues to find what he was looking for.
“Huh?” he asked, absentmindedly.
“Never mind.” She'd come to stand over him, hair falling over a shoulder to tickle his forehead. He brushed it back just as absently. “Find something interesting?”
“I smell fear.” Satan piped up with.
“Fear is a little strong,” Tom said with a gulp.
“Oh, I'm sorry, did I hit a nerve?” Satan scoffed.
“Now, boys.” Eva stood, relieving the itch of her hair on his head.
“Well, it's what we thought. The TS Imp did manage to send a report about the 'Well of Souls'.” Tom turned to look at Satan. “Where do those go? The top?”
Satan nodded. “And you wonder why I called you stupid for letting that happen.”
“Doesn't The Curator already know we've...” Eva shrugged, searching for the right word, “fucked things up down here? How is this any worse?”
“The trouble is...I have no idea how much worse this makes things-”
“Cause you started messing with things you had no knowledge about,” Saddie interjected.
“Someone was under a geas and unable to give us that knowledge.”
“I didn't think I had to warn you against stupidity!”
“Are you on our side or not?” Tom snapped back with.
“I'm sorry, is 'being on your side' synonymous with ass kissing? I might need to rethink this,” Satan retorted.
“I see you're feeling better.” Tom rolled his eyes.
“I always have strength to belittle dumb ideas.”
“Okay!” Eva snapped her fingers loudly. “This is hardly constructive. I'm about to separate you two. Saddie, has the Well of Souls ever stopped working while you've been in charge?”
“He won't be able to answer us,” Tom murmured, attention back on the damning error report.
Kyle poked his head around the corner of the doorway leading into the server room. “Are people yelling?”
“Just Saddie simultaneously being an asshole and unhelpful.”
“Tom,” Eva warned, but her eyes were dancing. She was finding this exchange entirely too amusing. He supposed he might too, if the Lord of Hell didn't reduce him to child-like behavior. Saddie was like Twinkle Part Two.
“To attempt an answer to Eva's question,” Satan cleared his throat, speaking in a more level tone, “it's never happened to me.”
She chewed on her lip, thinking. “Tom, you said that Twinkle was working on deciphering the journals, right?” He nodded. “So maybe the answer is in there. I mean, you've said it before, Hell runs on some pretty sketch technology. Real Frankenstein stuff, I heard you say once.” He nodded again. “So it's had to have broken before. And what they can't speak out loud to us, they can obviously write about.”
“Perhaps you should put Eva in charge of this little rebellion,” Satan chuckled.
She tsked, shaking a finger at him. “Now you're just being petty.” Then she smiled at him, bright and wide. “Besides, what makes you think I'm not already in charge?” She winked and Saddie actually smiled back at her. Well, the semblance of a smile as it could be described, though it was a little on the creepy side to see a mouth so wide and thin crack open into a toothy grin.
Eva turned to Vick. “See if someone can lead you back down to the library. Let Twinkle know we need some information on the ‘Well of Souls’ as well as any references to a break in Hell's systems.”
Vick nodded and was gone a moment later.
“And then there were five,” Saddie mumbled, sinking into the couch like a listless child.
“I think we need to put the devil to work. He seems a little grouchy,” Eva mused.
“Idle hands and all that,” Saddie piped in with, suddenly sitting to attention with interest. “I mean, I am feeling better.”
Tom’s mouth dropped open, ready to say something snarky, but thought better of it. It couldn’t be easy just sitting there feeling helpless. Would he have felt any less frustrated? Any less touchy and easy to rile had he been one of the unfortunate souls to actually endure the tortures of hell? Or been forced into isolation as the figurehead of all that was evil?
“You’ve got a point.” But what to have him do? He was constrained by the grip of his curse, and Twinkle had Satan Two helping him. He’d already implied he knew very little about what made Hell run and so Tom doubted he had any programming experience. Who’d ever set up the systems of Hell had long since left their knowledge to crumble and decay in time long forgotten.
Sensing his quandary, Eva patted him on the back. “I’ll put him to work.”
Tom nodded, knowing that despite her misadventure with Swek (which she hadn’t really delved too much into, but he figured she’d talk when and if she wanted to) he knew she was chomping at the bit to get back to her gang of motley firsts. Get back to leading the masses in heartfelt rebellion against Hell and Heaven.
“Let’s go, big guy.” She motioned him up at the same time Tom sprang to his feet.
“That reminds me.” He gave her an impish grin.
She rolled one hip out, hand braced on it as she clucked her tongue. “Another thing you forgot to share with your partner?”
“I think you’re gonna like this one. Be right back, Kyle!” He called to the server room, waiting till a thumb popped around the corner to confirm he’d been heard.
Eva tugged on Saddie’s hand till he stood and followed her, following him, out the door.
The trek didn’t take long, but they were stopped by several Hellizens who wanted to confirm Eva was truly back by reaching out to touch her. It slowed their progress, but Tom was patient. He couldn’t begrudge others their happiness at seeing her safely returned. But for every smile Eva received, they eyed Saddie with equal distrust and barely hidden contempt. He supposed he couldn’t blame them for that either.
They hadn’t much experience with the guy, only knew him as their overlord and King of Torture. It didn’t matter that the devil hadn’t ever actually tortured any of them. He was the faceless conductor, orchestrating their worst nightmares. Only a few knew the truth was more complex than that. That this Satan likely hadn’t even been alive when Hell had been created.
Eventually, they made it to the doorway Tom was leading them towards. It opened with a hiss at his command, letting the sounds of mechanical whirring and grinding drift into the hallway. He stepped aside to let Eva and Saddie enter before him.
The inside was familiar terrain. They’d spent their first fateful days in hell in just such a chamber and he knew Eva recognized it. Even though it was on a different floor than the one they’d used so long ago now – and a mirror-image – the room’s purpose was unmistakable.
Conveyor belts ran noisily, moving gleaming parts along to predesignated stations. Robot parts. Limbs and torsos, heads and tails; each pulled from a bin by a robotic arm, hoisted onto the belt, and sent along to be assembled according to their blueprints.
“You started up an assembly line?” Eva asked, turning to look at him. He nodded and she sauntered deeper into the room. He followed her around the bend in one of the lines as it split from the other, taking TS Imp parts towards their final assembly station while the other took Droopey Clone parts to theirs.
“Erika helped me get one running. We were able to determine that they don’t receive their base programming till after they’re built.” Well, she had. “I’ve had her and Reginald working on tweaking their base code to remove some of the more troublesome parts.”
Like the parts that made them send reports to Heaven and carry out torture, and make a general nuisance of themselves. They hadn’t been certain they’d even be able to get one running so he hadn’t told many others of the plan. She’d only just confirmed things were running smoothly before he’d send her on another missing into the lower levels of Hell.
He hoped they were doing okay.
“How many have you made?”
Tom swept a hand towards a second doorway back the way they’d come. It was the reason he’d chosen this assembly line over many of the others. With a few taps on his tablet, the door swung open to reveal the fruits of the line’s labor.
Eva’s eyes went wide. Even Saddie looked surprised.
The doorway granted entry to a massive chamber, not quite as big as the main cavern, but certainly big enough for their needs. Inside, row upon row of finished robots stood, waiting. They were lined up in groups of a hundred, which he knew from Stanton, were called ‘companies’. All together they had a battalion’s worth of ready bots at their disposal.
The start of an army.
They parted ways at the junction between floors, Eva taking Saddie down towards whatever task she had in mind for him. Tom returned to the Helliquarters to check on Lightfoot and Kyle. He was progressing, albeit slowly thanks to the demonish, on the messaging app. The ferret was still asleep, though now flipped on his back, each of his limbs splayed out so that he looked like an animal-shaped throwing star.
Tom considered letting him sleep – the little guy was too damned cute – but he knew he'd be bummed to miss out on any fun.
“Okay, buddy.” Tom scooped Lightfoot up; he drooped in his hand like a cooked noodle. Gently, Tom laid him along the length of his forearm till his tiny head was laying in his open palm. Then he went to meet with one of the Tabber teams. They needed to check out the doorway Swek and crew had managed to magic open.
His timing couldn't have been better had he planned it. As he strolled into the main cavern, seeking any one of the number of Tabber Team leaders he might recognize, he instead spotted Stanton and Reese. Trailing not far behind was Crissus, Greystone, Twixt, and Felicia. After making them “blind” to the bots, the viking had felt satisfied enough in his safety to set off to join Stanton's search teams.
He smiled and waved them over. He could tell by their expressions they were relieved at the news Twixt had brought them.
Felicia's voice boomed throughout the cavern with a warrior cry of excitement. She pumped her fist, muttering something in what he assumed was...viking in nature? Crissus and Greystone were a little more subdued in their relief but it was clearly written upon their faces all the same. Stanton nodded and made to clasp hands with Tom only to find one holding a sleeping ferret and the other a tablet.
Only Reese remained stoic and were it not for the nod of his head, Tom wouldn't have been able to tell if he was happy or not.
“We started back for a regroup when we heard the alarm go off, then ran into Twixt. Any idea what caused it?” Stanton asked, folding his thick arms across his chest.
“Swek opened the door between level six and the one above. Our tactic with the roster helped Eva and the others escape before that happened. She couldn’t be sure how many actually went through the doorway though.”
Something occurred to Tom just then. The theory he hoped helped Erika and Reginald on their mission... also meant it helped Swek. He hypothesized that the rosters were specific to the level of hell. All the profiles he'd shifted through had been for this level of hell. For the crime of theft alone. It stood to reason that for ease of processing, the bots on each level would only be coded to recognize those within their own roster.
That would allow Erika and her team to move easier on Level Seven and complete the mission. But it meant that Swek was no longer running from the bots of Level Six. He would be invisible again.
“He does this sometimes,” a voice said, drawing him from his thoughts. Tom started, realizing everyone was still looking at him as though he'd just trailed off mid-sentence.
“Sorry, what was I saying?” He shook his head, careful not to jostle Lightfoot.
Stanton cleared his throat, frowning, but made no mention of Tom's sudden lack of concentration on the topic at hand. “Swek escaped through to Level Five.”
“Yes. Yes. Sorry. Eva wasn't sure how many of their number went with him but it was a significant amount. We can't assume they've all gone though. Who knows what plans he put in motion before fleeing.”
Stanton nodded, glancing around him at the cavern and the Hellizens milling about. “I'll set up some sentries at all entrances to the main cavern. We’ll use the Twilight Bark to see if there is any activity where it shouldn’t be. It won't be foolproof since we don't exactly have an idea of everyone who joined Swek. But it's a start.”
He turned to a flank of creatures and humans standing at his back, each with a “Take No Shit” expression on their (those with discernible ones, that is) faces. A few brief instructions later, they set off to carry out their orders.
“You're going to check out the doorway to level five?” Stanton asked next.
“Yeah, headed that way now.”
Reese stepped forward. “We'll go with you.”
“Yessss, better together,” Crissus added, Greystone nodding beside him. Felicia was not to be outdone and moved beside Reese with a stomp.
Tom grinned. “I'd have it no other way.”
submitted by colie_o to HFY [link] [comments]
2019.03.01 02:17 kingdomakrillic Real life cam eva
The Spook School
Biff Bang Pow!
Tyler, The Creator
Drew G. Montalvo
B.G., the Prince of Rap
Brenda K. Starr
Mike Will Made It
The Bell Sisters
Seals and Crofts
Open Mike Eagle
John Thomas Griffith
Luann de Lesseps
Milan the Leather Boy
Rucka Rucka Ali
P. F. Sloan
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
The Cheeky Girls
Jay Boy Adams
The Boo Radleys
Ty Dolla Sign
Hyeongseop X Euiwoong
Gary Clark Jr.
Shaggy 2 Dope
Ski Mask the Slump God
The Jasmine Minks
Polow da Don
Alexa Ray Joel
Norma Jean Wright
Narada Michael Walden
The Field Mice
Jerry Lee Lewis
Dem Franchize Boyz
We Are Toonz
Dog Is Dead
OJ da Juiceman
Jonnie and Brookie
La Toya Jackson
Cha Cha Malone
Nat King Cole
The Mono Polys
Rich The Kid
Terence Trent D'Arby
Lady Miss Kier
Sage the Gemini
Samo Sound Boy
Sha Money XL
Hoodrich Pablo Juan
Gloria D. Brown
Nitty Scott, MC
T. J. Lottie
Syd Tha Kyd
The Sea Urchins
Yvonne De Carlo
Rich The Kid
Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry
Roy Davis Jr.
Cheryl Pepsii Riley
Lawrence Irving Wilde
Jamia Simone Nash
Perri "Pebbles" Reid
The Ting Tings
Thousand Yard Stare
The Happiness Boys
Watch The Duck
Said the Sky
Dee Dee Phelps
Soce, the elemental wizard
Herizen F. Guardiola
Jesse Boykins III
Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez
Steve "Silk" Hurley
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike
Davina (R&B singer)
A Girl Called Eddy
Leanne "Lelee" Lyons
Silkk the Shocker
DJ Felli Fel
Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind
George Tandy Jr.
Jessi Jae Joplin
Ol' Dirty Bastard
Trae tha Truth
Brian Justin Crum
Pete and the Pirates
Bad Boy Joe
Chloe Rose Lattanzi
14 Iced Bears
Man from Delmonte
Kato on the Track
BJ the Chicago Kid
B. J. Thomas
Nine Muses A
George J. Gaskin
The Shop Assistants
Larry "Jazz" Anthony
Snow Tha Product
Ashley Alexandra Dupré
The Ponce Sisters
Lynn Carey Saylor
Ben E. King
The Lightning Seeds
Terence Trent D'Arby
Evans the Death
Lana Del Rey
One Be Lo
R.A. the Rugged Man
Cyhi the Prynce
Rob Skipper & The Musical Differences
The Shortwave Set
B Angie B
George Baldi III
The Jet Age of Tomorrow
Jaye P. Morgan
St. Clair Lee
Noah "40" Shebib
Harry Wayne Casey
Five Times August
Lisa R. Fredenthal-Lee
Al B. Sure!
Jon Peter Lewis
Rich Homie Quan
Quincy Jones III
Arthur Loves Plastic
The East Light
The Pooh Sticks
The Mojo Fins
The Mr. Move
The Boswell Sisters
DJ Burn One
Gary Clark Jr.
The Ethical Debating Society
The Darling Buds
Boyz n da Hood
Morgan Taylor Reid
The Revolving Paint Dream
The Black-Eyed Peas
South Park Mexican
Alice Tan Ridley
Nokio the N-Tity
Andy Pratt (-songwriter)
Shake Shake Go
Rich Homie Quan
E. G. Daily
Purple Ribbon All-Stars
Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên
Ying Yang Twins
Élan Luz Rivera
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Frankie J. Galasso
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Sunny Day Sets Fire
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Tricia Leigh Fisher
Big Kuntry King
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London on da Track
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1017 Brick Squad
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Florence and the Machine
Tha City Paper
Arch Hall Jr.
Fast Life Yungstaz
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Perri "Pebbles" Reid
Lisa Taylor (R&B singer)
The Montgolfier Brothers
The Hit Parade
The Platinum Brothers
The Dinning Sisters
Tweedy Bird Loc
Alex Wong (producer, musician)
Double S 301
Alice Wonder Land
Jo Ann Campbell
K.E. on the Track
Jessie James Decker
The Boy Least Likely To
John Steven Sutherland
T La Rock
Carl Dobkins Jr.
Who Is Fancy
Y'all So Stupid
Billy Joe Royal
Reef the Lost Cauze
Billy Lee Riley
Longguo & Shihyun
Age of Consent
Prince Ital Joe
Another Sunny Day
Smoothe da Hustler
GD & TOP
The Raw Herbs
Nicky da B
The Lovely Eggs
Royce da 5'9"
Count Bass D
Melvin LaThomas Brimm
Eli "Paperboy" Reed
The Miserable Rich
Harry Connick Jr.
The Jazz Butcher
David M. Bailey
Keller Sisters and Lynch
Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes
David Jude Jolicoeur
Ty Dolla Sign
One Thousand Violins
Melvin LaThomas Brimm
Captain & Tennille
submitted by kingdomakrillic to popheadscirclejerk [link] [comments]
2018.07.08 21:53 Hattakiri Akiho - Sakura - YDK - CR (multiple spoiler)
[First things first: I gotta admit I'm still surprised how much there is to CCS, especially CCH. Hardly surprising that plenty of text already was being written on them.
That's when Lunatic turns into Sakuratic lol ]
The appearance of Yuna, Akiho and Momo, along with Sakura's clear card situation, have caused some chaos and open questions.
Who are those three, were do they come from, what are their intents? And what is this taboo magic/technique?
Huge amounts of text were already being written on this theme. Did Yuna the D-society member capture Akiho, maybe in order to battle CR and to take revenge for an older event? This would lead to the "purple time manipulator" Homura Akemi vs. Kyubey "the recruiter plushie" from Madoka Magica among others... Or did Akiho create him but forgot somehow? Using him as a tool and weapon could lead to Yui Ikari, mother of protagonist Shinji Ikari from Evangelion, and also to Sailor Moon's mom Old Serenity and Momoko's mom from Wedding Peach – however all of them are aware of themselves and their actions...
In case Akiho is Nadeshiko, which is a rather daring and maybe unpopular thesis.
And then there's still the connection to TRC, and actually CR is the main connection. So our new trinity is risking quite a lot...
("Tsubasa" is unmistakably being mentioned in the 1st CCH opening.
And I know it's painful for some Japanese fans to see Western weebs cherry (blossom) picking just single terms, and to see them making stupid puns as a cherry (blossom) on top. And I better knock it off here ) XD
In case CR is sort of an Incubatior ("Kyubey") like in Madoka again; however the "connector" between multiple timelines and micro-universes is actually Homura Akemi, the one who eventually captures Madoka Kaname and Kyubey (the "recruiter plushe").
Since I'm still lacking plenty of background infos, I'm again gonna make use a "standard method" of mine: Looking at references to and from other franchises, because this too might give us hints.
The trademark elements of shows like Sailor Moon, Evangelion, also Pokemon, Love Live etc simply were and are too effective (mostly financially, cause that's basically how it works), too many others wanted and want of course a good slice of the(ir) pie(s). CCS too could and can compete here in both directions, as we'll see.
(Putting references, making the customers remember, causing viral marketing, making the customers by all the stuff. Are us humans really consisting of such simple algorithms when it comes to endorphines?) XD
First of all, we should look at their names. Because giving the audience hints by giving the characters meaningful (if at the beginning "cryptic") names is a common method in manga and anime as we know:
Yuna D. Kaito – "Dark River"...a river is often being used as illustration for time and the constant and perpetual flow of time. (In German "river" is "Fluss" and "flow" is also "Fluss". "To flow" is the related verb "fließen" (with our beautiful ß-letter lol), pretty much used like the English equivalent afaik.
"Dark River" tho reminds me of the Stink River Spirit from Spirited Away, who had to devour human pollution and waste all the time, before Chihiro could save him.
Is Akiho or Kaito searching for a Chihiro? Why?
Now Akiho Shinomoto – "autumn blade of a plant" and "origin of a poem"...
"blade" can be both a leaf and an edge from a knife or sword – or Saber, like the character from Fate/stay night, who also comes from the past. Like in Sailor Moon it's about a Holy Grail and its dangerous powers - and there's [Sakura Mato](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Fate/stay_night_characters#Sakura_Matō
"A fate that might stay all night" was Eriol's method in E69, right?
So is Sakura Kinomoto Yuna's and/or Akiho's Holy Grail? Has she been CR's Holy Grail all the time? Is his "Books'n Cards" recruitment technique the actual taboo technique? Is this the actual purpose of the D-society and Eriol was lying or didn't know better?
Madoka Kaname is also both Homura's and Kyubey's grail, and as Ultimate Madoka ("Goddess Madoka", "Godoka", "Madokami") she is even the HG and savior of all magical girls. Kyubey still causes despair, but Madoka will save them eventually.
Why and how could she become a deity? Once she protected Homura, but died eventually. Homura wanted her back – and that's when Kyubey jumpted into the situation and offered a contract. Cause this is his method: Waiting for a girl's maximum despair... Homura said "I wanna meet Ms. Kaname again, but instead of her protecting me: I wanna be strong enough to protect her!" And this is what Kyubey wanted: She's too nervous and made a mistake: She defined no ending point. And so there never will be any. Actually this would always lead to a magical girl either dying or mutating into a kaiju-witch. This means heavy emotions, and those emotions are used by Kyubey to prevent the universe from decaying ("entropy", he himself mentions it). And it turns out: The Incubators are the threads of the universe's fabric...
Neither Madoka nor Homura can ever become a witch, because due to Homura's contract they are now karmically connected (quote Kyubey again). If one falls, the other one too would, and is thus doing anything it takes to prevent this. Madoka turns into a witch - Homura turns back time. This technique comes from her contract too. And one day she's about to become a with – and that's when Madoka now turns tables and uses their karmic destiny to turn herself into Godoka.
Now it's Homura's turn in the Rebellion Story film where she now captures both Kyubey and Makoda and resets the whole cosmos.
And there are again a lot of connections:
This hug familiar to us, right? Right before Madoka leaves.
(Happens also in Love Live School Idol Project S1 E13 when Honoka prevents Kotori from entering the aircraft and leaving Japan (not available on Youtube). Reference to the old CCS?)
Kyoko Sakura and Sayaka Miki are also dealing with this
These lyrics sound familiar too, right? It's again right before Madoka leaves...
Those things were older than CCH – but newer than the old Sakura anime:
Two scenes that seem to refer to Eriol's technique in E69
Love Live OVA "Sweets Shop Homura" and "Sakura Sweets Fair" appear in Love Live, the latter in Love Live Sunhsine which also features "magic RPG circles" and midnight cam streams – and darker slices of life. And literally "Cerry Blossom Nightmare" by Riko "Lily" Sakurauchi.
A better depiction happens in Rebellion Story, when Madoka and Homura shoot the Incubators. Isn't on Youtube at the moment (what else) XD
Another important aspect: In Rebellion Story Madoka and her army gotta enter the isolation field of Kyubey's (and Homura's). Madoka unfortunately falls into some sorta amnesia, however this is why two bodyguards are there (one of them an improved Sayaka Miki with an improved saber (blade) technique).
Why is Akiho, as it seems, suffering from amnesia? Or was this done on purpose, in order to prevent classified information from coming to the surface? Information even both YDK and Momo do not know? Or is this one of Kaito's duties? Always triggering time stops in order to make Akiho always forget, while he himself isn't allowed to know? And what does Eriol know? And how much did CR know?
("Classified Information" became popular in Haruhi Suzumiya. Feel free to watch the so called "Episode 00" feat. a unique "magical girl film shooting". It takes until season 2 tho before the background's being explained)
The magic circles also play an important role in Full Metal Alchemist, where the Elric brothes wanna bring back their dead mom by using "the" taboo technique, which will cause them literally a hell of a lot of trouble.
Does YDK, wanna bring back Nadeshiko? Or does he even have a customeclient? Is bringing back a dead the meant taboo technique, like in FMA? Gendo Ikari from Evangelion also wanna bring back his wife Yui Ikari...
"Blade" also could refer to "Witchblade", where the daughter (?) gotta take care of her mother (?) to a bigger extent...
Ok, back to Akiho's name XD -
"Autumn blade of a plant" – autumn comes before winter, and winter contains snow sometimes, which can be a symbol for death.
Again Love Live features such a song: Snow Halation, and the lyrics do resemble again the first CCH opening. "Fly high" of course fits perfect.
Everyone of the nine girls ("Muse") was to bring the most personal aspect of hers into the song. So who will join forces with whom in CCH season 2 or a movie? Another possible story progression.
"Autumn blade of a plant" – is Sakura this plant? Are the cherry blossoms about to turn into cherries, the cherry stones could turn into the next gegeration of trees...
Some of you "coughed" already, right? XD Well, the Sakura from Naruto became Sasuke's wife, they have a daughter in the Boruto successor franchise. (I'm not into Naruto, so I don't wanna "judge" that decision). They became adults in the meantine hovewer – kinda like TRC, where the relationship between Sakura and Syaoran evolved in quite a tragic way, right?
Could a "trans-dimensional" time reset allow them to redo and restart?
Because cherry fruits actually appear somewhere between midspring and midsummer (at least the types I know from middle Europe, correct me any time if I'm wrong). Autumn is actually way too late, that's when the leaves ("blades") are about to fall. (Thence the AE "fall"?). If the tree's still young enough, it will be able to "restart" after a "winter sleep"...
The D-people thus as sort of an "spatial-temporal police"? Maybe even coming from the TRC parallel universe (thence their coats/uniforms)? Making CR's method really the taboo method?
That plant therefore the "origin of a poem" = legend? Is Sakura that legend?
"Weaving a Story" is NGE ep14, and "weaving" also refers to Homura's deeds in Rebellion. And was prominently featured in Kimi No Na Wa - where again a boy has to fight for a girl, and again with literally all heaven and hell in the background.
Thence the term "Sailor's Yarn". (Ulysses was also a sailor, the Gods forced him after all, and "Odyssee" = "Oversized journey in order to finally come home" turns out to be also Sailor Moon's actual meaning)
"Rise up young boy and make yourself a legend!" = from a beautiful fantranslation of Cruel's Angel's Thesis (trigger warning). Actually the whole text pretty much fits.
Akiho = "A blade before winter for a new growing legend"?
This is a synchronized double fight from Evangelion, which also happens both in the old and the new Sakura
Yepp, Evangelion – Sakura having a flashback where she sees her mom, then eventually ends up in bed, totally exhausted and with open eyes. This is Asuka Soryu after she was fighting Angel Arael who brought some very traumatic memories back to the surface (E22). She then under an "insidous" mental breakdown so to speak, before ending up in bed like Sakura, and before being replaced by Kaworu Nagisa (E24)
Short shot of Asuka in bed.
And: "The old man wants to advance his scedule, using us as his tools" = like Kaito who too uses Akiho and Sakura as his tools. Moreover: "Gendo Ikari, this is now your final test!" quote the Seele-society (whom the D-society is supposed to parallel?). The "old man" is Lorenz Kiel, the CEO of Seele (and therefore the whole planet earth in the Evaverse).
YDK also tests Sakura if her power's already as great as Akiho's (and thus great enough?). Eli already tested Sakura in E69, quote himself, also to advance the scedule and to make Sakura turn the last couple of Clow Cards into Sakura Cards.
Rises the question: Who is Yuna's customer or boss, if there's any? And what does he / do they want?
And what does Sakura's great-grandpa and Nadeshiko's grandpa have to do with the whole shit?
Kaworu mentioned "Adam" and "Lilim". The third one is "Lilith". Those three are, well, "metaphysical phenomena". Lilim is humankind, Adam and Lilith the divine parents. Merging all three would make each and any living being loose individuality, and so no contradicting wills and intents, and esp feels, would remain. Those are illustrated by Schopenhauer's Hedgehog Dilemma, which is also the title of E4: Two hedgehogs are too close: Their spikes hurt each other. They are too far away from each other: It's gettn too cold. There thus gotta be a middle distance, which is too often not too easy. Seele not wants to get rid of this problem by, well, merging all hedgehogs and abandoning their selves....
This final process is being shown in the End of Evangelion.
However, actually each of the "hedgehogs"/"lilims"/humans gotta explicitly be asked for permission. Otherwise the fusion will not work. It's unlikely that really everyone would agree, and so Rei Ayanami, who eventually gets the upper hand, uses an underhanded trick – she turns herself into multiple sock puppets and shows up before everyone's eyes, as their greatest longings and their darkest secrets:
Blue haired Rei to turn into Yui who was Fuyu's secret love interest
Does this look familiar or what? And would fit even better if Akiho really were Sakura's mom (i.e. her incarnation).
Rei with wings Sakura's wings are a little smaller, however I think the meaning behind them is the same. Also the color orange plays an important role in both franchises: Sakura and Syaoran before an orange sky, and Rei-Lilith in the middle of an orange ocean that once was humanity.
Rei can also transcend time, the concerned vid is currently again down on Youtube.
Yui Ikari maybe wanna prevent all this: She knows, Rei's trick cannot work, the personal sensations and life experiences still would remain.
Everyone would see everyone else's true background and maybe even learn...
And perhaps that's what she wanted.
The only one to maybe learn however: Asuka, who eventually comforts Shinji tho he just choed her. She is again lying there, completely exhausted...
You also noticed how similar Gendo and Clow (both "old and young") look, right?
And Eva also has a very famous penguin
Misato Katsuragi, who's one of the officers in NGE and whom Shinji has to live with, was voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi (Maki Matsumoto). Hideaki Anno wanted an "adult Usagi Sailor Moon" and thus engaged the same seiyuu. She then would also do Mireille Bouquet (Noir), Boa Hancock (One Piece) and Nico's mom in Love Live.
Mireille and Kirika are eventually as close to each other as Syaoran and Sakura...
And is Sakura's new key maybe also a key like in Once Piece the Devil Fruit? I.e. giving the owner extra decisive powers? YDK and CR once to have a showdown, with Sakura and her key, maybe Sakura herself as the decisive element? (Holy Grail)?
Kotono Mitsuishi a connection between OP and CCS – but also Yuna himself:
Yuna D. Kaito = Monkey D. Luffy, and Gol D. Rogers = Clow Reed? Is there also a "One Piece" in CCS now that everyone and their great-grandpa want?
So this would mean that there's a battle, maybe an ever-asting one, between two parties. CR and his servants (including reincarnations) and the D-buddies.
Sakura literally in between and in the crossfire.
Like Pocahontas, who ends up as last buffer between two parties (including her dad) in order to save her love interest. She also has a gift from her dead mom.
Also the so called "Power Animal" is being featured there. Together with "Guardian Angel" this is another Sakura concept. Power Animal and Guardian Angel are nowadays often used by esoterics, who also tend to use Tarot cards and other magical practices.
A guy I already mentioned is Michael Ende who wrote "Momo" about Time Thieves, and the "Neverending Story" where a boy also finds a mysterious book. It turns out to be the entrance to a parallel world called "Fantasia", which is about to be erased by the Nothing.
The famous Falkor flight would return in the 2nd Pokemon film, Spirited Away, and CCS at the very beginning.
And since it was mentioned again in CCH, some of us can now even tell their kids what happened 20 years ago, which is kinda surreal, isn't it. And shows like Pokemon, OP or Case Closed even have been running without any interruptions. Btw the artist who invented Case Closed also made Magic Kaito, so I wonder if there's a connection and inspiration too. Sakura's Kaito also reminds me of Lelouch from Code Geass, who combats the ruler of planet earth – who's his own father. So....there still could happen some surprises...
An interesting aspect might also be Eriol's nick "Eri" or "Eli". I was again surprised because there's this Eli who is at the beginning staged like an antagonist (much like Homura Akemi too), and there's even a Book of Eli.
"Yuna ~ Yuno" also could be a connection. Is Yuna as obsessed or even possessed with something? Who is his Yuki then? Akiho? Sakura? Maybe even CR? By altering the present with his time manipulation technique e can also alter the future, kinda like in "Future Diary".
Last not least, there's also as already mentioned the second and third Pokemon movie. Especially the latter seems to be inspired by CCS.
And I still don't know which (real act) movie it was: An emissary from hell to be shot by two guys in a Wild West scenery, to fly and crashing backwards with high momentum into an abandoned (?) building behind him, however soon to show up again on the roof, and then calmly coming down, step by step, on a stairway made of thin air – like YDK in the thus far final ep. Connects him to Homura Akemi/"Akuma" from Rebellion, which however would again connect CR to Kyubey – and Sakura to Madoka....
I hope my text wasn't too much of a mess XD but those many aspects featured by CCS-CCH are just too intertwined. I'm curious what they're gonna make of it in S2 and/or the next movie. We gotta get prepped for heavy feels.
submitted by Hattakiri to cardcaptorsakura [link] [comments]
2018.05.11 14:59 The_Great_Tahini Real life cam eva
I’m about to run CoS in 5e with my group, but I’ve been re-working some of the segments, mostly because I just don’t like them, or because I feel they were lazily written. I’m curious what the community here thinks.
Getting Into Ravenloft:
Straight up, I don’t want to use the letters. I don’t actually think the hooks are bad, but none of them really struck me when reading through them. Instead, I’m leaning heavily on the lore around Van Richten from older editions, combined somewhat with the “strange visitors” hook from the book. It works like this:
2018.05.10 22:27 The_Great_Tahini Real life cam eva
I’m about to run CoS in 5e with my group, but I’ve been re-working some of the segments, mostly because I just don’t like them, or because I feel they were lazily written. I’m curious what the community here thinks.
Getting Into Ravenloft:
Straight up, I don’t want to use the letters. I don’t actually think the hooks are bad, but none of them really struck me when reading through them. Instead, I’m leaning heavily on the lore around Van Richten from older editions, combined somewhat with the “strange visitors” hook from the book. It works like this:
2017.03.01 01:56 911bodysnatchers322 Real life cam eva
2016.11.10 22:58 colie_o All Sapiens Go To Heaven: Part 21
All Sapiens Go To Heaven: Part 20
The One In Which Tom Finds A Book and Feels Like an Idiot
Something solid struck Tom across the shins, making him yelp and hop back. His gaze swung from the door to Cam who looked confused but for all the wrong reasons. Her eyes darted between her trident and his legs, which were throbbing from her strike.
“That didn’t break your knee cap?” She sounded surprised and a little disappointed.
“No,” Tom growled. “That didn’t break my freaking knee cap, woman.” But it sure smarted.
She ‘harrumphed’ and shrugged like she hadn’t just looked like a pouting child who’s plans hadn’t gone as they’d hoped.
“Why?” he grated out, rubbing his shin and drawing out the vowel sound of his question. “I haven’t even had time to stall.”
“Figured it was better to give ya a taste of pain afore you go getting any ideas.”
“Breaking my knee cap right off the bat will hardly inspire me to work. I’m more inclined to whack you upside the head with my tablet.”
Cam raised the trident into a defensive position, angling the sharp tips towards his abdomen. Tom sighed in frustration, just barely resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. He doubted she’d handle that well, likely believing he didn’t take her seriously. Truthfully, he kind of understood her approach. She wanted to appear in control, set herself up in a position of power.
Hit now, ask questions later and all the people fall fearfully in line.
But he wouldn’t be cowed by that kind of tactic. Not when it was just himself who stood to get hurt.
“Look, Cam, I’m not going to hit you upside the head, okay? Besides, I know you’re not a killer.” He was pretty sure Cam wasn’t a murderer. Yet. Could someone actually go from aggravated assault to murderer when the body of their victim regenerated?
Her face hardened. He’d seen that look on his friend’s teenage daughter before and knew the tirade that was about to befall him.
“You don’t know a damned thing ‘bout me,” she said in a ‘How-Dare-You-Presume’ tone.
Tom tried not to gape at her. Most people would think it was a good thing someone didn’t believe they were a killer. But she wanted him thinking she was bad news, someone to fear and obey. There was no way he would ever teach her how to control the bots. Not for herself, not for Swek. All Tom could hear was her annoying laugh when Lightfoot had been hurt. He wasn’t afraid of this woman.
But he steeled himself; this approach was better than tackling her and ripping that trident away. For now.
“Actually, I bet I could tell you more about yourself than most people know.” Including Swek. Tom waved the tablet at her. Her face changed from petulant to incredulous.
“Nah, you can’t.” But she didn’t sound like she believed her own words.
Tom turned the tablet towards her, tapping on the screen and into the application Satan had shown him. Moving towards her slowly – like she was an animal that might spook with sudden movements – he showed her Hell’s roster.
“This application can tell me everything I need to know. About you, about anyone. All I need is a name. What’s your full name Cam?” Would she take the bait? Confirm his suspicions? Or would she hold onto that Bad-Ass, Nobody-Better-Fuck-With-Me façade? She might just try to break his knee cap again.
Thankfully, disbelief became curiosity on her face. “That can really tell you everything you wanna know ‘bout someone?”
She seemed to consider for a moment, likely weighing the pros and cons of telling him her full name. Weighing the worth of that detail for another prize. Information on someone else.
“Camille Deveaux,” she said slowly, deciding it was worth the risk.
“You’re Cajun,” Tom realized as an accent he hadn’t noticed before grew pronounced when she said her name. There was a drawl you could never truly remove from a good Cajun name. His grandmother (the one responsible for his current predicament) was Cajun then she moved over a single state and found God among the Baptists, forsaking her Catholic origins, but she’d always be Cajun at heart.
“What of it?” she asked, defensively.
“Just making an observation,” he replied, working on translating the letters of her name into Demonish. It wouldn’t be perfect but it’d get him in the general vicinity of her name. Thankfully the names in the list appeared in their original language, even if the content didn’t.
After a couple scrolls he found it wedged between a Camille Devan and a Camille Deville. A single tap and her life was an open book for him…sort of. Cam moved in closer, trying to peer over his shoulder. The trident’s points swung close to his face.
“Easy with that thing, Camille. Let’s not have another bruising debacle,” he said, giving the tip of the trident a light shove.
She rolled her eyes. “I don’ care if you bruise. It’s nothing compared to acid, I can tell you that for sure.”
True. He dipped his head in agreement but she did pull the trident back from his face.
“What’s it say?” she asked.
Tom scanned the text, trying to translate the Demonish as quickly as possible but there was still significant gaps in his proficiency. He did pick up a few things. She was Cajun. Home town of Broussard, just south of Lafayette, Louisiana. She liked horses.
Maybe not anymore, thanks to Twinkle, the ‘horned horse’.
She was an only child to a single mother. Her favorite color was grey and when she was five she’d been ill with meningitis.
Then he found what he was looking for…her reason for being in Hell.
“What’d you steal, Camille?”
Cam made a face. “Stop callin’ me that. Only my mere calls me Camille. And what’s it to you? We all done somethin’ to wind up here, ain’t we?”
Under his breath Tom muttered, “I think it matters a great deal more than I realized.” Louder he said, “The girl who loves horses, the color grey and grew up in Broussard, Louisiana isn’t a killer.”
“And what is it you think she is?”
Tom flashed her his more charming smile, he hoped. “A hero.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You thinkin’ I’ll join you or somethin’? That I can be talked out of my place by Swek’s side?”
Ah, so it was Swek she wanted more information on. The woman had a crush on the psycho.
“A man like Swek,” he paused. He’d been about to say ‘will get you killed’, but they were already dead. “Will only bring you misery.”
“Maybe I want misery. Maybe I wanna rule Hell beside him and shove horses into acid baths till they’re nothing but white bone.” She was growing agitated.
“All I’m say-”
“No!” She shoved the trident back towards his face, forcing him to back up to avoid it plucking an eye out. Then she pivoted and forced him to move till she stood between him and the door. “Enough stallin’. Now it’s my turn. You tell me what I wanna know about Swek and how to control those bots for him. Maybe I tell him not to push you into a vat of acid.”
“Easy, Camille,” Tom said, then watched her face go beet red. It’d been a mistake to use her full name.
In that moment, he realized two things. She really hated being called Camille. And second…she was about to hit him again. Hard.
“Well, that was worth a try,” he muttered. Before she could bring the trident smashing into his other kneecap he made a dash for the dark stretch of bookshelves. Time to lose her in the vast Hell library. Maybe then he could circle back around and get to the door.
So long as he didn’t become lost right along with his pursuer.
There was no telling how large this place was and there wasn’t a map on the tablet – that he’d found – outlining navigational directions. Could you even map a pocket dimension if it constantly expanded the more you put into it?
At this point, Tom didn’t care. It wasn’t like he’d starve out there in the sea of books. And once Eva worked out a way to get free – or Lightfoot brought the cavalry – they’d come get him. All he needed to do was hide out and wait for rescue.
Behind him, Cam screamed. “Git back here!”
He ran harder, cutting right around a shelf and then again around another three isles down. The further he went the darker it got till the only light illuminating the isles came from pale orange globes that flickered like they had fire inside of them.
Shelves rose up around him like monoliths – a stonehenge of knowledge casting murky shadows on the narrow aisles. Deeper still he went, trying to keep the rights, lefts, diagonals and back-tracks straight in his head. Somewhere close he can hear Cam’s frustrated pursuit of him.
The air began to grow chilly, though Tom supposed any drop in temperature would register as ‘cold’ given the perpetual uncomfortable warmth of Hell. Soon, though, Tom actually felt his air stand up on end, goosebumps forming for the first time in…weeks? Over a month AD now for sure.
Now that he knew how he’d died he was beginning to think of things in terms of BD and AD – Before Death and After Death. Guess that meant he’d pretty much accepted his position. He was dead and running through an impossibly large library followed by a woman with a spear and dangerous intent and his closest friends now were a fiery woman who liked girls, a throne stealing ferret and an ornery, well-read unicorn.
Tom’s thoughts carried him further still, until a change in lighting drew him out of his mindless dash and back into his surroundings. The shelves in this part of the library were illuminated in a soft blue light, making it hard to see so much as a foot out in front of himself. But the spines…
The spines of the books glowed a luminescent blue as though in response to the color of the shelf lighting. Tom slowed to a halt, listening for a moment but heard nothing of Cam. Either he’d lost her or she’d wised up enough to realize screaming in anger only gave away her position.
Either way, Tom felt safe enough in the moment to grab for one of the books. The writing looked similar to Demonish but Tom struggled to translate much of anything. Something picked at the back of his brain, a familiarity in the word’s structures that Tom couldn’t place his finger on. Opening up the thick volume he spied a neat, crisp, and – surprisingly – hand written script on the course vellum pages.
Given the format of the content Tom guessed they were journals of some kind. He replaced the book and picked another partway down the row from the first. The language was the same but the writing had changed to a messy scrawling hand that spread across the page in tilted lines.
Moth meet flame. The need to understand tickled at his brain.
“What do you say?” Tom whispered out loud. He closed the book and traced a finger over the glowing text on the spine. All together they were mesmerizing. Like standing in a cavern of glow worms. The books were similar enough in titles to create a pleasing pattern. The only variations came at the end-
Tom’s head swung around to the glowing volumes, recognition dawning on him. He looked back at the spine, a finger trailing across each word as he spoke out loud. First, something Twinkle had said read ‘archive’ or likely ‘history’, then something strange, likely a proper noun, and lastly a number.
Formatted like a journal, ‘history’ in the title…
The numbers at the end were dates.
“The History of Kyzin,” he said, trying the title out. Who or what were the Kyzin? A race? A place? Just another world among the millions funneling into the Afterlife? Inside one such volume had been a key to this place.
A Key to the Kingdom, Lightfoot had said. The little guy might have been more right than he realized.
Were these what Satan had been loathe for them to find?
“What do you say?” he whispered again. This time he kept the book, strolling further along the isle, staring up at the seemingly endless row of glowing books. There were thousands!
He needed Twinkle. The unicorn had said he’d need more reference material for the book (not really a book) in Satan’s chambers. How about a whole blasted library of reference material. One touch of his horn and they’d be able to unlock the secrets of the Kyzin.
Which meant he needed to get back to the door.
For good measure Tom grabbed a second book from the shelf and tucked with the first under an arm. Then, slowly, he began to re-trace his steps as quietly as possible. There was no way to tell where Cam had gone or if, even now, she lay in wait at the next junction.
Time seemed to drag on, whether from the slow pace he set or because he was winding his way entirely off course, Tom couldn’t tell. He hoped he’d remembered every turn, pivot and side-step but in the dark and cold it was becoming harder to tell.
Was that right first, then left? Had he double back here once before? That stack of dusty tomes looked vaguely familiar…
A few times he risked bringing up the light from the tablet’s screen to check an isle for landmarks he’d tried stowing away for reference. But the light seemed dimmer each time he used it. As though…
The battery ran low.
What a time to find out the tablets needed to be charged. Though if he was honest with himself, it was something he’d considered from the start given the little port in the back that attached to the Imp’s palm. The larger power supply of the bots must charge the tablets. And now, several weeks removed from a power source, the tablet was losing vitality. It was his own fault for not considering this problem long before it became a problem.
Please, he thought, do not let me get stuck in this labrynth.
After the fourth attempt to re-orientate himself, Tom brought the tablet up. Okay, it was time to bring the help to him. He brought up the command line, ready to send out his command that would send him the location all the bots. He’d grab the two closest to his location.
Then he could-
What the hell?
Shit. He should have realized that was a possibility.
“Where’s your head Tom,” he hissed through clenched teeth, feeling very foolish at that moment, standing in the near dark with a fading tablet.
Stepping into the pocket dimension had severed the tablet’s connection to the network. He was cut off. Out of range. SOL. There would be no cavalry of bots.
But then how had he pulled up that information on Cam? Maybe he’d get a connection once he was back at the entryway.
Tom searched the tablet’s local log. Cache file. From when Satan had first brought up the roster. He’d gotten lucky that Cam had been in the cached information or he’d still be back in the entrance to the library with sore knees.
The tablet winked out, going black. Tom tapped on the screen. Nothing. Tapped again. Dead.
Make that triple shit.
The battery had likely drained all the faster in this place trying to re-establish connection to the network and he’d been foolishly bringing it to life time and again to light his way.
“Tom!” Cam’s angry voice drifted to him, sharp and almost guttural. She was seriously pissed. But she sounded far away. For now.
That seemed to be his new mantra. Everything held in a precarious balance…for now.
He sighed, rubbing his temple. There was no use in wallowing in his own self-induced misfortune. He had two options: hide until someone came looking for him – which given how tired he felt just now seemed like a sublime idea – or try to find his way, in this strange twilight, back to the front.
“Tom!” Cam sounded closer, a heavy thunking sound punctuating the silence following her cry. Was she striking the shelves with her trident? “Jus’ tell me where you are and I’ll think about not dropping you in a bubbling vat of acid.”
There was a long pause and then, “Maybe.”
She was not going to take the loss of the tablet well. His shins throbbed at the very idea. Time to move.
Tom broke into a light jog down the aisle, craning his head left and right at each junction. The air made him shiver and the exercise did nothing to warm him up. He was actually missing the warmth of Hell’s hallways.
Just get back and you can be as warm as you want.
He figured if he kept going forward he might hit a wall of some kind. Then he could follow it till he made it back to the entry way. But the aisles continued on, row after row of books crowding him on either side. Behind him, Cam’s frustrated whacking followed him. He cringed each time the trident caught the stone or wood or metal of the shelves. The clanging sound rang differently and each one was closer. As he passed his own shelves he made note of what they were made of, trying to use that as an idea of where she was behind him.
With each whack she bellowed his name.
Whack. “Tooooooom!” She was close.
Over and over till Tom’s head rang with her cries. Was he murmuring in time with her? Like a weird kind of meditation chant? He shook himself and continued forward faster. How far had he gone? Surely he hadn’t gone this deep into the library.
Silence fell so suddenly that Tom actually missed a step, halting awkwardly to listen for Cam. Ahead he thought he could make out the warm orange glow of the lamps in the entry way. Nearly there.
As Tom wound around several shelves that ran perpendicular to his aisle, Cam swung around from the shadows on his right, arcing the trident towards his face. The only thing that saved him from taking the broad side of the weapon’s three points to the face his slowed pace. Otherwise he’d have run into it hard enough to split his skull. Instead he managed to jerk his right shoulder around. The sudden twist torqued his left leg hard and Tom felt his knee give way, dropping him so the trident struck the meaty part of his upper back.
Still hurt like hell.
The hit dropped him the rest of the way to the floor, sending the tablet and books flying out of his hands. He managed to whack his head on the stone floor. Black edged his vision making him blink furiously a couple times to try and dispel unconsciousness.
Cam stepped over him and stuck the pointed end of the trident into his face. Still reeling from the stun of his cranial impact, Tom tried to twist to the left and found her leg blocking him. She squeeze her other foot into his side, a painful sign she had him pinned on either side.
The tablet lay too far out of reach, but it wouldn’t have done him any good save as something to throw at her head. All he had was books. Books, books, books…
There was a teetering tower of thick leather volumes at Cam’s right. If only Tom could reach it…
“Cam, fancy meeting you here,” he said, cheekily. How had she found him?
“You done runnin’?” She glared at him then shoved the trident into his face till the points were dimpling his skin. One good shove and they’d break skin.
All humor dropped out of him. He was done running.
Tom grabbed at the trident, pushing back with all his strength. The motion staggered Cam enough that the tips pressing into his face pulled away, giving him room to slide underneath it – and her- till he could sit up. He release his grip and she staggered back the other way, the sound of metal striking stone making a soft ting. Before she could spin on him, he grabbed for the stack of books, already begging to topple, and pulled them down on top of her.
Books rained down like stones, pummeling Cam beneath their weight. They knocked the air from her lungs, allowing her only a ‘uhf’ sound as she fell. Tom rolled onto his stomach and covered his head as several books bounced off Cam and made play at him. The thick volumes hurt as they pelted his exposed forearms and back but in seconds it was done.
Quickly, Tom pulled his head up, books sliding every which way to either side of him. Cam was down and groaning. It’d been too much to hope it’d knock her unconscious but still, he scrambled to his feet and made a grab for the trident laying forgotten beside her.
His movement drew her furious – albeit glazed – glare. Her hand shot out lightning fast from under a pile of books. Their hands locked around the trident at the same time. She rolled to her side, pulling him off balance and down on top of her. A throaty growl escaped Cam as he crushed her, but Tom refused to let go of the trident. He swung a knee to either side of her, pinning her in like he’d been moments before.
Then it became a tug of war. Back, forth, back, forth – till Tom’s elbows were on fire and his forearms shook with the strain. The idea to smack her silly came to mind but he didn’t dare risk her wrenching the trident from his grasp by dropping one hand.
But even Cam was tiring. Her glare was losing intensity with each thrust back and forth.
“You do realize,” Tom said, between huffs of breath and a grimace or two. “We look ridiculous.”
“So what? You want me to just give you the weapon?” she pulled against the trident, but the attempts was weaker, slowing. Too bad he was just as winded…and he hadn’t even had a tower of books dropped on him.
“We could call a truce. No one gets the weapon.” That sounded lame, but he felt weird straddling her in this childish struggle. And he didn’t really wanna hit her. Much.
Cam laughed, then pinched her face into a scowl and pulled harder. “Never!”
Growing frustrated – and not a bit uncomfortable from the fatigue in his arms – Tom yanked, hard, on the trident and managed to wrench it free from one of her hands. She gasped and tried to slip a palm back around the staff before he could pull it away fully.
Tom leaned back, groaning inwardly as his knees popped. He hadn’t been in this position since he was a little kid, legs pointing back the same direction as his head, and his body protested loudly. But he managed to keep Cam’s other hand from reconnecting with the trident. She tried to sit up but he brought one leg out from its bent angle and dropped it over her chest, pinning her back down. He cried out as a tendon pinched sharply behind his knee.
“Jee-sus!” He saw spots of light for a moment before color returned to his vision. That’d been a mistake. “No wonder I haven’t done that since I was a kid.”
“Ge’ uff meh,” Cam said, her voice muffled in part by the fabric of his pants and the pressure of his leg across her sternum.
“Let go,” he grunted, pulling on the trident.
“Just let go. I’m not gonna hurt you.”
“For fuck’s sake, Camille. Let. GO!” He wrenched one last time and pulled the trident free from her other hand.
They lay there, heaving and silent. Tom’s heart raced and blood pounded in his ears. Now that he had the weapon curiosity ate at him. He lifted his head, catching sight of the underside of her jaw. Her head was back against the floor but the ragged rise and fall of her chest was evening out.
“How’d you find me?”
For a moment he didn’t think she’d answer him. Then, “Was a hunter. Small game mostly.”
“How? It’s not like I left signs in the brush so to speak.”
Cam sighed. “Everyone leaves signs. Don’ matter where you are. And if that fails, you scare em out. Herd them where you want them to go.
Tom’s brows rose, in part from shock but also a tiny bit of respect. He may not like the woman but tracking someone in a massive library with no end in low lighting took some skill. “That’s…impressive.”
“Are we interrupting?” a voice asked with humor. Tom and Cam both jerked their heads towards the entryway. Erika, Twinkle, and a dozen other Hellizens stared down at them. The smile on Erika’s face was mischievous. He glared at her, with only half the energy of any real annoyance. He was glad they’d found him no matter what position they’d found him in.
“Tomtomgriffin is triumphant!” Lightfoot said, curling around Erika’s neck.
“Something like that little guy,” Tom laughed, happy to see his friend was okay.
Erika held a hand out to him, helping him to a standing position. “A little thief told me you might need help. Seems we arrived just in time.”
“Too true,” Tom muttered, handing her the trident so he could rub at the back of his knee.
“We’re trying to work and you’re rolling around on the floor with one of Swek’s people?” Twinkle huffed.
Tom looked at Cam, who remained on the floor. He was worried she might renew her fight now that the object of her hatred was present but she simply glared up at Twinkle with narrow eyes.
“What’s her problem?” Twinkle asked, noticing her stare.
“Ah, yeah. You pushed her in a vat of acid.” Tom extended a hand towards Cam. She considered her options, glance between him and Twinkle, but took his hand.
“What do we do with her?” Erika asked. She’d given the trident to one of her companions – a tall thin creature with tentacles extending from his head all the way to the floor and silver eyes.
“I ain’t joining you,” she muttered once she was standing again. Her arms crossed over her chest defiantly.
Tom smiled. “Perhaps not. But the Kingdom Comes, Cam, and it comes for Swek.” He was going to get Eva and the others back.
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