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Doki Doki Magenta Splashes: Bonus Chapter 1

2020.10.25 21:47 StrivingJarl Doki Doki Magenta Splashes: Bonus Chapter 1

Since Halloween is coming up, it's time for me to show the DDMS Bonus Chapters! But first, some clarifications:
  1. Yes, these chapters are canon to the storyline of Magenta Splashes. This one, specifically, takes place between chapter 15 and 16.
  2. These chapters were made AFTER I finished the main chapters. So, there might be some weird inconsistences in here.
  3. Once these bonus chapters are all posted, there won't be anymore Magenta Splashes content (Unless I change my mind, which is likely).
Anyways! Let's get into the first DDMS Bonus chapter!

DOKI DOKI MAGENTA SPLASHES:
Halloween Chapter: It's Showtime, Magical Heroine Natsuki!
Yes! Halloween has come at last!
A day full of mostly crappy cosplay, getting candy from strangers for free, and hanging around awkwardly in people’s homes!
Honestly, if only crappy cosplay was more of a frequent thing in daily life!
Though, I think some people wear questionable clothes still no matter the occasion.
Meh. Doesn’t matter to me.
Because I got something in store for the party I’m heading to!
Monika invited the entire literature club over to her place for Halloween, and naturally I need to bring over my artistic edge there!
I’ve been playing through a certain JRPG with some awesome and catchy music recently, which MIGHT have become one of my favorite games of all time.
So I thought I’d dress up as a certain someone and bring over some really good stuff.
Heh. I’m gonna make my appearance very surprising.
Although, I’m curious as to who everyone’s gonna dress up as…
Especially Natsuki.
Maybe a Parfait Girls character? Something a little more serious?
Eh. Can’t know until I arrive.
But before I get going, I put on…
The Jams.
*The jams play on Itsuki’s phone.*
Alright! Let’s get going!
As I walk the way to Monika’s house, I hum and sing the tunes while dancing a bit.
Though, I’m pretty sure I get a few odd looks here and there.
After all, you never see some guy in a leather coat wielding a knife and a fancy mask bringing out “da moves” on the street.
Well, it doesn’t matter to me. ‘Cause I'm getting my groove on!
Eventually, I reached the place that Monika told me and my pals was her house.
Wow! It’s almost like a mansion!
Then again, Monika’s family owns a pretty big business in Salvato City, so maybe I should have seen this coming?
Wait, the last part was unintentional!
Although, I know what I’m gonna do next is gonna be intentional!
But first! I gotta set the music!
*The Music is set.*
Once the song starts, I slowly dance and sing it on over to the front doorstep.
It doesn’t take long for me to reach it, and I get ready to open the door.
I told Monika to leave the door open for me for my grand entrance!
After all...once I come in…
\SLAM!**
Itsuki: “YOU’LL NEVER SEE IT COMING!”
Pretty Much Everyone: “AH!”
Itsuki: “YOU’LL SEE THAT MY MIND IS-AGH!”
*CRITICAL ATTACK!*
As I should have expected, somebody smacks me in the back to make me shut up.
Okay, perhaps THAT was my Last Surprise…
Natsuki: “Was that REALLY necessary, Itsuki?”
Itsuki: “Ugh...you should know that I like my entrances to b-huh?”
When I look over at the girl who did a Critical hit, I notice Natsuki’s costume.
Huh. Guess I was right to assume she would dress as a magical girl.
It honestly looks pretty cute on her.
Natsuki: “What? Thought I’d wear something else?”
Itsuki: “Well, it was either Parfait Girls, something more serious, or this.”
Itsuki: “But I think you look quite fashionable, Magical Heroine Natsuki!”
Natsuki: “...”
Natsuki lightly taps the top of my head with her staff.
Natsuki: “Don’t make me smack you again, Itsuki!”
Itsuki: “Like I wouldn’t use a defensive skill to keep myself standing!”
Marise: “Are you two done?”
Itsu & Nat: “Pretty much.”
Itsu & Nat: “Jinx!”
After that exchange, I notice the rest of the club and their costumes.
Monika’s a typical witch. Not too bad.
Marise, I believe, is supposed to be a zombie. Okay.
Sayori’s some sort of...cat girl?
What did Aiko show Sayori?
Speaking of Aiko, he’s some kind of...evil cat villain thing?
Strange, but Aiko’s always been a little off. And I kinda like it.
Yuri appears to be a mad scientist, which actually works on her.
And Touma seems to be dressed as a typical royal king. Not too shabby.
Monika: “Well, it’s nice to see you here, Itsuki!”
Sayori: “Yeah! You look awesome!”
Yuri: “That’s an interesting costume you have there.”
Touma: “I knew you were gonna do something strange when you got here.”
Aiko: “Of course! We’re all strange here!”
Marise: “Only you, Sayori, and Itsuki are the strange ones here, Aiko.”
Itsuki: “Don’t deny it, MC! You know in your heart that a part of it is just as weird as us!”
Natsuki: “Oh, knock it off, Itsuki.”
Itsuki: “The Great Phantom Thief of Heart does not conform to the rules of society!”
Touma: “Please stop the crazy act.”
Once that conversation is over, we just get to enjoying the party.
Naturally, I’m in a conversation with Sayori and Aiko.
Itsuki: “So, why the cat costumes?”
Sayori: “Because they’re cute!”
Sayori: “And Aiko showed me plenty of ways I could dress up!”
Aiko: “Yeah! I know plenty of-AGH!”
I put my hands on Aiko’s cheeks and bring them closer to me.
Itsuki: “You didn’t show anything…’strange’ to Sayori…”
Itsuki: “RIGHT?”
Aiko: “N-n-n-n-n-nononono! O-Of course not! W-Why would I d-do that? Heheheheh…”
Itsuki: “Good. Keep her pure and innocent.”
Sayori: “Um...what are you two doing?”
Itsuki: “Just a rain check on a few things, Sayo!”
Aiko: “Hehehe...yeah…”
That’s right, Aiks.
Corrupt her innocence, and I make you pay.
How I will, I don’t know.
Itsuki: “Anyways, I know Sayori’s just a cat girl.”
Itsuki: “But what are you, specifically, Aiko?”
Aiko: “Oh! I’m one of my own characters!”
Itsuki: “Wait, you mean-”
Monika: “Okay, everyone! The feast is ready!”
Sayori: “YES! Let’s go!”
Aiko: “Yeah!”
Sayori and Aiko sprint on over to the dinner table like kids on a candy rush.
Naturally fitting, considering the holiday.
Though, I’m certainly looking forward to dinner, too!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\After dinner.**
Sayori: “UGGGGHHHHH I’M SO FULLLL…”
Aiko: “SAAAMMMMMEEE…”
Natsuki: “Heh. Karma’s biting you hard, isn’t it?”
Itsuki: “Well, that’s what you get when you stuff so much down into your gullet.”
Yuri: “Did you say ‘Gullet?’”
Touma: “Yeah, he did.”
Monika: “Didn’t know Itsuki had that much of a vocabulary!”
Marise: “Just how much have you learned over the years?”
Itsuki: “More than just some fancy words, MC!”
Monika and Natsuki giggle a little at my remark.
Monika: “Well, either way, it’s nice to have you all here for Halloween!”
Natsuki: “You could say that again! I’d probably just meander in my house for the entire day!”
ItsukI: “Ah. Your vocabulary is more expensive than expected, huh?”
Natsuki: “Oh please! I’m not all just simple words!”
Itsuki: “Heh. I’m well aware, Natsu.”
For a moment, the two of us just kinda stare at each other.
Then, Aiko decides to get a little sassy.
Aiko: “Hehehe! Enjoying yourselves, you little lovebirds?”
Natsuki: “Shut it, Aiko!”
Monika: “Relax, Natsuki! We’re already aware of your bond with Itsuki!”
Natsuki: “You too, Monika!”
After that little exchange, the rest of us continue to chat with each other until we decide to get going.
However, me and Natsuki decide to talk before leaving.
Itsuki: “Hey, Natsuki.”
Natsuki: “Oh? Itsuki?”
Itsuki: “What? Thought you wouldn’t have a chat with your boyfriend before you go?”
Natsuki: “Well...no…”
Itsuki: “Exactly. So...how are you doing?”
Natsuki: “Alright...I guess…”
Itsuki: “That’s good to hear. And by the way…”
Itsuki: “You’d make a really good magical girl.”
Natsuki: “!?”
Natsuki: “...”
Natsuki: “T-Thanks...you look pretty good, too…”
Itsuki: “Heh...have I stolen your heart?”
Natsuki: “Unless that’s a reference to whatever your costume comes from, that’s extremely cheesy!”
Itsuki: “Of course! I’m always cheesy!”
We share a small laugh after that joke.
Then, we share a small kiss, and leave.
Well...I can certainly say this was probably the best Halloween I had so far.
I don’t think there’s anything that can really top it.
Though, there’s still plenty of Halloweens to go!
So maybe it’ll be outclassed another time?
The end.

Anyways, that's it for this chapter. The next bonus chapter will be released around Christmas in December. So, wait until then!
submitted by StrivingJarl to DDLC [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 21:24 Spicypenguin8 30 [M4F] - US/Anywhere - Bored. Looking for some new people to chat with

Hey there everyone! I'm just looking for some new people to chat with. Typically in a chat partner I prefer someone who has at least some common interests. And if you can deal with my flirty personality, it's a huge plus! And of course I'm open to long term friendship if we hit it off!
Anyway, a bit about myself. I'm a musician first off. I've been playing guitar for most of my life, and I've been singing for a few years as well. I've done the whole band thing, and all that. I'm also a huge nerd. Video games, anime, and sci fi are my go-to nerdy things! I workout just about every day as well (Fitness and personal health are very important to me). I've been told that I have a very good sense of humor as well!
So if anything here interests you, DM me! I also have several various chat apps if you'd rather chat there.
submitted by Spicypenguin8 to r4r [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:49 BeesburyQueen Alyce Beesbury, Lady of Honeyholt (AC Included)

Meta Information

Character Name: Alyce Beesbury
Starting Title(s): Lady of Honeyholt
Age: 21
Physical Description: A young beauty with hair of honey gold and eyes of amber. She is tall, lithe, and sweet-smelling.
Starting Location: Honeyholt
Attribute: Gregarious
Skill Points: 20
Skills: Silver Tongue (CHA), Commerce (STA), Industry (STA), Finances (EDU)
Mastery: Steward
CHA MAR COM INT STE STA EDU MAG
6 0 0 0 0 10 4 0
Username: BeesburyQueen
Discord Username: Cubismo
Other Characters: N/A

Basic Information

Titles: Lady of Honeyholt
Gender: Female
Date of Birth: 5th Moon of 362 AC
Location: Honeyholt
Culture: Andal
Religion: Faith of the Seven
Affiliations: House Beesbury
Eye Color: Amber
Hair Color: Honey Blonde
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Liege: Lord Androw Hightower
Predecessor: Lord Lyonel Beesbury
Heir: Ellyn Beesbury

Appearance and Personality

Alyce Beesbury is a woman in the summertime of her beauty. With supple fair skin and tantalizingly plump lips, she is blessed with a comely face that is marked by enchanting amber eyes and elegant high cheekbones. Her hair is spun honey gold that falls past her shoulders in a stream of curls that end in well-groomed ringlets. Tall for a woman, her figure is lithe but bosomy. Though her wardrobe is vast and diverse, she favors dazzling gowns of cloth-of-gold above all others.
Though not above using her beauty to get what she wants, it is by no means the only weapon in her toolkit. A sly operator, with a gift for witty remarks and clever wordplay, she is a charming woman who delights in using her words to win people over. Moreover, she has keen political instincts and a mind that can deftly maneuver through the cutthroat world of court and business. Driven by ambition, the Lady of Honeyholt would see her talents rise the fortunes of her House and smallfolk.

History

Alyce Beesbury would be born alongside her fraternal twin sister Ellyn to Lord Lyonel Beesbury and his wife Lady Joanna Woodwright on a spring evening in 362 AC. Though the day was pleasant, the birth of the twins flirted dangerously close with tragedy. While Alyce came into the world first with relative ease, her sister’s journey was far more laborious and bloody. If not for the quick ministrations of Honeyholt’s maester both mother and daughter could have been lost that night. Fortunately, the Seven proved to be kinder than that. And so, a remarkably quiet and tranquility Alyce and a red-faced and screaming Ellyn would join their older brothers as the newest scions of House Beesbury.
The early differences between the babes would prove to be prophetic of both sisters natures. Alyce was a well-mannered but sly child, one seemingly blessed by the Maiden herself with a natural talent for charming others. It took her no time at all to learn that if she truly wanted something, be it another hour of play in the gardens or an extra treat from the kitchens, that she need not resort to childish tantrums. Instead, a simple smile, an affectionate plea, or the mere hint of watery eyes could just as easily do the trick, if not better than louder hysterics ever could.
That burgeoning talent would only be sharped when Alyce started her formal education in 369 AC. While Honeyholt’s septa and maester played their expected parts in her learning, it would be her shrewd mother who would serve as her foremost mentor. From her, Alyce was thoroughly instructed in the womanly disciplines that were expected of a lady of a prominent southron House.
Be it dancing, singing, reciting poetry, or table manners, Alyce excelled and added those skills to her growing repertoire of talents that she loved to show off to her friends and admirers, doing so at the chagrin of her tomboyish sister. However, while she loved the attention her talents brought her, it was her mother’s lessons in business that truly ignited her young ambition. The matriarch of House Beesbury had longed served as her husband’s money-savvy treasurer and seneschal and saw that same potential in her mathematical gifted daughter. Alyce took to these lessons like a fish to water, fascinated by the subtle interplay of courtly maneuvering and mercantile bantering.
With these collected skills in hand, Alyce had much of Honeyholt eating out her hand at the ripe age of ten. From the seat’s septon and maester, to its castle servants and local smallfolk, she would walk across the seat with her fawning circle of ladies-in-waiting as its little queen bee, becoming more imperious and self-assured with each passing moon. Of course, not all were enchanted by her charms or blinded to her ostentatiousness. Her sister Ellyn was entirely immune. And why wouldn’t she be? Almost from infancy the two sisters fought and argued constantly, their differing personalities making them as discordant as water and oil.
While Alyce was ofttimes duplicitous, Ellyn strived to be forthright. While Alyce was elegantly feminine, Ellyn was unapologetically hoydenish. And while Alyce planned on becoming one of the great ladies of Westeros akin to Alysanne Targaryen, Ellyn dreamed of being the next Brienne of Tarth.
Unsurprisingly, a dramatic war of sisterly rivalry reigned between them for years, with almost everyone in Honeyholt, from the servants to their parents, getting dragged into the feud at some point or another as the two tried to outdo and antagonize one another. The only one who proved consistently above it all was their eldest brother, Edmund, the young heir often playing diplomat and peacemaker between them whenever their parents were too busy to intervene.
Fair-minded for a youth, Edmund would just as often take Alyce’s side as he would Ellyn’s, but she still loved him regardless and saw in her brother a potential that matched her own. In all likelihood, Edmund would have made a good and just future Lord of Beesbury, but it was not to be. An innocuous swimming trip in 372 AC with his sisters along the usually calm waters of the Honeywine turned disastrous when the river tides suddenly caught Edmund in a rapid that sent him perilously downriver. Alyce rode back to Honeyholt as fast as she could to get help while Ellyn stayed behind to try to save Edmund herself, but in the end, both efforts would be for not.
All of House Beesbury would grieve his death, with Alyce being racked with guilt for much of the year. However, if there was a silver lining, it would be Alyce’s conciliation with her twin, the two grieving sisters finally finding common ground and even solace in the wake of Edmund’s death. Though Alyce still could not understand her sister’s aspirations of knighthood, she now respected them enough to persuade their father to allow Honeyholt’s master-at-arms to formally train her.
Years would pass after Edmund’s death and though House Beesbury still mourned the loss of its firstborn heir, time still marched ahead. In 377 AC, Alyce’s tutelage in merchantry became so advanced that her mother allowed her to take control of some of Honeyholt’s apiaries. Despite her age, she showed her worthy and talent as a beekeeper and trader by using her youth and charms to deceive some of the more gullible merchants that came Honeyholt’s way with deals that seemingly put them at an advantage but in truth enriched her House. Further still, she worked alongside Honeyholt’s maester to conceive all-new lucrative uses for her House’s bees. By the end of the year, Alyce’s apiaries were producing more honey than they had in years and the House as a whole had become notably richer.
Unfortunately, those prosperous tidings would be quickly overshadowed by fire and blood when the Last Dragon and her Essosi mercenaries invaded Westeros in 378 AC. The southlands were one of the first regions hit by Queen Daena, and Honeyholt was not exempt from the carnage. Loyal to his king, Alyce’s father would rally House Beesbury’s forces to join the great muster at Brightwater Keep, leaving her second brother Jayson to command the garrison that remained to protect Honeyholt itself.
Jayson was a kind and sharp boy, but he was more a scholar than a soldier. Even so, when a detachment of the Golden Company came to take Honeyholt, he managed to delay the sellswords just long enough that Alyce, their mother, and their cousins were able to flee the besieged castle with some of the seat’s smallfolk and escape into the countryside.
After that, it was chaos. Information on how the war was going was sparse and often contradictory, and Alyce spent much of it with her mother and cousins going from village to village evading the mercenaries that sought them out. They survived on the kindness of their smallfolk and their wits but never knew whether Lord Beesbury had survived the doomed Battle of the Roseroad. Nor did they know the fate of Ellyn, who had joined their father’s host in secret when it left for Brightwater Keep, a deception Alyce begrudgingly assisted her in despite her fears for her safety.
That confusion would come to an end when the Last Dragon and the Golden Company were finally defeated in 381 AC. With that defeat came ravens with news about her father’s death in battle and her sister’s miraculous survival. Though Alyce grieved for his death as much as she did her brothers, she did not allow that grief to blind her to the duty she had to her House. She returned to a ruined Honeyholt as its ruling lady, intent on seeing her seat and House brought back to their former wealth and glory.
Of course, there were those within her own family that doubted that one as young as herself -- let alone a woman -- could revive their House. Fortunately, Alyce had the backing of her mother and sister, the latter having returned to Honeyholt a war hero in the aftermath of the war. In the end, it would not take her long to prove her distractors wrong.
Courting new friends and allies in Oldtown, Alyce used her charms and financial savvy to negotiate pliable loans from the Bank of Oldtown that were then used to rebuild Honeyholt and its surrounding villages. The coin that remained was put to work to make risky but ultimately fruitful investments that saw Honeyholt’s recovery from the war accelerated in an enviable fashion. By 383 AC, the seat’s apiaries are once more abuzz with its House’s greatest resource and with them the dawn of a promising new age with Alyce sitting comfortably as Honeyholt’s ambitious queen bee.

Recent Events

Alyce remains at Honeyholt and continues to see to the seat’s renewal and expansion. She is determined to see it become a major market town on the Honeywine and the southlands as a whole, with the allure of Beesbury honey, mead, wax and other commodities being the means in which she hopes to entice traders and merchants to the seat.

Household

Castellan: Ser Benjen ‘Big Ben’ Beesbury
Steward: ‘Lame’ Denys Beesbury
Seneschal: Joanna Beesbury (née Woodwright)
Master-at-Arms: Ser Victor Beesbury
Captain of the Guard: Ser Paxter of Honeyholt
Septon: Runceford
Septa: Evaline
Maester: Warwyck
Keeper of the Apiary: Liam Combs
Keeper of the Stables: Maisy
Keeper of the Kennels: Pate
Ladies-in-Waiting: Donna Beesbury, Zoe Beesbury, Mina Beesbury, Betha Mead, Samantha Combs, Tilly Sweetflowers

Family Tree

Auxiliary Character

Auxiliary Character Name: Ellyn 'Elly' Beesbury
Starting Title(s): Scion of Honeyholt
Age: 21
Physical Description: An athletic woman with the amber eyes of a Beesbury but hair the color of straw.
Starting Location: Honeyholt
Attribute: Strong
Skill Points: 14
Skills: Animal Training (CHA), Leadership (CHA), Riding (COM), Weapon Proficiency: Longbows/Two-Handed Swords (COM)
CHA MAR COM INT STE STA EDU
7 0 7 0 0 0 0

Basic Information

Titles: Lady of Honeyholt
Gender: Female
Date of Birth: 5th Moon of 362 AC
Location: Honeyholt
Culture: Andal
Religion: Faith of the Seven

Appearance and Personality

Ellyn Beesbury was never a great beauty like her sister and her years of martial training have only made her more mannish. Fit and well-muscled, she has a knight’s bearing and scars. The golden hair common in scions of House Beesbury came out a dull yellow in her and she keeps it cropped to avoid it getting in her amber eyes. Though tall for a woman, she is no giantess.
Though a warrior through and through, she has a kind heart and an earnest love for knightly ideals of courage and justice. While war and loss have tempered some of her youthful blitheness, she is still a lively woman who delights in good company. Her unconventional ways make her a pariah to some but her tomboyish charms have won her many a friend and comrade.

History

From the moment she was born, Ellyn Beesbury was a willful child. Born to Lord Lyonel Beesbury and his lady wife in 362 AC alongside her twin sister Alyce, Ellyn came into the world bloody and screaming after surviving a birth that nearly killed her and her mother. Though Lady Beesbury would later jest about her daughter’s unruliness afterwards, it would later prove to be a good indicator of Ellyn’s nature.
Unlike her more ladylike sister, Ellyn -- or Elly as she preferred to be called -- was openly rambunctious and tomboyish. Seemingly never being able to stay still for an extended amount of time, she spent of her childhood galivanting across Honeyholt, imagining herself as all manner of knightly figures, with the likes of Brienne of Tarth, Jonquil Darke, and even tragic Danny Flint being her favored heroes and role models. While her sister may have scoffed at them -- these idle fantasies in time became concrete ambitions, with Elly eventually even asking her lordly father to allow her to train in arms alongside her brothers.
Predictably, Lord Beesbury refused to allow it and made it clear that it was not the place of a lady of House Beesbury – let alone his own daughter -- to bear a sword or wear a shield. Young and brazen as she was, Elly responded to the refusal by running from home. She would make as far as the roseroad before her father’s knights found her stowed away on a honey wagon heading North. Other attempts were made but each would fail like the first, the only difference between being the increasing frustration she felt towards her kin. Estranged from much of her family – and especially from her father and ‘perfect’ twin sister -- Elly found companionship Honeyholt’s smallfolk, often intermingling amongst the seat’s servants, and even sneaking off to the nearby villages to meet with friends.
For a time, her older brother Edmund was the only one of her kin that she was truly close to as he always encouraged her knightly aspirations and even taught her a few techniques in secret. Alas, he would drown in the Honeywine in 372 AC despite Elly’s determined attempts to save him. Though the loss haunted her years to come, Edmund’s death did bring about Elly reconciliation with her equally grief-stricken sister. One of the first of many newfound acts of kindness between the sisters would-be Alyce persuading their father to allow Elly to squire under Honeyholt’s master-at-arms.
Though her mentor was a harsh taskmaster when it came to his teaching, Elly endured each and every one, becoming a deft swordswoman and a skilled horse-rider in the next few years. As such, when the War of the Last Dragon came to Westeros in 379 AC, she saw a chance to show what she was capable of. It took more than a little convincing, but she was able to convince her sister to help disguise her as a man-at-arms so she could join her father’s gathering levies at it prepared for war.
It would not take long for someone to discover the truth of her identity, her old sharp-eyed mentor Victor Beesbury quickly seeing through her deception. Instead of exposing her, he allowed Elly to remain under his watch. That choice would prove to be fateful as it prevented Elly from being part of the failed charge against the Golden Company’s disciplined spears. Elly tried to reach her father but Victor forced her to join the Westerosi retreat from the deteriorating battle. Filled with grief and shame over her inability to save her own father, Elly would channel her anguish into her sword arm as she reaped an impressive tally of dead Essosi as the tattered remains of her father’s host continued to fight.
After three years of battle in the south , Elly would be amongst those southron forces that would eventually overcome their Essosi occupiers and made their way to the riverlands for the last battle of the war. She would survive the Battle of the Stony Sept and even bear witness to the death of the Last Dragon at the hand of Stannis Seaworth. The war finally over, a war-wary Elly would return to Honeyholt to find what remained of her family rebuilding the seat. Though war and death maimed her beyond the scars she now carries she still strives to serve her House as a knight by deed if not title.

Recent Events

Though she has yet to be knighted, Ellyn serves as a member of her sister’s household guard, the warrior woman having earned the right after fighting in the War of the Last Dragon. While mostly satisfied with her new position, she still yearns to hone her skills and better herself as a true knight.
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2020.10.25 20:45 HeadOfSpectre The Pastors Daughter

Kate Young died a long time ago and there’s nothing that will ever bring her back. She’s gone. I’ve erased every part of her and I regret none of it.

Kate had long brown hair, solemn eyes and clear skin. She wore plain dresses, befitting a pastor's daughter. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t say a word when people mistreated her and she especially didn’t say a word to her Father, no matter how cruel he’d been towards her, her mother or her sisters. She was weak, broken and damned to the life of a quiet Christian housewife whether she wanted it or not.

Pastor Howard Young had a specific plan for exactly how her life would go from the very moment she was born, the exact same plan he had for all four of her older sisters. He was going to marry her off to a man from a good, Christian household. A man just like him. One who understood his ‘traditional’ family values where the man's word was absolute and women were good for nothing but household chores and rearing children. Pastor Young believed that women didn’t have the aptitude for anything beyond that.

Kate would have had a big family. She’d have as many children as her husband wanted and she’d stay home to care for them, leaving only to shop and go to church. She would not have voted, pursued any higher education or any meaningful employment. Pastor Young did not believe in such things, nor did he believe that women should have any social relationships outside of family and was quite firm in his belief that women going outside of the home could never lead to anything good.

This was the life that her mother lived. It was the life two of her older sisters lived and inevitably it would be the life that Kate lived… even if she did not want it. Perhaps her Mother and her sisters were ‘happy’ with the life that Pastor Young had enforced upon them, but to Kate the very concept of it sounded absolutely hellish. That was why I killed her, to spare her from that future and I consider her death an act of mercy.

I no longer saw Kate when I looked in the mirror anymore, nor did I even associate that name with myself. My name was Chloe Grimm. I was a pale, twenty two year old girl with short jet black hair. I’d decorated my body with piercings and tattoos simply because I wanted them. I didn’t bother with Church anymore. I’d decided long ago that the wrathful entity that most people defined as ‘God’ wasn’t something I wanted to believe in. I’d burned almost everything that identified me as Kate Young and had embraced my new identity. I wasn’t an idiot, of course. I kept what I thought I needed until I could legally change my name. But all of that was only a temporary measure.

I lived in a small apartment with my girlfriend Anna Meyers and I jugged a full time job at a local department store with University. I’d taken an interest in marine biology and with nothing holding me back, I went for it. The little life I’d carved out for myself wasn’t much but it was mine and for the first time in my life, I was happy. I was exactly where I belonged. I didn’t like talking about just where I’d come from. Pastor Young had a large enough congregation that I didn’t dare risk using my old name lest I be recognized. Even in a city that was hours away from his toxic congregation, the Pastor had his zealots. That said, I also never explicitly lied about who I was either. Anna and some of my friends knew a few of the details but I’d never have told any of them any specifics nor had I told them exactly how bad things were. Part of me just wanted to forget, and part of me dreaded the concept of them trying to ‘punish’ the Pastor over his many crimes. Something like that could only end badly.

I never actually told anyone that Pastor Young was my ‘parent’. Ever since I left, I refused to consider him as such. It allowed me to distance myself from him and imagine that I was someone else who’d never even met him. Likewise I made a point not to think too much on who I’d been before my escape. Bad memories still crept in from time to time and there were the occasional nightmares as well.

Usually, those dreams consisted of scattered events from my childhood. Hymns sung in a trembling voice in my bedroom as I listened to Pastor Young beat my mother or one of my sisters for acting out of line. I remember one of my older sisters, Grace, would hold me as we sang. She’d lead the hymns and my other sisters, Faith, Rachel and May would sing with us, drowning out the screams from downstairs…

I remember the way Faith had sat with me during those nights. I remember the way she’d taken my hand and smiled at me.
“It’s okay Kate. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you.” She’d said… If only someone had been there to make sure they didn’t hurt her.

Sometimes, I’d dream about Pastor Young entering our shared bedroom. I could feel him standing over our beds as he decided which daughter would be his for the night… The Pastor was a man who believed that his ownership over his family was absolute. He believed that a man had certain rights and those rights extended to his own daughters. Other times, I’d dream about Pastor Young screaming at Grace, calling her a whore and slapping her across the kitchen, all because she’d met a nice boy at Church and he didn’t approve of him. I remember looking back and seeing him grabbing Grace by the throat and forcing her to her feet. I remember him saying: “You wanna know what Jesus does to whores, little girl?” I remember that, that was the last time I ever saw Grace before he dragged her into the basement.

Every time I dreamed about my life before I’d left, I’d wake up cold and covered in sweat. I’d leave quietly, making sure I didn’t wake up Anna and go watch TV or find some schoolwork to do as I tried and forget. I never did. The screams and hymns echoed through my brain. They never stopped. I rarely found my way back to sleep after those nightmares… but at least I had the solace of no longer being trapped in that house, with that monster. I could look in the mirror and see that I was no longer Kate Young and know that the Pastor was far away from me. I was finally free of him.. Free to live my own life, be my own person and determine my own destiny. At least… I thought I was.

I’d worked a late shift on the day my life came crashing down, nothing unusual. I’d gotten myself a burger on my way to the bus stop and it sat heavy in my stomach on the way home. I’d checked my phone, hoping to see a text from Anna. There was nothing. It was late, so she may have just gone to bed. It was nothing to worry about. I got off at my usual stop and walked the rest of the way to my apartment. I wasn’t even a block away when I saw the police cars out front. I froze in place as the red and blue sirens flashed over me. My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion.

Something had happened to Anna. I never even stopped to consider it as anything else. My instincts immediately told me to look out for my girlfriend. I ran towards the building and as I did, I saw a police officer stepping in front of me. There was nothing I could do to stop myself from crashing into his arms. In my panicked state, I almost didn’t hear the words he said to me. Not until he said that name.
“Kate? It’s okay! We’ve got you!”
That fucking name… The one I hadn’t heard in three years. It should have been then that I knew I was in trouble.

After that, everything was a blur. They asked me to get into a car and told me they were taking me to the station. They never told me what had happened to Anna and deflected every question I had. I didn’t know what was going on until I arrived inside the station and I saw him. In the three years away from him, he’d grown a beard. His eyes were as kindly as always, hiding the ugly truth about him from the world. I saw past them though, and when he looked at me I knew he saw past Chloe Grimm and saw only Kate Young.

“Kate!” he said, his voice warm and comforting. He pulled me into a hug that I didn’t reciprocate. At the mere sight of him, my body had locked up but when I felt his touch, every atom of my being made me want to pull away. Behind him I could see my Mother, the dutiful pastor's wife Melissa Young. The look on her face was one of genuine relief and it was not an emotion I shared.
“Oh you poor girl, we were so worried about you.” Pastor Young said as he smoothed my hair down. I could tell he disapproved. “I was so afraid that something terrible had happened to you but we’re here now to take you home.”

Home?
No…

I forced myself away from the Pastor.
“Get the hell away from me!” I spat, making no effort to hide the sheer venom in my voice. Pastor Young stared at me, looking genuinely upset that I’d pulled away from him.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Anna?”
“Anna?” The Pastor asked. His expression darkened. “That sick pedophile who took you from us… who kept you in her home, who raped you? The Police will ensure that she is punished for her crimes, taking you… a child from our home…”

Pedophile? Oh that was rich coming from the likes of him. Was he seriously trying to pretend that I was underage?
“What did you do?” I demanded, “What did you tell these people?”
“Well we told them the truth, sweetie.” My Mother chimed in, “A sixteen year old girl has no business out here, all on her own in the care of some pervert!”
“I’m twenty two!” I snapped and for a moment, I saw a knowing look enter the Pastors eyes. A mocking sympathy that warned me not to fight him. The old fear that resurfaced in me almost kept me silent but no… No I had to fight! I had to!
“That woman has done a lot to twist you with her lies, Kate. But you don’t need to pretend anymore. We’re here! You’re safe now. You’re coming back home with us.”

The subtle tone in his voice made it clear that I didn’t have any say in the matter and the expressions of the cops around me made it clear whose side they were on. I later found out that The Pastor had crafted one hell of an elaborate lie. A fake birth certificate, support from his local county police who swore I was just an impressionable 16 year old lured away by a predator… He had everything he needed to convince them I was still just a child who belonged under his care. No amount of fighting was going to keep me in the city and trust me, I fought. It didn’t matter.

When I was finally led to the car, my body was tense. I desperately wished I’d wake up from this nightmare but I never did. I’d had three years of freedom. I thought I’d covered my tracks so well but the Pastor had come back for me and I found that there was nothing I could do.

During the drive back ‘home’ his demeanor changed entirely. The Pastor didn’t need to keep up the smile, so he didn’t bother. Mother barely spoke to me and barely even looked at me during the hours it took to drive back to that country hellhole where I’d grown up.
“You look like a goddamned whore, dressed in black and with those fucking tattoos.” The Pastor said, “I can’t put into words how disappointed I am in you. I raised you right, didn’t I? I showed you the light and this is what you choose to do with your life? Absolutely fucking disgraceful…”

I gritted my teeth, holding back the insults I so desperately wanted to sling back at the man. In the police station, Chloe Grimm had some power but in the car, Chloe didn’t exist. Like it or not, I was Kate Young again and Kate Young knew better than to talk back to the Pastor, lest she make things worse for herself. I avoided looking at him and just stared out the window. If I thought I could get away from it, I would have thrown open the door and jumped out. The Pastor must have seen that coming. His new car had child safety locks. The only way I was getting out is if he opened the door for me.
“You don’t even have anything to say for yourself, do you?” Pastor Young asked. He scoffed bitterly but said nothing more. There’d be plenty to say when we got ‘home’.

The Young Ranch hadn’t changed much in the years that I’d been away. It was about a few miles down the road from the sprawling megachurch where he ‘gifted’ the world with his sermons. As we drove up the dirt road leading to the ranch, I spotted several large dogs in the yard. The sight of them sent a familiar shiver down my spine. The Pastor was a private man and those dogs were his means of ensuring that there were no trespassers on his property. He fed them better than his own family and he’d raised them mean too.

Three years ago, I’d been smart enough to lace their morning feed with a very generous dosage of sleeping pills I’d stolen from a convenience store in town. When the dogs were either asleep or dead, I’d hitched a ride with a friend out of town. No bus stations. Nothing in the county or any adjacent counties that the Pastor could easily track. I thought I’d been clever… I guess I wasn’t quite clever enough.

The car lurched to a stop and as it did, I could hear the dogs barking and snarling at it right up until the Pastor got out of the car. Then they bowed their heads and shied away. Growing up, Pastor Young had always told me that it was a display of obedience. Now I knew that it was actually a show of fear. Mother got out of the car quickly and used the dog's fear as an opportunity to scurry towards the house. I saw a couple of them growling at her but they knew better than to snap in the Pastors presence.

I remained in the car until the Pastor let me out. Even if I could have gotten out on my own, I didn’t want to agitate the dogs. My sister May had learned firsthand what happened when you did a few years back and had the scars and glass eye to prove it. The Pastor tore the door open and grabbed me by the arm to drag me out.
“First things first you’re gonna wash that fucking ridiculous makeup off your goddamn face.” He growled. He dragged me towards the house and into one of the bathrooms where my Mother was waiting.

He held me in place as my face was sprayed with water and a coarse towel was used to violently scrub Chloe Grimms makeup off my face. It left smears on the towel. Then my piercings were taken out and tossed aside.
“The clothes go next.” The Pastor said, “I will not have you in this fucking house dressed like a goddamn Satanist!”
“What the fuck am I supposed to wear?” I asked. That was a mistake and it was punished by an open palmed slap on the cheek. It was hard enough to knock me off my feet.

“Don’t you ever fucking talk to me like that again.” The Pastor snarled, “Get your ass over to your old room. You’ve got clothes there, don’t you?”
He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and tossed me out into the hall. I swayed uneasily on my feet before I got up and made my way down to my old bedroom. It was a little disheartening to see that it had barely been touched since the day I left.

Changing out of my clothes almost felt like giving up part of myself. Shedding some aspect of my identity that I desperately didn’t want to lose… But I knew I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. The Pastor was angry enough and I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to openly defy him. The old plain dresses that the Pastor had insisted we wear were untouched in my closet. It didn’t matter which one I put on. They were almost all the same. Looking in the mirror after I’d gotten changed, I felt… robbed. I hated the way the plain dress felt on my skin. I hated the way my face looked without the makeup. I hated seeing myself without the identity I’d created. The version of me that I wanted to be.

A heavy fist pounded on my door. The sound of it tore me away from my thoughts as a familiar shiver of fear made its way down my spine.
“I’m coming in.” The Pastor warned in the split second before he opened the door.
There was no need to hide his rage now. His belt rested in one hand and I remembered its sting very, very well. In his other hand was a razor, and I knew full well what he planned on doing with that.
“Well now…” He said, “You look almost respectable, don’t you Kate?”

I was silent as I stared back at him, trying my best to remain defiant even though I knew that it wouldn’t count for anything.
“I’ll have to tell your sisters the good news later today.” He said, “They’ll be down with their husbands soon enough… New grandkids too. Our little familys gotten bigger and now that our little lost lamb is back, it’s perfect.”
He approached me, taking bold strides as I shied away from him.
“Almost perfect.” He added, “It’s a shame. You always had such pretty hair… Then you had to go and chop it off and discolor it. For what? You wanted to look like a boy? Is that it? You want to pretend you’re a man now? Is that why I found you fucking some whore in the city?”
I bit my lip, unable to make myself say anything in response. The Pastor gripped me by the chin and forced me to look up at him.
“Well… You’ll grow your real hair back in time. Don’t you worry. But right now I’m getting rid of this bullshit. Hold still.”

I pulled away from him, my teeth gritted in frustration.
“Don’t you dare touch me.” I warned as if there was anything I could do to stop him. The Pastor just glared at me before he grabbed me by the front of the dress, hard enough that I felt the seams of the fabric pop a little.

“Now you listen here and you listen well, little girl.” He snarled, “I am your Father and you belong to me. I’ll touch you as much as I want, whenever I want, however I fucking want because as a man, that is my God given right! You think you can deny me that? Do you? Because make no mistake little girl, I will not hesitate to feed you to the dogs like I did your little whore of a sister.”

The venom in his eyes made it clear that he was dead serious. I felt my heart racing in terror as whatever defiance I might have had left in me died. The Pastor dragged me over to the mirror before he turned on the razor. I closed my eyes, unable to watch as he took it to my hair. I could feel my dyed black locks falling around me. My body quaked and shivered in terror but I couldn’t do anything more than whimper as he shaved me bald and tore away the last of the identity I’d so carefully made for myself.

“Only the weak open themselves to sin.” He said as he shaved me, “I have no place in my family for sinners and no place in my family for weakness. Mark my fucking words, little girl… I will snuff out whatever sin I find and God will sing my praises as I do!”

At last, he let me go and I opened my eyes. I suppose the silver lining to my newfound baldness was that at least it served as a reminder that I had, at least for a little while, achieved my independence. The Pastor didn’t seem to approve of the new look but at least he tolerated it. His hand rested on my shoulder as he tugged me away from the mirror.

“There… At least you’ve got most of that wretched sin off of your body. We’ll need to figure out what to do with those vile pictures you’ve defiled yourself with… but that can come later…” He pulled me hard out into the hallway again. I didn’t resist him. I had no idea what was waiting for me, but the belt in his hand made me think twice about fighting it.

“Now at least you’ll look proper as you find your path back to Jesus Christ…” He said, “You should thank your Mother I’m being so merciful to you. Were it up to me, the Dogs would be eating well tonight… But your sins don’t go without penance little girl. Oh no. You will find your way back to Jesus…”
Up ahead, I saw the basement door yawning open. I knew what was going to happen before it did and thought I was terrified, my body wouldn’t fight back.
“And until you do, you won’t see God's gift of sunlight!”
I didn’t scream until I was at the top of the stairs. With one push, the Pastor had launched me into the darkness and I hit the wooden staircase hard as I rolled down it and onto the concrete floor below. The basement door slammed shut as I lay on the ground, sore, almost certainly bleeding and disoriented.

In the span of a few hours, my life had been destroyed… and now I lay bloody on the cold hard ground of Pastor Young's basement as it all sank in. Alone in that cold cellar, the reality of my situation was crushing. The Pastor had clearly been planning to retrieve me for some time. The bars on the small cellar windows were a new addition as was the small dirty mattress that was down there for me to sleep on.

I learned very quickly not to get too close to the windows. The dogs outside rushed to them when I tried to tug on the bars on the off chance they might be loose. Their aggressive barking made me shy away immediately. Even if I could get through those bars, I’d be killed before I could climb out. Like I said, the Pastor raised his dogs mean.

The hymns started soon after I’d been thrown into the basement. They were played loud through a speaker that had been set up in one corner and I knew that they’d never stop. The Pastor was the sort of man who believed that if he crammed Jesus down my throat hard enough, then perhaps I might see the light again. Frankly, the hymns only served to get on my nerves. My body ached from the fall down the stairs. I could taste blood in my mouth but at the very least, I was alone and the endless hymns were better company than the Pastor.

The first day in the basement passed quietly enough. For that much, I was grateful. I didn’t see or hear from anyone until the evening when the basement door opened. My Mother was careful to lock the door behind her as she descended the stairs with a bowl. Inside it was a chunky brown slurry. The stink of it turned my stomach. Mother gingerly set the bowl at the bottom of the stairs and watched as I approached it.

“Dog food?” I asked, “Are you serious? You can’t treat me like this!”
“The Pastor was very clear. If you’re going to run away like some stubborn animal, you’re going to live and eat like an animal.” She said. Her tone implied no joy in what she was doing. I knew she technically had no choice… but her compliance served only to anger me.
“I’m not going to eat dog food!” I snapped.
“You’ll eat what he says you’ll eat and you’ll like it!” Mother replied, “This food is a blessing, Kate! Right now the fact that he is being so forgiving right now is a blessing! Don’t throw it back in his face. Eat it. You won’t get anything else until you do.”

With that, she turned and headed back upstairs as quickly as she could. I stared down at the chunky slurry of meat that the Pastor fed his dogs and my stomach turned. I’d given up meat soon after I’d left the family. It had been three years since I’d had it. The sight and smell of it already didn’t agree with me. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stomach it and I wasn’t desperate enough to try yet. There was a leaking pipe in one corner I knew I could use for water. I told myself that I could do without food for a while and if I couldn’t, then maybe it would be better to starve to death than demean myself and let the Pastor force me back into the mold he expected me to fit.

As the light through my barred window turned golden, the basement door was thrown open. I could hear the Pastors heavy footsteps coming down for me and I prepared myself for what was to come. The sight of the shotgun in Pastor Young's hands made my empty stomach sink as a deep and familiar dread returned to my soul.

He glared at me, then down at the bowl of cold dog food on the floor.
“You’re not eating?” He asked, “You think this is some sort of game, don’t you? You act like a spoiled brat and don’t eat the bounty God has given you and hope for… what? Something better to come along?”
I didn’t speak. I just watched the shotgun. The Pastor kicked the bowl over to the dirty mattress I sat on. His eyes remained fixated on me.
“There won’t be anything else until you eat it.” He warned, “Now eat.”
The gun wasn’t aimed at me… yet. It didn’t need to be. The threat was enough to make me compliant. I reached for the bowl before he stopped me.

“Ah ah. What do we do before we eat?”
“W-we say grace…” I said quietly.
“Yes we do. Did you say grace, little girl?”
I bit my lip before shaking my head. Without a word from him, I put my hands together in prayer and closed my eyes. I knew the words. They’d been drilled into my head since before I even learned to talk.

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
“Good. At least your time out in the city hasn’t made you a complete fucking heathen. Now… Eat. All of it.”

The cold pulpy meat was slimy as I scooped it into my mouth. Its taste made me gag. I’d barely swallowed my second mouthful before my stomach rejected it and I retched it all up onto the floor. For the sin of vomiting, I got a stern kick to the stomach.
“DO NOT WASTE GOD'S BOUNTY, LITTLE GIRL!” The Pastor roared. I coughed, sputtered and gagged as I curled into a ball. The shotgun was aimed at me now. It would be easy to say that part of me wanted him to pull the trigger but staring down death, I found myself absolutely terrified.
“N-no…” I rasped, “Dad… Please…”
“Eat it.” He repeated, “Now.”
I reached for the bowl again only for the Pastor to kick it out of my reach. Its contents spilled onto the floor.

“No, no, no. Eat what you wasted.” I looked up at him, my eyes wide with horror as I realized what he meant. I opened my mouth to protest but the presence of the gun killed the words before they could leave my throat.
“Eat.” He repeated.
I didn’t want to. I couldn’t… But I had no choice. He stood over me as I stooped over the mess on the floor and forced myself to eat it. The taste of my own bile was enough to make me gag and retch but the Pastor loomed over me, waiting until I managed to lick it off the cold concrete floor.

My ‘meal’ sat uncomfortably in my now sickened stomach as he forced me to my knees. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks and his hateful eyes burned into mine.
“There…” He said quietly, “Now… Pray. You remember your Hail Mary, girl? Pray it.”
And I did. I said my prayers. Hail Mary and Our Father. I said them over and over again until the Pastor was satisfied. He paced behind me as I muttered the familiar prayers, listening for any lapse in them. When he was done, he left me kneeling on the floor as he quietly went back upstairs and left me in the dark of the basement again. I was shaking, both with fear and from the cold that the night brought. My stomach turned and I didn’t keep that disgusting slurry down for much longer. I puked it up in a corner and desperately tried to hide it before I made my way over to my cot and collapsed down onto it.

I think part of me realized that I was going to die in that basement… One way or another, I was going to die down there. I didn’t want to accept it. Oh no. I was too stubborn for that. I had every intention of fighting as hard as I could but some truths lurk in the back of your mind, impossible to escape. As I curled up on that cot, hungry, sickened and afraid I tried to sleep. Somehow I managed and I remember that as I closed my eyes, I saw a figure in a plain white dress standing in the corner.

My second and third days in captivity went similarly to the first. The hymns were played on repeat. My Mother fed me more of that awful meat slurry and again I couldn’t keep it down. In the evening, Pastor Young came down with the shotgun and made me pray to his satisfaction and I’d barely manage to sleep dreamlessly on that old dirty mattress.

When I did, I’d dream of my sister Grace… I’d remember the way the Pastor had screamed at her and thrown her to the ground. I remembered the brutality he’d displayed and when I opened my eyes, I was sure I caught just a moment's glimpse of a plain white dress in the corner. Lingering there, filled out as if someone was inside it. For a few moments, I almost thought I’d recognized Graces face where the head should have been but every time I tried to focus, it would be gone. It had to be delirium… My mind fragmenting and falling apart. What Pastor Young was doing to me was nothing less than torture and as the days blended one into the other I could feel my mind withering away and my sanity cracking. The thought of dying became more appealing than anything else.

Time stopped having meaning fairly quickly. I think I’d made it about five days when I felt myself breaking entirely. Bit by bit, their cruelty eroded me. Death began to look more and more like not only an inevitability but a more favorable option. I couldn’t keep down much of the meat slurry and so I was hungrier than I’d been in a very long time. The metallic taste of the water from the pipe lingered in my mouth and when the Pastor came down in the evenings with his shotgun to make me recite my prayers I caught myself hoping that this time he would be dissatisfied. This time he would shoot me and give me an out.

For a man who preached of salvation and mercy though, he offered me none of either. When I heard him coming down the stairs again, at least a week after I’d been taken I sat quietly as I waited for him. The empty bowl waited beside me and the Pastor just huffed in quiet approval when he saw it.
“So I see you’re learning your place again, little girl.” He growled, “That’s good. Maybe when I decide you are fit to rejoin our family you won’t be so quick to cast us aside again. There’s no place you can go in this world where I will not find you again. You cannot keep a man from his rightful God given property.”

I had no answer to that. I just got on my knees and clasped my hands together in prayer. His every word filled me with rage but I didn’t have enough left in me to let it show. I felt broken… Burnt out and weak.
“Let’s start with a Hail Mary. Beg Jesus for your forgiveness, little girl. Beg him nice and good.”
Automatically I spoke the first few words of the prayer. “Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee…”

Then I trailed off. I’m still not sure if that was a conscious choice or not. I don’t know if I was choosing to provoke him or if something in me just gave out.
“Keep going. Finish it.” The Pastor said but I didn’t reply. From the corner of my eye I could see the shotgun in his hand and I knew that it was my ticket out. The one way I could finally be free of him.
“Finish it!” The Pastor snarled and I finally looked up at him.

“Blessed art thou amongst women and if you’re out there, do me a favor and send Pastor Young straight to hell.”
I could see his brow furrow in rage as I continued my revised version of the prayer.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God. Either drop this fucking house on me and kill us all or maybe collapse that fucking church of his on his whole cocksucking congregation!”
The Pastor hit me and knocked me to the ground. The force of it made my ears ring.

“You don’t dare mock the Virgin Mary!” He snapped. I looked up at him, exhausted and bitter.
“I was mocking you.” I corrected, “Did you ever once consider why I left? Did you? I left because I hate you. I left because I can’t stand the thought of being related to you.”
He hit me again, but I didn’t stop.
“The first chance I get… I’ll find my way out again…” I rasped as I glared up at him. “So unless you shoot me right now, you’re wasting your time.”

He aimed the gun at my head. I felt an anxious flutter in my chest. My every instinct told me to cower and apologize but I defied them. I knew he was going to kill me… But I refused to die as Kate Young. I stared down the barrel of the gun, then back at him.
“Do it… Because if you don’t I will do everything in my fucking power to ruin your ministry and when I’m done I’m going to burn your fucking Church to the ground and shit on the ashes!

The Pastor let out an enraged snarl before he struck me with the butt of the gun. I felt the barrel of the shotgun pressed against the back of my head and I knew that this was it. This was how I was going to die… and I was okay with that. For the first time since he’d come back into my life, I was laughing and as I waited for oblivion I smiled. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pull the trigger… Then I heard the gunshot. But I did not die.

The barrel of his gun was forced upwards and torn from his hand. The Pastor and I were no longer alone in the basement now. There was someone else with us. A pale girl in a plain dress, much like my own. A girl with a face that I still recognized, even though I hadn’t seen it in years.

Grace's eyes held a cold fury to them as she glared at the Pastor and in his own eyes, I saw an unfamiliar fear. He stumbled back a step, mouth open in a silent scream at the sight of his dearly departed daughter. Grace looked down at me. She didn’t say a word but I saw her expression soften. As the Pastor ran for the stairs, she reached a hand out to me and I knew to take it.

As she pulled me to my feet, I watched her fade into nothingness… but I felt a new warmth spreading from my body.
“I’m here, Kate.” A voice whispered in the back of my mind. Grace’s voice. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore…”
When I stepped forwards and began to follow the Pastor up the stairs I’m not sure if I was fully in control or not. I could feel a strange energy coursing through my veins. I felt powerful, more powerful than I ever had before.

The Pastor had slammed and locked the basement door behind him and yet as I approached, the door flew open so violently that it was almost torn off its hinges. Through it, I could see my… our Mother standing in the kitchen. Her eyes fixated on me and widened in both shock and horror. The color drained from her skin as she stumbled backwards. I couldn’t see what she saw… But I knew exactly what she thought she was looking at.

“Grace…” She gasped and I could hear her breathing get heavier. My eyes locked with hers and I could feel something inside of me. I could feel Graces spirit reaching out to her, willing her to die.
And I could see our Mothers body tensing up. Her breathing became more strained. She seemed to wheeze as her limbs failed her. Later on, I’d learn that her official cause of death would be deemed a sudden heart attack… But I doubt that was what actually killed her. She died because Grace wanted her to die… and I didn’t care enough to try and stop it.

I could hear the Pastor just down the hall, frantically trying to flee and escape us but neither I nor Grace dared to let him. As one entity, we followed the sound of his frightened footsteps through the house. Just down the hall, I could see him throwing the front door open as he scurried out into the yard. I could hear the dogs barking and I realized exactly what Grace had in mind for him.

When we reached the door, I saw the Pastor standing at the end of the porch. His own dogs waited in the yard around him, their teeth bared and their eyes all fixated on him. I’d never seen Pastor Young afraid before but now the terror that radiated off of him was palpable. He looked at the dogs, then back towards Grace and I as we stood in the doorway, looking down on him.

Slowly, the Pastor sank down to his knees before us.
“G-Grace…” He said softly, “Grace… Please… Please… S-show some mercy… I-I’m your Father! For the love of God, Grace I’m your goddamn Father!”
“No.” Grace's voice came from my mouth, “You’re dog food… Just like I was.”

“Grace, wait!” The Pastor called but he was too late. As if on cue, the dogs came for him and as their teeth sank into his flesh he screamed in glorious terror and agony. As his beloved dogs tore at his flesh and ripped at his throat, he wailed and screeched until his vocal cords were ripped from him. Then all he did was choke as he was reduced to nothing more than a gory mess on the lawn. As I watched him die, I felt that warm sensation in me start to fade. From the corner of my eye, I saw Grace standing beside me.

I turned to try and look at her only for her to disappear from my view. As soon as she’d come back, Grace was gone again and I stood on the porch alone as the Pastors body twitched its dying spasms. I looked down at him. Some noble part of my mind wanted to pity him but I couldn’t bother to waste pity on a man like that. The dogs were eating well… That was as much of a funeral as he deserved.

My body was starting to feel weak again and I retreated back into the house. My Mother was still in the kitchen, cold and dead on the floor and I was free. This time, I had nothing to run from.

I’m not sure if the Pastor was smart or stupid to leave my original birth certificate in the house. It didn’t take me long to find it, as well as a decent amount of evidence to disprove his lies. In the morning, I left the Young Ranch behind for the last time. Pastor Young had done everything in his power to destroy my life… Now it was time to rebuild it.
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:45 HeadOfSpectre The Pastors Daughter

TW: Parental abuse, Implied sexual abuse, kidnapping and violence
Kate Young died a long time ago and there’s nothing that will ever bring her back. She’s gone. I’ve erased every part of her and I regret none of it.

Kate had long brown hair, solemn eyes and clear skin. She wore plain dresses, befitting a pastor's daughter. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t say a word when people mistreated her and she especially didn’t say a word to her Father, no matter how cruel he’d been towards her, her mother or her sisters. She was weak, broken and damned to the life of a quiet Christian housewife whether she wanted it or not.

Pastor Howard Young had a specific plan for exactly how her life would go from the very moment she was born, the exact same plan he had for all four of her older sisters. He was going to marry her off to a man from a good, Christian household. A man just like him. One who understood his ‘traditional’ family values where the man's word was absolute and women were good for nothing but household chores and rearing children. Pastor Young believed that women didn’t have the aptitude for anything beyond that.

Kate would have had a big family. She’d have as many children as her husband wanted and she’d stay home to care for them, leaving only to shop and go to church. She would not have voted, pursued any higher education or any meaningful employment. Pastor Young did not believe in such things, nor did he believe that women should have any social relationships outside of family and was quite firm in his belief that women going outside of the home could never lead to anything good.

This was the life that her mother lived. It was the life two of her older sisters lived and inevitably it would be the life that Kate lived… even if she did not want it. Perhaps her Mother and her sisters were ‘happy’ with the life that Pastor Young had enforced upon them, but to Kate the very concept of it sounded absolutely hellish. That was why I killed her, to spare her from that future and I consider her death an act of mercy.

I no longer saw Kate when I looked in the mirror anymore, nor did I even associate that name with myself. My name was Chloe Grimm. I was a pale, twenty two year old girl with short jet black hair. I’d decorated my body with piercings and tattoos simply because I wanted them. I didn’t bother with Church anymore. I’d decided long ago that the wrathful entity that most people defined as ‘God’ wasn’t something I wanted to believe in. I’d burned almost everything that identified me as Kate Young and had embraced my new identity. I wasn’t an idiot, of course. I kept what I thought I needed until I could legally change my name. But all of that was only a temporary measure.

I lived in a small apartment with my girlfriend Anna Meyers and I jugged a full time job at a local department store with University. I’d taken an interest in marine biology and with nothing holding me back, I went for it. The little life I’d carved out for myself wasn’t much but it was mine and for the first time in my life, I was happy. I was exactly where I belonged. I didn’t like talking about just where I’d come from. Pastor Young had a large enough congregation that I didn’t dare risk using my old name lest I be recognized. Even in a city that was hours away from his toxic congregation, the Pastor had his zealots. That said, I also never explicitly lied about who I was either. Anna and some of my friends knew a few of the details but I’d never have told any of them any specifics nor had I told them exactly how bad things were. Part of me just wanted to forget, and part of me dreaded the concept of them trying to ‘punish’ the Pastor over his many crimes. Something like that could only end badly.

I never actually told anyone that Pastor Young was my ‘parent’. Ever since I left, I refused to consider him as such. It allowed me to distance myself from him and imagine that I was someone else who’d never even met him. Likewise I made a point not to think too much on who I’d been before my escape. Bad memories still crept in from time to time and there were the occasional nightmares as well.

Usually, those dreams consisted of scattered events from my childhood. Hymns sung in a trembling voice in my bedroom as I listened to Pastor Young beat my mother or one of my sisters for acting out of line. I remember one of my older sisters, Grace, would hold me as we sang. She’d lead the hymns and my other sisters, Faith, Rachel and May would sing with us, drowning out the screams from downstairs…

I remember the way Faith had sat with me during those nights. I remember the way she’d taken my hand and smiled at me.
“It’s okay Kate. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you.” She’d said… If only someone had been there to make sure they didn’t hurt her.

Sometimes, I’d dream about Pastor Young entering our shared bedroom. I could feel him standing over our beds as he decided which daughter would be his for the night… The Pastor was a man who believed that his ownership over his family was absolute. He believed that a man had certain rights and those rights extended to his own daughters. Other times, I’d dream about Pastor Young screaming at Grace, calling her a whore and slapping her across the kitchen, all because she’d met a nice boy at Church and he didn’t approve of him. I remember looking back and seeing him grabbing Grace by the throat and forcing her to her feet. I remember him saying: “You wanna know what Jesus does to whores, little girl?” I remember that, that was the last time I ever saw Grace before he dragged her into the basement.

Every time I dreamed about my life before I’d left, I’d wake up cold and covered in sweat. I’d leave quietly, making sure I didn’t wake up Anna and go watch TV or find some schoolwork to do as I tried and forget. I never did. The screams and hymns echoed through my brain. They never stopped. I rarely found my way back to sleep after those nightmares… but at least I had the solace of no longer being trapped in that house, with that monster. I could look in the mirror and see that I was no longer Kate Young and know that the Pastor was far away from me. I was finally free of him.. Free to live my own life, be my own person and determine my own destiny. At least… I thought I was.

I’d worked a late shift on the day my life came crashing down, nothing unusual. I’d gotten myself a burger on my way to the bus stop and it sat heavy in my stomach on the way home. I’d checked my phone, hoping to see a text from Anna. There was nothing. It was late, so she may have just gone to bed. It was nothing to worry about. I got off at my usual stop and walked the rest of the way to my apartment. I wasn’t even a block away when I saw the police cars out front. I froze in place as the red and blue sirens flashed over me. My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion.

Something had happened to Anna. I never even stopped to consider it as anything else. My instincts immediately told me to look out for my girlfriend. I ran towards the building and as I did, I saw a police officer stepping in front of me. There was nothing I could do to stop myself from crashing into his arms. In my panicked state, I almost didn’t hear the words he said to me. Not until he said that name.
“Kate? It’s okay! We’ve got you!”
That fucking name… The one I hadn’t heard in three years. It should have been then that I knew I was in trouble.

After that, everything was a blur. They asked me to get into a car and told me they were taking me to the station. They never told me what had happened to Anna and deflected every question I had. I didn’t know what was going on until I arrived inside the station and I saw him. In the three years away from him, he’d grown a beard. His eyes were as kindly as always, hiding the ugly truth about him from the world. I saw past them though, and when he looked at me I knew he saw past Chloe Grimm and saw only Kate Young.

“Kate!” he said, his voice warm and comforting. He pulled me into a hug that I didn’t reciprocate. At the mere sight of him, my body had locked up but when I felt his touch, every atom of my being made me want to pull away. Behind him I could see my Mother, the dutiful pastor's wife Melissa Young. The look on her face was one of genuine relief and it was not an emotion I shared.
“Oh you poor girl, we were so worried about you.” Pastor Young said as he smoothed my hair down. I could tell he disapproved. “I was so afraid that something terrible had happened to you but we’re here now to take you home.”

Home?
No…

I forced myself away from the Pastor.
“Get the hell away from me!” I spat, making no effort to hide the sheer venom in my voice. Pastor Young stared at me, looking genuinely upset that I’d pulled away from him.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Anna?”
“Anna?” The Pastor asked. His expression darkened. “That sick pedophile who took you from us… who kept you in her home, who raped you? The Police will ensure that she is punished for her crimes, taking you… a child from our home…”

Pedophile? Oh that was rich coming from the likes of him. Was he seriously trying to pretend that I was underage?
“What did you do?” I demanded, “What did you tell these people?”
“Well we told them the truth, sweetie.” My Mother chimed in, “A sixteen year old girl has no business out here, all on her own in the care of some pervert!”
“I’m twenty two!” I snapped and for a moment, I saw a knowing look enter the Pastors eyes. A mocking sympathy that warned me not to fight him. The old fear that resurfaced in me almost kept me silent but no… No I had to fight! I had to!
“That woman has done a lot to twist you with her lies, Kate. But you don’t need to pretend anymore. We’re here! You’re safe now. You’re coming back home with us.”

The subtle tone in his voice made it clear that I didn’t have any say in the matter and the expressions of the cops around me made it clear whose side they were on. I later found out that The Pastor had crafted one hell of an elaborate lie. A fake birth certificate, support from his local county police who swore I was just an impressionable 16 year old lured away by a predator… He had everything he needed to convince them I was still just a child who belonged under his care. No amount of fighting was going to keep me in the city and trust me, I fought. It didn’t matter.

When I was finally led to the car, my body was tense. I desperately wished I’d wake up from this nightmare but I never did. I’d had three years of freedom. I thought I’d covered my tracks so well but the Pastor had come back for me and I found that there was nothing I could do.

During the drive back ‘home’ his demeanor changed entirely. The Pastor didn’t need to keep up the smile, so he didn’t bother. Mother barely spoke to me and barely even looked at me during the hours it took to drive back to that country hellhole where I’d grown up.
“You look like a goddamned whore, dressed in black and with those fucking tattoos.” The Pastor said, “I can’t put into words how disappointed I am in you. I raised you right, didn’t I? I showed you the light and this is what you choose to do with your life? Absolutely fucking disgraceful…”

I gritted my teeth, holding back the insults I so desperately wanted to sling back at the man. In the police station, Chloe Grimm had some power but in the car, Chloe didn’t exist. Like it or not, I was Kate Young again and Kate Young knew better than to talk back to the Pastor, lest she make things worse for herself. I avoided looking at him and just stared out the window. If I thought I could get away from it, I would have thrown open the door and jumped out. The Pastor must have seen that coming. His new car had child safety locks. The only way I was getting out is if he opened the door for me.
“You don’t even have anything to say for yourself, do you?” Pastor Young asked. He scoffed bitterly but said nothing more. There’d be plenty to say when we got ‘home’.

The Young Ranch hadn’t changed much in the years that I’d been away. It was about a few miles down the road from the sprawling megachurch where he ‘gifted’ the world with his sermons. As we drove up the dirt road leading to the ranch, I spotted several large dogs in the yard. The sight of them sent a familiar shiver down my spine. The Pastor was a private man and those dogs were his means of ensuring that there were no trespassers on his property. He fed them better than his own family and he’d raised them mean too.

Three years ago, I’d been smart enough to lace their morning feed with a very generous dosage of sleeping pills I’d stolen from a convenience store in town. When the dogs were either asleep or dead, I’d hitched a ride with a friend out of town. No bus stations. Nothing in the county or any adjacent counties that the Pastor could easily track. I thought I’d been clever… I guess I wasn’t quite clever enough.

The car lurched to a stop and as it did, I could hear the dogs barking and snarling at it right up until the Pastor got out of the car. Then they bowed their heads and shied away. Growing up, Pastor Young had always told me that it was a display of obedience. Now I knew that it was actually a show of fear. Mother got out of the car quickly and used the dog's fear as an opportunity to scurry towards the house. I saw a couple of them growling at her but they knew better than to snap in the Pastors presence.

I remained in the car until the Pastor let me out. Even if I could have gotten out on my own, I didn’t want to agitate the dogs. My sister May had learned firsthand what happened when you did a few years back and had the scars and glass eye to prove it. The Pastor tore the door open and grabbed me by the arm to drag me out.
“First things first you’re gonna wash that fucking ridiculous makeup off your goddamn face.” He growled. He dragged me towards the house and into one of the bathrooms where my Mother was waiting.

He held me in place as my face was sprayed with water and a coarse towel was used to violently scrub Chloe Grimms makeup off my face. It left smears on the towel. Then my piercings were taken out and tossed aside.
“The clothes go next.” The Pastor said, “I will not have you in this fucking house dressed like a goddamn Satanist!”
“What the fuck am I supposed to wear?” I asked. That was a mistake and it was punished by an open palmed slap on the cheek. It was hard enough to knock me off my feet.

“Don’t you ever fucking talk to me like that again.” The Pastor snarled, “Get your ass over to your old room. You’ve got clothes there, don’t you?”
He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and tossed me out into the hall. I swayed uneasily on my feet before I got up and made my way down to my old bedroom. It was a little disheartening to see that it had barely been touched since the day I left.

Changing out of my clothes almost felt like giving up part of myself. Shedding some aspect of my identity that I desperately didn’t want to lose… But I knew I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. The Pastor was angry enough and I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to openly defy him. The old plain dresses that the Pastor had insisted we wear were untouched in my closet. It didn’t matter which one I put on. They were almost all the same. Looking in the mirror after I’d gotten changed, I felt… robbed. I hated the way the plain dress felt on my skin. I hated the way my face looked without the makeup. I hated seeing myself without the identity I’d created. The version of me that I wanted to be.

A heavy fist pounded on my door. The sound of it tore me away from my thoughts as a familiar shiver of fear made its way down my spine.
“I’m coming in.” The Pastor warned in the split second before he opened the door.
There was no need to hide his rage now. His belt rested in one hand and I remembered its sting very, very well. In his other hand was a razor, and I knew full well what he planned on doing with that.
“Well now…” He said, “You look almost respectable, don’t you Kate?”

I was silent as I stared back at him, trying my best to remain defiant even though I knew that it wouldn’t count for anything.
“I’ll have to tell your sisters the good news later today.” He said, “They’ll be down with their husbands soon enough… New grandkids too. Our little familys gotten bigger and now that our little lost lamb is back, it’s perfect.”
He approached me, taking bold strides as I shied away from him.
“Almost perfect.” He added, “It’s a shame. You always had such pretty hair… Then you had to go and chop it off and discolor it. For what? You wanted to look like a boy? Is that it? You want to pretend you’re a man now? Is that why I found you fucking some whore in the city?”
I bit my lip, unable to make myself say anything in response. The Pastor gripped me by the chin and forced me to look up at him.
“Well… You’ll grow your real hair back in time. Don’t you worry. But right now I’m getting rid of this bullshit. Hold still.”

I pulled away from him, my teeth gritted in frustration.
“Don’t you dare touch me.” I warned as if there was anything I could do to stop him. The Pastor just glared at me before he grabbed me by the front of the dress, hard enough that I felt the seams of the fabric pop a little.

“Now you listen here and you listen well, little girl.” He snarled, “I am your Father and you belong to me. I’ll touch you as much as I want, whenever I want, however I fucking want because as a man, that is my God given right! You think you can deny me that? Do you? Because make no mistake little girl, I will not hesitate to feed you to the dogs like I did your little whore of a sister.”

The venom in his eyes made it clear that he was dead serious. I felt my heart racing in terror as whatever defiance I might have had left in me died. The Pastor dragged me over to the mirror before he turned on the razor. I closed my eyes, unable to watch as he took it to my hair. I could feel my dyed black locks falling around me. My body quaked and shivered in terror but I couldn’t do anything more than whimper as he shaved me bald and tore away the last of the identity I’d so carefully made for myself.

“Only the weak open themselves to sin.” He said as he shaved me, “I have no place in my family for sinners and no place in my family for weakness. Mark my fucking words, little girl… I will snuff out whatever sin I find and God will sing my praises as I do!”

At last, he let me go and I opened my eyes. I suppose the silver lining to my newfound baldness was that at least it served as a reminder that I had, at least for a little while, achieved my independence. The Pastor didn’t seem to approve of the new look but at least he tolerated it. His hand rested on my shoulder as he tugged me away from the mirror.

“There… At least you’ve got most of that wretched sin off of your body. We’ll need to figure out what to do with those vile pictures you’ve defiled yourself with… but that can come later…” He pulled me hard out into the hallway again. I didn’t resist him. I had no idea what was waiting for me, but the belt in his hand made me think twice about fighting it.

“Now at least you’ll look proper as you find your path back to Jesus Christ…” He said, “You should thank your Mother I’m being so merciful to you. Were it up to me, the Dogs would be eating well tonight… But your sins don’t go without penance little girl. Oh no. You will find your way back to Jesus…”
Up ahead, I saw the basement door yawning open. I knew what was going to happen before it did and thought I was terrified, my body wouldn’t fight back.
“And until you do, you won’t see God's gift of sunlight!”
I didn’t scream until I was at the top of the stairs. With one push, the Pastor had launched me into the darkness and I hit the wooden staircase hard as I rolled down it and onto the concrete floor below. The basement door slammed shut as I lay on the ground, sore, almost certainly bleeding and disoriented.

In the span of a few hours, my life had been destroyed… and now I lay bloody on the cold hard ground of Pastor Young's basement as it all sank in. Alone in that cold cellar, the reality of my situation was crushing. The Pastor had clearly been planning to retrieve me for some time. The bars on the small cellar windows were a new addition as was the small dirty mattress that was down there for me to sleep on.

I learned very quickly not to get too close to the windows. The dogs outside rushed to them when I tried to tug on the bars on the off chance they might be loose. Their aggressive barking made me shy away immediately. Even if I could get through those bars, I’d be killed before I could climb out. Like I said, the Pastor raised his dogs mean.

The hymns started soon after I’d been thrown into the basement. They were played loud through a speaker that had been set up in one corner and I knew that they’d never stop. The Pastor was the sort of man who believed that if he crammed Jesus down my throat hard enough, then perhaps I might see the light again. Frankly, the hymns only served to get on my nerves. My body ached from the fall down the stairs. I could taste blood in my mouth but at the very least, I was alone and the endless hymns were better company than the Pastor.

The first day in the basement passed quietly enough. For that much, I was grateful. I didn’t see or hear from anyone until the evening when the basement door opened. My Mother was careful to lock the door behind her as she descended the stairs with a bowl. Inside it was a chunky brown slurry. The stink of it turned my stomach. Mother gingerly set the bowl at the bottom of the stairs and watched as I approached it.

“Dog food?” I asked, “Are you serious? You can’t treat me like this!”
“The Pastor was very clear. If you’re going to run away like some stubborn animal, you’re going to live and eat like an animal.” She said. Her tone implied no joy in what she was doing. I knew she technically had no choice… but her compliance served only to anger me.
“I’m not going to eat dog food!” I snapped.
“You’ll eat what he says you’ll eat and you’ll like it!” Mother replied, “This food is a blessing, Kate! Right now the fact that he is being so forgiving right now is a blessing! Don’t throw it back in his face. Eat it. You won’t get anything else until you do.”

With that, she turned and headed back upstairs as quickly as she could. I stared down at the chunky slurry of meat that the Pastor fed his dogs and my stomach turned. I’d given up meat soon after I’d left the family. It had been three years since I’d had it. The sight and smell of it already didn’t agree with me. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stomach it and I wasn’t desperate enough to try yet. There was a leaking pipe in one corner I knew I could use for water. I told myself that I could do without food for a while and if I couldn’t, then maybe it would be better to starve to death than demean myself and let the Pastor force me back into the mold he expected me to fit.

As the light through my barred window turned golden, the basement door was thrown open. I could hear the Pastors heavy footsteps coming down for me and I prepared myself for what was to come. The sight of the shotgun in Pastor Young's hands made my empty stomach sink as a deep and familiar dread returned to my soul.

He glared at me, then down at the bowl of cold dog food on the floor.
“You’re not eating?” He asked, “You think this is some sort of game, don’t you? You act like a spoiled brat and don’t eat the bounty God has given you and hope for… what? Something better to come along?”
I didn’t speak. I just watched the shotgun. The Pastor kicked the bowl over to the dirty mattress I sat on. His eyes remained fixated on me.
“There won’t be anything else until you eat it.” He warned, “Now eat.”
The gun wasn’t aimed at me… yet. It didn’t need to be. The threat was enough to make me compliant. I reached for the bowl before he stopped me.

“Ah ah. What do we do before we eat?”
“W-we say grace…” I said quietly.
“Yes we do. Did you say grace, little girl?”
I bit my lip before shaking my head. Without a word from him, I put my hands together in prayer and closed my eyes. I knew the words. They’d been drilled into my head since before I even learned to talk.

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
“Good. At least your time out in the city hasn’t made you a complete fucking heathen. Now… Eat. All of it.”

The cold pulpy meat was slimy as I scooped it into my mouth. Its taste made me gag. I’d barely swallowed my second mouthful before my stomach rejected it and I retched it all up onto the floor. For the sin of vomiting, I got a stern kick to the stomach.
“DO NOT WASTE GOD'S BOUNTY, LITTLE GIRL!” The Pastor roared. I coughed, sputtered and gagged as I curled into a ball. The shotgun was aimed at me now. It would be easy to say that part of me wanted him to pull the trigger but staring down death, I found myself absolutely terrified.
“N-no…” I rasped, “Dad… Please…”
“Eat it.” He repeated, “Now.”
I reached for the bowl again only for the Pastor to kick it out of my reach. Its contents spilled onto the floor.

“No, no, no. Eat what you wasted.” I looked up at him, my eyes wide with horror as I realized what he meant. I opened my mouth to protest but the presence of the gun killed the words before they could leave my throat.
“Eat.” He repeated.
I didn’t want to. I couldn’t… But I had no choice. He stood over me as I stooped over the mess on the floor and forced myself to eat it. The taste of my own bile was enough to make me gag and retch but the Pastor loomed over me, waiting until I managed to lick it off the cold concrete floor.

My ‘meal’ sat uncomfortably in my now sickened stomach as he forced me to my knees. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks and his hateful eyes burned into mine.
“There…” He said quietly, “Now… Pray. You remember your Hail Mary, girl? Pray it.”
And I did. I said my prayers. Hail Mary and Our Father. I said them over and over again until the Pastor was satisfied. He paced behind me as I muttered the familiar prayers, listening for any lapse in them. When he was done, he left me kneeling on the floor as he quietly went back upstairs and left me in the dark of the basement again. I was shaking, both with fear and from the cold that the night brought. My stomach turned and I didn’t keep that disgusting slurry down for much longer. I puked it up in a corner and desperately tried to hide it before I made my way over to my cot and collapsed down onto it.

I think part of me realized that I was going to die in that basement… One way or another, I was going to die down there. I didn’t want to accept it. Oh no. I was too stubborn for that. I had every intention of fighting as hard as I could but some truths lurk in the back of your mind, impossible to escape. As I curled up on that cot, hungry, sickened and afraid I tried to sleep. Somehow I managed and I remember that as I closed my eyes, I saw a figure in a plain white dress standing in the corner.

My second and third days in captivity went similarly to the first. The hymns were played on repeat. My Mother fed me more of that awful meat slurry and again I couldn’t keep it down. In the evening, Pastor Young came down with the shotgun and made me pray to his satisfaction and I’d barely manage to sleep dreamlessly on that old dirty mattress.

When I did, I’d dream of my sister Grace… I’d remember the way the Pastor had screamed at her and thrown her to the ground. I remembered the brutality he’d displayed and when I opened my eyes, I was sure I caught just a moment's glimpse of a plain white dress in the corner. Lingering there, filled out as if someone was inside it. For a few moments, I almost thought I’d recognized Graces face where the head should have been but every time I tried to focus, it would be gone. It had to be delirium… My mind fragmenting and falling apart. What Pastor Young was doing to me was nothing less than torture and as the days blended one into the other I could feel my mind withering away and my sanity cracking. The thought of dying became more appealing than anything else.

Time stopped having meaning fairly quickly. I think I’d made it about five days when I felt myself breaking entirely. Bit by bit, their cruelty eroded me. Death began to look more and more like not only an inevitability but a more favorable option. I couldn’t keep down much of the meat slurry and so I was hungrier than I’d been in a very long time. The metallic taste of the water from the pipe lingered in my mouth and when the Pastor came down in the evenings with his shotgun to make me recite my prayers I caught myself hoping that this time he would be dissatisfied. This time he would shoot me and give me an out.

For a man who preached of salvation and mercy though, he offered me none of either. When I heard him coming down the stairs again, at least a week after I’d been taken I sat quietly as I waited for him. The empty bowl waited beside me and the Pastor just huffed in quiet approval when he saw it.
“So I see you’re learning your place again, little girl.” He growled, “That’s good. Maybe when I decide you are fit to rejoin our family you won’t be so quick to cast us aside again. There’s no place you can go in this world where I will not find you again. You cannot keep a man from his rightful God given property.”

I had no answer to that. I just got on my knees and clasped my hands together in prayer. His every word filled me with rage but I didn’t have enough left in me to let it show. I felt broken… Burnt out and weak.
“Let’s start with a Hail Mary. Beg Jesus for your forgiveness, little girl. Beg him nice and good.”
Automatically I spoke the first few words of the prayer. “Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee…”

Then I trailed off. I’m still not sure if that was a conscious choice or not. I don’t know if I was choosing to provoke him or if something in me just gave out.
“Keep going. Finish it.” The Pastor said but I didn’t reply. From the corner of my eye I could see the shotgun in his hand and I knew that it was my ticket out. The one way I could finally be free of him.
“Finish it!” The Pastor snarled and I finally looked up at him.

“Blessed art thou amongst women and if you’re out there, do me a favor and send Pastor Young straight to hell.”
I could see his brow furrow in rage as I continued my revised version of the prayer.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God. Either drop this fucking house on me and kill us all or maybe collapse that fucking church of his on his whole cocksucking congregation!”
The Pastor hit me and knocked me to the ground. The force of it made my ears ring.

“You don’t dare mock the Virgin Mary!” He snapped. I looked up at him, exhausted and bitter.
“I was mocking you.” I corrected, “Did you ever once consider why I left? Did you? I left because I hate you. I left because I can’t stand the thought of being related to you.”
He hit me again, but I didn’t stop.
“The first chance I get… I’ll find my way out again…” I rasped as I glared up at him. “So unless you shoot me right now, you’re wasting your time.”

He aimed the gun at my head. I felt an anxious flutter in my chest. My every instinct told me to cower and apologize but I defied them. I knew he was going to kill me… But I refused to die as Kate Young. I stared down the barrel of the gun, then back at him.
“Do it… Because if you don’t I will do everything in my fucking power to ruin your ministry and when I’m done I’m going to burn your fucking Church to the ground and shit on the ashes!

The Pastor let out an enraged snarl before he struck me with the butt of the gun. I felt the barrel of the shotgun pressed against the back of my head and I knew that this was it. This was how I was going to die… and I was okay with that. For the first time since he’d come back into my life, I was laughing and as I waited for oblivion I smiled. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pull the trigger… Then I heard the gunshot. But I did not die.

The barrel of his gun was forced upwards and torn from his hand. The Pastor and I were no longer alone in the basement now. There was someone else with us. A pale girl in a plain dress, much like my own. A girl with a face that I still recognized, even though I hadn’t seen it in years.

Grace's eyes held a cold fury to them as she glared at the Pastor and in his own eyes, I saw an unfamiliar fear. He stumbled back a step, mouth open in a silent scream at the sight of his dearly departed daughter. Grace looked down at me. She didn’t say a word but I saw her expression soften. As the Pastor ran for the stairs, she reached a hand out to me and I knew to take it.

As she pulled me to my feet, I watched her fade into nothingness… but I felt a new warmth spreading from my body.
“I’m here, Kate.” A voice whispered in the back of my mind. Grace’s voice. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore…”
When I stepped forwards and began to follow the Pastor up the stairs I’m not sure if I was fully in control or not. I could feel a strange energy coursing through my veins. I felt powerful, more powerful than I ever had before.

The Pastor had slammed and locked the basement door behind him and yet as I approached, the door flew open so violently that it was almost torn off its hinges. Through it, I could see my… our Mother standing in the kitchen. Her eyes fixated on me and widened in both shock and horror. The color drained from her skin as she stumbled backwards. I couldn’t see what she saw… But I knew exactly what she thought she was looking at.

“Grace…” She gasped and I could hear her breathing get heavier. My eyes locked with hers and I could feel something inside of me. I could feel Graces spirit reaching out to her, willing her to die.
And I could see our Mothers body tensing up. Her breathing became more strained. She seemed to wheeze as her limbs failed her. Later on, I’d learn that her official cause of death would be deemed a sudden heart attack… But I doubt that was what actually killed her. She died because Grace wanted her to die… and I didn’t care enough to try and stop it.

I could hear the Pastor just down the hall, frantically trying to flee and escape us but neither I nor Grace dared to let him. As one entity, we followed the sound of his frightened footsteps through the house. Just down the hall, I could see him throwing the front door open as he scurried out into the yard. I could hear the dogs barking and I realized exactly what Grace had in mind for him.

When we reached the door, I saw the Pastor standing at the end of the porch. His own dogs waited in the yard around him, their teeth bared and their eyes all fixated on him. I’d never seen Pastor Young afraid before but now the terror that radiated off of him was palpable. He looked at the dogs, then back towards Grace and I as we stood in the doorway, looking down on him.

Slowly, the Pastor sank down to his knees before us.
“G-Grace…” He said softly, “Grace… Please… Please… S-show some mercy… I-I’m your Father! For the love of God, Grace I’m your goddamn Father!”
“No.” Grace's voice came from my mouth, “You’re dog food… Just like I was.”

“Grace, wait!” The Pastor called but he was too late. As if on cue, the dogs came for him and as their teeth sank into his flesh he screamed in glorious terror and agony. As his beloved dogs tore at his flesh and ripped at his throat, he wailed and screeched until his vocal cords were ripped from him. Then all he did was choke as he was reduced to nothing more than a gory mess on the lawn. As I watched him die, I felt that warm sensation in me start to fade. From the corner of my eye, I saw Grace standing beside me.

I turned to try and look at her only for her to disappear from my view. As soon as she’d come back, Grace was gone again and I stood on the porch alone as the Pastors body twitched its dying spasms. I looked down at him. Some noble part of my mind wanted to pity him but I couldn’t bother to waste pity on a man like that. The dogs were eating well… That was as much of a funeral as he deserved.

My body was starting to feel weak again and I retreated back into the house. My Mother was still in the kitchen, cold and dead on the floor and I was free. This time, I had nothing to run from.

I’m not sure if the Pastor was smart or stupid to leave my original birth certificate in the house. It didn’t take me long to find it, as well as a decent amount of evidence to disprove his lies. In the morning, I left the Young Ranch behind for the last time. Pastor Young had done everything in his power to destroy my life… Now it was time to rebuild it.
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to Write_Right [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:35 peaceful_eastbound Finished my first playthrough 1 hour ago, here are my thoughts

English is my first language so I have no excuse if this is hard to read
The Outer Worlds has been on hell of an experience for me, I had been immensely excited for this game since I first saw the trailer but sadly waited to play since it was on the Epic games store. After finally installing the game and playing all of my expectations were met. With 31 hours currently clocked in the game I immediately want to restart and make all the opposite choices I had made in my first playthrough.
It's a bit hard to put my feelings into words but its almost like this game was a piece of a puzzle, fitting perfectly into my mind. It was everything I want out of a game, a great story, engaging characters, decent gameplay, and everything to be a role players dream.
While the gunplay and movement leave a lot to be desired I never felt as though they took me out of the experience. I found my self pushing farthing into the game to just see what new characters I would meet, exploring each world making sure there wasn't a single side quest that I could have missed just so I could meet more characters to fall in love with.
I found myself actually caring about my crew (Except Nyoka I didn't even know she could be a crew member until right before the end of the game when I was tying up all loose ends.) and getting such genuine joy listening to them interact with each other and feeling so involved with their specific quest lines. Especially Parvatis quest, since it grew and very nicely went along with the main quest line with each place you would go.
I appreciate Obsidians dedication to quality over quantity, even if I wish it was longer I am so happy with the experience they were able to produce.
One of my few complaints is that there really felt like a lack of progression when it came to weapons, while the science weapons can be fun and some of the named weapons are cool I really just ended up using essentially the same ultra assault rifle for about 65% of the game, I would try and branch out by modding and tinkering with other weapons but none felt like they were even on par with the basic feeling assault rifle.
I'm going to have to stop myself from continuing to sing this games praises but ever moment I'm typing this out is a moment I could spend on a second playthrough.
tldr: 10/10 game this shit was made for me gonna go play again
submitted by peaceful_eastbound to theouterworlds [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:26 HeadOfSpectre The Pastors Daughter

Kate Young died a long time ago and there’s nothing that will ever bring her back. She’s gone. I’ve erased every part of her and I regret none of it.

Kate had long brown hair, solemn eyes and clear skin. She wore plain dresses, befitting a pastor's daughter. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t say a word when people mistreated her and she especially didn’t say a word to her Father, no matter how cruel he’d been towards her, her mother or her sisters. She was weak, broken and damned to the life of a quiet Christian housewife whether she wanted it or not.

Pastor Howard Young had a specific plan for exactly how her life would go from the very moment she was born, the exact same plan he had for all four of her older sisters. He was going to marry her off to a man from a good, Christian household. A man just like him. One who understood his ‘traditional’ family values where the man's word was absolute and women were good for nothing but household chores and rearing children. Pastor Young believed that women didn’t have the aptitude for anything beyond that.

Kate would have had a big family. She’d have as many children as her husband wanted and she’d stay home to care for them, leaving only to shop and go to church. She would not have voted, pursued any higher education or any meaningful employment. Pastor Young did not believe in such things, nor did he believe that women should have any social relationships outside of family and was quite firm in his belief that women going outside of the home could never lead to anything good.

This was the life that her mother lived. It was the life two of her older sisters lived and inevitably it would be the life that Kate lived… even if she did not want it. Perhaps her Mother and her sisters were ‘happy’ with the life that Pastor Young had enforced upon them, but to Kate the very concept of it sounded absolutely hellish. That was why I killed her, to spare her from that future and I consider her death an act of mercy.

I no longer saw Kate when I looked in the mirror anymore, nor did I even associate that name with myself. My name was Chloe Grimm. I was a pale, twenty two year old girl with short jet black hair. I’d decorated my body with piercings and tattoos simply because I wanted them. I didn’t bother with Church anymore. I’d decided long ago that the wrathful entity that most people defined as ‘God’ wasn’t something I wanted to believe in. I’d burned almost everything that identified me as Kate Young and had embraced my new identity. I wasn’t an idiot, of course. I kept what I thought I needed until I could legally change my name. But all of that was only a temporary measure.

I lived in a small apartment with my girlfriend Anna Meyers and I jugged a full time job at a local department store with University. I’d taken an interest in marine biology and with nothing holding me back, I went for it. The little life I’d carved out for myself wasn’t much but it was mine and for the first time in my life, I was happy. I was exactly where I belonged. I didn’t like talking about just where I’d come from. Pastor Young had a large enough congregation that I didn’t dare risk using my old name lest I be recognized. Even in a city that was hours away from his toxic congregation, the Pastor had his zealots. That said, I also never explicitly lied about who I was either. Anna and some of my friends knew a few of the details but I’d never have told any of them any specifics nor had I told them exactly how bad things were. Part of me just wanted to forget, and part of me dreaded the concept of them trying to ‘punish’ the Pastor over his many crimes. Something like that could only end badly.

I never actually told anyone that Pastor Young was my ‘parent’. Ever since I left, I refused to consider him as such. It allowed me to distance myself from him and imagine that I was someone else who’d never even met him. Likewise I made a point not to think too much on who I’d been before my escape. Bad memories still crept in from time to time and there were the occasional nightmares as well.

Usually, those dreams consisted of scattered events from my childhood. Hymns sung in a trembling voice in my bedroom as I listened to Pastor Young beat my mother or one of my sisters for acting out of line. I remember one of my older sisters, Grace, would hold me as we sang. She’d lead the hymns and my other sisters, Faith, Rachel and May would sing with us, drowning out the screams from downstairs…

I remember the way Faith had sat with me during those nights. I remember the way she’d taken my hand and smiled at me.
“It’s okay Kate. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you.” She’d said… If only someone had been there to make sure they didn’t hurt her.

Sometimes, I’d dream about Pastor Young entering our shared bedroom. I could feel him standing over our beds as he decided which daughter would be his for the night… The Pastor was a man who believed that his ownership over his family was absolute. He believed that a man had certain rights and those rights extended to his own daughters. Other times, I’d dream about Pastor Young screaming at Grace, calling her a whore and slapping her across the kitchen, all because she’d met a nice boy at Church and he didn’t approve of him. I remember looking back and seeing him grabbing Grace by the throat and forcing her to her feet. I remember him saying: “You wanna know what Jesus does to whores, little girl?” I remember that, that was the last time I ever saw Grace before he dragged her into the basement.

Every time I dreamed about my life before I’d left, I’d wake up cold and covered in sweat. I’d leave quietly, making sure I didn’t wake up Anna and go watch TV or find some schoolwork to do as I tried and forget. I never did. The screams and hymns echoed through my brain. They never stopped. I rarely found my way back to sleep after those nightmares… but at least I had the solace of no longer being trapped in that house, with that monster. I could look in the mirror and see that I was no longer Kate Young and know that the Pastor was far away from me. I was finally free of him.. Free to live my own life, be my own person and determine my own destiny. At least… I thought I was.

I’d worked a late shift on the day my life came crashing down, nothing unusual. I’d gotten myself a burger on my way to the bus stop and it sat heavy in my stomach on the way home. I’d checked my phone, hoping to see a text from Anna. There was nothing. It was late, so she may have just gone to bed. It was nothing to worry about. I got off at my usual stop and walked the rest of the way to my apartment. I wasn’t even a block away when I saw the police cars out front. I froze in place as the red and blue sirens flashed over me. My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion.

Something had happened to Anna. I never even stopped to consider it as anything else. My instincts immediately told me to look out for my girlfriend. I ran towards the building and as I did, I saw a police officer stepping in front of me. There was nothing I could do to stop myself from crashing into his arms. In my panicked state, I almost didn’t hear the words he said to me. Not until he said that name.
“Kate? It’s okay! We’ve got you!”
That fucking name… The one I hadn’t heard in three years. It should have been then that I knew I was in trouble.

After that, everything was a blur. They asked me to get into a car and told me they were taking me to the station. They never told me what had happened to Anna and deflected every question I had. I didn’t know what was going on until I arrived inside the station and I saw him. In the three years away from him, he’d grown a beard. His eyes were as kindly as always, hiding the ugly truth about him from the world. I saw past them though, and when he looked at me I knew he saw past Chloe Grimm and saw only Kate Young.

“Kate!” he said, his voice warm and comforting. He pulled me into a hug that I didn’t reciprocate. At the mere sight of him, my body had locked up but when I felt his touch, every atom of my being made me want to pull away. Behind him I could see my Mother, the dutiful pastor's wife Melissa Young. The look on her face was one of genuine relief and it was not an emotion I shared.
“Oh you poor girl, we were so worried about you.” Pastor Young said as he smoothed my hair down. I could tell he disapproved. “I was so afraid that something terrible had happened to you but we’re here now to take you home.”

Home?
No…

I forced myself away from the Pastor.
“Get the hell away from me!” I spat, making no effort to hide the sheer venom in my voice. Pastor Young stared at me, looking genuinely upset that I’d pulled away from him.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Anna?”
“Anna?” The Pastor asked. His expression darkened. “That sick pedophile who took you from us… who kept you in her home, who raped you? The Police will ensure that she is punished for her crimes, taking you… a child from our home…”

Pedophile? Oh that was rich coming from the likes of him. Was he seriously trying to pretend that I was underage?
“What did you do?” I demanded, “What did you tell these people?”
“Well we told them the truth, sweetie.” My Mother chimed in, “A sixteen year old girl has no business out here, all on her own in the care of some pervert!”
“I’m twenty two!” I snapped and for a moment, I saw a knowing look enter the Pastors eyes. A mocking sympathy that warned me not to fight him. The old fear that resurfaced in me almost kept me silent but no… No I had to fight! I had to!
“That woman has done a lot to twist you with her lies, Kate. But you don’t need to pretend anymore. We’re here! You’re safe now. You’re coming back home with us.”

The subtle tone in his voice made it clear that I didn’t have any say in the matter and the expressions of the cops around me made it clear whose side they were on. I later found out that The Pastor had crafted one hell of an elaborate lie. A fake birth certificate, support from his local county police who swore I was just an impressionable 16 year old lured away by a predator… He had everything he needed to convince them I was still just a child who belonged under his care. No amount of fighting was going to keep me in the city and trust me, I fought. It didn’t matter.

When I was finally led to the car, my body was tense. I desperately wished I’d wake up from this nightmare but I never did. I’d had three years of freedom. I thought I’d covered my tracks so well but the Pastor had come back for me and I found that there was nothing I could do.

During the drive back ‘home’ his demeanor changed entirely. The Pastor didn’t need to keep up the smile, so he didn’t bother. Mother barely spoke to me and barely even looked at me during the hours it took to drive back to that country hellhole where I’d grown up.
“You look like a goddamned whore, dressed in black and with those fucking tattoos.” The Pastor said, “I can’t put into words how disappointed I am in you. I raised you right, didn’t I? I showed you the light and this is what you choose to do with your life? Absolutely fucking disgraceful…”

I gritted my teeth, holding back the insults I so desperately wanted to sling back at the man. In the police station, Chloe Grimm had some power but in the car, Chloe didn’t exist. Like it or not, I was Kate Young again and Kate Young knew better than to talk back to the Pastor, lest she make things worse for herself. I avoided looking at him and just stared out the window. If I thought I could get away from it, I would have thrown open the door and jumped out. The Pastor must have seen that coming. His new car had child safety locks. The only way I was getting out is if he opened the door for me.
“You don’t even have anything to say for yourself, do you?” Pastor Young asked. He scoffed bitterly but said nothing more. There’d be plenty to say when we got ‘home’.

The Young Ranch hadn’t changed much in the years that I’d been away. It was about a few miles down the road from the sprawling megachurch where he ‘gifted’ the world with his sermons. As we drove up the dirt road leading to the ranch, I spotted several large dogs in the yard. The sight of them sent a familiar shiver down my spine. The Pastor was a private man and those dogs were his means of ensuring that there were no trespassers on his property. He fed them better than his own family and he’d raised them mean too.

Three years ago, I’d been smart enough to lace their morning feed with a very generous dosage of sleeping pills I’d stolen from a convenience store in town. When the dogs were either asleep or dead, I’d hitched a ride with a friend out of town. No bus stations. Nothing in the county or any adjacent counties that the Pastor could easily track. I thought I’d been clever… I guess I wasn’t quite clever enough.

The car lurched to a stop and as it did, I could hear the dogs barking and snarling at it right up until the Pastor got out of the car. Then they bowed their heads and shied away. Growing up, Pastor Young had always told me that it was a display of obedience. Now I knew that it was actually a show of fear. Mother got out of the car quickly and used the dog's fear as an opportunity to scurry towards the house. I saw a couple of them growling at her but they knew better than to snap in the Pastors presence.

I remained in the car until the Pastor let me out. Even if I could have gotten out on my own, I didn’t want to agitate the dogs. My sister May had learned firsthand what happened when you did a few years back and had the scars and glass eye to prove it. The Pastor tore the door open and grabbed me by the arm to drag me out.
“First things first you’re gonna wash that fucking ridiculous makeup off your goddamn face.” He growled. He dragged me towards the house and into one of the bathrooms where my Mother was waiting.

He held me in place as my face was sprayed with water and a coarse towel was used to violently scrub Chloe Grimms makeup off my face. It left smears on the towel. Then my piercings were taken out and tossed aside.
“The clothes go next.” The Pastor said, “I will not have you in this fucking house dressed like a goddamn Satanist!”
“What the fuck am I supposed to wear?” I asked. That was a mistake and it was punished by an open palmed slap on the cheek. It was hard enough to knock me off my feet.

“Don’t you ever fucking talk to me like that again.” The Pastor snarled, “Get your ass over to your old room. You’ve got clothes there, don’t you?”
He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and tossed me out into the hall. I swayed uneasily on my feet before I got up and made my way down to my old bedroom. It was a little disheartening to see that it had barely been touched since the day I left.

Changing out of my clothes almost felt like giving up part of myself. Shedding some aspect of my identity that I desperately didn’t want to lose… But I knew I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. The Pastor was angry enough and I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to openly defy him. The old plain dresses that the Pastor had insisted we wear were untouched in my closet. It didn’t matter which one I put on. They were almost all the same. Looking in the mirror after I’d gotten changed, I felt… robbed. I hated the way the plain dress felt on my skin. I hated the way my face looked without the makeup. I hated seeing myself without the identity I’d created. The version of me that I wanted to be.

A heavy fist pounded on my door. The sound of it tore me away from my thoughts as a familiar shiver of fear made its way down my spine.
“I’m coming in.” The Pastor warned in the split second before he opened the door.
There was no need to hide his rage now. His belt rested in one hand and I remembered its sting very, very well. In his other hand was a razor, and I knew full well what he planned on doing with that.
“Well now…” He said, “You look almost respectable, don’t you Kate?”

I was silent as I stared back at him, trying my best to remain defiant even though I knew that it wouldn’t count for anything.
“I’ll have to tell your sisters the good news later today.” He said, “They’ll be down with their husbands soon enough… New grandkids too. Our little familys gotten bigger and now that our little lost lamb is back, it’s perfect.”
He approached me, taking bold strides as I shied away from him.
“Almost perfect.” He added, “It’s a shame. You always had such pretty hair… Then you had to go and chop it off and discolor it. For what? You wanted to look like a boy? Is that it? You want to pretend you’re a man now? Is that why I found you fucking some whore in the city?”
I bit my lip, unable to make myself say anything in response. The Pastor gripped me by the chin and forced me to look up at him.
“Well… You’ll grow your real hair back in time. Don’t you worry. But right now I’m getting rid of this bullshit. Hold still.”

I pulled away from him, my teeth gritted in frustration.
“Don’t you dare touch me.” I warned as if there was anything I could do to stop him. The Pastor just glared at me before he grabbed me by the front of the dress, hard enough that I felt the seams of the fabric pop a little.

“Now you listen here and you listen well, little girl.” He snarled, “I am your Father and you belong to me. I’ll touch you as much as I want, whenever I want, however I fucking want because as a man, that is my God given right! You think you can deny me that? Do you? Because make no mistake little girl, I will not hesitate to feed you to the dogs like I did your little whore of a sister.”

The venom in his eyes made it clear that he was dead serious. I felt my heart racing in terror as whatever defiance I might have had left in me died. The Pastor dragged me over to the mirror before he turned on the razor. I closed my eyes, unable to watch as he took it to my hair. I could feel my dyed black locks falling around me. My body quaked and shivered in terror but I couldn’t do anything more than whimper as he shaved me bald and tore away the last of the identity I’d so carefully made for myself.

“Only the weak open themselves to sin.” He said as he shaved me, “I have no place in my family for sinners and no place in my family for weakness. Mark my fucking words, little girl… I will snuff out whatever sin I find and God will sing my praises as I do!”

At last, he let me go and I opened my eyes. I suppose the silver lining to my newfound baldness was that at least it served as a reminder that I had, at least for a little while, achieved my independence. The Pastor didn’t seem to approve of the new look but at least he tolerated it. His hand rested on my shoulder as he tugged me away from the mirror.

“There… At least you’ve got most of that wretched sin off of your body. We’ll need to figure out what to do with those vile pictures you’ve defiled yourself with… but that can come later…” He pulled me hard out into the hallway again. I didn’t resist him. I had no idea what was waiting for me, but the belt in his hand made me think twice about fighting it.

“Now at least you’ll look proper as you find your path back to Jesus Christ…” He said, “You should thank your Mother I’m being so merciful to you. Were it up to me, the Dogs would be eating well tonight… But your sins don’t go without penance little girl. Oh no. You will find your way back to Jesus…”
Up ahead, I saw the basement door yawning open. I knew what was going to happen before it did and thought I was terrified, my body wouldn’t fight back.
“And until you do, you won’t see God's gift of sunlight!”
I didn’t scream until I was at the top of the stairs. With one push, the Pastor had launched me into the darkness and I hit the wooden staircase hard as I rolled down it and onto the concrete floor below. The basement door slammed shut as I lay on the ground, sore, almost certainly bleeding and disoriented.

In the span of a few hours, my life had been destroyed… and now I lay bloody on the cold hard ground of Pastor Young's basement as it all sank in. Alone in that cold cellar, the reality of my situation was crushing. The Pastor had clearly been planning to retrieve me for some time. The bars on the small cellar windows were a new addition as was the small dirty mattress that was down there for me to sleep on.

I learned very quickly not to get too close to the windows. The dogs outside rushed to them when I tried to tug on the bars on the off chance they might be loose. Their aggressive barking made me shy away immediately. Even if I could get through those bars, I’d be killed before I could climb out. Like I said, the Pastor raised his dogs mean.

The hymns started soon after I’d been thrown into the basement. They were played loud through a speaker that had been set up in one corner and I knew that they’d never stop. The Pastor was the sort of man who believed that if he crammed Jesus down my throat hard enough, then perhaps I might see the light again. Frankly, the hymns only served to get on my nerves. My body ached from the fall down the stairs. I could taste blood in my mouth but at the very least, I was alone and the endless hymns were better company than the Pastor.

The first day in the basement passed quietly enough. For that much, I was grateful. I didn’t see or hear from anyone until the evening when the basement door opened. My Mother was careful to lock the door behind her as she descended the stairs with a bowl. Inside it was a chunky brown slurry. The stink of it turned my stomach. Mother gingerly set the bowl at the bottom of the stairs and watched as I approached it.

“Dog food?” I asked, “Are you serious? You can’t treat me like this!”
“The Pastor was very clear. If you’re going to run away like some stubborn animal, you’re going to live and eat like an animal.” She said. Her tone implied no joy in what she was doing. I knew she technically had no choice… but her compliance served only to anger me.
“I’m not going to eat dog food!” I snapped.
“You’ll eat what he says you’ll eat and you’ll like it!” Mother replied, “This food is a blessing, Kate! Right now the fact that he is being so forgiving right now is a blessing! Don’t throw it back in his face. Eat it. You won’t get anything else until you do.”

With that, she turned and headed back upstairs as quickly as she could. I stared down at the chunky slurry of meat that the Pastor fed his dogs and my stomach turned. I’d given up meat soon after I’d left the family. It had been three years since I’d had it. The sight and smell of it already didn’t agree with me. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stomach it and I wasn’t desperate enough to try yet. There was a leaking pipe in one corner I knew I could use for water. I told myself that I could do without food for a while and if I couldn’t, then maybe it would be better to starve to death than demean myself and let the Pastor force me back into the mold he expected me to fit.

As the light through my barred window turned golden, the basement door was thrown open. I could hear the Pastors heavy footsteps coming down for me and I prepared myself for what was to come. The sight of the shotgun in Pastor Young's hands made my empty stomach sink as a deep and familiar dread returned to my soul.

He glared at me, then down at the bowl of cold dog food on the floor.
“You’re not eating?” He asked, “You think this is some sort of game, don’t you? You act like a spoiled brat and don’t eat the bounty God has given you and hope for… what? Something better to come along?”
I didn’t speak. I just watched the shotgun. The Pastor kicked the bowl over to the dirty mattress I sat on. His eyes remained fixated on me.
“There won’t be anything else until you eat it.” He warned, “Now eat.”
The gun wasn’t aimed at me… yet. It didn’t need to be. The threat was enough to make me compliant. I reached for the bowl before he stopped me.

“Ah ah. What do we do before we eat?”
“W-we say grace…” I said quietly.
“Yes we do. Did you say grace, little girl?”
I bit my lip before shaking my head. Without a word from him, I put my hands together in prayer and closed my eyes. I knew the words. They’d been drilled into my head since before I even learned to talk.

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
“Good. At least your time out in the city hasn’t made you a complete fucking heathen. Now… Eat. All of it.”

The cold pulpy meat was slimy as I scooped it into my mouth. Its taste made me gag. I’d barely swallowed my second mouthful before my stomach rejected it and I retched it all up onto the floor. For the sin of vomiting, I got a stern kick to the stomach.
“DO NOT WASTE GOD'S BOUNTY, LITTLE GIRL!” The Pastor roared. I coughed, sputtered and gagged as I curled into a ball. The shotgun was aimed at me now. It would be easy to say that part of me wanted him to pull the trigger but staring down death, I found myself absolutely terrified.
“N-no…” I rasped, “Dad… Please…”
“Eat it.” He repeated, “Now.”
I reached for the bowl again only for the Pastor to kick it out of my reach. Its contents spilled onto the floor.

“No, no, no. Eat what you wasted.” I looked up at him, my eyes wide with horror as I realized what he meant. I opened my mouth to protest but the presence of the gun killed the words before they could leave my throat.
“Eat.” He repeated.
I didn’t want to. I couldn’t… But I had no choice. He stood over me as I stooped over the mess on the floor and forced myself to eat it. The taste of my own bile was enough to make me gag and retch but the Pastor loomed over me, waiting until I managed to lick it off the cold concrete floor.

My ‘meal’ sat uncomfortably in my now sickened stomach as he forced me to my knees. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks and his hateful eyes burned into mine.
“There…” He said quietly, “Now… Pray. You remember your Hail Mary, girl? Pray it.”
And I did. I said my prayers. Hail Mary and Our Father. I said them over and over again until the Pastor was satisfied. He paced behind me as I muttered the familiar prayers, listening for any lapse in them. When he was done, he left me kneeling on the floor as he quietly went back upstairs and left me in the dark of the basement again. I was shaking, both with fear and from the cold that the night brought. My stomach turned and I didn’t keep that disgusting slurry down for much longer. I puked it up in a corner and desperately tried to hide it before I made my way over to my cot and collapsed down onto it.

I think part of me realized that I was going to die in that basement… One way or another, I was going to die down there. I didn’t want to accept it. Oh no. I was too stubborn for that. I had every intention of fighting as hard as I could but some truths lurk in the back of your mind, impossible to escape. As I curled up on that cot, hungry, sickened and afraid I tried to sleep. Somehow I managed and I remember that as I closed my eyes, I saw a figure in a plain white dress standing in the corner.

My second and third days in captivity went similarly to the first. The hymns were played on repeat. My Mother fed me more of that awful meat slurry and again I couldn’t keep it down. In the evening, Pastor Young came down with the shotgun and made me pray to his satisfaction and I’d barely manage to sleep dreamlessly on that old dirty mattress.

When I did, I’d dream of my sister Grace… I’d remember the way the Pastor had screamed at her and thrown her to the ground. I remembered the brutality he’d displayed and when I opened my eyes, I was sure I caught just a moment's glimpse of a plain white dress in the corner. Lingering there, filled out as if someone was inside it. For a few moments, I almost thought I’d recognized Graces face where the head should have been but every time I tried to focus, it would be gone. It had to be delirium… My mind fragmenting and falling apart. What Pastor Young was doing to me was nothing less than torture and as the days blended one into the other I could feel my mind withering away and my sanity cracking. The thought of dying became more appealing than anything else.

Time stopped having meaning fairly quickly. I think I’d made it about five days when I felt myself breaking entirely. Bit by bit, their cruelty eroded me. Death began to look more and more like not only an inevitability but a more favorable option. I couldn’t keep down much of the meat slurry and so I was hungrier than I’d been in a very long time. The metallic taste of the water from the pipe lingered in my mouth and when the Pastor came down in the evenings with his shotgun to make me recite my prayers I caught myself hoping that this time he would be dissatisfied. This time he would shoot me and give me an out.

For a man who preached of salvation and mercy though, he offered me none of either. When I heard him coming down the stairs again, at least a week after I’d been taken I sat quietly as I waited for him. The empty bowl waited beside me and the Pastor just huffed in quiet approval when he saw it.
“So I see you’re learning your place again, little girl.” He growled, “That’s good. Maybe when I decide you are fit to rejoin our family you won’t be so quick to cast us aside again. There’s no place you can go in this world where I will not find you again. You cannot keep a man from his rightful God given property.”

I had no answer to that. I just got on my knees and clasped my hands together in prayer. His every word filled me with rage but I didn’t have enough left in me to let it show. I felt broken… Burnt out and weak.
“Let’s start with a Hail Mary. Beg Jesus for your forgiveness, little girl. Beg him nice and good.”
Automatically I spoke the first few words of the prayer. “Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee…”

Then I trailed off. I’m still not sure if that was a conscious choice or not. I don’t know if I was choosing to provoke him or if something in me just gave out.
“Keep going. Finish it.” The Pastor said but I didn’t reply. From the corner of my eye I could see the shotgun in his hand and I knew that it was my ticket out. The one way I could finally be free of him.
“Finish it!” The Pastor snarled and I finally looked up at him.

“Blessed art thou amongst women and if you’re out there, do me a favor and send Pastor Young straight to hell.”
I could see his brow furrow in rage as I continued my revised version of the prayer.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God. Either drop this fucking house on me and kill us all or maybe collapse that fucking church of his on his whole cocksucking congregation!”
The Pastor hit me and knocked me to the ground. The force of it made my ears ring.

“You don’t dare mock the Virgin Mary!” He snapped. I looked up at him, exhausted and bitter.
“I was mocking you.” I corrected, “Did you ever once consider why I left? Did you? I left because I hate you. I left because I can’t stand the thought of being related to you.”
He hit me again, but I didn’t stop.
“The first chance I get… I’ll find my way out again…” I rasped as I glared up at him. “So unless you shoot me right now, you’re wasting your time.”

He aimed the gun at my head. I felt an anxious flutter in my chest. My every instinct told me to cower and apologize but I defied them. I knew he was going to kill me… But I refused to die as Kate Young. I stared down the barrel of the gun, then back at him.
“Do it… Because if you don’t I will do everything in my fucking power to ruin your ministry and when I’m done I’m going to burn your fucking Church to the ground and shit on the ashes!

The Pastor let out an enraged snarl before he struck me with the butt of the gun. I felt the barrel of the shotgun pressed against the back of my head and I knew that this was it. This was how I was going to die… and I was okay with that. For the first time since he’d come back into my life, I was laughing and as I waited for oblivion I smiled. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pull the trigger… Then I heard the gunshot. But I did not die.

The barrel of his gun was forced upwards and torn from his hand. The Pastor and I were no longer alone in the basement now. There was someone else with us. A pale girl in a plain dress, much like my own. A girl with a face that I still recognized, even though I hadn’t seen it in years.

Grace's eyes held a cold fury to them as she glared at the Pastor and in his own eyes, I saw an unfamiliar fear. He stumbled back a step, mouth open in a silent scream at the sight of his dearly departed daughter. Grace looked down at me. She didn’t say a word but I saw her expression soften. As the Pastor ran for the stairs, she reached a hand out to me and I knew to take it.

As she pulled me to my feet, I watched her fade into nothingness… but I felt a new warmth spreading from my body.
“I’m here, Kate.” A voice whispered in the back of my mind. Grace’s voice. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore…”
When I stepped forwards and began to follow the Pastor up the stairs I’m not sure if I was fully in control or not. I could feel a strange energy coursing through my veins. I felt powerful, more powerful than I ever had before.

The Pastor had slammed and locked the basement door behind him and yet as I approached, the door flew open so violently that it was almost torn off its hinges. Through it, I could see my… our Mother standing in the kitchen. Her eyes fixated on me and widened in both shock and horror. The color drained from her skin as she stumbled backwards. I couldn’t see what she saw… But I knew exactly what she thought she was looking at.

“Grace…” She gasped and I could hear her breathing get heavier. My eyes locked with hers and I could feel something inside of me. I could feel Graces spirit reaching out to her, willing her to die.
And I could see our Mothers body tensing up. Her breathing became more strained. She seemed to wheeze as her limbs failed her. Later on, I’d learn that her official cause of death would be deemed a sudden heart attack… But I doubt that was what actually killed her. She died because Grace wanted her to die… and I didn’t care enough to try and stop it.

I could hear the Pastor just down the hall, frantically trying to flee and escape us but neither I nor Grace dared to let him. As one entity, we followed the sound of his frightened footsteps through the house. Just down the hall, I could see him throwing the front door open as he scurried out into the yard. I could hear the dogs barking and I realized exactly what Grace had in mind for him.

When we reached the door, I saw the Pastor standing at the end of the porch. His own dogs waited in the yard around him, their teeth bared and their eyes all fixated on him. I’d never seen Pastor Young afraid before but now the terror that radiated off of him was palpable. He looked at the dogs, then back towards Grace and I as we stood in the doorway, looking down on him.

Slowly, the Pastor sank down to his knees before us.
“G-Grace…” He said softly, “Grace… Please… Please… S-show some mercy… I-I’m your Father! For the love of God, Grace I’m your goddamn Father!”
“No.” Grace's voice came from my mouth, “You’re dog food… Just like I was.”

“Grace, wait!” The Pastor called but he was too late. As if on cue, the dogs came for him and as their teeth sank into his flesh he screamed in glorious terror and agony. As his beloved dogs tore at his flesh and ripped at his throat, he wailed and screeched until his vocal cords were ripped from him. Then all he did was choke as he was reduced to nothing more than a gory mess on the lawn. As I watched him die, I felt that warm sensation in me start to fade. From the corner of my eye, I saw Grace standing beside me.

I turned to try and look at her only for her to disappear from my view. As soon as she’d come back, Grace was gone again and I stood on the porch alone as the Pastors body twitched its dying spasms. I looked down at him. Some noble part of my mind wanted to pity him but I couldn’t bother to waste pity on a man like that. The dogs were eating well… That was as much of a funeral as he deserved.

My body was starting to feel weak again and I retreated back into the house. My Mother was still in the kitchen, cold and dead on the floor and I was free. This time, I had nothing to run from.

I’m not sure if the Pastor was smart or stupid to leave my original birth certificate in the house. It didn’t take me long to find it, as well as a decent amount of evidence to disprove his lies. In the morning, I left the Young Ranch behind for the last time. Pastor Young had done everything in his power to destroy my life… Now it was time to rebuild it.
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2020.10.25 20:25 HeadOfSpectre The Pastors Daughter

Kate Young died a long time ago and there’s nothing that will ever bring her back. She’s gone. I’ve erased every part of her and I regret none of it.

Kate had long brown hair, solemn eyes and clear skin. She wore plain dresses, befitting a pastor's daughter. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t say a word when people mistreated her and she especially didn’t say a word to her Father, no matter how cruel he’d been towards her, her mother or her sisters. She was weak, broken and damned to the life of a quiet Christian housewife whether she wanted it or not.

Pastor Howard Young had a specific plan for exactly how her life would go from the very moment she was born, the exact same plan he had for all four of her older sisters. He was going to marry her off to a man from a good, Christian household. A man just like him. One who understood his ‘traditional’ family values where the man's word was absolute and women were good for nothing but household chores and rearing children. Pastor Young believed that women didn’t have the aptitude for anything beyond that.

Kate would have had a big family. She’d have as many children as her husband wanted and she’d stay home to care for them, leaving only to shop and go to church. She would not have voted, pursued any higher education or any meaningful employment. Pastor Young did not believe in such things, nor did he believe that women should have any social relationships outside of family and was quite firm in his belief that women going outside of the home could never lead to anything good.

This was the life that her mother lived. It was the life two of her older sisters lived and inevitably it would be the life that Kate lived… even if she did not want it. Perhaps her Mother and her sisters were ‘happy’ with the life that Pastor Young had enforced upon them, but to Kate the very concept of it sounded absolutely hellish. That was why I killed her, to spare her from that future and I consider her death an act of mercy.

I no longer saw Kate when I looked in the mirror anymore, nor did I even associate that name with myself. My name was Chloe Grimm. I was a pale, twenty two year old girl with short jet black hair. I’d decorated my body with piercings and tattoos simply because I wanted them. I didn’t bother with Church anymore. I’d decided long ago that the wrathful entity that most people defined as ‘God’ wasn’t something I wanted to believe in. I’d burned almost everything that identified me as Kate Young and had embraced my new identity. I wasn’t an idiot, of course. I kept what I thought I needed until I could legally change my name. But all of that was only a temporary measure.

I lived in a small apartment with my girlfriend Anna Meyers and I jugged a full time job at a local department store with University. I’d taken an interest in marine biology and with nothing holding me back, I went for it. The little life I’d carved out for myself wasn’t much but it was mine and for the first time in my life, I was happy. I was exactly where I belonged. I didn’t like talking about just where I’d come from. Pastor Young had a large enough congregation that I didn’t dare risk using my old name lest I be recognized. Even in a city that was hours away from his toxic congregation, the Pastor had his zealots. That said, I also never explicitly lied about who I was either. Anna and some of my friends knew a few of the details but I’d never have told any of them any specifics nor had I told them exactly how bad things were. Part of me just wanted to forget, and part of me dreaded the concept of them trying to ‘punish’ the Pastor over his many crimes. Something like that could only end badly.

I never actually told anyone that Pastor Young was my ‘parent’. Ever since I left, I refused to consider him as such. It allowed me to distance myself from him and imagine that I was someone else who’d never even met him. Likewise I made a point not to think too much on who I’d been before my escape. Bad memories still crept in from time to time and there were the occasional nightmares as well.

Usually, those dreams consisted of scattered events from my childhood. Hymns sung in a trembling voice in my bedroom as I listened to Pastor Young beat my mother or one of my sisters for acting out of line. I remember one of my older sisters, Grace, would hold me as we sang. She’d lead the hymns and my other sisters, Faith, Rachel and May would sing with us, drowning out the screams from downstairs…

I remember the way Faith had sat with me during those nights. I remember the way she’d taken my hand and smiled at me.
“It’s okay Kate. I’m here. I won’t let them hurt you.” She’d said… If only someone had been there to make sure they didn’t hurt her.

Sometimes, I’d dream about Pastor Young entering our shared bedroom. I could feel him standing over our beds as he decided which daughter would be his for the night… The Pastor was a man who believed that his ownership over his family was absolute. He believed that a man had certain rights and those rights extended to his own daughters. Other times, I’d dream about Pastor Young screaming at Grace, calling her a whore and slapping her across the kitchen, all because she’d met a nice boy at Church and he didn’t approve of him. I remember looking back and seeing him grabbing Grace by the throat and forcing her to her feet. I remember him saying: “You wanna know what Jesus does to whores, little girl?” I remember that, that was the last time I ever saw Grace before he dragged her into the basement.

Every time I dreamed about my life before I’d left, I’d wake up cold and covered in sweat. I’d leave quietly, making sure I didn’t wake up Anna and go watch TV or find some schoolwork to do as I tried and forget. I never did. The screams and hymns echoed through my brain. They never stopped. I rarely found my way back to sleep after those nightmares… but at least I had the solace of no longer being trapped in that house, with that monster. I could look in the mirror and see that I was no longer Kate Young and know that the Pastor was far away from me. I was finally free of him.. Free to live my own life, be my own person and determine my own destiny. At least… I thought I was.

I’d worked a late shift on the day my life came crashing down, nothing unusual. I’d gotten myself a burger on my way to the bus stop and it sat heavy in my stomach on the way home. I’d checked my phone, hoping to see a text from Anna. There was nothing. It was late, so she may have just gone to bed. It was nothing to worry about. I got off at my usual stop and walked the rest of the way to my apartment. I wasn’t even a block away when I saw the police cars out front. I froze in place as the red and blue sirens flashed over me. My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion.

Something had happened to Anna. I never even stopped to consider it as anything else. My instincts immediately told me to look out for my girlfriend. I ran towards the building and as I did, I saw a police officer stepping in front of me. There was nothing I could do to stop myself from crashing into his arms. In my panicked state, I almost didn’t hear the words he said to me. Not until he said that name.
“Kate? It’s okay! We’ve got you!”
That fucking name… The one I hadn’t heard in three years. It should have been then that I knew I was in trouble.

After that, everything was a blur. They asked me to get into a car and told me they were taking me to the station. They never told me what had happened to Anna and deflected every question I had. I didn’t know what was going on until I arrived inside the station and I saw him. In the three years away from him, he’d grown a beard. His eyes were as kindly as always, hiding the ugly truth about him from the world. I saw past them though, and when he looked at me I knew he saw past Chloe Grimm and saw only Kate Young.

“Kate!” he said, his voice warm and comforting. He pulled me into a hug that I didn’t reciprocate. At the mere sight of him, my body had locked up but when I felt his touch, every atom of my being made me want to pull away. Behind him I could see my Mother, the dutiful pastor's wife Melissa Young. The look on her face was one of genuine relief and it was not an emotion I shared.
“Oh you poor girl, we were so worried about you.” Pastor Young said as he smoothed my hair down. I could tell he disapproved. “I was so afraid that something terrible had happened to you but we’re here now to take you home.”

Home?
No…

I forced myself away from the Pastor.
“Get the hell away from me!” I spat, making no effort to hide the sheer venom in my voice. Pastor Young stared at me, looking genuinely upset that I’d pulled away from him.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Anna?”
“Anna?” The Pastor asked. His expression darkened. “That sick pedophile who took you from us… who kept you in her home, who raped you? The Police will ensure that she is punished for her crimes, taking you… a child from our home…”

Pedophile? Oh that was rich coming from the likes of him. Was he seriously trying to pretend that I was underage?
“What did you do?” I demanded, “What did you tell these people?”
“Well we told them the truth, sweetie.” My Mother chimed in, “A sixteen year old girl has no business out here, all on her own in the care of some pervert!”
“I’m twenty two!” I snapped and for a moment, I saw a knowing look enter the Pastors eyes. A mocking sympathy that warned me not to fight him. The old fear that resurfaced in me almost kept me silent but no… No I had to fight! I had to!
“That woman has done a lot to twist you with her lies, Kate. But you don’t need to pretend anymore. We’re here! You’re safe now. You’re coming back home with us.”

The subtle tone in his voice made it clear that I didn’t have any say in the matter and the expressions of the cops around me made it clear whose side they were on. I later found out that The Pastor had crafted one hell of an elaborate lie. A fake birth certificate, support from his local county police who swore I was just an impressionable 16 year old lured away by a predator… He had everything he needed to convince them I was still just a child who belonged under his care. No amount of fighting was going to keep me in the city and trust me, I fought. It didn’t matter.

When I was finally led to the car, my body was tense. I desperately wished I’d wake up from this nightmare but I never did. I’d had three years of freedom. I thought I’d covered my tracks so well but the Pastor had come back for me and I found that there was nothing I could do.

During the drive back ‘home’ his demeanor changed entirely. The Pastor didn’t need to keep up the smile, so he didn’t bother. Mother barely spoke to me and barely even looked at me during the hours it took to drive back to that country hellhole where I’d grown up.
“You look like a goddamned whore, dressed in black and with those fucking tattoos.” The Pastor said, “I can’t put into words how disappointed I am in you. I raised you right, didn’t I? I showed you the light and this is what you choose to do with your life? Absolutely fucking disgraceful…”

I gritted my teeth, holding back the insults I so desperately wanted to sling back at the man. In the police station, Chloe Grimm had some power but in the car, Chloe didn’t exist. Like it or not, I was Kate Young again and Kate Young knew better than to talk back to the Pastor, lest she make things worse for herself. I avoided looking at him and just stared out the window. If I thought I could get away from it, I would have thrown open the door and jumped out. The Pastor must have seen that coming. His new car had child safety locks. The only way I was getting out is if he opened the door for me.
“You don’t even have anything to say for yourself, do you?” Pastor Young asked. He scoffed bitterly but said nothing more. There’d be plenty to say when we got ‘home’.

The Young Ranch hadn’t changed much in the years that I’d been away. It was about a few miles down the road from the sprawling megachurch where he ‘gifted’ the world with his sermons. As we drove up the dirt road leading to the ranch, I spotted several large dogs in the yard. The sight of them sent a familiar shiver down my spine. The Pastor was a private man and those dogs were his means of ensuring that there were no trespassers on his property. He fed them better than his own family and he’d raised them mean too.

Three years ago, I’d been smart enough to lace their morning feed with a very generous dosage of sleeping pills I’d stolen from a convenience store in town. When the dogs were either asleep or dead, I’d hitched a ride with a friend out of town. No bus stations. Nothing in the county or any adjacent counties that the Pastor could easily track. I thought I’d been clever… I guess I wasn’t quite clever enough.

The car lurched to a stop and as it did, I could hear the dogs barking and snarling at it right up until the Pastor got out of the car. Then they bowed their heads and shied away. Growing up, Pastor Young had always told me that it was a display of obedience. Now I knew that it was actually a show of fear. Mother got out of the car quickly and used the dog's fear as an opportunity to scurry towards the house. I saw a couple of them growling at her but they knew better than to snap in the Pastors presence.

I remained in the car until the Pastor let me out. Even if I could have gotten out on my own, I didn’t want to agitate the dogs. My sister May had learned firsthand what happened when you did a few years back and had the scars and glass eye to prove it. The Pastor tore the door open and grabbed me by the arm to drag me out.
“First things first you’re gonna wash that fucking ridiculous makeup off your goddamn face.” He growled. He dragged me towards the house and into one of the bathrooms where my Mother was waiting.

He held me in place as my face was sprayed with water and a coarse towel was used to violently scrub Chloe Grimms makeup off my face. It left smears on the towel. Then my piercings were taken out and tossed aside.
“The clothes go next.” The Pastor said, “I will not have you in this fucking house dressed like a goddamn Satanist!”
“What the fuck am I supposed to wear?” I asked. That was a mistake and it was punished by an open palmed slap on the cheek. It was hard enough to knock me off my feet.

“Don’t you ever fucking talk to me like that again.” The Pastor snarled, “Get your ass over to your old room. You’ve got clothes there, don’t you?”
He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and tossed me out into the hall. I swayed uneasily on my feet before I got up and made my way down to my old bedroom. It was a little disheartening to see that it had barely been touched since the day I left.

Changing out of my clothes almost felt like giving up part of myself. Shedding some aspect of my identity that I desperately didn’t want to lose… But I knew I didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. The Pastor was angry enough and I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to openly defy him. The old plain dresses that the Pastor had insisted we wear were untouched in my closet. It didn’t matter which one I put on. They were almost all the same. Looking in the mirror after I’d gotten changed, I felt… robbed. I hated the way the plain dress felt on my skin. I hated the way my face looked without the makeup. I hated seeing myself without the identity I’d created. The version of me that I wanted to be.

A heavy fist pounded on my door. The sound of it tore me away from my thoughts as a familiar shiver of fear made its way down my spine.
“I’m coming in.” The Pastor warned in the split second before he opened the door.
There was no need to hide his rage now. His belt rested in one hand and I remembered its sting very, very well. In his other hand was a razor, and I knew full well what he planned on doing with that.
“Well now…” He said, “You look almost respectable, don’t you Kate?”

I was silent as I stared back at him, trying my best to remain defiant even though I knew that it wouldn’t count for anything.
“I’ll have to tell your sisters the good news later today.” He said, “They’ll be down with their husbands soon enough… New grandkids too. Our little familys gotten bigger and now that our little lost lamb is back, it’s perfect.”
He approached me, taking bold strides as I shied away from him.
“Almost perfect.” He added, “It’s a shame. You always had such pretty hair… Then you had to go and chop it off and discolor it. For what? You wanted to look like a boy? Is that it? You want to pretend you’re a man now? Is that why I found you fucking some whore in the city?”
I bit my lip, unable to make myself say anything in response. The Pastor gripped me by the chin and forced me to look up at him.
“Well… You’ll grow your real hair back in time. Don’t you worry. But right now I’m getting rid of this bullshit. Hold still.”

I pulled away from him, my teeth gritted in frustration.
“Don’t you dare touch me.” I warned as if there was anything I could do to stop him. The Pastor just glared at me before he grabbed me by the front of the dress, hard enough that I felt the seams of the fabric pop a little.

“Now you listen here and you listen well, little girl.” He snarled, “I am your Father and you belong to me. I’ll touch you as much as I want, whenever I want, however I fucking want because as a man, that is my God given right! You think you can deny me that? Do you? Because make no mistake little girl, I will not hesitate to feed you to the dogs like I did your little whore of a sister.”

The venom in his eyes made it clear that he was dead serious. I felt my heart racing in terror as whatever defiance I might have had left in me died. The Pastor dragged me over to the mirror before he turned on the razor. I closed my eyes, unable to watch as he took it to my hair. I could feel my dyed black locks falling around me. My body quaked and shivered in terror but I couldn’t do anything more than whimper as he shaved me bald and tore away the last of the identity I’d so carefully made for myself.

“Only the weak open themselves to sin.” He said as he shaved me, “I have no place in my family for sinners and no place in my family for weakness. Mark my fucking words, little girl… I will snuff out whatever sin I find and God will sing my praises as I do!”

At last, he let me go and I opened my eyes. I suppose the silver lining to my newfound baldness was that at least it served as a reminder that I had, at least for a little while, achieved my independence. The Pastor didn’t seem to approve of the new look but at least he tolerated it. His hand rested on my shoulder as he tugged me away from the mirror.

“There… At least you’ve got most of that wretched sin off of your body. We’ll need to figure out what to do with those vile pictures you’ve defiled yourself with… but that can come later…” He pulled me hard out into the hallway again. I didn’t resist him. I had no idea what was waiting for me, but the belt in his hand made me think twice about fighting it.

“Now at least you’ll look proper as you find your path back to Jesus Christ…” He said, “You should thank your Mother I’m being so merciful to you. Were it up to me, the Dogs would be eating well tonight… But your sins don’t go without penance little girl. Oh no. You will find your way back to Jesus…”
Up ahead, I saw the basement door yawning open. I knew what was going to happen before it did and thought I was terrified, my body wouldn’t fight back.
“And until you do, you won’t see God's gift of sunlight!”
I didn’t scream until I was at the top of the stairs. With one push, the Pastor had launched me into the darkness and I hit the wooden staircase hard as I rolled down it and onto the concrete floor below. The basement door slammed shut as I lay on the ground, sore, almost certainly bleeding and disoriented.

In the span of a few hours, my life had been destroyed… and now I lay bloody on the cold hard ground of Pastor Young's basement as it all sank in. Alone in that cold cellar, the reality of my situation was crushing. The Pastor had clearly been planning to retrieve me for some time. The bars on the small cellar windows were a new addition as was the small dirty mattress that was down there for me to sleep on.

I learned very quickly not to get too close to the windows. The dogs outside rushed to them when I tried to tug on the bars on the off chance they might be loose. Their aggressive barking made me shy away immediately. Even if I could get through those bars, I’d be killed before I could climb out. Like I said, the Pastor raised his dogs mean.

The hymns started soon after I’d been thrown into the basement. They were played loud through a speaker that had been set up in one corner and I knew that they’d never stop. The Pastor was the sort of man who believed that if he crammed Jesus down my throat hard enough, then perhaps I might see the light again. Frankly, the hymns only served to get on my nerves. My body ached from the fall down the stairs. I could taste blood in my mouth but at the very least, I was alone and the endless hymns were better company than the Pastor.

The first day in the basement passed quietly enough. For that much, I was grateful. I didn’t see or hear from anyone until the evening when the basement door opened. My Mother was careful to lock the door behind her as she descended the stairs with a bowl. Inside it was a chunky brown slurry. The stink of it turned my stomach. Mother gingerly set the bowl at the bottom of the stairs and watched as I approached it.

“Dog food?” I asked, “Are you serious? You can’t treat me like this!”
“The Pastor was very clear. If you’re going to run away like some stubborn animal, you’re going to live and eat like an animal.” She said. Her tone implied no joy in what she was doing. I knew she technically had no choice… but her compliance served only to anger me.
“I’m not going to eat dog food!” I snapped.
“You’ll eat what he says you’ll eat and you’ll like it!” Mother replied, “This food is a blessing, Kate! Right now the fact that he is being so forgiving right now is a blessing! Don’t throw it back in his face. Eat it. You won’t get anything else until you do.”

With that, she turned and headed back upstairs as quickly as she could. I stared down at the chunky slurry of meat that the Pastor fed his dogs and my stomach turned. I’d given up meat soon after I’d left the family. It had been three years since I’d had it. The sight and smell of it already didn’t agree with me. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stomach it and I wasn’t desperate enough to try yet. There was a leaking pipe in one corner I knew I could use for water. I told myself that I could do without food for a while and if I couldn’t, then maybe it would be better to starve to death than demean myself and let the Pastor force me back into the mold he expected me to fit.

As the light through my barred window turned golden, the basement door was thrown open. I could hear the Pastors heavy footsteps coming down for me and I prepared myself for what was to come. The sight of the shotgun in Pastor Young's hands made my empty stomach sink as a deep and familiar dread returned to my soul.

He glared at me, then down at the bowl of cold dog food on the floor.
“You’re not eating?” He asked, “You think this is some sort of game, don’t you? You act like a spoiled brat and don’t eat the bounty God has given you and hope for… what? Something better to come along?”
I didn’t speak. I just watched the shotgun. The Pastor kicked the bowl over to the dirty mattress I sat on. His eyes remained fixated on me.
“There won’t be anything else until you eat it.” He warned, “Now eat.”
The gun wasn’t aimed at me… yet. It didn’t need to be. The threat was enough to make me compliant. I reached for the bowl before he stopped me.

“Ah ah. What do we do before we eat?”
“W-we say grace…” I said quietly.
“Yes we do. Did you say grace, little girl?”
I bit my lip before shaking my head. Without a word from him, I put my hands together in prayer and closed my eyes. I knew the words. They’d been drilled into my head since before I even learned to talk.

Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
“Good. At least your time out in the city hasn’t made you a complete fucking heathen. Now… Eat. All of it.”

The cold pulpy meat was slimy as I scooped it into my mouth. Its taste made me gag. I’d barely swallowed my second mouthful before my stomach rejected it and I retched it all up onto the floor. For the sin of vomiting, I got a stern kick to the stomach.
“DO NOT WASTE GOD'S BOUNTY, LITTLE GIRL!” The Pastor roared. I coughed, sputtered and gagged as I curled into a ball. The shotgun was aimed at me now. It would be easy to say that part of me wanted him to pull the trigger but staring down death, I found myself absolutely terrified.
“N-no…” I rasped, “Dad… Please…”
“Eat it.” He repeated, “Now.”
I reached for the bowl again only for the Pastor to kick it out of my reach. Its contents spilled onto the floor.

“No, no, no. Eat what you wasted.” I looked up at him, my eyes wide with horror as I realized what he meant. I opened my mouth to protest but the presence of the gun killed the words before they could leave my throat.
“Eat.” He repeated.
I didn’t want to. I couldn’t… But I had no choice. He stood over me as I stooped over the mess on the floor and forced myself to eat it. The taste of my own bile was enough to make me gag and retch but the Pastor loomed over me, waiting until I managed to lick it off the cold concrete floor.

My ‘meal’ sat uncomfortably in my now sickened stomach as he forced me to my knees. I could feel tears streaming down my cheeks and his hateful eyes burned into mine.
“There…” He said quietly, “Now… Pray. You remember your Hail Mary, girl? Pray it.”
And I did. I said my prayers. Hail Mary and Our Father. I said them over and over again until the Pastor was satisfied. He paced behind me as I muttered the familiar prayers, listening for any lapse in them. When he was done, he left me kneeling on the floor as he quietly went back upstairs and left me in the dark of the basement again. I was shaking, both with fear and from the cold that the night brought. My stomach turned and I didn’t keep that disgusting slurry down for much longer. I puked it up in a corner and desperately tried to hide it before I made my way over to my cot and collapsed down onto it.

I think part of me realized that I was going to die in that basement… One way or another, I was going to die down there. I didn’t want to accept it. Oh no. I was too stubborn for that. I had every intention of fighting as hard as I could but some truths lurk in the back of your mind, impossible to escape. As I curled up on that cot, hungry, sickened and afraid I tried to sleep. Somehow I managed and I remember that as I closed my eyes, I saw a figure in a plain white dress standing in the corner.

My second and third days in captivity went similarly to the first. The hymns were played on repeat. My Mother fed me more of that awful meat slurry and again I couldn’t keep it down. In the evening, Pastor Young came down with the shotgun and made me pray to his satisfaction and I’d barely manage to sleep dreamlessly on that old dirty mattress.

When I did, I’d dream of my sister Grace… I’d remember the way the Pastor had screamed at her and thrown her to the ground. I remembered the brutality he’d displayed and when I opened my eyes, I was sure I caught just a moment's glimpse of a plain white dress in the corner. Lingering there, filled out as if someone was inside it. For a few moments, I almost thought I’d recognized Graces face where the head should have been but every time I tried to focus, it would be gone. It had to be delirium… My mind fragmenting and falling apart. What Pastor Young was doing to me was nothing less than torture and as the days blended one into the other I could feel my mind withering away and my sanity cracking. The thought of dying became more appealing than anything else.

Time stopped having meaning fairly quickly. I think I’d made it about five days when I felt myself breaking entirely. Bit by bit, their cruelty eroded me. Death began to look more and more like not only an inevitability but a more favorable option. I couldn’t keep down much of the meat slurry and so I was hungrier than I’d been in a very long time. The metallic taste of the water from the pipe lingered in my mouth and when the Pastor came down in the evenings with his shotgun to make me recite my prayers I caught myself hoping that this time he would be dissatisfied. This time he would shoot me and give me an out.

For a man who preached of salvation and mercy though, he offered me none of either. When I heard him coming down the stairs again, at least a week after I’d been taken I sat quietly as I waited for him. The empty bowl waited beside me and the Pastor just huffed in quiet approval when he saw it.
“So I see you’re learning your place again, little girl.” He growled, “That’s good. Maybe when I decide you are fit to rejoin our family you won’t be so quick to cast us aside again. There’s no place you can go in this world where I will not find you again. You cannot keep a man from his rightful God given property.”

I had no answer to that. I just got on my knees and clasped my hands together in prayer. His every word filled me with rage but I didn’t have enough left in me to let it show. I felt broken… Burnt out and weak.
“Let’s start with a Hail Mary. Beg Jesus for your forgiveness, little girl. Beg him nice and good.”
Automatically I spoke the first few words of the prayer. “Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee…”

Then I trailed off. I’m still not sure if that was a conscious choice or not. I don’t know if I was choosing to provoke him or if something in me just gave out.
“Keep going. Finish it.” The Pastor said but I didn’t reply. From the corner of my eye I could see the shotgun in his hand and I knew that it was my ticket out. The one way I could finally be free of him.
“Finish it!” The Pastor snarled and I finally looked up at him.

“Blessed art thou amongst women and if you’re out there, do me a favor and send Pastor Young straight to hell.”
I could see his brow furrow in rage as I continued my revised version of the prayer.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God. Either drop this fucking house on me and kill us all or maybe collapse that fucking church of his on his whole cocksucking congregation!”
The Pastor hit me and knocked me to the ground. The force of it made my ears ring.

“You don’t dare mock the Virgin Mary!” He snapped. I looked up at him, exhausted and bitter.
“I was mocking you.” I corrected, “Did you ever once consider why I left? Did you? I left because I hate you. I left because I can’t stand the thought of being related to you.”
He hit me again, but I didn’t stop.
“The first chance I get… I’ll find my way out again…” I rasped as I glared up at him. “So unless you shoot me right now, you’re wasting your time.”

He aimed the gun at my head. I felt an anxious flutter in my chest. My every instinct told me to cower and apologize but I defied them. I knew he was going to kill me… But I refused to die as Kate Young. I stared down the barrel of the gun, then back at him.
“Do it… Because if you don’t I will do everything in my fucking power to ruin your ministry and when I’m done I’m going to burn your fucking Church to the ground and shit on the ashes!

The Pastor let out an enraged snarl before he struck me with the butt of the gun. I felt the barrel of the shotgun pressed against the back of my head and I knew that this was it. This was how I was going to die… and I was okay with that. For the first time since he’d come back into my life, I was laughing and as I waited for oblivion I smiled. From the corner of my eye, I saw him pull the trigger… Then I heard the gunshot. But I did not die.

The barrel of his gun was forced upwards and torn from his hand. The Pastor and I were no longer alone in the basement now. There was someone else with us. A pale girl in a plain dress, much like my own. A girl with a face that I still recognized, even though I hadn’t seen it in years.

Grace's eyes held a cold fury to them as she glared at the Pastor and in his own eyes, I saw an unfamiliar fear. He stumbled back a step, mouth open in a silent scream at the sight of his dearly departed daughter. Grace looked down at me. She didn’t say a word but I saw her expression soften. As the Pastor ran for the stairs, she reached a hand out to me and I knew to take it.

As she pulled me to my feet, I watched her fade into nothingness… but I felt a new warmth spreading from my body.
“I’m here, Kate.” A voice whispered in the back of my mind. Grace’s voice. “I won’t let them hurt you anymore…”
When I stepped forwards and began to follow the Pastor up the stairs I’m not sure if I was fully in control or not. I could feel a strange energy coursing through my veins. I felt powerful, more powerful than I ever had before.

The Pastor had slammed and locked the basement door behind him and yet as I approached, the door flew open so violently that it was almost torn off its hinges. Through it, I could see my… our Mother standing in the kitchen. Her eyes fixated on me and widened in both shock and horror. The color drained from her skin as she stumbled backwards. I couldn’t see what she saw… But I knew exactly what she thought she was looking at.

“Grace…” She gasped and I could hear her breathing get heavier. My eyes locked with hers and I could feel something inside of me. I could feel Graces spirit reaching out to her, willing her to die.
And I could see our Mothers body tensing up. Her breathing became more strained. She seemed to wheeze as her limbs failed her. Later on, I’d learn that her official cause of death would be deemed a sudden heart attack… But I doubt that was what actually killed her. She died because Grace wanted her to die… and I didn’t care enough to try and stop it.

I could hear the Pastor just down the hall, frantically trying to flee and escape us but neither I nor Grace dared to let him. As one entity, we followed the sound of his frightened footsteps through the house. Just down the hall, I could see him throwing the front door open as he scurried out into the yard. I could hear the dogs barking and I realized exactly what Grace had in mind for him.

When we reached the door, I saw the Pastor standing at the end of the porch. His own dogs waited in the yard around him, their teeth bared and their eyes all fixated on him. I’d never seen Pastor Young afraid before but now the terror that radiated off of him was palpable. He looked at the dogs, then back towards Grace and I as we stood in the doorway, looking down on him.

Slowly, the Pastor sank down to his knees before us.
“G-Grace…” He said softly, “Grace… Please… Please… S-show some mercy… I-I’m your Father! For the love of God, Grace I’m your goddamn Father!”
“No.” Grace's voice came from my mouth, “You’re dog food… Just like I was.”

“Grace, wait!” The Pastor called but he was too late. As if on cue, the dogs came for him and as their teeth sank into his flesh he screamed in glorious terror and agony. As his beloved dogs tore at his flesh and ripped at his throat, he wailed and screeched until his vocal cords were ripped from him. Then all he did was choke as he was reduced to nothing more than a gory mess on the lawn. As I watched him die, I felt that warm sensation in me start to fade. From the corner of my eye, I saw Grace standing beside me.

I turned to try and look at her only for her to disappear from my view. As soon as she’d come back, Grace was gone again and I stood on the porch alone as the Pastors body twitched its dying spasms. I looked down at him. Some noble part of my mind wanted to pity him but I couldn’t bother to waste pity on a man like that. The dogs were eating well… That was as much of a funeral as he deserved.

My body was starting to feel weak again and I retreated back into the house. My Mother was still in the kitchen, cold and dead on the floor and I was free. This time, I had nothing to run from.

I’m not sure if the Pastor was smart or stupid to leave my original birth certificate in the house. It didn’t take me long to find it, as well as a decent amount of evidence to disprove his lies. In the morning, I left the Young Ranch behind for the last time. Pastor Young had done everything in his power to destroy my life… Now it was time to rebuild it.
submitted by HeadOfSpectre to HeadOfSpectre [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 20:13 Spicypenguin8 30 [M4F] Bored. Looking for some new people to chat with

Hey there everyone! I'm just looking for some new people to chat with. Typically in a chat partner I prefer someone who has at least some common interests. And if you can deal with my flirty personality, it's a huge plus! And of course I'm open to long term friendship if we hit it off!
Anyway, a bit about myself. I'm a musician first off. I've been playing guitar for most of my life, and I've been singing for a few years as well. I've done the whole band thing, and all that. I'm also a huge nerd. Video games, anime, and sci fi are my go-to nerdy things! I workout just about every day as well (Fitness and personal health are very important to me). I've been told that I have a very good sense of humor as well!
So if anything here interests you, DM me and tell me a bit about yourself! I'll give you my Kik if I'm interested!
submitted by Spicypenguin8 to Kikpals [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:56 thesilverpoets96 Song of the Week: Silver Jet

https://youtu.be/49rVCzPyBAM
https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tragicallyhip/silverjet.html
Hey everyone, this week for our song of the week I thought we would go with a single. Sure, maybe not the highest charting single in the band’s career but one that is definitely their most interesting. I’m talking about the second single from In Violet Light, Silver Jet!
Released in 2002 on the band’s eighth album, Silver Jet was a single that should have been a bigger hit. It had a harder edge musically to it that harken backed to the band’s earlier albums. Lyrically it’s interesting as hell and vocally it’s some of Gord’s best work. So why wasn’t this song a bigger hit for them? I think it’s simply because on the surface, this song is too simple.
The song had a basic verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, theres not even a bridge or solo. And although in my opinion, I think the chorus soars (no pun intended) I could see where some people think it falls flat. And lyrically it has so many weird one liners that it’s near impossible to understand what Gord means and that could throw some people off as well. But if we take a deep dive into this rocker, I think we can really understand the purpose of this song.
The song starts off with some grungy rhythm guitars by Paul and some cool harmonics by Rob. Johnny’s drums sound heavy and Sinclair’s bass starts sliding into the song. So far this song sounds like it could be from the 90’s and I’m all about it.
Now lyrically, we could easily dissect each line because there’s a lot to take in. I’m not going to do that because it would take forever (okay pun intended) but let’s look at a couple of them. “There a heron outside, in violet line.” Obviously the title of the album and a reference to the album cover. “Clayqout Sound to Cape Spear.” A geographic reference of two extremely distant points in Canada. “When a car like Big Ben, radio dopplering.” Although it seems like a reference to the Big Ben clock in London, it’s a reference to a tracking technology during WWII called Big Ben that tracked German rockets. “For all you Gregory Peck fans.” Gregory Peck was an actor who starred in films such as “Moby Dick” and “To Kill a Mocking Bird.” “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” That is actually a book titled that was published in the US in 1941.
Now what exactly do all of these references have to do with one another? I have no fuckin idea. What I do know is that this song and album were released only a year after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. A lot of music around this time took emotions from these devastating times whether ntentional or not. And I feel this song could be doing the same. During the prechorus Gord sings “Your heart jumps too, and my heart jumps too” and you have to wonder if the “you” in this song is Gord’s wife. And if it is then maybe this song about Gord having to leave his wife to tour and the fears that was embedded in all of us after 9/11
When the chorus hits; “Silver Jet, roars overhead” the music lightens up a little bit and it makes you think about a time where planes flying in the sky were not as scary. But at that time, every one was on edge, and all of our hearts were jumping. Now this song could have nothing to do with 9/11 and if it doesn’t then I have no clue what this song is about.
Like I mentioned before, the music during the chorus really lifts the song up because it takes away the heaviness of the verses. The song at this point really opens up and the highlight is Sinclair’s bassline that is subtle at yet groovy as hell all at the same time. It’s a one of the Hip’s most catchy choruses and it just gets you dancing and singing along to every word.
What makes this song so catchy and a unique to me is Gord’s vocal melody. Gord is singing about random things and words that aren’t super easy to fit into songs. Some examples are “Gregory Peck, radio dopplering, archipelago, Wolves of Northhumberland, ect...But yet, Gord so cleverly and smoothly fits all these words perfectly in each line and makes each transition effortless. I mean just listen to the way he sings “I-need-you-and-heres-why’s.” That is just brilliant and something only Gord could do.
The song maybe could have been bigger if it had a fancier music video or if it wasn’t a hit or miss live song. But either way, it’s one of my favorite Hip songs because when I was getting into this amazing band, this was one of the first songs I truly loved from them.
But what says you? What does this song mean to you? Favorite line? Favorite musical moment? Ever see it live?
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2020.10.25 18:47 Foxy02016YT Tried out Borat Alexa

I have some issues... I asked it to tell em joke and sing me a song... quite a few times, but it was the same 2 jokes, and the same 2 songs (that one he started singing in the first movie when asked about his music taste, and “Everybody Dance Now” but... not as good)
I’m hoping it gets updated soon, a few more jokes, maybe he could sing the national anthem to the tune of the American one, he could tell some NOT jokes (which would make so much sense) maybe he could tell the mother in law joke? Just throwing something out there
Overall it’s a bit lacking, but it can be fixed with a quick update, I know it is just a fun distraction and not a full thing but I think just a few more jokes and songs would fit
submitted by Foxy02016YT to Borat [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:42 Ok_Shirt_1574 Senpai Notice Me: Credit to Random Encounters

Warning: These lyrics will get creepy, but we’ve seen Feral Ezekiel so I think you’ll be fine. If you’re a Sierra fan don’t read this. This is a parody don’t take it too seriously.
(In the TDWT Plane)
Owen: Noah, Sierra’s talking in her sleep again.
Noah: Not again, lets listen to have a good laugh.
(In Sierra’s dream)(Owen and Noah from the real world are singing backup)
Sierra: There he is my one and only Cody.
Owen: Say hi to Cody!
Sierra: He's my future boyfriend he just doesn't know it yet
Noah: Spring it out Cody!
Sierra: I'd tell him all my feelings all the thoughts i've been concealing but it sounds So unappealing That i sweat... A lot. Everyday my favorite subject's Cody!
Owen and Noah: A+ at Cody!
Sierra: I could sit and study him for HOURS at a time!
Owen and Noah: Sounds kind of boring!
Sierra: His eyes! His hair! His darrière! Its crazy and yet i don't care! And i swear one day i'll finally make him mine! Who is that cute little student there and why's she touching his arm?(Heather touches his arm) If she puts moves on my Cody then I'll have to cause her harm!(KOs Heather but she’s alive)
Sierra: Maybe i should clean up this body or just dump it into the cargo. Cody could never love her 'cause we're such a perfect match! Everywhere that he goes I'll be there and he won't know! Am I mad? Maybe so. But i love to sniff his clothes! Then i'll make him agree He's my blushing boy-to-be! In the end, all my friends will then see... Senpai notice me! Lindsay keeps gazing at my Cody.
Owen: Don't look at Cody!
Sierra: Maybe i should follow her And have a friendly chat (Owen and Noah: Doesn't sound friendly!) I promise not to hurt her Just to frame her for a vote off. She's a Cody stealing, saltry little brat! I think... Almost noon and no sign of of my senpai! (Owen: Hurry up, Cody!) Could it be he's making out with HER behind my back?!(Points at Gwen) (Owen: This could get ugly!) Let's offer her a shower Then we'll turn off all the power!(Gwen gets electrocuted) That should sour things and and get us back on track! Anyone who flirts with my Cody Gets my cell phone shoved up their skirt! Talking to my Cody is not an option, Unless you want to be hurt! Why is everybody a bit uneasy, When I pull out this sharp knife? I am not a killer or psycho I am Cody’s future wife! Is this fate? Is this stress? Is this yandere duress? Or obsession? POSESSION?! It's anybody's guess! All i know is this plane’s Full of threatening tools! It's uncanny, but dandy for me. Cody drank this drink! (Owen: Lemonade, I think!) Cody ate this fruit! (Owen: Just a bite or two!) Cody blew his nose! (Noah: Thats a little gross...) Cody wore this bathing suit! Senpai called this phone! (Takes Noah’s book in her sleep) (Owen: You just took his book...) Cody shaved his hair! (Noah: But its not from here.) Cody left this note! (Owen: What was that he wrote?) Cody wore this underwear! Don't you wave! Don't you stare!
Don't you act like you don't care! Touch my Cody, I swear I will MAUL YOU LIKE A BEAR! I'm not weird or a creep, Though i watch my Cody sleep... I'm not Lovesick! I just want to see... ...Cody notice me!
(In the real world)
Owen: Noah that wasn’t funny.
Noah: I know!
I warned you, I changed some of the lyrics to make this a bit more appealing I figured this song fit for Sierra.
submitted by Ok_Shirt_1574 to Totaldrama [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:39 Iwashi94 Kukka Tokyo interview with @onefive

Link to the original interview here

--Making a complete 180 after your uptempo first single, ‘Mada Minu Sekai’, your new song is very calm. How did you feel when you first heard it?
SOYO: It has a very mature sound, I felt like it’d be a new challenge. It’s completely different from Mada Minu Sekai and we got to learn a lot about singing through it so I think it turned out as a really great song.
KANO: I only really started to like rain in middle school and when I heard this song, I thought ‘This is my song!’ (haha) I also love the way raindrops fall so I felt like the lyrics are a perfect match for me.
MOMO: I always loved rain and listened to songs about it a lot, so I was really happy that I’ll get to sing a calm song about rain. Although I thought it’d be a difficult song at first, it felt really cool so I wanted to sing it immediately.
GUMI: I love the feel of the song, and I thought the hook was going to be very catchy, like you’d want to constantly hum it. When we got the demo, I listened to it constantly, so I think the recording turned out great too.
--The lyricist was 15-year-old YURA, the same age as you. Were there any parts of the lyrics that especially resonated with you?
MOMO: Just like in the lyrics, I often take detours while going home on rainy days. I often just plug in my earphones and get absorbed in my own little world.
KANO: I always loved the way rain smelled, and I really love the lyrics “The scent of the asphalt after the rain”.
GUMI: I love the part “I looked up without opening my umbrella”. One time when we were going home together with KANO there was this huge rain but for some reason both of us went “LET’S JUST GET DRENCHED!” and never opened our umbrellas, like in the lyrics.
SOYO: I like the part “The beautiful sky(...)rushing around in my head”. It reminded me of how when I was in elementary school, we played around so much in the rain.
--Who would you say brings rain with her among you? (haha)
MOMO: (GUMI puts her hand up slowly) Haha
--The release of Shizuku on October 20 also marks the first anniversary of your debut. How was this one year for you?
SOYO: I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It’s thanks to the fans who were supporting us that we could do all this in a year, so I feel like we’ll have to work even harder now.
KANO: I also feel like this year went by in a flash, but at the same time I’m really glad the 4 of us managed to come this far. Feels like a dream, having been supported by so many people when it comes to our songs or our outfits.
MOMO: We had a hard time being active this year, but we got to try out many new things and personally, it’s been a very important year. I also feel like our bonds got stronger and I want to keep doing my best as we keep our unity.
GUMI: In this one year since the release of Pinky Promise, we got to do a radio show, or create our own merch… I never thought we’d ever do this much, I’m really happy. I’d like to do my best while keeping an attitude of gratitude towards the many people who helped us.
--Your outfits are based around the navy color and turned much more mature, what were your impressions when you first tried them on?
SOYO: It was my first time wearing pants for our outfit so it felt really fresh, and I cut my hair a bit shorter so I think it fits the more mature clothes perfectly. And we also wore HARIO accessories as a collaboration. Today I’m wearing earrings with a lavender scent.
KANO: Previously we were all wearing green, so we were really curious what color our outfits would be this time. I wore a kind of dress I don’t normally wear and got harnesses for the first time, the clothes felt very refreshing.
MOMO: I try imagining what kind of outfits we’d have a lot but these ones are completely different from what I was thinking of, I was really surprised. The color is the same for all four of us. It felt like we were quadruplets (haha). I love this dress too, it has the shape of a droplet, just like the song’s title. My hair is wavy for a lot of these shoots, but this time it’s all straight, it looks really mature.
GUMI: I switched over to a dress from the pants from last time, and I think my impression changed completely. I really love my makeup too, it’s unusually clear and tidy and I got to wear this white eyeliner for a small image change ♪
--I guess you really do like the more mature makeup.
MOMO: It feels so different♪
MOMO: It feels like I’m a different person, I even try to act like the woman who’d fit these clothes♪ (haha)
--Anything you really want to talk about concerning the new song?
MOMO: I think it’s a song about the moment you become a new person. Especially the hook going “~without opening my umbrella”, I think it puts a highlight on how you can burst open. I sang a bit differently from before, so please listen to that part!
--Now then, I’d like to ask you about things not pertaining to music. First, MOMO-san, I hear you’re really into fashion. Please tell us about what you recommend wearing this season.
MOMO: Co-ord sets! And I recommend checkered clothes for the fall. We can always wear warm colors, but I don’t really have clothes with refreshing colors like blue or green, so I’d like to wear a lot of vibrant tones this time.
--Do you have any specific rules for when you go shopping for clothes?
MOMO: I like to imagine exactly what I want to buy! I look things up on the internet beforehand or try finding something that matches the clothes I already have.
--GUMI-san, I hear that your hobbies include exercising. What’s your usual routine?
GUMI: I do v-crunches, push-ups but only so many so I don’t build too much muscle, frumps [??? I couldn’t find anything at all for フランプ, and if I googled “フランプ 筋トレ” it just wanted to autocorrect to planks], and I usually do training for the sides of my legs. I look in the mirror and if I feel like doing training for a certain part of my body, I look up videos on YouTube and do that exercise for a week or so, I change my routine based on the state of my body. Doing it properly make me really feel like I’ve improved a bit♪ (haha)
--I also heard you like taking pictures. What kind?
GUMI: Obviously the other members, but I also take many pictures of the sun or flowers.
--I heard SOYO-san is great at calligraphy. Do you have any favorite kanji?
SOYO: I like 挑戦 (challenge)! The hand radical (扌) next to the placement of the dots in 兆(trillion/omen/sign) feels really good. (haha) I write it down a lot just for the sake of it. And I also like the connecting part between 挑 and 戦, and the vertical stroke at the end of 戦.
--Looks like you also like makeup, what would you recommend to girls around your age in this season?
SOYO: I’d like to try terracotta makeup and yellow eyeshadow/eyeliner that’s popular lately, I want to give off a fashionable air.
--KANO-san, I hear you’re good at keeping things tidy and in order, what’s your trick for it?
KANO: I usually just buy rectangular and not circular things. I like that snappy shape. All my purses are also rectangular (haha). My stroller suitcase is filled too, everything is in a ziplock bag inside, and when I’m done with the packing I love looking at it from afar! (haha)
MOMO: When we can’t pack our bags, KANO has to teach us her ways of packing and folding clothes.(haha)
--You’re like the Marie Kondo of Amuse!
KANO: Haha. I’ll do my best!
--How do you spend your days off?
SOYO: I’ve been learning the piano since I was 3, so I practice for around 2 hours on my days off, or play while singing, or even make up songs. I often play fantasia, or classical songs.
KANO: In the morning, I watch tv shows I’ve recorded. Afternoon, we often go for a drive with mom, rocking in the passenger seat feels very relaxing to me.
MOMO: Around half the days I spend home, half of them I go out. When I stay home, I barely come out of my futon. (haha) I binge anime and watch a bunch of movies . When I go out, we go shopping with mom. Often I look up and save a bunch of stores beforehand.
--Any anime you’d recommend that you’ve seen lately?
MOMO: Recently I watched Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, but my favorite is Tokyo Ghoul! Also, I like Showa era shows like Sailor Moon, or cartoons like Tokimeki Tonight♪
GUMI: Most of the time I don’t wake up till after noon (haha). Then I lie down on the sofa covered in a blanket in the living room, while my dad is on the exercise bike and we watch crime dramas together (haha). On my days off I barely even eat more than once, and then the day is over ♪ But sometimes we also go to the supermarket (haha).
--Lastly, a few words about the release of Shizuku, please.
SOYO: I want many people to listen to this song, and I think the lyrics will resonate with many girls our age. We will keep working hard!
KANO: Please listen to this song when you want to break out of your shell, or you want to change yourself drastically!
GUMI: I want you to listen to this song while taking a stroll with earphones in. I think you’ll end up feeling like the song is centered around you.
MOMO: I think many people have experienced what the lyrics are about, and I think the song will resonate even with people who will only find us through it. It’s a song with which we can express new charms of ours, so I hope everyone will love it a lot.
submitted by Iwashi94 to SakuraGakuin [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:15 SvetCurino 10 things to do in Dubai

The sights of Dubai are always spoken of in superlatives: the tallest skyscraper on Earth, the most beautiful hotel in the world, the largest complex of dancing fountains ... Its legendary Palm Islands are visible from space, and the main shopping center is listed in the Guinness Book of Records 7 times. No less impressive is the harmony of modernity and antiquity: skyscrapers and oriental markets, snow-white yachts and tiny Arab boats, sparkling promenades and desert sands. We will tell you what to do in Dubai for a tourist: we will share tips and personal experience, we will advise proven places and the best excursions. This city has conquered us. We are sure it will happen to you too!
See the main attractions
In Dubai, a must-see is the Old City - the place where history began. The Bastakiya district with the old sheikh's house and the Al Seef embankment are impressive here. Another important point is the "Dubai Frame". Inside there is an observation deck and an exhibition about the past and future of the city. Modern Dubai is the Jumeirah district. Be sure to visit Palm Island and walk through the underwater tunnel for beautiful skyscraper shots. Don't forget the Burj Khalifa, the World Trade Center and the dancing fountains.
Dubai is not very convenient for leisurely tourist walks. Sights are scattered throughout the city, and roads are more car-friendly than pedestrian-friendly. If you want to see the maximum, take a guided tour.
It's hard to leave Dubai without a small copy of the Burj Khalifa. Take a walk through colorful oriental bazaars in search of bakhur, Aladdin lamps, spices and sweets. Buy oriental oil perfume for mom, copper cezve and a packet of strong Arabian coffee for dad, and for friends - dates in chocolate. Don't forget to bring a couple of camel souvenirs from Dubai - they are the symbol of the UAE.
We advise you to visit the Bur Dubai Souk Market - this is a very colorful place with a huge selection of goods. Be sure to take some time to do some shopping in Dubai or just stroll through the oriental markets. Pleasant memories are guaranteed!
Climb the tallest building in the world
The main attraction of Dubai does not fit into the camera lens. The skyscraper is 828 meters high and is the tallest structure in the world. Other records include the longest spire, the fastest elevator on Earth, the highest observation deck and a restaurant. Do not miss the opportunity to come closer and go upstairs. The Burj Khalifa offers the best views of Dubai and the Arabian Desert. The fountains at the foot of the tower may seem small, but the light show still looks amazing. There are almost never clouds over Dubai, so the view from the observation deck is good at any time.
Tourists often write in reviews that they were frightened of the queue at the Burj Khalifa or stood at the cashier for almost an hour, and as a result they did not have enough space. Therefore, it is better to buy tickets to the observation deck of a skyscraper in Dubai in advance: it is cheaper and more reliable.
See the Dubai Mall
The largest shopping center in the UAE, Dubai Mall, is located next to the tallest building on the planet. Here you will quickly understand why this place is called the most prestigious square kilometer on Earth. The Dubai Mall is famous for more than just the world's best shopping. We were stuck in it for half a day, although we only went to one store. The world's largest artificial waterfall, a dinosaur skeleton from the Guinness Book of Records, a zoo with the planet's largest crocodile, an oceanarium for 33 thousand animals - these are just some of the wonders that await tourists. From the shops, we recommend visiting the sweet kingdom of Candylicious. It is the largest in the world in its category. We travel without children, but we spent at least an hour in it - it is so wonderful. It is difficult even to imagine how it is for those who come to the "Dubai Mall" with a child.
Learn about the existence of Dubai cuisine
There is a myth that everything is expensive in Dubai. We advise you to go to local supermarkets and see the opposite. Many products in them are even cheaper than in Russia. For example: we bought oranges for 1 dirham, apples for 2, and a 500 gram pack of delicious kebabs for 8 dirhams!
It's different with restaurants. The average restaurant check is really high. But what a choice: in Dubai it is easy to find an institution of French or Italian cuisine, and right next door - Lebanese or Turkish, around the corner - a sushi bar or a burger, and across the street - a Russian cafe. Gastronomic traditions from all over the world meet here.
National dishes do exist in the UAE. Try a Persian breakfast of sweet noodles balalit with salted omelet, coffee with khabis saffron dessert, and an unusual hamir flatbread.
See the Singing Fountain Show
This is the most important thing to do in Dubai in the evening. The most convenient way to get to the dancing fountains is by metro - exit at Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall station. You won't get lost there: your landmark is the Burj Khalifa. Admire over 6000 light sources and feel the power of 85 tons of water! The jets dance to beautiful Arabic music, and their height reaches 145 meters. Today it is the largest complex of singing fountains in the world. It works for free.
The evening show starts at 6:00 pm and then repeats completely every half hour. It is better to take good places in advance. 15-20 minutes before the start, the site is no freer than the Moscow metro during rush hour.
Ride on water
Dubai Creek divides the city into two parts: western (Bur Dubai) and eastern (Deira). It stretches into the depths of the emirate for 14 km. Walk along the embankment from either side and be sure to ride on the water. The canal is the historic center of Dubai trade. Today boats and ships, transporting people or goods, scurry about it now and then.
Especially colorful will be trips on abrah - classic Arab wooden boats, which are designed for 10-15 passengers. This is the cheapest and one of the brightest tourist attractions in Dubai. There is no excursion, you are simply transported from point to point. But the driver often plays oriental music, so the trip is unusual. It costs from 1 to 3 dirhams - depending on the route.
Go on a desert safari
This is one of the most exciting excursions in Dubai. We advise you to set aside a day for a trip to the Arabian Desert: drive jeeps through the red sands, take a quad bike hire dubai and dive in the dunes, get to the heart of the desert, and see the sun set. This adventure is breathtaking! There are almost never clouds over Dubai, so the desert sunset is especially beautiful. Just now it was light - and suddenly night falls rapidly to the ground. The tour ends with dinner in a Bedouin village with a beautiful Arab show, hookahs and camel riding. Be sure to look up and admire the stars: Dubai is very bright, so they are almost invisible in the city, and in the desert they are strewn across the sky.
Walk around the city inside the city
The City Walk Mall is a real city in the heart of Dubai. Be sure to visit here, even if you are not interested in shopping. This place is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The town is spread over an area of ​​13 thousand square meters. Hundreds of shops and boutiques, charming pedestrian streets, outdoor cafes and restaurants, fountains, playgrounds, tons of entertainment. It even has its own oriental bazaar. And from its territory you can beautifully photograph the Burj Khalifa. And be sure to go to Saya Brasserie Cafe - the most "instagram" cafe in Dubai with impossibly beautiful desserts.
See a man-made wonder of the world
The artificial island Palm Jumeirah is called a modern man-made wonder of the world. Don't miss the chance to admire it. It is easily accessible by a monorail connecting the city's tram line to the island's trunk. On the "branches" of the palm are luxury hotels of premium class.
The most beautiful view of Palm Jumeirah opens from the windows of the legendary Parus Hotel. From the panoramic windows of the SkyView Bar in Burj Al Arab, all of Dubai is visible at a glance. Admire the city and the Arabian Gulf, sip on a couple of cocktails and sample gourmet cuisine. This is an unforgettable adventure!
If you are not interested in relaxing in the Sky Bar, you can admire the island while walking along the Dubai Marina Walk. Or view it from the water by ordering a cruise in one of the local yacht clubs.
submitted by SvetCurino to u/SvetCurino [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:10 Dil872 Looking for feedback on a fantasy book I am writing. First three chapters available

Hello!
So I posted a first draft chapter a while back and had some great feedback. I have now refined the fist chapter and written a further two, introducing more characters.
A few of the things I am looking for feedback on:
- Are there too many names/places being introduced too soon?
- Do the names seem appropriate? It is one of the things I dislike about writing, everyone and everything needs a name!
- I change perspectives between characters often, does this get jarring?
- Any mistakes/issues
- Things you really like :)
Google doc - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TRwaB_HQQu7N7zFziO0RxGGWZLvI5PsmXlKy1B-V6Uc/edit?usp=sharing
Or, you could just read it below:
Book One
Part One
My acceptance of even my enemies is natural, for I recognise it is the same hand that writes our fate. From the writing of Rumbaldi
Chapter One
The arrow grazed his left shoulder and black blood poured out. The crowd erupted in cheers at the sight and Aben was once again reminded that they were here to see him die, or at least that’s what they hoped for. He ran to the boulder on his right only to realise that this too had been moved since his last fight, it was now nine steps further away. He was out in the open for too long and decided to dive instead of run the last few steps. Another arrow whistled a hand span away from where he had just been.
Arenas were generally speaking supposed to be circular but given the lack of regulations governing arena fights, rarely were two arenas the same in size or shape. Some in fact were more of a square than a circle. Around the fighting circle were erected stands for the paying crowds, most arenas had a single stand but the larger more prestigious venues had up to three tiers. A few years ago, it had become popular to have a random selection of objects within the arenas, sometimes with weapons hidden into them.
Berret never changed the layout of the arena, partially because it was against the rules but mostly because he was too lazy. The fact that he had bothered meant he really wanted him to leave the arena wrapped in white and not breathing. A new layout meant the memorized map in Aben’s mind was of little use.
He peeped around the boulder to see his latest opponent, he had his next arrow ready and aimed. At the sight of Aben’s red hair he released the arrow but he had moved back behind the safety of the boulder and heard the arrow ricochet off the side. That was his third arrow, fighters were limited to five arrows so he would have two more before he would discard the bow and revert to his sword. He knew he should run from cover to cover until he could get into sword range. But he thought, where was the challenge in that. He raised his wooden shield and rather than run out from behind the boulder, he leaped over it and charged. He felt the thud of an arrow hitting his shield before he saw the steel tip penetrating through, a finger length away from his left eye.
The fighter realised that his arrow had not hit, as Aben sped up. The fighter started to move back and drew his short sword, faster than he had thought possible he had closed the distance between them. The fighter was saved from Aben’s swing as he tripped over a stone and fell backwards. Aben had the opportunity to end the fight but stepped back and let the fighter get back to his feet. The fighter, surprised to still be alive, rose and nodded his appreciation toward Aben. Once ready he came sword thrusting right to left, it was predictable and slow. Aben deflected the sword with his shield and looked for the opening he knew his opponent would have left. The last thing the fighter saw was Aben’s sword slashing toward his neck.
The crowds cheering abruptly stopped as they saw the blood on Aben’s sword and the body of the fighter slump to the ground. Aben looked at the hundreds of faces that started jeering and hurling whatever they could afford to get rid of into the arena. There was that face again, the one that looked at him directly in the eyes, that never screamed for his death. She saw him look at her and nodded with a silent applause, this was the first time she had engaged in anything more than a steely gaze. Aben had to raise his shield to his face to protect it from the rotten vegetables being directed at him by the crowd, when he looked back, she was gone.
Aben looked down at the body and leant down to close the eyes. He whispered. ‘May the mother embrace you.’ He did not remember where he had heard the saying, but it was something he started to say to all his fallen foes.
Aben looked at the red blood pooling around the fallen fighter’s neck and was forever amazed to think that this difference in the colour of their blood, his own black as the darkest night and the fighter’s red as a rose in bloom, was the cause of such hate, war and death.
Berret walked into the arena, his arrival got the unhappy crowd somewhat more unhappy. They had paid for what they hoped would be a more engaging fight, one that would see him slain at the end of it. His booming voice proclaimed ‘My dear Edesans, what a thrilling fight! For a second, I too thought that arrow had pierced into his chest and we would have seen the black blood of his heart.’
Someone shouted. ‘Death to black bloods.’
Another shouted. ‘Mortals rule all!’
Berret continued. ‘With his victory today, Aben has secured his place in our championship final. He will face the winner of tomorrow’s fight, when Edesa’s very own war veteran, Palas will face a barbarian from the tribal lands. And the best part, it will be at a discount ticket price for everyone who had tickets for today.’ The crowd erupted in cheers, placated by the discount.
Aben left the arena quickly and after getting stitches for his shoulder, he entered Berret’s office. Like the man, the office was small and smelt like a latrine.
‘I see you’re patched up.’ Berret said.
Aben nodded. ‘You changed the layout.’
‘My arena, my layout.’
He did not want to argue with him around the rules of arena fights.
Berret threw a pouch of coins which Aben swiftly caught in one hand. The weight was wrong, he checked inside.
‘You owe me five hundred ru’el. This is three hundred.’
‘I told you to make the fight interesting and you would get five hundred. You killed Diel in less than fifty heartbeats! You are lucky you are getting paid at all. I nearly had a riot on my hands!’
‘I am paid to kill my opponent, how I kill them is up to me.’
‘And it is my arena, what I pay my fighters is up to me.’
Aben rested his hand on the hilt of his dagger. A gesture that did not escape the attention of Berret who suddenly changed his tone. ‘I tell you what, you win the final fight and I will pay you the one thousand ru’el winner’s prize and a bonus of five hundred ru’el.’
Aben knew he and his father could do with the extra money but his stony expression hid his consideration of the offer. Berret who was unable to read him thought he had not convinced the fighter yet. ‘Also, I will let you keep the armour.’ Berret said somewhat reluctantly.
He would never replace his father’s sword, but he could do with a new shield and an extra pair of daggers. Aben smiled.
Upon seeing Aben walk out of the fighter gate of the arena, Kyros ran to hug his son and then inspected his latest stitches.
Immortals did not age much beyond their thirtieth year, so for observers, Kyros did not look like Aben’s father. He in fact looked like his younger brother, although they shared the same dark red hair and something about their lips and jaw suggested a relation, but that’s where the similarities ended. Aben towered over Kyros, both in height and bulk. His skin colour was more tanned and his eyes were an unusual shade of brown-red.
‘That was too close, He almost killed you.’ Kyros said worriedly.
‘He would have had to be a lot better to do that.’ Aben replied with a smile. ‘She was there again today. Did you see her?’ he asked a little more seriously.
‘No. I was too busy praying to the angels for your safety.’
‘You worry too much father, these fools are not fast enough, strong enough or smart enough to hurt me.’
‘They do not need to be, they only need one lucky arrow shot that you do not see.’
This was an old argument and one that he did not want to repeat. ‘Let’s eat,’ Aben said as he hooked his arm around his father’s neck and started walking toward the town centre. ‘Fighting always makes me hungry.’
‘Just like your mother.’ Kyros said and then averted his eyes.
Aben had no memories of his mother and his father was reluctant to ever talk about her or how she had died. All he had was snippets of information that Kyros had unwittingly revealed in passing conversation.
‘My mother fought?’ Aben asked, he had never heard of women fighting in the arenas. He was fairly sure it was prohibited.
‘With me.’ Kyros clarified.
‘You and her fought with weapons?
‘Women need no weapons to fight with men.’ Kyros said. Aben knew he could maybe get one more sentence out of his father before he would change the topic.
‘Did she win?’
Kyros looked up surprised at the question, he smiled as if he were thinking of a fond memory.
‘Always.’ He said, almost to himself.
Aben added this to his small but growing list of things he knew about his mother.
A stone came flying at them, Aben saw it at the edge of his vision and reacted on instinct. He caught it in mid-air, it was missing him but would have hit Kyros. Aben immediately looked to stand in front of his father, his left hand shielding his face and his right hand went to draw his sword.
‘Eat shit you black blooded bastard.’ A man walking from the betting house said. He was joined by another man who spat at Aben but the phlegm did not travel far enough to land on him.
Before Aben could unleash his sword, Kyros had put his hand on his arm and firmly said ‘Abenthos no.’ He nodded in the direction of soldiers at the end of the road, who had noticed the commotion. ‘If you react, they will have us both in cells with your winnings gone missing.’ Kyros said quickly. Kyros knew that his son would not hesitate to kill anyone that even deemed even a slight threat to his father.
In all the seven Kingdoms of Uthan Immortals were not allowed to carry weapons. The Kingdoms of Edesa and Thurn made exceptions for fighters of the arenas. Even then, if an immortal was caught fighting with a mortal outside of an arena, the consequences would be harsh for the black blood.
Aben took a deep breath, withdrew his hand and straightened. The men walking toward them suddenly realised just how much taller and broader Aben was than them, they slowed their approach and kept their distance. ‘Lose some ru’el, betting against me?’ Aben asked.
‘That arrow should have taken you in your black heart.’ The man said.
Before Aben could respond the soldiers had arrived. ‘What’s going on here?’ One of them barked.
‘These men are fans of mine; they were just congratulating me on my victory in the arena’ Aben said. ‘Isn’t that right gentlemen?’
The men sneered but walked away.
The soldiers watched the men walk back to the betting house and turned to Aben, ‘I saw you fight today. You fight well, for a black blood.’ One of the soldiers said. ‘But fighting in an arena and fighting in a war are very different things.’
Ignoring the back handed compliment, Aben noticed the scar on the soldier’s arm and replied. ‘Thank you. Which campaign were you part of?’
Kyros had never seen Aben meet a soldier and not immediately want to talk about which wars they participated in, how the armies had set up, what tactics were employed and how the soldier fared. Luckily, most soldiers did not entertain his questions.
‘The Hurish incursion of Samdek.’ the soldier replied and then spat on the floor.
Edesa had lost a series of battles to the kingdom of Hur and ended up ceding their southern territory of Samdek. Aben had his next question at the tip of his tongue when Kyros interjected. ‘Thank you for your intervention, we will be on our way now.’ With that he grabbed Aben’s arm and started walking away.
‘I wanted to ask them...’ Aben did not get a chance to complete his sentence.
‘They are not interested in answering your questions.’ Kyros interrupted.
‘You don’t know that.’
‘Didn’t you just say you were hungry? I heard of a place a few streets away. They won’t let us sit inside of course, but will sell us hot food and we can find the shade of a tree.’
‘You think they will recognise me?’ Aben asked.
‘Your blood is still visible.’ Kyros said, pointing toward Aben’s shoulder.
Aben has forgotten about the wound.
‘Never forget who we are Aben. For surely they will never fail to remind us.’
Chapter Two
Idan was looking out at the green pastures, nothing but lush hills for as far the eye could see. The fresh evening air was caressing his skin, the sun in it’s slow ebbing away was filling the sky with a spectrum of colours. He could hear the distant chattering of birds and further away was the hustle bustle of the southern tribes. He was sitting atop his favourite hill and trying to internalise all that he could see, feel and hear. He slowed his heart beat and added this memory to what he called the anchors of peace. In moments of distress, Idan would close his eyes and revert to one of his anchors. He would force his mind to recall the feeling of the air brushing his hands, the rays of sun warming his face, and that feeling of peace. By the time he opened his eyes he would feel the calm forces pushing away his anxiety.
Idan was reflecting on what the future holds when he thought he could hear something coming up the hill in a hurry. He turned around and looked down the hill to see Hymer running up. Hymer stopped and held the side of his stomach, stretched, grimaced and continued up the hill, this time it was more of a fast walk. He was sweating profusely and when he looked up to see Idan staring down at him, he smiled, but his face then turned concerned and he ran the last few strides.
‘Why out of all the hills do you have to choose the highest one?’ Hymer asked, panting as he reached Idan’s side. He had bent to his knees and was breathing heavily.
Idan starched his hand out to the valley, as if to say behold. ‘Need I make a clearer case?’ He replied.
When Hymer looked up he stood still for a moment and took in the beauty of the tribal lands.
Idan looked at his best friend expectantly, Hymer looked confused for a moment and then remembered why he had trekked up the hill, frantically he said. ‘Shez is about to kill someone, we need to go right now.’
Idan thought about asking for an explanation but knew it would only slow them down and Shez rarely had a good reason to draw his sword.
Idan, Hymer and Shez were childhood friends. Although they hailed from different tribes, they had spent some of their formative years together. Tribal custom was for boys from noble heritage to be sent away from their families on their fourth name day. They would travel with the Bedouin tribes to the remote valleys of Nush, where they would spend up to six years learning the traditions of their culture. It was thought this time away from their families and in particular their mothers would make them stronger men. They would travel almost continuously, only stopping for a few weeks at a time. The harsh and often remote life of the Bedouins of Nush meant that not all of the boys returned to their families, sickness could often be fatal, as the Nush only had visiting healers. The boys that did return to their tribes would be adept at hunting, fighting, archery and would have started their training with the sword. They would also be taught the history of the tribes and their guiding codes.
‘Your word is your bond; your bond is your honour and your honour is your life. Never forget the greatest honour is that of your tribe.’ Malak, one of the Bedouin leaders would say to the boys every morning. The honour of the tribe was the most important aspect of their life and this was ingrained into Idan and the others every day.
Idan, Hymer, Solam and Shez had become the closest of friends during those six years. Solam did not make it back from the Nush valleys. He had fallen unwell in the third year of their time with the Bedouins and despite the prayers of his friends and the limited healing efforts of the Bedouin women, he had died after a month of holding on to life, waiting for the healer to arrive. The healer had arrived the day after his funeral was held. His loss still haunted Idan, who fasted on his death anniversary every year. He vowed that if he were to have sons, he would not send them away. Idan spent the remaining days questioning the healer with everything they could have done to save his friends life. A year later when Shez fell unwell with a high fever and chills, Idan took it upon himself to take care of him. Despite the warnings of the Bedouin leaders that he would be falling behind in his training, he refused to leave his friends bedside. He followed the advice of the healer on how to manage the fever and within a few weeks Shez was back on his feet albeit it would be weeks more for him to regain his strength. The Bedouins insisted on carrying on with their travel as soon as Shez was walking and often Idan and Hymer would stay back with Shez who was able to maintain a slower pace.
One night when the three friends were laying on their back and stargazing. Shez who was deep in thought suddenly got up and went on a single knee. He removed his dagger and presented it to Idan who had also stood up.
‘I owe you my life. On this night I give you my word, that should the time arise, my blade is yours to command.’
Idan and Hymer ran back to the market quarters and saw that a crowd had gathered. They pushed through the spectators and could hear an elderly man pleading with Shez. He was being held by two of Shez’s house slaves.
‘I promise you my son is due to return any day now. He has gone to sell our goods in Edesa, he will return with sufficient profit and I will pay you back your loan.’
By the stress in his tone, it seemed that this was not the first time he was explaining his situation.
Shez had fury in his eyes as he stormed back and forth. ‘You and I had an agreement. We had an agreement!’ He shouted. ‘And now you want to break your word, break your honour?!’ He spat on the floor. ‘I should kill you now, oath breaker.’
‘No, no, no. I can pay you some of it back now’ the old man was desperate now.
Idan had heard enough and broke through the crowd to stand in front of Shez.
‘Shez, enough of this. Take what he can give now and set a new date for the rest.’
‘You can even charge a higher interest or a penalty, or both.’ Hymer added, as he stood next to Idan.
‘This is why you had me wait?’ Shez asked Hymer accusingly. ‘So, you could get Idan here.’
Shez turned to Idan. ‘No, this time you do not get to talk me out of it. This old fool has broken his word to me. He has broken his honour.’ His every word increased in volume so that he was nearly shouting by the end. The murmuring crowd clearly agreed with Shez.
Idan looked into Shez’s eyes and saw the rage. Idan had seen this look before and it never ended well. He made an instant decision and turned his back to his friend and faced the old man.
‘How much do you owe him?’ Idan asked.
The old man looked confused; his lips were dry and crusting. Idan thought he needed water before he passed out. Idan turned to one of the slaves holding him by the arms and firmly said. ‘Let him go.’
‘How much?’ Idan asked more softly.
‘The loan was for two thousand ru’el. I can pay seven hundred now but the rest, only when my son returns.’ Idan unhooked the waterskin hanging at the man’s waist and gave it to him.
‘What are you doing?’ Shez protested but Idan ignored him and Hymer stood in between the two.
‘We are going to make a separate deal. I am going to loan you one thousand three hundred ru’el. I expect repayment with one percent interest in...’ Idan looked at him expectantly who clearly could not believe he was maybe going to walk out of this alive.
‘In one month, my son will be back in one month at the most.’ He said quickly.
‘Idan this has nothing to do with you.’ Shez said, but his anger had clearly waned.
‘And this has nothing to do with you Shez.’ Idan replied.
Idan reached into his cloak and withdrew two pouches. He looked over at Hymer and made a face that needed no words. Hymer quickly withdrew four pouches of his own. He removed some gold ru’el from the last pouch which he deposited in an inside pocket and handed everything else over to Idan. ‘You are lucky, Hymer here is from the Azqari.’ The old man's eyes widened in appreciation. The Azqari tribe being one of the most influential and wealthy of the southern tribes, were always recognised when named.
Idan handed the pouches to the old man who held onto his new found wealth for a moment and then gave the money to Shez, who reluctantly accepted his due.
The crowd dispersed, disappointed that they would not see any blood today.
The man turned back to Idan. ‘What is your name, son of honour?’ He asked.
Idan smiled and replied. ‘Idan Safarez from the Sinah tribe. My tribe does not hold titles.’ He said warmly. Select tribes were given titles of importance, it added prestige to the households of the tribe and the respect of the other tribes.
The old man gave a small smile and said. ‘Honour is not just a title. It is a quality of the soul.’ He turned to Hymer and held his hands. ‘Thank you too, son of honour.’ The Azqari were the actual holders of the honour title among the southern tribes. Saying that he walked away. As he turned away Idan noted that he still held himself well, his cloak was of good quality but the cut was of an older fashion. Idan realised he forgot to ask his name.
Idan turned to see Hymer already speaking with Shez. In itself it was an amusing sight. Shez was a head span taller than Hymer, he also had his broad sword, short sword, bow and arrows all strapped to his person. Idan knew he would also have a host of other weapons hidden away. But Hymer was talking to Shez, the way a father would scold a child. Now that Shez had calmed down, he would see the light of reason.
‘And you thought threatening his life would result in you getting your loan back?’ Hymer asked rhetorically.
‘But Hymer, he gave me his word.’ Shez said defensively.
‘And he came to you to explain his situation rather than hide from you.’
‘Well I guess he had some honour.’
Idan joined the conversation. ‘All that would have happened is that the man’s son would have returned to hear that you have killed his father, he would have sworn vengeance and challenged you in blood combat, and you...’ Idan stopped and looked at the swords Shez carried. He continued. ‘You will probably kill him.’ Shez actually smiled at that. Idan ignored him and continued. ‘And that would have resulted in a blood feud between your two tribes, resulting in nothing but more death. All because of a delay of a small loan.’ Idan emphasised the words delay and small.
Shez lowered his head. ‘Yes, yes, I see your points.’
Not wanting to labour the point further, Idan changed the topic. ‘The contest starts in a week. Do you feel ready?’ he asked Shez.
Every year the southern tribes held a contest to establish the order of the greatest swordsmen. The contest was an optional entry but at least a few men from every tribe would put their names forward. The tribe with the winning swordsman would be given the honorific title of sword; with each member of the tribe being referred to as the sons and daughters of the sword.
For the past twenty-five years the title had been held by only three tribes. The Baloq, the Estada and the Rivera tribes; Shez belonged to the Rivera. Three years ago, Shez’s elder brother had been defeated in the final against Urar, a fighter from the Baloq and for the last three years no one had come close to defeating him. Shez himself was defeated by Urar in last year’s contest. Shez later admitted to Idan and Hymer that at no point in the fight did he feel like he had the upper hand.
‘I am never going to be more ready.’ He said without great confidence. Shez was a great fighter, his size and strength alone were often intimidating enough for those stepping up against him. ‘But I have a problem. Anaros wants to participate.’
Anaros was Shez’s youngest brother. Idan had seen the boy since his birth and even the time with the Bedouins did not seem to change him much. He was ever confident with his tongue as sharp as the best of swords.
‘He is still a child.’ Hymer said
‘He reached his sixteenth name day this year.’
‘Is he any good?’ Idan asked.
‘He refuses to fight with me or anyone in the family.’ Shez said, clearly unhappy at that fact. ‘He trains only with that halfwit Bedouin who refuses to be a Bedouin and move on. I mean that is what they are supposed to do right? Not stay in a single place.’ Shez said frustrated.
‘Do you want me to speak with him?’ Idan asked. Anaros had always liked Idan and seemed to respect his views.
‘No, I do not think there’s any getting through to him. Let him fight, he will soon find out why boys should not fight men.’
‘Speaking about getting a beating. I saw some of your uncle’s men in the crowd.’ Hymer said to Idan.
Idan looked at the sky and groaned. This was not going to be a good night, he thought. Idan thought of the valley view from atop his mountain and went back to his anchors of peace.
Chapter Three
There were a lot of perks of being a prince Jace thought, but the greatest was the women. Being crown prince behind his grandfather meant Jace would one day become King of Hulentis, the first and foremost Kingdom of Uthan.
Jace was currently trying to convince the daughter of a noble family that she really did not need to be wearing clothes in his royal company. They were in a bedroom of the largely unused east wing of the Eonian palace. Although rarely used, Jace’s mother insisted that it still be kept in pristine condition and so there was not a speck of dust for the finger to catch. Jace however, was trying to get his fingers to unlatch the bodice of Lureva or was it Mureva. Let’s stick with the brunette he thought. He was kissing her lips and neck and she was finally reciprocating, her hands making a mess of his brown hair.
‘Are you sure no one is going to come here?’ She asked for the second time.
‘Here? No, no. No one ever comes here anymore.’ He said distractedly as he kissed her again.
He had just managed to undo the second hook of her bodice when the door flung open. The brunette jumped up with a shriek and covered her now nearly exposed chest with a cushion. Jace was about to shout, get lost, when he saw Onayza, his younger sister, walk in.
‘Ah there you are, brother mine.’ Onayza said with a satisfied smile. ‘And Kureva, you are here too, splendid. I was just showing your parents the gardens and they were mentioning your love of roses. Perhaps you would like to join them?’ She asked.
‘Yes, your grace.’ She squealed and hurriedly put her clothes back in order as she exited the room.
‘You are going the wrong way my dear.’ Onayza said. She immediately changed directions and headed the right way. ‘Down the first set of stairs, take a left and walk until you see the fountains, then take a right.’
She turned to look at the princess one more time, her face a red to match the roses she would soon be seeing and said. ‘Yes, your grace.’ She curtsied and practically jogged away.
Onayza turned to face his brother with a sly smile.
‘You could not have waited a half hour more?’ Jace asked.
‘I dislike rice, it makes me bloated. Which is why I largely stick to bread.’ She replied.
‘How is that an explanation?’ Jace asked, now annoyed a little.
‘Kureva’s father is the fourth richest man in our kingdom and the supplier of the best quality of wheat to the crown.’ Onayza said. ‘Getting his daughter with child would mean mother would insist you marry her, which you will not do. I do not think her father will want to sell us wheat thereafter. And I like bread.’ Onayza said with a smile as she roamed around the lavishly decorated room.
‘The fourth, really. Who knew?’ Jace said nonchalantly, as he stood in front of a mirror equal to his own height and tried to push down a part of his hair that would not stay down.
‘You would have if you actually paid attention to our tutors and not the maids.’
‘Now where’s the fun in that.’
‘Did you know this bedroom belonged to one of our late uncles?’ she asked without really expecting an answer. ‘After he was killed, grandfather had this section of the palace sealed off.’
‘The rapist or the traitor?’ Jace asked.
‘They were both traitors.’ Onayza stated.
‘Right. Well I do not think grandfather knows where his own bedroom is on the best of days, far less where the east wing is, or that he sealed it off, or that he once had traitors as sons. Jace said.
‘Oh, he still remembers his sons. At night he can be heard talking to them in his dreams.’
‘Tragic.’ Jace said.
Onayza and Jace were taught of their uncles as part of their tuition. It was a cautionary tale of ambition, greed and the King’s justice.
‘We have been summoned.’ Onayza said.
Jace gave up on the strands of hair that defied and him turned to his sister. Technically only the King could summon him but they both knew there was one other in the Kingdom who presumed such privilege.
‘That is never a good thing.’ Jace said
‘It rarely is.’ Onayza agreed.
He gave one final look in the mirror and said. ‘Shall we?’
With that they walked side by side to their summoning.
As they existed the east wing Jace asked. ‘Any ideas on what this is about?’
‘None.’ She lied.
‘Onayza, there is nothing in life that you know nothing about. It’s part of the reason I love you so.’
She smiled inwardly and looked at her brother. He was charming, that is for sure she thought.
‘If I had to speculate, I would say it is about the celebrations.’
‘Right, of course.’ Jace said. ‘Erm what about said celebrations, exactly?’
‘Jace, we are about to host the heads of the six Kingdoms of Uthan, in the greatest celebration the Kingdom has ever seen. Did you really think you would have no greater part to play other than to show up to the night festivities and look pretty?’
‘I was going to leave the looking pretty part to you.’ Jace joked. After a moment he asked. ‘So, I have to what, shake some hands?’
‘Oh, this is going to be entertaining.’ Onayza said as they approached the large double wooden doors. They had reached the grand war room. The immortal kings of old had mapped out campaigns of for the conquest in this very room.
Three hundred years ago a group of human revolutionaries started a campaign of independence from the immortal Kingdoms of old. In three bloody years of battles they defeated the final immortal armies and ushered in a new dawn for mankind, with mortal rule over Uthan. The leaders of the group, Menor, Naz, Aalm, Pele and Hur would split the old Kingdoms into new borders and crown themselves Kings, and in the case of Naz, Queen. Jace was the direct descendant of Menor, the leader of the revolutionaries. Every year the final defeat of the immortals and establishment of the new Kingdoms was celebrated, but as this was the three hundredth year a grand celebration was in order.
At the sight of the royal siblings the guards standing at the door bent to their knees. Despite being treated as the future king of Hulentis since his birth Jace was still uncomfortable at the formalities. Onayza knew that he disliked preferential treatment and wanted to be liked for he was and not what he would become. It’s why she loved him, but of course she did not tell him that, he really did not need more of an ego.
The guards opened the door to let them in, inside sitting around the table was their summoner, their mother. With her were the masters of arms, faith and law. The room was draped in red and gold, the colours of Hulentis and had a table that could seat twenty. Onayza knew it was no accident that her mother had chosen this room, she was looking to make a point. The room was thick with tension.
Jace whispered. ‘This keeps getting better and better.’ He turned to Onayza, ‘You knew it would be all of them.’
The men stood from their seats and bowed, each in their own style. Their mother stayed seated; she would only bow to the King.
‘Mother and the wise men!’ Jace said in mock happiness. ‘Such a venerated group. To what do I owe the pleasure?’ He asked.
‘My prince.’ The men said in unison.
‘Have a seat.’ The princess said.
The siblings looked at each other and took their seats.
Never one for pleasantries she said. ‘We need to discuss the health of the King and the upcoming celebrations.’ She stopped and stared at her children. ‘Quite simply, The King’s health has worsened in the past year and in particular over the last months. He is no longer fit enough to be presented to the visiting Kings and Queens least he makes a fool of himself and embarrasses us all.’ She took a breath and now looked at Jace exclusively. ‘We have decided that you must take the responsibility to sit on the throne.’
Onayza thought she had seen the stable master display more emotion when having to put down a horse that had broken a leg. She looked over at her brother who was clearly lost for words. A rare occurrence indeed.
‘But… how? Grandfather, I mean the King still…lives.’ He managed to get out.
‘We will simply tell everyone that the King has been taken unwell and the healers have insisted that he have bed rest. And that you are taking the role you are destined to inherit.’
‘I am not sure about this. What will you tell grandfather?’ Jace asked, looking for a way out.
For the first time the Princess showed some emotion, she squinted her eyes in what Onayza and Jace knew meant she was tired and frustrated.
‘We will not. I will position guards outside his chambers. He will not be let out.’
‘For a whole week?’ Onayza asked with incredulity.
The princess looked at her now. ‘You will be at your brothers’ side throughout the week. We all know that you are better informed of the political affairs of the other Kingdoms. You will help him navigate the details and dynamics.’
‘And what role will you be playing?’ Onayza asked.
‘Do not presume to question me girl.’ The princess snapped.
‘That is to say, how can we expect your expert guidance?’ Jace said before Onayza could respond.
After an extended glare at her daughter, she turned back to her son, the future king of Hulentis. ‘I cannot be seen to be too close to you.’ She glanced at the masters and then back at him. ‘I am not loved by the people or the other royals.’ The masters of arms shifted in his seat and the master of law simply looked away, suddenly more interested in the papers in front of him. Clearly this was the prickly topic which was the cause of the tension in the room before they had walked in Onazya thought.
‘Even though it is I who has been governing this Kingdom whilst your grandfather has been singing to the fairies and you have been trying to create an army of bastards.’ She said bitterly. She took a breath and composed herself, she continued. ‘So, you with your sister's help will lead the way in forging a new start with the other kingdoms. One of respect and apparently affection.’ She said the last word whilst rolling her eyes.
The old master of faith who had largely had his eyes closed until now stirred and said. ‘Hulentis is and always will be the first and greatest Kingdom in all of Utahn. The King of Hulentis is the leader of all Kings in the land. He must be respected.’ At that he nodded at the princess. ‘But he also must be loved by the people he rules and the kingdoms he leads. With respect and fear they will fight for you. But for love they will die for you.’
The princess said. ‘You have one week to read and understand every trade agreement between us and the other Kingdoms. Every minor and major conflict currently at play. Backgrounds on all the households of the Kings and Queens, and all the nobility that shall be attending. There shall be more agreements, deals and backstabbing in this one week than in the next two years. I want us in the best position possible.’ With that she pointed at the large stack of ledgers, scrolls and books on the other table in the large room. ‘That is to start with, more shall be on its way.’
Onayza groaned, as much she enjoyed learning, this was a near impossible task with consequences she did not completely understand.
‘Very well. Jace said. ‘You may leave.’
The masters all rose at once. The princess raised an eyebrow and then stood up herself, clearly not enjoying being dismissed. As they exited the room Onayza turned to Jace.
‘She’s going to make you pay for that.’
‘She can try.’ He said coolly.
‘You know we cannot possibly learn everything in one week.’
‘You know that, and I certainly know that. But I did not want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that we know that.’ Jace said with a smile. ‘Plus, I doubt any king knows all that. This is just another one of her tests. We will learn the essentials and guess the rest.’
‘You cannot charm your way to being a King.’
‘Technically I don’t even need charm to be King. That is just an added benefit.’ He said with a wink.
submitted by Dil872 to fantasywriters [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 18:03 Cyphesto Norse gods are real, but I don't know i be alive for long after encountering them

I don't know what is going to happen to me, if im going to see another sunshine or not. I know no one is going to believe what i have to say, but i can't stay quiet. Right now im sitting in a car, and im being driven against my will to a place i might not come back from. But let me start from the beginning, my name is Stefan, im 15 years old and i live near Uppsala, Sweden.
Today after school, Nicklas, Patrik and Fredrik followed me to the park, you see, im not what you would call popular, and these 3...well, they like to remind me what piece of shit im really is. I know it might sound like im just here complaining about my life and trying to get your pity, but hang on here, because its where weird things started.
So, once in the park, they caught up to me and stopped me. You see, in mid-october in sweden, its already dusk after school hours, and not many people take road through the park, so they felt bit more brave than usually, they grabbed me and pushed me down off the road. Then, Patrik, who is the most outspoken out of the three came forward and told me "now, you will wriggle around like a worm, don't look at us, turn around and crawl you stupid worm!". Im not afraid of them, they have never hurt me, but i knew it could change fast if i made them angry. So i did what they wanted, with made them burst into laughter. You might laugh at me too, but my self esteem can't go any lower, i didn't care that i had to crawl around, who am i to try fighting three of them in same time?
They took out their phones to film me, but i knew they do it just for show. They tried to make me feel worse by telling me how they are going to show it to everyone, but i knew they couldn't, it would just get themselves into trouble, it would be a proof of their wrongdoing, them filming me was just a bluff, but it was so hard for me to ignore it, i wanted to cry, i couldn't stand it, i couldn't stand their laughter, i did my best to shut my brain off and ignore them as much as i could.
Ignoring them was made more difficult when their phones started ringing, all three of them at the same time, lounder and lounder. My first thought was that they had something important to do, and they all set up a alarm to remind them of something, but they sounded surprised, their laughter stopped and their focus shifted to their phones. They seemed to be struggling with turning the alarm off. I didn't pay attention to what they were saying, i was still trying to make a mental barrier between me and them, trying to not pay attention to them.
I was still laying down with my face turned toward the floor, i heard them saying something about someone coming, i still didn't have a clue about what they were stressing about, but then one of them threw his phone away before they all ran away. The phone landed in front of me and i peeked on it, on it, i saw a live stream of a park,
My body understood before my mind did. My senses sharpened and my focus increased, then i heard the steps, then i understood what my body tried to tell me, the video stream is from this park, and in there, just behind the bush, was me. I saw how he was getting closer to me
The steps were getting more clear, and i could se myself in the video stream, i didn't understand myself, why didn't i run?
If I would run the moment i realized what was going on, i would have half minute lead, but i was laying there, motionless, waiting for the mysterious streamer to approach me, and before i knew it, i was watching my own back in the video, he was standing just behind me. My heart was racing and i tried to understand what was going on, then i heard his voice "you must be very comfortable down there, but i think its time to stand up, a storm is approaching"
I slowly turned around to look at him, my fear disapeared when i saw him, instead, i froze in place, with my mind trying to make sense of what i see. The guy had luminescent tuxedo, it was glowing faintly blue, with stronger glowing spots that moved, making various patterns. Then i looked up to see his face, but the glowing clothes made my eyes less sensitive to light, with made it hard to see his face. He had shoulder long hair, with was also luminescent, but in yellow or golden color. His eyes were glowing faintly as well, in the same blue hue as his clothes. His face looked like it was in shadow, all i saw was dark spot with two blue eyes staring at me. He then smiled, his white teeth made a strong contrast to the shadow covering the rest of face, it looked like the smile appeared out of nowhere. Then he spoke to me again " you look angry, is it because i scared your precious friends away? I quess i owe you something then, il give you a lift home so you won't get caught up in the rain"
He grabbed my hand and helped me up, i didn't know what to think about all that, but he definitely didn't look threating, was he some kind of DJ? He looked pretty outlandish, but definitely not how thiefs looks like, so i agreed to his request, i stood up and followed him, still holding the phone that was thrown away by the "friends". As i followed him, i said "these were not my friends...thank you for helping me". With his next reply, i felt like a idiot when he made me realize he was sarcastic : "really? I thought they were tucking you to sleep, would have never guessed they had any ill intentions, ohh well, silly me"
I was still dumbfounded, nothing made sense to me, i continued asking: " what..goat?". We was approached the street and he stopped, waiting for something, he then replied " its a divine goat, don't bother yourself with it, but if it will still be raining when you wake up on the morning, i would leave the town with your family". Phone in my hand vibrated and a photo of a goat appeared, it didn't look like your avarge goat, it had four massive horns, the goat itself was bigger than avarge, and its fur had a very dark hue of grey. I looked at it for a moment and said the first thing that came to my mind "it... doesn't look "divine", it looks anything but divine, it looks like something devil himself would keep as a pet...your father isn't the devil by the way, right?" I tried to make it sound like a joke and i forced a laugh as i said it.
Then, a dark car stopped in front of us, and doors opened, revealing that there are no driver inside the car "once he get angry, he might as well be a devil" the man said jokingly, and entered the car. I entered the car after him. There was a column with ice and beer between the two front seats, the man grabbed two bottles and gave one to me. "This beer is brewed by my family, its made traditionally using a very old recipe, tell me your opinion about it"
Normally, i wouldn't drink beer like this, im 15 years old and if my parents will feel alkohol when i get home, i will be toat. But hey, this guy is obviously not your avarge joe, i have no clue who he is, but i didn't want to look lame in front of him, so i opened the bottle and started drinking the beer, it's taste was much stronger than your avarge beer, it was both bitter and sweet, like if it was sweetened with honey to hide its overpowering taste. Im also pretty sure part of the strong taste came crom the high concentration of alkohol in it. Is it what they call a stout beer?
The car started and i was about to tell my adress, but the man interrupted me: " you don't have to tell me, i already know where you live, we will be there in ten minutes" With everything that happened so far, i didn't even register this answer as odd, i took another sip of the beer and said "you know that goat you look after, it look totally like something satanists would praise... actually, i heard some emo kids talking about this band called "bloody stingers" sharing photos with "the most metal goat"".
The phone in my hand vibrated again and i saw how Instagram turned on and it showed the profile of the band i mentioned just before, then their most recent photos started popping up, one after another, showing them posing with the goat that the mysterious man was looking after. He then tapped my shoulder and said " you are good lad, when this is over, you will be handsomely rewarded for this, but now, i will have to kidnap you for a moment, im afraid our destination have changed"
Its funny, when you are the least popular guy in school, being "kidnapped" by a stranger that treats you like friend, feels like a good thing. I smiled first time for long time, then i asked something that i should have asked much earlier "so..." I pointed at the phone "how do you...." He noticed im struggling with finding the right worlds, so he finished the question himself "...control the phone? I can answer it, but it will be up to you if you will believe it". I looked at him, his smile disapeared, and once again just his eyes were visible, with the rest of his face being covered by darkness, if he isn't a spawn from hell, then i don't know what he is. I nodded and said "well, tell me, who are you?"
The rain started pouring down, drowning all other outside sounds. The man was silent for a moment, then he answered "im Modi, son of Thor, god of thunder, he controls electricity how he see fit. Im a younger god of man-made creations that uses electricity,i can control everything that requires electricity to function. The car by the way is electronic, so its why i Control it as well"
It took me a moment to understand what he said, i didn't know myself if i believed what he said, i was in constant state of confusion since i meet him, the strong beer didn't help with thinking straight, but at least it made me somewhat more open. I gave him additional question "so... Thor is your father... You sure he is....that scary?" He nodded and said "i know how they portrait him in movies, i have seen them myself, and indeed, my father been trying to change and be more like the ideolized form of himself. But let me tell you a story, my father once went to the world of giants and a snoring giant annoyed him, so you know what he did? He grabbed his hammer and hit the giant in the head strong enough to make a mountain. He been trying to improve his self control since then, but I don't know how long he will be able to control himself when his beloved pet that he had for couple of thousands of years is missing."
At that moment, i had to seriously think what i believe, because it didn't sound funny anymore, it was hard to imagine Thor coming down and wrecking havoc to find a goat. I cleaned my mind and focused on the task, if he is serious about this, then i should get serious about helping finding that goat. I looked around instagram and facebook, clicked on some links they posted recently and i found out they will have sing in a local pub tonight, from the comments i found out they will be bringing the goat with them, apearanlty its very tame and nice. I didn't need to say anything out lound, by now i knew he saw everything i did in the phone, i placed phone down and continued drinking my beer. It was strong so it didn't go down fast.
I was stressed for a moment, but everything went smoothly so i calmed down, we were outside the pub and Modi went outside, he told me to wait, i was too young to enter the pub legally. Once under the street lights, he looked completely normal, the luminescent light was not visible, it looked like he had a normal blue tuxedo, normal blonde hair and he looked quite young, maybe in his early 20s. He then continued into the pub. First lightning stroke up in the sky, it was the start of a thunderstorm. I started to get nervous again, the lightning, it means he is getting angry, right? Is Modi coming soon? Then the radio turned on and i heard his voice : "i have good news and bads news, good news is that the band is already here, they came early to prepare, so at least we don't have to wait for them. The bad news on other hands...i just talked with my brother, he is coming, apearanlty he want to feel important and give the goat to our father himself, with wouldn't be a problem, but he want to wait a day or two so father will be "extra thankful" for getting it back. Im coming up, get ready" as he said it, i saw him exiting the pub with the goat in his arms and bunch on people following him, screaming at him for trespassing and stealing the animal, but they couldn't stop him. Door to the car opened and he started to lead the goat inside the car, i have no idea how it fit in the backseat, but miraculously it came inside.
I asked him about his brother "is he like you? Controls technology or something?" Modi answered, this time he sounded more serious than before "no, no two gods are the same, he is older than me, and controls something else, something that fits his name quite well, i like to call him Magni the Magnet, once he get too close to us, he will fling the car together with us and it will be game over for us."
We were passing the last crossroads before the express road out of town, when suddenly Modi speed up, i was pressed against the seat, shocked, i looked at the mirror and i saw a car driving through the crossroad on red light, nearly hitting another vehicle, i knew what it meant, its Magni. He was driving a old American car, it was painted dark blue with some lightning stickers decorating it. I thought to myself, he was driving a half a Century old car, no way he can catch up with us, right? But he was accelerating impossibly fast, was it because of his magnetic powers? Well, what mattered was that the distance between us was getting reduced steadily, it would not take long for him to catch up with us. I looked at Modi and said "so..his name means magnets?" He answered, saying "no, his name stands for Mighty, and trust me, that name fits him really well, you don't want to cross ways with him" I stared at the mirror, watching the approaching vehicle and i asked him "what about your name? Your name means strength or something?" He answered, saying "no, my sisters name means strength, me on other hand, my name means brave" I nodded, still watching the approaching vehicle " thats cool, I quess "mighty" beats "brave", am i right?" Suddenly, door on his side opened and he nodded "i quess so" before i could react, he jumped off. I then saw him crashing into the car that was chasing us, with lead it to slide on the wet road, sending it off the road and hitting a tree.
Shocked, i sat still, staring blankly in front of me. The door closed itself after a moment. Suddenly, from the speakers in the car, i heard a male voice, saying "Im Mellow, a AI created by Modi, would you like to hear a story to soothe your nerves?" The car then drove off from express road and started driving on a smaller road. I didn't answer the question, but the voice continued anyway "i take it as a yes, did you know Thor had something stolen from him before? Its a funny story actually, it will cheer you up"
I still didn't react, and the AI decided to continue " so, one day, Thors hammer went missing, it was taken by the enemies of Asgard, the Jotunns. The Jotunns left a message, stating they will give back the hammer if the gods will give them Freya to marry. Loki had a better plan though, he used his illusions to change the appearance of him and thor into females, they then went like that and had to pretend to be maidens for whole night! The Jotunns was fooled and gave the hammer back to Thor." I listened to the story and got bit calm, i finally decided to say something "that...sounds hilarious, so he got the hammer back without violence, i quess he isn't that scary after all" the car turned again, this time on a small bumpy forest road. "Yeah, he got it back without violence, and then once he grabbed it, he killed everyone, The End" i thought for a moment i heard wrong, so i asked " he did what?" The AI answered " he grabbed the hammer and in his rage killed everyone around, The End" the AI was quiet since then, and i saw a runestone a moment ago, the lightning strikes are getting more intense and the rain is so dense I can't see anything anymore. I think im close to the destination, i don't know what i will find when i reach it
submitted by Cyphesto to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:48 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective friend who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with a friend beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I really want an intelligent friend with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to Kikpals [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:47 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective friend who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with a friend beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I really want an intelligent friend with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to textfriends [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:45 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective partner who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with someone beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I'd really like to know an intelligent person with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to r4r [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:44 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective friend who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with a friend beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I really want an intelligent friend with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to penpals [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:42 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟 [Friendship], [Relationship].

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective friend who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with a friend beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I really want an intelligent friend with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to MeetPeople [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 17:41 PokingDogSnouts 30 [M4F] New Jersey — Sing a little, dream a little. 🌟

Hello, *squints down at paper* prospective friend who is taking the time to read my thoughts.
I'd like to open by thanking you for passing your eyes over these letters I've clinked out on my little laptop keyboard. They've traveled a long way to get to you.
What I'm looking for is somebody who is thoughtful, curious, and open-minded. Who possesses an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and art, and learning, and reading—fitting as much into their mental suitcase as they can cram (and believe me, it appears to hold a lot)!
Sometimes these things aren't easy. But with a friend beside you to motivate, encourage, and inspire you—suddenly, anything might become possible!
So if you're into history or the beautiful music of decades (and centuries) past, if you have any aspirations for creating as a method of changing the world for the better, if you're learning a new language (I'm learning Italian!), if you'd like to watch movies and play games together, if you'd like an accountability partner—or all of the above...please message me. I don't mind the chat function either—in fact, it's probably easier.
I, myself, love beautiful things. Nature, music that tugs at your heartstrings or is so honest you're just enraptured, experiences that heal. I meditate, I sing and am learning guitar, I love to draw. More specifically, here are some of my current interests:
This is what I look like. You don't have to send a photo yourself, unless you feel like it. I really want an intelligent friend with personality, a unique identity...who puts forth effort, who takes an interest in me—my goals and my life—just as I will do for them! Please send me a PM or chat message if you're interested. And you can check my previous posts/comments to learn more about me. Thank you.
Bonus: Song I'm learning!
submitted by PokingDogSnouts to MakeNewFriendsHere [link] [comments]