Winter’s Reach

Even with the heat on, as I was sweating, winter stretched into my room and lapped at my arm. I glared at the window before I got up to check it, just to make sure the top window hadn’t crawled it’s way down a few millimetres. I pulled the curtain away and saw nothing but the pure whiteness that was the blizzard’s aftermath. The window was solidly closed, the latches were locked as well. I grabbed the curtain to pull it shut again but I froze in place. There was a figure standing in the street outside my new house. The tall dead trees of winter looked like they were quivering with anticipation behind them. I tried to pull the curtain but I wasn’t sure if moving was the best thing to do at that moment. My mind however, was free to race.

“I can’t tell if it’s a dude or a chick.

Aren’t they cold?

Why are they standing there?

Why are they looking at me?”

8920426131_160d913bd3_b

Photo by Adrian Smalley, https://www.flickr.com/photos/smalleyphotography/8920426131 used under Creative Commons 2.0 No changes were made to this image.

 

Then I noticed the snow around them was melting and as I looked away from their face to focus on the pool of water under their naked feet, a voice pierced my mind.

“Ektrazeh nuk, talemnasool. Ikst bjall talemnashadh.”

I stood there, the voice echoing in my head as they started walking toward my front door. I couldn’t move. Thinking back on it I don’t know if it was fear or something else that petrified me. All those years of learning to defend myself vanished from my mind. Street fighting, shooting, gone. They say your life flashes before your eyes before death, well I’d always been early and getting a head start on things. As I heard my front door torn off it’s hinges I took stock of my life. Rocky childhood, abuse, drugs but then when I was finally on my own I’d gotten good jobs, paid my way through college and I’d just bought this house…

And now I was going to die in it.

The front door sailed across the street and hit a tree, knocking down the snow. A bright flash appeared amoung the trees but then I heard steps on my staircase. I whipped around and each step seemed to fall with the weight of my life, shaking every fibre of my being. I was sure I’d stopped breathing but my heart was trying to get away by bursting through my chest… It’d never beaten so hard. The person reached the top of the landing and their steps paused as if they were trying to figure out where I was from where they saw me outside. Then it seemed like someone whispered in my ear.

“Take two steps to the right or I can’t help you.”

First I heard a random voice in my head and now, “no one” is whispering in my ear. I raised my right arm as if trying to distinguish between my right and left and fought with myself about whether or not moving was a good idea. Maybe the thing in the hall would think I bolted and they’d leave. As I had that thought the footsteps started again, as if my thinking tipped it off.

I realized I’d started breathing again. Fast, chaotic breaths were dispelling cold clouds from my mouth into the air. It’s fingers wrapped around my door frame followed by it’s head, peaking from behind it’s hand like the most terrifying game of peekaboo. Their eyes were empty yet full of hunger. Golden iris’s with pinpoint pupils were looking at me as if I was dinner. It’s mouth opened and it was breathing heavy and fast. They looked filled with as much anticipation as I was filled with fear.

It walked in the room disturbingly fast and as it was about 5 feet away from me I didn’t take two steps, I lunged to the right. My eyes were fixed on their golden ones and as they turned toward me my window imploded into the room. I saw blood splatter from the person in front of me onto my bed. They grabbed at their shoulder and roared while turning towards the window, sounding like some kind of lion mixed with a crocodile. There was a flash just like I saw earlier amoung the trees and then someone else just appeared in my room. In the blink of an eye there was a long sword sticking through Gold Eye’s head and it’s body went limp.

The new person in my room walked to the window and looked around for a few seconds before walking over to his sword, which was lodged in the dead persons head. He put his foot on it’s mouth and grabbed the handle of his sword.

“The problem is, there’s no fuller on this blade so it gets wedged inside em every time if I stab rather than slice. Thing is, with my blink, it’s easier to stab.”

He grunts loudly as the blade pulls free and he wipes it on the dead persons clothes before stowing it on his back.

“Well, it was only one tonight. But there’s no way to tell if that one was connected to the hive mind or if it was paying roaming charges. Either way you got two choices. You come with me now and I’ll get you somewhere safe or you can stay here and tell the police about these two crazy assholes who broke into your house. That the crazy asshole with a sword killed the other crazy asshole who was going to kill you; by the way, this guy tore your front door off. Then, when the police are gone, either another lone wolf will come by since you’re marked now or maybe this one’s hunting party finds out their sibling died in your house. Me explainin this to you only happens if we leave tonight, right now.”

I stood up and looked at the pool of blood pouring out of the dead things head into my green rug and shakily walked to my closet, threw my coat on the bed and pulled out a lock box before answering.

“My shoes are downstairs. Can I bring my shotgun?”

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Making Human Characters

Caroline Kerley

I had a wonderful experience today. I met new family that until a month ago, I never knew I had—if it sounds like something out of a reality TV show about long lost family reuniting, you’re not wrong.  The meeting had been planned a few weeks ago and I never gave it too much thought until yesterday, when it dawned on me that it would be a slightly awkward experience because in effect, a group of strangers—adults and children—were going to meet up, shake hands, and be family.  And it was awkward, for about a minute, because that’s all the time it takes to realize how excited everyone is at the prospect of new cousins, and when you have that excitement in common, how can it go wrong. As much as I was absorbed in these new people—what do you do, where did you grow up, what sport do you…

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Be Self-Aware

Technology, primarily for first world countries but also for developing nations to an extent, could be considered apart of our body. An extension of self that you look to for aid or improving latent talents.

A tech user is someone who utilizes an outside tool in order to supplement their actions. In this context, when I say “self-aware tech user”, I’m talking about someone who understands that in this day and age the tech they use is also, in some form, using them. That little google page you have when you swipe to the right on your android that shows you a bunch of news stories and other interesting links is only there because you are being used as an aggregate source to learn about “user preference” in order to better market to you. Apple has such a thing as well, though not explicitly in the same exact form.

A self-aware tech user knows that, to some extent, their activity and personal information is worth something to the applications they use and the corporations which own said apps. This is what leads some to minimize and section themselves off from vast areas of the modern-day internet, i.e. social media. This should not be construed as paranoia or someone who believes in massive conspiracies against them as an individual. Nothing like “gang-stalking” is what I’m talking about. A self-aware tech user knows that the technology appendage they’ve assimilated can have parasitic qualities and thus manages those qualities accordingly. These management solutions involve things like looking for paid services above free ones because in this sphere, if something is free YOU are the product. Though not always true, it stands firm most of the time, à la Windows 10.

The self-aware tech user is aware of this and will manage the manner and the amount of times they allow themselves to be the product instead of the consumer.

 

Lastly I’ll leave you with this video by youtuber Barnacules which targets Windows 10 under the context of this post.

Pain

I tried working the other day. I only made it four hours till I was curled up in a pathetic ball of pain. My focus was wavering and I couldn’t in good conscience continue driving.

What the fuck.

It’s not like I have cancer, or MS, Muscular dystrophy or anything like that. The main thing I got from doctors was either my nerves are over-active or I’m making it up.

I was happy.

I didn’t have a desk job. It was always something new, something challenging. I’d found the department I wanted to work in. I was making friends, learning, growing…

Then my body said fuck it.

I felt like someone was taking needles and 1, 3, 8 at a time digging them into the joints in my chest. The rhomboid in my back was threatening to either tear or break something but it never did.

I was happy.

People needed me. I was useful. But there I was, a little more than 5 years on from Oct 4, 2011, trying to be helpful, forcing myself to believe I had gotten over whatever this is, but still broken. If I just persevere through it, I thought, I could continue the life I put on pause.

There are terminal people in the world who are still working, still being useful/helpful and here I am a crumpled ball writing stories to try and get over the depression.

People are worse off than I am.

I was just certified to work on cars, then the industry crashed and no one wanted to hire me. Then I started learning the ins-and-outs of the film world. I got a few jobs and was making contacts, I was having fun. The best year of my life.

What do you do?

How do I answer that question without sounding like a child who doesn’t want to move out of his parents house? No one wants to hear a sob story. Everyone has their bullshit to deal with. “Grow a pair!” “You just have to work through the pain and stop being a bitch.” I’ve thought of everything people say to millenials. Those overgrown sheltered babies who can’t hold a job because for one reason or another they don’t understand the real world isn’t going to coddle them.

I don’t want to be coddled.

I wanted to move out. I wanted my own place. I wanted to pay my student loan. I was ready. I was doing everything right. My credit card never maxed out, I made payments on everything.

But the real world said fuck you.

I lost muscle mass and weight from not moving cuz of the pain. I literally forced myself to come up with little tasks and projects to do just to move, cuz I couldn’t bear lying down in bed being in constant pain anymore. I was in pain but at least I was doing something. From 155lbs to 123. When you’re 5’8” 123 is scary. Emaciated would be the operative word. I’d seen the outline of bones I’d never seen before. And it angered me.

I wasn’t sure if it was hurting me in the long run but I was mad at my body. I forced myself to workout again. Every single 5 minute workout would render me motionless for a week. I was enraged. I wasn’t dying, I didn’t have cancer, they have it worse than me. I forced every workout beyond tears. Muscles in my back not withstanding, I was at least going to stop looking emaciated. Then I was back at 155. The needle pain in my chest joints had settled down and now they only visit me for short periods thanks to one doctor who didn’t treat me like I was worthless.

I was improving.

It had taken a little over 4 years but I’d gotten some of my strength back, but the body pains still persisted. When it rains I feel like I’ve overworked my upper body even though I’ve done nothing. I shake when I move, picking up a fuckin gallon of milk is a chore. I don’t know what it feels like for muscles to actively tear off your bones, but this makes me imagine it.

Standing, sitting, laying down. My day consists of moving between these trying to alleviate the pain. “Get a sitting job.” I’ve heard it often. My legs don’t hurt. My legs are perfectly fine. You don’t know how much of your upper body you use while sitting. I couldn’t even write this without doubling over my keyboard, body shaking, elbows supporting my upper body on my thighs, because I’ll be damned if I’m forced to stop something I’m doing. But then after a while, 10 more minutes after I’ve doubled over, the needles start inserting themselves into my chest joints again. I fight against them until the tears come. I fight them off too. My body shakes with every breath. Focusing becomes harder and harder. I spite the pain for as long as I can. I thought, hey maybe I can start working again.

I tried to work for a day. I didn’t finish the job. A little more than 5 years now and within 2 hours I slow down. In 4 I become worthless. So I’ll continue to escape into writing. I can control my words. I can control my words.

The Art of a Deal

The world of business is rough and cut throat.

You are the only one who matters.

We’ve heard this word a lot in the last year, “deal”. What is it that comes to mind? How is it that some make it big while others become broke?

Instill enough uncertainty and doubt in your target to knock them off their game while still showing them a demeanor of willingness. You’re willing to work with them, you’re willing to hear their concerns and wants. You have to show them how any other choice they think is available to them is selling themselves short and undervaluing their true worth. The uncertainty and doubt will make them care less about their initial wants and needs and they will settle for a less than beneficial outcome for themselves. You need to craft a situation for your target where doing anything but making a deal with you will prove to be a net loss for them. In this way you end up maintaining contact with them as well as coming out on top. The key here is maintaining a positive rapport so you can use them in the future. This would be your first deal, and possibly the hardest one. However, with the strength of this first target on your side, you will have more ammunition for the next deal.

There is another way to go about a deal. You find out what people want, clearly and factually. You’re initial goal may be for something else, but you must be able to see where the target has their eyes focused. There’s always more want than need in most people, the trick is to take advantage of someone’s wants to procure something someone else needs. Many have their wants and needs mixed up, this is a shell game you can take advantage of. You have to let the target see you speaking with and dealing with people they know owns what they want/need. Then you say you might be able to help your target out, if and only if, they help you out first. This can be done in many ways, one such way is; Promising to help them get their dream job or to pay for their medical bills if they help you get into a position of power.

My question to you now is; in this scenario, which are you and which is Trump? Honestly ask yourself flat-out, without delusions, who is the target?

Blind

People spend an inordinate amount of their life doing soul-crushing tasks, yet others will say their depression is just an act while ignoring their own.

We turned a barter system of equivalent exchange into a trade system of non-existent currency based on a vacuum that trades for real physical things in a hope to be filled.

People cause incalculable sicknesses and even deaths of others, animal and human, yet are allowed to continue harming our global family. They can “pay” for it and everyone else pays for it.

We knew we were different since time immemorial, yet spent no time to learn about those differences and only rarely cherish our similarities. They both should be celebrated in concert.

We focus on the negative when someone tries to be positive.

For too long we’ve been teetering like a top about to spin out but we listen to those who say we’ll continue to spin forever. “We aren’t teetering” they will say and people will continue to believe them because once we recognize the truth we’ll know, it is our fault.

Black people and White people are…

Did I grab your attention? Good.
Do you want to stop racism? Do you hate being the target of racism? Alright cool, same here.

However, you can’t do that in a way some suggest which is, “Stop talking about it.” That’s like ignoring the fact someone is punching you in the face. Just cuz you refuse to acknowledge it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Also, the notion that you can’t be racist towards the dominant/more abundant population is just as ignorant.

Before you say anything about my next point, the notion of “Not venturing into the comments of a video” is the same as what I just said about getting punched in the face. I read on-line today, while looking through the comments on the Ghost in the Shell trailer (November 13, 2016), someone’s curious response to another comment. “White people don’t belong in Japan.” was what they said. I offered, as a retort, that the sentiment was as racist as “Black people don’t belong in America.” The latter of which is something I’ve heard MULTIPLE times in my life.

This brings to mind something very important.

How do you stop racism? You first deal with the way you talk about people and cultures, be they your own or someone else’s. All of this bullshit of “White” people, and “black” people, needs to stop. Stop reducing yourself down to a fucking crayola. As adults, we grew out of preschool, so stop rationalizing like you’re still there.

You are not melanin or lack-thereof, you are a person.

As much as I love all my friends, when they say things like; “White people this,” and “Black people that”, “hispanic people do,” and “Asians always,”, they confuse the shit out of me. These sweeping generalizations which we cast on huge segments of the population serve to make people see you as hating, or feeling some type of way about everyone who looks like “them”. I’ve used those stupid ass terms too but I’m making an effort to stop, so should you.

After a year of this insane election process I’ve noticed that we’re allowing ourselves to be draw to one side or the other of a very very thin line that shouldn’t have ever been drawn. “White people don’t understand what it’s like to be marginalized and hated.”

Excuse me, but by speaking like this about people with lighter coloured skin than you, YOU are doing exactly what the fuck your suggesting they stop doing to you, People of Colour. It’s talk like this which makes “White” people afraid to walk around places like Oakland, and the Bronx. WHY? Talking like THAT leads to acting the way the “White” people expect you to act; Glaring at them with hatred, reacting to what is said with violence, taking things the wrong way, etc.

Don’t take this as me ragging on only Non-Caucasians. The fact is, we’re doing to each other, that which we hate other people for doing to us. An example: light and dark skinned Dominicans. I’ve heard and seen the bullshit yall do and say to each other. You’re from the same fuckin island, WHICH yall share with Haiti, so act like you got some sense. The same could be said of other countries and ethnicity’s. **EDIT** Asians aren’t exempt either, spend some time around a specific community, your local mini China/Korea/Thailand/Japan if you live in a global enough State, and you’ll hear ethnocentric garbage that would make a baby cry. No, that’s the point, even a baby would be appalled. I’ve also met people from various parts of the EU; Italy, England, Ukraine, Spain, and it’s the same thing. People make veiled jabs at other cultures and end it with a failed attempt to show they aren’t really spewing racist remarks. **EDIT END**

And yes bring in History, the the years of slavery, murder, rape, and genocidal/ethnic cleansing actions perpetrated against “minorities” across the planet and it’s easy to be rallied to the side of anger and resentment. I’m not sayin we forget history. What I’m saying is, that if you want to stop racism, stop responding to it the same way we have been for decades. Stop speaking in broad-ass generalizations because believe it or not, Not every European/Caucasian-looking person hates you because of your skin colour. Fuckin crazy notion isn’t it?

I’m not saying we do what the Psychopaths known as White Supremacists (Notice the vernacular) do, which is, say one word while giving it the undertone of something else. That’s childish, small-minded and it makes you an idiot.

I’m talking to EVERYONE, if you want to talk about “coming together” and “bridging ethnic gaps”, then SPEAK like it, ACT like it. Call out your friends AND family, light or dark, for those racist comments. Anger is fine, it’s apart of life. But breaking your hand on something or someone because you punched it/them in anger isn’t doing anything but hurting yourself. You’re reacting in a way where people can say, “See, they act like animals. Of course they’re beneath us.”

Do you want to stop racism? Then be smart about what you say and do. Don’t ignore racism, and don’t attack it with every limb of your body. Unless your are literally being beaten by a psychopath, there’s no need to act like an idiot.

Your thoughts become your word.
Your words become your action.
Your actions become habit.
Your habits become your character.

So pay some fucking attention to what you’re thinking, please.

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