2021.10.20 11:12 PedicularRose Let me just sit on top of the plant!
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2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine Ethereum Reclaims $4,000 for First Time Since May - Decrypt (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
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2021.10.20 11:12 HarryRichard2069 Savannah
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2021.10.20 11:12 quatsch1998 AK-47 | The Koi Dream
hello guys, this is my first skin I ever made. It is for the valve contest, Dreams and nightmares
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2021.10.20 11:12 Jack00977 NG++ "Give Me God of War" Gear Recommendation
So I'm thinking about doing a NG++ run, after having slept on this game for ages I cannot stop playing it.
I'm at the point where I've a bunch of NG+ gear but I'm not sure what is best for GMGOW
Which of these is most ideal?
2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine BTC breaks ATH and is sitting at $66k (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
2021.10.20 11:12 BryGuyTheScienceNye You love ATLA, so much you named your pet Zuko, now it's picture time
2021.10.20 11:12 EmpireStrikes1st wtaf — 1970s comic book sadomasochism
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2021.10.20 11:12 JustAdministration19 بچه ها سلام این اولین میم منه میدونم درخواست وت آپ ممنوعه ولی وت آپ کنید
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2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine A few things I've learned (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
2021.10.20 11:12 d_tlol Luna singing stream is live!
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2021.10.20 11:12 WorstFriendCast Best way to sell individual or bundled episodes
So let me start by saying we have a successful free podcast, by our standards. A few hundred downloads every week and a fan base that downloads and socializes for us. We’ve had some massive success on a few episodes recently involving interviews with adult performers, about 20x our average downloads. Sex sells, apparently. Still, none of that translates to any money. We use Spreaker, which lets you auto populate monetization ads, but even with those massive spikes on those episodes we’ve only made a pittance.
Well, I’ve been able to secure a bunch of interviews with a bunch of adult performers. Some that haven’t been heard from in 10+ years but still have a big following online. What I’d like to do is break these interviews up into seasons and call it a special series of our show. I’d offer 10-15 mins clips for free on our main RSS feed and then “Hey, go HERE if you’d like to hear the full episode or watch the video.” I’d like to do 10 episodes in a season for $5 per season.
That’s where I’m running into the problem. We already have a Patreon for our main show. It’s $1 a month and get you a half hour of bonus content per week. I thought about making another tier, a $5 tier, calling it season 1 and only putting those full videos on that tier. But, that means our regular Patreon members wouldn’t get access to the normal bonus episodes as I wouldn’t want them to be part of the season. It also means that I’d have no way to do a season 2, as I couldn’t introduce a second $5 tier without having people subscribe to one, download everything, and then switch to the second season tier and download everything there.
TLDR: What’s the best way, and easiest for the listener, to sell individual or bundled episodes of a podcast without using your standard Patreon? I’d like it to be device neutral if possible, so iTunes wouldn’t work in this scenario.
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2021.10.20 11:12 Aubiepolo Rocket party
2021.10.20 11:12 DezgamesNL Giratina raid on me add 4518 9182 8119 and 6646 8389 8018
2021.10.20 11:12 REEERIC016 So are the pigs new addons still broken?
Played three games yesterday using the pigs new addons. Atleast two of thoes games should have ended with me getting a four man, if not for the fact that the survivors ran around with already triggerd RBT's on their heads with a big red blinking light and then just left through the exit gate.
Have literally seen zero people talk about this anywhere, my friend also tried using the new addons as pig and had the same results. Most bizzar bug i have ever seen in DBD and i personaly havent heard anything about if from anyone. was it just really bad luck or are they actually just not working as they should?
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2021.10.20 11:12 nimobo Glenn Youngkin slams McAuliffe for walking out during TV interview: 'He's losing it'
2021.10.20 11:12 AHardRoguesLife Finally have Suikoden 1-5!
2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine BTC breaks ATH. ETH broke above $4k. What’s next? (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
2021.10.20 11:12 Vhad42 People who have been behind the scenes at 5-min Crafts, what are some of the most shocking lies you've watched?
2021.10.20 11:12 Motheroftides Day 20 - Sprout
2021.10.20 11:12 MarsMissionMan Fusion Mode Beaten!
2021.10.20 11:12 kluc94 Continue or fresh start ?
2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine Congratz to everybody (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
2021.10.20 11:12 Born-Beach There's a house on the hill, rotten and broken, that once belonged to a cannibal. I wish I'd never stepped foot inside.
The House loomed above us. It sat as a broken, teetering tribute to the dead, perched atop Cackle Hill like a crown of rotting lumber. It was the most famous thing in our town. The thing everybody knew, everybody talked about, but nobody dared disturb.
We were warned again and again to steer clear of the House, to avoid even so much as looking at it when we walked by for fear that we’d see the man in the window with the tiny eyes and snaggle-toothed smile, but such superstitions are lost on children.
We braved the House on Halloween. There were three of us then, twelve years old and small enough to navigate the maze of bramble that encircled the hill, and deft enough to avoid the sharp thorns that pressed in upon the House like a barbed wire fence.
The property was old. Shambling. It once belonged to a wealthy man named Erich Cackle, an aristocrat who owned most of the real estate in town. The story goes that Cackle was a charming man with a taste for delicacies. He enjoyed fine foods from all across the world, whether that be escargot or snake wine. He loved to try things. Eat things.
At one point, he decided to try human flesh. And at one point, he decided that he liked it.
It’s estimated that over a hundred different corpses litter Cackle Hill, their bones scattered amongst the bramble. These days it’s officially recognized as a burial ground. A final resting place for a legion of people with no name and no history, no record of their existence besides the occasional femur rising from the dirt.
Twenty-two years ago though, the legend spun into overdrive. On Halloween night 1989, four children crawled through the thickets of thorns and made it into Cackle House. All four were massacred. They're still finding pieces of them today.
Ever since then, it’s been closed off. Out of bounds. The authorities said it was out of respect to the children, to the dozens of graves that covered the property.
But the locals knew better.
They knew that Erich Cackle had never been tried for his crimes. They knew that he lived a full life, one with blood on his hands, hair in his teeth, and flesh in his belly. They knew that despite being dead for over a hundred years, Cackle still lived in that house. He still watched them from atop the hill.
Or at least, that's what you hear on the playground. Around campfires. It's what your older brother taunts you with before you turn off the lights for bed.
Stories like that are magnets to children. Urban legends have always had a special pull on the sixteen-and-under crowd, and that night me and my friends learned we weren’t immune.
I think that’s why we did it, really.
I think that’s why we climbed Cackle Hill and made the worst mistake of our lives.
The passage up the hill was awful.
The thick bramble blotted out the moon like curtains to a window. We navigated by feeling alone with Landon in the lead, Wendy behind, and me in the rear.
A blanket of thorns pressed us down, preventing us from being able to even properly crawl. Instead we slid across the ground like worms. My heart worked overtime as my muscles burned, each movement more difficult than the last. It took us over an hour to make it up the hill, and once we did we needed another ten minutes just to catch our breaths.
As we did, we realized how alone we were. All the way at the top of the Hill you couldn’t hear the cars zipping along the streets below, and could only just barely make out the smudges of trick-or-treaters marching back home for the night.
It was just us at the top of the world.
Well, us and the House.
It stood twenty feet away, a tall, teetering structure with a crooked shadow. The front of it was covered in broken windows and rotting wood. Its walls, now sagging and in many places crumbling, looked to have once been painted white, but all that remained of that were chips of discoloured beige.
I pulled my jacket tighter about myself. It felt suddenly cold. Frigid.
“I didn't think it was possible," Wendy remarked, "but this place feels even more haunted than it looks."
“That’s just what they want you to think,” Landon said. “Dead people are just bones in the dirt. There’s no such thing as ghosts. My brother told me the only reason they say all of that stuff is because there’s actually a lot of valuable stuff inside Cackle’s abode, but they don’t want kids like us looting the goods."
Goods or not, it was hard for me to imagine looting much of anything from that House. It was a tight enough fit coming up here with just the clothes on our backs-- let alone carrying a backpack or a duffel bag. The damn thorns had cut my arms and legs to ribbons.
“Let’s just hurry up and get this over with,” Wendy said. “This place gives me the creeps.”
Landon rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a girl. Man up."
She planted her hands on her hips. "Ever notice how it's always the women who survive in horror movies? It's because we're not idiots."
"Whatever you say," he said with a smirk, digging in his pocket and pulling out a long flashlight. He gave it a shake as though to make sure the batteries were inside. "If I was in a horror movie I'd probably outlive the monster itself."
"Oh yeah?" I said. "How's that?"
Landon clicked the flashlight on, illuminating the run-down exterior of the House. "Because," he said simply. "I always come prepared." With that, he stepped up the to the battered front door and gave it a tug. It opened easily.
He paused at the doorway, sweeping his light inside the house. He craned his head inside as though to make sure the coast was clear, then satisfied stepped into the black of the House.
Inside, the place was a mess. Cobwebs lined every corner of every ceiling, and what walls weren’t decorated in peeling wallpaper were covered in faded graffiti. Beer bottles were strewn here and there. Old ones. Probably from a time before the bramble had grown too thick to easily traverse. Of the four chairs in the kitchen, three were in pieces and spread out across the hardwood, while another sat bow-legged and weary, threatening to collapse at any moment.
A thick layer of dust sat on just about everything. Bugs skittered across the countertops, spiders and ants alike, standing guard over a row of black-and-white photographs. Still lifes of a different time.
One photo pictured a man smiling, his teeth a mess that stuck out in odd directions. His eyes were sunken and hollow, and his fingers, long and boney, were draped over the shoulders of two girls.
“There he is,” muttered Landon. “Erich Cackle.”
Wendy shivered beside me. “He looks even creepier than I imagined.”
I had to agree. There was something about the photo that made my insides squirm. The girls standing on either side of Cackle looked uncomfortable. Frightened.
“These are probably kids he ate,” I said. "I wonder if they knew what he meant to do with them."
“Probably had an idea,” Landon said, moving past the photographs and inspecting the rest of the kitchen. He pulled open a drawer and withdrew a rusty carving knife. “Think he cut up any kids with this?”
“Oh come on,” Wendy groaned. "People were murdered in this house."
“What?” Landon said with a cheeky smirk. “Everybody knows that Cackle loved chowing down on kids. You guys read his journal clippings in the Daily Times? One of them said he thought kid meat was juicier than a veal cutlet and twice as delicious.”
Wendy had that right. I was about to chime in when a clatter sounded from down the hall. I turned, peering into the dark corridor.
“What’s up?” Landon asked.
"You hear that?"
“Be quiet for a second. Just listen.”
The three of us stood in silence, my ears straining. “It sounded like somebody dropped something,” I explained. “Like they bumped into a table.”
“Well, let’s go check it out,” Landon said, flipping the carving knife in his hand and passing the flashlight to Wendy. “Don’t worry. If Cackle jumps out at us, I’ll gut him with this.” He pantomimed stabbing his stomach, complete with a goofy, tongue-rolling expression.
The hallway in question was a long, twisting thing. Its walls played host to dozens of seemingly mundane objects, each hanging crooked and scattered. Trinkets, I realized. Pocket watches, bonnets, boots and letters were all nailed to the walls, though some empty spots made me think some had been torn off and stolen.
“These look like prizes from his victims,” Wendy said. “Mementos.”
“Lame prizes.” Landon yawned.
“Well they wouldn’t have many possessions. The people Cackle preyed upon were mostly just poor immigrants who…”
Wind touched the back of my neck. Warm. Humid. Like somebody’s breath.I wheeled around, startled, and came face to face with nobody and nothing.
“Hey!" Landon snickered from out front. "You're losing it, Ian!"
Wendy shot him a venomous look. “Everything okay?" she asked me. "You look stressed.”
“I’m fine,” I lied. “Just tired.”
"No, that makes sense," Landon said. "This place is honestly kind of a drag. Let's check out his bedroom and call it a night. Apparently it's supposed to be haunted." He made a ridiculous ghost impression and Wendy pushed past him, opening the far door of the hallway.
"Fine," she said. "Hurry up and get it over with."
A stench floated out of the room that made me sick. I doubled over, reaching. The smell was unbearable. Rancid. Grotesque. It smelled like shit, piss, and perfume all at once. I brought a hand up to pinch my nose.
Wendy paused in the doorway. "Okay. Let's get out of here, Ian's in bad shape."
"You guys don't smell that?" I said, stifling a gag.
They exchanged looks, shaking their heads. "Don’t smell anything," Landon said. "Maybe your gigantic nose is just better than ours?"
“Oh screw off,” I grumbled. "Go on, then. Let's see the haunted bedroom and get the hell out of here."
Landon clapped his hands enthusiastically. "That's the spirit! Won't take long!"
We moved in the room. It smelled worse inside than out, but I'd gotten to a point where I could more or less tune it out. Sort of like a bad fart. The room wasn't as much of a mess as I expected, but it certainly wasn't in great shape either.
In its center was a large bed, draped in moldy blankets. Cockroaches scrambled across the surface, scattering before the glow of Landon's light. On either side of it sat two dressers, finely carved and taller than any of us, and in the far corner was a full-body mirror, dusty and cracked.
The putrid smell of death seemed to grow more powerful the closer we got to the mirror. My stomach twisted. "Alright, that was the bedroom. Let's head back down."
“Hang on,” Landon said, his voice low. He had paused in front of the mirror, head cocked curiously to the side as he gazed into it. The his eyes snapped down and he tapped his foot against a floorboard. It groaned, eliciting a small echo. Then he tapped another. This one was quieter with no echo to speak of.
“I think there’s something under here," he said. He lifted a foot and smashed it down at the suspect floorboard. Once. Twice. Three times. The board warped, but didn’t break. “One second,” he said, snatching the light from Wendy. “Let me try to find a hammer.”
Before I could protest, he was gone. Vanished from the room. His footsteps creaked along the twisting hallway before fading entirely. Wendy and I stood in the dark, no flashlight between us, with only the small scraps of moonlight filtering through boarded-up windows, glimmering off the dusty mirror.
“You’re right,” I said to her. “You were right all along. This place is a total creepshow, and we shouldn’t have come up.” My nostrils ached with the smell of corpses.
“We’ll see what’s under the room and then we’ll leave,” she assured me. “If we take off now Landon’s gonna throw a hissy fit.”
“Yeah, that's true.” The two of us stood there in silence, waiting for seconds that turned into minutes that soon felt like hours. Then Landon returned.
When he did, his face seemed different. It was hard to describe but the carefree aloofness was somehow gone. Something else had replaced it-- something calculated, serious. “Ready?” he said in a voice not at all like his own.
Don’t trust him.
I whipped around. There was a voice there, just now, speaking to me. Not Landon. Not Wendy. Who?
My eyes scanned the empty bedroom, drifting over the shadowy shape of the bed, the looming dressers, and that awful mirror that made my skin crawl. Something shifted in the reflection of the mirror. Something like blinking eyes.
Landon clasped my shoulder, surprising me. “You’ll go down first,” he instucted.
"Me?" I said, somewhat disoriented. My mind was still a mile away wondering about the eyes I'd seen in the mirror, but they seemed to have vanished. A trick of the light, maybe. "Why me?"
"You're tallest," he reasoned. "We can't tell how far down the hole is. You'll have the shortest drop."
That didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, but I wasn't in any condition to poke holes into his arguments. I just wanted to be done with this and gone. "Fine, but give me the flashlight."
I reached for it and he pulled back. "Not yet. I'll throw it to you once you're down. I don't want you falling on top of it and breaking it."
I narrowed my eyes at him. Landon didn't seem like himself. He seemed cold, indifferent, and uncomfortably calculating.
"Whatever. Fine, I'll go."
Landon smiled as he got down onto his knees and raised the hammer over the floorboard. It came down with a deafening crack. The wood, old and rotten, splintered easily. Landon continued to smash away at it, a ravenous look in his eyes. It didn't take long before he was finished, leaving a jagged star-shaped hole of splintered wood behind.
“That should do it,” he said, breathless. He shot the light down into the hole but none of us could make out a damn thing. It was like the darkness was swallowing the light. My palms clammed up.
“We’ll be right here,” Wendy said, encouragingly. “Don’t worry.”
No. There was no way I was jumping into a hole I couldn't see the bottom of. Why was that so hard for them to understand? “Actually,” I said. “I’m not feeling it. Sorry guys I just--”
A hand shoved against my back. Hard. I gasped, my mind reeling as I realized somebody had just pushed into the hole. I shot out my arms, trying to catch myself on the lip of the broken wood but it was no use.
Screaming, I fell.
A second later pain shot through my tailbone as I landed with a crash. I took a shaky breath, trying to get my bearings but I was in so much pain. Tears welled in my eyes.
“Landon!” I heard Wendy shriek from above. “Are you crazy?”
“Sorry!” he laughed, sounding embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to push him that hard. I was just messing around.”
I groaned, looking up and seeing two faces swimming in the darkness above. Landon and Wendy. I must have fallen six or seven feet. Too much for me to get back up through the hole on my own, but I wasn’t going to just sit there.I got to my hands and knees, then to my feet and--
I gasped, crumpling to the ground.
“What’s wrong?” Wendy called.
“My ankle,” I said through gritted teeth. “I fell on it. I think it might be broken. Fuck! I can’t stand up.”
“One second,” Wendy said. “I’m going to go find a step ladder.”
She took the light and disappeared, leaving me and Landon alone.
“Why'd you push me, asshole?"
He didn’t respond. He simply stared down at me, the house so dark that all I could make out was his unmoving silhouette. He tapped the hammer against his leg, humming quietly.
“Do you have your phone on you?” I asked, swallowing my pain. “You might need to call my parents. Not sure I can actually get out of here.”
Landon was silent. Unmoving. He continued standing there, humming and looking down at me vacantly.
“I’m serious!" I shouted. "Are you listening, Landon? I’m fucking hurt!”
Good, a voice whispered. I froze. It hadn’t come from above, but instead in front of me. Somebody else was in the crawlspace.
There was a dull thud in the dark. Then breathing. Heavy, ragged breathing. It sounded like something heavy was shifting its way toward me, moving slowly through the crawlspace.
"Landon…" I groaned. "I think there's something down here."
No response. He kept humming, tap tap tapping his hammer against his thigh.
Once more I tried to rise to my feet, but once more pain exploded across my ankle and I collapsed into a heap. The thing, whatever was down here with me, shuffled closer. Fuck! I scanned my hands across the dirt floor, feeling for something, anything that I could use to defend myself.
What was that?
My hands gripped something long. Metallic. A screwdriver.
“Hey!” a voice called from above. “You still alive down there?”
Wendy. She stood above me, blinding me with the glow of the flashlight. When she moved it away, I caught a glimpse of her face, her smile wide and beaming.
"Help me out of here!" I called. "There's something down here. A rabid racoon or something."
"Sure thing," she said. "Did you happen to see the mirror up here, Ian? It's beautiful."
That damn mirror. I never wanted to see it again, and yet somehow I knew I'd see those gleaming eyes in my nightmares for the rest of my life. "Yeah. It's a real beaut. Now get me the hell outta here would ya?"
Landon was trying to position a ladder above the hole.
“Hurry up!” I bellowed.
“ ‘Bout time you said something,” Landon smirked. “You’ve been quiet as a corpse."
He let the ladder go.
I rolled, scrambling out of the way. The ladder crashed in front of me with a heavy thud. A moment later, it creaked and groaned as Wendy clambered down it, followed by Landon.
“You nearly dropped it on me,” I began. ‘There’s--”
“--What is this place?” Landon said, ignoring me. “It feels nice. Drafty.”
I studied him warily. What the hell had gotten into him? He was acting totally bizarre.
Wendy swept the flashlight over the musty crawlspace, revealing several thick wooden supports and a scattering of rat feces and bones.
There was no sign of anything else down here. Nothing living.
Wendy brushed past me, eyes wide. She had a strange smile on her face. Before she had seemed at best indifferent toward this place, now though she seemed in awe of it. "It's a total maze," she breathed. "This crawlspace just goes on and on. There's so many twists and turns."
“How much do you wanna bet there’s something cool at the end?” Landon asked. “Let’s go check it out.”
“Don’t!” I snapped. The idea of Landon going into the dark with Wendy made my skin crawl. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but Landon felt different. Dangerous. Not a minute ago he'd nearly dropped a ladder on my skull. “Don’t go,” I said. “I heard something down here earlier. An animal or… It doesn't matter. Just help me up the ladder and let’s get out of here."
Wendy eyed me. “You saw something down here?”
“Well, no. I said I heard them--”
Landon slapped my back. "Ian, we won't be long. Do us a favor and try not to piss your pants while we're gone, the last thing I want is you reeking like piss while I'm carrying you down the hill."
The two took off, their figures shuffling down the narrow corridor and disappearing around a sharp bend. I swallowed. It felt so vulnerable sitting here like this, alone in the dark without so much as the ability to stand on my own two feet.
I was helpless. Wide open.
The breathing returned.
This time it was right next to my ears. I snapped. I flung my hand out, screwdriver clenched between my fingers, connecting with nothing but empty air.
"Wendy!" I wheezed. "Landon!”
God, my mouth felt dry. I hadn't had a drink since before we'd started the climb.
“Guys!” I called out again, forcing myself to speak louder. “Get back here! I’m fucking serious there’s something crawling around down here!”
Then, a voice. This one high pitched. Childlike.
Run, it told me. Run now.
I shook my head, rearing up against the far wall like a cornered gazelle. Where was Wendy? Landon? They had to have heard me. I shouted for them as loud as I fucking could and yet--
A new sound reached my ears. This one familiar. Terrifyingly familiar.
It was Landon. His voice was low, quiet. He sounded like he was just ahead of me, near the sharp bend where the wooden supports split off. “Now that we’ve got him here,” he said. “I’ll bash his brains in. Tenderize them. If you want, you can take the first bite.”
“No,” Wendy replied, her voice reverberating all around me. “I want to cut him open and see how much I can eat before he dies.”
“Greedy,” hissed Landon.
“I thought we brought him here so we could take our time?”
“We did, but I wanted to play with his brain, not stir up his guts. Where did you put the saw?”
Their voices didn't sound a thing like them, yet it was unmistakably the two of them. My body shook. Quaked. I scrambled, pain be damned, as I tried to climb the ladder and reach the opening above-- to reach the inside of the House and eventually the hill beyond.
But it was no use. My ankle writhed with pain the moment I so much as moved, and the pain crippled me. I fell to a heap on the floor. In the dim light I could make out a jagged bone piercing my skin.
“Help!" I screamed. "Anybody, please!”
Maybe somebody was walking by Cackle Hill. Maybe they'd hear me. Maybe they'd come rushing up and burst in and--
It wasn’t any use. I knew full well that it was late, much too late for people to be out and about near Cackle Hill. Besides, even if they did hear me, how were they going to help? It took us hours to get to the House through the heavy bramble.
"He's so cute when he squirms."
The sound of shifting dirt met my ears, followed by a low humming. A figure approached in the darkness.
She held something, patting it against her side. A saw. Rusty, and metal and more terrifying than any object I'd ever seen.
“Wendy,” I said, mouth trembling. “Stop messing around, alright? I'm actually hurt. I need help."
She didn’t respond. Instead she took a shambling step forward, her head snapping to the side, her body moving like a puppet on strings. Her tongue darted across her smiling lips.
Landon moved into the dim light l beside her, framed beneath the fractured moonbeams of the hole in the floorboards.
He slapped the head of the steel hammer against the palm of his hands, humming along with Wendy. His tune was different though. Detached. Empty. Just like the expression across his face.
Neither of them looked like my friends. They looked like something had crawled beneath their skin and stolen their faces. They looked possessed.
“Let's savor this,” Wendy said. “You and me, Ian. Let's try to enjoy this moment as much as we can."
"What?" I said, whimpering. "What the hell does that--"
She sprang at me. I shrieked in agony as the sawblade dug into my shoulder. I felt my skin tear, my warm blood seeping down my chest and through my jacket. Wendy grunted wordlessly, her eyes wild. She began working at the sawblade, grinding it back and forth with a wide smile, cutting apart my flesh and beginning to tear my arm from my body.
My other hand, still gripping the screwdriver, moved on instinct. I swung at her.
There was a wet, popping sound and Wendy’s mouth dropped open. Her expression turned vacant. She teetered on top of me for a moment, before falling forward with a soft groan.
Warm blood flowed from the place the screwdriver pierced her skull. It dripped onto my face. Into my eyes. My mouth. I gagged, crying out as I tried to push her off of me, but Landon was quicker. He clambered on top of her corpse, knocking the wind from me.
"Relax," he said.
I grunted, twisting and turning to no avail. Combined they were much too heavy for me.
He lifted the hammer. "It'll be over soon." It collided with my forehead with a crack.
My world went blurry. Everything from sights to sounds to scents and even the taste of Wendy’s blood became a slurry of madness.
He lifted the hammer again.
My hands scrambled across the floor, gripping something small. Something sharp.
Landon swung and this time my hand shot upward, jabbing at him. Jabbing into him. But it wasn’t enough. I was slow.
The hammer struck my temple and my world went black.
When I came to, I was in a bright room. Lights shone above me. Blinding, painful lights. I tossed and turned, grumbled. Vignettes of disturbing scenes played in my head like a film reel from a horror movie.
“Oh, sweetheart!” a familiar voice said. “You’re awake!”
She said words to a man in the corner. Get the nurse, she told him. And hurry, she added. He didn't seem happy about it, more but listened to her all the same.
On second thought, I knew that man. He was my father. Dad turned and left the room before returning a moment later with another smaller man in scrubs.
“How do you feel?” my nurse asked. He buzzed around me, checking several instruments and making notes on his clipboard.
“I feel... a bit hazy. A little sick.”
“You were struck in the head," he explained. “Multiple times. By the looks of it, with a hammer."
"Oh." It was all I could manage.
"Your skull is fractured," he continued. "But it looks like you’ve avoided the worst of it. No brain damage. You’re likely to experience migraines for some time, however. Do you know what a migraine is?”
I nodded, my world still a blur. It was just then that I noticed another figure in the room, a woman in a dark jacket with stern eyes. “Where’s Landon and Wendy?” I asked. “Are they okay?”
My mother choked back a sob.
The stern woman cleared her throat. “I’d like to ask you some questions, if that’s alright, Ian. I’m a detective with the county police and I need to know if you remember anything from three nights ago.”
Three nights ago?
She must have read my confusion because she added, "Three nights ago was Halloween. Do you recall anything from that night?"
I racked my mind. It was hard. The landscape of my thoughts felt like quicksand, but certain pieces still jumped out at me. Certain memories.
“I remember going up Cackle Hill,” I said, slowly. My eyes cautiously found my father, sure I was going to get grounded for just admitting trespassing at the Cackle House, but he didn’t react. He just sat there, gnawing his lip. “I went into the house with Landon and Wendy. We… saw some photographs there, and an old mirror and…”
There was somebody else there with us, wasn’t there? Another voice. Another presence.
“So far that matches what we have,” the detective said. “You and your friends did climb Cackle Hill that night. At roughly 2 a.m. that morning, shouts for help were heard in the neighborhood below, coming from the House. Officers were dispatched to the area via helicopter and located you in the crawlspace.”
I took a breath. It was only then that I realized plastic tubes were stuffed into my nostrils, draped across my chest and connected into oxygen units. Breathing felt difficult.
“We found you lying beneath the bodies of Landon Matthews and Wendy Song.”
I swallowed. My heart pounded. Beside me, a machine began beeping more rapidly.
“What happened?” I asked, panic seeping into my words.
“Your fingerprints were found on an old screwdriver and a rusty nail,” the detective explained. “Do those objects mean anything to you?”
My thoughts raced. “Should they?”
“They were the objects you used to murder mister Matthews and miss Song respectively.”
I took a sharp breath. Machines sang beside me, their choruses reaching new, piercing heights. I felt hot. I felt ill. My entire body seemed to shake under the weight of the horrific revelations and yet it felt numb. Like it wasn’t even there.
“What we’ve been so far unable to explain,” the detective continued. “Is the fact that both mister Matthews and miss Song’s corpses were partially consumed at the time they were found. Their faces, particularly their cheeks, had been violently bitten. We found traces of their DNA in your teeth, and presently we believe we found evidence of their flesh in your stomach--”
My mother stepped forward, a hand raised. Her voice was hoarse. Broken. “He doesn’t need to hear that."
The detective looked at my mother. “Unfortunately, he does. Based on the analysis of the bite marks, your son murdered and partially cannibalized his classmates and I’d like to know why.”
“Look at him!” my father shouted. “He didn’t have a choice! You think he rolled underneath their bodies? No! They were trying to fucking kill him!”
My mother pressed a soothing hand to his chest. She muttered something in his ear. It seemed to calm him somewhat, but only barely.
“Self defense is entirely legal,” the detective agreed. “But cannibalism is something else entirely.” She turned her attention to me, walking up to my bedside and crouching down so that we were eye level. “The thing I’d like you to help me understand, Ian, is who the other bite marks belonged to.”
My jaw fell open, and stuttering words fell out of it. “Other bite marks?”
“Yes. In addition to the teeth marks on Wendy and Landon's cheeks, they also had bite marks on their arms and legs. Strips of flesh had been torn from them. Where that flesh went, or who attacked them in that manner, is something we’ve been unable to determine. All we know is the marks were made with human teeth.”
A shiver ran through me, but whether because of the drugs coursing through my veins or the exhaustion of my body, I hardly felt it. I felt frozen. Unable to move.
“I don’t know…” I said. “I didn’t see anybody else.”
“Are you sure?”
“Why would I lie to you?” I snapped, losing control. “My friends are dead and I’m sitting here with a broken ankle and tubes sticking out of me and you’re telling me I killed them and ate them and now you’re calling me a liar?” Tears flowed from my eyes in a torrent. “What’s wrong with you?”
“You didn’t feel it, then?” the detective asked.
I blinked, bleary-eyed. “Feel what?”
She sighed, looking to my mother and father, then to the nurse. All three of them looked away as if they couldn’t bear the implication. “I’m sorry to be the one to show you this," she said.
Reluctantly, she pulled back the sheet covering my torso. With every inch the sheet moved, my heart pounded.
I watched it pound.
I watched my lungs contract and expand. I watched my body, or what was left of it, go about its business as though my torso were transparent and not split open. Tubes spilled out of me from all directions. So many of my organs were missing.
So were my arms. My legs.
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry. All I could do was stare at my hollowed out body in silent horror.
The detective cleared her throat, uncomfortable. “Whoever tore the strips of flesh from your friends also dismembered you, Ian."
She paused. Gave herself a moment to take a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. "They chewed your limbs to the bone before laying them next to you in a cross. We discovered a small incision made in your side, and from what the surgeon suspects, that incision was used to reach inside of you and pull out pieces of organs. Not enough to kill you. Just enough to taste.”
The detective lowered her eyes.
“We found your appendix partially devoured on the far side of the crawlspace, as well as various pieces of your large intestine scattered throughout the house. All partially consumed. Thankfully your wounds had been cauterized, which is probably the only reason you're still alive and breathing." My mind felt blank. I couldn’t process what she was saying. Sure, it was true that I was alive, but did that matter anymore? Could I even exist like this?
"Ian," the detective said. "If you have any idea who did this to you, I need to know now. Whoever it was could hurt more people."
I did. I knew exactly who did this. I knew they would do it again, maybe not today, maybe not for ten years. But they would do it again.
I knew that for certain.
"Ian?" the detective pressed. "I need to know now. The clock is ticking. Do you know who did this?"
Of course I did. I think everybody in that room knew, even if they didn't want to admit it. See, the trouble was that the man who stole my friends and fed on my insides was already dead.
By then, he’d been dead for over a hundred years.
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2021.10.20 11:12 ASICmachine VanEck to Join ProShares in Launching a Bitcoin Futures ETF (x-post from /r/Cryptocurrency)
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