Floor plan sister wives house layout
Mom always makes the wrong choice
2023.05.29 16:12 SanPadrigo Mom always makes the wrong choice
Hi everyone, First of all- this sub has been a great source of information. It helps me feel not so isolated and hopeless. Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and opened up about their trauma.
Now, on to the source of my frustration- my mom, the hoarder, and her bad decisions. In 2018 my grandma (mom’s mom) passed away and my mom inherited my grandma’s house. My grandma was a clean freak- even in her old age she would mop her kitchen floors once a week and dust daily, so the house was in pristine move-in-ready condition. The house itself is pretty small (1100 sq ft) but in a highly desirable & affluent neighborhood.
I think my siblings and I assumed the long term plan would be for mom to eventually move into our grandma’s house and then mom’s house could be sold or demolished or whatever. The short term plan was to rent my grandma’s house to my cousin’s daughter. This seemed a beneficial situation- a family member gets to live in a nice house for $500/mo and my mom gets some monthly income.
But it soon became clear my mom had no intention of ever leaving her disgusting hoarded house. You see, my moms house is 2600 square feet with a three car garage- all filled to capacity. She could never bring herself to downsize her hoard by more than half to relocate to my grandma’s little house. So my siblings and I thought- okay, whatever, guess she’ll stay in her hoard house and we’ll inherit two houses (1 clean and 1 ruined) when she dies.
Now… my mom has decided she wants to sell my grandma’s house. And I’m furious. My grandma’s house is worth three times as much as my mom’s. And I KNOW my mom is just going to take the hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of the house to buy more useless bullshit to fill her garbage house. My siblings and I don’t care about our childhood home- at all, but our grandma’s house was our sanctuary and we loved being there.
I don’t know if I’m being selfish or unreasonable. I just know I feel betrayed and supremely let down by my mom. I’m trying to reason with her- I told her to raise the rent if she needed more money. I told her she should still move to my grandma’s house because there’s less yard to maintain (my mom’s 2 acre yard has only been mowed once this season) and the roof is only 5 years old (my mom’s roof is covered in mold). But she’s still thinking she’ll sell it.
I wouldn’t be so mad if I thought the proceeds from the house would go into a savings account that my mom could live off of for the next 10 years, but I know my mom- she’ll blow through it in 2 years and have NOTHING to show for it except fucking junk that my siblings and I will toss into a dumpster after she dies.
Anyway, just had to get that out there. I’m sure plenty of people on this sub know how I’m feeling. Maybe somebody has had something similar happen. This is just the reality of having a hoarder parent and it sucks.
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2023.05.29 16:10 CushAway4Dogs Cleaning Safety for Dog Owners
Keeping a clean home is important, but certain products can cause pet parents’ concern. Irritated eyes and skin, as well as breathing problems could be the result of cleaning products according to PetMD.com
. You can keep your pup safe and maintain a healthy, happy home by keeping a few tips for cleaning safety for dog owners in mind.
1. Keep Products Out of Reach
Just like kids, pets are at risk from discovering and using products without supervision. That’s why it’s best to put chemicals away in a pet-safe place. Are low cabinets the only option? Using kiddie locks may not be a bad idea to keep your pups out. Make sure no dog items are stored in the same area.
2. Check Product Labels
Some products will tell you specifically whether they’re pet-safe or not. However, the best bet is always to follow instructions from the manufacturer and be vigilant.
If you’re not sure about a product, err on the side of caution and don’t use it unless you consult your vet. Some fumes can be harmful for dogs, making it best to avoid certain products. This doesn’t mean always going natural is the safest route either. Essential oils can be harmful for pups as well, according to the American Kennel Club
3. Keep Doggy Away
The best approach when cleaning an area is to make sure your pup can’t get near until everything is dry. Make sure your dog’s toys and bowls are safely out of the way of sprays and fumes too. You could even work cleaning your pup’s items into your routine. While everything dries, it’s the perfect time to take a walk so you can both enjoy some fresh air.
4. Pay Special Attention to Your Dog’s High-Touch Areas
If your pup is known to take a sip from the toilet bowl or if he likes to lick the floors in your kitchen, then plan on being really choosy with your cleaning products in those areas. Air fresheners are best avoided in general as they can lead to irritation in any part of the house.
5. Consider Using Your Own Simple Solution
Vinegar, baking soda, and water go a long way to clean surfaces. Mixed in a 1 to 1 ratio, a vinegawater solution can be sprayed on counters or used to mop floors. Baking soda can be used to clean your toilet or sinks, or even sprinkled on laundry to freshen odors instead of using heavily scented detergents.
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2023.05.29 15:45 AFatCracker AITA for "just doing it myself"
A person in my life is pissed at me rn because after hitting 20 ive stopped waiting around for people. Im tired of it. The person in question im related to and she has a serial history of this kind of bs. Waiting until last minute, putting things off, like shit that NEEDS to get done off. Important shit.
So sometime pretty early last week if not late the week prior (like 6-8 days ago)i let her know that hey, im getting rid of that really nice handme down memory foam mattress i got a couple years ago in favor of an alternative sleeping setup. Im off monday and Tuesday, if you can find someone to lend you a truck you can take it and do whatever you want with it free of charge.
She said she wanted it, and that shed ask this guy named John if she could borrow his truck and grab the bed. Alright cool. Next time i saw her a couple days later i asked her what john said. She hadnt asked him yet. I asked her like 3x and up to yesterday. She still hadnt asked him. And no- it wasnt that she asked and he hadnt gotten back. I wouldve understood and made something happen with the limited space i have and held it inside for another day or two for her had that been the case. She hadnt even called/texted him!
I said okay but the bed WILL be curbside/ on my front deck monday morning and if it gets rained on it gets rained on. (I doubt anyone else would take it it doesnt look pretty. Its an old mattress for hells sake) I have plans, and i dont have space for a 8ft mattress. My place is 2 rooms and a bathroom its just not possible without looking like a hoarding situation.
She pitched a fit and got pissed saying she really, really wanted it. I said bro you already have 2 beds in your 3 bedroom house and you only have 3 people living there 2 of whom share a cali king. Its NOT that serious! If you wanted it sooo bad you wouldve made arrangements to get the damn thing. Ive got shit to do- PLUS two 40hr jobs to work- my time is L I M I T E D. The whole argument pretty much ended up with her calling me wasteful and me rolling my eyes.
Could someone else have used the mattress? Yes.
Is it supposed to rain this afternoon and tuesday? Yes.
Do i feel bad about the bed going to waste? Honestly yes. And if i had the capacity to do so i would have kept it. I love that stupid bed but i just dont have the space for it at ALL. I have a bedroom. A bathroom. And A living room- thats it. No guestbeds no kitchen nadda. Things bloody huge.
Could i post it for curbside and let someone else take it? Yes, will i? No. Because i dont like people/strangers especially digging thru my trash. My mom and sister used to do it and use my waste bin as their own personal walmart i dont like it. So its just an irk of mine.
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2023.05.29 15:43 youzerrrname Advice for Three-Floor Ethernet-Wired Townhome w/ Xfinity
Hi all! I'm looking to improve my home's internet performance, wired but especially wireless. I've tried to do my research but my goodness, the jargon and options out there are overwhelming. I humbly come to thee for help. Things are SLOW, my work calls (WiFi) particularly have been affected with lags, video just not working, etc. I'll start with my current setup:
- ISP: Xfinity (I despise them, but they are the best option at my current address)
- Plan: 200 mbps download (not listing upload here because I don't really care about that)
- Three-level townhome with wired ethernet jacks on each floor (1 on top floor, 1 on middle, 1 on basement) with 3 NETGEAR WAC104 access points wired to each with their own 2.5 and 5 networks (7 separate networks in the house: one in bedroom from routemodem combo, two each for the other access points). Where possible, devices are wired directly to these boxes (TV, desktop computer, etc.).
- My devices (mostly Apple) are terrible at auto-switching to the strongest WiFi signal as I roam throughout the house.
- Xfinity routemodem DPC3941T on the top floor in bedroom closet control box (this HAS to be at least part of the problem, right? This thing was released in 2014...). Plugged into each of the ethernet cords that route out to the other access points.
- Around a total of 60-70 WiFi devices connected in the house including blinds, speakers, ring, cameras, etc.
- For my work setup, wired connection is just not an option due to the location of the ethernet jacks.
Here are my ideal requirements:
- Stick with Xfinity. Currently on a 200 mbps plan but VERY willing to upgrade it if necessary.
- Seamless device WiFi roaming/switching as I move throughout the house (I want to always be connected to the strongest signal)
- Ability to handle a lot of WiFi connected devices without degraded performance
- Relatively simple setup and maintenance (I don't have the time unfortunately to become Home Assistant proficient, for example)
I would greatly appreciate any suggestions, and I'm very open to reworking this from the ground up if needed! Talking to Xfinity about this has been predictably pointless. For any that are most helpful I'm very willing to send a gift card to a favorite restaurant or something! I am desperate!
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2023.05.29 15:26 AbleBird9647 Why Should You Choose Godrej Tropical Isle?
Godrej Tropical Isle, Godrej Sector 146 Noida, Godrej Tropical Isle Noida, Godrej Tropical Isle Review, Godrej Tropical Isle Sector 146 Noida, Godrej Tropical Isle Price List, Godrej Tropical Isle Location Map, Godrej Tropical Isle Floor Plan, Godrej Tropical Isle Layout Plan
For More Details, Visit: https://godrej146noida.in/tropical-isle-146-noida/
Godrej Tropical Isle is one of the best residential projects in India. It has been developed by renowned real estate developer Godrej Properties and offers luxurious lifestyle to its residents. Godrej Sector 146 Noida
promises an array of amenities and features that are sure to make your living experience a memorable one.
The location of this project is another major factor why you should invest here. Located in sector-146, Noida Expressway, it provides easy access to all key locations like hospitals, schools etc., making it convenient for daily commute as well as leisure activities. Godrej Tropical Isle Review
Moreover the area also enjoys excellent connectivity with Delhi & NCR via metro rail network which makes travelling even more convenient for those who work or study outside the city limits but within NCR region . In addition ,the presence of various shopping malls nearby ensures that all your day-to-day needs can be met without any hassle at all times .
Apart from these factors , Godrej Tropical Isle
offers world class facilities such as swimming pool , gymnasiums and club house where you can relax after a hectic day’s work or spend quality time with family on weekends . The apartments come equipped with modern fixtures & fittings along with top notch safety measures including CCTV surveillance systems ensuring complete peace of mind while staying here . All these reasons make investing in this property an ideal choice if you're looking for high returns on investment over long term period due to appreciation value offered by prime location coupled up with superior infrastructure provided by builder itself!
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2023.05.29 15:22 guipss Non Catholic missionary trip
Hi Fathers, so first I'll try to give a very condensed backstory:My girlfriend (26) and I (27) (6 years of relationship) broke up this weekend. Why? I'm Catholic, she's a Seventh Day Adventist. We've been studying, cause we both know there can only be one true Church.Unfortunately we weren't able stay together, since I got to the end of our studying journey believing more on the Catholic Church, and she on the SDA Church.We've broken up in the most beautiful terms, since we know we can't marry and raise children with a "doubled faith" household. But we still believe, since we made the sacrifice of prioritizing God above our love for each other, that He can still work a miracle individually. We knew staying in a relationship could lead us to sin further, since the intimacy we acquired through 6 years is hard to leave behind.
But since we still have hopes to maybe one day being reunited in the True Faith, she invited me to go on a missionary trip her church is planning for August. It'll be a 2 week long mission in the Amazonian Rainforest. We are no longer bf and gf, but we're brother and sister in Christ, and we still want to do the Lord's work and achieve the salvation of our souls.
Would it be ok for me to go on this non Catholic missionary trip? Or does the Church teach against it?I would like to go, not because we'll be there together, but because we've abstained so much from working for the Lord in these 6 years, afraid from committing to things and maybe hurting our relationship. But now, since that's gone, we're both focusing on God. And it would be beautiful to do missionary work as brother and sister in Christ.
Edit: it's a 10 day long trip, it's nothing too complex. It's mainly to help build houses and spread the Gospel to the people there.
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2023.05.29 15:07 DanielObrigado LOOKING TO RENT A “WORK STUDIO” IN SOFIA
MY SEARCH AREA
I am looking to rent a “work studio” in Sofia, where I can primarily WORK in a focused and creative manner while being directly in the city.
With a good mix of things to do, once I step out of the house. No Paradise Mall, no Krastova Vada, no Mladost, no nada….I know SOFIA since 2017 and have already lived there during 2022, so I know the city and the real estate “game” very well.
Instead of spending endless hours on imot.bg and with “brokers” who try to sell me something else, let me try to throw this out here, and see what I can get from the Reddit crowd.
Happy to pay above the usual commission, for the right place. MY REQUIREMENTS
(MUST): I do not need to be able to register at this address. It can be an “office”, as I have an EOOD. Contract start date:
June/July/August 2023 Location:
Strictly within the specified area. Size:
40 to 80 square meters Monthly rent:
I am flexible NO FURNITURE
If on a higher floor (<1st) , then with elevator
Modern standard electric installations and plumbing (if possible. I am well aware of the limitations with this in Sofia). Set-Up / Floor Plan:
Nice to have:
- 1 bedroom (with window, no smaller than 15 square meters)
- 1 work/living room (with windows, no smaller than 25 square meters
- Three walls to put whiteboards on, one wall with windows
- Kitchen open or separate
- Bathroom with Shower(!)
- no mold, no cracks in the walls... ;-)
A terrace or large balcony
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2023.05.29 14:57 noiseartwork Something was watching me on the road.
Let's see? It all started when I was working for something like 7 months in the city of Coquimbo in Chile. Specifically, I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper and a small news channel, it was not the best job in the world but it was not so terrible if we consider that my dream was to be a writer. One day I was being required travel outside the city, particularly to Salamanca and do a report of those that you find at the very end of the newspaper or when you can't sleep and you're lying down watching TV in the middle of the night just to give visibility to small towns and communities, filled with some random ads and stuff, again, it was not the best job in the world, but I guess everyone else started with something like this.
I needed to be there in the morning so I mentally prepared myself with a good cup of coffee and some cigarettes, threw only what was necessary for the luggage rack and managed to say goodbye to my relatives, may sound like a dumb tradition but you never know ... on the road shit happens and for me, that isn't something new, I lived day by day in the office writing columns and sending reports where the number of deaths, the causes of the crashes and the photos, makes you wonder it could have been you or someone you know. But, despite that I preferred to go in my own car, I have never been able to fall asleep inside a bus on the road and moreover, it seems that almost all accidents occurred on these buses, in a certain way, my job was making me go all paranoid.
the car's engine started at 9:00 p.m. and there was a little drizzle but nothing serious, folk music on the radio was a good accompaniment while the city nightlife looked at me with his blinding lights in my attempt to escape the "fish smell" of Coquimbo. I drove for a while until I was entering the sister city of La Serena, and I stopped to eat some fast food, I tried to get in fast to avoid getting wet, I ordered another coffee and french fries to eat.
-Hey young man, where are you going at this hour with this rain, everyone else is at their homes sleeping and resting, do you want to catch a cold? I haven't noticed that an elderly woman was attending me. -I'm going to Salamanca. -And what do you intend to do in Salamanca? that's no place for nosy people or city dwellers The lady left me intrigued and I didn't even have to ask her to answer me. -some people there don't like to be disturbed you know, you can get an evil glance there, some "evil eye" stuff you know. - No, ma'am, I'm going to report a news story, I'm a journalist and besides that, I'm a little skeptical about that kind of thing.
The old-lady ended the conversation with a crooked smile and continued with his own things but deep down myself, the answer he gave me left me with chills, I was not a superstitious person but the seriousness of his face unsettled me. I took the last sips of coffee to wake up and said goodbye to my french fries trying to awkwardly get into the car. The conversation haunted me for a couple more miles, for some reason I was left with a feeling of latent nervousness and with the last lights of the city fading in the rear-view mirror, I began to remember the stories that my grandparents told me as a child... The witches of Salamanca, the cave of Manquehua, and other stories that were part of the folklore began to settle in my head. It was interesting to me to imagine these characters, covered in their black cloaks, walking hidden paths through the forests to celebrate within their covens in Manquehua in the middle of the night. Occasionally I was assaulted by the idea of running into a "Tue Tue *" bird of bad omen on the way to Salamanca, or that a "chupacabra" jumped from the bushes onto the road, it is curious how "ghastly" this can be yet so interesting at the same time despite causing us fear.
The electrifying sound of white noise coming from the radio interrupted my thoughts, I was reaching the famous dead zones of the road. From time to time I noticed that there were abandoned houses, fenced lands, among other things but nothing out of the ordinary; It is very common for people to live in these rural areas for a while and then leave to look for jobs in the big cities, especially considering that the urbanization and modernization of our country had only happened a couple of decades ago, more precisely in the year 1970.
I look at the time and it is already 11:30 p.m. This trip is getting too slow for me, to make things worse the rain got stronger, the hours go by and I pass through a couple of towns, so I decided to park my car to smoke a cigarette before reporting to my family by phone, it's funny how people automatically have an infinite amount of topics for conversation when you're away, but they hardly even speak when you are close, later than ever I cut the call and the lights where extinguishing behind the vehicle again and disappeared in the middle of the dark, again it's just me and the road. The headlights of my car were fighting to illuminate against the darkness. The clock arrives at 02:42 A.M and The yawns start to escape from my mouth, there is no radio or telephone signal anymore, at this time you only occasionally see buses passing by on the road, a couple of cars if you are lucky enough but most of the time the road is abandoned. The rain gives me an unpleasant sensation now that there is so little light. Again I picked up the wrongest moment to remember the conversation I had with that old lady...
-you can get an evil glance there, some "evil eye" stuff you know.
A shriek on the side of the road scared the shit out of me, I saw a shadow rushing against my car and I stepped on the brake with all my strength next thing I know was the sound of the car window crashing and everything went black... pitch black.
It felt like time has stopped and I could only hear the rain, I don't know how much time passed by but it felt like a dream or perhaps, maybe a nightmare? I woke up with a terrible headache but apparently my body was intact, the glass was shattered all around the car and the clock said that it was 03:00 A.M. drops are falling inside the car, I try to sit up still scared to look outside but I notice that the lights were destroyed, I see nothing but shadows. I feel a stabbing pain in my face and it seems that I cut part of my face in the accident. I get out of the car nervous and listen as the glass chips on the pavement creak, maybe I could have driven over a horse or maybe some farmer. I try to illuminate a little with the cell phone flashlight and I notice part of the front glass scattered on the asphalt, a slight dent but there are no traces of blood, I try to calm down and take a couple of steps through the rain to see further and between the rain and the nothingness I could see with my eyes a body in the middle of the road.
I thought I must help, maybe I broke one of his legs or worse. walking a little bit faster I managed to get close enough, I was shouting at the body expecting some reply or at least some whining but no one answered and I feared the worst. My heart stopped for a second, I took a step forward to see the face of this body and everything seemed so surreal, it was a mannequin with hollow eyes.
I didn't know what where happening, a mannequin dressed in an old poncho in the middle of the road away from everything, a fucking mannequin. Fear seized me, I looked in all directions searching and searching but I couldn't see anything, what the hell was a mannequin doing in the middle of the nowhere? My head was spinning, and the sound of the rain wasn't helping. until I realized something. The question was not, what was the mannequin doing on the road? But who brought it? For a moment I gazed at the mannequin's empty sockets and then I heard a breath close to me, I wasn't alone.
My heart was racing, maybe they wanted to rob me or some crazy shit, I tried to take a glass from the floor and use the phone light to see around me to get back into the car, the seconds seemed like hours as I slowly walked, I thought about running but I felt that it could be worse, I felt stalked and when my legs began to tremble It was not very helpful either. A little before I got to the car I noticed several footsteps moving around me, they were watching me closely. I heard a sound behind me and the mannequin had disappeared, I was definitely not understanding a shit and I couldn't overcome the anguish anymore so I ran desperately towards the car but someone pushed me. I hit my face with the cold ground and tried to get up as I could throwing punches into the air trying to hit whoever was there, but it was in vain. The radio of the car started emitting white noise again with some random mumbling, I was not seeing damn shit and while I was trying to place the cell phone shining directly in front of me something had gripped me by my hand. I felt another blow and this time my cell phone hit the wet asphalt, lighting someone's shoes, with one stomp they broke the phone. I could only notice my car thanks to the taillights and I was completely blind now.
The rain seemed to be falling in slow motion and every second seemed eternal to me. My hands trembled trying to prepare a decent punch, a decent cut, or anything to whatever it was out here to defend myself. My head was spinning and my heart was racing and then someone took me by the shoulder, I could not see anything but I threw punches and kicks that got everywhere, they tried to grab my feet and I tried to get free the fastest I could until I finally managed to nail that fucking piece of glass and I was released, I fell my back to the floor. A murmur began to sound louder and I could feel someone breathing and gasping around me; I ran as I could towards the car again with my heart beating a thousand times per hour. I almost plunged into the vehicle and without thinking I start the car. A groan of pain was heard along with a loud buzzing and I closed all the doors and I shit you not the damned car didn't want to start, the rain only became even worse and my nerves were about to explode when a hand smashed against the car windows, then two hands and seconds later all the windows were covered, they were trying to break into the vehicle, I could no longer bear the fear, I started screaming like a crazy, I jumped on the seat and I screamed until my mouth hurts; With a kind of tantrum I started to force the car to start with kicks and blows, the vehicle roared and I hit the accelerator. When I looked straight ahead I saw a figure that shouldn't have been there and my throat felt tight; wrapped in a black cloak, just where the damn mannequin was, someone was holding his shoulder where perhaps I had nailed the piece of broken glass. The lack of front light and the rain did not allow me to distinguish his face.
I accelerated as fast as I could, flailing inside the car from side to side, I didn't care about anything anymore, I rolled everything that was ahead. I heard a couple of crunches, a gasp, and the car started to jump until a dead silence was present, I turned to look back and all sense of logic disappeared while a death-cold chill was traveling my spine. The yellowish taillights dimly illuminated a highway full of motionless bodies that shouldn't be there, couldn't be there; They were a bunch of mannequins totally still, lined up in my direction. I put my head down and hid it between my shoulders so I couldn't look anywhere, I felt like a little boy, I felt tiny inside the car in the middle of the blackness of the road knowing that the mannequins were behind me, I kept like this several minutes trying to focus on anything else while the car kept accelerating, my back felt cold, the truth is that I was sweating cold, I did not understand anything and the stabbing pain in my forehead returned to me; It was a superficial but fairly long cut, it was a miracle I didn't pass out and was able to drive straight with all this shit happening.
The rain insisted on reminding me of the conversation with the old woman at the fast food place, maybe she was right. -Why the hell did I have to come to Salamanca, maybe the witches had something to do with it !? Lots of ideas pounded my head as the car lost into the blackness, now I was alone again. I thought about reviewing what had happened and recovering my composure, I tried to play dumb and ignore everything until I noticed little orange lights on the black horizon; I had arrived into Salamanca and I went straight to the 1st town police station to report what had happened. I Poorly parked the car and launched myself into the station to seek some help.
It was already 07:00 A.M and the sun was about to rise, I lost track of time completely, I don't know how long I was on the road or how much time I spent at the police station. I nervously told the officers everything that had happened, they looked at each other and took me to the local hospital to verify injuries; Throughout the process, I noticed that they were looking at me strangely but there was a certain secret look in them, those kinds of looks that as a journalist you can notice. The day was cloudy and the sun did not appear, the rain was losing strength and I tried to assert my right to report until they ended opening an investigation by sending a patrol. With 3 points on my eyebrow and bruised face I tried to find somewhere to rest and eat something to close my trip, there was a middle-aged gentleman who, while eating, took the opportunity to ask me what had happened to me, I told him almost everything, at least I could Let me vent more openly without looking like a drunk or crazy inside a police station.
After a while where the man listened attentively to me, he sighed and took out a pack of cigarettes, finished lighting him and said: -Maybe they wanted to rob you. Maybe he was right, but his face changed completely when I insisted on the mannequin again. He took a glance over my shoulder and then fixed his eyes with mines. -Son, look. These things are not discussed here, do what you have to do and leave later, lest you end up traveling in a box to Manquehua. Again a chill settled on the back of my neck, and I decided not to ask any more questions. I didn't want to make my situation even worse. –Hey, and don't you know where I can rest? He finished smoking my cigar and this time he offered one to me.
Standing still in a town in the middle of nowhere smoking a cigarette a fucked up car? at least things can't get worse, I could watch the smoke and forget everything for a moment.
I arrived at the hostel that the man with the cigarettes recommended to me and slept for a while but I was still nervous so I took advantage and realized that there was a mechanic nearby, got a deal with him and I left my car for a few weeks under repair, took everything I was carrying in the luggage rack and I went straight to the earliest bus back to Coquimbo, I was no longer interested in the news or the job, I just wanted to get away from this place as soon as possible and whatever the fuck the Salamanca people hides, I don't care if they were witches or someone wanting to assault me, I know what I saw.
The local police called me later that day because the investigation did not show anything more than the possibility of an attempted assault on the road, they dismissed everything for lack of imputable candidates, but the truth is that at this point I don't give a damn; I am cornered to the window of this bus trying to forget and the orange light that glimpses within the clouds that remain, reassures me a little and helps me not to think about what my bosses would tell me for not attending the report and arriving empty-handed. I lost myself looking at the landscape while it stops raining and I found a moment of peace but, for some reason, among all the things that can be seen on the road, my eyes fell directly on a small scruffy cabin in the middle of this vast nothingness and in its windows I got to see a lot of mannequins looking towards the highway, right to where I was now. There were a lot of hollow eyes waiting for me somewhere on the road of Salamanca.
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2023.05.29 14:38 No-Performance-574 I can't get past everything that happened to me
TW: Eating disorder, abuse, bullying, sexual assault, self harm, suicide
I'm only 18 (F) years old and I feel like there's no point in anything anymore. I've felt this way for 7 years now if not more. I feel like I have no one even though I have many people in my life. I've lost motivation to do absolutely anything and everyone thinks I'm just lazy but I just stopped caring.
I feel like I have no real family just a bunch of petty assholes that constantly want to put me down. They belittle me constantly for everything I do, my friend, my interests and my choices in general (like the course I chose to study). Ive had eating disorders or a really unhealthy relationship with food almost my whole life. I used to cut but none of these were things I could talk to anyone in my family about because they would judge me.
My dad used to call me stupid and a failure constantly because I wasn't like my oldest sister (35F). He kept saying I was like my middle sister (she's a whole different story, she's abused my mother, grandma and sister, she tried to commit suicide multiple times and all the doctors and psychiatrists said that she did it as a way to control the people around her, like her boyfriend for example. She's been violent with many people outside of our family, she's rude and extremely disrespectful and she's all around someone I don't want to be associated with). He was constantly berating me and even hitting me when I had really bad depression during the pandemic because I didn't spend enough time studying. My mother would stand there and do nothing and sometimes she would get up and leave because she "couldn't watch" while I sat there and no one ever helped me. It didn't happen that many times but I got so scared I would never come out of my room. They seem to think that because they pay for my expenses and my dorm I should be grateful to them as if everything else never happened.
I asked them multiple times to give me the key to my room but they would lie and tell me they lost it. They never respected my privacy and would never knock before coming in my room and that's why I wanted my key.
They never consider my feelings about anything. Ever since I started university I gained some weight and they constantly insult my weight/ try to control what I eat and how much I eat even when I'm eating healthy food. I would make a sandwich and my dad would come and check what I put inside it and insult me for it. My oldest sister is the one that's most obsessed with what I eat. She keeps trying to get me to do these stupid diets where you eat nothing for hours and my mum is in on it too. I've had problems with my knees for years and they keep saying that if I lose weight it will all go away even though I've had this for many years even when I was a healthy weight. The worst part about all this is that I used to have eating disorders when I was younger and they don't understand that what they are doing is harmful. I'm not obese or anything and I've even started going to the gym. One time when I came back from the gym and I wanted to get something to eat, my dad told me that I shouldn't be eating anything especially after spending so much time in the gym.
A couple of years ago when I was in middle school I got bullied badly by my whole class, especially the guys (they put ink on my chair and ruined my shirt, they would act disgusted any time I walked past them, a guy spit on me once, they would constantly call me ugly and a nerd). There was this girl who acted nice at first and she was one of the only friends I had. Any time we hang out she would tell me to walk her home and I would. That's when she and her sister would start bullying me too. I genuinely thought she was my friend so I put up with it. One day I showed her my drawing and she took it and grabbed dog shit from the floor with it and rubbed it in my hair. I washed as best as I could in the sink and ran away while her sister chased me and spit on me. In that same year my dad cheated on my mum and she would take pills to the point she couldn't function. All she did was worry about my dad and try to please him and she left me (a 13 year old) to fend for myself.
In that same horrible year I met a guy and he was literally the only guy that was remotely nice to me so I fell for him. My oldest sister knew him (she was a teacher) and she didn't like him so she made sure to make my life a living hell. She made my parents watch me 24/7, they wouldn't let me go out (my mum would let me sneak out for like an hour sometimes), they would lock me in the house and take away all the keys when they were gone and my sister who was the only person who could actually be by my side through all this started ignoring me/ insulting me and even hurting me on some occasions. She heard me speaking to him one day on the phone and she took away all my electronics and made me sleep on the couch with my mother. That night my mum told me she wished she never had me.
After all the bullying my reaction was to stop caring about school, I studied much less and that's also what triggered my dad's abuse. This was in my last year of middleschool. My then bf wasn't the best guy and his friends were even worse, however they were the only people I had so I started hanging out with them. A lot of things happened and me and my then bf broke up. That's when one of his friends tried to rape me and a lot of his friends would grope me and make me uncomfortable. That's also when the rumors started, they said the guy did nothing wrong and that I'm the one who wanted it but he rejected me. They said I fooled around with at least 10 more guys and slowly half the school knew about this.
Now, my family have the audacity to ask me why I don't want to spend time with them. They do nice things for me but I can't really fully forgive them. They say I chose my current boyfriend over them and they aren't wrong. He makes me feel safe even if our relationship isn't constantly perfect. My sister especially will stop talking to me and be passive agressive any time I choose to hang out with my bf instead of her. Sometimes I feel lost and Im not even sure if anybody actually cares about me or loves me. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm sick of them demanding that I spend time with them when they're not even sorry. What disgusted me the most was when I asked my dad and sister if they ever felt bad for what they did and their answer was that I deserved it at the time even though I was a child who had no one to guide them.
At least now I have friends who are actually nice and caring instead of the people I used to call my friends when I was younger. This makes me think that I should be happy and grateful but at the end of the day when I'm alone and no one is here to distract me I start to feel awful all over again
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2023.05.29 14:28 theblurredmesses Is this an actual sign of trust or just a case of oversharing/over-dumping at work? How do I interpret this?
(Warning: Very Long Read) Abstract
This is in an Australian luxury retail setting and this is the longest I've been in a workplace since arriving to this country (6 months). I am in a team of 8 sales associates, predominantly males (6M & 2F including me). Over the course of working here part time, I have accumulated an amount of personal struggles, difficulties and insecurities of especially my male co-workers. I am cautious and torn on how to properly emotionally understand this, because I do not want to be lead on to a decision to personally, emotionally invest in these men and end up regretting it because I misread the stance between me and them. Therefore, I am here to gather viewpoints and advice on this: Are these actual signs of trust in me or just cases of oversharing or over dumping emotionally at work? How do I interpret this?
I shall use the two main male-coworkers that I am most close to & torn about. I am a 23F. Person A
- Is the unofficial leader of the team, Caucasian Australian aged 27 this year. I view him as an senior colleague/almost big brother type.
- He tells me he regrets much of his life decisions up until now. Partying, drinking and wasting three years of his life in the UK bartending & using up all the money on concerts and clubs. His insecurity is in his looks and the fact he did not attend university or is not booksmart.
- Is in a 3-year relationship with a Lebanese woman (who is a flight attendant) whom he wants to marry but her parents do not allow him because he is not financially stable and does not own a house. He currently lives with his mother and is miserable about it as he is trying to gather funds to make this goal a reality.
- He gave a shy outburst admitting to me one time that he was missing his girlfriend (as she was on a flight) and to just call him a simp. My words were simply: 'She is your girlfriend, of course you'll miss her. And I think she'll appreciate it very much if you tell her that too.'
- He was comfortable enough to tell me the full unedited argument he had with her and being very emotionally honest with me from his perspective about it when I did the normal superficial 'what's wrong' when he came to work looking angry (which I did not expect). They did made up in the end and I was happy for the both of them.
- He had been planning to get a real estate licence (as a first serious job besides fashion) but has been procrastinating about it. I gently asked what's stopping him and he looked at me dead and sad in the eye 'fear of failure'. I was too stunned to reply immediately, and when I wanted to, it was already too late.
- Person A no longer likes the job very much, and on multiple occasions hinted at badly wanting to leave and is just staying for job security. Of course, I urged him to find other opportunities and leave once a security net has been established.
- I believe he is slipping into a minor depression: the casual remarks of death, life ending and the fire in his eyes are no longer the same the time I met him. I am probably too intimately aware on this because of my own history with Bipolar Type II.
- I am the only person he prevents me from touching or seeing his weed. I don't know whether to feel offended that this implies that he would think that I'm a prude, when I never treated him differently regardless.
- I'm not going to lie, work problems started to crop up from him and I tried my very best to accomodate to his personal struggles. But that one day he finally crossed a line with me. It was also the first time I realized I was truly emotionally compromised when I realized my hesitation to immediately hit him with my disappointment, when in other circumstances with others I would. But funnily enough, the moment I decided I just had to, he apologised to me right at that moment. He explained very rawly (not defensive) to me that he was just fed up with the job and the monotony and his brain just checked out for today and he was sorry for letting me down. It was overall just rather sad, because it was nothing I did not know already. But what left a lingering impression in my mind, he shut up immediately once our other two coworkers reached within earshot of us. This was the moment I wondered whether he trusted me more than average.
- He left mistakes for the other team members to clean up the next day, and it turns out not everyone knew Person A was drying up, which leads to Person B.
- Malaysian Chinese Australian, aged 24 years old, graduated Material Engineering.
- He's another literal can of worms.
- Personally, I was very excited to meet another Malaysian Chinese person in Australia, because it was simply not common. I was desperate for any sense of familiarity in terms of cultures and values.
- We hit it off well in terms of chemistry on the first day, a little too well that I did not realize my actions were inappropriate for a man that has a girlfriend already, but he did not stop me either. We were talking about cooking Chinese dishes living alone in Sydney on the way walking together to the train station after work. Everything was normal until the weird feeling arose. Our ideal height difference and body proximity. It was sexual tension. I think he felt it too at the same time, because he in panic also quickly excused himself wanting to go to the grocery mart around the corner and at least that cue I understand, so I ran to the direction of the station. Since then, I vowed to be more careful and I never stick around with him after work again.
- I am thankful that despite that first interaction, it did not impact our work relationship at all. Out of all the team members, I work best with him and till this day, I treasure this dynamic. We are both hardworking, conscientious, productive and don't arse around. I hate the shit he does, and he hates the shit I do. We get a lot done together as we complement each other's weaknesses well.
- I know that he has strict and traditional parents like I do. That he hates it and he knows that he will never be able to pursue his true passion of modelling if he wants to remain in the family. That I know he still remembers the pain of his mother telling him that his first gf was sub-par and he could do better (after being so excited to tell her).
- He struggles with wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely. Jumping from friend group to friend group, but never truly belonging in one. The same applied to hobbies.
- Though, I like that I could talk to him a bit about literature, anime and films.
- He has a younger sister he does not understand but has a very close bond to his male cousins. Has had 4 previous romantic relationships
- I like that I know his Mandarin name and that he puts mine in front of my English name on his phone, which is weird because he calls me by my English name when he is with me. He was also born in the same state as my paternal family and moved to Australia after primary school.
- He wants a place to call his own, and is burdened by the cruelty of the housing prices. A bit lost after graduation with not much going on, which is sucking the life out of him. (In his words, 'I'm going to be completely transparent with you...I don't do much else, unfortunately').
- I guessed correctly that he has not started searching for work, and reassured him I won't be an additional pressure to it.
- Our cantonese and mandarin now bleed together during shifts. He is the only one that can get specific cultural references with me.
- He showed me concern when I was ill on a shift and I unfortunately violently interpreted it as him thinking I was not doing my job. Another thing I like, we sort shit out amicably too and move on.
- I guessed his MBTI correctly on my first try, and him my astrology sign on his first try.
- I find it strangely comforting that he whines comfortably to me about our job stress to me only as we do it together, and doesn't put up the bro front of me unlike to others. The knowing side eye we sometimes throw at each other when our other coworkers say/do something ludicrous.
- His grandfather has Parkinson, and sometimes he loses sleep as he needs to help him to the toilet. It was a crazily intimate fact that I did not anticipate when I noticed him being fatigued. This was when I questioned the stance between us. He did not share that with the bros, because Person A came in walking & asked how is he, to which he replied with full confidence after telling me the above... 'Awesome man, bro.' And a slap on the back. I was stunned at the complete difference.
- Me and Person B has the agreed pact of fixing Person A mistakes quietly so management doesn't widen the magnifying glass.
I'm enjoying my colleagues, I feel myself dangerously coming close to caring, but I'm more afraid that I'm interpreting something more of a work relationship when it isn't. That I'm making the wrong emotional investment within my own consciousness and end up hurt and regretting. If by any chance anyone reads until this end, thank you. Feel free to tell me if you feel that it's all in my head and distance is the best. That I'm overthinking it and just put it to rest, or that I'm just a convenient emotional punching bag because I dont say much, because at this point, I'm exhausted at looking at these 2 ways of understanding it and being unable to pick one.
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2023.05.29 14:22 deathinliving Disheartend
I don’t know why this bothers me as much as it does.
So my fiancé (28f) and I(34m) are planning to get married in 2024. My soon to be niece (6 years old) in the beginning called me her uncle cause I will be soon. I’ve known her for a few years now. The other day she got upset because I tried to give her a hug and she said she doesn’t want me hugging her cause I’m not related to her. Well my fiancé has two sisters. Their husbands get hugs and my soon to be mother in law told her “they aren’t blood related to you either, why do you hug them then?” And all the answer was “that’s different, they’re married.”
Anyway for whatever reason it kinda got me down a little. Kinda like even tho I’ve known her for going on 5 years now. She sleeps over at our house, we babysit her when her parents are busy, buy her presents for her birthday and Christmas, went on a road trip vacation together cross country. Basically treat her as family. I still feel like I’m not part of the family.
Mainly it brought up feelings of how her sisters husbands do all these things together but when I ask to go they ignore it.. to this day, I feel like I’m not “one of the guys”
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2023.05.29 14:21 xatql I drugged some people at a party because I wanted to go home.
I (17F) was invited to a party not so long ago, my friend Iva was the host and she was known for being really out there. Always partying the hardest, doing a lot of drugs just making sure the vibes were at 110 basically. I was known to her as someone like her little sister, she would always baby me and look after me and when she invited me to her party I was a bit worried but excited. I came to the party, and before I walked into the house I could just smell pure weed coming from inside as I walked in she said.
Iva: "I'm so glad you could make it OP" Me: "Why is it so smokey in here Iva?", Iva: "Oh, we're trying to hot box my house haha wanna help?" Me: "nah I'm good, Where'd I put the alcohol?" Iva: "just leave it there" Me: "aight, um when's everyone getting here" Iva: "soon, soon just sit down with us"
I do smoke weed but I when I'm drinking I like smoking after it then before, so I just sat with her and three of her other friends. After 20 minutes everyone started coming in and before you know it there's at least 13 more people here. People started drinking, and I started having a good time an hour into it some kid came up to me and Iva and said "Hey is it ok if I do this in your kitchen?" He then pulled a large-ish sized bag filled with white powder. I laughed and asked if he was serious and if that was what I thought it was but before he could answer Iva said "yeah, wtf go ahead" I quickly turned my head to her and said Me: "you know what that is right?" Iva: "yeah but it's a party" Me: "But that shit could turn bad just like that"
After all the drunks and stoners looked at him doing lines in the kitchen everyone asked if they could do some with him. I was completely shitting myself since I used to live with crackheads and knew how bad things could get. More and more people did it, literally everyone did it except for me. I started getting a bit scared, and told them I was gonna leave, they told me to stay and not to leave. I ended up trying to leave and omw to my car three people came outside and dragged me back in, basically threatened me not to leave and drink some more. I was farely drunk and very scared atp. I started faking that I was drinking and just spat my shots in my beer can, after I started sobering up I got the idea to put sleeping pills I had in my purse in the hot bottles everyone was drinking out of. I went into the bathroom and started crushing up my pills, I had at least 20 crushed and I swiped it all in my hand. I made it clear to everyone that I had "cocaine" in my hand and that we should all mix it in the vodka and tequilas and they were all for it. I put a good amount in each making sure it's not too much and not too little. Some people started feeling sick and a bit disoriented, some were crying to go home. Mostly everyone left in half an hour, I was relieved on how much people were leaving, some even knocked themselves out on the floor cold asleep. When it was just me and Iva left, she gave me a look and asked why I was so happy. I just said "it was a fun night" and she hugged me and started telling me how happy she was for me to be there. When I got home I slept and woke up and felt so much guilt, I drugged a bunch of people to put them to sleep just because I was getting creeped out
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2023.05.29 14:14 FrenchBunnyBallerina Am I the asshole for “ruining family events”
I, female 23 and married to male 33, however he really has nothing to do with this story. It’s my sister in law Female (35) who we’ll call SIL for this story, because I’m not typing sister in law every time I reference her. I’m tired lol.
I recently had my first child. It was amazing and fantastic, he was a NICU baby so I’m extra cautious. I probably annoyed family by not inviting them over to see the baby (I never arranged a date but Easter happened when he was around four months old, so they all saw him there; however I did not offer for anyone to hold him and no one asked.
SIL has had two children already and was pregnant with her third. I have known Anna since I was 12 and she was getting married to my older brother and knew she came from a very conservative family. She has always breastfed with a cover around our family, however at the Easter table I breast fed my child. I will say he latched right away, I was somewhat restricted view from my place at the table in my grandmothers house anyway. He was quick to latch, due to having so much practice- my point being Minimal time my whole boob was exposed (maybe 30 seconds at most). When I said “oop someone’s hungry, baby do you want some milk” her youngest child (boy 6) asked “how does someone only eat milk” and I answered “it’s kinda like a protein shake”.
I would like to add SIL is expecting another baby and I assumed that she would feed her baby as normal in her home without covering (maybe I assumed wrong).
She didn’t say anything at the time about home openly breastfeeding (which I was a little shocked at) but frankly I’m not feeding my child with a cover over his head in my own home. I will cover out of respect for others in two places (church, and then the one time I went to a family funeral). I invite anyone who disagrees with my policy to eat a meal with a blanket over their head.
She also corrected me when I made her child wash his hands before sitting down to eat (we do family style buffet line) and made him take the dinner roll he touched on a separate plate instead of putting it back on the main serving tray (her kids are ALWAYS SICK).
Anyways queue to this weekend. We have always grilled out on Memorial Day as a family for as long as I can remember. This year my mom had already bought all the steaks and all the food before they announced they had “other plans as a family”, which is the same excuse they used a few years ago after they didn’t come to Christmas due to wedding drama after I got married (I chose very small very private and frankly would’ve eloped in Europe if my parents had let me).
So, am I the asshole for ruining events by breastfeeding my child?
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2023.05.29 14:12 Dunglechownbim AITA for not watching One Piece?
Yesterday I had a slight argument (no yelling just grumbling and a difference of opinion)with my brother and fsil (future sister in law). I forgot how it came up but they started talking about One Piece which they absolutely love. They love that show and regularly have conversations about the plot and characters. Sometimes it’s annoying because it seems like all they talk about but I don’t say anything because they have a right to talk about what they like.
On this particular day, I jokingly compared their love of One Piece to a cult because they’re always trying to convince me to watch it. That’s where I may have been the asshole for likening them to cult worshippers.
After I said that they immediately started trying to convince me to watch it. Now, I am a nerd but I’m a different type of nerd. I like watching anime but usually the light hearted one season shows. I like Broadway musicals, TTRPGs, podcasts about TTRPG, and cartoons like Steven Universe and The Owl House. I’m not a shounen anime person. I used to watch MHA but I stopped because I got bored. Anyway, I’ve tried watching One Piece before, but it’s just not my cup of tea and my brother and Fsil don’t seem to understand that.
My fsil asked me why I haven’t watched one piece yet and I said I don’t have time to which she snipped “You have time.” Which I didn’t appreciate.
I literally do not have enough time in the day for everything I need to and want to do. I’m actively writing a novel, I make digital art, I’m a teacher so I have lesson plans to make and grades to grade! I’m a new homeowner so I have all the stuff that comes with that to do! Then I do stuff for fun that I like!
The argument died down eventually but I’ve been thinking about what she said for a while. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to not watch One Piece. I’ve tried and I don’t like it. I know the show has changed since the first few episodes but I don’t really care to watch more. We aren’t actively arguing right now either we even played video games together last night. I think I’m overthinking it…
Am I the asshole for not making time to watch this show? (This argument comes up every few months btw)
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2023.05.29 13:56 ReggedTinn I hated my mom ever since my dad passed away. I could not stop feeling anger when i see her face
I was 18 and my dad had terminal cancer. Mom was his fulltime caregiver till he passed away. When we sort through his belonging and also some clutter from the house, my mom found my older sister diary that she used to keep. My mom started reading and I felt that she was invading privacy, I tried to take it from her, but she scolds me for it. I argue how she could be so inconsiderate, and she just got angry at me but still keep reading and making comments about the stuff my sister wrote. I cried because mom did the same thing in the past and I wrote my rant in my diary about school and she found it and confront me about it. It was my outlet for things I never was able to say or retaliate others. I never kept any diary after.
A week after that, we had a roadtrip to finalize some paperwork with my paternal aunt accompanying us. On our way home, they were talking about my dad's passing that leads to conversation saying "Nowadays, kids would right away put this behind them and recover quick in a few days. Unlike us in the past who grieve much longer months or even years." I sat in the backseat angry at this but I didn't say anything. Thinking on how these thoughtless words come straight out of my mom who used to be a nurse.
The next thing I happened to overhear my mom talking on the phone with her friend in a room about the details of my dad's struggle when he was seriously ill. I was angry because she didn't disclose much information to me but blabber away to an outsider. I wasn't able to meet my dad in those months but only on twice. First time is when my friend drive me to the hospital and i have a short conversation and how my dad promised to teach me how to drive. Second time is months later, he was unresponsive and stared blankly and tired with not much energy left. He died the following week.
My sister came back from studying abroad and it was my turn to go away. I left to study 3 years, return home to my room occupied by my sister. It became "her room". She asked for my consent before and I have given my approval but only if she return it to me after i came back. She did not keep her promise and my mom sided with my sister. I had to give up my room and used a spare room that was used as storage. I salvage a few furniture to use. I held such strong attachment to the room that my sister took from me is because we lived in the same bedroom with our parents up till we are 17 or 18. We had to queen bed and shared wardrobe and space. When my sister left to study, my dad cleared up the room that is supposed to be mine and the spare room my dad had planned to get it a makeover but he was had gotten sick. When i wanted to renovate the spare room or buy new furniture, my mom told me not to waste the money.
I noticed some of my old clothes went missing, my mom had thrown them away because I probably won't wear them anymore. A wallet my friend gave me on birthday and handbag that is a souvenir from my parent ended up used by my mom, without my knowledge. She said I don't use them much anyway. To me they were memorabilia. I ended up with fewer stuff than I originally had.
I felt like I was punished for being obedient. Whenever I think of it I cried. And when I got angry and told them off, they talk me down. Not understanding the point why I was so upset and it was just such a small thing to get upset about in their eyes. My mom dared to throw my stuff but doesn't do it to my sister and even make spaces where I originally had for her. My sister gets angry for anyone who moved her stuff but she can't see it from my point when I got angry. I know one day i will choose to no contact everyone and live alone. I'm sorry dad, eventhough you always told me not to get angry at mom, I can't do it.
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2023.05.29 13:52 Shivaniverma1 Godrej Luxury Plots Kurukshetra, Price List, Layout Plan, Location Map & Floor Plan
| || |Godrej Properties Kurukshetra submitted by Shivaniverma1 to u/Shivaniverma1 [link] [comments]
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2023.05.29 13:39 Johnny_Boy398 Africa Rework: The Leopard of the Congo Mobutu Sese Seko
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(This is part of an ongoing series, links to which will be posted in the comments below) The Nationalists of the “Mouvement Authenticité de la Révolution” (MAR)
Who is Mobutu Sese Seko? Just another warlord who got a lucky break? A champion of the nation willing to do what is necessary for unity and freedom? A traitor to the people who was happy to crack congolese heads until his pay got cut? A revolutionary Father-Marshal or a reactionary kleptocrat? No one can say for sure, but when the Congo war begins in 1966 it will become clear what he wishes himself to be: the great liberator, unifyer, and undisputed master of the great Congo nation. And with Japanese help he may just pull it off. But no man is born great, and even the Fuhrer does not rule alone. So let us discover how Mobutu came to be, and what his victory will mean for the Congo and Africa at large. For the Japanese, who will become his greatest supporters and headaches, he is the African Oda Nobunaga: a martial and cruel man whose vision for unity and glory far outweighs whatever sins he may have committed. Always one for the cameras and adept at winning over an audience, Mobutu will successfully win over the Japanese public by playing the role of the justly tyrannical “Great Man”, even while he personally prefers western delicacies.
Joseph-Désiré Mobutu lived an unremarkable life before being thrust into greatness. He was only 16 when the Congo was violently transferred from Belgian to German hands, and like many rebellious students he joined in the 1949 protests against the construction of the Congo dam, stowing away from boarding school to do so. In the aftermath of the MNC repression Mobutu was assigned to the still technically Belgian controlled Force Publique as punishment. Unlike many of his fellows however Mobutu immediately took to military life, embracing the strength, discipline and martial values it provided. In part because of this he served without noticeable disobedience, and was even bribed to be an informant on clandestine communist cells within the force, ratting out a few of his “comrades”. From the point of view of the Belgians he was a model soldier. But this was an act: in truth Mobutu never ceased holding resentment for his arrogant Belgian commanders or the priests who had “educated” him. Behind their back he was a contributor to the native underground press, writing under assumed names and attacking the Belgian presence. It came as quite a shock then when in 1955, as his mandated time in the force was drawing to a close, Mobutu did not accept demobilization quietly but instead went into revolt. It is still a matter of debate about what pushed him into this. He claims that this had been the plan all along, while cynics say the impending annexation of the belgian Congo by Zentralafrika forced him into it. Some think that his double life was about to be exposed, while the more conspiratorial leftists say that he never went into rebellion at all, and that his “revolt” was ordered by the Belgians as a way to counter the APL insurgency. But whatever the case it was here that the public figure was born.
After killing several belgian officers and stealing as many weapons and valuables as they could Mobutu and his co-conspirators quickly fled east. This was not entirely unusual: the sudden annexation of the colony led to many sporadic demonstrations and revolts. But it immediately became clear that Mobutu had larger ambitions than these local disturbances. His strategy at this time was one of survival: he would only accept those who could move fast and hit hard, with his armed band always staying on the move as they fled to the east. But unlike other petty warlords he understood the importance of a political and social message for his long term survival, as well as local alliances. For this he essentially copied the platform of the now underground MNC while adhering to none of its tenants in reality: he would tell the people whatever they wanted to hear so long as it got him what he wanted. More practically he made tight alliances with local eastern notables as well as Tutsi refugees which had fled reprisals to the east. In this he was successful, forging for himself a loose alliance in the north east which permitted him to slip the noose where so many others were eventually caught. One of his most important lieutenants in these early days was Victor Nendaka Bika, his de facto “foreign minister” and torturer who would make initial contact with those Mobutu saw the need to coerce or charm. Unlike many warlords Mobutu never gave into the temptation to rule by fear alone, instead seeking to co-opt useful men into his own organization. But he was just as happy to let loose his jackal to show the consequences of disloyalty.
These early years from 1956-1962 were defined at first by mere survival: banditry, illegal trade and bribery were the only ways to stay alive. But slowly, with plenty of self promotion to help it, Mobutu’s reputation as a survivor and a winner grew locally, and then regionally. As the remnants of failed rebels and warlords drifted into his growing camp Mobutu was able to step beyond being a bandit king and into becoming a local powerbroker. He had already made himself the allied protector of the Tutsi refugees, and soon after the APL’s protracted people's war in the north began he sought to become the patron of his own native Ngbandi people as well. Where he had the most power in the eastern fringes the pan-Africanist APL held the north, with the Ngbandi in the middle still “up for grabs” between the APL, Mobutu and the German administration. It is here that he first developed his own separate political platform: unwilling or unable to come to an agreement with either of the other two factions Mobutu began developing his own ideology of an “authentic” congolese nationalism which was opposed to both pan-african and communist radicalism, “self defeating” regionalism and demanded the full liberation of the congo from european imperialism. But most importantly to those who heard his call was for unity under Mobutu: if the African people remained divided and timid they would be slaves forever, and only a great leader like Mobutu could bring them true liberty. As one may expect, this call for subordination won him very few new friends.
The see-saw of influence in the Congo north and east is set to be radically upended in 1962, as kommissar Krogmann finally thinks he has enough stability in the west to launch a pacification campaign. In this he will be superficially successful: all anti-German factions will be forced to retreat and large swaths of land will be returned to German control. But it will not accomplish its primary objective of capturing and killing the leadership: Mobutu will once again avoid the hangman and will return when the Zentralafrika army goes marching south to the SAW. And when he does it will be with a new purpose. Much of his army was scattered or deserted by the German offensive, with many of the local allies he thought were in his hands all but begging to come to terms with the Germans after he was forced out. He had survived yes, but only by the skin of his teeth: this time he would do things differently. Taking lessons from the APL he will return in 1964 as a popular revolutionary rather than as a mere warlord with a printing press. Though still not fully developed it is here that “Joseph-Désiré” would become “Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa za Banga” or “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”. A new ideology of “Authentic” nationalism came with this new name, seeking to truly win over the hearts of the people as well as the loyalty of their leaders. It was a threat and a promise, as he would go about tearing down symbols of westernism in his wake and giving personal “gifts” to people or organizations which he wished to win over. He also sought to portray himself as an avenging angel, throwing “bad actors” such as denounced priests and hated collaborators against the wall. This new ideology, disseminated through the “Manifesto of Goma” is long in emotion and short in concrete policy. As such it was quickly denounced by the intellectuals of the Pan-Africanists and Liberals as not a “real” ideology and merely a cheap populism. But it is taken deadly seriously by the newly declared Mouvement Authenticité de la Révolution: for its supporters it promises a true rebirth of the congolese people from within rather than without. The Congo would be purged of malignant western influence by remaking the congolese individual in body, mind and spirit. This was the way to true freedom and dignity, far more than mere “material conditions” or to ape their constitutions.
With his newfound identity and strategy Mobutu will of course be a prime target for Huttig’s retribution, but as is always the case too few men and not enough supplies will stop Huttig from ever putting him down for good. Plus Mobutu had found a new friend: the Japanese. In the immediate aftermath of Huttig’s takeover the Japanese will support the APL, but will quickly grow disenchanted: the naked radicalism and distrustful nature of the APL will lead to the Japanese looking for a more reliable partner, and Mobutu will aggressively angle to become just that. After having been rejected by the Americans in favor of the MNC Mobutu is the only big game left in the Congo for Japan to back, and was always a master at co-option and personal magnetism. He will charm the Japanese mission to sing his praises in Tokyo, even if there is little they can do for him at the moment. This will change when Huttig dies: taking a gamble Mobutu will strike at Stanleyville, successfully forcing the retreating garrison to leave behind most of their weapons and capturing an airport through which he will finally have solid connections with the outside world. The bad blood between him and the MNC and APL will mean that there is no choice but to fight it out as the Congo war begins in 1966, this time with Japan backing him to the hilt.
Mobutu now seeks to become a legend. Already having gained a personal mythos after having been declared dead by the Germans several times, his wartime strategy will be to force the mass mobilization of the population. Under his personal name and with the backing of Japan he will force every man who comes under his control into his army, seeking to form a tidal wave of men which will overwhelm his enemies and make up for his lack of supply. If an enemy cannot be rooted out with simple force of numbers, it will be the job of his all Ngbandi “Leopard Division” or even better of Japanese “volunteers” to root them out. The success of this strategy is heavily dependent on momentum, and will rely on Japanese backing to arm itself. But if it is successful Zentralafrika will be no more, and neither will the Congo: The Republic of Zaire will rise as the newest power in Africa under the leadership of the nation's great guide: Mobutu Sese Seko. After a partial demobilization and a reconfirming of his alliance with “internal allies” such as the Tutsi under François Rukeba and the Bakongo under Holden Roberto he will initiate a grand campaign of national revolution and self aggrandizement: Zairianization. Asian inspired architecture of the newly built Presidential Palace. Among those celebrating the creation of Zaire will be the Japanese. All sides have poured a great deal of resources into the conflict, and the victory of Mobutu will doubtless be a strategic boon for Japanese influence on the continent. Mobutu for his part recognizes the usefulness of his new “friends”, but neither side is blinded by the propaganda: the dangers and opportunities of Nationalism are all too familiar.
As mentioned in my previous post there are several common issues which any native unifyer must account for. The first among these is The Looming Famine
: in the aftermath of years of war and mismanagement the supply of food to urban areas is critically unstable. And it is in this issue that the weaknesses of Mobutu’s regime will first be seen. Mobutu’s agricultural reform centers mostly on seizing land owned by the whites and his political enemies, and then redistributing it to himself, his political allies, and occasionally to the people. As everything with the Zairean revolution the purpose is twofold: to meet the needs of the people and to entrench Mobutu's personal political power. But often the second goal far outstrips the first: many of the people who gain this land do not know how to use the land productively, or if they do, are more interested in producing cash crops than they are in food staples. This is certainly the case for the massive amounts of land brought under Mobutu’s personal ownership, which will most often continue to grow the same way as the colonial plantations they were before. This reckless reorganization and focus on exports ensure that hunger will be an early and acute crisis for Zaire. The issue will be solved slowly, as roads are repaired and the rhythm of agricultural life is no longer disrupted by war, but the people need food now and more than anything else it is cassava and rice which the people demand from their leaders.
It is by meeting this need that Japanese influence first becomes a powerful thing. Though motivated in part by genuine charity from well off Asians, the provision of food and aid is also cynically used by the Japanese state to buy the support of the people and the local power brokers away from Mobutu, and towards themselves. This aid, plus the government's own subsidies of food imports, plus the natural healing from war, will lead to the crisis fading away but leaving all sides on notice that the future of Zaire is still being made, and that the Japanese are a major player in it. The Mutilated Independence
: The inability of Mobutu to take Leopoldville during the independence war is a blow to Mobutu’s prestige, not to mention Zaire as a whole. However he is pragmatic enough and has enough friends in Japan to hash out a deal with Nigeria and Gabon: the loss of the major port will not strangle Congolese exports or imports, only make them more expensive. But for both political and economic reasons the retaking of Leopoldville and the Kabinda port remain absolutely vital to the continued reign of Mobutu. To this end Mobutu’s solution to retaking Leopoldville is direct conquest, not because he can think of no other option but because it will give him the greatest personal prestige as a great conqueror. As such along with his policy of “Zairianization” and economic consolidation he will also invest a great deal into the army.
This army will see its strength tested as Mobutu tries to expand his influence beyond the Zaireian borders. Gabon may be protected by America, but unleashing blitz style attacks on Angola and Rwanda is fair game. In Angola he will seek to set up Holden Roberto as a fellow autocratic “Authenticité” leader by supporting his meager army against the warring angolan factions in an attempted knockout blow. In Rwanda he will need to be somewhat more cautious (unless something very bad happens) but ultimately seeks to return Kigeli V to the throne on the backs of his long time exile allies. In this way he will both expand his influence as well as surround Leopoldville with friendly regimes. When the oil crisis hits Mobutu will leap at the opportunity to crush the Germans by launching an all out assault on “Festung Leopoldville”, and if successful will greatly increase his prestige, as well as rehabilitate his image in the eyes of other revolutionary leaders as a “true revolutionary”. If he fails in these wars however he will decline, and need to lean ever more heavily on Japan to prop himself up. This is somewhat awkward for Japan itself: having previously backed leftist movements as their best options they must now choose between their old allies and the new anti-leftist gambles taken by Mobutu. But despite the heartburn Zaire is simply too valuable in the african chaos for Japan to not continue supporting it, and so the rising sun shall backstab their allies in the name of pragmatism to the benefit of Mobutu. And besides, these new factions typically promess a better deal than the socialists did. Mobutu walks a fine line in African politics: though he has denounced the APL’s brand of pan-africanism he also wishes to be seen as a great revolutionary. Surrounded as he is by pan-african or otherwise revolutionary movements it is only good sense to say you are one of them. And to many Mobutu is just that: a liberating revolutionary who both freed and united great swaths of africa from pernicious white influence. But for the wider Marxist inspired world of African liberation his clear anti-communist is difficult to accept, no matter how well he speaks the language of pan-african pride. Lingering Regionalism
: In this question Mobutu is the most radical, and his policy is what you may know him for OTL. While all revolutionaries desire to establish a united identity, and some of them will do so by autocratic centralization, Mobutu makes the establishment of a “true” Zaireian nation a core part of his rule. As established in the Manifesto of Goma Mobutu promesses a national revolution in which regionalism will be swept away by a new, authentic program of nation building which will decolonize the Congolese mind as well as their hands. In practical terms this means the creation of a totalitarian state which will regulate and make “african” all aspects of life. Western influence will be attacked via the banning of christian names and nationalizing catholic church property. A citizen dress code will be implemented as well as a “traditional” family code which will favor male-dominated polygamy and property laws. Though his own praetorian guard of the leopard division is tribally biased the army as a whole will have a new organization forbidding any unit to be more than 20% uniform in tribal origin. This campaign is carried out with special zeal against the influence of Catholicism. Seeing it as both a challenge to his own power and as a malignant foreign influence Mobutu will make a great show of putting priests on trial and instructing his followers to declare that Mubutu is like Jesus and the MAR like the church. Schools, previously run almost exclusively by religious organizations, will be nationalized and their curriculum no longer permitted to teach Christianity but instead to teach “Mobutuism”. Though he will not have the strength needed to wipe out the church entirely during the 60s or early 70s Mobutu will be able to effectively cow this institution and dare any priest to say “sacrilege”.
This campaign will provide a degree of unity, pride and self confidence to the shattered nation beyond what any other program could do, but it is all provided through the image of Mobutu as the great sun king of the new nation. Mobutu will seek to become the center of a pseudo-religious cult of personality with mass public celebrations of his figure following him wherever he goes and an entourage singing songs in his praise. A consequence of the personalism in this campaign is than any embarrassing failures will not only reflect poorly on the nation but on Mobutu himself. As such he will often get worked up by seemingly trivial matters: if the football team should be lucky enough to participate in the world cup they will do so under the threat that if they do not perform well enough it will see retribution on them at home.
But as part of building this cult he must never let any other person, even his own children, get a moment in the spotlight. Below him is transient chaos, while above him is none: he alone is the rock on which Zaire can be built. This policy is most clearly seen in his handling of the Warlord Plague
. Here Mobutu has a two sided policy: All those military figures which he believes could pose a threat to his rule will at first be executed publicly and brutally. In the opening months of his reign he will institute a mini reign of terror to make an example of many warlords and political enemies. However, once the example has been made he will move on to a policy of co-opting these same men. Often through direct bribery, or through positions of prestige and other perks, local strongmen who will accept his rule are brought into the state machine by promising the opportunity to profit in exchange for loyalty. This opportunity is often revoked without notice or reason and personal rivalry at the top is encouraged: in this way no other individual is able to form a stable powerbase. But at the same time individuals previously kicked out of power may be rehabilitated just as quickly, rising once again to wealth and prestige on the auspices of Mobutu’s favor. In this way no elite is a permanent outsider, and the best move for many will seem to be “wait and see”. This of course makes the internal administration of the nation hell, but it does keep Mobutu in undisputed power without even the glimmer of a rival.
This policy of personal co-option extends even to The Belgian Question
. The Europeans remaining property will be nationalized and they will be deported, but it will not come with the punitive brutality of the pan-africanists. Mobutu has no love for the Belgians, and will not tolerate their continued dominance, but he also has no special hatred for them, seeing them mostly as political liabilities and rivals rather than ideology defining enemies: that distinction goes to the Germans. But after this show of nationalistic force the door will be left open to their return: many of the nationalized properties are redistributed to those without the knowledge, skill or desire to maintain their productivity. As such when those same Europeans are offered the chance to buy back their property or even return to the Congo Mobutu will not get in their way: so long as they avoid getting lynched along the way by Mobutu’s notoriously brutal and poorly disciplined soldiers he will let them have their piece too so long as they accept that it is by his grace alone that they keep it. Part of this leniency is out of a calculated mercy to Europeans: Mobutu is smart enough to know that making himself solely reliant on Japan is a poor strategy, and will seek to make connections with America, Italy and Brazil. Having mercy on the Belgians and keeping the door open to cooperation with the Euros is an easy way to mollify western opinion and thus maintain his own independence on the world stage. Of course even this policy has limits: Germany and those under her will see the door slammed shut.
Which brings us neatly into the great struggle which defines the early Mobutu regime: addressing the Economic Devastation
. In keeping with his Authenticité program Mobutu wishes to nationalize all previously foreign owned industry, which is the vast majority of all industry, under the one-party state. These national corporations, modeled off of the Japanese Zaibatsu and Italian corporatism, will be either controlled directly by Mobutu, by his close political allies, or (to his own displeasure) by East Asians, most often the Japanese. Mobutu’s Japanese backers are willing to prop up his regime, to allow whatever social and political organization he wishes, but they have come to the Congo for a reason. That reason is money and resources, and with Authenticité pushing for the cartelization of all money in the Congo the Japanese demand to be let in. Mobutu cannot simply dismiss them: it is Japanese credit and weapons which ensure he stays secure and on top. But he is also unwilling to simply roll over for them: he is a nationalist and a deeply ambitious man, and will not be satisfied with anything less than personal ownership of the Zaire economy. As such the 60s and early 70s will be a contest between true Mobutu loyalists and pro-Japanese opportunists for who will gain a majority share of the new nation's economic resources. Japan offers cash, guns, food, technical advisors and diplomatic support (all of which Zaire really needs) in return for shares in the national corporations and local extractions. They will also play dirty by employing bribes, intimidation tactics, organized crime and even clandestine support of anti-mobutu civil resistance to put pressure on the regime to open up more space for the Japanese. To counter this Mobutu has all the tools of the state at his disposal, as well as the mobilization of his own hard core group of supporters for intimidation or political pressure on local leaders. “Kazi ndjo baba, ndjo mama” (work, it is my father, it is my mother), is a common phrase in Katanga which alludes to the paternalist role played by large companies such as the Union Minière, which would provide housing, education, and sometimes even wives to their workers in exchange for productive loyalty. Even after the full German takeover “company work” maintained a facade of this relationship. Japan is well positioned to take up the old Union Minière paternalism tactics, offering workers higher and more regular pay than what native organizations sometimes can, while also reinforcing a culture of dependency which Mobutu is trying to break (or bend to his own ends).
It is this contest for the hard cash and rare metals provided by the Congo which will determine the final form the Authenticité regime takes. If Mobutu is victorious and secures the lion's share of the economy for himself and a large enough share for his allies the Zairean Revolution will be complete with major bonuses to stability and political power, and even more importantly to Mobutu’s personal fortune. Though never giving public access to his personal books Mobutu will be plausibly rumored to be worth billions, with he and his family being some of the foremost african business people in the world and minor celebrities in the co-prosperity sphere. However the economy will suffer greatly from this as all economic efficiency and business skill has been sacrificed in the name of Mobutu’s personal power: though he is the undisputed master of Zaire it will be a deeply dysfunctional country economically, and if commodity prices were to fall he may need to go crawling back to the outside world to bail him out. On the other hand if Japan wins Zaire will become a neo-colonial strip, with its most lucrative industries owned in part or in full by the Japanese and the state unable to do anything about it without critically undermining its own elite support. This will make Mobutu into only a multi-millionaire rather than a billionaire, as well as undermine his public image of all powerful invincibility. With the Japanese ambassador keeping a hawkish eye on him and his party Mobutu will be left to stew in his unhappy lot knowing that if he ceases to play the part assigned to him the Japanese can always find someone else. This will also be the end of the Authentice campaign as even uneducated workers can see that their bread comes not from “Father Marshal” but from their places of work, owned by foreigners once again. But it is arguably better economically, as the extractive industries are at least run competently and its workers will be paid in full and on time more often. In all cases Zaire will be a sphere observer, but in this case it will be a part of the Japanese economic sphere as well. The later 70s and 80s will be difficult times for either end as prices crash and the cumulative effects of bad government and foreign domination come to the fore. But that is a story for another day. Japan or Mobutu, success or failure, unity or farce, one thing remains constant: the Zairean military officers are the new nobility of the new nation. Corruption is an endemic and potentially crippling issue in Zaire, and this is seen most clearly in the military, where officers will steal wages and army units will act close to bandits in the more remote regions, creating an atmosphere of fear. But the best position is that of an Air Force officer, with prominent families often paying through the nose for their sons to be educated in Japanese military academies to earn their wings.
2023.05.29 13:21 Exact_Cause_36 My (40F) Fiancé (40M) wants a Prenup with uneven split on a business we built together.
My (40F) Fiancé (40M) are getting married. I’ve been married and divorced plus have 2 kids. He has been single except of one major relationship but I think it lasted less than a year.
We both have some serious emotional baggage that effects our relationship. I had a very controlling relationship with verbal, financial, and physical (our last fight) abuse that ended up leaving me and my ex’s kids homeless and hungry. He (fiancé) was raised by an alcoholic pill popping mother who on several occasions tried to run him over with her car.
When we met(2018) I had a great job a paid off house and a paid off car. He had a great job, a truck with payment, and a home in another state that was rented out for the same as the mortgage and about 80k in savings/retirement. Shortly after meeting he bought another house as he was living with his dad.
A year or so into our relationship (2019)he started talking about marriage. I was against it at first but then said I would consider it as long as we had a prenup written to where the kids and I would end up with our current home and a paid off 20k car and leave him with his retirement, his savings, his houses and his vehicle. It upset my fiancé that I would want a prenup because he felt that it would only protect me.
Now we’ve been living together in my home and I pay for all utilities and groceries until my funds are exhausted then I use his. This started because the company I worked for folded and I spiraled into a really bad depression. About a year into that I started getting help. Mid 2020 I was better enough to start looking for a different job. He picked up the financial slack for that time. He told me his brother was going to retire in 13 years and he wanted to beat him to it. I came up with a plan. He sold his two homes that were rentals but not profitable and I sold my car. We bought 10 houses, 9 tenant occupied, and I got to work rehabbing one. He paid for everything and I did the labor with my own hands. I had to tear the floors out down to the dirt. We hired out the vinyl finished flooring (I did all the framing and subfloor) and electrical. We bought the house for 30k and it appraised for $112. We cash out refi’d the house and used that money to pay for the next one that I am rehabbing. Again doing all the labor, but it takes a really long time because I’m all alone. He comes to help me maybe once or twice a month for no more than 4 hours at a time. I also do 80%-ish maintenance on tenant occupied properties. Some things I just can’t do.
We are getting married in October. He just told me he wants a prenup saying he gets 70% of our business. Everything is in his name, including the truck I’m driving. He could legally walk away with everything except my home. I know it sounds lame but this work has taken a toll on my body. My hands hurt everyday, I think I’m getting arthritis from the constant shaking of demo tools. In the mean time he has a full time job in an air conditioned office.
Had I known that my contribution would leave me feeling trapped and only gain me 30% I don’t feel I would have made the same decisions. I would have made more money to contribute to my own wealth and the well-being of my kids. I really feel like I’ve been taken advantage of and backed into a corner. If I don’t sign I get nothing if I do sign I get less than what I think I deserve. He says he took all the risk by selling his houses so he gets more. He says he worked his ass off to pay for them, but they were both mortgaged, and I worked my ass off to pay for mine and did all the work rehabbing it while I lived in it. My kids and I didn’t have running water for a over a month while I worked on plumbing and bathroom renovations. I paid for it all and had zero debt. He brought 20k in credit card debt that he says we spent together during our dating phase.
He says it’s all hypothetical and doesn’t mean anything because it only happens if we split, but I guess it shows me how he feels about my role and my contribution. I feel like this is going to do long term damage to our relationship and I can already feel resentment on my part.
Can we recover?
My entire family has bought plane tickets to come see us married and he didn’t bring it up until now.
TLDR: 5 year relationship, fiancé wants prenup to say he gets 70% of business we built together.
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2023.05.29 13:20 Black_Hazard_YABEI Tentative Plot Preview of my Amourshipping fic (Pokemon A/S) Version 1.1
Fanfic name: Pokemon A(sh)/S(erena)
--------------------Continuity and Placement
After 1 years of MPM Epsiode 11
For Liko and Roy: Somewhere After Pokemon Horizon Epsiode 6-8 and it's subject to change
Main Cast: XY Gang (Ash, Serena, Clemont, Bonnie) + OG Gang (Misty, Brock) + Gary Oak
Everyone will receive the Mega Evolution
Gary Oak become Professor before the fic starts.
Dawn become Top Coordinator before the fic starts.
May and Dawn will become Serena's rival.
Chloe is May, Dawn and Serena's apprentice
Pokemon Master scaling from best to worst: Ash >>>> Leon > all 6 Masters
Pokemon Coordinator scaling from best to worst : Dawn = May >< Serena > Chloe > Miette > Drew = Zoey
Pokemon Performer scaling from best to worst :Serena > May > Dawn > Aria > Chloe > Miette> Jessie
--------------------Change from Anime in this fanfic
- become smarter and more mature at beginning, but still a dense shell (slowly breaks)
- Use Aura and his superhuman strength very often
- Regularly use his old pokemon and keep switching his party except Pikachu, because in this fanfic, Ash want to spent more time with their old pokemon. However, as the times comes by, Any non Pikachu Pokemon that Ash have (including his greninja) will be slowly replaced by the Paldea Pokemon like Armarouge and Cyclizar
-While Bond Transformation is exclusive to Greninja in anime ,in this fanfic bond transformation can also be accessed if the Trainer have unusual high relationship with their Kalos Starter (might subject to change in future) such as Serena-Delphox and Clemont-Chesnaut -Serena will slowly become a better battler than anime counterpart (become as strong as Clemont) , joining battle way more often and will even features with several back-to-back action with Ash
-Clemont's Chespin will evolve to Chesnaught because of some Lab accident which also blow up the Prism Tower(lol!)
-Up to 6 on hand Pokemon Limit still applys here, but can use some device to replace members in their party as they wish before entering battle, and it can be bypassed by simply befriend with other pokemon rather than caught them in pokeball
-Introduce various of team finisher move which will not be considered as one of the "4 moves"
-4 moves limit are still applies here, but trainers can bypass it by create their very own charge move on their pokemon
-Trainers can use all 6 pokemon at the same time
-Features tons of OC enemy, pokemon or the antagionist that are neither Pokemon nor Humans.
-Bonnie will become part of the team instead of Tagalong Kid and use squishy to help saves the day more often.
-Clemont will become more successful Scientist because he now got the more competent assistant (Clembot MKIII and his Chesnaught)
Everyone will have their official age +1, except Ash who is still stucking at 10 years old (There'll be the story arc which explains why Ash was still 10 years old)
Team rocket trio will be sent to jail at ending of Team Rocket Arc because I feels like they're superfluous in the fanfic. But they might return if I can make use of them and appears as reformed person because they're not entirely bad person I think Liko and Roy will appear as side characters Greninja will be actively used, but there'll be few chapter where Ash didn't bring his greninja in his party Almost everyone will get Mega evolution Serena will move to Pallet Town and live with Ash, while Clemont, Bonnie and Meyer will temporary living with Ash as well Calem will appears in this fanfic as cameo alongside with Serena's Game counterpart
) , who will appears with Anime Serena at the same time. Calem
--------------------Arc 1: The dream begins and reunion (ep 1-6)
-------------------- Type: Storytelling, Action, Romance, Amour
Ash recieved the invite that will makes him reunite with his girlfriend, but he must deal with the plant from giant rock which will eventually not only makes him reunite with his girlfriend, but also reassamble the entire XY cast and makes the story looks like XY sequel (lol!)
Episode 1: Story begins with Ash saw the nightmare where the world being destroyed and even Arceus unable to do anything about it. Then Ash wake up and he just realized that he was invited to see the Pokemon Contest final (Serena Vs Aria) in Kalos, but when Ash went to Kalos, he saw his Greninja being unconscious because of being overworked for cutting wood so many years non stop without taking any break (Lol!)
Episode 2: It's only 1 hours before Pokemon Contest final starts,
Ash had sent his Greninja into Pokemon center. Meanwhile Bonnie and Clemont calls Ash that the plant from Giant Rock had nearing the Luminse City.
Ash and Lucario attempt to sense where's the source of those plant are but unable to. Meanwhile at this time, Greninja had been fully recovered and returns to Ash!
Episode 3: Greninja had been recovered!
With Greninja's help, Ash was finally able to find the source of the Giant Rock- on underground. Clemont used the newly devloped drill to make the tunnel so that Ash (with Pikachu, Lucario and Greninja), Clemont (with Luxray) and Bonnie (With squishy) will able to reach the underground and saw the core of those plants. With the combined effort of Pikachu, Lucario, Greninja, Luxray and Squishy, they was able to destroy the core and stopping the Giant Rock plant once and for all. Episode 4:
After the Giant Rock Plant Core had been Destroyed, Ash had found that the Pokemon Contest final had already begin. Ash was tried to reach Pokemon Contest as soon as possible. At first, Aria's excellent Contest skills makes Serena begin to self-doubt if she could made it, but Ash was eventally managed to arrives and cheers Serena, allowing Serena to unlock Bond Transformation on Her Delphox to become Serena-Delphox and become Kalos Queen
(Yes, I made her Kalos Queen that early because I have struggle to write Pokemon Contest chapters) Episode 5:
At last, Ash and Serena had finally reunion! To celebrating Serena become Kalos Queen, Ash was going to buy the new clothes for Serena as suprise gift so that Serena can put her Blue Ribbon back on her chest
, but Ash have struggle to do so because Ash know nothing about clothing style, but thanks to Diantha's help, Ash was eventally able to find the clothes that fits Serena and fits her Blue Ribbon. Episode 6: Ash and Serena say goodbye to Miette, Diantha and May and moved to Pallet town.
But at the next day, they found themselves had been trapped inside the crowd as both are now become the celebrity and all of the billboard had their own face! Diantha will teach Ash and Serena must find the way to move around in public
--------------------Clemont single chapter (ep 7)
-------------------- Type: Storytelling, Action, Humor
I made this chapter so that I can give Clemont bond transformation form
Episode 7: Clemont was devloping the devloution device which allows the Pokemon to devolve if they accidentally evolved against their will. However, like most of Clemont's device, his devlution device went malfunction and begin to explode and accidentally fully evolved his Chespin into Chesnaught as well! Everyone was managed to escape, but the explosion was so huge that it blows half of the Prism Tower, leaving them homeless and have to temporary move to Pallet town to live with Ash until the Prism Tower had been fully restored. Meanwhile, Xerosic managed escaped from jail and separated Clemont from Bonnie and Meyer. Xerosic's power protector easily overpowers all of his pokemon and his chesnaught! Xerosic was teasing that Clemont's science is terrible, but Clemont determination that the science was supposed to be used for justice allows his chesnaught to unlock the bond transformation to become Clemont-chesnaught
, allowing Clemont to defeat Xerosic and sent Xerosic back to jail. Unfortunately, Xerosic was managed to damage the Prism Tower which forcing Clemont, Bonnie and Meyer to living in Ash's house temporarily until the Prism Tower had been rebuilt.
--------------------Ash pidgeot single chapter (ep 8)
-------------------- Type: Action
Despite Ash's pidgeot had officially returned to Ash, it's another questions of how long can his pidgeot live with his trainer.....
Episode 8: Tons of Fearow had invaded and caused the huge chaos in Pallet town and steals Serena's blue ribbon! Ash's Pidgeot had found that those Fearow are came from Viridian Forest. Ever since Pidgeot had reunited with Ash, those Fearow had rapidly reproduce, quickly take over the Viridian Forest and begin to spread out of nowhere! Those Fearow demands Ash's Pidgeot in exchange for those Pidgey and Pidgeotto's life and the Blue Ribbon. Ash and Pidgeot arrived Viridian Forest but those Pidgey and Pidgeotto told them not to leave his Pidgeot here because they thinks that the Pidgeot was belong to Ash and Ash refuse to leave his Pidgeot here. Those Fearow now attempt to hurt those Pidgey and Pidgeotto and ate the Blue Ribbon! Ash Mega Evolved his Pidgeot to fight against those Fearow but being slowly outnumbered by those Fearow. On the verge of Ash's Pidgeot's defeat, those Pidgey and Pidgetto had evolved into Pidgeot and helps Ash's Pidgeot to defeat those Fearow and give Ash back the Blue Ribbon, ending those Fearow's threat once and for all! Ash and his Pidgeot was bid farewell to those Pidgeot and give the Blue Ribbon back to Serena, now Ash's Pidgeot can live with Ash forever!
--------------------Arc 3: Team Rocket invasion (ep 9-17)
-------------------- Type: Action
XY/XYZ cast had finally reassambled! But let's not forget about that they must deal with the very first and longest lasting villain organization-Team Rocket!
Epsiode 9: Gary had reunited with Ash
, where former had become the Pokemon Professor. Gary brings Ash and Serena to visit the extension of Professor Oak's laboratory (Clemont and Bonnie was here too!). Meanwhile, Giovanni had arrived the laboratory and defeated Professor Oak. Gary came out and fight against Giovanni once again and.....lose once again. Meanwhile, the Team Rocket Grunts kidnapped Professor Oak while they're battling and Giovanni had left the laboratory!
Epsiode 10: Giovanni kidnapped Professor Oak to Team Rocket base to make Professor Oak works for him. Ash and Gary was thinking about how to save Giovanni. Meanwhile, the Team Rocket trio appears once again and attempt to steal his Pikachu, but Misty and Brock arrives and saves Ash's Pikachu. Ash respond with a heavy heart as Ash aware that this might be their last time to prepare for trouble as Ash had decided to destroy Team Rocket once and for all (Yes, he feels sympathy for those Team Rocket Trio because he aware that Team Rocket Trio have heart) and Ash's pikachu sent Team Rocket Trio flying once again like usual!
Epsiode 11: Thanks to Clemont's science, Ash, Misty, Brock and Gary was able to track down the location of Team Rocket base. Clemont gives Ash the device which allows Ash to freely switch his Pokemon party anywhere and anytime. Ash, Misty, Brock and Gary went to Team Rocket base while leaving Serena, Clemont and Bonnie at Ash's house. Ash, Misty, Brock and Gary charging towards Team Rocket Base and begin the final battle against Team Rocket!
Epsiode 12: Ash, Misty, Brock and Gary fight against thousands of Team Rocket Grunts
who "Welcomed" them. But they slowly outnumbered by those Team Rocket Grunts and they realized that those Team Rocket Grunts are here to buying Giovanni's time! Misty and Brock decided to stay here and clean the road for Ash and Gary to reach Team Rocket Base!
Meanwhile, Professor Oak had been tied into the chair which extract his knowledge about the pokemon.
Epsiode 13: Ash and Gary was finally managed to find Giovanni and Professor Oak. Giovanni transfer his consciousness into the Armored Mewtwo (this Mewtwo is different from the first movie one and it's nothing more than Giovanni's new body) while Gary was going to save Professor Oak. Serena, Clemont and Bonnie saw the news about Ash is fighting Armored Mewtwo and decided to head to Team Rocket base together with the help of met Korrina, Alain and Diantha.
Meanwhile, Ash had been defeated by Giovanni and being tied outside the Team Rocket base!
Epsiode 14: Clemont, Bonnie and Serena met Korrina, Alain and Diantha to rescue Ash
, but being interrupted by the artifical pokemon army. Meanwhile Giovanni was about to end Ash's life, but being stopped by Gary. Inside Ash's mental world, Aaron was teaching Ash to master Aura power. After Ash mastered the Aura power, Ash breaks free with his newly mastered Aura power and team up with Gary to fight against Giovanni.
Epsiode 15: Thanks to Ash and Gary's excellent teamwork,
in addition of Ash's mastered Aura power, Giovanni had been easily defeated and Giovanni's mewtwo armor had been teared apart.
At the same time, Misty, Brock, Serena, Clemont, Bonnie, Korrina, Alain and Diantha had defeated al of the grunts and artifical pokemon army and reunited with Ash and Gary.
Meanwhile, Giovanni still refused to give up, he used the knowledge that being extracted from Professor Oak to create the gigantic ultimate pokemon called Chimera. Giovanni insert his consciousness into Chimera and razed half of Pallet Town into ground!
Epsiode 16: Despite the combined effort of Ash, Gary, Misty, Brock, Serena, Clemont, Bonnie, Korrina, Alain and Diantha
, Chimera was proven too much for those heroes to handle! Chimera then begin to cover the entire sky with the black smoke which will slowly turns all pokemon all over the world into shadow pokemon! Seems there's nothing to stop him, the real mewtwo appears and helps those hero to fight against Chimera. Meanwhile, Ash's Greninja was managed to use his extrasensory to emulate almost all of Pokemon moveset while his Lucario's aura power had been enchanced which allows his Lucario to create the spirit bomb sized aura sphere. Ash, his pikachu, Greninja and Lucario eventally able to blown Chimera to pieces and sent Giovanni's consciousness back to his human body. Ash came in front of Giovanni and about to kills him with Aura sphere, but Serena, and later the newly arrived Team Rocket Trio pleding Ash not to. Following Giovanni, Team Rocket Trio and rest of Team Rocket member being arrested, Team Rocket had finally being taken down for good. Korrina, Alain and Diantha say goodbye to Ash, Gary, Misty, Brock, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie as Korrina, Alain and Diantha head back to Kalos. Ash and Team Rocket Trio made the promise that they'll be travel together once the Team Rocket Trio served their sentence Epsiode 17: Few days after Team Rocket being taken down, Ash, Gary, Misty, Brock, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie made the celebration for that.
--------------------Arc 4: Ash being dense shell (ep 18-20)
-------------------- Type: Storytelling, Action, character building, emotion
The world had back to it's peace following the shut down of Team Rocket. However, Ash's dense shell kick in ane he'll will learn the the hard way about what will happen for being dense shell
Epsiode 18: Ever since Ash become much stronger since the Team Rocket fight, he begin to become arrogant and addicted in Pokemon Battle! (Yes, typical dense shell Ash for ya) He begin to refuse other people's help and even end up having Quarrel with Serena! Ash ragequit his house and being attacked by Damian
, who is looking for revenge of his charamder's betrayal. Despite Ash become lot stronger since they last met, Damian's newly obtained Psychic power and his Charizards army (Mega charizard X and Y, Gigantmaxed Charizard and Shadow Charizard that Damian created with his Psychic power) was proven even more ahead of Ash and defeats Ash! Meanwhile, Ash's rage towards Damian had results his Pikachu unleashed the large energy which not only quickly defeats Damian, but also create the huge hole on ground and become berserk!
Epsiode 19: Being humiliated by Damian and having his pikachu went berserk, Ash had slowly realized that he's only care about Pokemon and become megalomaniac had corrupted his bond with pikachu! He begin to feels sorry about how he treat his friends especially Serena. Ash was later apogoized to Serena and his friends and slowly reconcile with each other and discuss how to bring his pikachu back to control. With the combined effort of Serena and his friends, Ash was eventually able to bring his pikachu back to sense.
Episode 20: Those evil Malamar had finally returned to present and attempt to brainwash Ash and Serena once again
, but Clemont used his creation. Ash and Serena was quickly blows those evil Malamar into ashes but the energy crystals absorbs those evil Malamar's body and activated and quickly defeated all of their pokemon except Pikachu. That energy crystals attempt to shoot laser on Serena and Ash attempt to run in front of that laser to protect Serena
, which results Ash's feelings resonance with pikachu which makes his pikachu utilized that power once again to create the deadly new move for pikachu: Ragnerok! However, the power of Ragnerok had makes Ash and Pikachu unconscious for a while.
--------------------Arc 5-Serena's upgrade (21-22)
-------------------- Type: Action, character building, passion, emotion Seeing that Ash unconscious, Serena learned that she need to learn self defense so that she wont end up become damsel in distress when her boyfriend isn't present
Epsiode 21: Seeing that Ash end up unconscious for saving her, Serena decided to become stronger so that the same tragic won't happen again. Serena had found Bonnie to train with Bonnie's squishy. Because Serena was never joined the real battle before, Serena was not able to land any single hit on Squishy 10% form even with the combined effort of all her 3 pokemon + having her Delphox , then Serena realized that the only way to makes her stronger battler is to use what she already good at-Pokemon Performer. By using her pokemon performing skills into combat, she was finally able to defeat Squishy's 10% form.
Episode 22 (WIP): Serena will get Absol which will helps her in combat and will be used on Contest too
--------------------Single Pokeshipping chapter (ep 23)
-------------------- Type: Story telling, Action Misty must find the balance between traveling with Ash and her gym.
Episode 23: Misty had been tired of her having to do all three jobs from her 3 Irresponsible sisters, which making her leave her gym behind and went to Ash's house. Ash was suprised how Misty would willing to give up her gym for that Meanwhile, Damian hijacked Misty's gym and kidnapped Daisy, Lily, and Violet, to demands Misty in exchange her gym and her sisters. Ash and Misty worked together to defeat Damian and saved all 3. Misty's 3 sisters apogoized for over-reliance the gym operation to Misty alone and promised Misty that they'll become more responsible for their gyms. Misty give her gym back to her sisters and says goodbye to them.
--------------------------------------Planned Future story Arc:
Pokemon Contest Arc (Mittie vs Serena) or: Wallce Cup Arc(May vs Dawn, Chloe vs May, Chloe vs Dawn, Dawn vs Serena) or: countine the romance amour with Ash arc:
(Should I? But I really suck at writing those)
--------------------------------------Oizys Arc (adopted from this one shot):
-------------------------------------- Type: Action, Deconstruction Fic, drama, passion, Original Story, Fantasy, Meta Warning: Starting at this Arc, the typical Amour and even anime Pokemon logic will be thrown out the window and replaced with the original plot that you might not asked for! Warning: This Story Arc features with full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, in-face towards TPC and filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break etc. Please watch at your discretion! If you want something closer to Pokemon Anime, skip to Paldea Arc. Ash teachs Goh how to take care of Pokemon
, but Goh's dark side came to manifest as its own entirely separate, physical entity called Oizys, Goh's evil counterpart who is the psychopath pokemon hunter
(a parody of many chinese amourshipping fic features with Goh as antagionist), Goh was paralyzed with fear after witnessing his evil counterpart's cruelty and end up in coma for a while. Oizys steal all Serena's pokemon, all Ash's ace (including his Greninja) and almost managed to steal his pikachu but his pikachu managed to free all of Ash's ace and Serena's pokemon, Ash and Serena got the upper hand and defeats Oizys, but Ash being posessed by Oizys in front of Serena's eyes
and defeated almost every single Ash's traveling partner, all 7 Pokemon Masters , Gary Oak and Serena. But Serena was eventally managed to free Ash from Oizys control. After defeating Oizys, Goh finally wake up and learned the harsh lesson about how to take care of his pokemon.
--------------------------------------gossip Arc (adopted from this one shot):
-------------------------------------- Type: Deconstruction Fic, drama, Original Story, Break Fourth Wall, humor Warning: Another original plot which full of ridiculousness, filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break sans Action. Please watch at your discretion! If you want something closer to Pokemon Anime, skip to Paldea Arc. Ash and Serena must find a way to debunk various of the fake news
(like Liko is Ash and Serena's daughter) that damaging their reputations and free Liko
from being cyberbullied. In addition, they'll also met Nemona for first time who will later join Ash's team.
--------------------------------------"Shipping War" Arc (adopted from This one shot):
-------------------------------------- Warning: This Story Arc features with full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, in-face towards TPC and filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break etc. Please watch at your discretion! If you want something closer to Pokemon Anime, skip to Paldea Arc. Type: Deconstruction Fic, drama, Original Story, Break Fourth Wall, humor
The giant blue bird had makes Serena and Misty , all Ash's female travel companion and even all humans in pokemon kills each other
until there's only 1 left against their will!
Ash was able to free all of his friend before any tragic happens but that giant blue bird absorbed Serena
and begin to spread all over the world! The only way to save Serena is to have Ash insert the feelings toward Serena into the water shuriken to open the hole out of Twitter's physical body so that Ash can save Serena.
--------------------------------------Ash's 10 years old truth Arc Prequel (adopted from this one
shot**):**-------------------------------------- Type: Deconstruction Fic, drama, Original Story, Amour, Break Fourth Wall, romance, character building, Action Warning: Another original plot which full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, in-face towards TPC, filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break! Please watch at your discretion! If you want something closer to Pokemon Anime, skip to Paldea Arc. After Ash and Serena discovered the truth about Ash's being cursed with eternal 10 years old which might potentially eventally wipe away his character development and revert him back to the 10 years old stupid dense shell like in Uvona, Ash and Serena got psychological shadow and escape from reality by living in their own dream and refuse to wake up. However, Ash and Serena would eventually overcome their fear and . It'll also features with the cameo appearance of Calem and Game Serena.
--------------------------------------Fanfic Flashback Special Single Epsiode
-------------------------------------- Type: Crossover, Flashback After Calem being freed from Camel's possessing, Ash, Serena, Calem and Serena (Game) will meet each other and share their life experience before sending Calem and Serena (Game) back to their own universe.
-------------------------------------- Type: Adventure, Humor, amour Finally the story Arc that closer to Pokemon Anime rather than those edgy fourth wall break meta fic bullshit! Ash, Serena, Clemont, Bonnie, Misty, Brock, Gary (Should I put Goh and Chloe as well?) will go to Paldea to travel, they'll meet Roy , Liko and Friede for first time and Nemona will join Ash's team. They'll later met Steven and receive the Tera Orb
which allows them to Terastalize
their pokemon. Ash will got 2 new
) in this Arc, might consider to give Misty Quaxly in this Arc. Warning: Starting at this Arc, the typical Amour and even anime Pokemon logic will be thrown out the window and replaced with the original plot that you might not asked for!
-------------------------------------- Type: Deconstruction Fic, drama, Original Story, Amour, Break Fourth Wall, romance, Amour, character building, Action Warning: This Story Arc features with full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, in-face towards TPC and filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break etc. Please watch at your discretion! Tobias was revealed to be the "Ash's dream crusher",
so strong that not even the combined effort of 7 Pokemon Master can stop him! This Arc features with the return and the final battle against Oizys and Damian.
--------------------------------------Ash's 10 years old Arc:
-------------------------------------- Type: Deconstruction Fic, Original Story, Amour, Break Fourth Wall, romance, Humor Warning: This Story Arc features with full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, in-face towards TPC and filled with heavy irony and even fourth wall break etc. Please watch at your discretion! Last Story Arc where Ash is still 10 years old Ash finally defeated Tobias, but Ash's 10 years old curse had finally reverted Ash back to the tough dense shell. Ash's friend and Serena must find the way to break that curse to stop Ash from being 10 years old and bring the mature Ash back.
--------------------------------------Oshi no Ko crossoveIdol industry dark truth Arc:
-------------------------------------- Type: crossover, drama, Break Fourth Wall, Humor Warning: This Story Arc features with full of ridiculousness, rather dark story, heavy irony, fourth wall break etc. Please watch at your discretion! Ash finally grown up! Serena was being invited to went to Japan for the performance but eventually rejected after she discovered the shocking, ugly truth of the idol industry in Japan. Officer Jenny gives the secret mission for Ash, Team Rocket Trio (served their sentence), Latias and Team Rocket Trio's Ditto will camouflage as Serena, Dawn, May and Chloe to sneak into those idol industry and debunk the dirty act in idol industry in Japan, while the real Serena, Dawn, May and Chloe will appeals to her fans all over the world to boycott such dirty act in idol industry in Japan.
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2023.05.29 12:57 Finzombie The Thing in the Cracks - Part 1
“Holy crap.” James Talbot stepped back from his handiwork. It was beautiful. It made him want to scream.
Talbot was a chemist, the modern form of an alchemist, and he’d discovered something as wondrous and terrible as the most extreme postulations of his forbearers.
This was it. The culmination of all his works. This is what he’d fought for decades for, why he’d abandoned connections with everyone he’d ever known. But now it was all worth it. He would reveal the Masterwork at the Grand Chemistry Convention. It would steal the show, and he would be revered beyond every other human being who had ever lived.
It had taken Talbot long enough to assemble the Masterwork that he’d shed the title of ‘young’, not to mention most of his non-gray hair. Although it was hard to tell whether that was from aging or from what he’d beheld in his long sojourn. He was only 45, after all, and the rest of his body still held firm from decades of outdoorsmanship.
Talbot stood before a wall, upon which was painted the most intricate design any human had ever seen. It was a diagram of… unknown things. A chart of runes, maps, and artfully painted lines. There was no text in any living language on the diagram, but the harmony within the full tapestry visually sang, imparting something unfathomable in a way that Talbot could somehow fathom. The man who’d made it, who’d studied it for 15 years, barely understood it himself. But he knew that it was the ultimate solution to the entirety of philosophy, containing the answers to every question humanity had ever seen fit to ask. It had existed in his notebook for a while, in bits and pieces, but today had been its first full assembly, and it was magnificent.
He had to keep it hidden, or someone would take it from him.
He retrieved a tarp and threw it over the wall, nailing it in at the top so it hung down to cover his designs. Just to be sure, he moved his desk to block the wall, then locked the door to his office when he left for the day. James Talbot was more excited than he had ever been, and he celebrated that night with a fireplace and a large bottle of whiskey.
Of all the people at his office to commit espionage, Talbot never would’ve suspected the night janitor. This may stem from the fact that he also never suspected the night janitor to be part of a massive secret organization dedicated to keeping humanity as ignorant as possible in matters of the Higher Order.
But no matter what Talbot suspected, Tim Willis was indeed part of this society, and after he’d entered Talbot’s office with his master key to do some routine cleaning, the obvious secrecy surrounding the wall at the back of the room worried him. So he moved the desk out of the way, lifted the tarp, and inhaled sharply.
This was bad. A tapestry of the Higher Order more complete than any he’d seen before, or any reported by the other Censors of the Agency for the Preservation of Humanity.
Willis quickly replaced the tarp and desk. As soon as he’d locked the room, he pulled out his phone and dialed the number for an Alexander Talc.
Talbot arrived the next morning with a song in his heart and a latte in his hand. The former died horribly as soon as he entered his office only to find someone sitting in his chair, and the latter died horribly as it fell from his fingers, limp in shock.
The person in question was a short, slight man who wore thick glasses and a dark gray suit. He was sitting on Talbot’s office chair, facing the now uncovered back wall with all of its eldritch calculations. Talbot’s desk had been moved to the side of the room, left askew with the tarp crumpled up on top.
As Talbot entered, the stranger spun the chair around so he was facing the chemist, a broad smile on his face. He was undeniably attractive, in a delicate sort of way.
“Ah! You must be the aspiring alchemist?” He spoke softly and cheerily, but with an unnerving edge. Talbot couldn’t identify any specific aspect of his voice that disturbed him, but upon further consideration he concluded that it was the incongruity of the situation, the warm friendliness of his tone grating against Talbot’s unease.
Talbot took a step back, shaken. “I don’t… what-”
“Quite an impressive display here. You’ve managed to glean a quite large amount of knowledge about the Higher Order, especially considering you’ve never consulted us at the APH.” He pronounced it phonetically, like Aff.
“What are you-”
Talbot heard a click from behind him, and turned to see Tim Willis, the night janitor, closing and locking his door. He could barely register the betrayal.
“Ah, yes. Tim is working for me. For us. The Agency for the Protection of Humankind really frowns upon anyone attempting to learn the Higher Order.”
Talbot, finally able to form a full sentence, asked, “What’s the Higher Order?”
“You know what it is, of course, although you may not have heard the term. It’s what we call the mechanics of the very fabric of the universe itself. The questions about ‘why are we here?’ and ‘is there a god?’ and all the stuff like that. All theoretical philosophy, basically. And you, apparently through sheer dumb luck,” He turned to admire the mural again, “have managed to find more of it than any human being ever, including us! Quite impressive. Big hand.” The man slow-clapped for Talbot. The small sweet-looking man being sarcastically condescending was jarringly incongruous.
Talbot felt a surge of anger, and it helped him produce a full sentence. “Dumb luck?!?” He advanced on the man. “My Masterwork is the product of 20 years of research and experience! This is the greatest thing anyone has ever done, and how dare you say I achieved it through dumb luck!”
The man raised his hands placatingly. “Okay, okay!” He chuckled. “Years of research, whatever. You found the Higher Order. That’s where we come in.”
“Ah. Well, you see, the reason that no one’s found the entire Higher Order is simple. It’s because we stop them.”
Talbot was incredulous. “What?! Why would you stand in the way of progress like that?!” As a scientist, the possibility that there could be anyone actively against gaining knowledge was incomprehensible to him.
The man grimaced, as though he was about to break some terrible news. “Well… there are some parts of this tapestry you’ve assembled, specifically here...” The man pointed at a small segment of the diagram, a thick horizontal line with four thin lines crossing perpendicularly that turned into five lines on the other side, “That grants access to some other planes of existence. Planes of existence that are home to some very dangerous things. And due to some logistical aspects of the Higher Order,” He gestured at another segment of the diagram entirely composed of square symbols, “if you muck about in their domain, they are able to muck about in ours. The Law of Equivalent Interference.”
“But… how would our finding answers count as ‘mucking about in their domain’? If we knew the danger, we just wouldn’t go there.”
The man was silent, then answered Talbot’s question with a question. “Tell me, Talbot. If humans discovered another dimension, do you really think they’d be able to stay out of it?”
“Fine. But then why do you have to censor the whole thing? Why not give them the benign parts that would still forward human progress by centuries?”
“Because the Higher Order is like Algebra. Or a logic puzzle from Highlights magazine. If you give someone smart enough just a few clues, they’ll eventually assemble the whole picture. Which we desperately want to avoid.”
There was a long and heavy silence.
“Ok.” Said Talbot, wrapping his head around the new information. “So the APH stops people from finding the answers to these questions so our world isn’t destroyed by Fourth Dimensional entities?”
“Exactly!” The man nodded, delighted at Talbot’s comprehension. “Well, they’re technically Fifth Dimensional. The existence of time in our reality means that this is the Fourth Dimension.”
There was another silence.
“Sorry, what was your name again?” Talbot asked.
The man looked utterly devastated. “Oh no! I can’t believe I was so rude!” He vaulted the desk and approached Talbot, stopping just short and shaking his hand. “Alexander Talc, Class 2 Censor Operative for the APH.”
“Censor as in… ?”
“Yes, I censor things. People too, if necessary.”
“So what,” Talbot asked, “You’re here to kill me?”
Talc gasped. “What?!?! No! As if we’d be so barbaric! We’re here to recruit you.”
Talbot’s eyes widened. “Wait, really?”
“Of course! You know more about the Higher Order than any human outside of the APH, and probably more than a majority of those inside of the APH. Your expertise could be vital in preventing a breach in our reality!”
“What would this job entail?”
“Well, we’d need you to fake your death, change your name, burn your research-”
“Now I know that sounds like a lot,” Talc backpedaled, “But allow me to let you in on a little secret.” He leaned in conspiratorially, then glanced around as though to make sure nobody was listening. Satisfied, he whispered, “The dental is off-the-charts.”
Talbot shook his head. “What happens if I don’t take the job?”
Talc winced. “Things get considerably less pleasant. I have to call in a Class 3 Purge Operative, and that’s always a hassle.”
Talbot chose not to inquire into the purpose of a ‘Purge Operative’.
Talc gently laid a hand on Talbot’s shoulder. “It’s a lot to take in, I know. How about we move to some place more hospitable and you can think it over?”
Talbot nodded, his mind elsewhere. Talc gently guided him out of the room, Willis following and closing the door behind them.
Talbot stared down into his conical paper cup, filled with water that tasted plasticy. The three men were in the lobby of Talbot’s workplace, leaning against a table adorned with donuts and a water cooler.
Talc bit into a day-old bear claw as Talbot swirled his water and considered the situation.
If he accepted the offer, he would be shipped off to another state, away from his home in Bedford, where he would join whatever on earth APH was. Talbot hated the idea of working for an agency whose entire purpose was to destroy knowledge. On the other hand, if he didn’t accept the offer, they’d likely kill him.
Would working for the APH really be so bad? Talbot liked Talc enough. Maybe they could be friends. Or… more than friends. And if the APH truly wanted Talbot to be able to suppress the Higher Order, he’d have to know the Higher Order. Which meant research. He could essentially continue on exactly as he was.
Except he would never be recognized as the genius he was. Talbot involuntarily crushed his paper cup as he realized that, if he took the offer, he’d never win a Nobel prize. He’d never present at the Grand Chemistry Convention. He’d never write a revolutionary scientific paper. He would be forgotten.
He knew what he had to do. He couldn’t say no, or he would be killed. He couldn’t accept, or he would be forgotten, which was worse. He had to escape.
But how? This was some sort of world-ruling secret agency. They probably had eyes everywhere. What could he possibly do to get away?
His eyes wandered towards the stairs. The stairs that led to his office, which held the key to every single natural law.
Talbot tossed his cup in the trash, then approached Talc.
“I think I’m ready to make my decision. But first, can I go to the restroom?”
Talc nodded. “Of course! Take all the time you need!”
Talbot nodded and jogged toward the restroom. In the tiled floor under him, he saw Willis’s warped reflection following him discreetly.
He entered the single restroom and quietly opened the window. He could see Willis’s shadow under the door as the man hovered just outside.
Talbot waited a couple seconds, then flushed the toilet, turned on the sink, and silently crept through the window. He fell a few feet to the alley below, and had to suppress a grunt.
Now what? He needed to escape, but his notebook was still upstairs. All his research was in there, and he couldn’t leave it to the APH.
The only ground level entrance to the building was the main lobby door, which was directly in Talc’s sightline. However, who said he had to enter on ground level?
Talbot’s gaze rose to the old fire escape above him. The bottom of the structure was a platform that lined up with the second floor. A ladder was folded up on the platform, an old rusty latch keeping it from reaching ground level. Talbot couldn’t reach the latch from where he was on the ground, so he looked around for a solution.
He had a bum throwing arm, so he couldn’t toss anything up to break it. Unless…
Talbot considered Talc’s words. The very mechanics of the universe itself... He felt a flare of pride as he realized how little Talc truly understood.
The sigil that granted access to the Fifth Dimension was just one of several such Seals. Over all Talbot’s years of study, those portions of the Higher Order were the most applicable. They did not just show universal aspects of reality. They represented those aspects. They were symbolic, and like all symbols, they were powerful.
They were simulacra of natural laws, and could be manipulated in order to manipulate those laws themselves. It allowed anyone who knew the Seals to weave a sort of magic, ignoring the laws of time, space, or gravity by sketching and then destroying the corresponding runes, temporarily destroying that Law’s influence over oneself. Talbot’s hypothesis was that there was a single Greater Seal for each law that controlled that law anywhere and everywhere. If that one was found and destroyed, the laws of reality would change forever.
For greater, wide-scale application, Talbot had scrawled in his notebook, The Greater Aspects must be located and manipulated.
Talbot dropped to the ground and dragged his finger through the alley gravel. He assembled the rocks into a facsimile of a tiny part of the Higher Order, one that he’d experimented with a lot. He looked around for a suitable vessel, settling on a rock. He poured all his mental energy into the stone, and used his hands to scatter the pebbles that made up the Seal of Velocity.
The rock sprang from the ground and soared upwards, clanging against the ladder before anticlimactically falling into a dumpster. From inside, Willis banged on the bathroom door and said something indistinct. Talbot’s second telekinetic toss hit the ladder before falling onto the platform itself. He broke another Seal, and his third throw smacked into the latch, splitting the rusted thing and shooting the ladder downwards.
It made a lot of noise, and Talbot could hear Willis pounding on the bathroom door inside. He seemed to be breaking it down, as Talbot heard wood split with a crunch. Talbot quickly mounted the ladder and climbed up to the platform, trying not to think about the alarming creaking sounds the old construction was making. From there, he took the stairs two at a time, spiraling up and up until he reached the sixth floor.
Six flights of stairs only had him a bit winded by the time he reached his floor. He tried the door to the inside, and found it unlocked.
Talbot entered the hallway outside his office quietly. He considered how this would play out. Willis and Talc would be storming up here at any moment. He had to move quickly.
Talbot entered his workroom, dragging his desk over to block the door. He took a moment to gaze forlornly at his Masterwork, because he would never be able to take it with him. All the same pieces and diagrams were in his notebook, but the full Masterwork was a thing of beauty, one that he would never behold again.
He snapped a picture of it with his phone. It wasn’t the same, but it’d have to do.
Talbot grabbed his notebook, its leather-bound pages bulging with decades of research. Some of the sheaves of paper stuck out at odd angles, newspaper snippets and glossy photographs glued into the most faithful companion Talbot had ever had.
Was there anything else he needed?
The door began to rattle.
Talbot grabbed a sheet of blank paper from his desk and rapidly sketched as many Seals as he could. He had an idea of how he could escape, but he needed to harness his work to do it. Using the Masterwork as a reference, he scrawled the Seal of Time, the Seal of Space, the Seal of Gravity, and, after considering it, the Seal of the Fifth Dimension.
Just in case. He thought.
With a crack, his door burst open, shoving the desk out of the way. Talc and Willis stood there, the latter looking enraged, the former strangely calm.
“Talbot, this doesn’t have to happen this way.” Talc appealed, but Talbot was done listening. He would not be forgotten. He would be immortalized, through his work.
Talbot ripped a corner off of his Seal sheet, and glanced down at the Seal of Time. With a glare at Talc, he stuck it in his mouth and began to chew.
Talbot disappeared with a pop, as Willis lunged towards where he’d just been.
Willis stopped short, then turned to Talc. He was noticeably upset at losing their quarry.
“What do we do now?”
“Well, we follow him.”
Talc approached the Masterwork. “It’s simple. I’m sure Talbot understood that time travel doesn’t work the way everyone thinks it does. Cause and Effect are inextricably linked, and cannot be put out of order. Traveling through time actually just creates another dimension, a splintered facsimile of your original where things play out differently.”
“So… to follow him do we just use the Time Sigil?”
“Seal, Willis. And no. That will just create another splinter plane. Now that the reality has already been established, we need to follow him. Using this.”
Talc’s thin fingers traced the outline of another Seal, one Talbot hadn’t thought to inscribe.
“There are many ways to traverse the Multiverse.” Talc said, “Using Seals to rip open the barriers between planes is one of the simplest.”
Talc sketched down two copies of the seal, then separated the two and handed one to Willis. The two locked eyes and nodded in unison. They both rent their sheets in half and disappeared.
Talbot didn’t ‘land’, per se, but he still felt off-balance when he blinked into existence in his office. He staggered, but caught himself before he could fall. The world felt… different here.
Out of everything Talbot had discovered, Multiversal travel was his least considered. He’d been too cowardly to experiment with anything but the Space, Gravity, and Velocity Seals, so this experience was new to him. Naturally, as any scientist does when faced with something unfamiliar, he started taking notes.
Effects of Time/Universe Traversal:
–Slight nausea. Somewhat noticeable. Temporary?
–World overall feels discordant. Silence sounds different than back home. My tinnitus is in another key. Feels like I don’t belong.
–Different frequency hard-coded into every reality?
Before he could assemble an entire thesis on the underlying resonance within the multiverse, he realized with a start that he had to get out of here. Talc and WIllis were likely following him, and even if they weren’t, there were copies of them in this dimension.
Talbot had willed himself about 10 minutes back in time, and it seemed like that’d worked. His Masterwork was complete and the desk and tarp were off to the side. The trio were likely downstairs in the lobby, where Past-Talbot was thinking over the pros and cons of their offer. At least, he thought so. Time travel seemed to create a splintering reality, one that maintained consistency with his original up until the point where he showed up. There were plenty of unfamiliar worlds out there, but the Seal of Time created one quite familiar. Right now Past-Talbot-
Past-Talbot doesn’t sound right. Pretty soon it’ll be my present, then my future. How about Talbot-2?
After settling upon a name to call his double, Talbot exited his office and left through the door that led to the fire escape, in too much of a hurry to close it. He scrambled down the stairs, knocked the latch off the ladder, climbed to the ground, popped open the bathroom window, and climbed inside. Right as he got his arms through, the door opened.
Talbot-2 walked in, then stopped short as he saw himself dangling halfway through the window. Talbot put a finger to his lips, and indicated Willis-2 with his eyes. Talbot-2 silently shut the door, locking Willis-2 outside.
Talbot-2 opened his mouth to speak, but barely got out one word. “What-”
“I’m you, from the future. Well, not from your future, but from a future.”
Talbot-2’s confused expression was replaced with excitement. “So the Time Seal Worked?! Fantastic! What’s it like?!”
“I’d tell you all about it, but I’m currently stuck in a bathroom window and being hunted down by two government agents. Although I don’t actually know if they work for the government…”
Talbot-2 pulled him through the window into the bathroom. “Sorry.”
Once he was in, Talbot glanced at the door behind Talbot-2.
“Okay. Here’s the thing. Some version of Talc and Willis will be here any minute. Whether mine followed me from the future or not, yours will catch on soon. We need to get out of here, and get the Masterwork to somebody else.”
“Wait, which Talc and Willis will show up?”
“One of them… or both of them. It doesn’t really matter! Do we know anybody we can send our notes to?”
Talbot-2 considered it. “Davis?”
Talbot frowned, and opened his notebook to an early page.
Dr. Wilson Davis
–Spineless fool. He calls himself a chemist, but refuses to venture outside the conventions of the industry. No true scientist works a cushy chemical production job! We journey! We endeavor!
Talbot shook his head. “He’d never publish something like this. If they tracked him down, he’d probably take their oppressive offer.”
Dr Monica Johnson
—Chemist and conspiracy nut. Super gullible, but generally a good person.
“She’ll believe anything.” Talbot said. “...Which is actually probably a good thing in this case. If she thinks it’s real, she’ll distribute it, and she’s earnest enough to leave my- our name on it.”
Talbot-2 nodded. “Sounds like a plan. Actually, it sounds like an idea, not a plan. What is our plan?”
Talbot thought for several seconds. “Here’s what we do. You pretend to accept their offer, and do whatever they tell you. If all else fails, you’ll get a cushy job working for the government. Meanwhile, I get this,” Talbot indicated his notebook. “To Johnson, and then…” He paused.
Someone knocked on the door.
“And then?” Talbot-2 prompted in a whisper, glancing behind him.
“Then… I’ll figure something out.”
Talbot-2 nodded. “Alright. Are we ready to go?”
“I think so.” Talbot replied.
Talbot slipped out of the window, and Talbot-2 opened the door to greet Willis-2.
The man peered around him. “Who were you talking to in there?”
Talbot-2 shrugged. “Myself. You know, crazy scientist stuff.”
Talbot dropped to the ground, then produced his sheet of Seals. He picked out one specific design, a circle bisected by a thin line. On one side of the line, a stylized forest thrived, and on the other a pictographic city loomed. Talbot ripped the Seal of Space from his paper and stuck it in his mouth, once again disappearing with a pop.
Talc and Willis appeared in Talbot-2’s workroom, and quickly exited. Both spun in the hallway outside, and both spotted the wide-open door to the fire escape. They both moved down the rickety metal construction and found themselves in an alley behind the building.
“See that?” Talc pointed at the window.
“Yeah. Did he go in through it?” Willis asked.
“Of course. But if he used the Seal of Time to try to come back and alert himself, I’m guessing he came through here to talk to him…self, but he couldn’t have left. The only point at which he was in the bathroom, you were right outside. He popped in, popped out, popped another Seal.”
“Is there any guarantee that he came back to alert himself? He could’ve gone to any point in time.”
“I know his type. The out-there intellectual. He’s been burned by everyone but himself. He’ll only trust himself. And if he came to himself before we’d arrived, he wouldn’t believe him.”
“Sorry, who wouldn’t believe him?”
“Him! Aren’t you-” Talc took a moment to consider the context. “You know what, nevermind. The point is that this reality’s Talbot is now in league with our Talbot, and that’s not good.”
“What do we do?”
“Well firstly, we need to cut it down to one Talbot. Two is too many to deal with.” Talc pushed on his earpiece, then spoke. “Hello? Can you hear me, Talc?” There was silence, until something dawned on him. “Ah, dammit. I can’t call my own earpiece.” He adjusted something on his earpiece. “Willis! Do you copy?” Willis heard Talc both from right next to him and through his earpiece. He didn’t hear the reply, but his earpiece buzzed as its exact copy broadcast something. Willis took his earpiece out and squinted at it, curious about the exact Multiversal properties that bonded it to its clone.
“Yes, this is Talc. But not your Talc. Listen, Talbot ran off to this dimension, and we believe he’s working with your Talbot. We need to meet up, then dispose of the dupe.”
Talc listened for a response, and Willis’s earpiece vibrated as his double presumably replied.
Talc turned to Willis. “Alright. They’ll meet us back in Talbot’s office. There we can get rid of the redundant one and track our quarry.”
Their quarry was currently depositing a large package of brown paper in a big blue mailbox.
Talbot paused as he lowered the boxy parcel. This was his life’s work, his notebook and all his scattered papers, and was the second-most important thing he owned, next to the wall that contained the Masterwork itself, which was likely being dismantled by his enemies at that very moment. This was the last 20 years of his life, and he was about to gamble it away to a crazy woman on the off-chance that his legacy might live on. Talbot wished he’d spent more time with reasonable scientists, if only to expand the pool of people he could mail his book to.
With a deep breath, Talbot released the book, wincing at the gentle ‘paff’ sound it made when it fell onto the envelopes at the bottom of the box.
His job complete, Talbot slipped the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and disappeared into the afternoon.
Guns are inelegant, Talc told his subordinate often. They’re loud, messy. Tools of thugs and soldiers, not agents of a higher purpose.
But there’s a downside to not carrying a gun, Willis countered silently. The difference between shooting a person and being forced to kill them more intimately is palpable, and not often a positive.
Willis considered this as Talbot-2 stopped struggling and finally went limp in his arms. Willis released the garotte from around the man’s throat, then lowered him to the floor of the office.
An irritated sigh came from behind him. Willis turned to see Talc shaking his head and walking toward him.
“No, you need to finish the job.” The man said. He kneeled, took Talbot-2’s forehead in one hand, his chin in the other, then jerked his head to the side, snapping his neck.
“If you stop garrotting when he goes limp, he’s just unconscious.” The other Talc, Talc-2, stated.
Willis nodded, numbly. He didn’t really hear the man.
“I know this is hard,” Talc said, shifting into a gentler tone, “But this is all for the good of humanity. If we let these ideas run wild, we’d all be dead.”
“Worse than dead.” Talc-2 added helpfully. “Our very essences would be consumed by dark beings from beyond our world.”
Willis nodded again. He’d heard it all before. So why did he still find it so hard to hurt people?
“So where’s the other one?” Willis-2 asked, seemingly unaware of his double’s predicament.
“That’s the big question, isn’t it.” Talc-2 mused, “However, before we can ponder it, first things first. We need to get a CC team in here to handle that wall.”
All four men were familiar with the APH Cognito Containment Teams, mysterious individuals in surgical masks that took away artifacts of forbidden knowledge to be stored or disposed of.
Talc-2 clicked his earpiece, then said a series of numbers and codes that were unintelligible to either Willis. He finished by saying, “Please send a Class-4 CC team. Over.”
He turned to the others. “They’re on their way. We need to secure Talbot’s place of residence.”
“Do we know that’s where he’ll go next?” Willis-2 asked.
“Not necessarily,” Talc-1 responded, “But it’s quite likely he’ll at least stop there to retrieve personal effects before going somewhere else.”
Both Willises nodded, almost in sync. The logic made sense. They would lock down Talbot’s house first.
All was silent in the small house several miles outside of town that Talbot called his abode. Then frantic footsteps sounded from outside, as someone ran up the footpath leading to the front door. Then, a faint scratching as Talbot scrambled to fit his key into the lock. A quiet clacking came next, as Talbot’s cat descended his cat-tree and approached the door to see what was happening.
Talbot swung the door open and gently pushed the cat out of his way with his foot.
“Sorry Ozzy,” he muttered.
He produced his debit card and snapped it in half, having extracted all the money from his account before arriving here. He pulled several thousand dollars from his pockets and shoved them in his wallet, his backpack, the pocket on the inside of his jacket, and his shoes.
He grabbed a spare toothbrush and tube of toothpaste from the master bathroom, shoving them into the backpack as well. He was going on the run, for god knows how long.
He paused as his eyes fell on his set of keys. He wouldn’t be taking his car or his house, so they’d likely not be necessary.
But I might as well just in case. Talbot grabbed the jangling key ring and slipped it into the inside pocket of his pants.
His cat mewed at his feet. After a moment’s hesitation, he grabbed his carrier and bowl, both monogrammed with a matching ‘Ozymandius’.
He knew bringing Ozzy was objectively a bad choice. It was impractical and stupid. The cat was loud, and would slow him down. But Talbot couldn’t bear leaving his baby here to be subjected to whatever evil ideas Talc and Willis had in mind.
Talbot coaxed Ozzy into his crate, then picked up the cat and donned his backpack. He took one last look around his house before he opened the front door and was immediately grabbed by both Willises, one of which held a chloroform rag over his mouth until he went limp.
Talbot awoke with a start. He glanced around, disoriented, and immediately registered that he was in some sort of interrogation room. His chair was metal, and bolted to the floor. Before him was a table, and above that table a blinding light mounted on the ceiling shone directly into his eyes. On the wall across from him, very much breaking the theme, was a ‘Hang in there!’ poster and a wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser.
Talbot tried to stand, only to find that his wrists and ankles were strapped into the chair. He strained against the bonds, cursing as the straps held strong.
He thought he heard faint snickering.
He turned to glare at the mirror to his right. “What are you planning to do to me?!”
“What are you planning to do to my cat?!?”
The Talcs and the Willi were standing behind the one-way mirror on Talbot’s left, looking at the back of his head as he shouted at no one. Talc looked mildly amused at Talbot’s complete misunderstanding of the room’s orientation.
Willis-2 glanced at Talc-2, who shrugged and motioned for Talc-1 to enter the larger room. Talc-1 did as asked.
The door at the front of the room opened, and Talc stepped out. He took a seat across from Talbot, and cleared his throat.
“First off, the most important thing. Your cat will be well-cared for, no matter the outcome of this conversation. Great name, by the way.”
Talbot refused to thank him for the compliment.
Talc cleared his throat, and there was a long silence.
“What about my first question?” Talbot asked, his voice trembling.
Talc sighed, then reached below the table.
Several seconds later, he came back up, notably with some difficulty. He slammed Talbot’s notebook down on the table. Next to it, he laid the sheet of seals Talbot had used to traverse space and time.
Talbot was stricken. “How did you-!?”
“Find this? Simple deduction. I’m frankly insulted that you didn’t consider that we’ve been tailing everyone you know for months. Johnson was the only person you could send this to.”
“What did you do to her?!”
“Nothing! We’re not the bad guys here, Talbot. We pulled the package from her porch before she ever got involved. We’d never hurt anyone.”
“Then where am I?” Talbot spat, then rephrased. “I mean… where is the version of me from here? Wait, are you from here or there?”
“I’m from there, assuming you mean your original reality. And Talbot-2 is fine. He’s in the next room.”
Willis winced behind the mirror.
“You never actually answered my question.” Talbot said quietly.
Talc pursed his lips regrettably.
“Well… here’s the thing, Talbot. What I’d like to do is offer you a chance to redeem yourself. I’d like to let you join the APH and help us protect humanity. But you’ve made it clear that that’s not what you want, and if we let you into our fold now, we’d forever be looking over our shoulders, wondering whose side you were truly on. And we can’t just let you go, no no. Your theories would largely be regarded as crackpot, but there are ways to prove these things, and you would certainly find them.”
Talbot swallowed. “Couldn’t you just… you know… erase my memory?”
Talc stifled a laugh. “Unfortunately, this is not Men In Black. Actions have consequences. There are no take-backs. And I’m sorry, Talbot, but this is it for you.” Talc stood, turned on his heel, and left.
“Why the hell’d you wake him up just to tell him that?” Willis muttered behind the glass.
“Hey, wait!” Talbot screamed at him as he departed, but there was no response.
Talbot tried to stand again, but slammed back into his chair as the bonds held.
Willis entered a few minutes later, holding a syringe. He winced at the sight before him. Talbot was hunched over, resting his head on the table. His shoulders were bobbing as though he was sobbing quietly.
Willis approached Talbot and tightened the strap on his right wrist. He moved around him and reached for his left hand, only to see that the strap had been sawed apart, and Talbot’s hand was free.
Willis grabbed his elbow, but Talbot struggled against the man’s grasp. The scientist was trying to keep it firmly on the table under his face.
Frustrated, Willis grabbed Talbot’s head and lifted it back, so he was sitting up straight.
As he beheld Talbot’s face, Willis felt a bolt of fear lance through him. The man was smiling, but it was not a happy smile.
It was the smile of a trapped animal that knew it would take a limb before it went down. With his eyes, Talbot indicated downwards. Willis slowly lowered his vision to the stainless steel tabletop. In Talbot’s hand was a housekey, the teeth worn down from sawing through the leather strap and scratching a symbol into the table. Right under his hand, the surface was pockmarked with the Seal of the Fifth Dimension.
Willis lunged for Talbot’s wrist, but it was too late. The alchemist brought the key across the symbol, carving another scratch to break the Seal and the boundaries between their reality and one far darker. Neither man had time to scream.
Talbot felt himself slip free of the chair, and out of the leather strap around his wrist.
Willis’s grip loosened, and it felt like he was flung across whatever intermediary pathway connected the fourth and fifth dimensions.
Part Two posted promptly!
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2023.05.29 11:59 Rough-Bookkeeper-876 A brief understanding about 3D architectural services?
The work involved in home improvement is substantial regardless of the size of your house. Therefore, if you want to make improvements to your home, choose an interior designer who can fulfil all your needs with creative solutions. Most people's ideal is to one day own their very own uniquely designed house. The prospect of constructing a house to suit one's specific needs and desires is both exciting and terrifying. 2D Floor plan services
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2023.05.29 11:37 pandaunicorn33 Budget event venues near CBD, Waterfront area
I am looking for a venue for my sisters 40th birthday party for the 1st July (Saturday which makes it harder) around 3 pm. I really should plan better but does anyone have recommendations for places I can contact for this? Outdoor venues like Green Point Park are just not going to work due to it been the middle of winter otherwise I would have it there and neither of us has a big enough house or knows someone with a big enough house.
I can possibly convince her to have the event in a cheaper area (e.g. Woodstock, Salt River) but she also wants me to arrange an amazing race style event beforehand and has her heart set on the CBD/Waterfront/Sea Point area.
Currently the places I am finding are either closed over weekends, close early or want to charge several thousand for venue hire.
Edit: She wants to have tea/coffee and cake or other sweet treats rather than a sit down meal.
Edited because the copy paste gremlin struck and I only just noticed that. :(
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