Interrational dating

"In Westminster Abbey" by John Betjeman

2020.06.10 07:32 ewokalypse "In Westminster Abbey" by John Betjeman

Let me take this other glove off As the vox humana swells, And the beauteous fields of Eden Bask beneath the Abbey bells. Here, where England's statesmen lie, Listen to a lady's cry.
Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans. Spare their women for Thy Sake, And if that is not too easy We will pardon Thy Mistake. But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be, Don't let anyone bomb me.
Keep our Empire undismembered Guide our Forces by Thy Hand, Gallant blacks from far Jamaica, Honduras and Togoland; Protect them Lord in all their fights, And, even more, protect the whites.
Think of what our Nation stands for, Books from Boots and country lanes, Free speech, free passes, class distinction, Democracy and proper drains. Lord, put beneath Thy special care One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.
Although dear Lord I am a sinner, I have done no major crime; Now I'll come to Evening Service Whensoever I have the time. So, Lord, reserve for me a crown. And do not let my shares go down.
I will labour for Thy Kingdom, Help our lads to win the war, Send white feathers to the cowards Join the Women's Army Corps, Then wash the Steps around Thy Throne In the Eternal Safety Zone.
Now I feel a little better, What a treat to hear Thy Word, Where the bones of leading statesmen, Have so often been interr'd. And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait Because I have a luncheon date.
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2019.09.06 11:01 stroke_bot raggedest quicksilvery potboiler bundist carolus pathophoresis

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2019.08.07 03:47 NotEnoughSatan [Fanwork] Known Lord of Mysteries Potion names (No wiki spoilers)

Up to date as of C469, only includes current translated works. No MTLs or Raws.
Known Potion Names: 112/220
Known Potion Formulas: 30/220 (Indicated by ✓, two incomplete)
_
Deception Pathway:
9 Seer ✓
8 Clown ✓
7 Magician ✓
6 Faceless ✓
5 Nimblewright Master ✓
4
3
2 Miracle Invoker
_
Evernight Pathway:
9 Sleepless
8 Midnight Poet
7 Nightmare
6
5
4 Nightwatcher
_
Tyrant Pathway:
9 Sailor
8 Folk of Rage
7 Seafarer
6 Wind-Blessed ✓
5 Ocean Songster
_
[Giant] Combat Pathway:
9 Warrior
8 Gladiator
7 Weapon Master
6 Dawn Paladin
5 Guardian
4 Demon Hunter
_
[Dragon] Dreamer Pathway:
9 Spectator ✓
8 Telepathist ✓
7 Psychiatrist
_
[Phoenix] Death Pathway:
9 Corpse Collector
8 Gravedigger
7 Spirit Medium
6 Spirit Guide
5 Gatekeeper
_
Mystery Pathway:
9 Mystery Pryer
8 Melee Scholar
7 Warlock
6 Scrolls Professor
5
4 Mysticologist
_
Craftsmanship Pathway:
9 Savant
8 Archaeologist
7 Appraiser
6 Artisan
5 Astromancer
4 Alchemist? (Unconfirmed)
_
Secrets Pathway:
9 Secrets Supplicant
8 Listener
7 Shadow Ascetic
6 Rose Priest
5 Shepherd
_
Magic Pathway:
9 Apprentice ✓
8 Trickmaster ✓
7 Astrologer ✓
6
5 Traveler
_
Thief Pathway:
9 Marauder
8 Swindler
7
6
5
? Parasite (Confirmed High Sequence, likely 3-4)
_
Abyss Pathway:
9 Criminal
8 Coldblooded
7 Serial Killer
6 Devil
5 Desire Apostle
_
Demoness Pathway:
9 Assassin ✓
8 Instigator ✓
7 Witch ✓
6 [Demoness of] Pleasure ✓
5 Demoness of Affliction
_
Fate Pathway:
9 Monster
8
7 The Lucky
6
5 Winner
4
3
2 Soothsayer
1 Snake of Mercury
_
Adjudicator Pathway:
9 Arbiter
8 Sheriff
7 Interrogator
_
Sun Pathway
9 Bard ✓
8 Light Suppliant ✓
7 Solar High Priest
6 Notary
5 Priest of Light ✓ (Main ingredients missing)
4 Unshadowed ✓ (Main ingredients only)
3
2
1
0 Sun
_
Moon Pathway:
9 Apothecary ✓
8 Beast Tamer
7 Vampire
_
Prisoner Pathway:
9 Prisoner
8 Lunatic
7 Werewolf
6 Zombie
5 Wraith
4 Puppet
_
Corruption Pathway:
9 Lawyer ✓
8 Barbarian ✓
7 Briber ✓
6 Baron of Corruption ✓
5 Mentor of Confusion ✓
4 Count of the Fallen ✓
3 Frenzied Mage ✓
2 Duke of Entropy ✓
1 Prince of Disorder ✓
0 Dark Emperor ✓
_
Hunter Pathway:
9 Hunter
8 Provoker
7 Pyromaniac
6 Conspiracist
_
Knowledge and Wisdom Pathway:
9 Reader
8
7 Knowledge Keeper
6 Polymath
_
Planter Pathway:
9
? Doctor (Likely Low or Mid Sequence)
_
Unknown Pathways:
5-6 Soul Assurer (Likely Evernight Pathway, likely Sequence 6)
4 Manipulator (Likely Dreamer Pathway)
4 Prophet (Likely Reader Pathway, possibly Secrets Pathway)
4 Cataclysmic Interrer (Likely Tyrant Pathway)
3 Arcane Scholar (Likely Craftsmanship Pathway, possibly Mystery Pathway)
1-4 Shaman King (Very Likely Moon Pathway, possibly Prisoner Pathway)
0 Red Priest (Possibly Hunter Pathway)
? Scribe
_
Disclaimer: Pathway names are my own and not necessarily canon.
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2019.05.11 07:30 stroke_bot biwa dupla amazeful warded malaperts travoises superincomprehensible

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2019.05.02 16:18 stroke_bot blossomed tracheid firer skoo saphead correctively

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2019.04.19 15:38 stroke_bot hemathidrosis cervisial

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2017.12.02 17:38 Staysmokingbs Born on 5/9 but it's the death date that's interr

2 28 1995 Denver international airport opens and us pentagon announces its tracking irab missile!
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2017.09.27 03:11 drumjedi76 Restless -- Part 5

Scene Twenty Six
Nighttime has come again. About time, too. After a day like today, I’m beat. Our debacle in the basement set the others on edge. Emily is of the mindset that these ghosts are out to kill us. Patty, of course, disagrees.
I turn off the water in my shower and grab my towel. A thick layer of steam coats the mirror. I run the towel around both legs and pat my feet dry.
CLUNK CLUNK
I right myself and step into my boxers. Again, hooves clop across the floor overhead. “What the hell?”
My sweatpants and then my old WVU tee go on. They move from right over me toward the wall on the other side.
“Doug?” I follow their sound toward the bathroom mirror. “Jake? You up there?”
Who am I kidding? Even heavy steel-toes would sound like this. I trail them to the far wall and wait. Silence for the longest time, and then –
“On the move.”
My feet tip toe closer to the mirror. They’ve stopped directly over top of it. A low rumble rattles some light dust free.
“Man! Seriously?” I do my best to shake it out of my clean hair.
The water on the mirror condenses. One stream, then another. Random at first, but they soon coalesce into three broken vertical lines. Curved lines merge. The letter S. Guttural grunts from above me as more of its message appears. Another one bookends on the mirror. Soon, it’s all too clear.
SOULS
I grab my things and run into the bedroom. My eyes turn back to the mirror. Curiosity kills us all. Streamers, like blood, trickle down from its handiwork. I stagger backward and trip over the end of the bed as my door flies open.
Emily runs in screaming. She’s still wet from head to toe and wearing nothing more than a soggy pair of blue cotton Jockeys. I get to my feet and huddle her close. Her terrified mumbling makes little sense. Something about a devil and souls.
Donna soon joins us and helps me calm Em’s nerves to a point that we can communicate.
Donna: “Okay? Now, what’s this all about?”
Em takes a few slow breaths. “I heard hooves in the attic while I was drying off.”
Donna’s concerned gaze turns to me.
“I heard them, too just now.”
Donna takes Emily’s head between her hands and looks her in the eyes. “What’s going on?”
Emily’s chest rises and lowers in more normal successions. “I was in the shower.”
Donna: “All right.”
Em: “Then I heard footsteps in the attic above me.”
Donna’s frustration manifests itself in a belabored sigh. “Footsteps or hooves? You’re doubling back on yourself.”
Em’s head shakes violently. “No! Don’t force shit down my throat. I- I thought they might have been footsteps at first, but I shut the water off and waited.”
I lead her to the bed’s edge and settle her down. “Then what?”
Em: “They clopped across the ceiling over me toward my bedroom. So, I followed them.”
Her torso heaves under the crying spasms. “I g-got to my bed and started getting dresses, and then it spoke to me.”
Donna: “It?”
Em bobs her head. “The two-way. It spoke through the radio, but the radio was off!”
“What did it say?”
Her head lulls forward into her hands. “Your souls are mine. I will rip you all apart.”
Scene Twenty Seven
Swirling dreamscapes, like cream in coffee. Most of them bizarre and senseless. Talking trees, shaking rattles, and a cawing crow. Her smiling face cuts through these, rousing me from my doldrums.
Evelyn stands next to my small desk in her nightgown. Long flowing curls, the scent of a fresh rain. I take a seat and fumble for a pen through my half-crusted sight. Within seconds, her energy directs my scribbling:
Missed you
“I missed you, too.”
Her slender hand caresses the back of my neck. A gentle warmth.
“Who lives in your attic, Ev?”
Her transparent form drifts closer: No one
My gaze locks with hers. “Emily and I both heard hooves stomping around up there earlier. Any ideas?”
Her head lowers. Is that a look of remorse or pity?
My hand moves again.
Father. Bad things.
I study the two words, trying to decrypt the hidden message. “How bad are we talkin’ here?”
My hand draws swirls on the page. “Come on, Evelyn. If our lives are truly in danger, I need to know.”
Something closes my eyes. My hand flies all over the page in every direction. Light strokes, then others so heavy that they threaten to tear the page. When my eyelids peel back, I’m met by a crude drawing of a horned creature surrounded in flames and falling structures.
“Very lifelike, Ev.” I drop the shaking pen to the tabletop. “What is it?”
Her head turns up to the ceiling.
“Got it.”
The pen slides across the table and into my hand. Do you trust me, Sean?
“Of course, I do. Why?”
Her curling arm beckons me to follow.
Her form hovers down the hall and through the double doors into the music room. I trail behind in the column of cold air from her wake. A sense of calm and serenity envelops me. No fear. No pain.
Evelyn stops next to an ornate box on the mantle. She bobs her head toward its silver turnkey.
“Wind it up?”
She nods and smiles. I take the delicate music box in my hands and twist the key on its side. The inscription on the front. Foreign for sure. Russian, maybe? As the waltz plays, she beckons me to join her on the floor.
There’s a warmth in the energy from her arms around me. That same sensation radiates up the left side of my neck. She looks so peaceful resting against me. Round and round, we dance. Please, don’t let this moment end. Once the music box stops, she takes my face in both hands. The warmth of her lips. The aroma of fresh apples. My first meaningful relationship is with an apparition.
Scene Twenty Eight
A lone golden sliver of the sun lays tucked between a pair of old buildings. Doug, Jake, and I have headed into town to track down a lead. Well, that and the van needed gassed up again. I lean up between the two front seats and glance at the center console: 5:56 PM.
Jake: “You said this guy has the blueprints?”
Doug nods and makes the turn onto Main Street. “That’s what he told me on the phone.” His eyes scan the street for any place to park. “Carl said he found those and something else of interest.”
The curb closes in on my side of the vehicle. “Wonder what that’s supposed to mean.”
Dougie executes a crafty parallel and sets the e-brake. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
The Historical Society crushes every pre-conceived notion that I had of it. No grandiose building with marble pillars. No stained glass. Not even a pair of matching statues out front. Just a narrow storefront crammed between a burger joint on one side and a crafts store on the other. Who was I fooling?
A vertically challenged, middle-aged man greets us on the other side of the glass door. He keeps his chestnut facial hair and remaining ring of brown hair neatly groomed.
Doug: “Carl?”
The curator nods and motions an arm, inviting us deeper into his sanctum. “You must be the ghost chasers.”
Jake has to shuffle sideways to get his gut through the entrance. “Paranormal investigators, actually.”
Carl sizes me up as I drift past. The top of his crown barely reaches my heart.
“You mentioned to me on the phone that you had the blueprints to the McAllister place?” Doug asks, striding toward the back wall.
Carl: “That I did. Just a moment.”
He shuffles into his small office space and comes back bearing an armload of paper tubes. “It took a little doing, but I was able to scrounge up a few things for you gentlemen.”
Carl dumps the lot onto a long wooden tabletop adorned with small stacks of books. “One of them dates back to the 1880s.”
“Nice,” Jake says, bobbing his head.
“You have a lot of interesting photos in here.” Doug joins us at the table.
Carl: “This little town used to bustle with activity back in his day.”
Jake: “Oh, yeah?”
The curator nods. “We had a saw mill then, a brick making factory across the river, and a dairy farm on the other side of town.”
I help Carl unfurl one of the papers. “Impressive.”
He rests a book on his end of the large blueprint and hands me one to do the same. “Not bad for a sleepy little town, eh?”
We all lean in over the intricate sketch work.
Doug: “What are we looking at?”
Carl’s stumpy digit floats over the legend in the lower corner. “These are the originals, as envisioned by its architect, Layne DuPont.”
Jake shrugs.
Carl: “Never heard of him? I suppose not. DuPont was a well-known designer and engineer in his day. Built some of the most luxurious and curious estates in America.”
Doug snaps his fingers. “Right! Didn’t he do Leland Stanford’s place?”
Carl’s head bobs. “His, Crocker’s, and Huntington’s. He had an elite list of clientele.”
Jake: “I’d say. Three of the four railroad tycoons.”
Doug nods toward the paper. “So, what’s the significance?”
Carl: “DuPont took his architecture very seriously.” (motions for a thick volume on a shelf behind Jake) “Hand me that one, would you?”
Jake passes the stained brown book over into Carl’s unsteady hands.
“There.” Carl turns the open tome around on the table.
A black and white oval picture. The flowing script below the image reads: Layne Francois DuPont. A dark handlebar moustache. Double-breasted jacket adorned with a large medal of some sort. He should be riding on one of those old school bicycles with the oversized front wheel.
I lean in closer. “AF & AM. What’s that stand for?”
Carl: “Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.”
Doug: “A Freemason.”
Jake rubs his beard. “That’s pretty heavy.”
Carl points to the image. “Not just any Freemason – a Master, as was Henry.”
Doug: “They knew.”
Carl nods. “As you can see,” he says, pointing out various places in the blueprints, “these called for several extra spaces between walls, in the attic,” his beady gray eyes lift up to me, “and even underground. Kings would call for secret doors, passages, and rooms in their castles to hide from raiders. The Order had ways of knowing who they could trust with those special jobs.”
This old man senses something in me, but what?
Carl: “You will also notice that the mansion was constructed on the four cardinal points of the compass. The two towers, east and west. The front and back of the home, north and south.”
Jake: “Why?”
Carl: “Why, indeed.”
Doug: “The towers mark the eastern and western points clearly, but where are the northern and southern points of power at?”
My eyes gloss over the main structure of the home. “It gives us a few places to start looking, at the very least.”
Scene Twenty Nine
The search is on. We have a renewed sense of purpose in finding these remaining two points of power in this house. The whole thing; it’s like one big altar.
Dougie’s hands float over the surface of the far wall of the Dining Hall. “This room sets right on due south.” His eyes crane up, attempting to take in the overbearing twenty foot span. “If there is a cardinal point of power, it’s gotta be around here someplace.”
Dylan rests his stethoscope against our wall and raps lightly. “Solid as a rock.”
My curiosity is killing me. “So, who are the Freemasons?”
He picks up the convo without skipping a beat. “They’re one of the most secretive societies in the world. Lots of powerful men have been in their ranks over the years.”
I move to his other side and test sconces and shelves for handles. “Like who?”
Dylan shrugs. “George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, the Bushes, to name a few.”
“Damn.”
Dylan: “Lots of power players.”
The wrought iron of the sconce feels cold and lifeless. “What do they do?”
He knuckles at another spot on the towering wall. “Not sure. You can tell their temples by the markings, but no one knows when they meet, what they discuss, or who’s among their ranks exactly.”
Nothing unusual about the hutch or buffet cases. I stroll over to the fireplace. “Why is it a big deal that Henry and this DuPont guy are masters, then?”
Doug: “It meant that they were both power players in business as well as social circles. If they had something to hide, they knew exactly how to do it.”
I give up on the hollow cheeks of the fireplace and stand over by the entry. “Do they Masons and the paranormal have a link?”
Dylan: “Some would think so, yes. I don’t believe that the two are closely entangled on a larger scale.”
Doug: “You just have a few rare instances like this where the two paths intersect with potentially lethal repercussions.”
Doug’s long face turns to mine. “I’m getting nada in here. How about you, Dylan?”
Dylan: “Same here, boss.”
Doug: “I say we grab the cameras and head outside. Give this ole gal her photo op.” (turns to me) “You coming?”
“Nah.” My hands instinctively go to my pockets. “I think I’ll head upstairs and see if the girls have uncovered anything.”
Dylan’s brows bob up and down. “Em will be excited to see you anyway.”
The afternoon drags on. I catch up to Emily, Patty, and Donna in the art room upstairs. “Any luck up here.”
Emily shrieks, dropping a small painting. “Jesus, Sean.” A few deep breaths. “I thought you were downstairs with the boys.”
“We came up empty. They decided to go outside for some pictures.”
Patty: “More of the same here, I’m afraid.”
Donna stands before a large work on the wall with her lips pursed. “Interesting use of strokes here.”
I step to her side and admire the oil painting. Boiling storms. Raging seas. A lone dinghy sliding down the front of a massive wave. “What do you mean?”
Donna: “See here?” (points to the swirls in the waves) “The use of the infinity symbol is prominent throughout the work.”
I have to lean in to get close enough to see them. “Do you think they mean something?”
She sidesteps and continues her examination. “They mean something different for everyone. That’s the beauty of a masterpiece.”
“What does it mean for you?”
Her slender finger traces over a thunderhead in the air. “The sea – water in general – represents the unconscious mind. It has infinite depths of swirling storms, conflicts that are trying to resolve themselves.”
“Pretty deep.”
Donna chuckles. “Pretty much, yeah.” She steps back and crosses her arms. “What do you see?”
I backpedal even with her and get lost in the scene. Sorrow, depression, and desperation. My mind’s eye zooms in on the tiny craft and the two men struggling to drag their friend back to safety.
“So much pain and loss.”
Thunder claps. Pelting rain stings my arms and face. The stench of salt and fish overwhelms me. ‘Hang on, Henry! Just keep hold of my arm.’
“He’s drowning. The darkness has pulled him over.”
Massive black tentacles writhe just beneath the surface. Henry’s shipmates scream. He only smiles and lets loose the sleeve of his friend’s slicker. The monster’s gaping maw closes in around him.
“Swallowed whole.”
Donna: “Come again?”
The connection’s broken. I snap back. “What?”
Donna glares at me wearing a look of concern. “You said he was --”
Patty: “Well, I’m convinced there’s little in here. Let’s move on to the billiard room.”
I trail behind them down the corridor through the long washes of daylight in the windows. My stomach grumbles its discontent. I know. Dinner shouldn’t be too much farther.
“Hopefully, this room will be more interr --” Patty breaks into a full-on paint-peeling shriek mid-thought.
Emily: “Shit.”
I shuffle around the corner and slide in behind Em. Snarls from the shadows at the far end of the hall near the billiard room.
Em: “It’s got guardians whoever it is.”
Patty stretches out her arms, doing her best to protect her litter. “Dunno.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “Just don’t make any sudden moves.”
A loud bark. Eyes in the darkness.
Our den mother herds us backward around the corner and down the hall. More growls and snorts from the perturbed phantasm.
Scene Thirty
Dinner discussions congregated around the beast in the billiard room and the mysterious shadow figures in some of Dylan’s pictures.
Doug’s bent finger taps a photo of the front façade of the estate. “There – in the second story window.”
I lean closer next to Emily. It’s a little hard to make out, but the silhouette of darkness stands on the inside of the glass.
Em: “An apparition?”
Dylan’s bulbous head shakes slowly on its axis. “Afraid it’s worse than that, hon.”
My eyes remain fixed on the faceless dark entity. “There’s something sinister there.” Its shadow draws me deeper into the image. I feel its icy chill paralyzing me as I stand next to it. The thing whispers wispy hisses into my mind as the others’ conversations fade.
Jake: “It could be just shadows from the clouds.”
Patty: “And that thing we ran into earlier was just a goddamned Chihuahua.”
Benson: “Now, dear…”
Patty: “Don’t patronize me, Jerry. Don’t you dare (sighs). I know what I, we, saw.”
Doug: “I think I’m gonna need to call in some backup for this case.”
Jake turns his unsure green stare toward his pal. “Roger?”
Emily’s bony elbow jars me free from the spirit’s enchantment. “You all right?”
I clear my throat and nod.
Doug: “He knows more about what we’re dealing with than I do, for sure.” His bewildered glare falls from my face down to my open hand.
A quick glance around. I seem to have everyone’s attention. For what? My eyes follow theirs downward. Right hand, open. Palm up. At its center, a tarnished silver key.
“I found it when we were examining the basement.”
Doug’s eye rise to meet my own. “What does it open, Sean?”
My hand twitches under the pressure. I don’t remember getting it out. This was supposed to be kept a secret. “The attic, I guess.”
Donna leans on the windowsill. “Keeping any other secrets from us?”
If I could slap that smirk off your face, I would. “Of course not. I just forgot that I had it is all.”
Miss Prissy Bitch mumbles something as she turns her head to look out the window. Sounds like, “figures”.
Dylan collects his pictures and taps the stack on Doug’s forearm. “Wanna go have a look?”
Doug: “Does the Pope wear a funny hat?”
At the top of the narrow wooden staircase to the attic, a weathered oaken door stands guard. No paint. No frills. Doug urges me forward. Having absorbed some of my body heat, the key now feels warm to the touch.
Dylan: “Go on, Sean. We’re right here.”
Deep breath. I slide the key into the hole and turn it to the right. The rusted out deadbolt surrenders, and I force the door inward on its groaning hinges.
Jake: “Damn! When was the last time this place was cleaned out? It reeks in here.”
Old wooden chests and crates rest against the far wall. I follow Dylan toward the front of the home where two barren bookshelves lean against a tiny round window in their disheveled states.
Dylan sings the bass part to the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” as he sweeps the space with his instrument. I don’t see the humor in the situation.
Dylan: (singing) “I’m picking up good – (speaks) Ah, well. It was before your time anyway.”
I make my way around an ornate trunk to join Jake and Doug in their search. “You guys seem pretty close.”
Jake laughs. “Yeah. You could say that.”
“How do you guys know one another?”
Doug scribbles down some notes on the make and age of a wooden chest. “We were childhood pals.”
Jake: “We wanted to be real Ghostbusters back then.”
Doug shakes his black head of hair. “What were we thinking?”
Jake leans in to read a tag on an old suit on a coat rack. “Dunno, bro. We experimented with Ouija boards, séances, you name it.”
“Anything come of it?”
Doug turns his eyes up to me, one brow perked in that are-you-fuckin’ –kidding-me way.
Jake: “We got more than our share outa some of that stuff, man.” (Dusts hands on his jeans) “This one time, we --”
“Another time, maybe,” Doug says, interrupting.
I look to Jake, who only shrugs.
Emily: “Not too long ago, they stumbled into me.”
Doug goes back into the bookshelves in the front corner. “That’s right.” His eyes scan the dusty pages of a rotten tome. “About a year ago, wasn’t it?”
Emily nods and smiles. “I had always been drawn to this sort of thing, but it wasn’t my first calling, I guess.”
“Music?” I say, inching closer to her inviting eyes.
She nods. “I got my degree from WVU and toured with the Pittsburgh Symphony for a couple of years.”
I plop down on a dusty crate. Feels good to take a load off. “What happened?”
Em: “Reality set in.”
Dylan shuffles closer, continuing to examine the adjacent wall with his instruments. “Happens to us all, hon.”
She giggles and wanders toward a tall heap under an old tan tarp. “Nowadays, I rent a small flat in Morgantown. I teach piano lessons here and there, and do this on the side. It’s not much, but it’s a blast.”
She stops cold in front of the mass under the tarp. Her head tilts to one side. Eyes wide and distant.
Jake stops his digging. “Hey? You find something, Em?”
Silence.
Jake: “Em?”
Dylan wanders off around the corner into a hallway, while the rest of us huddle around our stoic comrade. Dougie boy inches closer across the groaning floorboards.
Jake: “Dude, I dunno if I’d do --”
Too late for that now.
Doug flips the musty tarp back in a foul cloud of funk and filth.
Jake: “No friggin’ way.”
A full suit of armor. Silver, by the look of it.
Doug runs his fingertips over the tarnished metal. “Son of a bitch. Mike was right.” He snaps his manic expression around to the rest of us. “That crazy bastard knew.”
I tap Em on the arm. “Hey. You all right?”
She sheds the daydream with a shake of her blonde hair. “Huh? Yeah. This armor. It doesn’t belong here. So – I don’t know, alien.”
Jake crosses his thick arms, his head shakes on a slow track. “If he was right about this, then do ya suppose?”
Doug bobs his head. “I’d put money on it.”
“Hey guys?” It’s Dylan from around the far corner. “You might wanna come over here.”
I navigate the miniature labyrinth among the McAllister’s Earthly possessions behind the others toward the far tower of the estate. Dylan stands at the end of this passage, pointing to a stone wall behind his tubby body.
“Dead end,” he says with confidence.
Jake’s hands go up in an accusative gesture. “So, where’s the fire, big guy?”
The eldest of the ghost hunters lowers his moistened forehead to his palm. “Don’t you see? There’s a ton of empty space on the other side of this thing that’s unaccounted for.”
Doug: “There’s something big in the middle of this floor.”
Dylan slips his scanner into a hip pocket. “Exactly. We’ve got a passage on either side of the main room up here and both dead end facing the center.”
“What’s in there that he didn’t want anyone to see?” My throat constricts.
Doug: “That’s what I wanna know, too. We’ll set up for a séance session later tonight. Maybe Evelyn can shed some light on this.”
Part 1: https://redd.it/71mrgt Part 2: https://redd.it/71vfmp Part 3: https://redd.it/7229tx Part 4: https://redd.it/7298f9
submitted by drumjedi76 to creepypasta [link] [comments]


2017.09.08 02:13 drumjedi76 Restless -- Part 5

Scene Twenty Six
Nighttime has come again. About time, too. After a day like today, I’m beat. Our debacle in the basement set the others on edge. Emily is of the mindset that these ghosts are out to kill us. Patty, of course, disagrees.
I turn off the water in my shower and grab my towel. A thick layer of steam coats the mirror. I run the towel around both legs and pat my feet dry.
CLUNK CLUNK
I right myself and step into my boxers. Again, hooves clop across the floor overhead. “What the hell?”
My sweatpants and then my old WVU tee go on. They move from right over me toward the wall on the other side.
“Doug?” I follow their sound toward the bathroom mirror. “Jake? You up there?”
Who am I kidding? Even heavy steel-toes would sound like this. I trail them to the far wall and wait. Silence for the longest time, and then –
“On the move.”
My feet tip toe closer to the mirror. They’ve stopped directly over top of it. A low rumble rattles some light dust free.
“Man! Seriously?” I do my best to shake it out of my clean hair.
The water on the mirror condenses. One stream, then another. Random at first, but they soon coalesce into three broken vertical lines. Curved lines merge. The letter S. Guttural grunts from above me as more of its message appears. Another one bookends on the mirror. Soon, it’s all too clear.
SOULS
I grab my things and run into the bedroom. My eyes turn back to the mirror. Curiosity kills us all. Streamers, like blood, trickle down from its handiwork. I stagger backward and trip over the end of the bed as my door flies open.
Emily runs in screaming. She’s still wet from head to toe and wearing nothing more than a soggy pair of blue cotton Jockeys. I get to my feet and huddle her close. Her terrified mumbling makes little sense. Something about a devil and souls.
Donna soon joins us and helps me calm Em’s nerves to a point that we can communicate.
Donna: “Okay? Now, what’s this all about?”
Em takes a few slow breaths. “I heard hooves in the attic while I was drying off.”
Donna’s concerned gaze turns to me.
“I heard them, too just now.”
Donna takes Emily’s head between her hands and looks her in the eyes. “What’s going on?”
Emily’s chest rises and lowers in more normal successions. “I was in the shower.”
Donna: “All right.”
Em: “Then I heard footsteps in the attic above me.”
Donna’s frustration manifests itself in a belabored sigh. “Footsteps or hooves? You’re doubling back on yourself.”
Em’s head shakes violently. “No! Don’t force shit down my throat. I- I thought they might have been footsteps at first, but I shut the water off and waited.”
I lead her to the bed’s edge and settle her down. “Then what?”
Em: “They clopped across the ceiling over me toward my bedroom. So, I followed them.”
Her torso heaves under the crying spasms. “I g-got to my bed and started getting dresses, and then it spoke to me.”
Donna: “It?”
Em bobs her head. “The two-way. It spoke through the radio, but the radio was off!”
“What did it say?”
Her head lulls forward into her hands. “Your souls are mine. I will rip you all apart.”
Scene Twenty Seven
Swirling dreamscapes, like cream in coffee. Most of them bizarre and senseless. Talking trees, shaking rattles, and a cawing crow. Her smiling face cuts through these, rousing me from my doldrums.
Evelyn stands next to my small desk in her nightgown. Long flowing curls, the scent of a fresh rain. I take a seat and fumble for a pen through my half-crusted sight. Within seconds, her energy directs my scribbling:
Missed you
“I missed you, too.”
Her slender hand caresses the back of my neck. A gentle warmth.
“Who lives in your attic, Ev?”
Her transparent form drifts closer: No one
My gaze locks with hers. “Emily and I both heard hooves stomping around up there earlier. Any ideas?”
Her head lowers. Is that a look of remorse or pity?
My hand moves again.
Father. Bad things.
I study the two words, trying to decrypt the hidden message. “How bad are we talkin’ here?”
My hand draws swirls on the page. “Come on, Evelyn. If our lives are truly in danger, I need to know.”
Something closes my eyes. My hand flies all over the page in every direction. Light strokes, then others so heavy that they threaten to tear the page. When my eyelids peel back, I’m met by a crude drawing of a horned creature surrounded in flames and falling structures.
“Very lifelike, Ev.” I drop the shaking pen to the tabletop. “What is it?”
Her head turns up to the ceiling.
“Got it.”
The pen slides across the table and into my hand. Do you trust me, Sean?
“Of course, I do. Why?”
Her curling arm beckons me to follow.
Her form hovers down the hall and through the double doors into the music room. I trail behind in the column of cold air from her wake. A sense of calm and serenity envelops me. No fear. No pain.
Evelyn stops next to an ornate box on the mantle. She bobs her head toward its silver turnkey.
“Wind it up?”
She nods and smiles. I take the delicate music box in my hands and twist the key on its side. The inscription on the front. Foreign for sure. Russian, maybe? As the waltz plays, she beckons me to join her on the floor.
There’s a warmth in the energy from her arms around me. That same sensation radiates up the left side of my neck. She looks so peaceful resting against me. Round and round, we dance. Please, don’t let this moment end. Once the music box stops, she takes my face in both hands. The warmth of her lips. The aroma of fresh apples. My first meaningful relationship is with an apparition.
Scene Twenty Eight
A lone golden sliver of the sun lays tucked between a pair of old buildings. Doug, Jake, and I have headed into town to track down a lead. Well, that and the van needed gassed up again. I lean up between the two front seats and glance at the center console: 5:56 PM.
Jake: “You said this guy has the blueprints?”
Doug nods and makes the turn onto Main Street. “That’s what he told me on the phone.” His eyes scan the street for any place to park. “Carl said he found those and something else of interest.”
The curb closes in on my side of the vehicle. “Wonder what that’s supposed to mean.”
Dougie executes a crafty parallel and sets the e-brake. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
The Historical Society crushes every pre-conceived notion that I had of it. No grandiose building with marble pillars. No stained glass. Not even a pair of matching statues out front. Just a narrow storefront crammed between a burger joint on one side and a crafts store on the other. Who was I fooling?
A vertically challenged, middle-aged man greets us on the other side of the glass door. He keeps his chestnut facial hair and remaining ring of brown hair neatly groomed.
Doug: “Carl?”
The curator nods and motions an arm, inviting us deeper into his sanctum. “You must be the ghost chasers.”
Jake has to shuffle sideways to get his gut through the entrance. “Paranormal investigators, actually.”
Carl sizes me up as I drift past. The top of his crown barely reaches my heart.
“You mentioned to me on the phone that you had the blueprints to the McAllister place?” Doug asks, striding toward the back wall.
Carl: “That I did. Just a moment.”
He shuffles into his small office space and comes back bearing an armload of paper tubes. “It took a little doing, but I was able to scrounge up a few things for you gentlemen.”
Carl dumps the lot onto a long wooden tabletop adorned with small stacks of books. “One of them dates back to the 1880s.”
“Nice,” Jake says, bobbing his head.
“You have a lot of interesting photos in here.” Doug joins us at the table.
Carl: “This little town used to bustle with activity back in his day.”
Jake: “Oh, yeah?”
The curator nods. “We had a saw mill then, a brick making factory across the river, and a dairy farm on the other side of town.”
I help Carl unfurl one of the papers. “Impressive.”
He rests a book on his end of the large blueprint and hands me one to do the same. “Not bad for a sleepy little town, eh?”
We all lean in over the intricate sketch work.
Doug: “What are we looking at?”
Carl’s stumpy digit floats over the legend in the lower corner. “These are the originals, as envisioned by its architect, Layne DuPont.”
Jake shrugs.
Carl: “Never heard of him? I suppose not. DuPont was a well-known designer and engineer in his day. Built some of the most luxurious and curious estates in America.”
Doug snaps his fingers. “Right! Didn’t he do Leland Stanford’s place?”
Carl’s head bobs. “His, Crocker’s, and Huntington’s. He had an elite list of clientele.”
Jake: “I’d say. Three of the four railroad tycoons.”
Doug nods toward the paper. “So, what’s the significance?”
Carl: “DuPont took his architecture very seriously.” (motions for a thick volume on a shelf behind Jake) “Hand me that one, would you?”
Jake passes the stained brown book over into Carl’s unsteady hands.
“There.” Carl turns the open tome around on the table.
A black and white oval picture. The flowing script below the image reads: Layne Francois DuPont. A dark handlebar moustache. Double-breasted jacket adorned with a large medal of some sort. He should be riding on one of those old school bicycles with the oversized front wheel.
I lean in closer. “AF & AM. What’s that stand for?”
Carl: “Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.”
Doug: “A Freemason.”
Jake rubs his beard. “That’s pretty heavy.”
Carl points to the image. “Not just any Freemason – a Master, as was Henry.”
Doug: “They knew.”
Carl nods. “As you can see,” he says, pointing out various places in the blueprints, “these called for several extra spaces between walls, in the attic,” his beady gray eyes lift up to me, “and even underground. Kings would call for secret doors, passages, and rooms in their castles to hide from raiders. The Order had ways of knowing who they could trust with those special jobs.”
This old man senses something in me, but what?
Carl: “You will also notice that the mansion was constructed on the four cardinal points of the compass. The two towers, east and west. The front and back of the home, north and south.”
Jake: “Why?”
Carl: “Why, indeed.”
Doug: “The towers mark the eastern and western points clearly, but where are the northern and southern points of power at?”
My eyes gloss over the main structure of the home. “It gives us a few places to start looking, at the very least.”
Scene Twenty Nine
The search is on. We have a renewed sense of purpose in finding these remaining two points of power in this house. The whole thing; it’s like one big altar.
Dougie’s hands float over the surface of the far wall of the Dining Hall. “This room sets right on due south.” His eyes crane up, attempting to take in the overbearing twenty foot span. “If there is a cardinal point of power, it’s gotta be around here someplace.”
Dylan rests his stethoscope against our wall and raps lightly. “Solid as a rock.”
My curiosity is killing me. “So, who are the Freemasons?”
He picks up the convo without skipping a beat. “They’re one of the most secretive societies in the world. Lots of powerful men have been in their ranks over the years.”
I move to his other side and test sconces and shelves for handles. “Like who?”
Dylan shrugs. “George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, the Bushes, to name a few.”
“Damn.”
Dylan: “Lots of power players.”
The wrought iron of the sconce feels cold and lifeless. “What do they do?”
He knuckles at another spot on the towering wall. “Not sure. You can tell their temples by the markings, but no one knows when they meet, what they discuss, or who’s among their ranks exactly.”
Nothing unusual about the hutch or buffet cases. I stroll over to the fireplace. “Why is it a big deal that Henry and this DuPont guy are masters, then?”
Doug: “It meant that they were both power players in business as well as social circles. If they had something to hide, they knew exactly how to do it.”
I give up on the hollow cheeks of the fireplace and stand over by the entry. “Do they Masons and the paranormal have a link?”
Dylan: “Some would think so, yes. I don’t believe that the two are closely entangled on a larger scale.”
Doug: “You just have a few rare instances like this where the two paths intersect with potentially lethal repercussions.”
Doug’s long face turns to mine. “I’m getting nada in here. How about you, Dylan?”
Dylan: “Same here, boss.”
Doug: “I say we grab the cameras and head outside. Give this ole gal her photo op.” (turns to me) “You coming?”
“Nah.” My hands instinctively go to my pockets. “I think I’ll head upstairs and see if the girls have uncovered anything.”
Dylan’s brows bob up and down. “Em will be excited to see you anyway.”
The afternoon drags on. I catch up to Emily, Patty, and Donna in the art room upstairs. “Any luck up here.”
Emily shrieks, dropping a small painting. “Jesus, Sean.” A few deep breaths. “I thought you were downstairs with the boys.”
“We came up empty. They decided to go outside for some pictures.”
Patty: “More of the same here, I’m afraid.”
Donna stands before a large work on the wall with her lips pursed. “Interesting use of strokes here.”
I step to her side and admire the oil painting. Boiling storms. Raging seas. A lone dinghy sliding down the front of a massive wave. “What do you mean?”
Donna: “See here?” (points to the swirls in the waves) “The use of the infinity symbol is prominent throughout the work.”
I have to lean in to get close enough to see them. “Do you think they mean something?”
She sidesteps and continues her examination. “They mean something different for everyone. That’s the beauty of a masterpiece.”
“What does it mean for you?”
Her slender finger traces over a thunderhead in the air. “The sea – water in general – represents the unconscious mind. It has infinite depths of swirling storms, conflicts that are trying to resolve themselves.”
“Pretty deep.”
Donna chuckles. “Pretty much, yeah.” She steps back and crosses her arms. “What do you see?”
I backpedal even with her and get lost in the scene. Sorrow, depression, and desperation. My mind’s eye zooms in on the tiny craft and the two men struggling to drag their friend back to safety.
“So much pain and loss.”
Thunder claps. Pelting rain stings my arms and face. The stench of salt and fish overwhelms me. ‘Hang on, Henry! Just keep hold of my arm.’
“He’s drowning. The darkness has pulled him over.”
Massive black tentacles writhe just beneath the surface. Henry’s shipmates scream. He only smiles and lets loose the sleeve of his friend’s slicker. The monster’s gaping maw closes in around him.
“Swallowed whole.”
Donna: “Come again?”
The connection’s broken. I snap back. “What?”
Donna glares at me wearing a look of concern. “You said he was --”
Patty: “Well, I’m convinced there’s little in here. Let’s move on to the billiard room.”
I trail behind them down the corridor through the long washes of daylight in the windows. My stomach grumbles its discontent. I know. Dinner shouldn’t be too much farther.
“Hopefully, this room will be more interr --” Patty breaks into a full-on paint-peeling shriek mid-thought.
Emily: “Shit.”
I shuffle around the corner and slide in behind Em. Snarls from the shadows at the far end of the hall near the billiard room.
Em: “It’s got guardians whoever it is.”
Patty stretches out her arms, doing her best to protect her litter. “Dunno.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “Just don’t make any sudden moves.”
A loud bark. Eyes in the darkness.
Our den mother herds us backward around the corner and down the hall. More growls and snorts from the perturbed phantasm.
Scene Thirty
Dinner discussions congregated around the beast in the billiard room and the mysterious shadow figures in some of Dylan’s pictures.
Doug’s bent finger taps a photo of the front façade of the estate. “There – in the second story window.”
I lean closer next to Emily. It’s a little hard to make out, but the silhouette of darkness stands on the inside of the glass.
Em: “An apparition?”
Dylan’s bulbous head shakes slowly on its axis. “Afraid it’s worse than that, hon.”
My eyes remain fixed on the faceless dark entity. “There’s something sinister there.” Its shadow draws me deeper into the image. I feel its icy chill paralyzing me as I stand next to it. The thing whispers wispy hisses into my mind as the others’ conversations fade.
Jake: “It could be just shadows from the clouds.”
Patty: “And that thing we ran into earlier was just a goddamned Chihuahua.”
Benson: “Now, dear…”
Patty: “Don’t patronize me, Jerry. Don’t you dare (sighs). I know what I, we, saw.”
Doug: “I think I’m gonna need to call in some backup for this case.”
Jake turns his unsure green stare toward his pal. “Roger?”
Emily’s bony elbow jars me free from the spirit’s enchantment. “You all right?”
I clear my throat and nod.
Doug: “He knows more about what we’re dealing with than I do, for sure.” His bewildered glare falls from my face down to my open hand.
A quick glance around. I seem to have everyone’s attention. For what? My eyes follow theirs downward. Right hand, open. Palm up. At its center, a tarnished silver key.
“I found it when we were examining the basement.”
Doug’s eye rise to meet my own. “What does it open, Sean?”
My hand twitches under the pressure. I don’t remember getting it out. This was supposed to be kept a secret. “The attic, I guess.”
Donna leans on the windowsill. “Keeping any other secrets from us?”
If I could slap that smirk off your face, I would. “Of course not. I just forgot that I had it is all.”
Miss Prissy Bitch mumbles something as she turns her head to look out the window. Sounds like, “figures”.
Dylan collects his pictures and taps the stack on Doug’s forearm. “Wanna go have a look?”
Doug: “Does the Pope wear a funny hat?”
At the top of the narrow wooden staircase to the attic, a weathered oaken door stands guard. No paint. No frills. Doug urges me forward. Having absorbed some of my body heat, the key now feels warm to the touch.
Dylan: “Go on, Sean. We’re right here.”
Deep breath. I slide the key into the hole and turn it to the right. The rusted out deadbolt surrenders, and I force the door inward on its groaning hinges.
Jake: “Damn! When was the last time this place was cleaned out? It reeks in here.”
Old wooden chests and crates rest against the far wall. I follow Dylan toward the front of the home where two barren bookshelves lean against a tiny round window in their disheveled states.
Dylan sings the bass part to the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” as he sweeps the space with his instrument. I don’t see the humor in the situation.
Dylan: (singing) “I’m picking up good – (speaks) Ah, well. It was before your time anyway.”
I make my way around an ornate trunk to join Jake and Doug in their search. “You guys seem pretty close.”
Jake laughs. “Yeah. You could say that.”
“How do you guys know one another?”
Doug scribbles down some notes on the make and age of a wooden chest. “We were childhood pals.”
Jake: “We wanted to be real Ghostbusters back then.”
Doug shakes his black head of hair. “What were we thinking?”
Jake leans in to read a tag on an old suit on a coat rack. “Dunno, bro. We experimented with Ouija boards, séances, you name it.”
“Anything come of it?”
Doug turns his eyes up to me, one brow perked in that are-you-fuckin’ –kidding-me way.
Jake: “We got more than our share outa some of that stuff, man.” (Dusts hands on his jeans) “This one time, we --”
“Another time, maybe,” Doug says, interrupting.
I look to Jake, who only shrugs.
Emily: “Not too long ago, they stumbled into me.”
Doug goes back into the bookshelves in the front corner. “That’s right.” His eyes scan the dusty pages of a rotten tome. “About a year ago, wasn’t it?”
Emily nods and smiles. “I had always been drawn to this sort of thing, but it wasn’t my first calling, I guess.”
“Music?” I say, inching closer to her inviting eyes.
She nods. “I got my degree from WVU and toured with the Pittsburgh Symphony for a couple of years.”
I plop down on a dusty crate. Feels good to take a load off. “What happened?”
Em: “Reality set in.”
Dylan shuffles closer, continuing to examine the adjacent wall with his instruments. “Happens to us all, hon.”
She giggles and wanders toward a tall heap under an old tan tarp. “Nowadays, I rent a small flat in Morgantown. I teach piano lessons here and there, and do this on the side. It’s not much, but it’s a blast.”
She stops cold in front of the mass under the tarp. Her head tilts to one side. Eyes wide and distant.
Jake stops his digging. “Hey? You find something, Em?”
Silence.
Jake: “Em?”
Dylan wanders off around the corner into a hallway, while the rest of us huddle around our stoic comrade. Dougie boy inches closer across the groaning floorboards.
Jake: “Dude, I dunno if I’d do --”
Too late for that now.
Doug flips the musty tarp back in a foul cloud of funk and filth.
Jake: “No friggin’ way.”
A full suit of armor. Silver, by the look of it.
Doug runs his fingertips over the tarnished metal. “Son of a bitch. Mike was right.” He snaps his manic expression around to the rest of us. “That crazy bastard knew.”
I tap Em on the arm. “Hey. You all right?”
She sheds the daydream with a shake of her blonde hair. “Huh? Yeah. This armor. It doesn’t belong here. So – I don’t know, alien.”
Jake crosses his thick arms, his head shakes on a slow track. “If he was right about this, then do ya suppose?”
Doug bobs his head. “I’d put money on it.”
“Hey guys?” It’s Dylan from around the far corner. “You might wanna come over here.”
I navigate the miniature labyrinth among the McAllister’s Earthly possessions behind the others toward the far tower of the estate. Dylan stands at the end of this passage, pointing to a stone wall behind his tubby body.
“Dead end,” he says with confidence.
Jake’s hands go up in an accusative gesture. “So, where’s the fire, big guy?”
The eldest of the ghost hunters lowers his moistened forehead to his palm. “Don’t you see? There’s a ton of empty space on the other side of this thing that’s unaccounted for.”
Doug: “There’s something big in the middle of this floor.”
Dylan slips his scanner into a hip pocket. “Exactly. We’ve got a passage on either side of the main room up here and both dead end facing the center.”
“What’s in there that he didn’t want anyone to see?” My throat constricts.
Doug: “That’s what I wanna know, too. We’ll set up for a séance session later tonight. Maybe Evelyn can shed some light on this.”
Part 1: https://redd.it/6veib5 Part 2: https://redd.it/6w0mw8 Part 3: https://redd.it/6wbyh7 Part 4: https://redd.it/6xewgr
submitted by drumjedi76 to nosleep [link] [comments]


2016.05.24 03:26 thevidguy007 Ghost Bridge - Based on actual events that took place during a "Betrayal at a House on the Hill"

(for context - This is a short story based on a game I played with my friends called "Betrayal at House on the Hill" .. For anyone unfamiliar with the game, it plays out a lot like a "B" horror movie. Definitely on the cheesy side, but also quite heavily on the "fun" side. I wrote it for my friends and I, but I was fairly happy with the result - so I thought i'd share it here and get some feedback. You may find some parts that seem a little out of place or wacky, but that may just be me trying to shoehorn in some of the events that took place during the game. Overall though, I think I got the flow to work well ... though it may be a bit rough in a few spots)
So without further ado ..
GHOST BRIDE By James Groome (Based on actual events that occurred during a Betrayal at a House on the Hill)
It all started off with a motley assortment of folks heading up to a large and creepy old house on top of a barren hill .. First to arrive on the scene were Ox Bellows and Jenny LeClerc. An unlikely pair at best.
As a towering 280 pound behemoth of a man, Ox, as you may guess, was more about muscle than brains and rarely found himself in any situation that he couldn't use his formidable physicality to get himself out of. He had been in many fights throughout high school … But like many big guys before him, most of those encounters had been challengers looking to de-throne the king … Ox had learned early on that when you're the toughest guy around, there's always someone looking to knock your block off.
At first OX had been proud of his 'top dog' status, but in the last couple of years, his heart had grown up a bit, and he had also become tired of getting in trouble for fighting. ..As such, he was trying to act like less of a bully, and more like a gentle giant.. He wanted to develop his brains so they could catch up with his body. To Ox, Jenny LeClerc was going to be part of that. If he could just get her to go on a date with him...maybe she could help him to develop his intellect a little more ...
There was, of course, another reason Ox wanted to spend time with Jenny. Le there be no mistake about this. It would be a pretty fair statement to say that Ox had the hots for Jenny.
A quiet type who tended to only speak when necessary, Jenny was certainly more of an intellectual than Ox. They had known each other since childhood, so Jenny knew all about Ox's history. And frankly, she didn't think much of him. For the most part, Jenny preferred the company of books to people … But then again, she didn't have much experience with the latter … Ox had been bugging her at school for weeks, and despite her halting his advances … she kind of liked the attention she was receiving from him … even if she wasn't actually interested.
Ox's plan was fairly obvious. He figured that if he could just get Jenny alone, he could coerce her into making out with him …. So his incentive for bringing her up to the old place was pretty clear – he hoped to lure Jenny inside, find a dark room and put the moves on her...She suspected as much, and wasn't really keen on it, but Ox could be persuasive … and Jenny had always been curious about this abandoned mansion anyway … Without really thinking things through, she followed Ox up the steps, across the porch and into the house …
Meanwhile, a 12 year old youngster named Brandon Jaspers happened to be playing ball hockey with a group of his friends across the street ... Brandon was kind of a punk assed bitch, and as such, he wasn't particularly well liked by his peers. He loved hockey, but he knew he wasn't very good. And he wasn't the only one... The kids playing hockey knew too. That, along with his shitty bratty attitude, made ol' Brandon a tough sell on the playground. Kids tended to avoid him, but that didn't stop Brandon from seeking their approval. Parents and Teachers had often scolded the other children for refusing to let him join their groups. They had been forced to tolerate him though … So they allowed him to hang around, but he was more of a "ball retriever" than a "part of the team." He knew it was a shitty trick they were playing on him … But Brandon would take pretty much any attention he could get from these boys … whether it was good OR bad.
So in an attempt to get rid of him, (at least temporarily) one of the boys intentionally shot the ball as far away from the game as he could. In this case, so far that it went right inside the open door of the old mansion … "Hey Brandon!" The boy yelled. "If you get that one, I promise I'll let be on your team next round." Brandon couldn't contain his excitement at the prospect. "All RIGHT!" He shouted. So, excited to gain favor with his peers, Brandon ran up the stairs and plunged into the house in pursuit of the tennis ball.
Next to arrive was Madame Zostra – a self proclaimed medium and professional astrologer. Earlier that day Madame Zostra looked in the cards and seen something … unusual. Something big was going to happen today. She could just feel it. She had seen "the lovers" tarot card, but she had also seen "Death" Indeed there had also been a big shift in spiritual energy today. And it was nearby. She could feel it! But something wasn't right … This spirit was strong …and the energy had a darkness to it. Still, she remained largely unafraid -- partly because she knew that her chakras were aligned, but also because she had already been through a lot in her life, and she felt as though she was strong enough to handle ANYTHING. Besides -- sometimes the cards were wrong. Either that, or she had read them wrong. It had happened before. Usually she got things right, but sometimes, she made mistakes just like anybody else.
As she happened upon the mansion, she sensed the power within … and upon witnessing a young woman and a small child heading up the steps she clutched her bag and began to hurry toward them …
As it turned out, Father Rhinehardt, had just come from the town's church where he had been holding another session in the confessional. It had been a fairly brutal week for the priest -- the sins of all of the religious town folk were starting to wear him down. Life had never been easy for Rhinehardt. He had been born in Germany, and moved to America at the age of 15 where he had been beaten up on a regular basis. He had turned to the church because of the way people had treated him all his life, but after many years as a priest, he wasn't finding much satisfaction in his faith … and indeed, had occasionally found himself more inclined to leverage his status for his personal gains rather than showing a true commitment to his faith or doing the work of God …
Still, he wasn't a horrible man … At least not most of the time. He really was trying to improve his outlook. And as such, had taken a different route home that fateful afternoon … "Different decisions lead to different results" he thought .. It turns out he would certainly be proven to be right about that..
As Rhinehardt walked by the house, he witnessed Madame Zostra in what he believed to be "chasing after a group of youngsters" … and promptly did what he thought was the right thing to do … which was to head up there and make sure no-one comes to any harm … to set things right … in the way that only a man of God could do … or more accurately, the way only he could do.
So these odd characters, this motley crew, quite by chance ended up in the entrance hall of this old house on top of the hill all at the same time... And, as if the house was a living trap, or perhaps some kind of strange game was afoot, the giant double doors slammed shut behind Father Rhinehardt as soon as he crossed the threshold of the doorway. The force behind the slamming doors had created quite a loud sound … which had shocked the group … and even Ox himself was surprised to find that his formidable strength couldn't manage to open it again. Even the doorknob seemed to be cemented in place. It was pretty clear … They weren't getting back out the way they came in … Not yet anyway ...
A mood immediately settled upon the group .. Something wasn't quite right here … Something evil was afoot … and despite the choices they made, each individual couldn't escape the feeling that they were somehow no longer in control of their own lives … their own destinies.
Ox wasn't particularly worried though .. despite a feeling of dread, he had planned on coming in here anyway, and since Jenny had been pretty cold to him so far, he figured that maybe he could show her how he could play the part of the "big hearted hero" … which would surely win her over … and then once he was able to get her alone again, (and get rid of the rest of these weirdos) he could get his life back on track and continue to pursue what had been his main goal for the last 10 years … getting laid. With that in mind, he pulled a pair of flashlights out of his back pocket, and tossed one over to Jenny.
"Everyone just stay calm" he said. It was almost as though he was addressing the as yet unspoken feeling that had settled upon the group. "There's got to be an open window on the upper floor … I'll go check it out." With that, he headed upstairs ..
For her part, Jenny began to experience a feeling of deja-vu … it had settled upon her as soon as she laid eyes upon this strange group of people together in the entrance hall … It was like she could remember dreaming this many years ago … She had woken up in a daze wondering "why would I ever be inside a creepy mansion with a priest, an old woman, a small boy, and – of all people – Ox?? But here she was … it had become true … there seemed to be more to her dream, but she couldn't remember it … Perhaps as she explored the house the dream would come back to her … She followed Ox upstairs. She could tell what he was up to (he wasn't a very subtle type), but she wanted him close … not because of any sort of attraction, but because she felt he might be the key to whatever it was that her dream had been about. She turned on her flashlight, and crept upstairs … with the intent of exploring on her own, but remaining close to Ox.
Madame Zostra was perhaps the most in-tune with what had began to happen inside the mansion. She instinctively KNEW that things of an evil nature were brewing. She frantically preached and ranted warnings to the group continuously, but unfortunately, it came off more as the ravings of a mad woman than any kind of useful guidance or advice. Father Rhinehardt was particularly dismissive … even disrespectful toward her. Partly because he felt compelled to reassure the group … but also because her beliefs represented a challenge toward his own.
Brandon wasn't too keen on any of them. He really just wanted to find the ball and get back outside to his friends. But the house still intrigued him … "Maybe there were some kids who used to live here!" He thought .. "Maybe they've left some cool stuff behind!" … He ran upstairs to root through the house's bedrooms .. Ever since Brandon's mom made him give away his Optimus Prime transformer, he had always been in search of a replacement. This could be it! At the very least he might be able to find SOMETHING that he could use to gain favor with his friends outside ..?
Father Rhinehardt, sensing something in Brandon's behaviour was cause for concern .. (the child seemed to have a disturbing need to check out all of the sleeping quarters) .. followed him upstairs. As the child rummaged through the bedrooms, father Rhinehardt used the opportunity to quote scripture and try to pass along wisdom and teachings … to no avail. Brandon just seemed consumed by his need to locate "something cool" .. As he continued to watch over the child, Rhinehardt came across a small diary, and began thumbing through it. Perhaps learning something about the owners could help with their predicament? … Well, not really, but really – Who can resist reading the private thoughts of someone else? Especially since they're deceased, and won't be around to stop you? After all ... he was used to hearing confessionals anyway … For all he knew, he would end up reading about something someone had already confessed to him..
As the rest of the group began to split up and explore the mansion, Madam Zostra found herself alone in the entrance hall … She shrugged (both mentally and physically) and set off to explore the ground floor on her own. But as she stepped through the darkness into the adjacent room she immediately lost her footing and tumbled downward … What had happened to the floor?
She landed hard in the basement, but before long stood up and shook it off .. As she peered upward she soon saw why she had fallen … The floor of the room above her had collapsed! … There was no way she could climb back up there … So her goal for the time being, was to find her way out of the basement. As she explored a few more rooms, she was suddenly confronted by an apparition! "So soon?" She thought to herself. The cards hadn't suggested that the powerful spirit would appear until after the sunset had finished. But she soon realized, that while this was indeed a spirit, it wasn't much of a powerful one. It seemed to represent the old mansion's groundskeeper.
The spirit must have been wronged in some way, as it had immediately taken an aggressive stance toward Zostra. It raised it's ghostly shovel, and charged toward her. She tried to move out of the way … but it was too late – It swung its shovel and hit her in the face … IN THE FACE!! Luckily for her, Madame Zostra wasn't hurt TOO badly, (I guess a ghost shovel doesn't pack as much of a punch as one in the real world) but still … This was turning out to be a pretty rough day for Madame Zostra … But she had seen worse ... She knew how to COPE!
Meanwhile, Jenny had found himself alone in a dark room … Even though she usually didn't believe in any of that super-natural "mumbo-jumbo", she deny that something strange was definitely going on in this place. Despite her intention, she had separated from Ox, She needed to find her way back to him, but she didn't know which was she needed to go … Suddenly, something unseen brushed past her leg! A chill ran down her spine. She screamed and dropped her flashlight …It hit the floor, popping the bottom off, and released the two large batteries. The old house was slightly tilted, and when the batteries hit the creaky floor they immediately rolled away into the darkness. "Great." she thought. .. "Now I can hardly move." She called out to Ox, luckily wasn't TOO far away. He agreed to head toward her and give her the spare batteries he had … Jenny was relieved to know that soon she wouldn't be alone in the darkness … but she also knew that batteries weren't the only thing that Ox was hoping to "give her" …
Ox lumbered into the room … His plan to play the hero to Jenny was finally starting to come into place. He grinned as he handed her the batteries, and, acting on what he clearly perceived to be "his big moment", made a ham-handed attempt to throw his meaty arms around her and plant a big smooch on her lips … Sensing what has about to happen, Jenny dropped to the floor just in time and Ox tumbled into the vanity against the bedroom wall – knocking over some shelves and everything on them to the floor in a cloud of dust.
Sitting stunned on the floor, he looked up at Jenny … embarassed that she foiled his clumsy attempt. He hung his head in shame, and as his eyes fell to the floor, he noticed a glint of silver through the dust. What was that? He reached out to pick it up. It was an antique ring. A wedding band to be exact … As Ox held it in his hand … something happened …
An apparition in white lace shimmered into view. A feminine voice spoke. "You've left me alone these long years … but I waited. For you. Four our wedding." The ghost glided toward Ox. "Once you are dead like me, we can be together … forever." The faint sound of an organ playing a wedding march sighed gently through the house.
Everyone in the house had heard the words of the ghost, but none as clearly and intensely as Jenny. All at once she knew the meaning of her dream … Her destiny. Once Ox had picked up the ring, she had been triggered. The essense of the real Jenny LeClerc was pushed aside … compartmentalized and overcome by the spirit of the ghost bride … whispering in her ear. Tears came to her eyes. "You hate it when love is denied" spoke the spirit. "The wedding is on. Today's the date, And you're going to see this wedding through … whether the groom wants it or not."
Still stunned by the appearance of the ghost, Ox wasn't ready for what was about to happen to him ..The ring gently rose from his hand into the air … and as it hung there, the ghostly bride drifted across the room with an outstreched arm … her eyes fixed on Ox and he went into a trance... At once amazed by her beauty and perplexed by what he was witnessing, he found himself unable to move. The bride came closer … her long, slender fingers reaching toward the wedding band … her eyes fixed upon Ox's. When she made contact with the ring, suddenly her eyes went wide, her mouth gaped open and a deafening shriek began to eminate from her ghostly visage. As the piercing shrill of the sound grew louder and louder, the image of the bride began to grow brighter and brighter. A hot wind began to blow through the house, carrying with it dirt, debris, and anything that wasn't nailed to the floor. Ox let out a tremendous yowl. This was a pain he had never felt before … it was inside his mind. It was driving him insane. He panicked, and jumped up – swinging his fists wildly at the ghostly bride with enough force to batter any living being into submission. But all his muscles were useless … This was an attack on his sanity … and he wasn't well equipped to put up much of a fight. Ox began to float in the air … surrounded by a whirlwind of objects and debris. The shriek went on and on and reached a pitch so high that it was almost impercievable by human ears … and then all at once, it stopped. The bride vanished, and Ox slumped to the floor. He was gone …
Jenny's body remained still .. no emotion registered on her face. She knew what she had to do.. The guests would soon be arriving in the chapel … She must get things ready … She needed to get the groom there and await the arrival of the bride. With a strength she couldn't possibly posses on this earth, she picked up Ox's body and slowly made her way toward the stairs...
Down on the main floor, Father Reinhart, Madame Zostra and Brandon gathered together.
"What's going on?" Cried Brandon …. "What was that horrible sound? And where's Ox and Jenny?"
"Ox is dead." said Madam Zostra. "Or at least he will be soon if we don't put a stop to that wedding .."
"And Jenny?" Asked Rhinehardt.
"She is no longer in control of her actions … She has become a traitor to us … and even to herself."
"What in the world are you talking about woman?" hissed Rhinehardt. "How do you know these things?"
"I have seen it in the cards." Said Zostra. "I have forseen many things … Many of which never came to be … Many of which have. But this … I this much I know for certain: That bride is determined to see herself married, and if we don't put a stop to the wedding, not only will the big man's fate be sealed, but we ourselves will never leave the confines of this house alive!"
"No way!" Shouted Brandon. He ran toward the front door of the house and tried opening it. As before, the door remained shut with an unnatural force. Father Rhinehardt stode over and tried to give him a hand, but even between the two of them they couldn't get it to budge. It just wasn't going to happen.
"It's no use Brandon." Said Rhinehardt… "If Ox couldn't force this open, there's no way you and I can do it."
"Then what do we do?" Cried Brandon. Desperation was beginning to creep into his voice ..
"God will protect us. And his word will show us the way …" said Rhinehardt reassuringly.
"God has nothing to do with this." Said Zostra. "This is about that cursed woman who murdered her fiance. Her spirit's been in pergatory ever since, and she'll never rest until she gets married."
"But … how can we stop her?" Asked Brandon.
"It won't be easy …" replied Zostra. "We need to find out the name of the groom. Her 'real' groom. The one she murdered. I have no idea how we'll ever do that …"
Father Rhinehardt brightened up. "Perhaps this can provide a clue …!" He said pulling the diary he found earlier from his robes .. He began thumbing through the pages.
"Yes!" Zostra exclaimed. "That's it! I can feel it … Perhaps we can make things right!"
Father Rhinehardt and Brandon brightened at Zostra's sudden enthusiasm.
"But we're not done yet!" She continued. "After we find out his name, we need to find his body, disinter it, and bring it to the chapel along with the ring … Then and only then, will the true wedding take place. The ghost bride will marry her real groom, the curse upon Ox and Jenny will be lifted, and we'll be free to leave this place!"
"Looks like we'll have to work together" said Rhinehardt. "Well, here's a start … I think I found the groom's name … Looks like it's "James" … Huh. James 'the groom" …
"Sounds like a JACKASS." Said Brandon …"I think I've played online games against that guy before. He was a douche-tard."
"Well, god willing, the corpse of this douche-tard may just be what saves our bacon." Said Rhinehardt … "So where do we find his remains?"
"There's a crypt down in the basement" said Zostra. "It seems to be full of deceased bodies. I came across it earlier when I fell through the floor .. But there's a lot of burial markers down there. It's going to take some time to find the right one .."
"Then we better get started." Said Father Rhinehardt.
Just then, a deafening blast of organ music began to wail from the chapel....As the group looked up, the shrieking apparition appeared again, levitiating slowly down the grand staircase toward the group. This time there was no gentle fasod .. Although she was still wearing a lace wedding dress, she looked as though she had been buried in it, and her appearance was that of a rotted corpse. Her arms outstretched, she began to glow brilliantly and her mouth hung open as a horrific shriek emenated from within. Whatever this being was, it was a malevalent spirt. That much was obvious.
Behind her on the staircase, Jenny was slowly plodding along, carrying in her arms the lifeless body of Ox. She negotiated the stairs with ease, despite his gigantic carcass.
"Our father in heaven!" Cried Reihnardt … "Guide us through these terrible times!"
The ghost bride seemed insulted by the words of the holy man, and began focusing the power of her shriek solely upon him. Rhinehardt held up his cross to the spirit and began speaking scripture … Madam Zostra grabbed a bundle of sage, lit it with a match, and began waving it wildly at the apparition ..But the spirit just pitched forward and hastened its pace toward the frightened group.
Seeing how little effect this appeared to have, Brandon jumped into action. "Fuck this shit!" He yelled … He ran across the hallway, slid under the ghost, and attacked Jenny while she was carrying the lifeless body of Ox down the stairs. "How'd you like getting punched in the TIT you bitch?!" Screamed the little brat … and he unleashed a fury of 12 year old rabbit punches upon Jenny's upper body. This didn't seem to have much of an affect on Jenny herself, but one thing that DID happen, appeared to catch the attention of the ghost bride... One of the many blows landed by Brandon knocked the wedding ring loose from Jenny's hand … and as it bounced to the ground, Brandon caught a hold of it. All at once, the ghost bride ceased her focus upon the priest, and turned back toward the stairs .. It was now clearly Brandon who was her target.
"Head for the basement!" Shouted Madame Zostra to Father Rhinehardt … "It's our only chance!"
"But what about Brandon?"
"The wedding's already under way! If we don’t find that body and get it to the chapel before the wedding march is over, Ox is finished … and we'll never leave this house alive!"
"But … " Renihardt stammered ..
"Brandon's fast … He can get away … And he's got the ring!" Zostra looked past Father Rhinehardt and yelled toward the staircase where Brandon was standing.
"Brandon! RUN! Just run away from the ghost as fast as you can! We'll grab the body and meet you in the chapel! Go Brandon! GO!!"
Brandon nodded, turned, and disappeared into the upstairs of the mansion. The ghost bride followed...
"We won't let you down Brandon!" Cried father Rhinehardt … "God be with you!" He said, as Madam Zostra pulled him toward the collapsed floor that led to the basement. With adrenaline coarsing through their bodies, they dropped to the basement floor.
"This way! The crypt is over here!" Said Zostra. She led the priest down a dark hallway and into a large, damp and dimly lit room that smelled of rotting flesh. A variety of bugs and creepy crawlies frantically scrambled across the walls – evidently they too, could sense the chaos within the house. Along the walls and floor there were dozens of grave markers and coffins – each one of which was bound to contain a gruesome corpse.
"Get started!" Barked Zostra. "He'll be buried in here somewhere .."
"You take the buried ones, I'll look inside the coffins." Replied the priest, as he began to look through a line of unburied coffins in the corner of the room.
"The groom's body won't BE in a coffin, it will be BURIED." Said Zostra exasperatedly.
"How in God's name do you know THAT?"
"BECAUSE I KNOW!" She snapped. "I saw all of this in the cards this morning! We need to 'disinter' the body."
The priest wasn't impressed. "Pffft. The cards. How can you believe in that sacriligous stuff? Besides: What does that even mean? "Disinter"? I've never heard that term …"
"What kind of a priest are you? 'DIS-Inter' … The opposite of 'Inter' …"
The priest shrugged. He was just NOT GETTING IT.. "Maybe if you said it in German?" He suggested.
"To Interr a body is means to put it into the ground." Zostra said. "To DIS-inter it is to remove it from the ground. Since these coffins haven't yet been buried, and we know that we need to DIS-INTER the body, then it must be buried in the ground!"
"But how do you even come to know it must be 'dis-interred' as you say?"
"The cards." She repeated.
Rhinehardt balked at the idea. "The cards. The cards. AGAIN with the cards...May God have mercy on your soul for believing in such sin."
"Just shut up and help me dig!" She shouted back.
With that they began to dig through the buried bodies … searching for "James" the groom. Up above they could hear the organ music getting ready to play "here comes the bride" … They didn't have much time left …
Meanwhile, Brandon was all alone in the upstairs of the mansion. He ran through hallways, bedrooms, and even a dusty library, but nothing he found along his way seemed to give him much help. On his flight from the ghost bride, he had made many twists and turns in an effort to lose it in the maze of rooms and corridors … but he hadn't counted on one thing: The Spirit wasn't bound by our earthly physical nature … and as such, could effectively pass through walls. It easily caught up to him.
Brandon found himself in room full of junk. So much junk in fact, that it hampered his ability to keep running. When he saw the room light up felt the hot wind begin to blow from behind him, he knew what he would face when he turned around. The Ghost Bride was upon him. Again she glowed brightly, and let out a horrific howl which manifested itself in glowing, piercing soundwaves coming out of her mouth in a conical shape pulsating toward him. He panicked. "No!" He screamed above the deafening roar and chaos of the ghostly encounter. "you won't get me! NOT MEEEE!" … He pulled his lucky feather out of his pocket, and began to rub it furiously. It had never let him down before … Not when he needed it.
The psionic pulse waves flashed toward him, and it seemed certain they would hit him … but when he held up the feather the pulse waves seemed to dissipate and get absorbed within it. The feather glowed brightly, and burst into brilliant flames … disappearing from top to bottom in a flash of light. Brandon had dodged a bullet, but it wasn't over yet.
He scrambled out of the junk room and ran blindly down the hallway toward the unknown. He found himself in front of a locked vault … It was a dead end, and he couldn't get inside. Tears streaming down his face, he was all out of options. The brave 12 year old turned to face his fate … As he looked down the hallway, the apparition turned the corner and came into view. It's eyes fixated upon his and with a final burst of evil energy, it streamed down the hallway toward him … Once again attacking him with a ear-piercing sanity-pulverising shriek … This time the ghost attacked him with such ferocity and intensity that waves of electricity flowed from the spirit's outstretched arms and into Brandon's extremities. He shook and writhed violently from the pain and to his horror, began to detect the smell of his own flesh cooking shortly before he burst into flames. He lay helplessly while he burned alive and even felt sadness as to why he had spent so much of his short life worrying about what his stupid 'friends' thought about him. "fucking assholes!" He thought to himself … "I'll see you in hell!"
Brandon's body began to glow so brightly that after an instant it simply vaporized. All at once the room was quiet again … the only thing remaining of young Brandon was small pile of ash and dust … along with the wedding band he had been holding tightly in his hand.
Back in the basement, Zostra and father Rhinehardt had heard the commotion. If the ghost bride had found Brandon, (and it certainly sounded like it did), there was little chance he would have survived the encounter. Although they neither one of them wanted to face the truth, they couldn't deny the feeling of dread they were experiencing. Things had taken a definite turn for the worse.
"Why can't we find this DAMN BODY?!' Father Reihnardt exclaimed … "Is our luck ever going to change? We've dug up over 3 quarters of the bodies down here … and no sign of this "James" the groom. Fuck him. Fuck James! He's a fucking asshole!"
"I got him! This is it!" Madam Zostra shouted. Rhinehardt hurried over, and pulled out the photograph from the diary. Even with the body long dead, the resemblance was clear. This was indeed, the ghost bride's murdered fiance, James.
"Now we just have to get the body up to the chapel before the bride gets to the alter!" Said Zostra. "Help me." Carrying the body was no easy task. There must have been some kind of mummification process applied to it … or worse, a perhaps something had laid a curse upon it. Because even though it had been buried for years, it seemed (and smelled) as though it had only died hours before. As such, it also retained much of it's bulky flesh.
"Jesus". Cried father Rhinehardt. "What's up with this guy? Didn't he ever get out of the house? He smells like energy drinks and subway sandwiches."
They continued stumbling through the basement. "How do we get out of here?" He asked.
"I guess we need to find the stairs." Zostra replied.
"Where the hell are they?"
"I don't know" sighed Zostra. She was trying to remain positive, but she was starting to resign herself to the fate she saw in her morning tarot card reading.
"What do you mean you don't know? How the hell did you get out of here earlier?"
"There was an elevator." She said.
"Well, where the HELL IS IT?" Father Rhinehardt yelled. He was beginning to come un-glued.
"I … It … It's … gone."
"Gone? WHAT DO YOU MEAN GONE?" … How does an elevator disappear?"
Madam Zostra shrugged. It felt as though she was already preparing her spirit to depart from this world, and enter the next.
Suddenly there was a presence in the room – only not like before. Not the ghost bride. This was different. This was physical.
Zostra and Rhinehardt turned toward the darkness. The corpse they had been carrying fell to the floor. As they peered toward the dark basement doorway, they could just barely make out a silhouette. It was the outline of a girl. As she slowly stepped into the light, they saw it was the outline of a traitor. The outline … Of Jenny LeClerc.
"YOU!" Father Rhinehardt yelled as he pointed his finger. "This is YOUR FAULT! Somehow you're the at the center of all of this! You betrayed us....! YOU BETRAYED ALL OF US IN THIS HOUSE ON THE HILL"
Jenny stood before them … Her young, fit, figure unscathed, untouched and unaffected by all that had happened after that fateful moment when the door slammed shut and trapped them in the mansion. She remained in a trance, but for an instant, managed to move her lips and murmur the words:
"You don't understand father Rhinehardt. You may think I betrayed you, but it's not my fault. I may have betrayed you yes, but if not me, it was bound to be someone else."
Madam Zostra stared intently at the girl's face, knowing her words were true.
"Someone in the group was going to betray the others. That's … the nature of the game."
Father Rhinehardt grew red with rage. "Game? Game?! GAME?!? THIS IS A GAME TO YOU? YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME?"
"Father Rhinehardt … don't-" Zostra tried to restrain him … not because it would make a difference in the end, but to save him from himself. He easily broke free from her grip.
"I'll show you what happens to traitors!" … Rhinehardt took an aggressive stance, like a cornered animal who knew of it's impending doom … He was soaked with vengeance, in a very un-priestly like way as it were. He wound himself up and focused all of his rage...
He repeated … "I'll show you WHAT HAPPENS TO TRAITORS!" Jenny remained still … as though she was completely invulnerable. Indeed, it appeared she was almost completely oblivious to his rage …
'YOU..." He stepped back ...
"FUCKING …" He began to lunge forward ..
"CUNNNNNNNTTTT!!!!"
Father Rhinehardt, man of the clergy, purveyor of god's teachings had focused all of the rage he had built up throughout his entire miserable life … all of the suffering, all of the abuse, the teenage inadequacies, and bullying, teasing, sexual frustrations and everything else that had ever happened to him and threw it all at Jenny LeClerc in one massive swing of a closed fist …
… and ...
… he missed. (to put it mildly) It was an air ball. A swish. A mulligan. A do-over. He blew it. To watch this happen was a bizarre experience on it's own. It seemed ridiculously unlikely that someone with that much determination could fail so easily, and so completely at what they intended to do. Indeed, it appeared that Jenny didn't even attempt to move or dodge the blow. She just stood there, like he never had a chance in the first place. He tumbled to the floor. This was it. He was finished.
Zostra looked upon him with pity. She sighed, and tried to make peace with herself before she faced what she knew what be coming soon … Their time was up … the organ began to play … Here comes the bride … Here comes the bride ...
Upstairs in the chapel, a chorus of ghostly apparitions appeared in the pews. At the front of the alter, the body of Ox seemed to float a few inches off the ground in a trance like state .. his eyes open, and lifeless. Has face bore an expression of extreme terror … frozen in a way where he appeared to be facing a horrific fate worse than death .. The ghost bride drifted down the aisle. She no longer resembled a decaying corpse - Her face now shone with the beauty she had possessed before this all began. Before she murdered her fiance … before the curse was put upon her. She would marry this man of flesh, complete her task, break the curse put upon her, and free herself from the bonds of this dreadful house.
Ox turned toward her .. still floating, still with the look of terror upon his face. The Ghost Bride seemed not to notice. She smiled lovingly and confidently … She was finally going to have her day ...
The words which bound a husband and wife together drifted across the room from an invisible master of ceremonies, and once completed, the ghost bride leaned forward to kiss her new (albeit unwilling) husband. As their lips drew closer together, again the house began to fill with brilliant light and energy. The hot wind blew again, and debris from all over began to swirl around the chapel. At last their lips touched, and the light grew hot and bright … spreading throughout the house.
In the basement, father Reinhart screamed in terror …He knew what a miserable life he had led, but even HE wasn't prepared for what he was facing when he saw the other side .. The look of terror on his face was truly awful. Father Rhinehardt did NOT have a good end.
Madam Zostra fared better, but still, she felt great sadness that she hadn't been able to save the boy, or Ox, or the girl … or even father Rhinehardt. As her and Rhinehardt's bodies disintegrated into nothingness, she accepted her fate and continued toward the afterlife … her final thoughts being that she wished she had been able to finish what she had begun ..
And in the back of the Chapel, as Jenny witnessed the end of Ox, the end of her life … and the end of everything she ever knew. Tears formed in her eyes. Not for herself, but for the bride. Weddings always made Jenny cry.
Outside, the faint light that had been visible within the house grew dim. The howling wind ceased, and an eerie calm settled upon the land. And so the house on the hill became still once again … awaiting it's next group of victims.
submitted by thevidguy007 to writers [link] [comments]


2016.05.01 07:36 Sophus_Lie In Westminster Abbey...

A poem by John Betjeman that I took a liking to.
Let me take this other glove off As the vox humana swells, And the beauteous fields of Eden Bask beneath the Abbey bells. Here, where England's statesmen lie, Listen to a lady's cry.
Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans, Spare their women for Thy Sake, And if that is not too easy We will pardon Thy Mistake. But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be, Don't let anyone bomb me.
Keep our Empire undismembered Guide our Forces by Thy Hand, Gallant blacks from far Jamaica, Honduras and Togoland; Protect them Lord in all their fights, And, even more, protect the whites.
Think of what our Nation stands for, Books from Boots' and country lanes, Free speech, free passes, class distinction, Democracy and proper drains. Lord, put beneath Thy special care One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.
Although dear Lord I am a sinner, I have done no major crime; Now I'll come to Evening Service Whensoever I have the time. So, Lord, reserve for me a crown, And do not let my shares go down.
I will labour for Thy Kingdom, Help our lads to win the war, Send white feathers to the cowards Join the Women's Army Corps, Then wash the steps around Thy Throne In the Eternal Safety Zone.
Now I feel a little better, What a treat to hear Thy Word, Where the bones of leading statesmen Have so often been interr'd. And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait Because I have a luncheon date.
submitted by Sophus_Lie to Christianity [link] [comments]


2015.07.30 07:23 Naldoon Male unsure on kids - wants marriage, Female doesn't want more and no marriage

Hello all!
First let me say thank you for your time. I need some suggestions and directions. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Let me first apologize for my terrible writing and spelling. It is not my strong suit. I'm better with virbal interration.
Now, on to my issue.
I am 32 male. Single. Never married. No kids. She is 33 female. Never married. 1 child she gave up for adoption 13 years ago and she is currently has an 11 year old son.
Her and I have been dating. Early on, she had made multiple comments about how she does not want anymore kids. She does not want anymore. Her son would say he would like a brother and she would decline. After her constantly making this statement, I had then asked her if she ment it. At that time she didn't seem complete. I took this as her defensive position.
Then, one day, she was quiet emotional (that time of the month) and very aggressively told me that she does not ever want to get married or have children ever. That if I want kids or any of that, that she is not the girl for me. She stated that she NEVER wanted to have kids EVER. But she did. Gave one up to adoption and that has torn her apart and she has never been the same. She then had current son. She stated that she had considered getting her tubes tied after he was born. I took this very seriously. I explained to her that I am unsure that I want kids. I am still young, she is still young. Of coarse I did ask her, then why didn't you have your tubes tied? She stated she does not know, and I am thinking there has to be a reason. I do not like the idea of having that door closed yet. I told her that I seriously need to think and consider this. I had then spent the rest of the day thinking about this issue. What did I decide?
I told her it's too early on in the relationship to be deciding such a thing. She is the one speaking in such final terms. I told her, lets enjoy our relationship now and lets reapproach the idea at a later time. I asked her, " are you telling me that you are 100% certain that you never want any more kids? Are you telling me, that if you were in the right relationship, with the right man, under the right circumstances, that there is still no way that you would?" She had stated that yes there could be a chance. I responded, "Okay then. I can work with that. So if right now you are 95% certain that you do not. Okay. Just keep it in mind, I can work with that. I just can't make a decision, closing the door on me never having kids. It's one thing if a girl was unable to have childen, but do have that option simply closed just because...To have to give up ever having kids to be with you is crazy. Lets instead reapproach this issue later, maybe you might be at 90% and then maybe 85%. I can work with that. BUT, if you feel that you are moving more and more to the idea of NOT having kids, then we can make that decision together later." She absolutely agreed.
I also informed her that it won't be HER having a baby, being a single mother again, and doing everything on her own. She stated that she is used to that. She says she doesn't think she has the patients. I told her that if she doesn't have the patients, that is where I am supposed to step in. It would be US having a child as a team.
On the marriage issue. She does not ever want to get married. She said that she does not believe in marriage and finds it more romantic when a couple chooses to be together and grow old together and not because they have to. I told her that marriage to me isn't about having to be with someone, forced to, the piece of paper, nor religion. Marriage is about family. I would like to eventually refer to my other as my wife, and merely have them take my last name and being a family. That's it. I do not want to be a 45 year old male referring to my significant other as my girlfriend of 15 years. That's just sad. I also explained the benefits from marriage especially health and when one dies (Hence, the fight for gay marriage).
The marriage issue was not pressed further. I took it not too seriously, as when she was younger she was with her childs father and she bought a ring and she was going to press the marriage issue. So to me, she is saying such things as it is her default defense that she runs to right away.
SO WHAT HAPPENED? Our relationship continues. She appreciates all the effort and all of the things I do for her and her child. I'm active, I participate, I help around the house and she says that I am the best man, best partner that she has ever met or dated. Her child respects me more than any man that has ever been in her life (Including friends). She wants to grow old with me. She starts to browse rings and finds rings she likes and for her taste. Talk of the wedding and she thinks of brides maids dresses and what the groomsman should wear.
Of kids? She starts to say "IF" we have kids. This eventually moved onto "WHEN." I did point this out and inquired why the sudden shift? I had noticed this. She then states that my happiness is important to her and she wants to make me happy. I did express that I wouldn't want her to do this FOR me, but rather something we would do together.
Time continues and I start to make joking jabs about kids, her being pregnant and having a baby. However, she did ask if I was trying to get her prenant. I told her that I was not. I did ask what if we had an "Opps." She said she would keep it. I assured her I was not trying to, it's too soon and I do not want one right now. That much I definatly know for sure. I did point out that she is NOT on birth control. She cannot as they have given her medical issues and she can't. She stated that after 35 she will not HAVE kids. I just thought maybe get pregnant before 35. Then I thought we were in agreement on that.
Currently? Well, she got emotional again (that time of the month) and freaked out. She is now hard pressed of no kids and no marriage. I stress again on not now and my view on marriage. She then states, " Yeah, well, maybe I will be different and okay with it in 5 years." But she is back to the kids issue and delemna again.
So, we are supposed to speak more on it. My thought? She is getting scared. I'm the best man she had ever been with and it scares her and she is more vulnerable to get hurt. She does have walls and defenses that I have broken through. She trusts me very much. However, she is quick to throw them up and get herself into a defensable position once her emotions go sky high and she gets protective. Counter-point. If she ever was to have a kid, and an opps happened. Her tubes arent' tied. I am afraid with her high emotional moments she would blame me. Resent me. Resent our child. I would never dare want to have a child under that possibility.
The kicker. We have been together for 8 months. When to decide? What to do? I'm at a loss. Is she wanting to convince herself? She will resent me if she finds herself changing for me, just to try to be with me.
Chime in and tell me?
submitted by Naldoon to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2015.05.31 11:07 Seventh_Circle [VoG] [Hypothesis] The Vault of Glass as a recreation of the Labyrinth of Daedalus.

I have now officially run out of words. I'm going to need to start a new thread. Its a maze in itself trying to get to the bottom of all this. I'm going to have to add more headings, and try and trim items down to bare key sources.
I started out with a vague notion that the vault had been intentionally designed to be returned from because of the way the secret passages are laid out, and with the help of others, stumbled upon a completely different hypothesis, and now, that hypothesis is enourmous and spans multiple mythologies and cultures. It is about light and dark, two halves of an equation, where the journey between forms the background of the games world. It is a tale that has been told, at the macrocosm, in one guise or another, all the way through time right back to the first cities of men.
Best I can tell, the Vault of Glass was perhaps intended at some point, if not still is, a recreation of the Labyrinth of Daedalus. The raid itself is some form of allegory of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. There are more sources of reference than that within the Vault, but to keep things simple(r), I'm just going to focus my attention there for the moment. My hypothesis is we must find a way to escape the throne room, and then climb back up through each stage to escape the Labyrinth. Why? because the Vault bends over backwards to keep the route back sealed shut, and nothing draws attention like evasive actions. Theseus did, after all, escape a Labyrinth that was near impossible to escape, but as I'm finding out, things may not be as they appear.
Myth holds that Daedalus fled his home of Athens and designed for Minos, the King of Crete, a Labyrinth to house his son, the Minotaur. It was a trap of such cunning that barely even he was able to escape upon its completion. Minos, demanded from Athens a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens (either each year, or at nine year intervals, depending on the source) to be fed to the trapped Minotaur, those that entered the Labyrinth, either were eaten, or wandered lost until starvation, as once you had entered, you could not leave. After two such offerings, during the selection of the third, Theseus, the son of the King of Athens, joined the group to be sacrificed, heralding that on his successful return from slaying the Minotaur, his ship would be flying sails of pure white. Theseus did indeed kill the Minotaur, and then he managed to escape the Labyrinth with the aid of Ariadne's Thread, or in some versions the light of Ariadne's Crown.
My fascination with this topic comes from another reference within the myth of Theseus.
"Ægeus afterwards knowing her whom he had lain with to be Pittheus's Daughter, and guessing her to be with Child by him, he left a Sword and a pair of Shoes, hiding them under a great Stone that had a hollowness exactly fitting them, making Her only privy to it, and commanding her, that if she had a Son by him, who when he came to Man's estate shou'd be able to lift up the Stone, and take away what he had left there, she shou'd fend him away to him with those things with all secrecy, enjoining him as much as possible to conceal his Journey from all men". (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 67)
Where Theseus could not retreive a sword and boots, left to him by his father, until he had grown strong enough.
I am still piecing together much of what I am reading so I will slowly add below items of interest I find just in case it triggers a connection in someone's mind. I don't anticipate the answer will be in the myth verbatim, but it may give some clues, and I am starting to find some interesting connections. I will try to pull together all sources of reference together below in each category.
The Labyrinth of Daedalus
This is the most important one, and to me the most interesting. The myth surrounding the Labyrinth is a treacherous as the Labyrinth was itself. Over time, variations have been created, changes in interpretation, but the common theme through each is the Labyrinth was designed as a trap, by which I mean, you could get in, but you couldn't get out. The King of Crete, having been cursed by the gods for his arrogance so that his wife, Pasiphae, laid with a sacred bull (likely with the inventive help of Daedalus himself), and gave birth to a son that was half man, half beast.
"Minos resolves to remove the disgrace from his abode, and to enclose it in a habitation of many divisions, and an abode of mazes. Daedalus, a man very famed for his skill in Architecture, plans the work, and confounds the marks of distinction, and leads the eye into mazy wanderings, by the intricacy of it's various passages." (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII, Fable VI: 152-176)
"Daedalus fills the innumerable paths with windings; and scarcely can he himself return to the entrance, so great are the intricacies of the place... and when the difficult entrance, retraced by none of those who have entered before, has been found by the aid of the maiden, by means of the thread gathered up again." (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII, Fable VI: 152-176)
The problem I have with Ovid's interpretation here, is that he describes a maze. A maze is not a trap, the intent in it's design is different; with a maze the intent is to get to the centre, so you design the spaces around to prevent you from finding it (unicausal). Getting out of a maze is relatively easy, just keep following either the left or right hand wall on a continuous basis until you find the exit. Simple stuff, and the inescapable logic of this has resulted in a myth of mazes which alter and vary in random patterns to keep the return back disguised. If you don't have the technology to do this however, a Labyrinth, a trap, needs to be designed differently. With a Labyrinth, getting to the centre is easy, it is getting back that presents the challenge.
"Flying to Crete, he [Daedalus] was favourably received by Minos, who was then at war with the Athenians. He there built the Labyrinth, as Pliny the Eldar asserts, after the plan of that in Egypt, which is described by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Strabo. Philochorus, however, as quoted by Plutarch, says that it did not resemble the Labyrinth of Egypt, and that it was only a prison in which criminals were confined." Author comments (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII, Fable VI: 253-261)
The authors comments above regarding a Labyrinth in Egypt as precedent may not be completely off the mark. Herodotus and Strabo do indeed make reference to an Egyptian temple complex which some small evidence was found before being obliterated by a train line passing through it by the British Archaeologist Flinders Petrie, and Daedelus supposedly did spend a great deal of time in Egypt as the two nations traded with one another. In Egyptian culture, the development of a monolithic structure of caverns is not entirely unprecedented (he notes, tongue in cheek), and bears some semblance to both the cultural journey into the underworld which played a great role in Egyptian thinking, and also a more pragmatic approach as a defence against graverobbers from the riches buried with the Egyptian aristocracy. At a guess, it is likely that the development of an Egyptian Labyrinth was closely related to the temple designs for the Goddess Isis, which translated literally means 'throne'. In almost all depictions of the Labyrinth, there is a throne room in the centre, surrounded by a complex of interconnected rooms which certainly in the context of a temple, to the unfamiliar, might appear to be a maze, but are possibly little more than a natural process of spatial accretion.
The significance of this connection should not be underestimated. Tying the Myth of the Labyrinth, back to an earlier source of precedent that originated in Ancient Egypt may have had a greater influence on the game design than would appear on the surface. Isis (the God of motherhood, life, nature and magic), was consort to Osiris (the God of the underworld), and it is their relationship that forms the journey from one world to the next, a journey between two points. There is however some contention over the interpretation of 'underworld' in Egyptian mythology. All our knowledge of the Ancient Egyptian journey into the underworld comes from the varied and individually bespoke descriptions given in what has been collectively titled, the Book of the Dead.
"The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom (around 1550 BCE) to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as "Book of Coming Forth by Day". Another translation would be "Book of emerging forth into the Light". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead
A curious tangent. I am immediately reminded of the famous Milton quote given by David Fincher in the film Seven.
"Long is the way, And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light.". (Milton, Paradise Lost. Book II: 432-433)
Which, taking slightly further was based from the writings of Alighieri, where, according to Dante, there were seven terraces to be climbed which formed the realm of purgatory (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book II: Purgatorio), seven trials for the deceased to overcome before they could ascend to the light of the celestial spheres of heaven (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book III: Paradiso). A fun and interesting connection to make to the Vault.
Sticking with Milton and Paradise Lost for a moment also, I would note that the near heretical text tells the tale of Lucifer's rebellion against God, and eventual fall from Heaven, the impact of which creates the terraces and circles of hell deep into the ground. Milton's text is most likely allegorical of the rebellion of Oliver Cromwell against the God given Divine Right to rule of the English Monarchy, where Lucifer is portrayed as a hero of sorts seeking freedom against a tyrant.
"Lucifer (/ˈlʲuːsɪfə lew-sif-ər) is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlêl or heylel, occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible and according to the KJV-influenced Strong's Concordance means "shining one, morning star". The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which translates הֵילֵל as lucifer,[Isa 14:12] meaning "the morning star, the planet Venus", or, as an adjective, "light-bringing". The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally "bringer of dawn", for the morning star." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer
"Vergil's Aeneas is guided to Latium by Venus in her heavenly form, the morning star, shining brightly" http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_(mythology)
I'm not sure that any of this in anyway has anything to do with the Vault, but I think it important we are aware of the associations and context in which we are blindly fumbling about in, especially as I start to look a little more deeply into the history of Bacchus. He's one straaaaange cat...
Returning back to Egyptian Mythology, some authors have speculated on the idea that afterlife for the Egyptians is in some way connected to the stars as the realm of the gods, I need to find some references before I explore this further, I have no idea, so for now, the Book of the Dead chronicled the path to the underworld Duat, and to final judgement by Osiris (trial by the weighing of the heart against a feather), and provided spells along the way to aid the traveller in his journey.
"The path to the afterlife as laid out in the Book of the Dead was a difficult one. The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds guarded by supernatural creatures." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead
A familiar set of trials we can observe, and perhaps a more comprehensive analysis later may yield yet further clues, but in consideration to the connection to the Myth of the Labyrinth, the Egyptian Path to the Underworld (or to the stars), inspired by their beliefs, and made manifest within the spatial organisation of temples and tombs, would most likely have been passed on to Daedalus -perhaps unwittingly- if he did indeed use them as precedent as Pliny the Eldar asserts (bearing in mind at this stage that the Egyptians were not the first civilisation of man, for that we will need to look at Mesopotamia and the Summarians).
There are two likely locations to the proposed Labyrinth of Daedalus. The most likely, is the Palace at Knossos, but there is also a complex winding cave system in the municipality of Gortyn, both of which lie in Crete. The City of Knossos was excavated by the British Archaeologist Arthur Evans, who discovered remains of a large temple structure, and certainly from the plans I have found, the complex is undeniably complex. Whilst there is significant evidence of an earthquake around 500 years ago that collapsed most of it, Evans team did discover steps roughly 30 feet into the ground, and evidence of neolithic vaults beneath the temple in addition to many artifacts bearing either the familiar symbol of the Labyrinth, or the symbol of the Labrys, a dual headed axe used in the ceremonial sacrifice of bulls. (N.B. The artifacts such as coins appear to be Roman in origin, probably meaning Evan's discovered that the Roman's thought they had discovered the Labyrinth).
"Palaephatus, however, says that Theseus fought in a Cavern, where the son of Taurus had been confined." Author comments (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII, Fable VI: 183-189)
This would suggest that the Caves of Gortyn are the more likely location, however Plutarch does note:
"he [Theseus] arriv'd at Cnossus (the city of the Kings Residence) before any notice of his coming could be receive'd; and joining battle before the Gates of the Labyrinth, he put Deucalion [son of Minos, and King] and all his guards to the sword. The Government by this means falling to Ariadne, he made league with her". (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 87)
Pointing us back then at Knossos, as well as providing a hint at some form of significant change of power, or overturning of an established regime instigated by Theseus.
"From an archaeological point of view, the terms, "Knossos," and "palace," are somewhat ambiguous. The palace was never just the residence of a monarch, although it contained rooms that might have been suitable for a royal family. Most of the structures, however, were designed to serve a civic, religious and economic center. The term palace complex is more accurate. In ancient times, Knossos was a town surrounding and including Kephala Hill...The palace has an interesting layout... The 1,300 rooms are connected with corridors of varying sizes and direction, which differ from other contemporaneous palaces that connected the rooms via several main hallways... It appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and storerooms close to a central square." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knossos
It is a curious thought to imagine the popular interpretation of what the Labyrinth was, may in some way have been confused with the complex of Knossos itself, perhaps due to later occupation by the Romans long after the original inhabitants, the Minoans, had abandoned the city, presumably due to some form of natural disaster. Perhaps the Labyrinth was a prison complex located beneath the city after all, it wouldn't be the first time this has been done. Another curious thought also.
"The complex was constructed ultimately around a raised Central Court on the top of Kephala Hill... About 5 km (3.1 mi) to the north of the palace complex is the sea at the Port of Heraklion. Directly to the south is Vlychia Stream, an east-west tributary of the north-south Kairatos River. Kephala Hill is an isolated hill at the confluence." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knossos
"In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. Also known as a conflux" http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confluence
Now, imagine my surprise at stumbling across this little nugget. The Labyrinth of Dadalus was likely located at an actual geological conflux/confluence. Up to this point I had assumed the reference had been solely related to two oceans of time, past and future, converging at the present, and whilst probably coincidence, is certainly a convenient one.
At this stage, having found so many inticing threads to Knossos, you can imagine my excitement as I turned my attention to the throne room, was there some little clue to be found, could I see something in its layout which would help?... Could I buggery. Apart from a reference to an antichamber, I can see little resemblance to the Vault, and it is certainly about as far away from the concept of 'cavern' as you are ever likely to get. If there is a clue to be found, I doubt very much it is here. So I need to look somewhere else for inspiration.
Theseus and the Minotaur
This is the important one, but I've run out of words. I'll start a new thread after I've finished the underworld one.
"Oppressed with famine, and seeing the enemy at their gates, the Athenians went to consult the Oracle at Delphi; and were answered, that to be delivered from their calamities, they must give satisfaction to Minos. They immediately sent ambassadors to him, humbly suing for peace, which he granted them, on condition that each year, according to Apollodorus and Diodorus Siculus, or every nine years according to Plutarch and Ovid, they should send him seven young men, and as many virgins." Author comments (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII: 176-182)
"The earliest account of the origin of the Delphic oracle is provided in the Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo, which recent scholarship dates within a narrow range, ca. 580–570 BC. It describes in detail how Apollo chose his first priests, whom he selected in their "swift ship"; they were "Cretans from Minos' city of Knossos" who were voyaging to sandy Pylos. But Apollo, who had Delphinios as one of his cult epithets, leapt into the ship in the form of a dolphin (delphys", gen. "delphinos). Dolphin-Apollo revealed himself to the terrified Cretans, and bade them follow him up to the "place where you will have rich offerings". The Cretans "danced in time and followed"... There are also many later stories of the origins of the Delphic Oracle. One late explanation, which is first related by the 1st century BC writer, Diodorus Siculus, tells of a goat herder named Coretas, who noticed one day that one of his goats, who fell into a crack in the earth, was behaving strangely. On entering the chasm, he found himself filled with a divine presence and could see outside of the present into the past and the future". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythia
Interestingly, but probably unrelated, in the cartoon series Ulysses 31, episode 22, the part of Coretas, is replaced with Coretex, which from the description is a tyrannical computer who rules over a planet of machines.
Ariadne, Bacchus and the concept of the underworld
Ariadne plays a significant part in the Myth. In the predominant telling of the tale, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus, and went to the imprisoned Daedalus and asked for his help so that Theseus might return from the Labyrinth. Daedalus provided the idea of Ariadne's Thread which Theseus used to return once he had slain the beast. Theseus then fled Crete with Ariadne, but abandoned her on the Isle of Naxos. She was rescued by Bacchus, and was given a crown as a wedding gift.
One important variation of Ariadne's story though which I have found only one reference to so far, describes Ariadne's death at the hands of Perseus, by means of the head of Medusa, the Gorgon, by being turned to stone.
"[Perseus, king of Argos, battles the armies of Dionysos:] He [Perseus] shook in his hand the deadly face of Medousa [i.e. the decapitated head of the Gorgon Medusa], and turned armed Ariadne into stone. Bakkhos [Dionysos] was even more furious when he saw his bride all stone." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 665)
I've not found the primary reference for this yet so I can put it in context, but I have found a few other other bits which have some interesting connections. It seems there are two lives of Ariadne, the first is of her mortal life as the daughter of Minos and saviour of Theseus, the second is of her life as a Goddess and wife to Bacchus, and there are many descriptions which ally her closely with Venus herself. Regarding the death of Ariadne at the hands of Perseus, I also found this.
"Nonnus appreciates the nice balance between Perseus and Dionysus [Bacchus] as adversaries: both are sons of Zeus by mortal women; Dionysus was born in the fire of Zeus' thunderbolts, whereas Perseus was sired by Zeus in the form of golden rain; Dionysus turned a Tyrrhenian ship to stone, whereas Perseus turned the sea monster to stone; Dionysus rescused Ariadne, whereas Perseus rescued Andromeda". (Ogden, Perseus: 31)
Bacchus has become an ever increasing subject of interest to me. Bacchus was the Roman name for the God Dionysus, and he is something of a mystery, on the surface being tied to wine-making, theatre, intoxication, merry-making and such like, but at a deeper level being referred to by Wikipedia as the God of Epiphany, or the patron of the outsider, or those that just don't fit within conventional society. There is a much darker side to this god, where in ancient Rome, he was associated with the Dionysian Mysteries, cults and secretive covens which via reference to Ariadne and the Minotaur, embraced the bestial side of human nature in elaborate secret masked rights. There is also some form of connection to Iacchus of the Eleusinian Mysteries. In any version of Ariadne's tale involving her assention to god status, it was Bacchus, that gave the gift of Ariadne's Crown as a wedding gift, but the timing of this wedding varies from one account to the next.
"Liber [Dionysos] received permission from his father [Zeus] to bring back his mother Semele from the lower world, and in seeking a place of descent had come to the land of the Argives, a certain Hyplipnus met him, a man worthy of that generation, who was to show the entrance to Liber [Dionysos] in answer to his request … So then, when Liber [Dionysos] came to that place and was about to descend, he left the crown, which he had received as a gift from Venus [Aphrodite], at that place which in consequence is called Stephanos, for he was unwilling to take it with him for fear the immortal gift of the gods would be contaminated by contact with the dead. When he brought his mother back unharmed, he is said to have placed the crown in the stars as an everlasting memorial." (Hyginus, Astronomica: 2.5)
How this relates to Ariadne is anyone guess, but shows that Bacchus has taken a trip into the underworld and returned, and there is a strong link between Venus and the Crown of Ariadne. An interesting connection, just like this one...
"The resemblance which his [Bacchus'] story and his ceremonies present to those of Osiris have led some enquirers both in ancient and modern times to hold that Dionysus was merely a disguised Osiris imported to Greece". (Frazer, The Golden Bough: 344)
And another...
"A feature in the mythical character of Dionysus, which at first sight appears inconsistent with his nature as a deity of vegetation, is that he was often conceived and represented in animal shape, especially in the form, or at least with the horns, of a bull. Thus he is spoken of as “cow-born,” “bull,” “bull-shaped,” “bull-faced,” “bullbrowed,” “bull-horned,” “horn-bearing,” “two-horned,” “horned.” He was believed to appear, at least occasionally, as a bull." (Frazer, The Golden Bough: 346)
Whether this revelation originated with the Labyrinth, or whether it is an earlier connection to the god is something which needs to be explored.
"In Egypt, the bull was worshiped as Apis, the embodiment of Ptah and later of Osiris" http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_(mythology)
And so the plot becomes a little more complex as we find a thread that sends us flying back through cultures.
"So I decended from the first enclosure down to the second circle, that which girdles less space, but grief more great, that goads to weeping. There dreadful Minos stands, gnashing his teeth: Examining the sins of those who enter, he judges and assigns as his tail twines". (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book I: Canto V: 1-6)
Here is Dante, describing Minos as a judge of the deceased, so in essence, performing the same role as Osiris. Dante wasn't stupid, if there actually was no real Labyrinth, then the myth of Bacchus decending into the underworld may have been the foundation upon which the Myth started in the first place. The more you look at it, the harder to define the roles become; and just to throw a little extra into the mix...
"...down to the plain, the rock is shattered so that it permits a path for those above: such was the passage down to that ravine. And at the edge above the cracked abyss, there lay outstretched the infamy of Crete [Minotaur], conceived within the counterfeited cow; and, catching sight of us, he bit himself, like one whom fury devastates within. Turning to him, my sage cried out: "Perhaps you think this is the Duke of Athens [Theseus] here, who, in the world above, brought you your death. Be off, you beast; this man who comes has not been tutored by your sister [Ariadne]“. (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book I: Canto XII: 8-20)
Here Dante makes a direct reference to the Myth of the Labyrinth, where the gatekeeper into the -coincidentally- seventh circle of hell is the Minotaur. Dantes story is one of a journey and return to the underworld, and this reference is not accidental, so from there, I started to look a little closer at other myths.
"Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. Ereshkigal was also a queen that many gods and goddesses looked up to in the underworld... According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead...
...One of these myths is Inanna's descent to the netherworld and her reception by her sister who presides over it; Ereshkigal traps her sister in her kingdom and Inanna is only able to leave it by sacrificing her husband Dumuzi in exchange for herself... It is theorized that the story of Inanna's descent is told to illustrate the possibility of an escape from the netherworld". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ereshkigal
"Inanna was associated with the planet Venus, which at that time was regarded as two stars, the "morning star" and the "evening star."... Venus is visible only when it rises in the East before sunrise, or when it sets in the West after sunset... Inanna's Descent to the Underworld explains how Inanna is able to, unlike any other deity, descend into the netherworld and return to the heavens. The planet Venus appears to make a similar descent, setting in the West and then rising again in the East." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inanna
So, this underpinning concept to the Vault may be more fundamental than would appear at first glance. Take a look at following, and start tracing the connections.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descent_to_the_underworld
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katabasis
Dinklebot does refer to the Vault as a 'Vex underworld', so simple when you make the connection. All good fun... now back to Ariadne.
"There are yet many reports about these things, and as many concerning Ariadne, but none of any certainty or truth. For some relate that she hang'd herself, being deserted by Theseus. Others, that she was carried away by his sailors to the Isle of Naxos, and married to Onarus, one of the priests of Bacchus; and that Theseus left her, because he fell in love with another." (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 87)
No kidding Plutarch, cheers for the help. Some other comments which caught my eye.
"Paeon the Amuthusian, who has set forth a different relation of it, which has something very peculiar in it. For he writes, that Theseus, being driven by a storm upon the Ilse of Cypros, and having aboard with him Ariadne, big with child, and extremely discompos'd with the rolling of the sea, set her on shore, and left her there alone in that weak condition, to return to help the ship; where, on a sudden, by a violent wind, he was forced out to sea". (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 88)
"She dy'd in child-bed before she could be delivered, and was by them honourably interr'd. That soon after Theseus return'd, and was greatly afflicted for her loss, and after his departure left a considerable sum of money among those of the island, ordering them to sacrifice and pay divine honour to Ariadne... and that the Amathusians call the grove in which they shew her tomb, the Grove of Venus Ariadne". (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 89)
"Theseus, in his return from Crete, put in at Delos, and having sacrificed to the god of the island, and dedicated to the temple the Image of Venus which Ariadne had given to him, he danc'd with the young Athenians a dance, that, in memory of him, is still preserv'd among the inhabitants of Delos, which in a certain order had turnings and returnings, that imitated the intricate windings of the Labyrinth." (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 90)
"This Image or Statue was of wood carved by Daedalus, who made a present of it to Ariadne." Author comments (Plutarch, Vita (Lives): 90)
You the man Daedalus. Nice moves. Speaking of moves, I wish someone would clue me in on the joke about dancing...
"And the famous lame god elaborated a dancing floor on it, like the dancing floor which once Daidalos built in the broad space of Knosos for the lovely haired Ariadne". (Homer, Ilyad. Book 18: 590-592)
So she had lovely hair eh... interesting, but not as interesting as this...
"Similar cults of resurrected gods appear in the Near East and Egypt in the cults of Attis, Adonis and Osiris, In Minoan Crete, the "divine child" was related to the female vegetation divinity Ariadne who died every year. The Minoan religion had its own characteristics. The cult was aniconic, the principal deities were female, and they appeared in epiphany called chiefly by ecstatic sacral dances... The most peculiar feature of the Minoan belief in the divine, is the appearance of the goddess from above in the dance. Dance floors have been discovered in addition to "vaulted tombs"... the name Ariadne (derived from ἁγνή, hagne, "pure"), was an euphemistical name given by the Greeks to the nameless "Mistress of the labyrinth" who appears in a Mycenean Greek inscription from Knossos in Crete... Despoina and "Hagne" were probably euphemistic surnames of Persephone, therefore he theorizes that the cult of Persephone was the continuation of the worship of a Minoan Great goddess. The labyrinth was both a winding dance-ground and, in the Greek view, a prison with the dreaded Minotaur at its centre". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persephone
And the reason I found this...
"On Pirithous' behalf they [Theseus and Pirithous] travelled to the underworld, domain of Persephone and her husband, Hades. As they wandered through the outskirts of Tartarus, Theseus sat down to rest on a rock. As he did so he felt his limbs change and grow stiff. He tried to rise but could not. He was fixed to the rock on which he sat. Then, as he turned to cry out to his friend Pirithous, he saw that he himself was crying out too. Around him was standing the terrible band of Furies with snakes in their hair, torches and long whips in their hands. Before these monsters the hero's courage failed and by them he was led away to eternal punishment... For many months in half darkness, Theseus sat immovably fixed to the rock, mourning both for his friend and for himself. In the end he was rescued by Heracles who had come down to the underworld for his 12th task. There he persuaded Persephone to forgive him for the part he had taken in the rash venture of Pirithous. So Theseus was restored to the upper air but Pirithous never left the kingdom of the dead, for when he tried to free Pirithous, the Underworld shook". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theseus#The_abduction_of_Persephone_and_encounter_with_Hades
So Theseus also has decended into the underworld to rescue Persephone and returned. Let us finish this thread with one last Dante quote.
"Where at one single point, there suddenly stood three infernal Furies flecked with blood, who had the limbs of women and their ways but wore, as girdles, snakes of the deepest green; small serpents and horned vipers formed their hairs... Each Fury tore her breast with taloned nails; each, with her palms, beat on herself and wailed so loud that I, in fear, drew near the poet [virgil]. "Just let Medusa come; then we shall turn him to stone," they all cried, looking down; "we should have punished Theseus' assault." "Turn round and keep your eyes shut fast, for should the Gorgon show herself and you behold her, never again would you return above". (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book I: Canto IX: 37-57)
Alright... Just one more...
"About the Gates [to the City of Dis] I saw more than a thousand who once had rained from Heaven, and they cried in anger: "Who is this who, without death, can journey through the Kingdom of the dead?"... Let him return alone on his mad road, or try to if he can... To me he added: "You -though I am vexed- must not be daunted; I shall win this contest, whoever tries -within- to block our way". (Alighieri, The Divine Comedy. Book I: Canto VIII: 82-123)
Ariadne's Thread
An immediate item of interest as in the most predominant telling of the escape of Theseus it was the means by which he found a path back out of the Labyrinth. It may not be as it appears though.
"His delivery by Ariadne, through her giving him the thread, is probably a poetical method of informing us that she gave her lover the plan of the Labyrinth where he was confined, that he might know it's windings and the passage out. Eustathius, indeed says that Ariadne received a thread from Daedalus; but he must mean a plan of the Labyrinth, which he himself designed." Author comments (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII: 183-189)
We don't have one of these... but there is another way to interpret this item. It was only through following up the story of Ariadne, the thread of Ariadne's life, that I was able to draw a connection to the journey into the underworld. Assuming the Labyrinth was never a real creation, the myth of Ariadne provides us with an important missing link - Will Durant refers to the Minoan people as the first link in the European Chain- as we spiral ever further backwards in time, ever further towards finding the source of the Myth. Daedalus' Labyrinth may well be a simple reference to the myth itself, or alternatively may be some corruption of another right, ritual or religious practice.
Ariadne's Crown
Ariadne's crown is a surprise subject of interest. Again, the myth is confused, some identifying it as a means with which Theseus escaped the Labyrinth, others relating it as a gift when Ariadne ascended to become a deity.
"The Crown of Ariadne was made a constellation between those of Hercules and Ophiuchus. Some writers say that the crown was given by Bacchus to Ariadne as a marriage present; whilst others state it was made by Vulcan of gold and Indian jewels, by the light of which Theseus was aided in his escape from the Labyrinth, and then afterwards presented to Ariadne". Author comments. (Ovid, The Metamorphoses. Book VIII: 176-182)
"By reason of the crime of Theseus was Ariadne made a Goddess." (Ovid, The Fasti. Book III: 457-475)
"Together [Bacchus to Ariadne], let us seek the heights of Heaven, united to me in wedlock, thou shalt take a united epithet. Henceforth, thy name altered shall be Libera [freedom]. I will cause too, that with thee there shall be a memorial of thy crown, which Vulcan [red] gave to Venus [green], she to thee. He keeps his word, and transforms it's nine jewels into stars; by means of nine stars it still glitters in it's golden radiance." (Ovid, The Fasti. Book III: 501-520)
"Next to rise is Erigone [Virgo]. When you behold her ascending with five degrees wrested from the sea, there will emerge from the waves the bright memorial of what was once [in her lifetime] Ariadne's Crown." (Manilius, Astronomica. Book V: 321)
"A Knossian didrachm exhibits on one side the labyrinth, on the other the Minotaur surrounded by a semicircle of small balls, probably intended for stars; one of the monster's names was Asterion ("star")." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minotaur
"Corona Borealis /kɵˈroʊnə bɒriˈælɨs/ is a small constellation in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere. It is one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations. Its brightest stars form a semicircular arc. Its Latin name, inspired by its shape, means "northern crown". In classical mythology Corona Borealis generally represented the crown given by the god Dionysus to the Cretan princess Ariadne and set by him in the heavens". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_Borealis
"The seven stars that make up the constellation's distinctive crown-shaped pattern are all 4th-magnitude stars except for the brightest of them, Alpha Coronae Borealis. The other six stars are Theta, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Iota Coronae Borealis". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_Borealis
"Chinese astronomers deemed nine stars to make up the asterism, adding Pi and Rho Coronae Borealis. Within the constellation's borders, there are 37 stars brighter than or equal to apparent magnitude 6.5." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_Borealis Borealis
"The Sumerians envisioned the universe as a closed dome surrounded by a primordial saltwater sea. Underneath the terrestrial earth, which formed the base of the dome, existed an underworld and a freshwater ocean called the Apsû. The deity of the dome-shaped firmament was named An; the earth was named Ki. First the underground world was believed to be an extension of the goddess Ki, but later developed into the concept of Kigal. The primordial saltwater sea was named Nammu, who became known as Tiamat during and after the Sumerian Renaissance." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_religion
"In Mesopotamian Religion (Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian and Babylonian), Tiamat is the symbol of the chaos of primordial creation, depicted as a woman, she represents both the beauty of the feminine, depicted as the glistening one, and she is a primordial goddess of the ocean". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiamat
"In Sumerian mythology, Anu (also An; from Sumerian 𒀭 An, "sky, heaven") was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as soldiers to destroy the wicked. His attribute was the royal tiara." http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anu
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