Posts Tagged ‘X’

Xenopus

April 27, 2018

“And then the little girl says ‘No, what did it look like before it died?” Melissa said. “And then the guy goes” Then she made a great show of looking surprised and then she burst out laughing. I heard myself laughing but I know that it was not real. The joke was not all that funny and I was distracted. I was out of my element and more than a little uncomfortable.

I slowly cut into the steak in front of me and pushed each forkful into my mouth one by one. It was probably fine but I was used to a mouth full of earthworm instead. I thought of the delicious variety of worms that I had enjoyed at lunch which had been far superior to the steak. I understood that I was in the minority in that opinion. I knew very well that most would shake their head at me with a gentle yet smug smile and tell me that I would figure it out eventually. ‘You’ll see’ they might say as if I did not know myself.

“Do you get it?” Melissa asked. She looked expectantly at me and I smiled back at her.

“Yeah,” I said while nodding. “I got it. Very funny.”

It is not that Melissa was a bad person or that I did not enjoy her company. In another world, she could be my friend and I would definitely enjoy that. However, it was really the pressure of the situation. I was expected to be here. Not specifically the restaurant but specifically on a date. Which was weird because I did not want to be on a date. Yet here I was, talking to a perfectly nice person about perfectly nice things. All the time I was thinking about how I wished I was back home in the water, swimming around. The chair was uncomfortable and I felt dry.

“Is anything wrong?” Melissa asked. “You’ve been really quiet.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m just not used to this fork and knife thing. I usually shove things in my mouth with my claws, you know?”

“Oh,” Melissa said. She blinked and looked back at her food, suddenly finding her salad very interesting.

This date was a setup. I could not believe that I had gone along with this. When Raina had suggested that I go out with her friend from work, I shrugged and tried to move to a different subject. She never got the clue and persisted to bug me about it. I could not shake her no matter what excuse I made and finally, I had been forced to give in. If I told her that I Was content, she probably would have shaken her head and told me that I was just being shy. Nobody wanted to believe that a guy could wake up alone and feel good about it. For the record, they did not believe a woman could do the same.

“So,” Melissa said. “Do you watch Blue Bloods?”

“What?” I asked. “Um, no, I don’t have a television. It’s a bit difficult with all of the water.”

“Oh,” Melissa said. She was clearly disappointed.

“What’s it about?” I asked, not wanting to take the air out of her balloon yet again.

“Oh!” Melissa said with a smile. “It’s about a family of cops and one lawyer. They fight crime and deal with family stuff.”

“Well, I can approve of fighting crime for sure,” I said. She did not immediately chuckle at that softball so I blurted out. “I had an uncle who was a lawyer.”

“Cool,” she said, clearly uninterested. “Do you get out to watch movies ever?”

“It’s hard to get out of the stream, really,” I said. “This is the longest I’ve been out of water for a while.”

“So have you seen any movies?” She asked, her opinion of me clearly falling lower every second.

I shrugged. “I’ve seen Die Hard.”

She laughed. “That doesn’t count. Everybody has seen Die Hard.”

I nodded and smiled, feeling like a complete jackass. Obviously, I had just failed some test. I searched my mind for something to talk about with this girl. She deserved pleasant conversation at a minimum. I was definitely failing at that task. I thought about every topic I was even remotely knowledgeable about and nothing seemed like it would be up Melissa’s alley. She was approaching something ‘normal’ which was a bit frightening to me. I am anything but normal. I am a freak. I am broken.

“This is a bad date, huh?” She asked. She smiled at me in a way that inspired honesty.

“Yeah, uh, it’s pretty bad,” I said. I tried to smile to soften the blow.

“Sorry,” Melissa said. “I made all the decisions for this date and now you’re not having any fun.”

“It’s not your fault,” I said. “I think it might be my fault a little bit. I didn’t want to come out and I did anyway. Maybe nobody’s at fault. We can’t blame Raina, for sure.”

“She’s great,” Melissa said.

“She really is,” I said.

“Do you have a thing for Raina?” Melissa asked as if that would explain everything. If it were true, it would explain everything. It also would be pretty danged convenient and I would definitely not be in the position I had put myself.

“No,” I said. “I don’t have a thing for anybody. There’s nothing wrong with you. I just don’t want this.”

“Don’t want what?” Melissa asked. She looked as confused as I often felt.

“Dates,” I said. “A girlfriend. A boyfriend. A significant other. To impress anyone.”

“Wow,” she said. “That’s really weird.”

“Tell me about it,” I said. “Are you going to tell me that I’m wrong.”

“No,” She said. “I don’t get it but I guess I get it.” She shrugged.

“Thank you,” I said. “Can I drive you home?”

“No,” She said. “I’ll just take the bus.”

I nodded. “Okay. Sorry.”

She nodded in return and walked out.

Advertisements

X Marks the Spot

April 28, 2017

The sand had been easy enough to get through. The dirt was a bit harder. I left most of the digging to Macan. That is one of the perks of being the captain of the ship. You do not have to dig if you do not want to. I still took a turn because that sort of thing is good for morale. Besides, I need a good workout now and then and it had been a while since the last good sword fight. It looked like my turn just might have been the last turn as my shovel hit something hard. The symbols above had indicated that something important was buried here. Pirates and buried treasure seemed a little too on the nose but I was not about to complain. Treasure is treasure.

“Agatha!” I called up. “I don’t really want to dent whatever this is any further. Could you bring up a little wind to clear off what I probably just dented?”

There was no verbal response. Instead, the air started to swirl around me and I covered my eyes, nose, and mouth as best I could. Agatha was a powerful sorcerer but she did not disobey orders even if it meant playfully taking the order a little too literally. The wind picked up and dirt and sand rushed out of the deep hole I was standing in and it did not feel great against my skin. I was tough and I was pretty sure I would survive. When the wind died down, I coughed a little and looked down.

There was a long flat box sticking halfway out of the dirt which intrigued me. Supposedly there were charms and artifacts that would draw out and amplify the powers and abilities of those who obtained them. That is why we had come to the Othersea and whatever was in the box might be the first step in making my small crew the most formidable crew around. I touched the box and I felt the hairs on my arm rise and I shivered a little.

“Throw down a rope!” I called up. When the end of the rope came down, I tied it to a ring on the box. “Macan! Pull the rope!” I called out and I started to scramble out of the hole. As I reached the surface, Macan was grabbing the rope and he pulled hard. I watched as the box shot up to the surface and fell with a thud in the sand. Everybody was instantly crowding around the box but I elbowed my way to the front of the crowd as only somebody in charge can do.

Hooded Kartha was standing next to me. Her robes were encrusted with salt and seaweed and all sorts of bits of nature. She was wise beyond her young years and I valued her counsel. “What do you think it is, Captain?”

“I can only guess,” I answered. “I feel its magic. Can you detect any?”

There was a shiver of magic in the air and Kartha’s barely visible eyes went white for a moment. “There is powerful magic at play but it is in the box. The box, while pretty, is just a container. It is safe to open.”

I knelt down in the sand and smoothed my hands over the box and I felt both the thrill of discovery and something else. I felt the strong magic that Kartha spoke of as well. My excitement reached its peak as I flipped the latches one by one. I gripped the lid and I opened it. Inside was a large sword and I could feel my heart thudding in my chest. There were murmurs from the crew behind me. The clear consensus that this one was for me. I found it hard to argue that point.

I gripped the blade’s handle and mysteriously it began to shrink. It quickly reformed itself into a copy of the soldier’s rapier that I already wore at my side. There were gasps from behind me and I admit that although I was expecting magic, I was not expecting that. I swung the sword around a bit and it felt really good. It felt faster and smoother than any sword I had ever held in my hand. I had held a lot of swords over the years.

“What do you think, Captain?” Oni asked. I turned and saw a very curious crew and I felt myself smiling, not realizing when the smile had started.

“It’s powerful. It’s fast. Once I get used to it, I think I could be even more unbeatable.” I said with a smirk. You can only call it cocky if you cannot back it up. I can back it up. “I just wish it was a little sturdier, a little stronger.” And just like that, the sword transformed into a two-handed claymore. “Nevermind, it’s a magical shape changing sword.”

“Wow,” Oni said. “So what now?”

“We keep searching,” I said. I grabbed up the sword’s sheath and slid the sword into it and slung it over my shoulder. “The tools to conquer the seas are here and we will find one for everybody.”

Real X-Files

April 28, 2016

Alright, I am not going full conspiracy theory on you today. I am also not talking to you about the X-Files television show. I loved the X-Files back when it was first on but my attitude has somewhat cooled on it after too many years and a really bad movie. I have yet to see the revival and I am not exactly itching to watch it the more I think about it. I have so many other things to watch that a return trip to Mulder’s basement office is not as appetizing as it once would have been. That is not what we are doing today. In the wake of X-Files returning and Ghostbusters coming up, let us talk briefly about the “real” paranormal investigators out there.

I loved Ghostbusters as a kid and one of the main reasons I loved it was that the main characters were scientists. Presumably, just about everything they did was backed by science and engineering and they were eventually able to prove that ghosts were real. I imagine a lot of the actual science was done offscreen because experimentation and the scientific method often takes a long time and can be a little tedious. An old roommate of mine was very much into the Ghost Adventures type of show. This was a show where the viewer follows the adventures of real-life plumbers who somehow decided they could investigate ghosts. There was no hard science involved and after several seasons, there was never a single ghost to show for it. Not to mention they go in as the most credulous people of all time so that every single sound throws them into fits.

On top of this, paranormal investigators are often not wanted or not permitted around supposedly haunted sights. Then, like this group, they end up accidentally damaging or actually destroying the historic home they were supposed to be investigating. By the way, I am sure marijuana and alcohol are really conducive to studying unexplained phenomena. I feel like we have the opposite problem from Mulder. It is not that nobody believes. The problem is that too many people believe or are willing to be tricked into believing without evidence. There is little to no regulation or oversight like there is for real scientific endeavors. Paranormal sciences are really appealing but they have yet to advance our species or help invent anything useful. All we have are interesting stories that we cannot prove are true.

I am not an unbeliever. I am a skeptic and I have been for a very long time now. I love a good ghost story and I do believe in investigating strange occurrences. However. anytime you go into a situation with a firm belief of the cause, you will most likely fail to find the real cause or at least misunderstand what is actually happening. If somebody proves the existence of ghosts, bigfoot or vampires here on Earth then I will be the first person on board. However, they have to prove it scientifically because I lived too many years without evidence of these things. Of course, I also have a vested interest in these things not existing because they sound terrifying. Only the future can tell and so far we are still living in an amazing but mundane world.

X’s Guide to the Paranormal – Water Shut-Off Valve

April 28, 2015

Emergency Shut-off of the Water System in Kedward Manor From time to time, the water system of Kedward Manor malfunctions. Pipes break or are broken by external forces seeking to sabotage any mortals within the manor. This is unavoidable as any and all attempts to protect the plumbing lead only to madness. For evidence please read entries on the Pappas family in the 1950’s especially Christopher and Deena Pappas.

Recommended practice for all homeowners or caretakers is to shut off the water and complete all repairs between the hours between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am on odd days of the month preferably on a full moon. This is when the mysterious forces are at their weakest, bound by ancient rituals performed before the town’s founding. When confronted by non-lethal ghostly forces, it is often best to go with the flow.

First Step: The Naiads

If the basement is flooded (and trust me it will be flooded), a tribe of fae creatures known as Naiads. It is the Caio tribe but most Naiads can be treated the same regardless of tribe unless you are dealing with the Jaio tribe but that is another matter entirely. Please see the entry on Naiads for more information. If you have not placated the Caio tribe before the emergency you will need to murder enough of them that the rest retreat. Before the next emergency, please consult Placating the Non-Human Residents of Kedward Manor entry as you should have done when maintenance of the Manor became your responsibility. You will eventually heal from the Naiad’s poison, the deafness will last a little longer.

Second Step: The Valve Itself

Once you have located the shut-off valve, you must firmly grip the handle and speak one of your well-guarded secrets aloud. Once this is done, the handle should move freely. If it does not, you may need to feed it your blood. It does not need to be a lot of blood but enough to unlock the mechanism. You’ll know when it’s enough.

Warning: If you are a werewolf, remember to wear gloves when operating the shut off valve. There are trace amounts of silver in the handle and raised runes designed to paralyze those who are branded by the sigils. If you are unsure whether or not you are a werewolf it is best to play it safe.

Third Step: The Ghost Water When the handle is pulled, the water in the Manor will be shut-off but it will trigger the flow of the ghost water. The ghost water is both there and not there but it will drown you the same as real water regardless. The ghost water will fill the maintenance chamber within three seconds once the shut-off valve is triggered. If you have not read this completely before starting the shut-off process then I hope your family mourns you. To ward off the ghost water please use the following hand signals:

Hand Signals

You must complete the hand signals in sequence while humming a pure B Flat. After you have done this, the ghost water will have receded and the water will be shut off. Feel free to complete any maintenance at the appointed times. To turn on the water: Flip the handle to the on position and offer a prayer to Poseidon.

*  *   *

(The following is out of character)

Apologies, WordPress mucked up my formatting so the first few people who saw this may have had problems reading this post.  In my job currently I am writing a guide for maintenance and repair of a 12 bedroom house.  This was written in response to that and obviously inspired by Welcome to Nightvalehttps://www.youtube.com/embed/SJoIwGeKs3A” target=”_blank”>Gravity Falls and Broodhollow.


Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist's Path

A space for creative seekers.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

Author Site for Damyanti Biswas

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

half a 1000 miles

cringeworthy (adj) -- causing feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment

kayrayiam

Adventures of a Gypsy Nurse with a Cryptic Past

Abbs Abroad

27 Months with a Maryland Girl in Senegal

Princess of Dragons

A world of imagination, writing and dragons

the eye of the beholder

(a place where beauty is found)

%d bloggers like this: