I think I've been to the future. (PART ONE)

2021.12.06 09:16 twocantherapper I think I've been to the future. (PART ONE)

Let's cross off the obvious questions you have. I didn't invent, find, or use a time machine. Nobody came back to summon me to fulfil a glorious destiny. Everything happened totally by accident, and to be honest part of the reason I'm writing this all down is to put the pieces together myself. To make sense of it a bit, you know?
It started when Bill (my husband) and I purchased this dusty old martime museum. A small place, one of those little time capsules of a small town’s local history. We'd moved to the coast for a better life. Our marriage is legal in our home state, sure, but the court of public opinion still isn't sold. We figured it'd be easier to set up roots where we could hold hands sans the staring. The place was a steal, too. Came with all the exhibits, a ready-to-run business. Family run until we signed the deeds. Previous owner was the last of the line, apparently. Either that or none of the old codger's distant great nephews or nieces wanted it. Maybe they knew?
We hadn't planned to keep running it as a museum, of course. This prime slice of commercial real estate we'd envisioned as becoming the most 'gram-worthy coffee place on the boardwalk. We wanted that influencer-powered Spring Breaker money. I'm not going to be dramatic and say things like "we should have known" or "it was too good to be true", because we had no way to, and it wasn't. Yes, the place was a steal. It wasn't daylight robbery though. We didn't get the place for free from Bill's long-lost creepy uncle or anything cliché like that. It was cheap, but not curse, haunting, or previous-tenant-murdered cheap. There was no reason to think buying that quaint little local museum was an invitation for paranormal shenanigans like… well, like whatever it was that just happened in the basement.
Nobody told us the place had one. It wasn't on the layout plans, or in the extensive (read: beggy) write-up of the property we got from the realtor. We were sitting through the remaining maritime bric-a-brac when I found the trapdoor. It was almost invisible, a square of faint grooves hidden just behind the massive model of a fishing ship. I thought the thing was ugly personally, but Bill insisted we keep it (the model boat, that is). All the actually important historical stuff had been donated to proper museums already, leaving us with only the various waxworks and dioramas to work with for decoration. The ship was Bill's favorite. Well, to be more accurate, the long tentacled Kraken thing rising from the waves to devour it were. Horrible looking things if you asked me. Bill didn't ask, but I told him anyway. I found his taste for old horror movies and the macabre endearing (especially around Halloween), but still I protested about keeping the ship.
"Look at it William, it's horrid, nobody wants that in the background of their story. We're going for pirate shanties and bubble tea, not Davy Jones and freezing seawater."
He'd just laughed at that.
"Look at it Benjamin, it's Kitsch, they'll love it. It's got Pirates of the Caribbean vibes coming out the wazoo."
"Those tentacles have human teeth glued to them, Bill!"
"Yeah but… they're milk teeth. They're probably not from dead people. Probably."
The excuse didn't really wash but this place was Bill's baby and so, ultimately, I knew I'd oblige. Full disclosure here, I was much more interested in the sunsets and mojitos side of the move than the running-a-business bit. Bill though, Bill was like a kid with a new video game about the commercial venture aspects. I'd decided weeks ago to show interest but stay out the way. That's why I ended up helping him lift the heavy glass case containing the painted wood, clay, resin, twine, and human teeth.
It was big. The ship itself was easily 2ft long, and the glass case that contained it came up to Bill's shoulders (meaning it was well over head height for me). Damn thing weighed a tonne. If it hadn't been so… so off-putting I'd probably have agreed with him about incorporating it into the decor. The level of craftsmanship was phenomenal. Despite my distaste I had to give credit to the fact that I knew I was looking at somebody's life's work. There was something about it though, something that rubbed me up the wrong way. It wasn't just the sight of a sea monster with human teeth, either. It was a little too realistic for my tastes, I think. Plus for some reason the model maker had decided to include a historically inaccurate figure amongst the sailors. I remember pointing this out to Bill, wondering aloud why there was a kid in skinny jeans and hoodie standing on the deck with 19th century seamen. Our guess was that the out-of-time figure was a little joke on the part of the artist, or maybe someone they knew included as some kind of pseudo-gesture. Even though they were only a few inches tall, the level of detail on their face was harrowingly accurate. I found out just how accurate a little while after we learned what the tooth-kraken diorama concealed. The trapdoor was so well hidden that I thought I'd accidentally dislodged a floorboard when I tripped over one of its edges.
"Oh shit! Bill, mind your feet!"
I stumbled and felt the weight of the diorama case leave my grasp. It only had a few inches to drop, but the heavy thud was so loud a few precariously balanced trinkets fell from their perches.
"Ah! Jesus Christ, Benny! Watch what you're doing!
Luckily the heavy display missed Bill's toes, but not by much. If he'd have been half an inch closer we'd have spent the night in A&E. We only bickered for a few short minutes before I bent down to inspect the trap door. A short conversation about not realizing we had a basement later and Bill was prizing it open with the crowbar from our van. We could hear the moaning the moment it swung open.
"Bill! I think there's someone-"
"Shh- I hear it too."
There were cries coming from down there. A man's sobs, deep and ragged and pained. A tingle of adrenaline burst through me. My mind was racing through every story I'd ever read about squatters living in wall cavities, or violent junkies taking up shelter in the cellars of abandoned buildings. I fretted over the morning news, of the headlines that would say things like "newly local couple butchered in grizzly double homicide". My husband's response to the noise turned my stomach almost as much as the wails themselves.
Bill nodded to me and, despite my protests, descended the ladder into the dark. I peered down the trapdoor. He was standing in a small room, shining around the flashlight on his cell phone.
"There's a storage room down here Benny. I think it's unlocked-"
He stepped out of view of the trapdoor, and a moment later I heard the creaking of heavy wood on rusted hinges. The soft whimpering grew significantly louder.
"William Groaker, you get back up here right now. We are calling the police."
His shouts echoed back from somewhere beyond my field of view.
"No need to call the cops Benny. It's probably just some lost homeless guy. He's crying for God's sake. Let me deal with it, I don't want to be responsible for yet another unarmed man being shot because of white fragility…"
I rolled my eyes, drowning out Bill's virtuous rant about the dangers of law enforcement. I loved that he cared about all that stuff, but finding out there's a stranger living on the property you've just purchased is not the time. After a minute or so Bill's echoes quietened to silence. I was alone with the trapdoor, peculiar maritime oddities, and distant sounds of suburban traffic.
It took me about three minutes to go from "as usual, I think something's wrong" to "OK, I may not be being my usual paranoid self, something might actually be wrong here". After four, I was shout-whispering down the hole.
"Bill? Bill?? What's going on down there?!"
No response.
I sat for ten more long seconds, straining my ears to hear any sign of my husband. None came. The only sounds wafting up from the open trapdoor were the soft sobbing. I gulped, every hair on my body straightening to attention. My intrusive imagination started a slideshow of terror, of the man I loved maimed and mutilated in the thousands of ways characters in his horror movies snuffed it. Another agonizingly lengthy ten seconds later I was doing something incredibly stupid. I should have called the cops, right? I didn't though. I respected Bill's sanctimonious instruction too much. So what did I do? I climbed down the ladder. Idiot.
My screams when I saw the skull were so loud that more bric-a-brac clattered on the floorboards upstairs.
I'd turned my phone's flashlight on before I'd descended, holding it in my mouth as I navigated the steel rungs in the dark. My hands were shaking when I got to the bottom. Typical klutzy Benny, what did I do? Dropped the damn thing. After bending down to fumble around on the dirty ground for a few moments I found it, picked it up and turned around. There, a few inches from my face, was a lipless, bony grin. Like I said, I screamed. I nearly fell back onto my ass. It took me several deep shaking breaths to realize the empty sockets leering down at me didn't belong to a spectre, ghoul, or some other apparition. No. Opposite the ladder, through the open door marked "STORAGE: MANAGEMENT ONLY", was a skeleton hanging in a glass case. An anatomical display for physicians from way-back-when. You know the sort, the one that cartoons taught us all doctors offices had. I was so embarrassed that I almost forgot why I'd come down here in the first place. The still-uninterrupted wailing from the shadows beyond the grinning skull made sure it was only almost, though.
I gulped, clinging to my fears for Bill's safety as motivation to penetrate the shadows of the storage room.
The secret space was much larger than the building above. It stretched back much further than my feeble phone flashlight could reach, a semi-cavernous space with a lofty distant ceiling bordered by high cinder block walls. I kept shout-whispering for Bill as I crept through the narrow alleys and passageways between the piles of stored exhibits. Never did I hear a response, or anything save for the progressively louder wails from the maniac I couldn't help but picture hacking Bill to pieces. Well, at first I couldn't help panicking over such mental images. As I got further into the storage room I started to take notice of the exhibits though. By the time I actually found Bill I was so lost in trying to make sense of them that I nearly tripped over him.
As I said, I'm still trying to piece all this together myself. This happened… about three hours ago, I think. Maybe four (from your perspective, at least). I can't recall everything that's down there, but I'll try to remember what I can. I need to, even if the details end up hazy. I think it'll help give what happened to Bill and I some perspective. Neither of us had ever really believed in the supernatural, paranormal, or any of that (as I thought until a few hours back) rubbish. We weren't staunch skeptics but by the same token our general outlook was that 99.999% of it all was explainable.
I doubt there are any explanations for some of the things hidden beneath our affordable slice of a happy future.
The first few exhibits I saw were odd and borderline unsettling, but nothing I would be writing about out of context. I'll give you an example. Directly behind the mocking skeleton was a wooden pallet, the kind forklifts drivers use their aforementioned forklifts to move about. On this particular pallet were a dozen or so rectangular stone blocks. Each was no taller than my shin, and none would have been remarkable at all were it not for the intricate hieroglyphs. They were like none I recognized (although admittedly I'm no archaeologist). I'm pretty sure I never heard of any ancient civilization that carved depictions of themselves as lizard people though. The reptilian figures were carved into every stone, more often than not shown throwing spears at groups of taller figures. Figures that were very clearly meant to be human. There was also the figure with an ear for a face. Appearing on several of the stones, this third symbol-character unsettled me not so much because its entire head was an ear. No. It unsettled me because the hieroglyphs were clearly thousands of years old. Reptilian figures and ear-faces could be explained away with tribal imagination. The fact that the ear-head was wearing a grey suit complete with black tie couldn't.
Many of the artifacts close to the doorway were of a similar nature. Dozens of rusted devices that looked modern in design, piles of time-corroded relics so complex their purpose defied understanding. It wasn't until I'd been walking for a minute or two, still following the moans and calling for bill, that the exhibits inspired greater emotion than mere unease. At some point, an 8ft fish tank containing a red book suspended in clear resin blocked my path, forcing me to duck left between a cloth-covered cabinet and a stack of dusty crates. I turned the corner and screamed once more.
The rim of my juddering phone light had caught the edges of something. Something long, pink, nail-tipped, and fleshy. Fingers. It was when my beam travelled up the arm they were attached to that I yelled. The feeble glow from my phone should have found a chest attached to that limb. It didn't.
I had to take a step or two back and blink a few times before I could fully make sense of what I was seeing. I was looking at a suit. I didn't figure it was a suit at first though, and it was understanding the suit aspect that pushed me squarely into nopeville. The skin of the fingertips I'd caught was a dull peach colored rubbery stuff. Not latex, it looked more like skin than latex, but not enough like skin to fool the senses. The figure had all its limbs. Arms, legs, even the neck were all intact. It was the head and chest that meant I had to stop for a double-take. The chest and torso were open. A vertical slit ran down from the base of the throat to the Ken Doll-smooth crotch, the rubbery flesh pulled apart like curtains. Inside was an angular skeletal structure made of dark iron-like metal. It was vaguely human, but only in the places where the structural utility of the human skeleton made sense. There were no superfluous nubs of bone, no excessively complex joints. Also, not gonna lie, I don't think any human being has an assortment of miniature valves, knobs, and levers on their spinal cord. I'm also pretty darn certain no person on earth has a small chair in their skull.
The head of the figure was split vertically much like the torso. However, this split ran through iron bone as well as plastic skin. The opposing hemispheres were suspended either side of the neck on several brass pistons, each no longer or thicker than a knitting needle. Surrounding the opening to the iron cylinder spine was a plethora or more dials, widgets, and buttons. It was the chair at their centre, a small iron cup-shaped seat, that drew the most of my attention. There was something in it. A sagging, pus-colored thing that looked like a halfway point between a slug and a starfish. I screamed because this thing was… it was breathing. Slow, ragged breaths, breaths so clear I could hear the pain and labor required to make them.
That was the point I made an executive decision for Bill and I. I swore to myself that when I found him we were getting out of this place, and then we were selling it. No amount of coastal happiness would be a worthwhile tradeoff for whatever we'd stumbled into. Speaking of stumbling, I did that as fast as I could away from the wheezing creature in the non-functional man suit. I don't think thankfully is quite the right word, but the whimpering in the distance hadn't stopped. I was weirdly relieved, though only because it meant finding my direction again was no issue. Somehow I knew that wherever I found the sobbing man was where I'd also find Bill. I was right about that, sadly. I was also right about there being nothing sunsets and margaritas could bring worth what we'd unwittingly inherited when we shook hands and accepted keys.
For the first time ever I hate being right.
I was fumbling my way through cramped darkness and dusty shadows for at least ten minutes. For context, you could walk the length of the museum in about twelve seconds with a spring in your step. The oddities I was passing were truly in the realms of the disturbing by this point. Any of them would have rattled my absent minded wandering thoughts for weeks. I didn't just see one though. I saw…
Jesus. I'm not going to be OK, am I?
There were paintings so horrific that several made me mumble "no… please no…" under my breath. One was so bad that it only took a brief glimpse for me to stop running and cough up my lunch. Seriously. My flashlight was on it for barely a tenth of a second and I was puking. It was a person, of what gender it was impossible to tell. Why? Because the figure in the portrait had no face. Atop the neck in the immaculate oil painting was a glistening mass of gore and bone. So talented was the painter that the phone light seemed to glisten and dance on the exposed muscles and dripping sinew. Like I said, I only caught a glimpse. One split-second glance was enough for me to be on my knees, throat burning as bile and half-digested sushi forced their way from my stomach. Let's think about that, shall we? A painting of a jawless, eyeless, skinless face is a grizzly thought, yeah? It's not instant-vomit grizzly though. I don't think Bill and I would have lasted long if I was that squeamish. There was something wrong about that painting. Something unnatural that both my mind and body rejected with zero hesitation. Even writing about it now is making me a little queasy, just being honest.
I forced myself to keep the light on the ground after that. Every so often though my arm would jolt, or I'd forget myself and sweep the beam over some fresh monstrosity. I was in tears before long, though I don't know which specific exhibit got them going. It could have been the aquarium tank full of dead men. No… that's not right. It wasn't dead men. It was a dead man. A dozen or so copies of the same man's corpse, floating in clear blue liquid. A long, thin, wrinkled old face repeated over and over again with varying shades of pain, anger, and fear. Still, I might have been crying by the time I saw that. My panic might have risen to hysterics-level when I made the mistake of finding the eye in the little black box. The one that moved and followed me, the one that fell to the ground with a wet splat and scattering of organic mess when my klutzy elbow knocked it from its shelf. Ignoring the parade of aberrations got harder and harder the longer I hurtled onward. I kept running toward the sobs, toward where I knew Bill would be. My feet weren't pounding in the dark much longer. The taste of vomit was still fresh when I felt the tug at my ankle.
"What the hell! Bill?!"
I'd been going so fast by that point that skidding to a halt had me damn near crashing into another stack of dust-coated crates. Bill was laying on the floor, sprawled at the opening to a clearing amongst the piles of unspeakable objects. I didn't need my phone flashlight anymore. So lost was I in my panic that I didn't register the flicker of the trashcan fire until after I felt Bill's hand clawing at my pants leg. Shortly after I became aware of the faint orange glow, the stench hit me. Whoever these trespassers were, they'd been here a while. Several weeks at least judging from the pungency of the human waste odor and smoky grilled rat aroma.
Oh, and you read that right. It was trespassers. Plural.
Both were men no further along in life than their late twenties. As soon as I saw them I had my explanation so the sobbing. One of them, the one furthest from Bill and I, had a face that gleamed with the wet slick of tears. He was bawling like a toddler, curled up in the foetal position on a retro-looking orange living room chair, hugging his knees so his bare feet didn't touch the cold granite floor. His back-and-forth rocking was so vigorous that the wooden chair legs scraped and scratched on the ground. The other figure, the one standing on our side of the flaming trash can and dead rat spit, drew the most of my attention however. His wild eyes met my bewildered ones and for a moment we both stared at each other. He was no doubt wondering why yet another intruder had stumbled into their makeshift camp. I was wondering what he'd done to Bill that meant my husband's eyes were rolling back in his skull and his jaw wouldn't stop grinding. I can't remember which of us acted first. I know we both lunged though.
Listen, let's not paint this situation as heroic or inspiring. I lept at the guy like a cornered animal. I wasn't He-Man, I was a slave in the Roman gladiator pit charging at a hungry lion because the 0.0001% of survival was still their best chance at seeing another morning. The way he came at me was very different. There was no fear, no panic or terror. The way he moved was determined, practiced, predatory. The quote-unquote "fight" was over before it started. One moment I was in the air, and the next the darkness was getting darker in time with waves of hot pain from the base of my skull.
The dull ache hadn't abated when I came to.
"Ethan… Ethan please don't… just leave them Ethan…"
The sobbed pleading roused me pretty sharpish. The events leading up to being knocked out cold came flooding back. The trapdoor, the sobbing, the things in the basement, the trashcan fire, Bill. Oh God, my first coherent thoughts said, Bill. I've got to find Bill. Trying to stand let me know that my assailant had tied me to a chair. My vision was still blurry, so I couldn't make sense of my surroundings at first, but every second brought more focus. I soon realized that I'd been moved deeper into the bowels of the museum storage, away from their makeshift camp. To my relief I could see Bill, although that relief quickly gave way to concern. He wasn't moving.
"Bill?! BILL! I swear to God if you've hurt-"
"Shut up." My half-screamed threat was cut short by a palm slamming into my left cheek. The smack of skin-on-skin panged around the cramped shadows, and to my shame I found myself obeying the command.
"That's better."
The man that slapped me was the same predatory figure I'd been overpowered by back at the trashcan fire clearing. There were a few more trash can fires in this new, larger space, and the increase in light allowed for a better look at his face. Tired was the first word that sprang to mind. The face hovering inches from my own held eyes so bloodshot that the pupils looked as though they were set into two scrunched up balls of post-nosebleed tissue paper. The bags under them were the deep brown-purple of an old bruise, and I could smell the dryness of his mouth on his rancid breath. I didn't have to know a thing about this man to know that he hadn't slept in days.
"Ethan… Ethan please leave them alone…" This second round of tear-choked begging had me looking over Ethan's (I'm assuming) shoulder. His companion, the one I'd last seen rocking up on the orange '70s living room chair, was sitting on the floor a few feet away from Bill. Thanks to the multiple trash can fires here I could see this man's features clearer too. You know that cliché expression about feeling the color drain from your face? Doesn't feel so cliché once you experience it yourself. I recognized the tear-stained face, you see. In the brighter orange haze I realized where I'd seen it before. I couldn't mistake that face, despite the fact that the last time I'd seen it was when it was attached to a wooden body about two inches tall.
I knew that sobbing man. He was the out-of-time figurine from the human toothed sea monster display.
That wasn't the only thing I could work out about him. His words carried the telltale bending of the hearing impaired, which would have been obvious anyway with the visible hearing aids. This man looked tired too but not anywhere near the same level as Ethan. There were several bruises around his lips, eyes, and across his arms. Whatever kind of relationship these two shared wasn't a happy one. The power dynamic here was obvious. Even though I didn't know the sobbing man from Adam, I could tell instantly that I was this Ethan character's third, not second, captive. I'll be honest though, I wasn't too concerned with how he found himself down here with this madman. I was still trying to comprehend the fact was a miniature version of him on the antique model ship upstairs.
"You…" I heard myself mumbling, unable to look away from him.
"You're… you were on the ship."
"He was, but he can't hear you." Ethan was standing above me, smirking.
"The mask took his hearing. Do you know sign language?" I shook my head, no. Ethan shrugged.
"Me neither. I've been writing stuff down for him on a notepad. We seem to be getting on OK. You don't really care though, do you?"
I found my head shaking again before I could stop it. Thankfully the maniac didn't take offense. Instead he laughed, which in hindsight might actually have been worse. It was a shrill laugh, a barely audible titter that my eardrums could find no way to make palatable.
"Heeeheeehe… no, I wouldn't care if I was tied to a chair. Why would you? You're tied to a chair. I bet the only thing you care about right now is how to not be tied to a chair, right?"
I struggled against my bindings once more. They were tight, tight enough that it only took three or four strains against them for my ankles and wrists to protest. I glared at the madman towering over me and tried my best to mask the machine-gun hammering of my pulse.
"What- what are you doing here?" I stammered.
"What have you done to Bill? What's going-"
Another skin-on-skin crack, this time across my right cheek.
"No questions from you, only from me. I'm guessing Bill is that guy on the floor, yeah?" I nodded, ashamed at the prickling coming from the corners of my eyes. Ethan's smirk widened.
"Cool. Thought so. Bill's fine. Well… fine is a bit of a stretch. He's not dead, since that's what I'd be worried about in your position. You worried he's dead?"
I found myself nodding again. The prickling was a warmth now, two long trails of hot moisture framing my cheekbones.
"Yeah, I thought so. Well, like I said, he's not. But, like I also said, you're not the one who gets to find stuff out." He pinched one of my cheeks and gave it a few tugs, just like an overbearing uncle with a bewildered infant.
"I'm the question guy here, Friend-Of-Bill. First one: what are you doing here?"
I blinked a few times, taken aback by the audacity of the question. "What am I doing here?!"
"You and Bill, yes, what are you both doing down here?"
"We own the place!"
"Do you?" Ethan's smirk faltered a little. He was genuinely surprised by the news. "What happened to the old man? Did he die?"
"Yes! Although I don't see-"
Ethan ignored me, clicking his tongue a few times before rambling on. "That's a shame, a real shame, that makes things a bit tricky. For you and Bill I mean. Not for Riley and me. We're close. So close. Six months down here with the mask and we're so damn close."
"Did Mr Pembroke know you were down here?" I was a little surprised to hear the words flutter from my lips. So was Ethan.
"Were my slaps not hard enough? NO QUESTIONS FROM YOU!" His roar was so loud that, for a harrowing life-flashing-before-eyes instant, I thought he was about to snap my neck. He grabbed me by the shoulders. The grip was so tight that long unwashed fingernails broke skin through my shirt, causing small scarlet clouds to bloom on the fabric.
"No. Questions. From. You. This isn't about you, Friend-Of-Bill. This isn't your story. It's ours, me and Riley, Riley and me. Well, not ours. I'm an extra too. Mainly it's his."
I was so relieved to feel the stinging claw pressure on my left shoulder release. Ethan pointed at the sobbing deaf man behind him, the Riley whose story I'd been accused of trespassing on. Once more I was listening to an incredulity I felt far too terrified to possess leaving my lips.
"What… what the hell are you talking about! Are you high? Is that what this is?! Did Mr Pembroke let you use this place to-"
Another slap.
"Shut up, Friend-Of-Bill. This is the last warning, OK? Laaaaaaast. But yeah, the old man let us stay down here. Drugs though? Heeeheeehe. Drugs. I wish. No. No no no, Friend-Of-Bill. I think for this to make sense you need to see. You need to know."
Ethan walked behind me and I heard the sound of a bag being unzipped. Riley, who'd been watching the scene unfold, started wailing louder than ever before.
"Ethan please no don't, please don't Ethan, just leave it in the bag, look what it did to the first one, Ethan, ETHAN!"
Ethan carried on rambling as though oblivious to his friends' protests.
"We broke in here, you see, a while back now. Well, we broke in up there, not down here. We found down here by accident. Funny things aren't they, accidents?"
His semi-nonsense was whispered into my left ear by the end of the last sentence. He was standing directly behind me, one hand again placed on my right shoulder. I couldn't help but wince at the sharp stinging from the papercut gouging his nails left. Especially when he started rubbing my shoulder blade with a clammy palm.
"You see, Friend-Of-Bill, he was the first to put it on." Ethan crooned, his hushed tone barely audible over Riley's hysteric protests.
"The rest of us watched him. We watched him flicker and shift, watched him go and then return, coming back with burst ears and screams about hearing God speak. He ran after that though, didn't you Riley? Took me ages to track him down and bring him back here. The other two didn't want to but I was determined. I had to know. I put it on too you know, Friend-Of-Bill. We all did in the end. We were going to take it to the police but… well, there's something about it, you know? It's part of something bigger than laws and morality and nations and men. You can't resist it. All three of us caved. The other two, they didn't make it, they ended up like poor Bill, but I was stronger. It shows you things. No, not just shows… takes you to them. It took me to so many places, showed me what I have to do. That we'd find the end to all this if we wait down here. I have to help him, you see. I have to help him by finding somebody else that God will speak to."
I think Riley knew what Ethan was rambling about, because even though he couldn't hear the words his wails fit the insanity leaving his captors lips.
The hysteria had no effect. Ethan carried on as though his other captor didn't exist.
"The old man knew. He'd put it on too. Course he had. He knew we were coming, you see, that's one of the things it showed him. That's why he helped me keep Riley down here. But you don't know what it is, do you, Friend-Of-Bill? I must admit, I owe him an apology, that Bill of yours. I just kind of ambushed him without showing him what it was, without explaining. Just jumped out the shadows and put it on his face. Kind of rude, no?"
Ethan let go of my shoulder for the final time. My chest tightened as he walked back around to my field of view. He was holding something, turning it over and over delicately in his grimy hands. It was a mask. A nearly flat, almost featureless mask cast entirely from a single piece of metal. I've never seen any material like it. With the exception of the velvet lining of the interior, the mask was made of pearlescent mottled steel. If I had to give it a color I'd have said blue, but only just. Reflections of the orange trash can fires cycled through hues as they danced. The blue of the steel felt more like an illusion than a color, like it was a trick my mind was pulling to shield me from some spectrum-defying shade. I didn't have long to inspect it. Whether or not that's a good thing I'm still unsure.
I was part way through trying to process the thin circular patterns scratched into the blue steel when Ethan struck.
I had enough time to register the velvet lining sucking at my faceIt pulled me inward, latching onto my head, and before I could scream my every sense was cut to blackness and silence.
I was rising. I couldn't see a thing, but I could feel the pressure of motion all across my back. Some unseen force had me by the navel, yanking me upward with such velocity the air was knocked from my lungs. I wasn't in the museum basement anymore. The sounds of Riley's whimpers, Ethan's tittering, the crackle of the trash can fires, all of them had gone. The only sound in my ears was the deafening rush of hurtling through nothingness at God knows how many miles per hour. I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream and yell so loud that my ribs snapped. The situation I'd left was PTSD creating levels of horrific. Being held captive by a crazy guy is… well, it's not normal, but there's nothing about that situation that science can't explain (hidden museum exhibits aside). Having a mask thrust on your face and getting plucked from reality though? That's a whole different level of messed-up sanity breaking disturbia.
Jesus… I can see how crazy this all sounds. I'm going to need therapy for a long, long time, aren't I? Ha, who am I kidding, no couch and conversation will help me deal with this. This is straight jacket and padded room territory. Hell, if it wasn't for the fact I have proof I'd be checking into an asylum right now. I just want you to know that. I understand how you're going to react to all this and… just trust me, I know. If this hadn't happened to me, I would be you right now. All doubtful and full of disbelief. Fuck, I wish I could be you right now. Life was better when I didn't believe in stuff like this. No, believe isn't the right word. It's not believing in something if you know that it's real.
I can't tell you how long I was ascending in that void. From an outside perspective I was only gone half a minute or so, and I know that because clocks are a thing and I checked mine shortly after I'd managed to stop vomiting. That wasn't until later though, until after I'd run from that museum so fast I tore muscles in both legs. From inside where the mask had taken me, from that endless empty place, the rise through nothingness felt like it went on for years. Maybe even decades. It's difficult to tell. What I do know is that there was no warning when I finally stopped.
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2021.12.06 09:16 HealthyDeal20 “A Scrumptious Little E-book on Ageing” is an uplifting e-book

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2021.12.06 09:16 fixihartmann2 Wer auf meine Cousine wichsen

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2021.12.06 09:16 caiusmios I’ll give you these 4 untradeble players and 800k..what kind of squad would you build?

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2021.12.06 09:16 Feeling_Squash914 Sextuple LAUNCHING !! Sextuple LAUNCHING ! Get strapped in and join the ride to the party, don't be late to yet another party !

Sextuple LAUNCHING !!
Sextuple LAUNCHING !

Get strapped in and join the ride to the party, don't be late to yet another party !

Token Information :

Name :Defimon

Symbol :Defimon

Blockchain : BSC

Total Supply : 100,000,000,000

Burn : 50,000,000,000

Liquidity locked

Contract Verified

Contract Address :0x91bce6e2199e0c85b90eb737bde816e8e3c360fe

Pancakeswap : https://exchange.pancakeswap.finance/#/swap?outputCurrency=0x91bce6e2199e0c85b90eb737bde816e8e3c360fe

Contract : https://bscscan.com/token/0x91bce6e2199e0c85b90eb737bde816e8e3c360fe
submitted by Feeling_Squash914 to TokenSnifferWatch [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 DaddyDeveloper Hornwort is one of the most under-rated plants IMO.

Hornwort is one of the most under-rated plants IMO. submitted by DaddyDeveloper to Aquariums [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Advanced_Somewhere78 not sure what to do

firstly, sorry for capitalisation or writing errors. i am writing this on my phone.
i have a problem and am not sure where else to write. constructive suggestions are highly welcome. due to anonimity i will be a bit vauge.
i am a teacher. a while ago i got a new studen. this student was great: brilliant, interested, communicative etc.
in the class i am teaching this is the exception not the rule. given this class was/is made for 'bad' students. bad can mean anything here usually it just means thr student had bad grades for whatever reason.
in the lessons i had with this student, we developed a virtuos cycle, with my hrlp and their tenacity, they solved really hard problem. which lead to a successhigh, which made them work harder, and so on.
later i also found out why they were in my class, they hit their previous teacher. i only found out late, because i am not the homeroom teacher.
fast forward a couple of month, the student is doing great, they even tell me the lessons with me are their favorite and we get along well.
suddenly the student is absent for a couple of weeks, reason 'illness'.
today they came back to school and its like it is a different person, quiet, withdrawn, baerly speaks a word, downcast, only being able to do the very minimum in terms of complexity.
its almost like they are on drugs and out of it.
i inquired with the homeroom teacher. the student was put in the psychward. not sure why and only wants to come to my lessons, which was approved.
not sure what happened, maybe depression?
my main question is, what should i do now? how should i act and react?
i suspect the student came back, because of the positive feedbackloop, since this made them happy. but i can not give this loop its something they archived by themselves...
but what can i then do for them? i do not know
submitted by Advanced_Somewhere78 to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Korenckkkk Twitch this guy streams edm 247

Twitch this guy streams edm 247 submitted by Korenckkkk to EDM [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 toulos do the percentiles shown on the score report correlate with all test takers or just your class?

submitted by toulos to psat [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 cbvv1992 🔥30% Off Code – $69.99 Entryway Hall Tree with Storage Bench

🔥30% Off Code – $69.99 Entryway Hall Tree with Storage Bench submitted by cbvv1992 to DealAndSale [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Toxiqqq [Homemade] Redvelvet Crinkle Cookies

[Homemade] Redvelvet Crinkle Cookies submitted by Toxiqqq to food [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 benparkerip How to play PS2 games on your Android Phone

Here is a good setup video with no dodgy links or to any files
submitted by benparkerip to EmulationOnAndroid [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 cbvv1992 🔥40% Off Clip Coupon – $53.99 Cordless Ratchet Wrench Set, Electric Ratcheting Wrench Tool Kit 3/8" 45 Ft-lbs 400 RPM 16.8V

🔥40% Off Clip Coupon – $53.99 Cordless Ratchet Wrench Set, Electric Ratcheting Wrench Tool Kit 3/8 submitted by cbvv1992 to DealAndSale [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 starheroz1 I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

At level 28 at the moment and every time I do quest I have to use ton of potion and shards to do anything. How do I improve my character ?
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2021.12.06 09:16 Raydia97 I was top 0.1% this year

I was top 0.1% this year submitted by Raydia97 to Alestorm [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Akhenaten23 An Interview with Brandon Herritt of Laxidaisy

An Interview with Brandon Herritt of Laxidaisy submitted by Akhenaten23 to HeavyNFLD [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 WithAllAbandon It's great that everyone is posting the AA NFT, but once again you are missing the vital information. Make sure you find this box on your profile and verify its checked.

It's great that everyone is posting the AA NFT, but once again you are missing the vital information. Make sure you find this box on your profile and verify its checked. submitted by WithAllAbandon to amcstock [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Questionable_VR Yo you gonna save me next?

Yo you gonna save me next? submitted by Questionable_VR to Chadtopia [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Nohan07 Des coupures d'eau nocturnes à Salazie et Saint-André

Des coupures d'eau nocturnes à Salazie et Saint-André submitted by Nohan07 to LaReunion [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 blinniejenkins Episode 352 – Tony From Restrayned: Guitar Slinging and Kiss Kruising

We welcome Tony the Brick from the band Restrayned to the show. What a blast, what a professional, and what an amazing guest. Thanks, Tony!
(6:38) We break into Tony’s musical journey from his earliest band and starting Restrayned. Just how were these albums put together, from writing and recording, and just how special a band Restrayned is. (33:06) The Shout It Out Loudcast may call him curmudgeon, but we call him the Brick. How did Tom and Zeus and their endless ribbing of Tony get under SeanGeek’s skin and make him a fan.
(35:06) Tony talks all the Kiss Kruise. Tony attended along with the alum over at Shout It Loudcast and the great Pooni brothers and he has some stories to tell. (45:59) We talk team Ace and when Ace let Tony down and when SeanGeek was propped up. (50:03) Brent Fitz is a Canadian treasure and proved his worth yet again during the Kruise. And just what great Canadian bands did the show push onto Tony. (55:00) And how great is Bryan Adams? Tony will tell you. (55:52) How elusive was Kiss on the cruise and just how great was Queensryche? (58:04) We talk The Charismatic Voice on YouTube and Helloween. (1:04:32) And we finish the show with: Would Tony ever play with Don Dokken?
You can hear Restrayned on your favorite music streaming service but if you really want to support them, throw some shekels the band’s way over at their store: https://restrayned.bigcartel.com/
#music #restrayned #kisskruise #bryanadams #kiss #queensryche #charismaticvoice #helloween #dokken
Website: www.seanmcginity.ca @seangeekpodcast on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @toddgeek on Twitter @fastfretfingers on Instagram @ToddGeeks Tech Talk on Facebook @mbpodfest @captivatefm
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2021.12.06 09:16 xdAkari Just for Lewis

Just for Lewis submitted by xdAkari to aarava [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Thetimmybaby How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion

How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion submitted by Thetimmybaby to ConservativeHumor [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 ChaosCalmed Newbie - how to get the most out of Fenix 6?

Wanted a better garmin, was looking at vivoactive 4 but saw a fenix 6 for £329 and succumbed. Now I need to use it to justify the bargain spend. Any suggestions?
I'm a family man with very little time for myself. Early start and finish to my work day so run out of time in the evenings. Got a C2 rowerg, got a reasonable road/gravel bike, not a runner but used to do a lot of high mileage hiking and I'm currently a fairly inactive 49 year old.
How can I get coaching that's more suited to me? What apps and widgets are must have? What exercise routines are good? I've installed a few pilates/yoga ones as I need to improve flexibility and balance, used to be good at that when I did martial arts. Balance is apparently linked to dementia as in poor balance. I used connect to get the routines but do they go on the watch?
You don't get manuals with Garmins so playing with the buttons only get so far.
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2021.12.06 09:16 srpatata64 title but is my dad

title but is my dad submitted by srpatata64 to bindingofisaac [link] [comments]

2021.12.06 09:16 Kek02c How can you turn a semi-auto AK-47 into a fully auto?

How can you turn a semi-auto AK-47 into a fully auto? submitted by Kek02c to Gun0789 [link] [comments]