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I have Insomnia so I summoned The Sandman to help me sleep.

NoSleep. Ironically, I am posting this to NoSleep. You are here to read stories so scary that they will keep you up all night, I am here because I can’t fucking sleep. I haven’t slept in 3 days, and I can’t even remember the last time I got real sleep. The kind where you go to sleep and stay asleep. The kind where you naturally drift off to a relaxing sleep and not your body forcibly shutting itself down against its own will. So I am sorry if I ramble some, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony of this being on no sleep. Is that funny to you too, or just to me because I am too tired to be rational?
I have real insomnia. The kind where people think you are insane, and to be honest, they aren’t wrong. I have had it since I was in college, but it has only gotten worse and worse. I can't even remember the last time I slept. Wait? I told you that already.
I’ve been to a sleep specialist. I’ve been on every sleeping pill you can think of. Melatonin, no caffeine, no naps, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, silenor, antidepressants, Seroquel, Ativan, benzos, you name it, I have taken more than they recommended. Still no relief or sleep.
I know, you are not reading this to read the ramblings of a madman who hasn’t slept in days. You are here because you want a scary story. I’ve got one for you. I think it is real. To be honest, when you haven’t had a real night's sleep in months, dreams and reality start to become one big blur.
The story starts about 6 months ago, maybe? It was still winter and the virus was not a big deal yet. I remember that much for sure.
I had been up for days when a commercial came on for an over the phone psychic reading. If a doctor couldn’t help, maybe a spiritual advisor could. No, I didn’t need a psychic, what I needed was a hypnotist. You have seen them before, they can just snap their fingers and you fall asleep instantly! This is the answer to all of my prayers.
It was a scam. They had me lay down and close my eyes, then they softly started talking while I tuned out. When I woke up, she said when I go to sleep at night to relax and listen to a youtube channel that softly plays music and tells you to relax. It didn’t work at all except that every time I listen to soft background music I get the strong urge to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which is weird because I had not had one since I was maybe 9. I think she just hypnotized me to crave grilled cheese. She probably invests in the Big Cheese Industry and makes money by making people crave grilled cheese. What a waste of money.
So much for that idea. The next night I still couldn’t sleep. I decided to watch my feel-good movie: Back to the Future. During the movie, Marty goes back in time to 1955 and there is a part where a song comes on, you hear the unmistakable BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUMMMMMMM! MR. SANDMAN! BRING ME A DREAM! (That song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I’m not sorry.)
When I heard the song, I started to boil over in rage. Maybe it was from the lack of sleep, or maybe I am just insane, but I picked up the remote and threw it into the LED screen breaking the tv. I screamed, “THAT IS THE MOTHER FUCKER WHO HAS CURSED ME! THE FUCKING SANDMAN! I AM GOING TO FIND HIM AND KILL HIM!”
This went on for longer than I am willing to admit, but you get the point. The Sandman was my enemy. The one who is supposed to deliver us into sleep every night had decided to stop visiting me. What had I ever done to him to make him skip me every night not allowing me to sleep? The Sandman was to blame.
The Sandman was going to have to answer for these wrongs. I was determined to find a way to confront him and give him a piece of my mind. I just had to figure out how the hell you could find or trap it. At this point, I don't care if The Sandman is God himself, I was going to find him..
I thought about it for a while and decided based on movies and books, the way to call a god to you is to summon it. Sounds simple enough, Let’s do it.
Another long story short, putting candles in a circle and yelling I SUMMON YOU SANDMAN! Doesn’t work.
Again, I was back on the internet looking for someone to help me. After talking to someone I was given the email of an African Witch Doctor named Mrs. Fatima. I emailed her and she agreed to help me if I send her bitcoin. She even offered to come out for more money, but screw that, I can do it myself. Why the hell does everything have to be so difficult? Can’t people just take a credit card like the rest of the world? Always extra steps for some weird-ass digital currency crap.
Screw it, I am willing to try anything at this point. I sent her the bitcoin. Whatever the hell that is. It is expensive, I can tell you that much.
After she got the money, she replied to my email with detailed instructions and a warning. She could help me summon The Sandman, but advised against it. Summoning a dead person is dangerous, summoning a demon is disastrous, summing a God is deadly. I thought about it for less than a moment and decided to do it. What is the worst that can happen? I die and am in an endless uninterrupted sleep for eternity? Sounds like heaven to me.
Under her instructions, I waited until 2 am the following night. You can do it anytime, but the barrier between the spirit realm and the mortal world is the thinnest in the early morning hours when people are sleeping. She advised to go somewhere secluded like in the middle of the woods since it would be desolated and more likely to work. I am doing it in my bedroom, it gets the same amount of girls in it as a desolated forest. Lucky for me, I also need the blood of a virgin, so I got that covered too! Just joking, I don’t need blood.
The first thing I needed to do was draw a large circle in chalk. The circle had to be complete and above all else, not broken. The circle is the doorway between realms, if it was not complete it would not work. It also acts as an invisible wall to keep the spirit contained once you summon it. Keep the circle complete at all times. I drew a circle on my hardwood floor. Easy.
The next step was to light 5 red candles drawing a pentagram star. They have to be red because the devil is red and we are practicing devil magic, that’s my explanation, not hers.
Inside the circle, I was to fill it with sand. If you are summoning The Sandman, you need sand?
That was all I needed. Some chalk, candles, a secluded spot, and sand. I was closer than I thought earlier.
Next, the hard part, summoning a god.
The first step is to clear your mind and meditate. Most people have a hard time with this, but I have been meditating for years. They said it would help me sleep, it doesn’t. Don’t waste your time.
The next step is to concentrate on the circle, opening the pathway in your mind. Like imagining it disappearing or opening it like a door?
When your mind is clear, envision the one you are summoning. Do I just imagine what I think he looks like in my head? It’ll have to work.
When you feel the energy start to peak, only then can you summon the spirit into the realm. Call out to the spirit you desire and demand it’s presence. Do not ask. Demand it. This is your world and you must stay in control at all times. If you give up control, the spirit will be able to take control and possibly hurt or kill you.
If you do everything right, you will have summoned the spirit.
Let’s do this. I have a bone to pick with that asshole Sandman.
The circle is drawn, the candles are lit, and sand is in the circle. I turned off the lights for good measure, it wasn’t in the instructions, but it makes for a better dramatic effect.
I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I imagined the circle in my mind as an empty white space, a void, a door, then I imagined a portal like in the video game with a blue glowing loop.
Next, I imagined The Sandman. Was he a human figure who carried sand, or a God made of sand? I kept trying back and forth, and everything in between before I finally settled on a spirit outlined in the sand.
I held my concentration on The Sandman and the opening of the portal. It felt like nothing was happening when suddenly everything changed. My eyes were shut but I could feel the energy start to build in the room. It felt like a strong storm was blowing on the outside of the house. I couldn’t physically feel the force, but I could feel the pressure growing and growing. Finally, I felt the energy reach its crescendo like something was trying to push itself through the circle into my room.
It’s time to open the gate.
“I OPEN THE PATHWAY AND DEMAND YOUR PRESENCE SANDMAN! THE DOOR IS OPEN AND I ORDER YOU TO APPEAR BEFORE ME!
I felt resistance trying to pull energy back from the door, not wanting to obey.
“SANDMAN! APPEAR BEFORE ME NOW!”
The energy in the room seemed to explode out of the circle. I opened my eyes to see the sand turning in a tornado inside the circle high above my head. I gasped in shock, wondering if I was dreaming. This couldn’t be real. Suddenly the tornado dissolved and the sand formed into a figure with red eyes staring down at me.
“WHAT MORTAL DARES TO SUMMON ME!” He roared. “WHO HAS MADE SUCH THE MISTAKE TO SUMMON A GOD!”
I may have made a mistake. The thing is, spirits and especially Gods, do not like it when mortals summon them. They have to come if you summon them, and that pisses them off. They are over there doing ghost and god stuff and get interrupted by people who can’t even walk through a wall. So if you do ever try this, just expect the ghost or demon or god to be in a pissy mood when they come. It is understandable when you think about it.
I looked up at the god, not backing down, and responded “I did.”
Sand swirled around The Sandman as he looked at me in disbelief.
“You are The Sandman, right?” I yelled at him. “You are the god of sleep, the god of dreams, right?”
“I am,” it growled.
“Then why the fuck can I not sleep?” I said. “It has been years and I am stuck awake for days at a time. Why have you done this to me?”
A deep laugh came from the circle. “You think I care about you, mortal? Do you think I waste my time on someone as insignificant as you or your kind? I am a god. A GOD! I don’t have time to waste being here talking to you. Release me!”
“I am not going to release you until you give me what I want.”
The sand settled down and it was quiet. I waited for it to respond.
“You want something from a God? What do I get out of the deal? What do you have that I could possibly want?”
“Give you something?” I asked. “You are the asshole who won’t let me sleep.”
“I am feeling generous. We can make a deal,” it said. “I will give you the ability to sleep anytime you want”
“What is the catch?”
“Ahhh! The catch. Smarter than you look.” He said. “I am the God of Sleep and Dreams. You can sleep, but I will control your dreams.”
”Can’t you do that anyway?” You are the God of Dreams”
“Do we have a deal or no? Answer me before I change my mind.”
Damn it. I know he is playing me as a fool. Fuck it, I’ll solve my sleep problem now and worry about the catch later.
“We have a deal, Sandman.”
“A deal it is” he laughed. “Anytime you wish to sleep just say Mr. Sandman, Give me a dream.’ And you will be asleep in less than a minute.”
“You gotta be kidding me.”
“My game. My rules.” He said. “Now release me.”
“You are released.”
“See you in your dreams!”
The energy that had filled the room evaporated into thin air, the sand fell back into the circle, the candles went dark, and The Sandman was gone.
Was that real or am I hallucinating again? And damn! What even happened there? I was ready to cuss him out and he somehow took control of the encounter. Shit! Mrs. Fatima warned me it could be deadly if he took control. Then again, he made a deal and I can finally sleep.
What is done is done. I blew out the candles and decided to put our deal to the test. He will allow me to sleep anytime I want, real sleep, he will just be controlling my dreams. I’ve had nightmares, what happens in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there. Right?
It was 4:15 am. I turned off the lights, turned the fan on high, and put on some calming music and prepared to lay in bed awake for hours on end. I said the magic words As soon as I closed my eyes, I was out like a rock.
The dream started. I was back five minutes earlier saying “What happened in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there, right?” There was an echo repeating the same phrase back to me. That isn’t a good start.
I laid down in bed, just like before and closed my eyes trying to sleep but this time no sleep came, like always. I sat there for hours trying to sleep. I meditated, listened to calm music making me crave grilled cheese, and tried to will myself to sleep. My dream self was exhausted and on the verge of tears from being unable to sleep.
The Sandman’s idea of a joke is to give me insomnia in my dreams so I couldn’t escape it. Funny joke, but as long as I wake up refreshed I don’t care.
I looked at the clock and it was 7:45 and the sun was up or would be if I didn’t have the windows blacked out. Too exhausted to get up I laid in bed and prayed for sleep.
A moment later, the red candles flickered to life in a star pattern, the room went cold, then the sand started to swirl up into the air. The Sandman appeared in the circle.
My body stiffened, I couldn’t move a muscle, not even to close my eyes. Is this what sleep paralysis feels like? I thought back to my email with Mrs. Fatima and remembered as long as the circle was complete he would be stuck inside.
“That is only true when you’re awake. You’re in my world now,” he laughed as he floated across the circle to my bedside. “You brought me to your world, now I have you in mine. A deal is a deal.”
Ah shit. I knew taking his deal was a bad idea. Never negotiate with a god. You will never come out ahead. I tried to answer him but I was still paralyzed.
“Do you know the legend of The Sandman? The original story? The real story?” He stood over me.
Everyone knows the legend. He comes at night, sprinkles sand in your eyes so you will sleep well and have good dreams. You wake up with sand in your eyelashes.
“Wrong!” He yelled. “That is a story told much later after I left the mortal world to stop people from fearing me. You are about to find out the real legend of The Sandman.
I laid in bed unable to move, my eyes held open by some imaginary force, staring at him in fear.
He held out his hand in front of my face and blew. I felt the wind on my face followed by the sand. The awful awful sand. Unable to close my eyes the sand blanketed my eyes. I could feel every grain of sand stick to my eyes.
Finally, I had control of my eyes again and started to blink uncontrollably. Each blink the sand grinded deeper and deeper into my eyeballs and eye socket. Each blink felt like shards of glass cutting my eyes. My eyes became watery and started to tear up but it wasn’t tears but blood leaking down my face. The pain engulfed my face but I couldn’t move, only involuntary blinking trying to clear the sand from my eyes. Each blink the sand cut farther and farther into my eyes. The pain became excruciating like someone had stuck a red hot fire poker in each eye. I wanted to scream out but nothing else worked on my body. Then the pain disappeared.
I assumed I had blacked out or went unconscious but that doesn’t happen in dreams and I wasn’t that lucky. Instead, I felt a weird sensation on my eyeballs then the feeling of water being poured into my eye. When it stopped, my vision started to appear again, blurry at first but clearing. I could see a sandy palm and fingers like I was being carried in The Sandman’s hand.
“The legend of The Sandman isn’t that he comes to put sand in your eyes to help you sleep, he comes to put sand in your eyes to steal eyeballs of kids who stay up too late.” He said. “I’m making an exception for you.”
He opened his palm and I could see my lifeless body, still in bed, not moving, the face covered in blood with empty holes as eye sockets. I am seeing myself from my own eyeballs. What the fuck, even for a dream this is fucked up. Luckily the pain had stopped, for now.
“Do you know what happens next in the legend? Do you know what I do with the eyeballs I steal” He asked like I could to respond. I didn’t know the answer but I knew I was about to find out.
“Right you are. Close your eyes, It’’s a surprise.” He laughed. “Get it? You can’t! You have no eyelids. Hahaha”
Excuse me for not thinking the joke is funny, being the butt of the joke.
“He pointed my eyes toward the moon and asked, “Do you like The Dark Side of the Moon?”
What the hell does the Pink Floyd album have to do with anything? Who doesn’t like it?
“Great. Let’s take a trip there. You’re dreaming so we can be there in, what would you say, a blink of an eye?”
Fucking funny. A moment later, we were on the dark side of the moon. It looked like the moon, but dark. He walked into a crater and I started to hear cries. Not like human cries, more like an animal cry. Not just one animal but a bunch. The cries got louder and louder. Even in a dream, I knew something bad was about to happen.
We finally arrived at what I would call a nest. Not your typical earth nest, but an enclosure that held a bunch of giant ugly bird-like featherless babies. Not dinosaur big, but big enough. Each bird-like creature was lifting its beak up in the air crying for its parents to bring it back food. What the fuck kind of food was available on the moon or in space is beyond my understanding, but that’s exactly what my eyes were seeing.
“After I steal the eyeballs, I bring them back here and feed them to the birds. In your world, you may throw bread out to the birds for a treat. In my world, I feed them your eyes.”
Fuck. Can I wake up now? I really don’t feel like being eaten by a giant alien baby bird thing.
“The legend says I fed them to my children, but that is the part they got wrong.” He said. “Sweet dreams, prince.”
He tossed my eyes into the air into the waiting mouth of one of these creatures. I saw it’s beak close as my eyeballs exploded into a gooey mess.
The dream ended and I woke up in a panic. I tried to open my eyes but they were sealed shut. I lifted my hands, happy I could move again, and felt my eyelids crusted over with sand. I cleared them the best I could but needed a warm compress to clean all the salt out. When I finally opened my eyes, they hurt. Everything had happened in the dream, but somehow my eyes felt sore.
I thought back to what I said and heard in my dream, “It is just a dream, nothing can hurt me there.” It is true, I wasn’t really hurt, but I’ve never woken up feeling pain I got from a dream. What is going on?
Still, If I dreamed, that means I slept! A nightmare isn’t so bad if I get real sleep. The dream felt like it lasted hours, a few more nights of this and I will have a somewhat normal sleep schedule and feel rested. I looked at the clock to see it was 4:30. I slept 12 hours and 15 minutes. Amazing!
I opened the door to my room and walked into the kitchen and it was still dark. That can’t be right. It should be 4:30 pm, the middle of the afternoon. Did I sleep for 24 hours straight? I looked at my phone and saw the date. My heart dropped. I had only slept for 15 minutes. It is like dreams take place in another dimension where time doesn’t exist. The Sandman was able to torture me for hours in dream time while allowing me to sleep for a few minutes. I cried. Seriously, I cried like a baby.
He held up his end of the bargain, I can fall asleep any time I want to, except now I am afraid to go to sleep. Everytime I fall asleep, he takes me away to his realm and gives me nightmare after nightmare. Every dream is one where he does something horrible to me and my dream self feels every bit of excruciating pain. And he never allows me to sleep more than an hour at the most.
I eventually accepted my fate. He is going to torture me, but it is all a dream. I will wake up feeling mostly normal. Then things changed. It is like he knew I had stopped fighting, so he found a new way to hurt me. Instead of hurting me in my dreams, he started to make me watch him hurt people I loved in their dreams. I didn’t think it was real until I heard from my sister about how my niece has been having terrible nightmares and refusing to go to sleep. When she described her dreams, I already knew, because I was there too.
That has been my life for the past however many months. Instead of trying to take medicine or listen to music or having The Sandman put me to sleep, I try to use my insomnia to stay awake for as long as my body will withstand it. I drink coffee and energy drinks, I take adderall, but eventually sleep always comes, even if for short periods. No matter how hard you fight it, your body will always sleep, and the Sandman will be there waiting on me.
submitted by LandoCommandoe to nosleep [link] [comments]

The Great Web of Slime

There is a web of invisible slime that reaches out from the artificial traditions of psychological think tanks, like The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, whose roots trace back to the Vienna Psychology Club; a web that stretches across the entire world and inserts itself into your lives in intrusive, unethical and corrupt ways. Groups are deceiving you for a dollar, for a vote, for your personal information, for your labor; for your body and soul. This deception is carried out using every screen you look at, every song offered to you, every sign on a billboard, every popular book, magazine and newspaper.
If you want honest information; if you want to see past the slime, you are going to have to look hard for it. If you are just starting down your journey of being cognizant of the deception, the scope is difficult to believe but well borne out by the evidence. We all know the news is dishonest, but the common myth is that it is for the ratings and for the views. The ways in which the news is dishonest is what is really difficult for people to swallow and the “why” still very much in debate until you understand the framework by which they operate.
Systemic corruption is no exception to the march of modernization; more sophisticated than ever and more capable of staying hidden to the average person. Modern day slavers control the narrative and the reason it is a spiritual conflict between good and evil is because there are a very small group of people who believe that stealing your agency/free will/consciousness lends itself to their ability to become gods, in their own right.
Understanding that the elite have deep occult traditions is important, though often scoffed at. However, to advertise their power and influence, occult messages are constantly and publicly advertised back and forth between these groups. It is no theory that think tanks have studied and implemented cult behavior even going so far as to create artificial cults in which to entrap people.
Faceless, emotionless, unempathetic organizations that are merely constructed of words on paper are able to impose these cult tactics on you with impunity and in secrecy. This is the heart of the problem; when it comes to an organization, company, agency, church, etc., these abstract constructs are very much not human, at all. Their existence is alien and unknown to human instincts, who assign human attributes naturally and without conscious thought. These constructs take advantage of normal, honest, empathetic individuals by mimicking empathy, not by actually being empathetic.
There are more slaves, now, than ever in human history and the methods of enslaving are far more insidious than ever. Modern slavery networks and the corrupt political ecosystems that allow them to endure are the heart of mankind’s problems. If we, as a society, were able to address the corruption that keeps these networks alive, then we, as society, would solve a lot of problems surrounding organized crime, in general, not just the problem human trafficking.
How do we do that? It is very simple; “Zero Trust” policies in organizations and 100% government transparency. That’s it. A great deal of time, effort and money are spent making sure these issues never hit the ballot box and are never part of the platform of a candidate you are given the option to vote for. The movies you watch are constantly reminding you of dangers that allow a select group of idiots to maintain secrecy that is undeserved and clearly wielded for uses other than helping society.
Common sense solutions are not prioritized by the media and politicians. Don’t be a part of the destruction of common sense and common courtesy. Stop taking the bait. Stop taking the path of least resistance. We are all guilty, but pushing yourself to be better and do better has a ripple effect in the world around you. Being a terrible person also has a ripple effect. There are enough bad ripples.
The concept of an “epiphany” is an important one; where a person’s mind changes on a physical, neurochemical level to the extent that their world view changes. The moment a person is “red pilled” is an epiphany and it is very much the concern of media and Internet shills and their manipulative overlords because they do not want people to have the realization that the system is corrupt from top to bottom and that both sides of most narratives. But, if you do have that realization, there is a plan for you; to do nothing and sit idly by as corrupt forces continue their work. When you have an epiphany, the neurochemical storm actually is a moment where you are most suggestible and most ready to be manipulated.
If you manage to raise your level of awareness across multiple narratives, the system almost doesn’t need to care about you, anymore, as they have likely already moved you to inaction and made you unwilling to tell others the truth.
While there is a great deal of science that goes behind manipulating people, the tradition is as old as human history, itself; it’s origins, magical from the perspective of the ancients. Whether you call mass manipulation “hypnosis,” “psychology,” “magic” or “science,” the fact of the matter is that it is there in a more constant form than ever, impossible to avoid, and invisible to those who aren’t paying attention or willing to research and think for themselves.
Like the idea of dark matter, you cannot see it directly (at least, when done well), but should be able to test and compare data data in different circumstances to detect it. There are many confirmed real world examples of mass manipulation that people should be aware of, because it is very easy for people to believe that it is not happening to them.
Many say that is too big of a conspiracy to keep secret; though we already see how it works with a variety of leaks, court cases and plenty of proven real world examples. If you encounter this argument, you have probably encountered someone who is hypnotized into misunderstanding the word “conspiracy”, where a group of people work together to commit crimes.
One easy way to create a consensus across media organizations is to enter into “non disparagement agreements.” For example, HBO entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Michael Jackson’s attorneys. A recent court case established that the agreement remains in effect even after his death. This means, with the right law firm, someone can enter into many unknown non disparagement agreements with many companies.
It sounds weird, but this is like black magic. Occult literally means hidden. Secret words have been spelled out that the public is not aware of, but creates the illusion that there is a consensus about any given personality; like say a politician, a singer or an actor. A web of mutual non-disparagement agreements works as a form of forensic interruption, preventing people being held accountable for crimes.
Between non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements, there is a web of protected relationships where people, products and even governments are not allowed to be discussed in a negative light.
This has created an extortion racket by the media. If you don’t buy in, then you are fair game. Not only are you fair game, they will harass you until you buy in because they literally need something to do due to their lack of ability to speak negatively about their cohorts.
When you consider the nexus between government and media, the problem is compounded when you introduce the concept of keeping things secret for national security. Policy has created the circumstance that corporate and secret government interests are intertwined and they become aligned in keeping each other out of jail.
While a lot of this is managed at upper echelons, the system is merely taking advantage of human nature, which is why the government and media should be operating from a “zero trust” standpoint and not the other way around, like it currently is. There is and never has been any reason to trust the media or the government, and doubly so when their interests are aligned. There are many proven real world examples.
The first ingredient to modern mass hypnosis is saturation and repetition. Your first clue that the message is artificial is when many corporate, government and astroturfing battlegrounds all agree on the same thing.
Not only is a contrived message oft-repeated, it is generally very polarized; where, due to cognitive bias, it is designed for consumption by both sides with the ideal result of making one side feel schadenfreude and the other side feel outrage and injustice. Just being aware of this polarization tactic and allowing yourself to have more nuanced opinions that the black or white ones offered up to you, is incredibly effective at not taking the bait.
“Systems Psychodynamics” is the name of the psychological framework that is used to monitor and control people, primarily based on attacking and reforming “basic assumptions.” By controlling everyone’s basic assumptions using the repetitious push and pulling narratives, the levers of political and monetary behavior are controlled through “influencers.” This framework reads like it was written for social media, though, in reality, it is much older; social media merely enhances the effects.
One easy way to detect the agenda and the widespreadness of the corruption, without even knowing the finer points of mass persuasion techniques, is to see what is censored. Generally, the astroturfing campaigns seek to drown out good information that is contrary to their cause. However, when you find some information that is very damaging to their narrative, especially before they’ve scripted a response, it gets removed. Eventually, they will write up a standard response, but this takes time.
For this reason, I incubate a number of censorship experiments across multiple sites. While people easily get away with discussions about aliens and flat earth, conversations about modern slavery are shut down everywhere; particularly if you call people to action in reporting crimes. Sites that purport to be “free speech” will not allow you to openly hunt human traffickers and the “system” seems to hate vigilantes more than anything.
Most recently, the censorship around Covid “truth” is heaviest. Censorship of doctors has been swift and totalitarian. However, because I see generally what gets censored, first, I knew this was all a scam from Day One. The first SARS COV 2 tests, up until March, were merely SARS COV tests. Very literally. The SARS COV 2 tests hadn’t been invented, yet. Explaining that the body produces the CR3022 protein (what the antibody tests look for) for all human affecting coronaviruses was heavily censored. Even now, explaining this basic fact that exposes why a great deal of testing is fraudulent, is struck from both Right and Left astroturfing machines. If you really want a rabbit hole to dig through, search the coronavirus pandemic bonds that matured March 23, 2020.
Prior to that, the name “Eric Ciaramella” was one of the most censored things on the Internet. Censored, in that the information was deleted immediately. The motivations behind these multi-site censorship campaigns should have everyone concerned because it is consistently in support of Democrat and RINO narratives, politically, and always in favor of human traffickers.
However, even the Q Anon group will censor you with a variety of tactics if you speak of certain things in the wrong way or mention the possibility that they, themselves, are part of an astroturfing outfit. Fox News still won’t give a fair shake to the Uranium One/Skolkovo/Troika Laundromat evidence and it betrays them as controlled opposition/ a limited hangout, since it would destroy the Democrats.
Any “side” of politics you can be on, whether it’s fringe or mainstream or Right or Left, every group has limits to what truthful statements they will tolerate and the nexus where all the groups meet in alignment is when it comes to discussing modern day slavery and who is profiting from it.
Simply removing content is very overt and complaining about it to those who do it will usually earn you a mute or a ban. Running a “brand” across multiple platforms requires conformity to social media company ideologies, or you will be subjected to any and all means of censorship.
Covert means of censorship are also rampant. Upvotes.Club offers a service that not only promotes the content you want, but downvotes topics that run contrary to your marketing strategy. This is one of many astroturfing services. Shadow banning is another tactic that can be difficult to detect. “Deboosting” is common in social platforms, as well, where the number or type of viewers who see your content is limited. This breeds “echo chambers” across multiple Internet communities.
Out of frustration and curiosity, I began experimenting with different ways to engage with the shill communities. Very often, their own tactics work quite well against them. Years into this push and pull with these groups, my best strategy has evolved to monitor them as they often telegraph economic opportunity and subvert them from behind a layer of complexity a shill script can’t understand and is unable to deal with. When I noticed Bitcoin was being heavily shilled, I saw a signal to buy early. This was the catalyst for rethinking everything I was doing.
When I noticed that there was blatant fraud in the media about SARS COV 2, I noticed the exact same behavior I had seen before when I struck it rich with Bitcoin. I even went to my audience and said on a podcast, “the market will be back to normal levels in a month… six tops.” I bought the dip, knowing the numbers were fully overblown. My $TSLA experience has been quite enriching.
Every day, in the stock trading communities, shills are looking to pump and dump stocks and groups are spending money to illegally manipulate the stock market. However, you can use different ways to monitor social media to detect potential pumps and dumps. If you start seeing the same thing show up on different platforms, among different known shill groups, you know someone has paid for a pump and dump. So long as you have a set, small percentage to gain, you can avoid the pitfalls and get out early.
Right now, that is my “edge”, in trading. I don’t feel nearly as obligated to spread the truth to others, since I’ve realigned my priorities. These technological tools for being the first to news items, to new evidence, finding new ways of searching existing information; not only does it help you navigate past censorship, you can use it to make more “realistic” decisions about the world around you.
Politics and the stock market are inextricably linked. To be informed on one, is to be informed on the other. When you begin to pull in more intersecting information, like “systems psychodynamics” and overall agendas of differing groups, you are expanding your knowledge and your consciousness so that your intellect has more of a real world impact.
When you delve deep into ancient traditions, you will, eventually, learn of alchemy; usually the pursuit of endless wealth or the search for immortality. Day trading well is, essentially, modern day alchemy in that you are making money from thin air. Musicians transform what is in their mind into a product that can be sold. There are many forms of alchemy. Bitcoin is another great example of modern day alchemy. In my humble opinion, augmenting your own well-disciplined intellect with good computing practices can make you a modern day wizard; an alchemist.
Many people were saturated with pro-Nihilism marketing and ate it up with their Cheerio's while listening to Nirvana CDs. A couple of generations of nihilists later, combined with portable dopamine trap screens from waking moment 'til slumber, and people are literally having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Being a successful trader heals a lot of the damage from that consumerist propaganda and forces people to interact with the natural causes of their decision making.
The Market is not racist. The only color you have to worry about is green. The market does not celebrate your success or mock your failures. The opinions of critics do not count.
The Market does not care about your feelings or anyone else's.
All people enter the Market equal and there are no participation awards. There is no busywork. Your test scores do not matter. All that matters are results and that type of black and white simplicity makes the Market the most sane aspect of society, right now.
Though most of the obvious stocks have since reached preCovid normality, it has been easy to make money by sorting every ticker by Feb 20 high, then subtract the current price, calculate potential gain when they return to their old price and pick ones that had a high probability of doubling or tripling your money the fastest.
I understand it seems tangential, the stock market angle, but when you are routinely called a “conspiracy theorist”, it helps to be as realistic as possible and there is no better way to prove your theories than by putting your money where your mouth is.
The stock market is a vessel from which normal people (”retail investors”) are scammed constantly, for the benefit of institutional investors. The Epsteins, the Soros’, all the political elite; they are playing in this realm and they graduated to using AI and machine learning to augment their schemes years ago. In order to understand the elite, you have to understand their playground.
In order to compete in the information age, you need to augment your intellect using technology. If nothing else, use it to be meticulously organized. If you get organized in only one aspect of your life, make it your finances.
The Democratic party uses the ADA AI, named from Ada Lovelace and a competitor, in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, was used by the Republicans. These AI’s are augmented with databases and metadatabases of everything that can be served up by a social media APIs. They know everything about you and they don’t spy on your microphones, cameras and screenshots to catch you at crimes; they are spying on you in order to better teach you how to vote and spend money.
Combined with an army of astroturfing accounts, these AIs are quite good at manipulating what shows up on your screen. This type of censorship is bad for stock traders, researchers and people who just want a few honest answers.
In order to compete a bit better, I have taken to making by own custom feeds and scrapers, so that I can database text of many sites and subjects, which then is far easier to search, but is also able to sort information so that I can find what I am looking for in a few minutes, as opposed to trawling the same channels or search engines everyday and learning relatively little. I am really on the hunt for stuff that is voted up or noticed organically and is in that stage before it catches on by a shill group. I incorporate a lot of OSINT tools and I like to collect leaked databases to be able to compare information. It is very helpful to use machine learning to detect what I need as quickly as possible and serve it up to me, first.
Applying my own knowledge of how the astroturfing system works, I have developed strategies to target influencers with new and original information and I can quickly and easily get it to them without influencers even knowing I am the source of the information. I just have to identify the correct group to get my message out, then make sure their leaders see the information, who will naturally post it on their own and their followers will naturally vote information up for free. I don’t do this with stocks (questionable legality), but I do feed good news to the right people and I exert a lot less effort to get ideas across all platforms than I used to.
No astroturfing groups are into anti-consumerist ideas. “Hydro Homies” and “No Fap” are two great examples that recommend people be anti-consumerist and avoid specific products. As a result, these movements, despite being healthy and productive, have a lot of trouble gaining traction. There is no mainstream push for a truly healthy agenda. All contrived movements must pay to astroturf and shill because, otherwise, embracing their products and ideas is contrary to your well being. No shill group is working to save you money or trying to convince you to make the right decision, for yourself.
There are certain messages almost no one will add social media velocity to; detailed instructions on how to report crimes or catch pedophiles, leaked information that hurts both sides of the political spectrum, anything a little too technical or complex.
There are already efforts to make hijack the anti-human trafficking crowd. They will be tricked into meaningless pursuits that have no real world consequence. Money will be raised and wasted. News article after news article will be pumped out detailing how everyone is supporting victims and raising awareness. Meanwhile; nobody of consequence is arrested. The mining industry will continue to use forced labor and the networks they use will also feed the sex slavery and domestic servitude and the systemic policies and corrupt politicians will continue on unimpeded.
Let’s hope that changes, but it will require a lot more people getting off their asses and getting involved. It will require a lot more people speaking up outside of their echo chambers.
Ready. Set. Go.
submitted by The_Web_Of_Slime to TopConspiracy [link] [comments]

The Sandman

NoSleep. Ironically, I am posting this to NoSleep. You are here to read stories so scary that they will keep you up all night, I am here because I can’t go to sleep. I haven’t slept in 3 days, and I can’t even remember the last time I got real sleep. The kind where you go to sleep and stay asleep. The kind where you naturally drift off to a relaxing sleep and not your body forcibly shutting itself down against its own will. So I am sorry if I ramble some, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony of this being on no sleep. Is that funny to you too, or just to me because I am too tired to be rational?
Every teenager thinks they have insomnia because they stayed up too long playing video games 2 nights in a row and fell asleep in class, then they sleep for 15 hours straight on the weekend. I was like that once. Life must be tough with that sort of insomnia.
I have real insomnia. The kind where people think you are insane, and to be honest, they aren’t wrong. I have had it since I was in college, but it has only gotten worse and worse. I can't even remember the last time I slept. Wait? I told you that already.
I’ve been to a sleep specialist. I’ve been on every sleeping pill you can think of. Melatonin, no caffeine, no naps, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, silenor, antidepressants, Seroquel, Ativan, benzos, you name it, I have taken more than they recommended. Still no relief or sleep.
I know, you are not reading this to read the ramblings of a madman who hasn’t slept in days. You are here because you want a scary story. I’ve got one for you. I think it is real. To be honest, when you haven’t had a real night's sleep in months, dreams and reality start to become one big blur. The truth is, when you are as desperate for sleep as I am, you will do almost anything to get even 1 night of real sleep, no matter how crazy it is.
The story starts about 6 months ago, maybe? It was still winter and the virus was not a big deal yet. I remember that much for sure.
At this time, my insomnia was at the worst it had been in a few years. I remember I had been up for 4 days straight. When you hit this point, you become jittery. You know when someone has had too much caffeine and they sort of shake uncontrollably. Eventually, lack of sleep does the same thing, my whole body feels like it is trembling, my teeth feel like they are chattering even though they are resting as normal, my hands can’t even hold my phone still.
Then there is your mind. You get Brain Fog. At first, it feels like you have been driving on the interstate for 10 hours and can't see or think straight, then you get a second burst of energy and feel great. Most people crash at this point. If you stay up, things that don’t make sense start to make sense. Last is paranoia and anxiety. Every shadow has something lurking in it, ready to jump out and take you. TV or Radio starts to talk to you. You go on Reddit but every story is the same, like god playing a trick on you. You get anxious, praying for sleep, knowing the anxiety is keeping you up even longer. You start to ramble like I am doing again right now.
Okay. I am gathering myself now.
I had been up for days when a commercial came on for an over the phone psychic reading. If a doctor couldn’t help, maybe a spiritual advisor could. No, I didn’t need a psychic, what I needed was a hypnotist. You have seen them before, they can just snap their fingers and you fall asleep instantly! This is the answer to all of my prayers.
It was a scam. They had me lay down and close my eyes, then they softly started talking while I tuned out. When I woke up, she said when I go to sleep at night to relax and listen to a youtube channel that softly plays music and tells you to relax. It didn’t work at all except that every time I listen to soft background music I get the strong urge to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which is weird because I had not had one since I was maybe 9. I think she just hypnotized me to crave grilled cheese. She probably invests in the Big Cheese Industry and makes money by making people crave grilled cheese. What a waste of money.
So much for that idea. The next night I still couldn’t sleep. I decided to watch my feel-good movie: Back to the Future. During the movie, Marty goes back in time to 1955 and there is a part where a song comes on, you hear the unmistakable BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUMMMMMMM! MR. SANDMAN! BRING ME A DREAM! (That song will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. I’m not sorry.)
When I heard the song, I started to boil over in rage. Maybe it was from the lack of sleep, or maybe I am just insane, but I picked up the remote and threw it into the LED screen breaking the tv. I screamed, “THAT IS THE MOTHER FUCKER WHO HAS CURSED ME! THE FUCKING SANDMAN! I AM GOING TO FIND HIM AND KILL HIM!”
This went on for longer than I am willing to admit, but you get the point. The Sandman was my enemy. The one who is supposed to deliver us into sleep every night had decided to stop visiting me. What had I ever done to him to make him skip me every night not allowing me to sleep? The Sandman was to blame.
The Sandman was going to have to answer for these wrongs. I was determined to find a way to confront him and give him a piece of my mind. I just had to figure out how the hell you could find or trap it. At this point, I don't care if The Sandman is God himself, I was going to find him..
I thought about it for a while and decided based on movies and books, the way to call a god to you is to summon it. Sounds simple enough, Let’s do it.
Another long story short, putting candles in a circle and yelling I SUMMON YOU SANDMAN! Doesn’t work.
Again, I was back on the internet looking for someone to help me. After talking to someone I was given the email of an African Witch Doctor named Mrs. Fatima. I emailed her and she agreed to help me if I send her bitcoin. She even offered to come out for more money, but screw that, I can do it myself. Why the hell does everything have to be so difficult? Can’t people just take a credit card like the rest of the world? Always extra steps for some weird-ass digital currency crap.
Screw it, I am willing to try anything at this point. I sent her the bitcoin. Whatever the hell that is. It is expensive, I can tell you that much.
After she got the money, she replied to my email with detailed instructions and a warning. She could help me summon The Sandman, but advised against it. Summoning a dead person is dangerous, summoning a demon is disastrous, summing a God is deadly. I thought about it for less than a moment and decided to do it. What is the worst that can happen? I die and am in an endless uninterrupted sleep for eternity? Sounds like heaven to me.
Under her instructions, I waited until 2 am the following night. You can do it anytime, but the barrier between the spirit realm and the mortal world is the thinnest in the early morning hours when people are sleeping. She advised to go somewhere secluded like in the middle of the woods since it would be desolated and more likely to work. I am doing it in my bedroom, it gets the same amount of girls in it as a desolated forest. Lucky for me, I also need the blood of a virgin, so I got that covered too! Just joking, I don’t need blood.
The first thing I needed to do was draw a large circle in chalk. The circle had to be complete and above all else, not broken. The circle is the doorway between realms, if it was not complete it would not work. It also acts as an invisible wall to keep the spirit contained once you summon it. Keep the circle complete at all times. I drew a circle on my hardwood floor. Easy.
The next step was to light 5 red candles drawing a pentagram star. They have to be red because the devil is red and we are practicing devil magic, that’s my explanation, not hers.
Inside the circle, I was to fill it with sand. If you are summoning The Sandman, you need sand?
That was all I needed. Some chalk, candles, a secluded spot, and sand. I was closer than I thought earlier.
Next, the hard part, summoning a god.
The first step is to clear your mind and meditate. Most people have a hard time with this, but I have been meditating for years. They said it would help me sleep, it doesn’t. Don’t waste your time.
The next step is to concentrate on the circle, opening the pathway in your mind. Like imagining it disappearing or opening it like a door?
When your mind is clear, envision the one you are summoning. Do I just imagine what I think he looks like in my head? It’ll have to work.
When you feel the energy start to peak, only then can you summon the spirit into the realm. Call out to the spirit you desire and demand it’s presence. Do not ask. Demand it. This is your world and you must stay in control at all times. If you give up control, the spirit will be able to take control and possibly hurt or kill you.
If you do everything right, you will have summoned the spirit.
Let’s do this. I have a bone to pick with that asshole Sandman.
The circle is drawn, the candles are lit, and sand is in the circle. I turned off the lights for good measure, it wasn’t in the instructions, but it makes for a better dramatic effect.
I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. I imagined the circle in my mind as an empty white space, a void, a door, then I imagined a portal like in the video game with a blue glowing loop.
Next, I imagined The Sandman. Was he a human figure who carried sand, or a God made of sand? I kept trying back and forth, and everything in between before I finally settled on a spirit outlined in the sand.
I held my concentration on The Sandman and the opening of the portal. It felt like nothing was happening when suddenly everything changed. My eyes were shut but I could feel the energy start to build in the room. It felt like a strong storm was blowing on the outside of the house. I couldn’t physically feel the force, but I could feel the pressure growing and growing. Finally, I felt the energy reach its crescendo like something was trying to push itself through the circle into my room.
It’s time to open the gate.
“I OPEN THE PATHWAY AND DEMAND YOUR PRESENCE SANDMAN! THE DOOR IS OPEN AND I ORDER YOU TO APPEAR BEFORE ME!
I felt resistance trying to pull energy back from the door, not wanting to obey.
“SANDMAN! APPEAR BEFORE ME NOW!”
The energy in the room seemed to explode out of the circle. I opened my eyes to see the sand turning in a tornado inside the circle high above my head. I gasped in shock, wondering if I was dreaming. This couldn’t be real. Suddenly the tornado dissolved and the sand formed into a figure with red eyes staring down at me.
“WHAT MORTAL DARES TO SUMMON ME!” He roared. “WHO HAS MADE SUCH THE MISTAKE TO SUMMON A GOD!”
I may have made a mistake. The thing is, spirits and especially Gods, do not like it when mortals summon them. They have to come if you summon them, and that pisses them off. They are over there doing ghost and god stuff and get interrupted by people who can’t even walk through a wall. So if you do ever try this, just expect the ghost or demon or god to be in a pissy mood when they come. It is understandable when you think about it.
I looked up at the god, not backing down, and responded “I did.”
Sand swirled around The Sandman as he looked at me in disbelief.
“You are The Sandman, right?” I yelled at him. “You are the god of sleep, the god of dreams, right?”
“I am,” it growled.
“Then why the fuck can I not sleep?” I said. “It has been years and I am stuck awake for days at a time. Why have you done this to me?”
A deep laugh came from the circle. “You think I care about you, mortal? Do you think I waste my time on someone as insignificant as you or your kind? I am a god. A GOD! I don’t have time to waste being here talking to you. Release me!”
“I am not going to release you until you give me what I want.”
The sand settled down and it was quiet. I waited for it to respond.
“You want something from a God? What do I get out of the deal? What do you have that I could possibly want?”
“Give you something?” I asked. “You are the asshole who won’t let me sleep.”
“I am feeling generous. We can make a deal,” it said. “I will give you the ability to sleep anytime you want”
“What is the catch?”
“Ahhh! The catch. Smarter than you look.” He said. “I am the God of Sleep and Dreams. You can sleep, but I will control your dreams.”
”Can’t you do that anyway?” You are the God of Dreams”
“Do we have a deal or no? Answer me before I change my mind.”
Damn it. I know he is playing me as a fool. Fuck it, I’ll solve my sleep problem now and worry about the catch later.
“We have a deal, Sandman.”
“A deal it is” he laughed. “Anytime you wish to sleep just say Mr. Sandman, Give me a dream.’ And you will be asleep in less than a minute.”
“You gotta be kidding me.”
“My game. My rules.” He said. “Now release me.”
“You are released.”
“See you in your dreams!”
The energy that had filled the room evaporated into thin air, the sand fell back into the circle, the candles went dark, and The Sandman was gone.
Was that real or am I hallucinating again? And damn! What even happened there? I was ready to cuss him out and he somehow took control of the encounter. Shit! Mrs. Fatima warned me it could be deadly if he took control. Then again, he made a deal and I can finally sleep.
What is done is done. I blew out the candles and decided to put our deal to the test. He will allow me to sleep anytime I want, real sleep, he will just be controlling my dreams. I’ve had nightmares, what happens in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there. Right?
It was 4:15 am. I turned off the lights, turned the fan on high, and put on some calming music and prepared to lay in bed awake for hours on end. I said the magic words As soon as I closed my eyes, I was out like a rock.
The dream started. I was back five minutes earlier saying “What happened in the dream world is all a dream. Nothing can hurt me there, right?” There was an echo repeating the same phrase back to me. That isn’t a good start.
I laid down in bed, just like before and closed my eyes trying to sleep but this time no sleep came, like always. I sat there for hours trying to sleep. I meditated, listened to calm music making me crave grilled cheese, and tried to will myself to sleep. My dream self was exhausted and on the verge of tears from being unable to sleep.
The Sandman’s idea of a joke is to give me insomnia in my dreams so I couldn’t escape it. Funny joke, but as long as I wake up refreshed I don’t care.
I looked at the clock and it was 7:45 and the sun was up or would be if I didn’t have the windows blacked out. Too exhausted to get up I laid in bed and prayed for sleep.
A moment later, the red candles flickered to life in a star pattern, the room went cold, then the sand started to swirl up into the air. The Sandman appeared in the circle.
My body stiffened, I couldn’t move a muscle, not even to close my eyes. Is this what sleep paralysis feels like? I thought back to my email with Mrs. Fatima and remembered as long as the circle was complete he would be stuck inside.
“That is only true when you’re awake. You’re in my world now,” he laughed as he floated across the circle to my bedside. “You brought me to your world, now I have you in mine. A deal is a deal.”
Ah shit. I knew taking his deal was a bad idea. Never negotiate with a god. You will never come out ahead. I tried to answer him but I was still paralyzed.
“Do you know the legend of The Sandman? The original story? The real story?” He stood over me.
Everyone knows the legend. He comes at night, sprinkles sand in your eyes so you will sleep well and have good dreams. You wake up with sand in your eyelashes.
“Wrong!” He yelled. “That is a story told much later after I left the mortal world to stop people from fearing me. You are about to find out the real legend of The Sandman.
I laid in bed unable to move, my eyes held open by some imaginary force, staring at him in fear.
He held out his hand in front of my face and blew. I felt the wind on my face followed by the sand. The awful awful sand. Unable to close my eyes the sand blanketed my eyes. I could feel every grain of sand stick to my eyes.
Finally, I had control of my eyes again and started to blink uncontrollably. Each blink the sand grinded deeper and deeper into my eyeballs and eye socket. Each blink felt like shards of glass cutting my eyes. My eyes became watery and started to tear up but it wasn’t tears but blood leaking down my face. The pain engulfed my face but I couldn’t move, only involuntary blinking trying to clear the sand from my eyes. Each blink the sand cut farther and farther into my eyes. The pain became excruciating like someone had stuck a red hot fire poker in each eye. I wanted to scream out but nothing else worked on my body. Then the pain disappeared.
I assumed I had blacked out or went unconscious but that doesn’t happen in dreams and I wasn’t that lucky. Instead, I felt a weird sensation on my eyeballs then the feeling of water being poured into my eye. When it stopped, my vision started to appear again, blurry at first but clearing. I could see a sandy palm and fingers like I was being carried in The Sandman’s hand.
“The legend of The Sandman isn’t that he comes to put sand in your eyes to help you sleep, he comes to put sand in your eyes to steal eyeballs of kids who stay up too late.” He said. “I’m making an exception for you.”
He opened his palm and I could see my lifeless body, still in bed, not moving, the face covered in blood with empty holes as eye sockets. I am seeing myself from my own eyeballs. What the fuck, even for a dream this is fucked up. Luckily the pain had stopped, for now.
“Do you know what happens next in the legend? Do you know what I do with the eyeballs I steal” He asked like I could to respond. I didn’t know the answer but I knew I was about to find out.
“Right you are. Close your eyes, It’’s a surprise.” He laughed. “Get it? You can’t! You have no eyelids. Hahaha”
Excuse me for not thinking the joke is funny, being the butt of the joke.
“He pointed my eyes toward the moon and asked, “Do you like The Dark Side of the Moon?”
What the hell does the Pink Floyd album have to do with anything? Who doesn’t like it?
“Great. Let’s take a trip there. You’re dreaming so we can be there in, what would you say, a blink of an eye?”
Fucking funny. A moment later, we were on the dark side of the moon. It looked like the moon, but dark. He walked into a crater and I started to hear cries. Not like human cries, more like an animal cry. Not just one animal but a bunch. The cries got louder and louder. Even in a dream, I knew something bad was about to happen.
We finally arrived at what I would call a nest. Not your typical earth nest, but an enclosure that held a bunch of giant ugly bird-like featherless babies. Not dinosaur big, but big enough. Each bird-like creature was lifting its beak up in the air crying for its parents to bring it back food. What the fuck kind of food was available on the moon or in space is beyond my understanding, but that’s exactly what my eyes were seeing.
“After I steal the eyeballs, I bring them back here and feed them to the birds. In your world, you may throw bread out to the birds for a treat. In my world, I feed them your eyes.”
Fuck. Can I wake up now? I really don’t feel like being eaten by a giant alien baby bird thing.
“The legend says I fed them to my children, but that is the part they got wrong.” He said. “Sweet dreams, prince.”
He tossed my eyes into the air into the waiting mouth of one of these creatures. I saw it’s beak close as my eyeballs exploded into a gooey mess.
The dream ended and I woke up in a panic. I tried to open my eyes but they were sealed shut. I lifted my hands, happy I could move again, and felt my eyelids crusted over with sand. I cleared them the best I could but needed a warm compress to clean all the salt out. When I finally opened my eyes, they hurt. Everything had happened in the dream, but somehow my eyes felt sore.
I thought back to what I said and heard in my dream, “It is just a dream, nothing can hurt me there.” It is true, I wasn’t really hurt, but I’ve never woken up feeling pain I got from a dream. What is going on?
Still, If I dreamed, that means I slept! A nightmare isn’t so bad if I get real sleep. The dream felt like it lasted hours, a few more nights of this and I will have a somewhat normal sleep schedule and feel rested. I looked at the clock to see it was 4:30. I slept 12 hours and 15 minutes. Amazing!
I opened the door to my room and walked into the kitchen and it was still dark. That can’t be right. It should be 4:30 pm, the middle of the afternoon. Did I sleep for 24 hours straight? I looked at my phone and saw the date. My heart dropped. I had only slept for 15 minutes. It is like dreams take place in another dimension where time doesn’t exist. The Sandman was able to torture me for hours in dream time while allowing me to sleep for a few minutes. I cried. Seriously, I cried like a baby.
He held up his end of the bargain, I can fall asleep any time I want to, except now I am afraid to go to sleep. Everytime I fall asleep, he takes me away to his realm and gives me nightmare after nightmare. Every dream is one where he does something horrible to me and my dream self feels every bit of excruciating pain. And he never allows me to sleep more than an hour at the most.
I eventually accepted my fate. He is going to torture me, but it is all a dream. I will wake up feeling mostly normal. Then things changed. It is like he knew I had stopped fighting, so he found a new way to hurt me. Instead of hurting me in my dreams, he started to make me watch him hurt people I loved in their dreams. I didn’t think it was real until I heard from my sister about how my niece has been having terrible nightmares and refusing to go to sleep. When she described her dreams, I already knew, because I was there too.
That has been my life for the past however many months. Instead of trying to take medicine or listen to music or having The Sandman put me to sleep, I try to use my insomnia to stay awake for as long as my body will withstand it. I drink coffee and energy drinks, I take adderall, but eventually sleep always comes, even if for short periods. No matter how hard you fight it, your body will always sleep, and the Sandman will be there waiting on me.
submitted by LandoCommandoe to LandoCommandoeStories [link] [comments]

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi
Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/n0euarkifu951/player
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
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Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
https://preview.redd.it/1ugdxoqjfu951.jpg?width=650&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=36edde1079c3cff5f6b15b8cd30e6c436626d5d8

Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency

There are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.
Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
  1. Send Value You can send value to anyone, anywhere in the world. Nobody can intercept, delay or stop it — not even governments or financial institutions. Unlike with traditional money transfers or bank wires, there are no layers of middlemen. This results in a process that is much more cost-efficient. Some popular use-cases include remittances and cross-border payments.
  2. Store Value With nothing but a smartphone, you can become your own bank and store your own funds. Nobody can seize your assets. The funds are digital and stored on a blockchain. Your money no longer needs to be stored at a bank, in a vault, or under your mattress. I covered a few inspiring use-cases in a previous post. They include banking the unbanked, protecting assets from government seizure, mitigating the risk of a bank run, and protection against hyperinflation (like what recently happened in Venezuela).
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.
Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
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Public Awareness

A few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.
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Ethereum: Programmable Money

When Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.
One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/b5b1jh9ofu951/player

Digital Gold Rush

Just as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.
Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
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That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.
The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.

DeFi: Decentralized Finance

So as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
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In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
https://preview.redd.it/wn3phnkqfu951.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=02f56caa6b94aa59eadd6e368ef9346ba10c7611
This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.

Wrap Up

I know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
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In 2012 I Met a Possessed Couch

I’ve been losing sleep. I don’t think I’m particularly special in that regard, I think everyone has been losing sleep these days. A global pandemic tends to do that to people. Yet the thing that has been keeping me awake isn’t the virus. I’ve been losing sleep over an old couch I once crossed paths with.
It’s been eight years, I want to believe that I’ve put the past behind me, but being locked in a house for a couple of weeks has made it impossible to not dwell on the past. The memory of the couch started off as a fleeting thought over my morning coffee, but as days have turned into weeks that memory has grown into a distinct vision of madness. What I saw during those three drunken nights in December of 2012 has become an unavoidable part of reality. I can’t rest until I process it.
So since we have a nice little Internet campfire going here I figured I would tell you guys a story. Hopefully it will let me put this whole part of my past to rest and maybe it will take your mind off of what is happening outside. So kick back and let me tell you a tale of love and loss, of broken teenage hearts, of surviving in a crumbling world. Let me tell you a story about the couch that tried to seduce me.

I was nineteen, hung-over and heartbroken. I was also stuck in a foreign country. Well, to call Estonia a foreign country would be a bit of a long shot, I had lived there for a good five years of my life. It was in Estonia that I lived out most of my teenage years. This was where I had smoked my first cigarette, had my first drink, fell in love for the first time. I was dragged in when I was thirteen by my parents; they had business in Tallinn and wherever they went I went. At eighteen, when my parent’s contracts ran out, I was forced back home. Their business with Estonia was done. Mine was not. By nineteen I was back.
As soon as I got off the plane I turned my phone on and checked my messages. She didn’t write to me. My soul, positioned somewhere slightly above my abdomen, twitched in discomfort. It was a familiar twitch, I had felt it in the bus to the airport, I had felt it in the security check, I had felt it when I boarded the flight to Tallinn and as soon as I got off the plane the twitch was back with a vengeance. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was a realization. It was the realization that I had emptied out most of my already slim bank account on a one-way ticket halfway across the continent to see my old high-school sweetheart who wasn’t interested in seeing me. It was the realization that as much as I consciously knew the trip was a bad idea, I couldn’t resist going. I dragged my feet towards the arrivals hall.
When it became obvious that Saale was dodging my messages I panicked. There was no place for me to crash, I had no money for a flight, hell, I had no money for food. As I boarded the plane to Estonia I sent off a panicked text message to my old band-mate: ‘Made horrible mistake. Landing in Tallinn in three hours. Can I crash at yours?’ Within two minutes there was a reply: ‘OK. Will come with Maarja. See you soon.’ Karl wasn’t very chatty, but he was always there when needed.
The two of them were waiting for me as soon as I walked out into the arrival hall. They barely changed. Karl was still a giant of man. His long hair had gotten longer and the beard he had rocked since seventeen had gotten thicker, the guy looked like Jesus on steroids if Jesus was really into heavy metal and wore glasses. Next to Karl stood Maarja, she wore a garish yellow coat. The pink streak in her hair she’d been so proud of back in middle school was pinker than ever.
“JAAMEEES! YOU’RE BACK!” Maarja yelled in her high-pitched faux-English accent before nearly tackling me to the ground. “It’s been too long honey! Too long!” She hadn’t changed a bit since I left the country. Maarja was still a pint-sized bolt of energy. The two of them made for an odd couple.
“Welcome back, Friend,” Karl said after Maarja was done squeezing me. He wasn’t one for physical contact, Karl settled on a simple pat on the shoulder that challenged my entire skeletal structure. The three of us made our way outside to catch a bus to the center. Even after living in Estonia for five years I still wasn’t used to the winters. As soon as we walked out into the sub-zero temperature I felt decidedly like a foreigner.
We caught up on the small things while we waited for the bus. Karl and Maarja had officially moved in together, the band that Karl and me started up in high-school had broken up, Maarja was in the process of getting a bachelors degree of psychology and Karl was really into some crypto-currency stuff that went completely over my head. I couldn’t get much out of me; the cold was taking a real toll on my system. Whenever I opened my mouth to talk about my miserable little life I simply ended up chattering my teeth. As soon as we got on the bus I threw myself at the nearest heating vent.
“So, James,” Maarja said as soon as we got on the bus, “You still talk to Saale?” When I turned away from the heater to face her she froze, “I mean, we don’t have to talk about, forget I asked.”
“Do I look that bad?”
While Maarja searched for a diplomatic answer Karl stepped in with his special brand of honesty, “You look very tired and unhappy.”
“Well, I am happy to see you guys and I am excited to be here, but, yeah,” I decided to get the conversation out of the way, “We tried two months of long-distance, but Skype only gets you so far. Broke up in late July. After we split we agreed to not talk for a couple of months, to give each other some time to clear the system and all that. Keeping radio silence was hard at first but after a couple of weeks I started to get used to it. I was learning to live without her. Things were starting to straighten up, I even took a stab at dating but when the holidays rolled around the loneliness came back. On Christmas I figured I’d throw Saale a holiday message. She wrote back. We started chatting on a daily basis.”
The bus bounced through my old neighborhood. Memories of my drunken youth jumped at me from every corner, most of those memories involved Saale. “Last night we got pretty drunk,” I continued, “Things got flirty. We started talking about what we would do if we weren’t half a continent away from each other. She mentioned her parents were out of town until the end of January on some sort of an anniversary trip. I offered to fly in. She told me I should. Now I’m here.”
“She changed her mind?” Karl asked.
“She didn’t think I was serious about flying over. Didn’t exactly check with her before I bought the ticket. She flipped out when I got it, told me to get a refund and then hung up on me when I insisted on meeting up. She hasn’t answered any of my messages since.” A part of me felt good to get the story out of my system but saying it out loud just added to the absurdity. I could have not bought the ticket, I could have gotten a refund, I could have not gotten on that plane. Everything could have been avoided, but nineteen year old me leaped at the opportunity for a grand romantic gesture like a hungry animal.
“Very strange,” Karl finally said after considering my story. He shot a look over to Maarja, as if she was the ambassador to all women-kind, “Very strange, right?”
Maarja shrugged.
Maarja’s house was the crown jewel of my high-school social life. It was a three-apartment unit that was built at some point before the world wars. This place was old, as you would walk around the little apartment it would creak, but it made for a perfect party place. Maarja had inherited the apartment from her grandma at sixteen; the Estonians saw child rearing as a fairly independent process. If she couldn’t survive on her own at sixteen she probably couldn’t make it at thirty, a bit of responsibility would prepare her for the frigid world outside. Maarja used her newly found independence to throw the biggest house parties that the neighborhood had ever seen.
Maarja’s place was perfect for booze filled gatherings. It was spacious enough to hold any drinking game we could dream up, there was a nice terrace for smoking and the neighbors were either deaf, completely apathetic about teenage drinking or both. As soon as the front door opened I was assaulted by memories.
Visions of drunken nights on the floor of the living room, of hung-over mornings of the kitchen; the old apartment breathed with the past. For a split second a wave of gratitude for a youth well spent washed over me, but then I remembered that each of those fond memories had an element I wanted to block out. Most of the fun I had in the apartment had been with Saale by my side.
Maarja and Karl still slept on an old mattress on the floor, the walls were still covered with cut outs of boy-bands that Maarja had stuck to the wall in her tweens. The only thing that changed about their bedroom was the addition of a massive computer rig on the table. There were strange ventilators and cooling tubes and blinking lights, the machine looked like something straight out of a sci-fi flick.
“That’s my mining rig,” Karl said proudly. I nodded as if I understood what he was talking about.
“Where are the rats?” I asked, noticing the empty cage on Maarja’s wardrobe. Back in the day Maarja had two rats, Fritz and The Duchess. She would keep them in the cage most of the time, but whenever the night reached a certain point of drunkenness Maarja would sneak over to her bedroom and come out with the two animals. If you saw Maarja with two rats running up and down her body you knew the night was really going to become a rager.
“The Duchess died last week,” Maarja said with a glint of sorrow, “Fritz wasn’t taking it well. Think the little guy was depressed being in the cage all alone, so I’m letting him roam around the house for the time being. Hopefully a bit of freedom will cheer him up.” As if he had heard his name, Fritz peeked out from behind the wardrobe. The albino rat raised his snout in the air, sniffed for a bit and then lumbered off to the living room. The years had taken their toll on Fritz, he no longer moved with the youthful energy I was used to, but the one part of him that I remembered had not changed. Fritz still had balls that were disproportionately giant to his body. As he moved away from us he dragged them behind him with Sisyphean effort.
“So, which hostel are you crashing at?” Maarja asked. A lump manifested in my throat. I looked around the cramped apartment. Outside of the mattress there was nowhere for me to sleep. I didn’t have any money for a hostel. “Ah, I’m just kidding. You’re crashing here. We owe you anyway,” Maarja said with good cheer.
“For what?” I asked, relieved that I wasn’t homeless.
“Financing the booze and cigarettes back in the day, might have ended up a nun if it weren’t for you,” she said with a grin. It was true, throughout high school I had been the main financier of our misadventures, my parents had foreign money and that money went pretty far by Estonian standards. More importantly though; when everyone was sixteen I looked twelve. According to the law of teen streets, the late bloomer provides the dough for those who can buy stuff without ID.
“You’ll sleep on the couch, we just haven’t had the time to get it out of the garage. How about you and Karl drag it in while I make some tea?”
Even though it was a bright winter day outside the garage was in near darkness. The only thing that illuminated the cramped musty room was a single ray of light shining in through a cracked skylight. The garage was covered in flimsy shelves that buckled beneath the weight of greasy machine parts. In the center of the garage lay a couch shaped object covered with a large, stained cloth. Karl grabbed ahold the cloth and was about to pull it away, but a thought struck him.
“James, if I tell you something will you not tell Maarja?” He asked, letting the cloth drop back down to the floor. He looked straight at me; his small eyes were probing me for trustworthiness.
“Well, depends on what it is,” I said, “Don’t need help burying a body, right?”
“No,” Karl’s intensity broke into a smile, “It is nothing illegal. Just a secret.” He strode towards one of the rickety shelves and plunged his hand deep into its depths. After a moment of rustling he pulled out a small box. He opened it. Even though the garage was dark, and even though the diamond was tiny, you could see a little glimmer. Karl’s eyes shone twice as bright.
“Wow man,” I said, realizing how quickly the world was moving on, “Congratulations!” Maarja and Karl would get married and I would be at their wedding alone. As I stood in that garage the thought that I would always be alone gushed dread through my veins. We used to joke about how Saale and me would get hitched before the two of them did. Those jokes felt cruel now. Maarja and Karl would get married and one day Saale would get married too. She would get married to someone who wasn’t me. “I’m really happy for you.”
“I want to ask her father soon. He does not like me much, but I think I can show him that I can provide for his daughter. This Bitcoin thing will be big soon James, in a couple of years me and Maarja will be rich.” Karl put the box back into its hiding place. “Promise not to tell her, yes?”
“Promise,” I said with as much candor as I could muster, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was floating disembodied in a bright church, watching my would-be-wife get married to someone else.
“James,” Karl’s paw on my shoulder brought me back into reality, “You will be okay. I know you are worried about Saale, but you still have us. We will drink this away.” He smiled. I tried to smile back. “Let’s get this couch, shall we?”
He pulled away at the cloth that covered the couch. Enough dust flew off into the air to send us both into a coughing fit. The room danced with dirty particles. Yet from behind the veil of powder I could see it. I could see the couch.
The thing was ancient, a couch straight out of the early days of the Soviet Union. Its flowery upholstery was covered in stains that just screamed history. It was as if the piece of furniture had been used for barricades in the defense of Stalingrad and lived to talk about it. Filth filled its rumpled cloth, it stood on firm wooden legs that seemed to have survived multiple generations of being clawed at, it was as if the thing was simply biding its time until its true masters came back to retrieve it. The couch was old, but somehow in that dark garage, in that gust of earthly smoke, there was something alluring about it. It looked ratty but comfortable, even inviting. For a split second I was sure that the couch had winked at me with its cushioning. Then the dust settled and it was just a piece of furniture.
Karl grabbed one side of the couch, I grabbed the other and we started to haul the thing towards the living room. We had left the garage, but there was still tension in the air. I was still thinking about Saale getting married to someone who wasn’t me. It was still as if Karl and me were meant to have a serious discussion. Neither of us were comfortable.
“I lost my virginity on this couch,” I shared, hoping to relax the situation.
Karl grinned, accepting the levity, “Gross.”
We dragged the couch to the living room and then joined Maarja in the kitchen. Back in the day her kitchen table was the go-to place to gather before drinking and after drinking. We would sit around and shoot the shit and wait for someone to drop off the booze for the evening or the hung-over pizza for the morning. Yet as we sat there, trying to make small talk, one of the chairs was empty and it made all the difference. I couldn’t focus on anything that was being said around me, all I could think about was how Saale used to sit next to me. All I could think about were her long legs on my lap, her long fiery hair, her laughter.
“How about we sweeten the evening with a bit of moonshine?” Maarja asked, as she fished a clear bottle out of the kitchen counter, “Karl and me are going to lunch with my parents tomorrow though, so no hangovers.”
Karl cheered on the promise of alcohol, but not even drink could lift my spirits. My eyes shifted from Saale’s empty seat to the couch. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep for a thousand years. “Guys, I appreciate the hospitality but I’m really tired. How about we drink tomorrow?” I said. Karl and Maarja looked concerned, this was the first time they had ever seen me refuse booze.
“Are you sure you’re okay honey? We can talk about it if you want to,” Maarja suggested. I insisted I was fine; I just needed to get some rest. That didn’t convince her, but she yielded, “Well, we’ll be in my room if you need us.” Her and Karl shuffled off to her bedroom. I laid down on the couch.
From the other room I could hear them talk. Maarja talked in concerned whispers whilst Karl spoke at full volume, it didn’t make much of a difference, even after five years of being in the country I still couldn’t understand Estonian. I could hear my name being mentioned though. They were concerned about the emotional wreck that was crashing on their couch. I dragged my friends into my mess. It was all so humiliating; I was far from home, broke and broken. I wanted to die.
‘Easy there Tiger, don’t think like that,’ a faint voice emerged from the back of my head, ‘Things might not seem great right now, but look on the bright side, at least you’re on a comfortable couch.’ The voice was right; the couch was indeed comfortable. ‘All you need is a bit of a distraction to forget about your broken heart. Some booze, some dope, maybe a bit of love and you’ll be good as new.’ It was as if the suave voice turned a switch in my mind. Suddenly the tightness in my chest eased, a burst of joy started to bubble in my abdomen. My fingers started to trace the sides of the upholstery. The voice giggled, ‘That’s the spirit Tiger, just relax, you’re fine as long as you’re here with me.’ The universe felt lighter, my feelings of dread faded away and were replaced with an electric anticipation. I needed a drink to celebrate.
I opened the door to Maarja’s bedroom. She was lounging on the mattress reading a psych textbook. Karl was watching bar graphs on the computer. “Hey guys,” I peeked in, “I feel a bit better now, how about those drinks?” They both grinned. We drank.
In the moment I didn’t give much thought to the voice in my head, my internal monologue was turned up a notch since the break-up anyway. I was used to hearing thoughts that I consciously didn’t want to consider; the silky voice that was telling me that things would be okay was a welcome distraction. I sunk into the couch and I let the night carry me away. ‘See Tiger? Isn’t it nice to be here? Isn’t life just swell on this little old couch?’ it would say. I nodded along. We drank more.
All thoughts of avoiding hangovers were let go; the liquor poured freely. At some point Maarja emerged out of her room with Fritz on her shoulder. We celebrated the tradition of our youth but the rat was sluggish, far too old to crawl around on her body. After a couple of minutes Maarja gave up on playing with the rat. She put him on the ground. Fritz simply walked around the room dragging his testacles behind him like a ball and chain. We drank more.
Karl lumbered up to his feet and went to fetch his guitar. Maarja was out having a cigarette. I was far too comfortable on the couch. Having a moment to myself I watched the rat. Fritz had spent the past couple of minutes roaming the living room and sniffing at my backpack. Yet suddenly something caught his attention, he sniffed at the air, his whiskers bouncing in curiosity. Then he looked towards the couch. The old rat sprung to his hind legs and turned towards me. It was as if his beady eyes were locked to the piece of furniture. ‘Oh Tiger, don’t think about the stupid rat. Look, here comes Karl, let’s stop thinking about stupid things and listen to him play.’
Oh and how he could play. To say that Karl lacked warmth would be an understatement, communicating with the guy often felt like having a conversation with a pile of awkwardly stacked encyclopedias, but as soon as he would bring out the guitar he would ooze personality. Somehow, with those hulking fingers of his, Karl had managed to make the strings sing the gentlest of tones. Maarja and me sang along out of key as the night went on. ‘Just like the good old days, Tiger, you’re here and you’re happy. Focus on the positives, focus on the present,’ the voice told me. I followed the advice, until I couldn’t.
It was as if a spell had been broken. As soon as I heard those opening chords, as soon as I realized what Karl was playing my stomach sank. It was that Rolling Stones song. Saale and me had danced to it once upon a time. Memories of our first night together came rushing into my mind. The Saale shaped hole in my heart throbbed with pain. I got up to splash some water on my face. Karl shifted his performance into a serenade for Maarja.
The tiles in the bathroom were freezing but I was willing to withstand the pain if it meant I could get further away from the song. I stood there, willing to wait it out, but the memories just kept on floating back. I was standing in the same bathroom I stood in the night that I met Saale. I could see traces of a sixteen-year old in my face. The music kept on building. Saale’s lily perfume filled my nostrils. I could remember the fullness of her lips before our first kiss. The images were cascading on top of each other, ripping away at my sanity, ready to plunge me into a panic attack. But then they stopped. The music stopped.
I peeked out of the door. Karl had chucked his guitar over to the side. His serenade had given way to a heavy make out session. Him and Maarja were all over each other. “Guys, I’m going to go out for a cigarette,” I announced.
The two of them looked up at me dazed and drunk. “Take the keys honey, I think we’re going to bed.”
I hoped that the dial tone would block out Maarja’s moans but it didn’t. Not only did I have to listen to a loving couple have sex, I also had to listen to world’s quietest dial tone as I was reminded that Saale did not want to talk to me. I stood out there in the freezing cold smoking one cigarette after another. It was just me, the starless sky and Maarja’s moans. Karl lasted for a quarter a pack before their bedroom quieted down. I tried calling Saale one more time and then went back inside.
By the time I stumbled to the couch I could already hear snoring coming from the bedroom. But there was another sound in the apartment, something much quieter, something I almost didn’t notice. Scratching.
Luckily I managed to prop myself up against the couch before I sat on him. As I tried to regain my balance I realized just how drunk I was. Fritz was on the couch, furiously scratching into its upholstery. He looked up at the drunken figure hovering over him for a split second and then went back to work. Those little claws scratched with the ferocity of a pup. It was as if Fritz was two years younger.
I picked him up by his scruff and tried taking him off the couch. When I lifted him off the ground the rat seemed confused for just a split second before-
‘Aiiieee’ Fritz screamed the world’s tiniest scream and then bit me in the finger. He dropped to the ground and ran beneath a nearby wardrobe. He hid beneath it and watched me.
I was too drunk and tired to care. I laid down on the couch and exhaled. ‘Welcome back Tiger, you look tired. Let me keep you company. Yes, life is hard, but if you really appreciate the moment it can be pretty enjoyable. Lie down here, let me keep you hold you. Let’s get to know each other better.’
I could smell floral perfume. I closed my eyes and drifted off to a deep sleep.
(Next part)
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In 2012 I Was Seduced By a Possessed Couch

Part 1
“Huh, they’re really going at it, aren’t they?” Saale said, looking towards the bedroom. Karl and Maarja were rustling around in there, too drunk to contain the volume of their passion. The two of us sat around and tried to do anything but listen.
Saale and me started off as strangers that night, but we ended up being the last people standing. It was the biggest party of the summer and we were the only lucid survivors. We were holding hands.
“Heh, yeah,” I replied. She squeezed my hand. I squeezed back. We started off the night rambling about everything and anything under the sun, but now conversation had run out. All we had was nervous eye contact and hand squeezing; both of us were too scared to take the next step.
“I am very drunk,” I said, giving myself plausible deniability.
“Me too,” she said. Her hazel eyes held on to mine; C’mon, you’re the guy, make the first move.
“Want to dance?” I suddenly blurted out.
Saale cocked her head to the side, “Do you have music?” She squeezed my hand again, hard, a look of mischief spread across her face. Maarja howled in the other room.
“Yeah, definitely,” I fished out my Sony Erickson and searched through the fourteen-song library for something that wasn’t ska music. I found that one Rolling Stones song. We got off the couch and wrapped our arms around each other. The music came out of the flip phone with the orchestral quality of a potato and the sounds from the bedroom were considerably louder, but we didn’t care. We just wanted an excuse to hold each other.
It wasn’t really dancing. We were just hugging each other while stepping from side to side. The anticipation was electric. She whispered something in my ear. I pretended not to hear and moved closer to her. Our lips brushed against each other. We kissed.
It wasn’t the booze, it wasn’t the dope, it wasn’t the hormones. There was something else in my blood in that moment. A surge of electricity so powerful that to taste it for just a single second made life worth living. The universe focused all of its attention, all of its beauty and washed it over our moment. We laid down on the couch.
Scratching. Suddenly the soft sounds of her breath were overpowered by scratching. I pulled back. Saale looked at me with those heart-melting eyes, “What’s wrong?” The scratching grew louder, more furious. Claws, I could hear claws. She said something else, but I couldn’t hear her by then, the scratching had grown deafening. Saale looked up in horror. Fabric ripped. I woke up.
Fritz was right by my head, his long tail resting inches from my face. I watched him in a daze. He was furiously digging at the upholstery. There was a sizable hole there; the rat must have worked at it for the whole night. His little body dug with desperate energy, trying to make the opening as big as possible, yet after a couple of seconds he stopped. Fritz shoved his head into the hole and his whole body went limp. His furry frame rose and fell with effort as Fritz breathed in as much of the couch as he could. I grabbed him by the nape and took him out of the couch.
The creature was nothing like the animal I held the night before. Fritz’s head had lost most of its fur; all that was left was tufts of gray fur that splashed over his irritated skin. He snapped at me, or at least tried to. His jaw was heavy, his eyes barely stayed open. I placed him on the floor. As soon as he was on his own feet he fell over. After a couple lethargic seconds he stumbled to his paws and crawled beneath the wardrobe.
Karl walked out of the bedroom. He stopped when he noticed I was awake. “James, which tie seems more formal?” Karl looked like a madman; he was wearing superman underwear and a fancy white dress shirt that barely fit around his paunch. In each hand he held a black tie. I was too disoriented to tell the difference.
“I don’t know Karl, they both look pretty similar to me.” I said.
Karl looked down on the ties. He raised each one of them to his face for a closer examination. Finally, after some thought he nodded, “I think you are right James. These ties do look identical.” He retreated back to the bedroom and emerged with only one tie that he started putting on. “Oh, also, good morning friend,” Karl added as an afterthought.
“Good morning Karl,” I replied.
“James! Don’t enable him! He’s just being nervous about meeting my parents,” Maarja yelled from the kitchen. “Nothing to be scared of Karl. You know my parents are cool.”
“Your parents are most definitely not cool. Your father is a very scary man and your mother is a very angry woman.” Karl protested. He looked over at me, “Right James?” Maarja peeked out of the kitchen.
I had only seen Maarja’s father once. It was during Maarja’s high-school graduation. She had managed to sneak me in so I could attend the after party. I remembered seeing him across the hall, watching his daughter get her diploma with that emotionless scowl that fathers raised behind the iron curtain have perfected. Her dad bore a striking resemblance to Karl, he was a big dude, but where Karl carried a lumberjack beard Maarja’s father had a simple moustache. Maarja’s father also had scars. Even at a distance you could see them, a face covered in splotches of red as if he had experienced some great horror at a young age. “Your mother is a pretty angry woman Maarja,” I said.
Maarja scoffed. “If you piss her off she is. Point is: Karl shouldn’t be scared. My parents like him.”
“No they don’t,” Karl protested. Maarja rolled her eyes.
“You want coffee James?” she yelled from the kitchen.
“Sure,” I said. I tried sitting up, hoping to lose a bit of my drowsiness but something was wrong. I fished my left hand from under the couch. Somehow, as I slept, I clawed my index finger into the stuffing of the couch. It took effort to take it out; it was as if the upholstery had wrapped itself around the finger.
Maarja brought me my coffee and said something about how they were going to a nearby restaurant for the lunch but her words fell on deaf ears. I was completely focused on my pointer. The skin around it was an unhealthy red. It was cold to the touch. All the feeling in the finger was gone. I could move it, but the movements were sluggish, it was as if the finger was in a deep sleep. As Maarja and Karl got ready I tried to assess how damaged the finger was. I didn’t snap out of the mystery until I heard the front door slam shut.
I wasn’t alone though. ‘Quit worrying about your finger Tiger, you just slept funny. Think about more pleasant things.’ The voice in my head slithered back, ‘Remember how soft Saale’s skin was? How sweet her perfume smelled as you two made love?’ I laid back down and ran my hand across the couch. For something so old it was so remarkably smooth.
Fritz was suddenly back by my head. He ran towards the hole that he had worked on prior and started clawing at it again. He tore at the threading frantically. He wanted to be back inside of the couch, he needed to be back inside of the couch. I reached out to pick him up but reconsidered. ‘Leave him be Tiger, he’s just enjoying himself.’ My hand fell back to the firm cushioning of the couch. ‘That’s a good boy,’ the voice said, ‘Now where were we? Ah yes, Saale, what a girl, huh? Remember how good it felt to wake up next to her?’ I did. I remembered.
It was, after all, on that very same couch that I woke up next to Saale for the first time. It was the day after the party, when I woke up I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a second to realize where I was, that there was a beautiful woman on my arm, that I had made love to a alluring the stranger the night before, yet when the thought set in a wave of bliss washed over me. A gentle morning light was coming in through the blinds, the birds outside chirped peacefully and Saale snored. ‘Her half open mouth, those tiny sounds, so vulnerable, so romantic.’ Then the door opened. ‘Oh Tiger, you don’t have to think about that part.’ Then the door opened and Maarja’s mother came in.
The woman did not like me to begin with, the couple of times that we had met she regarded me with absolute disdain. Maarja even admitted it; her mother didn’t want her daughter hanging around with strange foreigners. As soon as Maarja’s mom saw us she started screaming. ‘Oh come on Tiger, you don’t have to think about arguments right now, think about the good times-‘ Her yelling woke everyone up. As me and Saale were frantically putting on our clothes the bedroom door flew open and Maarja started yelling at her mom. I didn’t understand a word to it, but Maarja’s mom seemed to have it really out for me. She kept on pointing. She kept on screaming and pointing at me… or was she pointing at the couch? ‘Oh come on Tiger, there’s other memories to go back to, remember the first time that you and Saale-‘ We ran out as soon as we had enough clothes to be decent. Salle and me left the argument behind.
Maarja’s mom didn’t chase us, but we ran for a couple of blocks anyway. We moved through the morning streets, giggling. After Saale nearly got hit by a tram we finally stopped. For a second we stood there, slightly hung-over and out of breath. We kissed.
“She seemed really angry, what was she saying?” I asked.
This is not a whorehouse, my daughter will be no madam!” Saale yelled, mimicking Maarja’s mother’s voice. We laughed, but then Saale frowned. She was beautiful even when she was confused. “To be honest though, she seemed a bit more angry about that couch being in the room. She kept on pointing at it asking where they had gotten it, saying that it was meant to be burnt years ago-“
‘STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TIGER’ the voice thundered through my skull, ‘IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!’ The voice was no longer flirty. Darkness loomed within it. My mind cleared in fear.
I looked to the side; Fritz had made progress with the hole. He was hallway inside and still digging. His tail and hind legs stuck out of the hole, his enflamed testacles pressed against the side of the couch. With a couple more frantic movements he squeezed himself inside. The rat was gone.
‘Wondering what he’s doing Tiger?’ The couch asked gingerly, ‘He’s floating in ecstasy, oh yes, he’s experiencing pleasure you couldn’t even begin to comprehend, unless…’ Fabric groaned as the hole that Fritz had dug expanded. I could see the stuffing, it heaved up and down as if the couch was breathing. The hole was big enough to fit my hand. ‘C’mon Tiger, you know you want to try.’
I extended my hand; there was something from the couch that called to me, something stronger than me. Beads of perspiration streamed down my forehead. My clothes were soaked with sweat. As my fingers approached the gaping hole I could feel a glint of electricity in the air. The universe turned its eyes on me and beckoned me towards the maw.
VRRRR! VRRRR! I snapped out of it. My phone was ringing. It was Maarja.
“James, goddamn it, why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling you for like five minutes,” she talked in an angry whisper, “Look, my parents decided that they wanted to come over to the apartment. My mom would flip if she knew you were staying with us. I need you out of the house right now.”
I jumped to my feet. The last person I wanted to see right now was Maarja’s mom. “Okay, I’ll be out in five.”
“Not good enough! James! We’re almost there. Just get out! Please James, the lunch went really well, please don’t let her turn today into an argument,” Maarja pleaded.
I quickly put on my shoes and dashed towards the door. I didn’t realize I forgot my coat until I was outside. The cold wind blew through my sweaty t-shirt. “Are you outside?” Maarja whispered.
“Yeah, right at the front door.”
“Okay, get out. Right now. We’re almost there. I’ll call you when the coast is clear. Sorry. Love ya!” click.
As I reached the end of the block I could see the four of them walking towards the apartment. Karl and Maarja’s dad were engaged in a passionate conversation. Maarja and her mom followed them, quietly smoking. I sped out of sight.
I was freezing, a wet t-shirt in the Estonian winter felt like a death sentence. In my attempt to find a semblance of warmth I went over to the bus station and got onto the first bus that stopped. I nestled up next to the heaters and immediately felt better. The plan was to warm up, maybe dry off and then go find a mall to kill time in. That plan fell apart very quickly. The bus drove for a bit before I realized where it was going. For a second I considered getting off, but it was too cold for me to be roaming the streets, or at least that’s what I told myself. I took out my iPod and scrolled over to the Rolling Stones. The bus rode out to Saale’s neighborhood.
I returned back to Maarja’s apartment way after sundown. The day was a blur. I remembered running out of Maarja’s apartment. I remembered getting on the bus and riding over to Saale’s place. I remembered what happened at Saale’s but everything else was covered in a thick mental fog. The vodka helped with that. I had spent my last remaining cash on a bottle of good old 79% memory wipe. It helped me cope. It also made the Estonian winter more bearable.
“James! Honey! Where were you?” Maarja was outside having a cigarette when I stumbled to the house, “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Are you okay?” there was a hint of a drunken slur to her voice.
“Phone’s out of battery,” I mumbled as I walked up.
“Are you okay?” she repeated her question.
I shrugged. “I think I need a hug.”
“Ah darling, come here,” Maarja said as she wrapped her arms around me. She was wearing one of Karl’s huge jackets. It wasn’t until I was embraced in its warmth that I realized how cold I was. “Want to talk about it?”
“No.” I didn’t. All I wanted was to just be blindly told everything was going to be okay. I wanted assurances that I wouldn’t feel like this forever. I needed to know that I would get over Saale. Yet Maarja just sighed.
“I know it’s hard James. When you’re ready to talk about it I’m here for you.” she sighed again, I could smell the booze on her breath, “Thank you for leaving the house when you did. Things… didn’t go very well.”
She let go. I was back in the cold. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
Maarja took a long drag of her cigarette. Her voice grew heavy, “My dad was really interested in Karl’s Bitcoin stuff and he wanted to see his computer. Me and my mom were finishing off our cigarette outside and…” Maarja’s eyes drifted towards the night sky and fluttered. She was trying not to cry.
“Maarja? What’s wrong?” I asked.
She cleared her throat and composed herself. “My mom found out about the couch and she got really pissed. She thought I burnt it after that one house party. I just didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good couch but... Yeah. We have to burn it.”
“Burn the couch!? Why?” I gasped.
“There’s some ugly history behind it,” her voice grew faint, “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
It felt like the final bit of stability in my life had crumbled away. I had to drunkenly hold myself up against a lawn chair, “When?”
Maarja shrugged. “Now is a good time as any I guess, we can just drag it out into the backyard, grab some lighter fluid and torch it. Don’t think anyone is going to mind.” She was wrong. I would mind. My fists tightened. An inarticulate rage boiled in my blood. I wanted to hit her so bad, but instead I begged.
One more night,” I said, “Just one more night with the couch. We can burn it tomorrow; it’s New Years right? What a way to end off the year. We could have a little bonfire in the evening.”
“James,” Maarja sighed, “Honey, you can stay here, at least for a couple of days. We’ll move some pillows around and you can sleep on the floor. We’ll hang out tomorrow and it’s going to be great but my mom was really insistent on the couch. I promised her I would-“
“Please, please, don’t get rid of the couch,” I begged, “Just one more night. Just one more night on the couch where I can think back to my memories of Saale. I’m desperate Maarja. While your parents were visiting I went over to Saale’s place. I got into her apartment block. I knocked on the door. I knew she was there Maarja, I could hear her walking up after I knocked. When she looked through the peephole she completely ignored me. She just stood there like I didn’t exist. I called her Maarja, I called her phone and I could hear it ringing in the other room, I called until my goddamn battery ran out, but she never picked up. I traveled half way across the continent on my last dime and she wants nothing to do with me Maarja. The love of my goddamn life won’t even answer her phone. All I have left is that couch. All I have left are those memories of that first night. Please, Maarja, one more night on the couch.”
The words came out with chest-tightening force. Each sentence made me grow weaker until I was barely able to talk. My face was streaked in tears, my nose was running all over my face; I looked like a complete mess. Maarja wrapped her arms around me just as tight as she had in the airport.
“Okay James, one more night,” Maarja said, “I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish we could help.” We stayed in the hug for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to let go, to pull back and be cool about everything. But I couldn’t. The warmth under that jacket, Maarja’s arms around me, it all just felt safer than the world outside. “We both need some sleep,” Maarja finally whispered.
Karl barely noticed us when we walked into the apartment. He was sitting on the couch stuck in deep thought. When I saw him an unexplainable pang of jealousy ran through my body. Me and that couch had something special going on. I cleared my throat. Karl jumped up in surprise.
“James! You’re back. Where were you? We were worried about you!” Karl said.
“I went to Saale’s.”
“Oh,” He dropped his eyes away from me, not knowing what to say. He looked over at Maarja, “You have told James about what happened with your dad?”
“Something happened with your dad?” I asked. The question seemed stupid and irrelevant.
Maarja stared daggers back at Karl. She spoke slowly, with a hidden force beneath her words, “I have told James that my mother was very angry about the couch. We have decided that he will sleep on the couch for one more night and then we will burn it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?”
Karl furrowed his brow. “Yes,” he finally said. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, leaning forward, as if he was about to say something else but then Maarja cut him off.
“We should all get some sleep.”
“Yeah,” I said, sprawling out onto the couch. ‘Welcome back Tiger,’ it whispered to me ‘Did someone have a rough day?’ The voice soothed the pain in my chest, the world started to become more manageable. Karl and Maarja went off to bed without saying much. There was something up, something that they were in disagreement about but it was none of my business. The couch kept me company.
‘It’s all going to be okay, you’ll see’ The couch whispered to me in its silky voice, ‘You’ll get over her, you’ll find someone better than Saale and in a couple of months you won’t even remember her. You’ll forget all about the relationship all together. But you know who’ll remember? She’ll remember Tiger, oh yes, Saale will be thinking about what an idiot she was to let you go-‘
The light in the bedroom was off, but I could hear Maarja walking around calling out for Fritz. She peeked her head into the living room and asked me if I saw him. I told her I didn’t. She gave up and went to sleep. ‘Don’t think about the rat.’ The hole that Fritz made into the upholstery was gone; there wasn’t even any sign of scratches. The whole couch, in fact, looked to be in better shape. The stains had completely disappeared from the couch, loose threads were nowhere to be seen, the floral print had taken on a colorful shine. ‘STOP IT.’
The voice hit my mind like a blunt object. A fog covered my thoughts, everything felt so impossibly distant. But beneath that fog was a gentle tone of sweetness, ‘Come on Tiger, let’s just enjoy this night together, huh? Lay here with me and let’s just bathe in each other’s company.’ The couch gently shuddered like a tantric massage chair. I heard the groaning of fabric. The place where Fritz had been digging spread apart to reveal a hole; beyond the upholstery was stuffing, it pulsed with fleshy energy. The couch trembled with anticipation. ‘Touch me Tiger, you know you want to.’ I reached out as electricity flowed through my body. The universe turned all of its spotlights on me. The mind fog thickened into a blanket of ecstasy and wrapped me up. All other thoughts disappeared. My soul danced to the chaotic tune of life. I was trapped in a wave of orgasmic rapture.
‘Doesn’t that feel so good Tiger? Isn’t this just exhilarating? Well don’t you worry. We can do this every night. Don’t listen to anyone else. Nothing will get between us, it’s you and me Tiger, it’s you and me and no one is going to stop us. We’ll make sure of that.’
For a split second it felt as if my finger brushed against something rough. I pinched at the object. It felt like a tail. Yet then, as if the gentle stuffing of the couch were a throat, the tail got swallowed deeper into its innards. ‘I love you,’ the couch whispered.
The room smelt like floral perfume. I could hear a dog barking outside. I was covered in sweat. “I love you too,” I whispered back. I drifted off to a deep sleep.
-MJL
(Next part)
submitted by MikeJesus to nosleep [link] [comments]

In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends

Part 1, Part 2
As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom.
As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed.
As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying.
A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone.
I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’
I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then-
My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness.
“James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.”
I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.”
Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.”
‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked.
“James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.”
I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch.
“What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh.
I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence.
It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered.
Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen.
When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch.
Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started.
“I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.”
“When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.”
“As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.”
Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked?
“Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants.
“I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out.
“Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back.
“She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now.
“There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.”
‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?”
“Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’
“I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.”
Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?”
“Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered.
Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.”
My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?”
Karl studied me. “Why?”
“It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted.
Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking.
I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with.
Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends.
We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park.
By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch.
“They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.”
“Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt.
Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her.
“Tinder?” I asked.
“It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said.
Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub.
Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd.
I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her.
She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her.
The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped.
The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt.
Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone.
“What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood.
“Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all.
“No I think I need to be alone right now.”
Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames.
Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again.
I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip.
There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution.
‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’
I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette.
-MJL
(Final part)
submitted by MikeJesus to nosleep [link] [comments]

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