Speed dating i Richmond

My friends and I have been spending time during the pandemic lockdown solving local mysteries. We recently stumbled across a conspiracy that goes back 15 years.

2020.10.09 17:04 ArmchairDetectives My friends and I have been spending time during the pandemic lockdown solving local mysteries. We recently stumbled across a conspiracy that goes back 15 years.

Gabriela Gomez was killed by her step-father, Santiago.
He told his wife and the police that a burglar had broken in and threatened them with a knife. He even cut his own hands to make it look like he tried to fight off the intruder. He said that he was injured while trying to protect Gabriela, but he’s the one who killed her. He cut out her tongue first and slit her throat to stop her from screaming. Then he took his time with her.
Everyone believed him. He was a loving father and devoted husband after all, so why wouldn’t they?
But Gabriela’s spirit is still angry. If you do not forward this email to at least ten people, she will appear at the foot of your bed in fifteen years.
I’m honestly not sure whose idea this was. Maybe Joey. Maybe Nat. I do know alcohol was involved. It was right at the start of April when things got real and we all realized that the pandemic lockdown wasn’t going away.
Stuck at home, unable to go to work or even shop, your mind starts to wander and you get a little stir crazy. That’s when one of us suggested we do something fun like dig up a little town history.
It’s easy to do that here in Lone Tree. This town is small, but it’s full of secrets. People go missing often, usually it’s because of storms or wild animals; but it doesn’t account for everything.
And since it’s so small that means the police force is sectioned out to the county and we are often left to solve our own problems.
What better way to do that then a little google sleuthing?
We started out small, talking about cases that weren’t big like who was sleeping with who. Then one day Sam suggested we try something serious.
“We should look into the Gomez case,” he offered.
Most of us at first did not feel comfortable with the suggestion, the reason being that the email I quoted above wasn’t just a simple chain letter connected to an urban legend. Gabriela had been real, we had known her. And worse still, this year was actually the 15 year anniversary.
“I was combing through old emails when I saw I had saved it, weird right?” Sam said.
“I think I did too, I hardly delete anything,” I admitted.
Joey unmuted himself on the Zoom call where we often discussed things and seemed a bit skeptical about it. “Are we sure it wasn’t just a sick prank? I mean why would a killer so blatantly send out a chain letter like that? It screams guilty,” he said scratching his chin.
“Except her dad was cleared. The police did the investigation, I remember that,” Eddie chimed in.
“Well unless someone has a better idea, I suggest we do some digging,” Sam said.
None of us spoke up. So I logged off and went to check the missing persons database and see if Gabriela’s info had been updated. To be honest I hadn’t looked at the page in years.
That’s when I saw something that sent a chill up and down my spine.
Reports claim that the mysterious chain letter connected to Miss Gomez’ disappearance has remained in circulation for over the past decade, despite multiple attempts to determine the source it appears that it is still being sent out without any idea how or why.
My mind reeled, not so much for the people that received it, but for those who didn’t forward it. I’d never believed in technological curses. I wasn’t even sure that Heaven or Hell existed, period. But something about this made me uneasy. The anxiety of it encapsulated my spine and made me feel cold all over. Would we be cursed as well for not following through?
Why us though, I wondered. It wasn’t as if we had killed her. If her spirit was angry, surely it had nothing to do with us? As much as I didn’t want to, the next step was to check my email and search for the dreaded message. I barely remembered receiving it; I definitely know I didn’t forward it. If I didn’t remember being so disgusted at the tackiness of chain mail in a dead girl’s name, it would have slipped my mind completely.
I searched every term that I can think of other than her actual name. With no other choice, I typed Gabriela Gomez into my email’s search engine. The information seemed to take forever to load. Just as it seemed to, my screen flashed fluorescent pink and green stripes, glitching several times before shutting off completely. My finger flew to the power button in hopes of turning it back on. There was no response. Worst case scenario, I’d inadvertently fried my hard drive. Unfortunately that was also the most likely scenario as well, my PC is crap.
Although it was late, my life’s work was on that computer. All of my pictures, documents, tax information. You know how it is; don’t tell me I’m the only one with most of the contents of their life on their computer. Well, it just so happened that I was friends with one of the best IT guys I’ve ever known, Joey.
I called him the next Tuesday.
He’d become sullen and silent since his initial interest in the case. Despite being all for it not even a week ago, he now almost seemed...afraid whenever someone would bring it up. His eyes held dark bags and a detached glaze. Nat spoke to me like I was crazy when I brought it to her attention. Joey had always been slightly disturbed, with a shit childhood. She chastised me for judging a friend that may be going through something that we aren’t aware of. They had dated briefly in our younger years, but in the end his baggage was too much for her. They were the only couple that I’ve known that had been able to stay friends after the bitter end.
Anyway, no matter what she said in his defense, I still knew something was wrong. And my gut told me it had something to do with Gabriela and the chain letter or her murder. A significant chance presented itself that it could be all three.
That’s why I was so worried when he stopped answering our messages and phone calls.
I decided to go check on him.
On the way there I called him seven times, and although the phone rang and rang, I kept being sent to voicemail. And when it did the message sounded like nails against a chalkboard. It was unnerving.
Once there, I knocked at the door several times, waited about five minutes, but no answer. And I swear I heard something inside his house. Like a rattling whistle.
I quickly reached into his flower pot and pulled out the spare key that I knew he kept there. My heart was thumping hard in my chest, and I started to break out into a sweat. I loved Joey like a brother, and I was starting to think something was seriously wrong. I could feel it in my bones.
I pulled open the door. Everything looked normal enough. The kitchen and living room were clean, but I smelt something rotten, like eggs that had been left out in the sun. Was the gas on?
I kept going, and when I reached his room, he wasn’t in there, either. His computer was on though, and what I saw still confuses me to this day.
He had been on Gmail, logged into a burner account. And it looked like he was just about to send something out, but for some reason he hadn’t finished.
Subject: Please Read!!!!
In the box below, was the chain email about Gabriela Gomez.
He had been about to send it to over 50 people. Some of which included: me, Nat, Sam, and his own parents.
What is going on? I asked myself as I backed away from the computer. Afraid to take my eyes off it, like if I looked away for even a second something would jump out at me.
Then I bumped into his bed and scared the shit out of myself, I turned around and booked it, planning on running out of the apartment and speeding all the way home.
However, just as I exited his room, I caught a whiff of that smell again. It was coming from the bathroom. So strong, so rotten, so wrong. I knew what I was gonna find, but I had to check anyway.
I opened the door and saw Joey lying on the floor, lifeless. His eyes were still open, staring forever at the ceiling as his head rested in a dry puddle of his own blood. The smell clearly from an open gas line that he had used to try and asphyxiate himself.
But someone… or something had stopped him from committing suicide. Because resting atop his forehead, like a bow on a christmas present, was his tongue.
Time slowed as I turned tail and sprinted out of the apartment. Every step I took felt like I was pulling my legs through quicksand. I stumbled through the front door and emptied the contents of my stomach into a nearby bush.
I pulled my phone from my pocket and tried to dial 911, but my nerves were so shaky that I dropped it on the concrete, cracking the screen.
Tears fell from my eyes as I took several deep breaths, failing to calm myself down. I could feel that I was being watched.
I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew I had to warn Nat and Sam. Whoever killed Joey could be coming for one of us next.
Just as I climbed into my car, I heard a faint whisper escaping from Joey’s bedroom window:
“Tell them.”
The adrenaline rushing through my veins made the ride home a blur, but I got there in record time. I barreled into my room and fired up my laptop, sending an emergency video chat to the entire group. The squad must’ve already been logged on because they accepted the request immediately.
“Guys!” I blurted, “I just got back from Jo-…”
“Something is wrong,” Sam interjected.
“Sam, listen to me I-“
“I can’t explain it,” he continued, “my arms and legs feel numb. Like I slept on them or something. I know that can’t be, though, because I haven’t been able to these past two nights. Not a wink. I feel like something is watching me and like… like it’s getting closer every minute. I wanted to tell you guys… but. This is freaking me out.”
I paused for a moment and looked at Sam for the first time since we started the call. Really looked at him. He was a mess. The bags under his eyes looked like bruises. His normally clean-shaven face had a harsh, five-o-clock shadow. He looked like he’d just gotten his ass kicked. Before I had a chance to speak again, he laid his head on his desk and started sobbing.
“Nat, I need to tell you something,” I said, ignoring Sam for the moment.
Nat held her gaze directly at the camera. Unmoving. Unblinking.
“Nat!” I hollered, “Nat, what’s wrong!”
Sam’s head remained beside his camera, a blubbering mess.
“Nat, please,” tears formed in my eyes, “please answer me.”
Her section of the screen pixelated, a hundred different colored boxes trying to find their place.
My heart rattled against my ribcage as her microphone icon lit up.
There was no noise for several moments. So quiet, I could hear the blood rushing to my extremities.
“Hey, guys!” Nat exclaimed, her picture suddenly clarifying, “I’m sorry, I forgot I had my mic muted again. What’s wrong?”
“It’s Joey,” I responded with a mixture of relief and anxiety, “he’s dead. I found him at his apartment. He’d been killed exactly like Gabriela.”
Sam’s sobbing grew louder.
“What?” She cried, “What are you talking about?”
“He’s dead, Nat. Whoever killed him might be after us too.”
“We need to go to the-“
Nat was suddenly cut off. All of our cameras cut out. The sound of Sam’s sobbing was the only thing coming from my screen.
The last words I heard before his microphone cut out froze me in place.
“Tell them.”
After loud pop and a spark, the sounds of weeping stopped. Smoke rose from the keyboard.
If it wasn’t fried before, it is now.
I was shaken. My heart pounding, my arms vibrating, my adrenaline pumping.
Getting to Sam was my first thought. I quickly grabbed my keys, rammed through the door, and got in my car.
I drove faster than I ever have. If I got pulled over, I’m sure they’d understand why I was going 80 on a 45. When I got to his house, I frantically started knocking. Of course, there was no answer.
I started surveying the house, hopping the fence and checking every window. Most of them were covered, but near the back patio the sliding door was uncovered. I looked inside, and saw Sam, his back flat against the ceiling, crying. His moans echoed loudly, perverted by the darkness gripping his neck. There was a dark figure at the edge of his bed. Gabriella?
It was the physical embodiment of an echo, a thing that didn’t belong.
The screaming in my head kept growing.
“Tell them Tell them TELL THEM TELL THEM TELL THEM”
The screaming stopped, her gaze shifted.
She was staring at me.
She flashed a sickening smile.
My legs were moving before I could register what happened. My basic instincts carried me, hopping the fence, eating the pavement, then jumping into my car. I floored it.
I called Nat on my busted phone while racing home. But nothing worked. I couldn’t get through to her.
Finally home, I rushed to the landline in the basement, convinced my cellphone was glitched.
Natalie was there waiting for me. I froze just realizing that I had never locked my front door. She didn’t look herself. She looked like she had just seen a ghost. Or… that she herself was now about to become one.
“What are you doing here?”
There was a tongue resting in her hand. I could see the blood on her wrists.
“Natalie… who's that?” I asked, nervously considering running again. But this time I needed answers. I was close to the truth and she had it.
“Eddie… he made me do it. He said if I didn’t we would both die,” she sputtered. I thought about what I had seen at Sam’s place.
“This is all because of the stupid email. You started this. Tell me why.”
Natalie looked down at the tongue, sobbing as she told me.
“I was the one that forwarded it 15 years ago. I thought that would make me safe. But then I started getting the damn things again. And the nightmares… they never stopped. Gabriella kept getting closer.”
“So you summoned her spirit to kill us all??” I snapped.
“No… no you don’t understand I didn’t know it would end this way. I was trying to protect us.”
My stomach dropped as I realized this had all been a trap. “The chain letter didn’t protect us. It cursed us. Natalie you are a sick bitch..”
She looked down at the tongue, disgusted and horrified that she had just killed one of her best friends. Then in her right hand I saw she had a knife and my body froze as I realized what she intended to do.
Quickly she placed it against her neck and shouted, “Its up to you now..”
Then she slit her throat.
I don’t know exactly what happened after that. I was so numb to everything I don’t recall how I got to the public library but I did.
Each step that took me there I felt Gabriella closing in. Taunting me to finish this task.
So that’s what I’m doing now. I’m sorry that my friends and I might cause more pain. But it’s either this or something far worse takes hold of me. I have nothing left to lose.
Joey Richmond, Natalie Romero, Sam Edmund, Eddie Hatch were killed by Gabriella Gomez.
I know that a force of evil came and terrorized us. But there is nothing to prove that. She cut their hands to make it look like they tried to fight off an intruder. Then she cut out their tongues, and then slit my throat to stop the weeping. Then she took her time with each of them, flailing them alive..
Nobody believes us. We were just a bunch of crazy friends who went off the deep end searching for old ghosts, after all. Why would they?
Our spirit is still angry. If you do not forward this email to at least ten people, we will appear at the foot of your bed in fifteen years.
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2020.08.31 23:14 Jrubas My Friend's Bed Was Haunted by Sexual Energy

I was signing autographs in a downtown Richmond book boutique when Henry came in. I had been there for over four hours, sitting at a folding table scribbling my name on the inside covers of endless copies of Night Terrors, and was exhausted. My arm ached and my head throbbed. Meeting a perpetual flow of fans, many of them gushing, is hell to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly, but social situations tend to repel me, and actually engaging people I don’t know is an awkward near impossibility.
It was nearing one, dark and nasty without, and I was longing for a nice long nap in my hotel room when Henry’s turn came. I thought that the woman before him, a middle-aged blond in a brown leather jacket, would never leave. But thankfully Mr. Preston, the owner of the shop, ushered her away in his prissy manner.
I smiled at the man whom I did not recognize as Henry. He was tall and pale, his wavy black hair limp and lusterless, the flesh of his face tight and his eyes an unhealthy pink which bespoke sleepless nights. He smiled wearily yet warmly.
Without a word he passed me his copy of Night Terrors. “And how are you today?” I asked as I sat the book down, my blue Sharpie pen, the second one of the day, poised.
“Just peachy,” he croaked, and I at once knew the voice. I looked up, and Henry was still grinning as if through pain.
“Henry!” I cried happily, and extended my hand. He took it, and it was like a block of ice.
I and Henry were like brothers since time out of mind; our parents were high school friends who lived next to each other in the Pickett subdivision on Thomas Street, and from diapers we were always together, on play dates, camping trips, and backyard pool parties. We were inseparable all through our school years, and only parted, tearfully and grudgingly, when I left Picketts Meade to study at UVA in 1997. Since then, we had seen very little of each other, as I lived mostly in New York City and he in the house willed to him by his childless aunt and uncle.
“Hey, man,” he said, “what’s goin on?”
“Not much,” I said, “same old stuff. Working and all that. What about you?”
He shrugged. “Same here, pretty much. Listen, are you free this afternoon?”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“I got a ghost,” he said, as though the words were kidney stones.
“Sure, I’d be happy to come by.”
Henry smiled again. “Thanks. You know where my aunt’s old place is, right?”
“Ahhh, no, I forgot.”
“Okay, here.” Henry pulled out his wallet and opened it. In the translucent slot where preening fathers proudly put pictures of their children, there was a faded Polaroid of two boys, one tall and skinny, the other short and fat, at a lake on a summer day in 1988, mugging it up with their arms thrown around the other’s shoulder. I had the same one in my wallet.
Henry produced a small piece of creased paper and, with my pen, jotted down the directions.
“I’ll be there at around four or so,” I said, sticking the paper into my blazer’s breast pocket.
“Thanks a million, man, I can’t tell you the kinda shit I been goin through.”
“I can imagine.”
“Good book; is it number one?”
I snickered. “Ahead of Glenn Beck? I wish.”
Henry shrugged. “Still a classic. I can’t believe some of the shit. All of it’s real?”
“As you and I,” I replied. I jotted down my name and a small, personal message onto the inside cover, and handed it back to Henry.
“I’ll see you,” he said. “I’ll be there,” I responded with a smile.
***
Almost two hours later I left the bookstore by the back door, emerged into a narrow ally of grimy brick walls, and carefully crept toward busy 5thstreet. Above, the sky was malevolently silent.
Before leaving the relative safety of the alley, I looked both ways along the sidewalk, and found it empty save for several rushing, bundled forms. For a moment I was reminded of those old shots of The Beatles running from mad throngs of screaming women through the streets of London, and smiled.
I stepped into a freezing gust and hurried up the sidewalk, passing drab storefronts darkened by the gloomy afternoon light. A Ford Focus passed by on the street in a splash of puddled rain, its red taillights glowing satanically in the mist.
Ahead, a brave hotdog vendor, possibly a transplanted New Yorker, stood tensely behind his cart, ready to feed the world. He offered me a taste of his wares, and the almost desperate imploring of his voice touched me. Imagining poverty and mounting bills, I bought a small fountain Coke even though I wasn’t thirsty, and almost as soon as I was out of sight I cast the cup into a metal trash bin, the clanking ice cubes within having sapped the heat from my hand.
Slowly the scenery bled into one of the residential. Dirty Brownstone tenements marched dismally into the ashen day, their crumbling stoops guarded by rusted metal sentries overflowing with rank refuse.
I finally came to the small lot where I had left my Jeep in-between a pick-up truck and a hatchback. The latter was gone, replaced by a small red Beetle. I fished the keys from my pocket and opened the driver side door.
Behind the wheel, I started the engine and the radio came to life with one bland Taylor Swift song or another. Before leaving I slipped Krokus’ Change of Address into the CD player, and slowly cruised back the way I had come.
Several minutes later I took a sloping onramp and met the babbling interstate; before I joined the flow I waited for several large Mac trucks to scream by in their shrouds of water mist. The meager Richmond skyline stretched away to the east, interrupted only by the wide river which bisects the city. Maybe it was the mood and light of the afternoon, but the city seemed a deserted necropolis, the buildings bizarre Druid ruins rising black against the sky.
Once on the interstate I noticed that several idiots cars next to mine were busy blabbering into their cell-phones or texting. I’m not the kind of guy who wants to ban this and that, or the kind of asshole who preaches his opinion to everybody, but I know what can happen on a freeway when someone wants to whip out the old Droid and chat.
One girl, with wet black hair and dressed in a loose white t-shirt, flipped me off when I motioned hang up and drive.
Women, I thought with a grin, they taste good…but the heartburn!
I soon took rural Exit 154 and coasted into the parking lot of a small roadside gas station fed by a narrow hillside lane. I pulled under the gas-pump shelter and killed Marc Storace in the middle of Burning up the Night. I searched my hip pocket and checked the directions again. The name of the town was Fairfield, not too far north of the city.
I got out into the damp and filled the jeep up with juice, wincing at the price. With that done, I crossed the open space between the pumps and the store, my hair dampening, and entered.
After waiting for a white man in a mossy oak camo cap to buy a six pack of Bud Ice and a black woman to purchase a pack of condoms and tampons (an ungodly mix, if you ask me), it came my turn. The wispy old man behind the counter, wearing country regulation suspenders over his button up work shirt, studied me for a long moment.
“Hey, you’re that writer fella, aintcha?” he asked with a rough smile, revealing that his teeth were mostly black or tarnished gold.
Despite a swelling of pride in my chest, I wanted desperately to avoid an embarrassing scene.
“No.”
“Hm. You look a lot like ‘im. She loves all that damn ghost huntin’ garbage.”
I paid for the gas, and the old man wished me a good afternoon with a crooked grin.
Once back in my car, I again studied the directions, trying to absorb them so that I wouldn’t have to constantly consult them in transit.
Feeling confident that I could make it on my own, I started up the engine and followed the ascending byway toward Fairfield.
I soon left behind all urban pretense and found myself speeding through low hills and tiny hamlets made up of slanted wood structures decades past their prime. It had begun to rain more steadily. Crossing the murky Roman River, I saw that it had overflowed its banks.
The winding lane took me past yet more hilly farmland enclosed by strands of barbed wire, putting me slightly in mind of northern England. When I came to the outer limits of Fairfield, which sat across another, smaller, swollen river, I was greeted by a white board sign proclaiming it as The Nicest Town in America.
Main Street, lined with gray brick shops dating from the 1920s, sank down into the rest of the town, from which a white church spire rose into the air, and a blue water tower next to a tall brick schoolhouse loomed supernaturally forth from the thick valley mist. The sidewalk boasted fiery trees, the embers of which carpeted the wet concrete.
At the four-way intersection, the only cars that I met were a station wagon going to the east part of town, a minivan heading back the way I had come, and an SUV going down into the heart of the town, which lied spread before the hill like a fog enshrouded dream.
I took the left and followed the street for a time, passing a small doctor’s office and the police station. The big roll-top doors of the local volunteer fire department were open, and I glimpsed several men in the gloom lazily wiping down the sleeping green dragon within. A group of children struggled down the sidewalk with crammed backpacks dragging along the wet pavement. A boy on a ten-speed bike shot past them and hung a sharp right, taking a small dead-end road ending at the foot of the hill. In the rear view mirror a large yellow school grinded to a halt, the red lights on its mounted stop sign blinking rhythmically. Teenagers tumbled out and hurried across.
Lee Street was an odd mix of ranch and Victorian houses, all beautiful and tastefully enclosed by hedges or withering gardens. A few of the larger homes were sectioned off with low stone walls waist high to a man.
The last house on the left was tall and narrow, dating back at least to the latter half of the 1890s. With spires and gingerbread trim it affected a stately air.
I parked along the street and sat for a moment, memories washing over me. I and Henry had come here several summers during our childhood. Being unable to have children, Jo and Oscar doted on us so much it was almost cloying. They were rabid antique collectors, and spent thirty happy years hoarding history together before Flight 93 went down over Pennsylvania on the eleventh of September, 2001.
I killed the engine and got out into a brisk slap of wind. After waiting for a minivan to swoosh past, I crossed the street. The grass along the flagstone walk was encroachingly tall, and I wondered if Henry’s ghost had hidden his lawnmower.
I bounded up the porch and knocked on the door. I waited in the cold for a moment, a wind from the west raking my flesh. Finally, as I cocked my fist to knock again, the door opened, and was filled with Henry, dressed as he had been at the bookstore.
“Hey, man” he greeted and moved aside.
“Long time no see,” I smiled. Stepping across the threshold, I was immediately struck by the heaviness of the atmosphere, crushing down on me like the world upon Atlas’s shoulders. I staggered, and Henry at one grabbed my arm and helped steady me.
“Uh-oh,” he said, “I don’t like that.”
“I’m fine,” I lied, looking suspiciously about myself, “just tired.” I didn’t at once remember what such a black heft meant, but I did know that it wasn’t good. At all.
“Well, if you wanna go back…”
“Nah,” I dismissed, “I’m alright.”
“Okay,” Henry said and led me from the shadowy foyer and into a wide parlor. A large bay window, an ugly modern addition, sat across the room, uncurtained. Save for tall, dusty bookshelves along either wall, the only other furnishings in the room were a couch piled with tangled blankets and a pillow, and two armchairs.
Henry showed me to one of the chairs and took the one across from me.
“So, what’s up? How’s life treating you?”
I sighed. “Alright. I hate the touring, though. I can’t stand being on the road.”
“Ah,” he dismissed me with a wave of the hand, “you always were a little homebody. I love the open road. Nothing like it. You want a drink?”
I nodded.
“Coke,” he warned me.
“Better be.”
He laughed and moved off to the kitchen, leaving me alone in the room. The dark feeling pressed down on me harder than it had been, compressing my chest. I tried to take a deep breath, but was unable. It was like standing on a high butte overlooking a strange plain in a dark world, the air thin and sour.
Henry returned with two Cokes. He handed me one and sat back down. “Sorry they’re not cold. I just bought ‘em on the way back.”
“That’s fine,” I said, opening mine and taking a long drink. Henry sat his between his legs.
“I saw you on Ghost Hunters last month,” he said with something like pride, “I was over at my old girlfriend’s house and when your mug popped out, I about went crazy. “Hey, I know that guy!””
My appearance on the popular SYFY Channel show had been little more than a publicity stunt engineered by my agent. I was against it from the first, but ending up going on anyway. The target was a 13th Century castle on an Irish bluff overlooking the crashing sea. Supposedly, a family of werewolves had lived there in the sixteen hundreds.
“They’re a sham,” I said, glancing around as if expecting a hostile apparition to materialize. Maybe I was.
“Who?”
“Those attention whores,” I said, referring to the ‘ghost hunters’. “There weren’t any ghosts. It was all faked. The noises. The mist. All of it.
“I figured,” Henry said, “they usually are.”
“I guess,” I looked around.
“Yeah.” Henry finished off his Coke and sat the empty can at his foot.
“So, what have you been doing?” I asked, “just hanging out?”
“Yeah,” he said, “aunt Jo and uncle Oscar weren’t rich. They had money, but not much. The way the recession’s going, I’m probably gonna have to go back to work soon.”
“Sometimes I wish I could just stop writing and investigating and all that and just live off my books’ proceeds,” I confided, “live the life without doing the work.”
Henry chuckled. “You’re lucky; you got a kick-ass job. I’m most likely gonna end up at Food-Lion or something.”
“Gotta start somewhere,” I said. “Maybe we can write a novel together.”
Both of us had tried as children to write our own horror stories. Henry’s were mostly better than mine.
“Maybe,” he seemed to taste the idea.
I opened my mouth to reply, but a stiff gust of wind slammed into the house, and I jolted.
Henry laughed. “Scared?”
I shook my head. “No, not really. I just…well, what exactly are we dealing with, here?”
Henry sobered, his face darkening. “I…I been thinking how to word this for a while now.” He paused. “You ever hear that phrase La petite mort?”
I missed a beat. “What?”
“You know, that French metaphor? It refers to a state of euphoria after you “finish.””
“Yeah, I know.”
Henry sat grasping for a moment. “People believe that some kind of spiritual lifeforce is…expelled when you cum. Somehow that’s like dying or something.”
“Uh-huh,” I nodded awkwardly.
“And in Ghosts and Ghouls, you said that some people think a ghost is just…leftover human energy. Right?”
“The atheists and agnostics in the field, yes.”
“Do you think it’s possible that…that release of energy can leave a…a ghostly residue?”
I laughed. “Henry, that’s just a metaphor; it doesn’t mean anything.”
“Are you sure?”
I opened my mouth, but closed it again. I couldn’t honestly say that I was.
“What…what makes you ask that?”
“It’s my bed,” he replied darkly.
“Your bed?”
He nodded. “Remember Sarah Kerns?”
For a moment I drew a blank, and then an angular face framed in raven hair materialized before my mind’s eye.
“Sure,” I said, “your girlfriend in eighth grade. What about her?”
“Remember how she moved over the summer, before we started high school?”
I nodded. Her father was in some kind of business that forced him to relocate often. I can’t remember what it was, though.
“The night before she left, she came over to my house and we did it...”
“Alright,” I urged, and then it dawned on me. “You still have the same bed, don’t you?”
He shrugged. “Never saw a good reason to get rid of it.”
“And you’ve…done a lot in it, huh?”
“A lot,” he admitted.
“And now you think…what, all that combined energy has created a sort of ghost?”
“Look, I know it’s crazy, but just hear me out, okay?”
“Okay.”
Henry took a deep breath and began.
Several weeks before crying out to me for help, he told me, he had been lying awake in bed. It was a windy night and he was as far from sleep as a man can get, so, as he watched the darkened ceiling, he let his mind drift unfettered. He had always had a fertile imagination, and was entertaining himself with undisclosed fantasies when, all of a sudden, the foot of the bed lurched to one side, as though booted by an angry WWE star after an in-ring betrayal.
“Man, that scared the shit outta me,” Henry said. “I froze up and just laid there for a minute. Then it happened again, and this time I got knocked off.”
Frightened, Henry jumped up, fell in the sheets tangled at his feet, and flew down the stairs.
“I sat here in the living room for a little while. After a half hour or so, I decided it was a nightmare and went back up. In the room, I flipped on the light switch and…”
He was quiet for a long moment, looking down at his ashen hands. “And there was a fuckin dead girl spread out on the bed, covered in blood and shit.”
I gasped softly at this, my heart freezing in mid beat.
“You’re sure?” I asked incredulously.
He nodded without looking up. “Yeah. And she looked like Hanna Giles…you remember her, right?”
I did. She was a cheerleader during school, a tall drink of blond perfection. She and Henry spent much of the 11th grade getting hot and heavy together before he grew bored and found another conquest.
“And…and she…sat up, her fuckin eyes were black and she had these long Dracula fangs. She opened up her legs and…fucking blood gushed out.”
He stopped at my hiss of horror. “It looked like…you know, in The Shinning, when that elevator opens up in the beginning?”
I nodded, my mouth slightly agape.
“I saw that shit and lost my mind. I ran out the front door and down the street. Spent the rest of the night in a booth at the diner, too afraid to come home.”
In the morning, Henry stretched out in the parlor.
“I was having dinner the next day. A buffalo chicken Hungry Man. So, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating, when something above my head, in the room, crashed against the floor. And right after, I heard this long, high pitched laugh.”
Stiff with terror, Henry remained unmoving at the table for nearly an hour before packing up and going to a motel for a few days.
“I was starting to think it was a nightmare, but when that shit happened…”
Henry eventually returned, convinced that the “ghosts”, while frightening, were harmless.
“So, one night, I got brave and went back upstairs to see what would happen.”
After several uneventful hours, Henry was on the border of sleep when something, something cold and dry, wrapped around his throat.
“It felt like hands, little…you know, a woman’s hands.”
The world grayed as Henry clawned at the phantom hands to no avail. He nearly collapsed into death before they suddenly and inexplicably spared him.
“That was the other night. I was about to leave, go get a motel or something, but I heard you were coming down, so I thought I’d see if you could help me.”
For a long moment I sat in brooding silence.
In 1999, I left school to work for a noted regional paranormal researcher named John Haggis. I accompanied him on many outings, most of them busts. Only three confirmed cases of the genuinely supernatural came across our desk in the three years I worked with him, one of them being the demonic haunting of a bar in Headwaters, a tiny hamlet nestled in the Shenandoah foothills southwest of Harrisonburg.
I learned several things from our experience there. One: Demons despise the presence of a professional. Two: While ghosts can, on extremely rare occasions, possess human beings, only demons can shapeshift and actually harm someone without the use of a human agent.
“Have…have you ever smelled sulfur here?” I asked, my voice natural, at least to my own ears.
“Rotten eggs? No, why?”
“You’ve been left alone outside the room, right?”
“Yeah. What about the sulfur?” he seemed impatient.
I ignored him and looked from one shadowy corner to another, the house bathed in a sour, uneasy silence. I was shocked to find myself wanting to get as away from the house as I could.
“Henry,” I drew, my eyes darting apprehensively, “there…”
I stopped. How would he take hearing that a demon was in his house? But was it really a demon we were dealing with? I couldn’t be sure; I’m not, after all, a demonologist.
“What?” he asked, his tone low and worried.
If it was, then it appeared to be attached to the bed somehow, like a ghost to a favorite rocking chair…
“…I doubt that your ghost is made of girl goo.” I at length flashed a smile, hoping that it didn’t look too fake. “I’ve heard of similar cases, and they are relatively easy to deal with.”
“Really?” Henry’s face brightened for the first time all day, and his tone was one of a child in the presence of a shyster birthday-party magician.
“Yeah,” I said, “no problem. Tomorrow I’ll call some people and they’ll conduct…sort of an exorcism. It’ll be a breeze.”
Henry sighed, relieved. “Okay.”
I looked again from corner to corner. “Hey, you want to go and get some dinner, my treat?”
Henry smiled again, his dark eyes alight. “Sure.”
We took my car, and drove off into the thickening gloom. Main Street was busier than it had been when I entered town; it was past six, and people were returning home from work in droves.
“Take a left up here,” Henry said as we approached the four-way, “and go for about…five miles. Place called Ryan’s.”
I nodded, lost in thought. I would have to call Tom Youngblood, the only demonologist in the Richmond area, in the morning. And maybe I would have to call the Catholic Church in town, too. Then again, the church has tried in recent years to distance itself from the supernatural.
I took the left, and descended down into the heart of Fairfield. Queerly, about a mile of hillside between the upper and lower sections had been left undeveloped, and was currently a hopeless tangle of dead grass.
“Man, I feel like a weight’s been lifted,” Henry said as we passed the dark shops and rain sluiced sidewalks, empty save for the phantom trees along the edge. “You can really do all of this tomorrow?”
“Yeah,” I said confidently. I took a deep breath, and seemed to blow away all of the mounting worry crushing my chest. I only had to call Tom and a priest, and they would take it from there. They were experts. It might not be an easy break, but it would get done. Demons were actually weak in the presence of religious men; which is why I abandoned my former atheism.
“Good. I can’t wait to get this shit behind me. It’s been a living hell, you know?”
I nodded, and then realized that it was probably too dark for Henry to see. “Yeah, I bet it’ll feel really good.”
“Like a million bucks,” Henry said.
“And…get rid of the damn bed. I don’t think that what we’re dealing with is…what you thought, but just burn it. It’s possible that the ghost is attached to it for some reason.”
“Way ahead of you, man,” Henry said. “I’m gonna go down to Mattress Warehouse and get me a new one tomorrow.”
At the end of town, just before the beginning of the dark, wet woods, I slowed at the traffic light, pulling to a stop alongside a school bus; the small lights affixed to the ceiling within were on against the dark. I saw a few dark silhouettes through the rectangular windows, and ascertained from their distorted shapes that they belonged to the high school’s football team.
“And…don’t have all your fun in one place, okay?” I said as we got back underway, the bus falling behind in the darkness.
“I ain’t gonna have that kinda fun for a long time.”
“Yeah, bullshit,” I jested in hopes of further lightening the mood, “you can’t go a week without having sex with someone…or something.”
Henry chuckled. “Yeah? I once went a month without doin your mom.”
“She needed that long to stop laughing at your…handicap.”
Henry laughed. “Okay. Just wait till we get there; take you in the bathroom and show you what’s up.”
I snorted. “What’s limp.”
“It won’t be limp when I shove it down…”
The restaurant, a sparkling oasis cloaked in primal black, loomed so quickly from the darkness that I nearly missed the turn.
“Alright,” Henry said after I had slid us into a slanted parking spot facing the empty road, his penis forgotten, “let’s get some grub.”
“You look like a German Jew,” I said as we got out of the car, “you need a good meal.”
“Yeah, thanks, mom,” Henry said as we crossed the parking lot. Through the big front windows, we could see happy families sharing joyful meals in the warm brightness.
We came to the double doors, and both held them open for the shuffling passage of an elderly couple. “Thank you,” the old man rasped and nodded as he helped his wife past us and toward a silver Cadillac parked in one of the closest handicap spots. They were immediately followed by two teenage girls in gym shorts and pink tops.
“What is it with kids dressing like that when it’s cold?” I whispered as we entered the restaurant, assaulted at once by the good odors of many steaming, mingling foods.
“If you got it flaunt it,” Henry reckoned.
We walked up to the long lunch counter and took cups, silverware and plastic trays from a hotplate guarded from inconsiderate sneezers by smudged plastic. We waited behind a party of rowdy college students to pay the casher.
We paid the chipper blond behind the register and were shown by a young sleepy eyed man in a red t-shirt and black slacks to a booth along the far wall of the room, mercifully away from the main population. Henry was immediately off to fix himself a plate at the buffet.
I sat at the booth for a moment, looking around the brightly lit room. It was crowded with families, mostly, passing food and laughing over their tables.
After another moment of inventorying how many people I would have to pass to get to the drink machine, I got up and moved to the Coke island. Apart from the dispenser there sat a plain metal canister marked with the picture of a tall, frosty glass of chocolate milk looming forward like a favorite uncle. I considered for a moment, and finally decided to get the milk, the likes of which I haven’t tasted since I was a child.
As I drew the dark liquid into my clear cup, a beefy older man in a brown leather jacket walked unthinkingly up to the machine and filled his cup with Sprite, all the while gasping softly to himself about someone named Mony-Mony.
Sidestepping a yellow WET FLOOR sign at the head of a nasty spill, I went back to the booth where Henry sat, bent protectively over a plate of fried chicken and breaded shrimp. I took my plate and quickly filled it up with French fries, several times nearly colliding with a young boy in small glasses examining each bright pile of food as if he would die if he did not detect the poison on his choices. At the booth I splattered a liberal amount of Tabasco sauce on the golden potatoes and dug in, my chocolate milk standing dutifully by should I need its aid.
“Remember Donny West?” Henry asked around a mouthful of food. I nodded. Donny had been one of our friends as kids before his mother moved the family to West Virginia. A beefy kid with red hair and deep freckles.
“Yeah. How can I forget?”
“He died.”
“What?” I asked, a bit of fry falling from my mouth and landing on the plate.
Henry nodded and swallowed. “I talked to his sister on Facebook, and she said he was drinking and wrecked his car into a tree a couple years ago. Took two of his friends with him.”
“That’s horrible,” I said numbly. Though I had not seen Donny in years, to hear that a once close friend was dead broke my heart.
“You remember what he did on April Fool’s Day that one time?” I asked Henry after a long, respectful moment of silence.
Henry nodded. “He had balls to do that.”
Donny, much more a practical joker than even Henry, had run the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy up the flag pole before school started that day. What made it even funnier were the facts that no one even noticed until lunch, and that the school sat right on the main highway in Picketts Meade.
“Yeah,” I sighed, black, cancerous nostalgia flooding me. “The good old days.”
We then lapsed into a comfortable silence. After savagely stripping the meat from a chicken bone, Henry wandered off to treat himself to a cold dessert. I finished the last of my fries and polished off the chocolate milk, my burning mouth greedily absorbing the cool liquid.
After a return trip to the machine, meeting once again the boy who had been diligently studying for his buffet safety PhD (he wasn’t quiet as conscientious when it came to Coca-Cola), I placed myself in my seat and awaited Henry. He soon returned empty-handed.
“They all sucked,” he declared.
I did not reply, but suddenly realized that the ice cream machine was next to the soda and chocolate milk fountains.
Suddenly, from across the room, there came a loud racket, drawling the puzzled stares of patrons in the gulf between walls. From a door came a line of people dressed in red shirts and black pants. The person at the head of the rank, a rather fetching teen goth with long midnight hair and a generous bosom, held something in her hands, something aflame, for her strong angler face was awash in orange. The Ryan’s troops behind her were clapping.
With mortification I saw them making a B-line toward our table like a personified children’s show choo-choo. Now all of the bemused eaters were looking toward me and Henry.
“You bastard,” I said, turning to Henry. He was smiling and clapping flourishingly. I broke out in my own grin, my cheeks afire. “Oh you son of a bitch; real funny.”
The Ryan’s Birthday Army now surrounded my half of the booth, leering over me like grinning psychos and clapping madly. I hung my head in embarrassment as they sat a flaming birthday cake on the table before me. “Bastard,” I muttered, lowering my head, realizing that now all of the other patrons too were looking at me and clapping.
Then the singing started.
I could just imagine Henry going up to our hostess and stage whispering across the counter, his hand shielding his mouth from prying lip readers, Pissst; it’s his birthday, pointing in my direction.
Bastard.
***
Coming out of the Ryan’s parking lot nearly half an hour later, I took a right on the rain swept street and followed it back to town past several large comfortable southern homes boasting screened in front porches and spotlighted flags. Most of these were protected from the street by rusted chin link fences.
We were silent and content, our stomachs full.
Finally desirous of breaking the silence, but too stuffed with food and lazy to speak, I switched on the radio, picking up a station from southern Maryland. After a “local” newscast about a New York mobster choking to death in a King George pizza joint and the discovery of a well-known radical poet shot dead in a D.C. parking garage, Cyndi Lauper came on with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.
“Your song,” Henry croaked from the passenger seat.
I changed the station. The Culture Club was singing about a Church of the Poisoned Mind.
“Damn, must be your night,” Henry snickered from the darkness.
“Shut up,” I replied, hitting the scan button; the radio settled for a station playing a Seether song.
Henry laughed. “I meant you like eighties music. I wasn’t trying to say you’re gay…not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Pulling to the end of Henry’s street, I noticed that we had left none of the lights on when we departed; the thought of waltzing through the door into the pitch black slightly uneased me.
I thought of asking Henry to stay with me at the Marriot in Richmond rather than me staying with him, but quickly decided against it; we’d be safe in the parlor.
Putting down my own childish reluctance, I parked the car at the curb and killed the engine, shutting Kanye West off in mid-rant.
We entered the house and immediately repaired to the parlor, where Henry took care of stoking a warm fire into existence.
That done, he came back to his chair and sank with a pleasured sigh. “So, you gonna write about this?”
To be honest, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. “Maybe,” I said. Of course I would. Would it make it into my next book? It had a better chance than some of the other cases I had. People love their supernatural when it’s really weird.
“Well…” Henry said, but was interrupted by a terrible crash from overhead, which shook the house and caused us to jerk in surprised fear.
“There it is,” he shivered.
Another long bang sounded upstairs, as if something had thumped to the floor.
I swallowed around a lump in my throat, and opened my mouth, but was forestalled by another loud crash, this one followed by a stomach-piercing moan.
“Maybe we should go,” I stammered, a sudden bubble of stark fear overwhelming my cool rationality.
Henry licked his lips and swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing.
I looked appraisingly up at the smooth ceiling above my head, partly hidden by the gloom. There was another thump that stopped my heart and froze my blood. A shower of fine plaster rained down upon me like hard snow, and I quickly averted my eyes to avoid it.
“Henry?” I panted breathlessly, wrestling with my own galloping fear.
“Fuck this,” Henry affirmed and moved to stand, “let’s…”
Henry had been whispering, as if worried about disturbing his inconsiderate guest, so I was able to hear the soft, terrible footfall. It was as if an electric shock ran through me, reducing my bones to jelly.
I heard it again, louder this time.
Henry’s eyes were wide. “Was that…?” he whispered superstitiously.
I gulped and nodded. “It sounded like it…
From the dark upstairs hall there came a soft, fugitive creak. Henry was now fully standing, his wiry body tense and rigid.
“Hennnryyyyyy!” drifted a thin and ghostly greeting.
“Jesus Christ!” I exclaimed, and bolted to my feet. I turned to the dark threshold into the rest of the hostile house, and saw nothing but playing shadows.
“Hennnryyyy, baaaabyyyyyyy!”
I spun on my heels. “We have to get the hell out of here!” I whispered incoherently, my mind reeling. There was no hope of using the front door. We would have to pass the stairs…
Henry stood slack in place, his eyes wide and seeming to vibrate with terror.
There was a more confident footfall from halfway down the staircase, and a definite swish like that of a passing priest’s cassock.
“Come on!” I screamed, my fear boiling over. I desperately regarded the window beyond Henry’s chair. It appeared wide enough for both of us to escape side-by-side.
I grabbed Henry’s wrist, but pulling him was like trying to move a wooden post set deeply in the ground.
“Come on, we gotta go, NOW!!” I screamed franticly, hearing the loud moan of the last step. Henry shook his head as if shaking away a dream and looked at me with frightened, pleading eyes. But before a word could pass between us he turned back to the threshold.
And screamed.
Hearing the horrible, damned-soul quality of his voice broke my resolve and nearly my mind. It was the high-pitched shriek of a child on finally seeing the thing under its bed and finding it far worse than imagined; it was the scream of a sinner being shown into his new abode in hell; it was the pitiful cry of a madman.
Fueled by mindless animal terror, I sprang for the window.
Forearms thrown protectively over my face, I crashed through with a cry, and sailed into the damp night in a shower of broken glass, my stomach throbbing in my throat. I hit the grassy ground with an umph and staggered to my feet, my knees watery and quivering.
Behind me, the laughter of madness turned into the orgasm of agony.
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submitted by HaulA28Augl to u/HaulA28Augl [link] [comments]


2020.08.27 06:54 phillipadsmith What podcasts about making music (and music in general) do you listen to?

So I was that person who "didn't listen to podcasts" until about a year ago. Then, one day, I stumbled into the realization that podcasts are a bit like Reddit: there are a lot of small, esoteric, niche podcasts about music (production, history, business, criticism, etc.) if you have the energy to find them and try them out.
Fast forward to now, and I find myself listening to 1-2 hours of podcasts a day (yep, lots of laundry to fold!). Almost all of them covering some aspect of music. I'm sure I've only stumbled on the most obvious shows, so I'd like to ask for your suggestions.
Here are the one's I've enjoyed and what category I'd roughly put them in:
That's my list. What's on yours? Thanking you in advance for filling in the holes (and filling up my queue!).
submitted by phillipadsmith to WeAreTheMusicMakers [link] [comments]


2020.06.22 00:49 BotheredEar52 Weekly Discussion #3 - City of San Francisco

Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word 'Frisco'... shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor - Alleged proclamation by Emperor Norton
 
San Francisco is a historic city that serves as the primary hub of Northern California. It is both a city and county, and is the densest American city aside from New York City. The city has a population of roughly 900K, and a size of about 47 square miles. San Francisco is located on the tip of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. The city is very hilly, with a mild Mediterranean climate. San Francisco became a major city during the Gold Rush era, where it served as Northern California's primary port. With its role in shipping vastly reduced, San Francisco is now a major hub for finance, tourism, and information technology. In 2018 34% of San Franciscans commuted by transit.
San Francisco is shaped like a square. The downtown financial district is based around Market Street, which extends Southwest from the historic port in the Northeast of the city. Aside from the densely populated areas around Market, major neighborhoods include the Richmond District, Mission, and the Sunset. The city's limited industrial base and mainline rail are found along the East coast of the peninsula. Much of the coastline has been expanded through landfill, as has Treasure Island, located at the midpoint of the Bay Bridge. The streets attempt to force a regular grid upon San Francisco's hostile topography, but are broken by exceptionally large hills in the middle of the city. San Francisco was home to some of the first Freeway Revolts. The only complete Interstate through the city is I-80, which runs through the Eastern part of the city, connecting to the Bay Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge connects the city to Highway 1, which runs through the Western neighborhoods as an at-grade boulevard.
San Francisco is generally considered to be part of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, which also includes the major cities of Oakland and San Jose. We'll discuss those cities, as well as the suburbs of the Bay Area, in future posts.

Transit Network

Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway)

Bus + Rail Map
First founded in 1906, the municipal transit company had acquired its privately-owned competitors by the 40s. San Francisco's steep hills necessitated extensive transit infrastructure, such as streetcar tunnels, cable cars, and trolleybuses. Much of this infrastructure could not be repurposed for or replaced by automobiles or diesel buses, enabling Muni to preserve historic services when most American cities did not. Muni focuses almost entirely on local service, with a number of other agencies providing trips to areas outside the city limits.

Muni Metro

Metro Map
As the modern incarnation of San Francisco's historic streetcar system, the Muni Metro serves roughly 150,000 riders a day, making it the second busiest light rail system in the US. Prior to COVID-19, all lines ran through a subway under Market Street. The system primarily serves the Western half of the city, tunneling under the hills to reach these residential neighborhoods. The exception is the relatively new T line, which is a more modern light rail alignment that serves the East coast of the city. The placement of the Muni Metro's lines is largely a historical accident: the only lines that survived were those that ran in tunnels. Because of this, dense neighborhoods like the Richmond are not served by rail. Additionally, since all lines are routed through a single pair of tracks under Market, reliability is a major issue. The Central Subway project, expected to finish in 2021, will go some of the way towards solving these issues. A number of other proposed expansions could finally bring rail service to the entire city. In the immediate future, a modified operation plan will provide reliable service as Muni and San Francisco reopen.

Muni Bus

Note that COVID-19 has resulted in major cuts to bus service. Though Muni intends to return service to roughly its former state, that date is still a long time away.
With much of the city unreachable by rail, buses serve roughly 3/4 of Muni trips. Prior to COVID-19, Muni operated a dense grid of high frequency routes. Buses are fairly slow due to heavy traffic, though this is somewhat mitigated by all-door boarding and extensive bus lanes. In order to cope with steep hills, Muni maintains an extensive trolleybus system, which accounts for about a third of all bus trips. Though Muni provides high-quality bus service by American standards, many corridors are approaching the limits of what buses can do. The 38 route runs articulated buses along Geary Street every two minutes at peak times, and they're at standing room only. Both Geary and Van Ness Streets are slated to have BRT service, but these routes are busy enough to justify heavy rail.

Other Service

Muni operates a heritage streetcar service along Market Street and Embarcadero using surface tracks. Designated the E and F lines, they are popular among tourists but operated as legitimate transit, with high frequencies and ridership. The famous cable cars, on the other hand, have a different fare structure and are primarily tourist attractions.

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

System Map
BART is the primary regional transit provider for the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Built in the 70's, it connects San Francisco to most of the other cities in the Bay. It is an absolutely critical piece of infrastructure, carrying more people between Oakland and San Francisco than the parallel Bay Bridge. However, BART was intended to be more extensive than it ended up being. This is partly why Muni lacks a rail line along Geary, as it was planned to be covered by a BART branch to Marin. Though recent expansions have brought BART to many key areas, it now struggles with issues of core capacity. A second tunnel between Oakland and San Francisco has been proposed as a solution. Though BART is primarily a regional transit system, it makes several stops along Market Street and in other parts of the city, and therefore serves as a useful urban subway for SF residents. BART also connects San Francisco to its two closest airports, SFO and OAK.

Caltrain

System Map
Caltrain connects San Francisco to San Jose via the Peninsula, connecting the Bay's two largest cities along a corridor with minimal BART service. From its roots as an obsolete commuter line, incremental upgrades have brought express service and skyrocketing ridership. Future upgrades associated with the California High-Speed Rail Project will electrify the line and extend it to a more centrally located station underneath the Transbay Transit Center.

Regional Bus Service

Before BART was built, interurban trains stopped in San Francisco at the Transbay Transit Center via the Bay Bridge. Those tracks are now paved over, but the building is still a major hub for bus service. AC Transit runs buses between SF and the East Bay, while Golden Gate Transit connects to Marin and the rest of the North Bay. SF lacks an Amtrak station, but Amtrak Thruway coaches connect to train stations in San Jose and the East Bay. Note that there are plans to bring Amtrak to SF via a tunnel from the East Bay. Intercity buses like Greyhound stop at the Transbay Transit Center as well.

Ferries

Ferries were once dominated the Bay Area, but after the bridges went up they declined in importance. They have had a slight resurgence recently due thanks to their immunity to choked bridge traffic. Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry stop at the San Francisco Ferry Building, a grand building comparable to the historic train stations found in other American cities.

Ratings

+ Dense and highly walk/bikeable city
+ Frequent service throughout the city
+ Many stops have shelters and countdown timers. All-door boarding is standard
+ Extensive fleet of zero-emission LRVs and trolleybuses
+ Strong commitment to historic preservation which boosts local tourist industry
+ Strong integration between local and regional transit. All regional bus and rail lines connect directly to Muni Metro
+ Fast and reliable regional rail services with high ridership
+ Modern and appealing bus terminal
- Poor accessibility, many trolleybuses and all LRVs are high floor. Many surface Muni Metro stops board in the middle of the street
- No rapid transit connection to dense neighborhoods like the Richmond and Chinatown
- Not enough dedicated ROW, packed trains and buses are often stuck in traffic
- All Muni trains routed through single subway, no redundancy
- No regional rail to North Bay
- Poor fare and schedule integration between the numerous transit providers
- Unaffordable housing forces commuters to live outside the city, in places poorly served by transit
- Standard fares of $2.50 are somewhat high

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submitted by BotheredEar52 to transit [link] [comments]


2020.06.11 07:53 KomradeDmitri [EVENT] The Confederate States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps

Introduction

 
The Confederate States Navy (CSN) is woefully under prepared to fight a naval war against the federals. There are only a handful of ocean going ships in the hands of the confederacy. On April 20th, Norfolk Shipyard was captured, but the nine ships at the area were sunk, most notably the USS Merrimack. This gives us nine lower hulls to build off of, which will assist us in building new ships for the CSN. If we are to win this war against the yank, a capable navy will be necessary. Along with this, the federal blockade will severely hurt the southern economy if it cannot be broken. Secretary of the Navy Stephan Mallory has begun working to build the Confederate States Navy into a war winning force.

Ironclad Ships

  The Confederate States Navy cannot and will not compete with the union on a ship-by-ship basis, as their industry is too great. Stephan Mallory is a great advocate of using vessels that are so individually superior as to dominate. In his words
"The perfection of a warship would doubtless be a combination of the greatest known ocean speed with the greatest known floating battery and power of resistance."
If the CSN is able to create just a few ironclad vessels, the damage that could be inflicted on the inferior federal ships would be potentially war changing. Luckily, the USS Merrimack’s lower hull is intact and ready to be turned into the first of these new ironclad vessels. The Merrimack will be fitted with a new twin blade screw propellers, a ram and an armored case mate. The newly dubbed CSS Virginia is expected to be completed by February. 1 More ship will be constructed, similar to the Virginia, which will finish construction in April of 1862. It will be dubbed the CSS Atlanta. Along with the Virginia and Atlanta, development of a river based ship able to maintain control of the southern Mississippi River will begin.

Attacking Union Commerce

  It is the idea of Secretary of the Navy Stephan Mallory that, if we can harass union merchant shipping enough, the federals will be forced to divert vessels to deal with them, and the blockade will be further weakened. There are several methods to accomplish this goal. The first will be “asking” for civilian vessel owners to loan their ships, with payment in hard dollars backed by tobacco as soon as victory is achieved. These vessels loaned to the CSN will be sent to capture ships throughout the Atlantic Ocean flying the US flag, and only if they fly the US flag. Secondly, letters of marque will be issued to all those with seaworthy vessels to capture ships flying the US flag. These ships, once captured, these merchant ships will be put into service of the Confederate States Navy.

Coastal Defense

 
Following the Battle of Santa Rosa Island, and the capture of Fort Jefferson, Confederate forces have taken two major US installations in the south. Following the creation of the Confederate States Coast Guard, Josiah Tattnall has been appointed Secretary of the Coast Guard. His first task is to begin creating a system of coastal watches along the coast of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana and Northern Florida. These watches will each conduct patrols day and night, with shifts in work being conducted to be able to have eyes on the coast at all times. Financial incentives will be offered to encourage local boys and men to enlist in the Coast Guard. Secondly, he has ordered the construction of new batteries at New Orleans, Charleston, Pensacola, Mobile, Norfolk, Savannah, and Wilmington. Thirdly, he has headed the creation of an office with the task of creating surveying teams to survey the coast of the Confederacy. Cartographers will also be hired to create up to date and accurate maps of the coastline.

Confederate States Marine Corps

 
The Confederate States Marine Corps, founded in March of 1861, is small compared to their northern counterparts, numbering only 1000 men in total. After the daring assault on the Dry Tortugas, Secretary of the Navy Stephan Mallory, seeing the value in a dedicated marine force, has begun working to outfit the CSMC to be up to par to the USMC. First, company sized posts will be established at Richmond, Drewry’s Bluff, Wilmington, Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Savannah, Pensacola, and Mobile. Secondly, 4000 men will be recruited from across the Confederacy, focusing recruitment in Florida and New Orleans. Four marine regiments will be formed from these, their nicknames being Palmetto, Palm, Cypress and Oak, respectively from one through four. Veterans of the Dry Tortugas Raid will be employed as instructors to teach these men how to properly land and sail. Specialized small craft with small guns attached to them will begin production for use by the CSMC, along with the construction of 4 sloops for the marines. Finally, two “sea raider” battalions will be formed for use in raiding federal coastal installations in battle.
submitted by KomradeDmitri to ImperialistWorldPower [link] [comments]


2020.06.08 06:09 thetorontobot Toronto Daily - Jun 8th 2020

Welcome to the Toronto Daily Thread.

This thread serves two purposes:
1) To collect and make visible new posts in smaller Toronto based subreddits.
Feel free to visit, comment and be generally helpful in posts indexed below. Please also remember to stay on your best behaviour when travelling outside of /toronto.
2) To act as a general off-topic conversation hub for the day.
To that end, use this thread to talk about whatever is on your mind, regardless of whether or not it's related to Toronto.
No matter where you're posting, please remember to be excellent to each other.

/AskTO

Post Title Author Comments
Where’s everyone’s favourite Shawarma spot? ChuckManDu 2
Got 10 km/hr speeding ticket, how much will it affect my insaurance rates ? Dexteroid 1
Why won't City of Toronto install bike lanes along all of the major roads? TorontoGuy696 0
Why do Toronto's North-South streets realign slightly north of Eglinton? NouEcoss 3
Has it been 2 weeks since "that" Trinity Bellwoods Day? Did we see a spike in covid cases? pblack177 2
Got a wedding invitation in the mail for people I don’t know... EmmGenius 4
Is it Toronto’s bylaw that people can’t ride bikes on sidewalks? toronto81793 11
What happens if I call 311 for dogs off leash in a non off leash area? causeimdumb_99 2
Where can i buy bicycle playing cards? SQLinjektion 5
CERB application periods not showing up? tinykittymama 4
Best comedy movie on Netflix? Sokaplayaaaa 3
Good stores to purchase a basketball net in the GTA? pikatruuu 0
Looking to purchase olives in bulk Nod_Nerb 10
Anyone know a good cat groomer that's open right now? afterwerk 11
Best place to buy and/or refill propane gas Sokaplayaaaa 5
Are there any shoe stores with a street-front entrance that are open? In downtown PJMonster 2
Looking to buy some fresh lobster to cook up for my family in the next little bit. Does anyone have a recommendation of where in the GTA I can get a good price for fresh lobster? jan1190T 7
Frost quakes, baby. noragretx 7
Where to Find Premium Toronto Escorts? totsnotacat 8
Are there any protests planned for June 8? VaguelyBonded 8
Looking for new dentist hellzscream 4
ModCom computer repair shop closed. No one answering the phone. What do I do? DeadrobotTO 4
Is it illegal in any way to park in a neighbourhood in front of someone else's house? symaticciiiiii 63
where can I buy a walking cane SamsonFox 5
I have a court date scheduled for June 9th 50 High Tech Richmond Hill. Are courts closed til further notice? I haven't receive any mail regarding new court date. Anyone been to court recently? shiamase 3

/TorontoJobs

Post Title Author Comments
[Hiring] Senior Data Analyst ai_jobs 0
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/TorontoEvents

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TONIGHT! SUNDAY BEST COMEDY: WWKD? - CHURCH IN THE WILD FT. COMICS AS SEEN ON JFL, JFL42, CBC, SIRIUSXM, NXNE AND MORE. ONLINE VIA THE SUNDAY BEST COMEDY FB PAGE! 7PM! tamarashevon 1

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2020.05.07 21:16 dempseyblock24 Speeding Ticket Not Showing up in System

I received a speeding ticket on March 19th, 2020 with my court date being May 11th 2020. I was caught on radar going 92 in a 65 in Augusta, GA or Richmond County. The sheriff who pulled me over told me I could pay it online too.
I went to the website listed on the ticket to pay it, but the site says "no citations were found matching your input". I called the number on the website and gave them my citation number, but they said there was no citation in their system matching my citation number or DL number.
What does this mean and what should I do?
submitted by dempseyblock24 to legaladvice [link] [comments]


2020.05.01 20:58 bloodpissgore triangle ufo followed by black chopper

my partner and i experienced a sighting last summer. ufo sightings without video or photo evidence are a bummer, i know. i just wanted to know how many people experience ufos being chased/ escorted(?) by military black choppers. we live in virginia and drive back and forth from northern VA near DC and quantico, so we see a lot of weird lights and helicopters but nothing as clear and close as this. after the sighting, i wrote down in my notes exact details so that they would stay fresh. i posted to NUFORC as well (will post link). cool thing was someone else had seen the same thing we did about 20-30 miles away for a longer period of time and posted their experience too. anyways, here the description:
time of day was a quarter past 11pm, in a city neighborhood. a triangular object, one light at each point, orange/red hue light color, about the length of a city block in size, almost translucent undercarriage tilting and banking slightly as it moved forward being followed or escorted by a black, fast moving, VERY LOUD, helicopter. going east in direction going towards maybe the ocean/quantico/DC? for the helicopter being so ridiculously loud, the sound came out of nowhere about 3-5 seconds before it emerged from behind a low two story brick building. the two were flying very low but moving at an incredible speed covering about 10 miles or more in 8-10 seconds. the ufo disappeared before the helicopter did.
7/28/19 is the date of my report in richmond at 11:20pm NUFORC report
submitted by bloodpissgore to UFOs [link] [comments]


2020.04.06 06:18 theManofCrims0n Ghost of the Shenandoah

As a history buff I always loved to study the past. Studying wars or the politics of the time period and the circumstances that led up to the climatic events that had transpired. Yet despite all the records we do have there are so many missing pieces from the whole picture. These are usually accounts of the individual. The American Civil war is a primary example of many records, Confederate records in particular that became lost or were destroyed. I bring that up because I found something that almost cost me my life.
Last year my family booked a good sized cabin in the panhandle of West Virginia at the northern most part of the Shenandoah Valley. Now the cabin in question could fit about eight people which was perfect for the size of our group. There was my Mother and Father,me,my Aunt and Uncle and my two Cousins. It took a long time for all our schedules to have a good opening with three of us in the military, for sometimes getting leave requests approved is impossible. Yet here we are with me and my Father and Uncle on military leave at the same time.
Now I'm not going into too much detail about my family but I will tell you a bit about myself. My name is Nathaniel Hendricks. At this point I was a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines and I was 22. I'm 6 foot flat and I weigh 170 lbs. And no I'm not infantry. I get called POG (Personnel Other than Grunt) on occasion by the grunts I'm stationed with but being in aviation they don't mess with me too much. Now then back to the story. After all you guys wouldn't be here if this didn't involve any weird spooky stuff.
When we arrived the scene of the wooden cabin in the middle of this lively forest with the sun shining above was really easy on the eyes. Then John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" began playing in my head.
"Heh it's almost heaven alright." I remarked.
"Isn't it? Well lets get inside it's been years since we've seen you!" My Aunt said gleefully.
Then my 16 year old cousin Jared began obnoxiously singing the song that was on my mind while the 14 year old Rebecca rolled her eyes out of irritation. I squeezed the space between my eyes out of annoyance and spoke-
"You ruined it. You ruined it and I'm going inside."
The adults all laughed.
"Well this is going to be an interesting little reunion I can tell." Dad said smirking at me.
We all settled inside beginning to catch up after not seeing one another for three years. It was really nice spending time with family but I was more concerned about playing video games with Jared who constantly challenged me in any multiplayer game I had on me. He was no threat in any of them but I could never back down from a challenge. While playing Jared brought up an idea about hiking around in the forest tomorrow. Rebecca seemed intrigued by the idea. She was always liked nature.
"Whaddya say cuz?" Jared looked at me excitedly. He always looked up to me and I liked spending time with him even though he can be annoying as hell.
"Sounds nice but you sure you want it to be only us three?" I asked.
"Aw what's the matter? Is the big bad Marine scared?" Jared mocked.
Then me, my old man and uncle all looked at each other and began laughing. He then looked at us very confused.
"What? What's funny?"
"You'll find out in a few years." I told him.
The evening flew by filled with joyous laughter. During the night when we all went to sleep I had an unusual dream. I was wandering in forest a night with only a full moon illuminating my surroundings. I was walking until I came upon the mouth of a cave. I began to approach it then out of nowhere a man in what looked like a civil war uniform walked out of the shadows with a rifle in tow. He gestured for me to leave. I tried to approach but the moment I took a step forward he aimed and fired. I woke up puzzled. There's no way I'd dream about something so random. I tried to think about it until I realized it was 3 AM, so I decided to go back to sleep. I didn't realize it at the time but it was a sign.
The next morning arrived where me and my two cousins would venture out into the wilderness. Before we left Rebecca suggested we get some gear and some weapons in case anything unexpected happened like if we got lost or a bear attacks. I agreed and went to my uncle. I laid down our plan to him and he hooked us up with the proper emergency gear. He walked out from his truck and revealed two Remington shotguns. He gave them both to me and said-
"Before you go out, teach that numbskull son of mine how to use it."
"Why can't you teach him? You're his dad." I responded not wanting to go through the effort of training my cousin.
"Two reasons; 1- I'm lazy. 2- You guys are hiking before tomorrow which is when all of us are going. And since y'all are going first you're SOL Nate."
I sighed knowing I'd have to teach my cousin proper gun safety. Probably wise that I did otherwise he would have pointed his shotgun at me or Rebecca then I'd beat him senseless. After 30 straight minutes of me essentially beating proper weapon safety into Jared's skull, I say beating because I actually had to hit him since he flagged my aunt. I'm not surprised at how seriously he paid attention after I punched him.
With everything taken care of the three of us began to set out on our little adventure. I was told by my dad to not venture too far from the cabin of course. Specifically he wanted us to be within 3 miles of the cabin. I doubt we'd have a reason to go that far anyway. Now we were walking through the forest at just past 9 A.M. and the sun was shining brightly, it's beams of light piercing through the gaps of the tree tops. There's something about walking about in nature it has it's own unique feel and smell wherever you go. From the crunching of twigs and leaves beneath our feet to the fresh non polluted air. Honestly if I wasn't keeping an eye on my two cousins I'd would just keep walking despite my dad's 3 mile limit. It was just perfect and Jared was surprisingly quiet, being amazed at the scope of nature around us.
We hiked about two miles north when Rebecca said that we should probably turn back. Jared said just a little further and I agreed.
"Here I thought I was the nature nut." She said smirking.
"Hey now I'm starting to get your fascination with nature." Jared replied with a genuine smile.
After about two more minutes we something to my right caught my eye. Without thinking I walked toward what I thought was a mouth of a cave . . .and I was right. There it was at the base of a large hillside. It looked a lot like the one I saw in my dream. I was just staring at it in the darkness, lost in a trance almost. Rebecca shook me back to my senses. I looked back and returned my gaze back to my concerned cousin. Something about that cave is unnatural, but I couldn't place my finger on what. I told them that they should head back to the cabin for I wanted to check out this cave.
"What by yourself? That's dangerous!" Said Rebecca.
"Yeah we know you're a tough guy but what are you gonna do if you find a bear or something?" Jared added.
I insisted regardless of their concerns. Besides It might sound stupid but going in alone was probably better anyway. If I took them with me and we did find something scary they'd be a liability and I'd have to keep watch over their safety than my own. Additionally I could never forgive myself if something happened to them. I told them that we were directly north of the cabin and if I wasn't back in about two hours they'd know where to send help. They reluctantly agreed and began making their way back. Then I approached the mouth of the cave.
The darkness inside was pretty strong. Not much was illuminated at all despite how bright it was outside. So I dug into my bag and got a head lamp and turned it on. Then I pumped my shotgun loading a shell in the chamber, I had four shots to ruin someone's day if it came to it. I took a deep breath and proceeded inside. I took about ten steps inside when suddenly I got a flash in my mind of the soldier from my dream pointing his rifle at me. I paused and began weighing my options. Though this cave had given me an unusual feeling I wasn't afraid. I couldn't detect anything that made my hair stand up. But something told me that I should leave, though it felt more like a suggestion. However my curiosity got the better of me and I kept going.
At first the cave seemed dull and empty until I learned that it was much larger than I had anticipated. I had taken a left turn and came across a large cavern with stalagmites and stalactites tastefully decorating this natural room. I began to proceed but I felt something pulling me. It was like someone had wrapped parts of my body with yarn and gently tugged it. This sensation was only happening if I was heading in a direction other than where I was being pulled which was to my right. It also didn't tug me if I started to head back the way I came.
Now whatever force that was pulling me it didn't seem malevolent. It was almost as though this force was only suggesting my next path. I decided to follow the pull's direction. After a brief walk I came across a small little opening. I peered inside and my head lamp showed me that there was a pair of aged and worn leather boots. My eyes widened in surprise and I readied my shotgun.
"Hello? Someone there?" I asked with my shotgun pointed cautiously.
I crept in this little cave room and I veered to my left where the boots where. My jaw dropped slightly opening my mouth. Someone was here. Emphasis on WAS however, for what I saw was a skeleton in a weathered uniform. Despite the deterioration I could tell this was a civil war uniform, more specifically a confederate uniform. I had never seen anything like this. After closer observation I noticed that the temple of the right side of the skull was missing. Observing this corpse I saw a very rusted Remington 1858 revolver in his bony right hand. It's clear as to the cause of death.
While looking over him, I saw a little leather covered book resting to the left. I gently slid it out not wanting to disturb the body. Upon observing the book it turned out to be a journal. I was a little excited, a journal of a long dead soldier an excellent historical find! Unfortunately some of the pages were illegible thanks to the years being in a damp cave. Some were understandable though. Here's the entries that I could make out. His handwriting was actually neat and didn't write in cursive.
June 3rd 1861
"Today's the day I finally completed my army training! I got assigned to the army of the shenandoah. I'm ready to fight for our new nation. I don't know how Ma and Pa are going to take this but I feel this is something I gotta do. I Just hope this here war will end soon. My little brother Jake is up in Ohio for schooling so I hope we don't have to invade the North that far. Honest, we probably wont need to. "
July 24th 1861
"It was three days ago. My first real battle. I didn't think it was going to be so . . . bloody. Sure we won but now I think this wars gonna take a while. I should've guessed. I was sent to school like Jake. They made sure we learnt about history. Ain't no such thing as a short war. Well if rest of the war goes like it did in Manassas the Yanks'll surrender in bout two years I reckon."
January 9th 1862
"Being in the army ain't what I thought it would be. Now I knew it wouldn't be easy. But all the fighting on empty stomachs, in the cold, in the heat with bugs or mud or sometimes both. Not knowing if you'll get picked off like the man next to you. I suppose we thought we'd all be heroes fighting for the birth of a new country like our forefathers did against the British. We was all naive.
May 12th 1863
"I just got word that General Jackson had died. Hell he wasn't even killed by the Union he was shot by our own boys and then he got sick. Damn it all. Old Stonewall was a great General. Call me crazy now but I think this here is a sign. I think . . .we're going to lose. I think that the two years that I had been fighting would be for nothing. Come to think of it . . .what was I fighting for anyways?"
If I had to guess this next entry was about Gettysburg.
July 1(Illegible)
"Dear lord . . .what has our land become? So many dead and wounded. The ground was painted red with blood of our fellow man, our brothers. We're killing our own kin for Christ's sake! My own kin . . . Jake. During the battle our Captain ordered a bayonet charge. A Union soldier had turned to try to stop me and my blade went deep in his chest. And it was Jake . . .My poor poor brother and I murdered him damn it! Dear god what have I done!? Is this my punishment or was it his!? Who was wrong? Why was he an enemy soldier? Nothing can justify killing your own kin. I can't tell my parents. They'll never f-(illegible)
(illegible)
(illegible)
(illegible)- ave mercy on his soul Lord. And please forgive mine."
I immediately frowned with pity welling up inside me. This poor guy. I was hesitant to keep reading but I carried on allowing my curiosity to take the wheel.
(illegible) ly 24th 18(illegible)
"The retreat was long . . .it felt like forever especially with the guilt I now bear. I can only think of the dead. My fellows, the Union boys . . .and Jake. To make matters worse on top of our casualties we had some desertions too. I can't blame them. This war . . .this god damned war. Any war in fact is only meant for two types of people murderers and fools and I'm both. It's not meant for young boys who don't know how the world works. They get caught up in this mess and die because some folks can't compromise or swallow their pride. I thought about deserting myself but I don't th-(illegible) -be better off hoping I just get shot."
(illegible)
"General Lee wants our division with two others to scout behind us see if the Union is still chasing us. I convinced First Sergeant to volunteer us. We was scouring all around the Shenandoah for any sign of them. That was til we found this here cave. It was getting dark and rainy so it seemed as a good spot not to get soaked at least. Our division used to be forty five men strong now there's hardly thirty. We lost our Ordnance Sergeant to his injury last week now Sergeant Ricky his taking his place. Shoot, at this point most of the folks here are replacements. Just boys conscripted from their home. Now we're camping in this cave. Though I can't shake the feeling of something wrong here. "
June 3rd 1863
"A couple of men disappeared last night. What's strange is we had a watch on the entrance and the storm outside hasn't let up. Even if those boys decided to desert why would they do it in the middle of a terrible storm it doesn't make a lick of sense. This cave is big but I don't see how they could have just vanished right from under our noses. I think we should leave but long as the storm is raging out there First Sergeant won't budge. This ain't right. This ain't right at all."
(No date)
"(illegible)-gone! How can a cave entrance just vanish like that? What in the world is going on!? What's more five more men disappeared too. Damn it I knew we shouldnta been here!"
(No date)
"It got Ricky! It sucked the life outa him and he shriveled up like a prune on a hot summer day! I'm hiding right now and I hope that-(Writing stopped)
My eyes widened at the new disturbing content. "What the hell am I reading?" I said aloud. After a brief pause I continued reading. The writing had become more erratic and difficult to read.
(No date)
"I saw it get another one of us. He was only a seventeen year old boy. When it sucked him dead I saw a light leave the boy's body and into the demon's mouth. I think it's eating our very souls! It's after someone else now. Dear Lord . . . I can hear his screams echo all over this damn cave. That's it then, God has forsaken us and left us at the mercy of this monster. I just wanted (illegible)- It's coming..."
(No date)
"I think I'm the only one left. I don't even know how long we've been here or if help was ever coming. I doubt it would help our weapons did nothing but make it wince. I'm hungry, cold, scared and sad. I guess this was my punishment after all. I can hear it's screaming echoing closer to me.
I won't let it take me like the others. A man ain't a man if he can't even choose how he dies.
My name was John Brennan, Sergeant in the Army of Northern Virginia. Ma, Pa if you somehow read this I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything.
It's coming for me now . . .God have mercy on my soul."
I was trying to skim over it aging to be certain I didn't misread anything with sweat beading down the side of my head but before I could fully process what I had read I heard a voice.
"Are you a damn fool!?"
The voice had a strong southern accent, I turned and to my absolute disbelief I saw a man about my height in a grey cotton confederate uniform with an old spring field rifle probably a Richmond rifle. The man looking at me had a full beard and brown eyes. His expression looked to be frustrated. But the thing that caught my attention was the blood dripping down the right side of his head. I angled my own head to get a better look and there was a hole in his right temple.
"Hey I'm talking to you! Why didn't you leave I've been warning you!" He barked at me as though he were scolding a child.
I looked back to where the skeleton was and it was gone the only thing left was the journal in my hands. You'd think I be terrified but I wasn't. A little scared yes but I experienced true horror before.
"Wait . . . warning me?" I said shaken by the bizarre situation. I mean you would be too if a dead man was yelling at you.
"Me appearing in your head with my rifle pointed I was telling you to back off." He explained.
"But what about the tugging I thought you just wanted me to find your body."
"I was hoping you'd get scared by my bones and run, not read my damn journal." He place his right palm on his face. "I doesn't matter now. It's awake."
My heart sunk into my chest.
"Well I gotta get out of here then!" I got up ready to move with my shotgun but I felt a cold hand on my shoulder.
"Don't bother going the way you came." He said grimly.
My eyes widened with the implication. I refused to believe it. I ran full sprint back they way I came. There was no exit. Just a rocky wall.
"No . . .no,no,no this isn't happening this makes no freaking sense!" I said while ramming the wall with my shoulder.
"Damn it only one entrance is open at a time you gotta move!" He barked at me with the authority only an NCO could muster. "If you wanna live then you listen to me!"
I nodded my head yes and began to follow him. Then I heard a guttural scream echo throughout the cave it sounded like the desperate wail of a woman.
"Shoot . . .I have an idea where an exit might be. What ever you do don't look it in the eyes!" He exclaimed without looking at me.
We were running along with only my head lamp lighting the way the screams were getting closer and with the echoes it sounded like a choir of the damned. We turned a corner and I saw it and I unfortunately met it's gaze.
It was like some sort of lich. It was gaunt, it's skin rotted and tight on it's skeleton with long ragged hair and glowing yellow eyes. It's hand were larger than a normal humans they were long and slender in fact they looked like rakes. It had no feet just stubs at the ends of it's ankles and it was floating off the ground and it had tattered rags covering parts of it's dead looking body. It's mouth . . .it was human in structure but not in size it's jaw was unnaturally long. It opened it's mouth when it looked at me its jaw going lower than it's chest the damn thing unhinged like a snake and inside there was nothing . . .just absolute blackness.
I was caught in it's gaze. I could hear my heart in my ears and I was filled with incredible dread. My body was trembling but I couldn't move. I heard the soldier yelling at me but I couldn't hear what he said exactly. I was just staring back at this thing that made me believe it could make all my worst nightmare become reality. It was gliding closer and a gunshot rang out in the cave, shaking me back to my senses I quickly took aim at it's chest and opened fire. It was knocked back about ten feet. I pumped the shotgun while hyperventilating and my whole body shaking. I looked to my left and saw the Sergeant with a smoking rifle barrel.
The creature moved it's head upward from the ground and began to float back upright.
"C'mon get moving before it's up again." He said to me with a concerned face.
Me and Brennan started to book it past the creature down another path. It didn't take long for it to start screaming again. I don't know how fast this thing was but I didn't want to look back to find out. We were running past other bodies some with uniforms of both sides of the civil war others with even older uniforms like the unmistakable red coats of the British in the revolutionary war. It was like the worlds most grotesque museum. All of them had their jaws wide open indicating they died in terror. How many people did this thing feed on?
We kept running and running Brennan didn't look like he was slowing down at all and I was able to keep going from raw adrenaline. The screams were ear piercing and getting closer. We made another turn and Brennan said to me- "Keep moving this way you'll find the way out!" I do what I can to slow it down!"
I looked to the direction he pointed and I saw him ready his rifle. I knocked it down and handed him my shotgun.
"After you shoot it pump the handle back and forth you got three shots left!" I Instructed hastily.
"Alright now git!"
I began sprinting and not long after I heard the first shot. It rang out and it almost seemed to shake the cave itself. He yelled out -
"Keep movin' and donchu look back!" His voice carried by the walls of the cavern.
Still running I made a turn to the left then I heard the second shot. I still didn't see any light and my time was running out. I prayed in my mind that he was right and this was the way out and not a hunch he'd just went by. The Darkness was beginning to intensify the more I ran. It was suffocating the only place I could see was where my head lamp is illuminating it's just pitch black everywhere else now. I kept moving until I tripped on a rock I couldn't see. Then I heard the third shot. I scrambled back up as fast as I could but my left knee momentarily gave out since I landed on it and I fell back down this time damaging my head lamp, it began to flicker.
As I finally got up I heard the unholy wail once more followed by Sergeant Brennan's voice-
"It's coming for you now run boy! RUUUUN!!!"
I began moving as fast as I could with a slight limp. Sprinting despite the sharp pain from my left knee as the creature screamed behind me. Every time I heard the screams it made me move faster and faster. I was booking it at full speed until I rammed into a wall as pain exploded on my body. I was looking in a daze and to my left I saw a light, the way out! As I got up I looked back and saw a faint yellow glow growing closer rapidly. Any sense of thought or reason disappeared once I realized it was catching up. All I could do now was run.
With adrenaline all but taking charge of my body I began to sprint towards the light at the end if this long tunnel. The pain I was feeling before melted away with each step I took. A scream rang out behind me and I pumped my legs harder than I ever did in my life to the point where I could dust anyone in the 3 mile run. The light at the end was growing closer and closer until I could see the trees in the distance. Just as I was about to clear the opening I felt something scratch me. I leaped out of the cave mouth and rolled on the ground. I looked up and I saw the sunshine obscured by tree leaves rustling to the wind above me.
I began laughing out of relief. My laughter was cut short when I felt something gaze at me. That was when my senses came back to me. I don't know what compelled me to look back but I did. I could faintly see it in the darkness. It was moving it's long slender arms in a beckoning motion. It wants me to come back. . .like hell that'll happen. I got up and ran again but this time the taxing effort of the escape and the prior pain caught up with me. I didn't care though I needed to get the fuck out of there. I was wandering in the forest for what seemed like an hour until I saw the roof of our cabin.
I approached and my cousins and mother ran out to me and embraced me. They looked worried sick. I didn't notice until just now but I had been gone for like five hours. Time had completely eluded me thanks to my current exhausted state. Turns out I also had a nasty claw mark on my back, looks like the thing got me good. My dad, uncle and aunt rushed out and my dad was yelling at me-
"The hell's wrong with you kid!? Why were you out for so long and what happened to you!?"
I explained to them everything that happened. They told me after about two hours they went looking for me. Jared and Rebecca explained to them I went into a cave but when they got to where it was it was gone. The folks thought they were screwing with them and I was separated from them, lost in the woods. Mom, and my cousins as well as my aunt were skeptical of my story but my dad and uncle believed me. Jared noticed a rectangular bulge in my pocket, I pulled it out and it was Brennan's journal.
The rest of the day went on as my wounds were tended to. The journal erased any skepticism from the rest of the family. I still can't believe what I had gotten myself into. Narrowly escaping an inhuman monster in the darkness of the underground . . .again. First it was the incident involving Great Granddad now this. I can't help but feel I'm getting more and more involved in the supernatural.
As the evening came I sat upon my bed with bandages on my back, the cuts weren't that deep but it burned like hell. I was skimming over the worn book in my hands thinking about that soldier and the life he lead. When I was about to close the book I noticed writing on the page after the final entry, writing that wasn't there before. The writing was exactly the same as the rest of the journal. It said this-
"Dear Stupid,
I hope you're grateful. Not for what I've done but for what you have. Family's too important for you to indulge in foolishness. A lesson I learned too late. Also you was the first man I ever saved from this demon. It still chases me from time to time but I've lasted this long no? Yet Because of you I now know why I was condemned to be trapped in this damn cave. I reckon there'll be more fools who like to wander where they shouldn't. Don't feel sorry for me. This is my chance at redemption for all those I killed.
Sincerely yours - Sergeant Brennan."
Stupid huh? Guess I deserve that. The folks wanted to cancel our trip tomorrow after what happened with me. But after reading that I decided to convince them other wise. My knee stopped hurting a while ago and the scratches weren't debilitating. Though Uncle Jack told me I owe him for the shotgun, figures. The next morning came and we all ventured out together. My mom and dad wouldn't let me out of their sight. In any other circumstance I'd be annoyed but now I felt at ease as well as grateful for them, for all of them. We came up to where the cave mouth used to be. There's just a rock wall there.
I approached it and could swear I heard singing. I pressed my ear against the wall and listened intently. I heard a familiar voice singing this-
"O, I wish I was in the land of cotton . . .
Old times there are not forgotten . . ."
submitted by theManofCrims0n to mrcreeps [link] [comments]


2020.03.24 13:51 DeaconClarke The Beggar From The Docks

(This is a re-edited version of my story from the feedback I have been given)
I don't really know how to start this, so I shall try to go straight into it.
There is no doubt in my mind that the constables would be looking for me. Right about now, my father in law would have called the police for the missing persons.
I want to go on record and report everything that happened, then perhaps I can end this. I'm sorry Bethany, I'm so so sorry.
It started as the cold damp fog whipped with the wind, at mine and Beth's window. This coupled with the dormant silence that lingered over vacant streets, one could be forgiven in thinking everything was well in the world.
I sluggishly arose from my bed and wiped the sleep that had accumulated around my eyes. I walked slowly, as not to wake up my beloved Beth.
Beth was in truth, my only reason for waking up every morning or for not going insane and ending my life.
We had both met a few years prior, just outside the Warf building I had been fired at.
As I stood on the edge of one of the jetties. I contemplated placing my revolver into my mouth and letting the bullet do what it did best. Perhaps I could jump. Fall into the dark unknown of the sea and allow my body to be taken by whatever God found it first.
Just as I took my final step, my attention was diverted to something else. A woman wrestling her bag from a vagrant.
Without hesitation, I ran to intercept the crook. I stuck out my arm from behind a wall and close lined the crook.
The woman ran to us and profusely thanked me before grabbing her bag, stopping momentarily to kick the crook in his assets.
I made a snap decision on walking her back to her house if somewhat to keep her close to me. As we walked, I felt a little shy but the woman knows how to get me out of my shell.
"well now we have some time to get to know each other my name is Bethany but everyone calls me Beth". "Nice to meet you, Beth, my name is Lionel but I prefer Leon". "so Leon, why were you at the jetty today?" "oh, it's silly. I umm, I kind of got fired". "oh no that's terrible, was it one of those big firms"?
"it was Richmond Cannery, I use to work in the offices dealing in finance. Unfortunately, Mr Richmond was in a foul mood today and I coughed so he fired me".
Beth's demeanour changed as she marched me to her house.
As soon as Beth's father arrived through the door, she began to voice her opinion at him. I was shocked to learn her father of all people was Mr Richmond.
Beth berated him for my dismissal and how I had saved her from one of the creeps of the docks.
It was at that moment I fell for Beth. Her purity and remorseless attitude, coupled with her willingness to stick up for me. It left me taken aback in admiration.
Within two weeks we were dating and the following month we were engaged. On the anniversary of our meeting, I proposed to Beth on the very jetty that we had met.
I slowly made my way to the bathroom and emptied my bladder, before slowly climbing into the shower.
As I waited for the water, I began preparing myself for another arduous day of work.
As I left the bathroom and silently got dressed, I kissed Beth on the forehead and slipped down the stairs into darkened early hours of the morning.
The air in Greenwich was thick with cold and a thick canapé of snow that fluttered from the sky. "looks like its actually going to settle" I chuckled to myself.
My entire journey to work had me continually contemplated, how on earth could I surprise Beth on our Anniversary. The date did fall in one month's time after all. I was so lost in my thoughts, I almost tripped over a beggar sitting on the corner.
"oh I'm so sorry, I almost stepped on you" I profusely exclaimed. "Oh do not threat my dear friend, no one normally notices me a lonely beggar" came to his response.
from his voice, it sounded as if the beggar was toothless, or at the least had a few.
I felt increasingly bad for the man as his face was badly deformed. I could only describe him as looking almost slug-like, but with a human skeleton underneath. The sort of look you would imagine the people of Innsmouth to have.
His smell was also strange and not from him just being a beggar. The aroma smelt distinctly off, almost as if his body was in the deep stages of decomposition.
I dropped the man five pounds and told him to find somewhere warm, then continued on my way.
I sat down at my desk and peered out of the window. Surely enough there was the beggar, still sat at the corner. The snow had begun to accumulate on his shoulders, legs and boots.
I shuck my head and phased him from my mind. I had to focus on writing the mammoth mountain of paperwork in front of me.
The day quickly passed and five pm soon rolled around and I gathered my belongings. I was about to leave but stopped to once again look out the window.
There sat the beggar, now nearly fully enveloped by the snow. The only sight of him was his bug-like eyes, just bearly staying above the snowline.
If I hadn't known he was there, I would have been forgiven in thinking it was just another snowdrift.
As I walked from the Warf my conscience grow and got the better of me. I had always been a sucker for helping out people in need.
"Hey, bud you need a place to stay until this snow shifts," I asked.
The beggar looked at me, his bulging buggy eyes lit up in joy. "oh, dear sir your very kind, so very very kind thank you".
The beggar jumped to his feet surprisingly easily, as if the mountain of snow on top of him had no weight. He cleared himself of any snowy debris and together we began our journey back to my house.
"so tell me friend, what is your name" I quarrelled inquisitive. "oh me dear sir. I have no name, for my dear mother died during my birth. As for my father, he was brutally murdered by my brethren before my birth. Although my brethren do refer to me as Hope".
"well Hope my name is Leon and you will be staying tonight with me and my wife Beth". At the sound of my wife's name, Hope's eyes flashed wide and a smile erupted onto his face.
I could now see his teeth, or what little was left of them, black stubs and barbs.
As we approached the house, the sweet smell of apple crumble greeted our senses.
Beth opened the door and greeted me with a hug and kiss. This was followed by a confused greeting hug and two cheek kiss from Hope.
Hope wondered into the house overwhelmed as if he had never seen a house interior before.
Beth dragged me to one side. "Leon what, in God's good name possessed you to bring that deformed thing into our house" "look, Beth. Hun. I know it seems strange but I couldn't leave him out in the snow. I mean look at him, he couldn't last out there". After a few moments of arguing, reluctantly Beth agreed to allow Hope to stay.
A choice that I so desperately wish I could make her take back.
As I sat with Hope in the living room, his smell became more offensive and pungent. The aroma of the aforementioned rotting corpse was now coupled with urine and faecal matter.
"Okey Hope follow me. you need a good clean" I said, with a hand holding my nostrils shut. I lead Hope up the stairs and to the bathroom, quickly showing him how it worked.
As I left the bathroom I quickly glimpsed at Hope through the door slat. His body looked in a really bad way, with groups of lumps and welts all over his back.
I also took note that there was a slightly green and grey tinge to his skin. I also, unfortunately, saw where the offending smells emanated from.
Caked all over Hopes lower back and legs, was a blackened crimson vile viscous. It was most likely faecal matter containing blood that had never been washed.
I left some fresh clothes on the bed and told Hope where to find them, to which he graciously thanked me.
I headed downstairs to the kitchen to help Beth finish the dinner.
Once both myself and Beth finished preparing dinner, I ascended the stairs. I heard Hope moving around, so I slipped the door open a crack.
I stood in shock as I saw the malformed bigger pleasing himself to the photo of Beth on the dresser. I was about to storm in when Beth shouted from downstairs.
"dinners ready for you pair".
I twisted back to the door but was shocked again. Hope now stood fully clothed in front of me, I hadn't even heard or felt him open the door.
In a rush. Hope somehow leapfrogged over me and slid gracefully down the bannister, landing upright at its end with ease. I was taken aback over his little athletic stunt.
I quickly rushed down the stairs and into the dining room, Where Hope was stationing himself on one of the chairs.
Beth brought in the dinner, a beautiful cut roast with all the trimmings and vegetables. The whole time Hopes gaze was unwavering from Beth. I swear his eyes were seemingly unblinking.
Not deterred Beth set up the plates and severed Hope first, again his vacant stare unwavering as she did so.
Once everything was served up and everyone was seated, we began to say grace.
Hopes eyes began to mist over and he began rapidly speaking the prayer.
In a snap instant. Hope met his food and without hesitation, stretched open his mouth to a seemingly unfathomable proportion.
Within seconds, Hope had devoured the entire plate stopping briefly to pluck the few bones that had become lodged between his nubbed teeth.
Both I and Beth looked on In disbelief. "my goodness Hope, you sure were hungry weren't you" I chuckled.
"oh my dear sir and madam, you must have seen me as frightfully monstrous with my consumption. I do wholeheartedly apologise for any inconvenience".
I chuckled and began wolfing down my dinner, hoping to make Hope feel more at ease. Beth started to eat her meal even slower, contemplating what she had just witnessed.
The day quickly transitioned tonight and with it came the time for rest.
Beth headed up to bed complaining of an oncoming headache. I went about attending to Hope. Although as I approached him again, I was bombarded with the horrible smell of decay as from before.
I promptly took lead Hope back to the bathroom. As we passed Beth, she covered her nose with the bedsheet.
Once more Hope was coated with the blackened sludge, now almost painted up and down his back.
I left and told Beth to shout if she needed me and slowly walked down the stairs. I sat in my study and began to finish the leftover paperwork I had.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Hope silently slither down the stairs.
He wrapped himself into the blanket Beth had put out and fell onto the sofa.
I stood up and smiled leaving my study. I turned off the downstairs light and headed up to the bedroom. Beth sat stiff and upright, with an unbreakable stare pointing to the bathroom.
"Leon, hun. I have just listened to that man masterbate the entire time he was in there, and I sware, with god as my witness, he was saying my name under his breath".
"Beth, hun. I won't lie. You are beautiful, and I guess he isn't used to the discretion on the streets". Beth chuckled "you think I'm beautiful".
Seductively slipping from under the blanket, Beth made her way into the walk-in wardrobe. Moments later emerging dressed in her draping satin gown. Beth crawled up the middle of the bed, coming face to face with me giggling. She kissed me as I turned out the light.
I arose slightly later than normal the next day, yet the streets still remained dark. A large thick undisturbed blanket of snow lay dormant on the streets, as it did prior morning.
I groggily walked into the bathroom and emptied my bladder but stopped in shock. the realisation set in to quick for my brain.
I was surrounded by the viscous sludge-like substance. The same one that had coated Hopes back.
The walls were coated, as was as the bath, the toilet, the sing and the ceiling. It was everywhere. The odd thing was, I couldn't smell anything as if the room was only visually coated.
I shut and rubbed my eyes, thinking it as a stupid post-sleep hallucination. Thankfully, once I opened my eyes, the bathroom was it's normal self with no faecal covered walls.
Once I had finished in the shower, I walked into the bedroom to got ready for work.
I slowly walked downstairs followed by Beth, stopping at the door.
"don't forget to let our guess out" I chuckled. Kissing Beth. I gleefully and blissfully walked away.
God, I was stupid... I wish I had forgotten something... Anything... Hindsight is an ass sometimes.
Fifteen days later. Beth and I walked to the same jetty, where we had met.
Beth stared me in the eyes and broke some unexpected news to me.
"Leon,l I'm... I'm pregnant".
My jaw dropped and I hugged her so tight, I couldn't believe it.
Beth then whispered in my ear, even more, great news.
"the doctor thinks it might be twins". At hearing this news, I jumped in the air shouting yes at the top of my lungs.
Around the time Beth hit her 6 month period. I decided to take a stroll thought the old quarter, a quaint but rustic place by nature.
I stopped and contemplated just how good life was going for me.
Out of nowhere, a cold wet hand slithered itself onto my shoulder.
I twisted to see Hope just behind me. This had taken me aback.
"Hope is that you? " I said surprised. "Sir Leon, I thought it was you. My, I haven't seen you in over, hmm 6 monthly cycles".
Hope was once more dressed in scruffy rags and his aroma was the pungent smell from before.
"so Hope, do you fancy coming back around to my house, I'm sure Beth would love to see you".
Hopes face and ears quickly perked up but just as quickly dropped to there reserved self.
"oh I could not impede on you sir, or if the rumours are true, your expecting wife".
I was taken aback at the knowledge of Hope. Then again, it was no secret. Almost the entire of London had heard the news by now, a large part In thanks to Beth's father. He had gone on, about it to the local paper.
"I am afraid I must retire sir Leon. I have fortunately just consumed a very hearty, and fulfilling meal. However, if you do require my presence, I am living in the tenement building down the ways there".
I looked to the lumbering pile of bricks that was the building. It was seemingly held up by faith, sheer will and something unexplainable.
I chuckled a little with Hope before we parted ways, and I continuing on my walk.
Fairly soon, 9 months passed and I was rushing home through the foggy October Afternoon, hoping to see if the twins had come.
I rushed into the house hoping to see the midwife but instead, I only found Beth. Beth sat in the recliner, her belly bloated and stretched from the two children.
Scattered around the living room floor was a multitude of half-eaten fruits and meats, as well as several empty meal trays.
A constant thought was circulating in my head, that surely a pregnancy could not go on any longer. Oh, how wrong I was in my feeble mind as two whole months passed.
I began to feel nothingness, as more false labours and the mounting pains came.
I desperately begged for Beth to go to a hospital, but she plain flat out refused, even sometimes turning violent.
Then on the day of mine and Beth's anniversary, I got the call.
Within minutes, I had sprinted the entire duration home through the busy streets.
As I entered the house, I noticed the midwife sat waiting patiently on the recliner.
"Mr Hewitt, the doctor is upstairs delivering your children right now".
An ungodly scream of Beth in pain echoed around the house, followed shortly by the doctor shouting for the midwife.
The midwife swiftly ran up the stairs, leaving me alone once more.
Another ungodly scream sounded, but not from Beth. Instead, the screams came from both the doctor and the midwife. Although they were cut short in an abrupt gargle.
"Lionel, come to me". The sound of Beth's voice hauntingly bounced through the now silent home. Unsure of what I might see, I drove back my fear and ascended the stairs.
I stood transfixed at the door to the bedroom, just stared into the wooden frame of the door. My wife's voice continuously called to me. Her voice sounding calm yet alluring, hollow but full, false but sincere.
As I open the door, I caught sight of the carnage inside.
At the foot of the bed lay the mangled bodies of the doctor and the midwife. Large chunks of flesh ripped from there bones. However my attention was drawn to just beyond, we're Beth lay on the bed.
Her arms stretched over the headboards and the sheet bagged to her waist.
Beth slowly wormed her body and allowing ten tiny slug-like abominations, no longer than 5 inches to slither up her.
My gaze locked onto Beths as she slowly leaned forward.
"oh Lionel, look at them. Our beautiful children blessed by the great God himself" "Beth? What happened here? What happened to the children"!?
"They were blessed. At first, I was afraid but as God's vessel forced himself into me, my path became clear.
It hurt and I cried. I cried so much from the pain. So, so much. He tore into me with what felt like a blade. Then when it reached his peak I felt it, one large spike that pierced my brain, followed by hundreds of painful barbs, simultaneously burning every one of my nerves.
It felt like my entire internal body was being filled with unquenchable fire, only with the cold chill of the cosmos.
I felt hollowed and empty but also filled to overflowing.
once he withdrew he became something magnificent, an angel.
He wrapped us in a cocoon of his own making. Yet as he lay over me I felt I wanted to die, but oddly I felt my motherly instincts arise. I know I harboured his brood and that they had consumed your child first.
Now, look at them, perfection. Oh, Lionel, the children do need a father".
I knelt down and picked up one of the infernal slug-like beasts, that had slithered up my shin.
I looked it over and stared into its eyes. A sea of inky sludge dotted with stars greeted me back.
Seeing this only made me feel nothingness and With no remorse, I squished the abomination in my hand leaving a putrid residue. I could only link it to the substance Hope was smothered in.
Beth's eyes widened, with a perpetual look of shock accompanied shortly by a gasp.
"what... What have you done! My baby, my child, my legacy".
In a fit of rage, Beth lunged from the bed and clasped her long fingers around my neck.
I felt the airflow to my lungs begin to falter. In my last fight or flight response, I flipped Beth onto her back and began punching relentlessly. I only stopped once the crimson liquid began to pool from her stationary body.
My mind panicked, I had just killed my wife. The one women I had loved and I has just killed her. I wiped the cranial matter and blood from my knuckles but left the tears to drop from my eyes.
The horrendous notion that I was Kneeling in the remains of my dead wife began seeping into my consciousness. I had hardly noticed that the nine slug-like abominations had encircled me and slowly began to close in.
Something in my head clicked, like a slight buzz in my mind. It left me uncertain of how things would end for me at this point.
I closed the bedroom door for the last time, my body now covered from the viscous liquid of the abominations.
"Bethany. I... I had to. You gave me no choice". My brain cycled through our life together. The ups, the downs and finally, to the hope of having children and growing old.
Hope? Hope!.
That name jabbed at my sanity. Hope had done this. He had committed the acts on Beth.
The feelings I felt, one could only describe as an abhorrence mix of malice and guilt.
I opened the locked drawer in my study, quickly rummaging inside until I found my service revolver. The one thing that could truly bring me a sense of redemption and end this nightmare.
I checked the barrel and took out the sixth bullet. "in case all else fails," I said loud enough to be concerned if I was heard.
I also made the decision, to take the carving knife from the kitchen. The same one Beth had used for dinner, over a year ago. It had laid unused every day since. My reflection in the gleaming over the steel blade was all the motivation I needed.
The air was cold and the wind whipped my face. The old quarter had never looked so lifeless but at the same time, so full of a false sense of hope.
I stared down the tenement building, the same one Hope claimed to seek refuge in. Although it had been over five months, would he still be there?
I trudged through the blinding darkness and shin-deep snow regardless. Blissfully unaware of the wrath that had accumulated on my darkening soul.
I entered the tenements building and without a beat, was assaulted by the stench. An overpowering scent of death, decay, mould and god only knows what else.
The walls looked deep in disrepair, with large patches of an unknown fungus breeding on it. A large chunk of the stairwell was also conveniently missing at the bottom. It seemed almost to halt someone from getting down them rather than getting up.
A strange insensuous feeling began compelling me to the basement door. One that I could only identify as hormonal. The door seemed to be rotting away from years of neglect and water damage, bearly staying on its hinges.
I took my time descending the stairs, past the door, until they began to drip a thick black ooze. Something similar to the putrid liquid of the baby abominations and Hope. I decided to quicken my pace in the hopes of getting out of the liquids drips.
I took a step into the dark and fell into the basement.
The basements design had been warped to resemble something I could only describe, as a Lovecraftian fever dream.
The whole room stretched on a slant downwards, as if the floor had a natural decline. Pillars of the black gunk stretched and ascended from the floor to the ceiling. Interwoven with the pillars were the bones of animals, some of whom I could not attempt to identify.
The walls were also decorated with eccentric murals of eight unfathomable monstrosities, each leaving an overpowering emotion in my mind. As I focused on each mural, a lingering image wormed in my conscious but we're lost almost instantly once I looked away.
My gaze drifted to the end of the basement, to a large throne-like structure. Its consistency was of the solid gunk, with unidentifiable human remains interwoven inside them.
Perched on the seat of the throne sat Hope. his old beggar clothing gone and now he wore a pearly white garb of some type.
Its origins were unclear but it looked to be made of some type of silk, with a pattern that danced cyan sphere shapes to the movement of my eyes.
"Hope"! I shouted in a rage.
"I've come for you, you bastard".
"oh, Lionel, so prominent in your punctuality as always. Alas, dare I take a guess as to why you are in my humble abode"
"you killed her, you warped her, you destroyed my love"
"whom? Oh, you mean Bethany. Oh yes, I understand now. Your upset of how I gave her the purpose she desperately craved. How I slither myself into her open, willing, body. How I implanted my young. Such a shame really she was beautiful, and she did so love the feelings I granted her. Every single time".
My eyes began to blur red, my mind turning to wrathful things.
I brandished my revolver, aiming for Hopes head.
"please Lionel, that would be a waste of time". Five shots fired and the smoke filled the air. Hope opened his mouth and used his tongue to pushed the five bullets out.
With a cackle. Hope ascended from his throne dropping his garb.
All things rational left my mind at the sight of what Hope truly was. His upper torso and head we're humanoid, but horrendously coated in the sickening slime. However, everything below was far more unfathomable.
His lower body resembled, what I could only describe as a Limacus Flavus I would catch as a child.
Both his legs were none existent, instead, there was a smooth strip, coated in the viscous liquid.
I could also now see the origin of the liquid. It excreted from multiple ports on Hope's lower back, leaving a discharge to help him move. With near blinking speed, Hope had slid across the basement floor and in a single lunge, used his weight to knock me over.
The strength of Hope was unimaginable, especially in relation to his new boneless appearance.
I felt my airways close as Hope's grip tightened more and more. As everything began to grow black, I had a vision. Hovering in a blackened meadow of violets was Beth, her body the same as when we first met. I began to move to Beth, trying to reach her but a giant red eye opened behind her. It filled the sky behind her, almost as if it was a planet in the sky.
I felt my brain pulsating. Something was forcing me to remember, every waking moment I spent with Beth and how Hope stole that. Something to feed my anger.
My eyes shot open and I looked Hope in the face. The same eyes of inky blackness looked back to me.
Struggling I grabbed the knife in my pocket and thrust it full force into Hopes' chest. The knife buried itself, allowing me to free myself from his grasp.
In raged, I repeatedly began to smash Hopes face with my fists, until nothing remained but a sunken mash of a face.
I watched as the body went limp and allowed my mind to assess what had happened and of the act, I had committed. A smile calmingly carved its way across my face.
I had avenged Beth and now, perhaps I could move on with my life.
A red moon shone brightly as I walked onto that Jetty, for undoubtedly the last time.
I took out my journal and decided to document what had just happened, although I doubt that anyone would believe me.
I fondled my revolver, In my hands and placed the sixth bullet from my pocket into the chamber.
I placed the barrel into my mouth and pulled back the hammer.
A man in a strange Victoriana aristocrat suit approached and stood next to me.
"Come now Lionel, you and I have plenty of work ahead of us".
The gunshot rattled and was followed by the sound of the water being hit.
We both watched as Hope's deformed body slowly sank into the depts if we were lucky the fish would eat him before anyone could find him.
I tossed the gun into the water and burned the only photo of myself and Beth I had kept as well as placing my journal on a box.
With nothing left to go for me, I think I'll follow the man, and left the jetty for the very last time.
submitted by DeaconClarke to mrcreeps [link] [comments]


2020.03.24 13:46 DeaconClarke The Beggar From The Docks

(This is a re-edited version of the story from the feedback I received)
I don't really know how to start this, so I shall try to go straight into it.
There is no doubt in my mind that the constables would be looking for me. Right about now, my father in law would have called the police for the missing persons.
I want to go on record and report everything that happened, then perhaps I can end this. I'm sorry Bethany, I'm so so sorry.
It started as the cold damp fog whipped with the wind, at mine and Beth's window. This coupled with the dormant silence that lingered over vacant streets, one could be forgiven in thinking everything was well in the world.
I sluggishly arose from my bed and wiped the sleep that had accumulated around my eyes. I walked slowly, as not to wake up my beloved Beth.
Beth was in truth, my only reason for waking up every morning or for not going insane and ending my life.
We had both met a few years prior, just outside the Warf building I had been fired at.
As I stood on the edge of one of the jetties. I contemplated placing my revolver into my mouth and letting the bullet do what it did best. Perhaps I could jump. Fall into the dark unknown of the sea and allow my body to be taken by whatever God found it first.
Just as I took my final step, my attention was diverted to something else. A woman wrestling her bag from a vagrant.
Without hesitation, I ran to intercept the crook. I stuck out my arm from behind a wall and close lined the crook.
The woman ran to us and profusely thanked me before grabbing her bag, stopping momentarily to kick the crook in his assets.
I made a snap decision on walking her back to her house if somewhat to keep her close to me. As we walked, I felt a little shy but the woman knows how to get me out of my shell.
"well now we have some time to get to know each other my name is Bethany but everyone calls me Beth". "Nice to meet you, Beth, my name is Lionel but I prefer Leon". "so Leon, why were you at the jetty today?" "oh, it's silly. I umm, I kind of got fired". "oh no that's terrible, was it one of those big firms"?
"it was Richmond Cannery, I use to work in the offices dealing in finance. Unfortunately, Mr Richmond was in a foul mood today and I coughed so he fired me".
Beth's demeanour changed as she marched me to her house.
As soon as Beth's father arrived through the door, she began to voice her opinion at him. I was shocked to learn her father of all people was Mr Richmond.
Beth berated him for my dismissal and how I had saved her from one of the creeps of the docks.
It was at that moment I fell for Beth. Her purity and remorseless attitude, coupled with her willingness to stick up for me. It left me taken aback in admiration.
Within two weeks we were dating and the following month we were engaged. On the anniversary of our meeting, I proposed to Beth on the very jetty that we had met.
I slowly made my way to the bathroom and emptied my bladder, before slowly climbing into the shower.
As I waited for the water, I began preparing myself for another arduous day of work.
As I left the bathroom and silently got dressed, I kissed Beth on the forehead and slipped down the stairs into darkened early hours of the morning.
The air in Greenwich was thick with cold and a thick canapé of snow that fluttered from the sky. "looks like its actually going to settle" I chuckled to myself.
My entire journey to work had me continually contemplated, how on earth could I surprise Beth on our Anniversary. The date did fall in one month's time after all. I was so lost in my thoughts, I almost tripped over a beggar sitting on the corner.
"oh I'm so sorry, I almost stepped on you" I profusely exclaimed. "Oh do not threat my dear friend, no one normally notices me a lonely beggar" came to his response.
from his voice, it sounded as if the beggar was toothless, or at the least had a few.
I felt increasingly bad for the man as his face was badly deformed. I could only describe him as looking almost slug-like, but with a human skeleton underneath. The sort of look you would imagine the people of Innsmouth to have.
His smell was also strange and not from him just being a beggar. The aroma smelt distinctly off, almost as if his body was in the deep stages of decomposition.
I dropped the man five pounds and told him to find somewhere warm, then continued on my way.
I sat down at my desk and peered out of the window. Surely enough there was the beggar, still sat at the corner. The snow had begun to accumulate on his shoulders, legs and boots.
I shuck my head and phased him from my mind. I had to focus on writing the mammoth mountain of paperwork in front of me.
The day quickly passed and five pm soon rolled around and I gathered my belongings. I was about to leave but stopped to once again look out the window.
There sat the beggar, now nearly fully enveloped by the snow. The only sight of him was his bug-like eyes, just bearly staying above the snowline.
If I hadn't known he was there, I would have been forgiven in thinking it was just another snowdrift.
As I walked from the Warf my conscience grow and got the better of me. I had always been a sucker for helping out people in need.
"Hey, bud you need a place to stay until this snow shifts," I asked.
The beggar looked at me, his bulging buggy eyes lit up in joy. "oh, dear sir your very kind, so very very kind thank you".
The beggar jumped to his feet surprisingly easily, as if the mountain of snow on top of him had no weight. He cleared himself of any snowy debris and together we began our journey back to my house.
"so tell me friend, what is your name" I quarrelled inquisitive. "oh me dear sir. I have no name, for my dear mother died during my birth. As for my father, he was brutally murdered by my brethren before my birth. Although my brethren do refer to me as Hope".
"well Hope my name is Leon and you will be staying tonight with me and my wife Beth". At the sound of my wife's name, Hope's eyes flashed wide and a smile erupted onto his face.
I could now see his teeth, or what little was left of them, black stubs and barbs.
As we approached the house, the sweet smell of apple crumble greeted our senses.
Beth opened the door and greeted me with a hug and kiss. This was followed by a confused greeting hug and two cheek kiss from Hope.
Hope wondered into the house overwhelmed as if he had never seen a house interior before.
Beth dragged me to one side. "Leon what, in God's good name possessed you to bring that deformed thing into our house" "look, Beth. Hun. I know it seems strange but I couldn't leave him out in the snow. I mean look at him, he couldn't last out there". After a few moments of arguing, reluctantly Beth agreed to allow Hope to stay.
A choice that I so desperately wish I could make her take back.
As I sat with Hope in the living room, his smell became more offensive and pungent. The aroma of the aforementioned rotting corpse was now coupled with urine and faecal matter.
"Okey Hope follow me. you need a good clean" I said, with a hand holding my nostrils shut. I lead Hope up the stairs and to the bathroom, quickly showing him how it worked.
As I left the bathroom I quickly glimpsed at Hope through the door slat. His body looked in a really bad way, with groups of lumps and welts all over his back.
I also took note that there was a slightly green and grey tinge to his skin. I also, unfortunately, saw where the offending smells emanated from.
Caked all over Hopes lower back and legs, was a blackened crimson vile viscous. It was most likely faecal matter containing blood that had never been washed.
I left some fresh clothes on the bed and told Hope where to find them, to which he graciously thanked me.
I headed downstairs to the kitchen to help Beth finish the dinner.
Once both myself and Beth finished preparing dinner, I ascended the stairs. I heard Hope moving around, so I slipped the door open a crack.
I stood in shock as I saw the malformed bigger pleasing himself to the photo of Beth on the dresser. I was about to storm in when Beth shouted from downstairs.
"dinners ready for you pair".
I twisted back to the door but was shocked again. Hope now stood fully clothed in front of me, I hadn't even heard or felt him open the door.
In a rush. Hope somehow leapfrogged over me and slid gracefully down the bannister, landing upright at its end with ease. I was taken aback over his little athletic stunt.
I quickly rushed down the stairs and into the dining room, Where Hope was stationing himself on one of the chairs.
Beth brought in the dinner, a beautiful cut roast with all the trimmings and vegetables. The whole time Hopes gaze was unwavering from Beth. I swear his eyes were seemingly unblinking.
Not deterred Beth set up the plates and severed Hope first, again his vacant stare unwavering as she did so.
Once everything was served up and everyone was seated, we began to say grace.
Hopes eyes began to mist over and he began rapidly speaking the prayer.
In a snap instant. Hope met his food and without hesitation, stretched open his mouth to a seemingly unfathomable proportion.
Within seconds, Hope had devoured the entire plate stopping briefly to pluck the few bones that had become lodged between his nubbed teeth.
Both I and Beth looked on In disbelief. "my goodness Hope, you sure were hungry weren't you" I chuckled.
"oh my dear sir and madam, you must have seen me as frightfully monstrous with my consumption. I do wholeheartedly apologise for any inconvenience".
I chuckled and began wolfing down my dinner, hoping to make Hope feel more at ease. Beth started to eat her meal even slower, contemplating what she had just witnessed.
The day quickly transitioned tonight and with it came the time for rest.
Beth headed up to bed complaining of an oncoming headache. I went about attending to Hope. Although as I approached him again, I was bombarded with the horrible smell of decay as from before.
I promptly took lead Hope back to the bathroom. As we passed Beth, she covered her nose with the bedsheet.
Once more Hope was coated with the blackened sludge, now almost painted up and down his back.
I left and told Beth to shout if she needed me and slowly walked down the stairs. I sat in my study and began to finish the leftover paperwork I had.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Hope silently slither down the stairs.
He wrapped himself into the blanket Beth had put out and fell onto the sofa.
I stood up and smiled leaving my study. I turned off the downstairs light and headed up to the bedroom. Beth sat stiff and upright, with an unbreakable stare pointing to the bathroom.
"Leon, hun. I have just listened to that man masterbate the entire time he was in there, and I sware, with god as my witness, he was saying my name under his breath".
"Beth, hun. I won't lie. You are beautiful, and I guess he isn't used to the discretion on the streets". Beth chuckled "you think I'm beautiful".
Seductively slipping from under the blanket, Beth made her way into the walk-in wardrobe. Moments later emerging dressed in her draping satin gown. Beth crawled up the middle of the bed, coming face to face with me giggling. She kissed me as I turned out the light.
I arose slightly later than normal the next day, yet the streets still remained dark. A large thick undisturbed blanket of snow lay dormant on the streets, as it did prior morning.
I groggily walked into the bathroom and emptied my bladder but stopped in shock. the realisation set in to quick for my brain.
I was surrounded by the viscous sludge-like substance. The same one that had coated Hopes back.
The walls were coated, as was as the bath, the toilet, the sing and the ceiling. It was everywhere. The odd thing was, I couldn't smell anything as if the room was only visually coated.
I shut and rubbed my eyes, thinking it as a stupid post-sleep hallucination. Thankfully, once I opened my eyes, the bathroom was it's normal self with no faecal covered walls.
Once I had finished in the shower, I walked into the bedroom to got ready for work.
I slowly walked downstairs followed by Beth, stopping at the door.
"don't forget to let our guess out" I chuckled. Kissing Beth. I gleefully and blissfully walked away.
God, I was stupid... I wish I had forgotten something... Anything... Hindsight is an ass sometimes.
Fifteen days later. Beth and I walked to the same jetty, where we had met.
Beth stared me in the eyes and broke some unexpected news to me.
"Leon,l I'm... I'm pregnant".
My jaw dropped and I hugged her so tight, I couldn't believe it.
Beth then whispered in my ear, even more, great news.
"the doctor thinks it might be twins". At hearing this news, I jumped in the air shouting yes at the top of my lungs.
Around the time Beth hit her 6 month period. I decided to take a stroll thought the old quarter, a quaint but rustic place by nature.
I stopped and contemplated just how good life was going for me.
Out of nowhere, a cold wet hand slithered itself onto my shoulder.
I twisted to see Hope just behind me. This had taken me aback.
"Hope is that you? " I said surprised. "Sir Leon, I thought it was you. My, I haven't seen you in over, hmm 6 monthly cycles".
Hope was once more dressed in scruffy rags and his aroma was the pungent smell from before.
"so Hope, do you fancy coming back around to my house, I'm sure Beth would love to see you".
Hopes face and ears quickly perked up but just as quickly dropped to there reserved self.
"oh I could not impede on you sir, or if the rumours are true, your expecting wife".
I was taken aback at the knowledge of Hope. Then again, it was no secret. Almost the entire of London had heard the news by now, a large part In thanks to Beth's father. He had gone on, about it to the local paper.
"I am afraid I must retire sir Leon. I have fortunately just consumed a very hearty, and fulfilling meal. However, if you do require my presence, I am living in the tenement building down the ways there".
I looked to the lumbering pile of bricks that was the building. It was seemingly held up by faith, sheer will and something unexplainable.
I chuckled a little with Hope before we parted ways, and I continuing on my walk.
Fairly soon, 9 months passed and I was rushing home through the foggy October Afternoon, hoping to see if the twins had come.
I rushed into the house hoping to see the midwife but instead, I only found Beth. Beth sat in the recliner, her belly bloated and stretched from the two children.
Scattered around the living room floor was a multitude of half-eaten fruits and meats, as well as several empty meal trays.
A constant thought was circulating in my head, that surely a pregnancy could not go on any longer. Oh, how wrong I was in my feeble mind as two whole months passed.
I began to feel nothingness, as more false labours and the mounting pains came.
I desperately begged for Beth to go to a hospital, but she plain flat out refused, even sometimes turning violent.
Then on the day of mine and Beth's anniversary, I got the call.
Within minutes, I had sprinted the entire duration home through the busy streets.
As I entered the house, I noticed the midwife sat waiting patiently on the recliner.
"Mr Hewitt, the doctor is upstairs delivering your children right now".
An ungodly scream of Beth in pain echoed around the house, followed shortly by the doctor shouting for the midwife.
The midwife swiftly ran up the stairs, leaving me alone once more.
Another ungodly scream sounded, but not from Beth. Instead, the screams came from both the doctor and the midwife. Although they were cut short in an abrupt gargle.
"Lionel, come to me". The sound of Beth's voice hauntingly bounced through the now silent home. Unsure of what I might see, I drove back my fear and ascended the stairs.
I stood transfixed at the door to the bedroom, just stared into the wooden frame of the door. My wife's voice continuously called to me. Her voice sounding calm yet alluring, hollow but full, false but sincere.
As I open the door, I caught sight of the carnage inside.
At the foot of the bed lay the mangled bodies of the doctor and the midwife. Large chunks of flesh ripped from there bones. However my attention was drawn to just beyond, we're Beth lay on the bed.
Her arms stretched over the headboards and the sheet bagged to her waist.
Beth slowly wormed her body and allowing ten tiny slug-like abominations, no longer than 5 inches to slither up her.
My gaze locked onto Beths as she slowly leaned forward.
"oh Lionel, look at them. Our beautiful children blessed by the great God himself" "Beth? What happened here? What happened to the children"!?
"They were blessed. At first, I was afraid but as God's vessel forced himself into me, my path became clear.
It hurt and I cried. I cried so much from the pain. So, so much. He tore into me with what felt like a blade. Then when it reached his peak I felt it, one large spike that pierced my brain, followed by hundreds of painful barbs, simultaneously burning every one of my nerves.
It felt like my entire internal body was being filled with unquenchable fire, only with the cold chill of the cosmos.
I felt hollowed and empty but also filled to overflowing.
once he withdrew he became something magnificent, an angel.
He wrapped us in a cocoon of his own making. Yet as he lay over me I felt I wanted to die, but oddly I felt my motherly instincts arise. I know I harboured his brood and that they had consumed your child first.
Now, look at them, perfection. Oh, Lionel, the children do need a father".
I knelt down and picked up one of the infernal slug-like beasts, that had slithered up my shin.
I looked it over and stared into its eyes. A sea of inky sludge dotted with stars greeted me back.
Seeing this only made me feel nothingness and With no remorse, I squished the abomination in my hand leaving a putrid residue. I could only link it to the substance Hope was smothered in.
Beth's eyes widened, with a perpetual look of shock accompanied shortly by a gasp.
"what... What have you done! My baby, my child, my legacy".
In a fit of rage, Beth lunged from the bed and clasped her long fingers around my neck.
I felt the airflow to my lungs begin to falter. In my last fight or flight response, I flipped Beth onto her back and began punching relentlessly. I only stopped once the crimson liquid began to pool from her stationary body.
My mind panicked, I had just killed my wife. The one women I had loved and I has just killed her. I wiped the cranial matter and blood from my knuckles but left the tears to drop from my eyes.
The horrendous notion that I was Kneeling in the remains of my dead wife began seeping into my consciousness. I had hardly noticed that the nine slug-like abominations had encircled me and slowly began to close in.
Something in my head clicked, like a slight buzz in my mind. It left me uncertain of how things would end for me at this point.
I closed the bedroom door for the last time, my body now covered from the viscous liquid of the abominations.
"Bethany. I... I had to. You gave me no choice". My brain cycled through our life together. The ups, the downs and finally, to the hope of having children and growing old.
Hope? Hope!.
That name jabbed at my sanity. Hope had done this. He had committed the acts on Beth.
The feelings I felt, one could only describe as an abhorrence mix of malice and guilt.
I opened the locked drawer in my study, quickly rummaging inside until I found my service revolver. The one thing that could truly bring me a sense of redemption and end this nightmare.
I checked the barrel and took out the sixth bullet. "in case all else fails," I said loud enough to be concerned if I was heard.
I also made the decision, to take the carving knife from the kitchen. The same one Beth had used for dinner, over a year ago. It had laid unused every day since. My reflection in the gleaming over the steel blade was all the motivation I needed.
The air was cold and the wind whipped my face. The old quarter had never looked so lifeless but at the same time, so full of a false sense of hope.
I stared down the tenement building, the same one Hope claimed to seek refuge in. Although it had been over five months, would he still be there?
I trudged through the blinding darkness and shin-deep snow regardless. Blissfully unaware of the wrath that had accumulated on my darkening soul.
I entered the tenements building and without a beat, was assaulted by the stench. An overpowering scent of death, decay, mould and god only knows what else.
The walls looked deep in disrepair, with large patches of an unknown fungus breeding on it. A large chunk of the stairwell was also conveniently missing at the bottom. It seemed almost to halt someone from getting down them rather than getting up.
A strange insensuous feeling began compelling me to the basement door. One that I could only identify as hormonal. The door seemed to be rotting away from years of neglect and water damage, bearly staying on its hinges.
I took my time descending the stairs, past the door, until they began to drip a thick black ooze. Something similar to the putrid liquid of the baby abominations and Hope. I decided to quicken my pace in the hopes of getting out of the liquids drips.
I took a step into the dark and fell into the basement.
The basements design had been warped to resemble something I could only describe, as a Lovecraftian fever dream.
The whole room stretched on a slant downwards, as if the floor had a natural decline. Pillars of the black gunk stretched and ascended from the floor to the ceiling. Interwoven with the pillars were the bones of animals, some of whom I could not attempt to identify.
The walls were also decorated with eccentric murals of eight unfathomable monstrosities, each leaving an overpowering emotion in my mind. As I focused on each mural, a lingering image wormed in my conscious but we're lost almost instantly once I looked away.
My gaze drifted to the end of the basement, to a large throne-like structure. Its consistency was of the solid gunk, with unidentifiable human remains interwoven inside them.
Perched on the seat of the throne sat Hope. his old beggar clothing gone and now he wore a pearly white garb of some type.
Its origins were unclear but it looked to be made of some type of silk, with a pattern that danced cyan sphere shapes to the movement of my eyes.
"Hope"! I shouted in a rage.
"I've come for you, you bastard".
"oh, Lionel, so prominent in your punctuality as always. Alas, dare I take a guess as to why you are in my humble abode"
"you killed her, you warped her, you destroyed my love"
"whom? Oh, you mean Bethany. Oh yes, I understand now. Your upset of how I gave her the purpose she desperately craved. How I slither myself into her open, willing, body. How I implanted my young. Such a shame really she was beautiful, and she did so love the feelings I granted her. Every single time".
My eyes began to blur red, my mind turning to wrathful things.
I brandished my revolver, aiming for Hopes head.
"please Lionel, that would be a waste of time". Five shots fired and the smoke filled the air. Hope opened his mouth and used his tongue to pushed the five bullets out.
With a cackle. Hope ascended from his throne dropping his garb.
All things rational left my mind at the sight of what Hope truly was. His upper torso and head we're humanoid, but horrendously coated in the sickening slime. However, everything below was far more unfathomable.
His lower body resembled, what I could only describe as a Limacus Flavus I would catch as a child.
Both his legs were none existent, instead, there was a smooth strip, coated in the viscous liquid.
I could also now see the origin of the liquid. It excreted from multiple ports on Hope's lower back, leaving a discharge to help him move. With near blinking speed, Hope had slid across the basement floor and in a single lunge, used his weight to knock me over.
The strength of Hope was unimaginable, especially in relation to his new boneless appearance.
I felt my airways close as Hope's grip tightened more and more. As everything began to grow black, I had a vision. Hovering in a blackened meadow of violets was Beth, her body the same as when we first met. I began to move to Beth, trying to reach her but a giant red eye opened behind her. It filled the sky behind her, almost as if it was a planet in the sky.
I felt my brain pulsating. Something was forcing me to remember, every waking moment I spent with Beth and how Hope stole that. Something to feed my anger.
My eyes shot open and I looked Hope in the face. The same eyes of inky blackness looked back to me.
Struggling I grabbed the knife in my pocket and thrust it full force into Hopes' chest. The knife buried itself, allowing me to free myself from his grasp.
In raged, I repeatedly began to smash Hopes face with my fists, until nothing remained but a sunken mash of a face.
I watched as the body went limp and allowed my mind to assess what had happened and of the act, I had committed. A smile calmingly carved its way across my face.
I had avenged Beth and now, perhaps I could move on with my life.
A red moon shone brightly as I walked onto that Jetty, for undoubtedly the last time.
I took out my journal and decided to document what had just happened, although I doubt that anyone would believe me.
I fondled my revolver, In my hands and placed the sixth bullet from my pocket into the chamber.
I placed the barrel into my mouth and pulled back the hammer.
A man in a strange Victoriana aristocrat suit approached and stood next to me.
"Come now Lionel, you and I have plenty of work ahead of us".
The gunshot rattled and was followed by the sound of the water being hit.
We both watched as Hope's deformed body slowly sank into the depts if we were lucky the fish would eat him before anyone could find him.
I tossed the gun into the water and burned the only photo of myself and Beth I had kept as well as placing my journal on a box.
With nothing left to go for me, I think I'll follow the man, and left the jetty for the very last time.
submitted by DeaconClarke to clancypasta [link] [comments]


2020.03.16 23:44 BearLair64 Ms. Richmond's Sinister Garden

Part 2 of 2
* * * * * *
I ended up going to the local box hardware store to look at outdoor lighting kits and alarm systems. I took Ellie with me and Will stayed home with Karen. I picked up a couple of lights with motion sensors for the two back corners of the fence. Alarms were pretty nice these days but I thought a dog would be better and no more expensive than the monitoring fees. Ellie enjoyed the outing. We stopped for a lunch date at a local diner. We talked about the new house and what she liked and didn’t like about it; no surprises. She picked out a couple of pralines at the counter. She and Will were allowed one junk food treat per week.
Dad came over to “supervise” the project. Ellie, “assisted” by being the tool finder. For her age, she was great at picking out tools as I requested them. In less time than I’d imagined possible, we were done, it had taken only… well, almost all day. Karen puffed out a sound like a drum roll and flipped the switch. Nothing happened. Then I remembered, ‘motion sensor’. I walked through the back yard and then there was light! Great, one less thing on my list and surely the lights would keep our family safe from prowlers and thieves? Maybe.
That evening, we broke out the pralines. Ellie finished about half of hers, Will took one bite and spat out the sweet, gooey confection. I had an inspiration and took the crumbs and spread a small share at the base of each gnome statue. Maybe the interwebs had been right…
When we tucked in the kids that night, I checked the windows to ensure that they were closed and locked. We each checked the doors and put the little bar across the sliding door on the back patio. Flimsy but it would, I hoped, cause noise and hopefully deter any but the most determined burglar. We turned on the patio light and flipped the switch for the back fence motion sensor lights. Saturday night and another attack of the sleeping heebie jeebies:
The nightmare started the same way, coldness, the dead cat, the spiky tree dancers, the gnomes, the cats, the YOWL! Then I saw that the spiky creatures had hold of each of my family members and each was crying for help. They were muffled cries, dream sequence noises, then I saw that the nearest monster had hold of Ellie and dangled her over the space under Tom Salem’s tree limb. It held her by her hair and grinned evilly at me, then Ellie screamed and the nightmare turned to pure darkness, then my eyes snapped open. It was a real scream, from Ellie’s room!
I scrambled out of bed and snatched up the bat, then tore down the hallway to her room. I rushed in and there she was, curled up against her headboard, clutching a small stuffed toy. She was pale and stared in horror at the window. I looked and saw to my own horror that it was slightly opened. The curtains billowed. I rushed to the window and peered out into the now well-lit back yard. The sensor lights had worked. I saw a face look back at me just before it disappeared over the back fence. The face was on the other side of the fence and the lights were focused into the yard, so I could still not make out features; just a pointed hat and a scruffy, hairy face, then nothing.
I wanted to go out and hop the back fence and chase down this turd but I had to stay and comfort our little girl. Karen had gone to the next room to scoop up Will. Ellie had screamed loudly enough to disturb even him, zonked or not. They all piled together in our bed while I went to the door to speak to the police when they arrived. I had plenty of time to put on some clothes before they knocked. Big belly was back, followed quickly by a younger, earnest-looking officer. They were nice enough, took my statement, asked a few questions, complemented the light system and my speed in installing it, blah, blah, blah.
They once again assured me that they would step up their patrols in Amblewood. Honestly, that was about all they could do. The earnest officer looked for footprints around Ellie’s window and looked for scuffs on the back fence. There were enough traces to show that someone had been there but no real evidence. He looked around at the garden gnomes. “You say the intruder had a beard and wore a pointy hat?” He raised his eyebrows, wearing the ghost of a smile.
“Yes but he was, taller and more animated.” His smile melted into a genuinely friendly expression. I was sure they had better things to do on a Saturday night than to comfort whiny suburbanites.
“I don’t mean to make light of the situation sir”, he quickly assured me. “It’s just… well, no offense but I wouldn’t creep through this back yard with those fellows on guard.”
I smiled back, reassuringly, “Me neither. They belonged to the previous owner. We just haven’t decided what to do with them.”
He nodded, “We use bowling pins to practice tactical shooting at the range, maybe…”
We both laughed at that thought. The gnomes did not, just stood, looking sternly toward the back fence.
The big officer shuffled his way toward his cruiser and said over his shoulder, “Good night y’all, have a good one now.”
The younger officer paused for a moment, “If you hear or see anything else, please don’t hesitate to call. Sir, I’m not putting down our service or police in general but remember that when you need help in seconds, the police will be there in minutes. Response time is based on many factors and is always just a reaction. You may want to get ahead of the crooks. By the way, we really will patrol over here as much as possible, please be safe.”
Wow, nice cop. I wasn’t too sure about the husky fellow but the other two officers I’d encountered seemed at least to care, even if they really offered no solutions. I went back inside and told Karen everything and she said that the earnest officer was likely letting us know that we were on our own, at least for any effective actions. I agreed and looked woefully at my bat. I needed something that would reach out and whack the scumbag. Maybe we just needed a dog. Cats and gnomes hadn’t helped! For now, the kids would sleep in our room, though Karen and I were more scared for them than they were for themselves.
* * * * * *
Sunday rolled by like a dream. We spent the day at mom and dad’s, my sister and her husband and kids stopped by for dinner. Toward the end of the day, I stepped out into the back yard to do what I imagined was a security check. Something seemed off, then I realized with a start, the yard was once again immaculate. Huh! Odd. Maybe the interweb posters were more correct than usual. Who’d have thought that gnomes or anyone else liked pralines. I tried some sleuthing by once again clambering up onto a chair to peer over the back fence. A few indistinct tracks, a couple of small indentations, ladder prints maybe? Dude had carried a ladder? Freak! By the time I’d gone back inside, I’d forgotten about the well-manicured lawn.
Karen and I talked and the more I thought about it, the more angry I became. This had to stop. We had some weirdo wanting to do who knows what, lurking around our back yard at night. No easy feat with an eight foot tall fence around it. I was afraid that he might become more determined or maybe change to more effective tactics.
I must have had nightmares, I wasn’t sleeping well and got up to check the doors and windows. As I walked through the kitchen, the sensor lights out back activated. I quickly opened the blinds over the sliding glass door. I didn’t immediately see anything, then there was movement by Ellie’s window. I removed the security bar, opened the door and stepped out, ready to beat the tar out of the slimy creep but no one was lurking outside the window or anywhere in the yard. Something had to have set off the lights. Then I heard a faint, “mew”. Lady Gray sat under Ellie’s window, looking perplexed. “Cats!” I grumbled, then locked up the fort and stumbled back to bed, had to rest before work tomorrow.
* * * * * *
We made it to the middle of the next week with no more incidents. We kept the cats fed but not too much, we needed them to hunt. They left us, ‘presents’ by the patio door, all sorts of dead creatures or parts thereof. At least one small copperhead, good job cats, you go! I’m really fond of catsaren’t I? I quietly bought a box of cookies, not the kind that feature the little Elves (no more legendary small folk, please) but the less expensive store brand and stored the box next to the generic cat food; we were on a budget. Even more quietly, I put out one per day per gnome. The yard stayed immaculate and the smiles were present and not quite as sinister? Whatever, sometimes we just have to go with the flow.
Wednesday night, we were pretty much back in routine. The kiddos were back in their rooms, no signs of creepy crawlers. The nightmares had never truly left but they had faded on waking, until tonight:
The dead kitty took center stage once again. I’d gone through mom and dad’s back gate to bury her but the pitiful little corpse was gone. Probably a buzzard… yet here she was in all her horrific inglory! Disgusting open wounds apparent as she reached for me with bloody and mangled front paws and enormous claws. Her maw gaped and she grew saber-tooth fangs.
The spiky, shadow creeps had added a chant to their menacing dance and several carried spears; like they needed them! The gnomes rose on either side of me and rode the living cats like ponies, circling me and then Karen and the kids were with me, tied up at my feet and screaming in fear.
Then a gigantic black cone arose, like the gnomes rising from the ground but in front of me. A bearded face and gaping, slavering maw… Uurrrgh!!!
I woke suddenly and my side of the bed was soaked in sweat. How does Karen sleep through this? I wondered briefly. I quietly got up, picked up the bat and new long flashlight and went on a patrol; okay, I peed first, never pass up an opportunity… Windows and doors were secure, motion light was activated, door bar secure… What?!!! I looked out the patio doors and around the back yard. It was brightly lit, so something had moved through in the past several minutes. I opened it and stepped outside to look along the edges of the house and to shine the flashlight into the brush… Nothing. “Probably the cats”, I grouched as I closed the sliding glass door.
I went in to check the young’uns. Will, you guessed it, zonked. Ellie also looked pretty peaceful. There was something clutched in her arm, likely one of her menagerie of stuffed animals. Crap, did the toy just move?!
It did! I thought it might be another nightmare as a fuzzy looking ball rose from the crook of my little girl’s arm, spikes twitched at the top of the ball, then, green glowing eyes popped open and blinked, then slitted ominously… “Mew!” declared Lady Gray. CATS!!! I screamed internally. Then I noticed that the window was wide open. Ellie must have forgotten to close it when she let in her little friend. Well, that explains the gray and white hairs, mystery solved, Scoob, I thought as I slid shut the window and flipped the lock into place.
As I turned to sneak back out of the room, I was distracted as Lady Gray leapt to the foot of the bed. I turned my head at the movement and as a result dodged a large, meat-hook fist that would have knocked me cold. Instead, it just glanced my left ear, stung, and instantly galvanized my adrenaline. I stepped back as a second fist, this one clutching a small knife, thrust at my midsection. A figure in a black hoodie, the peak of the hood standing tall, emerged from the shadows, a bearded face with shiny bits of metal embedded or attached to several areas loomed over me. I backhanded the flashlight across the knife hand and let it drop. That rolling obstacle caused the lurching monster to step back and hiss. Then I gripped my bat and swung for the fences…
* * * * * *
Isn’t it amazing how great it feels when your family looks at you as a homerun hero? Little kids look to parents that way anyway but it’s nice when we’ve actually done something to warrant that feeling. Like bashing in the head of a sick psycho who wanted to take our baby girl. Leaving the scum to lay on the floor bleeding while you pick up your child and the heroic little furball that has become your new favorite pet and whisk them away to safety. To get to relate the tale to your favorite police officers as they figure out which one gets to ride with the injured prisoner in the ambulance and which gets to go back on patrol. To smirk at the fat cop who showed up late… now sporting corporal stripes… great, figures he’d be the one they promoted.
It’s an even greater feeling to get back to normal. It wasn’t easy, the creeper had definitely generated new levels of nightmares. My new buddy, Officer Greene, or “Chuckie” met up with me during our respective lunch breaks and filled me in on the status of the creeper. “Looks like you won’t need to testify after all, he said, dude died.” I must have assumed that, ‘Oh, crap, I killed him’ look, because he quickly put up a calming hand. “Your bashing him on the skull wasn’t the cause. He had a concussion from that but it didn’t kill him. Seems he was addle-brained from the get go. We had him ‘cuffed to the hospital bed rail as we do any prisoner and an officer on watch. Dude went nuts, started screaming, pulling on the cuff, tried to get away. He kept screaming something about, ‘hoot owls’, and ‘Blood Gate’ or ‘floodgates’, ‘the Ancient Oaks’… maybe, just crazy babble-crap. He was hard to understand for many reasons, the metal piercings around his mouth didn’t help. They gave him a dose of vitamin T…”
“Wait”, I held up a hand in turn. “What is vitamin T?”
He grinned, “Thorazine. Pretty powerful stuff they use on people having psychotic episodes. It knocked him out for a while. Probably not good in combination with his concussion but he was tearing up his own wrist trying to get loose. Our officer said that he seemed to want to run rather than fight. Guy was a real piece of work. He lived in the woods behind the strip center. He never would clearly say what but something drew him to your place, some need to save the world hallucination very likely.”
“That nightmare scumbag wanted to…” I choked a little at the thought of what he wanted to do to my baby girl.
Chuckie put his hand on my arm to comfort me. “Not so sure, this guy was a looney but there was no pedophile history on him like that. A couple of drunk and disorderly charges… you know this is confidential, right? I’m not supposed to talk about criminal histories.” I nodded and he continued, “He’d been in a private mental facility in his teens. Typical, refused to take his prescribed meds, then started finding his own meds on the streets. He has been homeless for nearly a decade. Still, no burglaries, no assaults, nothing. He moved into the woods some time ago, maybe in the past year and dropped off the radar. Detectives spoke with some other local derelicts, they knew him but hadn’t seen him in a long while. Most thought he was dead or in jail.
“Oh, remember how we said we’d look in the woods? We did and we found what we believe was his camp. Creepy, did you know there was a cave in those woods?”
I shook my head, “Nope, we played there all the time when we were kids, I’m sure we’d have found something like that. Not really common in this area.”
He nodded, “Agreed but there it was. Not very big and smelled awful, worse than most hobo dens. It took a detective who used to work homicide in the city to go in, he was the only one who could stomach the smell. He got inside and nothing but a few blankets, a set of clothes, and an expired state ID with the creeper’s name on it: ‘Howard Blackhawk’, he was some kinda native. There was a small crack at the back of the cave that led downward, too small for the detective or the creeper to get through. He told us that the smell came from that crack, called it, ‘The butt crack of the dead in Hell’.” At this he laughed at the gallows humor.
“Anyways…” he continued when I just nodded, “… no sign that the dude did anything there but sleep and stash his stuff. Not even a fire pit out front of the entrance. He may have used that crack as a garbage shoot and toilet, not really clear. Thing is, he managed to slip his cuffs while the new corporal was taking a turn watching him; as in out at the nurses’ station showing off his new stripes and bragging about his raise. Old Howie slipped his cuffs and climbed out through the window. Corporal Randolph walked in about that time. Howie looked at him and said, ‘They’re coming. I couldn’t do what They said, I couldn’t get the blood of an innocent but they got enough from that dude and me and are coming anyway’. Then he dove head first onto the concrete sidewalk in the courtyard. Only three stories but he made an impressive mess. Problem solved!”
"So pedo or not, he WAS going to hurt my Ellie." He shrugged. I sat there, reconsidering my newfound friendship; I knew he was hard-bitten but no need to be so callous about the blood of my child, not to mention homelessness, mental health issues, and drug addiction; of course I hadn’t had much experience with any, who knows? “So nothing more for us to do on this?”
“Nope, you are free and clear buddy, no loss with that guy…”
He went on in that vein for a while and then we wrapped up and I went back to work. Before we left, he told me that Randolph was busted back to officer and the female officer, Burns was promoted in his place.
So I passed on the news to the family and we struggled for a while to get past, “The Blackhawk Down Incident” as we’d taken to calling it. Yet we made it through the next few months and were fairly sane when our newest bundle arrived. The house was sane, yes, but hardly calm: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, a protective big sister, a jealous big brother, and of course a glowing mother. The supernatural nightmares had been forgotten and the real one resolved… life was good.
* * * * * *
A few nights after our new addition was home, I was plunged back into the throes of the nightmare realm. It was a Friday night and I was exhausted with the kids. I’d had to take them while Karen handled the new poop factory / eating machine. We had a blast and all ate entirely too much junk food that evening.
This time, I awakened at about 3:00 am. Eyes just tinked open and I felt wide awake like I’d just gulped down a few cups of coffee. I checked the baby, no worries, did a quick patrol, all was secured, children properly zonked. For some reason, I felt the need to check the patio door a second time. As I approached it, the motion lights activated. Seriously? Had to be the cats… or maybe the gnomes… I stepped outside to look around and didn’t immediately notice anything amiss… Wait. Was that; chanting coming from the woods?
I gulped and then looked carefully at the yard. The gnomes were all facing the back fence. The cats, Tom Salem on the right, were lined up on the big tree limb, all staring out into the woods. None of them seemed to pay attention to me. The chanting grew louder and more ominous. I felt that old familiar chill and the lights somehow dimmed. The feeling that the sounds that emanated from the woods communicated a threat grew very strong within me. There had been more construction on the far side of the patch and the developers had destroyed just a little more of the woods but hey, we could use yet another grocery store… Bbuurrrr, I shivered. Please let this be another nightmare!
I realized that the chanting now included gnashing and scraping and clinking and that it was not only louder but closer. I hefted flashlight and bat and stalked toward the back fence. I had purchased a ladder that currently rested against the big oak that was opposite Tom’s. I’d forgotten to put away the thing, just as well. I tucked the flashlight under my arm and clutched my bat in the same hand and awkwardly ascended the ladder. Once I cleared the top of the fence, I realized that the darkness I’d noted was not from the dimming of the lights but from the darkening of the woods out back. A deep dimness, like a moonless night had descended over the woods and had begun to encroach into the bare space between the trees and the backside of the fence.
Then I saw them, the spindly, spiky figures, all lines and angles, they were silhouetted against the nearly black backdrop. Figures that brought a new meaning to blackness; more an absence of light, as though they were from a Plane where light did not exist except for the sickly orange glow of their eyes. Yet parts of them glinted in the non-light, the teeth and claws and tips of primitive weaponry, each eager to be soaked in gore.
I noticed that the shadow line had stopped growing toward the fence, even though the figures still approached. Then I saw little cones rise from the ground, five of them. The gnomes emerged from the soil, each gripping his tool as a weapon. They appeared animated and alive and little puffs of steam emerged from their faces as their breath caught the cold night air. The hatchet man spared me a glance that contained a clear look of ferocity and determination. He quickly turned back to face the threat of the onrushing horde.
It was a battle for the ages… in miniature. The gnomes were each no more than two feet tall and the hobgoblins or whatever the spiky things were averaged about three feet tall. They met and merged into a fierce fight, weapons glinting and clashing. The gnomes were outnumbered but seemed to be holding their own, each chanted in a deep guttural voice, “Vorwärts! Zerquetsche sie! Nimm sie aus!” (Forward! Crush Them! Gut Them! – No idea how I knew that.). Then the cats leapt into the fray and filled in the gaps in the line of gnomes. They added their own spitting, clawing, biting efforts to the struggle. The monsters were falling back towards the wood line. The gnomes and cats pressed the fight… Where is Tom Salem? I thought. He’d be able to finish the battle.
Then I felt myself falling backward from my perch, an inky form, larger than the average monsters, clutched at my head and shoulders. The ground rose up and knocked the breath from me. I felt a sharp pain in my upper right shoulder as the spiky monster thrust his spear home. He leered at me, then leaned in to take a bite out of my face... He didn’t make it, Tom Salem sailed through the air and latched on to his head and shoulders in turn. The proportions between the hobgoblin and me and those between Tom and the hobgoblin were oddly symmetrical, almost by design
Tom soon had the creature expending all of its energy and focus to remove him rather than to attack me. I took a much needed if brief moment to recover my breath and my flashlight, I had no idea where the bat had gone. I managed to stagger to my feet, the shoulder ached like a migraine but my arm was otherwise numb and dangled uselessly at my side. I saw that the monster had started to gain the upper hand on Tom as they spat and rolled and fought all around the near perfect lawn. I found an opening when the monster pinned Tom to the ground and raised its spear for the murder strike. I came down overhand with the flashlight and put a serious dent in its head. I spun the device in my good hand and shined the beam of light into its baleful eyes. Their glow was gone and the figure slumped to the ground and dissolved into the soil.
“Good one Tom! You are my main cat!” I exuberantly called out to my battle companion. I glanced at where he lay and to my horror, I saw that he was pinned to the ground with the spear. He did not move, he did not breathe. I was suddenly filled with a mixture of sadness and anger. I raced to the ladder and shifted it so that it rested against the fence, then climbed and clambered over the top. The battle still raged and some of our army had taken damage. It was a stalemate, just inside the line of trees.
Then I arrived like an ancient Berserker. I swept the beam of the flashlight across the faces of the wicked horde. They blanched and were clearly blinded for a moment. My troops pressed forward, shredding the nasty creatures. Then I waded into the fray, my proportionately giant legs kicked goal after goal and the end of my flashlight sunk several hole in one shots, the beam turned maniacally in all directions as I swung the instrument like a Giant’s club. It was too much for the invading throng. They fled back into the woods, the darkness retreating with them.
I stood there, breathing heavily and peering out through the trees. The cats sat or lay and licked their wounds. I caught sight of five little red cones as they sunk into the soil… It was over, we’d won.
Then I realized that I couldn’t climb back over the fence, certainly not with a broken wing. I hung my head and began the trudge around the cul-de-sac. I paused briefly at the back gate that led into my parents’ back yard… Nope! Their new Rottweiler, Prince would eat me alive until dad came out and shot me. Sure could have used Prince in the fight. Dad’s shotgun too! Oh great, I’m in my sleeping clothes, no key, I thought gloomily. Then I wondered how Karen and the kids could have slept through that affray. My screams alone should have awakened at least half the neighbors.
As I walked, the pain in my shoulder receded and some sensation returned to my arm and hand, though I still felt a chill in them and blood still trickled from my shoulder. Thing had been stabbing at my neck, it had meant to kill me. I knew I had just checked the front door from the inside and ensured that it was locked but like most primates, I tried it anyway; it opened! I entered and immediately did a check on my family. Each was appropriately zonked and none appeared to have stirred, except Ellie, who had turned onto her side when Lady Gray had fled her little arms and charged into battle. Budget or not, the cats and gnomes would get premium brands for at least the next week. Milk too!
I sneaked into the bathroom and checked my wound in the mirror. It wasn’t that big around but it was deep. I cleaned it out and found some gauze to stuff into it. The numbness had definitely improved and the coldness was all but gone. There might be nerve damage but I was suddenly exhausted. I barely managed to crawl in beside Karen before I passed out. I slept through the family chaos of a Saturday morning until nearly noon. I was sore and stiff and anxious to check on my family and my troops. I suddenly realized that I’d left Tom Salem’s body outside, pinned by that fiend’s spear.
I hobbled into the living room and greeted everyone with a hug and a kiss. Karen looked at me curiously, the new baby suckling away all the while. “You okay, Clay? You look terrible.”
“There was an, incident, last night. I’ll give you the details in a moment. Hey, please keep the kiddos inside for a few, I need to check something in the back yard.” I said as I stepped over to the patio door. She just smiled and nodded, the strangeness still didn’t register with her, though apparently the gnomish memory tricks had stopped for me. I remembered the entire night.
* * * * * *
I ended up wrapping Tom’s corpse in a big beach towel. He really was large and heavy. I placed him under the limb of his tree and realized that I’d have to dig a grave mostly one-handed. I managed. Then I went back inside to explain what had happened to my lovely bride. She grilled me until she realized that I was injured. I got dad to drive me to the emergency clinic in that stupid strip center on the other side of the woods. Coincidence?!
I got better over the next week, no real damage and the memories of my injury faded from Karen’s memory. The kiddos were unfazed and when I tried to thank dad one last time for driving me to the clinic, he just gave a WTF look with one of his eyebrows raised.
The gnomes all stood around, a bit worse for wear, some chipped paint and a few gouges in their ceramic, yet each wore a self-satisfied, vaguely arrogant smile. The cats still came around to eat, sleep, hunt, and whatever else cats did. I was absolutely sure… I still wanted a dog… but I loved our cats!
I also needed to know more about what had happened so we could avoid future warfare. I called Mrs. Burton and first asked about Mrs. Richmond. “Oh, oh my,” she started with a catch in her breath. “I guess I forgot to tell y’all, we just buried momma day before yesterday. She died early last Saturday morning.”
“I’m sorry to hear that ma’am.” We exchanged a little more talk of condolences and then I decided to just go for it. “Mrs. Burton, the same night your mother passed, we had an incident here at the house. More specifically in the back yard.”
“In the… back, yard?” she hesitantly inquired.
I rushed on, fearing she’d make an excuse and hang up the phone. “Yes ma’am, it involved cats, gnomes, and some kind of creatures from the woods out back. I was injured and I fear for my family. Is there something you want to tell me? Something you should have told us before you sold us the house?”
Silence… though I could tell she was still there, just gathering her thoughts. “You may find this hard to believe but my memories about this have only started to return since momma passed. Her family brought over the gnomes from Germany. They were related to the guy who invented them; the garden variety that is. I’m not sure about the cats. She told me the gnomes were there to protect our home and the neighborhood. She said to make sure to feed them. No idea what garden gnomes could do to protect anybody nor what to feed ceramic figures. Likely just, ‘stupid-stition’, you know how old folks are.
The monsters are something momma called, ‘Hu’tau’, not sure where they came from but she said that they were some kind of native Land Sprite that got stirred up every time someone cut down part of the woods. She wasn’t sure why they attacked our yard in particular but thought it might have something to do with the big oaks on either end of the fence, maybe being some kind of Gateway into our world…. I dunno, I really don’t know much about it, I was grown when they moved to that house, she only recently told me all this stuff. I thought it was just her dementia, which had actually improved after she left the house. Funny though, I only recently remember her telling it…” She hesitated again, “I think they may have killed my father, I’ve never believed that he fell off a ladder.”
I thanked her, again offered my condolences, then hung up and went back to my family. Life was good.
* * * * * *
We named the black lab puppy, “TS” in honor of old Tom Salem. He grinned and gamboled into the yard with that goofy, hopping puppy gait, sniffing and peeing like a good little boy. The cats pretended to ignore him as they would any dog that behaved in such a dorky, doggish way. They sat or lay, aloof on their various perches, each attempting to display her battle scars in the best light. Cats are awesome! TS was doing his best to mark everything in the new territory as, “his”. Dogs and human toddlers can be similar when it comes to property rights. Then I realized where he was headed and a wicked grin spread on my face. The gnomes, as they watched TS’s progress towards them, looked… horrified!
submitted by BearLair64 to u/BearLair64 [link] [comments]


2020.03.10 15:41 Passit2Madden [News] Everything new in healthcare, week of March 10, 2020. Amazon wants to cure the common cold, interoperability rules get finalized, Coronavirus updates, the top current healthcare trends, and more.

Current trends in healthcare.
Here are some major points of interest in healthcare right now. Let me know if you have any to add.
Global:
General Healthcare:
Policy:
Digital Health & Innovation:
Hospitals:
Post-Acute Care:
Physician Practices:
Health Insurance:

Online pharmacy Ro wants to disrupt the generic drug market.
Ro, a new online pharmacy, is piloting a new service that would offer users of the platform $5 per prescription for generic medications.

Project Gesundheit.
Coronavirus.

Other stuff to know.

Election 2020 update

Super Tuesday dropouts.
Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg dropped out after poor Super Tuesday showings. It's a 2-man race at this point between Biden and Sanders. As you can imagine, it's now also a 2-horse healthcare race on the Democratic side between Public-Option-Biden and Medicare-for-All-Sanders.
Other election stuff to know

Policy Corner, week of 3/9/2020

Sharing personal health data across providers is about to get WAY easier.
For better or worse, HHS released its final interoperability ruling Monday (catch up on interoperability here). The ruling will ease the ways that personal health data can be shared across electronic health record platforms like Epic and Cerner.
Think about it like this: every provider has its own health records system. This system acts similar to a 'walled garden' for providers, which keeps patients coming back to them. With the final HHS interoperability ruling, these walls are coming down. In my mind, that makes it much easier for the patient to switch between providers.
Read more:

Other policy stuff.

Quick Hits

Biz Hits
State Hits
Other Hits
Thought-Provoking Editorials

Thanks for reading! Lots of interesting stuff this week. You can read past editions or learn more here.
submitted by Passit2Madden to healthcare [link] [comments]


2020.03.01 03:02 HowCouldUBeZaharakis You Have No Good Football Ideas: The Essendon Football Club Season Preview

Don’t Do What Essendon’t Does

Essendon Football Club

"I thought it was going to be a hit! Turned out it fucking sucks!"
/EssendonFC
Established: 1872
Home Grounds: MCG, Etihad Stadium, True Value Solar Centre (Training and Admin)
Premierships: 16: 1897, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1962, 1965, 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000.
Head Coach: John Worsfold
Head Coach Jr: Ben Rutten
Assistant Coaches: Mark Harvey, Blake Caracella, Dan Jordan, James Kelly
Head of Player Development/VFL Coach: Mark Corrigan
Development Coaches: Leigh Tudor, Cam Roberts
2019 Crichton Medallist: Zach Merrett
2019 Leading Goalkicker: Jake Stringer, 33
Last Season: 12-10, 8th, lost Elimination Final to West Coast

2020 Fixture

♫ Thurs-day night ♫
♫ I'm thinking that we. Just. Might ♫
♫ Fly away to some place they. Don't. Know ♫
♫ Who we are ♫
Round Date Opponent Venue
Scratch-1 Feb 21 Melbourne Casey Fields
MCS-1 Feb 27 West Coast Lathlain Park
MCS-2 Mar 9 Geelong Colac Reserve
1 Sat Mar 21 Fremantle Marvel (H)
2 Fri Mar 27 Sydney SCG (A)
3 Thurs Apr 2 Carlton MCG (A)
4 Sat Apr 11 GWS Marvel (H)
5 Thurs Apr 16 Adelaide Adelaide Oval (A)
6 Sat Apr 25 Collingwood MCG (A)
7 Sun May 3 Melbourne MCG (H)
8 Sat May 9 Geelong MCG (H)
9 Sat May 16 Norf Marvel (A)
10 Sat May 23 Richmond MCG (H)
11 Sun May 31 Gold Coast Marvel (H)
12 - - -
13 Thurs June 11 West Coast Optus (A)
14 Sat June 20 St Kilda Marvel (H)
15 Fri June 26 Western Bulldogs Marvel (A)
16 Thurs July 2 Hawthorn Marvel (H)
17 Sat July 11 GWS Giants Stadium (A)
18 Sun July 19 Norf MCG (H)
19 Sat July 25 Adelaide Marvel (H)
20 Sat Aug 1 Collingwood MCG (H)
21 Sun Aug 9 Port Adelaide Adelaide Oval (A)
22 Sat August 15 Sydney Marvel (H)
23 TBC Brisbane Gabba (A)
Essendon’s will feature on Thursday Night Football four times this year, the most of any club. This is ideal as it will allow Essendon fans to experience the inevitable anger and frustration involved in watching Essendon earlier in the weekend, rather than prolonging the dread. Other games of interest include:

2019 Season Review

"Alright, you know what? This is dumb. Dump it, trash it. This one's garbage"
After once again starting the year slowly, and clearly underdone fitness wise, Essendon suffered two embarrassing defeats to start the season, giving fans flashbacks to 2018's horror start. The following wins against Melbourne, Brisbane and North Melbourne coupled with a highly competitive and controversial loss to Collingwood on Anzac Day provided many fans with the hope that perhaps Essendon could finally compete with top teams and perhaps win an elusive final. After that loss, Essendon's lack of mental resolve once again highlighted itself as the sizzling ball movement shown in rounds 3-5 disappeared and Essendon once again fell into mediocrity. An exciting and nerve-wracking streak of comebacks and tight victories against GWS, Sydney, North Melbourne, Adelaide and Gold Coast once again gave Essendon fans hope, that they could compete with top teams, despite injuries to key personnel. Nevertheless, once more embarrassing losses to Port and Bulldogs sent fans crashing back to reality, where Essendon ultimately limped both physically and mentally into the top 8, where we were comprehensively defeated by West Coast. - MonotoneRamos

List changes

"Kinnear?"
"What?"
"You have no. Good. Trade. Ideas"
"Shut up"
"I'm doing the best at this"
Trade/FA National Draft Rookie Draft Delisted Retired
Tom Cutler (Brisbane) Harrison Jones (#30) Mitchell Hibberd (#9) Mitch Brown Mark Baguley
Andrew "Aaron "Andrew Phillips" Francis" Phillips (Carlton) Nick Bryan (#38) Cian McBride (Cat B) Zac Clarke Matt Dea
Jacob Townsend (Richmond) Ned Cahill (#56) Ross McQuillan (Cat B) Michael Hartley Luke Lavender
Lachlan Johnson (#63) Jordan Houlahan David Myers
Tom Jok
Jake Long
Ben McNiece
Trent Mynott
Astute pickups basically getting Cutler and Townsend for nothing. Townsend especially comes from a great culture and will help drive standards at training which is what we need. Mitch Hibberd looks to be a ready made inside bull who was unlucky to get cut from Norf, but has been injury prone. If he can get fit, he'll be a real weapon in our midfield.
Cutting Mitch Brown was tough since he is a good player (not without his downfalls, though), but he just won't be needed going forward. From all reports our forward line seems to be leaning towards more of a Richmond style set up, centred around small pressure forwards. Ultimately, we'll have Stringer as a first selection for the midsized tall, Langford as a backup, with Laverde/Begley/Jones etc as depth.
Same goes for Hartley; but he just isn't needed anymore especially with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher coming on earlier than expected.
Drafting was good with Nick Bryan as a very promising ruckman and Jones likewise as a forward. Heard a lot of promising things from Blitz about Cahill and sounds like he could be playing this year. Lachie Johnson is another one I'm interested in. Unfortunately he recently injured his ACL and has moved on to the LTI, but he'll be one to watch for the future. Has a lot of grunt about him just like his old man.
McQuillan/McBride are free hits and if they can develop half as well as McKenna, we'll have a couple of gems on our hands. - BigTimeStunner

Current List:

"Jake Stringer is one of the most aggressive players I've ever seen. He has a massive overbite and a completely flat back of the head."
Backs Mids Forwards Rucks
#8 - Martin Gleeson #1 - Andrew McGrath #6 - Joe Daniher #2 - Tom Bellchambers
#10 - Aaron Francis #3 - Darcy Parish #13 - Orazio Fantasia #24 - Nick Bryan
#14 - Jordan Ridley #4 - Kyle Langford #15 - Jayden Laverde #34 - Andrew Phillips
#18 - Michael Hurley #5 - Devon Smith #16 - Josh Begley #38 - Sam Draper
#26 - Cale Hooker #7 - Zach Merrett #17 - James Stewart
#27 - Mason Redman #9 - Dylan Shiel #20 - Jacob Townsend
#29 - Patrick Ambrose #11 - David Zaharakis #22 - Irving Mosquito
#30 - Brandon Zerk-Thatcher #12 - Tom Cutler #23 - Harrison Jones
#36 - Lachlan Johnson #19 - Kobe Mutch #25 - Jake Stringer
#41 - Cian McBride #21 - Dyson Heppell (C) #28 - Ned Cahill
#42 - Adam Saad #33 - Brayden Ham #32 - Noah Gown
#45 - Conor McKenna #35 - Matt Guelfi #39 - Ross McQuillan
#37 - Dylan Clarke #43 - Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
#40 - Will Snelling #44 - Shaun McKernan
#46 - Mitch Hibberd
Since 2017, Essendon’s list profile has been a mismatch of highly paid, older key position players, younger talent and high draft picks. The side has begun preparing for life after those key position players - guys like Aaron Francis, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Sam Draper were drafted with a view to eventually replacing players like Cale Hooker, Michael Hurley and Tom Bellchambers. Likewise, the club will look to continue Brayden Ham’s development as an endurance winger with a view to replacing David Zaharakis. And while the club won’t admit it publicly, part of the reason they were keen to trade up for Harrison Jones was as a potential replacement if/when Joe Daniher leaves.

Best 22

"Hey, listen, I just got this new Best 22 and it's totally in your Q-Zone!"
Full Back Gleeson Hooker Ambrose
Half Back Saad Hurley McKenna
Centre Zaharakis Heppell McGrath
Ruck Bellchambers Merrett Shiel
Half Forward Smith Daniher McDonald-Tipungwuti
Full Forward Fantasia McKernan Stringer
Interchange Francis Clarke Parish Redman
Emergency Hibberd Snelling Langford Laverde
Part of the intrigue of Essendon’s best 22 is how the new coaches will use the players in the updated game plan. Will the style of play be geared towards a small-ball, pressure set up? If so, players like Irving Mosquito and Will Snelling may start to see real game time. But a return to the run-and-gun play style may mean a taller set up around the ground which could push those players out.
Of course, this is Essendon we're talking about, and it wouldn't be an Essendon line up without a host of crippling injuries to key personnel. So while the above might be the best 22, this is how the side may line up in Round 1:
Full Back Gleeson Hooker Francis
Half Back Saad Hurley Redman
Centre Zaharakis Heppell McGrath
Ruck Phillips Merrett Shiel
Half Forward Smith Stringer McDonald-Tipungwuti
Full Forward Fantasia McKernan Laverde
Interchange Snelling Clarke Parish Langford
Emergency Hibberd Cutler Ham Guelfi
Daniher (groin), Ambrose (knee), McKenna (homesick) & Bellchambers (body crumpled after encountering a slight breeze) have been replaced with Laverde, Langford, Snelling & Phillips.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths
"You're not part of the turbo team! DON'T! RUN! You don't run with us, we're the ones who run! Until you're part of this turbo team, WALK! SLOWLY!"
The speed of Essendon around the ground has been the hallmark of the side over the last few years. McKenna & Saad’s drive from half back has given Essendon a lightning fast transition which is almost impossible to stop when it’s on. The side has a number of weapons up forward, with Stringer, Daniher and Fantasia each able to wreak havoc on their day. The issue has always been getting them on the park at the same time. Since Stringer arrived at the start of 2018, they’ve played a grand total of three games together. If Essendon can find some cohesion up forward, they could trouble some defences.
Weaknesses
"Call Laser Groin Specialists today to learn how a less than two inch incision can give you a new lease on life"
Unfortunately, the great strength of Essendon has also been its biggest weakness. The team has been porous defensively during turnovers, where the frenetic build up offensively has left players hopelessly out of position on the counter attack. That style of play might win you a few games against lower opposition, and you might pinch a couple of games against good teams here and there, but it doesn’t stack up consistently, especially under the pressure of finals. Look for Essendon to fine tune its ball movement this year to protect itself from being exposed defensively when it doesn’t have the ball.
The medical room is the elephant in the room. It has ruined what could have been a productive period - best 22 players such as Daniher, Fantasia, Heppell, Bellchambers, Ambrose, Gleeson, McKernan, Smith and Francis all missed significant chunks of games over the past two years. It’s hard to be a cohesive unit when players are getting injured every second game. If Essendon wants to make the jump to contender status, it has to start with the medical room.

Players to watch

"A great young player that doesn't whiff off the ground while we're playing. That is a good idea."
Andrew McGrath
Spent his first few seasons slowly moving from small defender to outside midfielder and is finally ready to be unleashed into the midfield full time. Showed in the Marsh Series game against West Coast that he can be a difference maker, with 16 possessions and most meters game by half time before resting in the second half. Set to become a star of the competition.
Darcy Parish
Like McGrath, another player who is ready to make the transition from solid rotation player to a top ranked midfielder. Has a knack for finding the goals, so look for him to rotate with Devon Smith between half forward and inside midfielder. Started the year off with a 29 possession, 1 goal performance against West Coast on Thursday.
Aaron Francis
Essendon fans are hoping this is the year he cements his spot in the Essendon defense. Played more than ten games in a year for the first time last year and will look to build on that momentum this year. With Ambrose going down for the start of the year, Francis will have a greater responsibility and opportunity to perform at a higher level.
Dylan Clarke
Shot into the spotlight last year with a series of tagging roles, completely negating players such as Cripps, O’Meara, Parker and Cunnington. Needs to continue to add more to his game to become a regular fixture in the side - if he can do so he will be a potent weapon in Essendon’s midfield brigade.

Players on notice

"I'm through, John. I played in front of my family last week and they laughed at me!"
"Your family hates you! Only I love you! And your play is rockin', baby. We gotta fly Blake Caracella down from Richmond to train you professionally"
Kyle Langford
Many Essendon supporters were excited to see Langford cement his place in the team this time last year after a strong finish to 2018. Unfortunately, Langford struggled to impress for much of 2019, and with more midfield depth being recruited in the off-season, it may not necessarily be Langford who is first to cover the big-bodied midfielder role once injuries hit. The midfield experiment doesn't seem to have worked out so far, and it may be in the interests of incoming 2021 head coach, Ben Rutten, to try and better utilise his mostly reliable kicking for goal in a 3rd forward role. There's a good player in there somewhere, but the results need to show very quickly or his position on the list may start to be questioned. - TaOTa
Jayden Laverde
Essendon fans often lump Laverde and Langford together, and for good reason. They have been symptomatic of Essendon’s total lack of consistency in the Worsfold era: potential match winners one day, completely absent the next. Laverde has an opportunity to become a mainstay in Essendon’s forward line, and his unique size and ability on the ground makes him a potentially difficult match up. Like Langford, there’s a great player within him. But if he can’t find that player, he’ll find himself out of the club next season.
Tom Bellchambers
The writing was already on the wall for Bellchambers with Sam Draper nearing a debut before injuring his knee last year. But with the additions of Phillips and draftee Nick Bryan, plus Draper’s recovery, Bellchambers might see himself out of the best 22 sooner than originally thought. Injury struck at the worst possible time in preseason, delaying his start to the year and giving Phillips the opportunity to seize the #1 ruck role, which he took in his solid performance in the preseason match against West Coast. Out of contract at the end of the year, he faces a decision of transitioning to a back up ruckman or potentially retiring. Unfortunately, his body may make that decision for him.
David Zaharakis
Has taken up the mantle of the official Essendon Whipping Boy, following in the footsteps of esteemed individuals such as Brendon Goddard, Brent Stanton and Paul Salmon. Like Bellchambers, faces stiff competition for his spot in the best 22 from the likes of Tom Cutler and Brayden Ham. Still has two years left to run on his contract, he may use this season as a transition from guaranteed starter to a back up/mentor role.

Concerns for upcoming season

"You probably think Daniher is going to leave at the end of the year"
"I actually do"
"Oh my god! He admit it!"
Uncertainty in key positions
Last season was difficult enough to manage the key-position personnel in the squad, and this season looks set to be even tougher. The obvious one is Joe Daniher, who appears to be having a limited pre-season and may not even play one game in what could be his final year as a Bomber. The club chose to move on Mitch Brown, which will leave a hole that requires filling in the forward line considering Brown played 16 games in 2019. If Shaun McKernan suffers an injury, it will likely be Cale Hooker who is moved forward from his usual role in defence. Young prospects Noah Gown, who fractured his foot early in pre-season, and Harrison Jones, are almost certain to spend 2020 outside of the senior team, which leaves very few viable alternatives should injuries take a hold of the club as they did in 2019.
Essendon may also have a key-position dilemma on its hands in the backline. Cale Hooker, despite playing 18 games in 2019, appeared to struggle with fitness for the back half of the year and has already suffered an injury setback this pre-season. Hooker's form has also been questionable, and with both Patrick Ambrose in career-best form and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher impressing late last year, Worsfold/Rutten could have a few difficult decisions to make at the selection table throughout the year. Michael Hurley will likely remain as one of the first names on the team sheet, though the club will be wary that both players are in the latter stages of their careers and will likely need replacing in the next 1-2 years. How urgently the club believes this is a priority will become clear throughout 2020. How many games each of the 4 key-position defender candidates play is almost impossible to predict at this stage. - Ta0Ta

Expectations

"You listen to me, media: No. More. Scamming. Essendon fans. Into. Thinking. They're. Good"
With the coaching change to come in 2021, expect the game plan to change slightly this year to suit Ruttens inevitable style. This may take time to adjust too, however if they can adopt a more balanced style rather than the heavy defense then quick rebound attack, they will be well placed. if the team can be entirely fit (not likely based on preseason) they can be top 4, however realistic expectation would be middle of the table again, maybe as high as the 6th and as low as 10th. - SlappaDaBassMahn
To see some genuine improvement in the teams game plan and ball movement. With the big off-field changes of getting Carcella, Sean Murphy for strength and conditioning and the Succession Plan, obviously there will be growing pains but I just want to be able to see what we're trying to build towards. Want to see a full 4 quarters of effort from the team consistently, better forward entries and the existence of a plan B. As to ladder position I think we could finish anywhere within the 7th-15th range honestly, but I'm expecting to just miss finals, so 10th. - MonotoneRamos
I've come to expect disappointment with this club, so while there should be improvement on last season, I will continue to expect a dysfunctional offence and wildly inconsistent defence until I see otherwise. Keep an eye out for moments of brilliance from our flair players, a quarter or 2 per month where everything comes together, followed by hesitant and uninspiring football for the rest. There are a lot of clubs with upside who finished outside the 8, plus I've been burned by this team too many times...
12th - TaOTa

Thank you

Thank you to the following users for their contributions:
submitted by HowCouldUBeZaharakis to AFL [link] [comments]


2020.02.29 11:13 losszeisi A list of good things to do in Metro Van!

speed dating in yaletown, do the sea to sky supercar experience, whistler bungee, take the ferry to random small islands with just your bike and a backpack, rat soup in gastown, go to richmond and sneeze profusely, pedicure at a top vancouver spa, go to that turkish bath spa, nude at wrecked beach, catfe, walk out with cat, pit night by yourself, fortune sound club on a saturday night, walk surrey's 108th stretch at night, stay at a surrey gangster biker hotel (look up hotels and look at cheapest), richmond steveston wrestle with seal, lucy eastside diner eating challenge, sunday afternoon tea at secret garden with yourself and a sex doll, richmond buddhist temple, join hare krishnas, go to a sikh temple, bike from ubc to downtown or other way, whistler ice vodka experience, winter hiking, heli-skiing, take a vancouver food tour (WORTH it!), cooking class, go on a suburb eating adventure (surrey - best indian food, richmond -best chinese) go to a comedy standup or improv show, go to whatever event rio is doing, join meetup and go to some random party event, do a crossfit, climbing, dance, yoga, cycling or some other boutique fitness intro class (classpass is also good for this.) go to the homeless market in downtown eastside and bargain, do an escape room or smash therapy, go to the bird sanctuary and throw rocks at canadian geese (dangerous), go to burns bog park in delta and antagonize the owls by pretending your hair is a squirrel (wear big wig), get laser hair removal (groupon), contribute to your RRSP, pay off your credit card, drop your debit card at london drugs downtown, shop at army and navy, go thrifting at talize in north delta, rent a boat in white rock and accidentally cross the US border, go to maple ridge and take a stroll downtown, download every dating app and right swipe everyone facebook message your ex, instagram your morning routine, marie kondo your home, quit your job, hire yourself, go to a psychic and make a life plan with them, go to cactus club burrard 2nd floor on a friday and slip the dj 20bucks and ask for aqua-barbie girl, make a personal shopping appointment at nordstrom, sleep overnight in your car at spanish banks parking lot, eat every meal in a different restaurant, line up for brunch at jam cafe on sunday, ride the whole skytrain and get off every stop, take the westcoast express till the end and be stranded, join the protestors, phone radio stations when they ask listeners to phone in, make guacamole.
submitted by losszeisi to vancouver [link] [comments]


2020.02.21 07:48 vanesizzle Bedroom for rent in SF's Outer Richmond - top floor 3bed/2bath

Looking for a female to rent a bedroom in a beautifully decorated 3bed/2bath SF apartment in the Outer Richmond on the third floor. I’m moving out to live with my boyfriend so I need someone to take my place!
The bedroom has no shared walls with roommates and features full-length mirror closet doors. It can come furnished with a full bed and desk + desk chair or can be unfurnished. The bathroom is shared with my female roommate.
The shared kitchen is equipped with a dishwasher and there will be a dedicated pantry space for you.
The rest of the apartment is very spacious and bright since it’s on the top floor of the building (3rd floor). 1,800 square feet and nicely furnished and filled with plants (one of my roommates is an art director so…). The building has laundry on the bottom floor that we share with one other tenant. We also have high-speed Sonic internet.
Great location: Outer Richmond between Geary and Anza. Two blocks from restaurants, a movie theater, coffee shops, and other shops on Balboa. Easy access to the 38/3838AX and the 31. Close to Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and Ocean Beach!
You’ll share the space with two quiet and tidy tech professionals, ages 27 and 30. One female and one male. You’ll split the cost of utilities (including internet) with them.
Rent: $1245
Availability: Available starting April 1st. There may be some flexibility in start date. Lease term is flexible.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
submitted by vanesizzle to SFBayHousing [link] [comments]


2020.01.08 03:26 geo_rule MicroVision MEMS Mirror Laser Scanner & Microsoft HoloLens 2

**This thread is a continuation of the original, the second version, and the third version which are now archived (i.e. not allow new comments) by Reddit policy. There was plenty of conversation and "apocrypha" (maybe related, but not quite firm enough to be considered "canon") to reward you reviewing the other three threads' (particularly the first one) comments as well.
Hat-tip to Mike Oxlong for getting us started.
Whether it means anything is up to you the reader to decide. (Last Updated: 7/18/2019). THIS THREAD IS SPECULATIVE. But as best we know the dates are right. Feel free to suggest additions and cites for the dating in the thread below and if I think they are worthy and relevant we'll add them to the master timeline up here in post 1.
February 16th, 2016 --MVIS files patent to use multiple RGB laser sets with a single two-mirror MEMS scanner to double output resolution of a MEMS scanner without increasing the scan frequency speed of moving the mirrors. Then-head of R&D Dale Zimmerman gets himself added as an inventor (often a sign of importance in many engineering organizations). Patent appears to be foundational to multiple "fill in the details" patent filings below, including MSFT March 3rd, 2017, and STM March 28th, 2017, and also a foundational piece when combined with eye-tracking for enabling foveated rendering. h/t view-from-afar
April 13th, 2016 --MSFT files waveguide patent referencing several in-force MVIS patents. (h/t flyingmirrors). Several of the referenced in-force MVIS patents have inventors that now work for MSFT. Long time industry participant and MVIS critic Karl Guttag later admits it addresses one of his fundamental objections to use of LBS in AVR solutions with waveguides.
April 13th, 2016 #2 --MSFT files an FOV-doubling patent that seems widely applicable across display technologies (MVIS PicoP mentioned specifically with others), and also appears to be foundational to several of the LBS-specific patents below, including December 16th, 2016, March 3rd, 2017, and April 4th, 2017.
July 28th, 2016 --2Q 2016 CC, MVIS CEO reports "We're in discussions with OEMs regarding our solution as a display candidate for AR applications to address growth opportunities in 2018 and beyond." -- h/t mike-oxlong
September 16th, 2016 --Same group of MSFT inventors (Robbins, He, Glik, Lou) listed on key December 16th, 2016 patent below on how to use LBS to double FOV, seem to be describing here how to build a waveguide to support implementing the December 16th patent. Keywords to look for are "Bragg", "polarization" and "left handed" in comparing the two. Patent mentions MicroVision by name (but others as well).
September 22nd, 2016 --MSFT LBS + Waveguides output pupil patent filed.. Patent notes, "One way to reduce the size, weight and power consumption of the display engine 204 is to implement the imaging device (also known as an image former) using scanning MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) mirror display technology, instead of LCOS display technology, and implement the light source assembly using LDs, instead of LEDs." h/t baverch75
Q3 2016 --MVIS signed Phase I contract to deliver proof of concept prototype display for AR application with "world leading technology company".
November 4th, 2016 --MSFT files startlingly ambitious patent for an ADJUSTABLE SCANNED BEAM PROJECTOR using stacked holograms by colowavelength to accomplish variable focal distances and aberration correction (including potentially programmed user eyeglass prescription incorporation). Patent uses MEMS and lasers (tho also potentially LEDs). One of the inventors is ex-MVIS wonderboy, Josh Miller. See May 24, 2017 for a waveguide patent which seems aimed at further refinement of implementing this technique. h/t gaporter
November 10th, 2016 --MVIS announces strategic partnership with ST Microelectronics (MVIS manufacturing partner for MEMS scanners and ASICs) that as part of its aim is to "develop" new LBS scanning technology for AVR. Announcement includes reference to "exploring" a future joint LBS technology roadmap. See March 28th, 2017 and April 26th, 2018 below.
December 6th, 2016 --MSFT files patent to reduce light loss from use of waveguides, addressing Karl Guttag's objection to the April 13th, 2016 patent above. h/t s2upid
December 6th, 2016 #2 --MVIS files patent for improved MEMS scanner that bears a very close resemblance to the one MSFT unveils in Barcelona on Feb 24th, 2019. One of the inventors is Wyatt O. Davis, who will go to work at MSFT three months later, and 15 months before publication of this patent application, putting MSFT in a difficult IP theft position if that scanner is not an MVIS component. h/t lichtwellen
December 16th, 2016 --MSFT FOV patent filed referencing MVIS and relying on LBS (Laser Beam Scanning --MVIS 20+ year specialty and IP patent strength) to double FOV. (h/t view-from-afar). Patent references a 2013 MVIS patent along the same lines, with one of the MVIS inventors Wyatt O. Davis who will join MSFT as "Principal Display Systems Engineer" three months later. Also see September 16th, 2016 above for patent on how to build a waveguide to implement the techniques described here.
December 21st, 2016 -- MVIS files foveated imaging patent using LBS eye-tracking. See April 28th, 2017 below to potential MSFT further development.
January 2017 --MVIS delivered proof of concept prototype demonstrator for AR to an FG100 (See June 8th, 2017 below) under Phase I contract initiated in Q3 2016 above.
February 2017 --Sumit Sharma (former "Head of Operations --Project GLASS" at Google) of MVIS promoted from VP of Operations to VP Product Engineering & Operations. Receives 130k shares worth of options --more options than MVIS new CEO would receive later that year.
February 20th, 2017 --Reports MSFT has cancelled v2 of HoloLens to go for a more ambitious v3 in 2019 instead.
January 2017 - March 5, 2017 --MVIS signed Phase II AR contract for $900K
March 3rd, 2017 --MSFT files patent application describing method to design a 1440p-capable two-mirror LBS MEMS design. (h/t gaporter) (See April 26, 2018 below). Modified and re-filed June 15, 2017, but initial filing is March 3rd.
March 9th, 2017 --MVIS files patent application for an improved MEMS scanner resulting in less mirror distortion allowing for higher resolution, higher refresh rates, and increased mirror angles (increasing FoV capability). Patent notes HMD one application (amongst others). Patent granted Feb. 19th, 2019. h/t flyingmirrors
March 23rd, 2017 --MSFT files yet another foveated AMR patent using LBS MEMS and relying in part on two still-in-force MVIS patents. h/t TheGordo-San.
March 27th, 2017 -- "It is also gratifying to see the company engage in augmented and virtual reality eyewear, an application with roots in the early days of MicroVision when I joined the board.” - Outgoing MicroVision Director Richard Cowell (h/t gaporter)
March 28th, 2017 ST Microelectronics (MVIS manufacturing partner for MEMS scanners and ASICs) files patent describing a multi-pixel-per-clock dual-mirror MEMS scanner to reach 1440p resolutions at high refresh rates. See April 26th, 2018 below and March 3rd, 2017 above. h/t gaporter
March 2017 -- Wyatt Davis leaves after 14 years as Principal EngineeMEMS Technical Lead at Microvision for Microsoft to become Principal Display Systems Engineer (h/t view-from-afar)
March 2017 --Sihui He, one of the MSFT inventors of the December 16th, 2016 LBS FOV-doubling patent above, leaves MSFT, reporting having "modeled and demonstrated" (and creating new metric measurement systems) next gen HoloLens unit built around her patents. See "January 2017" entry above of MVIS delivering AR demonstrator to some FG100 in January. h/t gaporter. A month later, she's with Digilens, who had recently announced an effort to produce much cheaper, more advanced waveguides.
April 3rd, 2017 --MSFT files patent on enlarged FOV using LBS MEMS and multiple lasers. Seems to be an obvious follow on to the March 3rd, 2017 patent on design of a two-mirror 1440p LBS MEMS above. Also seems to imply 114 degree theoretical FOV (60 degrees * 1.9). h/t flyingmirrors.
April 7th, 2017 --MSFT files patent combining both LCoS and LBS to create a larger exit pupil and brighter waveguide image. --h/t flyingmirrors
April 11th, 2017 --MSFT files yet another foveated HMD patent depending on a LBS scanner. h/t ppr_24_hrs
April 17th, 2017 --MVIS files patent for reducing exit pupil disparity in HMDs. h/t ppr_24_hrs
April 20th, 2017 -- MVIS $24M "Large NRE" agreement signed with "major technology company". Agreement foresees development of a new generation of MVIS MEMS and ASICs and is expected to complete by late January 2019 ("21 months" from April 20th, 2017).
April 28th, 2017 -- MSFT files eye-tracking patent (useful for foveated rendering) relying on LBS --patent further describes using the same MEMS scanner that is used for AVR image production to do the IR laser-based eye tracking. Seems to be a further development of MVIS own patent from December 21st, 2016 above. h/t ppr_24_hrs. Patent is published November 1, 2018. See November 15th, 2018 entry below.
April 28th, 2017 #2 --MSFT files compact MEMS scanner patent for AHMD with MEMS design suspiciously close to that which MVIS would reveal to be their new MEMS scanner in April of 2018 (two single-axis mirrors, one much larger than the other). Design facilitates polarization and beam-splitting that other MSFT patents on this thread use to double FOV. h/t flyingmirrors
May 22nd, 2017 --MSFT files another waveguide patent aimed at optimizing for collimated light like the lasers of MVIS LBS. h/t s2upid, flyingmirrors
May 24th, 2017 MSFT files waveguide patent for routing light by colowavelength that appears to be a further refinement/implementation of November 4th, 2016 patent above. h/t s2upid
May 26th, 2017 --MSFT files patent for a waveguide optimized for use with coherent laser light (like, for example, that produced by an MVIS LBS MEMS) to reduce light wastage. Published November 29th, 2018. h/t s2upid
June 8th, 2017 --MVIS Annual Shareholders Meeting presentation by CEO narrows identification of AR customer who received HMD prototype as a Fortune Global 100 company. See slide 13. AR customer description now "world leading technology company" + FG100 member. (h/t L-urch).
June 13th, 2017 --MVIS belatedly decides Sumit Sharma is "reportable" for "insider ownership" purposes and files Form 3 on him with the SEC for the first time disclosing his 130k shares Feb 2017 options award and 200k shares total in options (subject to vesting --dates listed are earliest partial vest date which is one year after initial award).
June 15th, 2017 --MSFT files yet another patent relying on a scanning mirror to facilitate foveated rendering, in this case through multiple output exit pupils of a waveguide. Scanning mirror is controlled through feedback from eye-tracking. h/t ppr_24_hrs
July 5th, 2017 MSFT files another LBS-based eye-tracking patent, explaining how to do LBS-based eye-tracking even with the presence of waveguides --filter the IR wavelength into its own path. Patent cites earlier MVIS patent as well. h/t flyingmirrors
August 2nd, 2017 --MVIS 2Q 10-Q seems to prove AR HMD customer and "Large NRE" customer are the same company in "Concentration of Customers" data. (h/t, umm, me.)
August 3rd, 2017 -- “Some customers are starting on scanning mirror more carefully right now...” - Jordan Wu, CEO of Himax, the company that provides LCOS for the current generation Hololens. (h/t gaporter)
August 11th, 2017 -- MSFT files THIRD patent relying on presence of LBS doing HMD image production to also do eye-tracking, EYE-TRACKING WITH MEMS SCANNING AND REFLECTED LIGHT. H/t ppr_24_hrs
August 15th, 2017 --MSFT files yet a FOURTH patent using LBS to do eye-tracking for HMD. h/t flyingmirrors
August 22nd, 2017 --MSFT files a FIFTH patent relying on a MEMS scanner to do eye-tracking. h/t mike-oxlong98
September 27, 2017 --MSFT files yet another LCoS/MEMS scanner hybrid for HoloLens HMD. In this one it is clear that a smaller LCoS panel is feeding a MEMS scanner that can redirect multiple sub-images to different areas of the waveguide, increasing FoV and total resolution. h/t ppr_24_hrs
October 19th, 2017 --Earliest MSFT patent on this timeline, from April 13th, 2016, is published. All later filed patents on this timeline receive publication after this date. Patent applications generally receive publication (i.e. exposure to the rest of the tech world) 18 months after filing.
November 2nd, 2017 --MVIS announces Phase II AR completed in 3Q 2017. (i.e. by September 30th, 2017)
January 12th, 2018 --MSFT files extensive patent describing workings of an LBS projector and how to improve color alignment of the RGB lasers to improve image quality in a LBS-using HMD. h/t flyingmirrors

January 2018 --THIS LINE REPRESENTS CURRENT LIMIT OF PATENT APPLICATIONS PUBLICATIONS as of 7/18/2019, due to 18 month lag from filing to publication.

April 26th, 2018 --MVIS announces sampling of a new generation two-mirror LBS MEMS scanner at 1440p and 120Hz. Old scanner in HMD prototype of January 2017 was likely current gen at 720p/60Hz. (See also March 3rd, 2017 and March 28th, 2017 above)
June 7th, 2018 --MVIS announces Sumit Sharma promoted to COO, a position that had not existed at the company since the elevation of Alexander Tokman from COO to CEO in 2006.
June 2018 --MSFT next HoloLens code named "Sydney" rumored for 1Q 2019 release.
July 31st, 2018 --MVIS CEO Perry Mulligan reports "We're about two-thirds of the way through that contract and we believe the difficult technical tasks are now behind us." Also says Large NRE customer confirms 2019 launch with MVIS components inside.
October 25th, 2018 --MVIS CEO reaffirms at 3Q CC re "Large NRE" that "our Tier 1 customer advised us they plan to bring to market a product using our technology some time in 2019. This is still the plan."
November 15th, 2018 (Part A) --MVIS CEO Perry Mulligan expands description of MVIS AVR offering to include "Integrated. . . Sensor" (Pg 13) for first time. Old language, "Optical Engine for Binocular Headset Large Field of View / High Resolution". New language, "Integrated Display and Sensor Module for Binocular Headset". See April 28th, 2017 above for relevance. h/t snowboardnirvana. IR later admits that "sensor" language addition is aimed at eye-tracking capability. h/t snowboardnirvana, again.
November 15th, 2018 (Part B) --Same conference, verbal comments from webcast, "If you believe AMR will replace VR as the majority use case, you have to believe that Laser Beam Scanning technology is in fact a solution that's required to make that happen." "We're very comfortable our core technology allows us to be a predominant player in that space." In discussing 2019 revenue from AMR, "We definitely have the quality of features and right price point for Augmented and Mixed Reality." Carefully allows "There's a chance we'll sell a small number of units" in 2019 with more volume in 2020-2021.
February 2019 MVIS ASIC designer Melany Richmond, brought on in summer of 2017 with announced group of new engineering hires to work on "Large NRE", finishes up ASIC designs at MVIS for Large NRE (project was only 21 months as announced initially in April 2017), and immediately moves to MSFT. Who better for the customer to hire to know how to get the most out of programming firmware and applications for her ASIC? h/t L-urch
February 24th, 2019 -- MSFT announces HL2 in Barcelona, Spain at MWC. Design includes MEMS scanner that appears to match descriptions provided by MVIS for their new scanner announced on April 26th, 2018 (see upstream).
October 3rd, 2019 --Long time community member of MicroVision enthusiasts attends Alex Kipman's talk on the science of HoloLens 2 in Zurich, Switzerland. Snaps photo from second row of a slide Kipman uses to show an early prototype of HoloLens 2. Photo clearly shows "MicroVision" logo in the center unit area just above the large '7' near the right edge of the photo. --h/t, Mutti_got_MVIS
November 6th, 2019 --In response to an analyst's question at the 3Q 2019 results conference call, MicroVision CEO Perry Mulligan allows as indeedy that does appear to be a MicroVision logo on the Kipman presentation slide of an early HL2 prototype.". . . he [Alex Kipman of Microsoft] referenced some of the pictures I think the HoloLens 2 model. And in that picture, it looks like you can see the MicroVision logo on some of those components. We can confirm that it appears to be our logo. And beyond that, I can't make any other comment."
Total event entries -- 51
MSFT LBS HoloLens Patent Summary by Month/Year
Apr-16 --2
Sep-16 --2
Nov-16 --1
Dec-16 --3
Total 2016 --8
Mar-17 --2
Apr-17 --5
May-17 --3
June-17 --1
July-17 --1
August-17 --3
September-17 --1
Total 2017 --16
Jan-18 -1
Total 2018 --1*
Total Total* --25*
*18 month lag from patent application to publication means only patent applications filed by January of 2018 or earlier have been disclosed publicly as of July 2019.
Hat Tip (h/t) Scoreboard (by earliest date of entry on timeline):
mike-oxlong98 --3
flyingmirrors --9
baverch75 --1
s2upid --4
view-from-afar --3
gaporter --6
TheGordo-San --1
ppr_24_hrs --6
L-urch --2
geo_rule --1
snowboardnirvana --2
lichtwellen --1
Mutti_got_MVIS --1
submitted by geo_rule to MVIS [link] [comments]


2019.12.08 07:01 Tazling Mysteries of UPS... what is "Express Saver" really?

On Dev 4th I ordered an item from Newegg Canada. Order processed, no trouble, but the next morning I checked the delivery estimate and thought Oh No, I forgot to click on Express Shipping. Called Newegg to see if they could upgrade the shipping: No, package already picked up, they can't change it. But I can order the item again with Express Shipping (UPS Express Saver) for an extra $8, and that should be faster. Newegg is quite cool about it, says I can just refuse delivery of the slower package. I check UPS web site and it says Express Saver is "next day"! OK, so I order the item again. Problem solved!
Well maybe not. Here it gets interesting. When I track that second item (after UPS picks it up), it's estimated to take 13 days -- exactly the same amount of time as estimated for the first order! So what did I pay for? I called UPS to inquire and got a polite, though frazzled gentleman -- possibly in the Indian Subcontinent or Oceania somewhere -- who gave me very confusing answers; basically, it seemed that no matter what their web site says about Express Saver, there is actually no guarantee of faster shipping. He was sorry, but that was that.
And it gets slightly weirder yet. On my last look at the tracking this evening, the first package is now shown as "Express Saver" even though I didn't pay for that service on the first order. Did UPS upgrade it? If they did, what was the point -- since both services are equally slow?
I'm completely puzzled. Is the vendor pocketing the extra $8 but paying the same rate to UPS? Is the "Express Saver" text on my order intended merely to make me feel better? Why is it called Express, if it's the same speed as Ground?
And now it gets even better. I live on the coast of BC, on a small island two ferries from "civilisation". My packages probably are coming from Ontario, at a guess -- a long way away. My packages both made it across the country to Richmond BC (only about 200km from me) in record time: the second package got there in 1 day, the first in 2 days.
The estimated delivery time for Package 1 (when it first hit Richmond) was Dec 13, and for Package 2 Dec 16 iirc. Now that has changed. You might think that this would be good news, but no. The new estimated delivery times are Dec 18 for Package 1 and Dec 16 for Package 2. So UPS has just tacked on 5 extra (calendar) days for one, but zero extra days for the other, even though they are both sitting in the same warehouse not far from me and both (apparently) are now shipped with the same priority. [Richmond! it's practically next door. I could drive down there and get them -- though that would cost a lot in ferries and be an overnight expedition.]
So you can see, it's both frustrating and puzzling. I'm sure UPS employees are doing their best, I wouldn't be surprised if they were overworked and underpaid... but it's hopelessly confusing for the customer. What are my packages doing in Richmond BC for another 10 days or so? What happens in Richmond? I do realise it's Silly Season and all, but still, it's very disheartening to see the delivery date receding into the future rather than getting closer. And I needed this computer part to complete a project, so that only adds to the frustration. My project is on hold. I hate to say it, but I'm kinda wishing now that Newegg offered DHL or Purolator as options. In my limited experience, they seem to ship really fast.
I realise that sensible people would tell me, Never order anything online after Dec 1, you fool! And they'd be right. I kinda did this to myself by placing an order on Dec 4 (and 5). But I still don't understand why Richmond BC is the Great Sargasso Sea of package delivery, where packages drift into the doldrums and grow barnacles, waiting to be released. Can anyone from UPS explain any of these mysteries? Inquiring minds would like to know... and besides, it gives me something to do while waiting for my part so I can finish building a computer as an xmas gift for my better half.
submitted by Tazling to UPS [link] [comments]


2019.11.30 18:25 bigbear0083 Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning December 2nd, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week and month ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning December 2nd, 2019.

Markets may get a boost from cheery Black Friday consumer sentiment, seasonal strength - (Source)

Stocks have had a bang-up year so far, and they’re heading straight into the month that is often the best of all.
The S&P 500 is up more than 25% for the year. Thanksgiving week was technically positive for the market, with the small cap Russell 2000 breaking out, joining other indexes in an uptrend.
Stocks, however, were lower Friday in sluggish trading after the Thanksgiving holiday. Through Wednesday, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 had all popped to new record highs, with consumer discretionary and tech names leading the market higher this past week. The Russell 2000 is not yet back to its highs, but it pushed above its previous 52-week high, in a healthy sign for the overall market.
In the coming week, investor focus will move more intently to the topic of trade, and that is what will make or break the rally at year-end.
President Donald Trump has promised that a preliminary trade deal with China is close, but there still is no agreement and the Dec.15 deadline for new tariffs is getting closer. Trump’s signing of legislation Wednesday supporting the Hong Kong protesters drew a negative reaction from Beijing and adds more uncertainty to trade talks.
The health of the economy is also a factor for markets, and there is some key data, with the ISM manufacturing report on Monday followed by the government’s all-important monthly jobs data on Friday.

Best month of year

2019 has turned out to be a very good year for the market, with the Jan. 1 to Thanksgiving Day period the 14th best for the S&P 500 since 1928, according to Bespoke. The 25.5% gain in the S&P 500 was the best for the period since 2013, and now the market enters a typically strong period.
“December is the best month of the year. The S&P is up 1.6 percent on average. It also has the highest frequency of advances, up 76% of the time,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. December is also the least volatile month of all, but it could see some bumps.
“The market tends to go through a mid-December low, which then represents a good buying opportunity, at least through the end of January,” Stovall said, adding he thinks the decline would be no more than 5%. “I don’t think we need a big pullback or a correction. A mid-single digit decline would be sufficient.”
Stovall said 2019 was set up to win because of the way the year started, following the sharp sell-off last December. When the months of January and February are higher, the S&P 500 has an average total return of 24%, according to data going back to 1945. If the following year does not see have a similar double gain in January and February, it still does fairly well with a normal average return of 8% to 9%, he said.
The market’s performance for the entire year also bodes well for a positive move into year-end, according to Bespoke. Since 1928, when stocks are up 20% or more by Thanksgiving, like this year, the S&P 500 usually ends the year even higher, with an average gain of 1.8% between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve, Bespoke noted.

S&P Sub-industry sector performance

Stovall also looked at sector performance for December, going back to 1995 and found that some of the worst performing S&P sub-industry sectors were retail oriented and are highly dependent on good holiday sales. On average, computer and electronics retailers were weakest, off 4.5%, followed by leisure products off 2.2% and department stores, off 0.9%. Specialty stores and apparel and luxury goods were also among the 10 poorest performers.
While 87% of the sub-industry sectors were positive, the top performer was homebuilding, up 4.5 %, followed by home improvement retail.
“You want to buy now what nobody wants to own,” said Stovall, noting the market is forward pricing so investors are looking ahead to building activity picking up in spring and summer when they dip into homebuilders. Companies that sell fertilizers also do well in December.
Stocks on Friday closed out their best monthly performance since June. The S&P 500 was up 3.4% to 3,140, and the Dow closed Friday at 28,051, up 3.7% for the month of November.
Technology was the best performing sector for the month, gaining 5.2%. That helped drive the Nasdaq up 4.5% for the month to 8,665.
Biotech was also a top performer, helping lift the Russell 2000, which gained 4% in November to 1,624. The IBB iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF was up 11% for the month.

Trade tensions

The big risk to the market in December is the outcome of trade talks, but economic reports will be important as investors continue to assess whether the Fed was right in ending its rate cuts.
The economy has shown some signs of picking up, and a string of improved data has led economists to look for better growth in the fourth quarter. But the critical driver of growth continues to be the consumer, so holiday sales will be an important indicator to watch.
Employment data remains the most important of the economic reports, since a strong labor market is crucial for consumer confidence and spending.
Economists expect the economy added 183,000 jobs in November, according to Refinitiv. The economy added 128,000 jobs in October, even with the negative drag of 46,000 striking GM workers and the reduction of 17,000 federal government jobs, due to the end of temporary employment for Census workers.
“For the employment report, we think one factor that is likely to result in a slightly stronger headline payroll number is the fact we will now count the GM workers that were on strike,” said Barclays economist Pooja Sriram. “We estimated 36,000 to 40,000 were left out of the report in October. We think they’re to be counted as part of the November report. Much of that is going to be seen in private payrolls and especially in manufacturing payrolls.”
In October, ISM manufacturing activity improved, and even though it remained in contraction, some economists said the slowdown may be showing signs of bottoming.
The ISM index is expected to be at 49.4, still shy of 50, which shows expansion, but better than October’s 48.3. “We still think it’s going to be a sub-50 print,” said Sriram.
October’s durable goods report showed a surprise gain in business investment when economists had expected to see contraction.
Sriram said the speed of decline in manufacturing has certainly slowed, and she is watching the data closely. “I don’t think we’re comfortable saying we bottomed,” she said.
OPEC and Russia hold meetings in Vienna on Thursday and Friday, and analysts expect them to extend their production cutting agreement. However, Russia may seek to change the rules for how it counts its petroleum output, so the meeting may not be as predictable as expected, some analysts say.

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Next Week's Economic Indicators - 11/29/19

Even with a holiday and a shortened session Friday leaving no US releases in the past 48 hours, it was a very busy week for economic data with 36 releases in the first three days. Most of this data came in stronger than expected or above the prior reading where there were no forecasts. While the bulk of the week's data was strong, manufacturing data, namely from the regional Fed indices, was mixed. We started off with a weaker Chicago Fed National Activity Index on Monday. The index fell from -0.45 last month to -0.71 rather than the expected improvement to -0.2. The Dallas Fed's index was also out on Monday and it improved more than expected as well as versus the prior month. On Tuesday, the Richmond Fed's gauge on manufacturing was also worse than expected. On the bright side, other manufacturing hard data like durable goods came in much stronger than both the previous month and consensus forecasts. Housing data was also solid this week with better than anticipated home price growth shown in two of the three indicators: the quarterly Home Price Purchase Index, FHFA, and Case-Shiller (only the Case-Shiller index was weaker than expected, albeit up from the prior month). The second release of third-quarter GDP was the most notable indicator of the week with a much stronger than expected reading which showed the economy grew by 2.1% QoQ versus estimates of a 1.9% growth rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We kick off December with another busy few days next week. Final November Markit and ISM numbers will kick off the week on Monday. While Markit is not expecting any change from the preliminary readings, ISM is expected to improve to 49.2 which would still be a contractionary print. In hard manufacturing data, later in the week we will see final durable and capital goods numbers for November. Vehicle sales figures will be the only release on Tuesday followed by the service counterparts to Markit and ISM indices on Wednesday as the rest of the week's main focus will be on labor data. After a surprisingly strong release last month, Nonfarm Payrolls is again expecting a strong print showing 190K jobs created in the month of November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Stocks To Be The Most Thankful For

Below is a list of the 25 best performing stocks in the S&P 500 so far in 2019. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) tops the list with a gain of more than 100%. While no other S&P 500 stocks have yet to double this year, another semi name, Lam Research (LRCX) has come close with a gain of 99%. Xerox (XRX), MarketAxess (MKTX), and Target (TGT) have also all risen more than 90%.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Apple (AAPL) is the 19th best performing stock in the list above. But because of its trillion+ dollar market cap, Apple's (AAPL) 69% gain has a much bigger impact on the overall stock market than all of the other stocks that have seen a bigger price move this year. In fact, of the S&P 500's 25% price gain this year, Apple has accounted for 2.24 of those percentage points (or roughly 9%).
Instead of looking at simple year-to-date price change, below is a list of the stocks that investors should be most thankful for this year because of their contribution to the S&P's gains. Right behind Apple (AAPL) in first is the other trillion+ dollar company -- Microsoft (MSFT) -- which has accounted for 1.7 percentage points of the S&P's 25% gain. After AAPL and MSFT are Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), and Amazon (AMZN). Together these five mega-caps account for 25% of the S&P's move higher this year. While this group of companies has been vilified in 2019 for a number of things, they're certainly still delivering for the stock market in a big way.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P 500 Industry Group Breadth Running Strong

The S&P 500 may be hitting record highs at a pace of more than once every other day, but would you believe that there are still Industry Groups trading below their 50-day moving averages? The chart below shows the rolling percentage of Industry Groups trading above their 50-DMAs over the last several years, and the current reading stands at 91.7%. Over the last five years there have been numerous periods where a higher percentage (and even 100%) of Industry Groups traded above their 50-DMAs, and the most recent was back in July.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
So which are the two outlier groups that are still below their 50-DMAs? Well, when everyone seems to be taking an offensive posture in the market, it's only natural that defensive sectors would be lagging, and two of the most defensive-oriented sectors in this yield-hungry world we live in are Utilities and Real Estate. Even these two groups, though, are only about 1% below their 50-DMAs, so all it will take is one or two good days for these groups to get them back over the hump. On the upside, Health Care Equipment & Services is the furthest above its 50-DMA at 7.72%.
The S&P 500 as a whole is currently just over 4% above its 50-DMA. What's interesting to note here, though, is that just 9 of the 24 Industry Groups are further above their 50-DMAs while 15 are not above their 50-DMAs by as much as the S&P 500. In terms of YTD returns, the S&P 500 is currently sitting on a gain of more than 25% YTD. Leading the way higher this year, Tech Hardware (Apple) has rallied just under 48%, while Semis are up just over 40%. Behind these two leaders, four other Industry Groups are up over 30% YTD. While there is no downside on a YTD basis, Energy has been the biggest laggard and is just barely hanging on to a YTD gain. If Energy can't hang onto a YTD gain in a year where the S&P 500 gains more than 25%, Energy investors may need to wear paper bags over their heads.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Technology Sector P/E Highest in Ten Years

As equities run to all-time highs, valuations are at a fairly interesting point. As shown in the chart below using data from our Daily Sector Snapshot included with our Morning Lineup and The Closer, most sectors' valuations are at the upper end of the past ten years' range. Four sectors, Consumer Discretionary, Communication Services, Utilities, and Technology all have trailing P/E ratios in the 90th percentile or higher of the past ten years' readings.
Since the S&P 500 established its first all-time high since July on October 28th, Health Care and Financials have been two of the strongest performers rising 6.68% and 4.35%, respectively. Despite these runs, both of these sectors still have reasonable valuations relative to the past decade. For Financials, the current trailing price-to-earnings ratio is in the 42nd percentile of all days of the past ten years. No other sector has such a low reading although Materials and Energy are on the lower end relative to other sectors. On the other hand, Utilities and Technology have some of the highest valuations of the past ten years with the current P/E in the 97th and 99th percentiles, respectively.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
As shown in the chart below, most of the last 9-12 months has seen valuations for Utilities consistently in the uppermost range of the past ten years as investors chased yield in a low interest rate environment. But as risk-free rates have risen more recently, valuations for Utilities have pulled back a bit as price has slid. While there have been other periods in the past ten years where Utilities' P/E ratio was similarly elevated, arguably only 2016/2017 saw it remain at the upper end of the ten-year range as consistently as has been the case this year.
For Technology it is a whole different story. The P/E for the sector got crushed this time last year and after plummeting to the 31st percentile, it is has rebounded to the highest levels of the past ten years. The only other time that the sector traded at a similar premium relative to the past decade's range was back in early 2018.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Thanksgiving through Santa Claus Rally Trade

Everyone is talking about yearend seasonal strength this year, but it’s not news to us. 2019 has been tracking historical seasonal market patterns quite closely this year and that suggests it is likely to continue to track it.
Our good friend Larry McMillan (@optstrategist) trades seasonal yearend strength with the Russell 2000 from the close the day before Thanksgiving through the end of our Santa Claus Rally (the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the New Year).
So here we have run the numbers from 1979 when the Russell index data begins comparing R2K to the DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ. The small-cap index Russell 2000 is the best performer up an average 3.1% (median 3.2%) with an 80% win ratio up 32 of the last 40 years. Last year was the worst and it’s been down 3 of the last 5 years.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Giving Thanks for the U.S. Consumer

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for solid consumer confidence, even though it has wavered in recent months.
Consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in November, according to preliminary Conference Board data. Even though the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index has dropped from its economic cycle peak, consumer sentiment is still historically elevated, as shown in the LPL Chart of the Day.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the U.S. consumer’s resilience over the past year as other parts of the domestic economy have weakened amid global headwinds. Strong consumer spending has helped the economy grow at a 2% average rate over the past two quarters, despite drags on growth from business spending, inventories, and trade.
“Consumer sentiment has been largely immune from global headwinds,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “We expect consumer spending to power economic growth through next year, so we’d like to see consumer confidence pick up more with signs of trade progress.”
Consumers have several reasons to be optimistic. Employment is the primary driver of consumer health, and the U.S. labor market has been resilient. Wages are growing at a healthy rate, and consumers are reaping the benefits of tax cuts and record-high stock prices. As long as the job market stays solid and inflation remains in check, we feel good about consumers’ prospects.
Still, there are growing signs of concern. While survey respondents have remained optimistic about present conditions, their outlook on future conditions has soured, according to the Conference Board. If consumers are feeling less confident about the future, they may be less inclined to spend and invest. That loss of confidence in the outlook could lead to economic weakness over time if consumers step back.
Overall, we would need to see more significant deterioration in consumer confidence before we would start to worry about the economic outlook.

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending November 29th, 2019

([CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!]())
(VIDEO NOT YET POSTED!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 12.1.19

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $CRM
  • $DG
  • $ULTA
  • $COUP
  • $MRVL
  • $WDAY
  • $ZS
  • $RH
  • $OKTA
  • $TIF
  • $CRWD
  • $KR
  • $CLDR
  • $DSX
  • $WORK
  • $BMO
  • $ZM
  • $CPB
  • $FIVE
  • $QTT
  • $DOCU
  • $MIK
  • $TD
  • $YJ
  • $LE
  • $AVAV
  • $RY
  • $SNPS
  • $HQY
  • $DCI
  • $BIG
  • $GSM
  • $SIG
  • $SMAR
  • $GIII
  • $HOME
  • $HRB
  • $DLTH
  • $TLYS
  • $ZUO
  • $GEF
  • $JW.A
  • $GMS
  • $EXPR
  • $ZUMZ
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST ANTICIPATED EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 5 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 12.2.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Monday 12.2.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 12.3.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 12.3.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 12.4.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 12.4.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Thursday 12.5.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Thursday 12.5.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 12.6.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 12.6.19 After Market Close:

([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Salesforce $162.89

Salesforce (CRM) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $4.44 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.69 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 77% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.65 to $0.66 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 8.20% with revenue increasing by 30.90%. Short interest has decreased by 48.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.4% above its 200 day moving average of $154.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, November 25, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,252 contracts of the $162.50 call expiring on Friday, December 6, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.7% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Dollar General Corporation $157.36

Dollar General Corporation (DG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.38 per share on revenue of $6.91 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.39 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 77% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.52% with revenue increasing by 7.67%. Short interest has decreased by 1.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 14.0% above its 200 day moving average of $138.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, November 27, 2019 there was some notable buying of 574 contracts of the $100.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 6.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

ULTA Beauty $233.86

ULTA Beauty (ULTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.14 per share on revenue of $1.69 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.17 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 1.83% with revenue increasing by 8.33%. Short interest has increased by 1.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 7.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.5% below its 200 day moving average of $305.86. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,992 contracts of the $200.00 put expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 9.9% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Coupa Software $153.49

Coupa Software (COUP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, December 2, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.06 per share on revenue of $96.50 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 70% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.05 to $0.08 per share on revenue of $96.00 million to $96.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 53.85% with revenue increasing by 43.06%. Short interest has increased by 74.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 26.1% above its 200 day moving average of $121.76. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 29, 2019 there was some notable buying of 679 contracts of the $172.50 call expiring on Friday, December 6, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. $26.37

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.17 per share on revenue of $660.23 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.19 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.15 to $0.19 per share on revenue of $640.00 million to $680.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 55.26% with revenue decreasing by 22.42%. Short interest has increased by 25.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 9.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.5% above its 200 day moving average of $24.08. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 15, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,289 contracts of the $29.00 call expiring on Friday, May 15, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 6.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 1.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Workday, Inc. $179.12

Workday, Inc. (WDAY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.37 per share on revenue of $918.63 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.40 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $918.00 million to $920.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 640.00% with revenue increasing by 23.61%. Short interest has increased by 5.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $188.76. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, November 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,895 contracts of the $160.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 6.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 26.0% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Zscaler, Inc. $52.13

Zscaler, Inc. (ZS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.01 per share on revenue of $89.34 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.03 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 75% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for results to range from breakeven to earnings of $0.01 per share on revenue of $89.00 million to $90.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 200.00% with revenue increasing by 41.14%. Short interest has increased by 110.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 18.7% below its 200 day moving average of $64.13. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, November 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 2,720 contracts of the $47.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 14.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 15.2% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

RH $205.59

RH (RH) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.21 per share on revenue of $675.57 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.35 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 27.75% with revenue increasing by 6.13%. Short interest has increased by 14.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 32.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 49.3% above its 200 day moving average of $137.69. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 13.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 16.2% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Okta, Inc. $129.78

Okta, Inc. (OKTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.12 per share on revenue of $143.45 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.10) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.13 to $0.12 per share on revenue of $143.00 million to $144.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 220.00% with revenue increasing by 35.87%. Short interest has increased by 25.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.2% above its 200 day moving average of $110.74. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, November 27, 2019 there was some notable buying of 549 contracts of the $170.00 call expiring on Friday, May 15, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.3% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Tiffany & Co. $133.80

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:40 AM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.85 per share on revenue of $1.04 billion. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 10.39% with revenue increasing by 2.73%. Short interest has decreased by 38.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 69.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 36.1% above its 200 day moving average of $98.28. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, November 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 3,427 contracts of the $100.00 put expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 0.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.5% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead wallstreetbets.
submitted by bigbear0083 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]


2019.11.30 18:24 bigbear0083 Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning December 2nd, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on stocks. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week and month ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning December 2nd, 2019.

Markets may get a boost from cheery Black Friday consumer sentiment, seasonal strength - (Source)

Stocks have had a bang-up year so far, and they’re heading straight into the month that is often the best of all.
The S&P 500 is up more than 25% for the year. Thanksgiving week was technically positive for the market, with the small cap Russell 2000 breaking out, joining other indexes in an uptrend.
Stocks, however, were lower Friday in sluggish trading after the Thanksgiving holiday. Through Wednesday, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 had all popped to new record highs, with consumer discretionary and tech names leading the market higher this past week. The Russell 2000 is not yet back to its highs, but it pushed above its previous 52-week high, in a healthy sign for the overall market.
In the coming week, investor focus will move more intently to the topic of trade, and that is what will make or break the rally at year-end.
President Donald Trump has promised that a preliminary trade deal with China is close, but there still is no agreement and the Dec.15 deadline for new tariffs is getting closer. Trump’s signing of legislation Wednesday supporting the Hong Kong protesters drew a negative reaction from Beijing and adds more uncertainty to trade talks.
The health of the economy is also a factor for markets, and there is some key data, with the ISM manufacturing report on Monday followed by the government’s all-important monthly jobs data on Friday.

Best month of year

2019 has turned out to be a very good year for the market, with the Jan. 1 to Thanksgiving Day period the 14th best for the S&P 500 since 1928, according to Bespoke. The 25.5% gain in the S&P 500 was the best for the period since 2013, and now the market enters a typically strong period.
“December is the best month of the year. The S&P is up 1.6 percent on average. It also has the highest frequency of advances, up 76% of the time,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. December is also the least volatile month of all, but it could see some bumps.
“The market tends to go through a mid-December low, which then represents a good buying opportunity, at least through the end of January,” Stovall said, adding he thinks the decline would be no more than 5%. “I don’t think we need a big pullback or a correction. A mid-single digit decline would be sufficient.”
Stovall said 2019 was set up to win because of the way the year started, following the sharp sell-off last December. When the months of January and February are higher, the S&P 500 has an average total return of 24%, according to data going back to 1945. If the following year does not see have a similar double gain in January and February, it still does fairly well with a normal average return of 8% to 9%, he said.
The market’s performance for the entire year also bodes well for a positive move into year-end, according to Bespoke. Since 1928, when stocks are up 20% or more by Thanksgiving, like this year, the S&P 500 usually ends the year even higher, with an average gain of 1.8% between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve, Bespoke noted.

S&P Sub-industry sector performance

Stovall also looked at sector performance for December, going back to 1995 and found that some of the worst performing S&P sub-industry sectors were retail oriented and are highly dependent on good holiday sales. On average, computer and electronics retailers were weakest, off 4.5%, followed by leisure products off 2.2% and department stores, off 0.9%. Specialty stores and apparel and luxury goods were also among the 10 poorest performers.
While 87% of the sub-industry sectors were positive, the top performer was homebuilding, up 4.5 %, followed by home improvement retail.
“You want to buy now what nobody wants to own,” said Stovall, noting the market is forward pricing so investors are looking ahead to building activity picking up in spring and summer when they dip into homebuilders. Companies that sell fertilizers also do well in December.
Stocks on Friday closed out their best monthly performance since June. The S&P 500 was up 3.4% to 3,140, and the Dow closed Friday at 28,051, up 3.7% for the month of November.
Technology was the best performing sector for the month, gaining 5.2%. That helped drive the Nasdaq up 4.5% for the month to 8,665.
Biotech was also a top performer, helping lift the Russell 2000, which gained 4% in November to 1,624. The IBB iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF was up 11% for the month.

Trade tensions

The big risk to the market in December is the outcome of trade talks, but economic reports will be important as investors continue to assess whether the Fed was right in ending its rate cuts.
The economy has shown some signs of picking up, and a string of improved data has led economists to look for better growth in the fourth quarter. But the critical driver of growth continues to be the consumer, so holiday sales will be an important indicator to watch.
Employment data remains the most important of the economic reports, since a strong labor market is crucial for consumer confidence and spending.
Economists expect the economy added 183,000 jobs in November, according to Refinitiv. The economy added 128,000 jobs in October, even with the negative drag of 46,000 striking GM workers and the reduction of 17,000 federal government jobs, due to the end of temporary employment for Census workers.
“For the employment report, we think one factor that is likely to result in a slightly stronger headline payroll number is the fact we will now count the GM workers that were on strike,” said Barclays economist Pooja Sriram. “We estimated 36,000 to 40,000 were left out of the report in October. We think they’re to be counted as part of the November report. Much of that is going to be seen in private payrolls and especially in manufacturing payrolls.”
In October, ISM manufacturing activity improved, and even though it remained in contraction, some economists said the slowdown may be showing signs of bottoming.
The ISM index is expected to be at 49.4, still shy of 50, which shows expansion, but better than October’s 48.3. “We still think it’s going to be a sub-50 print,” said Sriram.
October’s durable goods report showed a surprise gain in business investment when economists had expected to see contraction.
Sriram said the speed of decline in manufacturing has certainly slowed, and she is watching the data closely. “I don’t think we’re comfortable saying we bottomed,” she said.
OPEC and Russia hold meetings in Vienna on Thursday and Friday, and analysts expect them to extend their production cutting agreement. However, Russia may seek to change the rules for how it counts its petroleum output, so the meeting may not be as predictable as expected, some analysts say.

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

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Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

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Next Week's Economic Indicators - 11/29/19

Even with a holiday and a shortened session Friday leaving no US releases in the past 48 hours, it was a very busy week for economic data with 36 releases in the first three days. Most of this data came in stronger than expected or above the prior reading where there were no forecasts. While the bulk of the week's data was strong, manufacturing data, namely from the regional Fed indices, was mixed. We started off with a weaker Chicago Fed National Activity Index on Monday. The index fell from -0.45 last month to -0.71 rather than the expected improvement to -0.2. The Dallas Fed's index was also out on Monday and it improved more than expected as well as versus the prior month. On Tuesday, the Richmond Fed's gauge on manufacturing was also worse than expected. On the bright side, other manufacturing hard data like durable goods came in much stronger than both the previous month and consensus forecasts. Housing data was also solid this week with better than anticipated home price growth shown in two of the three indicators: the quarterly Home Price Purchase Index, FHFA, and Case-Shiller (only the Case-Shiller index was weaker than expected, albeit up from the prior month). The second release of third-quarter GDP was the most notable indicator of the week with a much stronger than expected reading which showed the economy grew by 2.1% QoQ versus estimates of a 1.9% growth rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We kick off December with another busy few days next week. Final November Markit and ISM numbers will kick off the week on Monday. While Markit is not expecting any change from the preliminary readings, ISM is expected to improve to 49.2 which would still be a contractionary print. In hard manufacturing data, later in the week we will see final durable and capital goods numbers for November. Vehicle sales figures will be the only release on Tuesday followed by the service counterparts to Markit and ISM indices on Wednesday as the rest of the week's main focus will be on labor data. After a surprisingly strong release last month, Nonfarm Payrolls is again expecting a strong print showing 190K jobs created in the month of November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Stocks To Be The Most Thankful For

Below is a list of the 25 best performing stocks in the S&P 500 so far in 2019. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) tops the list with a gain of more than 100%. While no other S&P 500 stocks have yet to double this year, another semi name, Lam Research (LRCX) has come close with a gain of 99%. Xerox (XRX), MarketAxess (MKTX), and Target (TGT) have also all risen more than 90%.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Apple (AAPL) is the 19th best performing stock in the list above. But because of its trillion+ dollar market cap, Apple's (AAPL) 69% gain has a much bigger impact on the overall stock market than all of the other stocks that have seen a bigger price move this year. In fact, of the S&P 500's 25% price gain this year, Apple has accounted for 2.24 of those percentage points (or roughly 9%).
Instead of looking at simple year-to-date price change, below is a list of the stocks that investors should be most thankful for this year because of their contribution to the S&P's gains. Right behind Apple (AAPL) in first is the other trillion+ dollar company -- Microsoft (MSFT) -- which has accounted for 1.7 percentage points of the S&P's 25% gain. After AAPL and MSFT are Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOGL), and Amazon (AMZN). Together these five mega-caps account for 25% of the S&P's move higher this year. While this group of companies has been vilified in 2019 for a number of things, they're certainly still delivering for the stock market in a big way.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P 500 Industry Group Breadth Running Strong

The S&P 500 may be hitting record highs at a pace of more than once every other day, but would you believe that there are still Industry Groups trading below their 50-day moving averages? The chart below shows the rolling percentage of Industry Groups trading above their 50-DMAs over the last several years, and the current reading stands at 91.7%. Over the last five years there have been numerous periods where a higher percentage (and even 100%) of Industry Groups traded above their 50-DMAs, and the most recent was back in July.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
So which are the two outlier groups that are still below their 50-DMAs? Well, when everyone seems to be taking an offensive posture in the market, it's only natural that defensive sectors would be lagging, and two of the most defensive-oriented sectors in this yield-hungry world we live in are Utilities and Real Estate. Even these two groups, though, are only about 1% below their 50-DMAs, so all it will take is one or two good days for these groups to get them back over the hump. On the upside, Health Care Equipment & Services is the furthest above its 50-DMA at 7.72%.
The S&P 500 as a whole is currently just over 4% above its 50-DMA. What's interesting to note here, though, is that just 9 of the 24 Industry Groups are further above their 50-DMAs while 15 are not above their 50-DMAs by as much as the S&P 500. In terms of YTD returns, the S&P 500 is currently sitting on a gain of more than 25% YTD. Leading the way higher this year, Tech Hardware (Apple) has rallied just under 48%, while Semis are up just over 40%. Behind these two leaders, four other Industry Groups are up over 30% YTD. While there is no downside on a YTD basis, Energy has been the biggest laggard and is just barely hanging on to a YTD gain. If Energy can't hang onto a YTD gain in a year where the S&P 500 gains more than 25%, Energy investors may need to wear paper bags over their heads.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Technology Sector P/E Highest in Ten Years

As equities run to all-time highs, valuations are at a fairly interesting point. As shown in the chart below using data from our Daily Sector Snapshot included with our Morning Lineup and The Closer, most sectors' valuations are at the upper end of the past ten years' range. Four sectors, Consumer Discretionary, Communication Services, Utilities, and Technology all have trailing P/E ratios in the 90th percentile or higher of the past ten years' readings.
Since the S&P 500 established its first all-time high since July on October 28th, Health Care and Financials have been two of the strongest performers rising 6.68% and 4.35%, respectively. Despite these runs, both of these sectors still have reasonable valuations relative to the past decade. For Financials, the current trailing price-to-earnings ratio is in the 42nd percentile of all days of the past ten years. No other sector has such a low reading although Materials and Energy are on the lower end relative to other sectors. On the other hand, Utilities and Technology have some of the highest valuations of the past ten years with the current P/E in the 97th and 99th percentiles, respectively.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
As shown in the chart below, most of the last 9-12 months has seen valuations for Utilities consistently in the uppermost range of the past ten years as investors chased yield in a low interest rate environment. But as risk-free rates have risen more recently, valuations for Utilities have pulled back a bit as price has slid. While there have been other periods in the past ten years where Utilities' P/E ratio was similarly elevated, arguably only 2016/2017 saw it remain at the upper end of the ten-year range as consistently as has been the case this year.
For Technology it is a whole different story. The P/E for the sector got crushed this time last year and after plummeting to the 31st percentile, it is has rebounded to the highest levels of the past ten years. The only other time that the sector traded at a similar premium relative to the past decade's range was back in early 2018.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Thanksgiving through Santa Claus Rally Trade

Everyone is talking about yearend seasonal strength this year, but it’s not news to us. 2019 has been tracking historical seasonal market patterns quite closely this year and that suggests it is likely to continue to track it.
Our good friend Larry McMillan (@optstrategist) trades seasonal yearend strength with the Russell 2000 from the close the day before Thanksgiving through the end of our Santa Claus Rally (the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the New Year).
So here we have run the numbers from 1979 when the Russell index data begins comparing R2K to the DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ. The small-cap index Russell 2000 is the best performer up an average 3.1% (median 3.2%) with an 80% win ratio up 32 of the last 40 years. Last year was the worst and it’s been down 3 of the last 5 years.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Giving Thanks for the U.S. Consumer

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for solid consumer confidence, even though it has wavered in recent months.
Consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in November, according to preliminary Conference Board data. Even though the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index has dropped from its economic cycle peak, consumer sentiment is still historically elevated, as shown in the LPL Chart of the Day.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the U.S. consumer’s resilience over the past year as other parts of the domestic economy have weakened amid global headwinds. Strong consumer spending has helped the economy grow at a 2% average rate over the past two quarters, despite drags on growth from business spending, inventories, and trade.
“Consumer sentiment has been largely immune from global headwinds,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “We expect consumer spending to power economic growth through next year, so we’d like to see consumer confidence pick up more with signs of trade progress.”
Consumers have several reasons to be optimistic. Employment is the primary driver of consumer health, and the U.S. labor market has been resilient. Wages are growing at a healthy rate, and consumers are reaping the benefits of tax cuts and record-high stock prices. As long as the job market stays solid and inflation remains in check, we feel good about consumers’ prospects.
Still, there are growing signs of concern. While survey respondents have remained optimistic about present conditions, their outlook on future conditions has soured, according to the Conference Board. If consumers are feeling less confident about the future, they may be less inclined to spend and invest. That loss of confidence in the outlook could lead to economic weakness over time if consumers step back.
Overall, we would need to see more significant deterioration in consumer confidence before we would start to worry about the economic outlook.

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending November 29th, 2019

([CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!]())
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STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 12.1.19

([CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!]())
(VIDEO NOT YET POSTED!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $CRM
  • $DG
  • $ULTA
  • $COUP
  • $MRVL
  • $WDAY
  • $ZS
  • $RH
  • $OKTA
  • $TIF
  • $CRWD
  • $KR
  • $CLDR
  • $DSX
  • $WORK
  • $BMO
  • $ZM
  • $CPB
  • $FIVE
  • $QTT
  • $DOCU
  • $MIK
  • $TD
  • $YJ
  • $LE
  • $AVAV
  • $RY
  • $SNPS
  • $HQY
  • $DCI
  • $BIG
  • $GSM
  • $SIG
  • $SMAR
  • $GIII
  • $HOME
  • $HRB
  • $DLTH
  • $TLYS
  • $ZUO
  • $GEF
  • $JW.A
  • $GMS
  • $EXPR
  • $ZUMZ
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST ANTICIPATED EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 5 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 12.2.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Monday 12.2.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 12.3.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 12.3.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 12.4.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 12.4.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Thursday 12.5.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Thursday 12.5.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 12.6.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 12.6.19 After Market Close:

([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Salesforce $162.89

Salesforce (CRM) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $4.44 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.69 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 77% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.65 to $0.66 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 8.20% with revenue increasing by 30.90%. Short interest has decreased by 48.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.4% above its 200 day moving average of $154.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, November 25, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,252 contracts of the $162.50 call expiring on Friday, December 6, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.7% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Dollar General Corporation $157.36

Dollar General Corporation (DG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.38 per share on revenue of $6.91 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.39 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 77% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.52% with revenue increasing by 7.67%. Short interest has decreased by 1.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 14.0% above its 200 day moving average of $138.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, November 27, 2019 there was some notable buying of 574 contracts of the $100.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 6.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

ULTA Beauty $233.86

ULTA Beauty (ULTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.14 per share on revenue of $1.69 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.17 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 1.83% with revenue increasing by 8.33%. Short interest has increased by 1.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 7.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.5% below its 200 day moving average of $305.86. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,992 contracts of the $200.00 put expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 9.9% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Coupa Software $153.49

Coupa Software (COUP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, December 2, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.06 per share on revenue of $96.50 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 70% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.05 to $0.08 per share on revenue of $96.00 million to $96.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 53.85% with revenue increasing by 43.06%. Short interest has increased by 74.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 26.1% above its 200 day moving average of $121.76. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 29, 2019 there was some notable buying of 679 contracts of the $172.50 call expiring on Friday, December 6, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. $26.37

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.17 per share on revenue of $660.23 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.19 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.15 to $0.19 per share on revenue of $640.00 million to $680.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 55.26% with revenue decreasing by 22.42%. Short interest has increased by 25.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 9.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.5% above its 200 day moving average of $24.08. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, November 15, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,289 contracts of the $29.00 call expiring on Friday, May 15, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 6.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 1.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Workday, Inc. $179.12

Workday, Inc. (WDAY) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.37 per share on revenue of $918.63 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.40 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $918.00 million to $920.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 640.00% with revenue increasing by 23.61%. Short interest has increased by 5.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $188.76. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, November 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,895 contracts of the $160.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 6.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 26.0% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Zscaler, Inc. $52.13

Zscaler, Inc. (ZS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.01 per share on revenue of $89.34 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.03 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 75% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for results to range from breakeven to earnings of $0.01 per share on revenue of $89.00 million to $90.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 200.00% with revenue increasing by 41.14%. Short interest has increased by 110.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 18.7% below its 200 day moving average of $64.13. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, November 12, 2019 there was some notable buying of 2,720 contracts of the $47.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 14.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 15.2% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

RH $205.59

RH (RH) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.21 per share on revenue of $675.57 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.35 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 27.75% with revenue increasing by 6.13%. Short interest has increased by 14.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 32.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 49.3% above its 200 day moving average of $137.69. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 13.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 16.2% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Okta, Inc. $129.78

Okta, Inc. (OKTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.12 per share on revenue of $143.45 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.10) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.13 to $0.12 per share on revenue of $143.00 million to $144.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 220.00% with revenue increasing by 35.87%. Short interest has increased by 25.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.2% above its 200 day moving average of $110.74. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, November 27, 2019 there was some notable buying of 549 contracts of the $170.00 call expiring on Friday, May 15, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.3% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Tiffany & Co. $133.80

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:40 AM ET on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.85 per share on revenue of $1.04 billion. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 10.39% with revenue increasing by 2.73%. Short interest has decreased by 38.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 69.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 36.1% above its 200 day moving average of $98.28. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, November 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 3,427 contracts of the $100.00 put expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 0.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.5% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead stocks.
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