Bitcoin Core version 0.20.0 released

I’m a commentator for a tournament of nightmares. I’m not sure the participants are willing.

You’d think being a psychiatric ward for 38 months would be enough to deter a guy from ever going back to a sport that involves watching human beings at the height of their physical prowess beat the living shit out of each other. Sometimes regulated, sometimes not.
But, here I am, fresh outta the loony bin and reading the most unusual advertising slogan I’d ever laid eyes on;
“The most terrifying tournament has come around once again! Conquer your fears in the NFC*…* literally.”
This was the business card that accompanied my black envelope as it was handed to me on the discharge ward by a well dressed and gangly fella with an uncomfortable wide smile. He didn’t say much of anything, just that his name was “Watson” before bowing and holding up the envelope.
“Heh, like the butler, right?” I said, taking the envelope from his plasticine hands. His smile ripples across his face and he nods slowly, his perfect hair unmoving in the strong wind before he turns on his heel and walks back to the black sedan.
The cold air chilled my bones, and I pulled the medical bracelet from my wrist, grimacing at the marks underneath before following Watson to the Sedan and hauling my luggage into the trunk before setting off, not knowing how I came to even be there in the first place.
I guess right now, that doesn’t really matter.
What matters is where I am now and what I’m doing.
"blood strewn across the canvas, frayed brain matter sailing across my head and splattering against the wall, a woman standing in a pool of blood as the deformed creature twitches on the ground"
My name is Sal “Motormouth” Sabotta, I’m a sports commentator by trade. Be it combat sports, pro wrestling, death-matches or martial arts tournament, I’ve done it all.
I won’t lie; Work can be hard to come by. I’ve spent months struggling for rent and resorting to less tried-and-true commentary methods in order to survive. That has, at times, involved trying my hand at some of the more underground competitions; unregulated fights, sick, illegal games bet on by people on the dark web and worse… Things I’m not going to detail here. Things I’m not proud to have taken a hefty pay-check for from greasy, sweaty fucks in Armani tracksuits and stinking of cheap booze and coke all the way up to well-dressed bitcoin farmers in their 20s who probably own child slaves.
In short, I’m no stranger to the grim underworld or the secrecies with which they conduct their work. I see money and an easy way to make it with my voice; I don’t ask questions.
So when I received an email the day of my discharge from the hospital and I’m told “you’ll receive a letter from Mr. Watson, take it and follow the instructions to the venue. Pay up front as agreed.”, I don’t question it. Especially when the note is personalised, and the doctor says my medical fees were covered.
We drove past numerous landscapes, vistas and neighbourhoods before veering off into an industrial estate and entering an underground tunnel. Half a mile in, Watson stops the car and peers back, smiling.
He directs a thumb to the service door in the side tunnel and rubs his neck, a scar running from ear to ear. Was he a former fighter? Gangster?
I sighed and got out, still in my medical gown and hauling ass to the door. It opened before I could reach out and a tall, muscular woman in her late 30s greeted me with a smile. She was imposing, powerful in her gait, a black eyepatch with several seals adorning the sides accompanying a thick scar down her face did nothing to stop her beauty. She wore a tank top with a black cloak with white fur on the tops and sleeves, a thick black chain clasp around the neck. I won’t lie; she looked badass. Terrifying, but badass.
“‘Bout time ya showed up, Sabotta!” She grinned and put a cinderblock of a hand on my shoulder. I’m 5’10 and 180lbs, but she made me feel like a child in front of her. The power emanating from her fist was unbelievable. “C’mon, the trial match is starting and I don’t want no tourney without a broken in commentator! You gotta know the ropes of this place!”
“You know your driver was standing right outside when I was discharged, right? Couldn’t think to give me an extra day or two to freshen up?” I frowned. This wasn’t normal protocol, even for back-alley promotions like this. She just laughed at me and slapped my shoulder.
“The tournament waits for nobody, Sal. Times a-wasting.”
The hallway is dimly lit and the sounds of a ruckus above us are as impossible to ignore as the sounds of thudding, screaming and snapping. As we pass several doors with one-way mirrors on the front panes, I hear sounds I could have never placed in the animal kingdom or otherwise; gurgles, clicks, grunts and even otherworldly whispers.
“What the fuck is that? You guys doing animal fights down here? I mean I called a monkey fight once, but it’s not exactly… pleasant.” I shuddered, thinking of the violence chimpanzees can inflict on one another, let alone humans. She never stopped walking or staring directly ahead when she responded.“Those ain’t animals. Not by a long shot.”
Before I can probe further, I’m hurried into a changing room and practically swept off my feet by her strength. I turn back and she’s already poking her head out the door.
“You’ve got 5 minutes, get your shit and head up the left stairs, Watson will guide you.” She grinned, and I saw gold filings in her teeth that glinted as much as her bedazzled eye patch. “Ya came highly recommended… I expect good things!”
I do as instructed and within 5 minutes I’m back in my commentary clothes; an open buttoned Hawaiian shirt with my old Hotel Inertia shirt underneath, skinny black jeans and shimmering black shoes. I found some old slick gorilla powder in my hair and dusted it up, opting for the dishevelled look as I knew I’d be sweating by the end of the ordeal.
“You shouldn’t bother putting in so much effort, y’know. They’re not gonna care how good you look, only how well you talk.”
Standing in the doorway was a woman in her 40s, dark-skinned and hair clad in meticulous dreadlocks, tied back into a large bun with a pair draped down the sides of her head. She held a thick book in one hand and pocketed a serrated blade in the other before motioning to me.
“We’ll have to do the pleasantries on the way, the match is starting and you don’t wanna miss that. The commissioner isn’t the type you want to upset. Especially when you’re not here by choice.” I looked for a moment, dumbfounded.
“I’m here because I was invited, already got my pay from the woman who let me in.” I shrugged, pocketing the envelope and getting my equipment from the suitcase. The woman gave a sad smile and shook her head.
“Of course you’d think that. She likes it that way. Bet she didn’t introduce herself either, did she? C’mon.”
I follow her down and after a few minutes we come to a fork in the hallway, an elevator system to our right and a stairway to the left. Dutifully, Watson stood patiently, still grinning and motioning us to go up.
Once we’re situated in our booth upstairs, I set my equipment up and look down at the table, expecting a slew of papers and fighter information in front of me. I look to the woman to ask, but she doesn’t break her stare in the darkness, looking down at the arena floor some 100ft below us.“You won’t need that. Not for this match.”
The lights flicker on and the enormity of this venue reveals itself to me. It’s a structure of imposing steel, dried blood, claw marks and other unknown substances that littered the 40ft wide circular pit the fighters contested in, a black lift on either side from the fighters corners that I can only assume ascended up from their locker room area. Around them were chain-link fences that rose up to the audience stands above, situating around 300 people across all four sides. At the very top sat our booth, the commissioner’s office directly opposite, the judges booth to our right and the fight analysts/medical area to our left. Standing in the centre with a spotlight over them was the commissioner, microphone in hand and an energy that was almost palpable.
“Ladies, Gentlemen and Freaks of all kinds out there in the universe. I welcome you once more to the annual Nightmare Fighting Championship Tournament! It’s been a long year, but we have new blood to pit against our resident night terrors and some fresh fears to feast on the fortuitous soul that frolics into their den. As always, our contestants will be fighting for their freedom, a chance to get their wish or to fight for the ultimate prize.” The crowd cheers and the majority are hidden behind thick plexiglass and lighting, but I can see some have Karate Gi’s, weapons in hand and others with demon masks as they whoop and holler. The clientele here were, at least in my estimation, experienced. But I was feeling a lump in my throat at that one phrase The Commissioner so surreptitiously added in without issue;
“As always, our contestants will be fighting for their freedom*”*
I leaned to the woman next to me and as if she knew what I was going to ask; she put a finger up and shook her head. Eyes awash with fear and a grimness I had only seen on that of trainers who knew their fighter was not ready for the bout ahead. She pointed the finger down to my machine, then to the pit. Turning it on, I looked down as the commissioner began to talk, readying myself to commentate on whatever weirdos came up to battle.
“But before we get to that, we have an exciting exhibition match for our loyal supporters who bankroll this event every year. Without you elite few, we could not do this. You are the pound for pound goats of support! Now, without further ado; let’s get this show on the road!”The rest of the lights clicked on and spun around the venue as they raised the profile of the bout, the elevators both whirring into action as the right one arose first.
“In this corner, from the marionettes shop and accompanied by his Bunraku doll “Mr. Stares”, it’s the man who pulls the strings… THE PUPPET MAN!”
Out steps a tall, thin Japanese man in full clown makeup. His head shaven save for two ridiculous strands of hair stretched out and fluffed up to their limits, like red antennae. His eyebrows large m’s that practically cover his forehead, the nose a completely vacant slot with a black hole drawn in and the mouth… the fucking mouth was nailed shut. Literally. Sharp rusted nails had been hammered down through the lips with such force that they’d bent. A sickening crimson red face-paint stretched across the entire bottom half of his face, making it seem far larger by comparison. He carefully held a small bundle underneath a sheet and bowed deeply to the audience before standing at his designated spot.
“In the other corner, from the streets of god knows where and the womb of someone who misses him… "Hulked Up" Michael O’Donnell!”
I watched with wide eyes and a stomach threatening to evacuate its contents at any moment as the smoke cleared and a boy no older than 17 rushed out, beating his chest and screaming to the crowd as if he was the Incredible Hulk. I don’t know if they drugged the poor kid, but he clearly had no idea where he was.
“There are no rules, no referees and judges only exist in case of a draw or unclear victory. Our commentary team will take over and we wish you a phenomenal match.” She drools a little before she speaks again, looking up at me and winking. “Let’s make this a violent one.”
She snaps her fingers and leaps for the fence, climbing up with ungodly ease before sitting on her makeshift chair in her office.
I have no idea what I’m seeing but every cell in my body is urging me to run; I feel my knees tense and my frame rise ever so slightly before the woman next to me puts her hand on my thigh, pushing me down with great force.
“You have a job to do, so do I. Trust me, you think you can leave but if you get out of this chair, not only will YOUR life end. Mine will too.” She unsheathes the serrated blade and looks at me with pity. “We both have a part to play here, so put the headset on and let’s do our job, no matter how hard it is.”
Hands shaking, I pick up the headset and connect it to the portable recorder and take a breath.
“I… I need your name. What is it you do?” I stutter, trying to calm myself. She hands me a bottle of water as the surrounding lights dim and the spotlight focuses on the spectacle below.
“I’m Madame Nelle Lockwood, cryptid hunter and your co-host to guide you through tonight. Good to meet you, Sal.”
-
NFC EXHIBITION MATCH: "Hulked Up" Michael O’Donnell vs The Puppet Man w/ Mr. Stares
“Welcome fight fans from around the world, god knows how you’re listening to this or WHY, but here we are. I’m your host Sal “MotorMouth” Sabotta, wishing this was all a bad dream. Joining me this evening is our cryptid specialist and all round badass Madame Nelle Lockwood. How are you doing, Nelle?”
She looks at me with a bewildered look on her face before blinking and coming to her senses.
“Uhh… good! All things considered… boy, you really have a professional knack for this, huh? I can see why Commissioner Alduin brought you in."
“Ahh, yes. That’s right, folks! NFC Commissioner Alduin invited me here personally and our exhibition match proves to be… challenging. Let’s check in on the action below.”
I look down and see The Puppet Man sat down and gesturing to the figure under the sheet, like he’s got a negotiation going on. The boy, undeterred and furious, rushes towards him and takes his back, slapping his head and even pulling on his hair with extreme prejudice.
“Well take a gander at that, that kid has absolutely NO fear. When I was his age, I would have stayed FAR the fuck away from a nightmare spectre like that. But hell, this is all part of the show, right? Hope they’re paying that poor guy down there a sizeable sum to throw a fight to a child. What do you think, Nelle; is this the weirdest make-a-wish fulfilment task or what?”
I look over to her, hoping she’d indulge me and that I could believe this was just going to end with a pissed off actor storming away when the child hit him too hard. But Nelle was scanning her now open book and looking for information on dolls.
“He’s talking to his doll because it’s desperate to be let loose. He’s trying to bargain with it to spare him. This is the nature of the puppeteer and his master.” She pushes the book to the centre of the table and shows me a faded illustration of a pristine Bunraku doll; a kind of meticulously crafted Japanese take on the ventriloquist doll. The limbs are thinner and the face is more minimalist, but still no more frightening. “They usually have a symbiotic relationship, but it seems this one obeys the doll and will not want to face more punishment.”
“What do you mean more punishment?” I ask, looking back down at the feverish puppet man as he tries signing frantically under the sheet, even putting his head under as the kid bites his arm and kicks him, screeching.
“The nails, Sal. Those aren’t to silence him, they’re to punish him.”
The rest happened in slow motion; the sheet fell down. The puppet man stood up and walked to his side of the fighters corner, facing the elevator and placing his face into his forearms as he shook. The boy followed to keep attacking, but with one swift kick to the midsection, the boy was propelled back to the centre of the pit where the doll sat.
If there was a human face, I didn’t see it. Instead, I was staring down at a small wood carved spider, the head sporting black geisha hair and the makeup still present, but rows of sharpened black teeth protruded from the clicking mouth and two larger eyes jutted out from the base of the skull, smaller ones dotted closely around it. It was like seeing a puppet ogre spider.
“Looks like The Puppet Man has let Mr. Stares out to say hi and I can certainly see why he was under that sheet, this one isn’t pretty folks! The face doth fit the name. The question is, what’s he doing to do ne-
“I didn’t need to finish the question. My hands shook, and the world spun around me as this creature crawled towards the still wheezing boy with ungodly speed and perched itself expertly beside him. I don’t know if it was my eyes or the distance from where I sat, but this was NOT a small puppet. He was easily half of the boy’s height and that became more unnerving when he reared up on his back legs, the head clicking up and the raspy voice hissing out like a gas leak in a building.
“Hey, hey, kid! Wanna make a deal?” The kid rubbed his eyes, seemingly realising where he was as he calmed down and an air of utter confusion around him.
“If you let me be your new master and you promise to take care of me, I’ll let you go!” His head spun around and the jaw clicked ferociously as he giggled, extending out a clawed paw. “Whaddya say?”
The boy, still confused, slowly reached out his hand and the moment immediately reminded me of a slew of nature shows I’d seen as a kid; where a predator waits until the prey is lulled before striking. I felt the chill up my spine as he extended his hand and grabbed Mr. Stares.
In that moment, he leapt up the arm and bore his way into the boy’s mouth, down his throat and shredded his flesh. The sound was so horrifying, so visceral that it outshines any backyard stabbing, joint snap or broken nose. The boy didn’t even have time to scream, he simply looked up with tear-stained eyes as the puppet disappeared.
Then he started walking without him realising. He looked down at his limbs, terrified, looked over at The Puppet Master, who still had his head to the elevator and pleaded with someone, anyone to help him. I looked to Nelle who refused to take her eyes away, studying the battle in an almost morbid scientific curiosity, detached entirely from the scenario.
I couldn’t fathom how she did it, how she ignored this boy begging us to get him out of there.
I wanted to. Every instinct in me as a fight fan and a decent human was to scream “STOP THE FIGHT!”.
But clearly, when my own life is at risk and money is involved...
I am not a decent human.
Instead, with bile in my throat and a sweating forehead, I did my job.
“M-My goodness! The P-uppet, I mean, “Mr. Stares” has BECAME the puppet master, surely the fight will be over with our young competitor incapacitated? What does our commissioner have to say about this?”
She stared at me, her one eye gleaming and her face elated with the violence.
“It ain’t over yet, church boy. We haven’t even seen the finale, have we Puppet Master?!” She laughs and slaps her knee, the puppet master sobbing as he sinks to the floor and she continues.
“He ain’t done feeding, not yet.”
The way she said that word “feeding” nearly made me lose what food I had in me. That was a young man, somebody's baby boy…
“What does she mean by that, Nelle? What is the strategy to victory here?”
Nelle looked down at her book and traced her finger across a passage before wiping her forehead and pushing the locks aside. If her composure wasn’t breaking yet, it would do soon.
“This kind of parasitic doll feasts on its prey and targets non-essential organs first, controls the host with the neurotoxin in its tail and then, when it’s finally content, it gives the brain a second injection.”
“What happens then?” I asked, my own professionalism hanging on by a fucking thread at this point. She shook her head and pinched the bridge of her nose.“I guess you’ll see in a moment, I sure as hell don’t want to. Not again.”
Before I can prompt her further, the boy lets out an ear-piercing shriek and falls to his knees, gripping at his head before it turned red, then purple and finally an ugly shade of puce before…
The sound of a watermelon hitting the ground from a great height is the best comparison you’re going to get without making me want to rush to the toilet to puke for a third time. But that’s what happened. His head burst and chunks of his skull, flesh and brain matter sprayed the pit and the walls, some hitting my desk and making me audibly shriek, much to the commissioner's delight.
“HA! You didn’t run! I like you, Sal. You pass for the tournament!” She hauls her body up and slams down to the pit, applauding as the microphone descends from the heavens. “And your winner; The Puppet Man and Mr. Stares!”
The crowd erupts with applause as the weeping puppet man pulls the blood-soaked puppet out, places him under the sheet and silently begins to walk back to the elevator while attendees clear up the boy’s corpse.
“What… what the fuck IS this place?” I ask Nelle, pausing my recording.
“This is where nightmares are kept and set upon mostly unwilling competitors for the world’s amusement. You HAVE done dark web fights before, right? Mafia snitches being put into lions pits, bum fights, addicts fighting women to score… this can’t be THAT unusual to you?”
I stared at her incredulously. Was that even a question?
“I did the dark web ONCE and it damn sure didn’t involve monsters!”
She scoffs and closes her book, stretching before looking at me with contempt.
“Oh, it did. Just not the ones you hear about in fairytales. Good luck with the selection process. I’ll be back for the opening round. Don’t try to run, they’ll devour us both in minutes, if you think this is the pinnacle of what lurks beneath this club, you're in for a rough night.” She sauntered off, leaving me deflated, sickened and terrified. Unable to leave and frustrated to the point of tears that I couldn’t express that concoction of emotions, I did what I always do; I regressed and pressed “record” on the device as Commissioner Alduin continued.
At that moment, however, I was deaf to it all. The gravity of the situation had fully enveloped me…
They weren’t kidding about the unwilling participants, I just didn’t realise I would be one of them.On every side of me sits men and women with a desire for violence that goes beyond the norm, beyond the sane and beyond the boundaries of humanity.Below me are an untold number of creatures rattling their cages and howling for blood.
Across from me is a woman so powerful she could crush my skull beneath her boot with the utmost ease if it so amused her.
That invitation was nothing more than my own ransom note in pretty colours and flattering platitudes.
I was in a tournament housing nightmares incarnate.
And it would only get more violent from here on out.
-
The opening round was a blood bath.
submitted by tjaylea to nosleep [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA dark web expert, investigative journalist and true crime author. I’ve met dark web kingpins in far flung prisons and delved the murky depths of child predator forums. I’ve written six books and over a dozen Casefile podcast episodes. AMA (part 2/2)

Source | Guestbook
Previous thread
Questions Answers
Around here nobody talks about the argument that increased regulation of the internet would help stop child predators. Is that true, and if so where do you fall on the Net Neutrality vs law enforcement spectrum? No I don't think that's true at all. Child predators have been around much longer than the internet, and I would argue child abuse was more prevalent 50+ years ago when children were seen and not heard and it wasn't talked about. The dark web hasn't created more predators, it has just given them a new place to gather and hang out.
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused.
the below is a reply to the above
That's so interesting, thanks for the AMA! Can you remember any other thing that a child could do in order to protect himself from being abused? What other characteristics do the abusers hate in potential victims? That seems to be the main one. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What do folks talk about in the child predator forums? Do they like give each other advice on how to improve their craft? Yes, quite literally. The give each other tips on how not to get caught, how to edit out incriminating details in videos, how to drug children, techniques for convincing kids not to tell etc
the below is a reply to the above
Given your insight into how predators operate, do you have any advice for parents on protecting their kids? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
Has the exponential increase in Bitcoin value affected darknet dealers in any profound way? I can imagine that some drug dealers were sitting on quite a large sum of Bitcoin when the value shot up. Crypto purists hate to admit it, but bitcoin would not be where it is today without Silk Road. It was sitting at less than a dollar when Silk Road began and the markets showed a robust use case for cryptocurrency and as the markets grew, so did the demand for bitcoin. It also provided real-life use data for those who were not interested in drugs but who weren't sure if it had practical application. When SR went down, Bitcoin was at about $650 and it continued to grow as adoption became more mainstream. There are many many stories of drug dealers (and at least one faux-hitman!) who gained most of their wealth not by selling the drugs, but by the growth in value of their bitcoin holdings
Since you have a lot of experience with them online. Do you think pedophiles(not child abusers) should be treated as criminals, or as people suffering from a mental illness? Contact offenders should be treated as criminals, because they are criminals. They have abused or hurt someone. Same with those who support the creation and dissemination of child abuse materials.
Pedophiles who do not act on their urges should be given as much help as humanly possible.
Are there any mysterious or suspicious pages or communities that you haven’t been able to access? Anything that seems especially weird? there are a lot of Russian communities that I can't access, mostly because I don't speak Russian. Some of the more technical hacking communities have entry barriers that I'm not technical enough to score an invite to
How much these bad people really exist out there? Hundreds? Thousands? More? It depends what you mean by bad. If you mean people who use the dark web to buy drugs (who I do not consider bad) then there are many many thousands. There are also thousands of people who deal in stolen information to make money.
Unfortunately there are also thousands of child predators and the dark web has provided a "safe space" for them to come together to share materials and "tips". I hope this is where most of the resources of law enforcement are concentrated
Ehy mine is a rare question: what do you know about art on dark web? I'm talking about the black market made of stolen important pieces from museums, art used as value to money laundry and other criminal affairs I'm an artist and what I know is people don't think too much about the dark side of art and probably they need to open their eyes about I really haven't come across much in the way of that. Some of the markets have an "art" section, but that is mostly blotter art
How accurate are the legends? Any legends in particular? For a lowdown copied from a post I made in another forum:
1Red Rooms  The one that is most persistent is the myth of the "Red Room" - live streaming of torture/rape that ends in the murder of the victim and which people can pay to watch, or even bid to type in commands for the torturer to carry out (highest bid wins!). The most famous was the “ISIS Red Room” pictured above, where people could provide instructions to torture captured terrorists - you can read what happened here.
People have this idea of Hostel with webcams exist all over the dark web, but you just need an invite to get into them. It's ridiculous. They don't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist on Tor. But people are desperate to believe and they always come back with "You can't prove they don't exist, people are crazy, therefore they must exist." Picture my eyes rolling here.
2.Hitman sites
I don't think many people are taken in by the hitmen sites anymore, though the press loves playing up the fact that there are sites offering up hitman services. But every single one of them has turned out to be a scam, especially Besa Mafia, the one that did the most marketing. Again, you can read about it at the same link as above.
3.Exotic animals  People are always asking where they can find markets for exotic animals. Obviously the illegal trade in exotic animals exists, and some communications and transactions may well take place over Tor, but there are no markets like the drug markets where you can go and look at a picture and then put a tiger or ocelot or something into your basket and buy it with bitcoin.
SO WHAT DOES HAPPEN ON THE DARK WEB?
1.People buy and sell drugs.
The drug markets are more busy than ever. You have probably heard of Silk Road, the most famous online drug market that got busted a few years ago and the owner sent to prison for two consecutive life terms? A lot of people thought that was the end of drugs being sold on the dark web. In fact, dark web sales of drugs have tripled since the shutdown of Silk Road.
The reason people buy drugs this way is that for many they offer a safer alternative for people who are going to do drugs anyway. There is no possibility of any violence. The vast majority of the time a buyer knows exactly what they are getting, because of the feedback and rating system. That's not the case in a nightclub, or even friends-of-friends, where you just blindly accept that the pill, powder or tab is what the seller says it is.
2.People buy and sell other illegal things
Mostly they buy and sell stolen credit cards and financial information, fake IDs (though lots of these are scams), personal information, “dumps” of hacked data and fraud-related items. For a long time, a seller was making a fortune selling fake discount coupons that really worked.
3.People access and create childporn  Unlike the other markets, the CP market is generally not for money, but rather they are groups who swap vile images and videos for free. The worst of the worst is called “hurtcore’. Thankfully, most of the people behind the worst sites have been arrested and put in jail.
4.People talk about stuff
There are plenty of sites, forums and chatrooms where people talk about all sorts of things - conspiracies, aliens, weird stuff. They take advantage of the anonymity.
5.People anonymously release information
Whistleblowers use the dark web to release information and make sure their identities won't be compromised. You will find Wikileaks, for example, on the dark web.
6.People surf the web anonymously
The number 1 thing people use the dark web for is just to surf the web completely anonymously. Not everybody wants to be tracked by advertisers.
I have a question: what are the odds of the casual Darkweb drug buyer - not buying mega loads all the time - the occasional purchase - what are the risks of being busted? Kinda figuring pretty low. But you’re the expert. What do you think? Obviously there is always a risk, but the risk is very low. It is rare for personal amounts to be seized. Even if a package is seized, there's usually no resources to follow it up. Many people report simply receiving a letter from Customs saying they have seized what they believe is contraband and the person has a choice of going to claim it or it will be destroyed. Even if LE does knock on the door there is plausible deniability: "I don't know who sent that stuff to me".
So yeah, rare, but it does happen. You might be the unlucky one
How do you find things on the dark web without search engines? There are a lot of entry sites, set up with links to the most popular places. You can generally get a link to one of them by browsing places like reddit. From there it is a matter of checking out different places, people will put links in forums etc.
I also use a Pastebin where people paste sites they have made/found, and a Fresh Onion site, which crawls all the newly-populated .onion addresses
Hi. there!! Thank you for answering questions. Mine is very simple. How do sellers get the drugs to people? Regular mail? That's always puzzled me bc I'd assume USPS, UPS, fedEx or any other mail carrier would catch at least some goods. If people are ordering drugs, particularly in powder form, for personal use, they can be flattened, sealed in MBB (moisture barrier baggies) and sent in a regular business envelope, indistinguishable from billions of other envelopes going through the postal system every day. The chances of a particular package being intercepted is very low.
Some people take the extra precaution of having the person taking delivery of the drugs different to the person/household that is ordering them.
How did you move from being a corporate lawyer to researching and writing about dark web? I was in London, working for one of the most conservative law firms in the world when the Global Financial Crisis hit. I liked the job but it struck me when people were losing their livelihoods that I was working for the bad guys. I'd always wanted to be a writer so when I came back to Australia I quit law and enrolled in a writing course planning to be a novelist, but I discovered I was better at journalism. I first wrote for newspapers here about Silk Road and it grew from there
I've always wanted to check out the dark web, what is a normal day for you look like on there? Can you give me any tips on how to safely surf the dark web? A normal day looks like me sitting at my desk writing things on my computer. When I'm researching a book or a case I venture away from my computer to trials and to interview people (at least I did pre-COVID)
There is nothing inherently unsafe in surfing the dark web. All the usual precautions you take surfing the clearweb apply. Don't visit any child exploitation sites - it will be pretty obvious that's what they are by the names/descriptions before you log in.
It is only when you want to do more than surfing - e.g. buying drugs etc - that you need to do a LOT of homework or you will absolutely get scammed
Is there anything good about the dark web? It depends what you are into. A lot of academic research has concluded that the darknet markets provide a safer way for people to buy and use drugs, due to the ratings of vendors, services that independently test and report back on batches of drugs, doctor on staff ready to answer questions, no violence in transactions etc.
News sites provide a dark web option so that whistleblowers can safety provide information and upload documents that get stripped of any identifying metadata before being available.
It bypasses firewalls and allows for secure communications under hostile regimes
the below is a reply to the above
How does this make you feel about the idea of the decriminalization of drugs? I've always been for full legalization of drugs, and studying the darknet markets just proved I was right.
I was invited to an experts roundtable in Portugal about drugs and cybercrime a few years ago and the Portugal model of decriminalisation has been a great success
the below is a reply to the above
Hey, you are still answering. Been reading this thread for 1-2 hours now. Thank you so much for all the good work and info! Always been intrigued by this topic, downloaded tor once to explore a bit but couldn’t and deleted it right away, to be on the safer side. Great insights. Thanks! I've been writing it for about 14 hours. Going a bit loopy
How was working on Casefile? What's the production process like? Which episodes did u do?? I have listened to... all of them.... I absolutely LOVE working for Casefile. I am a freelancer, so I source and write my own cases and then sell the scripts to Casefile. I've done at least a dozen, but some of my most popular are Amy Allwine, Mark & John, Ella Tundra, Leigh Leigh, Rebecca Schaeffer...
As for the production process, once I have sold the script to them, a staff member edits them and then they are passed on to Casey to narrate. After that, they go to Mike for sound editing, music etc. They are the best team ever
the below is a reply to the above
Oh, Leigh Leigh was so well written!! How do you choose which stories to write? Do you just pick true crime you're interested in? Thank you! I have a huge list of potential episodes. Any time I come across an interesting crime on reddit, or in the news or wherever I make a note of it. Then I just pick one when it comes time to write a new script.
Sometimes I've been personally involved (e.g. Amy Allwine), gone to trials etc. Those are always the best ones
Hi Eiley, your twitter just reminded me of this AMA :) What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And would you prefer to be paid in crypto or fiat? OOOOH, I know that name! Love & Light to you!
I like Bitcoin and I wish I had a whole lot of it and like many many people, I wish I had kept the first crypto I bought at something like $4 a coin :D I do not have a whole lot of it but I do have a little bit. I like the philosophy behind it and in theory it should change the world. However the reality is that the vast majority of it is concentrated in a very few hands which allows for market manipulation and stops it being useful as a post-fiat currency.
As long as I'm getting paid, I'm pretty happy!
the below is a reply to the question
I too remember your name Pluto! Such a decent human ❤ he is!! True OG right there <3
Is the dark web subject to more racism than its counterpart, the world wide web? There are some white power sites and that sort of thing and the chans are even more uncensored than the clearweb ones (4chan, 8chan) but to be honest they are the same cesspools in different spots. Drug forums don't seem to be very racist. I've seen worse on Twitter
Have you seen any consequential political or social organizing being carried out on the dark web? Not directly, but the dark web helped facilitate the Arab Spring uprising in 2010 by allowing activists to remain anonymous and to access blocked websites and social media. Wikileaks, obviously. Some white supremacy organizations seem to use it to coordinate attacks, but they are not places I'm keen to hang out in.
What’s the most expensive thing for sale you’ve seen on the dark web? What was surprisingly inexpensive? I can't remember specific listings, but there were sometimes sales of things like coke by the kilo, so that sort of thing I guess.
LSD could easily be found for $1/tab and one huge dealer gave it away for free if it was for personal use
the below has been split into separate questions
1. I’m going to ask a couple in hopes that one will catch your interest! I know you’re anonymous on the dark web, but even so, have you ever felt worried about your safety? I actually made the decision to be upfront and honest about who I am on the dark web, so I use the name OzFreelancer (which is easily traceable to my real name) on all the dark web sites where i went looking for interviews. The people there had the option of talking to me or not, so they had no reason to want to harm me.
2. I’ve found your comments about your relationship with Yura fascinating. Did y’all develop a friendship? Did you build any other relationships that stand out in your mind? Since you were straightforward about being on the dark web for stories, did people seem reluctant to communicate, or were they excited for the opportunity to divulge a secret? We do have a friendship of sorts, it is really quite weird. I do hope to met him one day. I met all of the senior staff of Silk Road other than the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and keep in touch with some. Some people wanted nothing to do with me of course, but many more were happy to talk to me. i think sometimes it was a relief to them to be able to talk to one person who they knew was who they said they were.
3. On violent forums, did users ever express remorse, guilt, shame, or anything indicative of some recognition that what they were viewing/seeking was awful? Do you see doxxing teams on the dark web working together to uncover info, or is the info already there through previous hacks/breaches, and someone just accesses and releases it? Sorry if any of those don’t make sense! I’m not familiar with the dark web lingo but am so intrigued by your work. Not really. I think if they were contributing to the forums, they were comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. Many of the "regular" pedophiles expressed revulsion about Lux and hurtcore sites though
these have probably been asked before but has there ever been a time where you where genuinely been scared for your life and whats the most messed up thing you've witnessed did you have any help? Yeah both things have been answered in this thread, so I'll cut'n'paste
The only time I've felt even slightly in danger despite all this nosing around in there was when I helped uncover a hitman scam. The owner of Besa Mafia, the most profitable murder-for-hire site in history, came after me when I started writing about him. He made loads of threats ("you don't know who I am, but I know who you are and where you live") but that wasnt scary, as I had access to the backdoor of his site thanks to a friendly hacker and knew he didn't really want to hurt anybody.
It took a bit of a darker turn when he told the people who had signed up to work as hitmen on his site - and who he made video themselves burning cars with signs on them to advertise how legit his site was, then never sent them the promised money for doing so - that I was the owner of the site who had ripped them off. That could have become ugly, but luckily even the thugs weren't dumb enough to believe him.
The only other time I've been a bit nervous was when Homeland Security wanted to have a "friendly" meeting with me on one of my trips to the US to attend a trial. They were friendly, but scary too.
The most frightening experience I've ever had is coming face to face with Lux, the owner of Pedoempire and Hurt2theCore, the most evil and reviled person on the entire dark web. He was responsible for procuring and hosting Daisy's Destruction, the most repulsive video ever made, created by Peter Scully, whose crimes were so bad, the Philippines are considering reinstating the death penalty especially for him.
It wasn't frightening because Lux was frightening - he was anything but. It was frightening because he looked so inoffensive and normal.
It was frightening because he was living proof that monsters walk among us and we never know.
[deleted] It is absolute crap for browsing the clearweb, and a lot of sites detect that it is odd traffic and you have to solve their CAPTCHAs before doing the most basic things
I’m sure you’ve seen some really bad stuff, do you regularly talk to a therapist to help? I've never seen a therapist (they don't really seem to be a thing in Australia they way they are in the US), but I have been known to unload on my partner and my dog
the below is a reply to the question
Yo, speaking as an Aussie, they absolutely are a thing, you can get them covered thru medicare, and I recommend it if you possibly can! Bro, therapy is awesome. I'm not against therapy as a thing, but I've honestly never been so traumatised that I feel I need it. Also I had a bad experience with a psychologist after I watched my partner die in an accident - they suggested I find God, and I noped out of there
the below is another reply to the answer
Therapist is an American term- we call them psychs. And the one who told you to find God was terrible and out of line. Yeah she didn't last long before I was over it. Also a doctor decided I needed Xanax, which was also a bad move, because what I really needed was to grieve and Xanax doesn't let you do that properly
Do you find any good things on the dark web? Happy stuff that gives people hope? Or just the trash? I like the psychonaut communities. They just want peace, love and mungbeans for everybody
Have you heard of "The Primarch System" rumor of the dark web? Sounds downright silly to me. But I'm curious if anyone who spends time on the deep web actually takes it seriously, or if as an idea it is connected to anything serious at all. Nah, up there with the Shadow Web and Mariana's Web. There's always people who want to find out where the "deeper" "more secret" "really dark" stuff is. To them I say what, hurtcore isn't dark enough for you?
Doesn't delving the murky depths of child predator forums categorize you with the child predators in the eyes of an investigating law enforcement agency? Do you have some sort of amnesty due to your journalism, or is that something you worry about having to explain away? Has your presence there ever caused some sort of a scare? No, I never went into any of the sites that had actual photos or videos (you can't un-see that shit), but did spend a lot of time in pedophile discussion forums. I also went to a hurtcore hearing and saw screenshots in the police files, as well as listening for two days to videos being described frame-by-frame and private communications between the site owner and the sadists.
Besides drugs and sex crimes, what else is going on in the dark web? Are there other interesting nooks and crannies? I often post screenshots of bizarre sites I find on my Twitter. However, the main uses for the dark web are drugs, digital/fraud goods and child exploitation
I have one, it might be rather boring though, but here goes. On these "child predator forums" are they actually forums devoted to stalking children and do they share social media profiles of children among themselves? That would be kik ids, snapchat and facebook ids, instagram, stuff like that, info that would allow online access and that may have been chosen for suitability? Creepy question I know, but anyway I would be interested to hear your answer. I came here from TrueCrime, you referred to these things in your post on that sub. I suspect I already know the answer yet would like to hear your take on it. Yes, they provide information and tips on how to approach children, how to ensure they won't tell, how to sedate them in some instances, where to find child exploitation material, how to remove metadata and any identifying characteristics in photos and videos before sharing and so on.
They don't tend to share socia media, as that is the sort of thing that can be traced easily. They do talk about how to approach kids on social media and on the worst forums how to blackmail children into stripping/meeting etc
the below is a reply to the above
So you're saying they have a more general approach rather than identifying individual children on the internet? Again a creepy question because what I suggest is that a child's social media could be used and circulated on the dark web as potential information to gain access by anonymity, even if it was just online access only. I actually wonder as I have recently read of the anonymity of apps like ''kik messenger'' and how the police are often unable to get any information from the communications as they remain encrypted and off the server and require little if any valid ID to make an account. No doubt photos from social media are uploaded as part of the materials they have. I haven't seen anything where they get together and try to track down a specific child, but I'm sure some predators do this. Most are more likely to abuse children in their orbit - family, kids of friends, or they work where they have access to children
I heard there are forums to download books but it was really dangerous, Is it true? I'm just a poor guy who wants to finish the young Jack sparrow series Whenever you download anything from a pirate site you run the risk of infection
What do you think of QAnon? Wackjob conspiracy
the below is a reply to the above
Who should the conspiracy theorists actually be worried about if they actually care about thwarting pedophilia? The vast, vast majority of child abuse takes place within the child's personal orbit - relatives, family friends, parents of their own friends, people involved in their activities (coaches, leaders, etc)
So, those people
the below is another reply to the answer
Also how to we get people to stop believing in QAnon? Outside my area of expertise, sorry
do you personally believe there was/is any truth to the "defense" (story) that DPR was a title handed down to different admins for the original silk road, or was it just a convenient defense? do you have any theories as to who satoshi nakamoto is? besides the original SR, are there any other darkweb markets that you think have a good enough story to turn into a book? eg sheep market? i've seen you talk a little about the child predator forums, and (as with h2tc) noted are mainly populated by males. i'm curious if you've ever encountered females on such forums/websites (eg. btfk) No. There was a time that I believed the person posting on the forums as DPR changed, but the ownership and administration of the market I believe never changed hands. Variety Jones is claiming a part ownership (which may or may not be true) but I believe that is so he can run a Fourth Amendment argument
So many theories have some credibility to them, but no one theory ticks all the boxes. Highly recommend the 3-part youtube deep dive by Barely Sociable
I'm not sure any one market has the story that Silk Road had, but I would like to write a definitive history that encompasses the most compelling features of all the markets. Backopy of BMR apparently got away clean. The admins of Atlantis got wind of a security issue and closed shop, trying to warn DPR. AlphaBay ended in Alexander Cazes death in a Bangkok prison cell. Then everyone flocked to Hansa, which by that time was being run by law enforcement. Evolution ended in the most brazen exit scam, followed by a bizarre cloak'n'dagger situation played out right here on reddit. The WSM/DDW follow-the-money case. And these are just some that come right off the top of my head. I just need a publisher to provide me an advance I can live off while I write it!
There were a very few people on the forums who identified as female (obvs anyone can be anyone on a dark web forum) and there have been one or two arrests of women in relation to dark web child pornography. Peter Scully's female assistant who carried out some of the torture was originally one of his victims, turned into a sadist.
What’s the one lingering unanswered question you have about SR? I am hanging out for Joel Ellingson to go to trial so that I can find out once and for all whether redandwhite, lucydrop and Tony76 are one and the same person.
There are several people who I got to "know" by their handles who I wonder about from time to time, but mostly I hope they are safe and well and i don't want to track them down or expose them
the below is a reply to the above
Eileen, I am fangirling PRE-TTY hard right now. Talking SR and Tony76 with you is how I imagine it feels to talk to a royal correspondent about Prince Andrew 😅 Ellingson being all three would be a very neat end to an otherwise insane story. Part of me wants to pin Oracle in with that trio too but that’s mostly a desperate attempt from me to add another layer to the madness. I miss the twists and turns that came with the rise and fall of SR. From your own experience - would you agree with the idea that more than one person staffed the DPR account? Thanks for the reply! Ha! You have no idea what it is like when I find someone who really knows about this stuff and can have informed conversations about it. I latch onto them and don't let go. The very BEST was meeting up with DPR's three deputies (SSBD in Australia, Inigo in US and Libertas in Ireland) so I could actually have conversations with people who knew more than I did! Variety Jones was cool too, but the conversation couldn't flow too freely thanks to him being incarcerated in Bangkok prison at the time.
I think others sometimes posted from the forum account, but Ulbricht kept a vice-like grip on his market account
the below is a reply to the above
I can imagine it’s so satisfying and exciting to get those tidbits of info that piece the jigsaw together. The bedlam that played out over the forum in the aftermath was a cloud of paranoia and adrenaline that kept me refreshing pages for days. Would love to hear accounts from SSBD, Inigo and Libertas from this time. One last question: what were your thoughts when the Chloe Ayling story first broke? I assumed it was a publicity stunt. I don't think that any more. I guess I can't blame her for milking her kidnapping for publicity in the aftermath, though I don't think she does herself any favors the way she goes about it sometimes
Sorry if this has been covered before but in your research, mainly related to child abuse, where are these children coming from? Children in their care/ family? Kidnapped? The vast majority of child abuse is carried out by someone within their social circle - family and acquaintances. However, the hurtcore stuff was often carried out in third world countries on orphans or where desperate families gave up their children to "benefactors" who they believed were going to provide food an education
What Casefile episodes have you written? I became obsessed with it and ripped through all the episodes and now nothing will fill that void. Thanks for your efforts! Casefile – the murder of Amy Allwine
Casefile – Blue Skies, Black Death
Casefile – Ella Tundra
Casefile – Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Casefile – Motown Murders
Casefile – Rebecca Schaeffer
Casefile – Sian Kingi
Casefile – John & Mark
Casefile – Shauna Howe
Casefile – Chloe Ayling
Casefile – Johnny Altinger
Casefile – Killer Petey
Casefile – The Santa Claus Bank Robbery
Casefile – Martha Puebla
Casefile – Leigh Leigh
Is there any way parents can keep their kids safe from this without being helicopter parents? I'll cut'n'paste a response i gave to someone else about this, because it was something that really stuck out to me:
The one thing I found really interesting when I was lurking the forums of the child predators was their frustration about how children are now taught from a very young age that certain touching and acts are wrong and that they shouldn't keep certain secrets. It came up over and over again that they could not abuse certain children because they knew those children had someone they would tell. It was pretty clear that education was a child's best defence against getting abused. Kids who speak up and who have close relationships with one or more people they are likely to confide in
What does it take in terms of degrees and experience to get into this business? Nothing official. I was a lawyer, but that had no bearing on what I do now (I did corporate law). I didn't have any official credentials when I began as a freelance journalist, though later I got a diploma of professional writing and editing. Anyone can be an author, provided they can write
If you could take a guess from your findings, what would be some speculative statistics on these abuse/torture sites? How many people (tens of thousands?) are involved? Do they generally come from the same places in the world or are they seemingly geographically random (based on victim ethnicity, or language spoken, perhaps)... what are some quantifying stats to wrap our heads around how prevalent this shit is? Most dark web users come from western countries, just because infrastructure supports it. The sites often have tens of thousands of registered users, but a lot of them would be people for whom curiosity got the better of them and who signed up then left. Active users more like in the thousands, hyper-active users the hundreds.
One of the things that makes life difficult for law enforcement is that most of these sites don't operate on a commercial basis - people aren't making money from them, so there is no cryptocurrency chain to follow. They operate on a sharing basis and to get access to the more private parts of the sites, a user has to upload "fresh" material and/or prove they are actively abusing a child. Hurt2theCore used to get users to have the children hold up signs or have the site name or a username written on their bodies with a marker. This stopped law enforcement from getting access to those parts (like the "producers lounge") of the sites unless they were able to take over an account of a user who already had access. Even then, the rules of the hurtcore sites would require constant new proof in order to maintain access.
Some sites allowed people to buy access, such as one called "Welcome to Video" and then were taken down by law enforcement carrying out blockchain analysis of the Bitcoin transaction that led to the owner when they cashed out to fiat without moneylaundering precautions
the below is a reply to the above
Do you think LE uses deep fakes to simulate a picture to gain access? Is that possible? It is definitely possible, but I don't know whether they are doing it as they are understandably secretive about their methods. I know it is deeply problematic, as even fake child porn is still illegal (even cartoon stuff, including some Hentai in some countries). But they have used questionable methods before, most notably running the dark web's largest site, Playpen, for over a year in order to identify contact offenders
the below is another reply to the original answer
Am I hearing you that many people are NOT doing this for financial gain? Just to do it and share it?? Child exploitation, yes, it is mostly a sharing community. Some people make some money out of it, but it is not like drugs where a lot of people are making a LOT of money
On the subject of abused kids... did you ever help the kids in any way? I never met any of the kids. I never saw any of the photos and videos. I don't know who any of the kids are.
Daisy has been taken into care and her identity changed. I hope she is doing okay
What exactly does the dark web look like? You hear about it often, but don’t know if it looks like Google Chrome, Safari, or just a page full of code. It looks like a normal browser and operates just like a normal browser. It's just that it can access sites that your normal browser can't.
e.g. http://thehub5himseelprs44xzgfrb4obgujkqwy5tzbsh5yttebqhaau23yd.onion/index.php is the URL of a dark web forum. If you plug it into your normal browser you will get an error. If you plug it into the Tor browser you will get the registration page for The Hub
How do you keep yourself from hating all humanity? I am happy to report that, even on the dark web, the good people outnumber the bad
Hi! First off I'd like to say that I find what you do quite fascinating and would love to do something like that in the future. My question is in regards to art and other forms of artistic expression on the dark web. Is it true that the dark web is a place where you can also find awesome things such as art and literature? Not really, because all that stuff is readily available on the clearweb. There are sites like the Imperial Library of Trantor, which is a pirate site for books, where you can read thousands of books for free, but that's really no different to The Pirate Bay. Some people share their LSD art, but again, nothing you won't find on the clearweb
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]

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

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

The Sandman

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

Long Way Back (Part 2)

Part I
After these events I withdrew into myself. I used to spend most of the free time at home alone. Sometimes I spent the whole weekend lying in bed or playing video games.
In a couple of months I started having troubles falling asleep. Often I couldn’t resist the temptation to “dive” and replace the depressing reality with happy moments of distant past. After waking up I used to lie in the bed fighting a pulsing headache till dawn.
Insomnia made me sluggish and apathetic. But still I would retreat into memories every evening like an addict looking for a dose.
∗ ∗ ∗
I am fourteen years old. School is on summer break. Weather is boiling-hot, so my friends and I are hiding from the sun in a park.
We put our pocket money together to buy a large coke and some ice cream. I am laying on the grass in the shadow of a large willow listening to my friend’s jokes and eating lemon ice pop. If there’s a single word to describe my mind at this moment, it should be serenity.
∗ ∗ ∗
I am twelve. My father and I hike in the magnificent Crimean mountains. When we come home, my parents will finally break up, and mom will leave us. But it will be later. In the meantime I have nothing to worry about. Right now the only thing that attracts my attention is the pure beauty of nature.
∗ ∗ ∗
I am ten. I participate in the national math contest and take the second place to everyone’s surprise. When they call me to give a reward, I glance at my school teacher in the audience and see tears in her eyes.
∗ ∗ ∗
I am fifteen.
I sit at the porch of our cabin waiting for my friends. Disco starts in a couple of minutes, and it’s literally common knowledge that a party is the most important thing in the social life of teenagers in summer camp. So it’s only natural that I’m angry with my friend for keeping me waiting.
At long last they come out. I see Max and my heart fills with warmth and sorrow at the same time. Usually, I try to avoid memories of him, but this is a special occasion.
Max wears ripped jeans, Nirvana t-shirt and a cap. His look makes me amused: from an adult perspective he looks kinda funny, but such an image is taken much more seriously when you’re fifteen.
My parents used to send me to summer camp each year when I was at school, but this time is special. During this trip I will fall in love with a girl (even though our childish “relationship” will only hold for a couple of weeks) and kiss her for the first time in my life. After it happens, I’ll be so excited that we’ll be discussing this experience with Max for half the night.
When I think about it, it feels nostalgic, but I dismiss this feeling. How can I be so sentimental, if it hasn’t happened yet?
Our company finally arrives at a basketball court that also serves as a dance floor. Upbeat music is playing loudly, and most of the people have already gathered. Max nudges me and points at the girl I’m to experience an awkward excitement of the first kiss with. I look at the direction he’s pointing to, and freeze, struck dumb.
Cause I see Nika standing at the edge of the court.
When I met her at the university, she looked totally different, but still I recognize her at first sight. She has long hair with a few strands defiantly dyed pink. She wears a sundress (and it’s actually the first time I see her wearing anything other than a baggy hoodie and jeans).
As if on purpose, at the very same moment DJ announces a slow dance and turns on a soft melody. Without thinking about possible consequences, I approach Nika and ask her to dance. There’s a glimpse of surprise in her eyes, but she still accepts my invitation.
I put my hands on her waist. Suddenly, she moves closer to me and places her arms around my neck. We start dancing, and I belatedly introduce myself. She tells me her name too. I try to start a conversation and subconsciously fear that she won’t talk to me as it was the last time we met in future.
But the future is not here yet. There has been no quarrel between us yet. That’s why Nika answers my dumb questions, laughs at my jokes and sounds exactly the same I remember.
The song ends, and our dance does as well. To me this awkward teenage ritual seems to be the most romantic thing in the world at this moment.
I ask Nika to leave the party and sneak to the beach. Max gives me the thumbs up behind her back.
While we walk together, Nika tells me all kinds of things. She tells me about her favorite indie sci-fi movies. Says that she studies programming as a hobby. Then she says that she’ll soon begin preparing for the graduation exams, since she wants to go to a good university. I eagerly listen to her, enjoying every minute I spend with the girl I missed so much.
We reach the sandy bank of the river and sit on the concrete parapet. Nika notes that we mustn’t get close to the water without supervision, but I see cheerful sparkles in her eyes. I joke that if counselors catch us, at least we will serve a sentence together.
We sit silently and watch the river flow for a couple of minutes. At last Nika starts to speak:
“Do you believe in the butterfly effect? The theory that tiny events in the past…”
“...can have huge consequences,“ I finish the sentence. “You do something that you don’t consider to be important, but by chance it happens to affect the future a lot. Like a chain reaction. Yeah, I believe. Probably. Why do you ask?”
“Well, we met randomly just a couple of hours ago. For instance, imagine that I dressed differently today, and you didn’t notice me because of it, or something like that,” she suggests. “And we’d never meet as a result. Or we’d meet much later. In university, for example. And we’d never know that we even went to the same summer camp…” Nika pauses for a moment, and a vague paranoid thought arises in my mind all of a sudden. “You know, I like you a lot,” she unexpectedly finishes the monologue.
It looks like a coincidence, but ever since I got my power, I don’t believe in coincidences. I hesitate for a couple of seconds, but finally say: “I don’t mean to be rude but… What’s the date today?”
Nika seems surprised by this question. After a short silence, she says hesitantly: “The fifteenth of July?”
“Close enough,” I answer. The camp started only yesterday, so it’s virtually impossible to be so wrong. “It’s the seventh. And what’s the last movie you saw in the cinema?”
Nika fades. Her shoulders sag, and after a short pause she asks: “Which year are you from?”“October, 2019” I answer honestly.
“Huh,” she smiles miserably. “Me too. Maybe, that’s the only way we can be in the same past together ‒ if we go to sleep at the same time?”
She pauses again, and I finally decide to ask a question I have in mind for the last couple of minutes:
“Why did we stop talking? Why did you start ignoring me?”
She chuckles and starts to speak:
“Didn’t you get it? It started that evening at Ivan’s birthday party. We started arguing. You were stubborn as usual, so I said some stuff I immediately regretted. I decided to go back and fix it. But when I came back to the past, it appeared that you suddenly changed the subject before I was able to do anything. You must understand, my ability had never failed me before. I thought that events were invariant, unless I changed them myself. So when it happened, I became frightened and woke up,” Nika stops to catch her breath, but I stay silent digesting this information, so she continues: “At first I blamed the butterfly effect. I thought that I changed something myself, so I tried to get back again in order to amend what happened, but for some reason my powers didn’t work on you no matter how much I tried. Trust me, it was scary. I acted on a whim and pushed you away. And I told myself to forget you,” I see tears in her eyes. “I tried to replace you with other people. It didn’t work. On the contrary, I started thinking about you even more. My thoughts returned to the fact that you were beyond my power again and again, and it annoyed me. Also… I missed you a lot”.
I take her hand in mine without thinking. I know that I’ll never be able to change this moment, but it’s worth the risk.
∗ ∗ ∗
Nika tells me that she discovered her abilities when she fell asleep during the lecture. For a long time she thought that it was just a deja vu. I joke that some lecturers made me fall asleep without any time travel involved.
∗ ∗ ∗
She calls it “to wake up from our reality to another”. I call it “diving”. Different names, same meaning.
∗ ∗ ∗
I tell her that I once returned to 2011 to buy bitcoin, but when I “woke up” it appeared that cryptocurrency never became popular in the first place. I tell her that I tried doing it several times and gave up in the end. We discuss chaos theory for some time, and Nika suggests that it’s possible that bitcoin only became expensive by an incredible coincidence that accidentally occurred in our time branch.
∗ ∗ ∗
She says that she tried to make money from betting, but it turned out that results of most games are completely random. We laugh at it and agree that the universe has a sense of humor.
∗ ∗ ∗
Sun sets and it becomes colder. I give Nika my shirt to warm her up a bit.
∗ ∗ ∗
I tell her about the rules of “diving” that I derived. When I regret about “past me” being unable to remember the “dive”, Nika tells me a simple solution that makes me feel stupid. Turns out that she started the diary on the very same day when she discovered her ability to travel through time. Whenever she comes back to the past, she simply puts instructions for herself in the diary.
It reminds me of something. I realize that in despair Max tried to do the exact same thing ‒ that night in the abandoned building he tried to leave a diary.
I ask Nika if she's ever met other time travelers. After a negative response, I tell her the shocking story of my friend’s death. I also mention the creepy childhood memory.
We ask ourselves: how many time travelers are there around us? How many of them do we meet each day without even knowing?
∗ ∗ ∗
Sudden gust of fresh wind rustles reeds with a soft whispering. Nika moves closer to me. I hug her, and my heart starts beating faster.
∗ ∗ ∗
Nika tells me how she once tried to “dive” while already being in the past. I admire her courage ‒ I never attempted such a thing, and to be honest after traveling to the distant childhood I wouldn’t have tried. However, her experience is not really inspiring: she was able to go to the second level only for a second. When she “woke up” in reality, she felt so sick that she had to skip work next day.
∗ ∗ ∗
I hear voices behind our backs. A couple of kids come to the river bank and stop sixty feet behind. The girl giggles and tells the boy that this place seems to be already taken. We quietly wait until they leave.
I turn to Nika, and she kisses me, probably tired of waiting for me to do the next step.
Strictly speaking, that should be my first kiss. That thought makes me laugh.
∗ ∗ ∗
I tell Nika that we must stay together. It’s fate that we both happen to have these supernatural powers. She seriously answers that I must swear to never use my abilities on her. I agree to that.
We hear DJ announcing the last track of the party. He turns on a sweet indie song. Nika says that it’s very romantic, and we kiss till the melody reaches its end.
“Would you like to walk me home?” she asks playfully. Of course, I say yes.
Near the cabin she says that we need to say goodbye for now. We agree that we’ll both wake up next morning (which happens to be seven years later), and if we are actually a perfect match to each other, then we’ll probably wake up together.
After that I see that her eyes close for a moment, and when she regains consciousness, her face looks surprised for a couple of seconds. Then Nika giggles, kisses me goodbye and runs into the cabin. I realize that she “woke up”.
Of course, I’ll join her in the future. Eventually. No, I do not plan on changing anything or breaking my promises. However, after all I’ve been through, I won’t be satisfied by faint new memories of the changed reality in the morning. I don’t want to lose her anymore so I intend to truly live through everything that is destined for us.
I have a long way back to go.
∗ ∗ ∗
When I finally “wake up”, my head bursts with pain. It hurts so much that I cannot make a sound. There are fireworks in my eyes, so I cannot really see my surroundings. An attempt to move leads to an even greater pain and nausea that I hardly hold back. Suddenly, a cool hand touches me. The last thought before I lose consciousness is that it must be Nika.
∗ ∗ ∗
When I wake up again, I feel a bit better. Migraine is still pulsing in my head, but it’s bearable. I can feel sunlight through closed eyelids, so I realize that it’s morning already. It’s time to get up, but I continue to lie with my eyes closed and think about the past years.
∗ ∗ ∗
I recall how we started dating after that night at the camp. We spent the whole summer together walking in parks, cycling around the city and watching movies at her parents’ home.
I recall that in a couple of months we had our first sex. It wasn’t something to brag about: it was actually pretty awkward. Yet it moved our relationship to a whole next level.
I recall how Nika got into an accident after the prom. She broke her ankles in several places, and it left large terrible scars. That’s when she stopped wearing skirts or dresses.
I recall that we enrolled in the same university, but this time we also went to the same program.
I recall that after the first year in university, we got the identical tattoos on our shins. It covered the scars she was ashamed of.
I recall that one year later she discovered that she can time travel. She told me about it at once, and we experimented with her ability a lot together.
I recall that in a couple of years we finally started living together, and a year and a half ago I proposed to her. The wedding took place on June 22, and Max was my best man.
I recall that I woke up the next morning and saw Max sleeping on an armchair in our living room. He was drunk as hell, but most importantly he was alive.
I recall that we went to Spain for our honeymoon. On the last day of this vacation I looked at Nika’s happy face for the last time in the past. Then I finally “woke up”.
∗ ∗ ∗
I hear someone calling my name. I open my eyes to see Nika lying next to me in the bed.
But at that very second when the light hits my eyes, agony comes back. Just before I start screaming, I realize that I can only see with my left eye.
Nika rushes to me. She’s clearly scared. I try to get up, but I can’t. It feels like every bone in my body is broken. Fighting the excruciating pain, I try to tell Nika what happened, but for some reason my words get stuck somewhere between my brain and my mouth. At last, Nika pulls out her phone and calls an ambulance.
∗ ∗ ∗
When they took me to the hospital, I was already feeling a bit better. Doctors examined me for days. They did a bunch of CT scans and gave me several mutually exclusive diagnoses. In the end they agreed that I had an atypical ischemic stroke. At least it explained some part of my symptoms like partial loss of vision and aphasia.
I didn’t insist on specifying the diagnosis. It was crystal clear to me that modern science doesn't have the slightest idea about what happens in the human brain when its synapses try to adjust for several years of contradicting memories.
Speech disorder and loss of coordination passed quickly. In a couple of weeks migraines stopped as well. However, I lost sight in my right eye permanently. And that wasn’t the worst of it.
First of all, when I was finally discharged from the intensive care, Nika and I had a long unpleasant conversation. She cried at me, called me an irresponsible idiot and liar. I had nothing to say to defend myself. I was guilty in every way.
In the end she calmed down and even seemed to forgive me. But when I was discharged from the hospital, I discovered another troubling matter.
I was unable to “dive”.
We spent a lot of time working on it. Nika tried to help me, believing that my skills got rusty because of many years of break. But it was to no avail. I lost my power completely.
It would be difficult to understand me for someone who had never wielded such a power. Imagine that one morning you try to get up from your bed and suddenly realize that you forgot how to walk. You put your feet on the floor, but you fall whenever you try to stand up. That’s exactly how I felt.
I also remembered how a long time ago Uncle Misha said: “When you are fixed, you’ll understand”. Of course, I couldn’t know for sure, but I assumed that each person has some kind of the internal limit of energy. Each time that we traveled back and forth, we spent some of it. I didn’t know whether this energy source used to replenish after coming back or not, but it didn’t matter anymore. My last “dive” exhausted it completely, because I spent too much time in the past. I became fixed.
Nika shared my pain and sincerely sympathized, but it didn’t help. She was a successful software engineer with a perfect life (how could it be not perfect, if she was able to magically fix any problems?). I was disabled and suffering from constant migraines and deep depression. Each day we became more distant, and I was the only one guilty.
There was another unpleasant surprise. Now, when I was fixed, my memory started to work in a funny way. Each time when anybody changed the past, I continued to remember the old version of events instead of a new one.
This strange effect manifested itself for the first time when Nika called me from the office and asked me to look for her keys. I found them and told her so. The next thing I remember, I was sitting at the computer and there were no keys on the table.
It felt rather disturbing, and my first thought was that I have some kind of memory lapses because of the stroke. Actually, the doctor warned me that such things could happen. But when Nika came home from work, she was shocked by this story even more than I. She told me that she actually called me today, because she thought that she lost her keys. When I said that I found them, she “dived” into the morning and simply took them. I could not possibly remember that, because there was no call in the new version of reality.
At this point the gap between us grew even larger, and we started having trust issues.
In addition, I began to notice other changes that clearly proved that there are many time travelers around, and they are constantly editing the past.
One fine morning Nika and I were discussing our plans, and she mentioned that we were planning to go to the Twenty One Pilots show. The problem was that I’d never heard of these guys before. Manic Subsidal’s concert, that we had actually planned to visit, did not exist. In fact, there was no such band at all.
Another day I opened to play Heroes of Might and Magic only to realize that my favorite Forge faction was nowhere to be found. Google told me that it was designed but never added to the game because of the negative fandom reaction.
Several times I really got confused in my memories. Once I got off at the wrong stop when I was visiting my father. I mentioned a childhood friend who never existed to my mother (it scared her a lot). One time I even forgot the stove on (and I was pretty sure that I turned it off) ‒ Nika started scolding me, but then she saw a bewildered look on my face and simply started crying.
At this very moment I suddenly understood that most likely Uncle Misha wasn’t really schizophrenic.
∗ ∗ ∗
The most difficult thing is to see pity and sympathy surrounding me. They think that I suffered a terrible trauma and now I have difficulties distinguishing reality from fantasy. Each time I want to scream that it’s them who do not see the real world. It’s their lives that are getting overwritten every day by a small group of people who have real power.
It feels like a personal hell, designed specifically for me. Only I know what actually happens, but I cannot explain it to anyone.
Each night I go to sleep thinking that I want to wake up from this reality.
But I can’t.
submitted by hokmund to nosleep [link] [comments]

A trans girl in critical situation needs help

Hi there,
We are two young students come from China living overseas, looking for help here for a poor transgender girl in China, who is now in critical condition.
I will first explain the background of this issue: the poor conditions of Chinese transgender girls, and then narrate this issue in detail.
++++++++++
As we all have known that the social systems of China under the communist rule, which seems to be pretty, can be a poison for transgender girls. They are being regarded as an “unnormal”, that is, not recognized even by their family members. Since their childhood, they had long suffered domestic violence. To have a son who has founded her real sexual identity as a girl, is a curse to many Chinese families: both mentally and socially. There, people are fanatic with a socially recognized success; the only end for those who are different, is to die in silence.
Parents beat their children as they tell them their sexual conversion; sometimes their only way out is to leave their homes, and wander at the bottom of the urban society in China, take temporary jobs, and, at the same time, being discriminated. They cannot receive proper medical care due to their critical conditions in poverty. Getting medicines like Cyproterone acetate for those girls is super difficult; among expensive medicines, there are also a lot of fake medicines mixed with the true ones.
At the same time, it’s also a luxury for some of the transgender girls to receive acceptable surgeries. The premise of operating an orchiectomy is a certificate of diagnosis issued by a registered medical doctor, which costs at least 3,000 CNY (More than 400 dollars), and the surgery itself costs even more.
In society, they are also a group of “strangers”: This society does not accept and admit the existence of people who are different from them. The differences have become excuses for humiliating and plundering. The girlfriend of one of us is such a transgender girl living in Sichuan, China. She was once working as a temporary worker at a gas station without a labor contract. The keeper of the gas station refused to pay the wage at the end of the month. He found a fire hydrant and shot the high-pressure water onto this transgender girl, for she was “a monster”. She got wounded, fled away, and did not have money to go to the hospital.
Without a family, without social care, but only with the constant hostility from everyone else. The only consolation for them is the love among each other. Instead of their original families, some other transgender friends, who have unconditional sympathy with those who have suffered enormous pain, humiliation, and brutality, have been their new family members. But the ruthless Chinese society is a desert for them; friends come together, provide some anonymous help to each other, and then scatter again. Due to their fragile social condition, their merciful hearts also seem to be tiny in front of the fearsome state apparatus and this society, which has put unto them unimaginable oppression.
There are already some mutual-helping groups in China founded by some transgender girls who are with better living conditions in cities, but they use to only give some instructions to each other, it seems more likely to be some clubs. However, for those transgender girls who are at the bottom of the society, their voices are fewer to be heard; their tears fall into the soil, and their despair has long swallowed them into the darkness. Lack of medicine, lack of money for surgery, lack of confidence of mutual-helping, lack of courage of asking for help, and lack of the bridge between themselves and those foreigners who can provide help. They are kind and merciful, are super grateful only for a few bits of help; they are also willing to recompense the help in any way they could.
We are two Christians, have already had the experience of helping more than 10 transgender girls in China, most of them were in extremely critical condition and totally helpless. Those helps are done directly in person during the past one and a half years.
++++++++++
Here is one of the trans girls that we have helped during the past few years. Because she left her home early – her parents can simply not accept that they have a transgender son – she had no money to get a registered certificate for the surgery. With a huge determination and courage, she had done the orchiectomy before BY HERSELF. The wound was often got inflamed. Last year we have paid her 3,000 CNY (about 430 US dollars) to get a thoroughly clean-up surgery, and the condition of her wound got better than before.
However, recently she had an accident and her wound got knocked seriously. The wound is now swelling, and she suffers enormous pain.
She got wounded then and have been sent to a hospital by her friend. Lacking the money of doing such a clean-up surgery, she is now waiting desperately on a bed in the hospital, suffering tremendous pain, cannot even get out of bed.
Her name is Kaiyang Zhang, from Jiangxi province in southeast China. Now he is in a hospital called 363 Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Below we will post the surgery checklist issued by a doctor of the hospital, his ID card, and his photo. We will also provide the document translation.
The cost of the surgery is about 10,000 CNY (about 1,500 dollars). Now we have already paid a part of the fees for her, but our financial situation is also restrained, because we are now students and are financially dependent on our families. When we have collected enough money, we will transfer the money to the Chinese bank account of one of us, and then pay directly to the patient for the surgery.
All the documents that we have in order to prove that this is not a hoax will be listed below. When someone wants to provide help, please send a private message to me and we will ask for more information if needed. We can also establish a direct conversation between the helper and the patient herself (via Chinese IM-app QQ), and we can provide translation services.
Thank you very, very much for your patience in reading this letter. We appreciate your help in any form or amount.

We receive:
Paypal
Bitcoin
International bank transfer

Bitcoin wallet address:
1J1bBZRvM87EAsUpjQj5Pi7srgyJcJEB8R

Paypal money pool (funded by one of our trustworthy friend in the US):
https://paypal.me/pools/c/8neRCo9A0e

Bank account for international bank transfer:
Bank Name: Bank of ChinaAccount: 6216606000012589903 Account holder (Family name, First name): Zhang, Yiwen
Mobile Phone Number: +8613581115738
Address: Yujingdongfang building number 6, room 803, Shizhong District, Zaozhuang, Shandong Province
Postcode: 277132

LIST:
1. Special Medical Equipment Items for Urological Surgery
2. 363 Hospital - Informed Consent to Use Urological Equipment
3. 363 Hospital - Record of conversation with the patient and her family before surgery
4. 363 Hospital - Consent for Urological Surgery
5. Photo – inflamed wound on his private parts
6. Video – he is on a bed in the hospital, waiting for a surgery
7. Photo – the patient on the bed
8. Identity card of the patient
submitted by alicessword to transgender_support [link] [comments]

A trans girl in critical situation needs help

Hi there,
We are two young students come from China living overseas, looking for help here for a poor transgender girl in China, who is now in critical condition.
I will first explain the background of this issue: the poor conditions of Chinese transgender girls, and then narrate this issue in detail.
++++++++++
As we all have known that the social systems of China under the communist rule, which seems to be pretty, can be a poison for transgender girls. They are being regarded as an “unnormal”, that is, not recognized even by their family members. Since their childhood, they had long suffered domestic violence. To have a son who has founded her real sexual identity as a girl, is a curse to many Chinese families: both mentally and socially. There, people are fanatic with a socially recognized success; the only end for those who are different, is to die in silence.
Parents beat their children as they tell them their sexual conversion; sometimes their only way out is to leave their homes, and wander at the bottom of the urban society in China, take temporary jobs, and, at the same time, being discriminated. They cannot receive proper medical care due to their critical conditions in poverty. Getting medicines like Cyproterone acetate for those girls is super difficult; among expensive medicines, there are also a lot of fake medicines mixed with the true ones.
At the same time, it’s also a luxury for some of the transgender girls to receive acceptable surgeries. The premise of operating an orchiectomy is a certificate of diagnosis issued by a registered medical doctor, which costs at least 3,000 CNY (More than 400 dollars), and the surgery itself costs even more.
In society, they are also a group of “strangers”: This society does not accept and admit the existence of people who are different from them. The differences have become excuses for humiliating and plundering. The girlfriend of one of us is such a transgender girl living in Sichuan, China. She was once working as a temporary worker at a gas station without a labor contract. The keeper of the gas station refused to pay the wage at the end of the month. He found a fire hydrant and shot the high-pressure water onto this transgender girl, for she was “a monster”. She got wounded, fled away, and did not have money to go to the hospital.
Without a family, without social care, but only with the constant hostility from everyone else. The only consolation for them is the love among each other. Instead of their original families, some other transgender friends, who have unconditional sympathy with those who have suffered enormous pain, humiliation, and brutality, have been their new family members. But the ruthless Chinese society is a desert for them; friends come together, provide some anonymous help to each other, and then scatter again. Due to their fragile social condition, their merciful hearts also seem to be tiny in front of the fearsome state apparatus and this society, which has put unto them unimaginable oppression.
There are already some mutual-helping groups in China founded by some transgender girls who are with better living conditions in cities, but they use to only give some instructions to each other, it seems more likely to be some clubs. However, for those transgender girls who are at the bottom of the society, their voices are fewer to be heard; their tears fall into the soil, and their despair has long swallowed them into the darkness. Lack of medicine, lack of money for surgery, lack of confidence of mutual-helping, lack of courage of asking for help, and lack of the bridge between themselves and those foreigners who can provide help. They are kind and merciful, are super grateful only for a few bits of help; they are also willing to recompense the help in any way they could.
We are two Christians, have already had the experience of helping more than 10 transgender girls in China, most of them were in extremely critical condition and totally helpless. Those helps are done directly in person during the past one and a half years.
++++++++++
Here is one of the trans girls that we have helped during the past few years. Because she left her home early – her parents can simply not accept that they have a transgender son – she had no money to get a registered certificate for the surgery. With a huge determination and courage, she had done the orchiectomy before BY HERSELF. The wound was often got inflamed. Last year we have paid her 3,000 CNY (about 430 US dollars) to get a thoroughly clean-up surgery, and the condition of her wound got better than before.
However, recently she had an accident and her wound got knocked seriously. The wound is now swelling, and she suffers enormous pain.
She got wounded then and have been sent to a hospital by her friend. Lacking the money of doing such a clean-up surgery, she is now waiting desperately on a bed in the hospital, suffering tremendous pain, cannot even get out of bed.
Her name is Kaiyang Zhang, from Jiangxi province in southeast China. Now he is in a hospital called 363 Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Below we will post the surgery checklist issued by a doctor of the hospital, his ID card, and his photo. We will also provide the document translation.
The cost of the surgery is about 10,000 CNY (about 1,500 dollars). Now we have already paid a part of the fees for her, but our financial situation is also restrained, because we are now students and are financially dependent on our families. When we have collected enough money, we will transfer the money to the Chinese bank account of one of us, and then pay directly to the patient for the surgery.
All the documents that we have in order to prove that this is not a hoax will be listed below. When someone wants to provide help, please send a private message to me and we will ask for more information if needed. We can also establish a direct conversation between the helper and the patient herself (via Chinese IM-app QQ), and we can provide translation services.
Thank you very, very much for your patience in reading this letter. We appreciate your help in any form or amount.

We receive:
Paypal
Bitcoin
International bank transfer

Bitcoin wallet address:
1J1bBZRvM87EAsUpjQj5Pi7srgyJcJEB8R

Paypal money pool (funded by one of our trustworthy friend in the US):
https://paypal.me/pools/c/8neRCo9A0e

Bank account for international bank transfer:

Bank Name: Bank of ChinaAccount: 6216606000012589903 Account holder (Family name, First name): Zhang, Yiwen
Mobile Phone Number: +8613581115738
Address: Yujingdongfang building number 6, room 803, Shizhong District, Zaozhuang, Shandong Province
Postcode: 277132

LIST:
1. Special Medical Equipment Items for Urological Surgery
2. 363 Hospital - Informed Consent to Use Urological Equipment
3. 363 Hospital - Record of conversation with the patient and her family before surgery
4. 363 Hospital - Consent for Urological Surgery
5. Photo – inflamed wound on his private parts
6. Video – he is on a bed in the hospital, waiting for a surgery
7. Photo – the patient on the bed
8. Identity card of the patient
submitted by alicessword to TransSupport [link] [comments]

What is Bitcoin? - A Beginner Video Guide to Bitcoin. How to build your own cryptocurrency (complete instructions) How to Buy Cryptocurrency for Beginners (Ultimate Step-by ... Drill Doctor Instructions - YouTube Bitcoin Cryptocurrency for Beginners 💰 - YouTube

As Bitcoin and blockchains are coming into the mainstream, investigators, auditors and forensics and security professionals need to become familiar with how blockchain works and why it is so important to tomorrow’s digital security. It is important for anyone involved in forensics to understand the risk associated with Bitcoin, the most notable usage of blockchain and how applying forensics ... How to earn bitcoin: 13 minutes and 28.02 seconds: Cowboys vs Football Team... 15 minutes and 39.96 seconds: free bitcoins every hour: 57 minutes and 4.93 seconds: teelers vs Titans live... 1 hour, 3 minutes and 48.94 seconds: Buccaneers vs Raiders Live... 1 hour, 16 minutes and 11.94 seconds: Buccaneers vs Raiders live... 1 hour, 32 minutes and 22.7 seconds: Untitled: 1 hour, 44 minutes and ... With bitcoin, the goal of the protocol is to eliminate the possibility that the same bitcoin is used in separate transactions at the same time, in such a way that this would be difficult to detect. Bitcoin Core should also work on most other Unix-like systems but is not as frequently tested on them. It is not recommended to use Bitcoin Core on unsupported systems. From Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 onwards, macOS versions earlier than 10.12 are no longer supported. Additionally, Bitcoin Core does not yet change appearance when macOS “dark mode ... Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still the biggest and best-known - its rise in value from a few cents to hundreds of dollars per coin by mid-2016 had given rise to a frenzy of ...

[index] [34881] [14867] [12435] [50794] [20188] [1995] [1209] [15344] [11626] [26989]

What is Bitcoin? - A Beginner Video Guide to Bitcoin.

DIY Bitcoin Ticker I built using a Raspberry Pi 3+. I used a Raspberry Pi but an Arduino works just as well! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any que... Check Out the UPDATED Version of this Ultimate Guide Here: https://youtu.be/sEtj34VMClU This video will teach you how to buy cryptocurrency for beginners ste... This video will show you how to start bitcoin mining from home. It's very easy and "free" to do if you have a gaming PC. *****... ATTENTION: I AM NOT ON TELEGRAM!!! To anyone who is being approached under the scam please report to Telegram. How I got Rich off Bitcoin! We've all been hea... The Antminer S17 is equipped with Bitmain’s second-generation 7nm chip BM1397. The standard mode has a hashrate of up to 56 TH/s and an energy efficiency rat...

#