Link to part 2 https://www.reddit.com/nosleep/comments/13qcl3m/the_big_rock_candy_mountain_book_2_finding/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
Well, this is going to be a little different.
First thing I want to say is that Kev will be back. I’m not the type to sugar coat things, he’s in a pretty sorry state, but he’s going to pull through. He’s a tough bastard.
In case you haven’t clued in yet, it’s Mike, I might not be as much of a wordsmith as Kev but I think I can keep your interest.
She was about five foot four, pale greasy skin and pitch colored hair that was just about to cross the double line from shiny into gross. Early thirties I’d guess, but with the strange shit Kev and I have gotten ourselves into she could be a million, or put together yesterday for all I know.
She was a “ Shame Monger” which was as esoteric of a job title as it sounds, and the first context me and my little buddy had on our current assignment.
The place we’re in is an old, decrepit arcade, I’m surrounded by shadowy figures sticking to the dark recesses like insects.
Kev is somewhere deep within the place sticking his neck out with God knows what ( I mean, I do as well, but I’ll let Kevin relay shit when he’s up to it.), and I’m making small talk.
“You human? “ I say, she’s not offended but raises an eyebrow.
“Are you? “ She has an edge to her, human or not, she’s seen some shit.
I laugh, running a hand over the branded lines mimicking clown patterns Art left me with after that stay in his gulag.
“Sometimes I forget about the braille.
Yeah, %100 sadly. “ I lean on the counter as I speak.
“Me too, you haven’t been working with the watchers long, have you? “ She sounds concerned, “ I’d suggest finding a new job. They have a bit of a reputation. “
“Long enough. “ I’m wary now, information is a resource I’m not willing to part with easily.
I don’t think she’s wrong, mind you, every day I spend with these wizards by another name, I like them less and less. Being sent with Kev, Jr, and the voices in my head, wandering across the country to find something called “The Fleshsmith”, is the best case scenario in my opinion. Gives me some breathing room.
“How do does one deal in shame? “ I say after a long silence. The glitched beeping of the machines becoming grating.
“Not as spooky as you’d think.
You play airsoft? I’m Tori by the way. “ Tori says, lighting up a small black cigar.
“Never got the bug, but I’ve heard of it, and I’m Mike. “ I reply.
“Well Mike, I play, and it’s a great hobby. Lots of physical activity, lots of equipment to learn about, it’s got something for everyone. For the most part, it’s an exciting activity .
But, think of the factory that makes the plastic ammunition. It’s integral, but it’s cheap, easy to make, monotonous, and far removed from any of the interesting facets of the hobby.
That’s me. I brush up against all kinds of folks, but besides the little wrinkle your friend is dealing with, all of the real spooky shit is well past arm’s length. “ she coughs, the thick, cherry scented smoke hangs in rings, “ It’s a living. “
“Honestly, I couldn’t be happier.
I hear ‘ Shame Monger’ and I was thinking torture, and, I don’t know, ghosts maybe? “ I shrug, motioning for one of the cigarellos.
She gives me one, it tastes of rose and a rich, almost syrup like tobacco.
“Sorry to disappoint. No, extraction is pretty painless, uses a kind of blotter paper. And to the best of my knowledge, ghosts aren’t a thing.
As I said, things are safe and boring. “ Tori says, taking a seat on a black waist high stool.
I let her statement hang for a moment.
“So what’s with the big guy trying to blend in, waiting for me to leave the counter? And why did he come with 2 friends and a running engine? “ I say, low but casual.
I can tell she’s annoyed at my insight.
“That’s nothing horror adjacent. Just a good old fashioned shake down, cost of doing business.
He doesn’t know exactly what goes on here, but him and his associates know it’s profitable enough they can squeeze ten grand out of me a month. “ Tori shrugs, putting out her cigar.
“You can’t give someone a discount to rattle their cage? “ I ask, curious.
“Listen to you. “ Tori laughs, “If your butcher asked you to get shot for them, would you jump at the chance? “
I make eye contact, I can’t help but smirk.
“I’ve gotten shot for less. “ My comment gets a sideways look.
“Mike, I’m seeing you, and I’ve got to say, kinda seems like you’re full of shit. “ Her reply is harsh, but I can’t blame her. I’m dressed like salesman, facial scars or no.
I don’t reply. I walk to the grimy, dim, wet floored men’s room.
Someone who chooses my line of work doesn’t get into it because they have great impulse control. And unfortunately, I’m not unique .
Since I’ve got here, I’ve felt scared, small, ineffective. I know you guys have seen Kevin’s point of view on things, and it makes me seem like some kind of wrecking ball, but that is 50 per cent showmanship, 30 per cent planning and 20 per cent not caring if I lose a piece or two.
But this situation, some low rent semi-connected asshole who thinks he’s Don Corleone? It calls to me.
The clothing I wear is designed to be reversable, and with a few adjustments, I’m no longer wearing a cheap looking used car salesman’s suit, but an antique tuxedo with a 1940s design.
The mirror is grimy as hell, I try to clear a spot, but the sad, octogenarian Esque flow from the tap isn’t up to the task.
But it’s clear enough to reflect him, standing behind me. I jump, and my heart starts to pound.
“Not the time for this. “ I say, pacing.
I try to look away, but there he is, in the corner of my vision, each time. I’d close my eyes, but that’s what he wants, he gets closer when I can’t see.
For a half second my vision is taken up by a crystal clear image of his face. That angular, pale visage inhuman by any standard, but haunting in it’s echoes of a past rooted in mortality.
I stumble backward, slamming into the wall. Panting, my eyes locked on his almost-there form.
He’s tall, wicked, and everything about him exudes power. He’s taken to looking like me more and more lately. But a twisted, malignant reflection, what I could be if I let this pulp novel of a corner of reality have it’s way with me.
“Fuck off Demi! “ I say, getting to my feet, “ I’ve got shit to do. “
Still don’t know if he is just another hallucination, or who he says he is, but Demi and myself are on pretty poor terms as of late.
I hear the bodyless old ghoul whispering what I assume are dark threats as I open a small tube of what I like to refer to as ‘Mike’s Mix’.
A combination of preparation H, topical anesthetic, and just a hint of clown white. Laugh if you want, but it stops a hell of a lot of incidental injuries in my line of work.
Demi starts to fade and I see what I can of myself in the dull mirror.
I’m a little too old for the phrase, but I’m sure a lot of you folks out there would refer to the cliché spook I’ve cultivated as “Cringe”.
I don’t disagree.
But, it’s the game I have to play right now. I’m not some invincible cursed killer, but you know what, I can certainly play one on T.V.
(Did I just try to relate to kids, then make a joke from a 40 year old commercial? This is why Kev does the writing.)
I walk out of the bathroom, reeking of fear sweat and tainted water. The foot and a half lucite rod is tucked up my sleeve, I tap the end of it against the wall as I walk.
The guy is six feet, easily, he’s fifty or so, but making up for it with trips to the gym and a few friendly doctors if I don’t miss my guess.
He doesn’t take the bait, just keeps talking to Tori, once he looks to me, I can tell he is asking her who I am, she’s smart, she shrugs after looking over.
I had an entire plan where I would embarrass the man, get him to send some guys, and make things so costly he just gave up on Tori. It’s a classic, but if it ain’t broke and all that.
But plans, like the people that make them, tend to fail at the worst times.
Once I get within striking distance, the guy turns, his speed isn’t supernatural, but a lot more than I was expecting. His punch lands well enough that I don’t remember starting to fall.
The second finishes the job before I can get my bearings.
The darkness creeps in and in it’s peace I realize how stupid it was to go in this half cocked. I was jonesing for a fight I could win so badly, I went in without a plan B.
I need someone to reign me in, back home it was Eli, here, it’s Kev. As the last bits of conscious thought leave me, I feel bad about leaving him alone.
It's the stifling heat that wakes me up, before my vision clears I smell hot, cheap leather, old vomit and years worth of attempts to mask the smell.
I’m soaked in sweat, the air is like a sauna. I’m sitting in the back of a car, I wouldn’t call it a limo, but it’s clearly built for comfort, in optimal circumstances. There’s a tinted glass partition separating me from the front seat, it’s cracked slightly, I try to tell if anyone is there, but have no luck.
“Can’t say this is a new experience. “ I say, to whoever may be listening.
I try kicking out the windows and the partition, they don’t budge a millimeter.
“If you are up for talking things over, I’m game. “ I try to pry the overhead light loose, and that’s when I notice it.
It's a note, in a thick plastic sleeve, wrapped around my forearm and stuck with some kind of adhesive.
The pain is horrible, made all the worse by the constant pouring of sweat literally putting salt into the wound.
Said wound isn’t deep, a few layers of skin down, enough to weep blood, but far away from pouring. But if this kills me, it won’t be exsanguination. Depending on how long, whoever, plans on keeping me in here, I worry about infection, necrosis, pretty much all the members of the Untreated Wound crew.
I take off the suit jacket, and tear it into strips to use as makeshift bandages, I have a feeling I’ll be needing plenty by the time this is over.
My left arm is slow and clumsy as I open the envelope. I hope it’s just shock, or swelling, not nerve damage.
Hey, Dracula, or whatever the hell you are.
Fuck yourself, you think we don’t have ways of taking care of your kind?
“Well, can’t say the guy isn’t succinct. “ I say, laughing.
If I just went up to the guy with a threat and a pipe, I’d have either won or lost, and that’d be the end of it. But my genius self succeeded in convincing him I was scary enough to toss me… here.
It dawns on me that there is something obvious I haven’t tried.
As I pull the latch on the passenger side door, something inside me tells me to stop.
Visually, I can’t really describe what it looked like opening the door. The brief period before I saw what was beyond was the visual equivalent of trying to catch a greased pig.
I was left with a view, an identical car interior. The other car parked impossibly close, Their doors seeming to blend with their exteriors.
I enter, as a great man once said “Buy the ticket, take the ride. “, and my dumb ass need for assurance, bought me one hell of a ride.
Once I get in, the driver’s side door closes, and I find myself in the same sweltering heat, in the same backseat.
The damp leather sticks to my arms, I start to calculate how much water I’m losing by the minute, and the math scares the hell out of me.
I try going through the door a few more times, but the more I do, the more I realize, it’s the same car.
The fear becomes as oppressive as the wet heat, I’ve researched a hell of a lot of things from the watchers library, but infinite Oldsmobiles didn’t come up.
I’ve been disarmed, but left with my phone, and wallet. I’m kind of impressed they managed to find 99 per cent of the equipment I can hide in a suit, but hey, %1 is better than nothing.
The phone makes a useless bludgeon, I quickly retire the idea, and figure, even neutered as it is ( I find I can get online, but little else.), it’s better doing phone things than broken.
The good news is frighteningly slim.
I’ve got a few feet of polymar tarp, folded in the wallet, useful for a lot of things, but most important in my situation will be trying to get some kind of drinking water.
An emergency credit card knife, barely useful little thing, won’t do me any good in a fight, but might be a useful tool.
Three strike anywhere matches, a small hook and length of fishing line.
My lips are cracked and bleeding, it can’t have been more than an hour or two, but I’m starting to feel heat exhaustion set in.
I think I’ve found something when the knife sinks into the thin leather of the overstuffed backseat, but the shoddy blade encounters some kind of solid matter, and as I pull the knife out, the leather seals itself.
I stay still, trying to conserve energy, trying to formulate some plan.
He sits beside me now, his looming hunched frame bent in the confines of the car. His face is a blur, but I know beneath the shadows he's smirking.
“I’m way too tired for you Demi. “ I say, wiping what feels like a liter of sweat from my forehead.
His repeating, echoing laughter proves me wrong, I shiver, despite the brutal heat.
It can’t have been more than a few degrees, bit It feels like getting splashed with ice water.
The light in the car begins to dim, and with it, the soul crushing temperature of the luxury automobile drops.
I scramble to set up the tarp, I was banking on this, without some kind of temperature drop, the plastic sheet is useless.
Within an hour droplets have began to create a small stream, collecting at the cone shaped tip of the suspended tarp. Lacking anything to put it into, I catch the liquid in my mouth.
It's foul, and likely contaminated, but it’s my only option. If I’m stuck in here a week I can get by without food, brutalized by heat, I won’t make it 2 days without water.
I feel exhausted, wondering exactly how long I’ve been stuck here I check the time on my phone.
It’s almost random progression does nothing to comfort the surreal sense of dread that is enveloping me.
I don’t know when I passed out, but I wake up laying across the reeking leather, being dragged backward.
I feel fingers, dozens of them, clawing, scraping, trying to gain purchase. A crevice begins to open in the deep black leather, and I begin to be dragged into it.
I throw myself forward, landing painfully on the sticky, grime ridden floor of the car.
Fear, and the awkward ergonomics of my situation make turning around a slow, nerve wracking chore. Once I manage to, I regret the decision.
Hands, some small, some large, some seemingly cobbled together from mismatched scraps, slowly pull themselves from the crevice between the seat and back of the back seat.
They prod and crawl like insects, none ever giving way to arm, just a lumpen flow of calloused, wrist like structure, giving each an segmented, centipede like appearance.
I sit up, watching the macabre display, trying to make some kind of sense of it.
I actually scream when there’s a sharp, loud, mechanical ringing beside my head. The type of analogue noise that went out of style long before land lines did.
It doesn’t take me long to find the handle and pull out an ancient car phone, it’s a two part wood paneled brick of a thing, I pick up the receiver, “Hello” I say, a question as much as a greeting.
The voice is male, probably early twenties.
“Don’t worry about them. They can be an issue if you don’t sleep on the floor, but I’ve never seen one drag itself more than half way across the seat. “ He’s calm, but has a survivors hushed impatience.
“Who are you? “ I ask.
“I won’t lie to you man.
I’ve been in here a while, but now that there is someone else, I think I can get out. Call me Pol. “ I catch the hopeful tone in his voice.
“How? “ I say simply, still trying in vain to put more space between me and the hands.
“Not to sound cold, but if I tell you, there is a chance you just take the information and leave me here.
The first step is us meeting, you’ll know the plan by the time that happens.
I don’t lie. “ If nothing else I can say Pol seems smart.
“Fair enough, what can I do? “ I Trail off at the end of my sentence, one of the hands is pointing at me.
“You need to understand a few things about this place.
First, don’t travel at night. Nothing you are going to find is going to be any better than the crawlers.
Second, remember the numbers, 1, 5 and 9. I’m assuming you have a watch, or a cellular phone? If the time ends in one of those, you’re likely to find a new space.
Last, what’s outside of the car, on the driver’s side, pretend it doesn’t exist. “ The instructions are cryptic, but I’m in no place to turn down good advice.
“How do I know I can trust you? “ I ask, knowing the answer.
“Don’t see how I could be anything other than what I say.
Wouldn’t it be pretty obvious if I was trying to lead you astray? “ Pol’s response is reasonable, but a lifetime of being blindsided makes me wary.
“I guess so. What should I be doing now? “ I say, flipping off the hand like thing that continues to point at me.
“Get some sleep. Time, day and night cycles, they mean nothing here, and passing out in a hundred and fifty degree weather is a shitty way to go.
I won’t be able to get through during the day, so listen carefully.
If you time your travel right, you are going to be looking for two main things. The first is going to be a pillow mint, eventually you are going to starve either way, the human body needs more than just sugar, but you should be able to find enough to keep you going till malnutrition kicks in. The second is a soda can, it’s a sip, and it’s turned, but it’s better than trying to lick the droplets from the windows. “ I listen to Pol, hopefully memorizing his instructions.
Daylight brings with it reek and heat, I watch the hands scuttle back to within the recesses of the seats, shuddering a bit as I see wave like, movements in the cushions.
“God damn it. “ I say looking at the display on my knock off phone. About %50, for all I know I’ll be out in 15 minutes, but I’m not banking on it.
I watch the numbers flash by like a stock ticker, waiting to see if Pol is trying to screw me over or not.
I see 1:39 and crack open the passenger side door.
The same sweltering heat, the same basic backseat, but I know, at a glance, things are not quite identical. Part repetition from the day before, part a decade and a half playing private eye, but I can tell Pol was telling the truth.
Lipstick, smeared on the passenger window, an old handprint. It seems like something bad happened here.
The leather of one of the headrests is torn, I purposely avoid looking at the certainly not stuffing inside.
It’s like this place wants to tell a story, I can’t help but try and hear it.
I don’t find any soda, but I do find a single, red and white pillow mint, wrapper mostly in tact, sitting in a sticky patch on the floor.
I try my luck a few more times, using the cell phone as a kind of metronome, and while I do get a lot of repetition, every so often, there is a little change, or quirk.
I’ve collected two pocketfulls of mints, and found myself desperately hoping to stumble upon anything to drink. Another night of distilled sweat, dust, and God knows what doesn’t seem appealing.
I must have been too slow opening the door, I’d done it over two hundred times at this point, and the grey haze of this new variation set off every danger instinct in me.
It felt like I was being watched from every angle, despite the gloom the heat was worse, and seemed to bake a fungal reek into the air itself.
The door handle on the passenger side is mangled, the steel colored plastic twisted into a useless lump.
The leather seems slightly rotten, weather stripping peels, light fixtures are cracked and loose, it feels very, old.
I watch the phone, my eyes instinctively darting around, there are noises from the front seat and I doubt they have my best interests in mind.
I’m trying the mangled door handle but something is broken.
That being, said, with a car this old, the fish hook, with enough persistence could work,
I Peel back some of the stripping around the window, te hook begins it’s slow trek down into the mechanics of the door.
I scratch my wounded arm, it hurts, but that isn’t what concerns me. I feel a small, irregular lump.
I peel back my makeshift bandages, and what I see attempts me make to vomit stomach contents that weren’t there.
Small, brown grey mushrooms, a half dozen, about the size of a grain of rice. I feel a tingling in the wound, and panic sets in.
Opening a door like this requires a steady hand, but between the noises in the front seat, and the literally budding body horror on my arm, my nerves are shot.
I hear the partition begin to lower, and that rotten, fungal reek becomes nearly a physical force. My eyes water, my nose runs, and I hear a noise, like flowing sand.
I feel the hook dig under the proper part of the lock and pull up as I feel something wet soak through my shoe.
The door opens violently, not that I’m upset, I toss myself forward like I’m going for a touchdown, my forehead slams off of the armrest in the newest backseat I find myself in.
Before the passenger side closes I catch a glimpse of the mess that spilled from behind the partition. Rot and flesh, an aborted rotten attempt at life enraged at the universe that spawned it.
I actually feel relief at the blinding sunlight, and shining leather, and find myself relating to the monsterous mass I left behind.
I look at my arm, realizing I didn’t leave all of it behind.
“Oh, fuck me. “ I say, fumbling the credit card knife together.
The mushrooms had doubled in size, the cheap tin knife makes a terrible scalpel, I scream as I err on the side of caution, flaying a half inch around each.
I’m bleeding heavily, half of the makeshift bandages barely keeping the flow at bay.
My vision swims, I feel sick, and I fight the urge to break down into a mentally and physically broken heap.
That’s where I’ll leave everyone. Night is falling, and without a little more help from Pol, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to last.
If this is the last time you hear from me, well I’m sure Kev will have you guys covered for the rest of what I hope is Art’s downfall.
If it isn’t, I’ve got a favor to ask, did you guys notice anything I didn’t? Is there anything that is more obvious from outside this displaced cluster fuck?
Hello. I am unsure of how to go about this, as it is difficult for me to accurately detail my mind. I hope you all can understand.
I don’t know what’s going on ever, at all. I am trying to think of how to word this. I think I am okay right now but I don’t feel right. A long time ago, I felt like lain was god. I was the messenger to connect and help people understand what it means to connect. That we will live inside the computers. Not physically. Mentally, you could connect. I would scour the internet and find websites that would show me answers. I would be able to talk with people through their mind. Whole conversations. And I would joke, and they would laugh in real life. And so I have not thought about it in a while. Today, I get home, and I am sent back into it. I felt like I was being watched, like there are eyes everywhere, and you can see them too if you squint through the screen. I had a panic attack. Now i feel trapped, like I have been forced back here for some reason, but this is darker. I am unsure on how to proceed. I kind of know what is happening but I don’t want to do it again. I want to remove my brain and stop thinking.
So I have now worked for the same employer since high school, I made 10$ an hour for a long time, now I’m salaried at 53k a year, I’ll be at 6 years in October this year and the owner is the only one above me. I have run about 120 sites since hired including Walmart, target, Home Depot, rite aid, Walgreens, multiple military bases and multiple hospitals. I have my OSHA 30 and I can pretty much do any construction and I have the tools to do so. I can do anererobic fiber and splice it, I can analog voice, I can do cameras, I can do anything. My main question is should I continuously work for this guy with no expectation of growth?
So I ended up getting a 2024 Street Triple, and am absolutely in love with the bike. I opted to have the dealer add and install the Bluetooth module, as I wanted the ability to navigate from the dash rather than use a quadlock or other mount for my phone (as well as some of the other benefits, but that was the big one).
When I purchased the bike, the shop was closing when I picked up the keys. So the salesman sorta brushed through the steps and we never connected my phone at the dealership. Unfortunately, that dealership is 2+hours away and haven't been able to fix it over the phone...
Here's what I've been able to do:
I've downloaded the Triumph app, and added my bike. I understand that with iPhones, you have to pair it twice (once for the music portion, once for the navigation). I believe I have all the access set for Googlemaps and Triumph's app. Everything's updated, etc.
I follow the steps on the app. I will pair, initiating the process on the bike and then accepting on my phone. This step seems to pair the music portion.
Then for the navigation portion, it says to start the process in the app / phone. I will have my bike's screen on the home page, and will see a pop up requesting to pair with my phone. I'll accept. I won't see any error messages on the bike, and I will see a green checkmark saying I've successfully paired both steps on my phone.
However, when I go into the app and attempt to navigate to a location, it says I need to pair the bike and kicks me back to step one...
On the plus side, the music control seems to work.
Any ideas? I'm trying to avoid taking my bike back to that specific dealership, though may for the first service interval and if they can't fix it, just have them remove the bluetooth...
I ended up going to a much closer dealership, who also wasn't able to fix it. They said that everything was updated and activated with the bluetooth module though.