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Suicide is Painless

This is not an easy blog post to write. I have started over multiple times as the subject is not one that people want to hear about. It’s one that many feels belong in the shadows, that the problem is all in someone’s head. The fact is, it is in their head. Their emotions are all over the place from any form of issues which includes, and not limited to, the short list below:

  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Shame

The four simple emotions I listed above can lead to some of the most dangerous results in a person with DEPRESSION.  You will find that as I continue this I will be putting DEPRESSION in all capital letters, for the simple reason I want to draw attention to the word. I want people to realize how deadly it is not just to the person, but those around them.

You see contrary to a song that was popularized by a Movie and a TV Show, Suicide is NOT Painless. It impacts so many people in a person’s personal circle, but also those outside that circle. You see at one time many professionals thought the sphere of impact from suicide was on average six people. I have begun seeing new studies that say that the impact is much larger and I really do believe that is the case.

There are tons of arguments on what may be going on when someone commits suicide. They can be called selfish, heartless, loners, and even (by some) losers. The fact is that they let those emotions get to them and decided that was their way to end the pain. I will never attempt to get into the mind of someone who committed suicide as they all had their own personal reasoning’s.  All I can do is keep living and find a way to deal with those emotions.

Now I understand not all who commit suicide are doing it due simply from some behavioral issues, but some have diseases, mental or physical that causes them to feel that is the way out. Again, I will not attempt to get into their heads.

The fact is that many who do commit suicide are often deeply DEPRESSED and were unable, or unwilling to search out help.

I put a lot of the rise of DEPRESSION and suicide on our modern culture. We correspond over electronic devices without actually talking. A small pixel filled image, emoji, cannot take the place for a real smile, a real frown, or more importantly real tears. There are those who have gotten so used to this type of communication they cannot carry out a simple conversation if they had to.

We then add in the fact that many are told to hide their emotions. Keep them hidden do not share with each other.  If there is a problem, it’s probably all in their head. We adults can be just as horrible because who wishes to admit a child, a loved one, someone they care about has a problem. Very few as it can seem like it’s a reflection back on them for being such a horrible person. I got to say that’s bull crap.

You see, I’m going to get into my own past personal dark space here. I first and thankful for the help my parents was willing to get me. If not for them, and even my future, fiancé/wife, I may not be here to write this post. I can even say thank you to the great psychiatrist’s, and counselors I saw during this struggle.

You see I was in college, away from home for the first real time for a prolonged period. As I was away I was surely missing my family, and although a few hours away by car, they were away. This was also a period before computers where everywhere and texting was actually costly. I lost not one, not two but three dear family members within a year, and a couple just months apart. I started to struggle with my grades, fell into a deep DEPRESSION and at one point had a knife in my hand by the bathroom sink of an apartment I was living in. I looked at myself in the mirror, did not recognize the face looking back at me and realized, WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING!

So I ended up flunking out of college for a term. I was able to get some help during that period off and it was due highly to my parents pushing me to get that help. I got back into college and even attended therapy sessions while in school. I was put on medications, I took them, and I beat it. I beat the DEPRESSION and I’ve done all I can to keep that specter in the back of my mind.  I know it tries to emerge at times and really tried when Multiple Sclerosis came calling. I, however, have really changed the way I view my life and will NOT let DEPRESSION take me down that rabbit hole again.

What I learned out of that experience is that the male myth of not showing emotions is bull. Men can certainly show emotion and talk about their emotions. If someone sees you as weak, then they are truly the weak ones for not being able to handle the truth and who you are. We have to find ways to get a circle of people who care for us, and do not let petty disagreements come in the way of true friendships.

I now go back to that song, Suicide is Painless. I surely disagree with that title as it may be to the person committing the act, but those left behind it is a pain that may never go away. The pain of being a survivor, wonder what happened, blaming first the individual, and then maybe turn it back on themselves helps no one. What can really help is to stop and be there for those fighting DEPRESSION so it does not lead to suicide. This may mean you have to admit your own failure, but isn’t that worth saving someone’s life?

I’m going to end with that open question and hopefully my own story, and this article is found to be helpful.  I have a list of Helpful links below and I do want to add a caveat on one of those links. The link on Suicide Risk Factors and Civil Liabilities is from a law firm in California that reached out to me about collaborating on a link share. I am being honest as it took time to think on if I wanted to do it, but considering the topic I felt it was worth it. If they can help get my blog post out, and I can help them then why not.

Also, I own no rights to the song, “Suicide is Painless” is written by Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics).

Useful Links

 

Two Final notes

  1. The image above is owned by me. Anyone wishing to use the image should reach out to me as it is a photo I took during a trip to Upper Michigan.
  2. I am not a counselor or phsycologist. I do not claim to be one, and suggest people use the above links for help. If you wish to know more about my struggle you can reach me by email on my About me Page.
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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Personal

 

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My Answers to 5 Frequent Questions on Multiple Sclerosis

I’m one of those people who is not afraid to take time to talk to someone about the beast that is now part of my life. The beast is nothing that is seen upon my body. You do not see a creature hiding behind me, on my shoulders or hugging my leg. Granted at times it does feel like it is hugging both legs and even my arms. The beast is called Multiple Sclerosis.

I have blogged in the past about it and it is something I do plan on continuing to post new blog posts on in the future. I made it easy for people to find my older posts with a category titled Multiple Sclerosis.

This post is going to go into what I consider the five most frequent questions I get when I tell people I have MS. I will warn readers that I use humor, sarcasm and at same time I can be serious. You will find that within this posting and hopefully it opens your eyes to what some, not all may go thru with MS. I know from my point of view this is what I go thru. You are as always welcome to share this post if you so wish.

  1. What is Multiple Sclerosis?

I always am tempted to go with the medical explanation of how immune system will attack the Myelin around nerve cells, and blah blah blah. I can just picture the glass eyed look of how I could lose someone going into that so I often explain it in this way.

“MS is like your computer, brain, giving orders to your body telling it how to do everything from breathing to walking. It controls so much of our body and many of those orders go thru the nerves. Sadly MS is like when somehow, and unknown, those commands don’t fully work. It causes all types of computer issues when you get a virus, and MS can cause all types of problems with the body. Sadly it’s not a virus it’s something science hasn’t figured out yet.”

  1. Did they give you a time frame on life?

This one gets me to laugh a bit. I say that as really there is no expectation on when you’ll die due to MS, if it is even the cause of your death. I mean if you think on it the moment we are born we start by taking a big breath into this world. Every single breath after that first one could be our last.

So, we have to stop worrying about when it may end but instead worry how we spend that time. Do we worry about things we cannot control? Do we let a disease dictate our life expectancy? I say NO, as for me it’s a ride and I hope to enjoy it, stay within the law, and hopefully leave a mark of positivity. If I’m remembered for anything I just want it to be that I cared, I listened and I tried to help if I could.

  1. Do I get depressed, or was I depressed?

You know, I think those I first told about the diagnosis where more depressed, and unsure what to do then I was. To me it was a part of life, and I was not going to let it change who I was on the inside. This comes from a battle of depression in my early college years. I learned so much about myself and add in psychology course I took I learned to let things go. Sure I can get upset at times, who doesn’t. The main difference is I at least have learned what to do to overcome.

The biggest thing about depression, in my opinion, is not to run from someone looking to talk. Do not judge them, the best thing we can do is just listen. Let them express their emotions, the suffering that has put them in that bad place. Let them give you hints on how you may be able to help instead of just saying they need to do this or that. The biggest step for someone with Depression is the fact they talked about it.

  1. What are some of the symptoms of MS?

This is one that is hard to answer. You see we have heard that life is like a box of chocolates as we never know what we’ll get. MS, to me, is a chocolate store. I say that as there are various versions of the disease and each has its own symptoms that can impact a person totally different then the next person.

Me I had severe nerve pain and muscle pain in my arms and legs. My arms would suddenly start contracting in on themselves and was very painful. I got to a doctor and after many tests the diagnosis came back. I still have some of the common issues that come with MS.

  • I get pain at times in both my arms and legs.
    • Some refer to this as the MS Hug as you get a sense someone is hugging you deeply and won’t let go.
    • I also get a tingle feeling in the arms and legs.
  • Fatigue is the worst one to me. You get tired and really you can’t fight it.
    • I think of it as if you stayed up for over 24 hours and body is demanding sleep. No matter how much caffeine you may take to stay awake the fatigue is going to claim you.
  • Vision Issues
    • I have had a small loss of vision within in my left eye. I can see out of it but imagine looking thru a piece of paper with tons of little holes punched in it. There will be spots you can’t see and that’s my left eye.
  • Concentration Issues
    • This doesn’t happen all the time, or too often. I believe this is why I am one who enjoys the challenge of multitasking. It helps me bounce from project to project and back again. It can be a pain though and when it’s bad, well that’s what a “To Do” list is for.
  • Others
    • There are a few other things like I’ll get some numbness in my right leg/foot at times. It’s nothing to major but it does happen from time to time.
    • Emotions can be impacted as I have found I tear up while watching a movie for no reason. It maybe something I’ve seen for years but boom it happens.
    • Bowels, well I won’t go too much into this one as don’t want people running away going…..”EWWWW”. I’ll just say that when I have to go to the bathroom, sometimes it’s important I get there. Thankfully I have not had to buy a lot of new underwear or pants. HA HA
  1. Anything I can do to help?

I do like this question but I got to say it’s the hardest to answer.

  • I mean those who ask I’d love to tell them sure, take this thing from me. However, I know they cannot and to be honest would not wish it on them.
  • I’d like to go sure, got some money I can have? I mean before I got good insurance bills hit hard. Those I have joked with about that will say set up a Go Fund Me page or something. I just can’t do that, I think it’s my pride and well I keep finding a way to make sure bills, and mortgage are covered. Granted got to say at times…….well…..yeah. (Insert a smile here ha ha)
  • What can they really do most is do not feel sorry for me. I try to lead by example. I do not want someone feeling sorry as its life. As I mentioned before I am still taking a new breath and my time has not come. We live in a world of challenges and do not let the petty and stupid guide your life. Agree to disagree and continue being a friend. Agree to know what topics may be off topic and leave them out of conversation. Most of all understand I never been one to really put myself out there. In truth this blog is my way to do that, and I know I’ve lost many of friends in my life due to this part of myself.

I’ll add that MS is like many other diseases in the world. It does not matter who you are, where you are from it will impact people of all kinds. Some are more than willing to talk about MS, and others treat it like depression and hide the diagnosis. I personally do not care how one deals with the diagnosis as long as they DO NOT GIVE UP.  I’ll end this very long post with the one quote I often say to people.

“I may have Multiple Sclerosis but is DOES NOT HAVE ME!”

Helpful Links:

**Please note all copyrights/Trademarks are owned by their appropriate person, company. I make no claims.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2018 in Multiple Sclerosis

 

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The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli

As one looks around in in the entertainment world for moves, comic books, TV shows, and even much of the literary world there is something unique. You find that many of the stories involving a post-apocalyptic world focus either on North America or Europe. There have been newer tails that bring us to places like Africa and even India. However, there is not much, that I found, that deal with “The Land Down Under” or better known as Australia. This is at least till I was given the opportunity to read the book The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli.

The book opens up in a future that Is not too far away from the present day. It starts innocuously with a man driving out to check his property. He comes across a strip of land that has gotten a great tear in it as a meteor landed and plowed a crater into the ground. Unfortunately for this man, and humanity there is some type of cosmic hitchhiker that will bring Australia, and the Earth, to its modern day end. Its effects will not immediately be known but this older man will shadow what is to come. A wild animal bit will not heal as a man give himself shots of antibiotics as he travels home. It is only when a friend stops at his home do we get a sense of what happened, and Humanity is in for just as much as a shock as that friend. A friend who will find out that opening a door can be a big mistake as the other side could have something infected who sees you as “lunch”.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will take a jump in time and lead us to a walled city. A place where survivors from a massive infected outbreak now live by somewhat strict rules, but they are safe. They will take patrols out into neighboring areas searching for the needs to help their community survive. As we learn more and more about those inhabitants we find not just great friends, but family dynamics, and of course greed. The inhabitants will be a mixture of military to civilians with each member having their job to do.

Author S.T. Campitelli does a very good job in not just introducing his characters but giving us great storylines for them. You find yourself starting to sympathize with their situation as well as either hoping for their success, or downfall in some cases. Along with the character development there is futuristic technology utilized in this book that easily could be real today, if not in a few years. This makes the book even that much more enjoyable as you find yourself envisioning the items being used. In all truth some of the items in a home could be things you ask your voice assisted device to do for you within the next few years.

The story will move at a very good pace and you will notice that the chapters are named around the primary character in each.  It is why you will find many are named for the leading character, father, and husband John Bradley. He is an educated man who goes out into the wasteland around to find those things the walled city needs. He is also one who cares for many and gets involved in a major operation that is going to be overtaken within the book.

There are also chapters such as Dustin Callahan, The Headhunter and Alpha Kronenburg that are just hints of the protagonists within the pages of the book. These will be names that readers will come to find have their own agenda’s and those in the city are at times just in their way.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will introduce the reader to what remains of the civilization that was at one time Australia. It will give readers insight into a part of the world that is often left out of the decision during apocolyptial events. It will also give the reader a chance to ponder what would they do to survive such an event. Would they find themselves banned together in the city, trying to survive on their own, or just well that’s a question you must answer yourself. Of course that will all come if you allow your imagination to take you within the events of the book.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Obsidian Tears by Doug Lamoreux & Daniel D. Lamoreux

Yellowstone National Park is United States staple that attracts thousands, if not more, visitors each and every year. People enjoy not just the beauty of the Old Faithful Geyser but also the natural beauty that abounds the park itself. The one thing that many visitors, and maybe even some staff, do not know is the large history behind the land the park is located on.  The history includes that of the Native American’s and obsidian made artifacts have been found in the park. Why do I bring this up? I mention the obsidian as it is part of the title of the book, Obsidian Tears. The book is written by brothers Daniel and Doug Lamoreux and that deep black, glassy rock will play its part in this book.

Obsidian Tears will introduce the reader to Chief Forest Ranger Glenn Merrill who many readers may have met in the first book in this series, Apparition Lake. As in that book the reader will find Ranger Merril dealing with some alarming events around Yellowstone. The problem is these events are not just the threat from environmentalists, or campers’ causing mayhem, but something is brewing under the ground. There are earth tremors that bring signs that maybe the long dormant volcano under their feet is becoming active. There of course are the unexplained deaths that claim not just animals, but that of tourists and a ranger.

I wish to add that the book opening is quite interesting as well as it sets up some great foreshadowing of what may come. The Lamoreux brothers do a great job taking the reader back to a different time as we find the young Arapaho medicine man, Nakos, on a vision quest. The events that take place during this question and what will follow a few hundred years later will become clearer as you follow the story.

The thing is all the mystery around the park will eventually become tied to a mysterious box that is found within the park. I will not go into much detail on how, or where it is found, but just say they did have to look under something to find it. The item in that box will get things moving very fast within the pages of the book. These events will lead Ranger Merrill to search out his Shoshone friend, Johnny Two Ravens.  Along with Johnny, Merrill will also end up realizing he will need the help of a young professor of Seismology, one Dr. Betty Chmielewski or Lew for short.

The book is well written as the brothers certainly know how to work together and develop their characters. Along with the characters it does appear they have done a lot of research on Yellowstone and the history around the National Park. The book does have some violent acts, but for the most part we read more about the aftermath then get to read about the full details. I for one love this type of storytelling when it comes to violence as it engages the brain even more. The best thing about the additional engagement of the brain is it brings you more and more into the story you are reading.

Obsidian Tears is a very well written book and truly fits as book 2 in the Apparition Lake series. The reader gets to catch up on what has happened in the life of those characters they may have enjoyed from the first book. You also get a sense of what is going on within a park of Yellowstone’s size from the daily patrols that take place to dealing with some of the visitors. This is what makes not just the drama of the main story so special but you get a sense of the happenings at the park, which draws you in even more. A truly enjoyable read and I’m sure like many others, I hope for more.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft

I first want to be honest with all that I was provided with an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) for my review. The review is unbiased and honest as a free copy does not get me to change my opinion or review style. I just wished to put that out first and foremost so all understand how I came about this book.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is the book I have been referring to. The book is one in a series of books around the primary character Eric. The book will allow the reader to follow along as Eric starts his sophomore year at the Academy on Arsenal II. What awaits Eric and what will become his “gang” will be told within the pages of this very interesting book. I do want to make sure to point out this books setting is in outer space with Eric being a Midshipman in a Navy who’s ocean is the darkness of space.

The story will unfold as we find Eric traveling back to school as he looks to continue his education at the academy. It’s not easy to make sense of who Eric is but within the first few pages we find that he is quite a unique young man as he had made friends with one of the newest member of the Union, the Coven. He even at one point recollects meeting an admiral and discusses how in the past his confusion on whether to dress as a man or a woman.

The reader will also get an introduction into an often used tool within in writing, the interlude. I can see how some readers may get turned off but such a device, but these are well used within the book. They help to give insight into what is going on in the much larger landscape of the story. You will also get to learn so much more about Eric, and who he maybe even if unknown to himself.

The one point most important that I found within the opening chapters about Eric is a simple scene within a bar at Arsenal Gate. He stopped to get a drink and hope to find some directions on how to continue his trip on to Arsenal II. However, when a Midshipman walks into a bar often patronized by hard working men things can get heated. A simple misunderstanding turns into a near fight as Eric is required to defend himself. The whole thing shows that the young man is willing to try and avoid a fight, but if he must he will. The part that stuck with me was how he dressed down the security officers who came to his “rescue”. They did not follow the proper protocols and they ended up in more trouble than the man who tried to pick a fight with Eric. This showed me that he has a sense of fairness and will not just defend himself in a fight but in general.

The scene in the bar sets up behavior that will become a bit more common place for Eric as the story unfolds. We will find out some of stories behind him in his past as the book continues. You will find yourself wishing you had read the previous book just from what was revealed during the story of this book. The author Vanessa Ravencroft does a magnificent job in not just framing the story but the looks of the other species that are found within and outside of the Union. She will take the reader to worlds and species that may not come to the mind till they are introduced.

The book will eventually give us so much more when it comes to the story. One should not go into this book thinking it’s going to take place just within the training confines of the academy. Instead Eric will be on two very special ships of the Union fleet and even be temporarily given the role of one of these fine ships. The reader will eventually be introduced to the Olafson’s Gang which introduces some of the diverse aliens that are introduced within the pages. The one readers will surely come to sense is that there is something VERY BIG on the horizon that will involve Eric. The before mentioned interludes will introduce the reader to what may come and potentially even more on what makes Eric, well Eric.

Eric Olafson: Midshipman by Vanessa Ravencroft is a fantastic book. There are so many primary plots with minor plots woven within the story the book is hard to put down. You will also find yourself wrapped up within Eric’s life and I found myself wondering how I would handle some of the things thrust upon this character. One can honestly find plenty to like about this book as there are elements of drama, comedy, mystery and so much within the pages you do not need to be a fan of science fiction to love the book.

I want to take the last few lines to thank the great people at Inkitt for introducing me to this great book. I can honestly I am hooked and look forward to what may come within the pages of future books by Vanessa Ravencroft that tell the story of Eric Olafson. I must conclude that I did tell a fib as I am a bit biased as Eric is from a planet that is based in some Old Norse mythology. I myself have some Norwegian heritage so really looked forward to that part of Eric.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Life was Stormy but Brighter Things Are Coming.

I’m sure by now there are those who follow my blog wondering what the heck happened. Where am I? Did I stop writing? Did I maybe die? Did my Multiple Sclerosis decide it wanted to take some joy from my life? No to all of those as I can honestly say that none of those are true and really they are the furthest from the truth. I do need to edit this piece a bit as MS did decide to flare up and I’ll get to that in a bit.

I could go on a long babbling story about what really happened but I want to make this post somewhat short as really it is a re-introduction to what this blog is for. So let me hit the points now to explain how the end of 2016 was stressful and how 2017 is finally calming down.

The month of August saw me traveling to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, not for myself but my mother. She had been dealing with some health problems for a while and just before she planned to take a trip away from her home her hairstylist, of all people, pointed out how she looked jaundice. This led her to get to a doctor and after much testing they told her she had developed cancer. This is what brought the trip to the Mayo Clinic for the first time in 2016 and it would not be the last time. After surgery to remove a spot from her lung, we went back so the doctors could remove the original tumor that was found. She actually had two surgeries on that last visit over a span of a week and being the family we are she was one of the unique ones to be fighting two cancers at one time. I have to say the good news the doctor shared after the primary surgery made being in a hotel over Christmas worth it for us.

As my mom was going thru this my younger brother was dealing with his own life/death situation. He is one of those who likes working outside, and he and his wife own several animals. They have horses, chickens, dogs, and I could go on but really you probably don’t want to read about their small “zoo”. Anyway somewhere between the work around his home and the work in community a horrible infection took hold and he’s been battling that for some time now. As it is his story I will not go on to much more on that except to say that he is doing better and using a strong faith to help him deal with things. This faith along with support from family and friends is helping so much.

As for me, I started reading again and was lining up some reviews. I even have a few I am about done writing and wanted to share but then mid/late February things got weird. My left eye sight started to get blurry in the vision. It reminded me of what my grandmother went thru when she started losing her sight. A look out the center of the eye resulted in blurry vision but my peripheral vision for the most part was fine. I figured with some fatigue and other issues I had going on this was an MS flair up.

I had a normal six month checkup with my neurologist and mentioned the issue to her when I had that visit. A MRI was ordered and after having that done on a Friday, after a day or two of phone tag I got the results. The person who read the MRI said that it was NOT MS related but did state they had found three new lesions in the brain. Okay not the news I wanted when it came to the lesions but that is the disease but I still thought this eye issue was MS related.

This lead to an eye doctor visit a week after the MRI and that is where things got moving, and moving fast. First I got to say I have an outstanding eye doctor as she went well above the normal to help me on that visit. At first there was talk of a fix being glasses but then the retinal exam took place. She was going on about how healthy the right eye looked and the left eye she stopped. She asked if a few other doctors where available and next I knew she was consulting with retina specialists and then on the phone with the on-call neurologist for where I go. It came back that, yep it was MS related and I had a few choices. I could wait till Monday or get into the Emergency Room and get started on steroids that night. As we dealing with my eyes I went in that evening and started a steroid therapy treatment plan. I got to say that after just a few days my eye is feeling a bit better.

I realize these are a lot of excuses and I do HATE making excuses. There were some positives over the end of last year and the start of this year as well. Mid-year in 2016 I got promoted to a Front Line Leader (Supervisor) in the department I work within at my employer. I know have a small team of people reporting to me. The interesting thing my team is spread around the company but I am enjoying the challenges and most of all my team. My wife and I were given a small inheritance from when my mother sold my father’s business. This has allowed us to take on some home projects that we had been putting off. So, it hasn’t been all bad. Of course there is the joy in seeing my wife get ready to go visit her father who lives out of state who she hasn’t seen in a few years.

I just wanted to make sure that those reading knew that although it has been a rough six or eight months it wasn’t all bad. Things are picking back up for the positive and as always I am one that is trying to get back to the things I love doing. This means I do plan on getting those reviews I started out there, and more importantly getting all those authors waiting on a review realizing I did not forget their works. So, get ready as I may have to blow up the zoom in my Microsoft Word right now to write, I will be writing.  This is why the photo I used is one that was taken of a rainbow after a rain as to me it shows that thru all the stormy weather that life can bring something beautiful is waiting just behind it.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in Personal

 

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The Costume by Shawn Micallef

jack-olanternSome readers will remember my past two Halloween entries which featured a man with no fear, and a gluttonous candy loving computer geek. This year the little girl in the past two stories re-appears and she gets a title of, Dark Princess. She will be dealing with a very vain woman who is into the world of Cosplay. If you have not heard of Cosplay, well you are not alone. It wasn’t until somethings came up on my Facebook feed and a TV show on SyFy that I really understood what it was. To help the readers who are uninformed such as I am its where people dress as TV, movie, video game, Japanese Animation or other characters. They go to great lengths to get the perfect costume and is growing part of fan conventions. So with that stated lets get to the story.

 

The Costume

By Shawn Micallef

Mackenzie was not well liked around the cosplay circuit. She was one of those women that many disliked not because of her costume work but for her attitude. She was pretentious, rude and full of herself, and many labeled her a vain bitch. She would not take photos with others due to the fear of things like red eye, or a chance her costume would get messed up. There was one convention where she nearly got walked out of the building after someone took her picture, without her permission, so the lighting wasn’t perfect. Her outrage at the photographer came out clear through a tirade that was swear word filled. The photographer by the way was a 5 year old little girl who was actually taking a photo of woman to Mackenzie’s left.

Mackenzie was one of those women who made it clear what she thought of you, and how you should think of her. She was perfect and if she had her way humanity would be walking in front of her with a gold carpet as red was for the “little” people. Yes she was one of those people and one had to ask why she was so popular in the cosplay culture. It was simple; she had a great figure but more importantly her costumes where outstanding. If she chose to take a character on you’d be sure that she would nail every aspect of the costume.

Accompany that was her ability to manipulate her voice and do great impersonations. This helped so much more when it came to the character she was playing. It was thus no surprise that she was so popular on the circuit even if she was a very vain individual as people will overlook that when you are famous. I mean all you got to do is look at some of the so called “celebrity” families with reality shows, am I right?

It was then that to no surprise to Mackenzie that she would get invitations for all types of conventions. They would often offer to pay for her travel and hotel accommodations to have her attend. She was looking over invitations on three such conventions when a new one came, not by email but by postal mail. It was in written in a script she did not recognize, but read as follows:

Ms. Mackenzie,

Your presence is being requested at the upcoming inaugural Halloween Ball scheduled for October 31st of this year. The location of said event will be forwarded to you if you RSVP back stating your intention to attend the event.

All travel and hotel accommodations will be covered for you in the event you wish to attend along with an appearance award of Five Thousand Dollars if your likeness can be used in our press release.

We understand there is concern of other featured Cosplayers having the same costume as you and is why you are the only one being invited to the event.

The focus will be around all things Halloween from the History of the holiday to its modern day popularity.

Please use the enclosed pre-addressed stamped envelope to respond with your intentions on if you will be attending by July 31st.

 

It would be a lie to say she was not excited at getting such an invitation as this would be the first type of convention where she’d be the only featured cosplayer. She’d normally have to share the floor with other popular women, but to be the only one was hard to let go. Yes, it was true she wanted to know costumes in advance not to have two in the same. She knew she’d be the best but in no way wanted the other person to feel awkward wearing the same costume and being so bad in it. I did mention she is a very vain person, I hope.

The fact that there was also a five thousand dollar payout was just another sign to her that finally someone understood she could be the only feature needed. She automatically responded with a yes she will be attending and dropped the envelope in the mail that very same evening. It’s somewhat sad that she did not take time to check out the address as the fact it was going to a street address of 66 6th street may have given her some alarm. It was no matter to her as she was finally getting her place as the feature and went right to social media to share the news with her fans.

She didn’t respond or even read any of the comments as she was too busy searching for an inspiration for her next costume. She did only have a few months to decide what to construct for this convention. It was too bad she did not read some of the comments as many stated they had heard of such a convention. The things a person will miss when their focus on the one thing that is most important to them, and that being Mackenzie.

The internet had always been a great source for her inspiration but after a few hours she had not found something she could easily construct in those few months before Halloween. She had looked through thousands of Japanese Animation, TV and movie characters not finding anything she liked. It was only after 2am she decided to call it a night and went to bed, she did have a day job to get to the next day.

It was during those few fitful hours of sleep that saw her tossing and turning all night that it came to her. She dreamt of the twisted costume she would wear for Halloween. She imagined a darkened princess dress that was a bit frilly. A wig would be needed to give her large pony tails, and dark red, no bright red lipstick against a pale face. This meant no tanning for her prior to the event and she’d do all she could to avoid the sun to let her copper colored skin go pale. She would do all she had too to look perfect. The horns, oh yes horns would be needed on her head as well.

This was what she needed and after a few hours of sleep she awoke refreshed and ready for the day. It was like a fast forwarded movie the next few months for her. She would go to work, shop for costume items, and spend hours behind her sewing machine working on the costume. She took photos along the way showing her fans what she had purchased, how dye tests worked out and the progress in making the costume. Her fans gave her compliments on the work she was doing but many still asked what convention what are the details, where is it but she felt why read the comments. Their thoughts would not change her work as she knew what looked perfect and she’d be perfect as always. Even those questioning her changing skin tone from her beautiful copper toned, thank you tanning booths, to the pale white she had become went unnoticed. Those comments went just as unnoticed as the time that was flying buy. Her routine had become so mechanical she nearly did not realize it was now late October and there was no follow up letter on where she was to go for the convention.

It was just this way when on October 30th a letter did finally arrive and Mackenzie finally realized the date. The letter was simple and in the same odd script as the first and held just a few sentences.

Ms. Mackenzie,

The Halloween Ball is being held in your local town. A stretch limousine will be at your home at precisely 10pm on the 31st to pick you up and bring you to the event.

She read the simple note and finally realized what the date was, and instantly went to social media and posted the day was almost here. This lead to hundreds of instant likes, loves, and any other positive button that could be pressed for a posting. There again was the problem of comments that continued to ask where, what time, how much and other questions that went unanswered. She was ready and the small people that felt their life was better for following her did not matter. Mackenzie was all that mattered and she was going to make five thousand dollars and get a ride in a stretch limo. She was in heaven.

The thirty-first arrived and at precisely 6pm she began the long chore of putting her costume on, checking her hair, using the perfect red lipstick and using some glue to stick the horns on her head. She was thrilled how real the horns looked and the fact that online store was true in the advertisement of them and how easily they’d stick to the head with the right glue. It was 9:55pm and she was finally ready and at exactly 10pm as promised a stretch limo pulled up outside of her home.

She wasn’t sure if it was a man, or a woman, but someone came to her door and knocked. She stood there and let the person knock a second time before she answered the door. She was not going to let whomever it was think that she was waiting for them. She opened the door to find a person in a black suit, white shirt, black tie and a dark hood over their face and head. There was a light yellow showing through the hood at where the eyes would be and this caused a slight raise of the hair at the back of Mackenzie’s neck. She quickly throw the thought of slamming the door and saying “hell no” away and instead just asked why are we waiting here lets go.

The driver did not speak but instead gave a slight bow and crossed the right arm across their waist as in gesturing to say after you. She clip clacked, in her heels, all the way to the back door of the limo and waited for the silent driver to open the door. She looked inside and seeing no one else climbed in back of the limo and marveled how spacious it was. All this room for just her, yep she had finally gotten the admiration she had deserved.

She sat down showing off some leg to the driver hoping to see him do a second take but no luck as it just nodded and closed the door. She shrugged that off thinking to herself what did that matter that was just the driver. She knew she looked gorgeous in this costume and those at the convention would love the look. She had the perfect princess dress that when standing went just below the knees with a nice frill around the bottom.

The dress was dyed a dark black and had simple straps over the shoulder with an offset short sleeve that ran from top of shoulder to an inch above the elbow. The wig was perfect for the dark dual ponytails coming off just above her ears. The horns where placed perfectly at the top of the forehead just even with the outer edge of her eye brows. Yes, she knew it people would want to copy this look for next year. The red high heels where the perfect match to her bright red lipstick and she was lost in her small compact mirror when the car stopped.

The door opened and she thought they had arrived at their destination but no someone else was coming in. This got her a little upset till she saw the small red tennis shoe coming thru the door. They obviously belonged to little feet but that did not make her to angry, it was when the little girl sat across the limo from her that things, well, she’d yelled at children before.

“Who the hell do you think you are,” she questioned and after the only response being a small grin she continued raising her voice.

“DID YOUR MOMMY THINK IT WOULD BE FUNNY TO HAVE HER LITTLE GIRL DRESS LIKE THE GORGEOUS MACKENZIE, AND WHY ARE YOU IN MY… (She drew that word out) LIMO,” and before you could on further the little girl gave a toothy grin.

The problem was that this grin showed interlocked perfectly white fanged teeth between those red lips. There was a chill in Mackenzie as she’d never seen such teeth except in online photos of deadly creatures on the internet. This left her speechless for a moment and due to the situation she hadn’t noticed the black limo had not moved since the little girl got inside. It was only a small humming that got her to bring her back to the moment.

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU HUMMING” she screamed out the question not caring about the language.

The smile deepened to a frown and then what could only be called an angelic voice a response came from the little girl. As she spoke Mackenzie eyed the costume realizing it was a perfect, to perfect copy of what she was wearing and the only difference was that it was on a small girl.

“One, Two, Three it is you who look like me,” the girl sang.

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, THIS IS MY COSTUME IDEA!!”

“Four, Five, Six, it was in your dreams I fix.”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU LITTLE BITCH.”

“Seven, Eight, Nine, soon I shall dine.”

Hearing the word dine Mackenzie stopped herself at another loud outburst. She instead looked over and that little girl was again smiling all toothy again. She did not like where this could be going, so she sucked things in a bit and stopped yelling and decided to try something she had never tried, some tact.

“Ok, I get it so we have the same costume. We can call you the Mackenzie mini-me and I’m sure the fans will love this. As for dining I did not know they’d be feeding us so why don’t we sit here quietly and let the driver get me, I mean us to the event.”

She smiled at the little girl being sure not to show her own teeth as last thing she wanted to do was to make this little girl think she got to her. It was only then that another of her little songs filled the limo.

“One, Two, Three, someone should be praying for thee”

“Four, Five,….”

“WILL YOU STOP THAT STUPID SINGING!”

The gleeful smile and look on the little girls face disappeared within an instant. Mackenzie felt every hair on her body stand up as she felt a wave of anger fill the limo and knew she crossed a line. She went to apologize but the words never came from her mouth. The little girl just said a few words, “ten, you are at your end”.

There was a slight shake of the limo at that point and after standing near the back door the entire time the driver finally moved. His face still covered he opened the door and those little red shoes came out of the back seat and hit the pavement. She waved the driver off and he climbed back into the front seat, and little girl just skipped down the road away from the scene. If anyone had seen, or heard, her they would have heard humming.

The limo was found two days later at the side of a deserted road. There was no sign of a driver and the black paint had something reddish brown rubbed across the paint. The police officer finding the car then went to the back and knocked to see if anyone was in side. He heard no response so opened the back door. In a flash he was at the bumper of the car throwing up the donut and coffee had head for lunch.

The crime scene technicians flipped a coin to see who’d just take the evidence photos as no one wanted to go inside that limo. It was later determined the reddish brown color was dried blood that had been painted around the limo. The interior was unimaginable and the type of thing you’d only see in a horror film. There was no body but enough blood that no one could be alive after losing that much. Ever spot of the car was splattered with droplets, or pools, of the dried substance. The only sign that anyone had been in the vehicle was the only blank space that showed where someone had been seating. It was only after request for help went outline that fans of Mackenzie realized that it had to be her.

There was one final comment on Mackenzie’s social media page that drew attention from her hundreds of followers. It was simple and the name used was DarkPrincess6x3. It stated…..

“One, two, three I warned you of me,

Four, Five, Six, your heart no longer ticks,

Seven, Eight, Nine, you are now mine.”

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Short Stories

 

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