Role-players amok in Second Life

Games within a game


Column A woman did something to me not long ago. At least I believe so; I'm not certain, because think I blacked out at one point. I'm not really sure what I remember; maybe I hallucinated when I blacked out. If I blacked out.

I think I saw her suffer a ghastly injury to her leg during a fight, and when it was over, she asked me to help her. Everything about her scared me. I wanted desperately to run away, but my legs never quite got the impulse to move. Every instinct told me: danger; get away from this woman; run. Yet there was something powerfully attractive about her, and the desire to stay was as strong as the instinct to escape. I found her repulsive in ways: she was so pale and looked hard-hearted. But she pleaded for help, and my mind searched for rationalisations: she was pale from blood loss; she might go into shock; it would be wrong to leave her.

I stood with an arm around her to let her walk. She was horribly cold; I was sure she would go into shock. I told her to go to the hospital, and she agreed, and led me. But she led me away from it, and I knew it perfectly well, and all I could say was, "I think we might be going the wrong way".

Destiny Welles

She led me to a cemetery, and opened the gate. "You really need to be in hospital," I suggested weakly. Things were going very wrong, I could sense that, but I didn't have the will to resist. A voice in my mind urged me to run, and I wanted to, but I simply could not. She opened the main crypt and led me downstairs into the damp cold, immersing me in a chill and the earthy smell of wet stone and decomposing soil.

"My family are here", she said, as I sat with her on a bench and she laid her head on my shoulder.

"Shouldn't you see a doctor?" I asked softly.

"This is exactly what I need", she whispered.

She turned her face, as if to kiss my neck. I think I struggled. I think she kissed me, and maybe she bit me. The voice in my mind became fainter, weaker, more distant. Almost like an echo, like a voice calling out in the dark, barely audible. "Run, Destiny", it said. But it came from so far away. I remember a calmness descending on me. I remember feeling blackness surround me - so warm and dark, like the womb. I floated in a state of incomparable comfort. Drifting....abandoning myself....embracing this darkness of warmth and joyous peace.

I must have blacked out. As I returned to consciousness, I felt so confused. Memories came and went in fragments; I couldn't hold on to them, couldn't focus on them. But the woman seemed lively, strong, happy. It made no sense that she would recover so quickly from such an injury, and - well, I know this sounds crazy - but for a moment I thought she had fangs, like an animal.

I was so confused. "Your teeth", I said weakly, "there is something wrong with your teeth."

She turned and smiled. "Is there, dear?" she asked. Her smile was perfect. I must have been dreaming; I just don't know.

"Let me take you to the hospital", I said.

"Why on earth would I want to go there?" she asked with a laugh.

"Your injury," I said.

"My injury?? What injury do you mean, dear?"

I was sure that her leg had been gashed severely. Yet I could see that it had not. I must have been dreaming. My memory is so poor. Fragments of recollection come back to me as nightmares. She is always in them. I dream that she attacks me like an animal, and I cannot run. She tastes my flesh and my blood, and I feel that I want to give myself to her completely. I wake in a cold sweat, trembling and terrified.

Then I check my messages to see if she might have called. I can't wait to see her again.

Next page: Damage enabled

Other stories you might like

  • Google sours on legacy G Suite freeloaders, demands fee or flee

    Free incarnation of online app package, which became Workplace, is going away

    Google has served eviction notices to its legacy G Suite squatters: the free service will no longer be available in four months and existing users can either pay for a Google Workspace subscription or export their data and take their not particularly valuable businesses elsewhere.

    "If you have the G Suite legacy free edition, you need to upgrade to a paid Google Workspace subscription to keep your services," the company said in a recently revised support document. "The G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available starting May 1, 2022."

    Continue reading
  • SpaceX Starlink sat streaks now present in nearly a fifth of all astronomical images snapped by Caltech telescope

    Annoying, maybe – but totally ruining this science, maybe not

    SpaceX’s Starlink satellites appear in about a fifth of all images snapped by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a camera attached to the Samuel Oschin Telescope in California, which is used by astronomers to study supernovae, gamma ray bursts, asteroids, and suchlike.

    A study led by Przemek Mróz, a former postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and now a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, analysed the current and future effects of Starlink satellites on the ZTF. The telescope and camera are housed at the Palomar Observatory, which is operated by Caltech.

    The team of astronomers found 5,301 streaks leftover from the moving satellites in images taken by the instrument between November 2019 and September 2021, according to their paper on the subject, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters this week.

    Continue reading
  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022