“Pseudonym: Case 21”

After being attacked by Eros, Cybil became bedridden for more than twenty-four hours. Given what she had been put through, she was actually quite lucky to have not ended up in the hospital from it. To keep those closest her from worrying, she sent out a single message which claimed that she had suddenly contracted the flu. It was an easy enough lie for others to believe, and it bought her some much-needed time to introspect. Getting over the fact that she was attacked had allowed her to focus more on how the attack had manifested to begin with.

Cybil was interesting in that she almost came off as being Nicole’s antithesis. Like Nicole, she also had recently turned twenty-four; and like Nicole, her real-world situation wasn’t exactly as good as it could have been. She worked long shifts in a diner and made enough to only just scrape by. Being herself in transition meant that she had been subjected to many of the same social hurdles as Nicole too was facing; and much like with Nicole, her access to the Net was a much-needed escape that allowed her to devote her off-hours toward what she considered her ‘true craft.’

It could perhaps have been said that the woman was more versed in BDSM than the rest of us – Esmeralda included. She had begun making a name for herself years prior – as far back even as to predate Nicole’s introduction to hypnotism. Before joining Orbital Vista, Cybil’s virtual-home had been on the massively-multiplayer 3D world of “Alter-Ego.” This program had been around for ages and could be considered Orbital Vista’s direct competitor.

Upon creating one’s ‘alter ego,’ a player was then dumped into a virtual building which they owned and could customize to their liking. Virtual objects and assets could be created, bought, or sold. Ever-fascinated by the BDSM lifestyle, Cybil had turned her building into a kind of ‘living-art’ gallery. She specialized in transforming other’s avatars into realistic-looking latex dolls. She charged money for her services, but she was willing to waive these fees on one condition: complete and genuine acceptance as a doll.

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“Pseudonym: Evaluation 3”

November 17 – 00:30 PST

[LatexaTheWitch is online.]

[SinfulMonument is online.]

“Every bit of love I have for you – it’s yours!”

At that moment, something which could only be described as a miracle began to occur. The aura which surrounded her began to resonate in ways that I never knew a person’s aura could. For each fragment of me which she took into herself, several more would pour out of her, colors alternating with every cycle. There was purple, then green; purple, then red; purple, then white; purple, then yellow; purple, then pink; purple, then brown; purple, then green; purple, then blue.

“Maybe we aren’t meant to understand everything, Nicole – or perhaps whatever all of this merely defies what you know.”

“Why… Why do you care about me, Iris…?”

“Why do you care about me, Nicole?”

“I see something… in you…”

“I feel for you an attraction which I just cannot explain. It’s beyond physical and beyond explanation.”

“I want… Please let time just stop… one-to-zero… Stop… with me…”

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“Pseudonym: Case 20”

November 16 – 22:30 PST

[LatexaTheWitch is online.]

[SinfulMonument is online.]

“She’s dying, Lae… That can’t… That can’t be true…”

She believes that she will end up in a wheelchair by the age of thirty, Iris. Not only that, but with all of the stress that she experiences on an almost-daily basis, there have been many instances where her body has broken down.

“A rush to fall in love, a struggle to escape her own body… The stretching, the falling into hypnosis for years!? She lives vicariously through objects because she knows one day she won’t be able to move! FUCK! FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK! I knew! I knew but couldn’t say a thing about it! Fuck!”

How could you really know? How could you know something which she herself does not seem to understand?”

“It’s because I’m an empath… The moment she mentioned the metal rods, that’s when I realized her body was failing her in some way. When she asked me to watch her, I kept thinking, ‘Why?’ I knew she was beautiful, but when she described the depths of her ambition – the act of denying her senses in order to push so far – it was clear that she rushing herself to achieve something. Why rush when you have years to master it? Why push when it causes your body so much pain? All it does is cause her to her push herself that much harder. She let me into her subconscious… Lae, I think I finally know what you are!”

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Audrey Songbird: Concept 14

We had now entered into a stream of consciousness.

A staircase of golden light spiraled around and downward as it intersected the many planes of memory which had collectively made up my entire existence. From where I was standing, it seemed impossible to determine with any certainty the distance relative to the bottom – the very first of my experiences. For that matter, I knew not whether the ‘bottom’ per se rested upon the day of my birth or simply as far back as what I was capable enough to remember. Would it mean also that entire planes of my memory were also of a questionable accessibility?

“Steady your mind, Miss Songbird! We don’t have all day!” Naladir had taken the steps upward, searching for something a little closer to the present day. When she traced her fingers through the void that surrounded us, they would occasionally catch upon a spark or two. She would scratch more roughly until the sparks grew into a flame. Then, cupping the flame with her hands, she would bring its light close to her face, poring over the contents a moment before shaking her head. Her hands would fall away, and the flame would disappear.

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“Pseudonym: Case 19”

November 16 – 20:00 PST

[LatexaTheWitch has logged in.]

[SinfulMonument has logged in.]

“I’ve now had to use my succubus form for the fifth time this week…”

“Why?” asked Iris.

“I needed to diverge Cybil.”

“From Eros?”

“No, from her other self. Cybil has a second set of memories much like how Lae and I do.”

“Does it have anything to do with the black hole Eros put inside of her?”

“…How much have you heard, Iris?”

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“Pseudonym: Case 18”

November 15 – 19:00 PST

[LatexaTheWitch is online.]

[SinfulMonument is online.]

“Do you remember,” I asked of Iris, “the things you said back when Cybil performed her group hypnosis session? You told me that you had been able to feel or sense the presence of those people nearest you. When I interviewed some of these people that afternoon, I learned that only one other person besides you had been able to ‘connect’ in such a vivid manner.”

This realization did not appear to sit well with her. “Nicole, did Lae ever tell you about what she and I discussed on the night before the session…?”

“You can tell me.”

“It was a long conversation, but there was this point where we questioned the significance of the picture which I’d been so drawn to. She said that it was possible for a piece of your abilities to have broken off inside of me – or rather, that it was something I had absorbed without knowing. I still hang out with some of Cybil’s followers, and every time, it’s like the more they talk, the more aroused I become. I get this need… I need to conform to whatever it is they’re saying…”

Iris had never considered herself to be anything special, and to the average observer, she probably wasn’t. To the eyes of an aura reader, however, Iris presented all sorts of anomalies. No matter how heated or passionate she became about something, the shape of her aura appeared not to extend more than an inch or two from her body. Perhaps more shocking, her aura would occasionally turn purple, allowing her to absorb a person’s energy not unlike how Eros had done while still alive.

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Real Talk: “Spinal Fusion: Ten Years Later”

In spending the last month diligently working on my Pseudonym novel, I’d failed to realize that today was coming until it was finally here. June 13, 2018 marks the ten year anniversary of one of the most traumatic incidents I had ever experienced. First, I need to provide a bit of background.

In April 2008, I had been referred to an orthopedic surgeon at Renown Medical Center in Reno, NV to determine the cause of a spinal deformity. Scoliosis is common among fourteen year-olds, but this was something else entirely. When the X-rays came back, I was told that my spine had an 87-degree forward curve. To put that number in perspective, the forward curve for most people is 35-40 degrees. This condition has a name: Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.

Incidence is between 0.4 and 8.0% of the US population. That number varies depending on the criteria used to describe the condition. A curve of 87 degrees is definitely going to be in that lower range. The condition is a hereditary one; my older brother ended up developing it as well (a curve of 80 degrees). We were informed that external braces would not guarantee a sufficient level of correction. Surgery was the only option.

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