Saturday 30 September 2017

Chrissie's Bedrooms

A couple of weeks ago I talked about Solomon's bedrooms and commented I found it hard because I didn't really know much about the rooms for either of the characters I'm currently playing. I was thinking Taji in addition to Solomon, but after I finished the piece I realised that while I'm not currently playing Chrissie her story isn't finished and we will be going back to her - and I have a pretty god idea of her rooms. The flat she was living in when the Aberrant game started was one I described to my GM in detail, because I had such a complete idea of what it looked like. 

So here's Chrissie's bedrooms.


The Room at her Parents' House
It's a large room for a small child. The door is in the wall opposite the window; the bed sticks our from the wall between, a rug at the foot. Above the head of the bed are two shelves. The one within the reach of a child has a couple of tatty teddies on it, and well-worn books of nursery rhymes and Beatrix Potter. Above it, the other shelf has a few pristine china dolls and some other children's books she mustn't touch. Closer to the window but on the same wall as the bed is a door to a cupboard with her clothes. The corner of the room opposie the door and bed holds a large dolls house, raised on a table and held within a glass case. Her mother has the key. There is a desk in the other corner opposite the bed, with a few of her paintings stuck to the wall above it. Beside the desk is a large cabinet. The drawers hold uniforms for the various hobbies her parents have signed her up to; behind glass, the shelves above hold a few trophies she's very proud of - ballet and gymnastics, mostly, but also a couple for horse riding.

As a teenager, the white and floral walls have been painted black with cheap paint, damaged sections covered with posters, which replace the childish paintings. The dolls house and toys have gone (the battered Beatrix Potter now hidden in a desk drawer). The external window cill is pockmarked with cigarette burns and the room has an unpleasant smell: too much deoderant, which she believes hides the smell of smoke better than it does. The trophies are still in the cabinet, and there are more, but they've been thrown in with no care: frustration and teenage angst have made her cynical. Books and clothes litter the floor. An electric guitar sits by its amp where the dolls house had been, but she can't play it.

It's her brother's friend Bill who finds the booze stashed beneath the bed and in the clothes cupboard, and the stash of pain killers and razer blades in the bedside drawers. He's the one who helps her find the help she needs to combat the depression her parents never even suspected.

As soon as she moved out for uni, the room was redecorated and scrubbed out to be a guest room, as though she'd never been there.

The Room in London
The flat is the top floor of a small building in Croyden, London. Like the teenage iteration of her childhood room, this one is dark, but because the blinds are usually drawn rather than because the walls are black. A free-standing wardrobe purportedly holds her clothes: a couple of smart outfits for interviews, a couple of wedding/funeral approriate dresses, a lot of goth/metalhead style clothing, and some fitness gear, with a drawer at the bottom for udnerwear. Most of it's strewn across the flat, however. The bed's a double, feet pointing to the main window, duvet rumpled. A bedside cabinet holds a couple books or medical journals, perhaps with a notebook for annotations. Mostly such things are in the second bedroom, which she uses as an office. There is almost certainly at least one cup of half-drunk tea somewhere in the room, and probably some unwashed plates: her meticulous neatness and cleanliness at the hospital/lab does not extend to her living space.

Her favourite thing is the skylight, which she often opens at night to lean out and feel kissed by the stars. If it's dry and she's feeling particularly daring, she'll even crawl out onto the roof and sit there, just watching. After erupting, this becomes even more common, and the skylights in the flat are her primary means of entry and egress (because why would you walk when you can fly?)

The Room in Cambridge
For the first time, Chrissie shares her bedroom (with Steve, who'd lived 2 floors below her in London), which means she reins in at least some of her natural untidiness. Her clothes are all hung up in her half of their built-in wardrobe. The floor is clear.

The room is a little larger than the one at her parents. Again, the bed is on the wall between that with the door and that with the window, and again has a large rug at the foot. The walls are not painted a dark colour and the curtains are frequently opened, making the room feel lighter and airier than she's used to. The window is large enough she can easily use it as a door, and Steve's good about making sure it's open if he's expecting her back soon.

She has a stack of papers - recent scientific research in many fields, current politics, whatever has caught her attention at that time - by her side of the bed, with a few notebooks filled with tiny, cryptic writing and organised in a coded method that makes sense to her vast intelligence but which would leave most baffled. One of her favourite things about erupting is the amount of time she has available now. She rarely sleeps because she doesn't see the point, but will come to bed with Steve because that's part of building a relationship, so she uses the time to read and work on her own papers. She usually remembers to leave a note when she's done and has flown off on some errand or other, or just to see Adam: there's a miniature whiteboard by the window for this purpose.

Friday 29 September 2017

FictionFriday - Lonely Throne

I really wanted to write something for FictionFriday but lacked inspiration*. So I dug out an old notebook from when I was at school and found lyrics to a song. If I can just decipher my handwriting... 

You've seen it all before
You've lived in other lands
You've seen devils climb and angels fall
You've danced across sun-baked sands
You've listened to wild-cats call
You've cut off thieving hands

Give up your crown to me
Relinquish your ord and sceptre
Stop trying to live your life alone

You've danced where the angels mourn
You've seen innocence in eyes of child
You've ridden plains on a unicorn
You've seen murderers act mild
You've heard demons laugh and cherubs scorn
You've watched fear turn wild


You've seen where elephants place their dead
You've drunk clean water from a stream
You've danced with angels on a pin head
You've climbed mountains into dreams
You've thought before every word you've said
You've listened to faeries scream


You've taken wild-cats, made them tame
You've seen things you thought weren't there
You've felt pity for things you've slain
You've not been afraid to show you're scared
You've taught elves to play your game
You've shown people when you care


You've lived your life by choice alone
You've flown pegasi across the sky
You've learnt things no one's ever known
You've seen beauty in the tears you cry
It's time you learnt to share your throne
It's time you met my eye



*Not entirely true - I've got a supervillain and a superhero I want to write stories for, each inspired by chronic pain. I haven't quite worked out the details for either, though. I work on the characters a little bit whenever my pain levels bother me - villain when I'm grumpy and wish others could feel what I feel; hero when I'm feeling heroic with my ability to cope ;-) 

Friday 22 September 2017

FictionFriday - The Bargain

Sophie pulled her thin jacket closer around her and gave her short, pale friend a pained look, but followed her into the cemetary anyway. It was a quicker route back from the gym to the car, and she was too old to be afraid. She shivered, all the same, and the misty rain was only partly to blame. She mentally scolded herself as Kelly called her, laughing, to hurry up.

You're not a child any more, to believe in ghosts and bad dreams. And it was just a bad dream. 

Each step was an effort and she stuck closely to the centre of the path. Kelly rolled her bright blue eyes, but walked back to link arms, but when they reached the chapel at the centre, her bouncy nature caused her to break away: "Hey, look! A green woodpecker!" She wrestled her phone from her pocket and crept forward, intending to take a photo as it landed on a gravestone. Of course, as soon as she got close enough for her phone's resolution, it flew away. She sighed - and followed quietly through the graves, leaving Sophie alone.

Sophie sighed and stuffed her hands deep into her pockets, trying to keep her mind off where she was. The longer she stood there, the more landmarks she recognised, until she became convinced she had been in this cemetary before, and that it was the cemetary of the dream that, then, maybe hadn't been a dream. Maybe it had happened...

Hadn't happened. Couldn't have happened. Must have been a game she'd played here, and with an overactive child's imagination had become so real she'd had to convince herself it was a dream to cope.

She looked up, and the stone angel caught her eye, the corners of its mouth turning in a conniving smile. Too much. Too much for now. She wanted to call for Kelly, but knew if her friend would be unimpressed if she disturbed the birds she was trying to photo.

She walked - fast - the rest of the way out and ran for the car, hoping that Kelly had got bored chasing the bird and was already there. But no. Sophie took in a deep breath and exhaled carefully. Kelly had the keys. She waited a few more minutes, then pulled her own phone out and sent a quick message to Kelly "I'm at the car." Thrust her phone back into her pocket without checking to see if it had been delivered. Not because she was afraid it wouldn't be. That was ridiculous. But...

Another long minute passed. The cold started to seep in. She pulled her phone back out her pocket to see the message had been delivered - but not read. She didn't know if that was better, couldn't see Kelly from this angle.

How long do I wait?

The misty rain shaped figures among the graves.
I'm being ridiculous.

But she checked her phone again, twice, to see the message still unread, before ringing Kelly's phone. Only when there was no answer did she go back in. Has she tripped and fallen? Has the beast got her? Don't be ridiculous. She's fine. She's just distracted by the wildlife. Are the ghosts calling? Oh grow up grow up grow up.

She followed the path back to the chapel, back to the smirking stone angel opposite. She tried Kelly's phone again, hoping to hear which direction to go, but nothing: this time, no connection. On a whim, she followed the smirking angel's pointing arm, threading through the graves with barely compressed horror to reach an open mausoleum.

Her heart pounded. She knew this place. She'd been here before. Of course here was where she'd find Kelly. A half-remembered bargain floated through her mind: You're too young to be any good to me. You're too shy. I'll let you go if you bring me another - one who has no fear. That certainly described Kelly. Nothing phased her, and she was quick to make friends with everybody. Fuck.

Inside was dark and cool as a cave. The sound of her footsteps seemed as deadened as her heartbeat, each step enveloping her deeper in the dark. Startled laughter brushed the back of her neck - not Kelly's bright sound, but something deeper. You returned! The voice that rode her mind seemed as surprised.

"I did." Her voice was flat in this nowhere place.

For your friend... It wasn't a question, so Sophie didn't answer.

The darkness shifted around her, became bright light. It took her eyes a few moments to adjust: a fireplace right in front of her. There was a cough from behind and she turned to see Kelly seated at a table covered in candlesticks, glaring even after the fire. It wasn't exactly Kelly. No it said, in Kelly's voice from Kelly's mouth, and that fingernails-in-the-brain voice at the same time I'm just borrowing her. It paused, cocked Kelly's head to an extreme angle, and seemed to consider for a moment. How about a challenge? You can win her back, if you like, but if you lose... well, you'll break the bindings and I'll walk out of here with her. Or you can walk away and leave her here with me, for my eternal... pleasure.

Sophie paused long enough for it to snap Which is it? in a pain-sharp streak.

She pulled out the chair opposite. "I'll play."
It twisted Kelly's head again to that unnatural angle. Poker? It asked, a deck appearing in Kelly's hand. 

Sophie nodded, scarce able to breathe. "Five card draw?" She kept the shake from her voice but not her body, and couldn't embed any certainty in her words. "Two rounds of redraw?"

It placed the pack in the centre of the table and 5 cards were dealt to each, spinning through the air from the deck with no hands. Sophie carefully gathered hers. A 3, a 6 and a 9 - and a pair of queens, clubs and hearts. She discarded the 3 numbers and the pack dealt her 3 more: a 5, a 2, and the queen of spades. She looked over them to where Kelly's face wore a smirk as the creature discarded a pair of cards. Sophie again discarded the non-queens, while Kelly's arm tossed back the two that had come to it.

As the new cards arrived, Sophie mustered every ounce of self-control to look and see... the last queen. She nearly sobbed with relief. The creature in Kelly looked up sharply You think your hand is good? Show me!

Sophie carefully laid the cards down on the table and was rewarded with a violent hiss: Kelly's hands lay down their cards. The jack of hearts. The 10 of hearts. The 9 of hearts... The king of hearts. Relief flooded Sophie as she realised there was no straight flush to beat her four of a kind and now she laughed, and reached for her friend's hand to pull her out of the mausoleum.
The girls stood blinking in the sunshine. Kelly rubbed her head. "I must have tripped and blacked out. I don't remember getting here..."

Sophie put an arm around her. "Maybe a concussion. Should I drive?"

Kelly blinked her green eyes as they walked back to the car. "Thought you were afraid of this place?"

"I was, but I guess I got over it."

Kelly nodded, and as they reached the car fumbled in her pocket to hand over the keys.

Sophie didn't see the joker card that fell to the ground.


Monday 18 September 2017

Solomon's Bedrooms

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about one of my favourite characters, Svetlana, that I've been thinking about quite a lot recently. For those not familiar with her, this is my Pathfinder character, full name Queen Svetlana Lian Surtova nee Chekhov, and I'm very, very fond of her. 

Like a lot of Pathfinder games, there's a risk of murder-hoboism which I've been seeing people talk about recently and I think that's why I've been thinking about this specific post, because it's about her bedrooms - her centres of living. The thing that prevents the hoboism aspect, at least. Despite my introduction to the post, I found writing about her rooms helped hook me deeper into her character and give me that closeness despite the fact we haven't played the game in ages. Which has me wanting to do this for other characters - which is where I'm running into a bit of a stumbling block, because I don't have a good idea of the rooms of either of my current characters. But I'll give it a go, starting with Solomon

Solomon hasn't had a bedroom since way before the game began, which means even the hammock on their little boat (the one you haven't met yet) is more permanent space than she's used to.

Her first room was the orphanage dormitory, with bunkbeds of boys. The blankets were worn, the mattresses thin, but it was all she'd ever known and suited her fine. There was nothing to personalise her bunk, but everyone knew their own and (generally) respected each others.

That changed when her periods started and she was shipped off to live with the Rev'd Barkwell's sister. She and her husband thought they were extremely generous in offering 'Sally' a comfortable bed and a room to herself, but the mattress was too soft and, being used to a room full of children, it was too quiet and lonely for her. There were dolls in this room, but she was too old to want to play with them. A small desk gave her a space intended for embroidery and bible study - she was dilligent with the latter, but not the former, seeing no point to the frills of stitching. It was never her room.

After she ran away and joined the Pony Express (or similar set up, seeing as we discovered after I wrote the background that the timing was wrong for her to have worked for them), her bedroom became a bedroll in the wilderness, and I think that's really the way she likes it. A campfire, a kettle, and her guitar. Out here, the quiet didn't bother her the way it did indoors. Out here, the stars keep her company.

Of course, that was before the nightmares started. Heading west in the hopes of finding answers, she's shared the trail and various dives with her new friends. They've recently 'acquired' a boat and all have their own space on it. Solomon isn't entirely comfortable with this, but Tesla (whom she normally has to share with, due to his poor hearing meaning he's the only one who can tolerate her screaming) sleeps in the boiler room with the ghost rock, Carson seems to want his own space, and she hasn't really got to know Chin. (No doubt if Honoria and Peter - the Rev'd's sister and her husband - had tried to teach Solomon more gently, more compassionately, she'd have learnt from them it wasn't appropriate for an unmarried woman to share a room with an unmarried man, but she left before that lesson took hold and it's never occurred to her to be a problem, what with God being her chaperone and all.) 

Solomon's space has a few photos in it - a hobby she took up after meeting the journalist Lacy O'Malley. Her guitar's there too, which frightens her because she's seen how easily boats can sink and she does not want to lose her guitar, the first thing she bought with the money from her first job as a pony messenger. A few notebooks with songs scribbled in. Her things are tucked beneath her bunk. It's a pretty bare space: she suffers too much wanderlust to have gathered enough possessions to make it anything else.


Sunday 17 September 2017

Deadlands - Tam's War: Sinking the Abysmal

Tam's food devoured, the enormity of the task before us starts to sink in. He wants us to destroy a warship - and not just any warship, but the most feared in all the Maze. Tesla's heard of something that might help. He pulls out his copy of the Smith & Robards catalogue and shows us: limpet mines. The price of them, though... and there's no guarantee we'd get them in time to meet Tam's deadline. Not ordering from Smith & Robards, anyway. Carson suggests approaching Dr Helstromme. The man terrifies me since seeing what he did to the area outside Lost Angels, but if he can provide us a tool like that, it would be useful. We send a telegram. We ask around to learn as much as we can of our target. What we learn frightens me more.

Even by my standards, I do not sleep well that night. Helstromme may be able to justify killing many to shorten his war, but I'm not so comfortable with it, even knowing that these people cause hurt, pain and fear along the coast. I resolve myself to it with thoughts of David and Jael and others in the Bible whose actions caused death, but the thought of what we are to do still raises bile.

In the morning, we return to Tam, finding him at breakfast. He eats distractingly slowly as we talk, but agrees to lend us a maze runner with a competent captain who has some knowledge of what it would take to break through the hull of a ghost-steel iron clad. A messenger is sent and Quan Dai arrives soon after. We're relieved to discover his English better than our broken Chinese. We agree to meet him at the dock the next day and head back to the Sunset Lodge to make our plans. Dillenger is running out of tea.

Another night of pre-emptive guilt and nightmares.

Charlie - Dr Helstromme's foreman - is waiting for us in the morning. Before anything, he points out that taking out Kang's warship will weaken the War Lord further, strengthening the Triads: take out a big fish, and things don't get better, other fish just get bigger. Even though we don't explain, he accepts we have our reasons and gives us 2 limpet mines. We owe Dr Helstromme a big  favour. A musketball of dread forms in my gut: we've earned this debt with a request for violence, so how will we be able to refuse if the payment required is similar? And with Dr Helstromme, I fear it will be.

Once Charlie's left, I raise this with the others. They don't seem concerned.

It's still early when we head out from the dock with Quan Dai, in his unnamed boat. An unnamed boat strikes me as ill-fortune, but he won't change it. My sense of foreboding grows.

We head towards where we've heard of recent sightings of the Abysmal, and soon find a burning mesa. This used to be a town called Boswell. Now it's a smouldering ruin. I throw up when I realise some of the wreckage are corpses, but Tesla spots something and the others go ashore. From my vantage point on the boat, I spot armed men heading towards the shore and am able to alert Tesla, Carson and Steve before they're seen. A short firefight follows - Tesla's badly hurt, but they win. Carson learns from one of the survivors that the warship will be returning for them the morning after tomorrow - the 12th October. We'll seek another mesa nearby, watch from there in the hopes it moors up overnight on the 11th and we can sneak over, but if necessary we can stay back and follow to attack it the next night.

A storm is on the horizon as we reach the second mesa. Tesla and I attempt to help Quan Dai prepare the boat while Steve and Carson take the row boat ashore. They haven't returned by the time the storm hits, leaving Tesla and I puking with the waves. The wind sounds like screaming - loud enough to drown out my nightmares, were any of us able to sleep that night. Steve and Carson return to let us know they survived the night, camped out in a cave that offered little shelter, then head back to the island to explore. I nap while Quan Dai hoses down Tesla - who bore the brunt of the weather's effects. I feel I've barely closed my eyes when Steve and Carson return with news: they've spotted a smokestack that could be our target. Despite my misgivings, my pulse quickens. It's too far away for action, and with the storm truly gone, too hot to sleep. The ship is still too far away when night comes and the temperature drops with those vagaries of the Maze. My teeth chatter. Tesla passes out with exhaustion and Steve moves him closer to the boiler. I curl up beside him to sleep while Carson and Steve keep watch.

I wake feeling refreshed. The Abysmal finally arrives, but we don't want to face it in the daylight. 3 small boats launch from it, each with a blue ogre aboard. The motor to the shore and quickly return. A fourth ogre appears on the deck with a woman - the autogyro pilot from the attack on the Good Intentions, Red Petal Su. She and one ogre go back to the shore, come back and she hops into the autogyro and flies east, towards Dragon's Breath. The Abysmal moves off soon after and we cautiously follow to another mesa, where it docks at a jetty by a cave. Steve arranges harnesses for Tesla and I, and we lower the rowboat, capsize and ballast it. I strip down to my shirt, then dive under with Tesla and the mines. It holds a little air pocket for our journey and gives us some buoyancy.

It's cold and dark under the water, murky with silt. We find the Abysmal all the same. Tesla fits the first mine and we steer the little boat round to the other side so he can fit the second. Time seems unreal down here, but he measures carefully so that they'll blow at the same time - with enough time for us to be far away. We start to move away, but a rumbling warns us the Abysmal is moving and the eddies disorient us. When I next surface, we're under jetty. I can hear people running around above, but it seems safe enough for us here for now, but we can't stay here forever. We creep along under the jetty to reach the island, then creep around the island to the other shore. We can hear dull rattling and thuds: cannon and gunfire.

We climb up the shore in time to hear our mines working beautifully, and continue round to seek the others.

It doesn't take long to find the wreck of our boat, Carson frantically searching through the remains. We catch him, try and calm him. It takes time, but eventually he explains the Abysmal attacked them. Quan Dai had a heart attack at the wheel, while Steve went down with the cannon fire that destroyed the boat. Carson himself is lucky to have survived. We help him search, but there's no sign of Steve.

Everything I'd left aboard the boat is gone. The gun is no great loss - couldn't use it anyway - but the hat was one I liked, and the boots had worn to that perfect point. No trousers and no coat could be a problem too. All distractions to forget there's no Steve. We make camp, cremate Quan Dai.

My hat washes up on the beach.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Deadlands - Welcome to the Explorers' Society. We fight monsters.

Back at Sunrise House, Dillenger explains there's normally strict rules to join the Explorers' Society, but these are interesting times and hands over rings. He says we can identify Explorer allies by asking what head is over the fireplace in the lounge of the London branch (a jackalope), then gives us some background.There have alwasy been monsters, but it got worse after the Battle of Gettysberg, where soldiers died... and carried on fighting. That was the first event of what's known as the Reckoning, led by Evil known as the Reckoners. It's a worldwide phenomenom, but particularly bad here. Carson blames the ghost rock, but Pennington-Smythe's less sure.

The Explorers' Society is just the latest carnation of the battle against evil, heading back to my namesake King Solomon's time. Their particular branch, the Twilight Lodge, can trace itself back to the Roman Empire. The Rangers and the Agents are also fighting against the Reckoners, but their ruthlessness and need to squash the truth makes them tenuous allies at best. Not that Dillenger advises telling the whole truth carelessly: he saw a village ripped apart by paranoia after they were told about a shapeshifter. So we need to help people learn how to fight monsters without telling them there are monsters...

We spend the following week getting to know Shan Fan while D & P-S head out of town to try and destroy the amulet. When they return, they explain they still couldn't and have had to hide it again. They want to get us into their vault: when Big Ears Tam destroyed the lodge building, the vault survived but it's locked - and Tam has the key. He won it in a poker game with a disgraced lodge member. They need to clear it out before they can leave town, and if we can help they'll reward us each with an item from it.

That evening, we head out to some gambling spots to try and find out more about the key and where it was lost. Steve and Carson make a few dollars but don't learn much - Tesla and I stay away from the tables and learn less. When we leave, there's 3 dodgy looking white guys follow, slinking away when they realise we've spotted them. I spot signs we're still being followed, but can't tell if its the same people. Nudge Carson, who ducks down an ally. Follow and find him lying on the floor, unresponsive and burning with fever. His eyes flicker and his pulse races. We carry him back to the hotel to find D & P-S gone again, so put him into a cool bath, where the water steams. Sit with him over night, and he seems ok by morning - just even hungrier than normal. Don't know what happened.

We're eating breakfast when red Tongs arrive to escort us to Tam: a few of Carson's more pointed questions evidently found their mark. The estate is bordered by a giant wall, with beautiful gardens in a traditional Chinese style. We're led to a central pagoda where Tam waits with a translator - and a table laden with food. We're given tea to drink and Tam, via his translator, says he's heard about us and our questions. A giant man (like the one who melted into the ground in the cave) steps into the sunlight as he says that. It's... unnerving.

Tam wants to know what we want. It's hard to concentrate with all that food in front of us that we aren't invited to eat, but Carson managed to describe the key and put together a story that it was a family heirloom lost by his idiot cousin. Tam recognises the key and says it'll take 2 weeks to get it - and we're to work for him for those 2 weeks if we want it.

He's happy for his lieutenants (that's Thin Noodles Ma and Ratskinner Hou) to play games on his turf, but not an outsider, and Warlord Kang is trying to muscle in. He was weakened when the bombs fell in Lost Angels, and Tam wants to weaken him further by attacking his seafleet. Our task will be to take out his flagship, The Abysmal, an iron clad that causes trouble throughout the Maze. Her captain is Red Petal Su. The rest is up to us.

As he walks away from the table, he says we can eat. We fall upon the fresh food.

Friday 1 September 2017

FictionFriday - The Ghoul

The Ghoul

Whenever you go I’ll be by soon after
A womble, recycling life.
The mourners depart, I descend from the rafter
Wielding my flesh-paring knife.

I have no interest in your hair or your teeth
Someone else might but not me.
My taste's for your skin and the flesh there beneath,
Giblets and blood giving glee.

I walk through your body, your life barely lived
Taking whatever I need.
Giving no thought to the things that you’ve loved,
My motives are anger and greed.

I am the raven picking through your paper bones;
I am the bat chasing your ghost in the sky
I am the maggot stripping flesh from your home
I am the cat who walks on by.

I eat what I want, the rest is discarded
Your life lost in plastic bags.
A shallow grave, ashes scattered unregarded
Disposed of like dirty old rags.

We creep through your home, tearing flesh from your bones
Paper shredder helping you rot.
Erasing all signs of your life and your times.
Until finally you are not.