sentimental engineer

Creepypasta #686: There Are Cruel And Fearsome Things That Prowl In The Ocean

Story length: Super long

Mankind believe themselves to have escaped the horrors that preyed on them in bygone ages. Perhaps we are right. Mostly. The torch of scientific progress kindled by Newton and his contemporaries spread like wildfire in the centuries that followed, and drove the beasts that dwelt in our shadows scampering back to the darkened pits that spawned them; turning the hunter into the hunted. 

Physics, the idea that our world operates through universal and comprehensible laws, castrated the secret magics that had once left kings and peasant children alike shivering in the terror of all-concealing night. Darwin and his concept of evolution banished the ancient monsters with such speed and determination that Heracles himself would have been envious,

But there are still places in this world where the light of modernity hasn’t reached. A number of San tribes (commonly known as Bushmen) in Namibia speak of the ¯koo-b¯u*, or Bone Eaters. A tall (7-8′), grey, lanky, bipedal creature with lean yet protruding muscles capable of tremendous speeds; large rock hard hands that taper into sharp nailless points with bulbous knuckles and joints; hollow, deep set sockets holding round white eyes that roll about in them like a billiard ball; and of course the mouth, stretching across the entirety of its face, holding spiked teeth as a hard and bright as marble that seem to glisten even at night, always cracked into a broad grin when it encounters a straggling child who has wandered too far from the rest of the tribe.

The Nukak people of the Amazon basin speak of the Kanábéyáa, or Black Jaguar People. Little is definitively known about them, save the resemblance between their black fur, retractable claws, round pinprick eyes, and those of their namesake; their ability to shift between a bipedal and quadrapedal stance; and their propensity for hunting nearly anything, including humans foolish enough not to guard their campsites at night. 

Again and again, anthropologists hear tales of night sentries looking on in terror as bright eyes; first two, then dozens, circle and dance about the periphory of their encampment. Hellish yowls and hisses cut through the air, followed by panicked shouts and the chaos of men brought into the waking world by their greatest fear. And then, in a brief moment that seems an eternity to those caught within it, silence. The inevitable return into the veil of night. 

Of course, war stories are always told by the survivors, so there is a lack of testimony from those unfortunate groups who were either caught off guard, or else, for one reason or another, were deemed to be worth the fight. There are also tales of hunting parties finding one of their neighboring tribes eviscerated, stripped of flesh and meat, and left to rot in the coming sun.

But these stories will have to wait for another time. I come to you not with a tale of some hidden crevasse deep in the heart of the wilderness, but of that endless sprawl that surrounds all of humanity’s achievements. The last great uncharted territory. The ocean.

I had just graduated, and, like many that come from families of considerable means, viewed the gap between getting my diploma and getting a job as an oppurtunity for exploration. Unlike many of my peers, I was not content to use this period merely as an opportunity to get wasted and sleep around in a different corner of the globe. Not that I’m trying to come off as superior or condescending, I have no right for that. 

I started off in Europe just like everyone else, moving from Paris to Rome to Zurich to Vienna to Berlin and then Prague, indulging in the careless excesses that tend to characterize these trips. But at the same time, I wanted more than that. I wanted to ride the back of an ox drawn cart down a withered trail to places my fellow Americans never laid eyes on. I wanted to slum it in the homes of destitute village inhabitants despite the fact that I could easily afford a four star hotel. I wanted something new, something unseen, some amazing forgotten secret.

Keep reading

Day 235: Beautiful Compensations

Gift fics ahoy! Right out of the gate @rabbit-kinder makes me put on my thinking cap!

I couldn’t pick a favorite or least favorite, so I went with the two I could picture the most easily as a shoulder angel and devil.

“You overpaid.”

Engineer looked across the cab,

“Beg pardon?”

Spy rolled down the window as he exhaled a plume of smoke to be whisked away by the wind. “I said, you overpaid. Back at the restaurant.”

“No I didn’t.” Engineer snorted as he turned back to gaze at the road that sprawled out in front of them. “It’s called tipping.”

“$50 on a $5 is a little more than a tip.” Spy snorted. “Unless your meal was significantly better than what they were trying to pass as spaghetti for mine.”

Engineer grunted, but didn’t reply. They had another six hours before they’d reach Tuefort, and it would be better for both of them if that time was spent in silence.

Spy, however, didn’t seem content to let the matter rest. “It will be rather difficult to justify on the expense report.”

“More to life than letters and ledgers. A little extra on the tip ain’t gonna break the travel budget.” There was a noncommittal sound from the other side of the cab, and the mercenaries settled themselves into silence.

As the truck sped down the lonely stretch of road, the sun disappeared below the horizon. The soft drone of the tires against the road was almost hypnotic and, as much as he hated the idea, Engineer finally decided to speak.

“Did you see the picture she had with her?”

“Hm? What picture?”

“The one of the two kids that she had inside her notepad.”

Spy looked away from the rolling scenery outside. “Sentimental of you, Engineer.”

“Sure.” Engineer conceded. “These little towns have been having a hard time of it ever since they started building the interstate system. Lost a bit of their polish, but they’re good, hardworking folks.”

“Do you think that will really make a difference in the long run?”

“Nah.” Engineer shifted in his steat. “But it’ll make one in the short.”

Spy’s amusement was evident as he rubbed his cigarette out in the truck’s ashtray. “A few ice creams and a trip to the cinema?”

“Shouldn’t underestimate the good of a little morale boost.” The Texan replied. “But, I’m getting the feeling that you just don’t believe that it’s possible that someone can do good and just have it be good.”

Spy’s hand paused. “Man is an inherently selfish animal.” He replied as he leaned back in his seat. “To think otherwise is an impossibility.” Spy sighed. “I would think the very nature of our mutual employment would be evidence enough of that.”


“Maybe?” Spy fished out another cigarette. “Can you honestly tell me that you gained nothing? No sense of pride? No self-gratification?”

Engineer didn’t reply right away. There was a thoughtful hum as he rolled Spy’s question around in his head before slowly responding. “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.”

Pulling out his lighter, Spy looked back at Engineer. “Terribly poetic. Did you just come up with that?”

“Nah. It’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson. American poet going on about the human condition and the spiritual benefit of helping your fellow man.”

“For a moment I was in actual danger of being impressed.” A smile creeped across Spy’s face in spite of himself. “That veers dangerously towards the ‘conundrums of philosophy’ that you claim to eschew.”

“Required liberal arts class. Anyway, there are 3.84 billion people on this planet. If even half of them did one little bit of good, that would add up to a lot.” Engineer grinned as he cast a glance over at Spy. “Mathematically speaking, of course.”

“Of course.” Spy waved his hand. “Engineer, I never took you for such a… oh, what is that quaint Americanism? A Pollyanna.”

“Oh, I am not…” Engineer chuckled and shook his head. “Fine. Maybe a little.”

“And perhaps that is a good thing.” Another plume of smoke vanished out the window as Spy looked back over at Engineer. “The world needs people like you for the simple fact that it has too many people like me.”

anonymous asked:

Hey momma! my boyfriend is normally a fairly stoic person, who is a little uncomfortable with tumblr. but I showed him your blog and explained how it helped me come to terms with being transgender, and now sometimes he'll snuggle up to me and ask, "hey, um... can we read momma's blog?" i just wanted to tell ya! and thank you for everything. you've helped me so much.

We sometimes get some flak for our advice; I got some pronouns wrong, made assumptions about gender in one of my answers… had to hide under a rock in a PT Cruiser for a week. Did not feel super-great. We do mean only the best for our babies and it’s the kind words like these that keep our Spirals green and our spirits high!

Advising is hard and not an exact science, but we’re learning together and we WILL get good, even if the initial ascent is a bit rocky.

Thank you so much for the sentiment!

- Engineer Dave