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  1. Well, once again what else can I say that hasn't been said at least twice before? Good job, man. I LIKE this story! 👊
  2. **Update From The Lab**


    Good evening ladies and gents. Just wanted to drop in real quick to let you know that final preparations are being made to Chapter 4 of Rising and it will be on the street for this first Friday of the month (12-7-18) as planned.


    And for those who checked it out (or plan to), I do hope you enjoyed the latest chapter in the saga of The Black Spider. It took 12 chapters to get there, but finally the time is among us! Now, it’s time to get real…


    Like really back to work. Lol


    **End Update**

  3. **Update From The Lab**


    Hello, hello everybody. You know how the story goes. You put some good product out there, the authorities find out, and they try to hunt you down. When are they going to learn that the only thing they’ll keep finding is an empty building with a single chair left behind bearing a note on its seat that has nothing but a happy face on it? You have to admire tenacity.  


    The Lab is back on its feet and ready to make the authorities scurry once again. Chapter 13 of The Black Spider is looking to hit the streets this Friday (11-23-18), and Chapter 4 of Rising is in preparation to hit the street on Friday of the first week of December (12-7-18). The third contender that was due to step in the ring last month (October) was unfortunately a sad casualty of the Lab’s sudden need to move. So, for now, I’ll keep the supply in two flavors.


    On that note, it looks like it’s time to get back to work. 


    **End Update**

    1. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      Glad to know the lab is reopen for business -- been jonesin' a bit -- lol


  4. Thank you very much for reading and for the comment AC. I'm glad you enjoyed and that the curiosity about all the relationships still drives you. That's going to be the fun part getting into all of that!
  5. Thank you for the comment centexhairysub. I'm glad you read this chapter, enjoyed, and that the writing and pacing still felt good in the face of a lot of information to take in. Hopefully the next step will not falter. Thanks very much for reading and commenting BHopper2. I'm glad to hear you loved the details. I did slave over them just a little. right? I'll give you a bit more than 24 hours, just so we make sure you're good for that next round. Thanks very much for reading and for thy comment. Thanks very much Disjecta Membra. I did try. Hard.
  6. Whoo! As I sit my chair back into its normal position, I’m glad to see the guys made it out intact and still breathing. But even in the face of loss, the quest continues.
  7. I figured a storm was coming, but wow. Abandoned and left to a fate unknown by everybody. I get the feeling Gordon did something very smart with the life vest. Seat tilted forward with intensity for the next chapter.
  8. Rocky Tindale. Rocky Edward Tindale. That was my name. My real name. It was as if a light had been turned on inside my brain, revealing the fact that there was darkness in the first place. But there wasn't just a single light. There were many. All of them shining down on small bits of knowledge, such as my name. But the power of the lights was weak. The light they shed only covered the small area they were revealing and nothing else beyond that. So despite their number, they were few in what looked like a sea of remaining darkness. How all of the revealed knowledge felt to me was unexpected. It didn't feel foreign. Instead, it felt as if it had always been there, like I'd always known it, but somehow...I'd forgotten that I knew it. And the sureness of the knowledge was strong. So strong that I didn't just feel it in my mind. I could feel it in my heart and in my soul as well. Donavan Johnson wasn't who I truly was. I’d had a life before that. A life as Rocky. However, I couldn't remember anything about that life, except that I'd lived it. I couldn’t remember my childhood, my adulthood, or even my parents. I never felt myself zone out after Shelly spoke her words, but I did. It was the sudden burning sensation in my chest, as my lungs screamed out for oxygen, which made me aware. I tried to inhale all of the air out of the room in my first breath, as reality winked back in around me. I never experienced vertigo before, but I knew that’s what was visiting me. The ground didn’t feel steady. My sight was fuzzy. I tried to move and steady myself, but it felt like I was falling forward. Two hands planted themselves onto my shoulders and steadied me. “Have a seat and take it easy. Keep breathing, nice and steady,” Shelly instructed. I did as she told me, allowing myself to be guided into sitting on the bed that was somewhere behind me. I stayed there until my breathing was back under control and my sight was no longer fuzzy. “How're you feeling?” Jessie asked. He was standing in front of me, and Shelly was standing beside me. “I'm good,” I replied, and was greeted by the strange feeling of my own voice resonating lightly in my skull, giving me the slightest taste of vertigo again. “Just...still a little lightheaded like you said earlier.” “Do you remember who I am?” I did. And now I knew why I’d had the notion that I’d had about him ever since seeing him in the first dream. Because he was someone that I had known as Rocky. I didn't know how long the two of us had known each other. There was no light shining down on that information. But, I figured we went way back, because he didn't just feel like an acquaintance to me anymore. What I felt went far beyond that. Beyond him even being a best friend to me. Even though we were two completely different races, he felt like...my brother. Like family. I also knew that ‘Jessie’ was not his real name. It was Michael. Michael Charles Braxton. As an extra nuance, I knew that I rarely called him by his full first name. Nodding a few times lightly since I was afraid that nodding regularly might incite the vertigo again, I answered, “I remember. And I...” I hesitated. I wanted to tell him that I was glad to see him. Actually, I was very glad to see him, and very glad that he was there with me. In the earthquake that was still in the process of shaking the hell out of my life, he was solid ground to stand on. But, I didn't know if he was feeling the same thing towards me, and I couldn't think of any way to see if he was without putting myself on the spot first. “And you...?” Mike encouraged me to continue. “And... I decided "fuck it". If he considered what I was about to do the strangest thing out of his entire day, then so be it. I got up off the bed, closed the short space between us, and hugged Mike. It put my mind at greater ease when he hugged me right back without any hesitation. “It’s good to see you, Roc,” he said. “It's good to see you too, man,” I replied. We stayed hugged up for a little longer before we separated. “What else can you remember?” he asked. “Just who I am, who you are, and…” I looked over at Shelly, the stranger who’d evoked deep thoughts of untrustworthy earlier. That's not what she was evoking anymore. I knew her too. It was in the dark as to how, but it was in the light that I did. I didn’t know her nearly as well as I knew Mike, but I could feel that we had been good friends. “Who you are,” I concluded. “Your name is Michelle. Shelly is your nickname.” She smiled. It surprised me how familiar a sight it was. “See? I told you we've met,” she said. I chuckled a little. “Yeah, I guess we really have, huh?” I said. Knocking suddenly on the bedroom door cut Shelly's response off and caught all of our attention. I don’t know about anyone else, but I almost jumped. “I forgot he was in the house,” Mike remarked. “That makes two of us,” I admitted, doing my best not to react to that strange itch that goes across one’s body when startled. “Yes, Ell. What is it?” Shelly asked. “Roman is back home and he wants me to come over and see his new game. Is it okay if I can still go?” Elliott replied from the other side of the door. Shelly looked at a wrist watch on her left wrist that I never noticed her having on previously. “How does his mother feel about that? It’s already kind of late,” she asked. “She says it’s okay. I can tell Roman to put her on the phone if you want,” he replied. “Come on in.” The door opened and Elliott walked in. He had a phone up to his ear. After a few steps, he stopped. “Hey, my mom wants to talk to your mom,” he said to who I assumed was Roman on the other end of the line. He resumed walking over to where the three of us were standing. “I told you she would. You should’ve gone to get her already,” he replied to Roman with a bit of impatience in his voice, just before he reached us. He stopped before us and waited for a moment with the phone still to his ear. Then, he handed it over to Shelly. “He’s going to get her right now,” he said. “Okay,” Shelly said, taking the phone and putting it to her ear. A few moments later, Roman’s mother got on the phone. As Shelly started to talk with her, Elliott’s attention turned to me and Mike. “So, you guys do know each other.” he said. I would've asked how he'd come to that assumption, but remembered that he'd been nearby when Mike had asked me if we'd met before. “Yes, we do. It’s just been such a long time since we’ve seen each other, we almost forgot,” Mike answered. “Oh.” He nodded. The tone of his voice sounded as if he'd realized something. “That's why you went all funny earlier when I was asking you for the keys.” he said to Mike. “Yes, it is. I was trying to remember where I knew him from,” Mike answered. “How long has it been since you guys last saw each other?” “So long we can’t even remember.” Elliott gave Mike a look that hinted at disbelief. “Really? Are you serious?” he asked. “Seriously serious,” Mike answered. That seemed to send away all traces of disbelief. “You guys must've known each other a long time ago, then.” “I'd say yes to that.” Mike nodded. “Anyway, would you like to introduce yourself?” Elliott put his full attention on me and smiled. He extended his hand out in my direction. “Hi. I'm Elliott,” he introduced himself. “Nice to meet you, little man. Name's Rocky,” I introduced myself, surprised at how I hadn't slipped up and said my pretend name instead. I reached out with my own hand to shake his. “It's nice to meet you too. I've never met anyone with your name before. I've only ever heard it from the movie.” I knew which movie he was talking about. The Sylvester Stallone one. Nine times out of ten a person would reference that movie whenever I told them my name. What I couldn’t remember is when I’d actually seen the movie. I just knew that I had at some point. I also couldn’t remember the people who’d made the references. I just knew it was an occurrence. “Well, I’ve never met anyone with the name Elliott before. I've only ever heard that name in a movie myself,” I said. “Yeah, I know. E.T.” Elliott nodded. “You know about that movie?” “Of course. It’s a classic.” “What’s a classic?” Shelly asked, returning from her conversation with Roman’s mother. “E.T. Can I go now?” “Yes. But be back by nine-thirty.” I could tell that wasn’t the answer Elliott was looking for. Objection took hold of his face. “But Mom, it’s still summer,” he voiced the objection. “So, I guess you want to come back at eight-thirty, then?” Shelly asked. The look of objection fled from his face, and acceptance jumped in to replace it. “No-no! Nine-thirty is good,” he answered. “I thought so,” Shelly said, handing him back his phone. “See ya!” And with that he was gone, off to his room to grab whatever it was he needed to grab, and then he was out the front door of the house. He never even bothered to close the door to Mike and Shelly’s room. Mike turned his attention from the door to Shelly and put his hand on her shoulder. She looked from the door to him. “About what I was going to say earlier, I remember you too. I remember that we had a life together, before I was Jessie,” he said to her. “Yes, we did,” she answered, as she turned her body to face him. Mike turned his own body to face Shelly's. He shook his head. “I'm so sorry for the way I was, and the way I treated you earlier. I wasn't...” He paused, then, chuckled a bit. “I wasn’t myself.” “As Ell would say,” Shelly began, taking Mike's hand off of her shoulder and into her own. “Duh.” I didn’t mean to laugh during their sentimental moment, but I did. Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Mike laughed too, and Shelly smiled herself. “And I know you're going to anyway, but please don't worry about it. I was expecting it. I would’ve been worried if the both of you hadn’t reacted the way you had,” she pardoned the both us. “I'm only going to worry because that still doesn’t make it right,” Mike said. “No, it doesn’t.” Shelly agreed, as she let go of his hand and embraced him around the shoulders. He returned the embrace, but made his around her waist. “But it does make it acceptable, so…” She moved in closer to Mike and stopped just short of a kiss. “Accept it and get over it,” she concluded. “Only if you kiss me,” Mike said. The two of them came together and kissed for the first time in who knew how long. Then, they fell back into their embraces and stared into the others eyes. “I’ve missed you so much,” Shelly said, her voice quivering just a bit. “Sorry I had to leave,” Mike said. They kissed again. The familiarity of the sight made me smile. Although I couldn’t remember them being together, it added extra gravity to the concept that they had been. They fell into an embrace again, then let go of it slowly. As they were letting go, it seemed like both of them remembered that I was in the room with them at the same time. They both looked over at me. “Oh, I’m good, thanks. I don’t need a kiss,” I remarked at suddenly becoming the center of attention. Both of them started laughing. “But you can have a hug if you want one, because I have definitely missed you too Rocky,” Shelly said. The two of us shared a less passionate, more friendly hug. But it was a strong one. “My god, I'm so glad to have you guys back,” Shelly said, as we ended our hug. Her saying that reminded me of what we’d been talking about before Elliott reminded us that he was in the house. “But, not everything is back. Like I was saying earlier, I know who we all are, but I can’t remember how I know you two, or anything about my life. Is it supposed to be like that?” I asked. “Yes, it is. Minds are a fragile thing. Giving back too much too soon will cause them to collapse, and we don’t want that. That’s why you’ve only got the bare necessities right now,” Shelly answered. “So, it’s not just a one and done thing then?” Mike asked. “It’d be nice, but no. The kind of restoration we need to do is a process that’s going to take us a few months, maybe more to get through.” “Wow, for real?” I said, astonished by the length of time. “You guys really wiped our slates clean,” Mike added. “As clean as possible.” “Is that why I don’t remember meeting Elliott as myself?” Which was a very good question. Because, I realized that I couldn’t remember Elliott either. Even our interaction with each other hadn’t evoked any feelings of familiarity. “You never got the chance to meet him as yourself. You met him for the first time while you were Jessie,” Shelly answered. “Is he ours?” Mike asked. “I wish he was, but no. He was around before we got together,” Shelly answered. Mike sighed. “Damn. I was starting to hope,” he said. “But, you are the closest thing to a father that he knows.” Shelly revealed. “Am I?” Mike seemed surprised. “What about his real father?” “I don't really want to go into it, but let's just say that he was never good father material to begin with. He's never even met Elliott. We'd already parted ways by the time he was born.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” “Don’t be.” Shelly said, taking Mike’s hand in hers. “Because if it hadn't been for his inability to man-up, I never would've met you. And I think you're the father that our son deserves.” Mike held on to Shelly’s hand that’d taken his, and the eyes that'd once held her in the coldest stare bathed her with nothing but warmth and love. “Thank you. That means a lot,” he said. Then, something appeared to come to his mind. “But what are we going to tell him about me and the whole identity switch?” he asked. “That’s a conversation we won’t have to have. When you took your memory back, it also had a minor effect on me and him. For me, it removed the habit of calling you Jessie. For him, it removed the memory of ever knowing you as Jessie in the first place. As far as he’s concerned, you’ve always been Michael.” “Oh? Well…I guess that takes care of that, then,” “But we will have to have a conversation with him about you, Rocky.” “Why is that?” I asked. “The reason for the minor effects to Elliott and myself. The moment the two of you took your memories back, everything associated to the Donavan Johnson and Jessie Owens personas was undone.” “What do you mean undone?” “Everyone who knew the two of you under those personas have forgotten that you ever existed. Friends, bosses, landlords. You're gone to all of them.” Just when I'd started to think that nothing else could surprise me. “How in the hell did you pull something like that off?” I inquired. “Once again, not me. That was my bosses. And, believe it or not, it's a billion times easier to take away memories that it is to restore them,” Shelly answered. “How is that?” Mike asked. “Well, when the brain is not thinking about something it files it away and out of memory to make room for the next thing. It’s our ability to recall that keeps us from noticing when something is out of memory. It works so fast that it feels like the information never left. But sometimes it can slow or fail entirely. That’s how you can have a moment where you walk into a room, and in the next heartbeat, forget why you even walked in there. So, if you take away the ability to recall, none of us would remember anything. And that's what's been done to the people who knew the two of you as Jessie and Donovan. Their ability to recall anything about those personas is gone. I can't say that I had it in my head how Shelly would answer Mike's question. But given what she was, and what the people who'd done the work were, I had not expected it to sound so...regular. Not that taking away people's ability to recall select information was a regular thing, because it definitely wasn't. But I guess I expected to hear something more magical, or even for it to be unexplainable. “I was expecting that to sound a lot more insane that it did,” Mike remarked. “So was I,” I agreed. “Well, get yourselves ready, because there's going to be a lot of that,” Shelly said. “I guess we won't have to worry about trying to explain this to our folks,” Mike said to me. “Actually, about that. The parents you knew as Jessie and Donovan, they’re not real. They never existed,” Shelly revealed, much to mine and Mike's surprise. “What do you mean?” I asked. “They were what we call Fabrications. They're a trick of the mind to make you think that something is happening when it’s really not. That's why if you think about it now, you'll realize that the only contact you had with your parents was over the phone.” I immediately put what she'd said to the test. But, the more I tried to remember, the more I came to realize that the memories I was searching for weren't there. I could not remember ever physically seeing my mother as Donovan. I knew what she looked like. I knew where she lived. But I couldn't remember ever going to her house. I couldn't remember going out with her anywhere, or meeting with her anyplace. All I could remember were our talks on the phone; some of which she'd made to me, and the rest I'd made to her. “So...you’re saying we were never really talking to them in the first place? We only thought we were?” Mike asked. “Exactly. There was never anyone on the other end,” Shelly answered. That threw both me and Mike for a short round of silence. “Wow.” Mike shook his head. “That's what I'm saying. Like, how in the world did we not realize that?” I inquired. “Because neither of you ever thought about it. Being in constant contact with your parents, you never had a reason to,” Shelly replied. “Well sweep me off my feet, then play get on up for me because, damn...,” was all I had to say. “Well, I'm not done yet. The part we'll have to explain to Elliott is why this house is now your official home.” Whammies. She was tearing us up with them. “Why? Is something wrong with my apartment?” I asked, confused. “It's fine. It's just how can you go back to an apartment for a person that doesn't exist?” I really could've slapped myself in the brain for not realizing that, especially after she'd just explained it. “That's true,” I said. “But what about all of his stuff?” Mike asked. “Everything has already been transported out of the apartment and is now in storage,” Shelly answered Mike's question. Then, she answered me. “A friend will be by later on tonight to drop off some of your clothes and things to get you through the night. We can go to the storage unit and get whatever clothes or anything else you need tomorrow.” “Uh...yeah, sure. Just...who packed up my apartment, and how did they do it that fast?” I questioned. “Associates of mine who also work for The Covenant.” I nodded. “Which would explain how they could do it so fast.” I realized. “Yes,” Shelly confirmed. “That’s pretty good planning for all of you not to even know that I was coming here today.” “I was just about to say that,” Mike agreed. “The plan was already ready.” Shelly pointed her finger at me. “We were just waiting on you, buddy.” “I guess so,” was all that I could say. “Is the stay permanent?” Mike asked. “No, but it is mandatory for now. This house is what we call a Sanctuary, which means it’s heavily protected. It’s the safest place for us to be going forward,” she explained. Her explanation took me back to earlier. “Is that the reason why you told us to get inside earlier?” I asked. “That would be why,” Shelly confirmed my theory. “How long has the house been a Sanctuary?” Mike asked her. “For a long time.” “Is it safe for us to leave here?” I wondered. “Yes, it is. However, neither of you can be seen together outside of this house. It's imperative that we do not break that rule, okay?” “Okay,” both me and Mike responded. “You guys are good to go out on the patios and have your smoke together, but other than that, no-no.” “Can you tell us who it is that's out there keeping watch for us?” Mike asked. Shelly shook her head once emphatically. “No, I can't. Not yet, and I'm sorry about that. But when I can, you'll see why you had to wait.” I already knew that the whole binding thing was going to get on every last one of my nerves before I had my full memory back. “So, what will we tell Elliott?” I digressed. “He already knows that one day there would be people coming to stay with us. What he doesn’t know is that it’s the two of you. So, we’ll tell him that, but that’s it for now,” Shelly answered. I have no idea why it hadn't occurred to me earlier. But at that very moment, it was suddenly staring me right in my face. “He's a Maji too,” I spoke the realization. “Yes, he is,” Shelly confirmed. “How in the world did he keep that a secret?” Mike asked, surprised. “Oh, I’m sure he’s tried to tell you on the slide. Were there ever any times that he started to say something, then it was like he spaced out for a second and forgot what he was saying?” The look Mike gave Shelly said yes. “He’s bound like you,” Mike said. “Just from telling you that we were Maji and from telling you, or showing you, that we existed. But, once you took your memories back, the bind was lifted,” Shelly replied. “Will he know that?” “No. He's unaware that it was ever there. So, once we start that conversation, be ready for him to talk the both of you to death about it.” Mike shook his head. “It wouldn’t be him otherwise,” he said. “We both know that,” Shelly agreed. “But, speaking of taking back our memories, how will me and Mike getting the rest of ours back work?” I asked. “The process is like hypnosis, but instead of putting things into your head, we’ll be bringing things that are already there out to the surface,” Shelly answered. “Will it be like how it was earlier?” I asked. “No. This will be more intense. It’s going to feel like you’re living the memories as they come back.” “That’s not going to mess us up though, is it? We’re not going to snap out of it and be stuck with the mental capacities of four-year-olds or anything will we?” Mike asked. “No, hon. Nothing like that will happen. You’ll still be you when you come back, just more of you.” “How often will you be able to put us under?” I asked. “We’ll do it in once a day sessions, since it takes almost twenty four hours before your minds are ready for another round. We’ll keep going like that until we’re done.” “Is there any way you can skip us ahead twelve hours?” I asked, half joking and half real. “That would be nice, huh? But no. We have to do this in real time…” Shelly seemed to realize something, as she looked at her wrist watch. “And speaking of real time, I should go in here and make dinner as if this was just an ordinary day. So, gentlemen, follow me and let’s continue this conversation in the kitchen.” * * * * *
  9. **Update From The Lab**


    Hot from the source delivered fresh to the streets, Chapter 12 of The Black Spider is finally live! Big apologies for that missed date yesterday. Hope you all enjoy!


    **End Update**


  10. **Update From The Lab**


    What’s going on everyone. Seems like all I've been reporting lately are delays. Chapter 12 of The Black Spider will not be debuting this evening as planned. Instead, it will be appearing  tomorrow 9/22/18. It needs just a little more simmer time before it's ready for the streets. So with that said, back to work! 


    **End Update**

    1. AC Benus

      AC Benus

      sent you a little email, just a heads up :)

    2. Twisted_Dreemz


      Ty for letting me know. I will check that out!

  11. **Update From The Lab**


    What’s going on everyone. Big apologies for the late notice, especially when it's bad news. The third contender I had planned to arrive on the street tonight has been delayed until this October. I didn't feel like it was quite up to lab standards just yet. It needs a little more time to simmer. So, unfortunately, I will not be presenting any Friday night goodness this eve.


    Now, for some good news. Chapter 12 of The Black Spider remains on track for its street date of next Friday (9/21/18), and Chapter 3 of Rising remains on track for its street date on the first Friday of October (10/07/18). A big thanks to everyone who has checked out one, or both, of these tales, and much love to all who have commented.


    All right. Time to go check on that simmer.


    **End Update**

  12. Thanks very much for the comment Starrynight22. I appreciate it, and am glad you are enjoying the ride so far. But be prepared again. We are at the tip top of another drop... Very glad you checked it out Bhopper2 and enjoyed. As you are waiting for the next installment, the next installment is waiting for all of you. It pre-emptively hopes it will keep you interested. Hey, you can't run a good reupholstering business if you can't do it well! Those are some very good questions, and indeed there are many possibilities. What are their answers? We'll find out as the ride continues! I'm glad you checked out this second chapter and hope that the future continues to strike intrigue. Thanks very much for the comment centexhairysub. I love it. You will know more soon, and I hope it keeps you coming back wanting to know even more after that.
  13. One word can sometimes speak an entire paragraph. It looks like I’m doing my job correctly for ya! Thanks very much for reading and I hope I’ll keep those oooh’s to the point to where you start to wonder if you’ve got some monkey in you. Thanks very much for commenting Disjecta Membra, letting me know what you’ve liked so far, and how this chapter felt for you. I hope that intrigue continues as we get ready to head down that path of discovery. I’d never keep you on the edge…for too long. Thanks very much for the comment Defiance19 and for letting me know how this chapter felt for you. Hellraiser vibes, huh? It was that thing about the floor wasn’t it? Lol. Very glad you enjoyed. Uh oh. I’ve got another one on the edge! Do not despair. Soon, we will go over that edge together! Thanks very much for the comment Mikiesboy.
  14. That's right. Get the details in writing or it didn't happen. It looks like all is well in the land for now. I didn't expect all to adhere so easily. But with the wind picking up...one wonders what's next.
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