#CrackingTheCode – Serving or Surveilling Women – Part 2

TW // Sexual Violence / Sexual Exploitation / Violence against a minor / online abuse

Firstly, can I start off this Part 2 by saying that being a UN Women’s Delegate has been a mix of emotions. What an absolute whirlwind of 2-3 weeks it was! I feel like I’ve been in a tornado, swept off my feet, inwardly screaming as I see a cow flying past me mooing in confusion and then being spat out on the floor with cartoon dizzy eyes. I have never been a UN Women’s Delegate before, and I hate to admit it but I have only really known a little bit about the United Nations, I hadn’t even realised UN Women was a thing until I saw that advert on Instagram. I applied on a whim.

Tell a lie, I went to apply, chickened out, closed the app, bit my fingernails, walked away, made a cup of tea, realised I’d forgot to boil the kettle, made another cup of tea, and went back to Instagram, almost rushing (if you see a cartoon character of legs flailing about and almost dropping my phone… well, it wasn’t quite like that, but the intention behind it was?). I actually remember trying to find the advert again on Instagram and panicking that I had missed my opportunity. I’m not usually one to believe in fate, in destiny, it sounds so cliché, this isn’t a hallmark movie. But I literally had a moment where I thought I had allowed a brilliant opportunity to pass me by. I literally thought, “What if this is the moment I needed? What if this is my opportunity to make a difference? What if this will give me the information, tools and connections I need to get started with my business?”

But I thankfully found it again (don’t ask me how!), and I applied.

The last two to three weeks, however, like I have said before, has been a mix of information, links, companies, people, pictures, hashtags, ideas, words, all melding into one confusing slush. So much was happening all at once that my little brain was struggling to keep up with it all. I was still stuck on the concept of what the UN Women actually did that I was struggling to take anything else in. It was going in, my brain was picking up the chunks, they were multiplying in it’s hands, breaking apart, running amok, painting on the walls, and my brain would give me a startled expression and say… “I’m sorry, what do we do with all this?”

There was even a reflection on the UN Women’s in-person event, my panic of whether I utilized that time effectively enough, whether I contributed to the discussion enough. I genuinely still worry that my brain was stuck (hyper-focusing) on one issue (I remember being still annoyed that applying ‘policies’ isn’t enough, that we actually need action from those policies, we need accountability… that chuck had managed to avoid capture, escaped into a remote area of my brain and paint my childhood cat bright green… sorry Fluffy) that I probably didn’t contribute well enough as much as I should. Never mind my neurodivergent brain was struggling with what I actually wanted to say and actually making it tangible and coherent for real people to understand. I was literally a dear in headlights. There were so many enthusiastic, emotional, and downright brilliant women (and man!), that I felt so small in comparison. There was a journalist, a digital media specialist, a project manager, a policy maker, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, there was so many to keep up with, to be honest. But they all had one thing in common; they all knew what they wanted to say about the topic we were supposed to be discussing. Best I can do is “I make computers go burr?” I still see one girl’s look as we had to break away from our small group and come up with ideas, the first thing I said when she asked me what I was thinking was “I have no idea!” and laugh awkwardly, where as she already knew exactly what she wanted to say. I was struggling too to take in what she very enthusiastically needed to say, as the chatter behind me grew, the chunk with the green paint had moved onto a ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ wall hanging at the back of my skull, and my inner voice was reminiscing over the awkward laugh while rocking back and forth quietly sobbing.

But I’m trying not to beat myself up, because I am still taking away a lot, I still contributed to conversations which at least, hopefully, sparked a discussion on points maybe missed, and there are many opportunities now after CSW67. I also know that some of the ideas I had were still in-line with what others had said already, which, I am going to take away as me being on the same lines as the others. At least I wasn’t way off with the fairies… watching the trail of green footprints.

Besides, my main takeaway, if anything, is the enthusiasm of learning more and doing more for gender equality. We are 300 years off, globally, to be even close to being entirely equal. I’m not happy with that. As many others aren’t. I want to do something about it.

But, of course, this post is Part 2 of #CrackingTheCode – Serving or Surveilling Women (there are links on the bottom of this post if you missed the first one (how rude) and need to catch up). This post is mostly going to be discussing my own thoughts on the topic that I joined in on, I could continue talking about other topics, gender bias in AI and algorithms (or as you may now come to know as the chunk with the green paint who has decided to chain itself to a tree – don’t ask me where the tree came from), limited access to funding (slightly smaller chunk that is writing numbers on the walls around the green paw-prints – also don’t ask), the broken record of issues with the gender pay gap and lack of women in leadership positions (the ones who have been there for a while who are dusting off their cobwebs and handing out maps). So, let’s focus on this chunk that managed to fall into a hole, get stuck there and is yelling obscenities to the light at the top.

(Crap, my cup of tea is cold)

Just to recap, the team I was in discussed:

“As we store more and more of our lives online, and institutions are able to access our data to serve us with increasingly personalised and relevant offers, how do we protect privacy for those who are most vulnerable to exploitation – both by the Private Sector, and by the State?”

Following instructions, we started off by introducing ourselves, who we are and what we do, writing down emotive words onto post-it notes to use as motivators, which, accidentally, took up a fair chunk of time. We then split off into pairs to discuss ideas – we had a few pointers to help. I forget what they are, but I remember reading ‘policies’ and that’s when my brain went off on it’s own little adventure causing havoc inside my brain. We then went into groups of four, discussing the ideas we had to whittle them down, which we realised we were pretty much all on the same lines, and then we went back to the group of us to recollect the ideas and collate them into a more coherent format.

Not only were there those of us in the in-person event, but there were many online too. Although we didn’t interact too much, besides cheering for the camera.

Some of the ideas I remember were:

  • Enhancing polices and legislation to ensure technology companies are held more accountable and have more responsibility; and
  • Better and easier access to information and legal aid.

There were others, but with all the information floating around (the havoc of the chunks too), it was hard to keep up with it all. But there will be a Post Event in a few weeks, so I can likely post a Part 3 update. Instead, I will explain my own experiences and reflections.

From my point of view, this topic, or at least online safety, has been instilled into me from an early age. Back in the 90s and the early 2000s when internet was becoming more common in the household, an old school friend and I would spend our free time on the internet. Back then, after the horrific sound of the dial-up modem whirred, we would view just a collection of ‘web pages’. No fancy Java Script or back-end databases. I remember one ‘web page’ my friend found, labelled as a ‘sanity test’, it just had a picture of a Formula 1 car and the sound of what we all now know as the Crazy Frog sound. The idea behind it was, if you laughed, you were deemed ‘insane’ (or words to that effect – turns out the internet says I’m not insane, go me!).

Security and safety on the internet wasn’t as big then as it is now, I remember seeing viruses, but they were merely pesky things that would either pop up on your screen or make your computer run slow; they were merely a nuisance. Of course, the applications of which would probably be more devastating to an organisation that may be utilizing computing technology and was internet facing, but to a pre-teen it wasn’t. Plus, there were some viruses around prior to this that were a little more destructive, but they were unlikely as proliferant as they are now.

However, my dad was a little more clued up when it came to computer technology (yes, this is where I got my technology ‘bug’ from – see what I did there?) and he would constantly remind me to be safe on the internet. I know why, because I was subjected to things that were a little more of a worry compared to a crazy F1 car. I remember seeing videos and pictures of things that no pre-teen should see, stuff that would exist in the deepest of dark web. As I grew up, and went to secondary school, the tone of things I was subjected to also changed, when I first learnt about certain ‘fetishes’, shall we say.

Back to present day, with more and more people getting access to the internet, the worse the videos, pictures, and general abuse in any form came with it (including the abuse of ‘crazy’ tests, which have evolved into ‘what kind of potato are you?’ side note; who else knew there were purple potatoes?). Even before joining the UN Women this year for CSW67, I was already aware of the cyber-bullying, public shaming, intimidation, cyber-stalking, some of which can start online and result offline, some of which I have been subjected to. Then there’s the access to more impossible beauty standards, of which are actually encouraged by algorithms. There was even a piece of ‘research’ conducted by Facebook/Instagram that found there was a link between declining mental health in teenagers (mostly teen girls) and the use of Instagram.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram said he has been working hard to get the team to ’embrace [their] responsibilities more broadly’… that piece of research was published in September 2021. I haven’t seen any marked improvement, but please let me know if I’m wrong. Maybe Shar.on485283 who keeps trying and failing to DM me has the answers? Sorry, the chunk with the green paint ran out of smores on the campfire, it was subdued by Glenda – the slightly rounded and weathered chunk you have been introduced to previously as “Gender Pay Gap” – their attention is now back on the hole in the ground to listen to the rest of the story.

Now, a lot of people are slowly getting clued onto these issues (at least in the western world). But what about other general gender bias that exists in technology and online?

One of my biggest pet hates (I say that lightly) is that I KNOW that there are laws around the storage, collection, processing and use of my data online because of the field of work that I am in, but yet organisations, usually the bigger ones (*cough*Facebook*cough*) have data breaches, or GDPR breaches at least, get hit with a large fine and get away with it to do it all over again the next year (you can see some here: https://www.enforcementtracker.com/ ). I know there are some big changes happening in light of TikTok recently, but how much of that is because they’re in the lime-light currently? Organisations are looking at what’s going on and following suit… I can imagine a fat, white, cis-man, eating into another ‘award winning’ steak pie and chips, flicking through his 1001 TV channels, while one of his minions who is ironically wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue overalls because it’s a new ‘hip’ place to work with bowls of fruit on EVERY table, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, who says: “hey, you seen this ban on TikTok? Maybe we should find another income-stream? At least until it blows over? I hear Facebook has rebranded?” (I know the issue lies deeper than that, but it highlights the issue that companies are getting away with GDPR breaches all the time, some are being found out, others aren’t).

I know to not give my personal detail over to people/organisations, regardless of the organisation. I have refused to give my address to recruiters unless an actual contract is being drafted up. I have refused to give websites my mobile number unless it is absolutely necessary (this is why I haven’t got on the ChatGPT band-wagon), I don’t order online unless it’s from a reputable company and is over Secure Socket Layer (https:// – I get my browser warning me if I’m connecting to a site that isn’t), I know to click on “reject all cookies” or “manage cookies”. That’s because I understand more than most.

But who is responsible? The person giving their data out? The organisation who isn’t implementing information security properly? The organisation who deliberately makes it difficult to opt out? Or is it at the government level for making the regulations too relaxed for the organisation to continuously break data regulations?

Another issue is what is done with that data. The processing. Not so much how it is protected in transit or storage, but how your data is being used? There are supposed laws around

One speaker on an event during the main part of the CSW67 was Bill Jeffery. The title of the event was ‘Women’s Health and Well-Being: Integrating Information and Communication Technologies, Universal Health Coverage, NCDs, and Policy’, this was on the 9th of March. He is the Executive Director for the Centre for Health Science and Law in Canada. He did a study on ‘infodemic’ companies and the recklessness of poor information that can be damaging to lives of women. The title of his PowerPoint presentation was “Curating information for self-care: When governments don’t enforce laws to inoculate against and infodemic, companies sometimes are reckless and self-service in claims”. He pointed out that women are more of a target to misinformation than men, such as misinformation around breast-milk substitutes, food and medicines, products and services related to women’s issues (cosmetic surgery, feminine hygiene) and so on. There are a lot of targeted advertisements preying on women, vulnerable or in vulnerable situations, with misleading statements, and sometimes promoting damaging products. He explained that there were even a few laws broken, but they only act on consumer complaints, there’s no enforcement. Of course, this is typically related to Canada, but opens a can of worms, as I’m sure I have seen a lot of this on Instagram and TikTok with ‘influencers’ giving out bad and sometimes damaging advice.

Overall, having policies, legislations, even to an extent having companies fined, is all well and good, but, in my opinion, it’s not good enough. We need to be doing more. There needs to be a review to make organisations more accountable, having easy and free access to information to know your rights, and easy and affordable (if not free) access to legal aid.

Now, to wrap up in reflection of the in-person event, and the whole of CSW67 in general, I now know the point of my involvement. Yes, I did have an involvement in discussing ways to improve the digital gender divide and issues surrounding women in technology, at least within the concepts of online data and online lives, but the majority of it was just listening to the current research, listening to those who are currently making efforts to bridge gaps, and build an enthusiasm to do more. The in-person discussion lasted just over an hour. That 1+ hour wasn’t enough to come up with solutions to an on-going complex topic. That isn’t necessarily a criticism of UN Women in general, that’s an observation, which is why it’s important to instill enthusiasm of more people (men, women, non-binary) to be doing more. It’s not a UN Women’s problem to solve. It’s a world-wide problem to solve. We’re all in this and we all need to be doing more.

I’m now off to rest my brain and find a way to contain this chunk with the green paint (she’s now gone off to rally some troops to start a rebellion…)

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Catching out a Catfisher (Fake profile)!

Recently I was approached by a guy on Facebook, who turned out to be fake.

And why am I blogging about it? To raise awareness!

I tried to reach out to Twitter to find the real person behind the photos, and have since had at least one comment; “Why is it necessary to find the real guy?”

It’s not, really, but I wanted to the following:

  1. make sure the real guy knew what was going on, so he can report the profile and it have more chance of it being removed (he’s a real human being at the end of the day);
  2. have a real name so I can report the accounts – sometimes you need a real name otherwise you cannot report, I noticed this on Twitter!
  3. make a difference. I consider myself an influencer. I’m an author. I might not be popular, as I’m only starting my journey, but as such I want to use that rather small voice to make a difference. If even one person reads this, I feel like I’ve helped at least one person! Therefore, if I could get the real name of the lovely guy being the photo, it would make a bigger impact (although, because I haven’t got permission from the real guy, I have had to keep his identity private!)

First, let me explain what happened. I came across a Facebook page which shows tattooed men (I like tattoos and appreciate good ink!) and I came across a really cool back piece! I, with my silly sence of humour, said ‘Where can I get one?’ (and yes, I did mean the guy… although in real life, I am interested in more than just a guy’s good looks!)

A guy approached me and said ‘I’m here Alex. Hit me up!’ and had a profile picture of a guy next to a beautiful staffordshire terrier (a staff to us common people!), so I thought… hey, why not! So, I added him! (I’m a sucker for handsome tattooed men with dogs/cats!)

Basic RGB[image source: http://www.shibdenheadprimaryacademy.co.uk/e-safety/%5D

I knew instantly, when he accepted my request, he wasn’t real. At least not the person behind the photos. He kept repeating the words ‘sexy’ and then said he was US Intelligence. Yeah, pretty cool, but you don’t need to be too smart to realise that those who are in any form of Intelligence, whether that is the US, UK or otherwise, do NOT openly admit it to people they hardly know!

Not to mention, I absolutely HATE it when people judge me for my looks, I don’t think I’m exactly attractive; I’m not a model, but I respect people more if they are actualling interested in knowing about ME… not what’s on the outside! So, even if this guy turned out to be real, I instantly took a dislike to him.

The other scary thing is… he was emotionally manipulative. I unfortunately haven’t got access to the messages he sent anymore, as the profile has been removed since (unfortunately not my doing!), but he said things like ‘don’t scare me off you’, after I called him out whether he was real or not. I’ve been in an emotionally manipulative relationship before, I DONT take kindly to it, and do not tollerate it at all!

sydney-sims-521161-unsplash[Image Source: http://yourrelationshipspecialist.co.uk/gaslighting-and-emotional-abuse/%5D

So, I had one of two choices; block and ignore, or call him out.

I was really worried about vulnerable people, including young girls, coming across this guy. So, I put it upon myself to do some digging! Within a few hours, I found the real guy!

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ who are models, so I asked them if they recognised the guy in the photo, unfortunately no one did.

I also tweeted, with no success! (Including a few models, although I don’t follow models – I appreciate the male body, but I’m not interested in goggling – so I know absolutely nothing about the modelling world, so I had to find some ‘male tattooed models’ in order to tweet, gave up pretty quickly with that idea! No one’s going to listen to a crazy English chick, anyway!)

Luckily, however, one of my friends managed to reverse search the images the catfisher was using and we found a few websites where the photos were being used!

Ironically, I came across yet ANOTHER fake profile on Twitter, thinking it was the real guy, but found the same ‘person’ on Facebook and I realised this was yet another fake profile! Luckily someone else knew the real guy in the photo and called him out on Facebook! (The Twitter profiles have been reported!)

I finally found the real guy behind the pictures!

I was hoping for a lovely dramatic ending to this little adventure, by messaging the guy on Facebook and hoping to reverse catfish the catfisher or something similar, but unfortuantely the catfisher has since been removed from Facebook, and the real model hasn’t responded.

[Image source: https://thesaurus.plus/related/anticlimax/climax%5D

So, why am I telling you this? To raise awareness! I’m not suggesting everyone does what I did, it can be quite dangerous to do! Especially if the catfisher knows a lot about you already! If you think you’re being catfished, or it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Follow your gut! Block and delete! If you’re worried, talk to someone!

And yes, some catfishers are after money. But NOT ALL OF THEM! Some of them are predators… and they can worm their way into your life over MONTHS… just because you have known them for weeks/months, doesn’t mean they are genuine! PLEASE be careful!

I have deliberately kept the names of my acquaintances and the real model behind the photos hidden! I don’t have permission to use the model’s photos, and this model is in the public eye, it would be unfair for him getting negativity because of someone else.

This goes for both women and men, men can be just as much a target! If you think you are being catfished or are worried about the identity of someone online, talk to someone!

Stay safe, everyone. x

Beta-Readers needed!

I’ve been working hard on re-editing my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ as my main challenge is to get it into a paperback format. I want to do this by making the book the best I can.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist though, and there is something final about a real physical book that I don’t want to have a book riddled with mistakes and plot holes. So, I need beta-readers.

I have asked friends to read, but I don’t have many friends that are willing to a) read a book in general and b) let alone one that is a romantic story!

So, for anyone who likes reading, please feel free to read my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ here:
And let me know what you think. If you find any errors, plot holes, or anywhere that generally needs work, please let me know!

Here’s a blurb:

Alice wants a carrer change, especially after a terrible incident at her last job. Her dream job has always been to work in a hotel, maybe even own one. But after messing up an interview very spectacularly for a vacancy at a well-known hotel chain in London, she wasn’t expecting to hold the attention of the Global Business Manager; Daniel Jeffries. And in more ways than one. Does Alice take the risk and accept Dan’s offer or does she play it safe?

Who knew that that interview day would be the day that changed Alice’s life? But is it for the better? IS this alluring Global Business Manager as amazing as he seems? And who is that mysterious yet amazingly handsome man at the hotel?
By the way, if Romance isn’t your thing, or this blub doesn’t catch your eye, there are other works on my WattPad page, feel free to check them out!

Protected: Potential Career pathway – Data Scientist

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Rebecca – Chapter 1

Bit of a back story to this one before you read on. I started this one a while ago, before ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ and way before ‘It’s My Mistake’ but I never finished it. Reason for that was because I came up with the idea of Rose Garden Sanatorium before finishing it and got distracted to write that one instead!

Now, a few months on and I have decided to finish ‘Rebecca’ first and publish it along with ‘It’s My Mistake’, just to get a few books out there before I finished ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’. I have decided to publish Rose Garden professionally and as my studies start up soon I might not have a lot of time to finish it before then (nor the funds, as it’s going to cost up to £1500, which I don’t have as I’m not employed!)

Anyway, I figured I’d post a few chapters of Rebecca for you anyway, so you can see what to expect when I finally finish and publish this one.
If you’re interested in the other two and haven’t come across them before, see below for the links to my other posts.

P.S. Please bare in mind this currently in first draft stage, but if you do see any mistakes in grammar, spelling or even if you’d like to comment on plotline/wording/description (or lack of as that hasn’t been added perfectly yet either) feel free to let me know. 🙂

Warning: May contact strong language and mature content

Chapter 1

I looked outside at the weather. It was horrendous, I wished I never decided to travel to Canada now or at least wished I’d looked at the best time of year to go. It wasn’t winter yet, it was mid-autumn but I was too busy in the eastern side of Canada in the summer. So here I was, travelling in this torrential weather to Vancouver, on a bus.

I should have known it was the wrong time of year to go, considering I was the only person on this bus. But the need to travel was too strong that it overruled my common sense. Never mind, I’m here now and the only time I could get work in this area was this time of year, so I had no choice really. Unless I stayed in England.

I sat on the uncomfortable bench of a seat on the bus as the rain washed passed on the windows, it was early evening by now. After a bit of a long trip from my post on Vancouver Island. The sun had settled two hours earlier and I could tell the temperature was dropping slightly too. I was just lucky that it wasn’t winter and it was freezing cold. The chances of getting stuck in the snow were greater. Although, the weather might have been drier.

After what seemed like hours on the bus, it slowed to a stop. This alerted me out of my day-dreaming. I noticed it had stopped at a petrol station-, well gas station they were called here in Canada. I wondered if he needed to refuel.

“Just stopping for the bathroom ma’am,” the driver explained when he saw my confused look peering up from the window to him as he got up out of the driver’s seat. “Would you like to grab any snacks or visit the ladies yourself?” he asked. His accent was thick Canadian, an accent I had gotten used to for a while now after spending nearly four months in Canada. Although I had noticed a slightly change after moving away from the east coast.

“Not a bad idea,” I nodded, getting up from my seat and stretching my stiff joints. “How long now until Vancouver?” I asked, as I grabbed my bag and headed to the front of the bus.

“Another few hours, so long as the weather doesn’t get any worse,” the driver explained, hopping off the bus and waiting outside for me to get off too.

“Great,” I said, not really feeling great about it at all. I had to spend another few hours on a cold damp bus before I could go anywhere to get a decent meal and a decent night sleep. I was exhausted.

The gas station didn’t have much in terms of decent food either. I wandered down the aisles looking at the American or Canadian style chocolate bars and ‘chips’ and subsequently sighed. There were no decent sandwiches, so my choices were limited to chips and chocolates. And seeing as I wasn’t sure when my next decent meal was going to be, I decided to pick up a few things anyway, even if they were high in sugar and fat, they were better than nothing. I picked up a few packets of chips and a few bars of chocolates before heading over to the counter where the driver was talking to the guy behind the cashier already.

“I’m afraid not,” the cashier said while talking to the driver, who had come back from the bathroom. He was shaking his head and looking concerned about something. This sparked my curiosity.

“That’s just my luck,” said the driver and rubbed his face with a hand.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, dumping the snacks on the counter top.

“Road’s blocked half a mile up, no way through to the city.”

“What?” I said, feeling the blood drain from my face.

“Apparently the wind blew down an old tree, right into the road, no way of getting through.”

“Buggar!” I swore and rubbed my own face, feeling tired already, “Now what?”

“There is a Motel in the next village, hopefully they’ll have the road cleared by tomorrow?” suggested the guy behind the cash register.

“I suppose that’s all I can do!” I shrugged, “Where is the motel? Is it far?”

“A mile or so,” the bus driver explained.

I nodded and picked up the snacks, thinking that if I wasn’t heading back in Vancouver today, I might as well find somewhere to eat in the village.

“I can take you to the motel,” the driver said, “But I’ll be heading back to my town, which is a few miles away.”

I nodded, “That’ll be fine.”

The bus stopped for a second time that night, right outside a motel. I was starting to feel a little hungry, so at this point I was just glad to find somewhere to get off so I could get something to eat and rest for the rest of the night. Although I was starting to wish I had bought those snacks at the service station.

“Here’s the motel,” the bus driver said, giving me a weak smile.

“Thank you,” I said, getting up and moving to the front of the bus again.

“Keep your ticket, it’ll get you to Vancouver tomorrow.”

I nodded and thanked him again before getting off the bus. Taking my backpack and trudging up to the front reception of the motel now a little soaked from the rain.

It was only a small motel, clearly this town didn’t get many visitors.

I pushed through the reception door and up to the lady on the reception who looked up from her newspaper crossword puzzle and smiled at me. “Evening.”

“Hi, can I have room for the night?”

“Oh, sorry love, we’re fully booked for tonight!”

“Oh, shit!” I accidentally said, feeling my luck going from bad to worse.

The receptionist smiled weakly, “There is another motel in the next town up,” she said.

“Oh right, where is that?”

“If you go in that direction,” she pointed out the window, “past the post office and continue until you hit the next town, it’s right opposite a diner. They usually have a few vacancies.”

“Oh, okay, thanks!” I smiled. I just heard diner and felt my stomach urge me to leave and find food.

“Sorry again,” the receptionist smiled as I turned back around.

“That’s okay,” I muttered as I opened the door and finally trudged back out into the darkness. At least I knew there was another motel, so it wasn’t all that bad. One that had a diner right opposite. Winner.

If you like this, please check out my other work:

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

My Normal – Short Story

My Normal – A Short Story

“What’s your name?” said a voice, slightly distant. I wasn’t even sure if I could see the speaker’s mouth move, but I knew that’s what he said.

“Um-, Lucy,” I replied confidently. It didn’t matter what the intentions of the speaker were, he couldn’t hurt me even if he tried.

“Why Lucy?” he asked, as if knowing that wasn’t my real name. Of course it wasn’t, but here I could be anyone I wanted.

“Because-, it’s a name that reminds me of something,” I smiled, just about making out the shape of this person in front of me now. He was coming into view a bit. He was tall and dark. Not dark as in dark hair or dark skin colour. He was dark, like a silhouette. I still couldn’t make out his features. No matter how hard I tried to focus on them. In fact, the more I focused, the more distorted he became.

It didn’t bother me though, it didn’t matter what he looked like. He wasn’t important. Nothing was really important here.

“Come with me, Lucy,” the figure said and a long arm shot out from no-where to try to grab me. I dodged it quickly, avoiding the contact. I didn’t like to be touched. It felt- like I wasn’t in control if I let this person touch me.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” I said, my voice changing slightly. I sounded more menacing.

The figure of a man in front of me didn’t say anything, he just frowned, or at least I think he frowned. I could sense he wasn’t happy. I knew I had to get away.

I turned around and came face-to-face with a wall. Normal people probably would have panicked if they saw a wall. Not me, I love them. And there is a reason for that, which I am about to show.

I smiled, gave the man-figure a quick glance as he looked confused and I just stepped back towards the wall. And suddenly, as if by magic I just- slipped right through it. As if the wall wasn’t there.

The only thing that I regret was not knowing what happened to that man-figure, but I felt happy knowing he was probably standing the other side of that wall and wondering what on earth was going on. Or, he might not be there anymore, no longer existing. It was hard to tell in this world.

I suddenly found myself walking down a corridor. It was light and airy. It reminded me of somewhere I used to work. It was on a second floor. A metal banister on either side, stopping me from falling to the second floor. It was high. It made me feel a little weak. I don’t like heights. Even here, where things were- different.

I saw someone walk towards me from the other side of the corridor, the person came into view. A woman I used to work with. I do work with. I think I work with. She had her hair tied back like she normally does into a tight ponytail. I’ve forgotten her name. How can I forget her name?

“Morning,” she said.

What was her name?

“Morning… Alice,” I said. Making up a name.

“How are you today?” she said, apparently I got her name right?

“I’m fine,” I said. Short and sweet. That’s how I kept the conversation as I dodged around the woman whose name was apparently Alice. She wasn’t important, I had somewhere to be. I felt a sense of urgency. Maybe that man was still after me, I wasn’t sure.

I got to the end of the corridor and got to another door. I could open it, but I instead I smiled and just walked through it. This was fun!

The other side of the room, it suddenly changed. I was outside. I felt the need to run, to get away from the building behind me. Although I had somehow gone from a second story in a building to somewhere outside.

I ran. I wasn’t sure what I was running from, but I ran. Until, I couldn’t. Suddenly somehow I wasn’t able to run. My legs were moving but I wasn’t getting anywhere!

I turned around and saw the man-figure walking towards me, he had found me. I let out a scream. No sound came out. I tried to move away, I couldn’t.

The man-figure got closer, except it was no longer a man-figure, it was a large dark wolf. Its teeth were bared and drool was hanging from the side of his mouth. I felt panicky again. There were no walls to go through.

No, but maybe I could do something else!

I crouched to the floor, my hand only a mere millimetre away from the floor and I sprang up and into the air. But I didn’t come back down again. I just hovered there. I was in the air, but I was only two feet above the ground.

It wasn’t high enough to get away from the wolf. I willed myself up, I went up higher. But only by another foot.

It still wasn’t high enough.

So I decided to move away instead, before the wolf got me. Gliding away, in mid-air, three feet off the ground. I managed to avoid the wolf.

But it was still coming for me, I moved faster, so did the wolf. I tried to climb higher, only getting so far and not any further.

I got as far as the sea. Somehow I had managed to get far away from where I originally was, where ever that was, and got to the coast.

But I had a fear of open water. The deep dark murky unknown scared me, even here. Even though I was three feet above the ground, hovering unnaturally. With the ability to pass through solid walls. And probably other superpowers here in the world. Yet, water still scared me.

I got over the water, but I didn’t go far. Hovering there and watching the wolf, which had turned into my childhood dog.

I watched as his fluffy tail just swung left and right, panting as if he had been running to keep up with me. But looking happy to see me.

I smiled and glided back over to the side where dry land luckily was. And I set my feet back on the earth.

“Hello boy,” I greeted my dog and I bent down to stroke him.

But just before my hand touched the soft and warm coat of my childhood dog, he lunged for me.

The jolt woke me up.

I stared up at the ceiling and blinked into the darkness. And then sighed.

“What a strange dream,” I muttered to myself and rolled over.

I had another lucid dream.