August 13th, 2014
I’ve never, ever written in a journal before in my life, but after who I met yesterday I thought I might want to start one, for his sake and my own.
I’ve been a therapist for about 3 years now, and I keep plenty of notes on past and current clients from our meetings that I use to refer back on during future meetings to check in with them and see how they’ve changed since then, either positively or negatively, and talk with them to see what more they can improve on.
All of this is confidential, between me and the client, but if someone else finds this journal then client confidentiality wouldn’t matter anymore because I might have gone missing by then, or worse.
This all started a few weeks ago when I was initially contacted that he wanted to schedule an appointment. He didn’t give any specifics about the reason he wanted therapy, just that he needed help “thinking things out.”
Fast forward to yesterday; I called him up to my office and he came in and sat down while I prepared my notes on the table next to me. He seemed normal at first, clearly a little nervous, which is not out of the ordinary for first-time clients.
We shook hands and greeted and I readied my notepad and pen as he relaxed on the couch.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Erwin!” I had said, and in return he gave a subtle nervous smile then said, “I’d prefer if you just use my…last name, Delaney.”
I gave him a nod and a “sure thing” and he returned to an expression like he was deep in thought.
I tapped my pen to my notepad and began to ask him more about himself while I subtly tied in other questions to find out what exactly he needed help with.
Delaney talked somewhat enthusiastically about his hobbies outdoors, notably birdwatching, as well as only a mere bit of his seemingly expansive knowledge about plants. All the while he was clearly avoiding my questions about his reasoning for coming here, and I was starting to feel like he didn’t have any other reason for coming to me besides to rattle off information that I felt the need to take notes on, such as about the ideal nesting locations of over a dozen different species of native bird species, or exactly how beneficial Douglas Firs are to the local fauna.
After an acceptable amount of time spent on his hobbies, I decided to inquire about his cause for seeking therapy. His slight grin which had been gradually built up over the span of his lecture had completely disappeared in a span of three seconds. He turned his head to the ceiling and drummed his fingers on his chest before letting out a deep exhale and looking back just enough to make eye contact with me.
“I’m not always myself.” Delaney said. I jotted down a quick note and waited a bit to see if he would follow up before I continued the conversation. “How so?”
Mr. Delaney interlocked his hands together and shifted slightly on the couch. He opened his mouth halfway like he was going to speak then closed it.
I decided to continue, “Sometimes if something gets me really mad, I’m not myself. But-”
Delaney quickly interrupted, stuttering, “It’s not like that.”
Again I waited for him to follow up, then continued, “Well, whatever it is, I know it would help if you tried explaining it to me. Even if I don’t get it, I’m sure talking out loud could help you understand it a bit better.”
Delaney spoke bluntly, “You wouldn’t get it.”
I replied in return, “Try me.”
Delaney turned to face the ceiling again and clutched his hair with his hands. Reluctantly, he started to ask me about my own knowledge about the concept of alternate realities and the multiverse, to which I replied honestly that I have never thought much about other versions of our own reality.
“Have you ever heard of a lady by the name of Lerina Garcia?”
I shook my head.
“Story I saw years ago. She just woke up one morning, just like any other, and everything about her surroundings was new. The clothes she wore to bed were different, her workplace and even her boyfriend were all different than what she had known just the day before.”
I stayed silent.
“Everyone said she was just hallucinating, or thought of her testimony as nothing more than just another eye-catching piece of gossip in the tabloid news.”
“So, the reality you’re living in right now, with me, is unfamiliar to you?” I said.
“Right now it’s not, but sometimes…some days, some things that I might have seen everyday for a month suddenly seem so new, like I don’t know how it got there, or sometimes even what it is. Minutes, hours, and even entire days can just be entirely devoid from my memory, like I never even experienced them.”
I jotted down some more notes as he was speaking, then decided to ask more personal questions, such as how long this issue has been going on and if he has a significant other or if any of his family members are aware of his existential crisis. Concerning the beginning of his crisis, he gave a broad estimate that it started sometime between four months to fourteen years ago, and regarding his family, he says he doesn’t even know them anymore.
I glanced at the clock to see how we were doing on time, and decided to get a few more questions in before we were finished.
“Have you had any thoughts that were not yours; ideas or notions that come into your mind that you would normally never even conceive of? You did say that sometimes you are not always yourself.”
Delaney shifted uncomfortably on the couch, “Yes.”
“Can you give me an example?”
Delaney rubbed his right hand.
“Freeing myself from my right arm. Just grabbing a knife, or a cleaver or something…”
I caught myself from gazing at Delaney too long, and to just continue the conversation like normal. “Anything else?”
Delaney gently dragged his hand along the right side of his face, then returned it to his chest.
“Other times, I-” Delaney froze.
“What is it?” I asked.
Delaney held his hands in front of his face then placed them back at his sides. He shook a little, and slowly began to sit up. I sat still, and admittedly began to panic a little, but remained calm as he went through his episode. Delaney began to look around the room with a look of determination, mixed in with a level of fear. He turned to look me dead in the eyes with a bitter glare. At this point I didn’t know what to say, and just sat feeling dumb-struck and defenseless as Delaney’s cold eyes were tearing at my mind.
Almost as quickly as he began, Delaney abruptly took his eyes off of me and laid back down again, his hands returning to their original position on his chest. I quickly jotted down some quick notes.
“I swapped again, just now…Didn’t I?” Delaney said. I tried to remain composure, but struggled to give an appropriate response. I didn’t know what to think in that moment; whether I should chastise him or believe him.
“What did I do?”
I let out a nervous laugh, then hastily cleared my throat and restored eye contact with Mr. Delaney, telling him what I had just witnessed.
I glanced at the clock, which Delaney saw and caught onto.
“I guess I should get going just about now.” Delaney stood up from the couch and stretched his arms.
“If you want to, I can copy some of my notes for you to take home and refer to…” I suggested, but Mr. Delaney declined. I got up from my chair and led Mr. Delaney to the door, opening it for him. “Well, I’d say we’re off to a great start!” I said in an attempt to raise his spirits. He raised his head to me and gave me the same, almost emotionless face he had walked in with.
I slowly closed the door behind him then shuffled to my chair, still trying to wrap my mind around what I had witnessed. I tried drinking some water to calm my mind down a bit, but thoughts about this man prodded my brain like thousands of glass shards. Should I inform the police? He’s just some loony, he could cause serious harm to himself or others…What if he isn’t just putting on some obscure performance for his own twisted enjoyment? Maybe…
The rest of that afternoon was a blur. I remember scheduling an appointment with another client and some time afterward driving myself home and laying down on my bed, all the while my experience with Delaney was still fresh and poignant in my mind.
Today I felt I needed some time off, and thankfully my schedule was empty so I could have time to concentrate and write out my thoughts. Needless to say, I am curious to see how I will be able to work with Mr. Delaney, and admittedly, moderately apprehensive.
September 21st, 2014
I snapped awake at 3 in the morning to the sound of my cellphone’s rhythmic vibrating on the end table next to my bed. I picked it up and waited for my eyesight to adjust to see Delaney’s phone number sitting on the screen. I sat up and cleared my throat and answered, and immediately Delaney’s crackly voice came through.
“Can you come to my house?” he asked.
I rubbed my eyes and pondered his question for a while. “You want to schedule a home appointment?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
A troubling thought entered my head: What if this was a plan to kill me?
I started panicking thinking of what he could be capable of.
“I could still come to your office, but I just feel like I might be a bit more calmer if you could come to my house and talk with me. I…think I gave you my address in the form I had to fill out.”
Maybe Delaney doesn’t want to kill me? He’s open to still coming into my office, but perhaps his mention of being “a bit calmer” is merely a malevolent ploy to get me to do an at-home visit, in hopes of having a better chance at a breakthrough.
Delaney snapped me out from my whirlwind of thoughts, and I decided to make a choice, one I might regret in a few days time. If this is the last entry I make, you know why.
September 25th, 2014
This is just a brief entry I’m writing before I head over to Delaney’s. Besides the typical stationery I have, I decided to also bring a small serrated knife along with me as well, just in case. If all goes well, hopefully I won’t have to use it, and Delaney wouldn’t know that I brought it.
I pulled up to Delaney’s home; It was a somewhat quaint little house with a decently sized lawn at the end of a winding street. It was also surrounded by Douglas Firs, which covered most of his property in shade.
Upon pulling up and parking my car, I noticed occasional random bits and things strewn across his lawn. Mostly torn paper and beer cans, but also more unique stuff like porcelain figurines and little twigs wrapped up in duct tape and string that resembled shapes and letters.
I grabbed my bag containing my pens and notepad, as well as the knife, and walked up to the door. I knocked and waited. After no response, I knocked again in a more rhythmic pattern, and again I waited. Nothing. I called out for Delaney, and knocked twice more, but to no avail. I tried opening the door myself, but it appeared that it was barricaded from the other side. I glanced around before shoving the door, but it would not budge.
I pulled out my phone and called Delaney’s number, putting my ear up next to the door as I did so. I heard a generic, electronic ringtone play from within for only a second before hearing a sharp thud followed by another thud and a faint shatter of glass. I called out for Delaney’s name again, and in return I was treated by a loud “Go!”
I was at an impasse. At this point I could either leave or continue making fruitless attempts at getting Delaney to open the door or at least join me outside, but I felt that it was my responsibility to help him.
I reminded Delaney how it was his plan to have me here, and how much I want to help him and to get to know his situation better.
“I don’t want to hurt you.” Delaney said.
“How would you hurt me?” I carefully inquired, knowing the circumstance I was in I wanted to take this conversation nice and slow so not to accidentally upset Delaney.
There was no response for a few seconds, then the door started to slowly creak open, revealing pitch darkness. I stood my ground, clutching the handles of my bag tightly.
“Please come.” Delaney muttered from within.
I carefully stepped through the doorway, half-expecting Delaney to pounce on me from out of the darkness. Delaney’s arm emerged from the blackness, closing the door behind me and shutting out the only bit of light present in his house. I stepped back, trying to feel for a surface like a wall but only ended up losing myself further into the abyss.
Delaney made a few slow, clicking sounds with his mouth, then out of nowhere I felt his hand grab mine and he started leading me. I groped at my bag to make sure I still had it while still being lead by Delaney’s single, barely visible hand. He continued clicking until he sternly said, “Sit.”
Delaney let go of my hand and I stumbled back and landed on a couch or similar piece of furniture. I could hear him rustling in front of me and then slump onto something, releasing a sharp squeak as he did so. He spent a few seconds shifting on his seat and then went quiet.
“I have assumed a new body, that which belongs to an alternate version of myself.” Delaney spoke softly. “This is more than what I originally assumed; not only can I involuntarily trade psyches with my other selves, but can also unwillingly assume their forms, and their abilities.”
Delaney tapped his feet a few times and I could hear the sound of a drawer open and close. I could hear several scraping sounds, and then suddenly a small flame emerged from a few feet in front of me. The orange glow was soft, but enough for me to see that it was coming from a small, brown lighter, and the hand that was keeping the fire active. It was not how I remembered Delaney’s hands; this hand looked more rough and significantly more pale, and his nails were a quarter as long as his fingers.
He tilted the flame down to a small candle visible on a decently sized table between us, brightening the glow slightly, but not enough to make out any of his other features. “I have been in this body for…four days…yes, four days now.”
I fumbled around my bag to take out my notepad and pen, and poked myself with the tip of the knife on accident. I asked Delaney if it was okay if I could notes, and he permitted me. I bent over and set my notepad on the table by the candle.
“Y’know, before all this happened to me, in all honestly I planned on, well,” he laughed softly for a second, “Killing you.”
As I had started to write, I froze. I retracted my left hand and fumbled around for my bag. “You brought that knife, because you thought I would hurt you today, right?”
I froze completely now. I didn’t know what to say. There was no way he could’ve seen the knife at all, even in this pitch darkness. I heard Delaney shifting again in his seat, and now in the faint glow of the candlelight I could make out a face, one that I passed off as some visual hallucination as soon as I saw it. He shifted again, and the face receded back into the blackness.
“Well, I no longer have any desire to hurt you anymore. I have become something else…something more, and I intend on you to be my witness.”
Without a prior thought I started jotting down notes, and focusing on saving everything Delaney told me. In that moment, and even now as I write, I believed that every singular word that came out of his mouth would be extremely important later on.
After I had finished my current set of notes and had regained my ability to think properly, I decided to start asking Delaney questions.
“What’s with the clicking?”
Delaney took a second to respond. “After waking up in the early morning to the excruciating pain of my skin and flesh peeling away so my other self could take form…Suddenly, as I discovered, any bright light I came in contact with would bring me great pain, so I hid away from light completely. Now lost in the darkness, I soon found my salvation in sound, and realized how much more I can see with sound than in light.”
I wrote more notes, then continued with another one of my burning questions.
“Can I see what you look like?”
Another brief period of silence from Delaney. I saw a faint hand grow out of the darkness and awkwardly hold the candle up. The table creaked, and I saw him. His face was colorless, his eyes were closed and looked like they had been glued shut. His nostrils and mouth were considerably larger, with the nostrils being a bit more spread apart and his mouth, void of any lips, looked more like a crooked crevice on his face. After only a few seconds he set the candle back down and vanished again.
“Now you have bore witness to my form. Since I know of no one else with your levels of courage and dedication, I hope you can understand now why I have chosen you as witness to my evolution.”
I was growing increasingly uncomfortable, but wanted to ask Delaney what he means when he tells me I’m his witness.
“At a later time, you will know everything. For right now, though, you can continue with your questions.”
Reluctantly, but still being exceedingly curious, I continued with more, shorter questions, such as his mental state and any recent suicidal thoughts (Which he said all went away ever since his transition, although he shared in detail how he was at his breaking point the day before transforming) and how his standard bodily functions have been changed since transforming (Orange juice now tastes extremely bitter, and he feels a little slower when moving, but otherwise there have been no major body changes.)
After asking everything I felt the need to ask, I put my notepad away, then spent the next few minutes sitting in silence with Delaney. Finally, I decided to stand up and was about say my farewell to Delaney but he quickly cut me off.
I asked him why.
“As my witness you must be with me, to experience any other sudden physical or psychological transformations I may have to endure.”
I explained that I have to help multiple people as part of my job, and have other responsibilities that I have to tend to like maintaining my property and paying bills.
“Do you not understand the importance of the task I have given unto you? I am worth far more than all of those deplorable and depressive people that you surround yourself with! You have seen my new self, you know what I have become but yet you reject the chance at bearing witness to my evolution!”
I felt like I was at my limit with Delaney, and said something I knew I’d quickly regret.
“You’re delusional, Delaney.” The words shot out of my mouth like bullets from the barrel of a gun.
Delaney was silent for what might’ve been a few seconds, but for me felt like a minute.
“With all that I have shown you, how is it possible that you not only refuse to see what is front of your very eyes…” Delaney crept forward, once again revealing his twisted face through the soft candlelight glow,
“But also call me…delusional?”
I shifted uncomfortably and spoke, “I don’t want to have to hurt you.”
Delaney gave me a soft, crooked smile. “Neither do I have any need to hurt you, but yet you are letting your own fear and hesitancy get in the way of being able to witness and eventually experience for yourself all that the multiverse has to offer.”
The smile had faded and he put on a more serious face. “Are you truly willing to forfeit the opportunity at being someone more than you could have ever imagined? To be part of something outside of your realm of understanding?”
I felt too dumbfounded to give an intelligible response, leaving us sitting in silence for quite some time.
Perhaps my curiosity got the best of me, or maybe due to some force outside of my control I had suddenly felt willing. Maybe what he spoke of was something I had felt a yearning for in my life that I was just never aware of, or perhaps this was all just a plot to kill me. But in that moment and even now, sitting in Delaney’s room with only a flashlight my source of light as I write, I no longer feel scared, but intrigued, and admittedly I am excitedly anxious for what is to come.
October 2nd, 2014
I have spent the last week at Delaney’s house, and except for some time outside and drives to and from the store to get food, I have spent my days monitoring Delaney and keeping him company.
From time to time I get these feelings of remorse that I just can’t seem to pin down; more than what I might feel after making a short-sighted purchase on something expensive, or when I suggest a solution to one of my client’s problems that does not have the positive effect that I anticipated it to have. Perhaps this remorse stems from my feelings of my past beliefs and what I thought I knew about the world.
With each passing day I learn more and more about Delaney, and feel something within myself changing as well. Am I becoming like him?
Starting a few nights ago I started getting calls from my co-workers and clients. I tried to tell them about my new job, and sharing with them my hopes for the future, but as I was once foolish so are they. Delaney told me that I shouldn’t fret over them, that for I now I can only pity them, but in time they will know.
October 3rd, 2014
Today, Delaney beckoned me to meet him in his living room so that we could have a talk about something that he wanted me to know about. He set a candle on my side of the table between us and ordered me to get my journal because what he was about to tell me was, as he said, “crucial information.“
I could hear Delaney pacing around the room before we started for a solid few minutes, then went to sit in his seat. Slowly, he began, with a slight but noticeable quivering in his voice.
“A revelation has been made known to me for quite some time, I forget of when I first learned about it, but now I believe you are ready for me to tell you.” said Delaney. He took a deep breath in, then said in a hushed tone.
“The realities I have been experiencing are not naturally-made, they are man-made.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“There’s a plan, a secret plan brought to fruition by our federal government that aims to create realities parallel to our own as a means to transmute those of us lucky enough to be chosen into our newly-created alternate selves, albeit in a very unstable manner.”
Delaney again got up for a few seconds, then sat back down. “I fear that possessing this knowledge, and passing it to you is enough for us to both be killed…or worse.”
I became frightened, but Delaney helped to calm my fears.
“But it is my job to pass this onto you; not just these words but also these powers that I hold. You are growing fast, my witness, and you must know that in time you will soon have a witness, or witnesses, of your own, and they too will have witnesses, and soon this will spread throughout the entire world!”
Again that feeling of remorse prodded at my mind, and for a moment I was in a state of extreme panic, and Delaney once more had to help relieve me of my fears.
Even now my mind is a mess whenever I think of what Delaney told me. A small part of me feels nervous all the time, and reading my past entries just makes the feeling worse.
Who was I before I met Delaney? What was my life like before that fateful day…August 12th?
I feel like I’m on the verge of greatness and power, but that I no longer know who I really am anymore. Sometimes I even feel that my own thoughts aren’t even my own…if that makes any sense.
When will this end?
October 8th, 2014
I awoke to see my skin and a little of my flesh sliding off of my entire body. I remember as I crying and writhing in pain, Delaney, wearing a mask and thick black robes that he wore to hide himself from the light, came up to the doorway of my room and stood there, patiently watching on as my skin began to miraculously regrow. Blood was seeping out of the rest of my skin from the soles of my feet to the top of my head as it peeled away and then grew back.
I was in too much shock and pain to think straight, but seeing Delaney give me assuring nods and remembering his promises reminded me that the worst would soon be over.
Even after my skin stopped falling off shortly afterward, I was still in overwhelming agony.
Delaney left and returned with a cup of water and handed it to me. Despite my arms feeling like they were impaled with millions of miniature, piercing needles, I still managed all my willpower to lift the cup to my mouth and drink.
Delaney came over and reached his arms under my arms and helped me to my feet. He shook out my pants and shirt to get the rest of my fallen skin off of me. I wearily looked down and saw dozens of strips of my skin floating around in a small puddle of my own blood and covering the floor around it.
“You are, the same.” Delaney said, sounding confused. My pain numbed over and I started hyperventilating.
All this, just to remain unchanged? I thought to myself as I began to fall into a state of panic and dread.
Delaney began to look over my body, then abruptly ran out of the room and rushed back in with a knife in hand.
“What are you doing?” I screamed. Without saying a word Delaney thrust the knife into my arm then pulled it out in a quick motion. He held my bleeding arm out and told me to watch. After several seconds of continued agony, nothing happened.
I tried to pull myself away but Delaney’s grip was tight. For once Delaney started to sound panicked. He tried reassuring me but he seemed at a loss for words. “This isn’t what is supposed to happen” He kept repeating, still trying to keep me still.
He had his hands tight around my arms, so with no other option I decided to kick Delaney with all the power I had. The heel of my foot hit his groin, causing him to let go of me and stumble back.
“You lied to me!” I screeched. I put my hand over the gash in my arm and tried applying pressure to it. I grabbed several socks lying around one of the legs of my bed and wrapped them around my wound and tied them all together.
Once again I screamed, calling him a liar. He was near the door, kneeled down with his head away from me.
“Look at me!”
Delaney remained silent and defeated.
I felt the anger and despair within me surging, and without another thought I ran up and, with both hands, tore the mask from Delaney’s head and cast it away, revealing his twisted, inhuman face. He cried out and fell to his knees.
I tore the thick duct tape that Delaney had used on all house’s the curtains to seal them shut and pushed the curtains aside, letting the hard, outside light rain in and onto Delaney’s vulnerable skin. Once again, Delaney screamed even louder and tried to cover his face with his gnarled hands.
The only thought on my mind in that moment was anger and a feeling of revenge. I picked up the knife he had used to pierce my arm and stabbed his arm. “What happened?” I cried.
Delaney was wailing in pain. I ran the knife down his robe and tore it open, allowing more of that bitter sunlight that he despised so much to hit his tattered flesh. I could see his face start to sag and bubble up.
I grabbed Delaney by his arms and ran him threw the bedroom window. At first he only managed to crack it, but after another go his head broke through the glass. I shouted curses at him as I pushed him outside, the glass of the window breaking off and impaling itself through Delaney’s robe. He was rolling around, trying the best he could to shield himself the sunlight.
I huddled into a corner and wrapped a pillow over my head to try and shut out the sounds of his dying screams. Again I shouted in despair, refusing to accept that all that I had believed in and hoped for during the past weeks was all a lie.
After some time, when I could no longer hear Delaney, I dropped the pillow and looked outside. I could see him huddled up, with blood running out of his black robes.
I got up and walked outside to him. I knelt over his body and looked him over. His already deformed body was even more deformed. His face was blackened, and I could his eyes now, which were now completely red with blood
His mouth and nose were both puffed up, and the rest of his body was covered in numerous bumps ranging in size and blood that either came from the glass shards or that had oozed from his skin.
“Delaney?” I asked. Nothing.
I rolled Delaney over and returned to the house. So much happened that I wanted to write all this down as soon as I could. I think I finally understand now, the mistakes I made, following Delaney and believing in his lies about reaching some higher level of existence. All my feelings of dread were just from my old self trying to get me to stop, to snap out of this lunacy.
I was so caught up in Delaney’s fantasy that as soon as it began to fall apart I killed him in cold blood. I feel no remorse for killing Delaney though, and already felt willing to end his life even before he knifed me.
What kind of a person have I turned into?
But Delaney wasn’t himself, he really was something else. He was able to live independently without any source of sunlight, or vitamin D as a whole for that matter, and could move in the darkness with echolocation. I’m still split on what to think about what he mentioned about the government. Even if what he said was true, and any alternate realities are just manufactured, how could that make any sense?
I felt like my mind is fractured on what to believe. I keep on reading back on what Delaney had told me, but neither side of my brain wants to agree on what’s real and true. I feel like for now my best course of action is to rest and think everything over. And figure out what to do with Delaney.
October 9th, 2014 – Final Entry
It was late at night, I was sleeping in Delaney’s old bed and suddenly was awoken by a noise from somewhere near the front door. Thinking Delaney had risen from the dead and was out for revenge, I grabbed my journal and kicked out the window screen in the room and snuck away from the house.
As soon as I cleared the Douglas Firs, I came upon a man in some sort of silvery-gold hazmat suit. Before I could react he struck my chest with a rod of some kind that knocked the wind out of me, making me fall backwards. The man walked up to me then put his hand up to a device on the neck of his suit.
“Patient neutralized…How to proceed?” the man said in a muffled tone.
Two other hazmat suits came up and lifted me up by my arms and legs. The man released his hand and the other two carried me into a van, which is where I finally passed out.
Now I have woken up in a small, white room. A well-dressed, friendly lady has come in and told me that I’m going to be AARMAC’s (which she explained stood for the Agency for Artificial Reality Manipulation And Creation) new “template” for upcoming projects and that I am expected to start on the first of these projects momentarily.
She informed me that I will not be able to leave, and referred to the facility as my “new home” while displaying open arms and a warm, alluring smile. The lady saw my journal sticking out of my jacket and tried taking it, but I told her that I had to write a few more things, which she allowed but said it will have to be confiscated…So here it is.
Although I was wrong to follow Delaney, ultimately he turned out to be right. Now I must contend with the consequences of my actions.
I hope this journal finds itself in the hands of a soul more wary than myself, either in this reality or another, or more likely these people will just throw it into a pit of fire and this entire testimony will be incinerated and scattered as ashes.
So this is it, this is the end.
Credit: Matthew Mathis
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