Laika (Underground) Pt. I

Laika (Underground) Pt. I

Part one of a surreal trip into the unknown.
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The air around Laika felt stagnant, sickly even, as she sighed and reclined against the rough bark of a tree. The sound of flint hitting steel distracted her ears from the atmospheric sounds of the woods around her, if only for a moment. Puffy clouds of smoke rose from her lips and the cigarette held between them as she surveyed the crowded greenery. I couldn’t have walked that far, right? She thought to herself, clicking the lighter shut and exhaling.

Laika’s face twitched, her soft features briefly contorting in a taut picture of unease, before shifting back to her normal cool demeanour. “Might as well see if I can find my way back,” she muttered around her hanging cigarette, grunting through the minor exertions of standing. Her old army boots crunched twigs and flattened grass into the mucky dirt below as she began to stride forwards.

Of all the places to move, the South had to have been the last choice she would have ever made, followed closely by the Midwest. And yet there she was, several months after being dragged from the city and the more bearable weather by her parents and refusing to adjust. Even a simple walk in the woods for some much needed alone time had become a meandering wander through unknown nature, not even made tolerable by cool air or a pleasant breeze. This air hung, heavy and soup-like. It felt oppressive, almost solid as Laika practically walked against it.

She cussed under her breath, discarding the stubby remnants of her cigarette and savouring the warm feeling of smoke slowly roiling in her lungs and throat. Soft tendrils slithered from her nostrils, her shoulders dropping with release. It felt like the tension was, momentarily at least, leaving her to coil in the humidity before dispersing out of sight.

It was still daylight, with angular beams of sunlight glistening in the spaces between the trees. Laika knew, however, that if she didn’t get her bearings soon she’d end up wandering alone in the dark, which was far from ideal. Well, as long as she didn’t choke to death on the damned humidity first. Maybe leaving my phone home to charge wasn’t such a great idea after all. She thought to herself, mentally sighing at her own stupidity.

She couldn’t believe how turned around she’d become, just by wandering off a path in her new neighbourhood. There wasn’t much time to berate herself over it though, she had to focus on reaching the edge of the woods. Even if it wasn’t her house or even her neighbourhood she would (hopefully) at least be in some semblance of civilisation. So she walked on, losing track of time as she went, feeling the soft tones of night gradually encroaching on her visibility.

“Fuck,” she muttered aloud, realising there was no way to avoid spending the night in the woods. Her legs were beginning to pulse, aching tension telling her to rest, but where?

Through the foliage she spotted an unnatural shape. It was boxy and angular, standing in sharp contrast to the curves and chaos of the wilderness around it. As Laika approached she found herself facing an old wood house. For something she’d just stumbled upon in the middle of nowhere it actually looked quite nice, with a fairly sturdy air about the structure.

The house wouldn't have seemed quite as out of place if it had been wrecked and dilapidated. A corpse of a home definitely would have felt more appropriate for the middle of the woods, and yet Laika stood there puzzling over the relatively decent condition of the building. She approached with a subdued wariness to each movement. The weight of each step was suddenly so hyper focused that she could feel her body’s weight pressing down into her feet.

She walked up to the side of the building, peering into its shadowy interior through a window beside the door. It looked like no one had lived there for a while despite the overall lack of damage. She stewed for a moment, biting her lip nervously as she considered spending the night in the old home. The likelihood of a slasher flick villain lurking within seemed illogical, but threatening nonetheless.

After a few moments standing in place, turning it over in her head as the darkness thickened around her she finally gave in. With renewed purpose to her stride, and artificial confidence to stave off the doubt, Laika stepped forwards and took hold of the handle. There was an almost imperceptible moment of hesitation before the knob turned and the door opened with an uncomfortably loud creak.

She plunged into the darkness, shadows enveloping her, slowly coating her in an inky black miasma. It had been her intention to turn and run her hand along a wall in the off chance that there may be a working light switch of some sort near the door. Instead she found herself experiencing the sickening sensation of falling.




She shuddered, groaning in the emptiness. It was dark enough that for a split-second she was seized by the panicked thoughts of going blind. After a brief moment of hyperventilation Laika reasoned with herself. It was the middle of the night in an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, of course it was going to be dark. She could feel something pressing against her. Had she passed out while leaning on the door? Now that just seemed odd. Without a second thought she reached down and twisted the knob.

The door opened, uncaring as its user tumbled out, disappearing into a small cloud of dust and sand she’d kicked up. It swung shut, a loud slam that reverberated far off into the distance followed by the small footnote of a click. Laika groaned, already thoroughly sick of being thrown about today. She curled inwards only to finally register the heat and uncomfortable coarseness of the sand beneath her.

Sand?! Laika’s eyes split open, suddenly blinding her as if she hadn’t seen the sun in days. Blinking almost as rapidly as she was breathing she looked around. It was nothing but desert for countless kilometres in every direction. Craggy brown rock formations and skeletal shrubbery were the only variations she could see as the rolling dunes stretched outwards.


End Part I

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr Artwork

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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18 Types Of Mini-Golfers You Come Across On An 18-Hole Course

Which type of mini-golfer are YOU?

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Mini-golf: A fun activity that has been around since 1916. We have all played mini-golf before and have probably played a variety of courses over the year. The one thing you might not always realize is the players around you. Next time you go mini-golfing take a look at those playing around you and see if you can find these 18 types of players. Even see which of these mini-golfers you fit!

The professional golfer.

This is the golfer who always has to look at the hole, line up his shot every time, and takes the rules seriously such as adding a stroke when the ball goes out of bounds. I mean it's mini-golf, you don't need to line up ALL your shots.

The driver.

This is the golfer who drives the ball as if he was on an actual golf course. It's one thing if you have a power swing, but this person typically drives the ball purposefully.

The obnoxious one.

This is the golfer who is just wild and all over the place. They make such a big deal out of every play, might make irrelevant comments, etc. It's just unnecessary.

The cheerleader.

This is the person who is constantly cheering others on. Even if it's a bad play they'll say "awe, it's o.k! You still got this!"

The family with the annoying kids.

This is the family where the parents don't know how to control their kids. This is where the kids will go to the next hole before their parents, destroy some of the property, or even interfere with other people golfing.

The family that tries to act like a family.

This is the family that you can clearly see is just acting like a family. It could be as simple as a family that seems tense and is just playing together to a family where the dad and kids are playing while the mom just walks around with them filing her nails.

The group of 8+.

This is the group that holds EVERYONE up. They don't care if there are 8+ balls on one hole at a time. If you are this group, please let people behind you go ahead.

The inseparable couple.

This is the couple that is all over each other. They're constantly kissing if they aren't playing or they are taking pictures of each other.

The teenage girls.

These are the girls acting all innocent and taking selfies while playing while their parents sit near the entrance for them. It's the only thing they can do without parent supervision.

The oldie.

This is literally a grandma or grandpa who is naturally just slow. They are so adorable, but it'll take a good 2 hours to play a full 18 holes with them because of how slow they move.

The smokers.

These are the people smoking cigs or cigars while playing. Let's just hope they aren't smoking around kids and put their butts in the little buckets at each hole.

The slow pokes.

These are the golfers that just take forever. If you are a slow poke please be considerate of those behind you and let them go ahead of you.

The competitive one.

This is the one who is constantly up in your face about how they're going to win. They are the ones who can't just enjoy a game of mini-golf.

The out of bounder.

This is the golfer who constantly hits the ball out of bounds. At that rate you don't even give them a penalty stroke because they'd be up to 10+ on one hole.

The goofball.

This is the person who just acts silly. They could be the ones using a child's size putter or balancing on different rocks or stumps on the course.

The clueless one.

This is the one who never realizes what hole their on, when it's their turn, or what they are even doing.

The scorekeeper.

This is the golfer who takes keeping score seriously. Or this could just be the person who naturally always keeps score when you go mini-golfing.

The normal couple (or group).

These are the people we all love. It's the people who like some friendly competition, but don't goof around. They move from hole to hole at a good pace and keep to themselves. They also are cognizant of those around them. These are the mini-golfers we all love and should strive to be.

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