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  • Tired

    Well, that’s terrible.

  • Gotham

    The added guilt of “I love you very much, it pains me to do this but you led me essentially no choice” is just the icing on the cake.

    • Anondod

      I’m not entirely sure she’s capable of those feelings.

      • It does appear as if she’s capable of *faking* those feelings, though. If not well.

        • Herwood

          But how would she, Patrick reads minds. He should be able to tell between fake and real feelings.

          • Obviously it won’t affect what Patrick thinks of her (although it might affect what he considers love to be, at least until he experiences other people doing it properly later on). But she’s likely keeping the charade up to some extent by default with him since it’s so habitual to her to have to employ it elsewhere. She may also be futilely convincing herself that her actions are understandable and necessary. I was actually referring to the internal monologue Patrick’s father, though, when I mentioned she wasn’t doing it ‘well’ since he seems to see through any such efforts.

          • Tylikcat

            I wonder. As a storytelling device, I think I might vote with Pear/Claudia being quite sincere when she says that, because a) I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility at all and b) it kind of fits with the degree of fuckwittedness we’ve seen in older Patrick.

            I don’t think my mother was lying when she said she loved me. I mean, first off, I think in some ways, it was true. But more to the point, to have been lying would have required a degree of self awareness that she just didn’t have. Her idea of love was so deeply self-referential, and the was really attached to her own image of herself as loving, virtuous, innocent, and unfairly set upon by life.

          • I don’t think you have to be conscious of the effort of self-deception in order to be engaged in it. Perhaps Claudia believes herself, very inaccurately, to be a beleagured and put-upon loving parent of a monstrous child. In that scenario she’d be futilely convincing herself of the fairness and righteousness of her position, even as she drove her son to his probable death at her hands. But I find it more probable that she believes herself to be unfairly put-upon but doesn’t actually experience empathetic love and is mainly going-through-the-motions here .. consciously, or not.

          • Andy Monserud

            I don’t know that “fake” feelings are necessarily so clear-cut. Often it’s not about faking but about a different understanding, esp. with emotions that have tons of societal pressure on them like parental love. Patrick, I expect, is probably observing a pretty complicated/confusing feelings/cognition sequence.

            God, being a telepath would be miserable. I got nihilistic and disconnected from my personal narratives just by studying political philosophy for four years. Seeing the contradictions and confusion of EVERYBODY’s thought processes would be straight horrifying.

    • bryan rasmussen

      what she says and what she thinks aren’t necessarily the same thing though

  • McFrugal

    That’s not very heroic, Alison.

    • elilla

      Yup, it’s The Punisher/Moonshadow route. But you can excuse it as an immediate emotional reaction to cruelty and abuse; it’s only a problem if put into action.

    • Grason Cheydleur

      Very reminiscent of the scene at the hospital.

    • Anarquistador

      Well, she’s not really a hero, is she?
      She’s a superpowered individual who doesn’t really have a fully-formed moral code yet, and for whom it has been repeatedly proven that moral codes don’t really apply or matter.

      • R Lex Eaton

        Says who? That nihilistic, manipulating, morally bankrupt piece of garbage that Alison chased in here?

        • Anarquistador

          At least he’s honest.

          I’m sure Max would have a thing or two to say as well in that regard.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Max is just as much of a selfish prick. Beyond that, he had nothing to say regarding morality.

            Gurwara doesn’t even have an ethos. Nothing beyond absolute moral relativity that we have no indication was anything but an attempt to demoralize someone who wanted to help.

            What point was he trying to make? That the human race is doomed to suffer because of its own nature? That the best thing Alison could do is kill herself before she does any more damage? That morality doesn’t exist and no one needs a good reason to do anything that they can get away with?

            I’ve already gone on at length about why, even if he is right, it doesn’t matter. Gurwara is an ASSWIPE.

            Alison is in the process of refinement. Becoming better than she is. Gurwara would have her believe that there’s no reason to improve upon her own flaws or try to make the world a better place.

            He’s the worst kind of scum.

          • Anarquistador

            Being scum doesn’t mean he’s wrong.
            Max was forced to do something against his will by someone stronger than him. It doesn’t matter what he was forced to do, or how beneficial the end result could have been. It’s all just Might Makes Right in the end.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I don’t deny that what Alison did in that instance was wrong. I take issue with the assertion that she has no reason not to do it again. She knew it was wrong at the time. She saw no other alternative. And she can carry that with her into the future to inform her future behavior.

            A knee-jerk reaction to something this visibly messed up is not evidence of her morality.

          • It isn’t proof. I’d argue that it does count as very minor evidence – in that it needs to be taken along with a bunch of similar evidence to even begin to constitute a proof. Most of the evidence of her morality that we have points in very nearly the opposite direction, which is reassuring-! But these little inklings of one-punch-force keep cropping up and it’s disturbing when they do. A nuanced and interesting character here.

          • Scott

            I think the moral failing that Alison demonstrated, and that Gurwara was attempting to point out, was how quickly she was willing to resort to physical force. If you think about the situation, she didn’t try and discuss it with Feral or her physicians (yes, I know Feral was in an induced coma but this situation could have been worth bringing her out of it for a few hours). She didn’t attempt to negotiate with Max. She didn’t give him time to think about it or try and appeal to him in different ways. All she did was say “I want you to do this” and when Max replied “I don’t want to do that and here’s why”, Alison’s immediate reaction was “well, I’m going to force you to do it.”
            Had Alison really attempted to exhaust her other options, it may have been less of an issue. However, it really seemed like Alison decided that the fact that she had the power to coerce people meant that she didn’t need to bother with things like negotiation or bargaining since she had the power to jump immediately to force.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Which is what her little self-debate proved. Her logic was that Max had such a fate coming to him. He’d demonstrated his unwillingness to do something that was right, not long after deriding Feral as falsely selfless. And for her at that point, bad things should happen to bad people.

            Doesn’t mean her act was right, but she knows that now and an improve. The instinct can be fought.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            “However, it really seemed like Alison decided that the fact that she had
            the power to coerce people meant that she didn’t need to bother with
            things like negotiation or bargaining since she had the power to jump
            immediately to force.”

            Of course not. It does not seems that way to any observer who look at it with just a little bit of detachment. What it really seems is that Alison is extremally not confident in her capacity to negotiate the situation, and extremally confident in her capacity of coercition. it is not that she did not need to bother: she honestly belived to not have what it takes to solve the situation.

          • Anarquistador

            She saw no other alternative because she didn’t look for one. She didn’t bother to, because she didn’t need to. She’s got the biggest hammer in the world. Max was just a nail.
            When you can MAKE someone do what you want them to do, why bother justifying it in any moral or intellectual context?

          • R Lex Eaton

            Because people are more than their own selfish impulses.

          • R Lex Eaton

            And might does not make right and wrong.

          • Anarquistador

            Right and wrong are defined by those in charge. And those in charge tend to be the ones with the biggest guns.

          • Scott

            Well, I think it’s less that and more that you’re opinion of right and wrong doesn’t matter unless you have the ability to enforce it. That doesn’t need to be through physical violence, it just needs to be some form of power.

          • Anarquistador

            That’s exactly right.

          • R Lex Eaton
          • Weatherheight

            Am I the only one secretly delighted that video games address complex issues like right and wrong in a manner more compelling than any classroom?

          • R Lex Eaton

            Wellllll… Virgil isn’t the best person to be taking philosophy lessons from.

            Though, to be fair, I don’t think anyone’s professor could pull off that blue trenchcoat and katana that well.

          • R Lex Eaton

            So right and wrong don’t exist?

            I feel a great swell of pity for anyone who thinks this makes terrible behavior okay.

          • Anarquistador

            Unfortunately, all our wanting to believe that right and wrong are purely objective concepts, and not dependent on the whims and opinions of those who rule over us, won’t make them so.

          • R Lex Eaton

            And all the learned helplessness from such an argument doesn’t absolve people who use it as an excuse to not even try to make the world a little more fair.

            The world sucks, so what are you doing about it?

          • Anarquistador

            “The world sucks, so what are you doing about it?”
            Protect what I can protect. Anything more than that is trying to convince the tide not to come in.

          • Weatherheight

            I hope you also work on expanding what you can protect in a responsible and effective manner. If the circles of influence get big enough, we can do more together than we can do alone.

            You seem fundamentally a good sort.

          • Anarquistador

            Well, you’re kind to say that, but I doubt I’m a good sort. I’m more of a piece of work, really.

          • Weatherheight

            The beginning of goodness is the awareness that you are not, in fact, good. Awareness of imperfection allows one to at last pursue perfection.
            You can’t walk a walk unless you take the first step.

          • Weatherheight

            I suddenly realize I missed an obvious Kris Kringle reference.
            My shame is bottomless.
            By way of penance…

          • R Lex Eaton

            Some might find that kind of noir-style cynicism meaningful. I find it incredibly tiresome.

            People are stronger than they think they are. We hold systems to task. Be they political, social, or even the systems of the universe itself.

            People used to believe the divine right of kings was reason enough not to hold their rulers to a certain standard.

            Remember Charles I?

          • Anarquistador

            Yep. Got replaced by Cromwell.
            Not much of an improvement.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Who was then replaced by Charles II. Who was then replaced by James II. Who was then replaced by William of Orange.

            Refinement. Ideals are the goal.

          • Anarquistador

            “I do wonder why anyone who buys into such fatalistic excuses even reads this comic, though…”
            OCD, mostly. I just want to see how it ends.

          • Gotham

            Lazy goof. The plan is to prevent the Heat Death of the Universe and anything less is just lack of enthusiasm.

          • Anarquistador

            Not all of us have Cosmic-Level Powers. Some of us are just tired old mortals who want things to finally end.
            If I actively work to accelerate the Heat Death of Universe, does that make us arch-enemies?

          • Gotham

            You can’t really claim to have even the slightest shred of agency over the /universal rule of entropy/ and say we’re all powerless to change anything in the same sentence

          • Anarquistador

            It was a more a dream given voice than a claim, really.

          • Gotham

            You… dream of becoming my archnemesis?
            Well I’m flattered but I’m only interested in casual sex

          • R Lex Eaton

            Maybe we can come up with a list of turn-offs along these lines?

          • Gotham

            Spoilers for The Last Jedi
            Kylo: raises hand Join me.
            Rey: Oh. Oh I’m sorry, this is embarrassing. I was just there for a quickie.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Hee! Thanks. I needed a mood lightener.

          • Anarquistador

            I dream of agency over chaos.
            If I gain an archnemesis in the process, that’s just the cherry on top.

          • Gotham

            You seem to make the mistake of thinking chaos is impossible to control. Au contraire, chaos is the easiest thing to shape, toward the exact opposite extreme actually, where it is so unwieldy and in the hands of so many that it’s nigh impossible to guess where it’s going to end up.
            Which only means that those with the biggest grip on it are those with the pluckiest attitude.

          • Anarquistador

            Well, I’m the least plucky person you’ll ever find, so…dang it.

          • Gotham

            That one’s as asinine as saying you can’t go from a place to another because there’s /space/ in-between and who are you to /traverse space/ like some kind of mystical physical phenomenon unknown to mankind

          • R Lex Eaton

            Eh. I took the liberty of looking into their previous comments on other threads. I’m pretty convinced they’re just actively seeking out things to whinge about and pretend it’s above-it-all world weariness.

            Learned helplessness is a helluva drug.

          • Weatherheight

            But all too often Might does determine outcomes regardless of expedience, morality, or efficacy.

            It’s important to be aware of that so that you aren’t enslaved to Might as a tool.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Quite. There are much better ways. And I want to believe that Alison knows that by now.

          • Weatherheight

            Me too.
            But, sadly, it usually takes crashing headfirst into an emotional brick wall and a season of Ultimate Suffering™ to precipitate Real Change™.
            I don’t think we’ve been there yet.

          • R Lex Eaton

            We’ll get there. It’s all a matter of resisting the seductively easy logic of “find the person responsible and punch them off a high place” until then.

          • Gurwara’s whole point was that Allison wasn’t listening to the needs of others, just assuming they were the same as hers. That way lies tyranny, as he noted to her face.

            And he was right, and it’s an absolutely humongous character flaw. If Gurwara’s an asswipe, then he’s precisely the asswipe Allison needs.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Oh, I know that. Alison herself indeed came out better as a result of that encounter.

            I only doubt that was his intent in the end. There’s an ulterior motive at work here, and I doubt it’s anything good.

        • Scott

          I don’t know, I think he had some very valid points and demonstrated some clear areas where Alison clearly hadn’t fully thought out her own logic. I’m not saying that means he is absolutely right in his representation of the world but the ideas that he presented are ones that Alison needed to at least consider. It’s one thing to have fully thought out a moral stance and subsequently rejecting it, it’s another to have never considered that stance in the first place.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Fair enough. If Alison got some insight out of it, then so much the better.

            I only wonder if what was said is the same as what was heard.

    • JeffH

      Seems like an immediate, visceral reaction. An understandable one, in my opinion. But completely separate from actually killing someone.

    • Tylikcat

      I’m kind of darkly amused how she’s working through the classic male failure modes to a woman who has been abused. First, the meaningless and indeed contrafactual comfort. Then the self inflating threats of violence. I wonder when / if any of Alison’s behavior will revolve less around Alison’s reactions and focus on, um, Patrick?

      • Weatherheight

        Well, of course I missed that connection.

        • Tylikcat

          I could have easily said across a privilege gradient, but this made for a more concrete example.

  • Vespayik

    “Alison killing Patrick’s mom would be murder! vigilantism!” literally who cares??? she deserves it lmao

    • Lostman

      If she isn’t already. (Now I’m going back to Patrick’s killed his parents.)

      • Dwight Williams

        “Not anymore, thankfully” was said for reasons. We’ve yet to learn the reasons.

        • Tylikcat

          There are also distinct phenomena that might be being referred to. In-timeline, we were able to see him hearing his father’s thoughts – but while he clearly heard his mother’s at the time, we see something of them. So her thoughts have presumably been part of the purge that has also taken her appearance.

          Then there’s the question about hearing them now. I’m still presuming there’s a practical distance limit on his telepathy because listening to everyone all the time is even worse than what we’ve seen so far. But there are potential outcomes other than her being dead for not hearing her now. And potential reasons for her being dead other than Patrick having arranged for her death or killed her himself. (I certainly wouldn’t exclude the possibility of either, though.)

    • Markus

      “literally who cares???”

      Deontologists, and utilitarians who think that the value of maintaining social order is worth more than some good outcomes taken in a vacuum.

    • Stephanie

      Well, the impulse is worth caring about from a characterization perspective because it shows that Alison is still struggling with her inclination to solve problems with violence. And from an ethical perspective, what would killing her accomplish?

  • AdamBombTV

    See… I-I bet there’s treasure in that river… (Jesus Christ)

  • Sara Finn

    Called it 😛 Unfortunately.

  • Masala Nilsson

    So, okay, fuck.

    I know a bunch of people called this but I really didn’t expect that turn.

    This is going really, really, really super dark places.

    • The_Rippy_One

      Given what Pat went on to do, and some of the things he said, it was…not expected, exactly, but something I was vaguely assuming was about, somewhere (that things would be dark in his backstory, not that Claudia would try to kill him, specifically)

      • David Brown

        I’m just glad that Molly didn’t write it in detail, and only had a few instances. But I already figure I know exactly what’s coming. I tried to get away from my abuser, but she just made sure that anyone I would have turned to was already afraid of her or compassionate to her claims, so they were on her side before I even knew that was a thing. Then use her authority as a mother to have the police look for me, because she was ‘worried’. Then they bring me back and decide I’m a bad kid because I ran away and made my mother cry.
        She’s done the same to others. She got a neighbor thrown out by the CITY even though they owned their home, because she terrorized the neighborhood into signing a paper that the neighbor’s dog barked all day and night, so they were a public nuisance. Then get the people at the park who brought their kids to play to be unable to park because she measured and photographed the tires and bumpers of cars near the curbs and found a weak link in the city parks and recreation (because it was a public park matter or something) to get big giant boulders put all over the park, so there was no more soccer field. She did this because she didn’t want to hear children laughing while she was outside on her porch reading a book.

        I’m sure Patrick’s mother will do at least that kind of weaseling control. She’ll take over any part of society she can while not getting any visible credit- she knows she’s in charge and no one will argue, because if they do she’ll get them fired. If they are cemented in, she’ll find a wrecking ball.

        How’d I survive? I sold my van for a bus ticket and moved without notice from Los Angeles to Florida and took nothing with me. Then I moved another thousand miles to another state, then to another. Never stop moving. Never rest. Never be comfortable.

        “Oh well she won’t chase you.” you might think. Her twin sister has a small crappy apartment she can barely afford, and my mother guilt-trips her into letting her stay with her for a month or longer whenever she wants, because she buys plane tickets she “can’t refund and I already bought them” and even when she’s still told no, she shows up as it is anyway. Can’t stop moving. Can’t rest. Can’t be comfortable.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    wow, he aimed between those bars really well (then again, you don’t drive fast on a wood bridge)

  • Olivier Faure

    … Now for the million dollars question: is Patrick’s mom still alive?

    • Kid Chaos

      Probably not; I’d wager that Menace arranged a little “accident” for her. 💀

      • Olivier Faure

        Yeah, but maybe she went into hiding before he had the resources. Maybe *she* is the secret mastermind of the super-killing conspiracy!

        • Kid Chaos

          Oooh, I LIKE it! 😎

        • Weatherheight

          “Maybe *she* is the secret mastermind of the super-killing conspiracy!”
          This would be awesome.

          Alternatively, all of this has seeded a paranoid delusion in Patrick out of fear of Claudia’s return/retaliation.
          Maybe she’s dead, maybe she isn’t, but she’s still all too real and present in his head (Or maybe she’s Menace! Duh duh DUNNNNNNN!).

          New Plot!
          Patrick, in attempting to ward off violence from Claudia, accidentally (or purposefully) absorbed all of her psychic framework, killing her body but leaving her in his head. In classic Legion tradition (from the New Mutants), she has periodically taken over his body, gone on murderous rampages against other biodynamics which she can find using Patrick’s telepathy (“Why do I feel so weird?” “What did I just do?”), and co-opted other biodynamics into her service. The Conspiracy *is* Patrick and his placing as much of Claudia outside the walls means he’s unable to recognize what is happening, so he’s accessed the Menace persona (not recognizing it isn’t really him) to try and fight the Conspiracy, which gives Claudia/Menace full access to Patrick’s information and allows her to cover her tracks!

          Nah, too cliche – forget I said anything.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Menace is a known mind reader. Her child is a known mind reader.
      Now, she wouldn’t want to make herself look bad, but there was also no doubt huge rewards towards the end and since some believed he could also command you mentally she could even fudge a “he made me do things!” to make sure she wasn’t thought to be a bad person. She didn’t out him, I suspect, because he made sure that wasn’t a possibility.

      • Weatherheight

        I wonder if Patrick did the deed himself or if he found an ally with more physical powers to do it for him.

        Brennan? Molly? MORE MINIONS!
        ::stomps a front hoof petulantly::

  • Olivier Faure

    Wait, harder how? You have a kid with superpowers who’s willing to help you commit felonies. That’s, like, the total opposite of making your life harder!

    (also, holy crap how did Patrick not kill himself doing that? unless his mom’s car was going really, really slowly, there’s no way he didn’t break his spine on the guardrail’s bars)

    • Hazel

      He missed the bars! You drive slow on old wooden bridges, especially at night. That and luck saved his tush.

    • d4t4

      When your kid opens the door in a moving car, you stop the car. (At least that’s most parents’ instinct, not sure about Pearldia.) Makes bar-aiming much easier.

      • Eh, she was planning to kill the poor boy anyway, and has reverse gear.. 🙁

        • Gotham

          Jeez, Debbie, that’s grim

          • Sorry about that. I wrote it in a few seconds before rushing off and apparently the emoticon didn’t have quite the softening effect I was going for… I *meant* that it woudn’t really matter to Claudia whether or not he was hurt jumping out of the car, since it’s basically what she’s driven out here to accomplish regardless, and she could easily enough just stop, reverse, and pick him up. Which definitely *is* grim. But I didn’t mean what I think is coming over o.o

          • Weatherheight

            I kinda liked it because it was grim.
            But I’ve got issues of my own… 😀

      • My mother (non-driver) tends to open car doors before the car has completely stopped. (Not to dive out, she’s just impatient). There’s enough of an eh-what! to the door alarm that someone would have time to roll clear before most people could react.

    • scottfree

      Parick’s mother seems like the sort of person who would test to make sure he can’t actively control minds. Or they’re burying Patrick’s father.

    • Jason Smith

      He probably just got out of the slow-moving car onto the bridge, and _then_ jumped between the bars and out the other side.

    • Tylikcat

      You’re expecting her to make sense? I mean, the whole, “I love you very much, and you’ve made my life so difficult,” sounds like the kind of speech my mother would give, except she’d be somewhat more specific than that. – I competed with her, put her down and otherwise made her feel inadequate – before I was two. I was incredibly difficult, mostly because I was kind of ridiculously academically and emotionally precocious – and okay, she has a point there, but still, many parents would have welcomed that? And I was just weird, and did things like put myself to bed and get myself up by the time I was four, and otherwise failed to be the daughter she wanted. – I mean, again, I *was* a weird kid, no joke, but I was also a kind of ridiculously responsible, organized kid for all my whimsy.

      …and with these relatively mild manifestations, well, there was at least one deliberate poisoning in there. It was pretty ineffective as far as these things go, and I don’t know what endpoint she had in mind. Or if she was even clear on that. (My next younger sister had recently-ish died, and there are multiple possibilities.) I mean, luckily for all of us she mostly was sort of a mess and mostly only managed to be productively abusive almost by accident, because that was still kind of often.

      It sounds like Claudia/Pearl is probably on a somewhat different branch of the personality disorder thicket, and much better at getting things done. That doesn’t mean she’s rational.

      • Olivier Faure

        (to be clear, I meant that in jest, not as in “this is so unrealistic I’m done with this story agrghlbabrrr”)

        • Tylikcat

          The ever popular problem of tone in text… whoops!

          (And I’m only recently back from spending a couple of weeks on the coast with my sister and her family – and my community out there – which was mostly fun and awesome,* but did involve no small amount of talk about our pasts. So my current “WTF mom?!” quotient is particularly high.)

          * OMG, people should have to sign extensive waivers before being in the same room when my sister and I watch Beastmaster together. I finally understand how the whole sportsball thing works, even if our particular game of choice isn’t sportsball. Ahaha! that was so much fun! Rowdy raunchy shouting at the TV! (Scaring away all the men in the house!)

  • “I love you very much” … “I hope you regret it.”

    Utterly malevolent, cold, selfish narcissism. With a huge side-dollop of sadistic abuse thrown in.

    This isn’t what selfless love looks like. Claudia may or may not be incapable of understanding that but either way she’s an utterly foul piece of work. Patrick is simply a source of stress and inconvenience and she’s using whatever language best controls the situation until it concludes. Still a foul reason to even contemplate abandoning a child, much less digging a hole in the woods for them, but … believable. Miserably.

    I know I’ve been calling people out for labelling Claudia a sociopath or similar without further evidence, but that was mainly because people were assigning complex diagnoses based on one (actually quite out of character for N-pathy, as clearly there was no ‘mask’ in play) partial scene. However it seems as if we’ve been handed further evidence now in the reactions of her partner and in the stunning misuse of emotive language here. I’m sad to see the recurrence of the abuser-psychopathy trope, but at least it’s handled debatably well – she was always going to be Patrick’s abuser, her actions go well beyond what might be expected in a general member of society (with ASPD or not), and any actual ASPD traits evident in her behaviour are being used to inform the shape that abuse took rather than demonstrate themselves as being the direct cause behind it.

    As for the others; it’s almost astounding that Patrick came through all of this as centred as he did. It would have been very easy for him to believe himself worthless and evil. Perhaps he does, to some extent – there’s clearly an element of self-sacrifice behind his disregard of ethical compunctions for his view of greater good. Playing the villain to somehow elevate others aka the Operative in Serenity.

    • Christopher Brooks

      Her thought patterns are those I would associate with the horrible people who kill their autistic or otherwise disabled kids*. The abusive ‘therapy’ Patrick underwent(which should have had a content warning frankly…) also fits with this. The dog being killed is more indicative of some sort of the callous traits associated with ASPD than this and even that can be explained by “normal but abusive persons logic” of “he needs to be punished because of “. Really, until this I thought she MIGHT be sociopathic or something but now my reaction is basically “naw, she’s apparently just the biodynamic version of an ‘autism mom'”.

      Thankfully my mother never went that far in either case, just made me eat my own shit, acted as if she could beat and scream the crazy out of me if she tried hard enough, attacked me fr and tried to repress anything I was interested in and other typical stuff… I can even be grateful she protected me from the system even if that was just so she could take a more personal aproach

      *The one real difference outside of the nature of the condition is that the narrative here is slanted to make us sympathetic to the victim while in real life outside of the disability community itself it’s the killer who gets the media sympathy… because killing your kid is a totally fine and understandable reaction to a lack of services apparently? At least that’s the logic I’ve seen.

      • First of, I’m incredibly, incredibly sorry to hear about your experiences. Abysmal – I am very glad you managed to come through it to be here and talking to me. <3

        Parental abuse of autistic children is something I've only become exposed to in the last couple of years so my experience is still pretty limited, but honestly, it horrifies me that anyone could treat their child in such a manner simply for being inconvenient. As a society, we unfortunately have to accept that it does, though. Public response to this sort of thing is currently overwhelmingly toxic and unfair and the narrative of victim-blaming really has to be stamped out as quickly as possible. I can empathise with the enormous pressure and stress a seemingly unsolveable situation at home can place on someone but abusive responses are just such a horrific escalation. Any deliberate abuse, especially power-imbalanced, child abuse, narcissistic abuse or similar, the same.

        I'm honestly extremely grateful that I don't innately understand because I haven't had the experience of being on the receiving end (of those abuse variants); but I appreciate the continued education I get from places such as this so I can better understand in future.

        It's quite possible however that Claudia has some level of NPD or ASPD *and* is a thoroughly toxic and unpleasant abusive person by choice.

        Absolutely you don't need diagnosable neurodivergence to be able to do malicious, self-serving and antisocial things, especially to people you consider divergent… and plenty of people with empathy-altering conditions work harder to make adjustments in order to manage them than the average neurotypical works on their morality throughout their entire life.

        Hence why I took issue to comments like "ONLY a sociopath could kill that dog" – inaccurate AND unfair.

        But the last two or three pages have led me to believe the likelihood of Claudia being actively diagnosable is higher. I'm specifically drawing on the fact that she's repeatedly represented as acting in her best interest regardless of consequence and that others around her are picking up the same tendencies (see the father's thought-spiel) rightly or wrongly as middling evidence for the above potential diagnoses being accurate. As you say, Patrick's mother has shown a few different behaviours indicative of callousness, emotional detachment, lack of true empathy and most tellingly an inability to properly process future consequences. She's also demonstrated a very self-centric worldview and hyperfocuses on any impediments to her ease of living or her good public reputation.

      • David Brown

        I never had to eat my own shit, but I rarely got to eat food with others, but when I was allowed to eat, it was stuff that had expired years ago, sometimes before I was born (even when I was a teenager). No idea how she even found or kept that stuff that long!

        Did you know that a lot of quickie marts will give you donuts and hot dogs and things if they’re cooked longer than they can legally sell them for, especially if you wink at them and tell them you’ll throw it in the dumpster for them? The daily deliveries of Krispy Kreme will do the same thing- they’re nice people. They just need to record what all didn’t sell and they’ll give it to you then and there. Eating out of the trash isn’t so bad especially if everyone knows you’re going to do it- they’ll keep things clean for you even if it is thrown away. Extra bags to keep your dinner clean while in the normal trash are really generous of those 7-11 people.

        Infanticide used to be necessary, when our species was still in a hunter-gatherer and similar societal levels, but no where near now, and especially for autistic people like me, I can’t take care of myself, but I’m able to work and make myself useful, or at least I used to be before my body started shutting down visibly.
        Now the only thing I can do is write- which luckily I do, and my discord server is getting more and more active! I was so happy that I had around 5 of the readers of my webnovel, players of my roleplay, and even my patreon patron were all on having fun together. The best part is they enjoyed each other- I’m glad I can build a community, even if my presence has never been desired in one. So, I made my own. I owe my skill to cartoons and video games, seeing well-written characters interact with each other and teach me how to behave since I didn’t learn elsewhere.

        My family showed me that I’m worthless.
        The world showed me that I’m a burden.
        The internet showed me that I’m a king.

        • I truly wish people were so kindly around here – it’s more a jobsworth attitude of “we can’t, or we’ll get fired ourselves”. A pressing problem to be fair when almost 35% of the local population are jobless. Our supermarkets do, at least, bundle up the unsold fresh and dated produce every night ahead of close and send it to homeless shelters and other charitable concerns whose insurance *does* allow them to hand it over to hungry, waiting people. But at the same time they criminalise skip-diving (in case of injury I believe the line went) and lock up their waste products behind eight-foot high gates of solid steel.

          I love that you have a roleplaying server, webnovels and a patreon. Not heard of your material before and short on time and health myself but if you’d like to leave some links here I’ll still do my best to go and check it out sometime 🙂

    • (((A. Nuran)))

      I will apply a simple, accurate diagnosis.
      She is evil.

      • Marc Forrester

        Okay, but is that useful? It basically means “This is a monster, not a real human being”, which doesn’t tell us much about how to deal with them, and is a hugely dangerous habit of thought to get into.

        • bryan rasmussen

          Well she’s actually not a real person. And in story, I’m guessing dead.

          • David Brown

            Highly improbable, unless Patrick hunted her down after he got stronger and killed her himself, or sent his friendly razorblade dynamic after her. That would have made me squee.

          • bryan rasmussen

            I’d say highly probably, killing her isn’t just something Patrick might like to do because of how she treated him and killed his dog, but something he probably needs to do as a matter of self preservation.
            She had parental rights over him, even up to the time he stood forth as menace.
            She wanted to kill him.
            She had the ability to tell the world there’s a mind reading kid out there.
            When menace was a problem, the mother that wanted him dead and still had parental rights over him, could have alerted the government.
            Finally, letting her run around even if not a danger to him would go against Patrck’s general habits, I’m sure Patrick and his dog aren’t the only two people she’s hurt or would continue hurting. He’d want that shut down, even more because of the personal connection.

            She’s got to be pretty dead or at least lobotomized.

          • bryan rasmussen

            Unless of course his mother is a U.S Senator, and his brother also developed the biodynamic power of augmenting other people’s powers, this seems like a longshot but it would an interesting connection and explain the cheekbones!

          • Tylikcat

            I’m not sure how much of a practical threat he was before biodynamics came out – I don’t know if she had the leverage to do much to him, and he may well have been well equipped to hide. (He was certainly well equipped to avoid many of the pitfalls that very young children often run into, running and hiding.)

            And once biodynamics came out, well, we know what he was doing then. We might have a little more insight into why.

          • Patrick’s ability allows him to be incredibly manipulative when he wants. The charismatic manipulator who persuades a patsy to commit a crime for him is a well-established trope. Patrick’s gift allows him to track down someone capable of murder, and vulnerable to his manipulation, and do it far more easily than anyone else. I won’t be surprised if we found Patrick took action towards her.

          • Tylikcat

            That was supposed to read “I’m not sure how much of a practical threat she was…” It’s pretty well established that Patrick eventually reached a point of influence from which he could have arranged to have her killed. It’s not clear when, exactly, and growing up a bit probably helped (and having more biodynamics come of age gave him access to a greater power base) but it might have been soon afterwards. What power his mom could have brought to bear once he ran away? That’s a lot less clear.

            I don’t know how much of the intervening years we’ll see, but I’m kind of fascinated and horrified. Being on your own as a minor is hard enough – doing it when you’re still identifiably a kid, and it appears not even a teenager though age is a bit hard to estimate – just ups the ante so much more. Patrick can find safe people to be both actual and apparent protectors, but it’s beyond tricky, especially in a digital environment.

            (Though… hm. What a child needs in terms of ID is different, and things like being an emergency guardian, well, I don’t know what would go into creating a convincing facsimile of that, but it might not be so difficult. And I’m woefully out of date – my back up plans were my right to live on my own more seriously challenged involved false ID and working on farms for a couple of years, but that’s when chemical forgery was still an option. Most of what I know about modern methods is from fiction, and while some of it seems plausible enough, I wouldn’t try any of it without consulting area experts unless I was in a serious pinch.)

          • What a difference an ‘s’ makes! (Had a colleague who used to regularly leave ‘not’ out of sentences. In safety-critical systems engineering documents this is Not A Good Thing).

            But my point was meant to be addressing the near future for child!Patrick. He already has the toolkit to become dangerously manipulative, it’s not clear if he yet has the self-confidence to do that given the damage the abuse has clearly caused.

            And yes, going on the street at that age would be exchanging a known risk for a potential risk, though Patrick can at least hear the predators coming.

          • Tylikcat

            I’m not sure if this was a typo, or my long standing problem with gender pronouns. Perhaps a bit of both.

        • (((A. Nuran)))

          No. It doesn’t mean this person “is a monster, not a real human being”. That’s as dishonest a strawman as I’ve seen in a while. It means the person has no morals or ethics and is willing to do evil things with no compunctions. The person is reprehensible.

          If anything, the medicalizing of evil is more spineless and destructive. By slapping a diagnosis on it you excuse the behavior. The evil-doer isn’t really BAD. They just suffer, oh so tragically, from a mental illness or brain disorder. They aren’t responsible. They need treatment.

          That’s why this shit is always applied to White people. Black people are “thugs”. Brown people are “terrorists”. White people struggle with mental illness.

          • Gotham


          • Coming from the other perspective; shouldn’t black and brown people be treated properly for their own mental illness and/or taught coping methods to deal with serious disorders and neurodivergence, not just dumped to the kerb? If we’re going for equality we should be lifting the disadvantaged up not dragging the advantaged down, at least not where said advantage is renewable.

          • Weatherheight

            Until you understand, rally understand, what you’re looking at, it makes it rather dicey to try and deal with it long term.

          • Sorry?

          • Weatherheight

            “Until you understand, really understand, what you’re looking at, it makes it rather dicey to try and deal with it long term.”

            It’s easy to do more harm than good if you have diagnosed a problem incorrectly or fail to understand some of the problem’s ramifications.

            Really need to stop posting while half-alseep. 😀

          • That makes sense. I’m not sure if it counters or agrees with what I was saying before, but I definitely agree with the rephrasing. *Accurate and detailed* diagnoses along with beneficial treatment and coping methods are helpful – obviously, misdiagnoses are usually not.

          • It can be an excuse where the ability to form Mens Rea (the knowledge something is wrong) is impaired, but that’s comparatively rare, it needs severe intellectual disability or severe mental illness.

          • Indeed. And even in those cases the knowledge that you had such a disorder would usually make it your (or your doctors’) responsibility to take steps to manage the condition sociologically speaking, even if criminal acts aren’t prosecuted as a result. For example employing a carer to justify and guide decisions.

          • Severe intellectual disability may mean they aren’t capable of that degree of planning – think ‘mental age of a 3yo’ (though I’m not a fan of the terminology). You can provide caregivers, but it doesn’t mean they are never going to be in a position to hurt someone. Though that would probably be in perceived self-defence vs people tormenting them, mental age of six in a developmentally disabled adult doesn’t mean not capable of killing with a single punch.

            Severe mental illness, e.g. in severe schizophrenia, may mean taking or not taking the medication to control their condition becomes wrapped up in a delusional belief system. Not to mention it can have some quite unpleasant side effects that can lead people to stop it for personal reasons, or that they believe they can cope without it.

            I should emphasise that in both scenarios the disabled person is much more likely to be the victim than the perpetrator. In fact they’re more likely to be a victim than non-disabled people. c.f. the
            kid with autism the police in Miami tried to shoot last year for sitting in the road playing
            with a toy truck, the ‘good’ luck of that was they hit the caregiver trying to protect him instead. But crimes in which Mens Rea is impaired do happen.

          • I agree completely with your assessment of the legalities … but, I wasn’t trying to argue that Mens Rea impairment didn’t happen, or wasn’t worthy as a defence.

            My original posts were in regard to an individual responsibility to self-regulate as best as possible when achievable, rather than the assignment of blame and responsibility when independent self-regulation is unachievable. I was discussing the social and ethical responsibility of someone with a mental health condition that negatively impacts on others around them to attempt management and seek treatment within the bounds of their honest ability.

            I’ve known plenty of people living with particular mental health issues who make a point to learn, practice and seek out new coping methods and adjust their behaviour to compensate for whatever difficulties their conditions impose. And sadly, many who struggle to receive the help they need and seek, or to work out what’s needed in the first place, and who aren’t coping, through no fault of their own. But I also know a few people with nearly identical mental health issues to these others who simply use their diagnoses as excuse to knowingly and uncaringly perpetuate unpleasant behaviour. It’s become a particular bugbear for me when I see someone who takes their diagnosis as carte blanche to never have to actually work on or improve any of the issues that diagnosis comes with, never seeks out help or potential coping methods, and knowingly dumps the fallout from their unmanaged problems on the people around them.

            I’m not trying here to demonise or criticise those who despite their best efforts have been tricked by their own illness or inability into temporarily abandoning the management strategies they’d previously been working on. Nor those whose best efforts haven’t yet provided positive change. Understanding and tolerance are definitely required when someone’s condition gives rise to negative consequences for them or others despite their best efforts, but those efforts (even the despondent or delusional abandonment of those efforts, if caused by the condition itself) are what’s important here. I believe it to be socially unethical to refuse to make any effort to manage one’s diagnosed condition at all, when capable of doing so, and instead to knowingly place the burden of it on other unwilling people. This is the difference between not receiving proper treatment or not being able to successfully employ coping methods, and, wilfully refusing treatment and deciding not to bother with mediating harmful behaviour to begin with.

            There are obvious exceptions of course, for example your scenario above where disability or illness is so major as to render the person incapable of independent management at all, but the nature of those scenarios also removes them as valid aspects within this discussion. I wouldn’t expect someone currently incapable of accepting treatment due to severely poor mental health or disability to actively seek out ways in which to manage that incapability! At that point it’s the responsibility of the patient’s caregivers, responsible guardians and/or medical professionals involved to provide treatment and manage said condition for the patient, permanently or until such time as the patient can once again manage themselves.

          • I’m addressing the wider points that started this, rather than your points in particular.

            WRT your points immediately above, I’m sympathetic to a degree, but there have been prolonged cases of coercive treatment towards disabilities like autism, and even to homosexuality, that mean we need to leave room for refusing treatment as the ethically appropriate thing. As an autistic friend’s hoodie says: ‘Noncompliance is a social skill’.

            For that matter I’ve stopped treatments myself because the side-effects were unacceptable, so who am I to criticise someone who finds their own medication’s side-effects intolerable?

            The ethics are more complex than they first appear.

          • Oh, yes, certainly. None of this is a clear-cut scenario or even something that can be discussed in something as comparatively short as a Disqus comment box.

            Once again though, I feel I need to restate that I’m not passing judgement on anyone for not engaging with treatment, not benefitting from treatment, or even not seeking treatment for any perceived or actually beneficient rationale. Specifically I take issue with people causing others harm, knowingly, either intentionally or having been told after the fact; and rather than apologising or seeking to improve whatever element of their personality is responsible for said problem, instead insist that other people will just have to deal with it.

            I think perhaps I need to give examples of what I mean by intentionally using a condition as a crutch as opposed to being in any way well-intentioned about things. Basically, anything in the form of invalidating other people’s valid experiences in order to escape critique – “I’m a dick but it’s because I have X, so you’re not allowed to get offended if I’m rude to you” – or even aggression and offence reversal based on it – “How could you get upset because I hit you! I can’t help lashing out, you’re being so cruel to me by acting hurt about it!” This is extremely different from someone opting to cease a particular treatment regime for decent and grounded reasons (or even for unsound reasons which seem decent to them at the time). Your arguments are predicated on the action being ethically or medically appropriate – the behaviour I’m calling out is based on selfishness and parasitic comfort. It’s closer to the abusive patterns discussed elsewhere than to victimhood.

          • Don’t think I can argue with any of that.

          • If you’re interested in discussing the more complex and murky waters you were raising in response to my efforts another time, though, please do! I feel it’s likely the matter will come back up in this story arc and I’d be happy to debate the minutae with you again sometime. Just didn’t want to be misinterpreted in this instance since the subject is so raw.

          • Yeah, that.

            It had to be a quick reply yesterday as I was on my way out, but the only thing I might have quibbled over is “violent condition” – paranoid schizophrenia is the usual suspect when people bring that up, but it’s only a tiny percentage of schizophrenics who harm others when off meds. (Though more recently – post Sandy Hook – there’ve been attempts by the gun lobby to portray autism that way, which is just ridiculous).

          • The only reason I said “violent” is because we’ve been discussing mens rea, criminal culpability in the case of serious injury or death, and also specifically people who will cause harm and hazard to those around them if they’re not self-regulating properly (whether that be direct, subtle, abusive, emotional). It’s obviously not intended to describe the condition in tota. I know a couple of extremely awesome schizophrenics myself and have never seen what struggles they have had turn outward.

          • We need to distinguish three situations here:
            1) I’m non-disabled and using alleged disability as an excuse for my criminality
            2) I’m disabled and using my disability as an excuse for my unrelated criminality
            3) I’m disabled and my disability was a factor in my criminality.

            I’ve seen an incident of 3) in the papers within the past few weeks. Someone who was clearly having an autism related meltdown when he was verbally abusive to a neighbour. That doesn’t excuse it, he should have walked away, not lashed out, but the reporter used autism-related traits such as stimming to imply he was remorseless, not barely coping with being in the dock.

            Disability is only an excuse for crime if it eliminates mens rea (the ability to know your actions are wrong), more frequently it may be a mitigation if the crime springs from disability related issues.

            To suggest that actually acknowledging the role of disability in a criminal action, where that disability exists and is recognised to have played a role, is somehow ‘spineless’ is ableism, pure and simple.

            You’re right it’s easier to play the disability card if you’re white, but you’re missing the logical result of that. Half the black men shot dead by police in the US were also disabled.

          • (((A. Nuran)))

            You’re missing an important point here. There has been a tendency by the Press and by apologists to whitewash the evil White people do by medicalizing it. When Black or Brown people do terrible things it’s immediately painted as their responsibility.

            When White people do terrible things there’s a rush to bring their putative mental illness, rough upbringing, or substance abuse to the fore. Since we hold that the mentally ill have diminished capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong any discussion of their crimes is immediately framed as a mental health issue absolving them of culpability and responsibility. It’s an insidious form of White privilege.

          • No, I didn’t. That’s covered by my scenario 1, occasionally by scenario 2 (there’s a scenario 2 case in the headlines right now – autism used as an excuse for a rape by pick-up-artists – ‘he didn’t know rape was wrong, your honour’, the reaction of the autism rights activists I know is ‘Yeah, right’, and general fury).

            It’s something that infuriates disability activists like me. And worse, it’s something that’s used to justify crimes against disabled kids. Any time a parent murders a disabled kid, watch the headlines and the comments – ‘Oh, she must have been under so much stress’, ‘She was such a saint for looking after them’. The social and media narrative reverses the crime so that the parent is the victim and the dead child the aggressor.

            Does white privilege help the attempt to pervert justice? Of course it does. But avoiding white privilege by treating actual disabled people less fairly in the justice system is avoiding racism by institutionalising ableism.

          • Thank you! Nicely categorised. Obviously the first two aren’t appropriate and frankly are offensive to those of us in the disabled community. I’d also argue that 3) could be broken down into 3a) and 3b), ie. people whose disability was a factor in their criminality who either a) could have taken steps to address the behaviour regardless and did not yet are using their condition as a cloak and b) those who actually had no control over the outcome or who couldn’t exert effort for similar reasons. 3b) should be acknowledged and taken into account in every situation, 3a) perhaps not so much.

          • I think that 3a / 3b distinction is pretty much how the criminal justice system works at the moment when considering disability as mitigation.

        • George Talbot

          People exist who are beyond human curing.

        • Indeed, as far as I’ve experienced to-date the point of SFP is to explore the motivations and nuances behind an array of different people, not dismiss them straight out of the box. Some characters have major flaws but all characters until now have still been presented as human.

      • That’s also true.
        It’s just that this is SFP – characters have nuanced motivations with real-world analogues. “Just evil” isn’t so interesting.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    Her evil aside this is just disappointingly short sighted of her.

  • Dr. Mercurious

    Sorry…I’m with Alison here. Certain types of monsters you exterminate as soon as you come across them, and Patrick’s mother is most certainly one of them.

  • Jshadow

    Wow…. she’s not just cartoonishly evil but also dumb if she didn’t think for a moment that Partick would run away when his selfpreservation instinct kicked it.

  • Walter

    Young Patrick is admirably decisive. On the other hand, Alison should know by now that the Patrick she is talking to can’t answer that question. It is beyond the barrier.

  • AustinC123

    Guys! I’m gonna go ahead and say it!
    … this is NOT a cool way to be a mom!!

    • Ray Radlein

      Whoa. Huge if true

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Man, there’s a lot going on here. But I will add the fact that she is thinking this, very clearly and pointedly at her son implies a level of sincerity that makes this all the more horrifying. Or at the very least she has so much concentration to make sure that this is message her son hears without stray thoughts intruding in.

    What was Patrick’s mother? Because whoever she was, assuming this memory was valid, she certainly is displaying an iron will and ruthless character. She could be a house wife, sure, but I could see her having a military background just as easy (again, assuming this memory is entirely accurate as being portrayed, which is a whole other matter.)

    “I hope you regret it,” indeed.

    And watch your temper, Al. It’s gotten you in trouble before.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      This isn’t military, this is narcissistic apd. She killed the dog because it annoyed her. She’s killing her kid because he’s too much trouble. She didn’t get this in the military, she was damaged long before that in some essential way, possibly from birth on.

      • Honestly not going to object this time (see my longer post above). One isolated incident of abuse could have indicated anything and I took issue with Izo’s insistence that it HAD to SPECIFICALLY be sociopathy because no other type of person could ever demonstrate cruelty to animals or children (blatantly false and somewhat toxic misrepresentation of most people with ASPD). But the repeated pattern of malevolent and illegal responses to her inconvenient life situations might well indicate a lack of empathy or conscience – if not just a really unpleasant criminal demeanour – and there are some hints of NPD too (narcissistic personality disorder). If she does have ASPD, though, Claudia’s making no effort to mask herself at home and hasn’t received instruction in or bothered with trying to blend in with societal norms. Which usually leads to incarceration, commitment or forced treatment by her age, not marriage..

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          She isn’t bad at hiding it, rather there’s no point in hiding it with him. That might actually be part of her extreme measures here, come to think of it. Having somebody around that can see right through her must be very troublesome.

          • That’s fair, with regards to Patrick. But killing the family dog on her way to dinner wouldn’t only have to be hidden from *Patrick*. She doesn’t seem to be putting on any sort of show for his father either … I’m sure it’s possible for the worst excesses of her abuse to be blamed on their kid or else concealed somehow, but it definitely hasn’t been shown yet.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            And the father, by this point, knows something is wrong.

          • I suppose? But he knows something is wrong with *Patrick*. We, the reader, also know that he’s sick of Patrick’s mother and sees her behaviour as psychopathic, but we have no way to actually determine whether or not Claudia knows or suspects the same thing.

            I think it strange that Claudia doesn’t seem to be trying particualrly hard to conceal her abusive behaviour and potential lack of empathy from the world as one might expect someone in her position to do. You’re arguing there’s no point in her hiding her inner motivations from a mind-reader, and my rebuttal was that she’s so far shown little evidence of hiding them from Patrick’s father, either. Surely there’s some point in her trying to appear the aggrieved party in his eyes.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            He thinks claudia is why he’s so messed up, so obviously she’s not been a model wife.

          • Yes. But has she been pretending to be and failing? Or just not trying?

          • Zorae42

            Her close family doesn’t really count as ‘the world at large’. She may not need to hide herself from him.

            We don’t know the situation with her husband other than he thinks she’s a “bitch” and the reason their son is a psychopath; yet they’re still together and he’s shown as trying to be polite to her (he complimented her(?) cooking). He could be dependent on her in some way that makes him unable to leave her. Plus if she is good at being charismatic then he won’t be able to get much out of her in a divorce. If she knows he can’t leave, then there’d be no reason to pretend around him.

          • Patrick’s father could well be an abuse victim himself, or dependent on the mother, or quietly planning to leave while continuing to present his own idealised face to her so that she doesn’t notice his preparations. But again, there’s no evidence at all to demonstrate whether Patrick’s mother is aware of any of this. We don’t know if she knows he’s already picked up on her behaviour and we also don’t know whether she makes any effort to conceal her abuse from him. That’s my point above.. if she isn’t already 100% sure that he’s against her, we should really be seeing more evidence of Claudia playing the aggrieved party.

    • elysdir

      Nitpick: I don’t think she’s thinking this. The black jagged word balloons with white writing have indicated her out-loud speech in previous pages.

  • Gotham

    Next page is the rest of the trip where Pearldia somehow didn’t hear memory Patrick jumping off and keeps to her evil rambling while Alison gets more and more unheardly murderous and smol Patrick sits awkwardly

  • Dave Jacke

    The “not anymore, thankfully” comment in panel 2 indicates to me that Patrick has already followed through on Alison’s emotional wish.

    • Tylikcat

      The interior purge should not be taken as to be identical to an exterior one. They might both have happened… but I’d almost expect that to have been more cathartic. (Though, admittedly, I took my father to court and sued his ass off, rather than, say, gruesomely murdered him, so perhaps there’s a different catharsis quotient. And had the recommendations of various associates of the court about how I was so much more mature and more capable than either parent – hey, these things count for a lot when you’re sixteen.)

      • Weatherheight

        “Though, admittedly, I took my father to court and sued his ass off”

        Was the donkey happy or sad to leave?
        ::looks puzzled while twitching his ears in confusion::

        • Tylikcat

          I suspect it was quite pleased to go it’s own way.

    • ColaKitteh

      Find a biodynamic who can heal people, get Max to boost their powers, bring Pearldia back to life, kill her again, profit!

      • David Brown

        WKUK did a thing featuring Gandalf that has to do with something similar.

  • Philip Bourque

    So did he jump himself or was she planning to bash his head in with the shovel? Either way, not a surprising turn of events. The thing is, you think he’s broken because of this? Keep in mind that he has other people in his mind with all of their neurosis, hang ups and issues and while he may have ‘barriers’, this whole flashback sequence shows they aren’t really that good.

    • Weatherheight

      The text seems to imply that Claudia was planning on “dealing with Patrick”, most likely by killing him. Patrick appears to have apprehended / realized (i.e. made real) that death is impending, and he’s leapt out of the car and into the river/stream to escape.

      This may not be the proverbial straw, but I feel confident that it’s part of the load.

  • Dave Van Domelen

    Sorry, Alison, I doubt Mommy Dearest survived the debut of Menace.

  • Jeremy

    I love Alison’s reaction. She is sincere and compassionate, but also angry. Also, her facial expression is perfect!

  • Callinectes

    This could be a well constructed ploy to get back into Alison’s good graces.

  • allneonlike

    Different theory: I don’t think we are in a memory of a real event right now. I think Patrick is trapped in a violent/intrusive fantasy his mother is having, and which he cannot differentiate from reality because he doesn’t have enough control over his powers. I think this is the kind of thing Patrick started self-harming to snap himself out of— being unable to tell the difference between his own mind and perceptions, and those of the people he’s reading.

    Anima Patrick might not have been lying or repressing when she said the barriers were made to give Patrick a sense of self and reality, or when the major traumatic event she talked to Alison was being traumatized by being unable to form mental boundaries. One of the functions of the mind city is to make structures to compartmentalize other people’s thoughts— these memories happened before the city coping mechanism was built, there is no apartment right now to contain Claudia and her horrifying emotional relationship with her child.

    Patrick’s mother was a miserable person who had a lot of violent fantasies or intrusive thoughts about the things that frustrated her— fantasies like snapping the neck of the dog who just ripped her stockings when she was already stressed out about running late, or killing her shitty boss and taking his money, or the worst one, the one we’re in now, “I can’t handle this special needs child, I wish I could just bury him in the woods.” These memories aren’t outside the Hall just because they were too traumatizing, but because they never actually happened— but Patrick, too young to differentiate, was experiencing his mother’s fantasies of psychopathic behavior and violently rejecting him as though they were really happening. If Patrick hadn’t been a telepath, Claudia could probably have hidden some of this, and the damage would have been limited to the emotional abuse of “You’ve made your father’s and my life very hard” or just being cold and distant. Instead, Patrick is in this constant living nightmare world of his mother’s parental ambivalence, resentment, fantasies of harming him and the family pets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alison goes back to the Hall, or meets Claudia in real life, and sees something like real photos of an elderly Skip that contradict the memory of Claudia killing him with her bare hands.

    IDK, I’m hesitant to suggest this because this kind of abuse is a real thing that happens in the real world, especially to mentally or emotionally disabled children (which is what Patrick is and would be presenting as). But for every parent who actually does abuse or kill their children, there are many more who struggle with those thoughts and feelings who never let their children (or public autistic parenting forums) know this was ever a part of their emotional landscape. I don’t want to say or imply that the memories we are seeing are ~too extreme~ to happen, because they are not; other posters have brought up the widespread abusive “autism mom” subculture. But it would be such a perfect nightmare scenario for being or parenting a telepathic child.

    Either way, it sets up Alison as a perfect replacement mother figure— a physically strong woman who, like Claudia, fantasizes about and has intense violent impulses, but who is fiercely committed to keeping them in check and protecting and nurturing those around her. I had to go back to check Skyscraper Alison wasn’t wearing a pearl necklace.

  • Weatherheight

    This is fairly classic narcissist behavior – being so focused on what you think is in your interest that you fail to consider opportunities right in front of you.

    Let us assume that Claudia is engaging in some criminal behavior (other than pre-meditated murder). Having such a powerful resource as a telepath on your side would be very valuable. Granted, you’re going to have to deal with constant questioning of your decisions and finding a way to control the telepath so they don’t go off the rails, but a truly clever person could find a way to get’r done. When Ego gets in the way of smart planning, the fall precipitated by o’erweening pride is inevitable.

    On the plus side, Patrick now has something in common with Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, and Mary Watson. I hope an analogue to Stephen Fry as Mycroft is waiting in the.. well, I was going to say wings, but rushes or weeds seems more appropriate, somehow.

    • I would agree with basically all of that, with the addendum that if Claudia had been more foresighted she’d have acted quite differently throughout. Acting without due concern for consequences is an ASPD spectrum behaviour and tight-focusing on personal interest a narcissistic one, so both of those are still potential factors contributing to her overall character – but she could easily also be under-educated, of low creative or rational intelligence, or just plain blinkered, entirely seperate to any neurodivergence. I don’t believe she’s written to be a “truly clever person”.

      • Weatherheight

        Oh, I am sorry – I did not intend to suggest or otherwise imply in any sense that Claudia is clever at all. I intended to imply that even a very clever narcissist would nevertheless boogle up this sort of thing.

        Still not fully grasping all of this Human talky stuff.
        ::twitches an ear in embarrassment::

        • Ah, no worries – you’re doing great! This is a discussion rather than an argument, at least from this side.

    • “I hope an analogue to Stephen Fry as Mycroft”


      • Weatherheight

        Maybe? I guess?
        Mycroft is “smarter”, Arjun is “smarter”…
        Mycroft is snarky, Arjun is snarky…
        Mycroft is diplomatic, Arjun is… less so… but I can kind of see it…
        Mycroft is pretty establishment and maintaining order and don’t rock the boat, and Arjun…
        Well I guess we have to wait and see what Arjun’s purpose was in all this.

        But in terms of pure “Rescue Moses from the waters like Bithiah”, yeah, it could go that way.
        Hmm… this is growing on me….

  • JohnTomato

    I still believe we’re dealing with a dishonest narrator. The number of times this incident has gone through washing and rewashing it would be surprising if there was much fact left.

  • Gotham

    Okay, because it gets very confusing otherwise, let’s assume all of this really happened.

    It is still very fishy.
    Pearldia seems like a level-headed, calculating monster of a person—it twists the knife re: Patrick’s own calculating nature he inherited from her right in the ribs—how on earth could such a heartless woman not conclude the benefits far outweigh the costs?

    Well, what if that was the plan?
    Here’s what could be: Patrick is free to go back home every day, but he’s still monitored, heavily so. People know. His doctors at least, but I’d expect the word to have reached far darkest reaches (and when you start at the pedophile level, that’s saying something.) As such, Pearldia can’t quite reap all the wealth of Patrick’s potential usefulness, and she comes up with a plan.
    She’s going to fake being overwhelmed by the situation and killing Patrick in a fit of miscalculated anger. Hell: she’s even going to kill the dog some time before, /with her bare (bear) hands/, to lend accountability to that scenario that she just cannot handle it anymore. The reason why Patrick is shaking under a table before that happens? Because he knows. He’s seen it in her mind.

    And it’s the same here: what Patrick is actually reading in her mind is “I’m going to slow down and you’re going to jump and you’ll be out of the system, free to help me how I see fit far from these pedophiles I should never have gone to in the first place.”

    She then fakes an evil monologue (because they’ve put wires in her car or some such) to make it seem believable Patrick would decide to flee on his own, and consequently gets a free pass on her scheme in the eyes of those who watch.

    I mean, it would explain how he managed to jump without hitting the railing, so that’s another plothole fixed for you. And it would be cool.
    That is, not for Patrick.

    • The evil monologue is entirely silent, not available for any eavesdroppers. And, well… look. There genuinely are mothers like this. Maybe people who don’t work in crisis counselling, social work, paramedic, police, or whatever — maybe those people don’t actually meet these folks. But, well… they’re out there. And raise kids.

      Actually, let me rephrase that. Maybe if you’re not in social work, crisis counselling, paramedic, or ER, you don’t REALIZE that you’ve met these folks. Because you HAVE met them. And they seem really nice. And, hell, their kids may seem really nice, too — if you are raised in one of those families, it’s dangerous to let on.

      So, yeah. A lot of people here are having trouble suspending their disbelief that Pearldia is so evil. But she’s not even unusually evil.

      • Gotham

        I… do work in these fields. In child counseling, more specifically. I know those parents. I’ve had to shake their hands one day and testify against them the next.

        The comment I’ve made is not my own attempt to justify something that would strike me as unbelievable. Heck, she is just as despicable in my scenario. I don’t have trouble suspending my disbelief.

        I’m the first to realize the difference between reality and fiction is that evil doesn’t exist in the real world, only idiocy. The comment I’ve made does not apply there. Only in the realm of fiction, the only place where we expect our mischief to have some amount of sense to carry a story.

        • Insatiable Booksluts

          I don’t agree that evil doesn’t exist in the real world. It doesn’t look as exaggerated as fiction usually, and I don’t believe in a “power” that dispenses evil, but there are some things that are ignorance and there are other things that are self-serving evil.

    • trev006

      Point of order: if any of that was true, then her evil monologue would be spoken out loud to the listening devices, while her thoughts would say, “They’ll never stop chasing you. I -might- have set up a good enough cover. Jump, and hide. Never stop running. Forget about me. I am so, so sorry. I love you so much.”

      Instead: this. I’m alarmed she has that kind of intense mental discipline, yet no thought for the consequences of her actions. She would be a historical anomaly, but hardly the first. What’s more interesting is how the government keeps a game-changingly powerful mutant in the hands of abusers and pedophiles. Just once I’d like to see a telepath be given a nurturing, stable environment.

      • Problem there, abuse is terrifyingly easy to hide. Few enough people even know the hallmarks of ongoing abuse and most abusers are canny enough to cover it up to the outside world, up to and including gaslighting their victim to believe that they’re actually the perpetrator or else deserve the treatment they receive. It seems like the doctor Patrick was taken to isn’t exactly *known* for his paedophilic tendencies either. The implication is more that these corruptions exist wide-spread, under the radar.

        • trev006

          Easy for one person to hide against the word of a normal child, maybe. But harder even twenty years ago. Do you live in a world where pedophilia is widespread and hidden? Where governments are invested in its protection? Because in our world, if an average guard- much less a supervisor or prosecutor- takes that child seriously, you might be spitting teeth even if they know they will be fired:


          (NB: It took me a shameful amount of Googling to get to that link. Doesn’t show up on Afghan child abuse, Afghan child abuse charges, child abuse punished. All these links about child abuse in Afghanistan, and I have to already know Captain Martland’s name to learn what happened to him. Weird.)

          I can accept that governments are stupid and evil enough to cover up pedophiles in their ranks. Putting one in a room with a telepath requires a new kind of idiocy and overconfidence. If government being hellishly evil and powerful is the plot of SFP, cool. But when child Patrick is that outraged, I’m surprised Menace resorted to killer robots instead of writing long, brutal exposes in the Intercept, National Enquirer, and Let God Sort Em Out’s year-end issue.

          Right now Allison would be wholly justified in hurting Claudia. Every single night that the evil woman spends outside a jail cell. There is nothing anyone could do to stop Draconian Girl. Assuming Patrick hasn’t already exacted his own response. Governments that turn a blind eye to abused children- much less telepath children- have no legitimacy and don’t really deserve to exist. I’m feeling way more sympathy than the leader of a paramilitary organization like Templar deserves.

          • Yes, unfortunately, I do live in such a world! And so do you.

            Whether or not you’ve noticed, those of us who’ve been paying attention have spent the last several months watching the snowballing exposure of both endemic sexual assault and paedophilia within Hollywood. The level of it is so pervasive that members of the movement calling for it to be unearthed even won Time Magazine’s Person(a) of the Year Award. Many of these incidents had been under wraps for several decades – which directly implies that a widespread and mostly covered-up culture of both of those crimes has been present for the majority of at least the last century. This is just one example in one industry within one part of the world. There absolutely will be more.

            I feel like you’ve almost proven my own point for me by demonstrating how difficult it was to find the link above. You have to know someone’s name to be able to even research their crimes. That speaks to at least one of the two following issues: societal cover-up, or a glut of similar crimes.

            And of course, yes, any useful member of an organisation will typically benefit from special treatment. Members of the ruling party in a democracy are often guilty of a wide array of different charges, most of which have been handwaved or disguised to enable them to stay in power. As for putting one in a room with a psychic? Obviously, we haven’t been able to test this in the real world, but it certainly happened multipletimes in Firefly…

          • trev006

            I like you. I hope I did prove your point for you, I was trying my best. To wit:

            1) Major organizations and their sycophants are absolutely willing to cover up the most horrific abuse rings and gaslight you for thinking something was wrong. (Would they protect some unaffiliated quack? They have a motive, but no good -reason-.)
            2) Individuals have the power to expose their actions- and hold them accountable. Singly and in groups. Though legal methods and otherwise.

            I’m not blaming Patrick as a child for anything he might have overlooked, because he was a child. If Menace thought he had bigger fish to fry when planning his ill-fated coup, that too is fine. If a supposedly honor-bound culture like the American military thinks covering up child rape is fine (I blame political pressure, because it sure as heck wasn’t being used for good instead of evil)… well. That might explain why Templar inspires exceptional loyalty in guys like Rat. But not why soldiers accused of raping one of their own would be former Templar.

            I like worldbuilding and themes. If American elites are rotten beyond the normal bounds in the SFPverse, that is a story worth telling. Is the point that extralegal methods are an answer to that? Because then you have Moonshadow and Furnace making a mockery of the criminal justice system, a moronouborous eating its own tail. Soon, all that is evil will be devoured, my friends!

          • Oh! How surprising.. sorry! I hope I didn’t come across as too confrontational, then. We seemed to be arguing at cross-purposes and I wasn’t sure what your intentions were. Certainly I misread what you’d said before as implying that, in the real world, there *isn’t* any underlying culture or atmosphere of covert sexual abuse or paedophilia to be found, and so was trying my best to disprove that assertion..

          • trev006

            It’s fine. You’d be really, really surprised at how careful I have to be when people claim Dylan Farrow and Elisa Dushku are headcases (?!) or wanted romantic attention as children (?!?!). There was a whole media team around protecting that particular Hollywood director, and its work went unremarked on for years.

            I think we might have very different perspectives on Patrick, though. He had dozens of anti-mutant protestors slaughtered just for proximity to a crime. I am skeptical that he would leave these two particular monsters breathing free air, even if he had to wait years to make it happen.

          • Possibly he “dealt” with them later in life, yes. But given his age and relative lack of control over his powers at the time (we’ve just watched a very telling developmental course here, from first occurence, through random imagery and emotions, up to relatively solid control in the last few pages) he may not actually have gained specific details on the identity of that doctor. Or indeed teen-Patrick may not have remembered the encounter or details around it in order to call these people out – they’re beyond the barriers, after all..

          • There’s a third point you need to add to cover-ups and the power of the individual to derail them:
            3) Even otherwise empowered individuals may choose to survive abuse by not confronting it. (And that’s a perfectly valid response they should be supported in).

            Just because Patrick was abused and is now in a position to be judge, jury and executioner doesn’t mean he is now able to deal with it any more easily than when he was a child. The first rule is to survive, and that’s a form of vengeance in its own right.

          • trev006

            I generally agree, but he might be much more able now. If he can make that choice to deal with such people (legally or otherwise), it would make the world a bit more just to do so.

          • Your whole argument depends on that ‘might’. There’s a whole body of work on the go to the police/don’t go to the police decision wrt rape and abuse, and the consensus is support the person in their decision, don’t press for the one you prefer.

            And remember the state Patrick is in right now. He’s barely capable of dealing with self-care, never mind traumatic memories.

    • MrSing

      Killing a beloved pet doesn’t endear people to you and makes it unlikely for them to follow your commands if you set them free afterwards. Even if it is part of a ruse.

      Letting people go on their own is the last thing a controlling and domineering person would do. Unless they are absolutely certain they have complete control. So it seems unlikely this is her plan.

      But then again, just because someone is cruel and calculating doesn’t mean that they are smart. Plenty of criminals and sadists are dumb as dirt, so she could just be making a rookie mistake. But that would not make for a very satisfying story or character arch for Patrick.

    • I wish this were the case. But if so, there’d be no reason for Patrick and his father’s horrified reactions, no sense in her thoughts (rather than words) and her face being outside the barriers. It would be wonderful, but it’s not true.

  • zellgato

    I kind of hoe she does go and murder her later.
    or gets one of her friends to.
    though i’d be surprised if she was still around.

  • Zac Caslar

    Good reaction. Outrage has a place, and “I’m going to kill this child for making my life difficult” is a solid moral anchoring point for outrage.

    Evil is the right adjective. I respect that Allison is not so enraptured with the moral voyeurism of “everyone’s a victim” narratives to be numbed to that kind of intention.

    Find Claudia. Kill Claudia. Sleep well at night.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      I suspect she’s getting more influenced by the memories than what we just see on the surface, being stuck in his world and all.

  • OptimisticCentrist

    This is stretching my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. I doubt more than one in a million women is capable of killing her family pet with her bare hands or murdering her child. Patrick getting both early onset super powers AND a mother that evil seems astronomically improbable. Also, if he could see premeditated murder in her thoughts, why would he get in the car?

    I can accept that, out of the dozens of doctors who ran tests on him, one might be hiding a secret as dark as pedophilia. I can accept that Patrick’s mother might be cold-hearted, selfish, abusive and prone to fantasizing about killing people who annoy her. That’s only maybe one-in-a-hundred levels of evil. But the only way I can make sense of this is if either…

    1. Patrick remembers the things she fantasized about doing as if she actually did them.
    2. Patrick constantly calling her out on her darkest fantasies made her more likely to carry through on them.

    (And, yes, I’m using ‘evil’ as shorthand for whatever psychological conditions could lead to such behavior. I’m sorry if this offends anyone.)

  • Tim F

    I hope folks appreciate that if mom were still alive when Menace started, well, menacing everyone, she would have helped the government/heroes catch him.

    I suspect that Patrick BECOMES Menace when he is able to circle back and clean up his loose ends and liabilities. That includes his parents (sorry, dad) and Dr. third world sex tourist.

    • Zinc

      I don’t appreciate it too much, actually. Nothing that we’ve seen of her personality so far supports the notion that she would consider it her duty to help people oppose him just because he’s her son. But more importantly, what use would she actually be to any one? She knows his secret civilian identity, but there’s no indication that Menace wasn’t Menace 100% of the time. What good could the heroes derive from knowing that his real name is Patrick?

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        finding him throught Nameology ? lol

  • We all lie to ourselves, Patrick!Mom appears to have been able to weaponise it.

    Difficult to tell if her point was to terrify him, or to drive him into doing just what he did.

    But very obvious why he has certain memories locked away for his own protection.

  • Stephanie

    I have to assume the father wasn’t complicit in this since he wasn’t censored out. So his wife was just going to go out and secretly murder his child. That poor guy. (Poor Patrick too, but that goes without saying.)

  • So yeah, what I -thought- she’d done is waaaaay less worse than what she’d planned on doing. It was still murder regardless, but holy crap.

    Gods, poor Patrick.

  • Jacob Johnston

    I think someone needs to get Patrick a new puppy when they’re done in this memory adventure.

  • Wait so did he jump off of the bridge (presumably to escape something she was going to do to him) or did she push him off?