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More meat, less soy. Learn to assert and stop being fragile. Anxiety born of fear is easy to overcome. Face your fears.

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Lol yeah let me just turn off that anxiety, oh! There we go. Now I'm a totally normal functioning member of society! Very meaty now, thank you. You so right, overcoming it was absolutely nothing at all!

You sobbed in a chair in public because his bike hit your leg when he moved it. If you are not able to function in the presence of any form of negativity, then it's not anxiety you have. It's a form of fear born of a lack of self confidence. Confidence doesn't just happen. Somewhere in your upbringing and development you were failed, or failed yourself.

Now is the time to accept your failure or overcome it. I suffer from SAD. My wife and mother both suffer from PTSD. You gotta get out there, be uncomfortable, and learn to function. I'm not armchair quarterbacking here from a place of ignorance. Overcoming hardship is not meant to be easy. This why people celebrate when they achieve difficult things.

Start to read up on being assertive. Take a martial arts class and overcome fear of confrontation. The worst thing you could do is retreat to your safe space and live in fear.

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Okay, to clarify in context, that incident was somewhere around 2 years ago.

But yeah, trust me when I say, despite that setback, I definitely don't live in fear. It's just that sometimes when things at home are heavy, it's harder to maintain calm. In brief, I had to have high intensity CBT for severe depression and generalised anxiety in the first half of 2014 and since then I've done so much more than I could have imagined.

I know what it sounds like. It sounds silly to have had such a reaction to an incident like that. But when things get heavy, it's hard to maintain calm. I was dealing with a lot during the incident and having to deal with a moron set me off. I don't know if it was the same time but once I even ended up missing a lecture because I went to an emergency health clinic since I was having a bad anxiety attack. I was very dizzy and hyperventilating, barely able to even walk straight.

Either way, reflecting now, I have come a loooong way since those times.

If I was going through a tough time again, I'm pretty sure being told to stop being fragile would set me off. Sounds silly, I know. Because I know I'm weak when my anxiety and depression starts to come back. And more than anyone else, I hate when I succumb to it. It's much more than just fear. You shouldn't generalise all mental illnesses even though you've had your experiences, or try to explain what my core problem is without really knowing anything about my life.

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172 points · 5 days ago

Was subbed before hand didn't fully read the whole rules I am not worthy.

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Yes me too

FRANCE BETTER NOT SCORE

plz

It was inevitable tbf

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When the doors creaked open with great burden, the blinding flames, free from black fumes, licked the air towards me. I stood back and stumbled on my own step, plummeting to the floor. Shuffling back, I closed my eyes, heart wringing my insides to escape. But there was no way my frozen legs were going to follow my panicked brain's commands. I took what I thought would be my final breaths, flashes behind my shut eyelids reminding me of my many regrets - the most recent being unable to stand up for myself at work. I concluded it was the end. That the ferocious heat would absorb me and that I was done.

But I opened my eyes after what was an eternity of waiting to be burned alive. And there stood the carriage, still engulfed with perfect yellow flames flickering without any wisps of smoke. My breaths calmed down. The adrenaline rush had begun to fade and logic began attempts at calculating and evaluating what was happening before me. Drugs? No. Sleep? I pinched myself hard enough to draw tiny specks of blood from my pores. Alcohol? No. I hadn't touched the stuff since Matthew broke up with me.

My tights were sticking to my legs and my skirt was crumpled at the back from sliding back on the dirty floor. I just wanted to disappear from the entire scene. I stood up shakily and patted my shoulders down. The intensity of the heat was getting to me so I threw my blazer off and dropped it to the floor. It wasn't the most important thing to think about. No. It was the realisation I was completely and utterly alone. It was 5pm in London Euston on a Friday at a platform. At first I guessed it was because it was a special rarity and I had struck lucky gold. So I stood waiting. And waiting. Questioning the 1min on the screen, headphones in. I didn't look elsewhere. And I was truly alone.

My breaths turned into shallow clutches of air. Alone. In a public place.

Something was beyond wrong. Super wrong. Extraordinarily wrong and my brain couldn't add up a single thing. I remembered my phone with my headphone wire dangling from my bag and grabbed it out. No signal, of course. Battery low. I didn't even realise when the music had cut off. 1% was all that was left. I dialled the emergency number. It didn't go through.

I crouched down again, head aching from being underground for too long. Chose to look at the open doors. The lights, the flames, the eerie urge for me to go inside.

My brain switched on and I realised I hadn't attempted to escape. Why hadn't the thought struck me before? It was common sense. I left my blazer on the ground and raced for the exit. But every running lunge across the dusty ground kept me in the same place. Like I was some game character that had found an invisible barrier.

I was panting with exhaustion and paralysed by confusion when I sat down on my floored blazer and stared at the forsaken train. I know I muttered forlorn prayers to a God I had no belief in. Tears slid down my face and I stood up again, deciding that the only way forward was to face the train...

(I have to sleep now... I'm not sure if I will continue. I might. I don't know.)

r/astoriawriter

The laptop's fans whizz and vibrate atop my thighs, the heat building down to my swollen feet, the back of them crusty with bloodied blisters pulsating with every slow heart beat. The heavy curtains hanging over the glazed windows sag in unbalanced loops on the rail and I mute the sound of The Simpsons' voice actors on YouTube to judge whether the cat noises I can hear a hint of are real or a figment of my over-active imagination.

There is nothing but silence and I fight the urge to open the curtains to see into the darkness of late night. Yet I'm paralysed with fear that an armed intruder is waiting at the window, preying on me, praying for me tug the curtains and reveal myself. I shudder at the thought, unmute the laptop, ignoring my ringing ears and sweaty body begging to be put to rest. I watch people live their dreams in front of me as I wilt away, pathetic and undeserving. I am a fraud.

I find my mind drifting to the state of my degree. A certificate in a bent envelope buried by books and papers. A shame. A sham portrait of the embodiment of success. I am anything but successful, sat at some time past one in the morning, alone, unemployed, surrounded by the proof that this is the calm before the storm.

Colourful ethnic wedding attire in the form of dresses, lenghas and suits are strewn across the floor. Lines of broken twirled threads, beads that have escaped the useless glue. Sequins. Cuts of material. My mother's sewing machine patiently waiting to be used again when the sun rises up in a few hours. I dread it all.

And I dread my future most. I gulp. My interest in The Simpsons has died. I turn off the tab. See the word document of my novel untouched on the screen. I ignore it, click shut down and slam the lid shut. I put the laptop back on the drawer. Stand with shaky legs. Stare at the curtain and know my cat is long gone. Hate myself.

r/astoriawriter

Aww, I never get picked for anything

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You were picked to survive!

Thank you Thanos for giving me the opportunity to see a balanced world...

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Prompt by u/shrekism

Dad died and mom signed some documents and that was it. The place was mine. The main building is grey and ugly just like my father's dead body when I found him dead on his yacht. It bulges over the road and strikes the air like a disease. So I got some builders to renovate the place. Tear down walls that my mom pleaded for me to save. Something to do with built by my ancestors. Traditional bullshit.

Now while the entire company was distracted by the rebuild, I managed to figure out a lot of the systems. See, my fat father tried to teach me a lot but I lost interest. Kept up with the pretenses so I could feign interest and I used some of my savings from their accounts to pay people to do my tests for me.

The thing that interests me is controlling people. There are those rumours that chemical trails over the sky keep people complacent, numb. I don't think that's true because I've seen plenty of crosses over the sky and it hasn't stopped me from cutting stray throats here and there. And hasn't stopped me from wanting to know more about mind control.

Now, I came across this great substance. It's called Golgortro and scientists in the black market have been trying to sell it on the dark Web. It's expensive. They want a lot for a little. But you see, I asked them for test footage and the results of just the tiniest drop into a pool of water made a man do something interesting. A perfectly healthy man transforming from a confident human to a state of suicidal psychosis is something to see. And he didn't swallow the water. So I can only imagine the outcome.

It's almost untraceable, untestable and definitely something I could accident spill into the systems. No change to pH. It's fucking perfect.

And I am about to use it. I've got the perfect amount of clearance needed to access the main pipes and the concoction of chemicals needed to purify the water. I'm just going to add about twenty ml into the system. I don't think that much will happen but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

If it's stronger than I think, then people will be looking at me and my dad's wonderful company. I'll discard the evidence by burning the tubes after I kill my mother. No one will attack a loving, mourning son. It'll make the media look bad. Everyone loves a sob story.

They'll blame the mass suicides on everything else anyway. It's only logical. Who is going to believe that there exists a liquid that makes people off themselves? No one.

Now excuse me. I have plans I want to fulfill.

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Prompt by u/Syraphia, image: Lloyd by Saiprin

I collapsed to my knees and my breath was knocked out of me as my body hit the ground. My chin was stinging from the impact and I couldn't focus properly. All I could see was Erin sliding her hand over the blade, whispering gentle words as my guardian spirit was entangled by her cruel spell.

Mastaris. I tried to reach my bloodied hand forward as Erin replaced my sword beneath her cloak and walked away into the light outside, leaving me in the cave as the darkness seeped into my chest. The world flickered to nothing. And for moments all I could hear were my laboured breaths. Then, nothing.

Somehow, I woke up to the sound of a bustling street. Wheels churning on a cobbled road, street vendors yelling for customers for fruit, fish, bread. And chatter. The distant sound of a fiddle, claps.

Then pain struck my body with every bump on the road and I sat up with a gasp to see myself lying atop sacks of wheat. Blood had dried into the weaved bags. Dizziness overcame me for a second and I lay back down, vomit churning in my stomach.

I looked up at the cloudless sky, could tell the sun was shining beyond my sight, telling me it was morning, or an early afternoon. The breeze was soft, a sweet zephyr over my skin and the growing heat of day was slow and careful. The cart was still very jumpy but the sacks mostly stopped me from experiencing every misplaced rock in the road. The sound of the horses drawing it forward made me smile, think of home. I shut my eyes to imagine home.

But then the cart stopped. I heard footsteps. Laughter. And soon a shadow over my face.

"I know you're awake," the female voice giggled at me.

I opened my eyes and a strange lady with bright red hair, much like Erin, stared back at me. Far more youth glowed in her cheeks and I couldn't sense a speck of ill intent.

I tried to reply but was unable to mutter a coherent word.

"Oh rest, Sir! You're very, very hurt," the girl raised her eyebrows at me.

"And very, very lucky to be alive," a gruff man called out. "Erisa, come down from there. You're being very rude."

The girl, Erisa, scowled and grumbled to herself as she jumped off the cart. I looked over to see a young man staring back at me. I imagined an older person with such a weathered voice but I was very wrong. And I was beginning to wonder whether the news of the loss of Mastaris had been announced yet. But the cheerfulness of these people made my heart judder in fear.

The Kingdom was no longer safe. Not anymore.

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Prompt by u/LordOfFlames55

Timothy slapped his hand over the note. With his fingernails, he stripped back the sticky note, its crackles as it was scrunched up sending shivers of ecstasy through his body. He lobbed the little ball towards the bin and it plonked the side and plopped onto the floor. Tim was glad no one witnessed the failure.

But the failure didn't even compute as an issue. No. It was his brother's note. Evil plan? Tim rolled the chair over the uneven bumpy floorboards towards him and sat down with a spring. The chair groaned forward at his weight as he tucked it beneath the desk.

He switched on his brother's computer and tapped in the password with gentle presses on each letter. His brother was downstairs, after all.

The fan of his computer whizzed at him as though it was offended and Tim's heart lurched upwards. The sound stopped and Tim set his eyes upon an interface with strange looking buttons everywhere, tiny digital numbers flickering with changes. Tim didn't dare to click anything. But he had already sussed out that he was staring at some kind of high level banking.

He didn't hear John slide into the room. But he heard his angry voice.

"Tim? What the fuck are you doing?" John marched over, the floorboard creaking with his stomps.

Tim stumbled to his feet and rolled the chair between the two.

"I don't know what you're doing man, but what is with the not getting drunk part?" Tim wondered, as he said those words, whether the would be enough to throw off John's temper.

"I get that you're my big brother, I do," John clicked the mouse a few times and set the computer to sleep. "But I have my secrets. You probably have yours, right?" John tried.

But Tim wasn't thrown off course.

"You're doing something that would make mom turn in her fucking... um. Ashes," Tim's anger depleted as soon as it arrived.

The two shared a staring moment, looking at one another with a mixture of horror and embarrassment. Though Tim would have called it humiliating and if his mother was there to have heard, she would have joined John in tormenting him.

Tim sighed and looked down. Always the first to back down. Act all big but was a mousy man. John was always better at everything the second he was born. Getting their mother's undying and untainted love, getting spoilt rotten. Being the youngest. Having the ability to charm your way out of harsh prison sentences with wit and luck and then really trying it out at its max.

And he calls himself evil. Well at least his plan. And somehow has to remind himself not to get drunk. None of it was exactly making sense.

"...are you stealing from banks?" Tim shot the question out in the awkward silence.

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Prompt by u/Fiqren1

When Daisy said to me, "Let's go for food!" I knew immediately that my perfect date was going to succumb to the disaster it had pretended not to be.

She tugged my sleeve hard and yanked me forward. I almost tripped on my own feet. She paused for a second and gave me a stare.

"What? You don't like pizza?"

God. If only she knew.

I shook my head and a lump caught itself in my throat. We had just conquered the fastest rollercoaster in the country, had battered each other in silly battering cars and I had even driven through winding hilly roads. But I could not face eating.

"Well then let's get going, I'm starving," she whined and pulled on me again.

Following her force was like being taken forward to be publicly executed. I didn't know how to beg for help. My throat was closing up. And the breaths had begun to shorten. I couldn't do it.

She turned to me when my legs wouldn't take another step. It was like my brain was shutting down. Panic in my system, a bright red light and horns screeching at me. VACATE. VACATE. VACATE.

"Josh, what is going on? Aren't you hungry? We haven't eaten all day and I'm literally starving. You know that we don't have to---"

Her words were drowned out by the thick high pitched ring in my ears. The edges of the world were blacking out. All I could see was her silhouette, the hardly audible mumble of her voice. That and my breaths seeping out of my ears, my heart playing inside my face instead of my chest. The dizziness blew the world away and I fell back.

The pressure of blood rushed to my face and the breaths wouldn't stop. I thought I would have passed out. I thought it would have saved the embarrassment. But no. It was in full swing while I was limp on the floor staring at the sky, a sharp pain in my neck telling me my fall had been too fast. Then she peered over me, held onto my hand.

"What's wrong? What's wrong? Someone help!"

Then the tears began. Fuck. The tears. My breaths were no longer in my control at all. My entire life of suffering had led to this.

This. Collapsing because of the fear of getting food. Eating with someone.

I thought I could evade eating. That we'd be too busy to notice how tired and hungry our bodies were. See, I was used to it. Never eating lunch at school. Never seeing my family around the dinner table. Hiding in my room, shaking as I tried to put a spoonful of cereal in my mouth, but terrified someone was going to burst through the door and bawl their eyes with sharp, piercing laughter.

And I didn't know why. Why did I have to decline the meals out?

Daisy gripped my hand, that nasty look of complete worry staring back at me. Over pathetic, pathetic me.

I thought I'd never have to deal with it outside. Why was I so stupid? How could I have a whole day outside and not eat? How could I have actually believed that, even for a second, I could be strong if it came to it. Quietly reject the offer for food, say I wasn't hungry. Watch her eat.

Someone helped me up, helped me walk to a chair. Sat me down. Offered me a bottle of water. Big mistake.

I ran, I fell, they restrained me until the ambulance could come.

I lost big. I lost so much. All because of food. Food. Nothing else. Just food.

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Prompt by u/Warpix408

After muttering the very unmistakably redundant set of words, the hero dropped his magical axe to the ground. It landed with a barbaric growlish thud that thrust dust particles away, leaving an entire radius of dead dirt.

The villain stared back at the hero, jaw hanging far down. Ignoring the appearing throbs of shooting pains from his adrenaline washing away, the villain plopped down on the ground and yawned.

"Me too," he said, raising his own eyebrows subconsciously, surprised at his own honesty.

"How long have we waged war?" The hero sat down beside his axe and rested his jaw against its thick handle.

"Twelve years," the villain nodded with a smirk, gritting his teeth behind it to stop himself screaming from the growing agony.

"Twelve years of nothing. I could have done so much," the hero said, hanging his head down.

The villain said nothing as a flash of his late wife came back to him. He hadn't put a white rose at her grave in three Sunday's. He has promised long ago that he'd put a fresh one there so she could smile, wherever she was. Never forgotten. He had broken it - and it wasn't as if he could hide behind the veil of ignorance. He had failed her. Again.

The hero thought of his late sister and looked back at his brother in law. Shattered. Beyond help, beyond reasonable reach. His sanity was long gone. But his power had remained, and there he sat, smiling away thinking of God-knows-what. The hero gripped the axe again. He wished his sister never fell in love with such a weak man that could lose his morals against his own forlorn emotions.

"You know," the hero called out.

"You're going to mention Helena. Don't."

The hero shook his head and stood back up, picking the axe with him.

"Do you want to see her again?" The hero smiled, weariness overcoming him. He was not lying about his fatigue.

"After I kill you," the villain lumbered to his feet and lunged at the hero with a renewed look of determination.

The hero braced himself for the inevitable hard impact, a part of him praying it would just be over already.

He was tired of all of it.

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Prompt by u/Atlantis536

Dear subtlesneeze

I don't know what you've done to me but I am wired as Hell and my fingers keep twitching. I just want to curl my fingers through the hoops and stab Michael again. Over and over. The first time, you made me experience a weird form of remorse and anxiety.

I don't want that. And you know I don't want that.

I want to be unapologetic. So what I'm not the saddest girl in the history of the world, drowning in poverty or something. So what? I have rights to feel however the fuck I want. It's just that you have to persuade to everyone why I did what I did.

Now the thing that troubles me the most is you left me on a shitty cliffhanger and I've been trying to bug you for a second chance at life. But you keep saying you're in a slump. I bet you're just playing games, aren't you?

Look, I believe in myself. And you made me that way. So why can't you believe in yourself, pick up your fingers and tap those keys and write my life into some form of completion. Please don't leave me hanging - story wise and idea wise. I don't want to be suicidal, just in case you were thinking about it. Don't. I'm stronger than that. At least I think I am so you should think so too since you're in control of my life.

Okay this email has been a little too preachy, I know. It's just that... I want to live. And you can make me live.

My fingers are twitching again and I can see Michael bleeding out. Dad's just about to come inside. Tell me his bullshit.

Will you make more happen? I sincerely, truthfully and passionately hope so.

Best wishes

Natalie

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Prompt by u/Ju5t1n726.

I was stood at the rocky platform, the paint on the ground cracked and fading, the sheltered seating areas filled with holes. This train station was the strangest. My car had broken down, my phone had run out of battery and I found myself following signs towards a train station under the dimming sunset.

I trailed across the hot concrete road, each step a huge victory against planting my head into the dirt and shrieking.

I found myself alone, at first, on the platform edge. That was until I spotted the stranger.

When he cast his gaze and locked eyes with me, I found I couldn't pry my sight elsewhere. Finding any interaction painstaking, I wanted to look anywhere but into the eyes of a stranger. I tried to twist my neck away but I couldn't move a muscle.

His stare was extraordinary in how calm it was, like staring at the Moon's reflection in a still lake, the galaxy thrown behind it. My anxiety began to disperse away, each particle making me lighter, fluttering off into the wilderness without me. His eyes somehow glowed blue and I could see that he was dressed in dirty white sheets, slumped against a broken shelter. And I wanted to ignore the stranger but I was unable.

His lips began to move just as the last light of the sunset scattered across the sky in a final burst of yellow. He mouthed, "Next train is a crash."

When I had understood his words, I managed to turn and follow the track lines into the far distance and heard the sudden screech of a train's breaks howling towards me.

I stepped back in panic but my legs wouldn't move. The train popped around the corner, sparks of metal clashing bursting from the wheels, the high pitched scream unbearable. But I couldn't cover my ears.

Then I saw the billowing black smoke blending into the dark sky, embers of red, orange and yellow bubbling from carriages further down. The train wasn't halting. Its speed hadn't slowed. It was hurling towards me where I stood too close to the edge, unable to lift my legs. I couldn't even close my eyes as the train rapidly approached me, bright sparks coming for my skin.

But then I found myself watching my body burn from a bird's eyes, watching my unmoving body crackle and fizzle along with the burning train, the stranger gone, no passengers inside, no sign of any emergency services coming, nothing. Just my body crumbling into dust.

There was a pat on my back. I opened my eyes, sat in my car on the side of the road, a trickle of blood making its way from my forehead to my chin. I couldn't move very well but could see in the cracked windshield that the stranger was in the back seat with a wide smile on his face.

I found the strength to kick down my crumpled door and fell to my knees. I kissed the dirt and lay on my back to watch the sunset set its magic show over the blue sky. The stranger creaked open the passenger door and plopped down beside me. I smiled, not that I knew why.

I didn't have any control over anything. Just the gentle calmness from when I first met the stranger's eyes that first time, his blue pearls as precious as my lost son's.

I held onto my shirt and tears filled my eyes. He was alive, that much I knew. Separated from me by distance. His mother was in another realm, a guardian angel unable to protect us from the world. I looked over at the stranger. But he was gone again.

I didn't say a word as I heard sirens making their way towards me. I ignored how the tone was wrong, the pitch was wrong. I ignored how I knew it wasn't someone coming to save me. I just lay flat on the burning ground until I could smell my own flesh sizzling beside me.

When I blinked I found myself floating behind my car as I swerved out of the way of roadkill, my alcohol infused self smashing into a lone old tree. I watched myself blank out, my head hit the wheel, the shattered windscreen testament to my suffering.

God damn it.

I stood at the platform edge again, the train just around the corner, out of sight, still hidden by silence.

I turned to the sitting stranger.

"What do you want?" I yelled at him, my voice hoarse from the shots.

The stranger said nothing, transformed into the image of my wife as she was shot by a stray bullet when we hid from the rebels and the army. The blood drooled out and then, I saw my son in her arms, drinking from her breasts. She passed him to me once and he threw up on my shoulder. The image of my son's milky sick exploded in front of me until the train came towards me again, slower than before.

I was on my knees begging once again when I found myself on the path towards the train station. The tears wouldn't come out and I tried to scream but my voice was gone. I lay flat on the ground once again, followed the streaks of the sunset like the fires from the bombs beyond us.

"I'm sorry," I whispered, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

I couldn't protect either of you.

I stood at the platform once again as the train pulled up, no sign of a fire or the stranger. A gold carriage stopped in front of me and the doors opened to reveal my beautiful wife, ashes from the war stained on her skin, the remains of blood at her chest, my young son cradled in her arms. He opened his blue eyes, yawned, saw me and stretched out his arms. But the doors shut. My wife smiled and consoled my crying son as the golden carriage trailed off without me.

I love you both so much.

I was sat in my car again. But I was ready to accept my punishment. I spotted the stranger in the rear view mirror, his solemn expression free from pity. I nodded at him, saw the roadkill ahead, swerved.

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On one of those Sunday free writes on r/WritingPrompts :D

Larry. A name you'd laugh at. Another forgettable disyllabic word among millions of others floating in the dirty air of cities. Common. Ugly. No one expects to be shot dead by a Larry.

And that's exactly why The Mob has hired him.

Hey, I don't work for the mob...

Larry has got to take down The Mob's rival: The Mafia. No one will expect Larry to take them down one by one.

Hey look, will you listen? I'm not a killer.

Larry is unstoppable. When he's got a goal, Larry will finish the job and more. He will fulfil the contract and win big, Larry-style.

What are you saying - I'm not a killer!

But what Larry doesn't know is The Mob will double cross Larry because he's just too good. And they'll send their best. It will be the biggest fight Larry will face. That is, until The Mafia's sworn partners come after him. And they are mad.

This is fucking stupid now.

Larry will have to face the fire and win... or be killed. But Larry won't go out without style. Meet Rachel, Larry's love interest. What Larry doesn't know is his lover is The Mob's second best assassin. Will Larry choose life or love?

This is the worst kind of shit I have ever heard. Ever.

"Larry, I'm going to need you to calm down."

CALM DOWN? I'VE BEEN FORCED INTO A SHITTY MOVIE.

"Larry, you've been told hundreds of times, it's all in your head--"

But first, Larry will have to fight to get out of the mental prison where evil doctors keep him caged like a common dog. Will Larry overcome what the world throws at him? Or will Larry be another soldier lost in the battle of life?

Why is this happening to me?

"Larry you're having another episode--"

Tune in for the next episode of Larry: Secret Assassin next week at the same time. Sunday at nine, only on Larry TV.

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Prompt by u/javaJimmy

Every time Agent Red saw the burning buildings flash, it made his body judder with shooting pains. He concentrated on his home, his non-existent children, a happy wife, a dog-- but another flash of decapitated heads, blood pooling at his feet, dying shrieks, laboured breathing shot through him, cracking the screen he was forced into every single time they tested him. He called out his wife's name, his knees weakening, the dog patting its paws on his shins. He stumbled forward, tripped on the flashing image of a woman's torso. He could see the ghost of his wife's horrified expression, her hand reached out to him as he spewed up blood that splattered the dreamy illusion and brought him back.

He fell to his knees with a crack on the ground, agonising coughs squeezing from his shattered lungs. He looked down at his own droplets of thick blood, wiped his mouth, his mind reeling from losing his family.

He never woke up anywhere but the lab. He closed his eyes, gasped for breaths to calm, but he couldn't get the breaths out. He looked down at his chest, found a deep wound beneath his ripped top. He grabbed onto his skin with pressure and cried out, clutching hard as he jolted forward, landing on all fours, head hanging down, blood still trickling out.

He dared to look up, knowing that those flashing images were nothing less than the truth. Reality. The real world. And nothing, absolutely nothing could prepare him for the gruesome, fucked up scene in front of him.

Limbs, blood washed along the concrete, hoarse final breaths, the splutters from people drowning in their own fluids, hot dust particles spiralling from the nearby burning building, sirens screeching from the distance. Children, prams, briefcases torn open, bloodied papers picked up by the wind. The Sun setting in a strange orange. Then there was the smell. An unforgiving, unforgettable smell of death whafting into his nose from the people.

Why? He looked down beside him, unable to process the massacre around him, wondering who the fucked up culprit was, when he noticed a gun lying beside him. He stared at it, squeezed his fist open and closed, knew the phantom weight missing from his grip had to be a gun. So he was defending? But why? He was the top analyst and agent. Not made to play in the field, but to monitor, to protect, to save, to serve if necessary.

He became aware of a child staring at him and turned his aching head around to see a boy sitting beside what must have been his father, his top soaked through with blood, face black from the fire. Expressionless. Red tried to crawl towards him, try to comfort the survivor before he could see the blood around the child wasn't just from the father.

"Hey, kid," Red called out, his throat very sore, voice hoarse, words not clear.

The boy gave him a hard glare at being spoken to. Then his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he flopped onto his father, his hands outstretched.

Red couldn't take it. He fell back, tried to scream out but no sound managed to escape his broken mouth. The strain took away more of his breaths. The billowing black smoke was cloaking the area. Agent Red was facing upwards, coming to terms with his death. He didn't know what had happened. He didn't understand a single damn thing. But he wanted death. He knew he wanted to die.

His eyes began to close and he fought to see the last of the sunset through the smoke, the powerful orange seeping through for the final time. He thought it would be the end. The sounds of the world faded away, the pain fizzled to numbness and his mind focused on his fake family. His breaths were shallow, heart ready to stop. But then a face peered over him, blocking the sky. More shadows bent beside him. He just about heard the words, good job, Agent Red when blackness took him away.

He didn't want to wake up again. The dead bodies were imprinted in his brain and he knew he'd never be the same, not from seeing a sight only the unfortunate would see when war crimes were committed. What he had seen was brutal, wrong, a true Hell on Earth. Evil. And the image of the boy's accusing eyes, his final breath, the way his head hit his father's corpse. All of that kept repeating itself. His fall slow, his young eyes burning with hatred. The way he sat straight despite the blood pouring from his wounds. His pale face behind the black.

Agent Red sat up straight and yelled out in the small white room, screamed and screamed until his throat was cut up even more, his vocal chords trembling, striking pain so powerful it blinded him until acidic vomit lurched up from his throat. He instinctively turned to the side where a bucket was placed and vomited until his body heaved and nothing but saliva was spat out. Then he lay back, exhausted, and knew he was back in the facility. And he knew that what he had seen was real. The real pain attested to that.

The door opened and his assistant stepped inside and closed the door behind her with care so it didn't make much noise. Red stared at her, unable to say a word. His body was too weak. There were wires attached to his arms, to his chest, on his legs. He had a drip. There was a monitor beeping enough to explain his heart rate was elevated beyond 100.

"How are you feeling?" She sat on the end of his bed and folded her arms in a loose cross.

Agent Red didn't move a muscle on his face. He stared at her, knowing she knew exactly what he wanted to know. She looked down at his body, her eyes following his bandaged chest, his arms, his legs. She gulped and forced a smile.

"I'm glad you're awake," she said, and turned to the door. "They'll be here soon," she sighed and looked back at him, a glowing sadness hiding behind her stupid facade.

Red couldn't hide his own tears. They flocked to the corners of his eyes, slipping back inside. He was losing consciousness again and the world was slipping away. What he caught was her bending over his head, planting a kiss, the door opening behind her, his boss walking in, beaming. He knew.

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Dad died and mom signed some documents and that was it. The place was mine. The main building is grey and ugly just like my father's dead body when I found him dead on his yacht. It bulges over the road and strikes the air like a disease. So I got some builders to renovate the place. Tear down walls that my mom pleaded for me to save. Something to do with built by my ancestors. Traditional bullshit.

Now while the entire company was distracted by the rebuild, I managed to figure out a lot of the systems. See, my fat father tried to teach me a lot but I lost interest. Kept up with the pretenses so I could feign interest and I used some of my savings from their accounts to pay people to do my tests for me.

The thing that interests me is controlling people. There are those rumours that chemical trails over the sky keep people complacent, numb. I don't think that's true because I've seen plenty of crosses over the sky and it hasn't stopped me from cutting stray throats here and there. And hasn't stopped me from wanting to know more about mind control.

Now, I came across this great substance. It's called Golgortro and scientists in the black market have been trying to sell it on the dark Web. It's expensive. They want a lot for a little. But you see, I asked them for test footage and the results of just the tiniest drop into a pool of water made a man do something interesting. A perfectly healthy man transforming from a confident human to a state of suicidal psychosis is something to see. And he didn't swallow the water. So I can only imagine the outcome.

It's almost untraceable, untestable and definitely something I could accident spill into the systems. No change to pH. It's fucking perfect.

And I am about to use it. I've got the perfect amount of clearance needed to access the main pipes and the concoction of chemicals needed to purify the water. I'm just going to add about twenty ml into the system. I don't think that much will happen but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

If it's stronger than I think, then people will be looking at me and my dad's wonderful company. I'll discard the evidence by burning the tubes after I kill my mother. No one will attack a loving, mourning son. It'll make the media look bad. Everyone loves a sob story.

They'll blame the mass suicides on everything else anyway. It's only logical. Who is going to believe that there exists a liquid that makes people off themselves? No one.

Now excuse me. I have plans I want to fulfill.

(Going for the challenge of a prompt response a day. Here's number one! And if you liked this, check out my dead sub r/astoriawriter. I'll sort it out eventually...)

Gonna attempt one a day from now on. Let's see how that pans out seeing my record of dropping stories faster than a beat.

What to do when she learns that the man she is sent to assassinate is a prisoner in a fortress full of 3000 hostile warriors.

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I'd read!

To decide which is right: the rebellion against the loss of powers for the Kingdom, or rejoining the Royal family as the true crown prince and take all the powers away for good. Doesn't know which is correct. I haven't continued.

The other is whether to call the police and defy her father or get away with murder and be obedient as she's always been.

397 points · 15 days ago

Is there rain in the UK? I haven't seen rain in ages.

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I miss it. I want our shitty British summer back. The jokes about 2 days of decent sunny weather. Sports day in the spitting rain, forgetting my umbrella on a train, blaming someone for singing terribly. Oh rain. How I miss it so...

"Aww--- ooohhh my God" is how I reacted.

I definitely did not expect that.

I collapsed to my knees and my breath was knocked out of me as my body hit the ground. My chin was stinging from the impact and I couldn't focus properly. All I could see was Erin sliding her hand over the blade, whispering gentle words as my guardian spirit was entangled by her cruel spell.

Mastaris. I tried to reach my bloodied hand forward as Erin replaced my sword beneath her cloak and walked away into the light outside, leaving me in the cave as the darkness seeped into my chest. The world flickered to nothing. And for moments all I could hear were my laboured breaths. Then, nothing.

Somehow, I woke up to the sound of a bustling street. Wheels churning on a cobbled road, street vendors yelling for customers for fruit, fish, bread. And chatter. The distant sound of a fiddle, claps.

Then pain struck my body with every bump on the road and I sat up with a gasp to see myself lying atop sacks of wheat. Blood had dried into the weaved bags. Dizziness overcame me for a second and I lay back down, vomit churning in my stomach.

I looked up at the cloudless sky, could tell the sun was shining beyond my sight, telling me it was morning, or an early afternoon. The breeze was soft, a sweet zephyr over my skin and the growing heat of day was slow and careful. The cart was still very jumpy but the sacks mostly stopped me from experiencing every misplaced rock in the road. The sound of the horses drawing it forward made me smile, think of home. I shut my eyes to imagine home.

But then the cart stopped. I heard footsteps. Laughter. And soon a shadow over my face.

"I know you're awake," the female voice giggled at me.

I opened my eyes and a strange lady with bright red hair, much like Erin, stared back at me. Far more youth glowed in her cheeks and I couldn't sense a speck of ill intent.

I tried to reply but was unable to mutter a coherent word.

"Oh rest, Sir! You're very, very hurt," the girl raised her eyebrows at me.

"And very, very lucky to be alive," a gruff man called out. "Erisa, come down from there. You're being very rude."

The girl, Erisa, scowled and grumbled to herself as she jumped off the cart. I looked over to see a young man staring back at me. I imagined an older person with such a weathered voice but I was very wrong. And I was beginning to wonder whether the news of the loss of Mastaris had been announced yet. But the cheerfulness of these people made my heart judder in fear.

The Kingdom was no longer safe. Not anymore.

I'm trying to get back into writing after not doing much in over a week. I can feel it. It's like not exercising after a while and struggling when you get back to it. Anyway. I have a neglected sub, r/astoriawriter, if any reader is interested. Thank you for finding this beautiful image, u/Syraphia :)

I hold my tissue in my sweaty palm

press its thick juices up my nostrils,

sit and pray. And pray. And pray.

And sneeze - and watch my mother die

this time. I thought she would be immune.

I thought wrong, sat in my pooling sweat,

as another sniffle made way for a gasp,

and I heard a helicopter crash nearby.

I sneezed many times, many times hard,

others a subtle mosquito bite on my chest,

until they stopped and I found myself

alone on an island of the dead.

A whole continent wiped out by me,

no one to guide me to do right sanely.

Adulthood is what I could not see,

instead an end to man's misery

at the cold staring barrel of a discarded

police gun, as is fair by the human laws.

Thirteen, pulling a trigger at my head,

instead I cried and sneezed again...

First time posting in a while. Check out my neglected sub! r/astoriawriter, if you liked that!

325 points · 18 days ago

Gender pay gap. I’d more then happy to explain if anyone doesn’t understand why it’s a myth.

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Yh no. Sister got promoted but didn't get a payrise and dude who got her old place got better pay. She had to fight HR and she's still being underpaid. She's thinking about dropping the case because if she gets all the money back that she has been underpaid, since it'll be paid on the next paycheque, a lot will go because of tax. Dude has no issue.

3 points · 18 days ago

If all that is true, she should go and get a lawyer.

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It's here in the UK - getting a solicitor pretty much isn't worth it. It's too expensive.

And I just realised it may also have something to do with the fact she's not directly employed with the employer but with an employment agency based at the employer, if that makes sense. I'm not sure the guy is or not, but if he's employed directly, it'll explain the difference because the agencies take a percentage of the money anyway. If not, then it's still an issue.

u/subtlesneeze
forever procrastinating on wp tbh
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