Hello, friends and foes.
They say “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” But what about frenemies? What are you supposed to do in that circumstance? What if the enemy you have just means so much to you? It’s time to see how you handle yourself against a friend turned foe, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
My Dearest Enemy
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Bit of an oxymoron, this prompt, hm? When you think of an enemy of any kind, you don’t expect to describe them as anything even remotely positive. But here we are.
The great thing about this prompt is that the “enemy” may not be an actual enemy at all. It can be a friend, simply playing a game of chess in a tournament. It can be the beloved pet who decides that four in the morning is the perfect time to do the 100 meter sprint. It can be a sibling that you need to share a room with and they just won’t stop touching your stuff. It can even just be the person on the other side of the screen, battling you online in a friendly fighting game. Maybe your “enemy” is you, testing out a card game deck against yourself to make sure it works the way it should.
But who says the enemy has to be a person at all? What if this enemy is the seagulls you always feed french fries to, and one gets too greedy and snatches your sandwich? Or perhaps it’s the usually faithful dryer that has somehow trapped your pants that you need to get to your very important meeting. Or your extremely comfortable bed kept you ten minutes too long, making you late for work or school. Maybe that old friend Writer’s Block decided to pay you an unexpected visit.
Whichever enemy you choose to introduce us to, let us see the connection you have with them.
Show us what they mean to you.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
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What to Submit
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You can edit your story after it’s submitted. Go to the bottom of your entry, and a little gear should appear (it’s invisible initially). Provided you are editing from the same device you posted from (posted on computer, edit from computer, as phone or tablet won’t work) you can edit all you want to fix your story as needed :>
Just Like Her
Giovanna J. Fuller
Everything had gone wrong the day her mother had come home from the hospital. She had been sick for about a week, always throwing up and complaining of aches and pains. She spent all her time on the couch moaning as her stomach did somersaults.
Winry had done her best, in her three year old way, to help her mother. She had been extra quiet, though for her that meant very little. The little girl had thought she had been a great help when she loaded the laundry machine and started it for her mother, not realizing that one had to separate the colors. Her father had worn pink dress shirts all that week.
When her mother came home with a prescription and a diagnosis, there was a sense of excited joy in the house. Her parents had told her that they were “expecting” something called a “baby” and that she would soon become a “big sister”. Winry liked the thought of that. Being “big” anything sounded good to the little girl.
However, when all her parent’s attention turned from her to the mysterious “baby”, she started to like the idea less and less. Her pink playroom was painted a soft green and all her toys were moved to the basement. Mountains of presents arrived, none of them addressed to her. Everyone was talking about the baby and it felt as though everyone had forgotten about her.
The day came when her mother cried out in pain and her father rushed her to the hospital. Winry went to stay with her grandparents for two days. After the two days, her grandparents took her to the hospital to “meet someone”.
They entered the pastel painted room and Winry saw her mother sitting on the bed with a bundle in her arms.
“Hey, sweetie. Want to meet your brother?”
Winry’s face scrunched up in disgust, but she trotted over to her mother obediently.
She peered into the bundle and her eyes widened. She gasped
It was a tiny person with fine, wispy black hair and big, blue eyes just like hers.
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)
She wore that gentle, loving smile I had adored all throughout my childhood. But it wasn’t their fucking smile to wear. That thing only did it now to hurt me, to remind me of what it had taken from me.
My Sister’s smile was the same as it always was. But I could see behind it, and it felt empty. Whatever it was, wasn’t my sister, it was something else pretending to be her. It did an excellent job, I was the only one who seemed to notice. But it had no heart, no soul behind its actions, just an insatiable greed driving it forward.
I wanted to try to talk to Mom and Dad, but that thing never left me alone. Always right by my side, always with that soft smile, mocking me.
We were stuck washing dishes together, and I just wanted to—
“Hey, what’s going on with you?”
“Huh? Nothing, just tired”
“Bullshit, you’ve been giving me weird looks all week.”
“Listen,” she sighed heavily, “I know none of us like to talk about it, but the fact is you haven’t really been the same since your accident. I just don’t want you to go and do something crazy. We’re all here for you, you know that right?”
She hugged me from behind tightly and warmly, just like she always had. “Trust your big sister, alright?” Everything was the same, but nothing felt that way.
Everything but me.
She rested her chin on my shoulder and pressed her lips to my ear.
“After all,” her voice warped and hissed, “You’re no good to us dead.”
“Kidnapping and Coercion”
Sion O’Lynchard woke up in complete darkness. Immediately he realized the burlap sack on his head and that he was in a sitting position. The brownie swore as he shifted his weight, the wooden chair creaking as he moved. Suddenly, the sound of a cocking gun broke the silence. Sion froze.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Now sit still or you’ll be layin’ in a grave.”
Sion let out a bitter laugh. “Yer better findin’ someone else to kidnap. Da’s not gonna shill out the tin for me.”
The brownie heard a gruff laugh. “Ya think this is about money? No no no, mo chara. My employer just wants to talk.”
“I ain’t got nuffin’ to say.”
A new voice chimed in. “Oh, speakin’ won’ be necessary.”
Sion froze. That voice… No. It couldn’t be.
Sion’s sack fell away, the noon sun temporarily blinding him. The brownie squinted as he waited for his eyes to adjust. Concrete floors. Pillars and beams. He knew what this was; he’d used an abandoned warehouse enough times to recognize one. A tall, thin man stood in front of the brownie. His skin carried an unnatural pallor, his eyes sunk back, and he smelled of earth and decay.
“So good to see you again, Eddag. Or should I call ya by yer real name?”
Sion’s face went pale. “Rhis Gailnor?! B-b-but we ganked ya! Ya can’t be here!”
“Oh, but I am.” Rhis smiled, black slime staining his teeth. “An’ I need a favor.”
“Sorry, I don’t do favors for the dead.”
Rhis clicked his tongue, the burbling sludge in his mouth dampening the sound. “We made an oath, didn’t we?”
Sion’s chin trembled. “I thought mistletoe countered oaffs.”
Rhis slowly shook his head, charcoal-colored spittle plopping on the ground.
“Unfortunately not. Fate has bound us, and I walk the world of the livin’ until you help me complete me goals.”
Sion shook his head. “I’m not helping ya take down me own family.”
The dead man let out a throaty laugh. “You ain’t got a choice.”
The parable of Snake and Mouse
The sun goeth down and, once again, the creatures of the forest come out of their homes to roam the earth. They hunger as they use their abilities to climb through trees, dig through soil, and fly through the air. Challenges are met and overcome.
But, the earth is not one for easy tasks. The more hardship one overcometh, the more one groweth. And so, the earth came to the most skilled hunter in the forest.
“Snake. Thy skills lie unmatched in the realm of hunting. But thine ego hath grown. If thy heart seeketh to be strong and true, thou must provest thyself when thou hast none of the advantages I have afforded you.”
And so, the earth taketh away Snake’s legs.
On the first night, Snake findeth the trees he once mastered unclimbable.
On the second night, Snake findeth the soil he once dug through undigable.
On the third night, Snake findeth the game that once had trembled in fear of him now laugheth at him. All except for humble Mouse.
Mouse finds Snake struggling to catch a nimble rabbit, and approaches him. Snake, not used to prey offering their lives to him, stays his attack.
“Hast thou come to mock me, Mouse?”
“No.” Mouse replies.
“What comest thou for, then?”
“I come for thee. The earth has taken away thy legs, but it has not taken thy power.”
“But how can I still be powerful? I have failed to catch any game since I was cursed.”
“Surely, thy wilt suffer me through no jest. I am perfectly within striking distance and yet thy muscles flex not.”
Snake thinketh for a moment. His muscles are still strong and his body is still flexible. Snake taketh the opportunity and begineth to lift his body. Under the strain, he letteth out a great hiss. He striketh, but as his head flieth through the air, he refuseth to open his mouth and pierce Mouse.
So, whenever you meet a snake in the wild and it striketh at ye with a closed mouth, remember that it thinketh of you as a friend.
You Don’t Have to Like Me
“Your landing was sloppy, Elise” Antoine’s voice grated my ears. “I’m surprised you haven’t broken your leg.”
“You’re right, but you also released my hand too early.”
We’d worked on our new trapeze routine for weeks, and still couldn’t nail the timing.
“Even if I hadn’t, your landing would’ve been sloppy with that form. You have the grace of an adolescent ostrich.”
“Oh, my heart!” I sighed dramatically, sarcasm lacing every word. “You wound me! How shall I ever recover from your shallow excuse of an insult?”
“Bite me.” was the only reply I got before he turned to wash up. The water in the bucket was probably ice cold, but didn’t seem to bother him.
Since the day we met, years ago, I’d hated his guts. I felt bad about it until I realised it was mutual. No rhyme or reason to it, we just mixed like water and oil.
“Let’s go again.” he called, heading back to the wires.
We’d made it about halfway through when, in a crucial moment, I froze and missed Antoine’s outstretched hand. I don’t know what it had been, the angle, or the lighting, but memory flooded my mind. Nico’s eyes, my precious partner, as he dropped me. I had loved him, trusted him. Why had he done that? Should I have apologised? Given him more attention, or respect? All this flooded my mind as I fell, time slowing painfully.
As quickly as the fall began, it halted. I’m jerked back to reality as Antoine caught me, lowering us to the ground with one of the spare pulleys. Antoine, not Nico. I feel lightheaded with relief.
“I am surprised you didn’t let me fall.” I could practically hear my attempted joke fall flat on the ground, my opaque mockery of a chuckle ringing hollow in my ears.
Antoine’s warm hands lead my face to his, forcing our eyes to meet. His eyes were not warm, his voice was not tender, but I will never forget what he said to me.
“You are my partner, I would never let you fall.”
“The Good Alien”[Aleph Null Science Fiction universe]
We wander the spaceport, preparing for our journey.
We return to our ship. Just as we leave, an announcement plays over our PA:
“Due to traffic around the Zavenwalft system, those attending the victory celebration for the third Alien war are instructed to take route beta as a detour. Your ship has been updated with this route. Proceed to the appropriate gate at your leisure.”
Oh. The beta route is much more dangerous. The risk is worth it. I instruct the ship to depart.
We enter the gravity ring, entering the warp bubble as normal.
We come out. We make it a few light minutes.
Then we are hit out of the blue. The hull is breached in several places by a particle beam. Bandits! Luckily, they seem to scan us and leave us alone.
But we’re leaking air. The ship can’t repair itself.
A UN freighter comes along, and passes us by.
A missionary habitat avoids us.
Double fuck. Will no one help us?
We’re running out of Oxygen. I activate the emergency procedures. Our biosuits will keep us relatively safe until we can be revived.
I drop unconscious.
I wake up. Where am I? It looks like… a medical station. “What happened?” I ask, still delirious.
The doctor responds “We aren’t sure on the details, but believe it or not your ship was brought in by an Alien. Don’t worry, you all aren’t contaminated or anything.”
“You can review your ship’s footage yourself when you get her back up and running.”
“And the rest of my crew?”
“They’ll be fine. Normally here I would talk about payment for lodging and weather you are on USG healthcare, but the alien paid for your stay.”
My jaw dropped. You have got to be kidding me…
His own Enemy
By Jesse Fisher Edited by Luna
Demon looked across this strange room that he found himself in. He recalled working at Korun’s bar before he felt a pull, and here he was. The place seemed to be a blank void save for the table where he now sat. What he thought was a mirror shifted and moved to show a similar looking face.
This face lacked any of his wolfen features. Instead, it looked like a plain human face with dark hair, a mix of pale and tan complexion, and a set of rectangular glasses. The navy creature knew that face but could not fully place it.
“Well, it seems I wrote myself into this one.” The man stared beyond the demonic wolf.
“Wrote myself? Demon studied the face. Sunken eyes, heavy brow, and a tone that resonated in his head. It took a moment before it clicked in his mind.
“So the rejector and source decided to face me in as much of the flesh as he can.”
“Good. It seems we are synced again, so that saves some explaining.” The man sighed and rubbed his head. “I’ve had a rough past couple of weeks.”
“I could tell.” Demon replied, drinking in the dark emotions of the man. “The pain is ripe; loss, grief, anger, rage. Feelings of inadequacy. While that writing group gives you an outlet for stories like mine, the feeling of ignorance and inadequacy are heavy on your mind.”
“Hence what mentally and metaphysically brought us to this place.” The man’s cyan eyes locked with Demon’s yellow. “To the dearest enemy I have.”
“Praise will get you everywhere in your mind.” Demon chuckled.
“Well, time for us to go,” the man said as the mirror began to change back.
“Time is like that, ain’t it.” Demon noticed the exit.
Walking away, the wolf looked back. He recalled his old friend and smiled.
Golden brown crust woven into delicate latticework.
The sweet-tart smell of cherries, chased with warm spice and bitter almond.
“You’ve outdone yourself, honey.” Tom called from the kitchen sink, elbow deep in dinner dishes, and Mary Ann had to agree.
The pie had come out beautifully.
“Just something I whipped up.” She dusted off her apron, plucked a knife from the block. “Couldn’t let the day go uncelebrated, after all!”
“Oh? What’s the occasion?”
“You know very well what the occasion is.”
There was a creak from the loose floor board by the cabinet. A grin pinched Mary Ann’s cheeks. Four years and he was still trying to sneak up on her. She knew what she’d do. She’d wait, and wait, and then, when he was just behind her-
The cast iron whisked past her face, smashing a hole in the wallpaper where her head had been.
“And if someone wants pie,” she teased, tapping a fingertip to his cheek, “he’s going to have to do better than that.”
Tom snapped his fingers, lips pursed in mock surrender.
“You’re just too fast for me, dear!” He cradled his chin in his palm. “Let’s see. A special occasion for my wonderful wife. That would be-”
She lunged, driving the knife, already spattered red, up towards his throat.
It pinged off the silver vase he drew from behind his back.
“Oh Thomas!” Mary Ann gasped, scooping up the overflowing bouquet. Carnations and snapdragons, chrysanthemums and roses. All wine red and stark white. “They’re beautiful!”
“Happy anniversary, Mary Ann.”
She flung herself into his arms, raised herself on tiptoe to share a chaste, sweet kiss.
“That,” she decided, “deserves pie.”
“Couldn’t agree with you more!”
She presented him a plate and he took a bite, closing his eyes as he smiled and hummed around the prongs of the fork.
He chewed a moment.
He peeked at her.
“Poison, darling?” Tom grinned.
Mary Ann tittered.
They both knew it was poison.
Beware the Box with Holes
by Astrid Jones
My humans brought a creature home today. They snuck it into the house in a box with holes. My nose is still sore from my inspection of the box. I’d never had reason to be wary of boxes with holes before today. I’ll know better next time. The creature inside has feet with needles attached to them.
I’ve decided I don’t like the creature in the box. I told my humans as such and they put the box in the laundry room. They won’t let me into the room. I’ll write more later once I ‘ve convinced them to let me destroy the box and its contents.
They’ve let the creature loose in the laundry room. I can see its tiny feet sliding across the floor through the crack under the door. I’ve caught glimpses of the body the feet are attached to. The creature is a kitten. My humans have cautioned me to “be nice” to it. I’ll do as they wish even though I don’t like it.
The kitten has noticed me watching. Somehow it managed to double in size, walking like a crab toward the door to attack my nose again. I growled at it. My humans sent me to my bed as if I were the one at fault.
I woke to a sharp pain at the end of my tail. The kitten has been released and has decided my tail is a toy. This won’t do. I told it to go away and it hissed at me like a snake. Once again, I’ve been reprimanded by my humans as if I’m the instigator. I feel this may be a sign of things to come. I’m convinced the kitten has brainwashed them.
It’s been a few days and the kitten has demonstrated a disturbing habit of sneaking into my bed while I’m asleep. Several times now, I’ve found it nestled as close to me as it can get. When it does this, it sometimes emits a quiet rumble which is unexpectedly soothing.
I’ve decided the kitten may stay.
Bee’s Got My Back
The flushing of the toilet leaves relief and shame warring within my hated gut.
“Feel better, Piglet?”
I glare at Bee through the mirror. Her grin is haughty yet comforting. I rinse away the evidence of my crime, scrubbing my teeth with more vigor than necessary.
I rush through cleaning up and getting ready, ignoring Bee all the while.
I’m barely able to catch the city bus. My burning lungs and watering eyes warn me against running anymore. I block out the snickers and whispers thrown my way with my headphones.
Bee grasps my hand, and a warm smile blooms on my lips.
I’m already thinking of lunch despite the huge breakfast I had inhaled. My flabby belly rumbles in agreement.
We hop off the bus with other students. I keep my eyes to the ground while heading to the campus library before my first class.
A few people in the smoking section shoot me leers. I pretend not to notice. Bee’s too busy checking her reflection in the windows.
I dread the usual trek around the huge campus. Especially the stairs. Today is going to be another challenge.
My classes go by in a haze of lectures and hunger. I breeze through the work.
I drop off a few finished assignments to my professors before heading to the quad. I pass students playing cards and chess or talking loudly.
My stomach urges me to get food.
“Do you reaaaalllllllllly need TWO cookies, Piglet? You already have that sandwich and fruit punch.” Bee arches a condescending brow.
I return a cookie with guilt and pay the cashier.
I find a secluded area and enjoy my meager meal in silence.
“You don’t look like you enjoyed that. Bathroom then the gym, Piggie?”
I want to disagree, but she’s right. The enjoyment has already faded. I didn’t deserve the food, anyway.
Against my better judgement, I nod.
“Good! Forty-five minutes, at the very least, of cardio is a great start.”
I beam at her enthusiasm. “I’m glad you’re always looking out for me, Bee.”
“No one cares more than me, Piglet.”
A Comforting Phone Call
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
Sam’s phone buzzed on the coffee table. She flipped it open, and her yellow eyes went wide.
Roselyn: “Do you have five minutes for a vent?”
Sam immediately responded, “Of course! What’s up?”
Roselyn: Incoming Call.
Sam fumbled to hit accept. “Roselyn? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, just…” Roselyn sounded exhausted. “I just had a weird ninety minutes and I need to talk about it with someone.”
Sam set her homework aside. “I’m listening.”
“Well, I woke up ninety minutes ago—”
“And? It’s Saturday!”
Sam giggled. “Sorry, sorry. Continue, please.”
“I had a nightmare. My mom was marching an army on my dad. She appointed me general. I rode a cockroach into battle, though, so…”
“Right, sorry. Then I got a bunch of texts from Mavthos bashing you and Jidz, and it got on my nerves. He was also trying to flirt with me again—”
“What? Wait, again?”
“Yeah he’s been doing it for, like, two years now. You haven’t noticed?”
“I, uh, guess not…”
Roselyn laughed, which made Sam blush.
“Yeah, but he’s horrible. He’s a flirtatious imp to me, and a jerk to you.” Roselyn sighed. “Anyways, now I feel fried. It’s been a weird ninety minutes.”
“Well, uh, I’m here for you?” Sam offered.
“The weird thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt betrayed by people close to me. It’s a pattern. I trust someone, I feel betrayed. It happens all the time.”
Roselyn panicked. “Sorry, that was rude, that was very rude, I know there’s nothing you could do that would hurt me, wow that sounds condescending, uh—”
Sam found herself laughing. “Roselyn, it’s okay. You know I can’t do anything right. I’d never be able to hurt you.”
“Don’t underestimate yourself, now,” Roselyn teased.
They both laughed.
“So, uh…” Roselyn cleared her throat.
“Right, sorry. You good now?”
“Yeah. Thanks, Sam. I’m gonna do some homework, talk later?”
“Uh, sure! Bye!”
Roselyn: Call Ended.
Sam flipped her phone shut, grabbed the nearest pillow, and screamed into it.
“You are going to be the death of me, beautiful human!”
By RVMPLSTLSKN (A Tale from Hizkanamun’s Flesh)
There are two windows to every soul so there are two ways to see every soul. One way is slow and wending, for the distillation of our essence requires time to see. The other is the harder travail and can only be seen from within, soully.
They say gods use neither way. This is true of Hafit, whose soul communes with those Unforgotten he carries.
No longer is he called Warlord, not yet God. He wears nothing. Where nakedness is taboo, his bare metallic bones are profane.
A wind that is not a wind blows through his ribs. If he had flesh, it would shiver.
He asks the Unforgotten, What is it?
Among the cacophony of honored dead, he listens to only two.
Adyn: The Brightlings come.
Tsaji: One final chance.
-I’ll be victorious.
Tsaji: You’ve never beaten them.
-I’ve been cursed to fight them, but I’ve always beaten you. Your plans end here, so I’ll be victorious, foreteller.
Adyn: I pray Mornghynia herself comes for you.
He meant, “I wish death and immolation upon us all.”
Hafit’s grim grin was all the acknowledgement he would give in the gathering mountain winds.
-What’ll they call me after this, Tsaji?
He felt her essence withdraw.
Tsaji: They will say gods fought here.
Tsaji: I refuse to speak.
-You see Beyond. I honor you in death by giving you life and I expect what is mine for that blessing.
Tsaji: I would rather die.
Hafit reached within his chest and removed a glowing skystone.
-That can be arranged.
He pressed his mind and Called on that crystalline prison. What more could he do?
Tsaji begged then—what more could she do, she wanted for death—and Hafit knew he’d win.
-But who would I fight after? I’ll defeat this Brightling and you’ll still be my favorite opponent.
The wind coalesced. Hafit felt his curse manifest. It was Time.
A Brightening stepped from the winds, her form bare as Hafit’s. This is how a goddess walks to war: clothed only in power, in pride.
Hafit could have smiled.
-Finally, a worthy challenge.
The Enemy of my Enemy
by Exce, proofread my Lunar
It seemed as if a star was falling towards a solitary island that barely reached above the thrashing ocean waves.
Zevzinel grunted as the volcanic rock shattered around him. He burrowed into it, and his skin cracked under the impact.
This was barely worth his notice, as all his attention was focussed on the deep smoldering gash in his side.
It reached all the way from his waist up towards his spine, leaving parts of his lower and upper body numbed.
Still, Excelsius’ effort to take him out had been fruitless.
“Not that I did any better…” His words seemed to die as soon as they left his mouth.
Zevzinel’s entire body was augmented by a red crystalline structure which his former Angelic superiors attempted to use to imitate Excelsius’ abilities.
And then they had left Zevzinel for dead.
Regrettably, he and Excelsius kept finding themselves clashing.
At first, Zev easily came out on top, but the Dracul proved tenacious returning, even from what he had assumed to be mortal injuries. So Zevzinel did not allow himself to believe the deep gash in the throat he had inflicted this time would do the deed.
Despite not needing to, Zevzinel found himself breathing deeply, the island collapsing around him.
He slowly healed, reconnecting what had been severed.
A normal being would have been paralyzed or killed after being struck by a golden weapon, but Zev was not normal.
Water washed over him, replacing the oppressive heat with biting, salty cold.
Zev began rising towards the surface, and he exhaled with a sigh that caused bubbles to fill his vision. He and Excelsius both sought to avenge themselves against the Angels. It was a regrettable fact that in that course they kept fighting each other.
But then again, there were few equals in strength to the chimera Zevzinel had become, and deep down, he appreciated the challenge and training the Dracul provided.
He did not look forward to the day one of them would not rise again from their place of confrontation. It would happen, no matter how long it might take.
Just another day
by Gage Jarman
You take deep breaths as you sit in the standard waiting room. You feel your chest strain against your slightly too small button up. The air is musty. You hope this is enough to quiet them, to lull them away for another fifteen minutes.
The thirty-something woman calls your name. You get up with one last long exhale.
—Don’t go in—
—Waste of time—
You sit down with your hands on your knees, then on your lap, and back to your knees. She collects some papers and gives them a glance. She looks you in the eyes.
“So, how did you hear about this job?”
“I saw the ad on the internet and —You’re desperate— Uh, I thought it’d be a good fit for me. —Worthless— A good opportunity.” Your mouth starts to salivate.
“What about it makes you think you’ll be a good fit?”
“I work hard and I’m focused, sometimes a little too much. Get a little tunnel vision .” You fake a smile.
“You realize that this job —She’s lying. Don’t listen. Deception. She wants you gone—” The woman stares at you with a puzzled look.
“I’m sorry, can you repeat that. Must’ve had too much coffee.” You laugh awkwardly.
“I was saying, you’ll need to pay attention to your surroundings so you don’t get
injured as well as work with and assist other workers. Can you handle that?”
“Yes, I am very—” You swallow the glob of spit clogging the back of your throat. “Very confident in my ability to adapt and learn the duties required of me.”
—Useless. You’re useless—
“I’m sorry, can I just take a moment.”
Your breathing becomes rapid. You close your eyes. Your collar bites into your neck. They’re not real. —You’re alone— They’re just hallucinations. —Kick the desk— Just ignore them. —Your mind is broken— Let them drift away. —Nobody wants you—
-you’ll be ok-
You hear a small voice whisper into your head, and your breathing slows.
“Are you ok?” She’s leaning forward across the desk with wide eyes.
“I think so…” you say meekly
I See You
To My Dearest Enemy,
I must say that I am quite tired of seeing your face every day. It does not help that we live in the same building and even in close proximity to each other. Those inscrutable noises you make and all those distractions you have up are absolutely atrocious. I try so hard to work, and yet you seem to always be in the way with all that noise.
I must suffer through your presence. You go about eating constantly and fattening up. Don’t you have a sport you need to do? I thought you were an athlete of sorts. I was obviously wrong in some way.
Of course, that last point is incorrect because you are always wrong. Chronically so. Week by week, I keep seeing those mistakes you make, and laugh. This is why I am on top, and you are on the bottom. Each day, I fill up pages of all the different mishaps and problems you have caused. All the situations you have avoided because you “didn’t feel like it”. All the times you missed the deadline on your assignments. All the times you lounged about doing nothing and wasting time.
It is no wonder why hate is the only thing you deserve. You are scum. Worse than the worst. I am surprised that God or whatever creature rules existence allows you to walk this beautiful earth. You’re appalling in almost every possible way. In no way entertaining, intelligent, patient, or virtuous. You hide behind the words you construct. You collect people’s pity because you haven’t learned to deal with your problems. You are sick. Disgusting. I hate you. You should just disappear. Never exist. Be gone. No one loves you. Go away. Why are you like this? Always behind. Never in front. You aren’t special. Worthless pile of trash. Just disappear. No one wants you. I hate waking up with you every day. I just can’t wait till the day I get up and see no more because it means you’re no more.
Your Worst Ally
Giving Up (Mary’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
“Wait – Father wait, come back!”
Through the bars of Mary’s cell, the gaunt face of her father turned to face her. “What IS it, my dear?”
“……I, I give up. I won’t misbehave anymore.”
A long pause, as his distant eyes peered suspiciously. “You won’t simply run for the woods?”
She gave a bitter laugh. “Pointless. Your servants would find me and drag me back. Or you would just,” she glanced at the gnarled staff he held, “control me. Make me walk all the way here myself. So no, I won’t run.”
He continued to stare. “Are you really telling the truth, my dear? Let me look at your face. I always know when you lie, Mary.”
Gesturing with a shrivelled hand, the zombie by his side started turning a crank. Mary retreated as her manacled arms were pulled against the back wall, before her father entered her domain.
“So, my daughter…do you promise to behave?”
“I-I won’t shout, or scream at you. I won’t say those terrible things I said to you before. And I won’t, I won’t run from you anymore.”
His dim eyes brightened. “My dear…it is wonderful to finally hear you say these words.” A frail smile. “My beautiful Mary…I will never let you die, again…You will never leave me, again…
She smiled sadly. “No. I won’t.” Then she pulled hard against her chains, where the manacles held her hands tightly in place.
Or they would have done, if she hadn’t intentionally broken both her wrists.
Her hands crunching as they slipped free, she slammed her father to the ground, pinning his arms. Before he could make another sound, her teeth were tearing into his throat, his blood drenching her face, biting and biting and biting until the snap of bone in her mouth brought her back.
She recoiled as his head fell, completely severed from his body. Then, with ugly, tearless sobs, she cradled his remains.
Mary had never wanted this. She had hoped that the person she loved so dearly could still come back.
But eventually, she had given up.