Reignite

When you’re trapped in chains and need to be saved

Your liberator will be the love you gave

Those you’ve touched will come to your aid

They will be your courage when you are afraid.

You’ve spread your light far and wide

Inspired those who would rush to your side

But now you want to run and hide

You don’t want them to see the tears you cry.

But they won’t judge you for hitting a low

Because your light has helped them grow

You’ve filled their beating hearts with joy

And it’s your company they’ve enjoyed.

They’ll run to your dungeon cell

And try to nurse you back to health

The war for your life will soon begin

And you can’t fight your worst self by yourself.

This battle will be very hard

You won’t get out without some scars

But you’ve built an army by spreading your light

And if you call upon them they will fight.

And if you fall in battle, when you’re gone

Your beloved battalion will sing your song

But they will run out of new songs to sing

If you’re not there to play your strings.

But you can pass this difficult test

And get back to who you were at your best

Your troops will give you the courage to carry on

With the support from them you’ve built through your bonds.

So when your inner flame has died

Remember to whom you’ve spread your light

And reach out to them when you’ve burned out

So they can return your flame so you reignite.

Breath

I decided to make this the “About” page for the site.

Breath

Let your heart beat

Breathe the air

Every moment is a miracle

Because you’re still here.

Think your thoughts

Chase your dreams

But breathing is the only aspiration

That you need to achieve.

You don’t need to be sensational to be special

You don’t need to glitter to be gold

You don’t need to shine brightly to be a star

Any light you contribute makes the world less cold.

You don’t deserve to be judged

Even when you feel you’re living life wrong

So if you think struggle makes you weak

Know that if you’re breathing you’re going strong.

When you think you don’t matter

When you think you can’t go on

Know that if you stop breathing

You will be missed when you are gone.

So when you feel unworthy of this world

Or when you fall victim to a vice

Remember that your heartbeat makes you worthy of love

And your breath makes you worthy of life.

Self-Care

**WARNING: This story contains portrayals of mental health struggles and potentially controversial material.**

I don’t know what to believe anymore. Is anything real? Or is all of existence a figment of my imagination? Perhaps I’m God and my mind is the Universe; maybe in the most literal possible sense, perception is reality–or at least my perception is. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just seeing an entirely different version of existence than everyone else, and outside of myself I look like the raving lunatic some people say I am. I guess you could say either way I have created a universe, just not the one everyone else perceives. Or at least that’s what I’ll tell myself to make myself feel better about my hopeless delusion.

She was real. She had to be. All of my prior hallucinations and delusions were demons that took me to dark places; she was my guardian angel, my guiding light. She was different. I have never made so much progress and so much of that was because of her guidance. Our sessions were always healing; I’ve never had better treatment. Her counsel never steered me wrong. And now she tells me she’s just a fabrication of my own mind and that I don’t need her anymore?

But if my progress was real, does it matter? This care came from myself, which means all this lies within me. But there lies the real question: was any part of this real? Perhaps I’ve deteriorated. I don’t know. I guess it’s time to pay my psychiatrist a visit.

If he even exists.

This story was inspired by a prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts on Reddit by u/Persime: “You’ve been seeing a good therapist for some time now, but today they tell you that they’re actually another one of your hallucinations.”

The Lion and The Turtle (*Throwback*)

There once was a lion, confident and proud

Happy as could be, atop the ninth cloud

He couldn’t complain; nothing would ever make him frown

Until trouble in his kingdom and hubris knocked him down

The lion fell into the waters below

He hung onto a rock and refused to let go

But the current was strong and he lost control

He eventually gave up the fight and went with the flow

The lion still tread water to stay alive

But his body was tired and he feared he would die

Drowning in an aquatic execution

He frantically tried to think of a solution

As coming from the waters were blubs and blurbles

The lion transformed into a turtle!

And so the animal swam and swam

And eventually found a nice piece of land

But this animal was no longer confident and proud

He was a scared little turtle who slowly walked the ground

After being knocked down and through this Hell

The turtle was too scared to come out of his shell

So even though the animal learned how to survive

And got through a very difficult time

His fear will prevent him from living well

Unless he decides to come out of his shell

“And That’s How I Arm-Wrestled Fidel Castro”

This story was inspired by a writing prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompts on Reddit by /u/Criegs. That prompt will be revealed at the end of the story.

**WARNING: This story contains brief instances and descriptions of violence.**

“Next,” the casting director called.

At this word Gary Horton’s stomach filled with butterflies. “Alright, come on Gary, you were born for this role. Give them an audition that will really knock their socks off,” Gary encouraged himself.

Gary then strode into the audition room, slowly dragging a dilapidated wooden chair behind him, one leg scraping against the tile floor letting out a continuous and unbearable low-pitched screech until Gary reached his chosen spot in the room. There was a faint creak and a slight rock in the chair as he lowered his weight onto the seat.

“Alright….let’s see what you have to offer,” the casting director said, looking a bit puzzled.

Gary had practiced his routine over and over. He had written it himself. He took a deep breath and got settled.

Gary began by removing his right shoe and right sock. A powerful stench filled the room. This was intentional: the protagonist of Gary’s monologue was a weathered older man who had fallen on some hard times, so Gary decided to sacrifice his hygiene for authenticity.

Gary then put the sock on his right hand to serve as a sock puppet and began speaking in a pirate voice.

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It’s been many moons since me last confession.

“It was April of 1961 when I sold out me country. Kennedy had been president for about a few months by then, but the lad was still pretty green. Eisenhower had come up with the Bay of Pigs idea and handed it off to Kennedy, but Kennedy took it on. Such a grave mistake, the poor lad.

“Anyway, we invaded, and it was a disaster. So many good men were slaughtered. I made it out alive. But I am ashamed of why. I’ve never told anyone this, but I actually got to Castro. Fidel Castro; not a relative, not a body double, but the man himself.

“But alas, it was a trap. Who would have thought that Castro would use himself as bait?

“Anyway, they captured me, and tortured me. And this happened early on in the invasion, which lasted 3 or 4 days. They tried beatin’ me, clubbin’ me, but no matter how hard they hit me I refused to utter a word. But then they tried some other tricks, alternatin’ between electric shock, filin’ me teeth, and cuttin’ off fingers. I can still remember the buzzing of the electric currents, the smell of the residue from me teeth, the crunchin’ of me bones when me fingers were severed as vividly as the day it happened.

“After they cut off me third finger and filed me teeth again, I couldn’t take anymore. I sung like a canary, revealin’ battle plans that would cost so many men their lives during that mission.

“Castro sat down in the chair across the table from me and thanked me for the information while debatin’ whether or not to spare my life, smokin’ one of those famous Cuban cigars and strokin’ his beard.”

At this point, Gary removed his other shoe and sock to make another sock puppet on his left hand.

He continued, “Finally, he said to me, ‘I must say, you have shown some….how you say….grit. I will let you live on one condition.’

“He then put his elbow on the table, gesturing that he wanted to arm-wrestle.

“‘Defeat me with the arm with missing fingers and I will let you go free.’

“I clasped his hand, and gripped as best as I could with me remainin’ fingers.

“For a while it was a stalemate, our arms shakin’, until eventually I slowly lowered his arm to the table, defeatin’ him.

“‘Very well,’ he said. ‘You may go. But never utter a word to anyone. We will be watching you.’

“And that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”

There was a long, awkward pause after Gary finished. The casting director was speechless. He loved it, Gary thought.

Finally, the casting director spoke: “You….do know that this audition is for a Pepto-Bismol ad, right?”

Prompt: “Your story begins with you walking into an audition and removing your sock, it ends with ‘…and that’s how I arm wrestled Fidel Castro.'”

Jumping Off the Page

**WARNING: This story contains mild language.**

This story is inspired by a prompt submitted to /r/WritingPrompts by /u/uselessnihilist.

Prompt: “You’re a character in a story who has fallen in love with the Narrator.”

Her voice flows like honey: sweet, smooth, and gentle. I love it when she talks, especially about me and my story. I don’t think I could live without her voice.

But that’s nothing compared to when she writes. She sometimes strokes on the pages gently with her pen, or other times furiously types away at her computer. No matter how she does it, I love it. I live and breathe and hang on her every word, syllable, and letter. Her words are what give me life.

I know that in me she sees her ideal man. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am without her. I worship her; she is my goddess who has molded me into the man I am today. Every aspect of my character matches what she wants in a man.

So why does she love him? I sometimes feel like even though we are always on the same page, we are living in two different worlds. Do I even exist to her? Does she know I love her? She must know, because there is no way that I could live without her. Does she even consider me a real option, or am I just a fantasy she retreats to when she needs to get away from her troubles? I feel used. She picks me up and puts me down whenever she pleases.

But I can’t help myself. I can’t stop loving her. I know she feels something for me. She wouldn’t retreat into my comfort if there wasn’t something she needed to escape from.

But now she’s trying to set me up with someone else, and she remains with her suitor. She’s trying to ship me and someone named Libra, but I’m having none of that. She even tells people Libra and I are already together, which is bullshit.

So I no longer like hearing her tell my story. Every word of hers is a shard of shattered glass through my heart now. And I will never enjoy hearing her tell my story again until I become a part of hers.

The Zombie Games

This story was inspired by a prompt submitted on /r/WritingPrompts by /u/LifesgoodGaming. That prompt will be revealed at the end of the story.

**WARNING: This story contains violent content.**

I remember the day I killed my wife.

I had caught her cheating countless times, and finally one day I walked in on she and my brother going at it in our bedroom. I killed them both in a fit of rage with the shotgun I kept in our bedroom for protection from intruders.

When I finally stopped shooting and came to my senses, I found myself in a room covered in blood-splatter with two horribly disfigured naked corpses. I had shot each of them 4 times. I was horrified and I instantly regretted my action. When I got picked up by the police I knew I was toast. I really don’t know why I didn’t just plead guilty when it went to court. I was hoping they’d charge me with second-degree murder, but they got me on first-degree. And I live in Texas, where capital punishment might as well be an Olympic sport.

I was sentenced to death. But I vowed that I would never kill another human being again up through the day I died.

Well, today is the 2-year anniversary of the day I officially “died”. I’m 30 now, and I committed the crime when I was 24 and was sentenced when I was 26. And I “died” at age 28 according to the government.

My “afterlife” consists of working out, eating, drinking, training, and fighting. I now fight for a living, and I only fight other “dead” people. And my payment consists solely of having my life spared by the state. Here’s the catch though: the fights are to the death. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “survive and advance.” The people who make money off it are anyone who works in the legal system; they all either bet on or even groom fighters.

It’s known as the “Zombie Games” amongst those in the legal system. And here’s the thing: I’m really good at it. We have to fight every other day, and I’ve survived for 2 years. In fact, I’m convinced that killing people with my bare hands and fighting for my life is probably my greatest talent.

The problem is, I’m breaking the promise I made to myself ALL THE TIME. This is not what I want my talent to be, and not how I want to live my life.

So tonight will be both my last fight and my last night on Earth. I’m gonna give a giant middle finger to the system and throw this one. Everyone’s got their money on me, and the more I bleed, the more money they lose. So tonight, I exit this living Hell. Maybe I’ll see these suckers in the next one.

Prompt: “You are a criminal who has performed a horrible crime. You were put to death by lethal injection. Turns out this injection simply knocked you out so you could be taken to a government agency where death row criminals carry out dangerous tasks in exchange for being spared.”

Friendly Foes

**WARNING: This story contains references to violence, discusses controversial topics, and contains mild language.**

This story was inspired by a prompt submitted to /r/WritingPrompts by /u/KHanson25.

Prompt: “You are a superhero and for months, you’re tracking down the newest supervillain. You finally come face to face with this villain who was your college roommate.”

I always knew he had darkness in him, but I never imagined he was capable of becoming the person standing in front of me.

When I first met Jonathan Gray on move-in day at Georgetown University, he was different from what I expected. For some reason I had pictured him as a joker and an extrovert, but when I met him I found he was shy and mild-mannered, very much an introvert.

Anyway, we got to know each other, and in some ways he was a really nice guy, and he was always a very loyal friend from the start. And he always took good care of his side of the room. I really couldn’t have asked for a better roommate.

We would get into deep discussions sometimes, and I enjoyed them because we had very different worldviews but the discussions were always respectful.

But every once in a while, despite the cordial nature and tone of these discussions, he would say something that would jump out at me, something that I would find very disturbing or alarming. He would talk about things he would do if he ruled the world, and those things sometimes involved the wiping out of entire nations, the question of why nuclear weapons are not used more often in war, very harsh and distributive forms of justice for people who do misdeeds, extreme levels of Social Darwinism, etc.

As time went on I think we began to rub off on each other a bit, and we definitely developed a closer bond. I think the environment of Georgetown rubbed off on him too, because he began to express fewer and fewer of these thoughts.

We were close friends, and he was always loyal, but after college we unfortunately lost touch. I don’t know why it is that way so much of the time with males. Even though the bond is always there in our friendships, the contact often fades.

I had seen him a few times since college, but this was the first time I had even seen or heard from him in a year. I was now standing face-to-face with the man now also known as The Enforcer.

The Enforcer’s goal was to build an army that would use brutal tactics to punish those who commit even the pettiest of crimes and get revenge on his enemies. If you combined the retributive ideology toward justice of The Punisher and the Boondock Saints with the rigidity of Javert from Les Miserables, you would get The Enforcer’s goals. The Enforcer felt that the current criminal justice system needed to be reformed, and not in the way where we try to rehabilitate people, but in a way where we brutally enforce the law and harshly punish those who break it to deter crime.

Some of the worst penalties you could suffer from The Enforcer and his army of Disciplinaries included quartering, crucifixion, burning at the stake, flaying, etc. And there were no trials. The Enforcer and his army do not wait around to execute their gruesome form of justice. They believe in acting swiftly. This was Jon Gray’s mission.

“Well Mason, aren’t you at least going to say hello to your old roomie?” Jon said to me.

“Jon, you need to stop this. I realize that you want to get rid of crime, but you have taken this objective way too far. You’re using a cannon to kill mosquitoes.”

“These are CRIMINALS, Mason! The scum of our society! You were always such a bleeding heart–hell, that’s your new identity now–and I suppose that’s an admirable trait in a lot of ways, but I will never understand why you would let your heart bleed for DEGENERATES!”

“Offenders are people too, and when they are rehabilitated they can give back to society. There is a use for these people.”

“These are the bad guys, Mason. I’ve known you for a long time, and I know you’re a good person. So why would you take the side of the bad guys?”

“You know it’s more complicated than that, Jon.”

“You are too caught up in this Bleeding Heart persona. Step out of it for a second and really consider whether you are on the right side of this.”

“Justice cannot exist without due process and rule of law. And you should be ashamed that as a former District Attorney you have abandoned all that.”

“I lost too many cases. I saw too many worthless pieces of shit get off scott free. Our system doesn’t work. It needs to be bypassed altogether. I should have known that you’d take this side considering how much I hear about how great of a defense attorney Mason McAndrew is.”

“I CHOOSE MY CASES CAREFULLY!”

“And are you so sure that ALL the people you have defended are innocent, Mason? How many people do you think you have let get away with terrible crimes?”

“And how many people do you think the justice system wrongfully convicts Jon? How many people do you think you have delivered ‘justice’ to that really didn’t deserve it? There is no greater crime than punishing an innocent civilian. If anything, our justice system is unfair in that not everyone gets a fair shake, and it is not rehabilitative enough. The recidivism rate is way too high, and we need to make sure people succeed after they get out of prison. We waste so much money on our justice system!”

“That wouldn’t be a problem if we just snuffed out crime before it began with harsh deterrents. Maybe you need to feel my brand of justice to see what I mean.”

“I’m done talking about this. I will hand you over to the police, and unlike your countless victims, you will get a trial. And you should thank me for that Jon.”

“I will be thankful when I drive my fist through your bleeding heart. You are an enemy of The Discipline and you must die. I regret that it has to come to this.”

Jon’s fists turned to teflon, and I activated my electrical field. We shed a tear as we charged towards each other.