Submitted by Cody_Fox23 t3_106x4ek in WritingPrompts

#Welcome back to Smash ‘Em Up Sunday!




On Sunday morning at 9:30 AM Eastern in our Discord server’s voice chat, come hang out and listen to the stories that have been submitted be read. I’d love to have you there! You can be a reader and/or a listener. Plus if you wrote we can offer crit in-chat if you like!


##Last Week


####Community Choice


  1. /u/rainbow--penguin - “A Contract Sealed with Cocoa” - I can’t describe it better than the title does.

  2. /u/Zetakh - “Wedding Crasher” - An ex tries to interrupt a wedding in stylish fashion.

  3. /u/GrunkleStanwhich - “Bingo with the Devil” - Bingo is serious business and ruining a night out for many fantastical creatures is not advised.


####Cody’s Choice



##This Week’s Challenge


Welcome to the new year one and all. I figured I would get the year started off right with one of the most popular theme months we have here at SEUS: Genre Month. Each week I’ll be throwing a new genre at you. Writing in that genre will only be worth three of the points for that week of course. The rest of the constraints are inspired by that genre and might help make a story in it a bit easier as the building blocks are geared toward it though. So let’s see you flex your potential. Use tropes, motifs, and stock characters to your advantage and let’s explore some genres that may or may not be familiar to you!


Great work on the urban fantasies everyone! The next genre up is not a genre as recognized by most definitions, but more of a story premise. However I want stories like this so you know, my feature, my rules. So what are we looking at? Well I’m calling it Temporal fiction: stories that are based in time being or acting weird. But Cody, I hear you say, that’s just science fiction! Well not exactly. It could also be fantasy with some sort of enchantment. It might even be a very grounded story with just a bit of time weirdness. I mean sure I love time loops, but you can do so much more with it. You could do traveling into the past, the future, encountering a time traveler, or time flowing abnormally. Just as long as time being weird is a central part of the story.


###How to Contribute


Write a story or poem, no more than 800 words in the comments using at least two things from the three categories below. The more you use, the more points you get. Because yes! There are points! You have until 11:59 PM EDT 14 Jan 2023 to submit a response.

After you are done writing please be sure to take some time to read through the stories before the next SEUS is posted and tell me which stories you liked the best. You can give me just a number one, or a top 5 and I’ll enter them in with appropriate weighting. Feel free to DM me on Reddit or Discord!


Category Points
Word List 1 Point
Sentence Block 2 Points
Defining Features 3 Points


####Word List

  • Loop

  • Tunnel

  • Anachronism

  • String


####Sentence Block

  • It was one of many outcomes

  • There was time enough at last.


####Defining Features

  • Genre: Temporal

  • A character has knowledge they shouldn't.


##What’s happening at /r/WritingPrompts?


  • Nominate your favourite WP authors or commenters for Spotlight and Hall of Fame! We count on your nominations to make our selections.

  • Come hang out at The Writing Prompts Discord! I apologize in advance if I kinda fanboy when you join. I love my SEUS participants <3 Heck you might influence a future month’s choices!

  • Want to help the community run smoothly? Try applying for a mod position. Everytime you ban someone, the number tattoo on your arm increases by one!


###I hope to see you all again next week!



You must log in or register to comment.

katpoker666 t1_j4b7ycs wrote

‘Time Stopper 3000’


The holopixel echoed in the vast apartment. Sasha, the Shar Pei, with her crinkly face covered in slobber, lounged on her dog bed, awaiting her mistress’ return.


8:34 PM:

<<Happy birthday, Alissa! Tired of crow’s feet, elevens, and marionette lines? Check out our patented TimeStopper 3000 Wrinkles Be Gone service! For the low, low price of 14 credits per wrinkle per month, we will literally freeze time on the parts of your face that bother you most! Yes, that’s right—targeted temporal stoppage is finally at your fingertips! Contact us now by touching anywhere on this ad!>>


8:48 PM:

<<Alissa, you’re turning thirty-eight today. You really should have begun TimeStopper 3000 ten years ago to get the best results. Luckily for you, we can preserve what’s left of your rapidly dwindling youth. Contact us now by touching anywhere on this ad!>>


9:13 PM:

<<Alissa, don’t miss this one-time opportunity—do a free wrinkle assessment now! Simply touch anywhere on your screen.>>

Sasha stretched before walking up to the holopixel and booping the screen with her nose.

<<Alissa, excellent choice.>>

Beams scan Sasha’s face.

<<Oh. Oh my. I’ve never seen anything this damaged… Haven’t you heard of sunscreen? I’m afraid we can’t help yo—>>

screen goes mute

<<Alissa—good news! My manager said we can help. For only…let’s see…14 credits per wrinkle…carry the one…that comes to 64,342 credits per month with tax. Save an extra 10% with a year-long subscription. Do you accept?>>

Sasha touches the screen with her moist black nose.

<<Fantastic. We will bill you directly to your account. And you’re personalized time freeze starts now.>>

Sasha stands frozen, doll-like. Her brown eyes and nostrils are the only parts that move.

“C’mere girl! Mama’s home! … Sasha?!?!!>>


WC: 292


Thanks for reading! Feedback is always very much appreciated


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g1dqw wrote

Thank you for your submission; it has scored 6 points!


bookworm271 t1_j4ebl7q wrote

#Time for Sundaes

On August 29, 1877 the town of Willowsdale welcomed two baby girls. Sarah Anne Gerhardt was born in the morning, and Emma Theresa Olson twelve hours later. The townspeople thought they'd be lifelong friends, and they had many play dates their first year. But while Sarah would be a lifelong resident of Willowsdale, Emma would disappear suddenly on the girls' first birthday.


Julia threw her phone on her bed.

"That prick!" she shouted. "Two weeks, and he says the long distance isn't working, and 'we should date other people.' Probably cheated on me, and wants to break it off before it's all over Insta."

"What a piece of human garbage." her roommate Tess said. "Don't string this out any further. Dump him."

"I mean, I knew it was one of many outcomes when we decided on different schools, " Julia admitted. "But two weeks?"

"Garbage. How about we get peanut butter and strawberry sundaes and binge Netflix?"

"That sounds amaze - wait how did you know those sundaes are my comfort food?"

"You mentioned it?" Tess said. "They remind you of PB&Js?"

"No I didn't. That's why I like them, but I haven't had a PB&J sundae situation yet."

"You were tired. It was after last week's all nighter."

"Huh," Julia said. "Well the answer is yes. Let's drown that scumbag with ice cream."

They used the tunnels connecting their dorm to the dining hall to procure the deserts, and settled into a Netflix binge.

"Dang," Julia said pushing her empty sundae cup aside. "I lucked out getting you for a roommate. "

With some encouragement from Tess, Julia soon found herself putting her ex in the past, and focused on enjoying Freshman year. While at times life seemed an endless loop of classes, dining center meals, and parties, the chill to the air suggested Christmas was approaching.

Two weeks before break, the girls were waiting for the elevator. Julia would have taken the stairs, but Tess said something about being tired. When the doors opened, two guys struggling with a couch attempted to get out. Julia recognized one of them as her Devon, who she'd been crushing on for a month, though she doubted he knew of her existence.  "Need help?" she offered, hoping she didn't sound too eager.

Twenty minutes later, as they left the guys' dorm, Devon's number newly added to Julia's phone, Tess grinned. "Bet you're glad we waited for the elevator."

After Christmas, Julia and Devon started dating. Tess didn't seem surprised.

When spring came, and it was time to make living arrangements for next year, it seemed obvious to Julia to keep rooming with Tess.

Tess, however, looked anxious at this request.  "I can't," she whispered. "I won't be here next year."

"What do you mean?" Julia was confused.

Tess seemed to be debating something than sighed. "I'm a time traveler." she said. "Unwilling, but each year, on my birthday, I end up somewhere different in time for the next year."

"Haha. Come on, room with me again. "

"I'm serious. New year, new time. The only constant is each year I get an amazing best friend, and every one of them is either an ancestor or descendant of Sarah Gerhardt."

Julia gaped. "That's my-"

"Third great-grandmother? We were both born in Willosdale, August 29th 1877. I've been bffs with various ladies in your family ever since. Including your daughter."

"My daughter?"

"It's how I knew about the PB&J sundaes. You served them to us in 2044 - which was two years ago for me."

"Your serious," Julia said, stunned.

"Unfortunately. Please, don't ask me to reveal more about the future, or show you some futuristic gadget. Anachronisms are risky with time travel. I never know if I'm going backwards or forwards, so I leave the tech behind."

"Have you tried to stop it?"

"Multiple times. Always fails. So let's enjoy the time we have, and know you'll see me again."

After that conversation, both girls treasured what they knew to be limited time. They spent August 28th throwing Tess an early birthday, and Julia hoped that when she woke it would be an elaborate prank.  That there was time enough at last for a lifelong friendship. But when she called Tess on the 29th, the number was disconnected. She was gone.

September 2044

Julia scoops ice cream into bowls, strawberries and peanut butter ready for toppings. Her and Devon's daughter Lily is bringing her new friend Emma over after school today. She hears the door open, and Lily's voice, along with one she hasn't heard in years. The girls enter the kitchen, and there she is. Tess - Emma - slightly younger than when Julia knew her. Julia steadies herself and smiles. "Hi! Do you have time for sundaes?"

WC: 790 Edit: formatting


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g66hz wrote

Thank you for your submission; you have scored 14 points!


mattswritingaccount t1_j3nzlap wrote



“I don’t understand.” Whispered. Screamed. Often with tears streaming from her eyes, though oddly enough many times not. Regardless, those were the words that would forever haunt my soul, a string of confusion that danced ever so delicately against the terrified cries of the dead and dying around us. Each loop was supposed to bring us one step closer to absolution, salvation at the cost of the wholesale slaughter of an entire alternate dimension’s worth of people.

A moment’s rest before the next string was pulled, and her eyes met mine. Desperation flared within those pools of blue. We both knew hope was likely futile; no matter how many times we dived into this tunnel, we’d only emerge on the other side in yet another horrific masterpiece. It was simply one of many outcomes, each more horrible than the next.

But we had to continue. It was our only hope and the only way we knew to get home.

After the next dimension shattered around us and a billion-billion souls met their sudden and immediate demise, a rare moment of quiet drifted between us. I realized with a start that we had come to an uninhabited dimension. There was quite literally nothing here to die, nothing here to destroy, nothing at all, well… at all.

For once, there was time enough to be free. At last.

Trembling, my hand broached the distance toward her and met her halfway. Her skin was clammy, cold, trembling with the fear and loathing that I knew my own shook with. Hell, we’d watched – no, experienced as accidental gods – how many uncountable universes perish now by our own hands? My voice cracked once as I spoke. “O… only a few more to go, love.”

“We will get home, right?”

I hesitated. I already knew the answer. This experiment had never been successful in any prior attempt. No other test subject had ever returned. None.

As the worlds started to tear around us again and a tear pulled at my eye, I whispered, “Yes. We will get home. I promise.”


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j3rq1do wrote

Thank you for your submission! It scored 13 points.


Helicopterdrifter t1_j43jpal wrote

Duality: Harmony

Part 2

Harmony walked out of the reality tear with her shoulders back and her chin held high. Grace bumped into her as she continued past.

“Easy,” Harmony complained, then glanced back to see the previous alley and the shadowed horizon. She dismissed her concern, then followed Grace, who’d stepped onto a trail and hurried to the nearby tunnel.

A walking track passed through a corridor under a roadway, and Grace crouched near the entrance. She smiled as her hand pressed against the gray stone covered with paintings. “We really are here,” she said as she admired the painted bunny that shared a bucket mound up with several spools of string.

“You had doubts?” Harmony asked.

“I mean, I knew, but I didn’t, you know?”

Harmony shook her head. “Can’t say that I do.”

Grace looked back while gesturing to the wall. “I painted this bunny and pale when I was younger.” She ran her hand up the wall, along a string that left a spoil, looped around the pale’s handle, and led up to a helicopter. “Someone else added the spools and the helicopter, though.”

“This was before Daniel, right?” Harmony asked as she walked over and leaned against the same wall.

“Yeah,” Grace replied. “Before I met him, I worried about ending up alone. I wanted to focus on painting but still needed to figure out how to pay for college, while also finding time for a love life.”

“School won’t pay for itself.”

“Right. But then I got my art scholarship and met him shortly after. Things were finally looking up. I no longer had to worry about paying for college, and Daniel was absolutely perfect for me. He eventually proposed, and I got to focus on my painting while still having time to plan our perfect wedding. I went from having nothing, to having everything, and it seemed like there was time enough, at last.”

“Then back to having nothing. Fate sure has a sick sense of humor.”

Grace looks at Harmony, her face contorted in confusion. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Ugh, the end of the world?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Grace replied as she stood and spun with upturned palms. “Just look around. Everything is fine. It’s all fine, you see? So stop being crazy.”

No,” Harmony replied, her head canted in irritation.

Grace’s eyes dawned with comprehension. “Oh, I get it. You’re jealous. Yeah. Daniel and I are getting married when he returns and you’re just trying to mess up our future.”

“What the hell are you talking about, kid? You have no future.”

“Don’t call me kid.”

Fine. Princess, then. That works too.”

“Daniel’s princess, maybe.” Grace replied and stuck out her tongue.

“I stand corrected, A kid-princess. Did you forget we just walked through a tear in reality? That’s not exactly normal, you know?”

A phone rung from the corridor and Grace immediately oriented on it, then froze as she looked towards the sound. Light bled into the darkened space from a wall in the tunnel’s center, and the sound radiated from within.

“Running horse,” Harmony said. “It’s the ring tone you set for whenever Daniel calls.”

Grace’s haunted eyes shifted to Harmony, who returned a smug expression.

“There aren’t any lights in there,” Grace said.

“I know.”

“Well, where’s it coming from?”

“Why should you believe me? I’m crazy, remember? None of this is real, and the world isn’t ending.”

Grace nodded. “Right... So what do you think he wants?”

“It’s not about what he wants. It’s about what you have to tell him.”

“What I have to say? But I have nothing. I mean, he knows how I feel and everything---”

“Are you really going to leave him hanging on a long distance call? You actually get some good news out of it. He gives you a response. It was one of many outcomes, where you get the one you least expected.”

“How could you possibly know all of that?”

Harmony shrugs. “I’ve seen these moments.”

“So what, you’re from the future?”

Harmony shakes her head. “No, I’m from not from a place or a time. I don’t belong anywhere, yet I’m still part of it all. I’m a probability, and a potential error---an anachronism. But what I’m not, is your butler. And that phone’s just gonna keep on ringing.”

WC: 718

I'm still trying to sort out working with past tense. Feel free to point out any issues or anything else you find relevant! Thanks for reading!


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j46c1ux wrote

Thank you for your submission! It has been scored at 14 points!


AstroRide t1_j3jqz5v wrote

##The Last Missed Goodbye

Gerald smiles at his younger self and his little brother Daryl as they play in their room.

Gerry changed his battle bot’s setting to offense and was striking Daryl’s robot. Daryl pretended his robot had lost function to stop the fight. When Gerry stopped attacking, Daryl switched his into attack mode.

Gerald laughs at the scene. His brother used that trick so many times, but Gerald always played along.

“You shouldn’t be here, and you know it,” Jack says from behind him.

“Be quiet. You’re interrupting the important moment,” Gerald says.

“Kids, I’m going to the store.” Gerry’s mom walked into the room. Gerry left his toys and ran to give his mom a massive hug.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you too.” His mom giggled and wrapped her arms around him. “But I have to go.”

“No don’t,” Gerry said.

“What’s gotten into you?” Daryl asked.

“You told him. Didn’t you?” Jack asks.

“I planted the thought into his mind that he should appreciate his mom today. I didn’t mention anything about the accident in the tunnel,” Gerald replies.

“Why would you do that? You know it’s going to cause an anachronism. Your mother’s death, while tragic, was one of many outcomes. The outcomes became circumstances which later created the outcome of-”

“Yes yes yes, I know all about that.” Gerald waves his hands. “You’re going to lecture me about time loops and paradoxes. Don’t bother. I completed my fiftieth chronal realignment when you were still studying string theory.”

“Which is why it’s shocking to see you doing this.” Jack shakes his head. “I looked up to you. You were a model for duty and keeping the agency’s values.”

“I never agreed with those values, but I didn’t care enough to correct them. For instance.” Gerald holds out his arm. “What’s the harm in giving a boy a chance to say goodbye.”

“Sorry, I’m being weird, mom. I just had a nightmare where I saw you get hurt, and it scared me,” Gerry began to cry.

“Oh sweetie.” His mom bent down and wiped his face. “It’s okay to worry about your family. I worry about you two all the time, but there’s parts of our lives that we can’t control. If I get hurt, I’ll get better. I’m only leaving for a quick errand. When I come back, we can eat ice cream and watch a movie.”

“But what if you don’t come back?” Gerry whimpered.

“Well, that’s horrible to think about, and I will come back,” his mom paused, “But if I don’t, I know I’ll live on with you two. In your hearts and memories.” She turned and walked away. Daryl came behind his brother and pushed him.

“Why were you being so weird?” he asked.

“Shut up,” Gerry replied.

Gerald smiles and cries at the scene. Jack monitors the timeline with his temporal tracker.

“Hmm, your mother still dies in the same accident, and you are still a decorated chronal officer for now.” Jack shifts through the tracker. “But she got into an accident with someone else. Who knows what kind of impact that might have on the future.”

“That’s fine. I knew the events wouldn’t play out in the exact same fashion. But I got the chance to say good-bye and tell her I love her. All my life I wished I had more time to say goodbye, And now, there was time enough, at last.” Gerald holds out his wrists. “Arrest me Jack. My work is done.”

“You realize we may have to perform a reversion if we find your change is too great.” Jack puts on the handcuffs.

“Of course, I only wanted to see myself say goodbye to her. That’s all. I hope Daryl and I are still close,” Gerald says. Jack opens the portal behind them.

“I don’t know whether to condemn you or pat you on the back,” Jack says.

“Do both or neither,” Gerald smiles, “Just make sure you think for yourself in the future.”



Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j3lutxu wrote

Thank you for your submission; you story scored 14 points!


Ishouldbeworking01 t1_j44fmb2 wrote

I open /r/ writingpromts as a first time writer looking to flex my muscles and start my journey to writing a book.

Im hooked so many choices, so many options, I've always been full of ideas and now I'm feed the start of any kind of story I would like to write.

I Take a brief look over the FAQ before the weekly Smash_em_up catch's my eye.

Temporal fiction, hmm i think I could string together something about time.

Ever since I've started working form home and I made a reddit account there was time enough at last to focus on what I wanted to do, and now that I didn't have to talk to any one and just had to wiggle my mouse every now and then to show that I'm active, I can write all day- I know I should be working but hey with everything that's been going on I need a break lately I've just been feeling like I cant catch up.

I open my word doc to start a draft and it prompts me to pick up where I left off, I don't remember writing any thing? better open it to see what I was doing and if its important.

Ok odd, its a short story about time loops and a man repeating the same thing over and over again- this is crazy I was just looking at at a writing prompt for this exact topic, i must have started this another time and never finished it, hey its not spilt milk so im not crying my work is already done, thanks past me lol.

I enter the story in the comment box on reddit, check the spelling and spacing and hit the post button.

Ok Reddit must be playing up its just taken me back to the front page of writing prompts and when I go to check the comment thread I can't find my post at all, its not even open in word any more.

I open word again and get the same prompt to pick up where I left off, ok odd i thought I had saved last time, but hey thanks Microsoft, I click open.

Maybe I didn't read it fully last time the story draft seems the same but now its a Time Tunnel and a story of a man trying to go back along 'times tunnel' to try and escape the loop he is caught in, it still fits the word count and looks good so I shake my head, must need an energy drink or maybe more sleep. I save the document to the desktop.

This time I triple check, I'm in the right place, the right comment box, I have copied and pasted it from the word doc, the story fits all categories.

I hit the post button.

Ok what the f**K.

Back at the same point again, front page of writing prompts, my word doc is closed.

Ok maybe this is more a computer problem and not a reddit problem, because when I go to look for my word doc on my desktop its gone again.

I'm getting worried now, I might have to do some work to pay for computer repair and I don't want that.

I go to open word a third time, and see the same error again asking to pick up where I left off, I click yes.

A third document this time the theme has changed a lot, this one is a story that talks about Anachronism and how some events are locked and cant be changed but different paths will branch of from this point, this story's tone is very glum and I don't remember writing the main character as sad but resigned accepting his fate.

Man this is crazy I really want to write about this topic but something is gonig on with my computer or maybe my brain, and looking at the time its almost closed for submissions, I get the bright idea to message the moderator who posted the story prompt and ask for a time extension.

I give a brief run down of what's going on and send the message off.

And again I'm back at the front page of writing prompts, but have a flashing icon that some has messaged me back.

Its from Cody_fox23!

'Hello Ishouldbeworking01, yes I've given you a time extension, I thought this might happen when I chose time as the subject, I've seen it happen many times before, It was one of many outcomes that could have happened.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j46e2i1 wrote

Thank you for the meta submission! It has been scored at 14 points! See you on the next loop.


rainbow--penguin t1_j48e63x wrote

#The Perfect Coffee Order

My first reset of the day happens when I fluff up my coffee order. Too flustered to decide on a drink, I accidentally string them together and ask for a "hazelbread latte". I stammer to correct myself but it's too late. The regret has already taken root. I just have time to feel the flush of heat to my face as I cringe before a familiar hiss of static fills my ears, and the past couple of minutes whirr by until I'm back waiting in line.

This time, I rehearse my order in my head. Gingerbread latte. Gingerbread latte.

When I reach the front, I practically shout it at the poor girl behind the counter. My face flushes. I cringe. Static hisses in my ears, and the minutes whirr back again.

On my next go, I get past the order. But when it comes to paying, I send a handful of change scattering. Face flushes. Cringe. Static hisses. Minutes whirr back.

The next few loops pass similarly, but with frustration and impatience building inside me, time starts slipping away, the seconds speeding by. I can hardly figure out the source of my regret before it's taken me back to the start. Flush, cringe, hiss, whirr. Flush, cringe, hiss, whirr.

With a deep breath, inhaling the rich nutty aroma of freshly ground coffee, I force the frustration away. What sense is there in being impatient when time isn't actually passing?

Gradually, the seconds start slowing, giving me long enough to think. I'd learnt from past experience that there was always more than one solution. Whichever path I take, it will be one of many outcomes. I've been fixating on the coffee order, but maybe it's time to tunnel out an alternate exit. After all, I don't really need a coffee. Do I?

I make it all the way to my desk before I reach for a cup that isn't there. The hiss of static fills my ears as the minutes whirr past, leaving me back in line.

Certain that my only way out is through, my resolve strengthens. Learning from my past errors, I manage to politely order my drink and pay by card before stepping to the side to allow the next person forward. I press my back to the wall so that when a man walks past with mugs balanced precariously on his wobbling tray, there's at least an inch clearance between his feet and mine. Of course, he doesn't notice, his eyes fixed on his drinks.

After exactly two minutes and twenty-five seconds, I step forward just as the barista calls out, "Gingerbread latte!"

"Thanks," I say with a smile and a nod, taking the cup from their hand ever so gently to set down on the counter and press on the loose lid. Though the skin on my hand was never technically scolded by spilt coffee, the memory of it still smarts.

With my drink secure I head for the door. I did it. The perfect coffee run. Nothing to cringe over later. No injuries to nurse. I have the exact drink I want to fuel me through my day.

Sometimes, I curse my strange affliction, making me feel like an anachronism in my own life, but then moments like these make me wonder: how does everyone else cope without it? How can they be satisfied with such an imperfect existence?

Chest puffed up, I reach for the door—

—as it swings into me, sending my cup flying, coating me in hot liquid. Resigning myself to one final attempt, I wait for the hiss of static to drown out the stranger's apologies. But before it can, a gentle touch on my arm draws my attention, and I meet her gaze. I lose myself in deep brown eyes and a stare as endless as time itself.

"Are you alright?" The words reach my ears eventually, but it's as if they travel through treacle to get there.

"Oh... yes. I'm fine." My own voice sounds strange too, each syllable extended. "I'm sorry—"

"Nonsense. It's me who should be sorry." Those brown eyes flash as lashes flutter in a blink, the corner of her mouth twitching up. "Though if it wasn't for my clumsiness, we might never have met."

My lip twitches up in a mirror of hers. Despite the coffee seeping into my clothes, I can't help but agree. There isn't an ounce of regret in me. In fact, I wish I had time to drink in every last detail of this moment.

As I stare into her eyes, I can feel my heart pounding inside, as if it's racing. But it seems as if the time between beats is growing and growing. Everything is moving slower and slower.

Until it stops.

And there is time enough at last.

WC: 800

I really appreciate any and all feedback

See more I've written at /r/RainbowWrites


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g0y28 wrote

Thank you for your submission; it has scored 13 14 points!


rainbow--penguin t1_j4g1tza wrote

Heck, what did I miss? I thought I had the full 14.

Edit: Ah, it's "loops". I must have cut that in an edit. Will add it back in.


dewa1195 t1_j4c0d32 wrote

I don’t know if time flows normally outside.

I don’t know if I’m some simulation in a computer game where I loop a particular scenario over and over expecting different outcomes.

I don’t know if I’m a sinner who’s sinned to live this cursed moment again and again and again without any reprieve.

I don’t know why this happens. I don’t know how this happens.

I just know that I’ve lived and have been reliving this same memory for a long time.But

It always started with me waking up in the back of a car exiting a tunnel.


A woman’s laughter would reach my ears. ’Sweetheart,’ she would say, turning to look at me. Hearing her voice used to make me happy in the beginning—fill me with warmth.

“Let him sleep, pspspst,” a man would say. I always sit up when I hear him—as I did now.

“But he looks so cute. Don’t you want to squish his cheeks and hope he stays that young forever?” the woman said, wistful. “I want him to stay young. Keep holding him in my arms. Hide him away and keep him safe from this big bad world.”

It used to jar me when she’d say this. I was a grown man. I’d grown tall and strong and… I forgot the rest. I just knew I wasn’t that young anymore.

The man chuckled at the words, gentle, quiet and understanding all in one. “You know the world doesn’t work like that.”

“A mother can dream,” said the woman, prim.

A song would start playing now. I’d started hating it after the first few loops. I couldn’t be bothered now. Love, hate, sadness, anger… they’d all lost their meaning somewhere after the thousandth loop. The woman started to hum. The sound would grow louder and louder, until the man would pinch the bridge of his nose and start singing. It would be off-key, horrible—but they’d laugh.

The man’s singing brought me back to the present. The soothing ever-present pounding of the rain always did add to the dreamy haze.

The singing stopped and I jolted at the sudden silence—this, too, happened every loop. Something about this moment would always make me jolt no matter how many times I’ve relived it.

The man sat hunched over the vehicle, a hand clutching at his chest. The car kept on moving, the woman cried out, tried to help. I lurched forward, but couldn’t move.

I could never change this part—or what was coming. I’d tried countless times.

Time and tide waits for none. I’d heard this somewhere—in the long-forgotten time where I was grown, perhaps—and it struck true, now more than ever. For I could never stop time.

A vehicle—speeding—hit ours. The car flipped, like it did in the movies.

I landed next to the car. Never remembered how that happened, no matter how many loops I’ve been in.

People say you can feel time slow down and see your entire life play out. It always happened in the blink of an eye. Nothing registered.

Things changed here. I changed here.

If I looked down, my limbs would be bigger. Movements come easy. This would be the part where I am given more freedom.

I could save them, I could kill them, I could walk away… whatever change I made would have no effect the next day. I would still wake up in the backseat of a car exiting a tunnel.

I rose to my knees, eyes watching the woman—someone important. I knew not the why, and had stopped caring about the how. The man, too, had been equally important. He was gone though. I wouldn’t—couldn’t—look at him now. I huffed and shifted my focus to her.

I pulled her phone—a small, flip-phone, an anachronism—and called 911, and waited.

I’d been a moody fellow when I was grown. My actions after this point changed with the wind.

Sometimes, I’d hold her hand and help her pass peacefully into the ether.

Sometimes, I’d whisper good-nothings into her ears as we waited for the ambulance to come in. Her life would be saved. But I’d never get to visit her.

Sometimes, I’d be cruel to her, blaming her for everything that happened to me. It was one of the outcomes after all.

Having lived this long, I’d done it all.

But these days, I walked away. There was nothing I could do. Nothing that changed my situation. Something had snapped sometime ago. A string, perhaps, or was it my sanity?

This time around, I watched the life wash out of her eyes. I kept my hands and words and comfort to myself.

There was time enough, was what they all said.

But for me, there was none.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g1um7 wrote

Thank you for your submission; it has scored 14 points!


wordsonthewind t1_j4calpx wrote

When I built my time machine I thought I could finally fix everything. I would go back into my personal history, redoing as much of my lifespan as it took until I found the perfect sequence of perfect days. Any number of loops was worth it if I could find the sequence of events that would make them stay. But they always left me, no matter what actions I took, no matter how many times I fired up my machine and hopped back for another go.

Bereft, I abandoned my own time period and took to wandering. I visited Japan in the 1920s, France in the 1400s, and many other far-flung places and eras besides. Then, in a London inn in 1752, I dreamed of a shining city which had streets that hurt my eyes. I saw the people who lived there, happy and perfected, from every world and time I could imagine. One of them looked right at me and smiled, and I knew the dream was true. My only thought when I woke was to make my way there immediately. But no matter how I searched the past and future, that perfect city was nowhere to be found.

It galled me. By this time I had long since experienced my life countless times over, to the point where my destitution and ruin was just one of many outcomes to me. I had nothing left to see in this world. But my machine could not break through this world and see the other possibilities still to be offered elsewhere. The set of possible timelines I could visit remained confined to the history of the world I had been born in.

Building my time machine had taken nearly a decade of obsessive tinkering and planning. It took me an order of magnitude more than that before I could upgrade it to access all the possibilities of all the worlds that were or would ever be. And with that, I entered the multiverse.

It is useless to talk of the passing of years when you can traverse that span at will. For many repair cycles of my time machine, I explored the multiverse and lost myself to its delights. Why chase a dream of utopia when a myriad of real pleasures lay open to me for the taking?

But the city found me again.

Chronoberg was a legend among the time travelers who had reached the multiverse. Where everyone who had ever lived was subject to time, moving ever forward into the dark tunnel of the future, the architects who built Chronoberg saw time as their plaything and tool. They paved their streets with it. Most importantly, it was the one place out of all the endless possibilities offered by the past and future that our machines could not reach. We only had those tantalizing little hints at the city's existence, a million tiny anachronisms scattered across just as many timelines. Dangled before us like bait on a string, some travelers whispered.

Except I had more than that. I had help, but I had no idea where it came from. The plans were simply on my desk one day. One last modification to my time machine: simple, but so counterintuitive that I would never have thought to try it on my own. Even seeing the diagrams and calculations that proved its veracity, I doubted it would work.

But I followed the plans exactly. And this time, my machine didn't jump forwards or backwards in my own world's history, nor sideways into the histories of other worlds. It went in a completely new direction, one that I had no name for. I found myself outside a shining gate. The happy city lay just beyond, its streets glinting with frozen time.

I would have to drop off those last plans at my own desk someday, I decided.

I stepped through. Here, I knew, there was time enough at last.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g309g wrote

Thank you for your submission; it has scored 14 points!


Charlie_Romeo_Writes t1_j3mxaaa wrote

It is said that when people die, their lives flash before their eyes. Decades worth of memories, feelings, choices... all reduced to one final kaleidoscope of life. There was a romance to all of it. Hearing each string of ones life played in one last harmony, the chord of one's existence letting ring one final and somber measure before being silenced unto eternity.

For Kristics, those imbued by the power of the land, this was not so. They were robbed of this like so many other things. Kristics would be sent back to one final memory - or so the scribes conjected. No Kristic had ever been brought back from death. Not that any would ever put so much effort into one such as them.

When Remin felt the chill winds of the Northern Province across his face and the grey shades of a fall sky, he knew exactly where he was. It was one of many outcomes. Perhaps also the worst of them. He'd spent his entire life avoiding this pain. Running from it. Cauterizing the pain in his mind so thoroughly that at some point, it lay so scarred and calloused that it had forgotten how to feel. In that numbness he had hidden his entire life. All things end in time, though.

"Look! Can you guess what it is?" spoke Linded, his long dead younger brother. In his hands a blade of grass was twisted and tied into a shape roughly resembling an animal. He'd always made such things. Many thought of him as simple, or otherwise afflicted. Remin always figured that he could just find beauty in what the rest had found mundane.

Remin's instincts kicked in immediately and he looked around quickly, trying to find his Kristine image. His mind tried to find the cycle point of the loop, yet none existed. Linded looked directly at him - the real him. So this is what they spoke of.

Tentatively, he spoke. "Is it.. a cow?"

"No! It's a horse, obviously." Linded made a face of simple annoyance that only a child could truly muster. "Can't you see the mane?" He extended his forefinger to a few shunted sections of grass that looked nothing like a mane.

Remin felt an alien. He desperately looked for the customary anachronisms. The clothes of those who forced him to bore the cognitive tunnel - the wardens or advisors of the lord who had forced him to re-spin this image. His own garb or age. Yet when he looked down, he himself looked to be only a child. The same child from all those countless days ago.

"Linded, can you see me?" Remin asked.

"No wonder you couldn't see the mane. You've lost your mind." Linded giggled as he spoke, discarding the horse onto the damp earth below. "That's alright. I'll make another one. One that even crazy people know what it is." With that he knelt down and plucked another long blade of grass, beginning to twist it and pull it as he slowly trudged forward towards the hills where he would die, as he had died a thousand times over in Remin's mind.

"Wait!" Remin bolted forward and grabbed his arm with a grip like iron. Linded winced and yelped, dropping his unfinished creation. Tears began to well up in his eyes. A great sense of shame washed over Remin like an ice cold wave. Back then, he had been cruel. Heedless. Such was the nature of youth - those who thought all which was precious would remain indefinitely.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry." Remin spoke softly, loosening his iron grip. "But... perhaps we shouldn't hunt today."

Linded looked at him curiously, the hurt and panic in his face washing away to reveal a mask of confusion. "But you said you wanted to go hunting."

"I.. perhaps so. You'll have other times to learn the art, though."

Linded peered at him a moment longer before speaking. "OK. I don't really care about hunting."

"Then why did you go? Why did you ever come here?" Rendid felt his voice cracking as he spoke and the long forgotten sensation of tears welling.

"I wanna go where you go. I came because I thought you wanted to hunt today." The answer was spoken simply, as if it was the most obvious truth in the world.

Remin gently turned his younger brother around, back towards their meager childhood home. He figured he would see the familiar grey mist soon - the marker of the re-spun image which denoted the boundaries within. He took a long look at Linded, and knelt to pluck a blade of grass which he handed over to his younger brother, who beamed a smile in return. Desperately, Remin hoped it would continue. He hoped there would be enough time at last.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j3n8uw1 wrote

Thank you for your submission; you story scored 14 points!


vMemory t1_j46o1p9 wrote


A flash, a byte-green tunnel, and I was back in the arcade again. My white-knuckled sweaty hands were still gripping the joystick. Dim flickering lights of lonely machines bleeping retro 8-bit game synths. Dead chill, windows fogged up, puddles outside lapping on spilled neon.

“Waka-waka-waka.” Pac-Man ran from his ghosts.

I saw her out of the corner of my eye but pretended not to. She wasn’t playing. Sleek body, nimble fingers, dressed in black leather, vertical chip slot on her forehead. Anachronist. I lit a cigarette. Closed my eyes. The beachfront was seared into my mind, waters so blue they were green. Children chasing each other, feet caked with dried sand as I talked to her for the first time for a second time. Paradise in the palm of my hand. But I knew how the story ended. Please god, please let-

“Observer effect,” she said.

I exhaled a dark cloud slowly, suddenly bitter. I had thought there was time enough at last. Fuck me right? “The act of observing alters the thing being observed. Catch-22 thought-loop total mindfuck. I get it.”

“No, actually. You don’t.” She smiled disarmingly, but her white teeth were too clean. A rat scuttled across the floor. “Hop on a Traveler’s slipstream, you piggyback them into their past as a projection.”

“Like,” I started, taking a long drag and blowing at her, “second-hand smoking.”

Her eyes lit up. “That’s exactly right! Full points!” She mimed a congratulatory clap.

“That’s still bad for you.”

“Exponentially worse for the smoker.”

“How is it different from two-player?”

“Two-player is genuine collaborative Travel. Mutualistic agreement to bring 2 to the time and place immortalized in the mind of 1. Piggybacking distorts the projection of the past. It’s very much like creeping into someone’s bed while they dream, oblivious. That’s the observer effect. By entering your past, I irrevocably change it.”

I closed my eyes again. I had looked up from the children. Skyscrapers rose from the ocean, an entire city breaking the surface, waves lapping at windows. The sky had turned leaf-green. In worry, I glanced at my girl, but her face was already gone. Tanned oval in its place, hilly contours that suggested something human but not quite, all lines erased from the face. I opened my eyes. She was grinning. That bitch!

“Sorry. She was really beautiful. I guess I got a little jealous.”

For a moment, we said nothing.

“You were lucky.”

“Yeah… guess I was.”

“You know why I’m here, don’t you Ken? You know who I am.”

Funny. “You know, you heat are funny,” I said, wagging the cig at her. “Traveling illegal and all but you do it yourselves.” I laughed. “Necessary evil eh?”

She pressed her lips together. “Someone has to impose order on chaos.”

“Fuck you.”

She arched her eyebrows. “I think you misunderstand what we do. We protect this reality from Traveling distortions. Everyone Travels.”

I blinked.

“I’m not here for you honey. Not yet. Just checking in on your first run. Now, if you cause ripples in someone else’s string, they will come after you.” She shrugged. “Different anachronism division.”

She turned to her machine. Pinball. She reached for the joystick, hesitated.

“Find another arcade Ken. Too many people know about this one.”

“And if I don’t?”

She glanced up at me. Not once had her plastered smile faltered. “One of many outcomes.”

“Tell me,” I managed. “Is it real? Is any of it real?”

“Oh sweetie… that’s for you to decide, or for them to when they come for you.”


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4fzi2f wrote

Thank you for your submission; it scores 14 points!


Bluhrb t1_j4dwdq1 wrote

One last time

"TwiLife, the renowned science team known for Trig pills which effectively stops FOP from turning muscle tissue into bone, is now working on a clinical surgery that may revert facial skin tissue aging.

Wallus Fintesco turned towards the TV to say, "shut up," and the TV screen gave a sigh as it shut down. TwiLife's goal was not to revert aging. Their end game was to use their funding to create a tranquilizer that places people into a mental coma that can be ended at a specific time manually using a dosage of a special formula they would make. They made it painstakingly obvious with every high ranking staff member having a history in somnology. Why is this a bad thing? Based on the founder, Charles Faywal's history in anti-social media campaigning, it would be used in a string of attacks on social media's worst influencers. How could Wallus tell?    

With an IQ of 135 and experience on the streets of Detroit as a cop, Wallus was extremely intelligent and extremely bored. He gave a crap at one point, but eventually gave up. Ss he finished the thought, he realized the entire cafe was now staring at him.    

One man in a piss colored parka saw Wallace lift his head up and shouted, "turn the television back on." Wallus shouted at the smart TV to continue the news broadcast. Even when he had tried to make a difference as a cop he became increasingly frustrated at how unbalanced the system was, and eventually landed on the conclusion that he wouldn't ever make a difference. That's when the broadcast said something that grabbed his attention.   

"TwiLife has drafted a new scientist to join their already prestigious organization, Jamie Roxwild," droned the speakers as Wallus jumped out of his chair. He dashed out of the cafe and jumped into his car. As he arrived at his apartment, he opened his laptop and googled 'TwiLife payroll.' There he confirmed it- they'd hired Jamie Roxwild. He knew Roxwild from his time on in Detroit, back when Roxwild was still in high school. He was clever but did have an odd sense of anachronism. He spoke like he got lost on his way to the 1700's. He made you feel uncomfortable in the way that around him your breathing would quiet down and your chest would tighten up. Roxwild was quiet but once ended up in the back of Wallus's squad car. Roxwild had, believe it or not, broken into a morgue and decapitated a suicide victim.   

Wallus decided he was bored anyways and that the twist of someone he'd met before being inolved with twist it up a bit. His boring life was in need of some excitement anyhow.

1: TwiLife's goal is to launch a string of attacks to place certain people into mental comas, for some malicious reason or another.

2: TwiLife is revered by most scientists as the second coming of Christ for science

3: TwiLife's original failed project, covered up by bribes, caused the 'accidental' deaths of 3 different Twitch streamers.

The third one was very clearly a failed attempt at using the tranquilizers. They got the dosage wrong and accidentally committed homicide. And this point, all Wallus had to find was solid evidence. Wallus would be hailed as a hero and would get enough money from interviews and possibly a government payout to retire. It was one of many outcomes of course. He could also get killed, as TwiLife had committed homicide before, even if by accident.   

After days of planning, Wallus had a plan. He would request a job from TwiLife, which would be easy considering his 135 IQ and knowledge of chemistry from busting wannabe Walter Whites on the streets of Detroit. He would fake a history in somnology by bribing some college professors. After that, Wallus would be reached out to by the leaders of TwiLife due to his fabricated history in somnology. Finally, all he would need to do would be recording an incriminating conversation and sending it into the police.    Wallus executed the first part of his plan over the weekend. He was accepted immediately, and reached out to 5 days later to meet with the heads of TwiLife. A few days later, he was called in to meet Faywal to discuss his 'future with TwiLife.' Tape recorder brought, evidence created. It was nice having 135 IQ, Wallus thought. Finally, he went to the police.   

Lo and behold, TwiLife's leading members were arrested the following tuesday night. The news broke out quickly and Wallus received a hefty paycheck for interviews. There was time enough at last for him to rest. All was well until, "turn around, Wallus," the intruder waited for Wallace to turn around before continuing, "you sent my brother to jail."




WC: 800


Bluhrb t1_j4dx6nd wrote

This is my first time on this subreddit!

Also, I didn't read the 800 world limitation so I was planning on a longer story and the last bit was compacted and essentially summarized into a small confinement of words.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g3nwp wrote

Thank you for your submission and choosing SEUS to be where you first post. I hope you'll join us again!

Your story scored 13 points!


Isthiswriting t1_j4ep3li wrote

Warning: There is no violence or even direct threat of it in this story, but it is a bit dark and involves a kid.


Knock Knock

The sound from my closet door was tiny even in the stillness of my room, but it sent my heart racing. Surely this wasn’t happening. There would be time enough at last, to be ahead of the bad.

I had thought the old man at the park had been insane. I mean, you can’t really trust an unkempt person in a bathrobe trying to feed ducks plastic food stuffs from some toy kitchen set.

Knock Knock


I was missing my opportunity. I moved through the pitch blackness of my room with practiced ease. Hands trembling I opened the door prepared to receive the wisdom from the future me.

“Where am I? Why can’t I see anything?” A small voice called out from the closet.

“Oh, sorry I’ll get the lights. You can come out of there. You will find my bed next to the clock, the clock.” I said as I made my way to the light switch. Why did I sound so small in the future did things keep getting worse and I ended with throat or worse brain damage?

“Ow, I stepped on something pokey.”

Definitely brain damage. “Just stay there.”

After I turned on the lights, I stared at the wall not able to face the wreck of my future. When the voice asked who I was and if I had kidnapped them I had to turn around. The boy looked to be about 7. wait a boy. Why was their a kid in my apartment?

The boy whimpered.

“I didn’t kidnap you and I’ll get you home.” I knelt down, my knee crushing layers of chip bags, and raised my hands. “What’s your name?”

“Timmy, Timmy Johnson. Can I call my dad I no the number.” He rattled off the number, but he hadn’t needed to.

I finally recognized that horrid bowl cut and smattering of light freckles on only the left cheek. I had lost them both when I hit middle school. The latter from sneaking to a barber with my allowance the and former was the one good thing to come out of puberty.

How could I prove to him I was him? “I know, I am you Timmy. I’m from the future.”

“Wow, Really? That’s so rad.”

Had I really been this gullible? Was it being gullible when you were believing the truth?

“Yeah it is. Why don’t you go sit on the bed now while I try to figure out how to get you back home.”

“Where am I.”

“It’s my room.”

He kicked his legs over the side of the bed, a loop of string threatening to fly of his foot. He went still for a moment and glanced at the door. “Won’t dad get mad with you?”

“I don’t live with him. I haven’t since I was 13.” I t was a week after my first trip to a barber. Seeing the widening of his eye, I continued, “I went to live with mom. I haven’t seen him since.”

“Wasn’t he ang– upset.”

An ambulance blared through the night somewhere in the distance, and we listened to it in silence. I groped for what to say to myself. I had been waiting for a future me to tell me what to do. I had always been waiting for others to help me or to tell me what to do. Maybe it was time for me to step up.

“He was but I… had help from a teacher and others. What month and year is it?”

“November 1995.” He said full of pride. “Next week is Thanksgiving.”

He nodded. I gave a quiet sigh of relief. My second grade teacher had made a point of visiting me before I left. She had apologized for knowing things weren’t great at home but hadn’t been able to help me. Even now I remembered her asking me each day if everything was alright and the pit that opened in my stomach each time. Also, I hadn’t known at the time, but my dad had several kilos of substances to sell hidden in the garage that holiday week. It was the perfect time.

I quickly went to my desk and pushed junk around until I found a pen and something to write on. It was warranty for my VR system. It would be a bit of an anachronism but that shouldn’t matter. I wrote the information I had while telling younger me the same. Then I folded the paper and gave it to myself.

“Give this to Ms. Carral. She will help you.” I said, leaving out that it was one of many outcomes. I was holding out hope.

Younger me nodded and let me guide him to the closet now a tunnel. He smiled as he disappeared down the tunnel.


Word Count: 799


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4gnvla wrote

Thank you for the submission. It has scored 14 points!


nobodysgeese t1_j4eqqse wrote

I wasn't expecting myself to slap me, and yet here I both was.

"Ow! Why?"

Myself snarled, "My temporal shenanigans! I control time and I only use it to fix one date!"

I glared back. "Well, if I understand time loops, I already did."

Myself poked my chest. "But you're past me, so you're to blame. Break the cycle. Don't do it."

I pressed the button anyway.

Five days ago and three hours later, wine stained my tuxedo and a slap burned the other cheek as I booted up the time machine. Past me wouldn't know what had slapped myself.

WC: 100



Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g8bio wrote

Thank you for your submission; you have scored 7 points!


throwthisoneintrash t1_j4f3esb wrote

#Speedy Cheetah Time Travel Services

WC 369

Congratulations! You have won a Speedy Cheetah vacation trip to Ancient Egypt!

Fasten your safety belts and get ready for the ride of your life! Our comfortable, first-class excursion will bring you to the end of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom and the reign of Mentuhotep IV.

Archeologists have questioned this period for years, and now you are able to possess first hand knowledge and experiences you shouldn’t have were it not for the wonder of String Tunneling.

Our patented time travel process brings you into the action, while avoiding any messy grandfather paradoxes or causal loops that you might get with the other guys. As soon as you begin your journey with us, your trip becomes one of many outcomes.

Start your day with our costume department and sip wine while they outfit you to naturally blend into the eleventh dynasty. Then move on to our exclusive translation team as they install hidden translators to make your experience second to none!

Finally, enter the portal with confidence, knowing our triple-tested, internationally-certified, award-winning time-travel pod is designed with your comfort and safety in mind.

You’ll land at a predetermined location, carefully mapped out by our logistics team. A ground team will be there to greet you and bring you into the Pharaoh's presence. Please bow at that point.

The immunization team will have already prepared you with the ability to feast on anything you find before you at the Pharaoh’s feast. Enjoy the entertainment!

We hope your trip exceeds all of your expectations and we look forward to serving you in the future, or the past!


Speedy Cheetah is not responsible for any discomfort, injury, allergy, death, beatings, floggings, sicknesses, enslavement, torture, or foul smells you may encounter on your journey. Travelers agree to avoid disrupting the timeline with any form of anachronism or knowledge transmitted from them to an individual from the past. Speedy Cheetah does not warrant the traveler against unexpected events including, but not limited to, grandfather paradoxes, causal loops, or interference in the timeline by our competitors. Travelers assume all risk and agree to settle all disputes with Speedy Cheetah via a foot race. We sincerely hope you enjoy your trip.

Speedy Cheetah: There is time enough to last.



Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4gexbu wrote

Thank you for your submission it has scored 14 points!


Susceptive t1_j4e998e wrote

Help Needed

The memory of a children's hospital is ghastly.

Gladys sat, entombed in a dying van parked so deeply in the lot it was technically a satellite. Distance didn't help; it just made St. Paul's looked like a candy-colored tick stuck to asphalt. Cheerfully ominous.

She took a deep, grounding breath. "I'm projecting. I know I'm projecting."

"So get on with it," her bag said in a tone of entrenched boredom. The clasp was open enough to let a small tail of darkness flick idly back and forth. Nic wasn't patient-- night terrors usually weren't, even before getting caught inside anachronistic accessories. "Mortals and their loops. Obsessing forever."

He wasn't wrong. With a sigh Gladys grabbed the bag and got out.

Crossing the lot was exhausting. Nobody remembers cars, so they never exist in places like this. Why bother? But everyone recalls walking and emotions. So the trip became a marathon of effort, pushing through resignation flavored with dread so deep it felt like dying. Magic helped, a little, but it was a relief to finally stumble into the waiting room and watch the world outside vanish.

Inside the hospital had more detail, but not much. It was another half-remembered place, just an impression of antiseptic smells, endless benches and cold tiles. Only the colors remained constant, a bombastic palette on every wall like melting ice cream. Gladys waved to a vague impression of a receptionist as she went by.

Then she roamed a bit. Not the best approach, honestly. But after a dozen random turns she hit the jackpot, emerging into a hallway with the kind of details only pain can remember: A bright tunnel of clean tiles, big windows and plastic wall bumpers. Posters so cheerful they bordered on saccharine, with colors so bright they hurt. All of it arranged to point towards the end, where a small chair waited next to an open door.

A large man sat there, hunched over and sobbing. He didn't look up as she walked by, but Gladys kept an eye on him until the door closed with a soft click that erased everything.

"Hello? Who are you?"

She turned and there he was, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed in that ungainly sprawl only the young ever managed. Just a boy, famine-thin and terminally pale, practically drowning in a hospital gown and blankets. But his eyes contained worlds: Abyssal pits set in sunken hollows of unwanted knowledge.

Gladys put her bag down on the end table. "Daniel Pratt."

"That's me," he frowned, unimpressed by secondhand clothes and a fuzzy mop of red hair. "But who are you? Where's my dad?"

"He asked me to help, actually. From the outside." She popped the catch, letting Nic out in a slow flood of shadows. He solidified into a feline shape, balefire eyes trained on the small figure. "You can call me Gladys, and I'm from Underhill Services."

"Are you a doctor?"

"A witch, actually."

"Oh. Is that why you have a cat?" He seemed fascinated and repulsed by Nic at the same time, drawn taut like a piece of string.

"He's not a real cat," she explained. "Nic is more like an... assistant. He helps me with things like this. He's a night terror."

Something ageless moved through his eyes. "What does that mean?"

"You're haunting your dad, Daniel." Gladys watched him carefully, unsurprised at his lack of reaction. "Whenever he sleeps, this memory is waiting. He can't resist coming."

Daniel looked down. "He loves me."

"He does." Gladys pointed and Nic slid forward, pooling in the boy's lap. "And that's not bad. But you're using him up a little every time, and it has to stop. Nic helps with that. So do I."

A stick-thin hand rose and settled on the living shadow. "How does he help?"

"You just choose to move on. Nic will do the rest-- he eats bad dreams. He's already taken the rest of this one as we walked through. It's something nobody else will ever know but us."

"What if I don't want to go?"

She winced, but didn't hesitate. "You'll become one of the cythraul. A bad spirit, hopping from person to person. It's one of many outcomes, honey. All of them bad."

He thought for a long time, sitting under unforgiving hospital lights with a lap full of darkness. Eventually Daniel nodded once, then leaned forward and somehow fell through Nic. In return the night terror grew slightly, then turned on itself and slipped neatly back into her bag.

The world grew blurry, unreal. Somewhere far away a man's voice cried out in guilty relief, knowing there was time enough at last.

Gladys closed her eyes. She hated lucid waking. "Be kind to that one, Nic."

"Or else."

WC: 795


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Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g5hm7 wrote

Thank you for your submiision it has scored 14 points!


atcroft t1_j4egmdn wrote

“Mom, tell me more about that date, with Dad,” Ginger said, snuggling into the crook of her mom’s arm as they sat together on the couch.

“The whole night felt like it had a string of magic throughout--until it snapped,” Ginger’s mom started. “We met in the park just before sunset. We sat on a bench and watched as the thin, wispy clouds cycled from yellow to deep violet, barely perceptible against the black field dusted with stars. It felt like there was time enough at last.” Ginger looked up to see a dreamy, far away look in her mom’s eyes. “We stayed on that bench until there was a chill in the air. He wrapped his jacket around my shoulders, and we walked from there in the direction of the tunnel.”

“We were just wandering the streets together when we found this little diner. It was a complete anachronism--something out of the 50s, maybe. A waitress out front, cook in the back--maybe--I can’t recall. Waitress looked a lot like you, but with hair a dark bottled red. Last customer walked out as we walked in--we had the place to ourselves. She seemed to know exactly what we’d want--milkshake for me, coffee and chocolate pie for your dad.”

Ginger checked her hair once more in the mirror, then adjusted the uniform she had lifted. She stepped out of the back as the young couple passed the customer leaving. For a moment she was in awe of how young her mother looked as they sat down in a booth before walking up to them.

“Hi. What can I get for you two? Pie?”

“You have pie?” the boy asked.

“Chocolate,” Ginger replied, a tingle running down her spine at his voice. “Coffee to wash it down?”

“Perfect,” he replied.

“And for you, Miss?” She looked her over. “You look like a milkshake kind of girl. Strawberry?”

“How’d you--”

“Call it a gift,” Ginger said over her shoulder as she stepped away from the table.

“Your father must’ve been watching me closer than I thought; he apparently had picked up a few of my tricks. As we sat at the table he took a twig from his pocket and made it a loop. When he took my hand and slid it on my finger, there were no ends visible, and it started to bloom,” her mom said, playing with the ring she still wore, running a finger lightly around the small closed bud that rode atop it.

“One slice chocolate pie, one coffee, one house special strawberry milkshake.” Ginger said as she unburdened her tray. “And here’s your straw. Need any creamer for the coffee?” The boy shook his head. “Okay, need anything just let me know.”

“There was something about that milkshake. I’ve tried over the years to replicate it, but no luck.” Ginger’s mom mused, licking her lips. “We sat there like we were the only two people in the world; I have no idea how long it was, or when they were supposed to close. I don’t know how she did it, but our waitress kept us refilled without us calling her. We weren’t even aware when she did it.”

“Probably just an experience,” Ginger offered.

After cleaning the counter Ginger toyed with some inconsequential magics as she watched the two lovers in the booth with a hint of sadness. They seemed wrapped in a spell of their own making, a spell of love that made them unaware of the world around them. They had no idea what awaited them when they left the diner. It was one of many outcomes, but one she knew neither could imagine; it was the only one she was not allowed to change.

“I remember just before we left, when he went to the bathroom, the waitress told me something. I’d been waiting for a good time; if it hadn’t been for what she said, he might have never known.”

Ginger cleaned another tabletop as she watched the boy get up and go to the back. When he was out of sight, she whispered. “You need to tell him, sooner rather than later.”

“I was looking for the right time.”

“There’s never a ‘right time’, there is only the time you have now,” Ginger replied, refilling a salt shaker.

Ginger wiped a tear from her mother’s cheek.

“I went back to that restaurant afterward, but no one recognized the waitress, and the shakes were never the same.” Ginger’s mom said wistfully. “I never got to thank her for the advice.”

“That reminds me,” Ginger said as she got up. “I’ve got something for you.”

She returned with a bright pink milkshake. Her mom’s eyes widened with the first sip.

“How’d you--”

“Call it a gift,” Ginger smiled.

(Word count: 794. Please let me know what you like/dislike about the post. Thank you in advance for your time and attention. Other works can also be found linked in r/atcroft_wordcraft.)

Part 1: Smash 'Em Up Sunday: Urban Fantasy


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g6vn9 wrote

Thank you for your submission; it has scored 14 points!


gdbessemer t1_j4esfix wrote

Low Tide in Fel-Worth: Part 2

Read part 1 here!

The story thus far: Julia, a human witch, and Kellic, a satyr, have broken into a low-rise warehouse on a search for Kellic's sister.

“Chaos always extracts a price.”

Who said it? She couldn’t tell. Time was rushing past, future and past blurring together.

Decision. She stood at the intersection of a decision, completely disconnected from how she got here. Thought was painful, like barb-wire flossing her brain.

Where am I now?

At her feet was a a ragged-edged hole dug through concrete, like something had burrowed its way through the foundation to find a place to hibernate for winter. A set of prefab steel stairs were jammed into the naked dirt, leading below the warehouse, lit by a string of naked light bulbs.

Kellic looked up from the bottom of the stairs. “Who’s Rachel?”

He was at the top of the stairs. His face was a mask of fury one moment, then a look of concern next. Rachel? She hadn’t said anything about Rachel.

Julia wiped cold sweat from her brow and tried to orient herself in causality.

When did I get unstuck?

She focused on the moment after she and Kellic had slipped through the door.

They’d found nothing but debris of the drug dealer’s operations: scraps of cardboard boxes, a pile of torn fertilizer bags like a snowdrift in a corner, and long trails of dirt. If Kellic’s sister had a green thumb, she could make a crop grow several times faster than normal. Quite a boon for an operation that relied on speed and secrecy.

A painful sensation sparked inside her, like bad food twisting through her gut, but she ignored it and kept searching. But it grew so strong she could barely move. While Kellic poked through a side room, Julia leaned against a grafittied wall. The merciful face of the Lady of Guadalupe looked down benevolently, as if it was she was understanding of these tiny vices, like drug dealing, or breaking and entering.

She looked at a pipe sticking out of the cinderblock wall, which was dripping noisely. No…it was un-dripping, up from the floor and back into the pipe, totally anachronistically.

“What do you mean, a time loop?!” Kellic shouted.

Julia spasmed, holding tight against the railing that led down into the basement. Was this the present? Need to put it back together! She tried to force time into a tunnel, into a series events.

She was outside in the alley, casting her chaos magic to open the lock.

Chaos always extracts a price, whispered Rachel.

Then the door slammed shut. Then it slammed open. A woman, her form a ghostly blur, burst out of the shut door, dragging an injured satyr along. The woman looked up, and their eyes locked.

The sweat-matted black hair. The brown pupils.

It was herself.

“Oh, fuck. It’s a temporal rift,” she said. “We’re in a time loop. We’re gonna fight another chaos user.”

Memories that hadn’t happened flooded her mind. Causality took a quick cigarette break.

“Kellic, we should–” she croaked.

“What do you mean, a time loop?! Another chaos user?!” he shouted, from the top of the stairs this time. A bald man, every inch of his face tattooed, lurched out of the darkness and fired his submachine gun.

She tried to explain the unexplainable. Down the stairs were many futures, mostly ones that contained gunshots, screams, and blood. A bald man with empty eyes and a big gun. Kellic crying. Julia crying.

Back up the stairs there were safer futures. Futures where they never found Kellic’s sister, but safer futures nonetheless.

She stood at the edge of the ragged concrete hole, teetering on the edge of decision. Stay, or run? The sizzle of her fates flied past her like hot shell casings ejecting from a gun. There may or may not be a fight. She might convince Kellic to come back later, though they’d never find his sister. The bald man might shoot Kellic, or Julia. Death was one of many outcomes.

“Julia, where are you?” Kellic voice called.

Time itself was just an illusion–everything was happening, all at once. She was stuck here at this decision. Run, or fight.

Chaos always extracts a price. Are you prepared to pay it? Rachel asked her, when they were but young witches.

Rachel, who now occupied a coffin. Rachel, who’s killer hadn’t been caught yet.

The thought buoyed her, anchored her. The pain lessened. Time enough at last to focus on the choice.

There was only one decision, really. Julia Ito was many things, but she wasn’t a quitter.

“Kellic, found something,” she croaked.

The satyr shuffled up from behind her, and took a doubtful look below.

“What’s down there?” he whispered.

“A future where we might find your sister,” she said, “and we might die.”

The satyr hesitated, then nodded. He wasn’t a quitter either.

She gripped his hairy arm tightly, and they descended into the darkness.

WC: 799

Like what you read? Get more at /r/gdbessemer!


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4g8h2u wrote

Thank you for the submission, but unless it is edited down to 800 I can't score or open it to voting as the 800 constraint is part of the rules for the feature.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j4gebkp wrote

Thank you for editing down: it has scored 14 points!


tesh5low t1_j3omht6 wrote

The Perfect Cream Donut

** 1 **

In a little corner of a little town, was a donut shop. But it wasn't but a donut shop, it was possibly the best place across all the multiverses whereby one could get the perfect cream donut. Not many beings knew about it however, so it remained in obscurity, until one day a weird looking person with fuzzy hair and rainbow glasses walked into the shop.

When the person walked in, they saw a couple of people enjoying their coffees with a side of donut on the window seats of the hop. On display at the counter were some of the most perfect looking donuts one could have ever placed their eyes upon. In the midst of these donuts was the most perfect looking cream donut. It had enough glaze on it to glisten in the light coming in from the windows. It was filled from edge to edge with this buttery cream with sugar crystals sparkling within. The dough looked pillowy and smooth as if one could fall asleep on it. The rest of the shop was not as impressive. There stood an old coffee machine, a few breakfast menus on the wall and some dispensers and such around. There weren't too many seats within the shop as it was a small crampy nook of a donut shop on a nothing street. Behind the counter stood an attendant and in the kitchen behind was the chef washing dishes.

The attendant was a bit perplexed by the person's look as it wafted a not normal air but regardless she said "Hello, how can I help you today sir?" in her most welcoming tone. The rest of the crowd and chef were not phased by the person as their attention were somewhere else.

Following the greeting, the person pointed with their extra long looking finger at the perfect donut and said "May I have this donut please? No need to put it in a bag, simply place it on a napkin as I want to enjoy it now".

The attendant replied "Sure, no problem, would you like anything else?" to which he said "No thanks, just the donut". With that she picked the donut from the cabinet, placed it on a napkin as they asked and handed it to him. "That'll be $4" said the attendant. He handed her a $5 note and said "Keep the change". He then proceeded to take a bite of it and sparks lit up inside him. It was the most incredible thing he had ever tasted. He wanted more but he wanted this exact donut with this exact feeling again and again.

** 2 **

The person walked out after enjoying his perfect donut and had his mind made up. He will take this unknown shop in this little town within this singular universe and trap it in a dimensional loop where he and he himself could enjoy this perfect donut for infinity and beyond.

Hold up. What? Oh I forgot to tell you readers. The person that is eating this donut, it a bit of an ass. He is a temporal god that exists amongst all the multiverses. His name is a bit weird. I think its like Blugististic or something. We can just call him Blau from here ay. I can't really remember. He loves putting things in loops to screw with people but what he loves the most it finding unique anachronisms across the multiverses and put them in his tunnel of loops that only him can access and enjoy. Any lets get back to the story ay.

Once outside, Blau proceeded to do his thing. He waved his long fingered hands around and concentrated super strongly and poof, this little corner donut shop from this little town was now part of the anachronism collection that he held together in a tunnel of time, forever stuck in a loop, which should provide him with the most perfect cream donut.

Blau stood there looking at the eternity only he could perceive, happy.

** 3 **

A few thousand loops had gone by, with Blau having the same interactions with the attendant. Like many of the other participants of his other anachronisms, no one caught on that they were in a time loop. They just kept living their meaningless lives according to Blau, without an idea of what was happening to them.

This held true, until one loop the attendant stared at Blau for an extra second. From there on things started to get weird for Blau in this particular pocket of time. Blau though being the greedy ass he is, didn't take notice of the attendant's awareness growing until one day she said "Sir, do I know you from somewhere?" whilst handing him the donut. This one time in the many time loops, Blau stood speechless. His face wide, questioning what he had just experienced. At this single point in time, his hands felt loose and the perfect donut fell onto the floor. The attendant tried her best to rescue it but some of the cream splattered onto her and her face. She tried to apologize thinking it's her fault that the donut dropped but Blau ran out the door to cause a reset of the loop. Before he reached the door however, the attendant also tried to clean herself up and licked some of the cream on her lips and she then tasted a bit from the most perfect donut.

Perhaps it was this or possibly these new interactions within this loop, but the attendant grew a higher awareness of her current situation and it screwed with her head. At that moment she experienced what could be a super flash of a thousand lifetimes. Then poof the loop reset and she was back behind the counter.


tesh5low t1_j3omimf wrote

** 4 **

Blau walked in, thinking that the loop reset perfectly but at the back of his mind, he had the events of the prior loop playing.As soon as he stepped through the door, the attendant pointed at him and yelled "YOU, what in the living fuck is going on? Am I going insane?....Who the fuck are you?" She keep shouting and waving her fingers at Blau.

With that he decided to step outside to reset the loop constantly until he reached the normal outcome. Alas such an event never happened. The more he entered back into the shop at every loop, the attendant grew even more into hysterics. The normal shop crowd and chef sometimes would get involved and notice but they appeared to forget after each loop.But the attendant, never stopped. At one point she threw a knife at Blau. At another she jumped over the counter and ran at him, trying to catch him.

But every loop reset at the same position for everything, she was always starting behind the counter and could not plot as the loop did not exist until Blau started it.He was puzzled. In all the lifetimes that he lived. In all the stories that he experienced through his unique stored anachronisms across his tunnel of time. In all of eternity, had he experienced such an abnormality. he couldn't exactly place the loop back in position as they way his powers worked it, he takes a snapshot of time from the multiverses and loops it onto itself.

Its just your basic physics according to string theory. Everything exists in a state on the Planck scale, so copying something before it changes to another state, gives you a moment that you can enjoy forever and forever. But this state changed. How? he wondered.He was at an impasse. He really wanted that donut but that attendant lady, the way she is would not allow him to enjoy it. He couldn't really freeze her in time as that is not how the time loop works.

He decided to explain to her hoping that she would give in an accept her fate, which was serve him the most perfect cream donut forever and ever again.

Ha, that is honestly the best solution his greedy selfish ass thought of. Bloody time gods man, they are so stuck up. Anyway back to the story.

** 5 **

He approached this loop with care. He put his arms up, showing his weirdly long fingers, removed his rainbow glasses and shouted "ATTENDANT LADY!, DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVES, LET ME EXPLAIN!"This caught the attention of the attendant. She was going crazy but in a moment of calm, she decided to listen to him.

The other people in the shop also turned to look at him when he walked in but they didn't matter to him as they would forget as soon as the loop resets."TALK NOW!" shouted back the attendant. "OK. ok. lets calm down a little." replied Blau."I know it seems weird...but you are stuck in a time loop." said Blau. "No shit, genius!" the attendant yelled back.Here goes nothing, thought Blau as he proceeded to explain to the attendant what was happening and how he created this situation so he could enjoy the perfect cream donut forever and ever. The attendant grew angrier and angrier in frustration as he explained the situation further to him.

When he was done, she strongly said "You ruined my life for....a....fucking....donut!" as he yanked it from the cabinet and crushed it in her hands.Blau looked in horror as the most perfect donut was being destroyed infront of him. He actually got a bit sad and ran out the door to again reset the loop.However not everytime he went back into the loop, she destroyed the donut. Sometimes she savored it infront of him. Other times she would throw it onto the ground.Over the next few millenias, everytime Blau walked in, she made sure he couldn't enjoy this tasty treat ever again.

She knew this is the only thing that she could do to punish her prisoner and hoped that one day he would find a solution to free her from her captivity.For Blau, over time, his want of this donut never faltered and he subjected himself to this torture, waiting for a sliver in time whereby she would let him enjoy the most perfect cream donut.

Who knows how this would play out. On one hand, A greedy selfish god with an impossible desire to each the most perfect donut and on the other hand, a person with infinite time to torture a god into releasing her.


Cody_Fox23 OP t1_j3rpb63 wrote

Hey there! Thank you for the submission, but your story is over 900 words long. The word count constraint for this feature is 800. That means I can't give you any points nor will it be eligible to be voted for in the community rankings. If you revise it down to 800 words, let me know and I'll give it a score!


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