writingprompts

[WP] You have weird super power. If you successfully talk someone into doing something, they will succeed, regardless of if the action in question is actually possible. On the other hand, your abilities to actually persuade people are unaltered.

[WP] You have weird super power. If you successfully talk someone into doing something, they will succeed, regardless of if the action in question is actually possible. On the other hand, your abilities to actually persuade people are unaltered.

"Kiss the ground, ladies and gentlemen!" They had burst into the bank, but at the order, everyone had frozen. A few shots quickly in the air had everyone on the ground.

And Joe was just returning from the restroom. He had heard a few loud shots, just as he was drying his hands. He moved away from dryer and heard the noise as people shuffled to the ground.

The restrooms were situated down a small hallway, which allowed Joe to move quietly down the hall to survey what had gone on. He saw men, women and children on the ground, and guys in masks already walking past the hallway, and toward the front counter.

Something bumped into his stomach, and he took a chance to look down... only to find a young girl, no more than 10 or 11, huddled next to a potted plant that was situated in the hallway. She was hiding. No one had seen her. Joe breathed a sigh of both relief, and profound irritation.

He slid down next to her, and they exchanged glances. She looked terrified. He stared, and smiled in what he hoped was a fatherly-way.

"Psst, kid... What's your name?"

The girl looked him over, trying to decide if he was a stranger, or not. She didn't smile, but something in her eyes made Joe realize she was going to trust him. A little. "I'm Katy." she whispered back.

"Ok, Katy. My name is Joe. I'm a super."

And her eyes went wide. "Really? Are you going to save us?"

He took a small breath. "I'm going to try, but I need your help. I know this sounds weird, but listen. I don't really have much power on my own. But I can make others do impossible things."

She turned her head slightly, in confusion.

"I know you don't believe me. But I'll prove it. I want you to visualize a candy bar. Think of your favorite one."

She closed her eyes. "Ok..." she said, but doubt was starting to creep into her voice.

"Think about it, visualize it. Now, if you really believe... if you truly wish for the candy bar, it'll be in your bag. Waiting for you to reach in, and grab it."

Her face was a mixture of confusion, but also of magic. Kids really want to believe in a higher power. In a world of Superes, it's a little easier for them to believe. But she knew the candy wasn't in there five minutes ago. I can only hope she's a believer...

She kept her eyes closed as she reached into her bag. And pulled out a snickers bar.

Her eyes opened, amazed. Her pupils were slightly dilated. She looked at Joe and smiled at him. "Wow! It worked!"

He smiled. "It worked because you believed. But here's where it gets crazy. See those bank robbers? You can stop them, all by yourself."

"I can?"

"Yup, you can. Just think to yourself how bullet proof you are. How invincible you are. Nothing can harm you, nothing can hurt you. You're like Night Girl, or Fire Fly!"

She looked at him, and he could tell if she was wondering how true it was. "Do I get super powers?"

"Anything you want, Katy. But you have to really believe in them. You're a hero, Katy. You just don't know it, yet."

"I'm just a little girl, though. What can I do?"

"You're young, but that doesn't matter. Haven't you heard of Million Strikes, or Pinion? They were young, when they started. But they've saved so many people."

She nodded, and smiled at him. "Wish me luck, Joe."

He smiled, and stood up. "You don't need it, Katy. You're a Super, now, too..."

She started walking out toward the group of people on the floor. One of the men noticed her, and pointed his gun her way. Another had seen Joe, and pointed his gun at him.

"You two! Get back on the ground."

"Katy, get down! You're going to get hurt!" he could hear a person saying. The tone of her voice showed Joe it must be her father.

"I'm sorry, Dad. I can't get down. But don't worry... they can't hurt me."

"You hear this kid? She thinks she can't be hurt." One of them started to walk toward her, and he brought his gun down to strike her in the head.

But the gun broke on her head, instead.

"She..."

Katy looked up at the man, and smiled. "I'm a Super! I can do anything!" And her eyes were suddenly flaring up with flame, and her hands were engulfed in ice, and water, and lightning. And a sudden storm inside the bank brought the robbers to their knees. They were struck with lightning, and were down for the count.

Joe smiled as he walked toward them, kicking their guns away. He had plastic cuffs for just such an occasion, and locked them up.

Katy's eyes returned to normal, and she smiled. "I did it! I believed I had powers over the elements! And I really couldn't be hurt!" The father had jumped up and was holding Katy, now. Joe smiled.

He turned, then, and left the bank as quietly as possible. A new super, born in the world. She'll never stop believing, and so she'll always be Super.

Joe smiled, as he walked down the street. He was ready to get home, and watch the news. "Maybe I'll be featured, one day."

Oh man this is good, the main character is (probably) the only original super hero.

That's what I got too. Really cool origin

The man on the ledge reeked of old booze and stale vomit, enough for me to smell him from ten paces away. Not your typical drunk however, judging by the suit; a week or so ago, it had been a respectable business number, probably complete with a crisp shirt and a smart tie. I could see that the shirt lost a number of buttons since, and acquired questionable stains, and the tie went missing altogether.

"Don't. No closer. I'll jump. I'm not kidding." He winced and swayed as he spoke.

I shrugged and leaned against the roof access door.

"Suit yourself, partner. Jump. Or don't. You are not dying today."

"Wrong!" he swayed again. "I'll do it! We are fifty stories up, there's nothing anyone can do!.." Below, the Strip churned, shone, sparkled and blinked. Just another day in paradise.

"You don't understand. I... I thought I could stop. I almost stopped. I just... I needed... more..." For a moment I thought he'd start to whimper and back away from the ledge, and we could solve things quietly. No such luck however. He kept blabbing, the standard suicidal drivel of a gambling addict down on his luck.

"Hey!" I snapped my fingers and he stared at me wide-eyed. "Will you ever get on with it? So you fucked up. You ALWAYS fuck up. And you'll fuck this up too. Want to know what'll happen now? You'll jump. You'll fall fifty fucking stories, land on an empty car, ruin it, and walk away with one hell of a bruised ass and not a single broken bone. Get it? You're about to fuck up your own suicide. I'm not here to talk you out of it. I'm here to talk you into it, watch and fucking laugh."

He blinked slowly, once, twice.

"Fuck. You. You're crazy. What kind of a negotiator are you anyway?"

"I'm not. You see a badge anywhere? For all you know, I'm the tooth fairy. You know what's funny? You can't even stop yourself thinking about what I said just now, can you? You're gonna attempt suicide by jumping fifty stories, and you're gonna FUCK IT UP. All this to ruin some poor slob's car. C'mon then, loser. I got places to be."

"Fuck. You."

Credit where credit's due - he did not scream on the way down, or at least not so much that I could hear him. From below, came a distant thud and an indignant blare of a car alarm. I walked the ten paces to the ledge and peered over just in time to see him kneeling in the street next to a ruined cab, uniforms and paramedics rushing towards him.

The phone in my pocket trilled.

"Mahoney? We've got him. Come on down."

[WP] After you die you learn why the Grim Reaper is portrayed holding a Scythe. It isn't to harvest you, it's to protect you from something on your journey.

[WP] After you die you learn why the Grim Reaper is portrayed holding a Scythe. It isn't to harvest you, it's to protect you from something on your journey.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked him, panting hard as I tried to match his great strides. His dark cloak billowed behind him as he strode, blown by a fierce cosmic wind. His scythe swung and shimmered in his arm.

"To the others," he said, "but we must hurry."

"No," I said, stopping dead in the black tunnel, trying to catch my breath. "I have to know - are you taking me to heaven, or to hell?"

He turned to me and his eye sockets blazed. "Do not worry about where I am taking you, worry about where you'll go if I am not successful in getting you there."

I swallowed hard, and nodded. We began again, Death walking, me almost sprinting as I attempted to keep up. The sides of the tunnel danced with irridecent starlight, and I knew beyond doubt that we were leaving my universe.

Eventually, we came to a door of bone. Death muttered an incomprehensible sound and it slowly creeped open. He grabbed my hand and pulled me through.

The door slammed shut behind us; Death's shoulders slumped slightly, as he finally relaxed.

"What is this place..." I whispered. High above us were three huge cherry-red moons, bathing the field of white grass below, in a pale, blood-like light. On the field itself were dozens of shacks and tents. It was a great camp and it was brimming with bustling life. To the side of the largest tent, I saw two armoured figures dueling with swords. I could hear the metallic ringing of the steel blades as they collided. "There's a battle!" I said, pointing to the scene.

"There is not battle here. Not yet," Death replied. "They are preparing for the inevitable, however. That," he said, pointing to the smaller of the two figures, "is Joan of Arc. She is training our army for the battle."

"The Joan of Arc?" I asked incredulously. At that moment the larger figure fell to the ground, and the smaller pointed a sword at his chest.

"Yes. I have almost a thousand souls now. It is all I've been able to smuggle here. They are all very valuable to me - yourself included."

"Smuggle? But... you're Death. Don't you deliver all souls?"

"Once, I did so. Now, I take when I can - when she is not looking - and I ready them for our battle."

"Our battle? Against the Devil, you mean?"

"The Devil is long since dead."

"Dead? Then... then you mean to make war with God!"

"God is imprisoned."

"...imprisoned? That can't be. God is, well, God."

Death sighed. "Yet, it is so. There are greater evils than the Devil. An evil that tortures the souls of the dead, in a way the Devil could only dream of. And there are greater powers than God."

Death struck his scythe on the ground, and turned to me as the world beneath began to tremble.

"Look around you. We are the unholy resistance. Soon the war of the souls begins."

Edit: I didnt expect all the positive comments! Thanks - I'll continue it on /sub/nickofnight as soon as I get the chance.

Edit edit: Part 2: https://www.reddit.com/sub/nickofnight/comments/6ikd4b/the_army_of_death_part_two/

(and part 3 completed)

(and a part 4 which might be it for the day)

(and what the hell, a part 5)

More to come. Thanks everyone for reading it and for all the positive comments!

Oh, and thank you OP! - I really liked this prompt idea.

More? I'd read this as a full novel.

Second.

“He won’t budge,” said Death, shrugging his colossal shoulders slightly. His scythe, Lerallue, glowed a dark red, pulsing gently like a beating heart – which meant that They were near, but we still had some time.

I had answered Death’s summons as fast as I could. He rarely called on me, prideful thing that he was. He thought he knew humans, could always count on persuading them with fear, but even he had to acknowledge that a soft touch was necessary sometimes. That’s where I came in.

“Hey buddy, we’ve got to go,” I said, setting myself down next to the shade on the curbside. His corporeal body lay nearby, cooling in the frigid night air. It would be another 2 hours, give or take, before the other humans discovered his body, but it wasn’t them I was worried about. “Death’s explained it to you, right? He can hold off the Eaters for a while, but we would much rather get you to safety.”

“For a long while,” huffed Death, puffing up his chest, twirling Lerallue by the end of a bony finger. I ignored him.

“I’d rather They take me, really,” came the reply, so softly I had to strain my ears to catch it. His face was still downcast, eyes fixed on his hands, balled in his lap.

I took a quick peek into his mind, then began to understand why Death couldn’t persuade this one on his own. Timothy Burns wasn’t afraid of death, nor of oblivion. He understood perfectly what Death had explained, that the Eaters would be along shortly, ravenous for so fresh a soul, and that once he was consumed, he would never be able to cycle through life again. Reincarnation would be denied to him, and the universe would be less one unique, precious spark of Life.

In other words, Timothy Burns was ready to disappear into the Void. The irony of being on suicide watch for the recently deceased was not lost on me.

I tried changing tack. “Who knows what awaits you in your next life? Give it a shot, man. You’ll have a family again, someday, people that you can treasure, keep safe –”

He cracked then, the sobs racking his chest as he buried his face in his hands. “What’s the point? I had a family here, I had one, right here! But I screwed up, I screwed up! My little Genevieve… I was supposed to be there for her, you know? Everyone trusted me to take care of her!”

“Some things… are out of your hands. You tried your best, and if –”

A seething undertone of anger crept into his voice, and he rounded on me, seizing my shoulders. “Do you know how many lives I saved, in total? A thousand, two thousand! I was the best doctor in town! Even the ones senior to me came to me for guidance, sometimes!”

“Was that why you didn’t ask for another opinion when Genevieve fell sick?” I asked, quietly.

Timothy had a response prepared, one fuelled by denial, pride. He was ready to blame the new viral strain, the weak antibiotics, the same few excuses he had flogged in his previous life. But the defiance seeped out of him, and he collapsed again, sobbing through his hands.

“… I missed it… I missed it somehow… I thought it was just the flu, ordinary flu… by the time I realised I was wrong, it had already attacked her heart… my pride killed her… I killed her…”

Death tapped me, and from the corner of my eye, I saw that Lerallue had turned a shade brighter, gleaming with a certain unrestrained exuberance.

They were coming.

“You’ll forget it all in your next life,” I said, prodding him a bit harder than I would like. “Trust me. People say that they can remember bits from their previous lives, but it’s hogwash. You’ll have another chance again to do the right thing.”

“But I don’t deserve it,” he said, taking a deep breath, sitting upright again. An uncomfortable calm had spread across his face. “I will atone this way, it is only right. Let Them come, I am ready.”

I sighed, then snapped my fingers. The mist rose from them, swirling lazily in the air, coagulating into a shimmering mirage not two feet from Timothy’s face. Death turned away, wilful blindness in full operation.

There were rules on revealing the grand plan to the humans, and severe punishments for infractions. I knew that as well as Death did, but sometimes, sometimes the ends do justify the means. Humans always forgot that sometimes, all they needed was a little hope. It was far sweeter than they ever gave it credit for.

“That’s Genevieve right there,” I said, as the illusion took form, “that’s not her name now, of course. But she’s out there, the very same soul. She was born just this morning. She listened to us, and she’s back there now, somewhere.”

That got his attention. Timothy grabbed for the illusion, but his fingers pierced through, meeting the empty air. “Where is she? Take me to her, please!”

“No can do, that’s not how it works.”

“Please! I’ll do anything!”

I narrowed my eyes, staring deep into his. I didn’t like being stern, good cop always suited me better. “Listen here, Timothy Burns, I’m not going to lie to you. We can bring you back to the world, let you live countless lives again, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever cross paths with Genevieve again. That’s just how things are. So you can forget about ever telling her you’re sorry, there’s just no way she’s going to be able to hear it, or even understand it.”

I softened my tone, even as Lerallue started glowing a bright pink. I felt Death shift into a battle stance, carving his scythe through the air as warm-up.

“But what we can give you is a chance. A chance to do something a bit better in your next life. It’s up to you how you want to lead it, but an opportunity to improve, is infinitely better than just giving up, wouldn’t you agree?”

I held out my hand, beckoning to him.

Then, after an eternity, after the buzzing of gnashing teeth crested over the horizon, after the precious seconds to safety fell away… I felt him take my hand.

/sub/rarelyfunny

[WP] You join the military, you are placed in the gardeners program. You garden in exotic places where the military has done operations, each time they give special glasses and forbid spraying others. One day your glasses fall off and you see you are actually burning corpses with a flamethrower.

[WP] You join the military, you are placed in the gardeners program. You garden in exotic places where the military has done operations, each time they give special glasses and forbid spraying others. One day your glasses fall off and you see you are actually burning corpses with a flamethrower.

It was a kind of pleasant work to be a gardener of the military. They put me in a group with some adorable guys, some that followed me around, and some that lead the way. I felt like an escorted princess.

I was the only girl of the group, but they might as well not have noticed it, since I had to wear that stupid protection gear that covered my whole body, and the mask made my voice so muffled I could as well be a guy.

Our missions were at first very simple tasks for me, since I only had to follow them around spraying the plants.

Then, one day, our chief, a huge and masculine mann, asked me to use a little gun-like gardening tool, that let me shoot chemicals on some weird plants that spit at you! The plants were very dangerous, but after I shot them, they started dancing around a bit, then became docile~

There were 8 guys and me on my team, but one of them became my friend very quickly. He was a senior, probably the oldest of them, from Texas, and he was usually really kind to me. Sometimes, the other guys went to take a stroll, and he asked me to keep around with him to keep his automatic gardening tools in check, so the strange weeds wouldn't grow too far on them.

I once got spit at by the plants, and it hurt a lot. But one of the guys was a doctor, and he patched me up real quickly. It felt wonderful, too, he was pretty funny!

We all sang while walking around, and it was an incredibly friendly enviroment, despite the kind of aggressive plants. I think some of the guys didn't like me very much, they looked weird at me, like they were afraid. I guess that suit really made me look like a weirdo!

One day I was feeling a bit tired from all that work, and my heart raced as my mask fell off.

I looked around at all the corpses I've been burning, and the people I've been shooting with incendiaries.

I put my mask on again, and resumed singing and whistling:

"Do you believe in magic~"

As soon as I saw the prompt, I knew someone would write that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUhOnX8qt3I&feature=youtu.be&t=53

Here apparently. Pyro is a character from Team Fortress 2

The world became soft somewhere. Perhaps it was slowly being removed from how we process food? Maybe it was the long comfortable stretches of relative peace? I don't know.

The army had given us NBC suits before. It seemed overkill to issue them for simple gardening duty on a FOB. It was odd to even have landscaping on a FOB. I was trained as we all are to accept orders without question. We wore the suits, we mowed the lawn, we sprayed for weeds. There has never been a cleaner, more orderly camp in the history of warfare.

It was easy. It was safe. The other poor joes kept coming back shot up, or not at all. Judging by our survivors you'd think we were getting our asses handed to us. I never could quite reconcile the two. They looked gaunt, bloody, like they had seen death itself. I kept my head down, and kept to my gardening. It wasn't the best job, but it's got to be better than what those guys are doing.

I suppose it was better. I know the truth of what we did, and I still think it was better. The world became a lot bigger after my NBC helmet broke. Still, it's better for me. All those weeds I was spraying, were corpses and the half-dead being burned with my flamethrower. Once I found out, so many things made sense. Each answer spawned several more questions. Mostly they came back to, why.

The most important questions to ask are ones we don't think of asking. Why was everyone bloody, but the vehicles don't have the dings, holes and assorted damage typical of warfare. I never thought to even notice.

The laws, and walls we put up worked. It kept out the bad elements to the world. If it got bad enough, if it threatened us, we'd have to respond. We did. A massive plague. I don't know all the details other than, the survivors were just the living dead, coming to their graves. It was decided that if you showed symptoms of the plague, that was it for you. We couldn't take that chance.

The world got soft somewhere. So many people couldn't handle the dirty work of cremation, they mentally broke. The army had to find a way around. Someone had decided that if we let the public at large know of the problem, they'll want to know the scope, and how to solve it. I am the solution. The only solution we have. I hope that's enough.

I'm not a writer, I just liked the idea of this guy hang a horrific discovery only to realize, meh it's gross but not that bad. If anyone wants to take this idea feel free. Make it into something to be proud of.

Advertisement

[WP] After a SpaceX mission, Elon Musk suddenly closes down all his businesses and disappears. Eight years later, an old Musk owned factory begins to operate again. You find a lucky golden ticket, inviting you for a tour of the factory.

[WP] After a SpaceX mission, Elon Musk suddenly closes down all his businesses and disappears. Eight years later, an old Musk owned factory begins to operate again. You find a lucky golden ticket, inviting you for a tour of the factory.

I stared at the entrance, still in awe of my luck. The crowd behind me shuffled anxiously, waiting for a sight of him, just a single glance of the man that had been missing for eight years.

Next to me were the other four golden ticket winners, their faces a mix of excitement and fear. We were about to enter a reclusive genius's lair and uncover the secrets that the entire world had been anxiously waiting for almost a decade.

The massive gates burst open, yet no human greeted us. Instead, a drone flew out, a screen bearing his likeness.

"Please, follow me," he - or it - said, and the crowd's reaction was a mixture of surprise and disappointment. Eight years, and the man never even bothered to meet them in person?

We followed the drone regardless, feeling the gates shut soundlessly behind us.

The factory was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Machines building machines building machines - and I never saw a single human being. The factory seemed entirely unequipped for even the basics of human existence. I couldn't even spot a bathroom, which was soon remarked upon.

"No pisser in sight," one winner remarked scornfully. "You'd think he'd at least cater for someone needing a shit."

A young woman next to him chided him. "You'd think you'd at least have some damn manners. No one asked you to come here."

A teenager, the youngest of the five, walked between them. He put his arms around their shoulders.

"Come on guys, don't start the fighting just yet. This is already too much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for my liking."

The last Golden Ticket winner snorted. "Oh, please. I can't wait for a rousing tune from the robotic Oompa Loompas."

"Oh, there'll be plenty time for that," a voice said, echoing across the factory.

Everyone gasped - even I did, in spite of myself. We all looked upwards, and the great Elon Musk stared back down at us, standing on a board hovering several meters above us. It looked like he hadn't aged a day.

"Sorry about the grand entrance," he continued, slowly floating down to their level, "it's really the only way to get around here."

He opened his hand, revealing five metallic spheres. One for each of them.

"Please put it in your right ear," he said, turning around, "and follow me."

I held the sphere in my hand, reluctantly inserting it into my ear. Immediately the panel I was standing on dislodged and lifted me into the air. I cried out in surprise and lost my balance, but the panel-turned-hoverboard corrected my every movement.

The others had similar experiences, equal parts impressed and nervous. The hoverboards seemed to rely on thought, not positioning - like we literally controlled them with our minds.

He began to fly towards the interior cavern of the factory, motioning for us to follow him. One by one, we all formed into a line behind him.

"Splendid," he said, noting our progress, "you've all got the hang of it."

We descended further and further into caverns, which slowly revealed their enormous size.

"By the way, please, in any circumstance, do not remove your spheres," he said, looking over his shoulder at us.

"The machines won't like that," he said, gazing at his creations.

He shook his head.

"No, the machines won't like that one bit."

Part 2

If you didn't completely hate that, consider subscribing to my subreddit.

I'll try add new (and old) stories every day <3

We all descended through the factory, machines upon machines upon machines. I couldn't stand the silence any longer. I couldn't help but think - just what the hell was he doing here?

"I'm sometimes curious about that myself, really," he said, like he'd predicted my question.

"What do you mean?" I asked, suddenly anxious. This was not welcome information when you were hovering above a mechanical fortress.

"These machines are not what they seem."

I stared down at them. They seemed... insatiable. More so; they seemed alive.

"Why am I here, Elon?" I asked him quietly. He simply shrugged.

"I ask myself the same question."

The further down they went, the more massive the factory became. Exponential growth.

"Those machines... it's like they are me," he continued, almost to himself. "Can you understand that?"

I did not know what to say. We flew in silence, the sounds of industry almost too loud to bear.

"Where are we going, Elon?"

"These hoverboards really are quite something, I think you'll find," he replied, glancing down at his own. "Quite a moving allegory."

"Elon."

"See, they make you think that you're in control," he continued, "but really they're just calling all the shots. They just convince you otherwise."

I stared down at my board. I moved it freely through the air a few times, just to make sure. I knew I was controlling it. I simply wanted to follow Elon. Where else would I go?

"That's the beauty of it. Why force someone to do something, when you can just convince them that they wanted to all along?" he said.

"No one is forcing me into anything."

"I used to think that, too," he replied. "Which is kind of why you're here."

He gazed at me, as if peering into my soul.

"Tell me. Where is everyone else?" he asked me softly.

I looked around. All the other ticket winners- they were all gone. I was alone with Elon, and his insatiable machine.

I felt something inside of me, something deep, something primal - something screaming.

"See, I put a part of myself in these machines; my own version of AI, if you will."

I saw his face light up, his eyes glow.

"And the smarter the machine becomes, the less human I feel," he said, smiling apologetically. It looked forced.

"And while I did it all to save humanity from themselves - ourselves, sorry -, every day that goes by I wonder more and more - why bother? Why bother at all?"

The hoverboards slowed, and he looked to his right.

"It would seem we have arrived," he said, as we neared what seemed like the core of the factory. It looked alive enough to have a heartbeat.

Our hoverboards floated to the centre of the room, attaching themselves to the floor and increasing in size and morphing, becoming comfortable chairs.

"If you'll excuse the gravitas," he said, motioning around the room and smiling, "I feel like a good discussion requires a good set up."

The room seemed to pulsate in rhythm with the factory.

"And now, if you would be so kind," he said, leaning back in his chair, "I have just one question for you."

He clasped his hands.

"Why is the human race worth saving?"

I need to sleep! I'll post Part III tomorrow here and on my subreddit :)

Sleep well guys!

Chloe held up her golden ticket to the woman at the reception desk.

“I’ve come all the way from Alaska,” she said, barely able to contain the bubbling excitement in her tummy.

The receptionist rolled up one of her graying eyebrows in distaste and said nothing.

“So, is Mr. Musk here? Will I get to meet him?”

“The door to the left,” said the receptionist in a bored tone.

Chloe skipped across the lobby and knocked. Her tiny knuckles had barely left the door when the red light on the lock turned green. She squealed and turned the knob.

The room was small and only held one chair and a large screen mounted on top of a massive glass-encased computer. Tiny lights flashed and faded inside the box, and as soon as Chloe flopped down on the chair, the screen sprung to life.

Elon Musk’s dark eyes and rugged face appeared on the screen. In the videos Chloe had watched, the man was always smiling and joking around. Now his lips were pursed in a tight minus and his eyes locked in a grave stare.

“Hi!” Chloe said and waved. “I’m Chloe. Nice to meet you!”

“If you’re watching this, I’m dead, and most of my projects are likely stolen or in ruins. The Mars mission was a failure… we didn’t expect…” Elon’s voice faltered, and he touched his forehead.

“Are you okay, Mr. Musk?” Chloe whispered.

Elon sighed, and he appeared in a slightly different position, a part of the video clearly edited out.

“We didn’t expect there to be any viruses on Mars,” Elon said and ran his fingers through his graying hair. “We didn’t–”

Screams and loud banging noises filled the tiny room, and Musk quickly turned away from the camera before the video cut off again and he appeared in a new position.

“We made it to Mars, but we weren’t prepared…” he said solemnly. “Everyone’s infected except me… the doctor said… he said that I’m immune to the virus… he said… my genes are special… If you’re watching this, it means we share those genes that we are related somehow.”

“We are?” Chloe’s face lit up.

“You need to gather people for a mission…” Musk said. “You need to retrieve this….”

He held up a portable hard drive with an engraved SpaceX symbol.

“We… awoke something…” he continued. “And they’re coming… You’ll need this drive. You have to go to Mars.”

“I’m going to Mars?” Chloe said, her eyes widening. “I’m going to Mars! I turn five tomorrow – what a great present! Thank you, Mr. Musk!”

“You now control all of my remaining assets. You are to gather a team and take the last ship. You have to be fast… when this message reaches Earth, they’re already on the move.”

“You can trust me, Mr. Musk,” Chloe said excitedly. “I’m going to bring all my friends to help.”

“Thank you for listening.” Another series of clanking bangs came from the speakers and Musk glanced over his shoulder. “Please hurry, the future is in your hands.”

The video ended and the screen went black.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Musk, I’ll help you get your space-box back!” Chloe said and clapped her hands.

/sub/lilwa_dexel

Come with me And you’ll be In my world of techno-logic innovation Take a look And you’ll see All of my splendid creations

We begin With my kin See my clones Parade through my creation What you see Will defy All possible explanation

If you want to see paradise Simply get in this pod and view it Anything you want to do, you’ll be able to do it Want to change the world? There’s really nothing to it.

There is no Life I know Like that which lives on Mars Living there You’ll be free If you truly wish to be

If you want to see red sand lands Close your eyes and fly away to see one Want to be a dreamer, be one Anytime you please and please save me one

Come… To Mars!

[WP] You hire a female prostitute, tell her to meet you at a fancy restaurant, and ask her to pretend to be your colleague from the bank. Hire a male prostitute, and tell him the same thing. You sit at a table next to theirs and listen to their conversation.

[WP] You hire a female prostitute, tell her to meet you at a fancy restaurant, and ask her to pretend to be your colleague from the bank. Hire a male prostitute, and tell him the same thing. You sit at a table next to theirs and listen to their conversation.

edit: credit goes to crazyideas. original: https://www.reddit.com/sub/CrazyIdeas/comments/5q2pht/hire_a_female_prostitute_tell_her_to_meet_y...

i totally forgot to mention it. sorry about that. was curios one kind of story you guys will make out of it but didnt expect it to explode tbh.

It was called Fuck You money, the type of money you burn in front of poor people just to see the hope fade from their eyes. It was the type of money you used to hire the most expensive prostitutes in America, tell them to pretend to be bankers, and have them meet for lunch in Le Bernardin in the heart of Manhattan. Each thought they were meeting a client, both were told to never break act.

I sat at the table next to theirs, twirling a stainless steel pen with the letters Goldman Sachs gilded on. The girl, Anna, was the first to arrive. A tight black skirt hugged her figure. The skirt was short, but work-appropriate short. She was the best prostitute Fuck You money could buy which meant she was the best in the world. She turned her wrist and checked a silver Rolex. It was a Daytona model. She had certainly done her research.

The guy, Brandon, soon followed. He wore a navy blue suit without a single crinkle. I glanced down at his shoes. Brooks Brothers, custom-made. It looked hand-crafted even. A smile touched my lips as he sat down and extended his hand for a handshake.

“Anna, was it?” Brandon said. “Thanks for meeting me, my name’s Brandon, VP at JPMorgan Chase, housing division.”

Anna returned him a firm shake. “Nice to meet you. I’m a VP at Merrill Lynch, risk division.”

“Look at us, if our bosses found us here. They’d have our bonuses.”

She laughed and took a sip of wine. “So, I was told that you had a business proposal for me?”

This was it, the reason I had dropped five figures on two prostitutes. Brandon would fumble through banking buzz words and financial pseudo-sciences as I sat back, laughing at his stupidity. Then Anna would follow in their dance of idiocrasy, all the way until they left La Bernadin, never to return because they couldn’t afford even its dress code. My pen twirled in anticipation.

“Credit default swaps,” Brandon said. “It’s insurance against bad loans. So if we make a string of bad investments, even when we lose, we make money, just not as much.”

Anna furrowed her brow. “I work risk at Merrill Lynch, I know how to lower risk.”

A giggle tickled my throat. What would a prostitute know about credit default swaps? He probably read the first Wikipedia paragraph and now thought himself an expert. I wondered who would be the bigger idiot, Brandon or Anna?

“What if we pair that up with thousands of high-risk loans?”

“Like we already do?” Anna asked.

“But not individually.” Brandon leaned forward, his voice lowered so I had to strain my ears just to hear his words. “We pool them all together and then securitize them into a single asset. Tell me Anna, what happens when you bundle risk?”

“It drops,” Anna said. “But those have been around for a while now. Are you proposing that we just keep doing what we’re doing?”

Brandon frowned. It looked like Anna had done more research than him. I pretended to cough to stifle my laughter. It was he who would look the fool!

“Wait,” Anna said, “but how about we talk to the ratings agencies. The bigger the pool of assets, the lower the risk. If we get a big enough pool, any sort of shitty asset could have a triple-A rating.”

My jaw dropped and I broke character by staring straight at her. The two didn’t even notice, they were so buried in their conversation.

“We can lower it further by having it asset-backed. Like a car loan,” Brandon said, his voice rising with his excitement.

“Like a mortgage!” Anna said. “We can sell janitors million dollar houses on loans they’ll never pay off, pool all those loans together, and then sell them off as a Triple-A asset before they crash and burn.”

My fingers trembled, but not with the same excitement I had purchased. They were right. Banks could securitize all these shitty mortgages and their value would rise because their ratings would, even though the risk technically stayed exactly the same. My pen dropped to the napkin in front of me and I wrote a single phrase into it before slipping it in my pocket and leaving.

Sub-prime mortgages.

/sub/jraywang for daily WP stories, continuations by popular demand, and more!

This is actually what I was looking for in a prompt response.

Sub-prime mortgages.

Nice work.

"Oh...hey Daryl," the lady said, with slight surprise, but more a sense of boredom in her voice.

"Hey Judy. This again, huh?" Daryl replied.

"Yep. Well, we may as well make the best of it," said Judy, putting on a brave face.

"For sure. Okay...soo...how are those reports going?" Daryl said, in his best banker voice.

"Not bad, although Bill pulled me into a meeting all afternoon, so I got pretty sidetracked," replied Judy, starting to get into character.

"Jeez, Bill again huh?"

"Ya, he means well, and he's a pleasant guy to work for overall, but he wastes so much time in meetings. It's like... we get it, we're all on board with the 'Bank Mission Statement', but we have to get some work done too," Judy said - her mind now switching fully into her bank character.

This is fucking sweet. I thought to myself.

"Totally. I mean, I like teamwork, respect and honesty as much as the next guy, but most managers just leave it as a background thing," said Daryl, starting to enjoy himself.

Judy caught a little smile from Daryl, and a twinkle in his eye. Well, she thought, I have to say, this is definitely more fun than that wizard scenario I was in last week...

Daryl was thinking the same thing, Not bad compared to the ant farm lady. My ant character blows...I just can't get into it.

"Next time Bill calls a meeting I think I'm gonna say something," Judy continued. "Nothing rude, but I just feel like we're wasting so much time in that little boardroom. I mean, at least try to book the big one with the lake view."

"That lake one is dope...I could totally spend an afternoon in there," replied Daryl, nodding his head.

This is amazing, I thought to myself, barely holding it together.

"Have you ever been in the meeting room on the top floor, near Thompson's office?" Judy asked, picturing it in vivid detail.

"Don't stop," I whispered, too quietly for anyone to hear.

"Oh my God, if that was my office I would be so fucking productive. Jesus Christ, just think of all the work I could get done in there," said Daryl, with genuine excitement.

"What an awesome meeting room," agreed Judy, shaking her head in near disbelief.

Both Judy and Daryl had dove in head first. They knew the bank inside and out. They knew who they liked at the bank and who they didn't. They embodied the bank's Core Values, and had a list of who they could fire if the budget got tight. They had fulfilled the role.

And most importantly.

They had truly

become...

Bankers.

Ohmygodimcumming

OH. MY. GOD.

YOU EXPLAINED THE RECESSION.

[WP] The Sea of Trees. The deeper you go, the taller they get, and the more incredible the animals. After a month of traveling, you just found your first clearing.

[WP] The Sea of Trees. The deeper you go, the taller they get, and the more incredible the animals. After a month of traveling, you just found your first clearing.

Skywalker 12 ground to a halt, creaking and spilling vapor from a trio of punctured arteries. A quintet of segmented pincers grappled furiously with the wobbly stalks of the blackish-green treetops.

"pO2 plummeting!" shouted Ghao, helplessly typing out commands that the carrier craft could no longer obey. "Bunker shields are torn in multiple areas. O2 differentiation is dropping - it hit a canister, I think."

"It hit all the canisters," sniped Vamil from the other side of the command console. "None of us can survive this kind of rapid pressure drop, Captain. We're already over a 1,000 meters above the DZ threshold."

"We're not going to die," said Captain Ruiz. From her vantage point, she could just see one of the severed claws protruding from the Skywalker's flank. What the hell had that thing even been? "Can we move?"

"It's too dense to descend," said Ghao, shaking her head. "We lost functionality on the front cutters in the battle."

"Forward, then?" pressed Ruiz.

"Forward where?" growled Mercer, the researcher, from his strapped down bucket seat on the periphery of the command deck. "The Sea goes on for thousands of kilometers in every direction."

"Forward is the only option we have," replied Ruiz, cold and calm. "Return to course."

Ghao nodded her head. "Automatic's down, too, though." Vamil rolled his eyes, hard-switching over to manual piloting and pushing the spider-like tree crawler forward on a north-northeastward track.

"We weren't prepared for that," said Ruiz, standing in front of Mercer. "What was that?"

Mercer smiled, though his face was still gray and slick with sweat. "You know full well, Captain. This is uncharted territory. No one's ever been this deep into the Sea of Trees. Satellite imagery can only tell us so much."

Ruiz opened her mouth to reply, but stumbled, falling hard to her knees. Her head swam.

"pO2's still dropping, Captain," said Ghao, her face pale, her hands unsteady. "You should probably stay down. In a little while we won't be able...to..." She lost her breath.

"Faster, please," wheezed the Captain.

Vimal didn't have the air or the energy to smirk or respond. The Skywalker pressed on.

"You had to suspect, though," said Mercer, head lolling slightly to the side. "These mountainous trees. This dense, imperceptible world. Something strange and horrible had to live here. Something godlike."

Ruiz glared up at the man, but said nothing.

"Hey." Vimal's voice was weak, but enough to get Ruiz' attention. She saw his hand pointing towards the forward glass. And there was light there. Sky. A break in the trees...

"An island?" whispered Mercer. "We found an island..."

"Captain?" gasped Ghao.

"Dive," said Ruiz, struggling up to her feet. "Dive."

Parts I, II, and III are here. I am absolutely atrocious at finishing these kinds of things, but by god, I'll do what passes for my best.

But hey! Here's IV & V.. Look at me, doin' a thing.

After the first week of slashing vegetation and trotting through grass thicker than rope, Sebastian Joe had already passed the last mapped boundary of the Sea of Trees. A month later and he was hopelessly lost. The forest canopy blocked the sun, swallowing him up in their shadows. The undergrowth hid snaking vines that grasped at his foot with every step he made.

The paper he had originally brought to chart this unknown territory, he now used to wipe his ass. Food had grown to emergency rations and he had begun testing the local berries. The first one gave him tasted like a rare steak, the second gave him such violent diarrhea that he had thought he would shit his own intestines out.

Here, the wildlife had grown strange and unafraid. There was no concept of the human food chain, only the natural one. Six-legged bears with orange stripes prowled the treetops for food, insects with disproportionately large leathery wings fluttered around him to drink his constant sweat, and low-pitched howls filled the night with every passing moon. And something was stalking him.

At first, he had thought it his own imagination—the shuffle of a leaf, the crunch of dried grass, small things. But the sounds persisted.

“Hello?” he shouted into a wall of trees. “Is someone there?” He took out his flash light and flicked it on, praying that its batteries would last.

“Yes,” came a soft voice.

Sebastian froze. His flashlight jerked toward the voice but he found only the forest. He had assumed it was a hungry animal or worse yet, the delusions of early onset insanity. After all, he had already been talking to himself for hours on end just to pass the time.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“That’s a strange question. I am me.”

The flashlight flickered once and then died, returning Sebastian to the shadows. He slapped it a few times but that did nothing to fix his dead battery.

“Who are you?” the voice asked.

“Sebastian Joe. I’m an explorer here to map the Sea of Trees.”

“Explorer?” A cackle echoed through the air. “You haven’t explored very much. You’ve mostly just been walking in circles.”

Sebastian’s cheeks drained of blood. “Do you know the way out?”

“I do.”

He waited for more, but the voice was finished. “Well, can you tell me the way out?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I cannot guide you out,” the voice said, as if answering the most obvious question in the world. "Only you can guide me out.”

“Please,” he said, “I just want to go home.”

“Then explore.” Another cackle sounded.

Sebastian clamped his mouth shut. Whoever was following him was messing with him too. He gripped his machete. His voice came out in a low growl. “If you know the way out, tell me now!”

He charged at the voice. It was his last chance to escape this place, to see Annie once more. The vegetation slapped at his face and whipped his chest. And then, opened up. Sunlight beamed down unblocked by the trees. For a second, he could only see its yellow glow and then his eyes slowly adjusted.

He had found a clearing in the forest. Here, the dirt smoothed out and not a single blade of grass grew on the ground. At the middle of the clearing stood a stone monument covered in vines. It stood taller than most high-rise apartments and looked like a man hugging his knees into his chest. On top of its head was a giant beating heart, half-buried in the stone.

“What the hell?” Sebastian muttered.

The ground rumbled and the statue opened its bloodshot eyes. It unfurled and pushed itself up.

“The Sea of Trees have been around since long before my time and yours. In here, we are all lost. There is only one way out and you must guide us there,” the voice said again, this time coming from the stone. “We have been waiting for an explorer to find us, so long that we have lost control of our bodies. Plunge your blade into our hearts. Guide us out.”

The stone colossus opened its jaw and let loose a roar that sounded like thunderclaps. Its eyes locked into Sebastian and its fingers curled into fists.

/sub/jraywang for daily WP stories, continuations by popular demand, and more!

Continuations, you say? I would like one for this story, yes.

I'm of the opposite opinion personally, I strongly dislike stories without a resolution.

[WP] The devil on your shoulder: "Nah, dude. That's fucked up."

[WP] The devil on your shoulder: "Nah, dude. That's fucked up."

“Nah, dude. That’s fucked up,” the devil on my shoulder said and flapped his tiny red wings.

“Do it! Do it!” chanted the angel on the opposite side, barely able to hold onto her diminutive Gloria in the excitement.

I took a step forward, and both the critters gasped, but for different reasons. The devil covered his eyes and let his pitchfork tumble to the ground with a clanking noise. The angel looked at me, eyes wide in eager anticipation.

The broken streetlights were drooping beside me – dead metallic flowers of an age long gone. The shattered tarmac reminded me of the fissures when everything first went down the drain.

I couldn’t remember the day when my conscience started taking cartoon form. It must’ve been sometime after the electricity died, but before the sky lost the last of its colors.

“One more step! Just one more!” the angel cried in glee.

“Man, I can’t believe this,” the devil said and lit a cigarette.

I couldn’t help but wish I had a cigarette myself. It felt like a lifetime had passed since I stood on the balcony of my apartment late at night, enjoying a drag and watching the last vermillion beams over the city. The sun never set anymore, and because of the thick smog, it was hard to tell night from day.

My hand, wrapped in layers of random cloth to keep the warmth in, reached out. The nails were cracked and dirty. The last time I’d had a bath was before the angel went nuts and the devil became angsty and depressed.

They had helped me through a lot of trouble but were becoming more obsolete every day. There was no morality left in the world, no standards to break or uphold, and they both knew it. They had seen the cannibalistic meat farmers with their filthy slaves shackled behind the trucks, and they had seen the man stealing his child’s rations while it was sleeping, just so that he would be able to protect it for one more day. Survival didn’t care for the black, white, or gray of morality… it only knew bloodred.

I slowly pulled out the gun from the hem of my tattered pants. It had one bullet left – one that I had saved for myself all these years.

“Do it! Doooooooooo it!”

The angel had completely lost her wits. She screamed and frothed on my shoulder. She reminded me of the ragged old man that someone had locked inside a basement. He was spitting and ripping tufts of hair out. I remember that his eyes were wild and bloodshot, like those of a rabid dog.

“Come on man, let’s go back,” the devil begged. “Please don’t put me through any more of this…”

I crouched down over the bloodied heap of grubby clothes. The woman’s face was pale and drained, and her cheeks hollow. Her screams had brought me out of hiding. She was quiet now. Blood soaked the bottom of her dress. I aimed at the bundle she held tightly in her dead arms.

“Pull the trigger!” cried the angel. “Imagine growing up in this broken world! Do it!”

“Just walk away, don’t waste the bullet… you’ll need it,” countered the devil.

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. The bundle giggled. It was a sound that didn’t belong on this husk of a planet, yet here it was, like a soothing wet cloth over my fevered eardrums. I stuffed the gun back in my trousers and carefully picked up the bundle.

“What the hell are you doing!?” screamed the angel and devil in unison.

I didn’t listen because I had lost myself in the blueness of the baby’s eyes. Its chubby fingers touched my rugged cheek. I felt tears trickling down my face. As long as there were beauty and innocence left in the world, morality was a concept worth holding on to.

Check out /sub/lilwa_dexel for more of my stories.

Thank you to the sweet kind soul who gilded this!

Oh my god, a second gilding... Thank you!

A third?! Thank you, kind stranger!!

"Nah, Man. That's fucked up" The king of lies said to Tom.

"What the Hell is that supposed to mean, isn't this kinda your thing!?" Tom replied incredulously

"Right mate, but at some point you just turn into a pathetic sadist, you gotta know where to draw the line"

"You are Satan, Evilest thing there is, is this to evil for you?"

"Go ahead if you wish, mate. But I want you to know I do not endorse this, this is something is punished harder then rape, murder, theft, any of that shit. Man I will literally have to design a whole new torture level in Hades for you if you do this"

"Fuck you too" Tom said completely disregarding the Devils warnings

And then in a moment, the deed was done.

Tom placed an outlet sticker on an airport wall

That just wrecked me. Bravo!

"Nah, dude. That's fucked up," it clattered. One hoof stomped and one taloned claw dug, mounted there upon my shoulder. Its little chimeric frame rattled with chitinous tick-tacking.

"Oh, come on. She's hot."

"Are you kidding me? I'd be in trouble with that one." It perched and turned so I could see its expression, leering. "You put that idea away and you don't come back to it, you hear me?"

"What are you scared of? That it'd work? Or that it wouldn't?"

It turned away in a grumping show of feigned indifference. Steam wheezed from between its plates, and I could feel it getting warmer.

I challenged him. "What if she likes it?"

The vapors grew to a whistle. Its little body bristled and grew, like it was flexing signal feathers it did not possess.

"What if she loves it?" I let my tongue roll the word, savoring its oil.

The heat became flame. The steam became sulfur. The clutch became a tearing and I felt its venom lick at my veins. Its face spun, whirling to reproach me with words that stopped in its thorned throat.

I felt powerful. I felt right. We locked eyes and I would not turn away from its rage. I held the last word out like it was a loaded gun.

"... Soulmate."

Its orbs widened, quaking, and I felt its heat flee as we both heard a pop.

Gilded samite wreathed the perfumed weight that gainfully lit upon my barer shoulder. Triumph enflamed me and I knew my own glory. My hand and my mind were united in purpose, in selfhood, as I felt the caress of stretched wings folding in peace beside me, dignified and total.

Her voice was honey, her words sapphires. "What are you guys talking about?"

I turned again and hissed at the brimstone homunculus. "Come on, man, ask her out."

[WP] Rather than being dispatched by a dispatcher, police officers use a bounty system where officers can pick up missions from a constantly updated bounty board. The missions range from: "noise complaint, $20", to "domestic abuse, $150", to "bank robbery in progress, $5000".

[WP] Rather than being dispatched by a dispatcher, police officers use a bounty system where officers can pick up missions from a constantly updated bounty board. The missions range from: "noise complaint, $20", to "domestic abuse, $150", to "bank robbery in progress, $5000".

"Check again, it's almost 10, some party has to be getting loud by now?"

"I've refreshed it 4 times, all that's changed is that Mrs. Stevens call has gone up ten bucks, so unless you want listen to her say her husband is planning to kill her for an hour shut the- ha nevermind it looks like Tom took it."

"Seriously? How much did you take off him last night anyway?"

"Like 200, the guy bought in twice and still was out after an hour."

"Well, Mikey moneybags, maybe you don't need to go on any calls tonight, but I still plan on my kids eating this week."

"Listen Jonny Boy, I've seen your kids, they could afford to miss a few meals."

"You asshole, just find us a fucking call." John could not help laughing as he said so as he turned down another quiet street on another quiet night. Mike hit refresh on CPW every few minutes in between texts with Mary.

"'Contract Police Work'" John Scoffed "They should just call it 'Cops Pissing in the Wind'"

"Hey wait a minute, we got a lurker on Elm"

"What's it pay?"

"A hundred a piece, it's 5 minutes away, and they need two officers. Looks like it's time for Mike and his trusty sidekick Jonny boy to spring into action." Mike put on his best Saturday morning cartoon narrator as John pulled a U-turn. After confirming on CPW, they headed to Elm street with their sirens and headlights off. They turned down the street and quickly pulled behind a parked car. Their unmarked car blended well with the exceedingly normal neighborhood surroundings.

"You see anything?" John asked

"Yes, I've just been waiting for you to ask me." The sentence started as a friendly ribbing, but by the end Mike made it clear he was falling into a much more serious mood. It was dark, no moon was out, and the streetlamps only cast small cones of light straight down. The cruiser had a powerful flashlight on the driver side, but they did not use it. They both scanned up and down the street as far as they could, hoping to glimpse some movement. Just as Mike was going to suggest moving up a couple 100 feet, a silhouette flitted across the street 3 streetlamps down the road.

"Let's go" Mike said as they both quietly got out of the car, they stopped short of closing their doors to remain silent. John led the way, sticking to the shadows, they head in the same direction as the perp. They headed between two houses and saw the shadow disappear around a corner They heard a fence door open and close as they began to slowly close in. The fence door led to a backyard of a standard suburban house. John looked in between the slats, he was able to make out the figure crouched at the back door of the house.

"He's picking the lock, we get can him while he's distracted" John whispered.

"Are you kidding, do you know how much a B&E pays now, it's 500 a piece even if we don't arrest him, double if we do." Mike said with a smile. John thought nervously for a few seconds, but he too smiled in agreement. They both looked back through the fence as the inept thief struggled to pick the lock. Mike began to worry he might get nervous and give up.

"I swear to god, I'll pick this fucking lock myself if he doesn't get in soon" But Mike was far from angry, he was practically licking his lips in anticipation. Eventually they heard the fateful click of the lock and they kept watching the suspect, getting ready to follow him in. They saw him put his lockpick in his jacket pocket and exchange it for a 9mm pistol. Mike and John both recoiled and looked at each other. A cold jolt of fear and adrenaline went up their spines, neither spoke as they carefully drew their guns, but they both were thinking the same thing. Armed assailants pay triple. They spent a considerable amount of time opening the fence door as quietly as possible. They approached either side of the back door that the thief left open and peaked in. Nothing.

Their training began to kick in as they cleared each room in the downstairs area methodically and quietly. Their guns were drawn, probing ahead of them, fingers on the triggers, as they soon began to suspect the thief already moved upstairs. As they headed to the foot of the stairs back in the foyer they could hear muffled conversation coming from somewhere upstairs. Mike looked at John, who simply shrugged his shoulders, neither could make out what was being said. As they slowly climbed the stairs, cringing at every perceived creak, they heard the voices getting louder, but still couldn't make out the words.

"Twelve..." was all Mike could make out before the voice trailed off. "Twelve..." and again he couldn't hear anything else until they got right to the top of the stairs and moved towards the only bedroom with light shining out on the floor.

"Twelve fucking years." They sidled up to either side of the door and could now hear clearly what was being said.

"I'm so sorry please don't do this." They could both hear a woman say.

"Twelve fucking years, twelve fucking years, does that mean nothing to you? Twelve fucking years."

"Don't do this man" a frightened voice said.

"Twelve fucking years, why didn't you just divorce me, why did you have to do this"

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" the woman was sobbing uncontrollably.

John had heard enough, he walked away from the door a few feet and then did an about face getting ready to kick the door. He looked at Mike, Mike stared back and shook his head no. John was puzzled at this and signaled that he was going to kick the door. He counted down on his fingers, but Mike grabbed him and pushed him against the wall.

"You should have fucking divorced me. 12 years, you should have fucking divorced me you bitch!" The man yelled. John struggled viciously to get free of Mike's hold.

"I guess I'll do it then." The man was calm and quiet now. John used all his strength and pushed Mike off him. He took one step and froze as shot after shot rang out. The shots didn't stop until every round was spent. John remained frozen as Mike moved past him, kicked down the door and unloaded his pistol into the newly minted murderer. After this, they'd be set for a year.

Edit: Thanks for all the feedback, this was literally my first try at /sub/writingprompts and it's amazing to get such a supportive response. I love the discussion of how to build a CPW system that descentivizes corruption, in this universe, everyone is content with the corruption haha.

A bit of disciplinary action in the form of a written warning. Might instigate a team meeting where they're reminded not to do that.

What's the bounty for catching a cop who allows a crime to escalate when he could have done something?

"Disciplinary action was taken. The officer was suspended with pay."

Edit: I made a passing joke, but u/sonofshem has the right of it. Check out his comment.

[EU] Harry and Ginny are dropping Albus,James,Lily for a new year at Hogwarts. A short distance away Harry finds a family with a little daughter. On closer inspection he finds out it's Dudley and his wife with their daughter waiting for Hogwarts Express

[EU] Harry and Ginny are dropping Albus,James,Lily for a new year at Hogwarts. A short distance away Harry finds a family with a little daughter. On closer inspection he finds out it's Dudley and his wife with their daughter waiting for Hogwarts Express

The steam from the shining locomotive billowed like cloud across the platform, which was scattered with hundreds of students, new and old, off to Hogwarts for another year. Harry Potter, more than used to the stares, the smiles - the curious, assessing looks - helped his youngest up onto the train and said his farewells.

"Be good, Lily," he said. "And write your mother."

Ginny appeared with the other two and Harry gave them hugs goodbye while their mother loaded them onto the train. He stepped back from the entrance to the carriage--and into the path of a wheeled trolley burdened with a trunk, cauldron, and books wrapped in brown paper and twine. An owl, snowy white, familiar amber eyes, rested in a birdcage atop of the ordered chaos.

"Ooh! I'm sorry," squeaked the young girl behind the trolley.

"Not your fault," Harry said with an easy smile. "First year?"

The girl nodded, unable to suppress an excited grin of her own. She beamed from ear to ear, all four feet and change, under a crop of frizzy blonde hair. Harry had seen his own kids, Lily only a year older, look this young, but couldn't imagine himself ever being so small. In the years since the war, the wizarding population in Britain had blossomed. Hogwarts, home to only hundreds of students during Harry's years there, now housed thousands. The castle grew as needed.

"Petunia," a low voice said through a cloud of loose steam. "Mind that trolley, now. I--"

A tall man emerged through the cloud, a gentle hand coming to rest on the young girl's--Petunia's--shoulder. Harry and the man met each other's eyes and twenty years fell away in moments.

He had shed most of his weight, or grown into it, Harry thought, though vestiges of heavy jowls, a gut plumped by one too many beers, was noticeable under his simple pinstriped suit. His blonde hair had receded, a crown he kept cut short, and there was something different in his eyes. Something kind, gentle.

"Hello, Dudley," Harry said.

"Harry," Dudley said carefully, giving him a polite nod. "I... I never thought we'd actually bump into you."

"Who's he, dad?" little Petunia asked.

Dudley swallowed. He gazed at Harry, perhaps trying to read the calm look on his face, as crowds of people parted around them. Laughter and excitement faded to uncertainty.

"An old fr..." Dudley shook his head. "This is my cousin, Petunia. Harry Potter."

Petunia marched around the back of her trolley and stuck her hand out. "Nice to meet you, Harry Pot--" Her sparkling blue eyes widened. "I read about you! You're in The Fall of the Dark Lord by Hermione Granger."

A smile touched Harry's face, but not his eyes. He took Petunia's hand and shook once, politely.

"Been a long time," he said to Dudley. "Never thought I'd see you on this platform, though stranger things have happened and all that." Dudley nodded once. A long silence stretched toward uncomfortable. "How are your parents?"

Dudley cleared his throat and glanced sideways at Petunia. "We don't... we haven't really spoken so much in the last few years. They knew Petunia was..." He grit his teeth and forced a smile. "You can imagine."

"All too well," Harry said, and that was enough. He'd learnt long ago not to let the past hurt.

"I want to get on the train, dad!" Petunia said, bouncing on the spot, foot to foot, eager and excited.

Dudley nodded. "Go see your mother. She's talking to the conductor down there, and get your belongings loaded onto the train. I'll be along shortly."

"Where do the first-years go?" she asked. "Do you know, Mr Potter?"

Dudley looked uncertain. Harry knelt down on his haunches till he was eye level with the little girl. "Anywhere they like," he said. "It's a big train, plenty of room, and lots of snacks to be had on the trip up. But if you do feel lost, look for a girl named Lily. She'll help you find the right compartment."

"Really?" Petunia asked.

Harry nodded most seriously. "Lily is your second cousin. Family look out for each other."

Petunia mulled that over and then took her trolley off down the platform with a massive grin. Harry stood and met Dudley's unsure, guilty look.

"Family look out for each other," Dudley said, his words hollow, almost gaunt.

Harry crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't blame you for what happened when we were kids, Dudley. We were just that, you know. Kids."

"What my parents did to you..."

Harry raised his hand. "Forgiven, not forgotten. But I hope to never see them again. That's all I'll say."

"It's different," Dudley began and gave a nervous chuckle. "When it's your kid, it's different. I'm so proud of her, Harry. For being special. For being... well, her."

Harry could understand that. He had three of his own, with plans for a fourth. The wizarding world needed more children, more life and light.

"Is it safe for her?" Dudley asked. "...Hogwarts?"

"Yes," Harry said. "I've spent my life making sure of that."

"Thank you for pointing Petunia in Lily's direction. I worry she'll be a bit behind the others."

Harry chuckled softly and clapped his cousin on the arm. "The owl - that was your idea?"

"Mary thought I was mad," Dudley said. "That's my wife. She's normal--I mean, non-magical. Sorry. When I told her I knew some of this world," he waved around at the train, the platform, the blue in the sky, "she almost went to stay at her mother's. It's a hard thing, keeping this secret."

Harry thought about that, memories of his time at Privet Drive flashing through his mind. Memories of long ago, and so much worse, the dark years, the struggle after the war. "I'll get Lily to speak to your daughter," he said. "We can exchange a few owls, if you like. Any questions you might have."

Dudley stared at Harry for a long moment. "You'd do that? After... well, everything?" He looked flabbergasted. "I don't know if I'd be so kind, if the roles were reversed."

"I've seen what can happen to someone who dwells on unkindness, and anger. I've seen it tear the world apart." Harry offered his hand and Dudley grasped it firmly. "Never again."

Check out my fancy new writing subreddit, where I'm keeping all my /sub/writingprompts stories - right here.

Edit: Thanks for the feedback, everyone. And to those who pointed out the second cousin error. I've fixed that now. Cheers.

I like this....

that being said, JK has said that Harry and Dudley, do see each other on holidays and such, and that their kids all know each other, this would have been a great intro into their reconciliation. But from my understanding there was more tension.

Great read though good Job

Yeah, but Rowling has a habit of saying things that are canon and then never actually including them in any books. I kind of assume that, if it's not written down, then she can stuff it.

Then again, I also think she should have her canon-making privileges revoked after that bad fanfic of a play she helped make.

Dudley was nervous.

He'd asked his mother, Petunia, why she didn't "have magic," like Harry and his mother, the night they left 4 Privet Drive. "I asked my mother that, she said sometimes it skips a generation or two."

Oh, how right she'd been.

"The letter says to 'Run at the pillar between platforms 9 and 10.'" Petunia, the little girl squeaked. Dudley was really nervous. It hadn't escaped his mind that perhaps all of this was a prank, for him to pay for what he'd done in his youth, to which he'd only been able to repay the boy that sacrificed his safety for the Dursley's own safety with a few words of understanding. But the same strange occurrences that had followed his cousin also followed his little girl, so he had to try, even if that meant making a fool of himself.

And so, they ran at the pillar between platforms 9 and 10, and just as the front of the trolley touched the bricks, Dudley squeezed his eyes tight and...nothing, no crash, no bang, no nothing, except the awestruck gasp from his Daughter.

"Woooow." Her tiny voice nearly drowned out by the sudden hustle that had formed around them. He opened his eyes, and his mouth. All around him were men, women, and children, some wearing street clothes, some in cloaks and pointed hats, and others in amalgams of the two.

"Dudley, you made it!" A familiar voice, if a little deeper, came from the right of them. Dudley turned to see the adult version of the boy he'd spent his childhood picking on, and his later teenage years wishing he could apologize too. Harry Potter. Harry had known that Petunia was a Witch, and had sent a letter to Dudley with Petunia's Hogwarts letter. For the most part, it had been a letter of surprise and delight that the Dursley's finally had a Witch in the family, and it also urged Dudley to let her go to Hogwarts, and to come to the station himself.

"Ya' know, as we were running at the wall, I was worried.." Dudley began.

"That it was a prank?" Harry finished the thought for him. Dudley could only nod. "To be honest, for a long time, I wanted to stay mad at you...but...that night, the last night at 4 Privet Drive...it-it was enough, I couldn't keep my anger, and I know what it feels like to have unspoken words with someone."

"Ah...s-something in my eye." Dudley suddenly said, and pulled out a handkerchief, and turned away.

Harry knelt, "And this must be Petunia."

"Who are you?" The small girl made no bones about her curiosity, which made Harry grin, this was Dudley's kid alright.

"Ah, well..." Harry suddenly floundered, not knowing just what he was to the girl.

Suddenly Dudley cleared his throat, "He's your Uncle." This time it was Harry's turn to hold back tears.

"But I thought you were an only child..." The girl peered up at the giant of a man.

"Well...yes, I was, he's technically my Cousin, but..." He looked at Harry, "He might as well be my brother."

"Okay!" The girl accepted this without so much as a hiccup, "I've never had an Uncle before, what do they do?"

"Well," Harry whispered conspiratorially, "I'm your ticket to all the cool stuff in the Wizarding World." To this, the girls eyes became as big as saucers.

"Daddy!" A small ginger haired girl popped out of the crowd, and gave Harry a hug where he knelt.

"Ah, Lily, just the girl I was looking for, this," Harry nodded at Petunia, "Is your cousin Petunia, it's also her first year of Hogwarts, but I have a feeling, you can help her out. Would you do that for me?"

Lily was a bit shy, but bolder around her father, so she nodded bravely, "Yes!"

"Good girl, now, do you want to show Petunia where her bags go?" Harry looked between the both of them.

"Okay!" Lily said, grinning.

"Here," Harry stopped her as she began to go, "Get whatever you want from the Trolley to share." He whispered, and give the girl a handful of galleons. At this, the girl beamed, and in a show of unique boldness, took the other girls hand, and with some effort, began to maneuver the trolley down the platform.

"Thank you." Dudley said, "Thank you so much."

"You know," Harry stands up, wiping off his knees, "I would've imagined any child of yours being much taller."

At this, Dudley laughed, "I know, and her mother isn't much shorter than me." Dudley, of course, was huge, he'd grown to be taller than both of his parents, standing at nearly 6 and a half feet tall, and even after trimming down, was still over 14 stone, Dudley was built like a Mountain, "But I love her all the same."

"Well, if she stays small, she'll be a shoo-in for Seeker of whatever House she's in, and if she does grow to be like you, she'll make an excellent Keeper."

"A what now?" Dudley gave Harry a quizzical look.

"Ah, Dudley, sometime, you and I are going to have to go to a Wizards Pub, and I can introduce you to the wonderful sport of Quidditch." Suddenly the Hogwarts Express blows it's horn, "But later, now, we must see our children off."

"Do you really think she'll be alright?" Dudley said, nervous again.

"Dudley, I think she'll get on magically in Hogwarts." Harry smiled at the large man, and it actually made Dudley feel a bit better.

[WP] You've been dating your partner for six months. Tonight they've invited you to a work event, and as you step onto the red carpet, you realize it for the first time: you're dating a celebrity.

[WP] You've been dating your partner for six months. Tonight they've invited you to a work event, and as you step onto the red carpet, you realize it for the first time: you're dating a celebrity.

A camera flashes as I open the car door and, elegant as ever, Amile steps out before extending her hand to me, hoop bracelets sliding down her wrist and stopping against the contour of her hand. Her long fingers are decorated with rings. There are three more camera flashes before I finally accept her hand and exit the car. In those moments, I feel elegant too. Eyes fall on me, like an unveiled sculpture, chiseled marble drawing the attention of the crowd as they stare through their lenses and the lightning storm of captured moments begins.

In any relationship, there is some defining moment where you go from simply loving someone to really knowing them. Perhaps you’ll love them once you know them but it doesn’t always work that way.

In the car, before my birth into the realm of really knowing the woman I’ve spent the last six months with, surrounded by the smell of the leather seats and our perfume, I just loved her. I loved her because she was beautiful and kind. She liked whiskey and, when I met her at the bar, I told her that I found her taste appealing. I’d never really understood the fruity drinks, I told her. She agreed. I loved her because she had an uncanny ability to make people smile, no matter how terrible they felt. In many moments, even if bookending the smiles and laughter were despair and hollow sadness, she made me happier than I’d ever been in my life.

In any relationship, you’ll learn something you felt you should have known before you began dating. Like maybe she really likes cats. Or she puts ranch dressing on her pizza. Maybe, in her basement, she has a secret Lego collection. Whatever. You’ll think, wow, I really wish I’d known that. For better or for worse, you’ll think, that feels important to me.

“Come on,” she whispers, nudging me and talking with nearly unmoving lips. Her hand waves to onlookers who are barricaded behind gates and ropes.

“What the hell is this?” I ask. But she raises her brows at me and laughs, gesturing to the red carpet beneath our heels, bejeweled and incredibly neither of our style. “I thought you worked at the movies?” She laughs. Her head shakes, earrings bouncing against her jaw. She asks me if I really didn’t know.

“Know what?” I reply.

She tells me that she’s in the movies. Recently manicured brows arched up toward my hairline, I assess the situation again. The car is gone and we are ushered down the carpet as long stretch limo pulls up in its place. Like she’s done this one hundred times before, Amile walks along the narrow carpeted ground, her head turns and she points her perfect smile from camera to camera and jabs her elbow into my ribs again.

“Smile, ok,” she says.

So I do. Behind us, actors whose names I step on any time people visit and we have to take them to walk down Hollywood Boulevard, these hot shot big timers, they're climbing out of limos and walking casually. They don’t even question what I’m doing here.

“That..” I start, staring at a man would couldn’t possibly be Brad Pitt. I’m rewarded with another sharp nudge and a pointed head shake.

Maybe we just aren’t meant to know everything about a person. Not when you start dating them. Not when you marry someone. Maybe not even in your entire life that you spend with them. When I enter the building, men and women in attire nicer than anything I’ve ever owned serve us drinks before we begin our walk past life-size posters of people from billboards and patterned walls where we’re meant to pose for pictures. Anyway, I’m thinking, as we smile for our umpteeth picture of the evening, that my inability to keep up with media is a good thing. I’m thinking, sometimes not knowing comes in handy. Because I doubt I’d have met her otherwise.

I'm new to this but I'll be posting future stories on /sub/edgarallanhobo so, if you'd like, feel free to subscribe to see future work! Thank you all for your kind words!

When the door slammed shut, she began to speak as quickly as she could. "You never knew I was an actress?" she asked, totally in denial. "I mean, I told you I had a film shoot the other day! Did that not tip you off?" Her radiant smile was clouded with a brow of confusion.

"You said you were a film major! I didn't think to question your motives honey..." I responded, trying my best to placate her. I know we'd been dating for a few months, but evidently there was stuff we didn't communicate.

"And what about my manager, Jaques? No clue, not a single blessed clue?" she responded, putting her purse down, her dress shimmering in the bitter light of the dining room.

"I thought he was a college friend. I mean, he looks like a stoner!" I respond, her pausing in her steps a moment. "Okay, you get that one. We did meet in college, but he's also my manager."

She took her heels and threw them across the room, hitting the wall with a clatter. Up above us, Mary upstairs stomped her feet, a muffled warning to keep it down coming through the carpet.

She seemed on the verge of crying, sitting down in the chair closest, cradling her head in her arms.

"So, you wanted to date me, never knowing I was rich, or famous, or even talented?"

I grabbed the chair next to her, spun it around, tossing my admittedly ragged tie across the room.

"I thought you were nice, and seemed down. I just wanted to make you happy." I said, pulling her into my arms.

"You have..." she said, and we spent the evening together, not as celebrity and sidekick boyfriend, but as the happy couple in the apartment downstairs.

EDIT: A word

The first time I met her, it was after hours in some 24-hour diner near Union Square in San Francisco. I was in town for a tech conference, and very, very drunk. She was also in town for work, "some PR/Marketing BS," as she put it. She's told me that I was charming that night. I showed her pictures of my dog on my phone. I tried to do a magic trick, where I proceeded to spill coffee all over the counter and the sleeves of her top. Mortified, I got up to leave, but then, in a move I would have never made sober, I wrote my number on a napkin, and told her if she ever came to Seattle, hit me up and I'd buy her a drink to replace the one I'd spilled.

I was confused a few weeks later when I got a text from an unknown number. She was in town with a free night, and wanted to take me up on that drink. I decided I could take a night off from Counterstrike and Call of Duty to play tour guide.

Have you ever met someone for the first time, and just clicked immediately? The night is almost a blur - we talked and laughed all night. I couldn't believe how I could have so much to talk about with someone I'd just met - it was like we'd known each other for years. It was the scariest moment of my life at the end of the night when I invited her back to my apartment, and then the most exhilarating when she said yes. She left early, kissing me on the cheek, whispering she had a plane to catch. I groggily offered to drive her to the airport, but she smiled and told me she already had a car coming for her.

We talked often - sometimes just leaving our phones on while we did our own thing. I would give her hilarious play by play of my hopeless attempts to play COD, she would laugh and call me her clueless soldier while tapping away on her keyboard - humming to herself as she worked. She was always working. We met up a few other times - when she was here for business, and once I had a long layover in Nashville, so she met me at the airport, just to say hi and have coffee with me.

I'm in IT and I see people's eyes glaze over when I start talking about work, so I never pressed it when she didn't want to talk about her job. I knew, living in Nashville, that it had something to do with the music industry. I knew she traveled a lot, almost every week. And she knew people everywhere - it seemed like every time we were out, she'd bump into someone who stopped her to say hi. She would always ask them what they were listening to, what their favorite songs were, collecting more PR/Marketing BS data, she'd tell me afterwards.

It was a few months later when we were comparing travel schedules when we realized we were both going to be in Vegas at the same time - another tech conference for me, another PR BS thing for her. "Hey," she said, "do you want to come with me to the award ceremony? They're long and boring, I could use some company." Of course I jumped at the chance to spend time with her. "It's a formal thing, but I'll expense your tux rental. I'll pick you up at 7pm."

My company once did a casino night where we all dressed up and had limos pick us up, so I was only surprised for a moment when she pulled up in a long Hummer limo. I recovered quickly and played it cool. This would be fun! I was not able to recover when we pulled up to T-Mobile Arena and a mass of cameras and reporters waiting for us. "Welcome to PR/Marketing BS" she said as she gave my hand a reassuring squeeze. Someone outside opened the limo door and whisked us on to a long, red carpet leading into the arena, and I was blinded by the flashbulbs and lights that hit us immediately. I could just make out part of some announcer "….Country Music's hottest rising star, she recently reached number one with her single Clueless Soldier, a tribute to all our troops in the Middle East…" The rest was drowned out by the cheers. She gave my hand another squeeze.

"Please, please, PLEASE go with me tonight. I don't want to go to this party alone."

Tracy had me pinned down on the couch, which I would normally not have a problem with, but the way she had me pinned was had nothing to do with fun together time. This was all about her.

"I told you I don't like work events, I don't like people. i'll be just the weirdo standing against the wall trying to blend in. No thanks."

Smacking my arm (which again I would normally enjoy), Tracy rolled off of me to the open spot on the couch, giving me her best pouty face. Almost like a kitten who is begging for head scratches. That look.

"It's ok if you want to hold the wall up after we arrive, I just don't want to walk in alone. It's just a publicity event for my marketing firm. We walk in, shake hands, kiss babies, and grab a drink or 2. We can be in an out in a couple hours. Pleeeeessseee?"

Again, with the pouty kitten face. Trace knows how that melts me. Stupid girl weapons.

"Fine! Couple hours. And in trade you go see that movie I was talking about with me this weekend. Guess I need to go change."

Tracy squealed with glee, she almost had a glow about her. Clapping her hands, she bounced up from the couch like a dancer.

"Perfect! I rented you a tux, it's in the closet. And I'll even sweeten the pot, when we get home tonight, I'll put on something new for you. Now I need to go get ready too, meet you at 5, my place?"

With a kiss, Trace practically floated from the room.

5pm. I'm in my rented black tuxedo, with a blue (of all things) tie, standing in front of her door. As my hand moves towards it to knock, all I can think of is 'I don't want to do this, I don't want to do this, I hate people, I don't want to do this' and then I knock. All my anxiety disappears when the door opens.

"Well howdy, stranger!" The line that got me in that smokey club one Saturday night. Only that night, she was in a t-shirt and jeans. Now, standing their with a huge grin on her face, was Trace. In an aqua blue dress, she looked like flowing water when she moved.

"You...look...amazing. I just, wow."

Tracy giggled, looking me up and down as well.

"You do too, sweetie. Again, thanks for coming. I hate these things too, but it's required. So will be much easier with you there for protection."

"I look like a penguin, but thanks. Now, I'll get a cab."

"No need babe, the firm sent a car." That's when I noticed the black Lincoln Continental to my left, shining like a black pearl.

The drive only took about an hour, heading away from suburbia to the Vegas Strip. We rarely went to the city, Trace said with her job she got enough fluorescent lighting. I hated it because again, people.

I was not prepared for the crowd when we stopped in front of the Luxor Casino. People, everywhere. The driver opened Trace's door, and as soon as Trace's leg hit the pavement I saw flashing bulbs everywhere. Pretty sure I froze, because it wasn't until Trace's hand latched onto my arm did I even make a move towards the open door.

"Come on sweetie, it's ok. Nobody is gonna bite you. Hard, anyway."

As we both stood on the sidewalk, feet on a red carpet, and heads in some strange electric flash party, I slowly started to put the numbers together. X+Y = Z squared. But it wasn't until I heard the announcer did I really figure it out.

"And joining us now on the Red Carpet is Miss Trixxie Starr! She is up for best supporting actress for the movie Bombshells of Boston, which is also one of the top contenders for Movie of the Year!"

And that kids, is how I discovered I was dating a celebrity porn star.

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