To have your challenge entry recorded, please write your piece as a reply to this thread.
As a central theme of Consistency is the existence of time — ensuring that you are writing on a timely and daily basis — the theme of this month’s prompts will also be about time.
Today's prompt: [Schedule]
Definition: a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times.
╰┈➤ Write a piece that involves this concept.
Word Count: Minimum 300 words, no maximum.
The familiar voice greeted me, a pleasant sound to my ears. It sure beat waking up to blaring alarms. “Yes, captain?”
“Read me my schedule, please” I said, stretching on the bed as I looked over at the speaker in the corner of my room, waiting.
Silence ensured for a moment, before Cove started. “Breakfast at seven thirty, training at eight. Karmin announced she was unwell and won’t be attending. At twelve the counsel requested your presence to discuss your latest report.”
I nodded along to everything he listed, making a mental note of them in order to actually remember to prepare for them. Specifically the last, that one was scary. I held my hands behind my head, propping it up as my eyes scanned the dull grey ceiling. “Current time?”
“Three past seven, Captain”
Always so specific.
“Estimated landing time?”
“Approximately fifteen hours,” he replied. “It is very likely that your schedule will need to be altered tomorrow in order to allow you to rest after landing.”
I hummed in response, gathering up enough strength to bolt up from bed, not allowing me any time to drag the action out, knowing if I did, I’d fall right back in. "There’s no need for that, Covie. I’ll rest once we’re settled in” I replied, lifting my arms over my head in a stretch as I made my way over to the small mirror where I was greeted by the mess of a bed hair.
“But Captain, I must insist you sleep at least six hours a night”
“A night?” I raised an eyebrow, holding back a snicker as I smoothed out my hair. Despite the amount of times I made that very same joke, it still didn’t get old to me. Though I suppose he seemed to enjoy it a whole lot less.
He sighed. “You’re insufferable. I don’t know why I put up with you”
“Because you love me” I laughed, quickly working through my ‘morning’ routine before changing into my uniform and slipping on the comlink into my ear. With that I marched out my room, making my way down the brightly lit hall, greeting my crew as I passed by.
I held my hands on the small of my back, my head tilted up and a polite smile stretched on my lips. A perfectly elegant stance I totally hadn’t practised in front of a mirror for days. But now? Now it's a habit.
A soft beep rang in my ear before Cove spoke. “I do not love you”
I laughed. Despite the conversation already having ended, he found the need to respond. “Right, keep telling yourself that.” I replied, about to pass by the kitchen when Cove spoke again, stopping me dead in my tracks.
Letting out a heavy sigh, I walked inside, starting to rummage through the cupboards for food as I repeated the schedule list over and over in my mind. Breakfast, training, meeting.
It was the only way I could ever really remember my schedule. To the captain of a renowned space-craft, order and discipline were key. But needless to say, neither were exactly my forte. I suppose that’s why my father installed a nanny feature into my AI, huh? Typical.
I kept a schedule, for schedule was order, and the absence of it chaos. Too bad I was quite the chaot.
I'm not saying my life was messy (though acquaintances—who I explicitely distance myself from—would disagree), it was in fact rather orderly. Went to school, graduated, went to uni, graduated, went to job, got one, now suffer, eventually go to rent, die. It's almost like a schedule, which made me anxious, since none of the schedules I made or was part of came to fruition.
No, I was a chaot inside the barely scheduled life. Ordered and separated into slices, the cupboard looked quite nice, but open a drawer and you actually pour your stomach inside, assuming like most humans you can't handle alcohol when dizzy. Which I might note feels really bad. The cop I drank with the same night got so drunk, he funningly (or concerningly) thought he was on duty and tried to arrest me.
Not the most pleasant police station visit.
Er, where was I? Ah yeah, my ability to have a chaotic schedule. Or, a schedule filled with chaos. A schedule that runs on chaos? I mean, technically my brain runs on chaos, so any schedule I create runs on chaos too. Just need to show that chaos powder exists. Which makes it try to not exist, but it does.
Sometimes I get a concerned call too, from a more distant friend usually. That's when I infect them with chaos myself, and show them…
Schedule was order, unless you had no schedule, then it's chaos, but having a schedule allows you to cause chaos inside the schedule.
Somehow that also is another thought drifting away, sinking into the ocean of chaos that is my brain. You can see some thoughts trying to stick for longer than two seconds, don't worry, none ever reached that point. Oh no, that's my alarm over there actually.
Chaos has a schedule too! It's order within chaos, except uhhh
Where did I put my schedule again? Oh drats not again.
Does daily writing count as a part of a schedule? What is a schedule if not a reminder to adhere to routine? What is routine to someone with no structure? I don't know. I really don't. Maybe if I think hard enough, I could figure it out, but I haven't yet. And I'm too tired to start now. Tomorrow, maybe. I can't think of anything for inspiration, so I decide the best thing to do is take a break from it all for a minute. Leave, stretch, do something else, clear my head a bit. Find something that inspires me once I feel okay again, and then I'll get back to it. That's my plan. Just leave for a minute, come back rejuvenated, and I'll be all good. If I have my days all planned out specifically, you see, I can gain a sense of balance in my life that I otherwise would never have. If I stick to a routine and never, ever waver -- unless that wavering, of course, is meticulously planned -- then nothing will have time to rot away or fall apart. I'll be functional. I'll be happy. So I do leave, and -- and this happens a lot -- I get sidetracked. Completely forget to get back to it. And when one thing is thrown out of rhythm, so is another, and before you know it everything is so distressing and out of structure and wrong and you know what? Throw the whole damn day away. And then my week is out of balance. And so are all the other weeks after that. Even the smallest things like this, like writing, things I enjoy doing, I don't have the energy or memory for, and nothing I've done to remedy that has ever worked long term. I'm so tired of nothing clicking for me and feeling myself fall into those same patterns that I always have before. But I have it in writing. That's one step. I have the routine written down. And sometimes, on good days, I remember to do the little things like eat healthy and breathe and take time for my writing. Granted, today was not one of those days, but sometimes I do it! And then I feel like I really can! I'm functional! I'm happy! I'm- happy? *Am* I happy? Would I ever know if I was? Well, I definitely know that I'm tired. Productive or not, it's been a long day. I have a lot that I still need to do and I should have definitely finished sooner, but I don't have any more time today. And I'm definitely too tired to start now. Tomorrow, maybe.
“Keep up now, come on!” The alarm on his smartwatch chirped as he hurried through the bustling train station, trying to find his car. The stream of people made it hard to make it through, especially since this was work hour. No, he wasn’t going to work today, he had specific schedule to follow, and he had specific places to be at oddly specific times. The night before he had marked out on his planner all the places he had to be and exactly when, and then set reminders on his watch to keep him in check.
He finally found his car in the parking garage and got into the driver’s seat, breathing out a sigh of relief. He wanted to lean back and close his eyes and rest for a moment, as last night he had barely gotten enough sleep, but no, he had his schedule to follow, so he entered his address into the car and started the engine. There would be no rest for him until today was over.
Tick tock tick tock… The clock never seemed to stop. He was already two minutes late because he had been distracted by a puppy on the way out of his apartment, and the traffic wasn’t helping. Tap tap tap tap… His finger twitched against the steering wheel and he stared out at the gloomy traffic, wishing he was at the front of the line. There, green! He slammed his foot on the accelerated and sped down the road, pulling to a stop in front of the flower shop.
“Do you have the bouquet of roses I ordered today ready?” he asked, running in, breathless.
“Right here, sir. They’re yours for the taking.”
“All right, I’ll be on my way.” And off in his car he went.
How long did it take flowers to wilt in the backseat? And he had made dinner reservations too…
There, he had pulled up at the place, and opened the door.
“Quickly, honey, we have to celebrate our anniversary today!”
Here is your friendly reminder to blame Jyll for putting this idea into my brain. Not my fault! Leaning forward to check the schedule taped to the wall once again, I let out a frustrated sigh. The train was meant to be here nearly half an hour ago, but it had yet to arrive and no one knew why. There had been no announcements regarding its tardiness; there also had been no communication from the conductor for the last hour. “Okay, this schedule says the train was meant to be here like half an hour ago, so where the hell is it? I can’t miss this appointment or I’ll lose my j—” A loud crash resounded through the station as the ceiling crumpled in on itself like a flimsy sheet of paper. Something had landed on the tracks, but it sure as hell was not the train I had been waiting on. “Is that a fucking spaceship? What in the fuck?” A tall humanoid being stepped from the ship and grabbed my arm, pulling me forcibly through the doors. “Afternoon, human, no time for what I believe you call ‘chit chat’. Board the ship and we can discuss the rest of this further once we return to deep space.” “Where is my train?” “This is the train.” The being chuckled and tapped on a colorful graphic hung on the wall. The words “Choo Choo Motherfucker” were scrawled across it in messy, rainbow cursive. “All aboard.” “I have a schedule to keep! My meeting is in less than ten minutes! And that’s just the first one of the day! I have three more after that with two clients and my boss’s boss that I cannot miss. No one is going to believe me if I say some weird ass alien kidnapped me before I could make my commute in.” “Your schedule has been cleared.” I stare blankly at this humanoid figure as it stalks away, talking as though I should just accept this drastic change of plans. “Now, we have bigger things to discuss here.” “No, no, no. I have a schedule! Without meeting for these meetings, I cannot pay my bills which have to be paid at specific times every month, not that you would get that you alien freak, and then, I have a dog. Oh god, Charlie is all alone and won’t get his dinner on time. There’s so much I have to do. You cannot just clear my schedule for fun!” “Charlie is asleep in your sleeping quarters. He quite likes the bed in there. I had you fired from your job as it is… unimportant. Anything else?” I blink up at the humanoid thing in front of me. What the fuck kind of science fiction book have I been launched into? And how am I supposed to fix my fucking schedule now?!
Word Count: 1,278 words I didn't expect a crack, nonsense idea to give birth to this long thing hahaha also, I've forgotten how the game Ketchup works, but ehhh let me have creative liberty 😂
Irvin hurries up the carpeted marble stairs and to his study. Servants bow their heads as he passes them and his butler walks up to inform him that Lady Adina had been there for at least half an hour now. He deigns to nod, sending him off with a wave of gratitude as his mind runs over the agenda he has planned for this meeting.
Today is one of the rare days they can meet to plan their movements. If they go according to schedule—guided by his plans, of course—they should be able to react accordingly to whatever awaits them in the Thanksgiving Gala.
First point to consider: determine how the enemies may plant their agents disguised as castle attendants. Then, how will they seek those agents out? Second point, will they still target Lady Selene? How can they prevent that? Third, should they intervene in the first place or let this plot point in the story run its course?
As his footsteps near his study, numerous plans have taken root within his mind, following the thread of his thoughts since days prior. And so, he twists the doorknob and enters, fully expecting Lady Adina and his brother Felix to be seated on the sofas in front of his desk.
He should have known not to expect diligence and levelheadedness from a pair of brats, though.
Upon his entrance, he watches Felix hang his head as a shadow of resignation hovers over him. Lady Adina—with one knee on the low table, one hand holding Felix’s folded hands while the other is poised in mid-air—turns her head to him and blinks. A slight flush rises from her neck but whatever embarrassment Irvin expected is washed by the grin she wears almost instantly.
“Lord Irvin, you’ve arrived!”
“Pray tell, what in damnation is going on here?”
He hears a few servants gasp but ignores them. At a wave of his hand, the maids and aides scatter and scramble to the door, leaving their places from around the sofa set. Irvin wonders if Lady Adina had roped them in… whatever nonsense this is.
Upon noticing that only the three of them are left in the study, Lady Adina straightens up. "Lord Irvin, we can't save the kingdom without first breaking the ice between us, no? Come, I shall beat you in a round of ketchup."
Irvin glances at Lady Adina's pink forehands and Felix's red hands, which Felix was clutching next to his chest as he hissed.
And he finds only one answer.
Lady Adina pouts. She moves to sit properly on the sofa—as she should have done from the start—yet pauses in doing so, an eyebrow raised. "Perhaps you've forgotten how to play it?"
"I have not," Irvin presses. She sits on the cushions with a childish bounce and folds her arms. What has gotten into this girl’s mind? He sighs. Walking to his table, he pulls out a blank sheet of paper. “Now then, first on our agenda—”
A snap of fingers interrupts him. “Or, you feel like you’d lose!”
Felix sighs. “Adina—”
“Felix, back me up here.”
Irvin tries to smooth down the frown on his eyebrows with his fingers, but an ache is there and it’s growing. “Lady Adina, we have pressing matters to attend to,” he says with the coldest steel he can muster in his voice.
To his bewilderment, she is not fazed. At all. “But the Gala is still in three months, right? Surely we still have time.”
He frowns. “You should know that we cannot be complacent, no matter how much time we seem to have.”
“I don’t worry about that, milord. I believe in you.”
He is too surprised to react within the next second.
“I just don’t believe in your ketchup skills.” She grins, wearing the most Cheshire smile he’s ever seen—and he likes to think he’s seen a lot, given his family’s vast library in his past life and the political masks he’s worn and faced in both lives.
“Lady Adina.” Irvin stares her down, tapping his table, hoping the stare that makes lower nobles quiver would work this time.
Unfortunately, covering her mouth like a perfect representation of a rude preschooler, she continues, “Yet, I digress. I wouldn’t want to tarnish the reputation of the perfect Lord Irvin Edenstein after all. I’m sure revealing to us that he is terrible at playing the simplest of games would wound his ego.”
The voice in his head—the one of a sheltered child from the life he’s left behind—rises in indignation. And he couldn’t stop it from speaking. “Fine.”
Felix straightens in utter confusion. He looks at Irvin like he’s grown two heads.
He probably has, to be honest. “One round is enough to silence you.”
Lady Adina’s face should have split from the sheer glee she is emanating. She stands and walks towards him, her hands in position: palms folded in front of her and fingertips facing him. “I’ll go first. Let's see, then.”
And that they did.
Three things happen within the next several seconds. Irvin follows with his hands in the starting position; Lady Adina smiles and makes the first move—which is opening her hands slightly forward; and Irvin’s hands separate before he can control them.
“Let’s see, then.” Yes, he is seeing, and he can’t accept what he’s seeing.
A shadow crosses his face. Lady Adina, still grinning, takes his hands in between her palms and slaps his hands. The sound echoes around the wooden walls.
No one speaks. A breeze blows through the open windows.
Felix looks rightfully terrified.
Irvin glares into the gleaming ocean in Lady Adina’s eyes, mocking him. “Again.”
Outside the confines of the study, the Edenstein Estate continues in its routine, in its usual flurry of tasks being done and servants scurrying. Yet as the silver and scarlet of hallways glow dull in the light of the afternoon, one room shines with dark mahogany walls and plain, old paintings.
It doesn’t take long for Irvin to exact his victory. The breeze still blows and the sun still watches from the same position it was in when he entered the room. Afternoon songbirds continue to sing, as if in solemn wonder at the rare, foreign laughter ringing in a single room in the vast estate.
Though his hands have the slightest hint of pink, Irvin feels himself preen at noticing it's much lighter than both Lady Adina’s and Felix’s reddened skin. He allows the smirk on his lips, though, as he folds his arms and tilts his head, looking down at the pouting lady caressing her skin.
“You may take your seat now, milady.”
She tries to hold her pout, but a tinkling laugh pours out of her lips. Prancing back to her seat, she says, “Alright.” She settles, patting down her dress and straightening her back. “But I’ll get my revenge next time. Maybe another game?”
Irvin shrugs, reaching a hand behind him. “Suit yourself.”
He ignores the way her smile softens while Felix’s gaze stills into quiet, curious scrutiny. And if the lightness bubbling in his chest, like that of clouds and windy summers, is any sign of satisfaction, Irvin pushes it down with a cough.
He rests a hand on the paper almost forgotten at his desk. Lady Adina and Felix turn to him—one with bright eyes and the other with a small, tired smile.
“Let’s begin,” Irvin says as he leans back onto the table. He tries to bid his eyebrows to frown, but despite his efforts he can’t remove the tug on his lips.
He must have been so tired lately; his wits are getting dull.
(CW: the death of our planet)
Websites and posts about when doomsday will come. People on the street saying the end is nigh. Most people believe it, actually. Not many don’t. NASA has people freaked out, telling them about the demise that’s sure to come, the fact being the sun will engulf Earth in its brilliant burn.
I probably shouldn’t be making this happen. But I messed up and I need to fix it at last. Already I have waited far too long. After I put this planet and its people out of its misery, I’ll build a better world. Torment, anguish, trauma, evil. Extinguished. There will be none of that in my new world.
I wish that around eight billion people didn’t have to die; they should’ve never existed in the first place. But they’re going to die anyway, and I may as well prevent future generations from becoming so they don’t have to go through the terrible things the planet offers.
Does it make me a bad person that I also kind of want to see the Earth being destroyed? The planet, blazing, glowing red. It will be beautiful, in a sad way.
As a wave of melancholy washes over me, I spectate each country omnipresently. These beings I have created, shopping at malls, eating man-made delights, celebrating birthdays, sharing teary moments…But then another is murdered, someone is betrayed, a vehicular accident occurs, a mother finds out she has cancer.
And I have the power to fix this. To press the delete button and start anew. I’ll miss these perfectly imperfect humans, but this is for the best. It really is.
In eighty-three seconds, I will end Earth, just as scheduled. Just as my wonderful, smart humans have predicted.
“Goodbye,” I whisper, even if none of them can hear me.
The Earth implodes.
The calendar is filled with drastic drawings, bold exclamation marks, and even bolder scheduled events to be held.
In flaming red writes the dungeon master, claiming it as a the classic and iconic. The blue ink writes that it looks like splattered ketchup on the side notes mark. Must be the monk.
Last Thursday's session was mostly just the party running around creating chaos throughout the seven realms, until they had come across a boss, supreme lord of the seven outrealms that lie below what we had explored, threatening to overturn each and every single one to find us.
Tomorrow, the event is written as "WE FIGHT DEMONS WITH DEMONS!" Clearly written just as it came across, the pen dragging the ink outside of the day's box. Another note from pink ink, the bard, says she has a dentist appointment before it and might be late. Everyone chimes in beside it, agreeing to push back the time by an hour.
It would be d-day for the entire party, but especially the wizard, a choice of chosen or born family, with its outcome riddled by the twenty sides of a die, and its effects surrounding seven lives.
To celebrate tomorrow's occasion, the dm invites the entire group, listed on the calendar for today's schedule: Party Karaoke, with a note that says the food is free. Everyone thanks the dm with very lively and big handwriting.
And so, now I stand in front of the door to the room, overhearing the cries of the bard, the singing of the wizard, and the cheers of the rest. It's an escape you can't beat, a luxury to enjoy time passing by while you fight every imaginary obstacle your friends throw at you. A fun hobby, and an even better job, because the audience watching seems to love it just as much as we do.
Just another day…
Tomorrow is the day. I know it, it just has to be. Tomorrow, everything changes… no more procrastinating, no more wasted minutes; I can do this. Time to put my life in order. And there was only one way to do this. I pull out my day planner (2021) and flick through what was probably hundreds of empty pages and my finger lands on august. Alright, tomorrow is August twenty-nine, time to get cracking.
About an hour later of concentrating hard on writing my day down, (more energy spent on it than I would usually spend on the actual tasks) I now have an elaborately designed plan, with everything from detailed homework to dos, all the way to daily water intakes. I chuckle, like notion but on paper, then quickly regretting that thought, I add to reassure myself, but better of course…
Hmmm, I peer at what time I had planned to wake up,
“Right” I scratch out the six and place a nine in its place. Eheheh, this is perfect, now I can sleep soundly…
I sit bolt up in bed and groan, blinded by the sunlight that streams through the cracks in the curtains. I look at the clock.
Damn… well, I can compromise. It can’t be that hard, so I cross out breakfast and daily intake of water #1. I could probably skip getting dressed as well and showers are overrated, so I open my laptop, ready to get stuck into some trigonometry. Math hurts, but I’m sure if I try hard enough, it can be fun. I mean, I don’t believe this, but maybe I can work on becoming an optimist. Yes, things are looking good.
I open chrome and am loading up my math homework when one of my siblings burst through the door.
“The new series of doctor who just came in the mail, we’re going to have a marathon!”
I look at my math homework, ready to print, then glance over at the planner perched on my desk.
“I’ll get the popcorn.”
WC: 504 "He's late… again." A long sigh escaped Melody's lips. 'I should be used to this,' she thought. 'Ben's not the type to bail on me, I'm aware, but I wish he'd text me if something came up.' Once the thought finally crossed Melody's mind, she reached into her purse and, after a bit of fumbling around, managed to fish out her phone. After pressing the Power button, she gave a disinterested scowl at the notifications. "Nothing. Nada, zilch," she muttered to herself. She let out another sigh and was about to put away her phone when the Emergency Alert System warning tone began blaring off her phone and everyone else's in the restaurant. Melody didn't even have time to read the message before everyone in the room began panicking and fleeing the restaurant. A deafening crash could be heard in the distance, and it wasn't long before Melody finally put two and two together. Making good use of the chaos, Melody slipped into the bathroom and fished out the magical mask from her purse. 'I had no idea I'd.be using this tonight,' she thought. 'But it's nice to see it was worth keeping the habit of putting it in my purse up.' She placed the mask in front of her eyes, and yelling out the words "Mask Change!", she began her transformation. The whole thing lasted a couple of seconds, contrary to popular belief, and once the rainbow aura that obscured most of her body dissipated, Melody's frilly navy dress had transformed into the usual form-fitting orange jumpsuit she'd wear to perform hero business. Sure enough, a one-eyed tentacle monster of about the size of the restaurant she'd just been in came crashing down the highway, crushing everything in its path without discrimination. While three of its umber tentacles propelled it forward in the direction of the town square, Melody noticed three other tentacles swatting wildly at something in the sky. She grimaced as soon as she made eye contact with other hero in the green jumpsuit, but let out a concerned shriek when the tentacles behemoth seized the opportunity to wrap a sticky appendage around the young hero's waist and squeezing tight. As the monster reared its two remaining tentacles to strike, the other hero turned to Melody and managed to choke up a half-hearted apology. "Ack… sorry I'm late, babe," he said. "You could say I got a little… tied up." Melody shot a bright yellow laser from her fingertip at the monster. 'I wonder why they always design these monsters with huge, unblinking eyes,' she thought. As the beam struck the monster's eye, the pain caused it to release the other hero from its grip, causing the other hero to fall a good 15 feet into Melody's arms. Despite feeling the viscous tentacle juices on her hands for the first time, she smiled at her boyfriend before looking him in the eyes and saying, "You know you can always count on me to get you out of these sticky situations."
Aaron gets up from his bed, precisely two seconds before his alarm began to ring, which he had already turned off the moment he felt it vibrate. He got up from his bed, fixing it up, folding the clothes, fluffing the pillows, and neatly tucking in the bedsheets under the mattress. He placed his stuffed dog on top, and in between the two pillows. He rubbed his eyes and yawned.
He walked into his bathroom, washing his face and brushing his teeth. After, he stared at himself at the mirror with his plain, blank expression, looking into his own eyes as he observed himself.
That horrid face. That ugly, messy black hair. Those bags under his eyes. Those chapped lips of his. The amount of moles in his face. He hated it. All of him. He looked at his neck, seeing and touching the marks his 'ribbon' left. He grabbed his own neck, applying pressure to the sides as he looked at himself in disgust. That disgusting body. Those hideous legs and arms embedded with scars of scabs that never faded. That chest, that breast, more swollen and larger than usual. He hated it. He hated how all the other guys would tease him about it. He gripped tighter, feeling himself struggling to breathe.
He let go, heaving a heavy breath as he grinned at himself. 'I hate you.' The thoughts repeat over and over in his head, as if it weren't already an absolute mess.
He sat down, exhausted as he had just finished cleaning up his room. He grabs a bowl of instant ramen, pouring in some hot water and closing it tightly. He walked back to his bathroom to take a bath as he waited for the noodles to cook. Once he was done, he changed into his school uniform. A black blazer paired with a white button down shirt, along with black trousers. He sat down on his table and dug in after adding some cold rice from the mini fridge he had.
Once he was done, he disposed of the cup and placed the spoon in the sink, walking to the door as he swooped up his bag from the doorknob, looking back to check if he had all of his stuff ready.
He walked at the side of the road, looking around and not paying any attention to the people or vehicles that passed by, nor the loud engines of some, nor the honking. He felt imprisoned in his own mind, not feeling in control of what he was doing. As if he were an AI with several preset, scheduled actions. He felt as if he were an audience in his own life.
He found himself in bed, seemingly somehow snapping out of what he labeled, 'autopilot mode', as he looked around, confused about what happened all throughout the day. He grumbled in frustration, standing up from his bed and looking around once more. He then remembered that he hated how his mind is. How everything feels like it's a preset default thing within his settings or something. How everything feels timed.