One Quirk Later #13~ In Which The Angst Returns With A Vengeance

Good morrow, my bloggerly chums!

It is that time again: the time to take the scrumptious prompt that Jem Jones has provided and go crazy with it.

And when I say crazy, I might mean that literally.

It’s Quirk number thirteen, guys! And it’s an angsty one, let me tell you. In my defense, the prompt was angsty, so I can only be partially blamed for what happened here…right?

…Not that I really even followed the prompt that closely, but…it gave me feelings of angst, okay?


This Quirk is quite possibly about characters and a story that previously existed (at least in my mind), so I won’t be surprised if it makes no sense…

But I told myself I wasn’t going to go all Disclaimer on you guys, so let’s just get to the thing.


I feel the scream through my hands.

My fingers tighten around her throat, pressing relentlessly downward. It takes all of my strength to keep her head below the water.

I must keep her head below the water.

Her screams jar through me, but I cannot hear them. I hear nothing but the pounding of my own heart in my head and the voices that are always whispering there.

Her eyes find mine, impossibly clear through the turbulent water around us. Her eyes are bursting with terror, with panic. A dark shadow claws at the edges of them. I think the shadow is laughing, but I feel it rather than hear it. It disturbs me, but not as much as the feeling of her screaming through my hands.

Her voice in my head: Stop it.

Small and desperate, a child’s voice: You’re hurting me.

My fingers loosen almost imperceptibly as I begin to tremble. The shadow crouching in her eyes laughs louder. I gasp and tighten my hold again.

The fragile voice: Please, stop hurting me.

Please, help me.

Help me.

I want to help her. I want nothing more than to help her.

But I must keep her head below the water.

The shadow laughs.

A violent shudder runs through me and I realise suddenly that I am crying. Tears run thick and fast from my eyes, but they do not blur the sight of her face. I cannot look away from her face.

Her voice screams in my head: Let me go.

Again, louder: Let me go!

The shadow crawls out of her eyes and onto her face, an ancient presence clambering at her edges and then all at once consuming her. A terrifying smile spreads across her mouth. I hate that smile with every fibre of my being.

A roar splits my skull: LET ME GO.

I grind her down, my own face submerging in my effort to keep her under. The water burns my nostrils. It tastes like salt, metal and blood.

I hear myself whimpering: I’m sorry.

I come to myself with a jolt.

There is a pen clenched in my hand. A chair under me. Ink stains my fingers.

I take a shuddering breath. And another. There is pain in my lungs. Have I been drowning?

My hands are clenched so tightly that they ache.

There are words scrawled frantically on the page before me. I know that I have written them, though I don’t recall doing it. I know that they are words that must be written. I know that they have cost something.

I raise my eyes slowly, and see her there in the corner of the room, watching me.  She surveys me grimly, her face betraying nothing of the anguish I saw there only a moment ago as I pinned her under the water.

I resist the urge to vomit.

Her voice in my head, calm and hard: Why did you stop?

My throat is tight. I don’t trust my voice. Instead, I speak with my mind: You know why I stopped.

Her reply, cutting: Answer the question.

I swallow, pause:  I’m hurting you.

Immediately: Now ask yourself if that changes what needs to be done.

I know the answer, but I don’t respond. I drop my gaze to the words in front of me, revulsion mounting in my chest. I can still feel her screams through my fingers. I drop the pen like it burns my hand. Repeat, like an idiot: I’m hurting you.

Her impatient reply: So what?

I press my palms into my eyes. My hands are trembling with grief and rage. The whispers in my head threaten to take shape, but I don’t let them. I’ve gotten better at pushing them back, but I know I can’t do it indefinitely.

Her voice: I’m going to kill you.

I know.

I am going to kill everyone.

“I know!” the words snap out of me. I glare at her, hating how composed she is, how weak I feel. Hating the death I can feel heavy in my hands.

She doesn’t move. She just looks back at me. There is an unbearable sadness in her eyes, but it’s hidden under a cold mask.

I pick up the pen again, setting my jaw. I can see us clearly, locked together with so much treacherous black ink, hands at each other’s throats. Whispering voices rage around us, slithering into our ears and filling our eyes with madness. The inevitable taunts me.

I am startled by a noise.

I look up and see that her shoulders are shaking with laughter. It’s a quiet, derisive laugh.

I recoil, but regret the action instantly. I hate myself in the moments when I lose sight of her and only see the crouching shadow. It is my job to see her as human, as my sister. If I don’t, then no one will.

I rest my forehead on the table and close my eyes, breathing. I suddenly feel tired. “Why are you laughing?” I ask.

She just continues to laugh, the sound grating against me.

I set the pen aside again and stand up. I walk over to her, lean against the wall and slide down so that I am sitting next to her. And I look at her, past the grotesque mask that her face has become until I can see her in my mind, her knees drawn tight against her chest, her body rocking back and forth and shaking with silent sobs, her eyes unspeakably wretched.

A lump forms in my throat. I whisper her name.

The laughter falters, recedes. I don’t know if she has stopped laughing or if I just can’t hear it anymore. I reach out to her mind: I wish I could protect you. I should be protecting you.

I try to shove back the feeling of the screams and the pain that I’ve written. I take her cold hand in mine and hold it.

And the laughter stops. Her fingers curl around my hand.

I can feel the heaving of darkness inside of her, and I try to help her push it down. Just for this moment. Just leave us alone.


Her voice, so small: I don’t want to hurt you either, you know.

I just look at her. I know that these endless conversations are pointless. We both know what has to be done in the end. But I can’t seem to let this go. Am I just hurting her more by fighting?

Her forehead presses into my shoulder, and suddenly she’s just a little girl. She’s just my sister, and I am killing her. I’m killing her.

Why doesn’t she hate me?

Her voice in my head: Whatever you do, you’re still my brother.

But that only makes it worse.


Well, that happened.

I may not have turned Robin into a gnome, but I can be very nasty to my children sometimes.

Angst is definitely my natural habitat. Last month was a fluke, I suppose. Angst is just so much fun to write?? *laughs maniacally*

As always, many thanks to Jem for the prompt! I look forward to writing my Quirks every month, and I love reading what other people have written based on Jem’s prompts. There are always so many good things! (And most of the time they are angsty!)

I hope you are inspired.

10 thoughts on “One Quirk Later #13~ In Which The Angst Returns With A Vengeance

  1. aagghhhh SPONGE WHAT IS THIS?? Good gracious these children…somebody help them.

    I daresay I AM mildly confused, and definitely worried, and maybe horrified but I also kind of enjoyed reading it…even if I was very confused. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHAHAHA, what a question! Reasonable, I admit, but the answer is much to complicated to give you. Yes, these children need much help.

      Well, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it, despite the confusion/worry/horror, hehe. I’ll call that a success. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ooooOOOH

    Sponge dear. You’re just so good at hurting your characters- COUGH I mean conveying emotion to your readers. *munches angst happily*

    And I think this is the perfect level of explanation-vs-confusion for a Quirk, honestly?? Like, I don’t know the full story of what’s going on, but I can see the conflict for this scene and it’s a fabulous introduction to the characters! The scene itself seems… self-contained? so it’s doing a pretty good job of standing alone.

    …While, of course, still raising a bunch of intrigued questions, which is exactly what short fiction should do, I reckon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you muchly, Jem! I am pleased to provide satisfactory (and munchable) angst when I can.

      I am happy to hear it! It was hard for me to look at it objectively and figure out if it was making sense at all or if it was too confusing since I’ve known these characters for so long, so it’s good to hear your feedback.

      Thank you again for the amazing prompt!

      Liked by 1 person

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