Reddit Writing Prompts – Quick Short Stories

So, recently on Reddit, I responded to some quick prompts and created some short stories. Here they are for your enjoyment/amusement.

[WP] The US in the year 2050. Every citizen (except the rich) must serve a mandatory month in prison, in order to recompense for crimes they must’ve committed but that Police failed to discover.

My mom had told me about the Gate when I was a child. The Gate is a ten story tall building, almost a city block wide and mounted on multiple huge tank treads. Constantly protected and watched by dozens of armed guards, it moves outwards at the end of each month. And as it moves, it is connected to an ever widening wall.

She never explained to me why the wall exists, or why, each month, the Gate moves outwards from the center of the city, expanding Det, where I was born, by a few city blocks, but today, it is scheduled to move again, and I am going to escape.

I had heard from various others that the world outside Det was beautiful, filled with trees, machines that give out food, and streets not covered in garbage. I had also heard that it was safe. Unlike Det, it was a place where parents weren’t killed for a few batteries and a small package of beef jerky.

I figured that I could slip between the cracks before the new wall was locked in place. I had been planning for months, timing the guards and their reactions. A few others had tried to escape, but all of them were caught, shot on sight. I had the advantage of being younger than anyone else that I had seen so far, and I hoped the guards wouldn’t notice a child.

The entire city trembled as the Gate cycled up its engines. Slowly, I moved into position and tried to stay out of their sight-lines. The guards stood ready, but as the Gate moved, the only thing that could be heard was the squeaking of the metal treads as they moved.

Dust kicked up as the machines started to move the wall into place, and I sprinted towards the small slit that I knew existed. It was going to be gone in a moment, but I knew that if I didn’t slow down, I could make it through.

My arm slammed against the Gate, tearing my already patchwork shirt to pieces, and slicing into my skin. Covering the wound, I stumbled forward, passing through the last of the dust cloud, I looked out into the world beyond the wall.

A long street, filled on either side with buildings, much like those in Det, stretched along down a hill. At the bottom of the hill was something I instantly recognized. I had seen it all my life. It was another Gate, attached to another wall, spanning outwards as far as I could see. It surrounded another city that looked very similar to my own.

[WP] The year is 2075. Google is an integral part of every facet of life. One morning, nothing turns on.

I knew there was something wrong before I even moved. The normal hum, resonating through my apartment was absent. My mind still foggy, I tried to recall when I last experienced a power outage. Out of habit, I tried to queue up the information, but nothing came back. The Google Overlay wasn’t active.

Sitting up in my bed, I looked around. Light was leaking around the blackout blinds, coverings that were supposed to automatically open an hour before I was to get ready for work. “Google. Open the blinds.” I knew nothing was going to happen, and the deafening silence confirmed it. Rising to manually open the blinds myself, I saw that the streets below were still.

A loud banging echoed through my apartment. It caught me off guard, but as I walked out of my bedroom, I realized it was coming from my front door. “Yes?” I shouted, my voice rough, not lubricated yet by my morning coffee.

A female voice, muffled by the near soundproof door, responded, “I don’t know what to do. Nothing is working!”

I could hear how scared she was, but I didn’t share her concern. Looking around my apartment, there weren’t any advertisements, no extra information, and best of all, no noise. “I am sure it will be resolved soon. Just go back to your apartment and wait it out.” It was though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A feeling of euphoria started growing as I realized that I was free.

“Do you know what’s going on?” The female voice whispered loudly through the door.

Her question startled me, but the desperation in her voice required an answer, though I really didn’t care why nothing was working. “No, I don’t have any more information than you.”

“Okay,” she squeaked, her voice trailing off as she likely walked back to her apartment.

Taking a seat in my recliner, I tried to fight the worry that any second, it would all come pouring back. The endless notifications related to new e-mails and text messages, a timer in the corner of my vision as each piece of my schedule ticked by, and the constant watchful eye from Google as I took each step in my life. I felt like I could finally think for myself. But what does being free from technology really mean? I wished I could search Google to find out.

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