Friday, 25 April 2014

Dark Fiction - Anxiety


By Casey Douglass

as part of #fridayflash 

Krillon yelled as the scanner drone floated past their table, the late afternoon sunlight dazzling from the humming metal sentinel. It thrummed and twisted towards him but soon turned away to take in another diner. He flexed his foot and scowled at Maxis. ‘What the hell did you do that for?’

Maxis grimaced as he held up a palm. ‘You were dangerously relaxed Krill! I had to do something, you know how twitchy those things are!’

Krillon felt his foot throbbing now, a prickly heat spreading through his toes. ‘Thanks I guess.’

‘You guess? I just bloody saved you from being carted off!’

‘I wasn’t that relaxed!’

‘You were almost asleep!’ Maxis huffed and sucked down the last of his replenishment shake.

Krillon turned away. He didn’t want to lose his temper with Maxis. He knew Maxis was right but he was insufferable when you admitted it to his face.

‘So what’s the secret?’ Maxis smirked.

‘What secret?’

‘Why are you Mr Comatose all of a sudden? You always used to be fidgeting like a crack addict in withdrawal!’

‘You seem pretty chilled yourself Maxis.’

‘Nah I’ve got lots of inner turmoil, still waters run deep and all that. Enough to keep them off me anyway.’

Another drone buzzed past the café, a larger crowd control unit with high-grade weaponry. It was a large orb like thing and painted a dark grey, a white line around its equator, just below its collection of cameras. A hush fell on the other diners as many pairs of eyes watched its course until it was around the corner.

‘I don’t know why they are worrying,’ Krillon hissed. ‘Nothing’s ever gone down here!’

‘There it is again!’ Maxis whispered leaning in closer. ‘What’s happened? You used to crap yourself when those big bastards went past!’

‘Maybe,’ Krillon leaned towards Maxis until their noses almost touched. ‘Maybe I just don’t care any more!’


‘Maybe I don’t care. It’s all bullshit and I’ve decided to just let go, go with the flow!’

‘That’s terrorist talk!’

‘I’m not a terrorist.’

‘It is to the Overlord Command Dispenser! You’ll be dead in hours if you keep this up!

‘I don’t care! It’s better than a life of fear and anxiety over bullshit that doesn’t matter!’

‘They got to you didn’t they!’


‘That freedom group, Always Chill Together or something.’

‘What if they did?’

‘Christ I can’t talk to you any more!’

‘Suit yourself!’

Maxis leaned back in his chair, his face ashen. Krillon watched his eyes, gazing all around the face of the person who used to be his friend. He knew that Maxis felt that he was now looking at a stranger. He watched Maxis shake his head and stand. He watched him turn away and begin walking. He watched him. Maxis didn’t turn around when the alert sounded. Not even when the first shot was fired.


A bit of sci-fi for my #fridayflash this week as my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been the worst it’s been for years. The astute amongst you might recognise those initials in the Overlord Command Dispenser line. Anyone with any interest in anxiety treatment may also recognise Always Chill Together abbreviates to ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the process I am trying to apply to my life so that I can at least do some of the things I value, rather than being under the thumb of the Overlord Command Dispenser 24/7. Thanks for reading.


  1. That's a great story and captures how one feels with OCD (yes me too) ^_^

    1. Thanks Helen. Sorry to hear you have it too :-/

  2. What a dark and sinister dystopian world you have created here, wherev just feeling relaxed is a crime. I really like the sound of these sentinel drones and crowd control units, the underbelly of revolt amongst the people too. I do hope you decide to expand on this as I would love to reacd much more about this society and the world they live in.

    1. Thanks very much Steve. I had toyed with the idea of doing a longer tale with OCD as an underlying theme, a bit like this. My other idea is more dark fantasy than sci-fi though so will have to weigh up the pros and cons of each. Glad you liked it :)

  3. nice reversal on a dictatorship usually trying to sedate its population into submission, here you've gone the other way and have them keeping everyone so full of anxiety they can't reach out and organise a rebellion. Great concept.

  4. I really wasn't very astute today and didn't connect your little easter eggs. Great little short dude.and nice to read a bit of sci-fi.. :)

    1. I'm not sure I would have either Paul, it's only because I thought them up that I can see them easily lol. Thanks as always :).

  5. Love reading your descriptive short stories..... well done! :)

  6. He went a little OCD on the OCD :)

  7. I agree with Steve, you could really build this into something longer. I didn't get the OCD reference, but I love the concept and a longer story would really allow you to develop it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I suffer from anxiety so I think their sensors would happily pass me over >.<

    1. The one world where being anxious comes in handy lol, and even there its a mixed bag.

  9. Whoa. What a terrible world to live in, where relaxing is dangerous.

    1. Yes, those Hypnosis relaxation cds would soon become the tool of propaganda in that world.

  10. Brilliant concept and execution. This reminds me of those William Burroughs riffs where he describes a city with giant, randomly-sounding buzzers on the tops of all the apartment towers, its citizens compared to frightened cats. I wonder if Krill is really relaxed, or just exhausted from constant anxiety into a kind of numbness.