Dawn of Battle [Short Story]

A half-full bladder and the sounds of buzzing had awoken me.
The sun was creeping through the slits in the curtains and the previous night’s sleeping tablets had started to wear off. The kickback to reality and the small, itchy spots all over my body meant one thing: I was going to war.
I crept out of bed, headed to the bathroom, and tended to one of the things that woke me. Relieved.
I grabbed the Zapper. It was my sword, my weapon of choice against the onslaught of winged nemeses devoted to sucking the life out me while I slumbered.
I set to work. Af first, I stood slight just past the doorway to the bedroom. I closed my eyes, let out a long, low breath and waiting for the first sound of attack.
My eyes shot open and I saw my first adversary out of the corner of my right eye. With a flick of my wrist – zpppt – it was slain. At the sound of their fallen compatriot, the others began to stir and readied their attacks.
Another took a shot at me, and then another, and then another. The room was filled with the sounds of tiny exploding corpses, and my own grunts of anguish as they spawned out of seemingly nowhere.
And then, at last, it was over. There were no more creatures to slay and no more of my blood would be stolen from me. It wouldn’t last, but it was a small victory.
I left the room and placed the mighty weapon back in its resting place. Relieved, I made my way back to bed for some well-earned relaxation. As I lay down–
π΅π‘Žπ‘ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘ .
This time, I took to battle and rushed in without knowing where the enemies were. More importantly, there was no time to grab the sword. I thrust out my right arm caught one in my hand. And another. And then a third.
𝐼 π‘šπ‘Žπ‘¦ 𝑏𝑒 π‘œπ‘™π‘‘, 𝑏𝑒𝑑 𝐼’π‘š π‘›π‘œπ‘‘ π‘ π‘™π‘œπ‘€.
The sounds of war had ceased, but my right hand looked like a blood bath. Several small, winged creatures lay crushed in my hand, surrounded by splatterings of their own internals, and my recently-stolen life-giving crimson – their nourishment.
I washed the battle from my hand and the sweat from my forehead. The weapon still slept safely in its resting place and I decided to leave it there. I wouldn’t need it now; they should have learned to retreat and form a better battle plan.
I could finally lay down in bed and relax for the morning, taking in the beauty of the sunrise, while planning the day ahead.
The bedsheets were comforting.

Author’s note: I found this song goes quite well with Dawn of Battle by Manowar.

I’m no longer taking part in reading challenges

At the start of every year (or even a few days before), Goodreads asks users to set a reading challenge for themselves. Uses can then put in any number of books they’d like to read within that year. Book clubs also do that. However, at the end of the year, those who read the most (well over one hundred books, at least) also get the most praise. It’s intimidating, to say the least.

When I logged onto Goodreads on the first of January, it prompted me to start setting up my reading challenge. I declined and then unsubscribed from all notifications on the website. It’s true that I’m not a fan of Goodread – the UI is awful – but I’m also not a fan of pressure when it comes to one of my more relaxing hobbies.

Last year, I managed to read six or seven books – I can’t quite remember the exact number. Compared to everyone else I know, that a hell of a lot less than the average. I’ve come to realise that the number of books you read doesn’t really mean much… to me, at least. Every day, I read through multiple articles for research, stories in video games, and even a bit of fanfic here and there. To me, I read far more text than the number of books I’ve put forth on some reading challenge.

I also have a full-time day job and a freelance writer after hours, so I just don’t have the time to devote everything to a single hobby.

Seeing other readers finish more books in 365 days than I have in my collection is disheartening. It makes me feel a bit inferior and that I can’t keep up with those that shout the loudest. By removing myself from challenges, it’s a way that I can enjoy my hobby more without the unnecessary and unintentional peer pressure.

Please bare aware that I hold no ill-will towards anyone that can read more than me in a year. More power to you! This has nothing to do with you. This has to do with me and my own insecurities and inferiorities.

But yea, that’s just how I feel.