Up at seven on the dot. Hop into the shower, towel dry, throw on my uniform.

Pop a slice of bread in the toaster, spoon on some jam (no clean knives again!), browse the morning headlines.

Bag packed, ready to leave at eight on the button.

Door opens, out I go, along the corridor and into my usual seat. Textbook out – algebra again today.

Mrs. Davis walks past, hands me my pill.

The voices stir, interrupting me. That constant buzzing. I can feel that anger rising.

Don’t listen to them. Stick to my routine and it will all be okay. Smile.

Copyright J Hardy Carroll

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

103 responses to “ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE”

  1. You’ve portrayed a grim scene of enforced conformity. To make it even more chilling, your narrator seems to believe that this is a good thing.
    If he is suffering from a mental illness, this may be true, but it’s still a terrifying vision.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Algebra’s perfect because it’s balance. The whole point of an algebraic equation is to make the two sides balance. I imagine it would help more than medication in this over-medicated society of ours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see you noticed the word “asylum” in the photo’s filename! A rigid routine can be essential for many people with certain mental health issues. I could really feel this person’s tenuous grip on sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like the build up – from an ordinary bloke, morning routine, til the he gets his pill. The strong sense of routine rings so true to living in a institution- implied not stated. Good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This building has the feel of a college building, which is where I thought you were heading,at first, thoough the uniform suggested a military school…then, I thought, more of an “alternative” school, or disciplinary institution where they send kids –the Algebra class makes me think he’s in high school or college–who have behavior issues or mental health challenges.

    As the story progresses, it deteriorates, that is, your image, as a reader, of how well his life will turn out, deteriorates, until you realize that he is not here by choice (unless voluntary commitment is truly a choice), and that he is is probably locked in his room until the doors are opened, and is probably a bit brainwashed with positivity. Good stuff, Iain!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think most persistent illnesses feel like prison, but a mental illness must be even more so since it seems to rob you of all control. The routine, and the pill, barely manage a minimum of control, and it makes the story terrifying and hopeless. Excellent writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, dear, I feel a bad time is on the horizon. Everything will fall apart if he misses one of those little special pills or if his routine is somehow messed up. You’ve somehow managed to establish a dystopian, state controlled feel to this in very few words. Would make a great opening for something longer and I can see it fitting into sci-fi too. Great writing Iain

    Liked by 1 person

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