Writing Prompt: A door that sends you back in time!

I glanced down at my watch as I ran along, trying desperately not to let the loose bundle of papers tucked under my arm come undone.  The bouncing of my limbs made it hard to read the time, but I finally caught a glimpse of the clock face.

Shit.  I was already five minutes late, and I had no idea where the meeting room was.  Dan, that empty-headed idiot, had only given me the floor number, and I had assumed (like an imbecile) that the room would be obvious!  But now, dashing down this corridor with door after door, I had to admit that I was hopelessly lost.  Each door had a floor-to-ceiling pane of semi-opaque glass set in next to it, presumably so that I could see into the meeting rooms, but I hadn’t been able to spot an occupied one yet.

I spotted a door up ahead, unlike the others – this one was covered in vertical wood paneling, just like the wall, and only the bright brass doorknob distinguished it from the rest of the corridor.  Crossing my fingers, I opened it and peered inside.

Nope.  Nothing but some machinery making faint chugging noises against the back wall.  I closed the door, turned around-

-and almost slammed into Dan, walking in the corridor right next to me.

I gawped at the man, wondering where in the world he had come from.  Just a moment ago, I had been the only one in the hallway, and I most certainly hadn’t heard any approaching footsteps!  “Dan!” I gasped.  “Where’s the room at?  You didn’t tell me the room number!”

The other man seemed perplexed by my panic.  “It’s room 443, right here,” he replied.  He waved a hand at the room in question – just opposite the door I had just opened that had been covered in wood paneling, in fact.  “Take a breath, man, you’ve still got five minutes!”

As Dan headed into room 443 at his annoyingly slow, leisurely pace, I glanced down at my watch again in confusion.  “I thought the meeting was starting… at… ten…” my voice trailed off.

My watch now read only 9:55!  I raised it up, staring at it with suspicion, but the second hand seemed to be operating normally.  I realized that I was standing still, and I hurried forward once again to catch up with Dan, but my mind was awash in confusion.  What in the world was going on?

As always, the first few minutes of the meeting were worthless anyway.  Making sure that everyone was here, dealing with conference callers, following up on old pieces of business from the last meeting that had never quite been removed from the agenda – all necessary, but all incredibly boring as well.  Thanks to arriving a few minutes early, I had managed to snag a seat near the door, and I spun a couple times in my chair, gazing out through the semi-opaque glass next to the door into room 443.  I could see the glint of that brass doorknob on the other side of the hall.

As the head of the Committee for Diversity and Equal Treatment was making his usual inane announcements about H.R. representation, I glanced out through the pane of glass again.  Someone was outside the room!  I wondered if they were here for the meeting – they were moving jerkily, their actions making them look as if they were late and panicked.  The opacity of the glass prevented me from making out details, but they looked to be about my height.  A bundle of loose papers was barely tucked under one arm.

The person outside twisted around, his or her gaze shooting up and down the hall, and then they turned to the door opposite the hall from me.  I watched as they twisted the handle, pulled the door open from the rest of the wall’s wood paneling-

-and vanished.

Something made me glance down at my watch.  10:05.  It took a few seconds for me to put together what had happened, but then, sitting at the table, my eyes slowly began to widen…

Writing Prompt: A man is in jail with a life sentence. He is immortal.

The guard jerked one thumb over his shoulder.  “And, last sight on this free tour of your new home: Morag.  This guy’s gonna be around forever.”

I stared through the bars at my fellow inmate, dressed in an orange jumpsuit identical to mine.  He looked like an ordinary enough fellow, maybe in his late forties, bronze skin and dark hair.  He had been lying on his bed when we had approached, but now jumped up, peering out the bars at me with interest.

I glanced over at the screw, standing next to me with one hand resting on the pistol on his belt.  “What, like a life sentence?”

The guard shook his head.  A moment later, he nodded.  “Well, yeah.  But that’s what makes it so goddamned hilarious.”

The confusion must have been evident on my face.  “Here, I’ll show ya,” the guard said, correctly reading my lack of understanding.  “Stand back, prisoner.”  And in a swift gesture, he drew his firearm!

I jumped back, but the guard was focused on the prisoner.  He raised the gun, shoved it between the bars, and before Morag could respond, pulled the trigger.

The sound of the gun echoed like a crack of thunder in the confined concrete space.  Morag staggered back, both hands pressed over the hole in his abdomen that was already gushing blood.  He hit the back wall and slumped down to the floor, leaving a smear of redness across the back of his cell.

“Oh my god!” I screamed.  “What the hell are you doing??”

The guard chuckled, re-holstering his weapon.  “Look,” he said, pointing into the cell.  And as I followed his finger, my eyes wide with shock, I saw Morag stagger back to his feet, straighten up, and then brush himself off as if nothing had happened!

The guard laughed, but his tone was mocking, edged with bitterness.  “The idiot’s immortal.  Nobody knows how, but he can’t be killed.  Heals from anything.  But he still managed to get himself convicted of multiple manslaughter – life sentence, no chance at parole.  He’s gonna be stuck in here forever.”

Still laughing, the guard started heading back down the hallway.  I held back for a moment, however, staring at Morag.  He gave a jaunty little wave to the guard, and then smiled back at me.

“God, that’s horrible,” I whispered aloud, gazing at the man in the cell and imagined being imprisoned, forever, until the end of time.

Morag shrugged a shoulder.  “I’m looking on the bright side,” he offered.  “I still get some news in here.  And humanity’s going to make itself extinct in the next few centuries, no doubt.  A couple hundred more years, and this place will have fallen apart enough for me to get out.  I’ll be free in under a millennium.”

“Convict!” the guard shouted, and I had to hurry away without a response.  But I couldn’t help glancing back over my shoulder, my mind awash in confusing thoughts.

Writing Prompt: Write a story that can be read FORWARDS or BACKWARDS!

Author’s note: This story should be readable both forwards and backwards, if I didn’t mess anything up!  Go by paragraph (read the last one first, and then the second last, and so on).

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“Hell?  Maybe you don’t know me – this seems more like Heaven to me.”

I stared around at the young men and women, already sweating in the heat that filled the humid air.  I couldn’t help my eyes lingering on the women’s curves – I was a red-blooded male, after all!  Well, I had been.  I finally returned my attention to the horned imp in front of me.

“Well, yes,” he said.  “You were a pretty terrible person.  Even you have to admit that.  You did kill over a dozen people.”

“But I confessed!  I thought that meant that everything was forgiven!  Do I really still get punishment, damnation?”

“Yep.  But we do have a program where you can work against your fellow souls, lessening your sentence.  And, given your history, we think you’ll be quite suited towards this work.”

The imp, hovering on bat-like wings in front of me, gestured towards a nearby rack.  On the rack hung a whole array of rusty implements, many of them sharp, barbed, bladed, or otherwise designed to inflict pain.  My mind started to change.

“So, this is Hell, huh?”  I gazed around, my eyes taking in the naked bodies lined up.  “Doesn’t seem so bad.”

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Sorry that this is so short – it is really, really tough to write this way!