Challenge #02302-F112: Dire for Dairy
"Just go out and do it, it's not that difficult."
"I mean, everything is difficult when you have anxiety, so yeah." -- Anon Guest
Everyone thinks anxiety is just being nervous. Just go down to the shops and buy a thing of milk, is not that easy. For an anxious person... it's more like this:
First, one must prepare for the journey. Supplies checked twice and preparations for the journey ahead inventoried thrice. Once that is done, the brave must face the dread portal to the unknown and unpredictable. Exposed to the judging eyes of all around, the journey is just beginning. Any neighbour cannot be your immediate friend. One performs the rituals of normalcy, but they are not heartfelt. Perhaps the others can tell.
The path lays before one. There are many routes one could take to reach one's goal. They all have their hazards. The back way, past many unfamiliar places, where you are instantly an outsider just by setting foot there. The secret path, where the walls are high and the sun doesn't reach. Where the visitor can not see the other end of the path. Where an attacker could be lurking and ready to strike. The open way, where all can see, and all can watch. Where there are many crossings and many avenues for traffic to cause one harm. One must choose wisely.
Whichever set of perils one chooses, one must face them. The vicious hounds, the birds that might attack if the season is wrong. The speeding vehicles all driven by people not paying attention to where they are going or what they should be doing. The lurking fellow or the wandering maniac with sudden murder on their mind. Following the rules is not enough for these hazards. One must always be on watch. One must always be wary. One can not let one's guard down for an instant.
Finally, the goal is in sight, but the perils are not over. What if the price has changed? What if there has been a recall? What if there is a rush for the milk? What if the apocalypse is happening and people are entering into fights for the last of the lactose because that is the only known cure? What if currency has changed? What if the bank has voided one's credit card? What if the maniacs were waiting for one here?
What if the door snaps shut on one whilst one is reaching for the prize? What if it's expired? What if it's infected? What if it's both? Then, prize in hand, one must face the most foreboding obstacle in one's way.
The final guardian.
What if they hate one? What if they won't take one's money. What if they steal one's identity? What if they secretly mark one for the maniacs in the shadows? What if they actually want to know how it's going today? What if you're the customer that finally makes them snap and go on a murder spree?
Then the same perils await on the way home as they did on the way there. Maniacs on every corner. Terror in every shadow. Risks with every step. There could be someone following you home. So you had better pick another path, but which one? The shortest? The most convoluted? And what about the milk?
Finally, through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, one reaches one's sanctum sanctorum with one's body intact, but the mind and soul in tatters. One contemplates the final prize of this adventure, and wonders if it was worth it.
Next time. The roomie can go get the damn milk.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / 3dmentat]
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