The Devil’s Bean?

The Devil’s Bean?

Currently, this article condemning Red Bull is #trending on Facebook. It is an example of #fakenews. It contains shoddy, limited, and low-effort research. The low-quality graphics and basic errors in grammar show a lack of careful editing, which also manifests itself in the subjective content.

Here is why you should read such content with a critical and otherwise well-informed eye, and never accept it as the sole source of input for your opinion.

The Source Article has Nothing Specifically to Do with Energy Drinks, Let Alone Red Bull

Nothing about the article has anything to do with #RedBull, or even with “energy drinks” in any general sense. The content relates, solely and entirely, to the effects of caffeine. Important natural processes, which are always at work in your body, are cast in a villainous light, thereby making the effects of caffeine appear far more insidious and pervasive than they actually are. The Church of Latter Day Saints, one of the most notorious advocates against the use of caffeine in the modern world, even clarified its policy five years ago; they now explicitly allow Mormons to drink caffeinated soft drinks, some of the least healthy caffeinated beverages in existence.

You Always Lose Valuable Nutrients When You Urinate

This is why animal waste (ours included) makes such an effective fertilizer. The digestive process is simply not that efficient. This is a point that is regularly raised to make soft drinks, energy drinks, and alcohol look worse than they are, but it would happen even if you drank nothing but crystal-clear mountain springwater. Meanwhile, anything that *isn’t* water (including milk, soy milk, almond milk, and fruit juices) will suck more nutrients out of your system than water will; such is not the exclusive province of caffeinated beverages.

Releasing Sugar Into Your Bloodstream Is Part of Your Liver’s Vital Function (You Need This to Be Alive)

Your liver’s normal, everyday function includes the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Insulin is used to turn sugar into chemical fuel, so more is produced in response to more sugar. This is how you get more energy and stave off exhaustion, which most of us are trying to do when we drink caffeine in the first place.

Blood Sugar Spikes Happen Every Time You Consume Anything Edible (Again, Necessary for Life to Exist)

When you consume anything edible, your body turns part of it into sugar. This sugar is processed into chemical energy by your cells, and used as fuel. This is where all of our energy comes from; supplementing with B-Complex Vitamins doesn’t “give you” energy. Instead, it makes the process more efficient; you lose less of what you’re already taking in. If what comes out of your bottom doesn’t look like what went in at the top, that’s because part of it was chemically altered to produce sugar.

Your Body Naturally Stores Chemical Energy as Fat

Excess chemical fuel is stored as fat when its energy is not needed. The article implies that this is some diabolical twisting of your body’s systems by caffeine. This is how your body normally works. The problem, here, isn’t what you’re taking in: it’s how much of it you’re consuming, and what your daily routine looks like. You shouldn’t drink energy drinks if you’re sitting around on your ass all day. You also shouldn’t eat a lot, or drink anything but water, if you’re sitting around on your ass all day. While we’re at it, you shouldn’t sit around on your ass all day. That is unhealthy in itself. These processes, the way in which your body creates and stores chemical energy, are why that is unhealthy.

Let’s Talk About Red Bull, Since The Source Didn’t Bother

Red Bull does have a lot of sugar, but the total amount (including processed sugar) is no greater than the total amount of sugar found in an equivalent volume of fruit juice.

Its sugar content is roughly equivalent to the maximum daily sugar intake advised for an adult human. That’s in one normal-sized can. It’s equal to about 4-9 teaspoons of sugar, depending upon how high you heap those teaspoons. Many of us put that much in 1-2 cups of coffee, and we’re otherwise generally very careless about our sugar intake regardless (on average, we consume 2 times the recommended daily intake), but that doesn’t objectively make Red Bull any better.

The issue here is the accessibility of that sugar. Processed sugar is easily accessed, and quickly stored (often, I’ve found, in the hips).

Except, there is sugar-free Red Bull. There are also sugar-free varieties of most other energy drinks.

You can restrict your energy drink intake to when you actually need that extra energy, which will burn more sugar without storing the excess as fat. The American Heart Association’s maximum daily intake advisement is based on averages in both body size and daily activity levels. A person with more non-fatty tissue can safely consume higher amounts of sugar. A person with unusually high activity levels, such as someone who gets 30 minutes or more of physical exercise in a given day, will burn through substantially more calories.

The average intake advisement only involves 100 – 150 calories per day, maximum. It is so restricted due to the necessity of making room for calories from other important nutrients *within the average daily allotment of 2000 calories*. An amateur bodybuilder, someone who works out for 1-2 hours per day, may consume 2-3 times as much. It’s all about healthy activity levels and well-informed habits.

Energy drinks are not the Devil. Caffeine is heavily consumed by countries with some of the highest life expectancies on Earth, including the US and the Nordic countries. Articles like the one I’m referencing present a woefully incomplete and deeply skewed angle that is designed to mislead. This is so they can trend on sensationalism, which is exactly what this article is doing.

Ancient Stories: The Wild Hunt

Ancient Stories: The Wild Hunt

The myth of the Wild Hunt, or “Raging Host,” is based on an ancient European folk story. It has been told and retold by many different cultures over thousands of years, but its origins are popularly held to lie among the ancient Germanic tribes of central Europe. It usually takes the form of a cautionary tale about a supernatural hunting party, pursuing its prey through the woods (or the night sky). Its pre-Christian origins have taken different forms over the centuries, but all are recognizable as having their roots in the original myth—and, like most myths, the story of the Wild Hunt was meant to entertain. It was also intended to offer moral and spiritual guidance.

Ancient Stories Wild Hunt

What is the Wild Hunt?

The Wild Hunt takes the form of a host of supernatural beings in wild pursuit of their quarry. They may be elves, faeries, or some other fey (of the early, non-diminutive variety). Their leader is usually a figure associated with Woden, an early Germanic deity, who would later become the Norse God Odin; he was known to the Celts of central Europe, Britain and (especially) Ireland as Lugh, with some variations on the name occurring in other areas of the Celtic world. The figure might be an avatar of Woden, or—in some traditions—a partial representation of the deity, some specific aspect of his area of influence given separate form. On occasion, the leader of the Wild Hunt is represented as a great hero, or a quasi-historical figure out legend.

In other versions of the story, the Wild Hunt is comprised of the dead; ghosts, although the concept served a different function thousands of years ago. The modern ghost is usually an aberration; a lost soul which didn’t leave the world of the living behind when it was supposed to, something that defies the natural order and serves no purpose. In the ancient world, spirits of the dead were thought to manifest in service to some intended function; it was less “they aren’t supposed to be here” and more “we aren’t supposed to see them.” Ancient mythologies frequently placed the realm of the dead close to the world of the living, and there were held to be many possible ways to pass back and forth between them; go back far enough, and the separation was seen as little more than a journey of a few miles. In this form, the appearance of the Wild Hunt often heralded a “thinning of the veil,” a time when (or a place where) the boundary between this world and the next was unusually thin—perhaps even penetrable.

In either form, the Wild Hunt was a herald of ill omen. Its appearance was seen as a thing to be interpreted by the wise, whereupon human sacrifice, war, or migration might be engaged in for the sake of averting a subsequently prophesied calamity. The ancient world offered frequent hardship; the Wild Hunt might be seen in a storm, or a comet, and the less common its form the direr the predicament it presaged. At best, the sudden appearance of the Wild Hunt was said to mean the death of the one who beheld it; it was not uncommon for ancient European peoples to flee the site of a battle with the rise of a sudden storm, fearing the arrival of a spiritual entourage. On more than one occasion, this saved the loser of said conflict from complete annihilation.

Some stories of the Wild Hunt story describe its leader as being charged with escorting mortal spirits to the realm of the dead. This type of figure is referred to by modern mythologists (and spiritualists) as a “psychopomp,” with familiar examples including the Greek Hermes, the Egyptian Anubis, the Norse Valkyries, and the Christian Archangel Michael. In older myths, this was a far less benign role than how it is described later, with the psychopomp laying claim to whatever souls it can find—including those residing in people unlucky enough to stumble upon the Wild Hunt while they’re still breathing, as well as any individuals who happen to be sleeping nearby. The benign guide represented by figures such as the Archangel Michael comes much later; early psychopomps were seen as more of a function of natural laws, part of the universe’s machinery, and any soul which ventured too close was swept away with all the rest. As such, they were cautionary figures, whose reported approach sent ancient people scrambling indoors—and kept them out of mysterious, sacred places, such as the depths of the woods, and those places where the dead were buried or venerated.

Elements of the Wild Hunt Story

In addition to the leader of the Wild Hunt, and the individual huntsmen accompanying him, there were other elements which change with the time and location. The huntsmen in this supernatural entourage were often accompanied by hounds, who varied in appearance from great hunting dogs to wolves. In some locations, most notably in Celtic and post-Celtic Britain, the leader of the Wild Hunt was accompanied by hounds only. This is the origin of the black dog folk story, which is common in more recent British folklore: a black dog which appears as an omen of death. It is also the point of origin for the hellhound of modern fantasy, which arose as a Christianized version of the black dog story before passing into popular culture.

Long after the Wild Hunt has passed largely into obscurity, the black dog story continues to influence popular media today, most notably the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most popular Sherlock Holmes tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles. J. K. Rowling also included the image of the hound as an omen of death in the form of the Grim, first encountered in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In the Potterverse, the Grim is the direst portent of death that exists; the one who sees it is almost inevitably doomed. The Little Black Dog, from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is an example of an Americanized version of the British black dog folktale, which—like a lot of English legends—jumped the Atlantic with early American colonists.

The Wild Hunt’s quarry also changes depending upon the time and place from which the folktale is being sourced. Early accounts feature an animal of the sort that a mortal hunting party might track, such as a deer or a boar. Later accounts went in different directions: in the United Kingdom, a white hart or a white stag became common, and developed folktales of their own. Both recurred regularly throughout subsequent centuries’ fantastic and romantic adventure fiction, with notable appearances in the various retellings of the King Arthur legends. In Norse mythology, the Wild Hunt is often described as being in pursuit of unusual quarry, such as horses, or even maidens.

Wild Hunt hounds huntsman

Origins of the Wild Hunt

The name “Wild Hunt” first appeared in 1835, in a study of Germanic mythology written by Jacob Grimm (a profound linguist and mythologist, though he remains better known as one of the Brothers Grimm). Jacob noted the many variations on the same mythological theme, which occurred in ancient cultures throughout Europe, and he coined the phrase Wilde Jagd (“Wild Hunt”) as a reference.

…they sweep through forest and air in whole companies with a horrible din. This is the widely spread legend of the furious host, the furious hunt, which is of high antiquity, and interweaves itself, now with gods, and now with heroes.

—Jacob Grimm, from Teutonic Mythology

He was the first to recognize the true geographical breadth and temporal depth of the many variations of the story, and may be responsible for recognizing the connection between Woden, Nodens, Odin, and other variations on the same ancient Germanic deity.

That the wild hunter is to be referred to Wodan, is made perfectly clear by some Mecklenburg legends.

—Jacob Grimm, from Teutonic Mythology

The actual origin of the folktale itself is unknown. Wild Hunt stories go back for thousands of years, with variations present in a range of British cultures, Nordic cultures, and the ancient Germanic tribes. Jacob Grimm notes the fact that, in every culture where stories of the Wild Hunt arose, they appeared to go back into pre-Christian times:

Look where you will, it betrays its connexion with heathenism…The Christians had not so quickly nor so completely renounced their faith in the gods of their fathers, that those imposing figures could all at once drop out of their memory. Obstinately clung to by some, they were merely assigned a new position more in the background. The former god lost his sociable character, his near familiar features, and assumed the aspect of a dark and dreadful power, that still had a certain amount of influence left. His hold lost upon men and their ministry, he wandered and hovered in the air, a spectre and a devil.

—Jacob Grimm, from Teutonic Mythology

Many of these cultures were widely illiterate, with writing either entirely unknown or reserved to a special, learned class of society, making backtracking to a specific point of origin difficult. It is entirely possible, given the ubiquitous concept of the hunting party and the widespread notion of a powerful sky god, whose sphere also encompassed victory on the battlefield, that the concept of the Wild Hunt arose separately in several ancient cultures. As with the changes in the black dog folktale with its conveyance from England to America, divergent traits would have spread from one society to another with the advent of trade and diplomacy, and different groups of people would have seized on aspects that were at once different from their own tales—yet familiar enough to relate to.

 

Post-Christian Forms of the Wild Hunt

Jacob Grimm has already told us how converted Christians retained the memory of their ancient beliefs, but in many cases certain elements of the Wild Hunt mythology were eventually supplanted: in no society has the development and creation of folktales ever ceased, with modern-day examples ranging from urban legends to the internet’s creepypasta.

Christian influences on the Wild Hunt folktales can be broadly divided into two forms: the identity of the master of the hunt, and the nature of the quarry being pursued. In either case, Christian “use” of the story parallels pre-existing pagan tradition very closely: the Wild Hunt was seen to be a harbinger of great misfortune, and was often regarded as being an omen of certain death to those who beheld it. It is possible to find parallels between the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the story of the Wild Hunt, while in other cases the leader of the Wild Hunt is represented as Death—stripped of his divinity, and even of his individuality, but not of his power and influence. Notably, some later folktales presented the master of the hunt as being a dead nobleman whose life had been characterized by wickedness; in some versions of the tale, he was slain by a boar, which he was subsequently doomed to never cease pursuing.

One German version of the post-Christian Wild Hunt names the doomed huntsman as Hanns von Hackelberg, who is said to have violated the Sabbath with his final, fatal hunting expedition. In various parts of the UK, post-Christian versions of the Wild Hunt frequently feature King Arthur as the phantasmal leader of the expedition. For a time (read: several hundred years) it became common to characterize notorious and unpopular political leaders as the master of the Wild Hunt—after their deaths, of course.

The quarry pursued by the Wild Hunt under Christian influences was sometimes of the traditional variety, as in the legend of the Baroque-era German nobles and their boars. One of the more common alterations to the story does feature a significant change to the quarry, however. This type arose among the Christianized Nordic peoples of northeastern Europe, whose ancient tales of the Wild Hunt had already incorporated the pursuit of maidens, mythical creatures, and other types of unusual quarry (at least for a mortal huntsman). The post-Christian Wild Hunt stories of northeastern Europe featured the Wild Hunt conjuring up the souls of specific types of sinners, most notably those of unrepentant petty criminals and unbaptized infants. These versions of the Wild Hunt sometimes featured hellhounds in forms recognizable to modern fantasy enthusiasts, and might have been led by the Devil himself—but this region did give rise to the version of the Wild Hunt, which would eventually become more widespread, which didn’t have a huntsman at all. It was simply a wild procession of the damned, with or without demonic hounds or other diabolical figures in attendance.

That last variation would eventually lead to the “dissolution” of the Wild Hunt folktales, where—without the rallying point of the huntsman himself, whatever his identity—other individual elements of the Wild Hunt, like the hellhound or the demon, began to take on more importance. These led to the distinction of the Wild Hunt fading away, or to the rise of alternate folktales that bear only a cursory resemblance to their point of origin: many would be regarded for centuries as death omens, or otherwise as a sign of misfortune.

Modern Pop Culture References to the Wild Hunt

While its origins as a distinct myth might not be well-known, particularly outside of central or eastern Europe, the Wild Hunt is one of the most influential stories behind much of today’s popular fantasy and science fiction media.

The Wild Hunt in Books

The Wild Hunt makes an appearance in many books, but is perhaps most well-known in fantasy.

In Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence, the leader of the Wild Hunt is a primordial entity who controls the Wild Magic, one of the four fundamental magical forces of the universe—infamously powerful, and notoriously resistant to any attempts to harness it. The forces of the Light and of the Dark both seek out the ritual elements required to bind the Wild Magic to their service for a single night, which will be enough for either side to remove the other side’s influence over mankind’s continued development.

In her bestselling Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare describes an alternate New York populated by all manner of supernatural beings, including the angelic Shadowhunters who seek to protect the innocent—and the demons who want to destroy everything. In this setting, the Wild Hunt is depicted as being led by Gwyn ap Nudd, the ancient Welsh God of the Dead—an equivalent to the Irish Lugh and the Germanic Woden, and one of the early figures to lead the Wild Hunt in Britain.

In a noteworthy departure from traditional fantasy fare, Cormac McArthy—author of The Road and No Country for Old Men—penned a semi-autobiographical work called Suttree over a twenty-year period. The book is set in 1951, but wasn’t published until 1979. Many people have speculated over the apparent Odinic parallels to Cornelius Suttree, the titular, somewhat Steinbeckian hero, which are scattered throughout the book. While it is generally accepted that the Wild Hunt is given mention in Suttree, there isn’t a lot of consensus as to the meaning behind it—except, perhaps to the Hunt’s useful symbolism as an image of chaos, corresponding to Cornelius’ attempts to find himself (in an existential sense).

Andrzej Sapkowski is an award-winning Polish fantasy author most well-known in the rest of Europe and America for The Witcher saga, a series of fantasy novels featuring the exploits of one Geralt of Rivia—one of an order of Witchers, sorcerer-assassins who fight the monsters that infest Andrzej’s dark fantasy world. His world is itself deeply reminiscent of the gritty, non-Disney-esque fairytales and folk stories of ancient Germanic Europe. It features the Wild Hunt, led by a “King of the Wild Hunt” and consisting of a host of specters, which Geralt at one point joins after giving his soul in exchange for that of another. The Witcher series is noted for its seamless inclusion of various scholarly and scientific disciplines within its fantasy; as such, the exact nature of the Wild Hunt is debated by intellectuals within the context of the story itself.

Frank Long’s Hounds of Tindalos were incorporated into the Cthulhu mythos after being codified by August Derleth. They appear as emaciated, “rotting” hounds, which inhabit the angles of time. Living outside the normal progression of time as such, they are able to find their quarry wherever it may hide. Their lapping tongues produce deep, bloodless wounds which drain their victims’ vitality. These Lovecraftian hounds are deeply reminiscent of some of the creatures once described as being a part of the Wild Hunt, unshakable hellhounds with the power to steal a person’s soul away from them.

hound tindalos lovecraft wild hunt

The Wild Hunt in Film and Television

The Wild Hunt is a 2009 Horror/Drama film by Canadian production company Animist Films. A low-budget film, produced for approximately $500,000 CA, it has won two awards of note: Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, and an Audience Sparky Award for Best Narrative Film at the fifteenth annual Slamdance Film Festival (which focuses upon emerging, low-budget film production) in 2010. More widespread critical reception of the film, which features a live-action role-playing event gone wrong due to a ritual invoking the Wild Hunt, was lukewarm; a few critics have given it three stars, but multiple problems have been pointed out with lighting, special effects, and film editing.

The Wild Hunt in Games

The Witcher saga has been transformed into a series of three games (to date) by Polish video game developer CD Projekt Red. The company has rapidly risen to prominence based upon the success of the Witcher series. Witcher 3, the latest installment, is fully titled “Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt; it has accumulated more than 800 awards since its release, with more than 250 “Game of the Year” awards from reputable sources within the worldwide video game industry—and more than 10 million copies of the game sold to date. The Wild Hunt features prominently throughout the Witcher series, and its representation is somewhat complex: at times, the King of the Wild Hunt seems like a diabolical figure, while at other times the Hunt is represented as a mechanical part of “the way the world works.” Within the context of the game itself, characters have varying takes on the nature of the Hunt; some believe that it is not actually a host of specters at all, but “simply a magical phenomenon.”Witcher King Wild Hunt death omen

The Wild Hunt has been a contributing factor to western folktales for so long that many of its influences have evolved beyond recognition. The plot of the existing installments of the critically acclaimed Mass Effect video game franchise centers around the coming of the Reapers: a host of sentient machines created by the first intelligent spacefaring race in the Milky Way galaxy. For millions of years, the Reapers have returned to the galaxy from the depths of intergalactic space at regular intervals, wiping out all sentient spacefaring civilizations before they could develop the technology to completely scour the galaxy of all life themselves. The bodies and memories of those slain are then used to construct new Reapers. The oldest and most powerful Reaper, the nominal “leader” of the Hunt, is known as Harbinger, tying in the idea of a death omen with the coming of the Reapers.

Reaper Mass Effect Harbinger Death Omen Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt on Stage

The Wild Hunt was a popular theme in theater and opera for centuries, up to the innovation of modern media.

  • Karl Maria von Weber’s 1821 opera Der FreischĂĽtz.
  • Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Études of 1837.
  • Arnold Schönberg’s oratorio Gurre-Lieder, 1911.
  • Spanish writer Gustavo Adolfo BĂ©cquer’s 1861 El monte de las ánimas features a much-overlooked contribution to the modern Wild Hunt story, as it introduced the idea of the Hunt appearing on Halloween.
  • Robert Wagner’s Die WalkĂĽre, from which we have Ride of the Valkyries, was first performed in 1870 as a complete piece. However, the main score may have been written as early as 1851. In Norse myth, Valkyries are not only psychopomps, but also supernatural warrior-maidens who hunt down the cowardly; they were often involved in Nordic stories featuring the Wild Hunt, for as long as those stories have existed.
  • B. Yeats evoked the Wild Hunt in his 1893 poem The Hosting of the Sidhe. The Sidhe are one of the houses of the fey as represented by the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. Yeats is noted for having competed with English aristocrat Aleister Crowley, “the most wicked man alive,” for leadership of the occult Golden Dawn Society: their power struggle split the popular Victorian occult society in two.
  • StanisĹ‚aw WyspiaĹ„ski’s play Wesele, 1901.

The Wild Hunt in Modern Pagan Tradition

In the late 1990s, a modern Pagan group in Norfolk, England staged a “Wild Hunt Challenge” on Halloween. Participants would explore a local wooded area during the daytime, then repeat the process at night in a timed competition. The activity was associated directly with Gwyn ap Nudd, as the particular wooded area used was believed by the group to have been an area which the Wild Hunt frequented in ancient times. Successful completion of the challenge was rewarded by permission to cut timber from the woods and fashion a staff, representing the initiate’s having gained the trust of the wood’s spirits.

Founded in 1979 in southern California, the Reclaiming tradition combined Goddess worship with political activism to create an offshoot of the feminist movement, which Reclaiming adherents felt had gotten off-track. The movement combined modern feminism, anarchism, the peace movement, and environmental awareness. It was reported by various outlets that the leaders of the movement—a pair of Neopagan women who had converted to the faith from Judaism, bringing some elements of ancient Jewish religious practice with them—staged a recreation of the Wild Hunt in an area of San Francisco.

Digging Deeper into the Wild Hunt

This was originally intended to be a standalone piece; it now seems likely that additional blog posts will be written on the subject, with each one most likely focusing on a specific aspect of the Wild Hunt as outlined in this article. If you’re looking for more information on this fascinating subject in the meantime, here are a few highly authoritative sources which deserve consideration. Most have already been referenced within this article, but here they are for convenience:

Writing Prompt #1: The Reboot

Writing Prompt #1: The Reboot

writing prompt creative writing exercise

New website, new series of prompts! I’ve had some issues with image prompts in the past, and will not be making images for every prompt this time around; some reported finding them distracting, or having issues with contrast. Image prompts will still make the occasional appearance, but will be categorized separately.

Anywho, since I’m rebooting my prompts, I thought that I would use the concept of a “reboot” for my first prompt’s theme! Isn’t that TREMENDOUS? Aren’t you EXCITED?! WOO! YEAH! WRITING PROMPTS! YEAH! WOO!

Right, I’m done now. Here we go!

Writing Prompt: An Unexpected Gift

You’ve discovered that you have the power to reboot the day, one day at a time. The events which occur during that day play out slightly differently each time. Your own involvement is as a spectator, looking out through your own eyes like windows, as “you” function on a level best described as a vaguely detached autopilot. 

Expanding the Exercise: Thoughts & Ideas

I’ll try to make each prompt a little shorter than they used to be, but I do enjoy presenting people with a few additional options. If you would like, try expanding upon the prompt’s concept with one or more of the following additions! Given that this is still, if just barely, Halloween, I’m going to go with a dark and sinister undertone—just for fun, of course.

  • Each time you reboot the same day again, there is an increasing tendency for familiar objects to no longer reappear. After one or two reboots, you might be missing a familiar rock, or a tree. After three or more, random manufactured items stop reappearing. After five or more, animals. Vanished objects sometimes reappear after you resume normal time progression; other times, they don’t. You’ve just repeated the same day eleven times, having never gone so far before; your neighbor is now missing. Nobody else seems to notice.
  • You’ve just experienced a dreadful reboot. Everything that could possibly have gone wrong does, to the point where your sense of detachment shatters and you experience a nervous breakdown. Once you’ve recovered, people are delighted that you seem “back to your usual self,” but—to your horror—you appear to have lost the ability to replay the day. You must live with the consequences of devastating recent events.
  • While engaged in an active reboot, your “autopiloted” self is struck by a car and killed; you are powerless to stop them. Your ability is immediately triggered, and you wake up in a brand-new reboot of the same day—apparently, none the worse for wear. The specter of death haunts you, however: now, whenever you use your power, you find yourself confronting more and more frequent close calls, almost as if the universe were trying to get rid of you.
  • One day, while using your ability, you realize that some of the people around you are looking at you funny. You’d noticed it before, but you’ve become used to being a casual spectator in these reboots. Now that you think about it, they aren’t looking at you like any normal person would. They appear confused, and some look flat-out hostile, but all are hesitant—as if it would somehow be rude of them to acknowledge you directly. After your fourth such encounter in the same rebooted day, you finally figure out what clued you in to their existence: none of these “strangers” are interacting with any of the ordinary people around you.

Feedback

I’d enjoy hearing what you have to say about this prompt! Feel free to get in touch, or to leave a comment in the field below (I love comments almost as much as I enjoy a fine, well-aged, extra-sharp Vermont cheddar).

If you want to share a prompt of your own, let me know!