Daily Achievement


An alarm clock beeps. JOEL (17, skinny, quiet but not shy) opens his eyes to his partially lit bedroom as he lies in bed. He reaches out and turns off the alarm.

Joel looks at the window, and the blind over it, the bright sun bordering the outside of it, then down to his chest. On it sits an impossibly large black dog. The dog turns it’s head and looks at him. It is not friendly and panting, but serious (if a dog can be said to look serious).

Joel meets its gaze as it continues to stare unblinking at him. Joel attempts to lift himself up, but the dog has him firmly pinned down. Joel struggles a few more time to no avail. Joel lowers his head back down to his pillow and looks around his room.

His walls are blue, like a calm ocean, and there is a definite nautical theme to the room. A wall piece of a small anchor with rope sits above the doorway. A large ship in a bottle adorns the top of the tallboy. A red and white lifesaver is pinned up on one wall and a painting of a ship at sea rests on another one.

Joel’s eyes rest on the painting. It begins to move. The sky above the ship turns black as dark clouds roll in. The ship rocks violently as the waves below it churn. Lightning strikes.

Joel whips his eyes away from the painting. He rubs them.

Joel again looks at the large black dog on his chest, it continues to pin him to the bed. He sighs deeply and looks up at the ceiling.

The ceiling is strewn with many hairline cracks all along it. Joel tilts his head to the side as he studies them. In the cracks Joel sees a face, a frowny one. The cracks that make up the face light up to make it stand out. Beside it another face lights up amongst the multitude of cracks. Then another one, and another. More and more. Soon the whole ceiling is awash in lit faces made up from the many cracks present, all of them frowning, all of them sad.

Joel closes his eyes tightly, almost wincing. Tears well in his eyes. With a determined look his face settles. Joel wipes his eyes dry and resolutely looks back up to the ceiling.

Steely eyed he stares at it, concentrating hard. In the middle of all the frowny faces a collection of cracks begin to glow to form a single smiley face. The smiley face grows brighter as Joel continues to concentrate. The frowny faces begin to fade until only the smiley face remains.

Joel looks next to the painting. The stormy seas slowly begin to settle, the sky clearing, and the wind slowing until it becomes just a large boat sitting on a calm sea. It settles once more into a painting, unmoving.

Joel then looks to the large black dog. He smiles widely at it, and even lets out a small laugh. The dog whines briefly and then dissipates, blowing away like ash in the wind.

Alright Joel, you can do this.

Joel whips the covers off himself, throws his legs over the side of the bed, and stands.

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