What’s Happening? | That Little Lola

Hey guys!

I haven’t actually taken a hiatus in a while, but right now, I really need to. I have too many projects that I want to focus on, and I feel like I’m trying to cram in so much, as well as worrying about numbers.

But I’m definitely burnt out like you wouldn’t believe. However, in terms of all of the content I have planned, I intend on carrying on with all of the ongoing series anyway, getting them scheduled up and then taking a break.

I’ve come to realise that I’m no longer enjoying the writing that I’m doing. Everything I do outside of writing, I always think of ways to try and embed that into the blog. Honestly, I’ve done almost daily posts for the past year or so, and I’m tired.

I want to be able to upload roughly once per week, and that will happen with the Pokemon top 10 lists, and my Gym Teams posts will still continue, but there may be delays. Other anime posts will wait, and I will do the Community Day posts as and when.


What I’ll be doing instead is catching up on other projects that have fallen to the wayside a bit – the books, Miss Lola’s Scents, other videos that I have planned, the works! So in that regard, I’ll be keeping busy, but for now it just comes down to wanting a break for my own mental health and well-being.

Miss Lola’s Scents has had a delay, purely for costs, feedback, manufacturing and just general health.


And, for now…see you guys soon!

Horrible Fanfiction Tropes

Hey guys! In the world of creating your own works, there is fanfiction. It’s safe to assume there is fanfiction for everything, and not all of it is good. In fact, the vast majority is terrible. There are a lot of fanfiction tropes that are horrible, and here are the worst tropes that I can think of!


Mpreg

Yes, we’re starting off with ‘mpreg’. It’s where a guy (usually not a trans man) falls pregnant when usually they’re not supposed to. It’s normally through supernatural means, with the ‘uke’ (submissive) being the one to fall pregnant after…doing the deed. It’s just not necessary. Plus…how do they give birth?


Character-bashing

This is usually used as a plot device to progress the story or to force a ship together, and it’s usually against a female character. It comes across more as the author venting against the character rather than useful for character development. It’s usually whenever the target character is present in the story, even for a moment. Sometimes they’re even thrown in there for a jab or three.


Same Plot in Multiple Fics

This is definitely the case in the Fairy Tail fanfiction community. For example, take Lucy. There are a lot of her stories that have the same premise: Lisanna returns, Team Natsu edges Lucy out, then mercilessly kicks her out of the team with plenty of character-bashing from everyone, Lucy leaves to go ‘train’, joins another guild (usually pre-Grand Magic Games Sabertooth), finds some divine power – usually a Celestial Dragon, becomes stupidly overpowered, forced reunite with Team Natsu who are upset and apologises…you get the gist. Once, it’s not so bad depending on how it’s written. But I’ve seen this happen multiple times where I’m just skipping over them whenever I see them.


AU Fics That Involve Kidnapping/Mafia, etc.

The girl gets the guy so the scorned woman hatches a plan to kidnap the girl. Also in a different fic, turns out the girl’s love interest and most of her friends are mafia henchmen, and she’s the key to their huge reward. I’m tired of reading a regular alternate universe fic to find either of these happening, rather than a cute slice-of-life story that doesn’t involve


Telling the Story to the Kids

The end of some fanfics end up on a flash-forward, with the dad telling the kids about how he met their mother, and then the mother walks in saying ‘Who wants X’ or something like that, and the kids go like ‘yay!’ and then it ends. It’s uninspired, and I’ve seen it a million times, so it’s nothing new. Plus that trope got ruined once the finale of How I Met Your Mother aired.


Everyone Get Paired Off

I’ve seen fics where there isn’t a happy ending until every character is paired off with somebody. It doesn’t make sense, considering some people can be asexual or aromantic. Not every character needs a romantic link.

Even worse in M/M fics, you see literally every single male character is gay and paired off with each other. This often means that female characters are written as evil or not actually written into the story at all.


This Ending

They all defeated Grimsley, and they went home. Five years later, Sally and Mark ended up getting married and having three kids. Therese and Malcolm married soon after, and had five kids. It took a while, but Celeste and Luke finally had six children. Langley stopped ageing and married Angela.

You see the problem?


NonCon/DubCon/Bestiality

I just don’t like the idea of this thing being used as a plot device for one chapter with no after-effects, but I always skip past these parts of a story. In fact, if there’s a trigger warning in the description, I’ll skip by. Same goes for the bestiality, where there’s usually a character that’s either been turned into an animal, or they’re written in as an animal. It’s just really strange, not to mention gross.


Shotacon/Lolicon

Just no.

Songwriting for Literature | WIP Discussion

Hey guys! I wanted to discuss the idea of songwriting for literature, specifically if you’re writing a song for the purpose of it being part of the story.


Fun fact: I used to be part of a band. We had members arrive and leave, different band names and styles, but myself and my (then) friend Jess started up a band, inspired by the likes of Busted and Green Day. I can remember the chorus of the first song I wrote for the band, actually:

He’s running through my mind (my mind)
So’s his girlfriend (girlfriend)
But the only one that I
Want him to be with (be with)
Is me (me, me, me)

A bit amateur, right? But we were 13 with barely any idea of how to write songs at all. I was pretty crap at guitar (still am), but I eyed up the opportunity to be a vocalist. I’d written a summertime-themed song for another Music lesson, and it was also around that time when I’d received special recognition for being exceptional in Music. One of my passions at the time was music, and I wanted to write songs. Of course, our band, named Insominax, never played a gig, or even had a jam session. It was a pipe dream, and I stopped writing song lyrics at 18, after I wrote an entire album’s worth of songs about a guy that broke my heart. Yep, I went there.

We had a member that came in, immediately changed our band name from…something, to In Control, and started taking creative control over us, assigning us singing roles and lyrics, a far cry from what we wanted. She started trying to cause conflicts in the band when things didn’t go her way, so we kicked her out and called ourselves Insominax. We did break up when things just weren’t happening, back in 2009.


What does all of this have to do with writing songs for literature? In my main WIP, Ruby White is a singer/songwriter, primarily performing rock and/or metal numbers, but sometimes branching out into different genres. Sometimes the song lyrics leak into extra dialogue between the characters, and there are other performers. So it involves writing lyrics for Ruby, Arlo Anderson, and Pink Scalpel, which is Ruby’s former band. So all in all, I have to write each song that will fit the character and the mood.

Just try and imagine writing a song that’s supposed to be heartfelt, only for Garrot Blanchard to do this:

You gave me those telltale signs
Of dancing in my undies
Eating Chinese with Mr. Bean

Ruby’s response? ‘What the- those aren’t the lyrics!’


The process:

I never liked having full lyrics in literature, as I usually skip through them. However, because the story is from Ruby’s point of view, it’s kinda necessary to do it that way. I’ve discussed this as well, and it also allows me to mess with the lyrics for the benefit of the other characters, see above.

As you can see in my first lyrics for Insominax, I didn’t care for rhymes. However, I now want to put more effort into the songs instead of writing through them clumsily like I used to. I want to use metaphors and songwriting to tell a story beyond the current story. I also want them to rhyme, which has never been my strong point. I’m not exactly eloquent when it comes to writing anyway, and I can be rough around the edges, but it’s another hurdle, I suppose!

I originally just wanted to do smaller snippets of songs here and there, because it’s hard as nails to write a full song in one sitting (from my experience). But I think the songs will come once I’ve nailed down the scenarios and mood, so there won’t be much in the way of songwriting for a while, excluding the one Pink Scalpel song that I have ideas for, as they will have a performance scene.

I have a playlist on Spotify in which I put general inspirations, but then there’s als oa UCoE Radio playlist, both of which I’m trying to fix up with relevant songs, just so that we have a radio request playlist, a general themes playlist and a song dump! That way, I can figure out what kind of songs I want to write for Ruby and Arlo, considering they’ll be both musicians, and of course writing music together.


I have no idea when the next WIP update will be, considering the lack of actual progress I’ve made on the short stories. In fact, a lot of work has slowed down for the time being while I try and fix my mental health and sleep patterns.

WIP Update 2: Electric Boogaloo

Hey guys! Here’s the first 2021 update! I wrote this before Christmas, but wanted to schedule it so that I could have time off!


Have you ever had a short story that you’ve dreaded working on because you don’t particularly like it? Because same, and that’s what’s been happening with my WIP. There have been some chops and changes as a result. I’ve removed some of the original stuff, and decided to branch out into different writing styles.

I still really want to get the book launched by the end of this year, but I’ve had a lot happening over the past couple of months, with a business launch planned, as well as the blog. I want to be able to bulk-write for later in the year, because I can probably see my content slowing down a bit on here. But we’ll get there as and when. Until at least August, there’ll be at least one post per week.

While I haven’t actually got all first drafts finished yet, they’re close. Plus I’ve been debating whether to increase the number of short stories from 20 to 25. I suppose that will depend on how much more I’ve got in me to write. And I’ve tried a hand at a little poetry, as well as a story featuring several soliloquies. For now, all 20 current slots are filled.

That brings me onto the Reader’s Choice vote, which ended up being What Little Value. I’ll admit that was my least favourite of the four stories, but it was an opportunity to fix the things that I wanted to fix. Overall, I’m happy with how the second draft turned out in comparison to the showing on here. Not only that, each of last November’s short stories is making an appearance in this book, because I really liked them.

Here are some basics on what’s happening:

  • Inside the Magic Shop has gone into third draft stage!
  • The Fall and Rise has had a brand new introduction and first half.
  • The Last Time has developed a lot more, with a brand new scene.
  • Dead Memories is getting a huge re-write, so that’s taking a while.
  • I’ve adapted a short film from 11 years ago.
  • Illumination was a complete re-write, one line aside.
  • There are a few shorts that are inspired by the Writing Prompts subreddit.

I’ve also been re-re-re-re-reworking my main WIP, because I finally have a plotline I can get down with! Basically, it’s about people that are born with superpowers that have had to go into hiding because there’s this anti-power group targeting those with powers. Spoilers aside, that’s all I got for now!


At the moment, that’s all I have! Things are progressing, at least!

NaNoWriMo Review

Hey guys! This is literally the breakdown of what happened when writing my short stories for the NaNoWriMo challenge, and why I went about it the way I did.


Honestly, I had the idea for a long time to do four short stories, one for each Sunday in November (after 1st November, of course). This would allow me more time to work on different projects, and also to give me more breathing space. I did do a November short story challenge last year, but I felt burnt out after writing thirty short stories, so I wanted to change it up a bit. Plus it gave me a lot of time to work on different ventures.

Two of my stories came as repurposed versions of stories that I’d set aside for other projects, but I’d forgone because I simply didn’t have time for them.

It was strange just how I ended up writing these stories. I wrote them all to completion in September, after a worrying depressive spell. Honestly, at the time of writing, I had to get up early because of a delivery. That, as well as an early trip to the supermarket, gave me a lot of energy and innovation to get work done, and throughout that morning, I got to finish some leftover work, as well as these short stories. It was a stark contrast to the day before, where I couldn’t think of anything to write about.

I do still look towards the Writing Prompts subreddit for inspiration as to what I can write about. I find it’s a really good tool to spark inspiration, just in case you find that you’ve completely lost it somewhere down the line.


The big news is that one of these short stories will be going into my book. It will be selected as a ‘Reader’s Choice’, and the poll will go up on Twitter as this post goes live. So you’ll be able to vote for which of the stories should be fleshed out a bit more and given a slot in said book!


Would I do this again? Probably not until my book’s been published. I think a lot of things that I want to write now will end up going in the book. After then, I’ll probably write some more short stories, and who knows, even make a second book of them!

The Fall and Rise – NaNoWriMo 4

Hey guys! So as it turns out, I didn’t actually do an introduction to last week’s short story. Whoops! Well, never mind that!

I’m bringing you the final part of this NaNoWriMo challenge! It’s been an interesting ride, but here you go! This was a repurposed form of a story I had for another project.


Salazar stared blankly, the view of his realm fixed as he was. He cursed the day that that witch had sealed his fate, centuries ago. Salazar’s thoughts plagued him that entire time, and so he wished to voice them to the open air. Alas, his mouth was frozen agape. He was still unable to moe or exist, except within his own private domain that was his mind.

A frozen statue, Salazar could only think of the different ways that things could have been different. He did this several times a day, with nothing else to think of, with nothing else to do, with nobody else to talk to. He would only have to wait a little longer, after all. A new age would come, and he would inevitably creep up unannounced – it was just a matter of when.

The constant ‘what ifs’ kept running through his mind, because what else could he do?

What would have happened if he had chosen a new patron to do his bidding? What would have happened if someone else had offered their services? Would they have gotten it right? Would they have been able to merge the physical and magical realms just as he wished it so? How would they have been able to do it? Would they have been a new Supreme Leader? A socialite, perhaps? Or even just an underling?

What would have happened if that damned Aeros had managed to achieve the impossible and completely merge with Salazar? What would have been the result? At what cost would the transformation have been? How powerful would Aeros had become? Just how far would he have gone to attain such power?

But what if Aeros had turned face? Would he have managed to redeem himself, and for who? For the city? For that witch? What about his pathetic demonic underlings?

Would Salazar himself have been dethroned? What if someone else took his place? What if his original plans were a success? Should have locked away that damned witch when he had the chance. But would it have mattered who was at her side? Would all of her friends had been at her side, or even the Crown Princess? Anyone else that was wronged by Aeros would have gladly stepped up, surely? But she did it alone – maybe that was what she had wanted in the first place. She was powerful enough for that. 

What would have become of Eldoor? Salazar was biding his time, waiting for the right moment when Eldoor was fragile, in order to strike out and perpetuate the cycle all over again. But there could well be a new cycle, with a new witch at the helm, ready to dethrone and freeze him in time once again. He might as well not even exist.

He should have been more careful. He should have created opportunities to bargain, to make sure the ball was in his court. He could easily have made the world a safe haven initially, lulling everyone into a false sense of security. Yes, that might actually work!

From the way his form started feeling warmer, he knew that it wouldn’t be too long before his second chance would come. And he knew just what to do.

Inside The Magic Shop – NaNoWriMo 3


I faintly said my goodbye to the last customer for the day, before walking to the front door and turning the sign over so that it said ‘CLOSED’. I started feeling a little faint, as the day was the busiest by far this current year. People were buying presents and ingredients for potions, as Valentine’s Day was approaching fast. 

I walked over to the storage room, where I found the book that I wanted to look up – Advanced Love Potions. The book was generally for our own use, as it contained a lot of recipes for highly volatile potions. I could never be too careful giving the recipes out for these potions, because of the kind of customers we got, like the last one, that walked off angry. I turned to the page with the requested potion recipe. I gaped in horror as I realised that the woman had asked for a potion recipe that involved the blood of her chosen partner. 

Advanced Love Potions? Is there something you’re not telling me?’ a familiar, yet alluring voice, drove me out of my reverie. I looked up from the book to see Jaxon smirking from the other side of the counter. I hadn’t noticed his arrival from the market, and I could feel the heat rise into my face at his question.

‘Actually, if you must know, I had a customer earlier who wanted a particular love potion, but I wasn’t sure about how to make it. She stormed off in a huff,’ I retorted, hoping to one-up him. I put the book down and started work on putting away the supplies that he brought from his rounds at the market.

‘Do you know how to make it now?’ he asked.

‘Yes, but I don’t fancy the idea of getting naked, rubbing the blood of the person I love in the glow of the full moon while drinking the potion.’ Jaxon baulked at that idea, before coming closer to me.

‘So…you love someone?’ He teased, clearly enjoying watching me squirm. I felt my face warm from embarrassment again, although I wasn’t sure whether that was from the question or his close proximity, or both. He’d rarely been straightforward with his emotions until recently. But he was in a playful mood this time around, which made me feel more courageous with my choice of words.

‘Watch it! I’ll feed you to the wolf,’ I responded, hoping that would stop him. He smirked. Uh oh. He came closer still, an arm wrapping around my waist. After all, he knew all too well who my heart belonged to.

‘He won’t hurt me, you know that,’ he whispered in my hear, before pulling away to help restock the shelves. Fucking tease, I fumed to myself. He was right, though. I could feel my heart rapidly pounding as I turned towards Jaxon, who was running his hands in his hair.

‘They didn’t have any quartz in the market. I may have to head out to the next city over soon if we start running low,’ he changed the topic, thankfully, however, his tone of voice was sullen. I didn’t like the idea of him travelling. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle the shop, I just didn’t like the danger of him travelling alone so often, and the loneliness that crept in after he departs. After all, the last time he left without me, I was thrown into a murder investigation. One could say you could never be too careful in Melren.

‘I wonder if we can get a courier service at some point? Maybe Susannah knows someone?’ I replied, hoping that Susannah would be able to help us out.

‘We could get in touch, although it will have to be after Valentine’s. I’m sure Susannah has a lot to deal with for her Valentine’s Ball.’

‘I just wish I could come with you. But…the shop…’

‘I know. After the Ball, I promise.’


‘And that’s that,’ Jaxon spoke gently as if the contents of the cauldron would be disturbed by loud, sudden noises. He was teaching me how to make a basic love potion that I could sell to the customers so that they didn’t have to bathe naked in the blood of their loved one. Potions were never my speciality, but it couldn’t hurt to pick the art up sometime. 

‘So how do I know it works?’ I asked, not sure whether I wanted to take the risk and test the potion for myself.

‘It’s simple. What does it smell like to you?’ he replied. I closed my eyes, focusing everything on the aromas that were penetrating the room. 

‘There’s definitely that book smell, wood-smoke…also that summer’s heat smell,’ I muttered, trying to make sense of the aromas that would definitely expose my affections – not that it mattered now. Books were commonly sold in our shop, and the smell of wood-smoke would be the highlight of our evenings. Not to mention I would often catch the summery scent when Jaxon was close enough.

‘That’s interesting!’ Jaxon mused, ‘I got roses, tea and clean furs.’ I paused for a moment, before turning to retrieve the glass bottles. Before I would have been jealous of him thinking about other people in that way, but after everything that we’d faced together, I knew I was safe.

‘So, does that mean it works?’ I still had to make sure.

‘It does! Now we can sell these so that we don’t get any strange people bathing naked, covered in blood.’

‘Good. I doubt Luke wants any more patients coming in because of some crazy blood rituals!’ I started uncorking the bottles, grabbing the small funnel before pouring the concoction into the bottles. Jaxon set to writing out the labels, before tying them to the bottlenecks.

‘Perfeito!’ he announced as the last of the bottles was re-corked.

‘Do you think a hundred bottles will be enough?’ I asked.

‘It should be enough for tomorrow, but I’ll get some more ingredients in,’ he reassured me while squeezing my shoulder gently.

‘All of this…just for one day,’ I exclaimed, before collapsing in one of the very comfy chairs in our living area. I felt chilled from the winter air, so I wrapped myself in one of the furs that was haphazardly thrown onto the chair earlier. Jaxon set to lighting the fireplace, before retreating to the kitchen. I was so tired from the day that I let the comfort of the furs and the warmth from the fireplace envelop me and I started drifting to sleep.


WIP Announcement and Progress #1

Hey guys! I thought I’d launch a WIP announcement post (although I have a lot of works in progress right now). This one is one I’ve been working on for roughly a year now, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to go over what I have ready.


As you probably know if you read my NaNoWriMo introduction and contributions for this year – I’m writing a book of short stories! I aim to have it published and released before the end of next year, alongside some other projects that I will announce soon!

The book is a pet project of mine that has basically started up since I did last November’s short story challenge. Some of the short stories from that has made their way into this book, as did two others from the February challenge. All short story posts that go here are on a first draft basis, which then I take to improve on a while afterwards. I’ve had to do a lot of shifting around, as some of the stories I’ve had I’ve either no longer liked or had trouble writing. One of the stories is almost entirely going to be reworked from the original.

Altogether (as of October 2020) across 12 stories so far I have 12,943 words. Most of the stories are at a second draft level. Right now, though, I’m in a bit of a rut with my storytelling, because I admittedly wasn’t the brightest at school, had difficulty with English Literature as a subject (blame Shakespeare), and I tend to be a bit simplified when it comes to my writing style. So that’s something I’m continuously improving on as I go along, and trying to find the voice to fit the story. It’s much harder than it looks, guys!

I already have a book cover designed, ready to be commissioned when the time comes. This also means that I have a name for the book. But I might leave that announcement for a later time.


This leads me onto why I haven’t taken any full-month challenges in a while, considering I’ve had the time. The main answer is because I upload almost every day anyway, so there’s no need for me to try and fill the gaps. And I would do with short stories, but I’ve wanted to leave ideas for my book, rather than the blog. I did want to do a writing challenge for November, though.

The short stories are going to be a variety of genres, and that’s all I can really say!


You’re going to see a completely different announcement very soon, I just need to fine-tune everything and we’ll be good to go!

One of the Same – NaNoWriMo 2

Hey guys! I’m bringing you the second of four short stories

The prompt is: Nobody knows you have a superpower: The power to identify superpowered individuals. Then one day, someone looks at you and you know that look: They have the same power as you.


Invisibility.

Teleporter.

Fire-breather.

Immortal – huh, that’s rare.

I was busy passing the time at my receptionist job, spending the day figuring out what superpower everyone owned. There were a few rare anomalies that had multiple, and a few more that had none. On the surface, I don’t have a superpower. There’s nothing remarkable about my life or my circumstances, but I do have a superpower.

I have the power to identify those with superpowers.

I mean, it wasn’t the best superpower to come from the pool, but I gathered that it was better than nothing. 

The day consisted mostly of job interviews, as well as the odd appointment. My superpower came in handy while working as a receptionist at the local physiotherapist, as I was able to accurately pinpoint suggestions based on the clients’ superpowers. Of course, nobody knew what my superpower was, although my co-workers kept guessing. They were never quite on the mark, though.

My thoughts were interrupted by the presence of a smartly-dressed, blonde woman entering the room, and approaching my desk, a tad timid.

‘Um excuse me. I have an interview with Andrea at 10.40?’ the woman enquired. I looked down at the timetable and marked Alexa Goldstein as ‘present’. I looked up at her, replied:

‘I’ve got you here, please just take a seat and Andrea will be with you soon.’ She nodded slowly, before making her way to the seating area.

While she was seated, I could feel her eyes burning into me as I went about my regular work schedule. A phone call here, some mail there, along with patients needing help with their maladies. I, unfortunately, didn’t have time to assess this Alexa woman, although part of my job was to assess their actions in the reception office. However, I didn’t really want to, as Alexa stared at me. I took a free opportunity to address her while assessing her power.

‘Would you like a drink while you’re waiting?’ I asked with a smile, which seemed to throw her off.

‘Oh, no thanks. I’m quite alright,’ she replied stiffly before her face turned to that of knowing, almost like she’d been practising it the entire time she was there. And I feel that I did the same.

We shared the same power.

I pretended that nothing was wrong, and I carried on with my job. I busied myself with the paperwork coming in from the doctor referrals, and even more phone calls and interview attendees, all while Alexa stared at me.

Soon enough, Andrea called her in, and Alexa finally took her eyes off me to attend the interview. I was way too tense to continue my game of power-discovery, and instead, it was just like I was ticking off a checklist. Puppetry, animal whisperer, healer, expansion, dance- wait since when was dancing a superpower? 

Only ten minutes had passed before Andrea emerged with Alexa, who, once again, started her staring contest with me as she saw me. 

‘Maria?’ Andrea whispered to me.

‘Yeah?’

‘That Alexa girl that I just interviewed. What was she like in here?’ This was the usual back-and-forth, to weed out those who weren’t as polite to the reception staff before the interview.

‘She stared at me a lot. And I mean the entire time she was here.’

‘I see. I guess that means I can rule her out for definite. Thanks for the help! Now,’ she turned to the main room, where the interviewees were sat, ‘Kevin Crackle?’ Kevin the animal whisperer stood up and followed Andrea to the interview room. Receptionist life continued from there.

If only I’d known that Alexa was still staring from the window.

What Little Value – NaNoWriMo 1

Hey guys! We’re here, with my first entry of this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge!

The prompt is: The year is 2098. Overpopulation has ravaged the UK to the point of decommission. To reduce the population, the government now provides subsidies to families of those who volunteer to die for the greater good. The average life is valued at £3,000,000 with wealthy lives valued at higher rates.

Also, I hate the formatting on the block editor.


‘There must be some kind of mistake,’ I whispered in shock. This wasn’t what I had expected to hear, nor was it what I wanted to hear. Even the paperwork that was in front of me to sign my life away said as much, ‘There must be a typo or a miscalculation. Can’t you do it again?’

‘I’m sorry, Miss Winthrope. The decision has been made via our database, and that has the final say,’ the woman before me spoke, calmly but firmly.

‘But…I’m the daughter of the CEO of Argon. How can my life be worth so little?’

‘I’m afraid that due to Data Protection laws, I cannot disclose that information. But that is the final offer. Take it or get out of my sight.’


I walked home from the Volunteer Centre, angered with that woman and the system. How was I going to explain this to my father? My life should have been at least worth £5,000,000. I had done everything right – I was born into a wealthy family, I did well in school, graduated with Honours, gained a Masters, met a nice man and was all set to marry him until he Volunteered his life. He wasn’t rich by any means, but he was still worth £3,000,000

I pulled out my phone to prepare to call my father. I swiped away all of the notifications that I’d had built up over the morning and called his phone. No response. His office phone went straight to his answering machine. 

I gave up there and then, assuming my father was too busy at the time to answer. I went to lock my phone when a new notification popped up from my news app:

ARGON CEO ARRESTED

I stopped in my tracks and looked to find a space that wasn’t too crowded so that I could open the article.

Earlier this morning, Lucas Winthrope (43), CEO of steel manufacturer Argon, was arrested at his Pembrokeshire home. He was arrested and charged for tax evasion and financial fraud. It is said that his crimes have resulted in the lowered value of his life and that of his only child, Lauren Winthrope, 23. His wife, Alexa Winthrope, Volunteered two months ago for a sum of £4,000,000.

Subscribe for £4.99 to see the full article.

I gripped my phone so hard that it nearly slipped from my hand. That damned article was worth more than my entire life. My lower worth was usually reserved for murderers, sex offenders and child abductors. Not the daughter of someone who committed financial fraud.

I heard muttering around me, and I looked up from my phone to see the usual well-to-do people staring, pointing and muttering to each other. I turned myself around and walked back to the Volunteer Centre. 

‘I know what happened. I demand an explanation. Where’s that old hag I saw earlier?’ I snarled at the receptionist, who didn’t even need to speak, as the woman of the hour chose that moment to walk in the room. She sighed heavily, before greeting me.

‘Miss Winthrope. Have you changed your mind?’ She asked, arms crossed and a frown evident on her mouth and monobrow.

‘Changed my mind? Changed my mind? Why should my life be worthless because of someone else?’

‘Your only family is facing a long jail term. He’ll be old by the time he’s out. You’ll have nobody to give the money to when you Volunteer. That is why your rate is so low.’

‘Then why not tell me that earlier? Why hide it through Data Protection?’

‘Company policy, m’fraid.’ She didn’t even look apologetic.

‘All of my life, I did the right thing, in the right order, and I’m only worth £1. The article that I read the news on was worth more than me. What’s even the point? What else do I have to live for? I’ve been expected to Volunteer since my mother and fiance did it. So…’ I was at a loss for words. I was done with this world, and everything was crumbling around me. I barely noticed the tears falling. I could hear chattering around me, but I didn’t acknowledge who was speaking, or what they were talking about. It took a moment to shake myself from my reverie.

‘What was that?’

‘What is your decision?’ It didn’t take me long to make my mind up. In fact, I was more than ready for what was to come.

‘I’m done. Just get it over with. Let him suffer alone.’