Fiction Challenge: Sunshine Hills

The Pine Needle is following two students, Brennan Brink and Jacob Knutson, as they engaged in a Write Off. One issues a challenge to the other in the form of a prompt and that person responds by writing it and issuing his own prompt. Today continues with another of Brennan’s responses to Jacob’s challenges.

It was a brand new chapter of my life, a chapter that most dread and I am no exception to this rule. Much like Jacob Knutson’s stories in my young grandson’s school newspaper this is supposed to be a very boring time, but I’m determined to make the most of it. If someone were to label this chapter one might call it: Retirement Home Life. The old glass doors didn’t look too welcoming, and after my first step into the complex I was immediately startled by an Andre the giant type up front who without speaking gestured for me to follow.

The large man led me through the complex and into a transition room. First I was shown a map of my new home. Next he brought me to horribly chilled showering room, and for once I no longer felt comfortable taking a shower, something I adored so much after long days at work. Finally I was escorted into a small, dark and surprisingly damp room, with only an aged uncomfortable chair and an old box television.

The man finally left my side, but the camera in the corner gave me no reassurance that I wasn’t being watched. The TV clicked on and an instructional VCR began playing. Bold cheap letters read, “SunShine Hills.” The screen crackled and the man appeared, though for the first time I now heard him speak.

“Welcome to SunShine Hills, you are guaranteed to love it here, like our many lovely patients.” His voice didn’t fit his large build; it sounded unnaturally cheery and forced.

The camera panned across what must have been the recreational room, and I saw many shells of humans, aimlessly wandering, and pursuing pointless activities. One particular man, who first caught my eye for resembling my late husband, sat playing what could only have been bridge, yet no opponents sat next to him. Next he led me through the bedrooms, which consisted of men lying in bed, staring intently at the wall. Then the slop-filled cafeterias, which made me dread my coming months.

But then the screen showed a pill facility. Inside a young woman was preparing pills. The huge man once again was standing next to her holding a red capsule and he still had a large fake smile plastered above his chin.

“You must remember to always take your pill. Staff members will be by your side to help you with anything you need.” He paused for a strange amount of time before continuing. “Now if you ever don’t take your pill, you will go through excruciating pain, and you may die, so it is crucial that you always take your pill.”

I was escorted out of the room and brought to the complex, but I vowed never to take those pills.


It has been two months. They have given me five minutes to write whatever I please. I have yet to take my red pills, and I have no intention of doing so. Everyone around me seems mechanical and dazed; I miss the outside world. My five minutes is almost up. I must sign off.


It has been two months. I still haven’t taken my pills, but my officer seems suspicious. I am starting to feel confined and I long for the outside air. The food seems worse and worse every day and I must get out. I hate it here. My five minutes is almost up. I must sign off.


It has been two months. I mentioned my wanting to go outside and was thrown into a solitary room for a week, and something even worse happened today. I was caught not taking my pill and was forced to actually take it. My officer said he would administer the pill to me every day. I’m scared to see the result. My five minutes is almost up. I must sign off.


It has been two months. I love it here.


It has been two months. I love it here.


It has been two months. I love it…..

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