Self Help Series (Part 1)

Part of the 10 Essential Concepts That You Might Find Helpful Once You Become an Adult! series.

(Written by a non-adult)


Part 1: How to Leave a Cult

All of you will probably experience a fun night where things get a little too out of control. Some of you might do things you regret the night after. Or immediately after.

Some of you might have accidentally joined a cult.

But we understand. Some people just get crazy and want to do something wild. Some people join cults as a coping mechanism.

Never fear! Just remember these simple steps to get you out of there!


Step 1: Get yourself under control. Nothing will go right if you aren’t thinking clearly. Try to get ahold of yourself as much as possible. How much do you remember until this point? If you remember almost everything, this will be easier. If not, you can still escape, but with a bit more difficulty. Follow the following steps for best results.

Step 2: Assess your surroundings. Is this cult a violent one? Is it the famous Illuminati organization? Is it just the Scientology church that’s across your street? Maybe it’s just a book club that’s reading the necronomicon as a change of pace. In any case, it is in your best interest to find out if you are in any immediate danger. If not, it is probably easiest to simply sneak out the back door.

Step 3: Find out if you have been officially initiated yet. Or find out if there is a grace period in which a new member may leave the cult without consequence. It is not preferred that you ask members about this if the cult is a violent one.

Step 4: Try to find anybody you recognize. Depending on the size of the cult or the clothing the cult members wear, this step may take some time. Whether it’s your closest friend that you thought you were with the night before, or your weird uncle that you only see at Thanksgiving dinners, try to look for a familiar face.

Step 5: If you are unable to find a person you recognize, try to find the person in the highest leadership position.

Step 6: Tell the person, whether it be a person you know or the highest in command, that this relationship with the cult will not work out, and that you want to see other possibilities. Inform them that it is not the cult, but you who is the problem. They should somehow let you out, either by introducing you the exit, or violently throwing you out of the meeting place. You might even finding yourself lying face down on your lawn at 3 A.M. with little to memory of what happened. Any option means that you have probably safely left the cult.

Step 6, part 2: If the reaction is not that favorable, run. And hope for the best.


(If anyone could tell me if you thought this was even remotely funny, I’d appreciate it. A lot. I wrote this with the idea of making it into a High School Band Camp skit. All of our previous skits have gotten terrible reactions, and since this is my last year at band camp, I want to make a relatively good, enjoyable skit that won’t end in me humiliating myself for the sake of one laugh from the audience. No idea if this is appropriate or if my section will like this at all.)

There is a narrator standing off to the side, preferably someone who can keep a straight face the entire time. ____(Main character) stands among a crowd of people, wearing strange identical costumes. Masks are a good prop, although for skit purposes, this may not be a very good idea.

Narrator: Here you see _____, who was peer pressured by their friends to join this cult. They do not want to be here.

____: Why did I think this was a good idea? I want out!

Narrator: First, they must stay calm. Get in control of themselves.

____: Okay, okay. Stay calm. You can get out of this.

Narrator: Next, they should determine if they really are in danger. They must assess their surroundings.

____: Well, maybe they aren’t that bad! Maybe they really aren’t a violent, evil cult. I’ll stay a bit longer, to check out what’s going to happen.

Narrator: Looks like ____’s doing a good job following the steps. Their next step should be finding someone they know.

____: My friends should be here. But we’re all wearing masks…

____: (Calling out to a random member) Umm, excuse me!

Member: Yes?

____: I-I’m new here. What do we normally do at these… meetings?

Member: How did you get introduced?

____: Oh, my friend should be here! I think… ____? Have you heard of them?

Other members start to surround ____. They get more and more anxious.

Narrator: Always remember step one, because your confidence is highly important here. At this point, it is best to ask for the person in charge.

____: Um… may I ask who is your leader?

Members become visibly offended/aggravated

Members: (Talking over each other) Leader? We are our own leaders! What blasphemy!

Other members come closer and closer to poor  ____

Narrator: At this point, the member should have been introduced to the leader, allowing them to tell them their situation.

____: Wait! hold on-

Narrator dialogue and the character’s dialogue should overlap at this point.

Narrator: ____ should now be on their way to being free. After they ask the leader if they can leave, the leader should somehow let ____ out.

Members close in and encase ____. They should no longer be seen by the audience. A hand/arm/limb may stick up out of the crowd.

____: Wait! No! Narrator guy! Help me!

Narrator: And there you have it! In a few simple steps, you should be out and about as a free man!

____: No! Help me! Help m-

____’s words are muffled as the cult members drag them offstage. The narrator smiles and bows politely.

Narrator: Thank you! I hope you enjoyed this program, and I sincerely hope that next time you experience this conundrum, you will remember this program and think of these steps. Join us next time for “_________”.

____: Off stage or poking their head out from the side. Loudly. Help me! Dragged off again.

Narrator: I’m _____. Thank you, and goodnight.


The cold bit into them like scythes. The two grit their teeth to stop them from chattering, lest they be heard. Holding on to each other, eyes closed and heads down, the darkness and paranoia added to the already overwhelming fear. They prayed that their friends were safe. There’s no way they are dead. They’ve escaped. The police are coming here to save them right now.
They held onto that slim sliver of hope. But it was too slim. It disappeared too quickly, taken over by an even greater sense of desertion, of desperation.
They heard footsteps. They were heavy, the owner seeming to pound them on the ground to create an even greater effect. But perhaps that was their wild imaginations, putting together false sounds and amplifying them. It rattled throughout their heads, the suspense unbearable.
It grew louder.
They breathed.
They shook.
They held on to each other, keeping the other from making any noise.
The footsteps stopped.
The pair trapped in the closet could not see anything. They had chosen it with the hopes that without any holes or slits to allow them to see out, it would prevent the killer from looking in and keep them quieter. But that was a mistake. It only kept them in a cage of even greater fear, an overwhelming cloud of paranoia that the killer was looking straight at the door…
They heard a large slam, and they stifled each other’s gasps, tears building in each other’s eyes. It sounded as though the killer shut the door. Any sense of hope they had now was gone.
They heard more steps, and a dull thud. It sounded like an axe cutting into wood.
The footsteps grew louder, and the two could swear the walls were shaking. Perhaps they were caving in.
Silence returned. The pair breathed, one keeping the other from sobbing too loudly. They closed their eyes, and heard the creaking of a door opening.

Forbidden Fruit

Its roots dipped in poison, a forbidden fruit grows untouched
In the middle of the empty field, the tree stands alone
And the birds guarded the tree with a fierce intensity
One woman took the fruit, deciding to ignore the unknown
Oh, how she tested the Fates, diving into the unknown
And the tree uttered a groan

As the glutton she was, she simply could not wait longer
She ate the fruit, and came to regret the decision she made
She fell on the spot, her eyes open in shock and dismay
A farmer passing through found her corpse, laying in the shade
And the birds simply stayed, while the branches provided shade
And the tree shuttered and moaned

The instinctual temptation had won, the dark deed was done
Forbidden Fruit rested among branches, as the whispering wind sung
Many quested to find this tree of death, only to utter their final breath
The luscious, titillating display called to many as the fruit hung
The woman had allowed temptation to control her tongue
As the tree murmured and moaned

She was not the first to doubt the warnings of the people
Many others fell into the trap before her as well
The tree, still survives off of those who ate its poisoned fruit
The toxic ghosts continue to eat, and the spirits dwell
Their souls never receiving hell could only simply dwell
All the while the tree groaned

I wrote this for an assignment in 10th grade for our poetry section. My partner wrote the third line, which is why it’s better than the other lines. I’m pretty sure the format for this poem was based off of some famous poet’s poem, I just don’t remember which one.


They laughed, their cheeks tinged pink from the alcohol. Glancing at each other, their laughter subsided into quiet giggling, and then to silence.
Evan looked at Mei with an intense gaze. She blinked, her head swimming from the feeling of happiness and carelessness. She returned the look with sparkling eyes, not comprehending what his gaze meant.
Slowly, he leaned in, his lips getting closer and closer to her own. In a moment of sobriety, she understood.
With alcohol behind the bravery, they kissed.

Eric brushed a few strands of hair off of Lana’s face, the quiet morning filling them with ease. He smiled, her serene expression in the sunlight a source of joy for him.
The sheets rustled, and Lana’s eyes opened slowly as the image of Eric smiling at her cleared. She smiled back.
“Good morning,” she muttered, her voice tired.
“Good morning,” he responded, his voice gentle and soothing.
Together in the morning sun, they layed in bed, relaxed and happy.

Rustled bedsheets and scattered clothing. The heavy rhythm of the bed moving back and forth matched the intense gasps of the two, drowning in pleasure together. The fluttering mutters of “I love you” were exchanged occasionally between kisses and moans.
The movement stopped, the sudden stillness filled with exhausted breathing from both of them. The slim slivers of neon light that found its way in between the blinds cast beautiful shadows over Fletcher and his lover.
They fell into a deep sleep in each other’s arms.

The stars shimmered, the loud conversations from the party flowing out into silence. She leaned on the railing, the scene leaving her breathless.
Footsteps fell behind her, but she refused to give up her view of the night. She continued her scan of the sky. After a few moments, she saw another put their arms on the railing and join her, quietly.
“You look lovely.”
She sighed, turning her head, seeing the man who matched the beauty of the sky beside her.

I was going to do a 30 day writing challenge, but I have too much to do for that. So I decided to do a seven/eight line “love story” thing.
Yeah. It’s mediocre.
And yeah.
There’s probably more.


I apologize in advance. These are both my own characters I intend to develop and actually write about… eventually. You won’t understand who these people are since, you know, they’ve never been shown before, and why exactly they are emotional. But if you could give criticism about how I described the scenes and such, I would would really appreciate it. The little girl has the ability to tell accurate fortunes, and she also gets general information about the people she talks to (kinda like mind control, but not quite…), the amount varying depending on how protective/untrusting the person is. That’s why she knows who the lost loved one is.
Despite its many flaws, try to enjoy this short story anyway.

The rain fell in heavy sheets. Lights from neon signs lit the alley with a flickering red glow. The figure in the cloak breathed, their voice shaking and body soaked.
They sat leaning against the brick wall, the sound of rain hitting the posters a strange comfort. Even in this weather, the figure refused to make any move to get out of the rain, completely still.
This was the usual, after all.
Sighing, they glanced to the left, staring at the little girl standing there with a deck of cards.
They stared at each other, the sound of rain strong.
Well, this was out of the ordinary.
“You’ve lost someone very important.” The girl spoke in a flat tone.
The figure in the cloak turned forward again, expressionless even under the mask. The girl remained silent for a bit.
She spoke again.
“I can tell fortunes.”
The masked figure noticed her voice was a bit less monotone and now a bit more of something else that the figure could not put their finger on.
“Would you like to be my first customer?”
The figure didn’t move, and the girl remained standing there, looking down on him. Her gaze was strong, yet flitted in and out of being sharply focused and strangely distant. With the blinking lights, he had a hard time distinguishing anything specific from her features besides her ice blue eyes, which seemed almost aglow.
The figure stood up, slowly taking off the mask. The girl looked up at the stranger.
“What’s the price?” the figure asked, their voice quiet.
The girl paused for a moment, her eyes drifting off for a moment before refocusing.
“Your true name.”
The figure pondered for a moment, trying to decide which of their names was their “true” name. They looked at the little girl, who stared at them with expectant eyes.
They sighed.
The little girl smiled.

He sat across from her, the wooden table bare save for the unopened pack of cards.
The rain continued, hitting the stone ground in loud splatters. Safe in her little shelter, the two people sat silent, watching the simple scene outside the curtains.
They simply remained like that, content. At least for a little while.
“Are you ready to hear your fortune?”
Will turned to the little girl, who was staring intently at him. Questions tried to burst their way past his tongue, but he kept silent, nodding his head. She nodded hers, and she lifted the pack of cards and opened them with amazing fluency, even if she was missing her left arm.
She spread the cards all over the table, some even falling off onto the floor.
“What’s your birthday?” she asked, returning her hand to her lap.
Will hesitated. “I don’t remember.”
She inspected his face, as though she was trying to decide if that was a lie or not. Slowly, she brought her hand up and picked a card, taking it off the table without looking at it.
“What’s the name you go by now?”
Again, he hesitated. “Noir.”
“You go by that name because of the one you lost?”
She picked another card, this time one that fell off the table.
“I see you as a heavily emotional person with a strong loyalty to those whom you love. One who is heavily burdened and is in need of closure. Am I correct?”
He nodded.
She picked four seemingly random cards and added them to her pile.
“Now.” She locked her eyes on his. “Do you trust me?”
The rain was falling harder now than before, and the loud splashes from outside seemed deafening. The two remained still, the girl’s hand hovering over the pile of cards.
Noir sighed. “I suppose so.”
The girl snatched two cards, one from the table and one from the ground, and put them beside her in the pile. He watched her pick up the remaining cards and return them to the deck, her face expressionless.
Before returning the cards to the package, she looked up one more time.
“Do you believe in fortunes?”
He answered firmly. “No.”
She picked the card from the bottom before putting the remaining cards back. She grabbed the pile of chosen cards and spread them upon the table, face up.
Noir’s eyes widened.
They were certainly tarot cards, no doubt, but each of the cards had people he had known drawn upon them.
His eyes skimmed the faces of past friends and family and suddenly stopped on a particular card. He couldn’t take his eyes off it.
“Is there a reason you are drawn to Death?”
He glanced up, having forgotten his surroundings. She looked at him with honest eyes.
He took a shuddering breath. “She’s… she’s the one I lost.”
They were still. Noir looked up to see the little girl smiling, tears running down her cheeks.
“Blanche still loves you.”
He stiffened.
“Death here signifies change. Both in your past and even now in the present, she is causing change in you. She seemed like a beautiful soul. S-she…” the girl trailed off.
“Didn’t deserve what happened,” Noir finished, his shoulders shaking.
He closed his eyes, buried memories of Blanche causing tears to fall. Suddenly, he felt a small arm wrap around him.
He looked down at the little girl, who was embracing him with tears in her eyes, too.
And in the shelter, safe from the rain, the two cried together, forgetting everything else.

Blub Blub

“This is a new specimen we have found.”
The man repeated the sentence again his head, skeptical of the claim. Careful not to trip, he followed the group through the the dark corridor. And somewhat unnerved at the lack of light, he looked up at the ceiling, curious as to why they would need so many intertwining tubes. The metal catwalk clattered with the unusually large sea of heavy boots. Collectively, the group came to a halt. The guide, silent, nodded to a woman wearing the same uniform. She carefully opened a door and the man, being the last in the group, was able to hear the loud slam of the metal door, not just the reverberation throughout the freakish room.
The new room was indeed brighter, but quite dark compared to an average room. Surrounding the narrow walkway were large tanks, filled to the brim with glowing blue water. The atmosphere was almost relaxing, the gentle waves casting the room in an abstract lightshow. The tanks were empty of course, but the rolling waves sloshed nonetheless, and the man firmly decided that he liked this room much more than the others.
“Now.” The guide’s voice shattered the calm. “The next room contains the new specimen. Do not startle it, do not touch the glass, and please do not be surprised if it is attempting to hide.”
The man heard a jangle of keys and after hearing the click, followed the group into the next room.
The wavering lines of light and the sound of bubbles were similar to the previous room. Unlike the previous room, however, the ceiling was high, and it only had one large tank. Empty. Anxious murmurs fluttered throughout the crowd and the guide placed a finger on his lips, the crowd becoming silent immediately.
Many moments of silence swam by, but there was still no sign of the specimen. Patience was wearing thin. Glancing around at the irritated crowd, the man’s eyes wandered to the guide who was standing above them on a platform. He was staring into the tank, eyes focused and expression calm. It was the expression of parent waiting for their child. Doubt slowly melting away, the man decided to again watch the tank, understanding that patience is needed.
Seconds flew by, and the man heard many of the people threaten to leave, their desires unfulfilled. He resisted the urge to inform them that they could indeed leave any time and continued to watch the glowing tank, waiting for a shadow to appear in the light.
A few people turned to leave, disappointed and angry, and soon, most of the group had gone, leaving the man and only two others to stay. However, even with only a small portion of the people left, the guide had still not uttered a word of dismissal. In fact, he had kind eyes now, his mouth on the verge of a smile.
A few minutes passed, and the two others, muttering swears, left. The metal door slammed shut, the man glancing back at the empty room. He raised a brow, wondering if he too, had made a mistake in staying this long. When he was about to ask the guide if he should leave, he heard the metallic clangs of boots and turned to see the guide walking toward him. Just when the man opened his mouth to speak, guide placed a finger to his lips, glancing over at the tank. Unsure what this whole ordeal meant, he slowly turned to the tank, the sight before him taking his breath away.
“She only comes out when she sees people worthy of her time,” the guide murmured, smiling knowingly.
The man looked at the guide, mouth open in shock, and turned back to the creature.
It was a mermaid. An actual, real mermaid.
“And… you say you found her?” he breathed, unable to regain his composure.
The guide chuckled. “We can get into the details later. But it you’re implying she was genetically engineered or that she was anything but found, you’d be wrong.”
The man stared at the mermaid, the guide’s words muffled or lost.
She was staring back at him, her eyes wide in what seemed like surprise. Her raven hair floated in flowers at the sides of her head and a streak of dark red hair colored most of her bangs, matching her shimmering tail. Gliding smoothly toward the glass, she pressed her hand against the surface, her new position casting her in a backlight. The man, naturally drawn to her, also placed his hand on the glass, their hands only blocked now by a clear barrier.
Her eyes.
Her beautiful eyes were blazing red, tinted with a royal purple in places and pastel orange in others. Her eyes glowed regardless of the shadow covering her face. The two moved closer, entranced with each other, even with the multiple obstacles between them. Lost in their own world, the man didn’t even notice the guide writing down observations.