Urban Nightmare- WEP June

June Challenge

Hello! Could there be another time to discuss ‘Urban Nightmare’ ? That’s the theme for this month’s WEP Challenge. And aren’t we living it every moment?

I’ve attempted a flash, and while the premise remains the same (I can’t seem to break away from my preferred style of writing) but I’ve attempted not to talk of human relations that almost always form the basis of my stories. Hope you enjoy this one! I tried hard to incorporate the clues at WEP but somehow I have a long way to go as far as this genre is concerned.


Disclaimer: All characters and situations in the story are a work of fiction. They may not be associated with any person living or otherwise.

I slid into my black oxfords and turned around for that penultimate look into the mirror. A tailored-fit navy suit with accessories to match. I was dressed right to meet the Premier. Some of the best brands had just ventured into face masks and I was famous for my pro bono services in promoting them.

“Indian Suvin- the finest cotton fibre. We don’t compromise on quality,” that’s what they’d said.

Pandemics, quakes, protests, forest fires and what not- you need business through them all. I strapped the face mask and glanced at the virus World-O-Meter flashing on the TV screen. The third-world was catching up fast!

The Maybach was the best bet to drive me to the Premier’s House. For these down and hard times, he was a man under tremendous pressure.

I had wondered what a game developing company could do for the most powerful man in the whole world. Why did he ask to see me?

“He views you as someone with tremendous vision.”

Bernard, the right-hand man had been assuring. “You know with all those games about zombies and apocalypse…ha…his grandson is such a fan of…of all of them! What have you named them…umm..”

“ ‘Uraban Nightmare’. I could send somebody to assist with those.” It was still hard for me to apprehend why the Premier desired to meet me!

“No,no,no… you see, Gossamer is a futuristic gaming company and we are hoping to use your services in this time of world crisis.”

“I’d be happy to assist.” I couldn’t think of anything better to say.

“That’s wonderful! So we will tie up things from our end and you will hear from us soon.”


And we had hung up. I had no clue of what was going on. We generated money through entertainment… okay, good money if I may say so! I was rather flustered that morning. We had made our contributions. What was it then?

I had stood at the bay window of the seventeenth floor of my plush Gossamer office, while talking to Bernard. All the while my eyes had been fixed on the huge sea of construction that embellished Flora City. Embellished- that wouldn’t be the right word, no? The gigantic structures looked fine. I could spot a cement mixer outside a half-finished one. And some tiny, inconsequential workers going about their jobs of raising it. Sweating it out in the heat.

The first Urban Nightmare had been a game about concrete eating up the world. That was in 2000. We had just started out. And they gave us names- futuristic. Really? If you ask me, gaming is a reflection of what’s already there. Anybody with vision would be able to make that out. I had just turned it into a venture.

Anyway, the best part of Gossamer was the skill trees. The focus was always on providing the player every chance of feeling like a winner…uh…like a fixer, a messiah. We didn’t mind giving easy access to skills. Maybe that’s what made us popular in the business. A win over an enemy arouses excitement and that’s what we provided, right?

Bernard’s mail was quick to arrive in my mailbox and here I was…

The car came to a sudden halt shaking me out of my reverie.

“Are we there yet?”

“No sir. It’s a crowd. The protests are still on.”

“Ah! The protests.”

The world was turning into just another version of itself. Like a coin. Until you flip it, you never know there’s another side. The pandemic had turned the earth pallid, but not before the other half of the world had risen to repudiate years of bigotry and prejudice.

We had even attempted one on this. It was a bad idea. Turning protestors into lurkers. The world didn’t take kindly to it.

We had often anticipated these antagonistic situations at Gossamer, transforming jungle fires into meteors that needed to be chased and viruses into zombies, which was our recent gamble. It paid off well, huh!

The wheels rolled once again. I peeped out of the window. Huge masses of men and women thronged the roads. Their face masks weren’t made of Indian Suvin. They seemed not to care. They stood rather close to each other. Did they fear the pandemic? I’d watched a documentary last night on lives in some slums in the third world. I had been wondering about a game around those. What kind of skill trees could we build? Was it even possible? Well, Gossamer excelled in finding possibilities for all kinds of Urban Nightmare.

The world was hurting. And here I was, running my mind over video games. But then, to miss opportunities is no business ethic.

The Mac lay open in front of me. Those slides resting in their ideal folder. I went through them one last time.

The Pandemic; Statistics; Skill Trees. All in place. The simulation of a catastrophe and an offprint of a solution.

The Premier was waiting. I was already planning the next project. Sometimes zombies aren’t just mutant viruses. They could well be kingpins, the real Urban Nightmare!

Word Count: 842

Comments: FCA


If history interests you, you may like to check out my eBook, available on the following link for FREE download, all of June.


Unlocked - Historical Tales in Verse by Sonia Dogra

63 thoughts on “Urban Nightmare- WEP June”

  1. Liked the take on the topic. It was fun to read that the pieces of entertainment are inspired from world events. The drama around the meeting was attractive.

  2. Sonia, this is a great take on the prompt. I see where you’ve explained the parody of this in that the Premier is foolishly looking to a video game to help solve the crises of pandemic and protest. The game developer, in realizing the ridiculousness of this, plans to make his new game poke fun at the situation. From the beginning, my take was that the Premier wanted the game developer to create something nefarious that would help him manipulate the masses to forget/overlook their reality even as they try to escape it. Perhaps the game developer gets played!

  3. Hi Sonia – well … I learnt a lot from your post … as I’ve never ‘gamed’ and not having been exposed to gamers in any way … I learnt! And also from the commenters and your replies to them. Congratulations – really really informative … congratulations on your ‘take on the prompt’ … all the best with your developments – Hilary

  4. I enjoyed the gaming thread throughout, and this different take on things. Games are good therapy in many ways. It would be legitimate to be working on a game during everything happening right now.

  5. A profoundly modern example of writing that reveals how, even in the most turbulent of times, you can find inspiration everywhere. Along with capturing how nightmares appear differently, depending on an individual’s perspective. Well done, Sonia.

  6. “The pandemic had turned the earth pallid, but not before the other half of the world had risen to repudiate years of bigotry and prejudice.” I love that line!
    I bet someone will turn this pandemic into a survival type videogame eventually. Get your character a mask and regular testing! Have Covid? Negative life points forever for your character! Yeah… that’d be an interesting game.

      1. There is one already, although The Division 2 was released a few years ago and in the game terrorists released the virus in Washington DC. However, the echoes of our crisis were unsettling as I played – mass death, protective measures, street gangs, refugee camps, garbage on the streets, abandoned vehicles etc. I also have a game set against the Black Death – too horrific to play now. So, yes there must be games in development already as survival games are popular.

    1. Thank you Liz… The story became slightly obscure I guess. I will work on a second draft soon. So basically how do you think a game developer could help in a catastrophic situation. Only with business maybe. But the Premier who believes that the man has vision as he has already simulated quite a few urban nightmares in his games. So he believes that the developer should have an answer to all crisis in real life too. It’s a foolish thought, of course. The developer is smart. And so even as he goes to give a possible solution to the Premier, he is thinking of his next game where he intends to show how leaders or kingpins are the actual nightmares for their foolishness in handling the affairs of the world.

        1. Liz I’m looKiNg at reworking on most stories and sending them out to magazines. So not sure really. I would rather be gradually removing them from here. I’ve started looking at this place as one for some beta reading.

          1. That makes sense as a publication strategy. I’d suggest that you check submission guidelines for a representative sample of magazines you’d like to submit to in order to get a sense of how strict they are in considering work posted on personal blogs previously published.

          2. You’re welcome, Sonia! I have every confidence you will succeed in reaching your writing goals, based on what you’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time.

  7. This is great! I can see how video games are a catharsis for people in a time of crisis. It’s easier to fix fictional problems than it is to try to tackle the problems of the world. Video games can indeed be a reflection of the world as it is. Well done!

    1. Yes. The point is but they may have a solution working for them and life is a tad bit harder and too many fools to deal with. Thanks so much !

  8. This theme was a real challenge at this disturbing time, but you managed to create an entertaining take on Urban Nightmare.

    As a gamer, I was hooked when your MC revealed his credentials – or apocalyptic vision might be best. Gossamer is even the name of a game in my apocalyptic saga – well, Gossamer Steel: https://rolandclarke.com/gossamer-flames/. You clearly know what makes us gamers tick – winning…LOL. Great ending – and yes, I wonder about game devs and how they react to catastrophe. Zombies are everywhere. I was even playing two games before the crisis, which featured too real pandemics for me to finish them. Others, though, escaped into them.

    Apologies, if I disagree with others here. I’m reluctant to blame gaming for society’s ills as it’s the non-gamers surrounding me who want to use their guns etc. Gaming can be catharti

  9. Nilanjana Bose

    Gaming reflects what’s already there – spot on. Disaster capitalism is another nightmare within a nightmare, isn’t it. Great take on the prompt!

  10. Ha, ha Sonia; yes definitely a nightmare, some of these digital games. Well done for your flash, good dialogues and deeper underlying reflections. Happy WEP month.

  11. Ahhh – loved this story. The point of view of the oppressor. The analogies with gaming were clever. Very imaginative story and you’ve done a great job.

  12. I love the ‘gaming’ theme weaving throughout. If ‘Life is just like a game,’ according to Einstein, you’ve hit the nail on the head. And toward the end when you said: ‘The world was hurting. And here I was, running my mind over video games. But then, to miss opportunities is no business ethic.’ Right on. So many have latched onto new opportunities. Not altogether a bad thing. The world needs face masks and all the PPE gear. Great entry for UN…

  13. It seemed to me that the narrator had sharp observational skills and was able to capitalize on them. How distressing it would be for such a person to realize that most people go through life with their eyes closed. Nicely written!
    ~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~

  14. Very intriguing story Sonia- gave me a lot to ponder! I liked the analogy of gaming and the current world crises. It felt as if gaming and one’s creative imagination have brought humanity to the state it is currently in.

    1. Thank you Noor. The premise is an underlying theme of politics and business that can’t stop even during a crisis. The game developer must continue with his business and the Premier take up foolish options such as asking a game developer to help with a crisis the way he does in his games. A parody and an analogy. I understand I need to work on a second draft. Thanks for reading.

  15. Your final sentences say it all. “Sometimes zombies aren’t just mutant viruses. They could well be kingpins, the real Urban Nightmare!” What an intriguing game that would be! Something tells me that’s where the blame rests, but how do the masses reach them when the road to salvation is cluttered with lies, treachery, and death. Well done!

  16. I love the way the “game” theme fuels this story.
    Life is a game but not all players are equal.
    This is a very clever and insightful story.
    Great entry.

  17. Love the line about gaming being a reflection of what/where society is. So true. Hopefully those skill trees help some climb out of their circumstances!

  18. Hi,
    Interesting would be to see the world turned into a zombie world where the chaos of humans infects their world.
    A very engaging take on the prompt.
    Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  19. Intriguing.
    Einstein said ““Life is just like a game,
    First you have to learn rules of the game,
    And then play it better then any one else.”
    And who can play it better than a game creator…

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