Strangle the Wrangle

Submitted into Contest #200 in response to: Write a story that includes the line “my lips are sealed.”... view prompt


Fantasy Bedtime Fiction

Have you heard of Wrangles, and their wretched ways? You most likely haven't, because their very existence has been kept a hushed secret for thousands of years.

But that ends today. Wrangles are creatures of the mind - they do not exist in our physical realm, you can only meet them in your thoughts.

Wrangles are responsible for millions of petty arguments, countless fits of rage and even a bloody handful of wars.

You see, Wrangles are spindly, seething demons with elbows so sharp that even the wind gasps when it sees them.

Wrangles crawl on all fours with bulbous heads and long limbs, grunting and gasping, their long nails torturously scraping the floor.

Wrangles only exist in your mind's eye, they're invisible otherwise. But, it's their dark power that makes them so dangerous.

Wrangles enter our minds when we feel particularly lost or upset, and they slink around, licking every corner of our mind.

You see, everyone's mind can be described as a glass palace. Inside are thousands of rooms, all filled with pictures, decorations and ornaments that represent our memories.

Some rooms are dusty and forgotten, with even the doorknob having rolled away out of boredom long ago.

Other rooms are dark and dungy, full of memories you'd rather forget, in the forms of rusty chains that once held you captive.

Some mind palace's are equipped with furnaces, where people toss happy memories if they wish to reform who they are.

Most politicians have dedicated an entire floor to their furnaces, burning their childhood memories to help sedate them when pursuing power.

But back to the Wrangle. They slither around, licking the walls, picture frames, ornaments and trinkets, infecting your memories with anger.

Sometimes, it'll find a juicy memory where you felt slighted, and gorge itself, drenching it in saliva and muttering darkly to itself.

Ever been driving and randomly felt a pang of anger for someone who annoyed you many years ago? Yeah, that's a Wrangle at work.

Wrangles seethe and gasp, snort and snicker as they vandalise your mind palace.

The worst part? When they're done they run around chaotically, relieving themselves wherever they see fit, leaving an odorous smell wherever their crusty feet patter.

Sometimes Wrangles become so comfortable, they just live in a person's mind forever. People who spew hate, spit venom or are perpetually angry, most likely have a Wrangle running amok through their mind, gnashing its teeth like a rabies infested dog.

For you and I reader, Wrangles leave when they sense a loved one reaching out to talk.

The mere act of saying 'is everything alright?' makes the positive memories in your mind palace glow, and this light burns the skin off the wrangle, sending it scarpering away.

However, for those who want to take a more direct approach with their Wrangles, there is something else you can do.

What I'm about to tell you is dangerous, requires years of training and isn't to be attempted lightly.

Promise you won't rush into trying this?

Well, that was the most half-hearted promise I've ever seen reader, but I'll tell you anyway.

You need to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes and enter your own mind palace.

Don't worry, you know what it looks like. Don't try too hard, just let your thoughts float you down the river of remembrance, until your mind palace comes into focus.

Walk in, take a stroll into different rooms if you want.

Steady your breathing, you need to remain calm. Don't get too caught up in old memories or nostalgia from yester-year. That's not what we're here for.

Instead, walk slowly into the centre of the mind palace, and sit down.

Now breathe deeply, and wait. Listen to some calming music if it helps.

Sit in the middle of your mind palace, and don't try to think, judge, act or plan.

Eventually, you'll be so still that your presence won't be noticed by Wrangles who break in.

You'll notice angry or resentful thoughts float around you...that's just the scent of Wrangles nearby, spitting on your memories and urinating in the sacred halls of your mind palace.

Don't move. Don't tense a single muscle, for they'll notice you.

Allow the angry memories to float around you, but do not interact with them.

It'll be difficult the first few times. Asking someone to not interact with an angry memory is like putting a slice of soft chocolate cake into your mouth and saying 'now, don't chew.'

Eventually, the Wrangle will come pattering through the hall and approach you.

It'll approach timidly, like a child, but its eyes will betray a devilish glint. It'll think you're just another object in the mind palace, because you're sitting so still.

Let it approach. As it does, you'll recall many things that make you so, so deeply angry.

Don't interact with the memory. Just observe it, like a detached stranger watching a thunderstorm.

The Wrangle will begin to lick your face, giggling gutturally to itself, gasping at the new shiny trinket it can ruin.

Okay reader, now is the time to act.

Be sudden, be swift!

Reach out and grab the Wrangle by its throat.

Strangle the Wrangle!

It'll hiss and gasp and thrash around, but hold tight. Its skin will feel cold and crusty, and its elbows might even cut you, but just persist reader.

Now you have the Wrangle in your grip, look into its eyes. Feel the anger pouring out of its eyes and observe it.

Grip even tighter, and gaze at the Wrangle with a quiet fury. Now it's your turn to be angry, to show the Wrangle you're furious at its actions.

It'll beg in a deep, croaky voice. It'll make all sorts of false promises to get free from your grip.

'I'll never lick your memories again! My lips are sealed!' it'll plead.

The Wrangle by nature is a coward, so eventually it'll begin crying and wailing to the heavens.

Let it go, reader. Don't kill it, for if a Wrangle dies it explodes immediately, drenching everyone in its excrement.

Let it run out the door of your mind palace, and sit with yourself.

You see, reader, anger is a healthy emotion, when understood. But, allowing anger to drive our emotions is like wielding a sword and holding it by the blade side.

Once the Wrangle has gone, accept the anger you feel, but also allow it to dissipate, for most angry thoughts don't need a place in your mind palace.

Some do, some are vitally important, but most can be discarded like last week's pizza.

And that's the truth reader, about the Wrangles and how you can catch them.

So the next time you feel a wave of anger wash over you and you feel terribly irritable, sit down with yourself.

Take a moment, observe your thoughts.

Be still.

And strangle the Wrangle!

May 29, 2023 17:48

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Graham Kinross
07:39 Jun 20, 2023

It’s ridiculous that more people haven’t read your stuff. This is great.


Hamzah Malik
18:02 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you Graham, you've made my day. Hopefully more people will come across my stories soon.


Graham Kinross
23:45 Jun 20, 2023

It’s only a matter of time. Keep it up.


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Tommy Goround
21:39 Aug 01, 2023



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Kelly Sibley
12:53 Jul 29, 2023

You are such a talented writer.


Hamzah Malik
18:02 Jul 29, 2023

Thank you Kelly! :)


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Mitchill Brown
01:11 Jun 22, 2023

thank you,


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Harriett Ford
12:46 Jun 09, 2023

I like the imagery of the paace of the mind and the description of the wrangler, a demonic entity although you don't name it that. The advice in this parable is very good. Somehow I suspect the power to strangle it must come from above, but the choice to do so lies with us.


Hamzah Malik
18:01 Jun 20, 2023

Thank you Harriett, that's really kind feedback. Also a very potent point you've made about the power coming from above, and choice lying within, I love it.


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