Gracious Enemy

[WP] You have undergone experimental surgery to be one of the first soldiers equipped with a first person shooter-like HUD showing your health, weapon equipped, current missions, etc. But, they forget to remove it after you retire from service, and you find it surprisingly helpful in civilian life. from WritingPrompts

“…and some cream cheese,” Sabrina said. She kissed her husband, Blake, on the cheek. “Got all that?” Blake focused on the mission log displayed in the top right-hand corner of his vision.


  • chicken breasts
  • bacon
  • cream of chicken soup
  • chipped beef
  • cream cheese

He nodded at her, brushed her red bangs out of the way then kissed her alabaster forehead.

“Got it, babe.” He glanced around the kitchen. A bright purple outline highlighted his car keys in a closed drawer, and he dug them out. “Love you,” he said on his way out the door.

“Love you too,” he heard her voice as he closed the door. He sat in his car and turned the ignition. Green text appeared in the center of his vision.

“Driving Mode.” A mini-map appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of his vision. It showed his location with a dotted line to the grocery store. Red dots, other cars, flowed along the road. He waited until there no red dots nearby, then backed out of his driveway without checking the mirror. Blake drove to the store without paying much attention to his mirrors, or even the road itself. His HUD gave him more than enough information about the cars around him, and the people in them. In the past, he managed to avoid accidents thanks to his HUD warning him that the drivers weren’t paying attention. He made it to the store without incident, then parked and exited his car. His vision shifted from “Driving Mode” to “Stealth Mode”. All text shifted to dim white, and his vision darkened slightly. The mini-map remained, several yellow dots walked around the parking lot. Vision cones extending from the dots informed Blake which direction they faced.

“Huh?” He said aloud, confused why his vision did not revert to his normal HUD. He glanced around the parking lot and saw a black car highlighted with a purple outline. Text hovered above the car: “Enemy Transport”   “Damnit,” he sighed. Blake hesitated for a few seconds, then shrugged and headed for the entrance. He grabbed a cart on his way in and stepped through the automatic doors. The mini-map changed to display the store’s interior. Dozens of yellow dots traveled through the store, with a single red one in the wine section. Blake moved towards the soup aisle at the opposite end of the store. He needed to pass the wine section to get to the refrigerated section, but he hoped the red dot moved out of the way by then.

Blake strolled through the store, going up and down each aisle to kill time. He found the chipped beef on the way to the soup aisle. The moment he grabbed a soup can his vision brightened up again, and text appeared. “Stealth section complete.”  He searched the mini-map, but the red dot was nowhere in sight. Blake sighed in relief, then picked up his pace. He breezed through the store to pick up the rest of the groceries and headed to the checkout. On the way, he passed the florist and pink text appeared.

“Bonus Mission: ‘Just Because’. 47 days since last completed.” He added a dozen roses to his cart and continued on his way.  After paying he stepped out into the parking lot cautiously. He needed to be sure the enemy left. He felt glad when his vision did not switch to stealth mode.

Most of the drive home was as uneventful, but the moment Blake turned into his neighborhood his vision dimmed again. “Stealth Mode”.  He pumped the brakes to slow down. In the distance, he saw the black car highlighted again, and a red dot stood where his house was on the map.

“Nonononono.” He panicked and reached for his cell phone. His wife answered.

“Groceries are bought, but I’m hungry now. Let’s go out tonight,” Blake said. “Right now.” He hoped to get her out of the house as fast as possible.

“You do remember that you told me about your HUD, right?” His wife said. “We’re going to have a nice dinner here at home, with my brother,” she paused. It sounded like she walked to another part of the house. Then she whispered, “I know it’s a pyramid scheme, but there’s no harm in letting him practice the pitch okay? We’re not going to buy anything, but he brought us some nice wine to go with dinner.”

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