Prompt 102-Stress Relief

Periodically we have tension build up in our lives that requires a release of some kind. Some people cry; others punch; some find a creative outlet. What is your release?

Sweat rolled down Mika’s neck and trickled down her back. She wiped her forehead with her wrist and reset her feet. “Again,” Hiei ordered. She sprinted at her father without hesitation, throwing punches left and right, flipping and kicking wherever he left himself exposed.

Hiei was too good to leave openings, though. Any perceived holes were intentional to draw Mika in. She fell for one particularly blatant opening and was punished immediately. She ducked low to sweep his feet out from under him, but instead he grabbed her by the ankle and threw her to the other side of the clearing. The ache in her back didn’t sting as much as her pride.

If this were a true sparring session, he would have followed her to the ground and followed through with an offensive attack. Instead he remained at the center of the clearing, arms folded casually, a smirk on his face. They’d been at it for an hour and she still hadn’t landed a solid hit on him.

Mika sighed and got to her feet once more. He had happily offered to be her punching bag. He never said he wouldn’t punch back. She should have known better than to trust that smile; he never smiled unless a fight was involved. She didn’t know what she expected.

For all his faults as a father, he could always tell when she was stressed and needed a release. Maybe that was why they were out here having a lesson in humility instead of fighting for real. She didn’t fight well when her mind was elsewhere. She was succumbing to feints he had drilled into her when she was a child.

She allowed herself a smile. She was still a child, after all. She rolled her shoulders and sighed as she realized the tightness was gone from them. Her whole body ached from repeated contact with the ground, but she was no longer stressed about school. She took her stance again and faced her father with a grin. This time. This time she would hit him.

Notes: A short little scene to start your day. This is a much younger Mika, before the teenage rage takes root. I wondered how she would deal with stress and it occurred to me that she is the type to punch it out. Luckily, her father thrives on communicating through fighting, so it also turns into a bit of a bonding session, even if they don’t really talk much.

I had designs to write this from Hiei’s POV to compare and contrast the ways Mika differs from Ali in relieving stress, but once I got going it didn’t feel right. Ali had to meditate to control her latent powers. The release of tension that accompanied it was just an added bonus. She also had a tendency to run when she didn’t want or need to meditate.

I do my best to avoid stressful situations but it does have a tendency to build up over time. When things become Too Much™ I will shut off all social media, make a cup of tea, put on some peaceful music (Pandora Calm Meditation or Ambient music stations, hello), and sit in the dark to listen to my music and sip my tea. It doesn’t get to that extreme very often and usually I’ll channel my frustrations into my writing or I’ll pop Skyrim in and go clear a dungeon of Draugur to make myself feel better.

Your turn. How do you relieve stress? Do your characters take after you? Do they have different methods? Don’t forget to jot these things down! You never know when they’ll come in handy. Have a beautiful day! I’ll be back same time tomorrow with another short tale!

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