Thursday, 22 January 2009

New Blog Story Complete!

We've done it!!

Our new interactive blog story, 'The box' (cheers Eli!) is finished.
I've run all the pieces together and you can find it, completed, on the blogstories page of my website.

I'm not quite sure what kind of monster we have created (-; but I've had so much fun - I hope that you have too.
Once again, I've been amazed by your generosity and your imagination and your energy. Also by what a strangely living creature a story can be.

So, without further ado, enormous thanks are due to each of the wonderful, talented writers who took part –

matt writer
Patience Mnbongwo
Jamieson Wolf
Eli Regan
and Anonymous (?)

And with extra thanks to
And DJ
For all their additional, kind blogging support.

And to all you lovely readers too, of course - Cheers!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Final Story Post!

By Dansk


But I wasn't worried. I was content with my baby held warmly in my arms.

My sister however, did not feel the same way. She stood across the kitchen from me, her face as pale as her fancy Vionnet dress, glaring accusingly at me. Why didn't she understand? She never understood.

'What are you thinking?' she cried 'Its an abomination, put it back, get rid of it!'

Instinctively I held the baby tighter and backed away from her. 'No, I can't. I won't. Look how helpless he is.' I looked down into his deep blue eyes and felt nothing but love. Motherly love. This what I'd always dreamed of. 'I'm going to take care of him.'

'You're crazy.' my sister spat, her hand reaching out. She grabbed a kitchen knife from the sink raising it up in the air with its tip pointing down, dripping tepid sink water onto the floor.

'It's wrong. You must see that. Put it down Emily. Put it down now!'

Why did she not understand? Always telling me what to do. Bossing me around. No more, I thought. I had my baby and nothing, no one is going to take that away from me. I glanced around and saw the hammer resting on the table, out of reach. Then, my thinking became clearer, and I knew what I had to do. I looked down into the baby's eyes and saw understanding. I gently placed him on the table and turned to face my sister.

'Put the knife down Alice. Please.'

'It's wrong.' she repeated. 'I have to get rid of it'.

Alice lunged forward towards the helpless baby, the knife catching the morning sunlight. I grabbed her wrists forcing the blade up above us, but she managed to get her other hand to the baby's leg, and yanked him off the table. My heart stopped as I saw baby Dippel flailing as he shot across the kitchen bashing into the cupboard door and down onto the floor. I was incensed. That poor baby. I grabbed both of her wrists and started pushing back and kept pushing. Her eyes showed no understanding, no understanding at all. They were wide open with bitterness and hatred. I kept pushing and then the hatred drained from her eyes. Letting go, I watched my sister drop to the floor and with the knife pushed into deep into her own belly. She looked up at me in surprise and tried to speak but no sound came out. What have I done? I dropped to my knees and cried

'Alice. Sister. I'm sorry... ' But it was too late. Her head drooped down, lifeless.

'Why didn't she understand?' I cried.

'You did what you had to. She would have never understood what we have.'

I looked round and saw baby Dippel on the kitchen floor, struggling helplessly to support himself as my sisters blood pooled around him.

'I just wanted us to be a family.'

'We still can. It was good that you only cut her body. We can still save her. We can still be the family that you always dreamed of.'

The horror of my sisters death flowed away, replaced by the warm feeling of understanding.

'Now quickly, go find a saw. We have to remove her head.'

The End

Thank you Dansk - your last line nailed it for me!

Thank you EVERYONE, that was so much fun ( :

And a giant extra round of applause to Patience, here, and C-Ray on MySpace for providing such wonderfully insane alternative endings to this fabulously crazy tale (check them out)

But, I almost forgot! Before I can post the whole merged-together story on to my website, we need a title - any suggestions??

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Story Posts 4 & 5


"I'm sure Uncle Dippel had far stranger dreams than you could ever have" said Alice. "There was that whole episode with the servant boy. And one Christmas, when Aunt Frieda was drunk she told me he'd worked for the Nazis during the war."

"Don't be stupid. Aunt Frieda's always drunk anyway."

Alice shrugged, and forced the claw end of the hammer between two pieces of wood.

"Wait!" I called out, but her mind was made up.

She yanked the hammer hard and went stumbling backwards as a shower of dust and splinters flew into the air. But she had barely even made a mark. Cursing, she tried again but still made little progress. Her face hardened as she wiped the dust from her face with the back of her sleeve.

"Bastard thing" she exclaimed. "You have a go."

My hand was shaking as the hammer was passed to me. I gulped audibly and moved towards the table.

There was a noise coming from the box, a kind of scratching and rustling. I could barely even bring myself to look at it, let alone go at it with a hammer.

But I didn’t have to. All of a sudden, the lid of the box popped up slightly - as though an internal catch had been undone. Then, in a few clattering movements, it was pushed aside and fell down onto the tabletop.

As I tentatively gazed into the darkness, the first thing I saw was a tiny pink hand reaching up towards me.

"No.... It can't be...." I said.

But so it was - there, lying on a glittering bed of styrofoam packing was a plump baby, no more than a few months old and surprisingly healthy-looking considering it's predicament.

"Hello Alice, Emily." Said the baby. "I expect you thought I was dead."

By hedgehog on Blogspot


“Uncle Dippel?”

I had never heard Alice speak so quietly before. Her tone was lighter than the waft of her petticoats. But while she was the one shrinking back now and shaking, her pink shoulders quivering, her head swinging slowly back and forth - I leant closer. I was no longer afraid.

Apart from a rather baggy and sallow-looking nappy, the infant was naked. His flesh was smooth and rosy and gently folded; his little globe-like tummy almost glowed. He kicked his fat, little legs at me as if delighted. I noticed a light sprinkling of sawdust clinging to his perfect, pea-sized toes.

“For God’s sake, don’t touch him!” Alice hissed.

While there was an undeniable familiarity about those delicate features (something about the gumminess of that smile perhaps, or the frosty glint of those blue eyes?) the baby’s face was in no way an old man’s face. And he certainly didn’t smell like an old man, or a dead man, either. He smelt exactly as a baby should, as sweet and fresh as stretching bread dough. Intoxicating. When I reached out to lift him, I made sure to breathe him in.

And he was so warm against me; he fitted perfectly. My very own baby. Sure enough, it was the moment I’d been dreaming of for years.

Of course, Alice didn’t see it that way.
“Are you insane?” she sobbed. “What are you doing? Can’t you see what you’re doing?”

Then she was grasping for the metal rod beside the window - she twisted it so violently that the blind didn’t simply spring fully open, but fell crashing and rattling to the tiled floor. For several seconds, the kitchen was flooded with a light so glacier-bright that I could hardly see what I was cradling in my arms.

Your turn . . . Please end our blog story!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Story Posts 2 & 3


'Emily you're such a scaredy-cat'

She turned to face the table, hammer still held upright, her smile now transformed into a look of determination. Yet she hesitated.

The kitchen light faded for a moment, perhaps just a passing cloud, and in that instant the box seemed to grow, to take on mass and became this foreboding presence in the room. My hands gripped the sideboard behind me.

'Uncle Dippel would be ashamed to see you now'

'Well Uncle Dippel isn't here now' I replied. 'I didn't ask him to leave me anything'

'But he did, and you know how rich he was. Whatever it is it must be something special if he sent it to you.'

I stared at the box. Our address stamped on the side in large Germanic letters. I could barely make out the return address. Then I noticed the small marks underneath. The three small zigzag lines above the letters B and F. I looked up at my sister and shook my head once.

'For God's sake' She said, and stepped up to the table. Placing her palm on the top of the box, she positioned the hammer's claw over one of the nails. And stopped.

'Emily' She breathed. 'It's warm'.

By Dansk on Blogspot


“What do you mean?” I said. “It can’t be.”

Her eyes narrowed, but they seemed somehow even blacker. Shinier.
“Come here then,” she said. “Feel for yourself.”

I didn’t want to go to her; I didn’t even want to be in that kitchen anymore. I wanted to be outside with all the normal, box-less people, worrying about normal, box-less things. Late buses and low bank accounts and stale sandwiches for lunch. Instead, there I was, back at the table. My thin arm trembling as I reached out –

I snatched my hand away, gasping, long before I touched it.

Immediately, instinctively, I began rubbing at my fingers - although in truth, the heat emanating from that battered lid wasn’t fierce in any way. In fact, it was a strangely soft sensation. Like a fistful of feathers. A wafting sigh. I shuddered.

“Alice,” I began carefully. “Do you remember the stories that Mother used to tell about Uncle Dippel? About his laboratory. His hobbies . . .”

My sister rolled her glistening eyes at me. “Oh, you and Mother and your stories,” she said. “He was just a moneyed old man with too much time on his hands. And, like you, too much imagination.”

“But it wasn’t just the experiments, Alice. He was an inventor too. Don’t you remember? Wasn’t he supposed to be building some kind of literal ‘Dream Machine’? Some contraption meant to grant your deepest wishes.”

Alice snorted. She was playing with the hammer again, licking her plump lips. “And that’s supposed to be a problem? You’re crazy. C’mon. Let’s open it!”

I lifted my pale palms to her, trying to explain. “But you don’t understand. You have no idea. There are things that I dream of -”

I froze then, suddenly wordless. Interrupted by a gentle creak.

Your turn . . .

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Blog Story - First Post!

The box sat between us on the kitchen table. It was larger than I’d expected. A splintery wooden thing, speckled with nails, and barred with shadows where the sunshine fell in slices through the blind.

“Well, it’s here,” she said. “Arrived at last!”

She swished from foot to foot on her side of the box and her peach-painted mouth twitched as if with a smile, but I wasn’t convinced. Her eyes remained dark and wet. She was doing too much blinking.

“I can see that,” I replied.

I’d wanted to keep the atmosphere light, casual even, but my voice came out higher and frailer than I’d intended. I sounded like a child. A little boy, with a trembling lip and a crumpling chin and two grazed knees. Barely even pretending to be brave.

I cleared my throat and for a moment, thought that I smelt something beyond the sour mop bucket and old bacon fat, something beyond the synthetic roses of her perfume.

A forest smell, a black leaf smell. Could it truly be coming from within?

I saw that she had taken the hammer out already.

As she raised it slowly in one milk-white hand, I heard her cotton skirts whisper and the creak of her bodice, or of a stiff, pink sleeve. She turned the claw-end carefully to face me.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” she asked.

She held herself still now, waiting. From the world behind the blind came the ordinary morning sounds of birds twittering and car engines’ coughing. There was the panicked scuff and scurry of late-to-work feet. I let the clock tick once, twice, and then again before reflecting back her empty grin.

“You do the honours,” I suggested. And took a small step backwards, towards the door.

Your turn . . .

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Blog Story 2 - "Rules"

Before we begin (on Sunday), here’s a reminder of how to play:

Please continue the story directly from my last blogged instalment.
Although less is absolutely fine, please don’t write any more than 300 words.
Please don’t end the story (not till the final post, anyway).
Please don’t write anything obscene or offensive - although dark and disturbing is usually fine by me. (As is funny. And surreal. And heartbreaking. And action-packed. And quiet. And mostly anything you like really.)
Please feel free to post anonymously, if you should so desire.
Please play. And keep playing.

It could be fun. (-:

This blog story will also be running on MySpace and LiveJournal

Thank you so much folks!

See you tomorrow?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A New Year, A New Blog Story

I thought I’d begin another interactive blog story. Just a little one.
Would you like to play?

To begin 11th January 2009!

In not more than 300 words, written every 3 days, with only 3 posts each – can we create a short story together?

Last Time . . .
In June 2008, to coincide with the launch of my website, I posted the opening to an experimental short story on my then brand new blogs, and asked the blogs’ readers to provide the next 200 words. Every 2 days for 2 weeks, we took 200 word turns at creating a blog story. It was intense, and crazy, and fun. And at the end, we had 'The Cabin'. You can read the complete merged-together piece via the blog page of my website.

This Time -
As mentioned above, things will be slightly different. I thought I’d try something a little shorter and lighter (less commitment? More fun?) but make the time between posts and the maximum word-count for each a little longer . . .

The idea is this:
On Sunday 11th January 2009, I will post the opening to a brand new short story, which I hope that you will continue by providing the next 300 words (or far less if you so desire). After 3 days (January 14th), I’ll read the responses and choose just one to carry on from with my next piece. Then it will be your turn again. And so on.
Once again, I promise to publish the whole, joined together piece on my website

I’m looking forward to playing . . .