Welcome to Hot Potato!
8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story
Here’s the sixth fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer GWENDOLYN SALZMAN who is taking Laura’s ‘middle’ and continuing the story however she likes….
Here’s Gwendolyn’s contribution:
The robo-girl stayed on top of him, so close, his ribs bent under her weight. Chloe shook his shoulder again. The robo-girl was the only one who reacted. She turned her head, slowly, the movement a clean pivot on a metallic spine. She blinked at Chloe.
“Get off him!” Chloe shouted, and shoved the robo-girl, hard.
The robo-girl moved a second later than the push, following the force of will rather than the force of movement.
Her father’s face was red and black, and bleeding. Burned from jaw to hair, and swelling while Chloe watched. She shook him again. She wasn’t sure that skin and blood could do that after you were dead, but he didn’t move. He didn’t yell at her to stop her whining, or to stop her shaking, or to stop her stupid little repetitions of his name.
“Dad?” she tried one more time.
“What happened?” the robo-girl asked.
Chloe didn’t answer.
“I killed him?” the robo-girl said. Chloe had never heard a sentence so even. Maybe because it should have been broken. Maybe because it was set in contrast to her own voice.
“No,” Chloe pleaded.
The robo-girl was turning her head again, another clean rotation as she leaned toward her father. She touched him with one finger, drawing a long line down the side of his face. If she noticed the blood on her finger, she didn’t care. She drew the line again with two fingers. It was so clearly a caress, Chloe wanted to slap her hand away. Then robo-girl laid her palm flat against his cheek.
A jolt shook her father’s hold body, snapped at Chloe’s hands where she was holding his shoulder. She fell backward after the jolt ended, hands burning, heart pounding. Her father’s body shook again. A third time. A fourth.
“Stop it!” Chloe said.
The robo-girl didn’t look at her, didn’t stop. Chloe thought she saw her father’s eyes flash open, then clamp shut the way he did when he was four beers in and one thought too heavy.
“Stop!” Chloe screamed. She threw herself at the robo-girl. Together they toppled to the side. Chloe stared in surprise. She had expected to feel the impact more, like when she’d tried to push the robo-girl off him before, but it had been like knocking over a stack of cans, each part
heavy and disconnected from the rest.
The robo-girl blinked up at her. Once. Twice. A third time. A fourth.
“Chloe?” she asked, her voice a note too deep. It was perfectly even, and sounded exactly like her name in her father’s mouth.
If you want to find out more about Gwendolyn and her writing you can do so here:
or follow her on Twitter here:
Gwendolyn’s text was passed to our final potato Natalie Elizabeth Beech on Friday. Therefore the final instalment of our short story will be posted out on Monday 5th August. Natalie’s instalment will conclude our collaborative short story and our first ‘Hot Potato’ Project. I’m totally intrigued as to how Natalie will pull all the story threads together. It’s a big task!