Tag Archives: Short Story Collaborations

Hot Potato 2! Short Story Collaboration #5 Josh Kremer

5 May


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

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Today’s fifth fortnightly instalment, features writer Josh Kremer who is picking up the story where Sam left off.  You can find the first section of our short story here, the second section here   the third here and the fourth here

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The wasteland of coast was not an easy path to follow, but through the midden of fallen sky and obliterated earth Winston carried on. Every step was somehow more treacherous than the last as fragments of stone, moon, and people’s lives crunched under his heavily lined boots.

The moon’s breaking seemed an entire lifetime ago. Its pieces still plummeted to earth on occasion, never letting anyone forget the past and grounding them in some strange future. Winston’s steps were slow and deliberate as he navigated the debris of Maine, each step bringing him closer.

For how long had he considered the day the moon was ravaged the changing point in his life? For how long had he been wrong?

All the world had watched, paralyzed, as the moon shattered and ruptured humanity’s trajectory for a bright future—the worst of cataclysms—yet Winston was unchanged by it. He had a strong spirit.

He had changed when he had lost her—and every day since he had blamed the moon, and had felt his heart breaking, healing, and breaking over again. He had become a drifter, floating through whatever came his way, coasting. Drinking.

Maine’s air had a crisp bite as he consulted his pocket map, and carefully measured the last leg towards a facility the world seemed oblivious to. How she had come here, and why, didn’t matter. He had to find her.

He had been lost in his head for so long, he had forgotten she was still alive and not a fragment of the past. He devoted everything to his memory and her face. Her face, piercing, drove him on. It held electrifying beauty.

The scientists had failed. They were meant to be the last, best hope for humanity—and Winston didn’t care. His only hope was Sara, his only vision was of her face. He didn’t register his steps in terms of mileage, but measured them in terms of closing the distance between him and her.

He could at last see an unscorched building, the last structure this part of the world seemed to have, and slipped inside. The door creaked, but no one seemed to hear. A dull hum filled the corridors as he quietly began his search for her. His boots clumped loudly and left scuffs across the floor tiles, and so he removed them. He peered in doors only to find empty rooms.

Carefully he continued, turning a corner and—

“Winston?”
“Winston, is that you? Where the devil are your shoes?”

To Maine he had gone, for a woman he only remembered as a girl. He had made a promise to her…had she forgotten that she had made one to him as well?

 

 You can find more out about Josh here:

https://twitter.com/joshuaDkremer

 

 Josh’s text has been passed to the sixth potato Jessica Cooke. Jess is now writing the section which takes us to the end of our story. Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The final instalment of the short story will be on Tuesday 20th May where our collaborative piece  will be brought to its conclusion.  Do come back and see how Jess ties all the story threads up! The writers have collectively and progressively taken up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

Tomorrow ArtiPeeps will be filled with some Transformation poetry from Book 15.

As ever, thank you for your interest.

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BE THERE AT THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL

Transformations

29 Twitter poets and artists, I contemporary version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Do take a look at our Transformations Kickstarter Campaign:

http://kck.st/1i2e721

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Hot Potato 2! Short Story Collaboration #4 Sam Grainger

23 Apr


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

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Today’s fourth fortnightly instalment, features writer Sam Grainger who is picking up the story where Shannon left off.  You can find the first section of our short story here, the second section here  and the third here.

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He didn’t sleep the night he found the phone number. Hidden under bags of waste in a dumpster, he waited for the morning. It’d be safer then. Terrors moved through the streets at night; terrors even he couldn’t face.

He rolled the soggy piece of paper around in his mouth. Nothing would take it from him. He’d swallow it if he had to, if it came to that.

Images of Sara kept his eyes light, and his thoughts had a constant pulse. It had to be her. It had to be. She was alive. He knew she was. She was the solution. She was his absolution. She was the only hope left.

He’d begun to fear the worst after years of searching. But, in her old abandoned house he’d found it. It caught his eye in a most unlikely place.

The toilet bowl was dry and stained with murky lines. Unknown to him, just out of view, a piece of paper clung to the side of the basin. A small corner came loose from the trickle of his urine and curiosity had made him peel it away. It read:

New – 207 948 9882

The morning brought a twist in his gut. He climbed out from the dumpster and made his way to a bar at the end of the street. It was a risk that had to be taken.

The bar held a mist of smoke. The low-lifes vegetated; cigarettes hanging from their bottom lips, drinks resting between their fingers. Empty eyes rolled over him as he entered, and remained fixed. The bartender glanced up in tired recognition.

‘I need to use your phone,’ Winston said.

‘Look, I’ve told you alrea- ’

‘I need to use your phone.’

The bartender nodded towards the end of the bar. ‘You’ve got two minutes – no funny business.’

Winston took the sodden ball of paper from his mouth and dialled the number; a Maine area code. Why Maine? There was nothing left on the east coast; just wastelands. What was she doing in Maine? His bones vibrated painfully as he held the receiver.

It picked up.

‘Good afternoon, Sara’s Boutique Florists, how may I be of service today?’

It was her. That voice. It was Sara. The relief tasted of melted sugar in his throat. He broke into pieces and clutched the phone with two hands.

‘Sara? Christ, Sara, you’re alive. Fuck! Sara, it’s me, it’s Winston!’

‘Shit…’ the sound suddenly muffled on the other line, ‘Give me a sec, Jill, I’m sorry, it’s him again.’

‘Sara? Sara? I don’t belie – I don’t believe it. Sara, it’s me! It’s me, Winston. Where did you –. Where are you? I thought you were gone. I thought I’d lost you.’

There was no reply.

‘Sara? SARA?’

‘Winston, please don’t call this number again. I thought I made that clear to you last time. I don’t look after you anymore, Winston, I’m sorry. You’re not my responsibility. Please stop calling me. Goodbye.’

The phone clicked.

‘SARA!’

‘Hey!’ The bartender had moved to Winston’s side and ripped the phone from him, ‘Get out of my bar you maniac, I said no funny business. GET OUT.’

 

 You can find more out about Sam here:

http://sgraingy.tumblr.com/

https://twitter.com/SGraingy

 

Sam’s text has been passed to the fifth potato Josh Kremer. Josh is now writing the fifth section which takes us towards the end of our story . Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The next instalment of the short story will be on Monday 5th May where writer Jessica Cooke will be bring our story to its conclusion.  Do come back and see where Jess takes us next! The writers are collectively and progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

Tomorrow’s creativity on ArtiPeeps will focus on the last part of our Found Poetry Collaboration. A sad day, indeed! 

As ever, thank you for your interest.

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BE THERE AT THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL

Transformations

29 Twitter poets and artists, I contemporary version of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Do take a look at our Transformations Kickstarter Campaign:

http://kck.st/1i2e721

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Hot Potato 2 ! Short Story Collaboration #3 -Shannon Pardoe

7 Apr


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

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Today’s third fortnightly instalment, features writer Shannon Pardoe who is picking up the story where Michael left off.  You can find the first section of our short story here and the second section here if you missed it..

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Winston watched in silent indignation as a dusty haze swept across the horizon bringing with it memories of long summer days and burning skies. Ever since the Event these memories had become his constant companion, playing out in his mind like the old movies he used to watch back at the drive-in theatre. Had she known even then?

Since the moon’s destruction things had fallen into chaos, the seasons had become erratic and with no anchor the raging seas had calmed to a gentle ripple. For those, like himself, who stood in defiance of whatever darkness lay beyond the planet the world had become a dangerous place, far worse than anyone imagined. The floating debris offered little protection from the asteroids that fell from space, crashing into the planet and leaving craters and burning cities in their wake.

But it wasn’t the destruction he feared the most. It was the silence, the emptiness left behind from those who had fled, they had run from the unknown and into the arms of death. Like Sarah and the rest of them he has stayed, too afraid to take the plunge into darkness opting instead to face whatever evil lurked between the stars. Even as a child, before grasping the enormity of what was happening, he had sensed that something was watching them, waiting. There was no way of knowing when it would happen but part of him knew it wouldn’t be long till he found out. Until then he had only one task, one goal that would tip the scale in Earth’s favour – Sarah. As shards of light drifted across the remains of his old home he could hear her voice.

“Winston, do you remember the promise we made to each other when the shuttles left Earth?”

Of course, how could he forget.

“You promised that no matter what we would stay together.”

He sighed, even here on the rocky outcrop he called home, far above the desolate streets of L.A she had found him. It was because of her that he had made it this far, the pixie like voice driving him onward, but she was only a voice. Even though he could no longer remember her face something deep inside his chest told him somehow she was still alive, waiting for him to find her.

The last words she had spoken haunted his every moment. He had to do it, he had to go on. 

Shannon’s text has been passed to the fourth potato Samuel Grainger. Sam is now writing the fourth section which takes us further into the ‘middle’ of the story. Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The next instalment of the short story will be on Wednesday 23rd April. Do come back and see where Sam takes us next! The writers are collectively and progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

 

 You can find more out about Shannon  here:

https://twitter.com/shannongpardoe

You can read part of Shannon’s novel  here, and a short story of hers here

 As ever, thank you for your interest.

 


 

 

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Hot Potato 2 ! Short Story Collaboration #2-Michael Schmidt

27 Mar


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

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Today’s second fortnightly instalment, features writer Michael Schmidt who is taking off where Steve left off!  You can find the first section here if you missed it..

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Of course no one could have known what would happen next.

Sitting on top of a rock outcropping just above the hole in the ground he now called home, he looked out on the skyline of a wasted L.A. and fumbled through this and other memories as the sun didn’t so much as set, but withdrew into a grey night. Sara’s green eyes sometimes appeared when he closed his. But just like all the other faces he used to know– the nuances in her expressions, the exact impression of the freckles that spread across her cheeks and nose, have slowly faded away over time with every night, with every cigarette, with every jar of moonshine.

He remembers nights outside playing with Sara, he remembers sprinting home for supper after the street lights had come on. He also remembers the suspicion he felt after viewing the U.N.-approved orientation video at his town’s drive-in movie theatre, which briefly explained how the moon had been hit by a meteor and how there was nothing to worry about as only the tides would be slightly affected. He remembers as nations slowly stopped fighting and focused inward on themselves as if bracing for something. He remembers the intangible panic he felt during those last years of unnatural peace. He remembers waking up one night to shrieks of desperation and the roar of space shuttles full of doctors, scientists, and engineers stealing away from earth in the night. He remembers words like Europa, Titan, Mars—and then of course, he remembers standing outside of the same drive-in movie theatre watching a television feed of those same shuttles colliding, one after another, into the blanket of debris which had been left by the destruction of the moon. They must have known it was a suicide mission, but what did they know that would force their hand in such a gamble? What piece of knowledge had they kept from us that made their suicide mission seem like a safer alternative to staying on Earth? He looked up at the night and gritted his yellow teeth at whatever leviathan antithesis lay lurking between the stars/ He never believed in God, but he believed in this.

He remembers the last lines of a poem and falls asleep out on the rocks as the words ring back in forth in his head—what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Earth to be born?

 

Michael’s text has been passed to the third potato Shannon Pardoe. Shannon is now writing the third  section which takes us further into the ‘middle’ of the story. Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The next instalment of the short story will be on Monday 7th April. Do come back and see where Shannon takes us next! The writers are collectively and progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

 

You can see more of Michael’s work here: 

http://glitteringafterthoughts.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/geometric_auras

 

You’ll find Michael’s  FreeSpace here, here and here.

 

Hot Potato 2 ! Short Story Collaboration #1-Steve Harris

12 Mar


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt, Shannon Pardoe, Samuel Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

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Today’s first fortnightly instalment, features writer Steve Harris who is starting the whole collaborative short story off! 

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Night fell swiftly, like a bird of prey plunging from on high to claim a squeaking victim. The evening was still warm from another baking hot day. Winston lay on his back on the hard concrete yard, the way he always did when he wanted to gaze up at the heavens.

The fragments of broken moon created a dusty ring around the planet that made it harder to see the stars clearly most nights. Only when the once-whole moon would have been dark, when the Earth was between Sol and what remained of the shattered satellite, could Winston see what he wanted to see: constellations, an iridescent miasma of flickering suns burning themselves up billions of miles from where he lay.

Something waited out there. Something wilder and brighter than he would ever find on the sluggish ball of rock and decay where he’d had the misfortune to be born. He had no idea how to express the certainty that for him life lay beyond the atmosphere of his home. He simply knew. The same way he knew when he was hungry or he needed the bathroom. His mother thought he was an idler.

“Winston, get yourself inside and do some school work before bedtime.”

“Do I have to?”

“Of course you have to. There’s work for educated people and nothing but misery for the dumb and the lazy.”

You would know, he thought to himself as he took one last look at the stars, squinting slightly so that the light from them all blended into a fire, like a signal beacon calling him to rise up from the Earth, to seek adventure and meaning.

“What happened to the Moon?”

“Do your school work.”

He knew she wouldn’t answer. Nobody ever answered that question. At school the teachers avoided it, or pretended they had not heard when it was asked countless times a day. The adults kept forbidden knowledge from their children. Sara, his best, his only friend in the bedraggled neighbourhood, once whispered her theories during a particularly evasive science class.

“Must be something terrible. Something they think will scare us to death. Like a huge war or an experiment that went disastrously wrong. Zombies and mutants and stuff.”

“Do you think we will be allowed to know when we’re adults?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” she admitted. Like Winston himself she felt that at ten years old they were already pretty grown up as it was.

“I’m going to find out.”

She did not argue. He sounded utterly convinced.

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Steve’s text has been passed to the second potato  Michael Schmidt. Michael  is now writing the second ‘beginning’ section. Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The next instalment of the short story will be on Thursday 27th April. Do come back and see where Michael takes us next! The writers are collectively and progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

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 You can find more out about Steve here:

http://doctorbeatnik.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/theplanetharris

 

 

Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #7 Natalie Elizabeth Beech

5 Aug


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the seventh fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer NATALIE ELIZABETH BEECH who is taking Gwendolyn’s penultimate ‘middle’ and bringing the entire short story collaboration to its heady conclusion. Not an easy task!

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here, Gail’s ‘middle’ here , CJ’s ‘middle’ here, AK’s ‘middle’ here, Laura’s ‘middle’ here and Gwendolyn’s ‘middle’ here.

_________________________________

Here’s Natalie’s contribution and the exciting conclusion of our short story:

>

 “ W-What have you done!?” Chloe squeaked, timidly hovering over her father’s body.

“Chloe.” Robo-girl’s voice feminine and nurturing once more “ Jeff was a bad man!”

“My daddy was Peter, HE TOLD YOU HE WAS PETER.”

“Jeff would trade you as scrap just like he traded me. If Tom hadn’t saved me, I would be just like your father, oil leaking into the sand, parts broken.”

“ You are just an old unwanted toy!” Chloe bellowed the words from the very pit of her stomach, throwing all the bile and nastiness she could behind those words.

“I’m exactly like your daddy, Jeff made me!”

Chloe, head now spinning, reminded herself of the grandfather her dad had never dared speak of; how he had been abandoned and left by the technologically-obsessed father for pastures new…How he would never even speak his name…

“He looked just like Jeff… spoke the same, same nose… same eyebrows same hair… same old beer breath.”

Back when he was a young man, Jeff, had built robo-girls and boys and robo-women and robo-men.. He was obsessed with the cables the nuts, the bolts, people called him robo-victor, mish-mashing together parts into his beloved robots.

He also had a family, a wife he was forced to marry, because she stupidly got knocked up when she was 15 and that annoying little brat Peter. Hardly speaking until one day they shared their first beer, from an aluminum can, the old familiar beneath Jeff’s fingers.

 “What is it about these… toys? Why do you spend more time with them than with us?” The boy Peter had asked about himself and his mother.

“Well.. for starters they speak when spoken to and don’t ask me annoying questions… They don’t get themselves pregnant at 15 and give me a son I don’t want.”

Peter left, kicking the parts that would become his father’s new obsession to the ground and scattering them…

Not stopping to notice the stray would-be robo-organ flailing towards his mother’s head, knocking her to the ground.. cold…

“MUM!! SORRY SORRY SORRY. ”

“I always knew these robots would be the death of me.” She smiled, her dark wit beaming from eyes and showing her teeth..

“No more beer, you hear me… You will get a headache as bad as mine… I love you Peter” With that she was on the ground… cold…. dead.

“You see what you did, you see what these things caused… I HATE YOU… I HATE YOU…. I HATE YOU. ”

They would never see or speak to each other again.

Peter ran and he ran long, not stopping until his legs gave out underneath him. He ran, as he would see Chloe run decades later… On that fateful day when they had decided he was her daddy and she was his daughter and they became each others’ family.

“ You are just scrap… we should have thrown you into the land years ago… You don’t feel, you don’t bleed, you are nothing like him NOTHING.”

“I have his voice now, we share a father, we both love you. “

“Feel a beat in my chest?” She asked placing Chloe’s hand across her heart-like circuitry “It doesn’t pump blood, but it feels like your father’s felt against your hand doesn’t it? Jeff made sure I was his most perfect model.”

“Nothing.” Chloe defiantly insisted under her breath…

“Well, perhaps not” robo-girl resigned. “But, I am at least like you.”

Grabbing Chloe by her wrist, robo-girl took her finger and ran it along the middle of Chloe’s right arm… Blue sparks flying, cutting her open down to what should have been bone.

“Most perfect until he made you, that is, the beat of your circuits even fooled me”

Chloe looked down, felt a sinking in what she thought was a human stomach, and uttered one single word-

“How?”

With that.. fell a new card, Wheel of Fortune, owl legend was again renewed.


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Writer’s Biography:

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NATALIE ELIZABETH BEECH is a Writer/Poet and now occasionally Editor. She likes to call herself a “Professional Language Whore.” (Writing is what she does. Because she has to) She begun a love affair with written word and books when she was just a child and her father would bring her home two free books a week from his job at a distribution company. Beside words, she loves music. She likes to think she can play the guitar; she is wrong. Her favorite song of all time is “Drain You”; she will always be the girl who listens to grunge and reads beat poetry. She is a Brit, living and loving in Portugal and has lived in many countries since she was 16, loving to travel,move and see the world. She is called a “Typical Gemini” whatever that may be.
You can find her in many hiding places on the web. Here are just a few, so far discovered:

Site/Blog: www.natalieelizabethbeech.com
Twitter: @nataliebeech
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/natalie.elizabethbeech
Tumblr: http://natalieelizabethbeech.tumblr.com/

>>>>>

Well, this marks the conclusion of this particular Hot Potato Collaboration 2013, which, I think  we can all say has been a success, and from what I’ve heard from the potatoes, an enjoyable and creative experience.  It is my every intention to use this format again in the future. It’s great! Many thanks to the originator of the whole idea. My thanks also to the lovely potatoes who contributed to this particular project: Ben,  Gail, CJ, AK, Laura, Natalie and Gwendolyn, and to Aksania and his intent to create, who had to pull out unexpectedly. 

 

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Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #6 Gwendolyn Salzman

22 Jul


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

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….

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here, Gail’s ‘middle’ here , CJ’s ‘middle’ here, AK’s ‘middle’ here, Laura’s ‘middle’ here

_________________________________

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.

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“Get off him!” Chloe shouted, and shoved the robo-girl, hard.

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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.

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“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.

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“No,” Chloe pleaded.

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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.

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“Stop it!” Chloe said.

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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.

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“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.

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“Chloe?” she asked, her voice a note too deep. It was perfectly even, and sounded exactly like her name in her father’s mouth.

_____

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If you want to find out more about Gwendolyn  and her writing you can do so here:

http://apprenticenevermaster.wordpress.com/

or follow her on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/ApprNeverMaster

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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! 

 

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