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This is the #litrostory so far, a collective fiction being told one tweet at a time between Tuesday 26th February and midnight on Tuesday 5th March. Check the #litrostory hashtag on Twitter for the lastest lines and add your own.
THE STORY SO FAR:
It was a moment of weakness.
Nothing more. A chance for a lie-in – but afterwards she would torture herself by asking…
…what if I had taken him to school that morning, instead of letting him tag along with the kids from up the road?
She could heard the neighbour’s radio from her bed. They were playing Thelonious Monk
…but she was too exhausted to get up. She couldn’t face the reality…
that the sounds of Thelonius brought back the memory of a romantic evening that ended in …
…the disastrous meeting with the man who had called himself Messenger.
She still perfectly remembers the first time she caught that mysterious glimpse in his dark black eyes.
Drawn but yet fearful of what it might lead to
She let him take her hand, though he was a perfect stranger
…and he took her in his arms, looked into her eyes, and….
She signed for the delivery of a motorcycle tire for No. 30
“I always wanted to go on a motorcycle trip,” she remembered. Her eyes turned dark, with the memory of her lost dreams rising.
Thinking of that chilly April morning when she’d learned of her father’s horrific crash, she mourned both her dad and her dream.
It had taken her a lot to put that horrific episode behind her and move on with her life. She…
…knew now that she couldn’t escape the Talents which made her special. The Messenger had come to tell her it was time…
to make her father proud
She sat up in bed, and pulled back the covers. Her son was probably safe at school now. She could go anywhere, do anything,,.
… Her mind kept wandering back to Messenger. Last time was a disaster but he called to her. She scrolled through her phone…
Could she do it? She scrolled down for the number. Her hands, slippery with anticipation, dropped the phone. She…
…listened to the dialtone stutter. Paralyzed by regret she waited for the phone to go silent. “Is this a bad time?” She gasped
“Bad times,” he said, the signal chopping his voice into pieces. “But you know that. I want you to come to…”
… the cliffs. You know the place.” My heart thudded. I knew. “Midday,” he said. “You’ll be there?” The line crackled…
and then went dead. “I’ll be there.” I said.
I hung up and couldn’t do anything but hold my breath. I looked at the clock on the wall, the hands were pointing at 11:27 am
There were enough reasons not to go but Billy would be safe at school by now. I had nothing but time. I kicked off the covers.
and stumbled into the bathroom. The face staring back at me was calmer than I felt. Everytime I blinked, it blurred a bit more
no painkiller in the world could take away the ache I feel in my chest. Like my heart has been picked apart by angry ravens
Angry ravens that followed him home. His territory mocking Poe, his version of the urban becoming a den of the strange.
Sometimes, though, it was enough to just take yourself to the front door, stand on the step, and open your nostrils to the day.
There was no use in worrying about it. I dressed quickly, grabbed my car key and headed up to the cliffs. He was already there.
I took a deep breath and got out of the car. He started to walk towards me, his coat flapping in the wind. I tried to smile.
‘Here is your next assignment,’ he said, passing me a fat manila envelope and not waiting for a reply
My hands were shaking.I opened it and his name was there.I put it back but The Messenger stopped me’You know you have no choice’
We locked eyes, “there’s always a choice..& the choice is mine to make, mine alone”..I squared my shoulders & pushed him aside
That’s trouble with choices. Power to choose means responsibility for the choice. A thin smile, and I headed to the cliff edge.
I threw the envelope. It hit the water like something dead. I didn’t need it, I knew where I’d find him. I turned, shouted … #litrostory
his name into the darkness, the wind whispering it through the valley. I needed ..
to know how far I could go. I walked towards…
his name into the darkness, the wind whispering it through the valley. I needed …
… the echo of that name. Come find, comfort and guide me. I know I have spirit but I’m not afriad to say I’m scared. I looked
..into the pitiless face of Death, then calmly applied my eye liner. If I had a date with Destiny,I was going to look damn fine
“Delaying the inevitable?” he called. “Why draw it out?” I turned, tossing the eyeliner after the folder. “A moment of weakness?”
He looked pointedly at the No Litter sign, ‘Can’t you use the bin like everyone else ?’ but didn’t wait for an answer
Kneeling down, he picked the envelope out of the water and opened it again for me. “Do you really think you could…”
..hide by destroying the letter? I’ll never give up my hunt for the Messenger. Now read it out loud and tell me…
what you know in your heart. That you will. You have to. You’re a chosen one without any choice. She sighed & started to read ..
..but the writing was blurred, the black ink flashing red. What was happening to her eyes? What language was this?
She didn’t know what to do. The tears in her eyes were blurring the words and her eyeliner. She…
took a hit from a flask she kept hidden in her purse. Hard stuff. Tasted like nail varnish but it was going to do the job.
Then it was time to go. She jumped behind the wheel of the waiting car & put her foot down leaving the crashing waves behind
Fire in her belly, rage in her heart but cold her resolve to end this tonight.
She tried to steady her shaking hands but only succeeded in gripping the steering wheel tighter. There was no turning back.
#litrostory And on to the next opposition, the tired #twitstory. Under mercury sky she smelt victory, the car pulling the horizon closer…
it was a dark and stormy night…
She roared into the gravelled lot& slammed to a stop. Under the flashing neon, she felt for the switch blade in her garter
He’d called it ‘A tyre for No. 30’, but there was no No. 30 on her street. She pulled the box from the boot, and cut it open…
inside was a note ‘If not for your father, for your son’ it said, signed by him. She pulled the blade, and headed for the light.
(This page is not a live update – check the #litrostory hashtag on Twitter to get the latest lines and add your own.)
- To take part, you just have to add the next line. Check out the Twitter hashtag #litrostory to read the story so far, and add your line, using the same hashtag at the end. You’ll have to be quick, or someone else might get there first!
- You can take the story in any direction you want to, but remember that the aim is to end up with something readable, so please consider the next contributor before going too crazy.
- You can add as many lines as you want to the story, but not consecutively. Please wait for someone else to add another before you add again.
Emily Cleaver is Litro's Online Editor. She is passionate about short stories and writes, reads and reviews them. Her own stories have been published in the London Lies anthology from Arachne Press, Paraxis, .Cent, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, One Eye Grey, and Smoke magazines, performed to audiences at Liars League, Stand Up Tragedy, WritLOUD, Tales of the Decongested and Spark London and broadcasted on Resonance FM and Pagan Radio. As a former manager of one of London’s oldest second-hand bookshops, she also blogs about old and obscure books. You can read her tiny true dramas about working in a secondhand bookshop at smallplays.com and see more of her writing at emilycleaver.net.