Sunday October 24th, 2010

The exercise:

It's been too long. Let's do some continuations.

All you need to do is carry on the story from wherever the last person left it. Oh, and you should also probably have fun doing it. That's just a suggestion though.

If you're new here, feel free to click the continuation tag at the bottom of the post to see how previous installments went.


"Honey, can you grab the laundry for me?"

"Of course."

The man peels himself off the couch and grabs the empty laundry basket at the top of the stairs. As he descends he passes the house keys resting on the ledge halfway down and, after a slight hesitation, decides not to bother bringing them. They're renting in a safe neighborhood and there's been no trouble for the last year and a half they've been there.

It really is time to stop being paranoid.

He goes outside and down the steps before turning right and right again to reach the laundry room. He's not fond of having to go outside to wash and dry their clothes - especially when it's raining - but at least the machines are not coin operated.

He steps into the tiny room, the washer on his right, the dryer about two feet away to his left, and begins throwing the dry clothes into the basket. It's not long before he's finished and heading back up the front steps to the porch. Once there, he reaches for the door handle, twists it, and pushes.

And finds that it is now locked.


Greg said...

Perhaps we just don't take the initiative enough though, there've certainly been posts of yours that we could have continued if we'd thought about it. I shall try to keep this in mind when adding my little contribution :)

It's hard to believe it's the end of October already. I may yet have to do NaNoWriMo by myself, as there's already training lined up for next week (thankfully in London though, so it's a tube-trip and not a plane flight!)

"Honey?" he calls, wondering if she's locked the door without realising he wasn't back yet. Oh no, what if she's left the house and locked up automatically? "Honey?" he calls again, with a note of anxiety in his voice.
He's startled when the door opens, then jerks to a halt on the chain.
"Check the laundry," says a familiar voice, but it's not his wife's. He looks down blankly, not understanding. There's a pile of t-shirts, some pants, a pair of jeans, some worn-out-looking socks in there.
"It's all yours," says the voice again. "There's enough there for a few days. Take it and leave."
Finally he recognises the voice. It's his father's.

Zhongming said...

Marc - that's some wonderful writings with fantastic original details - collaborative writing isn't my thing but then I thought I should just give it a go anyway. If it's not good enough, you guys can just go ahead after Greg :)

Greg - as usual, I am a big fan of your writings and today is no surprise that it makes me read it over and over for quite a number of times and couldn't figure out how you manage to write that, amazing stuff :)


Thanks, dad! You're a life saver! You don't sound so good there, did anything happen recently? 

Long story, how about we talk about it over coffee tomorrow afternoon at our usual cafe? 

Sure, that'll be great! I've got lots to catch up with you. Father and son talk has been long forgotten ever since the mother passed away in an accident... 

It surely brings back memories, don't you agree dad? Ironic isn't it? 

Watermark said...

That was the conversation that went on in his head as tried to come to grips with the situation. It was uncanny how he had always made sure to take his keys with him, until today. Now his father had found them and a fear filled him as he imagined numerous dark scenarios of what his father could be doing now.

"Dad?" He tried knocking gently. "Dad, just let me in for a moment. Dad?"

He knew his attempts were futile but he had to persist. Where was his wife? She had the other pair of keys. He had to get into the apartment now before his father could find those papers. He tried knocking again, louder this time but there was no response. Fist on the door he started banging, "dad, come on open the door, let me in for a moment will you."
Suddenly, he heard the chain sliding as the door opened and in the doorway, his wife stood.

"I think you should listen to your father."

morganna said...

Hi everyone, sorry I've been gone for a while. I've been really busy. I'm glad I made it back for this story, this is fun.

"Fran? What is going on?"

"You should listen to your father," she repeated in a monotone. Her eyes blinked rapidly.

He stared at her. This wasn't like her. Then he saw the shadow on the floor. It was a doubled shadow. His father must be crouched behind her. Did he have a gun on her?

He flung the laundry basket behind him and grabbed her by the arms and flung her away, too. He heard her stumble into the yard, but he was too busy diving for the gun his father held.

Heather said...

No matter what he did, the gun remained just out of his reach. The longer he struggled, the more hopeless he felt. It was fear that drove him on, keeping him lunging and twisting, grasping for control. His wife was crying behind him and screaming for help when she could catch her breath. But there were no other sounds. No feet pounding the ground or shush of a coat.

He found himself on his back, having lost his focus hearing the terror in his wife's voice. Something heavy hit him in the head. Blood dripped into his left eye. He looked up and saw his father's crystal blue eyes dancing wildly. It was clear, he was off his medication again.

"Fran, run!" he screamed before another heavy hit came and then unconsciousness.

summerfield said...

When he gains consciousness, he finds himself propped on one of their dining chairs. He feels a streak of tightness in his face - the almost dried drips of blood from his head. The sun has almost set and the room takes on an eerie coldness that sends shivers down his spine. Fran sits motionless, duct tape holds her onto another chair; her eyes start to swell when she sees that he is conscious again. His first impulse is to rush to her and free her up but the cold metal of his father's gun against the back of his neck stops him.

"I tell you, you move and I will not hesitate to shoot you." Even his voice is much colder than it has ever been. His father flicks on the light switch.

"Let's make this easy for you, son," he walks towards Fran. "Give me the papers."

"Dad, I know how Mum died," he says, his mind leafing through the papers that he has found among his mother's personal belongings carefully wrapped in manilla envelope.

"The papers, son. It's all I need from you. Then you won't ever see me again."

"Hah! the same way Mum never saw you again because you killed her when you knew she found the papers."

He feels the fire in his eyes as his father jumps towards him and hisses close to his face, "I loved your mother. I did not kill her."

He seizes this moment of vulnerability and kicks the hand holding the gun. The one mistake his father has made is to not tie him up. So once again he finds himself diving for the gun, and briefly wrestling with his father yet not at all surprised to find the gun's barrel staring at him within a mere inch, his father's face farther behind. Thoughts run through his mind like a video film on rewind. At the same time, he tries to push the gun away, but his father, despite his age, still has the same strength and determination and the barrel of the gun keeps coming back to his face. But he remembers what his father himself has taught him: "always look your enemy in the eye." He stares at his father instead and he notes they have the same blue eyes, although there is a certain coldness behind the deep blue stare.

Marc said...

Greg - ah, an excellent next step in the story. I was not expecting it to be the father after that setup!

Zhongming - good for you! We're all here for the practice anyway, right?

And I think you did just fine :)

Watermark - loved the quick reference to 'the papers'. And wonderful ending to your segment as well!

Morganna - glad to see you back! Another great little development in your piece :)

Heather - 'off his medication', how wonderfully ominous.

And ending with a knockout blow! I'm having far too much fun reading all of these :)

Summerfield - sweet! You picked up on the papers reference and brought things back around to that! Great stuff :)

Awesome comments today, everybody. Thanks so much :)