Wednesday September 21st, 2011

The exercise:

Here's one we haven't done in a while: the first line prompt.

I provide the first line, then everyone runs with it in whatever direction they like.

Here it is: The surrounding area was enveloped in steam as the machine creaked and hissed its way into the air.

Scheduled post, yadda yadda yadda. You know the drill by now.

Mine:

The surrounding area was enveloped in steam as the machine creaked and hissed its way into the air. Captain Nigel and his co-pilot Victoria exchanged terse status reports in the cockpit, their eyes shifting from gauge to gauge. The map tacked to the wall behind them was covered with notes and a single, snaking line marked their journey south.

They would be making only two stops to refuel before they reached their destination, though exact locations would be determined by the strength of the headwinds they would encounter. If all went smoothly, their brief landings would be in remote, mostly uninhabited wildernesses, away from prying eyes.

If all wasn't agreeable to playing nice... well, that was why there were armed guards in the cargo hold.

"We've reached our planned travel height," Victoria announced.

"Locking in our course," Nigel said, turning the brass wheel gently to his left. "All readings look good. You ready for this?"

"No, but when has that ever stopped us?"

"Never," Nigel said with a twitch of his lips. "We stick to the plan for as long as we can, then we improvise. One way or another, we'll get there."

"I wish... oh, no. Already?"

"What is it?"

"Imperial airship at four o'clock. Looks like improvisation time has arrived early."

6 Comments:

Greg said...

Hmm, I think we should see more of these two characters, they're in a fascinating milieu. I quite like the feel of Victoria too, she seems... capable :)
I really liked the tiny detail that their stops would be scheduled, but not necessarily at places they'd know anything about, due to the weather. That's a superb touch.

The surrounding area was enveloped in steam as the machine creaked and hissed its way into the air. Then, with a very small pop a pressure valve at the top opened and the machine sank slowly back down to the ground again. The children cheered and quickly synchronised into a chant of "More! More! More!" The Activities Director grinned, encouraging them, and slipped on heavy gloves to open the machine up and refuel it for another flight.
"That was... well, I was hoping for something more exciting," said Miss Snippet quietly, turning her head very slightly towards Charles Asciugimento the Second. His aquiline features inclined just fractionally, a moment of agreement, and then his hand very gently cupped her elbow and together they turned away and walked along the deck. Beneath them the powerful motors of the cruise shipped throbbed, and the automatic stabilisers sighed as they compensated for the gentle swell of the ocean.
"It will get more exciting, I think," said Charles. "Alastair, the Activities Director, is somewhat careless. He just picked up the bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide instead of the bottle of water."
Miss Snippet thought hard for a moment, and then said, "Oh, nail polish remover!"
"Alas no," said Charles in a voice so deep and gentle she couldn't hear a note of condescension at all. "Nail polish remover would be acetone, and quite tame in comparison to this. Hydrogen Peroxide is more commonly used for bleaching hair."
Steam billowed around their heads as behind them the machine clanked and rattled alarmingly. Sudden footsteps startled them, and then Alastair raced past them, his hands over his head and his eyes wild, shouting in a strong Scottish accent, "Oh no! She cannae take any more Captain, she's gonnae blow!"
Charles stepped sideways behind a bulkhead, drawing Miss Snippet with him, and though the explosion drowned out many of his words, she thought he asked how many children she was intending to return home with.

Drake Davenport said...

The surrounding area was enveloped in steam as the machine creaked and hissed its way into the air. The crowd looked on with wide eyes. Had it not been for the machine itself, one could have very easily heard a pin drop.

You see, when Sir Valentine had first proposed his concept for a flying machine, everyone thought he was mad. And when he began to build it, he received even more ridicule.

Yet, here it was. He had actually made it! The first flying machine in the land. Sir Valentine looked down at the awestruck crowd from the window of the machine and gave them all a big grin.

And then, the crowds' amazement was confounded, infused with dread and horror. For, in that single moment, an object came from the west. It was some sort of ball of blue fire, of pure energy. It collided with the flying machine, and the flying machine fell to the ground in a million pieces. Red hot debris rained down on the crowd. Shouts of pain started to fill the air as everyone dispersed in this direction or that.

An attack. It was obvious that the western tribe had seen the flying machine, and they did not approve of its existence. What is more, they were enraged to the point of terminating a hundred year long cease fire. Yes, after all these years, the war had finally returned.

Heather said...

Marc- So good to see you again! How have things been? I like the Star Wars-ish feeling behind yours in the end.

Greg- They are a match made in heaven!

Drake- You leave me wondering what the western tribe was so worried about.

-----

The surrounding area was enveloped in steam as the machine creaked and hissed its way into the air. Cindy looked down at her small town home. It was everything she knew. "Was," she thought. "It was my home. It's not my home anymore." The thoughts floated through her mind, their real meaning laying ahead in a future that she could not fathom.

A flaring orange light caught her attention. She looked between the swirls of steam that continued to rise. "That was my school. I guess I'll never kiss Bobby on that playground again. Or feel the sting of Mr. Hathwart's sting. That will wipe the smirk off Mary Jane's face. I wonder what she is going to have to look forward to now?"

Another flare erupted on what use to be the far end of town. Mr. Frampson's sheep pen, she was sure. "No more of Mr. Frampson's sweet goat milk for breakfast or Mrs. Frampson's pie and cookies." She sighed and turned away from the devastation. Her small group was the last to evacuate and the only one to head north.

Acalde Jensen was talking. "We are not out of danger yet. We still have to get through the ashes and other shooting debris. If we make it through that, we can touch down a good distance from the volcano and resettle. Our scouts found another freshwater lake, good soil, and an abundance of wild life close to the Brookfield tribe. We are on friendly terms with them."

Murmurs from the adults filled the small chamber. Cindy went back to watching the red-orange lava sizzle in the lake and consume the few buildings still standing.

Drake Davenport said...

Heather- The western tribe was clearly worried about the risk of attack by air now that their neighbors had developed a flying machine. Haha.

Thanks for the review of my story. I'm new to writing, and I appreciate any help and suggestions I can get.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I got caught up a bit when I was writing this one. I'd like to find time to play in their world a little more.

Ah, I see that this is a continuing story you've created, and I've started at the wrong end! Ah well, I'm enjoying it all the same :)

Drake - great scene! I really like where you went from that first line, and again I'd love to see more of it. Great hook :)

Heather - and it's great to see you again! I hope you've been well. I'm just getting back from an Alaskan cruise with my family to celebrate my parent's 40th anniversary, and things on the farm are going quite well.

Ooh, very dramatic scene. And the promise of starting anew in another location... makes me want to know what happens next. And even the details of what just happened!

world of experience said...

Very visual. I'm not going to add to the other creations here, they've already done fine work.