Monday October 10th, 2011

The exercise:

It's been a while. Let us do some continuations.

Just pick up the story from where the last person left it off and carry it for a ways. Nothing too long, though; we don't want one person totally dominating the story. And it's always a good idea to stop at a spot where the next person can easily pick it up.

Five of the eight house guests (between our place and the in-laws) left for home today, which was a little sad. But Kat's brother, sister-in-law, and niece aren't leaving until tomorrow, so that helps.

Speaking of which, I reckon it's past time for you guys to meet my niece, Natalie:

We're going to miss her the most, I suspect.


We moved barefoot through the orchard, the scent of apples filling our nostrils. The sun at its zenith cast jagged shadows that the gusting wind pushed around with more enthusiasm than we thought was really necessary.

I was regretting not pausing to put on shoes before we left the house, but there was no going back by that point. I figured I'd just grab Momma's tweezers later on and use them to remove the sand burrs lodging themselves in my soles.

Those were thoughts for later though, so I concentrated instead on following in my brother's footsteps as silently as a mouse. Just like he'd taught me to. One foot carefully in front of the other, always on the lookout for fallen branches that might snap beneath us, for fallen apples that were eager to twist an ankle.

We were not alone out there, but we hoped that the others were unaware of our presence. That would have made spying on them a heck of a lot easier. But just in case they were watching out for intruders, my brother and I filled our pockets with rocks as we went.


Greg said...

Natalie is very cute, and that's a pretty good picture of you too :) For some reason I was expecting Kat to be holding her.
Intriguing start to the story, but... a sun at its zenith casting shadows? I haven't got a clue how you've achieved that!

We reached Marlene, the only tree that Dad had named, the tree that he'd built the orchard around. She was rustling her leaves and now and then there'd be a thump as she let another apple loose to plummet to the earth. They were old apples now, wormy and soft, rotting just days after they were picked.
My brother waved a hand; he went left and I went right, taking both sides of the tree, checking out the orchard ahead of us. Everything was still quiet, and I was glad that the leaves hadn't started to drop yet.
We met back up again on the other side of Marlene and I resumed walking in my brother's footsteps, my fingers curled comfortingly around a rock in my pocket.
Which is why, when the crack snapped through the air, I spun and had a rock airborne before the branch that had fallen from Marlene had even hit the ground.

morganna said...

The rock spun up into the air and thumped down on the animal that had followed the branch down. Hissing and spitting, it took a moment for me to recognize our housecat. Then it spoke. "You stupid fool, what are you doing out here? This is no place for a child." I blinked. I didn't know Mumbo Jumbo could talk. Then he leaped up into my chest, knocking me to the ground as a bullet whizzed past where I had been standing, thunking into Matilda's trunk.

morganna said...

Oops. I see I got the name of the tree wrong. Sorry.

Marc said...

Greg - nah, Kat took a turn behind the camera for that one :)

As for the sun at its zenith (I was going with the 'highest point' definition), it still casts shadows - particularly in an orchard full of trees with long branches. They may not be very large shadows, but they're still there.

Anyway! Great detail having just one tree named, and you carried along the tension nicely.

Morganna - "I didn't know Mumbo Jumbo could talk" - I just love (what I imagine to be) the deadpan delivery of that line.

Talking cats and flying bullets, you certainly kicked the action up a notch :)

Drake Davenport said...

I don't know a lot about orchards, and since I prefer scifi/fantasy myself, the talking cat was a welcome twist for me.

It buried itself deep into the bark with a roar. Wait, a roar? Since when do bullets roar? Mumbo Jumbo was standing over me, now, looking right into my eyes.

"You have no idea. You have no idea what your actions have unleashed!" he said, hissing between words.

The ground started to shake. I felt myself rising in the air. The tree was moving! I didn't know Marlene Matilda could move. It seems I didn't know much of recent.

I heard more bullets. They weren't aiming at me any more, but at the tree. Only, these bullets didn't bury themselves in the bark any more. In fact, they didn't even scratch it. They just ricocheted harmlessly to the sides.

One bullet, two bullets, a dozen. All of them sailed harmlessly into the forrest behind us. And then I heard it. I heard it flying through the air. I heard the dull thud. I heard my brother tumble to the ground.

"Jonathon!" I cried.

"It has begun," Mumbo Jumbo purred deeply.

Marc said...

Drake - nice save on the tree name :D

And dang it, now I want to keep this story going! Great stuff.