Sunday March 18th, 2012

The exercise:

Let us see what we can do with: controls.

Morning drywalling, afternoon chopping wood, evening comatose.

Oh, hey. Heads up: I've got a theme week planned for this week. As before, you'll have the choice to either take each day's prompt on its own or to concoct a story that spans the seven days.

But to be honest, I think what I've got planned has some fun possibilities for those who wish to take on the week long challenge.


Haley studied the instrument panel, silently comparing the readings with their ideal ranges. Everything was showing what she expected it to, including the one dial that was glowing red, indicating that it was outside its mandated range: Current Elevation.

Glancing out of her side window, Haley felt like she could brush her fingertips along the tree tops. Every few minutes she heard the hull of the airship being tickled by the tallest pines.

It was nerve wracking, stroke inducing stuff, but they didn't dare fly any higher. Radar and federal scouts were scouring the clouds and discovery by either could end only one way.

So Haley took her shift at the controls and tried to remember to breathe, and while Luis and Wade were in the pilot's seat she tried not to think.


Greg said...

Wow but you're going to be sore tomorrow! Still, think of all the clubs you can show those muscles off in... hmm, probably not that many nightclubs in Osoyoos? Back to the drawing board.
That's quite an anxious scene you've set there, I'm not sure I'd like to be on that airship. Haley's pretty brave. The last sentence of the first paragraph does a really good job of introducing the peril and pulling the reader in.


Cats that walk through walls
Ought to exhibit proper controls.
Not all owners care
That their cat is suddenly there,
Regurgitating mice and shrews
On the bed, or in the loo.
Let cats that walk through walls take heed,
Sometimes there's a discretion need.

[I know it's a little forced, but these acrostics are tricky.]

Aaron said...

Oooh I am very excited for a week long story! This is the first thing I have written in a long time. Sorry it's long I had a lot of fun writing it and am excited to develop it this week.

Robes keeps his pace steady as we walk down the long blank hallway. Robes was the name I had given my guide since he had refused to give a proper name. But I guess certain oddities are expected from a person that dresses like the grim reaper. I wouldn't normally trust nameless death incarnations but Robes had come to me in a dream and prophesized our meeting. It had been the falling dream again. I never remember the beginning but I always remember the end. I am standing in my room when suddenly the floor starts to just fall away. Everything falls into the widening space, and then I am falling as well. That is when I wake up. I go back to sleep and in the morning all I have is a memory of gravity. Last night was different. As the floor began to fall away in its usual pattern, a man dressed all in black flowing robes stepped up to the precipice and looked over the edge. He whistled the way my father had when looking a long way down. Abruptly, the man in robes turned back to me and looked me in the eyes, "We are tired of falling and of you. Tomorrow I will come and we will end this one way or another."
Obviously, it was quite a shock when he actually showed up. I will admit I was scared but I will not admit to why I changed out of my pajamas. There stood the figure from my dreams, dressed like the Grim Reapear, cowl pulled forward so that his face was lost in shadow.
"Are you death? Oh my god, am I about to die?!" I asked the cowled figure, bracing myself for the answer.
"I am not death. I am the guide. Come with me and you will have no more questions.This is your one chance to have your every wish granted. Follow me or forever wonder what might have been." After that pronouncement he had turned, strode to my closet, opened the door and walked in. That should have been impossible, I live in a studio apartment and my closet is two feet deep and filled with coats. Curious as a cat, I walked over to the closet door, inside my coats were gone, and in their place was a blank hallway and the receding figure of robes.
"Must be a dream," I mumbled to myself, "Wait up, Robes! I'm coming!"
When I caught up to him, he made no move to acknowledge my prescence, instead his voice greeted me, "We are pleased you came. It was not certain."
"Oh good, you're planning on remaining creepy. I was scared you were going to take off your robe and reveal yourself as a beautiful naked woman." He ignored my comment. "You're lucky this is a dream or I would be pretty freaked out right now."
Again he ignored me. "Can I at least know where we are going?"
"We are going to the controls."
"The controls? What the controls?"
"The controls of everything."
That was hours ago. Now Robes keeps his pace steady as we walk down the long blank hallway. And I keep trying to convince myself that this is a dream. The only problem is I'm getting tired, and I don't remember ever wanting to fall asleep in a dream.

Anonymous said...

Controls 1

Shanti sat in the red velvet covered chair. It was an antique piece with richly carved arms in rosewood. That’s where she rested her arms.
She closed her eyes and hummed a monotonous middle C for a whole minute.
Her audience sat pensively, lined up in rows of plastic stackable chairs. One or two sat slightly forward, waiting, wondering if they would be chosen.
Deep inside Shanti’s head a cacophany of voices began, accompanied by images to match. People gathered there, jostling for position. Shanti’s “controls” were in place - they were her two Spirit Guides, the ones she always worked with. One she called the Gatekeeper, he was an Antarctic explorer. He acted like a club bouncer, allowing spirits to come through only if they genuine and would not cause harm to the medium. The other was a Tibetan monk who helped translate the sometimes complex communications 
that jumbled up when more than one spirit wanted to speak. Eventually there was order inside her head. Shanti ceased her chant as she felt her heart rate rise slightly in response to the heightening vibrations in her being. 
She opened her eyes and pointed to the man in the second row, the one with the balding pate.
“I’m getting a woman with grey, curly hair. The name Gladys comes up. Do you recognise her?” she asked.
The bald man nodded, leaning forward. “She was my wife,” he validated.
And so her night’s work began...

Watermark said...


It was one of those moments in a prelude to a thriller. The lift jolted to a halt. The almost unacknowledged background hum of the air conditioner suddenly left an audible void. There was a flickering of the light bulbs above, the sudden consciousness of strangers within a confined space, accentuated breathing and exclamations from those around.

“” It was the man standing next to me, mumbling under his breath. Tall and overarching to say the least, he was already fidgeting with a rolled up newspaper. It almost seemed like he was about to whack the nearest person with it. I settled deeper into my corner and waited.

This wasn’t the first time today that the lift had broken down. Maintenance, was what the building management had said, a faulty set of controls that needed to be fixed. They also told us that we were not allowed to use the lifts during the day. But who would listen to a bunch of lift experts. Our managers on the other hand were the self-proclaimed experts. It was just like them to make us sit through fire drills, unmoved, undeterred, nonchalantly waving away the minutes. A slight technicality of lift maintenance was not about to stop us from getting to our offices. Come what may, it was our duty to see to it that we gave our full nine hours of work to the firm on a daily basis. At least that was what our managers had explained to us in exceptionally clear language. So here we were stuck in a box hanging between the sixth and seventh floors, waiting for the reassuring cranking sound that signalled that we were on the move again.

Ten minutes later

“I don’t care if you were caught in the middle of an avalanche, that report was due in an hour ago!”

“Yes but with all due respect, we were both stuck in that same blasted elevator.”

“I’m just about reaching the end of my tether with you…”

Luckily, that was all that my slave driver of a boss could manage as a precursor to a sacking. We conveniently got distracted by a power cut. A raging managing partner stormed out of the office, hurling abuse at a forlorn assistant nearby, leaving me with a smirk spreading slowly across my face.

“Alright, what have you done now?” I sighed shaking my head with relief, waiting for Sam to emerge.
A smug and confident Sam strode into the room. He never seemed to be far away when trouble was brewing in my work life.

“Let’s just say that the lift maintenance has now extended itself to the central nervous system of the building.”

“Sam, what have you done,” calm was the only way to deal with this impish character but I could barely hide my excitement to hear of yet another of his crazy endeavours.

“I switched the controls. It’ll take them days to find out the problem. We might as well all pack up and go home now."

Iron Bess said...

Just made it back from Halifax so haven't got much time to whip something up. Here is my go. Will read all when I get a chance.


When man is asleep the Ventii control everything. When man is awake the Suntii take over those controls. Only during the twilight of the two does a human have the ability to exert his feeble control, and then only on that which does not matter. There is a legend which says that at one time mankind controlled the planet, long before the advent of the Ventii and Suntii, long before the healing clans came to the earth and fashioned it into a paradise of such beauty that it is now a planet renown across the far reaches of the galaxy. The story goes that when man was at the controls the earth was quickly being destroyed by greed, corruption, and negligence. But that is only a story, and a bad one at that. To use an ancient saying, why would any race be stupid enough to shit where they lived?

Krystin Scott said...

I'm taking the challenge! Hope I have left this response vague enough to tackle what you have planned for tomorrow!

Chloe woke. The sterile room was freezing. She rolled rather lethargically to one side of her metal framed cot and sat up yawning and stretching her tired aching body. She searched the cold floor with her bare feet trying to locate the fuzzy bunny slippers she had left there the previous night. Then finally, she stood, wrapped a thin white blanket around her shoulders and shuffled bleary eyed across the floor.

She reached the panels biometric controls and clumsily slapped her hand upon it. “Colonel Chloe Rayne” she said still held in the fog of sleep. The panel door slid away revealing a monitor and a set of gages and knobs. She blinked multiple times trying to clear her vision before being able to read the temperature on the thermometer as a chilling forty eight degrees.

The bio domes life support systems were set to keep a constant temperature of seventy five degrees ensuring that the crew would be comfortable and the computerized components would remain fully functional. A twenty seven degree drop in temperature was unsatisfactory, and put the lives of her crew in danger. Her morning mission was to correct the problem and then to locate the parties responsible.

Chloe’s head had lay in her bunk little more than three hours and the lack of sleep was starting to take a toll on her usual friendly but stern demeanor. She was still dressed in her snow camo. She only had to exchange her slippers for boots before forcefully placing her hand back upon the biometric control panel and barking her name into the microphone. As if in fear the door slid open fast, and Colonel Rayne stepped out into the hallway, turned left and marched swiftly down the corridor toward central command.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I didn't do too much of anything today. Rest is good.

T'is a bit forced, but still like it a lot. Particularly the NTRO lines :D

Aaron - good to see you again! Sorry for the theme week mix up, but I hope you're still able to continue this somehow, as I am deeply, deeply intrigued.

Writebite - love the interpretation of the prompt! Great descriptions make that scene really come alive for me.

Watermark - I quite like this Sam fellow. Could have used him in a few offices I've worked in :P

Iron Bess - I quite hope the Ventii and Suntii are on their way. I like the sound of what they've do with the place!

Krystin - again, sorry for the theme mix up. And again, please find a way of continuing this! I am hooked.

Anonymous said...

After a good long day of working in the yard and then building shelves in the basement and then finishing off the Maple syrup in the evening I just haven't got the remaining brain cells to fictate. That being said I think I'll slink off till tomorrow and really have a crack at banging the keys *before* One thirty in the AM.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Ops! It appears I worte my peice but for got to post it! (You don't want to hear the names rachael is calling me... No actually she's rolling on the floor laughing - damn charcters! :}

Rachael rubs her hands in anticipation as her author draws upon her story to begin this week. He author smiles, deciding to step back in time to when Rachael was growing up.

Rachael’s Childhood
Chapter 1: Controls

“That our ship?” Rachael’s eyes widened at the sight of the sleek silver Concord that sat upon the Landing strip.

“Which one?” her father followed her line of sight and chuckled. “No no, that’s you’re Great-grandmother’s private vessel.”

“Well?” Rachael’s eyes scanned the starport. All the other vessels looked small compared to her Great-Grandmother’s. She didn’t want to be cooped up on a small vessel. “Which is it?”

“That one.” Her father pointed to a metal dome.

“That’s a ship?”

It certainly didn’t look like a ship to her four year old self. There were no wings, for one. It was a metal dome, sitting upon the tarmac. There were a couple small portal windows around the top. She half expected the top to open and reveal a telescope. It looked like an observatory that someone had pounded into the ground.

“Aye,” another man joined them. “That’s a Frisbee 100, best vessel for a Flora and Fauna team to have. Ye were almost born on this one.”

“I was?” Rachael turned to look up at Captain Robert.

“Oh aye,” the Captian nodded with a wink. “Ye mom was in labor the whole way down but she wouldn’t give up the controls. Said she’d land us herself.”

“Stop,” Rachael’s mother laughed. “I wasn’t even 5 mm dilated when landed.” She looked down at her daughter and tussled her hair. “Worry warts the both of them.”

Rachel grinned. “When I fly her?”

Marc said...

GZ - sounds like a plan.

Alternatively: slam back the maple syrup and let nature's sugar magic do its thing! :P

Cathryn - yes, actually posting your writing is a rather important step :P

Great scene, I quite like seeing this side of Rachael :)