I’m sure most of us have played this game at one time or another; usually under its one word or one sentence format. Given the unparalleled creative capital of this forum, I couldn’t imagine a group of more qualified players.

I’m therefore asking you to humor me, with a paragraph or two. The concept is simple. I’ll begin with an opening paragraph, and then anyone, who finds this project interesting,  is invited to contribute to the node with a paragraph of their own, allowing the story to continue. I’m frightfully curious to see if this gets anywhere. Aren’t you?!

The spirals of cigarette smoke absentmindedly sting the eyes. The distinctive click of the jukebox whirling to its end plunges the room into a hollow silence. A lifelessness wholly reflected by those in it. The music holds the same place as any activity in this dark abode; being nothing more than a means of escaping oneself. The drink, the conversation, the bare skin could all be found in other places, yet here these entities of flesh, bone and meat are gathered together in their misery. Despite this nocturnal rendez vous’s dilapidation, it is far from being empty. Its acolytes find themselves thrown about the room, some grunting for a drink at the bar, others entertaining themselves around the pool tables and dart boards, and then there are those that have voluntarily sought the shelter of anonymity that only the darkest corners of the establishment can provide.

Few women enter the door marked Dolls alone. The gaggle that entered observed this unwritten social code. Two groups of three pushed through the sagging door; two blondes, one real, one a product of a home kit. There were two brunettes, and a black haired woman whose hair brushed against the bit of bra strap I could see from my vantage point. The most intriguing woman had a shock of pink and green that lent welcome color to the otherwise drab facilities. She set her shapeless brown leather bag on the counter, reached inside, and swore when she was jostled from behind. I waited in line to wash my hands, edging aside so the natural blonde could pass. She was taller than I was, pretty in a common way, dressed like she was there to score. I gave her a conversational smile as my feet skidded across the gritty black and white tiles. Sweat clung to body parts along with second hand smoke and the yeasty scent of old beer. The pink and green teenager stepped aside. A shriek sliced the thick air after I pumped the empty soap dispenser. When I turned around I saw blood running down the black haired woman's forearm as she held it up, but nobody bent down to retrieve the switchblade that had clattered to the floor.

Ella Taggert was doing what she usually did on Saturday mornings - sitting out on her deck sipping a steamning cup of tea and watching the fog lift from the greenery around her - when she pondered getting her suit back on. It was hanging in the back of her closet next to her black party dress that she also hadn't worn in quite some time. She glanced down at her phone again, at that headline of that blog post again: "WHERE IS THE NIGHT RAVEN?" The thing is, she was almost totally bored with the whole super hero thing. Most people knew who she really was now, and, despite that catchy headline, most knew where she was, too. There were no more super villians. She and her cohorts had eliminated most major crime. She had an epiphany in 2013: fighting crime was like treating the symptoms and not the disease. And criminals weren't all bad. Most were just desperate, flawed people just as deserving of compassion as anybody else. They needed saving, too. Ella just couldn't do it anymore. So most of her social activity moved to social media. She had her Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram followers. Millions of them. She sighed as she checked them again. No, she wouldn't put the suit on, not that day. Because on that day there was still plenty of bad stuff going on in the world that she couldn't help. She was super strong, could fly, was almost indestructible, but she could do nothing about all the adultery, bigotry, abuse, racism, and misogyny in the world. She finally realized as she took another sip of tea why she hadn't gone out in the world as Night Raven in at least eight months: the real super villian in the world was actually human nature.

Changing human nature was going to be a real bitch, though. It would require some serious planning. Fortunately, she had set up a lab a month ago on the far end of the Island. So far there were some promising results. Test Subject 42 was no longer afraid of The Dolls, for instance, and Test Subject 45 no longer responded to reciprocal altruism. Soon, Ella, thought, she would be able to stop criminals by the thousands, but how to break it to the public? For that she'd need some real PR power. Something stronger than Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Instagram could provide.

After dropping the switchblade, she ran. Out of the seedy bar, away from the jukebox music jumble of faces and smells; she kept running, barefoot and pregnant, scared to the bone. She ran past eight streetlights and underneath one graffiti-covered bridge to the bay, her heart racing; her thoughts racing even faster...what if? What if...? As the sweat trickled down between her breasts, a light rain began falling, mixing with sudden tears that were a combination of terror and joy. She had escaped. Collapsing next to an upside down lifeguard boat, she lifted her face up for the first time in a long, long time, letting the rain wash everything back into the sand, the slim stretch of her childhood beach. She heard a voice, "All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well," as she drifted off into unprotected sleep.

She sluggishly awoke as Apollo’s arrows begrudgingly coaxed her eyes open. She continued to lay there; sprawled amidst the forget-me-nots and the overturned boat, captioned “Desiderius”. She gradually stood up and listlessly moved towards the latter, absentmindedly running her fingers along the cracked blue paint of its hull. It was strange that of all places, given everything that had happened she had ended up here. This was the place where it had all began, she thought, as she placed a hand on her swollen belly. Her escape had led her straight back to the beginning. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of branches breaking underfoot.

-“Did you really think we wouldn’t look for you here”. She spun around.




Ten minutes!

(It was her Mom, shouting, even though she was just downstairs)

I know, said Sara,  packing her bag.  Repacking actually, for the third time.   One big backpack for four nights, not that hard.

But she wanted to make sure she had some extra shirts and a blanket and well, ya know, stuff.    

Sara probably would have skipped drama camp this year,  but Amy was going, and she was her Bestie.  And Amy's mom was going to drive them to the college, which was cool because  A.   Her mom was cool and would stop and buy them coffee, and B  because it meant her mom was not driving them.

They're here!   

Her mom, shouting, not realizing that she was on the bottom step, covering her ears.

A quick hug and Sara was out the door out to the driveway,   Amy had her dark shades on and her headphones in.   Half a wave told her she was, in fact, awake.

Hey Sara, break a leg! 

Her mom, once more, yelling,  then covering her mouth, embarrased- obviously.

Sara looked down at her new prothesis and just shook her head.   

Yeah, she thought,  I'll do that.   Still, she waved goodbye and climbed in the car.  

Amy's Mom, who is so cool,  didn't say anything for a minute, then glanced at her in the rearview mirror.

Awkward,  right ?  They both laughed. 

Well, that turned out to be quite a restless night, full of odd dreams and images she felt should mean something. Perhaps she had been watching too many movies late at night or new episodes of Game of Thrones, or whatever that old zombie survival game her twin brother was obsessed with, even now, so many years later. She guessed that the nostalgia factor played a rather significant role, harkening back to a better time in their lives when their parents still were married and poor, but there was love. Nights when dinner consisted of SpaghettiOs and canned vegetables, applesauce made with cinnamon by their grandmother, in specially labeled jars. Homemade candles lit the small kitchen to save on electricity, although she and her twin brother didn't know that in those days. The one detail in the dreams and nightmares that really bothered her was the forget-me-nots and the name on the upside down boat. Her hand on the blue hull felt all too real and she hadn't mentioned any of this to her brother since she sensed his disquiet on the anniversary of that terrible night, which forever changed both of their lives. The monetary compensation was of little comfort, bordering on irritating, in monthly allotments that would continue in perpetuity.

Her twin brother looked up from his work, notes on the last patient. He sensed she was worrying about him but knew she wouldn't call. All the way across the entire fucking USA, forget about time zones. His sister, with her brown eyes to his blue, was troubled. The typical fifteen minutes between clients at the seventh rehab facility he'd worked at for the rich and famous made him tremble like the earthquakes that had become almost normal to an east coast boy who went west...he still felt like a boy, at this time of year, not the man who spent years in school like a robot. Never getting in trouble, never getting close to anyone. Damn her, poking him from a distance, with her shards of memories. Forget-me-nots and the upside down boat with blue, like his eyes, not hers. He had a strict policy of no interruptions between eight am and six pm. Unexpectedly, his receptionist tapped lightly on the door, signally something important.

The one time Mick took me pig-hunting was October before last, while the leaves turned, a couple weeks after Dad shot himself. While we waited through early morning on a platform in the tree canopy, Mick told me that you have to shit some ways away from where you're hunting, otherwise the pigs won't come near. I asked him if pigs eat meat, and he said pigs eat anything, so I asked him if pigs would eat a dead body. He just breathed white for a little bit and then put up his little tripod and shot some into the trees. On the drive home he talked about how many hours he worked as if it had something to do with me. He went straight up the stairs when we got home, and Mom watched him go up, and she touched my head and asked me, you didn't shoot any pigs? And I told her, not this time.



Forgive me for not following all the rules

He could feel Ella's (or was she Sara? Names were such a drag) eyes across that distance and knew, had she been present, they would have flashed a look that did not require a twin's mind to interpret, one that would have communicated to even the most casual of relations, why do you keep that receptionist on? and who the fuck is Mick?

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.