“The Playground” starter

This is story starter 3 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my playlist for “The Playground”:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=26624756&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“The Playground”

After three moves in nineteen months, Robbie was finally starting to enjoy life again.

The turn of seasons in Morsene sent red-tipped and golden leaves spiraling to earth in chaotic wonder. It happened in every town, every year, but this time Robbie found it fresh, exciting. The crisp air punched his lungs each morning as he stepped outside, a gentle reminder of creeping change. The last of the warmer winds were to be embraced, cherished, before they vanished forever.

Until spring, of course. But Robbie had no warm memories of spring to retreat to. Any pleasant thoughts he might once have fostered had been supplanted by multiple moves—twice in springtime—and constant rejection.

But autumn in Morsene was different.

Three months ago, his family had packed up yet again to move here, a place for which Robbie held little hope. But the town surprised him. Despite its size—under a thousand and then some—it won him over in a matter of days. More accurately, Trent won him over.

Trent was a dark-haired kid who looked surly but spoke gently and took to Robbie immediately. He showed him the best skateboard surfaces, bike paths and hideaways and introduced him to Derek, Jimmy and the few other boys his age. In all previous stops, Robbie hadn’t found anyone so welcoming.

When summer wound down and school began, the bike rides grew shorter and the gang ended up most evenings at the school playground after supper. After the smallest kids had gone to bed.

The boys enjoyed the playground more for the risks than anything; seeing who could climb the rock wall fastest and leap from the top the farthest; who could swing the merry-go-round hardest or, for that matter, hang off backwards longest without falling; who could bring the most smokes or cold ones from their father’s collection without getting caught.

Good times, finally. Even as a chill wiped out the last memories of summer, life for Robbie was getting better than he’d remembered it could be.

All that changed when the slide ate Jimmy.

[polldaddy poll=6562013]

Read “The Girl in the Raindrops” intro
Read “Mosley’s Lover” intro

“Mosley’s Lover” starter

This is story starter 2 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my playlist for “Mosley’s Lover”:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=107083&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“Mosley’s Lover”

I’m in love with a woman who loves the idea that I’m in love with her. She’s never seen love from a man before—real love, the only kind I know—at least, not directed at her.

Trouble is, she doesn’t like me much.

For years, we’ve shared a lot in common; she knows this, she isn’t blind to it. She enjoys our time we share, our activities together, our coffee breaks when I stare and talk of how I feel about her. She laughs and rolls her eyes, or plays with her earrings if she wants me to continue. But she never reciprocates.

I wish she wouldn’t be so damn honest.

[polldaddy poll=6562013]

Read “The Girl in the Raindrops” intro
Read “The Playground” intro

“The Girl in the Raindrops” starter

This is story starter 1 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my playlist for “The Girl in the Raindrops”:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=6395574&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“The Girl in the Raindrops”

Three years in a dry town is too long to survive. That’s what Stuart said when he packed his bags last summer in search of a better life.

To his credit, he’d lasted longer than other families in Franklin Falls. Most had left the second summer, with the remaining stragglers holding off ‘til another snowless winter.

As the bank accounts reflected darkening shades of red, Stuart told Amy that she was the only reason he hadn’t left with the rest. He had stayed to love her, to hold her, for nothing in return. But she was gone—far gone—and now, so was he.

Amy couldn’t leave. Franklin Falls was where their baby was born; where their baby had died.

Where the rain had taken her.

[polldaddy poll=6562013]

Read “Mosley’s Lover” intro
Read “The Playground” intro

“When God is No Longer” starter

This is story starter 3 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my playlist for “When God is No Longer”:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=29185894&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“When God is No Longer”

They cleared the bodies once, in the beginning.

Back when it mattered.

Two by two the people came, plugging in and falling, bodies collapsing to the ground to the tune of thudding mackerel.

The transfer had begun. It was more than the next step. It was the New Existence.


The masses embraced it, the religious feared it. But all were intrigued.

Families fought over living wills as the husks withered. Priests pulled triggers as their congregations shriveled away. Children and parents plugged in together, laughing or crying as the prongs touched the brain.

The fattest capitalists watched from their castles, squeezing until their dwindling power suffocated completely. On that day they realized that all their schemes had turned to dust, all their gold to millstones. All that remained was submission to the great collective, the expanding sac of human consciousness.

The new power.

After you vote, leave a comment below: which story are you most looking forward to, and why?

[polldaddy poll=6358496]

Read “Scars” intro
Read “The Sketch” intro

“The Sketch” starter

This is story starter 2 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my playlist for “The Sketch”:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=33942372&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“The Sketch”

Two weeks ago, she had been beautiful. Shapely figure from tip to hips. Bright smile, and magnetic. Long hair splashing past her shoulders and stopping just shy of the top of her breasts.

Two weeks ago, she had been sunning herself on a foreign beach with friends, placing bets on who could draw the most attention. The competition had been close, but was about to turn as her friend reached for the fastener on her bikini top. Before her friend could undo it, though, a young man—not much older than they—approached Jennifer.

He handed her a sheet of paper and spoke briefly. “Something to remember your beauty when it fades.”

She slapped him, mostly to save face in front of her friends, but partly because she truly did take offense. He left without another word, derided by her friends as he went.

The paper was cool on her fingers, a brief respite in the hot sun. She turned it over and gasped. The sheet contained a simple charcoal sketch, a black and white imprint of herself stretched along her beach chair, warming in the sun. The image was stunning, more beautiful even than any photograph of herself she’d seen.

For a moment, she almost wished she hadn’t slapped him.

(Her friends agreed, Jennifer had won the bet.)

After you vote, leave a comment below: which story are you most looking forward to, and why?

[polldaddy poll=6358496]

Read “Scars” intro
Read “When God is No Longer” intro

“Scars” starter

This is story starter 1 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

Sample of my “Scars” playlist:

[gigya src=”http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”250″ height=”40″ flashvars=”hostname=cowbell.grooveshark.com&songIDs=30103850&style=metal&p=0″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”window”]

“Scars”

Morning. Time to check.

Donny rolled out of bed and bee-lined for the bathroom. He wasn’t normally an early riser, but he couldn’t sleep in today.

He flicked the switch and winced as the blaring light attacked. Shuttered his eyes, then blinked, turned to the mirror. Combed his hair back with a hand and leaned toward himself.

The red crescent still hung above his right eyebrow.

He slid his hand across his left arm from wrist to inner elbow, brushing back the hair like wheat in a windstorm. The snake-like mark that stretched around his arm looked a little longer this morning.

Inhale.

After you vote, leave a comment below: which story are you most looking forward to, and why?

[polldaddy poll=6358496]

Read “The Sketch” intro
Read “When God is No Longer” intro

“Life in Consequence” starter

This is story starter 3 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

You may vote once every 6 hours.

“Life in Consequence”

Corban parked his quad, dismounted, and drew in a long breath of air. Even with the smog of motor oil and exhaust clinging to his nostrils, he could smell the air that awaited him in the jungle mere metres away. Despite the distance, he could tell that the air was as fresh as the day he discovered it, untainted by man or beast for most of the last 136 years.

For a moment as he stepped over the threshold from dry sand to lush garden, he caught a scent like Ella’s perfume drifting from one of the thousand plant species that lay before him. He had no idea which it was–never cared enough to ask–but she’d been wearing it a week ago when he left her and his unexpected child behind.

[polldaddy poll=6249060]

Read “Timeout of Mind” intro

Read “The Eight Fears of Griffin Magrue” intro

“The Eight Fears of Griffin Magrue” starter

This is story starter 2 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

You may vote once every 6 hours.

“The Eight Fears of Griffin Magrue”

The first time I died, my mother scolded me for being so foolish.

“How many times have I told you not to play by the river?” she said after they’d pumped the water from my lungs. “You’re grounded, mister.”

It wasn’t her warning that kept me from going back, but the terror I felt as my last breath bubbled away.

The second time was less frightening, but more painful. As I fell from the towering tree fort, I remember thinking that at least the impact should take me before I felt anything.

I was wrong.

[polldaddy poll=6249060]

Read “Timeout of Mind” intro

Read “Life in Consequence” intro

“Timeout of Mind” starter

This is story starter 1 of 3 for this week’s Write Off.

Once you have read all three intros, please vote for the story you’d like me to finish next week. Thanks!

You may vote once every 6 hours.

“Timeout of Mind”

There was no way in hell Little Petey was coming out of his hiding place.

Helga, the blonde-haired babysitter his parents had hired on a neighbour’s recommendation, had called his name three times since his sister’s timeout ended. Each time, Little Petey clamped his lips together more tightly, determined to avoid capture.

Little Petey would play this game with his parents on occasion. They would call, he would hide, they would get more agitated. At four, Little Petey was beginning to understand it wasn’t a game to them, evidenced by the increase in severity of the punishments after they found him. The hiding part was still fun, but he was starting to notice a pattern with what happened afterward.

With Helga, however, Little Petey knew clearly this was no game.

He was hiding in the kitchen, in the drawer beneath the oven where most people kept their pans. His mother wasn’t most people, but how would any babysitter know? From where he lay, Little Petey could see most of the kitchen perfectly–the bottom half, anyway–and what he saw had terrified him.

His sister, Rebecca–older by three years–walked into the kitchen with the babysitter. Helga withdrew a small folded stool from her backpack and set it up on the kitchen floor. As Rebecca sat down, the chair seemed to yawn from the center outward, unleashing a haze like the heat of dead summer that wrapped around the girl and pulled her in until she disappeared. Not entirely disappeared–more like the chair sucked a copy of her inside itself, leaving a quivering shell behind. Little Petey watched in horrified silence, hardly aware of the mess forming in his shorts.

Helga pulled a timer from her pocket, pressed some buttons, and walked out of the room.

[polldaddy poll=6249060]

Read “The Eight Fears of Griffin Magrue” intro

Read “Life in Consequence” intro