Read, Write, Pass
During the MA Professional Writing ‘Novel’ module, we created a selection of collaborative stories. We started, as you’d expect, with a beginning, then a middle, followed by an end (not forgetting the inciting incident, of course); we threw in a timer for some added pressure and learned what happened when seven writers try to write one story. Genius or nonsense? You decide. We certainly had fun and managed to write seven stories in just under an hour. Here is the fifth one.
Part five: Grandma Sent Me
I couldn’t find my socks that morning. Not a matching pair. Not any pair. Mother always insisted on matching socks, clean clothes…proper-ness. ‘What if you were in an accident?’ She’d say. Although I never found that a just reason to wear matching socks. Still, I found myself frantically searching for a pair, rifling through drawers. Mandy assured me I won’t need them where we’re going. But I want them.
Suddenly, the lights went out.
‘God, not that bloody generator again,’ Evie said to the black room. ‘I’ll never find the bloody socks now. Unless that light comes back, I’m an embarrassment to my mother waiting to happen.
‘You alright up there, Evie?’ the floor spoke. ‘Your taxi’s here and he says he’s not waiting. There’s a storm coming and he wants to get off the streets.
Flashing lightning assaulted her eyes and she was startled into caution. Struggling the suitcase off the bed and and grabbing her bag, she fumbled her way out of the room.
Evie ran down the stairs to the waiting taxi.
‘Where are you socks?’ asked Mandy, who was already waiting in the taxi.
‘Fuck the socks. You said I won’t need them anyway.’
‘Did you lock the door?’
‘No! Fuck. No!’ Evie was beginning to panic.
‘It’s alright,’ shouted Grandma, ‘I’m not coming with you. I’ll make sure that I lock the door and draw he shutters. I’m sure I’ll be safe. I wouldn’t want to go where you’re going anyway.’
Evie and Mandy shrugged ad stared at each other. They couldn’t make her come with them. She was an adult, after all.
‘Where to, ladies?’ asked the taxi driver.
‘Sylo B,’ said Mandy.
‘Bloody hell! What are you going there for? I’ll need double fare to go there. If I’d have known that was where you were heading, I wouldn’t have come.
‘Will you take us or not?’ asked Evie. ‘Time is running out.’
‘Okay, okay. Don’t get your pretty little panties in a twist.’
The taxi driver seemed to take on a sinister appearance now. All was not what it seemed to be…
There was a knock on the passenger-side window. Evie looked out and saw Rodolfo looking panic stricken. She wound down the window.
‘What are you two doing in there with that maniac? You need to get out. Now.’
Evie tried the door but it wouldn’t open. She leaned out the window and started to struggle out. The taxi rolled forward. Evie was halfway out of the window when Rodolfo pulled her free. Mandy pushed the bags out of the window and they crashed to the floor as the taxi sped off.
‘Follow the taxi,’ yelled Mandy from the window. ‘I’ll meet you at Sylo B. I’ll get there whatever happens.’
Evie and Rodolfo looked on in dismay as Mandy’s panicked face disappeared down the road.
‘It’s alright Evie,’ said Rodolfo, ‘I’ve got the transportation device with me. Hold on and I’ll ask Jed to transport us to Sylo B. We can get there before them and be waiting for the taxi when it arrives.’
‘That’s if they arrive,’ said Evie.
Rodolfo held Evie’s hand and spoke briefly into the device in his other hand. A flash of light and an uncomfortable stretching stayed with Evie during the five minute transportation. Finally, the world stopped spinning and Sylo B came into focus. Rodolfo began to immediately run towards it but Evie stood still. ‘Come on Evie. We haven’t got long left!’
‘I have to wait for Mandy!’
‘She’s not coming. She’ll be halfway to Sylo F by now.’
‘Why do you think I told you to get out of the taxi? Didn’t your gran tell you never to get into taxis?’
‘No…’ the realisation dawned on her face. ‘Not Grandma.’
‘I’m sorry but Mandy is not coming and we are going to die out here if we don’t get inside.’
‘But Grandma wanted us to die… Wants to die herself. How could she not have told me she’s a doomer? All these lies about surviving the catastrophe and she wanted us all to die. Thank God you were there.’
Rodolfo steered Evie into the Sylo as she threw one last glance at the constantly striking lightning. Mandy was gone, and there was nothing she could do about it.
by Alison Frater, Yage Nieuwmeijer, Harry Webster, Alex Mawson-Harris, Evelyn Gascoyne, Nicki Wheeler and Amy Lilwall