Read, Write, Pass – Part two: the hypergraph


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. This is the second part of this collaboration. Here is the first one.


Part two: the hypergraph


Lying entwined in each others’ arms, deep longing stares and passionate kisses, Marianna and Antoine retrace their first steps. They remember each others’ cheek bones, each others’ hips, the feel of each others’ fingertips. Marianne and Antoine let go of themselves and enter each other, inhabiting every part of the other, every part of them. 

            The image glitches. Fluttering pixels and distorted sound. In a second it works again and she watches and retraces, tangling her consciousness with the hypergraph. Down the corridor, a door slams and it shakes her apartment. The image flickers. She waits, counting down from ten in her head before deciding that it’s gone. She doesn’t take the mask off. Not even as somebody bashes on her door calling, ‘Power’s off!’

            Abandoning her attempt to get the hypergraph to take her back to Marianne and Antoine’s passion, she gets down on all fours to feel under the bed for the candles. Reaching her hand along the slimy Lino, she finds the box she was looking for. As she drags it out, she feels a pain shoot up her back. 


‘You okay in there?’ There was a knock on the door just as the hypergraph flickered back into life bringing, what is clearly, a climactic moment for the lovers back to the screen. 

‘Arrggh, arrggh!’ she says as she hears footsteps receding.

‘No need to go in there,’ the voice says. ‘They’re obviously enjoying the dark.’

She huddles her posture, trying to manoeuvre her knees back to the box while limiting the pain that felt like a million electric shocks. Thrusting a candle between her knees, she manages to strike a match and light it. Leaning against the side of the bed, she tries to reach upwards to grab the place it into the holder, but manages instead to throw it onto the bed. She watches in horror as it blows up into a massive inferno.

As the crowd looks at the burnt remains, the voice announces that this scene has been preserved for posterity to act as a warning and a reminder of the bravery shown by the early pioneers of the hypergraph and the pain box. The voice goes on to describe how the story of Marianne and Antoine, although tragic, is really what saved humanity at that time, and forms the basis of the building blocks of modern society. Since that incident, candles have been outlawed and are regarded as one of the most dangerous things known to man. Sales of the hypergraph have grown exponentially and, as you know, everyone has their own portable pain box now. This couldn’t have happened without Marianne and Antoine. And now, let’s move along to the next exhibit which shows Fontana Bass and Edmund the Man Mountain in their search for… Let’s move along now, please.  

by Alison Frater, Yage Nieuwmeijer, Harry Webster, Alex Mawson-Harris, Evelyn Gascoyne, Nicki Wheeler and Amy Lilwall