Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#14 Story: Through the howling wind

Hey Guys,

Here's the first story. Hope you enjoy! I didn't include the details like the poptarts etc because the plot line just kind of took over, I had fun writing this. Hope you all enjoy!

The prompt:
Proposed Plot Line: You are camping with friends in rugged terrain in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization. After the first night you wake up and everyone is gone. Apart from a box of Poptarts and 3 litres of Iced Tea, all of you and your friends possessions are gone (including maps needed for leaving). Searching around the campsite you find only a few signs of struggle, some drops of blood, and also some very odd green wool unlike from any Australian animal you would recognize. You realize this is not a joke. You start to hear an unnatural screeching sound about 600 metres away. What do you do?

The story:

I wasn't quite sure what woke me up. Perhaps it was the rustling leaves, or the howling wind. Except, those are sounds that frequent the outdoors, a sweet offer of soothing change instead of banal city noises, the screech of tires and rushed rumble of trams that I so hated.

I blinked slowly at the tent roof, colourless in the night. Shivering, I reached for my jumper, lying precariously at the end of my sleeping bag. Sleep still muddled my thoughts and I had to sit still for a moment before the notion clicked into my mind: I was alone. Shell, my best friend, wasn’t lying beside me, wasn’t muttering in her sleep as usual. Nor was she there to safe guard our tent, to be my companion. She had left me.

I crawled towards the opening and searched in blindness for the zipper. I was filled with a sudden jolt of fear, like the feeling you get when you miss a step, or when you’ve forgotten something important, that urged me out of the tent with a rush of adrenaline, fumbling in the dark to stand outside. There was no noise, no quiet breathing of the boys who we’d left asleep by the campfire, tired after a day of laughter and hiking. The other tent, where Lucy and Dan had fallen asleep, was caved in, the centre pole ripped out. I took a shaky breath, frozen, my limbs tortured in immobile helplessness.

“Shell? I whispered. “Shell? Michelle!” I yelled, my shaky voice not carrying far at all. Then I was back to a soft murmur, “Where is everyone?”

This had to be some sick joke. A set up. A reality TV show. Yet I couldn’t picture any of my friends doing this to me. Not to the girl that is afraid of everything, who relies on her friends more than she can depend on herself. The girl only good in support.* I felt the tears welling up and my throat tightening as I moved around. I was a lost deer, separated from her family. Alone, confused, and scared. My chest was hurting because I was forgetting to breath. I stumbled around, checking for a sign, a note; perhaps they had gone on a midnight stroll, and had wanted to let me sleep.

My eyes adjusted to the night as I circled the campfire, allowing myself to notice the footprint mark in the ash of our smouldering fire pit, and the coal scattered around as if someone had been dragged through it, trailing ash behind them. My eyes were widening, I became frantic. Shell’s sleeping bag was half of our tent, unnoticed by my blind eyes only moments before, but now I could picture her being dragged out, clutching onto her sleeping bag as the only available material before it was pried out of her weak grip.

I walked slowly in the direction of the strewn coal, out of our small clearing. My eyes and legs seeming to be the only functioning part of my body. Was the grass flatter here, as though someone had been dragged along it, or was my mind searching desperately for bizarre scenarios, instead of just finding reasonable, simple answers for my friend’s disappearances? I’d stopped on the flattened grass, one hand up to my mouth, when my gaze fall on the trees lining out campsite. It was there, when I saw it. Green wool. From Shell’s jumper. My knees crumbled, my head was limp as I struggled with myself, fighting the urges to scream wildly and helplessly, to tremor in despair.

A horrible, goose bump inducing scream pierced the night. But it was ephemeral, and soon the darkness was devoid of any abnormal noises, it was just me, alone with the leaves rustling and the wind howling. I sat up, staring at the colourless tent walls, my breathing ragged. Shell turned to me, still safe under her sleeping bag. “Bad dream?” she asked sleepily.

*Quote from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead


Richard said...

Bravo Liv well done, great work !
small typo here 'half of our tent' missing 'out' I suspect

Anonymous said...

Such good writing to end with "it was all a dream" ending. I'd like to see what you can up with. Really leave your readers gobsmacked. :) Good work, keep it up.

Robin L. Harwood said...

Yes good writing Liiv but you must be using an American spellchecker. Tire is spelt Tyre here in Australia. Otherwise it is great and suspenseful. Am looking forward to more of Silver's adventures in Europe.

Robin in Tassie

Anonymous said...

Hi Liv,

Wow, pretty cool and elegantly written. All that reading must have given you the special ability to write and such :P . Shell wearing a green woolen jumper? Tsk Tsk where is that girls fashion sense. So shattered you didn’t include poptarts. I choose to believe that if the story had have gone one sentence further, your friend would have been like “Bad dream Liv?, That’s ok ill make you some poptarts and iced tea”

Sorry to hear about your stair fall. 10 stairs? That is a rather keen quantity of stairs to be falling down. If I was falling down some stairs and got past say, six, id start to get pretty worried. By stair number eight I’d be weighing up the pros and cons of electric vs manual wheelchairs and by ten id be considering styles of coffin. But you survived unscathed! Which is great. You should goto cafepress and make yourself a t-shirt with the text “I survived a double figure stair fall in 09” and everyone who sees you wearing that shirt will be like wow, that’s amazing. It is so too bad you can’t make a Youtube video out of it… Unless of course you happened to be randomly filming yourself walking down the stairs?


jasonmcgillan said...

Very good writing. Your style is quite individual. As a writer (I'm 60 thousand words into my own collaborative novel) I understand how hard it is sometimes to stay away from cliches such as the "it was all a dream" ending, but I must be honest and say that this was a little dissapointing in your story.

Good work though! :D Want to write a collaborative novel? :P

Liv =] said...

I know, I had to cringe a little when I ended it like that, but as a short story, the way it was going I couldn't see an ending anytime soon, and being close to 12am, it seemed like the easy way out :P. I was getting way too into it lol, it had to stop.

And thanks, sure why not? :P

jasonmcgillan said...

Argh I hate having to do stuff like that. I was writing a chapter last month and the deadline approached just as I was about to reveal an important plot point (that would have taken some time). Ended up having to cut it short on a stupid lame piece of dialogue. Nasty.

Anyway... seriously? I was only joking but if you'd be up for... why not? I love working with other young people.

Liv =] said...

Haha well would it be for fun or for reals?

jasonmcgillan said...

Well a friend of mine recently told me "whenever you do something it should always be in order to gain some pleasure from the process." As opposed to, say, writing a novel purely in the hope of getting it published and making money from it. So whenever I write, I always try to write "for fun".

When you say "for reals"... I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I assume you're talking about getting it published etc. etc. If that's the case, I propose we start writing "for fun" and then maybe if it takes us somewhere we can devlop it "for reals"...?

:P sorry to quote your terminology that much... didn't mean to sound condescending.

Liv =] said...

Sorry sometimes I revert back to internet lingo (which generally doesn't make sense).

But sure, It would be nice to toss around ideas =]. The problem is that in two days I return to the life of a Year 12 student, but it would be nice to have a side project (especially if it's writing)

jasonmcgillan said...

Yer I know what you mean. When I did year 12 last year I started a project with a friend writing a R&G spin-off tv-show (it wasn't as lame as it sounds :P) which consumed way too many study hours. Plus I was in NSW so I had the HSC which I'm told is tougher than the vic system [comment?].

but sounds good. Brainstorming session?

Anyway before we do I should probably tell you some more about me so you know I'm not some creepy net-bound stalker weirdo :P

You can find me on facebook when your ready. Keep in mind this is not my real name.... use my twitter name.

jasonmcgillan said...

*when you search for me, that is