The object of this exercise is to create a short story from a multitude of authors in a semi-fractured style. Write as much or as little as you like to take the original storyline and add your own take on the next events. Copy and Paste the previous chapters and then add your own. Label your chapter number and your name/moniker at the top and then tag 2 people to pass it on to, for them to continue the story and see how it can develop through those different paths. Do NOT tag it back to any previous author of your story’s chapters.
Chapter 1- by Mookie
It is summertime in the middle of the day. Moms and dads are at work, so my friend Jay and I, having nothing better to do, go down into the ravine behind my house. We have decided that today we will build a small fort and a campsite we can call our own. This small stretch of creeks running through the woods in the dead center of our town forms our own wilderness frontier.
We set to the task of grabbing fallen branches and sticks to create the walls of our fort at the base of a hill. While Jay begins construction on these walls, I move to my own little task of creating a dam in the creek that runs through this section of the woods. An older creekbed that is usually dry, except for when the rain comes, has a variety of large rocks and broken concrete. These will be the materials for damming the creek up and creating a small ponding next to our campsite. Back and forth I lug rock after rock and concrete chunks as well. Once I feel I have a sufficient amount of rocks and concrete, I begin to set them into the small and shallow running stream. Soon the water level begins to rise and expand outward away from the bank, as I choke off the streams natural flow. As with any 10 year old, seeing the fruits of my labors, even in the early stages, makes me feel like a god in my own small world. By late afternoon we expect to have a sheltered fort, a bridge over the creek, a pooling of water to soak our feet in, or to use to put out the campfires we set from time to time when our parents don’t realize we’ve stolen a box of matches or a lighter. We even have a designated circle of rocks for our campfire along with some wood, twigs and dead leaves to fuel the fire.
While pushing through some high brush in search for more wood, we spook a doe. She runs off, along the creek, and with a graceful leap she jumps down into a culvert pit, and into the dark tunnel that goes underneath a neighboring road that runs along the top of the east end of the ravine. We followed her to see just where she went. But when we got to the tunnel, we were spooked. Rumors of the tunnel being the spot for Satan Worshippers abound through our heads. This was the one place we had never dared to venture into. Graffiti was scrawled all around the tunnels entrance on the concrete exterior. Older kids had scared us with stories of animal sacrifices, complete with evidence of blood soaked walls that lay within the interior of the tunnel. We look down to one corner and see some scattered small bones, which only further reinforced the validity of these rumors. Then suddenly out of nowhere the doe came running back out the tunnel toward us, veering away as she moved past us, a wild look in her eyes. What had caused her to be so scared and willing to run back in our direction? We had neither heard nor seen anything that might represent danger. The adventure in our little stretch of frontier wilderness was only beginning…
Chapter 2 by Renaissance Guy
“Do you want to go in?” asked Jay with a quiver in his voice.
“Maybe. If you do,” I answered.
“My cousin knew somebody who went in there. He was never heard from again.”
“That’s baloney!” I replied. “It’s just a dumb, ol’ cave.”
“Then you go in first,” Jay suggested.
What to do? Now that I had minimalized the dangers of the cave, I couldn’t show any fear. I’d look like a chicken for sure. Then it dawned on me. “It’s dark in there. We’ll need flashlights. Let’s come back another time with flashlights, so that we can see inside it.”
How could I have known that Jay had come prepared? Out of his pocket he produced not one, but two, flashlights. “Here you go,” he said. “Lead the way.”
I turned on the flashlight and pointed it into the cave. I swirled it around a bit to see if anything hideous was visible. Nothing at all but bare rock walls. Visions of human skeletons and bloody knives zoomed through my mind. I knew that I had to stop thinking and just move forward.
With Jay close at my heels I inched my way in. Drat! Not too far in there was a bend. It was impossible to see around it. My mind went frantic again: Perhaps this is the chamber of death. Perhaps I’ve seen Mom and Dad for the last time. “Hey, Jay,” I said, “I think that I should be heading home. My parents will wonder where I am if I stay gone too long.”
Jay didn’t answer. I turned around and shrieked–almost like a girl. Where was he?
Chapter 3 by Jay Burns
The sound emitting from mouth didn't sound like my own as it echoed through the tunnel. If Jay wanted to scare me his stunt had worked. I was petrified. My mind was racing with the possibilities that could have befallen my friend. Or worse what was about to happen to me. There I stood with the flashlight staring off into the darkness, lighting only a few feet in front of my path until the darkness swallowed it up. Boy these sure are cheap flashlights I thought. Then right on cue as if taking offense to my thought the flashlight flickered and went out.
I was now in full panic. I called out to Jay. I could hear an answer, but the sheer volume of his scream echoing off the concrete walls reverberated the words out of comprehension. I turned on my heels and ran in the direction I had come. I was feeling along the wall as I ran. It was cold and wet against my fingers. Just the feeling sent chills through my already terrified young body. I was running with all my might when suddenly my fingers could no longer feel the wall. Now I was longing for that slimy cold concrete. I felt lost in the middle of this tunnel, but I knew I was moving in the right direction. I must have hit the bend in the tunnel.
The sharp pain in my legs let me know that I had run into something. It was only about knee high, just enough to send me sailing through the air. I was screaming as I flew but I wasn't alone. I could hear Jay's familiar scream too. I couldn't believe it. I had tripped over Jay as he sat cowering in the tunnel. I knew the landing was going to hurt. Instinctively I tried to brace myself with my hands as I hit the ground, but it wasn't enough. My face skidded along the floor of the tunnel, and the water, which runs no more than an inch deep, was rushing into my mouth and up my nose. Close your mouth I thought to myself. During the fall the flashlight had come out of my hand and was clanking along the tunnel. Apparently, the jarring was enough to bring the dying batteries back to life and once again I could see a few feet.
Without missing a beat I was back on my feet running for the entrance which was now visible. I could hear footsteps splashing in the water right behind me. I thought it was Jay, but how could I be certain. All I could think of was that I had to out run whoever was chasing me. It wasn't long before we had reached the safety of the daylight. I could hear Jay laughing behind me, and soon we were both standing outside the tunnel bent over laughing and trying to catch our breath.
Nothing needed to be said. We had both been scared. There was no denying it. I was bent over gasping for air when I saw it. Jay's shoes were covered in something red. There were little drops of red on the bottoms of his jeans. I looked him square in the eye and could see only dread on his face. He was staring at me. Not really me, but my shirt. As I looked down, I understood the look. I was covered head to toe in what ever is on Jays shoes.
Don't let your mind go there I thought. It can't be true, but what else can it be. We didn't talk as we walked the few blocks back to our homes which butted right up against the ravine. How am I going to explain ruining my clothes? What was really going on in that tunnel? If there was something there, are they going to come after me?
The wrath of my father wasn't as bad as anticipated. For some reason I really thought he would one day have enough and kill me. Off to bed without dinner was punishment for ruining nearly new jeans and t-shirt. Not fun, but I knew that my mother would crack at the thought of her son starving to death, and would bring a plate to my room. It didn't matter. I wanted to be alone, and I certainly wasn't hungry.
As I lay in bed that night once again in the darkness I knew that if I lived through the night I was going to have to talk to Jay. I had a plan.
Ch 4 by Becky
Never had the night seemed so long and so dark. I trembled at every creak and groan. Sure, it was probably just the house settling, or the tree outside my window, but then again, maybe the tree branches were creaking under the weight of some creature from the tunnel. I shut my eyes, imagining a dark shadow clinging to the limbs and slowly, stealthily inching up towards my window.
Suddenly, there was a rattling sound at my window. My eyes flew open and I cowered in my bed, pulling the covers up to my chin. It was a miracle I didn’t wet the bed. As I strained to see what was coming for me, I discerned a perfectly normal, human hand. After breathing a sigh of relief, I got out of bed and walked to the window to see who had dared the climb. I had a pretty good idea.
“Jay!” I hissed quietly, after opening the window to let him in. “What are you doing here? My mom or dad could come in any moment!”
“We’ll hear them in time and I’ll hide under the bed,” Jay declared, with the easy confidence only an eight-year-old can possess.
“Cool,” I said, though it was probably not going to be cool. If we got caught, who’d be left holding the bag? Certainly not Jay, whose parents tended to be a lot more relaxed about things than mine ever were. I dismissed it from my mind, however, with the usual I’ll-deal-with-it-when-it-happens attitude I generally adopted.
“So I was thinking about the tunnel,” Jay said. “What do you suppose was in there? All that blood…I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about it. Should we tell our parents?”
“I don’t know what it was,” I replied. “But I think we should find out first. Then we tell our parents—or the cops. I’ve got an idea.”
“Yeah. Like I said, I think we need to go back—but this time with reinforcements. Maybe advance reinforcements,” I suggested casually, hoping Jay couldn’t see how much I didn’t want to go back there.
“Advance reinforcements?” Jay’s brow wrinkled. “I know we can pretty much get Becky and Miah to do whatever we say, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea. We still don’t know what is in there.”
Annoyed (though also secretly relieved) at Jay’s note of reason, I waved my hand airily and said, “Oh come on. Whatever’s in there couldn’t take on all four of us. With all of us and better flashlights, we’ll be able to light up the whole tunnel and see each other, even with the bend. We can each stand at one end and send them in partway, so they can still see us and see each other. Then we can see what is actually in there, and fight it, if there’s even anything to actually fight. I’m sure there are more of us.”
I eyed him to see if this would pass, or if he would back down first. Unfortunately for me, Jay’s spirit rose to the challenge. “Sure, and if we do have to fight, since we’ll all be in sight of at least one other person, we can warn each other.”
“Just let me get the flashlights this time,” I suggested. “Yours suck. And bring Miah with you tomorrow--I’ll talk Becky into coming too.”
“OK,” he replied. “Listen, I gotta get home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“See ya,” I said as I watched him climb out the window and inch back along the tree branch. I laid back down in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking. I couldn’t believe he seemed so eager to go back when I was terrified. Now of course, I could never show him I was scared, but did he have to go along so easily? Once again, I was stuck because he called my bluff. Dreading the prospect of the next day, I was sure I’d never get to sleep, but I guess I did because next thing I knew it was morning. Now all I had to do was find some flashlights and talk my sister into doing something stupid.
I tag Dani & the Black Sentinel.
The Great Hunt of 2018
5 weeks ago