Here is my proposal.
I will write a short first part of a story, and below the story there will be a box. Anyone, after reading the part, can type in the box a following short part. If it is the only submission, it will go next, and if not, I will choose one for the story. If no one contributes that time around, I will either write another part or ask someone I know to. We can see how long and where the story goes.
I’ll write the beginning paragraphs of a few potential stories, and you can choose one to continue if you’re interested. So basically, the first person to submit here determines the whole story.
A ghostlike figure towers over me. The lamp slips out of my hands and the clattering on the ground rings around the cave.
“I will grant three wishes,” the genie booms. “First wish.”
I stand frozen, my mind racing.
“First wish! What is it?”
The genies in stories aren’t this pushy. I’d love to solve world peace, but I choke out, “Water.” With a flick of the hand, it conjures a tiny canteen. “What? That’s all?”
“Although it looks small, it will always have an ice-cold drink for you,” it says.
I take a few long sips, savoring the way it freezes my parched throat. Every time I think I’ve finished it, more and more comes. “Thank you,” I tell the genie.
“Second wish.” It isn’t very talkative.
“Food,” I say, feeling dumb that I didn’t include that in my first wish. A small bag appears and, sure enough, it never seems to be short of a variety of grains and fruits.
Finally, the chance I’ve been waiting for. “To go home.”
In the blink of an eye, the entire world around me flashes to another place. I look up, expecting to be lounging in my living room, but I’m not. I don’t know where I am. Some kind of town or something… I think those are buildings… but I’m more focused on the fact that the genie was a total rip-off. Before I can even take a step, a woman squints at me. “Ella?”
“No, I’m not Ella—” I begin, but she’s running toward me already.
“Ella!” She wraps me in a tight hug and looks me in the eye. “Welcome home.”
In real life, I can’t say a word without feeling like I’m going to faint. But music isn’t real life. At least, it doesn’t feel like it. When I trot through the clamorous New York City streets, I am invisible. When I lean against a building, open my guitar case, and dance my fingers across the strings, though, I simply can’t be ignored.
More people gather, their forever-on phones recording me as I crescendo into the pinnacle of my song. I fix my eyes on a crack in the sidewalk and crash my hand against the instrument, the final strum lingering in the air.
One person claps. Then two, three, twenty. I smile and stand in front of the applause. Once they clear, I go through the tips in my case. A few coins and bills, a chunk of bread that I sigh and toss away. And a folded piece of paper.
I do get the occasional note of encouragement, but I don’t remember seeing anyone put this in. I unfold the paper and read the note.
Meet me in this exact spot tomorrow at noon. Be there or everyone will know your secret.
Just get it over with, Brock thought. It should be so easy.
But no matter what he said, he could not bring himself to move the knife in his hand. The infant’s face, cheeks puffing in and out in sleep, was too innocent. Brock knew the consequences would be world-ending if the baby grew up, but wouldn’t it be the world’s fault for being so fragile that it can break from this little thing?
Brock stared at the baby for so long that it began to fidget and grunt. No, no. His eyes widened as it opened its eyes, looked at Brock for a second, and started screaming.
Unsure of what to do, Brock scooped up the baby and bounced it in his arms. “Shh…shh…it’s okay…you’re okay…” One thought pounded in his brain, over and over.
What am I doing?
Those are the three options. Now let’s set some rules…
- Please only submit a following part to the story. There is a space for comments below and no spam please.
- Submit using the box at the end of each post in this series. It makes things easier. Also, if you are submitting, say, a part 3, enter it in the box on the part 2 post, not the part 1 post.
- Keep it PG. No harsh language or PG-13+ scenes.
- NO racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.
- Length: A part can be as short as one sentence and as long as 800 words, but I’m not strict — 801 words is fine.
- Genre/style: Feel free to write in whatever style you want. You could even continue in a poem.
- Deadline: There is no set deadline, but if no one writes something within a week or two, I will write a part or ask someone I know to.
- For just the first submission: Please note whether you are following story 1, 2, or 3.