Sunday, April 26, 2015

Survivor

Betelgeuse 5

“I refuse to sink” read the tattoo on her chest. Decades of wars and narrow escapes turned her into a survivor. Yet, she knew. The capsule injected under her skin was her anchor. 

As a child, she disappeared for a week, to her parents’ frantic despair. When she returned, the stories of strange looking beings with oddly shaped eyes and white skin were hurriedly dismissed. 

When they finally came back for the data in the capsule, she smiled. That was the moment she had lived for. She asked them “take me with you” and they did. She’s over 250 today.
100 Word Stories (Prompt: anchor)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The God of Boredom

H220

Against his will, he had just been promoted from a minor deity to a major god. They told him that people were always bored nowadays, so being the God of Boredom would be good. He knew why he was bored. It was because Patrice, his neighbor, had stolen his favorite book, the one about minor deities. He hated it when people messed around with his things. Could he become the God of Hatred? Noooo! He was stuck with boredom now. That’s why, before promoting anyone, the High Council of Gods should offer options! Free will and all that? Gods… Pfft.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pan

BCC

Frying pan in hand, Linda looked outside. Tony was late; her darling husband who swore to wed her for better or for worse and all that crap, until... She waited for hours and hours.

When Margaret, the owner of the house, arrived, Linda gave her the pan treatment first.

The problem was that Tony had years of experience. He entered the house through the back and… Let’s say Linda’s life suffered a slight rearrangement and there it was… till death do us part.

Frying pan in hand, Tony thought “amazing how easy it was to solve two problems at once”.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pen

Betelgeuse 5

“When we were kids, we had pen-pals. This was when people used pens and paper. To open the mailbox and find a letter from some exotic location was beyond words. Sometimes, we received letters from places we had never heard of. We would dream of going there to meet our new friends!”
The kids looked at their great-grandfather, a puzzled look in their eyes. “Is that why you got stuck up here in Colony800?”
The old man sighed. How could he explain that there had been a life before the Colonies, a life at a place everyone called “the World”?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen

Roche

... at Roche (click for full text).


This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc. website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Correct/Connect

BCC

The identification of that mysterious liquid recovered from the landing site was correct. At first, no one believed Professor Grant. Then, when the matter started to break and beautiful blue lights fought their way out of the vials, everyone panicked. They called him back to a frantic lab. “What should we do?” they asked. The Professor knew there was nothing to be done. “Seal the base. Let’s hope for the best.” It took them a long time to connect the dots and find a way out. Many were left behind… fatally. However, the blue planet continued to be beautifully blue.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Paint

Cica Ghost - LEA


Bits of paint came off the wall as Tim scratched it with his only nail. All the others had been chopped off by that wretched machine at the factory, along with two-thirds of the fingers they were attached to. That didn’t bother him though. He got used to it. He did miss his thumb. He enjoyed going thumbs-up, for some reason. The remaining intact finger was an index; it was useful for pointing, granted. However, the really big problem was not having a middle finger. He felt like his ability to… express himself had been hopelessly destroyed because of that.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

South

Santaurio

“South...?” the man said, but Peter’s sense of orientation relied much more on pointing and showing the way than cryptic instructions like North or South.
“Thank you,” he replied, trying to look savvy in the secret ways of… finding the way.
He walked aimlessly through white aisles, past the milk and butter shelves, the yogurts and some mysterious small bottles announcing they’d make anyone’s lazy intestines work just fine.
“South, huh? Why is it always so difficult to find someone who can give a clear, objective reply to a clear, objective question? Where are the bodies? It seems simple enough.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Trench

Collins Land

Words trenched into the stone. They could be seen clearly, even forty years later. The excitement of revisiting this secret place made him recall the pact of silence with his sister. He knelt to greet her. Her blond hair had grown thin. “I came back.” She smiled continuously, half of her teeth missing. “Yes, they don’t know you’re here. They never will.” As he slid the stone back in place to hide the entrance to the cave, he read those words one last time. “I hate you.” He had written them himself with great effort back when he was ten.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

After

Tierra de Fuego

After dark, evil spirits haunted the town for weeks. “A warning against nuclear tests,” old people said. The Mayor called in all sorts of experts to solve the problem, to no avail. One day, a man showed up, claiming he could end the torture. He had a jar. “It’s magic,” he said. Everyone went home and waited. The next day, the man was gone. Under the jar, a note. “Done.” Inside, dozens of them; they looked like a cross between crickets and fireflies. They were nice to look at, but were they loud. Sometimes, things are simpler than we think.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Strike

Collins Land


Unaware of his demise, Nolan was about to lose everything. His wife Linda, along with her lawyer lover, prepared everything quite thoroughly. “Trust me,” she said. And, foolish as he was, he did. The car, the house, the weekend cottage, everything was gone. However, there was Nikolai. “My darling,” he said, “I’ll take care of it.” Nolan never saw Linda again. The lawyer disappeared. And the properties were magically in Nolan’s name again. “How?” “My darling,” he replied, examining the barrel of his gun, “there’s a monster at the end of everyone’s path. I just happened to be that monster.”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I've Got Nothing

The Tower by Rebeca Bashly

Two lonely hearts, pulled together by circumstances and pain. They talked and danced. They shared their stories and their moments. They shared the others, the others in their lives who didn’t know they were being shared. They shared and got closer. They got as close as that illusive closeness of nothingness, with nothing but fragments of lives and the excitement of the unknown, of warm familiarity, of love. Loneliness is a high price to pay for the determination of commitment. So, they decided to seize the moment, not caring for anyone else but themselves in a selfish illusion of nearness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen

Kats Beach

... Kats Beach (click for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc. website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

UPDATE: It's amazing when someone, especially when a good friend like Qt, feels inspired by something I wrote (that is the purpose of these monthly columns, to inspire!) and adds a bit of inspiration of his own to write a story! Drop by his blog Qt's improbable blog and read Running to the Sea. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Eat Your Words

MOSP

Everything was ready for the recording. The film would be released in just a few days. While the actors grabbed some food from the catering and slowly took their places, a crazed director stormed in. “Don’t you people have food at home? I’m hungry too. I’ve been working since 5 a.m.” One of the actors lost his temper. “Well, Mr. Director, no one will record anything today then…” And he looked at the script. “You can eat this.” That film was never concluded. Since then, all actors eat something right before starting to work, even if they are not hungry.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Organized

Sands of Time

Getting lost in the desert was as far from their plan as going to the moon. The ill-organized adventure ended with a group of four friends stuck in a van. Six months later, when the police finally found them, they were mummified. Years of studies followed with no results, until surprisingly they came back to life. "We told you not to touch that stone!" A pursuit ensued; three furious men chasing another. The authorities, perplexed, ran after them too. Last time that long line of people running was seen, it was heading towards… somewhere. At least the line was organized!
100 Word Stories
(Prompt: The Mesopotamians)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If you're happy and you know it

Vice City


What an awful place to die, he thought, staring down from the overpass. Make a wish and be happy, but his mind... Don’t jump. Jump. Don’t jump. Make a wish. Quick, make a wish. But secrets are meant to be kept, aren’t they? At least some of them are. His mind raced as fast as the cars underneath. I hate you so much, I can barely breathe, he thought. Make a wish. Yes, make a wish, just any wish... When he plunged towards that perfect white line, there was no clapping; there was no sound, there was nothing at all.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mess

Land of Glory

When he woke up, the TV was on and he saw his face splattered all over the news. The previous night was a total blur and the woman slumped on the couch of this unfamiliar living-room remained eerily silent. He wore nothing but a black t-shirt. Slightly embarrassed for being half naked, he mumbled an apology and dashed for the door, holding his pants. Don’t worry, he heard. But it wasn’t the woman’s voice. Her head rolled to a halt by his feet. At least, I got rid of one of them, he thought. Yes, one voice at a time.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Piracy

Franceportnawak


They approached the ship at night. Two went up to the control room. The rest looked for the crew quarters; everyone was fast asleep. The captain wasn’t. After a scuffle and a black eye, he gave up. Much to his surprise, the leader of the group demanded the cargo. “But… It’s books.” The boxes were unloaded and taken away. The school of the village would finally teach proper English. The media hurried to state that even pirates have a heart, the authorities protested vehemently and the pirates’ only thought was that in the future, they’d make their demands more efficiently.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Value of Time

Collins Land

When Mary left, she hinted something about the box especially that he shouldn’t open it. Obviously, Louie decided to open the damn box. Last time he found one, it contained thousands in diamonds that someone left in the attic of their new house. After hours of failed attempts to pick the lock, he felt totally inapt. Mary loved that. Hammering the box open seemed like the only option. Louie hit it a few times until the lid popped. Inside, a note. “You made it! Oh, by the way, I’m several hours ahead… with the diamonds. Catch me if you can!”

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in a Nutshell!

Amar en Meleth

Now that 2014 is over, it's important to take stock of what I achieved as a writer. It completely took me by surprise to go back and realize that much more than I expected was actually produced.

Let's see.

I started the year committing to a challenge, to write 500 words a day. This challenge, no doubt daring, was nevertheless the opportunity to push forward and create a very interesting body of work.

*For the website iRez (non-fiction about writing and virtual worlds)

    1. Of Stories, Writers and a Virtual World
    2. Immersive Writing

*For the Virtual Writers Inc. website (non-fiction with suggestions for stories and virtual inspiration drawn from sims in Second Life)

    1. A Story Waiting to Happen, Collins Land
    2. A Story Waiting to Happen, Gehena Vampire Clan
    3. A Story Waiting to Happen, Hazardous
    4. A Story Waiting to Happen, Annwn Willows
    5. A Story Waiting to Happen, Taka no Sakura
    6. A Story Waiting to Happen, The Far Away
    7. A Story Waiting to Happen, Milk Wood
    8. A Story Waiting to Happen, MOSP
    9. A Story Waiting to Happen, Toshigi Japan Cybercity
   10. A Story Waiting to Happen, Amar en Meleth

*100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge (fiction drabbles; this has been an invaluable creative opportunity that has kept me aware of how fragile writing can be and how much each word matters)

*500 Word Stories (fiction)

*Twisted Stories (fiction drabbles)

*Black and White Spring Challenge (fiction, stories up to 1000 words)

*Writing resources for my own blog (non-fiction about the writing process)

*An interview conducted via email about my writing path


*The novel "A Month of Sundays" written during the NaNoWriMo (fiction, thriller, to be revised)

*Poetry (one single poem; I think I'm shifting away from writing poetry)

*A very short story in the form of sentence-snapshots (photo caption style) called "I Met a Guy" (fiction, unpublished)

*A short-story called "True Love Never Fades" (fiction, unpublished)

*I also did quite a bit of writing while taking these MOOCs:

    1. Start Writing Fiction - Fiction writing, focusing on creating characters. - Review
    2. Forensic Psychology - Obtaining evidence from eyewitnesses in police investigations
    3. Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics - The form and function of the human brain
    4. Introduction to Journalism - Key principles in journalism within an escalating story
    5. How to Read Your Boss - Linguistic techniques to enhance business communication
    6. How To Read a Mind - Application of cognitive science to literary reading

*Finally, I hosted a weekly write-in in the virtual world of Second Life within the context of the 500 Word Writing Challenge, Saturdays at noon SLT/8pm LisbonPT

For those of us who work better when setting goals and working towards them, the aim was to reach 182500 (500 words X 365 days). I managed to write 167745, which means I was about 29 days short of reaching the goal. Considering that there are 104 weekend days in the year, I think I did a pretty good job!

Looking back, I cannot help but think that this was an amazing year for my writing path. The goal to develop my ability to write longer pieces was achieved. I also wanted to start creating a few stories, apart from the novels, that I would keep in the back burner for publication in the future; that was also accomplished.

One aspect I failed miserably in was revising last year's NaNoWriMo novel "Obscure Connections". Oh, well... 2015 has just started and now I have TWO novels to revise BEFORE November (if I decide to go for a third round of the NaNoWriMo, that is)! *evil grin*

A final word. Thank you, you know who you are. Despite everything we went through, you were there with me all along. You pushed me forward when I wanted to give up. You praised my work when I thought it was a piece of garbage. You comforted me when my sorrows were far too overwhelming to continue to write. And you believed in me when I doubted myself. Thank you.

And let 2015 unfold!

"And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."
A Midsummer Night's Dream
William Shakespeare

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Underground

H22O

A faint line of smoke came up from the manhole. It smelled deliciously of grilled food. Sean found that odd and decided to investigate.

The manhole led to the sewers. At some point, these connected with the old tunnels of the underground. That’s where he met Henry.

“Why do you live here?”

Henry replied “Why not?”

“Well, it’s too dark.”

“It’s not what you see with your eyes that matters.”

There were hundreds of people living there, adjusting.

Sean decided to drop his life above ground.

“We’ll be ready,” said Henry.

When the catastrophe happened, they were the only survivors.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Jersey

Kats Beach

Jonathan won the writing competition! He just couldn’t believe it. The prize was one night spent in the lighthouse, the main attraction of his town. It was said to be the residence of a dreadfully horrid ghost.

With great disbelief, everyone saw Jonathan enter the place triumphantly.
A few hours were enough to drive him crazy. He screamed, he yelled, he begged for help.

The next morning, Jonathan emerged through the door to face everyone’s curiosity, his eyes looking down. After all, he managed to single handedly ruin the main attraction. No one would see that poor ghost ever again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Story Waiting to Happen

Amar en Meleth


... Amar en Meleth (click for full text).

This post is part of a series of monthly articles for the Virtual Writers Inc.website about sims in Second Life that could be the source of inspiration for writers. My goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Patient

Santaurio

Being impatient has saved me from trouble several times and throughout my life I never looked at it as something negative. Once I started being told to be patient, I became very suspicious of this new demand. They say patience is a virtue, true. However, impatience solves problems. Torn between one and the other, I decided to take turns, Monday – patience, Tuesday – impatience, Wednesday – patience, and so on. The day I met him was, unfortunately, a Thursday. Without being asked for an opinion, he said my dress had an awkward color and I kicked him in the… well, never mind.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Shoe

BWC

Ronnie walked through the comforting darkness of night time. He wore one shoe and held the other against his chest. No one bothered to make any comment. He was a freak. He knew he was a freak and he acted like a freak. Even when the first snowflakes covered the streets in white, he still acted like a freak, holding one shoe against his chest. Inside the shoe was a black sock, the one he wasn’t wearing. Tucked inside the sock was a tiny bird. The wing will heal beautifully, he thought. And it did, right in time for spring.

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Light

Six

A light so soft,
A whisper so low,
Forever embracing
     A murmur so slow.

 Amidst the loss,
A touch so tender
And a sigh.

Though the soul grasps
           The gaze torn apart,
Remember.
   Dawn murmurs time.

A whisper, a whisper,
So soft and ever so low.

Dedicated to a writer friend 
who lost someone special recently.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cranberries

The Celestial Realm (Trace)

Peter hated cranberries and he simply couldn’t eat anything with the darn things in it. Thanksgiving was, as a result, a bit of a tricky time, especially because of his mother’s explosive temper. Anyone refusing to have her special cranberry sauce was an insult to her over-sized ego.
When Peter volunteered to cook this year’s meal by himself, his mother sneered. “You can’t cook!”
One thing is for sure, next year’s meal will not include cranberry sauce.
Peter made it a point of having cranberries decorating his mother’s grave and a nice shiny plaque saying “I’m not grateful for cranberries.”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014


They say I'm a winner.

The story is written, 50.000+ words. This year, I'll validate my novel (I'm very interested in some of the goodies available to winners only).

It was somewhat of a bitter sweet victory, I must admit.

I worked hard at the beginning (and good thing I did, otherwise I seriously doubt I'd have been able to complete this challenge). The third week was the most difficult; that's when life decided to take a few twists and turns, slowing me down.

This time, I had to use a voice recognition program due to a shoulder and wrist injury. Although it was definitely easier on my body, using this program changed the style of my narrative considerably. The story resembles an oral recount. Its pace is faster, the sentences are shorter and some program (I can't recall the name) tells me that its readability is 7.6/10 (is this good?). I definitely have a lot of work to do in the editing/revising process.

For me, the whole benefit of going bonkers throughout the month of November is that you can do it with thousands of people from around the globe. Yes, we could write and act like complete lunatics throughout the year as well, but there is nothing like sitting at a table with other writers and simply... write. Being there with others is paramount for the success of this endeavor.

I've hosted and taken part in several events, both on Twitter (Scrimmages) and in the virtual world of Second Life (write-ins). Some people write faster, others write slower. But being there is what really counts.

Badges, number of words, winning or losing, that seems a bit irrelevant, looking back. It's done. I'm not sure whether I'll do the NaNoWriMo again next year. We'll see.

To all the winners (and I don't mean only the ones who wrote 50k words; I mean everyone who did their best to write and reach their *own* goals), congratulations. You are truly winners for embarking in such a crazy adventure.

"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die."
Isaac Asimov

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Community

Collins Land

From the breakfast table to the green garden and back, silence was part of life.

One day, a member of this community of a few dozen people thought “no more”. She felt like singing and that’s exactly what she did.

By nightfall, she had been expelled.

By the end of the week, the community had only two members left, its founders.

One turned to the other and said somberly “Words cannot express how disappointed I am…”

The other laughed. “That’s what you said, remember, when we started this thirty years ago. I guess we’re the only ones who hate words.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bank

Binemist

The remodeling of the offices was finished after two long months. The employees coughed their way through heavy dust; many continued to suffer for months. When one of them, Charles, fell ill, no one was surprised. As soon as Charles returned to work, they noticed that he could breathe much better. They asked him if he could help them. Charles never told them directly what he did, but he muttered “I’ll help you,” whipping off a bit of saliva from the corner of his mouth. In the end, remodeling didn't stop at the offices; the staff got remodeled as well.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brain

Tierra de Fuego

Cal unscrewed the cables and unplugged them. Then he pressed “detach”. He had been taught well. He was never to touch the “reset” area, that small circle the size of a coin.

Many failed to obey and didn’t resist temptation. They touched it. Now, they were beyond repair, doomed to perform menial tasks.

Cal was proud of himself. He always did everything right. He removed his brain and placed it inside the upgrade box. He didn’t like the looks of the new technician though …

After Cal got his brain back, he was placed in the Sanitation Department. Damn smug....bzzzzzt…

Sunday, November 2, 2014

X

Roche

“X marks the spot,” said Sir Thomson a bit too merrily after crashing his plane and killing Lady Thomson.

Mr. Crawford, their guest, was extremely annoyed, to say the least. The idea of flying over Sir Thomson’s deserted island seemed quite idiotic from the get-go.

Persistent as always, Sir Thomson dug until he found a box. Surprisingly, a cell phone emerged.

“Our salvation,” said Sir Thomson, oblivious of the fact that the cell tower of that area had been knocked down by his hazardous flying.

X marked the spot alright, it marked the spot where Mr. Crawford waited and waited.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Doom

Forgotten City

Doom was an unhappy robot that got tired of doing robot stuff and wanted to become human. The problem with that decision was the fact that Doom had no idea about how to be human. Doom tried crying. Doom tried smiling. Doom tried sneezing. Nothing worked. One day, Doom’s neighbor robot Calamity came over for tea. They engaged in a philosophical conversation about human beings and Calamity thought Doom’s ambition of becoming one was utterly horrendous, but Doom wouldn’t give up. Halloween was right around the corner and Doom would be a human, even if only for a few hours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Take a Walk on the Scary Side


Virtual worlds, in this case Second Life, are an extremely interesting resource for writers. The possibility of being immersed in a variety of environments offers an array of ideas and stimuli that are an important contribution to story writing.

This article aims at showing you how easy it is to draw inspiration from different locations in Second Life. I’ll take you with me through the whole process.


* A few tips


1. Choose a sim from the destination guide or follow one of Camie’s suggestions. If you already have a landmark to a location you’d like to draw inspiration from, double-click the landmark in your inventory to be teleported to the sim.

2. Upon arrival, take a few steps away from the landing point. More people might teleport in and they would land on top of your head!

3. Wait a few seconds for things to rez properly. Depending on what exists at that location and the characteristics of your own computer, the location will rez slower or faster. So, it is worth waiting a little bit.

4. After things have rezzed, start exploring. I usually take a stroll around the sim without really thinking too much about my writing. I just try to enjoy it. Then I take a second walk focusing on details that caught my eye. As I walk along, I take a few snapshots (Ctrl+Shift+S > Save As… > choose location in your computer > rename if needed > Save) that I use when I’m off-world.

5. Sometimes, when you arrive at a location in Second Life, you may feel overwhelmed by so many interesting details and you’ll feel tempted to use as many as possible. However, that can be very distracting once you start writing. Some sims are so rich that it is as important to be able to gather information as it is to be able to discard it. So being selective is imperative, otherwise you’ll end up with a pile of unusable ideas simply because they don’t fit. Start by focusing on three or four aspects you think will be of value to your story regarding the setting, the character(s) and/or the plot.

6. Below you’ll find an example of how virtual-reality can assist you in writing a story. 



* The Process

Camie’s challenge was to visit a location in Second Life related to Halloween, and to write 300-600 words. I decide to visit Screaming Woods, one of the sims suggested in the blog.

I have no characters and I have no plot.

As I start walking through the sim, I notice a bay filled with floating, decaying bodies. What impresses me the most are their hands reaching out of the water, as if trying to grasp the last straw of life.

Another aspect that catches my attention is the few men trying to hold onto a rock; some of them are still wearing ragged pieces of clothing. I decide I have my characters, at least a few of them. I don’t know if, along the path, I will find any more.

I have the beginning of my plot; a group of men arrive at this island, after something terrible happened to them. You’ll see that farther up, there is a destroyed ship; it looks like it survived a storm.

When I turn around, I see a house. Inside, there’s a closet with a child in it; she’s surrounded by spooky red eyes. I cannot see who or what is behind her. Her doll-like figure sharply contrasts with her white dress covered in blood. I can also see a pair of claws either threatening to grab her or keeping her safe. I add her to my list of characters.


I continue to walk up the hill towards the house at the top. The area around it is dark and cramped. As I open the door, the first thing I see is a young girl. She’s in a straitjacket, her hair is shaved and she looks scared. I immediately decide to make her a character in my story.

I venture inside, walking past her, and end up in the room that looks like an operating room or rather the decaying remains of one. Amidst stretchers and other objects, there’s a cage. It’s empty, locked, and padded on the inside. What caught my attention was a candle hanging from the ceiling of that cage; it’s lit. Now why would a candle be burning inside a padded cage?


The beginning of a story is paved with a million questions. Answering those questions becomes the process of writing.

Allow me to go back for a moment. What happened to the men we saw when we arrived at the sim? Who are they? Where did they come from? What is this island they arrived at? Why is the island empty? Why is there an abandoned psychiatric hospital at the top of the hill? And why is a child there? Is she by herself? How does she survive? Why was she left behind? What will happen to the men when they arrive at the hospital? And so on.

As you can see, with only a few elements there are plenty of questions to kick-start your story. It may even happen that some of the questions become irrelevant and you end up discarding them. No problem. They probably triggered more questions that became an important stepping-stone for your plot.

Now, let’s get to work. Equipped with images, sounds, questions, ideas and, above all, words, I am ready to write.



* The Story


Black clouds announced a sealed destiny while a ship got mercilessly dismantled by vicious waves.

The small bay was filled with deformed bodies of sailors, rotten and floating aimlessly, struggling to reach the shore, their hands reaching out from under the water. The stench was indescribably horrendous.

Although their bodies were already decaying, they still had hope, that unbroken hope of a dying man scrambling for the last chance to survive. 

The few who survived the storm decided to walk inland in a tight group, desperately looking for signs of life, but knowing that this island was eating them alive. 

There were a few abandoned huts displayed in a circle, but no sign of life was to be seen, no people, no animals, and no food. However, strangely enough, the fire was burning in the middle of these huts.

The small group struggled up the hill, following a narrow path, stumbling on mossy stones and branches of old trees. They weren’t quite sure if it was the result of hunger and thirst, but those branches seemed to be alive, grabbing them by the ankles, slowing their progress.

When they reached the top of the hill, they saw the silhouette of an old building. It looked abandoned and solemnly sad. The men hesitated. Should they go in? Hunger provided them with that last straw of courage that pushed them forward. 

As the door slowly opened, they saw a young girl. The island wasn’t abandoned after all, they thought. Their initial sense of exhilaration rapidly gave place to an ominous feeling of hopelessness though. The girl was in a straitjacket; her head had been shaved bald. Her eyes were filled with fear, an unimaginable fear. 

On the balcony above, someone had tried to write ESCAPE on the wall. Written in a vibrant red, the word was smudged at the end.

A threatening silence began to enclose them. The girl looked transfixed, almost hypnotized, her big green eyes remained wide open. 

As the men entered the hall, hoping for some kind of reaction, she kept still, wrapped in that growingly constrictive straitjacket.

Suddenly, they heard scratching noises coming from a room in the back. They decided to investigate, especially because they were hungry, very hungry, and hunger pushes men to make foolish and hasty decisions.

The room was an old operating room. Rusted surgical tools, a gurney and a few chairs lingered forgotten on the floor. 

In a corner, there was a silent cage. It was locked and empty. Much to the sailors’ surprise, inside the cage, a lit candle was hanging from the ceiling. One of the men muttered “perhaps there is something in there; we just can’t see it”.

The noises grew in intensity and were now followed by anguished shrieks. The men couldn’t figure out where the shrieks came from, until they saw the doors of a closet opening slowly. A chill crept down their backs.

A small child, wearing a white dress, was standing inside the closet. Two pairs of red eyes stood behind her and two clawed hands reached over her shoulders. She looked like she wanted to escape, to run away from an unwilling imprisonment.

Despite the pain they were in, their skin peeling off as if burnt, some of the sailors felt compelled to help. They reached towards her to get her out of the closet but it was like she was stuck inside. The more the men pulled her out, the more her feet sunk in the floor. The small child shrieked in anguish.

The scratching turned into growling, a growling that became louder and louder, a warning no one wanted to pay attention to, a threat as strong and palpable as the inexplicable storm that hit their ship earlier.

Suddenly, the small child’s shrieks turned into a soft, plaintive humming. Before anyone could do anything, all the men were turned into ashes.

As the red eyes closed and the clawed hands retracted, the small child closed the doors of the closet and whispered the words of a lullaby “Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed… Lay thee down now… and rest… may thy slumber be blessed...”

The young girl in the straitjacket left her place by the entrance, walked in the old operating room and into the cage, closing its gate behind her.

Over the next few days, the wooden planks of the ship disappeared under the clear blue water. The fire in the empty village died down. The path up the hill towards the abandoned psychiatric hospital was covered in brittle, orangey leaves. And the dark black clouds parted, giving way to the most beautiful blue sky.

A year later, another ship would be sunk, caring lost and frightened sailors whose skin would be burnt to the flesh. They too would set foot on the island and become hopeful as they see the fire amongst the empty huts. They too would walk up the path, all the way to the psychiatric hospital, to stand before a lost young girl in a tight straitjacket.

And no one would ever escape their destiny. The island would be fed once more, forever keeping those two children as doomed prisoners.



* Conclusion

This story is only an example of what can be done! I have intentionally kept it simple. You can use more elements than the ones I have chosen to use or you can even use less.

It goes without saying that the elements you decide to include in your story are merely a source of inspiration. As you’ll see, if you visit the sim, the closet with the spooky small child is not in the hospital! So, you can, and should, use anything you collect according to what you need and what your story dictates.


(Source: Screenshot from NaNoWriMo @ Second Life)

The ideas you draw from different locations in Second Life will provide your story with the depth it needs to grow into a coherent, interesting and often daring story.

Above all, have fun!


*Blogged at NaNoWriMo @ Second Life.