Finish the Story — The Future Is Down

DCA05D9F-EBAC-4B47-9707-BBDED0EFDBA4Teresa, over at The Haunted Wordsmith has tagged me to carry on her latest Finish the Story prompt. Teresa starts it out, then tags another blogger, in this case me, to add the next part. I will tag someone else to continue the story and so on and so on.

Here is Teresa’s Part 1 of “The Future Is Down”:

For fifty generations, the people of Haven have lived in the sky. Floating without a care in the world in balloons and ships passed down from father to son and mother to daughter. Everything a person would ever need in their balloons was provided to them. The sky lord saw to that. The people were happy and the sky lord was happy. But, even in a perfect life, there is born in every generation one person who is not content. Ivan was this generation’s adventurer.

When other kids passed their day playing cards or making up stories with their family, Ivan stared below his balloon and wondered. He wondered what was below the clouds. Was it a world filled with giant monsters that could gobble him in a single bite? Or, was it a world filled with tiny fairies that fluttered around towering trees just waiting for him to come play?

The more he looked, the more he wondered. And the more he wondered, the more he dreamed. Dreamed of leaving the sky.

And that is exactly what he did on his thirteenth birthday after receiving his very own balloon.

“Goodbye,” he shouted, waving as he slowly deflated his balloon. “I love you all, but have to find out. I’ll write when I can!”

As his balloon inched its way down toward the unknown, Ivan’s heart raced with excitement. “I wonder what I’ll see first.”

Ivan didn’t have long to wait, for as soon as he was in a cloud bank, he saw…

And here is my part 2:

…a huge, noisy, metallic, cylindrical tube zoom right by him, causing his balloon to start shaking and shimmering in the strange object’s wake. “Oh sky lord,” he screamed, as he tried desperately to regain control of his balloon. “What the Haven was that?”

“That was an airplane,” a voice said. Ivan turned to see that a strange looking animal of some sort had landed on the rim of his balloon’s basket. It was covered in colorful feathers and it had long, feather-covered arms that flapped up and down in a rhythmic motion. It had small, beady eyes and a pointy, hard looking mouth. And when it spoke to Ivan, it was in more of a squawk than a voice.

“What in the sky lord’s name are you?” Ivan asked the creature. “And what was that thing you call an airplane that almost knocked my balloon out of the sky?”

“I’ve heard of beings like you who live in balloons far above the clouds,” squawked the feathered creature, “but I thought it was just an ancient myth.”

“I’m as real as you are, whatever it is that you are,” Ivan said.

“I am Hawkeye,” the creature said, “and I am what the surface beings call a bird.”

“The surface beings?” Ivan said. “Tell me more, Hawkeye.”


And now I am tagging Li over at Tao-Talk to pick up and run with Part 3.

Finish the Story — The Locomotive Part Two

D45474DB-EBEA-4CB4-B530-2AD91A18B43C.jpegTeresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, has started another intriguing fictional tale and tossed it over to me. Now I’m supposed to post the part of the story that she wrote, add to the story, and tag another person to continue the story.

So here is how Teresa got things started:

Every summer since Charlie turned six was spent on Grandpa’s Iowa farm. Charlie loved to run through the fields chasing butterflies and spent his nights laying on the cool grass watching the fireflies and Milky Way. Life was perfect until the train arrived.

“I don’t believe it,” Grandpa said, shaking his head. “Are you sure?”

Frank, a family friend from the other side of town, nodded. “Saw it myself two nights ago out by Cooper’s Ridge.”

Grandpa pulled his old handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his brow. “What are we going to do? We can’t let it happen again. Charlie… I can’t… I won’t.”

“What’s the matter, Grandpa?” Charlie walked into the kitchen when he heard his name.

Grandpa’s face turned white as he grabbed Charlie by the shoulders and shook him. “Don’t you ever get on that train. You hear me, boy? No matter what he says, or what you see happening inside, you never get on that train.”

Charlie was terrified by Grandpa’s expression and could only muster a whimper.

“I’m going to let you go,” Grandpa said, hugging Charlie as tears streamed down his face. “He’s not going to get another one.”

Later that night, as Charlie laid in bed and imagined the mysterious train that had terrified his Grandpa, he heard a whistle in the distance. Slipping on his shoes and bathrobe, Charlie stood at his window and watched as a train appeared through the night’s mist and blew its whistle again. Charlie rubbed his eyes and gulped.

“Wow.”

“You get out of here,” Grandpa shouted as he ran out the front door carrying his rifle. He fired twice and screamed at the train. “You can’t have him! You can’t!”

A well-dressed man stepped into the doorway of the train, looked at Charlie in the window, and said, …


And here’s my contribution,

“Boy, you come over here. Don’t make me come and get you, Charlie.”

Charlie was conflicted. He remembered his Grandpa’s warning to him to never get on that train. But the man calling out to him looked so dapper and debonair, just like those men in the fancy magazines his mother would look at back at home. And inside the train he saw other kids playing and partying, having what seemed like a lot of fun. And where was Grandpa?

“Charlie,” the man called out once again. “It’s time to go. You need to come out here and join us on the train before we leave for the next stop.”

“I need to get dressed,” Charlie called out to the man, stalling for time as he tried to figure out what to do.

“No, come as you are, Charlie, you’re fine,” the man called out. “Your Grandpa is already on board and we have new clothes for you here.”

Charlie grabbed his stuffed teddy bear and slowly walked out of the house and approached the train. The well-dressed man had a broad, welcoming smile on his face and held out a hand of encouragement to Charlie as he neared the train.

“Come on, boy,” the man said, his hand still reaching out to Charlie. Charlie was still hesitant as he thought about Grandpa’s warning, but he couldn’t resist the draw of the man and the train. Charlie reached up and grabbed the man’s hand and was gently assisted onto the train.

“Welcome to the Soul Train, Charlie,” the man said. “Go inside and meet the other children.”

“Where’s Granda? Where does this train go?” Charlie asked.

“Relax, Charlie,” the man said, his smile now appearing more sinister than welcoming. “We’re headed straight to ….”


Let’s see where Michael takes us with this one.

Image credit: DarkWorkX

Finish the Story — The Recruit – Part 8

408D8174-47E5-44B9-89D6-B0D917754EA8Welcome to another one of Teresa’s Finish the Story prompt. The idea is the Teresa gets things started and then tags another blogger to write the next section. Di, over at Pensitivity101, tagged me to run with part 8.

Part 1 by Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith

Adam was like any other eighteen-year-old boy and soon found himself standing in the middle of the training bay being subjected to the drill instructor’s ridicule. It wasn’t his fault the quarter didn’t flip on the old mattress, but he accepted his punishment anyway. He didn’t have another choice.

Ever since the revolution began, more and more troops were needed. There were even whispered rumors of lowering the age to thirteen if you were from a poor family. The government paid dearly for your life. That money could help support the family.

After completing fifty push-ups and parading around the bay in his underwear, Adam and the other recruits headed outside for training. The morning was dedicated to basic weapons and enemy language skills. Many of the recruits were already fluent, but the training was the same. Adam excelled and only realized his mistake when he was called into the commander’s office that afternoon.

“Take a seat,” Commander Flint said, pointing toward a chair in the corner of the room.

Adam did as he was told and caught his breath as two governmental agents entered Flint’s office. One look from them and Adam knew he was in danger.

“That him?”

“That is Private Adam Ripple, yes.”

“Come with us,” an agent ordered, flashing his sidearm and a warning glance.

Adam stood. “What is this all about?”

The agents stared at him. The one nearest him replied, “…….

Part 2 by Kristian at Tales From the Mind of Kristian

“You’re a bit of an anomaly, you know?”

Adam couldn’t help feeling a bit cynical. He knew he wasn’t anything special. He was just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, sent into the army to get him off the streets and to help fight this war that many now felt was unwinnable.

“Me? Apart from an ability to get myself into trouble, I can’t see what makes me any different from any other shmo around here. I’m pretty ordinary.” Adam laughed nervously.

One of the agents bent down and pushed the dark glasses down his nose, fixing Adam with an icy blue stare. “There’s many a true word spoken in jest, lad. Two things mark you out. Your ability with languages, which is by far the best we’ve seen in some time, and the fact that you could blend in anywhere. You’ve finished at this prestigious military academy.” He paused to glance out of the window at the makeshift camp, to emphasise the sarcasm in his words. “You graduate as of today. Tomorrow you’re going underground.”

The agents grabbed an arm each and practically dragged him out of the commander’s office and into the back of a black van.

Before he knew it he was……

Part 3 by Li at Tao-Talk

…hooded with a dark opaque fabric. Adam gasped for breath and had to gather his calm or he would suffocate in the hood. They drove for about a half hour and then he was led along by two to what sounded like a helicopter. The ‘copter lifted up and started forward. Just as he was about to relax for a minute, he smelled ether and lost consciousness.

Adam woke up with a splitting headache, lying on a cot in a small, spartan room. It had the feel of a hospital about it, and every so often he thought he could hear a voice over an intercom. The air seemed fresh. Filtered. When the government agent said he was going underground, did he mean it literally? There were no windows and no other sounds except the intermittent intercom echoes.

After what seemed like hours, but he wasn’t sure, the door opened and a woman who looked to be about forty came into his room. Her dark hair was in a granny bun, and she was wearing a white lab coat. She was startlingly ugly, with pasty white skin that looked like it hadn’t seen daylight in a long time. She smiled at Adam and he was surprised again to see that her teeth were pure white and even. Her smile brightened her face and was her best feature.

“Hello, Private Adam Ripple. I’m Dr. Bluebell. You’re probably wondering why you’ve been nabbed from basic training, thrown into a van, drugged, and are now being held against your wishes in a small spartan room. I’m going to be frank with you and tell you that the government needs your help. The fate of the planet is hanging in the balance.”

Adam rubbed his ears, then slapped his face over and over again. He did this in dreams when he wanted to wake up, and it worked every time. When nothing happened, Adam knew this was real.

His eyes met Dr. Bluebell’s, who had been watching him. “OK, Doc, I’m no hero, but I’m no coward either. If Earth needs me…”

Part 4 by Mel at Crushed Caramel;

Dr. Bluebell flashed that same becoming smile that improved her face and passed Adam a large folders she had been clutching. “Here is your assignment, Private Ripple, please familiarize yourself with it.” With that, Dr. Bluebell spun around and departed the room leaving Adam alone.

Part 5 by Cheryl at The Bag Lady

As she left the room, Adam opened the folder to see what he hoped would be there, an overseas assignment. He hadn’t traveled the earth much and if it was all going to hell, he wanted to see as much of it as he could. Adam thought he would make a good spy if that’s what it took, after all, he had seen all the James Bond movies, all the others he could find, but kept the fantasies to himself. Basic training was hardly a picnic, but if he could endure that and still be chosen for a special assignment, he was excited.

There were forms to fill out, many contract clauses calling for complete secrecy for any mission he completed. Adam signed quickly, felt no need to view “the fine print.” It was his naïveté and abilities that made him the perfect candidate. After filling out every paper, Adam returned to Dr. Bluebell’s office. “Right, then” as she took the folder, “now it’s time to meet the big guy.” Adam was wondering who the “big guy” was, thinking it was a Major or Colonel, and then laughed to himself as “M” came to mind. A huge door slowly cranked open and there he was…

Part 6 by Kadje at Keep It Alive

Staring at an unbelievably handsome, and young man. He felt his jaw dropped to the floor. He felt that something was not right here. It seemed that young man was too perfect. He started to observe him more closely. The “big guy,” as he was referred to, was definitely not a human. His movements were jerky and mechanical. His voice was clipped and sounded a bit like recording.

“Private Adam, I am talking to you.”

Adam focused his attention to what was being said to him.

“This is a very dangerous assignment. Your skill at languages is going to be very useful for us. We will be sending you to the enemy territory as a undercover spy. Your job is to glean as much information as you can about their attack plans. At no time should you try to get in touch with us. We will contact you ourselves.

Adam took all this in with mixed amount of excitement and apprehension.

He was really going to be a spy!

He was told to go to the barracks. On the way back, Adam addressed Dr. Bluebell. “Excuse me ma’am, I couldn’t help notice something different about our commander.” He couldn’t help but say ……..

Part 7 by Di at Pensitivity101

“Do we know where he’s from?”

“It’s not your place to ask, Private. You will be briefed in due course as to your schedule and where you will be sent. I suggest you get some rest. You’re going to need it.”

Adam was somewhat disappointed, but curious to know more details of his mission. He wondered if he would be SWAT trained, or even better, have some fancy gizmos and gadgets like Bond.

The barracks were nothing out of the ordinary, just odd not having any windows and the constant thrum of machinery keeping the air circulated. He settled down on his cot and was soon asleep dreaming of fast cars, explosives, and the occasional dalliance over a drink or two.

“WAKE UP PRIVATE!!” abruptly roused him from his dreams and as he shook his head to clear it, a portfolio was thrown at him hitting him full in the face. “READ THAT AND REPORT TO BLUEBELL’S OFFICE IN TWENTY!”

Adam opened the file and nearly choked when he saw where he was going on assignment…

And Part 8 by Fandango

Adam didn’t understand. There was all that talk about an enemy and about his language skills. Then there was the “Big Guy,” who was either an alien from another planet or a very human-like robot. And what did the secretive and mysterious Dr. Bluebell have to do with his being here and his assignment.

But there it was in black and white on the first page of the report in the folder. His assignment was in Montana. He continued reading the report about an insurgency led by a heavily armed and fast growing militia just outside of Whitefish, Montana. He was thinking about all of the questions he had for Dr. Bluebell when he would be meeting with her again shortly. So engrossed was Adam in the report he was reading that he almost didn’t notice the two uniformed men who stepped up in front of his cot. “Let’s go, private,” one of them said.

“Where are you taking me?” Adam asked the man who had spoken to him. “I’m supposed to meet with Dr. Bluebell now.”

“Change of plans, private,” the second man said. “Let’s go. Now!”


I am tagging John Freda at The Magic Shop. Let’s see where he’s going to take this tale.

 

 

Finish the Story — Part Two

3BE74331-2C2A-4AE4-8AC8-12FC06AAD98ETeresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, started a story, “The Mystery of the Stone Circle,” and tagged me to pick it up where she left off and to write part two.

Here’s Teresa’s part one:

Sammy finished stuffing the leftover food and makeshift kitchen into his pack, which Geri strapped the tent onto the side of his pack. As the pair started back on the trail, the morning sun cast them in a golden glow. The weather that week had been everything a hiker could ever hope for — cool evenings, warm mornings, and just enough mist in the afternoon to keep the hot summer sun at bay.

“I think it’s just over that crest,” Geri said, stuffing the map and compass back into the pocket in his cargo pants.

Sammy nodded. “Good, I’m tired of all these switchbacks. Throw a rope down and let us hike straight up.”

Geri laughed and slapped Sammy on the arm as he passed him. “Race you to the top.”

Sammy groaned but chuckled and shook his head at his friend. Ever since third year’s sports parade and carnival, Geri was always on the go. That’s one of the things that attracted Sammy to him, although he knew they would never be anything more than friends. Until four months ago when he served as Geri’s best man, he had always held out a little hope.

“Told ya!” Geri shouted from the top of the trail, pointing into the valley below.

“Man,” Sammy said, panting, “that’s amazing.”

They stood on the crest of the hill and looked at the concentric circles etched in the ground and the various stones that jutted out of the ground as if something from deep within was trying to speak.

“You know,” Geri said as they headed down toward the ancient ruin, “they say that this was built by …


And here’s my part two:

“…aliens who landed here eons ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. These extraterrestrial beings attempted to colonize Earth, but the same giant asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, also put an end to the aliens’ attempt to make a home here on Earth.”

Sammy looked at Geri and shook his head. “Oh my God,” he said. “Did you take a hit on some of that potent ganja I have in my backpack? Seriously, Geri, you can’t really believe that.”

“Look at it, Sammy,” Geri said, somewhat defensively. “Clearly what we’re looking at is not man-made. Those are perfect circles within perfect circles and they cover several square miles along the valley floor. And that pile of huge boulders in the center. How do you think they got there? I’ll tell you. They are what’s left of a giant temple the aliens built in honor of their god.”

“I never realized what a nut job you are, dude,” Sammy said. “You’re either suffering from altitude sickness and exhaustion, or you’re just plumb loco.”

“Okay, Geri,” Sammy said. “If you’re so damn smart, what’s your explanation for what we’re looking at?”

Geri took a deep breath and said, “It’s really very simple, Sammy. You see…


And now for part three I’m going to tag the creative tale weaver, Li, over at Tao-Talk.

Take it away, Li.

Finish the Story — The Day the Lights Came – Part 2

573B722F-A1A7-408A-86FF-C2760EEEEBD1I have been tagged by Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, to continue the story she started, “The Day the Lights Came.”

Here is how Teresa started the story:

It had been a warm early May day and the kids celebrated the first day of summer vacation down by the pond. The screen door slammed and sounds of muddy boots echoed through the kitchen. Helen and George chuckled. They remembered all the summer afternoons Levi spent frogging down at the pond before he moved away to the city. They loved having their grandsons, Junior and Max, in the house, but wished it had been under different circumstances.

Four feet sloshed up the wooden steps signaling it was all clear. Helen smiled and went into the kitchen. She picked up four socks, two wet t-shirts, and set them in the sink. George wandered in as she stuck her hand into the pocket of one set of jeans. Her face wrinkled and she giggled as she pulled out a small frog.

“Just like their dad.” George picked up the other pair and pulled out a lizard and two small rocks from one pocket and a frog from the other. “Exactly like their dad.”

Helen handed George her frog and wiped a tear from her eye. Levi had been gone three months and it was still hard to think about her little boy lying in his grave up on the hill.

George opened the back door, set the lizard down and watched him run off toward the woods. He looked at the frogs, trying to decide where to best leave them. As he looked toward the pond his mouth dropped. “What in good heavens!”

“George? George, what is it?”

George dropped the two frogs and looked into the sky.

“George!” Helen rushed to his side and was irked he made her worry by not responding. “What is –” She followed stare skyward and crossed herself. “In all my years … it’s not supposed to do that … the boys!”

George and Helen hurried upstairs and burst into the boys’ room without knocking. Before they could protest, George whipped out their backpacks and emptied them while Helen grabbed handfuls of clothes. It all happened so fast, neither boy could stop to think before they were dragged downstairs and out toward the storm shelter.

The air was warm and breezy, just as it had been all day.

“Grandpa,” Junior said. “Stop! What’s wrong!”

George handed Junior off to Helen and pointed to the sky as he opened the shelter door. “Look!”

Junior and Max looked up and smiled. “Whoa,” they said together.

“What is that,” Max asked.

George helped Helen down the steps, then looked into the sky again. “They look like the Northern Lights, but they can’t be. Now get in.”

Junior and Max saw the panic in his eyes and did as they were told without question.

Inside the family shelter, Junior and Max sat on one cot and watched as George cranked up the radio and tried to find the right station.

“Attention, listeners,” the voice said. “If you are hearing this, get to safety now. Reports are coming in from all over the world.”

Helen gasped and covered her mouth.

“Shh,” George said, hugging her.

“The lights in the sky,” the voice continued, “are not the Northern Lights. They are …”


And here’s my continuation:

“… as yet unidentifiable, but people are urged to take shelter inside their homes until the source of the phenomena has been identified.”

Meanwhile, at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, the country’s best scientific minds were frantically trying to identify the source of the strange lights.

“Give me an update,” demanded the chief astrophysicist. “Is the source of these lights from Earth or is it extraterrestrial?”

“Our initial findings, sir,” one of the lead scientists said, “lead us to believe that these lights are extraterrestrial, but at this point, we don’t yet know the specific source nor the meaning of the lights. So far, the presence of the lights is causing a world-wide panic, but we can’t yet confirm or refute that there is any hostile intent.”

“I, for one,” a scientist said, “believe that the source of the lights is attempting to communicate with us. I am highly skeptical that there is an evil intent and I suggest that, until we make a definitive determination as to the source and meaning, we should not overreact and initiate any kind of hostile response.”

Another scientist jumped up and said, “Excuse me, but my team has just identified the source of the lights and determined their purpose.”

“And what did you find?” the chief scientist asked.


Okay, now is the time for me to tag another blogger to write part three. I’m going to ask Keith, at Keith’s Ramblings, to see if he wants to pick it up and run with it.