Until I was recently infected, I was blissfully ignorant of the story virus. To wit:
Here’s what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don’t know how realistic it is, but that’s what I’m aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.
If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it’s okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that’s five interesting threads the story spins off into.
Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.
The bus was more crowded than usual. It was bitterly cold outside, and I hadn’t prepared for it. I noticed that a fair number of the riders were dressed curiously. As I glanced around, I stretched my feet and kicked up against a large, heavy cardboard box laying under the seat in front of me. (Splotchy)
Its owner, a fat shifty-looking hillbilly, slouched uncomfortably under the weight of his Bulgarian army surplus wool coat and cap. I could tell he wasn’t cut out for this weather. He jerked around, almost spastic, when he felt the box tap against his feet. He gulped and stared at me bug-eyed, one obscene rivulet of sweat running down his temple, down along his jaw, finally disappearing somewhere between his second chin and the fake fur collar of his coat.
Right away, and for no good reason, he pissed me off. Bubs)
He would not stop staring at me. I could hear his wheezing breath. I could smell every stinking minute of his sputtering life. My muscles tensed.
We were a little isolated from the rest of the riders. I looked around. Apart from a couple greasy-looking hippies stealing glances in my direction, everyone was in their own dazed world. Another rivulet of sweat began the long journey down the hillbilly’s fat face. He licked his lips.
Enough was enough. I shot my arm up and popped him right between the eyes, snapping his head back. He slumped forward. I felt my anger slowly recede. I reached over him, took the cap off his head and placed it on my own. It smelled like a slaughterhouse, but it would keep me warm.
In the corner of my eye, I noticed the hippies making their way over to me. The man, wearing a dirty poncho and sporting a handlebar mustache, sat down in my seat. I reflexively scooted over to not have him in my lap. The girl, a smallish brunette wearing heavy black eyeliner and a shapeless green coat, sat behind me.
“You see, Snow?” the man said. “I knew he was the one. Did you see that jab?”
“Whatever,” Snow said.
“That was great, man. Snow thought the guy in front of you was the one.”
He must have spotted confusion in my eyes. “We saw the box, but we didn’t know if it was yours.” The man smiled broadly. “I’m Rain. You’re Leaf, right?”
I looked at him more closely. He was wearing a shoulder holster under his poncho. He had deep green eyes that were sharp and serious. The smile left his face as abruptly as it had appeared. “You better get the box ready.” ( Splotchy)
I looked him deep in the eyes. There was something familiar there. Something from…
It hit me.
“What you talkin’ about, punk?”
“You’re…my Dad. I’ve seen the pictures.”
“The pictures. WHAT pictures?”
“the pictures of you and my Mom, Sally Swinton.”
“Sally! I remember Sally. She was a good one, she was. Whatever happened with her?”
Now, here’s where I’m supposed to make other people’s lives miserable by tagging them. I’ll take no offense if you opt out, but I’m thinking:
Kelly who did one of those November novels
Uthaclena who likes to write
Splotchy who essentially got me into this mess
Jacquandor who’s written a lot of stuff
If anyone else feels like it, PLEASE do it.