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250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
Commended by TharaApples on 4/28/2021 12:00:31 PM

Seeing the short story voting thread reminded me of a writing exercise I tried a while back, where someone would start a story, write a bit (15 minutes or so), and then pass it on to the next person for them to write the next segment, and so on and so forth, until the story was passed back to you and you saw how the plot evolved from where you were taking it. Some of the stories formed coherent plots, while others just became increasingly ridiculous. This is an online forum though, so there's no set amount of participants or a time limit. Instead, just write exactly 250 words (finishing the sentence or just stopping right there, if you want) and then let others continue, starting with the next word. Because we have the joys of threaded view, we can have a number of different branches from the same stem, and anyone can participate at any time. I'm going to start, but feel free to make your own beginning!


Detective Casey was on the case once again. A disturbance on Fern Street. Nothing good ever came of Fern Street, so Casey climbed onto his motorcycle with a steely expression. He would have to keep his wits about him in this environment. He eased out of the garage, turned on his siren, and gunned it. Flying down the pavement, past all the cars. all the pedestrians, never got old. The screeching and howling of the siren kept people out of the way, allowing Casey to gently increase his speed. The roar of the engine enveloped him.

Then he arrived. Every trip was as brief as it was exhilarating. As Casey pulled into the narrow, cracked road known as Fern Street, he nervously swiveled his head. A maze of alleys irrigated this part of town. Casey had no partner, and even with a partner, the departement recommended strongly against ever wandering into an alley. Where some people could perhaps safely pass through, or at worst get mugged, the police would be killed and looted like video game NPCs. But as long as he steered clear of those dark portals of crime, he would be more-or-less safe.

He walked down the street, fingers wrapping ever tighter around the grip of his revolver. The steel comforted him, assuring him that it was the only partner he needed. He arrived at the house: it was a dilapidated, ramshackle dwelling, and absolutely typical on Fern Street. The neighboring buildings were just as shitty. He decided

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

that this was a pain in the ass. Upon stepping inside the home, Casey was greeted by stale air. The stilted air was enough to leave him briefly entertaining the thought as to why exactly he chose this profession. Perhaps it was some sense of burning justice he used to have. When he used to give a shit. Now, he's seen so much, he's felt he lived through a few unwanted lifetimes.


"Tch," he clicked his teeth. Thoughts drifting back to the reason as to why he was here, standing alone in unfamiliar environments. 


A disturbance. 


The house was as quiet as a cemetery. It was enough for the man to think that perhaps he had chosen the wrong house. No, he wouldn’t make that mistake. A disturbance, no further details. 


His shoes creaked against unsteady boards as he made his advance through the house. Still coming up empty as he moved through inconspicuous space, through inconspicuous space. It was a typical lower class household. He could be having a smoke in his car about now.

That was the thought as he advanced up the stairs, turning right once he reached the top of said stairs.




He felt a force hit him on his shoulder, sending him tumbling down the stairs unceremoniously. His back hitting the floor, but quickly scrambling to a knee with the wherewithal to aim the gun he still kept clutched in his hand. And so, he aimed it at what or who had hit him. 

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
"Welcome," the figure said with a chuckle, palms mockingly open. Casey sneered in response.

"I'm Jeffrey Banchun," lied Casey. "Not here for you." He backed up as the man descended the stairs, never lowering the gun, and was just on the verge of ordering him to stop when he held up his hands.

"Hey, relax man. I just didn't see you well in those lights. Think you wouldn't take some action if someone came into your house, in a place like this? I'm just squatting 'round here anyway."

Everything he said had a sort of hollow ring to it. He's probably some part time drug dealer and this is his hideout. Casey wasn't going to get any work done with this guy standing sentinel or eavesdropping from other rooms. He had to consider his options. He couldn't slip in a different route on a building this small; the guy would hear the floorboards creak.

Casey looked at the room behind him, turned off his flashlight, and ducked behind the corner. The man came running, just as he figured. Paranoid, Casey wondered, or does he have a stake in this case?

As soon as the stranger passed the doorway, Casey reached out to grab him in a sleeper hold, but quickly withdrew from a slash to the arm! He concealed the knife until visual contact was lost...smarter than expected.

Casey jumped back, pulling out his flashlight and hoping to set it on strobe when someone else suddenly caught him from behind...

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

Out of sheer force of habit, Casey gave that person a kick in the shins before ramming his flashlight into the fellow's throat. His other hand went immediately for his trusted revolver. One finger was prepared to pull the trigger. When he finally got time to take a look at the figure, his hands loosened their firm grip on his firearm. The darkness obscured many of the lad's features, but he knew that voice and grin as no other. 

"Hey, Tower Flower, is this how you greet your battle buddies nowadays?"

Casey had no doubts. Ian Mc-fucking-kinley. The madman Einstein of his unit.

"How? We thought you were a goner, bombed to shit in Al Anbar."

"Well surprise, here I am." He drew out a lighter without any care in the world. A few moments ago he was in your mind still a name carved into a grave somewhere in Texas. Now Mckinley was here in the flesh, switching his lighter on and off. "So, have you gotten any cigs. Haven't gotten time to run to the store, had to come here and do some hustling."

"I quitted a month ago."

"That's some real character development. Didn't know you cared for your life nowadays."

"I just don't want to char my lungs anymore." Casey switched to another subject. "What do you mean by hustling? Although it's surely a lovely place, I don't see any job fair or something."

His grin grew wider. "Haven't you heard, we will be working together."

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
“Working together!” spluttered Casey. “After you just blundered in here?” He whipped around, cursing McKinley for distracting him. But it was too late, the man with the knife was gone, and the front door was slowly banging shut. Evidently two cops had been enough to make him reconsider his life’s decisions. “The guy that came after me is gone now.”

McKinley didn’t seem phased. “So? Now that he’s gone we can just search the house undisturbed.” He yawned, and plopped down in an overstuffed armchair. “I gotta say, I feel a lot more comfortable doing a search in this house knowing the knife-weilding maniac is outside.”

“Yeah,” said Casey. “And I’d feel a lot better if we knew for sure he wasn’t just calling for backup.” He peered out the front door, but the street was deceptively silent as ever. That was the way things were on Fern street, silently simmering, until suddenly everything came to a boil. “Let’s get this over with.”

The pair made their way back into the main room. Casey poked his flashlight into one of the darker rooms, and flipped a lightswitch on the wall. No effect. Either the recent storm had knocked out the power, or this was one of those Fern Street houses that didn’t have electricity any day of the year.

A soft thud behind him made him whirl around. “Jumpy, aren’t we?” asked McKinley cheerfully, slipping some object into his pocket, and shutting the drawer to a beaureau against the wall.

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
“Why don’t you shut the fuck up and let me do my goddamn job?” Everything about this stakeout had gone wrong. An easy job they called it. At this rate he’d probably miss Anna at the usual spot, her always blue blouse exchanged for this ugly piece of crap in front of him.

“Is that how you treat your brothers these days?” McKinley wasn’t always this cheery. It rubbed Casey the wrong way.

“Only the dead ones.”

Casey walked on. The place was a dump. The bathroom’s white tiles stood black of rusted blood and shit caked on year-old newspapers. The few cabinets were broken, their contents spilled all along the floor. He saw nothing of value and moved back to the living room.

“Listen, you know I’ve only got a few years before I’m out. Done. Out to the country jacking off cows in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. Enjoying my peace and quiet.”

“City boy like you? Figured you’d shoot yourself up with that confiscated shit you kept in the back of your car.”

“Ah fuck you. And put that knife back. It’s worth nothing on you.”

McKinley’s fake smile fell for a moment. “Listen, Hank, I really need your help.”

“Can’t you hide back to the sewer you came from, you piece of shit.”

“I’ve got some serious debt. Living off the grid ain’t cheap, and under it ain’t either. Listen, Hank, I know they’ve got you by the balls. They’re crushing mine too. Why don’t

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
"....we dig up my grave?"

The snarky retort on the tip of Casey's tongue crumbled away and was replaced by what felt like the longest second of confused silence. McKinley just kept smiling that same old crooked smile, although Casey's detective's senses noted in passing that he was missing a few more teeth than before. If anything it only made him crookeder.

He swore and flushed with sudden anger. "McKinley, what the hell, is this all some kind of joke to you? You track me down after all these years, interrupt me on the least have something but this kind of retarded monkey jabbering to say. I'm too damn old for your old games, and you were never half as funny as you think you are."

"Monkey jabbering!" McKinley guffawed, practically doubled over in north. "Hank, you're a real comedian, why--"

Casey punched him in the mouth. Not hard enough to add to the dental problems, but not liable to improve them either. "And my name's not fucking Hank, it never was." That was another expired old joke that had never been funny. "Call me Duncan. Hell, forget that, it's Detective Casey, to you."

The taste of his own blood seeming to have a sobering effect, McKinley spat on the ground and straightened up, for once looking him in the eye with a serious expression. "All right Casey, relax. I meant it. You're the only one left I can trust. I have a grave in Texas. Inside it is...

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

"...the last page of a novel I started reading when I was a kid, you understand.  It's the last page."

Casey blew his nose in his ragged blue handkerchief, started to put it away, then opened it, gazed at its contents, did a double take, and then stuffed it back in his pocket.  "Sure, right, funny."

"I'm serious."

"Like hell you are."

"Listen, you know those old detective novels.  Dime store ones, on the spinners at the store?"

"Pretend I do."

"So I started reading one when I was a kid," said McKinley, rubbing his jaw.  "The Case of the Threefold Crane.  Murder mystery, you see.  Loved it.  It was the best thing I ever read.  Only I didn't want it to end.  You know how it is when you love a story, but the thought of it ending makes you sick?"


"Well, some people love stories.  And some people love mysteries.  I did as a kid.  I treated myself to a chapter a year.  Then as I got closer, a half chapter, then a paragraph or two.  Soon just a few words, to savor it.  Like taking a nibble off the end of a piece of cheese or a chocolate bar."

"Get on with it.  You know I'm busy."

"Well, I buried the last page in there.  I didn't want to get to it.  Ever.  Guess I thought...never mind what I thought.  But now I need it.  I need to know what it says.  I need it because..."

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

"I'm not sure how much more time I have. My kidneys ain't what they used to be. I got 'bout two weeks left." A silence settled over them, seeming to last for an eternity. 

"You ain't bull shitting me are you?" Casey asked, a slight growl in his voice. Too many people used sob stories to get what they wanted from him.

"I swear I ain't. I need you to drive me there. I've....I've been having problems with day to day life, that's why I need you." Casey stood there, weighing his options. He owed this prick nothing good. On the other hand, it didn't feel right just letting him die without his last wish. He wouldn't feel like a good man whenever he went to sleep.

"Think of what your old ma would want." McKinley said in a soft whisper. Casey turned away, determined to show no emotion play out on his face. With a sigh he turned back around, ready to deliver the verdict.

"Listen, I'll help you but some things need to happen first. One, I'm here on a stakeout and I'll finish it. Two, you listen to me and do anything I say. Three, no funny business. I don't want to deal with your shit." McKinley grinned that sly smile that he seemed to have perfected over the years.

"You're the boss. And why do I gotta wait on this stakeout? Pretty sure since I'm dying I got the trump card, you know."

"Might be a...."

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

It's been two weeks since the last contribution, so I feel like it's time for a bump. We basically got through all of the exposition, and while I'm already surprised by the amount of replies, I feel like we could get more. If you haven't added a segment yet, feel free to go ahead, and if you've added one already, then you can probably add another. I'll probably add my own at some point but I'm currently busy procrastinating.

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
That was only 79 words right there.

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
^That's only seven :P

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

^That's only three! It's just getting worse and worse.

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago


250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago


250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
I just want to be sure that I state this in a way that not only is factually correct, but also correct in relation to grammar and for the thoughts and feelings of those who read it. In other words, I really want to be as clear as I can be in my statement in this post that I am currently making (for those who don’t understand, that’s this very post that you are reading, these very words that you are comprehending right now).

So my point is that this is the thread that apparently requires two hundred and fifty words for each contribution, or each post, if you will. While there is no one here that can effectively enforce that limit, barring those with administration powers that could, if they wanted to, completely and utterly delete all posts that do not adhere to the aforementioned rule; in reality and in practice, there is no enforcement. So while members of this forum are able to make posts in this thread that are not two hundred and fifty words in length, they are not technically supposed to, as that violates the spirit of the thread, and the ruled posed by the initial poster.

My purpose in posting this too long post myself is to point out that, indeed, someone has violated the two hundred and fifty word rule and, in fact, the poster who violated that rule was the initial poster of this thread: the very person who created the rule.

250-word Segment Challenge

one month ago
Have you considered a career in bureaucracy?