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