Chain Story.

    • 315 posts
    April 30, 2008 4:01 PM BST

    Ok Girls, (and Boys, of course),

    This is an idea I've been thinking about for alittle while now.

    We've probably all heard the saying, that everyone has at least one book in them, but, like me, we may not have tried to let our "creative juices" flow, for many different reasons.
    Maybe a lack of confidence that we could get started, and stick at it, or not being able to work out a "plot" that would maintain interest through-out the whole story! Or for thousands of other reasons!

    So, this is my idea ..................................

    Why not try and write a "shared" story, where the next part is passed on to the next person, who can develop the story further, and so on.
    It might wok, or it might not, but why don't we try it?

    So, obviously, to keep things "under control", and so that it doesn't become one person's own piece of writing, I suggest thet a few "ground-rules" are set out.....................

    I'll start it off, with a few paragraphs, to set a basic "scenario", and from then on, anyone who joins in should restrict themselves to 2 paragraphs in any single posting.

    Anyone who has posted should not post again, until at least 4 other people have posted since their last addition to the story.

    The paragraphs should be kept to a "normal" length. (Please, no paragraphs like one from James Joyce's Ullyses .......................... 5 pages long !!!! ).

    You can take the story in any direction you like in your posting, but please try and keep it "making sense" as it follows on from the previous entries.

    Please, try not to leave your posting with such a situation, that thenext poster would find it impossible to continue the story sensibly.

    To maintain the, hopeful, "flow" of the story, Please don't add comments to this thread.
    I'll start a "parallel" thread ................. "Chain Story Comments" for any comments & suggestions you might have.

    So, I think that covers it.
    Hopefully you'll join in and we can have some fun!

    Here's the opening few paragraphs ........................................
    Let's give it a go !!!!!

    She made a strikingly attractive mourner. Black enhanced Tara Kane; it silhouetted her slim figure and complimented her deep auburn hair. Under the dark veil, tears ran down her pale cheeks. Her generous mouth, which, like her large oval green eyes, reflected her moods, was turned down at the corners. Hers was a private grief, she could share with no one, and all the sadder for its solitude.

    The funeral of her 12 year old sister, Gabrielle, had taken place ten days earlier, in the village cemetery. The gravedigger, who was digging out fresh earth nearby, remembered her clearly. It had been a brief, austere burial, with only two people present, the slender woman in black and the minister. No family. No husband. Afterwards she had walked off alone, and the gravedigger had wondered who the sad, elegant woman might be.

    Now she was back, staring at Gabrielle's grave. Bending down, she placed a small bunch of flowers on the ground that covered the coffin. For a moment she knelt silent, her eyes blurred with tears. Then, gatherng her cloak around her, she stood up and walked off among the bending willows.

    Tara looked back only once. At the cemerery gate she stopped, her eyes searching the rows of graves where, in the distance, Gabie lay. But the plot was already hidden from sight. She sighed. Tomorrow she would be gone from the village, and there would be no-one to visit the forlorn grave. She turned, raised her head high, and walked out of the cemetery, her face set with determination. What she was about to do was the most desperate decision of her life, but there was no other course.
    • 448 posts
    May 1, 2008 12:48 PM BST
    So the decision had been made, there could be no turning back. It was desperate, she knew, and she shuddered at the thought and couldn't help but think, in the circumstances, just for whom exactly her tears had been shed. But such thoughts were not worthy of her she had a good heart. Why then had she been the cause of so much pain? All she had done was live her own life, but that was the question that was asked by those who shunned her , that was the answer she had to find. Just why was the mirror tarnished? Why does the camera lie? Why do they not reflect the truth? Now she was alone, all alone, the whispers were deafening; and her heart ached, her hands shook, her step unsteady, and the tears copious at the thought of what she had done. But it was a future filled with uncertainty that would determine all that was to come, and she couldn't help but smile at the thought.
    • 448 posts
    May 8, 2008 12:54 AM BST
    But it was her fault. Oh perhaps, not entirely her fault. She could not be held to blame for the weakness of others or the demons that torment them; but she had a responsibility, a responsibility that she had neglected. The envelope remained unopened and the letter unread because she knew its content. It was a suicide note. What could it say that she did not already know, what could it do but tear strips of flesh from already open wounds. She had to do what had to be done. It was the only way she could repay in full.
    • 315 posts
    May 17, 2008 8:15 PM BST

    Turning into the main street of the village, she realised that she had spent longer in the graveyard than she had thought. Where she had expected to see people waiting for that morning's bus into the town, the bus-stop was deserted. She crossed the street to the village store, and searched amonst the posters and for sale adverts taped to the inside of the glass door, she saw the piece of paper, listing the times for the bus service. Although knowing that it was infrequent , she was still a little annoyed that the next one to town was not for another three hours.
    Having made up her mind to make her journey, the last thing she wanted was to have to stay in this village a moment longer than necessary, she just wanted to get to town, get on the train, and be gone from here! She had her plans set in her mind, and already, circumstances were conspiring against her.
    Realising that, with hours to kill, she couldn't just stand at the bus-stop. It was a chilly morning, and it looked like, before long, it would rain, she needed to find somewhere to wait, so, although it was the one place she really didn't want to be, she walked further along the street, to what had been, for many years, her family home and business, The White Hart.
    Entering the Public Bar, the few locals who were there, taking advantage of the open fire, and the newspapers provided by the owner, looked round at her, and a hush decended on the room. Feeling every pair of eyes follow her, she walked up to the bar, where Paul Grogan, the landlord stood, polishing already spotless glasses.
    "I've missed the bus to town, and it's hours before the next one. I know we've had our differences, and that I swore I'd never enter here again, but, just for a little while, can we put our differences to one side, and at least be civil to one another?"
    "You've really got a nerve, coming in here! After all that's been said over the past while, you want me to just pretend that it never happened? I had a great respect for all your family, hey, when your father died, and your mother was selling this place, I know I could probably have got it cheaper, but I wanted to make sure that your mother and you girls were ok for money, so I bought this place for more than it was really worth! And look at how I get re-paid for it!"
    • 9 posts
    May 23, 2008 11:52 PM BST
    "Oh you think I should be grateful for what you did? You and my dad were drinking buddies but when he came home loaded he would take it out on us women. My sister had had enough and when she saw him sleeping in the garage with the car running and the garage door open she saw her chance to end it all by closing the door on the bastard. My mother told the police she was responsible and ended up in prison and my sister just couldn't handle the guilt of it all."

    "None of that was my fault," Paul protested.

    "The last time I visited my mom she implied that you had a hand in a lot of our troubles."
    • 448 posts
    May 24, 2008 4:46 PM BST
    "That's what she implied, is it? If I have any guilt it is that borne of association only. What you don't realise is that you're parents had a life to. Moreover, they had a life before you were born. I know where the skeletons are buried, I know the secrets. I keep those secrets, so damned right you should be grateful. You know what I'm referring to. You're not welcome here."
    • 67 posts
    May 24, 2008 8:44 PM BST
    Tara took her turbo shandy found a seat by the window, through which she could see a desultory queue at the bus stop headed by shamus murphy and his mangy flea bitten wolfhound .. she sat musing that judging by her experience
    the landlords' wetherspoons in house customer service training course had not been a great success.

    killing time tara checked she had her tickets both bus and the rail ticket that would take her to Dublins O'Connell Street Station ....and the temporary job,arranged by her old flame Daniel,at the national museum - which would keep her solvent and occupied while she figured out her next move......
    • 315 posts
    May 29, 2008 8:29 PM BST

    Sitting there, absentmindedly flicking the pages of the dog-eared magazine that someone had left on the table, she couldn't help but notice the looks directed at her by the other customers, over their newspapers, which they, to a man, were holding up in front of themselves, like barriers between themselves, and herself.
    Where, normally, she would have stared them down, challenging them to maintain eye-contact, today, drained by all the emotions of the past week, she buckled under their implied hostility, closed the magazine, took one last sip of her drink, and, as unobtrusively as possible, left the bar. Even knowing that it could be a very long time before, if ever again, she would see her old home again, she managed to resist any impulse to take one last glance backwards, as she left.
    The thought of having to stand at the bus-stop with Shamus and his dog almost turned her stomach. She had never really decided which one of them was the more off-putting. Shamus, and his incessant talk of the "old days", when, by his telling anyway, he'd, single-handedly, won independence for Ireland, or the smell of that dog!
    Doing her best to avoid them, she walked down the opposite side of the street, as far as the corner shop, and went in, where she browsed the magazines on the shelf, making sure that she would be able to see the bus as it came down the hill.
    She didn't want to spend one minute longer than she had to in this village, and, as the bus was her only method of escape, there was no way she was going to chance missing it!
  • June 25, 2008 1:04 PM BST
    The bus appeared down the street, and slowly ground to a stop. This is my chance, she thought, as she steeled herself for the adventure that lay beyond her.

    It was only after she got into the bus that she realized that she was passing into a new life, and that her old life was slipping away.
    • 404 posts
    June 29, 2008 8:13 PM BST
    As the bus crept slowly along the winding roads, she gazed at the countryside and let her thoughts drift.The weather was deteriorating rapidly in tune with her mood,and the blacker her mood became,the more she lapsed into the vernacular. By now it was raining heavily and the world outside the bus was only perceptible as shades of grey. 'Forty Shades of Green',she thought,'that's a corny song if ever I heard one.What class of a buckijit had come up with something like that? Must almost certainly have been some b****y yank from Tin-Pan-Alley- only a f*****g yank could come up with something that b******g corny! Probably not even vaguely irish. Only connection with 'The Ould Sod' in some irish bar in The Bronx- or perhaps The Bowery?-where he cultivated his liver cirrhosis with generous doses of Guinness and Bushmills. Forty shades of b****y green,my a**e-forty shades of grey was more like it!' The only song that she could think of as being really about Ireland was
    'Fairy Tale of New York' although,to her present state of mind,Dublin,Belfast,Liverpool or London would be equally valid candidates. No other song she had ever heard summed up irish men,irish women,irish behaviour and Ireland in general in two minutes or so.'Forty shades of f*****g green- Jaysusss- what she needed right now were forty f*****g shades of b******g sunshine! How much longer to Sligo and the train to b****y Dublin? And what,apart from Gaby's grave,actually kept her here in Ireland, Kept her returning to b****y god-forsaken Mayo for Chrissakes?'
    "Angie,did I ever tell yez I was the model for that 'Pussy Braden' in Breakfast on Pluto?" Her thoughts drifted again and she became aware of the two women- at least,she assumed they were women- on the other side,diagonally in front of her. She vaguely recalled them boarding the bus in- Ballina wasn't it?- but being so wrapped up in her own black thoughts she hadn't really payed them much attention. "I tell yez,if I had a Euro for every hour I'd spent with yer man Paddy McCabe in smoky bars stinking of stale Guinness,giving him the lowdown on my high life then there's no way, no b****y way I tell yez, that I'd be stuck out here on b****y Achill Island, County b*****n' Mayo,the a**e of Ireland,wasting my life in a rabbit farm of all things!Did I get a credit in his b****y book? Any thanks to 'Bitchy' Birne for her advice and cooperation? No b****y way,not a b*****n' word!And 'Pussy'! What sort of a f****n' poncy name is that, I ask yez? Angie? Angie?? Angela Louise! You haven't been listening to a f****n' word I've said, have yez? Yer off polishing f****n' Val Doonican's rockin' chair again, ain't yez!?"

    next please!
    Lynn H.
    • 404 posts
    July 7, 2008 4:36 PM BST
    By now the rain had stopped and a weak sun was doing it's best to brighten up the last few miles to Sligo and the waiting train. Somebody made a remark about 'all that hippie stuff coming back into fashion' and this set Tara's thoughts drifting again.A few years back she'd visited an exhibition-'1968-Summer of Love'- or something like it.Primitive light shows, paintings with riotous swirls of colour- psychedelic,that was the term.She smiled to herself - if only 'that' song had been written in 1968 by someone on -what was it?ah yes,LSD,that was it,then the forty shades would have been perfectly understandable! And she recalled the-what was it
    called now,mandrake,mandalay?-something like that anyway.Very interesting,she'd found it,she could have spent hours just sitting and studying it.The women,-or were they men?-
    it was hard to know really.For women,they were extremely interestingly equiped between the legs and,for men,well their chests were extremely well upholstered ......Later she'd picked up the term 'she-males'.Be that as it may,was there some sort of deep spiritual message in the....mandala,that was it.....or had the artist just been heavily into she-ma......She snapped out of her reverie with a start.Just about everyone,apart from the driver,seemed to be looking at her.Bitchy and Angies' looks betrayed interest,whilst old Shamus' leer was straight out of a Boris Karloff film. Oh s**t,she hadn't been daydreaming out loud,had she?

    In the White Hart,Paul Grogan stood at the end of the bar,absently polishing a glass.He watched Tara go down the road to the bus-stop and then up to the corner shop.When the bus finally arrived he watched her board it,the last in the queue,and,as the bus passed the pub he muttered under his breath,"And a bloody good riddance to you!""A trouble maker?"The voice brought him back to the bar,and he turned,giving the customer standing at the bar a wan smile."No,no,not really.......Two more Guiness you'll be wanting,is it?"The customer was someone best described as nondescript,or Mr. Average,perhaps.Average height,thinning hair,an averagely creased face with green eyes that had a twinkle in them,check shirt,blue jeans,and one of those waistcoats with a multitude of pockets.City type up here for the fishing with some business crony,said Paul to himself.Relatively new Range-Rover out in the car-park,up from Dublin probably.It occurred to him that old Eamonn,the odd-job man,had said something about 'your man there' being the new owner of the old farm up the mountain at Knock-an-Cummin.The barn conversion was supposed to be worth seeing....."No,not really trouble,"said Paul again,"...and five euros change.No,her father had this place before me.I used to divide my time between digging turf,digging 'taters,and serving here.Then the old man..........died.Terrible thing.....Dead drunk......Managed to drive into the garage here,but was so plastered that he could neither get out of the car nor turn the engine off..........someone shut the garage door on him...........
    'Twas his wife as was sent down for murder...........there's some as says she was covering for someone 'though........Pity,a fine figure of a man as long as he was sober............The kids though,there was always something odd about 'em...........Ah,
    Eamonn,good-day to you,it's the usual you'll be having,is it?"

    that's all for now,boys and girls,tune in again for the next thrilling(?) instalment: What's our man angling after and,just what has happened on the bus???

    Lynn H.
    (I shall do my best to hold back on the story,honest!)
    • 448 posts
    July 23, 2008 3:55 PM BST
    The rain lashed down as he stood at the dockside looking out upon the water and breathing the Irish air. Not that he had much time for the Irish, or anyone else for that matter. This was his first time in Ireland, it would be his last. The bitter cold wind bothered him little. His long dark hair dripping wet and grey pallor seemed to glow in the rays of a hesitant sun. He took a drag from a cigarette, he said little and smoked much. He let it fall to the ground and lit another. This won't take long, he thought.
    • 171 posts
    July 23, 2008 7:09 PM BST
    Finally, the bar started to clear. From the corner of his eye he watched as the landlord encouraged the stragglers out into the cold, wet air; the lunch time session over. Time for plates and heads to be cleared. Time to focus. He walked - briskly now, back to the Range Rover and tapped the sole of his shoes against the alloy towing bracket. Water sprayed off the leather and his cold feet stung with every impact. He muttered again about the climate in this god-forsaken place.

    He reached for the packet below the passenger seat, then quickly stuffed it into his jacket pocket. He needed to be quick now, whilst the pub was empty, before the door was locked.

    The landlord was suprised when he returned, he hadn't previously appeared either comfortable or engaged with his company. 'I'm shut now, open again at 6.30' he said, "Can't you give a man some peace for a while?'

    "Sorry, I need a favour, I'll not keep you long' he said, and reaching into his jacket pocket without hesitation pulled out the package. "This comes with a message' he said, smiling, knowingly. 'I understand you know Trevor Kane?'
    The landlord snorted, then replied, "I knew him once, before he started shaving everything' 'Why d'ya ask?'

    "I got some legal documents for him, his proof of ownership, I've got his racehorse up at the farm, inheirited from a lost Uncle, and need to hand her over. I fly back to Stansted tomorrow. Can you pass the message on? But be discrete about it, she's a beauty."

    • 315 posts
    August 2, 2008 3:45 PM BST

    "You're a couple of hours too late!", said Grogan. "the last that was seen of "him" was leaving on the bus, on the way to Dublin, and Gawd knows where else after that! And I don't give a damn where "he" ends up, I just hope I never see that freak ever again!"

    "But there must be someone who knows how to contact him. Is there any family in Dublin who might know?"

    Look, that's probably the most mixed-up family there is! Between Kane himself, the parents, and that sister, I don't know which one was the worst! This village is well shot of them, is all I can say!"

    Putting the documents back into his coat, and buttoning it up to his chin, to give some protection from the elements outside, the stranger turned on his heel, and strode out of the bar. Standing in the street, wondering what his next move was, he noticed that he was being watched, from behind the net curtains of the cottage opposite.

    Crossing the street, he knocked at the door, and was somewhat surprised that it was a policeman, in uniform, who answered.

    Noticing through the half open front door, another policeman, sitting at the window, behind a video camera, and a stills camera, on a tripod beside him, he realised that the flick of the net curtain a moment ago, meant more than just a nosey neighbour!

    This was one development he hadn't planned for!

    • 404 posts
    August 7, 2008 6:47 PM BST
    "Would yer be making way there please,sorr?"So saying,odd-job Eamonn pushed his way past them into the cottage carrying a couple of army issue hot food containers."I'll speak to you later,sergeant,"hissed the stranger as he turned on his heel and walked back to Range Rover.

    "Jesus F***ing Christ!"he muttered to himself as he got into the car,"Jeeeeeeesus F**********ing Christ!I asked for,no,I explicitly demanded covert surveillance...and look what I get.Am I working for the Gardai or is this the bloody boy scouts?If that's Mayo's finest then I dread to think what the worst looks like!"He gunned the motor and,in a spray of gravel,roared out of the car park and up the road.

    Up by the lough he turned off and let the car roll down to a little jetty where a dingy was tied up.He killed the motor,got out and,grabbing his fishing tackle from the boot of the Range-Rover,made his way over to the dingy.Unhitching it,he pushed away from the jetty and the outboard,as if sensing his anger,fired first time."Heads are going to roll for this,"he said to himself,"starting with the top level of the Gardai in Mayo.How seriously has my cover been blown?How compromised is the operation?I need a couple of hours fishing to calm down and sort out my thoughts.Then I'll go down and interview those officers........and if they haven't got a watertight explanation............"

    Lynn H.
    • 404 posts
    August 30, 2008 5:13 PM BST
    (Take 2-someone with a JCB 'sabotaged' the connection on Thursday.......... )

    Detective-sergeant Ross headed through the drizzle towards the small,birch clad,island.Rounding the tip of it he cut the outboard and let the dinghy drift into the shore.He made fast to a tree trunk,grabbed his oilskin,fishing tackle and a small iso-mat,and made himself as comfortable as possible against one of the trees.Peace and quiet reigned and,as he cast his line out,he began to marshall his thoughts.
    'Eamonn knows what we're up to and who we're watching. Almost certain.And.....if he knows...then Grogan knows........! Oh,he knew the situation only too well. There was always an 'Eamonn', or perhaps a 'Bridie'.In every bloody village, in every bloody parish, if you wanted to spread information, flush out a suspect or get them to make a mistake, you dropped a heavy hint to the local Eamonn or Bridie-God alone knew why but their names were always Eamonn or Bridie-that they were being favoured with this information, that they should ' keep it to your-
    selves you understand...' with the desired effect that, in nothing flat,everybody in the district.....the whole damn county most probably.....knew down to the last detail what was going on.
    'Assuming Grogan knows.......he's covering up well......still, given his form he's well practised.Pack up?Call it a day?......Hmmm,....
    can't put my finger on it but there's more to this than we thought...
    .what have we missed? We haven't been set-up,have we??....
    looks like it a bit really detests Kane, no
    doubting that.......that exchange in the bar,his reaction to my
    request....oh no,he wasn't acting,not at all. Perhaps we should take a closer look at the Kane family? And....perhaps.....perhaps
    Eamonn may prove to be very useful.......'
    The drizzle turned into rain with the promise of a good squall for an encore. Ross reeled in his empty line, untied the dinghy,
    jerked the outboard into life and headed back to the jetty and his Range-Rover.Bumping up the track to Knock-an-Cummin, a change of tactics began to form in his mind. Up at the house he first checked for bugs and other devices then,although everything seemed OK, he put Cream-Live! into the CD-player and kranked up the volume to stadium level. Only then did he pick up his mobile 'phone and duck back out into the yard.
    "That you,Nobby? Here's Vimes. How's our Magrat doing?" This
    use of code was ridiculous,he knew, but he found an almost childish delight in it,especially when they plundered the 'Disc-
    world' cast. Against the background noise of a train in motion he heard his contact chuckle.
    "Hehehe....well,we've just left Longford so we should be in Ankh-
    ..sorry,Dublin,in an hour or so,the gods of iarnrod Eireann permitting. The little witch in question has been immersed in Cosmopolitan ever since Sligo.It's all routinely boring or boringly routine....take your choice. How's things your end?"
    "We've got an Eamonn........."
    "Oh Jesus Christ,no! Eamonn! Has he b*****ed things up? Seriously,I mean?"
    "Maybe,maybe not.Too soon to tell.May turn out to be useful to us
    in the long run."
    "Aha,I see..........Uhoh,better go,looks as if our 'Maggie' is about to toss a wobbler.........I'll be in touch. If I text in capitals you'll know it's serious!"
    Ross looked at the 'phone in his hand for a moment,then went back indoors and turned the volume down. Picking up a couple of dossiers he flopped onto the sofa.'Soooo,' he mused,'Kane is up to something on the train........Is she,or,as Grogan prefers,he, aware of our surveillance?.............'

    Bye for now!
    Lynn H.

    (PS. Angela,please feel free to correct my spelling of Irish and the Garda ranks.)
    • 734 posts
    May 8, 2008 12:25 AM BST
    As she walked carefully back towards the village, she reflected that the last twenty-four hours had ebbed away so slowly. Oh, so slowly. Each second dripping off the clock. Each second a globule gathering and falling. Like slime. Time is slime, she thought, and for the first occasion, in what seemed like forever, she smiled. Small. Short. Easily missed by a casual observer. But a genuine smile nonetheless. She repeated the words internally a few times just for the fun of it. The joy of thinking something outside of her current situation. But just as quickly as it arrived, it was gone. Fleeting would too long a word to describe it. Tara forced her mind back to reality. She’d made her plans, she’d made her decisions and – as Heaven knows only too well – she’d made her mistakes. Now is the time for determination and she almost chastised herself for allowing such a silly thought to cross her mind. But you can’t be serious all the time. There has to be a break.

    She clutched her bag a little closer to her body, as if the contents could help ward off evil spirits. Provide succour in some strange and as yet undiscovered way. Maybe they could. Apart from the basic essentials, the bag also contained an envelope. Unopened. And a locket. It was the locket she tried to focus on. Small, round, silver and plain. No adornment was ever needed on anything that contained a picture of Gabrielle. Dear, dear, Gabie. She was more than just a sister. Young, yes, but beautiful, innocent and intelligent. She was The One. The Artistic One. The Creative One. She was her muse. Her inspiration. All but a tangible piece of her own soul. And she did’nt deserve to be resting in peace so soon.
    • 734 posts
    July 3, 2008 10:47 PM BST
    And - with a belch and a fart - Tara stirred into a world of encaged normality. A world of overcrowded, over-sweating and over-eating coach travellers. The belch and the fart, naturally, had’nt in the least pertained to her. They merely represented the cacophony of encouped humanity.

    And the recollection of remnants of a ragged net curtain blowing in the breeze meandered through her awaking conciousness.

    Which, on rational decanting, became the trawlings and detritus of a bad couple of hours of ‘coach dreaming’. Tara remembered something about several shades of green. (The army???) and a band playing in New York. (Police? Partisans?) and a 'Queen of New York City'. The cloud of early morning / late night confusion definately infused her soul.

    But, what the hell. She was on the bus, out and away from her past and off on a journey to her future. And, more importantly, she was really finally accepting herself - and being accepted as herself - Tara, a la femme.

    Quietly, bizarrely, amazingly, and for the current moment, Tara was Her. And at peace... even the Irish subterfuge had worked!