Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Exquisite Corpse

This entry is part of an on-line exquisite corpse – a short story told in 10 installments by 10 different authors. My 250 word installment is below; if you’re interested in writing the next part, scroll down to the bottom of this post for details on how this all works…

— — —


had companions. Drifting over the ridge, a dozen bulbous creatures with buzzing gossamer wings and grasping claws darkened the sky. Dianne and Peter sank to the ground, watching the nightmare creatures pass over.

Peter’s eyes grew wide. “The lodge,” he muttered, fear staining his voice, “Dad!” He pulled out the satphone and punched a speeddial, biting his lip as the phone connected.

“Bruce here,” came the answer, his father’s voice slick with whiskey. Peter groaned inwardly. Taking a deep breath, he told Bruce what he wanted him to do.


Bruce hung up and tossed the phone aside. Damn kids had been trying for god-knows-how-long to get him out of his lakeside lodge. Well, screw them. He’d worked hard all his life, and he was damn well going to retire where he pleased. What, did they think he’d gone nuts?

Turn on the gas in the kitchen?

Take a rifle and get into the woods, with a clear shot at the lodge?

They couldn’t convince him to retire to a village with the other old-timers, so they wanted him to what? Blow up his house?

Screw them.

Bruce poured another dram of scotch and picked up the TV remote. A noise like helicopters reached him, and he punched up the volume. The noise increased, and Bruce turned to look over the ridge, swearing.

The tumbler slipped from his fingers, smashing on the timber floor.

The darkness of the swarm filled his vision. Bruce stood, shaking, reaching for his

— — —

This is part 6 of 10. You can find the other installments here (but DON’T DO THIS YET if you want to join in):

1. (26 June 2009)
2. (27 June 2009)
3. (29 June 2009)
4. (1 July 2009)
5. (1 July 2009)
6. (2 July 2009)

WANT TO READ IT? Jump back to the previous entries using the links above.

WANT TO JOIN IN? This exquisite corpse operates on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to write the next installment, FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS:

1.IMPORTANT – Don’t read any of the previous entries! Read only the one you see here.

2.ALSO IMPORTANT – Post a comment here, saying “I claim the next entry”, followed by the URL/web address of your blog. If you don’t do this, we’ll never know where to find you.

3.Copy the text of this blog entry into a new post on your blog, but DELETE THE CHAPTER and write your own as the next installment. Start with the chapter number as I’ve done here, and start exactly where the last chapter left off (in mid-sentence if necessary).

4.Your entry should be EXACTLY 250 words long, unless you are writing chapter 10, in which case you must bring the story to a conclusion in 250 words or less.

5.At the end of the chapter, where the text reads: “This is part X of 10″, change this to the number of your chapter.

6.Add the URL/web address of your blog and today’s date onto the list below that, so people reading later entries can jump back to your chapter.

7.Finish your chapter and post it within 24 hours of claiming your place. There – it’s freaking easy! You can go back and read the rest of the story now.

8.IF YOU’VE JUST FINISHED ENTRY #10 and finished the story, DELETE THESE INSTRUCTIONS from the bottom of your post – they’ll just confuse people. ALSO, let CG know by posting a comment on the first entry (on, or sending him an email on CG will assemble a full version and send it round to all of the contributors.


  1. I claim the next entry

  2. Interesting! I like :)

  3. Awesome. I like the character Bruce and the ever increasing sense that something very bad is going to happen soon.

  4. Bruce is great, & so is his dilemma -
    "blow up his house? screw them"

  5. I have written mine and posted. Don't know what came before #6 and will read when the story is done..
    I liked what happened in this part.
    Good work.

  6. I've posted part 8 and come back to check out the previous entries. I love how you hilariously up the ante here with the cantankerous old Bruce.

  7. Thanks everyone.

    8 parts done now, racing towards the climax.

    So exciting!

  8. Hey Dan - have done, but his blog requires approval for comments and he's away on holiday til the 16th of July. In the interest of not letting the corpse die (so to speak) I've charged ahead. If anyone else has done so too, we have a bifircated corpse on our hands! Rock'n'roll.

  9. Awesome.

    I thought he had gone strangely quiet on Twitter.

    Rocking on!

  10. There's a cool noirish feel to this entry. Cool as the brushed steel caress of a .45 fresh from the holster.

    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    Bruce definitely adds a welcome abrasive edge to the story.