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May. 8th, 2014 | 04:53 pm

In response to the prompt "Yes, and," lrig_rorrim, kathrynrose, porn_this_way and
whipchick played the improv game Story Story.

From our Facebook "audience's" suggestions, we randomly selected a first and last line.

The main author started their own story and passed it to the next author. The main author got it back and wrote more, then passed it to the next author, etc. Each time, the writer in possession added 50-200 words, with the understanding that plot twists and new characters had to be "Yes and-ed," not changed or denied. The main author was then allowed to make minor edits for voice/continuity.

Each of the four final stories contains contributions from all four authors, in different orders.

The other three stories are here:

lrig_rorrim's Unraveling
kathrynrose's Eternity
porn_this_way's Here Be Dragons



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Javier awoke to find a dead body in bed next to him…but that was nothing new. There had been so many. At the beginning, he had tried to count them, to remember each one, out of a sense that someone ought to remember. But after the first forty or fifty they blended into a stream of eyes cloudy with cataracts, ropy hands twisted like roots, skin like paper. Now, he only remembered the ones who saw him. That was rare enough to be memorable. The woman fixing her gaze on him, softly saying, “I know why you’re here.” The man who met his eye and laughed—actually laughed! The ones who saw him were usually glad and unafraid. Ready.

With children, though, it was different. The little bundle next to him, quiet now in her sweat-damp sheets, she had seen him. Usually they thought he was a dream, having no literary or folkloric context to place him. Folkloric. He had learned that word from a professor, perhaps thirty deaths ago. “Ah, my folkloric friend,” the man had said. “You validate my hypothesis.” And a hypothesis had been something to do with his—Javier’s—existence, or maybe a hypothesis was something larger still. He hadn’t had time to ask.

But this one. She had reached out her hand, and touched him.

¡Llevas!” and her blue eyes sparkled as she turned and ran.¡Atrápame si puedes!”

Gone were the bed and the sick room, the beep and hum of equipment.   Everywhere were butterflies and bullfrogs and buzzing bumblebees.  Flowers—purple, blue and yellow blossoms—formed rows and shapes in every direction, and just at the intersection of poppy and sunflower, a flash of blonde hair and pink ruffled skirts disappeared around a corner.

He chased her—he had to chase her, play pillapilla, she looked nothing at all like Sophia and yet he felt his laugh bubble up. He called out, ¡Chica-chica-chica!” and flapped his arms like wings, his coat billowing behind him like feathers.

Her high voice shouted ¡Papa!” from the next row of flowers that should not—did not—all grow together in the same place or even the same time. And then¡Papa!” again but with the edge of terror. Javier stopped flapping his wings and ran like he meant it.

He trampled blossoms and pushed through hedges, swatting bees away from his face in his need to reach her. He stopped abruptly beneath the withies of a willow tree. A man was pulling the little girl's arm, fingers digging into soft flesh. He looked familiar to Javier, but that meant nothing. He'd seen so many faces, this one was not so special.

¡Papa no!" with more than terror in her voice. She was pleading, face flushed pink and tears choking her words. She wasn't addressing Javier—she never had been, of course. Of course. That wasn't the game they were playing.

“¡Basta ya de quejarte!” The man yanked hard enough that she screamed.

In three steps Javier was with the girl and her father, his hand on Papa’s arm and Papa’s flesh greying and withering at Javier’s touch. Papa’s fingers released from Sophia’s—no, the girl’s—arm, and she fell into a heap. The man who was Papa looked at Javier, his face now bewildered and helpless, Javier looking at his own face, hearing his own harsh voice and how many times his own Sophia had cried, how many times he, Javier, had cried with his own arm in his own Papa’s hurting fingers.

Papa staggered back, clutching his arm, as he had on the day Javier was big enough to hit. As Javier had on the day he hit too hard. The day he had made the noose, the day he had not known that the Padre was right and death by his own hand was no escape.

He must not touch the girl. And yet, he must.

But first, there was a more pressing issue. One that should have been dealt with long ago. Javier glanced at the girl, curled in a pile of rumpled skirts and tangled hair. Slowly, one wide blue eye peeked up at Javier. Sophia. He shook his head hard, then gave her a reassuring smile.

Chica, you want to play a game? Vamos a jugar a las escondidas?”

She nodded.

“You hide first, okey?” He smiled, making sure he crinkled the corners of his eyes.

Papa was crouching, holding his arm, protecting his underbelly. Javier grabbed his shoulder. The jolt of icy energy nearly bowled him over, but he made no outward sign. Instead, he turned his head to give Soph—the girl—a playful wink, and began to count.

“Diez…neuve…¡Vamos!”

Papa was forgotten as Sophia grinned up at Javier and ran off to hide.

“Ocho…siete…” Sophia was out of sight. Javier gritted his teeth and tightened his grip. “I know what you are.”

The man’s shoulder stiffened under Javier’s touch, the grey skin blooming towards his collarbone. He choked out, “Her mama is gone…I don’t know how…”

Javier called out ¡Seis, cinco!” then looked him in the eye. “I know, Papa. I know. And you will feel better, and she will feel better.”

“Surely this is a dream.”

“Yes. But also somewhere it is real.” Javier called out ¡Cuatro! Tres!” then brought his face close. “Kiss me, Papa.”

Javier saw the man hesitate in fear and revulsion.

“It will be better if you choose it. This is what kindness looks like now.”

Papa closed his eyes like a girl and brought his lips to Javier’s. Javier embraced him, the freezing shock coursing through his body and into Papa’s, unbearably painful, and then it stopped. Javier released the body, which slumped to the ground. Papa-that-was-Papa turned to look, then turned away.

Javier raised his voice again. ¡Dos! Uno!” As he turned to go and find, Papa grabbed his arm.

“Wait—I say goodbye—”

“No, my friend. You will always carry that. But soon you will say goodbye for someone else, and someone else. Every time a little lighter. Maybe one day light enough to fly away.”

He heard the girl laughing at the cleverness of her hiding spot, and she was Sophia but she wasn’t Sophia and he was the man whose daughter died in fear and also the man who took away a daughter’s fear, and yes, it was a little lighter. He looked at Papa-that-was-Papa, the beginning of a journey unknowably long, perhaps forever, and spoke gently.

“Maybe one day I will stand at the gravesite and feel relief like a wave.”

He raised his voice. “Ready or not, here I come!”





________________________________________________________________
whipchick has developed a great fondness for upside-down exclamation points.





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LiveJournal

LJ Idol Week 8, in which we're dragon out the games

from: livejournal
date: May. 8th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
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User porn_this_way referenced to your post from LJ Idol Week 8, in which we're dragon out the games saying: [...] 's Hide and Go Seek [...]

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Teo Says

(no subject)

from: eternal_ot
date: May. 9th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
Link

Ah! I loved this world of yours....loved the end...felt bad for Javier...A good read as always...:) and yeah interesting take ( all of you) Kudos!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks - it was a nerve-wracking but fun process!

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(no subject)

from: catwomon
date: May. 9th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
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What an interesting world and a fascinating character!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks! I loved seeing where the other writers took him :)

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rayaso

(no subject)

from: rayaso
date: May. 9th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC)
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¡I wish I could write like you! This was a really fun idea, and I'm eager to read the other parts, but I couldn't wait to tell you how much I liked your entry. Such a great first sentence, especially the "nothing new"! Even better, the rest of the story delivered on its promise. Buena escritura.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
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Gracias!

I can't take credit for the first sentence, that came from FB and a random number generator :) But I agree it was an awesome one to start with!

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sohum

(no subject)

from: icaruslived
date: May. 9th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Link

Upside down exclamation marks are the best. Upside down question marks give them a run for their money, though...

I couldn't even begin to guess at which bits of this came from different people; it holds together so well. Thank you (all)!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you, and you're welcome!

I adore upside-down punctuation :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

(no subject)

from: roina_arwen
date: May. 10th, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
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I love the way you all started with the same first line then went off in completely different directions, and wove it all together seamlessly. Well done!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! It was stressful but ultimately very rewarding to be jolted from my comfort zone :)

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Miss Lisa

(no subject)

from: monkeysugarmama
date: May. 10th, 2014 11:51 am (UTC)
Link

I love the way your group chose to express the prompt - very Improv Idol! This was lovely, I was in Mexico with Javier and the monarchs and Sophia - loved the Dia de Los Muertos symbolism there! Great work, lady.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I had so much fun looking up Spanish games, too :)

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Your Face

(no subject)

from: kandigurl
date: May. 10th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC)
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I like how your story twisted the last line a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed what you guys did with the prompt this week, insanely clever, and four of my favorite writers. Thank you for the excellent reads!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Thank you very much - I was so happy to get to work with them :)

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: May. 10th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
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I'm still not entirely sure what Javier's past was, or how much he was victim or villain, but the sense of redemption was very clear.

I loved the idea that he remembers those who see him-- and that so many of them talk to him. Hypothesis validated!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!

I was trying for "Javier was an abused kid who finally hit back, Javier killed his own kid by hitting her, then killed himself by hanging, which is what has condemned him to this life." So maybe I can be less oblique on that :)

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lriG rorriM

(no subject)

from: lrig_rorrim
date: May. 11th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, I'm even more impressed with your editing and polishing than the way you rolled with all their stuff we threw your way (and I'm plenty impressed with that, let me tell you!). This really shines now, and I think that without the process note nobody would have known it wasn't all straight from your brain to the page. Awesome!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I had fun discovering the kid only spoke Barcelona Spanish :) And I am so grateful for the comfort zone violations!

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ViolaConspiracy

(no subject)

from: violaconspiracy
date: May. 11th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
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It is very interesting how four people can create such an integrated piece.
One suggestion- since not everyone speaks Spanish, it might be nice to include translations, maybe at the end of the piece. I know enough to basically get what's being said, but some of the words stump me. Even if they're not strictly necessary to understand the piece as a whole, it would still be nice to understand the words.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC)
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I agree - I think if I revisit this one, I'll try to make the translations a little more clear, probably in the text though. Thanks for the idea!

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Bridget Ilene Delaney

(no subject)

from: kagomeshuko
date: May. 12th, 2014 12:14 am (UTC)
Link

This game is always fun. I wish more people would play it correctly on sites that I find.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC)
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I was lucky to have great partners :)

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MamaCheshire

(no subject)

from: cheshire23
date: May. 12th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)
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I really admire what you, all of you, have done with these. And I can read just enough Spanish to mostly understand, and it was a great touch!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I had great fun looking up the Spanish and working it in, so I'm glad it was fun for you :)

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Kelly

(no subject)

from: kajel
date: May. 12th, 2014 01:27 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely brilliant. It is so cohesive that I would have never suspected that parts of it are others contributions.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I had great partners :)

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John Louis

(no subject)

from: grail76
date: May. 12th, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC)
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Nice construction.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: May. 12th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you!

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