Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 4

2017-serial-story

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Part 4: An Emu Goes to The Market

They stood hugging for what felt like a long time. Sophia didn’t know what else to do to comfort him. In their little ship in the middle of an asteroid field that was once his home, all she could do was hug him back. The more she tried to avoid thinking about her body being against his the more she noticed how shapely he was. Under his slightly loose clothing, he was in very good condition.

An alarm pulled her out of her thoughts.

She sat back down at the navigation controls and saw that there was another ship coming towards them. “That ship has its weapons aimed at us.” It was big, at ten times the size of their ship.

“I don’t understand. That’s a royal cruiser,” Phil’s red teary eyes looked at the ship in utter confusion.

“That’s a cruiser? I’d hate to see a battleship.” She hit a few buttons on the control panel and said, “Royal Cruiser. This is the Phillip Two. We are unarmed please advise.” She’d meant to ask why it was the Phillip-Two and what had happened to the first. In the stories she’d read there were ten different ways the first had been destroyed.

“Phillip-Two, you are in a stolen royal yacht. Lower your shields and prepare for boarding.”

Looking up at the Prince, she waited for him to say something. When he didn’t she said, “They think I stole your ship. What do you want to do?”

“Um… I guess we surrender?”

Shaking her head, she said to him, “Are you sure? They could just as easily shoot us when our shields go down.”

He opened his mouth and nothing came out. Before he could say anything the cruiser hailed them again, “In the name of his highness Abernathy First of his name and rightful ruler of the galaxy, lower your shields.”

Without hesitation, she pushed them back into hyperspace. Once again without coordinates but this time she knew she could change them as they travelled.

“We’re running? Why are we running?” Phil’s voice became shrill and his eyes tried their best to imitate a kicked puppy’s.

“Abernathy isn’t one of your siblings and the only Abernathy in the stories was a rich mining tycoon. I had a bad feeling about them.”

His eyes widened and he just stared at her. Finally he yelled, “You just turned us into fugitives!”

“Better than dead!” she yelled back.

“WARK! WARK!” yelled Hagrid.

Both Sophia and Phil jumped and turned to the door. Hagrid was swaying left and right and making choking noises. Eventually he just gagged and spit up a large ball of feathers and something electronic.

“That’s the tracker.” Phil bent down and picked it up wiping it off on his jeans. “We have the tracker. I know someone who can help us. We need to get to The Market.”

She gave him a disdainful look and waited for him to tell her where it was.

“Oh right it’s um… the ship should know.” She searched the database and found that it wasn’t on a planet, it was an entire solar system. Twelve planets, three hundred moons, and several floating ships. It was immense. “Thank you for saving our lives.”

“My pleasure. I like being alive. I hate to be practical when our lives are being threatened ever five minutes but we need fuel and food. Hagrid has eaten most of what was here before and you’ve eaten all the cereal I brought.”

“We’ll be able to get everything we need at The Market.”

* * *

“We need the moon called Shimerman.” The moon was located closest to the sun and the databanks said it was one of the roughest places in The Market.

“Do you have any weapons?” Sophia asked as the were getting ready to go.

“No and if I did, I’d leave them behind. There’s only two laws on Shimerman and the first is that if you want to kill someone you do it with your fists.”

“What’s the second?”

“Don’t piss off Little Sister.”

“Who?”

He reached for the button that opened the airlock and looked at Hagrid. He opened his mouth like he was going to ask a question and then closed it and shook his head. “She runs the place. We’re not going anywhere near her.”

There was something thrilling about stepping off the ship onto an alien moon. She was less thrilled when she noticed the rest of the shoppers. They were human, or at least human looking. They were different shades of brown, pink and beige but they could all be from different places on earth. Where they differed was the style of clothing, tattoo, and piercings.

The entire planet looked like a bad Blade Runner rip off. It was the grimy future that eighties movies loved.

Part way to their destination Hagrid made a strange whistling noise and walked away from them in the wrong direction. Phil looked like he was going to try and stop the bird but didn’t. Sophia wasn’t worried, she’d placed a short-range tracker on him. Hopefully he’d stay out of trouble.

They were going was a little shop called Buck’s. The owner, who she assumed was called Buck, sat in the back of a large room that looked vaguely like a trash yard, if everything in the yard had a little tag with a price.

“You, My Friend are supposed to be dead!”

Buck and Phil hugged a quickly and awkwardly. The hug of people who’d once been close but now didn’t know what was acceptable.

“Not yet but someone is trying hard. I took this tracker off my hull it was laced with explosives.” When Buck gave him a sceptical look he added, “Ok well… she took it off. Can you tell me who’s tech this is?”

Buck took the tracker and looked at if for a little before getting an eyepiece that looked like the ones jewelers used. After what felt like years he said, “You really don’t know?”

“No I don’t. Who’s tech is it?”

“It’s Galactic Royal Tech.” Buck paused frowning. “This has your sisters royal signature all over it. Your sister was trying to kill you.”


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 3

2017-serial-story

Part 1 | Part 2

Part 3: An Emu Takes a Nap

“At least your emu’s suit is still tethered to the ship,” Phil said, running a hand through his hair.

Sometimes when odd things happened to Sophia, she tried not to think about them until her brain, like a browser with too many tabs open, crashed. She’d managed to accept and push back that they were in space going faster than the speed of light. She’d even managed to accept that she was on this ship with the dreamy character from the ship’s stories.

Seeing Hagrid floating outside of the ship, wearing a spacesuit, and flopping around, was just a little to far for her. She sat down on the ground and said, “Gah!” a little too loudly.

The Prince jumped up and alternated his gaze from her to the space walking emu. His wide eyes and head movements meant he was having the same sort of mental freeze or he was replaying a particularly traumatic ping-pong game.

The two of them contemplated the farce that had become their day when Prince Phil looked out the window and said, “What the hell is that? That’s not part of my ship.” Then looking at Sophia he asked, “Did you put that there?”

She stood up shook her head clear and looked out the portal. Ignoring Hagrid flopping around, she looked for what Phil was pointing at. It was a small grayish box with a blinking purple light. “No, what is it?”

“I don’t know but your bird is going straight for it.”

Hagrid’s flailing turned to flouncing and suddenly he moved with purpose. He reached the place where the box was and started trying to peck at it. Since his head was in a spacesuit helmet it just looked like he was headbutting the ship. His head hit the ship, but the momentum of the hit pushed his entire body away from it.

His mask stuck onto the device and the rest of him just floated there like a disturbing and misshapen space accident.

“He’s still tethered,” she said, reaching for the controls to reel him in.

“I already said that.”

“Sorry, I have breakdown.”

Reeling him in was much easier than she’d expected. He just stayed there and didn’t move.

Once the emu was in the airlock and the air had been pumped back in, Phil opened the hatch and took a tentative step inside before turning to her and saying, “You may want to be the one to come in first… it’s a very large bird.”

Hagrid, however, offered no resistance to them taking the suit off. Once it was off, he gave a happy chirp and wobbled out of the airlock.

“It’s a good thing I have spare suits… this one is completely ruined.” His eyes widened as he picked up the helmet. “Holy nebulas! The thing is in the mask.”

The small box had embedded itself in the mask. It took her a little work and the right tools to take it out. “So engineering girl, what is it?”

She was about to tell him she didn’t know, but decided to see if there was some sort of transmission coming from it. It did. “It’s a tracking beacon!” she exclaimed in English.

“What barbaric language is that?” The Prince asked his mouth frowning as if he’d eaten something disgusting.

“English. The box is sending signal. Someone following us.” She grabbed a hammer and was about to smash it, but he picked it up and looked at it.

“I’ve never seen this tech… Can you tell where it’s sending information?”

“It send everywhere.”

“Oh… can you disable it without destroying it?”

Nodding she took the box and started studying it. The ship had sensors that let her see inside the box and she took her time trying to understand how it worked. Phil was right that it didn’t look like it was made by the same people as his ship.

Her study and tinkering took several hours. Eventually she figured out how to sever a small wire to stop it from transmitting.

When she was done, she looked up to see that both Phil and Hagrid had left her in the engine room. She found them in the small kitchen where Phil was eating something that looked like cereal and Hagrid was asleep in the corner, his head under his wing.

“Did you do it?” Phil asked, almost knocking over the bowl of cereal.

“Yes. It is disabled.” She gave it to him and went to the food replicator and ordered a muffin. When she turned around, Phil was gone and Hagrid was snoring.

Phil was on the bridge and looked really upset. “Why aren’t we there yet?”

Looking at the instruments she replied, “We are. We circle coordinates until we have exit coordinates.” Without a safe place to exit they could appear next to a ship or inside a planet.

Pulling up the map, Phil pointed at a place slightly out of the way of this solar systems fourth planet. She punched in the coordinates and they dropped out of hyperspace.

Scanning around she looked back at Phil and asked, “Are you sure this home? No radio signals or signs of life.”

She looked back at the large view screen in time too see that the planet was surrounded by a halo of metal debris. A large asteroid flew by them and the proximity alarms started going nuts.

“We are in an asteroid field,” she told Phil.

“That’s not possible. Where are the stations? Where are the ships? Where’s Innas?”

“There is too much things. We must go back to hyperspace.” She pushed a few buttons and lacking any idea where to go, she headed back to Earth.

They said nothing for a little while and finally Phil said, “There should have been people… how could this happen? My home is destroyed. My family is gone…”

She could think of nothing else to say, so she stood up and gave him a hug.


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 2

2017-serial-story

Part 1

Part 2: An Emu in SPACE!

“What you’ve done is launch us into hyperspace with no exit coordinates.” The Prince sat up from his glass coffin and shook his head. “Now who the hell are you and what are you doing on my ship?”

Sophia just stared at him. He was just as handsome as the stories had described. His black hair contrasted with his pale skin and he had a lopsided grin that made her feel weak. His words made sense to her, but he spoke much faster than the computer had when she’d been learning his language.

“I Sophia. You Prince. Me fix ship.”

“You speak galactic standard? But I landed on Sol-oh-three. There’s never been contact with that disturbing branch of humanity.” He looked scared and angry, and he awkwardly hopped out of the coffin almost falling on his face. “Who the hell are you and where are you taking me?”

There was an arm lengths distance between them but somehow Hagrid managed to stuff his girth between them. He squawked at the Prince, his head bobbing in every possible direction, like a helium balloon in a storm.

Jumping back, the Prince said a string of words that she didn’t understand but were obviously curses. “What is that thing?” His hands raised up in an awkward defensive posture.

“Hagrid. Down boy,” she told her Emu sternly. To her great surprise, he listened to her. Possibly for the first time. “This Hagrid, he’s an Emu.”

Apparently happy that she was safe, Hagrid, the picture of poise, bobbed towards the exit and slipped, falling to his side, and then jumping back up with a low, “Wark!”

“Is he your protector? I’ve never encountered an Emu but he looks a lot like a Manu.” When she didn’t say anything, he added, “Large flightless bird body guards. Hyper intelligent and ridiculously graceful.”

Laughing she replied, “Hyper? Yes. Intelligent; graceful? No.”

“Yeah.” He joined in with the laughter before adding, “Sorry for coming off so harshly. Before I went into cryosleep I was being chased by someone bent on killing me.”

Blushing despite herself, she said, “It’s okay. How long you sleep?”

Shrugging he walked over to a computer terminal and looked at the screen. She was about to interrupt him when he turned and said, “Twenty of your years.” He paused and asked, “Where are you taking me?”

“I accidentally pressed buttons. You tell me.” She was doing her best to match his wording and structure. The language was simple but had a few quirks that confused her. She was proud at the progress she was already making.

“How would I know? I just press where I want to go. This is only giving me coordinates and that means nothing to me.”

She shook her head; he sounded just like her father. He couldn’t figure out where he was without the GPS on his phone. “Coordinates are based off galaxy centre and the galaxy as seen from above. Using four digits representing; Quadrant, Depth, Horizontal axis, and Vertical axis.” She said it exactly the way the computer had pronounced it. Going to the navigation computer she added, “Combine with the map, we go to planet called Centuras Prime.”

“Oh thank goodness. We’re going home. Centuras Prime is the seat of the Galactic Queen. My sister.”

Nodding was the only thing Sophia could think of doing. The two looked at each other in an awkward silence that was thankfully interrupted by the ship’s alarm.

“Warning! Explosives detected on outer hull,” the voice of the computer said with the calm of someone who stopped caring a long time ago.

The Prince’s face went paler then normal and he slumped in the chair he was sitting in.

“Prince. Stay here. I go fix.” She knew this ship back and forth. She knew that in case of something getting stuck to the hull, the ship had small drones that could clear it off.

Part way to the engineering room, Sophia noticed that the Prince was following her. When she turned to him he shrugged and said, “I’d rather not be alone right now.”

“You the Prince,” She replied without turning.

“Please stop calling me that. My name is Phillip. Call me Phil.”

The ship was right and there was a bomb placed on the outside of the hull. It was just over the nacelles of the ship. If the bomb went off, it would create a reaction in the nacelles and then the engine that would not only blow up the ship, but cause an explosion that half the quadrant would see.

“Do you know anything about bombs?” Sophia asked.

“They explode?” Phil replied. This was the suave heartthrob from the stories she’d read so much about? He wasn’t living up to her expectations.

Picking up a drone that looked like it had a large shovel on the front of it she put it on a work table and started making changes. After twenty minutes of work, Phil asked, “What are you doing?”

“Changing drone.”

“Is it really a great time to be tinkering?”

Picking up the drone, she brought it to the airlock and prepared to open the outer doors. When she was comfortably sitting at the control panel she explained, “Drone is going to take bomb off ship.”

“But–”

She cut him off with a hand gesture. “Ship is inside Hyperspace bubble. Inside bubble ship moving slow. Outside bubble moving fast. If we can take bomb off ship and out of bubble, it blow up too far to hurt us.”

“What if it blow up right after you touch it with that thing?”

“We use drone like spatula. It have thrusters that push away from ship and scoop bomb. At worst it might redirect blast.”

“Isn’t that dangerous?” He asked his eyes wide in either fear or admiration. Sophia wasn’t sure. She gave him a look that she hoped was universal in saying, “Duh!” and continued to maneuver the drone.

Both of them held their breath as her hands flew over the controls. A small screen on the panel showed a video from the drone. Her plan worked perfectly and she lost contact with the drone.

They both waited, and after a few seconds sighed as the ship said, “Detonation at eight light years aft of the ship.”

“That was brilliant,” Phil said, his hands shaking.

She was debating giving him a victory hug when a loud boom echoed through the room. Running to the porthole, they looked out to see Hagrid flapping his useless wings inside the floppy arms of a humanoid shaped space suit.

“How did he get out there?” Sophia asked.

“How did he get into a spacesuit?” asked Phil.


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 1

2017-serial-story

Part 1: An Emu in the Cold

“For the last time, no! You’re not going away to any fancy school. You’re staying here!” Sophia’s father’s words rang in her ears as she chased Hagrid through the snow-covered fields.

“Emus are supposed to hate the cold!” she yelled at the idiot bird. The snow was up to her knees and was falling fast enough that the emu’s tracks were getting harder and harder to follow.

Of course, her father was right. Without her, who would fix the farm’s equipment and computers? They’d have to start paying for replacements and the new school, and that was ridiculous.

She was so concentrated on Hagrid’s tracks and her own thoughts that she had gotten completely lost. It wasn’t hard getting lost in a snowstorm when you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face. I wasn’t snowing that hard but the wind was strong, blowing the snow everywhere and biting through her coat.

“Fine! Freeze out here, you stupid bird!” she yelled and turned to head back the way she’d come. At least, she hoped it was the way she’d come; her tracks were gone. The world was a constantly shifting curtain of white in every direction.

She’d take two steps when she heard the tell tale grunting of Hagrid. She didn’t have many choices and decided to follow him. She caught up to him and he bobbed side to side, his head going in the opposite direction of his body. He gave another grunt and pecked at her playfully before turning around and running away again.

When she lost sight of him again he would grunt and come back to her, like he was leading her somewhere. “It better be home,” she mumbled.

It wasn’t home; it was a small cave entrance that barely fit a full-grown emu and a twelve year old girl. The cave itself wasn’t much bigger and offered so little protection from the wind that she tried to leave. Hagrid wouldn’t have any of it and pecked.

In trying to avoid another emu bruise, she fell back and hit the wall. She landed with a thump but it was followed by an odd swishing noise and a smell like old books.

Looking at the wall, Sophia found that it had opened into a doorway. There was no inner struggle; her curiosity pushed her through the door metaphorically, while Hagrid pushed her literally.

Dim lights turned on and the door closed. The smell of dust being heated came with blissfully warm air. “Where are we?” she asked Hagrid. He responded by bobbing his head excitedly and shaking his feathers.

The walls seemed to glow on their own and several colours flashed over another door. The flashes were accompanied by weird symbols. Sounds came from all around them and Hagrid ducked his head looking around.

The voice was calm and monotone, reminding Sophia of the pre-recorded voices on the subway in Toronto. She assumed the voice was giving her some sort of information and she walked towards the door. It slid into the wall with a hiss the way doors in Star Trek, or at the Timmins Square, did.

One door led to another and she walked for a good twenty minutes following the lights and unknown language. She tried a few times to enter doors that didn’t have the lights and they never opened for her. She saw plenty of corridors, but she knew she was at her destination when she walked into a room that had all sorts of knobs, buttons, and a computer screen.

The screen showed symbols, colours, and patterns she didn’t recognize. One of the screens had the solar system, another had dots that looked like her math homework, and another had shapes.

When the storm cleared, she brought Hagrid home, but every day she found her way back to the cave. Slowly over time, with the help of the computer, she learned its language. When she’d mastered the basics, she found a folder of stories. Slowly she learned to read them. They were all stories about a Prince. They described him as tall, strong, handsome, and a little awkward. Each story was different and often they contradicted themselves. Some had the Prince in intimate situations.

When she graduated high school, she was fluent in the language and had re-read the stories multiple times. She also used it to teach herself about the ship, because that’s what it was; a starship from a distant world.

As she attended the local college for automotive and computer repair, she learned about star drives and how to repair the ship. By the time she was twenty-two she was certain she’d repaired the ship to almost new. She’d had to invent or manufacture several parts, but she’d managed to fix it.

Despite her ten years of work and exploration, there was one room the ship had never let her see; the bridge. When she was confident she’d finished repairs, she forced the computer to open the door.

The bridge looked like the cockpit of a plane but was the size of a small meeting room. There were four workstations and lots of computer screens, including a view screen. She’d studied the plans before going in but there was something extra that hadn’t been in the plans.

A flat table was at the back of the room. The tablecloth on it had the Prince’s seal which made her heart beat a little faster. She went over to the table to get a better look and saw that it wasn’t a table at all, but some sort of coffin. Inside, the beautiful face of the prince looked like it was sleeping.

Putting a hand on the coffin, she wondered what had happened. A grunt and squawk from behind her made her jump, pushing on the coffin.

“Hagrid, what are you doing here?” she asked the now old, but still troublesome, emu.

Recovering from her shock, she turned back to the coffin and found the cover open and the prince sitting up. He stared at her with unseeing eyes and she did the only sensible thing and screamed. As she fell backwards onto one of the workstations, she heard the engines start.

“Oh no,” she said in the alien language she’d taught herself, “what have I done?”

Results: 2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

2017-serial-story

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last month I announced that this year’s serial story would be decided by your votes. I received 14 different voters and this year’s serial story will be:

A Science-Fiction Romance combined with a Comedy Fantasy. It will be told in the third person, will have 2 or 3 main characters who are human, must overcome some sort of Person VS Nature conflict, and there will be no time travel.

2017-serial-story

Database of the Ageless Kings

On a small emu farm in Northern-Ontario, Sophia, a twelve year old emu farmer, dreams of seeing the world. When she chases the escaped Hagrid (a particularly bad tempered emu) through a snowstorm, she gets lost and must seek shelter in a cave. However, this isn’t a normal cave but the crashed starship of the last Prince of the Galaxy.

She spends the next ten years visiting the ship, reading the royal fanfictions about the Prince, and slowly repairing the ship.

Things get interesting when, startled from finding the Prince in cryostasis, she accidentally launches the ship into hyperspace.

Look for Part 1: An Emu in the Cold, on January 17th.

Thank you for all your help,
Éric

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 12: Conclusion

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Dropping the bin and running, Riko felt so stupid. She’d left Kate alone and unarmed, other than a baseball bat.

The sand and smoke made running awkward and painful in equal measures. It felt like it took her a month to get to where she’d left Kate, and she fully expected to find the woman dead in her wheelchair.

“Take that, you asshole.” Riko heard Kate’s yell followed by a metal thunk and yelp of pain. The wind turned and the smoke moved towards the inside of the island, letting Riko see what had happened. A man was laying down cradling his head and Kate was glowering over him wielding the baseball bat.

“Kate, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I might be in a wheelchair but I’m also an Olympic athlete.” Giving Riko a sad smile, she said, “Your partner’s an asshole.”

The man laying on the ground was Ethan. His arm was still attached, but without his fathers watch. Taking her handcuffs out of her back pocket, Riko cuffed him to an old stump of a tree. He was unconscious.

After a few minutes of resting, she got some water from the lake and threw it in his face. He woke with a start.

“Why, Ethan? Why?”

Smiling he shook his head saying, “Not how? Really, you won’t give me the satisfaction of telling you how I bested the amazing Riko Dulac?”

Holding back the tears that were stinging her eyes, she shook her head and asked again, “Why?”

“Fine. I’ll monologue for you. This is revenge, pure and simple revenge. You are all terrible people and the planet is better off without you.”

When he didn’t continue, Kate laughed, “If anyone has reason to hate this group it would be me.” She pointed at her legs.

“At least you’re still alive. The merciless teasing and horrible things you all did to my sister made her kill herself. Do you know what it’s like watching someone you love change completely?”

“Yes,” Riko said unable to hide the crack in her voice.

Ignoring her he continued, “She went from a happy inquisitive girl to a depressed and angry one.”

“Kingsley was your sister? She killed herself?” Riko asked completely blindsided.

“Yes, and you didn’t even notice. Protector of the school, moral compass, bully slayer… All high and mighty and blind to everyone but her friends pain.”

“Why did you wait so long?” Kate asked.

“Revenge is a best served cold.”

“Fine. Now that you’ve told us why, tell us how. Do you have some sort of magic powers?” Riko said sarcastically. There was no way he could have sent the texts, move the bodies, set up the traps, and everything else.

His only reply was to smile. She slapped him. She couldn’t help it. She started to shake him. His smile only widened. She was getting ready to punch him when he finally spoke, “I don’t have magic powers. I have partner.” He looked over her shoulder.

She turned just in time to see a sword come out of Kate’s chest. Standing behind Kate with a crazed look was Allison. “You didn’t really think you had the brains or the resources to pull this off, did you?”

“Allison?” Riko’s head spun and she watched the light die in Kate’s eyes.

Struggling to get the sword out of Kate, Allison grunted. She finally gave up and took a shotgun out from a sling on her back.

“Yes. Poor little boring Allison. Did you forget about me again? Like the time I was supposed to tutor you in math and you never showed up? Or the time you, Zane, and I were going to go see Narnia together? Or maybe that time I was supposed to get a ride with you to the grad party? Ring a bell?”

“I’m sorry, Allison. I didn’t realize…”

“NO!” Allison yelled, “You didn’t care! And when I saw what you all did to poor Kingsley, I knew you had to pay. It took me years to get the money to buy this island and put cameras everywhere. Finding Ethan was a nice bonus.”

“How–”

“Did I make it look like you had no signal? My app has an extra layer. I can activate it and it take over your phone. Making it look like you have no signal. It then only allows texts from me to get through. And you were all dumb enough to install it.”

“Wow. We must have been horrible to have you go through all this trouble,” Riko said. She was still angry, but she was also guilty and exhausted.

“I don’t want your pity, bitch!” Allison snickered and then added, “I want you to die.” She raised the shotgun at Riko. “Any last words?”

Riko recognized the shotgun and hesitated before saying, “Don’t do it. I–”

Cutting her off again, Allison said, “I don’t care,” and pulled the trigger. The shotgun, the same that Riko had rigged to backfire in the hotel, backfired and shot Allison in the chest.

Ethan started giggling at the sight. He didn’t stop as Riko took her phone and deleted Allison’s app. Then she restarted the phone for good measure and when it turned back on, she had five percent battery, but she had signal. She called 911 and explained where she was and babbled what had happened.

Still giggling, Ethan started bashing his head against the tree stump he was tied to. Riko tried to care, she tried to feel indignant that he was trying to escape justice, but instead she just felt numb. When he stopped moving she reached over and felt his neck. He was still alive, barely.

In her numb state, she was relieved he would face justice but she couldn’t help feeling that the entire thing was partly her fault.


Help me write 2017’s serial story and vote for the
2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write


If you enjoyed Wargrave Island why not read previous years serial stories: 

2014 – The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis
The story of a man who likes things neat and organized and gets dragged across time and space.

2015 – Only Human
The story of an ordinary-ish human, who enrols in Monster University to find her sister’s killer, but finds love and friendship instead.

Serial Story and Criticism

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Creating things is hard. Showing it to other people is like ripping a piece of yourself off and hoping people will like it. (Van Gogh understood and took it a little too literally.)

There’s no trick to taking criticism. There are rules however, (which I sometimes forget) the chief most of those is: Never engage or defend. If someone says that your setting sucks because of X, you smile and nod. Later you can cry and rant and scream, but to the person you smile and nod and even thank them.

The second rule is just as important. Don’t dismiss or accept criticism until you’re calm. Once you’ve gotten over the emotional reaction, you’ll be better able to judge if you should take the criticism to heart or throw it out.

As a writer, there are things that I do well. I can create compelling characters, silly jokes, and I’m pretty decent at adventure style stories. What I don’t do well is realism.

All this comes from a criticism of this years’ serial story. It was harsh, sarcastic, and a little condescending, but not wrong. I’m not a hard mystery writer. I’m also not practised at realistic fiction. Wargrave Island has been a little cartoony in the deaths and I’m ok with that. It’s been an experiment and it’s taught me that this isn’t the genre that I want to be writing.

If you’d like to help me decide what to write for 2017’s serial story vote in the poll below. So far we’ve only had 5 voters so tell your friends and decide what 2017 will be like:


2017-serial-story

What Should be the Genre of the 2017 Serial Story?

  • Comedy & Fantasy (21%, 3 Votes)
  • Romance & Science-Fiction (21%, 3 Votes)
  • Romance & Fantasy (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Science-Fiction (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Science-Fiction & Fantasy (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Romance (7%, 1 Votes)
  • Action-Adventure (7%, 1 Votes)
  • Comedy (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fantasy (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Super Hero (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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What Point of View should I write?

  • Third Person Limited (43%, 6 Votes)
  • Third Person Omniscient (29%, 4 Votes)
  • First Person (29%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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What Form should the Conflict Take?

  • Person VS Nature (50%, 7 Votes)
  • Person VS Person (29%, 4 Votes)
  • Person VS Self (21%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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How Many Main Characters Should Be in the Story?

  • 2 (43%, 6 Votes)
  • 3 (43%, 6 Votes)
  • 1 (14%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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What should the Main Character(s) Be?

  • Normal Human (36%, 5 Votes)
  • Non-Human (Alien, Elf, Dwarf, etc) (21%, 3 Votes)
  • Special Human (Super Hero, Chosen One, Magic user, etc) (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Personification of a Concept (Death, Liberty, etc) (14%, 2 Votes)
  • Anthropomorphized Animal (Human looking fox) (14%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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Should There be Time Travel?

  • No (57%, 8 Votes)
  • Yes (43%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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If you have any extra suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments. No promises that I’ll use all suggestions.


Thank you and Later Days,
Éric

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 11

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

“You’ve been crying a hell of a lot,” Sandrine said, sounding callous to Riko. “I mean, sure, all our friends are dying in ridiculous ways, we’re trapped on an island in the middle of lake Ontario, oh, and we don’t know why. But seriously, buck up girl.”

Riko wanted to be angry, she wanted to rage at Sandrine for being a bitch, but all she could do was see the ridiculousness of the situation. Her tears stopped and she grabbed one of the large plastic containers of gasoline next to Sandrine and said, “Let’s get this over with and burn the killer out.”

Both Kate and Sandrine took containers and started spraying it around different areas. The island wasn’t big, and a third of it was already burning because of the house exploding.

Kate had a harder time moving around in the wet grass with her wheelchair so the others moved further off to get more of the small forest. They made sure not to get too far away from each other, always keeping at least one of the others in view at all times.

After splashing eight containers of gas, they moved to the shore and Sandrine threw a match at the grass. Riko watched as the match flew in a perfect arc and she worried that the grass would be to wet to catch. When the match hit the ground nothing happened for a moment and then it caught fire.

The fire snaked out from the grass towards the forest like a wave. The wetness didn’t stop the fire but it did cause more smoke. Even on the gravel shore they had trouble breathing.

“What do we do now?” Kate asked between coughs.

“We need to get upwind to not suffocate,” Sandrine answered. Just as she said that, the wind picked up and started blowing the smoke away from them.

“Finally some luck,” Riko took a deep breath of fresh air.

A dark shadow in the smoke ran across the field away from them.

“I’m going to kill them,” Sandrine said and ran into the smoke.

“Sandrine, you moron. You’ll suffocate before you get to them,” Kate’s words were lost to the roar of the fire. When Sandrine disappeared into the smoke, Kate added, “She’d going to die in there.”

“I’m starting to think we’re all going to die on this island.” Riko sat and sighed. It seemed completely useless. Whoever they were fighting had fate or luck or something on their side. There were only two of them left and the island was on fire. “Might as well accept our fates.”

“So what? We should just throw ourselves into the lake and die?” Kate’s face was red and her brow furrowed. “No. I’m not going to let this killer get me easily. I’m going to make sure they either pay for what they did or I’ll make them work for it.”

When Riko gave her a tired look, Kate sighed and added, “You never know, maybe Sandrine will succeed, she’s one tough woman.”

As if it had been timed, a gunshot echoed over the roar of the fire. Then another and another. Riko counted them out. “That must be the gun Ethan had left for me. It had fifteen rounds, those, and the earlier ones that Blane shot.”

“Did the fire set them off?”

“No they would have been faster and some would have gone off at the same time.”

“Oh…”

They both sat in silence, covering their mouths when the wind turned towards them.

Riko’s tears dried up and she kept reliving each of the murders. Over and over she saw her friends die. She felt she deserved to re-watch each incident. She should have been able to stop it.

They silence was broken by their cellphones.

Twelve naughty kittens all trapped on an island; they’re all going to die for certain.
The first betrayed love for cash; now she’s ash.
To violence and hate the second clung; now he’s hung.
To gossip the third fixated; now she’s been asphyxiated.
The fourth preferred those who were incapacitated, now it’s his turn to be penetrated.
The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn.
The sixth was a model citizen, a spy; and not Canadian but Russian.
The seventh wasn’t what he seemed, he was but a dream within a dream.
Eight and Nine didn’t give a damn, so they died by their own hand.
Ten loved crime, it was her life and destiny, but she ran out of time.

“What the hell do these even mean!” Kate’s voice cracked in fear part way through the exclamation.

“I don’t know…” Riko re-read the text over and over again. Finally she said, “I think the killer is trying to punish us for our crimes.”

Kate snorted, “That would make sense if you weren’t here. I mean you’ve never done anything wrong.”

“I’m not perfect…” Riko trailed off.

“It’s almost noon and I’m starting to get hungry. We didn’t exactly have time for breakfast. We buried some food last night. I think it was near the docks. It’s a little fuzzy,” Kate smirked.

Standing up, Riko waited for Kate.

Gesturing at her chair Kate said, “I can’t make it far in this gravel. Plus, the docks were on fire. Look under where they used to be, in a metal box. Hurry. I don’t like being alone.”

“I can push you–”

“It would take ten times longer for us both to go. Go. I’ll be fine.” Kate patted the baseball bat on her lap.

Riko nodded and headed out to get the food. She followed the shore until she reached the burnt husk of the dock. It was black and still smoldering. The wet and cold had done nothing to stop if from burning. She easily found the metal bin that had the food and had to fight to get it open. It had warped from the fire.

Inside were some basics, and instead of deciding what to bring, she pulled, with her good arm, the entire bin towards where she’d left Kate.

Mid-way back, her phone rang with a text: You left poor Kate alone? I thought you were smarter than that…

 

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 10

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

A cold wind blew into the kitchen, waking up Riko who’d tried hard to stay awake but failed. It was no surprise she’d been exhausted and working on adrenaline, which wasn’t sustainable. Sandrine, Blane, Zane, and Kate were all unconscious on the floor, the bottles of tequila laying empty between them.

The breeze carried the scent of fresh air that comes the day after a rain storm. The breeze reminded Riko of her summers camping. Wait… where was the breeze coming from?

Pulling out her gun, Riko stood, looking over the metal island they’d overturned the night before. The door to the dining room was open and two large barrels had been placed in the middle of the dining room. There was something with wires on top of it.

“Guys wake up!” Riko yelled. The others drowsily started to wake. “BOMB!”

The other four woke up quickly after that. “What? Really?” Sandrine sounded annoyed more than worried as she lifted Kate into her wheelchair.

They left by the kitchen’s back door, and starting running over the smooth field towards the forest that was behind the hotel. They almost made it to the treeline when their cellphones rang. As they rang, an explosion rocked the hotel. Gouts of flame erupted from the roof in multiple places.

It took a few seconds for the shock wave of heat and debris to reach them. Riko turned to look at the explosion and barely had time to see a piece of glass, the size of a butter knife, flying towards her. She tried to move out of its way, but it embedded itself into her right forearm.

It took all her self control to not rip it out of the arm.

“Holy shit,” Zane turned white then green as he rushed to a bush to puke.

Blane was much calmer and came up to her saying, “Don’t touch it. Let me look.” He held her arm still and looked at it.

Shooting flames of pain raced up her arm as he poked and prodded at it.

“Can you flex your hand?” She could but it hurt like crazy. “I don’t think it hit an artery. We should get it out but without bandages or antiseptic I really don’t want to.” He ripped a piece of his shirt off and wrapped it around the glass and her arm. She knew it was to prevent it from moving and causing more damage. “There was a first aid kit in the boathouse.”

“That’s on the other side of the flaming building,” Kate said sounding exasperated and winded. “It might be a flat field but it’s not exactly easy.”

“I know this is what people say in horror movies when I stop watching, but we should split up,” Blane said.

“She needs to be patched up,” Zane agreed, after wiping his mouth.

“I’ll stay with Kate,” Sandrine offered.

“Me too,” added Zane. “We’ll head to the garage and look for gas to burn the rest of this place down.”

Blane looked like he was going to argue but instead he leaned over and pecked Zane on the lips. He said, “Don’t die,” and turned around towards the burning house.

“Are you sure?” asked Riko as they walked towards the path that would lead them by the burning house and to the boathouse. “I could get the kit and bring it back.”

“No. I’m not letting you go alone when there’s a psycho out there.” Seeing her raised eyebrow, he continued, “I wouldn’t let anyone go alone and I won’t let anyone else die.”

They walked in paranoid silence expecting every breeze or rustle to be the killer. “You really don’t think it’s Ethan do you?” asked Blane.

“No. I’ve worked with him for years and he’s been fair, almost to a fault. He wouldn’t just start to kill people.” She didn’t sound convinced even to herself.

“At this point I really don’t care who. I mostly want to know why.”

“I don’t know. It must have something to do with high school.”

“Do you think it’s something to do with the grad party? It keeps coming back up,” Blane sighed.

The two of them stopped and at the same time said, “Kingsley.”

Riko continued with, “She hated us for that night and not inviting her. This seems a little excessive.”

“Unless we wiped out their entire family, any motive would seem excessive.”

The boathouse was filled with gardening tools and boat paraphernalia. An old motor was on a cart in the corner with its propellers in the air.

The first aid kit was on the wall and Blane pulled it off, quickly taking things out. Riko turned her head away, not wanting to see what he did.

When he said, “This will hurt.” She braced herself and tried not to clench her arm. The pain was blinding and caused a roaring in her ears.

Her vision cleared but the roaring didn’t. The engine across the boathouse had turned on and was slowly moving towards them. She reached, with her good arm, for the gun, but she jarred her bad one and dropped the gun.

Blane finished wrapping her arm, took a rake and pushed the engine into the water. It sputtered and sunk.

“Where did you get a gun?” Blane asked.

“It was Ethan’s,” she replied and told him about where she’d found it.

“Seriously? What if he tinkered with it or something?”

“He wouldn’t,” she started, but remembered that he’d been the one to teach her how to cause a gun to backfire. He’d done it to teach her how to make sure her weapon was safe and she hadn’t checked this one.

She picked up the gun and looked it over. It seemed clean. “It’s fine. Lets get back to the others.” She tried to put it back in her belt and flinched.

“I’ll take it,” he said forcibly. She didn’t argue. With her arm now in a sling and bandage, she was useless with a gun.

As they walked back, the fire had started to smoke and with almost no wind to blow it away, it was impossible to see more than a few feet away.

They were nearly next to the house when a dark shadow ran towards them in the smoke. Blane gestured towards the left to avoid the figure just as they heard a loud clicking noise. He’d stepped on a landmine. He gestured for her to leave.

“I’m not leaving you,” she said. The person in the smoke seemed to be holding a bat or something else similar.

“I’m already dead. Get out of here.” He lifted the gun and aimed it at the shadow.

Riko kissed him on the cheek and ran the other way. As she ran, she heard multiple gunshots followed shortly by yet another explosion. She raced back to where the others had been. They weren’t there and she made her way to the garage. Standing outside the garage were Sandrine and Kate.

When she came close enough, Kate asked, “Where’s Blane?”

“He stepped on a landmine…” Riko cried quietly, she was tired of crying for her friends.

“And where’s Zane? When we heard a boat motor, he went out to find you.” Riko started to sob when she saw that they were both holding baseball bats like the shadow in the smoke.

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Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 9

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

“Yes, this is the right room,” replied Riko as she gently touched Zoe’s arm.

“How can you be so calm? We’re all going to die. I don’t want to die. Why is this happening. Oh god. Oh god. Someone took the bodies.” Zoe started to hyperventilate.

With a big sigh, Sandrine slapped Zoe in the face. “Calm down!”

Zoe swore and punched Sandrine in the nose before turning around and running for the stairs.

“Why’d you do that?” asked Riko.

“It works in the movies,” Sandrine replied as she put pressure on her bloody nose.

Riko turned and ran after Zoe who was running for her room. “Zoe, stop please.”

At her room, Zoe turned to Riko and said, “I’m not dying on their terms. I’ll die on my own. I’m swimming out.”

“We’re in the middle of a storm. Let’s talk about it again in the morning when things have cleared up. Then we’ll see about making a raft or something.”

Looking calmed Zoe turned the doorknob of her room. “Ok, but I need some thicker clothes now it’s cold.” They were all still damp from the rain. Zoe finished opening her door looked inside and screamed. Her scream was cut short by a gunshot.

Riko looked away but couldn’t get the sight out of her mind. She threw herself at the wall next to the door and peeked around, maybe she could get a glimpse of the shooter.

Around the corner she saw a shotgun mounted on a tripod with string and a complicated pulley system; another trap. Riko collapsed against the wall. She felt numb or maybe she didn’t care anymore, she wasn’t sure.

“Zoe. No.” Kate rolled up to Riko and just swore. Sandrine joined her.

“We need to find a place to bunker down and defend ourselves until tomorrow,” Riko’s voice sounded flat, even to herself.

“Then what do we do?” demanded Kate.

“We burn this place and the entire island to the ground.” Sandrine’s eyes were filled with mischief. “If the killer can’t hide or plant traps than they can’t kill anyone else. Plus the fire will get someone’s attention.”

They all sat or stood there, next to the body of their friend and digested the thought in silence. When their phones rang they all jumped.

The eighth pretended to be a reporter but the bribes were more important to her.

“She was a Vlogger not a journalist you stupid…” Sandrine yelled a few more profanities into her phone.

Standing up, Riko said, “We need a place that can easily be defended and we need food.”

“The kitchen is a galley with only two ways in or out. We could easily fortify there, assuming there aren’t any traps already set,” Kate suggested.

“Where are Zane and Blaine?” Riko panicked.

“They’re waiting at the elevator to make sure no one does anything to it.”

“Ok. Go to them and get to the kitchen. I’m going to leave a surprise for the murderer.” Riko waved off their protests.

The shotgun was the double barreled kind that were so popular with farmers in television shows. She knew the kind and had worked with them before. She checked and both barrels were empty. Looking around the room, she found some bits and pieces to block the barrels far enough in that the shells would still fit but the gun wouldn’t fire properly. If she was lucky, it would backfire on the shooter. If she wasn’t, it would still misfire.

She knew there was a chance that the killer was watching everything she did, but if they weren’t, this would give her an advantage.

As she left the room she wondered if Ethan had been lying when he said he hadn’t brought a gun. She hadn’t brought hers since she never carried when she wasn’t on duty, but he always seemed to have a gun.

She unlocked the shared door, pushed it, and moved off to the side. When nothing happened she entered his room. It was a mess. His clothes were everywhere as if someone had ransacked it. She found the hotel safe smashed open on the bed.

There was no way he’d have left a gun in the safe if he thought he’d need it. She went to the washroom and checked under the toilet tank cover. It was the place that most people hid their money or drugs and they would make jokes about leaving each other notes there if they were ever in trouble.

Under the tank cover was a plastic bag with his handgun and a note. The note said, “Just in case I don’t make it. Kill the asshole.”

She laughed, changed, and put the gun into the small of her back. Its weight gave her hope; she knew it was false hope but it was better than nothing.

When she turned the corner to into the kitchen, a knife flew by her head barely missing her. She threw herself down and yelled, “Who’s there?”

“Riko?” Zane’s voice asked.

“Yes.”

“You have to announce yourself girl, you’re way too quiet.” He was drunk. She could tell by the slurring.

When she stood up she saw that they’d made a barricade from one of the metal islands and had locked the door to the outside. They were all in the small galley kitchen on blankets and pillows passing around a bottle of tequila and a few lemons.

“Tomorrow we burn the place to the ground. Tonight we drink!” announced Sandrine as she took a shot.

Riko shook her head when the bottle came to her. She was determined not to let anyone else die and she needed to be sober for that.

“Any coffee left?” she asked. It was going to be a long night.

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