The Collective Short Story

November 8, 2007 at 4:24 pm 28 comments

The members of the Shameless Lions Writing Circle are in the middle of a group short story.  Click on the picture to read the whole rollicking tale filled with intrigue.  For now here’s my little bit:

     Nanny Julia stopped in mid-sentence and grabbed her friend Erica’s arm.  The threat of kidnapping was ever present for children like those of her powerful employer and a dark, slow moving car wasn’t normal for midday.  “Giovanni!  Anna!  Come to me now.”

     “Shit, Julia, you scared me to death!  I was just getting to the best part…”

     “Shhh.  Look up there, and watch your mouth in front of the kids.”  She watched Erica follow her gaze to the car and then opened her arms to catch the two children racing back to her. 

     Even at just four and six, Giovanni and Anna were and tall and slim with the same mahogany colored eyes and rich black hair of their father.  But that is where the similarity ended.  Grace’s children were sweet tempered and affectionate like their mother. 

     “Nanny my friend wants me!”  Giovanni fidgeted impatiently as he waited to hear why he’d been summoned away from his game.

     “There’s a cold breeze picking up, you need to have your jackets on.”  Julia dawdled at helping each of the children into their wind breakers intending to keep them close to her just until the mysterious car had passed.  Before she could finish zipping up Anna’s jacket she heard Erica gasp and looked up in time to see a face and two hands pressed against the car’s side window.

     “That’s Mommy!”  Giovanni yelled. 

     Julia grabbed his arm before he could race across the field to the slow moving car.  “No, Gio, remember?  Your momma is away visiting her sick mother.  Your Daddy told you that just this morning.”  She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the car and when it started swerving on the road and then sped off at break neck speed she could no longer ignore the niggling fear that Mr. Carrebreu’s story had been a lie. 

     “Could you see the license plate?  I couldn’t tell who was in the back of that car, but I don’t think the lady was happy to be there.”  Erica said before whistling for her own two charges to return to her side.  “Too freakin’ creepy out here for me today, I think I’ll take my munchkins home for an afternoon in front of the TV.”

     As loath as she was to return to the cold, rambling Carrebreu home, Julia agreed with her friend. She led the children back toward the house her mind racing with images of her time as their nanny and the odd things she’d observed.  Julia watched the children sadly climb the steps to the front door, disappointment at losing their park time evident even from behind them.  For the sake of her young charges, she cleared her mind of gloomy thoughts.

     “Who wants to make popcorn balls and watch Dumbo?”  She called over her shoulder as she took the stairs two at a time to reach the door before the two children now squealing with laughter. 

     It wasn’t until bedtime that Julia again remembered the odd car at the park.  Anna and Giovanni were both weepy and missing their mother as they said their prayers and she tucked them into their little beds.  She found it odd that Mrs. Carrebreu hadn’t even called the children to wish them goodnight.  Once both kids were breathing with the steady cadence of deep sleep, Julia slipped from the room and made her way through the silent house to the kitchen.  In the center drawer of the cook’s desk kept beside the wall hung phone, she knew there was a list of important numbers.  Doctors, Dentists and family.  She’d used the list to contact Grace’s mother just months before when her employers were away on a business trip. Julia fidgeted on the cold marble floors as she dialed the number and listened to the phone ringing. 

    “Answering service.” 

    “I’m sorry; I must have dialed the wrong number…” Julia stammered.

    “Who is the party you are trying to reach?”

    “Elinore, Elinore Branigan?”

    “And your name?”

    “Julia, I’m Mrs. Branigan’s daughter’s nanny.”  Julia felt her stomach turn with anxiety at this unexpected interrogation.

     “Yes, Julia, you are on the authorized list.  Mrs. Branigan has left for her annual pilgrimage to the holy lands; she’s expected to return in time for the Christmas Holidays.  You may leave her a message or call back at that time.”

     Julia slammed the phone receiver back on its base, fear gnawing at her conscious like a starving rat.  Mr. Carrebreu had lied.  Grace’s mother was out of the country.  So where was Grace?  And what would she tell the children?  Before she could fully wrap her mind around these two questions she was startled by the sound of a slamming door and Cook ambled into the kitchen, hair in old fashioned curlers, her ample body swathed in a tent sized flannel nightgown.

     “What has you up Miss Julia?  Do you need a snack?  Some warm milk maybe?” 

           

     Julia looked into the kindly face of the ancient old cook and told her everything that happened that day from the park up to the phone call to Grace’s mother.  “I just don’t know what to do.”  She said.

     Cook stared at the counter top and sighed.  “The missus gave me instructions several years ago for just this kind of instance.”  She heaved herself off the stool she’d sat on to hear Julia’s story and waddled to the desk.  Cook lifted out the center drawer and pulled up a discreetly hinged flap of wood revealing a shallow drawer beneath.  Inside this cavity, a single piece of paper inscribed with the name “Mike” and a phone number. 

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Dust to Dust MIA

28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hayden  |  November 8, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Ha! Great Fun! I love it.

    Reply
  • 2. katcampbell  |  November 8, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Hayden – It is fun! If you’ve never done something like this, you should try it, like a game of telephone, the end seldom looks like what the originator intended.

    Reply
  • 3. Shameless  |  November 8, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Excellent, Kat: Nice that you’ve taken this to a different sphere. Great, tight writing and addin to the suspense! I didn’t get your email … my mail may be playing up … but I copied and pasted from the above. Have you thought who you would like to nominate for the next instalment? Once you’ve got a name i can put it up with the story. Cheers. 🙂

    Reply
  • 4. QuillDancer  |  November 8, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Hey! I don’t have time to read the rest just now. This was a very tasty morsel though.

    Reply
  • 5. katcampbell  |  November 8, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks Seamus! This is such a fun project. Rel, from Under the Microscope has agreed to do the next installment.

    Quilly – thanks. Hope you find the time soon to read the whole story, so much fun to see each writer’s input.

    Reply
  • 6. Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah)  |  November 9, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    This was a brilliant addition, love the introduction of new characters and the new twist. This story is turning in a real page-turner. Well done, Kat!

    Reply
  • 7. katcampbell  |  November 9, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you AV. This kinds of projects are fun for me, its nice to not have someone elses beginnings to work from.

    Reply
  • 8. Jamaican Dawta  |  November 12, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Bravo, Kat. I LOVE this piece. I don’t know what you were worried about 🙂

    Please stop by my blog to collect your award.

    Reply
  • 9. Nessa  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Very exciting. When I have time I will read the other portions. You have intrigued me.

    Reply
  • 10. Leesa  |  November 20, 2007 at 5:57 am

    I like this passage a lot. It reads so effortlessly.

    Reply
  • 11. Catch  |  November 22, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    This was great reading Kat!!! You are so good at this!!!! Just stopping in to wish you a happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

    Reply
  • 12. Linda  |  November 22, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    I just wanted to stop by to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  • 13. Linda  |  November 22, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    I was just stopping by to wish you a happy Thankgiving.

    Reply
  • 14. Nessa  |  November 23, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Merry Belated Turkey Holiday. Come see my gobbler.

    Reply
  • 15. Jamaican Dawta  |  November 24, 2007 at 1:25 am

    Hey, where are you? Hope all is well, and that you had a great Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  • 16. zhadi  |  November 25, 2007 at 9:36 am

    hi there! Mr. Fab sent me to visit and I’m glad he did! I love the idea of a group short story – it seems like it’s a great motivator to get the writing done. Does everyone try to match eachother’s style or just write their portions and go from there? Anyway, well done!

    Reply
  • 17. Mimi  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Hope all is well and you had a good turkey day:)

    Reply
  • 18. Wanderlust Scarlett  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    LOVED it! You did so well on this!
    Hasn’t it taken the most fascinating turns and twists?
    Very well written, you added such a great new dimension to the story.

    Thank you!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Reply
  • 19. Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah)  |  December 5, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Hope you’re okay, Kat.

    Reply
  • 20. Gawpo  |  December 9, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Wow! Just stopping by, stealing some precious blog-moments, to say HELLO!!!!

    Reply
  • 21. Hayden  |  December 11, 2007 at 9:43 am

    a month of silence is a long time. hoping you and yours are ok….

    Reply
  • 22. Nessa  |  December 12, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    I said hello yesterday but my voice got lost in the wind, it seems.

    Reply
  • 23. Linda  |  December 14, 2007 at 2:48 am

    I just wanted to stop by and say hello and to let you know that I was thinking about you. I hope that all is good.

    Reply
  • 24. Dave (Delmonti)  |  December 20, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    KAT! you there? it’s all gone very quiet…….

    Reply
  • 25. DaveM  |  December 22, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Kat………..long time no read.
    Hope all is ok etc. and like the others I have missed the vivid descriptions of everything that is no doubt going on around you in the run up to Christmas. Anyway here’s wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Hope to be reading about your exploits in the New Year.

    Reply
  • 26. Janet  |  December 23, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Hope you’re okay, and I wish you happy holidays!

    Reply
  • 27. John Linna  |  December 25, 2007 at 5:15 am

    Just stopped by to wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

    Reply
  • 28. Diesel  |  December 25, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Merry Christmas, Kat. I’m guessing you’re keeping busy. Have a safe and restful holiday.

    Reply

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The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

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Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

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