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01 March 2012 @ 10:32 am
2 Collaborative Original Fics  
These two pieces were part of a writerverse challenge. The beginning, middle, and ending were each written sequentially by a different author. This was a tremendously fun exercise and it was very gratifying to collaborate with such talented authors!  Thanks to shana0809, agirlnamedtruth, nymaeria, and ami_ven.

Title: Midnight Rescue
Total Word Count: 954
Author 1: [info]shana0809
Author 2: [info]agirlnamedtruth
Author 3: [info]magickmoons

Summary: A fight and a phone call in the middle of the night

Beginning by [info]shana0809

The door slams shut behind her, but she doesn't slow or stop. All she knows is that she has to get out. Out of the house, away from him, before she says something she regrets. Something about how he's her boyfriend and not her father, and how he's being a complete jerk. She loves him. She does.

She just doesn't like him very much right now. Or at all.

She gets halfway down the block before she calms down enough to stop walking. She stands in front of the little fence that one of their neighbours uses to protect her flower beds, and lets out a couple deep, angry breaths. She knows this won't be such a big deal when she calms down. She'll walk home, he'll apologize, she'll apologize, they'll talk, and their relationship will be better for it.

She just hasn't quite gotten to the part where she's calmed down yet.

Middle by

Now that adrenaline has stopped running through her veins, anger forcing her onwards, she realises that it’s a bit colder than she’d thought it’d be. She could go back for her coat but then she’d lose a little bit of dignity. She could go back to the house, to the warmth and to her boyfriend but then she’d lose entirely. She imagines his arms around her, pulling her in, keeping her safe.

She shakes her head, steeling herself. She wasn’t going to let herself fall to thoughts like that. This might be stupid but if she went back, after storming out, she’d only highlight how stupid it was. She flips open her phone, ignoring the half a dozen texts he’d sent and writing her own, a simple plea for a friend to pick her up.

She feels embarrassed once she’s sent it. She hated it but she needed someone to tell her she was doing the right thing or that she was being silly and she should go home. She was too mad at him to tell which was the best option right now.

She sits down on someone’s garden wall, about half an hour away. She could still go back, cancel the lift and bear the cold, go home and say she’s sorry. Would it really be that hard?

A car pulls up and her decision is made for her. She climbs in and the heater makes her aware of how cold she’d been.

“Oh, honey.” Her friend says, instantly knowing even though she hasn’t been told a thing. She realises her eyes must still be red from her angry tears.

“Just drive, please.” She says, softly, not wanting to misdirect her feelings at her friend.

“Whatever you say.” Her friend says smiling, understanding she don’t want to talk yet. She needs to hang on to this anger just a little bit longer.

Ending by [info]magickmoons

Tammy stares out the window that’s now collecting a smattering of raindrops and is glad of her decision to call for a ride. They pull into an all night diner and her friend, Judy, turns off the car and waits.

She chews her lip as they sit. The anger has slowly dissipated over the ride, leaving her feeling tired and empty. She leans her head against the seat and sighs.

“Let’s get some coffee,” Judy suggests.

They have their choice of tables at this time of night and order a couple of coffees. Tammy looks at her friend and shrugs miserably, uncertain of how to begin.

“Again?” Judy asks, a mix of sympathy and frustration evident in her voice.

“Yeah,” she answers, barely above a whisper.

“What was it this time?”

She pulls her phone out of her pocket and slides it across the table. “Text message from Luke came in when I was in the bathroom. He hit the roof, accused me of cheating on him.” She swallows back tears and sighs.

Judy reads the innocuous message from their mutual friend and hands the phone back. “Sweetie, you can’t let him act this way.” She wants to say more but knows from experience that pushing Tammy will not improve the situation at all.

She smiles wanly. “He just worries, that’s all.” She sees that Judy is not convinced, and deep down, she isn’t either. “I’m sorry I dragged you out so late; I just needed to get away for a bit.”

Judy nods, already resigning herself to the fact that this will not end tonight. But she still has to offer. “You want to crash at my place tonight? Maybe take some time to think before you talk to him?”

Tammy’s eyes drop to the table, fixating on a chip in the formica. She knows that if she goes home, they’ll talk it over and he’ll make everything sound so reasonable until she tries to explain it to Judy, or her parents, or Luke. Maybe that’s why she’s given up trying to talk to them. But lately she’s been wondering if they’re right after all. She’s about to answer Judy when her phone rings,‘their song’ that he had programmed into her phone as his personalized ring tone.

The conversation is brief and Judy doesn’t need to hear his words to know what her friend is agreeing to as she hangs up. She throws some cash on the table and looks at Tammy expectantly.

“He’s really sorry,” she says, not quite meeting Judy’s eyes. “Can you drop me at his place?”

As they pull up in front of the house, Judy asks once more, “You’re sure?”

“He says he’s going to change,” Tammy nods and smiles as she gets out of the car and starts up the walk.

“I hope it takes this time,” Judy murmurs as she watches the front door shut behind her best friend.

The End


Title: Night Music
Total Word Count: 1,265
Author 1: nymaeria
Author 2: magickmoons
Author 3: ami_ven
Summary: Andrew's new home came with an extra guest.

Beginning by [info]nymaeria

Andrew slowly blinked into consciousness as he tried to figure out what had awakened him. Shaking his head to clear it, he pushed himself up in bed and leaned forward, trying to tune his senses to anything unusual. After a moment, he realized what it was. There were faint strains of music emanating from somewhere in the house.

What? How was this possible? It was the middle of the night, and as far as Andrew knew, he was all alone in his new house. Well, not “new” new, but new to him. He’d just moved in a couple days ago, and he’d been so excited about the move. His novel had finally taken off enough that for the first time in his life he actually had some money, so he’d bought this big, old, rambling, beautiful house in the countryside to give himself space and quiet to write. But he was still getting things unpacked; maybe he’d left an ipod, or some other device, playing somewhere.

At any rate, he didn’t think he’d be able to get any sleep until he figured out where the sound was coming from. He reluctantly left his warm bed, swung his feet out onto the cold floor, and padded down the hallway, following the music. It seemed to be drifting up from below, and grew louder as he wound his way down the old, spiral staircase to the main floor.

Well, that was odd… it seemed to coming from the basement. But he hadn’t even gone down there since the move. It couldn’t possibly be something of his. The last time he’d been down there was for the inspection, and it had been empty at the time.

Middle by [info]magickmoons

He paused at the locked basement door. Without a doubt, the source of the music was down there. Groping above the doorframe, he found the key and unlocked the door. The music was clearer as he opened the door and stared down into the dark. This was no recording; someone was playing a piano, quite beautifully, he noted.

He flicked the lightswitch and was relieved to see the single lightbulb at the foot of the stairs cast a faint glow. The music still continued, the pianist taking no notice as the first step creaked beneath his weight. As he slowly descended, he thought to himself that this was a really bad idea. Weren’t the creaky stairs and dark basement staples in every horror novel he’d ever read? Really bad things happened in those books. Yet he continued.

Reaching the bottom, he realized that it was bitterly cold down here and wrapped his arms tightly around himself as he looked around. It was just the same big empty room that he had seen a few days ago.

And still the piano played. Andrew had never been a big fan of classical music, but found himself entranced by the melody. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and he found himself taking a step forward into the room, trying to get closer to the source of the music.

As he did, there was a sudden flash, like someone taking a picture. When the dancing lights in his vision faded, he looked around in surprise. Wall sconces shed warm light on opulent furnishings and the bare floor was now covered with a large Oriental rug; on the walls hung framed posters advertising concerts featuring artists he had never heard of. And there, in the far corner of the room was the piano... and the pianist.

He could only see her in profile, all her attention addressed to the piano in front of her. She was young, barely twenty if he had to guess. The dress she wore was adorned with lace and frills, covering her from neck to floor, puffed sleeves covering the arms that moved so gracefully across the keyboard.

Suddenly, she stopped and reached for a kerchief laying next to her on the bench, covering her mouth delicately as a series of coughs wracked her body. Without thinking, he crossed the room toward her.

“Can I get you something?” he asked in concern.

And in a flash, it was all gone. He was standing alone in an empty basement, puffs of breath barely visible in the dim light from the bulb at the stairwell.

An hour later, he sat in his kitchen, a cup of coffee grown cold on the table in front of him. He watched the sun rise through the window, but could not tear his mind from the night’s experiences. He wanted to know everything about her, but there was one crucial question he had to answer first. Could he live with a ghost?

End by [info]ami_ven

Andrew sighed. He couldn’t very well ignore her, it just wouldn’t be right. So, he would have to do something. But what?

He remembered reading somewhere that it was believed ghosts were tied to places when they died. The house was old, certainly old enough to have a ghost. She, the woman who played the piano, must have lived in this house. Andrew was no expert on fashion, but the dress she’d been wearing reminded him of the costumes from the movie of A Christmas Carol, which he thought was about the turn of the last century.

That was at least a place to start. There had to be some records from that time. Census data, newspaper articles, tax records…

Andrew spent the entire morning in the library, feeding roll after roll of microfilm into the reader. He was about ready to give up and see how good the coffee was at that diner down the street when he found it.

“Rebecca Collins,” he read, “aged eighteen.”

She had died on April 7, 1901. She had been a musician, a child prodigy of some kind, and was scheduled to give a concert, including a new piece she had written herself, when she’d unexpectedly fallen ill. Rebecca had died less than two weeks later, and the sheet music for her composition had never been found.

The basement of Andrew’s house must have been Rebecca’s music room, and her ghost… her ghost must still be rehearsing for the concert. The score she had written had never been found, the article had said.

Suddenly, Andrew knew how he could help the ghost.

Grabbing his coat, he hurried home. He headed straight down the basement stairs, and he could hear the music as soon as his foot hit the first stair. There she was, Rebecca, sitting at her piano. Andrew held his breath, listening to her play. Just as before, she started to cough, and reached for her handkerchief.

As much as he wanted to help her, he knew he couldn’t, not like this.

Rebecca coughed more violently, and put one hand against the piano top. As she rose, her puffed sleeve caught the corner of her sheet music and sent the pages tumbling off the stand. She didn’t see them fall, hurrying toward the basement stairs, but Andrew watched the ghostly papers flutter to the floor— and slide underneath a gap in the baseboard.

“Of course!” he breathed, but it was enough to shatter the image, and Rebecca vanished in a flash.

Andrew crossed the room and knelt to examine the baseboard. It was loose, and he pried it open, gently drawing out two sheets of yellowed paper, handwritten notes dancing across the paper.

He couldn’t read music all that well, but Andrew knew it was the same piece the ghost had been playing. “It’s beautiful, Rebecca,” he said.

And, in the silence, he swore he heard a whisper-soft, “Thank you.”

The End

I'm enjoying: The West Wing