The FB Book
As chapters are written by the characters, I'll post them here and in order so it can be read. We welcome all comments on the experiment - just please post them here once the chapter is complete.
Rarely does the glint from a paper trimmer bade catch the eye in such a way as it did today. Yes, a deadly looking paper trimmer blade attached to an archaic, dinosaur sized paper trimmer that resides in the back corner of what could be the dingiest, mouldiest scented school office to ever have existed in an educational facility. It's the blade on that paper trimmer that sits on the rickety old table. The table that spends its days threatening to collapse every time someone even thinks of approaching it. The one that is so neatly hidden in the dimmest corner of the dimmest room in the school that anyone with any mind would doubt even the tiniest spark of light could escape.
In fact, I might never have seen it, that glint. I certainly would never even have thought about it except for the fact that I was trapped in the office with numerous incompetent administrative types making a desperate attempt at attaching a new slicing arm to the ancient paper trimming device.Yes, there I was, a casual observer waiting to see one of the higher ups, when the flash caught my eye. (I'm certain it was the flash of the blade that caught my eye and not the splatter. Although to be honest, the splatter might have contributed. And maybe the yelling. Yes, I think the yelling might have been significant).
Who knew that I would spend the whole day worrying about this meeting only to have all thought of it forever eclipsed by intensely graphic mental images of scenes from True Grit?
I watched as a very pale student teacher helped the old math teacher and resident amateur ornithologist out of the office with his gory stumps wrapped in a sweaty old T-shirt someone had retrieved from the Lost and Found. For a second I wondered if the school club trip, the only one in the last thirty years to be approved, was now suddenly in peril. With the brave old fossil out of the way I wondered if the trip would just get cancelled like all the rest, or if a replacement teacher could be found. Rather than just standing there and speculating, I knew the meeting was a bust and I should probably vacate the office as soon as possible. So I grabbed my bag and headed into the brouhaha that was our hallway everyday at 2:50 pm. In spite of the riot of student bodies barring the way to my next destination, I could already see that several of those bodies were ones with whom I had future appointments. I could pick them out like flies on a wall they were so close. Though I digress when really I should get going. Things to do, people to see and all that.
I'm not Kali, I'm Mary-Ann, Walter D'Arbarnville
(Walter points at a dapper young man by the hallway stairs as Mary-ann scans the hall for her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is the join everything, clubby type so Mary-ann was hard pressed to imagine Walter pointing out anyone else. But if Walter was in fact pointing to the most handsome, amazing and heroic boyfriend to ever walk the earth, Mary-ann was having difficulty following his direction.)
Veronica hastily snatches at Mary Ann's elbow and drags her between the two boys with the merest of nods to indicate the end of their conversation. As Veronica leads Mary-ann through the crowded hallways into the bowels of the school, the two nearly collide with one of their more colourful peers.
Veronica and Mary Ann turn to watch as an eager looking Penelope converses with Walter. The gleam in her eye startles the boy but he senses an opportunity to continue talking about his birds. Seeing how distracted Mary Ann is with looking for her boyfriend, Veronica takes the chance to slip away from the group. She can't believe she thought it would be a good idea to drag Mary-ann along with her on such an important task. There really was no substitute for a best friend when you had a mystery to investigate.
So this was the meeting Kali had set up. Made sense, Veronica realized. If anyone knew anything about the dark secrets this school kept, it was Joe.
Joe's attention is quickly drawn to a scraping noise in the dimness beyond the boiler room door. As he lurches forward, the girl holding the file in her hands cowers. Joe is backlit by the glow from the boilers and the girl is frightented by the menacing image he creates. Veronica is quite useless without her best friend.
Carl Johnston. Seems like he can't hold a job...kind of a slacker...why would he join the bird club? (Sighs) I wish Kali were here. She'd know what to look for. (Picks up another file) Hey...this is mine...(Holds it delicately and wonders what might be on record)
Jarring Veronica from the questions just beginning to form in her mind, a loud crash is heard. The girl drops her folder and rushes out into the hallway. In spite of the poor lighting, Veronica sees a puddle of dark liquid on the floor, traces of reddish smears on the far wall.
End of Chapter One. Look for Chapters 2 and 3 in October. The dates for our online writing get-togethers will be posted here: fb book
Interested in becoming a character and contributing to the book? Contact us through the FBBook page or message one of the characters directly.
In spite of the steely sky and electric feel to the air, the small group of students huddled at the end
of the pier. They were quiet, hiding their nervous energy and biding their time between looks out over the water and glances at the modified tug gently scraping at the side of the structure. Although the water was calm, it was very dark and its murky depths held an unspoken menace that continued to draw the students' thoughts from their impending field trip.
With no signs of their teacher, nor signs of their determined (if not outright fanatical) club president, the Exotic Bird Club teens remained undecided about boarding the boat. Not a single member of the group had considered approaching the dour old man in a sowester and dirty yellow slicker standing opposite them on the pier, even though both the students and the old man knew why they were there. It was already ten minutes past the club's set departure time.
While the teens continued to wait, the rhythmic scraping of the tug and quiet lapping noise of the waves eventually proved too much for one of the students. As she smoothed the front of her unfortunate attire and adjusted a selection of equally loud accessories, she began to hum.
It was an opening a skinny boy couldn't resist. He adjusted his bow tie and approached with caution.
What a brilliant tune you're humming there, luv. Fancy telling me what it is?
The chicken dance do you know it?
Blimey it sounds familiar! Could you sing a few words? Or show me this chicken dance?
*Starts doing the chicken dance* Well you have to know the dance, come on join me!
*tries to mimic* Well ! Isn't this dodgy. All this dancing is making me hungry. We should go for nosh sometime!
*stops dancing* Oh that'd be wonderful it's something I've always wanted to try. Do you eat it with sporks or chopsticks?
Why that's cute, Penelope and Crispin! I wish I could dance like that!
Mary-ann, why don't you and Brandon try it out too? I'm sure you two would be great at it.
With more than one conversation now underway, the students barely noticed as a rust eaten vehicle limped its way into the parking lot adjacent the boat dock. When a very flustered looking student teacher stepped out, Kali was the first to register surprise. What was a student teacher doing on a club field trip? Not only did he arrive late, but he arrived alone. Where was their teacher? And as she narrowed her focus a little, she realized the rust rust wasn't the only thing wrong with the student teacher's car. Just what could have happened?
*approaches man with determined stride* Excuse me - Sir? Where is everyone?
Barely a grunt slipped from the young man's lips as he pushed past both Kali and Veronica and proceed directly toward the old man and his boat. Glancing over his shoulder, the student teacher mumbled something about everyone following him as he hastily boarded the vessel.
Well, then. Any idea who he is Nica?
*Thinks* I believe he's the student teacher for the math teacher. The one who's fingers got chopped off, remember? He was supposed to be chaperone for this trip...but it looks like this guy's here instead. I didn't think student teachers were qualified for this sort of responsibilty. I wonder what's going on? *Glances over at the Captain*
The old man smacked his lips over his toothless gums in a liquid spray of surprise at the young man's rudeness. He was after all the Captain, and the presumed leader of the group of young people. How dare he board his tug, newly remodelled as a fine tourism vessel, without so much as a greeting?
"Har," grumbled the Captain as he eyed the approaching students. "Sky's got a tinge of the green. An' those clouds are stacking heavy. If yar rush ahead, there be no telling what we migh run into. Best we wait..."
Stepping forward to intervene before any further delay could even be considered was Walter. Several astonished gasps were heard as no one in the group had even seen Walter arrive.
"We can't! It's already 4 Oclock... if we wait any longer the birds will all be gone for the night, and this trip will be for nothing..." *turns to face everyone else* "Okay, everyone. the tour is this way! Please, hurry now, we really don't have much time. Trust me when I say that the weather will hold- it has to. And, hey. I checked the weather network yesterday, smooth sailing ahead. So come on. The birds are waiting!
Grumbling and squinting at the young man, the Captain immediately points to a bird flying over head. "Thar's your birds....!"
"Come on you guys... don't you want to see all the exotic birds? I know you must just be dying to! *cups hand to the side of his mouth so that the captain cant see what he's saying* That old coot doesn't know what he's talking about."
Once half the group was safely boarded and settled into their shoddy makeshift seats, a loud and abrasive voice was heard. It was followed by the pounding of feet running the length the pier.
*shouts amid incomprehensive swearing* Hey hold up! Don't leave yet!
Ahh, stop, we can't leave that poor chap on the pier!
But the... grrr... fine, yes, wait for him..
*Randomly bursts into song* I say, we can go where we want to
A place where they'll never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
We can dance (Come see! )
I'm all for discovery as you know, but I must admit, I have a bad feeling about this guys. *looks towards the sky* The weather report I checked this morning said nothing about cloud covered skies.
*Sighs* I totally agree with you Kali, but it looks like there's no going back now. I'll help that Carl guy on board. *Grabs a fairly broad plank and places it between the dock and edge of the boat* Hop on, I'll keep it steady. Although, I won't be able to keep you from going overboard once you're on this side.
*Skittering unsteadily across the plank, Carl gripped the gunwale seconds before the splash was heard. He might have made it all the way onto the vessel, had he not wasted those valuable first moments standing on the pier like an idiot and imagining that someone from his club would physically step off of the boat to help him board easily. Consequently, the boy was left dangling on the port side as the boat drifted away from its mooring. Although she could have waited until the boy was good and soaked, the conspicuously well muscled Veronica easily reached over the side of the boat and grasped the stocky latecomer by his shirt collar, hauling him onto the deck. She waited for the boy's arms and legs to stop their noisy windmilling against the deck as he slowly realized he had just been rescued. And before he could some desperate ego salvaging self preservation words, Veronica was barking orders at him. Carl had never even contemplated that a girl would yell at him, yet Veronica's voice was so intimidating that Carl found himself immediately scrambling off the deck boards and into a seat.
He wasn't the only one. His club mates had all straightened in their seats as well. The Captain, who was about to issue one last warning, quietly about faced and closed himself in the wheelhouse. The only sound that was heard next was the choking start of the boat's engine, followed by its steady hum as the vessel pulled out of its dock.*
Well on the their way now, the group had just gotten settled when the first crash of thunder was heard. To say it was loud, or very close would be an understatement. The sky was undeniably darker, growing ever more menacing. To make matters worse, the heavy clouds directly ahead were temporarily lit by sudden flashes. More than one of the amateur birders was showing signs of nervousness. No one had really expected a storm to manifest this quickly and they were only halfway to the island.
It seemed impossible that the Captain hadn't left the wheelhouse to try and convince the students to turn around. Although the water was eerily calm, the wind was picking up. Several of the students started to fidget and stare out at the water - at that enormous dark spot spreading over the water's surface.
And while that stocky late arrival was feeling comfortable on his bolted down folding chair, the weather was becoming more than a little unsettling for Carl. Naturally he was the first one to say something about it.
(looking up at the storm clouds) This really doesn't look good. (hesitates) ...Maybe
we should think about going back? I really don't want crash.
*kinda scared tone* That maybe a good idea, lightning is a sure sign of Jadrays. (trembles slightly)
Oh nonsense, we won't crash! It's just a little storm, what could possibly go wrong?
(Starts singing to calm self)
I say, we can act if we want to
If we don't nobody will
And you can act real rude
And totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile
*squeezing Brandon's hand tightly* what cant possibly go wrong?!
*mumbles* ha, a little water's nothing.. (a wave breaks over the ship and soaks Walter)
ahh! (walks into the wheelhouse to get a towel.)
(trying to get everyone to calm down) Okay guys, it's alright.
This may have been a bad idea, but we're here now. So we need to get a grip. Just hang on, and try not to fall overboard.