Yesterday, I posted a graphic in my Facebook feed:
A couple of other friends had posted this before, so I decided to give it a go. Every person who commented on this would receive an introduction to a novel.
As more people wrote in, I decided to create a short story with any commenter serving as a character. Everyone would be within the same fictional world, some interacting with others, some not.
I am posting the results so far. I will add more as more comments come in. The story so far in chronological order from the times I’ve received the comments. The last names have been removed to protect the guilty. Their names have been bolded, italicised, and underlined.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that there is no overarching plot or plan to this. This is completely improvisational. I have no idea what is going to happen and, in some case, what is even going on. Also, this is literally no-draft. All I corrected was spelling. Please be kind.
The Rabbit’s Last Stand: Part One
Katrina slid down the curved mahogany bannister, cackling. The richly appointed upstairs to the ancient McElroy estate was a cough-filled chaos of flame and ruin.
Her boots were torn to shreds, she was carrying a priceless, stolen bronze ancient dagger in each hand, and the tips of her eyebrows were still smoldering from the trap, but this was not a worry for her. She was speeding down a slick wooden rail towards a literal uncaged tiger that was pacing at the foot of the stairs, grinning in the way that hungry and soon-to-be fed predators grin. She was half exhausted and had no immediate plan.
She liked it that way.
The smoke from the the ancient McElroy estate swirled gray against the dark, the scent of wood drifting over the well-manicured lawn. The smoke was lit with blue and red lightning flashes – the sirens of the police cars and fire trucks that hung in a semi-circular perimeter away from charred skeleton of the mansion, as if paying their respects to the carnage.
“Grease fire, I’ll bet,” muttered Detective Smythe, his brown trench coat flapping slightly in the wind. He tipped his fedora slightly to shield his eyes against the light. His style was what earned him his nickname at the department: ‘The Cliche.’
“And that poor tiger,” Officer Ruskin muttered.
A high, musical laugh cut through the night. Amy came walking towards them from the mansion, the smoke curling in her wake. “Grease fire…” she laughed. “Idiots! This was the work of… The Rabbit.”
Chris adjusted his respirator. As always, it felt claustrophobic, but after fifteen years of this, it was nothing more than a back-of-the-mind nagging. His raspy breathing through the filters was the only sound heard in the burned out husk of the McElroy estate.
He kicked over the charred remnant of a support beam, made light from the fire not an hour ago. He winced.
“Crap,” Chris muttered. “Who the hell would do that to a tiger?”
“Not a natural death then?” Wilson asked.
Chris laughed. “Not unless it was a smoker.”
“The Rabbit?!” Dane yelled. “Poppycock!” He nearly slammed his phone down on his desk, but maintained his cool. “She died in Tangiers, Amy! The Anselmi case! We found a fingernail that HAD to be hers!”
Amy laughed. “So naive, Chief? Fingernails can be trimmed.”
“But the DNA tests! The forensic…”
“It’s obvious, Chief. Look… Dane… we need help here. I can’t chase after The Rabbit myself. Not with that bullet sill in my left thigh. We need help!”
Dane grunted. “Yes… but who? Who can go against The Rabbit now that you are… well… slower.”
“Only one person,” Amy said.
“Yes?” Angela said into the phone, bleary and exhausted. Who could be calling her in the middle of the night?
“Leopard, it’s the Chief!”
Shit, she thought, then said it.
“Exactly,” Dane said. “It’s The Rabbit. She’s…”
“..still alive. Yeah, I know.”
“I suspected. Listen, dear, I have a had a long night and I don’t have time to…”
“You do now,” Dane said. “I’ve cleared your schedule. Your petty larcenies will have to wait. The McElroy mansion has been burned down. Chris is down here scanning the ruins. Keeps mumbling something about a tiger. And… oh… there’s a complication.”
“Oh? More difficult for you?”
“No, for you. The Gazelle is here.”
“You really like that word,” the Chief said.
“The Gazelle, huh? Is Amy okay with me joining in? She likes to do things her own way.”
“I need you both. Get your ass over here. I’ll have coffee ready.”
That was all Angela needed to hear.
“Make the coffee,” David muttered. “I have three advanced degrees and can field strip any weapon blindfolded, and here they want me to make the coffee. I am never going to pay off the student loans with crap work like this!”
He adjusted the cups under the Kuerig and pressed the button. This is what it all came to. He knew how to kill a man thirteen different ways with a rubber band and a whiteboard eraser, but he was now the coffee maker. Not even making coffee – just pushing a button. The Kuerig did all the rest.
David smiled to himself. He would make sure The Rabbit knew about all of this the next time they talked. It was vital for the freedom of the world that The Rabbit remain free.
“Why did I end up with such a crap sentence?” Stuart wondered. He looked through the window of his cell at the moonlight. Arrested as an accomplice to theft, sentenced to two years, and cooling his heels as the world passed him by. At least it was at a minimum security prison. His lawyer was at least able to manage that.
An unusually light sentence for one accused of robbing the rich.
A small rock hit the window. Stuart jumped slightly, then stormed to the window and opened it. He leaned out. “Do you mind?!” Stuart hissed angrily. “Some of us are trying to muse here.”
“Early release,” Katrina whispered. “You just got pardoned!”
“How the hell am I supposed to…”
“Just climb out of the damn window. We have work to do!”
“And I said I’m not taking these,” Diana said.
Diana was standing there in front of the diamonds and bearer bonds, lately owned by Dennis McElroy. Her arms were crossed and she was tapping her foot.
Katrina plead, “Diana, you’re our best fence. Stuart and I need seed money. We need to…”
“Uh uh! Nope!” Diana protested. “Don’t tell me anything. The less I know the better. The last thing I want to have happen is become an ‘accessory’ and take Stuart’s place at Club Fed. I need freedom of movement and the geriatrics over there keep the channel frozen on ‘The View.'”
“Come on,” Katrina plead.
“No means no, even to The Rabbit.”
“Don’t out me, Diana.”
“It’s not outing you,” she said. “Everyone knows who you are. Look, I can’t touch this. I WANT to, but the fires at the McElroy mansion aren’t even out yet.”
“Which is why we need to move NOW! The cops haven’t set out all the feelers yet. They’re stumbling around like a man mugged in church.”
“Never going to let me forget that, are you Katrina?” Stuart muttered.
Katrina laughed. “As if!”
Diana threw up her hands. “Fine, fine! I’ll move them. But 20% this time. It will cost extra to move these.”
“Twenty percent?!” Katrina yelled. “Girl, you got me by the short hairs.”
“Ain’t letting go, either. Take it or…”
“Take it,” Katrina grumbled.
“Ladies, please put the knives down,” Robyn said, stepping between Amy and Angela. “You’re going to put an eye out.”
Amy set down her knife gently on a table next to her, never taking her eyes off of Angela. Angela threw her knife down, point sticking in the hardwood floor. The knife vibrated from the impact.
Robyn shook her head. “I notice they’re still within reach. You two… we’re all friends here you know.”
“Yes,” Amy smiled. “Quite friendly.”
“Oh, for…” Robyn walked over to Amy and took her knife, then swiveled to Angela. She stormed up and looked at Angie in the eye, then glanced down at the knife.
Angies‘s eyes darted to the knife, then back up to Robyn. “This,” Robyn said, “is why we can’t have nice things.”
Angela shrugged. “I make my mark.”
Robyn sighed. “Everyone knows that knives are meant to be used on people, not hardwood. Now if you can behave for fifteen minutes or so, I will give you both some lovely weapons. My latest fashions. Just please follow me and settle down. Because I swear to Zeus, if I get one more peep out of either of you two I am sending you both out with butter knives and left-handed safety scissors.”
I am eager to see if this goes further… AND IT DOES! Go to Part Two posthaste!