Fog (Part III)

The back of the Elmo doll was split open at the seam, and bits of stuffing dangled out of the gaping hole. The man in the dark suit reached his spindly fingers into the doll and removed a small metallic cube. Light glanced off of the cube and glinted in Josiah’s face. The man brought the cube near his face as he peered at it and slowly rolled it between his index finger and thumb. “Information…,” the man said, “is power.” After a long pause the man continued in a monotone drone,

“It’s hard to imagine…such a small object contains so many secrets – the details of so many lives. Not a man has lived in the past 100 years who does not have a record within this cube. With such information one could ravage lives…destroy families…topple governments. You thought you would bury it…do society a favor…very noble of you. But it couldn’t end that way. Mankind’s lust for power is too strong. You knew we would find it. You seem to have borrowed something else from us as well. Something we would like to have back. And you are going to tell us. Where…is the reader?”

“I’ll never tell you,” Josiah muttered through clenched teeth. The man in the dark suit broke into a knowing chuckle. “Oh yes you will,” the man said. The man removed a small device from his pocket and flipped a switch on top. An orange glow lit up the face of the device and Josiah felt a warm buzzing sensation inside his head. Suddenly the man was engulfed in a white speckled mist which rose and swirled around his face like flames licking a log. “You will tell us indeed.”

Josiah found himself standing in a dark wood. Giant trees stretched to the sky and penetrated a thick fog above. As he looked about himself to get his bearings, a dark cloaked figure whisked out from behind a tree and darted into the distance. Josiah took chase. The figure floated over the terrain silently from tree to tree. Josiah called out to the figure, who returned a maniacal cackle. Suddenly stiffness shot through Josiah’s body, and he toppled over into a pile of branches. He was completely paralyzed, but could still see out through the tangle of branches. The figure, faceless, peered from behind a tree and let forth another peel of laughter.

Josiah was sitting on a quilt in the middle of a field. He was surrounded by what appeared to be a picnic feast. Across the quilt sat a pudgy woman who glanced at him with a smile and said, “Aren’t you going to eat your lunch?” Josiah couldn’t have been prepared for what happened next. She lifted her hands from her lap. He had not noticed before, but her hands were twice normal size. With a start she began grabbing fistfuls of food and cramming them into her mouth. Food squeezed out around her hands and between her fingers and dropped onto her dress.

Josiah found himself swimming in a stormy sea. As each massive wave swept by he plunged into the next trough. He reached the apex of the next wave and saw a red light atop a tall metal-framed tower. The tower disappeared as he fell into another trough. He was lifted up and once again could see the tower. It stood defiantly on a small rocky island. The tower seemed strangely familiar. Josiah felt a tug on his feet and was suddenly pulled beneath the waves. The cold dark fury of the sea surrounded him as he drifted out of consciousness.

Josiah awoke. The room was dark, but he could feel the straps still holding him to the table. He pulled with all his strength and the strap around his shoulders slipped slightly higher. Again he pulled and this time met greater success as the strap slid off of his shoulders and onto his neck. In a moment he was free. In the palpable darkness he groped for the door handle. Leaning against the door, he turned the knob and stumbled into the stiff rain outside. The door was at the base of a lighthouse. The lamp slowly rotated above and beamed a sharp column of white into the rain and fog. “Did I tell them where it was?” he thought to himself. “I must get to the tower.”

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19 Responses to Fog (Part III)

  1. nopockets says:

    I wondered with you being online last night if there would be an update this morning…. Yea! HOO HAA!

  2. Carol says:

    Wow! I could hardly wait to read your installment. James, the pressure’s on. Write fast!

  3. James says:

    That’s pretty much how I feel: the pressure is on, although the plot does have much more direction now, having reached a kind of climax. Stay tuned…

  4. Lisa says:

    See, I can post….

  5. Lisa says:

    Now, what was I saying? Oh, of course I read the blogs! I LOVE the blogs!!

  6. Lisa says:

    I, just like Katie, have my RSS feeds in order, and am alerted to new posts.

  7. Lisa says:

    Although I will admit, I’m having trouble getting iGoogle to accept nerdfighters.ning.com. When I enter it,

  8. Lisa says:

    all it will give me is a link to My Pants!

  9. Lisa says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with My Pants.

  10. Lisa says:

    Urgh! It’s getting mad at me again!
    If you’ve never had this problem, this is what it looks like:

  11. Lisa says:

    You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

    So, I guess I will.

    I’ll post more later…

  12. Lisa says:

    If this is confusing anyone, try checking out the posts on Katie’s RSS feed story, that should clear things up.

  13. nopockets says:

    Um … I had the same problem initially with the ning, for some reason, the blog subscription that you see automatically takes you to that RSS feed. Did you enter the feed manually like I did yesterday with Consanguinity or did you click a feed link on the ning site? And yes, that was a screen capture. I, too, like the background … the little characters move around (at first, it scared me …) They don’t move while you’re watching, but when you come back at different times of the day, they aren’t where they used to be … at night they go to sleep in little sleeping bags.

  14. Matt says:

    I too find that writing fiction seems to be much more high-pressure than non-fiction. There’s a need to please, and it’s not necessarily easy to pick up writing a story where someone else left off. It took me almost a week of thinking about it to come up with any kind of satisfactory continuation of James’ last segment. I don’t envy having to write the conclusion…though given the response, I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself writing a conclusion to just such a collaborative story at some point in the future.

  15. Ann (Mom) says:

    I thought you’d like to know that earlier this week I began using your story in my reading class. Right now we are learning about inferring, and I thought that your story would be good to use as we practice this skill. Both of you have had to make lots of inferences about what is happening in the story in order to write the next part. So far my students have listened as I read aloud (while it was visible on a screen) Parts I and II. Of course, since it is not exactly written on a 6th grade level, we have had to stop and discuss meanings of various words that you have used. I told them that I had to look up both of the words in the title of Part I because those words were not in my vocabulary either. I told them that the title was basically the same as “Burying the Evidence.” I hope that was correct. Anyway, I had them make inferences about the story from just the title before we read any further. We pretty much picked the story apart and discussed each part. In the first part, I asked that if the story took place in the U.S., which coast would it be on? Several of them immediately figured out that it would be the west coast because of your descriptions about what you saw to the east. I plan to use Part III next week, and Part IV when it becomes available.

    By the way, the students have really enjoyed the story so far, and in fact several of them said things like, “They need to get that published!” or “They should be writers!” I may let them get online and post comments at some point.

  16. Susan says:

    I read your story to my kids today during our reading time. Nathan thought it sounded like the Matrix.

    The boys decided they wanted a blog, too. I wasn’t going to tell you about it until I had edited it a bit, but it’s pretty funny as is, so you may want to check it out and leave them some comments. It’s legomaniacs.blogspot.com.

    Yes, I try to teach them how to spell, but the genes from their father must be very strong.

  17. Rebecca says:

    I’ve got a question…..did either of you have some sort of strange attachment to an Elmo doll? I am wondering exactly how that came into the story. Was it something that needed to be random to grab the reader’s attention or just something you have been wanting to put in a story for a long time? Anyway, enough of the random questions, but you should have heard Noah scream after I read the beginning sentence of your story “Finally, he had buried it.” He had burnt his finger on our gas heater….but it was rather funny when all of us thought he was scared.

  18. James says:

    Matt addressed this issue about the Elmo doll previously, since Carol had the same problems with it. Read what he wrote in the comments to this post: Interring the Subterfuge (Part I).

  19. Rebecca says:

    Oh, okay, thanks. I probably should have thought to look there myself. I am a little funny with my comments.

    Nathan had a laughing Elmo doll when he was little. He would sleep with it in his crib and in the night he would turn over on it, which made it start to laugh, and it freaked my mom out when she couldn’t figure out what was making the noise.

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