One Page at a Time: The Cellar Door, Page 2

The following is the beginning of a what I hope will become a series collaborative short stories. I will post the beginning of a story and then you can send me the next page (about 200 to 300 words). Fill out the form below and I’ll publish the best response. Then we’ll repeat the process until the story is complete.

There were so many good entries, it was hard to choose. For the next story, I think I will post the responses and let everyone vote on them. Please send in page 3 by SUNDAY JUNE 23rd at 7pm ET

Page 1 by Sean Sandulak

Gillian pulled another plate from the cardboard box and frowned at the chip and crack along its edge. This was the third thing that was broken and she’d barely even begun to unpack. She hoped it would be the last time that she would have to move for a long time. It was as hard on her and the kids as it was on the dishes.

Thinking about her son and daughter made her realize that the house had become too quiet. She dropped the plate into the soapy water in the sink and called out, “Tom! Where is your sister?” When there was no answer, she became equal parts worried and irritated. “Tom!” she called again, louder this time.

A sulking twelve-year-old boy shuffled into the kitchen and whined, “You don’t have to yell.”

“Where’s your sister?” she asked.

“I dunno,” he mumbled.

“I told you to watch her,” she said, “so you had better go find her.”

“But mom,” he said, “I was watching TV.”

“Go and find her right now or there will be no TV for a week,” she said. With that threat the boy stomped off without another word. Gillian kept pulling her dishes from out of the boxes and putting them in the sink to wash them.

After a few minutes, Tom returned and said, “I couldn’t find her anywhere.”

“Well, she couldn’t have gone outside or I would have heard the door,” she said. “Did you try looking in the basement?”

He went the door that stood off to the side of the kitchen, opened it, and made his way down the creaky, wooden stairs. Tom was only gone a few seconds before he came racing back up. He slammed the door and braced his body against it. His face was pale and he was breathing like he had just run a mile.

Gillian ran to him, crouched down, and gripped him by the shoulders to steady him. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Where’s Amelia?”

“There’s something in the basement,” he answered. “I think it took her.”

Page 2 by Lauren Jokl (misskzebra)

Gillian hoped that Tom couldn’t hear her heart begin to pound against her chest. “Don’t be ridiculous.” she told him. “Stay up here and don’t move.” This was his idea of a joke, she thought.

Gillian moved him aside and opened the door. The lights didn’t turn on when she pulled the cord by the door. Advancing down the steps, she listened out for Amelia. There was a slight breeze down here.  Gillian didn’t know where it was coming from, but it was cold. Despite the chill, sweat started to form on her upper lip.

“Amelia? Where are you?” A hard block of anxiety was starting to form in Gillian’s chest. “Amelia!” She scanned the darkness and couldn’t see a thing.

“Amelia, is that her name? It’s such a pretty name, for such a pretty girl.” Gillian spun around to see a dwarfish woman with a pale face.

“Who are you?! Where’s my daughter?” Gillian yelled.

“Your daughter is in the place where the cockerels crow all of the time, where the sun always reigns but the moon never dies. The Land of Orange Skies. She belongs there. She’s a child of the Gods, which you know very well.”

“No. No. Did her father put you up to this? He spouted this crap too, when he’d lost his mind. Give me back my daughter!” Gillian commanded, her chest heaving with panic.

“He did, but he’s not lost his mind. We’ll give her back if you come to collect her.” The woman smiled and held out her hand.

Page 3 by ?

What happens next? You decide! Together we’ll write a story – one page at a time.

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Crazed recluse and sociophobe who has taken up writing after failing at everything else. Send pizza.

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Posted in Collaborations, Fantasy, Fiction, One Page at a Time, Science Fiction, Short Story (<7500 words), Writing Challenge
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