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**UPDATED 4th January**
We’re nearly at the conclusion of our twitter experiment, and the story is rapidly moving from crazy to crazier. If there’s anything to learn from the #litrostory experience so far, it’s that social media brings out the weirdness in people. We even switched tenses briefly a few days in, although the Litro team have exercised their editorial privileges and restored the story to a rough approximation of sense. There have been plot teasers aplenty – trails of glitter, circling beasts, a mysterious case, and the enigmatic ’41’ – but now comes the hard part. We have until January 6th to tie up all the loose ends and turn this chaos into a story.
If you haven’t contributed to #litrostory so far, you can find the details of this experiment in twitter fiction here. The story was started by Wiley Cash, author of this month’s book club selection, This Dark Road to Mercy – more details of that here.
As for the story, you can read it below, in all its bizarre glory. With over a week to go until the #litrostory concludes, there are still plenty of twists to come. So why not login to twitter and start flexing your typing fingers…
It wasn’t the sound that woke him as much as it was the sensation of something large and dangerous passing overhead. Could it be that time of year again, he thought to himself, donning his boots and gloves to make his way out into the cold… Before his eyes even had time to adjust to the scene before him, he was overcome with disbelief.
“It cannot be,” he murmured. There on the hard frozen ground was a trail of glitter leading out of sight into the darkness. He stood in the silence and stared at the glitter for a moment, and then he went back inside to make the inevitable phone call.
He stood still for a moment, warming his hands by the fire, before sighing, cursing, and then raising the telephone to dial. As he raised his hand to dial, his remaining fingers trembled. Then, it happened: the phone began to ring. He let it ring, feeling the vibrations through the numbness in his fingers. Ten, twenty times it rang. He waited.
“Where is it?” said a man’s voice.
“Where’s what?” he asked in return.
“You know,” the man’s voice said.
“No, I don’t know… stop this shit now and tell me what’s going on.” Silence. He gripped the receiver, listening.
“Leave it at the front desk in the 41 and this ends now. One hour.”
He exhaled and looked at the case lying on the bed. Locked. He was scared but tried to hide it; that was his downfall last time. He limped across the room and started to fiddle with the lock. His hands were slick and he struggled to get a grip. The trails in the snow, then the phone call. Like reliving a nightmare.
Thud, thud, thud.
Three hard knocks. It was happening again. He stared at the door, willing it to stay shut as his heart raced. The banging stopped. He glanced frantically around, gripping the handle, trying to think. He froze. The doorknob was rattling. Petrified, he moved his hands in the dark to switch on the lights but as it turned out, there was no power. The rattling continued. Meanwhile, the creature that woke him had circled the town three times, and started to turn into the most innocent shape it found.
There was nothing else for it. Yelling, he charged through the door and out into the snow, almost tripping over it. He was overcome by the stillness that a blanket of snow can bring, snapped out of his own personal horror, just for a moment. His breath came out in clouds as he struggled to walk. He dropped the case, watching it fall into the sea of snow beneath him. He meant to curse under his breath, but spoke aloud; “Damn it, Miroshnikov!” he said to himself, firmly. He had to get a grip on himself; he was letting his imagination run away with him – but what was that snuffling sound?
Then the purple closed in.
When he came to, he found himself surrounded by darkness; it made him smile. He didn’t know where he was, but it was warm, soft and silent. Had he somehow escaped? He really wanted to quit this work.
He was overcome first by her scent and then taken aback by her enormous shadow as the lady slunk in.
“The glitter was me.”
He had no sense of space, so sense of anything at all in such darkness. Such a strange feeling. He smiled again. So bewitched by her beauty, he didn’t notice ’41’ painted on her forehead. Nor did he notice her hand stretching into the snow, it was dark after all. But he felt her breath, smelt the gentle scent of lavender, which made him smile more, a memory rekindled.
Abruptly, the smell of petrol igniting tore him from his euphoria. He stood up but she pulled him back towards her. The smell of lavender strengthened and he felt suddenly overcome by it all.
To be concluded…
(Contributors so far: @WileyCash, @Eric_Akoto, @GETtoasted, @alisonfogg, @katiejlumsden, @Kate_Baguley, @DanCoxonAuthor, @BellaReidWriter, @pfsinkler, @Ahranya, @DorotheeLang, @RachGth, @EmilyJayne1609, @Leah_S19, @CherryJPotts, @seanbeaudoin, @AdrianGeorgeNic, @ChrisGNguyen, @hennabutt, @RodolfoBarradas, @scottkeir, @promonmars)