Last week, the Challenge was to write 1,000 or so words that were to be Act One of a four part story, with Act Two to be written this week by a stranger, then Act Three to be added on by someone else, to be finished and wrapped up in Act Four by a fourth author. (I love these things!)
I wrote “Beach Rode (Act One)” and this week it’s been picked up by both Angela Cavenaugh and Peter MacDonald for the second act. I am most honored to have them both find my work worthy of their attention this week. You can find Angela’s work here and Peter’s addition here. I can’t wait to see if someone else picks up either of these stories for the third act next week.
THE DARE (Act Two)
Act One (by Mozette)
As I stand here on the very edge of the top of the fifty-second floors of ‘The Glory Hotel’, I wonder exactly how it came to be that I said yes to such a dumb idea.
Oh, yeah, that’s right… I said that it was not just David Copperfield who could fly, anyone could.
Was I drunk when I said that? I sure hope I was, because I really hate heights; and the last thing I need is to test my humanity right now. Turning from my perch, I look back at my stupid friends who are pushing me, throwing rubbish from the roof at me, screaming at me to ‘do it!’, that I was a wimp if I didn’t.
Was I a wimp?
I mean I was human, but not really… you see I was born here on Earth, but I did turn out to have a few extras built into my DNA that the normal Human Being just didn’t have.
Like what? Um… I can bench press 350kg cold. I really can! And yet I’m built like a weed. I don’t look like it, but I can sucker-punch anyone into the middle of next week too. But I’d never do it; I’m just not brought up that way – and nobody is going to force me to do that.
Other ‘skills’ I’ve been able to do is have a toughened skeletal structure… and skin that heals very quickly; and I don’t mean in 3 days, I mean as I watch it in about a minute. This is another reason why I don’t get into fights with anyone… it would just freak the shit outa them!
And until recently – like my 18th birthday – I found out I not only levitate, but fly short distances. Well, I told my best friend, and I found out what a big blabbermouth they turned out to be.
Yeah, who needs enemies when you have friends like that, right?
Well, this leads me to standing here on the ledge of the building where … oh shit on a pancake… there’s the cops all the way down there!
Turning, I glare at my ‘friends’. “Well, jeez, Amelia, thanks.”
She meets my glare as she stalks up to me in her outfit which makes her look like a street-walker, “What?”
“Who called the cops?”
She looks over the edge, smirking, then stifles a laugh, “Oh, shit, I didn’t think they’d believe me!”
I step back from the ledge, “What!”
This is when things got deadly, and Amelia pulls a .32 out of her handbag, “Oh, no you don’t. You are going to fly… you told me you could.”
“I told you it was a secret.”
“And you expected me to sit on that shit for how long?” she smiles, “Especially after you showed me… you’re a fuckin’ mutant, and you’re going to show everyone.”
“Shoot me first.” I say, “I’d rather be dead than be a joke.”
“Fly!” she screams stepping closer, just within reach.
“Make me!” I shout back.
Sitting on the ledge, she grimaces, “Don’t you make me…”
As soon as she looks away, I grab her wrist, yanking her to her feet, watching the gun fall away down below us, “Good, now you’re unarmed, we can get to business.”
Tears blur her vision as she struggles to get away from me, screaming into the night air, “Oh my god! Let me go! She’s going to throw me off the building!”
I held her close against me whispering, “Throw you? Nah, that’s too good for you… to watch you fall, watch your body splatter onto the ground for what you’ve done to me. Instead, sweetheart, my friend, dear… chump… I’m going to teach you a lesson about exactly what I am…” With that, I take a deep breath and jump off the edge of the building, taking flight into the night air with Amelia screaming the whole time as she clings to me.
But, I have a plan…
Act Two (by Paul Willett aka MomDude)
You know what they say about plans, you make ’em and the gods laugh? That sort of thing? That meme didn’t come out of thin air. About eight thousand years of uppity human hubris made up the grit polishing that particular gem of wisdom to a bright sheen.
Yet no one listens. Especially mutant teenage god-knows-whats like me.
Amelia had always been a big talker, quick to put other people on the spot, but now the bitch had turned on me. She was the queen bee in our social circles. Now I was just a threat to take her limelight away. Well, that, plus I probably scared the shit out of her when I flew. I should have never showed her.
As if puberty hadn’t sucked enough, I got to also deal with being a mutant freak. It had been a survival technique to be second fiddle to Amelia. With the secrets I had to keep, sticking out like a sore thumb could lead to any number of unpleasant fates. It hasn’t been that long since Salem, after all. While people like Amelia might flip out and want to see me the main attraction at a barbecue, too many others would like to see me in a cage, trying to figure out how could do what I did. I’ve seen that movie, didn’t like the leading role.
Fifty-six floors wasn’t far enough to fall to reach terminal velocity, but it was more than enough to build up a lot of speed. By the time we got to the thirtieth floor the wind rushing by was extremely impressive. Amelia’s screaming made it so much better. I wanted her out of her mind with terror and at least that part of my plan was working just fine.
As pissed as I had appeared to Amelia, I was counting on the cops being there. A few witnesses were good, especially some who could unwittingly help to make it all seem real.
I needed to discredit Amelia and deflect attention away from me. She wanted attention and her fifteen minutes of fame? Great, I could do that by letting her scream herself hoarse while we fell. And fall we did. But none of that thirty-two feet per second per second crap for us.
I had picked the Glory Hotel in part because it was the tallest building in town, which meant it would be acceptable to my ‘friends’ as a launching pad for me to plummet to my death, but also because it was next to the river. And it was dark. An empty, dark, deep river.
The plan was to fall toward the water, brightly lit at first by the hotel and street lights. But once we got out over the water and away from the lights, I would start breaking hard, slowing us down before we hit the surface. We should have been going about 170 miles an hour, our impact with the non-compressive surface quite fatal. My plan had us going about ten percent of that. The splashes would still be quite loud and impressive, if a second or two late.
Great plan, eh?
How was I to know Amelia was going to be able to twist out of my grip at the last second? Or know that she couldn’t swim a lick?
I knew what was coming, so I went straight into the water. It was a good jolt, and cold as hell, but no worse than going off a competition ten-meter platform. I stayed under as long as I could for effect, swam parallel to the sea wall for about fifty feet, then popped to the surface.
Searchlights were sweeping the water and I heard two more splashes over where Amelia had gone in. There was activity all over the place there as people went in after Amelia, while other cops were looking for me. Once a light swept over me and I was spotted, there were immediately more people in the water to “rescue” me. I let them do it and tried to look stunned, dazed, and confused.
They got me out of the water, into an ambulance and a blanket. The medical tests started and the ordeal went on for quite a while. No one could believe either of us was alive. But since I wasn’t dead, the questions started. So many questions! I mumbled a lot and played stupid. “Duh, eh, eh, I’m just a dumb drunk girl who fell off the roof! Heh! Heh!”
On the other hand, Amelia hadn’t gone into the water cleanly. Spinning out of my grasp, she hit hard, breaking her shoulder and arm, screwing up her neck and back, and leaving her face sorta mooshed. It would have served her right to drown, but the cops were quick, the paramedics were good, and after they shot her full of enough pain killers she stopped screaming about that crazy, psycho, mutant bitch that had thrown her off the roof.
Three hours later a cop was dropping me off back at my apartment and telling me he would check back on me tomorrow to make sure I was okay. He insisted on taking the elevator up to the fourth floor with me and making sure I got to my door safely. He wanted to sound concerned and compassionate, but the creepiness in his look and tone told me all I needed to know. I was glad to get inside and lock the door with him still in the hallway.
On the television I wasn’t surprised to see we were the number one story across the board. Media speculation was running wild, but so far they didn’t have my name or picture. I was beginning to think I had gotten away with it, at least for the moment.
Something tapped loudly on my window. I turned and saw someone floating out there. Hovering. Four stories up.
“Freakin’ idiot!” I heard him call through the glass. “What’s your next stupid move?”