Every now and then my friend Alonya proposes a writing game. It is a great exercise in free writing. This is how it works: Each person writes a sentence or paragraph and the next person is left to take up the story. Here is the result, published with permission: My words are marked by ‘K’ and Alonya’s with ‘A’. This is as was written – first draft on the day.
A: Suddenly Pixie realised that her house was moving.
K:It had not done that for a while. Maybe it had finally grown bored with its idyllic surroundings?
A:Holding on to the only thing that wasn’t moving around, the chandelier, she gripped tightly to peer out the window to see what was going on. Where were they going this time?
K:Pixie did love a grand adventure.
A: Suddenly, the house lurched to the left. Oh, damn. Was that her best plate that went flying by?
K: There was a distressed chirrup, followed by a quick squawk as her friend Roxie the Robin flew past – feathers flying.
A: That was weird, Pixie thought to her self. Roxie never normally made such a fuss during moving time.
K: And she thought that she would be accustomed to airborne travel.
A:Something was definitely wrong.
K: The house paused, jiggled slightly, then lurched forward again. The furniture settled into a rhythmic movement, sliding back and forth in concert with the clock’s pendulum.
A:Pixie started to feel a little sick. This seemed different to the last time the house moved. It felt like she was at sea.
K: She steadied herself, edging along the wall towards the window.
A: Grasping hold of the window facing and pressed her nose to the glass.
K: Gone were the bright flowers that had surrounded her yard. Gone was the towering patch of broccoli. Gone was the sound of the human children that frolicked in the yard.
A: Instead there was a different landscape. The trees were lined up in neat rows along some sort of hard grey surface. It didn’t look right at all.
K: A loud rumbling echoed around her. Roxie flittered from window to window, chirping nervously.
A: The rumbling crashing came to a momentary halt. Pixie asked Roxie what was happening.
K: Roxie twittered furiously. Pixie rushed to the bird’s side and peered out of the window. A giant metal tree towered above them. In its branches a strange glowing red flowers. Suddenly the flowers disappeared. Glowing green flowers lit up below them.
The house suddenly was airborne again.
A: Kerthump. It seemed to Pixie that the crash felt like the house was battering at the large metal tree in a fury of bone shattering thumps. This is definitely not normal at all.
K: The house floated higher, then turned slowly. A loud giggle reverberated the walls. Roxie squealed and pointed across the room. A giant eye peered in through the window.
A: Looking through the window the eye was bright green in colour and seemed suprised that there was a small person inside the tiny window
K: Pixie rubbed her eyes and blinked. The eye in the window blinked. Roxie twittered. It did not look like any of the children from the Big House.
A: The eye was from a bigger person than a child. Pixie and Roxie had only seen big people from a far distance.
K: Was it one of the – what did they call them? The Olds? Was this what a The Olds looked like.
A: It must be the Olds. But what were they doing? What is that scraping? And why did it get so dark in the middle of the day?
K: Roxie resumed her nervous flitting around the room.
‘Oh do be quiet, Roxie,” whispered Pixie. ‘I am trying to think.”
A: Suddenly there was the sound that made Pixies heart run cold. Like a child’s clacker toy, but only much louder. Then a new noise. Was that a fire chariot?
K: Pixie froze. A crooked smile slowly grew on her otherwise serene fairy face. She darted to a cupboard, careful to avoid the gliding furniture, and retrieved a long silver stick. It had a large hole in one end and a very – very – sharp point on the other.
A: Rushing back to the now blackened out window, she threw it open.
K: “Where did it go?” she grumbled.
A: The window suddenly was not there anymore. Pixie realised that she has cursed a little when she was rifling through the cupboard and slipped an incantation. The window glass was now completely gone.
K: In its place was a dark cloth that seemed to cover the entire house.
A: Movement. Again. This time smooth. The fire chariot seemed to be on the move and the house captured is some kind of trap.
A: Roxie cocked her head, as if to listen. Pixie could hear nothing but the rumbling of the chariot.
K: “At least the furniture has stopped moving.” she said.
A: The smooth vibration of the chariot continued for what seemed like an age.
K: Then the movement stopped. The rumbling ceased. All was quiet. Too quiet. Pixie brandished her weapon, ready to defend herself and her home.
A: There seemed to be two voices coming from the other side of the blanket. No, wait. A child’s voice. So three voices. And they were talking about a desk. What was a desk, Pixie wondered.
K: She hoped her stick would be able to defeat such a formidable sounding weapon.
“Oh this is getting very annoying,” objected PIxie. She stuck the sharp stick into the cloth, which covered the window, and pushed downwards with all of her strength. A sliver of light lit up the room. Pixie grabbed the torn edges and held open the slit.
A: An Old’s house. With two Olds and a younger human. They were speaking excitedly about where to put ‘the desk’. It dawned on Pixie what was happening. The house shaking, the chariot ride and the black out were her house was moving to a new location.
K: She sighed. at least they were on the ground. Around her towered large wooden tables and chairs. They had to find somewhere to launch an attack. As she climbed through the slit, stick in hand, she motioned to Roxie to follow.
A: Roxie flew up to the highest vantage point in the room.
K: Pixie rolled her shoulders, extended her glistening wings and followed. For some unknown reason, humans always forgot to look upwards.
A: Breaking her concentration, there was an excited squeal. Turning in a defensive stance she saw the girl child looking at her house. A look of wonder on the child’s face.
“Mum, Dad!” The child exclaimed, “I think someone lives in the desk.”
K: “Don’t be silly Cathy,” said one of The Olds. “I am not being silly,’ pouted Cathy
A: Look. Cathy said. There is a window in the desk.
K: The three humans walked under Pixie towards the desk. The bearded one raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’ll be,” he laughed.
“Maybe it is a doll’s house?” said the one with the long hair.
A; “Whatever it is Mum, we need to not touch it. Maybe who ever lived there is here now”.
K: The bearded one pulled the drawer open. Inside was a jumble of minature furniture. “See it is a doll’s house,” beamed the long-haired one. She picked up a small, delicately carved armchair. “Such lovely work. I wonder who would throw it out?”
A: Pixie eyed off the longhaired one cautiously
“Mum” Cathy asked, “Can I please put it in my dolls house?
K: Mum turned and smiled. “Of course, dear.” Mum’s green eyes smiled.
“That is my chair” squealed Pixie. She held her stick in front of her and took aim. Her wings battered furiously as she sped at the Mum, aiming for her green eye.
A: Mum turned to hand Cathy the chair. At the last second Pixie spied the ‘Doll House’. Pulling up short she darted behind Mum, not to be seen.
K: Lights danced off the gold and silver plates inside its lavishly furnished rooms. Each room was painted in the colours of PIxie’s favourite flowers.
A: Edging closer, the colours mesmerised her.
K: Such pretty colours. A faint twittered tugged at the edges of her senses. the twittering faded as Pixie fluttered closer.to the Doll House.
A: Roxie fluttered down from her vantage point too.
“Oh” said Mum. How did a robin get in here?”
K: “I suppose it flew through the window,” said Mum. “Can I have it too?” said the small human. “Darling, you can’t keep a wild creature in the house. It will make too much of a mess.”
A:”But Mum” cried Cathy
K: “No,’ said Mum firmly. “You know we are not allowed to have pets in the house.”
A: “Ok Mum” replied Cathy with a forlorn look on her rosy face. Pixie saw this and thought the girl child might be a kind child.
K: Pixie hid behind one of the velvet curtains and waited.
A: And watched. The olds were moving furniture around the room. It seemed they were making space for the desk
K: The small human collected Pixie’s furniture and started placing it in the Doll House. She placed Pixie’s favourite chair next to the curtain where Pixie hid.
“There you go,” she whispered.
Pixie peeked out from behind the curtain. The small human looked her in the eye and winked.
A: Pixie knew then, that she had found her new forever home.
“And I will let your little Robin friend in when I can to visit too”, the child whispered.