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Clarion Call #3: The Quartet

January 22, 2011

For more socially-oriented writers, sometimes it’s easier to bounce off of another writer’s ideas than to come up with something out of thin air.  For that reason, Clarion Calls will occasionally throw out a scene fragment and ask you our readers to send it in whatever direction you wish.  You may add to the beginning, continue from the end, insert sentences in the middle, or change whatever you like about the original prompt.  Below, I give you today’s fragment:

There were four of them, and each was exactly like the other.  Their unnatural sameness sent a chill down Marinda’s spine.  She reached into her bag for something to throw at them.  If she hit one, would the other three react?  After a few seconds’ rummaging, she found the perfect projectile.

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Linda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Kari T permalink
    January 22, 2011 10:11 am

    When the tomato hit it hit with such velocity that not one but all four of the large, black crows were splattered with green seeds and juicy residue. The branch that took the brunt of the impact protested immediately, and dropped any remaining bits of flesh onto the wedding cake below.

    But Marinda had succeeded: the ornery bird released its foot and dropped the item it had stolen. The wedding topper bounced off the ground and rolled, and Marinda sprinted for it. If it weren’t for her long dress with yards and yards of tulle, she would have made it.

    But one of the crows beat her to it. The topper was dull green and shaped like a small Greek pantheon. Inside it contained something that had cost her four months pay; a surprise gift to her new husband who was an avid collector of classical art.

    But at the moment, the expensive piece of art was headed towards the punch bowl.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      January 22, 2011 11:19 am

      Fantastic. You’re 3 for 3 now!

  2. January 23, 2011 6:40 pm

    A golf ball. Easy to throw and hard enough to register on impact.
    Marinda took a deep breath and let fly.
    The ball struck the clone-man she’d aimed for — the one on the far right.
    All four of them put a hand to his shoulder where the first had been struck. All four sets of eyes turned to look at her.
    ‘Guess that answers my question,’ Marinda thought.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      January 23, 2011 6:42 pm

      This is very much the sort of thing I was thinking, but I peeked at the comments section too soon and disqualified myself from writing anything. 😉

  3. Michelle Wauchope permalink
    January 24, 2011 5:43 am

    A banana. Okay, so it was not the most aerodynamic of objects, but Marinda was not exactly a coordinated thrower either. Regardless of where it landed in the cage, the chimpanzees (or should she call them “genetically-altered test subjects”? She had definitely been working in the lab too long if she was no longer sure) would have to react to food.

    She tested the weight of the banana, jiggling it in her hand, hoping she could spin it like a boomerang towards the closest of the chimps; Disraeli (Test Subject B). if it had not been for the tattoo she’d have had no chance of working out which was which.

    The banana skipped and slid over the concrete floor, coming to a halt just by the dark, hairy leg of her target. Marinda congratulated herself on getting it almost right, but certainly good enough. Disraeli (Test Subject B) looked at the banana. Then looked at her. Then at the banana again, before picking it up in his almost human hands and peeling it.

    She nearly forgot to watch the other chimps (test subjects) for their reactions, but flicking her attention to them, it didn’t seem to have mattered; they were as immobile and indistinguishable from each other as ever. Another involuntary shiver ran down her spine.

    Disraeli (Test Subject B) looked around the room, as if to check that it was empty, before shuffling over to the bars of the cage on his bottom, using one leg for propolsion. He stuck his head through the bars, and Marinda stepped backwards.

    ‘You broke the rules, you know,’ Disraeli whispered. ‘You could lose your job for feeding me.’

    All the diagrams, all the studies that showed that the chimp mouth was not capable of making human speech that Marinda had ever read, waved to Marinda before melting into irrelevance.
    ‘You can talk?’ She hated herself for uttering such an inane, self-evident question, but she had nothing else to fall back on.

    Disraeli smiled, and if it had been on a human, Marinda would have described as sly, cruel even. ‘Yes. Not that you can tell anyone. You would have to admit breaking the rules, and I’d never give them the satisfaction of talking again, so you could never prove it.’

    ‘Oh.’

    Disraeli folded his arms. ‘But if you bring me another banana, maybe I’d let you talk to me some more?’ He gestured at the other chimps, ‘We could work out why I’m not like them. What d’ya say?’

    He held his arm out through the bars, offering his hand, but Marinda did not take it. Speech or no, Disraeli had the strength to pull her arm from her socket. But the scientist in her could not walk away from his offer. She nodded, ‘I’ll bring you bananas.’

    Disraeli grinned, and scooted back to finish his banana. ‘Oh and chocolate.’

    ‘I like chocolate.’

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      January 24, 2011 8:17 am

      Hooray! Welcome to the party!

      • Michelle Wauchope permalink
        January 30, 2011 6:49 am

        Cheers!

        I’d been tempted by the other prompts, but this was the one that made me break my lurker status.

        Looking forward to trying my hand at your other prompts.

  4. January 24, 2011 1:12 pm

    There were four of them, and each was exactly like the other.  Their unnatural sameness sent a chill down Marinda’s spine.  She reached into her bag for something to throw at them.  If she hit one, would the other three react?  After a few seconds’ rummaging, she found the perfect projectile.
    The bottle of vodka had been in her bag for a week, ever since her spate of self-loathing over breaking up with Trevor, her boyfriend of three days. She patted her coat pocket. Yes, she still had her lighter. She needed something absorbent, though to complete the malatov cocktail.
    She crouched, setting the bottle and her lighter in front of her on the ice-caked sidewalk. Her hand fumbled in her bag while she stared her enemy in his dark eyes. The four of them waited, uncanny in their stillness. Four identical sets of eyes, four evil faces. She shivered.
    There! Her hand closed around a tampon. Not the classiest wick, but it should work nicely. She popped the stopped from the bottle and jammed the tampon into the neck, sloshing the alcohol inside. The tampon swelled as the icy liquid crept through its fibers.
    “Eat this!” Marinda flicked her lighter, setting the tampon ablaze. She hurled the bottle at her enemies. Flames exploded across the snowy yard, obliterating the identical quadruplets.
    Marinda brushed snow from her bag, slinging it over her shoulder. She always had hated snowmen.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      January 24, 2011 2:01 pm

      Welcome back, and ell oh ell.

      • January 24, 2011 6:22 pm

        I would have posted one earlier but it was a very busy weekend. Thanks for posting these prompts. I’m having a lot of fun.

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