You Decide! Write a story with us. (Emma, Part I)

This is the first of a new, experimental series of short stories. We’ll get the story underway, then write the next paragraph (or two) based on your input!

After you’ve read the first part of the story, please decide what you’d like to happen next and leave a comment. We’ll choose the idea we think is most interesting, and add it to the story for next time!

* * *

Emma ~ Part I

Emma wandered toward the metal railing separating the promenade from the beach. Under an endless light blue sky, the sea twinkled and shimmered. Once, she had enjoyed being on the beach, searching among the rocks for limpets and shells, for tiny treasures that only her five-year old self would have cherished.

But now . . . now she just felt tired and lonely. All those families lounging on the sand, children toddling and chuckling as they built sandcastles and knocked them down again. Something kept her feeling separate from them, from people in general.

Today was her twenty-second birthday. And she had no one to celebrate with. No one. So she had come to the beach, to feel part of life again. Except no one else looked as lonely as she was, and now she just felt isolated, as though she stood behind a sheet of glass.

Something wet touched her hand, and she flinched, dragging it away. A child, maybe seven years old, was gazing up at her with stormy grey eyes. “Want a shell?” the girl asked.

Hesitantly, Emma took the object from the child. The girl grinned at her then ran back to the beach. Turning the shell over in her hand, grains of sand dusted Emma’s skin.

As she watched, the sand began to glow, an unearthly, emerald green lighting her palm. Heat rose through her, and a blast of adrenaline and fear. Was it radioactive? Toxic? Was she allergic to it in some way? The heat bloomed throughout her body, leaving her breathless and afraid. She pulled her arm back, preparing to throw the shell back onto the sand.

So . . . what do you think should happen next?



Story © Joanna Gawn 2014


3 responses to “You Decide! Write a story with us. (Emma, Part I)

  1. By the way, if you’d prefer we offered you a series of options to choose from (like a poll) instead of leaving a comment, please let us know! 🙂


  2. “No!”
    The unearthly voice echoed round Emma’s head, and she broke out in a sweat of panic. This wasn’t her normal thinking voice. *She* hadn’t thought this single word with such ferocity.

    “No.” That voice again, softer this time. “Don’t throw me away. And don’t be afraid. I’m your friend.”

    Emma snorted. “You’re my friend?” Her voice was laced with incredulity, and she startled the elderly woman next to her. The woman gave her a look and bustled off, shaking her head. Oh gosh, she’d spoken out loud. The first sign of madness, or so they said. Emma sighed.

    “You’re not mad. And I’m here to help you.”

    Emma opened her mouth to reply but closed it again swiftly. She didn’t want to be seen talking to a sea shell.

    “Good, that’s good,” the voice encourage. “I can hear your thoughts. Think to me.”


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