Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chuck Wendig 200 Word Challenge--week 4

We're coming down to the end on this--just one more week to go.  It wasn't easy, but I managed to find a story I could work on that no one else had gotten to first (I should have been faster!).  This is called "In Too Deep," and was begun by Jim Franklin, continued by Lynna Landstreet and then by H. Petterson.

Parts 1-3 are here.  As well as below, because I'm not cruel.  I did notice that Part 3 is written 1st person, while the rest is 3rd person.  I chose to stick with 3rd person, since that was the majority.

In Too Deep

Jim Franklin’s original:

   The plunge into the ice-cold water hit Derry like an avalanche. A fading knowledge of the film Predator had informed him to lower his body temperature so that the alien wouldn’t see him. Though he hadn’t realised how cold the water would be, how the flow of the water would drag him away from the bank, or how his thick woolen coat and boots would become the rocks that pulled him down.
   It’s worth noting at this point that in Predator, the hero was a hardened military veteran with experience in guerrilla warfare, while Derry worked in the Accounts department for a large national fish exporter, and the most alien thing he had encountered in his life so far was the perpetual lack of sticky notes in his office. Being woefully terrible at making quick decisions, preferring an hour or two to mull over every eventuality, also goes some way to explain his poor choice of hiding place.
   His limbs stiff, his breathing now wheezy gulps, and his head now spent more time underwater as his legs struggled to move. Derry panicked, with a thought that he didn’t have hours to mull this over…. he was going to die.

Part 2, Lynna Landstreet’s continuation:

   As he floundered, the creature loomed over the water’s edge, staring down at him — so much for the hope that it wouldn’t see him! It raised some sort of complicated device to its — those were its eyes, weren’t they? Undoubtedly a weapon of some sort, and he found himself wondering which would be worse: drowning, freezing to death, being vaporized, or being eaten. But no laser bolt came, just a light that illuminated his sodden head as the creature peered through some sort of lens. The hell –? Was that some kind of camera?
   The thing opened its terrifying maw, and let out a sound somewhat like a cow being fed through a woodchipper. Or at least what Derry imagined that might sound like, not that he’d ever needed to before now. Then it made some adjustments to a device affixed to its throat, and a strange mechanical voice accompanied the bellowing: “Good evening. I observe that you have placed yourself in a context|challenge|predicament causing respiratory and circulatory distress. May I inquire as to the significance of this act among your tribe|culture|species? Are you attempting to terminate your existence, or this is an artistic performance|athletic event|mating display?”

Part 3, H. Petterson’s continuation:
    I broke the surface of the freezing water and gasped loudly. After grabbing a half of a lungful of air I retched out the other half lungful of water I had ingested under water. I looked at the creature as I crawled to the bank.
   “I didn’t understand/comprehend/grasp what you just said.” He tilted his head at me and I said slowly.
   “What do you want….why are you chasing me?” I steadied myself and stayed in a sitting position, although still freezing it was better than the ice cold water.
   “I need/require/want information from you….are you familiar with this continent?” Its translator took on a softer feminine tone. As I looked at its attire I guessed it to be female.
   “I…I live a mile away….what are you doing here?” I slowly stood up and wrung the water from my hair and wiped my face with a soaking jacket sleeve. 
   “I mean/present/offer you no harm….I…We are lost.” It looked up to the sky and seemed to be visually charting the early night’s stars. I was tempted to run, but knew it would catch me pretty instantly in my exhausted condition.
   “We are crusaders from the Freeman sector and need/require/beg your help…unfortunately.”

My continuation:

Derry gulped, and thought resentfully that the creature needn’t have been so dubious about his ability to help.  He’d been voted Most Valuable Employee in the company’s accounting department three years in a row.  He was good at what he did.

What he did had nothing to do with helping lost aliens find their way home.

“Um, where exactly did you need to go?”  Derry’s teeth were starting to chatter and his clothes were stiffening with frost.

“It is unclear/difficult/challenging. . . .”

Derry made a quick decision.  He couldn’t escape the thing, and he had to get home and get into warm, dry clothes.  “Come with me,” he said.  They made a curious pair, trudging through the snow back to Derry’s house.  The creature—she?—kept asking him about landforms he knew nothing about.  He put it—her—off with promises. 

He just had to make it home before he froze to death. He would deal with the alien later.  He had a good collection of Triple-A maps.  Surely something would do the job.  With a sigh of relief, Derry staggered in the back door, pausing only to push the thermostat up to 80 before racing for a hot shower.

Okay --someone else gets to finish this off in 200 more words!



  1. Weird.. but I like the slant you've taken!

  2. Given the crowd around Wendig's blog, it wasn't easy finding a story at this point that was still even PG 13!


We want to hear from you! Tell us your reactions, or whatever's on your mind.