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Collaborative Story

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        02-19-2014, 03:20 PM
      #111
    Weanling
    Eyrss drifted in and out of consciousness for several days. For the fleeting moments she was awake, she would ask about Aspen, but was often out of it before they could answer her.

    Josie and Clark sat together in silence, day after day. The former was miserable, and felt sick every time she thought about her daughter plummeting to the earth off of that wretched horse. The latter stared vacantly at his granddaughter, unreadable.

    Finally, one day, Josie turned to her father. "Dad, if and when Eryss is well enough to leave, I've decided I'm taking her back to Chicago." He opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off, "I can't trust her to make her own decisions. I've come to realize that I'm going to have to have her under my thumb until she proves that she has grow up a bit."

    Clark paused, putting his thoughts in order. Taking a deep breath, he began, "Josie, I know Eryss's actions have broken your already fragile trust, but listen. When I told you to stop riding, and tried to keep you away from the thing you loved, what did you do?"

    She ignored his words. "My mind is made up. She's proven to me over and over again that I can't count on her to make mature, level-headed decisions."

    "You have put all this pressure on her to act like an adult, but you never allowed her to be a child!" Clark said, anger flaring.
         
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        02-23-2014, 06:05 AM
      #112
    Foal
    "Time to be a child?!" Josie snapped at her father, rising from her chair so quickly it clattered backward, bouncing on the linoleum. "That child you're protecting chose to be an adult long before I put any pressure on her to act like one! Tromping around Chicago dressed like a nineteen year old and hanging out with those kids who thought ditching was the bomb!" She pointed an accusatory finger at Eryss' resting form, angrily pacing as she pointed. "That child took what her father and I offered her for granted! Every day, that child would return from," she paused, bringing her hands to her face and forming mock quotation marks, ""School!" with a snotty attitude, stinking of marijuana and absolutely no book bag!"

    "Josie..." Clark tried to inject, only to be ignored.

    "Dad. Eryss was thirteen. Only, thirteen. In the span of one school year, she got expelled twice and spent an accumulated twenty hours in detention with the very same group of kids she ditched with! She failed all of her classes, rarely showed up according to the teachers, and to top it all off she blamed ME for her behavior! "It's all your fault mom~! You just don't trust me mom~! You never notice me, mom~! It's not like she cared whether or not I was trying to work to make her future better! And it's not like she cared that her father was..." Josie bit her lip as the tears she had been biting back leaked from their ducts. Quietly, she picked her chair back up and slumped in it. She miserably rested her face in her hands.

    "And I thought.. just thought... that if I could send Eryss to you and mom, and finish the divorce back in Chicago before letting her see me break.. I thought she could clean up. And stop blaming me. Because let's face it dad, I'm not cut out to be a mom."
    ---

    Eryss paced angrily around her room, her arms crossed in front of her. The bunny with antlers had disappeared after he had told her that she had stripped her mother of faith. He had been replaced, momentarily, by quiet murmurs. Bits and pieces of sentences that made no sense to her. Things like "get her in a cast" and "hair line fracture" and "slight concussion." Surgical jargon she couldn't decipher, other than "cracked skull, very lucky."

    She was more concerned with just what that stupid rabbit meant. She hadn't stripped her mother of faith! But just as she thought so, her mind conjured images from the dream. She saw herself snatch Aspen's reins from her mom, a look of fierce unforgiving determination settling in her jaw and eyes. She saw, clearly this time, the fear instantly cloud her mother's face, and the anger in Clark's face, the piercing glares of Peter and her grandmother too. No one looked happy. In a moment her memory was fast forwarded to the start of everything: kicking him up to canter.

    She clearly saw herself flailing on Aspen and, for the first time, heard the instructions being shouted. "If I had just listened.." Eryss whispered sadly to herself, shaking her head.

    "I'm sorry mom." She said in her normal tone, gingerly wrapping her still-sore arms around herself and pretending she was hugging her mother.

    ---

    Clark rose from his seat and stepped over to his daughter, pulling her from her seat and giving her a bear hug. For a moment, he just held her still and let her sob, but as she quieted down he spoke. "Honey you're being the best mother you can be, and you're a much better mother than most out there. You have done a darn good job with Eryss. And don't you forget it. You were meant to be a mom, Josie, Eryss' mom specifically."

    "Yeah well if I'm doing so good, dad, why is she in the hospital? Leg in a cast? Skull cracked? Covered in bruises? Why isn't she up riding that **** horse, showing off her two-point trot?" Josie spat, pulling away from her father, sniffing, "dad I can't take the blame for her behavior when the fact of the matter is, every decision she has made this far has been the decision of an adult. And if she can't be trusted to make even the most basic decisions - listening to her mother - in a mature way? Then I'll have to remove her from the situation and make that decision for her."

    Clark sighed with exasperation, but Helen glared at her daughter. "And do you really think that taking her away from the only thing in her life that has let her see what it's like to succeed will achieve her being mature enough for you? Do you think that pulling her away from her new school, the one that she has GOOD grades in, her new friends, her grandparents, her new life, and throwing her back into the Chicago mix will fix this?! Josie she is happy. For the first time in her life you can see joy in her eyes. She's not trapped in your ex's ugly apartment on the fourth floor of a building two blocks away from the dangerous streets. She's getting exercise, building life skills and, best of all honey. She's not, failing."

    Silence fell over the trio as Helen finished. It was a tense silence, broken only by the beeping of the heart monitor and everyone's breathing. Josie excused herself, marching out of the room and letting it swing itself shut, leaving her frustrated parents behind. She needed caffeine.

    ---

    Try as she might, Eryss couldn't get the window to open, the barn looming on the horizon, inviting her to come play with Aspen. Every drawer was filled with rattlesnakes, the bed never allowed itself to be unmaid, empty blackness loomed beyond her bedroom door, unchanged since the couch had first burst into confetti. She sighed. The angering qualities of her life, nothing changing or changeable, left her to a lot of thoughts.

    It wasn't rare for her to revisit memories of Chicago life. Scenes of running away from shouting teachers and joints being offered to her (despite the numerous times she declined them) taunted her, stamping a bright red "loser" right across her forehead. She often thought of Maddy, her left-hand trashy-looking buddy, and kicked herself for the friendship. All Maddy had wanted for Eryss was to get her hooked on drugs harder than marijuana and treat her like a stepping stool.

    "Do you understand?" The jackalope suddenly intoned, startling Eryss. For the first time, she did. She nodded.

    "Your mother trusted you in Chicago. She trusted you to go to school. She trusted you to try your best, like she was for you."

    "Did you know your father abandoned your mother? Did you even wonder why he stopped coming back to the apartment?"

    "Your mother trusted you tonight again Eryss. She trusted you to take her word that Aspen wasn't safe."

    "You should listen to your mother, Eryss. She knows much about the world."

    Eryss sat on the bed, her legs suddenly going weak beneath her. It was right, she realized. She had broken her mother's trust. She had done so much damage to her mother's love and forgiveness. She had spun her life out of control. Dizziness overtook her as the room started to spin, forcing her to lay down.

    "I have to wake up!" She shouted, squeezing her eyes shut. "It's just a dream, a really bad dream! I have to tell mom I'm sorry! I have to keep myself from riding Aspen! I have to, I have to, I HAVE TO!" She screamed.

    Around her she could hear the walls crumbling. Beneath her, the bed evaporated, turning into a cool, dampness against her back. She opened her eyes and saw the floating thing gently hovering above her, smiling.

    "You finally understand." The thing said as it faded from vision, being replaced with the harsh, luminescent glare of an overhead light. Eryss blinked, moving her head sideways...

    --

    "Clark? CLARK! Honey! The meds have worn off, she's waking up!" Helen exclaimed happily, snapping her husband out of his angry trance. It had been an hour since Josie had left, and he had been fuming since. He rose from his seat and rushed to Eryss' side eagerly, grasping her hand and kissing her forehead.

    "Welcome back baby, we sure have missed you."
    ---

    (I leave you there! Take it and run with it guys! I can't wait to see it!! :)
    faiza425 and Roadyy like this.
         
        03-08-2014, 11:05 AM
      #113
    Green Broke
    That was a great read. I hope someone picks up and goes with it soon.
         
        03-21-2014, 04:17 PM
      #114
    Foal
    Fluorescent light faded to the corner of Eryss' vision as she looked into the welcoming faces of her grandparents, wary of any tricks that might have been playing out in their features similar to what had happened in the bedroom mirror. She grinned when all revealed itself to be normal, whispering 'hi.' Even to her own ears, her voice was croaky and quiet. She scanned the room for her mother, face falling steadily as each corner turned up empty. "Where's mom?"

    "Your mother is... out." Clark said, unable to hide the harsh tone in his voice as he spoke, gently stroking Eryss' hair. Helen put a firm hand on his shoulder.

    "I think you ought to call Josie, honey. I'll stay here with Eryss."

    ---

    On its own, the Waters' residence wasn't spectacular. It was a single-story farm house that had seen better days in all meanings of the statement. Paint was worn and chipped on most of the exterior, exposing old wood that was weathered beyond belief. The roof was in poor condition. Clapboard shutters hung lopsided or missing from their perches, the front porch rotted and abandoned in some places.

    But what the house lacked in spectacle was largely made up for in the property on which it sat. Joe and his wife had been meticulous in setting up their dream ranch, down to the last acre. They had originally purchased over a hundred acres, but when they needed money they sold off the acreage that they weren't using, leaving them with a tidy 81 acres split evenly in half by the hard packed dirt road Josie had just driven up. The place was amazing, a riding student and boarder's dream ranch. Joe had fenced off twenty acres worth of pasture wherever he had open hills or empty fields, leaving the other 20 acres to be turned into a series of three barns, two indoor arenas and an empty uncovered arena. He called the parcel the "Left Side" of his operation, leaving the "Right Side" virtually untouched, perfect for trail riding. At the very back of his property, Joe had manifested a moderately sized man-made pond and arranged a challenging cross country course for all of his students, despite their riding level, to ride through around his pond.

    Of course, the years of Joe's success had diminished with age as his gem of a riding school was left behind or forgotten when students, parents and boarders alike looked for something closer to the city. Age had caught up to him, and though he'd offered several paid positions, some to Josie while she was mid-divorce, to try and find someone to keep the operation alive, his efforts hadn't been successful. Joe was left with two empty barns, and even the barn that was still in use was over half empty. Clark had sent Aspen and another horse over, Joe still had two mares he bred. The barn was barren aside from those four.

    Shifting her car into park in front of one of the boarder barns, Josie leaned her head back and sighed, reaching between the seats for the now cold hospital coffee. She wrinkled her nose as she swallowed, wondering if nurses and doctors choked down the same java they fed their patients' families. In the cup holder, her cell phone buzzed to life with a call. As she picked it up, she scowled at the name on screen, pressing the "ignore" option and shutting her phone down. She saw who she was looking for emerge from the only live barn on the property.

    ---

    Clark heaved a sigh as the monotonous voice gave him directions for leaving his daughter a voice message. It toned, finally. "Josie this is dad, I've tried calling three times so I'm just going to give you a message. Eryss is awake, the sedatives have worn off. She's talking in complete sentences and she's asking for you. It is exactly noon, she woke up one hour after you left and has been up for thirty minutes. Call me." He flipped the phone shut and turned to go back into the hospital room with his other girls.

    "--You broke your leg, cracked three ribs and the back of your skull, and you got a lot of bruises. The first day looked much worse than it was though, your face was swollen and almost purple." Helen said, with a small tense chuckle. Eryss looked mortified.

    "I'm... I'm sorry grandma. You too grandpa. I should have listened. I shouldn't have rode Aspen.." Tears leaked from their ducts as Eryss pushed her hands over her eyes and cried. Reassuring hands found her back and she was shushed.

    "Eryss, honey, it's ok. It's ok." Helen said, Clark joining her. "We're not as mad as your mom. But we do need to know.. why, Eryss?"

    "I just... I wanted to prove to mom that I wasn't some beginner. She always knows what's best for me but she never lets ME make decisions! It's always her way, her rules, her, her, her. So I thought... if I could just get Aspen over the jump, she'd stop dictating my life. And she'd see that I'm a capable rider just like her." Eryss said between sniffs and sobs. "But like always mom was right... and I was stupid... and now I'm broken and Aspen's dead and..."

    "Woah!" Helen nearly shouted, reaching down and trapping Eryss in a bear hug. "That horse of yours isn't dead. He's too stubborn to go down over a botched jump."

    Laughter ensued, a merry sound compared to the dreary hospital setting. "He's.. not?" Eryss asked, a grin forming on her face, "He's not?!" She excitedly threw her arms up, wincing as her ribs protested the movement, regardless, she cheered. Maybe this was reality and the rattlesnake room as a dream after all. She hugged her grandmother back giddily, feeling genuinely happy for the first time in forever.

    ---

    Simultaneously stretching her back and dumping out the horrible coffee, Josie put on her best face and approached the man. "I'm here to see Aspen Joe!" She called, watching the old man jump. He turned around and met Josie with a grin. "Well all be, you're a sight for sore eyes, girl!" They hugged.


    (This is where I originally cut off. But there's more. \/)

    Walking down the barn aisle together, Joe informed Josie of Aspen's injuries. His worst two had been a splinter in the knee and something he and the vet called an "indentation." Apparently when Aspen had gone down, Eryss had gotten the short end of the stick. His bodyweight had been the factor that broke her leg, but he had rolled off of her and over the metal cup. It's sides had been up, pushing his skin in until a weird sort of "u" was formed. Joe called it the weirdest puncture wound he'd ever seen, even weirder that the standard cup had had to be surgically removed from his barrel. Other than that, his knees had had bad bruises and Aspen had been put on mandatory stall rest. He was fine.

    "How's Eryss?" Joe asked as they leaned over Aspen's stall door.

    "Well they gave her mild sedatives and the good pain killers that keep her mostly knocked out while her skull heals. They feared that she would be one of those patients who didn't let her head heal before trying to go back out in the world. She wakes up every couple of hours, when the drugs wear off, and she always asks about this **** horse. Her leg hair-line fractured, she broke some ribs, sprained her wrist and sustained plenty bruises.. but it could have been so much worse."

    "Well, at least she got the good stuff. In my day they'd just slap a bandaid on her head and tell her to walk with a limp 'til it felt better." Joe said, chuckling. Josie couldn't help but laugh. "And what about you? How're you doing?"

    She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it again, offering a shrug to Joe. He looked at her for a long, silent moment. "You know, it's been a long time since I went up to the pond to check on it. Betty and Jane need a good leg stretch, and you look like you need some sunshine. Wanna come?"

    "Sounds great, actually.. thanks Joe."

    ---

    Joe had taken the lead on their trip out to the pond, and Josie saw him deliberately select the longest trail that would eventually get them to the pond. She couldn't help but smile, Joe always did know when Josie needed time to think, uninterrupted. So they rode, side by side, in silence, on the trail that encircled the outer edge of Joe's 80 acres...

    "Yo! Mom! I'm home!" Eryss called halfheartedly into the cracked door, stepping through and dropping her bag in the middle of the hallway. Josie looked up from her note, the one she had been writing to inform Eryss that she'd be out late and where dinner was in the fridge.

    "Nice of you to show up." Josie called, matching Eryss' tone. "I got a call from the school today, Eryss."

    "Yeah? What of it?"

    "Mrs. Kensey said you didn't show up and asked if you were sick. I told her no, that you ditched."

    "Well at least you told someone the truth."

    "And what's that supposed to mean?"

    Eryss simply smirked at her mother, strutting toward the couch and plopping on it, reaching for the clicker and turning it on. Josie glared after her daughter.

    "Eryss answer my question."

    "It means at least. You told. Someone. The truth!" Eryss said over the show, some lame program called "Jersey Shore." Josie flinched, walking up to the television and shutting it off, turning to glare at her daughter.

    "Do you understand that this behavior reflects on more than just yourself? Do you understand that I have angry teachers calling me left and right and more than just your poor behavior to deal with?"

    "I can't say that I care mom." Eryss said, pressing the power button on the remote. "Could you move, you're kind of blocking the screen."

    Josie sighed, reaching behind the television and unplugging it. "You're grounded, Eryss. And I have to go to work. There's some hotdogs and canned beans in the kitchen."

    "You can't ground me!" Eryss called after her mom, looking shocked and angry. Josie simply shrugged, grabbing her items for work and kicking Eryss' backpack out of her way. "I can, and I did. We'll discuss this later young lady." Josie called over her shoulder, closing the door behind herself and hearing the frustrated scream beyond the threshold. She sighed...

    "Josie?" Joe asked, cutting into Josie's thought process. "Are you ok?"

    "Yeah... I'm just, thinking."

    "Anything you want to talk about?" Joe asked, pulling his horse to a stop. Josie followed suit. "I've been considering moving Eryss and myself back to Chicago after she's out of the hospital. Better job opportunities for me there, and if I can get a good apartment, better social opportunities for Eryss.."

    "You can't do that!" Joe said, reaching across and gripping Josie's hand. "You're like a daughter to me.. and I've known you since you were in diapers. There's nothing, for you, in Chicago. And there's nothing for Eryss. And if you really need a job, girl, my offer still stands. I miss the hustle and bustle of giving lessons."

    Josie absentmindedly patted Joe's hand with her free one, sighing. "I know... I just, I don't know what to do about Eryss. She doesn't listen to me, she doesn't trust me, she doesn't respect me.. hell I wonder if she even loves me half the time. I thought bringing her here would fix our relationship but I lost so much time.. I just.. I need to punish her and connect with her at the same time."

    Joe nodded, and after a few more minutes, he spurred his horse forward. They reached the pond together, and after a half-hour by its side, they started the ride home down the 20 minute trail, cantering. By the ride's end Josie felt much better. She checked her phone, seeing the new voice mail that had been left several hours ago. "Josie this is dad, I've tried calling three times so I'm just going to give you a message. Eryss is awake, the sedatives have worn off. She's talking in complete sentences and she's asking for you. It is exactly noon, she woke up one hour after you left and has been up for thirty minutes. Call me."

    Hugging Joe, thanking him for everything and excusing herself, Josie rushed to her car and back to the hospital, eagerly dialing Clark's number. "Dad?" She asked as he answered the phone. "Is she still up?"

    "She's down again, Josie." Clark said plainly. "But the doctor came by, they're not going to give her the sedative and they're moving her to a slightly weaker pain killer. Her skull is almost completely healed."

    "I'm on my way now.. think she'll be up in about forty minutes?"

    "Yeah, maybe... Josie I owe you an apology."

    "No dad, I owe you and mom and apology. But we'll talk about that when I get there."

    "Ok."

    Feeling hopeful for the future, Josie ended the call with her father and drove toward the hospital, having an idea of what she would do with herself.

    (And that's where I ended it. Not as good as my last post but.. I had fun!)
    faiza425 and Roadyy like this.
         
        03-24-2014, 05:03 PM
      #115
    Green Broke
    That was a fun read.
         
        03-29-2014, 07:57 PM
      #116
    Yearling
    I'm really busy at the moment, I'll get back to this in a week or two...but Roadyy, you should add some!
    faiza425 and NeryLibra like this.
         
        03-31-2014, 06:41 PM
      #117
    Green Broke
    I gave an attempt on the other story and it wasn't any good after reading it so I'll leave to those with the abilities for writing and I'll stick to critiquing and encouraging,lol.
         
        04-01-2014, 01:33 AM
      #118
    Foal
    Roadyy you're joking, right? I absolutely adored the life that you breathed into Meg's story; it was original, and the use of present tense was a sight for sore eyes. Present tense isn't used nearly enough in narrative fiction like the collab stories. I will give that you're rough around the edges, but so are most writers who aren't making a living off it.

    I'd LOVE! To see what sort of twist you could add into Eryss' story. I think you're a fantastic writer and just the right guy to jump on in. The whole point of writing stories is for having fun and growing, so even if you Were a bad writer, and you're not, now would be the perfect time to practice. :)
         
        04-01-2014, 02:52 AM
      #119
    Yearling
    Yes please please please add some!
         
        04-01-2014, 11:13 AM
      #120
    Green Broke
    Ohhh... uhmm. Ok...I will be out of town this coming Thursday-Sunday and will read back a little bit to get better connected with the story again then give a go at it. I might be able to get something added while in the hotel room at night. I only added to other story to try and get it going again as it is a good read for my old eyes. You young whipper snappers have the youth in your imagination and can more easily put it to type. I also have a old English, southern drawl so it tends to come out in my thinking so keep that in mind as you read anything I put up.
         

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