Earlier in the week Sue Roebuck suggested we do some kind of writing challenge and I followed her into a collaborative writing challenge to write a story for Jennifer M Eaton’s blogiversary.
I have done this kind of thing before but only with a set structure – ie we knew in advance that we’d be writing something about vampires or motor racing. To have a completely open ended story is a real challenge. I for instance never thought in a million years I would write anything about fairies.
Here are the previous instalments:
Part One – Jennifer M Eaton
Part Two – Jenny Keller Ford
Part Three – Susan Roebuck
And here’s my bit:
“Yes,” Bethany whispered. “Nasty brat. I’ll make you -”
Her voice cut off as a chill brushed her cheek then she shrieked. Things, sharp and chitinous, were beating in her hair. She shrieked again. Pain – her ear! Bethany screamed and ran, beating at her hair with her hands.
Beyond the door Marci started almost tipping Janelle off the leaf.
“What’s going on?” the fairy gasped.
“It sounds like Bethany.” Marci whimpered wringing her hands. “Oh – if she heard…”
“That beetle crusher is the last thing you need to worry about!” No fairy bells about this voice. It was deep, and angry. Marci stared at the speaker as he landed beside Jenelle with a peevish snap of his wasp-like wings. His clothes were even black and yellow and Marci gulped as she realised that the gleaming striped plates that covered his body were stripped from the bodies of the insects. His shield was the carapace of a stag beetle and his sword was as sharp and bright as one of Marci’s mother’s needles. “The lads are seeing her off. Don’t worry – she’s not much hurt. Now you, madam, are coming back to the nest with me.”
“Janosc,” Jenelle’s face was white. “I can explain …”
“You don’t need to,” he spat. “I can see what you are doing. No sister of mine is going to be Queen of the fairies. You don’t know what it involves.”
“If she wants to be queen of the fairies she can,” Marci snapped, furious on behalf of her friend.
“If you cared about her you wouldn’t say that.” Janosc’s voice and expression were implacable as he gripped Jenelle’s arm.
“But a queen – with a pretty frock and a crown and …”
“You’d never see her again.” Janosc glared at Marci with a ferocity at odds with his size, then turned to Jenelle. “You don’t understand. Have you ever been in an ant’s nest? Yes the queen is the most important one there – her workers run into fire or flood for her. But she’s only there for one thing.”
“I do know.” Jenelle’s voice shook. “But there are so few of us. And if we are to ever get Argot back, ever to be able to stop the farmers destroying our nests, killing our aphid flocks, robbing us of the nectar we need to feed our young …”
“Someone has to start a new nest,” Janosc said gently, “but please, sweet sister, let it not be you.”
“I don’t understand,” Marci said. “Is being Queen so bad?”
“Not if you like babies,” Janelle said with a wry smile. “Lots and lots and lots of babies. Janosc – please – let me have the leaf.”