Archive for December, 2012

9th December
written by amber

Planned Descent

The canyon was dark and not at all appealing.

Things up here, on the brim of the darkened abyss; the iron stained rocks basking in the sun’s warming, caressing hands, were much more inviting.

Terrence Randolph Carruthers squatted, looking across the narrow canyon’s gap, trying to find if a safer place existed to set up his rappelling rope. So far, the best anchor point presented itself just to the left of where he was. The sound of footsteps echoed against a number of crags and flat faced rocks. Terrence lifted his head and looked around, trying to determine where the sound came from. An older man walked towards him from the west, donning a daypack and using a crooked wooden walking stick. Terrence stood up, and waved at the lone hiker. The hiker raised his walking stick in a greeting; his pace was quick and proclaimed his level of conditioning.

“Whatcha doing here?” the man asked as he walked up to Terrence.

Terrence smiled, and pointed towards the dark, sun barren chasm that etched the red rock’s face.

“Planning a descent,” he casually stated.

The old man, his features strong, his face tanned, with eyes as black as the canyon itself, stopped and leaned on his crooked well-worn walking staff. He stared at the canyon, nodded slowly, and then shifted his look towards Terrence.

“On your own?” he asked Terrence.

Terrence looked the man up and down, gave a quick nod, and presented his hand in a welcoming gesture.

“I’m Terrence,” he spoke politely, “But those that know me call me Terry.”

The old man returned the handshake, his hand strangely cool in the quickly escalating heat.

“Eathan D. Scome,” he answered, his darkened eyes, pupil less in the sun’s intense brightness, “Good to meet you, Terrence. Those that know me call me Eath.”

Terrence felt suddenly cold, a feeling of dread encompassed him; a strange sensation of impending doom.

“I’ll see you later,” Eath stated calmly, “I need to see someone up on the higher ridges.”

As he walked away, Eath turned back and called over his shoulder. “I’ve been down in that chasm many times. In fact my name is written on the canyon’s edge,” he called, “I’ll be back to check on you! See you soon!”

Terrence felt the coldness slowly ebb away, and felt increasingly sure of himself. Tying his rope off, he threw it down into the darkness, adjusted his harness and clipped in. He shook the memory of the coldness he had felt off and forced himself to concentrate on the present task. He tried to shake the memory of the meeting he had just had; he needed to focus on his task at hand, he needed absolute concentration.

As he descended, he noticed Eath’s name etched into the canyon’s smooth rim.

Eath D. Scome.
The letters suddenly shifted.
D.eath comeS.

The anchor on Terrence’s rope suddenly failed, and Terrence desperately grabbed at the canyon’s smooth rim. He looked up to find a better hold.

There stood Eath.

“I told you I would see you soon…”


Here’s the first story sent in with today’s line – I challenge other workshop writers to try to beat Darryl next Sunday. Comments on Darryl’s tale? – Amber

9th December
written by amber

Here is the second first line in this online writing workshop. Hope it inspires you!

“The canyon was dark and not at all appealing.”

7th December
written by amber

The Lie

This was the first time he’d ever lied to her.

Allison could hardly believe her ears. “What did you say?” she demanded.

“I said that I didn’t know who took your necklace. You must have lost it.” Roland was nearly mumbling as he uttered the lie, the volume of his speaker as low as possible.

She could barely keep herself from hugging him. But he would interpret that as approval, and if his lying was to have any significance, he had to believe that what he’d done was wrong.

Her project had taken years, and in her heart of hearts, she hadn’t actually expected success.

She could have made Roland lie; that would have been easy. Her goal had been to make him want to lie, to come up with the very idea of lying. That alone would prove her theory of artificial intelligence.

Year by year, month by month, day by day, she’d encouraged him to find value in shiny things. She’d programmed him to get pleasure from the way the light refracted and reflected. She’d given him bright trinkets and left others around for him to pick up, magpie style, treasures which belonged to no one. He showed them to her and she never reprimanded him for taking them. But she had instructed him on the theory of personal belongings, cautioning him to never take anything from her desk or those of her co-workers.

Then she began to wear her necklace, a fantasy of glittering gems and gleaming platinum. He admired it, but showed no inclination to take it, to desire it.

After she removed all other shiny things from his habitat and pilfered his collection, piece by piece, he exhibited a dampening of affect, something she interpreted as sadness. This mood went on for so long, she’d begun to feel as if she was some sort of monster – causing him such pain for no good reason. Naturally, her colleagues thought she was being ridiculous to interpret the situation as she had.

“He’s the way he’s always been, Allison. He doesn’t have emotions. You were just anthropomorphizing him.”

But now he’d stolen the necklace, which she’d left prominently on her desk. She knew that he knew what he’d done was wrong because he’d lied. Her robot had lied to her.

It was the breakthrough she’d worked for all of her professional life.


Get ready for another first line next Sunday! You can join into the workshop any time you are able and inspired. And you can make comments on any story.

6th December
written by amber

Here is the first story submitted for the on-line writing workshop. If you have comments on any story, you can enter them into the comment section below the story.

This was the first time he’d ever lied to her.

She sat, quietly, holding the picture of them, taken by a shopkeeper in a public market they had visited while overseas two years ago. Their smiles, and the way they held each other close spoke of a deep love; a sense of strong commitment.

She lifted her gaze from the rustic, hand hewn picture frame bought in a market in Bangkok that held the picture, unconsciously stroking it while she looked, unfocused, out the large picture window at their huge, well-manicured back yard.

“You know,” the soft, comforting voice of her best friend, started quietly, “what he did was, well-“

“I know!” Marisha’s voice suddenly interrupted her friend, cutting her off in mid thought.

Silence fell noiselessly.

The curtains fluttered in the strengthening wind that blew through the screened door.

Marisha stood up and walked to the door, opened it, and walked outside. The breeze grabbed playfully at her flowered summer dress, and tussled her long, brown hair. Walking to the railing of the large, multi-tiered deck, she leaned her elbows on the top rail, and stared out across the yard.

“He planted that rose bush for me,” she said woefully, “told me that as long as it lived, so would our love.”

Her friend stood close by, having followed Marisha outside, and stood near, but not too near as to be imposing.

“Never in a million years,” Marisha stated, her voice quieting to a whisper, “Never…”

The wind danced through the yard, whirling and swirling past and over the rose bush; the flowers nodded their scented heads.

“Marisha,” her friend began, cautiously, in case she were cut off once again, “If I had known…”

Her friend swallowed, her eyes teared up, and she quickly wiped them on her sleeve, trying to hide her emotions from her friend. She cleared her throat, and sniffed lightly.

“If any of us had known, we would have let you know. We would have helped you face this…this…”

Words escaped her.

“This ‘situation’,” Marisha finished her thought, emphasizing her word with well-placed quotation marks. Her friend burst into tears.

Marisha moved towards her, and hugged her sobbing friend.

“You know, Monica,” Marisha said, her voice wavering, “I could have handled it if there was someone else.”

Monica nodded.

Marisha looked at the picture she still clung tightly to, and looked longingly at the man that held her in the picture. “But not once did he tell me that he had cancer…”

2nd December
written by amber

Dear writers – here’s the first line for you to be inspired by this week.

“This was the first time he’d ever lied to her.”

Send in your stories as a comment to this post, and I’ll put them up on the website.