WRITING: @YouAreCarrying Literary Improv, Chapter 2

I’m pretty charmed by @YouAreCarrying, a Twitter bot that will give you a text-game style inventory if you tweet the word inventory at it. It’s like an insta-prompt, and it always gets my brain buzzing with creativity.

So, as a creative experiment, I’m going to write a story based on what the bot gives me, with each ‘chapter’ using the given inventory. Why not have a little fun? Think of it as literary improv…

Chapter one is here.

Day Sixteen

Inventory: A costume receipt, a dusty slate, a sceptre, a space suit, a laser-assisted monkey wrench, salivating hedge shears.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

I sit in my hotel room overlooking the Granite Falls, a once-beautiful monument to modernity that now looks more like a dragon puking into a still lake, and think about how much I actually hate to relax.

“Wait here,” I was told. I hate waiting, and I’m pretty sure I’ve worn down the carpet in here with my pacing.

My fingers itch, sometimes. I was so used to having that violin at hand, playing it when I had downtime on the road. Of course, it’s also because of the new bonding spell to my staff, which I’m still getting used to. Everything’s changing. The few things I held on to, the few bits of consistency in my life, ripped away.

I lay out my belongings, picked up over the past two weeks of running through swamps, swordfights, that dustup with the wizard who thought I was his grandson come to knock him off. And it all started in that damn vault. I’ve got:

  • That damn costume receipt, which had ended up at the bottom of my bag and then was the only paper on hand for when I needed to write down the passwords I’d need in Granite Falls. I’m pretty convinced this thing is unlucky. I wonder what Triga did with that chicken suit.
  • A dusty sheet of slate from an abandoned one-room schoolhouse, which I’d used to communicate with a deaf companion a week ago. Until he’d been beheaded in the swamp and I’d had no reason to use it any more.
  • A golden sceptre that I’d grabbed from inside the vault with intentions of selling it. to find that I was the only one who could see the damn thing.
  • An old plastic suit, neatly folded up. Ostensibly designed for space travel (ha!), I’d used it to traverse the murky swamp without getting wet.
  • A wrench of some kind. This had been a gift from Arik Silvereyed, the crazy wizard’s actual (and genuinely murderous) grandson, who went on to murder his grandfather and take his estate as his own. Nice guy
  • A pair of garden shears that always seemed to be wet. I’d have ditched these ages ago, but the sword I’d briefly had was knocked out of my hands and off a cliff three days ago, so they’re the closest thing I’ve got to a blade. Even one covered in saliva.

To be honest, I’d give all this shit for the violin my mother left me, which crumbled into dust in my hands outside the underground vault. But beggers can’t be choosers, and since the letter from my benefactor was stolen from me underground, I’ve done a lot more begging than I’m usually comfortable with.

I need to get to Althea. The ‘shining beacon of the green sea’, a  bustling island metropolis of big business and even bigger academia. The ‘magickal capital of the world’, everyone says. I need a great mage to remove the tracking curse on me, the one that allows my mysterious enemies to follow me wherever I run. I’ve been lucky so far, after all, and luck won’t save my ass forever.

I was told not to leave. I was told that the temporary protection I’d secured would dry up if I didn’t wait until called upon.

I’ve never been particularly good at waiting. And being locked in a room by an unknown benefactor sounds a hell of a lot like being a prisoner, to me.

I appraise the window. A sheet of hard plastic of some sort, bolted to the wall to keep it sealed even in case of outside attack. Or, in this case, inside attack.

I kneel and look at the bolts. I’m not exactly sure how much damage I should do at a world-class hotel due to my paranoia, but one only lives once and I’d like to be around for many years to come. Thankfully the bolts fit into the wrench. Of course, with 21 bolts, it’s more likely that my ‘benefactor’ will return and find me partway to removing the window, my intent to flee bald as the day I was born.

I take a crack at loosening one of the bolts and, thanks to decades of being still, I find it impossible to move.

In my attempts to get a better grip, one finger finds purchase against a black knob. Curious, I give it a twist – and a SPARK of energy runs along the two ends of the wrench.

I pull the wrench away from the bolt and the light cuts right through! The bolt, severed from the wall, clunks to the floor. I can’t help but grin as I make quick work of the rest of the bolts, eventually sliding the plastic neatly away from the window. I step out onto the ledge…

… and having never learned my room number, am surprised to find I’m somewhere in the vicinity of thirty floors up. You’d think I could tell from the view, but my mind’s been a bit distracted.

I look down – okay, down is not an option. But I might be able to sidle along the sills until I find a fire escape or something.

I move along the sill. A cold wind kicks up. A familiar cold wind.

I remember that sensation from the underground. The fucker that stole my letter, which landed me in plenty of peril. So I press my body against the wall and shove my hand to clamp onto my bag to prevent entry. The sound of footsteps, now ridiculous in midair, surround me.

A force shoves its way into my bag, and invisible fingers pull the sceptre out! I grasp at it–

And find myself pulled with it through a tear in space!

Black.

When I come to, the sceptre is gone and I am… somewhere. Well, I wanted to get out of that hotel room. Surrounded by bleak, swaying trees in this eerie, murky-green landscape doesn’t seem much better though.

I look up. The sky is the same textureless green as the ground. I may as well be underwater, though I seem to be breathing fine.

I shuffle forward, suddenly exhausted. My bag is too heavy. Without regard for its contents, I ditch it. It gives me the strength to take a few more steps. But I am slowly sliding downwards, through what I’d thought was the ground. Inch by inch. The further I fall, the more alien the landscape seems.

I fall among the tangled roots of the trees, using the last of my energy to grasp one and coil myself in it. I summon my staff and slip it between the roots to keep me lodged there as the last of my energy slips away.

I sleep.

End of Chapter Two

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