My seven teammates and I were charged with each writing one section of a complete story. I wrote the fifth section (labeled “Things Get Worse” in the challenge description). So far in the story, a truck driver (Roger) has almost stopped to pick up a hitcher (Thomas) but decided against it.
Thomas felt that familiar foreboding that accompanied another missed ride. He pictured himself insubstantial, the gravel spit up by the tires of this truck passing straight through him without leaving a mark. If he acknowledged them, even these small impacts would be enough to fell him.
The driver’s eyes shifted between the dashboard clock and his side mirror that showed the unmoving hitcher receding behind him. In the time it took Roger to calculate just how far behind schedule he was, whatever strings had been holding the hitcher upright were snapped and he collapsed forward, splaying his ragged legs over the white line bordering the highway.
K: Some great touches here, like the strings holding the hitcher upright. This whole story has been a feast for a lover of language.
4 points out of 5
DK: Pretty powerful image of Thomas here for me. Sends the tension back upwards well.
4 points out of 5
Very satisfied with how this turned out. Our team is crazy talented, so this was actually below the average score for the eight of us. Plot-wise I had to give Roger a reason to turn around in future sections, and tone-wise I wanted to include in the descriptions of Thomas the ideas of being tethered and of being transparent or incorporeal.
The plot sprang from my initial idea that got bandied about and improved by the team, so I was happy to see that the overall story also got a 4 out of 5 from both judges, making our team the high scorer of the week (and also the only team that had everyone submit something).