WHEN WRITER’S ARE BORED…
…we compose writing games. Once, I was fortunate enough to work a day job with a fellow writer. Needless to say there were days where work was slow and we filled the time with writing games. My favorite is still choose-a-word/use-a-word. The purpose of the game was to pick an unusual word from the dictionary and, whoever was first to use it properly in a sentence while working, got to pick the next word. Nothing beats, “What is your ratiocination for coming here today?”
One day, we embraced the classic Pass-a-Story. This delightful “tale” is what we came up with. The bold red was written by myself, aspiring fantasy writer, Angela B. Chrysler. The regular font was written by the aspiring screenwriter Nicholas Haskins who you can visit at www.theredraylives.blogspot.com.
Haskins and The Gorfs of Euros
Once upon a time, Haskins was stranded upon the roadside. The frigid wind stabbed at his skin like daggers of ice as he stared at his broken-down car. Suddenly, a tree branch from a dead pine, broke and smashed into his back. He fell to the ground, unable to move…waiting.
Hours passed like days until a family of frogs, dressed in elegant sky-blue formal wear walked up to him. The youngest, a stout-hearted little frog named Petri, hopped up onto Haskins’ chest; his eyes sinking deep into his eye sockets.
Petri stepped to the center of Haskins’ chest and looked around, promptly vomited and hopped to Haskins’ face. He glared with his bulging eyes and fluffed his sky-blue formal wear and waited.
“Ribbit,” Petri muttered then turned to the tiny sister frog that watched from the pavement. The rain started to fall, pounding the earth like a battalion charging across a battlefield.
Petri hopped down from Haskins’ putrid chest, landing in a puddle of bile that had flowed down from Haskins’ face as he stirred. Niki, Petri’s little sister, hopped over and pulled Petri up while brushing off his long blue coat.
“Disgusting creature,” she remarked, casting a narrow-eyed stare at Haskins. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” Haskins suddenly replied. The frog family jumped, startled by his reply. He had awakened and assumed the question was intended for him. The frogs exchanged looks with Haskins for a moment, neither quite knowing what to think of the other.
Finally, after a dull moment, Haskins wished he could get back, he stood, brushed the vomit off his chest, and glared at his broken car.
He glanced at Petri and Niki.
“I don’t suppose you can help me?”
Niki smiled in the rain, a gleam in her eye.
“The fleshy can hear us!” Petri exclaimed, removing his vomit stained overcoat. Niki hopped a little closer to Haskins, who busied himself cleaning Petri’s bile from his face.
“Why do you ride in that large beast, Fleshy? You have your legs, why do you not hop?”
“You’re not serious,” Haskins’ scoffed, rolling his eyes.
Haskins leapt up and down a moment, causing Niki to let out a shocked gasp, hopping backward. Petri steadied himself on a small tuft of weeds as the ground shuddered beneath his feet.
“Charming, Fleshy,” Petri scampered to Niki who had taken refuge nearby in a small mound of greenish-orange leaves that had been plucked from a tree.
But she wasn’t there. Instead, buried in the shrubs, a pearlescent light shone out and Niki was gone. Petri squeaked — yes, squeaked — and Haskins turned, his right brow raised in annoyance.
“Niki!” Petri cried. “She’s gone!”
With an exasperated sigh, Haskins groaned and walked beside Petri.
“I wonder,” Petri began running his hand over his eyelids. “Have you met the Frog King, Fleshy?”
Haskins noticed a tiny glint on the ground, among the leaves. He reached down, but could barely grab it between his gargantuan fingers: a tiny dagger, jewels the size of dust specks encrusted into its hilt. It was no bigger than the head of a toothpick, but its detail was royally exquisite.
“Is this a dagger?” Haskins offered the miniscule blade to Petri, whose eyes grew wide at the sight. He apprehensively reached out his hand and took the blade, gazing at it, almost in a trance.
“This is…this is the blade of Euros!”
“This is the blade of my what?!”
“Euros!” Petri replied, his hands now shaking, “The blade…Wait!” Petri stopped. “Not here!”
The rain had stopped and Petri glanced around.
Haskins yawned not watching as the tiny frog lead his family into a log.
“Pst! Fleshy!” Petri’s voice echoed out from the log.
Rolling his eyes, Haskins strutted to the log, kneeled in the cold mud, and peeked into the log.
“Come, Fleshy!” Petri yelled, hopping enthusiastically into the depths of the log. After a moment, Haskins could barely make him out as a light blue haze in the dark.
“Hey!” Haskins shouted, his voice thick in his throat. “Come back!”
Minutes passed and the biting cold pierced every fold on his skin. With an exasperated sigh, Haskins stood up, casting a glance back at his ruined hulk on the side of the road.
An intense gust of wind kicked up the loose snow that littered the landscape, hitting him like a sandblaster of winter white. Frustrated, he pulled his coat tighter and turned around.
A flash of light and a sharp, piercing sensation struck his face. Haskins fell back, landing hard on the ground. Pain spread throughout his body. His head shook and his flippers ached.
Haskins sat up, his eyes wide, and glanced down at his hands. A pale green hue had spread through them. He tried to wiggle his toes and a hardened knot formed in his gut.
Anxiously, he ripped of his boot and gasped. A flipper! A frog’s flipper protruded where his foot had been moments ago. What’s more, when he glanced up, the car was gone and in it’s place, a giant log,a river of mud, and a frog. A human-sized frog wearing sky-blue formal wear was peering down at him.
Tall green shards of an unfamiliar plant life surrounded him and a group of frogs also wearing sky-blue formal wear, standing taller than he, peered down at him; a magnificent, jewel encrusted sword among them.
“Speak, Fleshy!” one of them commanded, his voice booming, sending shockwaves up Haskins’s spine.
“Yeah…okay,” Haskins managed, his eyes narrowed, shifting from frog to frog.
“What do you know of the Princess Niki?” another demanded.
“The what!?” Haskins queried, already exhausted. He briefly pondered running, but the muddy swamp stretched to the horizon, and escape seemed impractical as he was no less than half frog and was unsure how to use his legs.
“Our princess vanished before you, Fleshy!” a third frog said. The sword he held was nearly identical to the tiny dagger he’d seen earlier.
“You must go with Petri and find her. We fear her kidnapped.”
“Okay, could you stop calling me Fleshy? It’s Haskins.”
In unison the frog family gasped, taking a step back. Haskins arched his brow.
“So…” Petri began. “The prophecy has come to fruition.”
“He doesn’t know,” gasped the tallest frog with a wide wart on his nose.
“Of course not, Warton!” Petri scolded. “It was said he wouldn’t know.”
Petri extended the jeweled hilt to Haskins. His bulging eyes adamantly studied, awaiting the mutant’s decision.
Haskins looked at the frog and, with his brow arched, he reached his own hand and took the sword. The blade of the sword glowed a bright bluish-green at his touch. The frogs around him all gasped, bending firmly to one knee, bowing their heads in awed respect.
“The prophecy is true! Ribbit! Ribbit!”
Haskins looked down at the glowing blade, one eye cocked up, and he shrugged. He then tossed the sword down. The frog elders gasped in shocked horror; Petri hopped quickly to the sword and picked it up.
“I know where this is going! I’m not Mario and I’m not savin’ your princess. Peace.”
Haskins turned to walk away, but collapsed onto his half-mutated legs. Petri hopped over and propped him up awkwardly; he was a half-green froggish pile.
“The prophecy states that one of the fleshy kind will be your savior, but must become one of us.” Petri hopped around looking deep into Haskins eyes. “You have no choice. The sword chose you when you first touched it.”
“I’m a half-frog heap.”
“You must accept your destiny to fully reach your chosen form!”
“This is stupid,” Haskins coughed, his chest heaving as he struggled to catch his breath.
“But it’s true!” Warton urged. “The prophecy read that one would appear who ‘has skins’ and he won’t know it! It is you!”
“My name is Haskins, not ‘has skins’!” The frogs made no sign that they heard or even cared about this technicality. “Besides, what are a bunch of frogs doing dressed in sky-blue formal wear and talking?” And how did you get so big!? And where am I!?”
Petri, now cradling the sword stepped forward as he spoke.
“We are not these things you call frogs. We are Gorfs. And you are where you’ve always been. You beast is just beyond the log there. And we did not get big. It is you who has become small.”
“And I thought I had trouble finding clothes to fit me before,” Haskins croaked, his voice becoming more hoarse and waterlogged by the moment.
Petri watched intently, a webbed hand clutching the icy blade, a smile spreading across his puffy cheeks. He had begun to accept his fate.
“So…what are Gorfs anyway?” Haskins grumbled miserably.
“We are the keepers of the swamp. And Niki was our swamp guardian and preserved the balance here.” Petri no longer smiled stupidly, but continued, the sword still clutched in his mucous-covered webs.
“Without Niki, the balance will be lost. The swamp, endangered!”
“So, where is she?” Haskins croaked, his throat becoming more swollen, his body more frog than human.
“And when will I stop…you know…being this?”
“The transformation is complete, Fleshy,” Petri said, stretching up on his hind legs. “Fetch his armor!”
Another Gorf hopped away dutifully, his feet clicking with a distinctive wet snap.
“The princess must have been taken by Evulon,” Petri said, narrowing his eyes. He drew long breaths through his nose, looking around suspiciously. “The Frog King.”
“Okay, have you all looked in a mirror lately?” Haskins quipped, shaking his fully formed legs, mesmerized by the way they moved.
“We are not frogs!” Petri snapped, pushing out his chest. “They are just hideous!”
“All right, all right!” Haskins shouted, recoiling. “Dude, your breath…”
The young Gorf who had left to retrieve the armor returned, carrying a black slimy thing that limped like wet cabbage.
“What…” Haskins frowned, eyeing the limp, blackened cabbage-like thing. “…Is that?”
“This…” Petri revered. “Is the armor of Luvunn.”
“That!?” Haskins croaked. “It looks like rotten cabbage!”
“It is,” petri assured him, confused at Haskins’ objection. “The enchanted armor of Luvunn. It is said that in dire need, the gods granted him one last enchantment. But all he had was a leaf of cabbage from his dinner. And so, Luvunn enchanted this leaf that gained the strength of twelve Gorfs!”
“It’s rotten cabbage!” Haskins grumbled.
“Yes, well…there was a frost that night and the cabbage froze. But…!” Petri exclaimed. “You’ll be invincible!”
“I’m not wearing that!” Haskin announced defiantly.
Petri rolled his eyes, forcing out an exhausted sigh.
“I know,” Haskins nodded sympathetically. “…The writers hate us…and I’m still not wearing that.”
“You must!” Petri squeaked. “The prophecy has —”
But the earth shook and a thunders boom broke the silence. Haskins was thrown to the ground that split in two and all went dark.