NaNoWriMo · Science Fiction · Writing

Waterstones’ Story Cubes Project


November was National Novel Writing Month and this year I failed completely due to an attack of the flu. However, I have been given the chance to redeem myself by taking part in the Waterstones Story Cube Bloggers NaNoWriMo Project.

Starting in November, eight bloggers have been set the challenge to write a chapter of a story using a set of Rory’s Story Cubes as their guiding inspiration. I had the honour/misfortune (delete as appropriate) to be the final blogger of the eight with the responsibility of tying up all the loose ends into a final chapter. I hope I did it justice.

You will probably want to read the first seven chapters before mine so here are the links:

CHAPTER ONE (by @sonnyandluca)

CHAPTER TWO (by @bexybex74)

CHAPTER THREE (by @PewterWolf13)

CHAPTER FOUR (by @Hollybobbs)

CHAPTER FIVE (by @dragonsflypoppy)

CHAPTER SIX (by @saywhatjade)

CHAPTER SEVEN (by @NickiKinickie)

And here is CHAPTER EIGHT:

At the back of the room there was a number pad on the wall, Brian quickly bashed buttons and suddenly there was an archway in front of us leading through into what appeared to be some sort of meadow.

I didn’t have time to speak before Anna-Belle shoved me through and Brian closed the opening with a number pad on the other side.

Breathing hard I looked around me. We were outside in a field drenched in moonlight, covered in flowers swaying gently in a soft breeze and glowing softly. I vaguely recognised them as daisies from one of the history text books about the Old World.

“Where the hell are we now?!” I grumbled, ignoring Anna-Belle’s glare at my language.

“Our home, a tiny slice of the Old World,” Brian said. “This is the place the Chosen One is said to open the gateway to our future and reclaim the New World for us to restore.”

He pulled a sheet of paper out of his pocket and held it out.

“This has been passed down for generations waiting for you to come and decipher it. Our researcher, Emily, had been studying it and had some key research in her notebook. We tried to send it to you but I understand it was lost. I just hope you don’t need it or everything could be lost forever tonight – or this afternoon as it is back in the New World at the moment.”

I took the paper and was mortified to see my name printed at the top despite the fact that it was clearly ten times older than me. How was this even happening?

I realised that Anna-Belle and Brian were staring at me in anticipation, waiting for some kind of revelation. This was ridiculous but the hope outlined on their faces in the silver light was so great that I turned my attention to the paper and bit my tongue on the bitter comments running through my head.

“But this is just…”

“Yes?” Brain asked, eagerness shining in his eyes.

“Can you open that archway again? I need to go back.” I folded the paper carefully and slipped it into my trouser pocket. “I know what needs to be done.”

“Of course,” said Brian, turning back to the number pad.

“I’ll do my best to come back,” I said to Anna-Belle, giving her a quick kiss before turning and running through the archway as soon as it began to open.

The other side was almost entirely engulfed in smoke. That bright light had been flames and now the whole building appeared to be burning. I pulled the leather jacket up over my head and ran as fast as I could for the door, kicking what was left of it out of my way as I plunged into the wall of heat.

There wasn’t much left of the building and there were people everywhere – a mixture of panicking public and menacing soldiers, scanning for… something.

Doing my best to blend in with the other frightened onlookers I ducked into a doorway after emerging from the flames, trying to catch my breath and regulate my temperature.

I needed a computer and I needed one fast.

Then I noticed a building on the opposite side of the street to what was left of the Wigwam – the library.

Forgetting to try and blend in I bolted for it, leaping the security barrier which was deserted and diving behind the service desk.

It only took a minute to hack the password – one day people will learn to change everything from ‘admin’ when they set up a system. Maybe.

Once in, I fumbled the sheet of paper out of my pocket, opened a control window and began to copy out what was written, adding in the appropriate symbols and line breaks where they were needed.

I took a shaky breath before typing in the last few characters and finishing the code. I knew a virus when I saw one but I had no clue what it was actually going to do or how it was going to help Anna-Belle and Brian save the world.

As soon as I completed the code the screen changed to a moving image of a turtle and the sound of water crashing began to erupt for the speakers. I turned them up to full as the same thing began to happen on every computer in sight. Bank upon bank of serene turtles floating through the library as the waves of noise began to crash through the air.

Having done all I could, I hopped back over the desk, fell over the security barrier far less impressively than I had leaped in jarring my ankle for the second time in the day and limped back outside.

Into silence.

It took a moment for me to realise that all I could hear was the sound of the sea coming from every direction and the gentle crackle of flames coming from what remained of the Wigwam.

Every person that had been out on the street was lying on the ground where they had stood, soldiers and pedestrians alike. As I watched, a plane fell out of the sky in the distance – a silent falling star in the afternoon sunlight.

The virus had spread quickly – the downside of a worldwide network – and wiped out everything it seemed, apart from me.

“We knew you’d know what to do with it, Ed my lad. You have Old Blood in you but you grew up here and knew their ways. Come now, it’s time to go home and start the clean up.”

I jumped and turned to find the most ancient man I had ever seen leaning on his walking stick beside me. He nodded once at me and began shuffling toward the ruin of the Wigwam, the only surviving part of which was the back wall with the number pad.

Shaking my head I began to follow, trying to ignore the still bodies we stepped around.

I was still half waiting to wake up with a hangover but beginning to fear it wasn’t going to happen…

THE END

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THIS IS A SPONSORED POST: In return for writing this chapter I received one set of Rory’s Story Cubes and a Waterstones voucher. All words and opinions are my own and I really recommend Rory’s Story Cubes for any writers out there – it’s a great writer’s block breaker 🙂

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