View Full Version : Written by www.ligotti.net members

09-05-2005, 05:40 PM
I'll write the first paragraph, and someone else can write the following paragraph, etc. etc. Let's see how the story unfolds. Let's keep the paragraphs under 100 words if possible. Any member can end the story whenever they wish if it's warranted, fair. Also, no title will be given to the story. Members can post new paragraphs at any time, but remember that speed is imperative as someone else might write a paragraph, or ending, before you -- which would really confuse the reader. This might be fun!

Those are the only rules, except to remember that some members are under 16 so please keep that in mind with regards to adult situations (swearing, sex). Here goes:

It was 1880, the grave diggers were tired, dust coated their hats. Each digger mounted his horse and left the dark graveyard. Then the cemetery was quiet as a bright moon rose and an owl hooted in the woods. That night, all the grave diggers were tired and slept well -- except for one. He didn't sleep a wink. He had seen something that was chilling, so chilling he couldn't speak about it -- neither to his wife nor to his twelve children. He wouldn't speak about it -- yet -- anyway -- he didn't want to be burnt at the stake. He had a family to feed. He would simply keep his mouth shut and let the disturbances in his mind feed themselves -- like a fire and burn itself out.

Dr. Zirk
09-05-2005, 06:53 PM
(Great idea, Barry!)

After the evening meal was over and his wife began to put the children to bed, he sat alone by the fire. In his hands was the family Bible, unopened. After what he had seen in the graveyard that evening, he hoped to find solace in the familiar pages of the holy book. But deep inside he knew there would be no solace, not on this night or any other. The image of what he had seen just a few short hours before was beginning to consume him. He stood up, placed the Bible on his chair, and left the small cabin without his hat or coat, much less a parting word to his wife.

09-05-2005, 07:14 PM
As he walked further from his house, he noticed a shift in light and shadow on his right. A neighbor surreptitiously peering at him perhaps, gathering material for gossip--but that would be the least of his problems. Making up his mind to keep quiet about this afternoon was something that took effort, and he especially needed to curb any thoughts of the possibilities that would ultimately make disclosure inevitable. He refused to think about how he might be punished, not just for keeping the secret but also for knowing it in the first place, and he had to stifle a bitter laugh when he realized that his punishment may have already begun. And yet he found himself walking, and he wondered if he was not in fact approaching the very site from which this punishment would begin to engulf him and the life he thought he knew.

The Silent One
09-05-2005, 10:48 PM
Those are the only rules, except to remember that some members are under 16 so please keep that in mind with regards to adult situations (swearing, sex).
(Don't care too much, but I'll mind the warning :wink:.)

Baruch, as he was known, was a quiet man. Gravedigging was a suitable job for his introspective personality; It was simple, good enough money, at least to pay the bills and feed the family. But most of all it was quiet. But tonight was a shift from the norm. It wasn't even foolishness that brought it forth. "Queer things about," his son might say. Baruch smiled sadly. Little Ernest, seventh child of a seventh child. Had diptheria, lived only by happenstance. Normally he would say "Thank God." Nowadays he thought he might not even be able to say that.

* * * * *

Josiah Ricketts
Born 2 February, 1738
Died 1 November, 1779
Taken by Consumption
God bless his forlorn soul

Uriah stood gravely in front of the old tomb. Baruch was gone now. He stared at the words "forlorn soul". "Baruch," He thought. "So damned quiet, and so..." He couldn't say it, even in his mind. Uriah sighed. He was loosing his grip. He thought back to his childhood. "You'd better stay far from the old cedar copse," His mother would say. "There you're good as dead." He remembered the body. "Amen to that."

* * * * *

On the soft wind, a voice whispered words in no language. Gallows Rock hungered for the old days. It wanted to hear the word, cried from the hills one night not too long ago, as chanted at the hangings so long ago:

Murderer, murderer!

(Sorry for the long tract. Go ahead with Baruch's story; If I've overdone it, let me know.)

09-05-2005, 11:12 PM
Baruch's wife was churning butter. Thank the Lord, she thought. We are blessed to have two milking cows and some hens. We are blessed to have crab apples and preserves and dried goods.

She stopped and wiped the hair away from her face. Baruch's body had been wet to her touch the night before and she also knew he had not slept. When she had touched his shoulder he had flinched. She wondered if she was still a good wife -- was Baruch seeing another woman? No, she thought. But something is wrong with him. There was evil in his eyes this morning as he shelled his eggs at breakfast.

And even herself, when she had managed herself, had dreamt about evil -- of blood gushing around one of her son's eyes and then him being hacked to death with a big sword. What was happening?

She turned back to her work, whispering Baruch's name.

09-06-2005, 01:29 PM
(Okay, I'm assuming that Baruch is the grave digger we began the story with. If I've revealed my stupidity by totally misinterpreting what's been going on this early in the game, please let me know...gently :shock: , and I'll edit accordingly. That said, here we go...)

Had he stayed home, he would not have noticed the spirit of desperation that his wife managed to invoke with the faintest whisper of his name. That would have been out of the ordinary, given that the value Baruch placed on silence made him quite sensitive to such matters. He was the source of much friendly mockery because of this aspect of his nature.

My nature, he thought bitterly. He could feel it, along with everything else he thought he knew about his world, beginning to slip away step by incremental step.

He was a witness to a catastrophe in waiting, and he cursed his helplessness in trying to prevent it. He knew he would be a pivotal figure in the impending disaster, whatever senselessly cruel form it may take, and he knew he had to stop it. But he had lived long enough to know that this was perhaps something he may no longer have a hand in. He could only watch and listen.

And listen he did, having stopped in his tracks. A wind was moving through the trees, whistling through the foliage in a manner that it never had before. He realized it was speaking, addressing itself to him. He also realized it was doing so in a tongue which no man could ever hope to comprehend.

But there it was, a murmuring breeze, and he could hear it, understand it. He wished he could pretend otherwise, but denial was no longer an option. It wanted him to do something, and he would do it, watching in paralyzing horror as he committed that initial action that would set in motion whatever movement of fate lay in wait for Gallows Rock.

"It's an unfortunate name for this land upon which we've built our homes," he said aloud, attempting to drown out the voice of the wind. "And I believe that we're about to find out why." God help us, he thought. That final plea he could no longer voice out for the wind had reached an insistent volume.

The Silent One
09-07-2005, 11:19 PM
He remembered, standing against the icy wind, of the Ricketts burial. His grandfather had spoken of the ghastly affair, rushed by frightened townsfolk; Consumption wasn't Josiah's only worry. Suspicious townsfolk had blamed him for the killings at the cedar copse. He was to be hanged that very night, in fact. However, when the one they called the Magister withered away from what seemed to be tuberculosis, the superstitious villagers, of devout Pennsylvania Dutch ilk, turned their eyes towards the grove itself. "Fools," He thought. "The trees do naught but hide." Such foolishness cost them dear, didn't it? The hexer's death was the front of something far worse. "Besides," His grandfather had said. "Wasn't he born midnight of Candlemas Eve? Thrice blessed by the old pastor; A witch they say. And also said to be a little more than your average Anabaptist." Then the old man winked, smiling grimly. "And I sure as hell know whoever was black enough to kill him had something far worse on his side!" His grandfather passed away a week later.