Let's write a story together...[the next chapter after stars]


Aiming to bring new levels of interactivity and sense of inclusive community to postgraduatreforum.com, to make it the best site in the world for the best PhD (and Masters - see...inclusion!) students in the world (us, obviously), I have had a think about about what we can do in our few spare moments of procrastination. Reading this forum regularly I note, with enthusiasm, that there are some really good writers, some who are witty, others who scare me with their detailed knowledge of the real world. So, I thought, wouldn't it be brilliant if, instead of using our wit and cunning to solicit stars from each other, to be become the best forumite in the world, we directed our efforts into creating a collective, collaborative fictional story.
The rules are simple:
1) The story is written in 3rd person, present tense.
2) If you post on this thread, it must concern the development of the story (written in the style above).
3) Each post must not exceed 100 words (otherwise you'll waste ages) and it may be too hard for the next poster to develop the story in the way they want it to go. But you can post as many times as you want.
4) You can develop the story however you want and then, with cunning, skill and if they want to, the next poster can change it however they want.
5) Anything can happen. Introduce new characters, kill ones off that you don't want (Darius Danesh, you're a gonner!).
6) The story never ends - even if characters have to die of old age.

This could be fun, and yet another reason to log in, to see where the story is at. Read it before bed (it may send you asleep) or just add to it. Oh, and no-one has copyright, so no nicking it, getting it published and claiming credit when it ends up features in the Times Best Seller List.

I'll add the first post!(up)


It was raining outside and there was nothing on TV. "One day, I'm going to be Prime Minister!" declared Jemima, triumphantly.
"Not if you don't eat you're Weetabix, and get to school you little twerp!" growled John, Jemima's father.
"It's a Saturday, so there is no school today," explained Jemima.
John put down his piece of salami and cold cup of tea. He wondered why he thought it was a Monday...
The truth was, John thought to himself, he'd just seen Coronation Street on ITV2 and, not realising it was an omnibus, he had thought it was the Monday edition. Then, something dawned on John, something big... Coronation Street is shown at 7-30 pm on a Monday, so that can't possible have been the reason for his misunderstanding and now, unjustifiably angry outburst at little Jemima. There was another reason, but what? If only he could think of the true reason...
"Think you daft bugger, think," he thought to himself.


John's hands searched about the couch for the remote; finding it wedged between the cushions, he switched off the tv, stood up and started pacing about the room. "A strange thing indeed," John thought, as he walked back and fro, contemplating the peculiar passage of time. Suddenly, something in the window caught his eye.
"Jemima!" shouted John, "come quickly!"


There, directly outside the house, its engine chugging patiently, was a yellow school bus. The sort of bus you see every day in American films, picking up American kids from American suburbs, bathed in the American light of American mornings; but not the sort of bus John or Jemima would ever have expected to see in their street in Swindon, pelted by English rain on a grey English Saturday. And there was something else strange about this bus...


Written on the side of the yellow bus, in large, sparkly red letters, was 'The Omni-bus - going wherever you want to go.'

Jemima and John stood at the window staring. The bus beeped its horn. With amazement they saw the driver waving to them.

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======= Date Modified 11 Nov 2009 09:30:24 =======
John was pleased it was the omni-bus, as if it WAS the school bus it was late - unsurprising considering it was American, they are always late for things!


======= Date Modified 11 Nov 2009 09:39:50 =======
Confused, Jemima looked up at her father. She was expecting some sort of explanation from him, but was not sure what. How could he possibly explain this strange, yellow bus waiting outside their three bed semi? It made no sense to her.

The bus sounded its horn again. There was a sense of urgency in the frantic waving of the bus driver. He was summoning her. Jemima, still dazed, grasped her school bag. With one final, uncertain look up at her father, she turned the handle of the front door, and walked down the stone drive...


Edging slowly towards the bus, Jemima started to feel the ground shake. Terrified, believing it to be an earthquake she turned around back towards the house, hoping to see her father John. But the house was no longer there, nor was John. Jemima then noticed that the shaking seemed to be rhythmical, with a steady dum-dum-dum-dum beat. With no option but to get on the omni-bus, Jemima turned back down the stone drive. The beat got louder as she moved... until she realised that this was no ordinary bus, with no ordinary driver... oh no, his name was Otto.


"Hey little dude" yelled Otto in greeting. Jemima, being very English and from Swindon, had never been called a "dude" before, it rather pleased her. The inside of the bus however, did not. The vehicle was in complete disarray, as dozens of small and apparently jaundiced children ran amok. Some had hair that extended seamlessly from their scalps, many had unfeasibly large eyes, and none, had more than three fingers to a hand.

Jemima was terrified, she tried to get off but the doors hissed shut and the bus swerved out into the road. As Jemima looked out the window she realised with horror where they were headed.....

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to the NORTH POLE! This was a bus en route to santaville and these demonic little beings were his helpers. Jemima should have been ecstatic, but her father had warned her not to believe the fluffy fairytales of a fat man in a jolly red suit. No, the santa she knew was....


Evil. Pure, black-hearted evil.

Jemima's fatehr was a scientist and staunch disbeliever of fluff, he'd told Jemima the truth about these things.

Happy elves? They were drugged children stolen from impoverished families (check aforementioned the jaundice if you don't believe him).

Flying reindeer? Abused donkey's with jetpacks left over from Michael Jackson's stage shows. The poor beasts are so disorientated they can no longer walk on solid ground.

And as for the presents, therein lies the darkest tale of all. Every present is in fact a monitoring device, developed by the government and scammed into unsuspecting homes under the guise of Christmas charity.

Oh yes, Jemima knew all about Santa.


Jemima looked at the ‘elves’, but they all avoided her eyes. Apart from one, who furtively gestured to her, indicating that she should sit down next to him (or her?). ‘You shouldn’t have got on,’ the ‘elf’ whispered when she had sat down. ‘What’s all this about then? Are we really all going to Santa to make toys?’ The elf pulled a face. ‘Make toys? It’s worse than that.’ Jemima listened in horror as the elf told her that they were so-called ‘research assistants’, slaving away for Santa, who was turning out one research paper after another – without any acknowledgement to the elves of course.


Jemima stared out of the window helplessly and longed to be back home.

Suddenly the bus braked violently. She was thrown out of her seat and landed with an almighty thud at the front of the bus. She could hear the 'elves' sniggering at her but this didn't concern her, she was too busy trying to make sense of what she saw outside. The door of the bus thrust open, Jemima could see it clearer now. What was this grotesque being that stared down at her?


"Quick everyone, get off the bus" it shouted, gesturing wildly to the elves. Otto the bus driver tried to attack the stranger, jumping from his seat, fists clenched and baring horrible cracked yellow teeth. The stranger batted Otto away with a swift fling of his arm and began ushering the elves off the bus. Upon noticing Jemima he stopped suddenly.....he gasped and all the colour drained from his huge face...."You've come...." he said...


======= Date Modified 11 Nov 2009 19:39:10 =======
Jemima hadn't a clue what the wild-eyed stranger was talking about, and privately, she thought he looked like a drug-addled bum. Still, he wasn't santa and that was enough to get Jemima off the omnibus, and following the elves.
Shortly after setting off they entered a building, and walked within its walls for what seemed like hours; through endless corridors under ghastly strip lighting. Strange smells permeated the air, and shadowy figures lurked in doorways. Eventually, the friendly elf from before caught up with Jemima, "what is this place" she hissed. "You don't know?" replied the elf in amazement, We've been poached, this is the Valentine-Day research department!"