Consequences – help complete this story

Phylis Burton is an author I’ve met on Facebook and we have little exchanges now and again as you do.  Recently she posted this on her blog:


Has anyone ever played Consequences?  Years ago we used to play a game which went something like this…

A subject for a story would be chosen, and each participant would be given a guide as to which part of the story they would write.  The first person would start the story off and asked to fold the paper over in such a way that nobody could see what was written.  The next person would be asked to make something happen, the next to create conflict, and so on, until the end.  At this point someone was designated to read the story.  The result was often extremely funny and revealing.

I’m not of course, suggesting that a short story could be written in this way, but it did set me thinking.   Perhaps I could ask other writers if they could in turn read the start of a story, add to it and then pass it on.

The other day I was looking through a folder of articles, poems, parts of stories that I’d written over the years, when I came across a short story I’d started writing a few years ago and had never finished:  this snippet intrigued me.

HERE IS THE START OF THE STORY written by Phyllis:

“It was a gloriously warm, summer’s day and the sun was at its highest point in the heavens.  It was a wonderful day to be alive, and Maggie Browne rode her ancient bicycle along the narrow lane. She’d been to the local shop in the village to buy some bread and the basket directly in front of her was full of things she hadn’t intended to buy. The extra pint of milk, the fruit cake which she couldn’t resist and the juicy strawberries she knew her husband would enjoy.

Almost without warning, the sun was shrouded by dark threatening storm clouds, and the sky darkened as they scurried across the sky like soldiers preparing for battle. Maggie’s beautiful day was now a menacing, frightening thing: it was like a mad creature getting ready to jump.  She began to turn the pedals a little more quickly, but she soon became out of breath.   A little cry escaped from her lips when she heard the first rumble of thunder.

Maggie turned the corner and just after the lane crossed over an old wooden bridge she noticed a large branch had fallen from a tree and was blocking her path.  She alighted from her bicycle and placed it against the wooden struts of the bridge to see if she could the branch could be moved.  By this time, it had started raining heavily and she looked downwards at the rapidly flowing river beneath her.

Her heart began to thump.  Something glittered beneath the bridge, but she couldn’t quite make out what was lying there.   She stared into the blackness below and as the storm clouds passed over and the weak sun’s rays gradually began to filter through the trees, she saw something which sent shivers down her spine.

The thing that was glittering was the wrist-watch belonging to the man who was lying face down in the water.  Blood was seeping from a nasty wound in his back.  He was obviously very dead.

Maggie Browne screamed…” 


If anyone would like to contribute to this joint short-story venture, please let me know.    I would be grateful for any comments, especially if you would like to write the next instalment!

The next installment was added by Tom Winton

At the very same time, on the other side of the rustic village, Laney Forsen checked the clock on her kitchen wall for the fourth time in an hour. 2 PM. It had been quite some time since she’d lowered the burner beneath the simmering pot of chili. With it’s delicious aroma wafting throughout the tidy cottage, and her two daughters in the adjoining living room laughing at something on TV, one would have thought everything was as tranquil as it always was. But Laney didn’t think so. She had a deep, unsettling suspicion. It had shrouded her psyche just as the low, seemingly evil gray clouds had shrouded the bright sky outside her kitchen window.

Kip is never late, she thought as she again stirred the chili, not for anything.

That’s the way her husband was, punctual, dependable, always a very meticulous man. When he had gone on his bicycle to the bakery at twelve-thirty he was just going to pick up a loaf of fresh bread. It was but ten minutes each way. It wasn’t like Kip to keep her waiting.

As Laney stirred the chili yet another time she whispered to herself. , “He never loses track of time. Not only that, but he’s wearing the new watch I gave him for his birthday on Wednesday. I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.”

Minutes later the storm struck. A loud, lingering thunder-clap shook the walls of the cottage. Laney, who’d by then been sitting at the table, debating whether or not to get in the car and retrace Kip’s short route to the bakery, jerked her head toward the window. A driving rain began to pelt the glass as if it were hell-bent on breaking it. As if it was angry at it. Then there was lightning.

Laney had turned just in time to see the blinding white bolt strike the tree line beyond the back lawn Kip had mowed that morning. The impossibly bright flash lit up the kitchen that had become as gloomy as Laney’s mood when the clouds had rolled in.

Jumping to her feet now, she rushed into the living room to get her purse.

“Girls, I’m going to the bakery to see what’s been keeping Daddy,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”

But she never left. That’s when the phone rang.

I have added this next installment:

Laney dropped the phone, staggering a little as she felt for the chair beside the table.  She slumped into it, heart pounding and head thudding as her brain tried hard to digest the words she’d heard, her hand instinctively clutching her chest.

“We’ve got your husband.  We’ll kill him if you go to the police or tell anyone about this call. Don’t get help, listen to what I am going to tell you and don’t speak.” A rasping but somewhat muffled voice had whispered.

She had tried to take in his words, opened her mouth to tell the caller to stop messing around.  She thought one of Kip’s mates was pulling her leg, but before she could form the words, he spoke again.

“This is serious and I warn you, deviate from my instructions and Kip will die.”  The man then went on to tell Laney just what it was he wanted her to do.  When he finished she muttered a yes in agreement and then he hung up.

Her legs would not move and she felt violently sick, she tried hard to control her breathing. As her brain tried to process the man’s words, the doorbell rang.  She staggered hopefully towards the door, convinced that Kip had returned, having forgotten his key.  Two policemen stood on the threshold, their expressions grim.  Laney hit the newly laid wooden floor with a resounding thud before either of them had chance to explain their visit.

You can add your installment here and share on your blog or Facebook page, add a copy of what you write to Phyllis’ blog and to Tom Winton’s too. Let’s keep this going and see what happens.

Do please take up the challenge and write the next installment: “and the consequence was….”

Categories: Blog


  1. Hi Jane, I’ve been out all day and have just opened up my emails. I really like your contribution and it would be lovely if someone continues the story. I think your idea of putting it on your blog will perhaps encourage your friends to carry it on. If they do, make sure they put it on my blog as well and that they read all the story so far. Great fun!


    • Hi Phyllis

      I am glad it was acceptable. Tom put the three parts up on his Facebook page after he read mine and so I put mine on my blog and author page on FB, with a little piece asking others to add to the story and to copy it to you and Tom too.

      I do hope someone will go with it. It is looking good so far. Great idea.

      I hope all is well with you and that your writing is coming on too.

      Keep me updated and let’s chat her again soon. I am trying to get some stories done.

      Did I ask if you were interested in Writers on the Same Page? We share, help and generally discuss things, no pressure, just a giggle too. We put out Telling Tales under our old name of Writers for Welfare – several published writers and poets in the group.

      Have a think, let me know. I can add you.

      Love Jane xx

      Telling Tales Anthology by Writers for Welfare available

      I Am Woman Anthology vol 1 available



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