Here’s the story so far. To add your own part of the story please complete the form below and we’ll update the web page as soon as we can. In the event of a clash of submissions the earliest entry wins. For more about collaborative fiction, please read the section at the bottom of this page.
The Story so far
It was a quintessential Lindfield morning. The early sun released the night’s delicate mist crown from the tops of the School Lane trees as it climbed over the Common, steadily warming the dew-cold grass. The ducks abandoned their nightly bug hunt and waddled their way back to the pond, stopping only to nibble at unseen crumbs in the cracks of the road. The church bell chimed at the top of the high street and the village lazily stretched its wings awake. Young, blonde mothers with latte thirsts were chatting themselves busy by the Co-op’s door, while small dogs watched them as they waited by the stained wall for their shoppers return. One yapped impatiently, tasting the warm bread smells that drifted out. A huge black Rover was still asleep on Denman’s Lane, its dull wide eyes watching the ancient road; ready to bark noisily at the smaller, older cars. Lewis road began slowly spitting cars into the high street and somewhere a lorry was reversing. Suddenly…
– Lorna Falkner
Residents of Lindfield were subjected to a strange screeching noise that became louder and more ear piercing by the second. Shoppers and owners started to exit the multitude of high quality shops and restaurants along the high street. everyone was looking up the High Street towards the church spire, shielding their eyes from the blazing sunlight. In the far distance a small dot appeared on the horizon. As the intensity of the noise increased and became more shrill the object in the sky came closer and the observers started to make out a silvery cylindrical shape bearing down at high speed. An eery silence descended over the high street as everyone stood motionless tracking the progress of the object as it zoomed down the high street and disappeared in the direction of Lewes Road. Within seconds there was huge boom that sounded like a cross between the final display at the annual fireworks night and the firing of the anvil on village day. On the common the early morning joggers, dog walkers and commuters rushing to the station appeared to awaken from their stunned viewing and started to rush towards the playground. A swing was gently easing backwards and forwards with a groan although there was no child upon it and amongst the central wooden seating area there was…..
– Karen Crockford
In fact the whole school had gone. It had taken the full force of the impact. All that was left was a huge smoking crater, descending unknown meters into the ground. Luckily this was the first day of the summer holidays and it was quite unlikely anyone would be there this early, except perhaps the caretaker. The silence following the impact was now punctuated by a whole range of sirens in the distance approaching the Lewes Road area. Jenny, a little girl who lived with her family very close to the school was still standing outside in her garden but her home and her mother busy inside, was no longer there. Jenny’s loud screams brought anguish to every mother and father and also brought reality flooding back to the extraordinary event of this summer morning. No one except maybe a few of the older residents had any concept of carnage like they now witnessed before them. Many of the houses in the surrounding area to the school had been flattened following the impact by a vast wave of energy and windows in houses and shops in the High Street further away had shattered and chimneys tumbled. The sound of unanswered mobiles ringing persistently punctuated the chaos unfolding, while commuters and early morning shoppers dropped their bags and ran as fast as they could back in the direction of where their homes had been.
– Maria Joy
Those that arrived at the crater where the School once stood, looked down into a swirling mist of steam and dust and tried to make sense of what they saw. The large cylinder could be seen protruding from the base of the crater. It was loudly venting some sort of purple, noxious gas into the atmosphere. Whilst most of the onlookers withdrew as a result of the gas, an intrepid few wrapped scarves around their mouths or held handkerchiefs to their noses and descended slowly into the crater. They searched the fuselage for the cockpit, but the surface was completely smooth. There were no rivets, no windows and no sign of entry.
Hearing noises above them, the onlookers at the lip of the crater looked up to see three helicopters descending out of the smoke. Men in black uniforms started to repel down ropes into the crater and a loud voice on the tannoy barked “Step back. Do not enter this area!”
Suddenly, from within the cylinder there was a loud noise….
– Pete Cogle
Screechingly high-pitched, the noise was nothing short of relentless. Those gathered around the site struggled to shield their ears from the squeal, whilst a blinding light forced the helicopters to jump higher into the sky as the men in black scrambled frantically up the ropes.
The light grew brighter and brighter, while the squeal refused to die down. Clutching their ears in despair and fighting to make out anything through the brightness now engulfing the cylinder, the onlookers whispered to each other. One thought they could see a shadow, then two or three shadows gathered close behind the first. As their eyes became slowly accustomed to the light, the onlookers gasped. Behind those first four figures emerging slowly from the light came several others, some small, some larger. Who knows how many figures crawled over the edge of that cylinder.
The onlookers began to huddle together in groups, whispering amongst themselves. Who were these figures? Where had they come from? Why were they here? And – perhaps most importantly! – what did they want?
– Sally Holmwood
“G’day!” boomed this deep voice with a thick Australian accent, “Is this Lindfield?” The light started to dim and the squeal hushed to a low hum. Suddenly the men in black jumped down from there ropes, ushering the locals back from the edge. They surrounded the figures. “DO NOT MOVE, STAY EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE” shouted the chief M.I.B a slight tremor apparent in his voice, his firearm shaking slightly.
“We mean no harm mate!” A tall, thin, gangly man appeared through the low light wearing shorts, a tshirt with a kangaroo emblazened across it and a cork hat. “Is this Lindfield, New South Wales?” The tanned young man was holding hands with a young girl and surrounded by 15 others all wearing stereotypical aussie clothes. “This is Lindfield West Sussex, not Australia. Please stay where you are. Who are you and what do you want?” The tremor from his voice now gone, the chief ordered the M.I.B’s to lower their guns.
“We are time travellers from the year 2414. We are heading for our home town, but our google map in our time machine must have confused the two places. Please do not hurt us, there are children amongst us and we mean no harm. Are we in the year 2014?” The helicopter could be heard landing on the common as more men descended from it slowly approaching the scene. “Yes this is 2014, now please stay where you are and tell us what do you want?” The Australian looked behind him and waved. The other time travellers started to stand to one side and trough them appeared……
– Marc & Esther Featherstone
… A strange metallic robot, wearing a voluminous pink dress, and hor-rimmed spectacles. “G’day Possum’s,’ it shrieked, terribly, ‘these dingo pups couldn’t fly a time machine for toffee. They can’t even tell the difference between XXXX and Foster’s’ there was a low mumbling rom the good people of Lindfield, who hadn’t actually realised there wAS a difference. ‘It was me that brought our ship, MADGE (Me And the Dingos Go Everywhere) here, on a mission critical to all Aussies in 2414. Y’ see, darlings, in that far off year, we Aussies haven’t won the Ashes for four centuries. And it’s all because of a cricketing dynasty which starts here, in Lindfield. A single unbroken line of awesome all-rounders, who learned and perfected their skills here, on your village green. It’s my evil plan to capture the man who starts this family of wonder batsmen and bowlers and make sure it never happens. My research shows he’s due to meet the mother of his children for the first time in that pub over there.’ She pointed an appendage that looked remarkably like a sequined sink plunger at the Stand Up Inn.
Now that the screeching noise had faded out, the crowd became awareness of a weedy, mosquito like buzzing as, with an embarrassing lack of anything resembling speed, a young man pulled up and dismounted the worlds least powerful moped (it was only 10cc). He stared purposefully at the menacing robot, and said… ‘I don’t like cricket, oh no, I love it’…..
– Paul Snelling
“Beauty, bonzer, ripper” said the robot “you must be who I’m looking for – the head of the famous Lindfield cricketing dynasty”.
“nnnno, ssssooorrry” stuttered the young man “I just love cricket”. It was quite obvious to all onlookers that this person was far too young to have fathered this dynasty – in fact he looked remarkably like the bowler from last Saturday morning’s youth match.
Ding! Everyone was stunned. One of the onlookers had such a fantastic idea that you could actually hear it entering his brain!
He turned to the robot: “I’ve just had a brilliant idea that could benefit us both – why don’t we get together and create a Commonwealth cricketing team to take on the whole of the rest of the world. After all, between us, we’ve got all the best cricketers in the world – perhaps we can persuade some of them to come out of retirement too.”
“And” said one of the other Lindfield residents “that would mean we could play here in the summer and then go to Australia and play there all summer too and then everyone will know about our lovely village and come and visit us”
“I hope they all come in the middle of September so that they can come to the Lindfield Arts Festival” thought one of the Arts Festival directors. After all, it’s going to be a great showcase for the village and we’ve already got a link to Lindfield in Sydney so we’re half Australian already.
“But what will the team be called? And what are we going to wear?” said a young lady who looked as if she could do with some fashion advice herself!
– Hilary Kennett
‘The Lindfield Grenadiers,’ shouted Penny Bethany, dressed to the nines in tweeds and hanging out of her Chelsea tractor. ‘Let them play with grenades, liven things up a little. My late Archie loved the game. Can’t stand it myself. Those long test matches of utter tedium. Grenades will be just the ticket!’ The robot squinted as only a robot can, which is to say it didn’t squint. It paused a moment and adopting a truculent condescending English accent declared ‘splendid idea, my dear. To the common toot sweet, cobbers.’
A short while later, the Aussies were in to bat against the locals. The first over, delivered by Bill ‘Two Overs’ Overly left a small crater with a pair leg protectors standing where a moment before Anthony ‘Budgie Smuggler’ Johnson had stood in reply. ‘Out for an Adam’s’, shouted the robot
‘Don’t you mean duck?’ came a voice from the crowd,
‘Oh no, sir! Definitely an Adam’s, most grizzly, indeed.’ The robot extend its arm and pulled another grenade from under its pink dress and tossed it to Overly. ‘More va-va-boom this time please.’
The Aussie captain looked furtively from side to side as he was pushed forward as the next bat. ‘Hey mate, isn’t this unfair?’
‘Not if ya can hit it,’ the same voice from the crowd called. The captain walked to the remains of the wicket and kicked away the protectors and stood in place of them. ‘Right then yer pommies, I’ll show yer.’ Overly ostentatiously pulled the pin from the grenade with his teeth and began his run up with arm swinging a whirr. Penny Bethany clutched her hands to her chest in delight as the grenade’s trajectory, unpredictable an indirect, made its way the captain who was tapping the ground with his bat…
– Dylan C D’Arch
As the captain’s bat delivered its third kiss to the hallowed turf time seemed to slowed to a crawl. The air was the consistency of treacle and the grenade’s deadly progress stuttered almost to a halt.
The ground in front of the wicket rippled, and a great hole yawned. With a despairing “Ssssttttreeeeeewwwwthhhhh!” the captain toppled in to its steamy depths. There was a distant belch.
A large and dreadful face, which not even a mother could love, surmounted by two pairs of magnificent horns rose from the pit. “Who dares to summon the demon ‘Clither’, hither?” it rasped through an improbable collection of rotting and mismatched teeth. “You have released me from my aeons of slumber, and once again I am amongst you to spread an eclectic mix of terror and suffering, and to feed upon your puny bodies!” It continued.
There was a dreadful smell of rotting eggs – whether it was the stench of the monster or the inevitable result of the terror of the batsmen was unclear. The robot, however, was jubilant. “Stupid villagers,” it squawked, “your sheeplike curiosity and the boundless upper-class spite of the woman Bethany have helped me awaken my god!” Making sure that Overly was between it and the newcomer it fell to what passed for its knees with a crash like a hastily dropped bag of spanners and implored, “Master! I love you!”
Clither swivelled in his hovel towards the robot, inadvertently facing the grenade which, all but forgotten by all and sundry, and that includes you, dear reader, had continued inching its deadly trajectory. “Mummy?” he gaped, stupidly, as the little bomb bounced lazily and landed with a faint plop in his gaping maw.
There was a muffled “crump” as the grenade did its job and Clither discorporated, wetly. Gobbets of former demon flew through the air, which had suddenly lost its claggy consistency. The robot screamed, “Nooooo…” and, pausing only to extend an improbably long appendage with which it grabbed the screaming Bethany, it careered over to the hole and toppled in.
Few could agree, afterwards, on the events in the immediate aftermath of the disappearance of demon, robot and local self-styled lady of the manor, but there was wild celebration.
As the soft twilight began to descend, the ‘next man’ in the Aussie line-up, who was in fact called Sheila, and had been the second person to emerge from the time-ship gazed speculatively at the erstwhile rider of the moped.
There was an odd feeling of butterflies in her stomach as she took in his unremarkable (except for a profusion of pimples) face. “I should be playing join-the-dots,” she thought to herself in puzzlement, “so why am I dreaming of babies and a cottage over there, by the pond?”
“Here Sport,” she said, extending a trembling hand, ”Do you want some of this barbecued demon? Tastes like chicken…”
– Doris Stokes
About Collaborative Fiction
Collaborative fiction is a form of prose that is open to anyone who wants to participate, allowing a group of writers to collaborate on one short story in a very collaborative and fun way. There is no pre-planned plot or narrative structure and characters may take many twists and turns towards an unknown conclusion.
The writer who opens the story is usually the one to finish it and some brief editing may be required.
Collaborative fiction is often used to teach creative writing as the process is both freeing and inspiring. Writers have limited commitment to the task and no one has any vested interest or control. No one owns a piece created in this way but everyone gets something out of it.
Anyone who submits a section must agree to relinquish any rights to the content, which will for legal reasons be owned by Lindfield Arts Festival.