Day 7: Completed Story

February 7, 2010 at 10:38 am (Completed Twittertale) ()


A friend got me the job – $90 an hour, starting the day after he left on holiday. Seemed a lot of cash to work for the local tourism office.


The boss looked at me silently for an hour. “Can you swim?” he asked.

I nodded.

“Can you run?”


“How long can you hold your breath?”


I said, “So, you want me to get attacked by a crocodile?”

“That’s right.”

“For. . . tourism?”

He said, “Works every time.”

I said, “Okay.”


It was a pretty spot, with a handful of limp eucalyptus and the babble of the stream keeping me company. Crocs watched me  without blinking.


I hooked up a high-tension cable primed to spring the instant I released my grip. Then I put on my wetsuit and jumped in. Nothing happened.


Forgot to put the video recorder on! I backed up slowly and realised the sun had cooked its battery. So I SMSed for more. Stupid crocs.


Take two. Camera on this time. I kept a firm hold on the cable release button and went deeper. The crocs didn’t move. Why won’t they eat me?


It occurred to me that I actually didn’t want to lose a leg, and then – WHAM! Huge jaws clamped on my foot and SPROING! I flew into the air.


The crocodile swung in wild cartwheels with me, like a dog with a toy. We both flew over the campsite and landed sprawling in two trees.


Pretty sure being stuck in a tree next to a croc (also stuck) was tourism gold. Too bad my leg was broken and I couldn’t get to the cameras.


A pigtailed girl examined me. She said, “Whatcha doin?”

“I’m stuck, and I need help.”

She shrugged, and went to the water.

“No!” I yelled.


The girl’s parents hustled her away, but promised to come back real soon. I saw the dust as they drove away. My crocodile yawped at me.


Thirsty. Leg hurt. Croc looked angrier. The little girl’s parents took a video of me and it before fleeing. At least I know I’m on Youtube.


An aboriginal man yelled, “Watcha doin?” until I woke up.

“Help me,” I said.

Then a croc spotted him and ran across the mud to kill him.


My new friend is Will: “So, you didn’t think to mention the crocs around here?”


Will shrugged it off, shaking our whole tree.  


Will’s crocodile guard finally left, so Will went to fetch – something. It turned out to be another camera. Hilarious.


The RSPCA arrived before the medical team. They cut down the tree and my croc vanished underwater without sparing me a farewell glance.


Morphine! Yes! Besht medicine ever. My leg’s not even broken anymore – I’m sure of it. Can I have a crocodile for a pet? Pleeeeasse?


The boss gave me a cheque, minus expenses. “Well done,” he said.

I shrugged.

He lifted one eyebrow. “Have you ever fought an emu?”

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Day 6: Complete Story

January 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm (Completed Twittertale) ()

For the Man who has Everything

Sat 23 Jan

My beautiful new wife gave me the “Genuine Castaway Experience For The Man Who Has Everything But Happiness.” It’s so peaceful here!


Why won’t the monkeys stop screaming? I’m reminded of the days when I was still allowed to see my grandkids. Bad memories, as I now recall.


Drank fermented coconut milk and passed out. When I awoke and threw up, I knew I didn’t miss my youth after all. Epiphany after epiphany!

Sun 24 Jan

The “Genuine Castaway Experience” has given me a deep new gratitude for my life – especially coffee and my iphone.


Very glad the “Genuine Castaway Experience For The Man Who Has Everything But Happiness” only lasts three days. Food poisoning continues.


One more night with the monkey screams and belly cramps. My new wife’s very savvy for a twenty year old. After this, work will be heaven.

Mon 25 Jan

Too thirsty to sleep. Where’s my chopper? Stupid wind sounds just like helicopter blades.


Soon it’ll get dark. Did I count the days wrong? Mouth is dry as sand. Too weak to throw rocks at monkeys. Beginning to get less grateful.


“GENUINE Castaway Experience” they said. But they didn’t mean. . . they wouldn’t. . . would they? Poor Anna must be terrified for me.

Tue 26 Jan

Made an iphone out of coconuts. Called Anna for long talk. Felt much better until I realised I’d hallucinated the whole thing.


Anna will sort this out. She’s a smart girl. The blonde’s artificial, anyway. She’ll give that company what for!

My stubble itches.


Drank more coconut milk. Threw it up at once. Still better than the yellow choking bile of this morning. Legs covered in bug bites.

Wed 27 Jan

Tried to build a raft. Arms don’t work. Need a lie down, and a nice massage. Monkeys getting braver, and gnashing their teeth right at me.


Seawater isn’t like coffee at all.



Th 28 Jan

. . . . . . .


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January 19: Complete Story of “The Spy Who Shoved Me”

January 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm (Completed Twittertale) ()

PS for those who’ve kept up, I’ll post the last of the China photos at today.



The name’s Bind. Jimmy Bind. On mission to China. I can tell the flight attendant wants me diced on a tiny tray. Time for some airline food.


He comes at me with a poison toothpick. I click my pen and squirt gas in his eye. He reels and hits the Wong twins. Two Wongs make it right.


The Wongs knock the flight attendant out cold. I unclick my pen and accidentally poison myself. When I wake up, we’re in Beijing. Smooth.


Tracked the faux attendant to a meeting in Chinatown. Too bad Beijing IS Chinatown. Got distracted buying shoes. Stumbled across baddie.


Baddie is Mr Fu. The girl with him is Yen. I chase him and he throws a shoe at me. It explodes. He runs. I bind my wounds with duct tape.


I follow Fu and corner him in an alley. He throws some kung fu, and I throw some bricks. “Who’s your boss?” I scream.

“It’s her!” he weeps.


I’ve a yen for Yen. She’s small, dark, and deadly, like an expresso. I track her by smell and find her sleeping. “Where’s the jewel?” I ask.


She yawns, briefly distracting me. Her leg wraps around my neck (also distracting). Suddenly she yields to my good looks and leans closer.


I wake up strapped to the side of the Great Wall; tied firmly with two rolls of my own duct tape. Curses!


After a surprisingly good night’s sleep, I notice writing on the wall: “Forgive me, mother. The ruby is at. . .”

I fall.


I fall among Shaolin monks, who immediately attack! Luckily I have my blow-up gum and I spit it at them just in time. Kaboom! No more monks.


Due to budget cuts, my car is a matchbox car. Luckily it has vertical grip and a camera. I discover the ruby is at Solo – in Indonesia.


I go shoe-shopping, hoping to dispatch Yen and/or get hiking boots before I leave. An old saleswoman is suspiciously attractive.


I neck-chop the woman and she says blearily, “Yen? Is that you?”

“Yes,” I say (femininely).

She says, “Your stupid brother stole the ruby.”


Is my wall-writer Yen’s naughty brother? Is Fu as powerless as he seems? Is the boss Yen or her Mum? And are these boots the best or what?!


Another flight. Fu appears dressed as a fat woman and slips me a note. “Meet me in Solo,” it says – “come solo!”

I nod.


“Yen’s my sister,” Fu explains over unripe-coconut milk. He tells me to search in the temple.

I put sleeping-gas in his drink just in case.


The temple staff make me nervous after the Shaolins. Suddenly they spit acid! Luckily I’d already wrapped my torso in duct tape.


The holy men’s acid burns through my precious tape. I grab some gum but all it does is freshen my breath! The Indonesians close in. . .


I can hear tourists jabbering above my cell. Even when I beg for help in nine languages, all they do is clap. My last meal was airline food.


I make a gun using duct tape and my matchbox car (which is made mainly of cast iron and black powder, plus of course matches), and wait.


Yen appears. As I scrabble to light the match to shoot her I accidentally click my pen, gassing us both. We instantly sleep. Together.


Yen slaps me awake. I sit up fast. If she spoils my good looks all will be lost. “Where’d you take the ruby?” she says.

I say, “Huh?”


She shoves me back onto the floor and storms out, slamming the door so hard she breaks the lock. I run out and shoot the guard dead.


I find Fu shoe-shopping, and demanded the truth. “It’s a bomb,” he says, showing me the glowing ruby,“and only a volcano can destroy it.”


“Give it to me,” I say.

He says, “No.”

“But –”


“I –”


“Pretty please?” I say.

He says, “Oh, if you put it like that. . . no.”


Fu and I walk up Mount Bromo at dawn. He says, “I don’t like my family, and I don’t like you!” and shoves me into the steaming crater.


Sulphuric rain falls, choking my lungs and coating the crater’s sides in poison! Luckily my duct tape retains some adhesiveness. I climb.


Mrs Fu appears on the crater’s rim. “Not so fast!” She stomps on my fingers but I grab her ankles.

She tumbles down and smashes to bits!


The waiter at my hotel smells of sulphur. My foe, Fu! “Your mother is dead,” I say.

He says, “Thanks,” and stabs a fork into my shin.


I grab for his apron but the strings slip through my fingers. Luckily I catch a glimpse of an Aussie flag on his boxers. So that’s next.


Yen sits beside me on my flight to Canberra. “Mum wanted you to have this,” she says – and kisses me on the cheek.

It burns! Acid!


I rush to the tiny bathroom but my face is permanently scarred. In a white-hot rage I pull Yen’s hair until she screams. Then I gas her.


Yen is arrested at the airport. That leaves Fu – and a bomb shaped like a precious jewel.


I spot Fu in rehearsal for Australia Day celebrations, and drive my spare matchbox car camera up his leg and into his fake chest hair.


He goes to the Chinese embassy, and between bursts of static from the ASIO bugs I discover he plans to bomb Questacon. No! Not the children!


I cunningly disguise myself as an eight-year old girl and wait for Fu near the Earthquake House. He comes in dressed as a staff member.


“I have you now, fiend!” I cry.

Fu attacks me with a remote-controlled chest-hair fireball, but I dodge. I punch him in the nose.


Fu collapses. I grab the bomb. It has just minutes to explode.

Ripping open the lightning cage, I throw it in, fold back the cage, and duck.


I wake in hospital, and realise at once the doc has thrown in a little plastic surgery on the side.

Yen lies beside me, getting hair grafts.


“Bind,” I whisper through my bandages. “Jimmy Bind.”

She smiles at me sweetly and says, “I’m in a bind myself. Can you bust me out?”


I look into her dark eyes, and suddenly I have a plan. My shoes are beside my bed, so I grab the left one and make the necessary calls.

19 Jan

Yen is sent to a high-security tropical island for the criminally insane. I volunteer to help her readjust to society.

It’s what I do.


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Daylight final day: full story

December 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm (Completed Twittertale) ()

2 Oct

EMO used to stand for ‘emotional’ – the teen subgroup that’s only happy to be sad. Now it’s become a disease eerily similar to vampirism.


My name’s Bell. I considered being EMO once, but then I saw a pretty butterfly and got over myself. Got bored and decided to save the world.


This is the documentary tale of the brave few fighting to find a cure for EMO (or, failing that, a quick and easy way to kill all those vampires dead).

3 Oct

In Civic, Ed kissed me and sighed. “Oh, Bell. Cloudy days are so deep.”

“Oh no!” I cried. “Ed, tell me you haven’t been bitten by an EMO!”


He didn’t laugh once at our preview of “Saw VI”. I yanked him into a rare patch of sun – and he sparkled. My boyfriend had turned EMO!


Finally he confessed: “My mum bit me.”

“Your MUM!?”

He sighed, “Sad, I know.”

“Do you want to drink my blood now?”

“Er. . . no,” he lied.

4 Oct

On the news: “The EMO subculture has now become a pandemic. EMO teens can be recognised by their depression, dark clothes, and bad poetry.”


I walked in the yard just as Mum set some weeds on fire. “Mum,” I said through the smoke, “Ed’s EMO.”

“That’s nice dear.”


My name’s pretty bad, but my brother is Pi. He’s ten and wears a labcoat. I told him, “Ed’s EMO.”

“Hm. Can I do experiments on him?”


5 Oct

“Ed, it’s the holidays. Don’t you feel a LITTLE happy?”

“No,” he said. “Bell, would it be okay if I drank you – just a little?”



“Exodermal Melanin Occlusion is spreading fast,” the news said. “Symptoms now include sparkling in sunshine, darkening hair, and whining.”


Ed tried to bite me, and I tripped over another EMO as I dodged him. Bruised my knees. Still not EMO, despite my black hair and long fringe.

6 Oct

Still not EMO, despite drenching rain. All the EMOs are thrilled they’re not sparkling today (Ed almost smiled). Bring back the sun!


“Cheer up,” said Mum, “I’ve decided to have a wedding.”

“But. . . you’re married.”

“Don’t spoil it. It’s exactly what all those EMOs need.”

7 Oct

I was dying my hair when Ed called. “Want to play EMO baseball with my family?”


He cried until I hung up.

My hair turned green. Oops.

8 Oct

Pi asked me for Ed’s old hairbrush, so I humoured him and brought it. He said, “Bell, I think there might be a cure for EMOs!”


Still not EMO, although Ed keeps trying to bite me. Awkward!

9 Oct

Mum said, “Don’t you just love weddings?”

“Does Dad even know?”

“Hush,” said Mum.

Our shopgirl wept quietly as she pinned Mum’s dress.

10 Oct

“Do you think a wedding could cure EMOs?” I asked.

Pi snorted and said, “Has Ed bitten you at all?”

“No, we just make out.”

Pi looked ill.

11 Oct

I saw Dad writing a journal and looking mournful. Uh-oh. Still not EMO myself, despite blood-starved boyfriend and lime green hair.


“Don’t let ANYONE drink your blood,” said the news. “Authorities recommend hitting EMOs with cricket bats. Stay alert, not alarmed.”

12 Oct

Ed wore an overcoat and hat to school. Our teachers freaked and put him in detention. I think he bit Mr Joh, the science teacher. Awkward!


Ed and I wandered the mall and saw heaps of decorations. Ed sighed, “Christmas is so deep. It makes me feel all –”


“How’d you know?”

13 Oct

Mr Joh burst into tears while telling us about the reproductive cycle of fruit flies. Ed gave him tissues. This EMO pandemic is so wrong.

14 Oct

Maths class was full of sighs and weeping. (Life hasn’t changed much.) I was put on detention for being insensitive about life’s deep pain.


The principal ran detention. He looked thirsty. I shrank in my seat. “Tomorrow,” he told me, “come to my office. Bring your school spirit.”

15 Oct

I brought my school spirit and a cricket bat. The principal grabbed my arm but I whacked him and dived under his desk until the bell rang.


Still not EMO, despite listening to principal discuss philosophy for the entire lunch hour. Thank you, cricket bat, thank you.

16 Oct

Ed took me to a graveyard for a date. It was crowded. He licked me on the neck, and I kneed him in the groin. “Don’t you love me?” he wept.


Still not EMO, despite kneeing EMO boyfriend in the groin. Actually, that was pretty fun.

17 Oct

I said to Pi, “You know how you wanted to experiment on Ed? Go for it.”

“Thank you thank you!”

It was great to see his childish joy.

18 Oct

Ed called and said, “My Mum wants to know how you got that lovely green in your hair.”

“Well, I –”

“Oh, what’s the point?!” he cried.


Pi and I snuck over, gagged Ed, and dragged him home. He sparkled all the way. We locked him in the spare room with a saucer of rat’s blood.

Still not EMO, despite Ed’s slurping of his rat blood. He always was a messy eater. Now he stinks too (he owns only one all-black outfit).

19 Oct

Still not EMO, despite Dad cornering me in the laundry to lecture me on the meaninglessness of his existence. Hope we find a cure.

20 Oct

Caught Pi measuring Ed’s fringe. “When do you start experimenting on him?” I asked.

He said, “Soon. I’m gathering data.”

Still not EMO.


Pi said, “Should we ungag Ed? Mum and Dad are fine with him being here.”

“No,” I said, “If we did that, he might start talking again.”

21 Oct

Is being obsessed with Ed’s hair a symptom of EMO? Pi was measured it AGAIN. I wish he’d go into the sunshine so I could see if he sparkles.

22 Oct

“Eureka!” Pi yelled from the EMO room. I ran in. Pi brandished his clipboard. “EMO makes your fringe grow!”

“How is that useful exactly?”


Still not EMO, even though my boyfriend has better hair than me. On the up side, Pi stood in sunlight for me – no sparkles. Unlike Dad.

23 Oct

“Oh,” Dad sighed, “weddings always make me cry.”

“No they don’t! You always laugh at the priest wearing a dress. Won’t that be fun?”


24 Oct

I felt mean and gave Ed his ipod and speaker. He played “Bleeding Love” for twelve hours. Still not EMO, though after that I do want to cry.

25 Oct

Ed’s Mum rang. I said, “Erm. . . Did you want Ed back?”

She sighed and said, “I don’t deserve him. You keep him.”

“Thanks. Thanks SO much.”

26 Oct

Came home from school to find Pi wrestling Ed. They broke apart and looked at me guiltily. “Ed! No biting!” I said.

“Who me?” he said.


Dobbed on Pi, but Mum wasn’t concerned. “Healthy exercise is just what EMOs need. What do you think about a red colour scheme?”


27 Oct

Found Ed pinned helplessly under Pi’s ten-year old foot. “This gets easier by the day!” said Pi.

I said, “We already KNEW EMOs were weak.”

Still not EMO, despite my boyfriend getting regularly beaten up by my nerdy little brother. Dad said red is a very emotional colour. Great.

28 Oct

Mr Joh said life is a meaningless series of unconnected events, so there’s no point studying. Finally this pandemic has an up side!

29 Oct

Pi enjoyed demonstrating his ability to restrain Ed with a single finger.

Mum and Dad’s wedding is set for thirty November.

Still not EMO.

30 October

Mum said, “Be my bridesmaid.”

“Sure – but won’t it be hard to keep your guests from biting one another – enclosed spaces, and all that?”

31 Oct

Finally a weekend! No more sightings of Mr Joh and the principal sharing a tissue box. No more in-class essays on HOW I FEEL. Just Ed. D’oh!

1 November

“Can you believe it’s my wedding month already?” trilled Mum.

Dad and I exchanged a glance of woe. I caught myself and checked for sparkles.


Still not EMO. How can my hair be so green without falling out? Maybe I’ve become an anti-EMO. If only I could believe that.

2 Nov

Someone with a hand-drawn Red Cross badge came looking for donations today. I’m pretty sure they don’t usually collect blood door-to-door.

3 Nov

The art teacher made us draw self-portraits. Most of the class mixed their paint with real tears. Went home and bashed head against wall.

4 Nov

The newsreader said, “Our alert has been raised to red – a deep, emotional red. You may as well get bitten. What does it matter anyway?”

5 Nov

All TV cancelled in favour of OC re-runs. Pi and I sat watching Ed cry for two hours. His fringe grew visibly. Still not EMO (pretty sure).

6 Nov

Spent our date night feeding Ed different types of animal blood. He likes dog best. I chose not to ask where Pi got it from. Dad likes cat.

7 Nov

Ed played “Bleeding Love” until I smashed his ipod speaker. He said I was unsupportive and tried to bite me. I’ve got to stay alert!

8 Nov

Decided to confirm Pi’s previous experiment, and challenged Ed to fisticuffs. Beat him easily every time. Science is fun.

9 Nov

I asked the school counsellor for advice on helping friends with EMO-related depression.

“It’s not depression,” she said, “It’s TRUTH.”

10 Nov

For English, Miss Winter read “Wuthering Heights”. It was impossible to understand, because she was sobbing so hard.

Still not EMO.

11 Nov

Our French teacher lectured us today on the deep sadness of all European nations. Luckily, she did most of it in French.

Still not EMO.

12 Nov

In History, Mr Theo told us the World Wars were largely pointless. And so was the Industrial Revolution. And everything else.

Still not EMO.

13 Nov

The principal interrupted maths to bite most of the front row. When the sun shone in the window, the sparkles were blinding.

Still not EMO.

14 Nov

Ed said if I loved him I’d let him bite me. He was too weak to try, but I kicked him in the groin anyway. Suddenly my week got better.

15 Nov

Mum hung out washing and my heart stopped. She was sparkling.

“Mum! You’re EMO!” I cried.

She said, “Nonsense. Look again.”

She was fine.


“Pi, I swear she was sparkling one moment and not sparkling the next.”

“Impossible,” he said.

I said, “You’re right. It must be the stress.”

16 Nov

“Two weeks to the wedding!” Mum yelled, waking me.

At least I could be certain she wasn’t EMO. Dad drew sad smileys on the invitations.

17 Nov

Mum picked fresh tomatoes for our dinner, and once again I could have sworn she was sparkling. But when I blinked, she wasn’t. Weird.

18 Nov

“Bell! Bell!” said Pi.

I said, “What?”

“You were right! Mum has a natural immunity.”


“I know. We have to clone her!”


19 Nov

“I have to what now?” I asked Pi.

He said, “Just ask Dad how often he bites Mum.”

“But –”

“We need to know. And I’m WAY too young to ask.”


Still not EMO, despite finding out Dad gives Mum hickies “every day or two”. I certainly FEEL sick. But will their grossness save the world?

20 Nov

I helped Pi get his cloning machine out of the shed. “And you DIDN’T win the science prize for this?”

He shrugged and said, “Nah. Volcanos.”

21 Nov

I got Mum to agree that she wished there were two of her doing all that wedding prep. She sat in Pi’s cloning machine and BOOM! Two Mums.


Still not EMO, despite suddenly copping twice as much wedding talk. I wish we could cure EMOs without actually talking to people.

22 Nov

Mum2 refused to get bitten. “Clones are people too. We have rights.”

“We?” said Pi.

That’s when Mum2 introduced Mum3, Mum4 and Mum5.

23 Nov

“Bell,” said Mum, “don’t be upset, but I’m going to be my own bridal party. Won’t it be fun?”

“Are ANY of you EMO yet?”

“Just your fathers.”

24 Nov

Ed’s coming to the wedding, because “it’ll be SUPER deep.” Tissue prices are rising. Still not EMO, despite getting shafted as bridesmaid.

25 Nov

Mum spent an hour crying due to Mum3 fitting her wedding dress better. I definitely saw sparkles. Then she went for a walk and got better.

26 Nov

Dad’s hair was already darkening because of EMO. He dyed it black for the wedding. His fringe is nearly chin-length. Still not EMO.


Pi crept into my room at night with a handful of syringes. “We need their blood! The Mums. Any one will do.”

I’m not sure he’s coping.

27 Nov

Tried to corner Mum5 but she just laughed at me. “I know a million more tricks than you, sweetheart!”

Still not EMO, despite my ten parents.

28 Nov

Pi yelled, “Bell! Mum3 is sparkling. We can grab her while she’s EMO and weak!

I ran out, but by the time we reached her Mum3 was fine.


Still not EMO, despite a clone of my Mum giving me a smack for being disrespectful. I hate it when that happens.

29 Nov

Tried to reason with the Mums. Big mistake. They were far too busy experimenting with hairstyles to want to hear how to save humanity.


Still not EMO, despite ten parents alternately telling me to (1) cheer up or (2) stop being so shallow now the wedding’s tomorrow. Bite me.


Dad avoided a ray of stained-glass sunlight. All the Mums glowed, and Mum3 sparkled. Mum walked down the aisle with a huge smile. . .


. . . and was tackled by Mum2. “This moment belongs to ME!” screamed Mum4, and jumped on top. Mum5 weighed in. Mum3 bit Mum5 on the leg.


I comforted Mum, saying the wedding was certainly lively. She passed me a full syringe. “I drew blood from Mum2 after Mum4 knocked her out.”

1 Dec

It was a relief to be back at school, even with Mr Joh’s sudden fascination with every Tim Burton movie ever made. Still not EMO.

2 Dec

Pi woke me, yelling, “It’s aliiiiive!”

“What?” “Mum2’s blood. I got Dad to drink a bit, and now the rest’s gone EMO.”

I went back to sleep.


Still not EMO, despite little brother developing his muttering skills suddenly. Poor Pi. He might not be EMO, but he’s also not. . . right.

3 Dec

Awoke with horrible thought and went to Pi. “You said Dad drank some of the blood sample. So his BACKWASH turned it EMO?”

“Yep. Ed’s, too.”


Still not EMO, despite beginning to wonder if blood tastes good. Ed says it’s like milo combined with tabasco sauce. I need to get out more.

4 Dec

The 7pm Project began with ten minutes of solemn reflection (Dave cried, then bit Carrie). Marge Simpson now wears black. I’m still not EMO.

5 Dec

Pi followed Mum around with Mum2’s blood vial clutched in his free hand. By the end of the day, the blood was dried, smelly – and un-EMO.


Still not EMO, though Pi won’t stop coming up with ever-weirder theories about Mum’s self-curing ability. He dissected our guinea pig, too.

6 Dec

Pi stumbled in holding his neck. Blood leaked through his fingers. As he fainted, he whispered, “It’s Mum’s behaviour, Bell, not her blood.”


“Please, Pi, try to focus. What did you mean it’s Mum’s behaviour? What is it she does that’s so different?” He shrugged, “Who cares?”


Still not EMO. My poor brother. . . Dad bit humanity’s best hope of recovery. Wait a sec. . . AM I EMO? That was practically poetry! Oh no!

7 Dec

Wandered the mall searching for anyone who wasn’t sparkling. I was all alone. Six Santas sat in a gutter, weeping and tolling their bells.

8 Dec

Got chased by three sad elves. Weird and frightening. Began disguising myself with dark clothes and morose expression. Green hair unhelpful.

9 Dec

“We’re thirsty,” said the newsreader. “We’re coming to find you, and we’ll drink to your health with your own sweet delicious blood!”

10 Dec

Pi came into my room. “You’re one of us, aren’t you Bell? You don’t want to be left behind, do you?”

Ed and four Dads shadowed him. I ran.

11 Dec

Found Mum at her work. She wasn’t sparkly. “How do you do it?” I begged. She said, “A good heart and plenty of fresh air, that’s how!”

12 Dec

Dreamed I was EMO. I walked into the sun and sparkled like fire – then I blew up! It was VERY sad. When I woke up, I knew what to do.

13 Dec

I crept into Pi’s room at night and dragged him into our old treehouse. He didn’t like his gag – or being tied onto the roof.

Then I waited.

14 Dec

Still not EMO, despite hiding in a treehouse and forcing my EMO brother to sparkle for over twelve hours.

Have I made a horrible mistake?

15 Dec

Pi thrashed in his bonds, attracting Ed and the Dads. They said, “Come down, Bell, we’re thirsty.”

Still not EMO – but for how long?

16 Dec

Spent the night listening to Pi moan and the Dads discuss whether I’d taste more like chilli sauce or peppermint chocolate when they ate me.


As the sun rose, the EMOs left to huddle inside. I saw their eyes, watching me. Watching my blood-flushed face. Getting ever thirstier.


I said, “You’ll have to climb up here. And what’s the point? What does it really mean?”

They discussed it, and I bought myself one more day.

17 Dec





“You saved me!”

I felt my eyes prick with tears. “I’m so glad you’re okay, Pi. Now we have to get out of here.”


We broke pieces off the treehouse and Whap! Bang! bashed those EMOs until they let us go. Running down the street, we laughed for joy.


“The cure is sunshine,” I explained to Pi.

He said, “Of course! The sparkling is caused by the mutated melanin escaping from the system.”


18 Dec

We stole cricket bats and attacked the school. Once we had the principal tied to the roof, the rest of the school toppled like dominoes.


“Job well done,” I said to Pi. We walked away whistling.

Mr Joh called faintly, “You’re both on detention! I’ll get you!”

19 Dec

“Should I check on the school?” Pi asked.

I said, “Nah. Once they’re cured they’ll be strong enough to untie themselves. Almost definitely.”

20 Dec

We found Mum in church, basking in the stained-glass light as her sparkles faded again. “Will you help us save the world?”

“Okay,” she said.

21 Dec

The Mums enjoyed tying the Dads to the treehouse roof a little too much.

Pi and I weren’t EMO, but we certainly felt wrong inside.


The three of us stormed Parliament House. I might have accidentally broken the Prime Minister’s nose (a little). Awkward!

22 Dec

Dad almost fooled us into untying him from the roof. He claimed he hadn’t finished buying our Christmas presents. Diabolical EMO tricks!

23 Dec

Dad’s probably recovered, but we left him there for safety’s sake. Mum and Pi and I took over Win News and wrote our own bulletin.


“We have thought-provoking news,” I read. “Excessive sunbathing causes cancer, which is VERY sad. Don’t go outside, whatever you do!”

24 Dec

We took Dad to the shops to tie a few Santas to the roof and treat ourselves to a little looting. We felt we’d all earned it.


Counted more than fifty EMO sunbathers on the way home. Our cunning plan is working! Soooo many sparkles.

25 Dec

“Sunny day,” Dad smiled.

I unwrapped my present. “Oh Dad, you shouldn’t have! A brand new cricket bat. Thanks!”

“I got one for each of us.”


The EMOs came at Christmas lunch. Somehow, they knew we’d tricked everyone. They battered at the windows and scratched at the doors. Oh no!


The clone parents charged with bats held high – sacrificing themselves to save us. We escaped while the EMOs had THEIR Christmas lunch.

26 Dec

Mum, Dad, Pi and I hid on Mount Stromlo. The Mums found us – Mums always know where to look. Mum3 dragged me off while the others fought.


“It’s polite to share,” Mum3 smirked. She locked me in our basement and said, “We’ll ALL see you soon. . . sweet, delicious heart.”

27 Dec

Still not EMO, despite being locked in basement by evil clone. I hate it when that happens. Discouraged the EMOs briefly by singing carols.

28 Dec

They begged me to stop singing. I negotiated a deal for three hundred chocolate-filled advent calendars. One last cunning plan. . .

29 Dec

Ate three advent calendars’ worth of chocolate before remembering I had a plan. Too bad my mouth was full. The EMOs closed in.


I pelted the EMOs with sweet delicious chocolate. Their mouths were hanging open for my blood, so I got the chocolate in. But no effect!


“Happy New Year!” I screamed. While they contemplated their 2010 life goals I ran to Mum’s sunroom and superglued my face to the window.

30 Dec

I awoke with a blood-soaked neck. Still not EMO. . . oh wait, yes I am. Finally I understand that everything sucks. Still glued to window.


The sun climbed the sky. Sparkles danced across my skin like annoying little angels of joy. Bleaugh! Stupid Christmas! Stupid glue!


The sparkles ended, and I felt hungry for leftover Turkey instead of blood. I’m not EMO any more, hurray! Now if I could just unglue myself.

31 Dec

“Sticky situation?” Mum giggled, waking me.

I said, “Shut up and unglue me.”

“What’s the magic word?”

“Bite me.”

She sighed and unglued me.


Pi and Dad were fine too. “The army’s here,” said Pi, “and they’re using mirrors to reflect and multiply sunlight, 24-7. It’s over. We won!”


We toasted Pi and ate Christmas leftovers for New Year’s Eve. Ed joined us – happily. I just wish Mum would give back the cloning machine.


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Worse Things Happen at Sea (whole story)

September 29, 2009 at 11:33 pm (Completed Twittertale)

August 1.

Sun. Pain. I cracked open my eyes and saw land. ‘Sol!’ I said.

‘CAPTAIN Sol,’ she said – and crumpled.  

‘We’re saved,’ I said. ‘Right? SOL!’


Sol awoke. She sat up, unsticking her tarred hair from the deck of our stolen boat. ‘We’re sinking.’

I leapt overboard and swam to save us.


I wanted to drink the sea, but I swam. The waves flung me upside down and the sea darkened as I drowned.

Sol grasped my neck.

I passed out.

Land Land 

August 2.

The sizzle of frying eggs woke me.

‘Yep,’ said Sol to a bald man beside us, ‘nasty pirates coming. Best hide your treasure. We’ll help.’

August 3.

We ate bread and wine and milk, and a yellow fruit that tasted like chocolate. It was fun, pretending to be good.

I got a stomach ache.

August 4.

Treasure, I discovered, is heavy. But Sol wore a girlish smile so I didn’t say a word.

The locals thought we were just kids. But we weren’t.

August 5.

The bald elder missed his jewels, so our good times ended fast.

‘Ulandin,’ Sol grinned, ‘don’t waste our loot on food. Let’s steal a ship.’


A beggar took pity on me and gave us his crusts to gnaw. ‘I’m called Oldy,’ he said.

Sol said, ‘Ulandin’s my first mate. Wanna be our crew?’

Oldy gives Ulandin bread Oldy gives Ulandin bread 


Oldy sang songs until the harbour guards left. We chose the best ship and crept past its crew into the hold.

‘Great,’ I said, ‘we’re stuck.’

August 6.

The crew was dull with sleepiness. Oldy rose like a grey ghost in the bridge.

Sol used magic to fell three men. The rest ran for help.


Oldy said, ‘Sol’s a quickener? She moves objects by just touch?’

‘It’s common enough.’

‘Not at sea. It’s bad luck.’

‘Sol’s used to that.’


‘The guards have swords,’ I said.

Sol said, ‘Want one?’

‘I want to go.’

She quickened the ship. We sailed away with every sail still closed.

August 7.

Sol slept, so we drifted. The sun weighed heavy on my shoulders.

‘At least I wasn’t a slave,’ said Oldy.

I said, ‘We both escaped.’


August 8.

The ship’s old owners left tasty food in it – salted meat, squishy fruit and lots of crackers. Also rum.

Maybe I drunks a bit too muchness.

August 9.

Sol magically bellied out the sails. We were all surprised when we started going backward.

I tried not to laugh.

Sol broke my tooth anyway.

August 10.

Sol delighted in the burning wind and sun and the constant desperate clapping of our sails.

‘Look,’ said Oldy. ‘Is that a ship – or land?’

August 11.

‘It’s a ship,’ I said at first light, ‘so do we meet them – or do we run?’

Sol picked at her tarred hair and said, ‘Let’s take their crew.’


The wind tore at my eyes. Sol yelled, ‘Trim the sails!’ I actually thought she meant to cut them.

Oldy suddenly knew how to sail – somehow.


‘Pink!’ Sol screamed. ‘Stupid pink sky! And why is that ship still running?’

‘We’ll get them,’ I said.

‘Or they’ll get us,’ said Oldy.

The other ship The other ship 

August 12.

‘Sol – Captain Sol?’ I said. ‘Hit me if you like, but there’s forty of them and three of us. And Oldy’s. . . old.’

‘Poor them,’ she smirked.


The wind dropped and we caught them.

They laughed at us. I longed to hide behind Oldy.

Then Sol arose, grabbed a rope, and swung across.


‘Do you surrender?’ she cried.

They grabbed swords, but she still had her magic.

Their ship shattered.

‘We’re sorry miss!’ they wept.

August 13.

‘A captain goes down with his ship,’ said Sol – and tied him to his mast. His ship screamed as it sank.

He screamed as long as he could.

August 14.

I said, ‘I’m afraid of her – but I know I’m made to follow her. Are you the same?’

‘No,’ said Oldy. ‘I’m not afraid. And I’m following you. 

August 15.

‘Stop cowering,’ Sol told our new crew, ‘I dislike it. Now, hows about we attack a real target – like an island. Who here wants to be rich?’


I asked Oldy why he was following me.

He said, ‘Sol has you. Now you have me.’

‘But –’

‘Everyone needs someone. I of all people know that.’

August 16.

My back and wrists ached.

 The sword tutor asked, ‘Will this island have women then?’

‘I suppose.’

He cheered and toasted Sol – with my rum.

August 17.

A man muttered something to his crewmates while Sol was out of sight.

I crept up and grabbed his arm.

He shrieked – EXACTLY like a girl.

August 18.

‘But you ARE a girl,’ I said.

‘No I ain’t.’

‘Don’t the men know?’

‘Coz it ain’t true,’ she said, and picked her nose at me.

I gave up.


‘Li’s a girl,’ I told Oldy.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘she’ll be fine.’

‘How could anyone know that?’

He smiled, ‘I’m much older than I look.’

August 19.

Sol cheated at lessons, using magic to bend the swords – then the teacher.

Luckily Oldy was a healer. ‘Kindly stop breaking arms,’ he said.


‘Wanna be free?’ Li asked.

I said, ‘Sol already freed me.’

She hauled on a sail: ‘Do you really think that?’

I tied a knot: ‘Don’t you?’

August 20.

Night wind and stars. I shadowed men to Sol’s cabin, and yelled when they pulled out a knife.

She killed two in an eyeblink.

The rest fled.


I threw the bodies away, knowing Li had led them.

Sol and I kept watch in silence all night. Oldy slept on in his cabin.

I dreaded the dawn.


Sol judged us at dawn. Li confessed, and Sol threw her overboard.

The men vanished below like dust swept up.

But I saw Oldy steal the boat.

Oldy stole the boat Oldy stole the boat 

August 21.

Oldy sauntered in and helped himself to salty breakfast stew.

‘Didn’t you go with Li?’ I asked.

He shrugged, ‘I came back.’


 ‘Who stole my boat?’ Sol screamed.

Oldy raised his hand. ‘You’re a fine captain. We won’t need it.’

Sol said, ‘You’ll live – for now.’


August 22.

I showed Sol our hold. She said, ‘We still have food for – what – two days?’

‘About that,’ I said, ‘and we’re out of soap.’

‘I’d noticed.’


August 23.

We reached land, searched empty houses, and found a child’s skeleton clutching at dirt.

‘Anyone want to leave?’ Sol said.

No-one spoke.


August 24.

The sun glared on something, and we sailed for it: a pirate ship.

‘Hurrah,’ said Sol, ‘they’ll have food AND treasure.’

The ship chased us.




I forgot my sword lessons and punched and bit. The real pirates slashed my arms and legs. We lost badly. Sol’s face was black with rage.


 Sol ran her hand across the bars of our cell – tink, tink, tink. No-one else moved.

‘They’ll feed us soon,’ she said. ‘Then we’ll attack.’

 August 25.

I woke slumped against Oldy’s fuzzy beard. Sol was gone. Only our bodies held us up. Then Sol appeared with her arms full. ‘Anyone thirsty?’ 

Sol appeared with her hands full Sol appeared with her hands full 




Sol brought us food and life all night. Our guard almost saw her, but she passed magically through the outer wall of the ship until he left.

August 26.

‘Do we fight now?’ I asked.

Sol said, ‘Anyone got a sword? No? Never mind. Oldy – come.’

We waited in silence, and heard nothing at all.


Sol said, ‘They’re all asleep.’

‘A healing sleep,’ Oldy said, ‘which I wish I had time to give you.’

We scoffed pie before we started work. 


We locked the pirates in their filthy cell. Then we stole their cannons, food, and water. And soap. And all their boats. And LOTS of rum.                                          

August 27.

Sol sat on the bowsprit in the dashing spray, frowning. ‘Why, when we won, did half our crew desert?’

‘They’re afraid of you.’

She smiled.

August 28.

I saw girls playing on a beach as we drew close.

‘Let’s attack some other island,’ I said hastily. ‘People with kids never have much loot.’



Sol politely traded a silver necklace for anchorage. She ordered our remaining crew to be good – no stealing, no killing – not yet.


I bought new clothes! Ones with no holes! And I bought myself a bright yellow hat, so I look nautical.

If only the ground would stop moving.

August 29.

No crew returned. Sol said, ‘We’re it? A princess, a beggar and a slave?’

I said, ‘Princess? Who’s a –you?!’

‘NO!’ she said. ‘I- shut up.’


One man turned up.

‘Hello Mal,’ said Sol. ‘Where’s everyone?’

He shrugged.

‘Fine,’ she said, ‘let’s burn this place and find a better one.’


Sol saw kids in a corner and had me take them outside. Once they were safe, we burned their home too.


The night sky turned grey with smoke.

August 30.

I could still see the smoke as we sailed away. At least we hadn’t killed any kids.

Sol was content, even when Mal burnt our dinner to ashes.


‘If you’re following me, does that mean you’ll help me – if things get bad?’

‘Yes,’ said Oldy.

After that talk, I was able to get to sleep.

August 31.

‘Why are all the islands here so black?’ Sol grumbled.

Oldy said, ‘When we take over an island, what will we do with it?’

‘Anything I want.’

September 1.

Sol and I practised swordfighting, and I noticed her hands were soft.

‘A princess ain’t much,’ she growled at me, ‘just a slave in a dress.’

September 2.

Rain poured until my clothes were rough as rocks. We sailed, but we couldn’t see. Sol made us stay on watch – staring into the stormy dark.

September 3.

Water spilled into our cabins and slicked the wooden floors.

Oldy paced the hold as the ship staggered. ‘It’s not time. Not yet,’ he said.

September 4.

At last I found my guts.

‘What do you know about this?’ I shouted at Oldy above the howling wind.

He said, ‘I know we all survive tonight.’

September 5.

The wind threw me into a mess of ropes and I was trapped. It tossed me around and dunked me under waves. A rope slipped around my neck.


Sol slashed through the ropes, saving my life again. ‘Lazy sod,’ she yelled over the thunder, ‘come help throw the cannons overboard.’


We threw away our weapons and our food, but Sol kept her treasure. The lightened ship flew over the ocean. We hurtled deeper into the dark.

We threw away our weapons and our food. . . We threw away our weapons and our food. . . 

September 6.

Rain. Hail. Rope burns on my arms and chest. Can’t see. Can’t eat. Can’t think. All I can do is hold on until the end. If this ever ends.


The sky was lit by stars instead of lightning. I hung out all my clothes, and asked Oldy how he knew we’d live.

He said, ‘I always know.’

September 7.

We lay in the sun and slept. Sol was naked, so I was careful not to look. Oldy snored.

When I stood, my shape was outlined in dark wet wood.

I was careful not to look I was careful not to look 

September 8.

‘We were blown into unfamiliar seas,’ said Sol, ‘so I bet there’s a REALLY rich island nearby.’

‘Sol,’ I said, ‘look – land!’

September 9.

The locals wore purple and carried gold on their wrists and necks.

‘This is the place,’ said Sol.

Mal leered.

Oldy and I exchanged glances.

September 10.

We practised sword work below decks, out of sight of the people we spied on. Their guards were fat and sleepy, and the houses left unlocked.


Oldy didn’t speak to me, but I knew he was ready. And I knew he was more than he seemed. He frightened me more than Sol – who scared me too.

September 11.

A boy asked Sol for food.

She looked at him. ‘You want gold?’

‘No,’ said the boy, ‘just bread.’

‘Be one of us,’ said Sol.

‘Okay – captain.’

September 12.

The forgotten children came to us one by one – dark-haired, dark-eyed, and ready to fight as Sol’s army.

Oldy sang to them as night fell.

September 13.

Sol taught the kids swordwork. One of them slashed her belly open – then cowered in fear. ‘Get up, kid,’ said Sol, ‘Red looks good on me.’

September 14.

Kids kept cutting one another while training. ‘Can we just fight with knives and rocks, like usual?’ one asked, scratching his bloody chin.

September 15.

Sol and I watched the harbour. ‘That ship’s better’n ours,’ said Sol, ‘so when we rule here, I’m gonna make it mine. The blue one’s for you.’

September 16.

‘We’re under attack!’ Sol yelled. I ran to save the kids, but by the time I reached them our attackers had fled – bleeding and afraid.


Night fell over two rows of fighters – the guards standing between us and their island, and our own vicious pack lined up on our port side.

September 17.

‘Signals,’ said Sol.

I asked, ‘To who?’

‘To our other ships, of course.’

We signalled instructions all day. I don’t even know what we said.

September 18.

Finally most of our guards had left – to find our imaginary fleet.

‘Now?’ I asked Sol.

‘No,’ she said, ‘I want them more afraid.’

September 19.

The horizon was red with fire, and the air tasted bitter with smoke. Our kids came back from their missions grinning and scorched.

September 20.

All the guards went to save their homes. We anchored off-shore. The guards returned black-faced with ash and rage.

‘Tomorrow,’ said Sol.

September 21.

Oldy stayed on board. We all rowed to shore in three boats. The few quay guards crowded one another, falling into the sea for Sol to kill.

Sol said, ‘See that house on the hill – the one with the turrets? That’s where we’re going.’

‘Yes captain,’ I sighed. Oldy was far away.


The kids ran ahead up the winding road, fighting anyone that got in our way. By the time we reached the castle, no one remained but us.

September 22.

Sol ordered a throne of gold, and we made it.

‘Bring me a slaver,’ she said.

We brought one – and she stabbed him.


Sol killed, and killed again. No one seemed to know why any more. Bile rose in my throat.

Oldy remained at the ship, so I was alone.

September 23.

‘Kid, what’s your name?’ I asked.


‘Take a message. Tell Oldy to draw Sol away from here – somehow.’

Hin ran straight to Sol.

I fled.

September 24.

I didn’t sleep or eat. The kids patrolled the streets, mockingly calling for me. ‘Come out, come out, Ulandin. Captain wants to see you.’

September 25.

I climbed onto a roof to sleep, but Hin saw me. Four more kids came running – but I had a sword. I slashed their legs and left them cursing.

September 26.

Even the guards served Sol now, so I couldn’t take a boat. I crawled down the beach and swam like a sea-snake toward the distant ship.


I heard shouts and swam faster, gulping water. The kids laughed and threw rocks. One smashed into my shoulder, and my arm stopped working.


Oldy dived into the water and saved me.

‘Burn the ship,’ I whispered.

He said, ‘Aye, aye sir.’

We fought two kids, and the rest let us go.

September 27.

Oldy healed my arm – or close enough. We poured oil into the hold, each cabin, and the galley. ‘This is it then,’ I said, and made a spark.


We sat on the galley tables drinking rum and pouring it on the walls. ‘How long will it burn?’ I asked.

Oldy shrugged: ‘She’ll come.’

September 28.

‘Um, sir?’ said Oldy, waking me, ‘should we go on deck now?’ Behind him a flaming wall bent inward then fell to bits, spraying fire.


‘Hi boys,’ said Sol; a glowing outline. ‘Thanks for trying to save my ship, but it’s over. And that lying Hin is gone.’

We dived to safety.


Sol walked aft as the flames grew. ‘She’s going below!’ said Oldy.

‘Not without me,’ I said. I climbed the broken wood to save her.

September 29.

Sol screamed at me from the bridge. ‘A captain goes down with her ship!’

‘It’s not your ship, remember?’

She paused. ‘Oh, FINE! Let’s go.’


We dived into cool water and blinked ash from our eyes. The kids lined the shore. Sol pointed at a better ship, and they went to fetch it.


Sol and I trod water. ‘I didn’t like ruling anyway,’ she said, ‘too much like home. Where’s Oldy?’

‘Gone,’ I said – but I knew he’d return.

September 30.

We sailed at dawn, weighed down with loot – and drinking water. The sun turned our new ship’s sails pure gold, and Sol re-tarred her hair.


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