Think up a narrative about some form of travel—anything from setting out on an adventure, to a school trip to somewhere, to crossing a border, to an accident on the way, (a train wreck perhaps).
Begin this in the voice of a collective first person: “We.”
How does a group consciousness describe the experience?
Consider both Karen Russell’s “St. Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves” and Ayșe Papatya Bucak’s “The History of Girls” as examples of this voice. Note that both authors introduce the element of the individual “I” at critical points among the we. See if you can identify in your story idea where the individual “I” might intrude or take over. (500 words and up)
We have to get going. We need to make the bed for sure.
We have time. They won’t be up for anther hour.
Unless they came in last night and changed the clock?
Who does that? That would be mean.
The bed is wet. Did we pee the bed?
No, of course we didn’t. It is wet by the pillows. Someone spilt water.
They will be sooooo mad! Come over here to the trash can. We left all sorts of clothes out too.
I don’t understand? Some of these clothes-
They are children clothes. You fool, I have said it over and over. This is not our room. These are the clothes a teenager would wear. I mean, underwear with tacos on it and a Rolling Stone t-shirt?
Then whose room is it?
Their kid. He is like seventeen.
Where is he?
I mean, look at these shirts with “Ridgeline High School” on them? They are for a child. We don’t go to school.
Why are they all over the floor?
I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t clean up before we got here?
Or maybe he came in last night. Maybe he was watching us sleep?
Don’t be ridiculous. Why would a seven year old watch us?
Maybe they sent him. Maybe he put devices in the drawers? Maybe we are being watched right now?
I think we may have thrown them there.
We really need to stop worrying about the clothes. We have to fix this water problem. What if it wasn’t an accident and there is a leak?
On the bed?
We don’t know. That is the point. Let’s get the cover over the wet spot.
The cover is wet too.
We poured the water there. To drown out the voices.
If so, where is the cup?
Let’s go check the bathroom. If there is a cup, it will be in there.
What do you see?
There is a cup in here. It is wet inside. It has been used recently.
By us. See?
But look at this. There is an Incredible Hulk shampoo. We don’t ever use commercialized shampoo. The additives make you droggy. Someone else has been in here.
Idiot. You are a freaking idiot. I told you already. This is not our room. It is a boy’s room. We just came to stay the night.
Then why does the pill bottle have our name on it?
We can’t take those pills. They make us feel blind. We can’t see the world clearly on those. We have to get out of here before they make us take them.
After we make the bed. You should always make the bed first.
The pill bottle has our name on it. But so does the picture frame.
Let me look. “Our boy. Charles.” That could be a coincidence.
I don’t like it here. It isn’t safe being inside like this. Too easy to find us.
That is the first sensible thing you’ve said. Let’s get this bed made. And we will put a note on the nightstand. “Sorry we spilled the water.”
Okay. But write it left handed so it won’t look like our writing.
Do you see the notebook next to the pad of paper? Pictures. These are pictures of us! As a young kid, a teenager. Look, here is one that looks almost exactly like the person we just saw in the mirror.
Do you think it is a one-way mirror? I didn’t consider that. I’m scared.
Look, the bed is made. We put the clothes that weren’t ours in the pillowcases and folded the openings down so they won’t come out again. Let’s go.
What about the pictures? I think this is our bedroom. Our parents’ house, maybe.
Nonsense. If it was our parents’ house, we would have our own room. We wouldn’t share it with some teen boy.
Unless we were that boy? What if that medicine? What if our parents will walk through that door and we will know this is our place? And it is safe?
Only safe place is on the streets. Keep moving. That’s how to keep them from finding you. Look, I packed our stuff. I took the Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts the kid left. Two whole boxes. Can we leave him something in payment?
All I have are a few buttons.
Leave a green one and two blue ones. That should do. Do you all mind if we leave through the window? I want to avoid any cameras that might be on the front door.
So you all don’t want to stay and see if it is our parents? What if we are sick? What if we need help? What if-
I do the worrying for us. And I say better to leave. We can find a hiding spot and watch the house a bit from a distance. See who comes and goes. Carefully, of course. Someone might try and follow us.
That’s a good idea. Did you take the battery out of the phone?
The one on the nightstand? I don’t think it is ours. Besides, it has water all over it.
Leave it here, then. Let’s go.
Bye mom. Bye Dad. I love you and we tried.
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