For those unfamiliar, here's a recap:
"Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make a decent number of hops before it dies out.
If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate, it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.
Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours." -Splotches
There always has to be a start of a story, so here it is...
The ground crunched beneath my feet. Besides my noisy footsteps, I heard only the sound of the gentle crackling fire behind me. Its faint orange light lazily revealed my immediate surroundings. Beyond the glow, there was total blackness. I whistled. I took the small rock I had been carrying and whipped it away from me, expecting a thud, crack or plop -- but a soft yelp of a cry answered. (Splotchy)------
"Crap! I forgot all about Monster," I realized. "I must be drunker than I thought," I spoke aloud to no one in particular, though an owl answered my drunken slur. Ever since my neighbors have been giving me grief for the way Monster chases their cats and poops in their lawn, I haven't felt comfortable staying in my house. I'm pretty sure my landlady is thinking about evicting me, so I've decided to lay low for a while.
To the surprise of no one... (Freida Bee)
...but myself, Monster has become increasingly unstable and unpredictable. I thought I could keep him under control, that through love and perseverance and the training techniques I learned at the institute I could introduce him into human society after just a bit of effort.
I was wrong, of course. We were all wrong.
Our colossal blunder began as most colossal blunders begin -- with the best of intentions. We wanted to end disease and human suffering. Our experiments in genetics, fueled by the endless possibilities we foresaw once the human genome was mapped, led us down a garden path of scientific achievement and biological conquest. We imagined only positive outcomes, and ignored the negative possibilities to our peril.
That's how we -- I -- wound up with a drooling, hirsute, gruesome Monster living under my porch.
Of course, it didn't start out badly. At first, Monster...
...was a cute, cuddly little bundle of joy. We welcomed her (did I say "he" earlier? We've never been able to accurately determine a gender) into the world with open arms. Delivered by a bovine host who gave her life so that Monster could live, we never suspected that this fuzzy bouncing little bundle of love could ever do anyone harm. I should have known. We all should have known. The signs were there from the start.
First, there was the strange disappearance of Mr. Cuddles.
Mr. Cuddles was our cat, a 10-year-old Persian with a foul face and an equally foul disposition. He gained his ironic moniker after destroying the kitty bed we bought for him in a catnip-fueled burst of frightening energy. We enjoy dichotomy like that around here.
But I digress. Mr. Cuddles went missing about a week after the arrival of Monster. At first we thought he was baiting our jealous nature by hiding out somewhere in the laundry room under the copious piles of dirty shirts and jeans that always seemed to be stacking up. It wasn't until we found a tuft of hair attached to a sharpened claw under Monster's pillow that we got suspicious.
It was all downhill after that.
Odd little things started to happen. Fish would disappear from the tank. Shoelaces would be tied to the wrong shoes. All the Compact Flourescent lamps in the house were replaced overnight with 100-watt energy-burners. And oddest of all, the Cap'n Crunch would be missing its Crunchberries. That's when we realized that...