(Please note - finished short novel will initially only be available as an eBook.)
See my Facebook linked creative writing prompts for a reminder about this Don Brandenberg storyline. More Linked Writing Prompts - Suitable for readers aged 16+
Below are the first two passages in my Don Brandenberg Twine 2 game.
You are standing in the red shipping container. It is empty apart from a desk in the corner. It looks like the Monjenki syndicate have moved to new premises. You open the desk draws and find a notepad with an address on it. It says Office 296, Burgundy Tower.
--- You know this is a new build funded with all sorts of dirty money. The building is located in what used to be the East End of London. Now, high tech buildings are gradually replacing the run down slums, but the area still remains tainted.
You slowly walk back to the self-drive and put your holdal in the boot. The fire in your gut has been extinguished; finding the container empty has taken the edge off your anger and now you need to use your brain not your brawn.
I'm starting a brand new game about a young boy's first encounter with a Viking. The first scene is below. You could use this as a starting point for a story for now and then look out for my Twine 2 game which will be finished in a few months time.
You have been alive for eight years and
lived in your village all of those years. You are standing by the
shore and are looking at a sight you have not seen before.
---A type of boat shaped like a long serpent with its head sticking out of the water is slowly coming towards you. Many men are rowing the boat as the sail is lowered. They see you and talk harshly in a strange tongue. A man stands up and climbs out into the sea. From what you sense he looks as if he means you no harm.
---The stranger reaches you as the boat turns and sails away. He takes your hand and shakes it vigorously. His smile reassures you and when he beckons you to go towards your village you decide to take him.
---As you walk, he points out plants and names them in his strange tongue. Some of his words you can repeat back to him, but some are too difficult to say. You say the names in your tongue and he has a go at copying you. You laugh together at your attempts.
---You soon reach the village, but your folk react with suspicion towards the stranger…
Weeks pass, and the stranger is fitting in well with village life. He has been given a job helping the bread maker as he seems to be familiar with baking. His name has been so difficult for village folk to say, the village Chief came to you and asked if you would give the man a name. You call the stranger Ailis and he smiles and nods in agreement.
You have learnt quite a bit from Ailis over the weeks and have found out that his people live on cold, barren rocks by the sea most of the year. They migrate to grasslands inland in the summer months and that is the time Ailis likes best. He is knowledgeable in all things that grow and over the years has learnt what is safe to eat and what things can be improved by cooking.
It is morning and your Mother gently shakes you awake. Your Father stands in the doorway, looking concerned.
---'Bret, it’s Ailis, he’s not well,' she says.
---'Uh, where is he?' you ask.
---'Father took him to
---'I must go at once,' you say.
food, Father will go with you.'
---You and Father go to Healer’s hut and gently push the leather covering aside. Inside Healer is cooking up some special leaves over his fire. Ailis is lying on a bed of clean straw. He is moaning and holding his stomach.
---'How is he, Healer?' Father asks.
---'He’s taken some of the stewed medicine. It should start to work soon. He must have misidentified one of our native plants. It’s easily done.'
---You go over to Ailis and he stirs opening his eyes.
---'Bret, I must warn you, my people will be coming to your lands soon. They are not as kind as me. They sent me to befriend your people and to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. They intend to take your lands from you.'
---Father hears this and grabs you by the arm. 'What have you brought upon us?'
---You try to convince him that Ailis is a good man, but he tells you that if Ailis lives he will be imprisoned in the stone hut.
Rebecca and you
enter deeper into the forest. You can hear the shouts of men in the
distance but Rebecca assures you that they won't catch up. Soon you
both exit the forest into the clearing. A message flashing on your
watch tells you that your colleagues are nearing the island. You can
now see a strange flying machine that must be one of the prototypes
from HQ(2). As the craft approaches, you can see Brandy Taylor is
flying it; she waves at you and lands nearby.
is Rebecca," you say, as you guide her into the craft.
---"It's good to see you, Sean," says Alex. "Welcome aboard Rebecca. Take a seat next to Sarah, she'll look after you."
---Brandy takes the machine high above the island and Rebecca whispers, "Love you, Mum," and wipes a tear from her cheek.
Rebecca sat in her hotel room looking out of the window. She’d just turned the television off. She was bored with the constant chatter about celebrities she didn’t know. Sean had told her to pick a surname as she didn’t have one. On the island many people didn’t have last names, it was common. Here, in London, she wouldn’t be able to function without a second name. There would be forms to fill in, she’d need to register with a doctor and dentist and look for work, no one was going to be able to deal with her properly unless she had a second name.
She eventually set about the task of choosing a name for herself. Sean had left numerous magazines for her to look through and an article about an artist called Susan Towley had caught her eye. She read through the piece about her move to Norfolk after a hectic life as a company director. Apparently, Susan had wanted to be an artist from an early age but different career opportunities cropped up or life’s usual obstacles had always gotten in the way. Rebecca was feeling an affinity with Susan Towley and decided she would take her name, well, her surname at least.
The fresh breeze and smell of the pine trees were helping Rebecca to unwind. The past week had been overwhelming for her. The move from the island to London was proving difficult. Rebecca’s mother had been desperate to get her only daughter off the island, and Rebecca had wanted to escape just as much, but now, with reality hitting hard, she was glad to escape London, if only for a while.
She stood still, listening. She was missing this. Being able to hear the sounds of the forest, sensing all around her, being at one with nature. Her mother, Servaein, had taught her daughter all the skills needed to survive in such an environment and this was going to serve her well in her chosen career route. Whilst looking through some magazines Sean had left with her, she saw a job opportunity in the classifieds; the advertisement had been for a Forest Adventure Leader, which involved teaching groups of children about forest shelter/survival techniques. Sean’s organisation was going to provide all the references and paperwork she would need to take up this opportunity and if the job was offered to her, she would be starting the following month.
Rebecca didn’t know what to do. It had been five hours since a group of children had wandered off on their own and it was now starting to get dark. She had only been in the job two months and thought that this was going to be a black mark against her before she’d even reached her six-month appraisal. She didn’t want to call her superiors, so decided on a very drastic action. She reached in her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone. His name popped up and she hesitated, should she do this or not? She decided to go for it; she pressed the screen and Sean answered. Once she’d explained the situation he calmed her down and said they’d be on their way as quickly as possible.
Sean Tanner had called in a few favours and was now lead helicopter pilot of a small squadron of five. He had Brandy Taylor next to him who was flipping switches until she found the infra-red camera. The helicopter screen turned green and the way was visible. They arrived at Rebecca’s forest school in a formation and quickly adopted a planned search pattern.
Sean Tanner desperately clung to the empty oil drum that was catapulted into the sea when the HM Coastguard vessel was destroyed. He looked around for other survivors but the waves were obstructing his view. As far as he was concerned, he was alone, at least fifty miles from shore.
Five hours earlier…..
Sean parked his electric car in the car park next to the docks. It was an early start, Six O’clock AM but it was bright and not too chilly. He grabbed his backpack and locked his car. He could have sent the car back to HQ2 on its own, driverless but he’d have to get back by public transport, which was always a bit hit and miss.
Tanner flashed his ID at a Security Officer in a booth and was shown to his vessel, The Endeavour. Sean was to spend the day observing the British Coastguard to see if he could identify any shortcomings that could be improved upon.
Brandy Taylor switched on the TV and caught the tail end of a newsflash. The Newsreader was reporting that a British Coastguard vessel had been destroyed off the coast of Britain. When Brandy heard the name of the vessel her heart skipped a beat. She searched for her mobile and called Alex straight away.
Alex Farrington was overseeing building activities at HQ2; the site they had taken over was woefully inadequate and needed extensive alteration. He called for the crew to take a break and was about to go to the canteen when his mobile rang.
"Alex, I’ve just seen the News. Sean’s boat has been destroyed."
"What? Has HQ been in touch?"
"No, they might not know yet."
"I’ll go and talk to Sarah, she might have some up-to-date news."
"Keep me posted Alex, let me know when you hear something."
"I will, love you. Talk to you soon." Alex ended the call and set off towards the main building. He thought Sarah Serking must have some intelligence about the incident. He couldn’t understand why she hadn’t been in touch.
The craft was of an unusual design but Alex, Brandy and Sarah Serking all clambered in and buckled up. The helipad was getting quite a buffeting by strong crosswinds, so they hoped the experimental craft was up to the job. Brandy initiated the automatic launch sequence and entered the last known coordinates of The Endeavour. The small craft took off without any wobbles which came as a surprise to the on board crew, considering the gusty conditions. A storm had been forecast for later on that day so time was of the essence. If Sean Tanner and other crew members were still alive they needed to pinpoint their positions as quickly as possible. A larger support craft would meet up with them once they were over the wreck site.
Prompt 4 is in the form of a piece of interactive fiction.