Here it is – our take-it-in-turns story from the creative (and barmy) brains at Word Monster.
Rules: There aren’t any. Each person writes the next section of story and can introduce whatever the frick they like.
And in the beginning…..
Laura L: Toothy had been hard at work for hours. His desk was a mug graveyard, and his bin was overflowing with paper and wrappers from the Chewits he’d nicked from Sizzle’s desk. Truth be told, he was a little hyped up on sugar, but that’s typically when the best ideas started percolating through his brain.
Suddenly, Toothy had it. He reached for his shiny, purple pen and started scribbling frantically on a nearby Pukka Pad. He stopped, checked for errant commas, and smiled to himself.
“Now THAT’S what I call a call to action!” Toothy exclaimed.
Satisfied with a productive day’s work, he started to shut down his laptop when he noticed it…
Carl: A loaded shotgun with monster prints all over it, and some melted cheese. Breadcrumbs too. And chunks of meat that could possibly be described as chicken. There was one bullet in the chamber and one empty cartridge. It had something written on it really tiny, oh, and there was a note that said…
Laura Q: “20OFFFEB – use it or lose it”. At first it seemed like a threat. What was this cryptic clue? Was he going to be ‘offed’ by one of the monster crew? Toothy began to sweat as he remembered that look in Sizzle’s eyes the last time he ate her final strawberry Chewit. Was Sizzle really suggesting Toothy should end it all over a Chewit?
Carl: Toothy recalled that the 20OFFFEB note was nothing more than a Domino’s discount voucher. But there was something scribbled on the back. Crikey, it was written in blood. It said ‘F orp e did it’. He couldn’t quite make it out. Seems like Florple did something. But then what’s with the breadcrumbs and the chicken. She doesn’t eat meat. Toothy sent the note to the lab for Spinnie to analyse. The DNA results are in and it revealed…
Ben: Jimi Hendrix. What? But how? Spinnie repeated the test again and again. The result was conclusive. It was the late, great Hendrix. How could it be? It was as if someone, knowing Spinnie to be a fan of the guitar, was sending him a message – using DNA from a historical figure. It made no sense. Suddenly, there was a crackling. The air vibrated around Spinnie’s ears. It was as if the very room began to distort, whumping and cracking at the seams. A strange energy coursed from somewhere deep within the fabric of the cosmos; the lights went dim and an ethereal blue glow replaced them. Then – silence.
As Spinnie peered through the ghostly aurora, he saw Nicola, stepping out of some kind of device. A device that looked not of this world. No, it was of this world, but of… the future? Surely it wasn’t…. a time machine? “Come with me”, Nicola spoke. “You’re going to want to see this”.
Laura L: “Wow, I didn’t think they would have continued the Star Wars franchise into the year 2500!” Spinnie whispered in awe, as he walked out of the cinema with Nicola. “And to see it in 5D?! Epic!” He noticed that Nicola was staring up at the sky with a troubled expression on her face. She suddenly turned to her monster friend. “Spinnie, I’m going to level with you. I didn’t just bring you here to watch Star Wars CCXX. I have a massive favour to ask you.” Spinnie tipped the remnants of his bag of space popcorn into his mouth. “Sure, what do you need?”
Ben: It was then that Spinnie noticed that everything had gone quiet. In the empty, chrome street, only their own footsteps punctuated the silence as they walked. There was a distinct feeling of urgency in the air. The hairs on the back of Spinnie’s neck raised. Nicola stopped walking and surveyed the darkness beyond the streetlight (powered by algae – pretty cool, thought Spinnie) ahead.
“So, you brought HIM? He can’t stop me. No-one can”.
Dave unsheathed the dual samurai swords from his tactical belt and advanced as a swirling missile. A whirlwind of steel and black leather, he swept towards them like an eagle towards its prey.
Nicola pulled out a futuristic-looking pistol, which emanated a bright green glow. Plasma stung through the air, inches from Dave’s head, but he advanced undeterred. The air sizzled around the heat that hung in the air like magma as Nicola unloaded another plasma burst, followed by another, and another.
Finally, Dave’s cold steel made contact, striking Spinnie’s head clean off his shoulders. In her hour of need, Nicola, now cornered, looked up at the sky to see…
Carl: Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang from Toy Story parachuting down. Mrs Potato Head went head-first into Dave’s chest, knocking him off his feet. “No time to explain”, said Woody. “It all started in the year 2452”, said Buzz. “The experiment to give inorganic matter souls. Enough now. Follow us. And bring Spinnie’s head. We’ll patch him up.” Nicola opened another time portal and they jumped on through. Now, they had to suss out why Dave was so upset with Ben – they’ve always had a history of bad blood. From that time…
Laura L: …they had a heated disagreement about when to use ‘which’ or ‘that’ in a sentence. Punzel had swooped in and informed them that they were both wrong, but that Ben had been the least wrong of the pair. Since that day, Dave had been sharpening his grammar skills, and his swords. He’d sworn Russell Crowe-style vengeance, in this life or the next. “But I don’t understand”, Bo Peep interjected, as she got to work gluing Spinnie back together with a Pritt stick imbued with life-giving stem cells. “If Dave is so angry with Spinnie, why was he after Nicola?” Nicola, who had been in the corner tucking into a bag of strawberry Chewits, stopped in her tracks. “Well…”, she said, “It all started in 2021…”
Nicola: …when Nicola began to join Ben as a time traveller. Dave was super jealous, as he’d always wanted to go back and meet the Spice Girls in their heyday, but Ben wouldn’t share the secret to time travel, he just used it for himself to attend all of Rod’s past concerts. And now Nicola was in the know too, but she just used it to edit manuscripts in the past so that she could look cool! Dave had had enough, so when he accidentally stumbled across the specific combination of punctuation and drop-in clauses that allowed him to slide through time, he decided he would have his revenge. Grabbing his leathers and Samurai sword, Dave typed in the secret code, and…
Ben: …it would be thousands, maybe millions, of years before Dave would meet Ben and Nicola on the chrome streets of the future – though the term had quite lost its meaning to him. There had been one critical mistake in his code; Dave could indeed travel through time, but time could not travel through him. He was immortal. Since travelling back, he had been stuck in time – a permanent fixture of the cosmos. He observed the birth of stars; saw the first sparks of life spew forth from our Sun. He watched civilisations rise and fall. The landscape shifted from ice to green and back again. It was only after seeing time for what it really was, an inescapable prison to which he, and all things, were bound – that he knew something must be done.
He worked, over thousands of years, to identify the missing variable. Eventually, after 1,000 lifetimes would have overcome a mortal man, he found it. It was an error – tiny, hiding, innocent – but there it was. He checked who had entered the data. Ben. It was Ben who had disrupted time, and locked Dave into his eternal prison. He had to be stopped. Dave knew what must be done. In one of his many lives, he had trained in the mountains of the highest peaks with the leading swordsmen of the ages. His hand, honed from an eternity of swinging his blade, gripped his sword. Time to end. Time to end time.
Laura L: “I mean, I was meaning to QC the code, but then I took a break to write some time-travelling fiction”, Ben explained, as he rubbed the silvery scar on his neck. It was the only indication that anything untoward had happened. Now his head was firmly back on his shoulders, he was feeling surprisingly… okay. Well, except for the fact he and Nicola were on the run from an immortal, chronologically-challenged warrior.
The animated toys had been listening silently to the two time-travelling medical writers. “Wait a sec…” Nicola said, as she crumpled up the empty bag of Chewits. “What did Ben just say, Buzz?” The plastic spaceman stared back at her vacantly, eerily still. She poked him on the forehead. Nothing. “They’re just toys again”, Ben observed, pulling the loop on Woody’s back. A tinny, disembodied voice shouted into the ether: “Reach for the skyyyyyy”. The pair came to the same realisation. If the toys were no longer sentient, that meant they were going back. Back through the very fabric of time itself.
Carl: Ben and Nicola began to ponder over every detail that led to this moment. They glared up at the night sky, searching for answers. What did Florple do? And where does Toothy fit into all of this? A warm wind picked up, whistling past their ears. They heard a faint cry in the distance. It was a tabby cat, walking across… what appeared to be a lake. After it crossed, a second cat – that looked just like it – also walked across the lake. “Could it be the same cat?” Nicola asked, standing up as she took a better look.
“Tabby cat. Super cute. Furry arsehole,” said Ben. “EDGEWORTH!”, they both shouted.
“Guilty! Muhahahaha”, shouted Sarah Edgeworth, her voice booming over the ambulance megaphone.
“I’ve been watching you via kittycam this whole time. Dave’s prided attention to detail clearly failed him when he originally travelled back to the beginning of time. He never noticed my super cute furry arsehole travelling through the portal with him. And ever since I’ve been using the kittycam to monitor the universe, using this newfound knowledge of physics and chemistry and applying it to extend my black-market range of Drugs on Wheels that I sell to the local cartels. Pretty good shit, isn’t it?”
“What do you mean!?” said Nicola.
“The cat on the lake”, said Ben. “She’s drugged us”.
Ben’s hair began to glow yellow. “No, not like this”, said Ben. His eyes turned white. He was stuck by a lightning bolt. And another. And another.
“Nicola, run!” Ben shouted. “I’m going super Saiyan. But I call it, Benergy”.
Carl: Ben knew he must act quickly if he was to undo all the mistakes that had led to this moment, to correct the wrongs and restore balance in the Monsterverse. He was up against a serious deadline. But the energy grew and grew beyond anything he’d ever felt. He was losing control. And the more he resisted, the more powerful he became. The Earth stood still and time lost all meaning… and that triggered a thought deep within. A reminder of the One True Rule to Rule Them All. Ben closed his eyes to focus his mind’s eye. “You can only do what you can in the time that you have” Toothy said softly. “There is no time. There is only now.”
Ben opened his eyes slowly. He was somewhere else. Warm, sunny, happy. Children playing in a garden, a family cooking, smiling, eating.
Toothy spoke, “You passed.”
“Passed what?” said Ben.
“Call it elaborate, but we planned all this to test your aptitude before your one-year review. Everyone was in on it. Dave had to sacrifice eternity to bring about the plan, sure, but we have to be ABSOLUTELY certain that our team are up to the standards they need to be. Everyone’s inside waiting to congratulate you. Nicola, Sarah E, Jimi. Everyone.”
“Crikey, I see”, said Ben, his white eyes and yellow hair returning back to normal. “Couldn’t get a cheeky burger and a beer, could I? Smells delish”.
“Alexa, play ‘Maggie May’ by Rod Stewart.”
And all of the monsters lived happily ever after.