Q & A The Family

edited August 2011 in Story Games
Inspired by the first Q & A. The simple rule: You answer the question of the last post, thus making the drama grow, and end your post with a question for someone else to answer. I want to try it with a totally different theme, to see how it behaves ...

Why is your family in sorrow today?


  • We are back at the cabin after burying Sadie’s ashes. Peter read a poem for us. Everyone had sand in their shoes, but Mom isn’t complaining about the mess.

    Why is he still here though?
  • Hamp's been following us around ever since we started building the pyre, this morning before sunrise. He's trying to tell Mom something, but of course, no one understands him.

    What's that Hamp is drawing in the sand we tracked in?

  • edited August 2011
    They look like those weird doodles Sadie used to draw in her notepad all the time. Mom is trying to be polite, but the evening is taking its toll on her.

    Grandpa, on the other hand, has this focused and weird expression on his face. I have never seen him this serious. Not even a couple of hours ago, by the pyre.

    Where did Grandpa see the drawings for the first time all those years ago?
  • edited August 2011
    Not that again! Grandpa stands like frozen over the scribbles in the sand. He remembers them. Way back, when his brother came home from the sea, he showed them to him. Oh, Barrie, my brother! Poor soul! Talking of magical runes. Talking of this woman, who would marry my son, and the daughter ... Sadie. Talking about her destiny; to be killed under the sea. Runes in the sand! Bloody superstition! Poor soul!

    But now, in the midst of his sorrow, Grandpa is shocked into doubt. Last week it happened; Sadie drowned. And now dumb Hemp is tracing those very runes, crude and slowly, the runes that foretold the drowning ...

    What kind of gift does Hemp have, and how can it influence the sorrow they all feel?
  • And Hemp - or is it Hamp? We call him by that sound he barks - keeps drawing. New runes in the sand. Runes that were not in Sadie's notebooks, not on the scrolls that Barrie brought.

    "Stop," Grandpa says, a tear in his eye. "I do not want any more prophecies!" Living under the shadow of the last one, as much as he tried to deny it, always colored his mood. He had to admit - there was a moment of relief at Sadie's funeral. Finally he could stop worrying.

    Hamp lifts the stick he was using as stylus and stares at Grandpa, his hand shaking.

    At the noise, mom comes out of the kitchen, a glass of gin in her hand, and sees the runes. "It's okay, Hamp," she whispers. "Go on. Tell us."

    Rage washes over Grandpa's face. Nothing but sorrow you've brought us, ever since you married my boy!

    How do I know what Grandpa's thinking, and what do I do then?
  • The torrent of images buffeted me. Cancer, the Falling Tower, The Star which grandad always used for our Mom, and the Devil. It was always the Devil, and never the Lovers with him. He could never see this side of things. Maybe he was too close to measure how much he was involved himself.

    The Lovers I flashed out as bright as I could. I was furious and this was not working. I picked up a stick and tried to scrawl the correct runes, from what Sadie had shown me. It had always annoyed me that she was so good at both arts and I could not master either. It was all wrong. The runes had turned out horribly, horribly wrong.

    What I had written?
  • I didn't know what I had written, but Hamp shrieked as if in pain, jumped up and scrubbed it away with his foot. The sand spread out over the floorboards, catching in the cracks. But mom had seen. The look on her face.

    "What?" Uncle Peter asked. "What is it, Cass?"

    She looked at me. "I didn't know you knew."

    "Knew what?" I asked. "I was trying-- it was the Lovers."

    "No," she said, a sad smile on her face. "It was the Broken Family."

    What does the inside of the cabin look like?
  • Mom gets inside, and we all follow.

    The cabin was once a cozy and familiar place. A place of rest, joy and happiness. But the good old days are long gone.

    The place stands strong, but the dust has settled all over the place. The furniture is half broken and it is obvious no one had been in here for years. Only the fireplace seems to have missed the chaos and decadence that invaded the cabin. And over it, that ancient and elegant shield with the family crest emblazoned in it.

    "Grandpa," mom finally says. "I know you are not happy about this, and me neither. But it is time to tell the young ones about the family curse."

    Why does Grandpa blames mom so angrily about the curse?
  • "Not my family curse," grandpa spits. "Yours."

    Dad puts his face in his hands.

    Mom scowls.

    "Hamp!" Hamp says.

    So - just what is going on here, anyhow?
  • Yes is really was mom's curse, though grandpa had shared it for as long as I remember. So had I sometimes, although only in emergencies, when the two of them had to go out to sea together.

    You know the old story about the Silkie? You should, its the only thing most humans know about us. When a silkie leaves the water to deal with people, the hide their skin under a rock at the shore. It has to be placed just so; too high and it gets dry and cracked, too low and it wrinkles and grows soft. The stories say that .. well you know it and it has been repeated far too often and we have been suffering for that bit of folklore for generations. It's just a sick joke as far as we're concerned.

    Anyway mom got careless, and she was forced into slavery by a fisherman, *whisper* my dad. This was his place. Grandpa searched for my mom for years! It must be that long because I can remember when he finally caught up with us.

    What do I remember about that night?
  • I remember him standing in the door. I did not know it was my own grandpa then. He was only a strange man filling the doorway, blown in by the storm, dark and dripping wet. I remember seeing him as a threat, but I believe that had to do with the way my parents reacted to him.

    How did my dad and mom react? And what about Sadie, my sister?
  • edited August 2011
    I remember dad standing firmly in front of mom.

    "Don't touch her, dad. Don't even dare touching her."

    My mom seemed so helpless, so vulnerable, so sad...

    "That... thing... woman... whatever she is. She stole you from me, from us. She charmed you, she enthralled you..."

    "But dad, it was me the one that stole her skin."

    Grandpa was furious, and kept staring at mom. At the time I didn't understand all they were saying, but the look of their faces made me want to cry.

    "Hello. Are you my grandpa?"

    And then, as if appearing out of thin air, there she was. Sadie. So small, so weak, so cute, so innocent... She placed her tiny white hand over grandpa's knee, and it was as if all his anger started melting away. It seemed almost... magical.

    How long did it took for grandpa to genuinely forget mom and dad?
  • edited August 2011
    I wanted to bump this, so that it gets the love it deserves.
    I am suffering from some cognitive dissonance on this as well as a bit of contibutory guilt.
    How someone can *genuinely* forget their own daughter is a tall order.
    When they are engaged in their daughter in the (narrartive) present is especially puzzling scince the memory loss was both genuine and remiable.
    I feel responsible in some way because I introduced the backstory before I had taken in the fact that the protagonists dad had been mentioned in the previous post.
    I had had it mind the the sap would have expired in short oreder afetr close contact with silkie retribution.
    I let it ride because this is a playtest, and if people make mistakes they should just brush them to one side.
    To what which I mean is that my brain has melted a little over this one.
    Fanmail to whatever clutterbuster can bring this ship closer to shore.
  • (I started writing this before Andrew's bump - I was going to interpret 'forget' a little ... loosely ... )

    Yes, Sadie brought grandpa back into our family ... and now, without her, it seemed like we'd lose him again ... he seems to have lost steam, though, lost in recollections of his own? He coughs, shrugs, starts to hobble out of the cabin.

    Grandma watches him go. And she's ... smiling?

    And suddenly, the Gift. It hits me. Grandma's lying in a hospital bed. I don't know how far ahead. This is ... an older me. And grandpa is there too, holding her hand.

    "Don't go," he says.

    She pats his hand, shakes her head.

    "Please," he says.

    "Morris," she says.

    He nods.

    "You have to let go," she says.

    He shakes his head. "No." I can hear his thoughts again: even you betray me.

    "Your anger," she says. "The only one it hurts is you."

    And then she's gone.

    But I can see into grandpa - she's managed to take part of him with her. His anger. It's gone.

    But that's many years from now. What happens next, at the cabin?
  • edited August 2011
    (nice catch Jamie)

    We squeezed ouselves as best we could into the kitchen. It was a fine layout, as we had all become accostomed to from grandma. Pots and jars of pickles and jellies, smoked fish and fresh doughy bread. We all forgot whatever we had been bickering over and settled down in our seats. It was like magic.

    You always felt safe when grandma was around, no matter what was going on outside, everything seemed alright with the world. Even this, we were no longer mourning Sadie's death, we began celebrating her. We began a round of toasts. I think just about everyone had something special to say about Sadie.

    Who made the first toast, and what did they have to say?
  • (Damn! Sorry, everyone. My bad... Originally I didn't mean to write "forget"; I was thinking "forgive", but I didn't catch on my own freudian slip. Probably because English is not my first language. But it did made for an interesting twist.)

    Always the eloquent one, Peter was the first to raise his glass. "For Sadie. We'll always remember her selfless way of loving us all. By her side, you always felt accepted and understood. She was the fresh air when any of us felt the pressures and expectations were about to suffocate us."

    And then everyone started toasting. She truly was a very special woman, and in one way or another she touched each one of us.

    At last, I was the only one who had not said anything. Me, being the closest one to her. I could feel everyone's eyes on me, waiting for what I'd had to say. But somehow the words escaped my mouth before I had the time to think about it. I started talking, revelling some secrets I could only dare sharing now that she was gone. I knew my story would shock most of them, but I was unable to stop now.

    What secret story about Sadie did I reveal?
  • (Maybe we should have set up some lines and veils before this started. Consider yourself warned.)

    And I found myself telling them about the time, a year before, when I discovered Karen - the girl I wanted - making out with that Australian kid at Duncan's party. How I got drunk and sat in the lawn chair in the bathtub, shivering, crying, three in the morning, the house heating system shut off for the night. And how Sadie found me there, and comforted me, me complaining that I was too ugly, a loser, it was never going to happen for me. And her showing me that I wasn't a loser. And making it happen for me.

    Foolish to reveal that. I try to make them understand, that it was just her way of loving and accepting and understanding - that what she and I did just didn't feel wrong - that after that night I was a new person, whole. Karen and I never would have gotten together if it wasn't for the confidence that Sadie gave me on that night! But the looks in their eyes. Even grandma, who I could always count on to understand, the look on her face ... I never want them to look at me this way again.

    What did I do then?
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