Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ROR: Why You Shouldn't Let Writers Near Your Guestbook...

Future visitors to the Montville Holiday House will find the following disturbing entries in the guest book, detailing what happened to the writers who were housed there last weekend...

Writer’s Retreat
Day One
12 March 2009

Dirk F:

Curious. The house is lovely, it is true. And the mist-shrouded hills, ancient and gloried in their dark, brooding forests are indeed majestic. nevertheless, I cannot help but feel - anxious. Perhaps it is merely the great storm offshore. And yet, what is it that shadows Richard’s eyes when he hears the lonely call of the cerlew by night? Why does Maxine’s hand tremble as the forg closes in like a clammy shroud? More importantly, where is Margo? What has become of Marianne?

There are mysteries here. This green and pleasant landscape - it is the smile on the face of the serial killer, think. The bones of this earth are old, and they have seen much; too much, I fear.

I am anxious, yes. I believe I shall have to watch Trent carefully tonight. I did not like the sounds he made under his breath as the sun sank below the mountains, and a moonless darkness swallowed the world.

Writer’s Retreat
Day Two
13 March 2009
Friday morning


After a sumptuous dinner of wanton chicken soup and Thai beef salad, followed by melon and ginger fruit cocktail and sweet lemon tarts, we rose in expectation of our breakfast to discover that Dirk has abandoned us in the night.

Where can he have gone? Did the strange sounds in the night affright him away? Is one of us responsible?

More importantly, who will cook my pancakes?

Oh, the rain drums hard on the roof as if it, too, has secrets to hide.

[Open the door, open the door, open the door]

Friday noon


They’ve left me. They’ve gone into Maleny for lunch. I told them I wasn’t feeling well, which is true. But...

What is it about this place? Isolated, beautiful, but with an underlying sense of menace. The rain has stopped and I just caught a glimpse of sun. All I can hear is the steady drip drip drip of the verandah. Footsteps? i just went out and checked, thinking the others had come back, but no one was there. Was that a snatch of conversation? I swear...

I’m going out to see if someone’s there.

Friday evening


Am I going mad? What’s happening to those of us who are left? We came back after lunch and there was no sign of our dear Rowena. Only a cup of coffee on the kitchen counter, still warm. We went outside, we called and called - no answer.

We talked about it over a mysterious afternoon tea and rum - strangely left for us by our departed Dirk. Should we flee? But then, what if Rowena and Dirk returned?? And what about Tansy? She is still with us, but more in body than mind. Distracted, vague - as if she’s in some other dimension, living some other life. Her words to us are empty, curiously devoid of meaning and emotion.

I made a terrifying discovery this evening. I haven’t told the others, they’ll think I’m crazy. We were finishing dinner - chinese soup with shallots - and one small piece of shallot fell off my spoon and onto the floor under the table. i dived down to pick it up - and there was a small, neat, round hole in the floorboard, perfectly, perfectly round. I swear it hadn’t been there when we arrived!

Am I going mad? I came here to relax and recover - surely the illusions can’t have come back to me now.

Friday night


Having a delightful time. The evenings in particular possess a certain calm, a soft, relaxing quiet that even the odd scream or two cannot shatter - besides, that is why I bought the ear plugs.

I wish everyone would just chill. Writers are so high strung. Hey, with Dirk and Rowena gone there is more than enough room for the rest of us.

I wish Richard would stop staring at the kitchen floor. If he wants it swept he can do it himself. I’m relaxing, damn it.

At least I can look forward to a good night’s sleep, have been having the most peculiar dreams. Spoke to Dirk last night, in my dream, of course. He was cooking dinner, a rather nice soup, although I swear it had writerly fingers in it, a good twenty or so. I asked him about it, and he turned to answer. No eyes, he had no eyes! The soup was nice though: the fingers chewy. My other dream was even more peculiar. I sat watching House, my fellow writings clawing at the windows. Horrible, I never watch House!

Damn it, Richard, I must sweep that floor.



Writer's Retreat
Day Three
Saturday morning, 6am


I slept last night on the sofa. When I lay in the bottom bunk (because Rowena has not yet returned) it felt strangely crowded. As though someone else was in the bed too.

I didn’t sleep well - I kept hearing breathing outside the window, and when I finally got to sleep, Richard woke me by switching on the kitchen light. He was under the table, muttering, and trying to see through the hole in the floor. I could hear humming from Trent’s room.

Nobody is awake yet. I shall go for an early morning walk, sharing the dawn-fresh world with the sweet-chirping birds and rainbows.

I shall also check out the garden shed. There may be implements. Sharp ones.

Saturday morning, 8am


Where is everyone? I heard Richard and Trent fighting in the kitchen, chouting about sweeping and holes... couldn’t they leave the housework until a decent hour?

Now the kitchen is empty; no sign of them. Maxine is nowhere to be found. Someone has thoughtfully left a stack of pancakes on the table - can’t think who, Dirk is the only one who could cook, and he went missing days ago.

As I bite into the first mouthful of pancake, bacon and maple syrup, I hear a cry, and then a knock at the door.

Has one of my companions returned? I can head voices not, gathering around me. I could swear they were coming from under the kitchen table, but that can’t be right.

Another knock. I should get that.

Sometime later, in shaky handwriting which might belong to Tansy:



Flinthart said...

I don't care. I'm still completely in love with the vision of some poor bloody tourist opening the guest book to discover all that weirdness. That's sneaky art at its best.

I mean - the house really is pretty, but at night it does feel lonely and spooky, especially with that precipice behind it. I reckon the person who actually discovers those entries is going to have a really great time.

Havock21 said...

That's Brilliant, you are a bastard bunch, but beautiful, certifiable ye be too i suspect, but I guess you all, already knew that too.

WHAT struck me hard was the difference in writing styles, how the utilisation of words conveys a tone. It varies here, from a dark set out, then tempers, but still shadowy. A moment of almost levity arrives, before plunging headlong back into the blackness. Subtleties and variations abound in it.

Its good, in such a short burst, to see all the different authors, more of this should be done in my book. Well done.

Alexandra said...

You're all evil and I love you all.

Anonymous said...

GENIUS. Covert fiction/sabotage at its best!

Flinthart said...

I was pretty pleased, I admit. But I am desperately jealous of the person/s who find it. Very few things get under my skin and creep me out, but I think that book, in that place, might be able to do it. I mean - it would obviously be just a joke, right? But... heh. Fun to let yourself be involved.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

It is the kind of 'sleeping' joke that creeps up on someone. If I read the guest book I'd be delighted.

Perhaps there's a story within a story, here, about someone who finds the guest book and ...

Meanwhile, we are going to send signed copies of our published books to the guest house to be placed on the shelves. This will add to the veracity of the guest book.

Anonymous said...

That was wonderful. Plus my parents stay in Montville quite regularly. I really hope they are the ones to find it.

Anonymous said...

snigger ...


It's OK folks. I'd say Trent's snoring unsettled the building's foundations.

Therbs said...

Wouldn't it be great if the next group who stayed commenced their own story, continuing on from teh disappearance of the writers!
Really good guerilla writing. Love it.

Anonymous said...