The Guardian: Write a story with Neil Gaiman

Today Neil Gaiman, took over @guardianbooks (Twitter), asking people to finish his story.

Here’s the opening line he gave us:

It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

If you don’t know who he is, (I did a bit of googling) he’s an award-winning English author. He writes short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. So I’m guessing he’s some kind of super-writer!

Books you may have heard of are: Stardust, Coraline and The Graveyard Book. I felt like a bit of an idiot when I figured out he’d written Stardust as it’s a favourite film of mine.

Anyway, I decided to practice my creative writing and have a go myself. But I was put to shame by loads of other amazing replies. Some were stories, others just extracts. There’s way too many to read through.

But this one was my complete favourite! – by Lewis2901

It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

The cat that had seemed so faithful, so loving, so attentive to his every need. The cat that had sat there, not even so much as judging him in the slightest, as he bludgeoned his poor wife to death. Although after all it was the cat’s idea. A strange and peculiar idea it had been as well, as the cat had politely whispered it into his ear that very morning.

“She” the cat had scornfully ushered “She, the one you call Cynthia”, it paused to lick its paws, “She has left the milk out again, and would you believe it, it’s been sat out all night”. The cat began licking Gregg’s ear, just gently, just enough to stir him from those dreams he had in the morning, the really vivid ones, the ones where the strangest things can happen, the ones where he was convinced that they were real. As Gregg began to stir, the cat continued to purr the plan into his ears “I think it’s high time we ended this whole farce isn’t it Gregg? I mean let’s face it, I have no milk to drink now, and of course your cereal is going to be awfully dry without the beautifully creamy full fat delight you save just for Saturday mornings, that’s no way to start your day is it?”

Then it struck Gregg, that actually the Cat had a point, maybe it was time to end the whole thing. He shot up in his bed, a man determined, eager to fix this sorry state of affairs. The cat had been right. The cat was always there for him. The cat cared.

Calmly Gregg took to walking down the stairs, the cat weaving in and out of his steps, not so much talking now as it was meowing. The sort of meow that came just before any meal, the longing, shrill persistent meow that screamed “feed me”. As Gregg made his way down the stairs, and turned towards the kitchen, he began to feel a twang of apprehension, “is this the right thing to do?” he asked himself. The cat meowed onwards and made a run for the kitchen. “He’s right” said Gregg, “I should follow his lead, and tell Cynthia what for!” All doubt gone Gregg confidently began to stride towards the kitchen. To put an end to it, and avenge the now soured milk.

“Morning love” Cynthia said to him softly, as she poured the now more mozzarella than milk substance down the drain. “Looks like I left it out last night. We’ll have to have toast for breakfast.” Gregg, silently stood there, watching as the last of his beloved Saturday morning treat, and his Saturday morning composure washed away. He twitched. “I bet you did this on purpose didn’t you?” he snapped, as the cat began calling loudly, joining in on the chorus of confrontation. “I have to drink that watered down rubbish all week, and now, this morning I can’t even have my full fat because you left it out!” Cynthia looked shocked, “Gregg come on love it’s only milk.” That was it, she’d all but confirmed it. She didn’t care. Just like she didn’t care when she hogged all the duvet this morning, just like she didn’t care when she declared “What a lovely day!” as she threw open the curtains to plunge Gregg’s weekend lie in to a world too bright to get back to the darkness induced land of deep dreaming. Just like she didn’t care when she left the extractor fan on in the en suite, just to make sure that there was constant irritating buzz hovering in and out of his ears as he tried to get back to sleep, and just like she didn’t care that all week Gregg had pined for a sweet drop of full fat milk.

“Enough!” bellowed Gregg as he picked up the kettle from the side. The rest seemed like a bit of a blur, all that was certain was that, Cynthia had screamed, the cat had cried, and Gregg had gotten blood all over his nice new slippers, as If his day hadn’t been ruined enough already. At least the cat was there for him though, the cat that had given him the good idea, the cat that cared, the cat that had just strutted through the cat flap, the cat that had just left him. Alone, confused and utterly bewildered, Gregg decided that it wasn’t just the murder. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

To see the other stories go to –


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