12 April 2014 - 4:20 pm

Altered Perspectives: Challenge #5

Picture someone who travels a lot. They might travel for any number of reasons. It could be their work, as a businessman, or a long-distance courier, or a cargo hauler, or any number of other mobile professions. They might be in the military, always being posted in different places. They might be a habitual traveller, someone who is simply happiest when going to the next new place. They could be a happy backpacker, working random jobs or relying on the kindness of others as they make their way between locales. They could be one of the wandering homeless, drifting between camps and shelters. They might live on a ship of some kind.

It this person male or female? How do they afford to travel all the time? What led them to this particular kind of life? Do they love to travel, or hate it? What is the first thing they do when they reach a new place? What is the thing they most like to do in a new place?

This person has been travelling for years, one way or another. What is the one thing they never travel without? Why? Is the attachment emotional, or practical, or sentimental? What is important to this person?

What kinds of places has this person travelled to? What sort of people have they met? What sort of conditions have they travelled through, stopped in, or dealt with? Do they travel alone, or with a group, or does it vary?

In all of their years of travel, this person has carried the same piece of luggage with them. It has survived countless trips, possibly been repaired a few times, and is still going strong. What kind of luggage is it? Is it big or small? Is it a case, a duffle bag, a sack with a rope around its neck, a purse, a pouch? What’s it made of? What does it look like? What colour is it? What does it smell like? Do its many journeys show, in scrapes or stickers, stains or scars? Is its value obvious?

Fast forward to your traveller’s last journey. How old is your character now? Where are they going? Why is this their last journey? Is it planned to be their last, or does something happen to force it? Where does the character end up – do they make it to their destination?

Tell us the story of the end of this final journey from the point of view of that piece of luggage the character carries with them. Tell us what happens to the luggage after that journey is over.

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2 comments

  1. Marlee says:

    The charm was ancient. And Matthew hadn’t been the one who’d had to break all the magical wards to get it. It had been passed down from his grandfather, who had found it at the bottom of an extinct volcano, where it had no doubt been put to keep people from finding it. Matthew’s grandfather had just been ever curious. At first he’d had no idea what the charm did. It was a talisman that had hung around the necks of Kings and Queens long past. Now, though, it hung around the neck of Matthew.
    Sixteen years old, Matthew had been given the charm when he first started school. His mother, who had known what the charm did, told him it was up to him to discover what it did. He’d found out after the tenth time they moved after that.
    Moving schools wasn’t easy for most people. Leaving all your good friends behind, and then struggling to make new ones. Matthew had never had that problem. Wherever he went, people seemed to gravitate towards him. He made friends easily, and everyone seemed to love him.
    Today was his first day at yet another school. As always the charm hung around his neck. It always emitted a faint heat – his mother had told him it was the heat of the love the charm had been imbued with. The past few years the charm had started to change. It had grown stronger. And people had indeed seemed to love him. Girls flocked to him. He was in school for a day and he had girls flocking around him.
    Sometimes he wanted to take the charm off. But he never could. It was partly due to the fact that he was simply scared. Scared about what people would think of him without that magical assistance he’d lived his entire life with. However it was also heavily due to the fact that he physically could not remove it. The charm would stay around his neck until, according to his mother, he found love that was not created by the charm.
    Matt had no idea how that would come about. If the charm made everyone love him, how could he make someone love him who didn’t already love him because of the charm? The question had plagued him for years now, and he had started to experiment. His mother wouldn’t tell him how she’d managed it or how his grandfather had managed it.
    His experiments hadn’t yielded anything yet, but he was ever hopeful. Or so the talisman could tell. He stood in front of the mirror for a long time, making sure he looked good. Even with the talisman he preferred to look his best on the first day, and hoped that perhaps the talisman somehow wouldn’t work… Not that he was relying on that.
    His spells had been cast, and surrounded him, and the talisman. Not that he could manage to ever fully stop the talisman from working. Finally, he was ready. With one last check of his hair, he turned around, and left, heading to this new school.
    He’d always been travelling. His mother got a new job every few months. He’d been to so many new schools he’d given up trying to make any long lasting friends. Now, he didn’t even care about making any kinds of friends. He couldn’t even remember the names of the girls and guys who had been his ‘friends’ at the last school he had been in.
    “Are you ready?” Sticking to a tradition that had outlasted his interest in moving, his mother was driving him to his first day of school. He rolled his eyes, and the charm heated up slightly at the love that surrounded it. Matt flinched, and the talisman cooled down again. It always heated up in the presence of any kind of real love. It was always warm, but it heated up more when it was surrounded by real love, love that it didn’t create.
    And it was often excruciating when he was around his mother. Matt yawned, and laid his head against the headrest in the seat, closing his eyes. It was his mother’s turn to roll her eyes, though there was a smile on her face as she started her car.
    It was a quick drive, and they were at the school. It was small, only a little over two hundred people. Matt had mostly been to a lot of larger schools. They’d been all over the world, and he was excited to be back in England, though unsure how such a small school would be. The only small school he’d been to before was a tiny 80 student one in America. He was glad to be in a bigger school than that.
    It didn’t take them long. The town was really tiny. There was one main road, where all the shops were, and the school was at the end of that. Matt wasn’t particularly excited for yet another first day of yet another new school. Though he was ever hopeful that perhaps, now, his spells would work. His experiments trying to get rid of this charm.
    And, now he was at the school. He kissed his mother on the cheek, and left, with his bag over his shoulder. It took a while to find out where his locker was. By the time he got there he barely had any time before his first class would start. He hurriedly opened the locker, and put his books in, while looking at his timetable.
    The girl at the locker next to him nearly bumped into him as she hurried past, on her way to her first class. He didn’t get a good look at her, only a slight view of dark brown hair and then she was gone.
    Looking at his timetable, and talking to the boy on his other side, he found out that his class was on the other side of the school. Muttering under his breath, he grabbed the books he needed, and he ran off.
    The talisman thudded against his chest as he ran, and finally he arrived at the room he was supposed to be in. He glanced around sat down in one of the few empty chairs in the room, next to a girl with dark brown hair.
    As he sat down, the talisman started to heat up, until it was burning. Matt drew a sharp breath, and it cooled down to a reasonable level, though slightly hotter than he was used to.
    “Huh.” Matt said, his hand slipping up to wrap around the still hot talisman, as he glanced again at the girl sitting next to him.

    April 14th, 2014 at 9:25 am

  2. Mel says:

    Thank you for sharing your challenge outcomes. These have been so fun to read! 🙂

    Ah, what better than a curse and the challenge of real love? This has the makings of a really fun fairy tale. Again, I want to read more! Good work.

    April 15th, 2014 at 12:45 pm