The Remaining Equations

a tag team fiction challenge

How To Play

  1. Copy and paste this story, adding your own chapter 2 to it. Keep your chapter to a few paragraphs (minimum four, max eight) of your own original writing.
  2. If you are not a writer on Chalkboard, leave a comment on this post asking to be added as a writer and the editors will take care of it for you.
  3. Submit your story to Chalkboard, making sure to include the tag “tag team fiction”.


  1. You may respond only once.
  2. You can include dialogue, written in any tense you wish. You may take the plot in any direction you wish provided the story stays in the realm of earthly reality (so no science fiction or supernatural narratives).
  3. Once we have three or four entries, we will ask for a chapter 3 to the story, done in the same way. This will continue until someone ends the story or it runs out of participation and / or interest.
  4. Finally, we are not deconstructing Proust here. This is meant to be light and fun.

I’ll start us off. Our scene begins with a group of friends in their early to mid thirties, standing together on a boat that is minutes from docking beside a lighthouse. Their view is what you see in the image below.

Chapter 1:

For the ninth time in the same number of minutes, he pulls back his fleece jacket glancing at his TAG. Fourteen minutes before six am. A quick mental calculation reminds Brandon that when they dock they will have, at the most, half an hour. Precision is the goal. They are five; four more than their intended target.

The pre dawn morning is chilly and wet. An unspoken, collective intention hangs heavy in the fog. Brandon is the first break the silence.

“Last chance to pull out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

When Audra responds after several seconds, her words are clipped, abrupt.

“Wow, that’s convenient Brandon, isn’t it? No, you didn’t warn any of us, did you? And that, you careless fuck, is why we are here.”

Her grey eyes hold his gaze half a second longer than required. Brandon is the one to look away first.

“Fucking ice princess”, he says to himself.

From the treeline 200 yards away, the one with everything to gain and nothing to lose watches the five disembark from the ferry. Years of training have allowed him to remain unseen, though if he had been, his hands would reveal the smallest of shakes. He’s waited so long for this the anticipation is epic. The man smiles and closes his eyes; so close he can almost smell them.

In 2006 Allan Rae left a career as a flight paramedic to obtain his MFA in creative nonfiction. Today he is a qualitative public health researcher exploring the intersections of HIV, PTSD, and stigma, through the use of personal and community narrative. Allan is also the editorial team lead for creative nonfiction at daCunha. Starbucks, satire, and stray dogs do not displease him.