Ever wondered how writers get their ideas? There are so many genres to read, and so many writers hopping from one style or form to another, but where do their ideas originate?

I had the opportunity to join a group of writes merging their ideas. Without talking to one another, each author used only their personal interpretation of the chapters that came before their own work to create the next chapter in the book. Publish and repeat. The 444 project gives four hundred forty four writes their chance to add four hundred forty four words to a book. Together, chapter by chapter, they are shaping a world that began with  A.M. Khalifa’s vision of a man awaking disoriented on an unknown beach with no idea of who he might be or how he arrived on this tropical paradise.


Why does this matter to me? It’s scifi. There are some amazing people involved right now, and it can only get better. S.C. Harrison and Dean Smith-Richard recommended me to add my 444 words, and thank goodness they did.

Start at the beginning and watch the collaboration grow, or skip to my chapter below the cut.

Mirror-vision gave nothing but the empty space that radiated The Judge’s warmth. The man’s heart pounded in frustration. Thoughts flew, but he called up the questions.

Where is Louisa? Who was that on the phone? Did you see that flash?

A blinding light from outside blazed on the walls. He clutched his belongings, and pressed his eyes closed. More lights exploded in his eyes from the pressure of his clenched fists. He explored the knife’s handle, the mirror, the strangely carved chess piece, anything real. The slip of lipstick on the back of the mirror alongside the powder-hard queen kept him grounded. He flaked blood from the blade. The heat from another flash felt real enough.


He squeezed his guides, his objects, and ran outside. Biting insects made him reconsider his choice, but that humanoid thing was back in the tent.

Or my heart. Who can say?


He turned to the light.


Flash. Crack.  This sound, the only sounds he heard, came faster now.

The man ran through the forest. A near accident and he steadied himself, catlike.  He slowed and readjusted his grip on the knife, bringing it back to military ready.

Louisa was a warrior. Red of mouth and strong of heart. Why did he know that?

The next flash found him at the tree’s edge. He steadied himself to enter the heat and light.


He stepped into the sunlight and made a dance of the endless run to the water. He never slipped, never missed a step until he reached the mineral-perfect sea. He touched a toe to the water. No water. No sound. He pounded a foot on the would-be-ocean. No splash.  The Coleridge rhyme came back, Water, water, everywhere.

The question came again, Where is Louisa?

Coleridge. Louisa in poetry.  Why need I say, Louisa Dear! How glad I am to see you here.

The blaze of light came from across the ocean. A crack followed. This guide he understood, it met his heartbeat.

He held the mirror. Vérité. Truth. He didn’t look at his own face; it may have melted back together, like the mirror. He might look like the man-thing he’d seen.

Inside a pixilated world similar to his own reverberated. Where this world had sharp lines and edited air, the other blurred vision and the glass shook with sound waves. The mirror reflected a plane where he had water, a mountain where he saw endless horizon. In his sky, the blood-sun sank to the water. In the mirror, a sun rose by the mountain. He brushed the red lipstick, reading but not understanding: ???????.

Light flashed from the reflected mountain peak.




Captivated by that chapter? Read the next installment here. James Lavender wrote 444 words that cannot be missed.