Day 20- Down The Rabbit Hole by Gabrielle Johansen

Write a ‘hermit crab’ story, a story written in the form of someone’s browser history

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The Prompt

Tell a story using someone’s browser history. It could be nothing more than a list of sites visited, or perhaps there are a few narrative interludes, but the main goal should be to tell the bulk of the story with the trail of virtual breadcrumbs.

Gabrielle Johansen

Gabrielle Johansen is a fantasy writer from the south, who has gone down many a rabbit hole herself.

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15 thoughts on “Day 20- Down The Rabbit Hole by Gabrielle Johansen”

  1. I love, love this prompt, Gabrielle! I haven’t written to it yet, but so many stories are floating in my mind right now. Brilliant!

  2. I wrote a story about a woman who sees that her browser, previously with 31 open tabs, has only one tab open. She goes into her history to reopen her tabs and finds a murderer has been searching online. His last search tells her he is in her apartment, but he kills her before she can run. Third person, past tense, a little over 500 words.

  3. A crime scene investigator prides himself for having requested the service set identifier and password from a victim’s home, and not only the search history on the victim’s laptop. A string of websites points to an interest in methods of death, and the CSI has a hunch that the victim has disguised his suicide. Enter the Coroner who disabuses him quickly of this notion, and rules out suicide and natural causes as manners of death. A professional rivalry exists between both, and as their mutual dislike threatens to hamper the investigation, a 74 year-old amateur sleuth is standing by, ready to solve the mystery.

  4. Here’s my attempt…


    Browser history:

    Cycling for weight loss
    Is fifty too old for serious cycling?
    Knee pain – cures and treatment
    First aid – concussions
    Helmets for sale
    Lycra cycling gear for sale
    Snappy comebacks
    Dealing with insults
    Body-flattering cycling gear styles
    Why does my bike seat make my genitals numb?
    Dog control laws
    Can I legally carry pepper spray?
    First aid – pepper spray in eyes
    Bicycle seats that don’t cause blisters
    Preparing for longer bicycle rides.
    Map search – Sussex to Hampton – popular cycling routes
    Nutrition for longer rides
    Protein bars for sale – soy chocolate
    Weather forecast – Sussex region
    Map search – Sussex to Hampton – no hills
    Map search – Sussex to Mampton – low traffic
    Stomach pains from protein bars?
    Cramping and gas
    Soy intolerance?
    Map search – Hampton region – public washrooms
    Map search – Hampton region – gas stations or restaurants
    Map search – Hampton region – wooded areas
    White blisters on skin
    Itching in bathing suit area
    Identifying plants
    Image search – poison ivy leaves
    Taxi near me
    Liquor store

    1. This is so funny and well done. I have been recently researching bicycles and a comfortable seat is my main priority, of course. You can also follow links in Wikipedia and end with something totally unreIated to what you started with and yet they are connected. The results can be very funny.

  5. Another fun prompt. I did a combination of narration and search history (my own). Did I really need to spend all that time on Google, Amazon and watching YouTube How To Videos? Was it helpful or distracting?

  6. With a search history of stolen artifacts, art forgery, arson, bomb making, museum floor plans, and murder weapons, why was she surprised when the FBI showed up at her door?
    My story switches back and forth between the search history and the purchase history!

  7. Continuing with my unintended brand of being cat obsessed, I wrote from the perspective of a cat who is initially just annoyed by their human but ends up seeking world domination.

    I’m really enjoying these prompts that make me write non-traditional stories. They help me think out of the box and are a lot of fun.

  8. I ended up doing a search history instead of actual sites. With just a little narration at the end. Some of these things may be things *I* have searched for, but I tailored it more to this character. (and I had put the search terms in italics, but that didn’t copy over to here)

    How to act like a real man
    Why do I feel so wrong in my own body
    Can I make these feelings go away
    Gender identities
    What’s the difference between genderfluid gender neutral and agender
    Am I genderfluid
    Gender identity quizzes
    How do I know if I’m agender
    Gender neutral pronouns
    Changing your pronouns
    How do I tell people to use different pronouns
    How do I present as agender
    Dressing as an agender person
    Why won’t you tell me what I need to know, Google
    Am I just a freak
    Agender people
    Non-binary message boards

    Smith stared as the screen loaded in front of xem. “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me there were others like me out there?”

  9. An Hour in The Life of A Hopeful Author
    My late Ma used to tell me, “No good deed ever goes unrewarded.
    It was a glorious day. I was relishing my breakfast of bread, fruits, an egg and a couple of laddus when I noticed Laksman, an old domestic help of my late Uncle’s, trying to fix the net covering the window outside. Now, for some reasons, I can’t say that I like him. He is too interfering for my liking. But looking at him, when I saw how old and withered he had become over the years, my heart was filled with the milk of human kindness instantly, and I got up to make some teaffee ( I’m sorry if there is no such word in English but I simply couldn’t help using that blend!) I offered him a cuppa once it was ready and my heart swelled like you wouldn’t believe!
    My late Ma used to tell me that no good deed ever goes unrewarded. As I was checking into the mailbox sometime later, I found the prompt from Story A Day asking us to write a story using someone’s browser history. I decided to have a sneak peak into mine there and then.
    The first 4 entries read like this :
    Today – 20 May 2022
    Day 19 – Recipe for Magic by Carey
    storyaday. org
    Day 20 – Down The Rabbit Hole by Gabriell
    storyaday. org
    Google – My Activity
    myactivity. google. com
    Shortlist – Commonwealth Writers
    The first thing I tried to find out, hoping against hope, using the link sent by Julie from Storyaday. org, was if anyone had made any comments on my last story “When the Pri Backfired”. I had been feeling very guilty since last night, after I had my story published on the site, as I made a great error while introducing my story. I wrote that ‘other than the 3 witch-sisters in Macbeth, my knowledge of witches or witchcraft was very limited’. While the correct sentence should have been : Other than that of the 3 witch-sisters in Macbeth, my knowledge…etc. The problem was once it was posted, there was no way I could correct the mistake. I knew that the mistake did not presage the end of the world but it stayed with me like a raw wound and let me tell you not about how I felt about it the whole night.
    The next entry in my browser history today, as I have already told you, was concerning the prompt for the 20th day of the challenge whereby we were asked to write a story with some of the entries using someone’s browser history. Now, I don’t know if I have told you this about myself but let me tell you that I pride in not being the prying sort. So, prying into someone’s browser history was just out of the question for me. I opted for my own browser history instead. And you know what I came across.
    The prompt, to tell you honestly, didn’t seem very helpful at first. How do you write a story using the breadcrumbs of those entries? Besides, what about the linking part, and not to mention those features of a story like setting, conflicts, denouement and all? I could feel the sweats on my forehead. My late Ma’s words started ringing in my mind just then, and I knew that I had done a good deed by offering some tea to tiring Lakshman, the old hand.
    “You’re a fighter, Ron. Don’t give up so easily.” I heard a familiar voice in my head.
    “Ok. Lemme see if I can create some sort of link in between the entries in my browser list.” I said to myself while scrolling down to the third entry. It was regarding an activity I undertook earlier in the day.
    I found a video of a well-known Indian author. In the video a girl was offering him a piece of the cut-out cake while others ( there were some strikingly good-looking ladies providing me some kind of aesthetic pleasure!) surrounding him were clapping. I don’t know what happened to me then. In spite of being very fond of him, I never tried to connect with him earlier. Now, I first clicked the “Like” button before clicking on “Comment”. In the next 15-20 minutes, I paid my homage to this great son of India.
    Respected Mr. Ruskin Bond,
    For the last couple of days, I have been witnessing a lot of posts and videos on different channels of social media relating to your birthday.
    Please bear with me for the time being before I muster up enough courage to wish a great contemporary, Indian writer like yourself with the love, affection and respect befitting a man of your reputation and stature.
    When I was pursuing a Degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Calcutta in the early 80’s, I distinctly remember what my Professor Dr. Nasir Ali told us in the class one day. Let me quote his exact words here, “If you want to learn English, read Maugham.” I did, and even for a very poor student like me, my English improved drastically in the course of the next decade or so.
    I also distinctly remember the fact that when I started working as a Sub-Editor for Anubad Patrika, a bilingual magazine published from Calcutta in the late 80’s, the Proprietor, late Baishampayan Ghosal asked me to write a piece for the Annual issue. I selected your “Love Is A Sad Tale” and translated it into Bengali. The translation of your story ran over thirty pages and earned me a lot of accolades. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the magazine, otherwise I would have clicked the pictures of a few pages and sent them to you just to show my love and respect, which has only grown over the years for you.
    I have not shared all this to blow my own trumpet but to let you know how mesmerized I have always been by your writings. In due course of time, as a Teacher of English, I had the good fortune of reading a lot of your stories and novels. I have come to the conclusion as a result that if anyone wants to learn English, to write in English, the best thing for him or her to do will be to read you, I mean, your stories and novels.
    On your 80th birthday, I would like to wish you A Long Life, Health, Inner Peace and Happiness. India is lucky to have you as one of her Torch Bearers. May God fulfill all your wishes. May you continue to write to entertain and inspire for ages to come. May you be considered for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. (What a great day it will be for India and Indian Literature!)
    With the warmest regards and best wishes,

    Yours sincerely,
    Rathin Bhattacharjee

    I was filled with some kind of euphoria and exhaustion having written the letter above. I felt that I owed it to Mr. Ruskin Bond. It was writers like him who inspired me to dream big about the role and responsibilities of a writer. I felt contented having posted the letter in the comment section of the video.
    There was still one more entry left and I was already saturated. What happened to my dream? Why couldn’t I make it as a writer?
    I opened the next email from one Emma on behalf of Commonwealth writers. The letter informed me about the staggering 6730 entries this year in 12 languages before introducing the 28 shortlisted writers contending to be the CW Short Story Prize Winner for this year. And you guessed it right, dear reader, if you knew that my name didn’t feature in the short list.
    I heaved a sigh, “Perhaps my dream of making it big as a writer will remain a dream only. Perhaps, I was not meant to be a writer. Not good enough to leave my marks in the sands of time.”
    My Ma’s words kept buzzing again. I felt that I was a big let-down. I tried to be a good human all my life. Yet why didn’t anything good ever happen to me? Why didn’t I ever receive a kind note from someone asking me not to despair? That I was good enough and it was just a matter of time.
    I got up in spite of myself to tend to a household chore. Just then a thought entered my mind like a ray of sunshine entering a room on a wintry morning
    “Why are you feeling so upset? Can’t you see how much you have achieved in an hour? Remember, my son, No Good Deed Ever Goes Unrewarded.”
    The End

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