Rory's Story Cubes Story

Rory's Story Cubes come in various adaptations

My configuration included four Action cubes and five Original cubes

I've used all five of my Action cubes already!


Action Cube: Laughing Head

Story Point: The Inciting Incident

Once upon a time, there was a man named Charles Murray whose only goal in life was to spread cheer to everyone he met, everywhere he went. He was the kind of guy who would greet you on a rainy day and hold his umbrella over you so you wouldn’t get wet. Everything in life seemed to be so grand. He couldn’t wait to wake up each morning and face the day knowing he would get to interact with someone and share with them the joy he felt in life. Then one day…


Action Cube: Falling Down

Story Point: The Setup

…after living a life filled with joy and happiness for so many years, Charles received a death threat in the mail. He happily headed out to check his mail like he always did every day, and when he opened up his mailbox to retrieve his mail he found all the usual stuff: coupons to fast food restaurants, flyers for new cars and furniture rental as well as upgrading his TV service, bills, and the like. But on the bottom of the pile, Charles found a cream colored envelope with the words “Open Immediately” pasted on the front of the envelope as if they’d been cut out of random magazines and newspapers.

The urgency in the letter got Charles excited and he joyfully opened the enveloped, pulled out a solitary sheet of paper, and unfolded it. The letter contained only three words:

“Death to Happiness.”


Original Cube: Unbalanced Scales

Story Point: First Turning Point

The injustice of it all, Charles thought. He couldn’t believe someone would want to kill his happiness, after all the years of joy he’d brought to the little town of Jolly. Why would someone want to bring such pain and fear on him; on the whole community? Charles’ great-great-great-grandfather had helped build this town many years ago based upon the principles that everyone had the right to pursue

happiness as well as the right to help others find it for themselves. Now, many years later, Charles was forced to decide whether to stand up to the threat of all he knew or to back down and cower under the words left by this miscreant.

For only a moment, Charles wondered if happiness was worth it, but only for a moment. As natural as breathing is to the body, happiness was to the soul, and Charles decided that no matter what happened he would defend his happiness and the happiness of the community of Jolly, even if it cost him his life. After all, what was a life without happiness?

So Charles set on his way to locating the messenger who had left this unusual letter in his mailbox. He was just about to place it on the kitchen counter when he suddenly noticed that the letter was no ordinary letter. For one thing, there was no stamp on it. Charles deduced that it must have been personally delivered either by the culprit or by someone he manipulated into delivering it. Or maybe the culprit had a partner. Either way, Charles knew that to receive a letter in the mail with no stamp was just as strange as receiving a letter with weird magazine letters on the envelope and an even weirder message inside.


Action Cube: Man Walking

Story Point: Complication

After calling around to various neighbors to ask if they’d seen any strange vehicles or persons prowling around suspiciously in their neighborhood, Charles was discouraged—for the first time in a long time—to find that no one had seen any such activity now or at any time in the past. Jolly was like that; a town where everyone was blessed with the ability to live free and happy. But Charles knew that if he couldn’t put a stop to whatever it was the culprit intended to do, he and the whole town would suffer the death of their happiness once and for all.

Since the neighbors were of no help, Charles decided it was time to take his search to the next level. He went down to the local police station to see Sheriff Guthrie and explain to him what had happened. He hoped the Sheriff would see the direness of the situation and agree to help him find the mysterious writer of the letter. When Charles entered the station, he saw Sheriff Guthrie sitting in his office just across and to the right of the front entrance.

Walking across the floor towards the office, Charles was delayed by the young receptionist, Amy.

“Hi ya Charles,” Amy said, smacking her lipstick and twirling her hair. “What can I do ya for, hon?”

“Oh, hi, Amy,” Charles replied. He had had a crush on Amy since they were in high school, and, cheerful or not, had never worked up the nerve to ask her out on a date. “I uh…I just came in to see Sheriff Guthrie. It’s urgent.”

“Urgent, huh? Well it’s about time some urgent business showed up around here. I’ve been bored outta my wits for the last three days. Absolutely nothin’ happens in this town any more. I can’t believe we’re still in business, police or not.”

“I guess,” Charles said, distracted by the need to see the Sheriff. “Well, I really need to see the Sheriff, Amy, so if you don’t mind—“

“Sure, sure, go ahead; don’t mind me. It’s not like I ever have anyone to talk to or anything.”

“Thanks,” Charles said and crossed the hall to Sheriff Guthrie’s office.

“Charles, my boy, come on in,” Sheriff Guthrie said after Guthrie had knocked and entered the room upon the Sheriff’s request. “It’s nice to see a new face today. What can I do ya for?”

“Well, Sheriff,” Charles said, trying to think of a way to present his concerns to the Sheriff without causing a panic. “I’ve got something disturbing to show you, but I don’t want you to get all riled up and do anything rash. For all I know, it could be some sort of prank by some kids or something.”

“Well, spit it out then,” Sheriff Guthrie said. “Don’t keep me waitin’. I ain’t got all day…well, actually I do, but it’s been slow around here, everyone livin’ in a town called Jolly and all.”

“That’s just it, Sheriff,” Charles said. “The town’s very happiness is at stake, and if we don’t stop the culprit now, we may not have a second—“

“Hold it, hold it, Charles. You’re not makin’ any sense. Are you tryin’ to tell me that you think this town—our town of Jolly—is under threat of unhappiness?” Sheriff Guthrie paused a moment, considering, then said, “Nah, can’t be. You got your wires crossed or somethin’, Charles. Ain’t no way anyone could take this town’s legacy away.”

“So you don’t believe me, then? Well, perhaps you will after you’ve seen this,” I said, thrusting my hand forward to show him the cream envelope containing the letter which now lay just outside the tear I had made in the top when I opened it.

“Le’ me see that,” Sheriff Guthrie said, snatching the letter from Charles’ hand and reaching inside his shirt breast pocket for his reading glasses. Having found them, he placed them on the bridge of his nose, opened the letter, and held it out at the full extension of his arm. “‘Death to Happiness’,” Sheriff Guthrie mumbled to himself. “Hmm. So you think this letter is legit, do ya, Charles? Well, I been around the block a time or two, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from bein’ a Sheriff it’s this: You gotta choose your battles. And this battle seems more like a bluff to me.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “How can you not take that letter seriously? It’s all there in black and white. Whoever this is, he or she means to do exactly what they said: kill our happiness.”

“And I’m tellin’ you it ain’t so, Charles; it just ain’t,” Sheriff Guthrie said. “Like I said, I seen a million of these things in my time, and I’d have to say maybe one out of every one hundred was true. And besides, I can’t legally do anything about somethin’ so vague as a threat on happiness; as long as it’s not technically directed at you or anyone else, my hands are tied. I’m sorry, but there’s nothin’ I can do.”

For the second time in one day—almost unheard of—Charles found himself once again discouraged. He took the letter and envelope the Sheriff offered back to him and quietly walked out the door, ignoring Amy’s attempts to get his attention again. It was useless; maybe hopeless, even. Charles had no leads, no witnesses, and now no help from Jolly’s finest, Sheriff Guthrie.

And for the first time ever Charles cried.


Action Cube: Older Man Having an Idea

Story Point: Second Turning Point/Point of No Return

As Charles sat alone on a nearby bench outside the police station crying his eyes out at how useless he felt, he wondered why it was that someone had to be so cruel as to blatantly destroy everyone’s happiness. As he wiped his tear-filled eyes, he saw an old man with a cane wandering down the sidewalk in his direction.

The old man was frail in his steps. He wore a dark brown fedora with matching blazer and dress pants. His mustache was white and he wore glasses. As the wind blew, Charles could see the man’s suspenders as his blazer whipped his in the breeze.

That poor man, Charles thought. Why would anyone be so cruel so such an innocent, lonely old man. He hasn’t done anything to hurt anybody.

As Charles’ eyes began to well with tears again, the old man reached him.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked. “My old bones are creakin’ and my back’s a givin’ me a fit.”

Charles composed himself and replied, “Sure, Mr. Have a seat.”

The old man sat down next to Charles. “Name’s Fred,” he said. “Fred Johnson.”

“Nice to meet you, Fred,” Charles replied. “My name is Charles Murray.”

“Nice to meet you, Charles,” Fred said. “I don’t mean to be nosey, Charles, but I couldn’t help notice how your eyes look awful red and watery. Is there anything the matter? Anything I can do to help?”

Charles paused for a moment, embarrassed that the old man—Fred—had noticed him crying. “No, not really,” he said. “I just went to see Sheriff Guthrie about something, and he couldn’t help, so I don’t see how you could.”

“Try me,” Fred said, leaning on his cane with both hands. “I’m a good listener.”

“Well, okay,” Charles said. He told Fred about the letter he’d received, his worry about the town of Jolly and the townspeople’s endangered happiness. He also told him about his visit with Sheriff Guthrie and how it had been uneventful. Fred listened to the entire story. Near the end of his story, Charles’ eyes were beginning to well up again when Fred interrupted.

“Now listen here, sonny, you ain’t goin’ to get anywhere by turnin’ the water works back on. Trust me, I’ve been in many a heap o’ trouble in my days, and I didn’t git myself outta none of ‘em by cryin’ my eyeballs out. No sir.”

“But what am I supposed to do?” Charles said. “How am I supposed to find out who sent this letter so I can persuade the person to change his or her mind?”

“Hold on just a minute and let me think.” Fred lowered his chin onto his hands, which were still supported on his cane. Charles could see Fred’s wrinkled profile and noticed how calmly he handled situations. After several minutes of silence, Fred nearly jumped off of the bench and said, “By Jim, I think I’ve got it!”

Charles nearly jumped off the bench as well when Fred’s exclamation startled him. “What? What have you discovered?” he said, Fred’s excitement now spilling over onto him.

“Well, Charles, my boy, have you ever considered that the person who wrote this here letter must be in a heap o’ unhappiness themselves? Why else would someone want to ruin everyone else’s happiness unless they were miserable too?”

“You know,” Charles said, his eyes now growing wider as he considered Fred’s idea, “I think you’re onto something, Fred. It makes sense. I would have to be pretty miserable indeed for me to even consider doing something as diabolical as destroying a whole town’s happiness.”

“Well,” Fred said, “What’re you gonna do now?”

“I’m going to find this person and see if I can’t help bring back their happiness. I believe it’s the only way to save the town,” Charles told Fred.

“Mind if I join you? I ain’t got nothin’ better to do.”

“Don’t you have any family?” Charles asked.

“Nah. My wife, God rest her sweet heart & soul, passed nine years ago. I’ve been makin’ it on my own ever since drawin’ retirement and livin’ off some lucky investments I’ve made over the years.”

“Well, Fred,” Charles said, “I’d be happy if you’d join me. Happy indeed.”

Choose Your Action Cube

to Continue the Story...

Only four cubes left. Now it's your turn to finish the story!


Action Cube: (Your Choice)

Story Point: Build Towards Crisis/Climax


Action Cube: (Your Choice)

Story Point: Crisis/Climax


Action Cube: (Your Choice)

Story Point: Move to Resolution


Action Cube: (Your Choice)

Story Point: Resolution/Outcome


You’ve just completed your version of my initial Rory’s Story Cubes story! I hope you feel proud to have accomplished your next step in becoming the writer you inspire to be. I look forward to sharing with you more great resources soon.

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Keep Writing,

Eric Beaty