Facebook Thriller Excitement that’s shared is twice as exciting

The search for Ana begins in a race against time
The search for Ana begins in a race against time | Photo: viktoriagavril / Fotalia.com

“Ana opens her mouth and takes a last gasp of air to scream.” No, it’s not a scene from last Sunday’s Tatort. It’s a Facebook thriller with a story that was produced online over the course of 90 days and was co-written by the users.

The Mexican exchange student Ana Alvarez has disappeared in Germany without a trace. Together with Ana’s brother Pepe, the Facebook fans of the Goethe-Institut Mexico and two authors searched for her for 90 days in the Goethe-Institut’s first Facebook thriller, Ana, wo bist du?

The Goethe-Institut Mexico posted one part of the story of Ana and Pepe every day. With a variety of missions, Facebook fans were able to take part in the plot while improving their German skills. What object does Ana’s brother find in her room: her favourite necklace, a bloody knife or her airline ticket? The Facebook community voted to decide questions like this. In other places, the users made suggestions for entire passages or completed unfinished dialogues, sometimes for pages at a time. In between, vocabulary exercises and geographical questions kept readers on their toes.

How does the story end? You can find out now on the website of the Goethe-Institut Mexico. But here’s a brief excerpt from post number 82 to keep you tingling:

“It’s hot. Ana feels the water on her forehead. But she doesn’t want to raise her hand. Every movement drains her strength. She breathes through her nose. Tiny draughts of air. The mattresses in her prison stink.
The little window that is now closed. He brought her here. Shoved her through the opening.
How long will she stay alive? Should she shout? But no one can hear her. Shouting takes strength.
No other thoughts...?
But yes. Pepe. Her brother. He must be worried.
And Till.
She only wants to see them one more time.
She wants to cry out to them.
But she will surely die. Maybe someone will hear her. Maybe not. Then she’ll die a few minutes sooner.
Scream. Can she even do it? Her tongue is swollen. Ana opens her mouth and takes a last gasp of air to scream.”