Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, January 24, 2011

The 4th Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge

It's time of the granddaddy of them all, our sort-of-annual first paragraph challenge! Will your paragraph wow the masses? Do you have the first paragraph to end all first paragraphs?

We shall soon find out.

Let's get to the good stuff. THE PRIZES!

The ULTIMATE GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the SUFPC will win:

1) The opportunity to have a partial manuscript considered by my utterly fantastic agent, Catherine Drayton of InkWell, whose clients include bestselling authors such as Markus Zusak (The Book Thief), John Flanagan (The Ranger's Apprentice series) and Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush Hush), among others.

2) A signed advance copy of my novel, JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which is coming out in May:



3) The pride of knowing your paragraph was like the platonic ideal of first paragraphs it was so awesome.

The FABULOUS RUNNERS UP will receive the satisfaction of knowing that they were among the very best, as well as a query critique from yours truly.

There may also be honorable mentions, where still more satisfaction will be had.

So! Here's how this works. Please read these rules carefully:

a) This is a for-fun contest. Rules may be adjusted without notice, but this one will always remain: please don't take the contest overly seriously. This is for fun. Yes, the grand prize is awesome and I would have kidnapped a baby koala bear to have my manuscript considered by Catherine Drayton without so much as a query, but don't let that detract from the for-funness of the contest. For fun. Seriously.

b) Please post the first paragraph of any work-in-progress in the comments section of THIS POST. Please do not e-mail me your submission. The deadline for entry is THURSDAY 4pm Pacific time, at which point entries will be closed. Finalists will be announced.... sometime after that. (Possibly Friday, possibly the following Monday, possibly the year 2032 but probably not the year 2032). When the finalists are announced you will exercise your democratic rights to vote for a stupendously ultimate winner.

c) Please please check and double-check and triple-check your entry before posting. But if you spot an error after posting: please do not re-post your entry. I go through the entries sequentially and the repeated deja vu repeated deja vu from reading the same entry only slightly different makes my head spin. I'm not worried about typos, nor should you be.

d) You may enter once, once you may enter, and enter once you may. If you post anonymously, make sure you leave your name.

e) Spreading word about the contest is strongly encouraged.

f) I will be sole judge of the finalists. You the people will be the sole judge of the ultimate winner.

g) I am not imposing a word count on the paragraphs. However, a paragraph that is overly long may lose points in the judge's eyes. Use your own discretion.

h) Please remember that the paragraph needs to be a paragraph, not multiple paragraphs masquerading as one paragraph.

i) You must be at least 14 years old and less than 147 years old to enter. No exceptions.

j) I'm on Twitter! You can find me at @nathanbransford and I may be posting updates about the contest.

That is all.

GOOD LUCK! May the best paragraph win and may it be rather awesome.






1515 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   401 – 600 of 1515   Newer›   Newest»
Tracey said...

Amy Woods thinks herself a saint, and saints have to suffer. I haven’t paid much attention in my seventeen years of attending Mass, but that much I’m pretty sure about. So two minutes after the final bell rings, I stalk down the math hallway, transfer my cane from my right hand to my left, and used said right hand to punch Amy in the face. I hadn’t expected dolling out divine punishment would hurt my knuckles so much.

Jenni Ogden said...

Adam Rose strode into his theater, slapped his hands into the gloves held by the junior theater nurse, and settled himself on the high stool at the head of the operating table. All that was exposed of Eliza was a square on the left side of her shaven head. He made his first incision, drawing his scalpel cleanly along the blue line already drawn on her scalp by David, his Neurosurgical Fellow.Working quickly, within thirty minutes he’d sawn a bony window out of the skull and cut through the membranes enclosing the soft brain, peeling them back to expose the fat, gray coils. The anesthetist flicked the play button on the CD player remote, and the sweet voice of Eva Cassidy singing, ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,’ wafted through the theater.

Emily Sandoval said...

Something was wrong. Sidika knew it as soon as she opened the door, even before her eyes adjusted enough to see the outline of a stranger hidden in the shadows within. It was hours still before sunset, but the shutters were closed and the fire banked low. For a moment she was sure it was a Hand, come to kill them all. Her fingers closed around the water gourd at her waist, muscles tensed to bolt.

Jen McQuiston said...

The first thing I notice is the smell. I had expected fecund earth and moist jungle, the primitive Africa of my mind. Instead, with my first steps onto the tarmac, I am assaulted by the smoke from a thousand cooking fires overlaid with the lingering scent of jet fuel.

Koreen said...

Nox pushed his way into the crowd, surrounded on every side by more beautiful Genia than he could count, but his eyes never strayed from the dark ponytail in front of him. He didn't catch the glimpse of leg as it poked out from under a skirt; he certainly didn't watch the Genia who jogged past, her shirt cut a little too low. With all the genetic advances, they didn't need him. The male species should be extinct by now, but Nox knew it was about control. Control and revenge.

Anonymous said...

Three shots. Two to the chest- one under each breast- and one to the head. Rossi has been insistent upon that. He’d obviously been fantasizing about it for far too long. Sick bastard.
“When you connect the dots, it’ll make an upside down heart.” He’d said, with satisfaction dripping from his chin. Of course that was after six shots of tequila and eight bourbons. People said all sorts of dumb shit after that much juice, but Cohen McGinley had a feeling that this guy’s particular brand of fucked up grew much deeper than the occasional
alcohol induced perverse idea.

Ashleigh Ritchie

Robyn said...

I couldn’t see the audience through the bright stage lights, but I knew they were there. Even if I hadn’t seen them before the house lights went down, I would have felt them with that accumulation of scraps of human senses that added up to no sense at all but more of a gut feeling. There was one reason why they were all there, packed in the aisles, one thing that made this program different from any other campus concert: me. I stepped forward to take center stage and tucked my violin under my chin. I made a flourish with my bow, more like a swordsman preparing for a duel than a musician preparing for a solo. An over the top move. A rock star move? Maybe. I gave them all a small, secretive smile as I moved my bow the final centimeters to the strings.

Cori said...

“Papa!”

I hear my son calling from the cornfield and curse under my breath. He’s so little. He knows he’s not allowed out there alone, but no matter how many times I tell him to stay in town, he manages to slip away as soon as I turn my head. I’ve been looking for him for twenty minutes, calling to him, but no answer. I was thinking he’d hidden at a neighbor’s house, just to drive me insane. Why can’t he listen on just that one subject? He knows it’s not safe.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

The boy's gaze burned into the back of my head as if he could push me out the door by his will alone. At his exaggerated sigh, I stifled a smile and raised my book higher, neatly foiling his attempt to catch my eye in the mirrors lining the café walls.

P.S. Thanks for the opportunity, Nathan!

barbara galvin said...

Mama never ate a Citizen child. No cheat in her group ever killed and ate kids and nobody in Ranger’s troop did, either. I have never known a cheat who did, so I think it’s a story Citizens tell each other to make what they do to us seem necessary. We did eat cats and dogs, and maybe Citizens feel that’s just as bad as eating their children.

FantasticFiction said...

Someone was going to die today. There was no other choice: it was kill or die. Vitiosus stared at the tall, bulky warrior and took a deep breath. He stepped forward. Gravel crunched below his feet and wisps of wind swirled about his head as he calculated his chances. With one final glance toward his father on the throne, he walked to the middle of the arena. He was determined to make his father proud of him — just this once.

CrystalShreds said...

A cool breeze seeps into my room from open balcony doors. I get up and shiver. The curtains fluster. A few snow flakes land on my nose. There is a young girl, with long wavy blond hair standing by the outdoor well. She is wearing a long white, almost translucent dress that separates like flower petals at the edges. In the midst of grayness, her bright blue eyes shine like beckoning lights. I don't know who she is but I know I want her.

Catherine Lavoie said...

​I've never been good at keeping secrets from Oliver Frost. It might be because I'm a terrible liar but, most likely, it's because he's known me all my life and can read my face like an open book. Every eyebrow twitch, every blink, every fake smile. And, right now, I feel like I'm strapped to a lie detector. At any second the needles might go haywire like they do in the movies when the devious main character is lying through her teeth.  

Calm.
​Breathe in. Breathe out.
​Cough.

Jamie said...

The aristocrat moaned and groaned, trying to roll over from his place on the stony ground. Saire put his foot underneath the man’s back and unkindly rolled him over. The man groaned again and put his hands to his belly, holding it tightly. His head turned violently to the side and he vomited loudly onto the ground. Saire waited patiently, looking to his left and to his right down the alleyway. It was deserted, as usual, even though it was the middle of the day. The man on the ground wiped his mouth wretchedly, and tried to speak, but Saire kicked him in the ribs before he was able to do so. There was a dull crack with the impact of his booted foot and the man immediately began to cough, blood speckling his pale lips. Saire bent down beside the man and took a closer look at the fine clothes that had drawn his attention on the streets. He rolled his eyes. Noblemen, they were all the same.

Dr. E said...

I glide my index finger over the frozen window. It leaves a line running across. My journey from start to finish.
“First time flying?”
I turn and shake my head, rubbing my clammy hands together. Is it really as cold as it feels? “No,” I answer.
“I can tell.”
“Can you?”
“People are my job.

Michael said...

In the Deep South, July wraps around you like warn molasses. Thick and sticky. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker. This morning the air is heavy, with no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago. The rhythmic drone of the locusts fills my head, as if counting down the seconds until the man with the claw hand arrives.

Christine S said...

I always thought my sister would be by my side, until today. I clutch the Bible in my hands, willing myself not to cry. Standing on an elaborate alter I can see my sister’s light blue coffin open and empty. Her body too burned to present. My mother forced me into this stupid service, when all I want was to mourn her alone. I tear my nails into Mathew 8:21 - 22, somehow thinking I can quiet the person up at the podium reading it.

Melody Jackson said...

Shelby the sea dragon couldn’t stand cheese. Everything about it displease her sharp sense of smell. She couldn’t‘ bare it when the other dragons ate it around her and she had to put up with the aroma.
“It’s just cheese.” Sirius the dragon her best friend said to her one day on a picnic on the beach while teasing her. “Would ya stop wigging out. The worse I‘ve ever gotten from it is bad gas and back acne.”

Melody Jackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nessa V said...

With a sudden thump something falls from the sky and lands on my balcony. It’s black and big but I can’t tell what it is. A sharp pain gnaws at my skull and I clutch onto my temples, balancing myself and breathing hard. Is this a dream? I pinch myself but the picture doesn’t clear.

Alicia said...

I didn’t say no. At least I don’t think I said no. I can’t really remember. Considering the drunken state I was in, I don’t think I was capable of saying anything. I wasn’t slipped the date rape drug or anything like that. It was completely of my own doing, with the help of lots of Bacardi.

Cramer Timmins said...

The pistol is cold against my temple and I restrain from clicking. I stare hard at the safe that is now empty and know that that’s exactly how empty my soul is. Not even worth shit.

Ginger Kenney said...

He was my brother. I was sure of it the instant I set eyes on him.

Albert C. said...

Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: "Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours." That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.

Janice said...

On the day before Christmas 1943, Ann Garner stepped into the Manhattan office of the American Red Cross carrying a summary of her life that was, for the most part, factual. She was greeted by an outsized War Department poster featuring an apple-cheeked brunette who invited her in capital letters to join the Army Nurse Corps. Ann winked at the woman for good luck and looked around the room.

ellen-s-jaffe said...

If you’re driving along Main Street West in Hamilton near Dundurn Plaza – coming off the highway, for instance, or just doing some grocery shopping or getting a coffee – you can’t help noticing the big billboard staring down at you. It usually advertises some charity or another, and for weeks – months – there was a picture of a woman in a wheelchair with a little girl behind her, and the words, “AN ACCIDENT DOESN’T HURT JUST ONE PERSON.” For a long time, I had to look away whenever I saw it. Because the picture could have been me and my dad. Except I was way older than the girl in the picture. And the accident was mostly my fault. That’s what hurt the most. Big time.

Sarah Parker said...

I concentrate as hard as I can and I know I can never lift the orb. I look up at my father, his brown eyes desperate, beads of sweat on his brow, fists clenched, and face flushed. “I am a yeeod, I am worthless with magic. I am sorry.” My words bite back at me for this means I am going to the camps. This means I will die.

Mr. D said...

Just because I’m only fourteen doesn’t mean I don’t’ know anything. You probably think you know more than I do. I can tell by the smirk on your face. Well, you’re probably right. But not about what happens after midnight on Thirteenth Street. I know, because my room faces Thirteenth Street. And I’m never asleep until well after two. It’s because my parents are always yelling. Either at me or at each other. Sometimes, my grandma joins in. She’s my mom’s mom, and she always takes her side. When that happens, the yelling doesn’t stop until the cops arrive. Usually it’s the neighbors who call them. They can’t take the noise any more than me.

Melody Jackson said...

I'm sorry, but my comment posted twice for some reason

Anonymous said...

A low rumbling woke him. He sat up in bed groggily, blinking and rubbing his eyes and yawning. He was still tired from the day before, so he sat there and waited for the scientists to come through the door and escort him to another day of exhausting experiments. At least this is what he assumed would happen. But the only thing that did happen was that the rumbling grew louder until it was a thunderous roar that seemed to consume everything within its noise.

Zachary S. Sigmon
zssigmon@embarqmail.com

Selena McGee said...

A moan escapes Old Tom and he clutches his chest. Heart attack. My breathing speeds up and my heart races. I drop the food and stumble over the cardboard boxes that we call home. There is no use of taking him to the hospital. They would just leave him to die. No body cares when a drifter dies.

Bill Greer said...

Jake Tremble pushed away from shore, and the kayak glided across the surface of the lake. He coasted for a minute before dragging the paddle to bring the kayak to a stop, turning it to face the full moon that dominated the southern sky.

Dixon Bennett Rice said...

Tyler Goode didn’t know the man’s real name until he read the obituary three days later.
Everyone called the guy Brute. It fit him well. He’d become a legend in northwest Montana for taking whatever he wanted – whether someone else’s woman or a warm bottle of beer – and leaving the victim a bloody, broken mess. He wore his nickname like a medal, as if it were a compliment to his strength and combat skills instead of a summary of his personality. Smart people steered clear of Brute, all three hundred-plus pounds of him. Of course Ty had never been accused of genius.

Anonymous said...

Jane and Mistress Zephyra ambled down the hallways and through the large dining room to the side entrance of the kitchens. It was between shifts so the two were left to fend for themselves. Jane hung the iron kettle on the hook and swung it over the fire that burned constantly in the big hearth while Mistress Zephyra rummaged through a cupboard for the tea.
“‘ello ladies. You lookin’ fer somethin’?”
“Oh, Fiona! Forgive us” Jane said, startled. “We didn’t mean to wake you.”
“No no, Jane me girl” she said hastily. “I wasn’t quite asleep yet. What can I get yeh?”
“We were just making tea.”
“Can’t sleep, eh? The tea be kept right ‘ere, Mistress. In this tin” Fiona said reaching into the cupboard next to the one Mistress Zephyra had been searching.
“Thank you Fiona. Will you join us for a cup?”
“I’ll not be sayin’ no to such a fine invitation. The best sort ‘o conversation ‘appens over a late-night cup ‘o tea!”

Sheila Miller

Anonymous said...

From the kitchen window, Bessie watched her grandfather leave the house and walk toward the barn. Five minutes later he brought their last chicken, its head missing, to the backdoor. She poured boiling water over the chicken to make the plucking easier. Bessie wasn’t sure how she was going to make one chicken last for two meals with eight hungry people. She pulled the skin off and added the scraps to the chicken broth. The three youngest siblings watched as she separated the legs and wings from the body of the chicken. “Did that hurt the chicken?” Stuart asked. Carmel Westerman

Patricia Triste said...

Love is a confusing and puzzling experience which everyone experiences in their life. Through the examination of parental love, unrequainted love and true love it will become evident that according to Shakespeare the meaning of love is unpredictable, true and desirable. It is the way I love. It is the way I love him. Only him.

Sandra said...

I never thought I’d be asking a hoodoo conjurer for help. But that was exactly what I was sneaking away to do.

Robin Leonard said...

Ghastly yellow light radiated from the street lamp through the Palladian window into my attic bedroom. Naked trees swayed in the front yard, their strange shadows crawled over the walls. He lingered in a murky corner; the light glinted off one golden epaulet. Shudders jolted up my spine as I stared at it. Then he turned and watched me.

By: Robin Leonard robinleonard47@comcast.net

Andy Cheswick said...

“What would you say if I told you, that you are going to die today?”
Anton shakes his head and chuckles. “Well then, I guess I would ask you if you offer refunds.”
The palm reader slaps a twenty dollar bill onto his side of the table. “I am sorry.” She turns and marches out of the tent.
“At least I’ll waste my money somewhere useful,” Anton calls after her and shoves the bill into his pocket.

Jan Priddy, Oregon said...

My mother catches me squeezing a zit on the side of my chin. “Don’t pick,” she says. She has just come home from work, dragging the smell of cigarettes with her even though she doesn’t smoke anymore, and I can tell she’s tired from the way she walked through the kitchen. Clack clack clack in her tired shoes. Don’t pick, she tells me. She thinks I’m too picky about a lot of things, like friends and teachers and especially boys. I should go out, I should see people. But I ask you, why bother with guys you can’t even stand to talk to? You know? If I keep my eyes on the bathroom mirror over the sink I think maybe she will go straight to her bedroom, the next door down the hall. So I sigh when her footsteps stop and she starts in.

Seth Armstrong said...

I let my finger run along her shimmery skin and sink in. Her blood warms my throat, sweet, thick…Fairy blood.

Chris said...

When the sirens go off, the only thing to do is run. And hide. Hiding is important.

Caren H said...

Caner is the kid that sits in the corner and weeps. He’s the coward that gets picked on. He’s the shithead that never stands up to others. He is a dope. Darn dope, that kid. I like him. We're alike.

Christy King said...

“You have lost what there is left of your mind, woman.” He slammed his curled fist upon the table, crumpling it under the weight of the blow.

UrbanDweller said...

That curve I’d rounded at least a hundred times before, always with my mouth squeezed tight and my face almost blue, waiting for the welcoming breath I could take as soon as the road straightened. Fear didn’t play a part in my routine. It was a game, just a silly superstition to most—but one I always played—a harmless game until the day it almost got me killed.

Regan Leigh said...

“Rise and shine, pretty boy!” I shout at him, but he doesn’t respond. Of course not. Almost two months have passed and I’m still dead.

Anonymous said...

Drug-induced sleep loosens its hold on Ruben Xavier’s mind and tongue. Staring into Stygian dark, he calls, “Papa? Are you there, Papa? Don’t put me in the ground. Take the lid off my coffin and look at me. I can’t move, but my eyes are open, and— The music I hear. . . . It was played at Becca's Governor’s Ball, and it's on the souvenir CD she gave me. You know how much I like it . . . Father Murphy didn't mind if you played it for my funeral?”

MJ Sides
illmomo@cybertrails.com

Liz Heinecke said...

It had been easy enough to steal the Moonstone. Morgan was, after all, very pretty in her own dark way. Wandering the rugged cliffs of Tintagel, she discovered him on the alter, curled up like a human sacrifice. He moaned softly and stirred when she pushed a lock of white hair from his smooth forehead. She jerked her hand back, but he grabbed her wrist with snakelike speed and captured her in a sleepy, icy stare. Though she had never seen him before, the pale blue eyes were unmistakable. Morgan boldly stared back at Merlin’s son.

Crystal Perkin said...

Flowers sprouted above his remains. Just like they sprouted wherever he stepped. He had horns and scared the hell out of my friends. Not me. I never feared him. I never feared him like I fear myself. The sky darkens and the lightning bolt strikes. He is here for me. The devil is here to take my soul.

Stef Kramer said...

Despicable bus. Vile bus. Ghastly bus. Sluggish bus. Irksome bus. You know how that clever spider, Charlotte, spun up some descriptive words of Wilbur in hopes to keep the little pig alive? Words like “radiant” or “terrific”?  Well, I’ve been using reverse psychology -- fingering words in the dusty window of my school bus in hopes that it will be junked. And Mom will be forced to drive me to school every day.

Anonymous said...

Alverai ran silently through the birch grove, breathing in the music. The cadence of the trees surrounded him, their slender harmonies drawing him into the night. Small birch leaves trembled in the breeze, a light arpeggio of sound. Alverai ran the wild grounds of Soledad with his eyes closed. His gift allowed him to hear the living connections of the world as if they were music. Gift unfurled, the path unfolded in his mind as a melody. The gentle tremolo of the birches rose above the rest of the forest, against the crescendo of hills. Foot struck ground, lifted and struck again. His pace was steady, the ground beneath his feet a bass anchor in the night.

Name: Julia

Jay DiNitto said...

Better a slow, steady burn - the phrase came to mind just as I awoke in the upper room, cold on the floor, with my nose pressed up against the coarse crosshatch fabric of the office couch. The first time - the only other time - the meaningless presumption had passed through me ex nihilo it inspired me to brush it, small and black, near the upper edge of the office wall. Those words were a little over one year old now, coded cautiously from pigment to plaster when we first moved in and comandeered the storied theater for our new purpose.

Angelb4u77 said...

My orders come from God, but that doesn’t mean I believe in Him. When the Man Upstairs created the eternal after-party and the earth and all the rules in between, He seriously botched the job. I’m not claiming I could’ve blueprinted a more efficient universe—but I certainly wouldn’t abandon the souls existing within my ever-expanding mess.

~Voices on the WInd
Amanda Lang

Jessica said...

Corinne put her headphones in and turned the volume up. It was so dumb, her parents sending her off to live with her aunt like this. They claimed it was to snap her out of her depression and substitute for the class senior trip that she missed so she could go to a funeral. That would have been all fine and good, but the funeral had been for her boyfriend, Evan. Corinne broke up with him one night, and the next she got a call saying they had found him dead. At first, police thought it had been suicide; there was a gun that had been recently fired in his hand. Her heart had shattered. She knew he wasn’t completely stable, yet she broke up with him anyway, driving him over the edge she should have seen. But no, it hadn’t been suicide; it had been murder.

Cait said...

The suburban CityRail train abandoned me like a parent does a child at daycare, quickly and with no regret. Standing on the so-called platform at Pembroke station, I inhaled the warm, dry air, and dialed the number for Oxley Downs.

Amy Lea said...

Brynn sat on the other side of the booth hoping she didn’t sound as stupid as she felt. She didn’t know how her friend would take what she had just said. Some people are touchy about religion. Even the ones who claim to have none get antsy when others complain about God. They’re afraid of the darkness but won’t believe in the light.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that when you so desperately want, need, a pair of jeans to fit, they magically decide to shrink in the wash? Yes. They shrank in the wash. And it's not as though I'm trying to impress anyone; there's just something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin. Those jeans did that for me. Of course, I'm not going to stop and ask myself why a pair of jeans make me feel comfortable with who I am, I just really don't have time to philosophize right now. Winnie was outside in her new Range Rover, honking the horn as if no one else lived in the neighborhood.
~Robyn

Jayme Stryker said...

It had been a rough summer; hot, humid, and sticky. If only the weather alone had made it so. My family had taken a number of hits during this sultry time. Today was our third funeral in as many months. I stood with my straight black skirt tugged up to touch my thighs as the cool creek water swirled around my knees and calves. I curled my bare toes into the soft mud of the creek bed, hiding them from the tickling nibbles of the minnow fish. I listened with half a mind for my father’s call to the car. With the other half, I gazed into the shadowed retreat of the forest trees and thought about the day’s upcoming events. I felt great distaste at attending another mournful occasion. I felt even greater distaste at having to feign sadness as part of the funeral show. It was in poor taste to show a complete lack of grief at the memorial. At least, I had been told so by my mother. Even so, I was sure that I would not be the only one at the service who felt as though a weight had been lifted. I could shed a few tears, and only I would have the satisfaction of knowing that they were tears of joy.

Judy Douglas Knauer said...

J. Douglas Knauer's First Paragraph:
Hani Zafar didn’t wonder what killing his father would feel like. Leaning across the grave on his bare knees he patted the crumbled dirt and small stones on top of his mother’s resting place. He wiped the back of his hand across his nose and looked over at his two uncles, her brothers. They, too, had tears streaming down their cheeks. No, there was no pondering how he would feel when he killed his father. The idea to kill him had struck as a fact of life that left Hani with a sense of calm certainty.

Bill Saunders said...

“This is like a bad joke,” Johnathan Frost found himself saying aloud. He had leaned across the bar to see who had entered his place only to see the top of a very short person bobbing in. Leaning farther over, he saw himself looking at a baby – a baby three feet tall and plump as a watermelon, sporting small feathery wings on its back. Its face was unmistakably that of an infant a few months old, but he moved with the gait of someone much older. And everyone knew the baby was a he thanks to the lack of pants (or a diaper) and the full grown size of his equipment that slapped back and forth between his knees as he stomped into the bar. “I need to hide out here for a bit,” the baby said in perfect King’s English as he pushed off the floor and climbed into a barstool. His wings buzzed quickly like that of a hummingbird as he settled in, and just as quickly stopped when he placed his palms flat on the bar. “Beer.”

Jan Myers said...

This is opening paragraph from my true-crime story, A REVERSAL OF JUSTICE. Hope you like it. Jan Myers, San Antonio, TX

The closer he got, the better she looked. Driving southbound on US Highway 71 in the southern outskirts of Bossier City, Louisiana, Jim Shelton spotted a blonde walking north on the shoulder between the highway and the parallel railroad tracks. He made a u-turn across the divided four-lane highway and approached her from behind. Jim thought she looked pretty good. He pulled off the highway and stopped, letting the electric passenger-side window down. She looked fine up close, too.

Margo Gremmler said...

When she’s not squealing in my ear, I love Michele Mondale like a sister. “‘Sunny conditions at 3:46’? How the Helen of Troy am I supposed to believe that forecast?” I inch away from her on the bench to save my eardrums. Just a little, though. Best friends can be touchy. And tonight is her Fifteen ceremony, so yeah. Stress.

Kyle Barr (IrishWristwatch) said...

Meric Koebler had a beer along with his pork chops that day.
His wife didn't notice a thing when he put the bottle down on the table where a can of Coke usually went, and even if she did see she most likely wouldn't have said a thing. But for some reason Meric thought it extremely strange and stared at it for most of the dinner while his wife looked down at a magazine that Meric didn't even know they had a subscription for. Meric stared at the bottle for what seemed like a very long time, until the bottle eventually blurred from view and became a blob of color along with the rest of forks and knifes and the dinner that he hoped would get too cold if he let himself go for a bit...

misa101 said...

We all knew the world would end some day. From the time we are old enough to grasp the concept of time and death we know. As a child I probably spent more time than most worrying about it.

KT said...

Seven.

That’s how many times I’ve been kicked out of school. No, I don’t beat up kids. I don’t vandalize private property. I don’t have a disease. And I’m definitely not a coward.

It’s because of my name.

dylan said...

Is remorse the natural fruit of happiness? What are ethics to the dead? Are we on this world merely to share in the confusion? This is a story I brought back from the city with my books and my fatigue. It concerns one isolated man. Picture the image of a young man and a young woman reflected in a lake. Now erase the image, because the woman is dead and the man is old and does not attend the lake now. The lake is contaminated with memories, and memories are poison to him.

Heather said...

Grendar knew what he was seeing could be the death of him, yet he couldn't bring himself to look away.The bothersome undergrowth that had been hampering his progress through the jungle now didn't seem thick enough to conceal him. His heart pounded and his throat constricted with fear. What if they saw him? At least being an emerald dragon would help him blend into the plant life. Still, he couldn't resist the urge to pull his wings in tight and make himself as small as possible.

-Heather McCorkle
Paragraph from Trouble With The Dragon Empire

AderuMoro said...

Scilla knew that the eyes glued to her cleavage meant that she no longer had the perfect ballerina body. It wasn’t Mr. Gosher’s fault that he was a head shorter than she was; at least the old man could lead her in a waltz, even if he couldn’t see over her left shoulder. Someone might’ve told her to be proud that her body had finally blossomed into a desirable silhouette. Another girl could’ve told her to smack the dirty old man, but Scilla was aware that her dress revealed an exciting yet appropriate amount of skin, so she couldn’t really blame him. She did ponder, however, how much harder she should work to regain her once-lighter body. Her breasts had reduced to a more manageable size, after all, since she had first tried losing weight five months ago, and she was growing fond of her curvier figure.

Nathaniel Gibson said...

“What are you gonna do? Read my mind?” His hold doesn’t loosen.
“I can’t read your mind. You’re one of them.” His lips brush past mine and I turn away.
“Don’t do that!”
“Why, because you’re scared? Scared you can’t read my mind either?”

Tiffany said...

“Taylee!”
I’d heard my name too often lately, and for some odd reason it was always being yelled. This time, the deep, angry tone had me scrambling to shove my iPod and sketch pad under my pillow. The sound of stomping boots reverberated up the stairwell. Algebra book. I stumbled over a dirty pile of clothes as I rushed to my desk and grabbed it. Hearing Delmari’s footsteps grow closer, I leapt for the bed.

Kate Langton said...

Xaglin flinched when the heavily perfumed man at the recruiting table refused her application for the second time. She studied his impassive expression, tried to read it, got nowhere. She felt a nudge on the edge of her mind. She frowned. It felt like someone was trying to scan her. Him probably. She took a deep breath and immediately regretted it: the man's cologne was nauseatingly sweet. She grimaced. Signing up at the Guild of Mentalists was supposed to have been easy. Just turn up at the apprentice recruiting fair, apply, get accepted, and start work. She’d actually studied the rules, all 1,145 pages worth. This whole legacy thing — her particular apprentice category — was about as straightforward as you could get. If one’s parents were guild members in good standing, then you, their child, could expect to be automatically accepted into the same guild when you came of working age at fifteen. So what was the problem? Oh, just him, she thought sourly. Xaglin reread the carved wooden name plate on the table in front of her: Tapping Lair, Journeyer Rank. She pressed her lips together in silent fury. Of all the stupid luck. Kids at Foundling House had warned her, of course. Avoid the Mentalist called Lair, they'd said. He'll do his best to trip you up. He’s the guildmaster’s pet and an annoying know-it-all. Xaglin’s fury increased. All she wanted was a permanent home and three meals a day. And this stupid guy thought he was going to stand in her way? Breathing thinly through her mouth, she put on her most charming smile.

Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avalon said...

The kiss felt different. There was the familiar, of course, the warmth of her soft lips, the heat of her skin, her hands on my chest. I knew her strawberry-tinted taste, her spicy perfume, her silky conditioned hair. But then there was this sensation. This new fire that dripped down my chest and spread smoothly across my body like a hot breath. Like God exhaling into me. My skin prickled with electricity and my mind was alive. I’d never been one for drugs, but I knew without a doubt that I was high, that this energy building inside me and flooding my veins with chattering endorphins was unnatural. But what could be more natural than a kiss?

Kristy Gillespie said...

That night the snow refused to descend which was highly unusual for south western Pennsylvania in late November. Surrounding tree branches were bent fork tines dripping with icing against a dark chocolate sky. The wind howled as gut wrenchingly as a wolf after losing his mate to a greedy hunter. The smell of burning, rotting wood was pungent like letters from a scorned lover. Outside was nature at its finest whereas inside the parish hall- nurture was taking over.

Emily Ward said...

At the general store, Natalie ignored the red-letter sign that read “NO HALF-BREEDS.” She brought to the counter a gallon of water, a map, and some other things for their trailer. She held eye contact with the clerk, an overweight man with a goatee, daring him to ask. He didn’t.

Kit said...

There is something almost magical about coming out of a dream, and in the moment between being fully awake and asleep funny things can happen. That night I dreamed about sailing the Caribbean with Bradley. That was something we meant to do on our Honeymoon, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men.

Laurie Starkey said...

Sam froze. Swirling white mist covered the ground at her feet. A radiant sunset had painted the evening sky in varying shades of crimson, the grass a brilliant gold. She looked around, trying to get her bearings. In the lush open field, now covered in a haze, she sensed she wasn’t alone. She squinted through the mist as a figure approached. He towered over her by at least a foot and judging by the large expanse of his shoulders; he played football or should start.

Anonymous said...

The heaven Natalie envisioned faded when she rounded back and saw her baby floating in the crapper.

Tabitha Maine

Chrissy said...

My bad omen was back. The seemingly inoffensive post-it note aroused me like a slap in the face. As if I needed anymore adrenaline pumping through my veins. The hair on the back of my neck prickled as I scanned the sidelines. Clusters of parents and a few young kids were scattered through the crowd. No one looked remotely interested in me.

Eddie Louise said...

The Arc Riders; Trouble with Mexicans
by Eddie Louise

Jace ran like his life depended on it - because his life depended on it. The St James boys were hot on his tail and Jace knew that those crazy Mexicans would not stop ‘til they had caught him and beaten him within an inch of the Juarez border. He rounded the corner onto West Fordham road at a dangerous speed, his ankles protesting at the torque. Close on his heels, three of the oldest, and therefore the fastest St Jamesers took the corner at speeds that would have caused a cartoon character to leave blur trails. They were gaining and if Jace didn’t think of something fast it would be all over but the novenas.

Michelle Hauck said...

She lay in the elegant bed and wished to be more than her life dictated. Just for once to know an ordinary moment of peace. Not always to be on alert or hiding behind a façade. Her young face set in stone, she stared into the dark room. As if in answer, an arm stole around her silk-clad waist and, for a second, her eyes lost their blank stare to fill with emotion. She dropped her guard for the briefest of moments and weakness crept in. She coughed, tried to clamp her mouth against it, and coughed again.

Alexis Bass Writes said...

I’d never had any secrets, much to my dismay. Not the kind I wanted anyway. I had only one real secret, but it wasn’t the fun kind like a forbidden romance or a hidden tattoo. As most secrets go, mine was dark and shameful, and better forgotten.

dvilardi said...

My eyes pop open. My heart races. Rain sheets slam the window. Pictures rattle on the walls. It’s the hurricane. I know.

TJS said...

You know me. You’ve seen me plenty of times in the subway, or on the street. I’m the one you move one seat away to avoid, or place your hand on your child’s shoulder to shield them from. If I was a dog, I would be a pit bull. I’m trainable, but in the wrong hands, a complete nightmare. Let me tell you about the night I got into the wrong hands.

alyinblunderland said...

In Lenny Slater's earliest memory, she is three years old. She knew the exact age because she asked her mother, but later on, she probably could have deduced as much anyway. It would always exist as her earliest memory, even though much of the clearness of the reverie never completely broke through. Instead, it was just a series of rolled, marble painted colors and piccolo pitched voices, which was enough in the end to connect the pieces of a serrated puzzle that challenged everything she ever knew about herself. It was the catalyst for destruction.

Ray Rhamey said...

The winter wind, called the Hawk by the people of this city, whips my long coat and thrusts icy talons under my dress, greedy for my warmth. Last I was here it was a lively summer breeze; now it’s a harbinger of death.

Pam Torres said...

“Madison, you better get a move on,” Dad yelled up the stairs. I tried to open my eyes, they just weren’t cooperating. I willed them to open and blinked until I could focus. The pink curtains and wallpaper flowers jumped off the wall and looked childish and stupid. The room was smaller now, claustrophobic. It’s Monday, the first day of 6th grade, and I’m not even excited. How could I have known that in one summer I would lose my best friend, my pink bedroom would make me puke, and my Dad wouldn’t understand any of it?

mark said...

Daniel had been dead for three weeks now. It wasn't so bad. In fact, he found it rather relaxing. What Daniel hadn't realized, while laying six feet underground, was that the trouble with being dead had nothing to do with the "dead" part. Waking up - now that's when things start to get complicated.

Diva Donna said...

“Why are you doing this?” I screamed, straining at the ropes binding my wrists and ankles. Silence. The unresponsive shadow in the corner never wavered in the sick staring contest I had already lost repeatedly.

Opening paragraph from Souls Unknown
by Donna Milakovic

Brenda said...

It doesn't look like a room of Death. It smells like beer and dust bunnies. It's a young man's room. Socks and tee-shirts in mortal conflict on the floor. Papers and CDs piled on the metal desk, the flat screen, and even the 360 in the corner; yet Death is over there doing his homework, in a swivel chair that squeaks as he moves. He has his back to me. He's wearing a Seattle Mariner's jersey over a plaid-green shirt and a pair of scrub blue jeans. His black hair is longish, wavy and mussed.

Ebony Johanna said...

The dinner table is an important symbol in the life of the family. For many families, it serves a dual function. Not only is it a place to serve guests, providing nourishment to their bodies; it also invites teaching, encouragement, and growth. Reflecting on the dinner table can cause feelings of sheer joy to arise as one recalls the humorous stories that were once shared over a mouth-watering meal. At the same time, such remembering can provoke feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness considering the scolding and rejection that may have taken place there, or even recalling its absence.

Nathan Anderson said...

Jak had no idea that three words could hurt so much.

L.S. Tibbets said...

I awoke, but my eyes would not open. They were swollen shut, and throbbed. Badly. At first, I couldn’t remember why. The crank of the metal sleeping compartment door squealed open, then it came to me. The last appointment had been rough.

Tin Kettle Inn said...

My parents are interesting, but they’re not 'fascinating.' And they can't be anything but boring when compared to other people who have 'fascinating' parents. My mom and her family have great stories. I hate the fact that I wasn't alive when any of these exciting things happened.

Cheree said...

Flying monkey robots, how original.

Christina said...

The Siren Song-(YA)

I leaned back against the sand, digging my feet down passed the sun-warmed grains to the cooler layer below. Coarse sand rubbed between my toes as I wiggled them around. Toes were such strange appendages. They were kind of awkward with their knobby joints and nails that weren’t quite pretty. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fully get used to them.


christinaferko(at)gmail(dot)com

Pen and Ink said...

Wow, Well that what I get for having my computer catch an "anti virus protection" virus (possibly at twitter)
If you want to check out some other first line/paragraphs I posted ten first line/paragraphs at Pen and Ink. The last five are from First time Authors nominated in the Mid Grade Chapter Book category of the Cybils. Please check it out and tell me which of these writers would you like to follow on their journey.
http://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-first-lines.html

Amy Talbot said...

The heels of Gina’s backless sandals made urgent clickety-clacks on the uneven stone as she climbed Logan Castle’s main stairs. Two carved wolves stood sentry beside the studded wooden doors. Their beady-eyed stare felt as welcoming as the chill wind that savaged her bare legs. She heard the wail of bagpipes played close by, and glanced around, but couldn’t locate the piper. The mournful sound sent shivers up her spine. There was such an atmosphere about this place, she half-expected a ghostly horde of battle-scared Highland warriors to descend on her, brandishing claymores and chanting blood-curdling war chants. It was just as well she came in peace.

‘Heart of the Clan’ – a contemporary romance

Susan J. Berger said...

Tasha rubbed her sore knuckles. Her first new friend in forever and look where it landed her. The Principal’s office. She wished she were invisible.

JAM said...

Everyone has that one ex. You know the one. They’re the fly in your soup, the pile of single socks in your closest and out of the 100 reasons you’re not dating, they are reasons 1 through 27 and 31 through 38. You see her in the eyes of people walking by. You even dated someone who could have been her twin. And when she’s around, she sings that sweet siren song, and you lose whatever control you thought you had, which was zero anyway.

Lorelei said...

The thick black letters, dripping and slanting at odd angles, spelled it out across Aunt Pat’s violated beige wall: WISH DOCTOR. I knew she would be furious. She and Darlene had worked so hard to upgrade the broken-screened café they bought on Eagle Rock Boulevard from disgusting up to middle class, putting up crossed-wood screens surrounding the patio, adding a lighted sign saying “Pat and Darlene’s” in florid red script on a white background surrounded by a tan border, planting red geraniums in boxes along the patio, applying fresh new paint everywhere including on the parking lot wall that now was defaced. The big, black, messy letters straggled across the wall, about four feet off the ground, each letter as big as a Labrador retriever. Speckles of black paint had sprayed around a few of the letters. Not the experienced kind of taggers like the Avenidos or the Highland Park gang. The gang taggers wrote store-bought birthday-cake-like “AVES” or “HLxP” labels on retaining walls near the ends of blocks they claimed as their territory. big, mean boys, fingers in belt loops, swaggering around swearing in Spanish and looking at girls out of the corners of their eyes. I stayed away from them.

From Laura Hoopes, lhoopes@pomona.edu

Anonymous said...

I met a dead man tonight. Margo walked right up with him. She was always walking up to me with a man, guiding him with a diamond-heavy hand placed lightly below his shoulder blades, as if to say,“Look at what I’ve found for you!” For a long time I thought she was matchmaking, but now I know she merely drags live prey back to the campfire to show it off.
gmyers@the-i.net

Marci Sischo said...

Half past six on a gray and darkening Friday evening, and the bell over my shop door chimed. I’d made the bell myself, and it always chimed a little early. I appreciate some advance warning. I shooed Randall toward the corner, pushing his bag into his hands and whispering “Quiet, now. Business.”

Ostriches Look Funny said...

When my children get sick, I turn into a hamster. A pregnant hamster who craves spaghetti. I run around, cleaning barf buckets, changing television shows, refilling juice, reassuring the husband who think that vomit warrants a trip to the hospital, hugging the child who is alive and well and slightly jealous of the child who is alive and sick.I move in a circle, and nothing gets done. If I am lucky, things stay the same. If I am unlucky, the couch gets covered in barf when I'm not looking.

Lisa B said...

Zeus licked his dry lips desperately trying to calm his racing heart. The deafening roar of a coliseum filled with titans and gods, plus their human servants and pet monsters echoed in his steel helmet. Living in a cave overlooking a rocky coastline up until yesterday couldn’t prepare him for the sights, sounds and noises that went along with life on Mount Othrys.

Karrie said...

"Simone, Simone!" Armani screamed. He stared at the ceiling and tried to sit up but a jolt of pain like lightning stopped him. The left side of his face burned like it was on fire. "Where the hell am I?" He asked. He lifted his arms and saw IV needles in both. "Why are these hooked upto me? What's going on? Simone!" He slammed his arms against the bedrails like an animal ramming itself against the thick wire of a trapper's cage. Frustrated, confused and angry, he stopped. Seconds later he heard faint footsteps grow louder.

Liesl said...

My mother named me after a cow’s rear-end. Well, not on purpose, I don’t think, and neither does Gran. Really my mother had a whole other name for me. A beautiful name, but no one ever did hear it. They only heard the worst part of it. Rump.

Rob said...

They said a dog could never be elected president, but it happened. Roosevelt Jefferson was the runt of a small litter born on a farm in little Washington. His mother was a Beagle, and his father was an uneducated Pug who the puppy would never know. For six weeks, life was stable. The family played in the grass and mud, fed at the same teats, and slept in a pack under the stars. Then, the visitors started coming to watch them play. And each time a visitor left, one of the litter left too until it was just Roosevelt and his older brother laying in the sun and attacking the two cats, who were Siamese and quick to unsheathe their claws. At first hiss, Roosevelt usually found something else to chase, a dandelion or perhaps a ladybug, but his brother would press on and suffered for it. Roosevelt began to wonder who would take his brother, scarred and wild as he was, and what would happen if no one did.

ddelano said...

I have not always been Chinese. Although the wizened old women who work the rice fields laugh at me when I tell them this. Gau Su strikes a gnarled hand on her thigh, whistles through her remaining teeth, and clasps me warmly on the shoulder. But Lao Ping narrows her eyes, loudly spits out the flem that troubles her throat, and says nothing. To her I will always be waiguo, foreign.

Parisa said...

The last conversation I ever had with my brother was about trellises. I wish I could say it was about something else, something to leave me with substance. But our dad had just built a new trellis in the backyard, for my mom’s grape vines, and the day before his disappearance my brother and I sat in the startling July heat staring down the beams of treated wood. "I want to climb it," Jeremy said.

Tracy H-B said...

When I began the part of my life that was to be mine, I was alone, or at least that was my intention. In an airless interview room, I made a choice to move as far from my family as possible. I would be able to hide everything from everyone—in fact, it would be required. The person I showed to the world while I explored it could be whomever I wanted her to be, cloaked in apparent openness and confidence. Disguised in this deception, I could mask the reality that I had no idea which values should replace the ones I’d been given, and as for what I wanted out of my life—well, I didn’t even know the possibilities. I was smart, I spoke more languages than anyone else I knew, and I understood that those I trusted would deceive me. I clung to that; the rest I aimed to discard.

therealjasonb said...

There are only two reasons anyone does anything: love or money. That’s my new theory. As a corollary--the main theory sounds so elegant there’s no point in cluttering it up with extra caveats--I would add that, if you are smart, you actually realize which of these applies to you before you go and do something. Including jumping off of buildings, which I only mention because I have this realization as I am standing on the edge of a building that I am about to jump off.

Cassandra Dunn said...

It’s an insignificant detail, but I remember that it was raining. Not a wintry cold downpour, but one of those unexpected smattering fall rains, the thirsty earth soaking up the water as quickly as it fell, long brown grasses of summer desperate to be green again. The road was covered in rainbow swirls of oil slick, freshly dislodged by the rain. The air hung heavy with a metallic scent, the tang of the first shower after a long dry spell.

DaveR said...

Chris slid behind a maple tree and peered into the playground. Constructed from wood beams, green with preservative and splintered from decades of erosion and use, it was a childless place. The bridge hung on rusty cables between the turret and slide, and swayed with remnants of footsteps since past. The peat gravel was lost in dirt and overwhelmed with weeds. Inside a cement storm pipe, set on its side to form a tunnel, a cigarette tip glowed, vanished, and glowed again. Chris shuddered. It was the man. As usual, he was wearing dark sunglasses and a Hoodie, but his car was different. Parked by the curb, a Cadillac CTS, it was black, or dark blue? Chris wasn't sure.

Dave Rvachew

Joseph Adams said...

Sam awoke to find himself in a pool of blood. It wasn’t the first pool of blood he’d found himself in. Hell, it wasn’t even his first of the afternoon. At this point, the blood didn’t even bother him; although that realization certainly did. No, his concern came not from the sticky red puddle but from one simple fact: the blood was still warm. That meant it was human. And since it wasn’t from him, that meant it was from her. Which meant that now, at long last, he was alone.

Yamile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Overmyer said...

Charlie Pickle was resentful of his lot. It was a difficult life, sharing his name with a delicatessen savory. That was strike one. The fact that he was an orphan was strike two. Strike three was the other embarrassing fact that he inadvertently and quite punctually leapt back and forth through time.

Karen Peterson said...

The first death threat came through on her lawyer's cell phone before Helen had signed a single form or taken a step toward the freedom that waited just beyond the courthouse door. How the caller obtained the private and unlisted number remained a mystery that became more ominous an hour later when her entourage discovered the dripping words, freshly painted across the front of the small seaside cottage she hadn't seen in over a year.

Toni Kenyon said...

I found out it is possible to fit twenty years of your life into the boot and backseat of a VW.
It means leaving plenty of things behind, like a home, a husband, a business and two sons. But it can be done.

apalfrey said...

The whip divides the flesh of my back with each stroke. Pain. Not enough. Harder. Searing pain! Good. Divinely, the whip continues. My selfish desires must be purged and cleansed, so I may serve only my Emperor, my God. Purity, will and faith increase with each cleft placed upon the flesh. Only through this increase may I defend against the chaos of heresy, witchery and unbelief which permeates like a foul stench throughout the Imperium of Mankind. I am the Emperor’s Will, made manifest in the flesh, my sole purpose in this life - to purge the Imperium of all uncleanliness. I am Sister Gallea Sorello of the Adepta Sororitas, hand-maiden to the God Emperor. My armor is purity, my shield is faith, my sword is the Holy Imperial Creed and with these gifts I shall triumph over Chaos. The blood cleanses, the pain strengthens, and prayer protects the psyche. The ancient liturgy repeats until I no longer feel the lash as it cuts. I am once again worthy to serve my beloved Emperor. Heretic, be thou warned.

Sydney Katt said...

Cold light from the even colder moon filtered through the mud-spattered window and cut across her bare thighs, mingling with the fresh cuts and forming scars. For three months, the face of the moon was the only face of kindness she saw, her only knowledge of time’s steady march in the world that forgot her. Based on the amount of light and the lifting haze of drugs, it was time for darkness to ravage her body and consume her soul once more.

~Excerpt from "By Slivered Moonlight"

Driver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Driver said...

Ramy’s lungs filled with air for the first time in more than two decades. The stink of hydrogen sulfide-laced stasis fluid inside the sleep capsule intruded on a dream of Jennifer sliding the golden ring on his finger while their daughter Joya looked on. Painful brightness penetrated his eyelids. Jen smiled at him, full of hope for the future, then faded behind the gleaming white lace of the wedding veil. Ramy reached to lift it, to see Jen’s face again, but only the white light remained. His heartbeat drummed in his ears, and he felt the sting of growing warmth around him. His hands tingled and his feet itched.
“Major Thomas Ramy,” said a soft, feminine voice.
Still alive, Ramy thought. No rest for the weary.

Steve Howell
http://steventhowell.wordpress.com

Adam Heine said...

The mortars came first, but the infants' cries were what woke Mah Htawy. Even with her children long dead, or maybe lost in the Burmese jungle, she still had the instincts of a mother. She grabbed what few belongings she had and waited. The Mae Surin camp had never been attacked before, so there were no bunkers as there had been at the other refugee camps. If a mortar shell came through her roof, she was dead. She could only pray until the shelling stopped.

Janice said...

There were some who argued for the natural extinction of mankind. They believed that nature created the plague to rid itself of mankind. Those people weren’t invited inside the Dome. In the end it didn’t matter. Nature selected the survivors long before the dome was completed.

PJ JUMP said...

Perhaps it was the way he approached our café table – like Gary Cooper in High Noon as he took on the whole Miller gang without apology. His one hand deftly held a tray of pamplemousse (grapefruit juice) and his other pointed out that our Fodor’s Paris Guide was smack in his way. But even before we could place the rest of our breakfast order, he suddenly cupped my sister’s face in his broad palms and planted an authentic French kiss on her startled mouth. And much to my surprise, my sister Lydia, my VERY married sister, after catching her breath, returned the favor several times more. Was it just me or had our world as we once knew it gone stark, raving mad? Here beside the famous Rue de Rivoli, on our very first morning in the City of Light, my sister was making out with a total stranger. And when I heard him murmur into her ear “Oh Madame … what I would not do for you,” I realized that nothing in our Paris manual had prepared us for what surely was about to unfold.

Rose said...

This story begins with a large conflict between the human race and the goblin race. The two had worked side-by-side in cooperation since the dawn of time. Though the two different species were as unalike as could be, they found that they had much to gain from each other and established good, working relationships. The goblins, who were very intelligent, were skilled craftsmen and engineers. During the times of great kings, it was the goblins who were mostly responsible for the magnificent castles that appeared all over the world. They were the ones who had envisioned the groundbreaking additions to the strongholds such as drawbridges and moats.

Meagan Frank said...

For all those things I've lost in my life, it is what I gained through losing her that has made all the difference. Her death was no surprise, but her life and her dying were not at all the way they should have been. I should never have met her. I should have only known her as a name that dangled on that branch so far above mine. But that's not the way it went. Instead, she flashed brilliantly...for a surprising moment in my life. I'm just glad I sat still long enough to be star-gazing.

M A Clarke Scott said...

Aaarhhh! “Pardon me?”
This crazy Yorkshire dialect is giving me a migraine.
The grizzled old cop leans an elbow on the counter and speaks again. “Shy aye, but is too airly ter file a missin’ pairsons report, lass. Appen t’lad come back afoor lang, an all. Ter’s nowt wer can do right noo.”
My eyes slide over to the younger cop, who’s hovering nearby with a clipboard in his hands. “What?”
“He could come back any time. There’s nothin’ we can do for a week,” he translates.

John Jack said...

Shad Road Harbor wasn't the easiest place to catch a poacher. Old salts hung around thereabouts tinkering on trawler gear and mending nets at their boat shacks when there wasn't fishing to do. They'd sound the alarm quicker than grapevine gossip spread if something shady was going on. Not as easy as a recreational boat ramp where dingbatters and dit-dots were clueless and simple schemes could corner them red-handed. Not as hard as all the way Down East to Cedar Island where everyone along the highway called ahead to kin and let them know a Fisheries agent was coming east'ard. That's why he was across Wades Creek hidden behind live oaks watching for the Miss Arlie.

Rena Rossner said...

And here is the white page. And here are the words. And here is the beginning of a story. There should be arrows pointing, here, here, and here. This here, this is the beginning. This here, this is where it starts. Black letters on white paper. This, here, the beginning of the end.

Dee White said...

When it comes to Ed and me, there are some things our parents didn't think through - like calling me Sara-Teresa Irwin and landing me with the initials STI. Ed got lucky when names were handed out but things went downhill from there. He's the reason we're stuck in this police interview room, twitching like mice in a trap, wondering what happens next.

Anonymous said...

An August morning walking along the lake I passed a man in a boat at the dock. On my way back, his boat was now a ways out from the shore, the breeze filling its sails. I imagined myself having run after him as he first started to leave the dock, calling, "Wait! Can I come with you?"

Anonymous said...

Inspecting the rupture in the horizon, my eyes squint at the austere brilliance that shields a sliver of blue sky from the rolling dark clouds. Shimmering fingers of light splay through the breach to caress a large swath of shoreline. Maybe this glimpse of heaven is a good sign. My prayers don’t have far to travel.


-Leslie Dobkins

arlenewritesromance said...

Meg Malone’s day began a slow, downward slide at 7:42 a.m., the precise moment she squinted down at the pregnancy test stick in her hand, hoping like hell she’d misread it.

arlenewritesromance said...

Meg Malone’s day began a slow, downward slide at 7:42 a.m., the precise moment she squinted down at the pregnancy test stick in her hand, hoping like hell she’d misread it.

Brooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
arlenewritesromance said...

*This is NOT an entry.*

Sorry about the duplicate comment above. The computer said I needed to log into WordPress before it'd let me comment, and then when I came back, it showed up twice. Can't figure out how to delete one of them, either.

Tim Chambers said...

If Eddie had known where he was going, he never would have left where he was at. Half slumped down in the driver’s seat, he was leaning a little to the right, elbow deep in the armrest, left hand draped on the wheel, left foot planted on the edge of the seat where he kept it for highway driving. The heel of his boot had worn a spot to the warp and weft of the velvet, but that didn’t bother Eddie much. He knew the old heap would be ready for scrap long before that seat wore through, and the way he drove that Cadillac car, he might have been on to something.

Julie said...

Jeremiah peered up at the long-legged blonde standing by his table and nearly spit out his chicory-laced coffee. He hadn’t known what to expect, hadn’t given much thought to what Mary McDonald, RN, Second Lt. of the 107th Evacuation Hospital, would look like, but even if he had, he could not have conjured her. She wore a navy blue skirt that reached her knees, and a white blouse with ruffles, obscuring – yet inviting attention to – a nice set of bazooms. Her hair was pinned up, but a strand had broken free and dangled near her face. Only when she cleared her throat did Jeremiah jump to his feet and pull out the chair for her, extending his hand in greeting. The café was full of elegant French dames wearing tartan fabric and feathered hats; other than a few midshipmen Jeremiah had spotted sitting in the back, he and Mary were the only Americans. Despite the sticky heat of July, the mood was festive; Paris had been liberated nearly a year before, and with the end of the war, there was talk of France abandoning the ration system. The well-to-do locals were starting to fill the cafes and exhibiting their famous joie de vivre. Jeremiah felt no part of it.

Julie said...

Jeremiah peered up at the long-legged blonde standing by his table and nearly spit out his chicory-laced coffee. He hadn’t known what to expect, hadn’t given much thought to what Mary McDonald, RN, Second Lt. of the 107th Evacuation Hospital, would look like, but even if he had, he could not have conjured her. She wore a navy blue skirt that reached her knees, and a white blouse with ruffles, obscuring – yet inviting attention to – a nice set of bazooms. Her hair was pinned up, but a strand had broken free and dangled near her face. Only when she cleared her throat did Jeremiah jump to his feet and pull out the chair for her, extending his hand in greeting. The café was full of elegant French dames wearing tartan fabric and feathered hats; other than a few midshipmen Jeremiah had spotted sitting in the back, he and Mary were the only Americans. Despite the sticky heat of July, the mood was festive; Paris had been liberated nearly a year before, and with the end of the war, there was talk of France abandoning the ration system. The well-to-do locals were starting to fill the cafes and exhibiting their famous joie de vivre. Jeremiah felt no part of it.

Jeannette Towey said...

I’m not entirely sure how to do this. I mean, to start with, I’m going to have to dump pretty much everything I’ve learnt in the last 12 years or so. Science, history, geography? In the bin. PHSE and all that religious stuff? Geez! Incinerate the lot. Maths’ll be alright. And English. Sort of, though that suspension of disbelief thing might be a problem. You know, the bit in your media studies classes, or English Literature if you’re posh, where you were told that the audience needs to be able to believe what going on even if it’s just plain bollocks. Well, you’re definitely going to have to ditch that idea. 'Cos let me tell you, you won’t believe this one. No way.

Kevin said...

Juan Garcia, a Mexican migrant worker, sat on a chair in the middle of a freshly plowed field and watched musicians open instrument cases. Music for Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” spilled out of one of the cases, and the owner lunged to recover the pages. It was a strange sight…dozens of musicians trying to balance their music stands and chairs on the sloped rows of dirt. Other migrant workers began to fill the chairs in the audience, but Juan ignored them. His eyes stayed on the musicians. Heat waves slithered in the distance and shimmered on the fields like a lake on a summer’s day. Stillness fell over the orchestra. The musicians were ready. Juan sighed and smiled. The moment had come.

anitahowitt said...

“Tacky, mismatched, with a laughably over-sized codpiece.........my goodness, you look to be performing tonight.” she laughed rudely, in mock astonishment.
“And since you are decent,” he smiled back, “I assume that means that you are not.”
“The Don has whores to entertain his guests,” she spat, “I appear at his side. Though you sit so far from the head table, I forgive your confusion.”
“Your forgiveness is not necessary,” he said, holding his hands out and waving them in a dismissing manner, “I was just under the impression that all women who sang for their supper while on their backs were whores.”
She took a step toward him which brought her dark mane around to frame her face. “Wherever and however I ‘sing for my supper’ as you put it, I’ll have you know that my table is laid with the finest fare, while you sit at a sideboard set with bread and broth. A pauper’s supper!”
“At least the only thing of my host’s that passes my lips is his awful food,” he chuckled with confidence
She scowled at him.

Ita Roche Author said...

Mum told me I was here many times before and I believed everything she said.

Anonymous said...

And she would grow up to be a public school music teacher. She walked through the dirt parking lot toward her car, stressing every sinew in her body not to kick the rocks as she stepped- avoiding temptation. At home her husband greeted her, growing stale and rounder with age, but she loved him and taught herself to be satisfied. In high school she dated a handsome soccer player, whom she now denies to have loved, but can’t deny that she enjoyed him. She drove absent minded, for she knew the road well, and still couldn’t decide whether the hills were brown or gold.

-patch corduroy

Shayne said...

Deidre Puffin sucked on her cigarette and observed the throng. She sat on the ledge of the town hall’s arched ground-level window, away from any passersby who might take offence. Then she exhaled slowly. There were so few places left in the city for smokers to enjoy their pastime without being judged.
The late autumn wind tossed an empty crisps’ packet across the pebblecrete square. The tiled seat chilled her buttocks, which spread in a gelatinous mass across its surface. Deidre dragged again, long and hard, as she recalled her great grandmother’s warning from many years ago: “Don’t sit on cold stone steps, love. They’ll give you piles.”

Will Roney said...

In reality, David should never have picked up the memory card. There was no need to as it didn’t belong to him, and he was already late for tea. His mum would be stressing like she always did at this time of the day, waiting for her ‘chicks’ to arrive home, and therefore he was in a hurry. Not that David felt as though he was a ‘chick’, but that were parents for you. He was going to turn 18 at the end of the week and then he wouldn’t have to come home at all.

Anonymous said...

After the end of us, he lingered at the recesses of my mind. I thought a lot of him. I made a series of unsuccessful attempts to forget him. One day I woke up. I decided to change my life. With a degree of aimlessness I booked a ticket. I boarded a plane headed east. A little-known country beckoned me. It was a country quite far from Europe, a country quite far from him.

Author: Isabell Serafin, from my novel The End in Africa

Sara Catterall said...

One Saturday, Archie was finishing breakfast with his mother when a big cream-colored envelope smacked down on the center of the kitchen table, jingling the forks on their plates.

Amie Kaufman said...

Samuel was already running when the miller’s shed exploded.  He could hear the wind whistling up behind him and he closed his eyes as it overtook him, lifting him off his feet.  For a brief moment, he soared.  Then he tucked his elbows in and landed with a thud, rolling several times before he came to a stop, lying on his back.  Samuel had some experience with explosions and had honed his technique for landing.  If you are ever in a similar situation, you will find that keeping your elbows tucked in is vital upon making contact with the ground.

realityanalyst said...

There was one door in that room, and Acacia had never gone through it. Her own precipitous entry had been via the ceiling and was the fault of a foolish architect who hadn’t designed the roof to withstand the weight of an eleven-year-old girl whose flying horse had been forced to make an emergency landing.

Carolyn Arnold said...

The directions were simple: kill the governor. The added stipulation would prove more difficult.

Lyndoncr said...

Our story starts with a little boy named Ethan. A short while before he meets a friendly panda and well before he ever thought he’d be digging a giant out of the ground. No, Ethan starts his story alone. After the world has ended, the dust has settled, and the world was beginning again; among the rubble of the old and beyond the fear of any more bombs.

Garrett Marco said...

My older brother told me if I wanted to survive Apuro High’s intense tough guy scene, I’d need to get me some kung fu. I’ll tell you what; I got nothing. No kung fu. I’m lucky my buddy Mitch Krewman keeps me around. We’ve been friends since we were neighbors back in the second grade, but our friendship changed from playing in our combined field of a back yard to hitting guys until they bled. Don’t get me wrong. I like fighting, but it’s not what I’m all about. Excuse me if I have a heightened interest in the new transfer student exercising some extreme MA on Itachi Ishii, the Shōrin-ryū monster. That’s a type of karate, for those uninformed in the audience. It’s part of the scene to know this stuff.

Laura said...

Everyone lies on the first question. The interviewer expects it and the interviewee accepts that honesty does not buy a ticket into one of this country’s most exclusive clubs. The question and its deceptive answer are not a ritual or a cruel joke, but a signal. To lie is to prove you understand the unwritten rules of a game that is governed by the irrational; to lie well is to prove you belong on Wall Street.

-From my nonfiction narrative

Andrea Mack said...

Maya waited in the shadow of a large oak, counting the seconds in her head as she stared at the huge metal doors. Flicking away a buzzing fly, she tightened her grip on her gathering bag. A thief might take advantage of her small size. At thirteen, she was one of the youngest scroungers.

james robertson said...

Crawling from underneath the warmth of the heaped blankets, Ryder’s stomach repeated its litany of angry growls. He pulled a lighter from his pocket and felt around for a candle stub. The wheel of the lighter sparked but didn’t catch and he knew he would have to get a new one that day. When the flame finally sputtered, he held it to the blackened wick. Please God, light it one more time. The small light flickered out. Closing his eyes, he prayed. Please. I don’t want to crawl out there in the dark. When he looked again, the tiny flame of the candle danced before him, growing with his smile.

t said...

I thought about the circumstances that led me to this bar and wondered again if I was strong enough. Standing out among the college students, he was only two feet away with his hands clasp around a glass of Bourbon. You see, his other weakness had been alcohol. Holding a beer bottle trying to mix in with my pleasant smile and simple chatter, I knew his weakness because I’d followed him here the past two nights. Watching him down his third drink by my count, he stood swaying ever so slightly to make his way outside through the crowd. Timing his movements, I waited until he was nearly at the door before I put my own drink down. I had killed many of his kind before but I would not begin to tally until I killed the one that slaughtered my family.

JD Revene said...

A sultry Sydney night, a woman dances in lingerie hinting at more than it reveals. She pouts and poses, tossing long, dark hair.

Kevin said...

People cry whenever I’m around. It wasn’t always this way. They used to be completely indifferent. Before the accident, I sometimes wondered if I even existed at all. I had, on occasion, worried I might be invisible. Now, all I have to do is walk into a room and someone is bound to burst into tears. Guaranteed.

Einstein Esegbue said...

There are six careers for a wizard:court wizardry, divination, healing, entertaining,law enforcement and assassination. Marok Tatila was an assassin.

Joanna said...

Nightfall spreads over Mexico City like a dark cape embroidered with seed pearl stars. Into my view of Garibaldi Square, strut the first Mariachi musicians, winking and lifting their wide sequined sombreros at a pair of coy señoritas clustered around Doña Manuela, the tamale & taco vendor. I want to keep watching and see if the girls fall for the flirting and flattery, but the autumn chill coming through my third floor living room window forces me to turn away from the seductive sidewalk dance below.

Mike Koch - Protect The Risen said...

Sam Hauser staggered over to the water container, filled the rusty ladle and took a swig. The prisoners were allowed three rest periods throughout the course of the day. This was his morning break and he already looked forward to the lunch break still several hours away. Maybe it was the unusual amount of dust that wisped about his face that tired him. He took another drink and moved over to the bench that ran alongside the water cooler. His arms were aching pretty badly and he kept his head lowered to try and shield his eyes from the intense sun that swept across the site. It was going to be a hard day.

Alicia said...

I work in a health food store and I smoke. You gotta rebel somehow, right? But the irony strikes me as I walk past an extremely thin obvious-yoga-doer and head towards the emergency exit to light one up. Her clingy black yoga pants--you know, the ones that drape your booty so that it looks like a bowling ball--are sticking up almost directly in my way. She is touching her toes to get to the organic, steel-cut oatmeal, and turning to glare at me and my pack of cigarettes as I avoid running into her ass. I feel the death rays of hatred, her inner eye staring down my soul. Ah, well. When they teach you that smoking is bad for you, they don’t tell you about the breaks. I only smoke to get a thrice-daily break. From everything. Including, today, Bossman Martha’s Hitler-esque determination to get the entire whole-grain section inventoried. Make that re-inventoried.

Deniselle said...

It is raining. I look out the window at the landscape and think: this is ten years ago. Yet it is today. If my calculations are correct, it has been five months now. The first few weeks, of course, I didn't count; I didn't think I would need to. I was constantly thinking that this is going to end very soon, maybe today. The awful truth is, I'm getting used to this. I'm stranded between the past and the future; I haven't yet hit upon the present. But then, what IS the present? The moment I started this journey, or the moment I am in right now? The present can be a lonely place.

Anonymous said...

I was born during an electrical storm. They told me when Matilda saw me for the first time the lights flickered, and in that moment of blackness, my sister leaned over and whispered, “I missed you.” Like I had just returned from a trip.

M.R. said...

"Meat Head! Meat Head! MEEEEEEEEEEAT HEAD!”

I stopped and sat down a pile of leaves, wagging my tail. Einstein Angleton topped the hill on the other side of the gully in Hinckley Park, located in Hinckley Ohio (in case you don’t already know.) I’m Meat Head, nice to meet you. What I’m about to tell is going to sound like a tall tale, but it’s the truth. It started that day in Hinckley Park and ended three days later about a mile from where I sat down to wait for Einstein-despite his name, my owner’s an idiot. I guess his parents thought he’d be smarter if they gave him a smart name. Where was I? Ah yes. I sniffed the air checking Einstein’s heart rate. Sweat has different smells depending on how fast your human’s heart is beating (and how mad your human is at you.) My human was pretty darn mad but he always gets that way when I run off. I try to tell him it’s for his own good and that sounds like “woof.”

Laura Riley said...

Penelope was fairly sure that she would die in the next few weeks this time. The mole on her hip bone was definitely getting bigger. She had glanced at it periodically throughout her shower and her morning body scan confirmed its dominance on the landscape of her creamy skin. She added “enlarged mole” to her daily symptoms list. It must be skin cancer. Perhaps she would take a picture of it everyday for the next few days before she called Dr. Glover to tell him of her diagnosis. He always preferred when she had concrete evidence of her illnesses, rather than her initial hunch. She closed her bathrobe and went in search of her camera.

Debbie Ouellet said...

I’ve never told anyone about my fears. They wouldn’t understand. How many thirteen-year-olds do you know who are still afraid of the dark? Not just prickly at the neck scared. Sweaty hands, heart-stopping, struck dumb terrified of it. And then there's Mr. Akerman. To everyone else, Mr. Akerman is just the cranky old school janitor. They don’t know what I know. That Mr. Akerman isn't human. Did I mention that he’s also immortal? I found out the day he told me what I had to do. That I, Josh the too-short, can’t-shoot-a-basket, can’t-get-a-girl-to-notice-me eighth-grader, was the last best hope to save our town of Never Been There.

Debbie Ouellet

Jordan Long said...

Lesson One: Locating the degenerate penis of a day old chicken, or as the locals call it, a chick.

For this lesson you will need the followin’:

A chick hatched in the last 24 hours.
Hazmat gear
A magnify glass
Forceps or garden variety barbeque tongs
Beer

There is only one way to tell the sex of a day old chicken. You have to examine its cloacae for a degenerate penis. Start by dressing, yourself, not the chicken, in hazmat. Chickens carry a variety of diseases and thus are considered hazardous waste. If you don’t believe me, you need to drop by and visit George. He checked a chicken without the proper gear and sprouted hair all over. Of course some people think he was hairy to begin with but, I don’t think it was nary as bad. Just the other day somebody mistaked him for a Yeti.

cynthia said...

“I won’t share a room with Ariel,” screeched Jenna H into her cell phone. “I want my own room! I want my own room!” Stomp! Stomp! The long blond hair trailing down her back jumped with each hit of her heeled foot to the floor. Her arms flailed, threatening to send a breast flying out of her tight fitting shirt.

Nathan Oser said...

Three Foot Flats was a bushel of bad apples. It was the smallest patch of town in the whole blistering desert and hideaway to a wily round-up of thieves, rouges, and scoundrels thick as prickles on a cactus and meaner’n scorpions in your boots.

jongibbs said...

12-yr-old Doris Fairview (deceased) considered herself a patient ghost, so she counted to ten, reminded herself that nobody likes getting stabbed first thing in the morning, and tried to explain things again. “I’m sorry, Mister…” she squinted at the name-tag on the store owner’s blood-stained shirt, but most of the letters were hidden beneath a smear of crimson, “manager… owner… person. I really don’t know what else to tell you.”

Darren said...

A quiet evening, please. A bitter glass of Pinot Noir, a fleece blanket over my bare legs and groin and stomach. A laptop is open, spilling blue illumination on the creases of my face. I touch a cell phone occasionally to see if Jenny’s texted back. The leather couch cushions are flat and chilled like soft ice cubes, and the leather creaks each time I lean forward to stare into the eyes of the latest status updates. To see how many people are as bored as me. No other reason to stay awake but to hope that night stays forever, the flashing screens hopping through the room with their hands together, exploring the dark crevices of the shadows. I want to continue watching even as the red wine pulls on my eyelids to please, go to sleep. The alcohol leaning on my optic nerve until the room blurs, and the words across the screen aren’t as clear as I thought they were.

Crystal Nicholson said...

There comes a moment every morning when your mind seizes on some sensory invasion louder than the rest, loud enough to clear the lingering fog of sleep. That first moment in the day when your consciousness comes to the foreground to realize, again, anew, that this is waking life. This is my life, my only life. Today, for Richard, that sensory trigger was the cracking of deer bones under 125 tons of steel.

Gabriela Lessa said...

I bump my knees into my mom’s seat in front of me for the hundredth time while trying to shift on my own tiny chair. I turn to my right in an attempt to spread my legs towards the aisle. On the opposite side of me, my dad sits with his head slightly bowed in order not to hit the ceiling. This plane actually has me longing for the coach class seats I usually complain so much about. Through the engine noise, I hear my mom yell something every now and then.

Katzie said...

The afternoon sun hung directly overhead. Nothing was free of its grasp. It penetrated nooks and crannies, slid between buildings, and poked through treetops. If not for the sun, the glint of white in the alley would have gone unnoticed. The boy would be at the candy counter, preparing to part with the meager dollar bill in his pocket. Instead, he was stuck in place, his feet glued to the sidewalk, his hands fused to the bike's handlebars, and his eyes rooted on what he could only describe as a ghostly protrusion.

coneycat said...

By the time they got to the festival grounds, Jordy was exhausted, parched, and beginning to be afraid of the trees. He knew it was stupid, but the mesquite brush on both sides of the road was all thorny and grumpy-looking. Back in Nova Scotia, trees were green and friendly. If he was a bird down here, Jordy thought he'd probably go build his nest somewhere else.

Dana-Lynn said...

Dad's gonna snap. I don't know when, but I'm sure it's coming. He holds his chin high and puts on a smile for Mom, but I can feel the seething anger radiating off him, and he hasn't even had his first drink yet today. At least for once it's not me Dad's mad at.

Barry King said...

The words of the god beat their fists on my teeth, my tongue tickles with the honey of them, but I will not speak these words of joy and hope for my enemy, the Lacedaemonian. I refuse them. I will not betray my mother, my promise, nor the years of my service by speaking them.

Ivor W. Hartmann said...

No matter how many times he prayed, pleaded, begged and screamed, Thomas Church could not die. Desperate fingers and toes early measured his kingdom of darkness – a coffin of rough pine that needled deep before it wore smooth. He rubbed the wood, tracing the grain, and almost missed the agony of a sliver pierced between fingernail and flesh. Thomas had no awareness of time. Instead, he nurtured memories of light. A time before the six-walled kingdom that laid his body flat beneath the earth. Sometimes he laughed until the laughter took control and battered him against the silent boards.

Allen said...

In the dark mist of smoke hanging in the air, the bartender cleaned the last of the glasses, gently setting them on the shelves above the bar.. The sheering light from the kitchen broke the dark, smoke-filled atmosphere every time Sally burst through the doors. The rattle of beer bottles and ashtrays drew my attention to her and then her well formed breasts as she cleared first one table, then another. In the corner along the back wall in the midst of clatter and noise, the band tore down the last of their equipment. In the midst of it all I was alone.

Trish Feehan said...

Chloe Madison gazed at the expanse of trees below, in the way a sailor might assess the ocean for cues to its mood. From her vantage point on the Rooftop Garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the trees appeared as one, their canopy stretching for twenty blocks to the South, where the upper floors of Central Park South brownstones marked the limit of the park. Fifth Avenue bordered the park to the East. The city was a myriad of streets and Avenues. But to Chloe, those grey lines were merely arteries of the concrete jungle. Here, birdsong rivaled the muted throb of traffic. Manhattan had a heart of green, because at the epicenter of it all lay Central Park.

J. R. McLemore said...

It was that moment of twilight when shadows reigned. She sat in the back seat listening to Bart talk to himself. Her hands were tucked beneath her thighs to keep her legs from sticking to the vinyl. She could see Bart’s forehead in the rear-view mirror; occasionally his eyes would meet hers before darting away. She looked out the window at the sun disappearing behind a clump of trees to the west. The building in front of them was one of those stucco jobs. Rusty green and brown dumpsters flanked all of the loading docks.

Bob Norwicke said...

I don’t belong here.
The dream began as all things in this place did. Meddo Malik repeated his mantra.
I don’t belong here.
His waking world had become a nightmare, and he found no refuge in sleep. In his dream Meddo sat on his throne, which was partially draped with a large black bearskin. The fur was smooth and cool under his hands. He dug his fingers into a once great paw and felt the hard throne underneath. ‘A hard king in a hard land.’ That’s what outsiders said of Akalaria. But Meddo did not feel like a hard king. He felt as if he was slowly turning to soft ash, a log in a fire. Soon he would be consumed and crumble away to nothing, not even the memory of him remaining.
I don’t belong here.

Tommy said...

Miranda stood in the living room of her mother’s house and wished she knew where to start. Stuff had a way of accumulating, like snow that didn’t melt until each item became a part of a pile, and each pile became a part of a mound, burying and compressing the items into the carpet until her things lost their individualness and became a shape of debris pushing against the walls of the house.

Justin Holley said...

In the end, our beliefs are either who we are, defining us—or they become our crutch. My name is Jason Ryan Hylden and I have a secret.

danielledevor said...

You know you’ve been on the streets too long when the sound of an old man peeing in an alley sounds like falling rain. Mathias stood, stretched his back, and walked out of the alley to escape the stench. He beat his hands against his jeans to try to knock away some of the grime, but it didn’t help much. He scratched at his head and ran his fingers through his grimy brown hair.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

A cake I will bake and then you will see,

it’ll be tall and lovely, just like me.

MarcyKate said...

Two words were written on the paper: Help me. Tessa James clutched the thin sheet. The handwriting was hers. The words were definitely not. She didn’t remember jotting down anything last night before she fell asleep on the old couch in the greenroom.

melodycolleen said...

Every girl loves a birthday party. That’s what my foster mom, Miss Donna, said. She figured a big party for my twelfth birthday would be a great way for me to meet all the kids in my new neighborhood. I disagreed. I knew it was going to be a disaster long before the kids showed up and Miss Donna put the candles on the cake. By the time the police left, Miss Donna agreed with me.

Jill Thomas said...

A horrifying, agonizing scream and Gillian Drake knew the woman was going to die. No human being could endure such pain. She watched as the woman bounced off the cold, concrete wall and heard the dreaded crack, a rib or two no doubt. Poor thing. The woman gasped for breath as she tried to stand, but the sudden intake of oxygen coupled with trying to right herself was too much and she fell back to damp, musty floor. It was only after she had rolled over and opened her eyes that Gillian realized the scream had come from her.

L E Waters said...

It is the day only melancholy thinkers wonder about. We pass by this day, year after year, oblivious of its morbid importance; never knowing January 25th held as much significance as my birthday - the bookends of my life.

Guinevere said...

I would not be at this support group, on a precious Saturday no less, if my mother hadn’t pulled out every maternal threat that still works at sixteen. Mostly, that unless I stop sulking and get in the goddamn car so she can drive me to the Y, she will not drive me anywhere that I actually want to go. I swear that the only reason people move out to suburbs when they have children is so that they can hold them in thrall.

Helen said...

The gentleman waited until Emily left before he put down his teacup. "There's still the matter of your wishing to die, of course." His smile did not reach his eyes.

Kiki said...

I’m pretty sure my sister had decided to become a pagan or a Baptist or something before she offed herself so I don’t know why we were having a Catholic funeral. We haven’t been to Mass since Dad began worshiping at the Temple of Golf so it seems a bit hypocritical of us to be sitting huddled together in the hard pews singing about my sister being in the arms of Jesus. The priest probably believes Amelia is burning in hell. I don’t believe in hell though and neither did she. Clearly. A whole load of kids from school that I didn’t even recognise were sitting in the back rows. I guess Amelia is sort of famous now. My friends were back there somewhere too, I had watched them come in. They were all clutching each other and looking sadly at me out of red puffy eyes. For some reason it really annoyed me when they waved and smiled their being brave smiles so I just turned around and stared at the coffin.

Ebyss said...

Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley. The sirens piercing the night an hour earlier had finally faded, but she still didn’t stop. She carried onward with the messenger bag thumping against her right thigh.

Above Average Ape said...

Although he was sleeping only moments before, the vampire fought to sink his teeth into my neck. I held him off with a firm shove against his forearms and freed my right hand. Kunai knife ready, I plunged it into the base of the vampire’s throat and wrenched it in circular motions, widening the hole so that the blood could flow freely. He tried to cough and spurted blood from the wound. With a swift kick to his stomach, I sent him sailing through the open glass patio door and into the yard. (Rachel Bishop-Ross)

«Oldest ‹Older   401 – 600 of 1515   Newer› Newest»
Related Posts with Thumbnails