1. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    First Sentence Challenge

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by Shandeh, Jun 4, 2013.

    The challenge with this one is to write a short story, no less than 200 words and no more than 500, starting with the sentence you are given. You're not allowed to change that sentence, not even if it's grammatically awful. It's an exercise in developing interesting characters and an engaging plot based solely off a [hopefully dynamic, or you're in a bit of trouble] first sentence. And then you provide the sentence for the next person to start with.

    I was given an exercise very like this [though with a different word limit] in English class in my last year of school... I was the only excited one in the class [but then, I was the only one with any interest in writing].

    The first "First Sentence" is this:

    He was dead; she knew this as a fact - yet there he stood, very much alive.
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    What a neat idea! Thanks for the writing practice. ;) Anyway, here's my story:



    He was dead; she knew this as a fact – yet there he stood, very much alive.

    The man was cold on the surface, yet his stature showed so much warmth. He had departed from this world, yet the community continued to love him, respect him, and keep him close to their hearts.

    Emily took a step closer to the statue, smiling broadly as he saw him reaching down to hug a child. The glorious scene would be carved in stone forever, but even if it hadn’t, no one would’ve forgotten; it – he – was seared in all their minds.

    ‘Hullo,’ Emily said in a timid voice. ‘I hope I’m not interrupting.’

    The man’s grin said otherwise.

    She cleared her throat, still too scared to speak. This man, even his statue, was a legend, someone and something you could not believe until you visited the memorial, truly seeing him as he truly was. Her parents had told her to take her problem to him for years, but she had been too afraid. From a distance his eyes looked disappointed with her, as if she had failed him for not plucking up the courage to visit.

    Now though, up close, he looked lonely. His everlasting smile was there, but his eyes and heart were not in it, as if his soul had been placed in the heart of the stone but it was desperate to be free.

    ‘I feel the same way,’ Emily mumbled.

    She looked at him again. His eyes were brighter; he seemed to have more life somehow. Courage for Emily appeared so easy to muster now, as if she had become a great wizard with the powerful spell of valiance. She winked at him, picked up her bag, and turned away. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to see him anymore. It was that she had helped him, and he had helped her. A problem shared is a problem halved, Emily’s mum had always said, and she’d never really believed it until now. She looked at the statue one more time, then skipped away.

    He was dead; she knew this as a fact – yet there he stood, very much alive.



    New first sentence for the next person: 'Leave the rest there,' he said, 'we'll pick them up later.'
     
  3. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    [fun, isn't it? :D]

    271 words
    “Leave the rest there,” he said. “We’ll pick them up later.”

    “But, sir–”

    “That’s an order, soldier!”

    “Sir.”

    “We’re too heavy as it is,” another Marine commented. “Any more weight and we’re screwed if the enemy sees us.”

    “He’s right,” said the first, the Sergeant who had given the order. “Try to save them all at once, and you lose them all.”

    It wasn’t easy, Sarge reflected, to be the only experienced soldier on a fireteam. It was worse when his men looked at him like the youngest, Private Gregory Sears, was looking at him now. He felt heartless at times like this.

    “You’re from Eureka,” Sears said.

    “Yes.”

    “Some of those civilians might be your friends.”

    “Some of them are.”

    “How do you leave them behind, sir?”

    That was a question best left unanswered. Sarge stood a little straighter; he was suddenly the center of focus, even from the civilians they had managed to pick up. He took a deep breath, and glanced around. “What I want doesn’t come into it. Now cut the chatter – keep these civs calm, or the pilot’ll have my head.”

    “Sir!”

    Sarge watched out the still-open rear hatch as the city sped by below. The evacuation wasn’t going well. Dropship after dropship exploded, their full loads of civilian evacuees dying in an instant. Good soldiers going with them.

    “Lance-Corporal Garcia, man the gun,” he said softly. “They’re coming for us.”

    “We’re dead, aren’t we?” Garcia asked, taking the gun. “All going to die.”

    “Probably,” Sarge admitted, “but we won’t go down without a fight. We’re taking as many of them as we can with us.”

    New first sentence:
    I had never felt so much pain in my life.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's a little over the word limit but I had so much fun! And now I wanna write this out as a full story!!! :D

    ----------------

    I had never felt so much pain in my life. I could hear the crack of my bones, feel the pull on my muscles as they shifted position. "Stop it!" I yelled, writhing on the mat, unable to stop her twirling fingers twirling that spell around my legs.

    "You must hold on," she said softly, barely noticing me. "Only a few more moments, and you'll be healed."

    A snap of bone. I jerked with a scream. "Stop, stop, please. I'm begging you, please stop."

    "Is that really what you want?"

    My entire body trembled. I shook my head - I wanted to be healed. I bit my lip, clutching my legs. I wound myself up tight, waited for the next shot of pain.

    It never came.

    "It is finished," the healer said.

    Finished? I let out my breath. It was true, there was no more pain in my legs. I looked down. And gasped.

    "What did you do?"

    The healer smiled, said nothing.

    There were no legs. There was only a serpent's tail: a thick, long, glimmering coil in the deepest ink blue, shifting into an ocean green towards the belly. I couldn't believe my eyes. Frantically I felt for my own hips, my own thighs, and all I found was the skin of a snake from my waist down. The tip of the coil moved, swept across the floor, crashing into the ceramic pots placed nearby. They broke with a brittle sound.

    I jerked around to the "healer", her face hidden in shadow against the light. Suddenly the room felt dark, the feathers she'd hung for the ritual swaying from the ceiling. I could hear a chime sing somewhere in the house. She raised her hands. At her fingertips was a pair of puppet's legs as long as a finger, attached to a chain. When she spoke, her voice was a soft whisper. "When you came, you didn't think I'd heal you for free, did you?"

    I stared at her in horror.

    "I took only what was already broken," she continued with a shrug.

    I didn't know what broke the spell, perhaps it was the shrug, the nonchalance of it all. It broke through the ice that kept me frozen before her. I sprang for her. "You witch!"

    But my tail caught on something, tearing my skin and jerking me back. The coils would not move in the way I wanted. It slipped and slithered and curled into loops that I did not want. I could barely hold myself up without my arms.

    "Like a child, learning to walk again," the healer said, shaking her head. "It'll take some time to get used to. You'll like it eventually, I'm sure."

    "Give me back my legs!"

    "These?" She jangled the puppet legs. "Oh no. I'm rather fond of these."

    "Give them back!"

    The shadow of her lips curled, like the flick of a lizard's tail. "Make me."

    I stared at her, shaking. What am I to do? What can I do?

    "You have no power, or you would never have come." The healer stood, her necklace of charms singing as she moved. Now I saw what they were: hands, eyes, skulls and feet made out of wood, painted with green and red filigree. She swept her long, indigo hair behind her and gestured at the door. "Leave me."

    "Are those your prizes?" I asked.

    She looked questioningly at me.

    "Those. Around your neck."

    She pulled at her long necklace. It reached down to her abdomen. Letting out a cry of glee, she said, "Oh yes, it took me a long time to collect enough to make this! Isn't it beautiful?" She showed me a space between two charms. "You see, your legs would be perfect, right here. I've been waiting for the perfect one for months!"

    Fear tightened my throat, but I saw the gleam in her eyes and I knew I had to try. "If I find you a better necklace, would you return my legs?"

    Her eyes widened. She moved to block the door, cocking her head. "A better necklace? Where? What could be better than this?"

    "How about a necklace of human souls?"

    "Souls? My magic is not great enough to entrap souls, though I so wish..." She sighed.

    "I'm a paladin trained in the Ashura temple. I've been trained to fight - and therefore subdue - ghosts. I know where to find them."

    "And bring them here?"

    "With my powers to bind them, they should become weak enough for you to encase them in something to your liking. A bead perhaps, a seashell."

    She shuddered. "Ugly, ugly things. No. There's nothing that would be more beautiful than these," she said, smiling down at her necklace.

    I couldn't lose her now. "Beetles perhaps, and butterflies."

    She seemed to pause in thought.

    "We could keep the insects alive. They would creep, the souls trapped inside forever trying to fight their way out of the insect shells." I nodded at her necklace of arms and eyes. "It would make its own music, and not just jangle. It would be like nothing any other healer could ever possess."

    The healer giggled. "I can see you want your legs back very, very badly! Okay, paladin, you have a deal. Deliver the souls, and when I have my necklace, I will return your legs."

    I forced myself to smile. Witch. "Excellent."

    -----------------END

    Next sentence: Blood splattered the crocuses and buttercups, turning the garden into a child's painting.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Blood splattered the crocuses and buttercups, turning the garden into a child's painting. The drell had come from nowhere. What remained of Marta’s neighbor, Candice, did not register as a corpse. It was incongruous, an abstraction.

    Someone was screaming from far away. A man’s voice. Marta perceived Jeremy running toward her through a haze of confusion.

    The drell lifted what passed for its face from the gore and glistening ropes of Candice’s entrails.

    “How could a drell be past the perimeter shield?” thought Marta. Her glass of lemonade, still in hand, caught her attention. She was consumed with a feeling of inappropriateness.

    Jeremy’s screaming was louder now. The muffled haze of confusion cleared and focus returned to Marta like a thunderclap.

    “Get the hell out of there!” Jeremy’s eyes were wild and he was crying. The drell pushed its face that was not a face back into Candice. “Come on, now.” Jeremy’s voiced dropped to a hush. “Marta, move!”

    Marta walked in a slow circle around Candice and the drell, toward Jeremy. His eye stayed locked on the ribbons of tendril and angular carapace that sprouted from Candice’s side. Candice’s dead eyes stared directly at Jeremy. Marta took Jeremy’s hand and the two of them slowly crab-walked back to the house. The drell lifted its not-face only once they were inside and the iris of the pressure door had snicked shut.

    “What are we going to tell George?” Marta asked, the lemonade still in her hand. Jeremy wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her close as Candice twitched and wiggled in the grass and flowers, the drell diggin in deeper.


    Next sentence: There were only two EVA suits, one had a ruptured seal.
     
  6. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    501 words
    There were only two EVA suits; one had a ruptured seal.

    Someone had to stay behind.

    Zac glanced down at his own armor, which, intact, would have been enough. His heart shattered with the realization that he had to decide who was going to die. His self-preservation instinct kicked in and he was immediately tempted to save himself first. The team needed a leader, after all. But… saving himself meant leaving Cam behind.

    It was impossible. Ellen was an awesome second, but he didn’t think she would be a good leader. Cam and Terri weren’t leaders at all and were more than content to follow. Without him the team would fall apart. But he couldn’t let Cam die.

    “What’s the word, Lead? Go on, tell me. I can take it.” Cam was remarkably calm, staring at the helmet in his hands. Its faceplate was completely gone. Shattered by a shot that would have killed the man had the angle been much different.

    Zac glanced again at his own armor. He didn’t feel the pain, but he knew his injuries were bad. His armor was breached in so many places, he didn’t want to try to count; each breach was an injury which could have, would have, should have been fatal, if only the enemy had been close enough to really get an accurate shot at him. Cameron only had a few facial lacerations from shards of mirrorplate. He had the best chance of survival if he did get off this station.

    “Take the suit, Cam. I’m–” he coughed twice, hard. It hurt, a lot, and he tasted blood afterwards. “I’m in a bad way. You’ll survive for sure. I might not. You shouldn’t be left to die just because your helmet isn’t sealed.”

    “But, Lead–”

    “My decision is final. I’m dying anyway…” he coughed again, harder. “And the mission isn’t complete. Not yet. I’ll finish this. Now go. Make sure you help them… finish this war… I don’t have much time. Go, NOW, or I won’t be able to finish what we started…”

    Zac’s heart broke all over again as he watched Cam put his broken helmet back on and struggle into the suit. Ellen and Terri were looking everywhere but at Zac, though he could feel their thoughts as surely as if they were his own. Ellen was terrified – without Zac, what was she going to do? She wasn’t a leader – and Terri felt incapable of leaving a brother to die, regardless of whether it would happen anyway or not. He sighed heavily and turned away. On numb, leaden legs, he trudged away from his team, towards the station’s reactor. This was technically allied property, but the enemy had taken it, and that meant it had to be destroyed.

    “You… are way too stubborn,” Ellen said sadly, watching him leave.

    “No, El.” His tone echoed hers. “I don’t want to die, but… I have no choice. I won’t leave Cam behind.”

    “Goodbye, Zac. I… I love you.”

    “Goodbye.”

    ------

    "You can't just leave him there!"
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This is fun! Mine is going kinda' soap-opera in space, but... whatever. :)

    282 words


    “You can’t just leave him there!”

    “I have. It’s done.” George eyed Jeremy’s remains in the garden.

    “We didn’t leave Candice! Jeremy went back out and got her.” Marta knew the memory of Candice’s body, trailing things no person should ever see, would never dim in her mind. Jeremy had stopped her from washing his bloody clothing. He burnt them instead.

    George gripped her shoulder to the point of pain. “This isn’t because of Candice. At least not the way you think. I know what he did for her, what you both risked. This isn’t revenge. The drell are everywhere, Marta. We have to go.”

    She couldn’t help but notice this time how each death came with a period of disconnect. Go? Go where? This was her home. Where else would she go but here? Laughter welled up in her from strange and twisted pipes. George did not question. He knew as only one who had felt the gurgle of those pipes could know.

    “We have to get to Center. The ship from Orbit is there now to evacuate us until the this mess can be contained.” Marta’s eyes were glazing over. “Marta! We have to go. For Jeremy, Marta.” He turned her away from the window. “I love him too, but…”

    “I know. I alway knew. So did Candice.”

    “What?” He blanched.

    “It’s ok, George. I’m not… resentful. You’re good for him. He’s not perfect and somehow you balance him. I always knew. Your smell on him. Men don’t realize how keen a woman’s sense of smell is. They never do.”

    “Marta, I… We have to go or there won’t be a later in which to talk about this.”


    Next Sentence: I’m sorry sir, the card has been reported as stolen.
     
  8. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    404 words
    “I’m sorry, sir, the card has been reported as stolen.”

    It was that stunned kind of numbness that followed. That was my credit card and I hadn’t ever misplaced it. Not once. I had thought this was a royal balls-up by the bank. Now I wasn’t so sure. Now horror washed over me with the certain knowledge – certain to my mind, in any case – that someone was after me.

    “That’s my card and I never reported a theft,” I hissed, ripping my driver’s license from my wallet. Card after card, the rest of my identity followed it. The FBI passcard that allowed me into the building where I worked as a consultant, profiling serial killers for cases the Feds needed help on. University ID for the college I taught at. Plenty of others besides. The only thing that was missing was my passport, and that was at home, in the safe with Emma’s and Lauren’s.

    “I’m sorry. All you can do is wait for the replacement card we issued.”

    “And what am I supposed to do between now and when it arrives in the mail? If it arrives in the mail.” I paused, taking a deep, steadying breath. “Sorry. It’s not your fault. I know. I just… What am I going to do? I have to feed my family.”

    The teller’s eyes locked on my ring finger. “Single dad? That’s tough.”

    “No, I’m just not married. Emma isn’t into that. She’s going to kill me… how long should it be?”

    “The card?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Three, maybe four days. It hasn’t been posted yet. The numbers and your name need to be punched.”

    An idea occurred to me. “What if you don’t post it? What if you have it sent here and call me when it arrives, and I’ll pick it up? Someone is tracking and intercepting my mail and if they’re the one who reported the card stolen the replacement will never arrive…”

    “You’re crazy, mister.”

    “I have proof.”

    “I can’t authorize it, but I’ll talk to the bank manager and see what I can do.”

    “Thanks.” I began to walk away.

    “Sir? Don’t forget your cards!”

    Oops. In the past few days I’d been really flaky. Emma was going to be so mad when I got home with no food… but we could manage for three or four days, just. If this problem dragged on any longer than that, something would have to give.

    ------

    I'm dying... I'm just... I'm dead, I realized.
     
  9. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    EDIT: I didn't read the rules properly and can't delete this post. Sorry.
     
  10. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    What have you done wrong? Apart from the added comma in the first sentence, everything is correct. And anyway, I thought your story was fan - give me more! :p

    ---
    238 words

    I'm dying...I'm just...I'm dead, I realized. Water seemed to wash over me like a wash of sleep when you're tucked up in bed. In fact I was quite warm, too.

    Voices were screaming and shouting around me. All right, no need to get mad; I'm only having a rest. The screaming voices continued. No, wait...they sounded more like wails. What was happening? Was someone hurt? I tried to sit up but what felt like a ton of something lay on my chest, forcing me to stay put. I attempted to jiggle, but once I had I couldn't stop. Every second that passed the voices were screaming, wailing.

    "He's gone into a seizure," a rumbly voice said next to me. "Hold on, John, everything's going to be all right..."

    Another wave of warmth and what felt like water washed over me, this time more like a tsunami. I was getting tired. It was then that I realized something else.

    The water was coming from inside me.

    Panic set in. I was drowning. A mouth came up to mine and breathed into it. Then a fist smashed into my chest, causing it to heave. The water splashed and splashed. I was drowning, and those wailing voices were for me. I was dying. Suddenly my earlier thoughts about dying made perfect sense.

    Then I was jiggling again, the several wailing voices fading away, like a boat lost amongst the waves...

    ---

    Next sentence: "Angela, will you marry me?"
     
  11. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    (Only 177 words, but I don't want to bloat it)

    'Angela, will you marry me?' Down on one knee, Javish looked up into her eyes, and waited.

    'You know I love you Javish, but I've got my heart set on a civil union.'

    Javish blinked. 'Civil union? Aren't they only for same sex couples?'

    'That's the thing.' Angela's eyes opened wide. 'Who are some politicians to say who can and can't have a civil union. It's unfair, so that's what I want.' She brought her face close to his. 'You're not disappointed are you?'

    'N-no' stammered Javish. 'But ... when do you-'

    'Soon!' Angela was smiling broadly. She was never happier than when she had a cause. 'You go get some placards from the garage and paint over the slogans. I'm going to create a Facebook Group and tell everyone.'

    Javish stood up, kissed her, and walked out to the garage. Maybe it looked like they weren't getting married anytime soon, but at least he'd made her happy. They might even find an opportunity to chain themselves to the gate of some official building. Ah, fond memories.


    ---

    Next starting line: 'Mr President, a door opened in the flying saucer in central park, and the alien wants to speak to you.'

    (my previous story started using the original first sentence, not the one from the most recent post)
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    “Mr. President, a door opened up in the flying saucer in Central Park and the alien wants to speak with you.”

    “Blair, sweetie. Three things.” The handsome brunet intern started to sweat. Sweetie was not an endearment. “Madame President. Not really sure how many more times I can say that, Blair. Also, flying saucer? You’re twenty-seven, Blair. You don’t come from 1950. And lastly, is Walters still on site?”

    “Yes… Madame President.”

    “See, sweetie? It didn’t kill you now did it? Let’s hope we have the same luck with these visitors.” President Margaret (Mags) Little stepped out from behind the presidential desk and out into the Oval Office corridor. The very picture of efficiency, she'd won her presidency on the motto that a Little goes a long way. Her gravity well collected a small milieu as she strode down the hallway.

    “Tom, tell me Air Force One has been waiting for some time and is wondering what is keeping me.”

    “I’ve been texted twice now to that effect, Madam President.”

    “That’s why you’re going to be the next President, Tom.” She smiled a crystalline blue flash at the Secretary of State from over her fashionably conservative glasses.

    “What language are they speaking? Do we have the team of interpreters on site?”

    “Yes, ma’am. They are on site, but the visitors are speaking fluent English,” one of the President’s female satellites responed.

    “Excellent. My Russian is solid, but my Mandarin could use some work. Upon arrival I want the military pulled back.”

    “But, Madam-“

    “No buts, Greg. I’ve spent the better part of my presidency trying to repair our bully image and I’m not about to fuck it up now with this. Pull them back. In fact, order it now. Now, Greg. Now.”

    “Yes, Madam President.”

    A host of vehicles was waiting outside to receive the President and her staff. President Little strode toward a Lincoln with limo-tint windows. The driver opened the back door for her and she smiled her perfect smile up at him as she slid into the seat. As the driver made his way to the front door, President Little pushed the button that would have lowered the window but instead caused the seat next to her to retract at an angle as a panel in the floor opened onto another panel which had opened in the pavement below and a chute was visible. Damned undignified, she thought to herself. She slid down the chute and the panels above her closed. At the bottom was a hallway at the end of which was the tunnel from which she would exit out into one of several nondescript locations in the D.C. area. The driver waiting for her was dressed in plain clothes and she let herself into the front seat.

    “You want some music, Mags?” It had taken three different conversations with the driver to explain why he was to use informal address with her at all times under all circumstances.

    “Yeah. Björk. Put some Björk on. I need some strange to match my mood right now. Vespertine, not Homogenic.”

    “How do you think this is gonna’ go down?”

    “Your guess is as good as mine, Mike.” She expelled a puff of tension. “I just pray that a little does go a long way.”


    Next Sentence: The front door exploded inward beneath the mighty force of the inhuman foot.
     
  13. PlotDeviceManager
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    The front door exploded inward beneath the mighty force of the inhuman foot.

    "Sorry!" a voice boomed.

    Sally clapped her hands over her ears.

    "Damn it," she grumbled.

    With a flick of her wrist and a crackling pink light, the door stood up and walked itself back into its frame.

    Why did I move here again?

    Calypso bounced down the stairs, her seven kittens tumbling and bumbling behind her.

    "What the hell was that?" Calypso asked, leaping onto Sally's desk.

    "Walter," Sally answered with a sigh.

    "I know that, Sal. What did he do? Put a hole in the wall again?"

    Sally jabbed her thumb over her shoulder.

    "The door," she said.

    Calypso rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to speak. She was interrupted by the boom of Walter tapping on the wall, making the whole house shudder. The kittens scattered, hiding under desk and couch and curtain.

    Sally stood up and stretched. She'd been bent over her grimoire for hours now and her back was groaning along with her. She went to the window and pulled it open. An eye the size of dinner table stared back at her.

    "Hi, Walter."

    "Miss Sally. I really am sorry about the door."

    Sally's frown melted away and she smiled.

    "It's okay, Walter. That's what I get for moving my house right next to a giant's doorstep."

    All Sally could see was Walter's cheek scrunching up to show that he was smiling now too.

    "You know, I could put a kickboard up. So I wouldn't blunder into your house."

    Sally shook her head.

    "That'd block out all my morning sun. Besides, you'd probably trip over it and squish us all."

    Walter's cheek smoothed and his massive brow slumped down into a cavernous worry line.

    "Oh," Sally said, waving her hands, "I didn't mean it, Walter, I'm sorry."

    Walter shook his head and a wind whipped Sally's hair back.

    "I understand, Miss Sally. Anyway, I'm headed to the market. Need anything from the village?"

    Sally was about to say no when a thought popped into her head.

    "Yes, actually. Do you think you can get me a few of those invisible night-blooming choke vines? Just a bucket or two."

    "Sure, Miss Sally. And Wendy wants me to invite you up for dinner too, you and the kids."

    Eight different excited meows sounded from different parts of the room. Sally rolled her eyes, but her smile broadened.

    "Don't have much of a choice now. Not even a witch can stand between a cat and a bowl of cream the size of Lake Glass."

    Walter chuckled softly, but each was still like the sound of an explosion.

    "Then we'll expect you about eight o'clock. Just come in through the mousehole. I'll let Wendy know."

    "Please do. Last time, she chased me with a broom before I even had time to say hi."

    Walter chuckled again, and despite the uncomfortably loud sound of it, Sally laughed too.

    Walter said his goodbyes and left. Sally shut the window and turned back to her modest little livingroom with a sigh.

    "Not that I'm complaining about them, but why did we move next to their front door again?"

    Sally stuck a finger under Calypso's chin and scratched. Calypso thrummed happily.

    "If we could live in Witch Village, hon, believe me, we would."

    When Sally left the Technicom Warlocis (the witch/wizard college), she'd tried to live in the Village. But, she didn't fit in. Sally was nearly six foot, with fantastic posture. She had long wavy hair the color of sun ripened wheat and clear blue eyes. Her complexion was as clean and smooth as fresh milk and she had perfect teeth. It didn't matter how modernized witches said they were, they simply wouldn't abide someone so strange looking as Sally in their town. So Sally had moved into the mountains.

    Calypso half opened one eye.

    "No you wouldn't."

    Sally winked.

    "Yeah. You're right."

    She sat back down, over her grimoire. The pages were crammed with ink, looping and sparkly, with little hearts dotting the i's and lower case j's. She picked up her pen and sighed. She forgot what she'd been writing now. After staring at the pages for more than five minutes, she dropped the pen and turned to Calypso.

    "I just had a thought. What if we asked Wendy if we could move into her window box garden? You and the kids would have plenty of space to play without worrying about Walter walking on you."

    Calypso lashed her tail lazily and yawned.

    "It would certainly be better. As long as Wendy didn't forget about us when she waters it."



    First sentence: I couldn't help but feel that she was lying about the blood on her face.
     
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  14. DefinitelyMaybe
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    (296 words)


    I couldn't help but feel that she was lying about the blood on her face. It was the way her husband stood up tall with his hands on his hips. Shaved head, lip curled, brim full of scorn at this interloper standing at the door, asking questions. She wouldn't even have come up to his shoulders, even if she hadn't been folded in on herself like a old rag, shoulders down, eyes fixed on the ground in shame.

    He moved to the door, standing between us. He moved forward, and I could feel his hot breath on my cheeks. Blood tinged his face red, hands forming themselves into fists. Across his shoulder, her eyes met mine, full of warning.

    I shuffled backwards, out of the doorway and onto the path. His face creased into a gap-toothed grin. Another weakling beaten. He turned his back on me with well practiced contempt. Over his shoulder I mouthed the word: 'Midnight'. There was not a hint of reaction from her. The door slammed; an abrupt blast of air hit my face.

    Midnight. I sat in my car. Light leaked out of a single room at the back of the house. Then it turned off.

    One AM. The house was still, silent, dark, like a cell in an abandoned prison.

    Two AM. The front door opened a crack, and I saw her slight figure slip through it, and walk down the path. Slowly, methodically, carrying a suitcase in each hand. She opened the back door of the car, and crept inside.

    I turned around and our eyes met for a brief second, before she looked down again. I started the engine, engaged first gear, and drove away into the night.

    I never asked her about the blood on her hands.

    First sentence: It was love at first sight, but she was standing in the queue for the 2:15 to Singapore, and I was in the queue for the 2:25 to Los Angeles.
     
  15. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    235 words
    It was love at first sight, but she was standing in the queue for the 2:15 to Singapore, and I was in the queue for the 2:25 to Los Angeles. I was never going to see her again.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Three months later, I was sitting at the bar, nursing my fifth whiskey and wondering why I didn’t get on with things and just drink it. I was quite drunk already – I’d only been drinking for about half an hour – and at first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. But it was her.

    “There you are,” she said to me, planting her shapely rear on the bar stool to my right. “I’ve been waiting for you for three months. Now it’s time for you to come with me.”

    “I– you– ‘kay.” I didn’t step down from the stool so much as fall off it, and she caught me easily. Too easily, given that she couldn’t have been more than a hundred pounds and I was more than twice that. She released my shoulders only to take my hand and I followed her willingly, leaving my drink on the bar.

    She led me outside and we began to cross the road. Suddenly I paused and stared at her, horror in my heart. “Who are you?”

    “I’m Lady Death, handsome,” she said.

    The bus slammed into me, and I knew no more.

    ---

    He wished death was really the end, and not a gateway into this terrifying new life.
     
  16. SammyDeena
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    SammyDeena Member

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    (So it maybe 114 words more than the restriction allowed... but I fell in love with their relationship. So yeah, I had more fun than I should. XD)

    He wished death was really the end, and not a gateway into this terrifying new life.

    "Why do I have to do this?" Lucas said, rubbing his eyes which were heavy with drowsiness. It would be very bad if fell off the thirty-story building he was sitting on. He wouldn't be seriously harmed. It would still hurt, though. "I'm already dead. Isn't there like peace after death or something?"

    A light girly chuckle whispered into the cold night breeze, and it would've made Lucas blush had she not been the source of all his current troubles. "Haven't you heard what that old wizard said in that trilogy? Death is but a new adventure or something," Nix said, smiling cheerfully despite the blood marring her lovely face. "Oh, and you still have a debt to settle. It's not that difficult to understand."

    "Not difficult to understand, my ass," Lucas scoffed, absentmindedly fingering the obsidian blade in his hands, feeling the dried blood on its sharp edge. "What's difficult to understand is that I'm stuck here with an annoying brat like you, killing people in their sleep, and I'm supposed to accept this all as some payment I must make before I can move on. This is sick - not to mention I feel sorry for the last three dudes on that house down the road. Poor saps."

    "Annoying brat, am I?" Nix turned a golden eye at the man, glinting in the unclouded moonlight. Lucas shivered despite himself, despite the fact that the golden-haired woman sitting next to him looked much younger than he was. She could be little Red Riding Hood's sister, only with a white hooded cape clasped over a black blouse, plus a checkered skirt and a pair of knee-length black socks. However she was anything but innocent. Just look at the sickening amount of blood splashed all over the cape, or the widening smile that made Lucas just a bit more unsettled than he should be.

    After all, she was Lady Death herself.

    "Don't make me add more years to your debt, young Lucas," Nix said, honey-sweet voice laced with venom. "Literally millions of people would die[i/] to get your job. After all, it's not everyday some random dead guy be made a death god. A shinigami, as the Japanese call them."

    "Hah, shinigami. What is this, Bleach?" Lucas shook his head, feeling incredulous enough to not be nervous. "Fine, can I just ask one question?"

    "Fine. Ask away."

    "What exactly is my debt?" Lucas asked, genuinely curious.

    Nix stayed silent for about five seconds, staring straight into the man's eyes. Lucas suddenly became aware that he was sitting next to a girl, and a beautiful one at that. The blush crept up his cheeks as he tried to maintain eye contact with Nix. He even forgot that he was dead and all. Just when he thought he couldn't get any more flustered, Nix grabbed hold of his tie and yanked.

    Suffice to say that he had never felt lips as soft and warm as hers, considering that she was Lady Death. He even tasted a hint of... roses in there.

    Nix pulled back only when she needed to breathe, and that left Lucas absolutely breathless.

    "You stole my heart, and now you should take responsibility. Not that difficult to understand, right?" Nix's voice was soft, tinged with shyness and a little bit of affection.

    The kiss left Lucas stunned for a while, and he didn't really hear what Nix said about his debt. But there was one thing he knew right there and then.

    He was going to try a little bit harder at this death god thing next time.

    ---

    Next Sentence: "So can you teach me how to properly wield a knife?" he asked, eager to learn for her sake.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    “So, can you teach me how to properly wield a knife?” he asked, eager to learn for her sake.

    She smiled and looked down for just a second before looking back up at him, her eyes looking just slightly up and to the right, as her head cocked slightly downward and to the left. “Can I trust you with that knowledge?”

    “Oh, you can trust me with anything,” James replied, just before he motioned to the waitress to bring two more glasses of wine.

    “That sounds exactly like what someone I shouldn’t trust would say.”

    He couldn’t stop his smile from spreading even wider across his face. “I guess you’re just going to have to get to know me better.”

    “Well, the most important thing you need to realize, is that you have to expect to get hurt.”

    James put down his wineglass and felt himself furrowing his brow. “What?”

    She returned his puzzled stare, but then laughed. “In a knife fight. It’s not an easy form of combat. You have to know that you’re going to be cut.”

    “Oh! Yes – of course.” Right. They were talking about knives. That had been his entrée to a conversation with Jeanine. Steve had told him about Madeline’s best friend, and how she had even taught a class not just on self-defense, but on combative moves in general. He had pictured some sort of masculine woman, the kind he used to refer to as “Amazonian,” – someone taller, broader, more muscular than him. Probably with real short hair. He had always pictured her as a lesbian, despite Steve’s assertions that she wasn’t. Steve said she didn’t really look like a renowned knife combat expert, but somehow that just didn’t sink in.

    At the rehearsal dinner the night before, James had sat at the table with Jeanine and was shocked when Madeline had introduced her. She was petite, with long hair, and fantastic legs. At first he didn’t even put it together that she was the knife woman, although he should have, since she was introduced as Jeanine, and he’d heard so much about her. It wasn’t until Steve jabbed him in the ribs and said that he had told him so that he realized that of course, this woman was that Jeanine.

    “So have you been injured?” James asked, figuring he needed to get back to the conversation that he’d been thinking about since last night.

    “Of course. Here – look at this scar.” She held out her arm and made a fist. He could see a large, although relatively faint scar on her forearm. But what he really noticed was how muscular her arms were. It was amazing how you couldn’t really see that on women unless they really flexed their muscles. James realized that if he did learn how to wield a knife, it wouldn’t at all be for her sake, but for his own.

    Next Sentence: He looked at her and realized it was the beginning of the end.
     
  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    He looked at her and realized it was the beginning of the end. Marta was escorted further down the range where a soldier handed her a weapon. She looked back at George once and the soldier quickly corrected her, demanding attention. A silencer field flicked on, it’s rippling surface shielding them from further sight.

    The soldier in front of George turned the field on for this section of the range and thrust a similar weapon into his hand, instructing him how to hold it.

    “That’s the best way to get killed. Hold it like this.” The soldier held his own weapon firmly, tapping the butt twice against his shoulder for emphasis. “Hold it away from you and the recoil will dislocate your shoulder on a good day, knock it clean off on a bad one. Was that your wife came in with you?”

    “No. She’s my neighbor’s wife. Was. He was the second one to fall to the drells. He made the initial report.” George attempted to mimic the soldier’s stance, poorly. The soldier came around behind him and grabbed his arm at the wrist and pulled the butt of the gun up off his chest and into the hollow of his shoulder. He gripped Gorge around the waist with the other arm as to mold himself to George’s back.

    “Like this.” He moved George’s torso and gently kicked his foot. “Keep your foot like this to take the force of the recoil.” George could not help but be distracted by the heavy musculature he felt against his back. “Aim down the site.” The soldier held George’s waist more tightly. “When you’re ready, squeeze the trigger smoothly. Don’t jerk it. I’ll hold you for the first shot. Fire when you’re ready.” No instruction could have prepared him for how much the weapon kicked. The soldier held George seconds longer than seemed natural. When he did let go, the sidelong glance he gave was unmistakable.

    “My wife was the first one killed.” The words emerged defensively.

    “That’s a shame.” Ambiguous tone. “I’m sorry for your loss.” Neutral, scripted tone. Silence that stretched. The soldier never once let up eye contact.

    “I was sleeping with her husband.”

    “Beg pardon?” His face never changed.

    “The lady who came in with me. My neighbor’s wife. Him. The first one who died. I was sleeping with him. I never told my wife, but Marta, the lady you saw, said Candice knew.”

    A small silence and the soldier’s cement-like affect broke. “Why are you telling me this?”

    “The Ship is overrun with drell. Minutes to expose the interior to the vacuum of space but a week to re-pressurize it. I’m not a soldier. I’m a farmer. I have a feeling these next few days may be more precious than the last thirty-two years because there won’t be a thirty-third.” His lower lip turned traitor. The sob that welled up would collapse him to the floor.

    The soldier moved with speed, grabbing George before he fell. “You’ll see a thirty-third if I have anything to do with it.”


    Next Sentence: The rock was slipperier than it looked.
     
  19. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    I... may have gone nearly 200 words over the limit... but oh well.

    699 words
    The rock was slipperier than it looked.

    Nate’s boots slipped out from under him almost the same instant they touched the rock. He overcompensated, swore violently, and fell down hard.

    “You all right, Lead?”

    “I’m fine, Two.” He struggled back to his feet – not without difficulty; the rock was deliberately making things harder than they needed to be – and wiped slime off his armor. “That could have hurt a lot worse than it did.”

    “Kudos to you for keeping a hold of your rifle. I’d have dropped mine.”

    “Eli. Shut up. The examiners are listening to our comms.”

    “Right. Sorry, Lead.”

    “Six. You got us that intel package yet?”

    “Working on it, sir!”

    “ETA?”

    “Five minutes. I think. I can’t be sure.”

    “Three! I want a status report!”

    “Yessir! Patient’s vitals are amber, but climbing. Estimate stable status in fifteen to twenty minutes. Four and Five report nothing of concern. Situation normal.”

    Nate turned off his comm mike and growled a string of his most colorful profanities. Nobody ever said that. ‘Situation normal.’ It was like the two words were a hex, or a signal to the enemy.

    “Spartan Team Angel, thi… Fireteam Charlie! Come in, …ou copy?”

    “We copy, Charlie, but the signal is patchy.”

    “Say …gain, Angel?”

    “We copy. Go on, Marine.”

    “We’re pinned … - taking hea… fire! Re…ing assis…nce!”

    “Hold position. Angels Four and Five will be with you presently.” Six, clean up the signal! The hand signals all Spartans used were especially useful in situations like this, where the comms were busy.

    “Thank … sir! We app…ciate it! Charlie out.”

    Too late, Lead, Zeke signed back. Nate answered with a sharp nod.

    “Two, Six, we need to cover Three. Double time to rally point Alpha.”

    “Sir!”

    As they sprinted, Nate could spare just enough breath to check up on the rest of his team. And the troopers they were going to rescue.

    “Three, do you have eyes on those troopers?”

    “Negative, Lead. I have taken cover with the patient. Four and Five have gone to assist.”

    Nate sighed. He knew better than to ask either Cas or Raph for a sitrep. Cas could never talk when he was fighting – he was a close-quarters expert and was too busy killing things – and Raph had a seriously irritating habit of interspersing random, half-hysterical giggles through his reports. The only reason the explosives expert was even still on the team was the fact that he was so damned good with anything that went boom. Nate badly wanted to order a full psych eval, but that would result in Raph being forcibly retired, and he didn’t much like the thought of letting that one loose on an unsuspecting public. He could literally blow up a building with nothing more than a handful of plain old beach sand.

    Go without me, Nate signed to Eli and Zeke. Over the comms, “I’ve found a good sniping position. Team, I’ll have you covered in less than thirty seconds.”

    “Sir!”

    He bolted up the slope, sending loose shale flying and almost losing his grip several times.

    Suddenly everything went white in that uncomfortable way it always did when a simulation ended early.

    “No, no, no, and for the last damn time, no! This is not a sniping situation!”

    As his sight returned, Nate saw the examiner striding towards him. “I had an angle.”

    “No, you didn’t. If you missed from that angle, you could hit an ally.”

    “I don’t miss. Sir.”

    “That’s what ex-Corporal Abrams said.”

    “With respect, sir, Abrams isn’t a Spartan. And doesn’t hold the current high-score record in the shooting range. And didn’t shatter his own record to get it.”

    “The shooting range is not real life, Spartan!”

    “Yes, sir.” Nate controlled an urge to sigh. This was the third time his team had failed testing. They were ready, damn it! With the sole exception of Raph, they were all highly disciplined, and nobody could doubt their skill. And yet Nate and his team kept failing because of stupid little things, usually because of him – because he had ordered something unconventional.

    They were never even given a chance to prove that sometimes the unconventional way was the best way.

    ---

    Patience was a virtue, but so was courage, and he wasn't going to just sit around and wait for things to go his way for once - screw that!
     
  20. PlotDeviceManager
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    PlotDeviceManager Member

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    Patience was a virtue, but so was courage, and he wasn't going to just sit around and wait for things to go his way for once - screw that!

    Johnson stuck his head over the barricade, ready to run and gun.

    BLAM!

    His body fell back into the trench, smoking and (mostly) headless.

    "Goddamn it, keep your heads down!" Sarge screamed. He ran low and bent, up the trench. The other privates stared either at Johnson's corpse or their own boots. Bullets zipped and screamed over their heads, kicking up dust when the buried themselves in the barricade.

    Sarge made it to Johnson's corpse. The dust was thick and the sun was hidden behind the high, thick smoke of war. It wasn't until Sarge kneeled beside the body that he could see the damage. He heard some private, fresh off the transport, gag and wretch.

    "Sarge?" a voice asked, just audible over the sound of another bunker buster exploding in the distance.

    "Too late. Can't reju a corpse."

    They left Johnson's body where it landed. The recycle techs would be by that night, after the cease fire was well underway. Sarge ran further down the line, screaming orders and praying he lived to see another bloody, smoke filled day.



    First Sentence:
    How could I have possibly known that dandruff would get her killed?
     
  21. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    How could I have possibly known that dandruff would get her killed? Indeed, whilst she was my number one dolly I wasn't sharing the Head and Shoulders with nobody. I love the stuff. You might call it an addiction. There were times when I'd do two, even three bottles a session, squirting out the cap, puddles round the bathroom, and I'd slide, oh how I'd slide. It had to stop - when the paramedics found me all smooth and clean, all pink and squeaky.

    These days I tweak, keep the condition under control. I do get the urges, wouldn't be human without them. Imagine eh? One squirt for scalp, the second handful going literally anywhere and we're all getting over-excited with visions of me massaging my backside with the foaming lather. Go on, away with ye, stick it straight down the plughole, you sanctimonious prig. It's a shampoo, copper.

    Has always been our problem, this hair washing scene, so once we'd finished celebrating the twenty year anniversary we did a deal. Yes, where am I going with this lifestory of mine. Oh, the important stuff, in dialogue form, was what I said to her

    'I'm not washing my hair and you, don't you go washing your hair all the time, it irritates me.'

    Was not so bad to start. We had hobbies, researched about the scalp cleansing itself. But now? I look at her, like a ball of cheese rocking in the chair. She stinks. She needs to, well, I'm not saying it. You make up your own minds.


    Opening: The freckle exploded like a dalmatian tea party.
     
  22. Genko
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    Genko New Member

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    Words = 280:

    "The Freckle exploded like a dalmatian tea party," were the words that came over the comm.

    I had been wondering how they were going to set that thing off. We had worked long hours to make sure everything was perfect.
    "The Freckle" was our most advanced paint bomb yet! The paintball wars were a tricky thing. You wanted to make sure that however the games progressed, your team would be able to win. We designed the freckle with different containers that held black and white paint, and each would explode in order.

    I made my way over to where the bomb had gone off. The area was covered. People were sitting there smothered in paint. Dalmatian tea party was the perfect way of describing it, I thought to myself as I looked over the carnage.

    You could see on their faces they were all angry at being disqualified after having made it three days into the games. But that was what The Freckle had been meant for, to thin out the ranks of the remaining teams. Thankfully the trigger was given to Jorge. He was our tracker, and he had been following some teams that had formed an alliance. He had managed to lure them all to this location and then trap them here.

    They didn’t bother to raise their paintball guns. They knew the rules. I watched as they began to pile up their supplies. These were the spoils from the casualties. Once they had cleared out we began to dig through the supplies.

    Jorge walked over to me.

    “What do we got?” he asked.

    “Enough here to build another freckle I think,” was my answer.

    “Suerte,” he stated.

    --------------------

    New opening:
    The genetically-altered cockroach hid inside the giant block of Swiss cheese.
     
  23. Niecy
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    The genetically altered cockroach hid inside the giant block of Swiss cheese. He found a lovely trail running up to the top of the block, and all was dark and sweet and tasty. He smelled other roaches somewhere near, but none were in the cheese, and he remained afraid. Many long hours stretched, and scratching with his mandible on the cheese soothed him. He moved toward a large exit hole.

    Breaking through the loose plastic covering, he crabbled onto the cold metal floor of the walk-in. Nothing happened. No sounds and smells stopped his bravery, and he proceeded across the long floor until he could hide under a sweep of dangling beet greens. There he found nuggets of cold dried bread, which he devoured in seconds. The distraction meant he had not seen the three natural cockroaches approach.

    He was nearly laid flat by the scent of one of them. All three were pale grey, as dull as rubber, where he was a strong, shiny black. The roach on the right was a female, exuding a scent so powerfully spicy his nerves began to ache. His thorax shuddered and he pushed the other roaches out of the way, severing limbs with his rough strength. Getting atop her was easy. Like a motor his reproductive organ ground to work at hers.

    Soon thousands of eggs were underway, and the government NeoBioTech experiment had begun.

    ------

    New opening:

    As the last ember died, the freezing air around him began to close in on his bones.
     
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  24. Mega Erofan
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    Mega Erofan New Member

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    As the last ember died, the freezing air around him began to close in on his bones. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer sat he sat in the remains of the cargo plane that had crashed what seemed like ages ago, maybe longer. The sudden snow storm caught the entire crew by surprise, for their plane was not made to withstand the abuse of such chilling conditions. They all thought that it would simply pass on and they would be in Alaska by morning, but they never expected the engines to malfunction due to the chilly temperatures of the Russian air space, nor did they expect that their pilot would have a heart attack in the middle of the night, leaving no one else to guide the plane as it fell into a rapid nosedive and plunged into the snowy plains below, miles away from any civilization. Most died upon impact, others succumbed to their injuries shortly after or dared to venture out into the distances of the snowy horizon, none would ever be seen again after leaving the shelter of the wreckage. And now only Issac remained, and what was the last bit of kindling from the cargo they were shipping had been used in what little of the fire that remained, which wad now nothing more than a pile of ash surrounded by metal to protect it from the cool air. He knew sitting here staring at the ashes would not bring him any good, but would venturing out into the tundra do him any better?

    He sat in thought, thinking back on the events that brought him upon his disastrous trip halfway around the world, pondering what in the right mind had him agree to be packed with twenty other men in a cargo ship full of supplies heading for Alaska. Maybe it was the extra raise in his pay that his boss offered if they completed the job, maybe it was to get away from his ex-wife and her badgering over paying for a child that wasn’t even his own, maybe it was even because he felt like being ‘outside the box’, whatever the reason, that choice had landed him in the middle of a barren, tundra field with no more food, no source of warmth, and no one to interact with. He thought help would come and find the wreckage, and hopefully him as well, but that hope dwindled with each passing hour. Now he had no hope left to give, there was no reason to hope for rescue if it would never come. If he wanted to survive, he had to try and find it.

    He pushes himself to his feet and begins the long trek across the snowy plains, hoping that luck would favor him now as it did during the crash.

    ----
    Next First Sentence: it was only a matter of time until they found her.
     
  25. EllBeEss
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    It was only a matter of time until they found her.

    They made their way through the house, no longer any concern for secrecy.

    “We’ve got her cornered now,” Said the tallest,

    “I don’t know. She could have got outside,” A dirty hand peeled back one of the grey curtains.

    “And gone where? There’s nowhere for her to go. Will you stop looking out that window already?” The taller figure pulled his companion away from the window, “Are we going to go through with this or not?”

    A third figure came into the room, “She’s not in the bathroom.”

    “My bet is she’s hiding under a bed somewhere, waiting to do a runner.”

    “Nah, if she was going to run she would have made her move by now.”

    Carefully they combed the sitting room first, pulling back the couch, peering into a child’s makeshift cubby even opening up the TV unit, even though there was no way she would fit.

    Next they went to the kitchen, glanced under the table, made sure the door was still firmly locked. Nothing.

    The tallest one seemed to give up and kicked a bag of dog kibbles.

    A face peered around the counter.

    Window nudged the other two and pointed. “Look! There she is.”

    “I’ll get her,” murmured Bathroom, as he slunk around the kitchen table.

    “I’ve got a quicker way.” Said Tall, obviously bored, “Walkies!” He didn’t say it loud but she came bounding forwards all the same, tail wagging a mile per minute. Once Bathroom’s hands clamped around her collar, her face seemed to fall.

    “Bath time”

    New prompt:
    "There isn't time," He growled...
     
    matwoolf likes this.

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