Behold last week’s challenge: “A Terrible Lie.”
(Alternate name for this challenge: “Just The Tip.”)
Normally, this challenge is about utilizing brevity — be it with a 1000 words, 100 words, or three sentences — to tell a complete story. Well, not today, my little red balloons.
Today, I just want a single sentence.
I want to read the opening line to a story.
One you’re just making up now.
One whose opening line will drag me kicking and screaming and shove my face into wanting more.
One whose opening line is sharp, enticing, potent.
So. You’ve got a single sentence to promise a killer story.
I’ll keep the challenge open for a week.
Winner gets a postcard in the mail from yours truly.
This postcard shall contain a piece of writing advice on it for you and you alone.
You’ve got one sentence and one week. Enter by 4/13/12 at noon EST.
Enter below in the comments — normally I’d have you post elsewhere, but these will be brief.
To clarify, please enter only once.
229 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Just The Opening Line”
Roger, out of breath, slip-skidded around the corner, colliding into a corpse gurney as he made his way towards the light of outside.
[…] Out of the blue, a prompt from the effervescent Chuck Wendig caught my attention, and the word count was perfect. One sentence! Or, to be more precise, the […]
I woke after midnight as the ghosts gathered around me.
The dead rat was the freshest I’d seen in a week.
He walked down the hallway, his brown hair hanging, a condescend sly smirk, seemingly in slow motion, the walk of a model, while people gaped, stared and pointed, but I ran away from his eyes, his dark, soulful and green eyes that were fixated on my swinging hair brushing down my back.
At the end of the world there are no secrets and only a single lie.
I watched in horror as the mama waffle skewered the papa waffle with the butter knife, spraying syrup-blood all over my Coping with Divorce book.
I give you: Testosterone Tastes Bad
They avoided meeting her on the trails and cast pitying glances; she was to be the next meal.
The pool of blood he slumped down in wasn’t the first; it wasn’t even the first that day.
I knew I would die tonight…and it wouldn’t be pretty.
The heels were too “Barbie” pink to match the dress, but David didn’t really give that a thought as he checked his lipstick in the mirror of the compact, dropped it into the handbag draped over his arm, and was determined — for the next hour at least — not to forget he was a lady.
God must have slept in this morning cause the devil is enjoying the worm.
If she never saw another baby born, it would still be too soon.
As soon as he saw the young girl’s accusing eyes and out-stretched hand challenging the morning commuters – who were doing their best to walk through her as if she didn’t exist – he knew she had it, that indefinable quality that Lohre would pay well for.
The withered shape under the covers whimpered, dying.
It starts with poison.
“The last time I woke up alive was 1964.”
The whole episode started with a bet between two vampires working the graveyard shift at the slaughterhouse.
The neighbor was pointing a gun at my head, screaming something about his dog — maybe he said “daughter,” my hearing’s not so good these days — and the blaze devouring my house was spitting out a choking plume of smoke and broken promises, but I suppose I deserved all of it and more.
On my list of worst places to wake up with a hangover, stranded in deep space is not at the top—but it’s pretty damn close.
He leaned back against the palisades, staring at his hands as the bent and wavered.
That was the end of it, or so I thought…
“They look like the souls in Heaven breaking,”
I cried as I set off fireworks over the burned and blacked city.
Thomas Maximilian Oakland woke up on the morning of May 7th, 2026, with the certain knowledge that someone would murder him before evening, and he was looking forward to it like a little kid to Christmas.
The scars hurt and the blood tasted of copper, but I couldn’t bring myself to regret a thing.
Tracey shuffled into the kitchen, knuckling her sleep-crusted eyes, but the sight of a bloated, headless corpse jammed in the dog door up to its chest convinced her to return to her room and crawl back into bed.
(I am loving the entries to this! It’s kinda like a reverse Bulwer-Lytton contest.)
According to my biological clock, which I keep at all times on a strap around my wrist, I am 24 years, 3 months and 16 days old.
The girl who was choking on her daycare junk snack whirled around the room, tripped over the one-two-three rug, thudded body to floor, eyes convulsed popped into death, while Momma watched and smoked a brown cigarette. “What a little drama queen, eh children?”
It was too late to get out of the city.
A multi-colored mongrel peed on the back of Santa Claus’s head as the jolly old elf laid in the gutter where he’d been many times before.
Some say the eyes are windows to the soul but her eyes are a gateway to madness.
Let’s get one thing straight right from the beginning: being undead isn’t a choice.
It was just my luck the Apoocalypse would start on the night of the first real date I’d had in 3 years – as if being a young, single stable hand to the Horseman wasn’t going to be hard enough to work into conversation, now I had to cancel because Pestilence needed his saddle oiled.
Her legs had grown stiff, and when she tried to stand, tried to put her hands under her and push herself up, stone chipped off where her skin used to be.
I stretch the edge of her mouth with a finger until I can fit the hook in between teeth and cheek; as I twist it through, I whisper, smiling, “Did you honestly think I wouldn’t catch you, in the end?”
Ever since the accident, he had heard them whisper to him from the darkness of the subway tunnels; calling his name, and urging him to step off of the platform and join them.
Finally, I woke up.
“The carbon-composite, ceramic and titanium exoskeleton I was climbing into was called a Martian Overcoat for two reasons: the XOIPA-005 saw its first deployment in the 2201 Olympus Mons colony ‘police action,’ hence Martian; ‘Chicago Overcoat’ was a 20th century North American colloquialism for coffin.
Scheduling conflicts conspire to relegate your blue-collar apocalypse to the post-lunch zombie slot.
The dry land fissured and broke into the horizon, and even before the last outline of the silver Cadillac faded through the dust, even before she called to the quiet children in the back room, even as she folded the Silent Man’s note and slid it into the pocket of her thin sun dress, she knew there would be no way out.
The cat started vibrating visibly again; or maybe it was that damned burrito, Alyssa could never tell.
With a name like Cat Punting, the game seemed pretty straightforward.
Why do they always blame the arsonist?
I thought the title, “The Adventures of a Swashbuckling Fornicator” would be corny as hell, but then I realised, “How else do I describe the life I had lived?”.
I sighed and looked back at the group of losers in my truck bed.
My son, all of five years old, floppy hair and all-consuming eyes, picked up the gun I used to kill myself.
Did someone knock you out, or did your brains just fall out by themselves?
Funny, but the biggest lie I told myself was not the one that got me killed.
“There is nothing you can do-nothing anyone can do-which will win any forgiveness from me.”
I was thinking about my Studebaker when the quake hit.