#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 4

last line firstHello and welcome! It’s week four of Last Line First. I wonder what stories will surface this time around.

Your last line prompt this week is from Fairground Initiation by Denise Sparrowhawk. I picked it as my favourite because it’s short, sharp and to the point. It’s also written in the second person which I find challenging to read and write. (Of course, you don’t have to write your story in the second person if you don’t want to.)

As always, you have until midnight (GMT) on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember, you can tweak the last line however you see fit. For a full run-down of the rules and easy access to previous challenges and their stories visit this page.

So, here’s your new first line:

You’ll know better next time.

Well, what are you waiting for? Off you go and … write!

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17 thoughts on “#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 4

  1. Forever Changed – 199 Words

    “You’ll know better next time.”
    On entering the full chaotic classroom, he shouted this with a strong sense of authority in his voice.
    “You just can’t treat people like that! It’s just never okay! I’ve told you kids how dangerous these chemicals are, and yet you still continue to concoct your own experiments. But after this, I’m sure you’ll think twice; especially next time you see her face.”
    “Where is she sir?” The question came from the back of the room, the voice quivering on the brink of laughter.
    “Where do you think Tommy? Do you think she’s just gone to the bathroom to wash her face? We went through the procedures for this at the beginning of the course. She’s on her way to hospital!”
    He took five deep breaths to calm himself; the class sat in silence for once, suddenly understanding the gravity of what had happened.
    “Now, who changed the measurements on her handout? Own up now!” He said this calmly, as the students heads turned towards the back the room.
    Tommy stood, a tear running down his face; it was no longer from laughter.
    “Because of what you’ve done, she’ll never be the same again.”

  2. The Blind Date (199 words)

    You’ll know better next time, I think as I glance at my watch for the tenth time in as many minutes. I sense the waiter, hovering near my table, his pitcher of water raised in anticipation of topping up the bubbly water as soon as I take another sip. I scoff again at the price of mineralised water.

    As the minutes tick by, my mobile phone still dormant beside me, I resign myself to the fact that I have indeed been stood up, again. This blind dating world is brutal.

    Defeated, I push my chair out from beneath me and place a $10 note on the table; my only contribution for an hour of time spent waiting at this restaurant, which I had been longing to eat at for so many months.

    I make my way to the door, feeling the stares of the other diners, their pity haunting me as I leave, alone, just as I had arrived.

    As I walk into the street, I bump head-on into a man walking by. “Sorry” I mumble, looking up. His shallow blue eyes sparkle. His smile makes my knees go weak. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but…

  3. Cooking his Favourite.
    196 words

    You’ll know better next time. I’d thought it as I reached in the cupboard for the herbs. Wondered if everyone had this constant internal monologue. I selected what I needed and went back to his phone. Left. Forgotten on the kitchen table.

    Another message lit the screen. Oh she was going into details. Exactly what she wanted to do to him and him to her. I memorised the words before the screen died down again. I’d thought for ages my husband was elsewhere. And here was further confirmation. Another virtual affair.

    I moved to the cooker. Planning it all. I’d mourn. But then be reborn. Probably sell this place- you know, the memories. I stifled a giggle. But would there be a next time? Would I marry again? I grinned a little and thought really, you shouldn’t make too many plans.

    For now though. I continued with cooking his dinner. His favourite Chilli con carne. I tipped the herbs in the oil then added the mince stirring and watching it brown as the fat sizzled and spat. Then the final ingredient. I’d changed the recipe recently just for him. Ground glass. I’d be eating out tonight.

  4. A GOOD NIGHT’S WORK (199 words)

    You’ll know better next time. Didn’t your mother always tell you, Be good, or if you can’t be good, be careful? Maybe you never fully understood what she meant.
    I enjoyed you, even more than I anticipated, and of course it was beyond good for you, even though you didn’t properly wake up.
    Actually, it’s quite acceptable to reject our advances and, sadly, most women do. Therefore there are lots of us drifting, looking for opportunities, and as Skinner would have told you, the unpredictability of success is itself highly motivating. And in the interests of increasing our version of the gene pool, we don’t, one might say, knock on the same door twice.
    In three or four weeks you’ll begin to realise. Morning sickness, evening sickness, cravings, all will be far more troublesome than your older friends have found. (Unless we knew them.) And – you’ll laugh at this later – I’ll certainly be there at the birth.
    Some say we should keep to our own. Yes, a succubus can be wild, wanton and willing, but the thing is, they aren’t built for motherhood.
    So take care of yourself, my sweet. Be sure to look after our child.

  5. Next Time
    198 words

    Next time, you’ll know better. You won’t wear the 4-inch heels with the little black dress. You won’t try to look like Audrey Hepburn, even though everyone says there’s a striking resemblance.

    Next time, you won’t go out with someone because he has a vintage Austin-Healey. It’s a little red sports car that he restored himself, but do you really want to hear all about it? Yes, you did talk about other things, too. He didn’t ask you out just because you look like Audrey Hepburn, did he? Anyway, you’re friends. You work together.

    Now, here you are, caught in the rain, and the car is stuck in the mud. He tries to push and steer at the same time. You can’t just sit there. You get out and help push the thing, in the pouring rain and the 4-inch heels. The little black dress is soaked, but you keep pushing, and pushing, until the car finally gets moving. You’re covered with mud, and so is he, and he’s so very sorry about the ruined shoes. You’re both laughing because none of this matters, really. Do you want to do this again?

    Next time, you’ll know better. Oh, yes.

  6. A Friendly Warning

    198 words

    ‘You’ll know better next time.’
    That’s all the note said. Checking outside was useless, it could have been slid under the porch screen any time this afternoon. I looked anyway.
    Herb was mowing his lawn. He waved. I waved back and went in. If Herb had seen anything he’d have come over.
    Back in the basement I knew something was wrong even as I unlocked the secondary door. It was too quiet.
    The skin hung in the chains like a human parody. The eyes which had widened with heart-quickening fear were gone; the lips that had trembled with delicious imprecations now lay like limp worms. My pulse quickened, heart pounding in my chest. Not the giddiness of barely restrained desire, but thudding like bolts being driven by a jack-hammer.
    I looked round the room. Nothing had moved, nothing had changed, apart from my guest. An aroma caught me. Corruption barely contained by an excess of synthetic floral notes. I knew that smell, the rest stop where I’d taken him. It came from the sack of skin draped in the restraints.
    Whatever creature I’d taken had been kind enough to warn me. I’d know better next time.

  7. A Conversation Over Drinks After Work – 200 words

    “You’ll know better next time.”

    “If there is a next time. ………. Big Guy frowns on failure.”

    “Calm down. He always hands projects to rookies proposed by the liberal whack jobs on the Board. Did it to me my second assignment, eons ago.”

    “Why that no good Bast…….”

    “ Be careful. His eyes and ears are everywhere. Develin landed in the basement, distributing office supplies after using the F-word. Big Guy hates the F-word.

    “It’s not fair. I was handed a no win project and expected to succeed.”

    “Welcome to the big leagues kid. Fair doesn’t exist.”

    “Friggin attachments were the problem.”

    “Attachments? …… He’s been known to toss the Liberals a bone on occasion. They do propose good ideas sometimes.”

    “Give me some examples.”

    “They came up with trees, flowers, and butterflies. ………… What were the attachments?”

    First was Free Will. Really? Folks thinking for themselves?……. Riiiiight. Next, the laugher notion, procreation should be pleasurable. And last, Evolution. Allowing denial of his existence, well, it seems counterproductive.”

    “Sounds like a mess alright. Maybe Big Guy will send his cocky kid down to straighten things out. ……. But enough shop talk. Pass me that sacrificial wine. My glass is empty.”

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