#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 7

last line firstGood morning from the chilly-but-sunny south of England! Welcome to Week 7 of Last Line First, a weekly and week-long, low-pressure flash-fiction challenge. Pour yourself the drink of your choice, pull up your favourite chair, have a read of last week’s stories and then have a go at writing one of your own. You don’t have to post it right away. You’ve got until midnight (GMT) on Sunday the 8th of March to enter, so you can write, rewrite and polish to your heart’s content!

Your last line prompt this week is from Why? by Paul. I picked it as my favourite because it’s one of those important questions that fiction writers strive to answer with their stories.

As always, you have until midnight 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:

Why do people do what they do?

Have fun!

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8 thoughts on “#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 7

  1. The Arrangement
    200 words

    Why do people do what they do? Why did she buy scratch-off tickets instead of the big Lotto Jackpot? Kate didn’t have a ready answer.

    “It’s for my niece,” she said.

    Everyone said it was kind of her to take in Jennifer and it would be good company for Kate, too. Helping each other, wasn’t that what people were supposed to do?

    As soon as she moved in, Jennifer lamented the lack of a dishwasher. She laughed about the land line. It had taken favors and timely rent payments to convince Kate that they needed an internet connection.

    Now, Kate couldn’t bring herself to talk about rent and grocery money, since Jennifer quit her job. Even asking for a little help around the house would cause the girl to dissolve into a flood of tears and sulk behind her bedroom door.

    Every week, Kate bought a scratch-off ticket. The odds were better than the Lotto Jackpot, she maintained. Winning $50, or $25, could eventually add up.

    “You’re so generous,” the cashier said.

    No, I’m not, Kate thought. I just want her to leave. People thought it was such a happy arrangement. Yes, it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

  2. Punch (199 words)

    Why do people do what they do?
    That was the first thought that came to my head as I cuffed him.
    His blood stained clothes showed that he was the one responsible for this beating; but it did not tell the reason why.
    What triggered his rage in such a way that this seemed like a good idea? He knew he was going to get caught. He didn’t even attempt to escape.
    As I walked him back to the police car, I could hear the ambulance siren getting closer to the scene of the crime; his crime. I remember thinking to myself that the sound was a good sign; that there was life in the beaten body that my colleagues were still working on to keep alive.
    The man I was walking to my car might not be a murderer after all.
    As I loaded him into the car, I asked him why he did it; why he beat the other man within an inch of his life.
    His response was clear; he threw the first punch! It was self-defense!
    Does that make it right or wrong?
    I guess I’ll never really know.
    It’s one man’s word against another.


    Why do people do what they do?

    Sam Thomas asked himself this every day, as he sat, drearily, in his oak panelled office, potted plants strewn randomly around, offering a sense of calm.

    He listened, patiently, to tales of misery and woe.

    He listened to Jim, the serial adulterer, looking for absolution of his sins, his guilt lifted by his confessions. Sam felt like telling him it was a priest he needed, not a therapist, but it helped pay the bills, so he said nothing.

    To Alice, who suffered from depression, cyclical bouts of tears and sadness, interjected with rare interludes of laughter, that offered brief respite.

    His question, however, had always been left unanswered by Terry, who tried repeatedly to end his existence. Overdoses, cutting his wrists, even stepping into the path of a fast moving vehicle, all of which ended in abject failure and a revolving door policy leading to Sam.

    Sam had asked, why, many times, but a subdued Terry just mouthed “Dunno”

    They talked at length about life, from childhood to relationships and work, but nothing offered resolution of his problems.

    Over time, Sam stopped asking why.

    He listened, and wrote. What more could he do?

  4. Shadows (200 words)

    Why do people do what they do? It’ a simple question and I know my daughter is waiting for an answer. How do I explain to her how complicated life really is? She’s imploring me with those clear green eyes of hers and I know she is on the verge of tears. She’s talking specifically about the bullies at her school. About the nasty things they say and do and how she tries to defend her friends. But it taxes her, weighing heavy on her heart. She is too intelligent not to let it get her down.
    I want to collect her into my arms and tell her that it’ll be alright. That outside of school is a world far more kind and forgiving than the one she is currently immersed in. How can I tell her such a lie? She looks to me for comfort, but she also expects the truth. How do I explain that evil comes in many shapes and forms? That, like me, she’ll probably go through life avoiding the shadows, where evil lurks, ready to pounce. I only hope she comes out of it a stronger person than I. My weakness is my biggest regret.

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