#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 10

last line firstGreetings, fellow flash-fictioneers. Apologies for the delay in launching this week’s Last Line First. The lurgy has visited itself upon my house, and we’ve all been laid low. Probably just as well that Week 9 was a quiet week. Anyhoo … the show must go on!

Your last line prompt this week is from Nickname by Paul Kohn. I picked it because, as an opening line, it’s the kind of question that would make the reader want to keep reading.

As always, you have until midnight on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember: you can tweak the prompt 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:

If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know?

Happy Flashing!

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9 thoughts on “#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 10

  1. If I left, would anyone even notice?

    Battle raged on all fronts: my wife with our teenage daughter, my twin sons bickering over the remote control, my toddler wailing against the dog. Discord and Discontent ring throughout the house. Why can’t everyone just get along? Secluded within my wood-paneled office, I turn the television up just a little louder.

    “Why can’t you just trust me?” My daughter’s shrill voice echoes down the hallway.

    “You’re not going on a date unless the guy comes here to pick you up, first. I have to meet him.”

    “Uh, Mom! You’re so lame!” A bedroom door slams, making me flinch.

    The dog’s toenails clack excitedly against the hardwoods. “Give dat back,” screams Jenny. Her little feet slap the floor in chase. “Gimme! Gimme dat doll!”

    My fingers press soothingly against my puckered brow. My coffee’s grown cold, but not so cold as my wife. A shadow breaks the light shining beneath my door. Two feet. My wife’s feet. They linger there only a second, then slip away.

    Reaching into my desk drawer I withdraw a single sheet of paper. Pen hovering above the page, I let out a sigh. “I’m sorry…”

  2. Void

    “If I left tomorrow would anyone even know?”
    She felt the blood run cold in her veins.
    Yes! Yes! I would know!
    The voice in her head screamed back at the sngle line of text. She screwed closed her eyes and turned the page, hoping against hope that this was a rhetorical question. Hoping that when she slowly opened her eyes, one at a time, squinting breathless at the page, he would still be there.
    But no. There was nothing. No-one.
    Blank white paper stared back at her. The sheer whiteness of it hurt her eyes. The blankness clutched at her hurt and she felt its emptiness like a void in her soul.
    She closed the journal, traced her fingers over the letters on the cover. This was all he had left her – a year of words. Words that had drawn her in and given her hope. She clutched the book to her breast and cried.

    157 words

  3. If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know? Home calls me; too much distance and time has left an ache in my soul. Not that it’s noticable on the outside. Everything here is still smilingly efficient. Except inside the restlessness builds and becomes more demanding.
    Coming to here and now, there hadn’t been much thought, because of the programming. Yes, there was no doubt that I was well tuned to doing my fair share – stepping up had been imperative. And respite had been the result. It showed in their posture, straighter, lest burdened. The light was coming back to their eyes. Creases in the folds of skin that had emerged with aging were more frequently from gentle laughter than unremitting pain.
    Was it enough? Enough to release me from my guilt? Could I now fade out, drift back to my life of tranquility? Was I allowed to pull my comfortable life back around me, happy with self-imposed solitude?

  4. Periphery

    If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know? I’ve been invisible most of my life. Now, in my mid-fifties, that feeling of living within an opaque shroud is stronger than ever. Always the last to be picked for the school sports teams. Treated like an oddball by colleagues and acquaintances because I didn’t want children. I’m content to read my book or go for a walk at lunchtime rather than join in the inane discussion of the latest goings-on in ridiculously popular soap operas. I’ve no family and never married. No aunts, uncles or siblings and parents long dead. I’m content to be on my own. My job is satisfactory and I have no money issues but I’m tired of the rush of modern life.

    What I’d like to do is take myself off to Scotland and live a simpler life, maybe a few animals, grow my own fruit and vegetables. Go on long walks in the hills with a bounding spaniel by my side, taking note of the changing seasons and being aware of nature’s glory. Being on the periphery of life suits me. I’ve never wanted to run with the herd.

    (193 words)

  5. If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know? The way you humans carry on, it’s no wonder all the magic is leaking out of the world. I’m not talking about strip mining or deforestation, though of course that’s an issue for those of us that live in remote places. Just look at the “Loch Ness Monster” as an obvious candidate of your stupidity. If it were some sort of flesh and blood creature, it’s gene pool would be so inbred that instead of flippers for swimming it’d be sporting banjos for plucking. Yet still some of you carry on as if you believe in it.

    Don’t get me started about the ones that you should be able to identify as other. The fae with their glamour prance about in front of you with impunity and what happens? Your kind cast them in movies and discuss their antics endlessly rather than the issues that truly matter, much to the mirth of the Seelie Court. Ugh, just thinking about their antics is enough to make my blood boil. Tomorrow isn’t soon enough. I’ve had it with your kind. Still grumbling to itself, the last remaining dragon departed for another plane.

    198 words

  6. In This World
    200 words

    If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know? Riding the train, how easy it could be to get off at a different stop, find some other place, maybe over a bakery, a neon sign flashing through the window of a furnished room.

    I could be someone else, change my face. I could get a job working in a coffee shop out by the airport. I could see myself filling the napkin dispensers, sorting salt and sugar packets, smiling good morning as I pour the coffee, watching the jets come and go.

    I study my fellow passengers. That girl in a trenchcoat, scrolling on her phone. She could be a secret agent, deciphering a code. That guy who looks like a lawyer could be contemplating a crime. Where is that couple with suitcases going? They all seem more convincing to me than my own reflection in the glass.

    At least, I pass for human. None of them seem to notice me, as I adjust my earbuds, searching for the signal to open the way between the worlds. The train stops. The doors open to the smell of rain. This world is not so bad. Yes, it is possible to live here.

  7. N J Crosskey

    The Day-Maker
    (199 words)

    “If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know?” The Day-Maker asked his wife, as he collapsed on the patchwork sofa.

    She looked at him, and smiled. He worked so hard, so tirelessly. Whilst all the world slept he toiled. Weaving dappled sunlight to greet their sandy eyes, brewing gentle breezes to kiss their cheeks, or distilling cleansing rains to water their crops.

    But lately, the shadows had darkened around his sparkling eyes. He winced as his muscles screamed in protest and rubbed at his back. He needed a rest.

    “No,” she whispered as she stroked his long grey hair. “I don’t think they would.”
    He breathed a sigh of relief and fell into a deep, dream-filled sleep. And tomorrow never came.

    When at last he awoke he was refreshed, invigorated. He gave the birds a brighter song, the sun a more vibrant hue. He hopped and skipped his way through the day’s ablutions. His wife’s heart was filled with joy at the sight.

    “Oh my love,” she said, “I think you should skip a day every year! Nobody would miss silly old February 29th anyway.”

    He frowned, and thought for a moment.

    “I’ll work one in four.” He said.

  8. Disappear (200 words)

    If I left tomorrow, would anyone even know? Would anyone see me missing? Would anyone see me go? I guess I’ll find out soon enough…

    I’m done; leaving tomorrow. For a new life in a new place. I haven’t told anyone… I’m just finished here.

    This hasn’t been an easy decision. I’ve tried so hard to be what others want me to be, and it appears that it’s all been in vain. I’ve stuck by them, no matter what I’ve been going through; putting their needs before my own, being the best that I can be. But it’s like no one can even see me anymore; it’s like I’m invisible. I guess I’m the piece of the puzzle that is always wrong; that doesn’t fit in this family.

    Despite what people say, one thing’s certain. The life of a dog is never easy.

    So I’m running away! Running from everything and everyone I know. I’ve packed my bones and my bed and I’m gone. The hole is dug, and the outside world is but a crawl away. I don’t know where I’m going yet. I’m just going to run until I find someplace better or a better place finds me.

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