Opening Line Prompt #3

He hadn’t been known as Neal for years. He hadn’t been known as anything. He’d been wandering around the Afterlife – for how long? An eternity? Two? And he hadn’t seen anyone else. He’d felt the time pass. He’d felt his loved ones die, but he hadn’t been reunited with any of them. He’d felt wars and famines and genocides. He’d felt babies being born, and innocent laughter and the depths of human generosity.

But he hadn’t seen anybody. Or heard anybody. Until now. At first, he thought he was dreaming, but the last time he’d slept was when he was alive. Still, there they were, six people – humans, all of them – he could feel their humanity – sitting around a table, playing poker.

“What’s your name?” asked a pretty lady with red hair and red lipstick who didn’t know and didn’t care that those colors were supposed to clash. And she was right. He liked the clash. It looked like the sounds his favorite band made when he’d been alive. Her husky voice was jarring in its normalcy, with Neal having existed in silence for so long.

Neal had to think about it. “Neal,” he said. “I think.”

“Good to meet ya, Neal.” This came from a boisterous Texan with a cowboy hat and everything.

“Have a seat.” The invitation came from a petite blonde with sharp eyes and short, clean fingernails.

And it felt like an invitation. It was like climbing into a buddy’s warm truck on a cold night, that mix of familiarity and anticipation in the air.

Neal sat in the empty chair and realized that his hand had already been dealt. “I don’t have anything to gamble with,” he said.

“We deal in souls,” a black man with a sweet smile and sad eyes said, breaking it to Neal gently. “You only have one, but that’s enough to get you in the game.”

In the middle of the table was a pile of chips. The chips were formed of a luminescent violet fog. The players had similar chips in front of them. The sharp-eyed lady had the most. The Texan had none left in front of him. He’d gone all in before Neal had sat down.

Neal hesitated. He’d walked into a trap but what was the trap, exactly? The empty chair must have belonged to someone else at some point. Somebody who had run out of chips. Somebody who had started out with only one? Perhaps. Many times, in fact, he could feel the truth of that vibrating through his body.

And everybody at the table had chips in front of them, which meant that they were comfortable taking other peoples’ souls. It also meant that they’d all taken the chance that they were now asking Neal to take. They’d all come to the same realizations he just had.

Neal wanted to rise, to walk away from the table. But the aeons came crashing down on him, paralyzing him. Who knew how much longer he’d be alone, if he got up and walked away now? What if another several eternities from now, he just came across another table – or the same one, with different players? How many tables could a man walk away from before he gave in and stayed, just out of sheer loneliness?

He looked around the table, and forgave them all.

Opening Line Prompt taken from here: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/

Opening Line Prompt #2

“The key to a healthy lifestyle is making people think you are dull.”

“Huh?” I look up from my half-empty, lukewarm glass of wine. I only drink red in front of work colleagues to make myself seem more classy but I am a Moscato girl at heart. With each reluctant sip, this stuff tastes more and more like the feet that stomped it.

“See? It’s working.” Clark raises up his glass of water, indicating that he wants to toast. I clink my glass against his. “You already think I’m dull as hell,” he says with a grin.

He’s right. I don’t even know his last name because I’ve called him ‘Clark Kent’ in my mind for the past two years. He’s good looking enough; he bears more than a passing resemblance to Christopher Reeve, but he is supernaturally boring. I don’t even know what he does at the company because every time he opens his mouth at a meeting, his words flow past me, over me, through me, but they don’t connect to any of the synapses in my brain.

“That’s not true, Clark,” I lie.

“My name is Clint,” he says.

“Shit.” My answer is muffled by my glass as I take another sip.

He’s not offended. He just grins. He holds his glass up again. It’s about three-quarters full. He even drinks water at boring rate. He leans toward me. “This is vodka,” he whispers.

“Bullshit.” This is my second glass of foot juice, and judging by the loosening of my potty-mouth filter, it should be my last. “Prove it,” I say, a tinge belligerence to my voice.

Clint and I are standing near a window, at the edge of the room, both avoiding human interaction like the plague – at least, we were. Clint shifts so that his back is briefly to the room so that he can pour some of his water into my wine. He shifts back, and I take a sip. Hngggghhkh…so the red feet are on fire – yep, that’s vodka, alright.

“Who are you?” I ask. “I’ve known you for two years –”

“Three,” Clint corrects with a laugh. “Do you need me to prove that, too?” he asks in response to the involuntary shake of my head.

I cough. “I’m so sor—”

He holds up a hand. “It’s fine.” He shrugs. “I want people to think I’m boring. To tune me out at meetings…” he grins at my flush of embarrassment.

“Why?”

He shrugs. “Like I was saying earlier, it helps me avoid CrossFit and kale and whatever stupid crap people are overdoing at any given moment in time.” A grimace mars his suddenly much more interesting face. “These people don’t get to know me.”

“But I do?”

His gaze sears into mine, making me wonder how I’ve gone two – three – years, blind to his intensity. Heat blooms throughout my entire body. My grasp on my glass loosens, and he reaches out, his hand firm across the back of mine as he presses my fingers closed around the stem of the glass. He steps closer. “Do you want to?”

Opening Line Prompt from : https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/

Opening Line Prompt #1

There are only three things in life that truly matter: Harry Hamerton, sugar and chocolate.  So that’s what I wished for, from the genie.

She looked at me with an eyebrow tweaked, and then shrugged. “Okay. Here you go.” She made a graceful flourish with her hands and in a poof of smoke, she was holding three small drawstring bags.

She handed me the white one first. It was gauzy and its surface shimmered with tiny crystals. It was surprisingly heavy. She handed me the brown one second. It was smooth and satiny, and almost slipped through my fingers. The third bag was bubblegum pink, with a heart-shaped ruby rhinestone bead drawing the bag closed.

She hesitated, dangling the bag before my dazzled eyes. “Are you sure you want this one – in this manner – as a wish?”

I nodded. Why would she even ask?

“Alright.” I heard her shrug, this time, still unable to tear my gaze away from the bag.

The first two bags filled my palms, so she hung the third on my pinkie finger. The ruby winked at me, the sweetest promise of all.

I managed bring my attention – barely – back to the genie. “Thank you,” I said, gratitude spilling out of my pores and infusing my words.

She shook her head, her general air of mischief dimming a bit. “You seem like a nice kid,” she said, regret deepening her flute-ish voice. “I apologize in advance.” Then she disappeared in a puff of smoke that smelled like honeysuckle and tasted like cotton candy.

“I didn’t even get to wish her free,” I murmured, my attention already recaptured by the bags in my hands.

I’d watched enough movies to know that she’d handed me three curses disguised as blessings, but I couldn’t imagine how anything I’d wished for could bring me anything but the deepest joy.

I don’t know how I got home but I distinctly remember placing the bags on the coffee table that I’d had since I was a child and begged off of my parents when I finally got my own place.

I opened the white bag. Sugar spilled out, tiny diamonds glimmering against the dark wood and scratched glass inlays. The chocolate flowed up in chunks and nuggets – dark, milk, white. Some with nuts, with raisins, with pretzels, some just smoothest and creamiest dreams the angels ever breathed into existence. I had to close the bags again, to halt the conjuration, but I reveled in the luxury of having as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.

With some trepidation, I turned to the final bag. Harry Hamerton was my boyfriend in kindergarten; my first and purest love. The genies with their tricky wishes – would multiple Harry clones spill out until I closed the bag again? Would it be just one Harry, but the version of him that I fell in love with in the first place; me in my early twenties, him still tying his shoes with the bunny-ear method? I hadn’t seen Harry in almost twenty years, what if he’d died young; his dead body was in the bag, half-decomposed, with teams of maggots crawling out of his orifices?

Was that the curse? To spend the rest of my life imagining worst-case scenarios, and never opening the bag? To hell with that! With trembling fingers, I slid the ruby heart bead down the lace ribbon holding the bag shut. I stood back and held my breath.

The bag dissolved and morphed into a cloud of musky smoke. And then Harry was there, holding my hands. And he was smiling and a grown-up and handsome and alive. I looked into his eyes and my heart stopped, and then sank, and then shattered into a million pieces when I realized the magnitude of my mistake.

Harry’s loving gaze took on a quizzical cast. “Are you okay, my darling?” he asked.

I nodded numbly, wishing I couldn’t see that red, heart-shaped sparkle in the middle of his left pupil. I’d wished for Harry, and I’d gotten him. But Harry hadn’t wished for me.

This post generated by Opening Line prompt from: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/