Here are the entries that stood out for me.
Did you like the change up?
More of these, or back to prompt words?
Nobody knew the bomb was about to go off. Not the nurses, not the technicians. Certainly not Tom Syzlak, who’d come to have his kidney out.
He was at the vending machine when it happened, a short pink scar wriggling wormlike across his abdomen. The nurses had told him to rest, but Tom was as stubborn as his cancer, and hospital food had never suited him. Later, when they’d begun to sort things out, he’d wonder why he had such a tough time deciding between Cheetos and Lays. But as it turned out, the indecision wound up saving his life.
I'd start with the last phrase: Indecision saved his life.
One day I found a volume of poetry by Robert Frost
in the prison library at Pendleton
and checked it out.
Back in my cell, I read:
Home is the place where, when you want to go there, they have to take you in.
When I made parole, I called my mom to tell her my good news.
I found out that my dad had never read Robert Frost.
At least not that poem.
This is more like a whole story. I'd cut the last line, just to make that penultimate sentence the punch line.
Marta had wanted her wedding covered by the press, but she'd been thinking of Hello. Not this.
"The body was in your hotel room when you arrived?" the officer prompted, scribbling on his pad.
Marta's hands shook. She took another pull of champagne. "No."
The officer looked up. "Well, when did you make the discovery?"
"When I was leaving - for the ceremony. The… It wasn't there before that."
The stranger's face swam in her vision. Sunken. His blood slicking the carpet. She shivered. She'd been in the bathroom, inches away. Why hadn't she heard anything?
Cecilia Ortiz Luna
For most of these second graders, it was their first time to see a lion up close.
Benjamin Sturgis boasted that he was the only one tall enough to feed the giraffe.
The school bus reeked of sweat, juice boxes and Off spray.
“Quiet!” Miss Dill yelled from her seat beside the driver.
She stood up, counted the heads.
She counted again, this time with the use of her index finger, murmuring the numbers while walking down the aisle.
Twelve girls, sixteen boys.
She looked at the tiny faces one by one.
Where’s Megan Dubanowski?
I had four husbands; none of them were mine.
Who's at fault, me or them? When I was with them, I didn't know they were married. Now looking back, the signs were all there. But when you're young and in love, or lust, you don't pay attention to those details. You don't ask yourself why he couldn't spend his birthday with you, or Christmas, or other important dates. You went along with reasons that were unreasonable. Naive, stupid? Sure.
So, am I being unreasonable now if I want revenge, to destroy their lives as they did mine?
GREAT first line.
It’s one thing when your neighbor turns up dead on your doorstep; it’s quite another when he then asks for a cup of sugar.
“Tell me about finding the girl.”
“I went home. I slept. I woke early and went for a walk. Ended up in the Cool Zone. Heard a noise. Found the girl in the airlock. Brought her back. The End.”
“Your chip lets you into the Cool Zone and opens airlocks?”
“Because of who you are?”
“Okay. Well, no matter who they are, no one just accidentally wanders into the Cool Zone. Plus airlock doors are 8 inches thick, vacuum-sealed and completely sound-proof. So, Sal, I have to ask again: why did you open the airlock doors?”
I''d start with the last phrase: why did you open the airlock doors?”
The snake that slithered under the sliding glass doors was my second unwanted visitor of the day, but was still the less slimy and more welcome of the two.
The first time didn't take, so I killed him again.
If a door opens, Mom grabs my little sister’s hand. I grab the other one. Not because we’re the hand-holding kind. It’s so Lark won’t take off.
Toys everywhere, but all she wants is the evergreen tree out back.
Last week she toddled into the bathroom and held out a pinecone.
Mom gasped. “Larkie, did you go outside while I was in the shower?”
Fun fact: My sister could fly before she could talk.
Mom said she was sad and mad because if Lark had gone over the fence like Whiskers, we might never see her again.
I'd start with: Fun fact: My sister could fly before she could talk.
Her face is white in the dim light. She isn’t wearing shoes or a shirt, only a white bra and panties. She is crouched by the side of the building, watching the corner. I can see her breasts rise and fall as she breathes. Her face is streaked with sweat and dirt, and bruises cover her body. “Excuse me,” I start to say, but she turns and puts a finger across her lips. “Quiet,” she hisses. “If they hear you, we both die.”
I'd start with: “Quiet,” she hisses. “If they hear you, we both die.”
In a room quiet enough to hear a pin drop, the third pin fell.
John Davis Frain
Amber Flynn pours a glass of wine, curls into the nook of her sofa, and finally takes a deep breath when her phone chirps.
Can we talk? 11 pm. My place!
It’s her friend, Cheri. The one Amber buried in the woods nineteen hours ago.
B D MacCullough
Drowning in the desert hadn't occurred to me.
Our mother wasn't the kind you went looking for if she was missing.