Round 2 of the July 2023 #TeamWriter Challenge required us to choose 3 of our 50 First Lines and expand them into 250 words of a story start. Here are mine…
#TWWC 1: Number 18: In case you’re curious, the number of dogs it takes to build a spaceship is twelve.
In case you’re curious, the number of dogs it takes to build a spaceship is twelve. Their lack of opposable thumbs was a challenge to construction, at first, but they quickly overcame that shortcoming. Dogs are pack animals, you’ll recall, and the value of being in a pack is that no one member ever works alone. They are consummate teambuilders, at the top of the solidarity hierarchy, dedicated and devoted enough to the whole to put even the most rabid communist to shame.
Cats, on the other hand, are strikingly self-indulgent. They don’t appreciate group think, nor do they enjoy participating in committee. They are, frankly, terrible at meetings. Sit a cat in front of an executive board and they’re more likely to unabashedly clean themselves rather than stick to an agenda or listen to a report. And they wholeheartedly despise middle management.
So it should have come as no surprise to anyone that the dogs’ spaceship, christened Laika at its unveiling, made it from prototype to production in record time. On the other hand, Morris, the cats’ rocket ship endeavor, lingered on the drawing table months after Laika made its first successful orbit of Mother Earth.
Snowball watched the replay of Laika completing its initial run on her computer screen. Next to her, the Morris plans lay forgotten, marked only by a puddle of spilled water from some idiot intern.
“Bitch,” Snowball mumbled, and started to scratch out a new plan.
#TWWC 2: Number 37: The sun never touches us, down here.
The sun never touches us, down here. We wake in the dark, hunt in the dark, learn in the dark, and dream in the dark. We even make love in the dark. Or at least, they do. I prefer the dim, that middle depth where one can sometimes see, when they look up, shadows of our majestic past: giant floating structures made from steel and glass, called tytanniks.
Only the elders remember when we rode the tytanniks, and even then only through stories. There was a great war, and a tytannik fell from the sun. Many died, but a few survived. They learned to live in the dark, little by little. They mated and made young, and those young learned more. It took generations, but now, we do everything in the dark. Except me.
I like the light. It’s too bright for my eyes unguarded, but I like watching the shadows it makes in the rippling sky. Sometimes, it’s a tytannik; usually, only another creature of the dark. But every so often, a small shadow sets out above. It has lines and curves and moves like no other, twirling and rolling and spreading its limbs in free motion. It calls to me in a way I’ve never felt before. I’ve always wanted to see one up close.
Today, I will.
#TWWC 3: Number 44: The house on Peachtree Avenue had a history of strays and ghosts.
The house on Peachtree Avenue had a history of strays and ghosts. The strays came in all shapes and sizes: animals seeking shelter, vagrants needing a dry place to sleep, even lovers in search of a spot for romantic rendezvous.
Kalle and Isa were two such strays, divided by class and county lines. Having discovered the house as children playing on the edge of the encroaching forest line, they recalled it as a place of games of hide-and-seek and double-dares. For adults, its empty rooms and remote location offered a clandestine comfort.
Isa hugged herself at the threshold while Kalle made up the bedroll under the single unwebbed window. “Creepy.”
“But private,” he said, returning to fold both arms around her.
Isa shivered. “I heard people used to…do things here.”
“The same things we’re going to do, I bet.”
“Maybe we should just get a motel.”
“If your uncle finds out that I checked into a motel with his precious only niece, he’ll throw me right back into his jail cell.”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have pissed on the deputy’s truck.”
“Maybe he shouldn’t have called me a Cherokee tomahawk chucker! Which isn’t even accurate, because my mom was Ojibwe.”
The outburst flared in her a different feeling, one that made her damp. “I love it when you’re passionate.”
He reclaimed the moment with a smile. “You do, huh?” He kissed her then. In minutes, they were on the bedroll, half-naked and huffing, until Isa saw the ghost and screamed.