First Line Friday: July 16, 2021 Progress

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“I summon you, the beasts of war!”
That was an extraordinary statement for a School Board meeting. In fact, Latrelle had never even heard that statement during his 25 year service in the U.S. Army!
But, he was there in support of the message that Critical Race Theory was poisoning his grandchildren’s chance at a harmonious future so he applauded his neighbor, and lifelong friend, Jerry, after his impassioned call to purge it from the public school curriculum.

When it was Latrelle’s turn to speak, he decided to calm the discussion by simply describing the definition of racism and drawing attention to the, not so long ago, goal of educators to offer useful skills to kids rather than their current “save the world” through indoctrination mania.

His heart sank as Jerry was escorted from the venue by police for ‘supposedly’ threatening everyone’s safety. Yeah, Jerry was so dangerous, alright. He was the guy who’d lost an arm defending his ‘brothers in uniform’ in Afghanistan.
So much had changed since he grew up in that neighborhood!

Jerry used to joke about Latrelle having more rhythm and liking fried chicken while he always told Jerry that if chaos broke out, all he’d have to do is outrun his ‘skinny white ass’. Good times!

But since his return, Jerry’s exchanges weren’t the same. They were guarded, actually, borderline robotic. Even the direct eye contact they’d shared all their lives was now minimal.

Latrelle, initially assumed that Jerry had been changed by the war but, more and more, he suspected that it was something even harder to describe. His whole hometown had lost its warmth and cohesiveness.
He certainly couldn’t see any.

First Line Friday: July 16, 2021 | Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie (

First Line Friday- 3/12/21

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grayscale photo of sea waves crashing on rock formation

Your line for this week is:

Tamsin’s heart drummed frantically as she tore through her pack, her books, and the messy desk– where was it?!
Her cell phone vibrated under the newly redistributed debris.
Tammy answered it trying to disguise her breathless panic by swallowing hard.
“Well? I haven’t receive your fax yet. We’re on a deadline here!”
“Um… I was just about to but… but, I’ve temporarily mislaid it, Meredith.”
“WHAT?! You’re not playing us are you?! You KNOW that would be the biggest mistake of your life?”.
Meredith Kopit Levien was not happy. The CEO of the New York Times isn’t someone to mess with. Tamsin and she had talked, and adopted using first names, two weeks ago, right after the photograph was uncovered in her grandfather’s safe.
It was verified 100 % authentic by an FBI photo forensic team yesterday and today it was to run on the front page! How did it disappear?!
She’d kept it in her own safe since it was returned to her by a special agent last night.
IT WASN’T THERE NOW! Just the age worn empty envelope lay on her desk.

Tammy set down the phone still hearing Meredith’s screeching rant from across the room.
She picked up the envelope praying for a miracle reappearance of the priceless photo. She shook it violently! Only a few translucent ashes drifted to the floor.

A few weeks later, her car was found abandoned 500 miles away near an outlook over the ocean. A crumpled envelope was on the seat. It was marked… Grassy Knoll – Nov. 22, 1963SECOND SHOOTER

First Line Friday: March 12, 2021 | Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie (

First Line Friday: February 12, 2021 -Pariah

We were offered the bold typed first line and asked to build a story. Here’s mine:

The damp fog refused to burn away, eating up their street until the suburb became still and their house an island.
Two teens, in that house’s finished basement, were oblivious to the hypnagogic event as their attention was focused entirely upon a ragged leather bound journal. It wasn’t an original copy; couldn’t be, yet, the text concerned itself with magic and alchemy the likes of the time period of Merlin. It also was printed in modern English and the pages, although old and weathered, were still tightly bound.
Mason had discovered it inside his great uncle’s long abandoned shack. Great Uncle Mathias didn’t die. He was said to have walked off into a fog and vanished. His ramshackle homestead stood unclaimed for 22 years until the authorities decided he wouldn’t return and wanted back taxes.
Uncle Mathias was the family pariah from an early age. His interest in the occult set him at odds with the overmodest New England roots he came from. A 52 acre inheritance of unspoiled, but useless, swampland had passed to his nephew, Mason’s Dad.
Mason had tagged along with his dad to see if the property might hold something, anything, of value before demolition and sale. The journal seemed antique and was the only prize Mason recovered in last weekend’s lengthy safari to the site.
“See that? It’s ANOTHER spell. The words are written upside down and backward! Read that one too.”.
Mason’s friend Cormac, had his chin on Mason’s shoulder right by his ear.
“Geez Louise, Cory! Stop drooling on me. You’ll give me Covid!”.
Mason turned the journal upside down and carefully read the backward handwriting:
Fog lift up. Sight redeemed…
Whilst the fool speaketh unseen.

The boys, now face to face, perfectly mimicked a scene from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a simultaneous, “WHOA”.
Mason’s cellphone was on vibrate. Suddenly, it danced across the polished coffee table falling to the floor. The boys stiffened! Bug-eyed, and holding their breath, they burst out laughing at having had the same exact overreaction. Collapsing into identical bean bag chairs they lazily agreed the “magic spell” game was getting lame. It was dinner time too.
Mason charged up the stairs letting his friend out by the cellar hatchway.
“See ya later, Cory.”
Stepping out into the yard, Cory squinted allowing his eyes an adjustment to a brighter than normal afternoon sunshine. Deep down, he sorta hoped he’d find a spooky conjured up scene.
“L-A-M-E, lame.” He sputtered.
Cory dug out his “shades” to cut the glare then he jammed his hands deeply into his pockets while tipping his head back.
“Not a cloud in the sky.”, he chuckled. “Stupid book!”.

As midnight approached, Mason sat up in his bed with a start. He decided he was just imagining he heard the hatchway door slam. The journal was nowhere to be found thereon.

First Line Friday: February 12, 2021 | Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie (