Prompt endings …

Last week I wrote the first part of a flash fiction story based on this writing prompt:

She heard someone call her name but didn’t dare turn around, fearing after two years she’d finally been recognized.

The prompt provided by Patricia Yager Delagrange. The ending provided by you, the reader.

Perfect-Ending-to-Every-Story

From My Life and Kids blog by Anna Luther

Ever read a book or see a movie and complain about the ending? There have been several movies and TV series that allowed viewers to pick from two or three endings.

Being a bit of a she-devil, I kicked off my new feature Prompted In The City with a story that had no ending. I think it will be fun to have my readers pick one.

You can go back to read the first part here.

When we broke off, Laura, who was really Sarah had just heard her old boyfriend tell her:  “No, don’t run. It’s not safe here anymore.”

You have a choice of three endings. Select which one you like in comments.

Who%20Done%20It

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Ending One …

She stopped and looked into those crystal blue eyes, eyes that had told her so long ago that she was loved. “What do you mean, it’s not safe here anymore?”

“It never occurred to you that the one person who knows you’re here was the only person who we couldn’t find that night?”

Melissa? “You’re talking about Melissa?”

“Yes. I tricked her. Gave her a shot of that date rape stuff. Just a little. Just enough to loosen her tongue. She told me where you were, but she’ll have no memory of telling me.”

“Why did you do that, Michael? Don’t you see? If you found out, it won’t be long before Steven finds out too.”

There had been two witnesses who saw what Steven Walsh had done that cold February evening. One of them was dead. The other one was standing next to her childhood sweetheart with died black hair. She had managed to get to a phone, but by the time the police arrived there was no evidence of a murder. No evidence that anything but a small dinner party had occurred.

“There was someone else there that night who helped Steven destroy the evidence and hide the bodies.”

The police said that Rachelle and Barney had run off somewhere. There was no murder. Only the word of one woman who got drunk and had a bad dream. Telegrams had been sent. Post cards received. Rachelle and Barney had eloped.

“Why now?”

“I think Steven and Melissa are getting ready to disappear and you’re a loose end,” he said. “You’ve got to trust me.”

Mike sat her down on a bench and told her what had been happening in her absence. Steve’s father had died of a sudden heart attack. “Melissa told me more than where you were.”

Mike learned that Steven had drained the company accounts and moved the money to a country with no extradition. He feared that Melissa and Steven would have to silence her and make their exit soon.

They talked for hours. He walked her back to her apartment and helped her pack. “You’ll stay in my parents’ place in the Hamptons until I can get the cops to talk to you. Get them to have an emergency audit of the company books.”

Six months later, Melissa and Steven were arrested. Melissa to save herself from the death penalty gave the authorities the location of the bodies.

Michael guided her into the elevator at the DA’s office. He fingered her hair. “Thankfully, your roots are showing.”

She put her head on his shoulder. “And I can finally be me again.”

Ending Two …

She stopped and looked into those crystal blue eyes, eyes that had told her so long ago that she was loved. “What do you mean, it’s not safe here anymore?”

“It never occurred to you that the one person who knows you’re here was the only person who we couldn’t find that night?”

Melissa? “You’re talking about Melissa?”

“Yes. I tricked her. Gave her a shot of that date rape stuff. Just a little. Just enough to loosen her tongue. She told me where you were, but she’ll have no memory of telling me.”

“Why did you do that, Michael? Don’t you see? If you found out, it won’t be long before Steven finds out too.”

There had been two witnesses who saw what Steven Walsh had done that cold February evening. One of them was dead. The other one was standing next to her childhood sweetheart with died black hair. She had managed to get to a phone, but by the time the police arrived there was no evidence of a murder. No evidence that anything but a small dinner party had occurred.

“There was someone else there that night who helped Steven destroy the evidence and hide the bodies.”

The police said that Rachelle and Barney had run off somewhere. There was no murder. Only the word of one woman who got drunk and had a bad dream. Telegrams had been sent. Post cards received. Rachelle and Barney had eloped.

“Why now?”

“I think Steven and Melissa are getting ready to disappear and you’re a loose end,” he said. “You’ve got to trust me. It’s taken me all this time to find you.”

She was tired of hiding, tired of living a lie and never trusting anyone. Before she could talk herself out of it, she was walking with Michael back to her apartment. “You’ll stay in my parents’ place in the Hamptons until I can get the cops to talk to you.”

It was close to midnight by the time they arrived at the house in the Hamptons. Mike pointed to the beach. “Let’s walk along the beach.”

“I want to call Melissa.”

“Call when we get back.”

This was a deserted part of the beach. There was no moon, and low hanging clouds hid the small lights from the stars. Sarah looked out to the black expanse of the ocean and suddenly felt frightened.

Trust no one.

The shot that blew a hole in her head came as a whisper. It was the last sound she would ever hear. She was dead before she hit the sand. “Damn, it took you long enough.” Mike turned around. “Too bad. I really had a thing for her once.”

“Lose ends, dear boy. She and Melissa were merely lose ends.” Steven smiled. “Let’s get them both in the ground before dawn.”

Ending Three …

She stopped and looked into those crystal blue eyes, eyes that had told her so long ago that she was loved. “What do you mean, it’s not safe here anymore?”

“It never occurred to you that the one person who knows you’re here was the only person who we couldn’t find that night?”

Melissa? “You’re talking about Melissa?”

“Yes. I tricked her. Gave her a shot of that date rape stuff. Just a little. Just enough to loosen her tongue. She told me where you were, but she’ll have no memory of telling me.”

“Why did you do that, Michael? Don’t you see? If you found out, it won’t be long before Steven finds out too.”

There had been two witnesses who saw what Steven Walsh had done that cold February evening. One of them was dead. The other one was standing next to her childhood sweetheart with died black hair. She had managed to get to a phone, but by the time the police arrived there was no evidence of a murder. No evidence that anything but a small dinner party had occurred.

“There was someone else there that night who helped Steven destroy the evidence and hide the bodies.”

The police said that Rachelle and Barney had run off somewhere. There was no murder. Only the word of one woman who got drunk and had a bad dream. Telegrams had been sent. Post cards received. Rachelle and Barney had eloped.

“Why now?”

“I think Steven and Melissa are getting ready to disappear and you’re a loose end,” he said. “You’ve got to trust me. It’s taken me all this time to find you.”

Sarah a/k/a Laura had lived in Coney Island for two years. Alone and frightened most of the time, until she found a wild girl who used to work the balloon game with her parents.

Mike sat her down on a bench and told her what had been happening in her absence. Steve’s father had died of a sudden heart attack.

“Melissa told me more than where you were,” he said. “Steve’s already drained the company accounts and moved the money to a country with no extradition.”

She rose and motioned for him to walk with her. “I should have told you sooner, but I was enjoying your story so much, I let you dig yourself a bigger hole.”

He turned, his face like stone. “What are you talking about?”

“A month ago, my friend Tricia told me someone was following me. Melissa and I decided to be ready for when you finally came to talk to me.” She opened her shirt. “So I’ve been carrying this damn thing around with me for weeks waiting for you.”

Tricia watched from behind the booth at the Wonder Wheel for the signal they had agreed upon. By the time Sarah and Michael got to the end of the ramp, Tricia had already called the police.

Sarah smiled. “I knew there was a reason I threw you over.”

##########

Tell me, if you will.

Do you struggle with the end of a story?

Have you ever rewritten an ending

and then argued with yourself over which one to use?

fOIS In The City

The writing prompt for next week is from Debra Eve.

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24 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction

24 responses to “Prompt endings …

  1. Florence! What a cool idea. And, what a horrible time for me to be so wrapped up in my grungy jeans and white cotton undies, I missed the challenge.

    Or. Not. I doubt I could have done the stellar job these three writers did with the ending. Now for my vote:

    The first? I assume it’s word count that didn’t let the sweethearts have S-E-X (!) on the boardwalk. Or, perhaps, someone with more decorum than I possess. Either way. I’m all about Happy Endings.

    The second? Gaah! The heroine of our story buys it at the end of the story? I’d be clicking next, next, next to discover it was a bad dream and she woke up having aforementioned S-E-X (!) with her childhood sweetheart.

    The last one? I vote for this one. There are few ex boyfriends I’d love to put in orange jumpsuits through my writing. No. It’s not my childhood sweetheart. He’s still a cutie.

    I am so glad to be back.

    The house is staged and listed. Finalmente!

    Like

    • Gloria … I am SO HAPPY that you are back. We all miss you when you go off on us. And did you know I love when you go first? It gives me a great lead in for all other comments of the day . Wow … what a wonderful menu …

      HOWEVER I don’t know if my characters would enjoy SEX in flash fiction. By the time he takes her into his arms, the story would be over 🙂 Like a slam-bam kind’a thing.

      Between happy, shocking and poetic justice endings … I would also agree … putting some of the jerks I’ve known into orange jumpsuits is a deviant and wonderful idea.

      Thanks for visiting … and don’t stay away so long the next time !!

      Like

  2. I like #3.
    For some reason, endings are easier for me than beginnings. It must be momentum; by the time I get to the end, I’ve had experience with the story.
    Beginnings, on the other hand, make me crazy. I usually go through half a dozen.

    Like

    • Thanks, LIndsay … That’s two votes for #3.

      I can relate to your comment. I think by the time some of us get to the endings, the characters are actually telling us what to do. It’s like the story takes on a life of its own and we are there as their vehicle 🙂

      Like

  3. I like number three. There’s something cool about her getting back at him in the end.
    This was fun to read.
    Patti

    Like

  4. christicorbett

    I too am voting for #3. Revenge is the best!

    Christi Corbett

    Like

  5. I vote for number one. You have to admire a man like Michael. He loves his main squeeze even after she abandoned him for a life on the wild side. He has not just blue, but crystal blue eyes. He accepts his sweetheart roots and all. And he guides the whimpering waif into an elevator just when she’s most in need of an uplifting influence. (Might that elevator suddenly lose power for a sufficient amount of time to allow Gloria’s version of a happy ending to occur?) You, dear Florence, have created a superhero worthy of a sequel or a series. As for the rest of you fine women, I cannot imagine why so many of you want to kill off SuperMike. Shame on you! Sure, it’s true that SuperMike slipped a Mickey Finn to a vulnerable murderess, but the best heroes in fiction must have human flaws. So please give the guy a break.

    Like

    • A true romantic at heart, dear Anthony. I was wondering if anyone would go for the HEA theme. And I love the explanation you gave, so heart render, so compelling. Good for you. I should have known an Italian would vote for amore 🙂

      Like

  6. vicki batman

    OMG, Florence. I like all 3. Great writing.

    Like

  7. Florence – you are off to a wild and wonderful start with this series. I have to go with #3 – everyone else is just to devious and you know, from my line of business I have a hard time of trusting anyone that is the least bit shady. I absolutely adore what you are doing with these sentences. You are one talented lady. Let’s go for espresso and a couple shots of something strong to chase it down!

    Like

  8. I struggled greatly with the ending of 18 Things . . . anyone who has read it can probably see why. At first, it was just a nice contemporary love story, but I knew it needed more . . . a twist . . . to get it to sell, b/c my story had already been too done before. But now even with writing the trilogy, I have trouble deciding how to end it. My writers block isn’t that I don’t have any ideas–I have too many ideas, and I don’t know which one to use! I wish I could write them all and let my readers pick, lol.

    Like

    • Jamie, it’s like that sometimes. You get all the way to the end and hit a wall. Hey … that’s a “novel” idea for a book … can you imagine how a publisher would react to that? Thanks for the visit and good luck with the trilogy 🙂

      Like

  9. All three are wonderful, Florence. And while I’m sorry your heroine got shot in ending #2, that ending had the absolutely best twist, so I have to pick that one as my favorite. 🙂

    Like

  10. I choose #2 as the best story ending. Did I shock you? I know you thought I’d pick the “happily ever after ” ending.

    Like

    • Brinda, you didn’t shock me at all. Now we have two votes for #2. I wonder if in the end, that is the one that gets the most votes … that would be a terrific twist to this entire process 🙂 No, I thought you’d pick #3 actually.

      Like

  11. Florence,

    I like #3 the best.

    As for endings I usually know how the book will end before I really know how to start it. But I expect at some point I will encounter such a problem.

    I guess the closest I ever came to having a problem was with writing my WF More Than A Trifle, I knew that my ending would go one of two ways.But I wasn’t sure which would work better. About 2/3rds of the way done, my characters told me and I realized which ending was the best and why. I love that ending though I did add some detail to it that wasn’t fully in my head when I started out. But that was because I didn’t know my characters that well at the beginning. By the end they were old friends. 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks, Casey … I imagine that your characters in particular, would settle into your heart and speak to you in dreams. There is a quality of the familiar and like so many of us, once the characters settle into the familiar with us, they guide us to the end of each book.

      Leading the pack … we now have another vote for #3.

      Like

  12. I pick #2 because of the unexpectedness of the twist. Loved it! 🙂

    Like

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