Opening Lines

Write an opening line for a story inspired by the photo below:

Edith: Matilde shivered as she dropped prone on the frosty grass. The sniper on the apartment building’s second floor had his sights trained on her, but she’d been ordered to retrieve the package before dark. Ten yards of slithering and she’d be free.

Sherry: I grabbed a shovel and met Jed like he asked. But when Jed told me he had a grave issue this wasn’t what I was expecting.

Barb: The view from my cell forces me daily to contemplate: Which is better, to live out my life in prison or sleep quiet in the grave?

Jessie: Patricia was not amused by what her Air B&B host considered a “view”.

Liz: When they told me it was a quiet neighborhood, I had no idea this was what they’d meant.

Julie: She walked over to the grave and kicked the bouquet of flowers aside. It was better than he deserved.

Readers: Tell us your opening lines!

[Photo by Bill Carito. If you want to see more, you can friend him on Facebook at and follow him on Instagram at billcarito and bill.carito.colorphotos.]

28 Thoughts

  1. As clouds obscured the moon, each headstone tipped backward until it rested on the ground. The earth quivered, shook, and burst open. “Time for our midnight prowl,” said the first to emerge, as she was joined by dozens of sleepwalking skeletons.

  2. Erin sighed. No wonder the house had been so cheap. Well, at least she wouldn’t have to worry about the neighbors throwing raucous parties at two a.m.

  3. It was a dark and stormy night – oh, for heavens sake, couldn’t I come up with a better line than that? I know this graveyard like the back of my hand, and yet I was having trouble coming up with a way to start a story about it!

  4. I don’t care what the map the Cemetery Office gave me says. This isn’t my Great Great Grandfather’s grave. His name wasn’t Frieda!

  5. Gear up so he wouldn’t flip, dead stick from the saboteur’s attack, Captain Reynolds recognized too late he ‘d picked the wrong dark field for a belly landing.

  6. Mary Culhane was a brave girl, so when her father left his walking stick in the cemetery, she offered to get it, not thinking how close it was to sundown. . . . not my original tale, but a folktale I love to tell

  7. The wind moaned through the tombstones, sounding like a dying — or maybe already dead — creature. The girls huddled together. Did they really want to pledge that sorority badly enough to spend the night here? Emily saw a movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned, it was no longer there.

  8. As a general rule, graveyards don’t spook me. But with the way the moon was coming through the crowds, this one was definitely an exception.

  9. The necromancer finished drawing his pentagram in the middle of the cemetery in preparation of raising a zombie horde.

  10. I love living next to the cemetery. The neighbors are so quiet. Well, except on nights with a full moon.

  11. As the gloomy gray sky cast a somber pall over the graveyard, the detective looked upon each marker with sadness for the victims and vowed the next marker would be for the killer who put them there.

  12. Leah gazed across the cemetery at the elderly woman carefully tending one of the graves. She lovingly touched the headstone as she laid flowers across the grave. Suddenly a shot rang out and she dropped to the ground, blood spreading on the back of her beige jacket.

  13. On most days the graveyard was the quiet leg of his daily jog. But not today. At first, Jeff thought it was his tinnitus kicking up again. He slowed down, then stopped, and pulled his hoodie from around his ears. The sound now jolted him and he staggered back from the wrought iron fence surrounding the tombs. Whispering voices, dozens of them, filled his ears, and they grew louder. His eyes caught movement and he struggled to focus. His lips released a cry as he realized that everywhere within the cemetery, the earth was…moving.

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