I recently came across a Tumblr post with a 30 day writing prompt challenge that tickled my fancy. I’m a fan of the ’30 Day Challenge’ lists that I’ve seen crop up on my Facebook or whatnot over the last year, but I’ve never quite been able to stick one out for the full month (The 30 Day Abs Challenge will forever be remembered as The 3 Days of Crippling Pain Before I Gave Up And Ate Some Cheese Challenge). So when I found this I was wary of starting it for fear that I would miss a day, telling myself ‘one day doesn’t matter, you can go back to it tomorrow.’ But of course, ‘tomorrow’ is an imaginary concept that never manages to turn into ‘today.’ But I liked the sound of this one, and reading over the challenges they all seem interesting and actually doable, which some challenges just don’t seem to be on day 1. So here I go, embarking on another 30 day challenge that hopefully won’t end as disastrously as others. Feel free to spur me on, encourage me, or if you see me dwindling or not posting then harass me, abuse me, send me a disappointed-face emoji that clearly had such high hopes before they were dashed by someone who couldn’t concentrate for a mere month.
So anyway, here it goes, 30 Day Writing Prompt Challenge, Day 1:
Select a book at random in the room, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.
(I got my housemate to pick a random book from my bookshelf, knowing full well I’d veer towards one of my favourites if I did it myself)
The book chosen is Passenger by Billy Cowie.
The last line is:
Milan walks back to the car leaving the music playing softly into the afternoon.
Her heart beats heavily inside her chest, she’s sure she can hear it, surprised that no one walking past the house stares at her, this oddly panicked girl with the loud hammering noise coming from inside her top. She presses the button to unlock the car door, flinching at the beep and click noises. She doesn’t remember them being so loud before. She doesn’t dare to turn around to see if he’s heard it, If the noise has woken him up and he’s now standing at the front door waiting for the last moment before he calls her back, crumbling her hopes of ever leaving. If she doesn’t go now she never will. Her nerve won’t hold out much longer.
She opens the car door, throws her bag onto the passenger seat and climbs inside, closing the door slowly so it doesn’t slam. She can still hear the radio playing through the open sitting room window. She had known when he fell asleep listening to his relaxation cd that it was her chance. She crept past him and grabbed the bag that she had hidden in the cupboard under the stairs. She had been confident that he wouldn’t find it in there, hidden behind the vacuum and sweeping brush. He had never been in that cupboard since the day they moved in. Her hands trembled as she took the keys from the hook on the wall and opened the front door. She heard the leather couch squeaking as he moved around, and froze, waiting to be caught. Her face stung with the anticipation of his hand on her cheek if he walked out of the sitting room. But he didn’t.
She sat in the car now, her hands on the steering wheel, the bruises on her wrists visible as they peeked out from under her sleeves. She made eye contact with the man who lived next door, out cutting his grass. She didn’t know his name, she had never spoken to him enough to learn it. He spoke to Dave a lot, she heard them when he came home from work. But he never looked at her when she left the house. He’d glance quickly as she locked the door, thinking she could’t see, but she always did. She used to try to make him look at her properly, to look her in the eye; she would stare as he hurried back into his house, but he didn’t turn around. Didn’t want to put a face to the bangs and thuds he had heard the night before, to the body that was slammed against the other side of his wall and crumbled to a heap on the floor. But he didn’t look away today. She turned the key in the ignition and the car revved into life. She smiled at him as she drove away from the house. She would probably never see him again.