One Line

Open a book and use a line from that book to start a story.


As she placed her shoes in a bin and stepped into the scanner, she felt as though the security guard was going to see right through her and find out her secret.  “You’re all set,” the man said, as she stepped out of the machine.

Trying to stop her hands from trembling, she took her shoes and suitcase off the counter and waited for her companion to finish. Watching him step through the scanner, she took several deep breaths, telling herself that nothing bad was going to happen. She avoided his gaze when he joined her at the end of the hallway to the gates. Neither of them spoke, as they travelled down the long hall.

The boarding process had already begun when they reached the gate to Phoenix. He pulled her aside and set his bag on the ground. Before he could even speak, she blurted out, “You shouldn’t have done it – you shouldn’t have doubted me – we’re leaving a trail of mistakes,” she said. “They’re going to find us.”

‘No one is going to find us,” he told her, taking her hands in his. “It’s better that we leave before the police find out what we did.” His final words of comfort did nothing to calm her nerves. She was in full panic mode, and he seemed so calm as he picked up his duffel bag off the ground. “Call me when you land in Seattle.”

An announcement for the final boarding call to Phoenix meant their time was up. Tears formed in her eyes, as he took a step toward the gate. She grabbed his arm and said, “This isn’t a good idea. We’re making a huge mistake.”

“We’ve already made a huge mistake,” he said, pulling his arm out of her grasp. “Stay calm. The more you bring attention to yourself, the more guilty you’re going to look.” All of the passengers had boarded the aircraft by the time he reached the gate. He turned to face her and gave one final wave, before disappearing down the jet bridge. 

Dragging her suitcase by the handle, she walked several gates down and sat in a seat near the back wall. She still had an hour before her flight took off. Few passengers walked by, as she sat in the corner, arms protectively crossed over her chest. 

Isolated from the rest of the world, she couldn’t stop the negative thoughts from entering her mind. This was the end of her life in her hometown, and the end of her friendship with him. One moment in her life had changed everything. She was living on borrowed time.

She wanted to turn back time, return to that moment, and do things differently. She wanted to leave the airport and drive until she couldn’t anymore. She wanted to hop on the plane to Phoenix and go with him. She wanted to do anything that would change her fate.

But there was nothing she could do. It was already done. Calls were already coming across police radios, and any one of those calls could change her future. He was taxiing to the runway on his way to Phoenix. She sat, hopelessly, at the gate to Seattle, counting the seconds on her watch.

At eight o’clock in the evening, the Baltimore airport was nearly deserted.

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