What-ho, all! I'm just popping in to share a 'gripping story opening' for Heidi's June edition of Inkling Explorations!
The prompt is a beginning that grabbed you and kept your attention, not necessarily a high-action one. I decided at length to go with the opening to The Princess Bride
by S. Morgenstern by William Goldman;) (The opening to the actual PB opening, that is, not the first line of the book. Because, as anyone who's read it knows, it's a rather strangely constructed book in that regard…anywho. Rambling.)
The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette. Annette worked in Paris for the Duke and Duchess de Guiche, and it did not escape the Duke's notice that someone extraordinary was polishing the pewter. The Duke's notice did not escape the notice of the Duchess either, who was not very beautiful and not very rich, but plenty smart. The Duchess set about studying Annette and shortly found her adversary's tragic flaw.
Armed now, the Duchess set to work. The Palace de Guiche turned into a candy castle. Everywhere you looked, bonbons. There were piles of chocolate-covered mints in the drawing rooms, baskets of chocolate-covered nougats in the parlors.
Annette never had a chance. Inside a season, she went from delicate to whopping, and the Duke need glanced in her direction without sad bewilderment clouding his eyes. (Annette, it might be noted, seemed only cheerier throughout her enlargement. She eventually married the pastry chef and they both ate a lot until old age claimed them. Things, it might also be noted, did not fare so cheerily for the Duchess. The Duke, for reasons passing understanding, next became emitted with his very own mother-in-law, which caused the Duchess ulcers, only they didn't have ulcers yet. More precisely, ulcers existed, people had them, but they weren't called "ulcers." The medical profession at that time called them "stomach pains" and felt the best cure was coffee dolloped with brandy twice a day until the pains subsided. The Duchess took her mixture faithfully, watching through the years as her husband and her mother blew kisses at each other behind her back. Not surprisingly, the Duchess's grumpiness became legendary, as Voltaire has so ably chronicled. Except this was before Voltaire.)
I know, I know;) The rest of the book is absolutely pure gold, as well. It only gets better;) Seriously, if you haven't read it, YOU MUST READ IT! 'T'is hilarious and touching and light and deep (I know, right? How does he do it?) and awesome sauce. :)