Three Line Tales: The tapping of her teeth

three line tales week 36 service

photo by Mike Wilson – click here for bigger version


At Reception is the same girl who was at the desk when I registered – lip ring tapping her teeth as she sucks her cheek, another ring looped through her eyebrow catching the light when she frowns, which is often. She doesn’t bother to look up from her comic book as I clear my throat.

‘I need your help.’ I can barely hear my own voice, it’s so faint, so I’m not surprised when she ignores me. ‘I said, I need your help.’ This time I’m louder, my voice shrill, panicked, but she keeps staring at the image of a burning city, flames writhing snake-like through tower block windows.

I slam my hand on the counter, watch as blood from the knife speckles the comic – scarlet against magenta. She jumps back, chair hitting the floor and though I can’t over the screaming, I almost think I can hear the ring tapping her teeth.


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Word’s Three Line Tales. See here to join the fun and to read the other stories.

24 thoughts on “Three Line Tales: The tapping of her teeth

  1. Wonderful three lines, Lynn. I love the descriptive of the receptionist with dreadful customer service skills, and the dark twist at the end leaves me with lots of intriguing questions. 🙂 Very nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Louise. Felt a little unfair to give the pierced receptionist a cliched line in customer service skills – but as most customer service is rubbish in the UK … Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Actually, I don’t think she is. I imagine our narrator has just had a tought few minutes, but a psychopathic killer out to hack pierced receptionists? I’m not sure. Thanks for reading 🙂


  2. Great image of the bored reception clerk. I can read what’s happening a couple ways. I think I’m leaning toward the narrator not being the one responsible for the blood on the knife — or not intentionally, at least — but I could go either way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, your mind is running the same way as mine. I think the narrator has had a dreadful few minutes – but more through necessity than choice! Though undoubtedly, there is a corpse to clear up somewhere. Call Housekeeping! 🙂 Thanks Joy

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Spooky — for the customer service rep’s sake — I hope the narrator knife isn’t blood spattered just for fun. Of course, could be a suite type place with a kitchen, and she’s missing an ingredient for her stew. I somehow doubt that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Like that idea – she’s just beem making stew and is desperately searching of oregano! Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂


  4. Wow, that’s very creepy. It’s a powerful image and I can just imagine this scene – you described it very well in so few words.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, I really enjoyed this.
        I just started my own writing blog, so if you ever have some spare time, feel free to check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Kathrin. I popped over to your blog and thought your writing was very strong – also read the ballerina piece which was fascinating. Good luck with the blog and your writing.


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