Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’ve reached our Sixth year of weekly prompts! This is Week 361 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? Check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on Facebook and the Group on MeWe.
Need the rules? Read on.
Here’s how it works:
- The prompt is a line from the previous week’s winning tale.
- The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
- The prompt must be used as is. It can be split, but no intervening words can be inserted or tenses changed.
Rules to the Game:
- This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
- The story must be new writing, not a snippet from something published elsewhere with the prompt added.
- Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
- Post your story in the comments section of this post
- Include your word count in the post (or be excluded from judging)
- Include your Twitter handle or email in the post (so we don’t have to look for you)
- The challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time
- The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up.
How it benefits you:
- You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we’re all about promotion – you know you are!)
- You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
- Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and Google Plus, etc.
Our Judge for Week 361:
Programmer by day, writer by night, Katheryn J. Avila.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I had that dream again.”
All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!
19 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 361”
I had to come here to this house although its occupants were a mystery. I’d never been to the house with white-washed, Georgian walls, before it happened. Yet I had to come here. I had to find out what drew me to it.
I had that dream again and yet it had to be more than a dream. All I saw every night was this house, a shadow figure, watching from the doorway. Now I had to learn why it called me. My nerves trembled, told me to walk away, fast. I didn’t, I pushed through the gate, walked to the front door and rang the bell. It’s clamour, almost enough to make me run away.
She answered the door. My connection was not with her but somebody else inside. I knew that I felt him there.
“You again, go away!”
“No, I had the dream again. Now I want to see him, see why it’s happening.”
“You don’t want to do that. Go, if you know what’s good for you.” she was twice my age but not stopping me. I pushed past her into the plush hall. Upstairs, he was upstairs, I felt him. I raced up to the landing into the bedroom and gasped. The one I felt was me, or rather the spitting image of me. My hair, my dimples, my birthmark, identical. He looked at me and smiled.
“What’s going on? What is this?” I managed.
“Hello dear brother, I think we better chat.”
250 words, by Mason Bushell @MBWorkhouse twitter and Fb
I woke up in a cold sweat, my heart racing while my body lay paralyzed. Panic zinged through me like a ping-pong ball and I could do nothing but let it ride. Damn, I had that dream again. It didn’t hit me nearly so often as it had when I’d started this journey, but this time had been rough.
Granted, it was more of a memory than a dream, but the images of my sister handmaidens snubbing me for my indiscretion still cut as cruelly as they had all those millennia before. The anger, disgust, and banishment made me bleed from the inside out, and I still hadn’t staunched the wounds.
“Yo, Dora. You all right?” Knickers, the kid I’d befriended in Denver when I’d saved her from being beaten by some local thugs, peered at my face from across the ratty hotel room.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Sorry to wake you.”
Knickers grimaced and shrugged. “Ain’t no big thing. Wasn’t sleepin’ real good anyway.”
She coughed into her sleeve, trying to hide the blood drops. I suspected she had Tuberculosis, which meant she needed either heavy-duty antibiotics or the help of a Morukai, and even then it might not work. My own small magics were only enough to stave off the worst of the infection.
Maybe that’s something I’ll demand from Loki, too. He owed me so much, healing one undersized and underfed teenaged girl wouldn’t even take down his debt to me by inches.
“And you’ll pay, Loki.”
250 ineligible #CockyBiker #WIP365 words
I had that dream again. A giraffe wanders past. Ah, the things my brain says to me. I have a question for you. My brain wanders through again. No wait, go back, wait again. Spin cycle. I have my face pushed up against the glass door of the washer at the Bubblemat. The spin cycle is coming to an end, the washer barrel brakes squeal and shake me. I blink. I blink again, I’m being thrown from the car again. Landing face down in the cold dirt and ice of the median strip I begin to wail and moan. Blood pounding in my ears I lift my face leaving half of it on the ground, my circuits sizzling as the moisture in the air make contact.
“Can you hear me?”
“OK, we’ve got you.”
The ambulance screams away.
Everything goes dark
I cannot lift my arm or speak. There are spots on my face that have gone numb. I give a crooked smile as the technician reaches in with a screw driver. A small twist and the lights all around me burst on with a screeching, wrenching flash.
BANG, I can smell flesh burning. BANG. Flushing hotly, I sit up screaming. I am alive. You are not. Lost, lost. Lost forever in that one flash I cannot forget even in my dreams. One simple twist of the wheel would have kept us on the road. I am left behind living without you. Wash, fold, repeat.
“Pandora?” Davis’ sleepy voice reached across the dark living room. “What time is it?”
“Dunno.” I stood at the edge of the balcony door, staring blindly into the night. “I think it was around 0230 when I woke up.”
“Then it’s too damned early.”
“I’m sorry I woke you,” I said. “I’ll go back to my room.”
“I’m not scolding you, woman. Merely grumbling about the truth of the matter.” I glanced over my shoulder. He leaned against the frame of his bedroom door, eyes closed. “There’s no sunshine yet. Not even a hint of it. Therefore, it is too damned early.”
“I had that dream again.” It was the only explanation I could offer.
“Shit,” he murmured, his heavy sigh adding a nonverbal commentary. “Well, that changes things.”
He pushed off from the doorframe and crossed the room to me. He didn’t say anything, just snugged up against my back, heavy arms wrapping around my waist. He stood in a wide stance—manner legs, I thought with an almost smile—to bring his height closer to mine, and rested his chin on my shoulder.
“This is what, the fifth time?” His voice rumbled along my back, teased my ear.
“You’re keeping track.” I relaxed into his hold.
“I made the mistake of discounting your dreams once, Trouble.” He snorted. “I’m maybe one dream away from buying a sparkly frou-frou journal to log them. Though if this one comes true, I might skip straight to a Prophecies of Doom website.”
250 words for… something… still not sure what yet.
I had that dream again. It comes often these nights, like a persistent cloud of confusion, a pestering fog really, rolling in, thick, impenetrable.
A fluffy, frightening weight.
I’m floating in that fog, on that cloud. Its confusing of course. A fog that rises, in from the sea. Odd, don’t you think, how it becomes a cloud?
It’s a real cloud of course. It must be. Nevertheless, I’m perplexed. Anyone would be if they imagined, dreamt that they were on a cloud…clouds don’t have substance, there is nothing holding you up. Unless you are a marionette, which I guarantee you, I’m not. Not even in my dreams. I’ve never dreamt that I was affixed with strings, that some entity was fiddling with my extremities, making me do a ridiculous dance.
I am not a puppet.
I do not view myself as foolish in any way. Others might, I suppose. Dreams take you to places you don’t want to be, expose you to ridicule. Not real ridicule, but if you start imagining that others can see how you are portrayed in your dreams, how you act, well, that could be embarrassing.
But that can’t happen. Dreams are only thoughts, trapped in your mind squeezing themselves out. They belong to you. How awful it would be if someone could tamper with your moments of vulnerable sleep, your very precious, private dreams.
But that couldn’t happen.
Why do I keep having this dream?
Why won’t my sleep protect me?
250 words I dreamt up
Clay gazed into the mirror regarding the deep lines etched in his unfamiliar face. His thin pale skin sagged, accentuating tired, bloodshot eyes. Dark orbs scrutinized him, sliced through his bravado and accused him. He reached his hand toward the glass and hesitated. Gnarled, fingers wore protruding blood vessels that threatened to burst through parchment.
“Isn’t this a pretty mess?” his reflection mocked.
The image flinched, as the words cut Clay’s soul.
“The magic is gone,” Clay protested, “I can’t fix it.”
“Oh, but you can.”
“How?” Clay watched the tendons in his neck bulge as he spat the question. He reviewed and discarded his options, which he could count on one hand.
“I told you. You must lose to win.”
“You keep saying that, but it makes no sense. What more is there? I’ve given everything,” Clay’s voice broke, he bowed his head in defeat as he grasped the edge of the filthy sink to support his sagging frame.
“I had that dream again,” he admitted. “Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. But he’s coming for me.”
“Find the answer,” the words vibrated through him.
The command rolled like thunder, shaking every cell in his frail body. Clay relaxed and gave up. With the resistance gone, he felt the curse lift and his power surged in, filling the voids. Intoxicated from the rush, he looked at the mirror again and saw a familiar face. It smiled at him
“Took you long enough,” his reflection said.
“Time to end this wizard war.”
My roommate planted her butt on the corner of my grandmother’s dressing table, blocking my reflection in the huge mirror. This vanity was the only thing I had from my old life—the one I’d bolted from.
“You look like shit.” Bethie, blunt as always. “Those bags under your eyes are packed for a world cruise.”
I pulled the brush through my hair one more time before huffing out a sigh and admitting, “I had that dream again.”
Bethie’s eyes lit with interest. “The one with the sexy guy?”
“No, the one where the guy I’ve never seen before turns into a freaking monster with blood dripping from his teeth and claws.”
She rolled her eyes. “But it starts out with him as a sexy guy. That’s your subconscious telling you that you’re afraid not only of commitment but men as well.”
My turn for the eye roll. What I didn’t tell her was that the dream? It felt more like the replay of a memory than some freaky message from my subconscious.
Though I didn’t want to go, Bethie dragged me out to the club anyway. I was two beers in when I looked up. He was standing there, right in front of me. The man from my dreams.
“Are you going to eat me?” I blurted it out.
Something feral flashed in his eyes. “Later.”
Déjà vu all over again, but that seemed like the best idea ever. Who was I to argue with fate?
250 Random Nightrider words
“Hide,” Ivy said in that silky vampire voice that sent shivers through me. She pulled me back behind the half open door to Sling’s office.
I looked past her to see two hulking vampires on the staircase. Apparently the vampires who killed Ivy’s three friends whose bodies lay at our feet. I couldn’t believe Ivy heard them through the din coming from the nightclub. Her vampire senses and instincts still amazed me even though we’d been roommates for a year.
Ivy had a stake in each hand. Vampires staking other vampires. I wasn’t used to that either. But a gun didn’t do much damage since they were already dead.
“Ivy,” I said. “Let’s get out of here.” I motioned to a window large enough to climb through.
“Too late for that,” Ivy said. She drove both stakes through their hearts. They were huge but they were no match for as skilled a vampire as Ivy.
“Who the hell are they?” I said.
“They worked for Sling,” Ivy said, referring to the master vampire who owned the nightclub and ran a major criminal enterprise here in Pittsburgh. “Let’s get out of here, Ayren.”
A faint sound of approaching police sirens even I could hear got us moving. We sat in my van for a few minutes. The grisly sight in Sling’s office was still in my mind. It stayed with me until I went to bed.
I had that dream again. The one where Ivy slipped into my room in her black silk robe and was kissing me.
250 Words from my Vampire/Human roommate WIP.
Sera stands in her favorite place overlooking the verdant valley below. It’s so lush and green Sera almost forgets Dionysus is dying. Scientists found the evidence over two decades ago and, while all the great minds have tried to reverse their planet’s mortality, they’ve concluded it is irreversible. They say it’s a matter of two, maybe three decades before this beautiful planet is uninhabitable.
The familiar scent of lavender finds Sera before the sound of soft footsteps reaches her ears. Turning, Sera smiles at her mother.
“I thought I’d find you here.”
“Hey, Mom. How are you?”
“Troubled. I had that dream.”
“Sera, have you heard anything about your application? You must be on that ship when it leaves.”
“Mother, it’s just a dream.”
“It’s never just a dream, Sera. You know that.”
“I received the call this morning, Mom. I have six more months of training then I’m gone. Bye-bye Dionysus. And you. And Dad. And all my friends.”
The fierceness of her mother’s embrace takes Sera by surprise and leaves her nearly breathless.
“Oh, thank the gods!”
The warmth of her mother’s hands caresses Sera’s face as her mother’s gaze reaches into Sera’s soul. Hot tears form puddles in the corners of Sera’s eyes in response.
“Sera. This dream. . . you will be the survivor, and your people’s savior. This is your destiny.”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s all I know, but when the time comes. Be ready. You have to survive. At any cost.”
I had that dream again. The one where my mom is alive, but I know she shouldn’t be. The one where we’re arguing in our old house, the one I grew up in but left too early, the one that’s filled with pain and anger and sadness and love and comfort and safety.
I had that dream again. The one where I’m in school, but I’ve forgotten to go to class, and my wife and kids are living in the dorm with me but all I do is play videogames. My mom calls, but I don’t answer. I’m too busy.
I had that dream again. The one where I’m being chased down a waterslide by a nuclear missile. I can’t escape it, but it can’t catch me. Somewhere, my mom is calling my name, but I have no voice to answer.
I had that dream again. I’m trying to find someone to date, and I’m thinking, “Didn’t I solve this problem already?” My wife is there, but she wants nothing to do with me, and she won’t tell me why. My mom’s not in this one, but I never feel safe.
I had that dream again. The one where I’m fighting with my mom about nothing and everything, just like we did when she was alive. I know I shouldn’t be fighting with her because this might be the last time we talk, but I can’t help it.
I had that dream again. I was alone.
“I had that dream again,” Claudia whispered and wiggled in her seat.
Ever since my sister had found out that the supernatural existed, she’d been looking for signs of it everywhere. I wanted to call her paranoid, but maybe she was right. If it was all around us, could it be that there were both good and evil forces active? I’d seen the powers of magic and how it could be used to terrorize, easily.
However, it could also create a binding, a soul tie, like what I, unfortunately, had with Alistair.
“Which dream would that be?” I asked.
“Wolves, snarling wolves everywhere. I couldn’t sleep so I went in search of the hot professor online who likes to ruminate over the Norse gods. Have you ever seen one?”
“Wolves? Gods? What are you talking about?”
“Gods, of course.” Claudia flipped open her notebook. “Well, if there is some hammering coming my way, I’d like to know. I’m interested in holy altars just like the next woman is, but—”
I glanced over at her notebook page where she’d doodled what looked like a holy “banging” list. I glared.
“Is this a list like I think it is?” I wanted to wag my finger at her, but Claudia always had a way to take that as a sign of approval.
“No, I just think that I could ascend and become the queen of Asgard.”
“There is already a Queen of Asgard.”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t have anything on me.”
249 words from current WIP – Twice As High
I had that dream again. The one that never changes; same characters, same building, same fear. As if keeping with a comfortable routine. Like always, I stood surrounded by people in pink and yellow hooded robes. They chanted in a language I didn’t understand, dancing around me. Nearby, someone with a bible screamed about a demon and commanded it to be gone. I woke up right before they gave me some green liquid to drink.
Like clockwork, I woke up, screaming, and my parents burst into my room. Blinding me with the overhead light, grabbing me into tight hugs while I screamed my throat raw. Copper filled my mouth as I chewed on my tongue, the pain a reminder that I was still alive. Blinking the last vestiges of that dream away, my sobs overwhelmed me and Dad hooked up the nebulizer so I could breathe.
Ten minutes later, my sweat soaked hair drips with water from the shower. It’s the same every few nights: nightmare, screaming, sobbing, asthma attack, shower. Now it’s six, time to get up for work. My co-workers will know, they always do. My eyes are wild, my only friend says. You’re weird, one of the guys says. When anyone bows their head or folds their hands I freak out and run away.
My name is Cara, I’m twenty-five-years-old, and I ran away from a religious cult when I was ten.
Jaysen rolled over and rubbed her eyes, blinking up at the popcorn ceiling of her boyfriend’s apartment.
A solid arm draped over her, and her boyfriend Alex pulled her close. His musky scent cocooned her, calming her rapidly beating heart.
She wanted to say, “sure,” but she couldn’t bring herself to. Instead, she shrugged.
He nuzzled her ear—a sure sign of interest. Normally, she’d encourage him. Not today.
Alex pulled away, propping himself up with an elbow. “What’s the matter?”
“I—I had that dream again.”
The air whooshed out of him, and he dropped backward onto the bed.
“You don’t have to believe me, but, please, listen. Stay home tomorrow. Don’t go.”
“I have to. It’s in my contract.”
“I can’t, JJ. I’ll lose everything. The music business isn’t very forgiving.”
“Neither is death.”
He reached for her, but she evaded his grasp and rose. He wouldn’t listen, and she couldn’t go through this again. He didn’t believe her. They rarely did. Death sure had a sense of humor. Or hated her. Probably both.
She swept her clothes off the floor where they’d landed the night before and dressed.
“Where are you going?”
She glanced at him and quickly looked away, crossing to the door. “I’m leaving.”
“But,” he climbed out of bed, “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she whispered and darted out the door.
He’d go, she’d lose him, and death would win again.
“You guys! You guys!”
Aki ran to her friends, arms wind milling exuberantly. Izumi and Hikaru looked up from the park bench, Hikaru’s chipmunk cheeks dotted with rice from her lunch box.
“Good afternoon, Aki.” Izumi smiled.
Lazy sun shone off Izumi’s thick glasses, making it unclear whether or not she could see her friend. Either way, the excited voice was unmistakable. Hikaru choked down the rest of her food and stared at Aki with unblinking eyes so as not to miss anything that came next.
“The new café is open! My folks just took me, and it was incredible!”
Hikaru teared up looking at Aki in her sun halo while clutching her empty lunch box.
“They have this mocha mochi ice cream which is totally the best thing you’ll ever eat!”
Izumi pushed her glasses up her nose with a quiet nod.
“I had that.”
“Dream again!” Aki shook her head. “You’ve never had anything like this!”
Izumi cocked her head.
“The café at the train station has mocha mochi ice cream.”
Aki crossed her arms emphatically.
“It’s not the same!”
Hikaru wiped drool from her lips and looked down at her shoes bashfully.
“Do you guys think… We should, invite the new girl to go there some time?”
Aki and Izumi both turned their attention to Hikaru—the former shaking her head aggressively and the latter nodding happily.
“After what she did to you? No way!”
“That’s a wonderful idea!”
245 new project words
“I had that dream again.” I said to my mom.
“The one where I had a child.”
“That would seem to be a good dream.”
“It was I saw the magic of the world through my child’ eyes. My daughter ran through the yard chasing butterflies, calling flowers pwetty. It was wonderful mom but…”
“But you’re scared.”
“Yes, what if I don’t have a child? I mean I can’t carry one to term myself.”
“Then you’ll adopt, but I’m doing everything I can to make that happen,” mom answered.
I looked at my mom fifty five years old and almost nine months pregnant with my daughter; why was I so scared? I was the luckiest person alive, I had a mom who loved me enough to give birth to her own granddaughter. Tomorrow was Mother’s Day I had planned something special for her to let her know how much she meant to me.
“Becky,” I heard awakening in the middle of the night and my husband Jack jumped out of bed.
“Your daughter is coming ,”she said.
It seemed we both might be celebrating Mother’s Day.
Four hours later I was a mom to a beautiful six pound baby girl who we named Annie after my mother. Mom was a trouper. the doctor said she’d be fine.
We did Mother’s Day proud and ordered a four course dinner which we served mom. Annie is a joy and next Mother’s Day she may be chasing butterflies in the garden.
250 words@Sweet Sheil
I had that dream again. The one where the sky burns and the earth crumbles. This is the fourth time now, with each more vivid and intense than the last.
It starts with the fire. The fire rain that burns everything it touches. Burns even the ground until it collapses in on itself.
Well, everything except the tower.
The beasts come gliding out of the boiling russet clouds next. The fire doesn’t touch them, bouncing off their black and red scaled bodies like pebbles.
Their screeches destroy hearing, make blood drip from everyone’s ears — creature and human alike. They kill with that screech.
The bodies drop like flies after that.
And always, always at the end the tower chimes like a gong. One. Two. Three. Four. Five…
Six booms of doom.
I fear what happens after that sixth chime, when the world burns itself out of the universe and disappears into oblivion. I fear what happens when I have this dream for the sixth time.
Heaven doesn’t exist above us no more. I’m not sure Heaven exists anywhere at all.
187 end of the world words
#ThursThreads Week 361 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.