#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 362

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 362 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 362:

Dark fantasy author, archer, and horsewoman, Daelyn Morgana.

Facebook | Twitter | 

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“It starts with the fire.”

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!

25 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 362”

  1. Fire of Vengeance- By Mason Bushell

    It always starts with the fire, not a physical flame, but an event igniting a mental flame in your heart, your soul. A flame that becomes a fire of desire, or revenge. For him the fire started when his brother was killed. The police did little, but he’d found the one that struck Dale that night.

    Sean crept to the convertible, keeping out of the streetlight. Yes, the number plate was cracked from impacting Dale’s knees. His heart raced, adrenaline flooded his body, time to avenge him. Up the drive way, around the house he went. The knife heavy in his hand, as he slid the window open, and climbed inside. The cat hissed, dashing away, at 1AM nobody was awake. He climbed the stairs, slipping into the bedroom. A smile creased his face, there was the flowing blonde hair that billowing from the car when it struck Dale.

    The pounding of his heart, deafened him. He reached to pull back the duvet, the knife keen to strike. She rose, smiling at him. Her green eyes, leaving him weak at the knees.
    “You found me, sugar.” she breathed, her voice evocative.
    “I did, to avenge my brother.”
    “Why kill me, when you can have me.” she ran her fingers over his jeans. He smiled.
    “Dangerous, girl,” he whispered unbuttoning his shirt.
    “I am.” she snapped up, driving the knife into his chest, with a sneer.
    The fire of revenge is best ignored. To pursue it always brings deadly consequences.

    249 words @MBWorkhouse on twitter and FB

  2. As a kid, I believed God was going to end the world, because Mom and Dad and Pastor Donaldson said it would happen. I believed it because our teachers said it was true; it starts with the fire, then He appears! I was so gullible back then. If I’d only known that the end times were a bunch of bunk. Yeah, the world is going to end, just not in a hail of fire and brimstone the way Pastor Donaldson wanted us all to believe.

    Our compound was in the northern part of Missouri, right in tornado alley. The name of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town escapes me, but we were near Iowa. One night I walked outside with other worshippers during a storm. This was it, the big Passage to Heaven was going to open. All of us kids were put in the center of this big circle and people chanted, sang, and prayed. The yard was lit with spotlights, and then a nearby transformer blew. It sent the compound into a tizzy. I took my chance ran.

    My tiny fist pounded on the door of the first house I found, but no one answered. A church was nearby so I slept there. Eventually, a nice couple in Council Bluffs adopted me. I heard the compound burned down. No one tried to escape; they all died in their beds. Makes me wonder if they knew I’d run but didn’t bother trying to find me. Or did they trust God had me?

    @Aightball
    250 words (WIP)

  3. “Davis.”

    My name—uttered in some otherworldly multi-voice—yanked me straight from sleep into adrenalized awareness. My heart thundered in my chest as I focused on the backlit figure in the doorway to my bedroom.

    “I need you to wake up.”

    That nightmare-inducing voice normalized with each word until I recognized Pandora. I laid my hand over my galloping heart, hoping not to stroke out before I could calm down.

    “Oh, I’m awake.” And might never sleep again.

    I sucked in a breath and kissed my days of blissful ignorance a final goodbye as I saw Pandora in Oracle-mode for the first time. Her eyes were the stuff of Hollywood FX wrapped up in myth and legend, the irises glowing blue in the low light.

    Glowing.

    Definitely never sleeping again.

    “You okay there, Trouble?” I managed.

    “I dreamt again.”

    “About the murder?”

    “It starts with the fire.”

    The fire?”

    “The midsummer bonfire.” Pandora rubbed her eyes free of the things only she saw. “It’s kind of a big deal.”

    “And the killer is someone at this shindig?” Working a murder before it happened might be new, but the familiar line of questioning applied.

    “Yeah, but that’s most of the town,” she muttered. “And half of their extended families.”

    “Don’t suppose you spotted anyone in an I’m the Killer t-shirt?”

    “It gets worse.” She rubbed her temples.

    “I’d prefer it didn’t.”

    “There’s another life on the line, now. A life I have to save.” Her gaze skimmed my way.

    Well, shit.

    @caramichaels
    250 #WIP365 words

  4. In the distance, on the other side of the sewer’s metal grate, I could hear the Dark Elven soldiers moving through the underground corridors, their jackboots thudding, as they scoured the area looking for any rebels.

    Searching for me.

    “There’s no going back once you do this, Sif.” Ola spooned the liquid into a green soda bottle. It trickled in with a slight hissing, and a stream of visible steam rose.

    I nodded my consent.

    “It starts with the fire.” Ola passed me that fiery drink that glowed neon green in its recycled soda bottle. That magic worked inside plastic was beyond my understanding.

    “The purging fire of compulsion.” I placed the bottle to my lips and guzzled down as much as I could.

    I didn’t wonder how Ola had found the recipe to brew the drink that was supposed to be only for fire giants-the sworn enemies of the gods. Nor did I consider how I might react from it all.

    It just might kill me.

    Love made me weak; made it seem like I wasn’t growing or changing. It wasn’t that. It was more that love made me stupid, wanting to see the best even while experiencing the worst.

    I pulled the black handkerchief over my nose until it covered my mouth, leaving only my eyes out, and yanked the ragged leather hoodie over my head.

    Tonight they would all die.

    Fuck the gods! What had they ever done for me?

    @TinaGlasneck
    243 WIP – #Hellraiser

  5. Being undercover in the Yakuza for the FBI, Oshi had to be the masculine side that most people saw. At least he got to keep his long hair.

    His phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out to check the text message.

    New player in the game for 20:30 arrival. Jacks over Aces. No Jokers.

    That was the code he and his handler had worked out. Poker terms and remarks. It meant there’d be a new contact for him to interact with. Someone with military training and undercover work under their belt. But not FBI. It always amused Oshi that their code for the FBI was Jokers.

    He shot a look at the digital clock on his phone. 8:35 pm. The player had arrived.

    The phone buzzed again just as the first text faded from the memory. Player likes sushi and has a new game in town, Ultimate Recon, with Deuces Low tricks. Player’s name is Hiro Tanaka.

    The new undercover man was Japanese from an organization called Ultimate Recon, and had South American connections. Oshi frowned as he pocketed the phone and turned to scope out where Yaku had gone, only to be brought up short as he took in the dark-eyed stranger with perfect posture.

    “Oshi-san, may I present Hiro Tanaka, new hire security chief.” Yaku bowed, but Oshi only had eyes for his new contact.

    Love will find a way and it starts with the fire of recognition. The line from an old song rang clearly in Oshi’s head and he knew he was lost.

    250 ineligible #UltimateRecon #WIP365 words
    @SiobhanMuir

  6. Tia Antonia diced the peppers, and tossed them in the cast iron pot.
    “How do you get it right, not too hot, but hot enough?” Rosa asked.
    “Good question mija, you’re becoming a cook!” Antonia complimented.
    At sixteen, Rosa had been helping Antonia prepare chili for the cook-off since she could stand on a chair and hand her ingredients. Antonia always won, others just hoped to place. Whoever placed second would go to the regional competition, because Antonia wouldn’t leave town, and leave Tio Manuel alone. She hadn’t left since he’d become ill, long ago.
    After the chili had simmered for hours Antonia tasted the chili, then handed Rosa a spoon.
    “It’s just like love. It starts with the fire. You want just enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it burns.”
    Rosa smiled, thinking of a young Antonia and Manuel, there must have been fire then, because no matter how hard things were, she could still see the love between them.
    She tasted the chili.
    “What do you think, mija?”
    “It needs…”
    “Don’t tell me, adjust it.”
    “Me?”
    “Yes! You could make this chili in your sleep!”
    Rosa, adjusted the spices, and tasted again. More salt to bring out the heat.
    That evening, when Antonia and Rosa accepted their ribbon Antonia made an announcement. “This year, Rosa will be going to the regional competition.”
    Rosa’s heart swelled, and in the front row, she saw Tommy smiling with pride. It starts with the fire, she thought.

    249 Words

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/TariLynnJewett

  7. Evacuation Plan

    We reach the edge of our sea. The wind is picking up. It is a hungry blast. At first it seemed to be raging inward, hastening towards the centre of the Island.

    Then it shifted.

    The rescue skiff is feeling its fluctuating force. Docking is problematic.

    Jill is shivering from the willful gusts. I hug her close, try to reassure her with my pretence of calm.

    “They’ll tie up. They’re so close. We need to get over there.”

    She glances up. Her body’s rigid, as if it’s jammed into the sand, the rock, the shells, as if she’s a spike of rusting rebar.

    I tug her sleeve.

    “It starts with the fire,” she says.

    “The fire is close. We need to hurry,” I say.

    “No. IT! IT starts with the fire. And it ends with the fire. Here.” She points to the spot of beach on which she stands. She is no longer afraid. Her voice is loud, full of ferocity. She has a point to make. A point that is more important than life.

    I want to reason with her. It didn’t start with the fire. It started with smoke. And stupidity. Yes, there was a fire. Hidden through the winter. Under the soil. Like a cancer. Smoldering in secret. Through the early spring. And then the smoke.

    I rush her along the shore.

    “It will not end here,” I say.

    “You’re a fool,” she declares.

    “Humour me,” I plead, dragging her to the dock and safety.

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  8. It starts with the fire, with the burn at my center. My divinity being torn away.

    Maybe I’ve spent too much time around humans, and their imagery has seeped into my subconscious. Flames of damnation are not a real thing. And yet I’m always overtaken by fire, by a burn that starts inside me and spreads until it eats me whole. Though it happened eons ago, the fall will never stop haunting me.

    But this time, when I wake up, the burn doesn’t stop. It gets worse. My screams drown out Saxon’s words, and I can’t think. I can’t breathe.

    100 WIP words
    @katheryn_avila

  9. “It starts with the fire.”
    “But I thought I mean I hoped I’d be going to…,”I initiated.
    “The other place? Ha-ha you humans make me laugh,”the creature that appeared as a woman said.
    “Why?”
    “We haven’t even got to that part yet. I was actually talking about cremation. They’re going to take your earthly body and burn it.”
    “Why are you telling me this?”
    “To get your attention of course since I came in this room three hours ago; you haven’t been listening to me until I mentioned fire. I’m a soul collector.”
    “Soul collector? So you’re not the angel of death?”
    “That is one of my names.”
    “But I’m too young to die.”
    “I take anyone on the list.”
    “How do I get off the list?”

    The woman laughed again.

    “I’m dead or dying?”
    “Quit stalling it’s time.”
    “But I need to say goodbye.”
    “Come, you’ll like where you’re going.”

    I closed my eyes tight, crossed my arms and shook my head, willing my soul to stay.
    “Gregory, come on sweetie it’s time to go. Heaven’s waiting for you,” I heard in my mother’s voice.
    I opened my eyes it was mom standing beside the angel of death. Mom took my hand and I went. The soul collector just smiled and waved as we went into the light where I felt the most wondrous love and was reborn. I’m a baby now and I have a new mom, my life is ahead of me, I’ll make each day count.
    250 words
    @SweetSheil

  10. One foot in front of the other. Meloni could do this. The ceremonial dress she wore dragged as she walked the long hall stretching before her. She could only guess what awaited her beyond the looming doors. Would Nikos be there? Or was this some hocus-pocus mumbo jumbo the clan’s wizard dreamed up?

    She fought the panic welling up from the pit of her soul. She was a doctor. Science and medicine were her forte. Not magic. They expected her to make a magical change. No. Not change. Nikos was still Nikos, even in dragon form. She had to shift. Into a dragon. This dress, the symbols on the back, all designed to ensure she shifted from human to dragon—or fail spectacularly, which every dragon but Nikos was counting on.

    Human. Unfit to mate with their royal enforcer, the mighty Nikolas Constantine. She turned to run. Mind-blowing sex wasn’t worth this.

    “Kardia mou?”

    Nikos. Her heart lurched at the endearment. His broad palm covered her belly, warmth radiating from his skin. “Here,” he said, his voice deceptively calm. “It starts with the fire right here. You have nothing to fear, Meloni.”

    “I’m not a dragon, Nikos.”

    “You will be.”

    She recognized the lie, but it was a pretty fairy tale. Eyes closed, she breathed in, opened them, but Nikos was gone. She stood in the middle of an arena. Searing pain doubled her over as she burned from the inside out. Dragon fire. And she was breathing it.
    ****
    250 future Penumbra Papers words (Fire in the Blood) #TeamNikos #TeamDragon
    @SilverJames_

  11. “It starts with the fire.”

    Kent nodded his head, it had always been that way for him. Fire cleansed and purified and brought peace.

    He’d stopped using fire, to find peace.

    When his parents had dragged him off, “To get him the help he needed.”

    He’d listened to what they had to say, and he’d stopped the burning. Talking out his problems, rather than letting the fire cleanse.

    But his parents were gone now, killed instantly by a drunk driver, there was no one to talk to.

    He went back to the fire. The beautiful, cleansing, fire.

    Other people called it arson.

    They said he was a pyromaniac.

    He didn’t think that was quite right, he wasn’t a maniac about fire. He was a lover of fire. A pyroamour, or pyrolover? Fire brought peace, pyroshalom or shalompyro? Those were much closer descriptions.

    His new mentor said it again, “It starts with the fire. It has to be hot enough to burn away the impurities. To cleanse.”

    Kent couldn’t agree more, the hotter, the better. Cleansing, purifying, fire. He would never give up fire again, it was his. His gift. His peace.

    The man continued speaking, “Once it’s hot enough, about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit, then we can begin.”

    He pulled the rod out of the fire and rolled it in the glass shards.

    Kent would be using fire every day from now on.

    He was learning to be a glass artist. No longer an arsonist or pyromaniac.

    246 words
    @shirley_penick

  12. Slight update – the “ordered” in the first sentence should be “poured.”

    I’d poured the whiskey because this felt like an occasion worth commemorating, but now that I had it, I didn’t want to touch the stuff. I just sat there swirling the brown liquid in the glass and watching the memories of how my life collapsed spin in front of me.

    It starts with the fire. Seemed like no big deal at the time – no one was hurt, and we all got out of the house without any close calls. Our house wasn’t even that badly damaged. But I didn’t connect the dots between that fire and the one my wife had witnessed at school as a kid, and I made some jokes. Those jokes were the beginning of the end, though I certainly had no idea.

    She sure did. She knew in that moment that I’d never see her as a whole person, I’d never remember that she’d be affected by things differently than I would.

    The end didn’t come quickly. There were dozens of small injuries like that one to come before she told me it was over. Little moments where I showed her that she’d never be as important to me as she needed to be.

    Now it’s over. She’s gone, our daughters living with her in the house – the same house that caught on fire, while I was sitting alone in this studio apartment with a whiskey I didn’t even want.

    But I had my own fireplace. I stared into the flames and wondered what was next.

    250 words
    @drmag00

  13. It starts with the fire.

    In the riots I’ve seen in my years serving my country, that is what I always see. Fire is reckless. It can begin carelessly, with the merest effort. In the hands of His Majesty’s soldiers, the commoners see it as a weapon that consumes their homes and their lives in a blazing reminder of the fist that grips them. In the hands of the commoners, the nobility see it as another mark of their ignorance, their violence. Another thing to be restrained. But fire is necessary for daily life. The commoners can’t seize match and fuel from their oppressors, and the king hasn’t given the order to carry out such measures against them. After all, there’s a bakery in Caldeia he’s very fond of.

    Another dozen fires have sprung up. The king is angry with me. A rebel gave a demonstration in our capital yesterday. He describes the speech she gave as incendiary, and it makes me smile. At this rate, he rages, they’ll have a revolution. Quell them, or it’s your neck on the block next.

    Oh, yes, the king is in quite a frenzy. As he should be. But this is well beyond his control…And still thoroughly in mine. I do not fear his words.

    When the rebels are at the gate, when his towers are crumbling into smoke and ash, when the corrupt blood of his family is offered to my sister’s grave, we will see who must face the axe.
    —-
    250 words
    Twitter: @bergamotpages

  14. Choked in Red Tape

    “It starts with the fire of a billion suns…” My voice cracked slightly— I’d been on the phone for three hours trying to get things sorted but all I’d done was discover how devious Gideon could be when he was tying knots.

    My husband looked at me for a moment and then realized, he really didn’t want to know.

    “I’m going to walk the dog,” he announced.

    Smart man.

    Now I could work on bringing down my wrath. Okay— I could make another call and try to find an end run around the three-way Catch-22 I’d found myself in. Catch-22? Make that Catch-222.

    In order to get our boy to see the doctor we needed a picture ID. First step: get a copy of his birth certificate. Check. I thought we were on a roll, foolish mortal.

    But wait, in order to get the picture ID from the DMV, we have to have that and… a social security card. To get the social security card… we needed the birth certificate a picture ID. Not having a picture ID we could use a letter from his doctor validating that he’s seeing our boy— only …of course… to see the doctor— he needs a picture ID.

    And slowly the flames build with the fire of a billion suns. I think I need to walk the dog or the world is going to die, choked in red tape.

    Word Count: 239 (not including title)
    by M.T. Decker
    @mishmhem

  15. It starts with the fire. Our Promethean ability to harness this bright heat led to the capacity to think for longer periods and to gain profound insights at the campsite. These thoughts went far beyond striving to survive attack from predators, terrified as they were of our newly-found control over flame. We stayed warm. We cooked food. The overhead needed to maintain a reasonable body temperature without the use of this fine tool of the gods could now be exchanged, culture replacing instinct. We devoted our time and energy instead to the development of a hearthside community. Collaborative ventures became the norm. We grew in competence and ambition. We became skilled builders and inventors. Ultimately, our farms and towns expanded. So too did our communicative reach to the divine. We strove towards the Buddhist state of bliss that translates literally as extinguishing or blowing out: Nirvana.

    146 possible WIP words
    @ragtaggiggagon

  16. Melody was aptly named for she could weave nearly any spell with her songs. As an infant Melody could summon those things infants desire by changing the tone of her cries. And by the time she had reached four years of age, Dresden had found her and convinced her parents to allow him to train her.

    Melody smiles as she recalls the first lesson Dresden had taught her.

    “In order to control your power you must first find its source within you.”

    Gently touching the middle of her chest with his fingertips, “Here. It starts with the fire. Do you feel it?”

    The sound of a slap interrupts Melody’s reverie. The sting barely registers on her as she lifts her chin to look into her captor’s eyes.

    “What are you smiling about, witch? I’d like to see you try your hocus-pocus with your mouth full of rope,” the captor’s dark eyes brighten as he speaks of her impotence.

    Closing her eyes Melody feels the spark grow to a flame within her. The heat expands throughout her body and then Melody begins to hum. The notes slip past the rope and wrap themselves around her body. She feels their movement as they brush across her then wind their way around her captor.

    Her bindings drop off her and her captor’s eyes widen as he clutches his throat and falls to the floor.

    Leaning over him, Melody hisses, “What do you think about my hocus-pocus now, swine?”

    245 words
    @TeresaMEccles

  17. “This, is a spell strand.”

    Vedania drew her hands apart, manifesting a ribbon of pure magical energy between them. Jinx nodded, wide eyes fixed attentively on the spell strand.

    “This form of magic,” the elf continued, “is particularly suitable to spell weaving. At first, they will be composed of pure magic, but with practice you will be able to imbue them with other elements. It starts with the fire element, and from there progresses to the other three.”

    Hoping her pupil wasn’t detecting how much effort it took to maintain her strand, Vedania transfigured it into a shaft of flame. The only element she could hold without a talisman for any meaningful length of time. The fluorescent haired human girl cocked her head.

    “Other three? There are only four elements?”

    Vedania released the spell strand with a non-comital shrug.

    “The elements available to skilled magic users are limited only by their imaginations, but I was trained on the four element system myself.”

    Jinx nodded with an ‘ah’ of understanding. The girl then produced a flawless spell strand using only her right hand.

    “So if I imbue the strand with the life element, I could throw it and heal someone from a distance, right?”
    Vedania flinched as her pupil effortlessly attuned her spell strand to life.

    “That… Would work. But it would be an unpleasant experience for the subject. Traditionally, healing magic should encompass, rather than target.”

    Fifteen minutes and the girl had achieved proficiency that had taken Vedania decades.

    249 Four Sisters words
    @DavidALudwig

  18. “Take a deep breath, Matsuko.” Arach’s voice sounded calm and confident, but those tones only sent excitement through me.

    No, not excitement. Something else. Something powerful and exciting and unusual and uncomfortable. I thought I’d had a handle on this world with its magic and strange creatures, but I still couldn’t figure out my connection to Arach.

    He’s a dragon. Yes, a real dragon who could shift shape and fly and breathe fire. Which was why he was attempting to teach me how to control my own powers. Powers I’d gotten when Tekhne and Ignius had brought me here.

    “Are you breathing or did you go back to that place where you over-analyze things?”

    I blinked. “What?”

    He chuckled. “That’s what I thought. I need you to focus on the here and now. It starts with the fire in your center and channeling it into your hands.”

    Oh, I was focused on the here and now, but it was more about his hands on mine and his body pressed against my back. How had I never noticed how hard and warm and sexy he was?

    “Arach?” I swallowed hard as the energy rose from my belly, through my chest and shoulders, and down my arms.

    “Yes, my spitfire?”

    “I don’t think I can hold it.” It was getting harder and harder to dampen with each second.

    His hands slid to my waist. “Don’t hold it. Let it flow.”

    I swallowed hard and extended my hands, letting the fire go.

    249 ineligible #TeamRPG words second tale
    @SiobhanMuir

  19. I’d never gone to the library, until this whole thing started, and suddenly, I had to spend hours a day, days on end, tearing through newspapers, books, journals, everything I could find.

    “It’s got you bad,” the librarian told me. “It starts with the fire, the one you don’t know is there, until it’s too late to do anything about it.”

    I wondered if that’s what it was. A fire. Raging out of control. A fire that would burn everything up, and leave nothing of me but ashes. I giggled at the thought. “No. That’s silly.”

    After a couple of weeks, I started taking books home. It started with everything I could find on Gobekli Tepe. An amazing, 12,000 year old site. Monolithic architecture. “12,000 years ago, the carved 40 to 60 ton, t shaped stones, and stood them on end. How? How could they do that.”

    So many of the stones had relief carvings on them. Animals of all kinds. Snakes. Birds. Foxes. How did they even carve them, without power tools? The more I read about Gobekli Tepe, the more questions I had about it.

    “And there are 20 circles. Each one with two of those giant T shaped monoliths in the middle, and stones in a circle around them.” No one really knew what it was, what it was for, who made it, or how.

    Gobekli Tepe was the start. Like the librarian said. “It starts with the fire you don’t even know is there.”

    243 Words
    @mysoulstears

  20. Ivy looked worried. I’d never seen her look anything but unphased in the year since we became roommates.

    “Now it starts.” With the fire in Municipal Hall still smoldering, Ivy pronounced her assessment of the city’s current situation.

    “You mean ‘war’?” I said, afraid of the answer.

    “It’s a safe bet the vampires won’t sit by and let the weres take over Pittsburgh’s crime syndicates,” Ivy said.

    There was a fragile peace in the city since the last vampire-werewolf war ended ten years ago.

    “You think Sling blames you for this?” I said. The master vampire ran the city’s major criminal empire and Ivy just killed two of his henchmen.

    “Sling’s looking for an excuse to grab some of the territory the weres control.”

    Ivy gave me a warning look when I moved closer to her on the sofa. I immediately backed up. The gesture was a sexual one to a vampire. Ivy filled me in on those “turn-ons,” as she called them, our first few weeks together as roommates.

    “I need some air, Ayren.” Her graceful movement caused my whole body to stir. I suddenly needed water.

    “I didn’t know vampires needed air. I mean since you’re technically dead.”

    “You know I’ve killed for less than your bad jokes, Ayren.”

    Knowing Ivy’s history I didn’t doubt it.

    “Let’s go get ice cream,” I said.”

    “Okay. But we stay in neutral human territory,” Ivy said.

    As if there were such a thing, I thought.

    250 Words
    (from my Vampire-Human roommates WIP)
    @cate_derham

  21. The burn spiraled through her inner thighs, the muscles tightening and stretching. The tension pulled taut, and Jasmine remembered to release her held breath.

    In and out. In and out.

    She practiced the deep breathing techniques taught to her by the master.

    “It starts with the fire,” he directed, “and you must push past the pain.”

    Beads of sweat dripped from her forehead, along the side of her face, leaving a distracting trickle of sensation.

    Flashes from the assault played behind her closed eyes. She got away, always, and Lily never did. Guilt tightened in her chest, and the air threatened to get trapped in her lungs. She gasped, breaking her tenuous concentration.

    “Don’t let the memories control you. You’ve already lost so much. It’s time for you to take back control.”

    Easy to say. Hard to do.

    “I can’t.” Sobs wracked her body.

    A soundtrack of chanting echoed through the room, and the scent of lavender incense increased. He tightened the blindfold over her eyes, providing her the freedom to let go. She drifted out of consciousness, feeling like her sense of being lifted from her physical constraints.

    The universe expanded, and a burst of heat flared along her stomach as he dribbled more melted wax onto her bare skin.

    The pain stripped away the memories, offering her blessed relief—if only temporary.

    Not tonight, but maybe tomorrow or the next day, the visions returned. They always did. Of Lily screaming, “run,” and Jasmine obeying her big sister.

    249 words
    

@LouisaBacio

  22. #ThursThreads Week 362 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.

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