Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’ve reached our Seventh year of weekly prompts! This is Week 367 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 367:
Computer IT master, flashfiction writer, and human, Mark Ethridge.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Did you leave anything for me?”
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!
18 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 367”
Miner Rescue by Mason Bushell
“Why would anybody work down here,” Sara remarked.
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t.” Jake and Sara swung onto a ladder descending deeper into the red rock walled mine. “We’ve got gas here.”
“Right, masks on.” Sara put her mask on and set off along the lower tunnel. Soon cries of pain and panic could be heard ahead.
“Look, the explosion happened here.”
“I see it, Jake.” Sara ignored the collapsed and scorched side tunnel. Rounding a bend toward the trapped miner, she noted that the support beams were splintered, the roof half collapsed. “He’s here.”
“Ahh, guys get me out of here!”
“You must be, David. Hold on, we’ll get you out.” Jake saw his leg was buried under a rock fall, he began freeing him.
“I’ll get you some pain relief, in a second. What do you mine down here?” Sara asked while preparing pain relief whistle.
“Ruby’s and Emeralds. Ahh, damn my leg!” David grimaced in pain.
“Did you leave anything for me?” Sara smiled at him.
“I’m wearing half the bloody mine, take what you like.”
“Thanks, I’ll settle for taking you out, right now.” Sara looked at Jake. “His pulse is weakening, hows it looking.”
“Broken, fib and tib for sure.” Jake strapped the leg, then helped Sara, roll him on to the stretcher, having radioed for help.
Ten minutes later, David was in the ambulance. He placed a green stone in Sara’s hand.
“You earned this,” he said before heading to the hospital, to recover.
250word – @MBWorkhouse on Twitter and Facebook
“I’m plannin’ on puttin’ him to work, but I don’t want to do anything that’ll aggravate his injuries. What sorts of things do you think would help him work on strength training?”
Suzie frowned as she scanned the orders from Dr. Lyttle. “Shoveling, tossing hay, and lunging horses are out. Those jobs will pull too much on his arms and torso.” She shot Enrique an apologetic smile. “But grooming, with the exception of using a hoof pick, grain distribution, and helping Doc Bright hold the animals would be fine.”
“Damn, Doc, that’s a lot of standing around. Can I at least go running?”
She shook her head. “Not for another week or so. I know you Navy SpecOps types. You don’t just jog, you push your bodies until they break, which isn’t conducive to healing a punctured lung. Given how healthy you were before the fall, I suspect your body will heal faster than most ordinary folks, but you have to give it a chance.”
Enrique couldn’t help the scowl pulling at his lips.
“I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I won’t undo all the healing your body has already done. You didn’t think I’d just let you run around here, did you?”
“Leave anything for me to do that’s real heavy.” Tom clapped a hand on Enrique’s shoulder. “Trust me, draggin’ around a grain wagon one-handed will get you winded, especially after restin’ for a few weeks. I won’t let you get soft, Sanchez.”
249 ineligible #CheyenneCowboys #WIP365 words
Who Broke Breakfast?
“Did you leave anything for me?”
“No. Why should I?”
“Well, I’m hungry too. Didn’t that cross your mind?”
“Of course, you’re hungry. And it did flit across my radar. I fully intended to leave something for you. I’m not a complete tool. But you know how it is. You wake up, stumble to the kitchen, crack open the icebox, scan the goodies, which, in case you’ve forgotten, were three eggs, a dried-up hunk of cheese, a sickly-looking mushroom, and one wilting stick of stringy celery. They were crying out for salvation.”
“Omelette heaven. A final symphony, a choir of unity. An omelette.”
“That’s so spiritual. Couldn’t you have shared your creation?”
“You know, I was thinking that I should. Once I’d whipped up the old cackleberries, chopped up the sad-assed mushroom and the string bean celery stick, slivered the cheese, got the whole shebang sizzling on the griddle, for just a teeny-weeny moment, I said to myself, there’ll almost be enough here for the two of us.”
“Let me get this straight. For just a flash of a millisecond, you almost gave my state of possible starvation a consideration?”
“Yeah! T’was a beautiful moment. I’ll cherish it forever.”
“I imagine you will. Those split seconds of selfless largesse are scarce indeed.”
“I’ve had so few of them. But…it passed. Like that last slice of pizza last night.”
“I got that, didn’t I?”
“Look, get dressed and we’ll go for brunch. My treat.”
250 words of nourishment
Frank furiously typed on the computer. He *had* to know what was going on, and he *had* to know fast. His eyes grew giant as the story unfolded in front of him.
“Jessica, do you see what I’m seeing?” She slid over to his computer, her eyes growing as she read on.
“Frank, are you sure this is who I think it is? Do you have proof? This isn’t some sort of prank?” Her tail swayed swiftly back and forth.
Frank hissed at her. “Jessica, pay attention! This is real and this is happening soon. We need to tell management!” His claws started to come out and he mistyped. His heart quickened and he let out a small snarl.
Jessica jumped out of her chair and sauntered over to the phone. This wasn’t the first time Frank had made this claim. And she was sure it wouldn’t be the last. But he was a nice cat, so she humored him.
“Okay…yes. And you’re sure,” the phone called out.
Jessica quiets to a whisper, “Yes. Positive. Okay thanks.”
The voice is inaudible.
“Okay…Did you leave anything for me?” Jessica’s voice grew hoarse. She hung up the phone and made her way back to Frank. She looked at him with sad eyes. He didn’t even notice that she was back. He was still typing away. She took a deep breath and expanded her nails. Then she slit his throat.
Word Count: 239
Britt stood in the archway separating dining room and kitchen. Cooper sat at the high counter dividing the kitchen from the family room spooning something into his mouth. Her eyes narrowed as she recognized the fragrance that had enticed her.
“Did you leave anything for me?”
Cooper’s head jerked up, his expression bathed in guilt. Britt managed a poker face though it was hard to resist curling her teeth between her teeth to keep from smiling. The empty dish spoke volumes—as did the empty container proclaiming it had once held vanilla bean ice cream. He slid off the stool and padded over to the refrigerator. His faded jeans rode low on his hips, his back flaring into broad shoulders. Nope. She was not going there. Especially since he’d eaten her peach cobbler.
His head and shoulder disappeared into the fridge and he withdrew something. Then the freezer drawer opened, closed. He kept his back to her but said, “Have a seat, Wonder Girl. You need real food.”
Britt humphed but settled on the stool he’d vacated. She glanced at the bowl he’d been eating from. A pool of melted ice cream and a smear of gooey sauce left from the cobbler was that was left of the treat his mother had dropped by. For her. Not Cooper. For Britt.
A chef’s salad appeared in front of her. “Eat all of that and you get dessert.”
Coop held another cobbler and carton of ice cream.
“Tease,” she groused.
249 boring but HEY! new scene for the #WIP words
Nestled in a debris-strewn canyon of dead skyscrapers, three tattered humans huddled around a fire. Hands wrapped in rags strained toward its feeble warmth; sunken eyes scanned the blasted horizon for threats.
High above, atop a crumbling tenement of blood-colored brick, another figure looked down. A hooded cloak the color and texture of alabaster swirled in the toxic breeze.
A second cloaked figure, face lost in shadow, approached soundlessly.
“Watch,” the first fallen angel said. “They’re about to break.”
As the angels looked on, one of the humans pulled a charred hunk of meat from the fire with makeshift tongs. Another, whining with hunger, lunged for it. A squabble became a fight. Shivs and rocks appeared in eager hands. Blood spattered onto the ash-darkened concrete, and sounds of hunger became screams of pain.
When it was over, only one human remained. It crammed hot meat into its maw with an animal grunt, then began rifling through the pockets of the corpses it had made.
“Did you leave anything for me?” the second angel asked.
“Always,” the first angel said.
A shot rang out in the dark, and the rag-clad human slumped to the ground. Furtive shapes emerged from the dark, brandishing weapons.
“There are always more, even in the exile of apocalypse,” the first angel said. “What tales will these souls tell?”
The second angel watched the shadowy figures close in.
“A sad one.”
235 words / @daniel_swensen
In all the years since creatures first evolved in the universe, two things had never happened in Hell. It had never stopped snowing (contrary to popular belief) and the Apocalypse Bell had never rung. The Devil had grown tired of waiting for it to ring and started a contest among the damned – anyone who could guess, to the millisecond, what time the bell *would* eventually ring would get reincarnated back on the planet of their choosing. Sure, there was a risk, but what the Home, He figured. Life is full of risks. So is death.
Thus, it was assured that when the bell did ring, no one would really be prepared.
Everyone jumped at the sound, for it pierced even the 20-foot snowdrifts that most beings had to wade through – naked – as they went about their tortures. The Devil jumped most of all, first in shock, then in glee.
“It’s time! It’s finally time!” He hadn’t been out of Hell in so long that he felt like a child on Christmas morning (on the one world that still celebrated such foolishness). “Yippie!” He said, much to the amusement of the demons and the damned. “Yahoo!”
Turning, He ran for the portal to the Universe and, after fumbling with the lock, burst through to see…utter devastation. And God, smiling at what She had wrought.
“Did you leave anything? For me?” the Devil asked, aghast at the nothingness he saw.
“Nope.” God shrugged. She could be the biggest dick when she wanted.
Becky loved her brother, Ben, but hated how he’d chase guys off from dating her.
“He’s not good for you, Becks. You deserve so much better,” he’d say.
So Becky would look for solace in the kitchen, baking — and eating — cookies and cakes that would drive Ben crazy with their seductive aroma.
“Oh, man, Becks, that smells incredible. Lemme have a piece,” Ben would say.
And Becky would slap his hand, replying, “It’s not ready yet. It needs time before I can make it pretty.”
“But, Becks, it’s pretty enough now.”
“Sorry. And Coach Babbitt will pitch a fit if you can’t make weight this week. Besides, it’s not good for you,” Becky would remind her wrestler brother.
After a match, he’d burst through the door looking for whatever Becky had made. “Did you leave anything for me?” he’d always say. But, inevitably, he’d find Becky had finished most, if not all, of her creation.
In April, Becky started seeing Art Linski. He was looking for some of Becky’s delights, too. Just not the baked kind.
“No, Art, I’m just not ready,” she said.
But Art wasn’t to be denied and violently took what he could.
In an alley the next night, Art Linski looked up with his one good eye at Ben Stenson, and whined through swollen, bloody lips, “I’m sorry. Please, please, no more.”
Then Art heard a girl’s voice from the shadows. “Thanks, Ben. Did you leave anything for me?”
“Just a crumb, babe,” Ben said.
“Did you leave anything for me?” She pulled up a chair and sat facing the replicant, already wondering what she’d get and how much it’d be worth. Maynard had been inspired in his investments and it was rumoured his portfolio was worth several billion dollars. He’d speculated in art too; there were paintings on show in each of his properties that looked as though they’d be better placed on the walls of public galleries or museums. The sale of any of them could easily make his estate hundreds of millions of dollars. The old man had had an eye for up and coming artists who’d become successful, knowing exactly when to buy to make the most of his money.
The replicant shrugged. The AI controlling it was remarkable, reproducing the mannerisms of the man it resembled. Maynard had obviously thought it would be a great joke, arranging for a replica of himself to be built and to then put it in charge of the distribution of his belongings, his executor behaving exactly as he would, as curmudgeonly and spiteful and as keen to offend as the original.
“I don’t see any need to give you anything,” the replica reasoned. “You’re already successful. You’ve always been ready to boast about your acumen, saying you were the embodiment of me but wearing a skirt. So, I’ve decided to keep it all for myself, donating it all to my new-bodied persona. He’ll easily outlive you – you’ll never inherit a thing, my girl.”
250 synthesised offerings ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“Let’s go over this just one more time, shall we?” said the balding interrogator with the reddish blonde mustache.
“You mean for the fourteenth time?” I said, unable to stifle a grin.
He looked at me from over the frame of his tortoise shell eyeglasses, but said nothing. He reset his recording device and scribbled something on his notepad.
“Who or what is V-One”? he continued.
“My ship’s AI. Artificial Intelligence,” I said.
He snuffed out his cigarette in the ceramic ashtray and appeared to be appraising my answer.
“Temporal trans-dimensional …”
He stood up, cutting me off in mid-reply. “A what?”
“A time machine.”
“Listen, young lady. You’re facing some serious charges here.”
“That’s what the authorities from my own time keep telling me.”
“Don’t be a smart-ass,” he said, and picked up the phone on his desk. “No. We’re done here. Did you leave anything for me?”
« Time to go V-One «
An instant after I conveyed that telepathic message to my ship’s AI, I found myself in the center of Manhattan’s SoHo district.
« Oh! Let’s go shopping. «
« Very funny, Corryn «
“Don’t they make AI with a sense of humor?” I said aloud this time.
« That hurts, Corryn. «
So no sense of humor but he has feelings!?
« Don’t you have a mission to complete, Corryn? And you’re being chased by authorities in two time periods. «
« Okay, V-One. I guess you’re right. But later I’m coming back for that cute vintage vest. «
249 Words from ‘A Question of Time’ (my WIP)
[Note: the punctuation « … « indicates a telepathic communication.]
“Careful now.” Gentle hands braced my shoulders. For once, the heat radiating from Asmodeus didn’t freak me out. It eased my cold and aching body. “Can you stand?”
“I think so, yeah.” My lurching stomach was less convinced. “Maybe. That bastard hit like a brick.”
“Lean on me, if you need.”
I did need. I staggered to my feet, holding fast to his arms for support. Ears ringing and seeing red from the ham-fisted blow, I blinked. Wait. That might actually be—I touched cautious fingertips to my forehead—blood.
“Jesus,” I whispered.
“Nice fellow,” Asmodeus said. “But unrelated to this.”
“Nice fellow?” What did I even say to that? “Never mind. You went after the men who attacked me?”
“Just one question, then.” I swiped the blood. “Did you leave anything for me?”
“I only made certain they cleared the building.” His smile turned fierce. “You’ve rattled their cage, but the big players are still hiding. My interference might convince them to stay that way and I’m not the sort of man to deprive his mate of her revenge.”
“You aren’t a man, Asmodeus.”
“Not a man, no. Not in the strictest sense of the word.” He paused, his eyes widening, volcanic pupils reducing the blue irises to slender halos ringing infernal darkness. “That’s your only objection to my words?”
“No.” I couldn’t lie. I wasn’t exactly warmed up to the idea of being a demon’s mate, but— I wouldn’t lie, either. “It’s my biggest one, though.”
250 maybe-WIP words
His mother had done an impeccable job replicating the garish 1970s wallpaper. Even blotches of blue and red paint, where the man as a boy had stabbed the radiators in Pollockesque fashion with his paintset, had been replicated in the living room.
“Did you leave anything for me?” he asked, wondering why she would want to re-create their old home.
“You mean did I leave anything to you?”
“Whaddaya saying?” His tone suggested impatience.
“Things are left to you in a will. Not for you.” She tutted.
“Did you leave anything for me to do, Ma?” He looked around the room. The lamp in the corner that stood the height of a man bathed everything in a dreamlike haze.
“No.” She shook her head vehemently. “If I had left anything to you, you’d shoot it into your veins.”
He burst into tears.
“I’ve been clean three years, Momma. We’re talking at cross purposes.”
She looked at him and shook her head again in disbelief.
“You don’t know what’s coming, do you?” she asked.
His long-dead father came in from the hall.
“Go to the light now, son.” His voice was stern.
“All I wanted was one last hit after you passed on, Ma.” He trembled visibly. The scene washed away and darkness fell over everything. “And it killed me?” he whimpered.
The lamp bulb was suddenly bright and distant. It sharpened like the light at the end of a tunnel.
“Go to the light.”
248 words @ragtaggiggagon
The whiskey sears its way down Sunny’s throat as she sets the shot glass down, tears threatening to spill past the dam holding them.
“Every damn time,” she realizes she’s spoken the words aloud and looks up. Straight into the gaze of the bartender.
The dark clouds start to fill her mind.
“You’re not good enough, Sunny.”
“You’re fat. And ugly. It’s a wonder he was ever interested in you.”
“Shut up,” Sunny mutters under her breath. She feels the bartender’s suspicious eyes and keeps her own averted.
Sunny tries to drown the voices in her head. Grabbing the shot glass, she downs it in one gulp. This time she meets the bartender’s eyes straight on, daring her to say something.
Staring Sunny down, the bartender pours another, setting in front of her.
As Sunny drinks this shot, her eye is caught by a familiar figure striding towards her.
“Sunny! What are you doing here?”
“What does it look like I’m doing, Jonathon? You were late. Again. I am keeping myself company.”
Leaning in, he hisses softly, “You promised you were through with this.”
“And you promised you’d prioritize me, Jonathon. Looks like we both lied, huh? You always have time for work. Work, work, work. That’s all you do. And at the end of the day, did you leave anything for me? I get your leftovers. I deserve more than your leftovers!”
“And I deserve more than a drunk for a girlfriend.”
Once discovered, ruins tended to be cleaned out quickly. Most were inactive these days. Active ruins took a little longer. Sometimes their contents ended up in museums or those fancy learning places, but usually they just disappeared into private collections. There was big money in raiding ruins.
The Cistern was discovered sixteen months ago and had yet to be breached. Very unusual, even for an active ruin. Word in port was that was about to change. The navy found a cliffside grate they determined connected to The Cistern, planned to open it by bombardment, and come in behind all those nasty defenses.
Hunter couldn’t see the grate from the sea’s surface, but he knew its location, and had something the navy didn’t. Patting his twenty foot saltwater crocodile on the side, Hunter pointed to the break in the cliffside.
“Okay, Schooner, let’s get paid!”
Feeling his croc surge under him, Hunter laid low on his back and soon they were sailing through the air and through a conspicuously destroyed grate. Standing up once inside, Hunter looked around the bottom level of The Cistern, strewn with the remains of more automaton defenders than he’d seen in his entire career.
“What the brink happened here?” Hunter whistled.
“Just a bit o’ fun!”
A small girl in a captain’s coat and hat perched on the edge of the next level.
“Did you leave anything for me?”
“Defenders, or treasure?” she adjusted her oversized cutlass. “Either way it’s no. But I like yer crocodile!”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
Sleep eluded me, I’d been fighting with my teenage daughter for the umpteenth dozen time. I knew that that was a teenage rite; but when would she realize I was trying to thwart her teenage dreams and ambitions but to protect her?
Tossing I looked at the clock again, it was two a.m. I had to be at work at eight a.m. Selena said she hated me that she was never speaking me again because I wouldn’t let her go to a concert in Cleveland this evening. Selena wanted to go with her friend’s older brother (a guy who had his licence taken away for year for drinking and driving)
I turned on the radio in my room on low and heard “Three young teens dead in a drunk driving accident following a concert in Cleveland.”
I heard Selena’s phone buzz and her sleepily answer it then shout no.
I got up went to the kitchen and waited for her filling a bowl of ice cream. I didn’t want to be right that she wouldn’t have been safe.
“Did you leave anything for me?” Selena asked thinking the ice cream was for me,
I just pushed it in front of her as she sobbed telling me her friends were dead and her friend’s brother was alive and had been drinking. The funerals followed and we grieved; but Selena never got in with a drunk driver in her lifetime. What a terrible way to learn life’s lessons.
Half an hour till deadline, my brain is racing, if only my computer would do the same, but no. It’s update time don’t you know and that nice warning that says ‘Do it now or schedule?’ Yeah, I chose schedule and it decided that the schedule was now.
The computer thinks it’s got me, but it would be wrong. There are other computers in the house, you know.
My darling laptop, you are not the only computer in the house. I fire up the next box, but the time from hibernation to awake, has me pulling my hair out as the clock winds down.
Maybe my phone will give me what I need, but the batteries are dead in my wireless keyboard and swype is not my friend. I’m running out of time and patience and OMG, did you just blue screen me!?
You did, dammit. Now I start to panic. I’m down to the wire and the computer gargoyles have failed to keep the daemons at bay.
Incorrect password. We can’t verify your password, try again… but you’ve been locked out. WTF!? No, seriously, WTF!? Did you leave anything for me?
Fifteen minutes remain and all I can do is stare at the screen and weep. Fine, I’ll go watch Veronica Mars and dream of next week, when I’ll remember today’s nightmare, with half an hour to spare.
Does OMG count as one word or three?
237 words (not including title)
when life gives you writer’s block – write about it.
There are so many leftovers. And while I can send it home with relatives and friends, but we don’t get company every night. Leftovers are great until it’s day three or four and then I want to throw it all away.
The problem is that my husband loves to cook. But he has this thing where he doesn’t know when to stop, maybe because he was raised helping to cook for the farm. Either way, he can’t cook for the four of us, oh no, he cooks for, like ten. Or twenty. His mother and I have both tried to get him to slow down, but there’s nothing we can do.
No one asks ‘did you leave anything for me?’, because there’s plenty, trust me. My deep freeze is full, my freezer is full, my fridge is good, too. I take food to work to give it away because we can’t eat it all. No need to have a sign up sheet for the potluck, I’ve got it all covered.
“That was good,” I say, snapping the lid on the last of the spaghetti.
“Thanks. I figure the kids can take some of that in their lunches this week and so can we.” Jimmy wipes the table down and hangs the rag over the sink divider.
“Cool.” I smile but on the inside, I blanche. Spaghetti is only tasty for so long.
“What should I make tomorrow night?”
Is it bad that I want to burn the cookbook?
#ThursThreads Week 367 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.