Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Independence Day for the USA and it’s also a Thursday. That means it’s time to start flashing, and I don’t mean fireworks (though those are lovely too). We’ve reached our Seventh year of weekly prompts! This is Week 369 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 369:
Dead Thing Specialist, Mining Geologist, and Original Book Boyfriend, George Varhalmi.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“What is wrong with you?”
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!
14 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 369”
Down at the Uptown Diner Drinking My Morning Java
Yup. Same old, same old. I’ve reached that stage.
Josie’s know my routine. Coffee! Black! Muffin! No Bran!
“Swear I saw a unicorn last night, Frankie.”
My rumination on the inevitable repetition of a dwindling number of activities and contemplations is interrupted by Sam Lever. Nothing new there. Sam has been disrupting my whistle stop trains of thought for almost thirty years. Best I can recall, unicorns have never been mentioned. As much as I want to sip my hot coffee, when finally it arrives, I know Sam requires a retort. As for my coffees arrival time, Josie, I say, get a move on, silently, though, cuz she ain’t moving any faster than she ever does which is pretty fast, her only being a young one of somewhere in her forties. Truth is, no one says get a move on to Josie out loud unless they are new, and no one usually is.
Must be trapped in my head somewhere because Sam’s getting irritated.
“What is wrong with you, Frankie? I mention unicorns, about seeing the dang-blasted things and you sit there dumber than a stump. Not feelin’ well?”
There I am, frozen on my stool. Can’t lean back. Fourth of July and there’s Trump, Tanks and Unicorns to consider. All my life I’ve never had to weigh the frightful beauty of these three notions.
I start to tumble.
“Josie,” I hear Sam yell, “Call an ambulance.”
Hallucinogen Issues – Mason Bushell
“What is wrong with you?”
“We’re going the wrong way, we’re lost.” Carl stood staring at an old tree. Kerry could see his eyes were unfocused. He was sweating heavily, his breathing laboured for a gentle stroll.
“No, we’re not. Come on.”
“This wrong, this all wrong,” Carl spoke funny, started walking in the wrong direction.
“I have to find the way out, to save you, Kerry.”
“Carl, listen to me.” Kerry took his clammy hands in hers. “Somethings wrong with you. You have to trust me; you’ll be okay.” She tried to lead him back to the tree, but he wouldn’t walk.
“Not that way.” Karl whimpered his eyes wide with terror. “There’s monsters.”
“There are no monsters.” Kerry looked about the bushes and trees. This was a nice friendly woodland. “What the hell did you ingest this morning.”
“I – what?”
“Karl, stay with me.” Kerry saw his eyelids droop and slapped him awake. Placing her arm around him she dragged him back.
“Why, you, hit me?” he slurred.
“Bloody mushrooms. I ate my granola bar this morning. You fried up wild mushrooms for your bacon. I bet you got a dodgy one.” Kerry half carried him for twenty minutes. It was a relief to see the carpark. One step onto the gravel, Karl collapsed. An hour later, he was in hospital, recovering from an overdose of psilocin, from a toxic mushroom, he’d mistaken for a safe one. Never eat wild mushrooms, only those from reputable sellers.
250 words @MBWorkhouse Twitter and Facebook
Suzie moaned as she tried to right herself, getting her knees under her on the roof of the car. She didn’t have to look to know it was totaled, and tears started in her eyes. Her poor car.
What is wrong with you? It’s a damn car. Yeah, it was, and she could always buy a new one, but with her relationship with Enrique damaged, possibly beyond repair, the loss of her car proved too much to bear. A sob broke through and she folded into the fetal position.
Tears and seconds passed as she allowed her losses to overwhelm her. Enrique’s departure was her own fault and she’d been trying to get back to him. So why the hell was she upside down on the side of the road. Who’d hit her? Was it just a freak accident?
She tried to think back to what she’d seen. She remembered the pickup’s grill coming straight for her and she’d swerved to avoid it. The sound of the impact still echoed in her head but she’d managed to get ahead of it enough that the other vehicle hit her back door and rear fender, spinning her car. The wheels must have grabbed purchase on the grass beside the road because the car tilted on its side and rolled over and over until it stopped on its roof below the berm of the freeway.
Shit. If it rolled hard enough, the doors might be crunched too tight to open. She’d be trapped.
250 ineligible #CheyenneCowboys #WIP365 words
“What is wrong with you?” I asked myself for the umpteenth dozen time, as I hung up the phone to another refusal to my birthday party.
People don’t like you maybe you have to change yourself. Then I remembered what my therapist had told me to repeat a mantra and defeat my anxiety. You imagine people don’t like you because they do something you don’t understand. You are likeable, even loveable and quirky and some people like quirky.
As the phone rang I heard Mandy say, “Melanie,”…”
“You can’t come to my birthday party either?”
“I’m sorry Mel. I have to work. “Love you got to go,” Mandy said hanging up.
It was a party for two; my long term boyfriend, It was too late to cancel. Kelvin and I would have fun I decided.
My birthday came and Kelvin called, he would meet me at the ballroom. I entered the room and looked around, it was full of people I knew. Kelvin dropped to one knee and I asked, “I wanted to surprise you, but I made you unhappy but will you still marry me in front of all our friends, today?”
I nodded my voice gone. Melanie came forward with my dream dress and I put it on a perfect fit. We were married in front of all the friends who said they couldn’t come to my birthday They did like me, I realized, my anxiety lessened. I decide to use my mantra more often.
The first story on the news tonight is a car accident and a rock settles into my stomach. I know the victim. Nearly fainting onto my couch, I barely hear the standard disclaimer about family notification before the names are released.
“Yeah?” I don’t remember my phone ringing.
“Dad and I are heading over to the hospital.”
Do I want to see the grief I already feel? It will be so much worse for my cousin’s parents. “Of course I’ll go.”
“We leave in ten minutes.”
We hang up. My cousin is in Sioux Falls, barely alive. In the midst of the ten thousand emotions swirling through my head, the feeling that I’m not alone seeps in.
The robed figure steps forward, hands clasped. While the face is shrouded, the leer on their face is almost palpable. Suddenly I feel like a huge target is painted on my back and I begin to think this accident was so freak after all.
“It is the punishment. A women cannot be the heir. Until you cease your sabotage of the book, the punishment continues.”
Anger takes over grief for a moment and my hands plant on my hips. “Grow the fuck up, Death boy.” The figure recoils. “What is wrong with you? That woman is going to be in charge whether you like it or not.”
“Save your progress for Earth, where it is no more welcome.”
With that, the thing is gone. I shudder as they melt through my wall.
250 words (scene from my WIP)
“Mack. Mack.” Hard hands gripped my shoulders and squeezed. “Stop it. Let the kid go.”
“Not a fucking chance.” I shoved free of Dr. Will Cheung’s hold, hard enough to send the older man back a step.
“Two minutes,” the timer called.
“Okay.” I signaled to the nurses on compressions and the defibrillator. “Switch roles.”
“Mack, you know they can’t do this.” Will grabbed my arm.
“Patient remains in V-fib,” I said. “Protocol calls for escalated dosing. Shock again at 300 joules.”
“300 joules, heard. Clear the patient.”
“IV—administer one milligram of epinephrine.”
“I take full responsibility,” I said. “So help or get out, Will. Your choice.”
“What is wrong with you? All of you? Are you trying to torpedo your careers in one night?”
“Don’t you know this kid?”
“Does it matter? A DNR is a DNR is a DNR. Do. Not. Resuscitate. It’s in plain English, but I can get a translator if you want it in another language.”
“He’s twelve, Will.” I jerked him around by the collar of his lab coat. “A healthy twelve year-old. Who signs a gods’ damned DNR for a non-terminal tween?”
Will’s dark eyes twitched. “Who is he?”
“Kim Tae-woon,” I said.
“Tae-oon,” I said. “The w is silent.”
“But—” Will blinked at me. “Tae-woon? As in—”
“That’s right. We’re trying to talk the son of our very own administrator back from the brink,” I said. “So let’s start with getting his name right.”
250 #TeamRPG words
Bria hesitated, her hand resting on the doorframe. She was reluctant to intrude on Holden’s late-night sojourn to the deck. It had started months ago. Bria woke to find him missing and discovered him outside staring at the stars. An occasional event had become a nightly ritual. Bria noticed other changes, his preoccupation, the deepening crease in his forehead, and the sadness in his eyes.
She hoped it would pass, that her inquisitive, carefree and loving Holden would return. But as time passed, she grew less certain, fear nibbled at her heart and she knew they needed to talk. Bria gathered her courage and stepped forward, reaching for him she caressed his waist.
“What is wrong with you?” she whispered.
Holden sighed, looped his arm over Bria’s shoulder and drew her to his side.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said as he kissed her hair. “Go back to bed.”
“No, answer me.”
“Home is calling,” he said.
“When?” her voice trembled.
“I could come with you…”
“You won’t survive the journey. We discussed this, remember,” Holden wrapped his arms around her and crushed her against him.
“But you’ll return,” she repeated the rehearsed lines.
“You will be old, and I will be as I am now. I will love you forever.”
“You will tell me the new stories of Myall.”
“I promise,” Holden said.
Bria closed her eyes, silently pledging to tell Holden of the star child she carried when he honored his vow to return.
Intent on the bee boxes I was painting, I jumped when Carl, my grandson, miserably plopped beside me.
“What is wrong with you?”
“My girlfriend dumped me on Facebook.”
“I thought you were going to dump her.”
“Well…yeah, but I was going to do it in person. She unchecked in a relationship with me and posted she was in a relationship with Jack Cumberland.”
“Is Nancy,” my vocal cords seized up and I coughed, “Nathan Green’s granddaughter?”
“Come with me.” We went to the attic and knelt beside a dusty trunk. After opening it, I pulled out a shoe box. Inside fifty-one envelopes were tied together. I had saved them for this day. “Pull one out.” He did and I handed him the rest and read:
“Like the Mona Lisa, your smile is so mysterious. It makes my love delirious. How many hours until graduation eve? That’s when I’m going to ask you to marry me.”
“Nancy’s grandfather wrote all of those when we were going steady.”
“HE wrote that? To YOU! Yuck!”
“He broke my heart.”
“But you married Grandpa.”
“I did, and your true love is out there.”
“I’m never getting serious again.”
I pulled a 1961 silver quarter out of the box. “This is worth thousands now. My grandmother gave it to me on my wedding day. Now, I’m telling you what she told me when my heart was broken. It’s yours on YOUR wedding day.”
“That’s what I said.”
Cooper gripped Britt’s biceps. As much as he wanted to shake her, he held her carefully. Too bad he couldn’t do the same with his voice. His question came out as a shout. “What is wrong with you?”
She flinched and he clamped an iron fist on his anger. No, not anger so much as fear. He didn’t know whether to kiss her or kill her, because she’d come far too close to death as it was.
“I’m fine,” Britt spat the words from between gritted teeth.
“You could have died.”
No, she was standing here breathing fire like she had a right to be angry at him. “You’re having my baby, Britt.”
She grimaced, eyes narrowed, cheeks flushed, fists clenched. She had to loosen her jaw to speak. “Trust me, I’m aware of that.”
He very slowly loosened the fingers of one hand and pointed to her truck. “You. Could. Have. Died. And killed our child.”
Britt inhaled and he braced for her tirade—about how it was her job, about how she was perfectly capable, about all the total bullshit she’d spouted at him for the past six months. But he beat her to the punch.
“I sat there, watching that damn tornado running up your tailpipe, Britt. Praying you got away. Knowing there was no way in hell you could. And I knew. I knew I was going to lose it all. You. Our baby.”
Her quiet admission shocked him.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.”
249 RDR #WIP words
“What is wrong with you?”
That was exactly what I asked myself. Repeatedly. And for a variety of reasons. This time it wasn’t me asking.
I heard the voice clearly enough though the sounds came from the bathroom. It couldn’t be directed to me?
The guy who emerged was wearing a bath towel around his waist. He shook his head and dangled the stilettos in front of me.
“I nearly tripped on these,” he said. He handed them to me. “I have a job to do. Will you be alright here?”
I didn’t answer. I didn’t know how to answer. I could only focus on getting out of here. I mean at the time it seemed like a good idea to spend the night. But now I could only wonder if I was out of my mind.
“I have to go too. Thanks for …”
“Sure.” He looked at me, amused, and finished getting dressed. After he tucked in his shirt and buckled his belt he looked around for something.
“You see my gun?”
“Gun? Uh, no?”
“Never mind. It’s over here.” He strapped on the shoulder holster and put his jacket on over it. “You coming?” he said.
“Um … yeah. I mean no. I’m not exactly ready.” I looked for my dress and purse and headed for the bathroom.
“Take your time. You have till noon.” He opened the door to the hotel suite and left.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I didn’t need to see the M60 to know it was there. It’d announced its approach long before it entered our street, the thundering of its engine echoing back from the buildings on either side, its tracks squealing when it turned, leaving twin trails of chewed up tarmac behind it. And, of course, I knew it was Chuck inside. I was cursing him before he raised the hatch, wondering how I was going to explain it to the Wintertons, who were now missing a dozen fence posts and as many panels. He’d missed hitting their Buick, which was a blessing, but there was still going to be trouble.
“What is wrong with you?” I screamed. “Have you lost the last of your senses? I said you could bid on the Willys G503, knowing you had little chance of winning it. I didn’t think you’d raise your hand for anything else. I should have insisted on going with you. Chip’s not to be trusted and he brings the worst from you. Where is he anyway; did you leave him there?”
Chuck shrugged, windmilling his palms beside his ears, then I realised he was wearing ear-defenders. I couldn’t hear myself over the roar of the engine, so there was little chance he’d have caught what I’d said. Although there was little need for him to make out the words I’d used; my face should have been more than enough to give away my feelings about his new around town run-about.
248 gallons to the mile ~ https://twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com/
“I told you they were real!” The dwarf elbowed the half-elf next to him on the trawler deck.
A hopelessly entangled mermaid was the sole occupant of their net. The fishermen had been quick to gather the pearls that rolled across their deck while their catch had thrashed, whined and squealed. The half-elf studied his handful of glistening white pearls.
“Where do you think the pearls came from?”
The dwarf ran stubby fingers through his thick beard.
“My granddaddy used to say merfolk cry them.”
His companion licked his lips and watched their captive with hungry eyes.
“So if we keep her…”
“We’ll both be wealthy men!”
The mermaid shrilled and slammed her tail against the deck hard, prompting the dwarf to turn with raised fist.
“Would you stop that racket! What is wrong with you? Can’t you speak speaking?”
Their captive responded with narrowed eyes, a sneer and a sequence of low clicks and throat squeaks. An unexpected voice cut in.
“I’d say the question be what is wrong with ye? That’s no way to treat a lady.”
A little catgirl in captain’s regalia perched on the trawler railing. Where she came from was anyone’s guess.
“Nextly,” she continued. “Are ye going to give me any trouble returning the lady to the sea.”
The tiny captain patted her flintlock pistol. As the fishermen backed toward the aft cabin, she turned kindly to their captive. Grateful pearls from the mermaid’s eyes brought a grin to her rescuer’s face.
248 Cat’s The Pajamas words
#ThursThreads Week 369 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week. Happy Independence Day!