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 370 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 370:
Artist, Horseman and High Fantasy writer, Isabella Muetzel.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“Does it matter?”
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!
16 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 370”
Drinks Tonight? – by Mason Bushell
Sarah finished setting her tables with guitar chords playing on stage. She looked between the dark curtains and smiled at the man with the long hair. He was Gareth and someone she had strong feelings for. Pushing her titian hair behind an ear, she stepped on stage.
“Hey, that’s sounding good.”
“Thanks. So, drinks tonight?”
“I can’t, I don’t have anything to wear.” Sarah grew red under his adoring gaze.
“Does it matter?”
“Sure, it does. I want to be pretty for you. I can’t in my waitressing uniform.”
“Really?” Gareth pulled a face, his eyes roving her body. “I think you look cute and beautiful like this.”
“No, I don’t.” Sarah pouted, he reached and kissed her.
“I say, you do.”
“Well, I don’t. Sorry, Gareth.”
“Come on, one drink.”
“Right, then you leave me no choice.” He gave a devious look.
“What?” Sarah went bashful.
“I’m going to sing love songs about you all night. Unless you let me buy you a drink after work.”
“No, please don’t, my boss will fire me,” Sarah begged with puppy dog eyes. He wrapped her in his arms and grinned.
“Well, what you going to do?” he asked.
“Looks like I’ll be having a mojito then.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
“You promise not to serenade me now?” Sarah looked hopeful.
“No.” Gareth grinned. “Does it matter?”
“Does if you want that drink.” Sarah smiled stuck her tongue out and left the stage. ‘I’m in for a fun night.’ she thought.
250 words – @MBWorkhouse Twitter and Facebook
“I know you, don’t I?” Drew canted his head, studying me from a different angle. “I swear I’ve seen your face before.”
“Maybe it’s just one of those faces.”
“I don’t think so.” His long hands framed either side of my hopefully generic face, startling me. With the gentlest pressure, he coaxed me to look up. If his wide eyes were any indication, he was a bit surprised by his actions himself. “Definitely not.”
His thumb brushed along the edge of my bottom lip.
“Nothing about you is forgettable,” he murmured.
Bast save me, I almost admitted everything. Sure, he’d only seen me in a picture, but he did know me. Virtually, at least. Confessions piled up on the tip of my tongue. Instead, I scraped together every brain cell of self-preservation I possessed and shoved him back.
“A bit handsy, don’t you think?”
“I’m sorry, I—” His dark eyes narrowed. “There’s just something—”
“That doesn’t give you any right to put your hands on me, got it?” I gave him a dismissive once-over, trying to ignore the burning pit of guilt in my gut. You aren’t friends, Dahlia. Remember that. Even flirting with the truth endangered both our lives. “You don’t know me.”
“But I do,” he said.
“I promise.” I refused to meet his searching gaze. “It’s better for everyone if you don’t.”
The slightest hold on my wrist stopped me from walking off.
“Does it matter what I think?”
“Not in this life,” I said.
250 WIP words
We walk for what seems like hours, but it’s probably only a few minutes. The sun hasn’t moved at all. Does time run differently here? Would I be able to tell if it does?
Arius walks a few paces ahead, his stride confident. My progress is slower as I take in my surroundings, my mind still struggling, processing. We’re deep into the ruins now, probably a mile or so from the spot where the door into this dimension disappeared.
Despite how delicate the trinket is, the bracelet’s weight is heavy on my wrist. Every time I stop, I feel it tugging in Arius’ direction, the pull stronger the longer I wait to continue walking.
I feel like a dog on a leash. And – like a stubborn dog – I stop and refuse to move. Beside me, the ruin’s wall stands at least six feet tall. Scribbles in a language I don’t recognize cover almost every inch of it, reminding me of pictures I’ve seen of the Rosetta Stone.
The bracelet tugs. I resist, and instead reach out to trace the writing with my fingers.
Arius appears from nowhere and grabs my wrist, stopping me.
“Does it matter why? Just don’t touch it.”
“Of course it matters.” I snatch my hand away. “You spirit me away and expect me to just roll with it? To not ask questions?”
“Yes.” He drops my arm.
Before he can react, I look Death in the eyes and press my palm to the wall.
At the far end of the bar, Ben seemed to be sucking in darkness as much as booze, like he was hoping to suffocate — or drown — whatever lick of flame he still carried for Kasie.
“Dude, if you looked any lower you’d be staring at the world from under those rocks,” I said as I came on shift.
“Does it matter? Maybe that’s what I need, a different point of view, like looking through the bottom of this glass. Even at six bucks a shot,” Ben said as he sucked down that last puddle of bourbon.
He pushed the glass toward me, saying, “Y’know? Things looked much better. Gimme another glass of enlightenment, Kenny.”
“Girl trouble?” I asked while shoveling him his Jack and Coke.
“Does it matter? All us birds perched on this mahogany are here for some sad reason, otherwise, we wouldn’t start drinking at noon on Tuesday.”
“Well, that makes the boss glad. But even after five years of distributing liquid psychotherapy, sometimes serving the tail end of this early crowd makes me feel kinda guilty.”
“Don’t. I’m fine and no bitch will ever drive me to drink. Or that’s what SHE said.”
“Maybe slow your roll for a while. Okay? Make me feel a little better.”
During my break, I slipped out to call Kasie to tell her how Ben was handling their breakup.
“It doesn’t matter, baby. Now don’t forget to pick up some milk on your way to my place later. Okay?” she said.
What was supposed to be a warm sunny morning had abruptly become a dark, wet day. The Pleasant Valley Forever Fragrant Memorial Garden staff were trying their best to jerry rig some shelter from the increasingly inclement elements. Supports were installed, tarps attached, ropes pegged down into the luxurious lawn.
A few older folks repaired to limousines to wait for the refuge from surging nature to be erected while most of squeezed together under an enormous Weeping Willow.
It had been a dozen years since I’d last spoken to Whip. As I stood there under the shielding branches, it occurred to me that he would have embraced the sudden squall.
I’d met him that first summer after High School.
Big decision time.
Stay or go.
In the midst of my angst, I’d driven down to the river for a quick swim. There was a spot I’d always enjoyed. I wasn’t in the mood for company but someone, a stranger, had beaten me there.
“Water’s fine,” he’d said.
“Usually is,” I’d replied.
“Ah. A local.”
He introduced himself. “Whip Appleby. Grew up in Pleasant Valley. Just got hired as the local meteorologist. Happy to be back.”
As I prepared to jump in, clouds rolled in dumping a bucketload.
“Damn,” I cursed.
“What’s the problem?” Whip asked.
“The rain,” I stated the obvious.
“Does it matter?”
“Sure does,” I argued.
“Not to me. Love swimming in the rain.”
He was right, of course.
Take what you’re given.
Live every moment large.
When Bridger returned with a chemical ice pack from the freezer, he got the first word in too. “I’m the smart one. I learned from all the screw-ups my older brothers made. Being next to the youngest helps. Y’all made the mistakes. I took notes.”
Cooper would have wiped the smirk off Bridge’s face but his right hand still throbbed from the idiocy of believing putting his fist through a wall was a good idea. He leaned his head back against the couch, eyes closed, hand throbbing. He’d probably broken broken something. He hoped the ice pack helped.
“Can I be honest?
He opened one eye to look at his little brother. “If I tell you to shut up, will you?”
He closed his eye. “Fine. Go for it.”
“Does it matter?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You barely know this woman, Coop. And you’re willing to throw your life away to marry her.”
That got him up and moving, both eyes open, a scowl on his face. “I’m not throwing my life away.”
“She doesn’t want you.”
“She’s having my twins.”
“So what? She’d done everything possible to keep you out of her life. Why are you so stubborn?”
“What part of she’s having my twins did you not understand?”
“Has it occurred to your that this is all part of her plan to trap you?”
“She’s not like that.”
“Says the man so desperate he’s lost all common sense.”
“It matters, Bridger. That’s all there is to it.”
250 RDR WIP words (writing this sucker 250 words at a time…)
“I’ll get the chairs, you get the food.” Enrique stood up, but she thrust her wineglass into his hands.
“You have one arm and shouldn’t strain your ribs. Don’t worry, the chairs aren’t heavy.” The rain had swallowed the back pasture. “Go. I’ll be right behind you.”
He growled but grasped the plate of food headed inside. Suzie stacked the chairs and shoved them toward the storage space as the wind whipped her hair into her face. The clacking on the concrete let her know the rain had arrived. And hail, too. Lovely.
She hoped her table would survive the onslaught as she dashed back to the door. Rain soaked her back and hail pelted her head as she ducked inside, laughing and squealing. She slammed the sliding glass door shut and turned to find herself damn near nose-to-nose with Enrique. He caught and held her against his chest, his dark eyes boring down into hers.
I want him.
Her reaction to him was immediate and urgent. She wanted to kiss him until she forgot her name. But she held back, waiting for him to make the first move. Why does it matter? He was here, it was after hours, and he wasn’t her patient. But I don’t take advantage. Her inner voice snorted. He’s a Navy SEAL. You can’t take advantage of him.
But she waited, and she didn’t have to wait long.
“Cariña.” He moaned the word like a prayer and fit his mouth over hers.
248 ineligible #CheyenneCowboys #WIP365 words
They all stopped and exchanged sideways glances. The camera guys, the makeup artist. Even the photographer. Especially the rep from the advertiser.
I cringed, knowing they didn’t even care to be discreet.
“The agency sent me,” I said. “XF Models?” I made it sound like a question when I was met with blank stares.
“Yes, of course,” said the ad rep. “We were expecting, um … somebody younger.”
There it was. “Yes, the agency told me.”
Actually, XF had been pretty blunt. “They’re looking for a model in her teens,” they said. I was twenty-five.
“Don’t tell them your age,” they said. “You don’t look that old.”
Like I was some kind of hit woman with a body to bury and the trail of blood led back to them.
The photographer and makeup artist got busy doing the necessary prep work. Before long my hair and makeup were done and the advertising person was saying something to the photographer.
The photographer, whom I had worked with before, had done photo shoots for Vogue Paris and Elle, but as of late found himself doing commercial photography more and more.
“Our company is trying to appeal to younger Instagrammers,” the redhead ad rep said.
She sat down and motioned to the crew. “Let’s do this.”
I walked on set with sagging confidence.
“I don’t mean to be harsh,” she said. “We all have our flaws.”
“Does it matter?” I said.
“No. Not really. The makeup will cover yours.”
The young woman in captain’s clothes stood on the opposite chair to look Lucien in the eyes. She wasn’t the shortest person he’d ever met, a city like Sibyl attracted all sorts, but the cat ears and tail were different.
“Don’t play him, miss,” a recently impoverished sailor advised. “Unless you’re looking to lose everything.”
Lucien smiled generously.
“Now Jerry, she’s as much right to lose coin to me as the rest of you. Besides, that purse looks terribly heavy. I’ll be doing her a favor.”
The captain dropped her bulging purse on the table with a mouthwatering thunk.
“Oh, it is awful heavy.” She removed a diamond the size of Lucien’s knuckle. “And it’s not just coin.”
Lucien locked eyes with her and began theatrically shuffling the cards. She kept her eyes on his, betraying no awareness of the cards he palmed or replaced. This wasn’t her first hustle, but she had no idea who she was up against. Or so he thought.
It was hours till dawn when he caught her alone in a dark alley. She sat on what of his winnings she hadn’t spent on rounds for the house. Waiting for him. His hand twitched on the pommel of his short sword.
“How did you do it?!” Lucien snarled.
“Does it matter?”
“I lose a hand now and then to keep things interesting, but never a game! I have to know!”
“Is it true yer a minstrel?”
“Does it matter?”
“Me ship could use a minstrel.”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
I watched my brother, remembering his life. He looked at peace, his face calm.
Warren sat up, the single lamp shrouding his face in shadows. I fell sideways, the shock of seeing him move parting me from the chair. I hit the concrete floor awkwardly, my cry echoing around me. I was suddenly afraid; I should have been glad to see him stirring but this was too late, the time for miracles long past.
“Annie,” he said, his voice unfamiliar. “How kind. You waited with me.” He pushed the lower half of his casket’s lid back, bending forward at the waist to reveal that he was dressed in the suit he’d been married in. I saw it had needed adjustment, the wasting of his flesh making it too large for him, its sleeves hanging limp like becalmed flags in summer. He looked like a child in his father’s clothes, turning my memory into a deceit.
“It’s not you,” I said, wishing that the minister was still with me. He’d left an hour ago – maybe more – I think I’d possibly slept, the stresses of the last week finally settling on me.
“Does it matter?” He yawned, levering first one leg then the other up and then out of the coffin. He sat on the edge, his eyes brighter than they’d ever been, the hellfire burning inside him intense enough to cast its own shadows. “He’s gone to a better place, that’s what the clergyman would say. Comfortable lies.”
249 damnable deceits ~ https://twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com/
I am thrilled, and, if I’m honest, I am terrified. My dream is real. Countless auditions, endless rejections and penny pinching, will soon be history.
My schedule says report to wardrobe to meet an icon. Edith.
My hand trembles as I open the door to Wonderland. Aisles and rows of clothing reach to the ceiling and extend as far as I can see. I gasp. The number of clothes, hats, jackets, dresses, pants, is overwhelming. As I am taking it in, I feel someone watching me. I know it’s her.
She is shorter than I imagined. Dark bangs frame her large round glasses with blue-tinted lenses. Lips
pursed; she regards me in silence.
“You’re Gary,” she says.
“Uh, I’m Jason. They want me to play Gary,” I stammer.
“You. Are. Gary,” she repeats as she pulls a pair of faded Levi’s and a flannel shirt from the mound of clothes stacked on the table behind her.
“Or you will be. Put these on.”
I duck behind the curtain to change. Glancing in the mirror I feel different. Pulling the curtain open, I grab a blue fedora, jamming it on my head.
She snatches it away, swapping it for a different hat.
“Does it matter?” I ask.
“Think of yourself as a product. In order to achieve success, you have to sell that product, so start right now thinking of how you can improve it,” Edith says.
“Hi, Edith. I’m Gary,” I say as I shake her hand, and Edith smiles.
My head couldn’t wrap itself around this new world order. Our once democratic government were spinning out to protect us were unfathomable, each one had brought us closer to this dictatorship we now lived in. All the freedoms we valued, the rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and more were gone overnight. We should have seen this coming we saw the signs; but none of us really spoke up. Now the rich got richer and the poor had gotten poor fighting for the few resources left on the Earth. We didn’t fight hard enough when the rich called climate change a hoax while lining their pockets with the gold that would give them everything when all was gone.
I hear they’re building rocket ships that will take them away from this damaged Earth while we breathe in the bad air scrambling for morsels to feed our families. I tried to get my family on the ships but I didn’t have the amount of silver and gold required or the qualifications of being a member of society the rich valued. My wife asked me, “Does it matter? Does anything matter? Our baby is dying; because she’s so hungry.”
I took food from my employer and now I’m on death row. My wife and daughter have died from starvation. Does it matter that I will die too? I just wish humanity would die; because those who are left are not truly human if they can treat their fellow man this way.
word count 245
“It doesn’t matter.” He smiled and shook his head as I headed to the sink.
“Yes, it does, and you know it,” I grumble back as I dump my cup out.
He chuckled “It’s the way I make mine, so I know it tastes just fine.”
I pretend to shiver and smile shaking my head as I make my way past him to the fridge. I pull out my favorite creamer and head back to the coffee pot. “I’m sure it’s fine for you. Of course, my sister always did say you were uncultured I guess now I owe her an apology.”
He watches as I make my coffee the right way then moves up behind me. He pulls me close and wraps his arms around me setting his chin on my shoulder he whispers in my ear. “Uncivilized hmmm she might be right about that. Come to bed and I hold you as we watch my favorite show and corrupt you even more. I will even let you bring that swill you call coffee.”
I laugh and turn in his arms facing him. “Lead on, but if you even think of touching my coffee…”
He holds both hands up. “Don’t touch the coffee. You have my word.” And crosses his heart with his fingers a sexy smirk playing at his lips.
I lean up and kiss him then head to the bedroom. “On with the show!” call out playfully and he hurries to follow.
That little foot could bring down the house. Defiant, my three-year-old stands before me, hands on hips, and that right foot connecting with the floor with a powerful stomp. Tears brim her eyes and then the first deep breath goes in, ending in a whining cry.
“I want to wear the pink shirt and blue pants!”
I’m not a fashionista but ouch, what a terrible color pattern. Shaking my head, I hand her the pink shirt with black pants. Both hit the floor and the tears spill over, right foot shaking the floor.
“I WANT THE PINK SHIRT AND BLUE PANTS!”
Throwing my hands up in the air, I stare right back. “Does it matter?”
That might’ve been the wrong question. With a wail, she takes her preferred outfit and stomps the floor. Then, crying her eyes out, she shoves one leg and then the other into the pants. Yanks the shirt over her hands. Yellow socks join the ensemble, finished with a neon green bow in her hair.
You know, some battles are not worth fighting.
#ThursThreads Week 370 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.