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 374 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 374:
Lover of Words, Creative Writing MA, and Interracial Paranormal and Contemporary Romance Author, Nikki Prince.
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I would have believed.”
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!
23 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 374”
He’s Back by Terry Brewer, @stories2121 235 Words
She lied. It was a simple thing but it was still a lie. I know what I saw and I know who I saw.
I’d placed too much hope in our relationship. Never as much with any woman as with her.
It didn’t matter. He’d come back to our dingey town. It was unexpected. He’d been in New York for three years, making it big—we were led to understand—in Manhattan real estate. He always had everything I didn’t. Tall and attractive. Football and basketball. A new Mercedes for his sixteenth. I was . . . none of those things. I barely have a car and I’m three years out of college.
I thought I had one thing he didn’t. Her.
He took her from me. They must have met on the street. She must have followed him into the fitting room at Epsteins. She must have wanted him to kiss her.
When she saw me there, she rushed out. “It was nothing. I was just happy to see him. He was telling me about New York and he kissed me. I tried to stop him.”
I can’t blame her. He’s him and I’m me. I can’t fight for her. I’d lose and that’d be too much.
So I’m in the kitchen of my parents’ house. I still live at home. Of course.
My Mom sits across from me. “I would have believed her.”
It takes us longer than I thought it would to reach the pier. The climb down seems simple enough, but the hill is steep and I slip more than once. When we finally reach it, it’s Arius that takes a pause, his hand tightening on mine.
A few heartbeats pass and he doesn’t say anything, so I venture a question.
“You’re worried.” At this point I would have believed anything, except maybe that. Death had shown me how cold he was, how unflinching. But then again the mention of his sister, the recollection of her imprisonment, did something to him. The commanding presence, the urge to move forward that had dragged me across realms was suddenly swept away.
“Yes.” His voice, softer than I’ve ever heard it, startles me.
“You’re Death incarnate – what do you have to fear? What could hurt you?”
“That’s not what worries me.” He looks at me, something in his eyes I’ve never seen before.
“You’re worried about me?” I can’t help my nervous, humorless laughter. “A shame that worry didn’t stop you from dragging me all this way.”
“This isn’t a joke.”
“I know.” I look down at my hands, wondering at the markings. “It’s not like we can turn back, though. And besides, you said that some of your sister’s power is inside me now, right? That has to count for something.”
He examines my hand, his thumb absently brushing over my knuckles. “Perhaps.”
“Then enough stalling. Let’s get that damn book and go.”
250 WIP words
“My goal here, Petty Officer, is to make sure my friend invests her heart wisely. I can’t tell her whom to love because that’s all up to her. But I don’t want to throw my support into someone who is either looking for a quick fling or doesn’t have the ability to look at his relationship from multiple sides and find the common ground.”
“It’s a bit early for that, isn’t it?”
Seychelles spread her hands. “Hey, you came to me. In every love story, the hero gets an impossible task. He’s either gotta go on a quest to retrieve something or fight something. What I’m askin’ isn’t impossible, but it does require a lot from you. I know Suzie. You’re the unknown variable here. How important is she to you?”
This had gotten heavy fast and Enrique wasn’t sure he was ready for something so deep. Then why did you come to talk to Seychelles, cabron? Because he wanted the chance with Suzie. She was the first women he’d met in a long time that made him think of more than his next mission.
“Before I came to Cheyenne, true love isn’t something I would have believed in.” He shot her a rueful smirk. “You might not believe this, but guys, particularly military guys, don’t hang around and talk about true love and finding the perfect princess when they get out.”
Seychelles laughed. “Really? I can’t imagine.”
“No, no, it’s true. Emotions make us run for the hills.”
249 ineligible #CheyenneCowboys #WIP365 words
@Siobhan Muir: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Gil Poole’s Old Timers Telling It Like It Was: The Eng Billleson Story
Reporter: Ninety, eh!
Reporter: You must have seen a lot in your time, Mr. Billleson?
Gaffer: Call me Eng.
Reporter: Okay, Eng. You must have seen…
Reporter: The Attendant…she mentioned you’re a writer.
Reporter: Right! Was. You no longer write?
Reporter: May I ask why?
Reporter: Okay, Eng, why do you no longer write? And to keep it uncomplicated, when you did write, what was your genre?
Gaffer: Gotta smoke?
Reporter: I…I… smoking was outlawed decades ago.
Attendant: Eng is pulling your leg, Mr. Poole. He quit smoking when he was a young man.
Reporter: Oh. Okay. Thanks. No, I don’t have a smoke. Sorry.
Gaffer: Funny stuff.
Gaffer: I wrote funny stuff. Satire.
Reporter: Really. Humour is hard to write, so I’ve heard. Why did you stop?
Gaffer: The world stopped being funny.
Reporter: Oh! I would have believed the opposite. I do believe the opposite. I like to laugh.
Gaffer: Good for you.
Reporter: Maybe you mean “you” stopped laughing?
Reporter: You stopped writing humour because you couldn’t laugh anymore?
Gaffer: Son, it was August 2019. Last time I laughed. I’d been poking away at Trump in almost everything I wrote. The man was a fool. A dangerous fool. After those two shootings, El Paso and Dayton…Toledo too, well, it just didn’t seem right to laugh anymore.
Sofia sat across from Marsh. He was quiet, sipping his whiskey, and focusing on his phone. She had learned to never interrupt him.
The waiter laid their dinner plates on the table and Marsh studied her.
“Sofia, do you love me?”
“Of course, I do.”
“You know, I would have believed anything you said,” Marsh paused, “Until now.”
Marsh turned the device toward her. The image showed her and Nick, naked, and in his bed.
Her hands trembled and her cheeks burned.
“It’s not what you think…”
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Marsh said laying his phone aside.
Sofia remained silent, waiting as Marsh started eating.
“It appears I have been neglecting my duties as a husband.”
“No? Your photo tells a different story.”
“It’s over,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is.” Marsh stuffed a bite in his mouth.
“I know. You need to get pregnant,” he said jabbing his knife toward Sofia with each syllable.
“I don’t want a baby.”
“Liar,” the force of the word slapped her. Marsh leaned back in his chair.
“I would believe you, but there is that image. And it says the opposite.”
Sofia knew Marsh would be angry, but his reaction scared her more than his anger ever could. She wasn’t safe now. She almost laughed. She realized he had always threatened her. The fleeting thoughts of leaving him began to coalesce in her mind. Her subconscious had been planning her escape for years. It was time to execute her plan.
“Snake units are not snake units. They’re smoke vents. Make more sense? You couldn’t read the engineer’s handwriting, right? Please don’t type up a report unless you can read it. If you need help with your reading, Natasha, come to me or one of the other guys.” Michael returned the iPad to her, brushing her thigh in the process.
His urge to laugh suppressed, Michael winked at her. As he turned his head to wrap up the meeting, she smacked him across the back of the head with the tablet. He fell to the floor in a groggy fashion, knees first, turning back to face his aggressor – staying upright with enough time for her to swipe him across the head with the tablet a second time. The cracked touchscreen clattered to the floor alongside her boss.
Everyone fell silent as they watched the only woman in the room stand up and take the podium. She looked at each of the men in front of her, eyes filled with rage.
“Don’t fob me off like that again,” she told the half-unconscious Michael. “I would have believed I could fit in here and the only reason I’m struggling is because of my gender.”
Michael groaned from the floor, and slowly pressed a panic button on his utility belt. Alarms sounded.
“That’s not why.” A plumber stood up at the back of the room, as a security team sprinted in to apprehend the young admin assistant. “You’re a complete nutjob.”
247 words @ragtaggiggagon
The crisp air crackled with electricity. Sol shivered and drew her Crimson cloak snug to her body. He was out there, every year the same. A never-ending ritual. She could hear his low growl rumbling through the clouds. I would have believed him to be the God of Thunder, Sol thought grimly, she scoured the heavens in hopes to glimpse his shadow. Nothing.
Sol climbed into her golden chariot and seized the reins. Driven by panic, she smacked her leads hard and the chariot sprang forward. The sky formed waves of sunlight under the wheels and for a moment Sol thought to herself, maybe this time I will triumph!
That hope shattered like a delicate glass bubble. From the shadows of the sky, a flash of black fur and white teeth snarled at her. She never wins; he always finds her. He always snuffs out her light. Screaming Sol pushed the chariot faster. The chase ensued.
She darted through the sky, her only instinct to ride faster. Her sole hope is the knowledge that she would rise and light the world again. Her constant dread, that for every time she rose, Sol had to succumb at his will.
The horses began to cry; she urged them to go faster, pleaded with them to get her to safety.
It was no use, the black wolf was upon her and he devoured her whole, plunging the world below into darkness.
Winter Solstice had returned.
I usually had the workout floor to myself this early. I didn’t know the invader dancing in my periphery like his life depended on it. His taste in music thankfully didn’t suck and other than a quick good morning, he ignored me.
I respected that and ignored him back.
Or, I tried. I attacked the heavy bag, the seconds between my punches and kicks growing. My attention kept wandering, caught by a spin here, a jump there. Lithe. Strong. Fierce. I admired the muscle definition in his arms. His thighs. His—damn he had a nice ass.
He hit the floor for a low-and-slow grind.
“Fuck me running.” That caught my focus alright.
I snagged the slowly swinging bag, angling it just so in self-preservation. Nothing to see here. Sweat dripped down my face. I swiped my eyes clear, only to find his curious gaze locked on me.
“You okay over there?” A smile softened his features. He cocked his eyebrow at my bag shield. “I’m disturbing your workout, right?”
I am definitely disturbed.
“I’m not normally so extra.” Exertion deepened his voice, roughed up the smooth tenor that had greeted me earlier.
“Sure thing, Footloose.” A helpless smile of my own answered his. “I would have believed you thirty minutes ago, now not so much. I’ll keep your secret, though.”
“You sold your soul to the devil.” The way my body was reacting, I was maybe half joking. “Totally worth it for moves like yours.”
250 words of… something
I knew he was too good to be true. Wiz was…well…everything. Handsome. Rugged. Sexy. Funny. All male. Did I mention sexy? And never to be mine. Because I was none of those things. Okay, none of those things in the female version. I was plain—unless I spent way too much time on hair and makeup. Wimpy and out of shape. I’d never be anyone’s idea of a pin-up girl. Dull. That’s another word often used to describe me. Definitely not sexy or hot.
Looking up, I discovered Wiz standing about four feet away, watching me in that intently focused way that made me feel like we were prey and predator. He still wore that other woman’s lipstick on his mouth and neck. I lifted my chin. I might not be a skinny-mini size zero but I had my pride.
“Jen, it’s not what you think.” Wiz reached for me but I backed away.
“Maybe I would have believed you, but you didn’t even take the time to wipe away the evidence.”
His lids hooded his eyes, but for a moment, I swore I caught a flash of feral red in them before he shuttered his expression.
“I’m an idiot,” I admitted. “Believing someone like you would want to hook up with someone like me. Our worlds are too different, Wiz. No hard feelings, okay?”
He just stared then ground out, “Not okay. You’re mine.”
“No I’m not.”
He kissed me breathless, and proved me wrong.
250 Night Wish #wip words
The predatory stirrings began again in February. Until Christmas, I’d managed to keep myself mostly satisfied, using a World War II bayonet I’d bought on both my arms, alternating between forearms, so as not to weaken myself. Winter here is a time when most people keep themselves covered up, so my wearing long sleeves did nothing to attract attention. I was always careful to make sure I dressed my wounds properly, so there was little chance I’d bleed and blot the material.
The man I chose to focus on was an Albanian, the intonation and the phrasing of his words borrowing from his native tongue. Even in English, the way he used the language carried the same modal shifts, making his voice sound hopeful and mysterious. I would have believed anything he’d said, if I’d not been immune to such things. His success would be his undoing. Life’s often cruel like that.
And so, we met in the market at the stall where he worked. He had a stock of old curios, mostly military artefacts. He had an eye for collectables, some of the better ones he’d found stored somewhere else, somewhere where they’d be safe.
I was looking forward to meeting him again later.
Our negotiations would be shorter than he’d expect them to be. I knew I’d prevail; I’ve an unfailing talent for closing a deal.
228 strokes make it a deal ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
“Am I a bad mom? I would have believed anything my son told me.”
“You’re not a bad mom. Teenagers lie,” my husband comforted
“Henry told me he wasn’t going to that party. He promised me.”
“You can’t blame yourself. He made his own choices.”
“Henry went to that party and this is the result,” I stated sadly.
“He has a long road ahead of him. At least he wasn’t driving. His friend Thomas is looking at jail time for driving without a licence, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence and maybe more. He’s only fifteen years old…”
“Thomas is alive, two of his friends are dead and Henry…”
“I can still feel sorry for Thomas. I’ve known him since he was born.”
“Thomas doesn’t have a scratch on him. He made his bed now he has to lie in it. My boy may never walk again.”
“Mom, came the whispery voice from the bed.
“Henry,” I cried running to him.
“Mom, I’m sorry,” Henry cried.
“It will be okay,” I lied trying to believe it myself.
“You don’t have to lie, mom. The doctor says I’ll never walk again.”
“I’m sorry, Henry,” I stated taking his hand and squeezing it.
“I’m going to make you proud mom. I’m going to fight back and make that doctor eat his words.”
Three years later my son hobbled across the stage on crutches to receive his high-school diploma and I was never so proud in my life.
It felt like he’d slapped me in the face.
I scrambled from the bed we’d so recently shared, the sheets still tangled from our lovemaking, our scent lingering in the air.
“No,” I said, moving to find my discarded clothing. “You don’t get to say that to me. Not after everything else we’ve done to each other. All the lies. The deception for the good of the Company.” I yanked on my T-shirt before pulling on jeans and shoving my feet into tennis shoes.
His full lips, still swollen from our kisses opened and closed, as if searching for the words to make me stay. Those green eyes I’d fallen into so many times, so often blank whether we were on mission or not—the perfect operative, able to mask his emotion no matter what—were suddenly pools of sorrow.
“You could’ve told me anything else, Michael. You could’ve said the sky is purple and I would have believed you. But to say that *you love me*… I’m sorry, I just can’t believe that. We’ve lied to each other too many times for it to be true.”
I shook my head and picked up my keys from the nightstand. “This was fun, Michael. But it’s over.”
Even though my heart broke as the door closed behind me, I knew it was for the best. We’d bent the rules far too long, and if this went into full-blown relationship mode, we’d be dead for sure.
248 non-WIP but still writing words 🙂
I don’t do supernatural. I don’t use Ouija boards or watch demon-possession movies or go to cemeteries after dark and I don’t do séances.
However, my friend, Mandy, recently lost her father in a tragic accident. Anyone would have a hard time processing such a loss, but Mandy is convinced her father’s been visiting her in her dreams. She says she not only sees him, but she feels the weight of him sitting on the edge of her bed and smells his pipe tobacco. But she can’t figure out what he wants.
Mandy is going to a séance to talk to her father and she wants me to go with her – I guess she forgot I don’t do séances.
I tried to talk her out of it, but apparently, she’d been talking to her brother, Jerome.
“Mandy, I would have believed this from Jerome, but you?”
“I didn’t believe in this stuff until it started happening to me. Come with me. Please?”
It all starts like I’d thought it would – very “hocus-pocus-y” then the medium throws her head back and begins quivering, slamming forward then back.
“Mandy,” she intones, “sell the painting.”
That painting is something only a few people know about. Who told her?
Grabbing Mandy’s hand a pull her out the door as she yells, “I love you, Daddy!”
“Mandy! It was a scam!”
“How’d she know about the painting?”
“Jerome? He’s been after you to sell it.”
“He wouldn’t! Would he?”
“Sapphire Island, at last!” Olivar Brackenbeard laughed heartily. “Time to get ye some ink!”
The shaggy dwarf flexed his fully tattooed right arm at his companion. Caitlin Kinnery studied it with cocked head and swishing tail. Despite her platform heeled boots, the diminutive catgirl had to clutch her oversized jacket at the stomach to keep it from dragging on the sand.
Olivar slapped his left arm and continued. “I’ll be getting another sleeve meself! Madame Yagami is a genius! Only artist I ever met capable of making true Mystic Tattoos. Ye can tell by the dim glow when the magic’s working.”
He lifted the indigo blanket over the door to a light-bleached hut up the beach. Caitlin entered the other worldly space, sterile and neat as a city surgery but accented with charts, diagrams and vials more reminiscent of a village witch.
“Olivar! I was wondering when I would see you again.” A straight-backed white-haired half elf emerged from the shadows of her domain.
“Aye, me new captain be looking fer her first ink, and another sleeve fer meself.”
“I see. Does the captain know what she wants?”
“Aye.” Caitlin helped herself to paper and inkpot, then sketched an eight spoked wheel. “This, on me back, to bind me to me ship.”
The final hammer illuminated the hut; Caitlin’s back shining like the summer sea. Madame Yagami fumbled her tools in awe.
“Had I not seen it myself, this is not something I would have believed.”
246 Cat’s The Pajamas words
– Illuminated –
Hassa woke to rain pattering on the windowpanes and tapping on the tin roof. She stretched, taking joy in the warmth and safety, until her shoulder connected with something solid, something sobering. She didn’t need the glow of embers in the makeshift fireplace to know what – or rather who – was beside her.
Eyes still closed, she sifted through flashes of him. Soft as sunrise when meeting her sons. Bold as gunpowder when standing his ground against the horse thieves. Patient as a goddamn saint when … when was he not? Oh, but he hadn’t been patient last night. He’d been hungry mouth and rough hands and sleek thighs. Holy. Fuck. Those. Beautiful. Powerful. Thighs.
She shifted, slowly. Just enough to see his sleeping profile. Everything about him was golden, toasted, earthy. Skin the color of walnuts at harvest. Eyes like crescent moons fringed by sparse lashes dark as a winter midnight. Eyes sharp as a falcon’s. Eyes like glowing topaz. Knowing. Wise. Luminous. Eyes.
She traced his brow with impetuous fingers. “I don’t need you. I don’t want you. And I damn sure don’t want to want you. But yesterday, after … I would have believed anything you said. I deserved to be cut down to size. Shamed. Reviled. Abandoned. Why didn’t you humble me, Yoo Ruan?”
His answer was a sleepy mumble. “It’s dark under the lamp.”
She leaned close. “I don’t understand your proverbs.”
“I’ll translate,” he said, pulling her into a kiss.
– – –
@everaddams / 247 #remnant words
I would have believed a lot of things. But teenagers are notoriously bad liars and my daughter is no different. Curfew is flexible; call me, we can work something out. Rolling in at two in the morning without calling and trying to spin a tale that doesn’t sound remotely believable is not cool.
“Dad!” She stomps her foot. “We were watching a movie and didn’t watch the time!”
Judging by her messy hair and the swollen purple-red mark on her neck, it was quite a movie.
“How’d you get that mark?”
She slaps a hand over her neck, swallowing. “The dog bit me.”
One skeptical eyebrow raises. “I thought Sean was allergic to dogs.”
“We’ll talk in the morning.”
Eliza stomps up the stairs and slams her door. I dart for the front door and stand on the porch, laughing. The door opens and I pull in a breath, relaxing when my husband joins me.
“Where was she?” he asks, around a yawn. He scratches his stubble and I smile; it’s my favorite part of him.
“At Sean’s. Said they didn’t watch the time watching a movie. Came home hair mussed, a giant hickey on her neck.”
Jimmy snorts, laughing with me. “We’ll let this one slide.”
He hugs me and I nod. “But only this one. Unless she has a better story next time.”
We finally go inside, ready to get back to bed. I have a feeling we’re going to have some fun in the morning.
News travels slow these days, but it still travels. Once it garners enough attention it picks up speed and spreads like the black plague in a tight city block. It started overseas, somewhere in Europe I believe. Then it traveled our way.
While this news wasn’t a disease of the body it might as well have been a disease of the mind. It consumed people in fear, in power. No one was safe. No one except for those crying their lies to the heavens. Maybe not even them though.
Women. Children. Even men. No one was safe when fingers began pointing.
I would have believed it was all a bunch of hocus pocus, a scam of the Christian church to instill loyalty and forced faith in their practitioners. I was more than content to believe that smoke screen than face the truth. Only then the madness reached my town, and the accusations started flying. Literally.
“I saw her! I did! She was flying on a broom against the moon!”
“She had a bonfire, she was dancing with the Devil! Naked!”
“I saw her sign a pact with him! She sold her soul to him for magick!”
“Witch! Witch! Witch!”
I wish I could still believe it was all a bunch of hocus pocus but my broken fingers say otherwise. My busted, crooked nose tells me no. My battered, bruised, and bloody frame laughs at me. And the stake they are parading me toward shatters the last of my naive hope.
250 witch hunt words
Well damn… The two lines in between the italicized lines are also supposed to be italicized. I messed up the HTML tags. Oops.
Submission #2 (to replace previous entry!)
Fear pushed the wrinkles from the corners of my mother’s wide-eyed stare.
“Where have you been? We’ve got to get out of here.”
Choppy fragments of the spreading chaos blared from the TV. The scrambled picture distorted the faces on the screen.
“I’ll get food and water, you grab the camping packs from the garage,” she ordered.
The packs were where I always put them, shoved on the top of a rack of sporting gear and extra laundry soap.
Shaking off the thin layer of dust, I slung one over each shoulder.
“Violet, hurry!” Mom’s voice crawled with panic.
We followed the trail that snaked through the fields to the tributary. Dozens of soup cans rattled in my pack with a familiar dull clinking sound as we broke from the corn rows.
When we reached the bridge, Mom leaned against the railing, then collapsed to her knees.
“Give me a sec…I can make it.”
“Mom,” I said, “It’s okay. We’ve gone far enough.”
We’d already gone ten feet farther than the week before.
“We’re gonna make it this time, Vi. Just wait–”
I would have believed her if the veins in her arms and face hadn’t already darkened. Her head drooped. Soon her body would grow transparent and disappear. Just like it always did.
I grabbed her pack, struggling with the weight of the water bottles within and headed home to return everything to its place.
We were making progress. I was sure we’d reach the portal by winter.
#ThursThreads Week 374 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.