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 376 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 376:
Pastor’s Kid, Nalini Singh sycophant and Writer of the hot books, Naima Simone.
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And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I have heard it all before.”
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!
15 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 376”
I’ve Got Them I’ve Seen It and I’ve Done It and I Have Heard IT All Before Blues
The first time Ralph Bailey heard the song, he was in the deepest of sleep modes. Pussums, their six-year-old Persian was sitting on his back warbling the ditty:
You got ta bury your love
Deep in the ground,
Off in the woods,
And don’t make a sound.
Dig the hole at least ten feet deep,
Put ‘er in the ground for an eternal sleep.
Aside from being impressed by the twang in the cat’s meow, and the rough-hewn lyric, Ralph put it down to the extra spicy Chili Marge has served for dinner the night before.
The second time he heard the exact same song, he was snoozing on the couch. Marge had recently bought an Alexa knockoff, SADIE, (SAY AND DO IT EASILY) but the instructions had given her a migraine. Ralph assumed that SADIE was transmitting the song.
You got ta bury your love
Deep in the ground yadayadayada,
The third time and last time that he heard it, he was driving to town and suddenly his car was full of the ballad.
You got ta bury your love
Deep in the ground yadayadayada,
He was so startled that he veered into the oncoming lane and was instantly a memory.
At the funeral, Marge had a local chanteuse sing what she said was Ralph’s favorite music:
You got ta bury your love
Deep in the ground,
Off in the yadayadayada…
250 words yadayadayada
I sprawled on the ground, sucking in air. Not dying from a four-story fall took a lot of energy.
“We’re—not dead?” Flat on his back, chest heaving, he stared at the window some forty feet up. The dim orange flicker of the fire grew as the flames overtook the space we’d occupied before I threw us both out the window. “Or at least grievously injured?”
One part superpower and one—maybe two—parts luck.
He rolled to his side, angled himself half over me.
“You hear me? The ground is dented, but I’m so okay I can use grievous in a sentence.” His hand trembled as he reached out, cupped my cheek. “You’re good too, right?”
“I manipulated the gravity field.” The truth slipped past my lips. “Made us more—buoyant, basically.”
“You say that like it’s just a thing people do.”
“It’s just a thing I do.”
“Right.” He flopped onto his back. “You manipulate gravity. Now I have heard it all.”
“Before you talk to the media or police—”
“Why the hell would I do that?” He cut me off, rising over me once more, all mildly insulted and ridiculously beautiful. “Seems a shitty way to thank you for saving my life.”
“There’s a reward for information.” I swallowed hard. “About—people like me.”
“People like you?” He shook his head. “There’s no one like you.”
He leaned in, brushed his lips over mine.
“And I’m not inclined to share you with anyone.”
250 superhero WIP words
Curious, Pops watched the woman. She wasn’t a local and she carried that air of officiousness that suggested she was here to meddle. Which was a shame. He guessed her to be somewhere in her late thirties, a pretty woman with a round, unlined face, masses of black hair, and brown eyes.
He tracked her, as unobtrusively as a guy carrying his bulk and notoriety could. As chief of the Tarpley VFD, people stopped to congratulate him and the other firefighters on their roles in putting out the big wild fire, which was the whole reason for this shindig. He unwrapped a Tootsie Pop and stuck it in his mouth. This women intrigued him and considering he’d been a confirmed bachelor since the death of his wife, that was saying something.
The woman ducked between two food tents and he followed, no longer worried about getting caught.
“I just need to borrow your phone.” The voice belonged to a girl of maybe fifteen or sixteen. “I have family who will come get me. I know they’re looking for me.”
“You’re right. Your family in San Antonio is looking for you.”
The girl’s face paled. “No! I’m not from Texas. I’m from West Virginia.”
“I have heard it all before. You girls runaway with your boyfriends and then—”
“I didn’t run away!” The girl was adamant. “I was kidnapped!” A tear rolled down her cheek. “No one believes me.”
Pops stepped out of the shadows. “I believe you, darlin’.”
248 Fighting for Elena #WIP words
I took the stairs, two at a time, stuffing my gun into its holster as I tried to ignore the heavy strap digging into my shoulder. It was early, and I prayed as I approached her apartment.
“Please, be awake.”
Closing the door softly, I listened. Someone was in the kitchen. Relief washed over me as I peered around the doorjamb. Her small, frail frame bent over the sink. The housedress hung on her like a worn rag, and white nurse shoes appeared too big for her thin legs to move. It was an illusion I didn’t take for granted. She possessed formidable strength.
“Yanya, we must go.”
She turned, and the butcher knife’s point kissed my neck. Her steady gaze locked with mine, then the corner of her lip curled into a smile.
“How many times have I told you not to sneak up on me?” she asked, as she dropped the knife to punch my arm.
“They’re coming again, aren’t they?” Her gnarled fingers trembled as she covered her mouth.
“Solders,” she said, spitting the word.
She wiped her hands on a towel and I followed her to her bedroom. Under the bed was her bugout bag. She paused, stroking the oak box on the bedside table. She lifted the lid and caressed the pictures inside.
“You sure we can’t take my memories? Did I tell you about the time your grandfather…?”
“I have heard it all before, Yanya,” I interrupted.
“So have I. So. Have. I.”
When he looked at me, I used my hands to sign at him, Can you read sign language?
Surprise and relief filtered over his face and some of the fierceness receded. Yes.
I pointed at myself and nodded. Me too.
Good. I’ll give you a ride home. He pointed to the bike.
“Thank you. I live in Fort Collins.”
He gave me a thumbs-up as he straddled his bike and those thick, hard thighs damn near took my breath away. What the hell? I was stranded on a mountainside in a snowstorm with a badass stranger, and my libido decided to make an entrance? I’m gonna need my vibrator tonight.
I shoved my attraction out of my thoughts and straddled the bike behind him. Settling against his body was a little like finding a heater. The heat from him permeated my jacket and I let out an involuntary sigh. A deep rumble rippled through the air and I realized he was laughing at my relief.
He wrapped one hand around mine at his waist and squeezed gently before kickstarting his bike and rolling us toward the road home. Bikers weren’t good guys. I have heard it all before, probably a mess of lies that had very little basis in truth. But this guy disproved it by saving my life, and he laughed when I cuddled up to his warmth. It didn’t creep me out. Yeah, I’m in so much trouble. Hopefully, it wouldn’t end badly for me.
250 ineligible #WIP500 #ConcreteAngelsMC words
The demon smirked. He sat back on his haunches with his hands behind him. He was careful not to touch the ward line circumscribing the mandala he’d appeared inside, but he was as nonchalant as ever.
“You’re supposed to be obedient,” Agatha wailed. “The grimoire said you’d be obliged to do whatever I said.”
Jithuus shrugged. He manifested a scroll from the otherworld and began to read an incantation, his voice turning inside her like a melon baller, gouging away at her consciousness. She fell forward onto her knees and her nose began to bleed, the drops splattering against the floor.
“Enough?” he said, interrupting himself. He marked the line he’d reached with a stab of a claw, the parchment smouldering where he touched it.
Agatha nodded, glad of the respite. She could smell a burning in her sinuses that she knew came from within, an aroma of spoiled meat making her feel nauseous.
“I’m not the one you expected, am I?” The demon scooted forward so their noses almost bumped, the invisible wall all that was keeping them apart. “I have heard it all before, of course. The wrong intonation, a subtle change in the phrasing. Demon names can be diabolically difficult to pronounce. You’ll have been expecting the demon responsible for your acne, I’d guess. My specialism’s usually pestilence but I’m sure I can manage to do something to take your mind off that. But it’ll cost you your eternal soul and I don’t do refunds.”
248 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com
I Have Heard It All Before, by Terry Brewer, @Stories2121, 217 words
“I have heard it all before.”
“Look, darling. I don’t care why you’re here. All you need to know is that I’m here for you. For whatever you want. But if you want someone to cry to, about being misunderstood by your wife or your girlfriend, I do not want to hear it.”
“But Aldo said—”
“Darling. I don’t care what Aldo or Zeppo or anyone in between said. But I’ll tell you what. You have an hour. If you want to talk, talk. But don’t expect me to listen. As I say, I’ve heard it all before and I’m not going to fix it for you. All I can do is make you forget about all the crap that led you to talk to Aldo or whoever it was to get my number. For an hour. I’m not good at listening, but I am good at making you feel good.”
“Darling. If you want to talk, talk. My meter’s running. I’ll sit here and say ‘too bad’ or ‘I’m so sorry’ for . . . 56 minutes, which is what you have left.”
“Well. I guess it wouldn’t hurt for us to get comfortable. We can talk later.”
“I’m very good at getting comfortable. Both of us.”
“Yeah. We can talk later.”
“I have heard it all before.” The constant ramblings of politicians promising things that they just can’t keep. Things that others believe and make them give them the vote.
It seems like yesterday that it was time to vote for president and number 44 was leaving and I was crying. Because those things promised by 45 sounded crazy to my ears and my children’s as well however it seemed as if we lived in the “Twilight Zone” as we watched with clenched hands and bated breath.
“Yep, we’d heard it all before.” I looked over at my kids as 45 spouted some inane nonsense and I had to wonder what the world would continue to look like for them? My babies who though they are part Caucasian and the other part me…African American. They are part of what makes “America great.” And yet…the hate that is spewed forth by so many, in 2019.
“What we need right now is love.” I say out loud. Both kids respectively 14 and 15 looks at me and nod their heads.
“That’s something, we’ve all heard before.” My daughter says.
“Yep,” My son says.
“Truth, I say. Yes, we’ve heard that before too. However, this is something worth repeating until it resonates within each American.”
I lean in and hug my kids and they hug me back and, in those moments, we are and forever will be, what makes America great.
One more job to do then I was going to retire to Canada. My family was there and they might even get some of the free health care I’d heard so much about. I’d use some of the money for my son’s cancer treatments, living our lives out comfortably. I’d already arranged to fake my death.
I waited in his bedroom. He entered the bedroom and I glanced over at his son’s picture and hesitated.
“Don’t kill me; please I have a family.”
“I have heard it all before, buddy. I’ve got to pay the bills the same as you.”
“I’ll pay you a million dollars.”
I held up five fingers and crossed my throat.
Ten, ten million dollars…”he countered.
I hesitated; he upped it to twenty million dollars. I glanced at the boy’s picture and nodded. He transferred it to be in bit coins and then I transferred the funds into my account instantly. My family will be okay, but I’m dying in a back alley as the boss caught up with me and the target.
He said to me, “If you want a job done right you have to do yourself,” then plugged myself and the target in the heart. I’m only sorry two sons will never see their fathers again; but the boss is in for a surprise; you see I put a contract out on him if anything ever happened to me and it would happen soon. Justice is swift, and revenge is sweet.
The wind whips from the north and Kirsten snaps her head to her right as the wind whistles around her. That north wind can only mean one thing, trouble is coming.
“It’s time to get inside.”
She says it to no one in particular, but the people around her begin shuffling toward the door anyway. Nolan runs toward her, “Ms. Kirsten, are they coming?”
“Nolan, just get inside, okay?”
The shadows grow longer even as the sky darkens. When Kirsten sees the last resident cross the doorway, she shuts and bolts the door.
“Everybody to the inner court!”
The residents take their time moving until they hear pounding at the door, then they begin to move with haste.
Kirsten gives Nolan a serious look.
“We’re going to be okay. All this?” Kirsten shakes her head. “I have heard it all before. It’s bluster. That’s all they’ve got. Now, off you go to the inner court with everyone else, okay?”
As Nolan turns to go, Kirsten feels the surge of power emanating from the shadows beyond the locked door. Gathering her courage and her strength, she yells, “YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM!!”
The dark shadows ooze between the door and its frame, sliding toward Kirsten.
Kirsten closes her eyes and lifts her head as light beams from her body causing the shadows to flee.
“YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!”
Opening her eyes, Kristen allows the twin rays to chase the darkness away. Once again, light overcomes the darkness.
Rika’s mind was forced from her body by pain searing her nerves from the gem in her forehead. She couldn’t hear her own screams anymore. Lucretius’ willful dancing girl became aware of a dim dusty room different from the acrid dungeon with her body in it. She felt limbs too heavy to be her own anchoring her to this other place.
A silent line of giant figures stood across from her. Slave golems; inactive without control gems embedded to animate them. This was the crone’s workshop! Rika’s gaze was level with the eyes of the golem across from her. She managed to will the heavy limb on her right into her field of vision. A baked clay hand clenched and unclenched before her.
Rika became aware of her own body again, contorted under the cruel gaze of the slaver, Lucretius, and his mystic hag. Her pain had dulled to an ache and her shrieks to hoarse groans. The crone’s dungeon rumbled around them.
“Did you hear that?” the fat slave merchant’s eyes bulged apprehensively.
His crone ushered him back away from the table with their bound victim.
“I have heard it.”
All before anyone knew what was happening, the dungeon wall caved in. A golem, with no control gem to animate it, forced itself through the opening. The new golem approached the slave restrained with an active control gem in her forehead.
“Get me out of here…” Rika rasped.
The golem broke her restraints and gathered her into its arms.
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
“I have heard it all before. You start down that road and you end up man-less.” Gran fluttered around me as if she were a pesky fly. She wrung her ghostly hands. “Your sins will find you and only the gods know what they’ll do out there on those mean streets.”
I closed the grimoire, I’d borrowed from the library in the occult section. Every night, I’d found something to read, to practice with. Besides seeing shadows in my bedroom, that didn’t correspond to Gran’s movements, nothing had happened.
It was my secret, and even Gran had no idea
“I don’t know what you are doing when you ward your room, but you’re up to no good and going to bring a gauntlet of pain down on this family.”
Gran had a way of being overly dramatic. If I’d had a fainting couch for her to collapse on, I’m sure she would have used it.
But it couldn’t matter. This was something I had to do on my own, and using the grimoire was the only way.
“Even now that thing vibrates with bad juju, and trust me, I know what that means.”
“More than what’s normal here in New York?” I laughed. It sounded brittle to me, forced.
If this worked, then I’d reveal everything. I needed it to conjure the dead.
The recent departed to be exact, and no amount of warning was going to put off this ritual. Tonight was the night I resurrected the dead.
The shrill whistle of an RPG flying through the sky shatters my sleep. The ground shakes with impact. Men are scrambling awake. Grabbing gear, taking cover, crying for help in agony. War, I remind myself, is a dangerous game that never ends.
There’ll be no rest for the wicked.
I was lucky enough to make it home from one tour, only to find myself back in the midst of another. There was a parade last time when the soldiers came home. Cheering, clapping, flags waving with pride. Fair maidens throwing themselves into our arms. Not this time, not for an unpopular war.
There’s no song for the choir.
Another RPG whistles. The ground explodes fifty feet from me as I step outside my tent. Life flashes as my feet leave the ground. My ears ring so loud I cannot hear my own scream. Shrapnel cuts deep with the sting of a thousand deaths. Hard-packed dirt provides no comfort upon impact and the world fades to black.
There’s no hope for the weary.
I am back home before I can blink. Honorable discharge. Disabled veteran. No cheering. No clapping. No “thank you for your service” or fair maidens. Flags wave at half mast for my survivor’s guilt.
“You cannot blame yourself.”
“It wasn’t your fault you survived.”
I have heard it all before, but it is little comfort. The cold barrel held under my chin is my last sure comfort. One last sleep.
You let them win without a fight.
249 song inspired words (Lykke Li – No Rest for the Wicked)
Dirt tumbles under my horse’s hooves, falling into thin air. Double checking my tablet, it confirms this is the spot and I’m here to crossover one Edward Merle Thompson III.
Dismounting, I tuck the tablet into a saddle bag and smooth my hand over Destiny’s back. I float to the bottom of the straight hill, where lies Edward. Arms and legs point at unnatural angles, and air bubbles out of collapsed lungs.
“I’m Carla, here to bring you across to the afterlife.”
“No.” His voice is raspy, his eyes unfocused. “Not—today. Have a—deal to close—tomorrow.”
I shake my head. “I have heard it all before. Your time has run out.”
Sirens sound and an ambulance is visible through the trees. Unless they’re extraordinary hikers, they will not be bringing him anywhere but the morgue. As the hour glass in my hand drains and I ready my scythe, a door opens behind me.
“Edward. Suspected a hiking accident would you in.”
The woman, in a flowered blue dress with red trim, shakes her head. Turning on one beige S.A.S brand heel, she marches through the door. His hour glass trembles in my hand, refilling to nearly half full. That’s the first time I’ve ever had a parent reject their child. Edward blinks at me, as the first responders reach him, basket in hand, ready to pull him to safety.
“Well, you got lucky.”
His spirit reunites with his body; his mother is getting a talking to later.
#ThursThreads Week 376 is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.